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- may peace, truth and justice prevail.

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Monopoly is Mugabe's Only Method of Censorship

Sunday Times (Johannesburg)

October 5, 2003
Posted to the web October 4, 2003

Gugulethu Moyo

IN THE year 2000, the owners of a small radio station in Zimbabwe took the
government to court, asserting their right to operate an independent
broadcast service. Capital Radio challenged the constitutionality of the
government monopoly over the airwaves.

It won.

But just six days after the Supreme Court ruling, Zimbabwe's President
Robert Mugabe signed into law new broadcasting regulations which outlawed
private ownership of radio transmitters in Zimbabwe.

Later that day the studio and the private residence of the broadcaster were
surrounded by policemen armed with AK-47 rifles. The staff were evicted from
the premises at gunpoint and the station's transmitters were seized by the

Now the government would have us believe that the recent forced closure of
the Daily News was justified because the publisher is a delinquent
corporation that defied the law.

The Zimbabwean government would have us all deceived by the sophistry of its
legal argument, but the truth of the matter is that it is a dictatorship
which tolerates no dissenting voices.

The Daily News dared to challenge the state's monopoly over the daily
newspaper market. Not only did it challenge it, but it won.

From its launch in March 1999, Daily News sales had by April 2000 overtaken
those of the state-owned newspapers. It had become the nation's first-choice

In June 2000, 129 000 copies of a single issue of the paper were sold.

In January 2001, the Minister of State for Information and Publicity,
Jonathan Moyo, issued a dark warning: "The state will silence the Daily
News." The reason, he said, was that it posed a threat to national security.
Two days later, the printing press owned by the publishers of the Daily News
was blown to smithereens in an expertly engineered explosion.

Miraculously, the Daily News appeared on the streets of Zimbabwe the
following morning.

Then the arrests started. Not of assassins and arsonists, but of journalists
and investors.

The passage of the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act in
March 2003 sent a clear message that the state had decided to get serious
about regulating the media .

Two months after the enactment of this law, the editor-in-chief of the Daily
News and two staff reporters were arrested and charged with abuse of
journalistic privilege by publishing a "falsehood". They each faced two
years' imprisonment.

The Daily News launched a constitutional challenge to this section of the
law, arguing that it was Draconian and could have no justification in a
democratic society. It won.

This did not, however, put an end to the detentions. There were many more
sections of the law that could be violated. A total of 27 Daily News
journalists were arrested and charged with various crimes constituting abuse
of "journalistic privilege".

Nonetheless, the paper persevered, reaping the reward of its leadership
position through market approval.

In January 2003, the publishers launched another court action, this time
challenging the legitimacy of the requirement compelling media houses to
seek permission from a regulatory authority before they could publish
legally in Zimbabwe. On the afternoon of September 11, the Supreme Court
ruled that the Daily News should register. The next day the newspaper's
staff were evicted from their offices at gunpoint. Two days later, the
police seized the company's publishing assets.

The legitimacy of the regulatory structure established through the Access to
Information and Protection of Privacy Act is highly questionable. The Act
created the Media and Information Commission, a body of five unelected
individuals who represent no one in Zimbabwe generally or, indeed, in the
media sector. This commission has sweeping powers but is not democratically

The minister of state for information and publicity - to whom this body is
accountable - is also unelected, serving only at the pleasure of a president
whose legitimacy is subject to challenge in the courts of Zimbabwe.

In a country where there is an alarmingly high rate of unemployment - of
almost 70% - a law which has had the effect of cutting off the livelihood of
more than 1 000 people is patently illegitimate.

On the other hand, the state newspapers have rejoiced at what they term "the
demise of the Daily News".

Having regained their monopoly in the daily newspaper market, they have
increased their cover prices by more than 100%.

Clearly this goes beyond the law.

I shall end here with the poignant rhetoric of Martin Luther King Jnr: "This
is raw tyranny under the guise of maintaining law and order. We cannot in
all good conscience obey such an injunction . . . We do this not out of any
disrespect for the law, but out of the highest respect for the law. This is
not an attempt to evade or defy law or engage in chaotic anarchy. Just as in
all good conscience we cannot obey unjust laws, neither can we respect the
unjust use of the courts."

Moyo is a legal representative for the Daily News

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The Scotsman

Scot pledges to defy ban and relaunch paper


A SCOT is at the centre of a move to get a banned newspaper in Zimbabwe back
on the streets in defiance of President Robert Mugabe.

Lindsay Ross, from Aberdeen, is leading a plan to put the popular but banned
Daily News back in circulation this week.

The executive director of the Commonwealth Press Union (CPU), Ross and her
colleagues are planning to e-mail an edition of the paper and text news to
people’s mobile phones in an effort to overcome the ban.

Ross entered journalism in 1972 and, from 1989, lived for seven years in
East Africa. She is married to one of Uganda’s most senior broadcasters.

She said: "Press freedom will be a big issue at the next Commonwealth Heads
of Government Meeting [CHOGM] in Nigeria."

The Daily News was closed down on September 19 after the Zimbabwe supreme
court ruled that it must register with the state media and information
commission. But the commission refused to give it a licence.

Many of the journalists are now living outside Zimbabwe after warrants for
their arrest were issued. Now they plan to edit the newspaper from
Johannesburg in South Africa.

Ross added: "The CPU will do everything in its power to help these
courageous men and women."

Wilf Mbanga, the Daily News’ founder, said: "We were banned for exposing
corruption and telling the truth as it is. But we will never give in to
Mugabe and his cronies. Our reporters are the unsung heroes of Zimbabwe."

However, Zimbabwean information minister Jonathan Moyo said Mugabe’s
government was the victim of a hate campaign, which he said was led by
international media groups.

Moyo said the government was being targeted by Western media over its
seizures of white-owned farms for resettlement by landless blacks.

He added that the Daily News had paid the price for ignoring new media
registration laws and said its actions were indefensible.

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Sunday Times (SA)

Olonga plans to be opera singer

HENRY Olonga, the exiled Zimbabwe fast bowler now based in Kent, has
confirmed he is turning his back on professional cricket to seek a career in
music as an opera singer.

With a knee operation due this month, he has been recording master tapes for
a possible CD, and his moving rendition of Anthem, from the musical Chess,
during the Walter Lawrence Trophy dinner at Lord's on Tuesday night drew a
standing ovation.

Olonga, 27, did not rule out a return to Zimbabwe if the political situation
changed, but he added: "It's music for me now."

The MCC have honoured him and fellow dissident Andy Flower with life
membership for their anti-Mugabe protest during the World Cup.

In a statement, new MCC president Charles Fry said: "Both the membership
committee and the main MCC committee were unanimous in wanting to honour
Andy Flower and Henry Olonga. They sacrificed their international careers,
earlier this year, to take a brave and principled stand against an appalling

Australian Damien Martyn won the Walter Lawrence Trophy and £5 000 from
sponsors Aon for the summer's fastest century - 65 balls - in Yorkshire's
final match against Gloucestershire.

© The Telegraph, London and Sapa-AFP

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Zim widens media attack
05/10/2003 16:39  - (SA)

Harare - President Robert Mugabe's government continued its onslaught
against the country's independent media on Sunday with a warning from the
head of the state press control authority that it was "coming" for the only
independent Sunday newspaper.

At the same time, the owners of the Daily News, the lone critical daily
voice that was banned last month, announced they planned to publish the
newspaper, but on an internet website with a South African address.

The privately-owned weekly Standard quoted Tafataona Mahosa, the head of the
media commission, the state-appointed body that issues licences for
journalists and newspapers, as threatening the paper.

"Oh, you are from the Standard," Mahoso was reported as saying when one of
the paper's reporters called him for a comment. "We will be coming to you.

"We will be writing to you soon. You are writing lies."

Mahoso's remarks come after a tirade delivered on Friday by Jonathan Moyo,
Mugabe's information minister, who denounced all the remaining independent
newspapers and journalists as "imperialist running dogs" who were writing
and publishing "trash."

Moyo, the architect of the notorious press-gag laws, the "Access to
Information and Protection of Privacy Act," also menaced Studio Seven, a
Voice of America programme broadcast direct to Zimbabwe on shortwave.

"Studio Seven will die," Moyo said. "It faces death, they think we are
sleeping, we want to see whether are going with Studio Seven."

The government two years ago quashed attempts to establish independent radio
and television stations.

Observers say that Moyo's attack appears to mark the start of a new campaign
to destroy possibly the rest of the independent press that maintains
critical coverage of the government.

The Daily News has been bombed twice and last year the Harare studio of a
Dutch-backed radio station was destroyed by a bomb.

Editors and scores of journalists have been arrested, several of them
assaulted and tortured.


Gugulethu Moyo, lawyer for Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe which owns the
Daily News, said the company had registered the newspaper's website from a
South African address, to ensure it didn't violate the ban which outlaws it
from publishing in Zimbabwe.

The website, with the words "the Daily News will be back" does not yet
publish news bulletins, but operates as an interactive chat page.

"We need to tie together some of the legalities," Moyo said.

"We will follow the rules. Although we cannot publish in Zimbabwe, we can
publish everywhere else in the world.

"The point is that the story of Zimbabwe will continue to be told."

The Standard also carried a four-page supplement, showing front pages from
previous editions of the Daily News, stamped across with the words, "they're
trying to silence the truth."

It also gave the newspaper's new website address.

As a reaction to the wave of threats from the government, the Standard
carried an editorial addressed to Mugabe, saying, "We are tired of the game
of fools that your administration has become.

"You and you alone must address all the crises because, as you say, you were
elected to lead us.

"It is only a game of fools that has no timetable. Great men and women know
when the game is up."

A columnist gave an ironic reply to the government's warnings: "For his
(information minister Moyo) threats, we can only say, 'we are quaking in our

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Zim Standard

      The Standard threatened
      By Caiphas Chimhete

      AFTER shutting down The Daily News and The Daily News on Sunday,
Junior Information Minister Jonathan Moyo and Media and Information
Commission chairman Tafataona Mahoso say they have turned their guns at The
Standard and The Zimbabwe Independent.

      Ranting and raving at the official launch of New Ziana, a multi-media
State organisation charged with publishing pro-Zanu PF information, an
agitated Moyo made it clear that after the closure of the two Associated
Newspapers of Zimbabwe (ANZ) titles, he was now after The Standard and The
Zimbabwe Independent, two newspapers he called "running dogs of

      A highly charged Moyo said the type of "trash" published by the
newspapers, both owned by the same company, would not be published anywhere

      "They call the President (Mugabe) a thief. Why don't they say (United
States President) George Bush is a thief and (British Prime Minister) Tony
Blair is a thief?"

      "If we were serious people, who do not want to apologise for who we
are ... really we would shut these papers down because they are trash, they
injure our national interest," ranted Moyo, who incidentally only gained
national prominence in the 1980s and 1990s by writing his anti-Mugabe and
anti-Zanu PF tirades in the private media.

      Moyo also pronounced the "death" of Studio 7, a Voice of America (VOA)
news broadcasting station that beams to Zimbabwe.

      "Studio 7 will die. It faces death. They think we are sleeping, we
want to see where they are going with Studio 7, " said Moyo.

      Delivering a speech in characteristic vitriol at the launch, Moyo said
The Standard and The Zimbabwe Independent were just like The Daily News and
The Daily News on Sunday which were closed down on September 11.

      He also talked erroneously about how the two papers had changed their
mastheads to reflect the views of their "masters."

      "They publish trash just like The Daily News. They are not different
from it. Just to show their clear identity, The Independent has dropped
Zimbabwe, which was part of its name, while the national flag that was on
The Standard masthead has been blown by the wind, the British wind. It is no
longer there anymore. They are serving their masters and we are clearly
aware of that," charged Moyo.

      Contrary to what Moyo said, the Zimbabwe Independent masthead still
contains the name Zimbabwe, which lies on top of the word 'Independent'. The
removal of the Zimbabwean flag from The Standard was a result of a
re-branding exercise that sought to come up with a modern product of
international standards and had nothing to do with the so-called "British
masters", as Moyo claimed .

      Mahoso, who also attended the launch, made it plainly clear that a
clampdown on The Standard was in the pipeline.

      Asked about the implications of Moyo's attack on the newspapers and
his general views about the media landscape in the country, Mahoso said:

      "Oh, you are from The Standard. We will be coming to you; we will be
writing to you soon. You are writing lies, carrying stories with initials as
by-lines," said Mahoso, referring to the paper's Hot Gossiper column.

      Two months ago, Mahoso wrote to The Standard expressing his
displeasure at the column that has ruffled feathers among many high-ranking
politicians and businessmen.

      Both The Standard and the Zimbabwe Independent newspapers are
registered with the Media and Information Commission.
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Zim Standard

      Mzee death: Hungwe faction in disarray
      Newsfocus By John Makura

      HARARE - The death of Zimbabwe's first Vice President, Simon Vengai
Muzenda two weeks ago, is bound to change the political configuration of
Masvingo province in south-eastern Zimbabwe - long touted as the bulwark of
the governing Zanu PF's support.

      Muzenda, who died at the age of 81, was both kingmaker and godfather
for many political aspirants in the Midlands and later in Masvingo when he
muscled out retired Air Vice-Marshall, Josiah Tungamirai, to claim Gutu
North during the 1995 general elections.

      "We have lost a godfather and protector," bemoaned Josaya Hungwe, one
of Muzenda's most trusted protégés.

      Hungwe also ghosted for his mentor during a long and drawn-out turf
war that has raged in Masvingo province for a decade and half, pitting
Muzenda against former Zanu PF heir apparent Eddison Zvobgo.

      "Vanga vari denga pamusoro pedu isu ve Masvingo. Denga raitivharirira
zvose mhepo, zuva, mvura nezvimwe zvakadaro. Zvino tasara tangove pamhene,"
(He was like a roof over our heads, protecting us from the wind, the sun,
the rain and harsh weather conditions. Now that he is gone, we are left
exposed," Hungwe, a pretender to the Masvingo crown, lamented.

      Muzenda elevated Hungwe, his distant cousin, from a primary schools'
manager's post to an MP, and then to a more influential position as governor
of the vast province of 1,3 million people.

      Observers have credited Hungwe with almost succeeding in maintaining a
relentless campaign against Zvobgo. His efforts have, however, failed to get
the former Zanu PF spokesman expelled from the party.

      Zvobgo is a founder member of Zanu PF while some people consider
Hungwe to be "a Johnny-come-lately" whose political power and prominence was
drawn from riding on Muzenda's coat tails.

      Known for his vengeful campaigns against political opponents, Muzenda
however leaves the province of his birth fractured and with supporters
confused over whom to owe allegiance to among the leaders of the two warring

      Since Hungwe became governor of Masvingo in February 1990, there has
been no political love lost between him and the astute Zvobgo, perceived in
some quarters as the best legal brains in Zanu PF.

      Their battles have become legendary, sometimes spilling out into the
public arena amid accusations and counter accusations of which faction loves
Mugabe most.

      Hungwe has always sought to gain political favours from both Mugabe
and Muzenda by accusing Zvobgo of 'unbridled presidential ambitions".

      "He wants to be President and says I am a Mugabe man, whose man is
he?" Hungwe has said in the past, casting aspersions on his political foe.

      Hungwe is also said to have pulled his weight in Masvingo, promoting
only those known to publicly rebuke the Zvobgo faction.

      Buttressed by the support from Muzenda, Hungwe managed to whittle down
Zvobgo's influence in the province, culminating in a Politburo decision
recently to haul the party's former leading legal adviser before a
disciplinary committee.

      "It is the work of strangers in the party," Zvobgo said of the
machinations of rivals to demean and degrade his status ahead of a proposed
December party congress to decide who succeeds President Robert Mugabe.

      But it is not only Hungwe who has had their "roof taken away" by the
death of Muzenda, his mentor and godfather.

      During a pre-burial speech at Muzenda's Zvavahera home in rural Gutu,
Mugabe revealed that his party's political support could fall apart and lose
its age-old stranglehold in the province to the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) because of Muzenda's death.

      "Why should we let the symbol of our nationhood, the Great Zimbabwe
slip from our grip?" he pleaded with mourners gathered to pay their last
respects to his deputy.

      In the 13 years he has been governor - the longest in independent
Zimbabwe's history - Hungwe has also managed to assemble his own clique of
supporters who stand to lose a lot from Muzenda's death.

      More importantly, the fractious province is likely to disintegrate
further if Zvobgo and the firebrand Dzikamayi Mavhaire were to play "the
high stakes" game once more and try to take advantage of the void created by
Muzenda's death to reclaim their dominance of the province.

      Mavhaire was ousted from the provincial leadership by war veterans'
three years ago at Hungwe's behest after saying Mugabe had "to go".

      Ever since, Hungwe and his team have failed to hold Masvingo province
together. They failed to field candidates in some rural council electoral
wards and lost eight of the 10 urban wards by the widest of margins to the
opposition MDC in last month's municipal polls.

      Muzenda's death not only throws into disarray the aspirations of his
faction in Masvingo, it will also prove tricky to Mugabe and the ruling Zanu
PF party.

      Zanu PF knows it urgently needs to feel the vacancy created by
Muzenda's death, yet it must move cautiously to balance tribal interests.
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Zim Standard

      Unemployed youths turn to crime to make ends meet
      By Caiphas Chimhete

      WALKING through the Harare Gardens to Parirenyatwa Hospital one
afternoon, unsuspecting Marvelous Mauye had her wristwatch and handbag
snatched from her in broad daylight by two youths.

      Despite her desperate cries for help, scores of people - who throng
the park daily, some of them with their lovers, - turned a blind eye.
Unperturbed, the youths' leisurely walked away with their loot as if
everything was normal.

      Tearfully recounting her ordeal, Mauye said: "I was once warned not to
walk alone through the park even during the day but I thought it would not
happen to me. It was like hell."

      She said people no longer cared about what happened to others as long
it is not them or someone they know. Mauye's case is not an isolated

      Statistics indicate that the number of criminal activities,
particularly robberies, have significantly increased over the past year due
to the deteriorating economic environment and worsening poverty.

      Latest police statistics confirm a worrying trend of increasing cases
of armed robbery, theft and housebreaking countrywide, which experts and
social scientists say are an indication of the result of the deepening
poverty among Zimbabweans.

      In the first half of this year alone, cases of housebreaking and theft
shot up by 13,28 percent compared to the same period last year.

      During the same period, cases of armed robbery also went up 27,3
percent as more people turned to criminal activities in a bid to eke a
decent living.

      Police spokesman Andrew Phiri admits police are failing to cope with
the overwhelming increase in incidents of crime. He urged communities in
affected areas to join hands with the police to fight crime.

      "Police are carrying out preventive patrols in the affected areas, but
alone, our efforts cannot stamp out crime," he said.

      Presently, over 85 percent of the country's 12,5 million people live
below the poverty datum line while unemployment has topped 80 percent,
according to the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU).

      A labour consultant with a local employment firm said there is direct
correlation between crime on one hand, and poverty and unemployment, on the

      Presently, the country's education system annually churns out more
than 350 000 school leavers onto the job market while an additional 15 000
graduates from tertiary institutions join the job queues.

      In contrast, the shrinking formal sector only creates about 10 000
jobs a year and the rest "survive by their wits on the streets", said an

      "Not all of those who fail to make it into formal employment will
survive through genuine means, the majority would prefer the quickest and
easiest way of making money - which is stealing," said the labour

      Apart from those that fail to enter the formal employment, thousands
of workers are also finding themselves jobless as companies retrench due to
economic constraints. It is estimated that more than 900 000 jobs have been
lost in the formal sector since 2000.

      A sociologist with the University of Zimbabwe, Professor Claude
Mararike, attributed the rise in the crime rate to the "human factor decay"
necessitated by increasing economic pressure.

      "People's relationship with those things that they need in life is
getting poorer and weaker everyday. As a result, more people turn to
criminal activities in order to survive," noted Mararike.

      In a broader context, he added, the crime rate increases as law
enforcement mechanisms - both by the police and the communities - weaken.

      "The police have to be a little more imaginative than they are now
while communities should also co-operate with them to reduce crime," he

      Mararike, a university lecturer, believes crime is becoming
"institutionalised" with communities working hand-in-hand with known
criminals by buying cheaper but stolen property from the thieves. Phiri
concurred with Mararike.

      "Criminals do not operate in a vacuum, the community should assist the
police with information concerning crimes committed," said Phiri .
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Zim Standard

      Aids reduction claims disputed
      By Henry Makiwa

      LOCAL experts and HIV/Aids activists have disputed government's claim
that the prevalence rate of the killer disease have taken a dip, questioning
the manner in which health authorities carried out their latest survey.

      The objections come in the wake of Dr David Parirenyatwa, the Minister
of Health and Child Welfare's pronouncements that there has been a
significant drop in the number of people who are infected with the Human
Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV, the virus that causes Aids) in Zimbabwe.

      Tapiwa Kujinga, a lawyer and spokesman for the Zimbabwe Activists on
HIV and Aids (Zaha), said the manner in which the government had conducted
its survey was "hazy".

      "The people who conducted the survey are unknown and the statistical
projections worryingly differ with those highlighted by the more credible
UNAIDS organisation; it becomes harder for us to get a clearer picture that
will enable us to formulate strategies in the fight against Aids," said

      In August, Parirenyatwa announced that a government study showed that
1,8 million Zimbabweans aged between 15 and 49 are infected with HIV, the
virus that causes Aids.

      The figure is less than that estimated by the UN in its Global Aids
Report for the year 2001, in which it reported that more than two million
out of Zimbabwe's population of 11,6 million were infected.

      "What is apparent however is that more and more people are dying even
if the government claims that the figures are going down. it is saddening
how (the government) the government is now advocating for the construction
of more morgues at hospitals and not for the procurement of anti-retroviral
drugs as if they value the dead more than those dying from Aids," Kujinga

      Anti-retrovirals are drugs that are capable of dealing with the
numerous opportunistic infections that affect HIV positive people.

      "Much more still needs to be done, especially as Parirenyatwa himself
concedes that many people do not know their HIV status," said Kujinga.

      According to government projections, about 90% of Zimbabweans infected
with HIV do not know they have the virus.

      Parirenyatwa has said poor Zimbabwean teenage girls were particularly
vulnerable owing to cultural practices such as forced and arranged

      One health expert who refused to be named said: "The government's
survey simply took prevalence rates from different settlements all over the
country and averaged them across the board, a trait which is cause for great

      "You cannot take Binga's low prevalence rate and combine it with
Harare's high one to come up with a diluted projection.

      "The government wants to appear as if it is employing successful
programmes to mitigate the effects of Aids and yet if the HIV/Aids
prevalence rates have indeed taken a dip, all credit should go to the bold
non-governmental organisations and civic groups that have courageously
fought the disease amid a harsh political environment."

      He added: "The prevalence of the disease can be be drastically reduced
if it wasn't for the stringent bureaucratic measures that the authorities
have placed even against international organisations who want to assist the

      Though Parirenyatwa could not be reached for comment, a government
source told The Standard that the latest estimates were from a study
conducted by the government, based on surveillance data carried out on
pregnant women between the ages of 15 and 49 attending pregnancy clinics.

      Zimbabwe has one of the highest prevalence rates of the disease in the
world according to UNAIDS.

      At least 3 800 Zimbabweans die of Aids-related illnesses every week, a
figure experts have attributed to the country's lack of a comprehensive
anti-retroviral drug therapy programme.
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Zim Standard

      Child president slams national youth service
      By our own Staff

      VUMBA - Outgoing child president, Lydia Samvura, has slammed the Zanu
PF-initiated national youth service programme, saying it was imposed on the
Zimbabwean youths.

      Presenting a paper at a workshop convened by the Centre for Peace
Initiatives in Africa (CPIA) in Vumba recently, Samvura said it was
unfortunate that many youths had no choice but to join the discredited
programme in the hope of securing employment thereafter.

      "Youths are being given education without the end result being an
advantage to them," said Samvura.

      "At the end of the day students with 12 points fail to proceed to
productive sectors of life but instead join hundreds of others on buses to
Border Gezi training camps to be indoctrinated and physically trained, all
in the hope of getting employment easily. What culture should we learn from

      Samvura said many Zimbabwean youths were being forced into exile after
completing their education in search of greener pastures.
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Zim Standard

      Binga parents boycott schools over "Green Bomber" teachers
      By our own Staff

      BINGA - Several parents have withdrawn their children from more than
13 schools here after the Ministry of Education, Sport and Culture
reportedly displaced 171 teachers to pave the way for graduates of the
controversial national youth service programme, it was learnt last week.

      Binga is a well-known stronghold of the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC). The ruling Zanu PF has in the past three years
failed to sway its rural folk to ditch the opposition.

      MDC and Binga Member of Parliament Joel Gabbuza confirmed that many
parents in the region had decided to remove their children from school
rather than have them taught by the new teachers whom they believe were
being brought in by Zanu PF.

      "The parents say they will not let the government intimidate them
since they built the schools from their own energy and resources," said

      It is widely believed in Binga that the teachers being forcibly
transferred from the region would be replaced by graduates from the national
youth service programme, a scheme associated with the ruling party.

      An official at the Matabeleland North regional education offices, a
Mrs Mguni confirmed that many parents had withdrawn their children from
schools in the region and that there were 104 vacant teaching posts in

      "There is indeed a shortage of teachers in Binga since those who had
become regulars from the area were untrained and I understand that they are
currently engaged in the national youth service programme," said Mguni.

      The 68 national service graduates, reportedly brought in from Gokwe
and other areas outside the district to join the education system as
temporary teachers, can hardly speak a word of the local Tonga language, an
issue mentioned by some parents as one of the reasons they pulled their
children out of the schools.

      Shadreck Mudimba, the district administrator, last week called on
parents, teachers and civic leaders to meet to solve the problem.

      The Standard however understands that the meeting degenerated into a
"political farce" with angry parents loudly accusing the government of
hiring "Green Bombers" to teach their children.

      Government schools and other civil service institutions are now
reportedly giving first preference to jobseekers who have completed the Zanu
PF-aligned national youth service training.

      Schools in Binga affected by the acute shortage of teachers and that
have been offered the youths as substitutes include Muchesu, Bulawayo Kraal
and Samende.

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Zim Standard

      Zanu PF defies High Court over $2bn debt
      By our own Staff

      THE High Court has ordered the Deputy Sheriff to attach property worth
about $2 billion from Zanu PF which has failed to pay debts owed to six
clothing companies that printed its election campaign regalia last year, but
it emerged yesterday that the governing party was refusing to comply with
the order.

      In a landmark judgment that could provide some relief to several
companies that are owed huge sums of money by the ruling party, High Court
Judge Charles Hungwe found Zanu PF in default of its contractual obligations
made with six companies that either printed or distributed its campaign

      Facing its stiffest challenge since independence from Britain in 1980,
Zanu PF last year went on an vigorous poll campaign for President Robert
Mugabe that saw millions of "Hondo ye Minda" T-shirts printed and
distributed all over the country.

      The T-shirts and other party regalia were meant to complement a
blitzering media campaign in the State newspapers, radio and television that
sought to prop up Mugabe's waning political fortunes. Mugabe later won the
election amid charges of electoral fraud.

      The six companies, owed $1,8 billion by Zanu PF, are identified as
Millennium Advertising, Soakhill Marketing, Textile Printers, Tanclau
Printers, Brighter Decorators and Meckpect Distributors.

      The companies filed a joint challenge to contest the governing party
under the principal representation of former Radio 3 DJs Joe Hussein and
Kudzi Marudza, who co-own one of the companies.

      Instructing the Deputy Sheriff to attach the Zanu PF property, Justice
Hungwe said: "The terms of the contract agreed between the plaintiffs (the
six companies) and the defendant (Zanu PF), were that the plaintiff would be
paid in respect of the goods sold and delivered; and material supplied to
the defendant upon delivery of the said goods in all cases not later than 30
days from the date of delivery of goods.

      "You are required and directed to attach and take into execution the
movable goods of Zanu PF."

      However, it emerged yesterday Zanu PF was refusing to comply with the
court ruling, once again defying the rule of law.

      Sources at the party's Harare headquarters said raucous guards and
some roughneck youths who loiter around its premises, harassed a messenger
of court, identified only as Kunze on Thursday, when he tried to effect the
court order.

      "The youths and the guards put up a really ugly scene. They told the
poor guy (Kunze) that if he ever returned to the party's headquarters to
attach the property, they would beat him up and lock him up in the
basement," said a Zanu PF official.

      Thembinkosi Magwaliba of Matutu and Kwirira Legal Practitioners who
represented the companies yesterday refused to comment.

      "I'm out of the office right now and I cannot give you any comment. I
also have to consult my clients first before I speak to you because I
wouldn't want to prejudice them," Magwaliba said, via telephone.
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Zim Standard


      Don't blame the mirror for being ugly reflection

      WHY is the government and some Zanu PF propagandists accusing the
privately owned media of projecting a bad image of Zimbabwe? Zimbabwe is
indeed a very beautiful country that many a tourist would like to visit in
their lifetime but that natural beauty of Zimbabwe cannot be viewed in
isolation of the humanity within.

      For, what is beauty in civil strife, in starvation, in political
hegemony and economic chaos, rampant prostitution and corruption and
unprecedented unemployment. It is therefore obligatory for every journalist
worth his salt to mirror society as it is, for the benefit of that very

      The government of Zimbabwe has turned its own people into outlaws,
because of the disintegrating moral standards rendering social life utterly

      For starters, what happened to respect for the dead? Sanctify of death
is no longer held with the solemnity it deserves. Due to government's
inefficiency in procuring fuel death has been so trivialized. Honestly, how
can one spend the whole day in a fuel queue with a corpse. This is because
at some garages one has to present a body and burial order to acquire fuel.

      Due to this development, some conmen have sprouted all over the city
of Harare. It would not be surprising to discover that these conmen are
conniving with some hospital mortuary staff to collect bodies and obtain
burial orders. They then use these to buy fuel which they later sell on the
black market. The source of this problem: the government.

      There is quite a number of unclaimed bodies in the mortuaries. Some
have been lying unclaimed in these mortuaries for months and this has opened
the floodgates for these 'fuel conmen' to make a killing. One wonders why
there are so many unclaimed bodies at mortuaries.

      Imagine you live in Victoria Falls and a relative dies in Harare. You
have to start looking for cash to travel, which is not so easy. If you have
the cash there is no fuel. This dilemma, seemingly far-fetched, serves to
show the magnitude of the problem at play here. It is indeed the government
that is making people appear irresponsible.

      Numerous families have been torn apart because of the failures of the
government. The queues for visas that we witness at embassies are not out of
choice. Fathers leave their families to look for greener pastures elsewhere
because they can no longer afford to feed their families. Mothers too have
left the country to fend for their hungry families.

      But this has had a very undesirable effect on family bonding. The long
separation of parents has seen marriages crumble and the social structures
of families have disintegrated. Divorces have become the order of the day.
The root cause of all this is, again, the government.

      Dropouts from schools are also on the increase. People can no longer
afford to pay school fees. The result is, so many young girls have turned to
prostitution to survive. In a situation like this, how does one manage to
conscientise people about the vagaries of HI/Aids?

      Take a stroll in the avenues in Harare and witness what is happening
right round the country. Prostitution is brisk business, day and night, and
most of the prostitutes are teenagers of school going age.

      Many young men have resorted to crime as their source of livelihood.
There has been a huge increase in the number of street kids and beggars. The
rise in the cost of accommodation has seen a number of people become

      It is therefore irrelevant to say that the private media paints a bad
picture of the country. Society speaks for itself through its actions. It is
not for the media to preach to the outside world what is happening in our
country. It is up to us to organise ourselves so that we are perceived as

      The natural beauty of our country should be complemented by the basic
human rights of our people.

      The recent ban and refusal to grant an operating licence to The Daily
News is very unfortunate. You can kill one rooster but many more will be
there to crow when the sun comes up.

      Fortune Mbele


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Zim Standard

      Zim economy still drifting towards catastrophe
      By Kumbirai Mafunda

      ZIMBABWE will continue drifting towards economic catastrophe in the
absence of a conducive economic environment, one of the country's leading
conglomerates, Radar Holdings, has warned.

      In a commentary accompanying his group's year-end results chairman,
Kenneth Schofield, said the last year was characterised by the "continued
wanton destruction in absolute terms of the social, economic and structural
fabric of this country".

      He said Zimbabwe has become less of a meaningful participant in the
development of the southern African region because of the certification of
regulatory chaos, legal turmoil and a total lack of economic direction.

      "We are not even applying Band-Aid. Rather we are rolling like a
rubber ball across a porcupine's back Ševery time we move, another hundred
holes appear," said Schofield, who took over the chairmanship of the group
from his late father, Chris, who died last year.

      Zimbabwe is wallowing in its fifth year of economic recession,
dramatised by raging inflation - recorded officially at more than 426% in
August - shortages of the country's legal tender and energy constraints.

      The capacity to generate foreign exchange necessary to sustain the
industry and commerce is severely diminished, whilst agriculture, which for
years has been the backbone of the economy, has been badly decimated.

      Radar Holdings is the holding company of a diversified portfolio which
includes Commercial and Industrial Holdings (CIH), UBM and listed concern,
Macdonald Bricks, and Border Timbers, among others.

      Schofield decried the arbitrary application of the law, rampant
corruption and the inaccessibility of the world's capital markets caused by
the government's pariah status. He blamed the skewed dual interest rate
policy for retarding savings.

      "The local economy has remained driven by inflation which, in turn,
has meant continued demand for most products. While we lurch from one crisis
to the next, as long as this interest rate policy continues there will be
zero incentive to save, zero incentive to hold onto Zimbabwe dollars and on
the basis that the value of the currency unit - whether expressed in hard
currency or simply in goods and services - will be impossible to hold demand
for real assets of whatever form will continue," he said.

      The Randalls' chairman said he hoped Zimbabwe would not submerge
further into infinite lawlessness.

      "That business continues to operate will surely be a case study for
institutions across the world as to the resilience and resourcefulness of
all Zimbabweans," said Schofield.

      In his outlook, the businessman said there was need for the creation
of an enabling environment to steer industry out of the current quagmire.

      Radar recorded turnover of $19,4bn, 234% more than the $5,8bn achieved
in the comparative period. Profit for the year was $4,2 billion, up from
$329m attained in the previous year.
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Zim Standard

      Too daft to see the economic realities
      Sundaytalk with Pius Wakatama

      ON the 19th of September this year of our Lord the State mouthpiece,
The Herald proudly announced in its business section, "Efforts by the
government for parastatals to change realistic prices for their goods and
services hailed."

      Hear, hear! We are finally waking up to, the basic economic realities
of life. Yes, we have just discovered that for the past two decades we have
been living in an unreal world - a fool's paradise, if you please. This
realisation has not come out of our own intelligent reasoning however. We
are not capable of that. It has come out of the stark reality that
Zimbabwe's economy has become unstuck. It has finally melted down and we are
up to our buttocks in the messy goo.

      The Minister of Mines and Mining Development, Edward Chindori Chininga
recently announced that government had agreed to release $2 billion to
Ziscosteel, a parastatal, to pay off its debt to Wankie Colliery, another
crippled parastatal which is also up to its neck in debt. Even though the
colliery has one of the richest coal reserves in the world and was a major
exporter of the product, it cannot produce or deliver. Zimbabwe's own
companies have to import coal from South Africa.

      Chindori Chininga said the thrust was for the two companies to charge
realistic prices to meet their obligations.

      "This is a very good plan because most parastatals have been
performing community service when in actual fact they should be making money
and sustaining themselves. It is similar to the price control issue because
when the controls were in place goods were scarce on the official market but
as government moves away from controls, we have seen most goods return to
the official market," he said.

      Lord, have mercy!

      Did Zimbabwe's industry have to be destroyed for our Zanu PF leaders
to learn that price controls do not control prices but destroy the profit
incentive to produce goods?

      When goods are thus few on the market or have to be imported prices
naturally go up. And, when government tries to enforce price controls a
black market is immediately created.

      Obviously Chindori Chininga has not learnt the first lesson about
business. He said State enterprises "should be making money and sustaining
themselves." No, Sir. The goal of any business should not merely be to
sustain itself but to make significant profits in order to grow itself for
the benefit of its stakeholders and the nation. Any business which does not
have this as its goal will not exist for long.

      Almost to a man (and woman) our economic pundits pointed out over and
over again the truth that price controls would not work. Since one does not
need a degree in economics to figure this out I also added my two penny
worth to the debate. Way back, on January 31 in the year of our Lord 2000, I
wrote about the debilitating effect of price controls in The Daily News.
Unfortunately our erstwhile rulers have their ears firmly plugged so that
they can't hear the truth.

      In this article I said, "When government holds prices below market
levels in order to protect the public from so-called profiteering by
business it is, in fact, doing more harm than good."

      If a product is sold below the market price, then consumers will buy
more than what is available because it will be so affordable. Very soon that
product will be in short supply.

      On the other hand producers, if they are still in business, will be
discouraged from producing that product because they can't make profits
which justify their production, marketing and distribution costs. When a
company discontinues a production line because it has become unprofitable
people will have to be laid off and up goes the unemployment index.

      In any economy a certain amount of inflation is taken as a given.
Business adjusts to this with a sensitivity which only entrepreneurs have.
They have to gauge market sentiment as well as the reaction of other players
in the market. They also have to keep watching their margins or they will be
out of business if they are slow to react.

      The government does not have this kind of sensitivity. More often than
not, they only act in response to consumer sentiments or out of political
expediency. They can, therefore, set prices which are unrealistic and

      This is exactly what has happened to Zimbabwe. Despite the
protestations of level headed and patriotic economists, our government
zealots insisted on imposing upon us a command type of economy. They took it
upon themselves the responsibility of telling private business what to
charge for the goods irrespective of what it costs them to produce or
procure those goods.

      In order to give a semblance of intellectual credence to their
populist economic ideas, they bombarded us with shallow commentaries by
black phoneys with funny names and equally funny accents who posed as
economic analysts.

      Now that the chickens have come home to roost we lay the blame on
non-existent sanctions by Western countries instigated by the opposition
party, business saboteurs and everybody else but ourselves and our own

      Isn't it amazing that now that the damage is done and we are
helplessly staring at our economic ruin, we suddenly discover that price
controls don't work? Do we apologise and let better people take over to
clean the mess?

      No, sir. We act as though we have, out of the blue, discovered a new
truth. We proudly announce the deregulation of prices as though it is an
original discovery for which we should be patted on the back.

      This Zanu PF government must really believe that Zimbabweans are
stupid morons who can't think.

      Just as price controls created a thriving black market in goods, so
did the artificial and unrealistic pegging of the Zimbabwe dollar create the
present foreign currency black market. Former finance minister, Simba Makoni
was fired for pointing this out and suggesting that the Zimbabwe dollar be
devalued to realistic market levels.

      On February 14, 2002, I also pointed this out in The Daily News.
Freddy Chawasarira, the then ZimTrade chief executive had attributed the
shortage of foreign currency to the importation of non essential goods by
some shops.

      I replied: "The foreign currency shortage we are currently
experiencing is not caused by the importation of so-called trinkets but by
policies which restrict economic freedom."

      One of the International Monetary Fund (IMF)'s conditions for resuming
balance of payments assistance to Zimbabwe is that we deregulate the
exchange rate and let the value of the dollar be determined by market

      Propping up of the dollar has given it an artificial value which the
market does not recognise. Hence, the growth of the black market and the
flight of foreign currency from the banks.

      "If the dollar is allowed to float and find its place on the market,
foreign currency would start flowing into banks since the black market would
be effectively eliminated. Exporters would also have the incentive to export
more because of the promise of more earningsŠ ."

      Why does the government not listen to advice by the private sector and
the country's economists and let the market determine the real value of the
Zimbabwe dollar?

      The true reason is that because we are so heavily in debt internally
such a move would see the external debt balloon to unmanageable levels, in
Zimbabwe dollar terms. This would cause the artificial facade, which is our
economy today, to really come tumbling down.

      However, even without devaluation our economy is finished anyway. No
amount of stop gap bandaging can save it.

      He who has ears to hear, let him hear.

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Zim Standard

      "We are quaking in our boots"
      Shavings from the Woodpecker

      There is something about Zanu PF that turns perfectly reasonable men
into raving morons that bash at anything in their sight, or so it seems.

      How else can one describe the behaviours of the likes of junior
Information Minister Jonathan Moyo or journalism lecturer and head of the
Media and Information Commission, Tafataona Mahoso, for that matter.

      Moyo, or Nathaniel Manheru - as he likes to be called nowadays - was a
reasonable man: a respected university professor of political science whom
many parents were convinced was well appointed to shape their children's

      In the late 1980s and early 1990s, baring the occasional bout of
madness he directed at Uncle Bob Mugabe (whom reasonable people agree can
send even the sanest person bonkers), it was generally agreed that Professor
Moyo was a good man: a man of letters who was only concerned with the way
the governing party was ruining the country.

      Then there is Tafataona Mahoso. When he came back to Zimbabwe years
after independence from wherever he was coming from, it was generally agreed
that although he would sometimes also go off the rails, he was a reasonable
man who was likely to add value to the journalism profession.

      Both men, it was agreed, were perfectly normal Zimbabweans trying to
redress some of the problems that were within their capabilities, given
their training in life.

      Then Moyo became the face of Zanu PF after his disastrous flirtation
with trying to sell Mugabe's flawed new constitution to Zimbabweans in 1999.

      From then on, he was like a man possessed: lashing out at any shadow
that he wrongly perceived to be Mugabe's enemy, and by extension his enemy
as well. He ranted and he raved.

      He attacked the private media (and even the State media at the time),
the opposition, the British, the Americans and the South Africans - who over
the most difficult years after the flawed 2000 election, have been Mugabe's
staunchest supporters.

      Not to be outdone, his protégé Mahoso followed foolishly, like a
puppy, but spewing bile in long and boring articles in the equally boring
Sunday Mail.

      Journalism students, who had expected to read timely and thought
provoking features by Mahoso in his weekly Sunday column, were surprised
that this top lecturer was only an angry old man, desperate to curry favours
with Zanu PF, after all.

      They could only conclude, as they indeed also concluded after reading
Nathaniel Manheru's hate-filled articles in the other Zanu PF rag every
Saturday, that Zanu PF turns perfectly reasonable men into stark raving

      Educating Mahoso

      Mahoso and Moyo, during the launch of the misnamed New Ziana, this
week warned that they are after journalists at The Standard and the Zimbabwe
Independent, now that they have succeeded in shutting down The Daily News.
We arequaking in our boots.

      In his tirade, Mahoso attacked his pet hate, the Standard's hot
column, Hot Gossiper, which is perhaps one of the most widely read columns
in this country.

      Mahoso, whom we suspect has a hidden fetish to be one day featured in
the hot, gossip-dripping Hot Gossiper column, can't seem to distinguish
between a proper news story and a gossip article.

      For what its worth, maybe we should educate Mahoso, the head of the
journalism department at Harare Polytechic, on what a gossip column is.

      A gossip column, as its name implies, covers issues or reports that
might not necessarily be easily identified with their subjects, for all
sorts of reasons, legal or otherwise. These articles are light reports,
compared to hard news, and are meant to brighten the paper - and the
readers' lives.

      They also sometimes poke fun at leading personalities in business,
politics or civil society by exposing and making fun of their sexual

      For his threats though, we can only say once more: "We are quaking in
our boots."

      Food for thought

      It is interesting that Moyo-Manheru and Mahoso, when attacking the
private and independent Press, never mention the Financial Gazette, the
Sunday Mirror and the two Tribune tabloids.

      Can we read something here? Are these newspapers "good" because they
are owned by businessmen with known close links to the ruling Zanu PF party?

      It is an open secret in the journalism profession that some of these
so-called "independent" newspapers are mere Zanu PF fronts that in all
fairness, should openly declare their allegiance as does the party's
People's Voice.

      By the way, are Nathaniel Manheru and Ceaser Zvayi registered with the
Media and Information Commission?

      Food for thought, Mahoso.

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Zim Standard

      No end to Mugabe's theatre of fools

      Zimbabwe is now a crisis-ridden society, bouncing from one crisis
after another with no visible solutions on the horizon.

      It is like a ship at sea, captained by a drunken master - or at best -
by a skipper who has abandoned his duties, retiring to his cabin and
delegating his work to no one in particular.

      There are so many crises that it is difficult to list all of them on a
single page: there is of course, the foreign exchange crisis, then the fuel
crisis - cash, AIDS, drugs, transport, water Š you name it.

      We are living in a country where everything - including the very
things that used to bind us together such as our pride in being Zimbabwean
and the high self-esteem and confidence that we used to exude - are now,
regrettably, also in short supply.

      It now seems all that is left which is not in short supply is the air
that we breathe and the sun to warm our backs.

      But yet some of these crises could be addressed if only there was
proper leadership and serious planning in the governing Zanu PF party.

      Millions of Zimbabweans would not have to die from HIV/Aids if a
proper anti-retroviral drug therapy programme is rolled out.

      We know that cheaper generic ARV drugs are now available in countries
such as Brazil and India and the arguments that a proper roll out plan needs
to be in place first before the drugs can be made available, is cheap, to
say the least.

      Experts have pointed out that Zimbabwe's anti-retroviral drug therapy
roll-out plan could easily ride - piggyback style - on the successful TB
programme that has been in existence, and is very successful, for some years

      Then comes the issue of public transport. It is a sorry sight to drive
around the capital Harare, and Bulawayo, and witness the plight of workers
who have to spend hours on the long and winding queues for transport to take
them home from work.

      Zimbabwe, before and immediately after independence, used to have a
public transport network that worked. And that was even before the advent of
commuter minibuses.

      That system, which in the capital was run by the Harare United
Passenger Company, worked, for those old enough to remember.

      The entry by government into the public transport sector through its
buy off of ZUPCO has been a disaster. The company has been forced to ferry
Zanu PF supporters all over the country even when the governing party and
the government owe it millions in unpaid debts.

      How then can a normal company be expected to operate on purely
commercial lines and make enough money to buy new buses to service its
routes, when it is at the beck and call of a political party?

      It has been said before, and we say it once more: government has no
business in business.

      Still on ZUPCO and the issue of public transport, the company's desire
to "keep up appearances" is mind boggling, to say the least.

      Instead of buying cheaper buses that would carry workers and everybody
else, the Zanu PF-aligned firm spends hard-earned foreign currency buying
luxury coaches from South Africa.

      Besides those two, the list of small problems that Zimbabwean
authorities have allowed to blow up into crises is endless.

      Take the cash shortage, for example.

      The government itself, through its Central Statistical Office, admits
that inflation has skyrocketed during the last two years.

      CSO figures for August, the latest available, say consumer inflation
has surpassed 426 percent.

      The rise in inflation has been a gradual process that accelerated
during the last 12 months or so, and surely the government should know about
this, if it reads its own statistics.

      The government should have known - and should have prepared for it -
that the amount of bank notes in circulation would need to be increased just
to meet the challenges posed by the soaring inflation. Period.

      All other measures such as travellers' cheques and bearer cheques,
while providing light relief, are like closing the barn door after the horse
has bolted.

      The same can be said of most of all the other crises that we are
facing. They can and should be easily dealt with if we had a proper and hard
working government in place.

      Come to think of it, most of these problems are not insurmountable.

      The issue of governance, which the World Bank and the International
Monetary Fund are always clamouring about, could easily be dealt with if
Zanu PF and the opposition sit down to map out the way forward.

      It is only when we address the fundamental issues that dog us such as
human rights' abuses, democracy, freedom of expression and proper rule of
law, that we shall shed off our current pariah status and hopefully be fully
accepted as equals in international organisations, and by international
financial institutions.

      We therefore implore President Robert Mugabe to seize the moment that
has presented itself with the apparent thawing of relations between his
party and the MDC.

      We implore him to display the statesmanship that he was well known for
in the early years of our independence and revisit his policy of
reconciliation and once again focus on the rehabilitation of Zimbabwe and
its crumbling economy.

      Mr. President, the time for petty politics is over. Neither you nor
Zimbabwe have the time anymore to play to the gallery.

      We are tired of the theatre of fools that your administration has
become. You and you alone must address all these crises because as you say,
you were elected to lead us.

      Fire the deadwood in your midst, if you must. Fire the whole lot of
your advisers and employ new ones if that will help you solve our problems.
We have enough Zimbabwean talent within and without our borders for you to
pick new brains from.

      In the twilight of your career, would you want to leave the legacy of

      We, forward thinking Zimbabweans, believe you still have it in you to
rally the whole country - including the MDC - to at least pull Zimbabwe out
of its current political and economic quagmire.

      But if you are indeed tired and bereft of ideas, as your critics
claim, then it is time for you to go.

      It is only a game of fools that has no timetable - great men and women
know when the game is up.

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Zim Standard

      Minding your pleas and queues
      overthetop By Brian Latham

      Troubled central Africans were amused last week to learn that their
alleged government had made another plan to solve the petrol problem.

      For those with the energy to do these things, counting the so-called
solutions to the fuel crisis has become a popular pastime. So far,
apparently, government has made several dozen announcements heralding an end
to fuel woes.

      None of them have come to anything - while analysts predict the latest
will come to nothing as well.

      Much of the problem lies in the government's inability to understand
or speak English. While it claims to have deregulated the oil sector, it
still maintains price controls on petrol.

      Quite how you can have deregulation and price control is a mystery to
every troubled economist and energy executive in the troubled central
African nation. Deregulation means the state has no involvement in the
market, which would be right and proper.

      So the truth is that the oil sector has not been deregulated and that
government is either confused or lying - or both.

      Given its history, it's probably both. The ministry of disinformation
is becoming awfully good at presenting whopping lies as fact - especially
after it's barbaric treatment of the only independent daily paper the
country had.

      Still, remember that you read it here first: the fuel sector has not
been deregulated and fuel shortages will not go away.

      For it's part, insane economists in the Zany Party expect oil
companies to sell petrol for less than they paid for it. They also expect
supermarkets and other retailers to sell basic commodities for less than
they paid for them.

      Quite why they expect such altruism from business is another mystery,
but one that will never, ever (to borrow a phrase from the most equal of all
comrades) be realised.

      Meanwhile worried economists and businessmen warn that there is a more
sinister process at work - one that forces companies into bankruptcy so that
Zany politicians can pick them up for next to nothing. "We've seen it on the
farms and we'll see it in town, just you wait," said an angry and troubled
central African businessman.

      Others said that the amount of traffic in a country with no
functioning filling stations was proof that Zany business had already
hijacked the oil sector.

      "Every time you fill up you're putting money into their pockets," he

      It is a simple truth that when governments interfere in the market,
shortages become inevitable. That's because government has no business
telling people what things should cost. It is another truth that only
governments bloated with arrogance and self-importance ever consider
interfering in the market place.

      But then no one in the troubled central African nation was ever in
doubt about how arrogant and self-important the Zany government has become.

      Asking for sanity or common sense to bring an end to economic
hardship, queuing and hunger is pointless, so don't bother pleading your
case. The Zany party has decided that the imperialist British, the More
Drink Coming Party and exploitative white men have caused all hardship.

      Zany politicians and businessmen with S Class Benzes and 500 suits are
not exploiting the masses, they are reaping the rewards of sovereign
independence. Funny how a party card can set you apart.

      If you own more shoes than Imelda Marcos but support the wrong party
or are the wrong colour, then you're a subversive imperialist. But if it's
all in the name of Zany enterprise, you're a hero. Curious how no one
notices the hypocrisy in all this, isn't it?
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