THE Zimbabwean president, Robert Mugabe, has said his country will process
recently discovered uranium deposits in order to resolve its chronic
electric power shortage.
Mr Mugabe, who has close ties with Iran and North Korea, two countries with
controversial nuclear programmes, made the announcement on Saturday, state
radio said yesterday.
It was not clear how Mr Mugabe intended to use any uranium deposits, as the
country does not have a nuclear power plant. He unveiled plans in the 1990s
to acquire a reactor from Argentina, but nothing more was heard about the
Zimbabwe was not previously known to have any workable deposits of uranium,
and South Africa has the region's only nuclear power station, at Koeberg.
"Zimbabwe will develop power by processing uranium, which has recently been
found in the country," the radio quoted Mr Mugabe as saying. "The discovery
of uranium will go a long way in further enhancing the government rural
Voters in rural areas make a substantial portion of Mr Mugabe's support.
Zimbabwe needs 2,100 megawatts of electricity a day but has a daily
shortfall of 400 to 450MW and has had difficulty meeting bills from
Mozambique, South Africa and Congo for imports from the regional electric
It has suffered a chronic shortage of foreign exchange since the seizure of
5,000 white-owned farms and the collapse of an export-oriented agricultural
Monday, November 21 2005 @ 12:08 AM CST
Contributed by: Zimdaily
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 uranium.
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.
Analysts have indicated that such a discovery is dangerous, given the kind
of a person Mugabe is and fear if the uranium falls in wrong hands, nuclear
weapons might be developed. Zimbabwe does not have the capacity to build the
weapons, but can export it to terrorist groups. This alone should give at
least western governments a chance to have another serious look at the
November 21, 2005
By Ronnie Morris
Cape Town - The Zimbabwe National Chrysotile Task Force, an asbestos
watchdog, is preparing to lobby the South African government following the
publication of draft regulations in the Government Gazette earlier this
month that seek to outlaw the use of asbestos.
The regulations seek to ban production, import and export of asbestos
products, and give interested parties 60 days to comment.
The ban would not apply to asbestos in transit from a neighbouring country
and meant for the export market, unless further repackaging or processing of
the asbestos or asbestos-containing material is done in South Africa.
South African companies that produce products containing asbestos would have
three months after the regulations come into force to phase out its use.
The task force, which represents the Zimbabwe government, labour unions,
industry, occupational health specialists, medical doctors and lawyers, said
the new regulations were still in draft form. They did not constitute a ban
yet and the public should not be confused by the campaign that had been
launched by sections of society.
"As has always been the case worldwide, there is need for a clear
distinction between the asbestos fibres, specifically chrysotile fibre, and
the amphiboles. Zimbabwe has always mined chrysotile, also known as white
The latest scientific research points to the fact that chrysotile does not
pose health risks if used responsibly. Apart from Zimbabwe, chrysotile is
also mined in Canada, Brazil, Russia and China."
The asbestos task force said that Zimbabwe's safe-use principle was
consistent with the 1986 International Labour Organisation conventions 160
and 162 concerning safety in the use of asbestos.
"These International Labour Organisation conventions 160 and 162 have for a
long time now provided an excellent framework for asbestos users in their
quest to prevent occupational hazards due to chrysotile asbestos," the task
Monday, November 21 2005 @ 12:07 AM CST
Contributed by: correspondent
THOUSANDS of squatters who overran white-owned farms in Zimbabwe
in the biggest mass occupation spawned by constitutional amendment 17 are
leaving their promised land and walking home. They feel betrayed by Robert
Mugabe, the faltering, 81-year-old president whose government lured the
urban poor into the countryside with pledges that they would share not only
lands once known as the breadbasket of Africa, but also food and petrol that
would be essential to survive while they awaited their first harvest. The
supplies have not arrived amid a fuel crisis so severe that commuters have
been involved in shoot-outs at petrol stations.
When the land rush began mid year prompted by Mugabe's cynical
attempt to distract attention from the country's economic woes up to 70,000
people stepped onto state-sponsored buses that ferried them to the farm
gates. That was the last state aid many hapless squatters saw. Two weeks
ago, as many as 700 of the 3,500 white-owned farms were under occupation,
but last week, according to confidential official estimates, the number of
squatters was down to 58,000 on 400 farms. There is a pattern here that is
unnerving Mugabe's kitchen cabinet, if not the increasingly detached
Most of the farms still occupied are in Mashonaland, his tribal
stronghold between Harare, the capital, and the northern borders towards
Zambia. There, leaders such as Comrade Jesus, a former guerrilla commander,
are easily recognised by their trademark rifles in one hand and their mobile
phones, constantly dialling Harare, in the other. At least, say critics, the
mass occupation has taken place openly. Last week Parliament heard a list of
424 previously white-owned farms that had been bought on the open market and
given on rent-free, 98-year leases to leading government members and
Among the beneficiaries have been Perence Shiri, who led the
infamous North Korea-trained Fifth Brigade when it butchered 5,000 Matabeles
in an undeclared civil war in the 1980s. He now owns a substantial farm in
Matabeleland. Another rent-free arrival is Rex Nhongo, who led Mugabe's
guerrilla army in exile in the 1970s. He has changed his name - to Solomon
Mujuru - and his politics, and is now one of the country's most tough-minded
landlords. Most white farmers have coped well with the influx of barefooted
The Sinclair family, who have farmed the same fields 40 miles
west of Harare since the 1930s, and export flowers to Europe, were
nonplussed but not surprised when they were declared "foreigners" on their
own land. But the invaders were surprised by the attitude of the Sinclairs'
black farm hands, who refused to speak to them. A few days later, weary of
the rain, unsure what to do with the mechanised farm equipment and upset at
the failure of aid to materialise, they drifted away. Mugabe's reaction to
the setbacks has been twofold: he has purged his cabinet of old comrades The
final throw of the dice, which might be prompted by the continued refusal of
Kuwait to sell Zimbabwe any more oil, would be to declare a state of
emergency. But there is still one force to be reckoned with. One Zimbabwean
commentator said: "He played the race card, but the failure of the farm
invasion has only revealed a busted flush. Now everyone will wait to see
what is in the army's hand."
Monday, November 21 2005 @ 12:02 AM CST
Contributed by: correspondent
President Robert Mugabe will open his land reform programme for
an ''audit'' by regional ministers on today, but opponents say the exercise
is unlikely to change or slow down his drive to seize white-owned farms. The
Zimbabwean government said a six-member ministerial team from the 14-nation
Southern African Development Community (SADC) was due in Harare on Monday
for a two-day visit to assess its ''highly successful'' programme to acquire
white-owned farmland for black resettlement.
Farmers and other critics say Mugabe has largely ignored
Nigerian-brokered plan he endorsed to end the farm seizures in exchange for
funds from former colonial ruler Britain and other sources to implement a
fair land reform plan. The Commonwealth will meet within two weeks to
discuss possible trawling of sanctions against Zimbabwe to establish land
ownership protections in his country. Nine white farmers have been killed,
scores of black farm workers have been assaulted and thousands of others
displaced since pro-government militants began occupying white-owned farms
five years ago in support
of Mugabe's land programme.
The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) said it was
sceptical that the SADC visit would change anything. ''Whatever observations
SADC will have, it will have little impact on the ground. It's given that
Mugabe is sticking to his guns, but all pressure will be good,'' MDC
presidential spokesman William Bango told zimdaily. Political analysts say
Mugabe, in power since the former Rhodesia gained independence in 1980, is
using the land programme as part of a campaign to retain power.
The trip follows reports that South African President Thabo
Mbeki is pressing for a special meeting of the SADC task force on Zimbabwe.
Mbeki said earlier this month that the situation in the southern African
country was deteriorating. On Sunday, Zimbabwe's state-controlled Sunday
Mail quoted a a government spokesman as saying the SADC team's visit would
have been a routine audit if it were not for foreign pressure.
''The committee is coming at a time when there are renewed
efforts by Britain to mobilise the European Union, the Commonwealth and some
countries in the southern Africa region that includes South Africa, Botswana
and Mozambique to reverse the highly successful land reform exercise,'' the
spokesman said. Zimbabwe's Supreme Court ruled earlier this month that the
land seizures were legal. It said white farmers occupied 14 million of 33
million hectares (35 million out of 81.5 million acres) of farmland and used
only 40 percent of that while many blacks had no land.
November 21, 2005
By the Editor.
Shortly after the start of World War 2, British leader Winston
Churchill described Russia as "a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an
That too, unfortunately, is the only way to describe South Africa's
muddled foreign policy on Zimbabwe these days.
Last week, it signed a wide-ranging defence and security co-operation
agreement with its despotic neighbour. The pact includes joint military
exercises and intelligence-sharing.
It is a most peculiar decision. At a time when other countries are
isolating Zimbabwe in an attempt to coerce it into some kind of democratic
behaviour, South Africa seems to be snuggling up closer to its northern
Asked about the morality of entering into a defence agreement with
Zimbabwe, intelligence minister Ronnie Kasrils instead apologised to
Zimbabwe's delegation for the "insulting question".
Even more astonishingly, he referred to the legacy of colonialism in
triggering Zimbabwe's current problems, yet made absolutely no mention of
the role of the Zanu-PF government's policies in aggravating the crisis in
Kasrils furthermore remained silent when Zimbabwe home affairs deputy
minister Sydney Sekeremayi summarily dismissed claims of human rights abuses
in his country as lies.
In short, the agreement signed last Thursday further complicated
efforts to understand South Africa's stance on Zimbabwe.
When Churchill referred to Russia in that memorable speech in 1939, he
went on to state: "But perhaps there is a key. That key is Russian national
That must, somehow, also be true in this case. However, in the absence
of any information from the South African government, we are none the wiser.
We know very little about what informs its policy on Zimbabwe. And of
its objectives, even less.
By Lebo Nkatazo
Last updated: 11/21/2005 09:22:22
ZIMBABWE'S Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) is going to launch
another daily newspaper in Zimbabwe as they intensify their efforts to win
the minds and hearts of a restive population, highly placed intelligence
sources have said.
The sources added that the new paper would be unleashed on an unsuspecting
country during the first three months of 2006.
The spy agency has taken ownership of The Daily Mirror and its sister paper,
The Sunday Mirror after elbowing out former proprietor and Zanu PF apologist
Ibbo Mandaza. The Financial Gazette is also in their stable.
The secret service is also said to be intending to use the papers in the
succession race, possibly to sway the vote in favour of President Robert
Mugabe's chosen successor.
A source told New Zimbabwe.com: "The paper is going to hit the streets
between January and March next year. The idea is to create the impression
that the country has an independent press, while smoothing the public to
accept Mugabe's chosen succussor into public office."
The sources also cited the recent unmasking of their involvement in the
Mirror and Financial Gazette as the main reason why the spy agency are keen
to see the project through.
"There are some senior members in the CIO who do not want the Daily News to
come back and as such they think if there is a paper with some semblance of
independence, attention would be diverted from the Daily News issue."
By Lebo Nkatazo
Last updated: 11/21/2005 08:46:46
THE government is set to take control of all MDC run urban councils through
a proposal to pay salaries for all senior personnel.
Local Government Deputy Minister, Morris Sakabuya, said the move is aimed at
stemming the brain drain of qualified personnel.
The move has not gone down with the MDC which says that by controlling
councils' key staff, the government would have taken over the towns and
MDC spokesperson for local government Trudy Stevenson, who is also MP for
Harare North dismissed the proposal as "ridiculous" and indicative of
Harare's desire to completely take over all urban cities.
Said Stevenson: "In my view it shows how the government wants to completely
take over all local authorities.
"Besides, the government does not have the money and is currently grappling
with importing fuel and food. The proposal is just ridiculous."
In recent months, the government has displayed its impatience with having
the municipalities under the aegis of the MDC, arresting two opposition
mayors -- Chegutu's Francis Dhlakama and Chitungwiza's Misheck Shoko in a
space of two months.
Mutare's Misheck Kagurabadza is expected to be fired in the next few months
recommendations of a government-appointed probe team.
At the weekend Mugabe ratcheted pressure against Shoko at a rally held
in Chitungwiza and hinted that the mayor would soon be fired.
"I will personally talk to Chombo (the minister of Local government
minister) over the issue of Chitungwiza. We want the government to get in
the problems here," said Mugabe.
"Zanu PF hausi Musangano wetsvina. Hatidi Tsvina. Urikunzwa here Shoko
iri shoko? (Zanu PF does not accept dirt). Are you getting the message
When Chombo fired Harare mayor, Elias Mudzuri last year, he said the
order had come from the president