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Fuel worth Z$1 billion disappears from Zimbabwe state firm

Zim Online

Fri 25 November 2005

      HARARE - The government's Central Mechanical and Engineering
Department (CMED) cannot account for more than 600 000 litres of fuel it
purchased for various state departments last year and internal auditors
believe it could have been diverted to the illegal black-market.

      According to an internal audit report shown to ZimOnline on Thursday,
there was ample documentary evidence showing that the CMED paid fuel
suppliers for the diesel and petrol worth more than Z$1 billion.

      The CMED buys fuel in bulk for the state's fleet and stores it at
various depots dotted around the country.

      But the auditors said there was no evidence that the more than half a
billion litres of fuel bought last year ever reached the nine CMED depots
where it was to be delivered for storage.

      No one at the CMED can account for the fuel which the auditors suspect
could have been illegally diverted for resale on the lucrative black market

      The auditors warned that more fuel could have been stolen from the
corruption-riddled CMED in this way but chillingly added that there was
simply no way one could tell because of the week internal control systems.

      "A lot of fuel could be siphoned from the system without detection . .
. there is a high risk that fuel purchased might not be received by the
stations (government departments) in the absence of audit trails. It is
difficult to detect short deliveries," the audit report reads in part.

      The audit was ordered by the CMED's acting finance executive officer
to establish whether all fuel bought by the government firm was delivered to
its depots.

      The audit showed that at varying periods last year, the CMED bought
247 041 litres of blend petrol worth Z$432 321 750; 16 340 litres of
unleaded petrol worth $49 020 140 and 341 668 litres of diesel valued at
$563 752 200. The fuel was however never delivered to the CMED, according to
the audit report.

      "(The fuel) could not be accounted for by the nine stations (CMED
depots) whose records were reviewed . . . this represents fuel purchased but
without evidence of delivery at the intended stations," it said.

      Transport Minister Chris Mushowe, under whose portfolio the CMED
falls, could not be reached to establish what action, if any, the government
planned to take over the missing fuel.

      But this is not the first time that corruption has been reported at
the CMED.

      For example, Mines Ministry permanent secretary Thabani Ndlovu last
month told Parliament's portfolio committee on mines that his ministry last
year paid $2 billion to the CMED for the purchase of 15 vehicles.

      But the department had delivered only five vehicles and squandered the
rest of the money.

      There have also been numerous reports in the past of senior CMED
officials stealing car parts or whole vehicles from the department. But few
of them have ever been prosecuted for their alleged crimes. - ZimOnline

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Ninety percent of Zimbabweans oppose senate: survey

Zim Online

Fri 25 November 2005

      HARARE - More than 90 percent of Zimbabweans are opposed to the
creation of a new senate and are convinced the upper chamber will not
improve their lives, according to a survey by the Crisis Coalition of
Zimbabwe (CCZ).

      Zimbabweans go to the polls tomorrow to choose 50 senators who will
form the bulk of a 66-member second chamber of Parliament. The rest will be
chosen by President Robert Mugabe and the council of traditional chiefs.

      Mugabe and his ruling ZANU PF party last August controversially
amended Zimbabwe's constitution to facilitate the creation of a senate,
which political analysts however say will do little more than merely extend
the 80-year old President's patronage network.

      The CCZ, which brings together more than 30 of the biggest civic
rights and pro-democracy groups in Zimbabwe, said 95.06 percent of
interviewees in a survey carried out in six of the country's 10 provinces
were opposed to the senate.

      The survey whose results will be released today was carried out
between November 21 and 23.

      Speaking to ZimOnline last night, ahead of the release of the survey
results, CCZ spokeswoman Elizabeth Marunda said statistics from the survey
firmly indicated that the project to set up the senate was neither
legitimate nor people-driven.

      She said: "From the statistics, we conclude that, while appreciating
that the election will go ahead, the process, and the outcome, will not be
legitimate or people-centred."

      Marunda's CCZ, the entire civil society and main opposition Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC) party leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, have opposed
the creation of the senate saying Zimbabwe first needed a comprehensive
constitutional reform process that should also decide whether the country
needed a Uni or Bi-cameral parliament.

      The survey results back civic society and Tsvangirai's position with
for example, 40 732 people or 98.43 of those interviewed in Harare province
saying they were against the setting up of the senate. Only 649 people or
1.57 percent said they supported the government's senate project.

      In Bulawayo province, the base of MDC secretary general Welshman Ncube
and other leaders of the opposition backing the senate plan, 44 310 people
or 128 percent of interviewees said they did not like the senate.

      In Mashonaland East province, 3 765 people were opposed to the setting
up of the senate, while 52 interviewees said they believed Zimbabwe needed a
second chamber of Parliament.

      In Masvingo province, 32 404 people opposed the senate while 6 241
said they supported its creation. The gap grew even wider in the
Matabeleland region with 32 404 people saying they were against the creation
of another parliamentary chamber while only eight backed the idea.

      Mugabe and his government have defended the creation of the senate
saying it would act as a vital check point for legislation passed by the
lower chamber.

      But Marunda said what was needed was not piece-meal and government-led
constitutional reforms but a wholesale constitutional and democratic reform

      She said: "We call on the government to institute massive political
reforms that include immediate repeal of repressive legislation, focusing on
humanitarian work to mitigate hunger and engaging the people in the making
of a new people-driven constitution which will lead to free and fair

      The CCZ official predicted that voter apathy would see a poor turn-out
at tomorrow's poll.

      The non-governmental Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN), in a
separate report issued this week, also predicted a low voter turn-out saying
confusion in the MDC, which faces imminent split after disagreeing over the
senate vote, would also discourage many of the party's supporters from

      ZESN said worsening economic problems and chronic fuel shortages would
also hamper voters from going to polling stations while observer groups
might find it difficult to reach all parts of the country. - ZimOnline

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Civic group says MDC will lose seats in strongholds

Zim Online

Fri 25 November 2005

      HARARE - The Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) says the country's
main opposition party was likely to lose seats in areas they won during the
last parliamentary election after the government arbitrarily set up new
constituency boundaries for tomorrow's senate election.

      In a report released earlier this week, ZESN accused President Robert
Mugabe's government of arbitrarily demarcating constituency boundaries for
the senate election in a bid to fix the results.

      "Overall, whether intentionally or not, the senatorial constituencies
are demarcated such that were the electorate to vote in the same way on
November 26, 2005 as it did on 31 March 2005, the MDC would not win any
senatorial seats even in those provinces where it won some seats in March
2005, such as in the Midlands and Masvingo," ZESN said.

      "In Manicaland, the MDC would marginally win the new Mutasa-Mutare,
thanks to Mutare North but would lose the new Mutare senatorial

      The MDC is strongly backed in urban areas. But critics say Mugabe has
joined rural and urban constituencies in a bid to dilute the urban vote.

      Mugabe's ZANU PF party will take on the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) in 26 constituencies out of the 50 contested seats
for a low-key senate election dismissed by civic groups as a non-event.

      The MDC, which has posed the greatest challenge to Mugabe's 25-year
old grip on power, is embroiled in a bitter internal feud over whether it
should participate in the poll with its leader Morgan Tsvangirai urging
supporters to boycott the election which he says is a waste of resources in
a country where at least four million people are in need of food aid.

      But Tsvangirai is opposed by four other top leaders of the party, led
by secretary general Welshman Ncube, who want to contest the poll. The
conflict has degenerated into name-calling over the past month as  divisions
within the party intensified.

      Zesn, which said the "delimitation of constituencies lacks any
rational basis," predicted that the opposition party could at most win only
17 seats which are up for grabs.

      Tomorrow's election will see the reintroduction of the 66-member
senate which was abolished almost 10 years ago. Mugabe will appoint six
senators while chiefs will appoint the remaining 10 members. - ZimOnline

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3 mln Zimbabweans face food shortages

Xinhua 2005-11-25 02:36:48

          HARARE, Nov. 24 (Xinhuanet) -- About three million Zimbabweans
will face food shortages during the 2005 and 2006 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 in collaboration with government ministries, United
Nations and non-governmental organizations, at least 225,455 metric tons of
maize would be required to meet household deficits for the affected areas.

          The report predicted that about 549,877 people in Masvingo
province and approximately 529,983 citizens in Manicaland provincewould face
food insecurity.

          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 by 41 percent and health by 36 percent
because of the astronomical costs of medical treatment and agricultural

          The major challenges identified were drought, price increases,
shortage of draught power, sanitation, lack of safe water and livestock

          It is said that 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.

          The Zimbabwean government has been urged to ensure efficient
distribution of food so that the number of food-insecure people would not
increase from the projected 2.9 million people.

          Observes said special intervention programs such as public works
programs, targeted cash transfers, child supplementary feeding and school
feeding programs need to be continued and expanded to cover the needs of the
vulnerable. Food assistance targeted at the elderly, chronically ill as well
as home-based care programs should also be continued.

          To address school dropouts due to food shortages as a result
ofreduced spending on education, the government was urged to ensure that the
Basic Education Assistance Module program be conducted atthe 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.

          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.

          The vulnerability assessments, which are done annually by all
countries in the Southern African Development Community (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 2005-2006 period.

          The assessment is also intended to explore rural livelihoods
inorder to determine short and medium-term needs and opportunities for
sustainable interventions. Enditem

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My four days inside Mugabe's prisons

by John 'Briggs' Bomba, International Socialist Organisation (ISO), Zimbabwe

I was among 120 people who were arrested on the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade
Unions (ZCTU) led Action Against Poverty demonstration on Tuesday 8
November. Hundreds of people had protested against spiralling levels of

Those arrested included township women with babies on their back (the
youngest being only six weeks old), the disabled on crutches, HIV positive
people demanding access to antiretroviral drugs (ARVs), workers demanding a
living wage, unemployed youth and other activists. We spent a nightmarish
four days and three nights behind bars in conditions not fit for wild dogs,
for raising banners demanding food and water.

The following is my testimony.

The demonstration showed a new confidence to fight back. The hundreds that
gathered at Construction House and marched, defying the heavily armed
police, showed that Zimbabwe's poor are sick and tired of the worsening
conditions of poverty. No one ran way at the arrival of heavily armed, mean
looking riot police. We resolved to sit down and continued singing and
chanting slogans in defiance. When we were arrested we all boldly lined up
to get onto the trucks, with men helping women who had babies and the
disabled. The police turned away some of the disabled people in wheelchairs
who had also lined up to be arrested.

Confident response

The senior cops were clearly angry at our self assured and confident
response and one of them just started assaulting comrade Munyaradzi Gwisai
with a baton. Munyaradzi was obviously targeted as one of the key leaders
present, but still the people were not cowed.

The singing continued and even got louder while we were being driven to the
police station and people on the street waved back in solidarity. It was an
inspiring act of defiance, a clear signal that the masses are beginning to
wake up and punch back. Other comrades, including disabled people on
crutches, followed all the way to the police station demanding to be
arrested. The police were so embarrassed that they had to turn away twenty
disabled people who had handed themselves in. The Zimbabwe Social Forum
(ZSF) chairman Regis Mtutu is among those who were arrested at the central
police station. The police were clearly shocked by the solid determination
of the protest.

This is a sign of the times. A new wave of mass struggles is announced
through recent actions by the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA),
students, Women of Zimbabwe Arise (Woza) and critically the ZCTU. The
militancy and energy that characterised the Southern Africa Social Forum is
now translating into mobilisation and action. The ZSF constituencies
particularly the HIV/ AIDS cluster, the youth and people living with
disabilities played a decisive role in the ZCTU action.

Zimbabwe's crisis has reached breaking point. The country is writhing in a
severe neo-liberal crisis presided over by a besieged authoritarian regime.
Throughout recent actions and the thorough discussions held in the cells
leftists ideas were quite popular with the Zimbabwe Social Forum and ISO
comrades in particular played a key role in articulating an anti-neoliberal
ideological line.

Filthy cells

Arriving at the station we were ordered to line up at gunpoint. We were
harassed into stinking filthy cells, heavily infested with bed bugs and
lice. The police were clearly overwhelmed by the large numbers. The simple
procedure of taking down our details took forever. The cops were also
clearly demoralised and looked disinterested.

It's becoming more and more obvious that junior officers are cracking and
coming to sympathise with the poor masses. The fact is that junior police
officers suffer like all of us. They get peanuts while police chiefs own
farms, drive the latest cars and are get fatter by the minute.

On the first night of our detention our lawyers had to fight to get us fed,
as some overzealous officers wanted to starve us. The police chiefs had
insisted on feeding us prison food, which they would not give to their dogs.

Sometime after 9pm a new ordeal began. We were ordered onto a lorry, and
packed in tightly like grain bags, while a group of tired farm worker or war
veteran looking guys in overalls and worksuits pointed AK-47 assault rifles
at us. We were kept in the dark as to where we were going and throughout our
imprisonment such mystification remained a key weapon the police would use
to torture us.

We were taken to Makoni central police station in the town of Chitungwiza,
south of Harare. Here we were detained from Tuesday evening to Friday
evening. Chitungwiza hasn't had running water for three months. So we were
detained at a place that had no water and no working toilets. We were packed
in tiny cages like rats. There wasn't room for everyone to sit down, so we
would take turns.

Both the women's and man's cages had no toilets so we were given 20 litre
plastic buckets to use, which filled up in no time. The cruel, stupid and
overzealous cop on duty refused to let us empty them. The whole night we
called on deaf ears. By morning as urine was flowing to where people were
seated, the stupid officer continued to ignore the situation. We threatened
to sue him personally for his cruelty but still unmoved. The same officer
even had the audacity to deny drugs to HIV positive prisoners.

Revolutionary songs

Despite all this our fighting spirit remained high. Comrades kept singing
revolutionary songs and toyi toying till the whole building shook. We turned
each cell into a rally, with speech after speech showing defiance to the
police, who were clearly looking scared. We had petty criminals in the cells
vowing to join the struggle as soon as they were released. We were resolute
that the movement will not go away until our demands are met.

They were basic demands that even the dullest policeman could see were
justified: antiretrovirals for people living with HIV, a living wage for
workers (including police officers and soldiers), affordable sanitary pads
and baby milk, water for our townships, food for our hungry families and
education for our children. We were also demanding that the government
immediately stop all payment to the IMF and use the scarce foreign currency
to buy basic necessities. I am one of those who were called for special
interrogation by the intelligence forces and insisted to them that our
struggle is about defending life itself, a cause we can't abandon until
total victory.

Our singing, toyi toyi and speeches were clearly getting on the nerves of
senior police officers and a number of times they tried to shut us up.
Whenever they banned us from singing, someone would break into a
revolutionary prayer or begin storytelling. By the end we would all be
singing again.

The police decided to split us into the smaller filthy cells that had been
disused because they were not fit for human habitation. We successfully
resisted a number of attempts to move us and the senior officers had to call
in the riot police to forcefully move us. To show how much the regime had
panicked, the riot police had pitched two tents in the grounds of the police
station and were keeping a 24 hour armed guard. AK-47 wielding riot police
were frequently seen around our cages.

My group was put into a tiny cell that apparently had the only toilet that
had not yet blocked. We had agreed to allow no solids in the toilet since
there was no running water. However every few minutes the cops would bring
people who had running stomachs. By dawn the sewer had burst and it was
stinking and flowing to where people were sleeping. We called and called,
but the cops were of no help. They would put on breathing masks to come to
the cells but they apparently expected us to enjoy ourselves.

Scorched earth

The regime was shaken by the impact of the demonstration and was in a panic
mode. First the army was unleashed onto the streets randomly harassing
people and they cordoned off parts of town, making them no go areas. In the
evening police went on a scorched earth style rounding up of street kids,
vagrants, vendors and prostitutes. Close to 200 of these were brought to
Makoni police station where we were detained. The regime is afraid that
these people living in the most desperate of conditions will join up with
those who are now fighting back and they can put out the inferno. The
strategy is still to preemptively crush and lock up these people before they
start rioting. The challenge for progressive forces is to bring everyone who
is suffering into the fight.

We were already overcrowded before the arrival of this new group and the
situation became totally horrendous. People were piling on each other like
sacks. Those rounded from the streets included children ( including a
three-year-old) and they had to struggle for space in cells that included
senile vagrants. Quite a number of those who were detained were workers on
their way home who were mistaken for people living on the streets. These
people had no food and drinking water and on top of that there were no
toilets. One of the kids actually fainted.

The situation was unbearable and calls for a serious investigations into
Zimbabwe's prisons. If people who have not been convicted of any crime could
be put through this what about convicts. Such gross human rights violations
can not be allowed to continue. The whole world needs to take a stand
against such abuses.

Whilst detained we came face to face with base police corruption. Truckloads
of goods would come in from the raids on vendors. The seized goods would
include vegetables, eggs, fruits, chickens, clothes and so on. We saw the
police sharing these things right in front of our eyes and they would put
some of the food in the officers' mess. The nation deserves an explanation
from police commissioner Chihuri and the Minister of Home Affairs. We can
not have police looting from poor vendors who are desperately trying to
survive an acute economic crisis.

Now that we are out, we are already mobilising for the next action to
coincide with the world AIDS day on 1 December. This year's theme is 'Stop
Aids. Keep the promise'. We have resolved to quadruple the number of those
arrested in the last action, so Mugabe must make room in his cells for at
least 500 people. The solidarity we got from local and regional comrades was
powerful. The e-mails, faxes and phone calls kept the regime on its toes. We
extend yet another call to comrades in the region for solidarity with the
poor masses of Zimbabwe when we rise again.

Shinga Mushandi Shinga!

Lets get free or die trying!

Briggs Bomba

© Copyright Socialist Worker (unless otherwise stated). You may republish if
you include an active link to the original and leave this notice in place.

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Captain Taibu quits Zimbabwe cricket


Thu Nov 24, 2005 5:07 PM GMT

DURBAN, Nov 24 (Reuters) - Zimbabwe captain Tatenda Taibu cut all ties with
cricket in his home country on Thursday.

"I've resigned from Zimbabwe cricket as a whole," Taibu told Reuters from
Harare on Thursday.

"I've had problems with the way Zimbabwe cricket is being run for the past
few years," said the 22-year-old, the youngest captain in test history when
he took over in May 2004.

"That's probably 80 percent of the reason for my decision, the other 20
percent is the way the contracts have been dealt with." Taibu hinted that he
had received threats.

"My wife has been disturbed by the situation, and we have a three-week old
baby. I only left because of her," he said.

Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) offered contracts in August that were heavily based on
incentives and incorporated much smaller basic salaries than the players had
been paid in the past.

Taibu took over after former captain Heath Streak was sacked in April 2004.
Other leading white players refused to play for Zimbabwe in protest at
Streak's treatment and ZC's selection policies, and the weakened team was
stripped of test status.

Taibu played 24 tests for Zimbabwe and captained them in 10. Ozias Bvute,
ZC's managing director, told Reuters from Harare the organisation would
issue a statement on Taibu's decision.

Taibu said his move had saddened him.

"I remember going on my first tour, to the West Indies in 2000 and straight
from there to England, and saying in one of my first interviews as a
cricketer that I wanted to play cricket for my country for 20 years," he

"To have this come along and destroy that dream is very sad."


Taibu said his team mates were stunned when he broke the news. "They
couldn't believe what I was saying. They didn't utter a word, they just sat
there looking at each other."

Taibu said ZC chairman Peter Chingoka had asked him to reconsider his

"I called him before I went to see the players," Taibu said. "He said I
shouldn't close the door, and that I had a lot to offer in international

"He said I should give it more thought. I told him I had done that already,
I had thought about it a lot."

Taibu said he hoped to continue his career in England. "I've got a few
friends in England, and (former Zimbabwe coach) Phil Simmons is trying to
organise something for me.

"Right now I'm just going to try and go home and enjoy time with my wife and
son, I haven't been able to do that of late because of all these hassles."

Zimbabwe's team problems have affected their performance on the field, where
they have crashed to defeat by an innings in seven of their last 10 tests.

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Asian Investors Target Mhangura

The Herald (Harare)

November 23, 2005
Posted to the web November 23, 2005

Bulawayo Bureau

Mhangura Copper Mines could reopen after some Asian investors indicated that
they were prepared to inject fresh capital to revive the defunct mine.

The Ministry of Mines and Mining Development and the Zimbabwe Investment
Centre are involved in talks with the potential investors, which could lead
to the reopening of the mine.

Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation chief executive Mr Dominic Mubayiwa
confirmed to Business Chronicle that talks with the investors were in

"There are still talks between interested investors and the MCM majority
shareholder, that is the Government. Once everything is concluded, we will
be in a position to give further details," said Mr Mubayiwa.

He disclosed that the mine was a target of investors from Asia, who would
sink funds into the mine.

"There are some interested parties that are still considering the project
proposals to resuscitate the mine and some of them are also considering a
joint venture initiative with the Government," he said.

Officials said that investors from China, Singapore, Indonesia and Iran were
assessing feasibility studies for a possible reopening of the mine but Mr
Mubayiwa would not confirm that.

"I think we will only be in a position to provide further details after
sealing agreements with the investors," he said.

More than $200 billion is required to resuscitate operations at the mine.

Efforts by a consortium of local investors to take over the mine late last
year hit a snag due to the huge capital outlay required.

MCM was closed in 1999 due to rising production costs and low mineral prices
on the international market.

The mine had the capacity to refine 4 800 tonnes of copper concentrates per
month giving it an annual capacity of about 55 000 tonnes.

The Government is understood to be looking at other possibilities should the
talks not bear fruit.

"The revival of MCM is mainly aimed at ensuring that Zimbabwe will be in a
position to produce copper for the domestic and international markets," said
an official in the Ministry of Mines.

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Suspected cigarette smugglers nabbed at Beitbridge


November 24, 2005, 10:30

Three Zimbabweans and a South African have been arrested for trying to
smuggle cigarettes through the Beitbridge border post, Zimbabwe's Herald
newspaper reported today.

"We have arrested three truck drivers from Zimbabwe and a local clearing
agent for trying to smuggle cigarettes from Zimbabwe," said Jacques
Dubuisson, the Musina police spokesperson.

"In fact, we suspect the drivers entered into a deal with the clearing agent
so that he would facilitate the smuggling of the cigarettes."

The four appeared in the Musina magistrate's court this week, and were
granted bail of R1 000 each. They are to appear in court again on November
28. Dubuisson said SA Revenue Services (SARS) officials manning a checkpoint
at the border post thwarted the would-be smugglers.

"The truck drivers were intercepted by suspicious SARS officials at the
checkpoint, leading to the discovery of the contraband and the arrest of the

"The men implicated the other suspect, a clearing agent, and we then
arrested him."

The trucks were impounded by SARS. The contraband was concealed inside
sealed containers. "We would like to believe this could be a syndicate which
has been operating for some time now," Dubuisson said.

"We are also investigating the circumstances that led to the three trucks
crossing onto the South African side of the border with the contraband
undetected, considering the fact that there are scanners on the Zimbabwean
side." - Sapa

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Voter apathy seen giving Mugabe poll win

November 24, 2005 3:50 PM

By Cris Chinaka

HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe is set to tighten his
grip on power in Saturday's vote for a new Senate, with the opposition
divided by a poll boycott and voters apathetic about an election one
observer called a "farce".

Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF this year used its parliamentary majority to create
the new 66-seat body, which will approve or reject bills passed by the lower

Critics say the Senate will give the 81-year-old Mugabe another tool to
cement his control over Zimbabwe, which he has ruled uninterrupted since
independence in 1980 despite deepening political and economic crises.

ZANU-PF goes into Saturday's vote virtually assured of victory, thanks to
laws which guarantee seats to various Mugabe loyalists and an opposition
stay-away call that has seriously weakened his only real political

"This election is, for all intents and purposes, turning into a process of
formally endorsing ZANU-PF candidates because the party has won the election
before the vote," said Eldred Masunungure, a leading analyst.

"The general view is that this election is a farce, and that our politics
has become a total farce," said Masunungure, a lecturer and chairman of the
political science department at the University of Zimbabwe.

Analysts say the vote will likely be marked by apathy among a disillusioned
electorate burdened by inflation of more than 400 percent and struggling
with food, fuel and foreign currency shortages that have all but ground the
economy to a halt.

"We have had five major elections in the last five years, and there is
understandable fatigue with elections that have not brought any positive
results," said Lovemore Madhuku of political pressure group National
Constitutional Assembly.

"Many people believe these are elections we should not have, and they will
boycott while others are just sick and tired."


The Senate vote has already dealt a blow to the government's main
challenger, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), which has split into
feuding factions over participating the polls.

MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai last month ordered a boycott of the vote,
saying participation would lend legitimacy to a government that routinely
engineers elections.

The MDC, backed by Western countries, most recently accused ZANU-PF of fraud
in March polls, which gave the ruling party an unassailable majority in
parliament and the power to amend the constitution at will. Mugabe has
denied the charge.

But a dissident MDC faction led by Secretary-General Welshman Ncube is
nevertheless fielding 26 candidates, mostly in the southwestern Matabeleland
provinces, arguing that Tsvangirai lost a vote on the issue.

Critics see the new Senate as part of Mugabe's politics of patronage,
rewarding associates by absorbing them into state institutions and stifling
challenges from within his own ranks.

Since 2000 Mugabe has managed to fight off a growing opposition threat by
tough policing, a crackdown on the media, violence by militant youths and
regular arrests of MDC leaders and rights activists.

Western powers, including the United States and the European Union, have
responded by imposing travel and financial sanctions on him and his top

U.S. President George W. Bush signed an executive order, which took effect
on Wednesday, expanding the list of Zimbabwe officials under U.S. sanctions
and freezing the assets of all those deemed to be "undermining democratic
processes or institutions in Zimbabwe".

Mugabe accuses the United States and Britain of punishing him for seizing
white-owned farms to give to landless blacks -- a policy which has earned
him warm praise in some neighbouring African nations.

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Zimbabwe vendors in struggle for survival

Denver Post

By Michael Hartnack
The Associated Press

Harare, Zimbabwe - A toothless flower seller rushes up to a well-dressed
shopper outside a supermarket, peers around anxiously through watery eyes as
though about to offer drugs for sale, and begs her to buy a 20-cent bunch of
asters. Suddenly two policemen appear in riot gear.
"Ah, you can do nothing!" he exclaims in disgust, jumping on a rickety
bicycle with his box of flowers and disappearing down an alley.
President Robert Mugabe's crackdown on vendors has destroyed the livelihoods
of thousands and criminalized one of the last functioning sectors of
Zimbabwe's crumbling economy.
Tens of thousands were arrested and had their goods seized in a slum
clearance called Operation Murambatsvina - Drive Out Trash - launched May
19. Mugabe's government accused them of sabotaging the economy through
black-market dealing.
For 35 years, the flower dealer - too afraid to give his name - grew asters
and roses on a plot at Domboshawa, a rocky tribal area about 20 miles north
of the capital. Every day, he pedaled down to the city and sold his flowers
on a suburban sidewalk.
Then, without warning, police arrested him and seized his stock even though
he had a vending license from the municipality. The $20 loss represented a
huge chunk of his capital savings.
"The informal sector has not recovered from Murambatsvina," said John
Robertson, an independent economist. "Individuals are making a living
vending vegetables and other things again, but they are still at risk. ...
At my local shopping center, they had all their money taken by police
There are few other ways to make a living in a country with over 70 percent
Zimbabwe's agriculture-based economy has spiraled out of control since the
government began seizing thousands of white- owned farms for redistribution
to blacks in 2000.
Inflation has soared to 265 percent, and there are critical shortages of
food and fuel.
Harare authorities told parliament recently that even they had to turn to
the black market to buy diesel for their fire engines.
Mawere, who gave only one name, worked for a plumbing firm until it went
bankrupt and its white owner left the country. He counts himself lucky to
have found part-time work as a night watchman.
He, too, must flout the law to supplement his $72 monthly pay by crafting
birds from twigs and pine cones to sell at the Harare race course. His
family, 220 miles from Harare, lost its crop to drought last year, so he
barely can support himself, his wife and two children. He sleeps under a
makeshift plastic tent or rents bed space indoors for $48.
Selling his handiwork is illegal, but "it is the only way I can survive," he

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Zimbabwe & South Africa spy deal: How safe is the diaspora?

Behind the Headlines - Lance Zuma

South Africa and Zimbabwe put pen to paper on an agreement to increase co-operation on defence and security matters. According to press reports the two neighbours undertook to share security information and to co-operate in enforcing immigration laws. No sooner had the ink dried the Zimbabwean side was boasting about getting information on NGO’s working in South Africa from their counterparts. The South Africans denied this. But now, who is telling the truth? Guardian newspaper correspondent Andrew Meldrum who is based in South Africa joins Lance Guma on BTH to analyze the story.
Lance Guma
SW Radio Africa
Behind The Headlines
Thursday 5:15 to 5:30pm (GMT) live on the internet at
Friday     5:15 to 5:30am on Medium Wave broadcasts 1197khz
Also available on internet archives after broadcasts at
SW Radio Africa is Zimbabwe's only independent radio station broadcasting from the United Kingdom. The station is staffed by exiled Zimbabwean journalists who because of harsh media laws cannot broadcast from home.
Full broadcast on Medium Wave -1197KHZ between 5-7am (Zimbabwean time) and 24 hours on the internet at

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Zimbabwe in 'humanitarian crisis'

Jennifer Campbell
Ottawa Citizen Special

Wednesday, November 23, 2005
For Shari Eppel, the enduring image of the crisis in
Zimbabwe is an 80-year-old woman who didn't know where
to turn when her home was demolished. She must look
after her daughter and granddaughter because they're
both schizophrenic. When their home was taken from
them, they were shipped off to a rural area where they
found no shelter. The two mentally ill women became
hysterical. And they remained in that condition
because they were no longer able to access the
medication that controlled their symptoms.

Ms. Eppel, the human rights consultant for Archbishop
Pius Ncube, is touring developed countries, speaking
out about the problems in her country.

"Police and army personnel abducted people at gunpoint
and they were taken to the rural areas," she said,
describing the ongoing crisis that heightened last

"Churches have had some 4,000 dumped there and they're
trying to get resources for them. People are going
three and four days without food. It's terrible to

"The UN estimates that up to four million people may
need food airlifted in before the harvest comes," she
said, adding that the food being delivered now is
"like putting a teaspoon of water into an ocean of

Calling the situation a "huge humanitarian crisis,"
Ms. Eppel explained that many children are out of
school and those who are in school generally don't
have desks or books. Frustrating the situation, she
said, has been the government's refusal, until very
recently, to accept any international help.

"It's a massive, ongoing disaster," she said. "It's
something the UN says will set the country back


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Zim deploys cops ahead of polls


24/11/2005 13:58  - (SA)

Harare - Police have been deployed across Zimbabwe ahead of senate elections
this weekend, reports the state-controlled Herald newspaper on Thursday.

Police spokesperson Nonkosi Ncube said the situation was "largely calm"
ahead of the controversial poll on Saturday.

She said: "We have, however deployed adequate police officers in various
provinces, where elections are taking place and in areas where they are not
taking place for security reasons."

Thirty people, all of them supporters of the main opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) had been arrested in the run-up to the poll, amid
bitter quarrels within the party about whether or not to take part in the

Analysts were predicting a low turn-out. The new senate would have 66 seats,
but President Robert Mugabe's party already had more than half of them.

Traditional chiefs

The ruling party had taken 19 seats in constituencies, where the MDC failed
to field candidates.

Mugabe got to appoint another six seats, while 10 were reserved for
traditional chiefs who were usually seen as loyal to the president.

Mugabe on Wednesday told prospective voters in Gokwe, central Zimbabwe, that
the MDC was like the "anti-Christ".

The president said: "Even in the Bible you are warned of false prophets:
Beware of the anti-Christ."

Apart from politicians, few people appeared to be interested in the polls,
either inside or outside the country.

A state radio report said on Thursday that only 12 foreign observers would
be attending. There would also be 60 local observers.

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SA loan 'key for Zim renewal'


24/11/2005 09:27  - (SA)

Barnabas Thondhlana
Media24 Africa office

Harare - Zimbabwe's businesspeople appealed to the government and the
central bank to finalise negotiations about a loan from South Africa as soon
as possible.

The appeal comes in the midst of strong speculation that the recent economic
reforms in Zimbabwe are the result of pressure by South Africa. The reform
is part of the strict conditions South Africa has set for advancing the

Chairperson of Zimbabwe's national chamber of commerce Luxon Zembe said the
funds from South Africa are of key importance for Zimbabwe's economic

Zembe said the business community waited "with anticipation" for the money
because it was expected it could create an economic turnaround.

"It could do much to stabilise the economic situation, especially the
situation regarding foreign currency, which is reaching critical levels."

Some reports state that the financial aid package could cost South Africa
between $500m and $1bn.

Information about the negotiations is scanty, though the ministers of
finance and governors of the central banks apparently talk to one another on
an almost weekly basis.

These talks were suspended for nearly two weeks in August when Zimbabwe
suddenly managed to repay $120m of its debt to the International Monetary
Fund, which apparently reduced the urgency of the loan.

Negotiations have resumed since then.

An informed source said the main obstacles to advancing the loan were the
strict conditions South Africa set for political and economic reforms.

These include the resumption of dialogue between the Zimbabwean government
and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), with a view to
forming a government of national unity.

Economic reforms "suggest a shift to a free-market economy which is less
regulated and relies more on market forces" as well as an adjustment to the
exchange rate, said the source.

The conditions are aimed at ensuring that South Africa eventually gets its
money back.

"We've already seen some of these things happening. Recently we saw an
adjustment of the exchange rate as well as the introduction of a special
trading mechanism among banks. These things don't occur in a vacuum."

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Zim food crisis eclipses polls


24/11/2005 08:08  - (SA)

Harare - As Zimbabweans go to the ballot on Saturday to elect members to a
new and controversial upper house of parliament, the buzz is not about the
polls, but rather on chronic food shortages and the economic meltdown.

Despite radio and television messages exhorting people to vote for ruling
party candidates and news stories about the rift in the main opposition over
contesting the polls, there was little excitement about the elections.

President Robert Mugabe's party - which won a landslide victory in
parliamentary elections in March - used its two-thirds majority in the house
to approve constitutional changes in August - to re-introduce a bicameral
legislature abolished in 1990.

A 46-year-old mother of four from the populous township of Tafara in Harare,
Ella Tayengwa, said: "The question is what benefit will I get if I go to
vote and the answer is nothing."

Controversial govt blitz

Widowed six years ago, she ran a thriving vegetable shop that was razed to
the ground during a controversial government blitz on illegal urban

She said: "The senate is not for us, but rather for Zanu-PF (the ruling
party) elite so I would rather stay at home on the polling day as my way of

"The majority of us have no food and some who lost their homes are still
living in the open so nobody cares about an election that will not make
their lives any better.

"A caring government would have used the $90bn budgeted for the elections to
feed its people."

International aid agencies estimated that some 4.3m people out of Zimbabwe's
population of 13m required food assistance.

Pressure group

A pamphlet being distributed by Women of Zimbabwe Arise (Woza), a pressure
group campaigning for a poll boycott, says "government is spending $90bn
dollars on senate elections, but many are starving."

The pamplet said: "Do you want senators or your basic right to live with
dignity? Boycott the elections."

The country's major labour movement said the senate was a waste of scarce
money as Zimbabwe was in the throes of its worst economic crisis.

Zimbabwe's economy had been on a downturn for the past six years
characterised by triple-digit inflation, more than 70% unemployment and
chronic shortages of basic goods like sugar, cooking oil and fuel.

Improvement of salaries

Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) said: "The ZCTU would rather have
billions budgeted for the senate being channelled towards the improvement of
salaries for teachers, police, soldiers and nurses in public hospitals.

"The president should do away with this practice of accommodating his few
cronies at the expense of the majority of Zimbabweans."

But, political analyst Augustine Timbe said the senate was necessary "to
engender public confidence in our lawmaking process.

"We have gone past that phase in our history when it was necessary to rush
laws through parliament to satisfy urgent needs such as the land reforms."

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U.S. Pledges $45M in Food Aid for Africa

Thursday November 24, 2005 6:16 PM

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa (AP) - The United States has thrown a lifeline to
six southern African countries, donating food aid valued at $45 million, the
U.N. food agency said Thursday.

The 94,000-ton donation brings the U.S. government's total food contribution
for the year to $150 million, the World Food Program said.

The latest U.S. donation includes beans, peas, lentils, maize meal,
corn-soya blend, sorghum, millet, vegetable oil and bulgur wheat, expected
to start arriving in the region in January. The food will be distributed
across Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

WFP is struggling to feed nearly 10 million people in the region, hit by the
fourth straight year of drought and some of the world's highest HIV
infection rates.

``It is wonderful to see such overwhelming support for the men, women and
children of southern Africa daily contending with unimaginable hardships,''
WFP Executive Director James Morris said in the statement. ``The United
States is our strongest ally in the war on hunger.''

Other major contributors include the European Commission, which pledged $37
million, and Japan, which committed $15.4 million to this year's relief

Even with the U.S. contribution, the WFP needs $102 million to feed 9.7
million people until the next harvest in April, the statement said.

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EU Commission pledges increased support to pro-democracy groups in Zimbabwe

      By Violet Gonda

      24 November 2005

      The European Union council has backed appeals to increase funding and
support to civil society and human rights groups in Zimbabwe. The call for
support was made Wednesday at a meeting of legislators from the African,
Caribbean and Pacific - European Union joint parliamentary assembly, in

      Although the Zimbabwe crisis was not on the agenda at the two week
long ACP-EU meeting, the situation in the country could not be ignored as
questions were raised as to whether the EU council would continue helping
pro-democracy groups.

      Glenys Kinnock, the president from the co-European side, started the
ball rolling earlier in the week, when she expressed solidarity and sympathy
with the agony and suffering of the people of Zimbabwe.

      Three Zimbabwean legislators were present at the weeklong meeting
which ended Thursday. They were Walter Mzembi and Daniel Mackenzie Ncube
from Zanu PF and the MDC's Nelson Chamisa.

      Chamisa told Newsreel that a Portuguese MP then brought up the
Zimbabwe issue on Wednesday when he asked the council the question on
further funding. Chamisa said, "The EU Commissioner answered that there is
indeed going to be increased support in areas of governance and human
rights. There is going to be increased support in areas of general social
development of the people dealing with AIDS pandemic and assisting community

      The commissioner said of course the government continues to be an
impediment, violating human rights and mismanaging the economy.

      The Zanu PF delegates defended the government and Walter Mzembe is
said to have intervened saying civil society should not be used to
substitute the parliament or government, in reference to the funding

      Chamisa said it was sad that Zimbabwe has lost out a lot on
developmental issues discussed at such forums. He said "Zimbabwe remains on
the international radar for the wrong reasons, human rights violations and
bad governance. Unfortunately these issues continue to be raised mainly by
the West and there seems to be a false solidarity of the leadership from our
African counterparts." The outspoken parliamentarian said although there is
more understanding from ACP countries, ".most of the ACP countries do not
want to come out in the open because for them it's embarrassing to be seen
to be in solidarity with the EU against their own fellow sister country,
Zimbabwe. So the best they have chosen as a way of dealing with the fall out
is to be quiet."

      SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

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Confusion over Zimbabwe-South Africa spy deal

      By Lance Guma
      24 November 2005

      Controversy surrounds the signing of a 'defence and security' deal
between South Africa and Zimbabwe. The two neighbours say they want to
increase co-operation on defence and security matters by sharing security
information and co-operating in enforcing immigration laws. No sooner had
the ink dried the Zimbabwean side was boasting about getting information on
NGO's working in South Africa from their counterparts.

      Top Zimbabwean spy Aggrey Maringa told the Johannesburg based Sunday
Times newspaper that 'There are some NGO's under the microscope.we will be
comparing notes. We have not given each other prescriptions as to
boundaries.' This has been interpreted as a clear indication they got
assurances from South Africans they get access to this information.
Coincidentally state security minister Didymus Mutasa told a gathering in
Cape Town that journalists and NGO's posed the greatest threat to Zimbabwe's

      The South Africans were however quick to issue a denial of the
Zimbabwean claims. Wilf Mbanga writing for The Zimbabwean says 'the
resulting confusion aptly demonstrates just how difficult it is for a
democracy to get into bed with a dictatorship.' The definition of what an
enemy is seems to differ between the two sides Mbanga pointed out. Andrew
Meldrum a correspondent for the UK Guardian newspapers says the deal is a
step backwards in South African policy which had seemed to be hardening in
the last couple of months.

      Meldrum says on the surface it would look as if the South Africans
want to get as many black pilots trained in their Air force as possible via
co-operation with Zimbabwe. It is the agenda of the Zimbabwean side that
seems to worrying most people Meldrum added.

      SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

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Spouses and children of Mugabe cronies added to U.S. sanctions list

      By Violet Gonda
      24 November 2005

      If you are a spouse or a child of one of Mugabe's cronies, chances are
your name was added to a list of targeted sanctions that were extended by
the Bush administration on Wednesday.

      The US government widened an original list of 77 people to 128 and 33
entities which are seen to be "hindering democratic reform in Zimbabwe." The
list has always included Robert Mugabe, whose assets were frozen in March
2003.His entire cabinet is also on the travel ban.

      Some of the notable names on the updated list include, Governor of the
Reserve Bank Gideon Gono and his wife Hellin, Rudo Grace Charamba spouse of
George Charamba, Patrick Chinamasa's family which includes wife Monica and
son Gamuchirai, the aggressive wife of the Defence Forces General Jocelyn
Chiwenga and the Chairman of Zimbabwe Electoral Commission George Chiweshe.

      Also new on the list are Ignatius Chombo's two wives, Marian & Ever.
Chombo's alleged 3 rd wife Nannette Silukuni was not added. Commenting for
the first time on SW Radio Africa, the Local Government Minister laughed off
the sanctions saying they would not have any impact on him and his wife
Marian. As for his other wife Ever, the Minister said, "That is a
mistake...that data is incorrect. Ever has been gone for the last 20 years.
She left 21 years ago while I was still a student in America and she is
doing her own thing now and she is not involved in any political activities
at all that I know of and they are just punishing her for nothing." Chombo
could not offer more information on his relationship with Nannette Silikuni,
save to say, "these are just stories from people without information."

      A White House spokeswoman Dana Perino is quoted as saying, "There is
still time for the government of Zimbabwe to avoid a further expansion of
the sanctions list should it begin serious efforts to restore democratic
norms and the rule of law."

      The new additions to the censured list will be banned from business
dealings with US citizens. Also under the new order US treasury secretaries
and the state department will now be allowed to add to the list without a
presidential order.

      Perino said, "This action is not aimed at the people of Zimbabwe, but
rather at those most responsible for their plight. The failed political and
economic policies of the Robert Mugabe regime have succeeded in devastating

      In a letter to US lawmakers US President Bush said "The government
continues to suppress opposition groups and civil society, undermine the
independent media, ignore decisions by its courts, and refuse to enter into
meaningful negotiations with other political actors."

      Bush had already issued sanctions against Mugabe and 76 other
officials two years ago but said deteriorating conditions in Zimbabwe had
forced him to act again.

      He added: "Zimbabwe's parliamentary elections in March 2005 were not
free or fair. Recent demolitions of low income housing and informal markets
have caused 700 000 people to lose their homes, jobs, or both. Additional
measures are required to promote democratic change."
      FULL LIST of those facing sanctions is here

      SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

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Commonwealth urged to prosecute those who kill journalists

      By Tererai Karimakwenda
      24 November 2005

      In a statement released on Thursday, Reporters Without Borders urged
the Commonwealth heads of government to prosecute people killing journalists
so the Commonwealth could become "a true home of democracy and freedom." 15
journalists have been killed in Commonwealth member-states since the last
summit in December 2003, and none of the killers are in jail. The statement
said: "Drastic steps must be urgently taken to penalise member-states that
do not make genuine efforts to ensure press freedom and the safety of

      Commonwealth heads of state begin their summit in Malta on Friday, and
many groups will be lobbying for different causes. Leonard Vincent of
Reporters Without Borders told us the statement is the beginning of a
campaign to pressure democratic countries to take action. As for Zimbabwe,
Vincent said since the Zimbabwe government does not respond to them, they
have been pressuring South Africa to address the media issue in Zimbabwe. He
added that the organisation had also approached Nelson Mandela's office, and
were surprised that he had not responded.

      Vincent believes South Africa holds the key to dramatic changes in the
Zimbabwe situation. Asked whether the governments they are pressuring resist
prosecuting those who kill journalists because they are implicated
themselves, Vincent said there was no direct evidence linking government
officials to the murders, but suspicions do exist in some cases.

      The 15 murders in the last 2 years took place in Bangladesh, Gambia,
India, Pakistan, Sierra Leone and Sri Lanka. The most recent victim was 28
year old Gautam Das, correspondent of the daily Dainik Shamokal, who was
brutally executed just a few days ago on 17 November. He was investigating
organised crime and abuses by local figures, and was found dead in his
office with an arm and both legs broken.

      Meanwhile it's reported that the Commonwealth Secretary General's 50
page report to the member states, covering the two years since the last
summit does not have a single reference to Zimbabwe. The organisation's
pledge to make human rights one of its corner-stones has been thrown into
doubt by the omission. The organisation's leader Don Mckinnon is reported to
have said since the country withdrew its membership there was no need to
include it on the agenda. This despite the fact apartheid South Africa was
kept on the agenda even when it withdrew from the club. The omission is now
being viewed as a victory for Robert Mugabe.

      SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

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Zimbabwe to host Afreximbank's 12th AGM

From The Herald, 24 November

Business Editor

The Africa Import and Export Bank (Afreximbank) - which has emerged Zimbabwe's
single largest foreign financier in recent years - will hold its 12th annual
general meeting in Harare next week, as it further endorses its confidence
in the country. The high-profile meeting, to be held from December 1 to 3,
will bring together at least 350 delegates from the continent, among them
government ministers and central bank governors. Afreximbank provides
finance facilities to promote trade among African countries and between the
continent and the rest of the world. This year alone, it has advanced to
Zimbabwe at least US$195 million for the procurement of grain and fuel, and
export finance. Afreximbank has consistently provided funds in these areas
since 2001, amounting to a total of US$900 million. The bank also extended
facilities to commercial and merchant banks in the form of pre- and
post-shipment finance, a trade finance inputs facility and an exporters'
revolving fund. Zimbabwe is a shareholder in the bank and is represented on
the board by Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor Dr Gideon Gono. Next week's
meeting - which is a key event on the continent's calendar - will also
include the African Bankers' Export and Investment Forum. Furthermore,
Zimbabwean businesses will be afforded the opportunity to showcase their
products and services to the continent.

The bankers' forum is aimed at fostering greater co-operation and business
relationships among African banks to enable them to play a more catalytic
role in the promotion of greater intra-African trade. Briefing journalists
in Harare yesterday, Dr Gono said Zimbabwe was privileged to host such an
august meeting, particularly at a time when the country had been demonised
by some sections of the international community. "For all that we have gone
through, to then get the honour of the continent's bankers is something we
are very grateful for. "Afreximbank continues to be of great assistance to
Zimbabwe and the holding of the annual general meeting in Zimbabwe indicates
confidence in the efforts being undertaken in the stabilisation of the
economy," he said. Dr Gono urged Zimbabwean firms to take advantage of the
exhibitions and the opportunities to showcase the country's investment
opportunities. The governor is expected to make a keynote address on the
challenges of monetary, exchange rate and financial sector reforms in
Zimbabwe while other presentations will come from Afreximbank president Mr
J. L. Ekra and the chairman of the African Bankers' Forum Mr C. Edordu.

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