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

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The Star

      Zanu reels after vote setback
      September 4, 2003

      Harare - Zimbabwe's ruling party has conceded that opposition gains in
local elections were "a rude wake-up call".

      Information Minister Jonathan Moyo said victory by the Movement for
Democratic Change in most weekend town council polls were "sobering". The
ruling party needed to examine the reasons for its losses.

      "We should have seen it coming. The writing was on the wall, but
somehow we did not read it," Moyo told the state Herald newspaper.

      The opposition won control of 10 town councils in the weekend's local
elections, according to results released yesterday. The MDC hailed the polls
as a sign that people were dissatisfied with the increasingly authoritarian
government and worsening economic hardships.

      The elections were beset by low voter turnout and reports of

      The opposition captured 134 council seats across the country, compared
with the ruling party's 100.

      The opposition also retained its parliament seat in central Harare,
while the ruling party retained a seat in Makonde, a traditional Zanu-PF

      Moyo said preoccupation over stalled talks between the ruling party
and the opposition, to negotiate an end to the country's political and
economic crisis, caused some ruling-party officials to lose focus ahead of
the polls.

      Debate and speculation on a possible successor to President Robert
Mugabe also hurt the party, he said.

      The opposition said ruling- party campaigners had handed out food to
voters in some areas in a bid to gain support.

      The state election commission dismissed those reports as

      Talks between the two main parties collapsed after the opposition
refused to recognise Mugabe's election for another six-year term in
presidential polls last year.

      Attempts to revive the talks as the economy crumbled this year have
failed. Mugabe is demanding that the opposition drop a court challenge to
his re-election.

      The MDC has refused to drop the case and is demanding that Mugabe step

      Independent and foreign observers said Mugabe's narrow win in the
presidential poll was swayed by intimidation, corruption and vote-rigging.

      Zimbabwe is suffering its worst economic crisis since independence in
1980, with record inflation of 400%, one of the highest rates in the world.
Soaring unemployment and acute shortages of hard currency, local money,
food, petrol, medicine and other imports are crippling the economy. -
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The Herald

Parks authority acquires US$2m new vehicles

By Wisdom Mdzungairi
THE National Parks and Wildlife Authority has acquired 120 Land Rover
vehicles worth US$2,76 million as it steps up its anti-poaching efforts.

The first batch of 21 vehicles, bought at a cost of US$460 000, will be
delivered next month, while the delivery of the remainder would be
determined by the authority’s generation of foreign currency.

The new fleet will replace the obsolete vehicles which broke down over the
years but had not been replaced owing to cashflow problems.

The authority will also acquire helicopters for research, game capture,
aerial surveys and anti-poaching patrols in wildlife sanctuaries across the

It currently relies on hired aircraft for aerial surveys, anti-poaching and
for controlling problem birds.

The acquisition of vehicles by the authority comes at a time when 139
elephants and about 20 endangered black rhinos have been lost to poaching
along the Zambezi Valley escarpment.

Seven suspected Zambian poachers were killed during contacts with game
wardens in the Hwange National Park and Victoria Falls.

The authority has launched a massive investigation on private game
properties in West Nicholson on allegations that they were engaged in
illegal hunting activities involving eight South African nationals.

Of the more than 139 elephants killed by poachers since last year, at least
50 were killed between January and July this year.

No figures were available for the year 2002 but indications were that more
elephants were killed during that period than during the previous years
because of the campaign against Zimbabwe during the Cites period.

The elephants and rhinos were killed mostly in areas along the Zambezi

National parks chief executive officer Dr Morris Mtsambiwa confirmed the
increase in poaching but warned that the net was closing in on international
organisations sponsoring international and commercial poaching on private

He, however, indicated that the number of elephants poached were
insignificant as the jumbo population has grown to over 89 000 in recent

"We lost more than 139 elephants between 2001 and July this year.

"A worrying development is that there has been an increase in international
and commercial poaching involving foreign nationals such as Zambians and a
few South Africans who are mainly involved in illegal hunting of game in
Matabeleland South and North areas.

"We are aware that international poaching is targeted at rhinos and
elephants as we prepare for the next Cites conference. Although we are still
very thin on the ground in terms of law enforcement we managed to kill four
poachers. But we can not say we will fully control that type of poaching,"
said Dr Mtsambiwa.

The authority has received support to counter poaching insurgency along the
Zambezi Valley from the army and the police.

Reports that 50 elephants and eight black rhinos were killed in the past few
months showed that international poaching rings were "once again at work",
said Dr Mtsambiwa.

The increased level of poaching of wildlife and habitat loss on areas
adjacent to some of the country’s leading game sanctuaries was threatening
some protected species.

The poachers wanted to create a perception that there was no rule of law in
the country and that the land reform programme has weakened law enforcement

They also wanted to paint a grim picture of the transformation of the
department of national parts into an authority and concluding that the
process has created anxiety among staff to the extent that game scouts were
failing to protect wildlife sanctuaries from marauding poachers.

"Contrary to these notions we have scored some victories against the
poachers who are mainly from our neighbouring countries and a few from
resettled areas.

"Those in resettled areas are engaging in subsistence poaching while
commercial poaching has also steadily increased over the past few months. It
is true that we have not been able to recruit new staff and that we are ill
equipped as a department but this is why we sought assistance from other law
enforcement agencies."

Of the 3 000 staff complement needed, the authority is currently operating
at less than half that figure. This has impacted negatively on its

While elephant and rhino poaching have increased, the elephant population
has doubled to over 89 000 in recent months. This could pose a serious
ecological disaster if they are not reduced to Zimbabwe's carrying capacity
of between 40 000 and 45 000.

The elephant was also threatening its own survival, as national parks can
only carry up to 45 000 animals.

The country's largest wildlife sanctuary, Hwange National Park, has more
than 45 000 elephants, a situation that has resulted in plain game species
facing extinction as they can not match the jumbos when it comes to the
battle for the limited resources such as water and food.

Gonarezhou, the second largest, has an estimated 25 000 elephants when it
could accommodate about half that number.

The increasing numbers of elephants showed that Zimbabwe had a sound
wildlife management system.

Although 16 percent of the country's total land area is under wildlife,
Zimbabwe's flagship wildlife species have continued to strain the carrying
capacity of some of the major animal sanctuaries.
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The Herald

Call for Zanu-PF, MDC to put differences aside

Herald Reporter
THERE is a need for the ruling Zanu-PF and opposition MDC to put their
differences aside and work together for the common good of the country,
Mutare Central MP Mr Innocent Gonese (MDC) said yesterday.

"We now require men and women of good integrity to stand up for the good of
the country and this requires the Government to engage the MDC in finding
solutions to problems facing the country," he said.

Mr Gonese said this while moving a motion on the political and economic
crisis pervading Zimbabwe.

He said the economic problems in the country emanated from the political
situation, hence, these would not be resolved until the political question
was addressed.

"We must swallow our pride and stop playing to the gallery as there is an
urgent need to address issues affecting the nation," he said.

Zanu-PF has repeatedly re-affirmed its commitment to co-operating with the
MDC for the good of the nation but has said the opposition needs to be

The legislator said there was need for constitutional reform since most of
the problems in the country emanated from the flawed Lancaster House

However, the Government has in the past hinted that constitutional reform
was no longer a priority following the rejection of the draft constitution
by Zimbabweans in 2000.

Contributing to the same debate, Kuwadzana MP Mr Nelson Chamisa (MDC) said
MPs should be on the forefront of fighting the spread of HIV/Aids.

"We must be tested for HIV/Aids so that we lead by example in our
constituencies," he said amid laughter from the House.
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Business Report

      Zimbabwe union to protest country's cash shortages
      September 4, 2003

      By Sapa-AFP

      Harare - The main labour body in Zimbabwe is planning mass action
against the government over chronic cash shortages gripping the country, a
top labour official told AFP Thursday.

      Over the past few months banks have been unable to supply people with
cash, workers have been unable to cash their pay cheques and people have
resorted to sleeping in bank queues.

      Lovemore Matombo, the president of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade
Unions (ZCTU) said the labour body was planning mass action to protest the
"inactivity of the government" in overcoming the shortages.

      He could not give any firm dates for the action, saying it awaited the
approval of the labour body's general council.

      But he was confident the mass action would be approved. "We want to
force them (the government) to act on the crisis," Matombo said.

      The private Daily News newspaper quoted unnamed ZCTU sources as saying
the mass action would kick off September 29 and would include a week-long
strike and protest marches by workers.

      The government has said it is printing new money and has promised to
pump billions of Zimbabwe dollars into the economy on a daily basis after
September 26.

      Matombo said his union, which represents around 250 000 workers, was
unconvinced and wanted direct assurances. "We cannot go by what we read and
hear in the print and electronic media," he said.

      The Zimbabwe government blames the cash shortages on people hoarding
the country's highest denomination 500 dollar (about R4.50) note.

      It plans to withdraw the old notes from circulation at the end of
September and replace them with new 500 Zimbabwe dollar and 1,000 dollar
(about R9) bills.

      Last month it outlawed companies and individuals from holding more
than five million Zimbabwe dollars (about R44 890) in a bid to release cash
into the market. But there has been no let-up to the crisis.

      Late Wednesday the state ZIANA news agency interviewed a 48-year-old
woman from rural Zimbabwe who had spent a week queuing outside a bank in
central Harare in an attempt to draw her pension. - Sapa-AFP
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      CIO unleashed on banks

      Hama Saburi Deputy Editor-in-Chief
      9/4/2003 8:50:43 AM (GMT +2)

      THE country’s spy agency, the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO),
has reportedly been unleashed onto the local currency market to sniff around
for those flouting exchange control regulations in what could turn out to be
a deeply embarrassing debacle for the government whose needle is well and
truly stuck in the midst of the still unfolding crippling exchange rate

      The latest development comes in the wake of an external audit
conducted by the central bank, which controls the country’s financial
levers. The audit, among other things, included compliance inspections of
all banks’ foreign currency trading activities and was completed by the last
quarter of last year.

      The audit is said to have unearthed rampant Exchange Control
Regulations by several banking institutions.

      The move, which will certainly put the RBZ on a collision course with
most banking institutions, comes as it emerged yesterday that the central
bank had on Monday moved to freeze individual foreign currency accounts and
immediately review mining houses’ Offshore Trust Accounts whereby mining
companies could keep their export earnings offshore and remit only that
portion required to meet operational costs.

      A banking source said individuals whose accounts had been frozen had
since been advised in writing.

      Impeccable banking sources yesterday said the spy agency was unleashed
on the market on Friday last week. Two major banks, a commercial bank and a
merchant bank, immediately suspended trade in foreign currency after getting
wind of the two-pronged swoop supported by the police last week.

      Officials at the two banks said they would resume trade after two

      Except for a few banks that steered clear of the illegal parallel
market which is now handling an estimated 90 percent of Zimbabwe’s foreign
currency transactions, the other banks have gone on full alert to thwart
sporadic raids amid intensified complaince monitoring inspections by the
central bank.

      Even the RBZ itself, which seems stymied as to what do as the foreign
currency mess has turned into something more akin to a puzzling and
confusing crossword puzzle with only half the clues and no black squares, is
also implicated.

      Bankers miffed by the latest turn of events felt that the government’s
desperate measures would not have any appreciable effect on the deep-seated
foreign exchange crisis.

      "The RBZ itself is also part of this so-called illegal or parallel
market which in fact is now the real market. It has sanctioned transactions
in the market at above the official market rate, eg the tobacco proceeds
that the banks have been directed to sell to fuel procurement companies at a
rate of US$1 to Z$1 600," said one livid banker.

      He hinted that the latest action by the RBZ, roundly condemned for
failing to handle the cash crunch, could open a pandora’s box in the banking
sector amid threats by some senior banking executives that they could expose
unholy alliances between named top RBZ officials and some banking

      A series of crisis meetings have been held over the past few months
between the RBZ and bankers and other stakeholders to trawl through a list
of possible escape options from the hard currency woes.

      The foreign currency shortages have however persisted sparking off
nightmares of fresh waves of commodity price increases at an unprecedented

      Previously the central bank would wade into the local currency markets
to sell the US$, which is in demand worldwide as a reserve currency, to
shore up the battered local unit. But it now has run dry as it does not have
reserves to weather the currency run after the dollar, still trying to find
a bottom, touched of an as yet to end terrifying swift plunge.

      Finance Minister Herbert Murerwa, who was down with a bout of flue,
told The Financial Gazette on Tuesday that acting RBZ governor Charles
Chikaura, who could not be contacted for comment yesterday, was better
placed to discuss the issue. Chikaura was said by his secretary to have gone
for a meeting with the Cabinet.

      "I am so sick that I cannot discuss it at the moment. Try Chikaura, he
is at the centre of it. We are trying all things. It is a matter of
restoring confidence in the banking sector because people are not banking
and it requires that we all put our money in the banks," he said.

      State Security Minister Nicholas Goche, who had earlier promised to
give this reporter an interview, changed his mind yesterday. "Taura
naMurerwa, he is the Minister of Finance (Talk to Murerwa, he is the
Minister of Finance)," Goche said before switching off his mobile phone.

      As late as Tuesday this week, there were attempts in banking and
political circles to cow the RBZ against instituting further action on other
banks found to have violated the Exchange Control Act amid fears that a
continued crackdown on banks could worsen the shortage of foreign currency.

      Parallel market rates, which had gone past Z$6 000 against the
American dollar, have also reacted to the latest development that has since
crippled a department within the high-profile NMBZ Holdings which was
slapped with a 12-month suspension for contravening exchange regulations.
Rates were quoted as low as Z$5 100 against the greenback yesterday.

      The Julius Makoni-led bank, whose share price has since tumbled on the
Zimbabwe Stock Exchange, is among the nine banks accused by the central bank
of flouting exchange control requirements.

      The RBZ said it is owed amounts from as little as US$40 000 and as
much as US$350 000 by various banks. Most of the banks are however
understood to have written back to the RBZ rejecting the claims.

      "There are also cases where the Reserve Bank has failed to interpret
its own regulations, not to mention calculation errors. We (bankers) are
also questioning the inconsistencies in the application of justice.

      "We have said it before that the swap arrangement introduced by the
Reserve Bank undermines the whole issue and we wonder why it has not been
dealt with," said a source in the banking sector.

      Zimbabwe, whose export sector is teetering on the verge of collapse,
is sitting on a ticking time bomb in the form of a crippling foreign
currency crisis dramatised by the failure to service external debts and
reduced imports of critical commodities such as fuel and electricity.
External arrears stood at US$1.6 billion (Z$1.32 trillion) as at July 18

      The government’s reluctance to move the exchange rate beyond $824 to
the greenback has given rise to an active parallel market that has also
mopped up cash from official banking sources.
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      Hollow poll victory for MDC?

      Brian Mangwende Chief Reporter
      9/4/2003 8:59:08 AM (GMT +2)

      DISILLUSIONED by the initially slow-motion but now accelerating
economic melt-down that has turned a previously robust economy into a basket
case, Zimbabwean voters seem to have resigned to their fate as evidenced by
their indifference to the outcome of the just-ended local government and
parliamentary by-elections in Harare and Makonde.

      Although the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) retained its
supremacy in urban centres, political commentators this week condemned the
opposition party for celebrating a victory in an election marred by
unprecedented voter apathy.

      They accused the MDC of failing to mobilise and inspire potential
voters in the capital where ZANU PF hardly campaigned, particularly in

      The commentators were unanimous that with the massive economic
downturn where conservative figures indicate that an estimated 70 percent of
the population is now living under the poverty datum line, the opposition
party, ZANU PF’s biggest challenge since independence, had a rich well of
disenchantment to tap from.

      The MDC, which whitewashed ZANU PF in the last parliamentary elections
in urban centres, should have capitalised on widespread voter anger and fear
of starvation.

      Only 11 percent of the registered voters in Harare Central cast their
ballots (4 036 people) — a number which the commentators said was appalling
and a mere reflection of the MDC’s failure to inspire the electorate to
register their disappointment in the manner in which the government was
running down a country once considered Southern Africa’s bread basket.

      In a low-key voter turnout, the MDC’s Murisi Zwizwai polled 2 707
votes against 1 034 received by William Nhara of ZANU PF while Mathias
Guchutu Matambanadzo of the Multi-racial Open Party Christian Democrats
polled a pathetic 15 votes and 10 votes went to Rumbidzai Hwicho of the
National Alliance for Good Governance. There were 13 spoilt papers.

      This was in total contrast to the enthusiasm generated by the MDC in
the June 2000 parliamentary elections where 17 942 people voted in Harare
Central constituency won by MDC’s Mike Auret.

      Auret, who has since resigned due to ill health, then polled 14 200
votes against ZANU PF’s 3 620 represented by Winston Dzawo.

      Previously polls were marred by untold violence, resulting in the MDC
filing petitions in the High Court seeking the nullification of poll results
in areas they lost seats.

      Constitutional law expert and political analyst Lovemore Madhuku told
The Financial Gazette that voter apathy in Harare Central could be a
dangerous signal for future elections, especially if there were presidential

      He said: "People in Harare have probably decided that voting will not
change anything. The trend is that they no longer want to have anything to
do with something that does not put food on their table, especially in these
trying times. Voting now will not really change much.

      "If one votes for the MDC then what? Is that going to put food on your
table. The MDC has failed to inspire people. The root of the problem is in
changing the government and not solving a symptom of the problem at hand.

      "People need to be conscientised otherwise they will fail to see what
it is they are supposed to vote for.

      "There is a real need for massive civic education. If the MDC is
celebrating this as a well deserved victory, then they are seriously
mistaken. They should not just be interested in power but address the root
problem of our current crisis. Imagine if this was a presidential election.
The votes gannered by ZANU PF in the rural constituencies would wipe out
those of the MDC in urban areas. It’s a dangerous scenario for the MDC."

      Heneri Dzinotyiwei, a political analyst and lecturer at the University
of Zimbabwe, echoed Madhuku’s sentiments.

      "This is a very dangerous message to the MDC in that they may be
losing ground," Dzinotyiwei told this paper.

      "The message is that the MDC must not take its supporters for granted
because they should realise that the support they received in June 2000 and
subsequently the presidential elections may not have come from their
supporters but from people who want change.

      "And if the people see less change coming from the opposition other
than ZANU PF then there is no reason for them to vote. The MDC is probably
celebrating only to fan the little enthusiasm left and to keep their
membership intact, but deep down in their hearts they know that they are in
trouble. It’s a fairly dangerous message, particularly to the opposition who
now have to come up with new innovative ideas as they are in danger of
losing their support base."

      Arnold Tsunga, the national director of ZIMRIGHTS, however saw the
situation differently. He attributed the low voter turnout to the lack of
integrity in the electoral process and the collapse of the economy.

      "People were not bothered to vote because of the electoral process
that has been associated with violence," Tsunga said.

      "The electoral process has no integrity so much that sometimes voting
doesn’t determine the outcome. People get so despondent that they ask
themselves whether by voting there would be make a difference. They would
rather queue for basic commodities that are in short supply than queue to

      In Makonde, ZANU PF retained the seat following the death of Swithun
Mombeshora earlier this year. Journalist Kindness Paradza polled a whopping
11 223 votes against 1 769 votes for Japhet Kwemba of the MDC.

      According to the commentators, this was an indication that ZANU PF
still enjoyed overwhelming support from the rural areas which the MDC had
seemingly failed to penetrate.

      In Kwekwe, Stanford Bonyongwe of ZANU PF won the mayoral seat by 2 545
votes against the MDC and the ruling party won 12 out of the contested 14
seats in the council elections. The MDC, however, retained control in
Victoria Falls, Kadoma, Gwanda, Mutare and Kariba. Kwekwe becomes the second
town with a ZANU PF mayor after Bindura.

      MDC’s John Rolland Houghton becomes the country’s first ever white
executive mayor after he beat ZANU PF’s Petros Maya in Kariba while his
colleagues Wesley Sansole, Tandeko Zinti Mnkandhla and Misheck Kagurabadza
won in Victoria Falls, Gwanda and Mutare, respectively.

      Madhuku said it was equally wrong to have a parliament packed with
legislators from the same party as it was to have councils filled with
people from the same party. He singled out the Bulawayo scenario where the
MDC swept all the 27 seats up for grabs.

      "This defeats the whole purpose of divergent thinking and
competitiveness," he said. "People should learn to tolerate and accept
different views at all times for the sake of development."
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      Chavunduka is new director of MOPI

      Staff Reporter
      9/4/2003 8:52:49 AM (GMT +2)

      RENOWNED sociologist and former University of Zimbabwe vice-chancellor
Professor Gordon Chavunduka has been appointed director of the Mass Public
Opinion Institute (MOPI).

      He fills in the position left by the late Professor Masipula Sithole,
who died from heart attack while on a visit to the United States in April
this year.

      Chavunduka, whose appointment is with effect from August 18, is also
the president of the Zimbabwe Traditional Healers’ Association.

      "He will continue the work left by Masipula Sithole," a spokesperson
of the institute’s board of trustees said.

      The Mass Public Opinion Institute was set up in 2000 to, among other
things, carry out periodic nationwide surveys to establish what the people
of Zimbabwe think about various economic, social and political issues as
part of the on-going democratisation process.

      The institute is run as a non-profit-making organisation.
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      Minister Nyoni, nephew in fight over farm

      Njabulo Ncube Bulawayo Bureau Chief
      9/4/2003 8:57:17 AM (GMT +2)

      THE Minister of Small and Medium Enterprises Sithembiso Nyoni has
clashed with her nephew Evans Ndebele of the Zimbabwe Express Airlines (ZEX)
fame over a poultry project at a farm acquired under the controversial land

      The minister, who is a paternal aunt to Ndebele and her husband Peter
Baka Nyoni have been taken to the High Court by the former chief executive
of the defunct airline to recover over $18 million he invested into the

      Ndebele was apparently irked by the Nyonis’ decision to elbow him out
of the poultry project at Fountains Farm, which was allocated to the
minister’s family during the chaotic resettlement exercise.

      The land reform, which was done haphazardly ahead of the June 2001
Parliamentary elections in what was widely viewed as a vote-catching gimmick
by the government, has been fraught with controversies pitting mostly top
ZANU PF officials and some of its well known sympathisers.

      Ndebele has however, been granted an interim relief by the High Court
barring the Nyonis from collecting and banking money realised from the sale
of eggs at Fountains Farm, where they were settled during the fast-track
land reform.

      The High Court has also ordered that the manager of the farm Jasper
Mantshontsho should be left to manage the business. Their bankers have also
been directed to freeze all withdrawals by a company owned by the minister
and her husband called Pesin Investments (Private) Limited.

      Ndebele was reluctant to discuss the issue when contacted this week.

      He said: "I cannot discuss our family problems in the press. Who told
you, where did you get those private documents?"

      The Nyonis, who could not be reached for comment, dispute that Ndebele
is entitled to any shareholding or access to the funds at the banks in
affidavits lodged at the High Court on the grounds that he only advanced the
directors’ loans to kick-start the project.

      In a letter written to the Nyonis dated August 8 2003, Ndebele’s
lawyers are steadfast that the minister and her husband should admit and
acknowledge their client’s investor status in the project reportedly raking
in several millions of dollars a week.

      The minister was given 10 days to set the record straight and
reinstate Ndebele as a joint signatory in the bank accounts of the business.

      It is alleged that Pezulu Ranches (Private) Limited went into an
agreement with Pesin in September last year whereby the Nyonis bought
chickens, vehicles, equipment, poultry feed and sundry items at a price of
$32 million.

      It is alleged that the Nyonis invited Ndebele, who had been their
advisor, to come into the project, as an investor after failing to raise the
$32 million.

      Ndebele, it is alleged, negotiated the price downward to $12 million,
but still the Nyonis could not raise the money. Ndebele proceeded to advance
the $12 million and within six weeks he injected another $6 million into the

      Ndebele’s lawyers said their client agreed to participate in the
project only as an investor.

      "In recognition of his investment, he assumed managerial
responsibilities of the business, including bookkeepers. He was made a joint
signatory to the business bank accounts. You, however, and without his
knowledge and indeed improperly so, proceeded to have his signature removed
from the business accounts with the banks.

      "We are, in the circumstances, instructed to demand from you, as we
hereby do, that you put the record straight by conceding and confirming that
our client was and still is indeed, an investor in the chicken enterprise
jointly operated by him with Pesin Investment (Pvt) Ltd.

      "That failing which we are instructed to institute proceedings out of
the High Court within ten (10) days of this letter seeking a Declaratory
Order, that our client is an investor in the chicken enterprise. That his
signature be reinstated as a joint signatory to the bank accounts of the
business," read part of the letter.

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      MDC seeks to clip Chombo’s wings

      Brian Mangwende Chief Reporter
      9/4/2003 8:51:27 AM (GMT +2)

      THE Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) will today move a motion in
Parliament seeking to nip in the bud Local Government Minister Ignatius
Chombo’s interference in the running of mainly opposition-dominated local

      MDC Member of Parliament for Harare South Gabriel Chaibva has given
notice to move the motion, which has been seconded by Paul Themba Nyathi,
the party’s legislator for Gwanda North.

      Gliding on the skates of glory after re-ascertaining supremacy in the
just-ended urban council elections, Chaibva, who is also the party’s shadow
minister for local government, said Chombo should stay out of council
affairs or risk a backlash from the MDC.

      "If he dares behave with the newly elected councils in the same manner
he did with the Harare City Council, he will be setting an agenda for
confrontation, and confrontation he will get," said Chaibva.

      "In fact, it will be deeply regrettable if he is going to pursue that
line of thought and policy."

      MDC won 137 seats out of the 224 council seats contested throughout
the country. It also capped its victory with six out of the seven contested
mayoral seats.

      In the motion, the MDC condemns the executive’s unlawful interference
and recommends the decentralisation and independence of local authorities.

      The motion, which is likely to be met with stiff resistance from ZANU
PF MPs, urges the executive to respect the right of the electorate and the
legitimacy of elected local authority representatives.

      Chombo could not be reached for comment yesterday as his phone was
diverted to his office, while his permanent secretary Vincent Hungwe was
said to be attending meetings.

      Three months ago, the Local Government Minister controversially
suspended Harare executive mayor Engineer Elias Mudzuri over what he called
maladministration of council affairs.

      Harare council officials, who viewed Mudzuri’s suspension as
politically motivated, said strategic plans to turn around Harare’s waning
fortunes were at a standstill because they were scared stiff of implementing
council decisions fearing suspension by the minister.

      Chombo has also unilaterally suspended six Harare councillors after
they participated in elections he had put on hold.

      In Chegutu, the Local Government Minister has remained mum over the
illegal expulsion from office of that town’s executive mayor Francis
Dhlakama through a vote of no confidence passed by ZANU PF councillors.

      The ZANU PF councillors, led by Chegutu’s deputy mayor Phineas
Mariyapera, have barred Dhlakama from entering the municipal building
despite a High Court provisional order authorising him to resume his duties.

      Following the urban council election results in which the MDC won most
of the seats, analysts said Chombo would find it difficult to ruthlessly
deal with all councils unchallenged.
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      Govt casts eye on mines’ offshore trust accounts

      Staff Reporter
      9/4/2003 8:54:48 AM (GMT +2)

      THE government, strapped for hard currencies, is understood to be
considering a review of the Offshore Trust Accounts operated by several
mining houses in Zimbabwe amid concern that the facilities were open to
abuse, it has been learnt.

      Highly placed government sources said the trust accounts, which were
introduced in the 1990s to entice foreign investors into the troubled mining
sector, have come under the spotlight because of the deteriorating foreign
currency situation.

      The government, out to squeeze more earnings from the shrinking export
base, is contemplating reviewing the facilities to ease the foreign currency
crunch blamed on economic mismanagement and its stand-off with the
International Monetary Fund.

      The Mines Ministry sanctioned the use of the trust accounts, where
mining houses could keep their export earnings offshore and remit only that
portion required to meeting operational costs.

      Mines benefiting from this arrangement include Mimosa, the Zimbabwe
Platinum Mines, Unki Mine and Rio Tinto through its Murowa diamond project.

      The trust accounts were also meant to safeguard the interest of
foreign investors who sunk in billions of dollars in foreign currency
towards the development of the mines.

      "The issue emerged after central bank officials hinted that
investments into the mining sector wouldn’t translate into an immediate
increase in export earnings because a number of mines were operating
Offshore Trust Accounts," said a source.

      An official with the Mines Ministry said the use of the trust accounts
was closely monitored by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to prevent abuse.

      A Chamber of Mines official however warned this week that a review of
the trust accounts would erode investor confidence in the mining sector.

      "Our problem is not coming from these things, but that we are not prod
ucing enough for export. People are just looking for scapegoats," the
chamber official said.

      The spokesperson said incentives should remain in place, particularly
in the platinum sector.

      "That is what they do everywhere else in the world. It is standard
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      Forex crackdown triggers run on ZSE

      Dumisani Ndlela News Editor
      9/4/2003 8:55:26 AM (GMT +2)

      A BANKING sector-wide crackdown on errant foreign currency dealers has
triggered a massive run on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE), terminating a
bull run that had driven the industrial index to dizzy heights.

      Sentiment on the bourse, which has been bullish on the back of
negative returns on the money market, suddenly turned bearish as investors
shifted back to the money market after worries that the crack down could
affect both the banking sector and export oriented stocks.

      Dealers said overnight rates, which determine the direction of other
money market instruments, shot up from 110 percent last week to as high as
150 percent in a market that opened the week short to the tune of $36
billion on Monday.

      "The money market is boiling," a dealer told The Financial Gazette.

      "It’s being driven mainly by shortages, although we cannot rule out a
temporary flight from the equities pushing rates up."

      A spell of loses hit the bourse for four days running since Friday
last week after the industrial index reached an all-time high of 754 604.01
points. It dipped by 18 972.12 points on Friday to close the week at 735
631.89 points.

      Further loses this week dragged the benchmark index by a massive 72
493.86 points during the three days to Wednesday to 662 138.03 points.

      Major loses in yesterday’s trade includes Hippo, BAT, ABCH, Innscor
and M&R, with marginal gains in Interfresh, APEX and Border failing to take
the market into recovery.

      The mining index lost 10.19 percent last week, from an opening
position of 160 451.74 points to close the day on Friday at 144 101.31. It
was afflicted by further loses on Monday and Tuesday, shedding 10 604.32 to
close at 133 496.99.

      The mining index recovered 697 points yesterday to close the day at
133 894.64 points, propelled by gains in Wankie.
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      Apathy serious challenge for civic society

      Cyril Zenda Staff Reporter
      9/4/2003 8:58:30 AM (GMT +2)

      THE weekend’s disappointingly poor voter turnout in the parliamentary
by-elections and urban councils polls should lead to some serious
soul-searching among the country’s plethora of civic groups, with a view of
launching aggressive voter education campaigns.

      Analysts feared the poor turn-out at most polling stations at the
weekend could be a microcosm of what future presidential or parliamentary
elections could become.

      They said the situation showed a lot still need to be done in Zimbabwe
to get the electorate to appreciate the importance of participating in the
country’s electoral system.

      "It’s a very serious challenge for all civic organisations in Zimbabwe
particularly those working full time in the area of voter education," said
David Chimhini, executive director of the Zimbabwe Civic Education Trust

      "As civic society organisations, we may need to change our strategies
because our education may be targeting the wrong people. We meet in hotels
everyday and attend conferences in South Africa, Botswana, Namibia and other
countries but without going to the grassroots, and the question is: Is this
what people want?"

      University of Zimbabwe lecturer and chairman of the National
Constitutional Assembly (NCA) Lovemore Madhuku said the trend shown by the
just-ended elections was a worrisome development to Zimbabwe’s nascent
democracy and posed a serious challenge to all civic groups involved in
democracy and good governance.

      Many of these civic organisations have voter education as part of
their primary duty.

      "This is a very big challenge to most civic groups who will need to
teach the people that although there might be no hope of an immediate change
in sight, it is important to exercise their right to vote because this is
important in the long-term," Madhuku said.

      The NCA is involved in the campaign for constitutional reforms in
Zimbabwe and Madhuku said one sure way of speeding up reforms was for people
to participate in the electoral process.

      In the past four years, dozens of civic organisations have mushroomed
in Zimbabwe as the number of people unhappy with President Robert Mugabe’s
rule swelled.

      Organisations operating in various fields such as human rights, good
governance, peace building and voter education, among other things, seemed
to have covered a lot of ground in the run up to last year’s presidential
elections. Last weekend’s events have cast a pall of doubt about how much
ground had really been covered.

      In the weekend’s parliamentary by-elections and urban councils polls,
voter turnout was so poor that in some areas the total number of voters were
as low as only 10 percent of all registered voters.

      However, Reginald Matchaba-Hove, the national chairman of the Zimbabwe
Election Support Network (ZESN), a loose network of about 36 civic groups
working on various aspects of good governance, said despite the apathy shown
by the electorate at the weekend, they were still satisfied with the work
most of their members were doing.

      "We are satisfied with the work that our members are doing, some of
whom are doing it under very difficult conditions," Matchaba-Hove said.

      "The turnout in these elections cannot be used to measure the amount
of work civic organisations are doing because traditionally, parliamentary
by-elections and local government polls have never attracted the same turn
out as general and presidential elections.

      "I think it’s because people feel these elections cannot change the
balance of power."

      He argued that the poor turn-out was a result of a combination of a
number of factors other than lack of understanding among the country’s

      "There are a number factors, the most important of which is that
Zimbabweans are no longer worried about any elections that cannot change
things for them. They are only interested in the big one (presidential

      He said other factors that could have kept voters at home was lack of
confidence in the country’s electoral system, and the fact that the
government was, as usual, cagey with important information about the
elections such as the location of the polling stations and what
documentation is required from voters, among other things.

      "Voting is not compulsory in this country, but is should be noted that
even by choosing not to go and vote, the people could be making a statement,
and this could be about the lack of confidence in the electoral system,
among other things," Matchaba-Hove said.

      Elijah Chiwota, director of Popular Education Collective (PEC) said
with restrictions like the Public Order and Security Act (POSA), government
monopoly of the electronic media and the general hostility against some
civic groups, these organisations had done their best in educating the
public about the importance of elections.

      The blame for the poor turn out, he said, lied with the government for
not well-publicising the elections while at the same time denying other
players the right to do it.

      "If elections were well-publicised like "Rambai Makashinga", I don’t
think the turnout would have been this poor.

      "Some people did not even know there were elections taking place in
their areas," Chiwota said.

      Charles Mangongera, a fellow with the Harare-based Mass Public Opinion
Institute said the apathy had more to do with widespread disappointment
resulting from results of the past two national elections which, despite
high expectations, resulted in no change at all.

      "The poor turnout essentially shows we have a disenchanted and
frustrated population and at the end, apathy becomes the order of the day,"
Mangongera said.

      "What civic organi-sations need to do is to ensure they educate the
public that apathy does not pay. Whatever the circumstances, we need to go
and vote and this is the only way positive change can come," Chimhini said.

      Madhuku said he blamed most civic groups for not going to the
grassroots to educate the people, instead relying on newspapers, adverts and
other forms of communications that most people cannot identify with.
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      Step up the pressure

      9/4/2003 8:54:04 AM (GMT +2)

      EDITOR — I am extremely happy to see that international pressure is
discomforting President Mugabe and the chosen seventy-seven.

      They are desperately trying to get their allies to persuade the
Commonwealth to drop the targeted sanctions against them, and to readmit
Zimbabwe to the councils of the Commonwealth.

      The latest excuse is that ZANU PF has agreed to talk to the Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC). Big deal!

      The pressure on president Mugabe and Zanu Pf must not only be
maintained, it must be stepped up as much as possible.

      Happily, the recent elections will add significantly to the stress and

      Chombo will have his work cut out, trying to suppress not just one but
now nearly all the urban councils. Isn’t that a nice warm thought?

      Congratulations MDC! Keep on pushing, don’t stop pressurising the

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      Will land audit serve its purpose?

      9/4/2003 8:52:06 AM (GMT +2)

      EDITOR — Finally, the land reform audit report undertaken by Charles
Utete and his committee is being finalised for presentation to President
Robert Mugabe.

      This comes as reports swirled on the market that Masiyiwa was in a
hurry to make sure the deal is sealed before he starts another fierce battle
for control of the Econet Wireless Nigeria (EWN).

      Masiyiwa who, in the early 1990s, had to literally walk a legal
minefield before being granted a licence to operate a cellular network by
the Zimbabwean authorities, could be sucked in another protracted court
battle in Nigeria.

      Market watchers said there were indications he wanted to use the local
group in mobilising finance to buy a 28 percent stake in EWN, from the
current five percent owned by EWH subsidiary, Econet Wireless International

      Masiyiwa has gone to a federal court in Nigeria to try to stop South
Africa’s Vodacom or Cairo-based Orascom Telecoms from purchasing a majority
stake in EWN.

      He has also stopped the disposal of a 50.1 percent stake by Portugal
Telecom (PT) in Mascom Wireless Limited, based in Botswana, after PT reached
an agreement with Citizens International Limited to sell its stake at a cash
consideration of US$50.37 million.

      A PT investor relations director, Vitor Jose Gama Sequeira, said
Masiyiwa had been given until September 16 to pay for the stake, or else the
deal with Citizens International would go ahead.

      Citizens International is owned by Kagiso Mmusi, who sits on the
Mascom board, and lawyer Rizwan Desai.

      It was unlikely that Masiyiwa would be able to match Citizen’s offer.
Latest details from EWH indicated that the bid for PT’s stake could falter
because it might not receive exchange control approval from Zimbabwean

      The reduction in the number of votes required to secure approval of
the local transaction to a simple majority is meant to avoid an embarrassing
defeat of the resolution from minorities peeved by the bid.

      Masiyiwa wants EWH to take up a 14 percent stake owned by TS Masiyiwa
Holdings Limited (TSM) in Mascom Wireless Limited, in exchange for 918 705
438 shares in EWH. The shares have been reclassified as class "A" shares
under a new circular to shareholders.

      An earlier circular to shareholders outlining Masiyiwa’s offer had
been condemned by the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE) and eventually

      Minorities had alleged it had omitted material facts regarding the

      Sources said directors and advisors to the offer had been jostling to
ensure that the bid succeeds at the extraordinary general meeting (egm)
after Masiyiwa insisted that he would not accept its demise.

      A fresh circular, released on Tuesday this week, said the offer, in
which Masiyiwa wants to raise his shareholding in EWH to a massive 64.1
percent from the current 26 percent, would now require "a simple majority"
representing not less than three members of the company entitled to vote.

      The bid earlier on required a three-fourths majority of members
entitled to vote at the egm now earmarked for September 26, 2003. Masiyiwa
and other beneficiaries to his investment vehicles were not entitled to

      But now, Nigel Cha-nakira and Professor Norman Nyazema, shareholders
in TSM when EWH listed on the ZSE in 1998, have been struck off as "related
parties" in the transaction and are now entitled to vote.

      Chanakira is the deputy executive chairman of Kingdom Holdings
Limited, whose subsidiary, Kingdom Bank, has been drafted in to offer
"authorised dealership" opinion on the deal.

      Kingdom Nominees, under Kingdom Stockbrokers, another subsidiary of
Kingdom Holdings, has increased its stake in EWH from 38 830 581 shares or
4.5 percent to 7.7 percent or 66 112 550 shares as the battle for votes

      All this is likely to add up to significant votes for the resolution,
and it is expected that minorities, who had teamed up to resist the offer,
may find it difficult to defeat it at the egm.

      All EWH directors have declared that they will vote for the

      The latest circular to shareholders has also ignored a plea by
minorities that the valuation conducted on behalf of the directors by First
Africa had undervalued EWH, which they believe has far greater potential
than Mascom Wireless.

      TSM’s 14 percent shareholding in Mascom has been valued at $25.862
billion, and based on the Mascom and EWH financial results for the year to
December 2003, the transaction would have the effect of reducing EWH
earnings per share from 222.75 cents to 131.11 cents on a historic cost

      Advisors to the issue said Masiyiwa’s new shares in EWH would not
benefit from ownership of Econet Wireless International’s (EWI)

      EWH holds a 50.48 percent stake in EWI based in South Africa but
incorporated in the UK. EWI is valued at US$40 million.

      The 50.48 percent stake is being held through a trust established in
the UK to warehouse the shares after regulatory authorities demanded
repatriation of foreign currency raised by the group through the sale of
fungible Old Mutual shares on the London Stock Exchange before the deal
could be approved.

      "In the event the company obtains exchange control approval and
decides to distribute to its shareholders, shares in EWL (EWI), the class ‘A
’ ordinary shares shall not participate in the distribution of the Econet
Wireless Limited shares to members of the company," the new circular said.

      Masiyiwa already owns the remainder of the EWI shares, although local
regulatory authorities have insisted that EWH should be given 100 percent
ownership of the group because it contributed the entire start-up capital
for the company.
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      Zimdollar gains as RBZswoops on banking sector

      Dumisani Ndlela News Editor
      9/4/2003 11:05:44 AM (GMT +2)

      ZIMBABWE'S unguarded dollar gain-ed this week after the Reserve Bank
of Zimbabwe (RBZ) swooped on the banking sector, stripping one bank of its
      currency dealership licence and penalising at least four others for
participating on the unofficial market.

      The American dollar, the benchmark that determines the movement of
other currencies, plumbed to its one month low of aroundUS$1to Z$3 500, from
a high of US$1 to Z$ 6 400 over a week ago.

      Other dealers, however, were trading at 5 400 local units to the

      "It (US dollar) will peak so long as we have this shortage of foreign
currency. The Zimbabwe dollar will continue losing its value," said Lovemore
Kadenge, president of the Zimbabwe Economics Society.

      Foreign currency dealers said trade in foreign currency had ground to
a halt, with many authorized dealers reportedly suspending trade in foreign
currency as they paused to reflect on the latest RBZ decision that caught
the market unawares.

      "It’s now a buyers market out there," a banking sector official told
The Financial Gazette.

      "Dealers who are taking the risk are calling a price that will give
them good gains once trade on the parallel market resumes."

      The local unit, which hit its lowest level of 2 000 to the greenback
in May, has been continually losing ground against the greenback, which had
been piling gains on the back of intensifying demand on the parallel market.

      Dealers said they remained overwhelmed by foreign currency
requirements from private sector companies.

      The National Oil Company of Zimbabwe (NOCZIM), on whose behalf Syfrets
Merchant Bank has been continuosly on the market to raise foreign currency
for fuel procurement, has been heavily excavating receipts from the parallel

      Private fuel dealers, who were last week thrown a fresh lease of life
by the government which deregulated the fuel import sector, are reportedly
scouting for huge amounts of foreign currency.

      Problems on the parallel market intensified in May this year when
NOCZIM instructed its bankers to source foreign currency on the parallel
market "at any rate", prompting a run on the local currency that had
maintained stability for a few months at a rate of Z$1 300 to the greenback.

      The inter-bank market, into which the RBZ is struggling to direct all
foreign currency trade, is dry.

      A decision in July by the RBZ for exporters to begin retaining all
their foreign currency earnings on the "incremental value of exports", had
failed to create excitement on the official foreign currency market.

      The scheme was cobbled up by the central bank in an attempt to
mobilise foreign currency from exporters, who were said to be unhappy with
the current set up under which they surrendered all foreign currency to the

      All export receipts are held by the RBZ, which compulsorily take 50
percent for disbursement to NOCZIM and the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply
Authority for fuel and electricity imports respectively at an official rate
of 824 to the US dollar.

      The other 50 percent is made available to exporters on application for
approved import requirements otherwise, it is also remitted to the RBZ at
the official rate if not used up within three months.

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      Input costs overtake new producer prices

      Staff Reporter
      9/4/2003 8:39:44 AM (GMT +2)

      NEW producer prices for maize and wheat will not do much to stimulate
output because they have been overtaken by massive increases in the prices
of inputs, industry players said.

      "The producer prices should at least allow farmers to break even. But
breaking even alone is not enough. There must be an incentive in the form of
good margins," said a source reacting to the new prices announced this week.
For instance, the price of fertilisers, seed and chemicals has gone up by
more than 300 percent in the last few months.

      "The new producer prices have only increased by less than 200

      Agriculture Minister Joseph Made announced new producer prices of
wheat for the 2003/2004 marketing season that saw the price of maize
increasing from $130 000 a tonne to $300 000.

      Farmers will fetch $400 000 for a tonne of wheat from $150 000, and
$300 000 a tonne for sorghum and millet deliveries.

      The new producer prices would be effected on all deliveries made since
the beginning of the marketing season in April this year until the end of
the 2003/2004 season.

      Loss-making parastatal, the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) will, however,
continue selling maize to millers at $211 756 a tonne and wheat at $366 584
a tonne to make mealie-meal and bread cheaper to the consumer.

      Individuals will continue buying maize from the GMB at $9 600 a tonne.

      "The government has reviewed the producer prices of these essential
food crops in an effort to cushion farmers from increases in inputs during
the course of the season.

      "The aim is to ensure that farmers are able to recover input costs,
while at the same time providing adequate incentives for them to produce
these strategic food commodities," Made was quoted as saying.

      The wheat crop was already in total mess.

      Said sources: "The winter wheat crop is now in total jeopardy. It
should have been planted by mid May to avoid rain damage in November.

      "The fertiliser industry was only able to supply a third of the
required fertiliser for planting.

      "Theft and damage to irrigation capacity has continued unabated during
the past year and the prices paid to growers last year did not give good

      "Informed observers state that last year (2002) the total deliveries
to the
      GMB were only 136 000 tonnes (35 percent of demand) and the GMB was
forced to import 175 000 tonnes and to ration allocations to millers.

      "This year, these same observers estimate that only 80 000 tonnes of
winter wheat is likely to be grown.

      This would require imports of 230 000 tonnes of wheat, well beyond the
capacity of the country given the shortage of foreign exchange."

      Zimbabwe requires 1.2 million tonnes of maize to supply its 13 million
or so inhabitants. In addition, it also requires about 600 000 tonnes of
maize for stockfeed and another 100 000 tonnes for industrial purposes, such
as beer brewing.

      About 400 000 tonnes of wheat are consumed every year.
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The Star

      Harare to pound out dollars
      September 4, 2003

      Harare - Zimbabwe is to issue new banknotes in an effort to end the
cash crisis that has seen thousands going without pay.

      New Z$500 and Z$1 000 notes will emerge at a staggering rate of
Z$2,5-billion a day until December, the central bank said yesterday.

      While the Z$1 000 note will be new, the Z$500 will replace an existing

      In an effort to quell rumours that the reserve bank had failed to pay
foreign printers for the new Z$1 000 notes, a central bank spokesperson
said: "Technology to print the notes locally is available and the whole
supply of the Z$500 note will be met through local production.

      "Some of the Z$1 000 notes needed are being printed outside the

      A Z$500 bill is worth R1 on the black market.

      Economists say only a Z$100 000 note would end the crisis. -
Independent Foreign Service

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The Star

      Spotlight glares on Mugabe's mansion
      September 4, 2003

      By Basildon Peta

      President Mugabe is building a R72-million mansion for his retirement,
but if Zimbabweans opposed to his rule get their way, he isn't going to get
to enjoy it.

      Calls are growing for Mugabe to explain where he is getting the money
from while his country wallows in poverty.
      Civic groups say that once Mugabe leaves office, they will leave no
stone unturned until the source of the funding is uncovered.

      The home costs 10 times more than the approximately R7-million he has
been paid since becoming president 23 years ago.

      It is being roofed with tiles from Shanghai and its interior
decorations are coming from the Middle East.

      Public pressure forced Mugabe's young wife, Grace, to sell a
R4-million Harare mansion to the Libyans. It had been revealed that she had
used resources drawn from a scheme meant to help lowly paid civil servants.

      Mugabe's enormous project is now a major target of public anger.

      John Makumbe, University of Zimbabwe political scientist and
chairperson of the Zimbabwe chapter of the anti-corruption watchdog
Transparency International, said: "Mugabe's salary has been made public.
Everyone knows that it cannot build this kind of mansion.

      "He (Mugabe) does not have any business assets which can generate the
resources required to build such a home ... He therefore has some serious
explaining to do.

      "He can afford to ignore us now because he is in power. Once he leaves
office, it will be almost impossible for any post-Mugabe government to
resist the pressure that we will bring to bear on it to investigate the
source of Mugabe's wealth." - Independent Foreign Service
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