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We'll boycott polls if there is no progress in talks: Tsvangirai

Zim Online

Friday 28 September 2007

By Batsirayi Muranje

HARARE - Zimbabwe's main opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai on Thursday
told African diplomats in Harare that his Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) party would participate in elections next year only if sufficient
progress was made to ensure the polls are free and fair, ZimOnline has

Tsvangirai, who heads the larger faction of the MDC after the party split
two years ago, was addressing the African diplomats at his Strathaven home
in Harare, 24 hours after a similar briefing to European diplomats at the
same venue on Wednesday.

An African diplomat who spoke to ZimOnline on condition of anonymity said
the opposition leader said the party's endorsement of a controversial
constitutional amendment did not automatically mean it was going to
participate in next year's combined presidential and parliamentary

"He was very clear that his party had merely supported Constitution of
Zimbabwe Amendment Bill Number 18l as a confidence-building measure to test
ZANU PF's sincerity in negotiations. Otherwise if there was no sufficient
evidence on the ground that there would be a free and fair election in 2008,
his party would boycott the elections," the diplomat said.

The two factions of the MDC last week supported the controversial
constitutional amendment, which will allow President Robert Mugabe to anoint
a successor. The opposition party's endorsement of the amendment has created
new fissures with its civic alliance partners pushing for wholesale
constitutional reforms as opposed to piecemeal amendments favoured by the

The opposition party has defended its decision to back the government Bill
as a confidence-building measure meant to give more impetus to the Southern
African Development Community (SADC)-brokered talks that are being mediated
by South African President Thabo Mbeki.

The diplomat said Tsvangirai was unequivocal that if repressive media and
security laws that have hampered his party from campaigning were not
repealed and that if the government refused to allow millions of exiled
Zimbabweans to vote, his party would pull out of the SADC-brokered talks and
the elections.

"Tsvangirai said the Diaspora vote was a talks-breaking issue as the SADC
guidelines on the conduct of free and fair elections were clear that every
citizen had to vote regardless of where they lived," the diplomat said.

The opposition leader, whose MDC was shown tracking Mugabe's ZANU PF in
opinion polls released earlier this week, is said to have told diplomats
that it was too early to tell whether dialogue could ensure democratic polls
especially as the opposition's critical demands such as political freedoms
and the Diaspora vote were yet to be discussed.

Zimbabwe holds combined presidential and parliamentary elections next year
after the MDC and ZANU PF agreed to amend the Constitution to bring forward
by two years parliamentary elections that were due in 2010. - ZimOnline

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Mugabe's secret agents deny food aid to MDC supporters

Zim Online

Friday 28 September 2007

By Regerai Marwezu

MASVINGO - Zimbabwe army and secret police officers overseeing food aid
distribution are allegedly denying food to hungry opposition supporters as
punishment for not backing President Robert Mugabe and his ruling ZANU PF
party, sources told ZimOnline.

Zimbabwe, which was once a regional breadbasket but has suffered food
shortages since Mugabe expelled white commercial farmers, is grappling with
hunger with about five million out of its 12 million people in dire need of
food aid.

According to some families and officials of the main opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) party, state security agents that were deployed this
week at the Grain Marketing Board (GMB)'s depots countrywide had taken over
the vetting of beneficiaries with known opposition supporters denied food

The state-owned GMB is the only company permitted to buy maize and wheat -
the country's two main staples - from farmers and distributes government
food aid.

"Members of the army and the CIO (Central Intelligence Organiation) began
arriving at GMB depots this week. They ordered GMB staff not to allow
enemies of the government (MDC supporters) to access food," said an official
with the state grain utility who spoke on condition he was not named.

Agriculture Minister Rugare Gumbo, under whose portfolio the GMB falls,
confirmed the deployment of state security agents at the grain firm's depots
but said they were there to protect food stocks. Gumbo flatly denied
soldiers and secret police were preventing MDC supporters from getting food.

"As you know that our food reserves are depleted, we need some form of
security and this week we have increased the number of (security) officers
supervising the distribution of food," said Gumbo, adding that anyone denied
food because of political affiliation could approach his office for help.

But some residents from the southern Masvingo city, a stronghold of the MDC,
told ZimOnline that soldiers turned them away from a GMB depot in the town.

"I was told to go and get my food from the MDC when I wanted to buy maize at
the GMB," said Nesbit Mudzinganyama of Mucheke suburb in the city.

Another resident, Gabriel Nyaku, said he went to the GMB to get maize-meal
to feed mourners at a funeral but he was told that he did not qualify to
receive food from the government company.

"I even carried along a burial order to prove that the food I wanted was for
mourners but they (soldiers) said I should go and get food from my party
because I am a known MDC supporter," he said.

Masvingo, located in arid southern Zimbabwe, is one of the cities worst hit
by hunger. International relief agencies have warned that some families from
Masvingo city and surrounding rural areas require urgent food aid or they
could starve.

Masvingo Central constituency legislator Tongai Matutu from the MDC on
Thursday told ZimOnline that the opposition party had received numerous
reports from its supporters who say they were being denied food because of
their political affiliation.

"The practice is rampant in rural areas where ZANU PF has teamed up with
traditional chiefs to deny our supporters food ahead of the crucial
elections next year," said Matutu.

ZANU PF spokesman Nathan Shamuyarira could not be reached for comment on the
matter. However, the ruling party has in the past denied charges of denying
food aid to MDC supporters to punish them for backing the opposition party.

Zimbabwe holds presidential and parliamentary elections next year and the
MDC and ZANU PF are currently locked in negotiations to ensure the polls are
free and fair.

However, civic society organizations remain pessimistic about the polls
saying the government first needs to immediately repeal repressive media and
security laws and to stop using food aid as a political weapon to give the
polls a chance of being free and fair. - ZimOnline

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Zimbabwe posts huge trade deficit against China

Zim Online

Friday 28 September 2007

By Thulani Munda

HARARE - Zimbabwe posted a trade deficit of US$189 million in the first six
months of 2007 against China, the price of a costly marriage of convenience
founded on Harare's quest for friendship and Beijing's search for cheap raw

Bilateral trade between the two countries clocked US$205 million between
January and June, almost 80 percent of the US$270 million registered during
the whole of 2006.

But out of this amount, Zimbabwe's exports to China in the first half of
2007 were a paltry eight percent of total bilateral trade, according to
statistics announced yesterday by Chinese ambassador to Zimbabwe Yuan

"In the first half of this year, the bilateral trade volume reached US$205
million while China's imports from Zimbabwe was US$16 million," Yuan told
guests at a ceremony marking 58 years of the founding of the People's
Republic of China in Harare.

He said trade volumes had remained bullish so far in the second half of the
year and could surpass US$400 million by year-end.

Zimbabwe has since 2000 strengthened its relations with China as part of a
"Look East" policy premised on the need to find new trading partners and
markets following the souring of relations with Western governments that
protested President Robert Mugabe's violent land-grab programme.

China becomes the investor with the fastest direct foreign investment growth
in Zimbabwe, replacing the Western countries.

The two countries have signed a series of agreements in infrastructure,
tourism, energy and mining but the cooperation has largely not translated
into an improved standard of living for ordinary Zimbabweans.

Harare has literally handed over control of most sectors of the economy to
the Chinese in return for short-term financial assistance to enable Mugabe's
government to ride one crisis after another.

Figures from the economic and commercial counselor's office of the Chinese
embassy in Harare show that Zimbabwe recently bought more than 100 000
tonnes of fertilizer and pesticides from China using a US$200 million
buyer's credit loan obtained from Chinese banks.

The southern African country faces a crippling shortage of fertilizer after
most local producers closed their factories, citing lack of raw materials.

Analysts have however criticized Harare for mortgaging the country for the
sake of short-term benefits.

A senior Chinese diplomat recently revealed that Beijing had slowed
investment in Zimbabwe in a sign that it may be heeding Western demands that
it quit backing regimes considered despotic.

The withdrawal of economic support from Zimbabwe's largest investor and only
major global backer is a serious blow to Mugabe, an 83-year-old liberation
hero who has clung to power in Zimbabwe for nearly three decades.

Chinese officials had dismissed a British news report in late August that
said China had suspended investment projects in Zimbabwe.

But Liu Guijin, a former ambassador to Zimbabwe and South Africa who is the
nation's special envoy to Sudan, this month acknowledged a slowdown in
investment and cast the issue in terms of economic turmoil gripping

"China's assistance to Zimbabwe is mainly humanitarian aid, because in terms
of other development assistance we still have some difficulties," Liu said
at a press briefing.

"In the past, China has provided substantial development aid. Now, with the
devaluation of the currency and deterioration of the economic situation, the
outlook for this aid is not very good."

Zimbabwe is in the throes of an eight-year-old economic crisis marked by
world record inflation of nearly 6 600 percent and acute shortages of
foreign currency to import food, electricity and fuel. - ZimOnline

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Traditional healer leaves Mugabe's ministers with egg on their faces

Zim Online

Friday 28 September 2007

By Edith Kaseke

HARARE - Zimbabwe's Security Minister Didymus Mutasa has revealed that
senior government officials were embarrassed and left with egg on their face
by a shrewd and self styled traditional spirit medium, who claimed to have
discovered non-existent diesel in Chinhoyi.

In the middle of this year, President Robert Mugabe appointed a high-powered
taskforce comprising Mutasa, Defence Minister Sydney Sekeramayi and Home
Affairs Minister Kembo Mohadi, amid state media hype, to work with the
spirit medium on the so-called oil find at Chinhoyi caves and surrounding

In the government's first official public comments on the issue, Mutasa left
parliamentarians in stitches when he said the senior government ministers
were forced to walk in caves without shoes as part of the fuel-discovering

"There was diesel, it was coming from a mountain, but it had been put there
by somebody," Mutasa said to bursts of laughter from legislators.

"When we made further investigations, we realised that it was a hoax and
that there was no diesel in the mountains or other areas where there was
said to be diesel," Mutasa said, suppressing a smile.

Zimbabwe is experiencing severe fuel shortages, part of a larger crisis that
has seen the country experience shortages of food and foreign currency,
rising unemployment and the world's highest inflation rate of nearly 7 000

Fuel shortages have continued to worsen with some public transporters
pulling their vehicles from the road leaving commuters stranded and walking
to and from work.

But the fruitless search for fuel took a comic twist this year and had
exposed government's desperation but left Zimbabweans wondering whether
their rulers were serious.

The government is now hunting the spirit medium who gave her name as Rotina
Mavhunga but who reportedly uses different names.

Mavhunga had said the fuel was a gift from ancestral spirits "who saw that
their children were suffering because of the fuel shortages" and at one time
was pictured in the state-run Sunday Mail holding a hosepipe stuck into a
rock and purportedly oozing the oil.

"We spent a lot of time going into caves . . . without shoes yes," Mutasa
said, drawing more howls from Parliament, dominated by Mugabe's ruling ZANU
PF party.

"We did that to be satisfied that there was no diesel and now the n'anga
(traditional healer) has disappeared. We are looking for the n'anga," he

Police have arrested nearly 50 of Mavhunga's followers but it was not clear
whether they had been charged or released while Mavhunga is said to have
skipped the country after being paid money by the government. - ZimOnline

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Harare postpones launch of economic blueprint for second time

Zim Online

Friday 28 September 2007

By Hendricks Chizhanje

HARARE - Zimbabwe has again postponed the launch of an ambitious economic
blueprint seen extricating the comatose southern African economy out of an
eight-year-old quagmire.

Launch of the Zimbabwe Economic Development Strategy (ZEDS) was yesterday
postponed indefinitely, the third time this has happened in the past two

In August the government twice postponed the launch of the economic plan
without giving reasons.

Several journalists and business people gathered yesterday in Harare for the
launch of the new economic plan were disappointed when they were told the
blueprint would no longer be presented.

The national coordinator of the economic blueprint, one G Nyaguse from the
Ministry of Economic Development, said postponement was meant to enable
further consultations with the "political leadership".

 "We have been told by the minister that we need to meet the political
leadership first. So we are meeting provincial governors next week after
which we can launch," Nyaguse said.

Sylvester Nguni heads the ministry of economic development.

ZEDS is expected to spearhead the country's economic revival after nearly a
decade of recession triggered by the violent removal of former white farmers
from their properties which led to foreign currency shortages and fuel and
power supply bottlenecks.

The country's Gross Domestic Product is estimated to have contracted by
between 30 percent and 40 percent since 2000 while inflation is still the
highest in the world at nearly 6 600 percent.

Over the past 17 years Zimbabwe has come up with no less than seven economic

These include the International Monetary Fund-sanctioned Economic Structural
Adjustment Programme in 1990, Vision 2020, Zimbabwe Programme For Economic
and Social Transformation in 1998, the Millennium Economic Recovery Plan in
2001, the National Economic Recovery Plan of 2003 and the 10-Point Plan.

Launched with great excitement in April 2006, the NEDPP was the latest
blueprint touted by government as the panacea to the country's economic

At the time of the NEDPP launch, the government claimed that there was
strong private sector participation in the programme, then seen as the
answer to the problems of hyperinflation, unstable currency and low foreign
currency generation.

It promised to turn around the economy within six months by increasing
productivity, removing price distortions and reducing government

The ZEDS is a medium-term economic blueprint modelled along the defunct
Vision 2020. -ZimOnline

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Mugabe tells Mbeki he is fully behind talks with MDC

Zim Online

Friday 28 September 2007

Own Correspondent

JOHANNESBURG - President Robert Mugabe on Thursday told President Thabo
Mbeki that he was fully behind talks between his ruling ZANU PF party and
the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party, South
African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) reported on Thursday.

The SABC said Mugabe spoke to Mbeki on the sidelines of the United Nations
General Assembly in New York. "The two leaders met on the sidelines of the
UN General Assembly debate in New York yesterday," it said.

The public broadcaster, which interviewed Mbeki, did not disclose further
details about what the South African leader discussed with Mugabe but said
Zimbabwe's governing ZANU PF party planned to send a letter to Pretoria to
reconfirm its commitment to talks with the opposition.

Mbeki has since last March been leading a regional push to secure a
political settlement between the two main Zimbabwean political parties that
have been locked in an eight-year political stalemate.

In a surprise development last week, the MDC voted to back a controversial
constitutional amendment Bill that will allow Mugabe to handpick his
successor in the event that he fails to finish his term.

The MDC, which was accused of treachery by its allies in the civic society,
said it backed the new law in the spirit of the ongoing talks with ZANU PF.

Mugabe on Thursday also met United Nations secretary general Ban Ki-moon
telling him that the situation in Zimbabwe was not as dire as portrayed by
Britain and the United States.

In a speech to the UN General Assembly, Mugabe attacked US President George
Bush saying the US leader's hands were dripping with blood after his
controversial invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan about four years ago.

Mugabe said: "He has much to atone for and very little to lecture us on the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights. He kills in Iraq. He kills in
Afghanistan. And this is supposed to be our master on human rights?"

Mugabe's sharp comments were in response to a scathing attack by Bush who
accused him of presiding over a "tyrannical regime" that had "cracked down
on peaceful calls for reform and forced millions to flee their homeland."

The US, Britain and major European countries imposed targeted sanctions on
Mugabe and over 100 of his lieutenants for failing to uphold democracy and
human rights violations.

Mugabe denies the charge accusing Western governments of seeking to oust him
from power after he seized white farms for redistribution to landless
blacks. - ZimOnline

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Tsvangirai, you owe the people an explanation

Zim Online


           Friday 28 September 2007

By Tanonoka Joseph Whande

GABORONE - Circus maestros, Barnum and Bailey, couldn't have dished out
better entertainment. The greatest show on earth runs in Zimbabwe's politics
and parliament.

Go ahead; count the skeletons. It's all part of the grotesque act because,
you see, Zimbabwe's parliamentary circus plays with skulls not balloons.

And these our parliamentarians, supposed custodians of our democracy, are
the authors of the current tragicomedy. They appease a dictatorship instead
of clipping his despotic wings.

Parliamentarians from both sides of the political divide are on the
Zimbabwean stage and are the ones cheering the audience. They are mistaking
activity for accomplishments.

Our parliamentarians were elected to represent the people's views yet, as
has become clear, they just attend parliament to assure their salary.

Morgan Tsvangirai's mission, as leader of the opposition, was to topple
Robert Mugabe, albeit constitutionally, to restore democracy. And the people
gave him the necessary support.

Several times, Tsvangirai was physically battered for his efforts. The
so-called 'war veterans' were the first to have a go at him. With the
intensity of swarming bees, they beat him to a pulp, as he sat helplessly
behind his desk.

But Zimbabweans were soon to discover that Tsvangirai had more guts than one
can find on an abattoir's floor. People almost thanked God.

A lot then happened and some of his supporters and assistants died horrific
deaths, like being burnt alive inside locked vehicles.

We remember all too well the farmers who were killed for their farms and for
showing an interest in the possibility of a change of government.

We remember much too well the hundreds of citizens who were beaten up,
abused and killed because of supporting Tsvangirai. Thousands, both black
and white, lost their homes, their property and lives.

Dogs were set on our children at colleges, with some disappearing and others
dying mysteriously. Just about everyone wished for a change of government.
Tsvangirai soldiered on, making some questionable decisions along the way.

Although it is now obvious that there were some traitors waiting for a
chance to rock the party, he must take the blame because he could have
handled the issue better. Earlier this year, Mugabe's people had another go
at him again.

Tsvangirai's puffed-up face was plastered on television screens across the
world. The leader of the opposition was paraded in front of the world in a
torn shirt and with bleeding scars on his head.

We were shown the blooded face of Nelson Chamisa, one of our legally elected
Members of Parliament. He could hardly talk and almost died.

A Mack truck could not have caused such damage; these were Mugabe's
self-confessed 'degrees in violence' on display. Then a veteran cameraman
was abducted and murdered for allegedly filming these victims.

Very shameful, indeed.

People continue to be abused. Expensive mediation talks continue to be
hosted outside Zimbabwe. Meanwhile, the country is gearing up for
parliamentary and presidential elections.

Whichever way one looks at it, it is all an effort to give people a chance
to change or renew their government's mandate. Yet people are still being
abused and starved or killed for supporting not only an opposition party but
a rival faction within ZANU-PF itself.

The mediation talks are being held ostensibly to level the political playing
field. But, truly, it is Tsvangirai, who, more than anyone else, stands to
benefit from all these efforts.

He is even the peripheral beneficiary of all this mayhem. Last week I
learned that Tsvangirai had instructed his party's Members of Parliament to
vote for a constitutional amendment that allows Mugabe to anoint his own

To me, it was like reading a book with the last chapter removed. Tsvangirai
now instructs members of parliament, whom people voted into parliament, to
acquiesce to a bill that denies the people of Zimbabwe the right to choose
their own candidate.

Many people were beaten up, starved and killed for supporting the MDC
parliamentarians from both factions but managed to support them well enough
to get them into parliament.

Because I have a curious oppression of spirit, I have questions that arise
from feelings. To me now, the MDC behaves like a dog chasing a car and, as
soon as it catches it, does not know what to do with it.

I am honestly burdened with frank curiosity. Given the current scenario, can
Mr Tsvangirai please tell me what the split within your party was all about?
May you enlighten me on why you let many Zimbabweans who supported both
factions get killed?

Survivors bear physical testimony as to how far people can go to fetch
democracy. Now the MDC tells the people it is fine to give Mugabe
parliamentary approval to short circuit democracy and to let him choose his
own successor.

But the circus is not being staged in only one part of the city. Across
town, Emerson Mnangagwa's supporters must be wondering what is going on.

Mnangagwa, a seemingly stronger choice among the drivel on offer, confuses
his own effort and chances. He clearly has a better inter-provincial network
than Joice Mujuru, Simba Makoni and all other hopefuls.

Most of Mnangagwa's supporters have always believed and were geared up to
campaign and win a presidential election for him. He has strong, passionate
and deceptively quiet supporters.

But alas, Mnangagwa is, once again, prepared to retreat into a corner until
Mugabe finishes gnawing at the weather-beaten bone that is Zimbabwe.

As Mnangagwa was stepping aside to let Mugabe continue with his murderous
rule, Tsvangirai was telling supporters that he had just given Mugabe a
parliamentary OK to choose a successor of his own choice, thus effectively
robbing Zimbabweans of the right to choose.

Take a little time and think, Mr Tsvangirai; you are about to become
guiltier than sin. But meanwhile, as these ringmasters monkey around the
circus-ring, the 'owner' of the circus is doing his funny bit too.

Mugabe is reported to have demanded, from, of all idiotic quarters, SADC,
immunity from prosecution, should he choose to retire. Not only that, he
wants a guarantee that the monetary wealth and personal assets that he
accumulated not be taken away.

ZANU-PF took over and ruined the country by stealing from the people but now
Mugabe says, in order for him to leave, he wants more perks from the very
same people he has been stealing from.

From economic and political survivors, Mugabe wants immunity from
prosecution for crimes committed but whose responsibility he does not
acknowledge. It is very easy to give Mugabe what he is asking for.

All we need to do is calculate how much he earned during his entire term as
head of state. Then we look at how much cash he has on hand, and how many
farms and houses he has.

Should the value of the farms, houses and cash-on-hand exceed the earlier
calculation, of course, we will obviously want to know where the money came
from. That spells big trouble in any language!

In other words, no chance of such guarantees. Anyone who says 'yes' they can
guarantee him this, even if it is his own hand-picked successor, will be
lying, unless, of course, Mugabe chooses Mbeki to succeed him!

And immunity from prosecution is not possible either. Who is in a position
to offer Mugabe a guarantee of immunity from prosecution? Only the people
who were wronged. Not Gordon Brown. Not the EU. Not Mbeki. Not even the MDC.

It is only the Zimbabwean people. Mugabe, Tsvangirai and company. The future
is in clay since it can be molded to our intentions.

The past, our history, is cast in iron and that is why Mugabe is having
trouble with the phony 'history' he has been trying to feed to our school

As for Mr Tsvangirai, misunderstanding breeds distrust; you owe people an
explanation and pronto.

As a leader, you are accountable to the people.

*Tanonoka Joseph Whande is a Botswana-based Zimbabwean writer.

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UN Chief Ban To Consult Southern African Leaders On Solving Zimbabwe Crisis


      By Blessing Zulu, Jonga Kandemiiri and Carole Gombakomba
      Washington and New York
      27 September 2007

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said Thursday that he would
consult Southern African regional leaders beginning with South African
President Thabo Mbeki to see how the U.N. could help resolve the Zimbabwean

Sources said President Robert Mugabe told President Mbeki Thursday that his
ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front party would soon
write to Pretoria to confirm its commitment to talks with the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change which Mr. Mbeki has been mediating since
March at the behest of regional leaders.

United Nations sources said Mr. Ban had rejected Mr. Mugabe's contention
that U.N. assistance was not necessary as the matter was in the hands of the
Southern African Development Community, a 14-member regional organization.

Mr. Mugabe's spokesman George Charamba confirmed to the state-controlled
Herald newspaper that Mr. Ban planned to meet regional leaders.

U.N. spokesman Yves Sokorobi said Mr. Ban also asked Mr. Mugabe to show
greater leadership in resolving the crisis in his country.

Feeling the heat in New York, Mr. Mugabe and his Iranian counterpart,
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, announced the formation of a"coalition for peace" in
response to critics. Zimbabwean Deputy Information Minister Bright Matonga
said the idea came up when the two leaders held bilateral talks Monday on
the assembly sidelines.

Research Director Brian Rapftopolous of the Solidarity Peace Trust in South
Africa told reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that the
U.N. had acknowledged the key role SADC could play in resolving the crisis.

In his address to the U.N. General Assembly, Mr. Mugabe lashed out at the
U.S. and Britain for what he charged was a campaign to effect regime change
in Zimbabwe. Mr. Mugabe denounced Western "bully" tactics towards African
countries, and said U.S. President George Bush was in no position to lecture
him on human rights.

Responding to Mr. Mugabe's comments, the opposition faction headed by Morgan
Tsvangirai said the president had nothing new to say in his U.N. speech.

Faction officials said that, as in the past, they expected Mr. Mugabe to
label Western powers as bullies and accuse them of controlling the resources
of poor nations.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Eliphas Mukonoweshuro of the Tsvangirai MDC
faction told reporter Jonga Kandemiiri of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that
Mr. Mugabe's speeches are like an old currency - overvalued but of little

Correspondent Carole Gombakomba reported from U.N. headquarters in New York
that despite Mr. Mugabe's jeremiad against the Western powers, Southern
African leaders on the whole seemed to avoid addressing the Zimbabwean

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Early Poll Gives Zimbabwe Ruling Party An Edge Over Its Opposition


      By Patience Rusere
      27 September 2007

A political poll released this week by the Mass Public Opinion Institute of
Zimbabwe found that 33% of Zimbabweans support the ruling ZANU-PF party over
the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, backed by 21% of poll

But the poll takers acknowledged the survey was conducted mainly in the
rural areas where support for the ruling party is strongest - as is its
local political muscle.

The Mass Public Opinion Institute said that of 1,202 voters polled in April,
33% favored ZANU-PF, 21% backed the MDC faction led by party founder Morgan
Tsvangirai, and a mere 1% expressed support for the MDC faction of Arthur

The remaining 45 percent were undecided or refused to state their
preference. The institute said all those interviewed in the survey were 18
years of age or older.

Institute Director Eldred Masunungure, a political science lecturer at the
University of Zimbabwe, said poll takers did not inquire into the reasons
why voters supported one party or another, in order not to cause
apprehension among those surveyed.

Masunungure speculated that voter frustration with the MDC explained the
tilt toward the ruling party, and that most of those polled live in rural

Senior Progams Manager Pedzisai Ruhanya of the Crisis In Zimbabwe Coalition
took issue with the findings, telling reporter Patience Rusere of VOA's
Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that voters are equally frustrated with the ruling

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Zimbabwe Ruling Party Youth In Alleged Attack On Masvingo Forum


      By Thomas Chiripasi
      27 September 2007

Delegates to a meeting of Zimbabwe's Youth Forum in Masvingo said a session
in the southeastern provincial capital was broken up on Thursday by about
100 youth of the ruling ZANU-PF party who allegedly beat participants and
shattered windows.

Sources in Masvingo said the attackers, who had been brought to Charles
Austin Hall near the Masvingo civic center aboard a bus, were dispatched by
Deputy Minister of Water Resources and Infrastructure Development Walter
Mzembi, who is also the member of parliament for the Masvingo South

Mzembi told VOA that the allegations he organized the attack were

The Zimbabwe Republic Police in Masvingo arrested not the attackers but two
of the organizers of the Youth Forum event, Youth Forum Coordinator
Wellington Zindove and Edson Hlatswayo, a student leader at Great Zimbabwe
University, Masvingo.

The violence took place ahead of a celebration on Saturday in Masvingo of
the eighth anniversary of the founding of the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change.

And with presidential and general elections on the horizon in March 2008,
Zimbabwe is moving into full political campaign mode - which often means
more violence.

Correspondent Thomas Chiripasi reported from Harare.

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'Officials took refugees' property'

The Zimbabwean

PRETORIA - Over 200 Zimbabwean asylum seekers lost their personal belongings
last week when the Tshwane Municipality took the belongings at Marabastad
Refugee Reception Office in Pretoria.
According to a refugee-rights researcher at the Lawyers for Human Rights,
over 50 Metro police and municipal officials in five vehicles grabbed
anything on the ground at the offices.
"All the affected individuals are very worried and depressed as most of them
lost valuable goods such as educational certificates and cellphones during
the raid," said a researcher.
Many Zimbabweans who have fled the economic and political crisis in Zimbabwe
are staying at the Marabastad Refugee Reception Centre seeking asylum
documents that will enable them to study or work in the country.
Government officials at the refugee reception offices have also been accused
of seeking bribes from the asylum seekers in order for them to get the
Efforts to get a comment on the confiscation from the Municipality of
Tshwane were unsuccessful.

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Black market fuel price rises from Z$450 000 -to- Z$700 000 per litre

The Zimbabwean

BLACK market fuel prices shot up this week from Z$450 000 to Z$700 000 per
litre, a development which has led to commuter bus operators increasing

Most public transporters in Harare and other cities have responded to the
increment by revising fares upwards.

The official pump price of petrol is Z$65 000 while diesel is sold at Z$60
000. Because of the shortage of the commodity on the official market most
public transporters have now resorted to the black market.

By mid-day both local commuter omnibus operators and long distance bus
operators had effected the new fare increases.

A snap survey carried by CAJ News revealed that commuters from some western
suburbs in Harare were already forking out $150 000 up from $70 000 for a
single trip while long distance buses were charging $1,8 million for a
single trip from Bulawayo to Harare. Before this latest increment the route
used to cost $400 000.

Other commuters are charging $100 000 from $50 000.

Economists have attributed the current shortages of fuel in the country to
the removal of concessionary exchange rate by government from the Zimbabwe
Revenue Authority (Zimra) which fuel importers used to enjoy.

Petroleum companies blame the current fuel shortage on foreign currency
Officially opening the National Oil of Zimbabwe Company (Noczim) service
station in   Bulawayo early this month the minister of energy and power
development-CAJ News.

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Foreign currency earning declines sharply

The Zimbabwean

HARARE- ZIMBABWE'S Minister of Economic Development Sylvester Nguni, said
foreign currency generation in the country had declined significantly from a
high of US$10,8 billion per year in 2000 to a low of US$1,5 billion.

He said the shortfall had result to all major sector of the economy failing
to perform since the turn of the century.

"Zimbabwe need US4,5 billion per annum in foreign currency to operate
efficiently, the generation of only US1,5 billion has resulted in the
economy performaing at below 30% of capacity," said Nguni.

The generation of surplus foreign currency obviously strengthen the

"Zimbabwe is facing challenges including a foreign currency shortfall of
around US$3 billion, leading to many sectors of the economy performing below
par and the country failing to import fuel, drugs and basic commodities, let
alone plant and equipment for industry and commerce," he said- CAJ News.

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Statement on hit list against journalists

The Zimbabwean

 MISA-Zimbabwe is greatly concerned with the leaked hit list allegedly
targeting several Zimbabwean journalists for strict surveillance and other
unspecified reprisal actions.

 While MISA-Zimbabwe cannot immediately vouch for the authenticity of the
unlettered hit list document dated 06/07, the very existence of the list is
cause for great concern as it reflects the hostile and harsh environment
that Zimbabwean journalists operate under some of whom have been assaulted,
harassed, arrested, tortured and detained in terms of the country's
repressive media laws.

 The hit list should not therefore be dismissed off-hand as the work of
mischief- makers but calls for serious investigations to establish its
authenticity and origination. The author of the hit list obviously harbours
intense animosity and hatred against the targeted journalists and should be
brought to book.

 MISA-Zimbabwe calls upon the Minister of Information and Publicity, the
Minister of Home Affairs and other security agents to investigate the
origins of the leaked document which bears the Zimbabwean Crest as well as
assure the shaken journalists of their security and safety as they conduct
their lawful professional duties.

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Zimbabwe's new bill threatens SA business

Business Report

September 28, 2007

Harare - An organisation representing South African businesses expressed
concern yesterday for local investment in Zimbabwe, after that country's
parliament passed a bill aimed at giving black Zimbabweans a majority share
in foreign-owned firms.

"We would hope that the political framework will become a commercial
political framework that will allow our companies to continue to do
business," said Business Unity SA chief executive Jerry Vilakazi.

Zimbabwe's parliament passed a bill on Wednesday ensuring that "indigenous
Zimbabweans", defined as those disadvantaged under the British rule ending
in 1980, were given a 51 percent stake in most businesses.

Impala Platinum and Anglo Platinum are among the South African companies
deemed likely to be most affected by the bill if passed.

Legislators from the opposition Movement for Democratic Change walked out of
parliament to protest the bill, which the senate has yet to pass.

Some analysts have questioned how much Zimbabweans stand to gain from the
measure given the economy's current poor performance. Inflation is running
at least 6 600 percent and unemployment at about 80 percent.

The implementation of the bill remains shrouded in uncertainty.

Indigenisation and economic empowerment minister Paul Mangwana said: "We
will allow them time to indigenise. We have to look at each business in its
own right."

But some analysts were sceptical, noting the suddenness with which farms
were seized by members of the ruling party and their allies when the
controversial land reform bill was passed in 2000.

The passing of the indigenisation bill, which has been in the offing for
years, comes in the run-up to parliamentary and presidential elections set
for March 2008, which President Robert Mugabe is expected to contest

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