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

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Daily News - leader page

      Journalists must not be ensnared into registering

      11/6/02 8:33:55 AM (GMT +2)

      The free flow of ideas, free association and, perhaps even most
importantly, the freedom of the Press rank among the most important tenets
of democracy.
      In the past two years, or since the coming onto the political scene of
the MDC, freedom of the Press has been on the public and academic agenda
with the systematic clampdown on the private Press by the government
reaching alarming levels.

      From deportations of foreign correspondents to the throwing into cells
and brutal beating-up of local journalists, which led to the resignation of
a young photojournalist, the ruling Zanu PF party has made the suppression
of the private Press its priority.

      Not only that. Civil liberties have been curtailed - all in efforts to
supposedly stifle free thought and control minds, as if that were possible.
But then, these have been the main themes in public discussions be they
formal as convened by academics, or informal as citizens chat in commuter
omnibuses or pubs for so long a time the mind has been burdened with these
sorry tales.

      Amid such challenges not only for the media practitioners but also
importantly for news consumers, solutions toward the reversal of the
oppressive policies have to be sought such that the citizens become equal to
the task as set before them by the ruling party.

      Could then the decision by the journalists from the private media to
register themselves as required by the government under some dubious media
law be setting themselves up for worse things to come? Could we soon be
reading a headline that reads something like Hoisted by their own petard?

      First, it could be argued that putting their names on the dotted line
as set out by the government could mean unwittingly placing themselves under
the spell of the government which, of course, does as it deems fit anyway.
It would then refer anybody objecting to its police state behaviour to these
laws enacted by Parliament, therefore, representative of the interests of
the people of Zimbabwe. See, the journalists agree!

      And not only that, but also the very fact that the journalists have
signed up would be playing into the hands of Zanu PF as it would pass for
the endorsement of the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act,
never mind it has been roundly condemned by all fair-thinking Zimbabweans.
But then one would like to believe that the decision to register journalists
was entered into with the full realisation of these implications.

      This would then mean contingency plans have already been set up in
preparation for the duel to the death. And this, as has been seen with the
journalist grouping of practitioners from the private Press, would come in
the form of taking the government to court, and, among other things,
challenging the law's constitutionality. Yet this could bring to light
complacency in the manner which this fight is being approached.

      When has the ruling party ever shown regard and respect for the law of
the land, what with complaints that Zimbabwe is now a rogue state that has
politicised the whole Bench? What chances do journalists have in court? And
because many more Zimbabweans have lost faith in seeking recourse through
the courts, especially in cases where Zanu PF is mentioned in the court
papers, what would make the journalists fight triumphant when their case is
heard in this wretched country?

      What makes their task even more herculean is the very fact that
journalists from the private papers have been labelled agents who have been
enlisted by external forces with a mission to topple the government, never
mind that this is some far-fetched fancy plot borrowed from some Cold War
era spy novel.

      It is unfortunate that this decision to register and license
themselves as required by the new law was taken amid calls by some outside
the media but equally concerned citizens to ignore such a requirement.

      Could then this have been done just to make it known that it is the
journalists themselves who will to decide their own fate, not some lawyer
bearing some grudge with the ruling party? Was it a case of merely spiting
somebody else with the journalists effectively saying: "No, we are not going
to fight your fight"?

      But then the truth is that this is not one particular profession's
fight, but that of every concerned citizen. Thus it has been said that what
has made many struggles against the ruling party here fail is because the
ordinary citizen has been left out in the cold.

      This is essentially a fight of the government against the people of
this country. It is in the public interest that news is gathered in the
first place. Therefore, any assault on the freedoms of the journalists is an
assault on all citizens of the State with an interest in the free flow of

      While counsel has been given to the opposition MDC about how it has
failed in its attempts to win elections through the courts such that it has
to seek more effective strategies for change, could not the Press unions
here have learnt from the same, seeing that the opposition has waited ages
as their court challenges for the flawed 2000 parliamentary election are
still to be resolved by the courts? Could the journalists have ignored all
this as far as trusting the courts to rule in their favour is concerned?

      Surely Zimbabweans have to exhibit traits that dispel any notion that
they are a naive bunch.

      So what options are there for the journalists amid such challenges?
      The only sensible thing would be to ignore such pseudo-legal edicts as
some, including the journalists themselves, have advised the MDC. After all,
there are not very many differences in their struggle. In the final
analysis, it must be realised that the ruling party will not incarcerate all
media workers from the private Press for operating without due licensing or
registration. They could call their bluff. But then it is possible that the
realisation is that with the ruling party there is no time for bluffs and
counter-bluffs. The party always keeps its word. That is how feared the
ruling party has become, even by journalists!

      In any political struggle, being thrown into filthy cells for a number
of days and released is one of the strategies ruling parties employ to break
the spirit of activists. And because a good number of scribes have had many
blind dates with hardened criminals, it perhaps reminded them that they were
not ready yet to make more calls to those filthy cells. But that is victory
for the ruling party. We wait eagerly to see how this fight will go, but
then no bookmaker would be hard pressed to predict it. The outcome seems too
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Daily News

      Government delists dairy farms

      11/6/02 8:29:33 AM (GMT +2)

      By Takaitei Bote Farming Editor

      THE government has allegedly delisted a number of dairy farms
initially earmarked for compulsory acquisition, apparently in order to
reduce the nationwide milk shortage.

      The country is facing milk shortages because some farmers have stopped
producing due to uncertainties and disturbances caused by the land reform
programme, while others have quit because of a viability crisis crippling
the industry.

      Most retail outlets have for the past few weeks experienced erratic
supplies of fresh milk.

      Shortages of sterilised and powdered milk have also become common.
      A Mazowe dairy farmer who declined to be named said: "My farm was
listed last year but this year removed off the list after orders from
President Mugabe who said dairy farms should not be acquired."

      Contacted for details, National Association of Dairy Farmers (NADF)
chairman Stoff Hawgood said: "I am unaware of some dairy farms being
delisted. If their farms were delisted, then that is positive news."

      There is, however a suggestion from the farming sector that some of
the farmers paid the government and Zanu PF officials managing the land
affairs in their districts in order to have their farms delisted.

      Hawgood said the NADF was engaged in discussions with government
officials to have dairy farms delisted to avoid severe milk shortages in the

      He said: "We understand that there is a position by the government of
not wanting to affect milk production. With this farming season approaching,
we hope we are going to be given the green light to produce milk without

      About 90 percent of milk in the country is produced by large-scale
commercial farmers, most of whom have been issued with eviction notices.
While there are claims that some farms were being delisted, some large-scale
milk producers issued with eviction notices have stopped producing milk.

      About 169 farmers, out of a total of 310 large-scale commercial dairy
producers have been issued with eviction notices. Others, facing operational
problems because of shortages of stockfeed, have been destocking or stopped
dairy farming altogether.

      Paul Goodwin and Willie Robinson, both dairy farmers in Matabeleland
are now living in town after they were evicted from their farms.
      Another farmer, David Robinson, was also evicted from his Norton dairy

      Hawgood said: "It is true that there are problems in the dairy sector,
but no farmer was evicted recently. The few farmers who have stopped farming
were evicted in March 2002 soon after the 9-11 March presidential election
under different circumstances."

      Dairibord Zimbabwe Limited said last month that about five commercial
producers of milk had stopped farming between January and September this

      Hawgood said some farmers were however failing to graze their animals
because pastures had been occupied by settlers.

      Production is negatively affected when a cow does not have enough
grazing. Milk production has been affected by the land reform programme. In
1992-1994 period, the country produced 240 million litres of milk. Two years
ago production was 180 million litres, while last year farmers produced 168
million litres.

      This year, production is expected to go down to 140 million litres.
Milk demand is estimated at 13 million litres a day against a supply of 10
million litres.
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Daily News - letter

      MDC needs bold leaders to save it from collapse

      11/6/02 8:15:59 AM (GMT +2)

      SINCE the parliamentary election in 2000, it is hard to believe that
we are still at the same stage, if not worse off. A lot has been said about
the way forward and Morgan Tsvangirai has said several times that the MDC
has a master plan to counter the continuing violation of human rights by the
Zanu PF regime.

      Deadlines were at one point put in place and it is now time for the
party to inform the people of its achievements since the election. It is my
view that while the situation remains as it is, more people will continue to
be killed without any protest and more elections will be rigged with the
only reaction being court challenges and a natural death for the party.

      The liberation struggle in the 1970s succeeded because of the
replacement of ineffective leadership. For the progress of the MDC, the
current leadership must take responsibility for failing to organise an
effective challenge to Zanu PF and resign so they can seek a new mandate.
How can one preach peace when there is no peace?

      Tsvangirai and the entire leadership have fallen into Mugabe's trap.
Each time there is a rumour of a protest qualified information is sent to
the MDC by the "informers" in government about how Mugabe will react
declaring a state of emergency and arresting people.

      What the MDC leadership is failing to understand is that we are
already in a state of emergency because there is imprisonment without trial

      People should start to think about people to take control of the MDC
before it collapses.

      The independent Press must begin to scrutinise the MDC leadership, as
this is the only way we can achieve results.

      F Huruva
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Daily News

      Fast-track land programme way off target

      11/6/02 8:18:08 AM (GMT +2)

      'Disgruntled would-be beneficiaries have complained that some
government officials ask for bribes and other favours in return for a
recommendation of their applications'

      Among the initial goals of the land reform programme in Zimbabwe was
the resettlement of people from densely populated communal rural areas to
newly acquired farmland.

      However, in the rush to implement the government's fast-track land
reform programme, this has not happened, say analysts and the would-be
beneficiaries of land reform. They also point to signs that cronyism has
affected land redistribution.

      John Chirova, 55, seems a bitter man. Chirova comes from Chiweshe
District in the sprawling Mashonaland Province, a region renowned for its
rich soil.
      But instead of busying himself with the acquisition of agricultural
inputs during the pre-planting season, Chirova spends most of his time at
Nzvimbo Growth Point in Chiweshe, on the lookout for anyone who can buy him
the opaque beer popularly known as "Scud".

      "For the past two years, we have been battling to get plots of land
with no success. Here in Chiweshe we are still packed like jailbirds.
Nothing has changed whatsoever," Chirova said.

      He recounted how he was forced to give part of his already tiny plot
to both his married and unemployed sons.

      For Chirova and thousands like him, the fast-track land reform
programme represents shattered hope.

      Analysts say there exists ample evidence to prove that the broad
objective of President Mugabe's government to "achieve optimal utilisation
of land and natural resources and to promote equitable access to land to all
Zimbabweans" was far from being achieved.

      Despite Mugabe's statement last July that decongestion of communal
areas had been achieved through the land redistribution programme, analysts
and the intended beneficiaries of the exercise say rural areas are still
densely populated.

      "There is considerable lack of decongestion in some areas," said
Professor Sam Moyo, a land expert.

      Moyo believes the resettlement of people in rural areas - where the
majority of Zimbabweans live - was being frustrated by the manner in which
land was currently being redistributed.

      "Some farmers under the commercial farming A2 model have excessive
pieces of land, with some of them owning two to three farms each. This
obviously tends to limit decongestion," Moyo said.

      A Cabinet minister who recently visited Mashonaland Central's Mount
Darwin District also voiced her concern about the lack of resettlement in
the area.
      "There was chaotic allocation of land in the district with the council
waiting list not being followed," Olivia Muchena, the Minister of State for
Science and Technology Development, was quoted as saying in a local daily
      Mashonaland Central, also blessed with fertile soils, is home to more
than a million people. However, Elliot Manyika, the governor of the province
and Minister of Gender, Youth and Employment Creation, admitted that only
about 15 000 people from the province have been resettled.

      This despite the deadline for the processing of the applications of
people wishing to be resettled having passed two months ago.

      In Chiweshe most homesteads resemble tiny villages. Generations of
families share the plots of their parents and grandparents. There are more
mouths to feed from the already low yields from farm plots.

      In areas like Padare, Kanyemba, Gweshe, Howard, Mutsarara and
Panzvimbo, residential space is fast running out. As a result, it is
becoming a familiar sight for homes to be sited on hills in the rocky

      Despite the Chiweshe people, who number more than 100 000, having
registered for resettlement, less than 1 000 have been moved.

      "I am sure the governor and the provincial land committee have
something against the people of Chiweshe," Chirova mused.

      Manyika acknowledged that no resettlement occurred in Chiweshe from
the early 1980s when the government began land redistribution.

      The area was also overlooked during the second resettlement phase in
the 1990s. A similar scenario to Chiweshe can be found in the other
provinces: Manicaland, Masvingo and the Midlands. The lack of a transparent
and effective redistribution programme has been blamed on corruption.

      A senior member of the war veterans' association, Mike Moyo, said his
organisation would carry out a land audit because of the numerous complaints
it had received.

      "We are extremely disturbed by the reports we are receiving. We
decided to carry out an audit of how land is being distributed after many
people approached us, saying there are so many corrupt practices in the
allocation of land," Moyo said.

      Moyo said the main culprits were apparently provincial governors,
provincial administrators and district administrators as well as the land
committees tasked with the processing of applications and the allocation of

      He added that most of the reports were received from people in
Mashonaland Central, Mashonaland East and Mashonaland West provinces.

      Disgruntled would-be beneficiaries have complained that the government
officials ask for bribes and other favours in return for a recommendation of
their applications. In other cases, it was alleged that they favoured
friends and relatives or supporters of the ruling Zanu PF party.

      In Mashonaland West's Banket area, concerns have been raised that Zanu
PF loyalists are using their political influence to obtain farming plots for
their children, some of whom are still going to school, under the communal
or A1 resettlement programme.

      John Mautsa, the director of the Indigenous Commercial Farmers' Union,
said: "We are aware of families being involved in the multi-ownership
scandal. However, the problem is difficult to stem because some of the
culprits use different names."

      Official figures put the number of beneficiaries under the A1 model at
330 000, while 54 000 have been approved under the A2 model.

      When the fast-track programme started, the government said it intended
to resettle more than a million people over a three-year period.

      The Minister of State for the Land Reform Programme, Flora Buka,
played down allegations of corruption in the land redistribution exercise.
"Concerning allegations of corruption in the provincial land committees, I
do not have
      evidence. I can't act on the basis of speculation," said Buka.

      However, she said her ministry was doing an audit in the provinces and
investigations could follow. - IRIN
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The Scotsman

Zimbabwe's élite cash in while economy crashes

Jane Fields in HARARE

ON A Saturday stroll through Sam Levy's Shopping Village in Harare, you'd
never believe that Zimbabwe was tottering under its worst economic crisis

Couples sip iced coffee while schoolchildren perform in an outdoor
gymnastics display. You can buy Estée Lauder products in the pharmacy.

About 6.7 million Zimbabweans are supposed to be starving, thanks to drought
and President Robert Mugabe's repressive take on land, but that's got to be
in a country far removed from the ciabatta haven of Mimi's café. Here, a
snack baguette or side salad costs nearly 1,000 Zimbabwe dollars (about £13
at official exchange rates and a quarter of the minimum monthly wage).
Customers - black and white - are queuing for tables.

Four fashionably dressed young professionals chat over the jazz music. "We'
re halloweening tonight," one man jokes. "Off to the bank now -

There's talk about the just-ended water polo season, but no mention of food
shortages or rising commuter bus fares, problems that are plaguing most of
Zimbabwe's urban dwellers.

The scene reflects a growing split in society, not between Mr Mugabe's
land-hungry faithful and the supporters of the opposition leader, Morgan
Tsvangirai, but between the rich and the poor.

At least 29 people have died so far of malnutrition in famine-hit Binga, in
western Zimbabwe. In some rural areas, hungry villagers are reported to be
eating soil, but here in northern Harare, there's a consumer boom.

Mansions are being built at a rate faster than anyone can remember. The
state-run Herald newspaper recently ran a feature on ruling party MP Phillip
Chiyangwa's 18-bedroom home, complete with 15 garages.

Sam Levy's Shopping Village has, since it was built in the early 1990s, been
an enclave for the monied from Harare's plush northern suburbs.

The western-style stores here are a far cry from the makeshift "tuckshops"
of the city's poor, high-density suburbs. And of late, business has never
been so good, an assistant in one home interiors shop confides. Furniture
here costs hundreds of thousands of Zimbabwe dollars - and the suppliers can
't keep up with demand.

"People are getting desperate," she says. "The economy could crash in a
month. You have to buy while you can."

But there's more to it than that. As anyone in Harare will tell you, foreign
exchange is the key to the new wealth. There is a crippling scarcity of
pounds and US dollars on the official market, but illegal foreign currency
is being traded at higher and higher rates.

Growing numbers of people in urban areas are able to get foreign currency,
thanks ironically to Mr Mugabe's economic stranglehold on the country. At
least two million Zimbabweans have fled abroad to seek greener pastures,
mostly in South Africa and Britain. Zimbabweans in Britain alone are sending
back £15 million a month, which is quickly exchanged on the black market.

Last week, £10 fetched you at least Z$16,000 at the unofficial rate. At the
official bank rate, you'd get just Z$780.

Foreign currency is keeping many urban families going in food and basic
commodities. For those in the northern suburbs who can command larger
amounts - diplomats, exporter-businessmen, some white farmers - it makes the
cost of living unbelievably cheap.

People "are living like kings," Eddie Cross, economic adviser to the
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) told The Scotsman yesterday.

And while parallel-market foreign currency trading was, he said,
contributing to the "strange things happening in Zimbabwe's economy," he
also suggested that government-fuelled corruption was playing a large part.

"The economic policies of the government are being manipulated on a
patronage system," he said. "Thousands of people are feeding off the gravy

Back in the furniture shop, an assistant muses on the spending boom. "I
mean, it's criminal. People are buying like that and some people are thin,
thin like this," she says, holding up her little finger
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Financial Times

      Aids deepens in Zimbabwe
      By James Lamont
      Published: November 6 2002 4:00 | Last Updated: November 6 2002 4:00

      Aids is reducing Zimbabwe's agricultural labour force by about 10 per
cent a year, the United Nations estimated yesterday. It forecasts that the
disease will shrink the Zimbabwean agricultural workforce by 22.7 per cent
in 2020. In neighbouring Namibia the effects will be worse. By 2020 the
disease is expected to cut the country's agricultural labour force by 26 per
James Lamont, Johannesburg
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Daily News - letter

      Even Gaddafi doesn't believe Mugabe's word!

      11/6/02 8:19:42 AM (GMT +2)

      MY e-mail the other day made me feel sad and depressed.

      The news from home was dismal. The country that I had always believed
could lead Africa, if not the world, is in a free fall.

      The exchange rate is ridiculous, starvation stalks the land and
brutality is everywhere. Truly, a nation gone mad.

      The cynics say, "That's Africa", but I can't be a cynic. I know too
many good people at home. The same madness overwhelmed Yugoslavia recently,
as well as many, many other nations in the last 100 years.

      I read today that there are 2,5 million of us in exile, for one reason
or another. As a proportion of the population, is that some sort of world

      One friend who had his own business is installing electricity meters,
two truly lovely and very competent ladies are selling their bodies for a
living, and others are surviving on charity, on handouts from friends or

      How many are in the United Kingdom? I don't know, as many come as
visitors and then disappear. Saddening too are stories I hear of Zimbabweans
selling out their countrymen to the immigration people.

      Chibhoyi, as Bill Saidi would say.

      I was happy to read that Iden Wetherell got a prize in New York. I
take my hat off to the free Press at home, because they are holding the line
as best they can and exposing the unspeakable evils of the killer party.
What though of the future of The Financial Gazette now that Elias Rusike has
sold it? I only hope that the rumours that Gideon Gono and Zanu PF are
behind it are untrue; otherwise we lose another voice for freedom. Only time
will tell, but we'll all be watching closely. Zanu PF are so crass that it
will be impossible to hide their involvement, if they are involved.

      The rainy season is upon us and what's happening in agriculture?
Nothing that I know of. The invaders haven't invaded properly - 80 percent
of the invaded land is lying fallow under weeds and I very much doubt the
other 20 percent will produce anything if what I saw last year is anything
to go by.

      If I were a commercial farmer still on a farm I'd certainly not plant
anything myself - what's the point?

      Seems even Colonel Muammar Gaddafi wants to get paid and doesn't
believe President Mugabe's promises.
      Who the hell does?

      Hopefully, someone in their embassy reads my article saying that the
future government of Zimbabwe should feel itself under no obligation to meet
commitments made by the gangsters. I also read that
      Zanu PF stole US$18 million (Z$990 million) worth of fuel from
Independent Petroleum Group of Kuwait. What a lot of crooks - as if we didn'
t know!

      Meanwhile, Christmas draws closer - undoubtedly the bleakest Christmas
ever in the history of the nation. Fireworks outside yesterday, Guy Fawkes
Night on Tuesday. Too much to hope for similar at home I guess?

      C Frizell
      United Kingdom
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Daily News

      Regional MPs demand Mugabe's resignation

      11/6/02 8:33:47 AM (GMT +2)

      From Our Correspondent in Bulawayo

      Members of Parliament from Europe, the southern African region and
civic organisations on Saturday passed a resolution calling on President
Mugabe to step down and hold fresh elections under international

      The resolution was passed in Cape Town, South Africa, at a meeting
convened to assess the effects of the current crisis on the people of
Zimbabwe, civil society and the economy, and its negative impact on the
entire southern African region.

      In a communique, the delegates called for an immediate return to the
rule of law in Zimbabwe, and an end to politically-motivated violence and
the selective distribution of emergency food supplies.

      "We call on Southern Africa Development Community to live up to its
own written principles, commitments and minimum standards regarding
democracy, the rule of law and the conduct of free and fair elections," said
a statement released yesterday.

      Moses Mzila Ndlovu, the MDC shadow Minister of Foreign Affairs who
represented Zimbabwean parliamentarians, said notable figures at the meeting
included Boy Geldenhuys, the parliamentary leader of the New National Party
of South Africa, Tim Hughes of the South African Institute for International
Affairs, Afonso Dhlakama, president of Renamo in Mozambique and Bereng
Sekhonyana, the deputy leader of Lesotho's Basotho National Party.

      The southern African governments have not successfully used their
influence to convince Mugabe to reinstate democracy and the rule of law in
Zimbabwe. But they have instead exercised quiet diplomacy which has failed,
even though the Zimbabwe crisis adversely affects the region as a whole, for
instance, "the flow of some two million refugees from Zimbabwe into South
Africa", said the statement.

      The resolution demanded the revocation of all legislation enacted to
"paralyse" the democratic institutions and the basic freedoms of
individuals, media and civil society and associations in Zimbabwe.

      The meeting also resolved to institute a sustainable "legal and
constructive" agrarian reform that benefits those who need land most, while
maintaining the economic basis of successful land use in Zimbabwe.

      "We also deplore the expediency of the European Union (EU) and its
Sadc partners in relocating the EU-Sadc Foreign Ministers' Meeting from
Copenhagen to Maputo in order to avoid confrontation over the principle of
Zimbabwe's attendance.

      "We expect the EU to adhere to its own decisions concerning targeted
sanctions for future meetings, and in particular the forthcoming EU-Africa
Summit in Lisbon in April 2003," read the statement.

      The meeting noted that the current Zimbabwean political crisis started
with the rejection of a Zanu PF-sponsored constitutional proposal in 2000
that indicated a growing discontent by the people of Zimbabwe about Mugabe's
rule. The meeting called on the people of southern Africa to show solidarity
with the people of Zimbabwe by strengthening their ties with civil society.
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Daily News

      Angry MDC youths attack, disarm police.

      11/6/02 8:25:38 AM (GMT +2)

      From Brian Mangwende in Mutare

      EXASPERATED by continuous police harassment of MDC members, the
opposition's youths at Muzerengwa village in Buhera South reportedly beat up
five policemen and disarmed one of them.

      The incident could not be confirmed by the police, but an MDC
spokesman in Manicaland insisted it happened last Saturday.

      The retaliation by MDC youths comes barely a week after a member of
the Central Intelligence Organisation was roughed up after being accused of
spying at the funeral of Learnmore Jongwe, the MP for Kuwadzana, who died in
remand prison in Harare last month.

      The officers allegedly descended on the village in search of Samuel
Muzerengwa, the MDC's district chairman.

      Pishai Muchauraya, the MDC's provincial spokesman, said the incident
took place on 28 October in a village in Chief Nyashanu's area.

      "Five policemen arrived at Muzerengwa's homestead and found four of
his 15 wives there," Muchauraya said.

      "They tried to force them to give details of their husband's
whereabouts, but they refused. This infuriated the police and they started
beating up the women.
      "Their action angered MDC youths in that village who pounced on them.
The police were overpowered and Constable Joshua was disarmed, his hat and
handcuffs taken away from him, but only after he had fired four shots into
the air. He was asked to leave the village."

      Edmund Maingire, the provincial police spokesman, said he was unaware
of the incident, but was eager to find out the names of the MDC youths, so
that justice could be pursued.

      Muchauraya said later the riot police were deployed in the village.
"They arrested Muzerengwa's four wives and they are still in police custody
at Muzokomba police station."

      He identified them as Elizabeth Jakaza, Rebecca Gandi, Otilia
Chanhuhwa and Ester Arnold.

      He said the MDC has hired a lawyer to secure their release.

      "Those women did not do anything wrong," Muchauraya said. "The police
are using them as bait to lure Muzerengwa to their station for unknown
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Daily News

      Mugabe's pay hike is an act of provocation

      11/6/02 8:38:35 AM (GMT +2)

      THE government's decision to increase the salaries of the President,
his deputies and government ministers is a clear act of provocation.

      More than 600 teachers have been suspended from work for taking
industrial action from 8 October over demands for salary increases. The
government insisted they would have to wait until next year because it did
not have the money.

      But two weeks ago the government decided to increase pensions for war
veterans, and, as if that was not enough, this week it decided this country'
s political leadership deserved a second salary increase, notwithstanding
the worsening economic crisis, growing unemployment, the need to be seen to
suffer with the masses, and the country's inability to shoulder such a

      It is the worst display of insensitivity. It destroys the basis of any
argument in denying the striking teachers their demands. If anything, the
award of salaries to the government ministers will only strengthen the
resolve of the teachers to get what they believe is their worth.

      Unless the government wants to demonstrate its stubbornness, it should
proceed to accept the teachers' case. Failure to do so would demonstrate
unparalleled vindictiveness on the part of the government and an uncaring
attitude towards the plight of the schoolchildren, whose classes have been
disrupted as a result of the teachers' strike.

      To fail to meet the demands of the striking teachers would be an act
of deliberate provocation. The government would be daring them to do
whatever they want because it simply will not grant them any increases.

      But the fact that the government could increase the salaries of the
President, his deputies, ministers and Members of Parliament suggests that
where there is a will there is a way, and that the government has the

      Now it cannot only have the will and resources where this involves
those of its own. The move, however, makes nonsense of fiscal discipline. If
the increases were effective from the next financial year, there could be a
case. But to effect the increases now and to backdate them to July when the
Budget presentation is next week only confirms President Mugabe's famous
remarks that a country cannot become broke.

      The award to war veterans is obviously based on their being the
government's staunch allies during the past 32 months of mayhem that has
rocked this once prosperous nation. It is a kind of tragic patronage, which
continues to bleed the Treasury.

      The government has increased the monthly pensions of all war veterans
by 20 percent with effect from the beginning of this month.War veterans have
each been receiving a monthly pensions of about $8 000 and the increase
means they will now get about $9 500. The 20 percent increase, like that of
the President, his deputies, government ministers and MPs, will be backdated
to July.
      There is also an undertaking to review the war veterans' pensions in
the 2003 budget to a monthly payment of more than $20 000 and funeral
benefits to be increased from $5 000 to at least $20 000.

      But it is not only the war veterans who are suffering and are unable
to afford basic foodstuffs owing to the rising inflation rate. The teachers'
cause has been neglected for a long time. Clearly, they are being penalised
for their perceived support for the opposition.

      Teachers play a crucial role in the development of the country's human
resources. To deny them an increase and then further block them from
travelling abroad to take up teaching posts is to imprison them in one open
prison system called Zimbabwe.

      Perhaps there is a conspiracy by the government to cause a mass exodus
of teachers so that their place in the classroom can be taken over by
products of the National Youth Service, who can be relied to lecture pupils
and students on the reality according to Zanu PF.

      This is a descent into Hades.
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Daily News

      Private media journalists vow to fight Information and Broadcasting

      11/6/02 8:21:08 AM (GMT +2)

      From Godfrey Mutimba in Masvingo

      Journalists in Masvingo have vowed to challenge the Access to
Information and Protection to Privacy Act (AIPPA) and the Broadcasting
Services Act (BSA), saying both are designed to thwart private media

      Speaking at a workshop organised by the Media Institute of Southern
Africa last Saturday, Energy Bara, the chairman for Masvingo Chapter, said
the Acts were intended to emasculate journalists in the private media.

      "We are totally against these repressive Acts which we know to be
aimed at preventing independent journalists from practising their profession
and we urge all journalists to wage a war against these draconian Acts
before it is too late," he said.

      Bara said that even journalists from the public media should challenge
the Acts because one day they too could be victims of the law.

      Bara cited the lack of consultation in the passage of the laws as
journalists' views were not solicited when the Bills were passed.

      Bara said: "In a democratic country, before a Bill is passed,
stakeholders must be consulted and in the case of AIPPA and BSA journalists
are the stakeholders and were supposed to be consulted so they as to be
given the chance to object to clauses they felt could adversely affect their

      He attacked the government-appointed Media and Information Commission
for charging high registration fees as a ploy to close down some private
media houses as some may fail to raise the required amount.

      The commission is demanding that media organisations pay an
application fee of $20 000 and a registration fee of $500 000.

      Journalists have to pay a $6 000 registration fee to practise their
profession. With only 17 days left before the deadline, journalists and
their employers have both resolved to register under protest.
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06 November 2002 12:02
War on Title Ownership

Note to Members of the Press,

I attended the CFU presentation of the new ABC plan last night and assisted
in sending out their statement as had my lap top handy and there was email
problems. There were no journalist present there and knew you were all eager
to get your story albeit late.

Herewith interesting comment made by John Robertson in his vote of thanks.

Pls send any queries regarding the CFU statement to as is
reflected in the statement as I do not represent the CFU.

I remain as always,


Jenni Williams


When this country was colonised just over 100 years ago, the indigenous
population was estimated at about 500 000 people. Archaeological records
suggest it was seldom higher than that in the past 1000 years. And in the
Great Zimbabwe phase some 500 years ago, an ecological disaster appears to
have overtaken the more than usually concentrated gatherings of people.

I believe that today's resettlement farmers are on a very rapid learning
curve. On it they will learn, not how to make a success of small scale
farming, but how it is that small scale farming was never able to sustain a
population bigger than in today's Chitungwiza.

When the colonisers came to this country, they brought with them many ideas
that were eagerly adopted by the indigenous population. Today there is no
question of discarding telephones, road-building techniques, anti-malaria
drugs or distilleries. And nobody wants to turn back to having no schools or
hospitals, no newspapers or postal services, no motor cars and no insurance
salesmen. Today's politicians might claim to resent colonialism, but they
have no intention of giving up the innovations that came with it.

Except for one. Very curiously, the one colonial import they are rejecting
is the one that has had a more profound effect on the wealth-generating
abilities of colonised countries than any other. I'm not talking about the
steam engine, or dynamite, or penicillin, and I am not talking about power
stations or railway systems. I am talking about individual title to land.

The piece of paper that ties a certain individual to a certain piece of land
is the bridge between the land and the banking system. It is also the bridge
between the present and the future, and it is the bridge between the farmer
and the best farming ideas the world's research scientists can generate.
That piece of paper turned the piece of land it represented into a capital
asset that could become a device for capital accumulation. And it turned
good farmers into successful business leaders and massive contributors to

The shallowness of official thinking on farm land today is shown by the fact
that, instead of trying to understand this vitally important concept and
ensuring that it is copied by everyone else, they have chosen instead to
destroy it. You could fill libraries with the accounts of land reforms that
took away individual ownership and ended in failure.

From collective farming in the USSR and China to Ujamaa in Tanzania and to
Pol Pot's Cambodia, we can trace the great pedigree of this thinking. But it
dates back further than that, in fact back to feudalism under the likes of
Richard III and Peter the Great.

Without any doubt, the programme will fail. But among the many tragedies
that the whole process has caused has been the destruction of systems and
relationships between members of the commercial farming fraternity.

Without doubt, we will have to rebuild these systems and without doubt we
will enjoy more success if we focus our attentions today on the real
problems. I would like to call for a vote of thanks for the organisers of
this new initiative because they have helped us to identify the real
problems, the threats of mass starvation and displacement.

Millions of Zimbabweans at home and abroad, and indeed the whole world now
needs you to turn your energies from infighting to working together for the
good of all citizens of Zimbabwe.

On behalf of you all, may I express our thanks to the CFU for organising
this event, for their imagination and for their determination to be here to
help put things right when this nightmare comes to an end -- as it surely


John Robertson

November 5 2002

John Robertson
Robertson Economic Information Services
46 Palmer Road, Milton Park, Harare, Zimbabwe
PO Box CY 832, Causeway, Harare, Zimbabwe
Phone: 778111    740205,  Fax: 778112
Cell  : 091 224 755

Contact Jenni Williams on Mobile (+263) 91 300456 or 11213 885 Or on email
or Fax (+2639) 63978 or (+2634) 703829
Office email
A member of the International Association of Business Communicators. Visit
the IABC website
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The Guardian
BBC plans asylum seekers drama

Jason Deans
Wednesday November 6, 2002

The man behind The Project, this weekend's controversial drama about New
Labour, and a BBC drama based on the Daily Mail is developing a programme on
the emotive subject of asylum seekers.
The show will focus on a couple from Zimbabwe who arrive in the UK and apply
for political asylum.

Award-winning director Peter Kosminsky has been lined up to shoot the asylum
seeker drama, which is in the early stages of development.

Writer Zmita Bhide has just begun work on the script.

Mr Kosminsky has a reputation for hard-hitting docudramas such as The
Project and Warriors, which focused on British army peacekeepers in Bosnia.

He traditionally operates by conducting extensive research into a subject,
including in-depth interviews with people involved, before using the
information as the basis for a script.

However, a BBC spokesman said the asylum seeker project would not be as
factually based as his previous drama so would not follow this development

Mr Kosminsky is also developing a docudrama about young reporters working
for a national newspaper.

Researchers have approached a number of former Daily Mail journalists while
researching the project.
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      06 Nov 2002 13:17
      Zimbabwe says U.S. using food to interfere -report


      By Stella Mapenzauswa

      HARARE, Nov 6 (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's defence chief has accused the
United States of using widespread food shortages as a pretext to interfere
in its domestic affairs, the official Herald newspaper reported on

      "We are not answerable to the U.S.. They are using food as a ploy to
directly control NGOs (non-governmental organisations) distributing food and
disregard the laws of Zimbabwe," army chief General Vitalis Zvinavashe said.

      On Monday the United States charged that officials in President Robert
Mugabe's government were politicising famine relief and said it was looking
at ways to ensure food reached those who needed it, regardless of political

      At the weekend the Washington Times quoted Mark Bellamy, a deputy
assistant secretary of state for African affairs, as saying the United
States was considering interventionist measures that could challenge
Zimbabwean sovereignty.

      "The United States is planning to invade Zimbabwe within the next six
months on the pretext of bringing relief food aid to people who were
allegedly being denied food on political grounds," the Herald said in a
front page story on Monday.

      The U.S. State Department has said food distribution methods were
under review since Zimbabwean authorities seized grain last month which the
United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) was distributing, and gave it to
supporters of Mugabe's governing ZANU-PF party.

      Once the breadbasket of southern Africa, Zimbabwe needs food aid
because of a sharp drop in maize output, which aid agencies blame partly on
the government's seizure of white-owned farms for redistribution to landless

      The estimated 4.5 million Zimbabweans needing food aid now will rise
to 6.7 million by March. They are among 14.4 million people believed to be
facing severe food shortages across southern Africa.

      Mugabe, in power since independence from Britain in 1980, says land
reforms will correct the imbalances of colonialism.

      The government says the current food shortage is due solely to a
drought that has hit small-scale black farmers, who account for 70 percent
of Zimbabwe's annual maize output.
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Zimbabwe points a finger at US 'warmongering'

      November 06 2002 at 02:58PM

Harare - Zimbabwe accused the United States on Wednesday of threatening to
forcibly intervene in emergency food distributions, warmongering and
favouring the country's opposition.

A government spokesperson called reports that a US official said America
might be forced to take "intrusive" measures to alleviate Zimbabwe's hunger
crisis "mad talk".

"This little fellow was either blank, mad or both, and if he was speaking
for his government the same will apply to it," the unidentified spokesperson
was quoted as telling the state-owned Herald newspaper in a story headlined
"US plans to invade Harare".

He said other African nations should take heed of "the mad talk of intrusive
and interventionist challenges to Zimbabwe's sovereignty."

"Today it is about Zimbabwe. Heaven knows who is next," he said.

American embassy officials declined to comment.

In an interview published on Saturday in the Washington Times newspaper,
Mark Bellamy, the US deputy assistant secretary of state for African
affairs, was quoted as saying the United States "may have to be prepared to
take some very intrusive measures to ensure aid delivery to Zimbabwe".

"The dilemmas in the next six months may bring us face to face with
Zimbabwe's sovereignty," he said.

Opposition and human rights officials have accused Zimbabwe's government of
holding back food aid from opposition strongholds. At one food store in
Harare, bags of corn meal are allegedly being sold only to people showing
ruling party membership cards.

The World Food Program indefinitely suspended hunger relief efforts in one
district in October ahead of a parliament by-election after ruling party
activists threatened aid workers and seized donated grain.

President Robert Mugabe "was holding his people hostage the way Iraqi
President Saddam Hussein is holding his people hostage," Bellamy was quoted
as saying.

At least 6,7-million Zimbabweans - more than half the population - face
hunger in the coming months because of a sharp drop in agricultural
production blamed on a drought and the government's seizure of thousands of
white-owned commercial farms.

Zimbabwe Defence Force chief, General Vitalis Zvinavashe, said the United
States wanted to give control of food aid to the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change to give it a popularity boost, the Herald reported.

"They want to influence the people of Zimbabwe. We are not answerable to the
United States. They are using food as a ploy," Vitalis said.

The United Nations warned on Monday that chronic food shortages were
worsening in Zimbabwe and growing numbers of infants were at risk of serious

The United Nations Relief and Recovery Unit said increased food imports were
urgently needed and called on the government to abolish its monopoly on
importing grain.

Acute hard currency shortages since 1999 have led to shortages of food
imports, medicines and petrol and have pushed up the illegal black market
exchange rate to more than 1 500 Zimbabwe dollars to one US dollar, compared
to the official exchange rate of 55-1.

Most petrol stations were short of fuel on Wednesday, with long lines of
cars waiting for deliveries. Food lines for corn meal, bread, sugar, cooking
oil and milk are common outside food stores. - Sapa-AP
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            Ministers gather to discuss food crisis, Zimbabwe
            November 06, 2002, 16:00

            European and southern African ministers have arrived in
Mozambique for talks on a regional food crisis and troubled Zimbabwe,
diplomats said. More than 14 million people face severe food shortages in
southern Africa, according to the United Nations.

            The meeting starting tomorrow was switched to Mozambique from
Denmark after the Danish government refused entry to Zimbabwe's delegation,
saying it would have violated EU travel sanctions on key Zimbabwean leaders.
Diplomats said the EU would highlight the political and economic crisis in
Zimbabwe, a sore spot that has raised tensions between Europe and Africa in
recent months.

            The EU slapped sanctions on Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe's
government after a March presidential election considered illegitimate by
some Western governments, and over the seizure of white-owned farms for
redistribution to landless blacks. The United States and Australia have
imposed separate sanctions, while the Commonwealth of Britain and its former
colonies have suspended Zimbabwe but imposed no sanctions.

            The two-day meeting in Mozambique's capital Maputo brings
together representatives from the 15-nation EU and the 14-nation Southern
African Development Community (SADC). Denmark, which holds the EU
presidency, is sending a delegation headed by Bertel Haarder, the European
Affairs Minister.

            "Southern Africa plays a prominent role in the development
policy of Denmark and the EU. The meeting with the SADC countries offers a
good opportunity for discussing both political and economic aspects of the
co-operation with Southern Africa, including the food crisis in the region,"
Haarder said in a statement.

            The United Nations says 14,4 million people face severe food
shortages in Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique, Lesotho and Swaziland.
Analysts blame management problems in some of the countries as well as
drought for the food debacle.

            Human rights a concern
            New York-based Human Rights Watch urged the EU-SADC meeting to
pay special attention to human rights violations and humanitarian problems
in southern Africa. The group said it was highlighting crises in the
Democratic Republic of Congo, Zimbabwe, Angola and Swaziland.

            "Safe guarding rights and responding robustly to the looming
humanitarian disaster in southern Africa should top the agenda at this
week's high-level ministerial meeting between members of the SADC and the
EU," the rights group said in a statement.

            Angola is battling a food deficit following a long civil war.
The end of the conflict has allowed hundreds of thousands of people to
return to their homes and also enabled relief workers to reach some
locations for the first time.

            The Mozambique meeting is part of the so-called EU-SADC
dialogue, initiated in Berlin in 1994. Ministerial meetings between the two
groups are held every second year. SADC comprises Angola, Botswana, the
Democratic Republic of Congo, Lesotho, Mauritius, Malawi, Mozambique,
Namibia, the Seychelles, Swaziland, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia and
Zimbabwe. - Reuters

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From The Natal Mercury (SA), 6 November

US threatens action to end Zim food scam

By Brian Latham

Harare - The United States has threatened "very intrusive and interventionist measures" to ensure food aid is delivered to all Zimbabweans as the Zimbabwean government gives food only to card-carrying members of the ruling party. Residents of Harare's poverty wracked townships are being denied food unless they produce membership cards of the ruling Zanu PF. And Zanu PF officials have been selling imported maize in townships. They have also been using their control of food aid to indoctrinate Zimbabweans, including domestic workers from Harare's wealthy northern suburbs. "My worker was told to report for his food in the morning, but instead party officials made him and all the other domestics toyi-toyi for hours while they delivered political lectures," said a northern suburbs resident. The workers were then told to provide their names, addresses and the names of the people they worked for to Zanu PF, he said. These are just the latest allegations that Zanu PF is channelling the food aid provided by foreign countries to their own supporters. Fears that opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) areas will be starved into submission have forced the US government to consider "interventionist and intrusive" action to feed Zimbabwe's estimated seven million starving people. The US provides a large part of the food aid which is distributed in Zimbabwe through the United Nations World Food Programme.

"We may have to be prepared to take some very intrusive and interventionist measures to ensure aid delivery to people in Zimbabwe," US deputy assistant secretary of state for African affairs Mark Bellamy said in an interview with the Washington Times. He added that "the dilemmas in the next six months may bring us face to face with Zimbabwe's sovereignty". Zimbabwe's cities, suffering increasing hunger for the first time in the country's history, are plagued by long queues for basic foodstuffs, especially maize meal. Still, it is the party's blatant selling of food from its township offices that has upset city residents. Harare, like most major towns and cities in Zimbabwe, voted overwhelmingly for the opposition MDC in both parliamentary and presidential elections. And while Zanu PF heavyweight and speaker of parliament Emmerson Mnangwagwa has denied his party is selling maize, local residents say it has happened in a number of townships around the capital. The issuing of food along party lines has also angered non-government organisations who are feeding starving villagers in worst hit areas. In October, the Zimbabwe government suspended food aid programmes run by British charities, accusing the British of supporting the MDC.

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'France Will Continue to Invest in Zim'

The Herald (Harare)

November 6, 2002
Posted to the web November 6, 2002

Ruth Butaumocho in Victoria Falls

France will continue to invest in Zimbabwe as part of its development assistance despite the harsh economic conditions, French ambassador to Zimbabwe, Mr Didier Ferrand, said here on Monday.

He said France was optimistic that the assistance that it had rendered to Zimbabwe, including its support to various environmental projects on bio-diversity and the management of national parks, would contribute to the recovery of the country's economy.

For a number of years, he said, France had identified tourism as one of the areas of co-operation with Zimbabwe and as such would continue to render assistance in the industry.

France had also assisted in the rehabilitation of Khami Ruins, the training of chefs and hospitality staff in the Reunion, a French overseas territory where the Renaissance Hotel College had established a partnership with the School of Hospitality and Tourism at the Bulawayo Polytechnic.

Mr Ferrand was speaking at a ceremony to rebrand Hotel Mercure Rainbow in Victoria Falls.

This is in line with strategic partnership between RTG and Accor Group of France which has a 35 percent equity in Rainbow.

The rebranding of the Hotel Mercure Rainbow is part of the marketing strategy adopted by RTG towards the globalisation of its products.

Hotel Mercure Rainbow becomes the second RTG hotel to be rebranded following the rebranding of the Hotel Mercure A'Zambezi early last year.

"A few years ago, Accor decided to invest in Zimbabwe and despite the present unfavourable conditions, has decided to remain a partner in the Rainbow Tourism Group.

"I commend this decision which shows that French groups and investors are reliable and foresighted," said Mr Ferrand.

The event was also attended by RTG chief executive Mr Herbert Nkala, former Zimbabwe Council of Tourism president, Ms Pedia Moyo, prominent bankers Dr Gideon Gono and Dr Mthuli Ncube, and senior officials from Accor Group headquarters in France.

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No Hopes of Retrieving Bodies of Illegal Miners - Experts

The Herald (Harare)

November 6, 2002
Posted to the web November 6, 2002

Sifelani Tsiko in Kadoma

Mining experts yesterday said it is unlikely that the bodies of illegal gold miners who were trapped when a disused gold mine near Kadoma collapsed will be retrieved given the risks involved.

"The area is a bit difficult because of the massive rock fall," said the acting regional mining engineer Tapera Taskwavaviri .

"We are most likely to seal the whole area. The rock-fall is quite massive and the area is very unstable," he said.

A team of mining experts went to Kanyemba Mine about 170 km south-west of Harare to assess the possibility of retrieving the bodies of the illegal miners trapped in the disused mine on Sunday.

A report will be submitted about the mine to the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development from which a decision will be made on whether to go ahead and retrieve the bodies.

Although the exact number of people who are trapped is not known the police believe 13 people could have been trapped.

Mashonaland West provincial police spokesperson Inspector Colleen Matore said relatives with missing people had come forward to give names of some people who were trapped inside the mine.

Those identified as missing are: Micheal Murwira, Colleen Murwira, Simba Chomukape, twins Themba and Jabulani Dube and two others whose names were simply given as Aleck and Edmond.

"We are going to open missing persons files. People should come forward so that they can be assisted to obtain death certificates," he said.

He said the shaft in which the gold miners were trapped was very deep and chances were slim that the bodies could be excavated.

Harris Ziga, a witness said the mine collapsed because the 'makorokoza's' (name given to illegal gold miners) were hammering pillars, which supported the roof of the shaft.

"I went inside on Monday with torchlight I saw three bodies that were crushed by the pillars," he said.

"The rock pillars were quite big and they crushed up to 13 people inside.

He said the collapse of the pillars had made the mine unstable.

"There is no hope that these bodies could be retrieved. It is too dangerous and risky," he said.

He said 20 illegal gold diggers survived but fled the scene," he said.

Deputy chief Government mining engineer said the illegal miners went through a 20 metre vertical shaft and barrowed their way into disused shaft, which were about 120 metres horizontally.

"We know what caused the collapse but we are not sure of the number of diggers trapped inside," he said.

He said the lure of the gold money was driving many unemployed people into this risky business.

"People are not employed. The money they get per gramme of gold is driving them into these circumstances," he said.

"The people must put their heads together to try and come up with less risky initiatives that will help save the lives of thousands of illegal gold miners.

"This mine has been worked extensively that's why active mining was stopped," he said.

Mr Reginald Rose the owner of the mine claim said illegal miners were a big problem and efforts to stop them were fruitless despite police arrests.

He said he bought the mine from Lonhro about two years ago and was using cynide treatment to extract the gold.

"We carry old dumps ore and we treat it with cynide through tanks to get gold," he said.

It is a safer way of mining as this is done on the surface.

Mr Rose said he had reported the problem of illegal gold miners to the mining commissioner several times.

He said action was taken but to no avail.

"They kept coming back. I was powerless and could not stop them," he said.

The mine was opened in 1885 and was one of the first mines operated by the late business tycoon Tiny Rolland who had vast mining interest in the country.

Reports abound that the illegal miners also used explosives to destroy pillars that supported the roof of the mine.

The incident comes three months after five other illegal gold miners were trapped in a disused shaft in Selous.

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Speculation Fuels Surge in Forex Rates On Black Market

The Herald (Harare)

November 6, 2002
Posted to the web November 6, 2002


Parallel market rates which have surged over the past few weeks, have continued to firm putting pressure on the local currency.

The Zimbabwe dollar is currently trading around $1 800 against the US dollar compared to the $800 at the beginning of October.

It has also shed some value against the British pound and the South African rand where it is trading around $2 200 and $100 respectively.

The rates have been pushed up because of the short supply of foreign currency following the closure of tobacco floors.

Economic commentators said the surge in rates on the parallel market was mainly driven by speculation with no real fundamentals to explain the current trends.

More companies are also in the market as they stock for the festive period.

"If you look at the pattern of the parallel market in the past three weeks you can see that it is being driven by speculation and not any fundamentals.

"And this combined with the end of the tobacco selling season companies with foreign currency commitment are all out stocking their reserves anticipating a dry period," said an economist, Mr David Mupamhadzi.

He said the rates were unrealistic and it was now a question of time before they stabilised, but was quick to dismiss a sharp drop in the rates in the short or medium term.

The slide of the Zimbabwe dollar on the parallel market is despite the threats by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to cancel licences for commercial banks and bureaux de change involved in illegal foreign currency deals.

The threats at one point resulted in the plunge on the parallel market of the greenback against the local currency with dealers offering less than $400 for 1US$.

Financial institutions including commercial banks and bureaux de change have been accused of setting up thriving parallel market syndicates and some bank's operations have come under the spotlight of the central bank's investigations.

Economic consultant Dr Samuel Undenge said the plunge of the local currency on the parallel market has put a lot of pressure on the inflation index.

This in turn has put a lot of pressure on some sections of the economy like the property sector, which has seen a hike of properties by more than 400 percent.

The RBZ has been working closely with the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development to put in place contingence measures to curb the parallel market.

There has been growing speculation in the market that the Zimbabwean dollar would be devalued soon after the budget.

However, the Government reiterated that it would not devalue the dollar in the short to medium-term. The Government has maintained that further devaluation of the local unit alone would not rescue the country from the foreign currency crisis.

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