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Misrule in Zimbabwe: Robert Mugabe presiding

Daily Observer (Liberia), 5 October

By Emmanuel Abalo
The southern African nation of Zimbabwe is today reeling from crippling
effects of massive economic and political stagnation brought on in part by
some of the misguided and intolerant policies of its present administration
headed by President Robert Mugabe. Zimbabwe, formerly known as Rhodesia
during the colonial rule of Britain, gained independence on April 12, 1980
and has been ruled since by the Mr. Mugabe who is a product of the armed
struggle for independence. But clearly, nowadays, he has become quite
insensitive to the reality and detached from the suffering of his own
people. The euphoria of the birth of a new nation at the time with all the
hopes and aspirations of Zimbabweans and Africans in modern times have,
however, since dissipated with the loss of integrity and good governance
under Mr. Mugabe. The stark reality is that ordinary Zimbabweans are faced
with food and fuel shortages, malnutrition, a disproportionate HIV pandemic,
declining workers’ wages, perceived widespread governmental corruption,
inflation, accelerating unemployment and a general meltdown in all aspects
of life in the country. Malnutrition is becoming more widespread in Zimbabwe
as food shortages intensify. Hospital doctors in Harare, the capital, report
a sharp increase in patients suffering from malnutrition-related ailments,
while health care workers in Bulawayo say they are seeing many more
undernourished children as food costs soar out of reach. The country’s food
crisis had caught up with the Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA), which had
started to send mostly junior officers on forced leave as it was unable to
"provide three meals a day". Unnamed army official are quoted by the private
press in Harare as saying because of these problems the ZNA had even
suspended recruitments.
In its frantic effort to head off the general decline, Mr. Mugabe’s
government instituted a violent "land grab" program affecting white farmers
and tried to justify this failed drama by stoking the flames of xenophobia.
The reason has to do with the Lancaster House agreement signed in 1979. This
agreement stipulated that the existing land tenure system would sit out for
10 years and thereafter the British Government would fund a land
resettlement exercise. The Government of Zimbabwe was content to allow the
existing land tenure system to remain intact simply because the British
Conservative Party Government which gave Zimbabwe its independence provided
a large sum of cash for land reform purposes. The Zimbabwean government
further argues that the solution to the land issue in Zimbabwe prior to the
year 2000 clearly lay with the British Government, noting that had the
British Government been persuaded to fund the land reform as before there
would have been no large scale expropriations of farmland. The resultant is
that some war veterans have been rewarded with and now occupy some of the
once prosperous white owned farms but can barely afford a hoe to till the
soil let alone acquire the knowledge and implements to maintain the
production of needed crops.
Out of a field of six opposition parties, the only viable opposition entity
the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) led by Morgan Tsvangirai, a former
miner turned political figure, remains a democratic alternative and perhaps
the hope in checking the decline of Zimbabwe. Let me quickly point out,
however, that the this forward looking statement, in no way, suggests a
blanket support or accommodation of this opposition group. Interestingly,
Mr. Tsvangirai is quoted once as intimating that his strategy for unseating
President Mugabe is to allow, he, Mugabe to mismanage the country until he
was forced out of power. The concern here is that to passively allow
continuous misrule by any government is a disservice to the principles of
democracy and trusteeship of the aspirations of those who desire a better
life and dignity for the country Zimbabwe. This argument is not to ignore
the engagement, political competition and pressure that the opposition MDC
maintains in the face of organized harassment, intimidation, false
accusations and elections rigging by the government.
The Zimbabwean Constitution provides citizens the right to change their
government peacefully; however, this right has been seriously curtailed and
restricted because the political process has been practically skewed
repeatedly in favor the of the ruling Zanu PF. We do not support a violent
change of government in Zimbabwe but support strict sanctions against key
players who are stifling political and economic progress in Zimbabwe and the
southern African region. The United States, Britain and the European Union
(EU) have all imposed a travel ban on some top Zimbabwean government
officials and are prepared to issue more restrictions. And so since
Zimbabwean President Mr. Mugabe is behaving badly and he is an African
embarrassment, the African Union (AU) can and must actively be engaged in
resolving the issues in Zimbabwe. A timetable must be issued to Mr. Mugabe
to effect a government of national unity, national reconciliation and
national elections or face isolation and sanctions as may be deemed
necessary. The Southern African Development Coordination Conference (SADCC)
which unites nine southern African states with a combined population of 60
million, has as its objective the task of promoting economic development and
realizing economic independence, must also engage Zimbabwe aggressively as a
partner and advisor. Our neighbor’s house, Zimbabwe, is on fire and we can
ill afford to stand idly by. The way forward is the government’s willingness
to examine its own attitude towards the hopeless plight of the common
Zimbabwean with a view to instituting political, electoral and economic

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Arrested for walking

5 October 2005
                                MDC MP for Budiriro Gilbert Shoko arrested
The MDC Member of Parliament for Budiriro Gilbert Shoko and about sixteen others were this morning arrested for walking to work in solidarity with the struggling people of Zimbabwe most of whom walk daily to their respective places of work as a result of the fuel shortage that has afflicted the country.
In support of their President Morgan Tsvangirai who started the solidarity walks three weeks ago, most Harare Members of Parliament have been walking to work. Hon Shoko left his Budiriro Constituency at 0700 hours with about twenty others and they had intended to walk into town. They were how ever intercepted by the police at Southerton police station and were rounded up after having been accused for lying that the country had no fuel.
They have all been taken to Southerton police station. We have not yet been able to get full details on the specific charges that have been levelled against them. We will keep you updated on any new developments.
Information and Publicity Department

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Zimbabwe MP held for walk-to-work protest

Business Day

Vukani Mde

Political Correspondent

ZIMBABWEAN police arrested and detained a Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) MP yesterday for walking to work as a form of protest against the
country’s worsening fuel crisis.
The MDC said Gilbert Shoko and 16 other party members were detained and
accused by the Harare police of lying about fuel shortages.
Authorities in Harare fear the daily walks may snowball into a new and
symbolically powerful resistance movement.
Zimbabwe is in the grip of its deepest fuel crisis to date, with most petrol
stations having gone for months without deliveries.
This has forced thousands to walk to work.
Aleck Muchadehama, Shoko’s lawyer, said the MP was released last night after
being charged with an offence under Zimbabwe’s draconian Public Order and
Security Act. Shoko and his colleagues were accused of conducting an illegal
gathering, he said.
The MDC said that the group was acting “in solidarity with the struggling
people of Zimbabwe most of whom walk to their workplaces daily as a result
of the fuel shortage that has afflicted the country”.
MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai is said to be walking to work every day as
State radio reported yesterday that Zimbabwe would soon start growing the
oil-rich jatropha tree to manufacture its own blend of biodiesel —
international reports say a ton of jatropha seed oil can yield up to 1100l
of biodiesel.
Zimbabwe also lacks medicine and other imported basic commodities as a
result of a five-year- long foreign currency shortage.
Telkom earlier this year cut its connection to Zimbabwe due to a debt of
$18m, throwing the Zimbabwean telecoms industry into chaos. With Sapa

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Zim cops free MDC's walking protesters

Cape Argus

October 6, 2005

Zimbabwean police have released an opposition lawmaker and at least 16 of his constituents who were arrested for walking to work to protest chronic fuel shortages, their lawyer said.

Gilbert Shoko, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) member of parliament for Budiriro suburb in Harare, and opposition supporters were arrested as they walked to the city centre, their lawyer Alec Muchadehama said yesterday morning.

"They have since been released," he said later.

MDC spokesman Maxwell Zimuto said: "The MP was walking to work together with other people from his constituency when the police confronted them and asked them why they were walking as a group.

"They told the police they had no other means of transport because of the fuel crisis but the police said there was plenty of fuel and rounded them up saying they were demonstrating against the government." 

MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai started walking to work two weeks ago in protest against the fuel shortages that have reached critical levels in recent months.

Tsvangirai, who walked eight kilometres from his home in Strathaven suburb, said he had run out of fuel for his cars and vowed to continue his walk-to-work "for as long as he does not have fuel," his spokesman said.

Zimbabwe has faced serious fuel shortages since 1999, but the current crunch, has seen some petrol stations without fuel for weeks, forcing buses and private cars off the road and leaving many with no option but to walk or cycle to their workplaces. - Sapa-AFP

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ZIMBABWE: Cost of living soars for urban families

[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]

BULAWAYO, 5 October (IRIN) - Galloping inflation is sapping the purchasing
power of urban Zimbabweans, according to a new report by the country's
consumer watchdog.

The Consumer Council of Zimbabwe (CCZ) said on Wednesday that basic
expenditure for an urban family of six had shot up from about Zim $6.9
million (US $265) in September to Zim $9.9 million (US $380) in October.

CCZ spokesperson Tonderai Mukeredzi blamed the cost of living hike on
rocketing prices of basic items like sugar, maize-meal, rice, cooking oil
and school fees in the past few weeks.

"The wave of prices that we have been experiencing in the past weeks has had
a direct effect on the consumer basket and now a family of six needs $9.9
million to buy essentials every month. But the figure is definitely going to
rise soon as commodity prices continue to go up," Mukeredzi told IRIN.

He explained that an average worker in Zimbabwe earns far less than the
minimum household basket, and "many families can not afford a standard three
meals a day".

According to economic analyst and opposition Movement for Democratic Change
advisor Eddie Cross, "What this simply means is that urban poverty is on the
increase; an average worker in Zimbabwe has a disposable salary of about Zim
$4 million (US $154), compared with the Zim $9.9 million that each family
now needs."

Zimbabweans have been mired in economic recession for over six years, now
weighed down with inflation of over 300 percent, stubbornly high
unemployment, food shortages and a serious foreign exchange deficit.

According to the World Economic Forum's (WEF) Global Competitiveness Report
2005-2006 released last week, the southern African nation is going through
its worst economic crisis since independence in 1980.

"Zimbabwe is a particularly sad case, whose quick descent to the bottom of
the world's competitiveness rankings reflects the continued deterioration of
the institutional climate, including the disappearance of property rights,
the corruption of the rule of law, and the implications these and other
factors have had for macroeconomic management," the WEF report alleged.


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“The constitutional reforms passed this week are not just an abrogation of the basic human rights of Zimbabwean citizens. They also put the seal on this regime’s disregard for private property and lack of belief in the rule of law,” said Tendai Biti , 2 September 2005

“The Sharp criticism of the IMF needs to be taken as a wake-up call by the regime to stop its purposeful destruction and put the country back onto a positive, development-oriented path,” said Morgan Tsvangirai (4 September 2005)

“The man [Mugabe] is deluded and Zimbabweans are paying a high price for this delusion. He may still be a hero to a number of African leaders but to the starving people on the ground he is playing ‘Russian Roulette’ with their lives,” said Paul Themba Nyathi (19 September 2005 )

“Our continued growth and resilience is a testament to the bravery and determination of hundreds of thousands of ordinary Zimbabweans on the ground and in the Diaspora,” said Professor Welshman Ncube (23 September 2005


6th Anniversary Celebrations
On 10 September a rally was held at White City Stadium in Bulawayo to celebrate the MDC’s 6th anniversary. Over 20,000 people packed into the stadium to the join the party leadership in the celebrations. MDC President Morgan Tsvangirai delivered the key note address in which he congratulated party supporters on the progress made but also warned of the challenges that lie ahead.

“We must strengthen our critical mass for democratic resistance…We must show our unity, organisation and our vision to elbow this criminal state aside and resolve the national political and economic crisis”. 

In a show of solidarity with the workers and ordinary people hit by constant fuel shortages, MDC President Morgan Tsvangirai announced on 16 September that he will walk to work until the situation improves.

Consulting The People
The MDC leadership are currently visiting all the country’s 10 provinces to consult party structures and supporters on the issue of participation in the forthcoming Senate elections. The turnout at the rallies held thus far has been deeply encouraging.

·        In Midlands province, the average turnout at the three rallies that were held on 2 and 3 September was 7,000
·        In Matabeleland South the rallies held in Ntabazinduna and Gwanda on 9 and 11 September witnessed an average turnout of 9,000
·        On 17 September more than 15,000 turned up at a rally held at the Mucheke stadium in Masvingo.
·        On 18 September 18,000 turned up at a rally held at Sakubva in Mutare
·        The rallies held at Nzvimbo and Shamva in Mashonaland Central (a traditional Zanu PF stronghold) on 30 September attracted over 5,000 people. A rally held the next day in Marondera attracted over 8,000 people. 



WFP Warning
A report published by the World Food Progamme has warned that the dilemma of food availability and affordability in Zimbabwe could translate into worse than expected needs during the traditional lean season before the new harvest in March/April next year.

Agricultural yields are expected to be very low due to the fact that many farmers have been unable to access fertiliser, chemicals and seed.

The WFP estimates that 4.3 million people in Zimbabwe are in need of food aid. Mugabe and his key henchmen, notably Didymus Mutasa, scoff at such claims. However, Simon Pazvakambwa, permanent secretary in the agricultural ministry informed a business conference on 10 September that Zimbabwe only had three weeks’ supply of maize. “If we are not careful, there will be no food on the table next year,” he said.

Less than a week after these comments were made, Mugabe, in an interview with The Associated Press said that Zimbabweans were ‘very, very happy’. He dismissed claims that the country was running out of food.

“You describe it [Zimbabwe] as if we have a whole cemetery…. The problem is reliance on corn…but it doesn’t mean we haven’t other things to eat. We have heaps of potatoes but people are not potato eaters….they have rice but they’re not as attracted to that”.

”Zimbabwe desperately needs food aid. Mugabe however is unaware of the magnitude of the crisis. He has never visited any of the areas or met any of the people suffering from hunger. The only time he meets ‘the public’ is when he stands on the podium at ostentatious Zanu PF rallies ranting about Tony Blair,” said Paul Themba Nyathi

Children Die From Hunger
In Sibolela (Midlands North) MDC MP for Kwe Kwe, Blessing Chebundo, attended the funeral of two young children, Jabson and Sandiso Zebron, who died as a result of their basic diet being restricted to tree roots. In many parts of Midlands North the absence of basic commodities has forced people to resort to eating tree roots in order to survive. 

Villagers Running Out of Food
The Daily Mirror reported on 14 September that chiefs and headmen from villages in at least three provinces had appealed to the Government to deliver emergency food relief due to dire food shortages.  According to the Mirror the worst affected areas were Mt Darwin (Mashonaland Central), Mutoko and Mudzi (Mashonaland East) and Buhera (Manicaland). 



Fuel Price
On 6 September the pump price for petrol and diesel increased by more than 130%. Petrol now costs Z$23,000 per litre (up from Z$10,000) and diesel costs Z$20,800 per litre (up from Z$9,600). On the parallel market however a litre of petrol is fetching $45,000. 

Exchange Rate
On the parallel market the Zim dollar has plunged to a historic low of Z$75,000 to the US$. It is now three times the official rate of Z$26,000.

Industry Operating At 25% of Capacity
Preliminary research conducted by the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce has revealed that most companies are operating at a quarter of their capacity. This represents an all-time low.

Manufacturing Shrinks 9%
Figures released by the Central Statistical Office show that Zimbabwe’s manufacturing industry contracted by 9.4% last year. Factory output had slumped 45.6% since 1998.

PRICE RISES: August 2005 – September 2005

     Increase (%)
      Maize Meal
     500 GM
      Cooking Oil
      Bath Soap


Thousands Arrested
During the last week of September police arrested 14,706 people in Harare as part of Operation Siyapambili/Hatidzokereshure (No Going Back). This latest initiative is a follow-up to the internationally condemned Operation Murambatsvina (Restore Order) which resulted in the destruction of the homes and livelihoods of over 700,000 people.

Political Violence Report[1]

Cumulative Totals: 1 Jan 2005 – 31 July 2005

Assault – 451
Freedom of Expression/Association/movt – 868
Political Discrimination/Intim/Vict – 380
Torture – 132
Unlawful Arrest – 527
Unlawful Detention - 497
Quality of Life
A report published by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has revealed that Zimbabweans have experienced one of the sharpest declines in quality of life in recent years. The findings include the following:

66% of Zimbabweans do not expect to live beyond 40
Zimbabwe dropped 23 places to 145th position in the world in terms of human development between 1990 and 2003
The quality of life in Zimbabwe is worse than in countries such as Mongolia, Equatorial Guinea and Cambodia.

WEF Report
The Global Competitiveness Report 2005-2006, published by the World Economic Forum (WEF) has given Zimbabwe the lowest ranking, among the 117 countries covered by the report, for the quality of its macroeconomic environment.

Bulawayo Suspends Essential Services
Authorities in Bulawayo have suspended all essential services, except the ambulance service (which only has two vehicles running), due to the chronic fuel shortages.

Corpses Pile Up
According to reports in the local media, corpses are piling up at hospitals as families do not have the fuel available to collect bodies for burial.


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Shake-up at central bank of Zimbabwe

Business Day

Dumisani Muleya

Harare Correspondent

ZIMBABWE’S central bank is restructuring its operations to focus on core
business following criticism of its conduct by various pundits, including
President Thabo Mbeki.
Central bank governor Gideon Gono said this week the institution was
overhauling its “operational structures” to improve efficiency. This was a
reaction to criticism the bank had lost direction under Gono.
The central bank, which has closed seven commercial banks, has been accused
of venturing into politics instead of confining itself to its role on
monetary policy issues.
Gono said the exercise would ensure the bank focused on “inflation reduction
through a deeper thrust on monetary austerity, structural interventions to
unlock the supply side, as well as the stabilisation of expectations through
policy consistency and implementation.”
The bank was blamed for instigating the widely condemned Operation Restore
Order, which followed Gono’s monetary policy statement on May 19.
In the statement, Gono proposed a chain of desperate measures while lashing
out at alleged saboteurs of his recovery programme to save the economy from
a further slide. He blamed drought and indiscipline for the failure of his
recovery agenda.
Gono said that government should “build more jails” and “economic crimes
courts” for black market dealers, marking the beginning of the blitz on
shanties and informal businesses.
Mbeki said two months ago there was a need to refocus the role of the
Zimbabwean central bank.

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Military revolt in Zimbabwe

Business Day

Dumisani Muleya

Harare Correspondent

THE Zimbabwean army and air force have been hit by protests over the
government’s failure to increase their salaries as well as chronic food
shortages at their barracks.
Military sources said this week soldiers were increasingly unsettled by
government’s refusal to increase their salaries and provide adequate food
supplies to the 40000-strong army.
Disgruntled armed forces pose a serious threat to President Robert Mugabe’s
regime, which depends on the state security apparatus — the army, the air
force and the intelligence service — for its survival.
Mugabe last week urged the armed forces to remain vigilant to deal with what
he termed a “vicious imperialist onslaught”.
The situation has been worsened by public servants’ worsening bureaucratic
Sluggish performance by poorly paid and demoralised public servants has
aggravated the economic crisis.
Sources said army commanders have in the past two weeks been battling to
assure soldiers the situation would be attended to as soon as possible.
It is said some troops have been detained at 2 Brigade barracks in Harare in
connection with “indiscipline” related to agitation for salary increases.
Sources said the soldiers were expected to be court-marshalled.
Senior army commanders have been telling soldiers to channel their
grievances through proper structures instead of engaging in “unruly
campaigning” which could easily be interpreted as “mutiny”.
Sources said a senior army commander told troops on September 13 at
Cranborne barracks in Harare there would be no pay rise until January.
A few days later a senior military intelligence officer told troops at the
Presidential Guard HQ in Dzivarasekwa in Harare the issue would be
addressed, but no improvements were forthcoming.
Sources said “dozens” of soldiers had been prevented from leaving the army
in protest over the current problems. Instead, they said, troops were being
sent on forced leave in a bid, prompted by food shortages, to reduce numbers
at the barracks.
Army spokesman Lt Col Aggrey Wushe has denied soldiers were going on leave
due to food shortages, saying they had accrued leave days during the
Democratic Republic of Congo war between 1998 and 2002.
The army also denied there was unrest within its ranks.
“We have food to feed them until the next financial year. We can keep them
in the barracks but the days they accrued will be forfeited,” Wushe said.
“We are saying, ‘take them now or they will get forfeited’.”
Army commanders are traditionally loyal to Mugabe and generals occupy the
upper echelons of parastatals and government posts.
Mugabe has militarised government bureaucracy by deploying former soldiers
to perform civilian duties.
A few years ago, a leaked memo by former British High Commissioner to
Zimbabwe, Peter Longworth, addressed to the Prime Minister Tony Blair’s
office, said Downing Street thought there was no real threat of a military
coup against Mugabe’s regime despite the prevailing political and economic
The social and economic conditions have, however, dramatically worsened
since then.
In the run-up to the disputed 2002 presidential election, army generals
announced they would not accept an elected president without liberation
struggle credentials — a reference to opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai.
The army was heavily involved in the controversial election, which was won
by Mugabe.
A leaked memo written by army commanders, urging their structures to be
ready for the 2002 election, was widely taken as evidence of military
influence on the poll.
Some civilian programmes, such as the land reform programme and the
rebuilding exercise that followed the demolition of shanties and informal
markets, were also carried out by the army.
?Zimbabwe needs to import more grain to feed at least 2,2-million people who
cannot fend for themselves until the new harvest next April, the state-owned
Herald newspaper reported yesterday.

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Mugabe's regime admits Zimbabwe's people are starvin

The Independent
By Basildon Peta in Johannesburg
Published: 06 October 2005

The Robert Mugabe regime, which recently declared that all its people were "extremely happy" and did not need any foreign aid, has made a sudden U-turn and admitted it needs to feed 2.2 million starving citizens.

But non-governmental organisations (NGOs) say the figure is grossly understated and agree with a World Food Programme estimate that more than four million Zimbabweans need urgent food assistance.

Mr Mugabe stunned his countrymen at a recent United Nations summit in New York when he paraphrased Marie Antoniette by telling reporters that Zimbabweans who cannot find the staple maize meal, which is in short supply, could have potatoes instead. A bag of potatoes costs about £20 and is out of reach of many Zimbabweans. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Tuesday said the country was in virtual economic collapse with 70 percent unemployment and 265 per cent inflation.

The Mugabe regime made a turnaround yesterday with government official Sydney Mhishi saying it was about to feed at least 2.2 million starving people.

The main opposition party has urged Mr Mugabe's regime to swallow its pride and appeal for help.

Despite having no foreign currency, Mr Mhishi said the government would import 222,000 tons of maize. He did not say where it would find the money. Sugar and fuel are also in short supply. Ox-drawn ambulances have replaced petrol-powered vehicles.

In its report issued after a fact-finding mission, the IMF warned on Tuesday that Zimbabwe's economy was in a state of virtual collapse with economic growth crashing, inflation rampant and poverty soaring.

"Directors observed that without a bold change in policy direction, the economic outlook will remain bleak, with particularly detrimental effects on the poorest segment of the population," the report said.

One NGO worker said the "regime is sleepwalking to disaster". "The sooner they open their eyes and do the right thing the better."

Kofi Annan has pledged to send an envoy to Zimbabwe in November to break the impasse between the Mugabe government and international donors.

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High Court to rule on deporting failed Zimbabwe asylum seekers

The Independent (UK)

By Ian Herbert and Oliver Duff
The fate of dozens of failed asylum-seekers from Zimbabwe will be settled
today at a High Court hearing which will establish the legality of sending
them back to President Robert Mugabe's regime. Britain's policy of deporting
failed Zimbabwean asylum-seekers was suspended in July, pending today's
hearing, after the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, and the
former Labour leader Neil Kinnock led protests and about 40 Zimbabweans went
on hunger strike at detention centres. Dr Williams said it would be "deeply
immoral" to return failed asylum-seekers to a country where they could face
persecution and torture. The Home Office is expected to present to the court
the results of a fact-finding mission to Zimbabwe undertaken for the
hearing. This will form a significant part of the Government's submission in
several "country guidance" test cases. Lawyers for the asylum-seekers will
argue that all Zimbabweans with links to the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) party would face risks of violence if deported. The
UK's unwillingness to acknowledge this threat has been illustrated by the
decision to refuse asylum to Crispen Kulinji, a high-profile MDC member who
has become the human face of the political battle between the Government and
those who want the ban on deportation reinstated. His removal was suspended
after the intervention of the Labour MP Kate Hoey.
The court is also expected to hear that members of the Ndebele tribe would
be at risk if returned to Zimbabwe. A 40-year animosity between the Ndebele
and Mr Mugabe's Shona tribe has allegedly resulted in their persecution. A
source close to the asylum-seekers' defence teams indicated yesterday that
the plight of those Zimbabweans who have the HIV virus will also be
presented to the court. The Independent has detailed the case of a
37-year-old man who has been refused asylum despite his dependence on
antiretroviral drugs, which have not been available in Zimbabwe since its
descent into chaos amid President Mugabe's urban clearance policy. A
middle-aged woman is also known to be in the same position, with the Home
Office having refused her all right to appeal against deportation. "We now
know that the medical infrastructure in the country has collapsed, and that
means antiretroviral treatment is not even available to those who have the
means to buy it," said the source. "Deportation in HIV cases means death."
The Government has argued that a restoration of the ban on deportations
(lifted in 2002) might encourage more Zimbabweans to try to reach the UK. It
has also stated that there are "no substantial reports" of abuse of those
who have been returned - a claim disputed by the MDC, Zimbabwean churches
and Amnesty International. The asylum-seekers' case will draw on the work of
Sir Terence Ranger, one of Britain's most eminent Zimbabwe experts, who has
argued repeatedly against the removal of individuals to "an unstable
Zimbabwe in a state of economic collapse and with continuing human rights
abuses". Lawyers acting for the asylum-seekers suspect the Home Office
delegation to Zimbabwe has returned with mixed messages about those who seek
refuge in the UK. "Even among MDC members there is jealousy and resentment
about people who have managed to escape," said a source. "The Home Office
report [may] show the same bias."
In a last telephone call to his family, Edmore Ngwanya agonised over the
outcome of today's High Court hearing. "He had read that the Home Office had
sent a delegation to [gather evidence] for the hearing," said the relative
who took the call. "That frightened him. He thought they would use it to
deport him." Mr Ngwanya, 26, made the call on 11 September and four days
later he was dead. He jumped into the Manchester Ship Canal and drowned,
resisting attempts by local police officers to save him. He fled to Britain
in 2002 during a four-month period of leave from the Zimbabwean Army where
he was involved in Robert Mugabe's Congo campaign, which was deeply
unpopular with soldiers. A dispute may have arisen with an officer who
allegedly stole money from him and amid the recriminations there were
accusations that Mr Ngwanya had links to the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change. Mr Ngwanya faced desertion charges if he went back - a
predicament made worse because he was one of Zimbabwe's Ndbele people, who
have been at odds with Mr Mugabe's Shona tribe for decades. But he launched
himself into British life, undertaking an IT course in West Yorkshire and
when housed with other Africans in Salford, Greater Manchester, he secured a
job as a car valet. He followed Arsenal football club.
Fearing the consequences of returning, he was unable to attend the funeral
of his mother, Simemthini, 44, who died last year. Then, against all his
expectations, his asylum bid was rejected in March. He soon found himself
locked out of the room he had been allocated and his solicitors indicated
they had run out of legal-aid funding. His relative offered money for his
legal case but Mr Ngwanya declined. "He said he had run out of options,"
said the relative. Mr Ngwanya had become noticeably thinner by August, and
after making his compulsory weekly visit to immigration service offices on
14 September, he rang his employers to say he was not feeling well. He made
for the canal, raised his arms above his head and jumped in.

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The fate of all Zimbabwe’s failed asylum seekers decided tomorrow

Category: uk Dated: 06/10/2005
The fate of Zimbabwe’s failed asylum seekers will be sealed tomorrow as a hearing at the Asylum & Immigration Tribunal decides if it's safe to send them back to the possibility of persecution or death under Robert Mugabe's regime according to campaigners.

Scharene Pryce : Email Scharene
Copyright © The Colourful Network
Scharene Pryce
Why don’t they give us a time to regroup rather than tying up our people and putting them in jails and detention centres?

Noble Sibanda, Spokesperson, United Network of Detained Zimbabweans in the UK (UNDZ)
The fate of Zimbabwe’s failed asylum seekers will be sealed tomorrow as a 3-day hearing at the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal (AIT) comes to an end.

The hearing was called on 4th August after Mr Justice Collins raised concerns about deportations to Zimbabwe and suspended all forced returns to the country until a counter-guidance report depicting the situation in the country, was produced.

There have been reports of persecution, torture and killings of people opposing President Robert Mugabe’s regime. Rights campaigners fear that those sent to back to the southern African country will face persecution, torture and even death.

Irrespective of this however, there has been news that the Home Office has “secretly” been forcibly deporting refugees who had been refused asylum status.

The Home Office nonetheless denied such accusations and told Black Britain that in light of the asylum and immigration hearing, they had no intention of speculating on the outcome.

A spokesperson confirmed: “We’ve agreed to defer removals of failed asylum seekers to Zimbabwe pending the AIT hearing and we will await the AIT’s determination.”

“But we’re not expecting that determination to come immediately but that’s a matter for the court,” he added.

Noble Sibanda of the United Network of Detained Zimbabweans in the UK (UNDZ) said the British government needed to follow the right procedures and stick to the decision made by Justice Collins, until a verdict has been delivered.

Another man nearly deported..

We’ve agreed to defer removals of failed asylum seekers to Zimbabwe pending the AIT hearing and we will await the AIT’s determination

Home Office spokesperson
Following the ruling in August, Mr Sibanda said reports by the United Nations, Amnesty International as well as the European parliament last month which, “made a resolution that all member states should not be forcibly sending people back to Zimbabwe because it is not safe for them.

He added: “ People were just being sent to a terrible regime there where a lot of deaths were being reported on a daily basis.”

“They should swallow all of this. Why are they ignoring and refusing all this independent advice? Our own advice is that [for] asylum seekers in this country….”

“Why don’t they give us a time to regroup rather than tying up our people and putting them in jails and detention centres?”

On Tuesday morning, Daniel Magobeya, a failed asylum seeker had been detained by authorities at Harmondsworth detention centre near Heathrow, and booked on a flight to Nairobi for later on that evening despite the suspension made by Justice Collins.

Without legal representation Mr Magobeya was only told of his deportation the night before. However due to floods of emails and faxes sent to the Home Office by supporters and press, the flight was later on cancelled.

Mr Sibanda said although the student activist who applied for asylum in 2001 just escaped being sent back to Zimbabwe, if he had returned to the custody of Central Intelligence Officers (CIO) in Harare, his future would have been bleak.

He said his fate “would eventually [be] it’s death really because they’re not playing around.”

Mr Sibanda added “ they will deal with you thoroughly because you are not allowed to oppose the current government…

“Anybody who has been opposing the current government will be dealt with [using] all the worse things you can ever think of including death.”

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Zimbabwe needs more food imports for 2.2 mln poor

Zimbabwe needs more food imports for 2.2 mln poor
The Washington Post
By Stella Mapenzauswa
Wednesday, October 5, 2005; 6:27 AM
HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe needs to import more grain to feed at least 2.2 million needy people who cannot fend for themselves until the new harvest next April, the official Herald newspaper reported on Wednesday.
The daily quoted a social welfare ministry official, Sydney Mhishi, as telling a parliamentary committee that President Robert Mugabe's government had had to import 222,000 tonnes to feed people with chronic illnesses, the elderly and orphans and that plans were underway for more imports.
"About 2.2 million people would require food assistance because they have no money to buy maize," Mhishi was quoted as saying.
"A total of 2.2 million people countrywide cannot afford to buy their own food...The government has to chip in and import 222,000 tonnes of maize so that no one starves," the Herald said.
In August the state grain marketing board said it planned to import 120,000 tonnes of maize every month and had bought 300,000 tonnes in the previous three months to stave off food shortages after poor rains.
Critics say the food shortages have been worsened by a collapse of commercial farming following a controversial land reform program that gave white-owned farms to landless blacks, many of whom lack skills or resources to fully work their plots.
Aid agencies say around four million people, a third of the population, will need food handouts until the next harvest from around next April. The government has said it will not formally ask the United Nations World Food Programme for help although it welcomes donations "without conditions attached."
Mhishi said Harare had not appealed for donor aid because "the number of households that needed such assistance did not warrant an international request for food aid," the Herald reported.
"The rest of the country's population can afford to buy maize which is being imported..." Mhishi was quoted as telling the parliamentary committee.
Government officials were not immediately available for comment on Wednesday.
However analysts have said President Robert Mugabe's government would have difficulty paying for such imports as it faces acute foreign currency shortages.
Severe shortages of hard currency, food and fuel are the most visible signs of an economic crisis widely blamed on government mismanagement. Unemployment stands at over 70 percent and inflation is in triple digits.
The Herald said the fuel shortage was hampering efforts by the state Grain Marketing Board to move grain around the country.
Mugabe, who has ruled Zimbabwe since independence from Britain 25 years ago, denies responsibility for the economic woes besetting the country. He instead alleges sabotage by opponents of his land seizures, which he argues were necessary to redress colonial land imbalances.

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Zimbabwe government plans to feed 2.2 million people until next harvests

The China Post

HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP)

The Zimbabwean government plans to assist at least 2.2 million people it believes incapable of feeding themselves until the next harvest, due in April 2006, according to the country's director of Social Welfare, Sydney Mhishi.

The figure is far short of the minimum 4 million people estimated by United Nations agencies to be in urgent need of food aid.

President Robert Mugabe has so far refused to appeal for assistance but said foreign donations would be permitted, providing they carried no conditional demands for political or economic reform, and contained no genetically modified foodstuffs.

The state-controlled daily newspaper The Herald said Mhishi made the disclosure during testimony to an all-party committee of legislators on Monday.

The 2.2 million were "those with chronic illnesses, the elderly and orphans who ... information at hand showed cannot afford to buy their own food," he said.

"The rest of the country can afford to buy maize which is being imported."

Mhishi reportedly said, "The government did not make an appeal for food aid because the number of households that needed such assistance did not warrant an international request for food aid."

The estimate of at least 4 million in need was made by World food Program head James Morris after he visited here in May.

Mugabe's leading human rights critic, Roman Catholic Archbishop Pius Ncube of Bulawayo, alleges the authorities have widely abused access to food, through the state monopoly Grain Marketing Board, as a weapon of political intimidation. Pro-government tribal leaders were required to exclude families of suspected opposition sympathizers.

Mhishi said the government would be importing 222,000 metric tons (245,000 U.S. tons) of maize, the staple diet of the country's 12 million people, to meet shortfalls he said were due to severe drought. Independent experts say shortfalls result from destruction of commercial agriculture, through Mugabe's seizure of 5,000 white-owned farms, and a resulting economic collapse causing lack of seed, fertilizer, fuel, equipment and chemicals for small-scale farmers.

After backtracking on his earlier predictions of a 2.4 million-ton "bumper harvest" Mugabe announced 2.8 million metric tons (3.1 million U.S. tons) would be imported, but Grain Marketing Board chief executive Samuel Muvuti said the board was failing to meet its import target of 110,000 tons a month.

The International Monetary Fund, which has just received a further US$15 million (€12.6 million) payment of Zimbabwe's arrears, leaving US$160 million (€134 million) outstanding, warned Tuesday that the country's economy was close to collapse, with inflation likely to reach 400 percent by the year end and a further 7 percent fall in gross domestic product.

Army spokesman have denied allegations that hundreds of personnel from the 34,000 strong force have been sent home because their units cannot afford to feed them. An official said many were taking leave accrued during Zimbabwe's long involvement in the civil war in Congo.

Independent sources Wednesday said maize meal was freely available in service canteens although there were long lines in supermarkets to which the general public have access.

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Zimbabwe moves rhinos from poachers' zone

05 Oct 2005 12:38:48 GMT

Source: Reuters

HARARE, Oct 5 (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's wildlife authority has moved more than
200 endangered black rhinos from a farm near its western border with
Botswana to prevent poaching, a local daily reported on Wednesday.
Zimbabwe is home to some of Africa's largest game reserves, but local
conservationists say many species are at risk from rampant poaching by
people struggling with hunger and rising poverty. Cross-border trophy
hunters are also taking a toll.
The official Herald newspaper said Zimbabwe's Parks and Wildlife Management
Authority had translocated over 200 black rhinos from a game farm in
southwestern Matabeleland province to some protected conservancies in the
It said the animals would eventually be moved to the larger Gonarezhou
National Park in the country's southeast.
The decision to move the rhinos from the border areas came after the arrest
of a poacher in Botswana who was selling a rhino horn from an animal killed
in Zimbabwe and the discovery of two injured rhinos entangled in snare
wires, it said.
Zimbabwe has an estimated 800 black rhinos left after poachers killed more
than 1,500 in the 1980s.
Rampant poaching drove black rhino numbers across Africa down to about 2,400
in the mid-1990s from an estimated 65,000 just two decades before. Poachers
typically hack off the horns and leave the carcasses.
The animals have been on the rebound since and now number close to 3,600 but
are still regarded as endangered.
National parks officials were not immediately available comment on the
But the permanent secretary for the Ministry of Environment and Tourism,
Margaret Sangarwe, said the government had issued a directive for the
endangered animals to be moved fast.
"There is urgent need to place them in areas where they can easily be
monitored and are secured," she said.

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Zim to grow 'oil trees'

News24 (SA
Harare - Zimbabwe will soon start growing the oil-rich jatropha tree to manufacture its own blend of diesel as the country battles to overcome acute fuel shortages, state radio reported on Wednesday. The jatropha plant - a small deciduous tree that can grow in arid areas - has seeds rich in vegetable oil that can be burned as a substitute for diesel. "Zimbabwe will soon start growing the oil-rich jatropha tree on a commercial scale to help alleviate fuel shortages in the country through the manufacture of bio-diesel," the radio said. It quoted an official from the Biosafety Board of Zimbabwe as saying the Science and Technology Development Ministry "has plans underway for massive production of jatropha during the forthcoming farming season". Zimbabwe is in the grips of its worst fuel crisis ever, with most filling stations having gone for weeks or months without deliveries of petrol or diesel. Only a handful of filling stations are selling fuel to long queues of motorists who have managed to find foreign currency to pay for fuel. Zimbabwe has been battling shortages of foreign currency for the past five years. As a result, the country has struggled to pay for vital imports of fuel, power and medicines. International reports say a tonne of jatropha seed oil can yield up to 1 100 litres of bio-diesel. In August local pig farmers were reported to be applying for funding from the central bank for a project to generate electricity from pig manure.

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Telephone 04 309800/6  Fax 04 309849
E-mail or

Creating a network of farmers for the development of farming in Africa

A reminder to all our members, licence fees are now due.  With the inevitable increase, the amount now payable is $3,750,000.  Bear in mind that a 25% discount is being offered to those payments received before the end of October. 

I will be out of the office next week, so would encourage applications be submitted this week for any of the below positions detailed below.  In my absence please contact Kim Devlin who has kindly offered to take my calls.

The following is an update of the farming taking place outside Zimbabwe:-

The President, Vice President and CEO of the CFU recently attended the official opening ceremony of the new commercial farms in Kwara State, Nigeria.  President Obasanjo, Federal and State Ministers were present at the opening.  All 13 farms, each growing 3/400 hectares of either maize or soya beans were toured.  This project is progressing well, and has created employment for 1000 local Nigerians.
An airport, located in Ilorin, has been built which is up to international standards and is intended to accommodate the export of produce generated out of Kwara State.

We are pleased to announce that we are now ready to secure the next 20 farmers for the second tranche into Nigeria.  We have a number of applications on file, but if you are keen to go farming in Nigeria, get in touch with us to ensure that your name is on the list for inclusion for consideration.

The intention is to have the next 20 farmers in Nigeria in time for the next planting season, which is in June next year.  Although this sounds far away, the land clearing, preparation and building that needs to take place is very time consuming.  Should arrangements go according to plan, farmers should be in Nigeria by January 2006 at the latest.

There is currently a fuel crisis up in Zambia, which is affecting the harvesting of the winter wheat and land preparation for the next season.  Despite the difficulties faced, farmers remain positive and are going ahead with their agricultural programmes.  Many of them have had to trim some of their expansion plans.

There are approximately 25 Zimbabwean farmers currently farming in the Manica province of Mozambique.  These farmers are growing tobacco for MLT and Dimon.

Democratic Republic of Congo
It was communicated in our previous newsletter, that a meeting was set to take place regarding farming in the Congo.  This meeting did in fact take place at the end of September, and we are now looking at making an exploratory trip to the Congo.  This should take place before the end of the year.  If all goes well, there may well be opportunity for another project to go ahead in this country.  Details will be provided as and when they are available.

Employment Opportunities

The position of Farm Manager is still vacant.  We have received a few applications for this position, but the employer is interested in looking at more applications before making his final decision.  If you are interested in a year’s contract, please kindly forward your details to us

Farm Manager required with orchard and orchard plantation experience.  Macadamia knowledge or experience would be an advantage.  Kindly forward your CV for consideration as soon as possible.

North Africa
Agricultural Manager to commence 1 November managing a pilot farm.  Applications from those with experience in Lucerne, wheat and maize production under irrigation are welcomed.  A competitive salary is on offer and benefits package is dependent on qualifications and experience.

Sales Manager required to start as soon as possible.  The right candidate would be required to run the sales office and sales team and take charge of the costing/estimating section.  Computer literacy in Exel and Word is essential.  Competitive salary, company vehicle and medical aid is on offer.  Contact us, or call in for further details.

There are two positions available with this company - Farmer with knowledge of paprika and Financial Manager up to trial balance, preferably with knowledge of paprika.  Contact us for further information.


We are currently working on a database of farmers living abroad and elsewhere in Africa.  If you have contact details of friends or family out of Zimbabwe, please supply us with their details.  We feel that it is important to maintain contact with them, find out what they are doing, and keep them updated of the developments within FIT and the CFU.

Please remember that you have to be a member of FIT, or the CFU to be considered for any of the opportunities that we have available!

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ZIMBABWE: Doubt over govt's ability to import sufficient maize as hunger figures rise

[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]

JOHANNESBURG, 5 October (IRIN) - A senior food security expert in Zimbabwe
says the government will have to work more closely with the international
community if it hopes to feed millions of people facing shortages this year.

The EU official, who wished to remain anonymous, said that despite a
"significant effort" by the government to import urgently needed maize in
recent months, there remained "much uncertainty" over whether it would meet
the country's requirements.

Zimbabwean authorities have refused to appeal for international aid to stave
off widespread hunger, insisting instead that the government has the
capacity to import the 1.2 million mt needed to fill the food gap. Aid
agencies estimate that up to four million people will go hungry until the
next harvest.

"The latest figures show that between April and September, 480,000 mt of
maize was brought in, mainly from South Africa. More recently, however,
there appears to be a decline in the import quantity," the official told
IRIN on Wednesday.

Sydney Mhishi, Zimbabwe's director of social welfare, reportedly told a
parliamentary committee on Tuesday that the government was gearing up to
provide 2.2 million people with emergency food aid.

According to the official Herald newspaper, the elderly, orphans and the
sick will benefit from the food handouts. "The rest of the country's
population can afford to buy maize, which is being imported," Mhishi was
quoted as saying.

Aid agencies were also concerned that the reluctance of the Grain Marketing
Board (GMB), the official purchasing agent, to include them in its
distribution plans was likely to complicate relief operations.

"At the moment there is very little known about how the food aid will be
distributed, which areas or groups will be prioritised, and how the
government plans to get the food to communities located, at times, 80 km
from the depots," the source explained.

Another question was whether Harare could afford to import more maize after
its recent payment to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). In a surprise
move the country managed to scrape together a substantial portion of its
debt and avoid expulsion from the Fund.

"We do know the government has been looking for forex to pay the IMF, but
whether or not it can pull together additional funds remains to be seen,"
the Harare-based expert said. "We can speculate that perhaps some private
dealers in South Africa are ready to take a risk, with the hope of getting
their money back."


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ZIMBABWE: IMF, govt differ over economic outlook

[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]

JOHANNESBURG, 5 October (IRIN) - In the absence of any bold changes in
policy direction, Zimbabwe's economic outlook remains bleak, says the
International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The executive board noted that the annual IMF staff report on Zimbabwe
showed an ongoing socioeconomic decline that would have "particularly
detrimental effects on the poorest segments of the population".

The executive "expressed deep concern over the continued sharp economic and
social decline in Zimbabwe, with prospects of continued triple-digit
inflation, further [production] output declines, and increased poverty".

Food security was an urgent issue, "given the sharp fall in agricultural
production. Directors noted that stagnant export earnings and the necessary
rise in food imports will squeeze non-food imports, increasing Zimbabwe's
vulnerability to external shocks", such as drought.

The substantial humanitarian and economic consequences of 'Operation Restore
Order' - the government's controversial clean-up campaign that left some
700,000 people without homes or livelihoods, or both - also posed "further
downside risks" to the country's prospects.

Zimbabwe's economy has deteriorated sharply since 1997: real GDP declined by
almost 30 percent between 1997 and 2003, while inflation soared from about
20 percent in December 1997 to a peak of 623 percent in January 2004.

This was mainly due to the impact of the government's controversial land
redistribution programme on the agricultural sector.

"Agricultural production - the mainstay of the economy - collapsed with the
disruption caused by the violent implementation of fast-track land reform,"
the Fund noted.

Investment in the country fell sharply, "and shortages of food, fuel,
electricity and other basics became pervasive", while economic performance
lagged markedly behind those of its neighbours in Southern Africa.

The human cost of the government's policies has been high. "Zimbabwe's human
development indicators - once among the best in sub-Saharan Africa - have
deteriorated sharply to rank of 147th out of 177 countries in the world,"
the IMF pointed out.

"More than two out of three Zimbabweans are unemployed, while poverty and
emigration have risen sharply. The HIV/AIDS pandemic has been left largely
unchecked, with the infection rate estimated at about 25 percent of the
adult population. Life expectancy has declined to below 40 years from around
60 years 15 years ago, while child mortality has risen sharply to 126 (per
1,000 live births) from 90 in 1995, partly reflecting declining
immunisations and the AIDS pandemic," the report stressed.

IMF staff projected that continued difficulties in agriculture, rising
inflation and foreign exchange shortages, particularly for fuel imports,
would cause real GDP to contract by some 7 percent, and inflation rising to
over 400 percent by the end of 2005.

The country was also off-track for meeting the Millennium Development Goals
(MDGs). "A recent assessment indicated that, under current policies, only
two targets are achievable: immunisation of one-year olds against measles,
and access to safe drinking water. The HIV/AIDS pandemic, falling incomes
and the rapidly deteriorating health and education services affect most of
the other MDGs," the report said.

Progress towards the MDGs would depend on achieving sustainable growth,
controlling the HIV/AIDS pandemic, and improving food security.

The Fund called for "fundamental structural reform, including improvements
in governance" in order to turn the country's fortunes around.

However, the government of Zimbabwe "took a different view of recent
developments and the economic outlook".

"In their estimate, output declined by only two and half percent in 2004 and
will grow by two percent this year," the report noted.

"Although drought had severely affected the 2004/05 maize crop, tobacco and
wheat (which were less affected) as well as mining would perform well this
year, while manufacturing would bottom out ... moreover, they stressed that
in comparison to the peak in early 2004, inflation had declined considerably
by mid-2005 on account of their policies to turn around the economy."

The government has also accused western countries of imposing de facto
sanctions in response to its fast-track land reform programme, which was
accompanied by violence and ignored court rulings ordering its halt.


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Mbeki has tried everything to ease Harare crisis — minister 

Business Day

Vukani Mde

Political Correspondent

SOUTH Africa could not dictate a solution to the political problems facing neighbouring Zimbabwe, Home Affairs Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula said yesterday .
Mapisa-Nqakula was speaking to refugees and asylum seekers during an imbizo-style meeting in Johannesburg. She said problems faced by refugees and others who sought asylum in SA were not confined to Zimbabweans, nor would her department turn its attention to solving Zimbabwe’s internal issues.
“We (the department) can’t take responsibility for the internal ills of Zimbabwe. But I become responsible for your wellbeing once you’ve crossed Beit Bridge,” she said.
Mapisa-Nqakula was responding to questions about what SA was doing to address the continued political decline in Zimbabwe, which was leading to increased numbers of asylum seekers and economic migrants from that country. Some estimates have placed the number of Zimbabwean migrants in SA at 3,5-million people.
The Zimbabwe Torture Victims Project said about 80% of Zimbabwean migrants with whom it dealt were “undocumented”, falling outside of the department’s estimates.
“No right-thinking person can fail to appreciate the gravity of the situation in Zimbabwe. But we can’t seek to dictate how that situation is resolved, we can only advise. SA has only nine provinces, and nine provincial premiers. Mugabe is not our tenth premier,” the minister said.
Still, SA had led attempts to get Zimbabweans to talk towards resolving of their problems, and would stay the course, she said.
“There is nothing that President Thabo Mbeki has not tried. We are the only country that remains steadfast in seeking a solution for Zimbabwe. You can lead a horse to water, but can’t force it to drink.”
Mapisa-Nqakula’s comments, which reflected growing frustration within government over the Zimbabwean impasse, came amid stalled negotiations to secure a $500m bale-out for the country.
South African sources said treasury and Reserve Bank negotiators had waited more than a month for their Zimbabwean counterparts to decide if they would sign a loan agreement attached to the bale-out.
The agreement is reported to include tough conditions, which President Robert Mugabe is reluctant to accept.

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Zim a steadfast country

The Herald (Zimbabwe)
From the international media, you may be forgiven for thinking that
Zimbabwe, demonised as a failed State, is about to collapse. Baffour
Ankomah, Editor of New African magazine, was here again in August, and
reports that the rebuilding programme launched after the recent
controversial clean-up operation is going pretty well, and though the
economy is still struggling, the obituary writers had better suspend rushing
to their computers. They may well have to praise rather than bury President
Mugabe’s country.
Zimbabwe is an enigma. When everybody expects it to go down, it goes up.
Unlike Isaac Newton’s falling apple, pulled down by the force of gravity,
Zimbabwe appears to defy the gravitational pull, much to the chagrin of its
detractors. Weighed down by what President Mugabe calls "these odious
economic sanctions" imposed by Britain, America and their European partners,
and not helped by some spectacular own goals scored by Zimbabwe itself, the
country still marches on, chest high, where many others in similar
situations would have long fallen. Yes, fuel, foreign exchange and other
essential shortages persist, and agriculture the mainstay of the economy -
has still not recovered from four straight years of drought (though
irrigation has been stepped up this year), but Zimbabwe refuses to go down,
largely through the determination of the nationalists there who want to
prove a point to the world that some Africans do possess stiffer and
capitulation is not an option.
Take the recent controversial Operation Restore Order which saw the
demolition of slums and shacks across the country, an operation which was
widely condemned by Western countries and later by a damning UN report which
came up with an estimate of 700 000 people having been affected by the
operation. In late August, the Government officially responded to the UN
report with a 45-page rebuttal in which it accused the compilers of the
report, led by the Tanzanian head of UN-Habitat, Anna Kajumulo Tibaijuka, of
bias against the Government. "From the content of the report," the rebuttal
said, "it is clear that submissions from Government are dismissed as claims,
allegations or rhetoric whilst submissions from NGOs hostile to the
Government, donors and those opposition leaders who are critical of the
Government, are explicitly or impliedly treated as statements of fact. The
report grossly exaggerates the number of people who were rendered homeless
by the operation. A fact-finding mission must report on what it actually
found on the ground and not infer homelessness from some fictitious formula
or mathematical extrapolation."
The rebuttal continued: "Zimbabwe is currently under illegal sanctions that
were imposed by the USA, UK, EU and the white Commonwealth countries opposed
to the land reform programme. It is not true that the sanctions are not
directed at the economy. The Zimbabwe democracy and Economic Recovery Act
(co-drafted by one of the opposition MDC’s white parliamentarians, and
passed by the US Congress in 2001), blocks Zimbabwe’s access to balance of
payment support from the IMF and any financial assistance from the World
Bank, and excludes Zimbabwe from benefiting from the African Growth and
Opportunity Act (AGOA) facility. EU sanctions have seen Zimbabwe being
denied access to the ACP-EU 9th European development fund. Even access to
humanitarian assistance through the Global Fund for HIV/Aids, TB and malaria
has been blocked mainly as a result of EU and USA pressure, and the UN
report says nothing about it."
However, what both the Government rebuttal of the UN report have refused to
say is the exact reason why Operation Restore Order was launched in the
first place. New African can now reveal that the operation was the
brainchild of Zimbabwe’s intelligence community which felt it had to move
quickly to nip in the bud a Ukrainian-style revolution (or street protests)
then being planned in Zimbabwe and funded by the same Western countries who
paid for Ukraine’s so-called "orange revolution" earlier this year. After
the success in Ukraine, the same metropolitan powers that paid the Ukrainian
students to start the street protests in Kiev were paying for a similar
thing in Harare. They had in fact hoped that Zimbabweans would do it by
themselves in the aftermath of the March 31 parliamentary elections that saw
the MDC beaten out of sight. When the protests did not materialise, because
the majority of Zimbabweans saw no need for them (having voted for the party
of their choice and accepted the elections to be free and fair), the
metropolitan powers upped the ante by secretly channelling funds for an
insurrection via opposition elements who were going to use vulnerable slum
dwellers to confront the Government in what they had hoped would be bloody
street clashes.
Somehow, Zimbabwe’s Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO), one of the best
spy agencies on the continent (if not the world), got wind of the impending
operation - and they must have panicked; because they chose to deal with it
in a most usual way - nip the danger in the bud by dispersing the slum
dwellers via the demolition of their habitats. The security agency quickly
got hold of the President, showed him the evidence of the anger and sold him
the hasty solution. With the experience of Ukraine fresh in everybody’s
mind, Operation Restore Order was given wings, without going through the
normal route of Cabinet discussion and approval. As a result, many Cabinet
ministers and key Government officials who would have normally been privy to
such an operation were kept in the dark. Some, in fact, heard about it a day
after it had begun. In so doing, a lot of mistakes were made in the
implementation of the operation.
First, the normal civil service scrutiny was dispensed with. In normal
times, as happened with the land reform programme, the civil services would
have been tasked to write papers looking at the pros and cons of the
operation, the relevant local and international laws governing the area, the
provision of alternative accommodation and stalls, the financial cost, the
international repercussions, and so on, before the operation could get
Cabinet approval. In this case, as the security services drove the
operation, all the elaborate laid-down procedures were short-circuited, and
in the process serious errors were made, leading to international outcry and
condemnation. Therefore, some of the criticisms contained in Tibaijuka’s UN
report were justified. In private, some Government ministers and key
officials admit that they could have done it better. They say the security
services were allowed too much latitude to run the operation, and as
security people, they focused too much on diffusing the danger and less on
the consequences. Interestingly, you will have to read up to the end of page
30 of the Government’s response to the UN report to find an "official hint"
of the main reason why the operation was launched with such haste. "The risk
to public health and morality, national security and the economy
necessitated that the operation had to be undertaken without further delay,"
the Government response says.
However, where the UN report got it totally wrong was underestimating the
will of the Zimbabwean nationalists to provide for the people in the face of
adversity. In the 100-page UN report, only four pages were devoted to the
rebuilding programme (code-named Operation Garikai/Hlalani Kuhle) launched
while Tibaijuka and her mission were still in Zimbabwe compiling the report.
And even out of the four pages, two were used to dismiss Operation Garikai.
In a rather unenthusiastic manner, the report said of Garikai: "Whilst the
reconstruction intervention is much welcome, and a sign that the Government
of Zimbabwe acknowledges the existence of the crisis it has created, and is
willing to accept its responsibility to take corrective measures, it is the
view of the UN special envoy (Tibaijuka) that Operation Restore Order has
precipitated a humanitarian crisis which the Government itself, even with
the best of intentions and efforts, has limited capacity to fully address
without the assistance of the international community. "Firstly, the scale
of announced expenditure (US$300 million) was not foreseen in the 2005
budget, and if it were to somehow materialise, it could exacerbate the
inflation rate which is running at over 140 percent. "Secondly, as
conceived, Operation Garikai is predominantly a developmental intervention.
It does not address immediate needs, such as shelter, food, water,
sanitation, health and education… Operation Garikai continues to be premised
on the false assumption that evictees would return to their rural homes
while the majority in fact have not, or are not in a position to do so."
Perhaps Tibaijuka and her mission would want to go back and see what
Operation Garikai has achieved since their report was released on 22 July.
The "illusive" US$300m has materialised, not from this year’s budget but
from the Government borrowing from the Reserve Bank’s strategic reserves
that had been lying idle until now. In its response to the UN report, the
Government said it " has released a further $3 trillion (US$300m) under the
National Housing Facility which is being disbursed through building
societies at low interest rates to those who opt to construct their own
homes". Rather than " exacerbating" the inflation rate as prophesied by
Tibaijuka’s report, the "illusive US$300m" has created jobs linked directly
and indirectly to OPeration Garikai. For example, thousands of construction
workers, including women, have been employed, building houses and market
stalls (or Small and Medium Scale Enterprises) for those who lost their
homes and stalls in the clean-up operation. Local suppliers to the building
industry are, thus, laughing all the way to the bank as Operation Garikai
has brought an unexpected boom. And contrary to what the UN report said,
Operation Garikai is addressing the need for shelter, water, sanitation and
health. All these amenities are being provided as part of the rebuilding
programme. And a "majority" of the evictees have returned to "their rural
homes" to await the day, in the next few months, when they would be recalled
to take possession of their new homes.
In mid-August, this writer had the opportunity to tour some of the
rebuilding sites in Harare, Kwekwe, Gweru, Bulawayo, Masvingo and Mutare -
right across the country. It was an impressive sight that awaited me,
especially since the Government had had only a few weeks to do it. What was
quite heart-warming was to see women bricklayers and masons rubbing
shoulders with their male counterparts at these sites. In short, because of
the exigency of the situation, the Government is building half of each house
(which, in Zimbabwe, is called a "core house", made up of one bedroom, a
kitchen, a separate bath and a separate toilet). The new owners will be
given loans by the Government (payable over 30 years) to buy the "core
houses" outright. They will then build the other half (or extend it) at
their own pace. The "core houses" will have amenities such as electricity,
water, sanitation, roads, sewage, postal services, etc, which their former
shacks did not have. (In Zimbabwe, unlike many African countries, the post
office delivers letters to home addresses provided it has a street number —
a service which the former slums did not have because they had no street
numbers). It will be a big improvement on their demolished habitats.
By mid-September, work was going pretty well all over the country. Apart
from one location, Hatcliffe Extension in Harare, where the Ministry of
Local Government unwisely allowed evictees to return to their former plots
without shelter, there was good news almost everywhere else. Sadly, Kofi
Annan, the UN secretary general, who had accepted an invitation from
President Mugabe to go and see things for himself at the end of August,
cancelled his trip after pressure from the big powers. Meanwhile, another
surprise in this nation of many surprises is the famous US$1billion loan
that Zimbabwe is said to have asked for from its southern neighbour, South
Africa. The truth is that Zimbabwe did not ask for any such loan. Or, better
put, the initiative for the loan did not come from Harare; it was the World
Bank that initiated it. New African can reveal that when the World Bank’s
boss, James Wolfowitz, visited South Africa early this year, a member of his
entourage - a woman called Krueger - sold the idea to President Thabo Mbeki.
According to inside sources, Krueger told Mbeki: "Why don’t you help
Zimbabwe as it is your biggest trading partner. If Zimbabwe is expelled by
the IMF, all credit lines will dry up and it will affect your trade with
your northern neighbour. All that the IMF will need is a word from you to
underwrite Zimbabwe’s debt to the IMF. You may not even need to move any
money. Just your word".
According to the sources, Mbeki was taken aback as he did not know the
Bretton Woods institutions to be charitable to Zimbabwe. He, however,
carried the message to President Mugabe when they met at the AU Summit in
Sirte, Libya, in early July. President Mugabe, according to the sources, was
equally surprised to learn of the unexpected generosity from the World Bank,
but decided to go along if the offer was truly genuine and not a Trojan
horse. However, as officials of the two countries began to discuss the offer
further, elements in the South African central bank opposed to the deal
leaked the story to the anti-Mugabe media in South Africa. The opposition
Democratic Alliance gave it even more wings. Soon all sorts of conditions,
from within and outside South Africa, were being attached to the loan. Twice
in the past few months, when President Mbeki was out of the country, some of
his officials conspired behind his back to send letters to Harare attaching
even more conditions to the loan. On each occasion, Mbeki had to dispatch an
envoy to tell Harare to disregard the letters. At the time of going to
Press, the two countries were still discussing the loan. In the meantime,
Zimbabwe, from its own resources, had paid US$131m of the IMF debt of nearly
US$300m - even before the South African loan became available -
wrong-footing the IMF, which threatened to throw Zimbabwe out for

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