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See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil

Zim Independent


 WHAT a fine old mess the government has made of the powers it has
assumed under the latest constitutional amendment. Government spokesmen like
to argue the purpose of the amendment was to draw a line under land reform.
But the issues of title deeds and offer letters couldn't be murkier. Are
offer letters sent out before the amendment still valid or not? It seems
not. But where does this leave recipients of land reform?

      As for the assumption that finality has been brought to land thefts,
it needs to be spelt out for the criminals involved that Zanu PF will not
last forever. Democracy will dawn one day soon. And a land audit will then
deprive many powerful people of their ill-gotten gains. There is no finality
whatsoever to the land issue just because land has been nationalised. Ask
the good people of Eastern Europe what happened to the land after the
communist regimes collapsed there.

      Speaking of which, we were amused to read on ZimOnline that Justice
minister Patrick Chinamasa had taken a second wife. According to the report,
wife No 2 is demanding the same perks as wife No 1. That of course includes
a farm. Needless to say, wife No 1, the not-to-be-messed-with Monica, has
not taken kindly to Patrick's latest acquisition. She has threatened to take
her complaint right to the top. But can she expect a sympathetic hearing
there over the matter of taking second wives?

      Did anybody see the Daphne Barak interview with President Mugabe on
CNN over the weekend? Why did it take so long for the interview to reach
CNN? And how did the blonde bombshell with the short skirt manage to get the
interview in the first place?

      We particularly liked the bit where Mugabe was carrying on about the
depredations of Operation Murambatsvina being "magnified by the West" while
CNN screened footage of blazing huts and dispossessed people sitting on the
rubble of their homes.

      Nathan Shamuyarira is normally a sober commentator on events who in
his dotage has no need to make the more preposterous claims of his

      But his interview, sorry "conversation", with Caesar Zvayi on Saturday
disclosed a fundamental flaw in his reasoning that every journalist in the
country should take issue with.

      Journalists should "serve the people of Zimbabwe and not confuse them",
he declared. He pointed to examples in the foreign press of where newspapers
might differ on policy "but when it comes to national issues they are one".

      He evidently hasn't read the Guardian on the war in Iraq!

      But it was his next point that set the alarm bells ringing. One of the
issues on which journalists should "be one" was "support for the president",
he claimed.

      "Whoever is elected president by the people of Zimbabwe should be
fully supported by all journalists, that is the patriotic position,"
Shamuyarira declared.

      Leaving aside the obvious issue of whether President Mugabe was in
fact elected by the people of Zimbabwe, Shamuyarira's position is simply
untenable. Mugabe is not just head of state. He is head of government and
head of the ruling party. He sets policy and is at the centre of national
discourse. It is the duty of all patriotic journalists to assess whether his
conduct has been beneficial to the nation. Or more to the point, whether his
extravagant claims are matched by practice.

      It is called accountability!

      Does Shamuyarira, once a journalist himself, seriously suggest that
Mugabe should not be criticised for the disastrous policies he has pursued
that have pauperised the nation and led us to beg for food from the
international community? Does Shamuyarira seriously think we should not
inconvenience the president by mentioning that small matter or his other
glaring failures?

      And what about all those rights enshrined in the constitution that
have been torn up because they threaten his grip on power? What about those
citizens, including lawyers and civic activists, who have been tortured and
mutilated by employees of the Office of the President, one of whom roams
free despite being a wanted man?

      Why should the press remain silent when Mugabe attacks his critics
with menaces? What right does he have to say what he likes about civil
society and the opposition and then hide behind the trappings of his office
when his critics reply? What sort of leadership is that?

      Shamuyarira should know better than to argue the case for a muzzled
media. We already have a eunuch press that is forbidden to discuss the
matter of the president's record except to praise it. We already have a
press that criticises only Morgan Tsvangirai. We already have a press that
seeks to excuse every fault, to dishonestly apportion every blame, and to
cheer every depredation upon the people of this country. It belongs to the

      Meanwhile, will Dr Shamuyarira please tell us what has happened to his
biography of Mugabe? One can imagine how useful it is going to be when its
author believes his subject is beyond criticism!

      And then we had Tafataona Mahoso attacking this paper for reporting
the views of Misa, ZUJ and MMPZ given to a parliamentary portfolio committee
on Transport and Communications last month.

      Mahoso said the MIC was "not amused" by the publication of a
"distorted story" claiming that editors and publishers are violating
readers' rights because the MIC has failed to impose a national code of
ethics on them.

      At no point was the word "imposed" used in the story. That is Mahoso's
distortion. Those giving evidence to the portfolio committee pointed out
that while the MIC was requiring everybody else to submit their codes of
conduct, it had failed to produce one of its own.

      We are supposed to inform our readers that the MIC's views have not
been presented to the committee yet, Mahoso admonished.

      He appears not to know the difference between a newspaper reporting
the views of others and a newspaper expressing its own views. He should not
try and conflate the two to advance his threadbare argument. When he gets
round to presenting his own evidence to parliament it will probably be
reported. So will his code if and when he gets round to publishing it.

      In the meantime he must not pretend the survey conducted by the Media
Ethics Committee, touted extensively by Mahoso as if it were the law of the
Medes and Persians, carried any weight nationally or bound any news
organisation to its questionable conclusions.

      Does anybody seriously suggest the public out there were clamouring
for a media regulatory body, handpicked by the minister, that empowered this
gang of ruling-party supporters to close down newspapers whose views they
didn't like?

      What obviously stung Mahoso about the Misa/ZUJ/MMPZ presentation to
parliament was the suggestion that the MIC was derelict in its duties.

      "It has been three years since the MIC was established but it has not
come up with any publicly-known code of conduct," their submission said.

      They said the MIC had also failed to enforce professional standards in
the mass media to ensure accurate, balanced and unbiased reporting.

      That obviously raises the question: what is this dubious body doing
with the public funds allocated to it apart from creating a job for Mahoso?

      As for Mahoso not being "amused" by our report, strange as though it
may seem, our reporters do not write to amuse him. He is evidently unaware
that the expression "we are not amused" is indelibly identified with Queen
Victoria who reportedly used it to signal her displeasure with press

      Muckraker was intrigued by a recent front-page story in the Herald. It
was headed "Mandaza suspended as fight over Mirror intensifies".

      Our question: when did the Herald report on this in the first place?
Obviously for something to "intensify" it should first happen in the pages
of the paper reporting it.

      And there was Munyaradzi Huni doing one of his MDC falls-apart stories
in the Sunday Mail last weekend claiming that the party was the victim of
factionalism, when on the same page the subs had unkindly stuck a story
about Zanu PF infighting in Masvingo.

      "Factionalism is deeply entrenched in Masvingo with some said to
belong to the Zvobgo faction and others to the Hungwe," President Mugabe was
quoted as saying, adding: "We do not like that."

      Strange how Huni never reports on such matters. In Zanu PF even the
dead have factions!

      Mugabe recently used a platform provided by the FAO and WHO to claim
that his land reform programme was never about dispossessing anybody. Apart
of course from Roy Bennett, Peter de Klerk, Edwin Moyo and some 4 000 other
commercial farmers.

      The FAO bears a heavy burden of responsibility in allowing him to get
away with such self-evidently false claims.

      Returning to Nathan Shamuyarira's "conversation" with Caesar Zvayi, we
were interested to note his denial that the new senate will be used as a
retirement chamber for failed party loyalists. Instead, said Shamuyarira,
the senate will be made up of people with wisdom, people who have something
to contribute to the nation. Specifically he said we should expect to see
"fresh candidates" who should "enrich parliament" through informed debate.

      We hope by fresh candidates he is not talking about the likes of Edgar
Tekere and Victoria Chitepo. They represent typical political deadwood.

      Shamuyarira also had no kind words for former Information minister
Jonathan Moyo whom he claimed cheated his way into cabinet. He said Moyo
cheated "everybody" for four or five years as a minister that he was "loyal
to the party".

      What does that tell us about the Zanu PF leadership's judgement when
it can be "cheated" for so long by an individual - especially one who has
control over its image? Can such a party be trusted to make the right
national decisions?

      While Shamuyarira said he respected Moyo for finally showing his true
colours and sticking to his beliefs, what are we to make of his claim that
there is no "bad blood" between his department and the Ministry of
Information? Surely the mudslinging between the Herald's Nathaniel Manheru
and The Voice editor Lovemore Mataire cannot be said to reflect "harmony" in
the sense suggested by Shamuyarira. That would be cheating if you ask us.

      And what does Shamuyarira mean by preaching tolerance among
Zimbabweans and then saying criticising government or President Mugabe "is
unthinkable"? Sounds like totalitarian double-speak.

      Gullible scribes in the state media believe the fuel supply situation
will soon improve merely because President Mugabe said so. This was in
response to reports that a few filling stations had received trickles of
petrol and diesel over the weekend.

      Last time around Mugabe said he was experiencing stomach and headaches
over relentless fuel shortages and promised this would be solved soon. We
all know what became of that pledge. Quite why the Herald now believes
Mugabe can resolve the fuel crisis when the country has no foreign currency
defies all logic. The situation calls for more than oracular pronouncements.

      Another gullible believer is Energy permanent secretary Justin
Mupamanga who claimed in the same report that government had always been
"consistent" in making fuel available. What planet has he just descended
from when a majority of workers have to walk to work every day because
commuter omnibuses have become permanent fixtures at empty service stations?

      Meanwhile, we liked the picture in the Herald on Tuesday of a fuel
attendant filling a 200-litre drum with petrol at a Total service station
along Nelson Mandela Avenue in Harare. The policeman standing by with his
back to the camera portrayed the classic definition of "see no evil, hear no
evil, speak no evil".

      All we can say is well done to the Herald photographer and shame on
the ZRP. The question is how much money did the police officer and the
petrol attendant receive from the economic saboteur who bought the fuel?
Didymus Mutasa's anti-corruption commission clearly has a tough task ahead
when the law has chosen to turn a blind eye on corruption.

      On Monday the Business Herald had an interesting heading, "Foreign
investment grows 100%". We were curious to find out where this was coming
from and what the 100% growth amounted to. We didn't have to search far. The
intro was precise: "Foreign direct investment to Zimbabwe stood at US$60
million last year," ran the report, "representing a 100% growth on US$30
million registered in 2003."

      It's a sign of how terribly bad things have gone when every pittance
has to be celebrated. More importantly, it shows how the Zanu PF government
has ruined a once prosperous economy when you consider that only in 1998 the
country got as much as US$444 million in FDI.

      As for the headline, it's a good example of sunshine journalism that
Shamuyarira would no doubt encourage.

      President Mugabe has appealed to Zimbabweans to shun tribalism and
regionalism for the sake of national development. He appealed to the
Masvingo province to unite under the leadership of Samuel Mumbengegwi and
Dzikamai Mavhaire (remember the "Mugabe must go" fellow?).

      "We would not have won our Independence if we had looked at things
like one's totem, tribe and where one came from," Mugabe said at the
memorial service for the late national hero Josiah Tungamirai. "Every one
has a right to boast that he is a Zimbabwean first and foremost," he said.

      Fair and fine if that did not come from the same hypocrite who
attacked residents of Mbare as totemless after they rejected his party. In
any case how can Zimbabweans outgrow such divisive and primitive concepts
when they have been institutionalised in the country's highest office? Why
is the nation saddled with a dual vice-presidency if not to maintain
Mugabe's reputation as a pastmaster at tribal juggling?

      Another tribalist is Nathaniel Manheru of the Herald who turns
everything tribal simply because Gibson Sibanda supports Welshman Ncube's
position on senatorial elections. Why does it automatically become a tribal
issue when it's an African but nobody tells us what tribe Tony Blair comes

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After land, Samkange eyes harbours

Zim Independent

Roadwin Chirara recently in Kariba
MASHONALAND West governor and resident minister, Nelson Samkange, says after
the land reform programme the government was now planning to take over
docking harbours in Kariba.

He said the current situation in Kariba where white-owned private firms
owned the main docking harbours was unacceptable as the local community had
the "right to operate and benefit from them".

"We have taken farms from the whites and given them to the locals and really
why should we not take the harbours?" Samkange said.

Samkange revealed this at the World Tourism Day celebration in Kariba.

He said the docking harbours should benefit Kariba residents.

"I am also speaking as a Zanu PF member, if we want to take them (harbours)
we will take them, there is nothing that can stop us from doing so," said

Kariba is currently serviced by small docking harbours dotted around the
lake with the main ones being Marineland, which is privately-owned.

Tourism operators in Kariba viewed Samkange as trying to incite people to
take over their harbours in the same way they did during the land reform.

Experts, however, warn that this would be the death knell for the tourism
sector, which is already crumbling because of the country risk, which has
scared away tourists.

Kariba's tourism sector is currently at its lowest ebb with some hotels now
planning to close down because of low business in the resort town, which in
good times would have been busy during this summer.

The critical situation in the town has seen Zimsun Leisure opting to
completely close down its Lake View Hotel for renovations after the company
had been operating two establishments in the town including Caribbea Bay

Apart from the slump in tourism, the town's other main source of income, the
fishing industry has also been hard hit by the current fuel shortages.

Some companies in the business are contemplating scaling down operations or
closing shop completely.

Samkange's comments come barely three weeks after State security minister
Didymus Mutasa described white commercial farmers as "dirt" resulting in a
new wave of farm invasions in Manicaland province.

The situation has seen attacks on commercial farmers in Chipinge and Nyazura
despite calls by the government to cease any further farm invasion.

There are now fears that Samkange's statement could trigger the invasion of
harbours in Kariba, a move that would further damage Zimbabwe's tattered
reputation as a tourism destination.

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Is this what we were promised?

Zim Independent


THE Consumer Council of Zimbabwe this week released yet more sobering
figures on the latest consumer price index. More and more Zimbabweans are
sinking into poverty. Even greater numbers cannot afford a decent meal, let
alone other necessities that should differentiate urban life from rural

The consumer watchdog says a monthly basket of basic commodities for an
urban family of six has skyrocketed in September to $9,6 million from $6,9
million in August. This is against an average monthly income of $4 million
for a majority of civil servants, or less for most industrial labourers.

It is instructive that the major movers of the basket are the very basic
requirements that a family cannot do without under any circumstances outside
a war zone: bread, mealie-meal, transport and sugar. All have gone up by
close to 100% in the past few months without a concomitant adjustment in
salaries or wages.

These swingeing costs don't take into account rental charges, school fees
and clothing. What these figures expose is the detachment from reality and
the lives of ordinary Zimbabweans of a president who claims that his people
are "very, very happy". They reflect the callous behaviour of a president
who thanks his people "for their resilience in the face of adversity" but
refuses to launch a formal appeal for food aid from the international
community, ostensibly to protect the nation's dignity and sovereignty.

More fundamentally, the relentless price increases reflect government's
utter failure to deal with the supply side of the economic equation, from
agriculture to foreign currency. While President Mugabe can pretend that
Zimbabweans should get used to eating potatoes and rice, those commodities
are simply not available. Where they are available, it is certainly not for
lack of appetite by consumers but resources to purchase them. A 10kg packet
of potatoes costs anything up to $300 000, while a 2kg packet of rice costs
close to $100 000.

We may perhaps need to explain the implications of such figures to royalty,
not to a president who grew up in the heart of rural poverty in Zvimba. Back
then a loaf of bread cost less than a tickey (three pence)! Today you need
$26 000.

In a nutshell, to say the cost of living in Zimbabwe has shot through the
roof is no longer a metaphor. People are starving in greater numbers while
government postures that it can meet all food imports from its own
resources, which every thinking Zimbabwean knows is not true.

The scarce foreign currency coming into the country is thinly spread across
vital imports such as petrol, maize, diesel, electricity and drugs. Industry
is just getting by on fuel sourced on the black market and production
therefore is at an all-time low.

What we are simply saying is that government should swallow its pride and
admit failure. It should appeal for urgent food assistance and allow easy
access and distribution of such aid by all people of goodwill. It should
admit that there is no economic turnaround to talk of at the moment. If
anything, the Zimbabwe dollar has been so badly battered on the black market
it is well nigh impossible to put a price tag on anything. We wait with
bated breath for the latest inflation numbers from the Central Statistical

Despite payments to the International Monetary Fund to reduce the country's
arrears, the Bretton Woods institution is not impressed by the country's
fiscal and monetary policies. It predicts further descent into penury when
we all thought things couldn't get worse. Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono
has a huge fight to do with his political masters to make them see the folly
of their ways before Zimbabwe can turn the corner.

It is trite to say the root cause of all this was the ill-conceived land
reform where competent commercial farmers were replaced by subsistence
farmers who cannot tell a combine harvester from a lorry. While the ruling
party made a lot of noise that "land is the economy" all its actions on
farms have sought to subvert that. And without recovery in agriculture,
which everybody acknowledges is the mainstay of the economy, we are doomed.

Yet, as if oblivious of all this, government is allowing fresh on-farm
disturbances in Manicaland and Chipinge when farmers should be preparing for
the rainy season. Gono last week described these invasions as "criminal"
regardless of the perpetrator. Unfortunately that does not appear to be the
view shared by his amoral political masters whose fortunes depend on the
manipulation of voters through control of food supplies.

It is evident from the Consumer Council's figures that millions of
Zimbabweans are living in abject poverty. The situation is more dire in
communal areas where people have to fight for wild fruits with animals. Is
this the future we were promised at the beginning of the year?

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Moves on Zimbabwe Food Aid Follow Discreet Harare Request


By Patience Rusere
      05 October 2005

Humanitarian and other sources say the government of Zimbabwe has made a
formal appeal to the international community for food assistance, albeit
under a "gentlemen's agreement" which stipulated that the request was not to
be publicized.

The discreet deal also cleared the way for relief groups to distribute food

An official with an international relief organization said that pursuant to
the agreement between  Harare and the United Nations Development Program, it
has been setting up distribution outlets in all 10 provinces of the country
making ready for a full-scale roll-out of food and other forms of aid to the
country's millions of needy.

Reports earlier this week said Harare had reached agreement with the World
Food Program clearing the way for the distribution of food aid, but did not
specify that the communication from the government had taken the form of a

The United Nations office for coordination of humanitarian assistance
recently issued a unilateral appeal to donors for $30 million in funds to
relieve the victims of the May-July slum-clearance campaign which left
hundreds of thousands homeless. It moved unilaterally because Harare was
unwilling to co-sponsor the appeal for funds.

Spokesman Mike Huggins of the World Food Program, which had been urging
Harare for months to issue a formal appeal for food aid which the WFP could
then take to donor countries, said Wednesday he had no knowledge of such an
aid request.

Social Welfare Minister Nicholas Goche, over whose signature  the letter is
said to have gone to the UNDP - whose local head is also the leader of the
United Nations country team for Zimbabwe - could not be reached for comment.

But economist Eddie Cross, an advisor to the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change, told reporter Patience Rusere of VOA's Studio 7 for
Zimbabwe that he heard from diplomatic sources that Mr. Goche "quietly"
signed the letter asking the international community for food supplies for
up to 5 million people.

And in another sign that Harare is more prepared to acknowledge the critical
shortage of maize meal and other staples, the state-run Herald newspaper
said another Social Welfare Ministry official told a parliamentary committee
that Zimbabwe must  import grain to feed at least 2.2 million citizens who
can no longer afford to buy food.

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Zimbabwe spends R25 million on power imports weekly

The Herald

Herald Reporters
The country is spending between 22 and 25 million rand per week for
electricity imports.

Zesa Holdings general manager (corporate affairs) Mr Obert Nyatanga said the
foreign currency is used to import the balance of 650 megawatts per month
the country needs.

He said the 650MW are bought from Eskom in South Africa, Hydroelectrica de
Cahora Bassa (HCB) of Mozambique and Snel in the Democratic Republic of

"The money is enough to cater for electricity importation and we actually
pay it in advance and at the moment we do not have any debts arising from
power importation," said Mr Nyatanga.

He said with the assistance of the central bank, Zesa has managed to restore
its trading relations with the regional players after clearing outstanding
debts to Eskom amounting to US$25 million and to HCB totalling US$30

The power utility was now in a position to pay for electricity imports in

Two weeks ago, Zesa allayed fears of a power crisis following the completion
of phase two of refurbishment of the Kariba Plant undertaken between August
1997 and June 2003.

The central bank has also availed US$27,5 million for fertiliser
manufacturers to boost production and to fund food imports. At least US$5
million has been allocated to fertiliser producers while the remaining
US$22,5 million is for food imports to mitigate the effects of drought.

Spokesman for the fertiliser industry Mr Eben Makonese confirmed receipt of
the foreign currency from the central bank.

Mr Makonese - the managing director of Chemplex Corporation, a holding
company of one of the fertiliser producers Zimphos - said the money would
help boost fertiliser production.

He said the US$5 million injection by the central bank would enable Windmill
and the Zimbabwe Fertilizer Company (ZFC) to operate at full capacity. The
firms had been operating below their optimal levels owing to foreign
currency shortages.

"We want to express our gratitude to the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor
(Dr Gideon Gono) for squeezing us in. There are competing needs for foreign
currency and they have done well despite the challenges," said Mr Makonese.

Fertiliser producers, Mr Makonese said, were trying their best to produce
different types of the commodity for both the domestic and export markets.

"We are trying hard in the industry by exporting to Tanzania, Zambia and
Uganda. We have not exported to Tanzania before. However, it is difficult at
the moment to estimate whether we will satisfy the local market," he said.

From the allocations, ZFC received US$1,84 million, Windmill US$1,51
million, Zimphos US$650 000 and Sable Chemicals got US$1 million.

The allocations were meant to maximise usage of the available foreign
currency by targeting primary production.

"The bulk blending facilities of ZFC Limited, Windmill and Farmers World
were not allocated foreign currency.

"Farmers World, who have no primary production facilities, will be
accommodated by direct access of finished product from ZFC Limited and
Windmill," said ZFC managing director Dr D. Dafana, explaining the
allocations to Dr Gono.

Last month, Kwekwe-based Sable Chemicals, a subsidiary of Chemplex
Corporation, was operating at 30 percent below capacity.

Sable Chemicals is Zimbabwe's sole manufacturer of ammonium gas and ammonium
nitrate fertiliser.

The company produces 75 percent of ammonium nitrate needed in downstream

Last week, President Mugabe said the Government was working hard to address
challenges besetting the country and indicated that fuel supplies would
improve soon.

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Harare can't trigger IMF relief - analysts

Business Report

October 7, 2005

Harare - A bleak International Monetary Fund (IMF) report on Zimbabwe's
economy showed its attempts to clear long-standing arrears had not impressed
the fund and would not trigger new lending, analysts have said.

The IMF warned on Tuesday that Zimbabwe's dire economic problems would
worsen, on the same day that state media reported the central bank had paid
another US$15 million (R98 million) in a bid to clear debt arrears that
drove the country into danger of expulsion from the fund.

In a review, the IMF said the pace of economic deterioration, which slowed
last year, had resumed again in early 2005 due to rising inflation, foreign
exchange shortages and low agricultural output .

There was no immediate official reaction to the IMF report, but private
economic consultant John Robertson said it showed the fund was not convinced
that Harare deserved new financial support to kick-start growth in an
economy that has shrunk by more than 30 percent since 1999.

"The IMF is still very critical of our overall performance and with very
good reason, because we are still behaving badly," Robertson said.

"The message from the IMF is that you don't become eligible to borrow new
money, which could be what the government is trying to do, simply by making
payments that should have been made five years ago."

The malaise has been worsened by Zimbabwe's isolation from western donors
over policy differences with President Robert Mugabe's government.

The IMF said Mugabe's crackdown on urban slums to root out illegal trading
threatened to exacerbate the problems, as it reduced informal market
activity and incomes and "could contribute to lower gross domestic product".

It forecast that gross domestic product would fall by 7 percent this year,
further than the 4 percent decline in 2004 and against Harare's own
forecasts of 2 percent growth. It also warned that "without a bold change in
policy direction, the economic outlook will remain bleak".

Harare-based economist James Jowa said: "The IMF is painting a much more
accurate picture of our situation. That there will be a decline this year is
not questionable - what can be debated is the magnitude of the decline.

"The IMF cannot make political statements, but what they are trying to say
is that the authorities should wake up to the realities on the ground."

Mugabe denies he has mismanaged the economy, charging that it has fallen
victim to sabotage by foreign opponents. Last month the veteran leader
accused the IMF of not helping developing countries, saying the fund was
"wielded by the big powers ... which dictate what it should do".

Yesterday human rights lawyers went to court to try to block the eviction of
400 victims of Zimbabwe's demolitions blitz from their new makeshift homes.

The targets of Operation Murambatsvina, or Drive out Filth, which was
launched on May 18, were told by police at the weekend to leave their new
shelters in Harare's Mbare township.

The police eviction order came along with the arrest of more than 14 000
illegal vendors and dealers in foreign currency and fuel during follow-up
operations to the demolitions blitz.

Police spokesperson Inspector Loveless Rupere said the latest crackdown was
"to monitor the city so that we deal with any of those who are returning to
the city and conduct shady dealings".

The government originally portrayed the blitz that ended in late July as an
urban renewal programme, but this week state newspapers said the
intelligence agencies had initiated it to prevent a "Ukrainian-style
revolution" funded by the West.

-From Reuters and AFP

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Mugabe's police and vendors in running battles

Cape Times

  October 7, 2005

      By Michael Hartnack

      Harare: Police armed with batons and riot shields fought running
battles with street traders this week in a clampdown in the capital's
southern townships, news reports said yesterday.

      Police have arrested at least 14 706 vendors, seized their produce and
fined them a total of R201 500 across the country in a revival of President
Robert Mugabe's hated Operation Murambatsvina (Drive Out Filth).

      They accuse the vendors of sabotaging Zimbabwe's crumbling economy
through black market trading.

      The United Nations estimates 700 000 Zimbabweans have lost their homes
and livelihoods in the crackdown.

      Police stormed streets around shopping centres, the Daily
      Mirror newspaper reported yesterday.

      "Uniformed police on bicycles and in trucks engaged in running battles
with the vendors, some of whom were refusing to let them impound their
wares," the paper said. Scarce maize meal, cooking oil, soap, flour, sugar,
rice, fish and chicken meat were seized.

      The street trade is 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," street vendor Peter Gumbo said.

      Late on Wednesday, a rowdy crowd stretching back nearly a kilometre
besieged a supermarket where sugar was on sale at the controlled price of
just over R1 a kilogram. The black market price is over R13.

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Pretoria Communists threaten 'Zimbabwe-style' farm invasions

Independent (UK)

By Basildon Peta in Johannesburg
Published: 07 October 2005
South Africa will convene symbolic Zimbabwe-style land invasions this
weekend to highlight the plight of the poor and the landless, President
Thabo Mbeki's ruling coalition partner, the South African Communist Party
(SACP), has said. Two weeks ago, the government said it would move to
expropriate the first white-owned farm under a land restitution programme.

The land invasions gesture, announced by the SACP secretary general Blade
Nzimande, has angered the predominantly white Transvaal Agricultural Union
(TAU), the main agriculture representative body with 6,000 members, and the
Democratic Alliance (DA), the official opposition. Both groups have
described the exercise as "grossly irresponsible".

They have demanded that Mr Mbeki publicly distances the government from the
plan and stops it. The DA said: "For Nzimande to advocate lawlessness with
what appears to be the tacit approval of government is not only reckless,
but also reflects a worrying contempt for the law. There is no doubt land
reform needs to be speeded, but this must be done without violating the
fundamental principles of the constitution. Any deviation from the rule of
law will sow fear and insecurity and will ultimately do more harm than good
to the process of land reform."

The opposition demanded that SACP officials who are ministers in Mr Mbeki's
cabinet - mainly the State Enterprises Minister Alec Erwin, the Safety and
Security Minister Charles Nqakula and the Social Welfare Minister Geraldine
Fraser-Moloketi - speak out against the plan and "make sure they rein in
mavericks in the SACP".

Unemployment is at 40 per cent, creating a crisis of expectation. Some
politicians see the fast-track, wholesale redistribution of land from whites
to blacks as a way forward. Whites own all but 4 per cent of the farms and
there is wide public support for redistribution. A 2001 survey of black
South Africans found that 85 per cent of them agreed that: "Most land in
South Africa was taken unfairly by white settlers, and they therefore have
no right to the land today."

TAU members have threatened to use their enormous wealth to start an armed
struggle if their land is seized.

South Africa will convene symbolic Zimbabwe-style land invasions this
weekend to highlight the plight of the poor and the landless, President
Thabo Mbeki's ruling coalition partner, the South African Communist Party
(SACP), has said. Two weeks ago, the government said it would move to
expropriate the first white-owned farm under a land restitution programme.

The land invasions gesture, announced by the SACP secretary general Blade
Nzimande, has angered the predominantly white Transvaal Agricultural Union
(TAU), the main agriculture representative body with 6,000 members, and the
Democratic Alliance (DA), the official opposition. Both groups have
described the exercise as "grossly irresponsible".

They have demanded that Mr Mbeki publicly distances the government from the
plan and stops it. The DA said: "For Nzimande to advocate lawlessness with
what appears to be the tacit approval of government is not only reckless,
but also reflects a worrying contempt for the law. There is no doubt land
reform needs to be speeded, but this must be done without violating the
fundamental principles of the constitution. Any deviation from the rule of
law will sow fear and insecurity and will ultimately do more harm than good
to the process of land reform."

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We'll rock them: UPM

Zim Independent

THE formation of the proposed United People's Movement (UPM) - expected to
comprise senior Zanu PF and opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
officials - is gathering momentum despite attempts by those behind it to
remain undercover.

Sources said this week UPM has already set up significant underground
structures and recruited key members from Zanu PF and the MDC at the
provincial level. A senior Zanu PF central committee member, Pearson
Mbalekwa, resigned over Operation Murambatsvina three months ago in what was
seen as a precursor to the UPM's formation.

A campaign song for the party, titled We Will Rock Them, has been released.
The song is a hybrid tune that sounds more of a felicitous cross-flex
between township jazz and South African mbaqanga music. It sounds as if it
is meant to rally people to rock current political parties to their

The song, written in English, Shona and Ndebele, is understood to have been
written by former Information minister Jonathan Moyo, expected to be one of
the senior UPM officials. Moyo could neither confirm nor deny his role,
saying only "a people's movement is underway and those who will try to block
it will be swimming against the current".

Sources said a symbol of the party - balancing rocks - has been decided on,
while a manifesto enunciating policies of the party has been written. It was
said T-shirts and promotional material have also been printed.

The manifesto says the party will introduce a new policy paradigm which will
deal with "Zanu PF's corrosive leadership and policy failures" and "the
MDC's political impotence". UPM critics have been saying unless the party
comes up with cutting-edge and viable policies markedly different from those
of Zanu PF and the MDC, it would be dead on arrival. The critics say UPM
would not add value to the political system if it did not have a different
political culture and policies to deliver prosperity.

There are fears it might be a replica of Zanu PF given that its leaders
could be people who failed to take control of the ruling party and want to
form a new organisation, not to introduce different policies but to gain

But the leaders of the party - who would be drawn from Zanu PF and the MDC
ranks as well as civil society and business - were still unidentified to
avoid detection and a backlash mostly by the ruling party.

A number of the UPM officials would come from the disgruntled Zanu PF
faction associated with the Tsholotsho saga in which a camp led by party
heavyweight Emmerson Mnangagwa almost seized power last November.

Although President Robert Mugabe launched a fierce backlash against
Mnangagwa and his supporters, sources said the group had not been suppressed
and could come back with a decisive push to either grab power from within
Zanu PF or through the UPM.

The UPM - which is linked to the debate on the Third Way - seems to have its
genesis in Zanu PF and MDC infighting although its movers and shakers say it
is a "movement of the people".

Source said UPM officials - including Moyo - had been traversing the country
holding meetings, establishing structures and recruiting in preparation for
a major assault on power during the scheduled 2008 presidential election.

Sources said although Moyo was involved he would be one of the party's
senior officials, not its leader. Sources said Moyo might not even make it
into the top four unless he muscled his way there.

It was said the command structure of the party would be different from that
of Zanu PF and the MDC because the organisation might not have a president
but a chairman who would not necessarily be the presidential candidate
during the 2008 election if it comes. Zanu PF is determined to avoid the
election under the pretext of harmonising the presidential and parliamentary

The election is now likely to be held in 2010 unless Zanu PF's proposed
constitutional amendment on the issue is blocked. The ruling party has a
technical - not numerical - two-thirds majority in parliament which it used
to pass recent constitutional amendments on the re-introduction of the

President Robert Mugabe said the senate poll, which insiders say is part of
his succession plan, would now be held next month. - Staff Writers.

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Mediagate turns nasty

Zim Independent

Dumisani Muleya
FURTHER evidence that the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) has taken
over the Zimbabwe Mirror Newspapers Group surfaced this week after a
boardroom coup against company CEO and editor-in-chief, Ibbo Mandaza.

In a bid to end the battle for control of the media house, the CIO resorted
to flexing its muscles to oust Mandaza from the group. Mandaza's proposed
exit strategy, which would have seen him quitting on December 31, was
rejected by the CIO last Thursday before his suspension on Monday. The CIO
had set September 30 as Mandaza's date of departure.

The CIO leveraged a buy-out at the Mirror titles, the Daily Mirror and the
Sunday Mirror, using public funds. Mandaza for the first time confirmed this
in an interview with the Voice of America.

The CIO were also said to have seized control of a leading weekly, the
Financial Gazette, through a nominee front. The Zimbabwe Independent
understands that efforts are under way to sell the Fingaz in what appears to
be an attempt to cover the trail of ownership. The state security agency
also runs news websites and has influence in state media newsrooms and media
production houses.

Recent court revelations showed the CIO could well be in charge of the
government-appointed Media and Information Commission. Tafataona Mahoso,
commission chairman, yesterday refused to comment on the Mediagate scandal,
saying the issue was now sub-judice.

Intelligence sources said the CIO was behind the closure of four private
newspapers, Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe (ANZ) titles - the Daily News
and the Daily News on Sunday - as well as the Tribune and Weekly Times. The
agency was currently trying to buy another paper.

Mandaza was suspended without pay on the basis of an Ernst & Young forensic
audit report, which the accountancy firm had earlier said was merely a
"draft". The report was only completed on Wednesday and Mandaza got it

After his Monday suspension, lines to Mandaza's office and that of his
secretary were blocked. He was ordered to clear out by midday on Tuesday.
Mandaza was also ordered to surrender the company's Toyota Land Cruiser SUV.
He was further told to appear before a disciplinary hearing after 14 days.

However, Mandaza went to court to contest his suspension, ownership
structure, and the explosive issue of loan securities and guarantees.

"I have no doubt that my suspension is illegal, unprocedural and highly
irregular," Mandaza said in his affidavit. "(But) to avoid a breakdown of
law and order, and fearful of the respondents (CIO companies and their
representatives)' muscle and brawn, I have stayed away from the office."

Mandaza said he had been ejected in a "brazen, flagrant, and underhand
boardroom coup". He said the people behind his suspension through a
"kangaroo court" resolution clearly had "no clue what it is at all to run a
newspaper group from an operational perspective" because they ran it like a
"kindergarten class".

"They are undoubtedly wet behind the ears and will fast-track my cherished
dreams, hopes, and aspirations as captured by the newspaper group, into
irreversible ruin and demise," Mandaza said.

He said if the court failed to protect him in the case - whose "history is
drawn out and chequered" - that would simply "amount to rewarding dishonesty
and trickery" and be a "downright travesty (of justice)".

In the process, proof has emerged showing the CIO has wrested control of the
papers. The Zimbabwe Independent first broke the story, now referred to as
Mediagate, on August 12. Documents lodged with the court confirm CIO
ownership of the Mirror group.

Mandaza reacted to his suspension by taking CIO shelf-companies and
directors in the Mirror to court on Wednesday. Revealing documents - which
the Independent was privy to - were attached to the application.

Documents showed a CIO company, Unique World Investments (Pvt) Ltd, whose
address was given as the CIO Chaminuka Building offices, had 51%, while
another CIO-linked firm, Zistanbal (Pvt) Ltd (also referred to as
Zinstabel), had 19%, while Mandaza had 30% at the Mirror. Amounts paid for
the equities were disclosed in the Independent last week.

The documents also reveal correspondence that had been flying between the
CIO representatives, Mandaza and Jewel Bank, the Mirror's bankers, before
and after Mediagate disclosures.

The documents reveal the acrimony that beset the Mirror group after the CIO
takeover and Mandaza's failed attempt to drive them out.

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Mediagate: from the horse's mouth

Zim Independent

THE following is an exclusive interview by VOA's Blessing Zulu (BZ) with
suspended Mirror Group editor-in-chief and chief executive Ibbo Mandaza

BZ: DR Mandaza, a statement from Mirror Group chairman Jonathan Kadzura and
vice-chairman Jonathan Marangwanda says you have been suspended from the
positions of editor-in-chief and chief executive of the Zimbabwe Mirror
Group of newspapers. The statement also says this follows a forensic report
by Ernst & Young auditors. What is your take on this?

IM: It is a misunderstanding of the law by those concerned because I am not
only the CEO and editor-in-chief, but I am also a shareholder of the
company. The process where you fire your director and let alone a
shareholder is obviously very complicated and not feasible. The purported
suspension is based on by implication a so-called forensic audit implying
there must have been something untoward which I did as CEO and

The truth of the matter is that we have a copy of the so-called forensic
audit which they are conveniently and expeditiously using and we have a
letter from the auditors stating two things - one that the so-called
forensic report is not finalised and therefore could not have been the basis
of any decision such as purported to have been taken yesterday (Monday).
Secondly, they made it very clear that there was no misappropriation of
funds as they implied and it was for that reason that they wrote the letter,
which they made available to us today.

Thirdly and sadly this is yet another attempted state takeover of a private
media house. If they want they can do it physically but they cannot do it
legally. I have applied to the High Court to render all that has been done
null and void. I have invested heavily in this company since 1997.

BZ: But Dr Mandaza, who really is behind this "covert" operation to oust you
and why?

IM: It's the CIO, as has been reported in the press, who might appear to
have become unhappy with either the aspects of our editorial or my person or

BZ: So Dr Mandaza those reports in the Zimbabwe Independent were accurate
that the CIO wanted to take over the two publications?

IM: Yes, Unique (a local company) board member for example... Purported
board members are all former CIO operatives, and it is clear that they
report to CIO who are the principals... the Minister of State Security and
director-general of the CIO.

BZ: But how did these controversial investors come to invest in your paper?

IM: Well it was a purported investment done through our bank, CBZ. It
appeared by any accounts a normal transaction by business people one of whom
I knew certainly as a business person was the head of it all, a banker.

It was only when we saw the persons representing the companies and their
backgrounds and in particular their failure or inability to provide
securities on indemnities as required of any would-be shareholder, that we
realised there was a problem somewhere.

Then we realised that they were unable to provide securities and they were
part of a state department, which requires an elaborate legal process
involving both the Minister of Finance and so on and so forth. Their failure
or and inability to provide securities both exposed them for what they were
and provided the legal basis to state quite clearly that there was no
shareholders agreement. The debt at the bank is secured by me alone.

BZ: Dr Mandaza, did you try to seek (an) audience with the Minister of State

IM: Yes, the first meeting was in October last 25th of October
where I made it known that it is increasingly evident those purported to be
Unique is in fact CIO, state department and that this was inappropriate for
us to enter into any arrangement and since there was no shareholders
agreement and since they failed even to fulfill the shareholders agreement
on intent under which they were supposed to provide securities and
indemnities that we should just close the chapter and leave us alone.

They promised to look at this when Minister Goche was still in charge. But
they persisted and for most of this year, we thought well this attempt has
gone into abeyance of them getting involved. But soon after the Tibaijuka
Report in which our newspapers were critical although not offensive, in
which clearly the report writers may have used many of our cuttings
including extracts from my column, Scrutator, this led to allegations that I
had even authored the Tibaijuka Report when in fact I did not even meet the
lady concerned. If I expressed any views on the matter it was in the
newspaper writings and which views were well-known. It was then after July
that there were attempts to engage us.

BZ: So you met Minister Didymus Mutasa himself?

IM: I met with Mutasa in late July and pleaded with him again to leave us
alone and the thing got very untidy. There were open hostilities. We had CIO
functionaries actually stopping stories going into the newspaper for a
period of one week. I met him again on the 19th of September where we
pleaded again with minister Mutasa ... please please, for the sake of the
paper, for the sake of the reputation of the paper, it was inappropriate for
the CIOs to be involved with us.

Mutasa said he did not care about that, saying he found it odd that since I
came through the state and party, I should think so. I told him that the CIO
could start their own paper if they so wished. But they insisted that they
wanted the Mirror because it was nationalist and pan-Africanist. They said
if you cannot be associated with us pack your bags and go.

At that stage, I said let's value the company, draw an agreement of sale,
but they said instructions were coming from the highest level in government
and I was no longer welcome.

I said let's sell 30% of the shares to a consortium of other people, they
(CIO) buy 70% and I stay with the paper for three months during the
transition and if there was a change of mind on the part of the authorities
on the imprudence of CIO involvement in the newspapers, I would continue
with my paper, since now I have acquired a printing press and would have the
means to run the paper more viably.

We thought we had agreed on that. We met last Thursday and there was now a
change of mind that now I must go. So what is happening now is sadly a state
takeover of a privately-owned media house.

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Tsvangirai's trek echoes Gandhi's famous walk

Zim Independent

Ray Matikinye
THE arrest on Wednesday morning of Budiriro MP Gilbert Shoko and 20 others
for walking to work is reminiscent of Mahatma Gandhi's famed walk for salt
in 1930.

Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe was a six-year old cattle herder in rural
Zvimba when the acknowledged icon of passive resistance, Mahatma Gandhi,
walked 600km to the sea in protest against a salt tax imposed by the

The gruelling exploit was dubbed the Salt Walk and it marked the beginning
of the end for Britain's 200-year Raj in India.

Three weeks ago, opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai embarked on his own
protest walk, trudging from his home in Strathaven to his offices in central

Gandhi was protesting against British imperialism, Tsvangirai against Zanu
PF's oppressive rule that has made transport unaffordable for ordinary

Mugabe's spokesmen want the public to believe that Tsvangirai is
grandstanding on behalf of his imperialist masters. But their propaganda,
blaming the British for the long-standing economic crisis, does little to
convince the poor that the ruling party has answers to the country's

Escalating prices of basic commodities and a steep decline in the quality of
life among Zimbabweans are widely blamed on Mugabe's economic mismanagement
and corruption in high places.

During the early years of Independence 25 years ago, the current price of a
bottle of cooking oil could buy a mansion in the capital's up-market
suburbs, the cost of an egg a used car and the fare from working-class
suburbs into the city centre was enough to buy a three-bedroomed house. With
the amount now charged for a loaf of bread, a Zimbabwean could purchase a
modest fleet of taxis in 1980.

Mugabe cannot deny pushing the country towards an economic precipice.

The opposition MP for Budiriro, Gilbert Shoko, and about 20 others were on
Wednesday morning arrested for walking to work in solidarity with the
struggling people of Zimbabwe, most of whom walk daily to their places of
work as a result of the fuel shortage that has afflicted the country.

In support of their opposition leader who started his solidarity walks three
weeks ago, many Harare MPs have been walking to work.

Shoko left his Budiriro constituency at 7:00am with about 20 others that had
intended to walk into town. But the group was intercepted by the police at
Southerton police station and rounded up after it was accused of lying that
the country had no fuel.

Gandhi started walking from Sabarmati Ashram with a band of 78 handpicked
volunteers destined for a beachhead at Dandi, more than 600 kilometres away
in South Gujarat.After a gruelling 24 days when Gandhi and his band of
followers reached Dandi, thousands had joined him along the way.

Tsvangirai has yet to attract those sort of numbers given the degree of
repression shown to Shoko and his supporters, but a solid band of 50
pedestrians joined him this week.

Gandhi embarked on his protest walk 17 years before India attained

For Tsvangirai, Independence was achieved 25 years ago but still people are
arrested for walking to work. The opposition leader sees the need to protest
as lifestyles of the ordinary people have deteriorated.

The opposition MP for Mufakose, Paurina Mpariwa, last week walked more than
15 kilometres from her constituency to town "in solidarity with people who
are facing transport problems as a result of the fuel shortage gripping the

Mpariwa took more than four hours to get to town, setting the tone for a
growing number of MDC legislators who have vowed to walk from their homes to
town in solidarity with hard-pressed workers.

"People cannot find transport and when they do they are unable to use public
transport owing to the high fares charged," Mpariwa said.

Many have resorted to using the commuter trains. The trains, which
government dubbed "Freedom Trains" when they were introduced, have been
discontinued in some suburbs for lack of diesel.

"If it takes four hours to get into town, you can imagine the loss to
industry and commerce in terms of production when workers get to work
tired," Mpariwa said.

Gandhi took a handful of salt from the sea as a symbolic action and he asked
everybody to do the same. When protesters decided to march on salt factories
and take salt from there, British soldiers responded with force.

This week, as fuel trickled into Zimbabwe the chaos at fuel service stations
reflected popular desperation with policies that have sabotaged forex

Observers link the fuel deliveries to the impending senate election
scheduled for November. Government has scoffed at the opposition leader's
symbolic gesture.

"Basically it was a publicity stunt. He walked a short distance for
photographs before boarding his red fuel-guzzling truck," Information and
Publicity deputy minister Bright Matonga said in barbed comments about
Tsvangirai's trek. In fact the vehicle remained parked at Tsvangirai's home.

Journalists who witnessed Tsvangirai walk all the way to his offices have
marvelled at Matonga's ignorance because as a minister he is cushioned from
ordinary people's daily toils.

The Salt Walk is acknowledged as an event that shook the British Empire to
its core. Perhaps Tsvangirai is yet to accept that imperialists showed a
greater responsiveness to Gandhi than he can ever hope for from his own

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Cabs voice concern over stand prices

Zim Independent

Roadwin Chirara
CABS has raised concern over the skyrocketing costs of residential stands
and continued unavailability of serviced stands with title deeds for
housing. Leonard Tsumba, chairman of Cabs, said the continued shortage of
serviced stands was impacting negatively on property development in the

"I pointed out in my statement last year that unavailability of serviced
stands with title deeds and affordability continue to pose serious problems
to property development, this problem has not changed," Tsumba said.

"Your society remains committed to increasing mortgage loans. It made
significant progress during the year under review but continues to be
constrained by the negative factors described above," said Tsumba.

He said the society was presemt using funds from its investments for lending
purposes at below market rates in an effort to reduce the cost of borrowing
by prospective borrowers.

"In order to alleviate affordability problems, funds generated from
investing activities continue to be utilised to subsidise mortgage lending
rates. These rates remain well below those of other financial institutions,"
Tsumba said.

He also raised concern over the central bank's policies on statutory
requirements of building societies.

"The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe adopted a carrot-and-stick approach with
respect to the operations of building societies during the year. This saw
statutory reserves reduced to 3% of deposits not supporting mortgages at the
end of January," said Tsumba.

"Statutory reserves were, however, increased on May 19 to 35% on the
presumption that funds which had been released from statutory reserves in
January had not been put into housing, but into the money market instead,"
Tsumba said.

He said the current economic situation in the country continued to provide
operational challenges for the society.

He however said the society was benefiting from the strong market reputation
and its established brand.

"The economic climate for the period under review continued to present your
society with major challenges," said Tsumba.

A total of $267 billion was advanced compared to last year's figure of $39
billion, a marked increase of 589%.

In the period under review Cabs assets closed at $1,6 trillion while its
operating expenses closed at $133 billion.

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Time hypocrites got off their high horses

Zim Independent

      By Puro Masorera

      ZIMBABWE has become a nation of hypocrites. Most of these can be seen
sadly tucked in the Herald and Sunday Mail columns or the Zimbabwe
Broadcasting Holdings.

      The leader of these hypocrites is none other than Tafataona Mahoso.
Freedom of speech is of paramount importance but the same people who should
ensure this is enhanced are the ones holding machetes to the media.

      I strongly believe the University of Zimbabwe's English department is
the main culprit in churning out hypocrites. Several doctorate holders from
this department have made most parents scared to encourage their kids to
take up English or Media Studies at tertiary level.

      Most of these doctors seem to have frozen in the year 1980-81.
Sometimes one does not see the difference between such people and characters
like Joseph Chinotimba.

      Other people like Herald political and features editor Caesar Zvayi
can be forgiven for thinking the media and geography are the same thing.

      I refer to the Zimbabwe Independent, September 30 for example, since I
do not buy the Herald and the Sunday Mail, which to me are insulting
propaganda works.

      I cannot afford to buy propaganda. I cannot buy anything that demeans
my intelligence. Anything that considers its readers foolish and naïve is an
insult to me and hence I can never waste my money on it!

      Mahoso, in a letter in the Independent, talks about the side of the
story of his commission not being presented. How many times have we seen him
and his cronies attacking individuals, organisations and the independent
media left, right and centre, yet these groups are afforded no chance to

      The Daily News, for instance, is suffocated, yet it is now just a
corpse with not the slightest chance of replying.

      Mahoso talks of the laws of Zimbabwe being superior. Why is he not
following them in the Daily News and Tribune cases?

      Why is he convinced that any law, just because it belongs to a
country, is just?

      Perhaps a dose of Martin Luther King Jnr can help him: "Any law that
degrades the human personality is unjust." Mahoso should note that,
according to German laws of the 1930s, it was legal to oppress Jews. It was
legal in Zimbabwe to kill so-called dissidents in the early 80s, but was it

      We expect better from you Sekuru Mahoso.

      The consultative meetings he carried out throughout Zimbabwe and
alluded to in the article are suspect. I have never heard anyone saying he
attended or was invited to such meetings.

      Just who was he consulting with, and where?

      He talks of unethical and criminal conduct in journalism under Section
8 but who defines it? Is it fair and ethical for people of one political
party to group together and be guardians of our media?

      Why is the independent media the only one punched with that law now
and again yet we have clear cases of the Zanu PF-controlled media doing even
worse things like publishing false stories of bombings of tall buildings in
Bulawayo, sabotage of fuel by Mozambicans, MDC activists giving themselves
up and confessing that they were trained in South Africa to fight the

      Who is following up on all such cases? Why do the callers who get
through to ZBH's Face the Nation programme sound identical, and with
seemingly predetermined questions? Are we a nation of zombies and robots?
Who is fooling who? Tell us Sekuru Mahoso, for we are tired of your endless
nganos (fairy-tales) in which you quote outdated writers in the newspapers.

      Why should the code of ethics be shaped in your own image?

      I think there is no worse segregationist than the one who tries to
feed a nation with silly ideas thinking that the same nation consists of
only gullible people.

      Why would one talk about the death of people in Iraq just to show how
foolish America is, yet forget about the deaths in his own backyard?

      Why should one be shadowboxing with papers like the Daily News which
he played a major role in banning and knows fully well that it will not

      If the Daily News was that bad, and if the MIC represents the
interests of the majority, why ban a paper that was selling twice better
than its competitors?

      Were the consumers of the Daily News stupid and the MIC correct? Why
should we be given similar rehearsed opinions in the ZBH and be expected to
pay licences for the same unchallenged opinions from people belonging to one
political party?

      It's unfortunate that some of the old horses in the MIC do not want to
take the chance to retire back to their villages to take care of their
grandchildren but instead choose to harass us.

      We are sick and tired of the half-cooked British conspiracy theories.
Why would Britain want to colonise us again? Are we the best of all its
former colonies? What about Hong Kong, the USA, Australia? Please spare us
that hogwash just because you are the sole panelist on our television. We
are tired of you mentally raping us! Is it not sad that we have developed
our own new meanings of words due to these media terrorists?

      Words like musangano now mean only Zanu PF. "Sovereignty" means
perpetuating Zanu PF rule, "patriotism" means agreeing to everything that
Mugabe says, "Independence" means putting Zanu PF in power, and "Zanu PF"
itself means Mugabe, for whatever he says will be his followers' command.

      If Mugabe today says Vice-President Joseph Msika is an enemy, the rest
of Zanu PF will run for his blood without sitting down to think about it.

      When Mugabe says Zimbabwe is not hungry, he means himself and Zanu PF
are not hungry.

      When he says Zimbabwe will get fuel, he means Zanu PF will get fuel.
Zanu PF has privatised words. It is unfortunate that our hypocrites have
turned a blind eye to all that, concentrating on Hurricane Katrina,
Afghanistan and Iraq, among several of their limited topics.

      If they are not doing so, they will be busy lynching the independent
media. If they are brave enough and convinced they are right, then let them
free the media, it's what should be done!

      Perhaps the celebrated late author Dambudzo Marechera would come in
handy for most of our state writers who think if he was alive today he would
support them.

      That is totally insane.

      He says: "A writer is part of society; a writer notices what is going
on around him, sees the poverty every day." How can writers like Nathaniel
Manheru try to whitewash poverty and still think they are better than
Marechera? They should be realistic and get a life!

      * Puro Masorera is a Masvingo-based writer.

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It's culture that spurs opposition

Zim Independent

By Michael Hartnack
BACK in the bad old 1950s when the Rhodesian Federation was desperately -
and vainly - trying to market the ideal of racial "partnership" as an
alternative to Pretoria's apartheid, there used to be a vogue, deadly,
political insult among white "tea party liberals".

"You don't understand Africans!"

A priggish British interviewer threw this in the face of Federal prime
minister Roy Welensky who retorted that, considering during his childhood he
used to "swim bare-arsed with the picannins" in the Mukuvisi River he might
claim some insights. The response was perhaps undignified and demeaning.

Anyone who begins to comprehend African culture knows its soul is not found
in beer drinks and sacrifice of goats, followed by miraculous nocturnal
roaring of lions (as reported by the ZBH on September 23).

The Zanu PF country-wide "biras" were all a superficial show, an iniquity
the Old Testament prophet Isaiah accused the leaders of his day of
committing in "the burnt offering and the solemn meeting".

There are some things a person who is not born into our majority ethnic
group - the Shona - soon learns if he has his wits about him. Such as always
remembering to greet people properly every day, especially those who perform
routine services that risk being taken for granted.

Shona people have natural, exquisite good manners, but there are some
differences from European ones. For example, in England a visitor remains
standing until offered a seat. With the Shona, it is considered aggressive
not to sit down unobtrusively.

Among the Nguni peoples (the Zulu, Xhosa, Swazi, Shangaan, Ndebele and the
Angoni of Zambia and Malawi), chieftainships devolve from a father to the
eldest son of his senior wife.

But the Shona have a system of "collateral succession". The downside is that
a community may be leaderless for years while the rightful heir is defined,
amid bitterly divisive disputes. The eventual appointee may be an

Theoretically, the heir may be the man separated by the least number of
generations from the ancient ancestor of the clan.

Public opinion plays a big part in determining which family's "turn" it is
to supply a chief, but the final verdict rests with the ancestors, speaking
through the spirit mediums.

Hence public opinion and spiritual authorities (including, today, the
churches) play a much larger part in Shona social life than in other
southern African ethnic groups.

The idea of a parent-child dynasty is thought dangerously elitist. Just as a
discredited spirit medium may become estranged from his mudzimu (tutelary
spirit), a chief may be deserted by his mhondoro (lion spirit - today,
perhaps symbolic rather than supernatural).

Abel Muzorewa was felt to have forfeited his in 1979 when he ordered the
bombing of trainee guerillas he himself had recruited.

Blood on the land is inimical to rain and the mhondoro does not devour its
own children.

Robert Mugabe was widely thought to have lost his when three key lieutenants
died in quick succession three years ago.

The Shona expect a chief to be "one of us" yet "father of his people",
searching for consensus yet in touch with the ancestors. Their idea of
supreme kingliness exactly accords with Denmark's Christian X, donning his
old uniform and riding his horse solitarily around Copenhagen during the
1940-45 Nazi occupation.

The king politely returned the salutes of his people and stonily ignored
those of the occupiers. When Danish Jews were ordered to wear yellow stars,
the king wore one, too.

Listening to and watching the current elite in Zimbabwe, it is impossible
not to wonder whether they have become so out of touch they are the ones now
"who don't understand Africans".

Do they think, like gullible tourists, African culture is just beer drinks
and ceremonial feasts (bira), and miraculous roaring of lions in the night?

Have they forgotten it? Or do they believe their 25 years in power have
buried old ways and values?

It is grotesque that a Zimbabwean who is not a Shona is asking this.

Perhaps, to quote a Shona proverb, it is a case of Mugoni wepwere ndeasina
(It is the childless woman who is - or fancies she is - the expert on

Mugabe seems oblivious to the offence he causes by endless foreign jaunts
and by strutting around, when here, with arms folded, in opulently expensive
clothing, and surrounded by swarms of heavily armed bodyguards who seek any
pretext to intimidate members of the public.

"Who put Mugabe in prison?" one elderly Shona asked, with the typical humour
of the people, as the president was shown retreating behind his high walls
topped by imported South African razor wire.

Police earlier this month arrested 14 rural people who invaded and began
dividing up among themselves the former white-owned farm seized by Chief
Fortune Charumbira, president of Mugabe's council of chiefs, and one of his
nominated MPs. This was the second such invasion of the farm.

A chief purloining a private farm is like the captain of a ship reserving a
lifeboat for himself. It suggests an incompetent sailor frightened that he
cannot bring his ship's company safe to port. The then Chief Charumbira was
among the most prominent allies of Ian Smith's government in the 1970s.

Interviewed in New York on September 16, Mugabe may have believed his
questioner was ignorant of Zimbabwean lore when he spoke of a Ndebele chief
who told him: "We have it in our blood to be chiefs - you depend on the

Classic proverbs always have two exactly contradictory meanings, such as
Mugoni wepwere ndeasina.

The interviewer, Zimbabwean Michelle Faul, knew only too well what the
Ndebele chief was trying to warn of - if a modern, Western-style politician
loses the confidence of the voters, he is nothing.

Foreign commentators on the Zimbabwean crisis, whether admiring of or
bitterly hostile to the main opposition party, the Movement for Democratic
Change, have attributed its rise to the influence of white, Western, liberal
concepts and economic theories.

The MDC, it is true, did to some extent reflect trade unionists' abandonment
of the old Marxist-Leninist clichés of 1960-1990.

But the MDC also reflected the rise of civil society following the lapse in
1990 of the 25-year state of emergency, and the growth of literacy among
previously voiceless people, particularly women. It reflected the spread of
Christianity and modern ideas with their concept of the autonomous,
individual "soul".

But the MDC may have done itself a disservice, particularly in South Africa,
by failing to emphasise the extent to which its rise reflects popular
indignation at the continuing outrage done to hallowed local African
tradition. At the same time this happened the people were subjected to
appalling misgovernance.

By bringing his sister and nephews to the political forefront, and parading
his children in military uniform, the 81-year-old president has roused
well-grounded fear that when he finally retires (sometime after 2008, he
says - can you believe him?), he will unveil plans to establish a dynasty.

Vice-President Joice Mujuru may then be seen as what many now suspect she
is - a mere high profile stopgap to lull into complacency the powerful Zanu
PF faction led by her husband and by Defence minister Sydney Sekeramayi.

* Michael Hartnack is a veteran foreign correspondent.

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Mugabe blames NGO for food crisis

International Relations and Security Network, Switzerland

>ISN SECURITY WATCH (06/10/05) - Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has
blamed the current food crisis in his country on international relief
agencies, saying that their efforts are hampering agricultural development
in Africa.

Mugabe earlier this week told a Regional Food Safety Conference for Africa,
organized by the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and World
Health Organization (WHO), that international food relief agencies were
doing more harm than good by "dumping" contaminated food in Zimbabwe.

At the conference in Harare, Mugabe condemned the international community's
food handouts, saying that the FAO's work had caused many African
governments to neglect the development of their agricultural sectors,
leading to more dependency.

"Indeed food aid gestures have to a large extent crippled the commitment and
seriousness that should attend agricultural development on the continent,"
he said.

However, representatives from Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC), speaking from Harare, told ISN Security Watch that the UN had
made a "huge mistake" in allowing Mugabe to address the conference.

"Do you really think we should listen to the ramblings of an old man? Such
remarks can only come from a senile mind," the representative said.

Zimbabwe requires more than a million tonnes of food aid to sustain its
population of 12 million people.

An EU official warned on Wednesday that President Mugabe would have his work
cut out for him if he hoped to feed millions of people facing food shortages
this year.

The EU claims that despite a "significant effort" by the Zimbabwean
government to import urgently needed maize in recent months, there remained
"much uncertainty" over whether it would meet the country's requirements.
Aid agencies estimate that up to four million people will go hungry until
the next harvest.

Mugabe told the conference, which was attended by ministers from 47 African
nations, that poor food safety control systems coupled with unpredictable
droughts were partially responsible for the food shortages.

Zimbabwe has witnessed a 30 per cent drop in agricultural production, while
food production itself dropped by 60 per cent in the wake of Mugabe's
controversial land reforms that have seen more than 4,000 white farmers
expelled from their land.

The government has attempted to forcibly relocate people to rural areas -
where food shortages are already causing considerable suffering. Hundreds of
thousands of internally displaced persons (IDPs) now face a humanitarian

Homes, schools, and clinics were bulldozed and torched, and entire
communities displaced.

According to Amnesty International, the government's mass forced evictions
and demolition of homes and livelihoods "directly" affected at least 700,000
people and indirectly affected more than 2 million others.

Throughout, Mugabe has defended the program, insisting that the aim has been
to empower his people.

"Zimbabwe's much-vilified land reform program is our response to the
challenge of empowering more of our people and creating a wider base of
farmers in the country," he told conference delegates.

"In our fight for freedom and independence, one of the pillars of the
struggle was land grievance - land, land, land, which means food, food, food
to the people," he said.

However, Amnesty International spokesman James Dyson told ISN Security Watch
that Mugabe's statements were not valid.

"The question of empowering the people is just not the case at all. The Fast
Track land reform program has been used to justify politically motivated
violence and human rights abuses, and hundreds of farmers and farm workers
have died, so it's not really empowering anybody," he said.

"Any program of land landform should conform to human rights standards and
this has palpably not been the case. The way it has been carried out in
Zimbabwe has been highly irresponsible."

According to Amnesty International, less than 5 per cent of the approximate
350,000 farms workers were actually given land under the program.

"This is just another example of how empowerment doesn't really exist,"
Dyson told ISN Security Watch.

The MDC was equally skeptical of President Mugabe's reforms, telling ISN
Security Watch: "If by empowering the people he means to plunge the people
into poverty then that's a very odd way to govern."

In the meantime, the FAO and WHO warned at the conference that food-borne
diseases were a serious threat, especially for Africans already weakened
from epidemic diseases such as malaria and HIV/AIDS.

In a report prepared for the conference, the UN claimed that with no
effective food safety regime in place in most countries of the region, the
safety of imported food could always be assured, risking of widespread food

The UN said improved food safety would help reduce the 2,000 deaths
estimated to occur every day in Africa from food and waterborne diseases.

Dr. Chris Ngenda Mwikisa, director of the Division of Healthy Environment
and Sustainable Development at the WHO Regional Office for Africa said
several serious food-borne diseases - such as cholera, salmonellosis,
entero-haemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EHEC), hepatitis A, and acute
aflatoxicosis - had broken out recently in a number of African countries.

"Already this year, 34,000 cases of cholera due to contaminated water and
food have been reported in 30 countries with more than 1,000 deaths, the WHO
representative said. "And we should remind that outbreaks are only the tip
of the iceberg since many more sporadic cases go unrecorded."

(By Theodore Liasi in London)

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IMF predicts 7% decline

Zim Independent

Shakeman Mugari
IN sharp contrast to Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor Gideon Gono's
claims that the economy will grow by 2-2,5% this year, the International
Monetary Fund (IMF) has forecast a massive 7% decline.

Gono initially predicted a 3,5-5% economic growth but later revised these
figures downwards.

The IMF report, which is probably the most damning it has released over the
past five years, said the economy would decline by 7%, casting doubts even
on Gono's revised growth projections. The report also paints a bleak picture
of Zimbabwe's prospects, predicting further contraction. While Gono said
inflation would decline to double-digits of between 50-80% by year-end, the
IMF sees it galloping to 320%. It said the RBZ had contributed significantly
to stoking inflationary pressures by continuing to play a quasi-fiscal role,
handing out money to parastatals and funding government's clean-up

The fund said despite having a good start last year, other economic
fundamentals had deteriorated. It said the economic crisis was likely to
continue unless there was a drastic shift in both monetary and fiscal

The IMF's predictions come against clear signs that Gono has completely
failed to turnaround the economy. With almost a third of his tenure in
office gone, the economic situation is worse than it was before he came in
at the end of 2003.

"The authorities have not met the policy commitments made in December last
year, and in the absence of decisive policy action, the outlook appears
bleak," said the report. "(The fund's) staff projects a further decline in
GDP of 7% in 2005, mainly due to difficulties in agriculture."

It went on: "The fiscal deficit will widen to 14% of GDP (from 4,3/4% in
2004) and contribute - together with the RBZ's expanding quasi-fiscal
activity - to a pickup in inflation to 320% by end 2005," the report said.
The government had last year projected a budget deficit of about 5% of GDP.

The IMF further warned that Operation Murambatsvina, which was condemned
globally, would add to fiscal pressures, curtail informal markets, lower the
GDP further and raise price pressures.

"Over the medium term GDP will continue to contract given the difficulties
in agriculture and foreign currency shortages," the IMF said.

The fund poured cold water on Gono's predictions that inflation would come
down to between 50-80% by year-end. "Inflation will remain in the 200-300%
range, reflecting substantial fiscal deficit and quasi-fiscal activities,"
said the fund, warning that the country's debts were likely to mount. It
added that the dual interest rate policy that Gono has insisted on would
continue to hurt the economy.

The fund recommended the "liberalisation of the exchange rate and unifying
the interest rates regime, with immediate substantial depreciation".

President Robert Mugabe is vehemently against devaluation and has in the
past labelled its proponents "economic saboteurs".

The IMF also noted that without decisive policy action the outlook for 2005
and beyond remained bleak.

The report observed that the agricultural sector which government had
predicted would grow by 28% would remain in the woods due to uncertainty and
lack of experience of the newly resettled farmers. Indications are that the
sector will shrink further this year on the back of massive shortages of
fuel, foreign currency and essential inputs.

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Parastatals bore a hole through state coffers

Zim Independent

      Ray Matikinye

      ON almost every occasion President Robert Mugabe has opened a new
session of parliament he has, with predictable monotony, announced the
creation of another quasi-governmental organisation (QGO).

      Now there is a parastatal for almost every facet of life, be it water,
agriculture, tourism, or aviation. Alongside these comes a bureaucracy to
manage the institution.

      Creating authorities and similar parastatals has become a predilection
of the ruling elite, often accused of trying to ensure close associates
climb aboard the gravy train which these QGOs offer without adding value to
national corporate governance or service delivery.

      Representatives of parastatals recently told Vice-President Joice
Mujuru at a workshop that public companies were not producing positive
results because nepotism played a major role in the appointment of chief
executives and board members.

      The pet habit of creating parastatal bodies has invariably weighed
down heavily on the government's claimed desire to improve efficiency. Among
the ruling elite's cronies appointed to head these quasi-governmental
organisations many often lack managerial skills and are of the pedigree that
misconstrue their role and believe national assets are there for them to

      Since Independence in 1980, Zimbabweans have watched in astonishment
as top-shelf parastatals have gradually degenerated into a pale shadow of
their former status. They have also watched new parastatals come on stream,
courtesy of a command economy philosophy in which the state has to have a
finger in every pie.

      Middle-aged Zimbabweans remember the efficient transport service
provided by the Harare and Bulawayo Omnibus Company which ensured workers
got to work on time.

      Such efficiency ensured that man- hours that could be lost in industry
and commerce were reduced to a minimum, unlike now when employers no longer
question workers why they are late for duty.

      Under its successor, the Zimbabwe United Passenger Company, the urban
and ordinary commuter encounter nightmarish experiences each working day.
Despite government pouring in huge amounts of money, Zupco has failed to
justify the state's largesse.

      For instance, a recent audit report revealed gross managerial
ineptitude that has hobbled the public transport provider under its former
boss, Bright Matonga, now the deputy Minister of Information and Publicity.

      Zupco made crippling losses during Matonga's reign. It recorded a $9,6
billion loss in 2002, $9,7 billion in 2003 and $19,3 billion in 2004. The
losses were made at a time when Zupco had increased its fleet for both rural
and urban commuters. Transport companies usually make profits when the fleet
is still new as operating costs are low, the reports say.

      The reports, compiled by Kudenga & Co Chartered accountants for the
period 2002 and 2004, reveal that about six accounts with different banks
were not recorded in Zupco's books and no bank reconciliations were prepared
for these accounts. These accounts, as evidence shows, could have been used
to siphon billions of dollars from the company. The accounts could have been
used to "embezzle" funds, says one of the documents.

      The Zupco case is emblematic of most parastatals.

      Numerous examples exist where failed bureaucrats have been let off the
hook with light raps on the knuckles and even given the opportunity to
preside over more demanding institutions.

      That realisation could have prompted Mujuru to remark: "We should give
someone a job according to their ability even in parastatals."

      A decade ago, a CEO appointed to turn around the lost-making
steel-manufacturing giant Zisco, squandered public resources by
concentrating his energies on installing costly hi-tech security gadgets on
his and other senior managers' residences.

      Yet another parastatal chief and those in top managerial positions
      fell over each other in a scramble to import tonnes of obsolete spare
parts that were incompatible with a modern electricity generating plant.

      With such a history of dereliction of duty among parastatal chiefs, it
is little wonder government has become concerned about the way these
institutions are run. That could have been Mujuru's reasoning when she
remarked: "Let me encourage you (parastatal heads) to undertake a very
serious introspection and make up your minds whether you believe you are up
to the job you have been given. If you have any doubts in your mind I will
gratefully accept your resignation."

      She has also initiated a programme of mid-year reviews of the
performance of parastatals that she intends to extend to annual reviews. A
similar attempt by a former Finance minister earlier didn't get far owing to
lack of
      political support. Stunned by the level of inefficiency and lack of
accountability, the former minister threatened to introduce time-framed
contracts based on performance appraisals.

      That too had little road to run.

      Neither do the current efforts by Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono to
nudge parastatals towards accountability and efficiency seem to yield
tangible results.

      State Enterprise minister Paul Mangwana could have meant well by
saying parastatals should perform and be run on commercial lines instead of
draining resources from government.

      What the ordinary Zimbabwean would have loved to hear is how he will
deal with corruption and mismanagement associated with these bodies that
have become millstones around the nation's neck.

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Government splashes foreign currency on 4x4s for chefs

Zim Independent

Augustine Mukaro
GOVERNMENT is splashing billions of dollars on luxury vehicles for
ministers, police and army service chiefs despite the fact that millions of
Zimbabweans face starvation countrywide and foreign exchange has dried up.

Information at hand shows that government is currently purchasing Mitsubishi
Colt all-terrain twincab 4x4s for ministers and an additional 150 vehicles
for police and army service chiefs. The 150 vehicles comprise an assortment
of the latest Peugeot models, Toyota Prado SUVs and Mercedes-Benz

Finance deputy minister David Chapfika confirmed this week that there was a
scheme to procure vehicles but could not give details of the specific
vehicles likely to be acquired.

"As Finance, we just approved a block budget," Chapfika said. "It's the duty
of the Transport ministry to procure the vehicles."

Vehicle dealers who spoke to the Zimbabwe Independent this week valued a
Mitsubishi Colt pickup at $4,8 billion, with part of the amount paid in

"Of that amount, US$19 500 of the price is payable in forex and the rest in
local currency," a sales representative at Croco Motors said.

This implies that on ministers alone government is set to spend around $140
billion on vehicles for about 30 ministers.

That money can import 15 466 tonnes of maize at the landing rate of $9
million per tonne. Government needs to import at least 250 000 tonnes of
maize to avert looming mass starvation.

Currently the army, police and prison service chiefs drive top of the range
Mazda Eagle 4x4 trucks and Prados acquired last year.

The revelation comes at a time when an estimated 2,4 million people face
starvation, with malnutrition cases reported to be on the increase and the
situation is projected to worsen if government does not import food as a
matter of urgency.

Social Welfare director Sydney Mhishi told a parliamentary portfolio
committee this week that around 2,2 million people could not afford to buy
food for themselves.

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