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The Faintest Whisper

Saving The Harare Three
Anthony C. LoBaido

October 6, 2005

Three soldiers are languishing in a dank prison in Zimbabwe under the worst
conditions imaginable. Even Nelson Mandela has called for their release. But
Zimbabwean dictator Robert Mugabe won't let them go.

According to Mugabe, the recent Nicole Kidman film, "The Interpreter" was
about his misrule of that nation. Mugabe has blathered in recent months that
U.S. President George Bush Jr., Hollywood and the CIA are all aligned
against him.

Bush Jr. did sign a Presidential Directive against Mugabe, but the
PC-demoralized CIA and MI-6 (British Intelligence) cannot do much about the
situation. That being to help the MDC (Movement for Democratic Change, "the
good guys"), take power from the ZANU-PF (Mugabe's Shona-dominated party)
and end the nightmare.

Zimbabwe is a strange and troubled land. After his most recent visit to
South Africa, Bush Jr. left South Africa's Marxist President Thabo Mbeki
behind as his "point man" on Zimbabwe. But because of the "African Big Man"
philosophy the younger Mbeki could never challenge Mugabe. As Mbeki's recent
reinauguration Mugabe had a seat of honor, as the ANC continues to prop up
the ZANU-PF with massive amounts of financial and other aid. However, Mbeki
has also asked Mugabe to let them go free from prison.

Who are the Harare Three?

Harare is the capital of Zim. It was renamed from "Salisbury" after the fall
of Rhodesia to archetype Maoism, Communism and Mugabe-ism. Kevin Woods is
one of the Harare Three still left in jail. Philip Conjwayo and Mike Smith
are the other two. Woods fought in the war in Rhodesia on the side of South
Africa. But Rhodesia, which had declared independence from Great Britain,
lost that war when the apartheid regime withdrew support.

Around this time Henry Kissinger publicly stated that "white regimes would
not survive in Southern Africa." Rhodesian leader Ian Smith, a World War II
fighter pilot, visited with Kissinger but then President Jimmy Carter would
not see him.

Mugabe took power and carried out the little known Matabele massacre with
the help of North Korean mercenaries. The Matabele were enemies of the
Shona. More than 25,000 died but no one knows for sure the exact number.

Kevin Woods is a hero to freedom-loving Rhodesians, South Africans,
Americans, Australians, Kiwis and Brits. Not so much because he fought
against Mugabe but because of all he has survived and endured in prison. The
war days are long gone, having disappeared into the dustbin of history along
with the old Soviet Union.

In recent years, South African sociologist Sasha Gear has conducted
workshops where ex white Special Forces from the old SADF meet with ex-ANC
members. All of them have bonded, realizing they were used as pawns by the
old elite - black and white. In the Truth and Reconciliation Hearings, South
Africans of all persuasions have for the most part, regretted any and all
violent actions during the Cold War and apartheid and anti-apartheid

The old Soviet Union, North Korea and Mainland China (and Chavez's modern
Venezuela, which hosted Mugabe as a king during a visit) were all allies of
Zimbabwe against the pro-West apartheid regime. South African special forces
attacked ANC bases in Angola, Zimbabwe and Southwest Africa (now Namibia)
during what P.W. Botha termed "the total onslaught" phase.

During this time the ANC carried out its own terrorist bombings like Church
Street and horrendous human rights abuses and torture of its own black
cadres at the Mbokodo camp in Angola. "Mbokodo" means "the grinding stone"
in Xhosa. The ANC is a Xhosa dominated organization which has been at odds
with the Zulus for much of its existence. However, the ANC was led by a
white, Soviet, the late Colonel Joe Slovo, during the 1980s. The ANC was
also the first communist party set up the Soviets after the 1917 revolution,
carried out under the banner of "workers unite to keep South Africa white."

What did they do wrong?

Kevin Woods' alleged war crime is particularly noxious, and strange, since
Mugabe had taken power in Zimbabwe about eight years prior, and the
apartheid regime was in its dying days.

This much is known about the war crime, and was verified to by Mike

At approximately 2100 hours on 11 January 1988, a car bomb was detonated at
an ANC facility in Bulawayo, killing the civilian driver and seriously
injuring several ANC personnel. Kevin Woods had previously identified the
facility to a South African Special Forces Intelligence Agent, Kit Bawden,
and subsequently a South African Defense Force aircraft delivered explosives
to a cattle ranch near Fort Rixon belonging to Kit's brother, Barry Bawden.

Philip Conjwayo procured the vehicle and civilian driver, a Zambian by the
name of Obed Amon Mwanza for the purpose of delivering the explosives to the
ANC facility. This facility was located at 16a Jungle Road, North Trenance.
The driver was told he was participating in an illegal foreign currency deal
and given instructions to sound the car's horn on arrival at the facility
and then to abandon the vehicle.

Mike Smith and Kit Bawden fitted the explosives to the car. Mwanza then
drove it to the target and upon sounding the horn, Kit Bawden, who was
accompanied by Smith, detonated the explosives, killing Mwanza instantly and
injuring six ANC personnel, one of them seriously.

Kevin Woods was in South Africa at the time the raid took place.

On 18th November 1988, Agents Woods, Smith and Conjwayo were sentenced to
death for the car bomb attack in Bulawayo. Agents Woods, Smith and Bawden
were also sentenced to 40 years imprisonment for the car bombing of another
ANC facility in Harare. On 28th October 1993, on appeal, Agents Woods, Smith
and Conjwayo had their death sentence commuted to life imprisonment, and
Bawden's 40 years imprisonment to 25 years imprisonment.

Kevin Woods had applied for amnesty under the guidelines of the Truth and
Reconciliation Commission or "TRC." However there is a hitch. The TRC has no
power to grant amnesty for apartheid era crimes committed beyond South
African soil. For example, the shadowy Civil Cooperation Bureau carried out
over 225 professional, military style executions of anti-apartheid activists
worldwide. And because they did not occur on South African territory, (as in
the alleged crimes of Dr. Wauter Basson in Namibia) they fall in between the
cracks of the legal process in The New South Afirca.

TRC or no TRC, Mugabe will not Kevin Woods him go. As noted, even Nelson
Mandela, who knows a hero when he sees one, has called for Kevin's release.
A death sentence has been pronounced against the three men but has not been
carried out. They have spent five years in solitary confinement. Their
confessions were extracted under torture. Even their children were involved
during this barbaric process and an unborn baby as well.

Mugabe is not a man without reason. He has sought out alliances with Libya,
the ANC and Mainland China. He send his troops to fight in the DRC as
mercenaries in order to raid that nation's natural resources. This only
increased the money in his coffers.

It is now accepted that Mugabe was less than thrilled last year when a group
of South African mercenaries involved with elite ex-SAS soldier Simon Mann
and Mark Thatcher, the son of The Lady Thatcher, were arrested in Zimbabwe
for allegedly planning a coup in oil rich Equatorial Guinea. This bizarre
scenario may have only hardened Mugabe's resolve.

Marge Leitner, a South African who monitors the political scene in Southern
Africa very closely, told, "This business with Kevin Woods is too
horrible for words. Politically nobody wants to touch it. For some
unexplicable reason."

Mugabe and his secret police and private militias "The Green Bombers" are
not to be taken lightly. They have been modeled on the Hitler Nazi Youth.
For example, Cathy Buckle, the famous author of "African Tears," had her
farm taken away (in part) because she was my informant inside

Until now, in secret, has been in contact with Mike Woods, Kevin's
brother, who lives in Australia. Mike in turn has been in contact with
Kevin's barrister, Julia Wood. Both Woods and Wood believe there still
exists the hope Kevin Woods will be released.

Mike Woods has set up a website dealing with the
Harare Three and has politely requested
freedom-loving readers to send cookies, novels and toiletries to Kevin Woods
if they are so inclined.

"Drink concentrate and sweets would also be nice," Mike Woods told
He asked that nothing about Mugabe or Zimbabwe be included or written with
the care packages, for obvious reasons.

The conditions in the prison are terrible. The inmates live in their own
filth, they only have a little blanket in the winter months, there's no
doctor ... no nothing.

The address for any care packages that might go to Kevin Woods.

c/o  Julia Wood (Barrister)
PO Box 3188

Will Robert Mugabe find the strength and forgiveness in his heart to let the
Harare Three go?

As Nicole Kidman said in "The Interpreter," while reminding (the would-be)
Mugabe of his true self; "Even the faintest whisper can be heard above the
sound of armies when it speaks the truth."

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Please send any material for publication in the Open Letter Forum to with "For Open Letter Forum" in the subject line.


Letter 1:

Dear JAG,

The following is of interest - especially in our economic climate.

My name is Jose Luis Perrone and I am the CFO to the LAL - Southern Cone

Let's see if the lessons learned from the Argentina's hyperinflation crisis
may be of any help to your company in Zimbabwe:


1.  You are about to live a very unique situation, very stressing but also
very (too) exciting.

2.  It won't last forever; no economy can endure real hyperinflation for
more than just few days until activity collapses.

3.  The process that leads to hyperinflation may take several months,

4.  The process after hyperinflation is even more dangerous as it implies
adjusting to a brand-new mindset.

5.  Finally, but most importantly, you can make a profit out of the

HIGH INFLATION (or the process before)

This period characterizes by growing two-digit inflation rates preceded/
followed by continuous devaluation of the local currency and very high (in
nominal and in real terms) interest rates.

As economic agents tend to get rid of local currency as fast as it reaches
their hands, the number of transactions in the economy accelerates:

Goods are purchased notwithstanding the actual level of demand (but as a
means of protecting the value of the business net worth); after a short
while stocks begin piling-up not only in the POS's (Point of Sales) shelves
but even into home garages!!!

The usual behaviour of a typical Distributor shows the following patterns:

1.  Buy more and growingly, but, not surprisingly, sell less and
reluctantly. As said, the Distributor first regard Stocks as a
"value-keeper" and very shortly as a "profit-maker" (if intelligently
combined with patterns 2 and 3).

2.  Sales orders tend to highly concentrate towards the day prior to the
date-of-change of the pricing list (usually the last day of each month).By
delaying the order, the distributor will then be selling at the new
(higher) prices while paying their purchases at the old (lower) costs.

3.  Tend to delay payments as much as allowed by the Company. The more they
can delay the payment the less they will pay (in terms of the current value
of the goods).

Retailers behave pretty much the same, only that as they collect cash
daily, they run to buy cash as much goods as they can get from the

As the latter have already cut-off terms, the retailers cannot usually
stock-up. If the retailer continues selling other than cash (i.e. credit
card), he or she may risk default as collections are made at a devalued
currency that now buys a lesser quantity of goods.

The actions that can be taken for mitigating the erosion caused by
inflation or even for making a profit out of it) are the following:

1.  Change the price listing as often as necessary.

2.  Calculate prices by estimating the cost of reposition of raw materials.
Do not use past or current costs!!!! The reposition costs that you should
estimate are those as far in the future as your supply cycle dictates.

3.  Always add to the prices calculated as per 2 above the rate of
inflation that you estimate will happen between the date of issuance of the
price listing and the day that the invoices will be finally cashed.

4.  Reduce the length of payment terms, provide incentives for prepayments.

5.  As the situation deteriorates stubbornly accelerate the actions
mentioned above. Do not fear a negative impact of these actions upon sales,
remember and remind your colleagues that the clients are buying for
stockpiling and they would rather get rid of local currency than delay a
purchase for arguing against price increases and/or shorter payment terms.
Actually you will not want to sell while your customers will hardly
pressure you to buy, and they in turn will not be willing to sell to their

The back-office workload increases substantially as the price-changing
cycle accelerates and the scrutiny over payments is overstressed.  The IT
Department must be prepared well in advance for coping with the
fast-changing requirements.

Despite the hazards, inflation also brings opportunities for boosting
earnings (bear high in your mind that financial institutions usually earn
tons of money from this process): some of the costs will continue
relatively fixed in local currency (i.e. salaries and services) and there
will always be payables in local currency (i.e. taxes).  You should run
away from assets in local monies as fast as possible and conversely should
keep, as much as feasible, liabilities in such currency. Short-term (very,
very short) investments reasonably secured (i.e. in local currency with a
very high rate of return or in hard currency) are ALWAYS preferable to less
liquid assets (such as stocks or fixed assets).


This stage is when inflation hits a monthly three-digit rate and prices
vary by the minute (in fact there is not a fair value for goods).  As I
said, this will last for a very short period of time, so don't panic, you
will certainly survive!!!  Just bear in mind that there will not only be
economic turmoil but social unrest and political upheavals; the behavioural
patterns change quite dramatically.

From the business standpoint there is not much to do other than selling
CASH-ONLY in HARD-CURRENCY-ONLY!!!!!  Be prepared in advance: think of all
the legal implications and possible biases (sometimes the law forbids the
making of local transactions in foreign currencies, however reality will
push-over); and the logistics (collecting in hard currency means carrying
and keeping actual dollars / pounds / whatever but not cheques).

Also protect your staff, make sure that they understand the process and are
prepared for carrying-on (not only for dealing with the business but also
with their personal lives).  You may think of paying their wages daily or
at least weekly.

REBIRTH (the day after)

Hyperinflation leads inevitably to economic paralysis.  The painful way out
is through a strong political steering move capable of introducing deep
changes in the social fabric and in the economic institutions.

Amongst those many changes the creation of a new currency (or even its
complete disappearance and the substitution by a foreign one) and the
removal of the causes of hyper (i.e. fiscal deficit) will change the
economic environment very abruptly (i.e. very low inflation or even
deflation, very high - in real terms - interest rates, a blossoming of
private investment and recreation of consumer demand).

In many cases the mind and behaviour of economic agents is hard to adjust
to the new truly different situation: the Distributors may continue their
habit of stockpiling; the working capital cycle then slows-down quite
perceivable and they run-out of cash; they then go to the banks to get more
funding (which the banks are now willing to lend easily!!!!) to buy more

After a while that stocks do not move, they realize that their debts with
suppliers cannot be paid with inflationary gains as in the past.
(Eventually it can be quite the opposite as the stock at the moment of
payment might be priced less than at the moment of purchasing); but they
have already added bank debts which pay (very high) interest and so all of
a sudden they are on the verge of bankruptcy.

The first action that you should take to mitigate the credit exposure is to
visit the top clients and assess their stock and financial situation, make
sure that they do the same with their clients too.  Also be prepared to
accept return sales, the remaining outstanding trade balance may require
refinancing, but this may make sense only if the client is not yet deeply
indebted with banks.

I hope that the above is of any help for you and your team, please do not
hesitate in calling me should I be of further assistance.

Best regards,

Jose Luis Perrone
CFO - LAL Southern Cone


Letter 2:


In the interests of good open debate and Voltaire like thinking - could we
engage your contributor - Dutiro? The innuendo of his last letter portrayed
Mr. Mugabe as a current hero rather than an ex hero.

Perhaps Dutiro could inform the open letter forum readers if he believes
that Mr. Mugabe has made any mistakes at all in the last twenty five years.
This would be invaluable food for thought and give a different perspective.

J.L. Robinson.


Letter 3:

Dear JAG,

Re Stuart Chappell's letter, I am glad that there have been so many
responses.  My own reaction was one of emotional exhaustion.  We have tried
so hard, for so many years to counter the propaganda machine that conceals
the realities of Zimbabwe and up pops a guy like this full of what I am
sure he regards as valid argument. Unfortunately he believes the
propaganda, or he has another agenda.

It takes me back to an angry evening long ago in the early 1980's when a
pompous visitor from Britain who was at my mother's dinner table with his
wife and son, the latter a First Secretary in the local British High
Commission, asked me if I were not pleased with the way things were going,
as eighteen months earlier he thought I was not so happy.  Through gritted
teeth I said, "It is pig sticking time in Matabeleland". Shocked silence
and then I had to explain the massacres that were taking place at that

After dinner the First Secretary took me aside and berated me for telling
lies, saying that Rhodesians (he called us that) were full of South African
propaganda.  Furiously I replied that what I knew was true, and that we
were not talking of idle matters but people's lives and that either he was
the liar or he was not doing his job.  When that particular gentleman (and
I would still like to ring his neck) left the country, he phoned my brother
and said that Zimbabwe was "all washed up".  So why, I enquired, did he
trouble to take me to task at a private function.  My brother replied,
"They were under orders to make it look good".

Now along comes a similar character in the form of Stuart Chappell, just
when another form of genocide is taking place, a more subtle kind.  In
weaving his argument, Chappell, denies the terrible suffering of the
ordinary, black people of Zimbabwe.  Yes, the farmers have suffered, but we
know this was a political smokescreen.  If it were not there would have
been, long back, many competent and qualified black farmers making land
reform a reality instead of a bunch of wasters.

Whites make news, blacks can die slowly, in their thousands, but Mr
Chappell wants to buy a farm.

Give us a break!

Aluta.  Harare


Letter 4:

Dear JAG

Re: Stuart Chappell

There is the old adage that "people never learn from history".  It is clear
that it is impossible to learn if we either forget or re-write history so
consistently whilst looking for explanations for what has happened.

History as I see it:

1 Lancaster House allowed for protection of land tenure for 10 years but
reallocation of land on a willing buyer/seller basis with the UK and
Zimbabwe Governments contributing financially.

2 At independence we heard that Mugabe thought that he needed to reduce the
white population to a controllable 80 000 and then sustain this figure
until he had total control of the economy at which time he would rid
Zimbabwe of the remaining whites.  Within 2 years this first goal had been
achieved and pressure came off the white population.

3 Many farms were reallocated in the first 10 years, and after, with
adequate compensation being paid.

4 The land issue only raised its head in the lead up to elections.  At one
pre-election meeting, that I know about, Mugabe told farmers not to take
note of his speeches but look to his actions.  This was taken to mean that
his rhetoric about taking land was just that and he knew that he needed to
continue with commercial agriculture for the good of the economy.

5 In the late 90s the UK Government withdrew support as they believed that
some of the money was being misallocated or not benefiting the landless
population.  It cannot be disputed that many farms bought and paid for by
the UK Government ended up in the hands of Chefs or their relatives/friends
(as fronts).

6 In 1996 (Presidential election year) or 1997 the Zimbabwe Government
tried to expropriate some 1 500 farms which led to an international and
local uproar.  I am unsure of the timing or terms offered but they could
not have been acceptable to landowners, etc.

7 The above led to the Land Conference attended by several world
governments (not just the British) at which a plan of action and finance
for a transparent and sustainable land reform programme was agreed by all
attending the conference and pledges of financial support made by many
countries.  The Zimbabwe Government was to identify pilot schemes which
they failed to do.  (This may have been as they wanted to continue with
commercial agriculture which was the backbone of the economy - makes sense
and could explain the slow implementation of the reform over the previous
18 years).

8 In 2000 we held a Constitutional Referendum.  During the lead up it
became obvious that ZANU(PF)'s proposals were not going to be accepted,
especially the provisions for Mugabe to extend his reign of power, without
a big draw card.  To this end Mugabe introduced the infamous Clause 16
provision that the British should be responsible for paying for the land.
This had no effect on the outcome of the referendum, which rejected the
constitutional proposals, as the people were no longer interested in land
reform or continued persecution of the whites.  Clause 16 was a dead duck.
This infuriated Mugabe as he had misread the electorate and lost his
referendum.  He made a very consolatory speech and within days the land
invasions had started.  He needed to vent his anger and thought that the
white farmers had lobbied for the rejection of the constitution because of
Clause 16.  The farmers had taken a very back seat and only provided
transport for their labour to vote.

9 I believe that although led by war veterans the land invasions were not
instigated by them but by Mugabe as retribution for the "NO" vote. Remember
that nothing happens without Mugabe's sanction.  I believe the original
target was some 1 000 or 1 500 farms.

10 The "NO" vote gave confidence to the white community that democracy was
truly alive in Zimbabwe and they could re-engage in politics.

11 The referendum was closely followed by the 2000 parliamentary elections
which ZANU(PF) could not be sure of winning given the "NO" vote and the
rise of the MDC.  Moyo needed a scapegoat goat and blamed the MDC which
until then was little known - it was the NCA that lobbied for the rejection
of the constitutional proposals.

12 To protect their land/rights white farmers threw their weight behind the
MDC as they thought there was a real chance of change for the betterment of
Zimbabwe as a whole.  They did not believe that the invasions were anything
more than a short term political move to win ZANU(PF) the election but also
thought that by having a change of government away from a revolutionary
party the land issue would be finally put to bed.

13 Mugabe was incensed at the TV footage showing farmers giving large sums
of money to the MDC and gave the green light for total farm expropriation/
invasion, whatever the cost to the country's economy.  The farmers now
truly joined the ranks of "those who are against me".

I know the above is not complete and may have inaccuracies.  Maybe people
who remember can correct or add and JAG can produce an accurate report so
we do not loose sight of our history.

Even today there is no clear blueprint for the resettlement of the land nor
has any plan been tabled in parliament.  The conclusion must be that this
is still political expediency or retribution and not a move to address any
colonial imbalances.

In hind sight the white community, and especially the farmers, should have
kept out of politics or even have supported Mugabe to the hilt.  We should
have sold our souls to the devil and continued with the good life.  This
bears heavily on me as I feel more than a degree of responsibility for what
has transpired to everyone in Zimbabwe.  But does one sup with the devil?
Unfortunately we joined the fray and now have to see it to its end -
hopefully a better Zimbabwe for all.

To the farmers who feel betrayed by their fellow black Zimbabweans, I would
like to assure you that the vast majority of the population are sympathetic
and do not subscribe to what is going on.  Please do not feel bitter
towards them.  They are suffering more than you and are no more responsible
for what has happened.  We all share equally for challenging the regime,
inaction, indecision and just being cowed by the viciousness of the
governing authorities.

Alan McCormick


Letter 5:

Dear JAG,

Please allow me the space to reply to Stuart Chappell's fascinating letter.
It is a great shame that he is still waiting to buy property in what he
seems to perceive as the epitome of democracy - I suggest he does it
immediately in case he misses out on this golden era in Zimbabwe.
Apparently Mr. Shamu and Mr. Mugabe (and others) have actually implemented
a new form of tenure to replace Title - it is in the form of Diesel -
"Liquid Title" - I think that the terms of reference are freely available
from the Selous farmers or possibly Charles Davy. A couple of drums to some
politically correct people - like Shamu might well be all Stuart needs to
get an A2 plot and throw his foundations - so simple.

Moving on to Mr. Chappell's assertions on Justice and Sovereignty from his
(and Mr. Mugabe's) perspective - perhaps he could pop down to Matabeleland
and check out the 20 000 graves of BLACK men, women and children - never
mind Martin Olds', David Stephens' graves or, going back to the dawn of
this golden Mugabe era, and visit the grave of Mr. Adams in Harare - just
to name a few. I think Edgar Tekere - Senator in waiting (?) - might be an
ideal tour guide for the latter. This will make the ideal tour for a
prospective immigrant. He could also seek some guidance on title from a
compatriot - the owner of Central Estates. Of course it would not be at all
necessary for him to ask Roy Bennett anything about anything because this
might be confuse Mr. Chappell's his brilliant legal justification of Zanu
genocide - all totally acceptable because RAB Butler facilitated Northern
Rhodesian and Nyasaland independence before that of Southern Rhodesia. Now
RAB can be blamed for killing 20 000 people in 1982 (not Mugabe or Shiri) -
and a white citizen and Titleholder should give Mugabe the money for that
Title but the holder of a British passport (like Chappell) need not - QED!
Good old Mugabe but naughty RAB, he sentenced over 20 000 people to death
in advance at the Falls Conference (1963?) without even knowing. Good old
Stuart Chappell for pointing this out.

Perhaps I need to apply for a British passport to reduce my exposure to
Mugabe and Chappell! I had thought that displaced farmers (black and white)
might attempt to get Chinese passports - whose holders have been offered
land in Zimbabwe in preference to its own citizens.

J.L. Robinson.


Letter 6:

Dear Jag

Mr. Stuart Chappell's letter refers.

When I first read his letter I thought it was a joke. Assuming this not to
be the case, Mr. Chappell obviously knows little about Africa and nothing
about Zimbabwe. Firstly let me state my credentials for the views that I
express here. In my 60 years I have lived throughout Africa from the very
north to the very south of this continent, including specifically a five
year period in Zimbabwe from 1995 to 2000.

My 'politically incorrect' views are bound to upset the likes of Mr.
Chappell, but they are based on actual experience and involvement with many
different countries in Africa.

Firstly the much maligned (White) colonists of Africa through their
resourcefulness, hard work and capital dragged Africa out of the stone age
over the last hundred years. Since the start of the "Uhuru" era in the
1950's, the so called indigenous peoples republics of Africa have been
pushing this continent back into the stone age. I can hardly think of any
state that has significantly improved over their previous colonialist time,
and certainly none that has done it without the continued input of those
whites still left in their countries, to say nothing of the massive amounts
of capital resources that were left behind, and in many areas continues to
be input from outside sources.

With specific reference to Zimbabwe, even Mr. Chappell tacitly admits that
the funding provided by the Lancaster House Agreement for land reform, was
not used for this by Mugabe's regime. As with most if not all African
regimes, this money has been corruptly used by the regime.

Mr. Chappell probably does not know that the White commercial farmlands
represented only around 13% of the total area of Zimbabwe, whilst producing
in excess of 90% of the agricultural wealth of the old Zimbabwe. It should
be added that it was by sheer hard work and generations of farming families
that this land was brought from its unused state into productive use. Prior
to these folk, Africa survived through a shifting agriculture economy, a
state to which it is now rapidly returning as a result of the policies of
current African governments.

The sad thing is that the Whites brought to Africa all the benefits of the
society of their times, such as infrastructure, education, employment and
medicine, which has resulted in an explosion of the population who can now
no longer feed themselves, or maintain the legacy left behind for them.
This process has been exacerbated by actions such as those of Mugabe's
regime, to the point where recovery is extremely difficult and costly.
Perhaps Mr. Chappell should ask himself why it is that states neighbouring
Zimbabwe have abandoned their previous policy of getting rid of the Whites
and are now actively asking these displaced White Zimbabweans to come to
their countries to help build their farming infrastructures.

Finally Mr. Chappell is incorrect in assuming that all white owned farmland
is as a result of implied theft from the "rightful" (Black) owners. Many
properties were bought and sold legally with all the necessary Government
approvals and fees from 1980 up to 1999. At the very least the seizure of
this land is government theft, and worse, he needs to check to see to whom
it has now been given. As for wanting to live, own land and work having a
pre requisite of excluding oneself from the political process, WELL,
welcome to Orwellian 1984!

Mr. Chappell, you would be well advised to keep your funds in Sterling or
Euros, but if you insist in proceeding I know lots of Zim farmers who would
be happy to arrange an exchange.



Letter 7:

Dear JAG,

After eight years at Bally Vaughan working first as a volunteer and then as
a consultant amongst the animals that I consider to be my family, I will be
taking over the tenancy of the Bally Vaughan Bird and Game Sanctuary on the
first of October 2005.

This includes the hilltop "Duck and Grouse Restaurant" where we will serve
English breakfasts and a buffet Sunday lunch, the "Gazebo Restaurant" where
high quality fast foods will be available, and we will be opening a coffee
and cake shop. We will also offer braai facilities at the weekends. Our aim
is to offer quality and good service.

The income from the restaurants goes towards the care of our many
orphaned, injured, abandoned and endangered animals whose needs are so many
and whose welfare is my primary concern.

New activities include Horse-Back Safaris, pony rides, fishing in our
newly stocked dam and guided tours of the wildlife sanctuary. Meet Khan,
our stunning leopard, when he makes a star appearance with his handler.

I would like to thank all of you on behalf of the animals at Bally
Vaughan, who cannot speak for themselves, for your support, encouragement
and belief in the future of our wildlife heritage. Bally Vaughan was
created by Robin McIntosh as a wildlife sanctuary , and at a time in this
country's history when such a place is needed as never before, I intend to
do my utmost to follow the beliefs of a man whose mission was to create a
better future for our wildlife. You have all contributed in so many ways to
the continued operation of Bally Vaughan and for that I am truly

I look forward to seeing you at Bally Vaughan in the future and hope that
you will continue to feel a part of the lives of our unique and cherished
animal residents.




Letter 8:

Hello JAG,


Greetings from Durban,

You may have heard of our book 'SAS Rhodesia'?  Well we are preparing the
2nd edition and we are desperate for a photo of John Wickenden BSAP Special
Branch.  Is it possible on your next email to BSAP friends to ask if
anyone can help.

Many thanks

Box 50178
Musgrave 4062
South Africa

083 660 0000 c
031 312 0674 h
031 303 7614 f

All letters published on the open Letter Forum are the views and opinions
of the submitters, and do not represent the official viewpoint of Justice
for Agriculture.

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Thursday, October 06, 2005

Off at a slight tangent. I attended a lunch today organized by the
International Policy Network, the think-tank that produces more ideas that
could actually help developing countries than Gordon Brown tax rises.

The guest was Geoff Hill, a journalist of many years' standing, who worked
in Zimbabwe until he had to leave the country, writes now for the Washington
Times, and spends much time in southern Africa.

He was talking of his just published book, What Happens After Mugabe? (I
understand the book trade refers to it as WHAM, so it is difficult to work
out which section of any bookshop it might end up in.)

The book consists of various interviews and discussions among the huge and
ever-growing diaspora of Zimbabweans but the talk was on Mr Hill's ideas of
what ought to be done now in order to ensure that when Mugabe disappears off
the scene, by whatever method, the country can have a relatively smooth

Of course, years of bloody oppression do not a smooth transition make and
there are many people who are determined that those who have imprisoned,
tortured and murdered should be punished. It was not clear whether the
general feeling was that the punishment should be administered by a future
Zimbabwean court or by the International Human Rights one. Both are fraught
with difficulty and the South African Commission for Truth and
Reconciliation does not exactly fill one with hope.

Over and above that, Mr Hill insisted, preparations must be made now for the
reconstruction of the country. And that is precisely what the western
countries and the international community are not doing.

The UN - to start at the top - has never been able to pass a single
resolution about Zimbabwe, blocked as they were each time by other African
countries. The Commonwealth, which, for some reason Mr Hill thinks, is now
doing a good job in restraining tyrannies, has, in fact, been hampered by
the same problem. South Africa, the "the points man", has rather belatedly
shown some disapprobation of Mugabe's behaviour but, by and large, Thabo
Mbeki has not been much help.

The EU has passed various resolutions and imposed the odd sanction, also
proceeded to break every one of them, whenever President Chirac or whoever
wanted to strut around at a pan-African conference.

The United States has, more or less, decided that on this one they will act
at several removes - the removes being Britain and the EU. And Britain? What
of the country that will probably end up paying a large proportion of the
aid? Well, the government has made its views known. Unable to expel people
who are openly calling for murder and mayhem in this country and others, it
has insisted that Zimbabweans who have asked for asylum on the grounds that
they have already been persecuted and tortured and will be again, if they go
back, should, nevertheless, be sent back. A High Court case has started

Throughout the farce and horror outlined above, Zimbabwe continued to
receive aid that was immediately stolen by Mugabe, his wife and other
friends and relations.

But does anyone have any plans for the resuscitation of the country if and
when Mugabe should die (and he is 82)? Well, . errm . it seems not. The
State Department has no plans; the FCO has no plans; the NGOs do not wish to
spend money on anything like that, when there are conferences and other
freebies to be had for themselves.

It seems that somebody has thought of compiling a database of the
whereabouts of educated and qualified Zimbabweans so these people can be
invited or induced to return, should circumstances change. The NGOs thought
it was a great idea. Would they be able to come up with $50,000 to start the
database. Well, errm, the budget is a bit tight at the moment, old boy. No
need to rush into things. Come back when it is all happening.

One could re-establish record of land ownership, which was kept reasonably
well until 2000. One could start training police officers - surely something
the Commonwealth could organize. There is a need for a Zimabwean community
radio station in South Africa that would serve as a rallying point and a
training ground for replacement journalists, radio being much more important
than print in most African countries.

And so on, and so on. It was painful to listen to the catalogue of ideas
that were met with sympathetic sighs and blank faces in the various official
organizations, particularly as one thinks of the amount of money that has
been spent on useless aid projects. Would Bob Geldof consider taking the
cause up? I don't think so. There is not enough publicity in it. Would Kate
Moss click her fingers again? Woops, sorry, forgot, she is in a bit of
trouble herself at the moment. Well, not trouble exactly, but you know what
I mean.

But then, let's face it: preparation for the future does not come very high
on any political list of priorities, unless it is preparation for
comfortable billets.

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Concerned Zimbabweans in North America appeal to US authorities

block Chinotimba from entering America

      By Violet Gonda
      6 October 2005

      There has been an outcry from Zimbabweans at home and abroad over
attempts by the war veteran Joseph Chinotimba to set up a fund to assist
victims of Hurricane Katrina, while people in his own country are starving.

      Chinotimba, the vice-chairman of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War
Veterans Association, riled many last week when he announced that he would
prefer to assist the storm victims in New Orleans as opposed to victims of
Operation Murambatsvina, saying what happened in America was 'an act of God'.

      Chinotimba's own association has distanced itself from the fund set up
by the controversial ex- combatant. The war veterans re-organising
chairperson Andrew Ndlovu told The Daily Mirror that Chinotimba had no
mandate from ex-combatants to establish the fund using their name. Ndlovu
said apart from uplifting the lives of war veterans, the money could also be
used to import much-needed fuel. Chinotimba brushed this aside and
reportedly called Ndlovu a madman.

      Concerned Zimbabweans in North America have embarked on a campaign to
block the ZANU PF led delegation from entering the USA. The pressure groups
says, "this naked attempt by a brutal dictatorship to ingratiate itself with
the American public should be rejected and condemned." The group urged
Americans to avoid associating with a regime that recently committed a
"tsunami" against its own citizens, and has brought nothing but pain and
suffering to ordinary Zimbabweans.

      Ralph Black, a member of "Concerned Zimbabweans in North America' says
letters have already been sent to the Mayor of New Orleans, the US embassy
in Harare and US State Department asking them not to allow Mugabe's thugs
into the US. The pressure group is appealing to these authorities not to
accept blood money, saying the American government would not take money from
despots like Saddam Hussein or Milosevic and Mugabe and his cronies are in
the same league.

      While the United Nations is appealing for nearly US$30m in
humanitarian supplies for the most vulnerable people, evicted during what it
termed a "disastrous venture" in Zimbabwe, ZANU PF members are busy trying
to embark on this international publicity stunt.

      The notorious African American group, the December 12 Movement, is
said to be organizing logistics in America for this PR exercise. Members of
The December 12 Movement are fanatical supporters of the Mugabe regime. The
war veterans' fund has an October 31 deadline and aims to raise between Z$20
billion to Z$30 billion.

      Chinotimba is expected to head the delegation which will take the
donations to New Orleans at the beginning of November.

      SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

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MDC to hold crucial rallies in Harare and Chitungwiza

      By Tererai Karimakwenda
      06 October 2005

      The MDC has organised 2 rallies this coming weekend which are deemed
very crucial to the opposition in terms of deciding the way forward. Tererai
spoke to William Bango, personal assistant to MDC president Morgan
Tsvangirai about these planned events, the reported divisions within the top
ranks on the senate elections, and the way forward.

      Bango said the party has been holding consultative meetings in a
countrywide campaign in order to get an idea from the people as to how they
want to proceed. So far they have been to Hwange, Gwanda, Shamva, Mutare,
Masvingo and many other places. Harare and Chitungwiza were the next and
final step in this process, and decisions would be made soon.

      Bango said Zimbabweans had been through a wide range of experiences
since the formation of the MDC, and had tried many strategies to remove the
present government peacefully and resolve the current crisis. He said the
MDC tried participating in elections and tried different forms of mass
action without any success. At every turn the people were cheated and they
were now asking for different strategies. The opinions gathered by the party
so far show that many are opposed to participating in the senatorial
elections that ZANU-PF has invented.

      On the issue of the reported divisions within the party, Bango said
party president Morgan Tsvangirai has always said everyone in the
organisation, from the president to the peasant, is allowed an opinion and
allowed to vote. This is why there are many positions regarding the senate
elections being allowed to be debated.

      Bango sees Harare constituency as crucial to the future of the party.
And he believes the rallies this weekend are crucial to the debate on
national issues. They may very well decide the future of the country.

      The Harare rally will be held on Saturday 8 October 2005 at Zimbabwe
Grounds while the Chitungwiza rally will be held at The Tennis Court Centre
in Unit D Chitungwiza on Sunday 9 October 2005. The party expects thousands
to throng the two venues and hear their leaders speak on various issues,
including the controversial senate elections.

      SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

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Zimbabwe Defence Forces deeply disgruntled

      By Tichaona Sibanda
      6 October 2005

      MDC legislator and party spokesman for Defence, Giles Mutsekwa has
confirmed there is deep disgruntlement within the Zimbabwe Defence Forces
due to low salaries and poor working and living conditions.

      The Mutare North MP said morale in the ZDF is 'very very low indeed'.
Media reports from Harare said both the army and the air force have been hit
by protests over government's failure to increase their salaries.

      This has apparently irked most of the soldiers who are becoming
agitated over government's refusal to increase their salaries and provide
adequate food supplies to the 40 000 strong army.

      Mutsekwa, a retired Major with 20 years experience in the military
warned that any sensible government would know that the last thing to do in
an army was to disappoint a serving soldier.

      He said; 'These guys are the back-bone of Mugabe's survival, they
provide security for the entire nation, and yet the majority are living in
poverty, save for a few favoured officers. It has been our call as the MDC
that our soldiers must be well paid and well equipped, but if you look at
the situation now, the army is bloated, ill-equipped, ill-paid,
ill-accommodated and ill-clothed. It takes away the pride of these
professional people'.

      Mutsekwa pointed out that the disgruntlement of these soldiers is now
coming out in the open, citing examples where he has been approached on a
number of occasions by soldiers seeking advice.

      'Soldiers speak to us openly. But we have told them there is very
little that Zanu (PF) can do for them now or in the near future. They
(government) simply do not have the capacity to maintain a happy and a
well-paid army. I tell them their only hope now is for a new government'.

      SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

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Zim cops, street vendors clash


06/10/2005 21:50  - (SA)

Harare - Police armed with batons and riot shields fought running battles
with street traders this week as authorities pressed ahead with a clampdown
against street vendors in Harare?s southern townships, a Zimbabwe newspaper
reported on Thursday.

Police have arrested 14 706 vendors, seized their produce and fined them a
total of Z$782m ($31 000) over the past two weeks in a revival of President
Robert Mugabe's hated Operation Murambatsvina - Drive Out Filth - according
to official figures.

Police have codenamed the latest sweep Operation Hatidzokereshure - No Sneak

The UN estimates 700 000 Zimbabweans have lost their homes, livelihoods or
both in Murambatsvina, launched May 19.

Scarce maize meal, cooking oil, soap, flour, sugar, rice, fish and chicken
meat were impounded when parliamentary police stormed the streets.

Police spokesperson Loveless Rupere was quoted as saying the crackdown
against illegal vending was "a routine exercise".

Shortage of staple foods

Opposition legislator Priscilla Misihairabwe-Mushonga said there were
frequent shortages of staples such as maize meal in local stores, forcing
many residents to buy from vendors.

The informal sector is also one of the few remaining sources of jobs in a
country facing over 70% unemployment.

"What the police are doing is an act of wickedness and very intolerable
especially in these difficult times when it is hard to get a job," the
Mirror quoted street vendor Peter Gumbo as saying. "Most of us are eking out
a living from selling these basic commodities."

Some residents, however, accused the vendors of snapping up scarce
commodities in bulk whenever they appear in stores and charging exorbitant
prices for them, the paper said.

Economic difficulties

Late on Wednesday, a rowdy crowd stretching back nearly 1km besieged a
supermarket in Harare's northern Avonlea suburb where sugar was on sale at
the controlled price of Z$4 500 (17 cents) a kilogramme. The black market
price is over Z$50 000 ($2).

Zimbabwe's agriculture-based economy has been in freefall since the
government began seizing thousands of white-owned farms in 2000 for
redistribution to blacks.

Years of drought have compounded the country's difficulties and an estimated
four million of Zimbabwe's 12 million people are in urgent need of food aid,
according to UN figures.

The state-controlled Herald newspaper reported this week that Mugabe ordered
the Murambatsvina blitz "to nip in the bud a Ukrainian-style revolution by
dispersing the slum dwellers via the demolition of their habitats".

The report contradicted previous government claims that there was no
political motive for the demolitions, which it said were aimed at cleaning
up urban slums. Opposition leaders claimed from the start the campaign was
aimed at breaking up their support base among the urban poor.

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Donated plane to Zimbabwe by China expected next year


    2005-10-07 00:48:11

          HARARE, Oct. 6 (Xinhuanet) -- A commuter plane donated to Zimbabwe
by China following the purchase of two commuter aircraft last year is
expected to arrive in the country early next year, an official said on

          Air Zimbabwe's spokesperson, David Mwenga, said the plane was
still going through the production process.

          He said before end of the year the national airline would dispatch
a team of engineers to test and inspect the MA60 aircraft.

          "We are expecting the aircraft early January and its acceptance
will be done before the end of this year," he said.

          Mwenga said the new plane was expected to service Hwange and the
Transfrontier Parks among other routes in a bid to promote tourism in the

          Zimbabwe purchased two MA60 commuter airplanes from China
following an agreement that was signed between the two countries in December
last year.

          The planes were expected to feed into the Far East destination
with Harare being the harbor.

          They would also ply Lusaka, Lilongwe, Beira and Lubumbashi routes
in the region, and the Kariba and Victoria Falls routes locally.

          Early this year, Air Zimbabwe re-launched a direct flight to the
Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Victoria Falls-Johannesburg flight.

          It also introduced a new flight to Beijing, China via Singaporeas
part of its turnaround strategy to be completed by 2008. Enditem

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Govt urged to implement price controls

Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2005-Oct-07

BULAWAYO - The Consumer Council of Zimbabwe (CCZ) is appealing to the
Ministry of Industry and International Trade to enforce the Control of Goods
(Price Control) Act, which the consumer watchdog says is being violated by
some shop-owners.
The council's regional manager for Bulawayo province, Comfort Muchekeza,
said there was urgent need for government to review the relevance of a
section of the Act (Chapter 14:05), which regulated the prices of certain
basic commodities such as bread, mealie-meal, sugar, flour and milk.
"Government should come up with a clear position on the issue of price
controls. What is most worrying is that consumers are being ripped off when
a statutory instrument to protect them is in place.  What is the relevance
of such an Act?" asked Muchekeza.
He said almost 100 percent of basic goods providers in the city were
flouting the Act.
According to the current statutory instrument, a standard loaf of bread is
supposed to cost $7 500 but most shops are selling the commodity at more
than $25 000.
"The issue here is that of legality.  As far as the law is concerned, these
prices are illegal," he said.
Muchekeza said his council would soon engage businesspersons on the need to
respect the consumer's rights.
"For quite sometime we have been concentrating on the individual rights of
consumers, but now we are saying service providers should also be part and
parcel of the process. We believe a well-informed business person on
consumer rights will make the difference," he said.
Bulawayo-based economist Jack Clive said the government should discuss the
issue of price controls.
"You cannot control the end product where raw materials which make that
product are not controlled.  The government should simply do away with those
controls because they are unnecessary," he said.
The Minister of Finance, Herbert Murerwa, recently told a parliamentary
portfolio committee that the country should consider scrapping price

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Lawmakers in Zimbabwe urged to unite in front of economic woes


    2005-10-07 00:28:40

          HARARE, Oct. 6 (Xinhuanet) -- Zimbabwe's Speaker of Parliament,
John Nkomo, on Thursday called on Members of Parliament from both the ruling
Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front and opposition Movement for
Democratic Change to work together to tackle the country's economic

          Speaking at the official opening of a three-day pre-budget
consultative seminar for Members of Parliament, Nkomo reminded the delegates
that Zimbabwe's poor relations with Western countries and multi-lateral
institutions were a result of differences with Britain over the land reform
program which it had promised to finance during independence talks in 1979
but later reneged on its promise.

          The situation, which has seen Zimbabwe being slapped with
sanctions by the west, would make the 2006 budget a difficult one because of
the country's economic woes characterized by high inflation, shortages of
foreign currency, fuel and other basic commodities.

          He said the challenges required a national outlook, commitment,
resilience and unyielding determination that had won the country its
sovereignty 25 years ago.

          "Given these multi-faceted challenges, it is my belief that the
Millennium Development Goals can be used as a useful policy framework to
guide honorable Members in their deliberations to find lasting solutions,"
he said.

          He said the government had invested heavily in agriculture after
realizing that the country's economy rests on the sector.

          The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe availed a 7 trillion Zimbabwean
dollars (about 269 million US dollars) Agricultural Productive Enhancement
Facility for this farming season.

          Nkomo also said apart from agriculture, the government had also
identified mining and manufacturing sectors as among key sectors to the
country's economic turnaround. Enditem

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Pushcarts invade residential areas

Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

From Our Correspondent in Bulawayo
issue date :2005-Oct-07

PUSHCART operators, once confined to major bus terminuses and market places
ferrying goods and farm produce, have now invaded residential areas here
becoming the most convenient mode of collecting refuse.
The carts better referred to, as "Scanias" have since become a common sight
in the city's western suburbs teeming with garbage for disposal.
The city centre has also become an eyesore as the Bulawayo City Council was
failing to collect refuse due to the current fuel blues and the shortage of
foreign currency to buy spare parts for most  of its ageing and dilapidated
About 75 percent of the city's refuse collection vehicles are grounded
because breakdowns cannot be attended to due to the stated limitations. Some
of the rubbish has been left uncollected for almost two months
In most high-density suburbs, pushcarts have become the norm rather than the
exception as operators mill about looking for potential customers wanting to
clear rubbish from their premises.
The pushcarts, which come in all shapes and sizes, off load the waste in
undesignated open spaces in residential areas, seriously posing a health
hazard to city residents.
Pushcart operators who spoke to The Daily Mirror yesterday confirmed that
business was brisk and hoped the fuel crisis persisted and this boosted
their viability.
"Our charges are reasonable, hence people are rushing to us to transport the
garbage. We charge $10 000 per load but for companies, we charge even more,"
said Titus Nkomo who operates at a bus stop in Nkulumane.
Some city companies have also resorted to hiring pushcarts to clear rubbish
at their sites as the fuel shortages continue unabated.
A city soap-manufacturing firm has since contracted seven pushcart operators
to ferry the company's refuse at least twice weekly.
"The pushcarts have come in handy. Council delivery system has collapsed in
the city and we cannot just watch while industrial waste piles in our
faces," said James Jami, managing director of the
City director of health services Zanile Hwalimo recently told council that
her department was failing to effectively service western suburbs due to the
recurrent fuel problems.
Despite the total collapse of the city refuse collection system, residents
have accused council of continuing to bill them on rubbish collection

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Abandoned industrial infrastructure crumbles

Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Shame Makoshori
issue date :2005-Oct-07

A PRAGMATIC economic prosperity and investment inflows are hugely dependent
on a reliable and adequate infrastructure such as roads, railways, air
traffic telecommunications and conducive investment regulations offering
investors sufficient space to reap maximum benefits from their investments.
Government has in the past 25 years sought to provide power water and
telecommunications services through state-owned corporations.
Grand efforts were laid out after independence to expand the manufacturing
sector with strong complimentary rail networks and power supplies.
But 25 years on, the earlier gains have taken a swift turn.
Power supplies are now erratic, industrial production has declined and the
networks are hugely under utilised.
While holistic strategies have been implemented to resuscitate industrial
production and increase output, the current stock of industrial
infrastructure is shocking.
This reveals how the current turnaround strategies have slammed the door on
the protection of infrastructure for future use.
The strategy has been to maintain production, but a survey by The Business
Mirror in two industrial sites-the Workington heavy industry and the
Graniteside light industrial sites revealed that multibillion-dollar
properties left by divesting companies are in a bad state.
In Workington, at least 10 factories have had their roofs looted exposing
plants to bad weather.
Previously promising projects like Zimbabwe Textile Industries, and other
chemical, paper, tiles and building material manufacturing investments have
been abandoned and no proper care is taken to both buildings and plants.
Rail sidings are now idle because companies that previously required wagon
services for raw material supplies either no longer require bulk supplies or
they have moved out.
In their place, retailers have set up shop, slowly transforming the once
prosperous heavy industrial site into a market place for the buying and
selling of computer hard and software, fabrics, stationery, and vehicles,
most of them imported.
At the former complex Tinto Industries a successful multinational whose
interests included the manufacturing and mining sectors, more than 20 SMEs
had taken over by last year.
These have since disbursed after rentals shot up amid a shrinking market and
increased competition in the same trade.
Chinese investors are making inroads but most of them deal in imported
textiles, glass and carpet retailing, most of which are imported.
This probably explains the reason why manufacturing output plunged by 8.5
percent in 2004.
    Previous experiences in Africa have shown that such lack of
infrastructure had been the biggest disincentive for investment and the
continued decaying of properties in Zimbabwe would stand to be a cause for
concern when investors flock in.
Billions of dollars that could be committed to other investments could be
required to plant imports if the deterioration of continues.
"Some of these companies closed down as early as 1991, and I do not think
the plants will work even if new investors come in," said a manager at ZFC.
In Graniteside there are few idle properties but more that 15 buildings
started in the 1990s before the effects of the Economic Structural
Adjustment Programmes (Esap) took their toll, remain unfinished.
The closing companies pushed out thousands of workers out of employment but
this has not dampened the spirits of thousands more to flock to the ghost
properties every morning in search of worker despite strong signs that the
small companies setting up shop have no capacity to absorb them.

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Committee battles with Harare budget

Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2005-Oct-07

THE Harare City Council's finance committee met on Tuesday to discuss the
2006 budget formulation, with reports that the current inflationary
environment was making it difficult to come up with estimates that would
improve the city's financial status.
Various meetings between heads of department have already been held in
preparation for next year's budget.
Harare spokesperson Leslie Gwindi yesterday said the finance committee had
also looked at ways to beat inflation that is currently pegged at
"The committee met yesterday (Wednesday) to discuss the budget but the
problem we are facing now is the crisis of inflation. It is now difficult to
budget for a year given the rate at which prices are rising and the
committee recommended that heads of department should go back and look at
ways that would ensure that we come up with estimates that take into account
the current high rate of inflation," he said.
The council is facing financial problems largely due to sub-economic rates
it charges residents, and the late implementation of budgets.
Gwindi also acknowledged that the current changes in the management of the
city had affected the flow of business.
"There has been a lot of shifting (in the management) but we have to adapt
quickly and move on with the business," he said.
Director of works Psychology Chiwanga and chamber secretary Josephine Ncube
were suspended this week.
The director of housing and community services, Numero Mubaiwa, chief
security officer Tavanani Gomo and four other top municipal police officers
were also sent on forced leave in the past two weeks.
The council spokesperson added that public meetings would be conducted after
the officials had finished with their internal consultations.

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Africa's paradox: hunger in the land of plenty


     06 Oct 2005 13:33:00 GMT

      Source: Reuters

By Mabvuto Banda and Ed Stoddard

BLANTYRE/JOHANNESBURG, Oct 6 (Reuters) - South Africa has mountains of
expensive maize it can't sell while poor people in nearby countries need
food aid to stay alive and aid agencies are short of cash to buy the staple

The age-old paradox of extreme hunger alongside plenty hangs over southern

"We have too much maize in South Africa ... It's one thing to produce but
another to produce economically," said economist Nico Hawkins of the
producer body Grain South Africa (SA).

South Africa's Crop Estimates Committee said last month its projection for
the 2005 maize crop was unchanged at a bumper 12.18 million tonnes.

"If this estimate is correct, then we will see a surplus from this year into
next of 5 million tonnes," said Hawkins.

Farmers need 850-900 rand ($130-$137) a tonne to break even and have
signalled they plan to plant much less maize next year in response to low
prices, he said.

While South African farmers pile up surplus grain, aid agencies say up to 12
million people in the region will need food handouts for the next six months
following crop failures.

The main problem is not supplies of grain, but getting the cash to buy it
and transporting it to those in need.

"The problem right now is we have a massive funding shortfall," said Mike
Huggins, regional spokesman for the United Nations World Food Programme.

"The other problem we have to face is timing. Governments make available
food and cash when the situation has already deteriorated and in some cases
it's too late for some people."

Some governments insist on giving food, which can take a long time to reach
the hungry.

It takes around four months to move food from abroad and six weeks to buy
food in the region if cash donations are given.

"If we have cash, we will buy locally, if there is no food available
locally, we do it regionally as long as the prices remain competitive,"
Huggins said.

South Africa, where prices have shot up by one third since the start of
August on worries of a smaller-than-expected crop, is in danger of pricing
itself out of the market, he added.

"I think if the price started getting up around the 900 rand mark, then it
would be cause for alarm," Huggins said.

The price of the most traded white maize contract on Thursday closed 0.9
percent higher at 867.80 rand per tonne.

Aid agencies say some 12 million people in nearby countries including
Lesotho, Malawi, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe will need food aid until the
next harvest around April 2006. Some parts of southern Africa have fertile
soil but the rains during the past growing season were erratic and unevenly
spread. South Africa's maize areas saw good drenchings but drought and hot
sun hit the crop in Malawi and other countries.

(Additional reporting by Eric Onstad)

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ZIMBABWE: Access to treatment a concern for displaced living with AIDS

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

BULAWAYO, 6 Oct 2005 (IRIN) - The Zimbabwe government's recent controversial
clean-up drive, 'Operation Restore Order', which left some 700,000 without
homes or livelihoods, also denied people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) access
to antiretroviral treatment.

Chip Maphosa, a single mother of three, was among the thousands affected by
the campaign. Her family spent two weeks sleeping in the open after the
shack she was renting in Makokoba township in the southern city of Bulawayo
was destroyed by police.

The HIV-positive Maphosa has now found temporary shelter for her family at
the Salvation Army Church in Makokoba. Rattled by a coughing fit, and
sneezing regularly, she told IRIN "my condition is getting worse... this
cough is not good". The clean-up campaign had disrupted her antiretroviral
(ARV) treatment.

Zimbabwe has one of the world's highest HIV/AIDS prevalence rates at 25
percent of a population of 11.5 million. According to the joint United
Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), a minimum of 180,000 Zimbabweans
died of AIDS-related illnesses in 2004, while in 2005 an estimated 3,500
were succumbing to the disease every week.

It is thought that over 1.5 million children have lost one or both their
parents to the epidemic.

A survey by the Bulawayo-based Matabeleland AIDS Council (MAC) said about
200 terminally ill people had been displaced by the clean-up campaign and
most were in dire need of food, clothes and drugs. It was also difficult for
AIDS workers to locate evicted PLWHA, who were often unable to continue
their treatment as a result.

Hlengiwe Ngwenya has also found shelter at the Salvation Army facility. She
tearfully recalled the day in June when police swooped on Killarney, a
squatter camp south of Bulawayo, and destroyed her shack and everything in
it, including her medical records.

"I have to start afresh. I was receiving ARVs but my schedule has been
disrupted," she said.

Methuseli Ndlovu lost his HIV-positive wife soon after they were removed
from an urban area to their rural home, 90 km north of Bulawayo. "She
required urgent medical care, but the clinic in my village has had to close
due to drug shortages," he told IRIN.

In his report following a visit to Zimbabwe in July, Rod Macleod, director
of the London-based Catholic Institute for International Relations, related
how a widow who had lost her husband to AIDS and was struggling to look
after four children was given 24 hours to knock down her own house and had
to spend winter exposed to the elements.

Nurses at clinics in Bulawayo said patients who had been receiving treatment
for tuberculosis (TB), one of the main opportunistic diseases associated
with HIV/AIDS, had disappeared.

"We have tried to make follow-ups at their homes but we have been told that
they no longer stay there after their homes were destroyed," said a matron
at Bulawayo's Central Hospital, a major referral centre. "Most of them are
infected with pulmonary TB and they are spreading it."

Home-based care providers were no longer available to help look after the
sick, and health workers said community-based AIDS initiatives crumbled when
their members were dispersed.

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle had become difficult for the displaced,
because they no longer had access to counselling sessions or much choice in
what they ate.

Church leaders estimated that over 20,000 displaced people were housed in
ecclesiastical facilities across Bulawayo, waiting to be moved to a transit
camp at Helensvale Farm, 20 km northwest of the city.

Pastor Albert Tatenda, a member of a group of 200 clerics involved in
discussions with the government over the plight of those displaced by the
clean-up campaign, said facilities in transit camps had to be upgraded to
avoid outbreaks of communicable diseases.

"There is much to be done, like setting up the tents and clearing the grass.
We have made it clear to the government that this has to be done before
people move in," Tatenda noted.

According to the government, evictees are to be allocated houses under a US
$300 million programme dubbed Operation Garikai/Hlalani Kuhle (Operation
Live Well), currently underway.

However, critics have argued that the state does not have the resources to
house all the displaced people, some of whom had been on housing waiting
lists for over 10 years, and pointed out that the programme was moving at a
slow pace. Others have alleged it would only benefit those supporting the
ruling ZANU-PF party.

Nevertheless, people like Maphosa look forward to being relocated, as long
as they are resettled closer to Bulawayo, because "I need to have access to
a referral health centre for tablets and check-up".

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ZIMBABWE: Street vendors slip back quietly after urban clean up campaign

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

HARARE, 6 Oct 2005 (IRIN) - Five months after the Zimbabwean government
cleared the streets of urban centres across the country of vendors, beggars
and street children, informal traders are trickling back but are forced to
play hide-and-seek as police prowl the pavements on the lookout for illegal

Pinos Muhacha leans against a wall, standing guard over empty cigarette
packets placed on a tattered cardboard box, a threadbare knapsack on his

The empty cigarette packs act as a decoy for prying police as well as a sign
to customers that this is a vending site.

Muhacha is one of the vendors who dared to return to their former trading
place after police blitzed stalls in the capital, Harare, as part of a slum
clearance campaign dubbed 'Operation Murambatsvina' (Drive Out Trash).

"It is still a cat-and-mouse game here on the streets - one has to be
constantly on the move," he says, taking out two half-empty packs of
cigarettes from his knapsack for a customer.

Muhacha's customer complains about the inconvenience of having to search for
vendors when they were readily visible before the blitz. "Buying any fruit
is now a hassle - at least in the past one could buy a single avocado, an
orange or a banana. The absence of vendors has forced us to go into
supermarkets, where fruit is sold in expensive packages," he told IRIN.

"There are no jobs unless one decides to cross into South Africa illegally
or risk scaling the electrified fence into neighbouring Botswana," Muhacha

Informal traders who were forcibly cleared off the streets are back in
numbers, driven by deepening economic hardship to try and eke out a living.

They had gone underground: some turned their homes into clandestine
mini-shops, while others set up along the streets of working-class suburbs,
ready to whisk their fruit and vegetables indoors at the slightest hint of
an impending police raid.

But reduced business due to overtrading in the suburbs eventually prompted
them to go back to the city streets and avenues where business had always
been brisk.

Vendors tested the waters first by operating only during early evenings when
workers jostled to get home on the few buses available.

"It is hunger that forces us to defy the police ban - how else do city
authorities expect us to feed, clothe and pay for lodgings for our families
when there are not enough jobs to go around? It is the only alternative for
survival," said Ndakaitei Gwinyai, a 46-year old divorcee from the
working-class suburb of Mufakose.

Gwinyai said she had lost a major portion of her "investment" in the form of
fruit and vegetables in the initial raids, but that had not deterred her
from "trying her luck" once more because the need to survive outweighed the

"You know what is involved - if I get caught and get my wares impounded, I
take it as an unlucky day; if I elude police swoops my children have food on
their table. Have you ever agonised over watching your children go hungry
because you fear authorities?" she asked.

In the past two weeks Zimbabwean police have arrested an estimated 14,700
vagrants, street vendors and illegal foreign currency dealers in the capital
as police battled to enforce the urban clearance campaign.

According to Harare city council spokesman Leslie Gwindi, "Council plans to
boost the number of its municipal police to enforce trading by-laws in the
city. We are determined to rid the streets of vagrants, touts and idlers at
all cost. We want to maintain order and retain the status of 'The Sunshine
City' that Harare previously enjoyed."

The vendors' return has also brought piles of uncollected garbage back to
streets and alleyways but municipal officials say there is little they can
do because of the crippling fuel shortage.

Town clerk Ngoni Chideya noted that besides the fuel shortage, his council's
garbage collection fleet has been hobbled by an acute shortage of foreign
currency to buy spares. "At times council buys fuel on the black market to
keep emergency services going - we prioritise emergency services ahead of
garbage collection."

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Government has total control

The Zimbabwean

Dear Family and Friends,

Thanks to the kindness and generosity of friends, I have just returned from
a fortnight in Mozambique and it was a long overdue and extremely welcome
break from the daily grind of Zimbabwe. I can't say that I missed home while
I was away or that two weeks was long enough but oh, how wonderful it was to
be able to be normal. After five and half years of Zimbabwe's turmoil, I had
forgotten what it felt like to be even marginally in control of the everyday
events of normal life in a normal country.

I had forgotten how it felt to drive into a gas station and fill up with
petrol. I had forgotten what piles of sugar sitting on a supermarket shelf
looked like. I had forgotten how marvellous it was to find the price of
goods unchanged from one day to the next, and, even better, from one week to
the next.

Mozambique's prolific markets and roadside vendors reminded me of home, or
rather of how home was, before our government did their dire deeds with
bulldozers a few months ago. In the Mozambique markets you could negotiate
and bargain for almost anything you can think of from a goat to a pineapple,
a freshly caught octopus to a carved wooden turtle, or, if you were so
inclined a five piece lounge suite, double bed or even a generator could be
bought on the side of road.

I realised how much this variety, diversity and bargaining had also been the
face of Zimbabwe and how much its absence has changed our country into the
sanitized and totally government-controlled environment that it now is. The
bulldozers of our government not only deprived people of the ability to earn
a living but they also silenced the market chatter, stifled the laughter,
suffocated expression and sterilized our streets, towns and lives.

On the journey to and from the border I realised how internally isolated we
have become in Zimbabwe. With almost no fuel available for the past five
months most Zimbabweans don't or can't afford to travel inside our own
country anymore. We don't have any way of knowing what's really happening
outside of our own towns and have become totally reliant on the propaganda
we are force fed by state radio and television.

For months we have been told that food shortages are because of crippling
drought in Zimbabwe and yet I was very surprised to see from the road how
many rivers still had running water in them and how many dams were not dry.
This is not the picture of drought that we Africans know so well.

This unharvested water is shocking in a hungry country. It should be used to
bring production to the miles and miles of deserted, untended farms that you
see along the roads. The farms that the government changed the constitution
to grab. Less than a month away from the main maize planting season, I was
very shocked to see almost no prepared lands, no ploughed fields and no
tractors tilling the farms for 250 kilometres along the main road to the

It is chillingly quiet out there on the farms and yet summer is here and the
rains are about to begin. In the two weeks that I have been away almost
every single thing in my shopping basket has almost doubled in price and
perhaps the most chilling thing that I have seen since I have been home is
how few people are buying seed maize - it is simply too expensive.

Everyone is saying that this year is going to be the worst and they are
right because our pantries and pockets are empty and hunger already has one
foot in the door. Zimbabwe may not be much in the world news these days but
please don't forget us. Until next week, Ndini Shamwari Yenyu.

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Torture, beating in Zim's jails

The Zimbabwean

Roy Bennett, former MDC MP for Chimanimani, has just spent a year in jail in
Zimbabwe. He speaks to Revd Dr MARTINE STEMERICK about widespread torture on
the inside.
Martine: What about torture in the prisons? Did you witness any?

Roy: Yes, I saw torture in every single prison I went to. [NB: Roy was held
in three different prisons.] I saw people being beaten and abused. But the
prisoners are strong. Their faith is strong. They carry on through it.

In the prison system, one becomes very hardened. They harden you more than
you ever were before you went in there because there are regular beatings
from the guards. When you get out to the gangs, you are searched. When you
come in from the gangs, you are searched.
If you are too slow in sitting down or squatting - because you can't talk to
the guards standing up; you have to grovel on the floor to talk to them -
and if you're late getting down to grovel, you are beaten.

Prisoners are beaten if the guards feel you've done something wrong - like
some guys will smoke and they'll be found with a match on them, they are
then taken into a cell and forced to lie on their stomachs. Their legs are
then bent up backwards and their feet are beaten with rubber truncheons on
the bottom of their feet.

They'll get anything from 20 to 100 lashes on the bottom of their feet. I
witnessed two people who were crippled on the bottom of their feet as a
result of these beatings. All the bones on the bottom of their feet had been

Their whole humanity is taken away from them. Their dignity is taken away
from them. When you come in from the labour gangs to come into the prisons,
you have to strip naked and do star jumps in front of the prison guards.

Martine: Did they ever attempt to starve you in prison? We understand there
is no food right now in Zimbabwe.

Roy: It basically shows you that the government is broke. It doesn't have
the money to be able to support its own prison system. It wasn't just the
food; it was also the clothing. The prisoners are given torn, tatty
clothing: they would stitch it with their own hands. If they didn't stitch
it, they would just wear tatters like beggars.

No one in the prisons is allowed to wear shoes. No jerseys in the winter and
no shoes. That's the prison: it's government property. There's no budget, no
money. So the prisoners are victimized. They don't get the right food. Under
the prison law, there is set stipulation how many times people should get
meat, toothbrush and toothpaste and access to soap. It's in the standing
rules and orders, but because they haven't got the money they can't do it.
And they view the prisoners as subhumans, so they really don't care that
they are not fed or clothed properly.

Martine: What would Heather bring you when she came to visit?

Roy: She'd bring me a week's supply of high-protein food that the doctor had
allowed me to get and some fruit and vegetables. And I would always feed
absolutely terrible walking into a prison with 600 people who have nothing.
And you're carrying two bags of food.

But I'd share it with the prisoners. In one case, the guy next to me was
HIV-positive and not eating, so I'd fix up some of the high protein food and
I was feeding him. Without that, I would have never survived. I would have
died in prison. There were times that they tried to poison me in prison.
Definitely. So, I'd always make sure that whatever food I did eat, came out
of he same pot as everybody else. I'd never eat anything other than that.
And what Heather brought me, I made sure that it was sealed before I ate it.
And if it wasn't sealed, I threw it away.

Martine: What did the other prisoners do?

Roy: You see, within the prison system you've got 'them' and 'us.' And the
'us' is the majority, and the 'them' is the minority. It's basically the
same as the Zanu (PF) regime in Zimbabwe. So, you've got a few prisoners who
are trustees and prison informants. They inform about any rackets that are
going on in prison or anything that is being said in prison or anything that
is being done. And they are used by the guards to do anything against the

But all the prisoners are aware who these guys are so they stay clear of
them and watch them like a hawk and they make sure that the informants are
not aware of what the prisoners are doing. And these informants would
sometimes come to me with beautiful meat on a plate and offer it to me. And
wherever I was, I would get pinches and the other prisoners would pull the
hair on the back of my leg and say, "Don't touch it! Don't touch it!" So
they were very good like that.

Martine: Is it safe to send asylum seekers from the UK back to Zimbabwe?

Roy: If any of those people had a history of political activism, they would
definitely face victimization on their return to Zimbabwe through
imprisonment, torture, and suppression.

There's no doubt about that. To draw the line between who is a political
activist and who is not is very difficult because everybody is suffering
because of political victimization.

Remember - people don't want to be here in the first place. The reason that
they are here is because they can't stay at home. So what the British
government should be doing is speaking out very loudly about the situation
in Zimbabwe, putting as much pressure as they can on the surrounding
neighbours for democracy and freedom to return to the people of Zimbabwe,
then every asylum seeker living in the UK will go home and they won't have a
problem with having those people here.

But, to send people back under the current circumstances is certainly
inhuman and would subject those people to human rights abuses.

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Air Zim flouts safety procedure



      Ruramai Mutizwa
      10/6/2005 9:14:25 AM (GMT +2)

      CASH strapped Air Zimbabwe has bypassed security checks by operating a
damaged Boeing 737 repaired using parts salvaged from a similar plane
without consulting Boeing engineers as is routine.

      The Boeing 737 was put on service check (C-check) on September 28, a
week after it was damaged during towing. David Mwenga, the spokesperson for
the national carrier, confirmed the repaired plane would start operating
soon, but declined to state where the parts had been sourced.
      However, sources say Air Zimbabwe will not hire the Boeing engineers,
as the debt-laden national airline is unable to raise the fees for their
services, which are paid in foreign currency.
      "There is no indication that they plan to bring the Boeing engineers
as they simply do not have the money to consult them," a source said this
      Air Zimbabwe's three Boeing 737s - including the damaged plane - had
not been operating because of various faults, Mwenga said.
      "We expect the Boeing 737 that we have been working on to start
operating soon. We have actually taken it out for a C-check" he said.
      Safety procedure requires that engineers from the suppliers, Boeing,
be called in to conduct safety checks on damaged aircraft before they can
fly again, experts say.
      Sources told The Financial Gazette that Air Zimbabwe had planned to
strip the damaged plane of parts and use them on another Boeing 737 that had
been lying idle. Mwenga refused to comment.

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Deportees seen as traitors

From The Times (UK), 6 October

By Richard Ford, Home Correspondent

Deportations of failed asylum-seekers to Zimbabwe should remain suspended
because they are considered "traitors" and "Blair's spies" by the Mugabe
regime, a court was told yesterday. Mark Henderson, counsel for the Refugee
Legal Centre, said: "Evidence presented by ourselves and presented by the
Home Secretary refers to the Zimbabwean authorities viewing such people as
traitors, guilty of treachery and betrayal." Mr Henderson was opening a test
case on behalf of a Zimbabwean migrant, who cannot be identified, who is
challenging the Home Secretary's decision to remove him from Britain. The
Asylum Immigration Tribunal, sitting in London, is to look at new evidence
on conditions in Zimbabwe. Once it has considered whether it is safe to send
people back, another hearing will deal with the failed asylum-seekers'
attempt to avoid deportation. Mr Henderson said that Charles Clarke, the
Home Secretary, had now admitted that deportees were handed over to
authorities on arrival in Harare, despite previous denials. He said: "The
evidence suggests that anyone associated with the British authorities, and
in particular someone who has sought their protection from Mugabe and Zanu
PF and their forces, will be viewed, to say the least, with suspicion . . .
Anyone who sought asylum in Britain will at least be at real risk of ill
treatment. (President) Mugabe believes they (the British Government) are
leading an international campaign to effect regime change." But Steven
Kovats, counsel for the Home Office, said evidence from field reports showed
that "failed asylum-seekers as a class are not at real risk of treatment
contrary to Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights". The
hearing continues.

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