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Daily News

      Administrator urges food donors not to exploit recipients

      11/28/2002 (GMT +2)

      From Godfrey Mutimba in Masvingo

      MASVINGO Provincial Administrator Alphonse Chikurira has urged local
and international organisations offering humanitarian aid, including
individuals, not to abuse and exploit the recipients.

      Speaking at a workshop on Zero Tolerance Against Child Abuse and
Sexual Exploitation in Masvingo yesterday, Chikurira said: "There is need
for humanitarian aid, but it is unfortunate that increased humanitarian aid
is often associated with increased vulnerability of children, women abuse
and sexual exploitation."

      But he reiterated that the scenario suggested the need to increase
awareness so that people knew that humanitarian aid was not a privilege but
a right.

      He said reporting mechanisms must be put in place to enable aid
beneficiaries to know where to report to and who to approach.

      Chikurira said: "Disciplinary measures must also be put in place
against implementation partners - government and local authority officials
and aid workers - who use the aid to abuse and exploit children, women and

      He said as long as the authorities ignored child abuse and sexual
exploitation, children and women would continue to suffer and diseases such
as HIV/Aids would not be contained.

      Chikurira urged society to work hand-in-hand with law enforcement
agencies to curb the increase in child abuse and sexual exploitation.

      "Child labour, especially during these economic hardships, is on the
increase and those ugly happenings seem to go unnoticed by society while
legislation such as the Child Protection Act and other pieces of legislation
aimed at protecting children are in place their existence becomes useless if
people do nothing about it.

      "Law enforcement agents such as the police and organisations such as
the Child Protection Society will not on their own be able to detect all the
crimes related to child abuse and exploitation unless the communities and
individuals readily and voluntarily inform them whenever such crimes are

      In Masvingo province alone, there were 418 cases of rape reported in
2001, while 276 cases were reported by September 2002.
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Daily News

      Sharp division over politicising food aid

      11/28/2002 (GMT +2)

      By Luke Tamborinyoka Political Editor

      A SHARP division emerged in Parliament last night following a motion
by the MDC shadow minister for agriculture, Renson Gasela, in which he
accused Zanu PF of politicising food aid.

      Gasela alleged that Zanu PF had structures that were being used to
distribute food as part of "keeping a leash on the people of Zimbabwe".

      In his motion, Gasela cited several areas in the country where the
Zanu PF card was necessary for anyone in need of food.

      He drew jeers from Zanu PF MPs when he said Sithabisiwe Moyo of Binga
had died of starvation as the ruling party meted revenge for being rejected
by the people of that area.

      Zanu PF MPs shouted that he was lying to the House.

      "Binga is the worst affected by the politicisation of food aid. It all
started when the Tonga people exercised their democratic right and elected
leaders of their choice. They are being punished for it and now the
government wants the Tonga people to die," he said.

      Gasela said one MDC supporter had been summoned by Chief Chiwundura
and found guilty of supporting the MDC.

      "He will be sentenced tomorrow (today)", he said.

      Seconding the motion, Paurina Mpariwa (Mufakose), said the right to
food was a constitutional right and no-one had a right to politicise food

      "The Zanu PF card must not be a ticket to salvation," she said.

      Earlier, the Minister of Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement, Dr
Joseph Made, had said food aid must not be politicised.

      Jorum Gumbo, the Zanu PF chief whip and MP for Mberengwa West, accused
the MDC and some non-governmental organisations of using food aid to woo
support for the opposition party.

      Paul Themba Nyathi (Gwanda North) said Zanu PF was taking advantage of
the scarcity of food for political mileage.

      "Food has become the real currency but traditionally, food was an
instrument for bringing people together, not to divide them," he said.

      He called for a committee, comprising representatives of the MDC and
Zanu PF, the church and other organisations to be responsible for food
distribution in every ward.

      Meanwhile, Amos Midzi, the Minister of Energy and Power Development,
yesterday denied that Zimbabwe had pledged any immovable property as part
payment in the fuel deal with Libya.

      He was responding to a question by Tendai Biti and Priscilla
Misihairabwi-Mushonga, who wanted to know the nature of the fuel deal and
whether Zimbabwe had pledged anything, including land.

      Midzi said the fuel agreement was not a bilateral agreement, but a
commercial agreement between Tamoil of Libya and the National Oil Company of
Zimbabwe (Noczim).

      He also said the present fuel shortages were due to the long distances
between Ferruka in Mutare and the various distribution points throughout the

      Midzi informed the House that Tamoil Trading Limited and Noczim had
entered a partnership to establish Tamoil Zimbabwe (Pvt) Limited to be
involved in the procurement and distribution of fuel to retail outlets.

      "The new company, Tamoil Zimbabwe, is expected to introduce more
competition in the retail sector, as well bring a new brand of fuel on the
market, which will be friendly to indigenous players in the oil industry,"
he said.
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Daily News

      War veterans deny starving Nkayi villagers food

      11/28/2002 (GMT +2)

      From Our Correspondent in Bulawayo

      ZANU PF supporters and so-called war veterans have intensified their
reprisal campaign in Nkayi district in Matabeleland North against all
suspected MDC supporters by denying them access to food aid.

      This lends weight to recent reports by the Roman Catholic Archbishop,
Pius Ncube that some people, mostly MDC supporters, have died of hunger in

      Macala Mhlanga, the MDC constituency coordinator in Nkayi, who came to
The Daily News offices in the company of two thin and visibly starving
villagers this week said they were constantly denied food by some rowdy war
veterans, who accused them of being used by British Prime Minister, Tony
Blair and George W Bush, the American President, to cause "confusion and
commotion" in the country.

      Mhlanga said the situation was very desperate and needed urgent

      Siphiwe Nyathi, one of the villagers said her family was in serious
need of food assistance as she had been barred from getting food that was
donated by the World Food Programme because her husband was a perceived MDC

      "We are seeking assistance because Zanu PF is starving us saying we
are supporting the wrong party.

      "Food is distributed at their rallies at which no suspected opposition
supporter is allowed," Nyathi said.

      She said people were now depending on wild roots for sustenance. The
villagers, she alleged, were told by the war vets and Zanu PF officials in
the area that they would suffer the consequences of supporting a
"British-sponsored party."

      Ethel Nkomo, another villager who had a child strapped to her back,
said she was also denied food on the grounds that she was "grossly

      "We are accused of being sell-outs because we support what they call
an imperialist party bent on taking back the gains of independence to the

      "My child is no longer going to school," Nkomo said.

      However, Christopher Chuma, the District Administrator denied the
allegations of politicising food aid. He said they were all lies.

      "We are not discriminating against anyone, and that's a fact," Chuma

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Daily News

      MDC legislators threaten

      11/28/2002 (GMT +2)

      By Luke Tamborinyoka Political Editor

      THERE was heated debate in Parliament yesterday as opposition MDC MPs
vowed not ratify a trade agreement between Zimbabwe and the Democratic
Republic of the Congo (DRC) until full investigations are instituted into
allegations that top government officials plundered the resources of that
war-ravaged country.

      Allegations of looting against Zimbabwe's ruling elite are contained
in a recent United Nations report, in which the Speaker of Parliament,
Emmerson Mnangagwa, Defence Minister Sydney Sekeramayi and top military
officers are implicated.

      The two senior Zanu PF officials have since denied the allegation,
while the government has dismissed the report as "malicious rumours"
orchestrated by the British.

      Tendai Biti (Harare East) said Parliament could not be expected to
ratify an agreement justifying the illegal activities of top government

      "We cannot ratify the government's nefarious activities in the DRC.
The government owes it to the people to disclose the nature of their
business and who has been benefiting," he said.

      Giles Mutsekwa (Mutare North) said the government had disregarded the
UN report while DRC President Joseph Kabila had fired his senior officers
implicated in the report.

      "We want a full investigation. If the government is going to sweep
aside the UN report, we see no reason why we should ratify the agreement,"
Mutsekwa said.

      Job Sikhala (St Mary's) said senior government officials implicated in
the report had to be absolved from blame, otherwise ratifying the agreement
before investigations is like "ratifying theft".

      Harare North MP, Trudy Stevenson, accused the government of rushing
the ratification of the agreement before the relevant portfolio committee
had produced a report.

      The MP for Nyanga, Leonard Chirowamhangu, said there was no reason to
ratify the agreement until there was an elected leadership in the DRC.
"Otherwise the DRC government is a rebel government not elected by anybody,"
he said.

      Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga (Glen Norah) also urged the government
to wait for the political process taking place in the DRC and a stable
government before signing any agreement.

      But Zanu PF MPs who contributed to the debate said there was nothing
in ratifying the agreement. They said Zimbabwe had lost business
opportunities to other countries in Mozambique despite having contributed to
the attainment of peace in that country.

      "We did not enjoy from the peace we helped establish in Mozambique and
the same could happen in the DRC," said Bikita East MP, Walter Mutsauri.

      Kumbirai Kangai (Buhera South) and Shadreck Chipanga (Makoni East)
also said Zimbabwe should ratify the agreement so Zimbabwe benefits from its
four-year presence in the DRC.

      Patrick Chinamasa, the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary
Affairs, deferred debate on the matter to next Wednesday when the relevant
portfolio committee will have presented its report.
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Daily News

      MDC official injured in attack

      11/28/2002 (GMT +2)

      Staff Reporter

      A Zanu PF youth allegedly led about 20 uniformed members of the Youth
Brigade in an attack on an MDC official in Chitungwiza on Monday, seriously
injuring him.

      Agrippa Tigere, 32, the MDC's organising secretary for Ward 14 in
Zengeza 4, said:

      "Members of the Youth Brigade who were in uniform and led by Lloyd
Chando who lives nearby, arrived at my house while I was bathing. The
youths, who were armed with sticks, told my wife that they were looking for
'Charlie'. When she told them that she did not know anyone called 'Charlie,'
they harassed and beat her up. My wife sustained injuries to the right leg."

      Tigere said a neighbour's daughter warned him not to come out of the
bathroom as the group went round the house banging on doors and looking for

      He said: "I hurriedly put my clothes on and when the youths kicked
open the door, they said I was the 'Charlie' they were looking for. They
started assaulting me."

      Tigere said he has never felt safe since leaving Zanu PF for the MDC.

      Chando, who reportedly led the youths to Tugere's home and lives two
streets away, was not at home when The Daily News visited. Chando's mother,
Maria, who is unwell and was in hospital until last Friday, visited Tigere
at his home after hearing about the incident.

      She said MDC women had threatened to destroy her house in retaliation
for the assault on Tigere.

      She said: "I told them they can do what they want. As you can see, I
am not well so I can't do anything about it if they come and attack my
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Daily News

      ZCTU warning government over looming confrontation

      11/28/2002 (GMT +2)

      By Pedzisai Ruhanya Chief Reporter

      Workers and the government are headed for a confrontation over the
State's failure to manage the economic crisis, which has reduced them to
beggars, says Lovemore Matombo, the president of the Zimbabwe Congress of
Trade Unions (ZCTU).

      Matombo said yesterday the sentiment emerged from the current
countrywide consultations the ZCTU is holding with workers on how to deal
with the economic crisis and the government's refusal to hold tripartite
negotiations, meant to alleviate the workers' plight.

      "The information we are getting from the labour forums is that if the
government continues to refuse to hold the talks, it shows that it is
insensitive to the suffering of the people of this country.

      "The workers, therefore, suggest that the only way out is through
jambanja (protests). That is what the workers are saying. They are raring to
go," Matombo said.

      He said the labour forums, which started last week, would be completed
in the next two weeks, after which there would be a decision on how to put
into effect the workers' position.

      Matombo said: "We know how we are going to implement that decision.
What we are trying to do is to prevent the mistakes we made in the last
stayaway. We need serious consultations."

      In March the ZCTU admitted it failed to organise a mass stayaway to
protest against continued government harassment of workers and trade
unionists, after the controversial 9-11 March presidential election, won by
President Mugabe, but disputed by the MDC, the West and some regional and
international bodies.

      The umbrella union's leadership admitted then there had been poor
communication between it and rank-and-file members.

      Matombo said this time around, they were holding shopfloor meetings
with the workers to obtain their views on how the leadership could respond
to the economic crisis.

      "As long as the workers support us, we will implement their

      decision," he said.

      Matombo said the ZCTU leadership wanted the workers to come out with a
resolution on what they expected the union to do in view of the government's
obstinacy to enter into the tripartite negotiations.

      He said the ZCTU wrote to the government in July and followed this up
in August, but there had been no response. Another request at the end of
October did not elicit a response, too."It is the role of the ZCTU to
negotiate the poverty datum line with the government and employers, so that
we can protect the workers from the ever-rising inflation rate. The
employers are ready, but the government is not prepared," Matombo said.

      The official inflation rate now stands at 144,2 percent, the highest
since independence in 1980. Economic analysts put the unofficial inflation
rate at 300 percent - more than twice the official figure.

      The ZCTU's position coincides with that of other civic groups,
including the National Constitutional Assembly. That grouping of diverse
civil society organisations has called for confrontation with the government
over its poor governance and abuse of human rights.
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From Knight Ridder (US), 27 November

Zimbabwe food crisis is rooted in politics

White farmers' land seized, going to seed

By Sudarsan Raghavan

Nyamandlovu - Joseph Makosana, 48, is a black war veteran who fought to free his country from white colonial rule. He recently took over a white-owned farm, one of the thousands that once helped to feed southern Africa. Now, he's struggling to grow corn. Gerry Southey, 40, is a white farmer. Prime Minister Robert Mugabe's government seized his farm two years ago and gave it to poor blacks. Now, it's a wasteland. The man-made roots of southern Africa's hunger crisis are visible in the lives of these two men at opposite ends of Zimbabwe's controversial land redistribution policies. Although they were born into different worlds, both their lives are imploding from the combustible mixture of long dry spells, political turmoil, colonial wounds and shoddy economic policies. In a resource-rich nation that once was self-sufficient, half the population of 12 million is facing chronic food shortages. This also could worsen the crisis in neighboring nations that traditionally buy food from Zimbabwe, aid workers say. An estimated 60 percent of Zimbabwe's commercial farms have stopped producing because of government evictions, threats from militant war veterans or fear of arrest, according to the Commercial Farmers Union of Zimbabwe. The production of corn and other cereals has plummeted 70 percent this year, the United Nations says. The winter wheat harvest, the United Nations estimates, will fall as much as 45 percent. As a result, exports have plunged, bringing in very little of the foreign exchange the country needs to import food, aid workers say. Zimbabwe "would not be facing food shortages now if they had left the commercial sector to function as it had been before," said Andrew Natsios, the head of the U.S. Agency for International Development. "The disastrous decision to confiscate these farms tore up the one insurance policy the people had to get food."

Zimbabwe has been on the edge since 2000, when Mugabe, now 78, ordered the seizure of white-owned farms that were on property taken from blacks during British colonial rule. It was widely seen as a move to bolster his sinking popularity. White farmers, aid officials and Western diplomats agree that land redistribution is needed to undo colonialism's legacy in Zimbabwe, where whites make up 1 percent of the population but own 70 percent of the most fertile land. But they say the program's fast pace and Mugabe's hardball tactics have spawned violence and aggravated the food crisis. A dozen white farmers have been killed since the land redistribution campaign began in 2000, and nearly 3,000 have been evicted without compensation. At least 300 have been arrested, and Zimbabwe's parliament passed laws in October that make it even easier to seize white farmers' land. "Time is not on their side," Mugabe said on state radio. The United States and Europe have responded with economic sanctions and sharp condemnation. In October, Secretary of State Colin Powell blasted Mugabe for "the lack of respect for human rights and the rule of law" that has helped "push millions of people toward the brink of starvation." "It is absolute nonsense," Mugabe said, defending his land redistribution. "If anything, it's the only way to empower people to produce, not just enough for subsistence, but more. To enable them to enjoy life." But an estimated 150,000 black farm workers have lost their jobs, and although most of them are skilled farmers, they haven't received any of the seized land. Nor has Mugabe's government kept its promises to provide tractors, fertilizer, seeds, cattle and training, and Zimbabwe's 140 percent inflation has tripled the black-market prices of fertilizer, seeds and other goods.

Makosana, the former anti-colonial fighter, is proud to have a piece of the land that once belonged to his ancestors, but as he gazes at his untilled soil he sees a bleak future. The soft, red earth that surrounds his kraal, or homestead, in Matabeleland province is peppered with thin, mangled cornstalks. His granary is empty. On good days, he and his six children survive on black tea and one meal. Makosana's US$7-a-month government pension doesn't go far in these days of soaring corn prices. He and other war veterans who've settled on seized land nearby travel 100 miles south to Bulawayo to wait in long lines for food handouts. "Help us. We can learn how to get better," Makosana said in a tired voice dulled by months of hunger and dashed expectations. "The white farmers are necessary. They've got the expertise." In a normal year, Southey, the white commercial farmer, would be harvesting his crop of winter wheat now. He also used to grow corn, cotton, soybeans and sorghum. He exported flower seeds to the United States, Denmark and France. He had 120 head of cattle and 200 sheep. The cattle, sheep and flowerbeds are gone. On his 4,450-acre farm in Concession, north of Harare, tall, overgrown weeds sway in the wind. Goats are munching on the yellow grass, which used to be emerald green this time of year. Southey dismantled the irrigation pipes and sprinkler system. "It's a terrible feeling coming to your farm and seeing these people ruining it," said Southey. The farm, which was in Southey's family for four generations, has been carved into 14 plots. Businessmen and government officials loyal to Mugabe own some of them. War veterans occupy the remainder. Southey's black farm workers, now unemployed, want him to return because the war veterans have no money to pay them. Some militants have threatened them for accepting food, blankets and school fees from Southey, who wants his workers to stay on his farm and safeguard it. "This is where I was born. I have a right to live here," Southey said. "We've had a good 20 years here. We've built our farm up nicely. We've kept a lot of people employed. And we've contributed to the economy."

In the last growing season, commercial farmers earned US$800 million, 52 percent of Zimbabwe's export earnings. This season, that's expected to plunge to US$390 million as the farmers' share of gross domestic product drops to 6 percent from 14 percent, according to the Commercial Farmers Union. Price controls and foreign exchange restrictions have made matters worse, raising food prices and creating a thriving underground economy. The government has a monopoly on trading corn and other grains, which prevents private traders from importing grain. "Even people who have the money cannot go to the shop and buy food," said Robinah Mulenga, the head of the World Food Program office in Bulawayo. "It's not there." Malnutrition rates among Zimbabwean children are rising, and hunger is taking a toll on education. Children are dropping out of school to help their parents work in the fields, look after younger siblings or take care of sick relatives. "Some of the kids are falling asleep in the class because they are not getting enough food at home," said Abednegho Sapuka, the headmaster of the Mbuhulu primary school in the province of Matabeleland. "They are too weak to learn."

In some parts of the country, food has become a political weapon, according to human rights groups and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change. In Binga, a sleepy MDC stronghold on the shores of Lake Kariba, armed war veterans shut down for two months a Roman Catholic Church project to feed 40,000 children, claiming that the people who ran it supported the MDC. In other areas, Mugabe's ruling Zanu PF party is accused of doling out government-bought food aid only to people with party identification cards. Mugabe has publicly denied using food to gain political leverage. However, his deputy foreign minister, Abdenico Ncube, was quoted by the nation's independent Standard newspaper as telling starving villagers in June: "You cannot vote for the MDC and expect Zanu PF to help you." It's no surprise that scores of white farmers - many of whom backed the MDC - have moved to neighboring Zambia and Mozambique, which have welcomed them. Southey, who is thinking about moving to Australia, has appealed his eviction from his farm and is awaiting a court date. "Things can turn around quickly if law and order is restored and people are given a viable farming option," he said. "Give it another six months... . I don't know how quickly we can recover. The whole thing is collapsing quickly

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Millions facing starvation in Zimbabwe

Millions in Zimbabwe risk starvation as the humanitarian crisis in the southern African country deteriorates at "a dangerously rapid pace," according to the World Food Programme.

Food aid and supplies of grain imported by the government fell far short of immediate requirements to avert starvation, the UN agency said.

Acute shortages of corn, the staple food of the nation's 12.5 million population, have been blamed on drought and the government's chaotic programme to seize thousands of white-owned commercial farms for redistribution to black settlers.

"We are approaching the very worst period of the crisis when 6.7 million Zimbabweans will need food aid and yet the WFP does not even have the resources to meet our target of three million beneficiaries in November," said Kevin Farrell, the WFP chief representative in Zimbabwe.

"It is an extremely serious situation and it is only going to get worse," he said. "We will all have to work non-stop over the coming months if we are to prevent millions of people from starving in Zimbabwe."

The WFP said reports of children dropping out of school and families resorting to ever more desperate coping mechanisms were increasing alarmingly.

It said some families are surviving on wild fruits, some of which is poisonous.

Unless the flow of food is increased by every means possible "the suffering we are already seeing is only going to become widespread and more acute," Farrell said.

He did not mention deaths from starvation but said levels of malnutrition were worsening and cases were increasing of hunger related diseases such as pellagra, a chronic dietary deficiency that leads to diarrhoea and bowel

infections, skin eruptions and mental disorders.

Independent human rights groups and charities say hunger has hastened the deaths of vulnerable groups including the ill and HIV/Aids sufferers, the elderly and infants.

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Zimbabwe gives farmers two weeks to surrender their grain
Reuters and Bloomberg
November 28 2002 at 08:47AM

Harare - Zimbabwe's state- owned Grain Marketing Board (GMB) has ordered farmers to deliver their stocks of maize and grain within two weeks or it will seize them.

Farmers were "directed to deliver all corn and wheat in their possession to the nearest receiving GMB depot within 14 days from the date of this invoice", the board, which has a monopoly on grain trade, said on Tuesday.

More than half of the country's 12 million people are threatened by famine, according to the UN President Robert Mugabe's government blames the food shortages on a regional drought, while the UN says a state policy of seizing mainly white-owned commercial farms for resettlement by blacks has slashed supplies.

Mugabe introduced regulations last year giving the GMB the sole legal right to import and export maize and wheat. It ordered local producers to sell the commodities to the board.

The UN World Food Programme and international donors have criticised the GMB's monopoly of the grain trade and urged the government to relax controls so that food imports could reach the country more quickly.

Commercial farmers say that government supporters who
have seized the farms have left grain to rot in the fields.

"On one farm alone, the Retzlaff family lost 600ha of wheat after they were chased off their farm," said Wynand Hart, a spokesperson for Justice for Agriculture, a lobby group of white commercial farmers.

Zimbabwe's supreme court had reserved judgment on a local company's challenge against the GMB monopoly over all trade in the staple maize, state media reported yesterday.

Frontline Marketing had asked the country's highest court to terminate the GMB's monopoly and allow other players to trade in maize and wheat, the Herald newspaper said.

Zimbabwe's deputy attorney-general, Bharat Patel, told the court the instrument was necessary to protect consumers against profiteering in sales of the scarce commodities.

"In order to meet the objective of ensuring equitable distribution of maize at an affordable price, it is necessary to control the marketing of maize as prescribed by the [GMB] act," the Herald quoted Patel.

The US-based Famine Early Warning Systems Network (Fewsnet) warned last month that Zimbabwe's food crisis was deepening and millions more faced starvation unless they received food aid and the government eased its monopoly on the grain trade.

"The maize marketing system needs to be reviewed to allow more private sector participation in the marketing and distribution of maize to increase supplies, lower prices, and make maize accessible to starving people," it said.

The main opposition Movement for Democratic Change said Zimbabwe customs officials had impounded about 132 tons of maize the party had imported from South Africa.

Zimbabwe produced about 500 000 tons of maize this year against normal harvests of about 1.5 million tons.

The US, which has vowed to provide at least half of Zimbabwe's emergency food aid, has said that a further US$104 million will be given to buy 208 000 tons of urgently needed food supplies.

The food is expected to arrive in Zimbabwe between now and March next year, Independent Foreign Service reported yesterday.

Once the bread basket of southern Africa, Zimbabwe now needs food aid because of a sharply lower maize output.

The government says the shortage is because of a drought that has hit small-scale black farmers, who account for 70 percent of Zimbabwe's annual maize output.

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imbabwe: Media 'sows seeds of genocide'
A senior member of the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists (ZUJ), says government is sowing the seeds of genocide in the country by continuing, through the national broadcaster, to fill the minds of the nation with anti-white, anti opposition propaganda.
 Z. A senior member of the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists (ZUJ), says government is sowing the seeds of genocide in the country by continuing, through the national broadcaster, to fill the minds of the nation with anti-white, anti opposition propaganda.

Presenting a paper on ZUJ's position on the Broadcasting Services Act (BSA) on the weekend of 24/25 November, Kelvin Jakachira, a ZUJ national executive member, said ZBC radio and TV television was effectively delivering the message of hate directly and simultaneously to a wider audience. "We do not want what happened in Rwanda to be repeated here," he said.

Jakachira's warning comes at a time when the state media has stepped up its campaign to discredit the opposition MDC and the whites by labelling them as the source of Zimbabwe's misery. "Referring to MDC members as terrorists can actually give other people the excuse to attack them. Genocide starts on a small scale," he warned.
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Gold lures farmers from land

Sam Birukai

Harare - Hungry Zimbabwean farmers are abandoning their fields in search of
gold, raising the fear that the country will again not produce enough food
to feed its people this season.

More than six million Zimbabweans face starvation that aid agencies blame on
political violence that has disrupted farming on commercial and communal

The government, however, blames food shortages on the drought that is
affecting most of Southern Africa.

The landowners are deserting their newly acquired plots granted under the
country's controversial land programme in the hope that gold will provide an
end to poverty and hunger.

The new landowners say they have been waiting for the farming inputs
promised to them by government since they were "resettled" on farms formerly
owned by whites at the beginning of the year.

One such landowner, Tatovonga Chiremba (22), of Shurugwi was "resettled" in
the peri-urban area of Gweru in the Midlands province.

Waiting for seed

"I've been panning along with other new farmers since we were brought here
at the beginning of the year," he says. "We could be farming but the
government hasn't distributed seed and fertiliser yet so we have to look for
gold to make a living."

"Given the fact that we can make a living through panning we may abandon the
idea of farming if we don't get the inputs before the end of this year," he

The government recently legalised gold panning, under the banner of
indigenous economic empowerment despite environmental hazards the practice
poses and gold seekers are flocking to rivers, streams and abandoned gold

Their search is fuelled by the Central Bank's recent gold price increase to
Z$50 000 (about R8 300) per ounce. The bank has also set up a gold trust
fund to buy gold from the panners.


Entrepreneurs also cashing in on the "gold rush" by setting up tuck shops
and selling food and basic goods to aspiring miners.

Cornelia Mudzingwa, an informal trader from Matenda in Zvishavane in the
Midlands province says he can't think of a more rewarding line of business.

"Business is quite vibrant here. I am making a lot of money by selling food
and essentials like soap, maizemeal, sugar, cooking oil and oranges,"
Mudzingwa says. "We capitalise on the gold panners because every minute of
their time is working time. They live in the bush. This means they can only
buy from us even though our prices are exorbitant."

Mudzingwa says he's smiling because he makes at least Z$10 000 (about R1
600) profit a day.

Compared to the average low-income earners' monthly income of about Z$20 000
(about R3 300) a month Mudzingwa is a wealthy man.

Reputable businesspeople and senior government officials are also climbing
on the gold bandwagon by reportedly hiring people to pan for them.

There are an estimated 100 000 panners in the Midlands province alone.

Plots not taken up

Zimbabwe once had one of the most vibrant economies in Africa, but the past
three years have seen a decline and according to finance minister Herbert
Murerwa's 2003 budget speech earlier this month there is little hope for

The recession is widely blamed on government mismanagement and President
Robert Mugabe's controversial seisure of the white-owned farms.

Of the 4 500 white farmers only 600 have stayed on their farms since the
start of the programme two years ago.

The land was earmarked for "redistribution" of the country's poor but a
recent audit by a ministerial committee established that less than a third
of the allocated plots had not been taken up.

Critics say the new farmers lack the financial backing and infrastructure
needed to restore Zimbabwe's agricultural sector. - African Eye News Service
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 Logistics a key element of emergency operation

DURBAN, 28 Nov 2002 (IRIN) - A variety of issues - such as the controversy
regarding genetically modified (GM) food aid - have created challenges for
logisticians working to keep the relief pipeline for Southern Africa open.

Poul Skov is the World Food Programme's (WFP) logistic officer/port captain
in Durban, the entry point for the majority of food aid in the region.

Skov's office was just recently established, in fact it will only be fully
staffed and operational in December. At present he has to manage 60,000 mt
of various food aid commodities in the port. Maintaining the health of the
stock has become a major challenge.

"Our responsibilities are to handle all logistics services in Durban, [in
cooperation] with other entities. The [port] office is going to be
responsible for the dispatching of cargo to countries in need in Southern
Africa, to monitor the cargo we have [stored] here in port and to make sure
it remains healthy," Skov said.

Last week they dispatched about 4,600 mt of stock. "It has gone down,
previously we dispatched between 6,000 mt and 7,000 mt. This was partly due
to the situation in Zimbabwe, with the GM maize issue having halted the
transport of cargo to Zimbabwe," he added.

Monitoring the health of the stock has meant conducting daily inspections
and spraying to prevent moss and insect infestation.

"If you find infestation you have to arrange for fumigations of the cargo.
At the moment the stock is in horizontal storage in bins, this carries a
high risk of infestation. We prefer silos, it allows better management of
the health of the stock. But for reasons of congestion - the silo's are
full - we have to store it in bins," Skov said.

Delays caused by the controversy surrounding the acceptance of GM maize -
Zambia has rejected GM food aid while other countries in the region have
insisted GM food be milled prior to distribution - has impacted on the food
aid pipeline.

"It affects me in that the routine is bogged down, there's no off-take
[delivery] to the destination [the beneficiary countries]. It's a highly
political thing. There's 3,000 mt of maize sitting in [rail] wagons that was
meant for Zimbabwe, the GM maize may have to be taken off and stored in
silos somewhere until it is sorted out," he said.

Rail operator Spoornet would want its wagons turned-around as quickly as
possible so as to maximise their use and profitability.

"They may say it's okay [to keep the GM maize stored on the wagons] for a
while, but they will need their wagons soon," Skov said.

This could become a problem as further relief shipments were expected soon.
"Shipments are already en-route to Durban and, if worst comes to worst, they
will have to be diverted to other ports. Durban is one of the main points of
entry for shipments, feeding the [food aid] pipeline to the entire region
and the Relogs [Regional Logistics] office in Johannesburg has to manage the
food pipeline for the whole region," Skov added. This emphasised the need
for smooth operations in the port.

With stock pressures building in Durban, storing the food in "an adequate
manner, according to the manual of WFP" has become Skov's main focus.

Another challenge was dealing with transporters contracted to deliver food
as "they are private operators, so their aims differ from WFP". "But the
main challenge is keeping food healthy and getting them out of the bins and
into silos," Skov added.

"When you break the pipeline, you break the distribution [of food aid to
beneficiaries]. [It was vital] that we make sure the pipeline ticks over, we
do so in very close cooperation with Johannesburg - where the information
regarding needs is gathered - and my job is to get it [food aid] underway as
soon as possible," said Skov.
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      28 Nov 2002 16:17
      Zimbabwe food crisis worsening rapidly - UN agency


      By Cris Chinaka

      HARARE, Nov 28 (Reuters) - The U.N. World Food Programme warned on
Thursday that Zimbabwe's food crisis was deteriorating rapidly, with the
government and foreign aid agencies apparently unable to mobilise enough
stocks to feed millions of people.

      The WFP said there was a rise in hunger-related diseases, children
were dropping out of school and families were resorting to desperate
measures such as surviving on wild fruit to cope with shortages affecting
half the southern African country's population.

      "The humanitarian crisis in Zimbabwe is deteriorating at a dangerously
rapid pace," the WFP said in a statement issued in Harare.

      "At the same time, there is a growing concern that food imports by
both the government and humanitarian agencies are falling far short of the
amount required to feed the Zimbabwean people up until March," it added.

      Nearly half of Zimbabwe's 14 million people are facing severe food
shortages due to drought, although many people also blame the crisis on
President Robert Mugabe's controversial land reform programme which has
disrupted the country's commercial agricultural sector.

      The WFP says its food distribution operations in Zimbabwe have been
allowed to proceed relatively unimpeded, although there have been reports
that the government has interfered with other food aid projects with an aim
to prevent food from reaching its political opponents.

      The WFP said Zimbabwe's state-run Grain Marketing Board (GMB), which
has a monopoly on distributing food countrywide, has a limited capacity to
import enough cereal due to an acute foreign exchange shortage.

      The WFP and its non-governmental partner organisations managed to
distribute 20,000 tonnes of food to two million Zimbabweans in October, but
were struggling to get sufficient resources for the critical months ahead.

      "We are approaching the very worst period of the crisis, when 6.7
million Zimbabweans will need food aid and yet WFP does not even have the
resources to meet our target of three million beneficiaries in November," it

      "It is an extremely serious situation and it is only going to get
worse," said Kevin Farrell, WFP representative in Zimbabwe.


      The WFP said it faces a food shortfall of close to 200,000 tonnes in
Zimbabwe between now and March 2003, threatening its ability to reach all
the needy. The number of Zimbabweans requiring food aid is expected to rise
from three million people in November to 5.8 million by January.

      "We will all have to work non-stop over the coming months if we are to
prevent millions of people from starving in Zimbabwe. The government,
humanitarian agencies and the international community need to do everything
possible to increase the flow of food into the country, otherwise the
suffering that we are already seeing is only going to become more widespread
and more acute," Farrell said.

      The UN agency said nationwide, families and children were taking
extreme measures, in some cases resorting to eating wild fruit and poisonous

      Many children were going to school without eating, others were having
only tea without sugar for breakfast and wild fruit for lunch, unless their
family receives food aid, the WFP said.l

      Many more children have dropped out of school altogether, some turning
to work as casual labourers for survival. Most poor families around the
country were eating one meal a day, it said.
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Business Day - letter

Zimbabwe threatens SA's image


AS A native-born Canadian who has visited SA regularly for 30 years, for
business and holidays, I would like to express the feelings of many
Canadians about Nepad (the New Partnership for Africa's Development) and to
clarify further the statements of our high commissioner in a letter to your
newspaper (November 26).

There is strong resistance in Canada to giving large sums of money to Africa
considering the negative publicity about Zimbabwe and the SA government's
apparent support for the Mugabe regime. The opposition parties in Canada
have been forthright in their opinions on this subject and our newspaper and
television media have given wide coverage to these events.

The SA government has more than underestimated the strength of feelings of
Canadians as they look with disgust on the events unfolding in Zimbabwe.

Our high commissioner and your reports have failed to mention Prime Minister
Jean Chretien will be retiring in one year and there is no guarantee his
successor will be willing or interested in the Nepad programme since it is
basically Chretien's own personal agenda. A more balanced reporting of
events in Canada is required in SA.

Thomas A WardleTorontoCanada
Nov 28 2002 12:00:00:000AM  Business Day 1st Edition

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ZIMBABWE: Famine ''very close'', WFP warns

JOHANNESBURG, 28 November (IRIN) - The World Food Programme (WFP) warned on Thursday that the humanitarian crisis in Zimbabwe has deteriorated to the point where "we are very close to famine" among already weakened households, WFP Deputy Country Director Gawaher Atif told IRIN.

WFP had aimed to feed three million vulnerable people in November, but does not have the food available to reach that target. It will now have to prioritise who can be fed.

"In November we'll focus on the most vulnerable of the most vulnerable, it's a target population that already doesn't have any other source of food except WFP ... We are very, very close to famine here," Atif said.

The signs of extreme need are already evident. Wild foods, some poisonous without careful preparation, are being consumed. In food distribution queues, people are scooping up spilled maize kernels. School children are dropping out of class to find casual labour, levels of malnutrition are worsening, and hunger-related diseases are becoming more frequent, WFP said in a statement. 

Overall, the agency faces a shortfall of 200,000 mt between now and March 2003.

Although WFP's emergency operation has been 60 percent funded, it takes two to three months for those pledges to be translated into food on lorries bound for hungry communities.

Another reason for the shortfall, Atif said, was that the Zimbabwean government has not been able to honour an agreement to swap 17,500 mt of locally stored maize for genetically modified grain held by WFP that was to have been milled by the state-owned Grain Marketing Board (GMB).

The GMB, which outside WFP's operation has a monopoly on food distribution, has also struggled to import enough cereals to meet needs, due in particular to a lack of foreign exchange.

A total of 6.7 million Zimbabweans will require food aid in the coming months leading up to next year's harvest. By January, WFP had planned to increase its distributions to 5.8 million people in 57 districts, subject to the availability of relief supplies.

"We need more food," Atif said. "The situation is looking very bleak and that's the bottom line."

In the coming months, despite other potential hurdles like fuel shortages, WFP needs to increase its cereal deliveries to around 65,000 mt a month, "while the government must also rapidly increase its imports, since the economic situation has put more and more people at risk", the WFP statement said.

It added the nationwide shortages of maize, bread, milk and sugar has seriously affected members of Zimbabwe's working class, who do not meet WFP's selection criteria. The combination of commercial shortages, high parallel market prices and an accelerating rate of inflation, expected to reach 200 percent by the end of the year, was drastically reducing the capacity of those earning fixed incomes to feed themselves.

"The number of those in need keeps soaring and WFP cannot cope on its own. The gap needs to be filled both by the government, as well as by WFP and NGOs. Only a collective effort can hope to combat this crisis," the statement quoted WFP Country Director Kevin Farrell as saying.


Tel: +27 11 880-4633
Fax: +27 11 447-5472
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