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Entering chamber of horrors

The Sowetan

Andrew Molefe
14 September 2007

To step out of an aircraft at Harare International Airport is to step into a
chamber of horrors.

If an international airport is supposed to be the face of a country, then
Zimbabwe is slipping dangerously close to the edge of a precipice.

The airport ablution facilities aren't working. Human waste greets visitors
who need to use the toilets. The taps have run dry.

On my arrival in this doomed country, you couldn't buy a refreshing drink
because there was no electricity and staff of the only bar still operational
sat around twiddling their thumbs.

I couldn't even make a local call. An international call was out of the
question because the ageing telecommunications infrastructure is so arcane
and so ancient it cannot cope.

Shop-owners care very little about selling their wares since the government
introduced enforced price controls.

"There's no point in selling at a price that is far less than the
manufacturing price," said a woman shop assistant.

Most of those who keep their shops open at the airport, use them as fronts
for a more lucrative sideline - they are actually moving, breathing and
walking foreign exchange ATMs, a serious crime punishable by long spells in

These money-changers have an uncanny ability to recognise a foreigner a mile
away. They discreetly give you nudges and winks. They carried that look, the
look a hungry dog gives its master. You have to have a heart of stone not to
exchange a few notes with them at the risk of ending up in notorious
Chikurubi maximum security prison.

At the Monomutapa Crowne Plaza, the horror continued. The pub-lunch a
newly-found friend ordered was below standard. It was actually worse than
the ordinary meals sold by old ladies in their road-side roasteries.

In various food establishments which haven't as yet closed down, the fare
got progressively worse. Without exception, a good ol' chicken meal tasted
like leather.

There's an acute shortage of cooking oil in the entire country and chefs
have to perform culinary gymnastics just to knock up a meal for you.

But even in some "okay" restaurants, the few that are still operational,
food is rationed. At one eatery in Harare called Julie, for instance, I was
offered a plate of pap and matumbu - offal - for 180 000Z - R75,60. The
whole combination could easily have fit into a tea cup.

At the Holiday Inn where I was staying, which is another global concern
renowned for good service and relatively good food, I was daily subjected to
the same fare. I have never wished for something as basic as fruit and
freshly-squeezed juice.

I checked out asap.

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Pets slaughtered for food in meat-starved Zimbabwe, animal welfare activists say

International Herald Tribune

The Associated PressPublished: September 14, 2007

HARARE, Zimbabwe: Pets are being slaughtered for meat in shortage-stricken
Zimbabwe and record numbers of animals have been surrendered to shelters or
abandoned by owners no longer able to feed them, according to animal welfare

The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals said it could
not feed surrendered animals or find new homes and was being forced to kill
them and destroy the corpses.

Animals, like humans, are being hard hit by Zimbabwe's economic meltdown,
with official inflation of more than 7,600 percent, the highest in the
world. Independent estimates put real inflation closer to 25,000 percent and
the International Monetary Fund has forecast it reaching 100,000 percent by
the end of the year.

Vets have run out of the drug used put down the animals and are relying on
intermittent donations from neighboring South Africa. One veterinary
practice was waiting for supplies to destroy about 20 animals, and on Friday
could neither feed them adequately nor fatally inject them.

In its latest bulletin to donors and supporters, the SPCA said it launched
an awareness campaign on "the ethical and moral issues regarding the killing
and consumption of trusted companion animals."

"But in the face of starvation and the burgeoning number of stray and
abandoned animals the moral issues become far more complex and we should not
be too hasty in our condemnations when animals and people are suffering
equally," it said.
One animal rights activist, who asked not to be named out of fear of arrest,
called the situation "too ghastly for words.

"We are accused of giving the country a bad name," the activist said.

Zimbabwean and international human rights groups accuse the government of
intimidating, threatening, harassing and physically attacking critics or
those seen as casting the government in a bad light. Sweeping media laws
have seen the closure of independent and opposition newspapers, speech and
gatherings are tightly controlled, and President Robert Mugabe and has
applauded police for beating opposition activists.

Animal activists say they have been threatened with arrest for speaking out
and SPCA offices were raided by secret police agents of the Central
Intelligence Organization on Thursday. SPCA inspectors said they were
ordered not to release details of surrendered, abandoned, slain or eaten

No comment was immediately available from the government.

Mugabe's critics say corruption and his power stewardship of the economy has
led to the crisis. They point to the often-violent, government-owned
seizures of thousands of white-owned commercial farms that began in 2000 and
disrupted the agriculture-based economy in what was once a regional

Meat, cornmeal, bread and other staples vanished from shops and stores. A
government order to slash prices of all goods and services in June worsened
acute food shortages and has left stores virtually empty of basic

Food and food waste shortages have also emboldened rats to forage for scraps
in homes and far beyond their usual hideaways, pest control specialists

Leftover food that would have been discarded has become too precious to
throw away and common garbage was in short supply, said a rat catcher in
western Harare.

"We are getting rat problems where we never saw them before," he said,
asking not to be identified in the mounting climate of fear of the
authorities. "Please, I don't want any trouble."

Illegally slaughtered meat sells for more than 10 times the government's
fixed price on the thriving black market. It comes in plastic bags of 10
kilograms (22 pounds) and more, containing bone, fat and offal and no
indication of types or cuts of meat.

"You're getting brisket, shin, flank, rump and anything else that's
available, all lumped together. It's meat, take it or leave it," the animal
protection activist said.

"It is not illegal to eat dog meat in this country, but we have laws on how
animals must be humanely slaughtered," he said.

A court case is pending in the eastern city of Mutare where a family dog was
butchered and eaten. Police and SPCA inspectors were called to a shopping
center in Harare earlier this month where a man was offering frozen dog meat
for sale from the back of a pickup truck, activists said.

The suspect escaped and the vehicle was not traced.

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Question of Mugabe threatens EU-Africa summit

Mail and Guardian

Amelie Bottollier-Depois | Brussels, Belgium

14 September 2007 03:48

      A key European Union and Africa summit remains under a shadow
cast by Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, whose attendance is demanded by
African leaders but could spark a boycott by Britain.

      The EU's Portuguese presidency insists that the summit, which
would unite more than 70 heads of state and government, will take place as
planned in Lisbon on December 8 and 9, but preparations are going slowly, to
say the least.

       "The invitations haven't been sent. We're talking," Portugal's
European Affairs Minister, Manuel Lobo Antunes, said recently.

      In fact, through no fault of its own, Portugal is confronted
with the same obstacle that caused what would have been only the second
EU-Africa summit to be postponed indefinitely in 2003.

      Britain insists there should be no invitation to Mugabe, who
along with senior Zimbabwean officials is banned from travelling in the 27
EU countries for human rights abuses. African leaders reject this as

       The summit will take place "with all members of the African
Union", Akwasi Asei-Adjei, the Foreign Minister of Ghana and current
chairperson of the AU, underlined on Wednesday. It's time that Europe tried
"to understand Africa", he said.

      The Europeans are tempted to try for a compromise
"Myanmar-style", by proposing that Zimbabwe be represented at a lower level,
as happens with Myanmar at EU-Asia summits, because leaders of the junta are
banned. But this has been ruled out by the Africans.

       Portugal, which holds the EU's rotating presidency until the end
of the year, will have to send out invitations to all -- including Mugabe -- 
and "hope there's a problem with transport", one EU source said.

       Because if the 83-year-old hard-liner does come, "it's quite
possible that British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, and one or two other
European leaders, won't turn up", an EU diplomat said, also on condition of

      Privately, Britain has already brandished the threat of a

      British Foreign Secretary David Miliband made London's position
clear about the leader of its former colony last week at an informal meeting
of EU foreign ministers. "He told them that the PM would not be there if
Mugabe goes," an official close to the in-camera talks said.

      Publicly, Miliband said: "I don't think anyone wants to be part
of a media circus in December. I think we all want a successful summit, but
we are also very, very concerned about the situation in Zimbabwe."

      The reality is that no one wants Mugabe to become the focus of
an EU-Africa summit meant to concentrate on building proper economic and
political ties between the two blocs.

       "Even Mugabe himself has no interest in this happening, because
of the very serious problems his country is mired in at the moment," another
diplomat said.

      Zimbabwe's economy is in crisis with inflation running well past
the 7 500% mark and high unemployment. At least 80% of the population live
below the poverty threshold and the economy has shrunk by more than

      For the Europeans, seven years after the only such summit in
Cairo in 2000, the aim is to strengthen relations with a continent where
their historic influence is increasingly under threat from China.

      And the Africans want far more from this summit than a spat over
Mugabe. "We really want this summit. It's very important, above all, for our
economic development," one African diplomat noted. -- Sapa-AFP

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Time to ponder the types of intervention .

The Sowetan

14 September 2007

The birth of Zimbabwe was attended by great rejoicing and high hopes; 27
years later the country is facing institutional collapse and economic

The deepening political, social and economic crisis in Zimbabwe has over the
past five years and more seldom been out of the headlines.

Now it is worth considering the kind of interventions, domestic and
external, that will be needed to put Zimbabwe back on the right path.

Before considering the wider regional implications of helping to reconstruct
Zimbabwe's economy, we should consider the lessons we can learn from the
origins, nature and extent of the crisis.

How did an apparent success story turn into a tragedy? What needs to be done
and how can a similar crisis be prevented in Zimbabwe again? Can societies
transcend their history?

President Robert Mugabe has understandably been singled out for
responsibility. To call Mugabe dictatorial or despotic might well be true
and morally satisfying, but it explains nothing. Widespread demonisation of
Mugabe might even impede the understanding and explaining of the situation
in Zimbabwe.

We need to unpack issues that might help to identify what brought Zimbabwe
to where it now is and that which needs to be done.

Has Mugabe's personal role been overplayed? After the pendulum has swung
between exaggerating and underestimating the roles of personalities,
popularly endorsed policies and other institutional factors, the longer
perspective suggests that in Zimbabwe, as in many other failed states,
neither the institutional forces nor the personality is sufficient
explanation without the other.

There is a strong tendency to ascribe developments in Zimbabwe to Mugabe's
personality and autocracy. It is believed his exit from the national stage
is all that will be required to return the country to its former status as
an admired and successful nation state.

Were this true then even if recent attempts to negotiate his departure from
office are unsuccessful one of life's two certainties will eventually solve
the problem.

But neither Mugabe's eventual departure from office nor even a speedy
reversal of failed policies will guarantee that the rebuilding policies will
be a success, though both might be necessary for the reconstruction of

We will also have to evaluate what important facilitation and influential
role the Southern African Development Community, and South Africa in
particular, can play in these processes.

This is not to say that lesser measures or preconditions will fail to
ameliorate the situation.

All the SADC states have a vital stake in the nature of the change in
Zimbabwe and in the success of those who support genuine political and
economic reconstruction.

We must also assess how far institutions have been corrupted after 27 years
of virtual one-party rule and identify all the post-Mugabe challenges in
turning the country around.

Whatever the outcome, the present government's successors, once in power,
will have to immediately deal with the consequences of past misrule and

How they choose to do so, and how the international community responds to
their efforts, are important factors in evaluating their prospects for
success. But ultimately the decisions have to be taken by Zimbabweans

.. Footnote: This is an edited version of part of an address to the
Economic Society of South Africa Biennial Conference this month by Professor
RAYMOND PARSONS, Department of Economics, University of Pretoria and Overall
Business Convenor at the National Economic Development and Labour Council

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Zimbabwe: Desperate times bring desperate measures

United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs -
Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN)

Date: 13 Sep 2007

BULAWAYO, 13 September 2007 (IRIN) - A new breed of entrepreneur has evolved
in Zimbabwe's ever-deteriorating economy, adapted to take advantage of an
environment characterised by food shortages and increasingly scarce basic

The new professionals are known as 'queuers', who buy goods at discounted
prices as a result of forced government price cuts and resell them at a
substantial profit on the illegal parallel market.

Martha Nyoni, 45, a widow and unemployed mother of five, recently joined the
group. She says she has found a survival strategy that works, but
acknowledges that somewhere down the line someone has to pay the price.

"We have no choice except to charge the high prices because we spend a lot
of time in queues, and for those that do not want to queue, they have to pay
for our time spent in the queues."

A family business

At the break of dawn Nyoni gets up, ties her ten-month-old baby on her back
with a small blanket. As the family troop out of the two-roomed house they
occupy in Zimbabwe's second city, Bulawayo, she issues instructions and
hands each of the children a wad of bank notes.

Today Nyoni will join a sugar queue in the city centre while her eldest son,
Peter, will be looking for cooking oil at a local retailer. The eldest
daughter and her younger sister will spend the day in bread and soap queues,
while the youngest daughter minds the family stall outside the house. The
stall sells anything they can get that is not readily available at the

Government sell-out pays off, but only for some

Zimbabwean store shelves, previously stocked with staples like sugar,
cooking oil, maizemeal, margarine, bread and flour, have been bare since
President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF government ordered price controls two
months ago and started imprisoning retailers who did not comply.

In a bid to cap rampant inflation - which, according to official estimates,
has rocketed beyond 7,000 percent - businesses were forced to slash prices
by 50 percent. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has estimated that
Zimbabwe's inflation will breach 100,000 percent by December this year.

The sudden drop in prices sparked panic buying, stampedes and near-riots by
impoverished Zimbabweans; so far three people have died in countrywide food
stampedes. Scores of factories and stores, unable to replace stock they were
forced to sell below the original cost, have been forced to close.

However, the queuers have been taking advantage of the ensuing economic
mayhem to make a killing out of the desperation of others, doing brisk
business buying goods at government-controlled prices and selling them on
the parallel market at an exorbitant markup.

Opportunistic buyers like Nyoni work with a network of supermarket managers
and factory supervisors, and know what goods will be available at which
shops on a given day. They usually also pay shop managers to allow them to
buy more goods if quantities are restricted. Some shop managers even sell
goods through the back door to be sold on the parallel market.

"We sell the goods on the black market and share the profit with the
supermarket managers ... dealing with supermarket managers has the added
advantage that one always has goods that are in demand," Nyoni said.

Parallel markets and parallel imports: consumers pay the price

The practice of queuing has grossly affected working-class people, who do
not have the time to stand in line for hours every day in the hope of
obtaining basic foodstuffs. Bread officially costs Z$22,000 (US$0.16 at the
parallel market rate of US$1 to Z$140,000) but fetches over Z$60,000 on the
informal market.

Eric Bloch, an economist based in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe's second city, in the
southwest of the country, said as long as the government continued to
implement skewed economic policies, there would be queues and a parallel

"The government should remove constraints affecting industry from
functioning normally, and the first stop is to remove price controls, which
are affecting production," Bloch told IRIN. "As long as there are shortages
on the market, the black market will continue to thrive."

Most manufacturers were producing goods for export to neighbouring countries
like Botswana, Zambia and Malawi, because profit margins on goods for local
consumption were restricted, he said. "Zimbabweans bring the same goods back
into the country for sale on the black market at six times the official

Even when basic commodities were available locally, they were no longer
available to everyone because "those that queue for goods locally hoard
them", Bloch added.

The Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) warned that the country's
industrial base was faced with total collapse as a result of the price

But Industry and International Trade Minister Obert Mpofu told IRIN, "There
is no going back on price controls. The shortages we are experiencing are
temporary and companies should produce, and those that fail to do so will be
taken over by the government."

The UN World Food Programme and Food and Agriculture Organisation issued a
joint report on Zimbabwe in June, predicting that 4.1 million people, a
third of Zimbabwe's 11.8 million people, would need food aid from July 2007
until March 2008.



This article does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations

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Hot Seat interview: In-depth discussion on the sanctions issue with Glenys Kinnock, Peter Murphy & Grace Kwinjeh

SW Radio Africa Transcript

Broadcast Tuesday 4 September 2007

Violet Gonda: The issue of the controversial restrictions or targeted sections imposed on members of the Mugabe regime by western countries is the topic on the program Hot Seat this week. My guests are: British member of the European parliament and Co-President of the ACP/EU joint parliamentary assembly Glenys Kinnock, veteran Australian activist Peter Murphy, who works with the Information Centre in Sydney and

opposition official Grace Kwinjeh. Let me start with Glenys. Can you clarify which sanctions have been imposed by the European Union?

Glenys Kinnock:
Well the last decision was on the 23rd of April of this year when the visa ban list was extended and the asset freeze and arms embargo was maintained and also a commitment to continuing the humanitarian assistance in direct support of the population of course.

The common refrain that we hear is that ‘the so-called sanctions imposed against Zimbabwe have accelerated the economic crisis and brought suffering for the population’ but of course the EU has not imposed economic or trade sanctions against Zimbabwe . They are targeted sanctions against individuals and they are measures, which are designed not to cause hardships to the Zimbabwean people. Although people like me would certainly like to see those measures extended and increased in order that we can have more effect upon the regime at this critical time.

Violet: And Peter what about the sanctions that have imposed by the Australian Government, can you clarify what they are exactly?


Peter Murphy: They are very similar to what Glenys has just explained to you because the Australian Government has worked along with the European Union and the British Government in particular on this politics of Zimbabwe . So the sanctions here are called ‘Smart Sanctions’ and they are purely on travel to and from Australia by the 132 permanent members of the Mugabe regime. And recently we were able to get a sort of extension of that or deepening of it because we were able to stop these 132 individuals funding some of their relatives to be students in Australia . So it’s completely oriented to the personal comfort of the core of the regime and it’s absolutely got nothing to do with the economic crisis that the poor people in Zimbabwe are suffering.

Violet: Now some of the relatives that have been included are children of ZANU PF minister. Is it fair though to penalize the children?

Peter: These are adults, first of all and they are benefiting from the plundering of the patrimony of the Zimbabwean people. And their parents are using the foreign exchange margins they’ve got to take enormously profitable transactions and they transfer some of that to their relatives in Australia . And at the same time they are denouncing all the western countries where they are actually sending their children for education. And the other irony or insult is that hundreds of thousands of young Zimbabwe people can’t get an education at all because of the crisis.

Glenys: I absolutely agree and I would really like to see obviously, particularly it would affect the UK , and I would argue that it’s something the UK could unilaterally decide to do. Which would be to say that the children and the young people with family connection to ZANU PF leaders should not be staying in private expensive boarding schools in Britain or university whilst people are suffering so much in Zimbabwe . This is completely unacceptable!

Violet: And Grace what are you’re thoughts on this because some have asked; ‘ what is the logic of putting the children of these ZANU PF ministers on the travel ban.’ And some have even gone as far as saying; ‘It’s immoral, why should children be punished for their fathers’ sins.’ What do you say about this?

Grace Kwinjeh: Well basically on the issue of children Violet if am hearing you correctly, I think that the real sanctions have been played against the people of Zimbabwe . I think that real sanctions have been played against the suffering students in Zimbabwe . Look at the education system in Zimbabwe that has completely collapsed right know, look at the state of the Universities around the countries. In fact I think that the real sanctions have been put in place by the ruling elite.

I will give you an example of here in South Africa : where at the University of KwaZulu Natal , 30 students who are studying on the basis of a “Presidential Scholarship.” They are spending over a million Rands on them alone per year. And then you look at the program that they are doing, these are programs that are available in Zimbabwe . You look at the issue of foreign currency; we have a big shortage of foreign currency in Zimbabwe . And then you look at the state of the University of Zimbabwe were 13,000 students could be benefiting a lot from that money.

So I think it’s a moral issue for those institutions to refuse to take those children in and I also think that the targeted sanctions have really been symbolic they are nothing compared to what Peter and Glenys can confirm, was happening in the Sixties and Seventies campaigns. We have not even gone into sports boycotts. Another danger we are faced with is also that they are going to use the sanctions issue to divert attention from the real issues in Zimbabwe such as the coming elections and the fact that the rigging has already started.

Violet: Now Peter if children are beneficiaries of what has been deprived off Zimbabweans, there are some who say if you are going to be consistent you should include tycoons like Charles Davy, (John) Bredenkamp, (Nicholas) Van Hoogstraten as they are in business arrangements with the despotic regime. How would you answer that?

Peter: We are strongly in favour of that and we have requested our Government to extend the same sanctions to encompass those big business men who are also part of the core of the regime. These people are really strongly supporting the ongoing operations of the Mugabe government, so we strongly endorse that idea.

Violet: And Glenys, what’s the EU position on this?

Glenys: I think that we need to do far more to make it clear that further coercive measures will be taken against the Mugabe regime. They need to understand that there is a political and economic cost of continuing to behave in the way they do. And that does mean renewing and expanding the targeted sanctions to business people responsible for financing the ZANU PF regime, including of course the principle beneficiaries of the graft and corruption that we see taking place in that country.

And also think additional measures should be include rescinding rights of residency in Europe and access to family member, as we said to education institutions but also to employments because we know who these bad men are and I think that they have to be expected to pay the price. Not the people of Zimbabwe . They are paying that already. And also I think, Violet, it’s time to really name and shame organizations or businesses in Zimbabwe or in Europe who connive in ZANU PF activities and that would include exposing to shareholders the international banks and financial houses which act as conduits for these corrupt earnings.

We need to expose them, we need to make it clear that this is going on and I think this could also include exposing foreign governments who are helping to finance the regime. So there is lots of thing that we should be doing, which we are not doing and which would not help the regime but on the contrary make it more difficult for them.

Violet: And Glenys still on this particular issue, how would you deal with the Charles Davy issue for example? His daughter Chelsea Davy is Prince Harry’s girlfriend …

Glenys: ya

Violet: … and if her father is added on the sanctions list, what then is the difference between Chelsea Davy and the other ZANU PF cronies’ kids?

Glenys: Well none. I think that it would have to be fairly done and decisions would have to be made on the basis of those business people who had benefited and who have subsequently left the country but maintained contact with the country. In whatever way, whether it’s him or anyone else I don think it should make any difference at all and they should be identified.

Violet: And Peter what would the Australian government do if Chelsea visited Australia with her boyfriend Prince Harry and the father was on the sanctions list?

Peter: Well I don’t know what they would do about Chelsea . Getting her father on the sanctions list is the first step. That would still be a big step for Australia ’s government to take. We here have been also pushing for consideration of other aspects of business dealings with Zimbabwe because one of the few sectors of that economy doing any good is the mining export sector and big Australian based companies like the BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto are active in it.

Mainly I think exporting products to China . We know that that they are having fabulous levels of profits at the moment but if they had a moratorium on these exports for six months and just maintained their operations there on a care and maintenance basis and paid their workforce they wouldn’t even notice it. .

But at this stage they are involved really in an unethical business arrangement with the Mugabe government and we are urging them to realize what they are doing and for our government to urge them to seize operations for a period.


Glenys: I mean one of the things, Violet that occurs to me listening to Peter know is that we need to co-ordinate our efforts much more than we probably do. Those of us who are actively engaged in trying to identify these individuals in these companies and perhaps we need to do a lot more collaborative work and cooperative work with the Australians, Americans, Europeans and others. I don’t know what Peter thinks or Grace. I think that that would be a benefit in the case that we need to make.

Violet: And Grace, what are your thoughts on this and also you know the SADC heads of state have called on western countries to remove the sanctions. Do you think they should be lifted at this particular time?

Grace: No I don’t think so Violet, until there are proper or concrete changes that have been done or reforms made by the government of Zimbabwe . If you look at the European Union side, for example, as Glenys has been explaining: Zimbabwe when signing the Cotonou agreement, agreed to the conditions to do with issues of the rule of law and governance. And so those are the issues in Zimbabwe today that are the biggest problem. And so I think that until the government of Zimbabwe shows signs of reforming - unfortunately after the SADC summit, after the endorsement at SADC we are going in the reverse. Look at the constitutional amendments that are now being put through in the parliament. Look at the fact that the violence is continuing unabated. So instead of sanctions being lifted there is actually need for more pressure to be put on the government of Zimbabwe .

Violet: Are you surprised though that Mugabe has been able to twist the sanctions issue and claiming that the sanctions are responsible for causing the starvation in the country, Grace?

Grace: Well I am not surprised at all and I don’t think anybody is surprised with what is happening in Zimbabwe or at SADC level. I think that part of the problem we are now experiencing is that SADC as a bloc has actually pre-empted the mood for the responses to the elections that are going to be held in March and basically they are going to be with Mugabe. They know the issue in Zimbabwe is not about sanctions. They know what the real problems in Zimbabwe are, but unfortunately they needed an excuse and the excuse has been that about sanctions.

Let’s say for instance the sanctions are lifted tomorrow; do you mean to tell me that Mugabe is going to repeal POSA? Is he going to really give the MDC access to the public media? Is he going to disarm the military in various institutions and parastatals? I do not think so.

But I think SADC as a body has failed the people of Zimbabwe particularly South Africa . South Africa knows what sanctions are and what the functions are. (President Thabo) Mbeki himself stayed in the United Kingdom campaigning for economic sanctions against the then apartheid regime. So he knows the context of sanctions and he knows that in the Zimbabwean case it is not like that. But unfortunately it’s a club of dictators and a club of patriarchs who are not waking up to our generational reality that ‘Look we need better leaders who have a conscience, who are more responsible to the suffering masses.’

Violet: And, Glenys, some have said cut aid to Mugabe’s apologists in SADC and the UK MP Kate Hoey - who chairs the All Party Parliamentary group in Zimbabwe – said recently that the International community needs to get tough on SADC leaders and she called for the British government to actually cut off aid for Mugabe and those who support him. Do you agree with this?

Glenys: I don’t think Kate is saying we should cut off aid to Zambia , Mozambique , Tanzania or South Africa or any other countries that have been making comments. And that certainly would not be under the European Union’s relationship and partnership under the Cotonou agreement, as Grace said, and that would not be appropriate or desirable, I don’t think.

But this whole business of claiming, which the member states in SADC have fallen behind this idea - that the economic crisis is somehow the fault of the European Union because the suffering of the people is because of the economic sanctions. This is such a gross mis-representation of the truth because for instance the humanitarian assistance given to the people of Zimbabwe by the EU has absolutely continued. Not in a structured way that it should have if we didn’t have problems with the rule of law and democracy but in the last 2 years at least 300 million euros has been going to even building schools, helping with teachers, working with the Ministry of Education. So it’s absolutely untrue. And Savio Michele (sp) the head of the EU delegation in Harare will confirm this; that every possible effort is being made to try to alleviate the effects on the people in Zimbabwe and the reasons for that suffering is of course the regime which rides rough shoulder with the people’s rights.

Violet: So, Peter what really are these sanctions supposed to achieve? I mean is it to punish the regime or is it regime change?

Peter: It’s really aimed at sending a message to the Mugabe regime that the international community does not at all accept their policies and to will continue for them to be changed. It’s a message for other heads of government in Africa especially in SADC that it’s not viable to continue supporting Mugabe’s policies. That change in a democratic direction has to take place. It’s really symbolic at that level.

It’s also a message to the people of Zimbabwe who are suffering terribly that they are not forgotten. That people do care about what is happening to them and are trying to do something to change it. I think in those levels these actions have been good. But, you know, the way SADC have actually performed and of course the way Mugabe’s government is responding, is absolutely a scandal and the government policies are just deepening a very serious humanitarian crisis - one of the worst in the world today. So the people of Zimbabwe I believe are still waiting for solid leadership to emerge from among themselves to change the situation and they feel hope in the international community. So we do have to try and find more things to do as Glenys has spelt out. More things need to be done.

Glenys: I think Peter is absolutely right and this is what we continuously say as Europeans, Australians or wherever else we are is that the key is actually held by Southern Africa . And they must publicly acknowledge that the reality is this great liberation leader has perverted everything that’s been achieved into what is a tyranny. And all the liberation credentials have been called into question and it’s so dishonest not to acknowledge this and it’s time I think Zimbabwe’s neighbours took stork and say it’s time to acknowledge the crisis is not actually about land and that it is about bad governance. And if they don’t acknowledge this fact how do they intend to explain the deterioration of the situation under Mugabe.

So you know the whole thing needs to be much more honestly dealt with and we need to get democratic legitimacy to a future government and that means an election. And the idea that we will have a free and fair democratic process is of course one, which will fly in the face of all the facts that we are aware of.

Violet: But haven’t the sanctions actually created a kind fraternity of criminal ruling elite, you know, who are unified and less susceptible to western pressure for good governments?

Glenys: I think obviously they are unified and this will always happen. I mean sanctions are always very blunt instruments and I would never argue for them to be the panacea for dealing with despotic regimes. But South Africa of all countries must understand - of course they do - that sanctions were very important for them and that included sporting and cultural sort of sanctions as well as economic sanctions and trade sanctions. They were very tough ones and there is no question as Peter has suggested that we could get any of that past anybody in our Governments now - that kind of strong response. But really we cannot ignore the situation and think that in time it will go away or that we will get tired of this. This is the kind of feeling perhaps that those who criticise the regime will get tired of it and you know they could just carry on as they are. But we need to do more to make sure that there is a complete misunderstanding of the situation.

Violet: And Grace, what has been the interpretation of these sanctions in Africa, because some say that they could have shored up support for Mugabe and some Africans interpreting this as a kind of apartheid that says; ‘we don’t want you black people here.’ Is this perhaps why the black Africans are asking for the sanctions to be lifted? What are your thoughts on this?

Grace: Silence

Violet: Hallo, Grace?

Grace: Silence

Violet: Ohh, I think we lost Grace because her battery was low; I will have to get her later. But what do you think of that Peter?

Peter: Well, what can I say. I think that what’s coming is an election in March next year which will be designed by Mugabe to wipe out the opposition completely. We are looking down a barrel of a disaster because of the inability of the leaders of Southern Africa to stand up for the rhetoric that they mouth about democracy, transparency and good governance.

I don’t think it’s viable for them to go that way however we could have an even bigger disaster in Zimbabwe than we are seeing today. One, which will really rock the regime much more than is happening now. And one which will demand serious action and I know that inside South Africa there are many leaders speaking out very strongly for a change of direction in the policy of the South African government.

So, you know I wish all power to them because they are acting out of a sense of genuine human solidarity. This is what we want to build up, you know, in Australia we are able to do what we’ve done about Zimbabwe because way back in the late 60’s and early 70’s we fought for sporting boycotts against apartheid. This is really the impulse that is still at work here and we will not stop agitating and taking action where we can to really press all the leaders of Southern Africa . We really think this matter must go to the UN Security Council for a decisive global voice to speak out for change in Zimbabwe . You know I am appalled at the behaviour of the SADC leaders but they will not stand in the way in the end of a democratic shift.

Violet: And Glenys given the extent of abuse, why aren’t there aggressive international measures to deal with rogue states and their leadership. You know like legal measures where if a dictator came to some of the EU countries or went to Australia they could be charged under international laws. Why isn’t there such a measure?

Glenys: Well we do have a measure to punish now through the International Criminal Court, that has been a big step forward in terms of dealing with these people but it’s after the event, and of course that is not what you’re saying. At this time of course we know that in spite of the fact that Mugabe is on the visa ban list from the European Union, I know he will be attending the EU Africa summit to be held in Lisbon in December. And this of course is something that really is very difficult to grasp when you have this Cotonou agreement which is really a wonderful contractual binding agreement between 78 African, Caribbean and Pacific counties and Europe and it is about the rule of law, democracy and human rights an yet he will come strutting through the meeting rooms of this major summit and with the total connivance of all the African countries who threaten to jettison the whole thing if he doesn’t come. But we haven’t touched on this whole issue but I think it is the critical one that is looming.

What I would, Violet, very much like to see is that heads of state from European Union countries say that they would not be comfortable with this. They will not want to stop the summit going ahead but they personally would not feel it is appropriate for them to attend. And that would really show that Europe is at least serious to that extent even though the Portuguese will, I am sure, issue an invitation to Mugabe to come.

Violet: It also seems ordinary Zimbabweans are fighting a double battle. Unfortunately the struggle has a certain dynamic, which is different or difficult to fight. On the one hand they are fighting Mugabe and on the other hand it seems they are fighting the rest of the world. Public opinion is that western countries are kicking everyone out. There are record numbers of Zimbabweans who are being denied visas in the UK . And so people ask if you have considered the propaganda value because if you recognise there is a problem in Zimbabwe why aren’t we seeing it being translated into a more receptive immigration policy on Zimbabwe ?

Glenys: I absolutely agree. I can’t tell you how many Zimbabwean cases I deal with in my day-to-day work. Sometimes it is quite unbelievable when people with this strong history connection with the MDC are frightened to be returned back to Zimbabwe but somehow people decide that they are not in any danger. But I am hoping that we will know see some relaxation of this position.

Violet: And Peter, from the Australian side what are your thoughts on this? Canada has a moratorium on Zimbabwe , is it possible to have the same situation in Australia ?

Peter: I think the policy here different already and there are a lot of Zimbabweans here able to get permanent residency rather than leave the country when their studies are finished for instance. But there really is as far as I know not been any cases of Zimbabwean asylum seekers being deported from Australia . So I hope that stays because there have been other groups of people that suffer in Australia as asylum seekers but it seems like Zimbabweans haven’t and that is good.

Glenys: The issue, Peter as you know with Britain , is that Britain is seen as leading this great opposition and me as somebody British is seen as typical of this and I am on the visa ban list that Zimbabwe has in place. But you know it’s just because Britain is connected with its colonial past it makes it in a way quite difficult. But also I think that more important we have a humane approach to asylum seeker as you have (in Australia ).

Peter: Well, I am with Glenys altogether there and I have been watching the media reports of the policy of deporting Zimbabwean asylum seekers from Britain and I am appalled at it and I can’t put the two together very well in my head. So I really do hope that as this debate gets sharper and I hope the new British Prime Minister takes a firm stance about the Portugal invitation and that they will also be a shift in the asylum seekers.

Glenys: I hope so and we should use this Lisbon summit I think as an opportunity to refocus on Zimbabwe and to ask some of the salient questions leading up to that event and certainly now many of us in the Parliament including Portuguese colleagues of mine in the European Parliament are expressing concern about the prospects of him coming to talk about the EU’s relationship with Africa.

And of course we have President Bashir and others with pretty bad records as well, but in terms of the visa ban list and the legal obligations that we have I think Zimbabwe has a very unique position in all of this.

Violet: And finally, sanctions could make things difficult for a new political formation to implement programs. Now will the international community actually sponsor a reconstruction program in Zimbabwe ?

Glenys: As far as EU is concerned, absolutely yes. The commitment is there. As soon as the situation has changed or a commitment to change is made then the relaxation will take place that’s how it works under Cotonou there are clear ways of moving forward into opening up and beginning normal relations.

But that means dealing with this culture of systematic abuse and corruption, violence and mismanagement by the ruling party. I think we have to start saying that in turn we will not ignore the culture of impunity that is being spawned by ZANU PF, because if we do then what we will see is more and more people dying of AIDS, more and more orphans. So much suffering every statistic in the book, which is grotesque you can apply to Zimbabwe now.

So we really, really have to make very, very strong stand and Britain will do it but it needs the support of other member states of the European Union, the Germans and others to come on board and hopefully we will see that happening.

Peter: Well I think it is premature to talk about the reconstruction programme although I know people are thinking about it. I know both sides of government and opposition here in Australia are very passionate really about trying to help the people of Zimbabwe recover from this disaster. But as I said, I think the politics is running against this at the moment and if the international community can help the people of Zimbabwe turn it around. So that is really my big worry.

Glenys: I just want to add a bit to what Peter said which is absolutely right. This whole new practice and policy of engagements with these kind of regimes like the Sudanese, the Burmese and so on. If you talk to them and you are nice to them you will get change – you know you have to be realistic! It ain’t gonna happen!

Peter: yes.

Glenys: So I think there are very clear parameters that have to be set. We will not reinstate business as usual until such time as there is a clear change of direction and there is no sign of that.

Violet Gonda: We have come to the end of the programme. Unfortunately because of phone problems we lost Grace Kwinjeh ( South Africa ). I would like to thank EU MP Glenys Kinnock (in Belgium ) and Peter Murphy in Australia for joining us on the programme Hot Seat.

Comments and feedback can be emailed to

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ZMRA Strike Persists Into the Weekend

SW Radio Africa (London)

14 September 2007
Posted to the web 14 September 2007

Henry Makiwa

THE Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) strike crippling Zimbabwe's ports of
entry continued Friday as workers sat out for the third day running.

Business was slow at most borders, especially at Beitbridge where
long-winding queues were the order of the day. According to sources, staff
at the parastatal will now observe a "go slow" until management addresses
them after the weekend.

Thousands of travellers, truck drivers and traders have been stuck at the
border post with each person having to wait for an estimated seven hours
before they could be cleared to enter the country.

George Mleya, a cross-border trader in Beitbridge, said the situation was
creating corrupt activities.

Mleya said: "People are waiting in queues for long hours before they could
be cleared. Many are bribing the few Zimra officers around to cross over and
get on their business or be with their families.

"The situation poses a dire crisis because most of Zimbabwe has been relying
on goods and food bought from South Africa for survival as there is nothing
left in the country. The onus is upon government to review the Zimra
workers' salaries and ensure that normalcy is retained."

The Zimra strike started at the Beitbridge border post, at midnight Tuesday
before spreading to Chirundu, Nyamapanda and other borders.

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Teachers Vow to Continue Strike Despite Government Offer

SW Radio Africa (London)

14 September 2007
Posted to the web 14 September 2007

Lance Guma

Teachers have vowed to continue with a strike started Monday, despite a
government offer to increase their salaries from Z$2, 9 million to Z$6,9
million a month, effective in October. Speaking to Newsreel on Friday the
Secretary General of the Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ)
Raymond Majongwe said the government offer is not serious. He says by the
time teachers get the increment in October runaway inflation will have
already eroded everything. In any case he says the offer falls far short of
their demands, which initially started at Z$15 million per month before
going up to Z$24,2 million, again factoring in inflation.

The money being offered by government is not even enough to buy 20 litres of
fuel, Majongwe remarked. He vowed that teachers will remain on strike until
their demands are met and that there was nothing political about their
position as claimed by government. Commenting on the September 19th-20th
national strikes called by the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU),
Majongwe said the PTUZ will be actively campaigning and supporting the ZCTU
action, since they are also members of the union.

Majongwe revealed that on Thursday two Mitsubishi Wolf trucks with state
security agents camped outside his Cranborne home with the intention of
intimidating his wife and children. Majongwe says this forced his family to
remain indoors the whole day. He says he deliberately stayed away to
pre-empt any attempts to either harass or arrest him. 'This government
thinks using force and brutality will answer the challenges they face,' he
said. He warned that it was only a matter of time before people rise up and
say enough is enough.

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Conflicting Reports Over Constitutional Changes Ahead of Elections

SW Radio Africa (London)

14 September 2007
Posted to the web 14 September 2007

Tererai Karimakwenda

The issue of a new constitution ahead of the elections due next year has
seen several conflicting media reports this week. A report in the Zimbabwe
Independent claims that the Mbeki mediated talks between the MDC and ZANU-PF
had produced a surprising concession by the MDC to participate in the
elections without a new constitution. The report said both parties had
agreed a new constitution was no longer a priority, because there was not
enough time left before the elections, scheduled for March. But diplomatic
sources insist that a new constitution is still squarely and firmly on the
agenda, and discussions on this is;sue are still taking place.

Because the Zimbabwean negotiating teams have basically been gagged by the
mediator President Thabo Mbeki, it is difficult to get information about any
progress in the talks.

From the outset both factions of the opposition have insisted they would not
take part without a new constitution. The Independent said they had agreed
instead to make changes to Constitutional Amendment No 18, which government
tabled in parliament Wednesday. ZANU-PF reportedly made "many significant
concessions" as well, including an agreement to amend the Public Order and
Security Act that has been used to ban opposition rallies.

Our sources said the MDC team of secretary generals Welshman Ncube and
Tendai Biti had actually succeeded in negotiating for changes to
Constitutional Amendment 18 as it was tabled on Wednesday. They said a new
revised version of it will be re-introduced in parliament next Tuesday. But
if a new constitution is still being discussed, why would there be
discussions over amending, an amendment?

Dr Lovemore Madhuku, chairperson of the National Constitutional Assembly,
told Newsreel he had heard an agreement was in place not to have a new
constitution. He said he was very disturbed by the news because it would be
a betrayal of the ordinary members of the MDC. He said: "There is an elite
group in the MDC that purports to represent the ordinary members of the MDC,
but any genuine consultation would reveal they do not agree with elections
under the current circumstances."

Asked if they would vote he said: "Zimbabweans are desperate and I suspect
they will vote just to protest against Mugabe. But they will go with a heavy

Dr Madhuku said the issue of the constitution is also at the heart of why
the country's economy is deteriorating. He said: "The basic weakness of our
system in Zimbabwe is that there is no constitutional framework for making
government accountable and remove it from office if it is incompetent." He
added that this is why the NCA is supporting the 2-day strike action called
for by the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, which begins on the 19th

Observers have noted that as Mugabe does not adhere to the current
constitution, there are no guarantees that a new one would make any

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Mugabe Steps Up Propaganda Drive

SW Radio Africa (London)

14 September 2007
Posted to the web 14 September 2007

Henry Makiwa

The Zimbabwean government launched a three-pronged propaganda blitz Thursday
ahead of the 2008 elections, as Robert Mugabe announced the commencement of
an information and communication technology (ICT) framework, that is
supported by a Zanu PF-powered civic education onslaught and rural mobile
video units and information centres.

Mugabe, who has also reportedly enlisted the assistance of media within the
southern African region, delivered a customary tirade against the western
media. Speaking in Harare he accused the BBC and CNN of opposing his land
distribution policy.

Mugabe ranted: "We are a people who have a culture, a cause, an identity,
priorities and a destiny we want to take our nation to.

"We have our own sphere, our own space, which we must self-determine and
govern as a sovereign people. We will never be that image the British or
Americans have put on BBC or CNN, never," he said.

At the same occasion Thursday, his information minister, Sikhanyiso Ndlovu,
announced that the Zanu PF regime was mobilising resources to set up rural
information centres and mobile video units "to address the information and
communication needs of the people". While elsewhere across the capital, the
acting Secretary for Education Sport and Culture, Crispen Bowora, revealed
that government was planning to launch compulsory civic education classes to
secondary students.

According to the state-controlled Herald newspaper Bowora said; "We have
plans afoot to introduce civic education in our schools to promote those
social and moral values that Zimbabwe stands for: patriotism, freedom,
independence, democracy, self-reliance and respect for human dignity."

The opposition Movement for Democratic Change has swiftly dismissed the
ageing leader's latest propaganda offensive as a "desperate ploy of an
unpopular regime".

The opposition's party spokesman, Nelson Chamisa, said it was their
successful campaign strategies in the rural areas that were forcing Zanu PF
to adopt "panic policies."

Chamisa said: "These recent developments represent a clear shift in Mugabe's
antics because he has noticed that the rural people in particular, are
deserting him. The people need to be mobilised and be a notch up and stage
ahead so that they are not exposed to Mugabe's brain-bleaching tactics. Zanu
PF is now evidently hiding behind a plastic mask and clutching on straws as
a reaction to what we already set in our campaigns. All these plans of
showing videos to the rural masses will undoubtedly consist of liberation
struggle and land distribution films aimed at touching at the people's

"This propaganda offensive will however not work even with the support of
his regional peers whom we urge to quit supporting this doomed regime.
Mugabe is a liability to Zimbabwe, the continent and indeed mankind,"
Chamisa said.

Meanwhile the Zimbabwe Independent reports that Mugabe is roping in regional
media publications to bolster his campaign against what he perceives as
negative publicity and to convince the Sadc region that his policies are

The paper reports that the move is set to spruce up the government's image
and counter an array of Western-based websites perceived to be pushing for
regime change in Zimbabwe. The plan has already been taken to Malawi, where
eight journalists have been invited to record programmes on the "Zimbabwe

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Mutambara, Tsvangirai to meet Mbeki

New Zimbabwe

By Staff Reporter
Last updated: 09/15/2007 02:36:00
THE two leaders of Zimbabwe's fractious opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) arrived in South Africa Friday ahead of joint talks with
President Thabo Mbeki, who is mediating between Zimbabwe's major political
players to resolve a decade-long crisis.

Arthur Mutambara and Morgan Tsvangirai were scheduled to meet Mbeki later
Saturday together with their negotiating teams led by their respective
secretary generals Professor Welshman Ncube and Tendai Biti.

Biti and Ncube have been meeting Zanu PF negotiators led by Justice Minister
Patrick Chinamasa and Social Welfare Minister Nicholas Goche.

The negotiators have agreed not to talk to the media, but diplomatic sources
told New Friday that the ruling Zanu PF party and the two MDC
factions had made "tremendous progress" in the talks which were initiated by
Southern African Development Community (SADC) leaders.

In a breathtaking breakthrough, the negotiators have agreed that there
should be a new constitution before the next elections are held.

A diplomatic source close to the talks said: "There has been substantial
progress around the issue of the constitution. All the parties have
committed themselves to a new constitution, and my understanding is that it
is now agreed that there won't be elections before a new constitution is in

"They have also made substantial progress on the issue of electoral
processes, with Zanu PF agreeing to an amendment to the Electoral Act."

The privately-owned Zimbabwe Independent newspaper reported Friday that the
negotiators had also agreed to an amendment of the Public Order and Security
Act, the legal instrument through which thousands of Mugabe's opponents have
been arrested.

But our diplomatic source said that was not the case.

The source said: "The issue of security legislation, media legislation and
the political climate are the next items up for discussion. There hasn't
been agreement on those."

Mbeki's meeting with Tsvangirai and Mutambara was suggested by the
negotiators who decided "it would be appropriate for the facilitator to meet
the negotiators' principals".

The diplomat added: "The dialogue is still ongoing, but the negotiators felt
they had made substantial progress and asked Mbeki to meet their principals
who are Mugabe, Mutambara and Tsvangirai to update them on the progress made
so far and also help the process move faster.

"Tsvangirai and Mutambara will meet Mbeki just after 5PM on Saturday, and it
is envisaged Mbeki will also meet Mugabe at some stage."

Zanu PF gave the process a thumbs up in a surprise development last week.

And the Mutambara faction of the MDC said in a statement released after a
meeting of its national executive on Thursday that it was satisfied with the
progress made so far.

It added: "The National Executive noted the progress made so far on the
content of the dialogue and further noted the continuing suffering of the
people of Zimbabwe which demands greater urgency on the country's political
leadership and hence appealed to all the negotiators to move with greater
urgency in addressing the remaining outstanding issues on the agreed

The five agenda items in the talks are a new constitution, changes to
electoral laws, amendments to security legislation, amendments to media
legislation and an establishment of a fair political climate.

Political analysts have observed that it would be impossible to have a new
constitution before presidential and parliamentary elections scheduled for
March 2008.

But the surprise agreement between the negotiators on a new constitution
could mean the elections are put back.

Zimbabwe is locked in a severe economic crisis, marked by record inflation
of over 7600% and widespread food shortages. President Mugabe blames the
crisis on successive droughts and western sanctions, while his opponents
accuse him of mismanaging the economy and using violence against opposition
supporters and their leaders.

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Shops Stop Credit Purchases

The Herald (Harare)  Published by the government of Zimbabwe

14 September 2007
Posted to the web 14 September 2007


MOST credit shops have scrapped credit purchases opting for cash sales as a
hedge against inflation.

This means that credit cards are now useless pieces of hardened plastic.

The cards are no longer acceptable at Meikles Hotel and Stores, Greaterman's
food and clothing units, Clicks, Barbours, Topics, TV Sales & Hire and

However, consumers have expressed dissatisfaction with the move saying it
was worsening their economic positions, as they are now required to save
before making a purchase.

They said with the prices rising twice or more a month, as has been the case
before the price freeze, ordinary consumers were no longer in a position to
acquire new goods.

"The latest move is a blow to low-income earners who are not in a position
to raise enough money to buy goods," said one consumer.

Clothing retailers were finding it difficult to restock using earnings from
credit sales due to high inflation, a survey by the Herald Business this
week established.

Edgars has imposed a 50 percent down payment on all credit purchases, which
essentially restricts credit purchases to those with fat wallets. In other
words, consumers would have to buy goods on hire purchase.

Under most retail credit purchase schemes, consumers bought goods at zero
percent deposit and were required to settle the debt in roughly equal
instalments spread, over say, three or six months.

Some retailers charged very minimal interest rates of up to 25 percent while
others, such as Topics and Nyore Nyore offered zero deposit facilities.

Most furniture retailers charged the prevailing market interest rates of
over 600 percent, making. credit purchases very expensive.

Shop officials interviewed said the removal of credit facilities was in
response to the high inflation, standing at over 7 300 percent in July.

They said the costs of funding credit purchases had become unsustainable due
to the inflationary environment, but insisted that it was just a temporary

"It's a stop-gap measure. We will restore the facility as soon as our
inflation becomes manageable," said an official with Meikles Africa.

"If we had continued to offer these credit facilities, it was going to be a
bit difficult to re-stock."

An official with TV Sales & Hire said it did not make sense to offer credit
purchases as their stocks were down to critical levels.

"As you can see there is nothing in here. So it will not make sense to us to
provide credit purchases for the few goods that we have in stock. We are
insisting on cash payments," the official said.

TV Sales & Hire sells mostly white goods (stoves, fridges, washing machines,
etc) and electronic goods, notably TVs and radios.

Clothing retailers were beginning to feel the pinch of the erosive effects
of the current hyper-inflationary environment, with recent figures showing
worrisome downward patterns in sales growth.

Edgars executive chairman Mr Themba Sibanda last week explained that the
group anticipated making a loss in September, as panic buying propelled
higher-than-expected July sales leaving stocks at precarious levels.

The chairman said August sales fell sharply on low stocks, adding that the
clothing retailer has found it difficult to restock to normal levels ever

By end of July, Edgars' stocks were down to four weeks cover versus
acceptable levels at between 10 to 12 weeks.

Said Mr Sibanda: "Assuming that we come to some agreement soon on pricing
models, we believe that we may only be properly stocked again by April next

Due to price controls and weak mark-ups "we have not yet placed orders for
the key Christmas trading period even though physical stock holdings should
be at their peak in September and October", he added.

Retailers have been allowed to increase profit margins from 5 percent to 20
percent, but the figure lags behind monthly inflation at 36 percent for July

"The recovery process will be long, as the merchandise supply pipeline has
been severely damaged and undermined during the past few weeks.

"Final results for the nine months ending September will, to a large extent,
depend on pricing models to be agreed by authorities," the chairman added.

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Govt Mobilising Forex to Pay for Grain Imports - Gumbo

The Herald (Harare)  Published by the government of Zimbabwe

14 September 2007
Posted to the web 14 September 2007


Agriculture Minister Mr Rugare Gumbo said on Wednesday Government is doing
all it can to source foreign currency to pay for grain imports currently
held in Beira.

Responding to a question on when Government would collect the maize and
wheat imported from South Africa and Mozambique, Mr Gumbo said once foreign
currency was ready, the grain would be collected.

He attributed the delay in delivery to shortages of foreign currency to make
the payment.

"We are looking into all aspects of bringing sufficient wheat into the
country and within the next few weeks we will be able to collect the
imported grain," he said.

The minister said the Govern-ment was aware of the current shortages of
mealie-meal and bread and was doing everything possible to ensure that food
was available in the country.

Minister Gumbo attributed the current food shortages to the drought
experienced last season.

Zimbabwe requires 1,8 million tonnes of maize per year but the country only
managed to produce 953 000 tonnes during the just ended season, down from
1,5 million tonnes harvested last year.

Mr Gumbo said there was need to intensify production of grain during the
coming season to avert food shortages.

By June this year, Government had imported 500 000 tonnes of maize from
Zambia and Malawi at a cost of US$280 million and recently availed an
additional $2 trillion to the Grain Marketing Board to facilitate the
purchase of grain.

The minister refuted claims that some fertilizer manufacturing companies had
closed down, saying some had only scaled down operations due to various

He assured the nation of adequate maize seed supplies in the forthcoming
farming season.

"We are satisfied with the supply of seed to farmers," he said, adding the
GMB had already started distributing fertilizer to farmers.

Government would continue to limit movement of maize to 150kg to curb
trading of grain on the black market.

"We will continue reviewing the policy if the situation improves. For the
time being let us abide by the policy," he said. -- New Ziana.

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Leaked Report 'An Attempt to Hurt Country'

Business Day (Johannesburg)

14 September 2007
Posted to the web 14 September 2007

John Kaninda

THE government has again denied producing a controversial document that was
leaked at a southern African summit last month -- and says it has its
suspicions as to who produced it. The document allegedly criticised Britain
for its role in the Zimbabwean crisis.

Director-general in the Presidency Frank Chikane yesterday refused to say
who the government thought might have leaked the report to the press.

On Wednesday, a senior Zambian official was quoted as saying the report came
from Harare but yesterday Chikane said the report -- on SA's mediation
efforts in Zimbabwe and leaked ahead of the Southern African Development
Community's (SADC's) summit in Lusaka -- was intended to derail SA's
mediation in Zimbabwe.

Media reported last month that the document came from SA and was to be
presented to the summit by President Thabo Mbeki, who is mediating in the
Zimbabwean crisis.

The report allegedly said SA blamed Britain for the deepening crisis by
accusing Britain of leading a campaign to "strangle" Zim- babwe's economy
and saying it had a "death wish" against a negotiated settlement that might
leave the ruling Zanu (PF) in power. "We believe that whoever leaked the
so-called report to the media did so with the intent to damage SA's
integrity in the process and present us as not mediating in good faith in
the Zimbabwean crisis," Chikane said.

"There are people who have an interest in not seeing us succeed in Zimbabwe.
They wanted the report to impact negatively on our efforts to find a
solution in Zimbabwe."

Chikane said the Presidency had been able to obtain a copy of the report and
that he could say with certainty that it was "definitely not a South African

This is the second time that SA has officially denied producing the document
after it first did so last month when media reported on it.

At the time, the government also said the Zimbabwean government and the
opposition were nearing a deal after Mbeki's mediation.

Chikane said that contradictions in the way "this episode" was reported by
some media and their reluctance to later recognise and correct their mistake
was a clear indication of clandestine moves aimed at tarnishing SA's
standing and reputation.

Chikane believed the sources cited by two news agencies were the same. "Now
remains the challenge of changing the perceptions created by the publicity
given to that false report."

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130 Vendors Arrested

The Herald (Harare)  Published by the government of Zimbabwe

14 September 2007
Posted to the web 14 September 2007


At least 130 more vendors were arrested in Harare yesterday under the
ongoing four-month blitz on illegal vending.

Municipal police confiscated an assortment of goods, including toothpaste,
stationery, cooking oil, soap, sugar, vegetables and fruits. The suspects
were rounded up by municipal police officers in a move to smash the illegal
parallel market that has seen goods in short supply sold at prices far above
gazetted levels.

Police spokesperson Chief Superintendent Oliver Mandipaka said the illegal
vendors were fuelling the parallel market and urged authorities to review
penalties. "The penalties are not deterrent as vendors would continue to
commit offences and would easily pay the $40 000 fine.We urge authorities to
look into this and least impose custodial sentences," he said.

Chief Supt Mandipaka also urged the courts to view the situation seriously
and impose appropriate sentences.

Vendors could be seen milling around their selling points with no wares on
display, as they played hide-and-seek with the municipal police.

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Plans to base US Africa Command in Botswana causes tension

From The Nation (Kenya), 13 September

Kitsepile Nyathi

Harare - Plans by the United States military to set up the proposed Africa
Command in Botswana will further polarise the Southern African Development
Community (SADC) and delay regional integration because of the West's
treatment of the Zimbabwe crisis, analysts have warned. Zimbabwe, which has
become a divisive topic in the 14 nation block, has in the past spoken
strongly against Botswana's decision to continue hosting Voice of America
(VOA) transmitters. It claims they are being used by the US to transmit
anti-Mugabe propaganda. Botswana has also repeatedly denied accusations by
its neighbour that the US has a military base near the capital Gaborone,
which might be used to effect regime change in Harare. After the explosive
Lusaka SADC heads President Robert Mugabe reportedly walked out of a closed
door session protesting against a frank assessment of the situation in
Zimbabwe by his Zambian counterpart, Mr Levy Mwanawasa, the proposed US base
has emerged as another poser for regional leaders. Mr Mugabe reportedly told
a shell shocked, Mr Mwanawasa he was aware of meetings the Zambian leader
held with Western intelligence about Zimbabwe. The SADC leadership is
bitterly divided over Zimbabwe with leaders who led guerilla movements
during liberation wars in the sub-region siding with Mr Mugabe, while the
'new generation' of leaders such as Mr Mwanawasa and President Festus Mogae
of Botswana have spoken strongly against Harare's human rights record.

Last week, President Mogae was forced to issue a statement on the proposed
base to diffuse the storm but critics say he did little to allay fears that
his country was collaborating with the West. "We have not taken a position
(on AFRICOM) because we don't know how the animal will look like," he told
University of Botswana students during a public lecture. "We are still
discussing the issue." AFRICOM is a new unified combatant command of the US
military with the responsibility of covering Africa. According to the US
department of defence, the initial plans are to create a sub command under
the supervision of the US European Command and must begin initial operations
next month. The command will be temporarily housed at Kelley Barracks in
Stuttgart, Germany until it is fully established in a yet to be determined
African country by the end of September next year. Announcing plans to
create the command in February, US president, Mr George W. Bush said it will
"coordinate all US military and security interests throughout the
continent." Mr Mogae revealed that Botswana was not the only country
approached by the US to host the command saying discussions had also been
held with South Africa. But Dr Themba Nhuka, a political analyst at the
National University of Science and Technology (NUST) said the Mugabe
government has seized news about the setting up of AFRICOM in Botswana to
drive home its claims that some of its neighbours are working with the West
to topple it from power. "Mugabe has a siege mentality," Dr Nhuka said. "To
divert attention from the worsening crisis at home in the past, the
government has taken issue with Botswana for hosting VOA radio transmitters
that broadcast 'hostile' propaganda aimed at regime change by the Americans
and they have now seized this AFRICOM story to their advantage."

He added that "unfortunately most SADC leaders buy into these claims because
they regard Mr Mugabe as a liberation icon" and this will further alienate
fellow leaders who see the Zimbabwean leader as a stumbling leader to
regional integration and economic growth. In Botswana, Zimbabwe's argument
seems to be gaining currency among Mr Mogae's opponents with the official
opposition Botswana National Front (BNF) having already petitioned that
country's parliament against AFRICOM.. "It is our duty as the BNF and indeed
it is the duty of every Botswana citizen who cherishes peace, tranquility
and democracy to vigorously prevent President George Bush from using
Botswana as a spring board for his military and oil based economic
manoeuvres," read the party's petition. SADC had set a target of next year
to reach full regional integration but differences over issues such as
immigration and on how to deal with states that refuse to adhere agreed
democratic and political principles such as Zimbabwe are seen delaying its
success. Mr Lloyd Nhuka of the University of Botswana says the setting up of
AFRICOM in either Botswana or South Africa will further polarise the region
as it would fuel suspicion among political leaders. He said some countries
such as Zimbabwe "were challenging US hegemony" while others were seen
embracing "the superpower's policies." Unfortunately SADC will become the
battle ground for competing US and Chinese interests to the detriment of
regional peace," he said.

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Zim human rights crisis under UN spotlight

      :: The Southern African
      Friday, 14 September 2007

      GENEVA - The human rights crisis in Zimbabwe came up for discussion at
the on-going 6th Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council here
with Zimbabwe not taking kindly to criticism by the European Union.

      On Thursday UN Human Rights Commissioner, Louise Arbour, delivered a
report noting that her office was experiencing continued delays with the
planned deployment of a Senior Human Rights Advisor to Zimbabwe.

      The UNHRC has for a while been intending to send its own
representative to the southern African country to ascertain reports of human
rights abuses by President Robert Mugabe's government and its proxies.

      Arbour's report was followed by another from EU representative,
Francisco Xavier Esteves who made a strong statement about the crisis in
Zimbabwe and said that the EU remains deeply concerned about the human
rights situation there.

      "The EU regrets that repressive legislation, but also its arbitrary
application, is being systematically used by the government of Zimbabwe to
curtail freedom of expression and association," said Esteves.

      "We call on national authorities to respect their international human
rights obligations and the rule of law," he said.

      Using its right of reply, the Zimbabwe government said it reserves the
right to enact legislation that protects its national security and
sovereignty. It accused the EU of causing the suffering of Zimbabweans
through its sanctions imposed in 2003.

      Ironically, Portugal, the current EU chair is threatening to break the
sanctions by inviting President Mugabe to an EU-Africa summit in December.

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Stop! Africa wants to get off the bus

by Albert Brenner

September 14, 2007 01:44 PM EST

The last meeting of the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) saw
Robert Mugabe, the despot of Zimbabwe, lauded and applauded like no other
African leader since god Mandela himself.

Now, one will definitely be justified in asking why a brutal dictator, who
has deliberately ruined his country (80% unemployment, 12 000% inflation,
one-third of the population in exile, etc), is treated as a hero by his
African peers.

Well, the answer can be found in what Mugabe has termed the 'Second
Liberation'. The First Liberation obviously being de-colonialization
followed by black self-rule. Brushing aside the obligatory old-hat Marxist
rhetoric and fashionable anti-White platitudes, one quickly comes to the
stark realization that what Mugabe has in mind is firstly, a recipe for ruin
untold and, secondly, rationally unavoidable.

His current endeavour to rid Zimbabwe of all whites, and all that they
represent (e.g. modern science, Western morality, capitalism, etc) is coldly
indicative of his intention to reassert his country/culture's original
African identity. His methods might appear insanely irrational to us, but
the rationale underpinning them is faultless. For to reassert (re-actualize)
the original identity of an African country automatically implies the
negation of all that which is not historically indigenous to it.

Unlike all the cultures of the Alpha-civilizations (Hindi, Sino, Western and
Arab), primitive cultures, like those in Africa, have absolutely no innate
relation to the 'Gestalt' ('form/content') of the modern world. So to get
rid of all that is not originally yours is perfectly rational, if you want
to 'find' your authentic self (identity) again. And this is precisely the
reason why Mugabe is so admired by his peers in Africa. He has, like the
prophet of yesteryear, shown them a way to forever overcome that which the
modern environment has so ruthlessly foisted on them - without their
implicit permission and pro-active participation.

Mugabe's 'Second Liberation' ideology is spreading rapidly. In a keynote
address delivered at an African Diaspora conference held in Paris recently,
Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, the South African Foreign Affairs Minister, boldly
stated; "Our task henceforth is to interpret ourselves, to define ourselves,
to give shape to our own identity, to believe in our own ethics.". The idea
of mineral-rich South Africa persuing its "own ethics" must certainly send a
chill down the spine of big business and forever-meddling CIA
policy-advisors. A fear certainly not unfounded given South Africa's blatant
anti-Western stance as the current Head of the UN Security Council. 'As jy
dom is moet jy kak' (foretold is forewarned), as the Boere would say.

Be that as it may; blaming the environment (the pale male, of course) no
longer butters the bread because none of the other civilizations have
experienced any real difficulties in reaching the most important benchmarks
set for progressive survival like, inter alia, the Industrial, Nuclear and
IT Revolutions. Sub-Saharan Africa, on the other hand, has proven time and
time again that it is still in the dark, literally. And, given Mugabe's hero
status among his peers, it would seem that they would rather remain in the
dark than be willing passengers on the bus of progress.

To endeavour to seek reasons for Africa's inability to adapt to the demands
of the modern world would, like it or not, also have to include examining
the nature side of the Nature vs. Nurture dichotomy - something that must be
avoided at all costs, lest a pale male wants to stand accused of being a
Nazi, a baby seal clubber, a pedophile and an uprooter of saplings. Be that
as it may; the PC excuse to always blame black failure on white prejudice
(i.e. the Western-dominated current global environment) has lost all

The current state of South Africa is a sterling example of what is fated to
happen to a modern country when a primitive people have the leeway to
reassert their all costs. This process, known as
indigenization, or re-primitivization, is characterized by, inter alia,
abysmal levels of corruption, brutal inter-tribal conflict, nepotism and a
collapsing infrastructure. Alas, the sad story of post-colonial Africa.

The results of this specific utopian experiment by the West to enforce
cultural integration between a modern people (the whites) and a primitive
people (Africans) is clear to see when one looks at the near complete
collapse of the criminal justice system, the dismal failure of the black
government to deliver even the most basic state services and the flight of
1.5 million whites since Mandelatopia was dreamt up.

Doomed from the start, this experiment has been underpinned by the feel-good
assumption that both peoples have/had the same skills (be they
psycho-social, moral or cognitive) to start off with. But is this really so?
How should one then otherwise explain, for example, the fact that only 700
out of the 380 000 black South African matrics in 2006 passed HG Maths at C+
level and above? Similarly, why is it that the blacks who took over the
(erstwhile) world-class white-owned commercial farms in Zimbabwe are
producing 87% less than their 'evil' original owners?

Be that as it may; even a very basic understanding of evolution, as applied
to human progress/development, shows that the sustaining and development of
a specific environment is inextricably linked to the innate skills of those
who have adapted (to) it. For example, an 14th-century European would've
perished in an environment in which an Eskimo has thrived for ages.
Similarly, a 16th-century Pacific Islander would most probably have died
ignobly in London at the time from some or other venereal disease, or
smallpox. Nature is merciless and morality is, unfortunately, a mere
contingency when it comes to brutal survival.

Getting back to Mugabe's 'Second Liberation' (or Afro-fascism, to term it
more appropriately); one shudders to contemplate the consequences of his
quest to reassert Africa's original identity, especially given the results
of a not dissimilar endeavour currently underway in the Muslim world. Driven
by a handful of fanatics, this quest on the other side of the world has even
managed to put a spell on moderate (real) Muslims tired of having to dance
to the tunes of the over-bearing West. But then, who can blame them. The
hubris of the West has sacrificed natural diversity on the altar of enforced
equality in order to placate the feel-good sensibilities of those who have
lost their sense of self (identity). Alas, the logical outcome of a
relativist world-view desperately trying to ground itself.

Whether Robert Mugabe is morally entitled (or right) to lead Africa back to
the Iron Age is not for us to judge. How could we then....seeing that we
regard human progress as relative? Be that as it may; the journey will
continue, with or without Africa, because the rest of the passengers on the
bus will only wave once, then continue to station always.

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Southern Africa: Food Insecurity Emergency Appeal no. 05EA023 Final Report

International Federation of Red Cross And Red Crescent Societies (IFRC)

Date: 14 Sep 2007

The Federation's mission is to improve the lives of vulnerable people by
mobilizing the power of humanity. It is the world-s largest humanitarian
organization and its millions of volunteers are active in over 185

In Brief

Interim Final Report; Period covered: 18 October 2005 to 30 September 2006;
Final appeal coverage: 100%.

Appeal history:

- Emergency Appeal launched on 18 October 2005 for CHF 39,360,753 (USD
30,193,299 or EUR 25,301,687) for 9 months to assist some 1.5 million

- Operations Update no. 9, issued on 31 July 2006, revised the Appeal budget
from CHF 39,360,753 to CHF 11,067,382 and extended the operation's timeframe
to 30 September 2006.

- Disaster Relief Emergency Funds (DREF) allocated: CHF 1,160,000.

For longer-term programmes, please refer to the Federation's Annual Appeal.

Background and summary

A combination of HIV and AIDS erratic rain patterns and weakened government
capacities resulted in an increased number of chronically food-insecure
households in seven southern Africa countries namely Lesotho, Malawi,
Mozambique, Namibia, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The most affected
countries were Malawi and Zimbabwe, where an estimated seven million people
experienced severe food deficits. Large areas of Lesotho, Mozambique,
Namibia, Swaziland and Zambia were also adversely affected, bringing the
total number of affected people in the region to 12 million.

At the request of the seven affected Red Cross Societies, the International
Federation, through the Southern Africa regional delegation, conducted a
food security assessment between 18 July and 10 August 2005. The assessment
led to the launching of the Emergency Appeal (05EA023) on 18 October 2005
for CHF 39,360,753. The food security operation addressed immediate food
gaps and reinforced coping mechanisms of resource-poor households affected
by food shortage due to poor crop harvest in the 2004/5 cropping season. It
adopted an integrated short to mid-term food security approach closely
linked to the HIV and AIDS programmes of the Red Cross Societies. The
approach brought together the provision of food and innovative livelihood
projects such as livestock farming, cash distribution, food-for-work,
agricultural starter packs (inputs), backyard gardening and water and
sanitation (WatSan).

For further information specifically related to this operation please

In Harare: Françoise Le Goff, Head of Southern Africa Zone Office, Harare;
email:; telephone +,
+; fax +

In Geneva: John Roche, Federation Regional Officer for Southern Africa Zone,
Geneva; email:; telephone: +41.22.730.44.40, fax:

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