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Zim trade unions schedule countrywide marches


          November 07 2005 at 12:04PM

      Harare - Members of Zimbabwe's main trade union plan to hold marches
across the country Tuesday to protest growing economic hardship, an official

      Mlamleli Sibanda, spokesman for the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions
(ZCTU) said demonstrations were scheduled to take place in six towns and
cities, despite the fact that police have refused them permission in most of
the cases.

      "As far as we're concerned, the police don't have the right to stop
us," Sibanda said in a telephone interview on Monday.

      Marches in Harare, Bulawayo, Gweru, Mutare, Chinhoyi and Masvingo are
intended "to remind government and employers that workers are hungry, angry
and tired," a statement from the labour body said.

      "While Zimbabwe is celebrating 25 years of independence, life for the
worker has never been poorer," it added.

      Zimbabwe is experiencing its worst economic crisis since independence
in 1980, with inflation close to 360 percent, and growing levels of
unemployment, poverty and hunger.

      Prices for most goods and services are hiked regularly, and wage
earners are struggling to make ends meet.

      Union spokesman Sibanda said police had indicated that they will not
allow the processions to go ahead in any of the six towns and cities,
although they have said workers can gather but not march in the southern
city of Masvingo. - Sapa-dpa

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MDC leader gives dissidents a deadline: report


November 07, 2005, 11:15

Morgan Tsvangirai, the Zimbabwean opposition leader, has issued an ultimatum
to party members opposing his boycott of pending senate elections,
Zimbabwe's state-owned Herald newspaper reported today.

It quoted him as saying: "I am giving all the MDC (Movement for Democratic
Change) members who chose to go against my will and contest the elections
seven days to withdraw or be fired from the party."

Tsvangirai said the issue had caused his party to split into two groups. The
one faction was led by Gibson Sibanda, the MDC vice-president, who wanted
the party to contest the upcoming senate elections.

"The other one, which I lead, does not want to contest," Tsvangirai told a
meeting at Victoria Falls yesterday. "On the other hand, this has created an
opportunity for me to weed out members who have gone against my will."

Tsvangirai said he had no intention of giving in to the demands of what he
brushed off as "juniors" in the MDC. "VP (Sibanda), secretary-general
(Welshman Ncube) and their supporters should know that I hold the keys of
the party. As long as I am still the leader, they have to do what I want
since they are my juniors." - Sapa

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US ambassador is a pervert, says Mugabe mouthpiece

Cape Argus

      November 7, 2005

      By Peta Thornycroft

      President Robert Mugabe's newspapers have accused the American
ambassador to Zimbabwe Christopher Dell of being a sexual pervert visiting
"unseemly" areas and threatened his diplomatic immunity.

      The unprecedented personal attack on Dell follows a speech he made
last week to a US-funded university in Mutare, in eastern Zimbabwe,
criticising Mugabe's "voodoo economics", corruption and gross mismanagement,
which he says wrecked the economy.

      In addition to personal insults and threats to his physical safety,
the government's Sunday Mail warned that Mugabe would summon Dell to his
office to protest at his "undiplomatic" speech
      The Sunday Mail, quoting unnamed sources from the foreign ministry,
said Mugabe was angry at the American's 16-page address, in which he
detailed how in only six years Zimbabweans had become poorer than they were
in 1953.

      "Zimbabwe is experiencing... the largest peacetime economic decline in
history," Dell told academic staff and students. He blamed the economic
collapse on agricultural chaos following seizure of about 4 000 white-owned
commercial farms.

      The first retaliation against his speech, arguably the toughest of any
diplomat in the last few years, came in the Herald on Saturday through
columnist Nathaniel Manheru.

      It referred to an incident last month when Dell was held at gunpoint
for 90 minutes by trigger-happy members of Mugabe's personal soldiers after
he was apprehended walking his dog in a poorly marked security area in the
National Botanical Gardens.

      Manheru's largely incomprehensible weekly column is often written by
Mugabe's spokesman, George Charamba. "He (Dell) .. is in the habit of
wo(a)ndering in strange, unseemly places... We all know what happens by the
margins of the Botanical Garden as night falls. So many of our youthful
citizens have been deflowered there, lured by the greenback from generous
and flaunting foreigners not given (to) enjoying sex the conventional way."

      Manheru threatened Dell's diplomatic immunity, which is guaranteed by
the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations to which Zimbabwe is a
signatory, saying "... a pseudo-ambassador who insults the host and tries to
incite (its) students to revolt does not deserve any courtesies promised by

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Mbeki slammed for not reining in Mugabe


          November 07 2005 at 02:20AM

      By Edgar Hslbich

      Bonn - South African President Thabo Mbeki on Sunday praised his
German counterpart for criticising rich countries for their double

      But he was himself criticised by a fellow African for not using the
power he had to call Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe to account.

      Mbeki was in Bonn for German Chancellor Gerhard Köhler's dialogue
initiative called "Partnership with Africa" at the weekend.

      Speaking at a panel discussion on Sunday afternoon, Mbeki said Köhler
had shown great vision in addressing the need for constructive talks between
Africa and Europe.

      "I like the fact that he has recently criticised the industrial states
for the hypocrisy and double standards they sometimes make themselves guilty
of," Mbeki said. But John Makumbe, a Zimbabwean human rights activist,
criticised Mbeki for not doing enough in order to call Mugabe to account.

      "Mbeki has got the power," he said, "and he can use it in order to
stop Mugabe from ruining the country. He could, for instance, put pressure
on the AU and SADC to expel Mugabe from the organisations." - Independent
Foreign Service

      This article was originally published on page 4 of The Mercury on
November 07, 2005

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UN aid coordinator says he will reschedule Zimbabwe visit to early December

07/11/2005 19:26 UNITED NATIONS (AFP)

UN relief coordinator Jan Egeland said here Monday he would postpone a
planned trip to Zimbabwe from mid-November to early December to assess the
humanitarian crisis besetting the southern African country.

"I plan to go at the beginning of December," he told reporters here. "I will
look at the relief effort not only (for) those who were victims of the
eviction campaign but even more so (for) the millions that will have to be
fed" in view of a "very severe food shortage".

Press reports from Harare linked the postponement to forthcoming Senate
elections in Zimbabwe in late November.

The UN World Food Program estimates that 4.3 million Zimbabweans are in need
of food aid but the Harare government has said far fewer people -- 2.4
million -- are hungry in a country of close to 13 million.

The World Food Program is currently feeding one million people in Zimbabwe
and is making preparations to feed 2.9 million people before the end of the

Last August, Egeland said that following a 11.9-million-dollar
(10-million-euro) appeal launched by his Office for the Coordination of
Humanitarian Affairs in early July, the UN was undertaking a big
humanitarian program aimed at reaching between 100,000 and 200,000 people.

The United Nations had extended the aid offer in light of the rains expected
to start falling within two weeks on the tens of thousands still sleeping in
the open awaiting promised government housing.

But Zimbabwe turned down an offer of UN help to build temporary structures
for victims of the urban clean-up campaign carried out some five months ago,
saying it would rather have help to build permanent houses.

UN Secretary General Kofi Annan voiced dismay at Harare's rejection of the
aid offer, expressing grave concern about the humanitarian situation in

A UN report on the demolitions said the campaign had left 700,000 people
homeless or without sources of income, or both, in cities and towns across
the country while a further 2.4 million were affected in varying degrees.

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Us$35m Condom Deal Sealed

The Herald (Harare)

November 5, 2005
Posted to the web November 7, 2005


THE Ministry of Health and Child Welfare and the United States Agency for
International Develo-pment (USAid) have entered into a US$35 million
contract to boost condom availability and accessibility.

The partnership agreement was signed between Health and Child Welfare
Minister Dr David Parirenyatwa and USAid in Harare on Thursday.

Dr Parirenyatwa said the contract, which would extend to a range of local
partners working in the areas of HIV and Aids represented a new partnership
for all HIV and Aids prevention activities in Zimbabwe.

While condom use was already high in the country, it was important to
increase availability and accessibility of male and female condoms in
priority areas especially small towns, growth points, farming estates and
mines. These areas have always had higher national HIV prevalence.

"The new USAid project will focus on improving overall condom accessibility
in these areas," he said. Dr Parirenyatwa expressed concern over the
increase of "cross-generational sex" and multiple partnerships as major
factors driving new HIV infections in the country.

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War casualties of the MDC

      Percy Zvomuya

Mail and Guardian

      07 November 2005 09:13

            The long-standing relationship between Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) president Morgan Tsvangirai and his deputy, Gibson Sibanda, is
one of the casualties of the party feud over participation in the Senate
elections. Their close and more than professional rapport for almost two
decades of activism in the labour movement and the MDC has been irrevocably
put on ice.

            The Mail & Guardian has reliably learnt that Sibanda was
astounded by the blistering attack on him by his leader during telephonic
discussions with President Thabo Mbeki two weeks ago. A furious Tsvangirai,
who snubbed Mbeki's offer to mediate between MDC factions, is said to have
branded Sibanda "a liar and dishonest man". His anger was triggered by
Sibanda's reaction to his defiance of an MDC national council decision on
the controversial polls, set for November 26.

            In her biography on Tsvangirai, Sarah Huddleston wrote of the
"extremely productive working relationship that was to see them unite
Zimbabwean workers". Others who have known the two since the early 1990s
describe them as "close buddies, soul mates" and say that "their personal
relationship was a unifying one in that one was Shona and the other Ndebele".
They were instrumental in the formation of the National Constitutional
Assembly, which, in the constitutional referendum, inflicted President
Robert Mugabe's only defeat at the ballot box. They are regarded as the
founding fathers of the MDC.

            "For most people Sibanda was level-headed and acted as a bridge
between the Welshman Ncube camp and the Tsvangirai camp. But in the last
days he has been perceived as leaning to the Ncube camp," said Dr Eldred
Masungunure of the University of Zimbabwe. "The thinking within the Ncube
camp is that Tsvangirai is in breach of the party constitution. Sibanda has
been won over by that argument."

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Banks Unlikely to Adjust Interest Rates - Analysts

The Herald (Harare)

November 7, 2005
Posted to the web November 7, 2005


COMMERCIAL banks are unlikely to adjust their current interest rate regimes
in response to increases in the accommodation rate announced by the Reserve
Bank of Zimbabwe last month as that was, basically, a policy guideline,
financial analysts have said.

In his Third Quarter Monetary Policy Review Statement last month, central
bank governor Dr Gideon Gono hiked the accommodation rate to 415 percent for
secured lending and 430 percent for unsecured lending.

As a result, there was widespread speculation in the market that commercial
banks would respond by increasing their own lending and investment rates.

But nearly three weeks later, no single bank has shown an inclination to
make adjustments in the present interest rate regime. This has prompted
financial experts to conclude commercial banks were apparently not shaken by
the central bank's action.

"I think that was just policy guidance. There is no logic in banks adjusting
their rates in response to the hike in the bank rate (by the Reserve Bank).

"If banks have problems recovering their advances after lending out at 300
percent per annum what more at over 400 percent?" wondered Mr Morciad
Chaparira, a financial expert with a Harare bank.

"When you lend out at over 400 percent you would surely be creating a bad
debt and over time the accumulated debt could eat into your capital until
you are insolvent and forced to close down," he said.

In addition, other financial analysts said, the hike in the bank rate to
over 400 percent was a punitive measure meant to discourage banks from
mismanaging cash resources in the hope of a lifeline from the central bank.

Financial experts maintain that as a lender of the last resort, the Reserve
Bank has the power to use punitive interest rates to instill discipline in
the banking sector.

In other words, banks that run short of cash to sustain their operations
must seek relief from the interbank market and only proceed to the central
bank when that window did not bring the desired results.

It made economic sense for banks to fall back on the interbank market in the
event of a cash squeeze, as its rates were much lower than those charged by
the central bank.

As such, the analysts said, changes in the accommodation rate did not
warrant adjustments in bank lending rates.

That there have not been significant changes in the lending and investment
rates after the governor's October monetary policy speaks volumes of banks'
commitment to stay in business at all costs.

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ZCTU calls for protests against worsening economic hardships

      By Tichaona Sibanda
      07 November 2005

      The powerful Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions has blasted the country's
political elite for turning their backs on the suffering masses of Zimbabwe.

      Secretary-General of the labour body, Wellington Chibhebhe said they
are not happy with the current situation prevailing in the country where
most of the workers have been reduced to beggars.
      According to Chibhebhe this is the reason why the ZCTU is calling for
a nationwide protest on Tuesday to highlight the plight of workers in the

      There are reports that heavily armed security forces are being
deployed countrywide to try and suppress the protests. But the ZCTU
secretary-general is not concerned about the security build-up.
      'We are not overly worried about the police movements. They are a
discredited force. These are genuine complaints we have, so they will be
suppressing genuine grievances, genuine complaints.' The ZCTU is also taking
to streets because dialogue with the government has failed.

      Protests are planned for the five biggest cities of Harare, Bulawayo,
Gweru, Masvingo and Mutare.
      Police on Saturday used teargas to break up protests in the five major
cities by members of the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) civic
alliance, which campaigns for a new and democratic constitution for

      The NCA, which brings together the ZCTU, churches, students,
opposition political parties, women's organisations, human and civil rights
groups, also opposes elections set for November 26 to create a new senate,
saying the government should instead first allow a people-driven
constitutional reform process to take place before it can establish the

      SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

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Robertson: 'Stop playing the race card'

Cricinfo staff

November 7, 2005

Charlie Robertson, the firebrand chairman of the Mashonaland Country
Districts Cricket Association, and leader of the provincial chairmen's group
currently in an administration wrangle with the Zimbabwe Cricket board, has
vowed to fight the abolishment of his association which has been the victim
of a concerted media campaign by supporters of the board.

A pro-ZC action has been spearheading the formation, and eventual
affiliation, of smaller associations and abolishment of the two country
districts in Mashonaland and Matabeleland. "They can't do that," Robertson
said. "They have to follow proper procedure. We have been in existence for
60 years and the ZC constitution clearly stipulates our boundaries."

The formation of new provinces looks on the surface to be an overdue idea as
the game of cricket in Zimbabwe is in dire need of numbers. But the timing
and political motive behind the move has raised eyebrows and discontent in
Zimbabwe. The two existing country districts have been branded as being
dominated by racialists by the pro board faction.

"This is not a race issue," Robertson shrugged. "People should stop playing
the race card and using it as a smokescreen. Why is it that when people
start asking pertinent questions it is turned into a race issue? This issue
has gone beyond that. It's a case of transparency and accountability.

"If anyone says I am a racist, they are lying. I have been financing black
cricketers in Kadoma for 10 years. If you go there, they will tell you about
the good work we have been doing there. No one takes time to find out."

Robertson was one of the three new appointees to the ZC board a few weeks
back, but he said he knew nothing about it beforehand. "I have heard about
it from Alwyin Pichanick and through the press. But I will not sit on that
board unless everything is squeaky clean. Under the laws of this country,
people can go to jail on the allegations that are being leveled. I do not
want to be part of that system.

"Poor administration is what is affecting our cricket. The people running
cricket have no cricket background. Our team was being hammered in India,
and the Under23s can't even compete against B sides in South Africa. The
players can't perform when their minds are on the politics. We have to do
something dramatic now, otherwise we will be dead and buried."

The media campaign against those looking to challenge the board continued
over the weekend. An article in the Sunday Mail, which repeated claims the
issue was predominantly about race and slammed key opponents of the board,
quoted an ICC official as saying that the issue had to be dealt with
internally. But enquiries to the ICC have revealed that it has not received
the dossier from the chairmen, nor has any ICC representative spoken to
anyone about it.

© Cricinfo

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