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

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Zim Online

Tough media law here to stay, vows minister
Fri 2 September 2005

      HARARE - Zimbabwe Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa on Thursday said
the government will not repeal tough Press laws and was considering
appealing against the acquittal of a journalist on a charge of working
without being registered as required under the law.

      Under the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA)
journalists and newspapers must register with the government's Media and
Information Commission to operate in Zimbabwe. Journalists face up to two
years in jail for working without being registered while newspapers face
closure and seizure of their equipment by the state for the same offence.

      Speaking to ZimOnline after the acquittal of Kelvin Jakachira, a
journalist with the banned Daily News newspaper who was facing charges of
working for the paper without being registered, Chinamasa said there would
be no "going back" on the media registration laws.

      "There is no going back on AIPPA. It will be there for as long as we
see it necessary, especially now when we have so many external forces at
play," he said.

      President Robert Mugabe and his government justify clamping down on
the media saying it was necessary to counter what they say is a campaign of
misinformation and hostile propaganda by Britain and its Western allies out
to demonise the Harare administration.

      Zimbabwe, which also has laws imposing jail sentences on journalists
for criticising or ridiculing Mugabe, is rated by world press rights
watchdog, the Committee to Protect journalists, as one of three worst places
for journalists in the world. The other two are the former Soviet republic,
Uzbekistan and the Islamic republic of Iran.

      Chinamasa said despite the government losing nearly all the cases
brought against journalists under AIPPA, it would not repeal the law adding
his department was reviewing Jakachira's acquittal by a magistrate's court
with a view to appealing to the High Court.

      He said: "There are several cases in which a lower court has acquitted
some people and that ruling has been reversed by a higher court . . . we are
still looking at the ruling to see if there are chances of winning in the
High Court. According to my officers, the magistrate might have misdirected

      Apart from Jakachira, about 45 other journalists who worked for the
Daily News and its stable mate Daily News on Sunday before both papers were
banned face charges of violating the registration laws.

      Eight of the journalists appear in court for trial on 12 October 2005
but could be acquitted given the precedent set in the Jakachira case.

      The journalists applied for registration but the media commission
never responded to the applications which according to chairman of the state
media body, Tafataona Mahoso, it had rejected because the newspapers that
the journalists worked for were not registered.

      Under AIPPA a journalist must be working for registered newspapers for
them to be accredited by the commission.

      But the magistrate's court ruled that Mahoso should have informed
Jakachira that his application had been rejected instead of throwing it away
and keeping quiet. The court said Jakachira therefore acted lawfully by
continuing to work while awaiting the outcome of his application. -

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Zim Online

Zimbabwe elections body rules out mayoral polls in Harare
Fri 2 September 2005

      HARARE -- The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) says Harare
residents can only elect a mayor and councillors of their choice after four
years when the term of a state-appointed commission running the
opposition-supporting capital cannot be renewed.

      The commission was appointed in September last year after opposition
Movement for Democratic Change councilors resigned in protest against what
they said was interference by the government in the running of the
politically crucial capital. Its term has expired.

      But Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo extended the commission's
term and has ruled out municipal elections in the city saying he wants to
improve its administration first before a new council can take over.

      In papers filed on Thursday in response to a High Court application by
the Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA) demanding the ZEC to hold
elections in the capital, commission chairman George Chiweshe wrote: "It is
within the powers of the ZEC to postpone elections for the office of Mayor
for a period not exceeding (3) three months at any one time.

      "This (the commission) can do until the fourth year, from the time the
Mayor (and council) was elected, when it becomes obligatory to hold
elections and no further postponements are then allowed."

      Harare residents accuse the government of stalling on elections in the
capital for fear it could lose the polls to the main opposition Movement for
Democratic Change party which has consistently won all elections in all
major urban centres since its formation six years ago.

      The Harare Commission was a back-door means by President Robert Mugabe
and his government to retain control of the capital city, residents say.

      The ZEC created by the government is empowered to run elections in
Zimbabwe but critics say the body lacks independence because it was
virtually handpicked by Mugabe and the majority of its members are
well-known supporters of the ruling ZANU PF party.

      For example, Chiweshe himself is a former senior army officer and was
appointed to the High Court after Mugabe purged the bench of independent

      In the run up to the disputed March election, Chiweshe headed the
Delimitation Commission that redrew the country's voting constituencies,
abolishing constituencies from MDC-dominated areas and awarding them to
rural areas where ZANU PF enjoys more support. -  ZimOnline.

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The Times

            September 02, 2005

            Britain 'breaking vow on Mugabe refugees'
            By Daniel McGrory

            THE Home Office was accused yesterday of trying to deport
Zimbabwean asylum-seekers.Human rights groups said that immigration staff
tried to deport three women this week.
            Refugee groups protested that Charles Clarke, the Home
Secretary, agreed to suspend removals until a court decided if it is safe to
send failed asylum-seekers back to Zimbabwe. All three women admitted
arriving in Britain on fake passports bought in Malawi. They each carried
documents to prove that they were from Zimbabwe and said that it was
impossible for opponents of President Mugabe's regime to get exit visas on
their own passports to seek sanctuary abroad.

            After living here for months, the women were told by immigration
officials this week that as they came from Malawi they should seek asylum
there, even though Zimbabwe's opposition groups have said that Mr Mugabe's
secret police operate in neighbouring countries hunting for those who fled

            One of the women, who gave her name as Bula, 24, said that she
was taken to Heathrow and avoided being deported only by creating a violent
scene as security guards tried to force her on the aircraft. She fled from
Harare last November after being allegedly abducted and tortured by the
police. They questioned her about her husband and brothers, who are all
involved in the Movement for Democratic Change opposition party, she said.
Her husband and son are missing.

            Bula handed her Zimbabwe passport to the Home Office to prove
her identity. Immigration staff at Tinsley House, near Gatwick, where she is
being held, have said that they will try to deport her again in the next few
days. The other two women, who are twins, were given a short reprieve when a
lawyer intervened. Refugee groups were not told of the attempted
deportations. Noble Sikanda, of the United Network of Detained Zimbabweans,
said: "Although Mr Clarke said he would not send anyone back to Zimbabwe,
this is doing just that by the back door."

            Last night the Home Office insisted that it reserved the right
to deport failed asylum-seekers to third countries willing to accept them,
but said that it would investigate.

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The Herald

Harare's water levels drop further, rotational cuts announced

Municipal Reporter
HARARE'S water levels have dropped amid fears that the situation might
deteriorate further and throw into disarray the city's 24-hour rotational
water cuts.

The decline has prompted the city council and the Zimbabwe National Water
Authority (Zinwa) to announce a 30-day water rotation timetable, beginning
today, that will see supplies being cut at 7am and reconnected at 7am the
following day.

Only 573 megalitres of water were yesterday pumped into the city's
reservoirs against a demand of 740 megalitres.

Harare usually faces similar problems in October each year but this year the
problem has started much earlier.

Harare has announced that it is implementing rotational water cuts following
pump faults at Morton Jaffray Water Treatment Plant.

In a joint statement, Harare City Council and Zinwa said water demand
management involves cutting water supplies for 24 hours on alternate days
for the southern and northern suburbs.

Although the programme officially starts today, Harare residents have been
experiencing water problems for the past two weeks.

Today water supplies are expected to be cut in the northern suburbs of
Mabelreign, Marlborough, Belvedere, Milton Park, Avondale, Mt Pleasant,
Highlands, Borrowdale and Vainona.

Tomorrow supplies will be cut off in Hatfield, Waterfalls, Queensdale,
Cranborne, Eastlea, Hillside, Braeside, Greendale, Arcadia, Chikurubi,
Mandara, Glen Lorne, Chisipite and The Grange.

The water cuts will alternate on a daily basis between these areas.

The rotational water cuts allows the city to divert water to the dry eastern
reservoirs to spread the burden and give these areas water for at least some
hours each day.

The city will reduce water pressure to Highfield, Sunningdale, Dzivaresekwa,
Kuwadzana, Warren Park and Chitungwiza.

Although officials say the water problems are due to pump failures at Morton
Jaffray, increased consumption because of the onset of the hot season, burst
pipes, unauthorised use of hosepipes and power surges at Morton Jaffray and
inadequate supply of water treatment chemicals like activated carbon were
causing the shortage, according to sources. Owing to the limited supply of
chemicals, a reduced amount of water was being treated.

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Paradza Barred From Telling All

Financial Gazette (Harare)

September 1, 2005
Posted to the web September 1, 2005

Zhean Gwaze

HIGH Court judge Justice Simpson Mutambanengwe yesterday barred Justice
Benjamin Paradza, on trial for attempting to defeat the course of justice,
from giving evidence on the harassment he alleges judges are subjected to by
the government.

Paradza was explaining his conduct in the high-profile trial in which he is
alleged to have corruptly tried to influence Justice Maphios Cheda and
Justice George Chiweshe to release a passport belonging to his safari
hunting venture business partner, Russell Labuschagne. The suspended High
Court judge had been asked by prosecutor Lawrence Phiri to elaborate, after
he said in his defence outline that he viewed himself as a non-compliant
judge to the government. Paradza argued that "if the court says I should
elaborate then I am ready. My concern is I am a judge and I have a
responsibility to preserve the integrity of my colleagues. I have a number
of cases but I cannot list them because the press is here. If the court says
do it, I can, but it can embarrass my colleagues and the judiciary as a
whole." However, Justice Mutambanengwe said: "His (Paradza's) confirmation
that there are such cases is enough for the purposes of this trial."
Justices Lawrence Kamocha, George Chiweshe and Nicholas Ndou have already
testified in the matter, an unprecedented test of Zimbabwe's judicial
independence. The state and defence yesterday closed their submissions in
the trial, which began last month. Allegations against Justice Paradza,
appointed to the bench in 2001, are that in 2003, he requested Justice Cheda
to grant him a favour by releasing Labuschagne's passport, which was being
held by the Registrar of the High Court as part of his bail conditions.
Labuschagne was, at the time, facing a murder charge and his passport was
being held at the Bulawayo High Court. Later, Justice Cheda called Justice
Paradza to elaborate on the favour he had asked for, while in the presence
of police officers, resulting in the conversation being re-corded. On the
second count, it is alleged that Justice Paradza telephoned Justice Chiweshe
on his mobile phone and told him that Labuschagne's application for the
release of his passport would be placed before him on that day. Justice
Paradza allegedly requested Justice Chiweshe to do him a favour by ordering
the release of Labuschagne's passport to allow him to travel out of the
country to scout for customers for their joint safari business. Justice
Paradza has pleaded not guilty.

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Business Day

Telkom hangs up on Harare for $18m debt
Dumisani Muleya


Harare Correspondent

TELKOM has pulled the plug on Zimbabwe's telecoms utility Tel*One for
failing to honour an $18m debt, throwing that country's telecommunications
into chaos.

The development is being seen as further evidence of Zimbabwe's foreign
currency woes and the breakdown of services under President Robert Mugabe's
increasingly hardline rule.

Zimbabwe is on the verge of being booted out of the International Monetary
Fund for nonpayment of debts.

Telkom's action follows a similar situation faced by another South African
parastatal, Eskom, which almost cut off electricity to Zimbabwe when it
struggled to pay off a R100m debt. That debt has since been repaid.

Tel*One incurred the Telkom debt after the South African utility helped to
upgrade Zimbabwe's fixed network between SA's border town of Musina and
Harare a few years ago.

SA provided Zimbabwe with the latest terrestrial technology - synchronous
digital hierarchy - which uses microwave to make the system efficient.

The arrangement was that Tel*One, which was a net receiver of revenue from
Telkom, would pay for the upgrade of its network by deducting its dues from
the money going to Zimbabwe.

However, traffic from SA to Zimbabwe has dramatically dwindled, leaving
Tel*One in a deficit with Telkom.

Tel*One is investigating the change in the traffic patterns because it
suspects SA is now using alternative routes - such as voice internet
protocols - to avoid paying its dues.

Sources said Telkom's decision had thrown Zimbabwe's telephone network into

While South African callers can still dial directly to Harare, calls from
that country to South Africa are now having to be re-routed to Canada,
through a company called Tele-Globe.

The rerouting explained the poor quality of calls between Zimbabwe and SA,
the sources said.

Phoning through Canada affects the quality of the calls because it lengthens
the distance of satellite feeds and sometimes goes through voice over
internet protocol, which lowers voice quality. Tel*One public relations
manager Phil Chingwaru confirmed Telkom had disconnected Zimbabwe for
nonpayment. "Currently, the company has had its connectivity to and through
SA terminated as it has not honoured its debt to Telkom SA," he said.

Telkom spokeswoman Lulu Letlape declined to comment, except to say the
parastatal did not discuss its clients with "third parties".

"Zimbabwe's account (or that of any other customers) with Telkom is a
private matter," she said.

Chingwaru said: "Efforts are being made to honour the debt as we seek more
partnerships with agricultural producers who are involved on exports." He
said Tel*One had ventured into agriculture to raise foreign currency.

Like most Zimbabwean companies, especially parastatals, Tel*One is reeling
from the shortages of foreign currency, equipment and spares. This has
greatly reduced its viability and resulted in a deterioration of service
locally and internationally.

Zimbabwe's calls to the UK have also been restricted because Tel*One owes
British Telecom $14m. The amount totals $28m if administrative charges are
also taken into account.

The UK now allows only a limited number of calls to avoid Tel*One's debt
accumulating. Its reasoning is that, if it allows more Zimbabwean calls to
the UK, the Zimbabwean firm has to pay British Telecom for termination
(delivering of calls to the receiver).

Traffic of calls to SA and the UK has grown significantly after many
Zimbabweans fled the country's economic hardships to work in these

Zimbabwe was also recently restricted by Kenya.

The Zimbabwean system's technical hitches have become a nightmare for
companies and individuals who want efficient and reliable networks.

Making calls in Zimbabwe has become a test of endurance as one must dial
persistently to get through.

During peak hours it is almost impossible to get connected.

Tel*One's combined debt to foreign banks and companies is said to be $350m.
This makes it technically insolvent as liabilities outweigh the value of

However, Chingwaru said the public enterprise's debt was only $100m, "while
its estimated asset base value stands at Z$4,5-trillion".

"The company has entered into a partnership with a local cotton merchant,
Graffax, and the partnership is yielding results as inflows from cotton
exports are helping in reducing the foreign debt," he said.

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Business Day

IMF wants $50m from Zimbabwe
Jonathan Katzenellenbogen


International Affairs Editor

AFTER paying the International Monetary Fund (IMF) $120m earlier this week,
Zimbabwe now has a week to come up with an additional $50m to try to prevent
expulsion at an IMF board meeting a week away.

Although time is short, one source for the additional $50m still appears to
be SA, say diplomats.

The Zimbabwean press said yesterday that the country's Reserve Bank
governor, Gideon Gono, is in SA for further talks on a possible loan.

But a South African treasury official said yesterday that although there
would be further talks on the loan, no meetings were scheduled.

SA's principal negotiators on the loan are Finance Minister Trevor Manuel
and Reserve Bank governor Tito Mboweni.

The IMF said yesterday that Zimbabwe's arrears after this week's $120m
payment stood at $174m.

Sources said the IMF board could give the country more time if they see

But though Zimbabwe has devalued its currency and is seeking to narrow its
budget deficit, the destruction wreaked by its recent forced removals
programme has eroded the IMF's confidence in the country's economic

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Zim Independent

Tel*One in debt crisis
Dumisani Muleya
THE state-owned fixed telephony network company, Tel*One (Pvt) Ltd, owes
foreign creditors US$350 million, rendering it technically insolvent.

Government sources said Tel*One was heavily indebted to British Telecom,
South Africa's Telkom, the African Development Bank, Netherlands's ING-Bank,
France's Banque Nationale de Paris, Kredittanstalt fur Wiederaufbau of
Germany, Norway's Eksportfinans, Overseas Economic Cooperation, Itochu-D and
Eximbank of Japan, the Bank of China and the African Banking Corporation.

Sources said the debts amount to US$350 million, about $8,4 trillion at the
official exchange rate or $15,8 trillion on the parallel market. This makes
Tel*One all but bankrupt, just like other public enterprises, despite the
fact that it makes up to $60 billion a month.

However, Tel*One public relations manager Phil Chingwaru said the company's
debt was only US$100 million.

"Tel*One's current foreign debt arrears stand at US$100 million, which is
$3,8 trillion while its estimated asset base value stands at $4,5 trillion,"
he said.

"The company has entered a partnership with a local cotton merchant,
Graffax, and the partnership is yielding results as inflows from cotton
exports are helping in reducing the foreign debt."

However, sources said Tel*One was saddled with debts which technically make
it insolvent.

"The company owes foreign creditors at least US$350 million and if you
consider its balance sheet, its assets and liabilities, it is bankrupt," a
source said.

"Its valuation at the moment is nowhere near its liabilities. The good thing
though is that some of its debts are long-term. Redemption dates for loans
go as far as 2033 in some cases but as we speak it is bust."

But Chingwaru maintained Tel*one was solvent because "our problem is not
having Zim dollars but foreign currency".

Sources said Tel*One's debt to foreign banks and companies, as well as
shortages of foreign currency to replace obsolete analogue equipment, were
causing network problems.

Problems of telephone networks - both fixed and cellular phone - are
wreaking havoc in the economy as they make it every difficult to conduct

The Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries in May raised the issue of
telephone networks with government, which controls Tel*One and one of the
three cellu-lar telephony companies, Net*One.

"The telephone and cellphone networks are giving increasing problems," the
CZI said in a paper to the Minister of Industry and International Trade,
Obert Mpofu. So far nothing has been done.

The system's technical hitches have become a nightmare for companies and
individuals who want efficient and reliable networks. Making calls in
Zimbabwe has become a test of endurance as one has to dial persistently to
get through. During peak hours it is almost impossible to phone.

Sources said Zimbabwe had been disconnected by South Africa's Telkom for
failing to repay US$7 million. Tel*One owes Telkom US$18 million in total
for the fixed network upgrades between Musina, South Africa's border town
with Zimbabwe, and Harare. Chingwaru confirmed this, saying "efforts are
being made to honour the debt".

South Africa provided Zimbabwe with the latest terrestrial technology -
synchronous digital hierarchy (SDH) - which use microwave to upgrade the
Harare-Musina route. But Zimbabweans now phone South Africa through
Tele-Globe in Canada after disconnection of the direct link.

This explains the current poor quality of calls to South Africa. Rerouting
of calls through Canada affects quality because it lengthens the distance of
satellite feeds and sometimes goes through Voice Over Internet Protocol.

Internet routers have many hitches - latency and jitter - and this affects
the quality of calls.

Zimbabwe is also restricted by the United Kingdom because Tel*One owes
British Telecom US$14 million. The amount could be up to US$28 million if
the administrative charges are taken into account. The UK now allows a
limited number of calls to avoid Tel*One debt accumulation.

"We have got serious telephone problems. Tel*One is restricted by some of
its key partners such as South Africa's Telkom and British Telecom due to
non-payment. We were even once restricted by Kenya," a source said.

"The amounts due are inter-administrative settlements between Tel*One and
international operators which accumulate due to the provision of the service
of terminating (connecting to the end user) each other's calls."

As Zimbabwe's largest trading partner, South Africa, provides the biggest
volumes of telephone traffic. Tel*One expected to make a lot of revenue out
of this and then repay the Telkom debt.

However, lately there has been a significant reduction of traffic volumes
from South Africa to Zimbabwe, affecting Tel*One's termination revenues.

Termination is the service provided by one network to another on the basis
of an agreed payment formula for delivering calls to end-users. The network
that sends more calls to the other pays more.

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Zim Independent

Show exposes malaise in agriculture
By Chido Makunike
FOR the second year in a row, I have been involved in the media promotion of
the Harare Agriculture Show. It has been very exciting to be centrally
involved in helping to put on the premier mirror of Zimbabwe's agricultural
and general economic state.

The Zimbabwe Agricultural Society (ZAS) that operates the Exhibition Park
and puts on the show makes every attempt to cover all its costs and make a
profit, but this gets more difficult every year with the escalating costs of
maintaining machinery, infrastructure and keeping up with wages. But this
has to be balanced with ensuring that the rents for stands and the entrance
fees charged are affordable - no easy task in this era of hyperinflation.

The ZAS consists of paying voluntary members with an interest in
agricultural issues. In between shows the full time staff is involved in the
general upkeep of the Exhibition Park. Many contractors and temporary staff
are taken on just before the show. In recent years, efforts have been made
to ensure the show is not the only source of income. There are increasing
numbers of buildings rented out all year to make revenue generation an
ongoing activity. Plans to incorporate many other all-year business
activities are on the cards.

The problem of escalating costs outstripping income-generating ability is as
evident at the showgrounds as it is everywhere else in Zimbabwe. Buildings
look worn and tired for lack of comprehensive maintenance; new roads that
would have been tarred in a more stable and prosperous time are left unpaved
and so forth. Things are spruced up a lot in the weeks before the show but
the increasingly tattered look of Zimbabwe is, sadly, inevitably evident at
the showgrounds.

The number of show-goers was up a little over last year. This was a pleasant
surprise considering the ongoing fuel problem, hyperinflation and the
deterioration of most Zimbabweans' economic well-being. All the available
individual stands were taken up, allaying fears that because of the fuel
situation many who booked stands might be unable to take them up. In fact
considering that there is virtually no fuel station in which you can simply
drive up to re-fuel, it is amazing how little this problem seemed to have
interfered with most exhibitors' preparations and with the general public
wishing to attend. The fuel "black" market has become so widespread and
entrenched that it is really the main source of fuel now!

There are several halls in which many small-scale enterprises typically
lease a few square metres of space each. Last year the occupancy of these
halls was good but this year there were large, embarrassing gaps in most of
them. Many of these traders hire trucks or bring their goods by public

The vastly increased costs of transportation caused by the fuel shortage and
the massive decline of the currency since last year made getting to the show
very difficult for many of these small-scale businesspeople, just as many
farmers are having difficulty getting produce to market.

The recent nationwide dislocations and dispossessions of many of this group
of people also affected their ability to exhibit. As an example, the number
and type of exhibitions in the Home Industries Hall were the poorest I have
seen. It was painful to walk in there.

Whether or not there would be cattle this year caused a mini-stir because
there were so few last year, and of terrible quality. There were close to a
hundred this year of reasonably good quality, the beef cattle looking much
better than the dairy ones. Overall, the number that were premier show
quality were few, but any cattle at all after last year's poor showing were
welcomed by everybody, especially considering the expense and effort it took
exhibitors to bring them. Exhibitors of cattle were each given an impromptu
cash token by the ZAS to thank and encourage them.

As in 2004, small-scale farmers dominated in the agricultural produce
sections. There were a lot fewer of these farmers this year. The cotton and
maize sections that they exhibited in strong force last year were shadows of
their former selves, both in quantity and quality. Ditto for the
horticultural crops sections. It was disheartening and frightening to so
starkly see the graphic representation of Zimbabwe's agricultural malaise.

Large-scale farmers, new or old, black or white, were hardly in evidence at
all. The turnout of Harare schools was very last minute but good, with 20
schools taking space in one of the halls in the two days before the show
began. Again, unlike last year there were few exhibits that stood out for
their quality, even though what was judged to be the best of what was on
offer were awarded prizes. Exposing and encouraging young people to farming
is hopefully laying the foundation for a corps of successful commercial
farmers in the future, even if the present looks so bleak.

How agriculture and therefore the country are in deep trouble were very
obvious at the show. In addition to the numbers of show-goers that thronged
the event and the excellent occupation of stands, this is paradoxically
another depressing but necessary aspect of the success of this year's show:
to hopefully show objectively to everyone who cares to and see how much
soul-searching and work we must do to get our country out of the doldrums
and working again.

Before the show I appealed to the media to delve into substantive issues to
do with aspects of the state of Zimbabwe, rather than to make the show's
main focus the entertainment available, the official pronouncements made and
so forth. The response from right across the media ideological spectrum was
massive and positive.

By and large the ideological straitjackets from which various media outlets
in Zimbabwe view anything to do with agriculture were largely put aside, at
least for the brief period of the show.

This is not to say they were not in evidence, but by and large all the media
seemed to accept that with as much trouble as it is abundantly evident the
country is in, the issue is no longer are you pro or anti "land reform" as
it has been done in Zimbabwe.

It is now about putting our heads together to figure out how to try to stem
the effects of what a spectacular failure it has been so far. The effects of
the methods employed on the well-being of the country have been awful and no
longer possible to hide. It is very encouraging that very few of the media
are any longer trying to hide or cover up those failures we must try to
collectively halt and reverse.

That task has been made even harder because of all the many support systems
in our country that are malfunctioning. For instance, while poor rain over a
number of years certainly contributes to poor farming, in Zimbabwe we really
no longer have any excuse to be surprised by periods of drought. Are we
satisfied that we are doing enough to prepare for them? The very real
possibility of poor rain in any year should seriously influence our
policies, practices and decisions all the time now so we are not caught so
ill-prepared every time.

And let us address all the factors that we are responsible for in the
decline of agriculture instead of constantly looking for scapegoats for the
mess we are in. Even when we really believe that sanctions, racism, foreign
farming subsidies contribute to some of our problems, the fact is that
getting around them is still up to us.

Thinking calmly about solutions is a lot more useful than enraged gnashing
of teeth, weeping and wailing or the emotionally cathartic but ultimately
useless hurling of insults at those we disagree with.

*Makunike is the ZAS spokesperson.

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Zim Independent

Foot and mouth costs Zim EU market
Augustine Mukaro
ZIMBABWE is losing out on the lucrative European Union (EU) beef quota to
South American producers because of its failure to come up with a workable
solution to problems rocking the agricultural sector.

Beef industry sources said Zimbabwe's 9 100-tonne annual quota was being met
by Brazil, Argentina and Mexico because of its failure to eradicate the
recurrent foot and mouth disease (FMD) in beef producing areas.

An EU spokesman confirmed that South American countries were servicing
Zimbabwe's quota since government has not taken any initiatives to have the
2001 ban lifted.

"Zimbabwe has not yet invited Brussels to come and assess whether Harare has
implemented EU-recommended disease control measures that could see the ban
lifted," the spokesman said.

"It is Zimbabwe which is supposed to take the initiative, but so far they
have not done so and the exports remain banned."

He however said the quota remained available to Zimbabwe.

"Once it conforms to the EU standards, Zimbabwe can resume exports anytime.
The quota does not change even if a country is not fulfilling it," he said.

An expert said the chaos in the agricultural sector had resulted in the
industry falling further away from meeting EU standards, particularly the
system of identification, registration and labelling of bovine animals.

"The first requirement for all operators and organisations marketing fresh
or frozen beef or veal is to label it with individual trace ability codes
which may be the identification number of the animal from which the meat is
derived or an identification number relating to a group of animals," the
expert said.

He said continued farm seizures and the destruction of equipment had
resulted in producers failing to maintain slaughterhouses and de-boning
plants up to export standards.

The situation has been exacerbated by the uncontrolled movement of cattle
and wildlife, resulting in FMD outbreaks that caused the suspension of beef

The Cattle Producers Association (CPA)'s latest report says FMD continued to
recur over the past five years because of the uncontrolled movement of

"FMD continues to haunt us," CPA chairperson, Maryna Erasmus, said.

"Veterinary services' ability to source vaccines from Botswana is directly
related to the availability of foreign currency to pay our debts and this
has been a major problem.

"However, vaccination is not the total solution to FMD control and until the
fundamental issue of illegal cattle movement is addressed, Zimbabwe will
continue to see the recurrence of FMD."

Before the ban, Zimbabwe was earning around US$38 million annually from beef
exports to the European Union. This accounted for about 4% of the country's
total foreign currency earnings.

Besides the government's apparent inaction over disease control, Zimbabwe's
herd has declined by a massive 82% from 1,4 million cattle before the land
reforms to about 250 000 at present.

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Zim Independent

Harare in bid to conceal evidence of blitz
Takawira Mapfumo
HARARE City Council's move to fine victims of the government-driven clean-up
exercise for uncollected rubble from their backyards has sparked massive
dumping of rubbish and rubble in public places in the high-density suburbs.

Residents of Mbare have resorted to dumping rubble and uncollected refuse at
open spaces such as road junctions, schoolyards and market places to avoid
the charges.

At George Stark High School for example, almost half a soccer pitch is
covered with rubble.

The commission running the affairs of the city announced numerous dubious
rates, among them a $3 million penalty for uncollected rubble.

Civic groups have attacked the commission chaired by Sekasai Makwavarara
arguing that there is no logical justification for the inhuman treatment of
residents, especially at the hands of a local authority which has failed to
provide basic services.

"It's either they (council) are trying to destroy the evidence that
Operation Murambatsvina ever took place ahead of the much talked about (UN
secretary-general Kofi) Annan's visit to Harare or this is a fund-raising
project," said Joseph Ross of the Combined Harare Residents Association

Ross said that the strategies being employed by the council in this
seemingly fund-raising project are pathetic as they cannot sustain long-term

The city declared that it was broke twice this year, resulting in delayed
salaries. In April, salaries had to be paid directly from rates-collecting

CHRA this week called on the residents to boycott paying the "unjustified"
rates to council saying there was no transparency in the collection of the

The city council has threatened those who fail to comply with arrests or
losing their houses, a threat frowned upon by CHRA.

"Council does not have the legality to confiscate any house besides the ones
that they built for their own workers. They are just taking advantage of
people's ignorance of their rights," CHRA said.

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Zim Independent

Masvingo fights for political stability
Ray Matikinye/Augustine Mukaro

THE death last week of Josiah Tungamirai has removed a stabilising factor in
Masvingo politics and is poised to test the political acumen of the current
leadership in the faction-prone province.

The Zanu PF leadership, with the maverick Dzikamai Mavhaire as political
commissar, has a daunting task to choose a successor with the mettle to
maintain a check on Zezuru hegemony and retain plausible Karanga relevance
in national politics.

The late Tungamirai, a close ally of retired general Solomon Mujuru in the
succession dogfight, teamed against Emmerson Mnangagwa's ascendancy to the
vice-presidency last year and continued to provide crucial Karanga presence
in the Zanu PF.

Retired army general Vitalis Zvinavashe is tipped to take over the Gutu
North constituency and enter mainstream politics.

He appears the frontrunner among the list of possible candidates because of
the need to come up with a recognised political heavyweight who has appeal
among the warring factions in the province.

Mavhaire says finding a successor to Tungamirai's role as a godfather posed
no problems.

"No one doubts Zvinavashe's credentials as the most senior politician in the
province," Mavhaire said.

"But there is still the daunting task to select who will take over the Gutu
North constituency as well as choosing senatorial representatives."

Mavhaire said the provincial executive had formulated a foolproof system to
avoid the party sliding into factionalism.

"We are a taskforce, given a mandate to restructure and unite Zanu PF
supporters in this province in the next two years before fresh provincial
elections. And we are quite clear on how to go about it without allowing
division to rear its ugly head again," Mavhaire said.

He added: "There are no divisions, there are no factions because people have
realised how costly factionalism is and what a setback it is. Ordinary party
supporters have never been divided on factional lines but the leadership has
sought dominance using petty cliques."

Masvingo province has been trying to come to terms with a reconfigured
landscape following the ouster of a provincial executive led by Daniel
Shumba earlier this year.

One of the dominant political groups ghosting for the late vice-president
Simon Muzenda that includes Gutu South MP Shuvai Mahofa, Masvingo North MP
Stan Mudenge, and former governor Josaya Hungwe, has been seriously hog-tied
by its involvement in the ill-fated Tsholotsho meeting of December 18 last

Its political muscle has been greatly weakened by a shift of influence and
power through exclusion from the interim provincial executive structures
that prescribe the political pace.

Shumba took over the reins in a palace coup engineered by self-proclaimed
Independence war veterans at the behest of a protégé faction of the late
Muzenda. But he was sucked into the Tsholotsho clique, famed for
clandestinely seeking to challenge the untenable tenets of guided democracy
in Zanu PF.

Those who attended the meeting, representing a frightening chunk of Zanu PF
support, sought to derail Joice Mujuru's ascendancy to the vice-presidency.

Mavhaire said strangers and newcomers might want to buy their way into the
contest but stood little chance.

"It would simply be an intention but the electorate is much wiser. They have
come to accept that people must reap where they sow," Mavhaire said.

The late Tungamirai had assumed the godfather role after the death of
Vice-President Muzenda in September 2003.

Zvinavashe commands a lot of respect in the province. Last year the retired
commander of the defence forces turned down an invitation by the Gutu South
leadership to run as the candidate in the March parliamentary election.

Zvinavashe had been approached to replace Mahofa who had fallen out of
favour with Gutu South traditional leaders. Mahofa was implicated in the
death of war veterans leader Misheck Maseva and then arrested after
diverting maize from the Masvingo Grain Marketing Board depot for personal

Zvinavashe opted to play an advisory role. "What they need to understand is
that I am a retired commander of the defence forces. I have been serving the
country at national level so structurally I can't go back to represent a
district or province," Zvinavashe said.

Zvinavashe said then that there were young people in the constituency that
should be given a chance and he would play an advisory role.

"People are not wrong," he said. "I know what they want. I am not refusing
to help them. I will help them but not as they expected. I will not take up
that post but only advise those who will be on the post," he said.

But this time, Zvinavashe could have a change of heart given the void left
by his comrade-in-arms Tungamirai and apparent Zezuru clannish tendencies to
dominate Zanu PF politics.

Prior to his retirement from the army, Zvinavashe had been linked to the
late Muzenda's Gutu North constituency, which was later taken over by the
late Tungamirai.

After his retirement in December last year, there was speculation that
Zvinavashe would be appointed vice-president to replace Muzenda.

What could also spur Zvinavashe to take up the challenge is the possibility
that the Mahofa trio could want to test its popularity given the fickle
nature of the rural electorate in the province.

The choice of a candidate could revolve around trying to regain lost pride
and bruised egos among rival leaders in the province, with the Mahofa,
Hungwe and Mudenge axis throwing in Gutu district council chairman Silas
Matuke in the ring.

They could also come up with candidates for the senatorial seats from those
of their staunch followers who lost pre-poll primary elections.

If Zvinavashe maintains his position and turns the offer down again, the
current Samuel Mumbengegwi-led provincial executive has Gutu businessman
Dzimba Madondo to fall back on.

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Matonga raps ZTV
Itai Mushekwe
DEPUTY Information minister, Bright Matonga, has lashed out at the mediocre
programming and productions at Zimbabwe television (ZTV), describing them as
a challenge that needs to be addressed urgently.

He called for the involvement of private players in television and film
sectors to improve quality.

"We need more programmes and more independent production houses," he said.

The minister's remarks come hard on the heels of in-house squabbles over
mediocrity at Zimbabwe's sole broadcasting station.

Matonga made the assertions while addressing a film audience last week
during the premiere of Zimbabwe's latest feature film, Tanyaradzwa, at the
Zimbabwe International Film Festival.

The minister could not hide his disappointment with the deteriorating
standards of productions at ZTV.

"As a minister and a journalist, I'm not happy with the type of productions
we have," said Matonga.

He said the Broadcasting Services Act (BSA) passed in 2002 remains a major
stumbling block in the way of new players in the sector owing to high
service fees charged in hard currency.

Since its promulgation, no private broadcaster has been granted an operating
licence, casting a dark shadow over the future of the broadcasting industry
in Zimbabwe.

The Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Transport and Communications this
week added its voice to the growing chorus of dissatisfaction over the
operations of the state broadcaster.

The Leo Mugabe-led committee ordered Zimbabwe Broadcasting Holdings (ZBH)
chairman, Rino Zhuwarara, to submit to it qualifications and remuneration of
all ZBH staffers amid revelations of personnel forging qualifications.

Information secretary, George Charamba, stormed the Newsnet newsroom last
month after his call on the newsroom hotline went unanswered. Charamba
alleged that Newsnet had failed to capture the gist of President Robert
Mugabe's speech during a news bulletin on Heroes Day.

Sources say the quality of production and programming at the television
station has been affected by the ZBH's delay in switching over from analogue
to digital broadcasting systems.

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Zim Independent

Byo pleads for water

THE Bulawayo City Council has written to government requesting that the city
be declared a "water shortage area" as the local authority battles to meet
water requirements for residents where some suburbs have gone for two months
without water.

The two major supply dams for the city, Ncema and Mzingwane, have virtually
dried up, badly affecting Bulawayo's water supplies.

It is the first time in the history of the city that the local authority has
written to government seeking an intervention on a non-financial matter.

Health officials this week said the city faced a high risk of a disease
outbreak unless the water situation was addressed as a matter of urgency.

Bulawayo executive mayor, Japhet Ndabeni Ncube, confirmed this week that the
local authority was seeking government intervention on the water situation
and hoped that resources would be mobilised to address the crisis.

"We have appealed to government to declare Bulawayo a water shortage area,"
Ncube said.

"We hope the government will assist by commandeering resources and by
supplying the city with bowsers to reach as many people as possible who are
in need of water supplies."

Ncube said the city was now relying on Inyankuni and Insiza dams for water

The two dams however supply the city with water through a gravitational
process that moves water from high ground to lower areas. But the water
levels in the two dams are now so low that the city cannot get adequate

Bulawayo's daily water consumption is 141 000 cubic metres but the two dams
can supplying only about 90 000 cubic metres a day.

Ncube said the city was also receiving some water from the Nyamandlovu

"We are also receiving water from 24 boreholes at the Nyamandlovu aquifer.
We are working to repair 77 boreholes at the aquifer that were damaged at
the height of farm invasions," Ncube said.

The water situation deteriorated this week after a weekend fire damaged
electrical cables to the engines pumping water at Inyankuni dam, resulting
in water cuts to some suburbs.

Cowdray Park, Emakhandeni, Entumbane, Magwegwe and Pumula North have not had
water supplies for two months.

Ncube however blamed the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) for the
damage to boreholes at the Nyamandlovu aquifer saying the council had warned
the water authority to stop the new farmers from fetching water from the

"Zinwa allowed war veterans to divert water from the aquifer. The war
veterans also damaged pumps and council now has to repair the 77 boreholes
that were damaged," Ncube said.

Bulawayo and the arid Matabeleland region are plagued with perennial water
problems whose solution lies in the successful construction of a pipeline
from the Zambezi River to the region. - Staff Writer.

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Zim Independent

Mediagate: more info filters in
Dumisani Muleya
MEDIGATE remains hanging over the Mirror Group of Newspapers and the
Financial Gazette as more information consolidating reports that the papers
are controlled by the state security agency continues to trickle in.

Sources said the Mirror CEO Ibbo Mandaza has confirmed to his friends in the
aftermath of the reports that his papers were owned by the CIO.

Although the CIO ownership of the Mirror newspapers has never been in doubt
in intelligence and government circles, sources said Mandaza had admitted
privately that the papers were owned by the intelligence service.

This came as readers alerted the Zimbabwe Independent to a Financial Gazette
story published last year in January in which central bank governor Gideon
Gono reportedly declared his assets to a parliamentary caucus meeting.

The Financial Gazette reported on January 29 last year that Mashonaland East
governor Ray Kaukonde, then Zanu PF chairman for the same province, had
taken Gono to task over his assets.

It said Gono "told the caucus that the laws of the land required him to
disclose his interests to President (Robert) Mugabe and the Minister of
Finance and Economic Development, Herbert Murerwa".

However, the Financial Gazette said Gono all the same made disclosures to
the caucus that "he operates a ranch, a flower project and a farm". He did
not mention that he owned a newspaper. This was consistent with what Gono
has always said.

Gono has made it clear from the beginning that he did not own the Financial
Gazette although the paper's editor Sunsleey Chamunorwa has been struggling
to maintain the line that he was the owner.

Chamunorwa himself when he was still Gono's spokesman at the CBZ said Gono
was not the owner. Gono said he was the financial advisor to the new owners
of the paper, whom sources maintain are the intelligence service. Sources
said Gono told senior government officials he was doing the project for the

Further information obtained from intelligence sources shows Mandaza
approached Gono in 2002 looking for money for the Daily Mirror which was
first published on September 9 that year.

It is said Gono agreed that he would give Mandaza money but would bring
other investors into the paper. Sources said Gono then brought the CIO to
invest in the paper at a time when Mandaza was desperately looking for money
to get his project started.

"Gono then brought in the security guys into the project, apparently without
Mandaza's knowledge," a source said. "He initially wanted four CIO directors
on the board of Southern Africa Publishing House (Sapho) Pvt Ltd, which
owned the papers, but a row erupted after Mandaza realised the CIO was part
of the deal."

Sources said the fierce clashes drew in the CIO bosses and ended up on a
compromise in which there would to be only two intelligence directors
instead of four. That was how the CIO came to have two directors on the
Mirror board, the source said.

The Mirror group was initially registered in 2001 as High-Portfolio
Enterprises (Pvt) Ltd. Its directors were Mandaza and Joyce Kazembe. The
company then changed to Sapho and then to Mirror.

Its directors were Mandaza, Alexander Kanengoni, Thomas James Meke,
Ambassador Buzwani Mothobi, John Marangwanda, Charm Ndaba Mukuwane, Tendai
Mangezi who has resigned, and Jonathan Kadzura. Amy Tsanga was appointed
later. Musi Khumalo resigned.

The two CIO representatives on the board were Kanengoni and Meke, the
immediate past CIO administration and finance director. Several other CIO
officers were deployed to work on the Mirror project as reported in the
original story.

Sources said Kanengoni, who was suspended by Mandaza on allegations of
causing chaos in the newsroom by threatening journalists and shouting
abuse - claims which insiders say are not true - was due to appear before a
Mirror disciplinary hearing soon.

They said students on attachment at the Mirror group were this week kicked
out because Mandaza was no longer sure who was a CIO and who was not. This
was widely seen as a sign of growing paranoia by the Mirror managers who are
desperate to limit the mediagate fallout.

The CIO were said to be allowing Mandaza limited space to manoeuvre in the
meantime because they did not want to worsen the crisis by ousting him from
the group before the dust settles.

The CIO was reportedly investigating an alleged abuse of funds at the Mirror
which could claim the scalps of managers at the group. It was said the
Mirror got money from the productive sector facility and the CIO that
amounted to $38 billion.

The money was disbursed in tranches of $10 billion, $6 billion and $22
billion. There was also a fight over the payment of money from the Mirror
group to Mandaza's origination company, Pre-print. A row was also brewing
over a printing machine Mandaza imported from India.

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MDC still to decide on Senate
Ray Matikinye
THE opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has not yet decided
whether or not to take part in polls for the Senate seats.

Indications are that parliament, after passing the Constitution of Zimbabwe
Bill that will enable the setting up of a Senate, will adjourn until October
11 to allow the ruling Zanu PF to select legislators to the Upper House.

MDC leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, said his party executive would meet soon to
discuss the 22 amendments to the constitution railroaded through parliament
with the assistance of 10 unelected chiefs, eight governors and 12
non-constituency MPs.

"Zanu PF is preoccupied with establishing a Senate while ignoring critical
national issues that need attention," said Tsvangirai.

"They seem keen on running the country through rule by law and not rule of

"One wonders whether the party thinks it can run the country like a
kindergarten centre," Tsvangirai said.

He said the executive meeting would decide whether to participate in
senatorial elections or not.

But observers say the party is not prepared to repeat the mistake that it
made by deciding late to participate in general elections after staying out
to protest the "uneven playing field".

According to media reports, the Zanu PF politburo discussed the Senate issue
at its weekly meeting in Harare on Wednesday.

The assistance Zanu PF received from chiefs riled rights lobbyists who
criticised their participation as undemocratic owing to their status as
unelected members.

"It perpetuates a most undemocratic principle that the president can appoint
legislators to represent Zimbabwe instead of allowing citizens to exercise
their democratic right to do so," president of the Law Society of Zimbabwe,
Joseph James, said in a statement yesterday.

*Meanwhile, human rights groups plan to take before the African Commission
for Human and Peoples Rights (ACHPR) their challenge to provisions of the
Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment (Number 17) Bill which was passed in
parliament on Tuesday.

Otto Saki, international lawyer for Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, said
the civic group was preparing its heads of argument for the AHPR as the
constitutional amendment passed this week takes away the jurisdiction of
local courts.

"We will be taking the matter to the African Commission," said Saki. "We are
in the process of preparing heads of argument. Our greatest concern is that
the constitutional amendment takes away the duties of the courts, violates
property rights and empowers the government to take away passports."

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Zim Independent

Corporate FCAs used to pay IMF
Godfrey Marawanyika
ZIMBABWE managed to pay US$120 million to the International Monetary Fund
(IMF) by liquidating foreign currency accounts owned by corporates in a bid
to avoid the country's expulsion from the fund.

Legally, corporate accounts for exporters are liquidated over a 30-day
period. Central bank governor Gideon Gono said the funds came from exporters
and free funds.

"The forex that was sent to the IMF could have been used more productively,"
said a senior merchant banker. "I think the government made the decision in
the knowledge that the South African loan is on its way."

This is the first time Zimbabwe has made a substantial one-off payment to
the IMF. Analysts yesterday said the debt repayment however would not open
the floodgates for Harare to access funds from the IMF and the World Bank.

Zimbabwe's economic problems will remain despite the payment. No balance of
payments, new lines of credit or direct foreign investment will flow in as a
result of the payment.

Speaking from Washington on Wednesday, IMF spokesperson David Hawley
confirmed that Harare had paid part of its debt.

"On August 29, 2005 Zimbabwe made a payment of US$120 million to the
International Monetary Fund to clear some of its arrears to the fund, which
date back to 2001. Following the payment, arrears to the fund now stand at
SDR119 million (about US$174 million)," Hawley said.

"As previously announced, the IMF executive board will meet on September 9
to consider the 2005 Article IV consultation with Zimbabwe as well as the
possible issue of compulsory withdrawal, which was last taken up by the
board in February 2005."

An IMF staff mission is in Harare to review recent economic developments.

The mission is also preparing a report for the IMF executive board, but the
delegation later extended its stay.

The three-member delegation, which comprises Sharmini Coorey, Sonia Munoz
and Kevin Fletcher, was still in the country yesterday.

Analysts said the payment could have been done ages ago since government did
not use funds from South Africa.

If expelled, Zimbabwe would be the second country to be thrown out of the
IMF after the former Czechoslovakia in 1954.

Critics and the opposition accuse President Mugabe for the country's
devastating economic decline, characterised by triple-digit inflation and
sky-high unemployment.

But Mugabe's government has blamed drought and sanctions by the European
Union and the United States for the country's plight.

Analysts have said although Zimbabwe still owes the IMF, the reduction in
arrears removes the risk of having foreign assets attached by creditors.

Economist Eric Bloch said because of the various actions taken in the
monetary policy review statement to remove economic distortions, the IMF may
be motivated to allow Zimbabwe's continued membership.

"Many donor states give assistance to countries that are members of the IMF,
so retaining membership is very important for Zimbabwe," Bloch said.

Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce president Luxon Zembe said the
reduction in arrears signifies Zimbabwe's willingness to settle debts.

"It should alleviate pressure of expulsion since debt issues weigh more than
any other issues at the IMF. We hope it will help spare Zimbabwe from
expulsion," Zembe said.

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Zim Independent

Bill is worst attack on democracy

Ray Matikinye

ZIMBABWE'S governing elite has the unerring instinct for doing wrong things
for the wrong reasons. It has an odd inclination for spitting the dummy
whenever situations appear to overwhelm it through enacting contentious and
debasing legislation. For the past 25 years, Zanu PF has been amending and
degrading the Lancaster House constitution and laws it deems objectionable
more for political expediency than to promote democratic practices.

The constitutional amendment that Zanu PF hurtled to enact this week
illustrates how the ruling elite has let Zimbabwe fly off the handle through
bad governance and are groping about to gain a total stranglehold on public

Legal experts say the welter of amendments contained in the Constitution of
Zimbabwe Amendment Bill seeks to curtail the most fundamental principles of
democratic government entrenched in the separation of powers of the
Legislature, the Executive and the Judiciary. In any democratic country the
separation of powers provides vital checks and balances to prevent abuse of
power by those who wield it on behalf of the people.

The constitutional amendments mean Zimbabwe will no longer be a land of the
habeas corpus - a fundamental instrument for safeguarding individual freedom
against arbitrary and lawless state action.

Says the Law Society of Zimbabwe (LSZ): "The amendment will seriously erode
if not remove the enjoyment of fundamental rights to property, secure
protection of the law and freedom of movement of the people who rely on the
Constitution for protection against unchecked state action."

In a statement censuring the Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment Bill, the
LSZ says government intends to oust the jurisdiction of the courts, while
other critics say the amendment will emasculate the judiciary and raise
barriers to independent judgements.

MP for Tsholotsho Jonathan Moyo says the Bill has nothing to do with
Zimbabwe's national interest as it serves Zanu PF interests only.

"The Bill does not have ideological, constitutional, institutional or
economic principles that are shared by the body politic. All it has is the
principle of political expediency," he said.

Much more than anything else, amendments to the Land Acquisition Act
regarding compensation need a re-look in the interest of equity and social
justice in order to restore much-needed national and international
confidence in the economy.

Land experts say the haphazard land reform programme, initiated more out of
political expediency than economic sense, has cost the country an estimated
US$15 billion in lost value over the years.

In any event, the best of the farmland in Zimbabwe will have no market value
as an economic asset as long as the acquired land is not compensated for.

"Solving an administrative problem through a constitutional amendment is the
height of incompetence and lack of creative imagination and a government
that suffers from this to the point of seeking constitutional refuge has no
business pretending to be in power," Moyo says.

"The effect of the Bill will elevate to constitutional provisions
legislation which allows the executive to deprive property owners of their
property," the LSZ argues.

Twenty-five years ago the world hoped that Zimbabwe would learn from the bad
example of colonial Rhodesia and chart a new path of just laws.

It is as ironic as it is dismaying that the Mugabe government has instead
decided to follow the example set by Rhodesia in creating repressive laws
that restrict individual freedoms.

Those offensive laws are upheld by a compliant judiciary that appears to act
from a position of threatened privilege.

"Zimbabwe's judiciary has not been left to interpret legislation
independently. The Supreme Court has been fully packed with those who are
Mugabe's acquiescent adherents. The High Court has also been 'transformed'
into one that largely upholds the government's wishes," says the
International Bar Association.

Besides, the Bill will allow the Executive to restrict the movement of the
people, depriving citizens of such a basic human right. Legal experts fear
that the Executive could act on the basis of vague and ambiguous criteria
which can easily be abused such as national interest.

It allows for the reinvention of a Senate stuffed mostly by also-rans in the
last election as a reward for their membership of the ruling party. More
significantly, the reintroduction of the Senate where President Mugabe
appoints six members will perpetuate the undemocratic practice of allowing
an individual to usurp the electorate's right to select representatives of
their choice.

Legal Affairs minister Patrick Chinamasa assured the Zanu PF politburo that
the Senate was a stop-gap measure until year 2010.

The Senate proposed under the Bill signifies a penchant for profligate use
of taxpayers' money without adding justifiable value to democratic practice
during a time when the national economy is tottering on the edge of the

Moyo says the Zanu PF government has lost a glorious opportunity to prove
their detractors wrong by demonstrating an unwavering commitment to the rule
of law and there cannot be any rule of law where the courts are ousted from
their constitutional role of interpreting the law.

Paul Themba Nyathi, the opposition Movement Democratic Change (MDC)
secretary for information says the passing of the Constitutional Amendment
Bill represents a flagrant disregard for democratic processes.

"The creation of a Senate is in no way a move to improve legislative
oversight. It has simply been created as an extension of presidential
patronage, aimed at soothing bruised egos within the ruling party," Nyathi
says. He says a constitution should be formulated in full consultation with
the people.

"It rejected this opportunity and instead doggedly pursued a piecemeal
approach to constitutional reform. This is an approach aimed to ensure that
the constitution is shamelessly corrupted to support the political
objectives of the ruling elite at the expense of the people," he says.

Joseph James, LSZ president, in a seperate statement said lawyers had, for
the first time, taken a stance against the new legislation.
"It is worse than Posa and Aippa as the current legislation attacks the very
basis of our constitution," he says in reference to two controversial laws
that limit freedoms of association and expression.
With the new law, government will be able to seize the passports of its
critics. "This will take away the right of those people to go outside the
country and ask other countries to impose sanctions on Zimbabwe," said
Chinamasa, who is among 200 of Mugabe's cronies slapped with an EU travel

Chinamasa says amendments to the Land Acquisition Act will stop evicted
white farmers from frustrating land redistribution to black Zimbabweans. "It
will close the chapter of colonisation," Chinamasa said during a stormy
debate before the vote on Tuesday.

Lovemore Madhuku, chairman of the National Constitutional Assembly which
mobilised opposition to Mugabe's attempt in 2000 to entrench his rule
indefinitely, said the amendments add to a host of repressive measures
already imposed by Mugabe's 25-year-old regime. "But in time, it will
eventually collapse," he said. "Do you think the people are going to
accommodate this for all time?"

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Zim Independent

Zim now a typical mad house case
By Rejoice Ngwenya
THE intoxicating and numbing displeasure of being an "inmate" of Zimbabwe
could be likened to four distinct scenarios: a penitentiary, a sanatorium, a
casualty ward and a spiritual church.

Not that I am one of those cowards who will escape at the first sight of an
unguarded exit door, no ways! Neither will I dig a tunnel under the Limpopo
River only to emerge somewhere between Musina and Naboomspruit.

I am determined to stick around until the perpetrators of this inhuman
justice are either democratically discharged or brought to account for their
transgressions. For the time being, the word "diaspora" applies to them
(others) - not me.

I am of the breed whose vocabulary does not include the word "defeat",
especially by a mere mortal who breathes exactly the same type of oxygen as
I do. From dust to dust, from dawn to dusk, the struggle continues. Back to
the four cases.

In a typical penitentiary, inmates respond only to a rigid disciplinary
programme imposed on them by their incarcerators. They are not expected to
have a choice, think, rationalise or act according to their will.

The masters bark orders and prisoners respond with immaculate submission and
where there is a sign of dissent, justice is meted out instantly in full
view of others. At any one time, even when inmates "think" they are free to
roam around the courtyard, armed guards are perched high up in cages waiting
to sniper-shoot any details that break the strict penitentiary routine.

In other words, in prison you are entirely at the mercy of your guardians.
Such is the case in Zimbabwe. We now all put on similar clothes - a uniform
of distress, frustration and heartache. Zimbabweans are fed on one diet -
that of suffocating, nauseating state propaganda with a proven propensity to
choke the life out of one.

Our routine has become one of queuing and begging for foreign currency from
a totally dysfunctional auction system. When we vote, the masters of our
destiny stand guard over the ballot box to ensure we place the cross where
it suits them most.

Try and "demonstrate" your disapproval and see how much pressure your head
can take from a baton stick! Just like an inmate in solitary confinement,
all we can do is scream and bang on the walls, hallucinating on what might
have been that never was.

Our very conscience has been colonised, and we can only sing praises to the
ruling party, thanking them each time they "reward" us with tentative
devaluation, Chinese deals and service stations that dispense petrol in
foreign currency.

We have lost our individual personality, assuming the nature of our
controllers, like dogs, hoping that perhaps one day, a prison chaplain will
bestow mercy on us, and recommend our commitment to a sanatorium. At least
people there laugh all night.

A cousin who has worked at both Parirenyatwa Annex and Engutsheni tells me
that inmates literally have fun or at least think they are enjoying.

Some laugh all night, others joke about their "love affairs" and most talk
of past victories. When relatives bring goodies, there is momentary
jubilation and tinges of normalcy in their lives. And yet the moment they
walk towards the main gate, strong men in white apprehend them with pungent
doses of sedation and dump them in secure rooms.

Life at the sanatorium, from the outside, looks normal. That is what (SA
president Thabo) Mbeki, (former Mozambican president Joaquim) Chissano and
(Zambian president Levy) Mwanawasa say of Zimbabwe - things are fine,
Zimbabweans can look after themselves.

If only they could listen more carefully to the inmates, they will know to
what extent their dialogue and debate is out of context.

Zimbabwean political leaders simultaneously gloat about a successful
agrarian revolution and importing food in the same sentence. They talk about
colonial imperialists, foreign currency shortages and declining tourism in
one paragraph.

Our leaders hallucinate about past victories in the liberation war and give
each other medals while children starve and their mothers die of HIV and

They fly to all sorts of conferences while hospitals run out of drugs and
school children are thrown out into the streets. Just like in a sanatorium,
our leaders feel, act and behave normal, but deep inside they are deranged,
intellectually bankrupt dictators who have lost all conscience and rational

They have been sedated by their own lies and snore in deep sleep, oblivious
of the popular revolutionary storm coming their way. As they fight imaginary
battles and bask in illusive victories in their sleep, they inflict mortal
wounds on their bodies, taking the country with them to casualty ward.

Zimbabwe is in a typical casualty ward situation as at Baragwanath Hospital
in Soweto - the largest centre for death, blood and pain in the southern
hemisphere. I am told medical interns and courageous doctors come from all
over the globe to experience first-hand the nature of self-inflicted human

The variety of diseases and wounds is bewildering - inflicted from bullets,
axes, automobiles accidents, fires, knives, blunt instruments, you name it.

In other words, the Baragwanath Hospital casualty ward is the global first
port of call for human anguish. Men, women and children scream as they plead
to be put out of their misery. Relatives hold their heads in despair as they
count the vital seconds towards the imminent departure of loved ones.

But the good news is that the first thing a nurse or doctor needs to do
there is to prevent loss of blood, reduce pain and save lives - then one can
talk of a fully-fledged diagnosis.

The Zimbabwe casualty case is mind-boggling. As the country bleeds to death,
our leaders look out of the windows of the ward and count the number of cars
with new "A series" number plates. No shame, no sense of remorse or
compassion whatsoever.

Education minister Aeneas Chigwedere talks about uniforms while (Finance
minister) Herbert Murerwa refers casually to new ministries.

Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono dishes out money to local authorities
while his party compatriot urges the government to promulgate a holiday
called "Land Day". Our economy is bleeding through the mouth and the energy
sector has been dehydrated.

The blood pressure of inflation is running into three digits while our
foreign reserves are breathing directly from an oxygen cylinder. Our
education system struggles from a dialysis machine, as agriculture lies
unconscious from a severe asthma attack.

The tourism sector is on a life-support system while the pharmacy of our
theatre system boasts only of painkillers and crepe bandages.

Local Government minister Ignatious Chombo is obsessed with a film actor
named Garikai while (his counterpart at Science and Technology) Olivia
Muchena refers to hitherto unheard of scientific breakthroughs.

It's a mad house - Zimbabweans screaming in pain everywhere for mercy while
their leaders sit and watch Studio 263. Now there is only one thing that can
save our souls - Prayer.

My context of the term "spiritual church" is borrowed directly from that of
Satanism ie where members actually believe that they are worshipping God
when in fact their leaders are hiding behind satanic doctrines. Such is the
case in Zimbabwe - while the rest of us are speaking in tongues and cry out
for the Lord to redeem us, the big boys have their hands in the pulpit till,
counting the offerings and stashing the money in their back pockets. In
church, Zimbabweans sing, pray and give offerings as an expression of faith.
Others dance, cry and roll on their bellies in anguish for their

We have accepted our weaknesses - complicity in the crime of letting
dictators ruin our lives for 25 years without so much as casting the first
stone. Now they have judged us and seen us to be weak, spineless mortals who
fear to lose their worthless lives.

Our leaders can plunder the vessels from our temple and we have no power to
even cough. But the good news is that God is on the side of the weak and he
does not, like man, lie.

The Lord looks after his flock, even if it has wondered far from the others.
Like Job says, I know my redeemer liveth. If you worship a dead god, it is
your fault. Vengeance is mine, says the Lord.

My God is watching this vicious, heartless pack of greedy hounds. Keep
praying, let them plunder the altar and the taxes, it belongs to them - for
the time being. Our time will come, where there will be gnashing of teeth
(if they still have any).

Hey, somebody ought to tell these guys. Men, boys, say it in the bus, the
pub, the church, canteen, supermarket, everywhere. Condemn this evil. Do not
be afraid of mere mortals. They can only break your bones, but not your

They are just as miserable and petrified one-leg-at-a-time men as you are.
We are tired of suffering slaves in our own country. What have we done to
deserve this type of treatment?

Our lives are controlled by gangsters who come every five years to wring out
allegiance in the form of so-called elections.

Their legitimacy is as valid as the talons of an eagle in the back of a
day-old chick. Tell them to go now, today, yesterday, in March, last year,
long back. Their time is up, we want to live, not leave. We want to live,
not merely exist. We have rights too, just like their spoilt, over-fed

The gong is swinging, like a pendulum; the people of Zimbabwe are waiting
with bated breadths as it makes the last swing. When it hits the down
stroke, popular excitement will drown the muffled cries, even those of
state-sponsored propaganda about the virtues of a satanic, perforated,
senatorial election.

We voted in March that was enough, we are not going for yet another
political joy-ride. No ways!

* Rejoice Ngwenya is a Harare-based writer

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Zim Independent

Reforms first before any debt relief for Zim
By Tinashe Chimedza
ZIMBABWE and the International Monetary Fund (IMF)'s love and hate
relationship comes under focus as the government hosts an IMF team in the
hope of avoiding being axed from the institution.

The visit comes after the government presented a supplementary budget that
has become a permanent feature of its insatiable appetite for resources, the
adverse effect of which has been to drive a spiral of deficits that have
eaten into an economy that is already on a yo-yo fall-out, especially after
the controversial land grab of 1999/2000.

This far, Zimbabwe has miraculously escaped being axed from the IMF. This
visit thus bears pressure on the government to start showing its commitment
to reform and respect the rule of law.

The visit brings into focus a rather tumultuous love and hate relationship
that has characterised Zimbabwe's relations with the IMF since Zimbabwe
became a member in September 1980.

It is a relationship clogged with spectacles including the failure of the
Economic Structural Adjustment Programme (Esap) initiated in 1991 and the
government's rhetoric rejecting policy advice from the international
financial institution.

The visit will be informed by an adverse economic environment which includes
the harrowing effects of the government's controversial land-grab, massive
unemployment, increasing poverty and more recently, the man-induced tsunami
infamously dubbed "Operation Murambatsvina".

The social and economic situation in Zimbabwe is worse than a country at war
and the country's global competitive index stands at 99, meaning investing
in Zimbabwe is as risky as investing in a war-torn country.

Inflation has surged with a vengeance to 254,8% and with the partial
dollarisation of the economy through the sale of fuel in foreign currency,
the inflation rate will predictably surge further.

The IMF will certainly take interest in several policy announcements made by
the government including the supplementary budget presented on August 16,
the taxes that the minister imposed on companies trading on the stock
exchange, continued price controls and the prescription by the government
that pension funds invest 35% of the value of their stocks in government

On the side of the government, policy options are severely constrained by a
ballooning domestic debt and a US$306 million that is due to the IMF, not
including debts owed to other international financial institutions and

What makes the IMF debt more urgent is that the IMF has recalled its debt,
meaning that Zimbabwe must repay what it owes the fund as of July 31 - an
impossible task considering empty foreign currency coffers, a contracting
economy, increasing oil prices and a shrinking tax base.

The government's attempt to repay its loans has led to an intractable
spectacle that has seen emissaries off to Iran, South Africa and China where
the "Look East" policy has attracted muted response from the Chinese.

The IMF's visit also comes at a time when a global coalition of
non-governmental organisations have been united and acting under the banner
of "Make Poverty History", urging debt relief, more and unrestricted aid for
developing countries and fair trade.

The IMF's visit therefore puts into focus not only the IMF/Zimbabwe
relations but also the outcomes that IMF-supported policies have brought,
especially to Africa.

The challenging question therefore revolves around how Zimbabweans are
supposed to engage with the IMF under the present conditions in which
Zimbabwe is massively indebted to the IMF and a difficult social and
economic situation in which the government has made investment - local and
international - almost impossible by its disregard of the rule of law and
property rights.

At a global level, policies supported by the IMF and other international
financial institutions like the World Bank and the World Trade Organisation
(WTO) have come under increasing pressure.

In Zimbabwe, organisations like the Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and
Development (Zimcodd) have been critiquing the emphasis that structural
adjustment policies (Saps) place on market interventions rather than
comprehensive human-centred development.

Other critics have charged that Saps have appropriated a particular Western
discourse of human rights and democracy to the effect of imposing
neo-liberal economic policies that override particularities of developing
countries, making human development almost impossible.

The critics have ranged from radical campaigners calling for total
disengagement with the international financial institutions and other reform
initiatives, arguing that these must have a thorough democratic outlook so
that they become more open to make participation by civil society
organisations easier.

This is in the hope that there will be policies that are focused on human
development initia-tives rather than a somewhat blind emphasis on economic
growth that has, this far, not always resulted in social and economic

The debate of other radicals has summarised the Bretton Woods policies as
perpetuating "imperialist" relations that are no longer maintained by
armies - at least in southern Africa - but are embedded in decision-making
processes and hence the outcomes of the policies of these institutions.

These critics, at least in general, charge that the economic policies that
are imposed on the developing countries in exchange for loans, more aid and
preferential trade deals have become the "new colonialism", the effect of
which has been to entrench a global economy that exacerbates poverty, damage
the environment and accelerates the subordination of developing economies to
a global economy structure where the rich and powerful thrive while the poor
are exploited and excluded.

This radical debate has become seductive to the Zanu PF government that has
suddenly remembered its "anti-imperialist" credentials and has scurried for
all the cover it can find to try and mobilise a limited and utopian
nationalist and authoritarian response, in so doing, attempt to break the
opposition that it has unsuccessfully painted as a lackey of this "new

In light of these critiques, it becomes important to debate under what
framework Zimbabweans must engage or disengage these international financial

This debate must however be informed by a critical understanding of how
globalised economic exchanges, and that the building of national, regional
and a global market that works cannot be sidestepped.

A framework that campaigns and advocates disengagement or one that advocates
reform face severe constraining challenges.

First, Zimbabwe is massively indebted to the IMF and secondly, its social
and politico-legal framework is under severe strain to achieve what both
camps would call for.

Disengagement with the IMF will mean expulsion from the IMF and with this
comes the seal of international pariah status and other creditors would
scrum into the line demanding that Harare pay its dues.

The second one that calls for reform and human-centred development suffers
from one limiting factor which is: the influential members of the IMF, the
WB and the WTO have this far seemed disinterested in aid and debt relief for
Zimbabwe on the evidence of its human rights record, disregard of the rule
of law and unsustainable economic policies.

Influential members of the IMF and WB like Britain, the US and Australia
have imposed smart sanctions on Zimbabwe some of which make impossible the
granting of aid or debt relief to Zimbabwe.

At the G8 meeting in Scotland, Zimbabwe only featured when there were
discussions on how to pile pressure on Harare to recommit itself to
democracy, respect and protection of human rights and the rule of law.

On September 10, I will join millions of other people across the globe
urging world leaders to do more for debt-relief, increase aid and make trade
fair but I shudder to think what debt-relief, more aid and fair trade would
do in the Zimbabwean situation.

It would give life to a regime that has a callous disregard of human rights,
has bludgeoned the judiciary, militarised the electoral processes and
pursued policies that have resulted in the homelessness of its own citizens.

In Zimbabwe's case, a sustainable deal for debt-relief and increased
strategic aid can only become part of a deal that will be offered once there
is a new government committed to constitutional and economic reform,
democracy, human rights and the protection of private property.

It becomes therefore clear that unless and until the political questions in
Zimbabwe are settled or partially resolved, various interventions on, and in
Zimbabwe, will remain limited if not counteractive.

The loan by the South African government will be one such initiative that
has no other effect than to sustain an embattled government that is not
taking interest in urgently-needed reforms.

These cut and paste patchworks: a red patch from Beijing, a "rainbow" patch
from Pretoria and a yellow patch from Beirut will never have the needed
comprehensive effect of helping Zimbabweans move away from an inevitable

The Zimbabwean meltdown has already been spilling into the southern African
region, making impossible economic integration of the region and making
Nepad objectives look like child's play thus pushing further into the
horizon Zimbabwe's millennium development goals targets.

Zimbabwe's reconstruction therefore largely depends on how political
blockages being built by Zanu PF's laager mentality are dealt with,
including negotiations where possible, mass pressure if needed and
international brokering which is much-needed.

*Tinashe Chimedza is a Zimbabwean at the University of Technology in Sydney,

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Zim Independent

Editor's Memo

Lion of Judah

AS has been demonstrated painfully often, brute force alone, while it can
preserve power and influence, is often impotent when faced with the
ingenuity and real commitment of oppressed people. Mirroring in many ways
the disasters of Vietnam, Romania and Ethiopia, despotism eventually fell
through popular resistance.

Insecurity is the fuel that drives rulers to come up with dense political
decisions which negate the plight of the suffering multitudes.

This irrationality was the hallmark of the rule of Ethiopian Emperor Haile
Selassie, who Rastafarians believed was a messiah of whom the Psalmist says
a "prince shall come out of Egypt, and Ethiopia shall soon stretch out her
hand unto God". Under his adopted titles "Lion of Judah", "King of Kings" or
"Lord of Lords the Saviour", he is still venerated by many Nazarenes who
regarded him as the emancipator and an epitome of black power. But
Selassie's followers should also see in their emancipator the image of a
power-drunk leader who made monumental errors of governance and became the
embodiment of autocracy which runs in the veins of many African rulers

That notwithstanding, he had many positive accomplishments in the horn of
Africa where he managed to lobby for and built a modern Africa state with
the support of European powers. Founding fathers of African nationalism had
no hesitation to lay the foundations of the OAU in Ethiopia.

But the deity did err. During his rule, Selassie advocated land
redistribution. Arable land was scarce and what better way to empower his
people than give them the means of production. He handed out over five
million hectares of land to his people but only 21% of it got to poor
peasants who had no land. The rest was distributed amongst nobles, the
church, government officials, and army and police officers. Overall, he
retained absolute control of land.

For a country prone to droughts, the weather had a lot to do with the fate
of a population that was largely agrarian. The effects of a drought that
occurred in 1972 were devastating. But this could have been alleviated if
government had acted promptly.

It is estimated that over 250 000 people died from the famine, and over 1,6
million were affected by it. When famine strikes a population, it is almost
always accompanied by disease and epidemics. Ethiopia fell victim to
diseases that commonly plague a malnourished people.

Selassie's neglect of the famine did not go unnoticed. How could the King of
Kings spend millions of dollars entertaining representatives of other
countries, and neglect this widespread famine?

Selassie was swept away by public discontent and in 1974 the Dergue led by
Mengistu Haile Mariam took over the reigns. The King of Kings left only 2%
of Ethiopia accessible by paved road. The rest of the country remained a
series of dirt paths and mud villages.

Mengistu on the other hand pursued the Communist ideology of
collectivisation and villagisation. Years of unsustainable farming practices
were allowed to continue until in 1984-5, with the added effects of war and
drought, half-a-million lives were lost in famine.

Mengistu kicked the people while they were on the ground by obstructing
international relief efforts. It took a heart-rending Bob Geldof live
concert, Live Aid at Wembley Stadium in London, to raise the profile of the
famine and marshal international support.

Mengistu's retrogressive attitude lives on among many African leaders. There
are African leaders today who would rather see their people going without
food than lose face.

Only last month Niger's President Mamdou Tandja was thumbing his nose at aid
agencies wanting to feed his people despite evidence of widespread hunger
caused by the destruction of crops by locusts.

"The people of Niger look well-fed, as you can see," he told BBC. Even
during a famine, there are well-fed ones. Tandja claimed that reports of a
food crisis were "false propaganda" that had been used by the UN, aid
agencies and opposition parties for political gain.

"It is only by deception that such agencies receive funding," he said.

Do I sense the same uncanny behaviour among our leaders here?

They have blocked the UN from launching an appeal to help people affected by
Operation Murambatsvina. The government does not agree with the UN on the
wording of the food appeal document, hence the stupid standoff.

Zimbabwe's UN Ambassador Boniface Chidyausiku, according to AP reports, said
the government believes the humanitarian crisis the UN is trying to address
in Zimbabwe "is non-existent".He said the countries the UN would seek money
from "are the countries that are very vocal in trying to bring a regime
change to Zimbabwe", he said. There you have it. Selassie, despite
aberrations in his rule, still has followers.

Chidyausiku should at least be enlightened by Selassie's wise words: "We
must become members of a new race overcoming petty prejudice, owing our
ultimate allegiance not to nations, but to our fellow men within the human

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Zim Independent

Reconsider new flea market sites

FOLLOWING the recent announcement by the town clerk of Harare municipality,
Nomutsa Chideya, of the reopening of flea markets at suburban shopping
centres there was a sigh of relief among those who had successfully
undergone the rigorous vetting process.

Unfortunately, the siting of the areas is a mockery of basic business
concepts. The council should have taken into consideration the following:

 the nature of flea market business is a daily trade as opposed to a
weekend retreat type. Business, including flea markets, is not a hobby to be
only undertaken during weekends for there are traders earning livelihoods on
full-time basis from the informal industry;

 taking the flea markets to various suburban areas lacks basic rationale of
business. For example, traders who are trading at Avondale and Sam Levy
Village trade in wares which target the class of their potential customers.
Which taste varies from those in Mabelreign or Glen View;

 It remains pertinent and imperative that a couple of flea market sites be
identified around the city centre as this is the largest customer-catchment
zone. That would be convenient for both traders and customers.

Israel T Mabhoo,


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Zim Independent

Sound agriculture requires secure tenure

AGRICULTURAL research in southern Africa together with hundreds of years of
commercial farming experience have revealed that the correct land use for
sustainable economic production is most closely achieved when large-scale
ownership of land is practised. This applies in all the ecological regions
of the subcontinent.

The components which have proved to be essential for sustainable and
profitable land use are listed as follows:

 secure tenure of properly surveyed holdings;

 the correct-sized economic units for each ecological region;

 adequate infrastructure;

 a ready supply of low interest short and long-term finance;

 adequate expertise;

 summer supplementary irrigation where crops are grown; and

 orderly marketing.

If the first component is ignored the application of the other six is
unlikely to produce prosperity no matter how much money is poured into
commodity enterprises. If all seven are ignored the prognosis for the
farmers and their homeland can only be terminal illness.

Prior to 2001, the commercial sector of Zimbabwean agriculture was based on
the seven precepts and exceptional care was taken to preserve and enhance
the environment while at the same time producing the prosperity that drove
the economy.

With the advent of the politically-inspired agrarian reform the seven
components were abandoned and were deemed by politicians to be irrelevant to
Africa and Africans. After four disastrous years the claims of success for
the reform programme are becoming more and more muted and the cries for
secure land tenure (the most important component) become louder.

The Reserve Bank governor has many times listed secure tenure as a prime
requirement for his "turnaround" economic policy. The Finance minister in
his mini-budget called for the issuance of 99-year leases.

The minister and the governor are in the best positions to observe the
economic disaster which ill-advised policies have wrought on Zimbabwean
agriculture and both have called for 99-year leases to be issued to new
farmers to rectify matters. A lease, however, is not worth the paper it is
written on if the leaseholder has no permanent boundaries to refer to.

As suggested above, secure tenure is only the first step towards sound
agriculture. Another aspect of a legally correct lease is that it confers
freedom of action and independence to the holder, both anathema to a
command-oriented and sycophant-dependent administration.

Ninety-nine-year leases will bring back value to the land, buying and
selling of farms would again be possible and, in the long-term, prosperity
would have a chance of returning to Zimbabwe.

The totally unsustainable A1 holdings will have to be enlarged and surveyed
before any economic production can be expected from them. In the meantime,
they are becoming unproductive rural slums.

If the pleas of the minister and the governor are ignored or delayed,
further deterioration of agriculture will be assured, regardless of whether
the rains are good, bad or indifferent.

The excess production that often sustains southern Africa comes from
commercial agriculture in South Africa and when, in the past, commercial
agriculture thrived in Zimbabwe, the two countries provided a large measure
of food security for the subcontinent. If land policies in South Africa lead
to fragmentation of economic units, food security in the region will be in
permanent jeopardy.

D Wiggill,


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Zim Independent

No takers for 'Proudly Zimbabwean' concept
Godfrey Marawanyika
ZIMBABWE'S poor credit rating and a negative perception have been blamed for
failure by companies to pin the much-touted "Proudly Zimbabwean" tag on
their products, four months after the idea was mooted.

The concept is in line with the labelling of goods which meet laid-down
guidelines in South Africa.

It is hoped the concept will entice locals to buy locally-made products
rather than imports.

Industrialists said although the concept, borrowed from South Africa by
central bank governor Gideon Gono, was noble, its implementation was bound
to take time as firms were worried about their bottomline earnings.

Industrialists said exporting firms were mostly worried "xenophobic"
tendencies towards Zimbabwean products would hurt their businesses, leading
to reduced earnings.

At least two CEOs of firms listed on the local bourse said they were still
to adopt the concept due to perceived repercussions it would have on their
export performance and jobs.

The "Proudly Zimbabwean" idea was mooted by Gono in May after raising
concern over the influx of foreign goods into the country.

While acknowledging the concept was noble on paper, captains of industry
felt its implementation faced hitches because of the "bad boy" tag pinned on
the country.

Gono's concept was carried in the "Buy Zimbabwe" campaign meant to promote
local goods.

He raised concern on the influx of substandard goods which he said posed a
huge threat to the country's battle against inflation and industrial

However, Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries vice-president Calisto Jokonya
attributed the failure of the concept to huge amounts of money involved.

"While we are proud to be Zimbabwean, in my opinion if there are people who
do not want to buy our products then we should not sell to them," Jokonya

"We as the CZI encourage people to adopt that idea as we are proud to be
Zimbabweans. There might be challenges in terms of implementation as
labelling takes time since this is an investment. But if there are problems
then people should come forward and discuss them."

Early this year, the Standards Association of Zimbabwe started inviting bids
to monitor and control goods which were finding their way into the country.

Most of the substandard goods which have resulted in industry virtually
grinding to a standstill originate from West Africa and China.

Over the years, government has been lobbying that business shift attention
to do business with the East instead of the West.

However, business leaders argue that they cannot look east and exclude
others, saying it is contrary to the spirit of entrepreneurship.

Most of the products are easily finding their way into the country since
unscrupulous nationals of Asia and West Africa, among others, abuse the
friendly relations that exist between Zimbabwe and their respective

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Zim Independent

Debt surges
Eric Chiriga
GOVERNMENT'S domestic debt has ballooned to $16 trillion, an increase of
about $13,3 trillion since the beginning of the year, as government fails to
rein in expenditure.

According to statistics from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, on December 31,
2004 government's domestic debt stood at $2,79 trillion.

Recently, Finance minister Herbert Murerwa announced in his mid-term fiscal
policy review that the National Social Security Authority (Nssa) should
increase its investment in the prescribed asset ratios from 15 to 35%. This
is government's move to widen its revenue.

Government's domestic debt has for some time been on an upward trend. As of
June 24, the debt was $11,6 trillion while on May 27, the debt stood at
$10,08 trillion.

In his 2005 national budget statement, Murerwa said the expenditure outturn
and net lending up to September 2004 was $6,25 trillion against a target of
$6,59 trillion.

This year the country is expected to have a GDP growth of 2-2,5%, down from
the initial forecast of 3-5%. The revised decline in the GDP has been blamed
on the decline in performance of the agricultural sector.

GDP is one of the key components of measuring a nation's economic
performance. Over the past four years, major contributors towards the GDP -
mining, agriculture, tourism and manufacturing - have been in a freefall
since the government embarked on the ill-planned land reform programme.

The manufacturing sector has declined by more than 35% with the situation
being compounded by the fuel crisis. Tobacco production, once the country's
major foreign currency earner, has gone down by 58%.

The tourism sector at its peak contributed 6,5% towards the GDP, while
agriculture and manufacturing contributed 16 and 18% respectively.

The country is currently in its sixth consecutive year of economic

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Zim Independent

Price increases not enough - Natfoods
Roadwin Chirara
PRICE increases approved on controlled products by government have been
insufficient to maintain target margins for listed food processor, National
Foods Holdings.

In its half-year results National Foods declared an operational profit of
$157 billion while its net profit for the period under review closed at $105
billion compared to last year's figure of $30 billion.

National Foods company secretary, Andrew Lorimer, said the approved price
increases failed to reflect the continued rise in operational and production

"Since elections, the authorities have granted some relief, however, the
price increases allowed have been insufficient to maintain target margins
and do not reflect underlying raw material and overhead cost increases,"
Lorimer said.

National Foods' strategic purchase over the 2004 period, which saw its real
volume increasing by 56%, has resulted in pressure reduction on its gross
profit margins.

"The resultant pressure on gross profit margins has been mitigated by a
programme of strategic purchase which has resulted in real volume growth
over 2004 of 56%. If the group had not achieved this volume growth, an
operating loss would have been incurred," said Lorimer.

In the period under review the company's foreign currency allocations from
the central bank fell by 73%, a position which impacted on some of its

"Current allocations are only for critical inputs, which excludes spares.
Spares availability is now becoming a serious risk to the productive
capacity of the business," Lorimer said.

He said serious shortages of various raw materials were of growing concern
to the operation of the business.

"Availability of raw materials is a growing concern both for imported stocks
and locally-produced goods such as packaging, soya beans, cotton seed, wheat
and maize," Lorimer said.

He said the company had resorted to flour rationing as of May, mainly due to
erratic supplies of wheat, a situation which has also been worsened by the
shortages of foreign currency on the auction.

"From May, production has fallen and our customers are currently subjected
to flour rationing. Imported wheat has been limited as allocations from the
auction have been relatively small and infrequent," Lorimer said.

He said the company's Harare maize mill plant remained closed since the
beginning of April due to non-availability of maize while its Mutare and
Masvingo plants were reopened after negotiations with the authorities.

"In co-operation with authorities, our Mutare and Masvingo maize mills were
re-opened, and after some early logistical difficulties these two mills are
now receiving consistent weekly allocations of maize, and are now making a
positive contribution to divisional results," said Lorimer.

The company's oil operations were impacted by increases in crude oil and
soya bean prices which increased by 200 and 164% respectively.

National Foods agribusiness increased in sales volumes in the period under
review mainly as a result in demand for poultry feed and raw material sales
while the packaging business sales picked in the second quarter but were
affected by the restricted supply of foreign currency.

National Foods declared an interim dividend payment of $250 per share for
the first six months.

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Zim Independent

Govt ignored ZSE advice on new tax
Godfrey Marawanyika/Thomas Mutswiti
THE Ministry of Finance (MoF) and the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE) met on
Friday last week in an effort to end the standoff caused by the introduction
of a 10% withholding tax on tradable securities.

It is understood that during consultative meetings between the ZSE and the
MoF, government was advised against the withholding tax. This was ignored,
forcing the current stalemate where there has been no trade on the bourse,
causing a serious erosion of the nation's wealth.

On a daily trading basis government rakes in at least $500 million in stamp

ZSE chairman Bart Mswaka confirmed they had met MoF officials to find a
solution to the crisis sparked by the introduction of the 10% withholding

"It's not correct that they ignored our advice because there is a difference
between hinting at something and policy implementation. But when you
implement that policy it becomes different altogether," he said

"We met the ministry on Friday, but we write and talk to the ministry
everyday. Consultations will always be there but we made our own input and
they (Minister Herbert Murerwa and permanent secretary William Manungo) have
their jobs to do."

The ZSE crisis has been compounded by government's decision to force pension
funds to increase their minimum capital requirements as they are the key
players on the bourse.

Mswaka said the same reasons that led to the non-implementation of the
Capital Gains Tax in 2001 had again stalled operations on the bourse, but
said a solution should be found soon.

The bourse failed to trade from Wednesday to early this week.

There are 79 firms listed on the local bourse, but on Monday only First
Mutual Life traded.

Stockbrokers are clamouring for a review of the tax rate which they say will
drive them out of business.

"Stockbrokers are realising a decrease in business as volumes traded are
minimal. Revenue levels have already started falling," said one stockbroker.

"Traditional buyers are the pension funds and currently they are selling.
Speculators are selling, investors are selling, all creating a glut as no
one is buying?"

Another stockbroker said no communication had been received from the
ministry on how the tax would be collected.

"We don't know how the tax will function. We might subsequently see the
reintroduction of Capital Gains Tax at 15%," one broker said.

"Investors will pay 10%, but when Capital Gains Tax is introduced, and if
they are found to have realised an assessed loss, they will have to claim
rebates. Given the red tape, by the time the investor gets the rebate,
he/she would have wasted money and time."

Brokers said information technology preparedness was key as they would have
to customise their information systems to capture the tax information.

They said Murerwa assumed that by forcing insurance firms and pension funds
to increase their holdings of government securities, they would liquidate
their shares and in the process pay the 10% withholding tax, raising
billions of dollars for a gluttonous government.

"Unfortunately for him, no revenue is flowing to the government. Hopefully,
Murerwa will realise that he collects more money by levying 2% stamp duty
than by levying 10% withholding tax," a broker said.

"What this effectively means is that investors venturing into the stock
market will now pay transaction costs amounting to 14%, that is the new 10%,
2% stamp duty and 2% brokers commission," said a market watcher.

Currently, the appetite for equities is at its lowest ebb.

"The alternative would be to borrow from the money market. This too is
unsustainable given that minimum lending rates are in excess of 300% due to
rate hikes by the RBZ," one banker said.

"The greatest impact will be on those institutions that will be floating
rights issues to conform with new capital requirements. There will be no
takers for their shares and some will be forced to pursue mergers or wind

The banker said the downside was the added cost when a firm attempts to
balance its weighted average cost of capital, since any share buyback
decision by the company must take into account the potentially huge bill
generated to investors by having to pay 10% tax on shares sold.

"No modern economy imposes such a burden on its wealth-generating
companies," the banker said.

"Zimbabwe is not a particularly rich country and needs wealth-creating
investment to become one. Zimbabwe has long suffered from under-investment
and is today significantly less capital-intensive than its main

Because of increased transaction costs, a shift by foreign investors out of
Zimbabwean equities is more likely.

Analysts also noted that high tax rates are a barrier to foreign investment

"Investors will allocate less capital to Zimbabwean registered securities
than would otherwise be the case because of increased transaction costs," an
analyst said.

"The tax will fuel parallel market activities as investors seek financial
freedom. For wary investors who are thinking twice about buying shares, a
reduction in withholding tax remains at the top of their wish-list."

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Zim Independent

Zim to disclose terms of SA loan
Godfrey Marawanyika
FINANCE minister Herbert Murerwa and Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor
Gideon Gono will today meet the International Monetary Fund (IMF) delegation
and perhaps explain the status of South Africa's R6,5 billion loan to

The meeting comes ahead of a September 9 deadline by the IMF executive board
to consider Harare's continued membership of the fund.

The three-member delegation, which came into the country this week,
comprises Sharmini Coorey (head of delegation), Sonia Munoz, an expert on
monetary and balance of payments, and Kevin Fletcher, a fiscal policy

Coorey and Munoz were in the country last month during Article IV
consultations, which found that Zimbabwe's financial position was far from

The trio is expected to head back to Washington on Monday and make a formal
report on their findings.

The findings will be incorporated in the executive board's final decision on
Harare's continued status with the international financier.

On Monday, the delegation met with Ministry of Finance and central bank
representatives to review the country's balance of payments and external

The R6,5 billion is part of external loans and Gono and Murerwa have to
disclose the terms to the IMF team.

The loan is expected to be disbursed in phases, with the first tranche of
US$160 million being used to settle just half of the country's US$295
million debt to the international financier.

At least US$160 million will be sufficient to save Harare from expulsion,
but will not necessarily open lines of credit with the IMF and the World

The country's external arrears amount to US$4,5 billion.

Washington officials said the Coorey delegation was expected to ask about
the loan issue since part of the money would be used to offset Zimbabwe's

Since last month, a Zimbabwean team of experts from the central bank and the
Ministry of Finance has been shuttling between Harare and Johannesburg to
negotiate the disbursement of the loan.

On Tuesday, the IMF met with central bank officials to review the monetary,
exchange rate regulations, forex inflows, and the auction system.

However, while acknowledging discussions between himself and the Zimbabwean
team, on Wednesday South African central bank governor Tito Mboweni disputed
the reported $1 billion loan, saying it was a media creation. "Yes, there
have been discussions about that, and the discussions are nowhere near a
billion dollar facility."

Loan discussions involving himself, Finance minister Trevor Manuel and their
Zimbabwean counterparts were not yet concluded, Mboweni said.

"The discussion really has centred around what policies need to be
undertaken in Zimbabwe to help boost economic performance, control
inflation, bring about a more stable exchange rate and improve the
production sector of the economy."

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Zim Independent

Eric Bloch Column

Management, labour friction set to rise

AN intensifying hindrance to the long-desired but very elusive economic
turnaround is a fast-growing divide between management and labour.

As if it does not suffice that productivity within almost all sectors of the
economy has been in free-fall as a consequence of inadequate availability of
foreign currency, growing obsolescences, frequent energy load-shedding, fuel
shortages, and much else, the pace of the productivity decline is severely
exacerbated by the increasing tension that has developed, and continuing
friction that exists between management and labour.

Almost entirely, the divide is created by the desperation to which labour
has been reduced in trying to provide for the bare essentials of survival
for his family and himself, and a perception of the labourers that employers
have unlimited resources and can pay whatsoever the workers may demand - or
at least may need - for that survival.

The desperation of the workers is readily understandable. Since late 1997,
inflation has almost continuously surged upwards, save for a period from
February 2004 to January (but even during that period the annual rate of
inflation was at three-digit levels).

Inflation peaked in January 2004 at 623,8%, and fell progressively to a
relative low of 123,7% in March. However, in contrast to governmental
expectations and projections, the rate then rapidly moved upwards once more,
reaching 254,8% in July, and is still rising.

As bad as those circumstances are, those of the lower income bracket in
society are very markedly worse off. This is so because the magnitude of
inflation on essential goods and services has, in the main, been
considerably greater than on those of somewhat lesser priority for inclusion
in a spending basket.

Year-on-year inflation, as advised by the Central Statistical Office (CSO)
in July in respect of rentals was 598,1%, and educational fees reached a
horrendous 1 211%, whilst medical services sustained 543,2% inflation, and
passenger transport services rose by 497,5%, and pharmaceuticals were
subjected to a gargantuan inflation of 680,6%.

In contrast, costs of recreation and culture rose by the relatively "low"
extent of 144,8%, household appliances 87,4%, and glassware, tableware and
household utensils 77,1%. But low-income earners cannot afford to spend upon
any of those items.

According to the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe, a monthly consumer basket for
the low-income urban family of six amounted to $5,4 million in July,
representing an increase of 27% over the June cost of $4,2 million.

Since then, increases have been agreed between the Ministry of Industry and
International Trade and Commerce and Industry, for diverse price increases
of basic commodities, including increases of $3 000 for a loaf of bread,
from $4 500 to $7 500, $6 200 for a 2kg packet of white sugar, from $8 300
to $14 500, $14 100 for a 375ml bottle of cooking oil from $8 100 to $22 200
and $3 900 for 500 ml of milk, from $4 600 to $8 500.

On average, the increases agreed in respect of basic commodities are 174%.

The never-ending steep rise in the cost of living for the average worker has
turned his life into misery. His children cry from the agony of hunger pangs
caused by insufficiency of food and dietary imbalance, his wife is resentful
of the family's discomforts, and gives vent to her resentment upon her
husband who is exhausted from walking anything up to three hours to work in
the morning, and again to go home at the end of the day, in order to save
the costs of transport.

The family has had to surrender all semi-luxuries and focus only upon trying
to make ends meet. Were this not sufficiently untenable, workers were
devastated when the Ministry of Education, Sport and Culture suddenly
announced a 1 000-fold increase in school fees, retrospective to January
and, at the end of August, were also confronted with a 100% increase in
electricity charges.

Moreover, with the already scarce availability of accommodation having been
very considerably worsened by the disastrous, inhumane Operation
Murambatsvina, rental charges have risen to levels as high as $2 million per
month for a single room in Chitungwiza, Highfields, Glen Norah and

With all the adversity confronting them, workers have developed myopia to
the fact that the employer enterprises are also catastrophically affected by
the abysmal economic circumstances prevailing.

Turnovers, in real terms, have fallen sharply in response to foreign
currency shortages, reduced domestic market consumer spending, shrunken
exports, surging overheads and massive rises in interest rates, among many
other factors - including decreased productivity.

Instead, workers believe that most employers have unlimited resources. After
all, management does not have to walk to work (not even in times of fuel
shortages!), and instead arrives in executive motor vehicles. Management
continues to live in up-market housing in elitist suburbs, and to patronise
restaurants, and so forth.

The distinction in lifestyles is so marked that it is almost inevitable that
the workers should believe that the employers are possessed of horns of

The facts that those houses and vehicles were acquired in better days, and
that the restaurant patronage is invariably linked to entertaining customers
in order to obtain orders, are disregarded. So too are the facts that most
enterprises are under-capitalised, as the effects of inflation upon the
extent of required funding for stock-in-trade, extension of credit, and so
forth, have been gargantuan.

In consequence, almost all businesses are now reliant upon bank overdrafts
and loan facilities, attracting interest charges of about 300% per annum.

In such circumstances, the employers are confronted with very conflicting
emotions and business decisions. On the one hand, and despite any beliefs of
labour to the contrary, most employers are very sympathetically disposed
towards their employers, wishing to accord them the maximum possible wages
to enable them to survive the very trying economic difficulties that
constitute their lives today.

On the other hand, they must strive to ensure that their businesses survive
for the benefit of all stakeholders, including owners and the workers.

Regrettably, all too often, within the lead-up to collective bargaining
negotiations, and in the course of those negotiations, labour does not
recognise the employer circumstances. Instead, the labour negotiators become
embittered. More often than not, there is little or no willingness to
compromise and militancy becomes pronounced among not only the worker
representatives at the negotiations, but among all the affected workers.

One of the key contributants to the divide between management and labour is
that workers contend that their minimum wage should be no less than the
poverty datum line (PDL).

But the PDL pertains to a family unit, and not just the worker and, as a
general rule , in economic environments such as Zimbabwe's, most families
have at least two income generators - albeit at inadequate levels. This
inadequacy is especially so as, very often, the second income earner has to
operate within the informal sector. Nevertheless, there would be more
credibility to worker demands if the minimum wage sought would be, say, 60%
of the PDL.

Another key contributant is the low level of productivity that characterises
most operations within the Zimbabwean economy.

Many of the causes are beyond involvement of workers, being extraneous
circumstances relating to availability of inputs, customer demand levels,
and the like. But the stresses and the demoralisation of labour, compounded
by the militancy flowing from wage disputes, lower worker motivation to
maximise productivity and ensure highest possible quality levels, with a
minimum of quality deficiencies and product rejects.

Labour needs to work as team players with management, for the higher the
productivity and the operational efficiencies, the greater is the
enterprise's ability to pay higher wages (preferably on formulae linked to
productivity). Enhanced productivity also maximises the prospects of
enterprise survival.

In particular, when labour negotiates wages, it needs to be borne in mind,
but very often is not, that an inadequate wage is better than no wage, and
if demands are such that the businesses fail and cease to exist, then the
workers lose employment, receive no wages, and often cannot even receive
retrenchment packages due to the total insolvency of the employers'

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Zim Independent


Zanu PF shuts key chapter on sanity

THE Zanu PF government this week pushed the frontiers of demagoguery to
absurd lengths after it used its numerical advantage in the House to pass
the egregious Constitutional Amendment Bill no 17 which will seriously erode
our basic rights.

The contentious amendment removes the rights of individuals to secure the
protection of the law where such rights have been violated by the state in
the name of so-called national interest.

It strips landowners of their right to appeal against expropriation of their
land in the courts and puts all real estate on a 99-year lease from
government. It empowers government to confiscate passports from political
opponents, especially those criticising it outside the country.

The amendment also establishes a 66-member Senate, 50 of whom will be
elected while the rest will be made up of 10 traditional chiefs and six
presidential appointees.

Zanu PF MPs, straitjacketed by political dogma and blind allegiance to the
incumbent, broke into song to celebrate a pyrrhic victory which only
confirms our worst fears that the party cannot lead any economic recovery.
They were celebrating constitutional tyranny which has nothing to do with
economic development.

Leader of the House and Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa told parliament
the passage of the Bill would "close the chapter of colonisation". Applause!
But it will also extend the epoch of international isolation, cutting away
foreign direct investment and simply make Zimbabweans poorer.

But the Zanu PF government does not care. President Mugabe has hogged the
international limelight for the wrong reasons and seems to relish it

The execution of the land reform under the pretext of black empowerment was
a disaster that precipitated the current economic meltdown. The new
amendment will prevent dispossessed farmers from contesting the acquisitions
in court.

After this policy assault on land rights, what can stop government from
forcibly expropriating assets in other sectors of the economy such as mines
and manufacturing?

The most shocking aspect of the whole process is the complicit silence of
the judiciary despite this callous kick in the teeth. What kind of judiciary
allows government to abridge individual rights by barring courts from
hearing disputes on issues of fundamental rights? There is all the evidence
of a suborned judiciary after members got huge spoils from expropriated

The amendment will make it easier for government officials and party
mandarins to cherry-pick the remaining productive farms for themselves.
Finance minister Herbert Murerwa and central bank governor Gideon Gono have
spoken of restoring confidence in the farming sector. The new Bill is
working in the opposite direction.

Not content with trashing fundamental rights, the plan to withdraw the
passports of opposition politicians and other government critics smacks of
petty vindictiveness. There is no hiding from the fact that this is bad,
target-specific law by individuals seeking revenge.

"This will take away the right of those people to go outside the country and
ask other countries to impose sanctions on Zimbabwe," said Chinamasa.

Because all senior Zanu PF party members and government officials are banned
from travelling to Europe and the United States, what better way to get even
with the opposition than threatening to withdraw their passports? There is
no recourse to the courts for those dispossessed. They have to challenge the
Constitution itself, a very cumbersome task indeed.

The democratic space has been shrinking since Independence and it is getting
increasingly difficult to expand it through legal means. This is
embarrassing for a party which boasts of having brought democracy to use
parliament to deny people their rights under the pretext of promoting

Then there is the infantile ruse that government wants to extend the
oversight functions of the legislature by introducing a Senate. The upper
house will be another layer of autocracy and a conveyor belt of archaic

This is another omnibus of the Zanu PF patronage system seeking to
accommodate denizens of the party's political scrapyard, those who lost in
the party primary elections at the beginning of the year and the ignoramuses
waiting for scraps from the king's table.

President Mugabe confirmed this on the eve of the election when he told
party supporters in Hurungwe that the Senate would accommodate those who
would have lost in the elections.

The sight of Shuvai Mahofa leading fellow Zanu PF MPs in festivities in the
House on Tuesday summed up the tragedy of this country. Here is a group of
mandarins celebrating an own goal because they do not know which direction
they are scoring.

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Zim Independent


New vehicle numbers a pyramid scheme

SO the Central Vehicle Registry is phasing out the "new" vehicle numbering
system stolen from Zambia?

The numbering system, involving three letters of the alphabet and four
digits, was introduced barely eight months ago to "make it impossible" for
thieves to forge vehicle documents, we were told then. Today the same
argument is being used for the sudden change.

The addition of the ZW acronym will put the country at par with the "latest
European Union and international standards" and leave no room for forging of
registration documents, reported the Herald with the same certainty.

What we found really startling was CVR registrar Allowance Sango's denial
that the change had anything to do with protests from Zambia over the theft.
The change, Sango said, "is not a reaction to press reports or a result of
any form of complaint by the Zambian authorities. But this product
(numbering format) came about as a result of our quest to address those
challenges that we came across on implementing the number plate project."

While we were still trying to figure out the meaning of this "quest", Sango
quickly came to the rescue: "So far we have raised at least $30 billion in
revenue from payments made by motorists when they get the new number

So this is in fact a money-making pyramid scheme? He has no scruples that
they got it all wrong so long as they have the money. And motorists are
expected to meekly go over the same fraud again to make some officer's wife

What has Mr Liar Sango got to say about a court ruling on the numbering
format in favour of Zambia? Wasn't that the really pressure for change, that
there was nothing original in the so-called new numbering system but plain
intellectual property theft? The level of self-deception keeps getting more
and more threadbare. What a shameful lot we have!

While we were sold the lie that the system was foolproof against theft, the
Herald reports almost innocently that scores of con-artists "had of late
mushroomed, subjecting the vehicle numbering system to abuse". We hope it's
not the same original fraudsters mutating to expand their industry to dodge
the taxman!

By the way, was there a tender for this multi-billion-dollar golden goose?

So what has happened to the child molesters at Macheke government school who
raped or were complicit in the rape of over 50 primary schoolchildren last
year? The last word we heard was that the felons, including the headmistress
and matron, were being transferred to other schools, hopefully to continue
their heinous careers.

Education minister Aeneas Chigwedere reportedly visited the school for an
inspection in loco. As a show of opprobrium at this iniquity, he expressly
ordered the transfer of the criminals as punishment. That's all.

Has the lawlessness of the past five years so deadened our conscience as a
society that such large-scale abuse of children is now taken as a trifling
offence? And where are our donor-driven do-gooders from the women's lobby?
High up on 4X4s, hiding behind dark glasses not to see the woes of the
madding crowds below!

Some say the country is gone to the dogs. We bet there won't be takers in
Sodom and Gomorrah.

But just where are the criminals? Where are the police who were so
enthusiastic about Operation Murambatsvina and the destruction of people's
homes? Isn't this a more appropriate task for them? No double standards
please and there is no need for prompting.

Talking of Operation Murambatsvina, is it true then that the whole charade
was an anti-poor blitz?

Haven't the 10 days by which Local Government minister Ignatious Chombo said
residents of northern suburbs should have "regularised" their illegal
structures elapsed? And we are supposed to believe everything was so
regularised that there was no need to start the engine of a single

How easy it is to copy the methods and tactics of the oppressor. And true to
the scriptures, for those without, even the little they think they have
shall be taken away. So the poor have been left poorer while money speaks
for the rich.

Scientists at the Met Department are under fire. They were this week accused
of giving misleading or "incomplete information" about the weather. This has
contributed to food shortages because farmers are planting the wrong crop
varieties, Newsnet reported on Monday.

The farmers argued that if they had been given accurate and reliable
information they should have planted the right crop varieties according to
rainfall forecasts. This, unfortunately, has not been the case in the past
four years, they said.

It is significant that these doctored weather forecasts occurred in the past
four years. That was the period of compulsory patriotic reporting, when even
weather reports had to be vetted by the President's Office. It would have
been ill-advised to say anything negative about falling productivity
coinciding with blacks reclaiming their soil. Remember their tireless
slogan: "The land is the economy, the economy is land."

Of course nobody wants to talk about the impact of land degradation because
of the unplanned cutting down of trees and uncontrolled veld fires
destroying the environment. So the culprits must be the Met guys, presumably
working in cahoots with the Americans to create drought conditions in

For the past four years we thought it couldn't get worse. Who is the next
scapegoat for the national malady?

Talking of which, Interactive Affairs minister Chenhamo Chakezha
Chimutengwende vehemently denied on the Voice of America radio that there
were food shortages in Zimbabwe. He denied supermarket shelves were largely
empty, insisting people who made such claims had "an agenda".

What evil agenda, you might want to know? It was the same people who wanted
government to make a formal appeal for food assistance, complained Chen
self-righteously. Government was not going to make such an appeal because
"we have put together enough resources to import maize from South Africa",
said Chen. He protested that it was not in the national interest to receive
food from the United States.

Told by the reporter that the food would be bought by the World Food
Programme, Chen was adamant that a formal appeal was out of the question
because it would impair "our dignity". Can anything beat that?

Here is a so-called people's government that destroys the whole agricultural
sector, destroys people's homes in the midst of winter in the name of slum
clearance and then claims to have dignity to protect? Who has been lying
that the emperor still has his clothes on we wonder? So the people must
starve for the sake of keeping appearances?

Public Service and Social Welfare minister Nicholas Goche needs help in the
art of political subterfuge. He told The Voice's Target Shumba that the
Zimbabwe government had the capacity to feed its people and would not bend
to the "machinations of the West".

He is quoted as saying: "Instead we are asking for nations of goodwill to
come forward with any assistance they might be in a position to offer as a
complementary effort and not the other way round."

The minister wants us to believe that his government is not begging for food
and is simply seeking "complementary" efforts. But he could not hide the
true picture. He said Zimbabwe needs 1,2 million tonnes of food. Out of that
the World Food Programme would import 600 000 tonnes and to date government
has only imported 300 000 tonnes. The remainder would be imported through
"various arms of government".

In case the minister is not aware, half of the food requirements will be
imported through the WFP using funds contributed largely by the European
Union and USAid. Last Thursday the EU announced US$5 million additional
funding to feed people in the region. The EU's contribution now totals US$25
million and Zimbabwe is set to benefit from 114 000 tonnes of maize
purchased by the EU which is in the West and not East.

Evidence of Zimbabwe's begging abounds in the countryside. Grain bags with
an EU or USA insignia are a common sight. The West is not complementing
government efforts. It is actually feeding us. We expect more intelligent
tricks from intelligence functionaries.

There was shocking news in Jonathan Moyo's pan-Africanist project called the
Southern Times this week. A Swapo youth leader in Namibia resigned his
ministerial post over allegations of corruption involving R30 million.

The deputy minister allegedly abused public funds to make personal profits
from a "pyramid investment scheme". Paulus Kapia could not endure further
revelations that he was an active shareholder in the fraudulent scheme and
decided his best option was to quit public office.

The fraud allegations have reportedly claimed the life of the mastermind of
the scheme, one Lazarus Kandara, who is said to have died of shame last

We wonder how many would retain their offices in Zimbabwe if suddenly all
public office bearers had their consciences restored. Why shocking? Because
it's unAfrican, it's for Western hypocrites. The manly thing in Africa is to
deny and deny any wrong-doing until the third cockcrow.


t looks like everyone on the continent is under attack for the politics of
puppetry except President Mugabe and the dunderheads in the state media.

In the past it was President Festus Mogae of Botswana. Nigeria's Olusegun
Obasanjo has become the butt of state media ridicule and scorn. The latest
barbs are aimed at South Africa's Thabo Mbeki from the same omniscients who
can't manage their own affairs.

This week Nathaniel Manheru attacked South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation
Commission as an insult to Africans who were made to assume the "burden of
guilt" for apartheid. Under former Anglican archbishop Desmond Tutu, said
Manheru, the commission "expiated the sins of southern Africa's evil white
tribe, removing the important psychological barrier" which should have
disabled them from active politics.

Those of us who have experienced at close quarters Zanu PF's politics of
labelling and exclusion appreciate the full import of those tactics. White
Zimbabweans who had naively assumed that the policy of reconciliation
enunciated at Independence in 1980 was anything but a charade learnt the
hard way when they tried to join the MDC in 2000.

The lucky ones lost their farms. Others were not so lucky to escape with
their lives for trying to break the "psychological barrier" to active
politics - a perpetual sense of guilt for the sins of our forefathers. When
it's convenient to it, whites remain an evil tribe in the Zanu PF psyche.

It was that child of slavery Martin Luther King Jr who remarked: "Mankind
must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge,
aggression and retaliation." That's a moral lesson Zanu PF mandarins love
never to learn.

Mbeki was attacked for letting the law get in the way of good politics.
According to Manheru's evil genius, Mbeki should not have let his former
deputy Jacob Zuma be fingered by the Scorpions for alleged corruption. He
should not have fired him when allegations of sleaze got really messy. This
was a way of placating the West at the expense of the ANC, was Manheru's
papal verdict.

In other words Mbeki should have taken the Robert Mugabe Way and told the
judiciary what to do.

Those who have fallen foul of Zanu PF such as Phillip Chiyangwa, James
Makamba and Chris Kuruneri know how it is possible in a democratic Zimbabwe
to spend a year in remand prison without trial, that the law can be made to
"fix" you. That is the predominant mentality of those who fashion the laws
of this nation.

Mnheru's attack on the Zimbabwe Independent last Saturday proprietor Trevor
Ncube is misplaced. It assumes that he writes and edits stories for this
paper. It doesn't deserve a rebuttal. It invites contempt which it richly

Manheru darkly hinted that he would rather have the CIO run the Independent
"in the light of sinister sell-out politics whose inauguration began a long
time ago".

Was Trevor Ncube among those arrested last year for selling "state secrets"
or is this a case of convenient amnesia?

It certainly can't be a case of mistaken identity considering Manheru's
position in government's perking order.

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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Fuel shortages affect the dead

Tinofa Karonga
issue date :2005-Sep-02

CORPSES are reportedly piling up at three provincial hospital mortuaries
because of the crippling fuel crisis gripping Zimbabwe, The Daily Mirror
learnt yesterday.
Scores of bodies have not been collected from Bindura, Marondera and
Masvingo provincial hospitals, and this is  bad news for cash-strapped
bereaved relatives struggling to meet escalating funeral costs.
Relatives can not collect the bodies of their loved ones timeously as the
fuel bug bites deeper.
This comes against the background of overflowing bodies, some decomposing on
morgue floors, lying uncollected for ages.
Worst hit is the mortuary at Masvingo Provincial Hospital.
The morgue, which caters for the vast south-eastern province, can only carry
17 bodies, but last week was reportedly overflowing with about 51 corpses.
A similar scenario reportedly prevails at district hospitals in the
province, including Ngomahuru and Chivi, whose mortuaries are said to be
full with uncollected bodies.
Masvingo provincial hospital administrator Vitalis Shonhai attributed the
situation to the shortage of fuel .
He also partly blamed the department of Social Welfare for delaying in
approving paupers' burial. The problem was further compounded by the fact
that the police also bring in bodies of people whose relatives they would
have failed to locate.

"The situation has worsened recently due to the fuel crisis. Deceased's
relatives are finding it difficult to collect bodies because many vehicles
are grounded due to fuel shortages,' Shonhai said.
"I also attribute this to delays by the department of social welfare to
approve paupers' burials. Other bodies are brought by the police amid
problems among families with the other part refusing to bury the deceased
until a dispute is settled," he added.
There was no joy at Marondera Hospital mortuary either with authorities
singing the same tune. Though no official communication was immediately
available at the Mashonaland East referral hospital, The Daily Mirror was
reliably informed that bodies had not been collected for months now.
The source said about four months ago several bodies were given paupers
Contacted for comment, Marondera Hospital administrator who identified
himself as Muchinouta, refused and referred all issues to Dr Chiriva, the
provincial medical director who was not very co-operative.
She said it was not the ministry's responsibility to bury the dead but
"I need to see the person I am talking to. I cannot say anything over the
phone, but it's not the ministry's job to bury the dead but that of the
relatives," Chiriva said before her phone went off.
An official at Bindura Hospital who spoke on condition of anonymity said:
"We have a number of uncollected bodies. The carrying capacity of the
mortuary is 15, but at the moment there are about 21 bodies."
The perennial fuel shortages are attributed to the critical death of foreign
currency coupled with the rising price of petroleum on the world market.
Most hospital mortuaries in Zimbabwe have limited capacities and are being
stretched to the limit by high fatality rate fuelled by the HIV and Aids
scourge which kills thousands of people weekly.
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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Shamu threatens to expose firms that fail to deliver

The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2005-Sep-02

THE Minister of State for Policy Implementation in the Office of the
President and Cabinet, Webster Shamu, yesterday threatened to divulge names
of local companies contracted by the State to carry out public sector
projects and failed to deliver.
In a statement after touring government projects in the country's 10
administrative provinces, Shamu said his department had noticed that some
companies took up State projects through tender and failed to implement them
on time, resulting in cost escalations.
"A number of public sector projects remain incomplete because of some
corrupt tendencies being practiced by local companies," Shamu said. "My
department is currently visiting provinces and districts to check on public
sector project implementation. We will not hesitate, as the department of
policy implementation, to publicise names of companies that fail to deliver
and defraud the State."
He said the unscrupulous practices by the companies led to huge losses on
the part of the government due to inflation,
and having to re-tender the projects.
"It should be understood that the government tender system is there to
protect the State against unscrupulous contractors," Shamu added.
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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Govt fails to collect tax from ZSE

Business Reporter
issue date :2005-Sep-02

GOVERNMENT failed to collect any revenue from the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange
(ZSE) yesterday as the 10 percent withholding tax on tradable securities
came into effect, with sellers continuing to fail to find buyers.
The ZSE, which has lost an estimated $132 billion due to a halt in trade in
the past 12 days, recorded no business yesterday with
both the industrial and mining index maintaining Wednesday's figures of 3
812 915.98 and 595 228 66 respectively.
On a daily basis, the ZSE generates up to $11 billion during trading and was
paying up to $500 million in stamp duty to government.
This week only two counters, First Mutual Limited (FML) and Consolidated
Farming Industries (CFI) traded unchanged on Monday and Tuesday respectively
in a market that has been in selling gear for nearly two weeks.
Trade in equities halted two weeks ago when the Ministry of Finance directed
pension and insurance funds, that dominate about 90 percent of all
investments on the stock market, to meet prescribed asset ratio requirements
effective October 1.
In addition, government introduced the withholding tax on all marketable
securities, with effect since yesterday, in a bid to raise increased revenue
to finance a $6.6 trillion supplementary budget for 2005.
As the (capital gains) tax, that was initially introduced five years ago
before it was suspended, came into effect yesterday both the industrial and
mining indices stretched into their second day of no movement in prices,
after it closed unchanged on Wednesday.
There was no activity at the local bourse this week, with stock brokers
recording no business as fund managers continue to look for buyers in order
to meet next month's prescribed asset requirements.
But fund managers have been failing to find buyers for their stock, a
scenario that has led to the offer prices of most shares falling in value as
fund managers reduce their offers in the hope of finding buyers.
Growing market consensus on the stalemate at the local bourse is that the
situation might eventually result in foreign investors swooping on the
market and buying the shares cheaply.
"If it remains a sellers' market and the offer prices keep on falling it
might result in foreign investors, that command funds equal to or above
pension and insurance funds, waiting for the shares to depreciate further
before they buy in," a dealer said.
Efforts to contact Emmanuel Munyuki, the ZSE CEO proved fruitless the entire
week, though it has been established that he has held a number of meetings
with stockbrokers and the Ministry of Finance although no compromise had
been reached.
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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Shortage hampers Operation Garikai

The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2005-Sep-02

THE construction of houses in Manicaland under Operation Garikai/Hhlalani
Kuhle has been hit by the current fuel crisis in the country.
Chairperson of the re-construction exercise, Colonel Ronnie Mutizha told
this newspaper yesterday that progress in building the targeted 960 housing
units in the province was hampered by fuel shortages for delivering
materials and other logistics.
"These problems are negatively affecting progress as in most cases we fail
to meet daily targets. The situation is not all that pleasing and we hope
stakeholders will put their heads together and find a lasting solution,"
Mutizha added.
About 350 houses are already under construction in the province.
The government embarked on the $3 trillion reconstruction programme to
accommodate victims of Operation Murambatsvina/Restore Order, which left at
least 200 000 people homeless according to the State.  -Mirror Reporter
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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Department to meet Bindura farmers

The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2005-Sep-02

THE department of Public and Interactive Affairs will today hold a
round-table conference with farmers in Bindura to discuss issues affecting
the key sector.
In a statement, departmental principal director William Nhara, said the
debut meeting, set for all provinces, would give farmers an opportunity to
express how their relations with government and other stakeholders could be
"The meeting dubbed Let the Farmers Speak, will be held in preparation for
the 2005/6 farming season and is aimed at giving farmers a chance to express
their frustrations and suggestions for progress," Nhara said.
 "The farmers are guaranteed to get on the spot responses on all their
concerns ranging from land tenure and utilisation, Arex services, sourcing
of agricultural loans and many other issues," he added.
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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Harare to open 19 more flea markets

The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2005-Sep-02

THE City of Harare will open 19 more weekend flea markets in various suburbs
following the launch of the pioneering project in Mabelreign last weekend,
Town Clerk Nomutsa Chideya said yesterday.
Flea markets in the city centre and residential areas were shut down at the
height of Operation Murambatsvina/Restore Order when most operators were
accused of flouting regulations by allegedly subletting their stalls and
also engaging in illegal trade of the scarce foreign currency.
"Following the successful launching of the weekend flea market concept at
Mabelreign Shopping Centre last weekend, the City of Harare intends to open
up several other weekend flea markets," said Chideya, adding the new concept
was meant to prevent sprouting of illegal activities.
Under the new concept, traders would only be allowed to sell during
weekends. Chideya said those with police clearances would be required to pay
$200 000 every Friday of the ensuing weekend.
They would also be issued with badges for display when conducting their
business. The badges must surrendered when business closes every Sunday.
Flea markets have also been banned in the Central Business District (CBD)
for causing congestion.
Besides Mabelreign, there would be new markets in Marlborough, Mount
Pleasant, Borrowdale, Waterfalls, Hatfield, Mbare, Dzivaresekwa, Hatcliffe,
Mufakose and Mabvuku.
Kuwadzana, Sunningdale, Glen Norah, Glen View, Budiriro, Highfield, Tafara,
Warren Park and Kambuzuma will also have similar facilities.

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