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

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The Zimbabwean

Monthly pension buys a sip of Coke
HARARE - The following facts of life in Zimbabwe today encapsulate the
economic meltdown of our country:
. A Vienna sausage costs more that a three bedroom house cost 25 years ago

. Fuel has increased by 59,000% in the last 18 months

. If you want fuel you have to buy foreign currency on the black market
(illegal) drive 120 kms, smuggle your cash through an international border,
and fill a container. On return you have to pay duty in Zim $ on the fuel
you have purchased but you are not allowed to take out sufficient Zim $ to
pay the duty anyway

. In August you are advised of the new minimum wages for July

. Kariba Bream now costs $1,200,000 per kg which is double the price of
imported Hake

. Fees in Government schools are increased by 1,000% retrospect for 6
months, whilst private schools are restricted from increasing their fees at

. Colgate toothpaste in supermarkets is kept locked in a glass display
cabinet otherwise it will be stolen

. Reserve Bank officials enforce laws on illegal currency deals, yet the
Bank uses illegally obtained currency to pay satellite television

. New Zealand butter is half the price of Zimbabwe butter

. Water rationing is introduced four months after the end of the rains when
the dams are already almost empty

. A $10 note is still in circulation and is worth 0,05 of one US cent

. A $10 note costs over $3,000 to print

. Toilet paper costs more than $10 a sheet - so it's cheaper to use the

. Banks charge 300% interest on overdraft but pay 0,001% interest on current
account balances

. It is cheaper to hand deliver mail than to use the postal system

. Government knocks down houses when there is a housing shortage

. It can take up to a year to renew a firearms licence which is only valid
for three years

. A replacement drivers' licence can take up to three years

. Electricity Supply Commission is unable to send out monthly accounts, so
estimates the usage - a previous average usage of $250,000 p.m. is estimated
at $24 million

. A monthly govt. pension of $135 000 will buy one small sip of Coke. But
this is not an issue because you can't buy cokes anyway. Pensioners living
outside our borders would receive half one US cent per month

. An ordinary washer costs 20 to 30 dollars. If you are lucky enough to find
a coin; drill a hole in it! Our largest coin is $ 5

. If you can find a one cent coin you can really "coin" it. It is even made
of copper!
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The Zimbabwean

Cataclysmic collapse of Zimdollar
BULAWAYO - At the time of Zimbabwe's Independence, the Zimdollar's value was
approximately equal to that of the British Pound Sterling. Today, the
official exchange rate is approximately Z$43 356 to one British Pound, while
the thriving black market trades the pound at about $80 000. An 80 000%
devaluation is almost impossible to contemplate, but to all intents and
purposes that has been the fate of the Zimdollar, with a concomitant
catastrophic decline of the economy, and extreme hardship for most
That decline has been most pronounced during the last seven years. The first
10 years of Independence witnessed a relatively stagnant economy, growth
being severely constrained by excessive regulation by an authoritarian
government, exacerbated by an ethnic divide. For much of that decade the
government discriminated ruthlessly against economic development for the 3
million Ndebele people who populated the southern portion of the country,
and blatantly favoured the majority Shona people of the central and northern

After a disastrous drought in 1991/92, government belatedly embarked upon a
previously devised, but barely implemented, Economic Structural Adjustment
Programme (ESAP). That programme focused primarily on deregulation and
decontrol of the economy, allowing it to be driven by market forces, and
upon creating an investment conclusive environment.

Regrettably that development was short-lived. In 1997 the Government,
succumbing to the pressures of thousands of the veterans of the
pre-Independence "Liberation" war, against widespread advices, paid sums far
beyond the nation's means, to over 50 000 war veterans (real and pseudo),
whilst also pledging life-long pensions to them. Funding those payments
forced Government to resort to overwhelmingly great and crippling
borrowings, and brought about a dramatic devaluation of the Zimbabwean

That, in turn, set Zimbabwe upon a path of catastrophically great inflation,
while at the same time the economy ceased to be investment welcoming.
Several years of impressive economic growth were rapidly reversed. Then
overnment worsened the economic situation considerably more by embarking
upon a programme of land expropriation, wholly racially driven, and devoid
of justice, or regard for property rights and law. Agriculture - the
foundation and mainstay of the economy - was fast demolished.

Inflation progressively became hyperinflation, rising horrendously to a
pinnacle of 623% per annum in January, 2004. There were diverse causes of
that immense escalation in the cost of living, of which governmental
profligacy was foremost.

Another major contributor has been the progressive devaluation of the
Zimbabwean Dollar, necessitated by that inflation, for Zimbabwe is - and
always has been - a very import dependent country. It must import all
petroleum products, most raw materials required by industry, almost all
agricultural inputs, plant, machinery and spares, and much else. For over
six years the inflation spiral twisted ever upwards.

Strong measures by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe successfully brought about a
reduction in the annual rate of inflation from its January 2004 high of 623%
to 124% in March 2005, but since then the rate has once again started moving
upwards, reaching 255 % in July, 2005, and present indications are that
there will be a further considerable upward surge. In the last few weeks,
Government has agreed price increases from Z$4500 to Z$7 500 for a loaf of
bread (a 67% increase), from Z$8 300 to Z$14 500 for 2kg. of white sugar (a
75% increase), from Z$8 100 to Z$22 800 for a 375ml. bottle of cooking oil
(a 181 % increase), and other very considerable recent price increases for
many other products, including milk, soap, flour and much else, and
electricity charges are set to rise by 100 % within days.

There is little doubt that Zimbabwe will suffer further inflation and
further currency devaluation, and that the economic decline has not yet
"bottomed out". However, there are also some signs of tentative policy
changes. These include increased dialogue between government and the various
economic sectors, constructive and positive monetary polices from the
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, endeavours to restore well-being to the
agricultural sector, stimulation of the mining sector, establishing
investment facilitative conditions, and possible slowly improving
international relations.

Although there are real prospects of an economic upturn, unfortunately the
restoration of economic well-being will be long and slow. This in part due
to the colossal extent of damage inflicted upon the economy, and in part
because necessary international support and Foreign Direct Investment is
contingent upon restored sound international relations, which necessitates a
major change of mind-set for the Zimbabwean Government, restoration of law
and order, re-establishment freedom of the press, and total respect for
human rights. Indications are that transformation will be forthcoming, but
only over a fairly extended period of time.
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The Zimbabwean

A book now a luxury

HARARE - My colleague observed that if books were building materials, they
could have been bought in large numbers in the current Murambatsvira.
Unfortunately they are not. A book requires a settled mind and a full
stomach, experiences that are now hard to find. The last three years has
witnessed a sharp decline in the demand for books. Exhibitors and ordinary
people stay away from the so-called Zimbabwe International Book Fair.
Those who might otherwise have looked for books in the ZIBF were standing in
stationery winding queues waiting for bread and sugar. Stomach politics are
more basic than books. A book now is a luxury. School pupils, who in other
years would browse in the fair, left on the 31st July, for the rural areas,
most of them for good. Their stay, in crowded apartments or open spaces,
became - after Operation Murambatsvina - unbearable.

School fees hikes have been backdated to January from next term, calling for
millions of extra dollars. 'There are lots of conflicts in my mind as I
wander round the fair,' said one rare visitor, 'how to get to the rural area
with all my property; how to pay for the bus fare, school fees, basic

Writers too were frustrated by the 'politics' evident in the book
competitions. Potential winners were sidelined because of their political
views. Also city council officials moved around exhibitors' stands asking
for licences for selling books and imposing fines in cash for those who had
none. Suddenly we hear that organisations that publish, exhibit or sell
books must pay tax to the city council.

How much does this government want to suck from society? Do we have to
continue contributing at both ends to finance the bulldozers that destroy
our own homes? How long do we have to put up with this abuse of taxpayers'
money? Most exhibitors refused to comply with this day light robbery

They were not faithful to the covenant I made with them
So I paid no attention to them (Heb 8: 9)

'Next year we won't come,' said an exhibitor next to us. 'Last year it was
bad. This year it is worse. Next year will be the worst.'
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The Zimbabwean

Take action for justice and dignity
HARARE - The struggle for human rights is threatened in the darkness
currently prevailing in Zimbabwe. Rule of Law and Law of Impunity are two
areas that are exploited and abused by the authoritarian regime in power.
Debate by lawmakers, NGOs and other social actors challenging the regime's
actions needs to result in urgent strategies to pursue action for justice
and dignity.

In two critical areas, actions have had a profound bearing on the
constitution and the process of the law.

We saw political interference in the application of the law: the removal
through intimidation of judges from the High and Supreme courts, and their
subsequent replacement with judges supporting the ruling regime's ideology.

This action saw an exodus of lawmakers who felt threatened, as the Ministry
of Justice intimidated judges whose independence threatened the regime's
concept of what a judiciary should be.

Three historical incidents occurred, resulting in the regime taking action
that gave rise to authoritarianism: The Gukurahunde Massacres, the formation
of a strong opposition party, and the process for a new constitution
culminating in the 2000 referendum.

The Gukurahunde

When strife broke out between the two liberation forces and a semi state of
war occurred in the central and southern region of Zimbabwe, the use of the
Korean-trained 5th Brigade to crush this uprising resulted in a form of
genocide against the minority Ndebele tribe.

The massacres did not result in any prosecutions of those who gave the
orders for this atrocity. Thus direct political interference in the course
of justice created the Law of Impunity to protect the perpetrators from
charges of crimes against humanity.

To this day, those responsible are protected by the regime, whereas the
people who survived the massacres still live in fear. The Law of Impunity
continues to protect wrongdoings of the police, secret state agents and the

Strong opposition

On the political front, a Government of National Unity was formed, which
only strengthened the one-party state that Zanu (PF) had enjoyed since

Economic erosion set in. Aggressive engagement resulted in dialogue
diminishing and clashes between government and the main social actors
(namely the trade union movement, the student movement, and the National
Constitutional Assembly who were instrumental in the regime's defeat in the

In retaliation, the regime took action to destroy or weaken opposition by
attacking, and detaining the leadership and active supporters.

A new twist was the formation of a new political opposition strong enough to
stand against the might of the regime. It had to reconvene and strategize,
as it realized that the people's support was greater when elections were
coming up.

The opposition shook the regime's political stability by winning ground and
seats, despite politically motivated violence. They entered Parliament to
claim total victory. Court action followed, with no real success, as the
exploitation and power within the realm of justice was in favour of the

Clearly, victory was stolen - and who suffered? The people were punished in
townships, targeted attacks on shops and homes were carried out. Some people
were killed.

The regime, still drunk from total defeat, retaliated and violently removed
white-minority farmers using the liberation war veterans.

The strong agricultural base was destroyed and a mass exodus resulted as
increasing violence against civilians and opposition members took place.

The regime took decisive action to consolidate power. Through total control,
government claimed election victory and continued to rule the country with a
war cabinet - giving rise to security measures that created a state of siege
for the opposition and individuals.

The Constitution

The impact on the process of law as the regime strengthened its position to
safeguard its political space and future, changed the relationship between
political and civil society. This crisis resulted in civil society embarking
on a massive awareness campaign on human rights and the Rule of Law with
regard to the Constitution.

Meanwhile, the people decided to excise their rights and refused to support
a hijacked Constitution .It was a victory for civil society and the people -
even the rural communities took a bold stand and stood by their urban
counterparts. The regime retracted as a democratic process went against
them. Thus came the 'time for retribution'.

The harshness of punishment resulted in many affected people seeking
political asylum in other countries.

All forms of repression took place and the regime, through legislative
control, amended various laws and strengthened others to ensure that the
democratic process sought by the people would be curtailed and weakened.

The independent media was threatened, with journalists detained and expelled
by a regime wanting to prevent the truth from emerging and justice from
being done.

A newspaper that criticized the regime was bombed and banned, despite
winning a court judgment on their right to operate.

The regime lost local and international credibility over its human-rights
violations and continued repression. Despite constantly being threatened,
civil-society activists and organizations, including churches, marshaled on
in defence of human rights and the protection of the people.

I have always advocated the setting up of a Commission for Human Rights, to
investigate atrocities in Zimbabwe. Let's get to work!

Impunity means lack of punishment.crimes go unpunished to prevent the truth
from emerging and justice from being done. And what I call for is truth and
justice. Punishment will be part of justice.

- This article is dedicated to all human-rights and legal activists who have
been brutally punished for holding on to truth, justice and dignity.
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The Zimbabwean

World just watches Zim 'go rogue'
LONDON - Imagine if it happened here. May 19th 2005. It begins with one of
those fast food caravans in the lay-by of an A road in the suburbs of
London. A bulldozer appears with a police escort and crushes the caravan's
roof. The owner is told his trading stall is illegal, that the city is being
'cleaned up.' On the same day bulldozers and teams of police start
demolishing trading stalls all over London. In Portobello Road the market is
cleared by soldiers as well as police.
The stall holders produce their council licences. They are torn up in front
of their faces. Over the next month the demolitions continue with alarming
speed and ferocity. Grandmothers are told to knock down the walls of their
own houses. Schools and crèches are destroyed. Medical centres are razed to
the ground, leaving AIDS patients without their crucial ARV drugs. Hundreds
of thousands of people are made homeless. It is the middle of winter and the
demolitions have been ordered by our own government. When the Commissioner
of Police is questioned about the ongoing operation he assures journalists
they are just 'removing the maggots.'

An unthinkable, crazy scenario perhaps, but a couple of weeks ago the Amani
Trust, a Zimbabwean Human Rights NGO, held a screening at the Frontline Club
in Paddington of a short film that included all of the above. The film had
been smuggled out of Zimbabwe and illustrated in shocking detail how for the
residents of some of Zimbabwe's poorest urban areas this unthinkable fantasy
has become a horribly familiar reality.

President Robert Mugabe launched 'Operation Murambatsvina' (throw out the
rubbish) in May 2005, smack in the middle of the African Union's 'African
Year of Prevention of Violence'. Over the next few weeks government figures
estimate that 700,000 people lost either their homes, their livelihoods or
both. An estimated further 2.4 million have been affected in varying
degrees. 300,000 school children no longer have a school to go to. The
operation could not have been more cruel in its timing or indiscriminate in
its manner. Many of the houses and trading stalls swept away in the
operation were in fact perfectly legal.

The physical scars of Operation Murambavitsa are undeniable. They run deep
through every aspect of the country's economy and infrastructure. As the
recent UN report by Special envoy Anna Tibaijuka states, 'It will take
several years for the people and the society to recover.' But this latest
bout of heavy-handed governance will also contribute significantly to the
ongoing psychological cost of Mugabe's regime in Zimbabwe, both in an
international and domestic perspective.

Once again Mugabe's actions seem to have illustrated all too clearly the
weaknesses within the international community when it comes to dealing with
an African state 'going rogue'. Just as the international community were
slow to respond to the crisis in Darfur in the Sudan, so Mugabe has been
allowed to dismantle Zimbabwe before the eyes of the world, contravening UN
and AU conventions as he does and making a mockery of such forums as the
African Peer Review Mechanism.

Tibaijuka's UN report is a severe rap on the knuckles for Mugabe, but a
severe telling off is not enough. Combined with the ongoing reluctance of
influential African leaders like Thabo Mbeki to publicly condemn the Mugabe
government, this approach will do little to affect real change in Zimbabwe.
Rather, it contributes to the growing view that there is one international
response (or non-response) for Africa, and another for the rest of the
world. It's not even necessary to relocate Operation Murambatsvina to the UK
to imagine an alternative international response to this kind of treatment
of a people by their government. What would the world have done if this had
happened in Europe, in the Baltic states, or, dare I say it, in the Middle

What has happened in Zimbabwe is directly linked to the organised break down
of the country's legal system. There was no admission of the illegality of
Operation Murambatsvina by the Zimbabwean ambassador to the UN. Until this
sense of impunity is shaken, nothing will change in Zimbabwe and it is
towards this goal that the international community, via the UN and the AU
should strive. If they don't then any last dregs of optimism in such
international bodies will drain away entirely.

On the domestic front the psychological cost is equally worrying and
far-reaching in its consequences. When I was in Zimbabwe last March I was
struck by how many black Zimbabweans openly said they wished the country was
back in the hands of Ian Smith. I was shocked. I knew times were hard, but
to wish your country back to the 60's when black Zimbabweans were treated as
second class citizens under a white minority government? Surely things hadn't
got that bad?

Apparently they had, and Operation Murambatsvina will only have contributed
to this view. As one taxi driver said to me, 'When I was in school we had
milk every day. Can you imagine that? Every day. Now everyone is hungry and
when I went back to see my old school my tears were running down my face it
was so bad.'

Mugabe has many crimes to answer to, but this squandering of Zimbabwe's
independence is perhaps the most tragic. To have brow beaten a population to
the point when they would rather give up their rights to a racist government
is not only an indication of how completely Mugabe has demoralised his own
people, but also a gross insult to all those who fought and died for a truly
free Zimbabwe.
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The Zimbabwean

Malaria outbreak imminent
HARARE - An outbreak of the killer disease, malaria, is imminent in Zimbabwe
as the government runs out of cash to buy insecticides and politicizes
disease-control to favour ruling-party members.
Although easily controllable, thanks to modern science, malaria is a
virulent killer in areas where there is no access to prophylactics or
remedies. Control of the disease-carrying Anopheles mosquitoes over huge
areas of central and southern Africa can be, and indeed has been,
effectively and relatively cheaply maintained for decades.

"The disease is both preventable and curable. Yet the political and economic
turmoil caused by the Mugabe regime has made disease control impossible. I
do not anticipate that long-term, sustainable malaria control will be
possible while he remains in power," said Richard Tren, the Director of
Africa Fighting Malaria recently.

The control programme in Zimbabwe did not have enough money to buy
insecticides and nor did it have the necessary fuel to implement the
programme in outlying rural areas.

"The problem is largely financial and it seems that Mugabe prefers to spend
his money on shopping trips to Malaysia and on the Central Intelligence
Organisation rather than on public health," said Tren. In the 2003/4 season
only 3.4% of households in susceptible areas were sprayed - far too few to
make any impact whatsoever on controlling the disease.

Allegations abound that the Mugabe regime has politicized its health care
programme by making both individual treatment and preventative spraying
facilities available only to card-carrying Zanu (PF) members.

The problem has been further compounded by the severe brain drain, which has
seen thousands of doctors, nurses and other health sector staff fleeing the
economic meltdown and political persecution of the current regime. One
large, well-equipped mission hospital in the eastern highlands is without a
doctor since the ex-patriate woman physician fled the area during a rampage
by a group of politically-motivated rapists who attacked any woman suspected
of supporting the MDC. The gang has still not been apprehended by the

The recent Operation Murambatsvina has made things even worse. Thousands of
city dwellers have been forcibly sent into the rural areas, where they are
increasingly at risk and have nothing with which to purchase the necessary
preventative drugs - which, in any case, are increasingly unavailable.

"Already malaria cases are increasing in Mashonaland and this is going to
get worse. Once they are in the rural areas these people do not have
medicines or money with which to support themselves," said Tren. High levels
of malnutrition among the majority of the population make matters worse.

Villagers are succumbing to the deadly disease in their hundreds every week.
One cross border trader from Gokwe, a malarial area, told The Zimbabwean:
"We have witnessed many deaths from people who were evicted from urban
areas. Malaria is even worse than HIV/AIDS. At least that disease gives you
time to seek medication. But malaria kills very quickly. In some cases
people have been denied medication and not allowed to buy food from shops
because they are suspected of being MDC supporters."

It would seem the Mugabe regime has added disease control and health
services to its already formidable array of weapons - food, rape and
terror - to be used against any political discontent. The ramifications for
neighbouring countries are enormous.

The breakdown of malaria control, as well as other health services, in
Zimbabwe is likely to have a catastrophic ripple effect in the surrounding
region - particularly in the view of the high levels of cross-border
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The Zimbabwean
Fire unites Bulawayo community
mater dei
The Mater Dei Hospital in Bulawayo.
BULAWAYO – Fire caused extensive damaged to the Intensive Care Unit of Mater Dei Hospital on Friday night. One patient suffered burns during the evacuation of the hospital by the Bulawayo Fire Brigade, but scores of patients escaped unhurt.
On-the-spot helpers remarked in wonder at the calm which prevailed, the superb command the Fire Brigade assumed and the way they brought things under control. The fire, whose origin had not yet been established by the time of going to press, broke out at around 9pm on Friday and was contained an hour later.

The fire brigade initially concentrated on evacuating patients and saving equipment and some provisions at the institution, one of the country’s best, before putting out the fire.

“It appears the fire started at roof level and it is presumed that the cause was electrical, within the roof cavity itself . It then spread from the roof downwards. That it was contained at the fourth floor level within an hour was nothing short of miraculous,” said an observer.

“The way in which the local community responded to the desperate plight of the hospital was heroic. Professional staff, neighbours, the young of the town joined hands to do all manners of work moving the sick, the seriously ill and the dying, to refuge from the flames. One man died and one baby was born in the gardens outside the hospital,” he added.

“The fire was reported to us at 22:29 and we arrived at the scene three minutes later, but when we got there the roof was already collapsing,” said Bulawayo Fire brigade spokesperson, Linos Phiri, adding they were still trying to establish the cause of the fire.

Most of the evacuated patients spent the night on the hospital grounds, while the rescue services were making frantic arrangements to transfer patients to other institutions.

Apparently authorities at Mater Dei hospital were negotiating with officials at the underutilised Ekusileni Medical Centre to arrange transfer of patients, but this hospital is a shell and no more. It has no power, no furniture and no equipment! According to sources, the centre, a brainchild of late nationalist and former Vice President Joshua Nkomo, remains unused due to disagreements among its board of directors.

One resident of Bulawayo sent us this comment: “Yesterday morning I spoke to a Muslim lady who's sister had just come out of the recovery room at Mater Dei and she witnessed the whole procedure and said that she wouldn't live anywhere else in the world except in Bulawayo. When there is a crisis, the entire population Christian, Jew, Muslim, black, white and coloured all just get on and work together for the common good. She hugged me there in the Hillside Kwikspar and said ‘God smiles on Bulawayo’.”
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The Zimbabwean

I was robbed says Kombayi
LONDON - Zimbabwe's first black mayor and veteran politician, Patrick
Kombayi, gave a 'spitting fire' interview recently on the SW Radio Africa
programme, 'Behind the Headlines'. He spoke furiously about the March 24,
1990 assassination attempt when he was gunned down by state security agents
who were trying to stop him from challenging the late vice president, Simon
Muzenda, for the Gweru urban parliamentary seat. Kombayi says he won the
election fair and square but that the Registrar General simply announced
Muzenda's votes as his while his winning votes were given to Muzenda.
It did not come as a surprise to him when the men who tried to kill him,
Elias Kanengoni then Gweru CIO chief, and youth leader Kizito Chivamba were
pardoned by Mugabe using the Presidential powers of clemency. He says he
tried as much as possible to avoid meeting them because "I might just decide
to take the law into my own hands". Kombayi believes Mugabe only pardoned
them because they had threatened to kill everyone involved in the plot
rather than face the music on their own.

Kombayi narrated his involvement with the Zimbabwe Unity Movement (ZUM) and
says people to this day do not give ZUM credit for stopping Zanu (PF)'s
march towards a one party state. He says so many high-powered politicians
all over the world were shocked at the direction Robert Mugabe was pursuing,
the resulting support for ZUM was immense. The veteran politician set a
milestone by becoming the first black mayor of independent Zimbabwe when he
took the mayorship of Gweru. He speaks fondly of that achievement and says
he hopes historians will not forget his contribution to Zimbabwean politics.

Kombayi says he lost the mayorship when he was suspended by Mugabe's
government after he was overheard saying the late Eddison Zvobgo would make
a better leader for Zimbabwe. The two were very close friends and Kombayi
says they both suffered politically on account of their friendship. Up to
this day he believes he is the duly elected mayor of Gweru until the courts
determine otherwise. The case has never seen the light of day in the courts
and he is determined to re-ignite it.

The wealthy Gweru businessman provided material and logistical support for
Zanu (PF) while he was in Zambia during the liberation war and feels
betrayed by the treatment he is receiving from those he helped. He says the
help he offered was for the benefit of Zimbabwe's liberation and the few
individuals who try to own the struggle do not in any way make him lose
sleep. Mugabe's government has chosen to forget his contribution merely on
the basis of political differences. Kombayi says they have tried to bribe
him back into the party several times, to no avail.

In 2001 he was attacked by an armed policeman, Elphas George, for calling on
Zimbabweans to remove Mugabe from power. Kombayi claims to have physically
manhandled 'poor George' and taken the gun away from him. The day Kombayi
spoke to SW Radio Africa he had just watched the BBC programme, 'Hard Talk'
featuring the MDC's former Chimanimani MP, Roy Bennett. He says Bennett is
more Zimbabwean than Mugabe because at least his father was born in the
country unlike Mugabe whose father, he says, comes from Mozambique.

Kombayi is now currently the MDC spokesman for Midlands South and is
convinced the party has the capacity to form the next government. He says he
hopes Mugabe lives long enough to sit out an international trial at the
Hague for crimes against humanity. A natural death would rob the people of
Zimbabwe a chance to exact their revenge he added.
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The Zimbabwean

SA will own Zimbabwe
This warning is sounded by Ralph Peters, a retired American military officer
with experience in more than 60 countries and the author of 20 books and
hundreds of columns. He was speaking in a symposium on "Africa: Nightmare
Continent," which is accessible online at (August
issue). The symposium also drew attention to South Africa's encroachment on
Mozambique. The Zimbabwean has issued the same warning in several reports.
Peters said: "South Africa's long reluctance to criticise Robert Mugabe isn't
merely a matter of black leadership solidarity or freedom-struggle loyalty.
Quite the contrary. Seeing the wreckage of Zimbabwe wasn't enough - I had to
go to Mozambique to get it.

"In Mozambique, the long succession of wars destroyed the infrastructure.
The emergent state needed and needs - everything. South Africans leapt in as
the providers. South African businessmen and state-tied organisations are
already close to owning Mozambique - its key infrastructure, components -
and controlling access to the interior of Africa's southern cone (which is
why they don't worry about the Chinese and Libyans in Zimbabwe). The lesson
the South Africans took from Mozambique is this: the greater the
neighbourhood destruction, the greater the post-conflict opportunities for
South Africa. South Africa has allowed Mugabe to run up hopeless debts for
energy, transport, goods and services. After Mugabe, Zimbabwe will have to
be rebuilt. And South Africans will rebuild it. And own it. From vast tracts
of farmland to the Zambezi River hydroelectric works.

"What we are seeing in southern Africa is African imperialism - but of an
innovative form, focusing on economics and culture, rather than physical
conquest. In fact, South Africa's approach to empire rather resembles that
of the United States.

"Small consolation for those South Africans suffering from AIDS,
unemployment, lack of education, abysmal health care, dreadful housing etc."

Other distinguished panellists at the symposium were Theodore Dalrymple, who
worked as a doctor in Zimbabwe and is a writer; John Eibner, head of the
Sudan programme of the human rights organisation Christian Solidarity
International (CSI). He is one of thepre-eminent anti-slavery campaigners;
Paul Marshall, a senior Fellow at Freedom House's Centre for Religious
Freedom and the author or 20 books and Michael Radu, senior Fellow and
Chairman on Terrorism at the Foreign Policy Research Insitute in
Philadelphia. He has taught African studies at the Witwatersrand University
in South Africa and is the author of several books on African affairs.
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The Zimbabwean
We won’t forget Murambatsvina
in touch
Glenview - after Operation Murambatsvina.
MBARE - People from outside Mbare ask: Is Murambatsvina over now? Well, they no longer demolish houses and market stalls – all that could be destroyed has been destroyed. But the rules forbidding people to earn a living so as to give their children food to eat and send them to school are still in force.
Some people are still homeless and sleeping in the open. Home owners are still living in fear of eviction because they cannot pay the huge amounts they have been charged for rates and “penalties” which they cannot pay since they no longer have an income. The authorities have not repented of their evil course of action.

I still do not know what to do with a sickly (HIV positive) young woman and her two tiny children. Relatives in the neighbourhood won’t have them, they don’t seem to have a rural home or rural relatives to give them shelter and the mother certainly does not have the money to rent a room. All I know is that they must not go back to living – if you can call that ‘living’ – in a makeshift shelter without a roof on the open ground near the bus terminus.

A woman was lying face down right in the middle of the road, next to the beerhall. Nobody seemed to pay any attention. Was she dead or still alive? I stopped my car and went to investigate. She was alive alright. Drunk, sick, run over by someone? She did not look hurt. Some bystanders helped to carry her to the sidewalk. How did she ever get there? Her left leg was amputated below the knee. There was no wheelchair, no crutches. For how long had she been lying there? You can be extremely lonely in the crowds of Mbare. Some time later I alerted a policeman who promised to take action.

There was a time when low-income people were treated for free in clinics and hospitals. There was a time when I used to write a note saying, “So-and so is ill. But she can’t pay, she is a destitute widow without any income. Can you help?” Most clinic matrons would respond with great kindness and treat that person for free. Not any more. I wrote a letter like that a few days ago. It came back: nothing doing, she has to pay.

“There was a time……” Memories can be dangerous. They make you compare and reflect critically. That is why politicians have no memories and want everybody else to forget what they did and said yesterday.

Operation Garikayi is to make us forget Murambatsvina – Murambavanhu. TV images of houses being built are to make us forget the ruins and the rubble in front of our noses. That won’t work. We do remember. It was and is too painful, that memory. We won’t forget. – Oskar Wermter, SJ, In Touch Jesuit Communications
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The Zimbabwean

Thinking about life after Mugabe?
WASHINGTON - To all intents and purposes Zimbabwe is now a classic case of a
failed state. Mugabe and Zanu (PF) have lost control of the economy as
Zimbabwe continues its dramatic collapse.
Zimbabwe has been decaying for many years. It suffered an accelerated
meltdown in the last five years. It is hard to imagine that just eight years
ago US$1 was about ZW$10. Today that exchange rate is about ZW$40,000 to
US$1 on the parallel market.

To make matters worse, Mugabe has rejected all efforts to resolve the
political problems that are the cause of the failed state. He simplistically
sees the economic problems as attempts by the international community to
sabotage Zimbabwe's independence.

In the midst of this humanitarian crisis created by bad governance Mugabe
and his cronies, the CIO, the military and the police are now on the island
of prosperity they have created for themselves surrounded by millions of
Zimbabweans who have been reduced to Stone Age scavenging.

But even in his affluent position Mugabe and his cronies represent what the
founder of the Italian Communist Party, Antonio Gramsci, once called an
organic crisis. This is the essence of a failed state that feels insecure
because it is being threatened from all sides. Mugabe and his cronies are in
a state of conjuncture which means they are in their affluent positions but
are surrounded by formidable humanitarian crises that could be their

The fact that Mugabe has stubbornly rejected all mediation efforts to
resolve the problems shows that Mugabe is aware but has now closed his eyes
to the crisis in Zimbabwe. What he sees in his fantasy is the tremendous
wealth he and his cronies have amassed - like the legendary Lotos eaters in
Greek mythology who were hallucinated into the inner worlds of their own and
became completely oblivious of what was going on around them.

Some people have argued that the so called 'progressive era' for
post -colonial Zimbabwe, that is, the period between 1980 and mid 1990s, was
based more on the fact that Mugabe inherited in 1980 a well -developed
economic infrastructure from the Ian Smith regime.
During this period there was no deliberate government policy for a sustained
and systematic investment in the country's productive sectors. What Zimbabwe
has been experiencing since the end of the1990s have been the results of a
lack of sound capital investment policy in the country.

Former Minister of Finance, Bernard Chidzero, once complained that the
Mugabe regime was too much consumer oriented than producer advocates. More
money was being spent on unproductive ventures at the expense of the wealth-
creating sectors. Be that as it may, these productive sectors were able to
sustain the country's economic growth at a rate of five percent.

Zimbabweans are now feeling the adverse impact of Mugabe's bad governance
which is downright criminal, considering the fact that he has desecrated the
Constitution, deprived people of their civil liberties and has unleashed his
militia gangs to kill, rape, torture and abduct opposition supporters.

While the absence of mass protest so far has given Mugabe a false sense that
he will survive indefinitely, he is quickly reminded that he has been pinned
to the corner largely by deteriorating economic forces that are beyond his
control. He knows he cannot send the army, the CIO, police or militia thugs
to effectively control the economy in the way he has used these institutions
to control people.

To add to his woes, there are growing reports of internal agitation within
the party. Contradictions, or conflicting interests, are a common
characteristic of many states and institutions. The stability of the state
lies in its ability to manage and keep these contradictions under control.

There are unconfirmed rumors that Solomon Mujuru, or his representative, may
have sought to strike a deal with MDC leader, Morgan Tsvangirayi, recently.
MDC immediately denied that such a meeting had taken place.
About three years ago, a similar attempt involving a retired general Lionel
Dyke, acting on behalf of presumably Emmerson Mnangagwa, then speaker of
Parliament, was aborted after Tsvangirayi made public all the negotiations.
It is understandable that MDC would this time vehemently deny any meeting
with Mujuru, whose on-and-off wife is being groomed to be Mugabe's

Could it be that Mujuru is brokering an agreement between MDC and a regime
that will be led by Joyce Mujuru? It is possible that within Zanu (PF) there
are some factions who are now beginning to think of life after Mugabe. There
could well be some realism among these individuals that there can never be a
solution to Zimbabwe's problems until the root cause of all these problems
has been addressed and resolved, namely bad governance.

The nouveau riche need consumer markets and investments for their
newly-acquired businesses. Some of the factions that are in clandestine
contacts with MDC are probably willing to give up political power in
exchange for their being allowed to keep their stolen loot in form of
businesses. It may not been a stretch of imagination that they could well be
prepared to support and accept a government led by an opposition group like
the MDC.

It happened in apartheid South Africa. The white Afrikaner business sector,
which was also desperate for consumer markets and investments in the
aftermath of recession-hit South Africa, was probably behind the ending of
apartheid the way it dramatically collapsed in mid 1990s, paving way for
Black rule in South Africa.

- Letter from America with Professor Stanford Mukasa is broadcast on SW
Radio Africa on Mondays on the internet and on medium
wave on Tuesdays between 5 and 7 am on 1197khz
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The Zimbabwean

Not safe to carry a bag of sugar
Dear Family and Friends,

I was at the counter in a small shop in town this week when an elderly woman
came in clutching two bags of white sugar to her chest. "Please help me,"
she said to the shop attendant. "Can you spare me an old newspaper or a
brown paper bag to put my sugar in. It is not safe for me to walk like
A few doors down, a small supermarket had received a truck-load of sugar and
people had been queuing on the pavement for most of the night. As opening
time approached, so did the bully-boy queue jumpers and people who were
cold, tired and hungry surged forward to try and protect their place in the

Within minutes an orderly line had degenerated into a seething mass of
pushing, shoving and shouting and then the police were there too, trying to
keep order. By mid-morning the pavement was completely clogged and swarming
with people and the police were still there but a few at a time some were
getting the chance to buy two bags of sugar. The elderly woman said that
some people had been beaten and two had been hurt but there was nothing
anyone could do and she was just grateful that she had got to the front and
got her two precious bags of sugar.

Can you imagine not feeling safe to be seen carrying a bag of sugar through
the streets? How absurd that life should have degenerated to this, just five
months after Zanu (PF) said they had won the people's mandate to rule
Zimbabwe for their 25th year.

This little example is a representative picture of life here today.
Everywhere people are on some sort of a desperate mission in order to
survive and whole days and nights or more are sacrificed in an attempt to
make the smallest of gains - a bag of sugar, a litre of fuel or a bottle of
cooking oil.

There is now an overwhelming "us and them" existence in Zimbabwe. While
luxury double cabs and top of the range Mercedes cruise our highways,
ordinary family cars sit stranded in unmoving fuel queues. In most fuel
lines lately, the cars no longer park one behind the other, now they park
side by side at an angle to stop the bully-boys from pushing in. The
vehicles are filthy, covered in dust and almost always driverless, guarded
by youngsters who wait for days at a time on the off-chance of a delivery.

Again I end on a sad note by reporting that the 37 tonnes of humanitarian
aid donated by South African churches on the 1st of August remains blocked
by Zimbabwean officials at the Beit Bridge border. Until next week, Ndini
shamwari yenyu.
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The Zimbabwean

Mysterious police deaths
BULAWAYO - For Elijah Nyoni being a police officer was a reality snatched
from a dream but today, as he limps home, he joins a host of Zimbabwean
police officers who have been injured, while others have died under unclear
circumstances, during the country's on-going clean-up campaign.
The internationally-condemned exercise Murambatsvina that has seen the
indiscriminate displacement of over 700 000 locals and probable deportation
of foreigners has brought mysterious happenings to the fore as some people
turn to witch doctors to protect their homes and their source of

In a country where witchcraft and sorcery are not legally recognised, there
has been a surge in deaths and injuries of police officers and other
government agents pulling down allegedly illegal structures. The Herald, a
government controlled daily paper, reported
last month on a Harare policeman who died of injuries sustained when a
building he was destroying reportedly fell on him. The paper also ran a
story of a policeman's son who died while destroying an 'illegal structure'.

The Standard, a privately owned weekly paper, told of the death of a
Masvingo-based policeman who also died during the exercise. Meanwhile in
Bulawayo, two police officers were allegedly severely beaten by goblins as
they destroyed a house in Mzilikazi.

In the same suburb a group of policeman is reported to have desperately
rebuilt a two- roomed home they had demolished. The octogenarian owner of
the house is alleged to have told the officers that his was an ancestor's
house. No sooner had they destroyed the house than they started to froth and

Sixty-year-old Nkosi Magagula, a traditional healer in Bulawayo said: "There
is no denying the existence of wizardry and this Murambatsvina has further
cemented its hold on the society. People are consulting us as they seek
protection of their houses."

To counter such activities the Ministries of Home Affairs and the Ministry
of Local Government and Housing have now ordered people to destroy their own
structures - under the supervision of police officers. Depending on the size
of the illegal structure, fines ranging from $250 000 to $2 million are
being given to those found with their structures still not demolished.
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