The ZIMBABWE Situation
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Zimbabwe orders 'white firm grab'

BBC

Wednesday, 26 September 2007, 20:07 GMT 21:07 UK

The Zimbabwean parliament has passed a bill to move majority control of
foreign-owned companies operating in the country to black Zimbabweans.
The goal is to ensure at least a 51% shareholding by indigenous black people
in the majority of businesses.

The bill completes a process that began with the controversial seizure of
white-owned farms starting in 1999.

Zimbabwe is currently experiencing the world's highest inflation and
shortages of food, fuel and foreign currency.

The bill still has to go to the upper house - the Senate - for final
approval. It already has the support of President Robert Mugabe's
government.

If passed in the Senate, the practical effect of the bill may, however, be
severely limited, says the BBC's Peter Biles in Johannesburg.

Many foreign companies in Zimbabwe are already operating at a low level,
with reduced turnover resulting from the seven-year economic crisis.

51% share

Critics have said the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Bill could
hurt investor confidence in Zimbabwe.

It stipulates that no company restructuring, merger or acquisition can be
approved unless 51% of the firm goes to indigenous Zimbabweans.

The empowerment bill defines "indigenous Zimbabwean" as anyone disadvantaged
by unfair discrimination on race grounds before independence in 1980.

It also provides for the establishment of an empowerment fund which will
offer assistance to the "financing of share acquisitions" from the
public-owned firms or assist in "management buy-ins and buy-outs."

MPs from the governing Zanu-PF party supported the bill in parliament on
Wednesday.

"If we do not dismantle the structure of colonialism that we inherited then
we have not given back all the country's resources to its rightful owners,
who are our people," Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Minister Paul
Mangwana said, quoted by Reuters news agency.

Members of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) walked out of
parliament in protest at the bill before voting began.

"We see it as a strategy to amass wealth by the ruling elite, and nothing to
do with the empowerment of people," MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa told the
BBC News website.

All government departments and statutory bodies will be asked to obtain 51%
of their goods and services from businesses in which controlling interest is
held by indigenous Zimbabweans.

Some firms dually listed on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange and London
Securities Exchange firms include Old Mutual, NMB bank and Hwange.

Multi-national firms that may be affected by the new policy include Barclays
Bank, Bindura Nickel Corporation and miner Rio Zim.

Senior British officials say the Zimbabwean government will be disappointed
if it thinks it will gain much of value from the move.


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British PM renews snub to Mugabe, backs Zimbabweans

Yahoo News

1 hour, 29 minutes ago

BOURNEMOUTH, England (AFP) - British Prime Minister Gordon Brown renewed
Wednesday a pledge to snub Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe at an
EU-Africa summit in December but vowed to help his suffering people.

Brown reiterated London's support for the "reconstruction" of the
economically-ravaged former British colony and the restoration of democracy,
and promised to help African leaders deal with crisis in Zimbabwe.
"We should not sit down at the same table as President Mugabe," Brown said
in a question and answer session at his governing Labour Party's annual
conference in Bournemouth, southern England.

The prime minister said earlier this week that he would boycott a summit of
European Union and African leaders in Portugal if Mugabe attended despite an
EU travel ban on him and his entourage.

A senior British diplomatic official said Wednesday that Zimbabwe should
attend the summit but not be represented by the 83-year-old Mugabe, in power
since the southern African nation's independence in 1980.

Brown added: "We will play our part also in helping all those people who
want to work together to make sure there is social and economic justice, and
then political justice, also for the Zimbabwe people.

"We are ready to play our part in the reconstruction and in the building of
a democracy... There must be democracy restored to Zimbabwe."

He specifically pledged support for the African Union and South African
President Thabo Mbeki "who is trying very hard on this" in dealing with the
crises in Zimbabwe.

"I accept that we, Britain, continue to have responsibities that we should
continue to discharge to Africa and particularly to Zimbabwe and we will do
that," he said.

Brown has said Mugabe's presence would divert attention from crucial issues
at the summit, accusing the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front
(ZANU-PF) leader of stifling basic freedoms and political opposition as well
as blaming him for Zimbabwe's economic meltdown.

Zimbabwe's economy has shrunk by a third, inflation is running well over the
6,500-percent mark -- the world's highest -- and at least 80 percent of the
population lives below the poverty threshold.

The senior British diplomatic source told reporters in London that Mugabe's
attendance was a matter for both the African Union (AU) and the Southern
African Development Community (SADC).

"We would like Zimbabwe there," said the source, speaking on condition of
anonymity. "It's President Mugabe that's the difficulty."

"The compromise will not come from Zimbabwe. It will have to come from the
AU and/or SADC... Mugabe is not going to make the first compromise move," he
added.

Mugabe says he has been invited and will attend, but so far neither the AU
nor SADC has taken a position, although Zambia's President Levy Mwanawasa
has unilaterally said he would not travel to Portugal if Mugabe was banned.

Zimbabwe has dismissed Brown's threat and on Tuesday accused Britain of
internationalising its "bilateral problems" and reneging on an agreement to
pay its former colony for its land redistribution programme aimed at
reversing colonial-era imbalances.

Mugabe has also repeatedly accused London of backing moves for his ouster.

The source said Britain was committed to land reform but Harare had "lost
interest" in the process in the early 1990s, only reviving the issue when
Mugabe needed a scapegoat for the country's economic downturn, he added.

He told reporters Britain's policy had not changed but the chances of
discussions on the subject were currently "nil".

Britain was not seeking to unseat Mugabe but the source said his departure
from office was a "necessary but not a sufficient condition" for Zimbabwe to
recover from hyper-inflation, severe food shortages, mass unemployment and
disease.

Defeating Mugabe politically either by the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) at next March's elections or from within ruling
ZANU-PF was unlikely but a "palace coup" was "possible but not probable", he
added.


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Dollar Crashes As Economic Woes Worsen


SW Radio Africa (London)

26 September 2007
Posted to the web 26 September 2007

Lance Guma

Zimbabwe's currency was trading at £1 to 930 000 on the parallel market on
Wednesday in what economists are predicting will be a catastrophic year for
the country. Already the International Monetary Fund predicts inflation will
reach 100 000 percent by the end of the year, while other experts say its
already hovering at over 25 000 percent. Reports say even goods normally
available on the black market have now disappeared, leaving ordinary
citizens spending their entire day hunting for food in queues scattered all
over. One Harare resident told Newsreel he was in a queue for ordinary buns,
as bread was a luxury people could not afford and was not available.

It is however the rate of the Zimbabwe dollar to the major currencies that
puts the crisis into perspective. If you need Z$930 000 to buy a single
pound, what this means is that if the Central Bank had not removed 3 zeroes
from the currency, the actual rate is close to a billion Zimbabwe dollars to
the UK pound. The price control measures government tried to impose on the
business community have backfired miserably and caused the extreme shortage
of essential items.


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Zim could collapse in a year: UK diplomat

IOL

†††† September 26 2007 at 07:50PM

By Tariq Panja

London - Zimbabwe is unlikely to survive another year of the chronic
poverty and hyperinflation it has suffered under President Robert Mugabe's
rule, a senior British diplomatic official said Wednesday.

Britain has been increasingly severe in its criticisms of Mugabe's
regime. Last week Prime Minister Gordon Brown threatened to boycott a summit
of European and African leaders slated for December if Mugabe attends.

The decline of what was once southern Africa's bread basket is linked
to the government-ordered, often violent seizures of thousands of
white-owned commercial farms for blacks that began in 2000. The
agriculture-based economy was disrupted, foreign investment and loans dried
up, and Mugabe has responded to domestic political pressure with a crackdown
on dissent.

Official inflation in Zimbabwe stands at nearly 7 000 percent, the
highest in the world. Independent estimates put real inflation closer to
25,000 percent and the International Monetary Fund has forecast it reaching
100 000 percent by the end of the year.

Large swathes of the working population were fleeing every day, and
within a year Zimbabwe's "difficulties will be extreme," said the British
official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised
to speak publicly.

Zimbabwean opposition leader "Morgan Tsvangirai said to me there is no
food in the country. That is a slight exaggeration but only a slight
exaggeration," he said.

Some African critics accuse Britain of engaging in colonial style
meddling.

"We're in the sort of situation where you are damned if you do and
damned if you don't," said the official, who described seeing whole villages
composed of "just the very old and the very young", as more and more people
escape the country.

Britain estimates that 100 000 Zimbabweans flee their homeland, a
country of 12.5 million, to settle illegally in neighbouring South Africa
each month. South African officials say counting illegal immigrants from
Zimbabwe is difficult, but say their estimate of 3 million Zimbabweans
living in South Africa, whether legally or illegally, has been fairly
stable.

If there isn't substantial political change in the next year "we are
looking at a country that will lose another 2 million people," the diplomat
said.

Mugabe's government has said Mugabe would attend the Europe-Africa
summit, scoffing at Brown's stance. Britain has called on the 14-member
Southern African Development Community, or SADC, to persuade Mugabe not to
attend.

Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa, the current SADC chair, said last
week he would not go to Portugal if Mugabe were barred, saying he believed
dialogue with Mugabe was necessary to resolve a crisis that is affecting
Zimbabwean neighbours like Zambia.

Earlier this month, negotiators from both Mugabe's party and the
Zimbabwean opposition spoke of progress in talks mediated by South African
President Thabo Mbeki.

Portuguese Foreign Minister Luis Amado said last week his country
would prefer Brown to attend the summit rather than Mugabe.

In 2003, an EU-African summit in Lisbon was called off when some
African nations balked at the EU's refusal to invite Mugabe.

"The real question for SADC is what's next. They recognise this is now
a regional issue that is damaging their national interests," the British
official said.

Britain, which still has an embassy in Zimbabwean capital Harare, has
contacts within Mugabe's ruling Zanu PF party and officials say talk of a
coup led by retired army commander General Solomon Mujuru - husband of
Mugabe's second vice president Joyce Mujuru - is gaining momentum.

There could be no other option left, said the diplomat. Mugabe is
unlikely to be outflanked politically and being ousted by a popular
demonstration is unlikely, he said.

"What's left? General Mujuru has a palace coup option," he said. -
Sapa-AP


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Zimbabwe orders 120 000 tonnes of wheat from SA

Mail and Guardian

Harare, Zimbabwe

26 September 2007 05:45

††††††Zimbabwe has ordered 120 000 tonnes of wheat from South Africa
to ease food shortages, the country's state security minister said on
Wednesday.

††††††The Southern African country, once a regional bread basket, is
experiencing acute shortages blamed on President Robert Mugabe's policies
such as the seizure of white-held farms to resettle landless blacks.

††††††Food shortages have worsened since June when Mugabe's government
imposed price controls on all goods and services, leaving shop shelves
virtually empty of basic foodstuffs such as bread, milk and cooking oil.

††††††Security Minister Didymus Mutasa, who heads a Cabinet taskforce
on food procurement, told Parliament the government will continue to import
wheat until the next harvest.

††††††"We have ordered 120 000 tonnes of wheat from South Africa,"
Mutasa said. "We are ordering more wheat through appropriate producers so
that we have sufficient wheat to take us to October next year, when we hope
to have harvested a sufficient and bigger harvest."

††††††Officials say Zimbabwe expects a 145 000-tonne wheat yield after
yet another poor season, against annual demand for the grain above 400 000
tonnes.

††††††Earlier this month, Zimbabwe's government failed to raise cash
to pay for 36 000 tonnes of imported wheat although it announced on Tuesday
it had since paid up for the grain, which had been held up in Mozambique.

††††††Two United Nations agencies, the Food and Agriculture
Organisation and the World Food Programme, have warned that more than four
million Zimbabweans -- one-third of the population -- will need food aid
early next year.

††††††Food shortages mirror Zimbabwe's severe economic crisis, along
with the world's highest inflation rate at about 6 600%, an 80% jobless rate
and rising poverty.

††††††Mugabe (83) has ruled the country since independence from
Britain in 1980. He denies mismanaging the economy and accuses Western
nations of sabotage as punishment for his farm seizures. -- Reuters


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Zimbabwe price cuts have backfired, crisis worse-UK source

Reuters

Wed Sep 26, 2007 8:40am EDT

By Sophie Walker

LONDON, Sept 26 (Reuters) - President Robert Mugabe's attempts to control
prices amid Zimbabwe's worsening economic crisis have backfired and now even
the black market faces shortages, a senior British diplomatic source said on
Wednesday.

"Mugabe's efforts at price control have not only backfired but they've
exacerbated what is a fairly catastrophic situation anyway," said the
source, who spoke to reporters on condition of anonymity.

"It displaced retail activity into the black market, where there is no
control, so inflation ... is probably anywhere between 13,000 and 20,000
percent," the source said.

The Zimbabwean government said in its latest report that inflation was about
6,600 percent. That is down from previous monthly estimates but still the
highest in the world.

Under Mugabe's 27-year rule Zimbabwe has plunged from prosperity to penury.
The country once called the "bread basket" of southern Africa is now
suffering from persistent shortages of foreign currency, fuel and food.

Zimbabwe credits a government-imposed price freeze in June for helping to
control inflation.

But the British diplomatic source said Mugabe's price-cutting attack
"completely fractured the supply and production chains behind the retail
sector, which were pretty fragile in any case. Companies have lost billions
of Zimbabwean dollars and ... even the black market is beginning to dry up.

"We know we'll be feeding 4 million people by January or February, possibly
more," he said, warning Zimbabwe was on the verge of "a really very serious
food and every other kind of shortage".

Mugabe has said he will attend an EU-Africa summit in Portugal in December
and the British official said that meant Prime Minister Gordon Brown would
skip the event.

"If Mugabe's there then the prime minister is not," the source said.
"Whatever's useful on the agenda could well be overshadowed by (Mugabe's)
presence."

He stressed that Brown's stance was not an effort to derail the conference,
the first EU-Africa summit in seven years, and officials hoped a solution to
the dispute over Zimbabwe's representation at the summit could be found.

"We're not saying Zimbabwe shouldn't be there -- the very opposite. ... The
solution, the compromise -- if compromise there is -- will not come from
President Mugabe. It will have to come from the African Union and/or SADC,"
the source said referring to the Southern African Development Community,
which supports Mugabe attending the meeting.


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Zimbabwe and Iran mull coalition against 'global bullies'

Yahoo News

by Fanuel Jongwe Wed Sep 26, 9:40 AM ET

HARARE (AFP) - The leaders of Zimbabwe and Iran are looking to form a
self-styled "coalition for peace" after receiving a joint tongue-lashing
from US President George W. Bush, officials said Wednesday.

The government in Harare confirmed President Robert Mugabe and his Iranian
counterpart Mahmoud Ahmadinejad discussed the formation of such a coalition
on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York, where Bush
delivered a harsh assessment of their regimes on Tuesday.
"The United States and its allies are so bloodthirsty they don't want to see
peace anywhere in the world," deputy information minister Bright Matonga
told AFP.

"Our leaders are saying there is a need for like-minded countries to come
together and form a coalition that will discuss constructive developmental
issues."

The state-controlled Herald newspaper quoted Zimbabwe's ambassador to the
United Nations, Boniface Chidyausiku, as saying Mugabe and Ahmadinejad
discussed "areas of mutual interest" in New York.

"The leaders also discussed the need to come up with a coalition for peace
in response to the aggression of global bullies," Chidyausiku added.

Isolated by his former allies in the West after being accused of rigging his
re-election in 2002, Mugabe has forged new alliances with countries in Asia
as well as buttressed ties with traditional US foes such as Cuba and Iran.

In his speech to the General Assembly, Bush said the people of Zimbabwe
needed help to free themselves from suffering under a "tyrannical regime",
and named Iran among a list of "brutal regimes".

While some commentators saw the idea of a formal alliance among states in
the US doghouse as a logical move, others were unconvinced that it would
serve any practical purpose.

"It will be viewed as a group of antagonists of the West coming together for
political reasons and it's not going to be of much significance,"
Harare-based political analyst Takura Zhangazha said.

"It's essentially political grandstanding and I don't foresee anything
coming out of it unless, perhaps, if they rope in (stand-in Cuban leader)
Raul Castro and (Venezuelan President) Hugo Chavez.

"Zimbabwe and Iran have a history of agreements that were never completed."

Lawyer and political analyst Johannes Tomana however said the coalition
would work if members are committed to its objectives.

"If they are coming together for a common goal and have unity of purpose
there is no doubt that it will work," Tomana said.

"It's a question of determination. Look at what Britain has done. It has
managed to rope in the EU into its bilateral row with Zimbabwe and the
entire bloc has rallied against Zimbabwe."

Augustine Timbe, a commentator for the pro-government Chronicle newspaper,
said Iran and Zimbabwe "share a common pain inflicted by the West" and
should find more countries in similar circumstances to form an effective
alliance.

The burgeoning alliance between Zimbabwe and Iran, part of Bush's original
2002 "axis of evil", has again highlighted the rift between Mugabe and his
former Western allies who have imposed sanctions on his regime.

Matonga argued that events in Iraq meant the United States should be slapped
with sanctions.

"Bush is the tyrant and a hypocrite for that matter. Look at what he has
done to Iraq. There is no functioning government anymore," he said.

"He turns a blind eye to the damage he has caused in Iraq and Afghanistan
and now he wants to usurp the powers of the UN and punish those who do not
share his thinking.

"The US should have sanctions imposed on it and not the countries that Bush
says should be punished."


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Chipinge Rocked By Political Violence


SW Radio Africa (London)

26 September 2007
Posted to the web 26 September 2007

Tichaona Sibanda

Scores of terrified people in Chipinge have fled the area in fresh political
violence that has resulted in the arrest and assault of opposition MDC
activists.

Ruling Zanu-PF youths armed with stones and sticks have been attacking
leading MDC activists in the isolated district. The crackdown on MDC
activists has spread across the south eastern district, reportedly leaving
one seriously injured and at least 15 injured in a number of separate
attacks.

The attacks which first began in Ngaone, north of Chipinge town have now
spread to areas in Tanganda, and outlining border areas of Mount Selinda and
Rusitu. These areas are right on the border with Mozambique.

Political tensions have been on the rise in Chipinge since the beginning of
this month when the MDC held successful rallies in the district. MDC
district chairman for Chipinge north, Godfrey Chenjerai, accused the head of
the Central Intelligence Organisation in Chipinge town, Joseph Chiminya, of
orchestrating the violence.

Chenjerai said eleven of their activists have been held in police cells at
Chipangai for the last two weeks. One of them, Stanley Mabuyaye, is reported
to be battling for life after he was severely tortured for organizing MDC
rallies.

'We're now living under the law of the jungle in Chipinge. All known MDC
activists are being forced out of their lodgings, and most are fleeing in
numbers because of threats by war veterans and Zanu-PF youth,' Chenjerai
said.

Every time the MDC organizes a rally now, state security agents take over
the venue and then start distributing maize. Known MDC activists are
forbidden from getting near these distribution points.

Chenjerai said they have seen military and police reinforcements coming into
the district from areas far as Mutare and Chimanimani. The huge presence of
security agents has however not deterred people from attending MDC rallies,
according to Chenjerai.


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Gono to present monetary policy on Monday

New Zimbabwe

By Lebo Nkatazo
Last updated: 09/27/2007 01:19:36
ZIMBABWE'S central bank chief Gideon Gono announced Wednesday that he would
be presenting his much delayed monetary policy next Monday.

Gono was due to present the policy in July, but put it on hold saying he
wanted to study the effects of the government-ordered price cuts on all
commodities.

The central bank head and Vice President Joice Mujuru were among government
officials who were opposed to the populist policy that resulted in goods
vanishing from shelves and many businesses shutting down.

Analysts say Gono's policy is not likely to change the economic fortunes of
the country, and he is likely to be under pressure to leave a positive
impression as his term nears its end.

In his first half monetary policy in 2006, Gono said: "It is also noteworthy
that
this Monetary Policy Statement marks the mid point of my term of office as
Governor and with 28 months left out of 60, it is clear that the targets
this
Governor was given upon entry into office in December 2003 have to be
achieved within the remaining period and failure to do so is just not a
viable OPTION for my team at the bank.

"Through this Monetary Policy Statement, therefore, we seek, as the Central
Bank, to bring back light, not just at the end of the tunnel, but right into
the tunnel for all Zimbabweans to see their true potential as a people, and
to rekindle hope and belief in ourselves."


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Zimbabwe property rights removal a problem - Mboweni

From Reuters, 25 September

Reserve Bank governor Tito Mboweni said today the removal of property rights
in neighbouring Zimbabwe had been one of the sources of the country's
economic crisis. "The challenges that we have in South Africa is how to
uphold property rights ... the removal of property rights in Zimbabwe has
been a source of the country's problems," Mboweni said during a lecture at
Rhodes University in Grahamstown.


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ZANU PF could win next year's elections: survey

Zim Online

Thursday 27 September 2007

By Hendricks Chizhanje

HARARE - President Robert Mugabe's ruling ZANU PF party could win next year's
parliamentary election ahead of two factions of the splintered main
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party, according to a survey
by the Harare-based Mass Public Opinion Institute (MPOI).

The survey whose results were released on Tuesday showed about 33 percent of
respondents saying they would vote for ZANU PF while 21 percent said they
would back the larger faction of the MDC led by Morgan Tsvangirai. Only one
percent of the respondents said they would vote for the MDC faction led by
prominent academic Arthur Mutambara.

The survey, which polled 1 202 voters across the country, was conducted in
April and May this year well before it was known that ZANU PF and the MDC
would reach agreement to hold joint presidential and parliamentary elections
in 2008.

"Asked to comment on the party of their preferred candidate if parliamentary
elections were to be held today, three in ten (33 percent) would vote for
ZANU PF, 21 percent MDC-Morgan Tsvangirai while 21 percent refused to
answer.

"About one in 10 (11 percent) said that their vote is their secret. Only one
percent of the total respondents said they would prefer MDC-Arthur
Mutambara," read part of the survey report.

This is the first time that the MPOI, an independent political think-tank,
has predicted a ZANU PF victory at the polls.

The researchers were not immediately available to shed light on how far
their findings may reflect possible voting patterns in the presidential
election where Mugabe, Tsvangirai and Mutambara will be the main
contestants.

It was also not possible to get comment from ZANU PF spokesman Nathan
Shamuyarira on the survey whose results were made available to ZimOnline
late on Wednesday night.

The MDC, which has always been shown leading in previous surveys by the
MPOI, sought to downplay the unfavourable results of the latest survey,
saying it reflected the distortions of the electoral environment and that in
any event its results are mere opinions of the individual voters interviewed
by researchers.

Nelson Chamisa, spokesman of the Tsvangirai wing of the MDC, said: "ZANU PF
will not win any elections in this country. It can only rig the elections.
The results of the survey are a reflection of the distortions of the
electoral environment that is why we want confidence and legitimacy in the
electoral process."

Gabriel Chaibva of the Mutambara-led MDC said:† "Those are opinions of
individuals but that doesn't move us from the fundamental and founding
principles of the MDC. I would need to find out whether their sampling was
equitable and random."

The survey entitled The Zimbabwe Electoral Process and Attendant Issues: the
Voters' Views, also sought to gauge voter confidence in the electoral
process and the likelihood of apathy affecting voting next year.

More than half of the respondents were either unsure the polls would be free
and fair or were convinced the government did not have the capacity to
conduct a truly democratic poll. Forty-six percent said they believed the
elections would be free and fair.

The researchers wrote: "Respondents were subjected to project on the
freeness and fairness of the 2008 elections. Responding to this just below
half (46 percent) predict free and fair 2008 elections, 15 percent gave a
'no' response, whilst nearly four in ten, 39 percent could not tell."

The survey found apathy highest in the opposition's urban strongholds where
only 32 percent of respondents said they would vote next year, a factor
adding to the possibility of a ZANU PF victory.

A relatively impressive 64 percent of respondents in rural areas, Mugabe and
ZANU PF's powerbase, said they would take part in next year's polls.

Despite a collapsing economy and worsening food shortages, Mugabe's
government appears stronger than ever before, its grip on power largely
untested by an MDC torn apart by divisions over strategy, personality
clashes and leadership wrangles, which undermined its ability to exploit
Zimbabwe's economic crisis.

The MDC that split into two rival factions two years ago after disagreeing
on whether to contest a senate election is a pale shadow of the vibrant
opposition party that almost wrestled power from Mugabe and ZANU PF in
elections in 2000 and 2002.

A widening and increasingly acrimonious split with its civic allies, unhappy
after the MDC endorsed a government constitutional reform Bill that allows
Mugabe to handpick a successor, could also inflict further damage to the
opposition party's chances at the polls.

However, analysts say all hope is not lost for the MDC which they say with
good organisation and mobilisation could still pose a potent challenge to
Mugabe and ZANU PF in a free and fair poll. - ZimOnline


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Harare urged to come clean over media hit list

Zim Online

Thursday 27 September 2007

††††† By Patricia Mpofu

††††† HARARE - International and local media watchdogs yesterday called on
the government of Zimbabwe to guarantee the safety of 15 journalists named
on a leaked state hit-list as jitters hit the private press in the country.

††††† While the Zimbabwean government yesterday dismissed the leaked
document, local journalists were adamant the list was genuine, pointing to
recent incidents in which some of the targeted scribes have had brushes with
the Harare authorities.

††††† The journalists warned that, with watershed polls expected in six
months time, President Robert Mugabe's government was likely to tighten the
noose on private media and correspondents for foreign media, who could blow
the whistle on any attempts by his ruling ZANU PF party's to rig elections.

††††† The leaked document only mentions names of editors and political
reporters from the private media, foreign-based Zimbabwean publications and
newspapers seen as being hostile to the government but has missing pages
detailing the specific actions being proposed against the journalists.

††††† "The following media personnel and others as discussed in the previous
meeting are to be placed under strict surveillance and taken in on the
various dates set. They're working hand in hand with hostile anti-Zimbabwean
western [sic] governments," reads part of the document that contains the
names of the journalists.

††††† Topping the list is ZimOnline editor Abel Mutsakani and others on the
list include Zimbabwe Independent editor Vincent Kahiya, his news editor
Dumisani Muleya and the weekly newspaper's reporter Itai Mushekwe.

††††† Others include Bill Saidi and Caiphas Chimhete, deputy editor and
reporter respectively of the Zimbabwe Independent's sister paper, The
Standard.

††††† The Financial Gazette's political editor Njabulo Ncube and reporters
Kumbirai Mafunda and Clemence Manyukwe are also mentioned on the list,
leaked by intelligence sources this week.

††††† Zimbabwe Union of Journalists (ZUJ) Foster Dongozi, veteran journalist
Wilf Mbanga and freelance reporters Gift Phiri, Ray Matikinye and Valentine
Maponga are also on the list of targeted journalists.

††††† Mbanga is editor of London-based weekly, The Zimbabwean, for which
Phiri is one of its Harare correspondents.

††††† Phiri was abducted by the police and tortured on allegations of
operating without a licence as required under Zimbabwe's tough media laws.
He was however acquitted by the courts.

††††† The targeted scribes are investigative journalists who work or have
worked for the private media.

††††† Information Minister Sikhanyiso Ndlovu yesterday denied such a list
existed.

††††† "The so-called hit list is a fake document meant to discredit the
government. We know there are some of you that exaggerate issues and
demonise the government but to target them by drawing up a list to arrest
them or whatever, no. There is no such policy in government," said Ndlovu.

††††† ZUJ said in a statement it had been notified of the hit-list by
concerned members and other media watchdogs.

††††† "As a union, we are disturbed and worried that there appears to be a
hit-list where our colleagues have been targeted for abduction, arrest and
other unspecified action probably by state security agents who view them as
a security risk," said ZUJ.

††††† "What worries us the most is that the first person on the list, Abel
Mutsakani, was recently shot in the chest in South Africa. Right now he is
on the edge of his life with a bullet lodged next to his heart," the media
body said.

††††† Mutsakani was in July shot and seriously injured by a gang of three
assailants. The unidentified assailants did not rob Mutsakani of his
possessions and their motive to attack him remains unclear.

††††† ZUJ said even more frightening was that another journalist, Edward
Chikomba, was murdered a few months ago after being abducted by suspected
members of the feared spy Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO).

††††† "We want the government to guarantee the safety of all the 15
journalists on the list or to come clean by dissociating itself from the
list which is written on a document with a government letterhead," ZUJ said.

††††† The Zimbabwean union has already alerted other media watchdogs locally
and overseas such as the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and
the New York-based Committee for Protection of Journalists (CPJ).

††††† IFJ described the hit-list as an affront to press freedom and called
on the Harare authorities to "make it clear to the international community
that it is not targeting journalists".

††††† "It can do that by guaranteeing the safety of all the journalists
named and all other journalists in Zimbabwe," said IFJ general secretary
Aidan White. - ZimOnline


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Teachers embark on full-scale strike

Zim Online

Thursday 27 September 2007

By Hendricks Chizhanje

HARARE - Zimbabwe's impoverished teachers yesterday embarked on a full-scale
strike following a pay deadlock with the government.

The militant Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) said teachers
"downed their tools" after the government ignored their demands for better
pay and working conditions.

PTUZ secretary general Raymond Majongwe yesterday said teachers,
particularly those in Harare, had responded positively to the call to stop
work.

"Teachers are heeding the call for strike action. Even ZIMTA (Zimbabwe
Teachers Association) members are also heeding (the call)," Majongwe told
ZimOnline.

The larger and more government-sympathetic ZIMTA has not stated its position
on the strike an is understood to be pursuing negotiations with the
government.

Teachers embarked on a sit-in at several schools around the country early
this month to press for a wage increase to cushion themselves from an
agonising economic crisis marked by out of control inflation and foreign
currency shortages.

The teachers and other civil servants petitioned the government at the end
of July, demanding 400 percent salary increments to cushion them from
mounting poverty and the biting cost of living.

They threatened at the time to abandon classrooms if the government did not
increase their salaries to $15 million a month with effect from September.

Majongwe said between 30 and 40 percent of PTUZ members in Harare did not
report for work yesterday, warning of a full-scale job action as more
teachers heed the call in the next few days.

"We will not beg for salaries but we will demand for salaries," said the
combative Majongwe who has regularly run into trouble from the increasingly
paranoid government of President Robert Mugabe.

The PTUZ had on Monday sent a circular to its members outlining new salary
demands, which would see the lowest paid teacher earning $40 200 000 per
month.

The union said the new salary scales take into account the need to pay
teachers salaries above the poverty datum line (PDL), estimated at around
$16 million.

The lowest paid teachers presently earn $2.9 million a month before
allowances. After allowances the gross salary would be around $3.5 million,
less than 25 percent of the PDL.

The PTUZ is demanding a minimum basic salary of $18 million a month,
transport allowances of $8 million, housing allowances of $6 million and
several other benefits such as free medication, fees exemptions for their
children, and recreation and clothing allowances.

The militant union said it had resolved to abandon its sit-in protest on
Monday to step up its job action as teachers could no longer afford to go to
work.

"Lets consolidate our sit-ins until the 24th of September 2007 while we
facilitate coordination with other provinces (let us strive for 100 percent
success rate at every school. From the 25th we go a gear up and stay at home
(we can't go to work anymore) until these demands are met," read part of the
circular made available to this reporter.

The demands have since been revised upwards in line with the deterioration
of economic conditions in the country.

The government had by yesterday not formally responded to the teachers'
demands.

Education permanent secretary Stephen Mahere yesterday said he was not aware
of the teachers' strike and would only comment once he is briefed by
provincial education officers.

"I haven't received full reports from provincial education directors so that
they can appraise me on what is happening. But maybe in the next two days I
would have a clearer picture.

"At the moment I am in Matabelenad North and teachers are at work," said
Mahere.

But as ZimOnline observed yesterday, there were no teachers at several
schools in central Harare which were deserted as students played outside.

At Blakiston Primary School and Harare Girls High School, students said
teachers had not reported for work over the past two days.

Only a few senior teachers were seen at most Harare schools, some of whom
were selling sweets and popcorn to supplement their salaries.

"We are still in the profession just because we have nowhere to go," said
one senior teacher who asked not to be named.

In the Chihota district of Mashonaland East, most teachers had either
stopped reporting for duty or had resigned due to the poor remuneration.

"In Chihota we recently lost four teachers who resigned," said one parent
who only identified herself as Doreen.

ZimOnline is reliably informed that at least 23 teachers at Harare's
Dzivaresekwa High School never reported for duty when the third term started
on 4 September.

Majongwe yesterday said police had moved around schools in Harare asking
headmasters for the names of teachers absconding from duty while in
Chitungwiza some district education officers reportedly did the same.

"They have really gone out to intimidate teachers. But the teachers have
defied that intimidation," Majongwe said. - ZimOnline


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Zim faces more power shortages after breakdown at Hwange colliery

Zim Online

Thursday 27 September 2007

By Nqobizitha Khumalo

BULAWAYO - Zimbabwe faces more power shortages after a major breakdown on
Monday at its Hwange colliery that supplies coal thermal power stations
across the country.

Hwange Colliery Company was already struggling to supply enough coal to the
Zimbabwe Power Company and industry, producing 197 300 tonnes of coal per
month against demand of 380 000 tonnes.

The coal producer on Tuesday said coals shortages could worsen after a
dragline broke down at its mine, which it said would take two weeks to
repair.

"A technical failure on a major component of the dragline occurred on 24
September 2007. Repair work by specialists is estimated to take some two
weeks," Hwange said in a statement.

"Coal exposure will be negatively affected as a result. However, plans have
been put in place to ensure that critical supplies to industry are
maintained during the breakdown period," said the partly government-owned
coal miner.

However, senior officials at Hwange, who spoke on condition they were not
named, said the repair work could take more than two weeks especially
because the technicians from the Chinese manufacturers of the dragline who
are to fix the equipment were still to arrive in Zimbabwe.

"The Chinese are not expected here soon and even if they were here on time
it will take a long time to repair the dragline," said one official.

The shortage of coal for power generation coupled with frequent breakdowns
at the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority's archaic power stations and on
the transmission network has led to frequent power cuts with whole towns
sometimes going for several days on end without electricity.

A shortage of hard cash to pay foreign power firms that supply about 35
percent of Zimbabwe's electricity requirements has only helped exacerbate
the energy crisis in the troubled southern African country.

However, power cuts are only one on a long list of hardships that
Zimbabweans have become accustomed to as the country grapples with a severe
economic recession described by the World Bank as the worst in the world
outside a war zone.

The economic meltdown that critics blame on repression and wrong policies by
President Robert Mugabe has seen inflation shooting beyond 6 000 percent,
deepening poverty, shortages of food and just about every basic survival
commodity. - ZimOnline


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Zimbabwe's Mugabe tells US and Britain: Keep Out!

Monsters and Critics

Sep 26, 2007, 22:22 GMT

New York - Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe on Wednesday told Britain and
the United States to stay out of his country's business, and said a recent
agreement on constitutional changes with the country's opposition showed
Zimbabwe could manage its own problems.

Mugabe attacked Britain's new Prime Minister Gordon Brown - who last week
called for greater international pressure to bring democracy back to
Zimbabwe - and also US President George W Bush.

'Mr Bush and Mr Brown have no role to play in our national affairs,' Mugabe
said in a speech before the United Nations General Assembly in New York.
'They are outsiders and mischievious outsiders and should therefore keep
out.'

Brown has threatened to boycott a meeting of the European Union and African
Union this December is Mugabe is allowed to attend. Bush said Zimbabwe was
suffering under a 'tyrannical regime' and the UN should exert pressure on
Mugabe to allow greater freedoms, in his own speech before the assembly
Tuesday.

Mugabe pointed to an unexpected agreement between his ruling Zanu-PF party
and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) last week over
constitutional reforms that would allow the parliament to select a new
Zimbabwean leader should Mugabe step down or die in office. The MDC had
previously said the changes would entrench Mugabe's long-running hold on
power.

Mugabe said his country would go forward with presidential elections in
March 2008, where he will be seeking another term in office.

Mugabe has ruled Zimbabwe since its independence from Britain in 1980.

© 2007 dpa - Deutsche Presse-Agentur


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Tyranny and disease: The destruction of health care in Zimbabwe

Africa Fighting Malaria (AFM)

Date: 26 Sep 2007

Zimbabwe's healthcare system has collapsed. Life expectancy is the lowest in
the world. Dead bodies accumulate in hospital mortuaries or are buried
hastily and surreptitiously in rural areas by poverty-stricken family
members. The most recent estimates suggest that between 3,000 and 3,500 die
every week from HIV-related diseases although some people believe the
numbers are significantly higher. And biblical problems of plague,
starvation and its attendant diseases such as kwashiorkor are rife. Few
people even try to obtain medical treatment as they cannot afford the
exorbitant costs involved in travelling to hospitals (ambulances have no
fuel either) nor can they afford to pay for drugs since patients or family
members are required increasingly to purchase their own drugs. In many
instances, ambulances have been replaced by ox-drawn carts, but animal feed
is also in short supply.

The health service like the entire country requires rescuing from the
murderous hands of Robert Mugabe. But the African Union and most African
leaders seems paralysed by Mugabe's status as one of the last surviving
liberation leaders. The West is also paralysed by fears of being charged
with neo-colonialism if they attempt to oust Mugabe.

So it is left to Zimbabweans, without the desperately needed support of the
region to rid themselves of this increasingly tyrannical regime. Zimbabwe is
set to become the world's worst humanitarian disaster over the next few
years, as healthy working-age Zimbabweans continue to leave, swelling the
ranks of the Diaspora, and the remainder - the elderly, the young and the
seriously ill - succumb to poverty, disease and starvation.

Zimbabwe's health in perspective

For most of human history the average human being could expect to live
between 20 and 30 years. It was not until the rise in global prosperity and
technological advances of the 20th century that life expectancy began to
increase so that by 2003 on average life expectancy was 66.8 years
worldwide. The residents of the wealthy countries that make up the
Organization of Economic Co-operation and Development could expect to live
for 78.5 years(1). While increasing global prosperity and technological
advances continue to drive improvements in health and human welfare for most
humans, the residents of some countries, particularly those in sub-Saharan
Africa, have seen little improvement and routinely die from preventable
diseases.

Zimbabweans once enjoyed rising life expectancies and benefited from
improvements in healthcare and wealth creation. Most of the progress made
over the past century has now been lost. Life expectancy in Zimbabwe has
regressed to a level not witnessed since the 1800s. The once efficient and
functioning public health system has been all but destroyed and private
healthcare is out of reach for most of the population. Zimbabwe's health and
human rights crisis is the direct result of the policies of the government;
policies that have received either tacit or explicit approval from most
African governments. This report presents a perspective of the increasingly
chaotic healthcare situation in Zimbabwe and its impact on neighbouring
countries, and concludes with a discussion and policy recommendations for
African governments and donor nations.

Much of the data and information that we present has been compiled from
media reports from within Zimbabwe and from exiled Zimbabwean reporters.
Readers should note that it is often difficult to obtain reliable
information about the situation in the country given the severe and
oppressive restrictions on the media and on any persons or organizations
that oppose the Mugabe regime. Although we have endeavoured to report the
most reliable and accurate data by using independent sources, such as the
World Bank or United Nations, given the dire situation in Zimbabwe, it is
not unreasonable to assume that much of the Zimbabwean government's own data
is unreliable, out-dated or biased. Apart from the fact that the Mugabe
regime is well known for manipulating data and the truth, so many
Zimbabweans have fled the country that population-based data will be
unreliable. In many instances we have relied on media reports and first hand
accounts of the situation in Zimbabwe.

Notes:

(1) Indur Goklany (2007) The Improving State of the World (Cato Institute,
Washington DC) p.31


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Not another sellout

The Zimbabwean

John Makumbe
There are a few pieces of the jigsaw puzzle relating to the Mbeki talks that
are slowly leaking into the public domain. It would appear that the talking
teams have covered considerable ground in efforts to resolve the worsening
Zimbabwe crisis. The speed at which Zimbabwe is becoming a failed state is
such that time is of the essence, and the various negotiating teams seem to
be adequately aware of this truth. Sadly, some of the details of what seems
to have been agreed provide ground for genuine fear that the MDC may be
blindly walking into a serious political trap designed by the master of
deception himself, Robert Mugabe.
For example, it is alleged that the dictator has finally agreed to
relinquish some of his executive powers, and that an executive Prime
Minister will now exercise these powers. The dictator will, however, remain
President but with ceremonial powers only. Herein lies the first strand of
the political trap. This means that Mugabe will retain presidential immunity
and will not be prosecuted for the numerous crimes against humanity that he
has committed in the past 27 years. This cannot be acceptable to the
generality of the people of this bleeding country.
The second strand of the trap is also located in this allegedly agreed
provision. The MDC should be fully aware that no developed, democratic
country would agree to resume support of any kind to Zimbabwe while Robert
Mugabe is the President. It is generally assumed that the MDC elements that
will have been included in the interim cabinet would actively sell Mugabe as
some repentant, born again dictator turned democrat. This will not wash with
any of the developed countries. In other words, no development assistance
will be made available to Zimbabwe for as long as Mugabe is still in power.
MDC delegates at the Mbeki talks should not sell the people of Zimbabwe down
the river in this manner.
Perhaps the worst element of whatever has so far been agreed is the
Constitutional Amendment Number 18. Defenders of the progress made so far
indicate that all the4 desired constitutional changes could now be included
in the revised Number 18. The bottom line is, however, that the people will
no longer be part of the constitutional process since the proposed Number 18
will simply be passed by Parliament. This is an unfortunate betrayal of what
the people of this country have been fighting for all these years.
One of the numerous provisions of the revised Number 18 is that Parliament
will elect the president should the incumbent one vacate office for any
reason mid-term. The president so elected will have the right to govern this
country for up to four years; that is until fresh elections are called.
Needless to state that this is a disastrous negation of democratic
principles. It befuddles the mind what the MDC delegates were smoking during
these talks to agree to these numerous strands of the dictator's political
trap.
But there is still time for the MDC to review some of these aspects of what
they seem to have agreed to at the Mbeki talks. None of these aspects are
written in stone, nor are they laws of the Medes and Persian that cannot be
changed. It is incumbent upon those of us that sometimes have the ear of
influential elements within the MDC to actively seek to redirect the
thinking in that party in the manner that will put an end to all the
suffering that we are sadly getting used to already. A loo by any other name
still stinks the same.


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Sokwanele - Zimbabwe Election Watch

Sokwanele - Enough is Enough - Zimbabwe
PROMOTING NON-VIOLENT PRINCIPLES TO ACHIEVE DEMOCRACY

Zimbabwe Election Watch
Issue 7: 26 September 2007

Executive Summary

The Zimbabwean army must use the two options it has to defend the sovereignty and independence of the country - the ballot box and the gun - should the worst come to the worst.

This is the view of Brigadier General David Sigauke, Commander of the Mechanised Brigade in Inkomo, who was speaking at a graduation ceremony for soldiers last Friday. He urged the graduates to exercise their electoral right wisely in the forthcoming elections in 2008.

In an article published a week earlier, Dr Francois Vrey, who lectures at the faculty of military science at Stellenbosch University, wrote that "Militarisation underpins much of Zimbabwean security culture and directs many of the events on the political landscape." Dr Very noted that "this politico military nexus … continues to sustain the military as a coercive backup to stave off undesirable political change."

A recent study by a leading human rights group, the Zimbabwe Peace Project, reveals increasing levels of political intolerance, violence and victimisation of opposition supporters across the country.

Human Rights Watch's press release of 10 September describes the human rights situation in Zimbabwe as "dire". The release points out that, over the past year, "the government has reacted to peaceful protests by intensifying its efforts to intimidate, silence and punish those who expose abuses and exercise their basic rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly."

The human rights crisis also came up for discussion at the on-going 6th Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva.

Eleven members of a new human rights group, Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe, were severely assaulted by police and arrested as they gathered for a peaceful march in Harare.

A newly formed Zimbabwean political party, the Multi-People's Democratic Party (MPDP), is reported to have already received threats from the government's intelligence operatives.

The International Federation of Journalists has called on the Zimbabwean government to guarantee the safety of 15 journalists named on a leaked hit list. Top of the list is the editor of Johannesburg-based Zim Online, Abel Mutsakani, who survived an assassination attempt in July.

For the first time, Zimbabwe Broadcasting Holdings boss Henry Muradzikwa has admitted that there is political interference in the editorial policy of the national broadcaster.

President Mugabe's spokesman, George Charamba, has ordered state media editors to impose a partial blackout on Vice President Joice Mujuru, whose camp within the ruling Zanu PF party has been actively seeking to oust Mugabe.

Accusations of vote-rigging strategies continue to surface and the government is once again buying expensive vehicles for ministers, members of parliament and chiefs.

Industry Minister Obert Mpofu has told Zanu PF party members that the government is in the process of identifying business entities which are for regime change with a view to taking them over.



Army urged to defend Zim’s sovereignty
Source Date: 25-09-2007

The army must use the two options it has to defend the sovereignty and independence of Zimbabwe - the ballot box and the gun - should it be necessary, a senior officer has said.

Speaking at a graduation ceremony for 47 soldiers who completed a sergeant’s platoon course at 22 Infantry Battalion in Mudzi District last Friday, Commander of the Mechanised Brigade in Inkomo, Brigadier General David Sigauke said the army’s core business was to defend to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Zimbabwe.

“…As soldiers, we are privileged to be able to pursue this task on two fronts, the first being through the ballot box and the second being the use of the barrel of the gun should the worse come to the worst," he said.

"I may therefore urge you as citizens of Zimbabwe to exercise your electoral right wisely in the forthcoming elections in 2008, remembering that ‘Zimbabwe shall never be a colony again’," said Brig Gen Sigauke….

He said the prevailing economic hardships and shortages of basic goods were as a result of the illegal regime change inspired sanctions imposed by the British and their allies in response to the land reform programme.

Identified perpetrators: General David Sigauke

Source: Herald, The (ZW)
Link to source: http://allafrica.com/stories/200709250185.html

SADC standards breached

  • 2.1.3: Political tolerance;
  • 2.1.6: Equal opportunity to exercise the right to vote and be voted for
  • 4.1.2: Conducive environment for free, fair and peaceful elections
  • 7.4: [The member state holding elections shall] Safeguard the human and civil liberties of all citizens …
  • 7.5: [The member state holding elections shall] Take all necessary measures and precautions to prevent the perpetration of fraud, rigging…
  • 7.7: [The member state holding elections shall] Ensure that adequate security is provided to all parties participating in elections;

Increasing violence and victimization says human rights group
Source Date: 10-09-2007

A recent study by a leading human rights group reveals increasing levels of political intolerance, violence and victimization of opposition supporters across the country.

In the July report of the Zimbabwe Peace Project, released on September 10, there are numerous examples cited of this disturbing trend from Matabeleland in the west right across to to Manicaland in the east.

Traditional leaders in Matabeland South who make no secret of their own allegiance to Zanu PF are reported as conducting meetings at which they announce that villagers who do not support that party should not expect to benefit from food distribution projects.

In the same region a number of NGOs formerly engaged in food distribution on behalf of the international donor community have found themselves barred from this relief work on the grounds that they are covertly funding the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party.

In some areas in Midlands province it is reported that youths are going around taking house numbers of those people who are not able to produce Zanu PF cards….

In Masvingo traditional leaders who are suspected of supporting the MDC have in some cases been arrested by police officers who have told them it is a crime for a traditional leader to support the opposition party.

The report also refers to some areas in Gokwe that have been declared “no go areas” for those who do not have cards of the ruling party.

In Manicaland it is reported that state agents are stifling civil society organisations by denying them clearance to hold workshops. The few meetings that have gone ahead have led to reprisals against villagers who attended.

The human rights monitoring report cites allegations of the politicisation of both food aid and assistance with agricultural inputs across all provinces of the country.

….Within Zanu PF it is the youths who are identified as playing a critical role in perpetrating violence upon the opposition.

Source: Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum
Link to source: http://www.hrforumzim.com/

SADC standards breached

  • 2.1.1: Full participation of the citizens in the political process;
  • 2.1.3: Political tolerance;
  • 4.1.1: Constitutional and legal guarantees of freedom and rights of citizens
  • 4.1.2: Conducive environment for free, fair and peaceful elections
  • 7.4: [The member state holding elections shall] Safeguard the human and civil liberties of all citizens …
  • 7.7: [The member state holding elections shall] Ensure that adequate security is provided to all parties participating in elections;

Human Rights Watch press release
Source Date: 10-09-2007

The human rights situation in Zimbabwe remains dire. Over the past year, the government has reacted to peaceful protests by intensifying its efforts to intimidate, silence, and punish those who expose abuses and exercise their basic rights to freedom of expression, association, and assembly. The authorities continue to use repressive laws to prevent criticism of the government.

Since the beginning of the year, the police have arbitrarily arrested hundreds of civil society activists and opposition members and supporters during routine meetings or peaceful protests, often with excessive force, and in some cases have subjected those in custody to severe beatings that amount to torture, and to other mistreatment.

The government has taken no clear action to halt the rising incidence of torture and ill-treatment of activists while in the custody of police or the intelligence services. The human rights violations that have occurred in Zimbabwe in particular over the past six months - and the complete lack of accountability of those responsible for these violations - is of special concern given the longstanding and pervasive culture of impunity in Zimbabwe.

Recently, the government introduced the Interception of Communications Act, which further threatens Zimbabweans' rights to freedom of information, expression, and privacy.

Source: Human Rights Watch
Link to source: http://hrw.org/english/docs/2007/09/10/global16829.htm

SADC standards breached

  • 2.1.1: Full participation of the citizens in the political process;
  • 2.1.2: Freedom of association;
  • 2.1.3: Political tolerance;
  • 2.1.6: Equal opportunity to exercise the right to vote and be voted for
  • 4.1.1: Constitutional and legal guarantees of freedom and rights of citizens
  • 4.1.2: Conducive environment for free, fair and peaceful elections
  • 7.4: [The member state holding elections shall] Safeguard the human and civil liberties of all citizens …
  • 7.5: [The member state holding elections shall] Take all necessary measures and precautions to prevent the perpetration of fraud, rigging…
  • 7.8: [The member state holding elections shall] Ensure the transparency and integrity of the entire electoral process …

Zim human rights crisis under UN spotlight
Source Date: 14-09-2007

The human rights crisis in Zimbabwe came up for discussion at the on-going 6th Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (in Geneva) with Zimbabwe not taking kindly to criticism by the European Union.

On Thursday UN Human Rights Commissioner, Louise Arbour, delivered a report noting that her office was experiencing continued delays with the planned deployment of a Senior Human Rights Advisor to Zimbabwe….

Arbour's report was followed by another from EU representative, Francisco Xavier Esteves who made a strong statement about the crisis in Zimbabwe and said that the EU remains deeply concerned about the human rights situation there.

"The EU regrets that repressive legislation, but also its arbitrary application, is being systematically used by the government of Zimbabwe to curtail freedom of expression and association," said Esteves.

"We call on national authorities to respect their international human rights obligations and the rule of law," he said.

Using its right of reply, the Zimbabwe government said it reserves the right to enact legislation that protects its national security and sovereignty. It accused the EU of causing the suffering of Zimbabweans through its sanctions imposed in 2003.

Source: thesouthernafrican.com
Link to source: http://thesouthernafrican.com/news/world_news/zim_human
_rights_crisis_under_un_spotlight_20070914_1707_83.html

SADC standards breached

  • 4.1.1: Constitutional and legal guarantees of freedom and rights of citizens
  • 4.1.2: Conducive environment for free, fair and peaceful elections
  • 7.4: [The member state holding elections shall] Safeguard the human and civil liberties of all citizens …

11 brutalised and detained for 3 days after peaceful march in Harare
Source Date: 17-09-2007

Eleven members of a new human rights group were severely assaulted by police and arrested on Friday as they gathered for a peaceful march in Harare.

Stan Zvorwadza, vice president of Restoration of Human Rights Zimbabwe (ROHRZim), said about 500 members of their group were gathering for the march when they were disrupted by heavily armed police who proceeded to assault them with baton sticks and booted feet. Ironically the march was to protest police brutality….

….One of them was removed from the group and severely battered by a notorious CIO agent…. Those who needed medical assistance were denied it.

…The group is trying to educate people about their rights.

Source: SW Radio Africa (ZW)
Link to source: http://www.swradioafrica.com/news170907/postmarch170907.htm

SADC standards breached

  • 2.1.1: Full participation of the citizens in the political process;
  • 2.1.2: Freedom of association;
  • 2.1.3: Political tolerance;
  • 4.1.1: Constitutional and legal guarantees of freedom and rights of citizens
  • 4.1.2: Conducive environment for free, fair and peaceful elections
  • 7.4: [The member state holding elections shall] Safeguard the human and civil liberties of all citizens …

International Federation of Journalists demands safety guarantees for Zimbabwe journalists after media hit list leaked from government
Source Date: 21-09-2007

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today called on the government of Zimbabwe to guarantee the safety of 15 journalists named on a hit list that appeared to have been leaked from official sources…

The IFJ was shocked to learn of what appears to be a list of journalists who are accused of working with "hostile anti-Zimbabwean western [sic] governments" and to see that it included the name of Foster Dongozi, Secretary General of the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists and member of the IFJ Executive Committee…

The leaked document appears to date from June this year and is headlined "2008 Presidential and Parliamentary Elections." A list of 15 names then follows under the heading "Targeted Journalists".

Below the names is a short note:

"The following media personnel and others as discussed in the previous meeting are to be placed under strict surveillance and taken in on the various dates set. They're working hand in hand with hostile anti-Zimbabwean western [sic] governments. Measures to be taken against the above including those in exile, are listed on page 4 summary."

Top of the list is Abel Mutsakani who survived an assassination attempt when he was shot in South Africa on July 23. Mutsakani was an editor at the Zimbabwe daily newspaper The Daily News until it was banned in 2003. He moved to South Africa in 2004, so that he could report freely on Zimbabwe, and launched ZimOnline.

Also named is Gift Phiri, a correspondent of the Zimbabwean newspaper, who in early April was abducted by police and severely beaten in the capital, Harare. In August, Phiri was acquitted of charges of contravening the repressive Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA).

Another journalist named is Bill Saidi - deputy editor of the privately-owned newspaper The Standard - who in January received a brown envelope containing a bullet and a threatening message warning him to "watch out".

All the journalists listed work for private media and do independent investigative reporting.

"In the run up to the Presidential and Parliamentary elections expected in 2008, independent journalism will be key to ensuring that the voting process is fair and democratic," said IFJ general secretary Aidan White. "We will be watching Zimbabwe closely to ensure that our journalist colleagues are able to do their jobs freely and safely."

Identified victims: Abel Mutsakani, Gift Phiri, Bill Saidi

Source: International Federation of Journalists (IFJ)
Link to source: http://www.ifj.org/default.asp?Index=5328&Language=EN

SADC standards breached

  • 2.1.1: Full participation of the citizens in the political process;
  • 2.1.2: Freedom of association;
  • 2.1.3: Political tolerance;
  • 4.1.1: Constitutional and legal guarantees of freedom and rights of citizens
  • 4.1.2: Conducive environment for free, fair and peaceful elections
  • 7.4: [The member state holding elections shall] Safeguard the human and civil liberties of all citizens …
  • 7.5: [The member state holding elections shall] Take all necessary measures and precautions to prevent the perpetration of fraud, rigging…
  • 7.7: [The member state holding elections shall] Ensure that adequate security is provided to all parties participating in elections;

Mutambara MDC national chairperson arrested
Source Date: 10-09-2007

The chairperson of the Mutambara led MDC, Jobert Mudzumwe, was on Monday picked up by the police from his offices in Masvingo and spent five hours at the Law and Order section.

(Although on this occasion) he was released without charge, Mudzumwe said he had previously “been beaten senseless by the police, I have lost teeth through beatings and I have had bones broken…”

A statement released by the party condemned Mudzumwe's detention, describing it as indicative of the continued assault on people's liberties, freedoms and rights by state agents at the instigation of the Zanu PF regime.

'We are aware that as the nation moves towards the 2008 elections, the regime will resort to brazen acts of force and brutality to muzzle any dissenting voices. We wish to remind the regime that the citizens of Zimbabwe have a right to assemble, including the right to engage in political gatherings,' the statement said…

Identified victims: Jobert Mudzumwe, Chairperson of the Mutambara led MDC formation

Source: SW Radio Africa (ZW)
Link to source: http://www.swradioafrica.com/news100907/mdcchair100907.htm

SADC standards breached

  • 2.1.1: Full participation of the citizens in the political process;
  • 2.1.2: Freedom of association;
  • 2.1.3: Political tolerance;
  • 2.1.6: Equal opportunity to exercise the right to vote and be voted for
  • 2.1.7: Independence of the Judiciary and impartiality of the electoral institutions …
  • 4.1.1: Constitutional and legal guarantees of freedom and rights of citizens
  • 4.1.2: Conducive environment for free, fair and peaceful elections
  • 7.3: [The member state holding elections shall] Establish impartial, all-inclusive, competent and accountable national electoral bodies staffed by qualified personnel …
  • 7.4: [The member state holding elections shall] Safeguard the human and civil liberties of all citizens …
  • 7.7: [The member state holding elections shall] Ensure that adequate security is provided to all parties participating in elections;

Our reports are deceptive: Zimbabwe Broadcasting Holdings (ZBH)
Source Date: 19-09-2007

Zimbabwe Broadcasting Holdings (ZBH) boss Henry Muradzikwa has admitted (to a parliamentary committee hearing) that there is political interference in the editorial policy of the national broadcaster….

"We have been reporting on the basis of deception," said Muradzikwa, appearing before the parliamentary committee on transport and communications….

Muradzikwa said the perception that ZBH serves the interests of Zanu PF had persisted since independence.

He told the committee that some of the expectations the government had of the broadcaster undermined press freedom….

Earlier, the committee heard from Obert Muganyura, chief executive of the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ), the licensing authority for broadcasters, that no independent broadcasters had yet been licensed because the Broadcasting Services Act remained restrictive despite the Supreme Court striking down certain key sections….

The Media Institute of Southern Africa - Zimbabwe (MISA) said revelations by BAZ on the democratic deficiencies in the BSA as well as the political procrastination of the government in amending the BSA further point to the fact that the ruling party and its government are bent on maintaining their total grip on the broadcast media.

The stringent requirements in the BSA, which Muganyura described as problematic include a ban on foreign funding and ownership, restrictions on the number of national free to air private broadcasters that can be licensed as well as the restrictions placed on ownership of frequency transmitters.

The BSA provides that only the government owned company, Transmedia can own frequency transmitters and all new players have to line up to do business with Transmedia….

"The prevailing situation places Zimbabwe in a unique position in southern Africa where it is the only country with a virtual state monopoly in broadcasting. It should be noted that the closure of broadcasting space to new players is a political decision and act meant to safeguard the interest of the ruling elite hence the defiance of expert advice and calls by citizens and civic society for the industry to be opened to new players.

"As Zimbabwe faces elections next year, it should become clear to all that no democratic free and fair elections can be held in an environment where only one political party has access to the broadcasts media," said MISA in a statement.

Source: Financial Gazette, The (ZW)
Link to source: http://www.fingaz.co.zw/story.aspx?stid=1281

SADC standards breached

  • 2.1.3: Political tolerance;
  • 2.1.6: Equal opportunity to exercise the right to vote and be voted for
  • 4.1.1: Constitutional and legal guarantees of freedom and rights of citizens
  • 4.1.2: Conducive environment for free, fair and peaceful elections
  • 7.4: [The member state holding elections shall] Safeguard the human and civil liberties of all citizens …

Mugabe’s spokesman orders partial media blackout on Mujuru
Source Date: 18-09-2007

President Robert Mugabe's spokesman (George Charamba) has ordered state media editors to impose a partial blackout on Vice President Joice Mujuru, whose camp within the ruling Zanu PF party has been actively seeking the veteran leader's ouster, ZimOnline established yesterday….

The sources said Charamba, who is also permanent secretary in the Ministry of Information and Publicity, told the editors that they should amplify support for Mugabe's candidature in next year's watershed presidential elections.

(An unnamed editor who attended the meeting) said Charamba was emphatic that the Mujuru faction should be blocked out from news coverage…

The partial blackout is seen as part of the bitter internal infighting in Zanu PF over who will succeed Mugabe.

Mujuru and her husband, retired army general Solomon Mujuru, lead a Zanu PF faction that is vigorously pushing for Mugabe's retirement….

The state media has of late given acres of space to war veterans and other pro-Mugabe party organs such as the Zanu PF Youth League and Women's League.


Source: Zim Online (ZW)
Link to source: http://www.zimonline.co.za/Article.aspx?ArticleId=2024

SADC standards breached

  • 2.1.1: Full participation of the citizens in the political process;
  • 2.1.3: Political tolerance;
  • 2.1.5: Equal access to state media for all political parties
  • 2.1.6: Equal opportunity to exercise the right to vote and be voted for
  • 4.1.1: Constitutional and legal guarantees of freedom and rights of citizens
  • 7.4: [The member state holding elections shall] Safeguard the human and civil liberties of all citizens …
  • 7.5: [The member state holding elections shall] Take all necessary measures and precautions to prevent the perpetration of fraud, rigging…
  • 7.9: [The member state holding elections shall] Encourage the participation of women, disabled and youth in all aspects of the electoral process …

Sparing with food assistance, Harare splashes out on luxury cars for top officials
Source Date: 11-09-2007

The government of Zimbabwe last week earmarked some US$11 million for food aid to an increasingly hungry population - but meanwhile it's splashing out more than US$20 million to buy luxury vehicles and SUVs for ministers and members of parliament.

Harare's allocation of Z$347 billion dollars for food aid in the supplementary budget it took to parliament last week will only pay for about 36,000 metric tonnes of grain out of the estimated 450,000 to 500,000 tonnes needed to feed the country for the next three months - in other words less than 10% of the fourth-quarter requirement….

Director Godfrey Kanyenze of the Labor and Economic Development Research Institute said that with an election on the horizon, and factionalism on the rise inside Zanu PF, President Mugabe will give priority to appeasing senior ruling party officials.

Meanwhile an article in the Independent Online of September 11 notes that 38 chiefs were given brand new vehicles at a ceremony in Harare. According to the Independent Online, the handouts are part of a programme to equip the country's 266 chiefs with new vehicles before year-end.

Source: VOANews (USA)
Link to source: http://www.voanews.com/english/Africa/2007-09-11-voa63.cfm

SADC standards breached

  • 4.1.1: Constitutional and legal guarantees of freedom and rights of citizens
  • 4.1.2: Conducive environment for free, fair and peaceful elections
  • 7.4: [The member state holding elections shall] Safeguard the human and civil liberties of all citizens …
  • 7.5: [The member state holding elections shall] Take all necessary measures and precautions to prevent the perpetration of fraud, rigging…

War veterans petition Mugabe over food aid
Source Date: 12-09-2007

War veterans in Mberengwa have petitioned President Robert Mugabe to reprimand local Member of Parliament and Agriculture Minister Rugare Gumbo whom they accuse of using food handouts to punish ruling Zanu PF party rivals in the district.

The war veterans accuse Gumbo of denying wards that opposed his candidature in the 2005 parliamentary elections access to food obtained from the Grain Marketing Board under a government scheme to support drought-stricken villagers.

"War veterans are not happy with Gumbo because he is using his portfolio to fix those wards that were against his candidature in the 2005 elections by denying them food," said war veterans' leader and Zanu PF chairperson for Mberengwa East district Rudo Chakona.

Gumbo denies the allegations.

Source: Zim Online (ZW)
Link to source: http://www.zimonline.co.za/Article.aspx?ArticleId=1996

SADC standards breached

2.1.2: Freedom of association;
2.1.3: Political tolerance;
2.1.6: Equal opportunity to exercise the right to vote and be voted for
4.1.1: Constitutional and legal guarantees of freedom and rights of citizens
4.1.2: Conducive environment for free, fair and peaceful elections
7.4: [The member state holding elections shall] Safeguard the human and civil liberties of all citizens …
7.5: [The member state holding elections shall] Take all necessary measures and precautions to prevent the perpetration of fraud, rigging…


Zanu PF starts vote buying ahead of 2008 elections
Source Date: 10-09-2007

Our sources have reliably confirmed that Zanu PF plans to give 50,000 ploughs, 50,000 simple ground agricultural harrows and 50,000 Scotch Carts to voters in rural areas commencing October 2007…. A Zanu PF company in Norton is stockpiling the agricultural items….

In 2005 Zanu PF used maize seed and fertilizers to buy voters in the rural areas. The Zanu PF ruling party has always used some blackmail in addition to using military force to have people cast votes for it. In by-elections that have taken place in-between, Zanu PF has used village heads to coerce villagers to vote for party candidates or have no corn meal given to that family or village....

Note: The author of this article, Andrew Manyevere, is an MDC activist living in Canada

Source: zimbabwejournalists.com
Link to source: http://www.zimbabwejournalists.com/story.php?art_id=2860&cat=4

SADC standards breached

  • 2.1.2: Freedom of association;
  • 2.1.3: Political tolerance;
  • 4.1.1: Constitutional and legal guarantees of freedom and rights of citizens
  • 4.1.2: Conducive environment for free, fair and peaceful elections
  • 7.4: [The member state holding elections shall] Safeguard the human and civil liberties of all citizens …
  • 7.5: [The member state holding elections shall] Take all necessary measures and precautions to prevent the perpetration of fraud, rigging…
  • 7.8: [The member state holding elections shall] Ensure the transparency and integrity of the entire electoral process …

Zim govt threatens to take over companies which are for "regime change"
Source Date: 17-09-2007

Industry Minister Obert Mpofu told the ruling Zanu-PF party members meeting at the weekend in western Zimbabwe that the government had already started identifying companies it plans to take over (as a result of their defying controversial price controls).

While embarking on this project of price stabilisation we are now deep in the process of identifying all those business entities which are for regime change with a view of taking over the companies, Mpofu was quoted as saying by the state-controlled Chronicle newspaper.

Source: Mail and Guardian Online, The (RSA)
Link to source: http://www.mg.co.za/articlePage.aspx?articleid=319483&
area=/breaking_news/breaking_news__business/

SADC standards breached

  • 2.1.2: Freedom of association;
  • 2.1.3: Political tolerance;
  • 4.1.1: Constitutional and legal guarantees of freedom and rights of citizens
  • 4.1.2: Conducive environment for free, fair and peaceful elections
  • 7.4: [The member state holding elections shall] Safeguard the human and civil liberties of all citizens …
  • 7.5: [The member state holding elections shall] Take all necessary measures and precautions to prevent the perpetration of fraud, rigging…

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Shame over Zimbabwe inaction

Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

If white people, in any country, were carrying out a prolonged campaign of
beatings, disappearances and intimidation against black people, world
leaders and leading politicians would be rightfully outraged. It would be
front page, headline news for months.

Human rights activists would be marching in the streets, mounting daily
protests at Downing Street. Why is it that the world turns a blind eye and
allows tyrant Mugabe to ferociously quash opposition and bring once
prosperous Zimbabwe to the brink of starvation?

Reporters speak of Zimbabwe's economy spiralling out of control, with
inflation running at 13,000%. Four out of five of the population live in
abject poverty. On top of this, the health service has collapsed and fuel
supplies in Harare have all but dried up.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu lamented recently: "All of us Africans must hang our
heads in shame for having allowed such a desperate situation to continue."

I believe much the same comment could be made about our Government's lack of
interest.

T J McClean, Belfast


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Action on Zimbabwe

The Telegraph

Sir - As Zimbabwe sinks deeper into crisis, Gordon Brown has called for the
world to act (report, September 25). The immediate focus of international
aid is the humanitarian disaster. But he is right to recognise the need for
long-term solutions, working alongside regional partners, such as South
Africa and Tanzania.

The Prime Minister has also cited the United Nations and the European Union
as key to this process. Yet he makes no mention of the Commonwealth, even
though he is due to attend his first Commonwealth summit as a head of
government, in Uganda in two months.

The Prime Minister's Commonwealth credentials are good: as Chancellor, he
advanced the cause of debt relief and fair trade, doubled aid, and
established the Commonwealth Education Fund. As a new Commonwealth leader,
he can leave behind past disagreements and help to forge a new consensus on
Zimbabwe.

It was just such an agreement, hammered out in the wings of the Lusaka
Commonwealth heads of government meeting (CHOGM) in 1979, which paved the
way for the Lancaster House talks and the birth of an independent Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe's withdrawal from Commonwealth membership in 2003 is no excuse for
inaction. After all, South Africa's exit from the organisation in 1961 only
served to galvanise the Commonwealth's campaign to end apartheid.

The Kampala CHOGM must act on Zimbabwe, and the coming months will be a
test - both of the Commonwealth's effectiveness and of Mr Brown's
international leadership.

Stuart Mole, Director-General, Royal Commonwealth Society, London WC2


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Chinese Firm Gives Zim Us$4,5m for Fertilizer



The Herald (Harare)† Published by the government of Zimbabwe

26 September 2007
Posted to the web 26 September 2007

Martin Kadzere
Harare

CHINA National Machinery and Equipment Import and Export Corporation has
provided US$4,5 million to Zimbabwe for the importation of 10 000 tonnes of
ammonium.

The ammonium will be supplied by Sasol, a diversified South African chemical
company, and is convertible to 20 000 tonnes of ammonium nitrate. Sources
said Government brokered the deal although it was not clear how the debt
would be settled. "The money has already been paid to Sasol and we are
waiting for the delivery of the consignment," said one source who spoke on
condition of anonymity. About 800 000 tonnes of both AN and basal
fertilizers are required for the 2007/08 farming season. Last week,
Agriculture Minister Mr Rugare Gumbo said Government was targeting to import
800 000 tonnes of basal and top dressing fertilizers to avert the looming
shortage of the critical farming input.

Mr Gumbo said strategies were being pursued to finance and boost the
capacity of the local industry. Industry and International Trade Minister Mr
Obert Mpofu could not comment. Fertilizer companies were currently operating
at 30 percent capacity, according to industry players. Presently Sable, the
country's sole producer of AN, is surviving on toll manufacturing contracts
from local companies such as the Cotton Company of Zimbabwe, Cargill and
Alliance Ginneries, among other players in the cotton industry.

The company, whose maximum production capacity is 240 000 tonnes per year,
has only been operating at half mast, churning out 120 000 tonnes per year.
No comment could be obtained from Sables general manager Mr John Mhunduru as
his mobile phone went unanswered. Apart from raw material shortages, the
company is also facing recurrent breakdowns at its plant. Sables indicated
that it needed US$40 million to refurbish the plant.

Conglomerate TA Holdings owns 51 percent in Sables. Government plans to put
3,2 million hectares under maize, small grains, cotton and oil seeds during
the 2007/08 farming season.


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Zim-China Firms in Deal for Purchase of 100 Buses



The Herald (Harare)† Published by the government of Zimbabwe

26 September 2007
Posted to the web 26 September 2007

Harare

ZUPCO has struck a lucrative deal with a Chinese finance company to fund the
purchase of 100 conventional buses from that country.

The arrival of the buses, which are expected in Zimbabwe before the end of
December, heavily depends on Government's willingness to guarantee the
nearly $6 million loan amount. In addition, 50 kits that include bus engines
and axles ordered by the national bus operator are also ready for delivery
from China but because Zupco has not paid the required US$861 000, the kits
are still locked in Chinese warehouses.

Zupco chief executive officer Mr Gwinyai Chikowore confirmed the deals
saying the 50 kits would be used to refurbish part of the 300 DAF shells
that the company has. His comments come at a time that there is intensive
lobbying to force Zupco to buy all its buses from local bus manufacturers
such as AVM and Deven Engineering. Arguments are that locally assembled
buses have a life span of up to 10 years while the Chinese buses can only
last four years. Unconfirmed reports said that the deal, engineered by the
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, was struck without the knowledge of Zupco to award
at least two local bus manufacturers to either manufacture or refurbish 200
buses for the company. The deal is reported to be causing a lot of anxiety
at a time when it is reported that there is no money to pay for ready buses
and kits from China.

Yesterday, Reserve Bank Governor Dr Gideon Gono said commenting on the issue
would pre-empt his monetary policy statement to be presented next Monday. He
however, said that the issue of transport was a major subject in the
monetary policy. "The issue of transport is very focal in the coming
monetary policy. I will not pre-empt my monetary policy," he said. According
to documents in possession of The Herald a FAW bus bought from China costs
between US$50 000 and US$60 000. Kits for refurbishment for a FAW engine
cost US$20 000 while those for an Isuzu bus cost US$30 000 in addition to a
local component of $1,5 billion.

The prices are in comparison to those charged by Deven Engineering and AVM.
An AVM assembled bus costs US$107 000 while the DAF kits cost US$21 486 plus
a local component of $4 billion. A bus supplied by Deven Engineering costs
ZAR421 247 or US$60 178 plus an unspecified amount in Zimbabwe dollars. To
refurbish a bus the company requires that Zupco supply the bus kits and also
pay over $5,1 billion.

Even though the prices are not final with the actual price to be invoiced
after completion of the job.


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Shortage of Engineers Stalls Road Construction


The Herald (Harare)† Published by the government of Zimbabwe

26 September 2007
Posted to the web 26 September 2007

Harare

Funds amounting to billions of dollars earmarked for road construction are
lying idle in the Ministry of Transport and Communication owing to the
unavailability of engineers, many of whom have left the country for South
Africa, a parliamentary portfolio committee heard yesterday.

Secretary for Transport and Communications Engineer George Mlilo told the
Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Transport and Communications on Monday
that various road construction projects have been stalled because many
engineers left the country for South Africa where they were getting
lucrative conditions of service compared to what is offered locally.

He said although the $1,7 billion allocated by Treasury for road
construction was a far cry than what they had expected, implementation of
projects could still not be done due to skills flight. The committee,
chaired by Makonde Member of House of Assembly Cde Leo Mugabe (Zanu-PF), had
expressed concern over the state of the roads in the country.

Kadoma West Member of the House Cde Zacharia Ziyambi (Zanu-PF) said $3
billion was allocated last year in his constituency for road construction
but he was surprised that nothing was being done to improve the state of
roads in the area.

"The challenge I have heard is that in all provinces I lost all provincial
engineers to South Africa. Some foremen would ask to go on leave but they
don't come back. I only have two engineers but they don't have support
staff," said Eng Mlilo.

He said they had held discussions with the Public Service Commission on a
package for new employees but the commission took long to implement the
proposal, resulting in the staff leaving.

"We wonder for whom are they going to implement the programme because
everyone has left," he said. Asked why they did not employ retired
engineers, Eng Mlilo said all known engineers were in active service since
there are few of them in the country and of those support staff that are
retired most of them had health-related challenges.

Cde Mugabe expressed concern over the delay to implement programmes by the
PSC and pointed out that several Government departments had expressed the
same concerns.

Eng Mlilo said another challenge was that of inadequate funding allocated to
projects, leaving many projects stalled for a long period. But the committee
asked if it was not prudent to pool the resources and focus on one project
and complete it before turning to another one. Eng Mlilo welcomed the
suggestion but said the inherent problem with that proposition was that
Members of Parliament for constituencies that would have funds allocated
would complain if the ministry diverted funds to other areas. It was,
however, agreed that the ministry could liaise with local leadership and
politicians so as to channel resources to projects in a district with at
least two or three constituencies.

The committee also expressed concern over the recent announcement by the
ministry that CMED was now involved in testing learners for driving
licences. Cde Mugabe said the system was riddled with flaws, saying it was
strange that a ministry would mandate a private company like CMED to test
drivers. He said allowing CMED to test drivers was not only unfair and
discriminatory against other private companies but did not remove the
corruption scourge that the ministry had cited as the reason for bringing in
CMED. Another matter that the committee raised issue with was Air Zimbabwe's
treatment of its former acting chief executive officer, Captain Oscar
Madombwe, which they described as unfair.

Chitungwiza Senator Cde Forbes Magadu (Zanu-PF) said the committee had
received reports that Capt Madombwe had been sent home under unclear
circumstances. They said the loyalty he demonstrated in serving the national
airline was not consistent with the treatment he was getting.


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Zimbabwe law hits foreign groups

Financial Times

By Alec Russell in Johannesburg

Published: September 26 2007 23:33 | Last updated: September 26 2007 23:33

Zimbabwe's parliament passed a law on Wednesday giving the state controlling
stakes in foreign-owned businesses, including banks and mines.

It happened in the face of warnings from the opposition and businesses that
the law would have catastrophic consequences for Zimbabwe's already
crumbling economy. While the official rate of inflation is 6,500 per cent,
the real figure is widely believed to be far higher.

The business community has been clinging to the hope that the law would, if
passed, never be implemented. But as they battle to stay in power, allies of
Robert Mugabe, the president, have insisted it will be enforced and
justified it as an attempt to lift up the masses.

"We cannot continue to have a skewed economic environment where our people
are not able to fully participate," Paul Mangwana, the indigenisation and
economic empowerment minister, told parliament.

The government would work with business sectors to establish deadlines for
the transfer of shares to local groups and individuals, he said.

MPs from the opposition Movement for Democratic Change walked out of
parliament in protest as Mr Mugabe's ruling Zanu-PF party pushed the bill
through. They argued that the bill is aimed at enriching a few leading
figures in Zanu-PF and winning votes in the parliamentary and presidential
elections scheduled for next March.

Two of the largest foreign-owned banks in Zimbabwe, Standard Chartered and
Stanbic, launched a last-ditch bid to stop the legislation when they warned
they might have to withdraw from Zimbabwe if they lost their majority
stakes.

"Removal of the possibility to hold a controlling interest might make it
difficult for existing companies or potential new investors being able to
justify their continued interest in the country," Standard Chartered said.

Stanbic, the name under which South Africa's Standard Bank trades in the
rest of Africa, said it would not allow the use of its corporate identity by
businesses in which it did not have a majority stake.

Among the multinational mining companies that might be affected are Anglo
Zimbabwe, the Bindura Nickel Corporation and Rio Zim.

Business leaders warned in the countdown to the vote that the Indigenisation
and Empowerment Bill would precipitate a 30 per cent drop in foreign
investment.

"I want to urge the minister to reconsider because our economy needs foreign
direct investment," Innocent Gonese, an MDC MP said.

The bill is the latest in a series of draconian moves under Mr Mugabe whose
rule has in the past decade led to the implosion of what was once one of
Africa's more vibrant economies.


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OK to close down?

The Zimbabwean

HARARE
One of the country's leading retailers, OK Zimbabwe has closed some of its
branches in what insiders say could indicate plans to stop operating in the
country.
Efforts to get an official position from the directors of OK Zimbabwe were
in vain.
The branch at Machipisa Shopping Centre in Highfield has been closed for two
weeks. Sources at OK Zimbabwe say other branches have closed.
"The board has been considering whether or not to stop operating," a source
said. "The supermarkets still operating are seriously lacking in terms of
stock and the majority of workers have already been laid off or asked to go
on leave."
A subsidiary of South African based Shoprite, OK Zimbabwe has more than 50
supermarkets across the country. - Itai Dzamara


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State Alters Charge against Editor

The Zimbabwean

26-09-07
†The trial of Bright Chibvuri the editor of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade
Unions' (ZCTU) The Worker magazine opened in Plumtree on 26 September 2007
with the state applying to alter the alleged offence under the repressive
Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIIPA).

†Prosecutor Ronald Tandabantu applied to alter the charge at the
commencement of the trial. Chibvuri was initially being charged with
contravening Section 83 (1) as read with Section 80 (2) of AIPPA.† Section
80 (2) is non -existent. He requested the court to alter the charge to
contravention of Section 83 (3) of AIPPA. Section 83 (1) creates the offence
of practicing journalism without accreditation while Section 83 (3) is a
penalty clause.

†Chibvuri's lawyer Munyaradzi Nzarayapenga, who is being assisted by
MISA-Zimbabwe Legal Officer Wilbert Mandinde, did not oppose the application
as that did not prejudice his client.

†Chibvuri pleaded not guilty.
†Patriot Shiku a policeman with the Law and Order Section in Plumtree told
the court that he arrested the accused after Chibvuri who had identified
himself as editor of The Worker allegedly produced an expired 2006
accreditation card.

†Cross-examining Shiku, the defense produced Chibvuri's valid 2007
accreditation card. The arresting officer confirmed that the card in
question is valid from 1 January 2007 to 31 December 2007 which covers the
period in question. The prosecutor indicated that he intends to call Dr
Tafataona Mahoso the chairman of the state-controlled Media and Information
Commission which is the issuing authority of journalism accreditation cards.

†Chibvuri was arrested in Plumtree on 3 March 2007 during a ZCTU seminar on
allegations of practicing journalism without accreditation and spent two
nights in police custody.

†He was only released on 5 March 2007 when he appeared before a Plumtree
magistrate on charges of contravening Section 83 of AIPPA which penalises
the practice of journalism without accreditation.

†The trial will continue on 5 November 2007 as the presiding magistrate Mark
Dzira is apparently not feeling well.

†End

† For any questions, queries or comments, please contact:

†Nyasha Nyakunu
Research and Information Officer
Media Institute of Southern Africa - Zimbabwe
84 McChlery Ave
Eastlea
P.O Box HR 8113
Harare
Zimbabwe
Tel/Fax: 263 4 776165† / 746838
Cell: 263 11 602 448
Email:misa@misazim.co.zw
Website: www.misazim.co.zw

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