The ZIMBABWE Situation
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Mnangagwa bankrolled plot against Mugabe, court told

Zim Online

Thursday 30 November 2006

      BULAWAYO - Ruling ZANU PF chairman John Nkomo has named former
parliamentary speaker Emmerson Mnangagwa as sponsor of a failed 2004 plot to
block the appointment of Joice Mujuru as Vice-President, placing her ahead
of the pack to succeed President Robert Mugabe.

      Nkomo, himself a dark horse in the race for Mugabe's job, told the
High Court in Bulawayo city that Mnangagwa and another party official
Sithembiso Nyoni funded the plot hatched at Tsholotsho in southern rural
Zimbabwe to catapult the former speaker to vice-president in rebellion
against Mugabe who had openly backed Mujuru for the key post.

      A vicious power struggle pitting two factions, one backing Mnangagwa
and another Mujuru, has rocked ZANU PF ever since Mugabe indicated in May
2004 that he would not seek re-election at the expiry of his term in 2008.

      "The people who were paying members of the Tsholotsho (ZANU PF)
district co-ordinating committee (to back Mnangagwa instead of Mujuru) were
Emmerson Mnangagwa and there was Z$2 million that was to be availed by
Sithembiso Nyoni in unclear circumstances," said Nkomo, testifying in an
ongoing defamation suit filed by the former information minister Jonathan

      Moyo, fired by Mugabe from the government after the Tsholotsho plan
was uncovered, is suing Nkomo and ZANU PF politburo member Dumiso Dabengwa
for $200 million for allegedly defaming him by falsely claiming he had used
the gathering at Tsholotsho to plot a coup against Mugabe and other senior
party officials.

      Nkomo, who denies defaming Moyo, told the court that if the Tsholotsho
plan had succeeded, it would have seen an almost complete reconfiguration of
the top leadership in ZANU PF and the government.

      According to Nkomo, ZANU PF and government first Vice-President Joseph
Msika would have been forced into retirement to be replaced by Mnangagwa,
while he himself would have been dethroned as party chairman in favour of
Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa.

      ZANU PF central committee member Thenjiwe Lesabe would have been
brought in as second vice-president, effectively blocking Mujuru, Nkomo

      Once ensconced in the position of Mugabe's first deputy, Mnangagwa
would have been assured of taking over power when and if the veteran
Zimbabwean leader stepped down.

      But Nkomo said the Tsholotsho plan fell through because of division
amongst its movers and supporters when they began haggling over money after
Mnangagwa allegedly paid some of his supporters in hard cash but failed to
pay others.

      When the Tsholotsho plot was leaked to Mugabe he immediately began a
purge against those involved, suspending six of ZANU PF's 10 provincial
chairmen before eventually firing Moyo from the government.

      Mnangagwa, who until Nkomo named him in court had never been directly
and publicly linked to the Tsholotsho plan, was demoted from the influential
posts of ZANU PF secretary for administration and Speaker of Parliament to
an obscure job as Minister of Rural Housing and Amenities.

      But ZANU PF insiders say the battle to succeed Mugabe is far from
decided and say it could be Mujuru, someone else or still Mnangagwa who will
take over from the 82-year old Zimbabwean leader who has been at the helm
since the country's 1980 independence from Britain. - ZimOnline

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Labour union demands US$9 million for tortured activists

Zim Online

Thursday 30 November 2006

      HARARE - The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) has written to
Home Affairs Minister Kembo Mohadi, Police Commissioner Augustine Chihuri
and 21 other police officers demanding US$9 million in compensation for its
leaders assaulted and tortured by the police last September.

      The union, whose leaders were severely assaulted for attempting to
stage anti-government demonstrations, says it will sue for damages in court
if Mohadi, Chihuri and the police officers fail to pay.

      In a notice to sue, union secretary general Wellington Chibebe and
fourteen others claim they were assaulted and tortured while in police
custody after their arrest in central Harare on 13 September.

      Of the total US$9 040 000 demanded by the trade unionists, US$5 360
000 is for general damages suffered by the ZCTU officials and the remainder
of US$3 680 000 is for unlawful deprivation of liberty for the whole group.

      The lawsuit is quoted in US dollar terms due to the run-away inflation
prevailing in the country.

      Harare lawyers Mbidzo, Muchademan and Makoni, acting for the ZCTU
wrote in a letter to Mohadi:  "The assault and torture was in flagrant and
deliberate violation of (our) clients' fundamental rights and in particular
serious violations of section 15 (i) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe,
Article 5 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 5 of the
African Charter for Human and People's Rights."

      Both Mohadi and Chihuri were not immediately available for comment on
the matter. - ZimOnline

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Mugabe fires top civil servant over fertilizer saga

Zim Online

Thursday 30 November 2006

      HARARE - The permanent secretary for agriculture Simon Pazvakavambwa
yesterday became the first casualty of Zimbabwe's sensational fertilizer
import crisis that has left some of the country's leading agricultural and
banking experts with egg on their faces.

      Pazvakavambwa's dismissal was announced by Misheck Sibanda, President
Robert Mugabe's chief secretary, who also unveiled Shadreck Mlambo as the
new head of the Ministry of Agriculture.

      "The Chief secretary to the President and Cabinet Dr Misheck Sibanda,
has announced the appointment by His Excellency the President, Cde R G
Mugabe, of Dr Shadrack Sariri Mlambo as permanent secretary for Agriculture.
Dr Mlambo, whose appointment is with immediate effect, takes over from Mr
Simon Pazvakavambwa," read part of a statement signed by presidential
spokesman George Charamba.

      The firebrand Pazvakavambwa, who has previously clashed with some of
the country's top leaders over policy matters, was ostensibly fired for his
role in the importation of inferior fertilizer from South Africa.

      He was part of a team that toured and tested samples of the product at
the Intshona workshop in South Africa.

      The fertilizer saga has sucked in the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ),
which financed the transaction.

      Pazvakavambwa, who has threatened to spill the beans about how RBZ
governor Gideon Gono and Agriculture Minister Joseph Made allegedly connived
to import 70 000 tonnes of sub-standard fertilizer from South Africa said he
had not yet been notified of his dismissal when contacted by ZimOnline last

      The state spy Central Intelligence Organisation is already probing
Gono and Made over allegations they may have received kickbacks to import
the poor quality fertilizer.

      A special parliamentary committee on agriculture has also said it will
soon begin questioning state officials involved in the fertilizer
importation scandal that farming experts have said could lead to a poor
harvest regardless of whether the country receives good rains. - ZimOnline

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Zimbabwe prison services broke

Zim Online

Thursday 30 November 2006

      HARARE - The Zimbabwe Prison Services (ZPS) is broke and is failing to
meet prisoners' basic needs, according to a report by Parliament's portfolio
committee on justice, legal and parliamentary affairs.

      The report paints a dire situation in the country's 43 prisons with
prisoners going for days without basic provisions such as food, toiletries,
and essential medical supplies.

      Of the 20 steam pots at Chikurubi, only two were working. The crisis
has forced the prison authorities to cut the number of meals from three
every day to just two.

      In addition, water cuts at prisons have become the order of the day as
the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (ZINWA) often cuts supplies because of

      "Water cuts by ZINWA due to non-payment of bills have become the order
of the day at prisons and this was unhealthy as it may cause outbreaks of
diseases such as cholera and diarrhea.

      "The committee appeals to Treasury to allocate enough resources for
such critical items to avoid water cuts as this could cause a health hazard
at such instutitions," read part of the report.

      The report says the Department of Prisons was only allocated six
percent of what it had asked for in the 2006 budget presented by Finance
Minister Herbert Murerwa last November.

      The department was allocated a paltry Z$17 billion against an initial
request of Z$283 billion. The department had to be allocated a further $1.6
billion last March to avert a looming crisis that had seen virtually all
prisons run out of essentials.

      The portfolio committee says prisons immediately need an additional
allocation of $2.5 billion to see them through to year-end.

      The prison service has also halted the building of a mortuary at
Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison in Harare because of a severe cash crisis.
The mortuary was due for completion last October.

      Earlier this year, ZimOnline reported that prisons in Zimbabwe were
facing severe financial problems to the extent that prisoners were going for
hours naked because of a shortage of uniforms. The government denied that
the story was true.

      President Robert Mugabe's government is hard pressed for resources as
it grapples an acute food shortage affecting a quarter of the 12 million
Zimbabweans and a severe economic crisis that has spawned shortages of fuel,
electricity, essential medical drugs among other key commodities. -

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Zimbabwe raises price of water by 1,600 per cent

Daily Mail, UK

Last updated at 17:15pm on 29th November 2006

Water shortages and collapsing sanitation facilities have led to outbreaks
of disease in parts of Zimbabwe.

The national water authority raised the price of water by 1,600 per cent,
one of the highest hikes in an economy with the highest inflation in the
world, state radio reported today.

The government approved the increase, starting in the capital on Friday, the
radio said.

The Zimbabwe National Water Authority had long argued existing tariffs had
little relation to costs, leading to acute water shortages, outages caused
by broken equipment and the lack of imported water treatment chemicals and
spare parts.

The increase outstrips current official inflation of 1,070 perc ent. From
Friday, households and businesses in Harare will pay 130 Zimbabwe dollars
(about 50 US cents; about 40 euro cents) per cubic meter (33 cubic feet) of

The tariffs will be reviewed every three months, the radio said.

Water shortages and collapsing sanitation facilities have led to outbreaks
of disease in several impoverished townships across the capital.

In recent months, in efforts to curb rampant inflation the government denied
requests by state water and power utilities to dramatically increase their

But daily water and electricity outages forced officials to back down.
Further increases are expected to be announced soon.

Government price controls on commodities, including bread, cooking oil,
sugar and gasoline, have led to shortages and a thriving black market for
the goods.

The National Bakers' Association said Tuesday the government refused its
pleas to double the price of a regular loaf to more than 500 Zimbabwe
dollars. It said the main bakeries were using cheaper packaging and had
stopped slicing loaves to save money.

It said many smaller bakeries had already gone out of business and bread
would likely disappear from the shelves altogether in coming months if a
price increase was not permitted.

Zimbabwe is suffering its worst economic crisis since independence in 1980,
blamed largely on disruptions in the agriculture-based economy since
President Robert Mugabe launched an often violent campaign to seize
thousands of white-owned commercial farms in 2000.

The International Monetary Fund has forecast official inflation could reach
more than 4,000 percent in Zimbabwe next year without urgent economic
reforms being put in place.

Neighbours Zambia, Mozambique and South Africa reported inflation this year
of nine per cent, seven per cent and five per cent respectively.

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More than 60 activists held, 40 beaten, claims NGO

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

JOHANNESBURG, 29 Nov 2006 (IRIN) - More than 60 protesting Zimbabweans, some
carrying babies, were arrested and at least another 40 were allegedly
assaulted by the police in the country's second city, Bulawayo, on

"The level of police brutality was shocking," said Annie Sibanda, of the
activist organisation Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA), which had organised a
peaceful march to mark the launch of a 'People's Charter', a declaration on
political and economic rights, and the '16 Days of Activism Against Gender
Violence', an international campaign running until International Human
Rights Day on 10 December.

Sibande said the demonstrators had congregated near the government offices
in the city centre, where they began reading out the People's Charter
compiled by WOZA, which calls on the state to provide affordable housing,
education and healthcare, when about 30 riot police arrived and started
arresting them.

She claimed that 63 men and women were taken to the Bulawayo central police
station, and another 40 demonstrators were rounded up and taken to a
neighbouring police drill room and allegedly beaten. Police then took six
demonstrators, including a woman who allegedly had her leg broken in the
drill room, to a public hospital for medical attention.

The police spokesman in Bulawayo said they were unable to confirm the
arrests and asked IRIN to telephone again on Thursday.

Since its formation in 2003, WOZA has taken to the streets regularly to
highlight the economic crisis, triggered in 2000 by Zimbabwe's fast-track
land reform programme. Unemployment levels have risen above 70 percent,
annual inflation is around 1,000 percent, and there are chronic shortages of
foreign currency, fuel and basic commodities. The government blames
sanctions imposed by the West for its economic problems.

Meanwhile, the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) announced on
Wednesday that it intends to sue the government for about US$5.3 million for
the alleged assault and torture of several of its members arrested during a
demonstration in September.

"We have issued a notice about our intention to sue. The state has three
months to respond," said ZCTU spokesman Mlamleli Sibanda. Fifteen ZCTU
members, including top officials, are each claiming between $239,000 and
$319,000. "They [the members] sustained varying degrees of injuries, and
some are still in plasters three months after the beatings."

The Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights (ZADHR) issued a
medical report confirming that the 15 were assaulted while in police
custody. Police have reportedly claimed the unionists sustained the injuries
when they tried to jump from a moving vehicle after they had been arrested.

"These were injuries consistent with beatings with blunt objects, heavy
enough to cause fractures [9 fractures in 7 individuals] to hands and arms,
and severe and multiple soft-tissue injuries to the backs of the heads,
shoulders, arms, and buttocks and thighs," the ZADHR said in a statement.

A recent Human Rights Watch report said the violent repression of civil
society organisations in Zimbabwe had intensified in the past three years
and cited the alleged assault of the unionists as an example.

Reginald Machaba Hove, chairman of the Zimbabwe Election Support Network and
also a medical doctor who initially examined the unionists, told Human
Rights Watch: "I was really shocked and taken back by what I saw. To me the
injuries showed that they [the unionists] were trying to protect themselves;
they were trying to protect their heads, using their raised arms."

IRIN was unable to get comment from the government. Zimbabwe's Minister for
State Security, Didymus Mutasa, told IRIN earlier this month that the
unionists had provoked the police into taking action. "One of the trade
unionists had attacked a policeman at a roadblock. So then the police told
the trade unionists, 'Now you are in our hands, we are beating you'. How can
people attack the police and not expect them to retaliate?"

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Zim's new budget aims to salvage economy


          November 29 2006 at 01:58PM

      By Godfrey Marawanyika

      Harare - Zimbabwe's Finance Minister Herbert Murerwa walks the
tightrope on Thursday when he unveils the national budget of a food-hungry
country groaning under record inflation and a ruined economy.

      Murerwa has the unenviable task of trying to stem 1,070.2 percent
inflation and a free-falling currency in an economy which has shrunk by a
third. He also has to tackle ballooning
      unemployment and poverty.

      "This time last year they (the government) said inflation would go
down, but what we now see is that prices are on average ten times higher ...
if not 20 times," economist John Robertson said.

      "Murerwa should also prepare for a bad agricultural season given the
shortages of inputs such as fertiliser and fuel. These shortages will have
to be factored into the budget as subsidies," Robertson said.

      Zimbabwe, once a model economy in southern Africa and a regional
breadbasket, has been in a tailspin for seven years after launching
controversial land reforms which led to a huge slide in agricultural output.

      The often forcible seizure of white-owned farms which were then doled
out to landless blacks often without any skills, tools or experience has
been fingered by critics as a major cause of
      Zimbabwe's present woes.

      Murerwa in July announced a $3,23-billion supplementary budget - at
the then prevailing official exchange rate - to last until the end of the
year after record inflation of 1 200 percent wreaked further havoc.

      Central bank governor Gideon Gono has blamed runaway inflation partly
on a high money supply growth fuelled by the free printing of currency to
service longstanding debts owed to the International Monetary Fund which had
threatened to expel Zimbabwe for its arrears.

      The finance minister in July had pledged to allocate ZIM$5 000 000 000
000 (about R142-million) to revive ailing manufacturing firms and
ZIM$500-billion to develop local products to cut down on the import bill but
they have not yielded any great results.

      ZIM$1 000 000 000 000 from the supplementary budget was meant for a
housing construction and small enterprises programme following a demolitions
campaign last year of urban shacks which left hundreds of thousands homeless
and was harshly condemned by the United Nations and the opposition.

      Calisto Jokonya, president of the Confederation of Zimbabwe
Industries, said that Murerwa had to now "come up with policies that are
going to encourage investment climate which is not looking
      good and tackle the floating exchange rate."

      He also said the state should remove price controls on a slew of
essential goods in chronically short supply ranging from fuel to

      Prosper Chitambira, an economist with Zimbabwe Congress of Trade
Unions, said Murerwa should significantly raise social spending to provide
succour to the common man.

      "The same generosity accorded to the defence and security ministries
has not been extended to social service ministries such as social welfare,
education and health," Chitambira said.

      The 2006 budget accorded ZIM$5,2 000 000 000 000 - or 12 percent of
the total budget - for health while defence spending was pegged at ZIM$4,3
000 000 000 000.

      That budget had a deficit of ZIM$13, 9 000 000 000 000 or 4,6 percent
of gross domestic product, according to Murerwa.

      Chiwoniso Chuma, a jobless mother of three, had a clear pre-Christmas
message for the finance minister.

      "None of the hospitals in Harare have any drugs, there are no text
books at the schools. Let's hope that he makes the income tax band wider so
that we'll have something during the holidays." - Sapa-AFP

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A Queue 7,2 Kilometers Long!

At the AGM of the Tourist Council the other day, we were debating the
conditions that confront the tourist industry in Zimbabwe and the subject of
the fuel crisis came up. One delegate, furious at the casual attitude of the
officials present said, "I have just driven into Harare and passed a fuel
queue that is 7,2 kilometers long!" Today as I left Harare after two days of
business, we passed a queue of mini busses - the main form of transport
here - that must have been all of 3 kilometers long. It stretched from the
filling station down the road and then across an open field and out of

I remember when the fuel crisis first emerged. At that time we were using
about 5,5 million litres of liquid fuels a day - 70 per cent diesel and the
balance petrol and other minor fuels such as aviation gas and paraffin. It
came in via the pipeline (3 million litres a day) and by rail from South
Africa. Government ministers promised us that the shortages were short term
and we would soon see things back to normal. 7 years later, the situation is
as bad as ever - with one exception, we can now buy fuel readily on the
parallel market from private sector traders who have moved in to take over
where the State has failed. When no alternative was available we either had
to drive across the nearest border or sleep in our cars in endless queues
outside empty filling stations.

The massive queues that we see here today are for fuel imported by the State
at artificially low prices using foreign exchange taken from exporters at
very low exchange rates. The current official exchange rate for example is
250 to 1 for the US dollar, as against almost 10 times that on the open
market. Using these funds the State imports small amounts of fuel, which it
then allocates to State enterprises, the security services and occasionally
to a filling station with Zanu PF links. The retail price is just under
Z$350 per litre as against Z$1800 to Z$2000 a litre on the open market.

The private sector does an amazing job of importing our fuel needs when you
realize that the pipeline no longer operates in any significant way and the
railways are dead in the water. We passed the huge marshalling yards outside
Harare today and there was not one wagon on the lines - not one, it was
completely empty.

When the MDC expected a clear victory in 2002 in the Presidential elections
(MDC won by a two thirds majority and were denied victory by State rigging)
we visited the major fuel firms to establish how quickly we could get the
situation back to normal. They appointed a small team to investigate the
capacities of Beira and the South African refineries and came back to us
with the estimate that it would take 3 to 5 months to bring fuel into free
supply. When the State finally gave in and simply allowed the "illegal"
importation and sale of fuel, the private sector had fuel back in free
supply in weeks. An astonishing performance when you appreciate that no
foreign exchange is allocated to this activity and there are no special
financing arrangements.

In areas where the State does not "allow" this sort of free enterprise,
there is simply no fuel. This includes key locations such as the Victoria
Falls and other tourist centers. At the Tourism Council meeting we urged the
government to open up the market completely - float the dollar to eliminate
the distortions and allow the private sector to supply all our fuel needs.
The Minister sat there silent and glum and when he responded he did not say
one word on the issue.
Right now there is another major battle raging between the State and the
private sector. The State is insisting on tight price controls to try and
halt the spiraling rate of inflation. That is a complete waste of everyone's
time and energies as the primary causes of inflation are the very activities
of the State that last year drove the budget deficit to 63 per cent of GDP!
With the printing presses running 24/7 at the Reserve Bank no other outcome
is possible.

So this week milk has disappeared off the market shelves, the weight of a
loaf of bread has fallen on average to 400 or 500 grams - it should be 700
grams. Cooking oil has disappeared and at least one major food company has
threatened to close its factories if the State does not ease up on this kind
of nonsensical activity.

Years ago I recall visiting Arusha, Tanzania for a major conference and when
I went into the town and visited the stores I found the largest supermarket
had 5 items on its shelves - I recall they were a few plastic containers,
some aluminum foil, some salt and beans and fruit juice in cans. Fully
staffed, I asked why no products - they just shrugged their shoulders and
smiled at me. Price and foreign exchange controls have done more damage to
the interests of consumers than any other policies since independence. Most
African States have moved on and adopted market driven exchange rates and
prices. Such shortages are a thing of the past - prices may be higher, but
there is no parallel market and inflation is under control.

An IMF team is coming soon - we expect to meet them and to discuss with them
the state of the economy and possible ways of getting us out of the mess we
are in. It is not a simple issue - there are many different aspects and they
must be tackled in an integrated and holistic way. Zanu PF is tearing itself
apart and seems totally absorbed in the issue of who is going to drive the
gravy train after Mr. Mugabe goes. In my own view this is a totally futile
exercise as this gravy train is going nowhere and is likely to derail in a
big way next year. Certainly I see no sign of the regime coming to its
senses and starting to make the tough decisions that would be required to
get us back on track.

I saw a couple of days ago that 10,3 million "visitors" to South Africa have
not left the country after entry. Over 2 million have been deported but what
about the millions who are not recorded anywhere? I was in Johannesburg on
business last week and had meals in five different restaurants - in every
one of them Zimbabweans working there in one capacity or another greeted me.
It is easy to believe that over 3 million Zimbabweans now live in South
Africa illegally.

Last week there was an outcry in South Africa over statistics - just how
many murders are committed there each year? The Police statistics point to
declining numbers with the total falling through the 20 000 ceiling at last.
However the Medical Council stated last week that their own figures put it
well over 30 000 a year. Whatever the true numbers - Southern Africa is
making the headlines for all the wrong reasons. Zimbabwe as a failed State -
South Africa as the crime destination of the world. The link between these
two tragedies has surely occurred to someone in authority in Pretoria?

Eddie Cross
Bulawayo30th November 2006

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Brainwashing camp awaits Harare journalists


      Basildon Peta
          November 29 2006 at 04:29AM

      Prospective journalists in Zimbabwe will now be required to first
complete a controversial national youth service training programme before
they are enrolled in the government's main journalism training school,
according to a new Zimbabwe government directive.

      The national youth service training programme has been accused by
Zimbabwe government critics of brainwashing youths into becoming overzealous
supporters of President Robert Mugabe.

      A secretly filmed BBC documentary in 2003 showed how the youths were
grilled in military tactics and drugged at training camps before being
unleashed on opposition supporters.

      Aspiring journalists will now first have to undergo training at such
centres before being allowed to enroll at the government's main journalism
school at the Harare Polytechnic, according to a written directive issued to
the school by the government's Media and Information Commission (MIC).

      The Harare Polytechnic's division of mass communication has produced
more than 90 percent of journalists currently working in Zimbabwe.

      It is understood the directive has caused much unhappiness within the
Harare polytechnic, but senior administrative staff and lecturers are afraid
to publicly express their views.

      The Zimbabwe government is also pushing a revised bill that will
enable it to intercept communications and issue directives to Internet
service providers to block certain sites.

      The Interception of Communications Bill will also empower state agents
to open private mail.

      This article was originally published on page 2 of Pretoria News on
November 29, 2006

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First they censored the letters, then the internet, and now, cellphones

Yesterday I wrote about how certain progressive organizations used purple prose to exaggerate what happened in Haiti, and commented that they were making things worse when they painted thugs who used politics as an excuse for their gangsterism as human rights martyrs.

The “flip” side of the picture can be seen in Zimbabwe, where outside reporters are often not allowed inside to investigate that country, outside NGO’s are limited in access even when delivering needed humanitarian supplies, local newspapers are shut down, reporters censored, and ordinarly people are afraid to write about the problems they face because the mail and emails are monitored by the government.

Zimbabwe is trying to stop NGO’s, churches, reporters and others from doing reporting of the deteriorating economic situation in that country, where the UN estimates half of the 12 million population are facing a food shortage and a shortage of basic supplies due to a lack of  currency to pay their bills.

Yet Zimbabwe has enough money to purchase an Internet monitoring system from China to censor the fledgling Internet in that country. The next step:Cellphones

The latest effort to plug holes in reporting the situation is the attempt of the government to intercept cellphone calls , which the Zim army calls a national security risk.

“”We want to listen, to make sure the nation is safe. If we liberalize the gateways then it means there would be a group of people who would communicate without our knowledge,” Chineka was quoted as saying by the government-controlled daily Mirror…”

But unlike net censorship or US/EU snooping into groups whose open aim is violent terror against civilians, the censorship in Zimbabwe is aimed at preventing the bad news from getting out.

And the news that comes out is increasingly bad in a country that is going from bad to worse to even more destitute not due to war or natural disaster, but from deliberate government mismanagement and neglect, according to Archbishop Ncube of Bulawayo, who is in London raising money for HIV treatment.

And, indeed, to those of us following the news , the situation is indeed grim. The best workers have already left the country legally or illegally, many going to South Africa. The poor harvests continue, partly due to drought, lack of fertilizer and irrigation and the emigration of the loss of skilled farmers (both black and white), but mostly due to the fact that under the guise of “land reform”, the government has confiscated the large white farms that produced much of the food consumed by urban dwellers, and instead of giving the farms to the workers and compensating the farmers, as was done here in the Philippines, the workers were often chased off and the farms awarded to the cronies of the president…men who knew little and cared less on how to properly run a large farming operation.
As a result, Zimbabwe, which for years had exported grain and other agricultural commodities, is now forced to import food, much of it from international donors, since the economy is in collapse and the government has trouble paying their debts.

The situation is deteriorating; the VOA reports United Nations Deputy Secretary General Mark Malloch Brownis worried about the deteriorating situation in that country, and implied he would like the international community to intervene to help prevent the humanitarian crisis and lack of food and essential supplies, and also notes the deteriorating human rights situation.

Walter Mzembi, a ZANU-PF parliamentarian at the meeting, said Brown was misled by biased reporting.

You see, as long as the government can deny the famine and economic problems, they can pretend everything is fine. Hence the increased attempt to stop negative news reports from filtering out of that country.

Sokwanele , a local human rights group, reports not only is the local Zimbabwean press censored, but the South African press has apparently blacklisted certain Zimbabwean reporters and commentators who oppose the government, including Archbishop Ncube.
Nancy Reyes is a retired physician who lives in the rural Philippines with her husband and extended family. Her blog is Finest Kind Clinic and Fishmarket and she also posts to Mugabe Makaipa , a blog monitoring the situation in Zimbabwe.

Posted by Nancy Reyes on November 28th, 2006

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Mpofu impeachment tape under lock, key

From The Sunday Mirror, 26 November

Kuda Chikwanda

A verbatim tape recording of Industry and International Trade minister,
Obert Mpofu, which will be used in attempts to have him impeached this week,
when Parliament resumes sitting, is being kept under tight guard to prevent
it from being tampered with, this paper has established. Mpofu will likely
be hauled before the House of Assembly to answer to charges of contempt of
Parliament and lying under oath before the portfolio committee on Foreign
Affairs, Industry and International Trade on the issue of widespread looting
by top government officials at embattled Zisco Steel. A parliamentary source
told The Sunday Mirror that the tape was being kept under the tightest
security ahead of an inquest expected to be carried out by the House of
Assembly when it resumes sitting in two days' time. This is however,
conditional on Speaker of Parliament, John Nkomo, establishing that there is
a prima facie case against the beleaguered minister.

"The tape is locked in a strong safe so that it is not interfered with or
destroyed. In the presence of that tape plus verbatim written down
statements of what he told the committee, and coupled with testimonies from
members of that committee, a conviction may be imminent," the source added.
The source said the position on manoeuvres to impeach Mpofu had not yet
changed. "The position has not changed yet. The issue is now in the hands of
the Speaker, who has to make a decision. But the matter will be raised
because there is a prima facie case," said the source. The charges are that
on September 20 this year, Mpofu told the committee that top government
officials and legislators had presided over the looting of Zisco Steel, and
that a report had been prepared and presented to the Anti-Corruption
ministry. Mpofu said government had withheld the report from the public over
fears that it would jeopardise talks with Zisco Steel and a foreign
investor. A week later, Mpofu denied informing the committee of the looting
and even denied the existence of the report, prompting the committee to
request that Nkomo start contempt of parliament proceedings against Mpofu.

Contacted for comment on the issue, Mpofu who remained adamant that he had
not seen the report said: "Let them go ahead with the (impeachment) motion.
It is quite within their right. I can only say I am waiting for the report.
I have not seen it yet." said Mpofu. Nkomo refused to comment on the matter
or the existence of the tapes, and advised this paper to await the coming
week's developments. Foreign Affairs, Industry and International Trade
committee chairperson, Enock Porusingazi referred questions back to Nkomo.
"The matter is no longer in our hands, it is before the Speaker. But we do
agree as a committee that lying or misleading a committee when one is under
oath is a very serious offence, hence the decision to lodge it with the
Speaker," said Porusingazi. According to parliamentary procedure, if Nkomo
agrees that there is a prima facie case against Mpofu, the matter will go
before the House of Assembly, which has to agree or disagree with Nkomo's
decision. "If they agree that Mpofu should be tried, they must pass a
resolution that a Privileges Committee be set up and appointed by the
House," said MDC legislator and legal expert, Welshman Ncube. Ncube said the
Privileges Committee is tasked with evaluating the case involving Mpofu,
weigh the gravity of charges, before reaching a decision, which it passes
back to the House for vote.

Members of the portfolio committee on Foreign Affairs, Industry and
International Trade will be called to give evidence as witnesses. If the
evidence is overwhelmingly against Mpofu, the matter would be brought back
to the House of Assembly for vote. The committee will however recommend a
custodial or non-custodial sentence, if Mpofu is convicted. A conviction
carries with it a penalty, which is optional, of two years imprisonment or a
fine or both. If convicted Mpofu will have to relinquish his cabinet post.
He will however remain a Member of Parliament if not given a custodial
sentence in excess of six months. If the impeachment takes place, it would
be the first time a minister will have been impeached by parliament in post
independent Zimbabwe. Weighing down heavily against Mpofu, according to the
source are the oaths he took as minister and before the committee. Firstly,
Mpofu is under a 24-hour oath, which he took before President Robert Mugabe
when he was sworn in as Cabinet minister last year. Secondly, the oath he
took before the portfolio committee, recorded statements taken down by
parliamentary clerks and committee secretaries, and the recorded tape will
be difficult to push aside, in preparing for his defence.

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ZCTF report: farewell to Sharon


29th November 2006


It is with disappointment  -  and with feelings of disillusionment and
regret  -
that Sharon Pincott has finally decided to leave Zimbabwe, and the
'Presidential Elephants' to whom she has dedicated (on a voluntary basis)
the past 6 years of her life.

Sharon has fought tirelessly for the ongoing protection of Zimbabwe's
herd of elephants;  for the land which used to be their key home-range;  and
their wellbeing and safety.  But too often, she says, her concerns are met
a great void of silence.

Sharon produced two successful books about her time amongst the Presidential
Elephants, and recently released important information on the negative
of gunfire on elephant conception rates.  She spent years monitoring the
structure and population dynamics of the Presidential Elephants of Zimbabwe,
successfully raised awareness about the dreadful snaring situation  -  and
of the truths about elephants in general.  It is with regret that she leaves
her work incomplete.  It is proof, however, of her dedication and tenacity
she has stayed on full-time in the Hwange bush for as long as she has, even
the face of past threats, intimidation, and the ongoing apathy of some.

Sharon says:  "The Presidential Elephant family groups frequent the
(Zimsun/Touch the Wild) 'Hwange Estate' relatively infrequently now.  There
is so little to drink these days and nowhere to bathe.  Key pans are not
properly maintained.  In addition, the elephants are still recovering from
unethical gunfire.  Lengthy, precise sightings of the Presidential families
more often than not only intermittent now  -  and relatively few compared to
earlier years.  There is no point me wasting further time and effort."

In her latest book titled 'A Year Less Ordinary:  In the Company of
Zimbabwe's Grey Giants', Sharon describes the sad impact  -  both on the
elephants and on the likes of herself who love them  -  of the land claims
within the elephants' home-range;  of unethical hunting;  of the terrible
snaring;  and of the apathy of some.  (Her first book titled 'In An
Elephant's Rumble:  Life Amongst the Presidential Elephants of Zimbabwe' is
all but sold out.)

"Despite some high-level support, the past three years have been stressful
say the very least.  This piece of tourism land was eventually returned and
sport hunting banned," says Sharon.  "But more problems, and more concerns,
just continue to arise, week after week.  One can only bang one's head
a brick wall for so many years.  And I've been in the thick of it, doing it
full-time, for a lot longer than most."

"The Presidential Elephants deserve better," says Sharon.  "As do other
National Park elephants too.  But I have come to the conclusion  -
finally  -
that the Presidential Elephants will probably never get the 'better' which
deserve.  I cannot continue to promote something that is, more often than
these days, no longer there."

Reflecting on her latest book she says, sadly, that it's not about 'Trust',
'Faith' and 'Hope' afterall.  "It's about lost-Hope now."

Next year, Sharon will continue her voluntary wildlife conservation efforts
elsewhere in Africa.

Johnny Rodrigues
Chairman for Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force
Tel:               263 4 336710
Fax/Tel:        263 4 339065
Mobile:          263 11 603 213

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Over $2 Trillion Required for Water, Sanitation Rehab

The Herald (Harare)

November 29, 2006
Posted to the web November 29, 2006


THE World Bank estimates that at least US$10 billion (Z$2,5 trillion) is
required for the complete rehabilitation of Zimbabwe's water and sanitation
infrastructure with Harare alone needing in excess of US$100 million to
refurbish its bulk water works.

Zimbabwe's water system has deteriorated over time partly due to weak water
tariffs, inadequate foreign currency to purchase key water treating
chemicals among a host of other factors.

But one way in which the current deficiencies could be solved was through
the setting up of an independent water tariff commission to regulate the
water industry and its rate structures, the WB noted.

Uneconomic pricing, lack of a statutory body overseeing the water industry
plus the absence of private sector participation

have been some of the biggest contributors to the problems in water quality
and production.

The bank says the continued shrinkage in economic activity in the last eight
or so years coupled with suspension of most bilateral financing has had an
enormous negative impact on the availability of investment capital for water
supply and sanitation infrastructure.

"It is necessary (for Zimbabwe) to develop an interim water and sanitation
sector strategy to promote co-ordination among various sector institutions
as well as enhancing cost recovery consistent with the operation and
maintenance of water infrastructure," the WB said in a recent study
undertaken within the country's water industry.

"The most critical areas that need immediate attention include the
realignment of present policy environment -- now outdated and inconsistent
with current challenges as well unsustainable tariff regimes that compromise
operation and maintenance of existing infrastructure."

The current water supply and sanitation policy framework has not responded
to the economic challenges being faced by the country.

This has resulted in the failure by the sector to meet key delivery targets.

For example, since 1999, access to water and sanitation services has been
steadily declining.

Urban and rural centres that previously registered near 100 percent service
coverage of the highest national standards, have recorded the steepest
decline with water production now estimated to be 30 percent below
requirements, and the quality compromised.

Some areas such as Harare's eastern suburbs have gone for over three months
without water, in the process providing a fertile breeding ground for
water-borne diseases such as cholera and diarrhoea.

In urban and rural service centres, the WB study says nearly all water
supply systems now have insufficient production capacity, with the shortfall
ranging from 4 to 40 percent.

Clearwater storage is also critically low, with availability ranging from 50
to 75 percent as opposed to the recommended 200 percent of average daily
water demand.

The supply of water from existing dams is also steadily dwindling due to
uncontrolled siltation resulting from inappropriate land use, the Bretton
Woods institution said.

The water situation has also been compounded by frequent breakdowns of old
equipment, lack of imported spare parts for repair and as well lack of
adequate foreign currency to purchase critical water treatment chemicals.

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WOZA protesters and babies brutalised on Human Rights Day

      By Violet Gonda
      29 November 2006

      At least 63 members of the pressure group Women Of Zimbabwe Arise,
including six babies, were arrested in Bulawayo on Wednesday. Four members
of the group Men of Zimbabwe Arise were also arrested when police allegedly
used brutal force to break up a peaceful launch of the activists People's

      WOZA spokesperson Annie Sibanda said an ambulance had to ferry people
to the hospital after they sustained serious wounds from police beatings.
Those taken to hospital include a baby with an injured leg and a woman who
may have a broken leg. Unprovoked the police officers embarked on a vicious
attack on the demonstrators, who had sat down as police arrived.

      WOZA leaders Jenni Williams and Magodonga Mahlangu and a Presbyterian
priest are among those arrested. The arrested were taken to Bulawayo Central
Police Station while another vehicle is believed to have been diverted
elsewhere, as some members who were arrested were not at Central.

      It's reported the level of the brutality was so extreme the police had
to take 6 of the victims to Mpilo Hospital themselves. An emailed report
from a Bulawayo onlooker says he witnessed police assaulting people before
some of them were bundled into police trucks; "I saw devilish beatings
inflicted by the riot police on these women at Hyper Supermarket. Kuudzwa
kunyimwa mbare dzekumusana (seeing is believing). Satan would have smiled to
himself and marvelled what faithful followers he has."

      More than 300 demonstrators had successfully walked several blocks
through the streets of Bulawayo to the government offices at Mhlanhlandlela
where they began reading out the People's Charter to the assembled workers
at the government complex. Annie Sibanda said, "Approximately 30 riot police
arrived and in customary WOZA fashion - the women sat down and prepared to
be arrested."

      Despite being International Human Rights Defender's Day the riot
police surrounded the group and in a violent outburst; "began to viciously
beat both women and men with baton sticks."

      Sibanda added; "I saw 6 people being offloaded from an ambulance.
People cut in their faces from where there were beaten over the face. One
woman is bleeding profusely from her leg."

      She said the security forces also chased the crowd down the streets
beating the unfortunate ones in the process. "I personally witnessed a
person who was sitting in a parked car being pulled out of his car and being
bundled into a (police) defender," Sibanda narrated.

      The activists said the brutality today was unspeakable saying "it was
obvious that the Zimbabwe Republic Police were there to spill blood because
that is certainly what they did."

      A senior police officer at Bulawayo Central told us he was not allowed
to comment, referring us to Police Spokesperson Wayne Bvudzijena in Harare.
It was not possible to get him.

      WOZA said Wednesday's launch of the People's Charter was a result of a
yearlong countrywide consultation. They say it was launched on International
Human Rights Defenders Day as a fitting day to launch the Charter and demand
social justice for all Zimbabweans. Bulawayo, the WOZA stronghold, was seen
as an appropriate start to a series of protests that will roll out around

      SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

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Zimbabwe Faces 'Enormous' Challenge Financing Grain Purchases


      By Blessing Zulu
      29 November 2006

The Famine Early Warning Systems Network, or FEWSNET, said in a report this
week that chronic food shortages in Zimbabwe could worsen unless the country
is able to come up with foreign currency to finance imports of some 800,000
tonnes of grain.

FEWSNET said raising hard currency in the country's current dire economic
situation will be "enormously challenging." The organization said the impact
of shortages has been exacerbated by the Grain Marketing Board state
monopoly's limited capacity to distribute throughout the country the amount
of grain that is available.

Nonetheless, FEWSNET said the availability of maize meal, a Zimbabwean
staple, had improved in September and early October, especially in southern
Zimbabwe, where local grain production shortfalls must be met with purchases
from other regions.

But, "The ever-increasing cost of food and cost of living are making market
purchase to fill food gaps prohibitive," FEWSNET said. "Local maize prices
are highly correlated to local food security: areas that were assessed to
have the highest concentration of food"insecure people recorded the highest
open market grain prices" last month.

The U.S.-based organization painted a gloomy picture for the next
agriculture season, owing to severe shortages of key inputs such as fuel and
fertilizer. The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian
Affairs has appealed to donors for US$215 million for humanitarian aid for
Zimbabwe, predicting a deeper crisis in 2007.

Economist James Jowa told reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA's Studio 7 for
Zimbabwe that Harare's capacity to raise hard currency is extremely limited
at this point.

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America Committed To Helping Zimbabwe Fight AIDS - US Ambassador


      By Fazilla Mohammed
      29 November 2006

The U.S ambassador to Zimbabwe said Wednesday that Washington will continue
to support programs in Zimbabwe to prevent the spread of HIV-AIDS and to
treat and care for the afflicted despite the differences between Washington
and Harare.

American Ambassador Christopher Dell restated the U.S. commitment at a
ceremony recognizing winners of the Auxillia Chimusoro Award for commitment
and leadership in battling HIV-AIDS. The award is named for a Zimbabwean
woman who declared her HIV-positive status in 1989 despite the enormous
stigma then attached to such disclosure and the risk of discrimination.
Auxillia Chimusoro died in 1998.

Dell noted that more than 300,000 Zimbabweans are in need of antiretroviral
drug treatment but that only about 40,000 currently receive them. He said
care and support remain critical issues in the country, while the AIDS
pandemic has left an estimated 1.6 million orphans in Zimbabwe - the largest
number per capita in the world.

The U.S. ambassador said the American government is committed to working
side by side with Zimbabweans in their fight to overcome the HIV-AIDS

Zimbabwe receives some US$24 million a year in assistance related to
HIV-AIDs, U.S. Global Aids Coordinator Dr. Mark Dybul said in a recent
Washington briefing, noting that in terms of such aid Zimbabwe is in the top
20 of 120 countries worldwide.

Correspondent Fazila Mahomed reported on the awards ceremony.

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Citing Poor Pay, Zimbabwe Teachers Refuse To Grade Examinations


      By Jonga Kandemiiri
      29 November 2006

Many teachers in Zimbabwe are refusing to grade exams for the country's
ordinary and advanced levels of secondary school, complaining that the
Zimbabwe School Examination Council is offering them "paltry remuneration"
for the task.

The examination board pays teachers Z$40 (16 U.S. cents at the official
exchange rate) to correct an ordinary level exam, and Z$100 (US$0.40) to
mark an advanced-level examination paper. Only advanced-level markers get
accommodation (including breakfast and supper). Ordinary markers must cover
their own expenses.

On average, teachers mark between fifteen and twenty scripts a day.

The examination board, known as ZIMSEC, has been dogged lately by
controversy over the leakage of exam papers, resulting in cheating scandals.
A board official who was contacted for comment insisted that questions be
submitted in writing.

Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe President Takavafira Zhou told
reporter Jonga Kandemiiri of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that the government
must urgently tackle what he characterized as chronic mismanagement at the

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