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

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Washington Times

Zimbabwe's judicial abuse

Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe brought his despotism to a new level of
sophistication last week. By allowing the nation's highest court, which he
effectively controls, to acquit opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai of a
treason charge that could carry the death penalty, Mr. Mugabe effectively
gave his thugocracy the false semblance of legitimacy and prevented a
potential rebuke from South Africa. In reality, Mr. Mugabe maintains his
dictatorial control of Zimbabwe, and has stepped up his repression.

    The state-controlled media in Zimbabwe is predictably in concert with
the Mugabe regime: "The judgment ...will go a long way in remoulding the way
in which both the local and international communities regard matters of
governance in Zimbabwe," Zimbabwe's Sunday Mirror commented. "How the case
was handled symbolises that there are checks and balances and therefore
there was no need for fear that the executive...would interfere with the
justice delivery system." Clearly, this is the message Mr. Mugabe is trying
to send.
    Mr. Mugabe remains a brutal dictator. Amnesty International said Monday
that while it welcomes Mr. Tsvangirai's acquittal, "the trial...was a
politically motivated prosecution in keeping with a wider pattern of arrest
and trial on spurious charges as a form of harassment of the political
opposition in Zimbabwe." Amnesty International's 2004 report on Zimbabwe
found that in 2003, "There was an escalation in state-sponsored attacks on
critics of the government." The report said that incidents of torture were
reported, hundreds of people were detained for holding political meetings or
peaceful protests, journalists were harassed and detained and government
officials politically manipulated food aid.
    Mr. Mugabe has long stacked the court in his favor, which is why Mr.
Tsvangirai's acquittal should be seen as the leader's attempt to sway
international public opinion, not an indication that judicial freedom is
emerging. Amnesty said in its reports that "authorities continued to harass,
intimidate and force out of office magistrates and judges who handed down
judgments perceived to be in support of the political opposition."
    The charges leveled against Mr. Mugabe were, by all serious accounts,
laughably unsubstantiated and the fact that the trial dragged on for close
to two years is testament to the court's lack of independence. The
government's star witness, Israeli businessman Ari Ben-Menashe, admitted in
court he had received $615,000 from the Zimbabwean government for a
public-relations contract. A tape in which the government said Mr.
Tsvangirai called for the "elimination" of Mr. Mugabe was grainy and
virtually inaudible.
    State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said the administration hopes
the acquittal "signals an end of the politically motivated prosecutions."
That remains wholly unlikely. Mr. Tsvangirai still faces another treason
charge for his role in calling for street protests against Mr. Mugabe. That
charge will likely continue to handicap Mr. Tsvangirai until April's
parliamentary elections.
    Mr. Mugabe's fear of criticism from the South African government may
have prevented the High Court from finding Mr. Tsvangirai guilty. The case
strongly suggests that if South African President Thabo Mbeki were to
otherwise strengthen his ineffective "quiet diplomacy" towards Zimbabwe, Mr.
Mugabe could feel compelled to change.
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Zimbabwe Mirror

Political furore over fugitive bankers
Staff writers

The recent call by Zanu PF members of parliament on President Robert Mugabe
to pardon financial executives who fled the country after they learnt that
they were being investigated for economic crimes, has led to a backlash,
with critics charging that the plea betrays some of the legislators'corrupt

As a result, the critics say, there is need to investigate the MPs to
establish whether or not they have been participating in graft. Suspicion is
mounting that some of the MPs, among them high profile members of the ruling
party, could be part and parcel of the underhand financial dealings that
almost brought the economy to a standstill. Reliable sources told The Sunday
Mirror that one of the MPs instrumental in making the plea to President
Mugabe is a young provincial chairman in the ruling party and has become a
rich person overnight.

At a ruling party caucus meeting held last week, the ruling party MPs, using
Joram Gumbo, the ruling party chief whip as their mouthpiece, called on the
President to pardon the businessmen who went into self-imposed exile in
Britain, America and South Africa, when it dawned on them that they were
under investigation for underhand dealings in the banking sector.

They argued that the "fugitives" would not only repatriate externalised
funds, but would also participate in the revival of the crisis-ridden
Zimbabwean economy.

The MPs also argued that the fingered suspects were "intelligent" and would
make meaningful contributions to the economy if they were allowed to return
and investigations against them were stopped.

President Mugabe was, however, steadfast, arguing that whoever was suspected
to have committed a crime should be brought to book.

The businessmen include National Merchant Bank of Zimbabwe directors Julius
Makoni, Otto Chekeche, James Mushore and Francis Zimuto, former Intermarket
founder and chief executive Nicholas Vingirai, former Finhold chief
executive William Mudekunye and Barbican boss, Mthuli Ncube.

The seven fled Zimbabwe early this year citing fears of unwarranted arrest
under the Presidential Powers (Temporary Measures) (Amendments of Criminal
Procedure and Evidence Act) that was promulgated to deal specifically with
individuals suspected to have committed economic crimes. Among the latter
were externalisation of foreign currency, dealing on the forex black market
and illegal gold deals.

"The call to pardon the so-called economic crime suspects who fled the
country does not come as a surprise to those who are in the know. It is
basically about protecting selfish and filthily corrupt interests," said one
of the sources.

The Presidential Powers amendments to the Criminal Procedure and Evidence
Act, promulgated at the start of the year, provide that anyone arrested on
charges of externalising foreign currency amongst other charges, may be
detained for an effective one month without bail.

The Act is the chief instrument being used in government's anti-corruption
drive, and is seen as being responsible for the self-imposed exile of the
financial institutions' chiefs.

Under the Act, a magistrate may not decline a police request for further
detention on persons arrested under the law, a phenomenon that saw prominent
businessman and ruling party politician James Makamba spending over seven
months in prison, while a cabinet minister, Chris Kuruneri is still
languishing in remand prison without concrete State progress in availing
evidence that he externalised foreign currency.

The Presidential Powers amendment, which was passed by Parliament, has been
criticised as a serious abrogation of human rights in the country, as it
virtually prescribes that anyone charged under it is guilty until proven
innocent, in direct conflict with the constitution.

The "fugitive" businessmen indicated that they would return to Zimbabwe to
clarify matters surrounding their investigation only if government were to
guarantee that they would not be incarcerated upon arrival, something the
Zimbabwean government has failed to guarantee.

There is speculation that the fugitive businessmen were sacrificial lambs in
an anti-corruption drive that has been perceived as protecting senior ruling
party stalwarts.

In addition, some of the implicated businessmen are known to have donated
large amounts of funds to the ruling party, with Vingirai donating $20
million at the Zanu PF annual national conference last December.Another
commentator observed that there has been an intricate relationship between
the corporate world and politicians, with either side gaining from the
other. "There is no bank that does not have its own political godfathers,
and these protective figures have also been benefiting from the
businesspeople, particularly in monetary terms," he said. "Zanu PF or MDC,
politicians and corporate persons have had some kind of romance in which it's
a win-win situation. It therefore is obvious that some people in Zanu PF
would want to protect their colleagues in business," said the commentator.
Gumbo's explanation of why Zanu PF MPs decided to lobby the President lends
credence to the suspicion that the legislators could have something to hide.
He said the MPs' call was not a new thing, saying the matter had been on the
agenda of the ruling party legislators for more than seven months.

"We only managed to get the attention of the President on the issue of the
(fugitive) businessmen at the past caucus meeting (last Monday). There is
nothing sinister in our pleas to the President," said Gumbo.

Gumbo defended the fugitive executives, saying they had dealt on the foreign
currency market with hopes of enhancing the Zimbabwean business operations,
ultimately to the benefit of the nation.

He told The Sunday Mirror that there was a significant difference between
some of the fingered executives, and other individuals who illegally
externalised foreign currency for personal benefits, such as sending their
offspring to foreign educational institutions and holidays.

Gumbo said: "Even those who externalised foreign currency sending their kids
to foreign universities and going on holidays, still resided in the country
and did not do so with the malevolent intention to harm Zimbabwe." Gumbo is
seen as absolving the black market through his attempt to justify activities
that took place there despite repeated calls for an end to unofficial
dealings. Firebrand former independent member of parliament, Margaret Dongo
did not have kind words for the Zanu PF MPs, calling for them to be
investigated with the intention to flush out all those who might be found to
be corrupt. "The whole thing stinks, and stinks of high level corruption.
When the Presidential Powers were promulgated, they passed through
Parliament and these very MPs voted aye. This goes to show that they were
never happy with the amendments to the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act
and were whipped to vote in favour.

"They did so against their will because they are fundamentally corrupt
themselves. Elections are round the corner and they are looking at who can
bankroll them, hence the call to bring back their erstwhile cronies. "What
is disturbing is that the tendency on the part of these MPs, and even their
handlers, is that it demonstrates that they don't mind dirty money, but of
course, this is not to say the so-called fugitives are dirty. Our law says a
person is innocent until proven guilty," said Dongo.

The introduction of proposed amendments to the Criminal Procedure and
Evidence Act caused a furore in parliament as even Zanu PF legislators
sought to avoid voting for the amendment.

In an unprecedented move, ruling MPs, among them Phillip Chiyangwa walked
out in unison with MDC legislators on the hearing of the proposed Bill on
June 22 this year, refusing to rubber-stamp into law the Presidential Powers
(Temporary Measures) (Criminal Procedure and Evidence Amendment Bill) into

Dongo, who was a Zanu PF member of parliament before choosing to go
independent after reportedly being frustrated for her outspokenness, queried
why the MPs did not extend the same gesture to the likes of Kuruneri and
Mutumwa Mawere, saying that could be because they have not been bankrolling
the ruling party. Mawere, who has been resident in South Africa since 1994,
is also being accused by the government of externalising foreign currency,
in spite of his repeated denials. Media reports have indicated that there
could be a well though-out strategy to strip him of his corporate assets
after falling out with influential government officials.

The government recently announced its intention to take over the running of
Shabanie-Mashava Mines (SMM) and has already sent its authorities to run the
agro-concern (FSI) that is linked to the business mogul.

Dongo added: "In any case, it is an insult that these MPs have the audacity
to try and justify their position on the grounds of intelligence and
capacity. Does that mean the country is short of intelligent and capable
people? "Nothing stops me from assuming that it is these very people who are
calling for them to be pardoned who facilitated the flight of the
businesspeople, given how it looked easy for them to cross the border the
moment they knew they were under investigation." The latest developments
have also raised questions as to why the Zanu PF legislators have decided to
appeal for the President to pardon the businessmen, when they could have
waited for the police and the courts to do their work.

Shamuyarira, Zanu PFinformation and publicity secretary could not be reached
for a comment.

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Zim Standard

Govt bars Cosatu mission
By our own Staff

THE government on Thursday scuttled a planned visit by the powerful Congress
of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) saying its mission was "political".

A Cosatu delegation was due in Harare today for a five-day fact finding
mission as regional bodies pile up pressure on the government to normalise
the political and economic situation in the country.
But the Secretary for Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare, Lance
Museka, wrote to Cosatu Secretary-General, Zwelinzima Vavi, on Thursday
pointing out that because the programme also involved meeting organisations
critical of the government, "the mission was not acceptable".

Wellington Chibhebhe, secretary general of the ZCTU, Cosatu's hosts
yesterday said: "We are awaiting Cosatu's reaction but on our part the
letter is a non-event because we invited Cosatu and it is not coming on
behalf of the South African government but of South Africa's trade unions
and there is no need for the government to ban it."

The deputy secretary general for the ZCTU, Collin Gwiyo, also blasted the
cancellation of the visit and said he did not see why the government was
becoming jittery because,"the Cosatu visit would largely be fraternal".

National Constitutional Assembly chairman, Lovemore Madhuku, said the
government's reaction was a sign that it was desperate and against the wall.
"The government's reaction is a sign that it has run out of ideas and is now
clutching at straws. "

Cosatu leaders were also expected to hold talks with representatives from
Crisis Coalition, National Constitutional Assembly, Zimbabwe Election
Support Network, Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights and Zimbabwe Council of
Churches, a decision which appears to have riled the government.

Museka told Vavi: "These organisation are critical about the government of
Zimbabwe and indeed most of these are quasi-oppositional political
organisations. Again, the proposed meeting with Zanu PF and MDC officials
demonstrates the political nature of the mission to the extent that it has
to be within an agreed framework of dealing with the political dimension of
Labour within the two countries.

"In view of the foregoing, the mission is not acceptable and Cosatu is
advised to liaise with Hon Mdladlana (SA Minister of Labour) with a view to
revisiting the original agenda.

"In order to avoid inconveniencing your members who are supposed to travel
to Harare on Sunday the 24th October 2004 you are kindly advised to inform
them in time that the mission has been called off."

Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions President Lovemore Matombo, whose
organisation was due to host Cosatu, said: "Their (Cosatu's) intention is
very clear. In order to apprise themselves of the Zimbabwean crisis, they
have to strike a balance by meeting the two rivals."

"We (ZCTU) wrote to Minister Mangwana, inviting him to meet the delegation
in his capacity as labour minister, but we have not received any
confirmation from him," said Matombo who added that Zanu PF had snubbed
Cosatu on numerous occasions.

"It is also Cosatu's wish to interact with Zimbabwean civil society
organizations, given the impending threat of closure by government through
the proposed NGO legislation," he said.

Among other things, they were expected to find out government's position on
the Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO) Bill, the Zimbabwe Electoral
Commission (ZEC) and the Electoral Bills and the fate of farm workers on
farms controversially acquired by the government.

The NGO Bill was presented to the House on October 6. It seeks to ban
foreign funding for NGOs whose core business is human rights and governance
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Zim Standard

Mugabe throws out wheat price recommendations
By Caiphas Chimhete

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe last week unilaterally slashed the producer price of
wheat recommended by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development after
he was advised that it would make the price of bread too expensive and was
likely to benefit mainly only Zanu PF politicians who have taken up
lucrative wheat farming, The Standard can reveal.

Most senior government officials took up farming - including wheat
production - after the 2000 land invasions spearheaded by war veterans and
Zanu PF supporters.

Reliable sources last week said the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural
Development, without the input of other stakeholders including farming
bodies - recommended a producer price of about $3 million a tonne. But
Mugabe slashed it down to $1,749 218 a tonne after concerns by financial
experts that bread would become unaffordable to the low-income majority.

It was also pointed out to the President that the tottering economy was
unlikely to absorb such a huge increase without suffering serious damage.

The sources said if the producer price of $3 million a tonne was approved,
it would have seen government ministers and officials, who took up wheat
farming soon after moving onto formerly white owned farms, pocketing
billions of dollars. This would have resulted in the cost of bread shooting
up beyond the reach of ordinary people. Presently, most Zimbabweans struggle
to buy a loaf of bread, which costs $3 500.

"As we head towards next year's elections, Mugabe does not want to appear
insensitive to the people's plight," said a source.

The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Joseph Made, who is also
a wheat producer, could not be reached for a comment last week. There are
several other senior government and Zanu PF politicians who took up wheat
farming in the wake of the chaotic land reform programme.

"They are pushing farming bodies to make noises so that the producer prices
can be revised upwards. They also want to benefit," said the source.

Denford Chimbwanda, the chairman of the Grain and Cereal Producers'
Association, a department of Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers' Union (ZCFU), said
the union wanted the price to be pegged between $3 million to $4 million a
tonne to ensure profitability.

"We are trying to talk to them because with this new producer price all new
farmers will go under. It will only benefit white commercial farmers who
have all the machinery because they have been in the business for a long
time," he said.

Chimbwanda, who denied that the union was under pressure from politicians to
call for a producer price increase, said a revision was unavoidable, as the
cost of inputs had gone up significantly.

Efforts to obtain a comment from the Commercial Farmers' Union (CFU), the
organisation that represents some white commercial farmers, were fruitless.

Justice for Agriculture (JAG) spokesperson, John Wolsick, said wheat farmers
had recommended a price of at least $2,5 million a tonne through the CFU.
"The $1,7 million per tonne is not realistic considering the cost of inputs.
The few that are still on the farms are definitely not happy," said Wolsick.

ZCFU president Davison Mugabe said many new farmers were going to close

"You might want to know that GMB (Grain Marketing Board) has put a 42
percent hike on fertilizer and other inputs. Water and electricity charges
have also gone up," said Mugabe, whose union represents black commercial

Harvesting wheat has also become expensive for the new farmers who hire a
combine harvester for $650 000 a hectare. "If you add the cost of diesel,
the amount will go up to about $750 000, which most farmers cannot afford,"
said Mugabe.

Last season's producer price was pegged at $776 000. Although the price has
more than doubled, Made last week said the GMB would not increase the price
to millers until the next winter harvest of 2005/6.

"If they want to subsidise they should reduce all factors of production such
as the cost of fertilizer, water and electricity. Remember, wages went up by
100 percent," said Chimbwanda.
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Zim Standard

Tsvangirai launches diplomatic offensive
By Foster Dongozi

MORGAN Tsvangirai, President of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC),
yesterday left Harare on a diplomatic offensive to win the support of
leaders in the Southern African Development Community (SADC).

His first port of call was expected to be Mauritius where he is scheduled to
meet Prime Minister Paul Berenger, who is current chairman of SADC.
The Mauritian Prime Minister hosted the SADC Conference in August, which
ushered in the principles and guidelines governing democratic elections
signed by SADC leaders including President Robert Mugabe on behalf of

The veteran trade unionist is leading a powerful delegation, which also
includes MDC secretary general, Welshman Ncube and deputy secretary general,
Gift Chimanikire.

Tsvangirai had since 2002 been unable to meet regional leaders to brief them
on the developments in the country because of travel restrictions imposed by
the treason trial in which he was acquitted two weeks ago.

Tsvangirai's spokesperson, William Bango, yesterday told The Standard:
"Tsvangirai is going into the SADC region to meet with various leaders to
thank them for supporting Zimbabweans in their quest to resolve the crisis
of legitimacy. They will also compare notes on the political situation in
the region. Tsvangirai realises that the MDC is driving the political agenda
in this country especially in the field of foreign affairs and he has seen
it fit to confer with regional leaders on the best way forward to bring
Zimbabwe back into the family of nations and the international community. He
is looking at the best way to help Zimbabwe shed off its pariah status and
ensure that Zimbabweans do not lose a chance to resolve the crisis of
legitimacy through free and fair elections."

Bango said from Mauritius, the whirlwind tour would swing to South Africa,
where Tsvangirai and his delegation would meet South African President Thabo
Mbeki who has long vowed that he wants to resolve the Zimbabwean crisis.

"Tsvangirai will be meeting President Mbeki in his capacity as the chairman
of the SADC Organ on Security, Politics and Defence. Arrangements are being
made to meet other leaders from the region, including Botswana President,
Festus Mogae," Bango said.

He said Tsvangirai would also embark on visits to other African countries
outside the SADC region.

Bango said Tsvangirai's agenda was to meet as many African leaders as
possible. There was a growing spirit and realization that the Zimbabwean
crisis should not derail the advancement and development of the African
continent. Zimbabwe was one country where the lack of good governance had a
negative effect on the growth of the economy.

There had been fears that the police would seize his passport. His arrival
brought proceedings to a brief halt as word spread that the opposition
leader was in the airport building.

Tsvangirai told The Standard by telephone: "I am now in the departure lounge
and have not had any problems. I am ready to board the aircraft."

Before his departure, Tsvangirai, addressed an MDC rally attended by about
11 000 people in St Mary's constituency, Chitungwiza.

The MDC president called on the people of St Mary's to be united. He also
announced that a democratic process would be used to come up with a
candidate for next March's general election.

The MDC leadership has in the past been accused of plotting to oust
incumbent St Mary's Member of Parliament, Job Sikhala.
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Zim Standard

Ari Ben-Menashe: con-man supreme
By Rangarirai Mberi

SOMEWHERE across the world, where another big con-trick is probably brewing,
a short, sweaty unorthodox political consultant is gleefully rubbing his
hands as he contemplates his ill-gotten fortune.

Ari Ben-Menashe, an Israeli running a Canada-based political consultancy,
who clowned and sweated through Morgan Tsvangirai's treason trial, has just
added the Zimbabwe government and Tsvangirai to a long trail of sour
business clients.
Ben-Menashe was nowhere near the High Court two Fridays ago. His work here
is done. Both the government and Tsvangirai have come the worse off for
their association with the man once described by the Jerusalem Post as "a
notorious, chronic liar".

Playing two ends against the middle, Ben-Menashe took a US$1 million cheque
from the government. The taxpayer paid an initial deposit of US$615 000, and
further costs were incurred flying Ben-Menashe in and out as the State's
star witness. Whenever Ben-Menashe made the trip to Harare, the government
would roll out the red carpet, wrap the political consultant in the
Sheraton's opulence and pander to his every whim.

The government's top spy Happyton Bonyongwe also revealed during the trial
that Harare had paid US$10 000 to Ben-Menashe's personal assistant, Tara
Thomas, to compensate her for injuries she sustained in a freak bicycle
accident. Ben-Menashe claimed the accident was caused by the Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC).

Ben-Menashe said: "When she fell down there were two people and as she was
lying in agony, one of the people said: 'Let your Zimbabwe help you.'"

That the State believed Ben-Menashe's claims that his assistant's bicycle
bruises needed US$10 000 to heal is perhaps testimony to the Israeli's
abilities to bend a ball with a straight bat. He knew prosecutors were
anxious to get Thomas here, if only to undo the damage caused by
Ben-Menashe's outbursts and contradictory testimony.

The evidence-in-chief was a grainy video taken by a security camera, and
Thomas' eyewitness account would bolster the embarrassingly inaudible tape.
In the end, it never worked out that way, but Ben-Menashe had made an easy
US$10 000 out of an alleged bicycle incident.

Dickens and Madson's business history reeks badly of rotten deals. It's a
thick rot spread across the globe, primarily in the Third World, from Zambia
to Estonia.

Carlington Sales, a commodity broking firm for which Ben-Menashe was
president, allegedly received US$7,2 million from former Zambian President
Frederick Chiluba's government to supply maize. Not a single grain was ever
delivered to Zambia.

A British arbitration court ordered Carlington to pay back Zambia, but
Ben-Menashe quickly filed for bankruptcy, which effectively ended Zambia's
chances of recovering the funds.

The same company also allegedly received US$300 000 from the government of
Belarus for the supply of wheat. Again, Carlington never delivered the

Ben-Menashe's trail stretches back to Burma, Sudan, the Czech Republic and
Ghana, where he has pulled off various tricks, many of them made easier with
the unwitting help of corrupt dictatorships there.

Defence lawyer George Bizos said Ben-Menashe was involved in the "blood
diamonds" trade in the Democratic Republic Congo (DRC). The Israeli's
now-abandoned company, Associated Metals and Gems Ltd, had meddled in
conflict diamonds in the DRC, Bizos said.

Much of Ben-Menashe's response under cross-examination was punctuated with
"I don't remember" or "I have no idea", in addition to numerous outbursts.
Bizos at one time asked Ben-Menashe how many times he had answered, "I don't
know". Ben-Menashe's reply? "I don't know".

Apart from his chequered if somewhat murky career, Ben-Menashe is known for
his propensity for fantasy. A US Congressional inquiry described him as "an
unmitigated liar".

It was a sad confirmation of Tsvangirai's political naiveté that the
opposition leader went ahead and consorted with Ben-Menashe, giving away
huge sums of money to a man with such a well known history of skulduggery.
The consultancy work he was promised turned out into a year-long trial in
which Tsvangirai faced the death sentence after about $500 million frittered
away in legal fees and related costs.

Apart from this huge legal bill, the MDC had in 2001 made a US$97 000
payment to Ben-Menashe's outfit, Dickens and Madson, for consultancy work in
North America.
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Zim Standard

Govt grabs plantations
By Rangarirai Mberi

THE government has seized five plantations owned by Border Timbers, the
country's largest timber producer, ignoring an earlier pact with Germany not
to take over the land, and months after it announced that the official land
grab was over.

A Germany-Zimbabwe Investment Protection Agreement, signed in 1995,
ostensibly protects Border Timbers properties from acquisition. Under that
agreement, Zimbabwe gave assurances to Germany that Border Timbers' land
would not be targeted for seizure.

The acquired Border Timbers land totals just over 34 million hectares. The
acquisition order was served on Tilbury, Cambridge, Imbeza, Mahugara and
Walmer estates.

Shares in Border Timbers swung lower on the news, down 16% on the week to
Wednesday at $1100, setting a new downbeat tone for already distressed

This is the second time that Border has had its properties listed for
seizure in as many years.

In 2002, the Attorney General withdrew acquisition orders on eight Border
properties after the firm appealed against listing, backed by the
government-to-government pact.

Holders of land served with a Section 8 acquisition order are required to
lodge an appeal against the order within five days of publication of the
notice of acquisition. Failure to object within that period means the order
would be confirmed "unopposed without any further notice".

Occupants of such land would then be required to wind down operations and
leave within 90 days.

StandardBusiness understands that Border Timbers has lodged an objection to
the acquisition orders, but Managing Director John Gahadzikwa was not
immediately available for comment on the matter last week.

Ken Schoffield, Chairman of Radar Holdings - owners of Border Timbers - was
said to be away in South Africa when sought for comment last week.

Border Timbers' sawmills reputably process more than 350 000 cubic metres of
logs each year, and the firm also runs a veneer factory.

In addition to the timber plantations, the government has also taken over
Aberfoyle Estates - a major tea exporter - and Eastern Highlands
Plantations, one of Zimbabwe's few producers of washed Arabic coffee, which
is mainly for export.

The land seized from the two tea and coffee estates measure a combined 2,3
million hectares.

More land has also been taken from Hippo Valley, which has lost more of its
Mkwasine estates. Recently, government issued Section 8 orders on several
sugar estates in the Lowveld co-owned by South African investor Tongaat
Hullet and Anglo American Corporation.

Government's latest swoop on land held by agro-industries is a flagrant
violation of its own earlier pledges to leave such land untouched under its
controversial land reforms.

In May, Vice President Joseph Msika - chairman of a Cabinet land reform task
force - told Interfresh that he would not support any seizure of land held
by investors.

Interfresh has 88% of its Mazoe Citrus Estates listed for acquisition, while
Ariston and TZI have also had some of their prime businesses taken over.
Property holding company Mashonaland Holdings now also has some of its land
listed for seizure. Mashold Chairman Abner Botsch has said his company is
negotiating with government to have its properties de-listed
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Zim Standard

ZBH radios bankrupt after unbundling
By our own Staff

THE Zimbabwe Broadcasting Holdings (ZBH) has suspended National FM
management after the station accrued a staggering $170million phone bill at
a time when the station is hardly generating any income.

The suspension of National FM's Chief Executive Officer, Thomas Chauke, and
two other top executives was announced on Thursday, but ZBH remained mum on
reasons for the move.
But before the suspensions were made public, StandardPlus had learnt from
sources that Radio Zimbabwe - ZBH's only profitable entity - had been
requested to loan National FM $20million as part payment. Radio Zimbabwe's
bill for a comparable period is understood to be $40million.

National FM recently hired 14 part-timers in a desperate bid to generate
revenue but the move is said to have failed dismally, resulting in Chauke
being deemed incompetent.

The unbundling of the ZBC has been a huge flop with only Radio Zimbabwe
managing to sustain itself, StandardPlus can reveal.

In fact, with the other ZBH companies bankrupt and regularly dipping into
Radio Zimbabwe's coffers, the unbundling only exists on paper.

The exercise, embarked upon at the beginning of the year with the aim of
"diversifying" and making subsidiaries more profitable, has resulted in
subsidiaries struggling to sustain themselves except Radio Zimbabwe, which
rakes in about $500million per month and bankrolls all the other stations.

For instance Newsnet, with a staff of more than 200, has a salary bill of
about $700million but only makes about $400million per month, sources say.
It has to constantly "borrow" from the Radio Zimbabwe account to try and
meet the difference - a development which has sapped morale at the station.

Newsnet is said to currently owe Radio Zimbabwe about $200million, and is
borrowing about $30-$50million per month for salaries. The hiring of a
private company, Magfair, to collect licence revenue has met with limited

Since the restructuring, only Radio Zimbabwe (formerly Radio 2), which
broadcasts in vernacular languages, has been able to retain popularity and
attract a substantial amount of commercials.

The other stations - Power FM (formerly Radio Three and 3FM) and Spot FM
(formerly Radio One) - are struggling. Power FM is said to be realising half
of the amount it used to generate from advertising.

The lack of revenue has resulted in staff being constantly paid late since
the unbundling exercise. Sources at Radio Zimbabwe, situated in Mbare, are
concerned that revenue being generated by the radio is being used to bail
out other stations instead of being ploughed back to improve working

"What really irks us is that we are making much money but we are not
benefiting at all. Look at the difference between the structures at Pockets
Hill and our humble buildings here. This building badly needs a coat of
paint. Our facilities from the canteen to the carpet in the reception
urgently need improvement," said a source.

Another complained that instead of looking at ways of making money, Newsnet
was actually recklessly spending money it does not have.

"Newsnet is not making any money but relying on what we make. How do they
justify sending out five reporters to Mozambique for the Chimoio bash?"

Radio Zimbabwe's Chief Marketing Executive Officer, Allan Chiweshe was said
to be out of office while his Finance Officer, Joseph Zhuwau, would neither
confirm nor deny questions put to him but referred StandardPlus to the ZBH
Chief Excutive Officer, Loveness Chikozho.

Chikozho asked StandardPlus to fax questions.

"These are very serious questions for which I cannot provide answers on the
phone," Chikozho said. "I will respond to your queries but I need to give
the response to the responsible authorities first."

Meanwhile, Joseph 'Man Soul Jah' Nhara - one of the proponents of the 100%
local content policy on national radio - was last week fired by ZBH Holdings
for incompetence and embezzlement of funds.

Nhara, a reggae musician who led the Gweru-based People Against Cruel
Existence (PACE) band, introduced the 100 percent local content policy when
he was appointed chief Executive Officer at 3FM (now Power FM).

The introduction of the new policy paved way for a new breed of upcoming
musicians who invaded the airwaves and subjected radio listeners to
perpetual doses of the "home-grown", often shoddy music.

When he was transferred to SFM, Nhara again introduced the local content
policy at the station. The policy was reversed two months ago.

ZBH announced last week that it had relieved Nhara, a former technical
college lecturer in Gweru, of his duties at the national broadcaster
following a decision by a disciplinary committee that heard his case.

He had been on suspension since early last month. Walter Mufanochiya has
been appointed acting chief executive officer at SFM from last week.

Efforts to get a comment from Nhara were fruitless, as he could not be
reached on his mobile phone.
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Zim Standard

Students slam Zimsec over exams
By Rutendo Mawere

SCORES of students will start writing final examinations tomorrow unaware of
how they fared in their mid-year tests or in which subjects they needed to

The Zimbabwe Schools examination Council (Zimsec) has been widely condemned
for failing to release this year's June Ordinary Level examination results
on time.
Traditionally these results come out in early September, about a month
before final examinations, but it's a different case tomorrow when "O" Level
students start the end of year examinations.

When the students step into the examination centres tomorrow, many who wrote
the early examinations will be unaware of how they fared in June.

Several parents interviewed by The Standard said in order to secure passes
for their children, they usually registered them twice for subjects like
mathematics and English.

"My child is not good in Mathematics so I registered her for the June
sitting so that she could assess herself and also if she passes she would
not have to sit for the end of year examinations as the subject takes most
of her study time,"said Maxwell Mudadigwa of Harare.

Students have also complained about the delay and said this had greatly
inconvenienced them.

Most of the students who sat for the June examinations told The Standard
that they had not planned to write examinations for subjects they would have

"I wrote four subjects in June with the hope of lessening my October burden
as I do 10 subjects. I am still struggling to read all the subjects," said
Sithabile Marufu of Foundation College in Harare.

Zimsec Information Officer Faith Chasokela said the delay was because of
some machines that were not functioning well but could not say when the
results would be released.
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Zim Standard

Shamuyarira dodges questions on AIPPA
By our own Staff

ZANU PF Secretary for Information Nathan Shamuyarira last week steered away
from controversy by dodging critical questions posed by journalists at a
forum organised by the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists (ZUJ).

Shamuyarira who was expected to speak about how politicians and their
supporters could ensure that Zimbabwe has a peaceful 2005 general election,
chose to confine his presentation to how the government sought to change the
colonial media after independence in 1980.
He spoke at length about how the government set up the Zimbabwe Mass Media
Trust (ZMMT) and ensured that blacks were trained as journalists.

Asked about his views on the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy
Act (AIPPA), Shamuyarira said: "You can have strict laws but they will not
be adversely applied against anyone. If you don't have a culture of
tolerance in the media that is when you will use those laws," said
Shamuyarira, a former journalist.

He would not elaborate on some aspects of AIPPA, which he said were bad.

In August, Shamuyarira publicly told participants at a workshop in Victoria
Falls that he did not support AIPPA, which restricts the freedom of the

The Editor of The Standard, Bornwell Chakaodza, who spoke at the same forum
urged the media to stop being used by politicians as instruments of hate, so
as to contribute to a violence-free election next year.

"The media, particularly Sate-owned, has been disseminating hate messages
and generating a climate of hatred in the country. And as you know, violent
rhetoric and inflammatory language can lead to violence and all sorts of

MDC legislator Nelson Chamisa, who also presented a paper cited intolerance
by politicians as one of the reasons why there is violence during election
time in Zimbabwe.

"We have a regime which is afraid of the people and the opposition and its
best way to deal with such a situation is to be violent," he said
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Zim Standard

Raw deal for ex PF Zapu
By our own Staff

FORMER PF-Zapu leaders say they are unhappy with the way they are being
treated despite the 1987 Unity Accord.

The agreement between the old Zanu PF and PF-Zapu brought to an end the mass
killings of unarmed civilians by sections of the army and dissidents from
1982 to 1987.
President Robert Mugabe, then Prime Minister, also doubled as defence
minister while the dissidents were said to be supporters of the late Dr
Joshua Nkomo.

In an interview with The Standard, the ex-PF-Zapu stalwarts said, they were
particularly irked by the apparent lack of respect for the most senior
former PF-Zapu leader, Joseph Msika, who is also the ruling party's and the
country's Vice President.

They said this would never have been tolerated if junior politicians had
ridiculed senior politicians from the old Zanu PF, such as the late Vice
President, Simon Muzenda.

Russian trained former Zimbabwe People's Revolutionary Army (ZIPRA)
intelligence supremo, Dumiso Dabengwa, said the attacks on Msika and Nkomo
were unjustified.

"There have been embarrassing and unjustified public attacks on Vice
President Msika and the national chairman, Comrade (John) Nkomo. I want to
believe that some measures are being taken to rectify the situation."

On the representation of former PF-Zapu members in cabinet, Dabengwa said:
"Certainly, there is no adequate representation in cabinet but that is
mainly due to our failure to win some parliamentary seats in the 2000
general elections."

Veteran politicians from the former PF-Zapu said the apparent scorn poured
on Zanu PF chairman, John Nkomo, by the State media had more to do with his
political background in PF -Zapu.

They claimed the onslaught against senior PF-Zapu leaders had its origins in
the Department of Information and Publicity in the Office of the President
and Cabinet.

Jonathan Moyo who underwent initial training with Zanla guerillas in
Tanzania before abandoning the struggle to pursue his education in the USA,
now heads the department.

Moyo is now set to clash with Nkomo in primary elections for the Zanu PF
ticket to represent Tsholotsho constituency.

Said one of the former PF Zapu leaders: "There has been a systematic pattern
in which junior politicians have been ridiculing colleagues from the former
PF-Zapu. You will remember how Joyce Mujuru described the late vice
president Joshua Nkomo as a senile old man. Nothing happened to her. But if
a junior politician from PF-Zapu had said similar things about the late
Simon Muzenda, that official would have been severely dealt with."

Another official pointed out that following the Kondozi wrangles between
Msika and junior ministers from the old Zanu PF, the Vice President had been
ridiculed and embarrassed in State controlled newspapers, with one story
implying that he was opposed to the land redistribution exercise.

In addition to Msika, the venom was directed at Special Affairs Minister
Responsible for Lands, Land Reform and Resettlement, John Nkomo after he
embarked on a crusade to bring to book multiple farm owners in government
and the ruling party.

"The way things are going, some very junior politicians seem to thrive on
taking pot-shots at former PF-Zapu leaders," said one veteran politician. He
said in former Zanu PF strongholds, veteran politicians were still running
the show while in the former PF-Zapu strongholds, junior politicians were
being encouraged to replace the old guard.

"What this means is that there are some colleagues in the united Zanu PF who
have a sinister agenda of destroying the Unity Accord. They want to create a
new generation of politicians from Zapu, who would be answerable to them.
This is what is causing some junior politicians to disregard the Zapu

Contacted for comment, Politburo member and former Bulawayo mayor, Joshua
Malinga refused to comment.

So far, war veterans chairman, Jabulani Sibanda, has clashed with Msika, and
the leadership of the former Zapu. He accuses them of inactivity, resulting
in the heavy losses to the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, during
the 2000 general elections and the 2002 presidential elections.

Sibanda has been accused of being an appendage of presidential aspirant,
Emmerson Mnangagwa, a charge which the combative war veterans' leader

One politburo member based in Bulawayo said:" In the current cabinet
line-up, the representation from the old Zapu is a mockery of the Unity
Accord. There is just a sprinkling of groveling junior politicians with no
political history, who are only too grateful to be rewarded with some posts
in government."

He said they were watching developments at the Department of Information and
Publicity in the Office of the President with interest. "There has been a
musical gala held to recognize the solidarity between Zimbabwe and
Mozambique and those who perished during the war waged by Zanu and Zanla
from the eastern front. We wait to see if a similar bash will be held in
honour of Zapu combatants and refugees who perished in bombings in Zambia. A
normal person who is not biased would work towards recognizing the roles
played by both liberation movements"

Such a "bash", observers say, could cause a few headaches for the Zimbabwean
government as the northern neighbour is no longer ruled by a liberation
movement as is the case in Zimbabwe.
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Zim Standard

Chombo's 'push and pull' at Town House
By Valentine Maponga

THE "monitoring committee" that was set up two months ago to supervise the
affairs of the Harare City Council reports to Harare provincial governor
Witness Mangwende.

Ignatious Chombo, the Minister of Local Government, Public Works and
National Housing told The Standard that, in turn, the governor was
answerable to him, making him the person in overall charge of the Harare
Sekesai Makwavarara, widely regarded as a protégé of Chombo, is the acting

"The monitoring committee is doing its work smoothly so far but I am yet to
be briefed by the governor (Mangwende) on the way forward. The members of
the committee are reporting and he is also under pressure from me, it's a
push and pull situation," Chombo said.

Chombo has on several occasions denied that there was a commission that was
running affairs at Town House.

"Delivery of services is very specific and the team is there to monitor and
ensure the smooth running of the council. The revenue collection system will
also be under scrutiny and how those systems are implemented is very
critical," he said.

However, analysts said all the members in the monitoring team have strong
allegiances to the ruling Zanu PF, rendering their appointment political
rather than technical. Chombo has, since the ouster of the elected executive
mayor of Harare, Elias Mudzuri, taken control of the city council.

James Kurasha, who was once a member of the Elijah Chanakira led commission
between 1999 and 2002, chairs the committee. Kurasha also chaired a
commission that was investigating Mudzuri before his subsequent ouster.

He has already been offered an office at Town House and has been attending
all decision-making meetings of the council.

The other members of the committee are Tendai Savanhu, Mark Makanda, Tony
Gara and an Engineer Muzuva.

Tony Gara is a former mayor of Harare and over the years has had dealings
with the council through his family enterprise, Cleansing and Environmental
Services, a refuse collection company. The council threatened cancellation
of the company's contract for refuse collection after the city fathers said
it had failed to deliver.

Gara also lost Mbare East to Tichaona Munyanyi of the Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC). At height of his political career, Gara once
likened President Robert Mugabe to Jesus.

Another member of the committee Savanhu is a losing Zanu PF candidate in the
landmark 2000 parliamentary elections in Mbare West. He lost to MDC's
Dunmore Makuvaza.

Savanhu was also a member of the Chanakira Commission that led to Harare
losing its "Sunshine City" status.

It was not immediately clear what the minister's justification for Makanda's
appointment was or what value he would add to the running of the city.

Muzuva is also not new at Town House and has worked with a number of
commissions. He was brought to the committee as a law expert.

Town Clerk Nomutsa Chideya said they were working smoothly with the
monitoring committee. "That is not a commission. It's just a monitoring
committee and we have no problems with it. I hope it will help in the
welfare at the council," Chideya said.

Kurasha said people tended to personalise issues when they looked at the
monitoring committee. "You want to know who is in that committee, not their
ability. We are doing a great job just monitoring service delivery at
council and we forward our recommendations to officials."

Harare city councillors resigned en masse early August citing constant
political interference in their duties. They said they were dismayed that
government interference had prevented the elected Harare Council from
carrying out its functions.

The councillors' resignation leaves the city with only nine councillors
among them, Hubert Manhungo of Zanu PF, acting Mayor Sekesai Makwavarara,
Tapfumaneyi Jaja, George Vlahakis and Grandmore Hakata who all defected from
the MDC.

It takes 16 councillors to constitute a quorum but presently there are less
that 10 councillors including those who defected from the opposition party
to Zanu PF. Four other councillors declined to resign bringing to nine the
number of councillors.

There were 46 councillors in 2002, 45 from the MDC and one from the ruling
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Zim Standard

The scourge of ritual murders

CHIMANIMANI - When Daniel Kare stopped his Toyota Hilux vehicle about eight
kilometres from Wengezi Primary School intending to give free transport to
school children, he was surprised to see them bolt into the bush.

Being new in the area, the 28-year-old businessman, leasing business
premises at a nearby centre, could hardly understand why the pupils had
reacted that way to his kind gesture.
Upon inquiry, the youthful entrepreneur was told people in Wengezi in
Chimanimani district were suspicious of businesspeople, particularly those
new to the area.

He was also informed that parents in the locality had warned their children
to be wary of strangers or any businessperson.

Their fears were not without basis.

"Sometime ago a man was killed and his mutilated body found near a river. It
was suspected that it was the work of certain businessmen," said Robert
Chidhakwa, a villager in the area.

And its not only in Wengezi that ritual killings have been reported.

Around the country, there have been several murder cases believed to be
associated with ritual killings in the past two years in the country. Some
of perpetrators sexually abused their victims on the advice of traditional
healers or prophets, before or after killing them.

The most notable cases of ritual killings included the murder of
six-year-old Isabel Mukusha in Norton early this year. Police said the
post-mortem on Mukusha indicated that the girl had been sexually abused, and
the body refrigerated before being dumped.

University of Zimbabwe sociologist Claude Mararike said that ritual killings
were common in Zimbabwe and committed by businesspeople, who believe in
wicked medicine. "Those who believe in this practice suffer from human
factor decay and general wickedness of the mind. These are just people with
a misdirected mind," Mararike said.

The causes of ritual murders, Mararike said, were deep rooted in the demonic
perspective, whereby if one commits murder he is likely to continue to
suffer as the spirit of the dead person would haunt him forever. He said
ritual killings were very difficult to exterminate as it was a common
phenomenon the world over.

Most of the killings are blamed on traditional healers who advice
businesspeople to murder for ritual purposes to enhance their businesses.

Chairman of the Zimbabwe National Traditional Healers' Association,
(Zinatha) Professor Gordon Chavunduka lambasted traditional healers and
pseudo-prophets, who prescribe murder as a way of enhancing one's fortunes.
He said people should not believe traditional healers who recommend murder
as a way of enhancing business opportunities because it did not work.

"Scientifically, it does not work but there are people who still believe in
it. Maybe psychologically it might work because when a person gets medicine
he works harder and thinks any success is because of the murder he
committed," said Chavunduka, a sociologist.

The former University of Zimbabwe vice- chancellor said there was need for
awareness programmes targeting businesspeople and traditional leaders to
discourage them from such practices.

However, businessmen have dismissed the belief that killing for ritual
reasons enhance profitability.

Ben Mucheche, a long-time Harare businessman, said the notion that ritual
killing would enhance one's business was widely held in Zimbabwe although it
did not work.

Mucheche, a transport operator queried, why traditional healers would want
someone to get rich when they themselves were some of the poorest people in
the country.

"Although my businesses are not doing well, killing someone will not work.
Even those that are said to have killed are not doany better. You just need
to work hard," said Mucheche, who has been in the transport business for
more than 30 years.

Assistant Commissioner Killian Mandisodza said cases of ritual murder were
very difficult to investigate because they were secretive in nature.

"We have no ready statistics at the moment but what I can tell you is that
they are not a regular occurrence," Mandisodza said.
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Zim Standard

Harare council unleashes Zanu PF militia on vendors
By Our own staff

ZANU PF militia recruits, recently incorporated into the municipal police by
the Harare City Council, have unleashed a reign of terror on the street
vendors, The Standard has learnt.

Lesley Gwindi, the City Council spokesperson, confirmed the Council had been
working with the graduates of the national youth service centres for nearly
a month. According to Gwindi, the graduates' main task is to drive out
vendors who are mushrooming all over the capital.
"We are currently arresting vendors and confiscating their products. This
will go on until they have relocated to designated places," Gwindi said.

However, vendors who spoke to The Standard said they were very bitter about
the way the militias were harassing them.

One vendor who only identified himself as Simon said: "They should provide
vending places, rather than confiscating our products on a daily basis. That
will not change anything because we have nowhere to go."

Combined Harare Ratepayers' Association (CHRA) vice chairman, Israel Mabhoo,
suggested the City Council establishes designated vending places in the city
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Zim Standard

Quiet diplomacy, a huge success
overthetop By Brian Latham

SOUTH Africa's so-called quiet diplomacy was heralded as a triumphant
success this week. Small spontaneous celebrations broke out in the troubled
central African nation and its confused southern neighbour after the release
from prison of a man described variously as a spy - and a car thief.

The prisoner, released from one of the troubled central African country's
most notorious prisons was described by the state-controlled Horrid
newspaper as a spy. (All prisons in the troubled central African nation are
notorious, but some are more notorious than others.)
But an official news agency in the confused, if generally more accurate,
southern neighbour described the prisoner as a car thief.

This disparity led to further confusion as almost everyone in the troubled
central African nation is a spy, while almost everyone in the confused
southern African country is a car thief. However, there is increasing
osmosis in this regard, with car thieves being found in the troubled central
African basketcase and spies increasingly visible in the confused southern
African state.

Still, the release of a lonely old prisoner on the grounds of ill health was
held high as a symbol of the success of "quiet diplomacy" by very senior
officials in the confused southern African nation's Absolutely No Comment

Still, no one said whether more bewildered southern African prisoners would
be released from troubled central African prisons as a mark of the huge
success of so-called quiet diplomacy.

Nevertheless, a political analyst who could be named if he existed said it
was pertinent that "quiet diplomacy" was confined to the extraordinary
socialist tradition of exchanging criminals - while ignoring totally issues
such as governance human rights, elections and property rights.

"Of course, we've been waiting for four years to see what direction Mr
Banjo's quiet diplomacy would take," said another analyst. "And now we

Yet another analyst told Over The Top that troubled central Africans would
be foolish to expect anything else to come from so-called quiet diplomacy.

"The confused southern African nation is the world capital of crime," he
said, "So it's only natural they should want their criminals back. On the
other hand, they're unlikely to do anything about governance, human rights,
elections or property rights in the troubled central African banana republic
because, when the time is right, or the banana is ripe, they will be
following in our footsteps."

But this was denied by a senior and very confused southern African official
called J "Banker" Zoomer who said nothing could be further from the truth
because the prisoner's release from a notorious jail heralded a new spirit
of cooperation because it was considered very good governance to release
prisoners, especially on humanitarian grounds, and it made no difference
whether they were car thieves or spies. He said he was unaware of any other
issues that needed to be negotiated between neighbours, though insiders said
that many confused southern Africans were watching their troubled neighbour
with a certain amount of glee.

"We expect the troubled central African nation to be put up for sale, or at
least auctioned off, fairly soon," said a confused southern African, patting
his wallet, "and we think we'll be able to buy cheap."

Meanwhile the released southern African prisoner was said to be set return
home quietly, and would not be seeking re-entry to the troubled central
African regime at any price.
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Zim Standard


Just where does all Zifa's money go?

THE Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) needs to explain why it has
problems perennially over inability to pay players their allowances and

Zifa draws part of its revenue from sponsorship deals, levies from gate
takings, grants from the world soccer governing body, and fees from
television rights for screening of regional and continental competitions.
The tie against Nigeria on September 5, 2004 grossed the highest amount ever
collected by Zifa yet days just before the departure of the national squad
for Angola for the African Cup of Nations/World Cup qualifying match in
Luanda, players threatened to boycott the trip if they were not paid their
allowances before departure. The scheduled flight was delayed as a result of
an embarrassing stand off at the airport. The impasse was only resolved
after a last-minute intervention from the Sports and Recreation Commission.

A pattern appears to be emerging. It is that Zifa only appears to act when
the gun is held to their head. But it also deliberately ignores the fact
that it has an obligation to pay in reasonable time after fulfilment of

On the eve of last month's clash with the Super Eagles of Nigeria in the
World Cup/African Cup of Nations qualifier, Zifa faced a player revolt over
bonuses. Zifa says the demands by the players were outrageous, but Zifa is
believed to be largely responsible for the discontent among the Warriors.

After the big match pitting the Warriors against the Super Eagles, Zifa
received $250 million from the Sports and Recreation Commission to pay their
debtors. The money is from the six percent the Sports Commission receives
from Zifa after every match.

The Mighty Warriors, the national female soccer squad, have staged a sit-in
at the Zifa headquarters. The players were demanding allowances for a
qualifier they played in Tanzania in July 2004, which earned them the ticket
to the African Nations Cup tournament held in Johannesburg, South Africa,
last month. But three months later the Mighty Warriors are still to be paid.

When the players staged a sit-in at 53 Livingstone Avenue - the Zifa
headquarters - instead of receiving their allowances, they were threatened
with all manner of sanction.

The Young Warriors, too, have voiced their concern over delays in payment of
their allowances and bonuses. Only last week there were discordant voices
from the camp ahead of their match in Maseru against the mountain kingdom.

The sad thing is that there appears no end to the financial problems or
financial malfeasance at Zifa and it is tempting to believe that this is
deliberate, especially as the problems manifest themselves all the time. It
could be that the constant state of disarray works to the benefit of some in
Zifa. There is no indication of a determined attempt to resolve the problems
either now or sooner.

Yet one of the purposes of an audit undertaken by KPMG was not just to find
the extent of the shambles in Zifa's books but it was intended to establish
the right way of running the association viably and profitably.

Player bonuses have been a problem that dates back to the days of Leo
Mugabe's executive.

A year ago when the issue of bonuses for the Cosafa Castle Cup tie against
Malawi and the World Cup qualifier against Mauritania became the major bone
of contention between the players and Zifa, no one seemed to know where the
money was.

Global African Football, a company based in South Africa, which held the
prize money said it had deposited the R550 000 prize money into Zifa's
accounts. Zifa in turn said it was still awaiting transfer of the funds. And
so the blame game or that of passing the buck continued.

In all the regional, continental or world competitions Zimbabwe's soccer
representatives participate, the national soccer controlling authority is
paid allowances and bonuses for the players' participation. If soccer stands
any chance of receiving more sponsorship domestically, it needs to learn to
come clean on why it takes three months or longer or threats before it
coughs up.

In the absence of any attempts demonstrating transparency in its dealings,
one of several explanations could be that the prize money is changed and
invested with asset management companies for periods ranging from 60 - 90
days at the end of which the investment matures. The soccer controlling body
collects the investment on maturity, pays the original amount into Zifa
accounts and pockets the difference.

The yield on such investments can be quite substantial! And in the days
prior to the advent of "Hurricane Gono," the thriving parallel market
offered fortunes for foreign currency earnings from Zimbabwe's participation
in soccer competitions. This may help explain why there is such a fight to
land a post in the supreme national soccer authority. It becomes the gateway
to instant riches.

Zifa's books are a microcosm of Enron, Worldcom or Parmalat because a post
on the executive is considered a passport to secrecy, money and power, which
fuel the potential for financial mishandling. The power is through
association with the regional continental and world soccer bodies. For local
business persons one can undertake a lot of personal or commissioned
business while of Zifa assignments.

However, as long as the manner in which Zifa conducts its business remains
fundamentally unchanged, there is little likelihood of much change in the
success of the national squad in competitive tournaments. The ineptitude of
Zifa impacts on the Warriors' performances.

Perhaps it is time the Comptroller Auditor-General or a parliamentary
committee probed Zifa's books and established a road map. There must come a
point when Zifa will be weaned from perpetual dependency on the SRC or the
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Zim Standard

Mine bosses jittery over fresh rhetoric
By Kumbirai Mafunda

ZIMBABWE'S mining industry, the economy's bedrock, was last week shaken
again following additional threats on the sector.

Mining experts told Standard Business that the sector, which is still
smarting from fresh threats by the government and President Robert Mugabe,
was again thrown into panic by recent statements from government.
"It is difficult to know where we are going . because black economic
empowerment is meant to enable or facilitate the participation of people in
the economy but what we are seeing is quite different," said one miner who
spoke anonymously.

This followed Tuesday's reports in the government-owned Herald newspaper
quoting Mugabe as having complained to several of his legislators that South
African miners were exploiting the crisis-racked southern African country's
platinum deposits.

Joram Gumbo, the government chief whip, who - according to The Herald -
attended an emergency meeting convened by Mugabe, said he had told them that
Zimbabwe and South Africa produced about 80% of the world's platinum "yet
some South African companies have started mining platinum in Zimbabwe
without our knowledge".

South Africa is the world's leading platinum producer and the second largest
palladium producer after Russia.

But with the Midlands mining development in full swing, Zimbabwe is heavily
tipped to become the third largest producer of the metal since it has the
second largest platinum reserves in the world.

Tuesday's statements, analysts said, could be directed at world number one
platinum producer Anglo American Platinum (Angloplats), which owns the US$90
million Unki Platinum Mine in the Midlands Province. Impala Platinum
Holdings (Impala), another South African mining company, has a controlling
stake in Zimplats, which owns Makwiro Mine and Ngezi Mine while Aquarius
Platinum Limited owns Mimosa. Mugabe's statement analysts said were
startling since Anglo and Zimplats have reserved a 20% and 15% stake
respectively for indigenous businesspeople.

Only last month, Mugabe told a gathering mainly comprising of school kids
that his government will soon demand half the shares in all the country's
privately owned mines under an aggressive indigenisation plan. He insisted
Zimbabweans did not yet enjoy "absolute ownership" of natural resources.

Miners said the rhetoric that seemed to be continuing unabated was of deep
concern to them.

"Until that time we have government's overall philosophy on black economic
empowerment any investor that doesn't understand any factor is going to be
prudent," Ian Saunders, the Chamber of Mines' president said on Wednesday.

Mining sources said although the chamber had received the draft Mines and
Mining Amendment Bill, which seeks to allow "historically disadvantaged"
Zimbabweans to hold a 49% stake in private and foreign-owned mines, the
organisation was contesting two sticking issues enshrined in the Bill.

"We are seriously concerned about how the indigenisation programme will be
executed and the process the government will follow because equity must not
be given to people freely," said an official source.
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Zim Standard

Who is tarnishing Zimbabwe's image?
Sundaytalk with Pius Wakatama

ONE day a baboon picked up a pair of sunglasses. He put them on as he had
seen human beings wear them. He had always wanted to look like a human
being. He straightened up and started to proudly walk around the jungle. He
soon met a lion.

"Hey, lion," he called out, "you look so dirty. Why don't you wash?"

The lion was so angry. He would have killed the baboon if it had not climbed
up a tree. When the lion left in a huff the baboon came down and started to
walk around proudly again. Soon, he came across a buffalo.

"Hey, buffalo!" he called out, "why don't you wash. You look so dirty."

The buffalo was very angry. He came after the baboon wanting to gore him
with his sharp horns but the baboon climbed up a tree. When the buffalo left
he came down and walked around insulting, in the same manner, all the other
animals he met.

Finally he sat alone in a tree, isolated by all the other animals. Finally a
monkey joined him. "Hey, monkey! Why don't you wash," he started.

The monkey cut him short. "I have heard about you. Take off those dark
glasses and look at me."

The baboon took off his cherished glasses and looked at the monkey. He was
not dirty anymore. He then threw them away and vowed never to put on such
stupid things again.

This is just like the ruling party, Zanu PF, and its government. They see
everybody in the world as being dirty because they are wearing dark glasses
made of greed for power and property, violence and racial bigotry. Until
they throw these glasses away, Zimbabwe will continue to be shunned by
civilized countries. It will become more and more a lonely pariah State.

Our government has accused almost every nation on earth, civil society and
loyal Zimbabweans who dare tell the truth, of tarnishing Zimbabwe's image.
In the light of what has happened and what is happening on the ground in
Zimbabwe, who really is tarnishing the country's image?

We all know who tarnished and is still tarnishing Zimbabwe's image among the
nations of the world. It is none other than our Zanu PF government led by
President Robert Mugabe and his coterie of fanatics notably the terrible
trio of the Minister of State for Information and Publicity, Professor
Jonathan Moyo, the Minister of Justice Legal and Parliamentary Affairs,
Patrick Chinamasa, and the fossilised writer, Tafataona Mahoso. These few
have managed to tarnish Zimbabwe's image beyond recognition. Our friends are
now few and far between.

Even in Africa our real friends are now few and far between. We can't stand
them because they tell us the truth, which we don't like to hear. Through
our dark glasses, we see them as agents of the imperialist Western countries
who want to "take away the gains of our independence".

Of course, when our President speaks at international gatherings there is
applause. They applauded Idi Amin in the same way. In 1972 the Organisation
of African Unity (OAU) held a conference in Libreville, Gabon. The Ugandan
strongman Idi Amin attended the conference. He was the only black African
leader to be cheered at virtually every appearance at that conference.

That same year Idi Amin had forced about 50 000 Asians living in Uganda to
leave the country. He said he did so to put control of the country's economy
in the hands of Ugandans. He was accused of killing thousands of Ugandans
who disagreed with his policies. He praised Adolf Hitler for murdering Jews,
and bitterly denounced the leaders of many nations.

An Associated Press reporter quoted one of the delegates to the OAU meeting
as saying: "Amin is a disgrace to all of Africa, but he is also the most
popular man on the continent. There is a mystique of bigness and arrogance
about him that fascinates the average African. If you elected a king of all
Africa, Amin would win."

This is the tragedy of the African psyche. African political leaders will
applaud an errant fellow leader but will not do what he does. They will just
vicariously live out their fantasies through him when in actual fact they
regard him as a mad man.

In his book, Society and Culture, Francis Merril describes this social
phenomenon thus: "In our society, there is supposed to be a reasonable
consistency between the role a person conceives himself as playing and that
which he actually plays. When this discrepancy between these roles becomes
too glaring, the person is regarded as dangerous to ordered social

"Persistent delusions of grandeur are symptoms of personal abnormality,
although they may not have the same significance in societies with differing
norms. Similarly, men who identify themselves with the winds, the heavens
and the mountains are adjudged candidates for mental hospitals in the United

"Among certain tribes of Northwest Coast Indians, however, similar delusions
constitute normal behaviour for chiefs, who are considered by themselves and
others as very great men. These chiefs devote long and eloquent speeches to
the glorification of themselves and their prowess, in which they try to
leave no doubt in the minds of the listeners as to their super human powers.
The oratory that resounds about the banquet halls of these chieftains would
in our society be heard in the corridors of mental hospitals, where the less
violent psychotics are allowed to exchange experiences. The chiefs may or
may not be convinced of the truth of their own claims to grandeur. The point
is that any person in our society who speaks of himself in such consistently
grandiose terms is mentally suspect."

I will not insult the readers' intelligence by trying to explain or comment
on the above brilliant and insightful piece of writing. Its import is

Our own actions and words have tarnished the image of this beautiful and
once prosperous country. It is such a pity because Zimbabweans had a
reputation of being one of the most educated, cultured and well-mannered
people on the continent. Their generosity and friendliness was legendary.
Now, a few deluded leaders who seem to believe their own lies have ruined
all this.

The government has destroyed the country's superb agriculture infrastructure
and loudly calls that destruction "land reform". The economy is in tatters
and they proudly say that there is an "economic turn around". This, when on
the same page one reads that the cost of living has gone up by several
percentage points and more than 75 percent of the people are living below
the poverty datum line! Who is fooling who?

Last Monday a group of 30 South Africans, Zimbabweans and Australians on an
annual fishing trip were arrested, accused of holding a political meeting to
celebrate the acquittal of Morgan Tsvangirai, the MDC's leader. It turned
out that the group didn't even know about the trial since they were in the
bush. Since when did celebrating the acquittal of an innocent man become a
crime in Zimbabwe?

Of course, according to Zanu PF logic, the South African "apartheid Press"
and the imperialist Western media should not report this. If they do they
are tarnishing Zimbabwe's image. Of course, potential tourists intending to
visit Zimbabwe from those countries will now think twice.

I said our government is now being run by a small coterie of the President's
confidantes. Most of the ministers don't talk much. "Hapana achati bufu."

Why are these good citizens so ominously quiet? There are two possible
reasons. The first is that as Minister of State for Information and
Publicity, Professor Jonathan Moyo, has successfully gagged them. He decides
who gets publicity and who does not. The second reason is that they can see
the writing on the wall. They don't want to be seen as ringleaders. Being
banned from traveling to important Western countries because of the
government's actions has given them a rude awakening as to what may be
coming. We now live in a global world where acts against humanity no longer
go unpunished "national sovereignty" notwithstanding.

He who has ears to hear, let him hear.
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