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- may peace, truth and justice prevail.

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Harare plans counter protests at UN
Sat 17 September 2005
  HARARE - The Zimbabwe government has organised to have its supporters
stage demonstrations at the United Nations today in support of President
Robert Mugabe to counter planned anti-Mugabe protests at the same venue, a
top Harare official said on Friday.

      A group of Zimbabwean exiles calling themselves, Association of
Zimbabweans Based Abroad, will today hold demonstrations at the UN's New
York headquarters in a bid to draw the attention of the world body to
Zimbabwe's five-year old political and economic crisis.

      But State Security Minister Didymus Mutasa said the Harare
administration had planned counter protests to show the world it had
supporters beyond Zimbabwe's borders.

      "We knew all along that our enemies will use the UN meeting to paint
us black in front of the world," said Mutasa, who is a close confidante of
Mugabe and oversees state intelligence, food aid distribution and land

      "But we have our own supporters and sympathisers who understand our
cause. They will hold demonstrations in our support. We have organised that
and plans are in place. The world will have a chance to see that we have
supporters, even beyond our borders," he added.

      World leaders are meeting in New York for the UN Summit and Zimbabwean
exiles, many of whom fled home because of hunger or persecution by Mugabe's
government, say they want to use the platform provided by the summit to
showcase the veteran leader's brutality.

      Mugabe addressed the Summit on Wednesday and attacked the West for his
country's problems.

      Zimbabwe is grappling its worst economic crisis that has manifested
itself in shortages of fuel, food, electricity hard cash and almost every
other basic commodity.

      Critics blame the crisis on repression and misrule by Mugabe, chiefly
his seizure of land from white farmers that destabilised the mainstay
agriculture sector and in a large part contributed to perennial food
shortages in the country.

      But Mugabe, who has ruled Zimbabwe since independence from Britain in
1980, denies ruining the once prosperous country and instead blames his
country's problems on sabotage by Western governments out to fix Harare for
seizing land from whites to resettle landless blacks. - ZimOnline

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Zim Online

Zimbabwe opposition, civic groups meet to push for new constitution
Sat 17 September 2005

      HARARE - Zimbabwe opposition, churches, labour and other civic groups
meet in Harare today to plot ways to push for a new and democratic
constitution for the crisis-ridden country.

      But President Robert Mugabe and his ruling ZANU PF party, who last
month used their absolute control of Parliament to force through
controversial constitutional changes, are boycotting the meeting saying
there is nothing to be gained from the meeting.

      A top official of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR),
organisers of the conference, said ZANU PF was invited but added that the
groups would press on with their search for a new constitution even if
Mugabe and his party boycotted the process.

      "We will not be worried if one or two groups do not come, all we did
was to send invites to all stakeholders, including the MDC and ZANU PF,"
said ZLHR director Arnold Tsunga.

      "The MDC has confirmed (that it will attend) but we did not get a
response from ZANU PF . . . but that is not of concern to us if it (ZANU PF)
does not come," Tsunga said.

      ZANU PF spokesman Nathan Shamuyarira was dismissive of today's
gathering labelling it an academic gathering that will not achieve anything.
He told ZimOnline: "What will that conference achieve? It must be a
gathering of people who want (to produce) some academic writings about
constitutional reforms."

      Among the groups scheduled to attend are the Zimbabwe Congress of
Trade Unions, the Zimbabwe Council of Churches, Crisis in Zimbabwe
Coalition, the National Constitutional Assembly, Zimbabwe National Students
Union, Zimbabwe Liberators Platform and the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists.

      ZANU PF last month used its control of Parliament to railroad through
the House a cocktail of constitutional amendments that became effective law
after Mugabe signed them on September 9.

      Under the new constitutional changes, white farmers are banned from
contesting in court seizure of their land by the government.

      The new law also empowers the state to seize passports from citizens
it deems may harm its interests by travelling to foreign countries.

      But human rights groups say the government will use the law to ban
opposition leaders and other critics from travelling outside the country to
highlight state repression.

      The constitutional amendment also provides for a new senate that
analysts say will further strengthen Mugabe and ZANU PF's stranglehold on

      The government denies its constitutional reforms limit civil liberties
and freedoms, for example arguing it needs to curtail the movement of
citizens it accuses of calling for sanctions against the country.

      A government-sponsored proposed new constitution was rejected by
Zimbabweans five years ago after the opposition and civic groups campaigned
against it in a national referendum saying it would have further entrenched
the Mugabe government. - ZimOnline

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Zim Online

MDC postpones Senate decision
Sat 17 September 2005

      HARARE - Zimbabwe's main opposition Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) party on Friday postponed yet again a decision whether to contest an
impending senate election, in what could be a signal of widening divisions
in the party over the matter.

      The opposition party that vehemently opposed but failed to stop the
passing of constitutional amendments providing for the setting up of the
senate had in the past weeks indicated its national executive committee
would decide whether it will contest in the poll that President Robert
Mugabe has said will take place before year-end.

      But party spokesman Paul Themba Nyathi told ZimOnline the executive
had not taken a decision on the matter instead referring it to the party's
national council.

      Nyathi said: "We will have a national council meeting very soon so we
can get rid of this matter as soon as possible."

      He would not be drawn to disclose the details of the executive
committee's recommendation to the council nor would he say when exactly the
council would be meeting to thrash out the election issue.

      Hinting at possible deepening division in the opposition party over
the matter, Nyathi said there were "strong feelings either way" on the
election issue, adding that the council would however have the final say.

      MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai has openly urged his party to boycott the
senate poll saying participating would be tantamount to endorsing Mugabe's
unilateral and controversial constitutional reforms.

      The MDC and its civic society allies has called for an all inclusive
and people-driven process to rewrite Zimbabwe's British-drafted
constitution. But Mugabe and ZANU PF insist Parliament, which they
absolutely control should pen the country's supreme document.

      Tsvangirai also says by contesting the poll, the MDC which claims it
was defrauded of victory by Mugabe and ZANU PF in the last three elections,
would have virtually endorsed that same fraudulent electoral system.

      But some within the party argue that the MDC, which has 41 members in
the House of Assembly, cannot be in one chamber of Parliament and stay out
of the other.

      The MDC would also be surrendering political space to Mugabe and ZANU
PF by boycotting the senate, they say. - ZimOnline

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      Zimbabwe loan talks fall silent after IMF reprieve

      September 16, 2005, 18:30

      Government says talks over a possible loan to help cash-strapped
Zimbabwe have fallen silent since the International Monetary Fund (IMF) gave
Harare a six-month reprieve from possible expulsion. Officials from both
countries had been discussing terms for South Africa to provide funds to
stave off expulsion from the IMF and assist third parties in the purchase of
food and fuel, both subject to severe shortages in Zimbabwe.

      However, Joel Netshitenzhe, the government spokesperson, today said
there had been no contact between officials since an IMF board meeting last
Friday, which deferred any decision on expelling Zimbabwe for up to six
months, the third such postponement in just over a year.

      "Since the IMF meeting there has been no contact to my knowledge,"
Netshitenzhe told journalists, although he declined to comment on
speculation that the loan talks had effectively ended. "There was an
exchange of documents and an agreement that discussions would continue ...
Our understanding is that the Zimbabweans would like to have discussions on
other matters apart from the IMF," he said.

      Netshitenzhe suggested the size of any loan now discussed, may be
reduced in line with the surprise $120 million payment that Zimbabwe made to
the IMF last month, which still leaves it owing $175 million to the fund. "I
suppose it (the loan amount) would be impacted by the amount that they have
paid to the IMF," Netshitenzhe said.

      Source of donation not clear
      It is unclear exactly where the Zimbabwean government got the money
for that payment, although analysts say it may well have come from a variety
of sources including hard currency set aside from platinum exports and
friendly foreign governments. Zimbabwe's economy is mired in crisis, with
chronic shortages of fuel and foreign currency compounded by inflation which
topped 265% in the year to August. The economy has shrunk by about a third
during the past six years.

      Netshitenzhe repeated South Africa's official position that it had not
tried to tie any political conditions to the loan, only normal conditions to
ensure repayment. "With any loan you have to (ensure) proper means to repay
and economic recovery. We are not talking about conditionality," he said.
However, diplomats and South African officials have said Pretoria has indeed
attached conditions of a political nature to any eventual financial

      Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwean president, has insisted through his
spokesperson that no such conditions will be accepted for any loan,
suggesting it would undermine the sovereignty of the country he has led
since independence from Britain in 1980. Critics accuse Mugabe (81) of
triggering the collapse of Zimbabwe's economy by seizing white-owned farms
for landless black Zimbabweans, while he in turn accuses the opposition and
western opponents led by Britain of sabotaging the economy. - Reuters

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Zim 'hunts down' companies
16/09/2005 20:04  - (SA)

Harare - Zimbabwe's central bank chief has rapped key sectors for failing to
remit export earnings of US$150m at a time when the country is short of
foreign currency, the state-controlled Herald newspaper said on Friday.

Gideon Gono told senior business leaders that those with outstanding dues to
the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe would be hunted down, the newspaper said.

"The agriculture sector owes us close to $8m, manufacturing $17m, mining
$53m, tobacco $15m," he said.

He said services and other sectors owed the central bank the rest of the
$150m, adding: "We will be pursuing those with overdue amounts."

After hectic lobbying by Gono in Washington, Zimbabwe got a six-month
reprieve earlier this month when the International Monetary Fund deferred a
decision to expel Harare for debt arrears.

This was after Harare - in arrears since 2001 - in a suprise move paid back
$120m of its debt. The remaining debt to the IMF now stands at around $175m.

According to sources close to the government, Zimbabwe will now try and pay
back $50m in the next six months.
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Fuel Crisis Hits Prisons

The Herald (Harare)

September 16, 2005
Posted to the web September 16, 2005


BUSINESS was low at the Harare and Chitungwiza magistrates' courts yesterday
after the Zimbabwe Prison Services failed to bring prisoners due to the
obtaining fuel crisis.

Prisoners who were supposed to come for routine remand had to be remanded in
absentia while other cases at different stages had to be postponed to later

Witnesses were also turned away and warned of new dates for the same cases.

Senior court officials at the Harare magistrates' courts confirmed yesterday
that the failure by the prison authorities to bring prisoners to court was
due to the lack of fuel.

Some lawyers with incarcerated clients had to make different applications
for the clients in their absence.

Several prison officers could be seen milling around at the court premises
while others manned the courtrooms for new people who had to be remanded in

At the Chitungwiza magistrates' courts, the prisoners were last seen on
Friday last week but the prison officers were attending court proceedings,
processing warrants of detention and warrants of liberation while the
suspects were remanded in absentia.

Yesterday, the situation was made worse as all the prison officers failed to
appear at the courts.

There were no warrants of detention or liberation processed for all those
who were in remand prison or removed from remand since prison officers
normally process the documents.
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'Zim Working Out Modalities to Be Self-Sufficient in Electricity'

The Herald (Harare)

September 16, 2005
Posted to the web September 16, 2005


ZIMBABWE is working out modalities that will enable it to be self-sufficient
and stop importing electricity by 2007, the Zimbabwe Electricity Regulatory
Commiss-ion (ZERC) said yesterday.

The Commission said this during a meeting with Vice President Cde Joice
Mujuru in Harare yesterday.

"By 2007, Zimbabwe will not import electricity from the DRC (Democratic
Republic of Congo) or South Africa and is currently working towards
generating enough electricity for the country," the Commission said.

ZERC, chaired by commissioner-general Dr Mavis Chidz-onga, also outlined
some of the problems and challenges faced by Zesa Holdings.

According to Newsnet, during the meeting, Cde Mujuru said the problem was
that plans were only on paper but were not being implemented.

ZERC is an independent regulatory body established in August 2003 against
the background of a monopolistic electricity industry where the Zesa had
been the sole provider of electricity.

The commission's prime function is to establish and regulate an effective
electricity supply structure, to create a level field to enable competition
and to licence and regulate all companies involved in the generation,
transmission and distribution of electricity.

It also seeks to create, promote and preserve efficient industry and market
structures for the provision of electricity services and to ensure the
optimal utilisation of resources for the provision of such services.
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Soldiers barred from retiring

      By Lance Guma
      16 September 2005

      The Zimbabwe National Army has issued a directive blocking all
retirements until after the 2008 presidential election. A colonel in the
army told Newsreel his application for retirement was blocked, even though
he has reached the 20 year service ceiling for employment in the army. The
other criteria is that upon reaching the age of fifty you are allowed to
quit the army. That in principle is how the army structures its contracts.

      Whatever is happening in the upper echelons of power has forced a
rethink. Retired Army Colonel Essau Sibanda says Mugabe does not trust the
young soldiers to fill the shoes of the senior officials. The army is
dominated by veterans of Zimbabwe's liberation war and most of these are
trusted by the ruling party. Colonel Sibanda senses a desire by the
government to hang on to the soldiers it trusts, rather than to make way for
new blood.

      A few days back we reported how a crippling food crisis has led to
junior army officers being sent home from barracks following the army's
failure to feed them. The police force and the prison service have also been
badly affected. The move has proved unpopular with some of the soldiers who
live far from the barracks and have to face transport nightmares due to the
current fuel crisis.

      SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
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Food shortages looming while government hides crucial information

      By Tererai Karimakwenda
      16 September 2005

      The veil of secrecy surrounding Zimbabwe's food situation has
thickened as the shortages have become more unmanageable. It is as though
the officials in charge are afraid to reveal the truth because they think
the public would panic. But Zimbabweans who have been standing in queues and
searching for food on the black market know by now that the shortages are
real. The whole country is aware that there is a shortage of food, fuel,
seeds, fertiliser, foreign currency and so on and so on. To deny is
dangerously misleading.

      Last week the permanent secretary in the agriculture ministry, Simon
Pazvakavambwa, dared to tell the truth at a meeting of business leaders. He
said that the country had only three weeks' supply of maize in stock. For
this Pazvakavambwa was reprimanded. The man should actually be praised. In
South Africa and other countries, grain statistics are made available to the
public. Yet Zimbabwean officials continue to guard this vital information.

      Didymus Mutasa's state security ministry has been given the task of
managing the food crisis. But he seems to be managing it like a spy agency,
keeping crucial information from concerned stakeholders. Maize and wheat
have been designated "strategic grains" and information about them is
      There is also a five-member ministerial taskforce on grain, which
Mutasa runs as well. It includes Agriculture Minister Joseph Made, Finance
Minister Herbert Murerwa, Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo and
Social Welfare Minister Nicholas Goche. Unfortunately, there is nothing any
of them can do. Critics say they are simply part of the problem.

      Government has also turned to the United Nations Development Programme
(UNDP) seeking assistance to boost agricultural production. On Thursday
Agriculture minister Joseph Made met UNDP officials. According to reports,
Made said they were reviewing the whole agricultural sector but nothing
concrete was concluded.

      SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
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MDC Senate meeting

      By Tichaona Sibanda
      16 September 2005

      The national executive of the MDC began their key meeting on Friday to
decide on a possible boycott of Senate elections set for the end of this

      Party spokesman Maxwell Zimuto said a decision on the outcome of the
meeting was expected later on Friday. The opposition party holds 41 seats in
the 150 seat Parliament, and has already dismissed the upper house as a
distraction from Zimbabwe's mounting economic and political troubles.

      Bekithemba Mhlanga, a political analyst, said the MDC should stick to
its word and boycott the elections because the party has from the onset
vigorously campaigned against the re-introduction of the Senate.

      The 66-member upper house of Parliament will comprise 10 traditional
chiefs, 50 elected senators and six appointed by Robert Mugabe. Other
clauses in the widely condemned constitutional reforms include provisions
barring white farmers from legally challenging land grabs and preventing
government critics from travelling outside the country.

      SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
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Zimbabwe central bank hikes interest rates again

Harare, Zimbabwe, 09/16 - The central bank in Zimbabwe Thursday raised
interest rates, the fifth time in two months, in a bid to contain rising

The unsecured repo rate went up 10 percentage points to 290 percent from 280
percent, and the secured one to 280 percent from 270 percent.

The latest hike, which follows another two and half weeks ago, was in
response to August inflation figures released earlier in the week which
showed 10 percentage point increase on the July figure to 265.1 percent.

Zimbabwe is grappling with a sustained economic crisis, underlined by high
inflation, lack of foreign currency and food shortages.

But the central bank says inflation posed the greatest danger to the
economy, and has been using interest rates to contain it.

It had planned to reduce it to 80 percent by year-end, but the target
appears increasingly illusive.
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Citizen, SA

      Wildlife dies in Zimbabwe drought
      HARARE - Elephants and buffaloes are dying of starvation in a
wildlife-rich area of western Zimbabwe, the state-controlled Herald reported
      The paper said at least four elephant calves and several buffaloes had
died recently in the Matetsi area near Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe's prime
tourist resort.
      "I am aware that several buffaloes were reported dead in the last
three weeks," Tourism Minister Francis Nhema was quoted as saying.
      A wildlife expert blamed the drought for the deaths.
      "What is happening does not surprise me because we received poor rains
the last season and animals during this time tend to walk long distances to
get water and in search of appropriate food.
      "It is during these long journeys ... that they suffer from
malnutrition and the vulnerable eventually die," Chris Foggin of the
Department of Veterinary Service told the Herald.
      Comments from an official from the Parks and Wildlife Management
Authority show Zimbabwe's current diesel shortage may also be partly to
      The authority's spokesman Edward Mbewe said there was a "delay in
diesel supplies, which is used to pump water engines scattered across the
sanctuary," the Herald said. He said the animals rely on pumped water for
      But Mbewe said it was also possible the elephants had died "of a
mysterious disease".
      Zimbabwe's once-thriving wildlife sector has taken a knock since the
launch of the government's land reform programme five years ago, which saw
several privately-run wildlife conservancies invaded by settlers searching
for land to farm. - Sapa-dpa.
     16/09/2005 17:10:50
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Daily News, SA

      The scramble for Africa II
      September 16, 2005

      By Hans Pienaar

      A new scramble for Africa is taking place, with transnational
corporations (TNCs) vastly expanding mining operations on the continent for
hugely increased amounts of raw materials.

      This time they are aided not by imperial governments, as in the 1880s
when the term "Scramble for Africa" was first used, but by subsidies from
post-colonial African governments.

      This emerged from the latest Unctad (United Nations Conference on
Trade and development) report on foreign direct investment in Africa.
Following the publication of the organisation's latest co-efficients, which
found that the gap between the rich and the poor is by far the highest in
Africa, the report reinforces a diagnosis of the continent as being at the
mercy of alliances among TNCs and self-enriching local elites.

      Top of the roost in such a diagnosis would be the continent's
oiligarchies - "all but one of the top 10 FDI recipients in 2003 had
significant mineral and petroleum reserves," says the report. In most of
these countries rich families or clans stay in power by using receipts from
oil concessions to dispense jobs and favours to supporters and sycophants.

      The best example remains Zimbabwe, where taxation of foreign mining
companies - often South African-based - allows the Zanu-PF core to stay
immune from the dreadful outcomes of president Robert Mugabe's erratic
revolutionary experiments.

      Globalisation and the telecommunications revolution has steadily
eroded what little power Third World governments had to try to control the
renewed invasions by TNCs who are always several steps ahead through their
constant retooling of technologies. They have little power to combat
concerted drives - backed by highly-paid teams of legal eagles - to override
constitutional measures standing in the way of TNC activities.

      On the ground the tangible result is a new form of annexation, the
seizure of slivers of land that carry pipelines and other infrastructure and
which is under full control of TNCs and their private security companies.
Especially in Africa such annexes have been turned into what is for all
practical purposes foreign soil, off limits to local citizens who are not
menial or sex workers.

      The Unctad presented the picture in stark figures to the world on
Tuesday. Foreign direct investment (FDI) in Africa increased more than
ninefold from the 1980s to 2004 to $18 billion annually.

      Unctad chose to assume that the governments courting FDI were acting
with altruistic motives, and had high "expectations" for the populations
they claim to represent. So Unctad Secretary-General Supachai Panitchpakdi's
verdict came across as rather euphemistic: "The expectation for FDI to
create growth, to create diversification, technology spillover and jobs has
not really been fully realised."

      A press release continued with the exercise in understatement, saying
that "benefits for anyone but the investors have been few". However, it
could not avoid dropping tell-tale phrases pointing to the real state of

      Many African countries have opened their doors to foreign investors,
in the process offering "incentives" the press release calls "a kind of

      The report continues that "the idea that Africa is a reluctant host to
foreign capital is a myth", a startling statement in the light of, for
instance, Zimbabwe's desperate struggle to lay hands on some American
dollars to pay for fuel.

      "On the contrary, the Report notes, attracting FDI has become the
industrial policy of choice for many governments ... displacing policies to
nurture local firms and encourage domestic investment."

      Less kind observers might remark that all of this means African
officials prefer to work on the cocktail and canape circuit, laying the
groundwork for bribes, rather than help their compatriots to set up their
own businesses. The press release does talk, to be fair, of a "race to the
bottom", as African officials compete among each other in a free market of

      In the 1880s the pattern of foreign endeavour was set early, with
foreign "compounds" being built, and colonial forces ready with their
Gatling machine guns to keep the "natives" away from them.

      Today these are replaced with high walls, electrified fences and
ill-trained security companies - similar to the apartheid-style "golf
estates" slammed recently by president Thabo Mbeki - and they safeguard
"natives" and foreigners.

      The compounds increasingly display Taiwanese architecture, as African
governments have at least developed Look East policies similar to that of
Mugabe and former Namibian president Sam Nujoma to build their new
governmental palaces.

      Such FDI laagers are called "investment enclaves" by Unctad, where
capital remained locked and did little to help the surrounding economies.

      "FDI flows were heavily concentrated in terms of both home and host
countries, largely attracted to enclaves of export-oriented primary
production using imported technology and intermediate inputs. This has
proved a persistent legacy; up to 80% of annual flows in the 1990s were
still going to the primary sector."

      Which means that the same firms that exploited Africa in the last
century before the last, are still doing so, albeit under new names and
brands. Indeed, "history has a habit of repeating itself," the report
observes. "In the past, foreign firms steered a development course for
Africa at odds with local needs."

      African officials and politicians who cash in while the cow lasts, are
described thus: "Failure to consider these costs can orient the incentive
structure toward quick returns, speculative investments and short-term

      The more things change, the more they stay the same. At least Unctad
is new.

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