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

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Mail & Guardian
Zim land use 'criminal', says Reserve Bank head

Harare, Zimbabwe

21 September 2005 11:10

The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe's governor says the poor way in which new farmers are using land is "criminal", the state-controlled Herald newspaper reported on Wednesday.

Bemoaning falling agricultural yields in Zimbabwe, Gideon Gono said 1 000 commercial farmers have indicated they will produce a "pathetic" 60 000 tonnes of maize in total in the coming season.

"It is criminal, the manner in which we are using land. We only need to understand that our neighbour South Africa can achieve five to eight tonnes of maize per hectare or even 15 tonnes a hectare using irrigation, and here we are priding ourselves at 0,5 tonnes per hectare," Gono told a parliamentary committee.

Zimbabwe needs at least 1,8-million tonnes of maize a year to feed its population. This year, President Robert Mugabe's government has already indicated that it will have to import that amount of grain.

Press reports last week said the Southern African country -- once known as the breadbasket of the region -- is heading for another disastrous farming season.

Agricultural production has plummeted here since the launch of the land-reform programme in 2000. Farms have been seized from more than 4 000 white commercial farmers and given to new black farmers.

The Reserve Bank governor said some new commercial farmers have applied for loans at favourable rates, indicating that the money will be used for farming ventures, "but ended up buying items like luxury Pajero vehicles that had nothing to do with agriculture", the Herald said.

"Those who want luxury cars should buy them at market rates and not ... abuse public funds," Gono said.

Some government officials in Zimbabwe appear to be becoming increasingly exasperated with the country's repeated crop failures.

Vice-President Joyce Mujuru last week said Zimbabwe's poverty is "man-made".

But Agriculture Minister Joseph Made insisted this week that the country is heading for a "bumper harvest". -- Sapa-DPA
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Sunday Times
Zimbabwe viewers desert ZTV

Wednesday September 21, 2005 11:38 - (SA)

JOHANNESBURG - Thousands of Zimbabwean television viewers are deserting their country's ZTV and opting for foreign networks via satellite as uneconomic licence fees have crippled ZTV's programming, Zimbabwe's Herald Online reported.
A snap survey conducted by The Herald revealed that an increasing number of television viewers were opting to pay millions of Zimbabwe dollars monthly to view South Africa-headquartered MultiChoice's DStv programmes or invest similarly huge amounts in special decoders giving free access to foreign television stations.
Some of these popular television stations include Botswana Television (Btv), SABC channels and
Those who watch SABC and do so via special decoders such as Vivid, Pace and Fortec Star, which are being imported from South Africa and Dubai and sold for anything above ZIM4 million in Zimbabwe.
A flip through the classified advertisement pages of leading daily and weekly newspapers reveals a roaring trade in decoders and satellites and their installation.
Although DStv has about 20,000 subscribers in Zimbabwe, this figure does not reflect the total number of people who view free channels accessed on satellite dishes.
According to the survey, Zimbabweans are now opting to tune in to Btv because it is free and has a wide variety of local and foreign programmes, including popular Western soaps.
Viewers interviewed said they were switching to foreign channels because they offered a wider and better variety such as free religious channels for both Christians and Muslims, soap operas and better produced programmes and broadcasting of high quality, The Herald reported.

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Sunday Times
Operation Bring Back Maize

Wednesday September 21, 2005 11:19 - (SA) 

HARARE - Zimbabwe's Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono wants to launch an operation to compel farmers to hand over maize as the southern African country faces food shortages, a newspaper reported today.

Speaking before parliament's agriculture committee, the central bank chief said there was "a lot of maize and seed people were holding on to."

"I will suggest that since we are good at operations, we need to launch 'Operation Bring Back Maize'", he was quoted as saying by the privately owned Daily Mirror.

Zimbabwe in the last four months launched "Operation Murambatsvina" (Drive out filth), a urban slum demolition blitz the UN said left some 700,000 people homeless, followed by the homebuilding campaign dubbed "Operation Garikai/Hlalani Kuhle" (Live Well).

The UN World Food Programme estimates that four million Zimbabweans are in need of food aid but the government of President Robert Mugabe has said 2.4 million are hungry in a country of close to 13 million.

Gono also blasted new commercial farmers who have taken over land from previous white owners, whose properties have been expropriated by the state, for not producing enough.

"I want to deplore our level of yields which is very low, pathetically low," the paper quoted Gono as saying.

"It is an insult to the land reform programme. It is nothing short of criminal," he said adding that some people were using farms allocated to them as "holiday resorts or assets to show off with."

Zimbabwe has since 2000 seized some 4,000 farms and redistributed them to landless blacks under its land reform programme. Fewer than 500 white commercial farmers remain. The Grain Marketing Board (GMB) this week said it had enough maize, the country's staple, to feed the population of around 13 million, but a top agricultural official said the country's stock had been depleted.

Simon Pazvakavambwa, permanent secretary in the agriculture ministry, said earlier this month that only three weeks' supply of maize remained. Pazvakavambwa said the shortage was brought about by drought and the increasing prevalence of subsistence agriculture.

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Mail & Guardian
Zimbabwe: 'Wait, see and hope'

Washington, United States

21 September 2005 07:20

A panel of experts on Zimbabwe admitted frustration on Tuesday that international pressure against President Robert Mugabe has failed to weaken his hold on power.

Tom Woods, a top African affairs official at the United States State Department, said the grim prospect for Zimbabweans is that Mugabe will remain in power until his term ends in 2008.

Under Mugabe's rule, Woods said, the Southern African country has suffered an economic decline of 40% in recent years and a brain drain that is probably irreversible.

Zimbabwe could become "a failed state or a failing state," Woods said, speaking to a gathering at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies.

He said the world should support growing pressures for change in Zimbabwe and act to save the people of Zimbabwe from the "worst aspects" of Mugabe's rule.

In recent years, he said, the United States has provided $300-million in food aid to Zimbabwe, "a country that used to feed itself and the region".

The United States has been denying visas to top Zimbabwean government officials for years, and Woods said that policy may be extended to their family members.

Chris Maroleng, a Zimbabwean citizen who addressed the centre by videophone hookup from South Africa, said the African Union must speak out more forcefully against Mugabe.

He added that South Africa, "instead of providing support for Mugabe, should do nothing".

John Prendergast, of the International Crisis Group, which monitors global trouble spots, derided what he called "the wait, see and hope" attitude of the outside world toward Zimbabwe.

Its pressure consists of "small twigs, not meaningful sticks" and "does not influence policy-makers in Zimbabwe," Prendergast said.

Bus operators arrested
Meanwhile, police in the Zimbabwean capital Harare have arrested 770 bus operators this week for overcharging passengers, the state-controlled Herald newspaper reported on Wednesday.

Mugabe's government hiked fuel prices by more than 130% earlier this month, prompting many bus operators to more than double their fares.

But any increases have first to be approved by the authorities. The new fares were not approved, the paper said.

"We appreciate that there is a shortage of fuel in the country and that commuter omnibus operators have expenses to meet, but it is always wise to abide by the law," police spokesperson Loveness Rupere told the newspaper.

Rupere said the 770 bus operators had been arrested starting on Monday. They had all been fined 25 000 Zimbabwe dollars (about $1) per passenger and made to pay back what was overcharged, he said. - Sapa-AP, Sapa-DPA
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Cape Argus
Zim faces new US ban

September 21, 2005

  By Peter Fabricius

The US is considering tightening its sanctions against the leadership of Zimbabwe's ruling Zanu-PF party, a senior American official says.

Tom Woods, deputy assistant secretary for African Affairs, said the US might expand the targeted travel sanctions against President Robert Mugabe and the Zanu-PF leadership to include members of their families as well as new cabinet ministers appointed since the March parliamentary elections.

The US would also look at the businesses of party leaders.

"We know it (sanctions) works. They may say it doesn't, but it's having an effect," Woods said at a seminar yesterday in Washington and Pretoria of the Centre for Strategic and International Studies. Participants in the two cities were linked by video. 

He said the US would continue to stand with the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) as the "best hope for democracy" despite criticism of it.

John Prendergast of the International Crisis Group criticised the international community for investing too much support in the MDC, which had failed to mobilise Zimbabweans against Mugabe's government.

He also criticised countries for beating Mugabe's regime with "small twigs" not "real sticks" and for relying on South Africa and other regional leaders to influence Mugabe. This would never happen, he said.
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Mail & Guardian
Somali refugees trek 4 000km, surrender to Zim police

Harare, Zimbabwe

21 September 2005 12:02

A group of Somali asylum seekers have arrived in Zimbabwe after a six-month trek over 4 000km from their Horn of African nation, a newspaper reported on Wednesday.

The Herald said "at least" 26 Somalis, including two women, had surrendered to police in Harare on Monday after "trickling into the country" in smaller groups from Mozambique.

"It remains puzzling how the group found its way deep into the country and up to central Harare, undetected by security forces," said the newspaper. Its reporter was permitted to interview the refugees who said they had surrendered to the Zimbabwean police because they were starving and exhausted after their journey, which was mainly on foot.

"There is hunger and war in our country and Zimbabwe is safe for us," the newspaper quoted a group leader as saying.

Somalia has been wracked by clan warfare and lacked a central government since 1991. Zimbabwe, which itself is in deep economic crisis with a looming famine, has in the past taken in asylum seekers from wars in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Burundi, but the trek from Somalia was believed to set a record.

Police Inspector Loveless Rupere said they were taken to a refugee transit camp in the southern suburb of Waterfalls after preliminary processing by Zimbabwean immigration officials.

They had no passports, and the authorities were still considering whether the group was eligible for refugee status, said Rupere.

It was unclear which countries -- apart from Mozambique -- the Somalis transited and whether they had asked for refuge elsewhere.

In April this year, a group of 42 Somalis applied for asylum in Malawi after a 2 200km trek which lasted two and a half months.

Large numbers of Somalis have escaped their country's chaos to neighbouring Kenya, but often find they are viewed with resentment and suspicion in that impoverished country. Others attempt a dangerous crossing of the Gulf of Aden to Yemen, hoping to go on from there to Saudi Arabia or even Europe. - Sapa-AP
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The Herald

770 commuter omnibus operators arrested, fined

Herald Reporter
POLICE in Harare have arrested and fined 770 commuter omnibus operators who were found overcharging fares by more than 100 percent.

Any fare increase requires Government approval, which has not been given in this instance.

In an interview yesterday, police spokesperson Inspector Loveless Rupere said police had arrested and fined the motorists since Monday.

The culprits are being fined $25 000 per passenger and being ordered to pay back the passengers the overcharged fee.

"For example, if 20 passengers were overcharged, the operator would be fined $25 000 multiplied by 20 passengers. The total fine would be $500 000,’’ he said. On an advisory note, Insp Rupere said people should learn to abide by the regulations and not take the law into their hands.

"We appreciate that there is a shortage of fuel in the country and that commuter omnibus operators have expenses to meet, but it is always wise to abide by the law.

"The operators should wait for the Government to announce the legal fares and desist from overcharging," said Insp Rupere.

"Police will make sure that anyone caught overcharging will be brought to book and pay the required fine," he said.

Transporters unilaterally increased the fares without Government’s approval after fuel prices went up by more than 100 percent about two weeks ago, biting deeper into the pockets of commuters.

Whenever the operators raise fares, they do so in a haphazard manner, making it difficult to ascertain the exact charge for a particular trip. Commuters travelling from outlying Chitungwiza are forking out an average of $30 000 for a trip into Harare, while those travelling from high-density suburbs within the municipal precincts now pay an average of $15 000 to get into town.

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Zimbabwe: Mugabe’s clean-up victims flock back to squatter camps

BULAWAYO -- About 200 people expelled to rural areas under the government’s controversial urban clean-up campaign have flocked back to squatter camps near Bulawayo city because there is no food in the villages.

Church leaders in Zimbabwe’s second largest city on Tuesday said dozens of families forcibly evicted by the government from Killarney and Ngozi Mine squatter camps, just outside Bulawayo, were back at the sites rebuilding their destroyed shacks.

A spokesman of Churches in Bulawayo (CIB), grouping together several religious organisations helping the displaced people, predicted many of the people evicted from shantytown homes and city backyard cottages would return to the city in the coming days.

“At the moment, about 200 people are back in these camps (Ngozi and Killarney) but the number is likely to rise as we continue to get reports of people literally struggling to make ends meet in the rural areas,” the CIB official Paterson Netha, said.

He added: “Those that we have spoken to say there is no food where they had been resettled. Others say local chiefs met them with a hostile attitude.”

The church official urged the government to abandon rhetoric and appeal to the international community for food aid for the displaced people.

According to United Nations envoy Anna Tibaijuka, at least 700 000 people were left homeless and without food or income after the government destroyed thousands of homes and informal business kiosks in a campaign President Robert Mugabe has said was necessary to smash crime and restore the beauty of Zimbabwe’s cities and towns.

Tibaijuka said another 2.4 million people were also affected by the clean-up campaign codenamed Operation Murmbatsvina (Operation Drive out Filth) by the state.

The UN envoy, who said the government exercise may have violated international law, said it had also worsened the humanitarian situation in Zimbabwe where four million people or a third of the country’s population were already facing starvation after a poor harvest last farming season.

The Harare administration has complicated the hunger situation by placing obstacles to outside help for the victims of its clean-up exercise. More than 30 tonnes of food donated by the South African Council of Churches took more than a month before the food could be handed over to hungry people because the authorities would not timeously clear the aid.

Mugabe, who earlier this week criticised the United States for focusing on the Zimbabwe home demolitions while neglecting its own victims of Hurricane Katrina in the US Gulf Coast, has also blocked efforts by the UN to raise US$30 million worth of aid for victims of the clean-up campaign.

But the UN is expected to send a top official to Harare in the coming weeks to negotiate with Mugabe’s government to let in humanitarian aid from the world body. - ZimOnline

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Economic sanctions undermine Zimbabwe's economy

By Tawanda Hondora
Last updated: 09/21/2005 08:24:42
WHAT has caused Zimbabwe’s once stable economy to so spectacularly collapse?
Many in the world place the blame on Robert Mugabe, the country’s President
Among the issues usually cited are Mugabe’s land policies, endemic corruption, Zimbabwe’s involvement in the DRC war, absence of the rule of law, and other ill-conceived economic policies.
It is also argued that Mugabe’s political intolerance, electoral fraud and gross human rights abuses have contributed to the country’s economic malaise.
Indeed, it is true that each one of these often cited factors has contributed, or provides an explanation to Zimbabwe’s current economic problems. However, western countries and media almost collectively ignore one other significant factor responsible for the country’s economic collapse: economic sanctions imposed by the US, the EU, and Australia against Zimbabwe.
Given that Mugabe’s often cited and main transgression, which has given rise to the country’s international isolation, was his forcible expropriation of farmland owned by the country’s white farmers, and the implications of his actions for the respect of private property rights and investments in the region, this collective amnesia is hardly surprising.
It is often argued that the sanctions in place against Zimbabwe are not economic in nature; rather, the argument goes, there is in existence a regime of smart sanctions, which targets specific ZANU PF loyalists.
This is not true.
Zimbabwe’s economic woes are the direct result of a concerted and systematic campaign to effect regime change through an economic implosion.
Zimbabwe has a critical shortage of foreign currency. However for the past four years or so, Zimbabwe has been unable to obtain finance or credit facilities from international lenders to inject into the economy. And this is a direct consequence of a sanctions regime imposed against the Zimbabwe by particularly the US, and the EU.
That Mugabe is an evil, brutal, dictator that needs to be removed from office is not in doubt. It is however immoral to cause the removal of Mugabe from office by precipitating the collapse of a developing, only recently independent, now famine-ravished African country through an economic sanctions regime.
The US introduced economic sanctions on Zimbabwe through the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act, 2001. (ZIDERA) Through this enactment Zimbabwe’s access to finance and credit facilities was effectively incinerated.
ZIDERA empowers the US to use its voting rights and influence (as the main donor) in multilateral lending agencies, such as the IMF, World Bank, and the African Development Bank to veto any applications by Zimbabwe for finance, credit facilities, loan rescheduling, and international debt cancellation. The US cites Zimbabwe’s human rights record, political intolerance and absence of rule of law as the main reasons for the imposition of sanctions. The ZIDERA also suggests that if Zimbabwe acts to correct these ills, then the sanctions will be removed and economic support measures are suggested.
Simply put, owing to the size of the US vote and influence in these institutions, neither the IMF, World Bank nor the African Development Bank will lend to Zimbabwe, or offer it credit facilities. Therefore, needless to say, as a direct result of the US 2001 Act, Zimbabwe’s relationship with these multilateral lending agencies was immediately and severely affected.
In addition, Zimbabwe’s ability to reschedule its loan payments and to apply for debt cancellations in times of severe financial crisis was severely affected.
And once the IMF and World Bank stopped doing business with Zimbabwe, this had an immediate and adverse impact on Zimbabwe’s credit and investment rating. And with a drop in investment rating went the dream of low cost capital on the international markets.
ZIDERA was a masterstroke. At the stroke of a pen, Zimbabwe’s access to international credit markets was blocked. And relying purely on barter trade, and trade, mining, agricultural concessions, and on exports-generated foreign currency, Zimbabwe’s economy has been slowly but surely asphyxiated.
And the consequent foreign currency crisis has resulted in the continued devaluation of the domestic currency, rapid inflation, and all else that has manifested itself in the current Zimbabwe economic crisis.
In addition, both the US and the EU have frozen financial and other assets of persons, or companies linked to ZANU PF. It is alleged that such companies sustain the ZANU PF government. There may be a grain of truth in that observation. However, what is often ignored in the race to rid Zimbabwe of Mugabe is that companies operating in Zimbabwe provide a livelihood to thousands of families, and contribute to the development of the country.
Australia is reported to have denied Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe officials’ business visas to travel to Australia. And the US is putting in place a raft of measures aimed at specified ZANU PF linked individuals, their families, and companies.
It is apparent therefore some of the most powerful countries in the world have put in place measures to bring about the downfall of Mr. Mugabe by orchestrating the economic collapse of Zimbabwe. It is wrong to conflate Zimbabwe with the personality of Mugabe. They are two distinct entities. It cannot be right to say that economic support will be provided to the country once its leader is out of power. As Zimbabwe, all too dearly knows following the Lancester House Agreement of 1979 on the land question, such promises are impossible to enforce.
No matter how evil a dictator Mugabe is, it cannot be right to force his downfall by killing off the country’s fledgling economy, by erasing the gains made after 1980, and worsening the AIDS, and unemployment crisis.
Those championing the imposition of the economic sanctions often retort that Zimbabwe’s ability to borrow from the IMF and World Bank was restricted in any event because it had fallen foul of its agreements with the IMF. This argument is however disingenuous. It ignores the other more vicious consequences of ZIDERA on the Zimbabwean economy.
In addition, the suggestion that what is in existence is a regime of symbolic travel bans and some asset freezes is far from the truth.
It is correct that Zimbabwe must be made to pay its debts, including money that it owes the IMF. However, in the circumstances of Zimbabwe, going through a financial crisis, it is immoral for the IMF to insist on the payment of over US$175 million on pain of expulsion from the institution for non payment.
Zimbabwe recently managed to stave its expulsion from the IMF by reportedly paying £150 million towards its debt obligations to the institution. It was all too obvious however that Zimbabwe paid the money out of desperation. The country cannot afford the payment it made. Zimbabwe paid the money because, owing to US influence among others, it was unable to formally reschedule its IMF loan payments. Amidst all this, it is reported that the country has critical foreign currency shortages, has run dry of fuel and other essentials, has record high unemployment levels, and now has crippling inflation rates. In addition, the UN suggests Zimbabwe is suffering from famine.
The suggestion that Zimbabwe’s economy is what it is because of mismanagement is partly true but misleading. What Mugabe has done is to mismanage the endemic crisis caused by the country’s inability to access capital, which in turn are the result of a raft of economic sanctions in place against the country.
There are no doubt other reasons why Zimbabwe’s economy is in the doldrums; chief of which are myopic, ill-advised ZANU PF government policies and corruption. But one cannot ignore the damaging effect the sanctions have had on the economy and how the country and its economy are being slowly asphyxiated by the blockade on access to international capital markets.
The question has to be asked: are the US, EU, Australia, and the MDC, any closer to removing Mugabe from power because of the economic sanctions currently in place? Is it not true that an economically independent people are much more likely to vote or rebel against a brutal dictator?
Yes, Mugabe must be removed from power, as must the institutions he has created to bolster his political power. However, this is likely to remain a pipe dream for as long as the prevailing philosophy supports the destruction of the country’s economy.
Tawanda Hondora is a Zimbabwean lawyer currently studying towards a PhD at Warwick University in England. He be contacted at
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Zim Online
Zimdollar plunges on parallel market
Wed 21 September 2005

HARARE – The Zimbabwe dollar on Tuesday lost heavily against the United States dollar on the country’s foreign currency parallel market as the hard cash-spinning tobacco auction season came to a close on a dull note.
The parallel market, thriving on the back of deepening forex shortages, is illegal but remains the only reliable source of hard cash in the troubled southern African nation.
The embattled dollar shed 18 percent to trade at $65 000 to the greenback while it sold for marginally above $26 000 on the official market which as usual was dry of hard cash.
The gap between official and parallel market rates has continued to widen on the back of rising demand for hard cash amid declining output in foreign currency-earning products.
For example, the tobacco selling season, which normally brings relief to the forex-starved Zimbabweans, came to a close yesterday after 116 days of trade and with only 70 kilogrammes of tobacco worth US$114 million sold.
The tobacco auction floors shall however re-open for mop-up sales later in the year. But data from the floors showed that the 2005 season was just 1.5 percent above the 2004 selling season when a 69 million kg valued at US$137 million were sold.
This year's earnings were 17 percent less than last year due to the poor quality of leaf which fetched less on the market.
Meanwhile, a 30 percent decline in tobacco seed sales ahead of the 2005/2006 season is a sure sign output will plummet further.
Shortages of seedbed chemicals, fertilisers, tractive power, fuel and oils and the availability of cost-effective coal were other obstacles to increased tobacco production next year.
Production in Zimbabwe’s mainstay agriculture sector has dramatically dropped since President Robert Mugabe began seizing land from white farmers five years ago. - ZimOnline
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Zim Online
Harare to ignore bilateral deals protecting foreign-owned land
Wed 21 September 2005

HARARE – Zimbabwe’s top official in charge of land redistribution on Tuesday said Harare would now disregard bilateral agreements protecting foreign-owned property to seize all land owned by foreigners in a fresh “faster-track” land reform exercise.

State Security Minister Didymus Mutasa, who also oversees land reform and food aid distribution, said most of the land still not in the hands of the government was owned by mostly white foreigners.

Harare will repossess land from foreigners, in disregard of agreements with other governments protecting their nationals’ investments in Zimbabwe, Mutasa told ZimOnline.

He said: "Most of the land not in our hands is under the ownership of foreigners. Most of them are white so why should we do them any favours?

“We will now move to disregard any bilateral agreements and take over those farms because the owners are absentee landlords anyway. We are now in a mode called ‘faster-track’ land reform."

DIDYMUS Mutasa . . .We are now in a mode called ‘faster-track’ land reform

Mutasa, who in the past has said the government was launching fresh farm seizures to ensure every black Zimbabwean owned land by the onset of the next rainy season around November, said the government would also delegate new and wider powers to traditional chiefs to control land.

No new laws will be enacted to empower the government to seize foreign-owned land after President Robert Mugabe earlier this month signed into law constitutional amendments giving his administration sweeping powers to grab land and bar owners from contesting in court seizure of their land by the state.

The planned land seizures, which Mutasa said would affect all foreign land owners regardless of their country of origin, are most likely to anger regional powerhouse South Africa which repeatedly assured its nationals owning land in Zimbabwe that their property was protected under a Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement with Harare.

“We are blind to nationality. What we just want is enough land for Zimbabweans,” said Mutasa, who has already visited Masvingo and Manicaland provinces and is set to visit remaining provinces to tell governors and administrators to speed up seizure of farmland still outside state hands, including that owned by foreigners.

South Africa, which is Mugabe’s most important regional ally, does not agree with the veteran leader’s land redistribution method but has refused to publicly condemn the land seizures.

Zimbabwe has grappled severe food shortages for the last five years which are largely blamed on Mugabe’s chaotic and often violent seizure of productive land for redistribution to landless blacks. Mugabe denies his farm seizure programme caused food shortages instead blaming poor weather. - ZimOnline

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Zim Online
Man killed for stealing maize
Wed 21 September 2005

KAROI – Police on Tuesday arrested a newly resettled farmer in Karoi town 204km north-west of Harare after he fatally assaulted a man for allegedly stealing his maize.
The farmer, Tendaupenyu Nyahoda, is expected to appear in court soon to face a murder charge.
Sources in the small farming town of Karoi said yesterday that Nyahoda severely assaulted the deceased Choice Nyamasunzu, who was part of a three-man gang, after they were caught stealing three buckets of shelled maize.
Nyamasunzu is said to have died of his injuries after the severe assault. His other two colleagues, Vheka Tafirei and Knowledge Kapesa are still recuperating at Karoi hospital in the town.
Police spokesperson for the area Chief Superintendent John Masuka confirmed the incident saying: “We have arrested a farmer in connection with the murder and he will appear in court soon."
One of the assaulted suspects, Kapesa, who is still recuperating at Karoi hospital after the assault, said they had been driven by hunger to steal.
“I had to go there because I needed to feed my wife and brother,”  said Kapesa.
At least four million Zimbabweans are facing starvation after President Robert Mugabe disrupted the key agricultural sector five years ago through his violent seizure of white-owned commercial farms. Mugabe denies the charge blaming the country’s food shortages on drought.
The Zimbabwean leader at the weekend insisted that there were no food shortages in the country saying his people “were very, very happy.” – ZimOnline
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British property baron extends Zimbabwe business tentacles
Tue 20 September 2005

HARARE — British-based property baron Nicholas van Hoogstraten continues to increase his stranglehold on the tottering Zimbabwean economy amid revelations that he now controls a large chunk of shares in one of the country’s biggest agro-industrial firms, CFI Limited.
A close ally of President Robert Mugabe, van Hoogstraten now owns about 7 percent of the export-oriented CFI Limited through his United Kingdom-based Messina Investments. That makes him the second largest shareholder after SMM Holdings, which controls almost 40 percent of the Harare-based CFI.
According to stockbrokers, the British businessman controls more than 34 million shares or 6.97 percent of CFI. The shares have been acquired during the past few months as van Hoogstraten tries to wrestle control of key economic sectors.
“It looks like he is using his links to the political establishment and the economic crisis in the country to establish himself as a dominant business force here,” a stockbroker told Zimonline yesterday.
Van Hoogstraten was in the news a few months ago after he again snapped huge chunks of shares to become the single largest shareholder in NMB Bank Limited and Hwange Colliery. He controls 32 percent of coal producer Hwange and about 20 percent of the up-market NMB.
A businessman who once described Mugabe as “100 percent decent and incorruptible”, van Hoogstraten has courted controversy in the past due to his open support for the Harare authorities.
For his support of the Mugabe regime, his farm has been spared from the land grab that affected thousands of other white landowners. - ZimOnline
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New Zimbabwe
Mapfumo calls for armed struggle
 By Lance Guma
Last updated: 07/15/2005 09:22:45

IN sign of how bad things have become in Zimbabwe,Chimurenga music icon, Thomas Mapfumo, has called for an armed struggle totopple Robert Mugabe.
 Mapfumo who was in the UK recently for the Live 8concerts says the white regime of Ian Smith did more for the welfare ofAfricans than Robert Mugabe's government has.
 The title of his new CD, 'Rise Up' has a songentitled 'KuwariraMukati'.In the song he calls on Zimbabweans to rise up and not suffer in silence.
 Mapfumo says the government has banned his musicon the state broadcaster because of the political content. The ban is now sobroad they will not even play any of his love songs. He had a very good relationshipwith government before independence but this gradually deteriorated as Mugabebecame more dictatorial, he said.
 When people elected Mugabe they thought he wouldbe their saviour, but Mapfumo believes he has been a big let down.
 Pressed on what he meant by rise up, he said 'ifwe say enough is enough, the gun is the answer.'
 He told SW Radio Africa: "The suffering inthe country has gone on for far too long and people just have to do somethingto effect change."
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Moyo: Fresh constitutional moves 'will not fly'
new zimbabwe

By Staff Reporter
Last updated: 09/21/2005 08:33:11
JUSTICE Minister Patrick Chinamasa says the government is considering further constitutional changes that could result in the holding of presidential and parliamentary elections at the same time.
Government opponents immediately warned Chinamasa was trying to push back the Presidential elections scheduled for 2008 to 2010.
President Robert Mugabe used his ruling Zanu PF's huge majority in parliament to push through constitutional amendments last month, reintroducing an upper-house senate.
Under current laws, presidential elections are held every six years and legislative polls at five-year intervals.
"This is the clearest indication that Zanu PF is not concerned with addressing the economic meltdown but is using the constitution to sort out its succession disputes," said Professor Jonathan Moyo, a former government spokesman now an independent MP.
"This is the most sinister ploy to abuse the constitution yet. It must be resisted by all Zimbabweans wherever they are and by any means. If Chinamasa hopes to succeed in the same way he pushed through Constitutional Amendment No 17, this will simply not fly."
Chinamasa said Zanu PF was weighing various options to harmonise the elections, including reducing the current mandate of parliament by two years to 2008, when Mugabe's term also expires.
But Moyo, a government spokesman for five years until early this year said the government was being dishonest about its intentions.
"The announcement was disguised to hoodwink the public, because that will mean the senate that is elected in December will only be in office for 24 months, and we know that's not their intentions....those senators are elected to serve for five years," said Moyo.
"Chinamasa is going too far to atone for his alleged role in the so-called Tsholotsho Declaration. We have to stop them, and they will be stopped. They can use their claimed two thirds majority in parliament and we'll use the three thirds majority from the general populace."
President Robert Mugabe, 81, and in power since independence from Britain in 1980, has said in several interviews that he would like to retire when his tenure expires in 2008 and says his party would choose a successor.
Said Chinamasa: "We have also at the party taken a decision to harmonise parliamentary and presidential elections, so various scenarios come to mind as to how we harmonise them.
"We can have an election of a president in 2008, only to serve for two years - from 2008 to 2010."
Chinamasa said another option would be to have a 7-year presidential term from 2008 so that "the harmonisation takes place from 2015 onwards."
The opposition Movement for Democratic Change, which accuses the ruling party of stealing elections, has in the past called for polls to be held at the same time.
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FEATURE: Rubble convinces residents of the government's "ulterior motives"
Thu 15 September 2005

HARARE – Three months after their shanty homes and backyard cottages were razed down in a ruthless government urban clean-up campaign, residents of Harare are still battling to come to terms with the sheer amount of rubble left behind by the military-style operation.
Walking through many of the capital’s low-income suburbs, hardest hit by the controversial urban renewal exercise, one would be forgiven for thinking they were walking through America’s New Orleans city after Hurricane Katrina.
For example, at one spot in Harare’s oldest suburb of Mbare an assortment of grey cement bricks and pieces of broken furniture rises to as high as two metres.
But one’s eye is quickly drawn away from the brick and broken wood “monument” to a “mountain” of rotten garbage of what used to be an informal vegetable market that was knocked down by government bulldozers.  
To many here, the rubble and rubbish rotting in the open is a constant reminder of how in one stroke the government wrecked apart their lives when it destroyed their homes and informal business kiosks in a campaign that the United Nations says cast at least 700 000 people onto the streets without shelter, food or income.
But to many others, the rubble is also a reminder that the objective of the government exercise was never really to clean up cities and towns.
“Otherwise if the government and municipality were serious about cleaning up, then we would not be having all this rubbish piled up for over three months now,” an elderly-looking Esnath Phiri from Mbare’s Beatrice Cottages section said with a sweeping wave at the garbage heap.
Phiri is not alone in seeing an “unholy ulterior motive” in the clean-up exercise that was condemned by the UN, Western governments, local and international human rights groups as a gross violation of poor people’s rights.
President Robert Mugabe has defended the clean-up exercise as necessary to smash crime and an illegal black market that was thriving among informal traders. The campaign was also critical to restoring the beauty of Zimbabwe’s cities and towns, the veteran leader insists.
But ask the next man or woman on the streets of Harare or any of Zimbabwe’s cities and with all the conviction they can muster, they will tell you that the clean-up exercise was merely a pretext to punish urban residents for rejecting Mugabe and his ruling ZANU PF party in last March’s disputed general election.
This strongly held perception is by no small measure also because the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party, which enjoys more support in urban areas, has publicly claimed the government exercise was a vengeful campaign against its supporters.  
Mugabe’s ZANU PF party won a landslide victory in the election, garnering 78 out of the 120 contested parliamentary seats against the MDC’s 41.
The ruling party however dismally lost in Harare and other major cities such as Bulawayo, Mutare, Gweru, Chitungwiza and Masvingo where the MDC virtually swept all the seats in the six cities where the government’s clean-up campaign was harshest.
The government rejects claims it destroyed homes in urban areas to punish residents for voting for the MDC.
To prove the campaign was not selective, government officials often cite the case of Whitecliff Farm settlement on Harare’s south-western border where police bulldozers razed down homes belonging to veterans of Zimbabwe’s 1970s independence war who are known to support Mugabe and ZANU PF.
And more important, according to a massive propaganda campaign directed by the mandarins at the state information desk, the government has a fresh campaign cynically code-named “Operation Garikai” (Stay well) to build homes for all who were left without shelter by Operation Murambatsvina (Clean-Up).
This is despite the fact that the government is virtually broke and does not have enough money to build houses for the 700 000 homeless people.
At Harare’s Town House administrative headquarters, one is however quickly disabused of any notion that the authorities out of remorse will somehow find the resources to clean up the rubble and even do more by building houses for people whose homes they destroyed.
Here one comes face to face with that same cold arrogance that characterised the home demolition campaign.
For example, this is how Harare city council spokesman Leslie Gwindi curtly explained the municipality’s solution to the rubble problem: “Where we find that people have not been creative in removing rubble, we have fines.”
Tell this to Boniface Mangwiro, another Mbare resident, and he is left even more convinced there was more to Murambatsvina than merely cleaning up the neighbourhood. 
He explains: “The city council should have removed the rubble as quickly as they ordered the destruction of the buildings. They cannot expect us poor property owners to hire trucks to remove this especially with the current fuel shortages. We cannot afford it.” - ZimOnline
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Zim Online
FEATURE: Zimbabweans jostle to pay for fuel in hard cash amid forex shortages
Tue 20 September 2005

HARARE – A bright morning sun cut a shining path across the clear sky. Its soft rays picked out a queue of vehicles parked “bumper-to-bumper”, as Zimbabwe’s fuel-starved drivers would put it.
It was still very early on a Tuesday morning. But there were already several hundred vehicles of all makes from the latest Mercedes Benz and BMW 4 x 4 sport utility vehicles to the old and creaky French-made Peugeot jalopies, once Zimbabwe’s first choice public taxis a few years ago.
The queue of vehicles snaked along from the entrance to the garage along the busy Samora Machel Avenue, wriggled past a dirty cluster of buildings and kept going for several hundred metres. It was literally growing by the minute.
Welcome to Wedzera Service Station, a few kilometres outside central Harare and one of only a handful of garages with special permission to sell scarce fuel in hard currency.
We had set out very early, several hours before daybreak, on assignment to gauge the extent of Zimbabwe’s fuel troubles that began after the International Monetary Fund withdrew financial assistance to the country six years ago and have worsened in recent months.
After checking out several garages, including some owned by senior politicians of President Robert Mugabe’s government but all which did not have fuel, we ended at Wedzera which by the look of things seemed the only one selling fuel in town. 
We must have been more than a hundred cars away from the pumps when we joined the queue at around 8 o’clock in the morning. But the queue was moving at a surprisingly brisk pace.
“At this rate by midday, we will have filled up our cars,” optimistically predicted, Samson Chirunga, the old man we befriended on the queue.
For several hours it looked like Chirunga was right, until the garage supervisor appeared just as the hour hand stroke 12.
“We have no more petrol or diesel,” the supervisor announced. His cold and casual demeanor giving the impression he was so used to disappointing motorists with these sort of announcements.
“We expect more supplies before the end of the day,” he said, apparently uninterested whether his audience believed it or not.
By 6pm, still no fuel had been delivered to the garage. We kept waiting. In fact, the queue kept growing with more cars pulling up despite the fact that there was no fuel at the garage and no one knew when exactly it would be available – it can get that desperate for Zimbabwe’s long suffering motorists.  
Finally, just before midnight, a fuel tanker pulled up to replenish the stocks. That however did not mean immediate respite for the waiting motorists because there was no one to serve us since the fuel attendants had knocked off about fours hours earlier at 8pm.
We had to endure the long night by the garage!
At 7.30am on the dot, when the garage opens for business, the jostling began as we moved “bumper-to-bumper” to the pumps, all the while holding one’s breath that yesterday’s misfortune when the pumps ran dry before we had our turn to fill up would not be repeated.
We entered the garage courtyard by 10am and thirty minutes later, we handed in our fuel coupons to have our 60-litre car filled up at US$1 per litre – and what a relief!
As we drove off past the long queue of hundreds of cars waiting their turn to refill, one could not help but wonder at the irony of it all.
Zimbabwe’s deepening fuel crisis was itself a result of an acute shortage of foreign currency. Apart from fuel, food, essential medical drugs, electricity, machine spares for industry and almost every other basic commodity is in critical short supply in the country because there is no hard cash to pay foreign suppliers.
Mugabe and his government may not have any foreign currency reserves to speak of. But clearly, ordinary Zimbabweans are awash with foreign currency if the near-stampede to pay US dollars for fuel at Wedzera is anything to go by. - ZimOnline
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Zim Online
No more yellow cards for Mugabe
Tues 21 September 2004

Iden Wetherell's opinion piece "Where is the yellow card?" in the Mail and Guardian (3 September) cannot go unanswered. It is argued that we should have given the Mugabe regime a yellow card prior to making the collective decision to suspend participation in all elections pending its compliance with the principles agreed to by SADC in Mauritius. We disagree; countless yellow cards have long since been issued.

Since the June 2000 parliamentary elections the MDC has used the courts to expose flaws in Zimbabwe's electoral system. In parliament the MDC caucus has, for the past four years, done all in its power to urge the ruling party to support the need for legislative and constitutional reforms aimed at restoring the integrity of the electoral process. This fell on deaf ears. Similarly, in the aftermath of the disputed March 2002 Presidential election, the recommendations contained in the reports compiled by the South African Observer Mission, the Commonwealth Observer Mission and the SADC Parliamentary Forum, which called for urgent reforms to restore transparency and fairness in the electoral process, fell on deaf ears. These were symbolic yellow cards issued by the international community yet the regime opted to bury its head in the sand. The clear lack of political will on the government's part to take the necessary steps to restore genuine democratic elections in Zimbabwe prompted the MDC, earlier this year, to publish its document entitled 'Restore', containing the party's minimum standards for elections. The party made it clear to the regime that its participation in the March 2005 parliamentary elections was conditional on the government's satisfactorily implementing these minimum standards. In the absence of these fundamental benchmarks, the MDC concluded, it would be inadvertently legitimising another flawed election by participating under the current conditions. This would be a betrayal of the people of Zimbabwe who fought a liberation war to gain the basic right to freely choose a government of their choice in a free and fair election and thereby influence the type of society in which they wish to live.

"Restore", not only sets out the political reforms necessary to create the democratic conditions for a legitimate poll but also sets
out the electoral reforms necessary to create a legal, institutional and administrative electoral framework that harnesses transparency and fairness. Since the publication of "Restore" the MDC has conducted a vigorous campaign both inside the country and within the region to bring pressure to bear on the regime to implement the MDC's minimum standards. On 20th July, Mugabe, in his speech marking the opening of parliament, announced that a number of electoral reforms would be introduced that would level the electoral playing field. Mugabe and Zanu PF disingenuously claimed that these reforms
(which include the establishment of a new Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, the reduction of polling days from two days to one and the counting of votes at polling stations) would address the MDC's demands. As we said at the time, these proposed reforms only partly address our minimum standards pertaining to improving the transparency and fairness of procedures governing the polling day. On the whole they are woefully inadequate and fail to even touch on the crucial issue of opening up the political space and ending political violence. What the ruling party's proposals clearly demonstrate is that they view an election as an event as opposed to a process.

It is this politically expedient definition of what constitutes an election that received an unequivocal "yellow card" in Mauritius.
The comprehensive set of guidelines and principles that were agreed upon in Mauritius captured the essential elements of "Restore", in particular the recognition that a free and fair election is not possible when the political space has been all but closed down. This was a symbolic victory for the MDC. When Mugabe signed the protocol he was technically committing himself to implementing the MDC's minimum standards. In theory at last, our "yellow card" in the form of "Restore" produced a very positive result indeed. The reality, however is different. In the immediate aftermath of his return from Mauritius, Mugabe and his regime quashed any hopes that they would act in the spirit and letter of the agreement by gazetting a draft NGO bill containing provisions which continue the government's sustained determination to crush all organised centres of opinion opposed to the regime. This for the MDC was the final straw. In the absence of any evidence that the government intends to comply in
full with the SADC elections charter the MDC decided to draw a line in the sand and say enough is enough. With less than 7 months until the elections there is insufficient time to wave any more yellow cards. Moreover, the timing of our decision was also influenced by the fact that nomination day for a by-election was due on September 3 and we had to make a decision prior to that day. Had we not made a decision before that day the region could have assumed that we believed that the Mauritius principles were in the process of being implemented in Zimbabwe.

The timing also has to be seen in the context of what has been stated in the region about the issue of negotiations between Zanu PF and MDC. For over a year we have been told that we are engaged in informal negotiations with Zanu PF when that is not true. A real fear we had was that Zanu PF's compliance, or rather non compliance, with the Mauritius principles would be fudged, as would our "acceptance" that Zimbabwe's electoral system now complied with the Mauritius principles. We had to make it clear, emphatically, urgently and unequivocally, that our electoral system does not, and will not, even in the event of Mugabe's proposed changes being implemented, comply with the Mauritius principles. Aidan Wetherell's article suggests that we should have used the next few months to prove that Zimbabwe's electoral environment does not comply with the
Mauritius principles. That however is precisely what the Mugabe regime wants us to do. It would, no doubt, be happy to implement meaningful reforms a month prior to the elections which would not result in a free and fair election. Zimbabweans have been deeply traumatised during the last 5 years and need a peaceful period of at least 6 months prior to the elections to feel confident to exercise their vote meaningfully. For all the government's claims that the MDC is dead and that they can run an election without us, Zanu PF can never claim legitimacy unless the MDC participates. Whilst the MDC could have been ignored in 2000 it is now recognised regionally and internationally as a credible political party and to that extent its participation in the 2005 election is critical to both Zanu PF and SADC if Zimbabwe's crisis is to be resolved.

To that extent it was critically important that we indicated to SADC as soon as possible that we were not prepared to participate in this charade any longer and that they should bring the Mugabe regime to book as quickly as possible to resolve the crisis. The onus is now on SADC to ensure that the Mugabe regime fully complies with its obligations under SADC elections' protocol. A failure to do so would put SADC's credibility on the line. It is suggested that what is required is for the MDC to test the water. That precisely is what we will be doing. We will be testing the regime's sincerity in the course of the next few months in Parliament, in the courts and in the media. At every turn we intend explaining to the Zimbabwean
electorate and SADC why it is that the NGO bill, Zanu PF's proposed reforms, and existing draconian legislation that severely curtails our fundamental rights are wholly incompatible with the Mauritius principles. Finally, Wetherell's article suggests that we are somehow disengaging from the political discourse. Nothing could be further from the truth. We are suspending our involvement in the electoral process pending Zimbabwe's compliance with the Mauritius principles. That is very different to suspending our involvement in the political process. We are actively identifying candidates for the 2005 parliamentary election. We will be vigorously participating in Parliament and organizing our structures in anticipation of the Mugabe regime being forced to comply fully with these wonderful new SADC standards.

David Coltart is the MDC's secretary for Legal Affairs and Shadow Justice Minister
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Zim Online
Prof. Jonathan Moyo for Nobel Prize
Tues 21 September 2004

Assuming there was a Nobel Prize for hypocrisy and arrogance, Prof. Jonathan Moyo, the Zimbabwe Minister of State for Information and Publicity in the Office of the President would qualify with a distinction. He deserves the biscuit for abandoning his earlier crusade as an opponent of government's propensity to stifle media freedom.

In his yesteryears as an academic, Prof. Moyo accused the government-controlled media of failing the nation. "Their brief is to report ZANU PF affairs as if the ruling party is greater than the nation" Prof. Moyo wrote in the then privately owned Financial Gazette in 1992, adding that this journalistic docility sometimes took on disgusting proportions, "as when the media reports whatever Mr. Mugabe says and wherever he says it without analyzing its contents. Presumably, this is in keeping with the ZANU PF doctrine of presidential infallibility," he lamented. 

The paradigm has changed for Prof. Moyo. His new pre-occupation with ZANU (PF) is like reading Dr. Faust's classic tale about the highly intelligent professor who signs a pact with the devil in return for infinite wisdom and power; more like doing a bad thing for a good reason.

First, he surprised many by joining ZANU (PF), the party he once denounced as authoritarian and for this bold move, Prof Moyo was rewarded. Today, he is ZANU (PF)'s information and publicity secretary, a presidential appointee to parliament and government minister solely responsible for policy and regulation of all media in Zimbabwe.

Ironically, in his short term as a minister, Prof. Moyo has authored media laws considered by many commentators as the most repressive in the history of post-independence Zimbabwe. A case in point is the enactment of the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA), without any broad consultation with the 'nation'. AAIPA was an offer that the majority of freedom loving journalists in Zimbabwe couldn't possibly accept and for this the scribes are paying a heavy prize. AAIPA has put more and more journalists in prison, a great number of them for crimes related to their professional livelihood. The Zimbabwe Chapter of the Media Institute for Southern Africa (MISA) reports that more than thirty- (30) journalists were detained or charged from January 2003 to date, for contravening sections of AAIPA.  This is intriguing, given Prof Moyo's well documented past as a 'freedom loving academic'.  His turn-around logic translates to a 'Thank you very much. It was important that you were mobilized then, but now that l am in power on your behalf, you either shut-up or face-up".

According to MISA-Zimbabwe, AAIPA does not provide the public with access to any real and relevant information. "In reality the Act's purpose is protecting the institution of the government from scrutiny by prohibiting and heavily penalizing public/media inquiry and scrutiny into its affairs, and in addition by an unrestrained control over journalists and media companies", argues MISA.

Prof Moyo posits that unless the police and courts aggressively crack down what they term 'anti-government press', social cohesion would degenerate into anarchy. He argues that even the constitutionally contested legal provisions such as journalists not registering with the MIC, contribute to an anything goes atmosphere in which serious social disobedience would proliferate.

In all Prof. Moyo has said or done, he has claimed adherence to the treasured philosophy of 'public or national interest'. However, it is precisely his definition of what is in the public interest that is contested.

Further, Prof. Moyo has positioned himself as the embodiment of the nation or the public's negotiator, who represents the nation's interests, our interests.  But who really should define for media operators and journalists what is in the public or national interest? In the case of Zimbabwe, Prof. Moyo has claimed the right to singularly define the national or public interest. He then expects the media to uphold his definition without question. This attitude confirms the most lurid of scare stories about party functionaries running out of control. Sadly for Prof. Moyo, it has been hard to find Zimbabweans who do not see AAIPA as a repressive legislation that is either undesirable or unjust. What is worse is that several prominent ZANUPF supporters, recognizing that AAIPA threatens the sustainability of their own media enterprises, the party and government, are slowly distancing themselves from Prof. Moyo's position.
Certainly, hope is not all lost. First, if in the past, Prof. Moyo was able to change his mind, he can do it again. Second, much as lasting damage has been inflicted to Zimbabwe's reputation as a thriving democracy, it seems there has not been much success in destroying the hopes of all freedom and peace-loving journalists who now realize that defending the public or national interests may mean challenging the government and public officials of the day. That is precisely what Prof. Jonathan Moyo did in his past life.
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21 September 2005
Gono’s Proposals Will Have Little Or No Impact On The Food Crisis
Given the poor governance standards in Zimbabwe, and subsequent weakness of our state institutions, proposals by Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono, to forcibly seize maize and maize seed, will no doubt lead to an expansion of the profiteering that has done so much damage to Zimbabwe’s economy and the people on the ground. 
 In theory these proposals make sense, given the chronic food shortages in the country. If people are deliberately hoarding food then this is obviously not in the national interest. However, such measures will only be effective if they are carried out in a transparent, sensitive and accountable manner and based on fact. The MDC remains unconvinced that these basic principles of fairness will guide the Government’s approach.  
 The MDC fears that Gono’s proposals will be hijacked by less scrupulous elements within the Government, who will exploit them for the purposes of personal financial gain or to punish opponents.  
 Moreover, Gono’s proposals blatantly contradict the absurd comments made by Mugabe at the UN World Summit meeting in New York, where he claimed that Zimbabweans were not hungry and that his government did not need to implement emergency measures to secure food. 
 While Gono should be commended for attempting to take steps to address the food problem, the effectiveness of his efforts will most likely be diluted by the pool of insanity in which he is forced to operate. One admires his determination to struggle on regardless but one questions what he hopes to achieve when he is constantly running into brick walls and having his plans regularly canned by less enlightened colleagues.  
Gono, as an economist, should also know that the best way to deter food hoarding is by creating an enabling economic environment in which farmers know that they will receive a fair price for their produce. By resorting to force rather than basic economic reform measures Gono will simply make the situation worse. 
 The only people who will gain will be unscrupulous Government officials who will seize maize on an arbitrary and discriminatory basis and no doubt re-sell their ill-gotten gains on the parallel market for an obscene profit.
Paul Themba Nyathi
MDC Secretary for Information and Publicity