From The Cape Times (SA), 25 October
Strasbourg - Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe cannot be excluded from the
upcoming EU-Africa summit just because he is a dictator, or others must be
barred too, EU Development Commissioner Louis Michel said yesterday. "If we
were to judge each of the dictators or personalities whom we consider
unsuitable we wouldn't just have problems with Mugabe, there would be
others," Michel told the European parliament in Strasbourg. The possibility
that Mugabe could attend the EU summit in Lisbon in December has been a
focus of Brussels's attention for weeks, not least because he is formally
banned from entering the European Union due to human rights violations.
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has already warned his EU partners that
if Mugabe attends the summit then neither he nor any of his cabinet
ministers will be there. The same issue resulted in the EU-Africa summit
being cancelled in 2003. Michel said the summit should be used to put the
question of human rights in Zimbabwe on the table. Earlier this month the
EU's Portuguese presidency said summit invitations would not be sent out
until after an EU-Africa ministerial meeting in Accra on October 30. While
Europe is increasingly in competition with China over African ties and
trade, there has so far been just one EU-Africa summit, in Cairo in 2000.
Monsters and Critics
Oct 25, 2007, 10:05 GMT
Johannesburg/Harare - Zimbabwe's central bank chief Gideon Gono has called
for the lifting of some price controls, saying price adjustments are needed
in the inflation-riddled country, the official Herald daily reported
The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) chief told state-sanctioned reporters
that shoppers should not expect prices to remain fixed.
In July, President Robert Mugabe ordered huge price slashes and a six-month
price freeze that saw shoppers descending on stores in droves, quickly
emptying them of stock.
Now basics are in desperately short supply as store owners refuse to
restock. The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) this week
complained bread was as scarce as gold.
There must never be expectations from consumers that prices should be at the
same level as three months ago, said Gono, who is one of only a handful of
top officials willing to speak out against government policy.
There is also an animal called inflation, he said. Zimbabwe's annual
inflation rate is the highest in the world, at just under 8,000 per cent.
'Consumers need to realize that in an inflationary environment, it was
inevitable that producers need some modicum of price adjustments to create
the capacity to meet their next and successive production and purchase order
schedules, Gono said.
'Prices of goods like newspapers, for example, must be de-controlled so that
they are available,' he said.
Independent reports say bakers are pushing for an upward review in the price
of bread, arguing that a loaf should sell for at least 400,000 Zimbabwe
dollars, four times the government-set price.
Bakers all but stopped baking when the National Incomes and Pricing
Commission decreed that a loaf be sold for just 30,000 dollars (officially 1
US dollar but worth only a few cents at prevailing black market rates).
The price was hiked to 100,000 Zimbabwe dollars 10 days ago: less than the
cost of a small bun of bread that sells clandestinely for around 150,000
Some companies and service providers have already started ignoring the price
freeze. The state-appointed commission running the city of Harare announced
this week it wanted to raise tariffs ninefold.
And on Wednesday dozens of activists were joined by street vendors in a
brief march in the eastern border city of Mutare to protest huge hikes in
water rates by the state-run Zimbabwe National Water Authority (ZINWA), said
rights group Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA).
Police arrived on the scene after the activists had dispersed, the group
© 2007 dpa - Deutsche Presse-Agentur
SW Radio Africa (London)
25 October 2007
Posted to the web 25 October 2007
There was a peaceful protest march by hundreds of Woza and Moza members in
Mutare late on Wednesday, against the huge increases in water tariffs
recently introduced by the government.
A statement issued at the end of the protest by Woza said nearly 300 women
and men marched for several blocks through the eastern city to the civic
centre, demanding access to affordable water and a more reliable service.
The statement added that there were no arrests during or after the
demonstration as riot police officers arrived after the protesters had
dispersed. Several bystanders are reported to have joined in the procession.
The protestors also called for an end to violence against human rights
defenders. This is the fourth Woza demonstration in Mutare this year and the
third peaceful street action this month, following two in Bulawayo and one
There have been concerns that state security agents are in the habit of
visiting homes of activists at night in Mutare, long after demonstrations
are over. After a demonstration in Mutare in August, several members had
their homes visited and illegally searched. It is expected that similar
harassment of activists will occur in the coming weeks.
Thursday, 25 October 2007 09:40
Mugabe regime at work to destabilise Crisis, says Mafume
LONDON - Crisis Coalition in Zimbabwe has dismissed allegations of
corruption in its Johannesburg office, and possible closure of the
organisation, as part of a vicious attack by the Mugabe regime to discredit
"I would like to place it on record that the office is not closing in
the near future. Crisis is a critical component in the fight for a
democratic Zimbabwe, and therefore has many enemies working against it.
These rumours are their handiwork," said Jacob Mafume, the co-ordinator.
He said the coalition had recently conducted an audit of its accounts
for the relevant period, and these were available for scrutiny.
"Copies of these have been lodged with our partner organisations and
everything is above board," said Mafume.
"The people who are in the office in South Africa are people of
integrity who have contributed to the struggle in many ways, including the
use of personal funds. It is ridiculous to suggest that they would take
anything from the organisation.
"We are at a loss as to how to respond to such flimsy and
unsubstantiated allegations and can only suspect sinister motives from the
author, aimed at tarnishing the respected individuals in Crisis," he said.
Mafume said there had been recent staff and leadership changes within
the organisation, whereby people had moved on to other organisations where
they hold influential positions. He said this was a testimony to the calibre
of people Crisis continues to attract.
"Crisis Coalition by its very nature is a dynamic organisation where
staff and leadership changes have occurred in the past and no doubt will
continue to happen in the future. The people who have moved have done so
with the blessing of the organisation and without scandal and the office
will continue in its critical role of providing leadership to the struggle
for democracy," said Mafume.
Well-known Zimbabwean activist and author, Elinor Sisulu, who has
worked for Crisis for many years, said she fully endorsed Mafume's
"I would go further to say that as a signatory to the Crisis bank
account, these allegations of embezzlement are a direct slur on my
integrity," she said. Sisulu challenged the news agency that circulated the
story, CAJ News, to supply evidence to substantiate their allegations.
Wednesday, 24 October 2007 16:18
FIGTREE - War veterans and members of the government's youth militia,
otherwise known as the Green Bombers, are harassing travellers and bus crews
along the Plumtree-Bulawayo Road, where they man 24-hour roadblocks.
Notorious for their violent behaviour against perceived opposition
members, the state-sponsored thugs stop buses and commuters and ransack
people's bags for imported goods.
They also harass public transport crews, whom they accuse of working
with the MDC to try and incite a public revolt against Mugabe by
continuously raising their fares.
"They have been there since the government launched its price-control
operation three months ago. At first they demanded bus tickets from
travellers and would commandeer a bus back if they found that people had
been charged more than what the government stipulated. Now they have turned
against cross-border travellers, whom they accuse of spreading wrong
information about Mugabe when they go shopping in neighbouring countries,"
said Mkhulli Dube, a bus conductor who plies the Bulawayo-Francistown route.
Eye witnesses said the group, which alternates its roadblocks between
Figtree and Marula business centres, confiscated imported goods such as bulk
grocery and clothing items, claiming to be acting on orders from ruling
"Reporting them to the police does not help at all because at times
you find them together and police seem to be afraid of them. Sometimes they
ask for bribes in foreign currency from travellers, but most of the time
they take away your goods," added another traveller.
A policeman at Figtree police station confirmed the presence of the
youths on the road last week.
"They say that they were deployed by the ruling party politicians here
in Matabeleland South and there is nothing we can do against that because
our actions might attract reprisals from both our bosses and the ruling
party. Some of the things they do are not right but all that we can do is
watch and do nothing because they are protected," said the policeman.
Police national spokesman, Chief Superintendent Oliver Mandipaka,
refused to comment on the matter, saying he did not know about that. -
Wednesday, 24 October 2007 16:24
The Mugabe regime's spy agency, the CIO, has become embroiled in the
fracas involving Anglican church leader Nolbert Kunonga - a staunch
supporter of President Robert Mugabe.
Kunonga is bitterly fighting his ouster from the Anglican Diocese of
Harare after the Dean of the Province of Central Africa, Albert Chama,
dismissed him and declared his position vacant last week.
Sources told The Zimbabwean that the Anglican Church in Harare had
been infiltrated by members of the CIO trying to intimidate members into
accepting Kunonga's leadership.
"We have been getting several uninvited guests from the president's
office clearly wanting to influence the course of events in favour of
Kunonga," a council member said. "The matter is becoming increasingly
political and Kunonga's plan now is to get political backing so that he can
establishing what others have referred to as the Church of Kunonga in
Central Africa, in other words, his own church."
When contacted for comment, Kunonga said, "I have nothing to say
because the issues are in court and also being handled through church
Chama, who is also the bishop of Northern Zambia, recently declared
the Harare and Manicaland diocese vacant after receiving communication from
Kunonga and Bishop Elson Jakazi announcing withdrawal from the Province of
Central Africa over the contentious issue of homosexuality in the church.
The Province of Central Africa is made up of Anglican churches in Zambia,
Botswana, Malawi and Zimbabwe. Chama described Kunonga and Jakazi's move as
"unconstitutional and un-canonical" and an attempt at "altering the
structure and the essence" of the church.
A vicar-general is expected to be appointed to replace Kunonga on an
interim basis in the diocese of Harare. Kunonga's decision to pull the
Diocese of Harare out of the Province of Central Africa is believed to have
been caused primarily by the fact that he is being forced to surrender
church assets as one of the moves towards deposing him by church members
disgruntled with his leadership and blind loyalty to the murderous Zanu (PF)
However, the Chancellor of the diocese of Harare, Robert Stumbles, who
is also Deputy Chancellor of the Province of Central Africa, says Kunonga
cannot avoid his deposition. "Resignation or withdrawal from the province
does not stop a court enquiring into these offences," Stumbles said.
In reference to the meeting that Kunonga cites as the basis for his
decision to withdraw the diocese, Stumbles noted, "Nowhere does it
categorically empower the Bishop to sever relations with the Province of
By Itai Dzamara
Wednesday, 24 October 2007 10:14
BY CHIEF REPORTER, HARARE – President Robert Mugabe was rebuked on
Monday night by South African President Thabo Mbeki over his failure to act
against the mayhem that has seen heavily-armed police officers and groups of
Zanu (PF) militia involved in incidents of lawlessness against the
opposition this week.
Western diplomats confirmed the rebuke.
“The MDC is dismayed by Zanu (PF)’s disdain for the SADC-initiated
talks that are aimed at finding common ground between the regime and the
opposition,” MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa said.
“While the MDC and Zanu (PF) are engaged in dialogue in Pretoria, the
regime has continued to hound our supporters; brutally assaulting and
attacking them against the spirit of the dialogue process.”
The MDC delivered a detailed report to Mbeki on the last two weeks of
violence and harassment its members have suffered from Mugabe’s security
forces and militias, led by so-called guerrilla war veterans.
Mugabe indicated he knew nothing of the MDC attacks, SA sources said.
“He asked Mbeki, ‘why haven’t they been telling (Justice Minister Patrick)
Chinamasa and (Social welfare Minister Nicholas) Goche,” said our source.
At Mbeki’s insistence, Mugabe promised he would ensure that the
protagonists met this week to discuss the deteriorating situation.
Mbeki dialogued with Mugabe as police arrested almost 100 WOZA women
on a peaceful protest against the deteriorating national crisis. On the same
day, senior police and intelligence officials summoned MDC Harare provincial
organizing secretary and Glen View MP, Paul Madzore, to Harare Central
Police Station in connection with alleged “hate speech” against police made
at an MDC rally in Glen Norah on Sunday. The police said they took great
exception to calls by the speakers at the rally for people to note down the
names of police officers who are involved in human rights abuses.
Chamisa said since the dialogue process started, police have turned
down 103 opposition rallies while Zanu (PF)’s “solidarity marches” led by
so-called war veterans continue throughout the country without any police
Wednesday, 24 October 2007 10:16
BY ITAI DZAMARA, HARARE - The USA government is planning to deport
some 400 children and relatives of top Zanu (PF) and government officials at
the beginning of next month, highly-placed sources have told The Zimbabwean.
US authorities have finalised a list of about 400 children and
relatives of those it accuses of fostering the economic, political and
social misgovernance that has condemned the majority of Zimbabweans to
abject poverty, said the source.
“Recent meetings finalised the list and agreements were reached
regarding the modalities. The deportations are likely to start as soon as
next month,” he added. “Efforts have also been made to establish the sources
of income of those concerned, as well as the means that led to them being in
the USA. This information will be used to prove that they benefit from the
system of patronage operated by Zanu (PF) and the government.”
Australia pulled the first trigger two months ago when it deported
kids of Police Commissioner Augustine Chihuri, Rural Housing and Social
Amenities minister Emmerson Mnangagwa and Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor
Gideon Gono, much to the chagrin of the Zanu (PF) regime which responded by
issuing threats against the MDC who it accuses of being responsible for
European countries, led by the United Kingdom, are expected to follow
suit and deport Zanu (PF) leaders’ kids studying or staying there. These
countries argue that it is immoral for senior officials in the Mugabe regime
to spend huge amounts of scarce foreign currency on sending their kids to
study in western capitals when their corrupt and repressive policies have
led to the destruction not only of the Zimbabwean economy, but also of the
Wednesday, 24 October 2007 10:09
BY ITAI DZAMARA, HARARE - The political battle between Robert Mugabe
and the Mujuru faction has intensified over the past few months as the Zanu
(PF) December special congress looms. Investigations have revealed vicious
rivalry, involving the use of sabotage and dangerous elimination methods.
Retired army general Solomon Mujuru heads the faction championing his
wife Joice, as successor to Mugabe as the leader of the ruling party,
subsequently earning the right to contest next year’s presidential
elections. The Mujuru faction comprises other senior Zanu (PF) officials
such as Governor of Mashonaland East Ray Kaukonde, David Butau, Joel Biggie
Matiza, David Parirenyatwa, Kenneth Musanhu and David Karimanzira.
Sources privy to the goings-on within the ruling party revealed to The
Zimbabwean recently that programmes targeted at weakening and inflicting
damage on the Mujuru faction have been implemented at the behest of Mugabe,
mainly using the security forces to manage power dynamics.
It has emerged that members of the Mujuru faction were the major
victims within the Zanu (PF) system of the controversial programme by
government to enforce price reductions in the manufacturing, wholesale and
Sources involved have also revealed that Mugabe tried to get at the
Mujurus through the foiled coup plot of June this year.
“The Mujuru faction has been in the forefront of resisting Mugabe’s
plans aimed at safeguarding his power. Remember the 2010 project he wanted
to push, as well as the attempt at having him prematurely endorsed as the
party candidate for next year’s presidential elections,” a Zanu (PF)
official said. “This faction has declared itself a sworn enemy of Mugabe and
a threat to his power games. Hence the aged leader has launched an
offensive against the faction in rather a brutal manner.”
The security forces, particularly the police in this case, have also
been used to target the operations of the Mujurus and their followers in the
crackdown on illegal minerals mining and marketing.
“The plan has been to paralyse the Mujuru faction through hitting at
its strengths, and the primary target has been crippling its
income-generating base,” a source said.
A senior Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) official confirmed the use of
the police to destroy the Mujuru faction. “There were clear and specific
directives from the top echelons of government to target the gold and
diamond operations of the Mujuru faction, with information being provided
from the president’s office. The same was done during the price control
operation. Teams were set out specifically to deal with businesses owned by
the Mujurus and other politicians in their camp.”
This paper has established that businesses owned by Kaukonde and Butau
were targeted during the crackdown on prices, leading to the arrest of their
managers. There were also failed attempts at opposing the operation to
enforce price reductions by the Mujuru faction. Kaukonde operates a bus
company and a chain of supermarkets in addition to having shares in a number
of blue chip companies. Butau has operations in the cotton marketing
One of the members of the Mujuru faction, speaking on condition of
anonymity, told The Zimbabwean: “There has been a deliberate plan to
sabotage our business operations while another process was pursued at the
same time aimed at killing us politically, which included a media black-out
or negative coverage. All this has been spearheaded by Mugabe. Daggers are
drawn and we believe the party (Zanu) has to allow the will of the people to
prevail regarding election of leaders to represent it in vital elections
such as the presidential polls next year. Indeed, we are going to fight all
the way for our candidate, whom we believe has the capacity to correct
things in the country.”
Sources also told us that Solomon Mujuru was put under house arrest
after the coup plan in June and Mugabe tried through his security handlers
to pin him down. “There was a plan to have the whole coup saga end up
implicating Mujuru as the architect and it would come out saying he wanted
to pave the way for his wife thereby destroying her politically,” a source
The state-controlled media has reportedly been issued with directives
by Mugabe’s spokesman George Charamba not to cover Joice Mujuru or members
of her faction, while increasing a positive bias towards Mugabe.
A journalist at one of the country’s daily newspapers said the
directive had specifically stated that Mugabe had to enjoy unwavering front
page or top story coverage, but a black-out had to be imposed on the Mujuru
“This is aimed at pulling us down through the media ahead of the
special congress so that members of the party are opinionated in a manner
that will see them back Mugabe’s candidature,” a member of the Mujuru
faction said. “This is being done parallel to the campaign by war veterans,
youths and women’s groups in the party being sponsored to campaign for
Mugabe’s endorsement and threaten others, particularly those from the Mujuru
It has also emerged that Mugabe is scheming to elbow out the majority
of the Mujuru faction members through a primary election process to choose
those that will represent the party in next year’s parliamentary elections.
“Mugabe is using the war veterans, youths and women to destroy their chances
before the primary process,” a source said.
*Next week in Part 2 we reveal how the Mujuru faction is fighting
against Mugabe’s power plans to the extent that it opposed the 18th
amendment and planned to block it in parliament - only to be “sabotaged” by
October 25 2007 at 02:48PM
Harare - Zimbabwe's home affairs minister has dismissed as hearsay
claims by the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party
that its members are being targeted in violent attacks by ruling part
supporters, state media said on Thursday.
A delegation from the MDC was on Wednesday summoned to meet Home
Affairs Minister Kembo Mohadi to explain the party's claims.
"They gave me a list of claims and I am going to study the paper.
There doesn't seem to be anything of substance, its all hearsay," Mohadi
told the official Herald daily.
Last week the MDC reported a recent spate of violence allegedly
committed against its members across the country by state agents and
supporters of President Robert Mugabe's ruling Zanu-PF party.
The MDC said the violence was threatening South African mediated talks
aimed at defusing political tensions ahead of presidential and parliamentary
elections next year.
But on Wednesday Mohadi told the opposition party not to take their
claims of violence to the media, but to bring them to his office.
"This office is not a (ruling party) Zanu-PF office, but a government
office. They should come to us first rather than go to the media when there
are any problems," Mohadi told the paper.
The head of the opposition's delegation, Samuel Sipepa Nkomo, said the
meeting with Mohadi had taken place in a very amicable atmosphere, the
Herald said. - Sapa-dpa
25 October 2007
THE Zimbabwean government yesterday held a "candid" meeting with the
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), the main opposition, over rising
political repression and violence ahead of elections next March.
The meeting, which came after the MDC threatened to withdraw from continuing
talks with the ruling Zanu (PF) to resolve the political and economic
crisis, showed the government feared a possible collapse of the dialogue.
Zanu (PF) wants the talks to ward off international pressure and buy time
for President Robert Mugabe.
The crucial meeting was attended by Home Affairs Minister Kembo Mohadi and a
four- member MDC delegation that included Nelson Chamisa, Sam Siphepha
Nkomo, Innocent Gonese and Kerry Kay.
This followed a letter written by Mohadi on October 18 to MDC leader Morgan
Tsvangirai regarding the issue of political violence.
Mohadi said in his letter that the MDC must provide him with evidence of
violence so that police could deal with the situation. The MDC replied to
Mohadi's letter on October 22, saying it would send a team of senior
officials to present the evidence.
The MDC delegation yesterday gave Mohadi a dossier showing recent episodes
of state-sponsored violence against its members and civil society activists.
There has been a wave of arrests of MDC supporters and their allies in civic
organisations for legitimate political activities.
The MDC also complained about a breakdown in the rule of law and a growing
culture of impunity; selective application of the law; partisan behaviour by
police in the conduct of their official duties; and general lawlessness in
The meeting "went well", said Chamisa. "It was a good meeting and we hope
government will deal with the issues we raised with them."
Chamisa said that Mohadi had said Zanu (PF) and the MDC were not political
"enemies" but "competitors". Mohadi also said the law must be applied
unselectively without political bias.
"It was a candid meeting and the minister was very honest in his remarks.
Even though we must take some of his comments with a pinch of salt, it was
encouraging a Zanu (PF) minister can be so frank. It's very unusual,"
"Probably it was because we showed him evidence of violence and the
persistent disruption of our rallies and meetings by unlawful means."
Tsvangirai said in the US last week his party would walk out of the talks if
Zanu (PF) continued to perpetrate political violence against his party's
President Robert Mugabe's government is
launching an ambitious plan to revive Zimbabwe's agricultural production, which
plummeted following the chaotic expropriation of white-owned farmland for
redistribution to landless blacks seven years ago.
Photo: Obinna Anyadike/IRIN
A return to the days of plenty?
The government's fast-track land reform programme dispossessed about 4,000 white commercial farmers of prime agricultural land, ostensibly to correct a history of skewed ownership. Critics allege the newly settled farmers were not given adequate state support, while senior members of the ruling ZANU-PF party and other government officials, including high-ranking army and police officers, took over the best estates.
Since the onset of the land redistribution programme the country has recorded increasingly acute food shortages, and international donor agencies estimate that more than a third of the population, or 4.1 million people, require emergency food assistance. Zimbabwe has suffered poor rainfall since 2002 and the government called 2007, a year of drought.
The government has declared the forthcoming agricultural season, which has just begun, "The Mother of All Farming Seasons", and agriculture minister Rugare Gumbo told IRIN that farmers were planning to plant two million hectares of maize, with 400,000ha set aside for small grains, such as sorghum and millet, while soya beans would be cultivated on another 120,000ha.
"These are targets which we want to achieve, and the fact that there are figures being mentioned in terms of hectarage is an indication of how serious we are in terms of ensuring food security," he said.
Optimism not shared by all
Gumbo said the government had already sourced the required seed and fertiliser, and was attempting to ensure that new farmers and those working communal lands had adequate inputs and equipment, which would re-establish the country as a net exporter of agricultural produce.
Gumbo's claim is being disputed by seed and fertiliser producers, who told the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Lands, Land Reform, Resettlement, Agriculture and Water that there was insufficient seed and fertiliser for the new farming season because the government's recent price controls had resulted in unrealistic prices, which had created shortages of these inputs.
are facing problems getting seed from growers, who are not willing to release
their seed due to the price, which they say is not viable
Ngoni Masoka, permanent secretary in the ministry of agriculture, said the fertiliser industry was not operating at maximum capacity because of the unavailabilty of foreign exchange for the purchase of raw materials.
"We can meet our targets, as we have almost put together all the necessary inputs and mechanisation except for a few aspects such as fertiliser and timeous seed availability," he said.
Mechanisation of agriculture
A newly created Agricultural, Engineering and Mechanisation Ministry, in cooperation with the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, aims to increase the mechanisation of agriculture. The government has already begun distributing hundreds of tractors, combine harvesters, planters and discs as part of phase one of its plan.
Phase two has seen more than 50,000 animal-drawn implements such as harrows, ploughs and cultivators being given to small-scale farmers, although
critics say that once again senior politicians and security officers have been the beneficiaries of the bulk of the government's largesse, while those without political connections have been left in the cold.
There are also reports that the tractors, of Chinese origin - which were delivered without spare parts - were being used to provide transport in rural areas because of a chronic lack of public transport, instead of being used for ploughing.
Reserve Bank Governor Gono, himself a beneficiary of land redistribution, was upbeat about the government's plan. "A mother symbolises stability, care and everything good about life. Let's put every inch of soil under crops or grazing. Let's see Zimbabwe being all green, and let's see a hive of activity in the rearing of livestock as well."
Although the country is experiencing an acute shortage of foreign currency and is battling an inflation rate of more than 6,000 percent - the highest in the world - Gono has pledged to pay for half the farmers' produce in foreign currency, and purchase the remaining produce with the local currency, the Zimbabwean dollar.
Another hurdle the mechanisation of agriculture initiative faces is the crippling shortages of fuel, although Gono dismisses any suggestion that this might hamper the revitalisation of agriculture. "We are making efforts, and we are expected to launch a programme that guarantees only enough fuel supplies but not an excess," he said.
Subsidised fuel for the agricultural sector has often been resold on the parallel market, while this year's disastrous winter crop was blamed on frequent regular power outages, which meant irrigation systems and other farming equipment could not be used.
Rains have started but planting has not
An agricultural expert in Zimbabwe, who declined to be named, told IRIN the latest government pronouncments were another detour in "fantasy". "Farming is a matter of detail and if you get one thing wrong it affects everything," he said. "It's not just about the weather."
Fertiliser was not available, and there had been no land preparation for the 2007 farming season; there was no fuel, the oxen envisaged to be used for draught power were in a very poor state after a dry year, and each day planting was delayed resulted in lost yield. He said a 10-day delay can contribute to a 20 percent reduction in yield.
The agricultural expert said the average cost per hectare to produce maize in neighbouring South Africa was between US$600 and US$800, but in Zimbabwe this would be more because of the distortions in the hyperinflationary economy, resulting in higher farming costs, in a country where farmers had no access to capital.
He said he was pessimistic about Zimbabwe producing enough food to feed itself from this farming season, and expected food shortages to continue after the harvest and well into 2008.
Former Grain Marketing Board chief executive Rensen Gasela, now the shadow minister of agriculture in the main political opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change, told IRIN the government was expecting too much from this farming season.
rains have started falling, but there is no maize seed or fertiliser in sight.
There are people with farms, who are not farmers, who access seed and fertiliser
and ... it pays them better to sell [the inputs] off instead of using them on
"The rains have started falling, but there is no maize seed or fertiliser in sight. There are people with farms, who are not farmers, who access seed and fertiliser and ... it pays them better to sell ... [the inputs] off instead of using them on the land."
He said the country could experience another bad season because communal farmers, who traditionally produced 60 percent of the country's food requirements, were unable to afford the seed and fertiliser available on the parallel market.
Gasela said the maize seed shortages were a consequence of the fast-track land reform programme, as white commercial farmers had previously produced seed for sale.
President Robert Mugabe's government is
launching an ambitious plan to revive Zimbabwe's agricultural production, which
plummeted following the chaotic expropriation of white-owned farmland for
redistribution to landless blacks seven years ago.
Mail and Guardian
Johannesburg, South Africa
25 October 2007 01:58
There is no compelling evidence that circumstances in Zimbabwe
currently pose a threat to financial stability in South Africa, the South
African Reserve Bank (SARB) said on Thursday.
Releasing the September 2007 edition of the Financial Stability
Review, the SARB said that currently the potential for negative news from
Zimbabwe to affect investor sentiment towards South Africa is small, as
investors increasingly differentiate political risk between the two
Furthermore, South African companies operating in Zimbabwe have
taken steps to minimise the adverse financial impact of conditions in
These actions have included either "writing off" their stake in
Zimbabwe or reducing their investment to a minimum. Many of these companies
have, however, opted to keep a foothold in Zimbabwe to be poised for an
The SARB added that the political and economic status of
Zimbabwe has been receiving increasing attention both internationally and
"The impact of conditions in Zimbabwe on South Africa could
escalate as the situation deteriorates and solutions become harder to find,"
the SARB noted.
"Although the Bretton Woods Institutions and some First World
economies have spoken out against the Zimbabwean government and demanded
support for the reforms they propose, the motivation for South Africa to
change its approach of 'quiet diplomacy' is currently more likely to be
motivated by the growing humanitarian crisis in Zimbabwe than by the
stability impact on South Africa," the SARB added.
Meanwhile, any direct impact of the subprime-mortgage turmoil on
the South African financial system is likely to be negligible, the SARB
It said South African financial institutions have very little
exposure to the United States subprime lending industry or to securities
with subprime loans as underlying assets.
According to the Financial Stability Review, the resilience of
financial markets globally was severely tested during the past few months
following the widespread impact of negative developments in the US housing
market and the subprime mortgage market in particular.
Emerging market economies in general have proven to be resilient
to the financial market turmoil following the subprime crisis, it said.
The Review focuses on the six months to June 2007 and is part of
the SARB's approach to encourage debate on financial stability issues and
enhance the understanding of the financial system and its strengths and
weaknesses. -- I-Net Bridge
Thursday, October 25, 2007; Posted: 01:57 PM
VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA,
Oct 25, 2007 (Marketwire via COMTEX)
Canaf Group Inc. (TSX VENTURE:CAF) announced today that negotiations for the
acquisition of Great Lakes Minerals and the associated Zimbabwean assets
have been terminated due to increased political risk.
The initial agreement with Midas Trust was adjusted after the announcement
of the new Indigenization and Empowerment Bill passed through parliament in
Harare last month. Both Midas Trust and Canaf remain on good terms and may
choose to revisit the acquisition potential of Great Lakes Minerals at some
time in the future.
"After much discussion, we have decided that this acquisition is not in the
best interests of our shareholders at this time," stated David Way,
President and CEO. "We are committed to providing value to our shareholders
and will focus on our now 90%-owned coal processing facility, with a view of
increasing both our ownership stake to 100% and the overall profitability of
the plant. We will continue to search for new high-potential mining and
mining related opportunities in Africa."
David Way, President and CEO
SOURCE: Canaf Group Inc.
Wednesday, 24 October 2007
The fascinating leader of the War Veterans reveals how to be a hero in easy
This coming Friday might be a good day to stay at home for some of us,
because this is the day when Jabulani Sibanda will lead one million men on a
march through the streets of Harare. At least, he says there will one
million, and anyone who want to try and count them is welcome.
The march is called the One Million Men Solidarity March, and it has two
aims: firstly, to show loyalty to the President; and second and more
important, to stamp on any criticism of Mugabe within the disruptive ranks
Sibanda, an erratic, noisy and charismatic figure, is the leader of the War
Veterans, and it is these vets, he says, who will make up the great majority
of the Friday march. This puzzled me. Only 50,000 veterans turned up at army
assembly points, back in 1980. Twenty seven years on, even those warriors
are begining to age. Exactly where is Sibanda finding his million men? I
decided to ask him.
His home is in Nkulamane, and it is heavily guarded. Given the death threats
uttered by enemies within his own party recently, that's not surprising.
While I talked to him, his guards moved restlessly in and out of the room.
One asked me to show him my Zanu-PF membership card. I told him I'd left it
in my other jacket.
Sibanda himself, dressed as always all in black, looked tired. He had just
returned from leading a march of more war veterans in Mashonaland. But he
had an easy answer to my query about his numbers.
"All those patriotic sons of the soul who actively took part in the land
reform programme are veterans," he announced. He was referring to the
gun-toting mobs who drove white couples and their children off their farms.
"The Third Chimurenga Heroes," he called them. We all remember their heroic
I then asked him about the street kids, seen in recent War Veteran marches.
Were they just making up the numbers? Not al all. "They are our Future
Heroes," he told me. It was good to hear that our street kids have a future,
let alone a heroic one.
Thus, with his collection of thugs, kids and clapped-out old men, Sibanda
marches to support his President. He will have no truck with discussion
about rival candidates for the top job. "There is no vacancy," he told me.
"Robert Mugabe is President for Life. Until the day he dies."
I didn't like to suggest that, when that sad day comes, and Robert Mugabe
goes to a better place, Jabulani Sibanda may need all his guards to make
sure he doesn't go with him.
International Herald Tribune
The Associated PressPublished: October 25, 2007
MAPUTO, Mozambique: Mozambique is to export about 100,000 crocodiles to
South Africa and Zimbabwe over the next six months, authorities said
An operation to collect crocodile eggs in the Zambezi Valley is being
carried out by local fishermen in collaboration with South African crocodile
breeders, Manuel dos Santos, a spokesman for the provincial government said
"Crocodiles born in artificial incubators will be exported to South Africa
and Zimbabwe", Dos Santos said.
Crocodiles are also being bred in the southern provinces of Maputo and
Inhambane, as well as the central province of Manica. The reptiles are
prized for their meat and skin.
Dos Santos said that, apart from the financial gain that the export of the
crocodiles would bring, Mozambican authorities also believe it will reduce
the risk posed by the animals. Collecting the eggs will, presumably, reduce
the crocodile population in the country.
Crocodiles, known as deadly man-eaters, lurk in Africa's many rivers which
are a life source for the continent's impoverished populations. Along with
elephants and lions, they are responsible for hundreds of deaths.
More than 30 people have been killed by animals in the last few years in
"Crocodiles represent a threat to the population," said Dos Santos.
25th Oct 2007 09:09 GMT
BRENDA Furusta, a social sciences student at the Great Zimbabwe University
was recently arrested during a court session at the Magistrates Courts in
Masvingo where her long time boyfriend Edison Hlatshwayo appeared for A
routine remand hearing.
Brenda was part of more than 100 students, who organized the FREE EDISON
CAMPAIGN, a solidarity campaign organized by ZINASU, Zimbabwe ’s strongest
Brenda has been in custody for the past seven days and her legal
representatives see her arrest as a political move that was targeted to
emotionally breakdown her vibrant rights activist and student leader
Lawyer selby Hwacha has since confirmed that Edison and Brenda will appear
in court today as they make another desperate attempt to gain their freedom
from the heinous regime of Mugabe, says Zinasu.
Meanwhile, evidently starving policemen failed to testify in court against
the NCA National Spokesperson and Youth Forum Board Chairperson Madock
Chivasa, who is facing a charge of undermining police authority.
The allegations stemmed from the speech made by the vibrant former student
leader and civic rights activist at a Youth Forum Public Meeting on the 27th
of September this year where he purportedly likened the conduct and
ineptitude of the Zimbabwe Republic Police to wild dogs which do not think
but just follow instructions blindly. Chivasa has since denied this charge
vehemently before the courts arguing that the police are pursuing a
political agenda meant to fix him as ardent critic of the regime of Robert
A truck load of policemen from the notorious CID law and order section
appeared at the magistrates courts early in the morning expecting to
strengthen the state case against Chivasa. Hunger took its toll against the
infamous human rights abusers who failed to turn up for the court
proceedings which had been postponed to 1500HRS after one of the magistrates
who was expected to hear the case Makunde recused himself without disclosing
the reasons. Out of the12 policemen who were expected to appear against
Chivasa only one was found as the rest were spotted scrambling for buns at a
nearby restaurant. This left prosecutor Dewa with no option but to postpone
the trial to the 20th of November this year.