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

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Zimbabwe sets up courts to deal with economic crimes
      Sun Sep 28, 8:51 AM ET

HARARE (AFP) - As the Zimbabwe government battles with critical banknote
shortages, special courts are to be set up to deal with "economic and
financial crimes", the state-run Sunday Mail reported.

President Robert Mugabe's government blames the four-month-old shortage of
banknotes on hoarders and on the thriving black market for foreign currency,
which sees vast quantities of notes being swallowed up.

"The courts will deal with economic crimes and this is expected to ensure
that cases are handled speedily. They are expected to start operating soon,"
Michael Santu of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe told the paper.

Santu said the courts would seek cooperation with neighbouring countries in
a bid to stamp out the externalisation of the Zimbabwe dollar, illegal under
Zimbabwe's laws.

"There is still a lot of money out of the country, especially in Mozambique
and Zambia," Santu said.

He said Zimbabweans were using the notes to buy foreign currency abroad
which they then resold on the parallel market at home.

This week the government introduced new 500 dollar banknotes and a new form
of currency, bearer cheques, which are only valid until January.

Although bearer cheques appear to have slightly eased bank queues,
economists say they have a major drawback: they are easily forged.

"There is a serious danger because they can easily be manufactured using
modern machinery such as scanners and photocopiers," economist John
Robertson was quoted as saying in Sunday's privately-owned Standard

Government critics blame the banknote shortages mainly on Zimbabwe's soaring
inflation rate, currently standing at more than 426 percent.

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Channel 4 News

Inside Zimbabwe

Published: 28-Sep-2003
By: Farai Sevenzo

Zimbabwe is increasingly closed to the outside world. For sometime now, it's
been impossible for journalists to get into the country to report on what's
been happening there.

But the news that has filtered out paints a grim picture. The economy is
said to be in a desperate state, there have been continuous human rights
abuses and a clamp down on the media.

The Zimbabwean film-maker, Farai Sevenzo, went back home to Harare for a
holiday last week. He took a video camera for Channel 4 News to record his
journey. This is his exclusive report.

It is the first time I have been home in six months... and the illusion of
normality is everywhere. Harare seems peaceful, the jacaranda trees are in
full bloom, kids are still going to school, bands are still playing.

But scratch the surface a little, and a wholly different picture emerges:
Harare is in a more desperate state than I've ever seen it before. It feels
as though Zimbabwe, the house of stone, is crumbling.

It's ten past two in the morning, I see people sleeping in the open,
queuing. What are they doing here? Why are they putting themselves through
this? And when day breaks, they are still here.

There is a way to jump queue - This young man offered me a visa within the
hour if I paid him 15,000 Zimbabwe dollars, or £1.50. Many of the people
here haven't got that kind of money.

I could afford to jump the queue. But for most of these people there's no
choice but to wait.

Queues are the new order of the day. The cash points stand idle because the
country has run out of bank notes. That is Zimbabwe's cash crisis. And
should you make it to the end of the queue, you can only take out five
thousand Zimbabwean dollars - that is fifty pence…for the day....

Not so long ago, Zimbabwe was proud to be the breadbasket of the region.
This is Harare, not Lagos - smart streets, brilliant infrastructure, things
that work when you need them to. No longer.

So how do ordinary people survive? The black market, of course.

These backyard deals were the big surprise for me. The black market has
become Zimbabwe's lifeline, a tacit admission by those in charge that they
have failed to deliver.

I decided to stop by at my friend Matthew's house. Matthew and I were at
school together as Zimbabwe got her independence. He's stayed in Zim and
seems to have no plans to move.

Matthew makes a living as a freight agent. But he admitted that the country
is barely surviving - he calls it suicide economics.

Another friend of mine is a young photographer, who is also managing, but
with a few more obstacles.

Being a photographer in Zimbabwe is dangerous work, my friend has lost track
of the fines he has had to pay. His picture of our leader tells the stress
of a nation.

For Zimbabweans, the problems are right there in their faces, everyday, and
there is a resolute need to carry on as normal, to get drunk, to dance, to
get married. Is it denial or acceptance?

The week I was in Harare, the only independent newspaper called a press
conference. It had been ordered by the government to shut down.

This paper has had its offices bombed, tear-gased, printing pressed trashed,
and finally it's been just shut down.

The opposition party is trying to change things, but its members seem
gripped by fear. I met an MDC activist at night in my hotel room. He turned
his back on the camera for fear of being recognised.

Another opposition supporter was beaten for wearing a red cap and a red

One of the opposition's slogans is "Show Mugabe the red card..." This young
man's choice of clothes was literally a red rag to a bull.

In the last few days of my holiday, one of Mr Mugabe's closest allies, Simon
Muzenda, a vice president, died at the age of 80. He received a state
funeral with all the trimmings and was laid to rest in our Heroes' acre.

But it’s a very different picture for ordinary Zimbabweans. Most of them end
up in makeshift coffins.

Many can't even afford to bury their dead, the morgues are filling up and
the graveyards are packed.

I have seen Zimbabweans who have been beaten, imprisoned, I have seen them
queue for hours for petrol, for cash that is worth so little, I have seen
newspapers closed and am amazed by people's tolerence. But where is the

Why will things not change? People who live here have told me it will get
bloodier before it gets better, I hope that will not be the case.

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Pakistan, Zimbabwe still out of Commonwealth group

By Evelyn Leopold

NEW YORK, Sept. 28 — Foreign ministers from Commonwealth countries saw
little chance for Zimbabwe to rejoin decision-making bodies of the alliance
soon but left some hope for Pakistan's re-admission, a statement said on
       Both countries have been suspended from key councils for their record
on democracy and human rights by the 54-nation Commonwealth, which in the
main includes Britain and its former colonies.
       At a Saturday meeting, eight ministers from the Commonwealth's action
group noted that the Pakistani parliament remained deadlocked over a legal
framework, a key obstacle for a full return to democracy.
       But the ministers said that if negotiations between the government
and political parties, especially on constitutional issues, were concluded
successfully, ''Pakistan's suspension from the councils of the Commonwealth
should be lifted.''
       The eight foreign ministers were from Botswana, Malta, India,
Bangladesh, Bahamas, Samoa, Nigeria and Australia. All had been attending
the U.N. General Assembly session.
       Pakistan was suspended following a 1999 military coup, led by Gen.
Pervez Musharraf, now the country's president.
       Zimbabwe was suspended for a year in March 2002 following the
re-election of President Robert Mugabe that critics said was rigged. The
suspension was extended to December after no progress was reported on
alleged human rights abuses.
       The action group made no recommendations except to say the Zimbabwe
controversy would be considered by Commonwealth heads of government at a
December summit in Abuja, Nigeria.
       The group's statement also said any decisions on Zimbabwe would be
made by the Commonwealth's ''Troika'' composed of Australia, South Africa
and Nigeria.
       Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer, who has taken a tough
position on Zimbabwe, prepared a document showing how the government had
abused its power and stifled reforms.
       ''Unless the Mugabe Government embraces reform quickly and
enthusiastically, the people of Zimbabwe will continue to suffer economic
hardship, political oppression and humanitarian crises,'' Downer said.
       Zimbabwe is struggling with a severe economic crisis, blamed by
critics on government mismanagement. Mugabe counters that the southern
African nation is a victim of economic sabotage by Western powers opposed to
his seizures of white-owned farms for black resettlement.

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Khaleej Times

Zimbabwe hospitals refuse non-emergency ops: report

28 September 2003

HARARE - As drug shortages hit Zimbabwe’s cash-strapped medical facilities,
patients with non-emergency conditions are being refused operations in the
second city of Bulawayo, a newspaper reported on Sunday.

Only “life-threatening” conditions are being operated upon, the
state-controlled Sunday Mail said, citing shortages of anaesthetics.

A medical official told the paper the lack of foreign currency currently
crippling the southern African country meant that drugs could not be

“Most of the drugs have to be imported...Even those that can be found
locally are so expensive that we cannot afford to buy stocks that can fill
up the pharmacies of the major hospitals,” the official said.

Zimbabwe’s medical sector, already under pressure from high rates of
HIV/AIDS infection, has been badly hit by the economic crisis here.
Thousands of nurses and doctors have left to seek better-paid jobs abroad.

The country has been battling severe shortages of foreign currency for the
last three years. Meanwhile the private Standard newspaper reported that
lives of hundreds of cancer patients around Bulawayo are at risk because the
only radiotherapy machine has broken down and cannot be repaired. The paper
said there was no foreign currency to purchase spare parts for the machine.

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Tehran Times

$15m Credit to Expansion of Trade Ties with Zimbabwe

TEHRAN (Mehr News Agency) -- Iran has allocated a $15 million credit line to
boost trade ties with Zimbabwe as well as exporting technical and
engineering services to other African countries, Iran's Cooperatives
Minister Ali Soufi declared here Sunday.

In a meeting with Zimbabwean Minister for Information and Publicity Jonathan
Moyo, Soufi added that the export of Iran's technical and engineering
services to Zimbabwe is aiming at partially supplying their demands.

Iranian head of Iran-Zimbabwe Joint Commission said that the common policy
of both states on seeking freedom and independence as well as campaign
against suppression have provided the grounds for mutual cooperation.

For his part, Moyo declared the upcoming visit of two technical delegations
from the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) to Zimbabwe as
specified in the agreements signed by the two states earlier.

He pointed out that part of the allocated $15 million credit will be
invested for buying agricultural equipment such as tractor, and restore
agricultural sector.

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Borradaile Trust Appeal

Dear family, friends, acquaintances and sympathetic readers,



  1. For those of you who don’t know me, I am Tony Lee and am the warden, or general manager of the Borradaile trust Home for the aged, situated in Marondera, 70kms. East of Harare in Zimbabwe. BT is registered with the Ministry of Social Welfare as a Welfare Organisation Institution – W/O 236/68, and thus attracts a tax deduction for donations made to it.


It was built by the Reverend and Mrs. Borradaile Bell some 51 years ago, and is non-sectarian, non-racial and non-denominational, albeit having been founded upon Anglican tradition.



  1. The Trust has a Management Committee of volunteers, whose chairman is Mr. Michael Hammond, a retired rector of Peterhouse School for Girls in Marondera.


For those of you who are familiar with  “BT” in addition to 73 cottages for couples and singles who as lessees of their cottages (A-Scheme) fend for themselves, we have some 60 elderly who live in bed-sit apartments, and dine-in, in our full-catering dining rooms (B-Scheme), and upwards of 33 who live in our nursing home frail-care centre, which is fully staffed with professional nursing staff and nurse aides (C-Scheme). In addition, a separately-managed private cottage hospital, Borradaile Hospital, is situated in our grounds, and is complementary to our Home’s facilities. We employ a total of 66 persons in administration, nursing, grounds and maintenance, housekeeping and security.


Our Immediate Problem


  1. I believe it is well-known now, how Zimbabwe’s inflation and the diminishing availability of essential commodities have affected our people ! In real terms, inflation has reached 500%. Because of the increasing problem of virtual non-availability of necessary food ingredients, and the hyper-inflation spiral, which in November brought the food-alone inflation to 560%, we brought in a professional catering company which has the ability to procure the necessary food items; this has been a most successful move. Our problem, however, lies in the fact that our pensioner-residents’ incomes have been eroded to virtually below the cost of housing and feeding them. Our policy has been to try and keep our tariffs within the residents’ means, but we have now reached the situation where our expenditure is more than our income, and to increase our charges would be to put them beyond the ability of most dining-in residents to pay !


Exchange Rate


  1. We have been blessed these past few years by well-wishers who’ve supported us so faithfully through our U.K. bank account, and we’ve been able to import funds from there at favourable rates. However, we’re now seeing our withdrawals from this account exceeding our monthly revenue. We urgently need to arrest this trend, and see an injection into the fund. Hence the appeal.


Cost of Maintaining a Resident


  1. It costs us twenty pounds sterling per month to fully maintain one B/C-scheme resident (68 pence per day)


  1. It costs us 45 pence per day to feed one B/C-scheme resident (15 pence per meal, on average)


My Request To You


7. May I ask you to please consider making a donation to our cause, to help us to look after our elderly, our senior citizens, who’ve spent   the best part of their lives contributing to the building and developing of this wonderful land of ours, which in turn is currently not contributing too well to the looking after of these dear and precious people !. The times of adversity are not of their making, and many are bewildered by the plight they find themselves in.


  1. Our support base in this former community of commercial farmers has been totally eroded, and many of our elderly are now on  their own, their families having to seek lives elsewhere.


Our Bank Details


  1. Our U.K. bank is Child and Company, Bankers,  incorporated with the Royal Bank of Scotland.


Our Bank Account Details Are


Account Name: The Borradaile Trust

Address: Child and Co, Bankers

               1 Fleet Street, London, EC4Y  1BD

Account Details: Branch Sort Code: 15-80-00

Account No:                                     63901566


Personality Details 


a) President:        Mrs. Jenny Mitchell   

b) Chairman        Michael Hammond     

c) Treasurer         Colin West, CA (Zim)

d) Secretary         Mrs. Pru Brooker        


11. Our postal address: P.Bag 3795, Marondera, Zimbabwe.

      Email address        :     

      Phones                    : 00-263-79-23558

      Fax                          : 00-263-79-21405


New webpage, being developed:




12. In thanking you in anticipation, and most sincerely, may I give thanks to those of you who may have contributed previously, or are still doing so, and may I encourage you by saying that your giving is very much appreciated, and may God richly bless you for your kindness and selflessness. Please pass this message on, with the knowledge that your help, whatever the amount, will greatly and collectively benefit our “Oldies” in a wonderful way.


Sincerely, and with gratitude, on behalf of our elderly residents,

Rev.E.A. (Tony) Lee,


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Zim Standard

      Strike rocks AirZim
      By Caiphas Chimhete

      AIR Zimbabwe on Friday tried to hire two Zupco buses to carry its
passengers from Harare to Bulawayo following a crippling strike by pilots,
who were demanding monthly salaries of between $15 million to $18 million, a
senior official with the national airline said.

      The pilots and management however reached an agreement later and the
planes were flying by late Friday. Details of the agreement were not

      The pilots are currently earning about $3 million a month. The strike,
which started on Thursday last week, also led to the cancellation and
postponement of several local and regional flights on Friday.

      Flights to Bulawayo, Victoria Falls, Lilongwe, Nairobi and
Johannesburg were all cancelled costing the airline millions of dollars.

      National soccer team supporters’ body – The Warriors’ Trust, who had
chartered a plane with Cotton Company of Zimbabwe (Cottco) for yesterday’s
Zimbabwe versus Malawi match and were scheduled to leave Harare for Blantyre
with the national soccer team on Friday evening, only left the country
yesterday morning.

      Due to the postponement, “The Warriors” played against Malawi’s
“Flames” the same day they arrived in Blantyre, Malawi.

      “There was confusion at the airport with passengers milling around
with their luggage. The situation was so bad that they had to hire two
Marcopolo buses from Zupco to take passengers to Bulawayo, but others
refused,” said the official, adding that the buses were supposed to leave
Harare on Friday morning when it was clear that the Bulawayo flight would
not materialise.

      The official said the pilots turned down the 100 percent increment
they were offered by management.

      Fearing that the strike would also affect the Harare-London flight,
Air Zimbabwe management on Friday quickly sought the intervention of the
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Transport and Communication,
Christian Katsande, who spent the whole day locked up in a meeting with the

      “Management was warned by the President (Robert Mugabe) the last time
engineers went on strike not to let things get out of control, that is why
they quickly called in Katsande,” said the official.

      Katsande could not be reached for comment but sources said he promised
to award the pilots the salaries they were demanding.

      Air Zimbabwe spokesperson, David Mwenga, referred The Standard to Air
Zimbabwe managing director, Rambai Chingwena, saying he did not have details
of the meeting between Katsande and the pilots.

      Asked if the national airline had hired Zupco buses, Mwenga said, “We
meant to but ultimately we didn’t because we later agreed with the pilots.”

      Chingwena also declined to divulge the details of the meeting: “It is
confidential, we cannot reveal people’s salaries but I can assure you, we
reached an agreement with the pilots and things are back to normal.”

      Following the cancellations and postponements of flights, Air Zimbabwe
issued an apology to its customers and passengers.

      The airline said in a statement: “We wish to apologise sincerely to
our esteemed passengers and customers for cancellations of our flights to
Lilongwe, Nairobi and Bulawayo yesterday as well as those to Johannesburg
and Vic Falls today.

      “We are glad to inform the travelling public and our valued customers
that the issue has been resolved amicably and our pilots are back in full
swing commanding our aircraft to all destinations.”

      The Air Zimbabwe official said at least seven pilots had resigned
since the beginning of this year.

      During the past few months, Air Zimbabwe has been hit by a spate of
strikes with workers complaining about poor salaries and working conditions.

      Three months ago, engineers with the airline downed tools demanding
better salaries virtually grinding all operations to a halt. Air Zimbabwe
had to send its planes to neighbouring South Africa for servicing, draining
the country of scarce foreign currency.

      Presently, Air Zimbabwe has a debt that is expected to shoot up from
US$10 million to US$21 million before the end of the year. It is also
forecast to post heavy loses because its salary bill has shot up by 300

      That apart, it is feared the parastatal might sink deeper into
financial problems because most of its debtors are failing to pay in time.

      As of May this year, the government owed the company more than $526,92
million while LAC, a company from the Democratic Republic of Congo, owed it
US$400 million.

      A recent report of the Portfolio Committee on Transport and
Communications noted that the government’s failure to pay its debt
threatened the national airline’s viability.
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Zim Standard

      Bulawayo cancer patients in danger after machine failure
      By Wilson Dakwa

      THE lives of hundreds of cancer patients in Matabeleland, Midlands and
Masvingo are under threat following the breakdown of the only cancer
treatment machine at Mpilo Hospital in Bulawayo.

      The hospital has been forced to stop administering radiotherapy to
patients affected by cancer after the machine used for the treatment of
internal cancer – the Linear Accelerator – broke down last March.

      Mpilo Hospital medical superintendent, Dr Juliet Dube-Ndebele told The
Standard that since the machine broke down five months ago, it had been
difficult to repair it due to lack of foreign currency needed to purchase
spare parts outside the country.

      “The machine is normally repaired by an expatriate maintenance
engineer from Harare but right now he needs spare parts. This has proved a
difficult task due to scarcity of foreign currency to buy the equipment,”
she said.

      The hospital caters for cancer patients in Matabeleland’s two
provinces, Bulawayo, Masvingo and the Midlands. Dube-Ndebele said they were
now being forced to refer their patients to Harare for treatment.

      “Most of our patients are poor people who cannot afford the high
transport costs to Harare,” she said.

      There are only two major cancer treatment centres in Zimbabwe, one at
Parirenyatwa and the other at Mpilo.

      Dube-Ndebele said even those referred to Harare were not assured of
instant treatment as only one machine was working at Parirenyatwa, the
largest referral hospital in Zimbabwe.

      “Some of the patients have been booked for February next year meaning
that they have to endure six months of pain without receiving any
 treatment,” she said.

      A senior medical doctor at the Radio Therapy Centre, Dr Samukeliso
Vuma said the situation was worsened by the fact that the institution had
run out of chemotherapy drugs used in the treatment of cancer.

      “There are only three types of drugs left whereas the treatment of
cancer involves a combination of quite a number of drugs,” said Vuma.

      When fully operational, Vuma said the centre administers radiotherapy
to about 60 patients a day and receives two to three thousand new cases a
year. The shortage of qualified personnel has also plunged the centre into
further turmoil.

      The centre used to be manned by twelve radiographers but of these,
only two are left after the rest left for “greener pastures” abroad.

      “Even if all the machines were operational, it would be quite a task
to operate them since we are severely short staffed,” Vuma said.

      She said the simulator, another machine used for the planning of
treatment, was also not fully operational.
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Zim Standard

      Wankie Colliery in $5,6bn loss
      From Parker Graham in Johannesburg

      ZIMBABWE and Africa’s largest coal producers, Wankie Colliery, is
sinking into a serious economic crisis after recording a huge Z$5,58 billion
recorded loss with current costs of $Z$10,65 billion during the last six
months, StandardBusiness has learnt.

      According to the company’s half-year results released in Johannesburg
last week, Wankie Colliery continued to experience a decline in economic

      Complicating the company’s operations is the serious shortage of
foreign currency accompanied by high increase in borrowing costs, price
control, transport constraints and the continuous devaluation of the
Zimbabwe dollar against major currencies.

      However, taking into account inflation – which has now surpassed the
400 percent mark up from 366 % in June when the figures were presented –
Wankie could, to some extent, boast of realizing a profit of Z$921,26
million in the period under review, compared to Z$163,12 million in the
previous year.

      The revenue for the period, using current costs, was Z$12,32 billion,
down from Z$20, 67 billion previously while using historical costs the
company recorded revenue of $8,92 billion from Z$3,86 billion.

      The total coal sales during the half-year fell to 131 million tonnes
from 190 million tonnes in the past year.

      Wankie, which supplies the entire Southern African Development
Community (SADC) countries including Zambia, South Africa, Botswana and
Mozambique with top quality coal, is facing serious viability problems
following Zimbabwe’s poor economic performance.

      According to the half-year financial results in possession of
StandardBusiness, Wankie is grappling with borrowing costs, transport
constraints, price controls and the devaluation of the local currency.

      “Coke sales decreased by 13 percent from 111 441 tonnes to a
disappointing 96 702 for the comparative six months period ending June 30
2002 and 2003 respectively.

      “Exports for the period were 52 040 tonnes and accounted for 54
percent of coke sales,” reads the financial year results comments signed by
the company’s secretary identified only as T. Ncube.

      The Wankie Colliery audited accounts were prepared in compliance with
International Accounting Standard (IAS) 29 of the Financial Reporting in
Hyperinflation Economics,” the statement reads.

      Wankie Colliery is now operating at 50 percent capacity owing to a
number of problems with most of them emanating from inflation, increased
minimum bank lending rates, taxation and failure by another government
parastatal Zimbabwe Iron and Steel Company (ZISCO) to pay its debts.

      Complicating Wankie’s operations was the National Railways of Zimbabwe
(NRZ), which is failing to provide facilities to transport coal to firms and
companies that need the product.

      This negative situation has cost Wankie foreign currency from Zambia,
South Africa, Botswana and other regional countries.

      However, Ncube pointed out in the financial statement that Wankie
Colliery would ensure efficiency in running its operations following a
US$5,3 million loan facility made available in June 2003.

      “This is expected to bring relief in terms of equipment refurbishment
and production capacity is expected to be restored to the normal minimum of
80 percent from the current 50 percent,”said Ncube.
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Zim Standard

      Economists warn of forged bearer cheques
      By Caiphas Chimhete

      THE bearer cheques, an unprecedented move by the Reserve Bank of
Zimbabwe (RBZ) last week to deal with a crippling cash crisis, have
reportedly eased the bank notes shortage but economists warn these have a
greater chance of being forged.

      They said bearer cheques could easily be reproduced using high-powered
scanners and colour photocopiers.

      Some supermarkets and retail shops have already established “checking
desks” where bearer cheques are physically inspected for the security
features before they can be used to purchase goods.

      A shop clerk at Denenga mini-supermarket in Harare said they started
checking after learning that the bearer cheques could easily be reproduced.

      They have, however, not come across any counterfeits.

      “We haven’t discovered any counterfeits. But we have to do it for our
safety because we hear they can be reproduced easily,” said the clerk.

      Independent economic analyst John Robertson said although the bearer
cheques have eased the cash shortage they have a high chance of being
reproduced into counterfeit notes.

      “There is a serious danger because they can easily be manufactured
using modern machinery such as scanners and photocopiers,” warned Robertson.

      Their advantage however is that people can not hoard them at home
because they have an expiry date and as a result, they will keep on
circulating, said Robertson.

      The bearer cheques can only be used until the January 31 next year
when they would expire.

      African Banking Corporation (ABC) chief banking officer, Francis
Dzanya, admitted that there was a risk of counterfeit bearer cheques
flooding the market with crooks taking advantage of lack of awareness of
security features among people.

      He said that people in remote parts of the country and those in busy
trading environments were susceptible to accepting the counterfeit cheques.

      “You can never stop crooks from making counterfeits, even of the
current notes but if people thoroughly check they will not fall prey to
unscrupulous dealers,” said Dzanya.

      He urged the central bank to continue with the awareness campaign to
ensure that people do not lose their hard-earner cash to criminals.

      Dzanya encouraged people to accept the bearer cheques because, “they
are just as good as cash in their pockets. It is also written pay the bearer
on demand and printed on bank note paper, so there is no difference.”

      There was no comment from Bankers Association of Zimbabwe (BAZ) whose
vice-president, Jerry Tsodzai, was said to be in a meeting last week.

      Police spokesperson Andrew Phiri said they had not received any
reports of counterfeit notes since their introduction on Tuesday last week.

      The bearer cheques, which are in denominations of $5 000, $10 000 and
$20 000, are part of the on-going efforts by government to ease the cash
crisis that has dogged Zimbabwe for the past three months.

      Long queues that had become a common sight in the country’s urban
centres for the past three months as people jostled to withdraw cash from
their banks, with some financial houses limiting withdrawals to $2000 a day,
are slowly disappearing.

      However, the situation had changed last week with some commercial
banks allowing withdrawals of up to $200 000, the bulk of it in bearer

      Early last week, the central bank released $8,8 billion worth of
bearer cheques, which are part of the $390 billion the central bank expects
to release into circulation.

      In the meantime, the RBZ says it will introduce a $1 000 note next
month as part of its strategy to end the cash shortage once and for all.
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Zim Standard

      Patients die as drug prices hit the roof
      By Lee Berthiaume

      HUNDREDS of Zimbabweans can no longer afford to buy medicine as
inflation and the high price of importing raw materials to produce drugs
have doubled and tripled prices over the last two months.

      For most, this has meant having to live with illnesses and health
problems with no hope for respite. In some cases, ill people are dying at
home because they cannot afford hospital fees or the drugs themselves.

      At The Centre, an organisation for people living with HIV/AIDS, at
least 70 per cent of the patients can’t even afford vitamin supplements, let
alone full-blown drug regimens to help them fight off diseases, said an

      “People are dying,” said Lynde Francis, The Centre’s executive
director, her voice both angry and sad. “I have just had one of my long-term
counsellors die on me just because we couldn’t access the treatment in time.
Every week I’m dealing with people who don’t have to die.”

      A month’s worth of anti-retrovirals cost $192 000 last month. Now they
’re up to $265 000 and this price doesn’t include the cost of treating any
opportunistic illnesses or even the cost of food and shelter.

      “How people are surviving I don’t know. They’re selling their cars,
they’re selling their homes, their families are going without. I have people
in my office every day crying because they are going to die,” said Francis.

      Last November, the government implemented price controls to help
Zimbabweans buy medicine and drugs at prices that were still within their
reach. However, the government dropped the controls in May as pharmaceutical
and food companies suffered significantly and were forced to slow production
and cut personnel.

      After the price controls were dropped, Jealous Nderere decided to
track the price increases to see what would happen. It wasn’t long before
the chair of the Retail Pharmacists’ Association (RPA) was overwhelmed.

      “We lost track of the number of price increases,” Nderere said.
“Everyday you replace an order and about 80 per cent of the items have a
price increase. We could never imagine it would be like this.”

      A common antibiotic that cost $3 200 just last month now costs $6 000
while asthma inhalers have gone up from $20 000 to $27 000. Even the price
of non-prescription drugs has increased significantly.

      Ten paracetamol tablets have gone up from $400 last month to $1 000
this month while 20 Pynstop (aspirin) cost $7 260, up from $4 160.

      Nderere said he has had many customers walk into his Gweru pharmacy,
learn how much their medication would cost and walk out because they cannot
afford it.

      “That’s the order of the day,” he said.

      As prices skyrocketed, customers have tried to cope in various ways;
most shop around for the best price, many on multiple drug programmes cut
one or more drugs from their treatment and some take the drug less often
than they are supposed to.

      Others buy as much as they can and then have to wait weeks for the
next payday to continue their treatment. But pharmacists who were
interviewed said there was very little they could do.

      “You can really only sympathise and suggest cheap alternatives,”
Nderere said. But even those cheap alternatives aren’t cheap anymore. The
cheap generics have helped a lot but even they are going out of reach.”

      Doctors are also experiencing problems caused by outrageously
expensive medication.

      According to Harare-based Dr. Ebrahim Ahmed Adam, who dispenses
medicine from his own practice, pharmaceutical companies don’t change the
prices on their sheets, they just add a note beside it that reads: “x2” or
“x3” meaning the prices are actually double or triple what they’re listed.

      Adam has had many patients return to his practice a week or two after
their initial visit complaining of the same symptoms.

      “People are not complying with their treatments. They come back and sa
y they are still sick. When I ask if they’ve taken their medication, they
say they haven’t because they can’t afford it,” he said.

      Adam said many patients opt to spend what money they have on other
more immediate items like transportation and food. The results, however, are

      “I think a lot of people are dying. It’s a hideous situation,” said

      Even those Zimbabweans with medical schemes that cover 80 per cent of
the cost of most medication are being affected.

      “Our contribution rates are skyrocketing,” said Alban Williams, chief
executive of the Medical Aid Society of Central Africa (MASCA).

      Last year, drugs made up 36 per cent of the total amount MASCA paid
out for its contributors. This year that number has climbed to 44 per cent.

      While the society still pays 80 per cent of drug costs, it has started
covering only 80 per cent for many services that were originally fully

      “We think the patient has to be aware of the cost of these services,”
Williams said.

      While MASCA’s membership has been steady over the past few years,
Williams said many members are starting to move from private to public
schemes to save money.

      Nderere, the RPA’s chairman, said the only thing to do was continue
and hope things return to normal. “Your heart bleeds, but you just soldier
on and do whatever you can to help your community,” he said.
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Zim Standard

      Daily News closure throws thousands out of work
      Newsfocus By Henry Makiwa

      SULLEN-FACED, distraught and deep in thought, Naison Chitore, sits on
a concrete slab at the corner of Harare’s Kwame Nkurumah Avenue and Park
Lane with his back to the pavement, which at this hour is bustling with an
early morning work-bound crowd.

      But to his friend, “Cde Never” (named after somebody noticed his close
resemblance to the cartoon character in The Daily News), it is business as

      Vainly, Cde Never tries to solicit indifferent passers-by to buy a
copy of the heaped Herald newspaper, the government’s controlled daily
newspaper that is now widely despised by Harare residents. The Herald was
indeed facing a torrid time on the streets until recently when The Daily
News was banned.

      “By the way, have you made up your mind about my offer that I hire you
as my house girl now that you are out of work,” Cde Never chides Chitore,
who has been redundant since the closure of the independent daily.

      The closure of the newspaper, which was immediately and violently
effected by the police, came after the Supreme Court had ruled that by not
registering with the State’s Media and Information Commission (MIC), the
paper was operating illegally.

      To Chitore and hundreds of other newspaper vendors employed to sell
The Daily News and its sister, The Daily News on Sunday, these are difficult
times. The closure of the two papers has meant the loss of their only source
of income.

      “We were always paid commission on the sales we made each week. Now
that the paper has been closed, we basically have to live off other
unconventional means ... and pray that authorities will see sense and allow
the paper back on the streets,” Chitore said.

      About 1 000 other vendors working for Associated Newspapers Zimbabwe
(ANZ), the publishers of The Daily News and The Daily News On Sunday, are
facing the same fate.

      There are also 300 other employees, and of these are 60 journalists
now wanted by the police for operating without licences, whose fate also
hangs in the balance because the government has already turned down ANZ’s

      The Daily News, which began publishing in 1999, refused to register
its operations as required by the Access to Information and Protection of
Privacy Act (AIIPA), to protest against the draconian legislation.

      Though there have been mixed feelings among members of the public and
media experts alike over the wisdom of The Daily News’ refusal to register
with the government-appointed MIC, its clampdown was predictable, say local

      The newspaper group is paying the price for its confrontation with the
ruling Zanu PF party and senior members of the government since its
inception in 1999.

      On the night of April 22 2000, the paper’s offices were bombed and the
perpetrators have never been arrested. The bomb exploded directly below the
office the then Editor-in-Chief of The Daily News’, Geoff Nyarota.

      Barely nine months later, the paper’s printing press in Harare’s
Lochnivar industrial area was blown to smithereens in a military-style
operation. Three years on, police investigations have yet to point at any
suspects in the matter.

      In addition, youths loyal to Mugabe’s ruling Zanu PF party have placed
informal bans on The Daily News in many rural areas. They have frequently
beaten up journalists and vendors working for the newspaper; and destroyed
copies of the paper without the police taking any action.

      The Daily News had, however, overtaken the century-old Herald in sales
until two weeks ago when, for the first time since 1999, The Herald once
again regained its dominance as a result of the September 11 forced closure
of The Daily News.

      The Herald gleefully celebrated the suppression of its privately owned
rival and increased its cover price from $300 to $500. However, from a
circulation that once topped 130 000 a day in the 1980s, The Herald is now
down to a mere 40 000 copies.

      Analysts have said the closure of the two papers is a deliberate and
politically motivated move by the government.

      Said media analyst Ernest Mudzengi: “Unfortunate as it may be, we may
never see The Daily News on the face of our streets again because the Zanu
PF regime will employ all the energy of its pathological fear of criticism
to ensure that the paper remains shut.

      “The battle is however for the ordinary Zimbabweans to engage in a
sustained fight for public space. Freedom of expression that is being denied
Zimbabweans by the closure of The Daily News has far reaching effects
because we have now been robbed of an alternative daily voice”

      Brian Raftopoulos of the Crisis Coalition, a group of church and civic
organisations, said: “Zanu PF is shutting down all the democratic space left
within Zimbabwe. The ruling party is doing this from a political and
financial rationale – they want more money for their State Press and to shut
all despondent voices.”

      The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has urged advertisers and
readers to boycott the State media until The Daily News is allowed to resume

      “The move reaffirms the anti-democratic and dictatorial inclinations
of the Mugabe regime and provides further evidence of the regime’s disregard
for human rights and the rule of law,” said party spokesman Paul Themba

      “Over the last few years, The Daily News and the other independent
weeklies have played a crucial role in keeping the flickering flame of
democracy alive in Zimbabwe. The private newspapers’ honest and courageous
news reports in the face of state persecution, the incessant arrest of
independent journalists and the banning of the papers in many parts of
Zimbabwe by militias and rogue war veterans have endeared them to the long
suffering people of Zimbabwe.

      “We will do everything in our power to ensure that The Daily News is
allowed to operate again. In the meantime, we call upon all Zimbabweans to
defend their freedoms of expression and information by starting a consumer
boycott of all State newspapers such as The Herald, The Sunday Mail, The
Chronicle, and The Sunday News,” said Nyathi.
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Zim Standard

      Gold panners threaten major highway
      By our own Staff

      BULAWAYO - GOLD panners are now within one metre of digging out a
100-metre long stretch of the Bulawayo-Beitbridge highway, that runs
opposite Chipangali Wildlife Orphanage, about 25 km south-east out of
Zimbabwe’s second largest city, threatening a major international trade

      Long-distance haulage trucks heading from South Africa into Zimbabwe,
Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo, make up more than half of the
daily international traffic that uses the road link.

      The panners, who raid the site from the nearby communal areas, are
working on the edge of the highway opposite Chipangali Wildlife Orphanage
about 25-km southeast of Bulawayo. The site is characterised by serious
environmental destruction, with trees being uprooted while deep, crater-like
excavations have been dug closer to the highway.

      The panners are reported to be making dusk-to-dawn raids on the site,
digging up the ore and loading it into bags and carting it for processing in
the safety of their homes.

      A large pit measuring at least 100-metres long and 60-metres wide has
now expanded to the highway, a major trade lifeline for the Southern Africa
Development Community (SADC).

      Villagers said the gold panners started working on the area in April
this year, and have followed the alluvial seam to the edge of the road. They
also accused the police of turning a blind eye to the threat posed by
illegal panners to the international highway.

      A police source who refused to be named said Matabeleland South police
were aware of the gold panning activities threatening the highway but had no
manpower to put a stop to the practice.

      “I am aware of gold panning activities on the site in question, but I
do not know of any police activity on the scene,” said the spokesman. Last
year, the National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) was forced to suspend both
passenger and goods’ train services between Harare and Bulawayo after gold
panners dug out a stretch of the railway line in search of gold.

      Efforts to get a comment from the ministry of mines, environment and
tourism were unsuccessful.
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Zim Standard

      MISA launches media crusade
      By our own Staff

      THE Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) is launching an outreach
campaign on the crisis situation which is facing the media in Zimbabwe, a
few weeks after the closure of The Daily News and The Daily News on Sunday.

      The campaign will target South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Tanzania,
Malawi, Zambia and Mozambique and is aimed at raising awareness on what is
happening in Zimbabwe and to lobby regional governments and civil society to
put pressure on the Zimbabwean government to allow the media to operate

      A number of notable Zimbabwean journalists are lined to speak to the
media, civil society organisations and government representatives over the
deteriorating media situation in Zimbabwe.

      Meanwhile, some British citizens and Zimbabweans living in the UK on
Thursday formed a lobby group, The Friends of The Daily News, to fight for
the re-opening of The Daily News and The Daily News on Sunday, closed down
by the government early this month.

      The executive director of the Commonwealth Press Union, Lindsay Ross
who is the spokesperson of the group, told The Standard in a telephone
interview that they would do everything to lobby for the re-opening of the
two Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe (ANZ) titles.

      l Sam Sipepa Nkomo, the ANZ chief executive, has refuted reports that
there is a consortium of indigenous businessmen that has approached him with
the intention of buying the group.

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Zim Standard

      Mbare residents forced to attend Muzenda funeral
      By Our Own Staff

      MARAUDING gangs of the Zanu PF vigilante unit, Chipangano, on
Wednesday morning ran amok in Mbare closing down the Mupedzanhamo flea
market and force-marching residents in the high-density suburb to attend the
late Vice President Simon Muzenda’s body viewing at the Stoddart Hall.

      Members of the infamous terror group went on rampage as early as 7 am
assaulting innocent residents, some of them on their way to work, and
commandeering them to go to Stoddart Hall where Muzenda’s body was to be
viewed by members of the public.

      The youths halted all operations at Mbare Musika bus terminus and the
nearby vegetable markets ordering everyone to abandon their business “in
respect of Muzenda”, even though the State had not declared the day a public

      Said a Mbare resident who refused to be named: “Elderly women were
made to stand by the roadside ululating as the coffin passed along Ardbernie
Road. It was clear that the women did not belong to Zanu PF, as they were
not wearing Zanu PF dresses as they normally do at State functions.”

      Chipangano members, clad in their familiar white T-shirts with
pro-Zanu PF inscriptions emblazoned on their chests, covered all strategic
entry points into Mbare and barred commuter omnibuses from ferrying
passengers to work in city centre.

      At Mbare Market vendors were being threatened with permanent closure
of their stalls if they did not attend the funeral. Most of them complied in

      Elsewhere,war veterans from the Tongogara settlement, some 15 kms out
of the capital, closed down schools around Norton when they descended on
them and ordered teachers to board a Heroes’ Acre-bound Zupco bus.

      A teacher at Kumboedza Primary School said: “We were forced to shut
down classes in the morning and coerced into a bus where the war veterans
forced us to sing Rambai Makashinga (the commercial by Last Tawengwa, also
known as Tambaoga) all the way to Harare.”

      Meanwhile, hundreds of Zanu PF supporters travelling from Bulawayo and
Victoria Falls for Muzenda’s funeral, failed to make it in time to witness
the burial as their train arrived at least four hours behind schedule.

      The train, which was supposed to arrive at 7 am in Harare, only
pitched up at 11 AM, about the same time Muzenda’s casket was being lowered
into the grave.
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Zim Standard

No apologies for being white

I AM sick to death of people from certain quarters vilifying white colonialists. I am sick of hearing how bad my forefathers were and of people trying to make me feel guilty for being white.

I am proud of what those early settlers did, proud of their hard work, proud of the schools and hospitals they built. Proud of the railways and roads they laid through harsh, savage and fever-ridden terrain. Proud of the cities and towns they erected and the highly productive farms they hacked from the virgin bush.

I am proud of the industries and technologies they brought to Africa, of the cars, telephones, computers, TVs and radios that the indigenous people love so much. I am proud of the fact that through my forefather’s efforts to stop infant mortality the Black population in Zimbabwe has grown from less than half a million in the 1890s to 13 million today.

The likes of Mugabe and Mbeki should be eternally grateful to the Whites because they may never have been in power today if it were not for the rule of law and order and equal opportunity never experienced under the old tribal system. They would have been swiftly despatched with a knobkerrie to the skull for trying to usurp power from their chiefs. Lets face facts – no country can say it has never had outside influences to help it develop. Even Britain was colonised by Rome and benefitted immensely in every department from law to plumbing. Their Dark Age began when they rejected the Romans and slid back into primitive life for awhile.

Africa owes an enormous debt of gratitude to the Christian missionaries who faced almost insurmountable odds to take the Word of God to all His creation. So – please, let us all live in harmony without criticism and sniping. Our forefathers did a fantastic job – let’s live up to their standards when crime was properly punished and integrity was applauded not debased.

“Proud White”

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Zim Standard

Killing The Daily News won’t stop news flow

I live in a place where The Daily News was not allowed to be sold. A bunch of semi-literate thugs, the so-called war vets and notorious Green Bombers decided over two years ago that the people here were not permitted to read ‘that’ paper.

This was a no-go area for the DN we were told; even though the ‘gentlemen in dark glasses’ were openly reading it as we came through the road blocks to get into our ghetto. Passengers were pulled off buses and beaten if they were seen reading it and the offending newspaper was torn to shreds in front of their eyes.

But we, the people who live in this news ‘desert’ had found ways and means of getting round the embargo. Anyone going into Harare would bring the DN back with them (generally stuffed down a trouser leg ... so I christened it the Trouser Press!) and it would circulate privately. It got pretty tatty after it had passed through so many hands but when it came it was like manna in the desert.

Now without even that occasional glimpse of the DN we are suffering acute withdrawal symptoms ... but this illegitimate and stupid government should understand something about the people of Zimbabwe, their own people as they constantly remind us. They can close every independent newspaper in the country but they will never stop the stories going round.

We all knew the VP had passed away over long before we were officially told. How did we know ... because someone had a cousin-brother who had a girl-friend who was a nurse … and you can guess the rest. The fact is that not even the obnoxious Green Bombers or the CIO will ever stop Zimbabweans from talking.

Gossip and ‘stories’ are the lifeblood of Shona society – and the same applies for Ndebele people I would guess. The more important the chef, then the more interesting the gossip about him will be. And one thing you can be sure of – there is always a large grain of truth in the story. That’s just the way it is in Zimbabwe so keep your ear to the ground and you will hear the true voice of the people. When it happens we will be there!

So while we mourn the death of our beloved Daily News and long for its speedy resurrection, in the interim we will fill the vacuum with our own ‘stories: the wilder the better! The news may not be well researched but, believe me, it will spread like wild fire and in the end the flames will consume the ignoramuses who are so terrified of the truth.

And the ruling party will end up believing what we all know; that they have made yet another very stupid mistake silencing the true voice of the people, for that they can never do.

Pauline Henson

“No–go area”
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Zim Standard

      Big brother is watching — and spoiling for a fight
      overthetop By Brian Latham

      The leader of a troubled central African country has admitted he is
like Big Brother. The startling revelation came while he was castigating the
More Drink Coming party for daring to argue with him.

      Instead the More Drink Coming party was told to argue behind closed

      In a speech that left thousands of troubled central Africans even more
troubled, the most equal of all comrades said he wanted unity with the More
Drink Coming party, but unity that saw him being treated like Big Brother.

      The More Drink Coming party said they did not understand the concept,
but gathered the most equal of all comrades was offering them some sort of
junior partnership.

      They said this was unacceptable. A More Drink Coming party spokesman
said there was more than enough Big Brother syndrome in the troubled central
African Banana republic and they wanted nothing to do with it.

      In fact it was just the sort of thing they wanted to see abolished in
the troubled central African police state.

      As for uniting with the most equal of all’s Zany Party, they said they
’d seen what had happened to other political parties that had gone down that
rocky path and promptly written themselves into the history books.

      While they appreciated the offer, the More Drink Coming party said it
thought it best to decline.

      Besides, they said, it seemed unfortunate that the most equal of all
comrades had offered to sit down and eat goat offal with them, rather than
suggesting something nice at a five star restaurant.

      And they said his offer to eat sadza with the goat offal was nothing
short of insensitive. It proved that the most equal of all comrades had
access to sadza, which was both boastful and unkind because no one in the
More Drink Coming party has so much as had a whiff of the stuff in months.

      Still, they said there were other reasons for not arguing with the
most equal of all comrades in private. Most importantly, said an anonymous
spokesman, was the simple fact that arguing in public was so more much fun.
He said the most equal of all comrades was guaranteed to provide a
stimulating and amusing over-reaction to any criticism.

      But it wasn’t only the More Drink Coming party that was left stunned
by the speech. Farmers, too, were interested to learn the astonishing piece
of misinformation accusing them of urging a boycott of beef.

      In his wide-ranging and rambling talk, the most equal of all comrades
accused farmers of urging the European Union to stop imports of beef from
the troubled central African basket case.

      The farmers, most of whom are ex-farmers, pointed out that beef
exports to Europe had been stopped years ago over fears about foot and mouth
disease. The EU had sensibly pointed out that Zany Party supporters had long
ago cut fences, causing the deadly illness to spread across the
disease-ridden central African nation.

      Still, not letting the truth get in the way of good propaganda, the
most equal of all comrades suggested that these farmers were no longer
welcome and should be shown the gate. The farmers responded by saying that
they’d already worked out that they’re not welcome, but said showing them
the gate would be easier said than done because all the gates have been
stolen – along with the fences, which is why those terrible Europeans won’t
buy the beef.
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Sunday Times (SA)
'MDC is not talking to Zanu (PF)'


The main opposition party in Zimbabwe, the Movement for Democratic Change, insisted yesterday that no agreement had been reached with the ruling Zanu (PF).

However, while it has been officially denied by the MDC there has been secret talks between MDC and Zanu (PF) on a new constitution aimed at creating a formula for a transitional government and moving towards fresh presidential elections.

Zanu (PF) has argued that the Zimbabwean constitution does not permit fresh presidential elections. It has argued that if the president resigned the vice-president would take over. The talks between the MDC and Zanu (PF) are understood to have broken off at the end of July.

Under the church-brokered talks both parties are supposed to have come up with proposals for constitutional reform, but only the MDC has done so.

Factions within Zanu (PF) are concerned that should President Robert Mugabe step down without an annointed successor there could be prolonged faction fighting in the party.

In addition, those in the party, such as Information Minister Jonathan Moyo and Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa, who have been appointed to parliament by Mugabe rather than being elected, are worried that they could lose out in any succession.

Mugabe's delay over the appointment of a successor to the late vice-president Simon Muzenda, who died last week after a long illness, points to the difficult balancing act that Mugabe is attempting to achieve in paving the way for his own possible stepping down.

Should Zanu (PF) be able to resume secret talks with the MDC and should Mugabe make further efforts to demonstrate that he is attempting to normalise the political situation in Zimbabwe, other African states would be in a position to argue that Mugabe should be invited to the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in Nigerian capital of Abuja in December.

But with the closure of the independent and outspoken newspaper, the Daily News, earlier this month, it is unlikely that this argument would carry much weight at the moment.

There are no imminent signs that interparty talks will be resumed and the resumption of the treason trial of the MDC leader, Morgan Tsvangirai late next month could heighten tension.

And in early November the Zimabwean high court is due to hear the MDC's petition requesting that the disputed presidential election of last year be declared invalid.

Business Day
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