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Tsvangirai denies backing Harare pullout from SADC court

by Patricia Mpofu Thursday 01 October 2009

HARARE - Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai on Wednesday denied state media
reports that the Council of Ministers has endorsed Zimbabwe's pull out from
the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Tribunal.

State media reported on Wednesday that the Tsvangira-chaired Council, which
met in Harare last week, reached a consensus that Harare should pull out of
the SADC Tribunal which in recent months has passed judgments on farm
seizures not favourable to President Robert Mugabe and ZANU PF.

But Tsvangirai yesterday, through his spokesman James Maridadi, rubbished
the reports, saying Zimbabwe remained fully bound by its international

"Prime Minister Tsvangirai categorically dismisses reports that the Council
of Ministers meeting of 24 September, 2009 chaired by Head of Government
Right Honourable Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai endorsed Zimbabwe's pull
out from the SADC Tribunal," said Maridadi.

"The fact of the matter is that the issue was discussed and it was agreed
that further discussions will take place in Cabinet," he said.

The PM's spokesman added that when a position is finally arrived at on the
SADC Tribunal, the responsible minister - Eric Matinenga, in charge of the
Constitutional and Parliamentary Reform portfolio - would make an
appropriate announcement.

"The Prime Minister has reiterated that no single minister has the mandate
to make a unilateral pronouncement and that Zimbabwe remained bound by all
its international commitments, treaties and protocols," he said.

Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa in August wrote to the Windhoek-based
SADC Tribunal informing the regional court of Harare's decision to withdraw
from cases brought against the government by former white farmers who lost
their properties during Mugabe's controversial land reform programme.

The government lost the case with the Tribunal declaring the chaotic and
often violent land reform programme discriminatory, racist and illegal under
the SADC Treaty.

But Chinamasa informed the Tribunal that Harare would recognise its
authority only after a protocol establishing the court was ratified by at
least two-thirds of the 15-nation bloc's members as is required under rules
and procedures governing the regional grouping. - ZimOnline

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Farm seizures caused 30 percent drop in output

by Own Correspondent Thursday 01 October 2009

HARARE - Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe's controversial fast track land
reform programme has resulted in 30 percent drop in the country's
agricultural production, the World Bank has said.

According to a report entitled "Input and Output Market for Smallholder
Farmers in Zimbabwe" released by the World Bank at a two-day agriculture
stakeholders conference that began in Harare on Wednesday, the southern
African country's agricultural production has been declining since the late

"Agricultural production in Zimbabwe has been on a decline since late 1990s,
but the decline accelerated following the implementation of fast-track land
redistribution in 2000, which among other factors has resulted in a
cumulative decline in overall agricultural production of about 30 percent
since then," the World Bank said.

The agriculture stakeholders conference that is bankrolled by the Zimbabwe
Multi-Donor Trust Fund - a World Bank created fund - is meant to review the
status of the country's agriculture and come up with a recovery strategy for
the sector that used to be the nation's economic mainstay before government
embarked on a chaotic land reform programme.

"Zimbabwe has moved from being a food surplus (and in some years an
exporting nation) to a food deficit and importing country, with up to a
third of the population depending on food aid," said the World Bank.

The report said as a result of the fast-track land reforms, the smallholder
sector now comprises of 1.1 million communal farmers and 72 000 old
resettlement area farmers, 141 000 A1 for a total of 1.3 million farmers on
close to 26 million hectares.

"Prior to the land reforms this sector of farming community supplied the
bulk of the food consumed in the country."

Mugabe's chaotic and often violent land reforms that he says were necessary
to correct a colonial land ownership system that reserved the best land for
whites and banished blacks to poor soils, are blamed for plunging Zimbabwe
into food shortages after he failed to support black villagers resettled on
former white farms with inputs to maintain production.

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai who formed a power-sharing government with
Mugabe following disputed elections last year, has called for an audit to
establish who owns which land in Zimbabwe before an orderly land reform
programme can be implemented but Mugabe has in the past accused the MDC
leader of wishing to return land to former white owners.

Critics say Mugabe's cronies - and not ordinary peasants - benefited the
most from farm seizures with some of them ending up with as many as six
farms each against the government's stated one-man-one-farm policy.

Meanwhile a report prepared for the conference by the government and donors
said yesterday Zimbabwe has paid compensation for only about 3 percent of
the 6 500 white-owned farms it has seized.

"Only 203 farms out of the gazetted 6 571 farms have to date been
compensated," said the report.

But farmers say even these payments are way below market rates.

Mugabe has maintained that he will only compensate farmers for developments
on the land such as dams and farm buildings and not for land because the
land was stolen from blacks in the first place. - ZimOnline

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Farmer gets green light to remove property

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Court Reporter

Former owner of Lawrencedale Farm in Headlands Mr Charles Ingram Lock, who
is embroiled in an acrimonious land row with army Brigadier-General Justin
Mujaji, has been allowed access and control over his movable property at the
farm and to harvest his crops.

Granting Lock's application to have access to his property and to harvest
his crops, High Court judge Justice Bharat Patel said Mr Lock should freely
remove all his goods from the farm.

Justice Patel gave the order following a successful application by Advocate
Thabani Mpofu.

Lock left the farm end of last year after Brig-Gen Mujaji moved in on the
strength of an offer letter.

Lock, however, claimed that he was not given time to remove his property and
to take his produce to the market.

Justice Patel ordered Brig-Gen Mujaji not to interfere with Lock as he
removes his property from the premises.

"It is ordered that the applicant has full and unfettered right to access to
and control over his movable assets, including crops on subdivision 4 and 5
of the remaining extent of Lawrencedale 5 situated in Headlands.

"Such right includes the right to harvest, grade, pack and case all reaped
tobacco and maize as described in paragraph 13 of applicant's founding
affidavit. The applicant has full and unfettered right to remove all and any
of the aforesaid goods, as well as any other movable assets, including his
equipment and fittings in the tobacco barns, cattle handling facilities,
household and personal effects.

"The first respondent (Brig-Gen Mujaji) shall forthwith stop interfering
with the exercise of control by the applicant of the goods referred to in
the above paragraphs, including the movement of such goods," he ruled.

Justice Patel ordered police to assist the Sheriff or Deputy Sheriff in
enforcing the order.

Though Lock left the farm last year, he has maintained his presence at the
farm through his supervisor and some workers.

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ZNA Brigadier holds onto farmer's crop

Written by Radio VOP
Wednesday, 30 September 2009 11:49
HARARE - A Zimbabwe National Army Brigadier has ignored a court order
to allow Headlands farmer, Charles Lock access to his USD700 000 tobacco and
maize crop.

Lock told Radio VOP at the weekend that Brigadier General Justin Itayi
Mujaji had threatened to gun him down if he enters the farm despite a court
on order on Thursday granting him an application to access his crop.
Soldiers deployed at Karori farm by Mujaji, barred Lock from getting
on to the farm in full view of the police.
"Armed soldiers barred me from entering the farm when I went there on
Friday after the High Court ruling," said Lock, whose case mirrors the
situation of thousands other commercial farmers who have been illegally and
violently driven off their farms by top government and security chiefs.
High Court judge Bharat Patel ordered the police to assist the Sheriff
or Deputy Sheriff to ensure that Lock is able to access and control all his
movable assets, including crops on the farm in Headlands, Manicaland.
The ruling follows an application by Lock to the High Court seeking an
order to bar Mujaji, from interfering with the control of the farmer's
"The applicant (Lock) has full and unfettered right to remove all and
any of the goods, as well as any other move able assets, including his
equipment and fittings in the tobacco barns, cattle handling facilities,
household and personal effects, from the land referred to above," ruled
Justice Patel. "This order shall remain in operation notwithstanding the
noting of an appeal against it. The costs of this application shall be paid
by the first respondent (Mujaji) on an attorney-client scale."
Lock wanted the court to force the army general to allow him to move
about 150 tonnes of tobacco, grown under contract and financed by
international tobacco companies to auction floors. The farmer had also asked
the court for an order to allow him to move about 500 tonnes of maize to
buyers such as the Grain Marketing Board.
Lock's court challenge is one of many by white commercial farmers.
Before this latest High Court order, lock had obtained two eviction orders
against Mujaji both of which had been ignored.
Mujaji's action mirrors the lawlessness on the farms and disregard of
the law by security officers, most of whom are staunch supporters of
president Robert Mugabe.

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Zim faces more food shortages

by Own Correspondent Thursday 01 October 2009

HARARE - Zimbabwe faces more food shortages next year because of a cash
crunch that the World Bank and farmers groups said Wednesday could cripple
the new cropping season -- just weeks away -- because growers are unable to
buy seed and other inputs.

Harare's decision to abandon the inflation-wrecked Zimbabwe dollar for the
American dollar and the South African rand that helped stablise the economy
has had a damaging impact on farming, with farmers unable to raise hard cash
to buy input, while banks were only able to provide a paltry 20 percent of
funding required by farmers, according to the World Bank.

In a paper submitted at a two-day conference on agriculture that ends in
Harare today the World Bank said: "Commercial banking (sector is) estimated
to supply a meager 20 percent of farmer financial requirements. Other
financing sources that include microfinance institutions, state support, NGO
support and farmers' "own" finance have all succumbed to the erosion effects
of inflation."

Zimbabwe, which has faced food shortages since 2001 has in previous seasons
failed to raise food production because of violence on commercial farms that
are the country's biggest producers, poor weather and an acute shortage of
seed and fertilizer because of a poor performing economy that failed to
manufacture adequate quantities of the key inputs.

While violence has persisted on white-owned commercial farms, a failed
farming season this time round will be chiefly because of a lack of funding
that has seen farmers unable to purchase inputs that are readily available
in most shops across the country but are too expensive for most growers.

Charles Taffs, vice president of the Commercial Farmers Union that
represents mostly white farmers, described the new season as a "looming
disaster" because of under-funding.

He told the conference: "we are going into the summer season totally
unprepared, under funded with a looming disaster next season."

Zimbabwe has 1 349 549 farmers but figures submitted at the conference
suggested only about 230 000 will be able to get funding for operations in
the new rainy season that officially begins around mid-November.

An initiative by non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to provide seed and
fertilizer packs to about 600 000 communal farmers has been hit hard by a
dilapidated road system that has delayed deliveries, raising fears that the
inputs will reach some areas well after the planting period.

Once one of the highest producing in Africa, Zimbabwe's farming sector is a
shadow of its former self, crippled by President Robert Mugabe's chaotic and
often violent land reform exercise that displaced established white
commercial farmers and replaced them with either incompetent or inadequately
funded black farmers.

The country that was once regarded as a regional breadbasket was able to
avoid mass starvation only because international relief agencies were quick
to chip in with food handouts.

Chaos in agriculture because of farm seizures also hit hard Zimbabwe's once
impressive manufacturing sector that had depended on a robust farming sector
for orders and inputs.

Most of Zimbabwe's industries have since the beginning of farm seizures
either scaled down operations or shut down altogether, in a country where
unemployment is more than 80 percent. ZimOnline.

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Cash-strapped GMB exposes farmers

Tuesday, 29 September 2009 18:01
JOHANNESBURG - The shortage of funds that the state-run Grain
Marketing Board (GMB) is suffering has exposed farmers to unscrupulous maize
buyers, the country's leading financial services firm said this week.

In a statement to The Zimbabwean, Kingdom Stockbrokers said this had
left the farmers of the country's staple crop disillusioned.
"In Zimbabwe, most farmers have harvested their maize and other cereal
crops but they are not happy with the prices that are being offered by the
private buyers. The prices are too low and farmers are not able to
break-even or to recapitalize in preparation for the next cropping season,"
Kingdom said.
"Although the Grain Marketing Board is buying maize at US$265 per
tonne, it does not have ready cash and growers have to wait for a long
period before being paid. As a result, the cash trapped producers ended up
falling prey to unscrupulous business people who are making huge profits
from their grain. These buy maize at very low prices such as US$165 to
US$180 per tonne."
It said similar problems were experienced in the marketing of cash
crops like cotton and tobacco.
The state-run Grain Marketing Board is tasked to purchase grain from
farmers as part of efforts to stimulate production and enhance food
This year, the undercapitalized entity lost its monopoly after the
government liberalized the grain market.

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Army schools ill equipped

Written by Paul Ndlovu
Wednesday, 30 September 2009 11:32
HARARE - Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) schools in the country, are
suffering from dilapidate infrastructure and a severe equipment shortage, it
has been learnt.

The ZNA schools welfare Trust Board will visit eight of the 17 ZNA
schools, 12 secondary and five primary schools, countrywide to assess their
condition and come up with ways of improving service delivery.
Former Minister of Information and Publicity, who is the board's
chairperson, Dr Sikhanyiso Ndlovu, was told during the tour of one of the
schools in Bulawayo, Induna High School, that most of the equipment at the
school was outdated.
"The science lab is outdated. The computer laboratory has only seven
computers but we need at least 100, and internet access," the science
department told Dr Ndlovu.
The Library employees complained that there was no reading room and
the facility was seriously under-stocked, while the whole school had
inadequate furniture.
Ndlovu said that was the general picture in the other schools that
they had visited. He said plans were underway to address the issue.
"We are in the process of engaging the corporate world and donors like
UNICEF to solve most of the problems facing the schools," he said.
He applauded the teachers at the army schools for not engaging in
industrial action even when conditions were tough.
"When other teachers went on strike screaming for more money, the army
teachers were appealing for more chalk. We are working hard to reward them
for their dedication and perseverance," he said.

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Zimbabwe economy growing 3.7 pct in 2009

IMF sees
Thu Oct 1, 2009 6:32am GMT

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's economy is projected to grow by 3.7
percent this year, according to the International Monetary Fund, the first
expansion since 1997.

The IMF in its latest World Economic Outlook published on Thursday did not
give reasons for its assessment. It forecast that growth in the southern
African nation's gross domestic product would accelerate to 6 percent in
2010. The economy contracted 14.1 percent in 2008, according to the IMF.

The growth projections for 2009 are in line with the Zimbabwean government's
own forecasts, announced in July. The economy last grew 12 years ago,
expanding by 3.0 percent, according to data from the Reserve Bank of

Southern Africa's former breadbasket has seen its once vibrant economy
shattered by poor policy choices by President Robert Mugabe's government,
particularly the seizure of white-owned farms for the resettlement of
landless blacks.

But the formation of a unity government by Mugabe and his political rival
Morgan Tsvangirai appears to have halted the economy's free-fall, although
unemployment still hovers around 80-85 percent and industries are operating
at only 20 and 30 percent capacity.

The withdrawal of the worthless Zimbabwean dollar from circulation early
this year is also breathing life into the economy, which had battled world
record-beating inflation.

The IMF forecast consumer inflation would average 9 percent this year and
rise to an average of 12 percent in 2010. The fund forecast the country's
current account deficit at 21.4 percent of GDP in 2009, narrowing to 19.9
percent next year.

Zimbabwe says it needs $10 billion in foreign aid to rebuild the country,
but Western nations are reluctant to release cash without further political
and economic reform under the unity government.

Finance Minister Tendai Biti said last month it would be a long while before
the country received bilateral assistance.

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Statement of U.S. Senator Russ Feingold at Hearing on 'Exploring U.S. Policy Options Toward Zimbabwe's Transition'

Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on African Affairs

Wednesday, September 30, 2009
As Prepared For Delivery

"Just over a year ago, this Subcommittee held a hearing on the crisis in
Zimbabwe.  That hearing came amidst months of intense violence carried out
by Robert Mugabe and his allies against the opposition MDC's members,
supporters and families.  This was a deliberate campaign to hold onto power
and subvert the will of the people expressed in the March 29th elections.
"Today, the situation in Zimbabwe looks different, at least on the surface.
Last September, with South Africa's mediation, the parties signed the
'Global Political Agreement' and committed to form a transitional
government.  And after five months of delays, this February, MDC leader
Morgan Tsvangirai was sworn in as prime minister and the MDC assumed control
of several ministries.  This came just as Zimbabwe's economy reached a low
point with world-record inflation and millions of people at risk of
"The transitional government, under the leadership of the new Minister of
Finance from MDC, has been able to stop that economic decline and taken
initial steps to reverse it.  It has stabilized the situation in other
respects as well.  However, eight months on, many aspects of the Global
Political Agreement are still not implemented, beginning with the
appointment of new provincial governors and the replacement of the Reserve
Bank Governor and Attorney General.  Moreover, security forces continue to
operate as instruments of Mugabe's ZANU-PF party, condoning land takeovers
and harassing MDC and civil society activists.
"At every turn thus far, hardliners in the transitional government have
resisted moves that would undermine their historic patronage system and
power structures.  And for the most part, they appear to be succeeding.
Reformers in the government are working hard to overcome that resistance,
but in many cases they lack leverage as well as the qualified personnel and
resources.  In short, Zimbabwe's transition remains a work in progress,
incomplete and far from irreversible.
"This brings us to today's discussion: U.S. strategy and policy options
toward that transition.  Unsurprisingly, Mugabe has increased his calls for
the removal of U.S. and European Union sanctions.  Regional leaders have
echoed that call and made it the focus of their resolution on Zimbabwe at
the SADC summit earlier this month.  I would understand and even be
sympathetic to their position if there was substantial progress being made
toward implementing the Global Political Agreement.  But no one believes
that.  Rather than deflecting responsibility, regional leaders should step
up and hold Mugabe accountable for implementing his share of the agreement.
They signed on as guarantors of the agreement and they should live up to
that responsibility.
"Let me be clear: I see no reason for the U.S. to repeal sanctions until we
see real, irreversible progress and an end to widespread abuses.
"However, this does not mean that our hands are tied and the U.S. should be
on the sidelines.  A strict wait-and-see approach is arguably not the best
way to influence this transition or keep the pressure on Mugabe and company.
There are a number of actions that the United States can take now - both
symbolic and substantive - to engage the government and help strengthen the
hand of reformers within it.  And at the same time, there may be ways that
we can ramp up the pressure on those individuals obstructing the agreement
and perpetrating continuing abuses.  We need to explore all these options
and move beyond the all-or-nothing debate that seems to have frozen U.S.
policy.  That debate is out of touch with the fluidity of this transition as
well as the dynamism of our diplomats.
"Similarly, with our assistance, we should look at how we can best keep up
with and influence the changing situation on the ground.  I was pleased that
President Obama pledged $73 million in new funds for education, health and
livelihoods when he met with Prime Minister Tsvangirai earlier this year.
Scaling up and shifting our assistance in Zimbabwe to help rebuild
institutions and lay the groundwork for economic recovery makes practical
sense.  It is also another way in which we can strengthen the hand of
reformers within the transition.  But in order to have that positive effect,
this new assistance needs to be well designed and well targeted, and it
needs to be coordinated with our diplomatic efforts.  Today's hearing will
explore how the U.S. can best leverage our assistance together with our
diplomacy toward advancing the political transition."

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Former Zimbabwe Olympian sentenced in scheme

Associated Press - September 30, 2009 9:35 PM ET

DALLAS (AP) - Two Zimbabwe citizens and a Texan found guilty of defrauding
the U.S. government by filing false income tax returns have been sentenced
to federal prison.

A statement Wednesday from the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of
Texas says Fabian Muyaba, Joseph Mudekunye and Nichelle Henson, of Como,
Texas, were convicted in June on various offenses related to a conspiracy
scheme in which they profited.

Muyaba received a 10-year prison sentence. He testified to being the
100-meter record holder for his country and a former Olympic athlete.
Mudekunye was sentenced to eight years and one month and was ordered to pay
back $422,000. Henson was sentenced to four years.

Mudekunye and Muyaba are part-time Texas residents.

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SADC chiefs oppose Gaddafi's King of Kings establishment

1st October 2009

Written by Kingsley Kaswende in Harare, Zimbabwe

CHIEFS from Southern Africa have said they will not be part of Libyan
leader Col Muammar Gaddafi's King of Kings establishment that seeks to unite
continental chiefs under his leadership. The SADC House of Chiefs that had a
meeting in Harare on Monday resolved that regional chiefs will not be
subjects of Col Gaddafi's proposition, arguing that a traditional leader
could not be subordinate to another African leader.
"We have resolved that we will not be part and parcel of President
Gaddafi forum. Chiefs are born not made, so this business of having a
dynasty of the United States of Africa will undermine our role and
strength," said chief Fhumulani Kutama, the interim chairperson of Kothla,
which is the regional House of Chiefs.

Chief Kutama said the chiefs from the SADC region would not lend their
support to Col Gadaffi's project, which he said had already been dismissed
by some African heads of state and government.

Chief Kutama said the regional House of Chiefs had a critical role of
assisting governments in conflict resolution in the region as most
communities highly respect their traditional leaders.

"As traditional leaders, we play a key role in conflict resolution
programmes," he said.

Chief Kutama said the idea was tabled when traditional leaders
attended the Libyan 40th independence anniversary commemorations last month
but that there was consensus that the idea should not be accepted as it
would undermine the institution of chiefs.

More than 200 African kings and traditional rulers met in Libya for
that meeting, the first one of its kind.

Col Gaddafi has a vision of merging African leaders' powers to create
a single government but most African leaders are lukewarm about his vision.

His vision for the United States of Africa also came under the
regional chiefs' spotlight on Monday.

At last month's meeting, Col Gaddafi urged the traditional leaders to
join his campaign for African unity.

Traditional leaders from the DRC, Lesotho, South Africa, Zambia,
Botswana and Zimbabwe attanded the meeting in Harare.

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2000 draft constitution ok - Welshman

Wednesday, 30 September 2009 07:31
BULAWAYO - Secretary General of the breakaway smaller faction of the
MDC, Welshman Ncube  surprised many when he said rejecting the 2000
constitution draft was wrong and it should not be repeated.
Speaking at the annual general meeting of the Bulawayo Publicity
Association last week Ncube, who is also Joint Monitoring and Implementation
Committee (JOMIC) and Industry and Commerce Minister, said: "The 2000
constitution which was rejected by Zimbabweans was better than what we have
now. Therefore, Zimbabweans should be aware of a false victory we voted "no"
and we won but what did the no vote change? Nothing. I assure you that if we
had that constitution now, it would be better. Zimbabweans should learn from
the lessons of 2000," Ncube said.
Ncube said Zimbabweans should participate in the drafting of a new
constitution led by a Parliamentary Select Committee before it is sent for
debate in Parliament and then subjected to a referendum. "Most of the
problems we faced in Zimbabwe were related to the constitution. Contentious
issues around elections and power revolved around the constitution. We need
to resolve the constitution issue once and for all," said Ncube.
The Parliamentary Select Committee has asked the principals to the GPA
to extend the deadlines to allow mobilisation of resources.

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Transport For Zimbabwe's Health Workers

Thursday, 1 October 2009, 12:36 pm
Press Release: United Nations

UN Provides Bicycles And Motorcycles For Zimbabwe's Health Workers

New York, Sep 30 2009 12:10PM The United Nations today provided hundreds of
bicycles and motorcycles for Zimbabwean health workers to respond to
potential cholera and flu outbreaks, the latest in a series of steps by the
world body to help the southern African country confront acute humanitarian

The 300 black bicycles and 124 bright red motor cycles, purchased by the UN
World Health Organization (WHO) with $500,000 from the Central Emergency
Response Fund, will enable health workers to move quickly to prepare for and
respond to potential health concerns, including cholera outbreaks and the
H1N1 flu pandemic.

"These items will support Zimbabwe's intensified response to the 2008-09
cholera outbreak that infected almost 100,000 people and killed about
4,000," WHO representative Custodia Mandlhate said.

The bicycles will be given to village health workers in three districts,
with each worker equipped with a blue sports-like bag packed with basic
health supplies, including oral re-hydration salts, water purification
tablets, bandages and disinfectant to help deliver basic and potentially
life-saving care.

The motorcycles will be distributed to each of Zimbabwe's 62 districts to
help disease surveillance officers travel between towns and villages
collecting suspected disease samples and safely taking them to laboratories
for investigation.

"WHO and the other members of the Health Cluster are determined to help the
country continue to strengthen its health care system so it can provide the
highest level of health care possible to all Zimbabweans," Dr. Mandlhate

Earlier this month the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said it
would distribute seeds and fertilizers to Zimbabwe's farmers to combat
hunger, while the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) launched a $70-million
programme to ensure that over 700,000 vulnerable children are in school and
guarantee a textbook for each child in all of the country's 5,300 primary
schools within 12 months.

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Zimbabwe's small change crunch
 30 september, 2009 - 14:37 GMT
US dollar bill and coins

Imagine a world without small change - that's what's happened to Zimbabwe.

The country's mind-boggling rise in inflation, which officially reached 231 million percent last year, was halted this February when the government brought in a new system, where any currency can be used for any transaction.

The Zimbabwe dollar more or less vanished from use, and the US dollar became the first choice currency.

But the trouble is there are no US coins - quarters or dimes or cents - in the country, so the one dollar note is the smallest denomination, except for a few South African rand coins.

That's led to over-pricing of basic bread and butter commodities, lost business for street traders, and real inconvenience for consumers.

The BBC's Steve Vickers reports from Harare on life without the chink of change.

First broadcast on World Business News

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UZ water problems

Written by Paul Ndlovu
Wednesday, 30 September 2009 13:27
HARARE - Water shortages at the University of Zimbabwe have forced
students and staff to rely entirely on borehole water. When the college
first encountered serious water shortages UNICEF stepped in a drilled four
boreholes. However, only one of the four is said to be operational.
According to a statement released by the Zimbabwe National Students
Union last week, the situation was posing a health hazard to the more than
13 000 students at the institution.  "The challenge has delayed the opening
of halls of residence that has seen close to 4 000 students stranded having
to look for alternative accommodation elsewhere," read the statement.

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Economy recovering - Speaker

Written by The Zimbabwean
Wednesday, 30 September 2009 12:18
BULAWAYO - The country's economy is on an irreversible path of
recovery owing to the various stabilisation initiatives adopted by
government. Speaking at the launch of PG Zimbabwe's 60th Anniersary, House
of Assembly Speaker, Lovemore Moyo (Pictured), said the Global Political
Agreement was based on democratisation and economic stabilisation
"While we continue to face challenges as a nation, it is an undoubted
fact that Zimbabwe is on an irreversible path of recovery. The results of
our economic stabilisation initiative provide ample evidence of this fact.
Inflation was controlled instantly, goods are now readily available in the
shops and the progress has been remarkable," he said. He said all the
parties to the GPA still needed to do more, adding that government was
committed to create an enabling environment to business to flourish.
"Industry has a key role in complementing government efforts so as to
achieve further gains in economic recovery. It is business that creates
wealth, employment and revenue into the fiscus," he said. The Speaker called
for more cooperation between government and business, and paid tribute to PG
for partnering with local suppliers to provide the country with building
materials. Moyo said the economy required robust industrial activity to spur
the economic gains that the country had registered in the last few months.
He said increased construction activity and development on infrastructure
was one of the signals of increasing economic activity.
"Infrastructure rehabilitation is one of government's top priorities.
We are determined to see our universities, hospitals and schools renovated
and returned to their original state. Our local industry will play a
critical role in this development. We need to ensure that Zimbabwe's pace of
economic reconstruction is enhanced," said Moyo. He said the country was
forecasting to register an economic growth for the first time in a decade
and this was largely due to the perseverance of local companies.

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Tortured MDC activist admitted to hospital

Written by Mxolisi Ncube
Tuesday, 29 September 2009 17:27
Exiled former MDC parliamentary candidate Noel Muguti has been
hospitalised in Johannesburg for the past three weeks.

His condition is said to be linked to the life-threatening injuries he
sustained while being tortured by Zimbabwean state security agents during
President Robert Mugabe's campaign of violence last year.
Muguti, who lost the Gokwe-Nembudziya parliamentary seat to incumbent
Zanu (PF) MP Flora Bhuka in the March 29 elections, told ****The
Zimbabwean**** that his whole body was aching from the beatings he went
"My life has not been the same since I was tortured for standing on an
MDC ticket in that election and I believe that this will never get any
better," said Muguti.
Muguti, who lives as a political refugee at the Central Methodist
Church after fleeing persecution by Mugabe's government in July last year,
added that he was not sure of when he would be released from the hospital,
as his health was not improving.
In addition to the torture he went through, Muguti also lost his wife,
Nashawu Mpofu, to an armed Zanu (PF) gang, strongly believed to have killed
Muguti's homestead was also razed by Zanu supporters, many of whom
were linked to his wife's abduction. Some are said to be still roaming the
villages despite the former politician having reported them to the police.
On May 28 this year, tragedy struck again in the family of Muguti
(33), when his two-year-old son, Democracy, and the politician's sister,
Belinda (24), died under suspicious circumstances on the same day.
Belinda died of food poisoning in Harare's Mbare high-density suburb,
while Democracy died in Muguti's rural home. The two are yet to be buried,
as Muguti cannot raise the R10,000 needed.
He joins a long list of former MDC activists who have suffered the
devastating effects of severe torture under Mugabe's rule. One was Gift
Nhidza, who recently returned to "die in Zimbabwe" after his health
Nhidza's spinal cord was damaged in three places and his arms and legs
were fractured as a result of the beating.
Activist Itayi Mudzingwa, popularly known as Kitsiyatota, died in
exile in South Africa in May.

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Mugabe's UN speech: a rebuttal

Written by John Makumbe
Wednesday, 30 September 2009 09:32
It was a forlorn cry by Robert Mugabe at the 64th Session of the UN
General Assembly last week. It is surprising that with the nation as
bankrupt as it is currently, Mugabe insists on flying to New York for the
annual talk show purely for selfish reasons. Mugabe once again pleaded for
the lifting of "sanctions", the swan song that his part has been chanting
for years. He questioned the motives of those countries that he accuses of
imposing the targeted measures against him and some 200 of his minions.
Their motives are clearly that Zimbabwe should be governed in a humane
manner that ensures that human rights are observed, the rule of law is
upheld, democracy is allowed to prevail, and justice is pursued to the
fullest extent of the laws of this nation. These are all the very issues on
which Mugabe and his outgoing Zanu (PF) government have failed dismally.
Crying for the removal of sanctions is therefore like crying for the
moon.Mugabe threatens that if sanctions are not removed then Zimbabwe will
go it alone. We have all seen what that has done to this nation in the past
ten years. We have seen this country being devastated to the extent that
schools and hospitals have had to close down, unemployment has exceeded 90%,
and inflation has reached astronomical twelve digit levels under Mugabe's go
it alone approach.
Does the old man think that he can have the next 10 years to repeat
the same sort of bad governance of this country while the international
community watches listlessly? Zimbabweans have now reached the stage where
they are prepared to stop Mugabe in his tracks by any means possible. The
personal sanctions must stay firmly in place until Mugabe and Zanu (PF)
behave themselves politically. Indeed, the fact that Mugabe is crying for
the removal of sanctions is adequate testimony that the embargo has been
outstandingly effective in curbing the outgoing regime's excesses. Good old
Mugabe claims that the inclusive government has defined its priorities as
the maintenance of conditions of peace and stability, economic recovery,
development, promotion of human rights, blah, blah. Really? Then where are
the conditions of peace when Mugabe is secretly meeting with the members of
the now defunct JOC behind closed doors? What conditions of peace exist in
Zimbabwe when the Zanu (PF) militia and the soldiers are setting up
inexplicable bases and no go zones in some rural areas?
What peace is Mugabe talking about when selected MDC legislators are
being harassed and harangued on trumped up charges? What promotion of human
rights has been witnessed in Zimbabwe since the inauguration of the impotent
inclusive government?
For some reason, Mugabe thinks that all the people who will be
listening to him in these international forums are not aware of the
realities on the ground in Zimbabwe. This failure to appreciate the impact
of the information highway on global developments is a sad handicap for the
long over-due "commander in chief of defence forces." Western powers are not
engaged in any "divisive antics" against the inclusive government. They have
nothing to gain from such practices. The truth of the matter is that
democratic countries always seek to work closely with other democratic
forces in Zimbabwe. But when they do so, Mugabe thinks that they are
undermining his inclusive government. His reluctance to fully implement the
GPA is the sole reason why sanctions against him and his ilk should not be
lifted. SADC can scream all it wants to, but progressive forces are not
going to pay any attention to them until the GPA is fully implemented.

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Zimbabwe - An Old Milking Cow

Zimbabwe’s farms are like an old dairy cow, ZANU (PF) ties its legs; Mugabe
squeezes the last drops of milk from its shrivelled udder; while his wife
feeds it raw grain; the masses sit patiently waiting for milk by the cow’s
rear end—only for Nestlé and Grace to lift the cow’s tail as it dumps bovine
excrement onto the heads of the hungry populace.

Nestlé Zimbabwe, confirmed media reports that one of its milk suppliers is
Gushungo Dairy Estates, controlled by Grace Mugabe, and that the estate
supplies ten percent—the equivalent of one million litres—of Nestlé’s raw
milk intake.  However, Nestlé Switzerland has issued a statement blessing
the arrangement in a condescending announcement, which confirms Nestlé’s
place as an enabler of tyranny and an eager accessory to crime.

Switzerland is taking a position that is consistent with its national
interest of protecting its banking industry—essentially the ATM for
politically exposed persons. This system is the rock underneath which
dishonest leaders who enrich themselves from looted state funds hoard
so-called potentate funds (dictator’s assets).

Switzerland is a signatory to the United Nations Convention Against
Corruption (UNCAC) and upholds the obligation to return illicitly acquired

However, Switzerland has proposed to donate funds stolen by despots to aid
agencies instead of repatriating them back to the countries of origin. In
other words, Zimbabwe gets aid, Mugabe pilfers it, and his wife Grace
secretly banks the loot with help of Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono in
numbered Swiss bank accounts.

If the people of Zimbabwe ever trace these funds, the Swiss government would
then donate the loot to the next aid agency for onward “lending” to another
despot. The vortex of sleaze and corruption starts all over again. In the
meantime, Switzerland appears to be a benevolent aid giver to suffering
Africans and yet, in practical terms, is merely sending interest earned from
Africa’s stolen wealth back to the very despots who are encouraged to steal
it all again. Africans become permanently anchored in bottomless pit of debt
and poverty with the complicity of the societies that offer us aid.

The Swiss Federal Criminal Tribunal requires sufficient evidence of criminal
wrongdoing in order to effect restitution and these proceedings may take up
to fifteen years.

Zimbabweans expecting Switzerland to censure a dictator is akin to a farmer
chopping down a tree in order to harvest its fruit. Potentate funds are the
mother’s milk of the Swiss banking system, and Mugabe is one of the clients
who buttress the system.

Gushungo Dairy Estates is the 4000-hectare farm, part of a criminal
enterprise, a vast agricultural land holding owned by Robert Mugabe and his
immediate family. He stole state land and allocated it to himself under the
guise of correcting a colonial imbalance.
In this melee, 350 000 farm workers, whom Mugabe in his xenophobic tirade on
CNN, referred to as aliens, are now classified as internally displaced
persons (IDPs), and survive on foreign humanitarian aid handouts.

What happened to the one-man one farm policy? What happened to a maximum
farm size (450 hectare) policy? What became of the promise that no farmer
shall go without land and the declaration that no absentee landlord may own
land in Zimbabwe?

Instead of allocating or distributing “acquired” farms and land to deserving
landless peasants, all prime land is now the private asset of absentee
landlords, the freedom fighters from yesteryear. Zimbabwe’s entrepreneurs
consisting of farmers, hoteliers, and bankers, are facing an unprecedented
onslaught from the pillaging ruling party bourgeoisie who unashamedly
misappropriate private property for personal gain.

Under the pretext of land reform, indigenisation, and decongesting communal
areas, ZANU (PF) politicians now control 95% of Zimbabwe’s prime agriculture
with its leader becoming one of Zimbabwe’s largest private landowners.

Switzerland has a moral obligation to side with the suffering people of
Zimbabwe and help bring this deplorable chapter to a close. Criminal
gangsters, mobs of illicit cattle rustlers, murderers and rapists who trade
in misappropriated assets, loot state coffers and launder ill-gotten wealth,
must never become the preferred trading partners to Switzerland.

“Chinokanganwa idemo” - What forgets is the axe, but the tree that has been
axed will never forget.

The old dairy cow must be now be replaced in the paddock by a younger
milking heifer that will provide real milk for the ordinary people of

Phil Matibe –

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Tell Nestle what you think of their buying milk form Grace Mugabe

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