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Drop in violence as Mugabe reins in the MDC


          November 21 2005 at 10:20PM

      By Peta Thornycroft

      Harare - Political violence in Zimbabwe has fallen to its lowest
levels since the emergence of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change
six years ago.

      Analysts say this is because President Robert Mugabe has successfully
subdued the opposition and civil society.

      The Human Rights Forum (HRF) on Monday released its latest monthly
statistics, which show that political violence during September was at its
lowest level since the MDC burst onto the political scene and ended Mugabe's
de facto one-party rule.

      The HRF report shows that in September there were less than a dozen
arrests of political activists and no incidents of torture.


      Political protests are rare in Zimbabwe these days, and draconian
security laws - tougher than those used by the Rhodesian regime during the
liberation war in the 1970s - make it an offence for any demonstrations
without police permission, which is regularly denied to opposition groups.

      The HRF gathers its information from volunteers who offer information,
and it does not have the capacity to seek full information in rural areas.

      John Makumbe, a senior political scientist at the University of
Zimbabwe, explained on Monday: "Zanu-PF, which perpetrated most political
violence since 1999, now feels safe and secure as it has subdued all
effective political opposition."

      He said violence, repressive legislation and state security agents had
effectively managed all opposition attempts to challenge Zanu-PF's 25-year

      More than 400 MDC members have been killed since it came close to
beating Zanu-PF at the general election in 2000 - only six months after the
party had been launched.

      Tens of thousands of its members have been tortured, jailed or had
their property destroyed. Hundreds of thousands of its supporters fled to
other countries, mostly South Africa and Britain.

      MDC legal secretary David Coltart said on Monday: "Zanu-PF discovered
that political violence damages the facade of democracy in Zimbabwe. Hunger
is a much more effective political weapon, and in rural areas, many MDC
supporters are constantly denied access to food."

      Zimbabwe's Grain Marketing Board is the only legal cereals trader and
importer of maize for human consumption. Most small towns go regularly
without any mealie meal, and subsistence farmers ran out of grain more than
three months ago, according to non-governmental organisations.

      The World Food Programme has not yet begun its new emergency programme
to feed up to four million of the hungriest Zimbabweans.

      HRF director Eilean Sawyer said: "Information we are collecting now
for the October report will show that political violence is intra-party:
within Zanu-PF and within the MDC."

      The MDC has split into two factions: one that favours participation in
Senate elections that take place on Saturday, and the other which is
against. - Independent Foreign Service

      This article was originally published on page 8 of The Star on
November 22, 2005

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Rights groups seek AU intervention in Harare


          November 21 2005 at 11:32PM

      Lagos - More than 50 Nigerian and Zimbabwean human rights groups wrote
a letter on Monday to the African Union (AU) chairperson, Nigeria's
President Olusegun Obasanjo, on alleged rights abuse in the southern African

      "We are asking you, as chair of the AU, to call publicly on the
government of Zimbabwe to implement in full the recommendations made by the
African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights," the groups said in the
letter, published by The Guardian newspaper here.

      The Commission visited Zimbabwe in June 2002 and the AU adopted its
report last January.

      The letter to the AU chairperson comes ahead of a Commonwealth Summit,
scheduled for November 25-27 in Malta in which the issue of Zimbabwe's
suspension from the mainly English-speaking fold is expected to be

       In the report, the commission concluded that "human rights violations
occurred in Zimbabwe" and made substantive recommendations for action by the
government of Zimbabwe, the letter said.

      However, the majority of these recommendations have not been
implemented and human rights concerns raised by the Commission in 2002
"remain serious problems today", it said.

      "Respect for the rule of law has deteriorated further since the
Commission's report was published," the groups complained.

      "It deteriorated markedly in 2005 when the government ignored national
and international law to launch 'Operation Murambatsvina' - a programme of
mass forced evictions and demolitions of homes and livelihoods," it said. -

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Zimbabwe dreaming of a nuclear future

Mail and Guardian

      Harare, Zimbabwe

      22 November 2005 07:41

            Zimbabwe's plans to process its uranium deposits into energy
will slash the huge amounts the power-starved country pays to import
electricity, Energy Minister Mike Nyambuya said on Monday.

            "When we exploit it, we would like to use it for peaceful
purposes and reduce our electricity importation bill," the minister told
Agence France Presse.

            President Robert Mugabe announced at the weekend that the
cash-strapped country had decided to tap uranium, discovered in the northern
Zambezi Valley in the early 1980s, to produce energy.

            Mugabe said the uranium would not be used "to make bombs but to
generate electricity".

            Zimbabwe has two main power stations -- one hydroelectric and
the other thermal -- but it still imports at least 35% of its needs from
neighbours such as South Africa, Mozambique, Zambia and the Democratic
Republic of Congo.

            The country has in recent years experienced serious power
shortages, which the national power company Zesa has blamed on a lack of
foreign currency to buy spares for generators for its power generation

            The opposition however remained sceptical about prospects for
processing uranium.

            Joel Gabbuza, energy secretary in the main opposition Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC), said the statements were "wishful thinking".

            "It is very difficult to build a power plant based on uranium. I
don't think we have the capacity to do it. That's just wishful thinking,"
Gabbuza said.

            He however expressed fears that Zimbabwe could be used "as
conduit of nuclear arms" although he did not provide details.

            The head of the geological survey department, Temba Hawadi, said
uranium was discovered in Zimbabwe in the early 1980s by a German firm, but
that plans to extract the mineral were shelved because uranium prices were

            Hawadi said three Australian firms, in partnership with local
companies, are interested in uranium mining in the northeastern tip of
Zimbabwe bordering Zambia and Mozambique.

            "The demand for the peaceful use of uranium has gone up in
recent years and there are applications that are being processed," said
Hawadi. - Sapa-AFP

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Zambia cashes in on bonanza from Victoria Falls

Zim Observer

      by STAFF EDITORS (11/20/2005)

 A rainbow arcs towards the horizon, just above a sign saying "Welcome to
Zimbabwe." The colourful spectacle happens when sunlight is refracted
through the mist thrown up by Victoria Falls, which straddle the country's
border with Zambia.

Zimbabwe has the best views of the falls, which are about 100 metres high
and known locally as mosi-o-tunya ("the smoke that thunders"). Visitors can
paraglide over the falls, take tea at the colonial-era Victoria Falls hotel,
or bungee-jump from a 100-year-old bridge spanning the Zambezi River.

But an increasing number of foreign visitors is choosing to view the falls
from Livingstone, Zambia. Like Zambia's broader economy, the town is
profiting from the economic and political crisis afflicting Zimbabwe.

On a recent weekend, several dozen foreign tourists crowded into Zambia's
Mosi-o-Tunya National Park to view the falls, which have been reduced to a
trickle on its eastern cataract by southern Africa's severe drought.

In less than five years several new hotels and tour operators offering river
cruises or game drives have sprung up in Livingstone, transforming it from a
provincial backwater into a growing tourist hub. "Five years ago you could
stand on Mosi-o-Tunya road and see only one car in half an hour," says
Misozi Tembo, a local spokeswoman for Sun International, which in 2001
opened two hotels in Livingstone. "Now it's difficult to cross it."

A shopping mall and two new hotels are under construction and the town's
tiny airport will be refurbished by the end of the year to allow 747s and
other big aircraft to land, according to Ng'andu Magande, Zambia's finance

"Three quarters of the falls are in Zambia," says Mr Magande. He says
French, South African and US hotel groups have also expressed interest in
building hotels in Livingstone, named after David Livingstone, the Scottish
missionary and explorer who sighted the falls 150 years ago.

Zimbabwean farmers, driven abroad by President Robert Mugabe's seizure of
commercial farms, have also flocked to Zambia, alongside other neighbouring
countries. The migrants have brought capital and intensive methods rare in
Zambian agriculture and caused the country's tobacco production to more than
double in two years to 45m kilograms.

"The impact they have made on tobacco farming in less than two years has
been tremendous," says Dipak Patel, Zambia's minister of commerce, trade and

Precise figures are not available on how many Zimbabwean farmers, many of
whom leased rather than bought land, are now in Zambia. Peter MacSporren, a
Zimbabwean farming expert now living in Zambia, puts the number at about
200, about half of whom he says produce tobacco.

Graham Rae, a white commercial farmer, moved to Zambia in November 2001
after his farm in Shamva, Zimbabwe was seized. He cultivates seed maize,
tobacco, soya beans, wheat and commercial maize on a 9.7 hectare
(24,000-acre) property near Lusaka. Mr Rae says that he and Mr MacSporren,
his business partner, looked at Mozambique, Malawi and South Africa before
settling on Zambia, which had the most potential.

Many Zimbabwean farmers have struggled to make money in Zambia where
long-term finance and skilled workers are in shorter supply than in their
homeland. Like local smallholders, many have been hurt by the drought, which
the government says has left 1.7m Zambians facing food shortages.

The white migrants, after their eviction from Zimbabwe, have also made it
clear that they are in Zambia only to farm. Zambian officials appear to be
largely pleased with their presence. "We're creating jobs and generating
foreign exchange, so we're happy with it," says Mr Patel.

Zambia, called Northern Rhodesia under British rule, was joined in a
federation with Zimbabwe until its independence in 1964. In the 1970s and
1980s it weathered a long period of economic stagnation during which
Zambians took shopping trips to their richer southern neighbour.

The tables are now turned, with Zimbabwe's economy contracting and demand
for copper, Zambia's main export, fuelling gross domestic product growth of
4 to 6 per cent. Zimbabweans come to Zambia to sell small goods for kwachas,
a harder currency than deflated Zimbabwean dollars. Moses, a Zimbabwean
trader, crossed the bridge on a trip to Victoria Falls from Livingstone,
where he delivered an order of souvenir T-shirts. While he had started his
business in Zimbabwe, he now does most of his business in Zambia or

Source: FT

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Aids virus spreads to 40 million people, but still governments understate the pandemic

· Five million more people infected last year, says UN
· Asia singled out as being particularly at risk

Sarah Boseley and Randeep Ramesh in New Delhi
Tuesday November 22, 2005
The Guardian

The HIV/Aids pandemic is continuing its deadly spread across the globe,
infecting five million more people last year and bringing the total living
with the virus to over 40 million, the UN said yesterday.
UNAids, in its latest update on the figures, tried to lighten the gloom by
pointing to Kenya, Zimbabwe and some of the Caribbean countries, where there
is some limited evidence that infection rates may be dropping slightly. But
in the worst-hit regions, notably sub-Saharan Africa, the trend is steadily
upwards and in India there are suggestions that the scale of infection could
be worse than the official figures imply.

Article continues



Peter Piot, executive director of UNAids, said it was encouraging that
prevention efforts had led to gains in some countries. "But the reality is
that the Aids epidemic continues to outstrip global and national efforts to
contain it."
At a press conference in Delhi, he said Asia, which contains half of
humanity, was particularly at risk. China and Burma, which he said had the
worst epidemics in Asia, were slow to acknowledge the scale of the problem.
"In the world's most populous nation, China, the overwhelming majority of
the population does not know how the virus is transmitted."

India, which has officially 5.1 million people living with HIV - a number
not far behind South Africa's - announced earlier this year that new
infections had fallen dramatically to 28,000 in 2004 from 520,000 in 2003,
sparking disbelief among voluntary groups.

Dr Piot said he had two concerns with India's data. One was that most of the
sampling was done in rural areas when most of the affected population was in
cities. The second was that in some states the surveillance of the disease
was of "poor quality". "It does not make sense that migrants from a poor
state like Bihar who live in Mumbai do not then infect their wives when they
come home. Something is missing."

The UNAids report called for new efforts to prevent people from becoming
infected, provoking protests from some activists who fear a slackening in
the world's efforts to get drugs to all those who need them. Only one
million are so far on the drugs, while six million will soon die without
them. Three million people died of Aids last year.

The World Health Organisation, which set a target of three million on
treatment by the end of this year, stressed that treatment is now essential
to prevention work, because people will not be tested for HIV and therefore
will not change their behaviour unless drugs are available. "We can now see
the clear benefit of scaling up HIV treatment and prevention together and
not as isolated interventions," said the WHO director general, Lee

However, Dr Piot said the emphasis on prevention after a few years of
vociferous campaigning for drugs was deliberate because the balance had
tipped too far the other way. "We're very concerned that prevention has
slipped off the agenda," he said. "From the developed to the developing
countries, whether you look at funding or intensity of programmes, most
attention is going to treatment. In the long run, that is really bad." He
called for "a rapid increase in the scale and scope of HIV prevention

But the report shows that while projects with commercial sex workers in
Thailand and India and drug users in Spain and Brazil have borne some fruit,
the most intractable problems are in sub-Saharan Africa, where 77% of those
infected are women. Their social status is very low, they have few rights
and they are unable to negotiate with men for safe sex.

Some programmes to try to improve the standing of women have been started in
Africa, said Purnima Mane, director of policy, evidence and partnerships at
UNAIDS. "It saddens me to say that the results are very, very small scale. I
often worry whether they will remain sustained because the prevalent norms
are so much against gender equality."

In Kenya, Zimbabwe and Uganda, HIV prevalence rates, measured among pregnant
women at antenatal clinics, have dropped, which is being attributed partly
to changes in sexual behaviour, with the greater use of condoms, but also to
increases in death rates.

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Police Chief Campaigns For Zanu PF

Zim Daily

            Tuesday, November 22 2005 @ 12:05 AM CST
            Contributed by: correspondent
            POLICE Commissioner Augustine Chihuri has embarked on a campaign
tour for Zanu PF and is ordering his subordinates to vote for the ruling
party in the forthcoming senate election, zimdaily heard this week.
According to police sources, Chihuri's whirlwind tour has taken him to the
country's provinces. Although police spokesman, Assistant Commissioner Wayne
Bvudzijena, said Chihuri's tour was not for campaign purposes, but for
appraising officers on the political situation in the country, those who
attended the meetings insist the commissioner was campaigning for Zanu PF.

            They said Chihuri's trump card in his current campaign is the
promise of a recent 155% pay hike for officers in January, and the on-going
land redistribution exercise which has seen members of the uniformed forces
receiving preferential treatment in the allocation of plots.

            Chihuri, who violated the Police Act in 2000 when he publicly
declared his loyalty to Zanu PF, has already toured Manicaland, Mashonaland
West and Mashonaland Central. Last week, he addressed police officers at
Morris Depot and Harare Central. He is to cover the remaining provinces
before the senate poll scheduled for November 26. Said one police officer
from Manicaland: "Chihuri reminded us promised us pay increases and said we
should thank the government for addressing our plight.

            He then castigated the MDC, saying it was sponsored by whites
and we should never vote for it." According to another source, the
commissioner, "who spoke like a true politician", chronicled the events of
the liberation struggle giving reasons why he thought government was right
to grab land from the whites. He also allegedly threatened to deal with
those officers aligned to the MDC.

            "Basically, the message was mari tichakupai ende nyika haisi
kuzotorwa (we will give you money and the ruling party will retain power),"
said the officer. Dismissing the allegations, Bvudzijena said : "That is a
gross misrepresentation. We are trying to realign police officers to the
objectives of the organisation. We want police officers to understand the
political climate in the country and how they should deal with political
violence which is an area of concern to us and we need our officers to
emphatically deal with it.

            "We were not only looking at crime but administrative issues as
well, including finances. But some people have misconstrued our actions as
campaigning," said Bvudzijena. Said one officer in response to Bvudzijena's
denials: "They could never buy us with money, nor with Chihuri's cheap
politics. Like everyone else, we are suffering because of the current
corrupt government and we definitely won't be bought by Mugabe's 30 pieces
of silver." A constable within the force described as "peanuts" the 155%
salary increment promised.

            "It is worthless. Just look at today's cost of living," he said.
Chihuri's campaign trail follows a statement released by the commander of
the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, General Constantine Chiwenga on behalf of the
Joint Operations Command, that uniformed forces would not respect any
election results if Zanu PF lost. Members of the Joint Operations Command
include Chihuri himself, Air Marshal Perrence Shiri, Gen Chiwenga and the
heads of the intelligence and prison services. Just before the March
parliamentary elections, Chiwenga undertook a similar tour, ordering
soldiers to vote for the Zanu PF candidates in the the general election
which was won by Zanu PF.

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Mugabe's nephew threatens police

New Zimbabwe

By Lebo Nkatazo
Last updated: 11/22/2005 13:18:19
ZIMBABWEAN police are failing to enforce an arrest warrant against 31
supporters of the ruling Zanu PF party following a telephone threat by
President Robert Mugabe's nephew and MP, Patrick Zhuwawo.

Zhuwawo is blocking the arrest of the 31 youths who were part of his
campaign team following a warrant of arrest issued against them last

Police officers at Norton police station alleged that Zhuwawo, who is the
area's Member of Parliament called the police station last Friday and
ordered that the youths should not be "touched".

"Zhuwawo said the youths must not be arrested until further instruction. I
think they (Zanu PF youths) know that this is the state of affairs as they
are roaming the suburb without any fear of arrest," said a police officer at
the station.

Zhuwawo, who is said to be more close to his uncle, Mugabe, than his brother
Leo, is the Deputy Minister of Science and Technology.

A Harare magistrate issued the warrant of arrest against the youths when
they failed to appear in court.

The 31, who have been on free bail since February, face violence charges.

The youths were nabbed a day after they allegedly overran a police post in
Norton in a bid to rescue a colleague who had been arrested on charges of
engaging in and inciting political violence.

Prosecutors say the youths went on a hunt for MDC in the Norton area. When
their hunt yielded nothing, they indiscriminately attacked anyone perceived
to be an MDC supporter.

President Robert Mugabe nephew defeated the MDC's Hilda Mafudze in polls
that the opposition party said were characterized by violence.

No comment could be obtained from Zhuwawo last night.

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The Bhundu Boys: Lost Boys

New Zimbabwe

In 1987, the Bhundu Boys played at Wembley. Today, the band's members are
either dead, in jail or broke. The legendary guitarist Rise Kagona (works in
a Scottish charity shop) and the wife of late frontman Biggie Tembo (toilet
cleaner) reveal how it all went so horribly wrong

By Robert Chalmers
Last updated: 11/22/2005 13:16:22
I HAVE to wait 10 minutes before my interviewee appears: not an uncommon
experience when you're dealing with people connected to show business,
though in this case it's because my subject has to finish cleaning the
ladies' toilets.
Ratidzai Tembo finally joins me at a table in the Octopus, the dim,
cavernous beer-hall where she works near Mbare, one of the more intimidating
townships close to Harare. I'd first driven to her home, a broken-down shack
she shares with two of her children, and her mother. The poverty in Mbare is
shocking even by the standards of Zimbabwe, the country that recently
finished bottom of the Economist magazine's world index for quality of life.

Ratidzai and her family live in two cramped rooms without electricity, in a
property that even the most creative estate agent could not avoid describing
as a hovel. Her family explained that she was already at work, and gave me
directions to the Octopus, which is what Zimbabweans euphemistically call a
"nightclub". Her boss, understandably alarmed by the arrival of a British
journalist, given the climate of paranoia and menace generated by Robert
Mugabe's Zanu PF government, finally agrees to let us speak alone.

"Were you at those Wembley Stadium shows? Did you meet Madonna?" I ask

She shakes her head.

"No. I went to many shows in England, but not those."

She pauses.

"When you mention Madonna... all that seems like another life. There have
been times since then when I have had to sell my clothes so that the
children could have food."

Ratidzai is the widow of Biggie Tembo, singer and guitarist with the Bhundu
Boys, the band John Peel (former BBC Radio DJ) famously described as
producing the most naturally flowing music he'd ever heard in his life. Andy
Kershaw was best man at her marriage. Tembo won a Sony Award for a superb
Radio 1 documentary that he co-presented with Kershaw, hosted a special for
Channel 4, and appeared on Blue Peter. The Bhundu Boys were lauded by Eric
Clapton and Mark Knopfler as well as Madonna, who personally requested that
the band support her for the three nights she played, to a total of 240,000
people, at Wembley in 1987. Elvis Costello, another admirer, briefly acted
as their producer. At the height of his success in the late 1980s, Biggie
Tembo, one of the most convivial and engaging men I have ever met, lived
with Ratidzai in a bungalow with a swimming pool, in an affluent suburb of

Almost 10 years ago, Biggie, distraught at having left the Bhundu Boys in
acrimonious circumstances, was found hanged in Harare's psychiatric
hospital. He was 37.

"He died on July 29, 1995," Ratidzai tells me. "You can see the hospital
from here." She points to a forbidding concrete building across the yard of
the beer hall, where a few clients are passing around a blue plastic bucket
filled with chibuku - a challenging but affordable beverage whose
unforgettable bouquet is produced by ingredients including yeast, gruel and,
in some cases, battery acid.

I tell her how I had lunch with Tembo, Kershaw and John Peel in London, nine
months before the Zimbabwean died. Biggie's once irrepressible manner had
become subdued. There was a disconcerting intensity about him. He talked
about giving up music and becoming a comedian or a preacher.

"All of that started after he was separated from the group," Ratidzai says.
"He suffered terrible stress. He began to drink whisky - lots of it,
straight from the bottle. He said it would help him sleep, but it didn't. He
couldn't sleep. He was up for days. He started to behave strangely. One day
we were watching TV - this was towards the end, when we still had a place in
England, a flat in Bristol. He kept saying he could smell burning; that
something was on fire in the house. He was pacing around, looking for smoke,
even though nothing was alight."

They returned to Zimbabwe permanently at the end of 1994. Barclays Bank
repossessed the bungalow. "Then he was kept in the mental hospital here for
several months."

"How did he kill himself?"

"They told me that he broke free from his straitjacket and hanged himself in
his room."

For the past year, Ratidzai has worked here at the Octopus, as a waitress
and cleaner. She earns $50,000 Zimbabwean dollars - around £4.60 - a week.

A handsomely packaged special edition of the Bhundu Boys' first two albums
was released in July 2001, under the title The Shed Sessions, to
considerable acclaim. The website run by Stern's, the London-based World
Music specialists, shows that the double CD, priced at £12.95, remained in
its Top 25 for 13 months, and at one stage reached Number Two. The Shed
Sessions is available from Amazon's sites in the UK, the US and Japan.
Tembo's widow says she has received none of the royalties due to her

"Do you ever hear the Bhundu Boys on the radio?" I ask.

"Sometimes. That is painful. I turn it off. It upsets me. Where I am living
now, the only heating is firewood or paraffin, and we cannot always afford
them. My life," she adds, "has become a nightmare."

At the height of their fame in the mid-1980s, the group were signed to
Warners (WEA). They toured North America, Australia and Hong Kong,
chauffeured to venues from luxury hotels. They owned a large house in
London. Their manager says the advances the five band members received - not
including fees from their heavy tour schedule - totalled around £120,000.

To call the Bhundu Boys one of the greatest African bands of all time is to
demean their achievement; their unique talent never required a geographical

"I first heard them when they put out an EP in the autumn of 1985," Andy
Kershaw recalls. "Peel and I were in the office at Radio 1. We sat staring
at each other, thinking this recording was absolutely wonderful. It was the
dazzling quality of the music, the harmonies, the sparkling guitar playing.
The Bhundu Boys were simply one of the greatest pop groups I have ever

The following spring, Kershaw adds, he and Peel went to see the group in

"I realised after a few minutes that I had this enormous grin on my face. I
was surrounded by kids of college age. They were all grinning too. I turned
to look at John, and - Peel being Peel - he was weeping. The tears were just
running down his face. It really was a revelatory moment. We introduced
ourselves to the band. I immediately hit it off with Biggie, who was an
ideal frontman; a superb communicator with a wonderful sense of humour and
full of enthusiasm for everything. The band played like they were having the
time of their lives. They played like that because they were."

No single story is so chillingly symbolic of Zimbabwe's decline as the
tragic history of the Bhundu Boys. Their formation, in April 1980, coincided
with the country's declaration of independence. "Bhundu Boys" were
anti-colonialist bush commandos, and the band embodied the exuberant
optimism engendered by liberation from British rule.

The group were fêted by Robert Mugabe in the days when he was acclaimed by
many - including senior British politicians - as a positive influence. But
the band angered Zanu PF when they played benefits to raise awareness of
Aids, a disease which, until recently, Mugabe refused to acknowledge as a
problem in Zimbabwe, where an estimated 40 per cent of the population (and
up to 80 per cent of the military) are HIV positive.

Former Bhundu Boys Shakie Kangwena, David Mankaba and Sheperd Munyama are
"late", as Zimbabweans put it, all from Aids. Another, Washington Kavhai, is
in jail in the UK, in Preston, serving seven years for violent assault.
Kenny Chitsvatsva, the drummer, was last heard of driving a minicab in

As I leave the beer hall in Mbare, Ratidzai Tembo's last words to me are:
"Please help me."

Biggie Tembo was born Rodwell Marasha in Chinhoyi, 70 miles northwest of
Harare. The town is famous for having seen the first skirmish between the
Zimbabwean Liberation Army and Ian Smith's Rhodesian Security Forces - a
clash which launched the conflict that eventually led to independence. As a
boy, Tembo was involved in the armed struggle as a messenger and lookout,
and he liked to address friends, Peel and Kershaw included, as "Comrade".

He came to Harare in the late 1970s and was recruited to the Bhundu Boys by
their founder, the inspirational guitarist Rise Kagona. The group were
playing in township beer-halls when they were spotted by Steve Roskilly, a
former Mayfair property developer, who began recording them at his studio in
the capital. With Roskilly, they had four Number One singles in three years
in Zimbabwe.

The odd circumstances which brought the band international fame began in the
mid-1980s at a squat in a disused hospital at Earl's Court, London, where
Owen Elias, a student at Chelsea College of Art, met Doug Veitch, a maverick
Scottish guitarist whose supplementary sources of income included driving
tube trains and cleaning windows. Using the £2,000 then gifted to new
businesses under the Enterprise Allowance Scheme, they formed a label,
Discafrique, and left for Harare to look for artists. There, Roskilly played
them the songs they issued on the EP that would captivate Peel and Kershaw.

It was when Elias and Veitch decided to bring the band to the UK in 1986
that things became increasingly surreal. Unable to fund a tour, they turned
to Gordon Muir, a designer of knitwear brochures who grew up with Veitch in
the border town of Hawick. Muir provided the cash and was soon sole manager
of the band. (Elias now makes wine in Kent; Veitch is in Lanarkshire,
completing a PhD in woodland management.)

Muir got the band bookings on the lucrative student circuit, from which
base, with the support of DJs such as Peel, Kershaw and Charlie Gillett,
they built a national following.

When I return to London from Zimbabwe, I find a number for Muir, who now
lives in Kirkliston, a village outside Edinburgh.

Could I talk to him?

"I'll have to think about that," he replies.

"What happened to Rise Kagona," I ask. "Is he alive?"

"Rise lives here," he says, "in Kirkliston."

A couple of days later, on the train to Scotland, I find myself pondering a
number of questions. How can a guitarist of Kagona's ability be living in
such obscure circumstances? What made Tembo kill himself? Why is his widow
receiving no royalties?

I sit down with Kagona and Muir in the living room of the Scot's isolated
cottage. The guitarist lodges with a philanthropic neighbour on an adjoining
farm. To keep himself occupied, Kagona - this is a musician who, apart from
Clapton et al, was revered by the late Joe Strummer - does ironing at the
local charity shop. His clothes and his manner attest to this proud but
gentle man's minimal sources of income. Whenever possible, he travels into
Edinburgh to play with local bands.

"But the last bus for our township - I mean village - leaves Edinburgh about
11pm, so if I miss it, I have to sit in the railway station to keep warm,"
Kagona explains. "The first bus is at 7am. But I am a musician. I have to

A few years ago, he invested his savings into a farm outside Harare.

"When I arrived there with some relatives, a gang of youths - those who call
themselves 'comrades' - were waiting. They said: 'Show us your Zanu PF
Cards.' We didn't have any. We showed them the deeds. They said: 'Show us
Zanu PF cards or you have five minutes to get out before we kill you.' I
decided land was not worth dying for."

Kagona has been working on a new album with Muir, which the Scotsman hopes
to finish by May and issue under the name of the Bhundu Boys. The tracks
they have recorded are, in Muir's words, "basically grooves". Sung in
English, not Shona, they are some way removed from the sound that
established the band's reputation.

Muir, a slim, intensely-focussed, grey-haired man of 44, recalls how he and
Doug Veitch took a battered van to meet the band when they landed in London
in May 1986.

"Doug had no soles on his shoes," says Kagona. "We thought they must be
henchmen for the people with money." He was mistaken.

The group arrived with no instruments.

"They were determined to acquire their own gear," Muir says. "With the
monies per gig, this was not realisable. I got into a hire purchase

For a year, the Bhundu Boys lived with the Scotsman and his partner Anne in
Hawick. After overseeing the band's success with Shabini and Tsvimbodzemoto,
their first two albums on Discafrique, Muir brokered the deal with WEA.

"That is one thing I will blow my own trumpet on," he says. "The deals we
got have been unsurpassed by any world music act. WEA must deeply regret
that they ever came into contact with us."

"How much did you get?"

"From Blue Mountain [the publishing company] about £50,000 to £60,000 in
advances. From Warners, about the same."

Income, Muir says, was split equally between himself and each of the band
members. "There were a lot of expenses," he says. "We sank large amounts
into purchasing a PA and studio equipment. We were all taking a reasonable
salary; about £300 a week."

As is often the case in the music business, it was when the major label
became involved that things went badly wrong. Muir's boldness and initiative
as a manager have never been in question. At the time of Nelson Mandela's
70th birthday concert at Wembley in 1988 - a bill with a disappointing ratio
of black artists - the Bhundu Boys organised a rival event in Brixton, where
Mark Knopfler sportingly appeared as "The Token Honky".

But once at WEA - instead of Roskilly, who had captured their elegant
simplicity on their early records - the band hired Robin Millar, the
producer of singer Sade. True Jit, the first of two albums for WEA,
introduced an anodyne, westernised sound that horrified some of their core

"We came from a poor background," says Kagona. "We toured the US. We met Ray
Charles. We played Central Park with Eddie Murphy. Limousines took us
everywhere. We rode along with our heads sticking out of the roof. One time
in New York the limousine arrived and Biggie wouldn't join us."

"Why not?"

"He felt such behaviour was not correct. I told him that the record company
had arranged the car, and if we went by bus we wouldn't get the money back.
Biggie used to say that we were enjoying too rich a life, while our brothers
and sisters were suffering back home in Zimbabwe. I understand what he
meant. But I told him look, enjoy it while you can. Because these things go
away, and once they have gone you will never get them back again."

Kagona's instinct was prophetic.

Together, the band, which was registered as a limited company, bought a
large house in Kensal Green, north-west London, where they lived for 18
months or so.

As the Bhundu Boys' reputation grew, Tembo's behaviour, according to Muir,
became unpredictable. He says Tembo got to thinking he was bigger than the
band. He gives me details of the singers' affairs with a number of women. He
says that when Biggie left the band, in 1989, his last words were: "I quit.
Fuck the lot of you." Kagona agrees that Tembo walked out. Not long
afterwards, Muir adds, Biggie attacked him.

"He beat the shit out of me. I have pictures."

Tembo, for his part, told Kershaw and others the group had become envious of
his individual popularity, and sacked him. Nobody disputes that Tembo could
be extremely difficult, or that, subsequent to his departure, he pleaded to
rejoin the Bhundu Boys, but was rejected.

"Now I don't know who my enemies are," Tembo had sung, in an improvised
lyric on the second WEA album, Pamberi. "It was better when I knew."

"Tembo was fired from the Bhundu Boys and he found that rejection very
difficult to deal with," one friend told me. "At almost the same time, he
discovered that the man who brought him up as his son, in Chinhoyi, was not
his natural father. The two things knocked him sideways. I went to see him
in the mental hospital in Chinhoyi. He said: 'I cannot deal with this. These
things have been such a shock.' In career terms, he had been promised the
earth. To have begun to achieve, then to have everything snatched away from
him, was just too much."

With Tembo out of the band, the Bhundu Boys' fortunes waned rapidly. The
group's prize asset had always been a more complex man than his ever-smiling
stage persona suggested and his departure exacerbated a pattern of aberrant
behaviour. Kershaw says that Tembo would come round to his house and begin
weeping for no apparent reason, then start talking about how much he missed
the band, and about his confusion over the identity of his father.

"It was very important for him to know where his father's ancestors were,"
says Kagona. "In Africa, your father is the central figure in your life.
Biggie became obsessed with contacting his ancestors. He would lock himself
in his room and make these strange noises." Kagona demonstrates the sound, a
sustained rattle similar to a Spanish "r".

"He would do these rituals, praying to spirits, taking snuff, and making
that rrrrrr noise. He believed he had drawn evil spirits to him. He had no
idea where his real father was. Those rituals took him somewhere else. They
took him to a bad place. He ended up mad."

Tembo divided his time between the UK and Zimbabwe, where he joined a
fundamentalist church generally regarded as a cult, and took to preaching
and speaking in tongues on public transport. Once, he went on Zimbabwean
television and confessed that demons possessed him.

In Britain, he embarked on a series of unsuccessful solo ventures,
collaborating with a Bristol band called the Startled Insects, occasionally
performing stand-up to a bewildered public.

"The audience was polite," says Kershaw, who saw one 1993 comedy show at
Ronnie Scott's, "but frankly it was painful to watch."

"What happened to the money from the London house?" I ask Muir.

"We bought that as a company. The house was mortgaged."

"So the profits were divided among the band, once it was sold?"

"What happened was," Muir says, "I bought the house off the band four or
five years after we first purchased it. I was owed money I hadn't taken out
of the company." He sold the property "a couple of years later," he
explains, "for virtually the same price. We paid £93,000 in 1987 and sold it
in 1993 for £98,000".

I'd anticipated being able to verify these and other figures relating to the
band's assets, but records at Companies' House show that Bhundu Boys Ltd,
first registered under that name in May 1987, never submitted any annual
accounts. An order for the company's compulsory liquidation was made in 1990
and it was then officially disolved in 1995. (When asked why the figures
aren't at Companies' House, Muir says he "hasn't a clue".)

The recent reissue, The Shed Sessions, was put out on Sadza, Muir's label.
Is Ratidzai Tembo receiving royalties?

"Through the producer Steve Roskilly, yeah," says Muir. "This is something
you seem keen to talk about."

"That's because Ratidzai is not getting anything."

"I account directly to Roskilly."

One of the most bizarre aspects of Kagona's current situation is that he is
currently recording not only with Muir, but with Doug Veitch. Veitch, now
45, is a gifted songwriter who enjoyed a brief but inspired solo career in
the 1980s as Champion Doug Veitch, the world's greatest exponent of
Caledonian-Cajun-Dub crossover, before vigorous socialising brought him to
the point of physical collapse.

In the course of writing this article, I get a message from Veitch asking me
to return to Edinburgh, where I find him with Kagona in a recording studio.
Veitch plays me the demos that he has made with Kagona. They are inventive
and unfussy, sung in Shona, and echo the vibrant, melodic spirit of the
original Bhundu Boys recordings.

Muir had told me that, though he's had differences with Doug Veitch, the
forestry expert is "basically still my best friend". Veitch, who could not
be accused of being reticent on any subject, describes Muir in terms which
are unrepeatable in a family newspaper.

At this, our second meeting, Kagona, a naturally introverted man, is in
reflective mood. The deaths of so many colleagues, he tells me, combined
with the implosion of his career, have been almost impossible to bear.

"I find myself asking, why me?" Kagona says. "Why am I still alive? I feel
as if I have never existed," he adds. "I feel as though my life never

When so many contemporaries began to be diagnosed with Aids, he explains,
"It got so that, as a musician from Zimbabwe, if you even had a headache,
you didn't tell anybody."

Kagona was born in Malawi but has a former wife and three children in
Zimbabwe. When I was in Harare, I tell him, I had a meeting with Mugabe's
Minister of Information, Nathan Shamuyarira, who told me he did not regard
the Bhundu Boys as a political issue. (Shamuyarira, one of the closest
confidants of the President, is preparing a biography of Robert Mugabe,
which is not expected to be over-critical in tone.) But the musician remains
uneasy about returning to Harare, especially if - or rather when - Mugabe
wins re-election on the 31st of this month.

When I ask him if he has any regrets, Kagona mentions the purchase of the
London house, a transaction that has left him dissatisfied and confused.

"I never wanted a house in England," he explains. "None of us had a house
back home. I would have preferred to buy somewhere in Zimbabwe. When we
signed to WEA, Gordon got this idea about buying a house." Kagona
acknowledges that he eventually bowed to a democratic vote in the band.

"What I got from that house, when it was sold, was for the sale of my bed
and my linen. They were sold separately, to a second-hand shop. I got £5 for
them. I am not lying."

The band's debts to him, Muir adds,"were worked out to the last £10."

Where business dealings are concerned, Kagona says, "all these years I have
stood in darkness. It has been like a fog. Deals were signed in offices but
we have been left with nothing."

As regards Tembo's incrementally expanding ego, Kagona says, "Gordon
encouraged Biggie in that belief. He built expectations in his brain."

Muir denies any suggestion of impropriety where the distribution of income
is concerned. "Were we naïve? Yes. But I don't want to stray into territory
that suggests we are exploiting Biggie's widow. All the money was
distributed among the band or sunk into equipment. The monies that would be
going to Biggie's widow would be generated by sales of The Shed Sessions. I
pay the money directly to Steve Roskilly, who passes that on to her, as far
as I am aware."

While I was in Harare, I'd driven out to Roskilly's house in Borrowdale, a
rich suburb where the residual white population exist on estates protected
by dogs and razor wire. A caretaker appeared at Roskilly's electric gate and
gave me a number for him. "He is in Cheltenham," he said, "and he's not
coming back."

A journey that had began in Mbare ends at Cheltenham Racecourse. Roskilly,
who now runs a stage-equipment company, meets me at the venue's conference
arena, where he is supervising a lighting rig. On stage, Olympic Bronze
Medallist horsewoman Pippa Funnell is rehearsing a speech she will make that

Roskilly, 57, has brought a file of balance sheets relating to the Bhundu
Boys. He comes across as a well-meaning man doing his best to peer into what
Kagona perceives as the fog surrounding the band's affairs. He says he
recalls a conversation with Muir in which it was agreed that the Scot, not
Roskilly, should pass on the money to Ratidzai. After looking through his
papers, though, he concedes that the responsibility appears to be his, and
that the money has not been paid to Tembo's widow, though he is not yet
clear as to whether he has received all of what is due to her from Muir.
We're not talking about huge sums, Roskilly points out - a few hundred
pounds, at most.

"That's a lot of money in Mbare."

Roskilly agrees.

"I am taken aback by this," he says, looking sincerely mortified. "I need to
call Muir and sort this out."

The story of Tembo, Roskilly says, "was a disaster from start to finish. He
didn't resign. He was fired. And he couldn't take that. Tembo was the one
who came up with the special songs. Tembo had the personality. The others
couldn't deal with the attention he was getting. It's true that he was a
volatile man. But the band made a terrible mistake when they fired him.
Neither Tembo, or they, ever recovered."

The sad thing, Kagona, had told me, "is that, for all the cities we visited,
and all the friends, and all the music that we made, the Bhundu Boys are
mostly remembered for dying of Aids."

In May this year, Kagona embarked on a six-date tour of the UK with Doug
Veitch, and the Bhundu Boys guitarist is getting back in contact with people
in the mainstream of the broadcasting world, including Radio 3's Andy

"Observing the music business," Kershaw tells me, "there are certain things
that you learn - if not to accept - then at least to understand. But there
are two things I will never understand. One is how Rise Kagona can be
working in a charity shop on the outskirts of Edinburgh. The other is how
the widow of my best friend has ended up cleaning toilets at a beer hall in

'The Shed Sessions' CD is available from This article
was originally published in the Independent (UK) newspaper

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3 million face food shortages

Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Paidamoyo Chipunza
issue date :2005-Nov-22

ABOUT three million Zimbabweans (or about 36 percent of the rural populace),
will not be able to meet their food requirements during the 2005-6 marketing
period owing to prolonged dry spells and the general socio-economic
challenges the country is facing.

According to a report prepared by the Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment
Committee (ZimVAC) in collaboration with government ministries, United
Nations arms and non-governmental organisations, at least 225 455 metric
tonnes of maize would be required to meet household deficits for the
affected areas.
The document, dubbed Zimbabwe Rural Food Security and Vulnerability
Assessments - June 2005 Report, was officially launched in Harare last week
by the Minister of Labour, Public Service and Social Welfare, Nicholas
The report predicted that about 549 877 people in Masvingo province and
approximately 529 983 citizens in Manicaland province would face food
insecurity during the period under spotlight.
Read part of the fifth report of food insecurity in Zimbabwe: "Households
with diverse income sources were found to be more food secure than those
with few livelihood options."
It stated that families faced with food insecurity had already engaged in
negative coping mechanisms, such as reducing the number of daily meals by 62
percent, expenditure on education (41 percent) and health (36 percent)
because of the astronomical costs of medical treatment and agricultural
inputs (35 percent).
"The major challenges identified by communities in order of severity were:
drought, price increases, shortage of draught power, sanitation, lack of
safe water and livestock diseases," read the report.
The report cited households with orphans, single parent female-headed
families, a house led by a person with very little education or a widow,
elderly, as being among  food-insecure households.
It recommended that the government should ensure efficient distribution of
food so that the number of food-insecure people would not increase from the
projected 2,9 million people.
"Special intervention programmes such as public works programmes (PWP),
targeted cash transfers, child supplementary feeding and school feeding
programmes need to be continued and expanded to cover the needs of the
vulnerable," says the report. "Food assistance targeted at the elderly,
chronically ill as well as home-based care programmes should also be
To address school dropouts due to food shortages as a result of reduced
spending on education, the government was urged to ensure that the Basic
Education Assistance Module (BEAM) programme be conducted at the beginning
of every term instead of at the beginning of the year, to cater for children
who dropout mid-year.
"Of all those children not in school, 29 percent were aged 6-12 years, 71
percent were aged 13-17 years. The highest number of those not in school
were orphans," reads the report.
"Twenty-five percent of the children aged 0-17 years were orphans. Of these,
14 percent were paternal orphans, 4 percent maternal orphans and 7 percent
had lost both parents."
Apart from food shortages, the report also addressed a broad range of
issues, among them agriculture, health and child welfare.
The vulnerability assessments, which are done annually by all countries in
the Sadc region, were
 born out of a declaration by the Sadc Ministers of Agriculture in August
2001 and they have become an important tool for provision of information for
planning and decision-making.
The broad objective of the Zimbabwe assessment was to appraise the rural
food security situation throughout the country and to identify areas and
populations likely to be food-insecure in the 2005-6 period.
The assessment is also intended to explore rural livelihoods in order to
determine short and medium-term needs and opportunities for sustainable
ZimVAC is made up of the Food and Nutrition Council (FNC), SIRDC Institutes
and Ministries of Agriculture, Water Resources and Infrastructural
Development, Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare, Health and Child
Welfare, Local Government, Public Works and Urban Planning.
Other organisations include United Nations agencies and non-governmental
organisations (NGOs).

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Gambura resigned from security company: Chinotimba

Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2005-Nov-22

CONTROVERSIAL war veteran Joseph Chinotimba has denied claims by a Harare
businessman-cum-war veteran, Shepherd Gambura that they jointly own a
security firm.
Chinotimba said Gambura, who is seeking the dissolution of an alleged
partnership in the firm, Edlan Security (Pvt) Ltd, and re-appointment as
sole owner, had since resigned from the security company.
In court papers filed on November 16, in which Gambura is the plaintiff and
Chinotimba and the security firm are first and second defendants, the
bearded war veterans commander said: "This is denied in its entirety. First
defendant became a director of the company upon resignation by the plaintiff
from the company.
"The CR14 as amended reflected the new directorship. First defendant and his
son became the directors."
Chinotimba also denied that the security firm's firearms are registered in
Gambura's name saying as a legal requirement, Edlan's assets were all
registered in its name.
He said Gambura only came back to the security firm to do consultancy work
until the defendants dispensed with his services.
On Gambura's allegations that he was running the company without consulting
him, Chinotimba said there was no need,
as the former had no interest in the company.
"This is denied. There was no partnership between the plaintiff and First
defendant, secondly, Second defendant is a limited liability company with
its own assets," he added.
Apart from seeking to be declared sole company owner, Gambura also wants the
court to order the auditing of the
firm's books by reputable chartered accountants.
He is further demanding payment of half the firm's profits to him within
seven days.
Gambura, in the court papers, also claimed that Chinotimba had formed
another company into which he had transferred some of Edlan's contracts.

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Business presses for urgency on SA loan

Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Muchena Zigomo
issue date :2005-Nov-22

LOCAL business players have called for government and the central bank to
step up efforts towards securing the pledged financial loan from South
Africa, amid revelations that some measures proposed by that country for the
disbursal of the funds have begun taking effect in Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC) president Luxon Zembe pressed
the government
and central bank for a swift conclusion to negotiations over the proposed
loan last week, saying the funds were key to an economic revival.
Zembe said the business fraternity was "eagerly waiting" the funds, as it is
believed they could trigger a reversal of dull economic fortunes for
Zimbabwe, which has been caught in a seemingly unending downward economic
"We are really urging the government to hasten negotiations for the South
African loan as it would do a lot to stabilize our economic situation at the
moment, particularly the foreign currency situation which has now reached
alarming levels and would benefit a lot from an injection of that
 magnitude," he said.
Unconfirmed media reports have indicated that the financial aid package
could be within the realms of between US$500 million to
US$1 billion, an amount that
could significantly boost Zimbabwe's depleted foreign currency
Foreign currency shortages have been at the heart of Zimbabwe's slow
economic meltdown, and have seen the country struggling to pay off its
arrears to international creditors and pay for adequate supplies of
critically needed imports such as fuel and electricity.
Business has urged government to restore ties with external partners that
would grant much-needed financial support to break out of its economic
However, despite the "principle" commitment by the South African government
to disburse the funds, little else has surfaced from the negotiating parties
regarding progress on deliberations that have seen finance and central bank
officials shuttling between the two countries almost on a weekly basis.
The talks were stalled for almost two weeks in August after Zimbabwe had
made a US$120 million payment of its debt to the International Monetary Fund
(IMF), which has now been reduced to US$175 million.
Since the return to the negotiating table, a major sticking point has
reportedly been the stringent conditions set by South African president
Thabo Mbeki, which are believed to include both political and economic
reforms to the situation in Zimbabwe.
Sources told Business Mirror that the political conditions stipulated by the
southern neighbour included the resumption of dialogue between the
government and the opposition MDC, with a vision towards the formation of a
government of national unity.
On the other hand, the economic reforms "suggested the shift to a free
market economy that was less regulated and determined by market forces" and
an adjustment of the exchange rate.
The conditions are aimed at ensuring that South Africa gets its money back.
"We have already seen some of these things happening - more recently we
witnessed the introduction of the interbank foreign currency trading system
and a simultaneous adjustment of the exchange rate - these things have not
all been happening in a vacuum," a source said.
Government's position has thus far been in favour of a more regulated
economic structure, which has seen the imposition of controls on pricing and
foreign currency exchange rates.
Apart from South Africa, the IMF has also pushed for similar economic
reforms in Zimbabwe.
In its annual review and economic survey issued last week, the Fund said its
board had "called on the authorities to act decisively in a number of areas,
including: deregulation; public enterprise reform, fiscal reform,and
particularly civil service reform and agricultural reform".
In another report issued recently, the IMF also said Zimbabwe
would need external support if it were to break out of its economic crisis,
with participation from external partners being a major requirement for
turnaround progress

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Ox-drawn carts now mode of transport in Bindura, Shamva

Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2005-Nov-22

OWING to the acute shortage of fuel, the municipalities of Bindura and
Shamva have resorted to collecting refuse using ox-drawn carts they hire
from nearby resettled farmers.
The scarcity of the precious liquid has seen the two town councils forced to
ground their utility fleet.
Shamva borad chairperson, Sydney Chiwara said they paid at least $80 000 per
load for the removal of garbage to keep the city clean.
He said vehicles reserved for critical services such as health have also
been grounded seriously affecting the operations of the municipality.
"We have been trying to ration fuel so that we could attend to cases that
require immediate attention like in the health sector," Chiwara said. "Now
we have completely run out of fuel and it means there is no fuel for
emergency cases and refuse collection.
"We found it better to hire ox-drawn carts to remove refuse that had piled
over the weeks. Since we started the programme two weeks ago, everything is
going well.
"We have four groups who are doing that work all with ox-drawn carts from
the surrounding farms"
The programme, Chiwara said, will continue until the fuel situation improves
in the country.
Said Chiwara: "We intend to continue to rid the city of refuse using this
method until the fuel situation in the country improves. It is better to
resort to carts because we cannot just wait and see refuse piling yet we
have other means of removing it. I urge other towns and cities, which have
grounded their vehicles due to fuel problems to follow suit rather than
waiting while waste is piling."
Aneas Zhakata, Bindura town secretary said since the inception of the
concept, the face of the city had drastically changed.
"We took at least two weeks to clean up massive piles of uncollected refuse
and we are going to continue with the idea ," said Zhakata.
The country is facing its worst fuel shortage ever largely as a result of an
acute shortage of foreign currency-a situation the Reserve Bank is battling
to address.
The scenario has also been exacerbated by increase in the
price of petroleum on the world market.

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Chitungwiza residents face massive rates hike

Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2005-Nov-22

CHITUNGWIZA residents should brace themselves for massive hikes in rates and
service charges after the dormitory town proposed to increase some tariffs
by over 500 percent in its 2006 financial year.
According to acting town clerk, Amos Matanhike the rates would be subject to
further adjustments in line with macro-economic conditions obtaining in the
country next year.
The town increased by 300 percent (from $3 million to $9 million) the
penalty for anyone found tampering with water meters.
Water connection fees for residential areas were also increased from $1,1
million to $3,5 million, while it would cost $333 718 to replace the meter
up from $111 224.
Water connection fees for non-residential areas would from January 2006 be
between $4 million and $109 million depending on the capacity of the water
The municipality increased sewer connection fees for residential areas from
$613 600 to $1,84 million and from $2 million to over $7 million for
industrial areas.
Clearing of toilet blockages for residential areas would now cost $126 000
up from $42 000 while for industrial areas it would cost $2 million from the
current $700 000.
Burial fees per adult for residents of Chitungwiza would be $450 000 from
$150 000 while for non-residents it would be $600 000 from $200 000.
For children, the burial fees would increase to $300 000 from $100 000 for
those residing in the town, while for non-residents it would be $450 000 up
from $150 000.
Rentals for public markets in various suburbs of the town would range from
over $200 000 a month to over $2,2 million from the current minimum charge
of $18 000 and maximum of $340 000.
Rental fees for crèches would also increase to a minimum of over $10 million
per month and a maximum of $158 million.
Expectant mothers would have to fork out $1,2 million up from $300 000 if
they had made prior bookings while those without would part $1,35 million
per bed per night up from $450 000.
Clinic fees per adult also rose to $231 050 from $76 667 for seven days an
adult, while for children it would be $105 050 for a similar period of time
and afterwards it would cost adults $227 400 for every visit
while for children it would be $106 200.
Matanhike invited residents to raise their objections to the budget within
30 days.
Chitungwiza is currently grappling with a myriad of problems, among them
water cuts, sewer blockages and uncollected refuse.
Residents in the town this month demonstrated twice against the municipality
run by executive mayor Misheck Shoko.
At the weekend President Robert Mugabe threatened to dismiss the Shoko
council if it fails to solve the problems.

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Farmers lose millions in fake inputs

Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

From Our Correspondent in Mutare
issue date :2005-Nov-22

COMMUNAL farmers in Manicaland have reportedly lost millions of dollars to
unscrupulous street vendors selling fake agricultural inputs including maize
seed, they coloured green, in the eastern border town of Mutare.
The vendors, who sell their products at give away prices, are said to have
"seized an opportunity" presented by farmers' panic buying when responding
to the recent rains.
Although official comment could not be obtained from the Zimbabwe Farmers
Union regional manager, Tendai Munjoma, other senior officials of the union
who preferred to remain anonymous for fear of breaking protocol, confirmed
receiving such reports.
A farmer, James Sigauke of Dora Dombo claimed: "The vendors sell the maize
seed packs at much lower prices than those charged in shops."
He said the racket was uncovered after some vigilant farmers noticed that
most of the seed was coated with an unknown green substance that easily
blown off by the wind.
Contacted for comment one ZFU official said: "Farmers are complaining of
being cheated into buying
fake maize seed being sold on the streets.
"We urge the farmers to desist from buying agricultural inputs from the
streets as they are readily available in shops."  He said the daring vendors
coated the maize seed green for it to pass as the genuine input.

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