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

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            (MONDAY 11TH OCTOBER 2004)
Our brothers and sisters in Zimbabwe continue to suffer at the hands of a dictatorial regime intent on destroying any vestige of popular democracy and socio-economic well being for the vast majority of the citizens of that country. The latest attack launched by the Mugabe regime on basic freedoms is the NGO Act that has recently been presented to the Zimbabwean Parliament.  It is but the latest in a series of manufactured legal constraints imposed on the people of Zimbabwe by a regime that has become intolerant of any criticism and dissent. The NGO Act, when enacted, will do to Zimbabwean civil society what AIPPA (Access to Information and the Protection of Privacy Act) did to the print media and the BSA (Broadcasting Services Act) did to the electronic media. Coupled with the draconian POSA (Public Order & Security Act) which places severe restrictions on the constitutional right of freedom of association and assembly, the NGO Act represents nothing less than the closing down of what little space is left for public debate and democratic activity, a development that has the potential to drive Zimbabweans to seek other, extra-legal, solutions to their crisis.

Our historical and more contemporary experience in South Africa convinces us of the need for vibrant, independent and progressive organs of civil society. Trade unions, social movements, community civics and progressive NGOs played an essential role in the defeat of the apartheid regime and in keeping alive the spirit of popular democracy, economic justice and social liberation and continue today, in new forms, to uphold that tradition and to act as vehicles for the voices of the poor and marginalized.

For all freedom loving people in our region, continent and across the world, one thing must be clear - Mugabe did not liberate Zimbabwe; Zimbabweans did with the help of many people inside the country, in Southern Africa and abroad.  Mugabe's somewhat limited and chequered contribution to that struggle does not confer a divine right to reign in perpetuity and to terrorise the people of that country. It is high time that South Africans unbundle the 'liberation' mythology of Mugabe and seek a much clearer understanding of this megalomaniac who has literally destroyed the hopes and dreams of an entire nation in the name of completing a self-constructed and self-serving 'national liberation struggle'.

We call upon all South Africans to open their eyes to the creeping fascism and very real repression that is the reality of present-day Zimbabwe. Let us not be fooled by the demagogic victim syndrome and vacuous anti-imperialist rhetoric of Mugabe and his crony regime.  Let us listen to the people of Zimbabwe, including those hundreds of thousands that have been forced into political and economic exile in our own country. Let us demand that the South African government show moral courage, political honesty and human solidarity towards the suffering people of Zimbabwe and act now to do all it can to ensure that this, and other, repressive legislation is stopped in its tracks.
The people of Zimbabwe contributed enormously to South Africa's struggle for freedom and they deserve the full support of South Africans in their own struggle to regain a freedom that has been brutally assaulted and raped, in their own name. Let us not allow the people of Zimbabwe to be sacrificed on an altar of lies, expediency, personal egos and elite accumulation. 
For further comment/information, contact Dale McKinley on 073 429-4086
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Message from Sarah Carter and Kate Kaye-Eddie ......

Animals are starving as the amount of food is decreasing for the demand
that is needed.  Recently we have been reduced to feeding the predators.
Other animals that have died in the game park such as the matriarch
elephant, sable, impala and the list goes on.

Please, we desperately need your help in the feeding and caring for the
large number of animals in our care.  Animals are being sent to our
Sanctuary almost weekly, with the cost of everything going up almost
daily, we are in desperate need of some assistance.  All the animals
within the sanctuary are there for a reason - they are orphaned,
injured, former pets or problem animals and cannot be released back into
the wild.

They are relying on us.

All these animals require food, housing and veterinary care.

Veterinary costs continue to increase on a monthly basis and basic flea
and tick control is rapidly becoming beyond our means.  Our major source
of food for the herbivores is no longer operating at full capacity which
means we are receiving less than half the amount of waste vegetables
that we need.

We have in the past been relying on donations of horses and livestock to
feed our predators and this source is shrinking as the economic
situation worsens.

We do have a sponsorship scheme in place for very lucky individual
animals, however these only cover the cost of that one specific animal.
We still need to cover the cost of the other animals.  We have put
together a "list" of essentials that we desperately need for the
well-being of our animals.

FRONTLINE (Spray or Spot-on - for Rolf the Cheetah) DOG DIP, FLEA
(for shelters during the Rains)

A SPONSOR FOR 3 ORPHANED PIGLETS - they require 2 litres of goats
milk/day which we have sourced at $4000/lt

A SPONSOR FOR 2 ORPHANED CALVES - they require 2 litres of cows milk per
day which we have sourced at $3500/lt

IMPORTANTLY - YOUR SUPPORT!  Just by visiting our sanctuary on the
Shamva Road you are helping us.  We are only half an hour from Harare
and open every day except Mondays.

Thank you for helping us to care for the Bally Vaughan animals.  We
cannot do it without you!  By sponsoring a Bally Vaughan resident, or
assisting with one of our projects, you are not just helping this small
group of creatures, but you are making a difference to the future of
wildlife in Zimbabwe as a whole.

Please if you are interested in helping please contact:

Sarah Carter
Kate Kaye-Eddie
TEL: 011601131

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The Herald

War veterans leader granted $1 million bail

Court Reporter
JAILED former Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans' Association
secretary-general Endy Mhlanga has been granted $1 million bail pending his
appeal to the High Court.

Mhlanga was last month jailed for two-and-a-half years by a Harare
magistrate after being convicted of theft by false pretences and corruption
involving $448 599.

Justice Tedias Karwi granted Mhlanga bail pending appeal after hearing
submissions from both the State, represented by law officer Mr Morgan
Nemadire, and the defence team led by Advocate Eric Matinenga, who was
instructed by Mr Aston Musunga.

He also ordered Mhlanga to report at the Criminal Investigation Department's
Fraud Squad once every week and to remain at his Budiriro house until the
matter is finalised.

Mhlanga, a former director of war veterans' investment company Zexcom
Foundation (Pvt) Limited, was convicted on two counts of theft by conversion
which arose after he registered a B2500 company car in his name.

The corruption charges stem from his corruptly awarding of a tender to his
company, Mashtech Training College, to repair a fleet of Zexcom cars.
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The Herald

Zim to buy 200 combine harvesters

Herald Reporter
ZIMBABWE wants to buy 200 combine harvesters from Argentina and Brazil to
ensure that there is no shortage of equipment next season.

A delegation of officials from the Department of Agricultural Engineering,
Department of Irrigation, the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) and the
Agricultural and Rural Development Authority will shortly leave for the two
South American countries.

The Government is stepping up efforts to build combine capacity for next

"It is now too clear that we will meet our grain requirements. In fact, we
expect very high production, but to enhance our position, we need to have
machinery and equipment,'' said the Minister of Agriculture and Rural
Development, Dr Joseph Made, yesterday.

The delegation would also negotiate for credit lines to be extended to
Zimbabwe to buy the combines. The combines would not be expected to ease the
current combine shortage but would help speed up the harvesting of next
season's crop.

Brazil and Argentina are among the very few countries that have climates
similar to Zimbabwe's and which make combine harvesters.

"The GMB should take the lead in making sure the wheat crop is harvested
and, as such, it should be interested in the availability of combines,''
said the minister.

Wheat and maize are classified crops which can only be sold to the GMB and,
as such, the GMB, being the sole buyer, should take interest in their
harvesting and production.

Efforts by the ministry to source for more combine harvesters are consistent
with the 35-year national agricultural strategic document that seeks to
increase grain production and food security.

Dr Made said the ministry would also appeal to the Reserve Bank for foreign
currency down-payment so that the combines can be bought on credit.

It is expected that new farmers would be given the option to buy some of the
combines while some would be distributed across the country's
grain-producing areas.

The consignment would also include grain dryers to enhance grain quality and
reduce weevil attack.

On the rains lashing across much of the country, Dr Made said they were a
challenge to wheat and barley farmers as any delay would result in the crops
sprouting, but he added that the rains were good for land preparation.

The Government has in past few months been importing tractors and combine
harvesters. Land reform has, indeed, pushed up the demand for machinery and
equipment as more people got portions of land to cultivate
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Zim Online

Tues 12 October 2004

      MAPUTO - President Robert Mugabe has again rejected international food
assistance, insisting Zimbabwe had produced enough to feed itself.

      Mugabe, who was speaking at the end of a three-day visit here
yesterday, said Zimbabwe planned to hold an agro-industrial fair to showcase
how the country was emerging from a severe food and economic crisis which
gripped the country for the last three years.

      But international food relief experts told ZimOnline yesterday that
although food output improved last farming season, Zimbabwe still faced a
shortfall of 700 000 tonnes of the staple maize.

      A senior official with one food agency, who spoke anonymously for
professional reasons, said: "I think the evidence is there for all to see
that the maize harvested is not enough to feed the people.

      "We have visited some of the resettlement areas which are still lying
fallow....Even the resettled farmers may need food aid because they did not
get adequate support to produce food. You must also look at the widespread
poverty in urban areas to see that things
      are not looking good at all."

      The official said Zimbabwe, which has grappled with acute shortages of
foreign currency since 1999, needed to raise hard cash to import more maize
to augment existing stocks. The country requires 1.8 million tonnes of maize
for national consumption and for its
      strategic reserves until the next harvest that begins around April
next year.

      ZimOnline exposed three weeks ago that Harare had since July this year
quietly imported 100 000 tonnes of maize from neighbouring Zambia and
Malawi. Sources at the government's Grain Marketing Board said the decision
to import maize was taken after it emerged
      that harvests would be far below government forecasts of 2.4 million
tonnes of the staple grain.

      And board chief executive officer, Samuel Muvuti, last month also told
a parliamentary committee probing the country's food situation that the
state's grain utility had up to last month collected a paltry 200 000 tonnes
of maize from growers. The board is the only authority permitted to buy
maize from farmers under the government's grain laws.

      The parliamentary committee is still to table its findings in

      Aid agencies have accused Mugabe of claiming food sufficiency in order
to drive them out of the country so he could manipulate food relief to buy
votes ahead of a crucial parliamentary election scheduled for next March.

      The main opposition Movement for Democratic Change party, local and
international human rights groups have accused Mugabe and his ruling ZANU PF
party of denying food to his opponents. They deny the charge.

      Mugabe, who was in Maputo to pay homage to President Joacquim
Chissano, also claimed tension in Zimbabwe had eased and that the country's
crumbling economy was on the mend despite inflation hovering above 300

      As an example of Zimbabwe's progress on the path to recovery, Mugabe
noted that the country was now manufacturing anti-retroviral drugs to combat
a raging HIV/AIDS pandemic that is killing 2 000 people in the country every
week. - ZimOnline

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Zim Online

Maize seed, fertilizer shortages hit country
Tues 12 October 2004

      HARARE - An acute shortage of maize seed and fertilizer could still
see food production in Zimbabwe dropping again even if the country received
good rains this farming season, ZimOnline has established.

      In a snap survey yesterday, fertilizer and seed suppliers across the
country said they did not have enough stocks and had begun limiting
quantities farmers could purchase at a time.

      Shortages of foreign currency to import raw materials plus reduced
production capacity at the country's only fertilizer-making company had
combined to see a drop in the quantity of maize seed and ammonium nitrate
fertilizer, critical in the production of Zimbabwe's staple food crop,

      The main farming season begins in less than three weeks time with the
first rains expected by early November.

      The country's sole manufacturer of ammonium nitrate fertilizer, Sable
Chemicals, temporarily stopped production in August because of a labour
dispute there and also because of shortages of foreign currency to import
raw materials.

      Officials at Sable's fertilizer factory near Kwekwe city, 213
kilometres west of Harare, yesterday said production at the factory was now
at 60 percent but still far below demand which they said peaks around this
time of the year.

      A farmer in one of Zimbabwe's main maize-growing areas in Mashonaland
Central province said: "Fertilizer merchants have been limiting supplies to
customers because Sable is not supplying them enough. Some of the outlets
are out of stock while those that have the
      commodity are limiting orders to about two 50kg bags of fertilizer per

      The Sables's general manager, Joseph Mhunduru, could not be reached
for comment yesterday. But Mhunduru last month told the Press that the
company was increasing production capacity and would be able to meet demand
depending on availability of foreign currency.

      Officials at Zimbabwe's two largest seed producers, Seed Co and Pannar
Seed, who spoke anonymously said the two firms had so far released about 9
000 tonnes of seed onto the market.

      About 75 000 tonnes of seed should have been released to the market by
this time of the year to ensure good harvests, according to agricultural

      The seizure of mostly white-owned seed producing farms by the
government has hit hard production because the new black farm owners lack
resources and skills to grow seed.

      Once a net food exporter, Zimbabwe has grappled with severe food
shortages for the past three years after chaotic and often violent
government land reforms destabilised farm production. - ZimOnline

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Zim Online

Judgment reserved in governor's trial
Tues 12 October 2004

      HARARE - High Court Judge Tedius Karwi yesterday reserved judgment in
a case in which Mashonaland Central governor Ephraim Masawi is accused of
political violence and issuing death threats to opposition supporters in his

      Masawi did not personally appear for the hearing which was held in the
judge's chambers.

      Harare lawyer Jessie Majome, who is representing Masawi, said: "The
judge said he will pass a ruling on the matter in due course."

      The governor is accused of threatening opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) party national executive member, Claudious Marimo,
with death after he refused to defect to the ruling ZANU PF party.

      Masawi, who is the highest ranking government official ever to be
tried of political violence, is also accused of having held meetings with
militant supporters of the ruling party urging them to cleanse the province
of all MDC supporters. He denies the charges. - ZimOnline

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Zim Online

ANALYSIS: MDC in quandary over Tsvangirai treason judgment
Tues 12 October 2004

      HARARE - A crippling question is troubling Zimbabwe's opposition MDC
party: What to do if, on Friday, its leader Morgan Tsvangirai is convicted
on charges that he plotted to kill President Robert Mugabe?

      Senior members of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) are trying
to reach consensus on the appropriate response to a conviction, which apart
from the question of its injustice, would render the party leaderless with
no obvious successor.

      There is almost universal consensus in Zimbabwe that Tsvangirai
remains the foundation on which the MDC is built. Without him, the party is
as good as dead. Tsvangirai's political stamina, charisma and powerful
oratory has endeared him to many in the Zimbabwean
      body politic, which is why he narrowly lost to Mugabe in the 2002
presidential election which was widely dismissed as rigged.

      If convicted Tsvangirai faces the death penalty or a long jail term.
He will then be barred from contesting high political office in

      In many interviews with MDC officials, ZimOnline established this week
that the opposition party was sharply divided on the issue with many party
officials preferring to reject a conviction of Tsvangirai and retaining him
as the leader.

      According to this school of thought, the treason charges against him
are trumped up and not legitimate. The party should therefore show
      solidarity with Tsvangirai and insist that he remains leader even
while in jail. It should put forward his name for elections and refuse to
recognise any bar on him contesting.

      The party should also focus on lobbying for his release through a
determined campaign of mass action in Zimbabwe and refuse to participate in
elections from which Tsvangirai is barred. It should also try to sustain a
civil disobedience campaign to make the country
      ungovernable until Tsvangirai is freed.

      But the second school of thought propounded a different approach,
considered by Tsvangirai's enemies in the party as being "more realistic".

      "We cannot mortgage the party and the future of Zimbabwe to the soul
of one man," said one MDC MP who preferred anonymity. "What if Tsvangirai
dies? Will these same guys suggest we disband the MDC altogether because as
a party we cannot do without him?

      "I have the utmost respect for Tsvangirai but I think we ought to be
realistic in our analysis....We can't just handover the game to Mugabe."

      According to this second school of thought, if Tsvangirai is convicted
the party should elect a new leader and move on. Zimbabwe needs an
opposition and the MDC should fulfill that need with or without Tsvangirai.

      "We need to avoid building personality cults as ZANU PF has done with
Mugabe," said a member of the MDC's decision-making
      national executive council.

      "There is no doubt that Tsvangirai's trial is political and all the
charges were trumped up because Mugabe wants to eliminate him as his major
opponent. Mugabe might succeed in doing that because it's all politics.

      "What we should then do is to ensure that Mugabe does not get away
with it. This we can only do by rallying around a new leader who will
provide the appropriate opposition. If we get power, we can then release
Tsvangirai and set aside all the political charges against him to enable him
to re-enter politics. This we cannot do if we take a position that amounts
to saying the MDC should die with his conviction."

      Officials in the second school of thought suggest that in the event of
Tsvangirai's conviction, MDC secretary-general Welshman Ncube or fired
Harare executive mayor Elias Mudzuri should take over.

      Some even suggest that the whole treason trial is being used to
eliminate Tsvangirai from the political scene and replace him with a new
opposition leader who will be amenable to forging a unity government with
Mugabe, something that Tsvangirai has persistently

      Unconfirmed reports suggest that Ncube is the favourite in Pretoria,
which has not made a secret of its disdain and contempt for Tsvangirai after
he last year accused President Thabo Mbeki of lying about the Zimbabwe

      President Mbeki believes that with Ncube at the helm, he can get
President Mugabe to agree to a co-operation arrangement and end the Zimbabwe

      Mbeki and his henchmen in the ANC consider Tsvangirai a "stumbling
block" to resolving the Zimbabwe crisis, according to one ANC fundi. In the
final analysis, Mbeki prefers a reformed ZANU PF to remain in power as
opposed to an MDC government.

      He doesn't want trade-union backed parties to continue outstaging
liberation war parties in southern Africa, according to the official.
      Mbeki would alternatively prefer a kind of co-operative government in
which ZANU PF remains dominant and the MDC a junior
      partner, something he believes he can achieve with Ncube at the helm
of the opposition party, the ANC official said.

      But that seems all based on a wrong analysis of the opposition party's
politics. The official acknowledged that African political parties are built
around strong personalities and Tsvangirai is as of now the rallying point
for the MDC.

      Without him the party is in trouble.

      In the unlikely event that Ncube took over while Tsvangirai is in
jail, MDC officials warned that the party would split if Ncube tried to work
out a deal with ZANU PF which would benefit him as an individual.

      The MDC is yet to take an official public position on its response to
a conviction of Tsvangirai in the treason case. But the debate has taken
centre stage in the party because it does not want to be caught with its
pants down this time around.

      Its failure to plan in advance and adopt strategic responses to
political situations has cost it dearly in the past.

      In the 2002 presidential elections, the party had not planned a
strategic response if it lost the poll. It had believed it would win.
      Tsvangirai had reportedly penned his victory speech and he was ready
to move into State House before the results were announced.

      The lack of strategic thinking and planning became evident when at a
post-election Press conference, Tsvangirai was asked for his party's next
move. He publicly ruled out challenging the election results in courts only
to go to the courts a month later.

      He also ruled out calling people into the streets to protest against
the election because this would cause bloodshed. But only months later he
called for a "final push" to topple Mugabe, which earned him a second
treason charge.

      These "wish-washy" prevarications have been cited as Tsvangirai's
greatest weakness though the MDC essentially needs him.

      Reports suggest that High Court Judge President Paddington Garwe,
regarded as being too close to Mugabe, had already convicted Tsvangirai
without consulting his assessors.

      The tow assessors, with whom Garwe head Tsvangirai's trial, now hold
the key to his fate on Friday. It was the decision of two assessors that
helped former ZANU PF firebrand Edgar Tekere with an acquittal in the early
1980s after the presiding judge had convicted him of the murder of a white
landowner. - ZimOnline

      * ZimOnline will provide you with a spot on report on the Tsvangirai
judgment soon after its delivery on Friday.

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      Air Zimbabwe to launch flight to China before year end 2004-10-13 02:05:35

          HARARE, Oct. 12 (Xinhuanet) -- Zimbabwe's national carrier, Air
Zimbabwe, is set to introduce a direct flight to Beijing, China via
Singapore before the end of the year, the New Ziana news agency reported on

          The country's Transport and Communications permanent
secretary,Karikoga Kaseke was quoted as saying he could confirm that
Zimbabwean government was expecting the introduction of the flight.

          The introduction of the flight to the two countries will be in
line with the government's "Look East" policy which has seen the number of
tourist arrivals from China increases from 3,354 in 2003to 11,584 in 2004.

          China also granted Zimbabwe Approved Destination Status last year,
encouraging Chinese people to travel to Zimbabwe.

          Kaseke also confirmed that plans to introduce a direct flight to
Dubai are being considered. Enditem

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Global Fund rejects appeal, denies political bias

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

JOHANNESBURG, 12 Oct 2004 (IRIN) - Zimbabwe's request for funding from the
Global Fund to Fight HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis (TB) and Malaria has again been

Last week Zimbabwe appealed the Fund's earlier rejection of its HIV/AIDS and
TB grant proposals. Fund spokesman Tim Clark told IRIN on Tuesday that
"sadly, neither of the Zimbabwe appeals was successful".

In July the Fund turned down proposals from Zimbabwe for HIV/AIDS, TB and
malaria, "for technical reasons". David Parirenyatwa, Zimbabwe's Minister of
Health and Child Welfare, accused the Fund of political bias, something the
Global Fund has strongly denied.

Had its proposals been approved, Zimbabwe would have benefited from a US
$218 million five-year commitment by the Fund. Clark pointed out that
Zimbabwe was not the only country to have proposals rejected in July: 36
proposals had been unsuccessful.

There were 13 appeals to the Fund to reconsider country proposals, and "of
these Zimbabwe launched two appeals - it only appealed for two of the
disease components (HIV/AIDS and TB), and neither of those were successful
at appeal," Clark noted.

As was the case in July, "technical reasons were given for the failure of
the appeals, which were judged by an independent panel, and those reasons
will be communicated back to Zimbabwe. So, if they intend to re-lodge the
applications in the next round [of proposals], they will have a good idea of
what work needs to be done to knock them into shape," Clark said.

However, Mary Sandasi, the director of a local HIV/AIDS group, Women and
AIDS Support Network, told IRIN she believed the Global Fund was "mixing
issues" and had "a hiddgen agenda".

"The Global Fund is supposed to be looking at HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria, but
they are taking up other issues; issues that are to do with the people of
Zimbabwe, and that can only be dealt with by Zimbabweans without outside
interference," Sandasi said.

"I think this is the fourth round [of proposals], and we have not received
any funding from them. We feel there is a hidden agenda," she added.

Clark denied any political bias in the Fund's decision. "Anybody looking at
our portfolio of grants throughout the world will see we have given grants
to North Korea, Sudan, Myanmar ... to a number of difficult environments
throughout the world. I don't think that, logically, anybody could accuse us
of political motivations in our funding decisions," he said.

He explained that the funding applications "are all screened by an
independent panel; the board of the Global Fund then approves funding on the
basis of the recommendations of the independent technical review panel,
which is an international review panel that reviews [proposals] for
technical efficacy".

He noted that "there are two grants that have already been approved to
Zimbabwe during the first round in April 2002 - some US $14 million for
HIV/AIDS programmes and a malaria grant for nearly US $9 million - and it's
unfortunate the subsequent applications have not been successful".

The appeal process concluded on 7 October. Three proposals succeeded, one
each from Niger, Russia and Uzbekistan.

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Zimbabwe's nationwide strike is over
By: Gareth Tredway
Posted: '12-OCT-04 16:00' GMT © Mineweb 1997-2004

JOHANNESBURG ( -- The Zimbabwean Chamber of Mines has confirmed
that the nationwide strike involving as much as 60 percent of Zimbabwe's
mineworkers has been called off and that workers will probably return
tomorrow afternoon.

Doug Verden, executive director at the Chamber, says documentation had been
received from the trade unions and the ministry of labour instructing
workers to return. He said arbitration hearings could commence at the end of
this week between the Chamber and unions.

The strike action began on October 8, but dates back to March, when
arguments arose whether initiatives by government and the reserve bank had
borne fruit for the country's mining industry and should be passed on to the

Verden says a hearing in September found against the Chamber, saying that
some benefits did come from the initiatives. The Chamber then appealed the
decision, but workers decided to strike before a resolution.

He said the Chamber agreed to drop the appeal if workers did not take strike
action, but that at the first discussion between the parties two days later,
"the country was awash with strikes."

A total of 25,000 workers out of the 45,000 registered miners in Zimbabwe,
were reported to be on strike, with coal, asbestos and chrome mines

Those that were affected were Metallon, a South African and Zimbabwean gold
producer, and Impala Platinum. Metallon had stoppages at three of its five
operations, while Impala says the effects have been "minimal".

"The effects at Zimbabwe Platinum Mines (Zimplats) of this industrial action
have been minimal," said a statement, "Time lost at the Selous Metallurgical
Complex has totalled 14 hours. Mining operations at Ngezi have not been
affected to date."
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Mugabe's Farmers Seek First Access to Cash in Ailing Bank

Business Day (Johannesburg)

October 12, 2004
Posted to the web October 12, 2004

Dumisani Muleya

THE curator of Zimbabwe's Royal Bank warned the financial institution was on
the brink of collapse yesterday as a court battle pitching farmers against
the caretaker played out .

Robert McIndoe said Royal, one of four commercial banks that have been
closed due to liquidity problems, would go under if new investors were not
found in time to recapitalise it.

In an opposing affidavit to a court application filed by the Hurungwe
District Farmers Association in a bid to withdraw cash from the bank,
McIndoe said the farmers would precipitate Royal's complete collapse if they
were allowed to remove their money.

"The bank is in a hole, and to allow withdrawals would be tantamount to
digging the hole deeper," McIndoe said.

"Normal operations by Royal Bank may only resume if a new investor comes on

Farmers, who received land under the government's chaotic land-reform
programme, instituted litigation against Royal to get their money out ahead
of other depositors.

They said that they needed the money urgently to finance their operations.
The farmers said refusal to release their money would "plunge our activities
into an abyss".

However, McIndoe said the farmers had no special right of withdrawal,
compared with other depositors.

"The applicant does not belong to any special class of depositor that the
curator can choose to deal with differently from the rest while at the same
time controlling the levels of withdrawal of funds, " he said.

"The applicant is just like every other depositor of Royal Bank, and it is
therefore not possible to enable him to access funds without extending the
same to the other depositors."

On August 4 Royal Bank was placed under the management of a curator for six

Other banks shut for not having enough money to cover themselves include
Barbican, Intermarket and Trust. Up to nine banks in Zimbabwe are said to be
near collapse more trouble for Zimbabwe's already overburdened economy.

NMB, one of the biggest locally owned banks, and NDH were last week reported
to be in financial crisis .

NMB has been trying to secure a rescue package from the central bank to
avoid collapse. The bank was said to have been looking for Z160bn. The
central bank has so far doled out Z500bn to save troubled banks.

Observers, however, say the financial bale-out will fail as it does not
address fundamental problems that include a deep liquidity crisis,
structural weaknesses, mismanagement and managerial incompetence
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Media Advisory

AI Index: AFR 46/030/2004 (Public)
News Service No: 254
12 October 2004

Zimbabwe: Report launch
Ahead of World Food Day, Amnesty International invites journalists to the
launch of its latest report: Zimbabwe: Power and hunger - violations of the
right to food. The report will be launched in Johannesburg, South Africa on
15 October 2004.

In its report, Amnesty International looks at the food shortages and food
insecurity which Zimbabwe has experienced over the past four years, and
whether the government has fulfilled its obligations, under international
human rights law to which Zimbabwe is party, to ensure the right to food for
all people under its jurisdiction.

The report also looks at specific government policies and practices which
have had an impact on food security. These include: the impact on the right
to food of the way in which the land reform program was implemented; the
operations of the state-controlled Grain Marketing Board which has a
monopoly on trade and marketing of maize, the staple food; food aid and
"Food-for-Work" programs; and the use of food and food aid around elections
in Zimbabwe.

Samkelo Mokhine, Chair of Amnesty International South Africa will present
the findings.

Following are conference details
WHO: Samkelo Mokhine, Chair AI-South Africa
Audrey Gaughran, Researcher, AI International Secretariat
DATE: 15 October 2004
TIME: 10 am
VENUE: Sunnyside Park Hotel,
Corner of St Andrews and Princess of Wales Terrace

TEL: +27 (11) 643 7226

For further details contact: Samkelo Mokhine at AI South Africa Tel:
27(0)832612656 or Jelena Visser at 27(12) 320-8155

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Noczim officials get bail

October 12, 2004, 11:10

Two top officials from the state-owned National Oil Company of Zimbabwe
(Noczim) have been charged with corruption involving more than Z$77 million.

Lovemore Manduku and Lenyfesty Mukonoweshuro were both granted Z$1 million
bail on separate fraud charges in a Harare Magistrate's Court.

Both men are accused of buying subsidised fuel from Noczim depots, saying it
was needed on farms they had been allocated under Zimbabwe's controversial
land redistribution programme. The state says neither Manduku nor
Mukonoweshuro own equipment that could use the fuel.

Zimbabwe has been plagued with fuel shortages since late 2000, largely as a
result of foreign currency shortages caused by an economic crisis. - Sapa

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Zim: Union members arrested
12/10/2004 15:25  - (SA)

Harare - A strike by Zimbabwean postal and telecommunications workers
entered a second week on Tuesday as police arrested three trade unionists
for allegedly trying to rope in more protesters, an official said.

Mlamleli Sibanda, a spokesperson for the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions
(ZCTU), said the three men were arrested in Zimbabwe's second city Bulawayo
on Monday.

He said the police gave no reason for the arrests and have not pressed
charges. Police were not immediately available to confirm the arrests.

"They're still being held at the police station," Sibanda said.

Sibanda said he believed the three were arrested for urging others to join
the strike by workers at the state-run telephone and postal companies which
began on Thursday in protest over unpaid pay increases agreed to in June.

"The workers were awarded an increment in June this year. Since that time
management has not affected that increment, saying they can't pay," said the
union official.

Sibanda claimed the strike had been widely followed with management having
to fill in for absent workers throughout the southern African country.

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Taibu disappointed at pullout by leading England players
Tue 12 October, 2004 08:08

RAWALPINDI, Pakistan, Oct 12 (Reuters) - Zimbabwe captain Tatenda Taibu is
disappointed England will be missing several top players when they tour the
African country next month.

"We would have loved for all of their players to come. We want to play
against the best...and I think politics and sports should be separated,"
Taibu told reporters on Tuesday.

England are scheduled to play five one-day internationals in November. Fast
bowler Steve Harmison has pulled out on political grounds while Andrew
Flintoff and Marcus Trescothick accepted an England and Wales cricket board
(ECB) invitation to be rested for the controversial tour.

"Whoever has replaced Harmison would obviously be good enough to represent
his country. But it is disappointing not to face Harmison who has been doing
so well," Taibu said.

The ECB decided to go ahead with the Zimbabwe tour in spite of reservations
among players about political repression in the country, because it faced a
heavy fine by the International Cricket Council if it pulled out.

Zimbabwe cricket has also been in turmoil since April when 15 white rebel
players walked out of the team accusing the Zimbabwe Cricket Union of

A committee of the ICC, who have suspended Zimbabwe's test programme until
the end of the year, is due to submit its report on the allegations later
this week at an ICC executive board meeting in Lahore.

Zimbabwe return home from Pakistan having lost three one-day internationals
in a tri-series but Taibu said the experience would serve them well against

"England is a better team and since we are looking to keep going forward we
need to be playing against better teams."

England tour South Africa after the Zimbabwe one-dayers and Harmison,
Flintoff and Trescothick are due to join them there.

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MDC claims voters roll rigging
12/10/2004 21:18  - (SA)

Harare - Zimbabwe's main opposition party on Tuesday told parliament that
authorities had reduced the number of registered voters in urban centres,
the party's traditional stronghold, ahead of next year's parliamentary

David Coltart, the secretary for legal affairs for the Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC), told parliament his party believed the number of
voters in Zimbabwe's second city of Bulawayo had been cut by 15% since
elections in 2002.

"In urban areas there has been a reduction of registered voters compared to
2002," Coltart said.

The MDC claims it lost parliamentary polls in 2000 and presidential polls
two years later because of intimidation and electoral fraud.

The party has threatened to boycott polls scheduled for next March if
President Robert Mugabe does not implement electoral reforms.

"On our analysis, for example in Bulawayo province there is a 15% reduction
of voters on the voters roll compared to the voters roll we had in 2002,"
Coltart said.

After being cautioned by the speaker not to make allegations against
government officials who were not present to defend themselves, the
legislator said his claims were based on a "preliminary analysis" of the
voters roll and were not "an assertion of absolute fact".

Most ruling party members were not present in parliament and debate was
adjourned until Wednesday.
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"Zhing-Zhong" Gets the Thumbs Up

Wilson Johwa

BULAWAYO, Oct 12 (IPS) - Zimbabwe's clothing manufacturers understand too
well why Asian economies are often referred to as "tigers". With feline
swiftness, low-priced imports from the East have cut a swathe through the
local clothing, textile and footwear market.

The influx of Asian goods now ranks high on Zimbabwean manufacturers' list
of worries - which also include triple-digit inflation, high interest rates,
shrinking consumer demand and political instability.

"These goods are being dumped even in the rural areas. They come cheap, are
of cheap quality and our wares cannot compete - especially with the Chinese
types," says Justice Mashinti, who heads the National Employment Council for
the clothing industry. The body provides a forum for unions and employers to
negotiate wages, safety regulations and other matters.

In a dig at the perceived frailty of Asian imports, consumers have
nick-named them "zhing-zhong".

However, suspicions about the quality of these goods have not prevented
Zimbabweans from buying them. In a county grappling with 70 percent
unemployment, affordable goods are invariably sought after.

Batteries, playing cards, toys, tooth brushes, nail varnish, electric irons
and radios are among the bright assortment of Asian products available at
stalls in flea markets across the country.

At Sekusile, a busy and crowded market in the southern city of Bulawayo, a
trader called McDonald is hardly visible behind the rows of colourful
ladies' underwear and the racks of men's shirts that are for sale. His own
stall is bedecked with sports shoes and slippers that sell for a third to
half the price of their local equivalents.

"I make up to 300,000 (Zimbabwean) dollars (about 40 United States dollars)
a day," says the 25-year-old, who travels to neighbouring Botswana once a
month to replenish his stock. Botswana, he adds, has many Asian shops
offering a variety of products at low prices.

While Asian imports have traditionally been the preserve of flea markets,
they are also making an appearance in the formal retail market. "We see
shoes that we think are Chinese," says Mike Vernon, a local manufacturer of

Adds Allen Feigenbaum, who also makes shoes - mainly for export, "Because of
economies of scale and availability of the most modern equipment, they can
produce footwear at prices that are impossible to beat."

Minimal import duties do little to stem the influx of Asian goods. "For many
of these products duty is a ludicrous 100 (Zimbabwean) dollars (less than
one U.S. dollar) per kilogramme (of clothing)," says economist Eric Bloch.

To save local jobs, the clothing industry union is spearheading a campaign
to encourage Zimbabweans to buy domestically manufactured products.

"We're saying to the Asian people, don't supply us with what we can produce
here, supply us with that which we can't produce," says Fred Mpofu,
general-secretary of the union. "It's like we're exporting our jobs to

The union plans a competition at the end of this month to showcase local
fabrics and designs.

The Parliamentary Committee on Industry and International Trade also plans
to investigate the sale of Asian goods, as acting chairman of the body Moses
Mzila-Ndlovu says government policy on cheap imports is unclear.

"We are facing a crisis in our consumption of imported inferior goods
without the government showing much comprehension," he notes.

IPS could not obtain comment from the Ministry of Industry and International
Trade on the extent of Zimbabwe's dealings with Asian countries.

However, a commercial officer at the Chinese embassy in Harare who declined
to be named said the trade balance between China and Zimbabwe was tipped in
Zimbabwe's favour. This was due to the fact that tobacco exports from
Zimbabwe accounted for 75 percent of the 200 million United States dollars
in annual trade between the two countries.

The officer maintained that most Chinese-made products were of a high
quality, "but where people are poor, they will source poor quality goods at
a cheap price."

Any effort to address the matter of Asian imports is likely to be
complicated by the fact that Harare is pursuing stronger ties with the Asian
bloc, this as relations with Western countries sour because of political

Since the start of 2000, a controversial land redistribution programme,
disputed parliamentary and presidential elections and widespread human
rights abuses have put Zimbabwe at odds with former colonial power Britain,
the United States and others.

Government's rapprochment with Asian states does appear to have yielded some
benefit for the tourism sector, however, which has been hard hit by
perceptions of political uncertainty in Zimbabwe.

Environment and Tourism Minister Francis Nhema says the number of Asian
tourists is likely to rise by about 50 percent this year from 41,000 to
80,000, a figure that includes some 25,000 Chinese. (END/2004)
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New Zimbabwe

Tsvangirai sues Ben Menashe in Canada

By Constantine Chimakure
Last updated: 10/12/2004 22:35:04
MOVEMENT for Democratic Change (MDC) president, Morgan Tsvangirai, is suing
a former Israeli special assignments agent and his political consultancy
firm - Dickens and Madsen - in a Montreal Superior Court, Canada, for a
staggering US$3,1 million (Z$17,36 billion) for unacceptable commercial
conduct involving dishonesty, deception and fraud.

According to court papers filed by Tsvangirai, MDC secretary-general
Welshman Ncube and shadow minister for agriculture Renson Gasela, Menashe
flagrantly violated a contract to lobby international support for the
opposition party and instead cooked up stories of a plot to assassinate
President Robert Mugabe.

This led to the arrest of Tsvangirai and his colleagues, Ncube and Gasela,
on charges of high treason - a charge that carries the death penalty in

However, Ncube and Gasela were acquitted before the conclusion of the trial
while the government insisted that Tsvangirai had a case to answer.

Judgment on Tsvangirai's treason trial is expected on Friday. Tongues are
already wagging over the outcome of the High Court decision, with the big
question being what will happen if Tsvangirai is convicted and vice versa.

The Daily Mirror says it has the court papers in its possession. They read
in part: "The plaintiffs have denied and continue to deny any allegations of
plotting to kill President Mugabe. The plaintiffs state that the audio and
video tapes do not establish any such assassination plot on their part, and
further state that the whole sequence of events described in this statement
of claim was a fraudulent scheme by the defendants to discredit the MDC and
destroy the reputations of the individual plaintiffs.

"The plaintiffs state that the defendants undertook the fraudulent scheme
described in this pleading at the request of and or solely for the benefit
of President Mugabe, in order to prejudice the MDC's attempt to win the
presidential elections on March 9 and 10, 2002."

Menashe - the government's star witness in the treason trial against the
former firebrand trade unionist Tsvangirai - claimed that his firm was
engaged by the opposition to assassinate President Mugabe in December 2001.

"The plaintiffs state that in the course of their dealings with the
defendants, the defendants made numerous fraudulent misrepresentations, all
with the intention of defrauding the plaintiffs of US$97 600 and damaging
their reputations as well as the political objectives of the MDC," the court
papers went on.

"As a result of the fraudulent actions described by the plaintiffs in this
statement of claim, the plaintiffs have suffered damage to their
reputations, significant emotional and mental distress, for which the
plaintiffs claim damages in the amount of US$1 million," the MDC added.
Further, the opposition party is claiming US$15 000 as compensation for
expenses incurred such as out-of-pocket allowances, legal fees and airfares.

In their response, Dickens and Madsen stuck to their guns and claimed that
all was above board.

The firm maintained that the MDC wanted to overthrow President Mugabe and
his government using unorthodox means.

Dickens and Madsen asserted that the MDC did not require lobbying services
from their firm, since the party had already retained the services of BSMG,
a company located in London, to do the same job.

"The plaintiffs sought to engage the services of defendant to accomplish an
illegal act, being the coup d'etat and assassination, and consequently any
monies paid to defendant cannot by law be reclaimed," said Dickens and

The MDC was represented by Borden Ladner Gervais and Dickens and Madsen by
Zilbert Schwartz. Both lawyers are based in Canada.

Further, Dickens and Madsen were accused of refusing to lobby support for
MDC programmes and objectives ahead of the bloody 2002 presidential polls
although they had been paid US$97 600 for the job.

Instead of working for the opposition, the MDC asserted, Menashe had done
considerable work for the Zimbabwe government and was used to trap the

Menashe audiotaped and videotaped his meeting with Tsvangirai on November 3,
2001, in London and on December 4 the same year in Montreal.

The tapes were later broadcast on an Australian television network
subsequently leading to the arrest of the MDC leader, Ncube and Gasela on
treason charges.

The plaintiffs claimed that during their meetings with Menashe, he did not
disclose his links to the Zimbabwe government and in particular that he
"considered President Mugabe to be a personal friend".

"The plaintiffs state that they retained the services of the defendants
under completely false pretences and misrepresentations made by the
defendant, Ben Menashe, on his own behalf ."
Daily Mirror

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      Mabika: a comment too far

      The recent decision of Zimbabwe Television to sack commentator Charles
Mabika was a shock to viewers that loved his unique perspective on matches.

      Known to his fans as "The Voice of Football" and "CNN", Mabika is
loved for his fast, high-pitched commentaries interspersed with jokes and
humorous tales.

      Mabika began radio commentary in the mid 1980s and covered the 2004
Nations Cup finals, Zimbabwe's first appearance, for ZTV.

      But his career came to a bizarre end after Zimbabwe's 3-0 home defeat
to Nigeria's Super Eagles in September's World Cup qualifier.

      Labelled as being "biased and unpatriotic" by ZTV executives for his
praise of Nigeria's performance, his sacking was announced on the evening
news two days after the 5 September match.

      He was accused of paying too much attention to the skills of the Super
Eagles and, in particular, midfielder Jay-Jay Okocha.

      His excited description of the trademark somersaults of Julius
Aghahowa, who scored Nigeria's opening goal, also came under criticism.

      But the phone-in programme "This Is Football", formerly presented by
Mabika, has had many callers asking for the return of their favourite

      However, ZTV's head of sport, Josephine Zulu, has emphasised that he
will not be allowed back.

      "We have positioned ourselves as the leader in Zimbabwean sport and
this essentially demands unswerving loyalty to the national team, whether it
is winning or losing," she said.

      "Like any employer, ZTV reserves the right to hire and fire employees,
guided by both professional and legal considerations."

      Mabika himself has said little in public but emphasised in a statement
that he is far from unpatriotic.

      "My life starts and ends with football, I love my country very much,
and I will always remain the Warriors' number one supporter," he said.

      "Football and I are inseparable, because that is the only thing I
talk, eat and sleep about."
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From The Daily Mirror, 12 October

New twist to Mawere controversy

Shame Makoshori

Controversy surrounding embattled Zimbabwean businessman Mutumwa Mawere's
South African based asbestos marketing company, Southern Asbestos Sales
(SAS), has taken a new twist with revelations that there are behind the
scenes maneuvers by State appointed SMM Holdings administrators to illegally
rescind a High Court order. A South African High Court granted Petter
Trading, the right to collect money due to SAS from SMM Holdings, after the
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe stopped payments to companies linked to Mawere.
According to a memorandum written by South African Advocate Matane Mphahlele
representing SAS dated October 1 2004 to his client, chairman of SAS
identified only as P Mariemuthu, the lawyer said he had been informed by the
former company's financial manager Cleopas Sanangura that SMM secretary
Peter Moyo called him on September 28 about a certain affidavit he wanted
him to sign. Sanangura, Mphahlele claimed, informed him that Moyo wanted him
to sign an affidavit confirming that a Cession Agreement between SAS and
Petter Trading and SMM was backdated and therefore fraudulent. Moyo
allegedly informed Sanangura that the affidavit was required for an
application by SMM to rescind and set aside a court order granted to Petter
Trading to collect funds due from SMM. This followed the Reserve Bank of
Zimbabwe's refusal to allow such payments to any company connected to

"Sanangura said that he had informed Moyo that since he was no longer an
employee of SAS it would be inappropriate for him to represent the company.
Moyo informed him that if he complied he would be handsomely rewarded by the
administrator of SMM Afaras Gwaradzimba for signing the affidavit," Advocate
Mphahlele wrote. Moyo allegedly indicated to Sanangura that if he did not
cooperate, he would be imprisoned by the Zimbabwean police who were after
Mawere. Sanangura are allegedly stood his ground arguing that he was not
prepared to lie. At that point that the telephone was allegedly handed over
to a man who identified himself as Edwin Manikai, a lawyer appointed by the
government of Zimbabwe. "Manikai confirmed the statement of Moyo and
threatened Sanangura with imprisonment if he did not co-operate and that
they were in the country (South Africa) to work on the court documents.
"Manikai is alleged to have said the affidavit was an essential part of the
case they were preparing. He confirmed that Mr O Dube, managing director of
African Associated Mines (AAM) had already complied and had been
appropriately rewarded in line with the statutory instrument issued by the
Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Patrick Chinamasa,"
added the advocate.

Mphahlele described Manikai and Moyo's behaviour as a travesty of justice.
"I am bringing this to your attention because I believe this is a travesty
of justice and is tantamount to undue influence and duress.," advocate
Mphahlele wrote. Last night Moyo declined to comment on the latest
developments. He only said: "I cannot comment because there is a court case
tomorrow (today) in South Africa. Sanangura communicated with our lawyers so
you should contact Manikai, our lawyer." Manikai could not be reached for
comment as he was said to be in Canada. In an interview with Mphahlele last
night, the lawyer confirmed the authenticity of the documents in the
possession of the Daily Mirror and said Moyo and Manikai tried to coerce
Sanangura into signing the affidavit. "SMM want to rescind the High Court
judgement which Petter Trading obtained from the South African High Court,
but an affidavit is a legal document which one must sign voluntarily and
legally, otherwise it becomes forgery," said Mphahlele. SAS is alleged to
have been established by Mawere as a vehicle through which the troubled
businessman siphoned billions of dollars generated by Zvishavane based
Shabani Mine in asbestos sales. Mawere is alleged to have sold asbestos to
international markets through the SAS but failed to repatriate foreign
currency earnings to Zimbabwe. The government recently specified him and
wanted him extradited to Zimbabwe to face fraud charges involving more than
Z$300 billion.
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The Media Monitoring Project Zimbabwe

Monday August 9th – Sunday August 15th 2004

Weekly Media Update 2004-32










1. General comment


THE urgent need for additional alternative daily sources of information, including an independent national broadcaster, was further confirmed by the government-controlled media’s censorship of reports disproving claims that the country had produced sufficient food.

These only appeared in the private media.

The Zimbabwe Independent (13/8) for example, reported that the World Food Programme (WFP) had asked the Zambian government to mobilise maize for Zimbabwe in light of growing fears of looming food shortages in the country. This, according to the paper, coincided with the South African Grain Information Services revelations that about 40,000 tonnes of maize had been brought into Zimbabwe through South Africa between April and July this year. Studio 7 (12/8) carried a similar report.

More evidence of food shortages appeared in The Standard (15/8) which reported that three governors from Matabeleland North, Matabeleland South and Masvingo had written to government seeking food aid as their provinces had run out of food. Masvingo governor Josiah Hungwe was quoted confirming the report.


The government media ignored these reports.

Instead, these media sought to present a rosy picture of the country’s food situation, particularly ZTV (9/8, 8pm), which quoted the chairman of the government’s Taskforce on Food Procurement and Distribution and State Security, Minister Nicholas Goche, claiming that, “Maize deliveries to the GMB are high, indicating that levels of production are high.” However, Goche let the cat out of the bag when he stated that only 125,000 tonnes of maize had been purchased so far from the farmers, two months before the onset of the new farming season.

Even more revealing were his projections that between 600,000 and 700,000 tonnes of maize would be delivered to the government-run Grain Marketing Board (GMB).

This was in stark contrast to Agriculture Minister Joseph Made’s assertions earlier this year that the GMB would receive about 1,2 million tonnes of maize this season, almost half of what he claimed the country had produced.


ZTV did not subject these conflicting projections to analysis. Rather, it diverted attention from Goche’s startling revelations by showing footage of maize stacks at one GMB depot in a bid to buttress official claims that the country had produced enough food.

Although the private media did expose these discrepancies, their effectiveness was compromised by the fact that they are niche market sources of information that are not readily accessible to most of the people subjected to official propaganda in the dominant government-controlled media.

It is against this background that civic organisations should intensify their lobbying for the repeal of repressive media laws, which have severely curtailed citizens’ rights to access information through media of their choice.



2. International criticism suffocated


THE government media’s reluctance to cover criticism of the authorities’ human rights violations manifested itself in the manner in which they tried to stifle reports on renewed international pressure on President Mugabe’s government to restore civic and political liberties ahead of the March 2005 elections.

These media avoided a full discussion on the concerns of the international community. Instead, they accused Western “imperialists” led by Britain of conspiring with civic organisations and the MDC to oust the ruling party from power. As a result, the substance of the critical views on the country’s poor governance remained elusive.


In fact, the official media’s claims that Zimbabwe was under siege from the West were reinforced by President Mugabe’s Heroes Day rhetoric. He was quoted on ZBC (9/8, 6 & 8pm), The Herald and Chronicle (10/8) calling on Zimbabweans “to defend and protect” the country’s independence from “imperialists”, adding that “the country was prepared to go back to the trenches to defend the gains of independence if the need arose”.

However, the private media cited regional and international bodies noting that it was actually Zimbabweans who were under threat from their own government, which, among other deprivations, had stripped its citizens of their basic freedoms through authoritarian laws.

The Financial Gazette (12/8) and The Zimbabwe Independent (13/8), pointed out that the international community’s intervention was aimed at forcing government to adopt fundamental democratic reforms.


However, the government media was reluctant to accurately identify the source of Zimbabwe’s problems. This was illustrated by their failure to fully explain the reasons behind Greece’s decision to bar Education Minister Aeneas Chigwedere from attending the 2004 Olympics. The move is in line with the European Union’s (EU) targeted sanctions against the Zimbabwean leadership, which stands accused of gross human rights violations.

Instead of fairly explaining the reasons for Greece’s decision, ZTV (11/08,7am) attributed the ban to the EU’s attempt to “extend its focus from politics to sports.

The Herald and Chronicle (12&13/8) followed suit.

They also censored the full reasons behind Chigwedere’s ban thereby giving the impression that Greece’s move was malicious. Neither did the papers acknowledge that besides Chigwedere, Brigadier Thura Aye Myint of Myanmar had also been barred from attending as part of the EU’s sanctions against leaders it accuses of human rights abuses (The Daily Mirror 12/8).

Instead, the papers passively quoted Chigwedere vilifying government’s favourite punch bag, Britain, of having influenced Greece to bar him from the Olympics.

The Daily Mirror (12/8) quoted him as saying government would object to the ban, while the Chronicle’s comment (13/8) claimed that  “Zimbabweans will never miss the so-called glamorous cities built using stolen resources such as Athens”.


A sober coverage of the matter only appeared in the private media.

They reported the public condemnation of the human suffering in Zimbabwe.

For example, SW Radio Africa (12/8) reported that about 30 Roman Catholic Bishops “from four different countries in Southern Africa” who recently met in South Africa had “condemned the suffering in Zimbabwe and called on various organisations to impose targeted sanctions on the Mugabe regime.”

Studio 7 (12/8), SW Radio Africa (13/8), the Zimbabwe Independent and The Standard cited the Human Rights Watch (HRW) report which criticised government’s “lack of transparency” on the food situation in the country. HRW noted that this threatened “citizens’ access to food”.

SW Radio Africa (11/8) also reported that an international human rights organisation, Redress, had accused government of “a widespread, systematic and planned campaign of organised violence and torture to suppress normal and democratic activities…” Redress revealed that, “almost 9,000 human rights violations (occurred) between 2001 and 2003.”


In an effort to counter these reports, the Chronicle (13/8) accused the MDC, the Southern Africa Catholic Bishops’ Conference and NGOs of issuing “damning statements” about Zimbabwe “in a co-ordinated effort tailored” to “foist the Zimbabwean issue onto the agenda” of the annual SADC summit in Mauritius. The paper dismissed Redress’ torture claims as “a regurgitation of numerous old ‘torture’ reports” but did not explain how these civic calls for a democratic Zimbabwe translated into an “anti-Zimbabwe” campaign.


The Standard (15/8) reported US Secretary of State Collin Powell attributing Zimbabwe’s problems to government’s political intolerance, which had seen the country become “a drain on the region and a calamity-in-the-making for the international community”. Powell reportedly noted that solutions to Zimbabwe’s problems included the restoration of the rule of law, a free Press and Zimbabwe’s former pluralistic political life.

The Financial Gazette also revealed that growing concerns over government’s “gross human rights abuses” was likely to see the intervention of the United Nations (UN) “amid revelations the world policing body is on the verge of tightening its stance against Harare”. The Gazette reported that UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan was expected in Harare before the end of the year to “gauge the political temperature” in the country and “hear it from the horse’s mouth (the Zimbabwean government)”and other major stakeholders, including the MDC.

The paper also reported that government’s non-reformist culture might be put to the test after an electoral commissioner from Namibia, a key ally of Zimbabwe, made “a surprise call” for the establishment of a tribunal to punish errant SADC states that fail to conform to regional electoral standards during a SADC electoral reforms conference in Victoria Falls recently.  


The Zimbabwe Independent meanwhile, reported on the MDC’s efforts to lobby SADC leaders at their regional summit in Mauritius to step up pressure on Mugabe’s government to accept regional electoral standards. And it quoted the party’s deputy secretary-general Gift Chimanikire saying it was “too simplistic and indeed deeply misleading to assume Mugabe has the support of all African leaders.”

In fact, claims of a shift in African opinion on the Zimbabwean situation appeared to have compelled the Sunday News (15/8) to bemoan the death of SADC “brotherhood that we had grown accustomed to”.   

The paper accused “some African countries” that were now vocal against government’s human rights record as being “manipulated” by the West against the “interest of fellow Africans”.

A more vitriolic attack however, was reserved for Nigerian president, Olusegun Obasanjo, whom The Sunday Mail (15/8) accused of being used by the British to clandestinely fund the MDC’s campaign ahead of the 2005 parliamentary election.

The attacks, carried in two stories written by the paper’s columnist William Nhara and its political editor, Munyaradzi Huni, were conspicuous by their coarse language rather than facts.

The Sunday Mirror, (15/08) reported that a “diplomatic row” had erupted between (the) erstwhile buddies” over the matter. The paper cited unnamed diplomatic sources dismissing earlier Sunday Mail allegations (8/8) that Britain was funding the MDC through Nigeria as based “on faulty intelligence, which the paper and relevant state organs did not bother to check”. 

The Sunday Mirror claimed that the Nigerians had been infuriated by the report, which resulted in their foreign minister Olu Adeniji, summoning Zimbabwe’s Charge d’Affairs in Abuja to explain the government paper’s onslaught against their country.

Adeniji was also reportedly sent to the SADC summit in Mauritius to meet with his counterpart, Stan Mudenge, over the matter.



3. Education – declining by degrees


THE authorities’ penchant for exerting a stranglehold on all spheres of Zimbabwean life under the guise of defending the country’s sovereignty was underscored by continued government interference in the administration of private schools and President Mugabe’s pronouncement that his government was considering revamping the country’s education system to produce “patriotic” students.

But the most absurd development was the Zimbabwe Independent’s revelation that Education Minister Aeneas Chigwedere had outlawed “extra lessons during school holidays without the ministry’s approval”. Quoting a circular to parents by a Harare primary school headmaster, the paper reported that anyone defying the ministry’s directive would be arrested.

Said the document: “Authority can be sought in writing by parents through the school head. Any teacher or child doing extra lessons will be reported to the police.”

But while the private media questioned some of these bizarre education policies, the government media were more notable for their passivity. For example, ZTV (11/8, 8pm), Power FM & Radio Zimbabwe (12/8, 6am) and The Herald (12/8) simply quoted Chigwedere defending his ministry’s objections to the “compulsory donations” demanded by some schools to supplement government-fixed school fees and failed to challenge government interference in the day-to-day running of private schools.

Power FM quoted Chigwedere saying: “The economic environment has been improving for the past six months…there is no reason why the schools should be raising school fees.” But the station failed to relate this misleading reasoning to economic realities. 

None of the government-controlled media provided a detailed background to the donation problem, which emanated from Chigwedere’s decision to slash fees at these schools to unviable levels.


But The Financial Gazette comment was categorical in blaming Chigwedere for the education sector’s demise.

The paper accused him of destroying private schools on the basis of his “ruinous ‘wisdom’” that they were a “bastion of capitalistic privilege and racial discrimination” despite evidence that the majority of the pupils at the schools were black.

It argued that Chigwedere’s stance had resulted in the schools facing the “spectre of bankruptcy”.

The Zimbabwe Independent agreed in its Editor’s Memo. It noted that Chigwedere had embarked on a systematic policy to ensure that well-run and well-equipped schools were reduced to the same condition as other dilapidated non-performing government institutions.

In addition, the paper quoted Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC) president Luxon Zembe lashing out at Chigwedere, saying he had no right to meddle in private schools’ fees as long as the parents were prepared to pay for the quality facilities offered by these schools, which the government ones did not have.

However, The Sunday Mirror, quoted an adamant Chigwedere arguing that contrary to the parents’ “ignorant” perception that his ministry was “interfering” in the management of private schools, it was merely “enforcing” the Education Act.


Meanwhile, Zimbabwe’s education system was thrown into further disarray following President Mugabe’s Heroes’ Day announcement that his government was considering overhauling the education system to ensure it produced “patriotic students who cherish the gains of independence”, ZBC (9/8, 6 & 8pm), The Herald, Chronicle and The Daily Mirror (10/8).

Mugabe claimed that “in the past they (education institutions) produced graduates who became enemies of the struggle. If our institutions have a capacity to produce enemies of the struggle, then they are ill-equipped or do not deserve to be there.”

While the government media buried this revelation in the main body of Mugabe’s address, The Daily Mirror gave it greater prominence, drawing parallels between this plan and government’s earlier creation of a similar programme under the National Youth Training Scheme, which critics charged was designed to indoctrinate youths with ZANU PF propaganda.



The MEDIA UPDATE was produced and circulated by the Media Monitoring Project Zimbabwe, 15 Duthie Avenue, Alexandra Park, Harare, Tel/fax: 263 4 703702, E-mail:


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