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Fantasy land

The Economist

Sep 10th 2007
From the Economist Intelligence Unit ViewsWire

Zimbabwe's economy is likely to shrink by 12% this year

Devaluing the Zimbabwe dollar isn't going to solve the economic crisis: GDP
is likely to shrink 12% this year, the largest decline since the onset of
the crisis in 1999.

Massive devaluation, higher taxes and the admission that the country can
only afford 15% of government spending belies the best efforts of Zimbabwe's
finance minister, Samuel Mumbengegwi, to paint a picture of economic
recovery. Making sense of the figures unveiled in Mr Mumbengegwi's
supplementary budget on September 6th is an art form in itself: not only are
there serious discrepancies between the new numbers and those published in
the annual budget in December 2006 but the minister said nothing about the
government's quasi-fiscal spending, and made no attempt to explain how
interest charges of some Z$13.5trn (US$450m) will be funded.

Mr Mumbengegwi's main measure was the 99%-plus devaluation of the Zimbabwe
dollar from Z$250:US$1 to Z$30,000:US$1. Both the official rate of
Z$250:US$1 and the incentive "drought stabilisation rate" for exporters that
was introduced in April have been abolished. All taxes and customs duties
will now be levied at the new rate, which will boost tax income that has
been hard hit by the price controls imposed in June, as a result of which
profit tax and VAT revenues have collapsed.

Needless to say the finance minister did not admit to this. Instead he
repeated the party line that price controls had been imposed because
businesses were deliberately fomenting inflation as part of a political
agenda designed to force "regime change". Now--he says--price controls have
"settled in" and there will be a return to "normalcy", which in reality
means a system of centrally imposed price and wage controls operated by a
government-appointed National Incomes and Pricing Commission.

Such breezy optimism at a time when there are acute food shortages across
the country illustrates the gap between government statements and what is
actually happening in Zimbabwe. For example, just 48 hours before the
supplementary budget the industry minister, Obert Mpofu, said that the
government's Prices Task Force (of which he is a key member) was concerned
with the price not availability of commodities: in Mr Mpofu's understanding
price and supply are unrelated. He had been asked about the acute shortage
of wheat, caused by the government's failure to find the foreign exchange
necessary to unlock 36,000 tonnes of wheat currently stuck in the Mozambican
port of Beira.

There is nothing in the supplementary budget that is going to solve that
problem. The Z$30,000:US$1 exchange rate is a mere 14% of the parallel
market rate of about Z$220,000:US$1. One exporter comments: "Had he devalued
to Z$130,000:US$1, not Z$30,000:US$1 then exports might respond, but this is
far too little, far too late."

Given all the uncertainties surrounding the figures it is difficult to take
the budget seriously. Revenue is now projected to be almost ten times the
original budget forecast in December 2006. The GDP forecast has also been
upped by a factor of ten while spending is up seven-fold (and that without
taking interest charges into account).

If the revenue and spending targets are met-and few analysts believe that
they will-the budget deficit will be 33.5% of GDP, still way above the
minister's target of 10%. The main reason for this is the omission of
interest charges, which are left off the balance-sheet to make the overall
figures look better.

Despite the obviously grim economic scenario Mr Mumbengegwi did his best to
remain upbeat. Agriculture, he said, would grow 7.3% this year despite
severe drought, while tourist arrivals were up 34% in the first half of
2007. Private-sector economists disagree: some believe that agriculture
could decline by as much as 25%, and they expect GDP to fall 12%-the largest
such decline since the onset of the crisis in 1999. It is not clear how long
politicians like Mr Mumbengegwi can maintain the façade, but as shelves
empty, people emigrate or starve, services deteriorate and
inflation-currently 7,630%-escalates further, the reality will become ever
harder to conceal.

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Contaminated, fake AIDS drugs flood black market in shortages-stricken Zimbabwe

International Herald Tribune

The Associated PressPublished: September 10, 2007

HARARE, Zimbabwe: AIDS drugs - some of them contaminated, diluted or faked -
are being sold at flea markets and hairdressing salons in the face of
growing shortages in clinics linked to Zimbabwe's economic crisis, the
health ministry said.

State media quoted Minister of Health David Parirenyatwa on Monday appealing
to people living with HIV/AIDS to buy their medicines from registered
pharmacies, clinics and hospitals only.

"These fake drugs increase chances of one becoming resistant to treatment
and it becomes even more expensive for that person to remain on treatment,"
he was quoted as saying by the official Herald newspaper, which said that
the "prohibitive" cost of antiretroviral drugs at private pharmacies had
fueled the illegal market.

State radio said that the illegal medications were either adulterated with
other substances or useless fakes.

About 50,000 HIV-infected patients are receiving free medication from
government hospitals in a nation where an estimated 3,000 people die a week
from AIDS-related conditions. The Herald said 300,000 more are in urgent
need of treatment.

Since a government edict in June to slash prices of all goods and services
by about half, pharmacies say many medicines have been scarce. The price
cuts were ordered in an effort to tame the world's highest official
inflation of 7,634 percent. Independent estimates put real inflation closer
to 25,000 percent and the International Monetary Fund forecasts it reaching
100,000 percent by the end of the year.
Local manufacturers of HIV/AIDS drugs have failed to obtain enough imported
raw materials, which must be paid for in scarce hard currency.

The local generic drug costs about 5 million Zimbabwe dollars for a month's
supply, far out of the reach of most impoverished Zimbabweans. A teacher in
a top government high school earns about 3 million Zimbabwe dollars a month.
Where formal unemployment is 80 percent, an unskilled general hand earns
half that amount.

At the dominant black market exchange rate of 250,000-1, 5 million Zimbabwe
dollars worth of medication is the equivalent of US$20 (?14.7) compared to
US$165 (?121) at the official exchange rate of 30,000-1.

HIV/AIDS support groups say patients receiving antiretroviral treatment live
in constant fear of not being able to find or pay for their monthly
medication. Imported drugs cost up to double the local makes.

Interruptions in treatment along with poor nutrition quickly render
sufferers vulnerable to tuberculosis and other often fatal infections,
according to support groups.

Most basic foods have disappeared from the shelves since the government's
prices edit June 26. The corn meal staple, meat, bread, milk, sugar, eggs
and even soap and tea fetch ten times the government's fixed price if found
on the illegal black market.

Bread shortages worsened Monday across the country after the two main bakery
chains said they were down to their last emergency reserves of flour.

One main Harare baking factory sent home hundreds of workers on indefinite
leave on Friday.

The government has raised its price freeze across the board upward by 20
percent, but businesses say they are still being told to sell goods at below
production costs.

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Zimbabwe nears end of S.African loan, says finmin


Mon 10 Sep 2007, 15:15 GMT

CAPE TOWN (Reuters) - Zimbabwe was close to exhausting a loan facility of 75
million rand from the South African Reserve Bank, South Africa's finance
minister said on Monday.

Replying to a written question in parliament, Finance Minister Trevor Manuel
said Zimbabwe, which has the world's highest inflation rate at over 7,600
percent in July, had used 73.2 million rand of its loan agreement by July 31

"This facility expires on 31 December 2007 if not renegotiated. The facility
is secured by a pledge of South African Land Bank bills to the value of 81.8
million rand," Manuel said in his written reply.

He said interest on the loan is linked to the Reserve Bank's repo rate which
has been increased by 300 basis points since June last year to 10 percent.

Manuel added that the Zimbabwean government had reneged on payments to the
South African government for the medical expenses of Zimbabwe military
veterans staying in South Africa.

"Since 2000, the Zimbabwean government has not refunded these payments as
specified in the agreement. As at 31 July 2007, the amount overdue was 2.2
million rand," Manuel said.

Zimbabwe's economy is under severe strain, with massive food, fuel and
foreign currency shortages that critics blame on mismanagement by President
Robert Mugabe's government.

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Mutambara MDC National Chairperson Arrested

SW Radio Africa (London)

10 September 2007
Posted to the web 10 September 2007

Tichaona Sibanda

The chairperson of the Mutambara led MDC, Jobert Mudzumwe, was on Monday
picked up by the police from his offices in Masvingo and spent five hours at
the Law and Order section. He was released without charge.

Mudzumwe told Newsreel he believes he was picked up for organising a meeting
that was eventually held at a secret location in the town. He said the
meeting had been sanctioned by the police.

'I was picked up just after 8 in the morning by officers from the Law and
Order section but I was never charged with any offence. I spent five hours
being shifted from office to office but eventually I was allowed to go
home,' Mudzumwe said.

Mudzumwe said they held a workshop on Saturday, which they also used to
co-opt some members into the provincial leadership. He explained that when
they got to the original venue for their meeting at New Gate Lodge,
management there told them they were no longer able to host them, for
unexplained reasons. The group quickly found an alternative venue and went
ahead with their workshop in the belief that they had been granted a
go-ahead by the authorities.

'I strongly believe the police intimidated management at New Gate Lodge to a
point where they felt unsafe to host us. So we got ourselves a venue which
the police did not know about and I could see they were seething with rage
about it,' he said.

Mudzumwe was surprised to learn from the police that the change of venue was
actually a criminal act under POSA, adding that the police officers ended up
demanding minutes from the meeting.

'I told them it was unacceptable and that it was not their business to
meddle in our party affairs. I asked them if it was the same with Zanu-PF to
get minutes after every meeting,' Mudzumwe said.

Asked if he was beaten or interrogated during the five hour ordeal, Mudzumwe
said; 'They know I hit back. I've been beaten senseless by the police, I
have lost teeth through beatings and I have had bones broken but I have
since made it a point to hit back, I'm no longer afraid.'

A statement released by the party condemned Mudzumwe's detention, describing
it as indicative of the continued assault on people's liberties, freedoms
and rights by state agents on the instigation of the Zanu-PF regime.

'We are aware that as the nation moves towards the 2008 elections, the
regime will resort to brazen acts of force and brutality to muzzle any
dissenting voices. We wish to remind the regime that the citizens of
Zimbabwe have a right to assemble, including the right to engage in
political gatherings,' the statement said.

The statement added that it was disturbing to note that the police were
being used to hound people out of their homes and offices and that such
actions have no place in a democratic society and should be condemned.

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Zimbabwe parties make progress in electoral talks

Business Day

10 September 2007

Dumisani Muleya

Harare Correspondent

ZIMBABWE's ruling Zanu (PF) and the opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) have agreed on several aspects of the contentious electoral
process ahead of next year's critical elections.

The parties have made significant progress in talks facilitated by President
Thabo Mbeki, although there is still a long way to go before a final
agreement, which could usher in a new constitutional dispensation and secure
a political sea change.

Zanu (PF) negotiators Patrick Chinamasa and Nicholas Goche and the MDC team
of Welshman Ncube and Tendai Biti agreed on key aspects of the electoral
process in meetings held on September 1 and 2 in Pretoria.

South African Local Government Minister Sydney Mufamadi chaired the talks
assisted by Director- General in the Presidency Reverend Frank Chikane and
Mbeki's legal adviser Mojanku Gumbi. Ncube was assisted by Priscilla
Misihairabwi, while Biti works with Lovemore Moyo.

The two parties agreed President Robert Mugabe would no longer appoint 10
MPs in Zimbabwe's lower house, which will be expanded to 210 from 150
members. All MPs in the lower house would now be elected. This would level
the playing field because Mugabe's party used to have a head start due to
the appointed legislators.

It was also agreed that the senate would be increased from 66 to 93 members.
The initial proposal was to expand it to 84 members.

However, Mugabe would still appoint 10 provincial governors, 10 chiefs and
five representatives in the senate, one for Harare, one for Bulawayo and
three others for special interest groups.

This effectively maintains Zanu (PF)'s advantage in the senate because all
appointees normally vote with the ruling party.

Zanu (PF) and the MDC also agreed that the three forthcoming elections -
presidential, parliamentary and municipal - would be run concurrently.
Initially, Zanu (PF) wanted to hold municipal elections in January next year
but the MDC did not want this as it argued it would be used to perfect
gerrymandering and electoral rigging.

The key issues were tabled before the decision-making Zanu (PF) politburo
meeting on Wednesday last week. They were debated and adopted at the

These aspects of the electoral process would be incorporated in the 18th
Constitutional Amendment Bill, designed to ensure Mugabe's re-election and
to manage his volatile succession battle, which would be introduced to
parliament for debate during the course of this week. It is expected that
the Bill will reach the final committee stage ready for passing into law by
November 18. Mugabe is racing against time to ensure his plan succeeds well
before the elections. The plan has the effect of undermining the talks if
the Bill is passed before the negotiations are concluded, possibly by

Mbeki is under pressure to deliver on the talks this time around after
failing several times to do so since he began his diplomacy on Zimbabwe in

The agenda for the talks includes the constitution, electoral laws, security
legislation, communication laws and the political climate.

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Skepticism Over Talks Despite Reports of Progress

SW Radio Africa (London)

10 September 2007
Posted to the web 10 September 2007

Tichaona Sibanda

Not many Zimbabweans are convinced that the mediation talks being led by
South African President Thabo Mbeki will yield any positive results, despite
reports of progress reported in the media.

While both Zanu-PF and the MDC have not uttered a word to the media about
the talks, there is speculation that the two sides have agreed on several
aspects of the contentious electoral process, ahead of next year's critical

It has been reported that significant progress has been made in talks held
on September 1st and 2nd in Pretoria. The two parties agreed that Robert
Mugabe would no longer appoint 10 MPs in the country's lower house, which
will be expanded to 210 from 150 members.

All 210 MPs in the lower house would now be elected. This, according to
analysts, would level the playing field because Zanu-PF used to have a head
start due to the appointed legislators

Last week's meetings in Pretoria were attended by Zanu-PF negotiators
Patrick Chinamasa and Nicholas Goche and the MDC was represented by Welshman
Ncube and Tendai Biti. Mbeki was represented by local government Minister
Sydney Mufamadi, who was assisted by Director- General in the Presidency
Reverend Frank Chikane and Mbeki's legal adviser Mojanku Gumbi.

Despite the reported agreements many still believe Mbeki is not comfortable
seeing the opposition take over from Zanu-PF. Commentators have also been
wary of Mbeki facilitating the talks because of his perceived closeness to

Luke Zunga, an economist based in Johannesburg, said he is not confident the
talks will bring out anything positive for Zimbabweans. He said they have
briefed the South African mediation team that not much will happen in
Zimbabwe without the will to reform by Mugabe.

MDC activist Solomon Chikohwero maintained that Mbeki's position has always
been compromised; 'Never fool yourself to believe that Mbeki will reign in
Mugabe or force him to reform. I take the whole process as play acting.'

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Teachers Go On Strike

SW Radio Africa (London)

10 September 2007
Posted to the web 10 September 2007

Lance Guma

Teachers under the Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) went on
strike Monday, pressing government for a 500 percent salary hike. A heated
meeting last Thursday at the unions Harare office resulted in the decision
to down tools. On Monday teachers in Harare reported for duty at their
respective schools, but soon after clocking in refused to teach.

PTUZ Harare Provincial Chairperson Jacob Rukweza said this will be the
strategy for the time being until the strike builds momentum. Since last
week Tuesday to Friday the teachers have been on a go-slow to press for
their demands and the union has upgraded the action to a sit in.

Teachers want salaries currently pegged at Z$2,9 million to be increased to
Z$15 million a month. Although they received a salary hike the last time
they went on strike in February, the increments have since been eroded by
inflation leaving them worse off than before. The larger Zimbabwe Teachers
Association (ZIMTA) has not given its official position on strike action but
Rukweza says the last they heard ZIMTA was still locked in negotiations with
government. He wondered how those negotiations could yield anything given
that Mugabe recently ordered a freeze on wages, using his presidential

In July teachers submitted their demands to the Public Service Commission
(APEX Council), which represents all civil servants but received no firm
commitments. The union argues government has gone back on a promise to
review salaries each quarter of the year. Rukweza said the situation in the
country is so bad they have reports that half the teachers are yet to turn
up for the new term, because of transport and living expenses. Many others
have simply left the country. Highlighting just how poorly paid teachers
are, a monthly salary of Z$2,9 million can only buy 10 litres of petrol.

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ZCTU Calls for Job Boycott

SW Radio Africa (London)

10 September 2007
Posted to the web 10 September 2007

Henry Makiwa

Zimbabwe's main labour union, the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU)
said on Monday that Robert Mugabe has pushed them into staging a two-day
strike next week, following his Presidential decree barring wage increases.

Mugabe banned all pay rises late last month and handed himself extra powers
in a new bid to curb the world's highest inflation rate. The move was
received with resistance by the ZCTU, which has pencilled in a countrywide
two-day job boycott for September 19th and 20th.

ZCTU President Lovemore Matombo said the labour union would from now on
mount more drastic protests, as Mugabe's decree smacks of "authoritarianism
at its worst."

He said: "Never in history have we had a leader instituting presidential
powers to freeze workers' wages. Even the worst of dictators only use
decrees where there are national security threats, not labour issues. We
believe Mugabe is using this decree so that he and his Zanu PF cronies, who
own many companies they have been taking over in the past seven years of
chaos, can further maximise their profits from paying their workers slave
wages. The sad thing is that the labour laws have been severely flouted as
workers are robbed of their independence to negotiate justified salary
arrangements. What the president has done is direct interference and

Matombo added that the supplementary budget presented by the finance
minister on Thursday also falls short of workers "expectations of a tax free
threshold that is linked to the poverty datum line."

He said: "The average worker earns Z$2 million and yet the poverty datum
line is pegged at Z$8,2 million, hence the president's action demonstrates
that he is either not in touch with reality or is downright unsympathetic to
the suffering people of this country. September 19 and 20 is a warm up. If
government does not heed our calls there will be more drastic measures, such
as protests and demonstrations which the ZCTU is known for."

Zimbabwe's economy has steadily declined over the past seven years,
characterised by inflation running well past the 7,500 percent mark and high
unemployment, with at least 80 percent of the population living below the
poverty threshold.

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Why do African leaders stick with Mugabe?

The Zimbabwean

'Mugabe has taken back the land . he has avenged colonization'
'We are not going to be involved in any regime change in Zimbabwe - Mbeki'
A prediction that African leaders will do nothing to dislodge Robert Mugabe
from power has been made by Mike Auret, Director of the Catholic Commission
for Justice and Peace (CCJP) at the start of the Fifth Brigade's campaign
against so-called "dissidents" in January 1983.
"The Africans are not going to intervene," he said at the re-launch of the
CCJP/ Legal Resources Foundation report on the massacres in Matabeleland and
the Midlands which cost at least 20,000 lives between 1980 and1988.
"The African Union and the SADC are not going to do anything because, in
point of fact, Mugabe has taken the land from the colonizers and in the eyes
of African history he will be a hero. What is happening now is a blink in
history. It's a very sad and slow blink for the people who are suffering
it - but Mugabe has taken back the land . he has avenged colonization and
that's why President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa is walking backwards
At the same time Mike Auret - one of the most outspoken human rights
activists when Ian Smith ran Rhodesia in the 1960s/1970s - said that he was
outraged that Mugabe and a team of foreign policy advisers had been invited
to attend an EU/Africa summit meeting in Lisbon in December.
"There should be a howl of rage if they are invited. Europe should be
outraged," he declared with passion at Chatham House in London, home of the
Royal Institute for International Affairs (RIIA).
He apologized to a large audience made up of diplomats, journalists,
students and human rights activists for not being "more hopeful."
His belief that Mbeki is "walking backwards " on the Zimbabwean issue was
expressed the day before the South African leader told MPs in Cape Town -
"We are not going to be involved in any regime change in Zimbabwe. We are
not going to do it. We think it is fundamentally wrong."
Mbeki also said it was wrong to use sanctions to pressure Mugabe and he
dismissed comparisons between the situation in Zimbabwe and apartheid -era
South Africa.
In her introduction to the new edition of the original report, Elinor Sisulu
(daughter-in-law of Walter Sisulu) said the silence that greeted massacres
carried out by Mugabe's Fifth Brigade was in "stark contrast to the 1960
Sharpeville Massacre, news of which reverberated around the world."
Archbishop Pius Ncube of Bulawayo added in his foreword - "Over 20,000
people were killed by Five Brigade. The motive for these killings was to
crush the people of Matabeleland so that they would conform to the Zanu (PF)
government and give up their tribal identity and their attachment to ZAPU."
Chaired by the RIIA's head of African Programme, Alex Vines, a panel of
experts from Zimbabwe included Mike Auret, Noel Kututwa, Chair Zimbabwe
Human Rights NGO Forum, Eileen Sawyer, former Director Legal Resources
Foundation (LRF) and Nokuthula Moyo, current Chair LRF.
During a moving recall of the joy and patriotism Zimbabwe's independence
invoked among millions of people in April 1980, Mike Auret said the first
years of freedom had been marked by "good, imaginative policies."
But he regretted underestimating Mugabe's determination to bring about a one
party state.
"I made a very grave error of judgment about Mugabe. I didn't take in - we
didn't internalize, as it were - the fact that he was a committed Marxist
and the fact that his belief was there was a need for one party and one
party only. He had invited that other party (ZAPU) to join him and they had
refused. There was only one way to get rid of the opposition party and
that's what he did with the Fifth Brigade."
He said that when he first heard about the massacres he could hardly believe
what he was hearing from the lips of Bishop Karlen and the Bulawayo director
of the CCJP, Joel Silonda.
After representations to the Zimbabwean government, first by NGOs and then
by Catholic bishops, the then Prime Minister Mugabe reluctantly agreed to
investigate what he called "over enthusiasm "by the Fifth Brigade.
Two reports into the Fifth Brigade atrocities have never seen the light of
day. The Dumbutshena Commission was instituted to investigate the
"disturbances" following clashes between the former liberation armies of
ZIPRA and ZANLA in Entumbane in the early 1980s.
The Chihambakwe Committee was set up to investigate "alleged atrocities" of
civilians in Matabeleland and the Midlands. The Zimbabwean government tossed
both reports into the dustbin and slammed the lid down hard.
Nokuthulu Moyo said Mugabe had tried to pass off the tragedy of Gukuruhundi
as a moment of madness.  "It was not a moment of madness for the people of
Matabeleland and the Midlands," she said. "Thousands of people were killed
and the least you would expect is a proper acknowledgment to be made."
Added Eileen Sawyer: "Those events in Matabeleland have caused a festering
sore - and it's not going to go away until such time as they are properly
addressed." - Gukuruhundi in Zimbabwe - A report on the disturbances in
Matabeleland and The Midlands 1980 -1988. Introduction by Elinor Sisulu,
Foreword by Archbishop Pius Ncube is published in the UK by Hurst Publishers
Ltd, 41 Great Russell Street, London WC1B 3PL at £10. 00, 440 pages

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Zimbabwe - Fighting back

Mens News Daily

We are now into our third month of the "neutron bomb" campaign or the Pol
Pot strategy as I call it. Manufacturing activity is still very low,
supermarket and other retails store shelves are empty and the campaign to
intimidate and enforce this exercise continues.

I saw an interesting sidelight to this operation yesterday. Quite close to
my home is a small milling company that gets maize from the GMB. The owner
is a well-known Zanu PF activist. She has been supplying the nearby suburbs
with maize meal but has now quietly stopped selling maize meal to the urban
area. Instead her entire output is going to the local Chief who is putting
on a mark up and selling the maize to his people.

This is interesting because it shows how thorough these guys are when it
comes to working through their strategy for the next election. First of all
you have a politically controlled allocation system for maize - it is only
going to well known Zanu PF supporters. Secondly, those recipients are being
instructed as to whom they in turn can sell to - in this case a local Chief
(buying his loyalty and commitment) and thence to his people - making sure
that the link to Zanu PF is known and the threat of the withdrawal of supply

At the same as these political goals are being achieved, they are
intensifying the shortage of maize meal in the City - reinforcing their
efforts to drive people out of the urban areas into the rural areas, or
better still, into the South African slums. There they will not be able to
vote if present restrictions on the Diaspora vote are retained. The big
commercial mills are unable to buy maize from the GMB and the miller up the
road is being allowed to do what the main milling companies are denied the
right to do - sell maize meal at a profit, making sure she knows which side
her bread is buttered.

So how do we fight back against these strategies having rejected any form of
physical violence as a means of resistance or change? There are a number of
things we can do:

The first is do not quit! We have stayed the course so far, like a marathon,
starting out is easy, the middle painful, the last section just putting one
foot in front of the other and mechanically slogging it out until the finish
line. Zanu PF wants us to quit, pack our bags and go. They do not care about
the consequences or the economic implications - just the political ones and
their whole strategy is geared to making you quit the race and leave the
field. Someone said to me the other day "quitters cannot win!"

The second is network! We cannot buy food and other essentials in the
stores - so make a plan to get together, go buy in Botswana or South Africa,
or even Zambia and Mozambique. Ask others who cannot do so what they would
like you to get for them. Develop contacts for the essentials and then help
distribute the proceeds. Your retailer cannot buy and sell maize meal, so
you do it - at a parallel market rate. Do the distribution from home or the
Church. It is amazing what you can achieve if you work together in small
groups and across society.

The third is getting ready for the elections that are coming. We are going
to be able to vote next year, conditions will not be perfect or even fair,
but if we all vote and we vote for change, supporting only those who offer
the chance of victory against Zanu PF and a real hope for a change of
direction, we can win this time round.

We need to speak to everyone we come across - are you registered to vote?
Are you ready to vote? Have you made sure you will be here to vote? No
pressure on who to vote for - just make sure everyone gets to the polling
booth and once there and able to vote in secret, make their vote count. Lets
make democracy work for us this time!

Help make the election free and fair. Find out where your polling station is
going to be and volunteer to be a polling agent or monitor. Adopt the
polling station as your own - make sure it is well sign posted and your
community knows where to vote. Do some lobbying in your community on the
issue saying this is our chance to change the direction in which this
country is going, maybe our last chance. Fight back!

Find out who your candidates are going to be and arrange a house meeting to
meet them and introduce them to your community. Listen to what they have to
say and then decide how to use your ballot. Do not leave it to the media -
or to gossip, meet the people yourself and decide. That is what real
democracy is all about.

On the day, make sure that all who want to vote are able to get to the
polling station and cast their vote. This time we need an overwhelming
turnout and vote - it is the only thing that will change Zimbabwe and
prevent the rogue elements in this present regime and in the armed forces
from making mischief.

But do not throw up your hands and say what is the use, they stole the
election in 2000, 2002 and 2005, what guarantee have we that they will not
do it again? None! But if we do not vote, then we predetermine the outcome -
in their favor. Fight back.

Never underestimate the power of one. We may be insignificant, we may have
little power and authority or resources to draw on, but we can act
independently and swim against the tide. Watch fish in a fast flowing river.
The dead ones float downstream, the live ones nose upstream and swim -
making huge efforts to overcome rapids and falls. That us - if we all decide
to resist what this rogue regime is trying to do we can make a difference. I
saw a woman the other day take an elderly persons shopping and charge it to
her own credit card. Cost a few bucks - so what, never got her name in the
paper, never saw that pensioner again, so what, it was an act that will
never be forgotten. It made a difference she was fighting back.

Business leaders of every kind, it is time to stand with your workers and
evolve a strategy to win this game. All we have to do is stay and survive to
defeat a tyrannical regime and to ensure we can set this great little
country back on its feet.

Eddie Cross
Bulawayo 10th September 2007

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A strained rapport

Mail and Guardian

Percy Zvumoya | Johannesburg, South Africa

10 September 2007 06:00

      A British diplomatic source in Harare has described reports that
China is scaling down its presence in Zimbabwe as a "gross exaggeration".

      He was responding to reports carried in the Daily Telegraph in
which the British Foreign Office minister Malloch Brown -- on a visit to
China -- is as quoted saying that China, Zimbabwe's chief ally on the United
Nations Security Council, is cutting down its aid, limiting it only to
humanitarian needs.

      "I was told Chinese assistance to Zimbabwe was now limited to
humanitarian assistance, which is enormously important," Brown said. "That
puts it in the same position as Britain, which is the second-biggest
provider of humanitarian assistance to Zimbabwe."

      However, the Chinese embassy in Harare was quick to dismiss the
statement as unfounded. "The embassy of China in Zimbabwe wishes to clarify
that this is simply not the fact. China and Zimbabwe enjoy a long history of
friendship," an embassy spokesperson said.

      The official said that during last April's visit to Zimbabwe by
Jia Qinglin, a Chinese official, China promised to build two primary
schools, a hospital and an agriculture training centre and to provide funds
to renovate the National Sports Stadium, Zimbabwe's biggest stadium -- a
facility the Chinese built in the 1980s.

      He said China was actually delivering on those promises. China
also committed to providing 40-million tonnes of soya beans to Zimbabwe.

       However, Garth le Pere, executive director at the Institute for
Global Dialogue, said China has been scaling down its involvement in
Zimbabwe. "That has been the trend since 2005," he said.

      China has moved in to fill the vacuum left by the West and has
signed a number of agreements and secured several trade deals, including
supplying a fleet of buses to the state transport utility, Zupco, aircraft
to AirZim and fighter aircraft to Zimbabwe's air force.

      Le Pere pointed out that China is "pragmatic" and always ensures
that "the spirit and letter of the agreements are mutually beneficial". He
said 90% of China's imports from Zimbabwe consists of tobacco; other imports
are minerals, such as chrome and iron.

      "A range of factors has soured the bilateral relationship," Le
Pere said, pointing out that thousands of textile workers in Zimbabwe have
lost their jobs because of cheap Chinese imports. He said the joint venture
that established a cement manufacturing company in Gweru has suffered
because of poor infrastructure, energy and transport problems.

      Le Pere said China's involvement in Africa is propelled by its
own economic interests, which are the basis of any political engagements.

      There is a growing realisation that the agreements that have
been entered into have not borne fruit, largely because of the economic
crisis, he said, describing the relationship as "unpredictable".

      Although China has a policy of non-interference in sovereign
states "it can't turn a blind eye to what is going on", Le Pere said.
However, he argued, if the security council proposed sanctions against
Zimbabwe, China would veto the move.

      Christopher Burke, a research fellow at Stellenbosch
University's Centre for Chinese Studies, doubted whether China had changed
its policy toward Zimbabwe. He said none of the Chinese government officials
he has been in contact with is aware of a change in the government's policy
toward Zimbabwe.

      Burke said much of the trade between China and Zimbabwe is
conducted using barter and exchange, a form of commerce that requires a
"high degree of goodwill".

      "I do not expect we will see any significant changes in
Beijing's policy toward Harare," Burke said.

      When Chinese President Hu Jintao visited Southern Africa at the
beginning of the year he made stops in Zambia, Namibia, South Africa and
Mozambique, but did not stop over in Harare.

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IFJ Urges Zimbabwe to Stop "Choking" Independent Journalism

International Federation of Journalists


The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today urged the government
of Zimbabwe to put and end to the ongoing crackdown on the media in the wake
of increasing attacks on media professionals and the enactment of a
draconian communication bill that could lead to monitoring of journalists'

The attacks have been on both local and foreign media.

On September 3 Shinji Ito a journalist with the South Africa office of
Japanese Kyodo News Agency was arrested, detained, and interrogated for
three hours by Zimbabwean police after he was seen taking photographs in the
capital city Harare. Ito was shooting people queuing to buy basic
commodities, which are in short supply. When he was released, police
officers warned him not to take such pictures again. Ito was accredited by
the government appointed Media and Information Commission and had a
temporary Press Card.

"We are very concerned about this latest wave of attacks in total impunity
on journalists in Zimbabwe," said Gabriel Baglo, Director of the IFJ Africa

On August 3 Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe signed into law the
Interception of Communications Act which allows the government to "monitor
and intercept certain communications in the course of their transmission
through a telecommunications, postal or any other related service system."

"This law is a very serious and unacceptable violation of freedom of
expression. With all these unpunished attacks and this draconian law the
Zimbabwean authorities are choking independent journalism in the country,"
said Gabriel Baglo.

The Zimbabwean Union of Journalists (ZUJ) believes journalists are among the
first targeted by the Interception of Communications Act.

"A lot of journalists whose media organizations were shut down are now
stringing for web based or foreign radio stations as they know no other job.
They naturally use the internet or the telephone for working," said Foster
Dongozi, Secretary General of ZUJ and a member of the IFJ Executive Board.

On August 23 Godfrey Mutimba, a journalist with the only remaining
independent newspaper, The Standard, was detained for four hours by
supporters of the ruling party Zanu PF for covering the memorial service of
a senior opposition official who died recently. According to local sources,
police officers who were in the area did nothing to help Mutimba. The
journalist was only released following the intervention of senior Zanu PF

On August 1 Tsvangirai Mukwazhi, a freelance photojournalist was slapped and
insulted by the wife of Zimbabwe Defence Forces commander, Jocelyn Chiwenga.
The general's wife was not happy that Mukwazhi was covering the opposition
activity and accused him of being "a sell out." The reporter was part of a
crew of journalists who were covering opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai's
tour of supermarkets to assess the impact of the price blitz. A week later,
the Media and Information Commission launched a procedure to cancel Mukwazhi's
accreditation for allegedly not disclosing all the media outlets he
freelances for at the time submitted his application.

For more information contact the IFJ at + 221 842 01 43
The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists in 114 countries worldwide

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In Theatre SA, a Mugabe by any other name is still a Bad Bob

Business Report

September 10, 2007 Edition 1

If parliament were a theatre, it would not require its actors to change
their performances all that much. It's all about raising or lowering
curtains on the truth; disguise and smoke screens; and people talking in
riddles and metaphors.

Take, for instance, President Thabo Mbeki. Any reader of his internet column
or student of his speeches and replies to the national assembly would wonder
whether some of his actions - and writings - are constructed as a form of
comical farce. His extraordinary attitude to Zimbabwe, revisionist views on
HIV/Aids and bizarre defence of the health minister provide evidence of

While Bad Bob on our border can rewrite the game of economics while charging
around in an ancient Rolls-Royce, in the eyes of Mbeki any sanction - or,
indeed, regime change - must be ruled out. No one has been able to work out
exactly what the president's motivation is for his continued support of Bad
Bob. Perhaps we will never know.

Indeed, simply put, Mbeki is not going to do anything meaningful to resolve
the problem on our northern border. We need to find other ways of resolving
that crisis: perhaps boycotting Zimbabwean products or assisting the
non-government organisations that are working with the tens of thousands of
people economically marooned or ruined.

While all this is happening, the president finds time to refer to the need
for name change. Take a look at his obsessive desire to see the name of
Grahamstown change.

Replying to questions in parliament, Mbeki said, referring to Colonel John
Graham, the founder of the city: "He did bad things in that conflict on the
border ...

"While a descendant of an 1820 settler in Grahamstown might say 'Viva
Colonel Graham', I would say 'Down Colonel Graham'," Mbeki said to MPs'

Graham was certainly no liberal democrat or human rights activist. He was
probably a little like Bad Bob: he didn't particularly care about the lives
of people. He probably had not even the vaguest desire to promote democracy
in the Eastern Cape. A hell of lot like Bob, now that one comes to think of

But it is beyond puzzling that the president feels the need to focus on
Grahamstown's name change. Most people now would hardly remember Colonel
Graham or his evilness, while we are all heartily sick and tired of the fact
that Bad Bob can continue to get away with ruining a perfectly fine nation -
one which, 25 years ago, showed great promise.

But there is not a bad word about Bob from Mbeki.

Which takes me back to the theatre of parliament. Last week we saw the
upsetting interaction over health minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang in the
national assembly, when opposition MP Mike Waters was kicked out by the

Shakespeare himself would have found it difficult to construct such a
bizarre plot.

Earlier in the week Jimmy Manyi - now head of just about every black
politically correct organisation in the country - accused opposition MP
Anchen Dreyer, in a hearing on workplace discrimination in the labour
committee, of misleading people through her eloquence.

Dreyer had just referred to her sadness that the rainbow nation appeared to
have flown out of the window and now it was like George Orwell's Animal

She was referring to Manyi's allegation that the corporate world was simply
wrapped up in racism: black people were seen as bad and white people seen as

One is not sure of where this debate is taking the country. But the Prague
Spring - or is it the Tshwane Spring? - has broken. We have gone back 15
years to the antagonistic politics of the previous order. The curtains have
been lowered on a new - and forward-looking - South Africa.

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'No transit camp' for Zimbabweans

Business Day

 10 September 2007

Wilson Johwa

Political Correspondent

THE home affairs department has downplayed reports that it is planning to
set up a temporary shelter for Zimbabwean asylum seekers at Beitbridge.

A draft report released last week by the University of the Witwatersrand's
Forced Migration Studies Programme (FMSP) and the Musina Legal Advice Office
said the department was contemplating establishing a "transit facility" at
the border post .

A feasibility study for such a structure had been circulated to
stakeholders, the report said. The facility would provide asylum seekers
with shelter and food while they await a decision on their refugee status.

The proposal followed what had been interpreted as a possible change of
policy. Home Affairs Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula told journalists last
month that deporting Zimbabweans intent on getting back into SA wasted
resources. It would be more desirable to allow them to stay and find work,
she said. But Mapisa-Nqakula ruled out setting up refugee camps, saying they
would have a pull effect.

"While this minister is publicly at odds with the DA on camps, officials
within the department appear, at the very least, interested in a facility
that would house certain members of the migrant population," said the FMSP
report, prepared last month.

However, inconsistencies have clouded what could be new thinking in the
department. Home affairs director-general Mavuso Msimang said assisting
Zimbabwean asylum seekers was not among his department's priorities. "It's
not that we should not help Zimbabweans but that it's not a function of home
affairs," he said at a news conference in Johannesburg last week .

Zimbabwean lobby groups have expressed scepticism. "What we know is that
there has been an expression to set up a facility at the border - as to
whether it will take off we don't know," said Rev Nicholas Mkaronda of
Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, which lobbies for good governance in that

Mkaronda warned that such a shelter would be shunned by Zimbabweans, many of
whom wanted to be as far away as possible from the insecurity of their

On Friday, home affairs spokesman Jacky Mashaphu denied knowledge of the
department's proposed Beit Bridge transit facility. "I don't know who the
FMSP spoke to," he said.

South Africa's interpretation of international refugee conventions
disqualified Zimbabwe's "economic migrants" from refugee status, which
normally covered victims of war and political persecution. "It takes a bold
mind to say there is war in Zimbabwe," said Abel Mbilinyi of the United
Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Pretoria.

But others, like Michael Gallagher of the Jesuit Refugee Service, said the
government could help Zimbabwean migrants by issuing temporary protection
permits, allowing them to work, attend school and seek medical attention
under the 1969 African Union Convention on Refugees . The convention
broadens the definition of a refugee to include someone fleeing "events
disturbing public order".

"Whether the people of SA can muster the will to comply with what is a moral
obligation is the question," Gallagher said.

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Human Rights Watch press release


September 10, 2007


The human rights situation in Zimbabwe remains dire. Over the past year, the
government has reacted to peaceful protests by intensifying its efforts to
intimidate, silence, and punish those who expose abuses and exercise their
basic rights to freedom of expression, association, and assembly. The
authorities continue to use repressive laws to prevent criticism of the
government. Since the beginning of the year, the police have arbitrarily
arrested hundreds of civil society activists and opposition members and
supporters during routine meetings or peaceful protests, often with
excessive force, and in some cases have subjected those in custody to severe
beatings that amount to torture, and to other mistreatment. The government
has taken no clear action to halt the rising incidence of torture and
ill-treatment of activists while in the custody of police or the
intelligence services. The human rights violations that have occurred in
Zimbabwe in particular over the past six months-and the complete lack of
accountability of those responsible for these violations-is of special
concern given the longstanding and pervasive culture of impunity in
Zimbabwe. Recently, the government introduced the Interception of
Communications Act, which further threatens Zimbabweans' rights to freedom
of information, expression, and privacy.

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Unconfirmed Reports Say Archbishop Pius Ncube to Resign

SW Radio Africa (London)

10 September 2007
Posted to the web 10 September 2007

Tererai Karimakwenda

Several weeks after the state media ambushed the Catholic Archbishop of
Bulawayo Pius Ncube, with pictures of an alleged affair with a married
woman, we have received unconfirmed reports that the much respected
clergyman is due to resign on Tuesday.

Archbishop Ncube has insisted he was set up by central intelligence agents
and a support group has been formed in solidarity with him. He has been an
outspoken critic of the Mugabe regime and has publicly lobbied for the
removal of Robert Mugabe from office. Many believe the allegations are an
attempt by government to silence him. The case is now in the courts and the
Catholic church is conducting its own investigation.

Our sources in Italy said the Vatican is due to release a statement Tuesday
and that Ncube himself will announce his resignation at a press conference
in Zimbabwe. He is expected to say he does not want to hold back the church
from its work as he feels the accusations against him have put the church in

With the Vatican's approval, a Zimbabwean Bishop from the St. Augustine
parish is rumoured to be the man who will take over Ncube's position, until
a permanent replacement is appointed. Sources said the outspoken Archbishop
is likely to remain involved in the fight for democracy. Given the impact of
his past work with suffering Zimbabweans and the support he has been shown
by parishioners and several organisations involved in the Pius Ncube
Solidarity Coalition, he would be a great loss to the fight for democracy in
the country, should he be silenced.

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Zanu PF starts vote buying ahead of 2008 elections

10th Sep 2007 14:36 GMT

By Andrew M Manyevere

OUR sources reliably have it on confirmed basis that Zanu PF plans
to give 50 000 ploughs, 50 000 simple ground agricultural harrows
and 50 000 Scotch Carts to voters in rural areas commencing October 2007.

In 2005 Zanu-PF used maize seed and fertilizers to buy voters in the
rural areas. The Zanu-PF ruling party has always used some blackmail in
addition to using military force to have people cast votes for it. In
by-elections that have taken place in-between, Zanu PF has used village
heads to coerce villagers to vote for her party candidates or have no corn
meal given to that family or village.

The elections for both presidential and parliamentarian are scheduled to
take place in March 2008. Meanwhile every sensible person in the
country hopes that President Mugabe will observe the SADC electoral
protocol, even though ground indications show the negative signs only.
President Robert Mugabe is intransigent, belligerent and recalcitrant.

While he scores a plus for scorning on western powers, his poor human rights
observations have earned him an abject dictator name, which he has lived to

The new effort to buy the voters , which does not happen during all other
years but towards elections, show that Zanu-Pf is very much afraid of the
contest from the MDC. With other political parties denied political campaign
despite that they have obtained police permit, Zanu-PF is allowed campaign,
even without being granted police permit, any time. The police even join
Zanu-Pf when they are protesting for Mugabe to be Zanu-Pf's only
candidate. Any political party or civil organization to protest attracts
heaviest punishment from government.

A Zanu-Pf company in Norton is stockpiling the agricultural items above that
Zanu-pf shall give to the rural farming peasants with a view to buy and
retain their loyalty and support during the coming elections. The funding is
said to have been bankrolled by Gideon Gono's Reserve/Central Bank of
Zimbabwe. The question is, why would the country bank finance a political
party to buy its political campaign propaganda equipments?

On one hand, the rest of political parties in Zimbabwe cannot raise funds
externally or internally, without their source being visited from the secret
police or central intelligence organization (CIO) boys. Fear of being
charged with being subversive or treasonable haunts every organization hence
every one being careful to deal with opposition political parties.

Recently Morgan Tsvangirai visited Australia and at the same time strong
anti Zanu-Pf's human abuse reaction come forth when children of Zanu-PF
officials were send back home. Zanu-pf is now looking at a way of charging
Morgan Tsvangirai with some accusation to justify either arrest or detention
in order that he may not be in touch with the outside world. Mugabe visits
SADC countries any time and carries his propaganda at state expenses. His
party campaigns are sponsored from state coffers.

The world once more need watch carefully the mischief of Zanu-pf in
undermining people vote through very corrupt bribery of the few cronies.
Zimbabweans yes need ploughs, harrows and scotch cats, but not as blackmail
to show the world that Zanu-Pf supports people needs. On the contrary
Zanu-Pf government supports those who support it in her oppressive
orchestrated efforts. We will weekly highlight the short circuited ways of
Zanu-pf towards rigging March 2008 elections as they usually do year after

We pray the world to make reality their condemnation of human abuse and help
us achieve democratic rule in Zimbabwe. It is abuse of power and people to
buy people with what they need by giving it as a condition for supporting
and voting for  a ruling party.


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