The ZIMBABWE Situation
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Zimbabwe admits 'errors' on land


      A Zimbabwean minister has said that many of those given land since
2000 know little about farming and this has led to food shortages.
      The authorities have previously blamed hunger on poor rains, while
critics have pointed to the seizure of most of the country's white-owned

      Up to three million people will need food aid this year, the UN says.

      At the same time, the UN has criticised Zimbabwe for refusing aid for
people made homeless by housing demolitions.


      Deputy Agriculture Minister Sylvester Nguni was quoted in the
state-owned Herald newspaper as saying that while a few of those given land
were committed to agricultural production, many others were doing "nothing"
on the farms.

      Although he mentioned the poor rains, he also told a meeting of the
Zimbabwe Farmers' Union: "The biggest letdown has been that people without
the slightest idea of farming got land and the result has been declining
agricultural output."

      In a secretly filmed report for the BBC, villagers said they had only
been eating one meal of porridge a day since May.

      A woman said her two children had died after eating poisonous roots
because they were so hungry.

      Much of Zimbabwe's best agricultural land was previously owned by
whites, but over the last five years 4,000 white farmers - out of 4,500 -
have had their land seized and redistributed to blacks.

      Critics say that many of the beneficiaries have been government

      UN concern

      On Monday, United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan criticised the
Zimbabwean government for rejecting humanitarian aid to those in need.

      Earlier this year, the UN said about 700,000 people had been left
without homes or work by an eviction campaign that began in May.

      A statement by Mr Annan rejected claims by the Zimbabwean government
that it required no international assistance as it had already provided
shelter for those in need.

      "A large number of vulnerable groups, including the recent evictees as
well as other vulnerable populations, remain in need of immediate
humanitarian assistance, including shelter," Mr Annan said.

      "Furthermore there is no clear evidence that subsequent Government
efforts have significantly benefited these groups," he added.

      Annual inflation is running at 360% and about 75% of the population
live below the poverty line.

      Critics blame the disruption caused by the land seizures to the
agriculture-based economy.

      President Robert Mugabe has always accused western countries led by
former colonial power Britain of sabotaging the economy because of
opposition to land reform.

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Zimbabwe housing efforts delayed


November 01, 2005, 13:30

The Zimbabwean government says its efforts to construct houses for the
hundreds of thousands of Zimbabweans displaced by an urban clean-up campaign
are being hampered by rising costs and delayed government funding.

The government announced an ambitious programme in June to provide a million
new houses by 2008. This was after a countrywide campaign of shack
demolitions that left up to 800 000 people homeless. Earlier today, Kofi
Annan, the UN secretary general, criticised Zimbabwe for rejecting UN
assistance while "tens of thousands" of people remain homeless.

Annan's statement expresses concern that the government of Zimbabwe is
refusing humanitarian assistance despite months of negotiations between
Harare and the UN. Annan is dismayed that the Zimbabwean government is
rejecting the aid and points out that the recent evictees remain in need of
shelter and assistance.

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Should UK banks do business in Zimbabwe?

  TheTimes  November 01, 2005

            Michael Holman
            Standard Chartered Bank is arguably helping to keep the regime
of President Robert Mugabe afloat with what it calls an "offshore line of
credit" but which Zimbabwe's opposition leaders call a foreign loan

            Zimbabwe's opposition calls it an $80m foreign loan. Standard
Chartered Bank officials call it an "offshore line of credit". It is a
distinction with only a technical difference, for the effect is in my view
the same: Standard Chartered is effectively helping to keep the regime of
President Robert Mugabe afloat.

            Not for the first time, a London-based bank is caught up in a
battle for democracy in Africa.

            In the mid-1980s a group of banks delivered a mortal blow to
South Africa's apartheid regime when they refused to roll over Pretoria's
debt. Not long after, Barclays caved in and pulled out of South Africa,
prompted by a student-led boycott in Britain that had begun to dent its
profits and harm its profile.

            This time Standard Chartered Bank will be in the firing line as
Zimbabwe's exiled opposition demands an end to Standard Chartered's
involvement in a country which has become synonymous with suffering. As
Standard Chartered appreciates better than most, doing business in Africa is
seldom straightforward.

            Although Standard Chartered is today an Asia-dominated outfit,
with headquarters in London, it should know the continent well. The bank has
been operating in Africa for more than a hundred years, navigating the end
of colonialism, countless coups, and dozens of collapsing currencies.

            So there is a certain historical symmetry in the fact that
Zimbabwe, the first country - after South Africa - in which the bank opened
its doors, should today present Standard Chartered with what is arguably one
of the toughest decisions it has ever faced during its time on the

            Does Mervyn Davies, the chief executive officer, pull out of
Zimbabwe and risk reducing the prospect of being the link institution
between the growing economic might of China and the resources of Africa? Or
does he decide to stay in, hold his nose, and face the opprobrium of
onlookers, while doing business with a regime that gets nastier by the week?

            Any hope of continuing with a third option - staying in and
hoping that no-one notices - disappeared this week with the news carried by
China's Xinhua news agency.

            Standard Chartered, it reported, has secured offshore lines of
credit for Zimbabwe's industries. Now this is not in itself surprising.
Banks make money by lending money. But in Zimbabwe it can be argued that
foreign facilities provided by Standard Chartered are helping to keep afloat
a government regarded as one of the worst in Africa.

            "Securing offshore lines of credit" is a fancy way of saying
that Standard Chartered Zimbabwe branch is continuing to borrow abroad, on
behalf of local clients, and providing them with precious foreign exchange.

            A spokesman at the London HQ disputes this interpretation. The
$80m, he says, represents a capacity for short term loans to merchants
outside Zimbabwe who are doing business in the country. Either way, it seems
a distinction without significant practical difference: it is a financial
exercise which helps the struggling Zimbabwe economy survive. It is unclear
whether the money will help state-owned or private companies but the
distinction may be irrelevant in a country where private business must
kowtow to Mugabe to stay in operation.

            Whether for political or commercial reasons, news of the
disclosure of the $80m credit was not welcomed by the bank's London HQ. The
figure is correct, a spokesman acknowledged, but it was not bank policy to
make such information public.

            Did Standard Chartered London know about the credit? Yes, was
the reply and it was a normal part of doing business in Zimbabwe, the
spokesman said.. Did they help secure it? Again, the answer was Yes. Did the
Zimbabwe operation make a profit? Yes, said the spokesman, who added that
the welfare of the bank's 900 local employees was a paramount concern. The
bank can also argue, and does, that it is helping local businessmen - cotton
growers and the like - tp sell their produce abroad in difficult

            "This is a complex and difficult situation, especially for our
1,000 staff in Zimbabwe," a Standard Chartered spokesman saild. "One of the
bank's main considerations is to take care of the people who work for us. We
continue to provide the same service for our customers and care for our
staff as we always have."

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SOUTH AFRICA: A handful of Zimbabweans granted asylum

[ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]

JOHANNESBURG, 1 Nov 2005 (IRIN) - Just 86 of the thousands of Zimbabweans
who have sought asylum in South Africa have been successful in their
applications, according to immigration officials.

Zimbabwe has experienced six years of bitter economic recession that has
seen fuel, food, electricity, essential medical drugs and other basic
commodities become scarce due to a shortage of foreign currency needed to
pay external suppliers.

The economic meltdown has been accompanied by a political crisis following
the emergence of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change in 1999, and
characterised by claims of rights abuses and election rigging.

Neighbouring South Africa, a regional economic power, has increasingly
become the destination of choice for Zimbabweans seeking to escape mounting
poverty and hardship at home. Over the past five years over 250,000 illegal
Zimbabwean immigrants have been deported from South Africa.

According to the Department of Home Affairs, of the 8,000 applications for
political asylum filed by Zimbabweans to date, fewer than 90 have been
granted refugee status.

The South African policy of "quiet diplomacy" towards Zimbabwe and the
endorsement of controversial election results have been perceived by many
migrants as explicit support for Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe and his
ZANU-PF government.

Oliver Kubikwa, secretary-general of the Zimbabwe Political Victims
Association, told IRIN that "the South African government has been hiding
behind the economic migrants issue" as a reason not to grant refugee status
to the vast majority of Zimbabwean applicants.

An accusation that Department of Home Affairs spokeswoman Cleo Mosana said
was "simply not true".

Richard Sikakane, an official in the refugee affairs section of the
department, said there was a delay in processing refugee status applications
because of "a backlog of up to 130,000 cases [of asylum requests from
immigrants from various countries] waiting to be reviewed".

Home Affairs Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula told the news agency
Inter-Press Service that her ministry would clear the backlog within the
next six months.

One of the thousands of Zimbabweans hoping to receive refugee status in
South Africa is Tendai, a 33-year-old mother of two (not her real name).

After alleged political persecution in Zimbabwe, Tendai fled to
Johannesburg, South Africa, three years ago. Despite numerous visits to
immigration offices her application has yet to be processed.

She told IRIN: "This is the third time this week that I've been here ...
most of the time we are asked to queue the whole day, but nothing comes [of

Tendai said neither of her children could be enrolled at schools in
Johannesburg because they lacked identity documents.

For the thousands of Zimbabweans who have entered South Africa illegally,
being picked up by the police and detained at the notorious Lindela
repatriation centre is a daily risk.

A report last week on the findings of an inquiry into deaths at the Lindela
centre said many of the detainees who died had suffered from diseases such
as meningitis, and that most of the deaths could have been avoided if proper
medical care had been provided to the inmates.

Minister Mapisa-Nqakula said she had "observed a disturbing trend in the
frequency of these deaths, particularly during the months preceding the
establishment of the independent committee" investigating the fatalities at
the centre in August.

In total, 53 fatalities were recorded between January and August - 43 people
died soon after being admitted to the nearby Leratong Hospital and nine at
the holding centre itself.

Unofficial estimates say there may be over two million Zimbabweans living in
South Africa illegally.

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Zimsec Cancels Three Examination Papers

The Herald (Harare)

November 1, 2005
Posted to the web November 1, 2005

Midlands Bureau

THE Zimbabwe Schools Examination Council has cancelled three O-Level
examination papers following suspicions that they were leaked.

The cancelled papers are English 1122/01, Geography 2248/02 and Economics

A circular from the Zimsec deputy director Mr Elias Nhandara to headmasters,
regional and cluster managers on October 20 gave a directive that new papers
would be ready in two weeks.

The Minister of Education, Sport and Culture Cde Aeneas Chigwedere said that
there were suspicions that the exam papers were leaked when they "fell" off
a truck carrying them to regional offices in Mashonaland East and Manicaland
at the beginning of last month.

Cde Chigwedere said the papers were in a Stuttafords delivery truck hired by
the national secondary examinations board when they fell off and were run
over by several passing vehicles. He said drivers of a Zimsec car and a
security vehicle, which were following the delivery truck, noticed that the
papers had fallen off.

An audit was then carried out and it was discovered that 68 question papers
were missing.

"I was there when the audit was carried out and I remember in one of the
packets, 64 papers were missing while in the other one, four were missing,"
said Cde Chigwedere.

"The criminals who are selling the missing question papers can go ahead and
do so because it will not help in anyway. In fact, we had ample time to
reset and print other examination papers without even changing the dates of
the examinations," he said.

Cde Chigwedere said if there were any schools that had not received the
communication and proceeded to write the leaked paper, their papers would
not be considered.

"I thought every school had received the circular, but if it is not the
case, then those who wrote the leaked paper wasted their time. Their papers
are just going to be thrown into the bin and will not be considered," he

The circular also stated that the replacement papers would be written on the
same dates and time indicated on the examination timetable. According to the
circular, replacement papers for the English Paper 1 examination that was
written last Friday was only delivered on the weekend of 22-23 October,
further raising concerns that the late communication of the cancellation of
the examination papers might not have reached some schools.

"The English Language (1122/01) paper will be delivered to all Regional
Offices during the weekend of 22nd-23rd October 2005. Delivery dates for the
Geography (2248/02) and Economics (2283/02) papers will be advised in due
course," read part of the circular.

This is the second time this year that Zimsec public examination papers have
been leaked after another truck carrying June public examination papers was
reportedly hijacked in South Africa on its way to Zimbabwe.

The driver of the truck was allegedly beaten up and left for dead before his
assailants got away with the consignment leading to the postponement of the

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Gubbay to Chair Labour Panel On Mirror Saga

The Herald (Harare)

November 1, 2005
Posted to the web November 1, 2005


FORMER Chief Justice Anthony Gubbay will chair an independent labour panel
to determine the suspension of founding chief executive and editor-in-chief
of the Zimbabwe Mirror Newspapers Group, Dr Ibbo Mandaza, by the company's

Another member expected to be part of the labour dispute panel is Mr
Muchadeyi Masunda, an experienced arbitrator, according to sources close to
the Mirror saga.

Another member of the five-member panel is a chartered accountant.

Contacted for comment yesterday, neither lawyer - Mr Francis Chirimuuta of
Gula-Ndebele and Partners and Mr Joseph Mandizha of Mandizha and Company -
could provide more details of the panel they have agreed will handle the

However, the three were chosen by the Commercial Arbitration Centre in
consultation with both parties in terms of the court order.

Of the other two, one would represent Dr Mandaza's company, Sappho Holdings,
while the other would come from one of the companies he is suing, and that
would complete the composition of the five-member panel.

Mr Chirimuuta said the parties approached the Commercial Arbitration Centre
in terms of the court order but were in the process of finalising the panel.

"Certain names have been suggested and we are looking into it. Once we are
through with the composition of the panel we will look into the
administrative issues before the panel convenes," said Mr Chirimuuta.

Mr Mandizha said both sides were about to finish deliberations on the
composition of the panel.

He said names of the three persons critical to the panel have been

Mr Mandizha however, could neither deny nor confirm that Justice Gubbay was
tipped to chair the panel.

He said it was too early to mention the three members seconded to the panel
although the parties have agreed to have a retired judge of the High Court
or Supreme Court to handle the dispute.

Dr Mandaza is seeking to nullify his suspension.

Two weeks ago, Dr Mandaza took the company board to the High Court for an
order reversing the board's decision.

But in his ruling Justice Bharat Patel referred the case to an independent
panel to resolve the case.

Justice Patel said a retired judge chosen by consent of both parties should
chair the panel to look into the "propriety" of Dr Mandaza's suspension.

If any party feels unsatisfied with the outcome of the case, they could
approach the Labour Court or revert to the High Court for further recourse.

Dr Mandaza, in his urgent application, had sought an interim nullification
of his suspension pending the determination of the principal case arguing
that the ZMNG had no authority to suspend him because he was the sole owner
of the company.

He wanted the respondents and all their agents and co-directors barred from
interfering with his activities, and the group.

But the board, in its counter argument said that Dr Mandaza was suspended
after a properly constituted board meeting following the forensic report
published to the board by Ernest and Young auditors.

ZMNG, board chairman Mr Jonathan Kadzura, his deputy Mr John Marangwanda,
Zistanbal Investment (Pvt) Limited and Unique World Investments were cited
as respondents in the case.

The ZMNG is the publisher of the Daily Mirror and its weekly sister paper,
the Sunday Mirror.

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Greedy Cotton Traders Affect Nation's Reputation

The Herald (Harare)

November 1, 2005
Posted to the web November 1, 2005


GREEDY traders ready to accept almost anything farmers deliver and not
worried about grading are destroying Zimbabwe's reputation for fine cotton
built up by Cottco over decades.

Zimbabwe's cotton lint, for long considered top quality and rated as the
least contaminated on the international market, has deteriorated to being
one of the most contaminated origins.

The good quality lint, premised on emphasis on grading by companies such as
the Cotton Company of Zimbabwe, was the reason the country's lint attracted
premiums, largely because there was always a scramble for the lint.

Cottco chief executive Mr Happymore Mapara told farmers at the Zimbabwe
Farmers' Union congress in Bulawayo last week that the entry of several new
traders in the cotton industry had seen quality standards plummeting as few
were emphasising on grading the cotton.

"It is unfortunate that Zimbabwe has deteriorated to being one of the most
contaminated origins from being one of the least contaminated origins four
to five years ago.

"This has resulted in the premiums on Zimbabwe lint disappearing and
inevitably the bonuses our farmers have long been used to getting have also
vanished," said Mr Mapara.

Cottco has been paying farmers a supplementary bonus after getting premiums
for the top quality lint. But for the past two seasons, the bonus payment
has ceased as the poor grading or complete lack of it has seen the quality
of lint taking a massive tumble.

While the entry of new traders widens competition, the acceptance of
ungraded cotton at the same price as graded by some companies has resulted
in growers failing to realise the incentive of grading and removing foreign

Mr Mapara said it remained a challenge for the industry to collectively
bring back the quality product Zimbabwe is renowned for on the world market
so that farmers get better returns.

The quality of Zimbabwean lint has become just like that of any other
country competing to sell on the world market, with the scramble that used
to be associated with the country's lint having vanished.

The cotton industry, through the National Cotton Council is targeting a
record crop size of 400 000 tonnes in the coming season provided all players
honour their commitments and the rainfall pattern is favourable.

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Senate Candidates to Pay for Advertising

The Herald (Harare)

November 1, 2005
Posted to the web November 1, 2005


All political parties and candidates must pay for advertising on radio and
television during the Senate election campaign but have been offered a 30
percent discount on normal rates.

Regulations setting the rates were gazetted on Friday by the Ministry of
Information and Publicity using powers under the Broadcasting Services Act.

Radio Zimbabwe will charge between about $3,04 million and $6,584 million a
minute depending on time; Spot FM between about $2 million and $4,4 million;
Power FM between $2,224 million and $4,4 million; and National FM $4,13
million regardless of time of day. Advertisements of 30 seconds are half the
price of the minute advertisements.

Zimbabwe Television will charge between about $3,654 million and $9,414
million depending on time of day and week.

Other regulations gazetted on Friday remind all television and radio
stations that they must be guided by the provisions of the Broadcasting
Services Act when broadcasting election programmes.

ZBH must ensure that election programmes to be broadcast during an election
period shall include programmes to which political parties or candidates are
invited to present their election manifestos and policies to the electorate
without being interviewed, programmes to which there are discussions
relating to the elections, programmes to which there are interviews relating
to the elections and programmes to which there are parties or candidates'

According to the regulations, the ZBH shall ensure that contesting political
parties or candidates were given equal opportunities for the broadcasting of
election matter.

It shall also allocate advertising airtime or television and radio to a
political party or candidate during an election period after each party or
candidate contesting an election has paid the amounts stipulated for

On election broadcasts, the regulations say the public broadcaster shall
transmit an election programme in such a manner that the programme does not
follow immediately before or after another election programme.

An election programme should be transmitted during prime time and it shall
not broadcast any election programme that incites or perpetuates hatred
against or vilifies any group or person on the basis of their political

The public broadcaster would also be required to give the authority a
broadcast schedule for election programmes and recording dates for all
pre-recorded programmes for its station at least 15 days before an election

It shall not broadcast any election programme on a polling day and the
public broadcaster shall ensure that every election broadcast meets the
quality standards it set.

On election advertisements, the regulations stipulate that each of the
stations of the public broadcaster shall allocate four hours of available
purchasable time during an election period for election advertisement which
shall be distributed equally to interested contesting political parties and
candidates and shall take into consideration the number of constituencies
the party is contesting.

The public broadcaster, say the regulations, shall transmit an election
advertisement in such a manner that the election advertisement does not
follow immediately before or after another election advertisement and it
shall not edit or alter any advertisement submitted for transmission. It
shall also reject an advertisement submitted for transmission and shall
provide written reasons for the rejection of the advertisement within 24
hours to the concerned political party or candidate.

On broadcasting of news and current affairs programmes during the election
period, the regulations say the public broadcaster shall ensure that during
the election period, news and current affairs programmes relating to an
election are presented in a balanced, fair, complete and accurate manner.

Reporters and presenters associated with news and current affairs programmes
shall not present their own personal views on such programmes.

A record of election matter broadcast shall be kept by ZBH and it shall
contain the name and address of the representative of the political party or
candidate, transmission date and time, the duration of the programme and any
other information that the public broadcaster deems necessary.

On appeals, the regulations stipulate that any political party or candidate
contesting an election who is aggrieved by any decision of the broadcaster
may appeal to the BAZ giving the grounds for the appeal within 24 hours of
being notified of the broadcaster's decision. The appellant and the
broadcaster may be requested by the authority to make oral submissions and
the lodging of the appeal shall not exceed two days, and if the appeal is
not determined after that period, it shall be deemed to have been determined
in favour of the appellant.

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CCZ Calls for Boycott Over Rising Prices

The Herald (Harare)

November 1, 2005
Posted to the web November 1, 2005


THE Consumer Council of Zimbabwe has called for a peaceful boycott of
essential foods to protest against rising prices.

The call follows continuous increases in prices of bread, maize-meal, sugar,
cooking-oil, flour and soap.

"Consumers should boycott the price hikes by not buying the commodities.

"This is the only way the issue of continuos price hikes can be resolved. If
it means to eat porridge let's eat that," CCZ board chairman, Mr Philip
Bvumbe said in an interview.

He, however, urged the public not to be violent when embarking on the

"It must be a peaceful boycott. We don't want people to be violent. We don't
want people to misconstrue us and use this for their political image," Mr
Bvumbe stressed.

The council had already started consultations with groups such as the Bakers
Association of Zimbabwe to discuss the weekly increases.

"If we resolve that the increases are unjustified we will then seek police
clearance and people must be prepared to proceed with the boycott."

The council considered the current prices of most basic foods were

The CCZ was also working on a pricing model.

Mr Bvumbe also said the Tripartite Negotiating Forum was vital in the
current situation and urgent talks were needed between producers and the

During the past few weeks, prices of most basic foods have doubled or almost

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Sikhala unbowed by Tsvangirai suspension

New Zimbabwe

By Staff Reporter
Last updated: 11/02/2005 01:09:12
ST MARY'S MP Job Sikhala on Tuesday rejected his "purported" suspension from
Zimbabwe's main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party.

"I will not be suspended by Tsvangirai. My full response to this purported
suspension will follow," Sikhala said Tuesday.

Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the crisis-torn MDC, wrote to Sikhala on
Monday, suspending the outspoken MP over his reported remarks where he
alleged party officials were wrangling over a $500 000 donation from the
Nigerian and Ghanaian governments.

The remarks sparked a diplomatic crisis as Ghana and Nigeria angrily
rejected the claims, followed by Taiwan which Sikhala alleged made a $2
million donation to the party two years ago. Sikhala was later reported to
have apologised and withdrew the remarks, although he rejected this on

Tsvangirai's spokesman, William Bango said Sikhala was barred from
conducting party business or organising rallies while his fate was being

"He is barred from conducting any party business or organising any rallies
on behalf of the MDC pending a final determination of the matter on Saturday
(when the national council meets)," Bango said.

However, a senior MDC official opposed to Tsvangirai on the question of
participating in senatorial elections later this month told New
that the MDC leader did not have the power to suspend elected MPs.

"Tsvangirai has given himself sweeping general powers that he doesn't have.
The MDC has a disciplinary committee headed by the party's deputy president,
Gibson Sibanda, and any attempts by Tsvangirai to transfer the disciplinary
committee's role to himself or the national council further exposes his
limited understanding of basic rules governing the operations of the party,"
the official said, requesting anonymity.

New can reveal that a group of MDC officials and supporters who
have supported participation in the senate would be boycotting the national
council meeting called by Tsvangirai for Saturday. They say the meeting has
been called by Tsvangirai's camp to rail-road through his anti-senate
message and "legitimise his unconstitutional defiance of a national council
decision to participate in the senate elections."

Sikhala's stinging remarks are understood to have led to African diplomats
in Harare shunning any interaction with the MDC.

Tsvangirai regularly engages with African and European diplomats based in

Sikhala had also alleged that MDC funds had been misappropriated by senior
party leaders and they were now fighting to control a "thinning cake" as
donors begin to desert the MDC due to its perceived impotence.

Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa announced that his government would
immediately probe the MDC over the issue. Under Zimbabwe's Political Parties
Finance Act, it is illegal to receive foreign funding for political

Since only Tsvangirai had met with Ghanaian President John Kuffour, Sikhala's
utterances were immediately understood to refer to him as the official who
got money and failed to declare it to the party.

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Inflation blow for Zim housing


01/11/2005 12:56  - (SA)

Harare - Efforts to construct houses for the hundreds of thousands of
Zimbabweans displaced by an urban clean-up campaign are being hampered by
rising costs and delayed government funding, the state-run Herald newspaper
said on Tuesday.

President Robert Mugabe's government announced an ambitious programme to
provide a million new houses by 2008, following a countrywide campaign of
shack demolitions in May and June that left up to 800 000 people homeless.

But construction is said to be progressing at a very slow pace, with critics
saying the cash-strapped authorities simply cannot afford a housing
programme on this scale.

A group of legislators last week toured housing sites at Whitecliff and
Hopley farms in Harare where they were briefed "on the challenges being
faced", the Herald said.

"It was noted that the increase in prices of building materials due to the
current hyperinflation and erratic supply of cement were some of the major
challenges encountered," the paper said.

Zimbabwe's inflation rate is currently around 360%, one of the highest in
the world. It is predicted to rise to at least 400% by the end of the year.

At Hopley Farm, 924 plots for houses have been pegged but only 139 houses
have been roofed so far, the Herald said.

The report comes a day after United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan
said he was "dismayed" at the Zimbabwe government's refusal to accept offers
of UN assistance for those made homeless by the demolitions.

"In an official communication, the minister of local government, public
works and urban development stated that there is no longer a compelling need
to provide temporary shelter as there is no humanitarian crisis," Annan said
in a statement.

He said the minister's claim "directly contradicts" recent reports from the
UN and aid organisations in Zimbabwe.

"There is no clear evidence that subsequent government efforts have
significantly benefited these (vulnerable) groups," Annan added.

The independent Standard newspaper last week claimed that a list of
beneficiaries of new houses in the central town of Masvingo was withdrawn
after it was revealed that they were mostly senior civil servants and
members of the armed forces. - Sapa-dpa

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Provincial chairmen put board under spotlight

From cricinfo, 1 November

Cricinfo staff

Cricinfo has learned that Peter Chingoka, the chairman of Zimbabwe Cricket,
has been sent a letter by the country's provincial chairman outlining their
grievances with the way the game is being run. The letter was a result of a
meeting the chairmen held in Harare on October 21 and it outlines six areas
of concern.

Financial: The chairmen query the reason for ZC reporting a loss of Z$2,394
billion (US$415,000) during the year, why the balance sheet was not signed
by the chairman and vice-chairman, whether it was approved by the board, the
lack of breakdowns in expenditure, especially in areas where there were
massive increases, the ZC bank accounts, and about other unspecified loans
made by the board.

Constitutional issues: The letter raises queries about why the ZC
constitution has been, they claim, repeatedly flouted, why the president's
annual report, balance sheet and accounts were not circulated to each
affiliated association 28 days before the AGM as required, and how Chingoka
can "unconstitutionally hold his post as vice-chairman of Afro-Asia

Business and management affairs: The chairmen raised questions about the
purchase of an Outside Broadcasting Van, buses, truck and trailer, the costs
of running ZC cars, rumours of late payments to service providers, the
massive turnover of staff, the unexplained loss of qualified staff, money
paid for team-building seminars, and allegations of retainers paid to local
sports writers.

Marketing Department: The letter asks the board to justify this department,
and also to address various staff questions and how it was financed. It also
asks for clarification of reports that an employee of this department
absconded with US$75,000.

Cricket Affairs: The main concern centres on the Phil Simmons sacking and
other rumours involving coaching staff, why the Mashonaland dispute has not
been resolved, why provincial associations have no input into their staff
issues, why districts have not been given the financial assistance they were
allegedly promised by Chingoka and Ozias Bvute.

Player affairs: The chairmen referred to the divide between board and
players, and the ongoing unrest over central contracts.

The letter, which makes a number of other unsubstantiated allegations
against the board, was sent to Chingoka over the weekend. To date, Zimbabwe
Cricket has not responded.

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