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Zimbabwe opposition leader faces test


      Sun Oct 23, 2005 4:27 PM BST

By MacDonald Dzirutwe

HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's main opposition leader faces a tough test on
Monday when party members must decide whether to support him and boycott
registration for next month's senate election or sign up and risk breaking
up the party.

Opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) head Morgan Tsvangirai has
vowed his party will not contest the November 26 poll, which he says is part
of a drive by President Robert Mugabe to tighten his grip on power.

But his stance has been rejected by his top lieutenants and has plunged the
party -- that came closest to unseating Mugabe's ZANU-PF from power in
2000 -- into its worst crisis.

"This is a critical moment for Tsvangirai, it will decide to what extent he
has influence in the party," leading political commentator Heneri
Dzinotyiwei told Reuters on Sunday. "It could decide whether the party
breaks up or not, but which ever way, it is a messy affair that will leave
them weaker."

On Saturday, Tsvangirai said the party's national executive, which runs its
daily affairs, backed his boycott and pledged action to demand a more just
constitution, but the party's secretary general said local groups might not
fall into line.

Senior party officials have played out their differences in the media,
defending their positions while emphasising that the party would survive the
crisis. But analysts said the bickering risked a total break-up, which would
severely weaken the MDC.

Nomination courts will decide on Monday whether to allow opposition
candidates to stand in the election. Tsvangirai wrote to the Zimbabwe
Electoral Commission last week in an unsuccessful bid to block MDC members
from filing papers.

MDC officials leading a pro-participation faction were quoted in the local
media as saying the party had stepped up preparations for registration of

The state-owned weekly Sunday News accused Tsvangirai of triggering the
crisis through a "coup against the party's constitution" and predicted the
MDC would break up on Monday.

Tsvangirai says the poll will allow Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF party to boost
its control of the country, but other MDC leaders fear that if the
opposition does not take part, it will be further edged out of national

"If the other faction goes ahead and fields candidates and is accepted by
the nomination courts then that will be a sure split for the party,"
Lovemore Madhuku, chairman of the political pressure group National
Constitutional Assembly, which opposes the senate polls, told Reuters.

"It is a real test for Tsvangirai's leadership and how he manages this
crisis could determine the future of the party and his position as MDC

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Zimbabwe crisis: nothing left to do but pray

From The Sunday Argus (SA), 23 October

By Santosh Beharie Basildon Peta and Reuters

Durban's cardinal Wilfred Napier, President of the Southern African Catholic
Bishops' Conference, has criticised President Thabo Mbeki's "quiet
diplomacy" approach on the dire situation in Zimbabwe. So doubtful is the
Catholic archbishop that politicians, especially Mbeki, can do anything to
ease the plight of millions of starving Zimbabweans, that he believes the
only thing left to do is to "get down on our knees and pray for them". Since
heading a South African Council of Churches delegation in July to assess the
scale of the humanitarian crisis caused by "Operation Murambatsvina" in
Zimbabwe, Napier and other clerics have met twice with Mbeki, urging him to
intervene. "The ordinary people of Zimbabwe that we met with urged us to
request our government's intervention in their country. But having met with
President Mbeki twice since then does not seem to have made a difference,"
said Napier on Friday. The potential for mass starvation in Zimbabwe was now
so real and close that Napier and Archbishop Pius Ncube of Bulawayo have
both separately called on the United Nations Security Council to take
responsibility for the crisis and act immediately.

"I certainly think that now is the time for the UN to intervene. (UN
secretary general) Kofi Annan recently said that if the UN did not intervene
in the quake-ravaged Pakistan, they would have blood on their hands. We can
draw a parallel for the crisis in Zimbabwe if the UN does not intervene
there immediately. The UN has a right to do so and should invoke that right.
The sovereignty of Zimbabwe has to be superseded if millions of its people
are starving and the government there is doing nothing about it," said
Napier. Napier said during a two-week visit to Australia in September that
clerics, government officials and citizens of that country expressed concern
that southern African leaders failed to intervene in Zimbabwe. "We repeated
what the people of Zimbabwe requested of us - to pray for them, to help them
with food and other aid, to get our government to mediate with the
Zimbabwean government and to never make them feel as if they are alone. We
have already launched a prayer campaign for the people of Zimbabwe," said
Napier. "I cannot see politicians sorting out the problems in Zimbabwe.
Therefore we have to get down on our knees and pray for them," he said.

Napier and Ncube recently stressed that if the UN did not respond quickly
and decisively to ensure that food aid comes to the country and was
distributed fairly to all communities without political interference, the
organisation would become complicit in the rapidly unfolding humanitarian
disaster. Napier also recently joined other regional church leaders in
branding the Mugabe regime guilty of a crime against humanity in relation to
the politicisation of food. Under the guise of restoring order, the
government's controversial operation to "Drive Out the Filth" destroyed the
homes or jobs of at least 700 000 people and the lives of 2.4 million
others, affecting almost a fifth of the population - currently estimated at
11 million. The informal economy, which fed 40% of the people, was wrecked.
The International Crisis Group estimates that Zimbabwe's internal refugee
problem is between four and five million. A further 3.5 million people are
estimated to have fled the country, mainly to countries within the Southern
African Development Community, notably South Africa.

Archbishop Ncube said on Wednesday he feared 200 000 of his countrymen could
die by early next year because of food shortages he blamed on his
government, and called for Mugabe's ousting. Ncube, a frequent and outspoken
critic of Mugabe, spoke at a news conference called to show a new film on
"Operation Murambatsvina". "I think Mugabe should just be banished, like
what happened to Charles Taylor. He should just be banished from Zimbabwe,"
said Ncube, referring to the former Liberian president forced into exile in
Nigeria. "Let the man get banished if you don't want Zimbabweans to die,"
said Ncube, responding to questions about what the international community
could do to help Zimbabwe. Ncube said 700 people a day were already dying of
Aids in Zimbabwe and that the rate of deaths would increase with
malnutrition. There is nothing the Zimbabwean people can do, said Ncube. The
state security apparatus is everywhere. "In Zimbabwe, police even spy on
each other," said Ncube, adding that the people cannot help themselves,
cannot speak out, cannot take to the streets. "We are dealing here with a
force of evil that is beyond your imagination," said Ncube.

Meanwhile, Mbeki talked this week to two warring factions in Zimbabwe's main
opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) to try to prevent
it disintegrating but he appeared to have failed. The party, which came
close to defeating Mugabe's ruling ZanuPF in its first election challenge in
June 2000, has since then been battered by him into steady retreat at the
polls. Now it is about to split between those who wish to continue
parliamentary politics and those led by MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai who
want instead to challenge Mugabe on the streets. On Thursday night Mbeki met
the parliamentary faction led by party deputy president Gibson Sibanda,
which rebelled against Tsvangirai because he overturned a narrow vote in the
MDC's 66 member national executive committee in favour of participating in
elections for a new senate next month. However, Tsvangirai said yesterday
his party had backed his controversial decision to boycott next month's
senate polls. But a top-ranking party official said local groups might not
fall into line. Tsvangirai's spokesman William Bango said although some
officials opposing Tsvangirai's stance had not attended a meeting on
Saturday, the meeting had a quorum.

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SA church leaders say Mbeki has failed to rescue Zimbabwe

Zim Online

Mon 24 October 2005

      JOHANNESBURG - South African Catholic Cardinal Wilfred Napier at the
weekend said only prayer could save Zimbabwe saying church leaders in the
country no longer had hope President Thabo Mbeki could break a severe crisis
gripping his northern neighbour.

      Cardinal Wilfred Napier, who is also the President of the Southern
African Catholic Bishops' Conference, said Mbeki's "quiet diplomacy" policy
towards Zimbabwe had failed, leaving church leaders with no option but to
"get down on our knees" to pray.

      "I cannot see politicians sorting out the problems in Zimbabwe.
Therefore we have to get down on our knees and pray for them," he said.

      Zimbabwe is in its sixth year of a severe economic recession, which
the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change party and Western
governments says is because of mismanagement and repression by President
Robert Mugabe and his government.

      Mugabe denies ruining Zimbabwe's economy blaming its problems on
sabotage by Western countries out to punish his government for seizing land
from whites and giving it over to landless blacks.

      Mbeki has steadfastly refused to publicly condemn Mugabe's
controversial policies especially his farm seizure programme and human
rights violations preferring "quiet diplomacy" towards the veteran
Zimbabwean leader.

      South African church leaders have been at the forefront in
highlighting the crisis in Zimbabwe. A South African Council of Churches
delegation led by Napier that visited Zimbabwe last July to assess the
plight of Zimbabweans displaced by a controversial government urban clean-up
exercise strongly condemned the exercise.

      The United Nations (UN) says at least 700 000 people were left
homeless after the government destroyed their shantytown homes, city
backyard cottages and informal business kiosks during the clean-up campaign
that Mugabe said was necessary to restore the beauty of cities and towns.

      Another 2.4 million people were also directly affected by the clean-up
exercise, according to a UN report compiled by the world body's special
envoy Anna Tibaijuka..

      "The ordinary people of Zimbabwe that we met with (during clean-up
exercise) urged us to request our government's intervention in their
country. But having met with President Mbeki twice since then does not seem
to have made a difference," said Napier.

      Napier urged the United Nations to intervene in Zimbabwe to save four
million people who are facing starvation.

      "I certainly think that now is the time for the UN to intervene. (UN
secretary general) Kofi Annan recently said that if the UN did not intervene
in the quake-ravaged Pakistan, they would have blood on their hands. We can
draw a parallel for the crisis in Zimbabwe if the UN does not intervene
there immediately.

      "The UN has a right to do so and should invoke that right. The
sovereignty of Zimbabwe has to be superseded if millions of its people are
starving and the government there is doing nothing about it," said Napier. -

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Zim warns 'lazy farmers'


23/10/2005 12:59  - (SA)

Harare - Zimbabwean authorities on Sunday warned new farmers who were
under-using land acquired under the country's controversial land reform
programme that they risk losing their properties.

"We will not hesitate to reclaim all the under-utilised farms and allocate
(them) to other farmers," the state-controlled Sunday Mail newspaper quoted
Zimbabwean vice president Joseph Msika as saying.

"We do not want people who simply build homes at their new farms without
using the land for productive purposes and we want people to work the land
to avoid chronic food shortages."

Zimbabwe's land reforms, which began, often violently, in 2000 after the
rejection in a referendum of a government-sponsored draft constitution, have
seen about 4 000 white farmers lose their properties.

Seized land has been distributed to landless blacks in a move that the
government has said is designed to correct imbalances created by colonial
rule, when the majority of prime farmland was owned by some 4 500 whites.

But critics of the land reforms say most beneficiaries lack farming
knowledge and depend on government handouts while others were sitting on
fallow land.

International aid agencies estimate that some 4.3 million people out of
Zimbabwe's population of 13 million require food assistance.

Last month Msika's co-vice president Joyce Mujuru labelled new farmers who
were under-utilising the land "saboteurs" and "perennial beggars."

Central bank chief Gideon Gono on Thursday hit out at new farmers keeping
farmland purely for its own sake and turning once productive farms into
"weekend picnic venues" while the country is reeling under acute food

"We are not blind to the fact that it was not land for the sake of having it
and merely looking at it that mattered to our liberators. It was not about
having vast pieces of land and using them as braai (barbecue) spots and
weekend picnic venues," Gono said.

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The buck stops for Zimbabwe

The Australian

Gavin du Venage
October 24, 2005
JOHANNESBURG: After years of abuse, such as having political slogans
scrawled on its face and even being used as toilet paper, Zimbabwe's
battered dollar is to be scrapped.

Zimbabwe's central bank governor Gideon Gono said on state radio last
Thursday the currency would be replaced "at a date to be announced".

He did not specify whether it would be replaced by an entirely new monetary
unit, but given the Zimbabwe dollar's link to the white regime of
pre-liberation Zimbabwe, where it began life as the Rhodesian dollar, it is
likely the currency will be rebranded and given a new, ethnic identity.

The Zimbabwe dollar is unlikely to be missed, suffering a disastrous decline
against other currencies as it bore the brunt of President Robert Mugabe's
economic reform.

Inflation is running at 360per cent a year, although it has been as high as
600per cent.

This has led to such iniquities as a roll of toilet paper that costs $Z3000,
but because it is not always available at any price, Zimbabweans have
occasionally found it economical to use the $10 note instead.

At least, they used to. Now, notes have grown scarce because the Government
cannot print enough to keep up with the inflation-driven demand.

People routinely queue many hours at banks to draw their own cash. Banks
have taken to rationing cash per customer and occasionally riots break out
when salary earners are unable to draw their wages because their bank has
run out of notes.

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Zimbabwe 9 month gold output down 36%

Mining Weekly, SA


      Zimbabwe's official gold output fell by more than a third during the
first nine months of this year as large quantities ended up on the black
market, central bank Governor Gideon Gono said late last week.

      Earlier this year, industry officials predicted output would rise
nearly 70% to a record 35 000 kg, but Gono said deliveries were on a
decline, falling to 10 510 kg between January and September this year from
16 400 kg over the same period in 2004.

      Gold earnings declined to $159,8-million from $210,4-million in the
same period.

      "The slowdown in gold deliveries is largely attributed to leakages
into the parallel market," Gono said in his fourth quarterly monetary policy
review statement for 2005.

      Under existing regulations, gold producers are compelled to sell to
the Reserve Bank, retaining 40% of their earnings in foreign currency while
60% is paid in local currency converted at an official rate of 26 000
Zimbabwe dollars per greenback.

      Industry officials have said this had forced some producers onto the
black market where a more favourable rate of around 90 000 local dollars to
the US unit prevails.

      Gold is a key foreign currency earner for the southern African country
and accounts for about 52% of total mineral production, but the sector has
been hit by mine closures mainly due to steep operating costs.

      Zimbabwe faces a financial crisis with one of the world's highest
rates of inflation, mass unemployment and shortages of foreign currency,
fuel and basic foodstuffs and the International Monetary Fund has called it
the world's fastest shrinking economy.

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Dunlop Tyres set to re-open

New Zimbabwe

By Alison Musekwa
Last updated: 10/24/2005 07:23:41
DUNLOP Tyres -- Zimbabwe's sole tyre manufacturing firm -- could soon reopen
following the intervention of Industry and International Trade Minister,
Obert Mpofu.

Dunlop shut down three weeks ago and sent its 820 workers home after the
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe failed to pay the firm its foreign currency
allocations under an exclusive agreement.

The government is now expected to pump up US$350 000 into Dunlop towards
imports for raw materials. It is envisaged that Dunlop will have a three-day
working week until foreign currency inflows normalise.

"The government injected US$350 000 into Dunlop last week to provide
temporary relief to the company while the RBZ is working on a more
substantial foreign currency allocation to enable normal operations," Mpofu
told state media.

Last Thursday, RBZ governor Gideon Gono observed Dunlop's stategic
importance to the economy. It is believed that imported tyres cost four
times more than the price of locally-produced tyres.

Phil Whitehead, Dunlop's managing director said the company has not been
receiving foreign currency allocations from the RBZ since July 15, 2005.

The RBZ, under whose regulations all Zimbabwean exporting firms surrender 50
percent of their export proceeds, is also responsible for allocating foreign
currency to industry as well as various arms of government.

"We stopped production and workers are at home. This is a huge disaster. You
can not run an economy without tyres," Whitehead said in a recent interview
with New

Zimbabwe, whose gross domestic product (GDP) is expected to plummet by a
further 7 percent in 2005, is grappling with severe foreign currency
shortages as well as bitter food, fuel and electricity shortage.

The closure is also going to hit hard various arms of government such as the
Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA), Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) as well as the
Central Mechanical and Equipment Department (CMED), which had placed huge
orders of tyres to Dunlop.

Whitehead said his firm's plight has been worsened by an exclusive
arrangement entered between Dunlop and RBZ where the tyre manufacturer
undertook to surrender 100 percent of its export proceeds.

Whitehead said Dunlop last month surrendered US$687 000, its average monthly
export earnings, to the central bank.

"We honoured our part of the agreement with the RBZ but they are reneging.
They are using the money for food and fuel imports at our expense,"
Whitehead fumed.

Dunlop requires US$50 000 to manufacture tyres on a daily basis but
Whitehead said it would cost US$100 000 to import the same tyres.

Whitehead the effects of Dunlop closing down are even worse off on the
downstream industry and their customers.

"The army, police, CMED and Willowvale motor industry are some of our
biggest customers and imagine the army and police operating with no tyres,"
Whitehead said.

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Excerpt from a speech by Condoleezza Rice

Washington File

(Distributed by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S.
Department of State. Web site:

23 October 2005

In another interview the same day with The Birmingham News, Rice was asked
about the situation in Zimbabwe under the autocratic regime of President
Robert Mugabe, which she called an "outrage."  She responded that the United
States has sanctioned Zimbabwe, but acknowledged that "we have little

She commended both Straw for his "strong voice" and the Commonwealth, an
alliance made up of former British colonies, for its suspension of
Zimbabwe's membership.  The secretary called on the African states to take
action against the abuses in Zimbabwe.  "If the African Union were really
strong about Zimbabwe, I think you would have a much better chance of
success," she said

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