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The drought red-herring

From ZWNEWS, 17 October

Which played a more important role in Zimbabwe's economic collapse, the
damage to property rights or the drought? The Zimbabwe government
continuously blames poor rainfall for the food shortages - especially the
drought of 2001/2002. International agencies - the UN in particular - have
also publicly supported this argument. The reasons for this are obvious: a
much better case for aid can be made if a country is seen as being down on
its luck, and in an economic tailspin due to factors outside its control.
But how much of the dramatic cut in agricultural production can be blamed on
the weather? And how much due to the abandonment of property rights as
fast-track land reform has been imposed since 2000.

Craig Richardson, Associate Professor of Economics at Salem College in North
Carolina addresses this question in a recent paper: The Loss of Property
Rights and the Collapse of Zimbabwe. Using the Zimbabwe government's own
rainfall and crop data, he analyses agricultural output and weather
conditions over the last five years, especially the glaring anomaly three
years ago that output was falling despite the country's irrigation dams
being full. "There is no doubt that the 2001-02 drought caused devastation
for communal farmers. However, to put primary blame on the drought for the
sudden drop in overall agricultural production, as the IMF, USDA, and UN do,
misses a key point. Zimbabwe differs significantly from other African
countries that suffered through the same drought. The reason is that it
possessed large dams and well-engineered irrigation systems for its
commercial farming regions. Because of the early and large amount of
rainfall in late 2001, dams throughout Zimbabwe were reported as full, with
enough water to last through the next rainy season." Richardson the
describes in detail why this abundance of water was not used to good effect
in producing cash crops and food. He concludes that land reforms were the
primary driver of Zimbabwe's sudden collapse, not the lack of rainfall, and
that the collapse of Zimbabwe has been a dramatic natural experiment that
serves as a compelling case study on the economic consequences of damaging
property rights.

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Political violence not enough to nullify ZANU PF victory: judge

Zim Online

Tue 18 October 2005

      BULAWAYO - Zimbabwe's Electoral Court on Monday conceded that the
ruling ZANU PF party used violence and politicised food aid to win votes but
still upheld the party's election victory in Insiza constituency saying
although evidence before it was credible it did not warrant nullification of
the result.

      Insiza, in Matabeleland South, is one of about 12 constituencies whose
results in last March's parliamentary election are being challenged by the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party in what the party says
is an exercise meant to demonstrate how President Robert Mugabe and his ZANU
PF party stole the vote.

      ZANU PF's Andrew Langa won in the constituency against the MDC's
Siyabonga Malandu-Ncube.

      Malandu-Ncube petitioned the court to nullify the poll result saying
ZANU PF had used violence to secure victory for its candidate. On three
occasions, Langa had shot at MDC supporters in a bid to intimidate them,
Malandu-Ncube told the court.

      In a bid to ensure maximum votes for its candidate, ZANU PF had
threatened to withdraw food aid to villagers who did not support its
candidate, according to Malandu-Ncube.

      Justice Nicholas Ndou, who heard the petition, said there was
"overwhelming credibility" in most of the evidence submitted by

      The judge also said "it appears to be true" that food was not
distributed fairly in Insiza constituency. But he ruled that notwithstanding
the credibility of the evidence, the court was dismissing the petition
because the politicisation of food aid did not appear to have had a bearing
on the result.

      Ndou said Langa appeared to have a propensity for violence as alleged
by Malandu-Ncube but the judge said the MDC candidate had heavily relied on
evidence of violence committed in 2002 and therefore the court could not
nullify the result of the election on that basis.

      The judge ruled: "Although it appears to be true that food was not
distributed fairly, that cannot individually warrant the nullification of
the outcome because it does not appear to have had a bearing on the result .
evidence led also show that the respondent (Langa) has a propensity for
violence, but what is clear is that most of the petitioner's evidence is
based on the 2002 election."

      The court also dismissed another separate election petition by the MDC's
Jacob Thabane who was seeking the nullification of the election victory of
ZANU PF's Obert Mpofu in Bubi-Umguza constituency.

      The judge said Thabane had failed to substantiate his allegations
against Mpofu.

      The dismissal of the two election petitions brings to three the number
of cases dismissed by the electoral court after the controversial March
election won by ZANU PF.

      Last week, the ZEC dismissed an election petition by the MDC's Renson
Gasela who was challenging ZANU PF's election victory in Gweru Rural

      ZANU PF won 78 out of the 120 contested seats in the general poll with
the MDC garnering a paltry 41 seats. The other seat was won by former
government information minister Jonathan Moyo.

      But the opposition has refused to accept the March election results
accusing ZANU PF of using violence and outright fraud to secure victory.
ZANU PF denies the charges.

      The MDC says the electoral court, which was set up earlier this year
to resolve electoral disputes, lacks sufficient clout to make independent
decisions. The judges are appointed to the court by Mugabe.

      Critics say the veteran President, who three years ago forced several
independent judges off the bench, has packed Zimbabwe's courts with loyalist
judges. - ZimOnline

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Zimbabwe tourism expo turns into public relations disaster

Zim Online

Tue 18 October 2005

      HARARE - An event meant to market Zimbabwe's holiday and leisure
resorts virtually turned into the perfect advertisement of the severe crisis
afflicting the country when a five-star hotel where the "Travel Expo" was
taking place ran out of water at the weekend.

      In a nasty turn of events for authorities in Harare, the 170 foreign
guests, most of them international tour operators, had to endure Zimbabwe's
hot weather without water after tapes at the golden painted Harare Sheraton
and Towers went dry on Friday afternoon.

      To make matters worse for the guests, who were from various countries
including Malaysia, China, Singapore, Britain and the United States,
temperatures were very high in Harare last Friday as they normally are
during this time of the year.

      With no one sure when the Harare city council was going to restore
water supplies - the tapes began running again only on the next day -
management had to improvise, buying bottled water for guests as well as
diverting borehole water, usually used to water the hotel's gardens, to
guests' rooms.

      The Travel Expo is jointly hosted annually by the Zimbabwe Tourism
Authority and the Ministry of Environment and Tourism.

      A visibly embarrassed Tourism Minister, Francis Nhema, had to
apologise to foreign guests on Friday night telling them it was the first
time that the Harare Sheraton, one of the two best hotels in the capital,
had run out of water.

      "I was made aware while I was in Johannesburg that the hotel had run
out of water and our guests had to spend the night without water. I would
like to apologise for that, the hotel (management) has told me that this has
never happened before," said Nhema.

      It is probably true that the top hotel has never been without water.
But ordinary Harare residents say water cuts are a routine occurrence they
have now become accustomed to as the city grapples a water crisis that began
eight months ago.

      The water cuts are not because city authorities want to conserve
dwindling supplies. Water shortages are simply because there is no hard cash
to import water treatment chemicals or spares for ageing and frequently
breaking down water pumps.

      An acute shortage of fuel, also because there is no foreign currency
to pay for oil imports, is worsening the water crisis with city engineers
and workmen unable to travel out to repair burst water pipes.

      As a result, some areas like the city's low-income suburb of
Dzivarasekwa have been without water for the past three months after the
main pipe supplying it burst.

      Food, essential medical drugs, electricity and just about every other
basic commodity is also in short supply in Zimbabwe now in its sixth
straight year of a severe economic recession that critics blame on
mismanagement and repression by President Robert Mugabe particularly his
seizure of productive farmland from whites.

      Mugabe, who has presided over Zimbabwe since independence from Britain
in 1980, however denies ruining the country saying its economic problems are
because of sabotage by Britain and its Western allies opposed to his seizure
of land from whites for redistribution to landless blacks. - ZimOnline

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Australia boycotts Mugabe speech

From: AAP

October 18, 2005

AUSTRALIA was the only country whose representative to a UN meeting
boycotted a "disgraceful" speech by Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe,
Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said today.

Mr Mugabe used the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) anniversary
meeting in Rome overnight to launch a withering denunciation of US President
George W Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair.
The Zimbabwe President described them as "the two unholy men of our
millennium", comparing them with Hitler and Mussolini.

Mr Downer today said Australia's representative at the meeting had walked
out prior to the speech.

"I thought his speech was absolutely disgraceful," the Foreign Minister said
on ABC radio.

"Australia, I am proud to say, was the only country whose representative
walked out before President Mugabe's speech.

"We boycotted his speech. I thought it was quite inappropriate for him to
make a speech like that, and ironical and inappropriate for him to turn up
at the meeting at all."
Mr Downer said it would have been difficult not to invite Mr Mugabe to the
FAO anniversary as Zimbabwe was a member of the United Nations.

However, he said Mr Mugabe had made "an enormous mistake" in accepting the
invitation and then making a political speech.

"But he has also highlighted the simple point about Zimbabwe - that this is
a country that used to be the ... food bowl of Africa, a major exporter of
food, and under his regime he has simply decimated agriculture and they are
begging now for food from the international community," Mr Downer said.

Mr Downer said Mr Mugabe had destroyed the economy of Zimbabwe, and half the
country was now suffering from a lack of sufficient nutrition.

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Mugabe henchmen 'used food to win votes'

The Telegraph

By Peta Thornycroft in Harare
(Filed: 18/10/2005)

A Zimbabwe judge has confirmed that President Robert Mugabe's henchmen
bought over opposition members with food in the March general election and
threatened hungry peasants with starvation if they failed to back his ruling
Zanu PF party.

"It was made clear to the villagers that supporting the MDC (Movement for
Democratic Change) meant going without food," said High Court Judge Rita
Makarau in a written judgment on the election process in Makoni North, a
rural constituency, 80 miles south-east of Harare.

The judge quoted the "sad example" of one villager attending a public
meeting exchanging his MDC T-shirt for a bag of food. "The other MDC members
were then invited to do likewise if they wanted the food hand-outs," the
judge said.

Judge Makarau said Zanu PF village leaders and veterans of Mr Mugabe's
forces during the war for independence had used food to manipulate local
voters. Journalists and human rights monitors reported that rural
Zimbabweans were refused permission to buy grain from the only legal cereals
trader, the government's Grain Marketing Board, in the run up to the March
election, in which Zanu PF won 78 of 120 seats. But Judge Makarau's judgment
is the first time that anyone in Mr Mugabe's administration has admitted
that food has been used as a political weapon.

Nathan Shamuyarira, the Zanu PF spokesman, said: "I can't comment because I
haven't seen the judgment."

The MDC challenged the election results in Makoni North but Judge Makarau
refused to overturn the results saying it was unclear if the food-for-votes
campaign was authorised by Mr Mugabe or local agents.

David Coltart, the legal secretary for the MDC, said the judgment on the
facts was fair. "It was disappointing that having found that food was used
as a political weapon she then failed to find this had a material effect on
the result."

Six months before the election Mr Mugabe stopped food distribution except to
targeted groups such as orphans and those with HIV Aids, and claimed a
record maize crop was grown the previous summer. He said Zimbabweans would
"choke" if they were given any more food.

Details of domestic grain reserves, or lack of them, are an unofficial state
secret and not even the UN can find out whether Zimbabwe has any food in
storage. Last weekend up to 80 people armed with spears and axes launched a
series of potato raids on several farms near the capital, injuring security
guards and killing five dogs, the state's Herald newspaper reported

The UN's World Food Programme is due to begin feeding up to four million
hungry Zimbabweans, or a third of the population, at the end of this month.
Mr Mugabe told Kofi Annan, the United Nations secretary-general, in New York
last month that traditional leaders, who are civil servants, should
distribute food and not non-governmental organisations.

"What we do not want is for the UN to give grain to NGOs so they make
politics out of it," Mr Mugabe reportedly told Mr Annan.

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Why MDC divisions are good for Zimbabwe

New Zimbabwe

By Itai Masotsha Zimunya
Last updated: 10/18/2005 13:30:11
WHILST many people wail and cry over the MDC infighting over senate
elections, I am of the view that the division might be good for the people
of Zimbabwe for many reasons.

The chief reason is that, after several years of compromise, it is necessary
and healthy for leaders to be exposed and let the people point the way
forward. Zanu PF is also happy about the fissure, not because it creates a
chance for the people to develop, but because they see a window of a
one-party state. Zanu PF has serious bloody fissures and they are controlled
by the gun. Mugabe sees the mayhem as more easy power to Zanu PF but the
division gives chance of internal rejuvenation.

Morgan Tsvangirai, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) President,
supported by the youth and women movements maintains that the party must not
contest the senate elections because the party believes Zimbabwe needs a new
constitution and that the $60 billion cost of the senate could be used to
feed, educate, house and medicate the poor people.

On the other hand, the party's Secretary General, Welshman Ncube, leads a
team of leaders and people that argue that the party should contest the
elections. Their chief argument is that the party must not surrender power
on a silver platter to Zanu PF.

Zimbabweans face very serious problems of a failed government and a
dictatorship. The people of Zimbabwe had deposited their trust and faith in
the opposition MDC to lead them in a democratic and non-violent way of
getting power. This avenue largely constitutes the electoral process. The
most interesting thing in the crack is the claim by both sides that they are
representing the people's interests.

A major question arises here: who are these people that both Morgan and
Welsh purport to represent?
Ncube, sporadically and spasmodically emerging in several faces of Gift
Chimanikire, Paul Themba-Nyathi and others, argue that they are inspired by
the 33 votes of the national council and as a constitutional requirement,
they move the party towards the poll. They argue that these 33 represent the
people of the Zimbabwe.

On the other hand, Tsvangirai whose other faces include Youth chairperson
Chamisa and Women Chairperson Lucia Matibenga, argues that the senate is
Mugabe's project to solve Zanu PF's succession dilemma and that the MDC must
boycott the poll to divert the $60 billion towards health, education, food
and housing.

It has been publicized that most of the 33 people that want to participate
see themselves having a chance to be elected senators and benefiting from
the hefty salaries and soft loans that accrue to such offices. Paul Themba
Nyathi eyes a seat in Gwanda, Roy Bennet was assured a seat in Chimanimani,
Evelyn Masaiti and her new husband, MDC National Chairperson Isaac Matongo,
have eyed the comfort of Harare. This wagon includes a host of other senior
party officials that mostly are not in parliament.

It would be unfair and harsh to accuse people of political ambition, and in
this case it is their right to eye certain seats. However, the fundamental
question is: who does it help for the MDC to be in senate and why is it
important for the MDC to be led by principle and not mathematics?

At mathematical law, Welsh and his group are excellent. The national council
voted 33 to 31, and it is common sense that their decision should carry the
day since 33 is bigger than 31.

However, there is a vast difference between law and politics. Hitler was
right at law to exterminate the Jews in Germany because it was law but
politically it was wrong. It will be lawful for Chinamasa to take people's
passports but politically wrong. The pro-senate wagon is educated but not
learned. David Coltart brought to parliament one day a draft "Zimbabwean
Constitution" that he wrote alone pointing out that Zimbabwe needs a
President with at least a degree. Only yesterday Coltart argued that
Zimbabwe needs a new people driven constitution and today he turns otherwise
with a bedroom constitution. Secondly, what is in a degree? How many degrees
does Mugabe have? And if degrees grow an economy, why is Zimbabwe in a mess
with an educated President? I am therefore tempted to follow uneducated but
learned and people-centred arguments, not mathematical and rocket science
based approaches that border on selling out the wishes of the people.

The best answer to the above questions comes from Mugabe. Addressing the
Zanu PF central committee in Harare, Mugabe said: "I am happy that the MDC
is going to contest." Further questions ensue, why make Mugabe happy and who
had informed Mugabe that the MDC was contesting? It is not our attempt to
answer these questions. In Bulawayo when giving computers to a crowd of more
than 2000 people -- of which half seemed to be soldiers - Mugabe celebrated
these cracks and lambasted Tsvangirai for boycotting the senate polls.

It is important to highlight that our agenda is not to blindly attack or
oppose Mugabe. Mugabe has done immense work for Zimbabwe including pushing
the land agenda though I do not agree with both his means and the end.
Mugabe seems pleased of the MDC National Council decisions than Zanu PF
central committee resolutions. It is not shocking that Mugabe trusts the MDC
more than he does Zanu PF because 6 of the 10 Zanu PF provinces were clear
that Mugabe must go whilst the MDC national council says they need "to talk
to Mugabe". Zanu PF is clearer here and this split in the MDC leadership
opinion will show the nation which leaders wished to meet and dine with
Mugabe whilst houses were being destroyed in Murambatsvina.

However, in the case before us, it is of fundamental importance to scan
Mugabe's reaction because it was one of the MDC's slogans that Mugabe must
GO. So why now bless him to more executive power?

The current division in the MDC might be good for the people in that there
will emerge a strong people centred party that truly represents their
aspirations. Modern political power resides in people and not in
intelligence, eloquence, oratory or guns - though all these elements are
necessary in a power game.

At start, the MDC was a composition of reformists whose ideology was
centre-right and a strong component of leftist women, students and labour
activists. There were also a few but vigorous farmers. The Church and the
ghetto youth formed the hub of the party whose initial demands were a new
constitution and free and fair elections. As the party went towards
formalisation and elections, there are several opportunists that joined the
train because of their wealth, academic background or societal position and
took leadership positions in a party whose objectives they guessed. The Raw
data book bears testimony to my claim and most of the people that want
senate elections today are selling out on the positions affirmed by the
party at Chitungwiza, White City and Rufaro stadiums.

From this background, it does not shock some of us when Mafikizolos claim
parenthood of the party and demand to lead it against the wishes of the poor
peasants and workers.

The Ari Ben Menashe issue must be revisited. Which national council met on
this issue? The political dialogue between Zanu PF and MDC in 2003, though
noble must be interrogated in the same fashion. The treason trial and the
state media slowly prepared the people to accept an MDC without Tsvangison -
the arrogant and uneducated Briton. Is there anything hidden that all other
people do not see here?

Some people in the MDC leadership had made themselves bigger than the party.
They had substituted the national agenda with their very private and selfish
agendas. We argue that Mugabe is a selfish person who does not want to move
the button to another person, even within Zanu PF. It is not far from the
truth that Mugabe's celebration of the MDC's participation was because he
saw little Mugabes in the making. That is why I believe that this split is
very, very good for the future of Zimbabwe. Whilst it could be confusing at
present, I encourage people not to worry. Splits and divisions are common in
all political processes; the most important thing is to be consistent and
predictable on the position of the poor.

Mugabe and his colleagues were very clear during the liberation struggle.
Tongogara says they were fighting for land to the poor and one-person one
vote. They boycotted the 1978-9 internal settlement not because they feared
losing or that they feared giving Abel Muzorewa power on a silver platter.
Indeed Muzorewa took power, much to the pleasure and praise of Ian Smith,
but the agenda of the poor remained in the fore of Zanla and Zipra. That is
why these two groups were so popular with the povo and that is why the union
of ZAPU and ZANU - the patriotic front -- rules today. It was on the basis
of people centred work and not compromises.

From a youth and parent's perspective, what good will the senate bring to
Zimbabwe's future? Certainly none, save for the myriad of dangers that it
brings to the nation. Like Tsvangirai argues, the $60 billion is better used
to pay the army, teachers and nurses, create more jobs and secure fuel.

From a principle perspective, what good does it give the MDC to embrace one
aspect (the senate election) whilst refusing to accept the total package of
confiscation of passports and the finalisation of the racist and elite land
It is my third observation that this split is a necessary development,
specifically to show some people that they are not gods of Zimbabwe and that
Zimbabwe will move without them. The anti-Mugabe agenda is not eternal to
the extent that we pray that he goes to hell. It is just a loud call for him
to go. Mugabe is a Zimbabwean and like everybody else, like him or not, he
deserves to enjoy his gains and not loots.

What Zimbabwe wants is a new people driven democratic constitution and free
and fair elections not MDC, Morgan or Welsh. Under a new people written
constitution and from free and fair elections, should Joice Mujuru or John
Nkomo win the presidency, we hail them and support them well because they
would be an outcome of the aspirations of the people. Why people, including
myself, do not give Mugabe allegiance is because we were beaten and often
subjected to sub-human conditions each time there is an election. That is
why we say he is illegitimate and thus not our president. Simple!

This split is also important to Tsvangirai as a person. The Ari-Ben Menashe
saga and the treason trial had more than one tonne of gold changing hands
among several people including senior MDC officials. Who is Morgan
Tsvangirai not to be sold when our Christian saviour Jesus Christ was sold
by his tablemate? Why were these 66 national council members, especially the
33 conspicuously absent from the High Court? It was the ordinary party
members, especially women, who stood by Morgan in prayer until he came out.
Bennett knows how many people and which came to see him in Jail.

It is rather regrettable that very ambitious people hide their power lusts
under the guise of not wanting to give Zanu PF control in a silver platter.
If people cannot learn from the metropolitan governors of Bulawayo and
Harare, the firing of MDC elected mayors and councillors and the numerous
rigged elections, then they ain't seen nothing yet!

I would like to conclude from a vanguard end, that the poor peasants and
workers will protect their project, whether named MDC or anything, so long
it demands a new people-driven constitution and free and fair elections.
Leaders may fight, claim to know the people better or get billions worth of
land and mineral rights, the spirit of resistance will not die in Ncube or
Tsvangirai. After all, people die and Zimbabwe lives. So why worry? In fact
who is Tsvangirai and Ncube? Zimbabwe is and will forever be loved much more
than these two and it must be known that no person is bigger than the people
of Zimbabwe. Freedom is coming tomorrow. Aluta continue.
Zimunya is a human rights activist and can be contacted at:

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CPJ Names Three Journalists, Lawyer as Winners of Annual Freedom Award


      By VOA News
      17 October 2005

The Committee to Protect Journalists has named three journalists and a media
lawyer as recipients of this year's Press Freedom Awards.

The press freedom organization says the four endured beatings, jail and
intimidation for their work.

Reporter Galima Bukharbaeva of the Institute for War and Peace Reporting won
the award for risking her life to cover the brutal Uzbek government
crackdown on protesters in the city of Andijan last May. The committee says
Ms. Bukharbaeva is now in exile in the United States and faces criminal
prosecution in Uzbekistan for her reporting.

The New York-based group says Lacio Flavio Pinto, who publishes and edits
the Brazilian bimonthly newspaper Jornal Pessoal, won for courageous
reporting on drug trafficking, environmental devastation and corruption in
Brazil's remote Amazon jungle.

Imprisoned Chinese journalist Shi Tao won the award for his essays on
political reform. Mr. Shi's work as a freelance journalist and editor with a
Chinese business newspaper, Dangdai Shang Bao, earned him a 10-year prison
sentence for allegedly leaking state secrets, but drew attention to Internet
censorship in China.

And Zimbabwe media lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa won for what the committee called
her tireless defense of press freedoms in a highly restrictive media

The committee will also honor the late ABC news anchor Peter Jennings with a
lifetime achievement award.

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Bush's Africa expert praises continent for recent progress

Business Day

Posted to the web on: 18 October 2005

Jonathan Katzenellenbogen

International Affairs Editor

US ASSISTANT Secretary of State for African Affairs Jendayi Frazer yesterday
gave an upbeat view of Africa's progress in ending wars and promoting
democracy, and was full of praise for Liberia's recent election.

But she said yesterday in Johannesburg that Zimbabwe should urgently be
discussed by the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council as well as
the United Nations Security Council if these bodies were to play a role in
preventing a potential conflict.

Frazer left SA last night after talks with Foreign Minister Nkosazana
Dlamini-Zuma. The talks were part of a six-nation tour of the continent, her
first since her appointment two months ago to the top Africa policy position
at the US state department.

Until August, Frazer, who was a student of US Secretary of State Condoleezza
Rice at Stanford University, was US ambassador to SA.

Frazer spent much of last week in Liberia, and described the election as
"truly inspiring". She said she had seen election workers in Liberia who had
been working from early morning to late at night.

"Just six years ago people were getting their arms chopped off."

Africa was entering a new period in which the number of conflicts was
sharply reduced and a new leadership was emerging, but the progress was
little noticed in the outside world, Frazer said. "There is more (in the
press) about the lack of democracy in Zimbabwe than there is about the
emergence of democracy in Liberia."

Frazer said she was also encouraged by the AU's actions in responding to
crises, although Africa's peace and security mechanisms were not yet fully
in place.

But she voiced disappointment over what she said was a lack of an effective
African response to the crisis in Zimbabwe.

She said momentum in Zimbabwe towards a settlement was "probably stuck" and
the international community needed to use "isolation and dialogue" to keep
up the pressure on Harare.

"We must get the message (about reform) through clearly," Frazer said.

She said the US administration would soon ask congress to "broaden and
deepen" its smart sanctions against Zimbabwe.

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Govt Gazette Harare annual vehicle licence

Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2005-Oct-18

THE government has gazetted new annual vehicle licence tariffs and other
fees for Harare City Council.
According to statutory instrument 205 of 2005 published in the Government
Gazette last Friday, the Minister of Transport and Communications
Christopher Mushohwe said the tariffs were in respect of vehicles kept at
night within areas under Harare's ambit and administration for "licences,
temporary identification cards, garages licences and the issue of other
documents by it, in respect of such vehicles".
Any motor vehicle that has a net mass that exceeds 9 000 kilogrammes (kgs)
would attract $4 060 602 while that with a net mass not exceeding 9 000kgs
but exceeding 4 600kgs would attract a charge of $3 274 635.
Light vehicles - those having a seating capacity of less than seven
passengers or a mobile caravan, ambulance or a fire engine irrespective of
their mass - would attract $624 000.
In the same gazette the Minister of Local Government, Public Works and Urban
Development, Ignatious Chombo announced $33 000 as the penalty for a variety
of traffic offences committed in the capital.
These include washing vehicle on the road or on any parking place, parking
in a preferential area without authority, failure to display reserved
parking area disc, continuously and late removal of a vehicle from a car
park or garage. Chombo also announced that he had approved the Harare
(pushcart) by-laws 2005 that were made by the city fathers.In terms of the
by-laws no one shall operate a pushcart without a licence and in the event
of being licensed the pushcart would not be operated within Harare's
Business District (CBD), within the precincts of any public park, stadium
sports ground or in the forecourt of any filling station or service station.

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Government clashes with farmers over wheat price

Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Godfrey Mutsago
issue date :2005-Oct-18

THE government has clashed with wheat farmers over the new producer price
recently announced by the Minister of Agriculture Joseph Made.
Discussions to resolve the impasse have already started and more
negotiations have been penciled for next week, sources in the farming sector
said yesterday.
The government two weeks ago set the wheat producer price at $6.9 million
per tonne, a price the farmers argued fell short of meeting production
They demanded at least $14 million per tonne.
In their arguments, the farmers pointed out that due to the fluctuations in
fuel, labour and transport costs, the $6.9 million per tonne offered by the
government was non viable.
Information received by this newspaper indicates that some farmers who have
harvested their wheat crop were deliberately withholding it until government
came up with a viable offer.
Grains and Cereal Producers Association (GCPA) chairman Denford Chimbwanda
yesterday confirmed that sharp differences have erupted between the
government and wheat farmers over the pricing.
"Farmers are asking for a better price to help them purchase inputs for the
coming season.
" Our advisers have indicated that with what the government is offering,
farmers would not be able to return to the fields," Chimbwanda said.
He argued that production costs have been shooting up since April when the
wheat-farming season kicked off.
For instance, the pump price for fuel in April fuel at government fuel
stations at $5.700 per litre.
The price went up to $10.500 in September.
Farm workers were then receiving $192 400 per month, which shot up to $450
000 last month.
The cost of hiring a Combine-harvester also increased from about $2.7
million to well over $5 million per hectare.
Although the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture Simon
Pazvakavambwa could not be reached for comment yesterday, Chimbwanda said
preliminary discussions with government were held last week.
 "We met officials in the Ministry of Agriculture and we hope to hold
another meeting with Pazvakavambwa because the ministry's economists who we
met had their arguments in support of the price.
"We agreed that both parties look into the issue closely before we engage
the permanent secretary in serious discussions," added Chimbwanda.
The country is expecting about 200 000 tonnes of wheat this season.
The output is also expected to see the availability of bread in shops
In the past few months, bakeries had been facing serious wheat problems that
have led to acute shortages of bread and other wheat products in retail
outlets across the country.

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Bodies pile up at Masvingo hospital

Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2005-Oct-18

BODIES continue to pile up at Masvingo provincial hospital mortuary, as
relatives fail to collect them timeously for burial because of the current
fuel crisis crippling not only the transport industry, but various other
critical service areas in the country.
The situation is said to have worsened with reports that the mortuary, which
has a capacity to accommodate 17 bodies, now has more than 40 corpses. A
similar scenario reportedly prevails in the province's district hospitals.
Masvingo provincial hospital administrator, Vitalis Shonhai, said the
situation was not improving prompting them to seek assistance from the
department of social welfare to conduct a pauper's burial.
"The situation is worsening because of the current fuel crisis. Bodies have
not yet been collected for ages and we will seek an approval from the
department of social welfare to conduct pauper's burial. There are delays in
getting the approval hence we end up having mortuaries being stretched to
the limit," Shonhai said.
He added that at Ngomahuru and Chivi district hospitals the situation was
even worse and again called on the department of social welfare for help. "I
urge the department of social welfare to help by approving pauper's burial.
The situation will continue because of the high fatality rate fuelled by the
HIV and Aids pandemic, which kills thousands of people weekly," he added. He
also said the problem was further compounded by the fact that the police
also bring in bodies after having failed to locate relatives.

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Armed police sent to farms

Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2005-Oct-18

ARMED police have been deployed to two commercial farms in Stapleford,
Harare, owned by father and son Arnott and Peter Duncan, following thefts of
potatoes and farming equipment running into billions of dollars.
This is the first reported incident since 2000 that the State has provided
protection on farms to stop the disturbance of the agricultural sector.
Harare province police spokesperson Inspector Loveless Rupere said
trespassers at the two neighbouring farms, Stamford and Goodhope risked
being shot.
"The thieves come in the late hours. Sometimes numbering about 80. Any
number from 50.If we disturb these people (the farmers) whom the government
has recognised, then we have defeated the whole purpose of the land reform.
We have deployed armed personnel to take charge of the situation. People may
end up losing their lives for stealing potatoes," Rupere said.
Rupere said the decision to deploy the police onto the farms was reached
after persistent attacks on farm guards and the killing of five dogs this
year alone. He said problems at the properties - where in some instances
potatoes worth $250 million were being stolen in a single night - has been
going on for some years now.
The police spokesperson also said overtime some criminals have been arrested
and hauled before the courts, but this has failed to deter determined
Rupere added that there was need to stop the destabilisation of the farming
sector through criminal activities, as it was the backbone of the economy.
The latest incident occurred last Saturday, when the thieves armed with iron
bars, sjambocks, and stones, among others, attacked and injured 10 guards.
The thieves allegedly followed some of the guards to their home and stole
their belongings including household untensils.
The thieves create exit points, by cutting the fence, destroying the
durawall, before embarking on their mission.
Stamford Farm manager, Moses Gatsi said sometimes the thieves divide
themselves into two groups- one attacking the guards while the other stole.
" Every night guards are injured and this has been going on for two years.
Yesterday (Saturday) they even went into people's homes and stole some
 pots," Gatsi said.

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New farmers told to respect workers

Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Partson Matsikidze recently in Nyanga
issue date :2005-Oct-18

FARM workers - both local and migrant - are heroes of Zimbabwe's agro-based
economy, but some of the new A2 farmers are cruel, rude and insensitive to
the basic needs of this key element of development, according to
recommendations made in Nyanga over the weekend.
So besides improving their workers' wages and conditions of service, the new
commercial farmers were also challenged to change their attitude towards
farm workers, as peaceful co-existence was critical in boosting farm
production to feed the nation.
Some of the ex-farm workers are still staying on their former bosses'
designated properties with their critics viewing them with disdain claiming
that they were good-at-nothing lazy bones bent on stealing and engaging in
immoral acts.
Observers said such comments were uncalled for and unhelpful as they smack
of blatant xenophobia.
However, the majority of participants privately shot down this theory
arguing that if these people were indeed idle, why then had their former
masters not fired them for incompetence and inefficiency in the first place?
These sentiments came out on Saturday during the two-day seminar where the
plight of current and ex-farm workers was the focus of debate.
At least 70 participants from various stakeholders including
parliamentarians, academics, rural district councils, the media, and donor
community, General Agricultural and Plantation Workers Union (GAPWU) and
National Employment Council for Agriculture (NEC) attended the workshop,
which was organised by the Farm Community Trust of Zimbabwe (FCTZ).
The purpose of the workshop was to come up with recommendations to present
to the Parliament Portfolio Committee (PPC) on Lands and Agriculture on the
situation of Housing and Tenure Security for farm workers in newly resettled
After breaking into groups and then brainstorming the ideas, the workshop
unanimously came up with resolutions that starkly highlighted major problems
affecting farm workers.
The recommendations would then be taken to the PPC for further deliberations
before they are formulated into policy.
The PPC (Lands and Agriculture) is chaired by Zanu PF Masvingo South MP
Walter Mzembi and also includes MDC Budiriro legislator Gilbert Shoko and
Gutu South (Zanu PF) MP Shuvai Mahofa, both of whom attended the seminar at
the Troutbeck Inn.
The workshop also recommended that farm workers with technical skills should
be incorporated into the new land use system to benefit the country.
It was also noted that some people had worked on specialised farms like
tobacco or dairy for 25 years, and that long experience would come in handy
if they were given the right inputs, equipment and above all the respect and
dignity they deserve from  their colleagues.
There was also need to educate farm workers on the fact that the land reform
programme was irreversible as most of them were reluctant to work for the
new A2 landlords mistakenly thinking that the former white commercial
farmers would return to their properties.
Such thinking marked them out as being reactionary to government policy.
There was also the issue of identity particulars for most migrant workers
and their descendants to ensure that they get permanent resident status or
This would also enable them to get the respect that is commensurate with
their pivotal service to the development of the country.
Farms and mines used to be manned mostly by people of Malawian, Mozambican
or Zambian origin dating back to the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland.
"Some of the new farmers and ordinary Zimbabweans ridicule the farm workers
using derogatory slurs and remarks such as muBhurandaya (Blantyre) or
Mubwidi (person of Malawian descent,)" said lamented Gertrude Hambira,
secretary-general of GAPWUZ in her presentation.
The workshop also agreed that farm workers should be assessed annually, that
ex-workers are assisted with relocation expenses to new areas by the
government and the issue of security of tenure should be speeded up and
It was recommended that farm workers should be incorporated in developmental
structures in addition to giving them tax incentives and social amenities
such as family toilets contrary to communal or pit latrines.
The National Social Security Authority (NSSA) also came under attack from
GAPWUZ for doing nothing for stranded ex-farm workers who had contributed a
lot of money to the scheme when they were waged workers.

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