The ZIMBABWE Situation
An extensive and up-to-date website containing news, views and links related to ZIMBABWE - a country in crisis
Return to INDEX page
Please note: You need to have 'Active content' enabled in your IE browser in order to see the index of articles on this webpage

Zimbabwe says crisis in country a British 'fiction'

Stuff, New Zealand

05 November 2005

HARARE: Zimbabwe's government on Friday accused Britain of creating a
"fictitious crisis" and of dragging the United Nations into what it says is
a bilateral quarrel over land seizures.

The southern African state is in the international spotlight after plunging
into a political and economic crisis that many critics blame on President
Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe's ruler since independence from Britain in 1980.

Foreign Affairs Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi said London was fighting
Mugabe for taking land from white commercial farmers mainly of British
descent, and had even sucked in Prince Charles in a desperate attempt to get
UN action against the Zimbabwean government.

"It is a most regrettable development that the government of the United
Kingdom has continued to abuse the framework of the United Nations to try
and settle scores with Zimbabwe," he said at a news conference.

Mugabe accuses Britain of leading a Western campaign against his government.
His officials routinely denounce the opposition and other critics either as
puppets or racists angry with him over seizures of white-owned farms for
redistribution to landless blacks.

The conference was called after Zimbabwe state media reported that Prince
Charles, during a visit to the United States this week, had lobbied the
United Nations to take action against Mugabe.

Mumbengegwi said the British government had tried and failed many times over
the past couple of years to get the UN General Assembly and Security Council
to debate Zimbabwe, though it had managed to get UN Secretary-General Kofi
Annan to issue statements condemning Mugabe's government.

"The intention of the UK has been to paint a picture of a country in crisis,
without success," he said, adding that Zimbabwe rejected criticism over its
controversial demolition of shacks and "illegal homes", which the UN says
left about 700,000 people homeless and created a humanitarian crisis.
"The whole concept of a Zimbabwe crisis is fictitious," he said.

Mumbengegwi said the UN General Assembly and the Security Council had
resisted attempts by Britain to place Zimbabwe on the UN agenda because they
understood and "rejected outright the vindictive naggings" of a country
pursuing a colonial agenda.

"The government and people of Zimbabwe decry and reject any attempts by the
UK and its allies to internationalise what is in reality a bilateral issue
arising from an ugly and colonial and racist past," the foreign minister

"The land redistribution programme, itself the source of British hostility
and bitterness, is a just restoration of the inalienable national and
people's rights and therefore remains irreversible," he said.

The government-controlled Herald newspaper on Friday published a cartoon
lampooning Annan as a puppet being asked by British Prime Minister Tony
Blair to repeat after him that: "We are deeply concerned with the
humanitarian situation in Zimbabwe."

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zimbabwe civic alliance group to stage anti-Senate demos

Zim Online

Sat 5 November 2005

      HARARE - Zimbabwe's National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) civic
alliance will today hold public demonstrations in all major cities across
the country to protest against senate elections at the month-end and to call
for a new and democratic constitution.

      But Home Affairs Minister Kembo Mohadi immediately warned that the
police will use force to crush the protests which he said were illegal
because the civic coalition did not seek police permission to stage the

      According to NCA chairman, Lovemore Madhuku, the protests are
scheduled to take place in the four largest cities of Harare, Bulawayo,
Gweru, Mutare and Masvingo.

      Madhuku said: "The NCA will be staging the demonstrations in its
continuing push for a people-driven, democratic constitution and in
condemnation of senatorial elections. Venues will not be advertised to avoid
unlawful interferences by the police."

      Under the government's draconian Public Order and Security Act (POSA)
Zimbabweans are barred from gathering in groups of three or more to discuss
politics or hold public demonstrations without first seeking police

      The NCA chairman said his group, which brings together churches, human
rights groups, women's organisations, opposition political parties, the
labour and students movements, did not recognise the POSA.

      He said: "The NCA considers POSA dead. Accordingly, police clearance
for staging of the demonstrations is irrelevant. The police have not been
notified of the demonstrations considering their illustrious history of
denying the people their right to freedom of expression."

      The police have in the past used the POSA to ban meetings by the NCA
and the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change party.

      Mohadi said police had been monitoring the NCA and were ready to
descend on the organisation and its leaders if it went ahead and held
demonstrations without clearance as required under POSA.

      The Home Affairs Minister said: "Our intelligence sources informed us
early this week and the police have been monitoring the movements of the
organisation's leadership . . . as long as they do not apply for (permission
to hold) a peaceful demonstration, they (NCA) or any group or individuals
will not be allowed to disturb peace in this country."

      The NCA successfully mobilised Zimbabweans five years ago to reject a
draft government constitution that sought to entrench further President
Robert Mugabe's already sweeping powers. - ZimOnline

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zimbabwean illegal immigrants perfect "art" of border jumping

Zim Online

Sat 5 November 2005

      HARARE - With a single kick, the old and battered 76-seater bus near
Park Station in downtown Johannesburg, South Africa roars into life.

      The driver, 46-year old John Chibaya, girds his loins ahead of the
gruelling 1000km trip to Harare.

      There are 48 passengers on the bus, the majority of whom are
cross-border traders carrying every basic conceivable product back home:
boxes of soap, packets of rice and pasta, peanut butter and even crates of

      On top of the bus, are fridges, televisions, carpets and luxury
goodies for resale back home.

      As the bus snakes through Johannesburg's impressive road network,
dense smoke spewing from its old exhaust pipe, the conductor suddenly
engages into an animated discussion with five passengers who are seated
right at the back.

      The five, it later dawned on the rest of us, had no valid travel
papers. So a deal had to be struck on how to evade immigration authorities
on both sides of the border.

      After brief negotiations, it was agreed that each one of the five had
to pay a "hefty" 100 South African rands to the bus crew to facilitate
smooth passage at the border.

      With the deal struck, it was time to relax, but also pray the bus
would not be stopped on the way by South African police officers, who are
notorious for squeezing bribes out of desperate illegal immigrants.

      "This is the third time I have gone back to Zimbabwe in this way,"
said 33-year old Thomas Masango.

      "I grew up in Chitungwiza but I could not secure a job after I had
completed studies at Mutare Polytechnic College two years ago. I had to trek
to South Africa when it became clear that there was no future for me in
Zimbabwe," he says   with an air of bravado.

      Masango strikes me as individual who exudes raw confidence, a man
completely at peace with himself.

      Masango is among millions of Zimbabweans who are staying in South
Africa illegally after fleeing hunger and political persecution in Zimbabwe.
For Masango, sneaking in and out of South Africa has become a kind of an art
for survival.

      Zimbabwe is going through a severe economic crisis which has seen
inflation rocketing to the 359.8 percent mark, one of the highest such rates
in the world.

      The cheapest low quality loaf of bread is now selling at a staggering
Z$37 000 while a bar of soap is costing Z$120 000.

      The state-funded consumer rights body, the Consumer Council of
Zimbabwe (CCZ), says an average family of two parents and four children now
needs at least Z$11.6 million a month to  survive which is way beyond the
reach of the  average worker in Zimbabwe who takes home about Z$3 million a

      Basic foodstuffs, fuel and medicines are all in critical short supply
as the country battles a severe five-year economic crisis many blame on
President Robert Mugabe's policies.

      Mugabe however denies mismanaging the economy, instead blaming the
crisis on sabotage by Western countries as punishment on Harare for seizing
white-owned land for redistribution to landless blacks five-years ago.

      The economic crisis has literally driven millions of Zimbabweans to
trek down to South Africa in search of a better life.

      Another passenger on the bus, 45-year old Petros Zikali, says he has
been living in South Africa for the past six years - without any legal

      Every month, Zikali says he sends groceries to his family in the small
farming town of Marondera, about 60km east of  Harare. Occasionally he, as
is the case now, sneaks in and out of South Africa at will.

      "Life in Zimbabwe is very difficult. I am not saying life is easy down
south, but at least you can survive and be able to look after your family,"
he says confidently.

      "See," he says, pointing at three large bags stuffed with groceries,
before continuing, "these things cost me only 800 rands (about Z$10.8
million on the parallel market) and I know my family will definitely survive
for the next three or so   months."

      With the economic situation worsening in Zimbabwe with no solution in
sight, these illegal immigrants say South Africa and the whole southern
African region must brace itself for an influx of Zimbabweans fleeing
economic hardships back   home.

      As soon as the bus arrives at Mussina border post, the conductor jumps
out to clear what they called in their parlance, their "special parcels," a
reference to the five illegal immigrants.

      But the five had to pay an extra 50 rand at the border post to
facilitate smooth passage. The same situation was replicated on the
Zimbabwean side.

      Now as soon as the bus wriggled out of the security checks on the
Zimbabwean side, the "border jumpers" burst into song and dance.

      With hunger and economic hardships set to worsen in Zimbabwe,
corruption is sure to flourish even more at the busy Mussina/Beitbridge
border posts, as thousands more Zimbabweans are forced to resort to illegal
means to sneak in and out of South Africa in search of food or jobs. -

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Western Diplomats Back UN Chief on Harare's Refusal of Aid


By Ndimyake
      04 November 2005

Stepping up pressure on Harare to open up to humanitarian relief
initiatives, the diplomatic missions of 13 donor nations and the European
Union said they "strongly support" United Nations Secretary General Kofi
Annan's statement this week taking the government to task for its refusal of
u-n emergency assistance.

Mr. Annan through a spokesman publicly expressed his disappointment and
dismay at Harare's refusal of a UN offer of tents to shelter some of the
thousands of people made homeless and displaced by Zimbabwe's May-July
slum-clearance drive.

"We endorse the secretary general's appeal to the government of Zimbabwe to
ensure that those who are out in the open, without shelter and without means
of sustaining their lifelihoods, are provided with humanitarian assistance
in collaboration with the united nations and the humanitarian community,"
said the statement issued by the missions in Harare of Australia, Belgium,
Canada, Greece, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden,
Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States, as well as the
European Commission, the EU governing body.

Harare has told U.N. officials it does not see a humanitarian crisis in the
country, and that it has addressed the most urgent needs of displaced
persons. Officials in Harare have said that Mr. Annan is misinformed, and
has been misled by his staff.

Reporter Ndimyake Mwakalyele of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe sought a
response to the joint donor statement from William Nhara, principal director
in the office of the president and the cabinet, and a senior ZANU-PF ruling
part official.

For additional perspective on the dispute between the Zimbabwean government
and the international community, reporter Mwakalyelye turned to Eliphas
Mukonoweshuro, a lecturer in political science at the University of

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Racket spawns billionaires

The Herald

By Patience Nyangove
CIGARETTES are keeping many Zimbabwean vehicles on the road and turning some
well-connected businessmen into overnight billionaires.

At the other end of the market, a surprising number of shopping-bag traders
make millions a month.

Both the billionaire oil traders and the lady on the bus with a shopping bag
are smuggling cigarettes from Zimbabwe into South African Customs Union
(Sacu) countries - South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Swaziland and Lesotho.
They sell them there, then buy goods in short supply in Zimbabwe for resale,
thus making a huge profit on both legs of their trading journeys.

At the heart of this smuggling racket is the massive price difference
between cigarettes manufactured in Zimbabwe and those made in Sacu, thanks
to sharply contrasting taxation levels. Cigarettes are about eight times
more expensive in South Africa and its Sacu neighbours than in Zimbabwe.

And Zimbabwean cigarettes are regarded as of good quality. The price is low
because of the much lower taxes. Most countries now charge very high taxes
on tobacco, not to raise revenue, but to make discourage the smoking habit
of its proven serious health effects.

Of course, no one actually gets eight times as much as they paid for a box
of Zimbabwean cigarettes when they smuggle it across the border. South
African smokers willing to pay the full price will buy legal cigarettes.

But there are plenty of dubious and dishonest traders in South Africa - with
Nigerian immigrants well represented, if rumours doing the rounds are true -
who will pay R60 for a carton of 200 Zimbabwean cigarettes -- about four
times the Harare supermarket price -- with no questions asked.

But the smuggler need not despair. He can still double this money from the
dubious trader on returning to Zimbabwe if he buys something that is scarce
in Harare and either for which is chargeable very light Zimbabwean duty or
which can easily be smuggled back home.

Fuel has become a favourite of the big-time smugglers despite its bulk,
thanks to Zimbabwe's policy of charging just 5 percent import duty and
allowing anyone to bring in a maximum of 2 000 litres a time without any
questions asked.

A trader first has to buy about 100 cartons of cigarettes, which will cost
around $30 million in most supermarkets and garages. These then are
concealed in empty tanks on a tanker or drums on a truck and smuggled into
South Africa or Botswana.

Sacu charges R50 a carton duty -- or an incredible R1 for every four
cigarettes -- so no one wants to pay this.

The smuggled cigarettes are sold for around R6 000, which is enough to buy
around 2 000 litres of diesel or petrol which can be taken back in the
tankers and trucks -- legally now -- into Zimbabwe.

The trader just needs a few extra cartons to take care of the hamburgers for
lunch and the modest fuel duty at the border post.

That fuel can be sold in a private deal for $240 million, a rather
spectacular profit on the initial $30 million outlay; and the trip can be
undertaken three times a week.

Those with connections and licences can handle larger volumes, say 20 000
litres, of fuel at a time, bought with 1 000 cartons of smokes. This sees
$300 million turn into $2,4 billion in two days, and explains the discovery
of cigarette-laden tankers at Plumtree.

At the other end of the market is the cross-border trader, smuggling, say,
10 cartons, costing $3 million, into South Africa, selling these for R600,
buying a radio and lunch, and then selling the radio on return to Zimbabwe
for more than $20 million. The only overhead is the bus fare.

The margins are not quite as good as the cigarettes-out/fuel-in trade, but
do provide a significant income.

The most popular brands for smuggling are Remmington Gold, Kingsgate,
Newbury and Berkeley.

The R60 for a carton is only an average price. Depending on how many others
are smuggling that day and which brand is chosen, the South African receiver
will pay anything between R30 and R130 for a carton of 200.

Remmington Gold, the cheapest, fetches between R30 and R100, but then the
carton only costs $220 000 to $240 000 in the Zimbabwe supermarket.

Peter Stuyvesant, an international brand made under licence in Zimbabwe,
costs about $700 000 a carton in Harare, but can be sold for anything
between R120 and R130 down south.

Small-scale smugglers also pack cigarettes on trips to Britain, where a box
of 20 costs almost four pounds, leaving plenty of room to negotiate a good
price for both smuggler and smoker.

But the bigger consignments of smuggled Zimbabwean cigarettes are sent via
South Africa.

Some Zimbabwean cigarettes have even found their way into Iraq, carried from
South Africa by some of the more dubious types travelling to that country.

South African Police Services spokesman for Limpopo Province, Superintendent
Ailwei Mushavhanamadi, said they had so far managed to arrest a considerable
number of Zimbabweans for smuggling cigarettes.

Arrests are made on a daily basis, but it seems that only a small fraction
of the smugglers are actually apprehended.

Moreover, even those caught will just pay a fine, go back home and try again
after buying a new supply.

The offence of tobacco smuggling, while very profitable, is not in the
serious category of trafficking narcotic drugs like mbanje (cannabis) or
cocaine. Imprisonment is not mandatory although a South African court can
impose a maximum sentence of 10 years. But so far caught smugglers have been
paying the R5 000 admission of guilt fine.

The Zimbabwean authorities, who are not really losers in this smuggling
racket, are now co-operating with the Sacu states.

Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) investigators recently intercepted at the
Plumtree border post three fuel tankers, belonging to a company called
Mozangola with South African registration number plates, stuffed with
cigarettes worth more than $8 billion destined for Botswana.

The smugglers paid a $800 million fine and forfeited the tankers and
cigarettes to the State.

At Beitbridge border post, Zimra officials intercepted over 277 boxes of
contraband Remmington Gold cigarettes loaded on a South African-registered
truck towing a fuel tank.

The truck, which was coming from Zambia, was being driven by a Zambian
identified by the police as Godfrey Shamboko, 42.

The contraband had been loaded in Harare.

On arrival at the border post, the truck was taken to the Zimra container
depot for inspection through scanning, leading to the discovery of the

Another driver, who has since been identified as Musekiwa Nyamadzawo, a
Zimbabwean, was also intercepted at the border post a few days later with
180 cartons of Remmington Gold stuffed under cotton in a truck destined for
South Africa.

Nyamadzawo bolted from the scene, leaving the truck behind. He is still at

Zimra corporate communications manager Ms Priscilla Sadomba said they
encountered numerous cases of cigarette-smuggling syndicates every month.

"We already have baggage scanners and container inspection equipment at
Plumtree border post. Resources permitting, Zimra would want to have
scanners at all entry points," she said.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Christian Church launches HIV/AIDS policy document in Zimbabwe

People's Daily

     UPDATED: 11:16, November 05, 2005

      Heads of Christian Church Denominations (HOCD) in Zimbabwe on Friday
launched an HIV/AIDS policy document that sets out the guidelines and
principles in the fight against the pandemic.

      The document becomes the second from groups of Christians after the
Union for the Development of Apostolic Churches (UDAZ) in Zimbabwe launched
another in September this year.

      In a speech read on his behalf, Health and Child Welfare Minister,
David Parirenyatwa, said the document would help further reduce the
pandemic's prevalence rate.

      He noted the drop in prevalence rate from a peak of 31 percent in
2003, to 24.6 percent in 2004 and subsequently to 21.3 this year.

      Despite the decline, Zimbabweans should continue to guard and expand
their prevention methods, he said, adding that the commitment of spiritual
and religious organizations would influence behavior change among their

      HOCD President Trevor Manhanga encouraged open discussion in churches,
promotion of safe sex and testing and counseling before couples get married.

      Zimbabwe has one of the highest rates of HIV infection in the region,
with an estimated 3,000 people dying from AIDS related illnesses each week.

      About 90 percent of infected people are not aware of their status
while 600,000 of those carrying the HIV virus have the signs and symptoms of
AIDS and require varying degrees of care and support.

      Source: Xinhua

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Fat, buttery flying ants

Dear Family and Friends,

These days, with all of the dreadful hardships that we have to cope with
in order to survive in Zimbabwe, it is very difficult to be positive. I
wish I could write and say that we were about to have free and fair
elections or that banned newspapers, radio and TV stations had been
allowed to re-open or even that the MDC had stopped tearing itself apart
and had resolved its internal problems. I can't say any of those things so
I look more to the day to day situation for something positive to focus
on. I wish that I could say that at last fuel was available or that prices
had stopped going up or even that we had regular, clean and safe water
coming out of our taps. I can't say any of those things at the moment
either but I can tell you that Zimbabwe in November is a spectacular
country. Young men and women are graduating from our senior schools and
their poise, enthusiasm, determination and love of Zimbabwe is exemplary.
Listening to and watching these future leaders of our country makes me
know, without a doubt, that there will be change in our land and it will
be a change for the better. Whilst all around us is gloom and doom,
Zimbabwe in November is a very beautiful place and when there is little
else to hold onto, the seasonal changes also give strength and hope for
better times.

Every day, as the rainy season draws closer, the sky gets darker and
heavier and the temperatures take you to melting point. The trees are
glorious in these last hot days before the rain: Msasas coming into pod,
Acacias covered in new leaf, Jacarandas bathed in hot purple flowers and
Flamboyant trees, almost too beautiful for words, draped in spectacular
red flowers. In our towns many of the streets and avenues are lined with
Bauhinia trees, alternately pink and white flowering and now covered in
long curling pods. The Bougainvillea's planted on the outskirts of many of
our towns years ago, are also in full flower at the moment, covered in
great cascading streams of gold, white and purple blooms. The birds at
this time of year are a delight too; paradise flycatchers showing off
their long orange breeding tails, nightjars calling for mates and trailing
exquisite white breeding pennants and orange-eyed glossy starlings
patrolling sunburnt, termite infested lawns. Some evenings as the flying
ants stream out of dry dusty holes in the ground, it is just breathtaking
watching birds arrive from all directions, swooping and swerving, gorging
on the fat, buttery insects. The European migrants have started arriving
too with swifts and swallows regularly visible. It does not bear thinking
what will happen if bird flu arrives here where experts are few and far
between, travel nearly impossible due to fuel shortages and where people
are so hungry they will be hard pushed not to eat dead birds if they find

And this week in Marondera there is a feeling of blessed relief. Because
the MDC in Marondera did not nominate candidates for the approaching
Senate elections, we will not have voting here and are spectating from the
sidelines. For a rare change we are not being harassed and intimated and
forced to attend rallies and meetings. We are not being visited by large
chested women wearing clothes decorated with the President's face. Women
who bang on our gates, write our names down in their little exercise books
and scare us into giving donations for ruling party rallies. Our streets
are quiet these evenings, we greet neighbours and strangers happily and
the talk is of growing food and of rain.  This time, thankfully, our town
is spared from election madness, spared from the indignity of trying so
hard, risking so much and then having to watch the manipulation
afterwards. There is much to be thankful for this November. Until next
week, with love, cathy Copyright cathy buckle 5th November 2005. "African Tears" and "Beyond Tears" are
available from:

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

MDC National Council Meeting

There were apologies from those unable to attend from:

Grace Kwinjeh
Yvonne Mahlunge
Emelia Chamunogwa - forwarded by Sekai Holland for the 3
Blessing Chebundo - presented by Nelson Chamisa

Gift Chimanikire - given to the meeting by the party chairperson for the 3.
Professor Welshman Ncube
Gibson Sibanda

Out of the 83 living National Council members 47 met in Harare today making up the desired quorum for the meeting called by the party president and chaired by the party chairperson who was today in high spirits.

Today members were unusually articulate in their presentations during debates, open in their comments, united in approach and focussed on important issues to deal with both the crisis and on the current party programme. Of the 25 current National Executive Committee members, 20 were present.  The 10 party provinces had representation either at the level of the Council representative or NEC member. Most provinces had both levels of representation. The experience during the meeting was both electrifying and spiritually replenishing for all attendees.

Exhaustive debate preceded each item from the President's report before the passing of public and internal resolutions by consensus and consensus building.  All  resolutions dealt comprehensibly with both the current crisis facing mdc and with our normal party functions both short and long term.

A well attended press conference was held after the meeting with all the National Council members present.

There was inspirational singing by all present, with the vigour and conviction similar to when we founded our party in 1999, before and after the meeting.  All songs today reflected the mood of Zimbabweans throughout the country at the formation of MDC and today.

The party is emailing us all the resolutions which we will forward immediately.

Sekai Holland.
National Executive Committee member
and National Council member
Midlands South

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zimbabwe opposition chief presses for poll boycott


      Sat Nov 5, 2005 6:01 PM GMT

By Cris Chinaka

HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai said on
Saturday his party's national council backs his call for a boycott of senate
polls, but MDC ranks are divided as a pro-election faction shunned a key

The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has plunged into its
deepest crisis since it emerged in 1999 due to a bitter row over whether to
take part in a poll which critics say is aimed at consolidating President
Robert Mugabe's power.

Tsvangirai last month ordered a boycott of the November 26 poll, saying
competing would lend legitimacy to a government that routinely rigs votes.
But some MDC members defied his instructions and have registered as
candidates for just over half of the 50 seats up for grabs in the elections.

On Saturday, Tsvangirai said the MDC's decision-making national council had
reversed a "purported decision" it had taken last month to participate in
the elections.

The pro-senate election faction says Tsvangirai, who has backing from
leaders of the MDC's powerful youth and women's leagues, took a dictatorial
position after the party's national council voted 33-31 to participate in
the polls.

But Tsvangirai maintains the party was evenly split over the issue and he
used his presidential authority to boycott, and on Saturday the MDC boss
said the party's national council had endorsed his stance.

"For the avoidance of doubt this council resolves that the MDC will not
participate in the senatorial election ... and shall accordingly campaign
against this election," he said, reading the resolutions of the MDC's
national council meeting.


MDC officials said Saturday's meeting had been attended by 46 of the party's
70 national councillors from 9 of the MDC's 12 administrative provinces, but
was notably boycotted by a faction in favour of taking part in the polls.

There was no immediate comment from the faction. But on Friday MDC deputy
secretary-general Gift Chimanikire said Tsvangirai had no authority to call
Saturday's meeting and its outcome would not be binding.

The MDC says Mugabe's ZANU-PF party has used rigging and violence to avoid
defeat in parliamentary and presidential elections in the last five years in
the face of a worsening economic crisis.

Mugabe, 81, and in power since independence from Britain in 1980, accuses
the MDC of being a puppet of the former colonial power.

Mugabe's critics say his policies have ruined a once prosperous African
country, and have left it struggling with severe shortages of food, fuel and
foreign currency, and with rising inflation and unemployment.

Mugabe says the economy is a victim of sabotage by his domestic foes and of
sanctions imposed by Western powers seeking to oust him for seizing and
redistributing white-owned farms to his black supporters.

Tsvangirai said on Saturday the MDC had set up a four-member committee to
try to reconcile the party's opposing factions, but said there was no need
for the pro-election faction to approach South African President Thabo Mbeki
to act as mediator.

"It's an internal issue we can handle on our own, and there is no need to
abuse President Mbeki's hospitality," he said.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

'She died for a bucket of water'

New Zimbabwe

By Staff Reporter
Last updated: 11/06/2005 02:21:44
A HARARE woman died on the spot Friday after being hit by a motor vehicle
while fleeing from municipal police who were assaulting residents fetching
water from a vandalized water pipe.

The victim, 42-year-old Veronica Arufanepi was among a group of Mabvuku
residents who have gone for three weeks without water.

In desperation, the residents have resorted to vandalizing water pipes in
order to access the precious commodity.

A witness said the residents were ambushed by the municipal officers
who started meting instant justice on them shortly after dawn.

"The residents, mostly women were fetching water from the water point when
municipal police suddenly emerged from the bush and started assaulting them.

"The residents arrived at the point at dawn. In confusion, and the municipal
police still assaulting her in hot pursuit, the woman was knocked down by a
vehicle and died, just like that. She died for a bucket of water," the
witness said.

Harare police spokesperson, Inspector Loveless Rupere confirmed the death,
but alleged that the woman started running away after seeing the municipal

Two months ago, local MDC MP Timothy Mubhau said the solution to Mabvuku's
water problems lies in digging borehalls as the commission running the
affairs of the capital city has failed to find a lasting solution to the
water woes.

The commission is headed by Sekesai Makwavarara, a former MDC councillor who
was wooed to Zanu PF by local government minister Ignatius Chombo.

Water problems have become a national headache in Zimbabwe mainly due to
lack of foreign currency to purchase water treatment chemicals, and the
government's policy failures.

In Bulawayo where residents are experiencing similar problems the city
relies on two days Insiza and Inyankuni that provides 90 000 cubic meters of
water every day against a daily requirement of 141 000 cubic meters.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zimbabwe roadside hookers doing it for diesel


          November 05 2005 at 09:30AM

      By Peta Thornycroft

      Harare - Zimbabwe's ladies of the night are demanding diesel in return
for their favours, mostly from South African long haul drivers.

      A report in the Manica Post, a government controlled newspaper in
Mutare, eastern Zimbabwe, says truck drivers en route from Beit Bridge to
Harare are being asked to pay for the ladies' services in 20 litre lots of

      The new fuel entrepreneurs are making twice what they would normally
earn by selling the fuel to locals. Zimbabweans have been starved of regular
supplies of fuel since March.

      The newspaper said the trade was taking place in Mvuma, 200km
south-west of Harare.

       Police inspector Costa Taduwa said in the Post that the side of the
main road had become an informal service station, with fuel deals between
the ladies and drivers taking place in "broad daylight". - Independent
Foreign Service

      This article was originally published on page 1 of The Independent on
Saturday on November 05, 2005

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Comments on Zim 'deplorable'

From News24 (SA), 4 November

Johannesburg - The Zimbabwe government has not rejected humanitarian aid
from the United Nations, the country's ambassador to South Africa said on
Friday. "President Robert Mugabe and (UN Secretary-General) Kofi Annan
agreed that a humanitarian co-ordinator from Annan's office would be sent in
November to Zimbabwe to assess the clean-up operation and its aftermath,"
Simon Moyo said. Moyo was responding to a letter by Democratic Alliance MP
Joe Seremane, published in Business Day on Friday. Seremane said the
Zimbabwe government's decision to reject UN help was "deplorable".
Describing Seremane's remarks as "pathetic and lamentable", Moyo said the UN
co-ordinator would report back to Annan after his visit, before the UN chief
visited the country himself. "The said UN co-ordinator has not yet arrived
in Zimbabwe." Moyo said were the UN to assist, the Zimbabwe government
welcomed it to "direct its resources" and construct permanent structures to
replace shacks and homes razed during the controversial clean-up campaign.
"(This) is government policy anyway since that is the reason temporary and
unplanned structures were destroyed." Moyo said "hundreds" of houses had
already been built and occupied by those displaced by Operation

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Admit crisis, donors tell Zimbabwe


05/11/2005 19:38  - (SA)

Harare - Fourteen Western embassies challenged the Zimbabwean government on
Saturday to acknowledge it faced a humanitarian crisis following a campaign
of evictions and the demolition of thousands of homes, shacks and markets
across the country.

The Western nations said that they shared the deep concern expressed earlier
this week by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan on the plight of tens of
thousands of people made homeless in the May-June urban clean up campaign,
known in the local Shona language as Operation Murambatsvina, or Drive Out
the Trash.

"We share the UN's dismay at the rejection by the government of Zimbabwe of
offers of UN assistance to the most vulnerable groups, in particular in
relation to the provision of temporary shelter," the 14 embassies said.

The government has said it will not accept help to provide temporary
shelters for the homeless, and denies that displaced families are in need of
immediate humanitarian aid.

It said it would only accept aid to erect permanent housing.

The government said the evictions campaign - in which homes, shacks and
market stalls were bulldozed - was aimed at clearing illegal settlements and
curbing black-market trading by stall holders.

The United Nations estimated at least 700 000 people were left homeless and
another two million market vendors and stall-holders lost their means of

Thousands still homeless

"Tens of thousands of people (are) still homeless and in need of assistance
five months after the eviction campaign began," said the embassies of
Australia, Belgium, Britain, Canada, the European Union, Greece, Italy,
Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United

"We endorse the Secretary General's appeal to the government of Zimbabwe to
ensure that those who are out in the open, without shelter and without means
of sustaining their livelihoods, are provided with humanitarian assistance,"
they said.

The donor nations said they were committed to providing substantial
resources to tackle what they called "grave humanitarian needs" in the

The government insisted in a response to the United Nations that the most
urgent needs for shelter have been met, and that Annan was misinformed about
conditions facing displaced families before the upcoming rainy season.

Zimbabwe is suffering acute shortages of food, gasoline and essential
imports in the worst economic crisis since independence in 1980.

The collapse of the economy has been blamed largely on economic
mismanagement, corruption and the often violently seizures of at least 5 000
white-owned commercial farms in Zimbabwe, once a regional breadbasket.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zimbabwe's MDC confirms boycott


            By Barnaby Phillips
            BBC News, South Africa

      The opposition Movement for Democratic Change in Zimbabwe has
reaffirmed its decision not to take part in elections for a new upper house
later this month.
      But several senior MDC members boycotted a national council meeting in
Harare which they described as illegal.

      The council called on those MDC members who have put themselves
forward as candidates to withdraw.

      The meeting was overwhelmingly attended by MDC members loyal to the
party's leader, Morgan Tsvangirai.

      Mr Tsvangirai says there is no point in contesting the elections
because the government will rig them and because the new senate will have no
real power.

      But many important people in the MDC disagree with Mr Tsvangirai, and
they stayed away from the meeting which they said was not legitimate.

      This faction, which does want to participate, includes the MDC's
secretary-general, Welshman Ncube.

      Zimbabwe desperately needs an effective opposition.

      The government is responsible for widespread human rights abuses and
disastrous economic policies, but the MDC is on the verge of committing
political suicide.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zimbabwe to participate at travel showcases in China

Xinhua 2005-11-06 02:41:14

          HARARE, Nov. 5 (Xinhuanet) -- The Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA)
will participate in two major international events this month as part of its
continuous efforts to market the country as a prime tourist destination and
revive the fortunes of the flagging tourism sector, an official said on

          ZTA marketing and communications director, Givemore Chidzidzi said
they would be participating at the World Travel Market (WTM) in London from
November 14 to 17 and at the China International Travel Market (CITM) in
southwestern city Kunming from 24 to 27 ofthis month.

          "We have at least 15 companies that will participate on the
Zimbabwean stand at the WTM and we will also be seeking to consolidate our
presence at the mega show in China," Chidzidzi said.

          He said Zimbabwe would have to be more aggressive and tactful in
its marketing campaign in China in the wake of more competitors coming on
stream from Europe, which has been recently granted an Approved Destinations
Status (ADS) by the Asian country.

          "We have to be more aggressive now because tourists from China are
simply not going to come because we have the ADS," he said.

          Zimbabwe was granted the ADS by China in 2003 to become one of the
eight African countries that the Chinese government approves for its
citizens to travel to.

          Meanwhile, Chidzidzi said the delegation to Kunming would travel
to Guangzhou, Beijing and Shanghai after the CITM to conduct sales calls
with their Chinese counterparts.

          Last year the delegates held a workshop in Shanghai during which
they met and discussed business with Chinese tour operators.

          Chidzidzi said they would also take the opportunity presented by
the CITM to make a follow up on the 31 Chinese buyers who participated at
the 2005 Zimbabwe Travel Expo held in Harare last month. Enditem

Back to the Top
Back to Index