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Daily News online edition

      Settlers beat up police officer

      Date:11-Oct, 2004

      JURU - Angry settlers at Oribi Farm, about 61 kilometres from Harare
on the Harare-Mutoko highway, last week severely assaulted a member of the
Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) Support Unit who was part of a team of police
officers deployed to forcibly remove them from the farm.

      The settlers, numbering more than 10, assaulted the police officer and
dumped him at a nearby bush after they outpaced him along the highway. The
police officer, who was in the company of another, was spotted by the
disgruntled settlers, walking along the highway and separated from the other
officers who were stationed at the farm.

      They approached him and complained that they were not supposed to be
removed from the farm and that the police officers were being used to
forcibly remove them.

      The officer is alleged to have told the settlers that he was just
carrying out his normal duties and that they should remove their belongings
from their makeshift houses and return to where they had come from because
police had been instructed to torch the houses.

      Angered by the response from the police officers, the settlers then
ordered them to run away or be assaulted.

      Sensing danger, the officers ran away, but the unfortunate officer was
outpaced by the villagers who severely assaulted him and left him for dead.

      The other officer was rescued by an alert bus driver, who spotted him
along the highway. The driver stopped and offered him transport. Police
later returned to the farm and arrested a number of the settlers, who are
expected to appear in court soon.

      The disputed farm was one of the few that were occupied by settlers at
the start of Zimbabwe's farm invasions in 2001.

      Most of the settlers were later given offer letters for the pieces of
land which they had seized, under the 'A 1' resettlement scheme, targeted
for villagisation and small-scale farming, which accommodated more than
thirty families.

      The government however withdrew its offer to the farmers opting to
re-allocate it under the 'A2' scheme.

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      Chitungwiza council debt hits $20 billion

      Date:11-Oct, 2004

      CHITUNGWIZA, Zimbabwe's third largest town, is in the red to the tune
of $20 billion.

      The debt has accumulated over the past few years because of the
reluctance by the ruling Zanu PF party to increase rates ahead of next
year's elections.

      Authoritative sources in the council, which is dominated by the
opposition MDC told The Daily News Online that because of the government's
refusal to approve rates hikes, the council is

      $20 billion in the red, a figure that is accruing interest every day
and could grind service delivery to a halt.

      "We are virtually grinding to a halt because of non-co-operation from
this government. They are saying we should not increase rates because they
want to endear themselves to the electorate before March.

      "But then we cannnot run these councils without funds. Several
government departments owe us billions of dollars and they are not repaying
but they still do not want want us to increase rates," said a senior council
official, without disclosing figures of the government debt.

      The town's roads are in shambles while water shortages are the order
of the day in most suburbs. Last month, the town's health delivery ground to
a halt after all nurses went on strike over low salaries and poor conditions
of service.

      Chitungwiza executive mayor Misheck Shoko, confirmed that his council
was failing to deliver services because of increased costs.

      "This government is not co-operating with us. As a council, we are
holding an emergency meeting this week to see if we can find other means of
generating revenue because this government has indicated it will not allow
us to increase rates ," Shoko said.

      The Daily News has it on good authority that the government has
refused to approve an increase of the mayor's salary and perks, a move
sources could be intended to pressure Shoko, a war veteran, into joining
Zanu PF.

      Shoko's salary is still pegged at $600 000 per month, far below the
poverty datum line of $1,4 million per month. Salaries and conditions of
service for senior council staff are approved by the government.

      The sources also said the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA) had last
Friday garnished the municipality for a $1.5 billion debt.

      The opposition-dominated councils in most urban towns have complained
that the government was interfering with their affairs and thwarting any
attempts to increase rates to ensure that service delivery collapses ahead
of next year's parliamentary elections.

      Chitungwiza, with a teeming population of over one million people, is
the third largest town in the country.

      "This government wants to prove that the MDC cannot run local
government and therefore cannot be expected to run the country," a senior
opposition official said.

      Local Government and National Housing minister Ignatius Chombo last
year fired Elias Mudzuri, who was elected on an MDC ticket. The council is
being run by Sekesayi Makwavarara, a former opposition councillor who has
since been rewarded with a farm for defecting to the ruling party.

      Last week, the government indicated it would take unspecified action
against Bulawayo mayor Japhet Ndabeni-Ncube, who has been accused of telling
the media that people in the city were dying of starvation. The government
denies that the country is facing any food shortages.
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      Zanu PF problems not bigger than country*s

      Date:11-Oct, 2004

      IT may be premature for its critics to conclude that Zanu PF is
imploding, as they have warned in the past.

      But the recent set-to between Joseph Msika and Jonathan Moyo portends
a crisis bound to widen the cracks in party unity ahead of the parliamentary
elections next year.

      Another top member of the politburo, Nathan Shamuyarira, has already
given the thumbs-down to Moyo's Frankenstein monster, the Access to
Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA).

      Many more members now realise that AIPPA was a stupid law to allow to
be passed by Parliament. The opprobrium it has earned the party and the
government is enormous, when juxtaposed with its benefits to the country in
general and Zanu PF and the government in particular.

      There have always been searching, unanswered questions about Moyo's
hidden agenda. How did he transform himself from one of Zanu PF's fiercest
critics to its loudest praise-singer in a few short years?

      The big question has been whether his activities, some of them
suspected to be at odds with Zanu PF policies, have enjoyed the support or
endorsement of President Robert Mugabe?

      The president loves power. He has been at the helm since 1980 and he
could try to justify this on the basis that he loves his country enough to
serve it indefinitely.

      Nobody could doubt that he loves power.

      If people like Moyo can ensure he remains in power, why would he not
back their weird activities? But most people are concerned with the bigger
picture - Zimbabwe and its millions of sick, unemployed, underfed,
shelter-less and heavily-taxed citizens.

      It is not only that people like Moyo have acted in defiance of their
party, but their activities have had a deleterious impact on the image of
the country internationally, thus on its economy.

      The Stalinist intolerance of criticism, including the blitzkrieg on
the independent media, have been condemned by most of the democratic world.
Even a number of African countries, themselves saddled with rulers who are
closet dictators, have been saddened by Zimbabwe's cavalier application of
basic human rights for its own people.

      Laws such as AIPPA, the Public Order and Security Act and the new NGO
Bill suggest a party so frightened of change it seems determined to destroy
the country before letting anyone else take power.

      Zanu PF has its own methods of dealing with delinquents, but it must
be remembered that it's the future of the country at stake here. Posterity
will judge Zanu PF harshly if it allows a few power-hungry members to
inflict so much damage on the people's future. - Editorial

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High court throw settlers life-line

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

HARARE, 11 Oct 2004 (IRIN) - Hundreds of families evicted last month from a
farm outside the Zimbabwean capital Harare, occupied under the land reform
programme in 2000, have been granted a reprieve.

High Court Judge Rita Makarau ruled in favour of Percy Masendu and 429 other
settlers who had filed an urgent court application to have their eviction
nullified. Home Affairs Minister Kembo Mohadi and police commissioner
Augustine Chihuri were cited as the first and second respondents.

In a similar case, Justice Ben Hlatshwayo also ruled in favour of 370
farmers facing eviction in Mashonaland West province.

Last month the government started evicting settlers from Little England
Farm, occupied in 2000. Their homes were razed and they were forced to camp
along a highway. The official reason given was that the settlers were
occupying land earmarked for large-scale farming.

Critics say the small-scale farmers are being moved out to make way for
senior politicians and members of the military, a charge denied by the

Makarau ordered that "the applicants, and all those claiming through them,
be allowed to continue staying at Little England Farm until such time as
they are properly resettled or evicted by an order of a competent court. The
respondents, or any person acting through them or on their behalf, be
interdicted from interfering with applicants' occupation of Little England
Farm by unlawfully evicting them or destroying their dwellings."

When IRIN visited the farm on Saturday, the farmers who had been camping on
the highway were returning to their razed homes.

Brian Zindi, one of those returning to the farm, said although they were
excited by the court order, the evictions had traumatised them and depleted
their resources.

"We now need to look for resources to build new houses, and that will be a
very costly exercise. Out of desperation, we had sold some of our cattle,
goats and sheep. Our children were preparing to write end-of-year course
examinations, but what we now face is a small ... crisis," he told IRIN.

Zindi said they would now require food aid, as they had sold most of the
grains they harvested this year. "Most settlers were selling their goods in
order to raise enough money to transport their families and belongings to
their [home] areas."

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San struggling to survive

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

TSHOLOTSHO, 11 Oct 2004 (IRIN) - Zimbabwe's tiny San community has laid the
blame for their ongoing economic hardships squarely on the government, which
they accuse of discrimination and neglect.

Mgodimasili village, a sprawling mix of dilapidated thatch and mud huts in
western Zimbabwe, is home to about 200 of the 1,200 San people in the
country. In contrast, just a few kilometres east of the parched soils of
Mgodimasili, lies the neighbouring village of Tjitatjawa, which boasts neat
houses with corrugated iron roofs.

The juxtaposition throws the unequal living conditions of the two
communities into sharp relief - the existence of the San remains precarious,
battling chronic poverty and hunger.

"We [the San] are appealing to anyone, including government, to give us
ploughs and other farm implements so that we can produce enough food for our
families. We have pieces of land, but because we don't have enough resources
to till it, we are always faced with starvation, be it in a good or bad
year," Gwatawa Maphosa, an elder of the San group, told IRIN.

He said many families did not have blankets, and during the winter season
life was very difficult.

Although the San community still practice their ancient traditions, an
increasing number of laws banning hunting have forced them to abandon their
nomadic life as hunters and gatherers and look to subsistence farming to eke
out a living.

"The life of hunting and gathering is no longer practiced because of laws
that prohibit hunting, so most of us have become farmers just like other
groups. But the difference is that we farm using our bare hands, as we do
not have implements and cattle for draught power. The little grain that we
produce quickly runs out before the end of the year," Maphosa explained.

He told IRIN that because the community was unable to produce enough grain
for their families, they were forced to offer cheap labour to other
communities in exchange for food.

He regretted the lack of government assistance to combat the widespread
poverty the San was suffering, despite repeated requests. Children were also
unable to attend school because they could not afford the fees.

"We are generally a poor people, but I think we can improve if government
supported us. Our children also need to go to school, so that they can
represent us in parliament," said Maphosa.

According to the South African-based NGO, Working Group for Indigenous
Minorities in Southern Africa (WIMSA), the San - the region's first
inhabitants - uniformly faced marginalisation and poverty.

WIMSA coordinator Alex Thoma said his organisation had sent a delegation to
Zimbabwe to examine the living conditions of the community, with the view of
helping them start income-generating projects to improve their lives.

"Recently WIMSA representatives visited some communities in the Hwange area
[of Matabeleland North province] to analyse the feasibility [of a]
harvesting project with them. They are certainly one of the most
marginalised groups, not only in Zimbabwe but also in all other countries
where they live," observed Thoma.

While the San argue that they are a disadvantaged people in need of
humanitarian support in order to escape poverty, some neighbouring villagers
look down on them - accusing them of alcoholism and a refusal to embrace

"They [the San] are our neighbours, and we know them inside out. Some NGOs,
like Christian Care, have tried to alleviate their situation by giving them
ploughs and beasts to farm, but because they love meat so much, they have
since feasted on those beasts. They have also sold their ploughs at
ridiculously low prices to raise money to buy tobacco and beer," said
Qhubekani Mlilo, a resident of Tjitatjawa.

The San elders vehemently denied the allegation, saying it was an excuse
used by the government to delay the delivery of much-needed assistance.

Mlilo brushed aside allegations that other ethnic groups in Zimbabwe
discriminated against the San, saying they were the ones who isolated
themselves, as they tried to resist change.

However, the member of parliament for the area, Mtoliki Sibanda observed
that the San were a grossly misunderstood people and described their living
standards as appalling.

"I have lobbied the government to assist these people, but nothing positive
has transpired so far. Life is generally difficult for them, as they do not
have food, blankets and many other basics that are needed in life. They do
not have any means of survival other than to work under conditions similar
to those of slaves. It's really bad," he told IRIN.

But government spokesman Steyn Berejena denied that the San suffered

"The government has a national policy to support all Zimbabweans regardless
of their ethnic group. We can understand the difficulties of the San people,
especially as they come to terms with an alternative way of life, but we
have local agricultural extension officers who are making sure that
something is done to improve the lives of this group," Berejena told IRIN.

The San are the aboriginal people of Southern Africa, with a distinct
hunter-gatherer culture that stretches back over 20,000 years.

According to WIMSA, the 110,000 remaining San in Angola, Botswana, Namibia,
South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe face "cultural extinction, living lives of
poverty on the outer edges of society".
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Zimbabwe Paying Off Cahora Bassa Debt

Agencia de Informacao de Mocambique (Maputo)

October 11, 2004
Posted to the web October 11, 2004


The Zimbabwean electricity company (ZESA) will comply with the timetable for
paying off its debts to HCB, the company that operates the Cahora Bassa dam
on the Zambezi river, Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe pledged on Sunday.

Mugabe was visiting Cahora Bassa, accompanied by his host, President Joaquim
Chissano, on the second day of an official visit to Mozambique.

The line from Cahora Bassa to Zimbabwe can carry 500 megawatts of power, but
currently is only supplying 170 megawatts.

ZESA's debt to HCB stands at about 8.5 million US dollars, and Mugabe
announced that ZESA is paying 2.25 million dollars a month. The situation is
much healthier than it used to be - ZESA had run up a debt of 30 million
dollars, leading HCB to threaten to disconnect it.

According to a report in Monday's issue of the Maputo daily "Noticias", one
of the Mozambican directors of HCB, Manuel Tome, confirmed that the payments
from ZESA have been made on a regular basis.
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Opposition in Zimbabwe Criticizes Proposed Electoral Law
Peta Thornycroft
11 Oct 2004, 15:15 UTC

Critics of a proposed new electoral law now being debated by Zimbabwe's
parliament say the measure provides no evidence that promised electoral
reforms are on the way.
The draft law which was presented to parliament last week by justice
minister Patrick Chinamasa, sets up the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, the
authority which will run elections next March. The draft law describes this
new authority as an independent authority.

The draft law says that the chairman of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission
will be appointed by President Robert Mugabe.

Four commissioners will be chosen by Mr. Mugabe from a list of seven names
nominated by a parliamentary committee dominated by the president's ruling
ZANU-PF party.

There is no provision in the draft law for any independent adjudication of
those selected to run elections.

Reginald Matchaba-Hove, chairman of the Zimbabwe Election Support Network
says that the ZANU-PF government drew up this draft legislation without any

He said there are no constitutional guarantees for the law, and he said the
Zimbabwe Election Commission and its five executives will be subject to what
he describes as the "whims and diktat" of justice minister Chinamasa.

Mr. Matchaba-Hove says Zimbabweans need a new electoral environment and a
truly independent electoral authority empowered through the constitution. He
said this had not happened.

In August, Mr. Mugabe signed a regional protocol on elections which demands
that all member states of the Southern African Development Community, known
as SADC, establish impartial, all-inclusive, competent and accountable
national electoral bodies.

During debate in parliament, Mr. Chinamasa said the SADC electoral protocol
was not binding on Zimbabwe nor did it require inclusivity.

A host of controversial electoral laws were introduced before the
presidential election in March 2002.

With new elections only five months away, parliamentarians say there are no
indications of pending legislation to repeal any of those laws which were
widely criticized by most observers of the last national poll.

Opposition Movement for Democratic Change parliament members say the new
draft law to create the Zimbabwe Election Commission is no more than a

It will be further debated in parliament on Tuesday.

Six weeks ago the MDC suspended participation in all elections until the
ZANU-PF government enabled laws to bring all elections in line with the SADC
electoral protocol for free and fair elections.
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Zimbabwe Overcoming Its Crisis, Mugabe Claims

Agencia de Informacao de Mocambique (Maputo)

October 10, 2004
Posted to the web October 11, 2004


Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe claimed on Sunday that his country is
overcoming the political and economic crisis that shook it in recent year.

"We are now, day by day, regaining a noteworthy political and economic
stability", he claimed, when speaking to journalists after visiting the
Monument to the Mozambican Heroes in Maputo. There was "growing political
stability" in Zimbabwe, Mugabe declared - a claim that is certainly not
echoed by the Zimbabwean opposition, which complains of government-sponsored
violence, nor by civil society, much of which faces closure because of a
draconian anti-NGO bill the government has tabled before the Harare

Mugabe also repeated his claim that, despite the devastating drought that
Zimbabwe experienced in 2003, this year the country is self sufficient in

The Heroes Monument is where the founder of Frelimo, Eduardo Mondlane,
Mozambique's first president, Samora Machel, and others who gave their lives
for the country's freedom are buried.

Mugabe said he had come to lay a wreath at the monument because
"Mozambique's heroes are also Zimbabwe's. Those who lie here, like Samora,
in life gave much for the liberation of my country". He added that he was
visiting Mozambique to pay homage to President Joaquim Chissano, before the
latter leaves office at the end of the year.

Mugabe said he regards Mozambique as his "second homeland" - he lived, first
in the central city of Quelimane, and later in Maputo, during the 1970s, and
it was from Maputo that he directed the struggle of the Zimbabwe African
National Union (ZANU) against the white minority regime of Ian Smith.

Mugabe took the opportunity to announce that Chissano will make a final
visit as president to Zimbabwe before he passes the baton on to whoever wins
the December presidential election.

He said that Zimbabwe is also preparing a major agro- industrial fair "that
will show how far the country is emerging from the economic crisis that it
experienced in recent years".

Mugabe claimed that the economic recovery is highly visible "which makes us
very happy, because it shows that we have managed to frustrate the
intentions of those who want to sink us as a country and as a people".

Asked about measures taken by his government to halt the spread of HIV/AIDS,
Mugabe said that AIDS remains one of the main causes of death in Zimbabwe,
but "we are doing all in our power to reduce the spread, while at the same
lessening the suffering and tragedy of those already infected".

"We have been treating sufferers with anti-retroviral drugs", he said. "We
are even, with the help of India, producing anti-retrovirals in the country,
although not in great quantities. We have a factory that we built with
Indian aid, and our idea is to expand it".

But the best remedy, Mugabe stressed, was for everyone to become aware of
the dangers posed by HIV infection, and take appropriate preventive

Later on Sunday, Mugabe flew to the western province of Tete, in order to
visit the Cahora Bassa dam, which is supplying 500 megawatts of electricity
to Zimbabwe. He told reporters he had never been to Cahora Bassa before,
"and it makes no sense not to know a dam which is one of the major sources
of the power that we consume".
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Sunday Times (SA)

Zimbabwe's power liability at R74m: Erwin

Monday October 11, 2004 15:00 - (SA)

The total liability of the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Company (Zesco) to
South Africa's power utility Eskom stood at 74 million rand as at September
21, says Public Enterprises Minister Alec Erwin.

Replying in Parliament to a written question from official opposition
Democratic Alliance Member of Parliament Ian Davidson, the minister said the
debt was nominated in rands.

"The debt is secured with a debt repayment agreement of the ZAR (South
African rand) equivalent of US$1.5 million per month," he told Davidson.

Asked whether these arrangements included the capitalisation of the debt
into an equity stake in Zesco by Eskom, and what Zesco's current market
capitalisation was and at what stage such arrangements would come into
effect, Erwin said this was not applicable.

I-Net Bridge
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NGOs draw up a code of ethics

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

HARARE, 11 Oct 2004 (IRIN) - Zimbabwean NGOs have adopted a code of ethics
ahead of a controversial new law threatening them with closure for
maladministration and political activism.

The code, which deals with accountability, transparency and good governance,
was adopted at a three-day exhibition last week in the capital, Harare,
which showcased the work of the NGO sector in health and social service

The government's controversial bill, tabled last week, seeks to register and
vet NGOs, while outlawing foreign-funded organisations involved in
governance and human rights issues. According to the news agency Agence
France-Presse, the bill has been amended to include a ban on agencies
"furthering and facilitating the interests or activities of a political

The government argues that such NGOs are being used as proxies by Western
powers to destabilise the country.

Bob Muchabaya, advocacy officer for the National Association of NGOs (NANGO)
told IRIN: "The public is being subjected to gross misinformation in media
reports, which say NGOs are anti-government or profit-making but, with expos
of this type, we as NANGO are creating a forum for the public to interface
with the NGOs and see how they operate."

The code will be monitored, evaluated and implemented by NANGO, and is part
of the NGO sector's strategy to demonstrate to government that they are
capable of self-regulation. At least 400 of an estimated 600 Zimbabwean NGOs
are NANGO members.

NANGO members are bound by the code to set up sound governance structures
run by responsible, democratically elected individuals, and urges
transparency and accountability through participatory planning programmes
with stakeholders, including government, donors and the people it serves.

NGOs are also called on to "move away from the culture of being
donor-dependent" and adopt transparent fund-raising practices. It commits
them to training beneficiaries in project management and implementation, so
that in the event of an NGO being shut down "the project will be managed and
sustained by the beneficiaries".

NANGO is responsible for creating awareness of the code among NGOs,
measuring compliance through a special rating system, and taking "the
necessary steps to rehabilitate, realign, correct or otherwise assist an
organisation to rectify or stop the alleged violation".

Official government representatives were absent from the NGO exhibition.

Civil society groups themselves did not appear to fully appreciate the
importance of the code - a meeting called to adopt the rules was marked by
poor attendance. "It was a very disappointing meeting. It took us one hour
to raise a quorum and, in the end, there were less than 30 people," Reuben
Abidrabo of the Zimbabwean chapter of Amnesty International told IRIN.
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Big Banks' Bad Habits Resurface

Zimbabwe Standard (Harare)

October 10, 2004
Posted to the web October 11, 2004

Rangarirai Mberi

THE sight of depositors queuing to retrieve what little savings they have in
locally owned banks must have been a real worry to many of the indigineous

On the other hand, the big banks - most of them multinationals - should be
rubbing their hands in sheer glee.

They are like that wife standing in the doorway, arms akimbo, staring down
at the errant husband, back from a long night of sampling the passion,
freedom and close attention he could no longer find at home.

There is no question about it, and the big banks have got to admit it - they
had grown ugly, and it's not by choice that the depositor, like the
hen-pecked husband, is reluctantly trudging back home to renewed abuse.

It is hard to imagine - particularly after Trust Bank was sent into
curatorship - locally owned banks ever again getting swamped by hoards of
prospective depositors, tellers beating them away with a stick.

The big old banks are back in fashion, but they are right back where
everyone left them - still big, still old and still drowning clients up to
their eyeballs in charges.

RBZ chief Gideon Gono has said indigenous banks have been ill disciplined,
and that banking needed a shakeout to prune it of rotten apples. The IMF
said in March that the country needed only seven banks, and Gono apparently

However, Trust's closure broke any remaining public confidence in new
Zimbabwean banks, and experts now worry about the possibility of a return to
the old big bank monopoly.

Gono believes a smaller industry will be easier to manage, but he will know
how hard it has been for other central banks to discipline mega banks
operating in an economy they dominate.

There is risk in handing control to foreign banks, an economist said last
week, acknowledging though that some financial sector restructuring had been

"If they (British banks) misbehave, Gono can't touch them. They will know he
has no alternative and depositors don't have one either," the economist
said, requesting anonymity.

Once big banks become so dominant that their activities make up the bigger
portion of an economy's payments system, the RBZ would become increasingly
reluctant to act against them for fear of systemic effects on the financial
system. The big banks become "too big to fail".

For instance, it was Trust's size that delayed RBZ action, Gono admitted
earlier this year.

The case of the Hurungwe farmers and Royal aptly illustrate another fear.
Once they monopolise deposits, big banks begin to control the majority of
lending. By nature, big banks do business with big business, not SMEs or
farmers with ambition and seed as their only collateral.

South Africa is currently battling with rising bank charges from the "Big
Four" banks, which control 95% of the retail market after the demise of
several second tier banks. Authorities there are looking to Barclays'
take-over of ABSA as the only solution to break the oligopoly.

Branch closures are big banks' favourite pastime - Barclays is still selling
some offices - and this increases the distance between a client and the
bank, which new players had sought to reduce.

And the prospect and consequences of British banks just quitting on Zimbabwe
has long scared many.

"What happens if Barclays or Standard Chartered decide, from London, that
their brand is no longer served well here?"

But Barclays CEO Charity Jinya has denied any suggestions that Barclays
could pull out of Zimbabwe. But if Barclays plc does take over ABSA, major
owner of Jewel Bank at 26 %, it could deepen its hold on Zimbabwe.

Others fear that if any more banks are forced under, there will be a return
to the "cartel banking" that was Zimbabwean banking before William Nyemba
set up NMB in 1993. Rates and services become uniform as competition

Many question whether the big banks have changed during the time that
depositors left for Zimbabwean banks. New banks followed a simple strategy -
avoid the mistakes that old banks make. This saw them chip away at the
imposing dominance of the big banks.

In Trust's case, a mix of aggression and tenderness helped it grow into the
largest bank by assets by December 2003.

Large black companies and individual savers were prised away from older
banks with promises of more personalised and fast service, something that
the likes of Barclays, Stanchart or Stanbic had long forgotten about.

New banks won by doing simple things like tearing down the old, stuffy
banking hall décor. Out went the paranoid tradition of putting the teller in
a little cube behind a thick glass, with the little opening at the bottom
through which slips and cash were exchanged.

Images of spooky, hooded villains sitting around a table in a dark room
setting rates and bank charges are perhaps rather drastic. But it is fair
comment to say that customers, charged senseless by the big bank cartel of
old, had grown to see big bank executives in some really dim light.

Writer Peter Taylor, in The Canadian Revolution, quotes a bank chairman as
saying: "Bankers are so unpopular these days, that in response to complaints
from the animal rights people the University of Regina has decided to use
big bank executives instead of white rats in all future biological

'There are three reasons for this new policy: there is an unlimited supply
of bank executives; the researchers don't get attached to them; and there
are some things that rats just won't do."

OK, so it's rather unkind to place common rodents ahead of learned bankers.
Still, as clients troop back to the big old banks, they are caught between
the devil and the deep blue sea, between the instability of the new banks
and the bureaucracy of the old.

Greed and inefficient risk management have closed down many of the new
banks. Few Zimbabweans will risk their savings with them now.

But on the other side, the old impersonal, aloof treatment and diabolic
charges that clients thought they had escaped from with the emergence of the
new banks, remain well in place.

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Zimbabwe Betrays Ideals of the Revolution

Zimbabwe Standard (Harare)

October 10, 2004
Posted to the web October 11, 2004

THE forced removals of villagers from farms by the very people who
encouraged the invasions and occupations in 2000 mark a new height in
cynicism and betrayal of the ideals of the liberation struggle.

What has been happening on occupied farms in Mashonaland East and West,
Masvingo and Matabeleland provinces in recent weeks is a monumental tragedy
that best captures the bitter experience of post independence rule in this

At the beginning of 2000 the government instigated villagers to invade and
occupy commercial farms, saying equitable land distribution was at the core
of the struggle for independence.

Amid chants of "ivhu kuvanhu", "People First", "the land is the economy" and
"Third Chimurenga", the government allowed villagers to settle anywhere they
liked. The police were rendered powerless. The government vowed there would
be no going back.

However, in recent weeks the same government has brought in police details
to oversee mass evictions of the villagers it encouraged to resort to
lawlessness. But the bitter irony now is the resemblance in approach to the
settlers when they were ejecting indigenous people from their ancestral
lands under the Land Apportionment Act in order to open up vast farmlands
for commercial farmers.

The brutality of settler colonial administration can never be excused
although it was not unexpected of those determined to subjugate the
indigenous people of this country, but the brutality of one of our own is
unparalleled, treacherous and unforgivable. It is the worst form of
oppression and could be sowing and watering the seeds of future conflict in
this country. This is blatant hijacking of the revolution.

The scale of the evictions, dispossessions and human rights abuses is
incomparable, while the silence from domestic and international rights
organisations is perplexing. It is as if the villagers have absolutely no
rights at all.

What is happening as a result of the mass evictions is a covert agenda to
concentrate the ownership of land in the hands of an elitist political group
and protégés who have decided to secure their future by transforming
Zimbabwe into a private property, where the majority will exist at the
pleasure of a new landed class.

The struggle for independence is thus reduced to a struggle by blacks to
supplant whites in order to perpetrate and perpetuate the injustices that
were synonymous with settler administration and for which it came to be
violently despised.

Despite three audits and mounting evidence that the political elite in this
country are multiple farm owners, the government has elected to ignore this
evidence and instead has chosen to victimise villagers it encouraged to
invade and occupy farms since 2000.

Ironically, the one lesson to emerge from all this is that the government is
finally admitting that its land reform programme has been an unmitigated
disaster and needs to be scrapped, while it returns to the drawing board.

What is also tragic about the evictions is that senior leaders from the
struggle, who ideally should comprise the guardians of the ideals of the
revolution, see these things and yet remain silent, as if they have been
rendered impotent by a bitter power struggle.

John Nkomo, who is the Minister of Special Affairs responsible for Lands,
Land Reform and Resettlement, keeps referring issues about the evictions to
provincial governors as if governors suddenly have the power to veto
directives from central government. Failure to put his foot down and to
demand an immediate end to the evictions is all the more puzzling especially
given that he is the chairman of the ruling Zanu PF party.

There is a paralysis of indecision even in a case where it is obvious
potential voter support is being squandered. The opposition is being gifted
an election chance by the ruling party!

One possible explanation for all this and the lack of decisive response by
the government, on behalf of the villagers being evicted, could be that if
land invasions and occupations were indeed spearheaded by former freedom
fighters, then what is being witnessed is the emergence of a schism between
ruling politicians and war veterans. This could lead to the emergence of a
political force drawing its support from war veterans, but still within the
ruling party.

Last week The Standard reported that more war veterans will be fielded as
candidates challenging senior Zanu PF officials in the run up to next year's
March parliamentary elections. The chairman of the War Veterans Association,
Jabulani Sibanda, attributed this unprecedented development to the
"reawakening of the revolutionary spirit" among former freedom fighters.

The government ministers and senior ruling party officials who are
threatened by the war veterans' decision could have hatched a strategy to
disrupt the power base of the former freedom fighters by scattering people
who are likely to vote for ex-combatants.

Dispersing the people who invaded and occupied former commercial farms would
thwart the plans by former freedom fighters. People who move out of
constituencies could encounter problems in voting for candidates put forward
by the war veterans, thus securing victory for the status quo.

The evictions have serious implications. The villagers have children who
were due to write their qualifying examinations this year. The evictions
will mean a wasted year for hundreds of school children. But there is also
the issue of disruptions to farming activities with the possibility that
this could adversely impact on food production. The villagers will have
neither the resources to buy inputs nor the land to grow food. The
government may have created a class of people it will need to feed in the
immediate and medium term.

The evictions suggest that the "agrarian reform" has become a scramble for
land by the political elite and that the government has stopped pretending
that it cares or ever cared about ordinary people.

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Limpopo Line Rehabilitation Complete

Agencia de Informacao de Mocambique (Maputo)

October 11, 2004
Posted to the web October 11, 2004


The rehabilitation of the 534 kilometre Limpopo line, linking the port of
Maputo to Zimbabwe, will help Mozambique resume its pre-eminent position in
terms of rail services and stimulate long term economic development, through
the creation of more jobs, declared Transport Minister Tomas Salomao on

The line was severely damaged in the massive flooding of February 2000, but
has now been rehabilitated by a consortium formed by the South African
company Grineker, and the US company Harsco.

Speaking in Chokwe, in the southern province of Gaza, during the official
ceremony to hand over the completed work, Salomao described the undertaking
as a visible landmark in the efforts to rebuild, with international
cooperation, infrastructures destroyed by the 2000 floods.

"We continue committed to the reconstruction of all infrastructures damaged
by the floods in order to enhance economic growth in all areas", he said.

He praised the efforts of the country's cooperation partners, namely the
United States and Canada, for their assistance in carrying out the

Emergency rehabilitation took place immediately after the flood waters had
receded - at this stage the United States Agency for International
Development (USAID) provided 1.2 million US dollars for the purchase of
ballast and its transport to the line, while the Canadian International
Development Agency (CIDA) provided six million dollars for other costs.

Mozambique's own port and rail company, CFM, provided seven million dollars
from its own funds. The emergency work was completed in November 2000, and
traffic between Maputo and Zimbabwe resumed.

In order to restore full reliability and security to the line, definitive
rehabilitation took place from 2001 to 2004, funded by USAID to the tune of
53.5 million dollars.

The work concentrated on the stretch worst hit by the floods - the 225
kilometres from Maputo port to Macarretane in Gaza. 72 kilometres were
completely rebuilt, 50,000 new concrete sleepers were laid, and drainage
systems installed.

Salomao recalled that the line had been seriously damaged by the floods,
when the waters reached the height of five meters, submerging houses and
unearthing land mines that had been planted during the war of
destabilisation. "But with the support of our partners it was possible to
reverse the situation", he said.

He urged the people living along the line to remain vigilant against
vandalisation of the railway by thieves who will steal materials such as
ballast for private use.

For his part, Gaza provincial governor Rosario Mualeia also stressed the
importance of the undertaking, saying that it will enhance the transport
system in the province.

"This railway is particularly important for the populations of Mapai,
Mabalane, and Chicualacuala districts (in the north of the province). For
instance, water supply to this last district was, for many years, undertaken
in tankers carried by train, along this line", he said.

The chairperson of the CFM board of directors, Rui Fonseca, was clearly not
happy with the quality of the work done. He said the line had been
rehabilitated to a "reasonable" standard, but there were still

"Perhaps it is not what CFM dreamed of and desired", he said, "but it is
what was possible. CFM hopes that the contractor and the inspecting company
will correct the anomalies that we detected right from the start and
throughout the work".
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Zim Observer

      Issuing of passport forms decentralised
      by STAFF EDITORS (10/10/2004)

 THE Zimbabwe Registrar General's Office will decentralise the issuing of
passport forms to ease pressure and queues at its headquarters in Harare.
Addressing a press conference in the capital, Registrar General Tobaiwa
Mudede said from today, would be applicants for passports will purchase
forms from their respective district offices in Zimbabwe.

He added that the RG's office had established 60 centres to specifically
deal with passport applications. "We have introduced the decentralisation of
issuance of passport application forms.

This is due to the fact that people have been spending long hours and
several days queuing for the forms.

"So what we have done is that we have rolled out 60 centres countrywide that
we have tasked with dealing with those applications, and we expect that by
Monday, this decentralisation process would be in full swing," said Mudede.

He added that this was also aimed at curtailing operations of bogus dealers
who queued for passport forms and later resell them. This, he said, had
resulted in a lot of cheating, as the would-be customers were being charged
exorbitant charges for the application forms.

"We have also introduced a serial number on the forms as this would  improve
on issues of accountability and security because if the form is sold, then
the money is returned to government," said Mudede.

He said that vehicles to facilitate speedy delivery of the application forms
as well
as the processed passports had already been made available to senior
district registration officials.

Mudede, however, reiterated that the conditions for application would remain
the same, adding that there was need for applicants to be wary of people
purporting to assist them, while they were ripping them off.
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