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

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Zim Indep
'No' vote was the right decision in 2000
By Earnest Mudzengi

ONE of the items currently permeating through Zimbabwe's public opinion agenda is the "Third Way" initiative. This idea has been presented within the context of a whole lot of other developments that have simmered through the country's political landscape.

One such issue that has been smuggled into the third way debate is to do with the February 2000 Constitutional Referendum.

Prominent third way movers, among them Professor Jonathan Moyo and Jethro Mpofu, have written suggesting that the "No vote" campaign in that referendum was misplaced.

I disagree. If anything, the "No vote" was a vote of conscience that laid a solid foundation for a protracted struggle against a systematic tyranny that the Zanu PF regime has worked so hard to establish in Zimbabwe.

That Zimbabwe would be in a better position had the "Yes Vote" prevailed is

a claim that has not been or cannot be substantiated at all. Those who suggest that Zanu PF would no longer be powerful had the government-sponsored draft constitution been accepted by the electorate, are either not in the full grasp of the Zanu PF culture, or are simply omitting reality for convenience's sake.

To bring issues into an enlightening perspective, it is perhaps necessary to revisit 2000 and delve into the merits of the "No Vote' campaign and victory.

First, it must be noted that the process through which the rejected draft constitution came into being was one in which the fundamental tenet of people power was not respected.

In a democracy, the majority of the people must dominate and determine the process of constitution-making. This is important in that it ensures that the people's wishes are reflected in the constitution and that it does not give governments much room to tamper with the constitution without raising the people's concern. This was not the case with the process that resulted in the Constitutional Commission's proposed constitution, which the people rejected.

The commission itself was appointed on partisan lines by the president. Its time-table was also set by the president who, again, had the final say on what went into its final draft.

In the process, some fundamental issues raised by the people were ignored and the draft ceased to be the people's draft, becoming the president's draft.

Were the people wrong in saying "No" to a document whose production process invalidated their importance and centrality?

Then there were issues of content. The draft from the Zanu PF-inspired Constitutional Commission had numerous provisions that were not only contrary to what the people wanted but were also dangerous for democracy and development.

One such provision related to the executive presidency. All Zimbabweans who can clearly see and read, agree to the fact that the greatest monster within the current Zimbabwean constitution is the creation of an all-powerful president with too many powers that render invalid the concept and logic of the need for checks and balances within the arms of the state.

The commission's draft still provided for such a dangerously powerful president with wide-ranging and unchecked powers around key national issues such as appointment and dismissal of public figures, exercising the prerogative of mercy and dissolving parliament among others.

There was no way in which progressive Zimbabweans would have allowed

for this perpetuation of a menacing personality power cult.

To conceal the scars that blemished it, the draft of the Constitutional Commission had in it the provision of a prime minister whose function resembled that of a high school prefect.

While the prime minister was being described as head of cabinet, the anachronism hovering around his/her existence was that his/her cabinet was to be chaired by the same all-powerful president.

In capping the president's overriding powers, the commission's draft went on to provide for a rubber-stamp parliament. Yet one of the most legitimate and imminent needs of Zimbabweans is redemption from a constitutional edifice in which parliament, the supposed repository of people power, cannot easily pass a vote of no confidence in a non-performing government.

Within the same treachery of coated autocracy, the commission's draft also provided for the creation of a senate that was virtually toothless. The provision for the senate was used to portray an impression that the executive president's powers were to be checked.

However, the senate provided for was to be so weak that it would not effectively police the president. As if this was not enough to give the president precedence over citizens and citizenship, the Bill of Rights that was caged within the commission's draft was narrow in scope and did not protect certain rights and freedoms that are key to the preservation of human dignity and liberty.

The freedom of the press, the right to education, the right for workers to strike, the right to health and the right to full gender equality are among fundamental rights and freedoms that were not covered in the commission's proposed Bill of Rights.

As if to point out its real sources of origin, the draft from the Chief Justice (Godfrey) Chidyausiku-chaired commission also did not provide for a genuinely independent electoral commission.

This weakness alone pointed to how the draft emanated from within the same circles of perfected rigging and treachery. Elections would still have been stolen through that window-dressing draft constitution. Democratic processes would have still been manipulated.

What was to be expected with service chiefs declaring that they would be under no obligation to respect, let alone salute anyone from outside the Zanu PF strait-jacket?

What was to be expected with the so-called war veterans continuing to take the law into their own hands?

The draft would offer nothing but more rituals of treachery. It was in this light that the "No vote" campaign was championed.

The victory that translated from this spirited and informed campaign was no fluke. It was a sweet, genuine, and significant victory against a system that, for too long, has been surviving through deception.

A "Yes vote" victory would have been a prelude for greater deception from a Zanu PF oligarchy that has dutifully and successfully elevated chicanery into a fine art. Refusal to acknowledge this reality amounts to negating the essence of the very foundations of a struggle in which the people of Zimbabwe must fearlessly confront Zanu PF in order to guarantee a future for the country.

We desperately need a refreshed struggle platform from which to propel ourselves from the current state of bondage, which for the sake of a few more years in power, Zanu PF has visited upon us. But, the solution cannot come from negating the very foundations of the current struggle against a dictatorship that is rooted in a warped constitutional order.

* Earnest Mudzengi is senior programme officer at the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA).

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Zim Indep
Changes seal disregard for rule of law
By Tendai Biti

THE constitutional amendments passed last week are not just the abrogation of the basic human rights of Zimbabwean citizens. They also put the seal on this regime's disregard for private property and lack of belief in the rule of law.

The economic implications are dire: it is not just foreign investors, but local entrepreneurs who look to such basic elements being in place before they are willing to invest. Without investment, there will be no jobs, no income, no growth.

Presumably this government thinks it can do without foreign investors and that local people will invest anyway because they are captives in this collapsed economy?

This is deluded thinking, symptomatic of the view that the country can go it alone, spurning the challenges and opportunities presented by participating in the modern global economy. This is the path Zimbabwe under the present government is already treading - of swift descent into a subsistence economy, except perhaps for a few enclaves producing primary products for export.

Yet, true to Zanu PF's propensity for policy inconsistency, this is also the week when the government has paid US$120 million of the arrears owed to the International Monetary Fund.

We are told the payments are from the country's own funds and that this in a desperate bid to remain a member of the IMF - in other words to continue as a player in the global economy.

We in the MDC are concerned that the confusion (at national, regional and international levels) these inconsistencies provoke will only serve to worsen the country's situation.

In respect of the current negotiations with the IMF, what people do not seem to appreciate is that paying off a chunk of the arrears is the "easy" part. What is more difficult for this regime is meeting the requirement to present a comprehensive economic policy package which the IMF board will find coherent and credible.

If the country is to return to the IMF fold, the successful execution of an agreed programme with the IMF over a period of at least nine months would be necessary. Only then would the release of fresh funds be considered and only then would it be necessary to clear the arrears.

Why then pay a large portion of the arrears now?

If US$120 million of foreign currency was available from the country's own resources, why was it not used to buy food, fuel, medicines and the crucial inputs required to keep the economy going, in particular to allow production of items which can be exported?

The frightening reality is that this government is happy to see people starve. When it comes to spending extremely scarce foreign exchange, arms purchases and IMF arrears are considered far more important.

The forex situation was already so bad that mineral concessions earlier this year were given to firms in Dubai in return for a few weeks of fuel imports. Now we are told that operating gold mines are being pledged for unpayable foreign currency loans from South African private banks. Yet the government still has the temerity to continue harping on about Zimbabwe's "sovereignty".

The state media claim that Zimbabwe's economic policies are in fine shape. Nothing could be further from the truth. It is not just that the figures are so far off-scale, the problem with the current policies is that trademark inconsistency we've already been talking about.

Just before the IMF team arrived in Zimbabwe for a last look at the country's policies before the September 9 IMF board meeting, the RBZ sharply increased interest rates and allowed the "auction" exchange rate to depreciate to a level to allow non-primary product exporters to be competitive.

The direction of these policy changes is towards the orthodox approach, but the changes made are as usual too little, too late. Their main impact at this stage will be to add to inflation through greatly increasing the local currency cost of imports and raising the financing costs of locally-produced goods and services.

If a competitive exchange rate had been set and maintained when the "auction" was started in January 2004, exporters at that time would have been able to respond.

Stocks of imported items were at a high level, giving a breathing space to get foreign exchange generation working again. With the auction rate at a competitive level, the parallel market would have disappeared altogether.

That opportunity was squandered, and the situation 20 months later is that there are so many shortages (fuel, electricity, raw materials, skilled labour) that there will not be an effective response to the competitive official exchange rate.

The biggest inconsistency in current polices, though, is on the fiscal side. The orthodox approach to reducing hyperinflation requires not just tight monetary policies but a complementary fiscal policy of extreme restraint.

The Minister of Finance seems to think that a budget deficit of 8,7% falls in this category, but from the viewpoint of a consistent anti-inflation programme, a budget deficit of 8,7% of GDP is a disaster.

Furthermore, there are many reasons to think that the actual budget deficit will be very much higher than this. For example, food imports are going to cost more than budgeted, but perhaps the low budget shows the intent to let the country starve. The interest charges are also grossly underestimated: with 30 and 91-day Treasury Bills at 200% and 265% respectively there is significant feedback from the tightening of the monetary policy to the budget.

In addition, there are huge subsidies being paid outside the budget, which also have inflationary consequences. Properly accounted for, the subsidies going through the GMB, for example, amount to more than a trillion dollars a month. Zesa, Tel*One, the NRZ and other parastatals are all running colossal deficits.

Without taking dramatic action to cut government expenditures (eg scrapping all the new ministries, amalgamating others, selling military hardware, closing Zimbabwean embassies abroad etc), and to restore some degree of cost-recovery for basic services provided by parastatals, the fiscal position will negate the monetary policy stance.

So, the upshot of the government's inconsistent policies is the worst of all worlds. Going forward, Zimbabweans will have to face continued shortages, accelerating inflation, continued loss of jobs, widening poverty and increasing hunger. There will be growing resentment at a large chunk of the country's most scarce resource - foreign currency - being paid to the IMF with absolutely no immediate prospect of a return on this payment.

What we have so often said before becomes ever more starkly evident as the crisis deepens: that the causes of Zimbabwe's crisis are fundamentally political. Until there is substantial political change - starting with restoration of the rule of law and a political commitment to a consistent macro-economic stabilisation and recovery programme - there can be no "turnaround", let alone sustained improvement in the economy of this beleaguered country.

* Biti is MDC secretary for economic affairs.

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Zim Indep
Opinion & Analysis  Friday, 9 September 2005 

Only economic pressure can send Mugabe packing
By Wilbert Mukori
EVERYONE knows Zimbabwe is in deep, deep economic trouble. The country has no foreign currency to pay for imports and service its mounting debts.
After years of repeated broken promises to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank that the regime will implement agreed economic reforms, the latter has finally lost patience and cut all financial support to Zimbabwe.
Soon the two world bodies may sever all links with the country altogether unless South Africa, or other so-called friendly countries, pay part of Zimbabwe's foreign debt to the IMF. Talk of borrowing from Peter to pay Paul!
It is bad enough for an individual to do that but it is totally outrageous for a nation! The worst thing about this is that the nation is borrowing to service existing debt or to buy consumables like maize, wheat and fuel. None of the borrowed money will be spent on investment or wealth-generation.
South Africa will be ill-advised to grant Zimbabwe a loan, for the question it faces is: If Zimbabwe cannot repay its present debts, how will increasing the debt help it repay the increased debt?
President Thabo Mbeki must be very naïve to believe President Mugabe will ever honour any promise to implement economic reforms that will get the Zimbabwean economy back on the rails.
The IMF was naïve to do so and they have finally acknowledged that.
My guess is, six to 12 months from now, Zimbabwe will be back begging for more. So what will President Mbeki do: grant Harare another US$1 billion? Ultimately, South Africa, like the IMF, will have to say no, or President Mugabe will drag it to join Zimbabwe in the economic gutter.
By 1995, at the end of the first five-year IMF/WB-sponsored Economic Structural Adjustment Programme, it was clear the Zimbabwe government was paying lip-service to promised economic reforms.
The IMF and the WB should have stopped all financial assistance to Zimbabwe. Instead, the IMF ignored the poor past performance and renewed the financial assistance on condition that the regime promised to implement the same reforms. Again President Mugabe's government did not keep its promise.
By 2000 the country's economy was in serious trouble. Whilst President Mugabe publicly blamed the IMF/WB for Zimbabwe's economic collapse in private, his regime has continued to make empty promises in return for continued financial assistance - assistance that has saved the country from a dramatic economic collapse, but did nothing to save it from a slow and agonising one.
The Zimbabwean economy was like a man suffering a broken toe. The years of misguided, socialist economic policies and mismanagement by Zanu PF were the root cause of the broken toe on an otherwise healthy body.
By 1990, the broken toe was badly infected and required surgery. Instead of going through with the surgery as agreed, the Zanu PF regime gave the patient pain-killers instead.
By 1995 the whole foot (corruption had crept in) was now infected and required amputation. But again, Zanu PF would not bite the bullet and cut off the foot to save the economy.
With each passing year, the gangrene of mismanagement and corruption got worse and crept up the leg and the years of neglect have left the patient weak and some of the vital organs like the liver and kidneys are beginning to fail.
There is a good reason why President Mugabe has stubbornly refused to carry out the necessary reforms to end mismanagement and corruption. To do that, he would have fired the incompetent and corrupt party loyalists he appointed in every sector of the country's economy and embrace competition and merit.
These changes would surely have spelt the end of Zanu PF's one-party state and its stranglehold on political power -- something President Mugabe could not accept.
The choice before President Mugabe was clear enough: he could save the nation's economy by firing his party loyalists or keep them and see the economy ruined. We know what he chose to save!
If the IMF/WB had stopped all financial aid to the Zimbabwe government back in the 1990s, the country would have struggled along for a few years only to have the economy grind to a complete halt as shortages of fuel and other essentials took hold.
President Mugabe would have been forced to accept economic and political reforms. The country's economic infrastructure would have been saved and economic recovery would have been certain and rapid.
The years of half-hearted tinkering have destroyed the country's economic infrastructure such that economic recovery today will be even more costly and painfully slow.
President Mugabe is determined to stay in power no matter what! Zimbabwe has had the unenviable reputation of having the fastest-shrinking economy in the world for years now.
Unemployment is at 70%, the country's health and education systems are in a sorry state of neglect. The tragic human suffering the economic collapse has caused is heart-breaking. Still President Mugabe is determined to hang on!
The anti-West rhetoric is meant to distract attention from the country's economic problems whilst he is portrayed as Africa's anti-colonialism champion.
This is hardly the time for shadow boxing - not when hundreds of thousands of lives are hanging in the balance and a whole nation's future is at stake!
A loan from SA will only postpone President Mugabe's final political demise. Since the people of Zimbabwe have tried and failed to rid themselves of him through the political process, the only option left is economic pressure.
The greatest tragedy of all in Zimbabwe today is that the nation has found itself in this helpless political state - totally at the mercy of a dictator's whim. We must never ever allow this to happen again!
* Wilbert Mukori is a UK-based Zimbabwean writer.   'No' vote was the right decision in 2000
Changes seal disregard for rule of law
Only economic pressure can send Mugabe packing
An opportunity to right American wrongs
Will Angie go the flat tax way?
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Zim INdep
The money Zim's cricketers are refusing
Darlington Majonga/Enock Muchinjo

THE performance-based contracts Zimbabwe's international cricketers are refusing could see the highest-ranked player raking in over $500 million for a Test win, IndependentSport can reveal.

According to the new contracts Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) is offering, the incentive scheme would see a level-one player earning $87,5 million in match fees for a Test win, $44 million for a tie and $26 million for a loss.

The top-ranked players stand to earn $262,5 million for a win, $131 million for a tie and $96 million for a loss in a Test match.

On top of the match fees, the incentive ZC is dangling would see any player being rewarded with $350 million for a century and $140 million for 50 runs during a Test match. A 10-wicket haul in a match would earn a bowler $350 million and $140 million for five wickets.

At least three wicket-keeping dismissals not including run-outs would guarantee $35 million per match, while three fielding catches get $26 million.

There are also seasonal cumulative incentives, with a player who scores at least 400 runs getting $175 million, the same reward for 30 wickets.

For one-day internationals (ODIs), the lowest-ranked player is guaranteed $52,5 million for a win, $26 million for a tie and $19 million for a loss. An ODI century or five wickets would be rewarded with $140 million, while three catches can earn one $17,5 million.

In comparison, New Zealand cricketers were paid US$6 000 ($150 million at the official exchange rate) per Test and US$2 500 ($62,5 million) per ODI for their efforts during their just-ended tour of Zimbabwe.

Only skipper Tatenda Taibu, his vice Heath Streak and all-rounder Andy Blignaut have been offered negotiated national contracts, while 27 other players have been given the prescribed level-one contracts.

ZC has offered all the players a monthly retainer fee of at least $20 million, while only 15 out of 30 who have been benefiting would get cars.

However, the players are not happy with the new incentive system, preferring central contracts that would guarantee them lumpsum incomes every month. The cricketers are demanding take-home pay of up to $50 million per month and other perks such as DStv subscription, cars, fuel allowance and full-cover medical aid on top of match fees and other performance rewards.

l Meanwhile Clive Field, the players' representative, has ruled out the possibility of a player rebellion, saying the cricketers stand to lose immensely if they go on strike against the new contract system that will see players getting remunerated according to their performances.

Final negotiations between the parties are still ongoing, and Field said there were still "issues of concern and anomalies" such as the grading structures which still have to be discussed.

Field said the only option for the players in the event they do not accept the final contract document would be to "take the contracts back to ZC" rather than resort to a strike.

Field's affirmation was consistent with that of ZC managing director Ozias Bvute and Zimbabwe Professional Cricketers Association chairman Mluleki Nkala who both dismissed fears of a players' strike at a press conference on Monday.

"There is no risk to cricket. The game is bigger than any thing else," Field said.

"The players are determined to get a better deal, and they are entitled to have an input, and to have a clear idea of where ZC are taking cricket.

"But from the players' point of view they feel that they must still play cricket. That is what they are paid to do, and that is what they are good at.

"To turn their back on cricket just because they did not get contracts will damage them, and it will damage Zimbabwean cricket. There is too much to be lost in people taking hard decisions."

Although details of the contracts have already been publicised, copies of the contracts will only be available to the players on September 14. Field said discussions are being held in the "spirit of negotiations".

He added: "I do not want to see ZC lose and the players winning. We want to see a situation where both sides get as much as they want.

"We need to see Zimbabwean cricket prosper."

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Zim Independent
The man who holds Dynamos down

WEDNESDAY, July 27. The news came. We had seen it coming.
The circus at Dynamos had long ceased to be funny, and Richard Chiminya had seen the light to deal with the cankerous problem that has been afflicting Zimbabwe's most successful football club - we thought.
But we could have been naïve to presume a morsel of sanity had returned to Dynamos the day the club's board of trustees announced the Morrison Sifelani-led executive had been shown the door.
Not that we saw new chairman George Shaya and his executive as messiahs at the troubled Harare side, but it must have been a relief to the millions who religiously follow Dynamos that the man who seemed determined to bring the club down had been shuttled out of sight.
Sifelani earned a bit of our respect when he had seemed to accept his fate. He behaved like a man with football - if not Dynamos - at heart.
At a time we wished Sifelani would better expend his energy at his farm - if he benefited from the land reform - just 41 days later, he was back in the news.
Sifelani announced his own new executive to run the affairs of Dynamos this week, doing so courtesy of the powers "vested" in him as chief executive of Dynamos Football Club (Pvt) Ltd.
Confusion is back! We wonder who really is in charge now, thanks to Sekuru Sifelani.
At first sight, Sifelani would strike you as an elderly, wrinkled, and unkempt man struggling to come to grips with the harrowing urban life after years holed up at a remote farm.
Talking to him, Sifelani would appeal to you as a man who has dedicated his life to football - preaching in fluent English passionately about his imaginations a propos reviving Dynamos into a force to reckon with again.
But nine months into the year have been enough to prove that the rather sly Sifelani has not at all dedicated his life to football, but instead strangely behaves as if Dynamos owe him a living.
It's not anything but just absurdity that borders on stray narcissism when one man behaves as if he was anointed by the football deity to hold the reins at Dynamos eternally.
The man who would have the whole world believe that he and he alone has the divine sanction to call the shots at Dynamos could slowly be becoming the club's number one enemy in so few a months after someone regrettably plucked him from sporting Siberia back into mainstream football administration.
It's strange that Sifelani now wants the whole world to believe the Dynamos board of trustees has no mandate to dissolve and appoint a new executive at the club when it's the same board that catapulted him back to the helm of the club.
It's weird that Sifelani now wants whoever cares to listen to believe that the Dynamos FC (Pvt) Ltd that he did not see as necessary before his ignominious departure from the club in March 1998 is now his trump card as he battles for relevance.
How convenient!
Sifelani should be ashamed of himself. He is just greedy and should have no place in football.
We won't even talk about how he plunged into bankruptcy, but we don't remember any word on him being rehabilitated to assume again high office as chairman or chief executive of any company - let alone Dynamos who need level-headed people to pluck the club out of the muck.
Whatever anyone might choose to believe in, we know the bad omen that is threatening to bring down the institution. It's Morrison Sifelani, period.
Dynamos are reeling at the basement of the premiership log, thanks to Sifelani. His awful management is the reason the team has been performing so terribly on the field.
The current crop of players at Dynamos is as good as at any premiership club if not better, but any playing formula or the strongest of juju won't work in such chaos.
The players are hungry and angry. The club can't pay signing-on fees, and the team's losing streak means there are no bonuses as well.
Dynamos don't deserve this. The fans don't deserve this. The media don't deserve this. The Premier Soccer League doesn't deserve this. Neither do the Zimbabwe Football Association and the whole sporting fraternity.
Dynamos had over the decades evolved into the embodiment of Zimbabwe's domestic football, the face of quality soccer on the local scene.
The curse of Dynamos has been their community-owned status when not even anyone in Mbare benefits from the oldest suburb's association with the club. This whole hullabaloo over who should call the shots at the club will never end until all the protagonists see wisdom in putting football first.
The same Dynamos FC (Pvt) Ltd that Sifelani now wants to abuse for egoistic agendas was not a bad idea at its conception. Dynamos seemed to be on the right track when Lloyd Hove and company sought to list the club as a company on the local bourse just before the turn of the millennium.
However, the usual suspects - greed, selfishness and empty heads - combined to scuttle that noble idea. We have witnessed resistance to move towards the commercialisation of the club because the protagonists would be more worried about who would line his pockets fatter.
Simply playing football does not bring any returns, while gate-takings won't even be enough to make Dynamos as successful a brand as history suggests.
It would be refreshing to see Dynamos successfully commercialise on the strength of its remarkable history. Why not have Dynamos bottle stores, butcheries, salons or commuter omnibuses to start with?
With the popularity the club enjoys, anyone would want to be associated with such a brand. We can also talk of merchandise such as jerseys and other paraphernalia in the club's colours.
This idea of going to the corporate world with begging bowls has got to stop forthwith. Instead, the big companies should literally beg to be associated with Dynamos.
However, that just doesn't happen with the kick of a ball.
Dynamos ought to be run professionally, with clear structures in place. Every cent at the club has to be accounted for, while audited books have to be available at the end of each financial year.
The Morrison Sifelanis, Philip Mugadzas, Richard Chiminyas, Bernard Marriotts et al should forthwith shelve their selfish agendas and save the club that means so much in the history of Zimbabwe football.   Plot hatched to sell Dynamos
The money Zim's cricketers are refusing
The man who holds Dynamos down
Zimbabwe pray for change of fortunes
U-21 women off to hockey World Cup
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Sent: Friday, September 09, 2005 1:36 AM
Subject: Zimbabwe: Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) Press Release 8th September 2005

Press Release 8th September 2005

Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA)


ONE hundred and seventy five women from around the country convened the Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) Annual Congress, dubbed the ‘Assembly of Sheroes’ from 4 to 6 September in Matabeleland. The Assembly was conducted at a secret location in defiance of the Public Order Security Act (POSA) which calls for Police to be notified of any gatherings. WOZA women outsmarted POSA and the Zimbabwe Republic Police and no arrests were made and proceedings were conducted in a ‘liberated’ atmosphere.


Delegates came from urban areas of Bulawayo and Harare. Kariba and Victoria Falls. Rural Areas such as Insiza, Njelele, Nkayi, Lupane, Hwange rural, Inyathi and Nswazi.


The business of the Assembly was successfully conducted and included:


Resolutions were made to address the following issues through peaceful protest:


The Sheroes endorsed the mandate of WOZA to continue to speak out, lobbying and conduct advocacy within communities. They acknowledged that there is great impact within and without Zimbabwe after testimonies from rural women. Women from Insiza who had demonstrated against impartial distribution of food acknowledged that they had listened about the work of WOZA on Studio 7 broadcasting from the voice of America and were motivated to act.


Women after women testified that despite arrests during peaceful protests, they would continue to participate as long as their day to day existence was being affected by an uncaring Government. Many testified as to the success of the dual mobilising strategy of visible street protests with invisible community meetings. WOZA also conduct secret workshops to empower women with knowledge about their rights and how to act on them.


Women thanked the men who support their wives and mothers and ‘sisters in the Diaspora’ for being in solidarity with them and them to continue. Special mention must also go the members of Amnesty International who send solidarity postcards and write, fax and phones members of the Zimbabwe Republic police to pressure them into ‘doing right and not abusing rights’.


Elections were conducted for members of ‘Mother WOZA’ the management body but as a raft of unjust laws is still in place their identity has to be kept secret. The leadership met the strict criteria that compliment their action mandate. Each candidate had to have a high level of courage and good mobilizing capabilities; a record of attendance in past activities and volunteers to do administrative and organizing functions; follows the Sisterhood Promise and is humble enough to work within their community despite being a leader. The election was conducted by the ZLHR acting as an Independent Election Commission. They declared the election ‘Free and fair and above board’.


The management board Mother WOZA have expressed their willingness to lead the organisation through what could be the hardest year for Zimbabweans by saying, “Our theme this year was Defending Women, Defending Rights and we will do exactly that. We have set ourselves up as a litmus test to proof that the power of love can conquer the love of power. ‘Tough Love’ is our secret weapon of mass mobilisation. We are mobilising Zimbabweans for an Evolution not a revolution. There is a saying ‘Hope too long deferred makes the heart sick. Our job will be to cater to the sick hearts but also to give women hope for a better tomorrow.”



8th September 2005

For more information, please contact mobiles: Jenni Williams +263 91 300 456 Magodonga +263 91 362 668 or +263 91 898 110/1/2


Background to our solution TOUGH LOVE.

WOZA takes to the streets in protest. We are not intellectuals we are just mothers of the nation and we know that history shows that women are the true liberators of countries.


We call our type of civil resistance, ‘Tough Love’. We love our country enough to sacrifice being jailed for it and the ‘tough’ because our type of love is not easy. 'Tough Love' is the disciplining love of a parent; we must practice it and bring dignity back to our families. As 'Tough Love' Defenders we must keep the spirit of our crusade intact and safe from willful misunderstanding. Tough Love from the grassroots is the solution to crisis of governance in Zimbabwe. Our rulers need some discipline…Who better to dish it out than the women! Gandhi and Martin Luther King provided some lessons for women in Zimbabwe to draw on. The current regime of Robert Mugabe provided the motivation to come up with our very own version to counter the propaganda nonsense. The prevailing climate of fear bred creativity and strategy to lessen the consequences. Unjust laws provided a means to make the injustices visible. We, in effect become the dispensers of justice..

To show the attitude that we had to cope with, a recent example. A Bulawayo Police spokesman, Inspector Smile Dube confirmed the arrest of 12 party members putting up posters for a mayoral election in July. They were arrested for violating sections of the tough Public Order and Security Act (POSA), which bans Zimbabweans from gathering in groups of more than three people to discuss politics without police clearance. He said, "We cannot let a situation where people just go about blocking traffic, Toyi-toying and disturbing peace-loving people. They were blocking traffic and Toyi-toying and were arrested under POSA," Inspector Dube said. This was just a month after 29 members of WOZA won a trail discharge after a demonstration against operation Murambatsvina. When the magistrate ruled that ‘women in motion cannot block a pavement’. The inconsistencies of living in
Zimbabwe are too numerous to count!

The acronym, WOZA - Women of Zimbabwe Arise, WOZA is an Ndebele word meaning ‘come forward’. WOZA binds women together so they can find courage to free themselves and become more dignified by speaking out. We also walk a fine line of being a civic movement but at the same time exercising our right to comment on political matters despite deep polarisation.

The WOZA symbol is to hold our forefinger upright, thumb vertical to make an L shape signifying LOVE. When we show this sign we say Woza Moya. In the Ndebele dialect it means, 'Come Holy Spirit’ or for the less religious - Come heal our nation. Instead of feeling the warm glow of ‘love’ from our leaders, we have seen hate, been called maggots and trash and been evicted from our homes! Despite this….very day we behave as if democracy is around the corner.


To celebrate our feminity, we adopted imaginative ways of highlighting our issues. We have also used United Nations recognised days such as World Refugee Day and International Women’s Day to put forward every day issues affecting our well being. This has helped us to be effective and be able to bear the consequences and continue to grow the women’s movement. We adopted the highest risk option of demonstration in one of the most repressive countries, packaged it with love and determination, added strategy and tactics that have worked and made WOZA a force to be reckoned with. But most of all we took a nation without a means of holding leaders accountable for day to day suffering and showed them how groups can form an outlet to speak out. But doing this we avoided becoming victims and in a strange way enjoy some fun and freedom. Some of my happiest moments have been in mid demonstration with riot police about to descend or in cramped jails singing freedom songs that echoed in the soulless corridors.


Ø      To stop the hate and show love and courage despite risking arrest – we marched with roses and valentines cards on Valentine’s Day. We conducted this demo three years in a row and over 120 women have been arrested for calling for the power of lover to conquer the love of power.  Imagine being arrested for giving out red roses?

Ø      To show that we need to face the crisis head on end the suffering – we marched with grass brooms symbolically sweeping away the suffering.

Ø      To show that the economy was crashing and disposable income diminishing – we demonstrated outside the Reserve Bank giving people sweets with a message that they would soon not be able to afford them.

Ø      What better time than World Refugee Day to talk about being displaced from our homes. We told the world that we were refugees in our own country!


Tough Love is practiced by WOZA women from 16 to 80yrs. Simple people trying to survive with dignity. The secrets to our success have been:


  1. We were able to blend femininity with the tough stuff – street action. We are mostly able to capitilise on the cultural aversion to a man beating a woman in public. So when the riot police (mostly men) come across us with batons raised – they see their mothers and sisters processing peacefully to deliver a message. The fight mostly goes right out of them. There have been times that we have been beaten black and blue.
  2. Our high-risk mandate means we have to cope with consequences. We knew that arrests month after month could wear us down. We relieve our stress by conducting lots of meetings within communities. Our agenda clearly to prepare them for action by discussions on their issues so they can own the issue and be willing to face the consequences from speaking out.
  3. We had to cater for the prevailing climate of fear and the propaganda spread that only traitors criticise. We came up with strategies and tactics and wove these into a new standard of behaviour for members. We call this our Sisterhood Promise.
  4. We have and implement a strict leadership code. Only those prepared to be in the street can lead. This means that ordinary women became and are leaders. The intellectuals unfortunately are card carrying members…. being prepared for the streets bit by bit.
  5. To make the unjust laws visible one has to sacrifice and suffer consequences. Whilst putting pressure on the regime to repeal unjust laws - we had to be willing to submit to arrest for ignoring these laws. If we remind silent in our homes Mugabe would use the lack of demonstrations to say what happy people we are….we simply could not allow that to happen. So we teach arrest protocols and how to behave under arrest.
  6. As we knew we had to submit to arrest and possibly be tortured we had to have good linkages with journalists so we could quickly let the world know. It has been said that WOZA's success has been a combination of 'act and publicise' .The basis of our branding and power comes from creating newsworthy events and then generating fast track publicity world wide. A policy of 'act and publicise' is what has taken helped take WOZA to its current level. If we had just acted and relied on publicity it could not have worked as the local press were suppressed and too scared to lose their licences or be imprisoned. The international media were chased out and so you in effect became your own newsroom... delivering news world wide. We had to cope though with journalists who are themselves under fire and would only cover from a distance.
  7. To get around the idea that speaking was also acting. We conducted advocacy training to break the habit of perpetual complaining and mobilise them to act. We had to teach that WOZA women act on their displeasure. Moaning never changed anything!
  8. We had to empower the much disempowered under crisis conditions with knowledge and skills. We had to take ordinary women and make them extraordinary by teaching them non violence. How to find unlimited courage when fear prevailed. Because of laws like the Public order Security Act (POSA), we work mostly underground conducting strategy training on non-violence and women’s rights. But we had to be able to convert invisibility into high visible within short periods of time to keep security and capitalise on the element of surprise. The omnipresence of WOZA appearing and disappearing at will, must be quite alarming for the police! Many of them have attributed supernatural powers to WOZA women.
  9. We had to learn to mobilise quickly on topical issues if we were to hold the state accountable for the suffering they were unleashing. Just like to 440 kilometre walk to protest the passing of the NGO Bill. It was planned, mobilised for and implemented within 4 weeks.
  10. We had to become adept at communicating to Zimbabweans without benefit of a free press. So we product and distribute a newsletter hand to hand. This same newsletter is also distributed as we march and many a time there are traffic jams as cars stop to grab our Woza Moya.  
  11. We knew we could face being jailed for up to 2 years if convicted for organising demonstrations so we had to cater for this in our legal strategy. It makes for a powerful lobbying point with magistrates when women are arrested on International Women’s Day trying to observe it within their constitutional rights.
  12. We had to be all-inclusive in a climate of exclusion of people along party political lines. Our activities are centred on our being an issue based movement. We are relevant and led by mothers whose priorities are daily survival and bread and butter issues. So we said, if you had breasts/ vagina those were your WOZA membership cards.
  13. We know that everyone can experience love and that love is in itself a powerful motivator. We teach that love can conquer hate and that the power of love overcomes the love of power – sooner or later! Love has been a successful mobilising tool and I am yet to find someone who can argue this point. When you take the high moral ground, very few can argue and if they do they look foolish! So we use love to mobilise WOZA women to achieve feats of courage to stand up and speak out when common sense was dictating fear, silence and consent. The Mugabe regime boasts degrees in violence –Traditionally women are fearful of violence and yet if they face it they can achieve so much? In the midst of hate and violence, we choose to show love. Most of all we had to show love for our beloved Zimbabwe even if it were in ruins. We had to do something to nurse it back to health.  What is a country if no one loves it?


In practicing Tough love and making injustices visible, over 700 women have been arrested in the last 3 years. It is routine to spend up to 48 hours in custody for praying in public, conducting a sponsored walk on a highway; handing a petition to parliament; singing a song about freedom; marching on international women’s day. But we remain undeterred and continue to exercise our voices to speak out about the situation and hold political leaders accountable to Zimbabwean and to us the self appointed handmaidens of democracy.

Some of our campaigns. In February we urged Zimbabweans to understand that the power of love can conquer the love of power and went around the country teaching how to distinguish between these two kinds of love. In March, we asked Zimbabweans to vote to end the suffering of their sisters. We also reminded them of post electoral fraud by the Mugabe regime. As the election result would be announced on April 1st, the theme - Who is Fooling Who? Was part of our advocacy slogan. At 7 pm, on election night, as the police vehicle drove in and officers ranted and raved, we all knew what would sort of results would be announced April 1. Later, 265 of us sat in police custody listening to the babies crying. Their cries for food went unanswered as lawyers were denied access to us – we looked at each other knowingly. We predicted that the election would be ‘daylight robbery’. That night heavily booted police officers walked upon the backs of many WOZA women, beating buttocks, making the women count out aloud as they were given their beatings. Over 150 had to receive medical treatment. Many women still bear the scars of that nights beatings and one is still healing from a fractured skull caused by a booted foot to the head.

We in WOZA believe that we must work to break the chain of oppression – Rhodesia had an elite group of capitalists ruling over and oppressing people with unjust laws based on inequality and little has changed – we now have Zimbabwe and a black elite group of capitalist ruling over and oppressing people with unjust laws based on inequality. What has changed? What goes around comes around!

We argue that we have a competitive edge but pay a heavy price on some fronts.
Zimbabwe is a patriarchal society. WOZA has managed to work exactly because of the dismissive, ‘what can women do’ attitude. Yes we have to go through harsh interrogation and harassment and many women have been beaten but generally women have ‘done more with less consequence’ than the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) opposition. Dictators do not like their power challenged and as WOZA are not a political party and we do not want to be in parliament we are not as much of a threat.  


Police officers can be harsh on us but in response we simply show them the Love sign. Many a time we have in effect conducted a ‘workshop’ for our jailers acting out the role of a mother and teaching how the country can be rebuilt if we have love in our hearts.

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The Media Monitoring Project Zimbabwe

Monday August 29th – Sunday September 4th 2005

Weekly Media Update 2005-33








1. General comment


THE media’s increasing failure to fully cover newsworthy developments for the benefit of their audiences has become a growing source of concern and illustrates the void in news reporting and analysis that has become evident as a result of the repressive media laws, which have destroyed or strangled initiatives to diversify Zimbabwe’s media environment. This was evident again in the week under review with the media’s failure to adequately report and analyse important court cases that affect Zimbabweans’ rights to information and democratic governance.


For instance, since The Daily Mirror’s brief report (1/8) of the acquittal of the banned Daily News’ former Mutare bureau chief, Kelvin Jakachira, on charges of practising journalism without a licence, none of the media have followed up the matter and explained the basis for his acquittal.

In addition, the public has remained in the dark on the revelations that surfaced during Jakachira’s trial, particularly regarding the operations of the government-appointed Media and Information Commission (MIC).


While the MIC has in the past vehemently denied allegations of its partiality purporting that it was an independent regulatory authority, evidence emerged during Jakachira’s trial that the Commission’s old Causeway mail bag, Private Bag 7700, which it used for official correspondence, including journalists’ applications for accreditation, belonged to the Office of the President.


The government-controlled print and electronic media’s failure to report the outcome of the trial at all amounts to another blatant case of censorship. But it is regrettable that the private media can no longer be relied upon to provide details of newsworthy developments, particularly those that belie official claims of the Commission’s independence.


Another example during the week was the media’s general failure to report the High Court’s dismissal of an urgent application by the Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA) challenging the extension of the term of office of the government-appointed commission running Harare City Council, almost two-and-a-half months after the case was filed. Despite taking such a long time to make a determination on whether the matter was urgent or not, Justice Lavender Makoni would not give reasons for the ruling.


Except for The Standard (4/9), the rest of the media missed this latest example of the extent to which the justice delivery system has been compromised. Worse still, none of the media have attempted any informative analysis of how this ruling affects the democratic governance of Zimbabwe’s capital city. The private weekly merely quoted CHRA’s lawyer Rangu Nyamurundira saying his clients would now proceed with their case as an “ordinary application”.


2. Constitutional repression


THE government media’s status as supine messengers of the authorities was further affirmed by their coverage of the repressive Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment (No 17) Bill. Instead of openly discussing the far-reaching effects of the Bill, these media simply hailed it, echoing official claims that it will “bring finality” to government’s land reforms.


In fact, all but one of the 41 stories the official media [31 on ZBH and 10 in the government Press] carried merely regurgitated the authorities’ justification of the Bill without any attempt to balance government’s perspective with alternative views.

Neither did these media examine the full implications of the Bill – now only awaiting President Mugabe’s assent – on Zimbabweans’ property rights, freedom of movement, or on their civil and political rights.

Nor did they analyse the authorities’ abuse of traditional Chiefs and unelected legislators to bulldoze the Bill through Parliament.


Instead, ZTV (30/8, 8pm) merely stated that, the power of numbers worked in favour of the ruling party as it managed to accrue a two-thirds majority vote necessary to approve the Bill”.

Without fully informing its audiences on the circumstances leading to the passage of the Bill, the station (and Power FM 31/8, 6am) then passively quoted Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa defending the amendments, particularly the erosion of the right to contest the seizure of farm properties in court.


Said Chinamasa: As you know land rights were owned by 4,000 or so farmers. We are extinguishing those rights and in place we are creating in excess of 500,000 individual property rights. So that is revolutionary”. His comment was not subjected to analysis. Instead, ZTV simply accessed pro-government analysts such as Godwills Masimirembwa and Lovemore Gijima Msindo to endorse the Bill as a “momentous landmark in the history of Zimbabwe” that would transform the constitution to “suit the country’s social, political and economic environment”.

The Herald and Chronicle (31/8) followed suit.


They also unquestioningly quoted Chinamasa telling Parliament that the Constitutional Amendment “was significant and far-reaching” because once gazetted, land “would become State property”, without looking at how nationalising land would undermine investor confidence. Nor did they question the creation of a law that would not only “extinguish” the constitutional rights of former white farmers, but of all Zimbabweans.

Like ZBH, the two government dailies also avoided taking the authorities to task on their definition of the “agricultural land” they planned to nationalise or go beyond the reasons proffered in the Bill justifying restricting freedom of movement of “unpatriotic” Zimbabweans “deemed to be intent on harming national interests”.


In fact, all the stories the government media carried on the Bill glossed over the vagueness contained in some of the amendments. As a result, The Herald (1/9) was unable to interpret the broad and sinister implications of Amendment 22 of the Constitution, which provides for the imposition of restrictions on Zimbabweans “in the national interest, or in the interests of defence, public safety, public order, public morality, public health, the public interest or the economic interests of the State”.

Rather, the story narrowly interpreted the amendment as fashioned solely to refuse to give passports to “people who travel out of Zimbabwe on demonisation missions”.


ZTV (31/8, 8pm) also carried such myopic interpretations. And to further justify restrictions on the citizenry’s freedom of movement, the station passively quoted Chinamasa saying the provision will send a “very clear signal to our citizens” that they “cannot travel the width and breadth of the world using Zimbabwean passport to canvass for the military invasion of Zimbabwe, to lobby for official and unofficial sanctions against their own people”.

State Security Minister Didymus Mutasa concurred saying those who “demonise” Zimbabwe should not be given passports as they would have turned themselves into “enemies of the country”.


Likewise, the government Press either rehashed or amplified government’s rhetoric about the alleged nefarious activities of civic organisations and the MDC in an effort to endorse the authorities’ disregard for citizens’ fundamental constitutional right to freedom of movement.

The Herald (1/9), for example, carried two reports in which they tried to portray MDC MPs David Coltart and Welshman Ncube as being embroiled in international missions to “paddle (sic) the usual lies aimed at discrediting the State”.


It passively quoted Deputy Information Minister Bright Matonga contending, “It has never been a right to hold a Zimbabwean passport but a privilege that can be withdrawn once abused.” Matonga added that government’s proposed legislation restricting the movement of Zimbabweans deemed to be harbouring an intention to harm “national interests” as “a good law”.


The partisan manner in which the government media handled the subject was reflected by their sourcing pattern. See Figs 1 and 2.


Fig 1 Voice distribution on ZBH





Zanu PF


Ordinary people








Notably, except for three foreign voices, all the other sources endorsed the Bill. The three foreign voices were all of the Australian Ambassador Jon Sheppard airing his reservations of the amendments. However, ZBH sought to discredit his views by giving the impression that his concerns were to be expected since Australia was one of Britain’s allies who were allegedly demonising Zimbabwe for embarking on its land reform programme. And the 26 ordinary people quoted reflected the selectivity with which the broadcaster accessed the opinions of the public.


Fig 2 Voice distribution in the government Press













Only The Sunday Mail (4/9) displayed some measure of professionalism.  It balanced government’s perception of the Bill with alternative comments from MDC chief whip Innocent Gonese, retired High Court Judge, Justice George Smith, and Ambassador Sheppard, who all expressed their concerns on the Bill.


Their views however received greater expression in the private media, which carried 15 stories (Studio 7 [5] and private Press [10]) on the Bill. These media recorded several alternative voices, ranging from political analysts, lawyers, and civic organisations to international politicians, all roundly condemning the proposed law as a calculated attack on Zimbabweans’ democratic rights.


One of the analysts, the Zimbabwe Independent’s columnist, lawyer Alex Magaisa, noted (2/9) that government’s proposed amendments would convert the Constitution into “an instrument for control” and legitimise “arbitrary actions” of the authorities, thereby further harming the country’s political profile “and consequently, its economic fortunes”.


Other legal experts and rights activities expressed similar views on Studio 7 (31/8).

The tone of the commentators’ views were reflected in most of the headlines the private Press carried on the matter such as Attack on Democracy, (The Financial Gazette, 1/9), ZANU PF shuts key chapter on sanity, (the Zimbabwe Independent, 2/9) and Someone’s death wish for Zimbabwe, (The Standard, 4/9).


The Independent revealed that Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights was planning to challenge provisions of the Constitutional Amendment Bill before the African Commission for Human and People’s Rights (ACHPR) because it “takes away the duties of the (local) courts, violates property rights and empowers the government to take away passports”.


In fact, The Standard revealed that a few days after the passing of the Constitutional Amendment, government was already drawing up a list of opposition politicians and human rights activists who will be banned from travelling abroad.

The professional manner in which the private media exposed the gravity of this latest assault on Zimbabweans’ fundamental rights was reflected in their attempts to balance official views with independent observation as illustrated in Fig 3.


Fig 3 Voice distribution in the private Press













3. The IMF debt


THE media, particularly the government-controlled ones, generally failed to report holistically on Zimbabwe’s partial payment of its overdue arrears to the IMF or its general indebtedness to other international institutions in the 46 stories they carried on the topic.

The bulk of the stories appeared in the broadcast media, with ZBH carrying 25, while four featured on Studio 7. The government Press carried nine reports and the private papers had eight.


Although ZBH carried most of the reports, it hardly provided analytical detail on the matter. Rather, the government broadcaster, as illustrated by ZTV (31/9 8pm), simplistically hailed government’s payment of US$120 million out of the US$295 million it owes the IMF as a “source of immense national pride”, which demonstrated the country’s “unwavering commitment” to servicing its debt and engaging the international community in its economic turnaround programme.


Despite quoting the central bank as having said the “modest effort by Zimbabwe” to settle part of its debt “does not in any way nullify” the ongoing negotiations over a US$1 billion loan the country was seeking from South Africa, ZTV did not question the authorities on why the repayment had taken so long to be made if government was “committed” to servicing its debt, or how they had raised the money from our “own resources”.


Instead, ZBH stations (1/9, main bulletins) passively quoted Finance Minister Herbert Murerwa claiming that government has always been committed to settling its debt as illustrated by the fact that it has, since 1980, paid its arrears including those “accrued by the colonial regime”. There was no attempt to establish the veracity of Murerwa’s claims. Rather, ZTV allowed National Economic Consultative Forum official Nicholas Kitikiti to conjure up a conspiracy theory that if Zimbabwe was expelled from the IMF, following the part payment, “it will not be because the country is failing to honour its obligations” but because of “political objectives, which are being sought” through the “US’s so-called Zimbabwe Freedom and Democracy Act”. But how the threat of the country’s expulsion from the IMF and the US’s Zimbabwe Democracy Act were linked remained a mystery.  


The government Press’s nine stories were equally uncritical.

For instance, although The Herald (1/9) and The Sunday Mail (4/9) interviewed RBZ governor Gideon Gono, they hardly used the opportunity to obtain a clearer picture on why Zimbabwe had been failing to pay its arrears to the institution from February 2001 until March 2004, or name the “exporters and free fund holders” that the authorities got the money from.


Instead, they allowed themselves to be drowned in Gono’s florid, evasive and officious explanations. For example, instead of setting the record straight publicly on who exactly provided the funds used to offset the IMF balance of payments, The Sunday Mail only quoted him: “…I challenge anyone who has got an interest to know how we accumulated this money to come and have a cup of tea and I will be able to show them.”


The government media’s passive handling of the topic was reflected by its reliance on official voices and pro-government commentators as exemplified by ZBH’s sourcing pattern. See Fig 3.


Fig 3 Voice distribution on ZBH










Apart from the IMF voices, all the sources the government broadcaster accessed toed the official line.


While the official media did not expose government’s source of funds, the private media, as illustrated by Studio 7 (1/9) and the Independent (2/9), revealed that Gono had paid the IMF through liquidating foreign accounts owned by corporate organizations.

In addition, Studio 7 (2/9) noted that, contrary to the notion created by the government media, Zimbabwe’s membership with the IMF was still under threat despite the part payment. It quoted economist Godfrey Kanyeze saying Zimbabwe could still be expelled because it had not “really met all its obligations”.

The Sunday Mirror (4/9) echoed similar views.


The Independent quoted analysts cautioning that the debt repayment “would not open the floodgates for Harare to access funds from the IMF and the World Bank.” They noted that Zimbabwe’s economic problems would remain despite the payment because no new balance of payments, lines of credit, or direct foreign investment would flow in as a result of the payment.


It argued that until Zimbabwe “makes political reforms, abandons human rights violations… and unsustainable economic policies…the IMF, WB, WTO (World Trade Organisation) and Nepad, among others, would not assist the country.”

Kanyeze made similar observations on Studio 7 (2/9).



The MEDIA UPDATE was produced and circulated by the Media Monitoring Project Zimbabwe, 15 Duthie Avenue, Alexandra Park, Harare, Tel/fax: 263 4 703702, E-mail:


Feel free to write to MMPZ. We may not able to respond to everything but we will look at each message.  For previous MMPZ reports, and more information about the Project, please visit our website at

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Engineering news
Zimbabwe potential lies latent as growth push ramps-up in South Africa
The world’s second-largest platinum producer, Impala Platinum (Implats), expects less than 10% of the 2,3-million ounces of platinum it plans to produce by 2010 to arise from the politically-volatile Southern African country of Zimbabwe.

The company currently produces about 153 000 oz of its 1,815-million-ounce yearly production of platinum in Zimbabwe and, while it still has ambitions to raise output in the country to about 500 000 oz, its five-year business plan has only built-in 145 000 oz from its Zimplats mine and another 80 000 oz from Mimosa, a joint venture with Aquarius.

CEO Keith Rumble says that it will not commit to a bigger R5- to R6-billion expansion of Zimplats to 500 000 oz for 20 years until it has greater certainty on investment protection and Zimbabwe’s indigenisation policy.

He reveals that the company has even requested that the South African government include the issue of the bilateral accord covering investment protection ahead of any possible loan.

He indicated that a number of other South African companies, such as SABMiller, PPC and Dunlop Tyres, were also not prepared to make any further investments into Zimbabwe until the accord was concluded.

The company acknowledged that the current environment was ‘fraught’, but said it remained engaged and that some of its suggestions appeared to be being “recognised and factored” in to Zimbabwe’s decisions. It said the recent extension of the Zimplats mineral leases in the southern part of the operation created the framework for an expansion of up to 500 000 oz for 20 years. Government signoff on the fiscal provision underpinning that framework, known as the foreign currency account-management pro-cess, also encouraged it.

However, Implats was also still awaiting clarity on the indigenisation policy, with unconfirmed reports suggesting that the requirement might be set at 30%.

Rumble also welcomed the recent 400% devalu- ation of the Zimbabwean dollar following the scrapping of the export incentive, but acknowledged that it would not be sufficient to offset that incentive and that “consistent and persistent depreciation” of the currency would still be necessary in order that it truly reflected the underlying economic and inflationary conditions in the country.

In the meantime, therefore, the expansion focus has turned increasingly towards South Africa, and to the Impala leases area, near Rustenburg, in particular.

Overall, its projects are designed to raise the group’s production to 2,3-million ounces of pla- tinum by 2010, from existing levels of a little over 1,8-million ounces.

The company expects to have between R2- and R3-billion-worth of debt on its balance sheet (about a 20% to 25% gearing) by 2007 or 2008, given the substantial funding requirements of its capital-project pipeline. At present, the company is cash-flush, with nearly R4-billion in reserve, leading some to question whether the company’s capital management is not overly conservative, particularly given expectations for continued high levels of cash generation.

But chief financial officer David Brown counters that the total dividend of R23 a share – a 1,9 cover that will result in a total payment of R1,2-billion, including secondary tax on companies – is ‘prudent’ in the context of five to six years of above-trend capex. He also points out that this expenditure has the potential to grow further should the R6-billion expansion of Zimplats to a sustainable 500 000 oz/y and Implats’ share of the $2,25-billion Ambatovy nickel joint venture, in Madagascar, where it is in partnership with Dynatec and Sumitomo, materialise.

“We are mindful of the cash situation as regards the potential projects for that cash, but we will reassess from time to time. We have, in the past, returned excess cash to shareholders, and we will do it again, even to the extent of gearing the balance sheet,” he states, adding that the gearing level could reach 25% should the projects in Zimbabwe and Madagascar be approved.

For the current financial year, which runs until June 30 next year, some R3,3-billion has been set aside for sustaining and expansionary capital projects. A good portion of this capital will flow to two deep-level shaft projects on the Impala lease area, known as 16 and 20 shafts. Some R1,9-billion has been earmarked for the lease area as a whole, while R333-million has been set aside for the Marula project, R314-million for the Two Rivers joint venture with ArmPlatinum and another R395-million to advance the Ambatovy project.

This is a significant ramp-up from the last two years, when R1,8-billion and R2-billion was spent respectively on capital projects. Looking forward to the 2008 and 2009 financial years, capex is anti- cipated to approach the R5-billion level, with expenditure on Ambatovy alone expected to be in the order of R2,2-billion in 2008 and nearly R2,9-billion in 2009.

The main emphasis is on the Impala lease area, where the 16- and 20-shaft expansions should contribute 355 000 oz of platinum, the equivalent of 32% of total production from the lease area, when they reach full production.

The Number 16 shaft will be 1 600 m deep and will produce 225 000 t/m of ore. A 108-m-high headgear, the tallest in the world, is already in place and will house two friction winders, one for people and materials and the other for rock. The first blast starting the shaftsink took place on August 22.

At the shallower Number 20 shaft project, where production will be 185 000 t/m, there are plans to drop down by just over 1 km. An A-frame headgear has been constructed and the first blast for shaftsinking took place on August 26.

Also in South Africa, it and ArmPlatinum will spend R1,2-billion on the development of the Two Rivers project, which will be funded through an equal combination of debt and equity. First concentrate production is expected in the second half of 2006 and full production, of 120 000 ounces a year, late in 2007.

The ramp-up of the Marula project to 144 000 oz, meanwhile, is expected to be completed by 2009. A key issue at present is the finalisation of the black economic-empowerment component, with Rumble reporting that new financial models are being developed in light of the capitalisation of the project.

He reports, too, that the company has submitted applications to the Department of Minerals and Energy for the conversion of all of its mineral rights in South Africa to the new order and that it has calculated its BEE credits to be 9%. It will pursue negotiations with the Royal Bafokeng Nation (RBN), which currently owns 1,5% of the company, and its employees (through employee share options) in a bid to reach the 15% five-year milestone and the 26% ten-year requirement.

“The RBN has currency in the form of the royal- ty and they can use that to purchase equity,” Rumble pointed out.
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Zimbabwe sets up graft-busting commission

President Robert Mugabe swore in eight members of Zimbabwe's first commission to fight corruption, which has thrived during the country's worst economic crisis since independence in 1980.

"If we decide as Zimbabweans that we do not want corruption, then we are not going to have corruption," Eric Harrid, the chairman of the commission, told state television.

Mr Mugabe last year launched a drive to stamp out corruption, but targeted mainly bankers and others in private business while only a handful of officials in his party were taken to court.

Former Finance Minister Chris Kuruneri, now on trial for breaching foreign exchange laws, is the only high-profile government official to have been caught up in the blitz.

Analysts say last year's campaign has lost steam and was in part an attempt to divert attention from the economic crisis.

Critics have accused Mr Mugabe's Government of corruptly allocating land seized from white farmers to members of his ruling party, blaming the policy for a slump in the agricultural sector and persistent food shortages.

Mr Mugabe's denies the charges and says up to 500,000 new black farmers have emerged from the program.

- Reuters

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Bucksfree Press

Makosi upset as deportation from UK looms

Talking it up: Makosi Musambasi meets Lewis Parkinson, 12
Talking it up: Makosi Musambasi meets Lewis Parkinson, 12

By Jeremy Campbell

BIG Brother star Makosi Musambasi says she is upset at the threat of deportation after "looking after" British people for six years.

The former cardiac nurse at Wycombe Hospital, who originally comes from Zimbabwe, spoke out while she was in the town last Thursday to meet fans at the Carphone Warehouse in White Hart Street.

Makosi, 24, was stopped by police for not wearing a seatbelt last Tuesday, then detained for several hours as her name appeared on a list of people with an invalid visa.

She said: "Yes, it is upsetting, but I have looked after the British people for six years, I have entertained the British people for four months, and I would love to carry on being a part of this nation."

Makosi was given ten days to lodge an appeal by the Home Office, who will then consider her case.

Until it makes a decision, she is legally entitled to stay in the country. A Home Office spokesman could not say how long this would take.

Makosi added: "A lot of people have to face up to it, but it is different to have to face up to it in the public eye.

"It is difficult because people are always going on about it.

"If it means paying tax, I am going to have a very large tax bill, looking at the way things are going at the moment.

"I would love to stay here, and I hope that someone somewhere feels they are safer with me here than terrorists."

In spite of everything, Makosi insists she is enjoying her time since coming third on Big Brother. "There is so much pressure, but I am coping OK," she added.

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People's Daily
Zimbabwe outlines plans to reduce child mortality
Zimbabwe needs to increase coverage of its immunization program, more drugs on prevention of parent to child transmission (PPTCT) and to strengthen its health delivery system to achieve the target of reducing child mortality by 2015, a government report said Thursday.
In its progress report to the United Nations on Zimbabwe Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) 2004, launched on Thursday, the government noted the need to sustain the high coverage of immunization against most childhood killer diseases, particularly to increase and sustain high child immunization against measles.
It said the country needs to improve access to health care facilities, particularly in newly resettled, rural and remote areas and avail essential medicines and vaccines, especially antiretroviral drugs for PPTCT.
Zimbabwe targets to reduce infant mortality by 66 percent by 2015. The under five mortality is also expected to drop by 66 percent from 102 per 1,000 in 2000 to 34 per 1,000 by 2015.
The government also targets to reduce under five malnutrition from an average of 20 percent in 2002 to seven percent by 2015 while measles immunization is set to reach 90 percent during the same period.
Some of the major causes of child mortality include HIV/AIDS, poverty, hunger and malnutrition, weakened health delivery system, inadequate information, education and communication in childcare, unsafe drinking water and inadequate sanitation as well as adolescent pregnancies.
The government is expected to spend 43.2 million US dollars on health by 2015.
The eight MDGs were adopted by Heads of State and Government at the UN General Assembly in September 2000.
The MDGs include eradicating extreme poverty and hunger, achieving universal primary education, promoting gender equality, improving maternal health, combating HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases, ensuring environmental, sustainability and developing a global partnership for development.
Source: Xinhua
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Zim Online
Zimbabwe left with three weeks’ supply of food
Nyanga - Zimbabwe is left with only three weeks supply of food, Ministry of Agriculture permanent secretary Simon Pazvakavambwa disclosed on Thursday. Addressing business leaders at the ongoing Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries congress in Nyanga town, 270 km north-east of Harare, Pazvakavambwa said many families could be without food in the "coming few weeks" if more maize was not imported. The country would be "finished" if it failed to bring in more food urgently, he added. "We have in our (grain) silos three weeks’ supply of food and if for some reason imports stop, we are finished," Pazvakavambwa told his stunned audience. "And if we take long (to import food), there may be no food in many people’s homes in the coming few weeks," he added. Harare, which initially denied Zimbabwe faced food shortages, has refused to formally appeal for help from the World Food Programme (WFP), although President Robert Mugabe last June assured WFP boss James Morris that his government would accept help from the United Nations food relief agency. Mugabe’s cash-strapped government has insisted it has enough resources to ensure none of the estimated four million Zimbabweans or a third of the country’s total 12 million people in need of food aid starved. WFP officials say without a formal appeal for assistance by Harare, it is difficult to mobilise adequate aid for Zimbabwe.
But Pazvakavambwa’s startling revelations come barely two weeks after Harare paid US$120 million to settle outstanding debts with the International Monetary Fund in a bid to avoid expulsion from the institution for non-payment of debts. The IMF board votes in Washington today whether to expel Zimbabwe which still owes the Fund US$175 million. While it is critical for Zimbabwe to remain a member of the IMF, observers say Mugabe should have channelled the money paid to the Bretton Woods institution towards the payment for fuel, food and essential medical drugs to avert a looming humanitarian disaster in his country. A US$500 million loan offer by South Africa remains untapped because Mugabe is unhappy about conditions attached to the loan, in particular demands that he revives negotiations with the opposition to find a lasting solution to Zimbabwe’s crisis. The money offered by South Africa is enough to clear all Zimbabwe’s IMF debt, buy fuel and food and leave some change for crop seeds and other farm inputs to ensure the next farming season less than two months away is successful. Local agricultural experts have warned that the 2005/2006 season could be a total flop even if Zimbabwe received good rains because of shortages of crop seeds, fertilisers and fuel. Zimbabwe is in the grip of a grinding economic crisis which began after the IMF withdrew balance-of-payments support in 1999 and worsened after Mugabe launched his controversial programme to seize land from white farmers the following year.
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Zimbabwe Independent

Freedom to import grain a hoax
Augustine Mukaro
Government claims that it has opened grain imports to private players has turned out to be a hoax as only stockfeeds processing companies are getting import licences. Finance minister Herbert Murerwa, in his mid-term fiscal policy review statement, said the state-owned Grain Marketing Board (GMB) would no longer exercise a monopoly in maize and wheat trade while import of the two commodities and other food-aid items by private firms would not be subject to duty. Murerwa said it was critical for the private sector to participate in supporting drought relief efforts. To facilitate private sector food imports, several import licences had been issued, he said. He said duty and VAT on all such imports would be waived. Investigations by the Zimbabwe Independent have revealed that only stockfeed processing companies have benefited from the five licences that have been issued so far. "Stockfeeds producers have not been getting allocations from either GMB coffers or imported grain, adversely affecting their business," an official at the GMB said. He said National Foods, Agrifoods and other traditional stockfeeds companies already have licences to import grain for stockfeeds. Of the country's 1,8 million tonnes national requirement, about 400 000 tonnes was used for stockfeeds which included dairy, beef, poultry and piggery needs. National Foods chief executive Ian Kind confirmed his company had a grain importing licence for stockfeeds only. "Our licence allows us to import stockfeeds only," Kind said "Grain for human consumption is handled by the GMB. We are not allowed to import grain for human consumption and if there are any companies with licences they should be doing stockfeeds." Kind said his company had not been importing any grain lately because of shortages in foreign currency and was relying on the GMB's sporadic supplies to remain operational. "We have not been importing grain because there is no foreign currency so our operations have been relying on small supplies from the GMB," he said.
Analysts said government's position on grain imports was worrying in view of the critical food shortages in both urban and rural areas. An estimated 4,3 million people face starvation unless 1,2 million tonnes of food aid are urgently provided. Total maize production is down to between 750 000 and 1 000 000 tonnes, against national requirements of 1,8 million tonnes. This leaves import requirements of up to 1,2 million tonnes. Murerwa said only 300 000 tonnes of maize had so far been imported because of foreign currency shortages.Analysts said recently government has resorted to ad hoc measures to avail forex needed to import food, fuel, medical drugs and electricity. Zimbabwe faces its worst agricultural season since Independence in 1980 due a critical shortages of seed, fertiliser and agricultural equipment. Meanwhile, Zimbabwe currently has three weeks of grain supply in its silos, Secretary for Agriculture Simon Pazvakavambwa told a CZI Congress in Nyanga yesterday. He said it was crazy to pay local farmers $2 million a tonne when government is importing grain from South Africa at between $8 million and $9 million a tonne. Speaking about the RBZ Public Sector Funding (PSF) programme, Pazvakavambwa said: "I don't think it is right for RBZ to run agriculture.It is crazy to fund a product that matures in two years and expect loan repayment in six months." Farmers organisations and fertiliser and chemical companies this week revealed to a parliamentary portfolio committee on agriculture that there won't be enough inputs this year. Fertiliser companies told the committee that their warehouses were empty. The Zimbabwe Seed Traders Association said there were only 28 660 tonnes of maize seed in the country, slightly more than a third of what is needed.
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BBC News

Zimbabwe's economy - still on the brink
As the International Monetary Fund meets to decide whether to expel Zimbabwe, Justin Pearce from the BBC News website speaks to two researchers about a national economy that keeps going despite the odds.
Going shopping in Zimbabwe these days is an odd experience. For one thing, you don't simply plan to go to the supermarket on Tuesday after work. More likely, you find yourself rushing there when a rumour goes around the neighbourhood that one shop is selling bread that morning. You get there, and if you're lucky there's bread, but there's no cooking oil, flour or soap; the shelves will, however, be stacked with things like wine, chocolate and electrical appliances. Buying any of these luxuries will require wads of $20,000 notes - now the highest denomination, but worth less than US$0.50 on the black market. Inflation runs at more than 250% per year. Outside the shop you might spot a $500 note lying on the ground - no-one considers it worth the effort to bend down to pick it up. Zimbabwe has long had policies of fixing the prices of basic commodities so that the poorest may not go hungry, but in the context of inflation, general shortages and partial deregulation, the policy is backfiring: price-controlled goods mean little or no profit for shopkeepers. "Any trader will try to put on the shelves anything that is not controlled," says Martin Rupiya, senior researcher in peace and security at the Institute for Security Studies in South Africa's capital, Pretoria. Until 1998, there was a heavy tax on imported items - the IMF insisted this tax be scrapped, providing a further incentive for shopkeepers to favour luxuries over essentials. While traders who have applied to the Reserve Bank for foreign currency are legally obliged to show that part of their allowance has been spent on basics, they tend to keep this to a minimum. Zimbabweans complain of bakeries that sell bread at the regulated price, but bake their loaves less than the standard weight.
For years now, pundits have been predicting the imminent collapse of Zimbabwe's economy, amid hyperinflation and foreign exchange shortages. Will it ever happen? Has it already happened? What does "collapse" mean anyhow? "The context of collapse may be different in terms of what we are looking for," Mr Rupiya says. "At street level things have just about stopped functioning - it's at a different level for the international community." Patrick Bond from the Centre for Civil Society at South Africa's University of KwaZulu-Natal also points to a difference between the big and the small picture: "At the macro level, the state seems capable of periodically bailing out the economy... and by assessing where forex is for emergency purchases and making those available to its preferred importers. So I would anticipate this continuing though the costs - hyperinflation and the culture of the black market - are severe. On the micro side, the key question is whether the complicated functioning of a siege economy with very divergent market power can continue. But I think at a certain point, it's very hard to keep a patient alive when there's more Band-Aid than skin. When that critical point comes is impossible to say." It's easy to find the petrol stations in Zimbabwe - just look for the queue of cars that may be 100 vehicles long. And if you do see a petrol station with no queue, it's probably one of the garages that the government recently designated as taking foreign currency only. This response to the fuel crisis drew a furious response from Zimbabwe's privately-owned press, which felt that government's assurance that it would ask no questions about the source of the foreign currency legitimised those who have been stashing foreign exchange illegally for years. Patrick Bond describes the measure as "the first step towards a more general 'dollarisation'. It's important but I think the state will limit dollarisation for the moment, because it still has this awesome power to grab forex everywhere it can sniff it out." The government surprised most observers when it "sniffed out" $120m to pay back part of its IMF debt. Mr Rupiya says there is a need to examine whether the economy is capable of generating foreign exchange: "If it's not, then dollarisation will start to undermine the economy."
So where are the dollars coming from these days? A mismanaged land reform programme is widely blamed for the shrinking of the commercial agriculture sector, which cost Zimbabwe dearly in terms of foreign exchange, at the same time as drought exacerbated the need to import basic foodstuffs. But South African and Australian investors remain committed to the mining sector, along with the unknown deals that may have resulted from President Robert Mugabe's recent overtures towards China - even electrical and fuel shortages are likely to take their toll on the mines' output. So what will happen once the IMF makes its decision? Mr Rupiya believes that if the IMF votes not to expel Zimbabwe - as seems likely - Harare will respond by implementing some of the structural changes the fund has called for, including the lifting of restrictions on trade and the cancellation of subsidies. This is a measure that can hurt the poorest hardest - though in Zimbabwe's case it may be somewhat mitigated by the fact that the subsidised basics are barely available anyway. Another recommendation would be to cut public spending, yet the recent decision to introduce the Senate - an upper house of parliament accommodating 66 new members - suggests the government is not about to tighten its belt. "Zimbabwe, as a case study, keeps on surprising us," Mr Rupiya says. In any case, Mr Bond argues, it will make no difference at all whether or not Zimbabwe is expelled from the IMF: "They haven't been repaying loans at the required rate since 1999, and they owe the World Bank and African Development Bank even more, with no prospect of paying. "Even if they were fully repaid, their policies prevent any further lending. So the $120m repayment - if really true - was mere vanity, it seems." According to Mr Bond, only fundamental political change will revive Zimbabwe's economic fortunes: "The most important aspects of economic revival are linked to a dramatic change required in social confidence and in the class character of the elite, who are generally parasitical and corrupt."
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Zimbabwe Independent

Zim pulls out of AU human rights meeting
Godfrey Marawanyika
Zimbabwe will no longer host the African Commission for Human and Peoples' Rights meeting in November due to budgetary constraints, Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa has said. Chinamasa said government had informed the commission that it was no longer able to host the meeting. "We are no longer hosting it," he said. "We had indicated to them a long time ago that we wanted to host the meeting but because of financial circumstances we are no longer able to do so," Chinamasa said. Relations between Harare and the African Union (AU) have cooled recently because of government's refusal to grant Tom Nyandunga, an envoy of AU secretary-general Alpha Konare, permission to assess the impact of its controversial Operation Murambatsvina. Nyandunga was denied authority to assess the clean-up campaign as government claimed that it was not informed of his visit. Nyandunga has said he will proceed to do a report of his findings while he was holed up in a hotel in Harare. The United Nations secretary-general Kofi Annan sent a fact-finding mission to Harare headed by Anna Tibaijuka. Tibaijuka later produced a damming report which was not taken lightly by the government. The government has since responded to the Tibaijuka report, arguing that what was said by the opposition and civic groups was presented as fact while its own views were taken as mere allegations. Chinamasa denied that government's decision on hosting the commission had anything to do with the fallout from Tibaijuka's report or Nyandunga's failure to proceed with his mission. "We told them (African Commission) of our position long before the Tibaijuka thing (report)," he said.
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 The Zimbabwean
Mapfumo's exile - longing for home
By our Arts correspondent
London - I am not exactly sure what I was expecting, but I do not think it was for Zimbabwe’s greatest musician to entertain me when I snuck backstage at the Shepherd’s Bush Empire during the break of his first UK gig this summer. I found him in the dressing room, relaxing on a leather couch with his band members. Though he had just come off stage he seemed entirely relaxed, and gave me his undivided attention. He even gave me his number so I could give him a call to arrange an interview before he flew back to the States. And so I went down to the Holiday Inn in North Greenwich and found him watching Sky Sports in his room. He had drawn the curtains to keep out the sweltering heat and he was just resting on the bed in t-shirt and jeans, with his black and white knitted cap on his head. "I’ve been in the States for five years now and I haven’t been back to Zimbabwe for two years", he tells me, "but I’ll be going back. That’s were I want to live and I still have my family and friends there. My brothers and kids are in the States with me, because it’s impossible to live in Zimbabwe right now, but we’ll all be going back as soon as there is change."
Mapfumo left home because he no longer felt safe there. Since the liberation struggle he has been the voice of resistance through his music. When he realised that things had not changed after independence – that wealth had simply shifted from one small group to another – he raised his voice of protest again. Though there were no specific threats against him, he is confident that he would disappear as soon as he returned. I wonder whether he feels excluded from Zimbabwean society. How can his voice be heard if his music is unavailable in stores and it is banned on the radio? "I am dealing with bigger issues these days. People are struggling around the world, in countries like China and Iraq." He does not go so far as admit that the government has been highly successful in boxing him out of Zimbabwean society. But he does accept, "The people in the rural areas, they are the ones who need to hear me, but they can’t." And there is nothing he can do about that.
Life in the US is fairly good, though he misses home of course. "Lot’s of people come to my gigs. It’s okay." What about the fact that at home he was at the top and now he is just one of many? Does that bother him? Does he ever find he loses his voice in the World Music pigeonhole? "Yes, it’s true not as many people know me there, but I still have my followers who come to listen to my music." As for World Music, "I can’t expect people in the States to know everything about African music. There is too much of it, so that’s why it’s all World Music. But what I don’t understand is that my brothers the African Americans don’t come to listen to my music. They should know where their roots are and that my music is for them too. Instead, there is kind of superiority thing. They think they are better than Africans."This culture shock clearly disturbs Mapfumo. It also applies to music trends in Zimbabwe. He raises his voice to emphasise how important it is for Africans to maintain their identity. "I don’t want to hear Zimbabweans doing hip-hop. That is not their culture. They should be following in my footsteps or those of Oliver Mtukudzi or Simon Chimbetu, who are good traditional musicians. Rap is not Zimbabwean and so it is not true music."
I try to negotiate that there may be some benefit in cultural interchange, but he is resolved in his purism. This, even though he accepts that African music forms the basis of popular Western music. However, his appeal to the younger generation is evident from the youthful crowd at the Empire concert. He must have been in 15 different phone camera visors at any one time, the bearers singing along with some of his classics. And with his renewed political intonations, he still strikes a strong chord across the board. What will it take for you to go back home? "It depends. If a Zanu PF (wo)man takes over, they may just be the same as before and I may not be welcome there. But I’ll go back to see my mother, who’s still alive, as soon as I can."
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Mail & Guardian
Zimbabwe prisoners using Bibles as toilet paper

Harare, Zimbabwe

09 September 2005 12:27

Prisoners in Zimbabwe's main remand prison are forced to use pages from the Bible as toilet paper, an opposition lawmaker said on Friday.

Opposition lawmaker Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga made the remarks following a trip she made to Harare Remand Prison with other members of a parliamentary committee.

The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) lawmaker confirmed press reports that inmates at the notorious holding cells are forced to tear out pages from Bibles inside their cells to use as a substitute for toilet paper.

"Prisoners sometimes use blankets to clean themselves. But that's the level of desperation. The Bible is the only thing they have," said Misihairabwi-Mushonga, who is a member of Parliament for Harare's low-income suburb of Glen Norah.

She said members of the parliamentary committee also found that skin diseases like scabies as well as tuberculosis are rife in the prison due to overcrowding. Sometimes 60 people are crammed into a cell built for 30 prisoners, she said.

Misihairabwi-Mushonga said more worrying to her was that the prisoners included people who came to find asylum in Zimbabwe from as far away as Liberia and Pakistan.

"People are being subjected to these conditions who have not committed any crime. They tell you, 'I'm here because I'm a refugee.' It's because they don't have their [immigration] papers, or they came looking for asylum."

She criticised the slow pace of the courts, which was causing a backlog of cases and long waiting periods for prisoners. Press reports say there are more than a thousand prisoners being held at the prison.

Eighty per cent of the inmates at the remand prison had been held there more than eight months, some for as long as five years, Misihairabwi-Mushonga noted.

"The justice system doesn't seem to be working anymore. Some have been in that place for five years -- no trial. Some are serving their sentences before they go to trial."

Although there had been some improvement in prison facilities, such as attempts to fix doors on toilets inside the cells, the conditions remained bleak.

MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai spent two weeks in Harare Remand Prison following his arrest in June 2003 on treason charges for calling for street demonstrations against the government. The charges have since been withdrawn.

Commuters stranded after fuel hike
Meanwhile, bus fares have more than doubled following a massive hike in fuel prices.

Scores of people were left stranded on Thursday at Harare's busy Mbare Musika bus terminus, unable to afford the new fares, the Daily Mirror reported.

The state-controlled Herald said commuters travelling from Harare's satellite city of Chitungwiza into the centre of the capital were being charged Z$25 000 ($1,02) up from Z$11 000 (44 US cents).

Passengers from low-income suburbs like Mbare and Glen View have also seen fares double.

On Wednesday the government hiked the prices of petrol and diesel by 130%, citing devaluations in the local currency and an international increase in oil prices.

Commentators warned the hike would have a knock-on effect on transport fares, increasing hardship for Zimbabweans already struggling to survive in an economy marked by inflation of more than 254% and high unemployment rates.

A teachers' union warned the new fares may mean teachers cannot get to school.

"The teachers will not be able to go to work," Raymond Majongwe, the head of the Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) told the Daily Mirror.

Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo condemned the fare hikes, which have not been approved by the government.

Bus operators "should not unilaterally increase the fares. We understand the fact that fuel has gone up by over 100% but that should not translate into 100% fare increases," Chombo told the Herald.

"Commuter omnibus operators should bring their proposals to the ministry for consideration," he added.

The price of fuel on the flourishing black market was also reported to have doubled.

Wednesday's hike in fuel prices followed an earlier one in June.

Zimbabwe has been facing critical shortages of fuel for several months, with most petrol stations running dry.

Only five stations across the country are allowed to sell fuel in foreign currency but reports say even these garages do not have fuel all the time.

Before the hikes, Zimbabwe's fuel -- when sold at the controlled prices -- was among the cheapest in the southern African region.

Now petrol sells at Z$23 300 a litre (about 95 US cents) while diesel costs Z$20 800 (85 US cents). Sapa-dpa
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