The ZIMBABWE Situation Our thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.

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      If it is to be, it is up to us

      Taungana Ndoro
      11/28/2002 (GMT +2)

      Now that Zimbabweans need a visa to travel to the UK following hard on
the heels of the EU travel sanctions on Robert Mugabe and his disciples, who
can then deny the reality that every single day we keep Mugabe in power, we
will pay for it dearly for the rest of our miserable lives.

      The move by the British government to impose a visa requirement on
citizens of its former colony is a vivid indication of the encroaching siege
the world intends to subject this country to because of one man's grossly
miscalculated policies.

      It is now crystal clear that the travel sanctions imposed on
government officials by the US, EU and Australia have now spread to
Zimbabwean citizens because of their painful docility that continues to keep
Mugabe at the helm of a crumbling country.

      The world has been putting more pressure on Mugabe to soften his
draconian policies than Zimbabweans themselves have done.

      For Britain, enough is enough.

      Zimbabweans must therefore be vigorously seen to play their part in
bringing about credible democracy and good governance to this once great

      I have always gone against the idea of people just flocking out to the
Diaspora as a remedy to solve their problems back home. I will repeat that
that solution is faulty - it will not work because it is cowardice and
cowards never win any war especially against a determined autocrat such as

      In the words of Cathy Buckle to Zimbabweans leaving the country: "You
are leaving because you have given in to despair."(Daily News 5/10/02)

      Now that the Britons have made the dreaded visa requirement mandatory,
more Zimbabweans are going to be confined to the harsh environment of their
suffocating state. Hopefully such a plight will compel them to stand up to
the old man when they cannot take it any more.

      Recently I bumped into a junior schoolmate who was frustrated to the
bone marrow as he had thrice been denied a visa by the strict British

      Twice he paid $72 000 and twice he was denied that permit to escape
bondage. The third time he forked out $80 000, which means he has blown $224
000 in record time but has still been shut out of the land of exiles.

      Foaming at the mouth he told me that he would acquire a South African
passport, get citizenship and leave for the land of exiles by February next
year - at the latest.

      Such determination speaks loudly about how the outlandish policies by
the men at the top have pathetically affected the miserable citizens in the

      The British simply want the people of this country to sort their
things out and not always seek asylum from them or other countries. They
want to help this country to do away with hyperinflation and the foreign
currency crisis by shutting us out of their country because the exiles out
there are fuelling the forex black market back home.

      For how long will a nation survive on the black market? The truth is
our citizens are trekking out because of Mugabe's policies, which brought
about a thriving black market.

      Mugabe must not continue to be of the illusion that the Zimbabwe
dollar is as strong as he officially wants it to be. The stubborn insistence
that it is pegged at one to 55 against the US dollar when in fact it is
close to 2 000 gives a ratio which speaks volumes about how much Zimbabweans
have to cover up to maintain an 'official' standard of living. (Never mind
the recent reports that the US dollar is falling against the Zim dollar - it
's only a temporarily illusion, a fog at the end of a budget season.)

      Sometimes, or maybe at all times, the extent to which ZANU PF is
evaded by ideas is really a tragedy.

      For instance, it is mind-boggling to note the ridiculous retaliation
by the government of unashamedly imposing travel sanctions on British
government officials.

      How can a government that has its own citizens run away from it,
believe, even in its wildest hallucinations, that foreigners - the British
for that matter - will ever want to step on Zimbabwean soil under the
present regime?

      I am not sure how long it is going to take us to admit that we have a
crisis of monumental proportions; I am not sure how long our docility will
last; but I am certain that we are laying a sound foundation for the eternal
suffering of our children.

      What I perceive will lead us to freedom in the full sense of the word
is speaking out conscientiously, fearlessly and with a determination to make
a change for the better - that is freedom.

      If the government refuses to listen and rectify issues raised by the
people such as devaluation, inflation, the forex crisis and so on, then the
people are obliged by the natural laws of good and virtue to take courage
and resort to vociferous action.

      We have come to a point where we have had more than enough and as is
evidenced by the British visa issue the world is gradually shutting us out
completely. The message is clear: nowhere in the world are we forever going
to be accommodated as exiles.

      Simply put, we want to achieve democracy, good governance, free and
fair elections, a stable economy and the pursuit of happiness here in
Zimbabwe, so to put it even simpler, if it is to be it is up to us.

      Mugabe might indeed be seen as a great evil for he is subjecting us to
unbearable injustices but as Elie Wiesel, a Nobel Peace Prize Laureate
observed: "The greatest evil today is indifference. To know and not to act
is a way of consenting to these injustices."

      I will shut this column by proposing that if we really are for
democratic change then let us take change in our stride lest the outrageous
changes in ZANU PF strategies engulf us.

        a.. Taungana Ndoro can be contacted at
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      A drought of good governance

      Sydney Masamvu
      11/28/2002 (GMT +2)

      ZIMBABWE'S economic meltdown has been blamed by ruling ZANU PF
politicians on the drought that has devastated the country over the past
year, and which they say has wreaked havoc on our agro-driven economy.

      They further allege that the British and American governments have
been interfering with Zimbabwe's internal affairs by funding and supporting
the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, in the process sabotaging the
economy to force a regime change.

      Well, it is indeed common knowledge that the drought that has ravaged
most of southern Africa has taken its toll on the performance of the region'
s economies, including that of Zimbabwe.

      In our case, it is however important to note that our economy has been
in recession for the past three years.

      I do not dispute that the drought has had a negative effect on
Zimbabwe's economy, but let me be quick to point out that our economy was
already in dire straits before the dry spell.

      The reason for that underperformance is clear to all - poor government

      Yes, the natural drought has contributed to the country's problems,
but the real crisis in Zimbabwe is that of lack of good governance.

      Indeed, when all is said and done and we as a nation soberly assess
our problems, we will come to the conclusion that in Zimbabwe we have been
hit by a drought of good governance. That is where our problems lie.

      This man-made drought has been allowed to go on unchecked for years,
hence the seriousness of the situation we find ourselves in as a country.

      This is a drought that we cannot expect God to alleviate if we pray
for rain. This drought of good governance requires us as Zimbabweans to take
corrective measures through whatever means are legal.

      I stand to be corrected, but I want to argue that if Zimbabwe was
facing a natural drought only, our economy would not have been battered to
the extent it has been.

      Just taking a cursory look at the daily bungling by the government and
the ad-hoc policies being implemented reflects a serious lack of basic

      The examples are endless: the handling of the doctors', teachers' and
lecturers' strikes, foreign currency shortages and the imposition of a price
freeze only days after one Cabinet minister admitted price controls had hit
hardest on those they were supposed to protect - the poor and defenceless.

      The government has also not distinguished itself in the manner it has
prepared farmers resettled under its agrarian reforms for the 2003 farming
season. They have land but inadequate inputs, weeks after the start of the
rainy season.

      All these are clear indications of a drought of good governance.

      I won't even go into the way the chaotic land reform programme has
worsened the plight of ordinary Zimbabweans by slashing food production and
contributing to the present shortages.

      Lack of direct foreign investment, escalating joblessness, worsening
poverty and soaring inflation all indicate a leadership bereft of ideas to
run a sound economy.

      The collapse of Zimbabwe's health, education and transport systems,
among other services, all mirror a country hard hit by a drought of good

      So, when the story of the demise of Zimbabwe is told or written in the
future, we should not forget to record the 2002 drought or the drought of
good governance that has entrenched itself in our country.

      It is also important to note that this drought of good governance has
also manifested itself in legislation that has been enacted by the present
leadership to muzzle ordinary Zimbabweans by taking away their right to
express themselves freely.

      Legislation like the draconian Public Order and Security Act, and the
infamous Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act are clear

      Which brings me to a point I have stressed in the various social
circles I frequent - that Zimbabweans are not asking for anything out of
this world.

      They merely ask to be governed properly and to be provided with an
enabling environment that will enable them to prosper.

      To achieve this goal, Zimbabweans must bring about a form of rain that
will wash away this man-made drought of good governance. The challenge
cannot be any clearer.
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      The woes of a worker in Mugabe's Zim

      Reginald T Gola
      11/28/2002 (GMT +2)

      For a long time workers have been a source of both urban and village
civilisation and an inspiration for the youth, students and children.

      Every worker enjoyed some celebrity status in the family and the
community. The worker posed a challenge to the unemployed and fired them up
with the desire to get a job.

      Workers have been role models in the neighbourhood and beyond. They
have been fashion-guides and property owners. They, in the past, played a
very critical role. But gone are the days.

      The family and community heroes have died a painful death. Gone are
the days of meaningful working life in terms of rewards. Gone are the days
of heavy shopping for the immediate family and for the extended. Going to
the village was no big deal and it was celebrated at all times as those
goodies from town marked a favourable change of diet.

      The illegitimate ZANU PF regime has destroyed our true Zimbabwean
tradition of caring. It has wrecked our culture irreparably.

      Zimbabweans have learnt to curse visitors and the extended family due
to the erratic food supplies and the money that no longer buys much beyond a
box of matches.

      It has planted hatred between parents and children. There is no more
loving and cuddling. The rural folks are cursing the dried up wells of
goodies from town. They do not expect the well of goodies to dry-up when
their children still go to work.

      The children are now scared of the country bus terminus, the way to
the rural home. Going to the rural home is about going to deliver either
some agricultural implements or food for the rural parents but now that
money does not buy any more goodies, going to the rural home has become an
expensive luxury.

      Inevitably, hatred arises and the friendly spirits rise in favour of
the grieving, hungry and angry parents in the rural areas.

      Working in Zimbabwe has become the most unprofitable exercise. Loyal
workers have assumed a new identity. Misery, thinness, anger and hunger in
Mugabe's Zimbabwe.

      The lucky ones who could afford the restrictive air fares have escaped
this misery to Tony Blair's England. Zimbabwean workers are no different
from slaves as their earnings can only buy a little better than a box of
matches as of now.

      But, surprisingly, they have remained quiet. Yes, Mugabe's tools of
oppression and repression may be fully lubricated, but a point of life or
death has emerged.

      They are caught between a rock and hard surface in the scorching sun.
But Mugabe's big-belly thugs are still walking around masquerading as
democrats, looting more and rigging elections as evidenced in Insiza

      Health centres have become holocausts. Workers are dying in their
numbers from poor health.

      Mugabe's "Lord's Resistance Movement" has ruined hospitals and
industry. The workers have been exposed to abject poverty. Medical attention
has, of late, escalated by 700 percent despite the fact that the hospitals
now provide bedding only, just as lodges do, as dispensaries have remained

      The Zimbabwean "Lord's Resistance Movement" had shamelessly continued
to siphon the equivalent of United States one million dollars monthly over a
period of three years, as part of Mugabe and his cronies personalised
investment in the Congo war of fortune in support of an illegitimate regime
at the expense of the citizenry till a few weeks ago.

      Several thousand United States dollars are currently being invested in
the hire of the Black American Wailers Crusade (BAWC) as part of the
Zimbabwean "Lord's Resistance Movement" public relations international
atrocities cover-up strategy.

      Transport costs have become prohibitive such that the rural areas
excursions with food supplies have inevitably become imaginary.

      The Public Service Medical Aid Society has cried foul. It has
expressed concern to the "Lord's Resistance Movement" that its constituents
would not be able to cope with the ever increasing subscriptions and
suggested that the government introduces price controls on medicines.

      This is a role that, under normal circumstances, the trade union
movement should be articulating.

      Mugabe's Lord's Resistance Movement" chief of propaganda, Jonathan
Moyo has shamelessly lied that the high exodus of Zimbabwean economic
refugees was plotted by the British and the Movement for Democratic Change.

      This is a blatant lie as supporters of Mugabe's "Lord's Resistance
Movement" have always been in the stampede. Hence the existence of the
various dubious societies which are part of the regime's atrocities cover-up
international public relations strategies.

      The Zimbabwean situation has gone too desperate that the "Lord's
Resistance Movement" can no longer afford the cost of continuously bribing
its own people as is custom.

      Hunger, slavery, poverty, disease and misery have no boundaries.
Zimbabwean workers of all persuasions have abandoned what used to be top
profile and well paying jobs to join the economic survival stampede which is
said to be bringing the "Lord's Resistence Movement" an estimated 15 million
pounds per month from Tony Blair's England.

      In this way they have managed to keep families alive in Mugabe's
Zimbabwe as well as supplying the now almost official black market foreign
currency which is heavily patronised by Mugabe's "Lord's Resistance
Movement" for the Libyan SADC and Eastern bloc honey-moon trips since the
inception of the Western travel ban.

      Jonathan Moyo is a shameless ZANU PF apologist committed to undue
"West-bashing" to give Mugabe some borrowed comfort and time.

      He has claimed that Zimbabweans are subjected to slavery conditions in
the West yet the quality of life in Mugabe's Zimbabwe is currently second to
none, in terms of deplorability.

      Maybe to support Moyo, I should call it "Zimbabweans in voluntary

      It is a voluntary and most profitable slavery as compared to risking
being choked to death through hunger, poverty, bad governance, torture,
forced loyalty and high disregard for human rights.

      The worst slaves are the slaves at home, here in Mugabe's Zimbabwe,
who do not have the ruling "Lord's Resistance Movement" membership cards.

      The worst news that these innocent workers and victims of bad
governance would want to hear is "return to Zimbabwe" for as long as the
Zimbabwe "Lord's Resistance Movement" continues to rig the elections in
favour of the age-scorched Robert Mugabe.

      If Tony Blair's England, "Jonathan Moyo's Australian "Kangaroos",
Canada and Mbeki's South Africa had not involuntarily provided alternatives
for starving Zimbabweans, the Mugabe regime would have, by now, experienced
genuine stomach and head aches.

      It is Mugabe's cheap pride that makes him fail to applaud his
"Messiah" Tony Blair and others. It is the West's advocacy for good
governance that has caused this rift.

        a.. Reginald T Gola is an Organisation Development Consultant,
Legislative Consultant and Political Commentator. E-mail:
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      And now to the Notebook . . . Blank cheque for Moyo

      11/28/2002 (GMT +2)

      Sources tell Mukanya that Jonathan Moyo's lawyer, Johannes Tomana, was
given a roasting by the Supreme Court bench last week.

      Tomana was representing Moyo in the case in which the Independent
Journalists' Association of Zimbabwe wants the court to nullify certain
sections of the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA)
because it says they are unconstitutional.

      The sources say Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku was in an
uncompromising mood, quizzing Tomana on why Moyo wanted to be given a blank
checque under AIPPA to control and punish journalists.

      In one instance, Chidyausiku also demanded to know from Tomana why
journalists were being told to complete registration forms when the
government and its Media Commission have not yet set the criteria for how
one qualifies to be a journalist.

      The CJ is said to have said something to this effect: what if after
they have filled in the forms, you turn around and prescribe that for one to
be a journalist they must be a billionaire?

      Well, for a moment Mukanya was relieved that the bench was finally out
to reclaim the credibility that some believe has been snatched from it.

      Price freeze on ZANU PF membership card?

      Just a word to Industry and International Trade Minister Samuel
Mumbengegwi about his blanket freeze on prices of goods in Zimbabwe.

      He appears to have forgotten to clamp down on the price of the one
commodity without which it is difficult for anyone in Zimbabwe, especially
those in rural areas, to access any essential food commodity. The ZANU PF
membership card.

      It is Mukanya's humble advice to the honourable minister to ensure the
price of the party card remains affordable as ZANU PF militias have made it
a point that no one can buy maize, bread and many other essential
commodities unless they can produce the card.

      Slow puncture

      Reuters reports that criminal gangs in South Africa's prisons have
devised a new method of punishing inmates who refuse to obey orders.

      The gangs simply instruct some their members infected with HIV, the
virus that causes AIDS, to rape the disobedient inmates in a ritual known as
"slow puncture", so-called because a victim will die slowly over a period of

      Mukanya fears that by reporting this practice, Reuters may have put us
all into serious jeopardy because some people who love to wear dark glasses
and who work for a certain security department might just jump on this idea
as a way of punishing opponents.

      So be warned, Lovemore Madhuku, Raymond Majongwe and others. The next
time they get hold of you, they may just decide to slow-puncture you.
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      Stop insulting the people's intelligence

      11/28/2002 (GMT +2)

      NOTHING better demonstrates that the government of Zimbabwe lives on a
planet far removed from the problems facing this country than plans to
introduce a test next year to determine the patriotism of civil servants.

      The Public Service Commission (PSC) announced last week that it would
introduce measures next January to assess the patriotism of all civil
servants and those intending to join the public service.

      "People are just working without commitment to government policies and
those of the ruling party," said PSC secretary Ray Ndhlukula.

      "If we deliver service, we bring success to Zimbabwe. We want to
ensure that every citizen is served by the government and that is why we
want committed Zimbabweans in the civil service."

      Those found wanting, he said, would be sent for training and those
still unable to make the grade face dismissal.

      It's alarming that a regime facing enormous and complex problems such
as life-threatening food shortages and an economy in its third year of
recession can waste time on something as frivolous as this.

      Public servants are fleeing in their thousands for so-called greener
pastures, leaving the country's health and education sectors on the verge of
collapse, and yet the government seems determined to speed them on their way
through such senseless measures.

      As admirable as Ndhlukula's goal of ensuring that every Zimbabwean is
served by the government is, it's clear that this is not the way to achieve

      Since the government seems to define a patriot as one who supports the
ruling ZANU PF, we are faced with yet another system that has the potential
to degenerate into a mere witch-hunt for civil servants who have the
audacity to hold divergent political views.

      Millions of Zimbabweans could therefore be illegally discriminated
against through the loss of jobs, promotions and denial of service because
they support a party that is not ZANU PF.

      Reports that youths being trained under the controversial national
service programme are to be given top priority at tertiary institutions
raise fears that those public servants deemed to be unpatriotic could
swiftly be replaced by these loyal ruling party cadres.

      Given the alleged military nature of this national service training,
such a scenario raises the spectre of the government's gradual
militarisation and politicisation of all sectors of the public service as it
uses all means to cling to power.

      The PSC has to go back to the drawing board on this issue. The
demotivation and inefficiency within the civil service that the government
seems to have misinterpreted as lack of patriotism has a simple solution.

      The government must simply stop wasting precious national resources
trying to implement policies that do not address the real problems facing

      Public servants are demotivated because they are poorly paid and some
of them work under extremely trying and deplorable conditions.

      This and only this is responsible for the mass exodus of nurses,
doctors, teachers, pharmacists and other civil servants, as well as for the
devil-may-care attitude of many government workers.

      Only when these issues are addressed can long-suffering Zimbabweans
begin to enjoy first-class service from civil servants and only then can the
country see the success envisaged by Ndhlukula.

      Zimbabweans are concerned with life and death issues and it's time the
government stopped insulting their intelligence by dreaming up measures
supposedly to help the public but which are really meant to distract them
from their suffering.

      The government would be better served dumping this proposed patriotism
test in the trash bin, for that is where it belongs, and rolling back its
sleeves so it can come to grips with the real crisis devastating this once
prosperous country.

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      Food prices shoot up 100%

      Staff Reporter
      11/28/2002 (GMT +2)

      PRICES of basic commodities have shot up by between 50 and 100 percent
since the government imposed a blanket freeze two weeks ago on prices of all
goods, a sign, analysts say, that the Soviet-style clampdown will adversely
affect the consumers it is supposed to protect.

      A snap survey conducted this week by the Financial Gazette in Harare's
retail outlets showed that the cost of commodities had continued to
skyrocket after the state decreed that no manufacturer or retailer was
allowed to hike prices.

      Basic foodstuffs and other household essentials such as laundry and
bath soaps, most of which are in short supply on the market, recorded the
biggest leaps in prices.

      A 25-litre gallon of cooking oil, which only last week was selling for
less than $15 000, had shot up to between $25 000 and $34 000 this week,
while the price of a standard bath soap tablet jumped to more than $600 from
$300 in the same period.

      The cost of domestic appliances such as stoves, refrigerators,
television sets, video recorders and radios, most of them imported, also
went up by an average of more than 50 percent in the past week.

      However, commodities such as sugar, cement, seed and fertilisers,
which were already scarce on the market before the price freeze, began
slowly disappearing from shop shelves after the price clampdown.

      Shoppers interviewed in Harare told this newspaper they had planned to
take advantage of the price freeze to stock up on groceries for the
Christmas holidays but were shocked to see prices continuing to skyrocket.

      Margaret Karedza, a mother of two from Harare's Southerton suburb
said: "We wonder why the government even bothers to introduce the price
freeze when the next thing you find is prices have doubled."

      Industry and International Trade Minister Samuel Mumbengegwi, who is
in charge of price controls, could not be reached yesterday for comment on
the matter.

      But analysts said the price freeze was unworkable and that the
government should address rising costs of production if it wanted to halt
spiralling of prices.

      Economist Witness Chinyama said: "The government should address the
production costs first before it introduces the controls, which so far have
not been successful."

      He noted that the government did not have the physical capacity to
enforce the price controls.

      An economist with a Harare commercial bank said: "Price controls have
never worked anywhere in the world and it is clear they will not work in

      Finance Minister Herbert Murerwa admitted when he presented the 2003
national budget two weeks ago that controls imposed last year on prices of
basic foods had failed because they targeted the final product without
taking into account the entire production process.

      The minister also admitted that the controls had adversely affected
consumers, who they were supposed to protect. However, the government went
on to announce the blanket price freeze on all commodities a few days later.
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      Food aid deal collapses

      By Abel Mutsakani Deputy Editor-in-Chief
      11/28/2002 (GMT +2)

      A DEAL for the government to swap organic maize for genetically
modified (GM) grain to feed close to seven million Zimbabweans facing
starvation has virtually collapsed because Harare has insufficient maize
stocks, jeopardising future food aid, the Financial Gazette established this

      The agreement, signed two months ago between the government and the
United States of America, was supposed to result in Zimbabwe swapping
naturally grown maize for genetically altered grain from the United States.

      An initial shipment of more than 17 000 tonnes of genetically modified
maize donated by the US, enough to feed about 1.6 million hungry people for
a month, was supposed to be exchanged for a similar quantity of organic

      But the maize remains stockpiled at warehouses in neighbouring South
Africa's port city of Durban, two months after the government agreed it
should be brought into the country.

      A spokesman for the World Food Programme (WFP) in Harare, Luis
Clemens, confirmed that the maize, initially provided under the auspices of
the USA's Agency for International Development (USAID) but later handed over
to WFP, was still outside Zimbabwe.

      "An agreement was signed for 17 500 tonnes of USA-donated maize, which
was to be swapped for non-GM maize but that has not taken place yet,"
Clemens said yesterday.

      There was no comment from Labour, Public Service and Social Welfare
Minister July Moyo, who is in charge of food relief in Zimbabwe.

      But under the swap deal sealed in September, the WFP agreed to hand
over the USA-donated maize to the government, which would mill it and
distribute it to the public as mealie-meal.

      Harare would, in exchange, give the WFP 17 500 tonnes of naturally
produced maize which the international food agency could distribute under
its food relief programmes.

      The deal, which sources in the donor community say was intended to be
a model for future food imports, was a compromise solution after Harare had
objected to GM maize being brought into Zimbabwe.

      Harare, like other southern African governments facing hunger, says it
does not want GM maize to be distributed in Zimbabwe. It fears farmers could
plant it and endanger future agricultural exports, especially to the
European Union, which has strict laws against the import of GM products.

      The sources said the compromise deal was as good as dead because the
government did not have the non-GM maize to exchange with donors.

      Drought and a controversial government programme to take over
white-owned commercial farms has slashed maize production by at least 60
percent in the past year, making it difficult for the state to procure
naturally grown grain.

      Zimbabwe also has no maize reserves stored for emergency situations
such as the one it is facing.

      Sources said the government's lack of maize stocks could derail future
food donations especially since the USA is the largest single food donor.

      The USA contributes about half of all international emergency food aid
requirements, but refuses to separate GM and non-GM food arguing it is
harmless because Americans eat it.

      The USA announced this week that it had set aside US$104 million for
food purchase for Zimbabwe but did not indicate whether the food would be
bought from American producers or not.

      "This thing will not work anymore, not because the government does not
want it to work, but because it does not have enough non-GMO maize to
exchange and it is important to note that that also puts a big question on
what will happen to future donations if they are GMO," a senior official
with an international aid organisation said.

      Clemens however declined to comment on future GM food donations.

      But aid agency officials say the collapse of the swap deal could
hamper efforts to feed about 6.7 million Zimbabweans in need of emergency
food aid, whose numbers could swell next year if the El Nino weather
phenomenon hits southern Africa.

      The El Nino is associated with droughts in the region.

      "Past data had shown that this (El Nino conditions) could be
accompanied by a drop in rainfall in the south of the country and a
reduction in crop yields by between 20 to 40 percent," USAID's Famine Early
Warning Systems Network said in its latest report on Zimbabwe.

      The organisation has called on the government and aid agencies to step
up efforts to avert starvation as Zimbabwe's food security situation
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      World Vision Zim rescues 60 000 hungry children

      Staff Reporter
      11/28/2002 (GMT +2)

      DANDE - World Vision Zimbabwe has adopted 60 000 children around the
country as part of its efforts to stave off the starvation faced by three
million women and children because of severe food shortages, according to a
spokeswoman for the humanitarian agency.

      The organisation's corporate services manager, Marjorie Mutemererwa,
said the children World Vision had taken under its wing were below the age
of five and were being fed with corn-soya blend porridge everyday.

      She said: "We have set aside US$17 000 ($935 000) for the
supplementary feeding scheme from October to March next year. We purchase 21
tonnes of the porridge mixture on a monthly basis."

      Committees representing local communities have been created in all the
country's provinces to ensure that the food aid reaches intended
beneficiaries and also to enforce high standards of hygiene during the
feeding sessions, Mutemererwa added.

      She was speaking at Gonono village in Dande communal lands, 260
kilometres northwest of Harare, where World Vision last week delivered
another consignment of the emergency food aid that villagers have come to
rely on.

      The organisation is feeding more than 6 000 children in the village,
where the state-run Grain Marketing Board has scaled down maize distribution
from once a week to once a month.

      Villagers who spoke to the Financial Gazette at the World Vision food
distribution site said the more than 400 families in Gonono had to survive
on wild fruits between deliveries of consignments of donor food.

      "We burn the muchinyarota tree and take the ashes and combine them
with the usiga fruit to make porridge for our children," 78-year old
Catherine James, who has to fend for three orphaned grandchildren, told the
Financial Gazette.

      The usiga fruit is ground into porridge so that children can digest it
easily, while most adults eat it uncooked.

      Another villager, Siphiwe Charakupa, said: "We have to compete with
elephants for the usiga fruit, that is how desperate our life has become out

      Close to seven million Zimbabweans are in need of emergency
humanitarian aid because of food shortages caused by drought and the
government's controversial land reform programme, which has led to a 60
percent drop in food production in the past year.

      Under the agrarian reforms, at least 90 percent of Zimbabwe's
white-owned commercial farms have been taken over to resettle landless
blacks, destabilising the agricultural sector, the engine of the country's

      Aid agencies say three million of the Zimbabweans needing emergency
food aid are women and children, who face acute malnutrition.

      About 600 000 children need supplementary feeding between now and the
next harvest in March next year but the government has no foreign currency
to import food, while international donor agencies have been slow to respond
to pleas for humanitarian assistance.

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      Chinamasa wards off Mugabe, Makoni clash

      By Sydney Masamvu Assistant Editor
      11/28/2002 (GMT +2)

      JUSTICE, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Patrick Chinamasa
coaxed former Finance Minister Simba Makoni to resign from parliament,
averting a constitutional crisis and a confrontation between Makoni and
President Robert Mugabe, government officials said this week.

      Speaker of Parliament Emmerson Mnangagwa told the House on Tuesday
that Makoni and ailing former minister for health Timothy Stamps had
resigned last week, paving the way for the appointment of new ministers Amos
Midzi and Witness Mangwende as non-constituency MPs.

      While Stamps had long ago agreed to voluntarily relinquish his seat in
Parliament, the government officials said Makoni, dropped from Mugabe's "war
Cabinet" along with Stamps in August, was adamant that he would not resign.

      They said Makoni's intransigence had forced the government to delay
announcing Stamps' resignation.

      The sources said as late as last Thursday, Chinamasa was still making
frantic efforts to persuade the former Finance Minister to give up his seat.

      "There were a lot of efforts made by Chinamasa to get Makoni to
relinquish his seat, it was not an easy process, no wonder why it took so
long, up to the last day of the grace period, to resolve the issue," a
senior government official privy to the negotiations told the Financial

      "If the stalemate had extended up to Monday, we would have had a
constitutional crisis," he added.

      According to the constitution of Zimbabwe, only parliamentarians can
serve as Cabinet ministers, but ministers can be appointed outside the House
and given 90 days to formalise their status.

      Midzi and Mangwende were appointed in a Cabinet reshuffle in August
and their grace period expired last Sunday, about three days before the
November 21 and 22 resignation of Makoni and Stamps.

      Government officials said if Makoni had not resigned at the last
minute, Mugabe would have been forced to intervene and order him to do so,
otherwise Midzi and Mangwende, appointed Ministers of Energy and Transport
respectively, would have had to resign from Cabinet last Sunday.

      But according to the constitution, Mugabe could not fire Makoni from
parliament because he was appointed for the entire term of the House, which
expires in 2005.

      Only elected parliamentarians can lose their seats if they are
expelled from their parties.

      Since he was drooped from the Cabinet, Makoni has been attending
parliamentary sessions, while Stamps had long ceased to that.

      Authoritative sources say ZANU PF, through Chinamasa, was forced to
tell Makoni that he was brought in as a non-constituency parliamentarian on
the understanding that he was serving the government as a minister, and that
his status as MP would be revised if he was no longer in Cabinet.

      Chinamasa was unavailable for comment yesterday because he was
attending a Politburo meeting.

      Makoni however told the Financial Gazette recently that he was not
planning to relinquish his seat in parliament, but he could not be reached
yesterday to explain his sudden u-turn as he was said to have gone out of
the country on Tuesday.

      The former Finance Minister, seen by some commentators as a potential
successor to Mugabe, was dropped from Cabinet after he differed with ZANU PF
hardliners about the resolution of Zimbabwe's economic crisis.

      Makoni advocated depreciation of the overvalued Zimbabwe dollar and
the reestablishment of ties with the international community, policies
opposed by Mugabe
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      Assaulted UN staff were on govt duty

      Staff Reporter
      11/28/2002 (GMT +2)

      FOUR United Nations officials attacked by war veterans last week had
been mandated by the government to conduct preliminary investigations for a
survey to identify farm workers in urgent need of humanitarian assistance,
it was learnt this week.

      The government has accused the four officials of stage-managing a
scramble for food by throwing foodstuffs out of a moving vehicle and then
filming displaced workers jostling for the food.

      But a spokesman for the United Nations' Development Programme (UNDP)
told the Financial Gazette yesterday that the four, who were detained and
assaulted by war veterans at a farm in Melfort, 40 kilometres east of
Harare, were on a fact finding mission before the start of a survey in

      "The team was basically on a fact finding mission before a survey
involving the Zimbabwe government and the United States in January, to
identify farm workers in need of humanitarian aid," he said.

      "We carried out the fact finding mission because you don't organise a
survey without knowing what is on the ground to enable you to have
scientific evidence to base the survey on."

      UNDP resident representative in Zimbabwe Victor Angelo said the
Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare had approached the
UNDP to assist the government in carrying out the survey.

      "There is a request from the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and
social Welfare, which was made some few weeks ago for the United Nations to
assist in conducting a national farm workers survey," he told the Financial

      "The survey is intended to identify the country's most vulnerable
groups for assistance in commercial farming areas."

      He said the survey would still go ahead, despite the assault on UN

      According to the Zimbabwe Community Development Trust (ZCDT), which is
assisting displaced farm workers, more than 150 000 farm employees and their
families were displaced when their employers were evicted in August under
the government's agrarian reforms.

      ZCDT director Tim Neil yesterday said this number had increased since
August, although some farm workers had been employed by black farmers
resettled under the land reform programme.

      He said farm workers who had received their exit packages were moving
into urban areas to find work, while others were in need of urgent
humanitarian assistance.

      The government has taken over at least 90 percent of the country's 4
500 commercial farms under its land reform programme, slashing food
production by 60 percent in the last year.

      UN agencies say the agrarian reforms have combined with drought to
leave close to 6.7 million Zimbabweans in need of emergency food aid.
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Independent (UK)

Zimbabwe expels last Western reporter
By Basildon Peta, Southern Africa Correspondent
28 November 2002
President Robert Mugabe expelled the last European reporter from Zimbabwe
yesterday under harsh media laws introduced in March.

Stephane Barbier, Harare bureau chief of Agence France-Presse (AFP), has
been given until Saturday to leave the country after the government refused
to renew his work permit. Mr Barbier's senior correspondent, Griffin Shea,
was recently ordered out of Zimbabwe. Other European journalists, including
The Daily Telegraph's David Blair and the BBC's Joseph Winter, have already
been forced to leave.

Mr Barbier, 43, has worked in Zimbabwe since June 2001. He will move to
South Africa.

AFP is expected to maintain an office in Harare, staffed by Zimbabweans.

Bertrand Eveno, AFP's chairman and chief executive, condemned Mr Barbier's
expulsion in a letter to the Information Minister, Jonathan Moyo. He said
AFP had maintained a regional office in Zimbabwe for 22 years, acting always
in good faith and strict compliance with all laws and regulations of

Scores of Western journalists have been refused entry to cover specific
events in Zimbabwe under the draconian media laws.

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Daily News

      Typhoid fever breaks out in Harare

      11/27/02 8:49:32 AM (GMT +2)

      By Lloyd Mudiwa Municipal Reporter

      THERE is an outbreak of watery diarrhoea in some parts of Harare. One
case of the more acute typhoid fever has also been reported in the city.

      Dr Maureen Wellington, the acting director of the city health
department, yesterday confirmed there was an outbreak of typhoid fever
affecting a number of high-density suburbs in the capital.

      She said in the period between 11 and 17 November the number of
diarrhoea cases jumped from 47 to 155. But the number was declining,
indicating the city health department was managing to contain the outbreak,
Wellington said. The cases decreased to 121 in the period from 18 to 23

      Wellington said: "While the disease is common this time of the year,
we are calling it an outbreak because of the high number of cases we have
this time around."

      Wellington said most of the reported cases were in Harare's west and
south-west suburbs of Budiriro, Mufakose, Glen View and Glen Norah. The
typhoid case was in Glen Norah.

      Wellington said the disease was not sparing any group. "Those affected
are children and adults both male and female, almost in the same
 proportion," said Wellington.

      She said her department was still to determine the source of the

      "We are still carrying out investigations," Wellington said. "It could
be something that happened in that particular week when the cases escalated
and in the following one, but we don't know why."

      She said the cases declined because the city health department
followed up on all reported cases and gave health education, particularly on
hygiene, to the patients, their families and the surrounding community.

      Urging Harare's residents and people visiting the city to be hygienic
to avoid contracting the infection, Wellington said they should wash their
hands after using the toilet and especially before preparing or eating food.
Watery diarrhoea and typhoid fever are water-borne diseases. Symptoms of
watery diarrhoea are stomach pain, running bowels and very loose stools,
while typhoid fever is an acute infectious disease characterised by high
fever, rose-coloured spots on the chest or abdomen, abdominal pain, and
occasional intestinal bleeding.
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       Zimbabwe's wheat output to fall 62%

      Staff Reporter
      11/28/2002 (GMT +2)

      ZIMBABWE'S 2002 wheat output is expected to drop at least 62 percent
from last year to 212 000 tonnes, forcing the country to import an
additional 200 000 tonnes to meet demand until the 2003 harvest in October,
it was learnt this week.

      Wheat output is expected to fall from the 2001 final harvest of 340
000 tonnes to 212 000, making this year's harvest the smallest since 1991,
barely surpassing output during the severe droughts of 1992 and 1995.

      Monthly demand for wheat has in the meantime shot up from 30 000
tonnes to more than 40 000 because of a sharp increase in the consumption of
bread, which most Zimbabweans are substituting for mealie meal, the country'
s staple food.

      Mealie or maize meal is in short supply because of a large maize
deficit resulting from poor harvests.

      "The wheat harvest, which has started coming into the market will not
be adequate to cover requirements until April 2003, due to increased demand
of bread as consumers substitute wheat and bread for maize," the United
States Agency for International Development's Famine Early Warning System
Network (FEWS NET) said in its November report on Zimbabwe.

      "From the official estimates, a total of 212 000 tonnes of wheat is
expected," FEWS NET added. "The wheat harvest is 62 percent of the 2001
final harvest of 340 000 tonnes, which included 6 000 tonnes of wheat seed."

      The organisation said Zimbabwe would have to import at least 200 000
tonnes of wheat to ensure bread supplies until the October 2003 harvest.

      Zimbabwe already needs to import 100 000 tonnes of wheat, of which the
government says it has already bought 22 000 from international suppliers.
But as of September, only 2 500 tonnes of this was said to have entered the

      The government has pledged to import a further 17 000 tonnes to meet
the initial import requirement of 100 000 tonnes.

      FEWS NET said: "An additional 200 000 tonnes of wheat imports is
required in addition to the already committed 17 000 tonnes, to meet
requirements after April 2003 and before the harvest in October 2003."

      The decline in wheat output, partly blamed on drought and the
occupation of commercial farms by ruling ZANU PF supporters, is expected to
leave millions of Zimbabweans facing starvation.

      Close to seven million Zimbabweans are already in need of emergency
food aid and the figure is expected to rise if the El Nino weather
phenomenon, which causes drought in southern Africa, affects the region next

      Bread shortages have given rise to winding queues at urban bakeries
and supermarkets, which on Monday this week said no longer had flour on
their shelves and were not sure when they would next receive deliveries.

      Bakers' Association of Zimbabwe head Armittage Chikwavira said flour
shortages were so severe that bakers were operating without stocks.

      "We are no longer stocking any flour, what we are doing is that when
we receive the flour, it goes straight into the mixing bowel," he told the
Financial Gazette.

      "Tomorrow (Tuesday) there will be no bread because we have not
received flour from our supplier."

      Bulawayo baker Eddie Cross also said the Grain Marketing Board (GMB)
had refused to increase wheat supplies to millers in an attempt to conserve
its stocks and this had worsened the situation.

      Millers presently receive a weekly quota of 6 000 tonnes of wheat.

      "There is no increase in allocations of wheat by the GMB," Cross said.
"The increase in allocations to 8 000 tonnes a week has not happened, which
has caused a very big shortage of bread and flour. The GMB is worried about
wheat running out."

      GMB acting chief executive Joan Mtukwa could not be reached for
comment on Monday as she was said to be out of the office the entire day
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      Cloete bounces back as CFU president

      11/28/2002 (GMT +2)

      ZIMBABWE'S embattled white farmers have unanimously re-elected former
Commercial Farmers' Union (CFU) president Colin Cloete to head the
organisation, a few weeks after he resigned amid divisions in the union.

      Sources in the CFU said Cloete, who resigned last month, was reelected
at a meeting held on Tuesday to choose a new leader and will head the
organisation until its next congress in 2003.

      Mac Crawford, the chairman of the CFU's Matabeleland branch, was also
elected vice president in charge of provincial regions in what union
officials said was a move to incorporate representatives of farmers in
Matabeleland into the top leadership.

      There was no comment from Cloete, who was said to be attending a
council meeting yesterday.

      Cloete resigned in October following disagreement among members over
how the CFU should respond to the government's agrarian reforms under which
at least 90 percent of Zimbabwe's commercial farms were taken over in what
the government says is a plan to redress colonial imbalances.

      Facing eviction from their properties, commercial farmers could not
agree whether to continue engaging the government in dialogue or to
challenge the farm seizures in court.

      Cloete was accused by some members of failing to adopt a tough stance
against the government while others are said to have sided with him and
pleaded with him to rescind his resignation.

      A CFU official who attended the Tuesday meeting said: "The CFU told
him (Cloete) that 'we don't want you to resign' and the election was
unanimous. The union also felt that Matabeleland should be incorporated into
the leadership and elected Mac Crawford."

      David Hasluck, the CFU director, who also announced his retirement
last month, is leaving the union tomorrow after 22 years of service. The
union's deputy director, Jerry Grant, is expected to take over from him.

      According to statistics from the CFU, less than 1 000 of Zimbabwe's 4
500 commercial farmers are still farming, which will contribute to a
significant drop in output in the 2003 agricultural season.
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      Probe into release of expired drugs launched

      Staff Reporter
      11/28/2002 (GMT +2)

      THE Medicines Control Authority of Zimbabwe (MCAZ) is investigating
the re-labelling and release into the open market of antibiotics that
expired in October 2000, jeopardising public health, MCAZ director-general
Mafios Dauramanzi said this week.

      The antibiotics involved are known as Microdox and are used to treat
sexually transmitted infections and, if combined with Chloroquine, can fight

      According to MCAZ, a batch of capsules of the drug was mis-labelled
with an expiry date of September 2003, when it in fact expired in October

      The antibiotic, which should have been labelled as Doxycycline
Microdox, also had its name misspelt as Doxycyline Microdox before it was
released to the public.

      The misspelling of the drug's name triggered the suspicions of MCAZ
officials, leading to the present investigation, which has been undertaken
in conjunction with the police.

      MCAZ, which monitors the safety of medicines used in Zimbabwe, has
recalled the antibiotics from the market.

      The organisation, which will analyse the antibiotics to determine
their potential impact on users, issued a notice on Monday informing the
public that the drugs had expired.

      Dauramanzi said the manufacturers of Microdox, Microlabs Ltd of India
and its present distributor, Sky Pharmaceuticals, had not released the batch
in question to pharmaceutical outlets. The drug was also not released by its
past distributor, Graniteside Chemicals (Pvt) Ltd.

      This means the drugs could have been stolen from a hospital or clinic
and relabelled, he added.

      "These could have been stolen from a public (health) institution and
whoever did that repacked them and put them on the market but we do not
expect anyone to continue using them after we put the notice (on Monday),"
he told the Financial Gazette.

      "We are carrying out a full scale investigation with the police. At
the moment, I don't want to suppose anything before the investigations are

      He said the investigation would try to determine where the drugs
originated and who had relabelled them.
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      MDC to investigate army harassment of Binga villagers

      11/28/2002 (GMT +2)

      BULAWAYO - The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) will
send a team to investigate allegations that members of the Zimbabwe National
Army (ZNA) on a de-mining exercise in Binga are assaulting villagers in the
Matabeleland North rural area, accusing them of supporting the opposition.

      Officials at the MDC's regional office in Bulawayo said they had been
inundated with phone calls from villagers claiming they were assaulted by
members of the army on a de-mining exercise along the Zambezi Valley.

      Defence spokesman Lameck Mutanda yesterday said he could not
immediately comment on the allegations and did not respond to written
questions he requested from the Financial Gazette.

      But MDC spokesman Paul Themba Nyathi said Binga villagers had reported
that off-duty soldiers harassed and assaulted them frequently.

      He said: "We are dispatching a team to investigate what's going on. We
have received numerous reports of the activities of the army and one of our
Members of Parliament (Jealous Sansole) has been a victim.

      "This has to stop. We don't know why the army is doing this."

      Sansole, who was allegedly assaulted together with six other people,
was not available for comment yesterday as he was said to be seeking medical
treatment for serious injuries sustained from the beating he received.

      Police in Binga confirmed that the legislator made a report at the
area's Siachilaba police station, adding that investigations were underway.

      Joel Gabuza, the MDC parliamentarian for Binga, said members of the
ZNA were causing havoc and that many villagers had left the area in fear.

      "Sansole was beaten and I am sure if they find me, they will also beat
me. People are living in fear," he said.

      Nyathi said the MDC was worried by the activities of soldiers in
Binga, where villagers voted in large numbers for the MDC in the 2000
parliamentary elections, the March 2002 presidential poll and in rural
district council elections held two months ago.
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Daily News

      Low interest regime has hurt insurance industry - Zimre

      11/28/2002 (GMT +2)

      By Chris Mhike Business Reporter

      The low interest regime that has characterised the economy in the past
two years, has been retrogressive for insurance business, says the Zimbabwe
Reinsurance Company Limited (Zimre).

      Since January last year the Treasury Department maintained a firm
stranglehold on interest rates as part of a strategy to reduce the
government's exposure to the cost of borrowing domestically.

      The 23-month-long low interest rate regime of around 30 percent, and
at all times in the period below 40 percent, assisted government in the
first six months of this year to save $39 billion from interest payments.

      Other players in the economy were, however, in that period and beyond,
hurt by the interest policy.

      The insurance industry was one of the worst hit.

      In its results for the half year ended 30 June 2002, released this
week, Zimre blamed high inflation levels and low interest rates for
depressed group income.

      "The rising inflation rate had a negative impact on the group's
operating costs, particularly with the reinsurance costs and claims, while
the low interest rate regime depressed the group's investment income."

      Insurance companies thrive on investing policy holder funds in
property, money, or financial markets from which investments profits will be
reaped. The existence of a low interest rate regime in the financial or
money markets, therefore, entails low investments returns, that is, low
investment income.

      Pensions funds employ collected funds almost invariably in the same
fashion as insurance companies. They have been similarly affected by the low
interest rates.

      Epwell Chiweshe, the chief executive officer of Marsh Insurance
Brokers, last week said the pensions industry was under threat from the low
interest regime.

      "Employees are demanding the discounting of pension funds and
immediate cash payments to put their savings to more productive uses,"
Chiweshe said.

      The damaging monetary policy of low interests was, however, further
entrenched last week through the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ)'s monetary
policy statement, released by Dr Leonard Tsumba, the RBZ governor.

      Under the new monetary policy, the interest rate regime was dualised.
A low, controlled interest rate regime would continue to apply on export and
productive sectors, while interest rates for non-essential or consumption
borrowers would be subject to market forces.

      The practicality of this new system has since been questioned by
economists and academics. The likelihood for a respite to the woes of the
insurance industry from the new monetary policy is, therefore, seen as slim.

      The situation for insurance companies, says Zimre, is aggravated by
the general weak position of the Zimbabwean economy, as reflected in
numerous macro-economic imbalances.

      Zimre said: "The foreign currency crisis has further worsened and that
has been made even worse by the food crisis. On the other hand, the stock
market was depressed during the first quarter of the year."

      During the period under review, the group posted a gross premium
income of $5,8 billion and an investment premium of $14 billion.
Attributable income stood at $657,4 million.

      A company spokesperson said the results could have been better.

      "The investment income is contained due to regulatory requirements and
the need to maintain adequate liquidity to meet claims payments, therefore
the funds are invested in the money market where returns are low."

      Zimre's Reinsurance, Short-term Insurance and Life Company operations
contributed significantly to the group's total revenue, which grew by 134
percentage points from last year in the comparable period.

      To hedge against the negative impact of low interest rates on the
domestic scene, Zimre has embarked on a regional expansion programme.

      "Regional diversification could reduce country specific risk," says

      Zimre also expressed satisfaction at the shedding of shareholding
stakes previously owned by government.

      At the privatisation and listing of Zimre in 1999 the government
scaled down its 49 percent stake to 8 percent.

      Zimre announced earlier this year that the remaining 8 percent
government-owned stake was available for acquisition by existing

      In its outlook contained in the subject results, Zimre said:
"Disinvesture of the government from the company is a positive move and will
lead to increased shareholder value."

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Daily News

Leader Page

      Newsmen-turned-politicians not unique to Zimbabwe

      11/28/2002 (GMT +2)

      RECENT concerns from some quarters about the crossover of media
personnel into active politics may well be used as a pointer to how
democracy and free association are perceived in Zimbabwe and how they ought
to work.

      While it is true that it has the potential to raise ethical issues,
depending on how one looks at the matter, but largely depending on the clout
the individual concerned wields in that field (the media), it remains
something not as sinister or essentially an affront to all teachings
journalistic, as some people would have us believe. And in any case, this is
something not confined to Zimbabwe only.

      But then ours is still many light years away from the slightest hint
of being a democracy. Thus the complaints about the career crossovers could
point to the maturity, or lack thereof, in the discourse on democracy,
individual freedoms, constitutional liberties and other ideals enshrined
within the concept of democracy.

      Some individuals from the world's established democracies have made
that crossover with little fuss being raised about political loyalties back
in their day as scribes.

      It then becomes an instance of much ado about nothing when we hear
complaints here about journalists exchanging their pens for the political

      Did not a renowned journalist fall victim to the party's factional
fighting after attempting to contest on a Zanu PF ticket in the June 2000
parliamentary election?

      Were any concerns raised then on the same score that the latest furore
has been raised? Professor Jonathan Moyo was a regular newspaper columnist
before he decided to enter the political fray.

      Dr Nathan Shamuyarira was a highly respected journalist before he went
into politics, as was the late Justin Nyoka, who went on to become Permanent
Secretary for Information after independence. Priscilla
Mushonga-Misihairabwi, the MP for Glen Norah, is a journalist by training.

      But the issue of William Bango and Percy Makombe going to work for the
MDC and Grace Mutandwa joining the British High Commission becomes a
non-issue because in a genuine democracy, citizens ought to be able to
decide where and how they want to earn their bread, as long as it does not
involve extra-legal means.

      The crossover by Zimbabwean scribes is, in this regard, something
totally different in comparison with Silvio Berlusconi in Italy, a media
titan, who became prime minister through the use of his media empire to
reach out to potential voters. And vote for him they did.

      He is said to have won the country's top job through spending 20 times
more than his rivals, and this obviously by having that unfair advantage of
owning three national television networks. Italian state TV does not, as a
matter of policy, broadcast political advertising. As a result, Berlusconi's
opponents had to approach his networks to advertise their election campaign!
An opponent complained that Italy "is the only country in the world where
political parties must pay their adversary in order to run an election

      But amid the outcries here, could these then be justified considering
the limited influence the journalists-turned-politicians will have on how
news is reported and access to the voting public? After all, there are no
media gurus here who could use of the media to reach out to the public.

      But if at least some of the media owners who publish newspapers here
were to take that bold step and throw their hats into the political ring,
then perhaps the government media, from which those objections emerged,
would have a case. But then the gripes would be dismissed because the
political arena is for all citizens of any state that claims democracy as a
form a government, so they would be acting within their rights.

      The owners are mentioned here in reference to their clout to influence
news content, unlike the employees, whose brief is defined for them.
However, they would still be nowhere near those in the developed world, who
besides newspapers, also own television stations.

      There have been a number of media personnel who decided to go into
full-time politics, basing their career shift not on their unlimited access
to the media and therefore to voters, as apparently reasoned by some critics
here, but other ideals that they felt they were legitimately entitled to
pursue, being part of a democracy.

      Noli de Castro, a Phillipina broadcaster, turned to politics recently
after many years as a journalist, but it is only in Zimbabwe that one's
motives for making such a move are questioned.

      But this could be because the people involved in that change of
occupation were previously working for the private Press, which has been
blazing the trail as watchdogs of government's misdemeanours.

      One should not even waste time imagining how these journalists would
be perceived, had they joined the ranks of the ruling party. After all the
ruling party is home to a number of pre- and post-independence Zimbabwe
journalists, but their positions within those echelons has not raised any
ruckus. From Webster Shamu editing the Zanu PF paper, to Shamuyarira, to
James Makamba, to Chenhamo Chimutengwende. The list is so impressive one
wonders if it is always a bright idea to make that crossover, seeing what
the former scribes have turned the country into!

      Perhaps as an illustration, one of Africa's "favourite" sons, Joseph
Mobutu (later Mobutu Sese Seko) trained and worked as a journalist before he
gained power in the then Zaire, in the early 1960s.

      Did you know that Jerry Springer, the world-renowned no-nonsense talk
show host is a former mayor of Cincinnati? Talk about changing lanes! There
were reports last year of Cable News Network being interested in recruiting
former US president Bill Clinton as a talk show host. Albert Gore his vice,
defeated by George W Bush in the 2000 presidential election, was by July
2001 teaching journalism at some American university.

      So, where do Zimbabwean critics draw the line as to who should
practise as a journalist, who should be a politician, and when these two
occupations should merge or have a symbiotic existence? How many scribes
from the public Press have been incorporated into the private papers which
have been accused of having designs on regime change here?
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Daily News

      Motorists jump from queue to queue for fuel

      11/28/2002 (GMT +2)

      Staff Reporter

      FUEL supplies in Harare and most urban centres in the country have
remained erratic with long queues now the norm at most service stations.

      This was the situation in Bulawayo, Gweru, Masvingo and Mutare.

      A snap survey in Harare yesterday revealed that most service stations
had neither diesel nor petrol, while a few had diesel only.

      At a BP service station in Southerton, there was neither diesel nor

      A petrol attendant there said since Tuesday morning they had no fuel
but they were expecting deliveries yesterday.

      He said. "The situation here has not been that bad. We are receiving
supplies twice every week, but it's not much because we quickly run dry."

      A fuel attendant at Mwamuka Service Station said they had not received
any supplies since Thursday but they were expecting deliveries anytime.

      "We have telephoned suppliers, but they keep promising us. Fuel should
have been delivered on Tuesday, but there is nothing. We are just waiting,"
he said.

      At Lindale Service Station near the Boka Tobacco Auction Floors, along
Simon Mazorodze Road, there was a short queue of motorists. Petrol was

      An attendant there said: "Our last delivery of diesel was on Saturday
around 3pm. We don't know when we will get our next deliveries."

      There was a long queue for petrol at Murefu Petroleum Service Station
along Simon Mazorodze Road in Waterfalls. The outlet had no diesel.

      An official at Mobil said the supply was still erratic and

      "The situation is difficult at the moment, given the economic
situation. We delivered fuel to some service stations around the city on
Saturday, but the situation has remained critical," he said.

      Fuel stations in Mutare have for the past months been receiving
erratic supplies as the fuel blues continue unabated around the country.

      Most service stations in the eastern border city were dry, while only
two supplied the last of the stock of diesel they received last weekend.

      The city had been without adequate petrol supplies for the past week
and most motorists have been forced to park their vehicles.

      Speaking on condition of anonymity, a petrol attendant at one city
service station said the company had received alternating supplies of petrol
and diesel.

      Employees at most service stations said they were unaware when the
next fuel consignment was due.

      Most attendants at service stations in Mutare spent most of their time

      No immediate comment could be obtained from the State-run National Oil
Company of Zimbabwe yesterday, the main distributor.
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Daily News

      Youths try to burn mayor's house

      11/28/2002 (GMT +2)

      By Lloyd Mudiwa Municipal Reporter

      NINE suspected Zanu PF supporters attempted to burn the home of
Francis Dhlakama, the executive mayor of Chegutu, yesterday afternoon.

      Dhlakama, who was away when the incident occurred, said he suspected
the group attacked his residence following a report in yesterday's issue of
The Daily News.

      The story reported on a power struggle between Dhlakama and his
deputy, Phineas Mariyapera, a Zanu PF member.

      Dhlakama is an MDC member.

      Dhlakama said: "Three former MDC youths who defected to the ruling
party were identified as part of the mob. Apparently my house was attacked
because of the article that appeared in The Daily News.

      "This is very barbaric. One can only surmise that what was written in
the newspaper is true because if it was not, they would have said let's
fight it legally."

      He said the arsonists set fire to the grass surrounding his yard, 1376
Cattle Trail Road in Hintonville. The fire burnt the telephone line, before
the attackers stoned the window panes of the house.

      There were no injuries reported.

      Dhlakama said his mother, Bridget, who is in her late 80s, and his
mother-in-law, Mbuya Mutare, in her 70s, were at home when the assault took

      His wife, Adelaide, their 17-year-old son, Joseph, were also present,
he said.

      A police officer at Chegutu Police Station confirmed police officers
had been deployed to the mayor's house.
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