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After 50 percent clampdown, Zimbabwe raises prices by effective 35 percent

International Herald Tribune

The Associated PressPublished: September 7, 2007

HARARE, Zimbabwe: The government raised prices across the board by 20
percent Friday in an effort to ease acute shortages of food and basic goods.

Elliot Manyika, acting head of the Task Force on prices, said the increase
was in line with policy to "ensure viability in the business sector," the
official media reported.

State radio said Friday businesses were now allowed a 20 percent markup on
prices frozen in June and sales tax, known as VAT or value added tax, would
be charged on top of the markup, effectively raising prices by 35 percent.

The government has been struggling to respond to its economic crisis, with
the world's highest official inflation of 7,634 percent, though independent
estimates put real inflation closer to 25,000 percent. Thursday, Zimbabwe
sharply devalued its currency, from 250 Zimbabwe dollars for every US$1 for
most official transactions to 30,000 Zimbabwe dollars. The U.S. dollar,
however, was still fetching up to 250,000-1 on the illegal market, dealers

Prices of all goods and services were slashed by about 50 percent in a
government decree on June 26 in a bid to tame the world's highest official
inflation of 7,634 percent.

The decree has left shelves across the country bare of corn meal, meat,
bread and other staples, with businesses arguing they were being forced to
sell their products at below the cost of producing them.
Essential foods and basic medicines are exempted from sales tax.

The new increase was not expected to quickly restore supplies to shops. Some
businesses have been forced to wind down their operations because of
shortages of raw materials and gasoline blamed of shortages of hard currency
in the crumbling economy.

In panic buying, poultry breeders have sold out of chickens and say even if
they can return to viability and obtain sufficient stock feed, also in short
supply, it will take up to two months to re-establish a supply chain.

Bread shortages worsened Friday. Bakers said Thursday they had used up
strategic flour reserves and were down to two days supply of flour.

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Few cheers over Zim budget as crisis bites

Mail and Guardian

MacDonald Dzirutwe | Harare, Zimbabwe

07 September 2007 03:46

      President Robert Mugabe's exchange-rate devaluation and promises
of tax relief were dismissed on Friday by Zimbabweans weary of an economic
crisis marked by the world's highest inflation and severe shortages.

      His government's latest bid to ease the economic turmoil,
announced in a supplementary budget on Thursday, highlighted the worsening
plight of the Southern African nation and widespread fears that cash will be
worthless in the face of runaway prices.

      Zimbabwe's inflation rate has surpassed 7 600%.

      Finance Minister Samuel Mumbengegwi -- who devalued the official
exchange rates -- said on Thursday that the tax changes would see a worker
earning Z$4-million a month no longer pay tax. The threshold had previously
been Z$1,5-million.

      But that raised few spirits on Friday on the streets of Harare,
where a chicken costs Z$1-million.

      "This [budget] is ridiculous," said Tawanda Sambaza, an
electrical technician in Harare.

      "I can only buy four chickens with that money on the other
[black] market because there is nothing in the shops," added Sambaza, who
earns Z$14-million more than the average Zimbabwean.

      Queues for everything from soda to maize-meal are getting
longer. Zimbabwe's main bakery said this week that bread shortages would
worsen after closing one of its outlets due to a lack of wheat from

      A growing number of Zimbabweans have resorted to using a
thriving black market for foreign currency to try to protect themselves
against the inflation that has caused the Zimbabwean dollar to plummet in

      The government on Thursday scrapped a two-tier foreign-exchange
system for government and exporters, devaluing both rates for the Zimbabwe
dollar to 30 000 against the greenback.

      Zimbabwe had applied an exchange rate of 250 to the United
States currency for government transactions and had allowed exporters and
foreign currency account holders to exchange at a rate of 15 000 prior to
the move.

      The new rate still falls short of a widely used black market
rate of about 250 000 to the US dollar.

      Amid fears that the economic bleeding could lead to growing
support for a divided opposition, Mugabe, in power since independence from
Britain in 1980, has cracked down on political opponents, tightening his
grip on power ahead of presidential and parliamentary elections expected
next year.

      But the economic crisis may pose the biggest threat to his rule,
analysts say, and his Western foes, who have imposed sanctions in a bid to
weaken Mugabe's rule, are still banking on their strategy.

      "On the political front the government may be winning but the
economy is its Achilles' heel," Eldred Masunungure, a political analyst,
said. "This budget is testimony that the economic policies are not working."

      Mugabe remains defiant, attempting to focus attention on the
Western powers he accuses of sabotaging Zimbabwe's economy in retaliation
for his controversial seizure of white-owned farms for redistribution to
landless black Zimbabweans, analysts say.

      He is likely to push a Bill through parliament, dominated by his
Zanu-PF party, that would give Zimbabweans majority ownership of
foreign-owned firms, fuelling fears it will drive away the few remaining
foreign investors.

      The veteran leader's salary, along with those of his ministers,
was sharply raised this year. Veterans of Zimbabwe's anti-colonial struggle,
among the hardest core supporters of his government, also saw their
allowances increased.

      "I'm disappointed there's no real attempt to cut spending,"
economic commentator Eric Bloch told Reuters.

      "The income tax measures are not sufficient ... they are still
taxing people who are starving." -- Reuters

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Experts Says 'Don't Panic' As Snooping Equipment is Installed

SW Radio Africa (London)

7 September 2007
Posted to the web 7 September 2007

Lance Guma

There are reports that mobile and internet service providers in the country
have already begun installing surveillance equipment to comply with the
controversial snooping bill passed last month.

A report in the weekly Financial Gazette quoted Shadreck Nkala, the Chairman
of the Zimbabwe Internet Access Providers (ZIAP) saying, 'we are putting in
place projects to see that we comply.' Nkala however refused to disclose the
costs involved in the project and where the equipment is being installed.

The installation has generated fears for members of the public who are not
sure about the privacy of their communications. Newsreel has it on good
authority that most workers at courier DHL's offices in Harare have opted
out of mailing lists that have political or news content. A DHL employee has
revealed how top management at the company have instructed them not to read
newsletters from particular websites. It was not possible to solicit comment
from DHL at the time of broadcast.

Although communications experts have said it is impossible for the regime to
monitor everything, a big proportion of Mugabe's strategy seems to rely on
generating the fear factor. One e-mail going around warns people of 'death'
if they send or receive e-mails with political content. The same message
warns that any offending mail will be picked up by 'Mail Marshall' content
filters, normally used by companies to block spam. It is not yet clear if
the alleged DHL directive is a response to the threatening e-mails.

Econet's Ecoweb, Telone's Comone and Telecontract's Telconet are all said to
be installing surveillance equipment, as are all 3 mobile phone companies.
Under the Interception of Communications Act, Mugabe's regime will establish
a monitoring centre. Service providers who fail to comply face up to three
years in prison. Those authorised to make interceptions include the Police
Commissioner, Commissioner-General of the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority,
Defence and Intelligence chiefs and the Director General of the Presidents
department of national security.

Speaking on our Behind the Headlines programme last month, IT expert Robert
Ndlovu said Yahoo, Hotmail and G-mail platforms remained the safest forms of
communications as they used remote servers. The only way for the regime to
read e-mails on such platforms would be if they had the password to the
e-mail account. He also said the snooping bill and the equipment being
installed were all part of a package meant to intimidate people from freely
expressing themselves. It would require the entire state security apparatus
to spy on everyone's communication not to mention huge financial resources
to do so.

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Security And Defence Gobble Up Half the Budget As Elections Approach

SW Radio Africa (London)

7 September 2007
Posted to the web 7 September 2007

Lance Guma

Budget presentations in Zimbabwe have always been stale, drawn out affairs
full of hype and rhetoric, but offering nothing new.

On Thursday Finance Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi went through the motions
to present a supplementary budget critics say exceeds the original by almost
800 percent. As if that was not shocking enough, defence and security
institutions have gobbled up almost half a budget whose revenue was never
disclosed. MDC Secretary General Tendai Biti was scathing in his comments
saying, 'Some men are gifted enough to hide their mediocrity or at least to
hide the mediocrity of their work. But alas, the talentless Minister of
Finance possesses neither attribute.'

Biti argues the budget betrays a fundamental lack of elementary
understanding of the 'nuts and bolts of economics' and is more motivated by
a desire to cling to power than anything. With the Zimbabwe National Water
Authority (ZINWA) struggling for resources to provide adequate water for
people the President's Office, which the CIO falls under, and the Ministry
of Defence and Home Affairs, got a staggering Z$12,662 trillion, 33 percent
of the supplementary budget. Biti says if slush funds allocated to the same
security institutions are added up, then 43 percent of the budget is going
towards financing the security apparatus.

Biti says the very appointment of Mumbengegwi, 'as a replacement of the
affable and whisky-loving Hebert Murerwa is a reflection that Robert Mugabe
does not give a hoot about basic economic housekeeping fundamentals.' He
expressed disappointment that the budget was not grounded around a policy
framework, but simply thrown together to ensure the 'power retention agenda'
of Zanu PF. He believes state resources are being used to 'maintain and
reproduce power.'

Analysts see the regime relying only on the printing of money to buy time,
but as Biti concludes, 'Clearly the task at hand is beyond the chubby and
overfed fellows at number 80 Samora Machel Avenue in Harare and at
Munhumutapa building (Mugabe's office) in the same street.' This he says is
why the opposition believes only a political solution based on a new, people
driven Constitution and free and fair elections in Zimbabwe is the only
viable solution.

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Mugabe Had Tantrum At SADC Meeting

SW Radio Africa (London)

7 September 2007
Posted to the web 7 September 2007

Tererai Karimakwenda

Despite efforts by South Africa's President Thabo Mbeki to gag SADC leaders
and Zimbabwe's negotiating political parties, more information has been
revealed about what really transpired at the SADC summit that took place in
Lusaka last month. The heads of state were all smiles when they took a group
photo on the last day, but Robert Mugabe had allegedly stormed out of a
closed session earlier after a heated exchange with Zambian President Levy

The revelations are significant because they show that there are divisions
within SADC, contrary to assertions by Mbeki and other heads of state.
Mbeki's behaviour is also shown to be supportive of Mugabe, giving credence
to reports that he is not suitable as a mediator on the Zimbabwe crisis.

Reports say Mwanawasa had suggested the Zimbabwe crisis be discussed as the
situation was "unacceptable". Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete responded
by saying there was no need to deal with the Zimbabwe issue while the SADC
initiated talks were still in progress. Mbeki is reported to have agreed
with this, effectively siding with Mugabe. Kikwete then made the mistake of
suggesting that Mugabe be given an opportunity to comment on Mwanawasa's

The story goes that Mugabe launched into an angry tirade at Mwanawasa,
saying he was aware the Zambian leader had held recent meetings with
'western intelligence agencies' about Zimbabwe. He also accused Mwanawasa of
selling out his country. He said he would not allow Mwanawasa to sell out
Zimbabwe the way he had sold off Zambian assets. Mugabe was so angry that at
one point he is quoted as saying: "Who are you Mwanawasa? Who are you? Who
do you think you are?" before storming out and leaving.

Journalists who attended the SADC meeting say they heard that Mwanawasa had
apologized and kept pleading with Mugabe to understand that he had not meant
anything negative. He is quoted as saying: "Mr President I didn't mean to
say that, you misunderstood me. Mr President that was not my intention."

Journalist Valentine Maponga was at the final press conference when the
Zambian leader, who is the new SADC chairman, was asked why Mugabe had left
early. Maponga said Mwanawasa joked that Mugabe needed to rest since he was
older. But information about Mugabe's tirade was already making the rounds.

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'Food Crisis Beyond Imagination' - Gasela

SW Radio Africa (London)

7 September 2007
Posted to the web 7 September 2007

Tichaona Sibanda

Agriculture expert Renson Gasela predicted on Friday that many people will
die in the country if food shortages are allowed to continue unresolved.

'They will be slain by one of the cruelest weapons of any era, starvation.
They will die slowly and painfully. They will die hungry,' said Gasela a
former chief executive of the Grain Marketing Board.

Gasela, who is now a leading opposition figure with the Mutambara led MDC,
said the creation of mass starvation had little to do with the work of
nature but was largely the work of man.

'Drought and crop failures have not gone unnoticed. Donor agencies have
pledged hundreds of thousands of tons of foodstuffs. NGO's are ready to
allocate the food. But all that separates millions of malnourished
Zimbabweans from the food that could save their lives is a handful of
stubborn men: Mugabe and his Zanu-PF,' Gasela said.

He said Zanu-PF is more intent on winning the next general election than
feeding the people, adding that if people die this time, it is not going to
be because of the drought but because of the economy and political

'People might say we are exaggerating but I can see many deaths happening
this year. There is absolutely no food. Individuals have no food. The GMB
has no food. The imports that are supposed to come are not there because
there is no foreign currency to import food,' he said.

In his constituency of Gweru rural, people were surviving on wild fruits and
berries. Gasela warned that if nothing is done there is going to be a
disaster. The current crisis has been worsened by that fact even those with
money cannot find food to buy.

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Police Confiscate MDC Files And Campaign Material in Manicaland

SW Radio Africa (London)

7 September 2007
Posted to the web 7 September 2007

Tichaona Sibanda

Heavily armed riot police from Rusape on Friday stormed the home of the MDC
district secretary for Makoni West in Manicaland, and took away party files
and campaign material.

After ransacking Bonnie Kandini's house, the police officers searched his
garden for weapons but found nothing. MDC spokesman for Manicaland, Pishai
Muchauraya told Newsreel Kandini was not at his home when it was raided.

'They went to the house in Mutungagore village under chief Chiduku, in two
vehicles. When they got there they only found his wife and children and
forced their way in. They took away all MDC files including things that were
not related with party business,' Muchauraya said.

The officers left a message for Kandini to report to the Law and Order
section at Rusape police station. They also ordered him to bring his

'We have advised him not to go there because history has taught us that once
he does he will be abducted and taken to Harare for interrogation and
torture. The strategy here is to get as much information about the MDC's
campaign plans since Kandini is the secretary for the district,' said

The Manicaland spokesman said Kandini is a retired teacher who is in his mid
50's and is described by his colleagues as a reserved person.

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Zim wants to cash in on 2010 Cup

Mail and Guardian

Percy Zvomuya

07 September 2007 11:03

       The Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (CZC) has described as
"scandalous" the decision by Zimbabwe to spend up to $67-million on sprucing
up hotels and its infrastructure to cash in on the 2010 Soccer World Cup in
South Africa.

      "It's a disgrace. It's a tragedy to try to create world-class
facilities in a situation of misery," CZC spokesperson Elinor Sisulu said,
describing Zimbabwe as a "big blot on the world".

      Next week Zimbabwe will play host to a delegation of Fifa

      "The Fifa officials will assess the capacity of Zimbabwe to host
visitors for 2010," Karikoga Kaseke, chief executive officer of the Zimbabwe
Tourism Authority, said.

      "They have specifically requested to see three- to five-star
hotels in Harare, Bulawayo and Victoria Falls, as well as other service
facilities in the tourism sector."

      Some of the hotels to be inspected are the Monomotapa Crowne
Plaza, Meikles in Harare and the Elephant Hills in Victoria Falls.

      Zimbabwean officials are hoping the football spectacle will
inject life into a comatose tourism sector that has not been spared the
difficulties being experienced by other sectors of the economy following the
chaotic land reform of 2000.

      Shingi Munyeza, chief executive of the ZimSun hotel group, said
the group intends to add up to 1 000 rooms at a cost of about $50-million.

      Construction is set to begin next year. He said the group is in
talks with the government about lengthening the runway at the Victoria Falls
airport from the present 2,6km to 4km -- "so that it can accommodate bigger

      Zimbabwe plans to host training camps, accommodation and fan
parks for teams and visitors during the tournament.

      As part of the renovations, Harare's Rufaro Stadium was closed
last month to install new turf, a move that has been contested by the
Premier Soccer League.

      The government has also weighed into the wrangle.

      "There is no going back on the decision to close Rufaro. It is
now a national issue to spruce up our sporting and tourism facilities ahead
of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa," said secretary for information and
publicity George Charamba.

      The 60 000-seat National Sports stadium will remain closed until
next year, undergoing a major facelift. Plans for a new stadium have been

      Zimbabwe's Tourism Minister, Francis Nhema, recently told the
hospitality industry to toughen up.

      "They [Fifa officials] are not interested in your problems -- 
they are interested in the services that you can provide, period.

      "It is either you prove your worth or they move to the next
country. Don't tell them we have this problem and the other. Tell them what
you can do for them -- that is what they want," he said.

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London accepts Zimbabwe rep at Lisbon summit, but not Mugabe

Portugal News Online

The United Kingdom accepts the presence of a Zimbabwe government
representative at the EU/Africa summit, as long as President Robert Mugabe
does not participate, a British diplomatic source told Lusa this week in

"We always said we'd like Zimbabwe to be represented, but we don't want it
to be Mr. Mugabe, because we believe that could cast a shadow over the
summit," the Foreign Ministry spokesperson stated.
The same source specifically declined to comment on the suggestion by the
European commissioner for external relations, Benita Ferrero-Waldner, that
Zimbabwe be represented at the summit by "a high-level minister such as the
foreign minister".
Portuguese President Cavaco Silva suggested the same solution Wednesday
during a visit to the European Parliament in Strasbourg.
"We are discussing various solutions with our partners," the British
spokesperson told Lusa, without indicating any specific scenarios.
The issue will be discussed again at the end of the week in Portugal, when
British Foreign Secretary David Miliband travels to the northern city of
Viana do Castelo for an informal meeting of EU foreign ministers.
The United Kingdom has led efforts to block Mugabe's presence at the
December EU/Africa summit in Lisbon, invoking the current EU sanctions
against the Zimbabwean leader.
The sanctions were imposed due to human rights violations in Zimbabwe.
However, various African leaders have insisted that all countries should be
invited and represented at the summit.
British diplomacy hopes that the "Lisbon summit will go ahead and be
successful" in discussing issues such as environmental protection or human
rights, the British foreign ministry spokesperson stressed.
The holding of the second EU/Africa summit of heads of state and government
this December 8-9 in Lisbon is one of the priorities of Portugal's current
six-month EU presidency term.
The first EU/Africa summit was held in April 2000 in Cairo, during the
previous Portuguese EU presidency, though its follow-up has been delayed due
to differences over the situation in Zimbabwe. TPN/Lusa

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Harare Losing Key Allies

Institute for War & Peace Reporting

With Libya and now, seemingly, China cooling off Zimbabwe, some say Mugabe's
remaining friends are purely of sentimental value.

By Mike Nyoni in Harare (AR No. 131, 07-Sep-07)

Dwindling state visits to Zimbabwe reflect President Robert Mugabe's
increasing isolation from the rest of the world.

So last week's visit by Equatorial Guinea's Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo
came as a welcome diversion for the elderly president, who showed his guest
around the capital Harare with great enthusiasm.

Officially, Obiang came to open Zimbabawe's once vibrant agricultural show,
but observers say the visit had more to do with Obiang's bid to extradite
alleged coup plotter Simon Mann to Equatorial Guinea to face trial for the
foiled coup against Obiang's government.

Mann is currently in jail in Zimbabwe, but it is believed he may be "traded"
to oil-rich Equatorial Guinea in return for some much-needed fuel for

But just as Obiang flew out on August 31, Mugabe was brought down to earth
with the shock that his closest ally China had made a policy u-turn on
Zimbabwe. Britain's Foreign Office minister James Malloch Brown told
reporters on an official visit to China on August 30 that he had been
assured by his hosts that they would apply more pressure on "rogue states".

"I was told that Chinese assistance to Zimbabwe was now limited to
humanitarian assistance, which is enormously important," said Malloch Brown.
This must come as a major blow to Mugabe who has trumpeted his so-called
"Look East Policy" as a counter to what he sees as undue interference in
Zimbabwe's affairs by western countries, which have imposed "targeted
sanctions" on Mugabe and his senior party and government officials.

Mugabe received another rebuff last week by one of his fiercest critics
Australia, which revoked study permits for eight children of government
officials, including Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono's three children
studying in that country.

There have been very few state visits to Harare since the country launched
its controversial land reform programme in 2000, which was accompanied by
violence and human rights violations. This led to worldwide condemnation,
culminating in the country's current isolation.

Mugabe's decision to leave the Commonwealth of former British colonies in
2003 all but completed the country's isolation from the international
community - except for countries in the Southern African region.

What visits have occurred have been limited to official, one-day events by
regional leaders to see how Zimbabwe can be plucked out of what many see as
a man-made humanitarian crisis. So Obiang's three-day state visit must have
come as something of a relief to Mugabe who is desperate to show that he
still has friends besides those in the Southern African Development
Community, SADC.

The visit saw delegates from Equatorial Guinea whisked in a large cavalcade
up to the resort town of Victoria Falls, about 800 kilometres by road from
Harare, in a country in the grip of a fuel shortage. There was very little
official information about the purpose of Obiang's visit and most of the
meetings were held behind closed doors.

Outside State House and the capital, Mugabe took Obiang on a tour of family
projects in his rural Zvimba district in Mashonaland West province,
including his Gushungo Farm, a livestock enterprise, where most of the stock
was to be displayed at the agricultural show as a demonstration of black
economic empowerment. Obiang was later taken to First Lady Grace Mugabe's
brother Reward Marufu's farm in the same district.

The touring party ended with a stately dinner hosted by the First Lady
herself at Iron Mask farm just outside the capital, which was seized from an
elderly white couple at the height of the land reform programme.

At the time, Grace Mugabe claimed she wanted the property to set up a home
for orphans and other displaced children from Harare's streets. Work on the
project is only beginning now with the help of the Chinese.

But perhaps the party also ended too soon for Mugabe's troubled regime, for
Obiang's red-carpet, 21-gun salute reception at Harare airport ended without
much ceremony on his departure.

Outside the SADC, one can count Mugabe's friends on one hand, namely China,
Cuba and Vietnam. Relations with Israel have been the most ambivalent, with
Zimbabwe always expressing support for the Palestinians but sourcing its
instruments of repression such as teargas, water cannons and other anti-riot
materials from the Jewish state.

Of late, Mugabe has also been getting solidarity messages from another
populist leader, Hugo Chavez of Venezuela. Although he enjoys a lot of
support in the region, Mugabe rarely pays visits except to attend official
occasions like SADC or African Union summits. He doesn't get visitors of
note either, except a few envoys delivering "special messages" from their
leaders - a rather sad commentary on someone who wants to portray himself as
a champion of the poor across the third world.

According to a senior editor of an independent newspaper in Zimbabwe, China's
latest policy pronouncement will be the most painful to Mugabe after losing
another friend in Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.

"The only friends who really made a difference to Mugabe were Gaddafi and
[Chinese president] Hu Jintao because they offered material support: Gaddafi
with fuel and Hu militarily and in the construction of infrastructure such
as roads," said the editor.

In 2001, Zimbabwe and Libya signed a deal in which Zimbabwe was to supply
15000 tonnes of beef per year to Libya in return for oil. But the deal fell
through when Zimbabwe failed to deliver because of the disruption wrought on
the beef industry by the farm invasions, which began in 2000. Libya then
allowed Zimbabwe to pay for fuel imports in local currency but when the
Zimbabwean currency plummeted in value Libya scrapped the deal.

"Gaddafi is now a friend of the West after debilitating sanctions almost
crippled Libya's economy. Any Gaddafi liaison with Mugabe now seems aimed at
convincing him to follow his example of softening his stance against the
West," continued the editor.

He cited former British premier Tony Blair's valedictory visit to Tripoli as
telling. Mugabe went there soon afterwards but reports say he returned

"China's policy u-turn means the end of the much-touted 'Look East Policy',"
said a Harare civil servant working in the ministry of foreign affairs,
adding that China was the most important trading partner in the Far East.

According to the Washington-based Council on Foreign Relations, Mugabe
ordered 12 FC-1 fighter jets and 100 military vehicles from China in a deal
in 2004 worth 200 million US dollars.

In 2000, China reportedly swapped a shipment of small arms for eight tonnes
of Zimbabwean elephant ivory. It provided a radio jamming device to Zimbabwe
that allows Mugabe's regime to block broadcasts of independent news sources
like Radio Africa. And also donated the blue tiles that decorate the roof of
Mugabe's house.

The civil servant also pointed out that without China's backing, the
Zimbabwean crisis would now be discussed in the United Nations Security
Council, "China has been using its veto to block the discussion of the
Zimbabwe crisis. World attention will now be refocused on Zimbabwe. We would
expect a UN resolution on Zimbabwe in due course. Without Libya and China,
Mugabe's remaining friends are now purely of sentimental value."

The Chinese embassy in Harare issued a statement on September 4 denying any
policy u-turn and citing ongoing projects as evidence of continued
collaboration. However, analysts attributed this to "diplomatic double
 speak" and said the embassy statement referred to the policy of the Chinese
Communist Party and not the government, which Malloch Brown was referring

Mike Nyoni is the pseudonym of an IWPR journalist in Zimbabwe.

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Govt entangles itself in own web

7th Sep 2007 11:32 GMT

By Ian Nhuka

Bulawayo- The National Oil Company of Zimbabwe (NOCZIM) has filed papers at
the High Court here, defending itself against charges of overcharging.

This follows a sensational suit brought up last month by a Bulawayo based
company Chips Enterprises, against the parastatal, which the company accuses
of charging excessive prices, contrary to the ongoing government blitz
against businesses that are over-charging.
The debt-ridden utility filed its notice of opposition and opposing
affidavit on Monday this week. It is accused of overcharging the plaintiff
by up to $157 million.

NOCZIM, through its law firm Dube, Manikai and Hwacha argues that the case
against it is unclear and is asking for certain clarifications to be made.

"It is not clear whether the applicant is suing in terms of a Government
Directive or in terms of the Control of Goods (Price Control) Regulations,
Statutory Instrument Numbers 141 and 142 of 2007. There is no (official
government document) which has been attached to this present application.
This has placed the respondent in the invidious and prejudicial position of
not being able to know the basis of the claim, which it is facing, and how
to respond meaningfully to it," said the lawyers adding that the case must
fail on this basis alone.

Chips Enterprises owner, Matthew Moyo says in his founding affidavit that
the company bought fuel products between 30 June 2007 and 26 July with a
total value of $316 152 000. Moyo says he was shocked to discover that
NOCZIM had defied a government directive yet it is a parastatal, adding that
his own investigations have shown that his company was overcharged by $157

"Investigations revealed that the purchases I made should have amounted to $
158 159 000 at June 18, 2007. It is therefore clear that respondent
unlawfully overcharged me by $ 157 993 000 which amount I now seek to
recover," Moyo argues.

The case, which has attracted considerable interest as it involves a
government parastatal, comes as the government forges ahead with the
controversial blitz that it launched in early July. Under the clampdown, the
government ordered firms to halve their prices or revert to those that
applied as of June 18, 2007. The blitz has further worsened the viability
crisis gripping industry, with several more companies having closed down
over the past few weeks. One of the country's biggest bakeries, Lobels has
shut down as a result, while American food giant; Heinz sold its stake in
Olivine Industries partly because of that.

NOCZIM says in its opposing affidavit that on 6 July 2007, the government
issued the ministerial directive freezing prices of basic commodities in
terms of the Control of Goods Act.
But it says it does not sell basic commodities, and as such the directive
does not affect it. Following the order NOCZIM said it consulted the
government on what to do, but was advised that the cost of their products
should also be reduced. It complied, say the court papers.

"The applicant purchased certain products from the respondent before
consultations with the ministerial taskforce on control of goods were held
and before respondent was bound to any price on the products. Accordingly,
it is clear from the facts that the respondent was not in contravention of
any law at the time that the applicant purchased the said products," argued

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Supplementary budget in violation of law, says MDC

Zim Online

Saturday 08 September 2007

By Batsirai Muranje

HARARE - Zimbabwe's main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
party says a multi-trillion dollar supplementary budget announced by the
government this week is in violation of the law because Finance Minister
Samuel Mumbengegwi did not disclose how he intended to raise revenue.

Tendai Biti, secretary general of the Morgan Tsvangirai-led MDC, said
according to the Constitution, Mumbengegwi should have revealed the
estimated revenue receipts when he announced the $37 trillion budget.

"The fact that the supplementary budget has been presented without
disclosing the estimated revenue receipts is quite clearly dangerous and
unacceptable," said Biti, who is a trained lawyer.

"Indeed, it is implicitly in breach of the provisions of the provisions of
section 103 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe which requires full disclosure
of both the revenue and expenditure components in an Appropriation Bill,"
added Biti, who is Member of Parliament for Harare East constituency.

The government, which is facing a serious economic crisis and an inflation
rate officially pegged at over 7 000 percent, on Wednesday presented a
record $37.1 trillion supplementary budget which exceeds the original budget
by about 800 percent.

Biti said the supplementary budget was the clearest indication yet that
Harare had no capacity to tackle the debilitating economic crisis,
characterised by massive unemployment and a critical shortage of foreign
currency for key imports such as grain, power, fuel and medicines.

"Stripped to its bare bones, the supplementary budget betrays the
contradiction of the ZANU PF state between on one hand, the need to be loyal
to basic economic fundamentals and on the other, the power retention agenda
in which state resources will be spent without reason, logic or limit purely
for the purpose of maintaining power," Biti said.

The MDC official added that President Robert Mugabe's government had
provided about $15 trillion, or 43 percent of the total supplementary
budget, for the army, the Central Intelligence Organisation and the police.

"That amount is, in fact, being allocated to the securocrats, who are at the
helm of this Vampire State," he said.

He added that Mugabe's policies had made the country's battered economy more
dependent on foreign inflows if it were to recover once again.

Biti said the devaluation of the Zimbabwe dollar to 30 000 to one American
unit announced by Mumbengegwi remained inadequate considering that the local
currency was trading at 250 000 to the US dollar on the illegal but thriving
parallel market for foreign currency.

The MDC and Western governments blame Zimbabwe's unprecedented meltdown on
repression and wrong policies by Mugabe - charges he denies. - ZimOnline

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Soldiers arrested for assaulting villagers

Zim Online

Saturday 08 September 2007

By Lizwe Sebatha

BULAWAYO - At least 15 Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) officers were arrested
by the military police this week for allegedly assaulting villagers in
retaliation for the beating up of one of their colleagues.

About 60 soldiers who are based at the Bomb Range Barracks in Esigodini,
went on the rampage last week assaulting villagers at Ntabende rural service
centre whom they accused of beating up their colleagues during a brawl.

Several villagers were injured during the retaliatory attack.

The soldiers were picked up by the military police earlier this week in
Esigodini after they were positively identified by the victims during a
parade held at the barracks.

"We were all called for a parade at the Barracks on Sunday which is about
seven kilometres from the village where we identified about 15 soldiers who
were part of the crew that assaulted us.

"They were taken by the army police," said Joel Ncube, the village head who
was among the group of villagers who were beaten up by the soldiers.

Scores of villagers, including Ncube, had to seek treatment at Mater Dei
Hospital and other major hospitals in Bulawayo as a result of the beatings.

Army spokesperson Colonel Solomon Tsatsi refused to comment on the arrest of
the soldiers referring ZimOnline to the regional spokesperson in Bulawayo.

The regional army spokesperson, Captain Mhizha, who is based at Brady
Barracks in Bulawayo told ZimOnline that the army was still carrying
investigations into the matter.

"All I can say is that we have launched our own investigations into the
matter," said Mhizha.

President Robert Mugabe, whose government is battling its worst economic
recession since independence 27 years ago, has in the past unleashed the
army on defenceless citizens to crush dissension against his rule.

Human rights groups have in the past accused the army and other state
security agencies of committing serious human rights violations against
civilians to crush opposition to Mugabe's rule. - ZimOnline

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For Democracy and Media Freedom in Zimbabwe

Appeal for a worldwide reading on September 9, 2007
This Sunday in a change to our usual programming SW Radio Africa is
featuring a special programme commemorating the 3rd world-wide reading by
the Peter Weiss Foundation for Art and Politics , Germany . The spotlight
this year falls on Zimbabwe and r adio stations, schools, universities,
theatres and other cultural institutions all over the world are focusing on
the issue of the lack of democracy and press freedom in Zimbabwe , with the
reading of poems by Zimbabwean writers Chenjerai Hove, Dambudzo Marechera
and Chirikure Chirikure. Also featured in this selection is a reading by
Elinor Sisulu of her introduction to the book "Gukurahundi in Zimbabwe - A
Report on the Disturbances in Matabeleland and the Midlands 1980-1988." The
readings are being broadcast worldwide today in French, Spanish, German and
English. Through these readings the international literature festival Berlin
would like to help draw attention to the situation in Zimbabwe .

The reality of Zimbabwe has been concealed long enough, and the human rights
abuses go back to the early 80s, when Robert Mugabe implemented the
Gukurahundi operation. This month sees the tenth anniversary of the release
of the report on this tragic operation.

An appeal has also been launched on the Peter Weiss website and has already
been signed by more than 150 authors from 50 different countries, among them
Nadine Gordimer, JM Coetzee, Günter Grass, Don DeLillo, John Updike and
Mario Vargas Llosa. The web address is

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Zimbabwe: Churches warn of Bulawayo water crisis

Source: Tearfund

Date: 07 Sep 2007

Churches in Zimbabwe's second largest city, Bulawayo, are launching
emergency distributions of water and warning of 'disastrous' water shortages
that could lead to diseases like cholera.

"Many people in western areas have had virtually no water for a whole month.
There are already cases of diarrhoea and we are facing a crisis," said
pastor Promise Manceda, one of the leaders of Churches in Bulawayo, a
network of more than 70 congregations across the city.

The churches report that three of the five dams supplying the city's
population of 700,000 have run out of water, with the fourth due to run dry
later this month. "With people, especially the poorest, already suffering,
it is too ghastly to contemplate what will happen when we are down to only
one dam," said Promise. The churches' warning comes soon after Zimbabwe's
main bread producer was quoted in state media as warning it had only two
days' supply of flour.

In a statement, Churches in Bulawayo declare: "The health hazards that loom
in Bulawayo are very real and very serious. The vast population of Bulawayo
has been exposed and left vulnerable to diseases such as cholera. Thousands
of people have been forced into the degrading and inhuman situation of using
ground around their homes as toilets under cover of darkness."

Churches in Bulawayo are appealing within Zimbabwe for funds. And British
aid agency Tearfund, which works through local churches, is preparing to
supply twenty 5000-litre water tanks to be placed in communities where the
need is greatest.

Churches say the catastrophic decline in water supplies is due to
unregulated farm resettlements putting pressure on supplies, a dispute
between national and local government over the city's water supply,
vandalism and drought. They are appealing to local and national government,
with little response. The Churches in Bulawayo statement adds:

"It saddens us deeply that, though we wrote to the minister responsible for
water and to local government for two months about the looming disaster,
there was neither acknowledgement nor any reply to our letters. Hearts sank
when it was reported in the media during the past two weeks that the
government will not intervene in the Bulawayo water crisis.. This has left a
sense of hopelessness and desperation among the people."

Karyn Beattie, Tearfund Disaster Management Officer states: "It is a measure
of just how serious the crisis in Zimbabwe has become that churches now have
to supply water to local communities once their appeals for local and
national government action went unanswered."

Notes to Editors:

Karyn Beattie, Tearfund's Disaster Management Officer for Southern Africa,
and Pastor Promise Manceda, a leader within Churches of Bulawayo, are
available for interview. Contact Keith Ewingin the Press Office on 020 8943
7779 or 07701 051971

Tearfund has supported church involvement in relief, development and social
justice in Zimbabwefor over 25 years. Tearfund is a Christian relief &
development agency working with a global network of churches to help
eradicate poverty. Tearfund is a member of the Disaster Emergency Committee.

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Mugabe Church Donation Raises Eyebrows

Institute for War & Peace Reporting

Gesture comes as surprise to those who thought he had cut ties with the
Catholic Church.

By Jacob Nhlanhla in Bulawayo (AR No. 131, 07-Sep-07)

Amid escalating calls to excommunicate him from the Roman Catholic Church,
President Robert Mugabe has donated a large sum of money to it.

After damaging stand-offs between the Zimbabwean ruler and the Zimbabwe
Catholic Bishop's Conference, ZCBC, as well as highly regarded critic
Archbishop of Bulawayo Pius Ncube, some analysts see the 300 million
Zimbabwe dollar donation (one million US dollars at the official exchange
rate and just over one thousand US dollars on the black market), made late
last month to a women's Catholic Church grouping, the Marian Association, as
more of an electioneering stunt than a way of making amends with the church.

Mugabe describes himself as a devout Catholic who attends Sunday mass
regularly. However, fellow Catholics maintain he should have been
excommunicated long ago from the church that raised him, for failing to
respect human rights and good governance.

But Father Oskar Wermter, a Jesuit missionary priest who has lived in
Zimbabwe for over 30 years, said calls to excommunicate Mugabe were "old
 hat" and were unlikely to be heard. "This was mooted years ago. It was
explained then that this was no longer done today. At any rate,
excommunication in a strict legal or canonical sense is a measure applied
only in certain circumstances defined by church law," he said.

Wermter, based in Harare, said that while excommunication had been evoked in
the past to deal with political leaders - heads of governments, kings and
emperors - who violated human rights abuses, the phenomenon was rare in the
21st century.

"We no longer live in the Middle Ages. The local bishops do not even have
that power. It would have to come from the Pope himself," explained Wermter.

But he added that renewed calls for Mugabe to be excommunicated were
indicative of people's growing desperation to see a resolution to the crisis
that has gripped Zimbabwe for the past ten years.

Ecumenical efforts to find solutions to Zimbabwe's woes under the
faith-based Christian Alliance and the Save Zimbabwe Campaign banners -
groupings of local Christian denominations and pro-democracy activists -
have been snubbed by both Mugabe and his ruling ZANU-PF party.

Early this year, Pope Benedict XVI expressed his support for the ZCBC after
it issued its most vocal pastoral letter since the crisis set in, blaming
Mugabe for the escalation of human rights abuses and for destroying a
once-vibrant economy.

While Catholics here continue to call for Mugabe's excommunication, the
president insists he is just an "ordinary Catholic who goes to Mass every

Mugabe was educated by Jesuit missionaries but made a shift from alter boy
to radical nationalist when he joined the nationalist movement in the early
1960s, which he then led in a bitter guerrilla war against Ian Smith, then
prime minister of Rhodesia. The war culminated in the country's independence
from Britain in 1980.

Calls for Mugabe's excommunication from the Catholic Church were first made
after the human rights abuses during the "Gukurahundi Era" in the early
1980s were exposed: an estimated 20,000 people were killed under Mugabe's
rule in the Matabeleland uprisings - a travesty which was documented by the
Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace, CCJP.

Almost three decades later and with his fight against his opposition party
detractors now encompassing his critics in the Catholic Church, calls for
his excommunication have grown louder. Derrick Shorai, an official with the
CCJP in Harare, says he, along with many of Zimbabwe's Catholics, has always
supported the idea of having Mugabe excommunicated. "Perhaps it shows our
desperation to get rid of him not just as a Catholic but as the country's
president," said Shorai.

"Mugabe has caused so much untold suffering, but still enjoys access to the
sacraments. We just don't know how he has been able to receive these,
despite his known human rights abuses."

Reacting to the pastoral letter issued by the ZCBC earlier this year,
strongly criticising Mugabe's regime, the 83-year-old leader warned the
bishops to stay away from politics or risk being dealt with as opposition
political activists.

The veiled threats escalated recently when on July 7, during the burial of
an army brigadier at the country's Heroes Acre burial shrine, Mugabe
chastised "priests who steal other men's wives". A fortnight later, one of
his fiercest critics, Bulawayo Archbishop Pius Ncube, was accused of being
an adulterer in the media.

Among the archbishop's supporters are those who believe the expose was a
carefully orchestrated sting operation by Mugabe's lieutenants to disgrace
the archbishop. This has swelled the chorus among some Catholic supporters
that he be excommunicated.

A pastor with Christian Alliance who preferred to remain anonymous said,
"While the people's concerns would appear legitimate, you cannot trust a man
accused of so much to take this lying down. His relationship with the
Catholic Church especially has always been stormy but we have to understand
that it is God who will judge him, not us."

Retired Bulawayo archbishop Henry Kalern was reluctant to talk about the
issue, citing the present controversy surrounding his successor.

According to Wermter, Mugabe has "effectively excommunicated himself", given
the sustained human rights abuses meted out by his government. "In a very
real way, though not technically as defined by church law, Mugabe has
effectively excommunicated himself, that is to say put himself outside the
community of the church, by resisting the word of the church and attacking
the bishops in a most offensive, vulgar form. At least the constant
propaganda line that he is a 'practising, devout Catholic' is now shown to
be false," he told IWPR.

But Mugabe, always the wily politician, has begun to make amends. His
donation came as a surprise to those who thought he had cut ties with the
Catholic Church after his run-ins with the bishops and the Ncube incident.

"There are two reasons he could have [made the donation]," said one local
Catholic who refused to be identified. "The Catholic Church has a huge
following in Zimbabwe and the elections are coming. He does not wish to lose
that vote. Also he might be in his own way telling the Catholics that he
still belongs."

Mugabe handed over the money through his ally in the ruling party and
presidential hopeful Oppah Muchinguri. The donation was confirmed by Bishop
Patrick Mutume of Harare who said it would be invested on the money market
until a decision was made on how it could be best utilised. Muchinguri is at
the forefront of the campaign for Mugabe's nomination as ZANU-PF's sole
candidate in next year's election. She herself is eyeing the vice-presidency
and is fighting tooth-and-nail to have incumbent Joice Mujuru fired.

Jacob Nhlanhla is the pseudonym of an IWPR journalist in Zimbabwe.

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Zimbabwe's dollar


Zimbabwe devalued the local dollar by 92 percent yesterday, according to
news reports. A stock-market-based indicator of the currency's value shows
they didn't go far enough.

The country's official rate was set at 30,000 to the U.S. dollar, Deutsche
Presse-Agentur and Reuters reported. The rate for government transactions
tumbled from 250 to the dollar.

A number closer to 200,000 would have been more in line with reality, based
on a comparison of Old Mutual Plc's share price in Harare, the Zimbabwean
capital, and London.

Old Mutual closed yesterday at 615,000 Zimbabwe dollars and 154.3 pence. The
company, based in London, is Zimbabwe's largest insurer and has traded there
since going public eight years ago.

The valuation method is similar to one used for Venezuela's bolivar after
President Hugo Chavez imposed capital controls in February 2003. Estimates
of the bolivar's value were calculated from the share price of CA Nacional
Telefonos de Venezuela, the country's largest phone company, in New York and
Caracas. This approach worked before Chavez nationalized the company in May.

To contact the writer of this column: David Wilson in New York at

Last Updated: September 7, 2007 00:08 EDT

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Gono bunks supplementary budget

From The Zimbabwe Independent, 7 September

Paul Nyakazeya and Constantine Chimakure

Divisions between finance minister Samuel Mumbengegwi and Reserve Bank of
Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor Gideon Gono deepened yesterday after the former
devalued the local currency from US$1: $250 to 30 000 without consulting the
central bank chief. Apart from that, Gono boycotted Mumbengegwi's
presentation in Parliament of the $37,1 trillion 2007 supplementary budget.
This is the first time that Gono has not attended the mid-term and fiscal
policy presentation since he became governor in December 2003. Sources last
night said the devaluation of the Zimbabwe dollar to $30 000 from $250
against the US dollar was done by Mumbengegwi without input from the RBZ,
which in April introduced a sectoral devaluation of US$1: $15 000 under the
guise of Drought Mitigation and Economic Stabilisation Bonds. The sources
said the RBZ would soon engage the Finance ministry to find out how it would
proceed with the drought mitigation scheme.

Gono and Mumbengegwi have clashed on several occasions. Recently cabinet had
to intervene and compel Gono to print $100 trillion to meet civil servants'
salary increments after the central bank chief had turned down such a
request from Mumbengegwi. Sources said Gono and the Finance minister were
also heading for a clash on how to finance ministries' requirements after
Mumbengegwi allocated them a total budget of $37,1 trillion from a requested
$255 trillion. The sources said Mumbengegwi was set to ask Gono to print
money to meet the ministries' demands. Last night, Gono's spokesperson
Kumbirai Nhongo confirmed the governor was not at parliament but denied the
central bank boss had snubbed Mumbengegwi's budget presentation. "The
governor did not boycott, he had an engagement elsewhere and the minister
was aware of that engagement," Nhongo said. "To suggest otherwise is to be

Before the devaluation, the Zimbabwe dollar has been trading at $250 to the
US$1 since July 31 2006. As of yesterday the local currency was trading at
above $240 000 to the US dollar, while the British pound and South African
rand were trading above $500 000 and $35 000 respectively on the black
market. "In line with Section 47 of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Act, the
Minister of Finance will determine the country's exchange rate policy, which
the central bank implements," Mumbengegwi said yesterday. "The Reserve Bank
of Zimbabwe will therefore adjust the exchange rate applicable to all
purchase and sale of foreign exchange in the market from $250 per US dollar
to $30 000 with immediate," Mumbengegwi said. Mumbengegwi said the new rate
will apply to all Zimbabwe Revenue Authority customs and incomes tax
valuations. The sectoral devaluation encouraged exporters to liquidate their
foreign currency but did not improve inflows. The devaluation by Gono was
done under the guise of Drought Mitigation and Economic Stabilisation Bonds.

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Mugabe, Mwanawasa clash at SADC

From The Zimbabwe Independent, 7 September

Dumisani Muleya

President Robert Mugabe stormed out of the recent Southern African
Development Community (SADC) summit after an explosive clash with Zambian
President Levy Mwanawasa during a closed session, it has emerged. Mugabe's
confrontation with Mwanawasa and his subsequent walk-out raised fears that
the already divided regional bloc could be further weakened by growing
infighting. SADC is riddled with geo-political and personal rivalries among
leaders that have incapacitated it in dealing with internal conflicts.
Mugabe's altercation with Mwanawasa was reminiscent of his row with former
South African president Nelson Mandela during a SADC meeting in Angola in
1997. High-level diplomatic sources in Lusaka who attended the volatile
summit revealed this week that Mugabe furiously stormed out of the meeting
after a fiery row with Mwanawasa over Zimbabwe's political and economic

The sources said Mugabe went off in a huff after the confrontation with
Mwanawasa, who was chairing the meeting, causing the summit to end on a sour
note. The row was caused by Mwanawasa's attempt to arbitrarily table
Zimbabwe for discussion, a move which angered Mugabe. Mugabe arrived home
early after hurriedly leaving the summit. Upon his arrival, he said the
meeting went well, but made it clear his government would continue with its
own programmes regardless of what the SADC leaders decided. SADC said it was
preparing an economic recovery package for Zimbabwe. However, Mugabe's
spokesman George Charamba has said in his anonymous column in the Herald
Zimbabwe does not need "any aid cent from SADC countries", reflecting Mugabe's
obdurate attitude after the summit.

This is contrary to South African President Thabo Mbeki's claims that there
were no divisions over Zimbabwe at the summit and that SADC is committed to
help Zimbabwe out of its crisis. Mbeki has said SADC leaders were not at
odds over Zimbabwe issues, including its economic rescue package, but did
not provide any evidence to back up his assertions. Information gleaned from
senior SADC diplomats show that there were not only divisions, but a fierce
clash between Mugabe and Mwanawasa that left the regional leaders shocked
and the organisation reeling. The sources said trouble started after Mbeki
had delivered his report on talks on the Zimbabwe crisis between the ruling
Zanu PF and the opposition MDC. Mbeki had earlier given the report to
Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete who was the chairman of the SADC organ on
politics, defence and security as per procedure. Mbeki briefed the summit on
Zimbabwe in his capacity as a SADC-appointed mediator on the situation.

He was tasked in March by the SADC extraordinary summit held in Dar es
Salaam to facilitate dialogue to resolve the Zimbabwe crisis. Mbeki said in
his briefing there was progress in the talks, although parties needed to
intensify negotiations to reach an agreement to end the current problems.
The summit "encouraged the parties to expedite the process of negotiations
and conclude the work as soon as possible so that the next elections are
held in an atmosphere of peace'', the SADC communiqué said. Zanu PF and MDC
negotiators held further talks in Pretoria last weekend. The parties are
expected to finish the negotiations based on constitutional amendment Number
18 in mid October. The Zanu PF politburo discussed the talks and the
amendment on Wednesday. The amendment Bill, which will be changed to include
issues agreed on at the talks, will be debated in parliament next week.

"After Mbeki delivered his report to the summit, Mwanawasa, as the chair of
the meeting, said there was need to discuss Zimbabwe because the situation
there has become "unacceptable". Kikwete said there was no need to discuss
it because talks were in progress and Mbeki concurred," a senior diplomat
said. "Kikwete then suggested Mugabe should be asked what he thought about
Mwanawasa's proposal. When Mugabe was given the platform to speak, he
launched into an angry tirade, attacking Mwanawasa left, right and centre
before walking out in protest." The diplomat said Mugabe angrily asked: "Who
are you Mwanawasa? Who are you? Who do you think you are?" Mugabe is said to
have gone on to say Mwanawasa should not think he could sell off Zimbabwe as
he had done Zambian assets. "Mugabe also said that he was aware of Mwanawasa's
recent meetings with Western intelligence agencies on Zimbabwe. He said he
would not allow Mwanawasa to sell out Zimbabwe as he has done Zambia," the
diplomat said. "During the process Mwanawasa was shaken and he kept on
saying 'Mr President I didn't mean to say that, you misunderstood me. No Mr
President that was not my intention', those sort of statements and such
other pleas for mercy."

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Mugabe ropes in Mnangagwa for polls

Zim Independent

Dumisani Muleya/ Constantine Chimakure

IN a desperate bid to win next year's crucial presidential and
parliamentary elections, President Robert Mugabe has roped in the Zanu PF
faction led by senior party official Emmerson Mnangagwa and the war

Zanu PF sources said Mugabe has reached out to the Mnangagwa camp and
the war veterans to be part of his campaign machinery for the elections
after he realised that his fallout with a faction led by retired army
commander General Solomon Mujuru had created a rift that could not be
bridged before the elections.

There are three factions in the ruling party - one fighting for the
continued stay in power of Mugabe, the other backing Vice-President Joice
Mujuru, and the third rooting for Mnangagwa.

Mugabe and the Mujuru camp fell out in February after he made thinly
veiled attacks on Vice-President Mujuru.

Sources said Mugabe and the Zanu PF camp rallying behind him have
promised to support Mnangagwa's succession bid in the future if his group
manages to help secure victory in next year's critical elections.

However, some in the Mnangagwa faction are sceptical about the promise
because Mugabe dumped Mujuru after they fought from the same corner at the
height of the party's power struggle in 2004.

Mugabe supported Mujuru's ascendancy to the vice-presidency in 2004
against Mnangagwa who appeared to be the winning candidate in the run up to
the momentous Zanu PF congress.

Mugabe accused Mnangagwa and his group of trying to seize power in the
party through a palace coup.

This led to the suspension, demotion and expulsion of Mnangagwa's
party supporters, including war veterans leader Jabulani Sibanda.

But Sibanda is now back in the Zanu PF fold through the back door to
support Mugabe's bid for re-election.

Last week war veterans held street marches in support of Mugabe in
Harare amid reports the Mnangagwa faction was behind the demonstrations of
loyalty and support.

Mugabe - fighting for his political life - has now turned to Mnangagwa
despite dealing with him roughly in 2004 because the Mujuru camp is balking
at supporting him.

The Mujuru faction wants to oppose Mugabe's candidacy at either the
party's conference or special congress in December.

"We know Mugabe is determined to stand for re-election, but we will
fight to oppose him," a senior member of the Mujuru faction said. "It won't
be easy for him come December."

Mugabe needs to be roundly endorsed to be the party candidate.

Mugabe's backers have of late been scrambling all over the place to
secure his endorsement ahead of the conference.

This comes after the realisation that endorsement may not be taken for
granted, especially after Mugabe was blocked in his bid to extend his term
to 2010 without an election at the party's Goromonzi conference last

Mugabe also failed during the party's crucial central committee
meeting in March to secure his endorsement, leading his loyalists to mislead
the public on the issue, claiming his candidacy was approved when it was

Although many in Zanu PF do not want Mugabe to stand, they are unable
to oppose and force him out.

Mugabe is said to be also turning to the Mnangagwa group because the
Zanu PF faction comprising his adherents is collapsing due to infighting.

The camp comprises the likes of party political commissar Elliot
Manyika, Youth Development deputy minister Saviour Kasukuwere, Labour
minister Nicholas Goche, women's league boss Oppah Muchinguri, Zanu PF
spokesperson Nathan Shamuyarira and Security minister Didymus Mutasa but it
has of late been crumbling due to internal conflicts. The camp is now split
on whether to support Mugabe or the likes of Simba Makoni as the candidate.

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Zanu PF reduces youth age limit

Zim Independent

Constantine Chimakure

ZANU PF has agreed to limit the age of members of its youth wing to 30
years in a move that will see the ouster of deputy ministers Saviour
Kasukuwere and Patrick Zhuwao, among others.

Sources in the party said the decision to put a cap on age was made at
a politburo meeting on July 5 to clip the wings of the youth league which
was getting entangled in the contentious presidential succession debate in
Zanu PF.

The succession battle has seen the emergence of three factions in the
party, one fighting for the continued stay in power of President Robert
Mugabe, the other backing Vice-President Joice Mujuru, and the third rooting
for Rural Amenities minister Emmerson Mnangagwa.

Kasukuwere and Zhuwao are linked to the pro-Mugabe faction and were
reportedly using the youth league to promote their agenda.

"The age limit was agreed on after it was realised that the league had
become too powerful," a source said. "It was now behaving like the main wing
of the party."

The source added that the Mujuru faction pushed through the proposal,
arguing that Kasukuwere was using his vast wealth to exercise influence in
the youth league.

Kasukuwere has business interests in the oil, transport and farming
industries and is currently the deputy secretary of youth affairs in the

Zhuwao is Mugabe's nephew and is a close ally of Kasukuwere.

"The two were running the league. Most of the wing's decisions were
coming from Kasukuwere and Zhuwao. Their continued stay in the youth league
was unwelcome," another source said.

The source said the age cap would not affect the secretary for youth
affairs in the politburo, Absolom Sikhosana, because he was a Mugabe

Last week, Sikhosana declined to comment on the matter to the Zimbabwe
Independent, accusing it of being part of the so-called regime change

However, he told the Zanu PF mouthpiece, The Voice, that the youth
league would soon embark on a restructuring exercise in line with the party

"This has always been there in our constitution, that if you are above
the age of 30 you would have graduated from the youth league to the main
wing," Sikhosana told The Voice. "We have not been following this provision,
but we are now going to ensure that it is implemented and this should see us
restructuring our organs."

However, a perusal of Zanu PF's constitution revealed that never at
any stage was there an age cap on membership of the youth league.

Last Friday, Kasukuwere complained that the Independent was out to
destroy his political career.

"What wrong have I done to you? Some of us do not want to speak to
newspapers," said the Mount Darwin South legislator.

Meanwhile, the auditing and restructuring of Zanu PF arms in Harare is
in limbo amid reports that the ruling party is failing to garner support to
set up cells, branches and districts.

Sources said efforts to create the arms of the party over the past two
months have hit a brickwall.

"It is proving difficult to carry out the restructuring. Members of
the party have shunned the exercise. They don't attend meetings and we
wonder what strategy we should employ to carry out the exercise," a member
of the provincial executive said.

He said a series of meetings had been lined up in the capital to
convince the party members to be actively involved in the restructuring

The restructuring of the party, the executive member said, would
culminate in the election of a substantive provincial executive committee.

Currently Harare is run by a co-opted provincial executive committee
chaired by Mines minister Amos Midzi.

Sources in the party said a substantive executive committee could not
be elected into office before the creation of cells, branches and districts
throughout the province.

"Those elected into cells, branches and districts constitute the
provincial electoral college, which elects the executive committee," one of
the sources said. "Given the state of affairs, it appears Harare will not be
able to restructure before the end of the year - the deadline set by the
party's national commissariat."

Recently, Midzi said the auditing and restructuring exercise was still

Teams led by politburo members were last August mandated to conduct
the restructuring of the party arms in their respective provinces.

The restructuring was expected to strengthen the party structures
ahead of next year's local authority, parliamentary and presidential polls.

This has seen the election of new provincial executive committees in
all provinces except Bulawayo and Harare.

While the party is struggling to restructure in Harare, the sources
said jockeying for the provincial chairmanship has begun in the capital.

The sources said Midzi wanted to retain the chairmanship, but was
facing stiff challenge from politburo member Tendai Savanhu and diplomat
Christopher Mutsvangwa.

Midzi reportedly belongs to the Mujuru faction, while Savanhu favours
Mugabe's continued stay in power.

Mutsvangwa reportedly enjoys the support of Mnangagwa.

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Zinwa takeover was ill-timed: Parly committee

Zim Independent

Orirando Manwere

THE Zanu PF-dominated parliamentary portfolio committee on Local
Government, Public Works and Urban Development still maintains that the
takeover of water and sewer reticulation services in urban centres by the
Zimbabwe National Water Authority was not in the best interests of residents
as the purported consultation was confined to government circles.

Committee chairperson Margaret Zinyemba (Zanu PF) told parliament on
Wednesday that although her committee had given in to the cabinet directive,
the committee still stood by its ealier position that the takeover was
ill-timed and was not reflective of the view of the majority of the people
and other stakeholders in urban centres.

She was moving a motion to withdraw the debate on the Zinwa takeover
from the order paper following a response to the committee's second report
by Water Resources and Infrastructural Development minister Munacho Muteza
last week.

"Following minister Mutezo's response to my committee's second report
last week, it appears there is no going back on the takeover of water and
sewerage reticulation services in cities and towns by Zinwa.

"However, I would like to point out that the decision is not in the
best interests of the public as water shortages and sewer bursts have become
the norm in residential suburbs. The situation is critical and it's posing a
danger to our lives. There is an urgent need for Zinwa to correct the
situation," she said.

Zinyemba, whose address was interrupted by loud applause from members
from either side of the House, said her committee had established that
consultations on the takeover were limited to government officials only.

She said it was the committee's view that the earlier decision to
decentralise the services to local authorities was the best and should have
been upheld.

Zinyemba challenged the responsible ministry and Zinwa to deliver the
expected quality service to residents as a matter of urgency as the
situation was worsening by the day.

"The minister indicated in his response that the process of
rehabilitating infrastructure in all towns and cities would take long and
that Zinwa needed huge financial backing from government.

"We urge government to urgently provide the necessary funds so that
the problem of sewer bursts and water supplies are addressed as a matter of
urgency," said Zinyemba.

Earlier Bulawayo South legislator David Coltart had urged the House to
lobby the government to treat the Bulawayo water crisis with urgency as the
city was facing a disaster.

He said the proposed Mtshabezi-Umzingwane pipeline link, considered
the mid-term solution to the city's water crisis, was taking too long to be

Coltart told the House that he had learnt from stakeholders in the
city that a local company contacted to manufacture the required pipes would
accomplish the task in two years while a huge amount of foreign currency was
required to import critical components.

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'Govt using sanctions to cover up for failures'

Zim Independent

GOVERNMENT has been accused of using so-called Western sanctions as an
excuse for its failure to address the country's economic problems, the
Zimbabwe Independent heard this week.

MDC spokesman for Finance Tapiwa Mashakada said government should
involve all stakeholders in seeking to address key macro-economic
fundamentals which are a sine qua non of a stable economy.

Presenting his motion on price controls in parliament on Tuesday,
Mashakada said government was pursuing "narrow, populist, experimental,
adventuristic and ad-hoc policies which kill the goose that lays the golden

He also said last week's presidential decree freezing salaries and
prices of goods and services would only make the majority of people already
living under the poverty datum line worse off in the face of escalating

He said the government's revenue base from taxes had shrunk by an
estimated 65% following the introduction of price controls which saw
companies scaling down their operations, some relocating to South Africa,
others closing down and retrenching labour.

Transport shortages and long queues of local, rural and inter-city
commuters, loss of man-hours and productivity, and a thriving black market
for scarce basic commodities also emerged.

Mashakada's presentation which proffered practical solutions to
current economic challenges was however continuously interrupted by ruling
Zanu PF legislators who despite acknowledging the problems, blamed
everything on sanctions allegedly called for by the opposition MDC.

Instead of considering suggested solutions, the debate degenerated
into harsh words between the two party camps centred on sanctions.

In his motion, Mashakada urged the House to act and stop the Task
Force on Price Monitoring and Stabilisation from carrying on with its
exercise because it had caused more harm than good to the people of
Zimbabwe. - Staff Writer.

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Mutasa allocates Rydings school farm

Zim Independent

Constantine Chimakure

THE future of a community primary school in Karoi is bleak after the
Minister of State for National Security, Lands, Land Reform and
Resettlement, Didymus Mutasa, designated the farm on which the institution
is built and allocated it to his personal lawyer, Gerald Nqobile Mlotshwa.

The school, Rydings, catered for over 200 pupils.

Documents in the possession of the Zimbabwe Independent reveal that
Mutasa on August 18 allocated Rydings of Enthorpe Farm to Mlotshwa under a
commercial scheme after his application for land was deemed successful.

Thereafter, Mlotshwa took charge of the school and appointed
businessman, Themba Mliswa, as chairman of the board of governors in a
letter dated August 30. The letter was delivered to the Ministry of
Education on Monday.

Mliswa is Mutasa's nephew.

The documents reveal that the appointment of Mliswa was done although
parents, the school trustees and Association of Trustee Schools chairperson
Jameson Timba. They met at an annual general meeting and adopted a new
constitution for the school and established a new board of governors chaired
by former banker, Richard Chimuka.

This was done in line with the Education Act.

In a petition to President Robert Mugabe dated September 3, the school's
parents' assembly asked for a rescission of the acquisition of the farm and
its allocation to Mlotshwa.

"As parents we are concerned that decades of investment in education
and community upliftment will now come to naught," read the petition signed
by more than 110 people. "We are concerned that our children's education
will certainly be disrupted. We are concerned that a school has been
acquired by an individual under the guise that it is land for agricultural

The parents appealed to Mugabe to "take whatever action you deem
appropriate" in order to ensure that the school continues to function for
the benefit of pupils and the community.

Other documents in the possession of the Independent reveal that
Mlotshwa was between December 5 2006 and June 7 this year the interim
chairperson of the school before he was forced to stand down amid
allegations of maladministration.

During the time, Mlotshwa, as a director of Nandi Farm, tried but
failed to buy the farm for $2,5 billion.

"Further to this matter, we write to formally offer to purchase all of
the immovable, movable and fixed assets of Rydings Farm for $2,5 billion
subject to the terms and conditions more fully set out in the attached draft
agreement of sale and annexures thereto," read Mlotshwa's purchase offer
dated May 24 this year.

On allegations of impropriety, the lawyer allegedly advanced $107
million to the school in April 2007 to pay for a hired bus and other
requirements in Harare.

The following month, Mlotshwa allegedly bought 40 cattle from the
school using the money he advanced the educational institution. The cattle
were moved to Mliswa's farm.

On May 24 this year, Mlotshwa allegedly instructed the school bursar
to transfer $700 million into his law firm, Antonio & Associates' Trust
Account, which was then invested under a debenture trust agreement between
Capital Ventures (Pvt) Ltd and Antonio & Associates.

This resulted in the school experiencing a cash crisis.

However, Mlotshwa returned the money and interest thereon.

In appointing Mliswa, Mlotswa instructed the former rugby coach to
prepare a draft constitution, a financial plan, assess dietary requirements
and identify children requiring scholarships and other financial assistance.

"In appointing you as chairman of Rydings School, I trust that you
share in the company's vision of creating a first class learning institution
subsidised by farming operations," wrote Mlotshwa. "As a benefactor of
government's land reform programme, my wife and myself feel strongly that we
should as individuals, give back to the community, and in doing so, also
express our support for government's endeavours to ensure that education,
even in private schools, remains affordable."

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Budget deception at its worst

Zim Independent

Kuda Chikwanda

NOT only did Finance minister Samuel Mumbengegwi appear clueless
yesterday, he also walked the fine line between truth and deception when
delivering his supplementary budget which was described in certain quarters
as nothing short of scandalous.

Apart from mentioning that domestic debt stood at $8,1 trillion and
that the interest component was $6,1 trillion, Mumbengegwi was unnervingly
silent on the absorption of both the debt and the interest payment in his
supplementary budget.

In fact a perusal of government's blue book shows no interest payment
or loan repayment - a marked shift from last year's performance by his
predecessor Herbert Murerwa who, with a sleight of hand, hid interest but
acknowledged the debt.

Neither was there any mention of quasi-fiscal activities which
government pledged to lift from the shoulders of the Reserve Bank of
Zimbabwe (RBZ). Mumbengegwi made no mention at all of QFAs or their extent.

In addition Mumbengegwi made no mention of the $13,1 trillion
government lost in potential tax revenue owing to the price blitz which have
seen businesses almost folding.

Instead the Finance minister chose to defend the blitz by saying that
government was forced to intervene to halt "economic carnage".

"In response to the economic carnage, government was forced to
intervene by instituting price monitoring and stabilisation measures for
restoring sanity in the goods and services market," Mumbengegwi said.

In short, his supplementary budget of $37,1 trillion - contrasting
with ministry expenditure bids of $255 trillion - was deception at its worst
as a clearly befuddled Mumbengegwi swept a great deal of pertinent detail
under his ministerial carpet.

"These additional expenditure submissions now stand at over $255
trillion. This level of Supplementary Budget bids is beyond our domestic
financing capacity," said Mumbengegwi, helpless and hapless

His silence on how government intends to close the yawning chasm
between expenditure requests by ministries and government departments has
sent chills up the spines of business executives countrywide. Why?

There is enough evidence that the crisis bedevilling the country is
set to worsen.

And because they know they will have to foot the economic cost of a
government that does not want to accept its shortcomings - indeed is in
denial about them - and the futility of their actions.

For the central bank, the situation is nothing short of calamitous.
The RBZ now faces the harsh reality that they will have to continue printing
money and remain the unwilling drivers of inflation or finance government
activities from statutory deposits in banking institutions.

"I would say RBZ is in a tight fix," said economist John Robertson.
"They realise they will have to comply with government orders to print money
or fund it out of statutory deposits.

"For government, excess liquidity means low interest rates. They can
tell anyone to keep his money and source it elsewhere. Either way it will
not be in the best interests of RBZ."

Robertson said Mumbengegwi had been very generous in his budget beyond
what revenue sources he could cobble up.

"It seems the minister was very generous in allocating what he does
not have. It is obvious he cannot deliver what he has promised," Robertson

Another economist with a local banking institution who requested
anonymity said it was very clear that one or all were bad planners and that
the supplementary budget was a farce.

"Either all ministers and their teams are very bad financial planners
or it is Mumbengegwi and his team. One of the two teams is practically
incompetent at financial planning and disclosure and I could bet my last
dollar it's the latter," he said.

Certainly Mumbengegwi did not present a comfortable figure and at
times one got the impression his speech would have sounded the same if he
had held it upside down.

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Water tariffs set to rise

Zim Independent

Orirando Manwere

FINANCE minister Samuel Mumbengegwi says the Zimbabwe National Water
Authority should review water and sewer tarrifs reflective of economic
levels for it to sustain treatment and pumping of water.

This means that residents should brace themselves for tarrif increases
despite the enactment last week of a law to freeze salary and price increase
to curb inflation.

Presenting his mid-term fiscal review policy to parliament yesterday,
Mumbengegwi said due to the inability by local authorities to maintain urban
water and reticulation, and sewer upgrading, they had become increasingly
dependent on central government loans.

He said this had resulted in the level for funding required by Zinwa,
which has taken over most of the centres, to be high.

Mumbengegwi allocated $1,4 trillion for the restoration of water
supplies to only four towns - Harare, Bulawayo, Marondera and Beitbridge.

Water resources and infrastructural development minister Munacho
Mutezo told parliament last week that Zinwa had so far taken over 42 out of
52 urban centres and there was need for massive funding from government to
normalise water supplies in the centres.

"Government can not perpetually assume direct responsibility for the
financial requirements of Zinwa's long term and sewer programmes, it is
necessary that the authority's water and sewer tarrifs reflect economic
levels that sustain treatment and pumping of water," he said.

Among the four centres allocated $1,4 trillion, Bulawayo, which is
facing a critical shortage of water following the decommissioning of major
supply dams, has the proposed Mtshabezi-Umzingwane which requires billions
of dollars as the immediate alternative, a situation which could impact on
other projects.

There was no specific breakdown of how much would be allocated to
particular centres but given the number of centres taken over by Zinwa so
far, the allocated amount was clearly not enough.

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Supplementary budget inflationary - analysts

Zim Independent

Constantine Chimakure

THE $37,1 trillion supplementary budget presented yesterday by Finance
minister Samuel Mumbengegwi is inflationary, economic commentators said last

The commentators said it would be difficult to contain inflation which
went past the 7 600% mark in July because the supplementary budget was nine
times more than the original one ($4 trillion) presented last November by
then Finance minister Herbert Murerwa.

Economist John Robertson said apart from the supplementary budget
being inflationary, it would also militate against government's recent price
freeze on goods and services.

"While I am still working on an in-depth analysis of the budget, it is
clear that it's inflationary. The massive increase in various taxes would
result in importers and service providers passing on the cost to ordinary
people, thereby defeating the government price freeze," said Robertson.

Mumbengegwi reviewed upwards customs duty on fuel, Noczim debt
redemption levy, carbon tax, stamp duty and presumptive tax and rental fees
for A2 farmers.

Robertson said the devaluation of the Zimbabwe dollar from $250 to $30
000 against US$1 will benefit the government more than exporters through
import duty.

"There is no way inflation can be contained given the budget which is
largely going to be financed through tax increases," said Robertson.

Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions secretary-general Wellington Chibebe
said the budget did not address the concerns of workers.

"It was a non-event in relation to the recently signed Incomes and
Prices Stabilisation protocol by social partners. The protocol clearly
stated that taxes should be linked to the poverty datum line, but the
minister pegged the tax-free threshold at $4 million instead of the poverty
datum line which is $8,2 million," Chibebe said.

He said it was "shocking" to hear Mumbengegwi calling for social
partners to play their part when the government recently introduced a salary

MDC secretary-general Tendai Biti dismissed the supplementary budget
as disastrous.

"It's a disastrous budget which reflects the Zanu PF government's
complete inability to turn around the economy or to offer anything valuable
to Zimbabweans," Biti said.

He questioned the wisdom of having a supplementary budget that is more
than nine times the original one.

"One can tell that the government has no grasp of elementary
fundamentals of economics," Biti said. "How can you craft a budget which is
not rooted in any economic policy? Ifembera fembera (it is guess work). How
do you move from point A to B without following a set-out policy?"

He said while government declared inflation its enemy number one,
facts on the ground prove otherwise.

"Instead of putting in prudent policies to fight the budget deficit as
a way of addressing inflation, the minister in his budget is compounding
inflation. This is disastrous," Biti added.

Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries president Callisto Jokonya said
he was yet to see the budget, while Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce
boss Marah Hativagone was not answering her mobile phone last night.

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AirZim boss cancels tender winner's deal

Zim Independent

Kuda Chikwanda

AIR Zimbabwe chief executive officer Peter Chikumba allegedly
cancelled a deal clinched last year by the state airline with an Italian
firm, Avio Interior, to supply new plane seats and awarded it to a United
States company, American General Supplies (AGS), which has since supplied
second-hand seats at a higher cost, businessdigest can reveal.

According to reliable Air Zimbabwe sources, Chikumba cancelled the
deal in February despite the payment of a US$250 000 deposit by the airline.
The deal had gone to tender before being clinched by the Italian company
which has since refused to refund the deposit citing breach of contract.

"Chikumba cancelled the contract when he arrived in February," a
source said. "This was despite the fact that it had gone to tender. He then
gave the same contract to AGS. Avio Interior then refused to refund the
deposit and said they wanted Air Zimbabwe to make good their end of the
bargain, but Chikumba refused."

Chikumba is said to have awarded the deal to AGS, which was paid
US$1,1 million in three installments of US$360 000 for the supply of the
second-hand seats. The payments were made through the International Air
Transport Association (IATA).

Contacted for comment, Chikumba - responding through Air Zimbabwe
spokesperson David Mwenga - confirmed that the contract with Avio Interior
had been cancelled and that the airline had settled for second-hand seats.

"Last year Air Zimbabwe made an order and paid for a deposit for B737
seats with Avio Interior of Italy," said Mwenga. "The airline revised its
position and repealed the order following a realisation that given the age
of the aircraft, it was not prudent to buy completely new and expensive
seats when refurbished and less expensive seats would be equally durable and
attractive," said Mwenga.

Mwenga said the decision to cancel the order with Avio Interior had
been made before Chikumba's arrival at the airline in February.

"Although the order was placed with another company after his arrival,
the decision to cancel the contract with Avio Interior was taken before Dr
Chikumba's arrival at the airline. American General Supplies has indeed
supplied the aircraft seats (at more attractive price) on the basis of their
past relationship with Air Zimbabwe, " Mwenga said.

Mwenga also said AGS had been a long-running supplier of the airline
for the past seven years and scoffed at the alleged connection between Air
Zimbabwe and Chikumba's wife.

"AGS has been one of the most consistent and most competitive
international aircraft spares suppliers for Air Zimbabwe for the past seven
years, during which Dr Chikumba has not been with the airline," Mwenga said.

Over the years Air Zimbabwe has had more than its fair share of
troubles and last week was reported to have been serving inadequate food on
its flights as a consequence of government's June 18 directive to slash

Zimbabwe Tourism Authority chief executive officer Karikoga Kaseke
apologised profusely last Monday to a visiting Chinese delegation which had
to fly from Victoria Falls to Johannesburg to get a flight to Harare.
Flights between Harare and Victoria Falls have been fully booked since the
price freeze was announced.

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Skeptical Of Outcome, Zimbabwe Public Weighs In On Amendment


By Netsai Mlilo and Ndimyake Mwakalyelye
Bulawayo and Washington
07 September 2007

Public hearings in Harare and Bulawayo on the Zimbabwean government's
proposal to amend the national constitution in ways that would significantly
change the electoral landscape are primarily turning up opposition to the

A parliamentary public hearing Friday in Bulawayo, the country's
second-largest city, failed to draw a large turnout - but the few who showed
up said the amendment was an ill-timed waste of resources that would do
little to relieve suffering Zimbabweans.

Correspondent Netsai Mlilo reported from the Rainbow Hotel in Bulawayo.

Though parliament was registering public opinion on the proposed amendment,
some who attended the hearings said they doubted whether the public input
would have an impact on the final shape of the legislation to be tabled in

Experts noted that as a constitutional amendment, the law does not have to
be vetted by a parliamentary committee but can go straight to the floor for
debate after which the ruling party ZANU-PF party, armed with the two-thirds
majority it claimed in the 2005 general election, could easily pass it for
signature by President Robert Mugabe.

Another issue of concern is timing - presidential and general elections are
just seven months off, and many of the constitutional changes that are
envisioned in the draft of the legislation would tip the scales in favor of
Mr. Mugabe's ruling party.

For instance, the amendment will create 60 new house seats, for a total of
2010, giving the ruling party an opportunity to gerrymander ruling
party-safe districts.

For insight, VOA turned to Chief Executive Officer Cephus Zinhumwe of the
National Association of Non-Governmental Organizations and National Advocacy
Chairman Felix Mafa of the National Constitutional Assembly, who spoke at
public hearings this week in Harare and Bulawayo, respectively.

NANGO's Zinhumwe told reporter Ndimyake Mwakalyelye of VOA's Studio 7 for
Zimbabwe that while civil society groups doubt the hearings will make much
difference once the legislation is tabled in parliament, they want to
register their views.

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Zimbabwe Labor Federation Calls Urgent Meeting Over Wage Freeze


By Jonga Kandemiiri
07 September 2007

The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions has called an emergency meeting of its
national council on Saturday to address pressure from its affiliate unions
for action in opposition to a six-month freeze on wages announced by
President Robert Mugabe.

Sources said the affiliates want to pressure the government to reverse the
decision so they can press for wages on a level with the national poverty
line. President Mugabe invoked the Presidential Powers Act last week to
impose the cap on wages.

ZCTU Secretary General Wellington Chibebe told Jonga Kandemiiri of VOA's
Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that Mr. Mugabe's wage decree violated the Labor
Relations Act.

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Zimbabwe Crisis Coalition Says Police In Gwanda Ban Its Meetings


By Patience Rusere
07 September 2007

Zimbabwean police authorities in Gwanda, Matabeleland South, have banned the
Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition from holding meetings there, saying speakers at
a recent gathering made derogatory comments about President Robert Mugabe.

Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition spokesman Thabani Moyo said the group was
informed of the meeting ban when it sought a permit for a voter education
session next week.

Police said Mehluli Dube, vice president of the student representative
council of the National University of Science and Technology, declared at a
meeting in Gwanda that President Mugabe should be removed from office ''either
through the ballot or the bullet.'' Accosted by police at the meeting, Dube
fled, evading a roadblock.

Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition spokesman Moyo told reporter Patience Rusere of
VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that his organization intends to challenge the
ban in the courts as it believes it is entitled to hold public meetings in

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Zimbabwe Electoral Commission Extends Mobile Registration Exercise


By Carole Gombakomba
07 September 2007

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission said Friday that it plans to relaunch the
mobile registration program that ended August 17 in certain areas where it
has decided that the exercise was "not satisfactorily conducted" because of
logistical hitches.

The commission said it came to the decision after reviewing reports from
teams deployed to oversee the mobile registration drive - important for
Zimbabweans living in remote rural areas - and consulting political parties
and others.

The statement did not identify the areas that would see further mobile

The Zimbabwe Election Support Network - among others including both factions
of the divided opposition Movement for Democratic Change - registered
dissatisfaction with the operation. ZESN officials said logistical problems
prevented many citizens from registering to vote or obtaining key documents
such as national identity cards.

ZESN Acting Director Denford Beremauro told reporter Carole Gombakomba of
VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that although his organization welcomed the
commission's move, it remains concerned that logistics could hinder voter

Deputy Secretary General Priscilla Misiharambwi-Mushonga of the Movement for
Democratic Change faction led by Arthur Mutambara said the issues her
formation raised with the election commission went beyond the mobile

The electoral commission pledged to launch a massive public education
campaign on the importance of the mobile registration exercise, noting as
well that the process of registration continues full time in district
offices of the registrar general.

Elections Director Ian Makone of the MDC faction of Morgan Tsvangirai said
that his formation was not satisfied with the electoral commission's
statement, which did not provide details on how and when the new mobile
drive will be conducted.

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JAG PR Communique

Dated 7th September, 2007

Email: :

JAG Hotlines: +263 (011) 610 073, +263 (04) 799 410.  If you are in trouble
or need advice, please don't hesitate to contact us - we're here to help!



�Living with Hope�

Farmers and their families are invited to a one day seminar entitled �Living
with Hope�.

This will take place on Wednesday 19th September  from 9am to 4pm at the
Dominican Convent Harare.  Entry via Selous gate.

Father Robert Igo who is a trained psychologist and therapist as well as
being a Benedictine Monk and Prior at Christ the Word Monastery at Monte
Casino Mission will facilitate this.

This is the second seminar along this line, those who attended the first day
found it helpful and empowering. The morning session will concentrate on
understanding how we react to situations and the afternoon session will help
teach coping strategies.

This day is aimed at assisting us in dealing with trauma, stress and also
looking positively forward.

There is no charge for the day but teas and biscuits will be offered at
reasonable cost.  Please arrange to bring your own packed lunch.

I can strongly recommend this day.

Ben Gilpin

Please register with JAG via email or phone.

Telephone numbers: 799410 or 730507
Email: or

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