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

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Zim Online

Thur 7 October 2004

      HARARE - A spat of desertions has hit Zimbabwe's security forces as
servicemen and women flee hardships at home to neighbouring and overseas
countries, ZimOnline has learnt.

      Sources said at least one in every five people who joined the army,
police or the secret service Central Intelligence Organisation since 1999
had left without official leave in the last three years.

      About 20 soldiers attempting to flee Zimbabwe were arrested at Harare
International Airport since March when immigration officers were ordered to
report members of the security forces travelling out of the country,
according to sources.

      Pressure by senior commanders on all soldiers and police officers to
support President Robert Mugabe and his ruling ZANU PF party was also
driving many younger officers to leave the security forces, the sources

      Some of the younger soldiers and police officers recruited in the last
ten years do not share the same affection for Mugabe and ZANU PF as their
seniors who fought under the ruling party during Zimbabwe's 1970s liberation

      A senior army officer, who spoke anonymously, said: "The heavy
politicisation of the security forces in the last few years is also forcing
many of our young officers to desert because they cannot just stand it. The
matter has been discussed at the highest level."

      A former secret service operative, who did not want to be named for
fear of reprisals, told ZimOnline from London at the weekend that he fled
after being given what he called an "untenable assignment". The deserter,
who is now doing care-work in the British
      capital, said: "I fled after being assigned to track and harm a very
senior member of the opposition."

      Defence Minister Sydney Sekeramayi refused to speak about the matter,
while Home Affairs Minister Kembo Mohadi and State Security Minister
Nicholas Goche could not be reached for comment yesterday. Mohadi is in
charge of the police and Goche oversees the secret service.

      But sources said the three ministers, alarmed by the growing number of
servicemen and women who have gone AWOL, (Away without official leave) two
weeks ago ordered the formation of a joint team comprising senior army and
police officers to work out the exact
      figures of missing officers and measures to stem desertion.

      Another army officer said: "It has been noted (by the senior officers)
that it is very dangerous to have such a high turnover in the security
forces, particularly when the majority of those leaving cannot be accounted

      "A number of suggestions had been thrown around, including
confiscating passports from everyone and only releasing them for authorised

      He said the senior officers were also considering reviewing the
vetting of new recruits to ensure that only the "most patriotic" candidates
were given jobs with the country's security forces.

      Most of the deserting soldiers and police officers were fleeing to
Britain, United States, Canada, Botswana and South Africa where more than
four million other Zimbabweans are already living and doing mostly menial
jobs. Economic hardships and political violence
      at home have been blamed for triggering the exodus.

      Zimbabwe is in the throes of a five-year economic crisis which has
manifested itself in acute shortages of food, fuel, electricity, essential
medical drugs and hard cash. The government has kept its top officers in the
army, police and secret service happy and well looked after but ordinary
servicemen and women bear the brunt of the crisis. - ZimOnline

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Zim Online

Minister tables controversial Bills in Parliament
Thur 7 October 2004

      HARARE - Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa yesterday tabled two
controversial Bills in Parliament, one seeking to restrict Non-Governmental
Organisations (NGOs) in Zimbabwe and another proposing electoral reforms
dismissed by the opposition as inadequate.

      Chinamasa, who is also the ruling ZANU PF party's legal affairs
secretary and is considered a radical, steered the NGO Bill and the Zimbabwe
Electoral Commission Bill through their first reading in the House.

      The first Bill seeks to ban civic society from carrying out voter
education while those focusing on human rights and governance issues will be
prohibited from receiving foreign funding. An NGO council will be appointed
by the government to monitor and close down
      civic groups failing to comply with the proposed law.

      The Electoral Commission Bill proposes the setting up of a new
commission to run elections in Zimbabwe in accordance with norms and
standards agreed by Southern African Development Community (SADC) leaders
last August.

      The SADC electoral protocol requires among other key issues that
independent commissions run elections and that the electoral process must be
sufficiently transparent while human and individual rights must be upheld
during elections.

      The two Bills will now need to go through the second reading, the
stage at which they will be debated by the parliamentarians before going
through the third reading at which the House will vote to adopt, or reject

      The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party which holds
51 seats in Parliament has said it will fight to block the two proposed
laws. However, ZANU PF can easily use its simple majority in the House to
push through the Bills.

      The ruling party controls 97 out of Parliament's 150 seats. A smaller
opposition holds one seat and another seat is still vacant following the
death of veteran ZANU PF politician Eddison Zvobgo.

      The MDC says the proposed electoral commission will lack independence
because Mugabe will appoint its chairman.

      Civic society leaders say the new restrictions proposed by the
government could see humanitarian support to Zimbabwe drying out. Several
NGOs are already closing down operations in Zimbabwe and re-locating to
neighbouring Botswana and South Africa.

      Meanwhile, the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights that is representing
60 women activists arrested outside Parliament on Tuesday while
demonstrating against the NGO Bill, said the women were still in custody by
late last night.

      A lawyer with the organisation, Jessie Majome, said three journalists,
arrested while taking pictures of the women being bundled into police
trucks, were however released yesterday.

      The women, who walked 440 kilometres from Bulawayo to Harare in
protest against the proposed NGO law, had submitted a petition against the
Bill to the Speaker of Parliament before police arrested them. - ZimOnline

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Zim Online

Amnesty releases names of squatter camp victims
Thur 7 October 2004

      HARARE - Amnesty International has released the names of 10 people it
says died last month after a clash with the police at Porta Farm squatter
camp, about 20 kilometres west of Harare.

      The world human rights watchdog, which blames the police for causing
the deaths when they fired teargas into homes and confined places in an
attempt to force the families off the squatter camp said an eleventh person
also believed to have been exposed to excessive
      teargas during the clashes has since died.

      Amnesty yesterday said families of the 10 people who died during and
soon after the police raid at the squatter camp had given it permission to
release the names of the deceased, five infants and five adults.

      In a statement released yesterday the group said: "Amnesty
International with the permission of relatives is naming the deceased.

      "They are: Fungai Livison's one day old son (he was not yet named),
Ronald Job Daniel, 5 months, Matilda Matsheza, 5 months; Yolanda Rungano, 5
months; Monalisa Banda, 7 months; Kuyeka Phiri, 30; Viola Mupetsi, 30; Julia
Nheredzo, 32; Raphael Chatima, 40 and Vasco John, 65."

      A postmortem was still to be carried out to establish whether Angeline
Nhamoinesu, 46, who lived at Porta Farm and died about two weeks ago, was
also a victim of the misuse of teargas by the police, Amnesty said.

      The human rights group has already called for an independent inquiry
into the conduct of the police when they raided the squatter camp on
September 2. The police fired teargas canisters inside houses and other
confined places. They also set several homes on fire during the raid.

      Police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena yesterday refused to speak about the
matter saying the law enforcement agency needed time to carry out
investigations first.

      When Amnesty first accused the police three weeks ago of misusing
teargas and causing the deaths of the squatters, Bvudzijena dismissed the
claims and challenged the human rights group to name the people it said had

      Several local and international human rights groups have in the past
accused the police of heavy-handedness especially when dealing with cases
involving the government's political opponents.

      The about 3 000 families at Porta Farm were put there by the
government in 1992 after being rounded off from the streets of Harare and
from Churu Farm squatter camp just outside the capital.

      At the time the government said it would find better accommodation for
the families within a year. It never did and now says they must move from
the camp. - ZimOnline

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US court rules in favour of Mugabe
          October 07 2004 at 01:45AM

      New York - A federal appeals court on Wednesday threw out a human
rights abuse lawsuit filed against Zimbabwe's ruling political party because
it had not been properly notified of the case.

      The US Second Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a trial judge's
earlier finding and ruled that the ZANU-PF political party had not been
properly notified because Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe was served with
court papers while he was in New York in 2001.

      The appeals court held that Mugabe's immunity as a head of state meant
that his political party had not received proper notice of the case. The
court sent the lawsuit back to the trial judge with orders that it be

      The suit in Manhattan federal court was filed by a number of Zimbabwe
citizens who alleged that Mugabe and his Zimbabwe African National
Union-Patriot Front orchestrated a campaign of violence to intimidate
political opponents through torture, assassinations and property seizures.

      The case was brought under a federal law that allows foreign nationals
to file suit in the United States for injuries suffered in violation of
international law.

      The trial judge had ruled earlier that Mugabe could not be held liable
because he was entitled to head-of-state immunity.

      However, the appeals court judge found that Mugabe's immunity did not
protect ZANU-PF, a private entity. Mugabe had been served with two copies of
the suit, one in his personal capacity and the other on behalf of ZANU-PF

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New Zimbabwe

Externalising the struggle

By Mordekai Chikambure
Last updated: 10/07/2004 08:06:25
ZIMBABWEANS who since 1999 have been flocking from their country have
painfully found that the mere leaving is no easy feat. Thousands have been
deported from Britain, Botswana and South Africa for small reasons even when
their plight for sanctuary would be genuine.

This desperate want for departure from Zimbabwe, a country that has become a
confluence of bad news has caused the rise in the fraudulent travel
documents and even residential permits in most of these host countries.
South Africa is the most affected. It is home to a large number of foreign
nationals, which has made the Police Service therein wary of any story from
a person found without legal residential papers.

One member of ZIPOVA was told that he "should go and apologise to ZANU-PF so
that you can go back and live in Zimbabwe." Another: "Why don't you find a
gun and shoot Mugabe and stop crowding us here?" They were both deported -
and came back.

Zimbabwe Political Victims Association (ZIPOVA) is an organisation formed by
Zimbabwean Political Exiles in South Africa, some of whom are victims of
torture. It assists Zimbabweans with basic socio-economic commodities like
food, clothing acquired from benevolent churches , organisations and
companies in South Africa. So far it has registered a membership of 2 872
needy exiles and has managed to distribute food to 1 039. It seeks to
empower Zimbabweans in the Diaspora with income generating projects and
education skills that will help them when they return to their country after
the much awaited holy departure of the devil holding Zimbabwe to jihad

Inevitably with its large membership of needy, traduced exiles it seeks to
organise massive protests to pressure the international community to act on
Mugabe, an effort whose past influence is on the wane.

Be that as it may, many people who have run away to South Africa from real
fear of their lives find their way back unwillingly through Lindela, a
filthy holding place for illegal immigrants. They are arrested while at
work, at ungodly hours in the night, while going to buy bread or when taking
a casual stroll. They are then dumped at Beit Bridge, left without any money
for travel to their home areas. More often than not, the easy solution would
be to return to South Africa, sometimes even be caught by police in the way
and deported yet again.

Members of ZIPOVA come with many stories of suffering that are sometimes
even worse than those they leave behind. For example, one said that he had
to board every bus that came in his way. When conductors found he did not
have money they would beat him and drop him in the road, and he would do
that again and again until he arrives in Johannesburg, with a pulpy swollen
face. Another waited for a goods train at a corner where it would be sure to
slow down and then he would fly and cling to a trailer and then jump inside.
He said he would find a lot of Zimbabweans inside.

The stories are horrifying as they go on. A pregnant Zimbabwean woman who
had been living with a South African man for survival while trying to find
employment was one day arrested. She was then eight months pregnant. She did
not have money and her man forgot her the moment she went into Lindela. She
was then deported after two weeks and dumped at the Beit Bridge border post.
She then teamed up with 5 men who were crossing on foot through the breadth
of Limpopo at night.

"That evening my labour pains had increased but since it was my first child
I didn't know what to do. What I only wanted was to return to South Africa
where I would afford to be hospitalised," she emotionally recalls.

Soon after they had crossed the river she started to feel dizzy and the pain
had intensified. She requested her companions for a rest but three men went
on. The other two helped her to lie down, and later to realise that the baby
was arriving. "At first they were shy but when I started groaning they
helped to receive my daughter. We did not have water so we had to bath her
with Fanta."

It was too painful to walk but she had to go on because these man would
leave her if she lagged behind. One of the men was holding her infant
wrapped in adult clothes of the men, while the other supported her. However
the unfortunate happened in form of soldiers patrolling the area. At the
same time the child started crying.

They tried to calm the infant to no avail. The men who had the child stifled
the thin shrills with a cloth. She became quiet from then on by the mother
was in too much pain to wonder. They arrived at a farm in Messina where they
sought help for the woman and found it. The two men then left.

"When I tried to nurse the baby I saw that she was asleep so I left her and
tried to make myself comfortable, but later when I touched her cheek she was
very cold. It was then that I realised that she was dead," she recounted
crying. In trying to keep her quiet the good Samaritan had killed a
newly-born baby.

She is not alone in this trauma, as many have suffered trying to find
freedom. This has reduced their dignity and hope; that tomorrow is worth
waiting for. They need all the assistance to see them retie the thread ends
of their lives now in tatters. They all have a painful story to tell.

. A young woman now ravaged by a venereal disease, who was a student at
Masvingo Technical college tells of having had to sleep with truck drivers
to get passage to South Africa.

. A young man who arrived limping heavily was robbed by people who had
assisted him to cross Limpopo on foot. They left him for dead only in his
trousers with a stab wound in his thigh.
. Another guy saw his six companions swept away by an overfull flood of the
Limpopo. When he tried to alert the authorities on the South African side he
was deported.

Even when they arrive they have to learn the art of detecting police
presence. When they are robbed they cannot go to report for fear they would
be deported. Employers love them because they can work for a month, and when
the payday comes the employer calls the police who then deport them.

How often we hear about these stories, how easily, almost callously we
forget soon after. How many incidents should happen before the Zimbabweans
fight from the outside angle to bring change in Zimbabwe? This has become
impossible for citizens inside who whenever they try to hold a protest
march, it is called "illegal". Considering that many NGOs are going to be
closed in Zimbabwe, the serious fight should start, - from the millions the
The author is the Information Officer for ZIPOVA and is based in

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Business Report

      Mugabe forced to back down on mine ownership
      October 7, 2004

      By Stewart Bailey

      Johannesburg - Zimbabwe scaled back plans to force the world's largest
platinum producers to sell local assets to black investors, seven months
after opposition from mining companies prompted Robert Mugabe's government
to abandon a bigger sale.

      Companies led by Impala Platinum, the world's second-largest platinum
miner, would have to sell 30 percent of their assets to "historically
disadvantaged individuals" within 10 years, according to a proposal from the
Harare-based ministry of mines. Twenty percent stakes would be sold in the
first two years.

      Harare withdrew a plan in March to force a sale of as much as 49
percent of the mines in the country, which holds the world's largest
platinum reserves after South Africa.

      Mugabe, who has ruled Zimbabwe since 1980, needs investors after the
economy collapsed following his government's seizure of white-owned
commercial farms. Impala is the top foreign investor.

      "A lot of people have been factoring in the worst," said Darryll
Castle of Stanlib Asset Management. "This might clear the path" for further
investments by Impala, he said.

      Impala is relying on Zimbabwe for growth after production peaked at
its South Africa mines. It might spend much as $750 million (R4.9 billion)
to expand mines in Zimbabwe within seven years, said finance director David

      "Zimbabwe is a very big part of Impala's future," said Sandy McGregor
of Allan Gray Asset Management. Impala expects its Zimbabwean mines to
produce 22 percent of the company's total by 2014, up from 7 percent.

      Impala shares traded up R1.01 to close at R523.01. The sector was up
1.25 percent. The stock has slumped 10 percent this year, valuing Impala at
about R35 billion. Of 13 analysts covering the stock, six have buy and seven
have hold recommendations.

      Other companies with operations in Zimbabwe include London-based Rio
Tinto, the world's third-largest mining firm, Anglo Platinum, the world's
largest platinum producer, and Bermuda-based Aquarius Platinum. Impala's
mines are the biggest new investments in Zimbabwe since the turn of the

      Demand for platinum, mainly used in catalytic converters to reduce
vehicle emissions and in jewellery, had exceeded supply for the past five
years, said platinum distributor Johnson Matthey.

      Platinum for immediate delivery was up $8 to $847.50 an ounce in
London in morning trade. It reached a six-week high of $876.50 on September

      The economy of Zimbabwe has contracted by two-fifths since 1999,
according to the International Monetary Fund. Annual inflation was at 314.4
percent in August, following a peak of 622.8 percent in January.

      Zimbabwe's main industries are tobacco, gold and manufacturing,
according to the World Bank. Zimbabwe's tobacco crop, its biggest foreign
exchange earner until last year, has shrunk to the smallest in 33 years
after farmers were driven off their land.

      This year's expected harvest was about 65.5 million kilograms,
auctioneer Tobacco Sales Floors said last month, down from a record 237
million kilograms in 2000.

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      Msika furious at CIO boss

      Njabulo Ncube
      10/7/2004 7:12:39 AM (GMT +2)

      VICE President Joseph Msika, the no-nonsense man of ZANU PF politics,
has ordered immediate investigations into the conduct of Innocent Chibaya,
the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) boss in Bulawayo, fingered in
allegations of kidnapping, torture and severe assault of four ruling ZANU PF
youths last week.

      The Vice President who, despite strong denials, could be seeing out
his last term in office together with his boss, President Robert Mugabe,
also wants Assistant Commissioner Charles Mufandaidze, the chief of police
in the country's second largest city, investigated after his subordinates
failed to act against CIO agents named in the act.

      This, party insiders said, came after the youths told Msika that they
suspected they were brutalised in the presence of Chibaya for supporting a
faction vehemently opposed to the political machinations of Jabulani
Sibanda, the war veterans' leader based in Bulawayo.

      They said that the matter, which gives a new twist to the violence
that has earned Zimbabwe a bad name internationally, where some countries
are ostracised on the basis of poor human rights records, has since been
brought to the attention of Nicholas Goche, the State Security Minister and
Kembo Mohadi, the Minister of Home Affairs.

      The party sources said so shocked was Msika that he immediately
summoned the two top security agents to his Gumtree home where the severely
injured youths had been taken by disgruntled ZANU PF supporters. The two
security chiefs were reportedly given an earful by the mercurial Msika,
thought to be the tough man of ZANU PF politics.

      "The youths named the CIO agents and mentioned that the CIO boss
witnessed their torture," said the ZANU PF insider. "They showed Vice
President Msika the injuries they sustained. Msika was shocked by the extent
of the injuries especially on their private parts and broken bones. Msika
was visibly furious. He said ZANU PF was against ZANU PF. He mentioned that
it was wrong for people to be beaten even if they did not support ZANU PF,"
said a source who also witnessed the injuries.

      Msika confirmed on Tuesday evening that he had asked that the top
security brass in Bulawayo be investigated over the alleged torture of the
four youths.

      "The boys were seriously injured. I want a full investigation into the
whole thing. I am very concerned and want to get to the bottom of the whole
issue because we don't want violence," said Msika who intimated that people
should be allowed to freely follow their political convictions.

      "Who was beaten up and for what reasons. Who authorised that they be
beaten and tortured? I want answers and I am going to find out. Those who
were involved must account for their actions. The police have to tell us why
they did not investigate when the boys reported the matter," he added.

      Msika however, could not indicate how far the probe he instigated on
Monday this week had gone, except that "nothing will be swept under the

      "These are not just normal injuries, these are very serious and a
cause for concern," Msika said.

      The youths, according to impeccable sources, were taken to Msika's
residence last Sunday afternoon where about 300 people had converged to
offer their condolences to Msika, who lost his brother.

      Party insiders said the youths, who were struggling to walk, narrated
to the Vice President their ordeal at the hands of the CIO agents at Magnet
House, the head office of the dreaded secret service in the region.

      "They sustained serious injuries to their private parts. Vice
President Msika asked them to remove their clothes and was shocked by the
extent of the injuries," said a source that witnessed the incident.

      The four ZANU PF cadres were allegedly kidnapped from their homes in
Emganwini high-density suburb and driven to Magnet House where they were
allegedly tortured for four hours.

      It is understood that Msika lost his cool when the youths showed him
severely injured private parts and broken limbs they claimed were sustained
after four hours of being brutalised by the CIO.

      All along, ZANU PF had previously been accused of systematic bullying
and intimidation against opposition supporters. Up to today, the Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC) claims that President Mugabe won an election in
2002 tainted by unfair campaigning and violence against its supporters.

      These reports come as the political battling in ZANU PF and its
attendant psychological crises reaches new levels underlying the growing
intolerance and confrontation within the ruling party. Of late there has
been high incidences of intra-party violence with ZANU PF chiefs squaring up
against ZANU PF supporters.

      Didymus Mutasa, the Anti-Corruption Minister who bounced back into
President Mugabe's Cabinet last year, is fighting for his political life
after he was accused of fanning violence. Mutasa, Zimbabwe's first Speaker
of Parliament, was implicated in skirmishes where 20 ruling party
supporters, mainly fighters of the liberation struggle that brought Zimbabwe's
independence, were severely beaten up in Makoni North as they experienced
first hand the ugly face of the ZANU PF attack machine.

      The party sources said so shocked was Msika that he immediately
summoned the two top security agents to his Gumtree home where the severely
injured boys had been taken by disgruntled party supporters. The two
security chiefs were reportedly given an earful by the mercurial Msika,
thought to be the tough man of ZANU PF politics.

      "The youths named the CIO agents and mentioned that the CIO boss
witnessed their torture," said the ZANU PF insider. "They showed Vice
President Msika the injuries they sustained. Msika was shocked by the extent
of the injuries especially on their private parts and broken bones. Msika
was visibly furious. He said ZANU PF was against ZANU PF. He mentioned that
it was wrong for people to be beaten even if they did not support ZANU PF,"
said a source who also witnessed the injuries.

      Msika confirmed on Tuesday evening that he had asked that the top
security brass in Bulawayo be investigated over the alleged torture of the
four youths.

      "The boys were seriously injured. I want a full investigation into the
whole thing. I am very concern and want to get to the bottom of the whole
issue because we don't want violence," said Msika who intimated that people
should be allowed to freely follow their political convictions.

      "Who was beaten up and for what reasons. Who authorised that they be
beaten and tortured? I want answers and I am going to find out. Those who
were involved must account for their actions. The police have to tell us why
they did not investigate when the boys reported the matter," he added.

      Msika however, could not indicate how far the probe he instigated on
Monday this week had gone, except that "nothing will be swept under the

      "These are not just normal injuries, these are very serious and a
cause for concern," Msika said.

      The youths, according to impeccable sources, were taken to Msika's
residence last Sunday afternoon where about 300 people had converged to
offer their condolences to Msika, who lost his brother.

      Party insiders said the youths, who were struggling to walk, narrated
to the Vice President their ordeal at the hands of the CIO agents at Magnet
House, the head office of the dreaded secret service in the region.

      "They sustained serious injuries to their private parts. Vice
President Msika asked them to remove their clothes and was shocked by the
extent of the injuries," said a source that witnessed the incident.

      The four ZANU PF cadres were allegedly kidnapped from their homes in
Emganwini high-density suburb and driven to Magnet House where they were
allegedly tortured for four hours.

      It is understood that Msika lost his cool when the youths showed him
severely injured private parts and broken limbs they claimed were sustained
after four hours of being brutalised by the CIO.

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      Major shake-up looms at ZISCO

      Felix Njini
      10/7/2004 7:13:50 AM (GMT +2)

      A SENIOR management shake-up is looming at the bleeding Kwekwe-based
steelmaker, the Zimbabwe Iron and Steel Company (ZISCO), as the firm's
reconstituted board intends to start on a clean slate.

      It has been established that the imminent shake-up at ZISCO, formerly
one of the largest integrated steel works in Africa, could see long-serving
managing director Gabriel Masanga, who has been heading the firm for close
to eight years, being given the sack.

      The sentiment within the newly restructured board at the perennial
loss-maker is that the top managers at ZISCO, blamed for failing to
revitalise the steel manufacturer, should be booted out. Also top on the
agenda is the recapitalisation of ZISCO, which requires nearly US$300
million to effect a turnaround programme.

      "Minister Samuel Mumbengegwi (Minister of Industry and International
Trade) has strongly emphasised that senior management at ZISCO should go. We
are, however, going to take a holistic approach to the restructuring of
management. In any case there could be differences of opinion among board
members," said a well-placed source.

      ZISCO chairman David Murangari remained mum on the subject of the
impeding purge, saying he had not even seen the agenda for the Wednesday

      "We still have to meet as the board and I am still waiting for the
agenda items," said Murangari.

      To set the tone, the industry and international trade ministry has
appointed a new board headed by Murangari, who is deputised by Jonathan
Kadzura, a local businessman and economic consultant.

      Other board members comprise George Mlilo, Ndabezihle Dube, Nyembe
Rogers, Nyengetai Manyere and Zvinechimwe Churu.

      Mumbengegwi, who himself has not fared too well as Minister of
Industry and International Trade, is reported to have expressed his
displeasure over ZISCO's performance and failure by management to come up
with a proper turnaround programme.

      In 2002, a parliamentary portfolio committee on industry and
international trade accused the ZISCO board of failing to turn around the
fortunes of the company and called for the dissolution of the board and
dismissal of senior management for non-performance.

      "Apart from restructuring management, the board is also going to look
into the issue of recapitalisation, of which a number of options have been
lined up, and debt structuring," the source said.

      ZISCO has been on a two-decade-long trail of self-destruction
characterised by dismal production levels and billions of dollars lost in
potential revenue.

      Previous government efforts to breathe new life into the steel-making
firm have come unstuck. Despite multi-faceted problems dogging ZISCO and
mounting domestic and foreign pressure to dispose of the loss-making
operation, the government has dug in its heels and refused to invite
potential investors in equity-capital swap deals.

      It has instead approached Chinese investors for soft loans to rebuild
the firm.

      The steelmaker, with a potential to export more than 70 percent of its
output, netting more than US$150 million annually, is currently operating at
less than 25 percent of its capacity.

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      Bulawayo clears creditors book

      Bureau Chief
      10/7/2004 7:14:18 AM (GMT +2)

      BULAWAYO - The Bula-wayo City Council, which was in the red for the
greater part of the first half of this year after its budget was upset by a
government freeze on rates and service charges, is back in black though it
is now owed more than $30 billion by ratepayers.

      The council had a surplus of $6.7 billion in July, having spent $49.7
billion against income of $56.4 billion.

      It should have collected $105.5 billion and spent $98.8 billion by
July, according to its approved $180 billion budget for this year. But it
says it is only likely to collect $90 billion this year.

      Government departments owed the council $8.4 billion in unpaid bills
at the end of July, up from $6.9 billion the previous month. They only paid
$887.5 million in July against a bill of $2.3 billion.

      Residents owed the council $25.4 billion, up from $18.6 billion the
previous month.

      The council is currently finalising its budget for 2005 and held its
final consultations with residents on Tuesday this week.

      Councils should submit their budgets for next year to the government
by end of this month.

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      Chombo vs Ncube: mayor sticks to his guns

      Njabulo Ncube
      10/7/2004 7:15:42 AM (GMT +2)

      JAPHET Ndabeni-Ncube, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
executive mayor for Bulawayo, has stuck to his guns in the wake of mounting
pressure from the government, which is out to dismiss him over reports of
residents in that city succumbing to malnutrition.

      Council officials said Ndabeni-Ncube, surprised that a report on the
causes of deaths recorded in the city had assumed political connotations,
wrote to Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo on Monday clarifying the
council's position on the issue, which has drawn in Jonathan Moyo, the
government's chief spin-doctor.

      They said Ndabeni-Ncube emphasised that releasing statistics on the
causes of deaths recorded in the city was an "innocent" procedure that the
council has been doing since time immemorial.

      "The issue is being politicised," said a senior council official who
spoke on condition of anonymity. "What we suspect is that Chombo wants to do
a Mudzuri on Ndabeni-Ncube. The government has all along failed to fault the
Ndabeni-Ncube-led council. In fact, the council is the only one being run
professionally irrespective of political affiliation.

      "The issue of the statistics is nothing new, we release these every
month. It is just a ploy by the government to interfere with council
operations - something they have achieved in Harare," said a council
official who has been with the Bulawayo municipality for the past 15 years.

      Ndabeni-Ncube confirmed to The Financial Gazette in an interview that
he had written to Chombo on the issue.

      "I wrote to the minister yesterday (Monday) telling him what we are
doing," said Ndabeni-Ncube, who beat George Mlilo, the ZANU PF candidate in
the mayoral polls in September 2001, to the mayoral post. Ndabeni-Ncube
polled 60 000 votes against Mlilo's paltry 4 000 votes.

      "The figures recorded are true because we get them from the register
of deaths. We don't alter them, we just use them as they are. Maybe the
question is what do we use the figures for. We need these figures from the
register of deaths solely for intervention purposes," said the executive

      "We come in as council to assist basing on these vital statistics.

      "For instance where people are recorded as having died of
malnutrition, we talk to non-governmental organisations who then chip in
with supplementary feeding schemes.

      "The statistics do not only show people who would have have died of
malnutrition. They also show those who would have died of malaria, HIV/AIDS
and meningitis, among other causes," Ndabeni-Ncube added.

      Chombo said: "We will be visiting him (Ndabeni-Ncube). How can he
report deaths due to starvation when we gave the mayor's office money to
assist people."

      Municipal sources said what seemed to have raised the ire of the
government was the fact that the shocking malnutrition figures came at a
time when the government, under a microscopic gaze because of the land
reforms, was battling to convince the world that it had enough food to feed
its citizens.

      The government says it expects a bumper harvest of about 2.4 million
tonnes of grain, but non-governmental organisations and government critics
are adamant the government would be lucky to receive 1 million tonnes.

      This comes amid unconfirmed reports that the government has imported
100 000 tonnes of grain from neighbouring Zambia.

      ZANU PF, which is already on an election campaign crusade six months
before the next parliamentary polls, desperately wants to reclaim its lost
glory in urban areas.

      It has already crippled the once MDC-dominated Harare City Council
after several councillors resigned at the behest of the opposition party
which cited interference by government.

      Chombo dismissed the popularly elected Elias Mudzuri in April last
year on allegations of insubordination and incompetence, charges the former
mayor refutes.

      Local government sources said this week Chombo would be dispatching a
team to Bulawayo to grill Ndabeni-Ncube and his executive over alleged
"careless statements".

      They said the idea was to impress on the council that the government
was in charge and would not hesitate to remove the mayor as has happened in

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      Former River Ranch owners want Mujuru, Mudariki probed

      Felix Njini
      10/7/2004 7:16:19 AM (GMT +2)

      THE River Ranch Diamond debacle, in which ZANU PF kingpin retired army
general Solomon Mujuru is alleged to have used unorthodox means to wrest
control of the mine, has sucked in Anti-Corruption Minister Didymus Mutasa.

      The former owners of the mine, who now face a court challenge to
release crucial mine documents, have accused Mutasa of dragging his feet
over investigations surrounding the change in the ownership of River Ranch.

      Mutasa, they say, has sat on the request for a probe into the issue.

      "The Ministry of Anti-Corruption has, as yet, failed to resolve the
various complaints, but has maintained to Bubye that it (the issue) is
'still under investigation'," said Adelle Farquhar, one of Bubye's associate

      Bubye Minerals, which took control of River Ranch in 1999, accuses
Rani International, Aujan Southern African Development and Kupikile
Resources of "unlawfully and forcibly" taking over control of the diamond
mine, situated in Beitbridge.

      Mujuru and former ZANU PF legislator Tirivanhu Mudariki represent
Kupikile Resources in the new shareholding structure.

      According to court documents, Mujuru, whose wife Joyce is vying to be
Zimbabwe's first female Vice-President, is reported to have remarked that
"the paper work has been prepared and all he (Mujuru) had to do was to tell
the President (Robert Mugabe) to sign."

      Bubye Minerals, which managed the mine until it was forced out, is
accusing the new shareholders of grabbing the company using political

      Bubye claims it owns a controlling 70 percent of River Ranch.

      "The Ministry of Mines has not acted to date, claiming it is under
instructions from the Ministry of Anti-Corruption not to act without a
directive from that ministry," Farquar alleges.

      "The Ant-Corruption Ministry has released Bubye's confidential
documents to the party, which Bubye Minerals is complaining against, which
has in turn resulted in the leakage of that document to the press," Farquhar

      Bubye Minerals is also accusing Home Affairs Minister Kembo Mohadi of
acting illegally when he allegedly personally authorised police to assist
the new shareholders in raiding and physically taking control of the mine.
Mohadi is the ZANU PF Member of Parliament for Beitbridge.

      Mohadi is reported to have corroborated with the new shareholders when
he personally authorised security agents to go and help the new investors
take physical control of the mine early this year.

      In an unprecedented move, River Ranch last month initiated legal
proceedings against the ousted Bubye Minerals directors, demanding the
release of company documents.

      In a High Court application filed on September 7 2004, Adel Aujan,
chairman of the new board of River Ranch, demanded that the ousted directors
account for their dealings and assets of the mine from October 1999 to date.

      "They will also have to surrender all documents, including the share
register, asset register, maps, working papers, core drilling results,
original of the Special Grant No.1278 and any geological reports in their
possession," the new board said.

      The new shareholders are also alleging that Bubye is indebted to the
Aujan group of companies as well as Rani to the tune of a total US$1.16

      "Despite demand for repayment of the loans, Bubye Minerals has failed
to repay the amount," Aujan alleges.

      Bubye was originally given the right to operate River Ranch by
liquidator Peter Bailey of KPMG after a lull in production when the original
owner, Auridium of Australia, pulled out citing falling diamond prices on
the international market.

      Bubye's associates include Michael Farquhar and his wife Adelle, and
Sibonokuhle Moyo, wife to Zimbabwe's ambassador to South Africa, Simon Khaya

      In an opposing affidavit, Adelle Farquhar accused Rani of taking
control of the mine fraudently.

      Farquhar also queried the links between Rani and "politically
connected" people such as Mujuru and Mudariki, who were not previously
involved in the financial transactions between the two companies.

      "No court order was obtained by Aujan, Mujuru and Mudariki as a basis
for their actions on which minister Mohadi could legitimately act," Farquhar
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      Mbeki's focus should be on free poll

      Mavis Makuni
      10/7/2004 7:16:58 AM (GMT +2)

      Can shuttle diplomacy succeed for South African President Thabo Mbeki
where his widely discredited quiet diplomacy failed vis-a-vis the Zimbabwe

      This must be the question observers are asking following Mbeki's
suggestion while he was attending the United Nations (UN) Security Council
meeting in New York two weeks ago that he was ready to adjust his strategy
as mediator in the impasse.

      Mbeki told journalists after meeting President Robert Mugabe on the
sidelines of the UN meeting that he was ready to intensify his efforts.

      He indicated that he was ready to fly to Harare "everyday" if
necessary as he had direct access to both President Mugabe and leaders of
the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). He was ready for
"greater and regular engagement" with ZANU PF and the MDC.

      These are interesting remarks considering that Mbeki has given the
impression that there was always a flurry of activity behind the scenes when
critics questioned the effectiveness of quiet diplomacy.

      But if Mbeki is indeed now prepared to fly between Pretoria and Harare
regularly in his role as peace broker, he would be engaging in shuttle
diplomacy, which was popularised by Henry Kissinger under Richard Nixon in
the 1970s.

      Zimbabweans who have been sceptical of Mbeki's role while he operated
under the fly-by-night banner of quiet diplomacy will be eager to know what
he will do differently during the proposed regular forays into Harare.

      After almost four years, quiet diplomacy has been shown to be an
unviable and inappropriate strategy in confronting a problem as complex as
the Zimbabwean governance crisis.

      After the debacle of Mbeki's infamous June deadline which came and
went uneventfully despite the South African president's prior assertion that
a "breakthrough" would be achieved by that time, he needs to re-evaluate his

      Mbeki's insistence throughout 2003 and part of this year that talks
were underway between ZANU PF and the MDC when the two parties themselves
persistently denied that this was happening has seriously dented his

      Zimbabweans could be forgiven for questioning whether a man who was so
mistaken about talks he was supposed to be facilitating and overseeing can
come up with new ideas to break the deadlock.

      Mbeki is said to have told President Mugabe when the two met in New
York that resumption of talks between ZANU PF and the MDC was the only way

      But observers would ask whether the South African president should not
listen to the advice of his younger brother, Moeletsi Mbeki, who has
suggested that the African National Congress and the South African
government should intervene in the Zimbabwean crisis on the "side of
democracy and not back ZANU PF".

      The younger Mbeki's view that the South African leader must do more
than insist on talks that have not gone anywhere for a long time was echoed
by veteran apartheid-era crusader, Helen Suzman, who called on the president
to "publicly condemn" the Zimbabwean head of state.

      Mbeki has refused to say anything in public against President Mugabe
before, saying this would be counterproductive. But at this stage of the
Zimbabwean deadlock, it would seem that the way forward is encapsuled in
Moeletsi Mbeki's advice.

      "Our intervention should be to support democracy and not be tolerant
of the use of violence, torture and rigging of elections and, if necessary,
we should support the opposition," Mbeki's brother is quoted as having said.

      The millions of struggling Zimbabweans who look up to Mbeki to help
them out of their predicament would fervently hope that he will abandon his
obsession with promoting talks between the ruling party and the MDC and
focus on helping to make it possible for them to determine their own destiny
through free and fair elections.

      Mbeki is lucky in this regard in that the Southern African Development
Community Protocol on Principles and Guidelines for the conducting of
democratic elections has virtually fallen into his lap when his mediation
efforts needed a fresh impetus to push them forward.

      The main opposition party in Zimbabwe has indicated that it will not
participate in next year's parliamentary elections unless these stipulated
conditions are met.

      The MDC has accused President Mugabe's government of being interested
only in introducing cosmetic changes while keeping an electoral machinery
heavily skewed in its favour virtually intact.

      The opposition party, which does not enjoy access to state television
and newspapers, has complained in advertisements flighted in the private
media that the holding of elections at regular intervals is the only
principle the Zimbabwean government has fulfilled.

      The opposition party charges that an environment conducive to free,
fair and peaceful elections will never exist until the government undertakes
a complete overhaul of the old system.

      Mbeki's main concern in the past seems to have been to avoid ruffling
feathers. His mediation efforts have therefore been limited to urging the
disputants to talk. But this has failed.

      He now needs to move the process forward by using his prestige and
powers of persuasion to suggest a solution. He is in the right place at the
right time to push for genuinely free and fair elections.

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      Matabeleland underdeveloped

      Mavis Makuni
      10/7/2004 7:17:37 AM (GMT +2)

      An enduring legacy of former Matabeleland governor Welshman Mabhena's
term of office is the crusade he spearheaded against what he perceived as
discrimination against the region in the facilitation and allocation of
national resources for development.

      His quest to have this perceived anomaly corrected began almost as
soon as Mabhena, a former deputy speaker of the House of Assembly, succeeded
Jevan Maseko in 1993.

      The former governor, who was relieved of his post in 2000, was so
vociferous and outspoken in articulating his belief that Matabeleland was
being marginalised that calls for his resignation were already being made by
the end of his first year in office.

      He was accused, along with then Makokoba Member of Parliament, the
late Sidney Malunga, and Joshua Malinga, who was mayor of Bulawayo, of
promoting tribalism and anti-Shona sentiment.

      This was after Mabhena had been quoted in the press calling on the
people of Matabeleland to demonstrate against tribally motivated injustices
in the higher education sector. He claimed that there was a conspiracy by
certain individuals to underdevelop the region.

      This became his battle cry throughout his tenure as governor as he
slammed government procrastination or inertia with regard to facilitating
the building of schools, roads and other infrastructure.

      He railed constantly against the deployment of Shona speakers to teach
pupils whose first language was Ndebele. He charged that a majority of
students attending institutions of higher learning such as the National
University of Science and Technology (NUST) in Bulawayo were enrolled from
other provinces at the expense of candidates from Matabeleland.

      Asked this week whether he still believed these accusations to be
true, the former governor maintained that he had, in fact, since been

      Speaking from his home in Four Winds in Bulawayo, he cited the lack of
progress in implementing the Matabeleland Zambezi Water Project and
completing the construction of the NUST campus as examples of the government
neglect he had tried to draw attention to.

      When it was pointed out to him that the Bulawayo-Nkayi road, whose
terrible state he had regularly complained about was now being upgraded, he
shot back: "But after how long?"

      Mabhena said he was sacked as governor for telling the truth and
describing situations on the basis of what the people at the grassroots told

      He accused "some politicians from Matabeleland" of ganging up against
him and pestering President Robert Mugabe to drop him as governor in their
"overzealousness to show solidarity with those in Mashonaland". Their
failure to speak up for the region had resulted in Matabeleland being left
behind as other provinces advanced.

      Ironically, veteran journalist and educationist Saul Gwakuba Ndlovu,
who agrees that the region is lagging behind other provinces, also blamed
former PF ZAPU leaders for this state of affairs but faulted them for only
being prepared to complain but not taking any initiatives.

      "Historically, Matabe-leland was left behind because of the dissidents
stigma which was attached to it and its continued affiliation to Dr Joshua
Nkomo's PF ZAPU" Ndlovu said.

      The ZANU PF leadership did not see why it should promote development
in a region that was a hotbed of rebellion and stronghold of its political
rival, he said.

      He said even after the signing of the Unity Accord in 1987, former PF
ZAPU leaders had still failed to grasp ZANU PF's approach to development.

      "ZANU PF expects leaders such as Members of Parliament and members of
the politburo to take the initiative to develop their localities and
regions. They are expected to promote their own economic development
strategies and not expect central government to initiate ideas."

      He cited the example of the late Simon Muzenda, who he said had used
his influence and prestige as co-vice president to promote the development
of Gutu, his home area.

      In contrast, Joshua Nkomo, who held a similar position, had not done
anything for Kezi, his rural home.

      Ndlovu said former PF ZAPU politicians who had grasped the ZANU PF
approach included Simon Khayo Moyo, who tarred part of the road from
Plumtree to Sanzukwi in his home area.

      He said the PF ZAPU leadership was hampered by a belief that central
government was responsible for identifying development projects throughout
the country and then equitably funding them.

      Because ZANU PF's original objective was to create a one-party state,
the existence of widespread support in Matabeleland for the Movement for
Democratic Change, which the ruling party sees as a threat to its hold on
power, continued to put Matabeleland at a disadvantage. Socio-economic or
infrastructural development projects suggested by the opposition party were
unlikely to receive government support.

      Stressing that this approach was not peculiar to ZANU PF, Ndlovu said
Zambia had experienced a similar scenario when Kenneth Kaunda's United
National Independence Party neglected the country's southern region because
it was the stronghold of Harry Nkumbula's opposition ANC.

      Mabhena said by failing to treat all provinces equally when allocating
resources, the country's leadership had lost direction. "They must change if
genuine social integration is to occur."

      While conceding that factors such as inefficiency and corruption which
resulted in resources allocated to certain parts of Matabeleland remaining
unutilised for years and played a part in slowing development, Ndlovu said
the way forward was for local leaders to take the bull by the horns.

      "The former PF ZAPU leadership's mentality is still centralised in its
focus and approach whereas the ZANU PF thrust is based on some form of local
and regional autonomy which goes right down to village level," Ndlovu said.
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      Mbeki illusions

      10/7/2004 7:38:31 AM (GMT +2)

      IT is either South African President Thabo Mbeki sees his foreign
policy on Zimbabwe through the wrong end of a drainpipe or the situation in
his northern neighbour through rose-tinted spectacles.

      For how can he be so wrong? ZANU PF talking to the MDC? Sounds more
like an illusion. Doesn't it? True, politics is fluid and anything can
happen. But we wouldn't bet on it. Nor would Zimbabweans who have been
wearing the shoe and therefore know how and where it pinches.

      Surprisingly though, while all and sundry are agreed that there are no
prospects for a breakthrough in the long-stalled talks between ZANU PF and
the MDC Mbeki, who many erroneously thought had the diplomatic, political
and economic clout to assume the responsibility of mediator, still thinks
the negotiations can resume.

      He has since failed his stiffest credibility test when he was at the
centre of the delicate arbitration. Not only that but leading hawks in
President Robert Mugabe's government have since voiced their opposition to a
negotiated settlement in Zimbabwe. And worse still, Mbeki has insisted for
more than a year that talks were underway between ZANU PF and the MDC. But
both parties denied this and instead poured cold water on the idea.

      Despite the foregoing imponderables Mbeki, who ended up with egg on
his face after pledging that the crisis in Zimbabwe would be solved by June
this year, still believes that there is a glimmer of hope for the resumption
of the largely sterile talks which were put in the deep freezer more than a
year ago.

      Now, Mbeki's good intentions and sincerity might not be in doubt. And
like we have said before, from a face value judgment, Mbeki is an
extraordinary and cautious politician who is unlikely to stir this kind of
controversy without knowing where it would all end. But the Zimbabwean
situation could be much more complex and distinctly challenging. And with
all due respect to the South African President, aren't his high hopes for
the talks a delusion of expectation on his part or does he know something
that we don't?

      While disillusioned Zimbabweans who were taken for a ride after their
expectations ran far ahead of what Mbeki could deliver first time around
know better than holding their breath over the South African leader's
pledges, what makes Mbeki, who treated criticism of his quiet diplomacy as
something like water off a duck's back, believe that the feuding MDC and
ZANU PF will go back to the negotiating table?

      If, in his first attempt which drew a blank, he failed to wring
concessions from the two political parties whose entrenched positions cast a
huge shadow over prospects for the resumption of talks, where is Mbeki's
optimism coming from? We have to categorically state that contrary to Mbeki's
ill-founded confidence about the Zimbabwean situation, we do not have any
high hopes for the talks.

      As we said in our editorial comment of March 25 2004 entitled "Get
over the illusions" we have our doubts about the talks - doubts not without
foundation. First, Zimbabwe is like the proverbial house on fire where it
would be foolish to discuss fire prevention without acting expeditiously.
But if the time it has taken to bring the politicians to the negotiating
table is anything to go by, then the two parties are not interested in the
talks. Forget their initial public posturing to the contrary. That was all
window dressing for the public's benefit meant to buy them time to continue
playing their seemingly finite but expensive political games.

      Second, the birthmark of Zimbabwean politics - deep-seated intolerance
and hatred for compromise, is so visible on both parties. No matter how far
the pendulum swings and the crisis deepens, having lost all sense of honour
and shame, the politicians do not have time for remorse. They will continue,
like they have done in the past, to pursue their parochial and self-centred
political goals.

      That is precisely why the first attempt at talks was stillborn and why
Mbeki's eleventh hour efforts will fail again. Remember his comrade-in-arms,
Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria whom the Zimbabwean situation has reduced to a
politician of monumental littleness in the world of diplomacy? Mbeki could
meet the same fate. With such a glaring lack of understanding of Zimbabwean
politics, Mbeki's impact on the country's history would be no more than the
whiff of scent on a lady's handkerchief, as once said by David Lloyd George.

      This is especially moreso now. The two parties are not interested in
the aborted talks. It is the forthcoming parliamentary plebiscite that has
now taken centre stage. With the 2005 make or break parliamentary election
just five months away, both parties now have their eye on the crucial poll.
Morgan Tsvangirai and his MDC are hoping to capitalise on the general
disillusionment and frustration among the generality of Zimbabweans, while
President Mugabe's ruling ZANU PF, with its new-found confidence, hopes to
exploit the power of incumbency. The prospect of talks being resumed
therefore sounds airy-fairy to us. The issue is a forgotten one. It has been
put on the back burner. Period. So, instead of wasting precious time talking
about talks, Mbeki should, if he has as much clout as he wants to make us
believe, focus on prevailing on his Zimbabwean counterparts and encourage
them on their intentions to ensure free and fair elections for citizens to
exercise their universal suffrage without any fear.
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      The role of legislators' spouses in law making

      10/7/2004 7:49:42 AM (GMT +2)

      THERE are punitive laws that have been passed without careful
assessment of their impact on citizens. Some of these laws have even worked
against the very legislators.

      The current NGO Bill has elements which will make all mothers wonder
about the welfare of their children and the future of the country. The
Electoral Bill, which does not seek to create an enabling environment, has
the potential to trigger violence during election time. The possibility of
these bills being passed into law is very high.

      One wonders whether all stakeholders are aware of the implications.
One of the major stakeholders is the Zimbabwean woman. This article intends
to discuss the potential of women parliamentarians to work hand in hand with
spouses of male legislators to influence decisions made in Parliament.

      Most Zimbabwean women are either Christian or follow African
traditional religion. In both religions life is valued and human dignity
respected. Women, because of their nature, are more religious hence the
appeal to them to practice their convictions. Women have power in their
hands. It's high time the power is exercised for the good of the country.

      There is need for a woman's touch in Parliament. Women are the ones
who mostly take care of the petty details at home and this makes the home a
comfortable place to live in. The same is needed for the House (Parliament).
Women face the brunt of political, social and economic depredations and are
quick to sacrifice themselves in the same. Sometimes issues concerning women
and children are not given the same weight as others. Oftentimes issues are
not even considered from the perspective of the majority of citizens i.e.

      This ashamedly includes decisions concerning women that continue to be
taken without significant representation from them. It is for this reason
that there is need for more feminine voices in parliament.

      Women constitute 51percent of the population in Zimbabwe and a
disheartening 10 percent is their current representation in Parliament as
there are only 15 women out of 150 legislators. Even if women legislators
are to vote as women, their combined impact is negligible as compared to the

      There is a general consensus by women legislators from both sides of
the House that there is need for a deliberate policy to increase women
representation in the House and other institutions of power. The recent ZANU
PF Women's League resolved to push for a woman vice-president at the party's
December congress. SADC recommends a minimum of 30 percent women
representation in positions of authority, power and decision-making. In the
Zimbabwean context this may take longer than we need, perhaps until March
2005, hence the call to wives of legislators to bring the feminine voice to
the House through engagement with their spouses as well as working with
women legislators.

      As spouses of legislators, the contribution starts from the home front
by encouraging spouses not to engage in activities that violate other people's
rights or prejudice the lives of fellow citizens. In this regard the woman
becomes the conscience of the man. By encouraging their spouses to be guided
by virtues of truth, mercy, justice and peace, the House will only pass
humane laws.

      The participation by wives of legislators will increase the number of
women voices in parliament from 15 to 150 i.e. 15 women parliamentarians
plus 135 proxies.

      Francisca Mandeya is an activist and mother

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      ...and now to the NOTEBOOK

      10/7/2004 7:40:58 AM (GMT +2)


      CZ is told that most of our former judges who were forced to flee the
bench when the wise men from the east started indigenising our "colonial"
judiciary are doing well in the different parts of the world they are right
now. E-eeh, they say you can never keep a good man down.

      What else can they do with themselves when conditions back home cannot
allow them to practice their chosen professions with a clear conscience?

      Let's all hope they will find it vastly different wherever they are
because African politicians can be the same throughout the continent.

      And this reminds CZ of a story he was recently told by his friend in

      The story about this opposition leader Gwanda Chakuamba, a personal
creation of the late Ngwazi, Kamuzu Banda, just to spite people like veteran
politician John Tembo who were violently opposed to the Ngwazi's mistress
taking over the reins of the Malawi Congress Party (MCP) after it had lost
the first ever democratic election in 1994.

      So there was a big row in the MCP. A real big row. Gwanda wanted the
MCP presidency. Tembo also wanted to be at the helm.

      Because of the animosity that had resulted from this great schism, the
two leaders and their armies of equally violent supporters called for
separate MCP conventions. Each one won at their respective conventions.

      As a result, the case went to court for a decision on which of the two
MCPs was bona fide. The court decided that the old status quo should be
maintained, that is, Gwanda as MCP president and Tembo his vice.

      Tembo was not satisfied and he went back to court. And the case was
set for a hearing before Justice George Chimasula Phiri.

      The court was packed with fuming supporters, some of them redundant
members of the Ngwazi's notorious militia, the MIP, the equivalent to our
own "Green Bombers".

      Now it was time for Gwanda to be cross-examined by Tembo's lawyer,
Ralph Kasambara, now Malawi's attorney-general. And what does he do?

      He pulled a surprise. He said before answering any question from
Kasambara, he needed to make a prayer since he was a devout Christian.

      There was a big argument. Tembo's lawyer objected, arguing that the
prayer was not necessary and, besides, the man was already under oath. The
lawyer further argued that not everyone in the court believed in
Christianity and that this prayer business could unduly influence the
outcome of the court hearing.

      Gwanda and his lawyers cited provisions in the constitution which
mentioned something about freedom of religion and this and that. It was a
rather noisy argument.

      Justice Chimasula Phiri adjourned the court for about 20 minutes to
make a decision on this issue that had a rich potential to cause a bloodbath
in the court.

      When the court resumed, he did not take his time in delivering his
ruling. He ruled that it was Gwanda's constitutional right to pray. But he
went one crucial step further: Gwanda was to be allowed to pray in the court
on these conditions . . . in silence and for just one minute!

      So after a minute's silence, the wise judge assumed that Gwanda had
finished his prayers and the hearing continued. Everyone had won and a war
was averted!

      Chombo please!

      And this man calling himself Ignatius Chombo, notorious for behaving
like God (who takes it for granted that all people on earth are his), was
somewhere in Mwenezi, Masvingo, at the weekend where he was installing one
of the ruling party's political chiefs.

      And what does this Chombo man tell the crowd? That chiefs are
"duty-abound" to rally communities in their domains behind ZANU PF to ensure
that the ruling party wins next year's elections.

      He said chiefs had an obligation to ensure that the MDC did not get
into power. So as the elections got nearer, it was their duty to ensure that
"no dubious meetings by equally dubious political groups and parties" are
allowed to take place in their areas. In short, Chombo said chiefs should
ban all opposition (MDC) meetings in their areas.

      So Chombo would want to dream that because some people, excluding
himself, went to war, then no one else should ever lead the people of this

      When time comes, he will realise that his is not just a dream, but a
very bad dream, if not a criminal dream. Whether you liberated people or
not, that is not a valid reason to make them your prisoners.

      So if ZANU PF is the only party that will be allowed to hold meetings,
where is the so-called freedom which we are being made to suffer for? Talk
of free and fair elections! And, on the other hand, one professor is ranting
and raving that the MDC will never be given access to the public media
because he simply doesn't want to!

      Can someone please confirm this juicy story doing the rounds in the
most politically violent area of Mashonaland? We mean this story. Yes this
story . . . you also know it nhai?

      This story about one party chef who only realised recently that, while
in the busy process of consoling one of the wives of their dead party and
government colleague, the consolation process had gone too far and in the
process the widow was pregnant . . . yes she was "carrying herself"! Do you
believe it?

      This man - who is buried at the heroes' acre - died a few years ago in
what we are officially told was a road traffic accident. And before national
tears are even dry, the woman is carrying a baby from the party chef? Yes
that is true, the bun is in the oven.

      And we are told that the man is just too randy . . . he is also
involved in another sex scandal . . . this one which explains why he
(nearly) lost his good job recently.

      The man is just a man . . . randy, violent, dangerous, dull and . . ?
Can someone please confirm this? Thank you!


      So the infamous Chimoio gala - now officially changed to bash to steer
away from being vulgar - is finally on this weekend. We wish the hardworking
organisers of the event all the best of luck.

      But what about this rumour that most of the people who are planning to
go there are, in fact, members of Killer Zivhu's Zimbabwe Cross Border
Traders' Association who want to take advantage of the loosened visa and
customs conditions to make roaring business?

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      Govt plans to bail out ailing NRZ

      Staff Reporter
      10/7/2004 7:19:03 AM (GMT +2)

      THE government is set to recapitalise the crumbling national rail
utility, the National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ), whose decrepit locomotives
have seen it operating at less than 40 percent capacity over the past

      Insiders at the troubled rail operator told The Financial Gazette this
week that the parastatal, which failed to raise its own funds, had taken its
begging bowl to the government for the umpteenth time.

      Sources said the government had intervened in a desperate bid to
recapitalise the rail operator, which has been scouring the Asian countries
in search of soft loans with little success.

      Transport and Communications Minister Christopher Mushowe confirmed
that the government was helping the ailing firm to recapitalise.

      The government's intervention also comes amid increasing calls from
industry to stop the bleeding at the NRZ, which is struggling to pay
salaries. The parastatal's wage bill gobbles up 140 percent of revenue.

      Mushowe said his ministry has tasked the NRZ management to submit a
proposal to the treasury department for consideration under the 2005
national budget normally presented in November.

      "This is just part of the turnaround strategy we have started at the
parastatal. Critical to this turnaround is recapitalisation. Everything will
be done to make sure we recapitalise the NRZ," Mushowe said.

      The firm, which used to transport more than 12.3 million tonnes of
goods in 1999, now ferries just 5.8 million tonnes.

      The NRZ's failure to service various sectors of the economy has seen
the business sector resorting to road transport, which is four times more
expensive, industry experts said.

      Observers have however pointed out that the government lacks the
resources to effect any meaningful change and its turnaround programme risks
being thrown into the dust bin, as has previously been the case.

      Business, which has felt the pinch of the incapabilities of the rail
utility, accuses the government of paying lip service to the need to revamp
the parastatal.

      It has been suggested that government should consider shedding some
equity in return for fresh capital injection.

      Mushowe said the government had no intention of privatising or
shedding equity in the NRZ.

      "What we are doing is not privatisation. Part of the money will come
through the fiscus and the rest we hope to get through soft loans. These
will be loans to the government and not the NRZ. There will be no
privatisation of the NRZ," Mushowe said.

      NRZ has for the whole year been casting around for resources to be
able to transport up to six million tonnes by the end of 2004 and nine
million tonnes by the end of 2005.

      Government's interference in the operations of the parastatal has seen
the NRZ failing to run on a commercial basis.

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      Racism splits fuel importers' body

      Staff Reporter
      10/7/2004 7:19:28 AM (GMT +2)

      THE Petroleum Marketers Association of Zimbabwe (PMAZ), the country's
sole fuel importers' association, has split up on racial grounds in a move
analysts say is likely to worsen recurrent fuel shortages.

      It has been established that indigenous fuel importers, feeling they
were being sidelined by established fuel procurers, have formed a splinter
grouping, the Indigenous Petroleum Group of Zimbabwe (IPGZ), which claims
its membership comprises of 68 fuel importers.

      IPGZ members maintain they were being given a raw deal by associate
members when they were still under PMAZ.

      Allegations of racism have started surfacing with IPGZ accusing PMAZ
of favouring established fuel importers ahead of indigenous business people.

      Robert Zhuwao, vice-chairman of the IPGZ, said his organisation
represents the interest of indigenous oil companies, "which are being
muscled out of the industry by varying forces".

      "The breakaway was because there was no empowerment policy in place,"
Zhuwao said.

      IPGZ, which claims to supply 33.5 percent of the market with fuel,
accused PMAZ of trying to push out indigenous players.

      Zhuwao said IPGZ members were being denied access to storage
facilities, handicapping their efforts to import fuel.

      "We have no storage facilities. They are being used by established
importers who are denying us access. We have enlisted the services of
government to intervene but there is no legislation which compels them to
share the facilities with them," Zhuwao said.

      Efforts to get a comment from PMAZ chairman Masimba Kambarami were
fruitless. Rodrick Kusano, one of the PMAZ committee members, refused to
comment, saying he was not aware of "any problems".

      Zimbabwe is reeling under a five year-long fuel crunch which has been
worsened by the emergence of bogus fuel importers and inefficiency and
corruption at the state-led fuel procurer, the National Oil Company of

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      Zim, Zambia tour operators' row boils over

      Thomas Madondoro
      10/7/2004 7:20:27 AM (GMT +2)

      THE long-simmering dispute between Zimbabwean tour operators and their
Zambian counterparts appears to have boiled over, with the Zambians accusing
their southern neighbours of violating rules and regulations on the
cross-border transfer of tourists.

      Zambian operators accuse their Zimbabwean counterparts of operating in
the border town of Livingstone, just across the resort town of Victoria
Falls, without operating licences from the Zambian authorities.

      Tour operators on the Zimbabwean side have long accused the Zambians
of unfair trade practices in luring tourists from Zimbabwe, whose image has
taken a battering in recent years, following violent land seizures and
rising political temperatures.

      Sources from Zambia said that country's tour operators were taking
steps to lodge a formal complaint with the Zimbabwean authorities.

      "Tour operators in Zambia are planning to lodge an official complaint
with the Zimbabwean authorities on the matter," said a source.

      The same sources said the issue was initially raised at
Zimbabwe-Zambia joint commission meetings.

      The Zambian Tourism Authority could not be reached for comment by the
time of gong to press.

      Official documents at hand, however, indicate that the commission
directed that the technical committee on tourism should meet annually and
resolve problems affecting tourism players in both countries.

      The Zimbabwe Tour Operators Association administrative officer Sally
Bown however, said the association had not received any official complaints
from tour operators in Zambia.

      "They need to make an official complaint to us. We cannot act on
rumours. We can only respond when they give us the statistics, dates and
time," she said.

      Bown could not be drawn to disclose some of the rules and regulations
on cross border transfers of tourists in Zambia, saying she was not well
versed with rules in that country.

      The tourism sector, which this year is expected to contribute two
percent to the gross domestic product (GDP), is projected to suffer a heavy
knock ahead of the 2005 parliamentary elections.

      Statistics indicate that in 1999 the tourism sector earned the country
US$770 million.

      Direct employment in the sector has also fallen from 128 244 in 2003
to 42 748 workers in 2004. International tourists continue to shun Zimbabwe
owing to the negative publicity the country is receiving abroad.

      Tourist arrivals tumbled a massive 36 percent from 1 303 901 recorded
last year to a low of 827 245 visitors in the first half of the year.

      The majority of the visitors during the period January to June this
year were from mainland Africa, which constituted 675 538 visitors while the
overseas market contributed the remainder.

      The United States of America emerged as the leading overseas source,
contributing 23 300 visitors, while the United Kingdom, for long the country's
major source within the international market, only contributed 19 892

      China, which accorded Zimbabwe Approved Destination Status,
contributed 11 percent.

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