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

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Zim Online

Zimbabwe to introduce exit visas to rein in critics
Wed 14 September 2005

HARARE - Zimbabweans will be required to obtain exit visas to travel
outside the country under new draft regulations that could see opposition
leaders and government critics banned from leaving the country, ZimOnline
has learnt.

Authoritative sources said the regulations were being "deliberated on"
by the Justice and Foreign Affairs Ministries before they are submitted to
Mugabe's Cabinet for approval and to Parliament later for enactment.

"If the plans go ahead, then the exit visas would come into effect at
the beginning of next year. Officials from the ministries of Foreign Affairs
and Justice are deliberating on the modalities which will be sent to the
Cabinet for approval," said a senior government official, who spoke on
condition he was not named.

Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa could neither deny nor confirm
whether the government was considering imposing exit visas when contacted by
ZimOnline on Tuesday.

Chinamasa would only say: "Are you afraid? Whether we introduce the
visas you are talking about is not the issue. The issue is that we should
not allow saboteurs to go round the world bad mouthing the country."

Already the government can seize passports from Zimbabweans after
Mugabe last week approved controversial constitutional changes empowering
the state to do so. The government says it needs power to withdraw travel
documents from citizens it feels may harm the interests of the country if
allowed to travel abroad.

But critics say Mugabe will use the new passport law to immobilise
human rights activists and opposition leaders and prevent them from
highlighting government repression to the world.

The government used its overwhelming majority in Parliament to push
through the constitutional changes that ban Zimbabweans from contesting in
court seizure of their land by the state and also provides for the creation
of a senate that critics say will further entrench Mugabe and his ruling
ZANU PF party's stranglehold on power.

Enjoying absolute control of Parliament, the government would be able
to overrun the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change party to
railroad the proposed visa laws through the House.

Zimbabwe is in the grip of a severe economic crisis blamed on
repression and mismanagement by Mugabe, particularly his chaotic seizure of
land from white farmers that destablised the mainstay agriculture sector and
in a large part contributed to perennial food shortages.

An estimated four million people or about a third of the 12 million
Zimbabweans require about 1.2 million tonnes of food aid or they could
starve. Inflation is above 250 percent and unemployment is more than 70
percent while a burgeoning HIV/AIDS crisis is killing more than 2 000
Zimbabweans each week in the backdrop of a collapsing public health sector.

But Mugabe, who founded Zimbabwe from the ashes of the British colony
of Rhodesia in 1980, denies ruining the country, instead blaming its myriad
problems on sabotage by Western governments out to fix Harare for seizing
land from whites and giving it to landless blacks.

The veteran leader also accuses opposition leaders and human rights
activists of worsening Zimbabwe's situation by campaigning for international
sanctions against the government.

Mugabe who together with his top officials is banned from the United
States, European Union, Switzerland, Australia and New Zealand says the
targeted sanctions are hurting most the economy and ordinary Zimbabweans. -
ZimOnline

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Zim Online

Harare dry as fuel crisis worsens
Wed 14 September 2005

HARARE - Zimbabwe's long running fuel crisis worsened in the past week
with virtually all garages in Harare for example without diesel or petrol on
Tuesday.

Even garages given special permission last month to sell fuel in hard
currency and have had constant supplies since then, were also without the
commodity.

In some outlying areas such as Gwanda town deep in the south of the
country, garage owners said they had not received supplies for more than a
month.

"I have been on this queue since last night but there is no fuel, I
can also not get back the foreign currency I used to buy fuel coupons," said
Emma Shongore, as she waited along with hundreds of other motorists at
Wedzera Petroleum service station along Harare's Samora Machel Avenue.

Wedzera is one of a few local oil firms allowed to sell petrol and
diesel in hard currency.

But fuel industry players told ZimOnline the acute shortage was
because the government was diverting hard cash collected from the pumps to
paying creditors who helped it raise the US$120 million paid to the
International Monetary Fund (IMF) two weeks ago.

The payment helped Zimbabwe escape expulsion from the IMF with the
Fund's board last Friday recommending that the southern African nation be
given another six months to pay an outstanding US$175 million and
consolidate relations with the Bretton Woods institution.

An official at Wedzera Petroleum's head office in Harare said: "The
problem is we are not in charge of the foreign currency collected from
motorists. The RBZ collects and gives us small portions which are however
far below market demand."

Energy Minister Mike Nyambuya said there was some fuel coming into the
country but added that this was far too little and not enough for everyone.
The government was working flat out to address the situation, Nyambuya said.
But the minister refused to disclose what specific steps his department was
taking to ensure adequate fuel supplies.

"It is common knowledge that fuel is in short supply in Zimbabwe but
we are continually exploring ways and means to solve the crisis," Nyambuya
said.

Apart from fuel, electricity, essential medical drugs, food and nearly
every other basic survival commodity is in critical short supply in Zimbabwe
because there is no hard cash to pay foreign suppliers.

A US$500 million loan offer by South Africa to help Zimbabwe pay off
the IMF and buy food and fuel remains untapped because President Robert
Mugabe is unhappy about demands by Pretoria that he commits to re-open
dialogue with the opposition before money can be released to him. -
ZimOnline

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Zim Online

Zimdollar trades at $26 180 to the greenback
Wed 14 September 2005

HARARE - The Zimbabwe dollar on Tuesday traded at $26 180 to the
United States dollar in tandem with inflation.

Annual inflation gained 10.3 percentage points on the July rate of
254.8 percent to 265.1 percent in August.

Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe sources on Monday told ZimOnline that the
corresponding adjustment in the exchange rate was part of an "understanding"
between the central bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) that the
exchange rate be adjusted in line with movement in the rate of inflation.

But Finance Minister Herbert Murerwa denied that there was such an
"understanding or agreement" with the IMF on exchange rate management.

According to the same RBZ sources, the drop in the dollar value to the
greenback was also because of mounting pressure on the government's foreign
currency auction floors where demand has more than outstripped supply.

The acute shortage of hard cash had also worsened Zimbabwe's long
running fuel shortages with nearly every garage in Harare without petrol or
diesel on Tuesday.

The IMF board, which last week deferred recommending Zimbabwe's
expulsion until after six months, warned that economic and social conditions
in the troubled southern African country would deteriorate further unless
Harare implemented drastic measures to stem economic decline. - ZimOnline

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Zim Online

Police chief cracks down on cheeky fuel thieves
Wed 14 September 2005

KAROI - A police commander on Tuesday ordered his officers to arrest
and lock up in cells all illegal fuel traders in the small mining town of
Karoi because thieves stole 70 litres of petrol from his parked vehicle.

Thieves drained the petrol from chief superintendent Leonard Makunike's
car last Monday night. Makunike is the officer commanding police in Hurungwe
district which incorporates the town of Karoi.

The stolen fuel is certain to be offloaded onto the black market which
is thriving in the small town 204 km north-west of Harare as it is elsewhere
across the fuel-starved Zimbabwe.

The 50 illegal fuel traders picked from Karoi's central business
district were still in police custody by last night.

"I am lucky that I was not arrested but the police are hunting us"
said Rodwell Pambare, 34, who has survived on illegally selling petrol since
the fuel crisis worsened three years ago.

Pambare said about 20 police officers descended on their trading spot
and rounded up everyone who was there including innocent bystanders who are
not involved in the illegal sale of fuel. He said he was quick to take to
his heels but his friends were not.

Contacted by ZimOnline, Makunike said the police were not on a revenge
operation but were out to stamp out the illegal fuel black market. He said:
"We cannot allow fuel dealers to continue stealing fuel and this operation
will be on as we want to rid Karoi of all illegal fuel dealers."

Some of those arrested would be charged with loitering, the police
chief said. - ZimOnline

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Zim Online

Zimbabwean pressure group to demonstrate at UN offices
Wed 14 September 2005

JOHANNESBURG - A Zimbabwean pressure group will next Saturday stage
demonstrations at the United Nations (UN) offices to press the international
community to act against President Robert Mugabe's human rights violations.

Ralph Black a spokesman of the Association of Zimbabweans Based Abroad
that is organising the demonstrations, said they wanted to help put pressure
on world leaders meeting at the UN to address the five-year old Zimbabwean
political crisis.

"The demonstrations are to protest the brutal and repressive regime of
President Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe. World leaders must do something about
Zimbabwe before the country drags the rest of southern Africa into an
abyss," Black told ZimOnline.

World leaders meet today at the UN to discuss various issues relating
to world peace and security. Mugabe, who denies charges of human rights
violations, is also scheduled to address the UN General Assembly.

Black said the protesters will also seek to highlight recent
constitutional changes in Zimbabwe which will further limit democratic space
in the country.

Mugabe last week approved recent constitutional changes that bar the
largely white farmers from contesting the forcible seizure of their land in
Zimbabwe's courts. The new law will also seek to ban Zimbabweans deemed
"saboteurs" of the government from travelling abroad. - ZimOnline

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VOA

UN Chief Annan to Take Up Aid Issues With Mugabe By Blessing Zulu
Washington
13 September 2005

United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan will take the opportunity of the
General Assembly's 60th Session, which opened Tuesday, to speak with
President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe about humanitarian assistance issues,
sources said.

A senior U.N. official said their discussions will go beyond the normal
consultations in the scope of the General Assembly and cover the aftermath
of Harare's May through July urban "cleanup" campaign that left more than a
half million people homeless.

At the top of the agenda, according to this source, is the Zimbabwean
government's unwillingness to authorize a "flash" appeal to donors for $30
million to help victims of the operation. U.N. humanitarian aid coordinator
Jan Egeland said last month that his office and the government could not
agree on the wording of the appeal, specifically as to language describing
the scope of the dislocation and humanitarian need.

The U.N. later said discussions were continuing - but weeks later the appeal
has yet to be issued. Harare likewise refuses to formally request food
assistance through the U.N. World Food Program although maize and other
staples have long been in short supply for months and grain stocks by one
official account are dangerously low.

Sources said Mr. Annan is also likely to bring up the issue of political
reform - notably engaging all political parties as the path to resolving the
country's crisis.

Reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe Zimbabwean Ambassador
to the United Nation Boniface Chidyausiku, who said the meeting would be
routine.
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Institute for War and Peace Reporting

Zimbabwe: Mugabe Succession Struggle

Ethnic allegiances play complex role in battle to succeed Mugabe.

By James Mapapu in Masvingo (Africa Reports No 41, 13-Sep-05)

With Robert Mugabe having announced that he plans to step down as president
of Zimbabwe in 2008, controversy continues to rage over the question of who
will replace him.

Mugabe - in power for a quarter of a century - made clear who was his own
favourite candidate for succession when he shoehorned his longstanding ally
Joice Mujuru into the post of vice- president late last year.

But another member of the president's ZANU PF party, Emmerson Mnangagwa -
who had been widely viewed as a natural successor before being sidelined by
the move - retains support.

The whole dispute over succession is inextricably tied in with rivalries
between Zimbabwe's various tribes and clans.

And it has only deepened of late in the midst of Murambatsvina, or Operation
Drive Out the Rubbish - Mugabe's infamous campaign to expel hundreds of
thousands of urban poor from their homes.

Mujuru - who earned the nickname Teurai Ropa, or Spill Blood, after becoming
involved in the war for independence from white rule at the age of 18 - has
held various ministerial posts under Mugabe. She was appointed
vice-president at last December's ZANU PF electoral congress.

In the run-up to the congress, Mnangagwa - a shrewd political player also
known as Ngwenja, or Crocodile - had also successfully lobbied six
provincial chairmen to back him for the vice- presidential post.

But Mnangagwa's bid came to nothing. In the event, Mugabe turned on the
chairmen who had backed him, suspending them from ZANU PF before embarking
on a campaign to root out Mnangagwa's other senior supporters.

While ZANU PF is keen to stress that all is now well, it is clear that the
fallout from this whole affair is far from resolved.

Mnangagwa appears to have retained the support of all six of the provinces
that backed him in his bid for the vice-presidency.

He commands a similar aura of fear as the president and is not necessarily
thought of as a cure for Zimbabwe's decline. But he is perhaps the only
person capable of uniting warring factions within ZANU PF.

Senior politicians in Masvingo, in the heart of territory dominated by
Mnangagwa's clan, have already ruled out the possibility of supporting
Mujuru if and when Mugabe steps down.

"Do you honestly think that Mujuru can lead this country when Emmerson
[Mnangagwa] is there?" asked one local senior ZANU PF politician.

"Do you think she [Mujuru] has the qualities to rule an already fractious
country?" the politician went on. "The candidate needs to be a person of
steel, someone who will not brook any nonsense."

"It is obvious that Mujuru cannot lead the country - she can only do so with
the explicit backing of Mugabe," echoed Josh Matindike, who fought for the
ZANU movement during the war of independence. "We all know that Mnangagwa
should lead the country."

Many of Mujuru's opponents feel that she owes her vice-presidential post to
her husband, Solomon Mujuru, a hard-nosed opponent of Mnangagwa.

Solomon Mujuru took command of the ZANU guerrilla army in 1979 under the nom
de guerre Rex Nhongo, and he went on to lead Zimbabwe's armed forces for a
decade after the war ended. He apparently fell out with Mnangagwa when the
latter blocked his bid to buy into a lucrative chrome mining scheme.

But the ethnic allegiances of the key players are also a significant factor
in this struggle for the post-Mugabe presidency.

Mnangagwa and Joice Mujuru both belong to Zimbabwe's biggest tribe, the
Shona. But within this tribe, Mnangagwa comes from a clan called the
Karanga, while Mujuru belongs to Mugabe's own Zezuru clan.

Tensions between the Karanga and Zezuru trace back to the war, when the
Karanga provided the bulk of fighters and military leaders for the ZANU
movement.

Since power fell into the hands of Mugabe - a ruthless Zezuru intellectual
who led the ZANU movement but did no fighting himself - many Karangas feel
he has ignored their contribution, sidelined their leaders and promoted
members of his own clan.

Indeed, following December's congress, none of the top five ZANU PF posts
were occupied by Karangas, despite the fact that members of the clan make up
some 35 per cent of Zimbabwe's 11.5 million citizens. The Zezuru account for
around 25 per cent of the population.

The cabinet formed by Mugabe following March's general election is also
dominated by Zezurus, at the expense of many influential Karangas.

"We have known for a long time that Mugabe hates us, Karangas," said
Marvellous Chauke, a war veteran from Masvingo.

Chauke believes Karangas have wasted too much time fighting each other, "Now
is the time for us to rally around Mnangagwa and give the Mugabe-Mujuru
alliance a run for their money. We need equal representation in government."

Tinotenda Mapfupa, a supporter of the opposition Movement for Democratic
Change, MDC, in Masvingo, said he was outraged at the way in which Karangas
were being treated by Mugabe and his clansmen.

"I would rather all ZANU PF supporters in Masvingo province opened their
eyes and stopped supporting ZANU PF," said Mapfupa.

The rivalries have only been exacerbated by the Murambatsvina operation,
which has seen vast numbers of homes in urban slums demolished in what the
government says is an effort to clean up such areas and fight crime.

The operation drew intense international criticism and badly dented the
image of ZANU PF. Supporters of Mnangagwa have been quick to blame it on
Zezurus.

Indeed, the four people most intimately involved in planning and
implementing Murambatsvina - Mugabe, Mujuru, Zimbabwe's other vice president
Joseph Msika and the local government minister Ignatius Chombo - are all
Zezurus.

Given this simmering discontent, Joice Mujuru will have to work carefully to
earn the trust of Karanga politicians in the looming battle for succession.

To make things more complicated, the coalition behind Mnangagwa's bid for
the vice-presidency also involved members of a smaller Shona clan, the
Manyika, and members of Zimbabwe's other main tribe, the Ndebele.

Shona clans occupy eastern and northern parts of Zimbabwe - their ancestors
began arriving here from western central Africa over a thousand years ago.
The Ndebele, on the other hand, mainly occupy the dry western part of the
country, and trace their roots back to the Zulus of South Africa.

Mapfupa told IWPR that Mnangagwa's best option would be to form an alliance
with MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai, along with representatives of the Manyika
and Ndebele.

"Then we will see where Mugabe and his Zezurus get the mandate to rule
Zimbabwe," said Mapfupa.

James Mapapu is the pseudonym of a Zimbabwean journalist.
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Institute for War and Peace Reporting

Onetime Friendship Turns Nasty

Close allies for years, the presidents of Nigerian and Zimbabwe now clash
furiously whenever they meet.

By Kamu Yananai in Harare (Africa Reports No 41, 12-Sep-05)

The relationship between Olusegun Obasanjo and Robert Mugabe remains awash
in bad blood following the Zimbabwean president's resounding rejection of a
proposal from his Nigerian counterpart to help solve the country's political
crisis.

Obasanjo, chairman of the Africa Union, recently appointed former Mozambican
president Joachim Chissano to mediate between Mugabe and the Movement for
Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai.

But Mugabe refused to talk, angrily denouncing Obasanjo, and late last month
Chissano gave up, perhaps reluctant to get between the onetime allies who
now clash furiously whenever they meet. Observers say Mugabe now considers
Obasanjo a deadlier enemy that British prime minister Tony Blair.

It wasn't always so.

The two were once linked closely at both political and personal levels and
Obasanjo owes his life to Mugabe and President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda
whose intervention after the Common Market of Eastern and Southern Africa
summit of 1994 saved him from the hangman's noose during the murderous
military dictatorship of the late Sani Abacha. Others like Nigerian author
Ken Saro Wiwa were less fortunate, and Abacha sent them to the gallows.

When the international community accused Mugabe of rigging the 2000 and 2002
parliamentary and presidential elections, Obasanjo returned the favour,
defending Mugabe against scathing criticism from the West. He was among the
first leaders to endorse the authenticity of the controversial election
victories.

Mugabe responded by openly supported Obasanjo's own dubious win in 2003,
which was also mired in controversy amid accusations of vote rigging,
political violence and intimidation.

The two leaders teamed up to condemn the West and their election observers,
particularly those from the European Union. Both played the Pan Africanist
card and accused the EU and its allies of racism steeped in eurocentrism in
their outlook towards Africa.

Mugabe attended Obasanjo's inauguration in May 2003, playing to the
international media gallery in an apparent show of solidarity and
brotherhood.

But then came the falling out, when Obasanjo committed what Mugabe perceived
as the greatest possible sin - calling for his resignation. Worse still, the
comments were made in a powerful international newspaper, London's Sunday
Times.

"If I say I am thinking about my succession, that's an indication that I
think he [Mugabe] should think of his. In my part of the world there are
many ways you can tell a man to go to hell," he is reported to have said.

To Mugabe, who is well known for viewing anyone who suggests he step down as
an eternal enemy, this was unforgivable. Tried and tested lieutenants,
including the late Eddison Zvobgo, Edgar Tekere and Margaret Dongo, who've
made similar demands have all sunk into political oblivion.

Also unforgiveable was Obasanjo's support for the white farmers of Zimbabwe,
who he described as true Africans and invited to begin commercial farming in
Nigeria along the banks of the Niger River.

He widely praised the governor of Kwara State, Bukola Saraki, for inviting
them into the country, saying they have specialist farming skills and should
not be allowed to go to places like Australia.

Then in late August, Obasanjo said he wanted every Nigerian state to give
new homes and land to farmers expelled from their properties by Mugabe.

Some fifteen Zimbabwean farmers eventually took Obasanjo up on his offer.

Following his controversial land grab, Mugabe has become incandescent with
rage at anyone who expresses sympathy with the displaced farmers who he
views as white imperialists and accused his onetime friend of selling out.

Then came the Commonwealth saga.

Following Mugabe's controversial election victory in 2002, a troika of
Commonwealth heads of state - Obasanjo, Australia's John Howard and South
Africa's Thabo Mbeki - was set up to recommend whether Zimbabwe should be
suspended.

Mugabe was confident that with the help of African solidarity and by playing
the race card he would convince Mbeki and Obasanjo to overrule Howard. When
the trio recommended Zimbabwe's suspension, the rift between Mugabe and
Obasanjo opened even wider.

In 2003, Obasanjo faced a tricky dilemma when he had to decide whether or
not to invite Mugabe to the Commonwealth Summit in Abuja, the Nigerian
capital. Mugabe's destructive and racist policies threatened to plunge
Commonwealth nations into a quasi-racial divide, with African countries on
one side and the white community (Britain, Australia and New Zealand) on the
other.

Obasanjo was faced with a dilemma because Britain's Tony Blair, Mugabe's
sworn enemy, threatened not to attend if Mugabe was invited. Obasanjo had
earlier on baffled Mugabe by trashing an attempt by African, Caribbean and
Pacific countries to lift the Commonwealth suspension against Zimbabwe.

In the end, Obasanjo did not invite Mugabe to attend, prompting a furious
Mugabe to withdraw Zimbabwe from the Commonwealth. Mugabe felt deeply
betrayed because he had assumed that Obasanjo was on his side.

Almost two years later, Mugabe's government accused Obasanjo's government of
teaming up with Blair to fund the opposition MDC's 2005 election campaign.
Mugabe argued that the MDC was offered 200 million US dollars through
Nigeria for its campaign activities. Mugabe has always alleged that the MDC
is a front for Britain's desire for regime change and Obasanjo therefore, in
Mugabe's view, was committing yet another unforgivable sin.

Kamu Yananai is the pseudonym of a Zimbabwean journalist.
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The Boston Globe

Mugabe backs steps boosting power
Constitution changes adopted, report says
By Michael Hartnack, Associated Press | September 13, 2005

HARARE, Zimbabwe -- President Robert Mugabe quietly adopted constitutional
changes that make it easier for the state to seize private property and
prevent opponents from traveling abroad to criticize his 25-year rule, state
radio revealed yesterday.

The report said Mugabe signed the amendments into law Friday, the same day
the International Monetary Fund deferred a decision for six months on
whether to expel this southern African nation.

The amendments mark ''the liberation of our land," Mugabe said yesterday
during a three-day trip to Cuba. ''It's now final, and no one can question
it."

The constitutional overhaul strips landowners of their right to appeal
expropriation of their property by the state and declares all real estate is
now on a 99-year lease from the government.

Domestic opponents intending to attack the government abroad can now be
denied a passport to travel, a provision that government officials have
openly said could be used to silence critics.

Mugabe's government has allowed the seizure of 5,000 white-owned commercial
farms in recent years, wrecking agricultural output and exports and causing
widespread food shortages.

He blames US and European Union sanctions -- imposed for alleged human
rights abuses -- for putting the Zimbabwean economy into free fall.
Inflation now runs at some 255 percent a year and 80 percent of the work
force is idle.

''The Cubans are being punished with sanctions in the same way we are,"
Mugabe said during his ninth visit to Cuba since 1978, referring to the
decades-old US trade embargo against the communist-ruled island.

Copyright 2005 Globe Newspaper Company.
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VOA

Gono Says Zimbabwe Will Pay Off Remaining Arrears to IMF
By Barry Wood
Washington
14 September 2005

Last week (September 9) the executive board of the International Monetary
Fund voted for the third time in 18 months to postpone the expulsion of
Zimbabwe for non-repayment of overdue loans. From Washington, VOA's Barry
Wood has more on the dispute.

It might have been just another ordinary meeting of the 24 executive
directors who represent the 184 member countries in the IMF. Several other
agenda items were discussed before the meeting turned to the managing
director's recommendation that Zimbabwe be expelled for non-payment. At
that point Zimbabwe's central bank governor was invited to speak. IMF
spokesman Tom Dawson says it is unusual but not unprecedented for a central
bank government to address the executive board.

"In terms of a country making its case in the context of compulsory
withdrawal, there have been few cases where compulsory withdrawal has
actually come to a head," Mr. Dawson says. "But I do believe.It is
established under our rules that the representative of the government can
and indeed has the right to speak to the board, or come to the board of
governors, in certain cases to make their case."

Gideon Gono, now in his second year as governor of the Reserve Bank of
Zimbabwe, had flown to Washington from Harare for the occasion. Earlier
that Friday he had been with European and African directors, urging them to
vote no on expulsion. After all, only one country, communist Czechoslovakia,
had ever been expelled from the Fund, and that was in 1954. In his
presentation to the board, Mr. Gono conceded that while Zimbabwe was
technically guilty of violating IMF rules, it should be given more time to
put its financial house in order. Zimbabwe, he assured board members, was
on a turnaround journey and bold measures would be put in place to bring
down a 300 percent inflation rate and revive an economy that has shrunk by
40 percent in six years.

Speaking to VOA's Zimbabwe service, Mr. Gono said he was thrilled when the
board deferred expulsion for another six months.

"It was a very humbling moment indeed," he says. "It is difficult to express
the feeling of joy and relief. But also the feeling of the weightiness of
the decision and the responsibility that lies ahead are some of the issues
that I still carry that are memorable."

George Ayittey, a Ghanian-born economist and professor at Washington's
American University, says the IMF made the wrong decision.

"No, no. The IMF should have pulled the plug on Zimbabwe," he says. "Even
the South Africans wouldn't extend aid to Zimbabwe. I don't know what the
IMF knows that the South Africans don't know. The economy of Zimbabwe has
literally collapsed. Any reprieve or extension to Mugabe only helps keep
the (ruling) Zanu-PF in power. And I think most Zimbabweans will oppose any
life-line to the corrupt and dictatorial regime in Harare."

Zimbabwe has been in trouble with the IMF since 1999, when the Fund ceased
lending because its policies were not being followed. In 2001 Zimbabwe
stopped making loan repayments. Two years later the IMF stripped Zimbabwe of
its voting rights. In 2003 it began the process of expulsion.

On each of the three occasions that Zimbabwe avoided expulsion, it made
partial repayments, gestures intended to avoid complete isolation from the
financial community. This time, the payment was big-$120 million. Bankers in
southern Africa wondered where destitute Zimbabwe came up with the money.
Central Bank governor Gono says Zimbabwe chose to make a payment to the Fund
instead of importing food.

"This money is ordinary funds that would normally have flowed into the
coffers of the central bank," he says. "And with it we would have done a
lot. For instance, $120 million would have bought one million tons of food,
enough to feed the people of Zimbabwe for eight months. Two months of fuel,
or drugs, and so-forth. But we decided to sacrifice, a deliberate decision
that these inflows were not going to be used for consumptive purposes, but
to defend the integrity and membership of the country."

Zimbabwe's permanent secretary of agriculture, Simon Pazvakavambwa, has said
the country has only three weeks of food supplies.

IMF spokesman Dawson was asked whether the IMF is concerned about where
Zimbabwe got the money for the payment.

"Some of the press stories indicate that they came from export earnings that
had not yet been remitted to the government. But that's all I know on that,"
Mr. Dawson says. "They did, as I noted, make the payment."

Mr. Gono says Zimbabwe will pay off its remaining arrears (175 million
dollars) in 2006.

He also gives some hint of what he calls the bold measures that will be
implemented to reactivate Zimbabwe's economy.

"I cite a good example, say, of agriculture," Mr. Gono says. "In agriculture
we need to move with speed to bring to full utilization the land that is now
in our possession. We need to curb aspects of corruption that are endemic in
the economy. We need to be transparent in everything that we do. We need to
be consistent in implementing the policies we would have agreed. And not
implement policies one day and reverse them the other day."

To critics, these are empty promises that have been made repeatedly since
1999. President Mugabe, currently in Cuba, continues to denounce the IMF
while Mr. Gono says IMF membership holds the key to Zimbabwe's future
prosperity.
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Mail and Guardian

Mugabe says he will step down in three years

12 September 2005 08:35

Robert Mugabe has indicated for the first time that he will
retire as president of Zimbabwe in 2008, when his current term expires. He
will be 84 and "will want some rest", he told Britain's Five News, but said
he would remain active in his ruling party, Zanu-PF, which will choose his
successor.

Mugabe also boasted of his "special friendship" with Prince
Charles, which Clarence House quickly denied. Before starting a state visit
to Cuba on Sunday Mugabe admitted that poverty and hunger were increasing in
Zimbabwe. He has been accused by Human Rights Watch of blocking aid.

House prices soar
Meanwhile, house prices in Zimbabwe have soared beyond the reach
of most low to middle-income earners, that country's Herald Online reported
on Monday.

It said building societies now required prospective borrowers to
earn a net monthly salary of Z$15-million to qualify for the lowest
mortgage.

With the exception of government housing schemes, low and
middle-income earners could no longer afford a mortgage because the
repayment rates were above most income brackets.

For one to qualify for a mortgage for a three-roomed house in
Tafara in Harare, which cost about Z$-250-million, one needed to be earning
a net salary of at least Z$-15-million.

With that salary, the building society would only give half
percent of the total mortgage and the borrower would have to pay the
remainder.

Houses in middle-income Harare areas such as Msasa Park,
Westgate, Mabelreign, Hillside and Cranborne, now cost over Z$1,5-billion,
making it impossible for anyone with a net salary of less than Z$-90-million
to buy in these areas on mortgage.

Most of the houses on the market are being bought for cash by
mostly Zimbabweans in the diaspora, business people, speculators or current
home-owners.

Rentals have also gone up and a room in the high-density suburbs
of Harare now costs about Z$750 000 on average.

As a result, thousands of workers in the low and middle-income
bracket are now committing more than half of their salaries to
accommodation.

A survey by The Herald revealed most workers in the
Z$1,5-million to Z$-5-million salary range are finding their monthly income
only enough to cover their housing costs.

Meanwhile, Zimbabweans have been told they will have enough food
as maize imports from South African and other countries continue, the Herald
Online reported on Monday.

It said this assurance came from the chairperson of the National
Taskforce on Grain, Didymus Mutasa, and from Agriculture Minister Joseph
Made.

Their comments come after a statement last week by the secretary
for agriculture, Simon Pazvakavambwa, that the country was left with three
weeks of food.

Mutasa said the country was importing about 15 000 tonnes a week
from South Africa.

This, in addition to some grain coming from other countries and
the local market, was enough to feed the nation at any given time.

"What the secretary said is completely untrue and unfounded. I
wonder what was his motivation to say such words, which are completely
baseless," said Mutasa.

"We are importing an average of 15 000 tonnes of maize from
South Africa and if we add what we get from the local market and other
countries, then we will be having enough food to feed the nation at any
time." - Sapa

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This Day Online

Statement by IMF Staff Mission in Zimbabwe
09.13.2005

IMF Vs Mugabe act 2 scene 1

A staff mission from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) visited Zimbabwe
during June 13-25, 2005 in the context of the 2005 Article IV Consultation
discussions and ahead of the Fund Executive Board's consideration of the
issue of Zimbabwe's compulsory withdrawal from the IMF1. It made the
following statement:
"We had cordial meetings with Zimbabwe's economic team led by Finance
Minister Herbert Murerwa and Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) Governor Gideon
Gono and want to thank the authorities for facilitating our work. Our
discussions focused on policies to place Zimbabwe on a path to achieve
sustained growth, low inflation, and improving living standards. Output is
expected to decline sharply this year, in part due to the continued
difficulties in agriculture-which have been exacerbated by drought-and the
intensification of foreign exchange shortages.
"The mission projects that, on the basis of present policies, the budget
deficit will increase markedly in 2005, partly due to the cost of higher
food imports, interest payments and higher pension costs. Together with the
RBZ's substantial producer and credit subsidies, these deficits would fuel a
sharp increase in money supply, and hence inflation, by end-2005. The
authorities indicated their desire to address these problems by taking
measures to contain further increases in the budget deficit. The
macroeconomic outlook is further clouded by the gravity of the food security
situation and implementation of "Operation Restore Order," which threatens
to worsen shortages, contribute to lower growth, and aggravate inflation
pressures.
"As indicated in previous rounds of discussions, the mission stressed that
the magnitude of the economic problems confronting Zimbabwe calls for a
comprehensive policy package that should include decisive action to lower
the fiscal deficit, a tightening of monetary policy, and steps to establish
a unified, market-determined exchange rate. The package should also include
structural reforms, such as the removal of administrative controls, to ease
shortages and restore private sector confidence.
"A rebuilding of relations with the international community is a critical
part of the effort to reverse the economic decline. We hope the authorities
will work more closely with us to formulate and implement such a policy
package, which would help stabilize the economy and improve the welfare of
the Zimbabwean people."
-As of June 20, 2005, Zimbabwe's arrears to the Fund amounted to SDR 201
million (US$295 million). Compulsory withdrawal is the last step in a series
of escalating measures that the IMF applies to members that fail to meet
their obligations under the Articles of Agreement.
On February 16, 2005 the Executive Board decided to defer for six months
consideration of Zimbabwe's compulsory withdrawal, providing the country
with another chance to strengthen cooperation with the Fund in terms of
policies and payments.

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This Day Online

IMF Considers Complaint Regarding Zimbabwe's Compulsory Withdrawal (2)
09.13.2005

The Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has reviewed
Zimbabwe's overdue financial obligations to the Fund and considered the
Managing Director's complaint regarding Zimbabwe's compulsory withdrawal
from the IMF (see Press Release No. 03/210). Recognizing the severity of the
decision at hand, the increases in payments from Zimbabwe since the last
review in July 2004, and some improvement in economic policies, the
Executive Board decided to postpone a recommendation with respect to
compulsory withdrawal, providing Zimbabwe with another chance to strengthen
its cooperation with the Fund in terms of economic policies and payments.
The Executive Board will consider again the Managing Director's complaint
regarding Zimbabwe's compulsory withdrawal from the Fund within six months
or at the time of the Executive Board's discussion of the 2005 Article IV
consultation with Zimbabwe, whichever is earlier.
The Board's decision provides the country with an opportunity to
significantly strengthen its cooperation with the IMF, with the aim of
addressing its economic decline and resolving its overdue financial
obligations, prior to the Executive Board's next consideration of the
Managing Director's complaint.
The Executive Board noted that Zimbabwe has taken some initial policy steps
to arrest the economic decline, but concluded that these efforts remain
insufficient to decisively turn around the economic situation. The Board
called on Zimbabwe to adopt and implement a comprehensive adjustment program
as a matter of urgency, in the areas of fiscal, monetary, and exchange rate
policies and structural reforms.
The Executive Board also noted Zimbabwe's payments of US$16.5 million to the
IMF since the last review, which, however, fell short of stabilizing its
arrears to the IMF. The Board noted the authorities' intention to further
increase payments to the IMF from the second quarter of 2005, and urged
Zimbabwe to make every effort to increase payments and resolve its overdue
financial obligations to the IMF.
Zimbabwe has been in continuous arrears to the IMF since February 2001. As
of February 15, 2005, Zimbabwe's arrears to the IMF amounted to SDR 202
million (US$306 million), or about 57 percent of its quota in the IMF.
Compulsory withdrawal is the last step in a series of escalating measures
that the IMF applies to members that fail to meet their obligations under
the Articles of Agreement.

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Business Day

Posted to the web on: 14 September 2005
Schizoid response shows Harare's state of mind
Dumisani Muleya

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

AFTER escaping expulsion from the International Monetary Fund(IMF) by a hair's-
breadth for nonpayment of arrears and policy failures, Zimbabwe has promised
radical reforms to rescue its crumbling economy.

Central bank governor Gideon Gono, who lobbied for Harare to be spared
expulsion, said "radical policy measures" were necessary to pull the country
out of its deepening economic morass.

He said the narrow escape highlighted the need for urgent economic reforms.
Zimbabwe requires structural reforms and sweeping political changes to
ensure economic recovery and stability.

The IMF said Zimbabwe should urgently implement a "comprehensive and
coherent adjustment programme as a matter of urgency, in the areas of
fiscal, monetary, and exchange rate policies and structural reforms".

Gono said it was critical to introduce "radical policy measures" that would
revive and stabilise the economy, whose real gross domestic product has
shrunk 30% in the past five years.

However, after keeping quiet to allow reformists in his government to lobby
the IMF to prevent expulsion, President Mugabe resumed his attacks on the
organisation, saying it was "unhelpful".

The remarks by Gono and Mugabe exposed yawning ideological and policy gulfs
in the government. While some of his bureaucrats and ministers seem to
appreciate the need for reforms, Mugabe remains rooted to his
unreconstructed mind-set.

This divides Mugabe's regime into two ideological groupings: the proreform
camp and the antireform old guard. The Young Turks understand the need for
urgent change to avoid being swept aside by the winds of change, while the
Mugabe diehards seem to think they can stop the march of history. Herein
lies the crux of the matter. No matter how Gono pushes for reforms, his
programme will not go far. Mugabe is the stumbling block. He will not back
IMF-engineered reforms.

Mugabe has always been sceptical of the IMF. He said in Cuba last weekend
that the IMF "has never, and will never, be a friend". Under pressure, he
may accept social market economics, but given a choice he will want state
ownership of the means of production.

This is why he recently enacted three pieces of legislation, on banks, land,
and companies, which allow the state to take over properties arbitrarily.

When Mugabe came to power in 1980, he declared "scientific socialism" as his
regime's economic policy. Dirigisme - control of the economy by the state -
for Mugabe is still the only economic model. In the 1980s he conducted a
disastrous socialist experiment - skirting perilously close to unsustainable
welfare economics - that choked economic growth and sowed the seeds of the
current crisis.

The experiment created a huge debt crisis and balance-of-payments
constraints, which later forced him to approach the IMF for a bale-out.

Although Mugabe had good intentions, the policy was catastrophic. The
situation was compounded by his authoritarian rule. Those who have worked
with Mugabe say he is instinctively dictatorial.

This is partly why Mugabe will not accept Gono's radical reforms. There will
be no policy shift of consequence, except for the worse, as long as Mugabe
is in power. He is the millstone around the neck of business.

The past five years have shown Mugabe is now a dead weight in the body
politic.

Although he is still in charge, Zimbabwe is precariously on the edge. It is
experiencing only structure-induced stability.

Instead of accepting loosening bureaucratic and coercive control, Mugabe is
consolidating power to shore up his weakening regime. The recent
constitutional amendments bear testament.

Reform proposals by Gono, whose economic recovery plan is in tatters, will
therefore remain a castle in the air.

Muleya is Harare correspondent.

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New Zimbabwe

See no evil, hear no evil and don't complain

By Staff Reporter
Last updated: 09/14/2005 09:02:42
ABOUT 44 police officers with the Zimbabwe Republic Police are languishing
at Chikurubi Maximum Prison after being overheard complaining about the
harsh economic conditions in the country, New Zimbabwe.com can reveal.

Although efforts to determine under what law they were detained were
unsuccessful, senior police sources said the officers were arrested for
"breaching the Police Act".

Their desperate families held meetings with senior police officers at the
weekend to try and secure their release.

Zimbabwe is facing an economic meltdown with prices of basic consumer goods,
which have reached unprecedented levels, going up daily.

The crackdown on the police and army comes after growing disgruntlement over
government's economic policies which have reduced Zimbabwe's once bustling
economy into the world's fastest collapsing economy with inflation topping
265 percent.

Sources said senior police officers at the weekend held a meeting with the
families of the police officers at Chikurubi complex and warned them that it
is an offence punishable by imprisonment for police officers or their
families to be heard complaining about the economic hardships that the
country is facing.

"We were warned that our husbands are bound by the police oath to be loyal
to the country therefore if we or our husbands complain about the economic
situation we will be promoting anarchy," said the wife of a police officer
who cannot be named.

In July a group of police officers who had been evicted by their landlords
because of their participation in the destruction of houses under the
government's discredited Operation Murambatsvina demonstrated outside Police
Headquarters, demanding that their bosses address their housing needs.

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New Zimbabwe

Zim Constitutional reforms recipe for disaster

By Prof Welshman Ncube
Last updated: 09/14/2005 09:01:18
THE adoption of the Constitution Amendment Bill (No 17) by the Zimbabwe
Parliament on Wednesday 2 September was a systematic retrogressive move for
the country. It will exacerbate the crisis of governance which has, within
five years, driven Zimbabwe to the precipice of being a failed state.

By amending the constitution for the seventeenth time since independence
twenty five years ago the Zanu PF government has sent out an unequivocal
message to the people that it has no respect for the constitution.
Conversely, it cannot expect the people to take the constitution seriously;
a factor that will serve to intensify the perceived lack of legitimacy
within Zimbabwe's body politic in the eyes of the people. This dichotomy
goes to the very heart of Zimbabwe's ills as it symbolises the absence of
national consensus on core governance issues and the total lack of public
trust in the current Government.

A constitution should be a symbol of national unity. It should represent a
contract between those in power and those who are subjected to this power.
It should define the rights and duties of citizens and the institutional
arrangements that keep those in power in check. To ensure its legitimacy, a
constitution must be formulated in strict accordance with the principle of
inclusiveness. There must be broad public participation and ownership of the
final product.

The people of Zimbabwe have never had an opportunity to formulate a
constitution in this context of democratic legitimacy and produce a truly
national document that enshrines and protects our values and rights. We are
yet to be empowered with the fundamental right to design and organise, in
the collective sense, our governance and constitutional arrangements so that
they are properly aligned to the agenda of realising the shared goals and
aspirations that defined our liberation struggle.

Instead we remain lumbered with an albatross around our necks in the form of
the patched-up constitution initially agreed to at the Lancaster House talks
in 1979. This document was not an agreement amongst the people of Zimbabwe,
it was essentially a 'ceasefire' document that flagrantly failed to include
sufficient safeguards against arbitrary behaviour by the Executive and
infringements on citizens' basic freedoms and liberties.

The Government did attempt to replace the Lancaster House model in February
2000 but its draft constitution was overwhelmingly rejected by the people in
a national referendum on account of its chronic democratic deficits. The
people's desire for a new constitution, which was so apparent during the
referendum campaign, remains undimmed.

The MDC and the people of Zimbabwe therefore hoped that the Government,
given the scale of problems afflicting the country, and the self-evident
national desire for change, would adopt a holistic rather than a piecemeal
approach towards constitutional reform. By pursuing the latter route the
Government has spurned a golden opportunity to begin the process of
reversing Zimbabwe's political and socio-economic decline.

The Bill itself contains a number of self-serving provisions that not only
further dilute the democratic content of the constitution but also ensure
that, to all intents and purposes, it is tailored to suit the whims of
Mugabe and Zanu PF.

The provision which allows for the reintroduction of a bicameral parliament,
through the creation of a 66-seat Senate, is designed to extend the system
of presidential patronage. It has nothing whatsoever to do with improving
legislative oversight but has everything to do with appeasing and
accommodating disgruntled elements in the ruling party who Mugabe is
desperate to harness to his succession agenda. As a consequence the creation
of a Senate is simply aimed at providing jobs for those members of the
ruling party who are either unelectable, defeated in internal primary
elections or who were rejected by the electorate in the March 2005
parliamentary elections.

This egregious development is compounded by the fact that it will place
additional burdens on the fiscus at a time when the Government does not have
the money to buy sufficient quantities of fuel, food and other basic
commodities that are essential to alleviate the suffering stemming from
Zimbabwe's unprecedented humanitarian crisis; a crisis precipitated by the
Government's policy failures. The Z$50 billion that the Government has
budgeted for the Senate elections demonstrates its skewed sense of
priorities and provides a stark reminder of its shocking indifference to the
suffering of the people it purports to support and govern.

In addition to the creation of a Senate, the Bill provides for the
establishment, under the constitution, of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission
(ZEC). In principle this is a welcome move as the ZEC was previously a
statutory body and national electoral bodies need to have constitutional
backing. The problem, however, is that the ZEC, even with constitutional
status, is not sufficiently safeguarded from manipulation by the Executive.
For instance, the President will appoint the chair of the Commission.
Moreover, the ZEC has no jurisdiction over the crucial exercise of voter
registration. This remains in the hands of the Office of the Registrar
General which has a track record of conducting voter registration on a
discriminatory basis to secure political advantage for the ruling party.

By failing to properly address concerns around the independence of the ZEC
the Government has signaled its reluctance to reform Zimbabwe's electoral
framework and administrative processes in line with what is expected under
agreed SADC standards. Given Zimbabwe's electoral record over the past five
years this intransigence is likely to result in more disputed elections and
further violations of the sacred principle of one-person-one-vote.

The failure to institute constitutional guarantees pertaining to the right
to freely participate in elections is symptomatic of the insidious political
agenda that lies behind this Bill. This agenda becomes even more apparent
when one considers the likely impact of the reform measures on private
property rights and freedom of movement. The adoption of these measures
indicates a renewed effort by the ruling party to strengthen its coercive
grip on society. In Zanu PF's warped analysis, placing stringent curbs on
fundamental freedoms is the best way of perpetuating its tenure.

In the year that we are celebrating twenty five years of independence, one
would have expected a Government which claims to be the custodian of the
values that guided our liberation struggle, to be expanding our freedoms
rather than placing restrictions on them. With regards to freedom of
movement, the Government will now possess powers under the constitution to
deny passports to its critics. This move is part of an integral plan to deny
international platforms to its critics and seal off as many of the
information arteries as possible which deconstruct the distorting narrative
peddled by Zanu aficionados and expose the shocking realities on the ground.

The central tenet of the Zanu PF narrative is the disingenuous claim that
Zimbabwe's crisis is anchored solely on the issue of land re-distribution.
The provisions in the Bill covering the area of land acquisition underline
the depths of the Government's deception over the land issue. There can be
no dispute over the need to resolve the land question, however, under Zanu
PF the main beneficiaries have been members of the ruling elite rather than
the communities and individuals who were dispossessed in the first place.

Land should be given back to the people it was stolen from initially during
the colonial era, yet, under the reforms being enacted, state ownership of
land seized from white farmers will have constitutional backing. This means
that those who are resettled on their land will not regain ownership of it.
This is a gross injustice and contradicts the very essence of the land
reform programme. Permanent state ownership of all acquired land in terms of
the constitution must be seen as yet another control mechanism in the hands
of the Government. It will ensure that the resettlement exercise is
conducted on a discriminatory basis with those seen as not loyal to the
ruling party denied access to land or having their leasehold agreements
revoked.

Furthermore, the provision covering land acquisition, interpreted in its
broadest sense, poses a direct threat to the security of property rights.
The Government will now possess arbitrary powers to acquire any land which
is defined as 'agricultural land'. The deliberate vagueness of this
definition means that property in peri-urban and urban areas could in future
be at risk of compulsory acquisition if activities conducted on a property
are deemed 'agricultural'. Under the new rules property owners will only
receive compensation for improvements made to buildings and will have no
right to due process.

The denial of the right to due process breaches international statutes to
which the Zimbabwe Government is signatory. Moreover, by removing the right
of the Judiciary to interpret laws and pass judgments on the activities of
the Executive, Mugabe and Zanu PF are further eroding one the central
pillars of constitutionalism - the separation of powers. Checks and balances
are now a thing of the past.

The passing of the Constitution Amendment Bill (NO 17) is a recipe for
disaster. Neither the ruling party nor Parliament had the constitutional
mandate to introduce such a Bill. Attempts to engage the public, and canvass
their views on the proposed amendments, were perfunctory. The whole process
was totally lacking in legitimacy. The net result is that the Government has
made the crisis worse. To help tackle the crisis we need to come together as
Zimbabweans and formulate a constitution in a transparent and all-inclusive
manner. We all need to have ownership of the constitution and use this
document as the basis for healing the divisions bedeviling our society and
retarding our development as a nation.
Professor Welshman Ncube is secretary general of the Movement for Democratic
Change

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New Zimbabwe

MDC mulls senate elections boycott

By Cris Chinaka
Last updated: 09/14/2005 09:02:55
ZIMBABWE'S opposition said on Tuesday it may boycott elections for an upper
house of parliament later this year, accusing President Robert Mugabe's
party of rigging previous elections.

The southern African country is struggling with a severe political and
economic crisis that government critics blame on Mugabe's controversial
policies, including his seizures of white-owned farms for redistribution to
blacks and his use of tough media and security laws against opponents.

"No decision has been made on whether we will participate or whether we will
not take part," Paul Themba-Nyathi, spokesman for the Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC), told Reuters.

"The MDC is still consulting on the issue because there are some people in
the party who feel that we are legitimising the whole rigging process by
participating in these elections."
"Then there are also others who feel that if we boycott the elections we are
surrendering the entire political space to ZANU-PF ... and that we have to
keep fighting," he added.

The MDC accuses Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF party of rigging the last three
major parliamentary and presidential polls.

It agonised over whether to boycott parliamentary elections on March 31,
eventually deciding to field candidates only to receive a severe drubbing
from ZANU-PF, which won a two-thirds majority, enabling it to change the
constitution.
The MDC and Western governments said the polls were unfair.

William Bango, a spokesman for MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai, said the
opposition chief was opposed to the introduction of a Senate through
piecemeal constitutional changes.

"Mr Tsvangirai believes that this is not a priority given that millions of
people are facing unprecedented economic hardships of general lack of food,
lack of fuel, lack of jobs and international isolation," Bango said.

Mugabe, on a visit to Cuba, told Zimbabwean students that elections for the
Senate -- which the government says will improve the quality of legislation
passed in the country -- would be held before the end of the year.

Mugabe, 81 and in power since independence from Britain in 1980, denies
charges by his critics, including the European Union and Washington, that
his ZANU-PF party rigged the 2002 presidential poll and parliamentary
elections in 2000 and 2005.

On Monday, Mugabe confirmed that he had signed into law controversial
constitutional changes effectively nationalising the formerly white-owned
farms and empowering the state to impose travel sanctions on "traitors".

The MDC says the latest changes to the constitution -- which Mugabe has
altered 17 times since 1980 -- are proof that he has become a classic
dictator.
Mugabe says his opponents have conspired with foreigners to sabotage
Zimbabwe's economy over his land seizures, which he argues were necessary to
correct colonial imbalances that left minority whites in control of the bulk
of the prime farmland.

Zimbabwe is struggling with severe shortages of food, fuel and foreign
currency for imports after a six-year recession in which the economy has
shrunk by over 30 percent - Reuters

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New Zimbabwe

The Daily News' hearing date set

By Guthrie Munyuki
Last updated: 09/14/2005 09:10:16
ZIMBABWE'S Administrative Court has set the dates for a hearing in which the
Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe (ANZ) is challenging the denial of a
licence to publish its two titles by the Media and Information Commission
(MIC).

ANZ are the publishers of the banished independent daily - The Daily News
and its sister paper, The Daily News On Sunday.

The Administrative Court has set September 21 and 22 as the hearing dates in
this case which comes after the MIC denied ANZ the licence when it ruled
that it had contravened certain sections of the Access to Information and
Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA).

The MIC said ANZ had committed an inexcusable offence by continuing to
publish its two titles between January 2003 and September 2003 despite the
company's refusal to register with the media regulatory body.

But in its papers filed in the Adminstrative Court, ANZ argued that the MIC
had no legal basis to deny both The Daily News and Daily News On Sunday
licences because the MIC, in denying them a licence, had merely looked back
at the issues dealt with the Supreme Court when it first ruled in 2003 that
ANZ was operating outside the law.

At the time, the Supreme Court ruled that ANZ was approaching the courts
with dirty hands and had to comply by registering with the MIC which went on
to deny the group a licence after it had complied with the law.

The Daily News and Daily News On Sunday were shut down on September 12,
2003, when the Supreme ruled that ANZ was operating illegally. Since then,
the newspaper group says it has spent 182 000 Euros (Z$10 billion) on legal
fees.

Dozens of journalists have been arrested and four newspapers closed since
AIPPA became law in 2002.

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The Herald

Fuel shortages cripple Harare

By Tandayi Motsi
A CRITICAL shortage of fuel has crippled the Harare City Council's service
delivery system, forcing the municipality to procure fuel from the black
market for emergency cases.

This emerged yesterday when Town Clerk Mr Nomutsa Chideya gave oral evidence
before the Parliamentary Committee on Local Government.

Mr Chideya told the committee that for the past month, the council had not
received its fuel allocation from the National Oil Company of Zimbabwe.

"We have not received diesel for the past four weeks. We are not able to
attend to any sewerage or water pipe bursts because all our vehicles are
grounded," he said.

"For the sake of the health of the residents, we would rather buy the fuel
on the parallel market. We will face the consequences later, but at the
moment we have to deal with the situation."

The fuel crisis, Mr Chideya said, had also severely handicapped emergency
services with only one fire engine having a quarter tank of fuel.

He said the Harare City Council used to receive fuel allocation of 30 000
litres a month, but this had been drastically reduced to about 10 000 litres
per month.

The fuel crisis has been worsened by the continued increase in the price of
the commodity on the international market with motorists in Britain and
other European countries planning to hold massive demonstrations against the
now frequent price hikes.

The foreign currency crunch in Zimbabwe and rising fuel prices has made it
difficult to import adequate supplies to meet the country's requirements.

The town clerk said efforts by the council to deliver essential services
were also being hampered by the uneconomic tariffs it was charging. He gave
the example of water for domestic consumption, which, he said, the council
was buying at $2 000 per cubic metre from the Zimbabwe National Water
Authority, but was selling it for $600 per cubic metre to the residents.

This, Mr Chideya said, was being compounded by the fact that the Government
was taking too long to review the municipal tariffs.

"As a result, we have sunk; we cannot operate effectively," he said.

The situation had been exacerbated by the dwindling funding of local
authorities by external development partners such as the International
Monetary Fund and World Bank, with the last of such funding having been made
available in 1992.

Turning to the clean-up operation, Mr Chideya said apart from curbing
illegal activities, the exercise had vastly improved the image of the city.
He said prior to the operation, there was loss of life every week in
previously crowded high-density suburbs such as Mbare, but this was now a
thing of the past.

Responding to questions by the lawmakers on what council was doing to deal
with the resurfacing of street people and illegal vending in the city
centre, Mr Chideya said council was striving to enforce the relevant
by-laws, but this was being hampered by the shortage of municipal police.
The council, he said, had an establishment of 800 municipal police officers,
but out of these about 200 were suffering from ill health due to various
ailments, thus compromising the effective execution of duties.

Harare City Council would soon recruit an additional 200 municipal police
officers in a bid to cope with the challenges.

Mr Chideya said the commission running the affairs of the Harare City
Council would soon be consulting residents on the 2006 budget as well as to
discuss issues affecting them.

He said the regularisation fee for illegal structures had been raised to $20
million and $50 million for residential and commercial stands respectively
because this was designed to serve as a punitive measure and act as a
deterrent.

Liquor licences had been increased from $250 000 in 2004 to $10 million and
$15 million with effect from January and July respectively.

Director of Works Mr Psychology Chiwanga said there was no bias in the
manner in which the clean-up operation was implemented.

He said this in reply to a question by Harare North MP Ms Trudy Stevenson
(MDC), who had asked the council officials to clarify the perception that
the clean-up operation sacrificed the poor while sparing the rich.

Mr Chiwanga said the council had flighted advertisements as far back as 2002
warning residents to pull down illegal structures or approach the
authorities for guidance.

He said some of the structures that were pulled down in areas such as Mbare
could not be regularised because they had been constructed on top of the
sewage drainage system

The council, he said, had so far received 589 applications for the
regularisation of structures.

Responding to allegations that the council was still billing some residents
for demolished illegal structures, Director of Housing and Community
Services Mr Numero Mubayiwa said this was not true as such residents were
being billed to pay up arrears that had accrued before the clean-up
exercise.

"In the case of rubble, the residents must remove it, or if we do it for
them then we will charge them and we started to levy the illegal structures
in January 2005 as a punitive measure," he said.

Mr Mubayiwa said at least 9 000 people had been allocated residential stands
at Whitecliff Farm, 7 000 had benefited at Hopley Farm and there were about
3 000 beneficiaries in Hatcliffe under the massive housing reconstruction
project being undertaken by the Government.

Government, he said, had pledged to make more land available to council for
residential purposes.

Mr Mubayiwa said the city had a housing waiting list of about 107 000
applicants, but he was quick to point out that this was not a true
reflection of the demand for housing as a large number of people did not
bother to register.

Acting City Treasurer Mr Cosmos Zvikaramba told the committee that the
Harare City Council's books of accounts were last audited in 2002 because of
the archaic computer system.

"The one which we have now has serious deficiencies," he said.

However, Mr Zvikaramba said the drafts for 2003 were now ready and auditors
were expected to descend on the council anytime from now.

He said the council hoped to be through with the drafts for 2004 by the end
of this month after which another set of auditors would be called to
scrutinise its books.

Mr Chiwanga said the city's sources of water were heavily polluted, forcing
the council to apply eight chemicals in the purification process. He said
there was need to establish alternative sources of water to meet demand as
currently demand was outstripping the supply capacity.

Acting chairperson of the parliamentary committee and Mutare Central MP Mr
Innocent Gonese (MDC) assured the senior council officials that the
committee would do its best to ensure that the challenges facing the council
were overcome.

Mazowe West MP Cde Margaret Zinyemba (Zanu-PF) chairs the committee and the
other members are Chinhoyi MP Cde Faber Chidarikire (Zanu-PF), Mbare MP Mr
Gift Chimanikire (MDC), Gokwe South MP Cde Jaison Machaya (Zanu-PF), Chivi
South MP Cde Charles Majange (Zanu-PF), Chief David Malaba of Matabeleland
South, Bikita East MP Cde Kennedy Matimba (Zanu-PF), Tafara/Mabvuku MP Mr
Timothy Mubhawu (MDC), Mutare North MP Mr Giles Mutsekwa (MDC) and Kadoma
West MP Cde Zacharia Ziyambi (Zanu-PF).
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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Villagers run out of food

Tinofa Karonga
issue date :2005-Sep-14

VILLAGERS in at least three provinces in Zimbabwe have run out of food and
are appealing to the government for help. Chiefs and headmen interviewed
during a recent tour of the three provinces appealed to the government to
come to their people's rescue with emergency food aid.
Worst affected are families in Mt Darwin (Mashonaland Central), Mutoko and
Mudzi (Mashonaland East) and Buhera (Manicaland).
A survey by The Daily Mirror revealed that in areas such as Chadereka, Hoya
and Chiutsi in Mt Darwin, many families were going hungry and were depending
on fruits and vegetables.
"We sometimes go for weeks without eating sadza because we have nowhere to
buy maize. Those who have the commodity are charging exorbitant prices, far
beyond the reach of many of us," lamented a mother of three.
"A bucket of maize in Mt Darwin costs about $150 000 and a 10kg pack of
mealie-meal goes for between $80 000 and $90 000, which many of us cannot
afford on a weekly or fortnightly basis," she added.
Other villagers echoed similar sentiments and appealed for swift government
intervention before disaster struck.
"We appeal to the government to help us with maize or anything to eat
because we sometimes go for days without food. Fruits and vegetables have
become our main sources of food. Government should do something to help us,"
said village head Chiutsi.
The local chief sang the same sad tune, saying they now pinned their hopes
on the government to dole them food rations.
"The government is our last hope. It (the government) should provide us with
food because we had no bumper harvest this year due to drought," said Chief
Chisiwiti.
In Buhera, the scenario was being replayed with local leaders looking up to
the authorities for
help.
Headman Mawira under Chief Nyashanu said the government should help the
rural citizens, some of whom had gone without food for weeks.
"We could not harvest anything under the Zunde Ramambo programme because of
the drought the country is experiencing. We appeal to the government to
assist us because some villagers have run out of food," said Headman Mawira.
Chief Hata of Nyanga also said things were not well in his area.
"We look forward to the government to assist us with maize before the
situation gets out of hand. The price of mealie-meal is beyond the reach of
many, such that others go for weeks without tasting their staple food,"
Chief Hata said.

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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

HIV patients ripped off

Paidamoyo Chipunza
issue date :2005-Sep-14

THE price of life-prolonging HIV and Aids drugs - Anti-retrovirals (ARVs) -
has shot up six-fold during the past three months, with suppliers
attributing the increase to spiralling inflation and the acute shortage of
foreign currency ,
The drugs, which cost $200 000 in June, now cost $1,2 million and most
people living with HIV and Aids (PLWAs) have since stopped using them,
risking the danger of developing resistance to further therapy.
A snap survey by The Daily Mirror yesterday revealed that most pharmacies
and chemists in the capital have increased the price of ARVs monthly since
June.
In June, the price of ARVs was pegged at about $200 000, before shooting up
to around $400 000 in early July and to $800 000 last month. The cost rose
to $1,2 million this month.
President of the Retail Pharmacists Association (RPA) Douglas Shonhiwa told
this newspaper that the price hike was a result of hyperinflation, now
pegged at 265,1 percent and scarce foreign currency to import raw materials.
"Like any other commodity, prices are changing every week and ARVs are not
an exception. When we get these drugs from manufacturers, pharmacists put a
mark up price of 50 percent," said Shonhiwa.
"It's not surprising that the next batch of ARVs to be delivered to
pharmacies would have different prices because of the runaway inflation," he
added.
Head of The Centre - an organisation working with PLWAs - Lynde Francis said
the price increases were making it difficult for ordinary citizens to access
ARVs and would impact negatively on the fight against the HIV and Aids
scourge nationwide.
She attributed the increases to reluctance by the international community to
assist Zimbabwe financially.
"Zimbabwe receives the lowest amount of aid for HIV and Aids in the entire
region. According to donor funding, about US$4 is channelled per head in
this country contrary to a total of US$87 in other African countries. It is
really a criminal disparity," said Francis.
She said the recent price hikes were likely to see many PLWAs dropping
Antiretroviral Therapy (ART) to prioritise food and other necessities.
Elisha Chidombwe, the Zimbabwe Aids Prevention and Support Organisation
chairperson, described the price hikes as curtailing government's efforts to
achieve the universal goal of making ARVs affordable.
"It is a drawback to the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare's roll-out
plan for ARVs to be easily available and accessible to everyone," Chidombwe
said.
He implored the government to either standardise the price of the drugs or
subsidise companies involved in manufacturing generic ARVs.
An official from Yemurai Centre - another organisation working with PLWAs -
who spoke on condition of anonymity, confirmed that a number of their
clients had already stopped taking the life- prolonging drugs citing
prohibitive costs.
"A recent case was of our client who travelled all the way from Hurungwe
intending to purchase his monthly concoctions with only $700 000, but went
back empty-handed because the prices had changed over night, " she said.
She said although they were trying to assist clients, the number of people
getting off the drugs was on the increase.
"The best we can do at the moment is to refer them to government
institutions where ARVs are distributed free of charge, but clients are also
complaining that the process is too long before one is put on ART," she
claimed.
Although the drugs are dispensed free of charge at government medical
institutions, access is limited.
The process to be placed on ART is also too long, prompting infected people
to opt for private suppliers.
If they go to the government institutions, they have to wait for up to four
months while the institutions check their medical history and viral load
before deciding whether they qualify for therapy.
However, it is not advisable to skip the monthly doses, since the patients
can develop resistance to the ARVs.
The chairman of Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Health, Blessing
Chebundo, yesterday called for the regularisation of ARV prices if the
country was to fulfill its mandate of providing affordable drugs.
He said as a committee, they were engaging the Ministry of Health and Child
Welfare and suppliers on how to make ARVs affordable and easily accessible.
"It is our topical agenda to make sure that people have access to affordable
therapy. It is also our wish to have import tariffs and duty scratched from
such drugs since we are talking of a national disaster," said Chebundo.
Currently, less than 30 000 people are on ARVs, yet more than 400 000
Zimbabweans are in dire need of the drugs.

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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Chihuri lashes out at international media for demonising Zim

The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2005-Sep-14

POLICE Commissioner Augustine Chihuri yesterday lashed out at some sections
of the international media for "shamelessly" portraying Zimbabwe as being
synonymous with lawlessness and human rights abuses.
This, he said, was despite the good work done by the national police in
safeguarding peace in the region as well as internationally.
Chihuri made the remarks while bidding farewell to 20 police officers bound
for Kosovo on a United Nations peacekeeping mission.
He also used the occasion to thank and welcome back home 25 officers who
recently completed their tour of duty there.
"The Zimbabwe Republic Police continues to court the eye of the United
Nations and remains a shining beacon of proficient policing in the region
and internationally," Chihuri said.
"This has given impetus to its continuous invitation for mission duties by
the world body despite a barrage of negative reportage by some spiteful
international media who have tried to portray our country as a nation
fraught with lawlessness and human rights abuses.
"I am pleased to note that our professional discharge of police duties,
which is in harmony with international policing standards, justifies the
faith that the UN has in us," he added.
The travelling contingent comprises seven inspectors, 12 assistant
inspectors, and a sergeant. There is only one female officer for the UN
tour, a situation the commissioner deplored.
"I am, however, not amused by the conspicuous gender imbalance among those
who are leaving for Kosovo as there is only one female officer.
"In line with global trends, the ZRP seeks to promote gender equity and I
wish to urge female officers to acquaint themselves so that they qualify for
these UN missions," Chihuri said.
He urged the officers to be well disciplined and never commit human rights
abuses, which would tarnish the country's image and the force's reputation.

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