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

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Zim Online

JONATHAN MOYO IN FRESH BID TO SHACKLE JOURNALISTS
Fri 3 September 2004

HARARE - Information Minister Jonathan Moyo plans to tighten further
Zimbabwe's already restrictive media laws by banning local journalists from
working for foreign media, according to proposed new legislation gazetted by
the government last week.

Journalists carrying out their work without being registered with the
government-appointed Media and Information Commission will be fined or
jailed for not more than two years under the proposed new regulations. The
new regulations will be tabled in
Parliament when it resumes next month.

Section 83 of the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act
that governs the operations of journalists and media companies only
prohibits journalists from working without being licensed by the government
commission.

The section will be amended to provide for a penalty of a fine or
imprisonment not exceeding two years.

A new section will be added to the media Act which will read:
"Registered journalists will only work for media houses under which they are
registered and are not allowed to work for outside media."

Moyo also wants to amend Section 40 of the Act which requires an
association of journalists and another one of media companies to nominate a
representative each to the seven-member state media commission.

Under the new changes either the journalists or media companies could
nominate the two members of the commission. Media companies could nominate
the two members of the commission sidelining journalists or vice versa.

Banning local journalists from working for foreign media could finally
impose a blackout on Zimbabwe. The government has already expelled from the
country all foreign journalists.

International news agencies Reuters, Associated Press and Agence
France Press still have bureaus in Zimbabwe. The South African Broadcasting
Corporation also has a correspondent in the country. But all of the
international media have small teams of one or two people and nearly all
depend on local journalists to cover the entire country.

Media organisations and journalists' unions castigated the proposed
new regulations saying they imposed further hurdles on an already severely
shackled media.

The Zimbabwean chapter of the Media Institute of Southern Africa said:
"We have been hoping for amendments that would make the (media) law fair and
create a conducive environment for journalists to work in. But these
amendments rather make the law more draconian."

Zimbabwe Union of Journalists secretary general, Forster Dongozi,
said: "What we have been calling for, is a total change to the draconian
media law. There must be broader involvement of the stakeholders if any
changes to it are going to be meaningful and beneficial to the media, which
is currently in a bad state."

In a statement the Independent Journalists Association of Zimbabwe
said: "These amendments will make the media law more sinister and therefore
are against our calls for consultation in efforts to save the media
fraternity currently under siege."

The government has shut down three newspapers over the past year for
breaching its media laws. ZimOnline

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Zim Online

ZANU PF set for a walkover in Seke by-election
Fri 3 September 2004

HARARE - The Nomination Court sits today to accept candidates for a
by-election in Seke constituency scheduled to take place at the end of this
month.

The court is likely to award the seat to the ruling ZANU PF party if
the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party sticks to its
decision not to participate and if none of the other minor parties decides
to take part in the poll.

The seat fell vacant following the death of the MDC's Ben
Tumbare-Mutasa two months ago. The MDC has said it will not participate in
elections including next year's parliamentary ballot unless Zimbabwe's
undemocratic electoral laws were genuinely reformed.

MDC spokesman Paul Themba Nyathi said: "We are not participating in
the Seke by-election because it will be held under the current flawed
electoral framework."

Meanwhile, the ZANU PF women's league meets in Harare today for its
congress. The congress is expected to nominate state and party President
Robert Mugabe as its candidate for the party's leadership when it meets for
its main congress in December.

The December congress, which is held after every five years, will
select a new leadership for ZANU PF. ZimOnline

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Zim Online

More filling stations run dry across the country
Fri 3 September 2004

HARARE - Fuel supplies remained erratic across the country with some
filling stations in Harare saying they were selling their last stocks of the
product.

An attendant at a Total filling station along Chinhoyi Street, in
Harare said they had gone for days without supplies. A senior official at
Country Petroleum's Willowvale Road filling station said they still had few
stocks of petrol while diesel had run out.

In Zimbabwe's second largest city of Bulawayo, several filling
stations visited by ZimOnline said they were only left with petrol in stock.

In the Midlands city of Gweru, a long queue of motorists waiting to
fill up their cars could be seen at Wedzera Service Station along Robert
Mugabe Road.

A senior manager at the filling station, which is one of the biggest
in the city, said: "Supplies have been erratic. There is this long queue
outside because we are the only filling station with fuel in Gweru."

The situation was the same in the other major cities such as Mutare
and Kwekwe toured by ZimOnline reporters.

Meanwhile, Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor Gideon Gono yesterday
sought to reassure Zimbabweans that there was enough fuel as more filling
stations ran dry across the country.

Gono told ZimOnline: "I have issued an assurance to the public that
the fuel situation is under control." He added that the central bank was
working hard to ensure that there was enough foreign currency for oil
companies to import more fuel into the country. He did not elaborate.
ZimOnline

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Zim Online

Protesters back at SA embassy
Fri 3 September 2004

HARARE - An alliance of local civic and political groups for the
second time yesterday demonstrated at the South African embassy here calling
on Pretoria to help end Zimbabwe's crisis.

The National Constitutional Assembly, which is a coalition of
churches, labour, opposition political parties, and human rights groups, on
Wednesday handed a petition to South Africa's ambassador to Zimbabwe,
Jeremiah Ndou, calling on Pretoria to throw its weight behind the search for
democracy in its northern neighbour.

Yesterday more than 400 placard-waving members of the civic alliance
were back at the embassy. Alliance chairman Lovemore Madhuku, said: "We are
indebted to the embassy for giving our delegation an opportunity to hand our
message yesterday.

"It is important to show that this message is not just an invention of
the National Constitutional Assembly leaders. It is a reflection of the
views of thousands of ordinary members and the only way of showing this is
by a peaceful demonstration at the embassy. This is why the demonstration is
going on today."

Police armed with guns and batons dispersed the demonstrators from the
embassy. There were no reports of assaults or arrests.

The alliance, which is pushing for a new and democratic constitution
for Zimbabwe, said this week's demonstrations were to voice Zimbabweans'
objections to a proposed new law that will severely restrict the operations
of non-governmental organisations in the country.

Meanwhile, a lawyer representing activists arrested during Wednesday's
protest Alec Muchadehama, said seven of them had been released by the police
without being charged.

Four other activists are to appear in court today to answer to charges
of contravening Zimbabwe's strict Public Order and Security Act. The law
prohibits Zimbabweans from holding political meetings or demonstrations
without prior approval of the police. The alliance's protests were not
approved by the police. ZimOnline

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Zim Independent

Mujuru guns for vice-presidency
Dumisani Muleya
THE influential Zanu PF Women's League has entered the ruling party's
succession race and is now lobbying for politburo member Joyce Mujuru to be
nominated as vice-president during the party's forthcoming December
congress.

Official sources said the Women's League, headed by Thenjiwe Lesabe, who is
seen as close to President Robert Mugabe, is vigorously pushing for Mujuru
to fill the post left vacant by former vice-president Simon Muzenda's death
last year. Joseph Msika remains as the other vice-president.

Sources said the Zanu PF women were planning to come up with a key
resolution after their congress, which will be opened by Mugabe today at
City Sports Centre in Harare, backing Mujuru.

The congress is being held under the banner of "Total Empowerment of Women
in Zimbabwe".

It is understood that the women will insist on the overhaul of the archaic
Zanu PF constitution - which was tailor-made to suit Mugabe's failed
one-party state project of the 1980s - to allow their candidate to be
elevated to the party's top hierarchy through affirmative action.

Sources said the outdated Zanu PF constitution would be amended to take into
account present political realities and discard the structures of the past.

"The women want Mujuru to be one of the two vice-presidents because of the
key role they played in the liberation struggle and after Independence," a
source said."Mujuru is seen as the most suitable candidate because the
Women's League chairperson Lesabe is now rather old. Lesabe could have been
vice-president in 1999 if the women had pushed harder for her elevation."

Lesabe almost became vice-president during the 1999 Zanu PF congress but was
blocked by the hierarchical impediments in the ruling party.

However, sources said Mujuru could come unstuck in her bid because there
were other stronger forces gunning for the same job. Zanu PF secretary for
administration Emmerson Mnangagwa and foreign relations secretary Didymus
Mutasa have been mentioned as candidates.

Mnangagwa is said to command a majority of provinces through the chairmen of
Midlands, Manicaland, Mashonaland West, Mashonaland East, Matabeleland North
and Bulawayo. He is also said to be backed by retired General Vitalis
Zvinavashe. Mutasa is thought to have only an outside chance due to his lack
of political clout.

However, Mnangagwa, who lost the chairmanship to John Nkomo in 1999, is said
to be highly unpopular with the grassroots and his political record is seen
as tainted by allegations of corruption which he has strongly denied.

Nkomo has been named as a successor to Msika and possibly Mugabe.

Sources said the only blot on Mujuru's record was her insult of Joshua

Nkomo during the Econet saga in 1996. She later apologised. Besides that,
she is seen as in with a chance due to Women's League's support.

Zanu PF has been making much of its newly-discovered gender-sensitive role
after Thabo Mbeki appointed women to top jobs in his party and government.

Last Thursday a Women's League delegation, led by Lesabe, met Mugabe to
raise concerns over the current infighting in Zanu PF. It is said the group
also discussed other issues.

After that Lesabe lambasted Zanu PF "mafikizolos" - newcomers - in the
ruling party mouthpiece, The Voice, who she said were engaged in attempts to
discredit the party's leadership through vitriolic calumnies in anonymous
columns in the state media.

Lesabe was last month reported to have raised concern over Zanu PF deputy
Information secretary Jonathan Moyo's conduct. She was said to have been
supported by party heavyweights, including Nkomo, spokesman Nathan
Shamuyarira and politburo bigwig, retired General Solomon Mujuru.

Mugabe is expected to meet senior party members over the issue. He is
understood to have raised the matter in cabinet last week.

Sources said Msika's attempt to be reelected could falter because there is
growing internal resistance to his comeback.

The increasingly intricate situation leaves Mugabe in a fix over the
simmering succession issue at congress.
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Zim Independent

Govt probes TeleAccess
Shakeman Mugari
DANIEL Shumba's TeleAccess risks losing its operating licence after
revelations this week that the government has launched investigations into
the company's failure to roll out its network.

Shumba, who was awarded the second fixed network licence after a protracted
battle with government in January last year, has been promising that his
company would roll out phones. But his failure to do so has prompted the
current investigations which started in July.

A report is expected next week.

Transport and Communications permanent secretary Karikoga Kaseke last week
confirmed that TeleAccess was being probed by government to establish why it
had failed to start operations within the given period.

Kaseke said the government has instructed the Post and Telecommunications
Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz) to carry out the investigations.

"We want to know why they (TeleAccess) are not operating. They have been
having this licence for a long time now," Kaseke said. "We instructed Potraz
to start the investigations in July and we are expecting the report any time
now." Potraz should have presented its findings to the Ministry last week.

Kaseke said government is concerned with TeleAccess' failure to roll out the
network. Regulations say a company is required to start up a network within
six months of getting a licence.

"Because this is a national asset, we need to know their problem," said
Kaseke. The government wants to verify Shumba's claims of having
state-of-the-art equipment and financial muscle to start up the network.

Shumba, who is also the Zanu-PF chairman for Masvingo, has in the past told
Potraz that his equipment was being shipped from China. The inquiry would
also seek to establish reasons why TeleAccess is not operating despite
having been give the licence 18 months ago.

The investigations, sources at Potraz say, have been triggered by the
growing number of companies that have applied to Potraz for a fixed network
licence. Afritell, a telecoms company backed by Transmedia, Powertel and
Africom, has applied for a fixed network licence. Experts say the company
already has the primary infrastructure to start operations.

The Zimbabwe Independent has since established that Shumba does not have the
basic equipment to start a fixed network. Contrary to his claims that his
C&C08 line exchange in Newlands has 112 000 lines, it has been established
that the equipment housed at Central Films Laboratory can only hold just
over 100 lines.
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Zim Independent

Water project row looms
Gift Phiri
LONG-STANDING plans by government to draw water from the Zambezi River to
supply drought-prone Matabeleland region risk igniting "hydro-politics" that
could end up degenerating into a serious conflict in the sub-region.

Diplomats, international lawyers and hydrologists said government could not
draw water from the 3 000-kilometre river to Bulawayo without the approval
of eight Southern African Development Community (Sadc) countries whose
territories lie in the Zambezi basin.

"There is combustible hydro-politics surrounding that river," one diplomat
said.

The Zambezi River, Africa's fourth longest river after the Nile, Congo and
Niger, drains off eight of the 13-member Sadc states - Angola, Botswana,
Namibia, Malawi, Tanzania, Mozambique, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

International legal experts and diplomats said the question of negotiating
with other states was very pertinent, adding that if Zimbabwe failed to
handle the issue with caution it could lead to a serious conflict in the
region.

The Zambezi River has been utilised for hydro-electric power (HEP)
generation at Kariba, Cahorra Bassa and the north bank of the Victoria
Falls.

A number of riparian states - countries from which the Zambezi River
drains - are understood to be working out plans to exploit the large river's
hydro-electric potential.

Zambia is understood to be planning to develop a 450 megawatt (MW) HEP
station at Lower Kafue, 1 600 MW station at the Batoka Gorge and a 1 240 MW
station at the Devil's Gorge at Victoria Falls. The country is also
understood to be working out plans to develop a 1 000 MW station at Mupata
Gorge.

Mozambique is planning to exploit the hydro-electric potential of the river
by building a 1 200 MW station at Cahorra Bassa, 1 600 MW station at Mupanda
Uncua, 444 MW station at Boroma and another 654 MW station at Lupata.

Sources said that plans by Zimbabwe to draw water from the river would badly
affect the downward flow trends of the Zambezi River - a potential source of
conflict with other states with plans to set up HEP stations downstream.

Prominent hydrologist Sir Mott McDonald, speaking on the sidelines of the
just-ended Harare Agricultural Show, said already the average inflow of
water into the river had been drastically reduced.

"Competition for the increasingly limited resource whose supply continues to

diminish and is uncertain should serve as a wake up call for states such as
Zimbabwe to pursue its national interest cognisant that there are other
competitors," warned McDonald. "There is great potential for conflict in the
proposed Matabeleland Zambezi Water project."

Namibia is reportedly planning to expand the Lonrho operated sugar
irrigation project in eastern Caprivi from the current 40 ha to 140 ha. The
country is reportedly working out plans to channel Zambezi water from Katima
Mlilo to Lake Liambezi to irrigate several thousand hectares of cane.

Botswana is also envisaging draining from the Zambezi to meet expected
demand for water in eastern Botswana and the greater Gaborone region.
Botswana has already expressed interest in joining either Zimbabwe or South
Africa in drawing water from the Zambezi.

Zambia is also understood to be making plans to extract water from the river
to feed the planned Kafue-Kariba and the Mambova irrigation project. South
Africa, although not a riparian state, plans to draw from the Zambezi
between 2,5 to 4 billion cubic metres annually when the Lesotho Highland
Water Project is fully developed.

"This raises questions of whether or not there is enough water in the
Zambezi after all for the simultaneous satisfaction of non-consumptive use
(HEP) and expected consumptive use," a Sadc envoy said.

The diplomat said there were serious ramifications over plans by Zimbabwe to
unilaterally draw water from the river. The envoy said there is a regional
protocol on shared watercourse systems produced by Sadc, but not all
riparian states had signed it.

"This means that Zimbabwe cannot extract water from the river without
negotiations with all riparian states and this may take a very, very long
time," the diplomat said.
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Zim Independent

Bulawayo council owed $25b in rates
Staff Writer
THE government and city residents now owe the cash-strapped Bulawayo city
council a whopping $25 billion in unpaid rates and supplementary charges as
the local authority steps up measures to curb the escalating debt.

Council documents obtained this week from the municipality indicate that
both the government and local residents now owe a combined total of $25,5
billion as at the end of July.

Residents owe the council over $18,5 billion. The largest chunk of the
amount is in unpaid water charges that constitute about $8,5 billion while
supplementary charges and rates are next with $6,3 billion owed.

Government departments owe council a total of $6,8 billion in unpaid bills
for water, sewerage and refuse removal.

The new figures, submitted to council by city treasurer Middleton Nyoni,
indicate that the Ministry of Home Affairs is the biggest debtor, owing
council over $29 million closely followed by the Ministry of Education and
Culture which owes $414 million while the Ministry of Higher Education owes
a further $408 million.

Other debts are spread across land sales, refusal removal, rent, loan
repayments, legal charges and developments permits.

Bulawayo city council has over the last six months failed to source $180
billion on the open money but has recently benefited from an $18 billion
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) facility that would enable the local
authority to resuscitate capital projects that have been in limbo for a long
time.
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Zim Independent

'Chindori violated undertakings'
Augustine Mukaro/Godfrey Marawanyika
FORMER Mines minister Edward Chindori Chininga is alleged to have violated
High Court orders and government directives not to interfere with Export
Processing Zone (EPZ) activities when he moved onto Bally Carney Farm in
Mashonaland West.

Chindori Chininga, the MP for Guruve South, forcibly evicted farm owner,
Simon Philp, violating the EPZ regulation which stipulates that the two
should co-exist.

The seizure forced the multi-billion dollar horticultural concern to fold,
thus losing lucrative European markets and foreign currency. Bally Exports
used to enjoy a 38% market share in Europe and was the world's largest
grower of passion fruit.

In a letter to Philp in October last year, Chindori Chininga made an
undertaking not to interfere with the farm's EPZ horticulture pack house and
associated infrastructure.

"The EPZ horticulture pack house and associated infrastructure at the pack
house facility will not be interfered with by the new land owner," Chindori
Chininga wrote in his letter.

"The pack house manager can stay on the farm to manage the facility and we
can negotiate the terms under which the manager can remain managing the EPZ
pack house operations. On EPZ fixed infrastructure facilities, I am prepared
to make a special arrangement through joint venture or other accepatble
options to allow the facilities to operate and be accessed by other
farmers."

Chindori Chininga initially agreed that Philp's foreman and workers would
continue to maintain the passion fruit and exports after special
negotiations and arrangements between the two.

On top of Chindori Chininga's undertaking, Philp also obtained two High

Court orders barring the former minister from taking over the farm but these
were ignored.

A visit to the farm by the Zimbabwe Independent revealed a completely
different picture to Chindori Chininga's undertaking. The workers who spoke
to the Independent said infrastructure on the farm was crumbling.

"The first indication that all is not well can be seen from the reduction of
the

workforce from around 660 workers to the current 120 people," one worker
said. "Exports of passion fruit have stopped, rendering over 85 permanent
packaging workers jobless."

Another worker said: "As you can see the pack house is closed. It has been
closed since Chindori Chininga took over in October last year. The Balley
juice processing section has also closed down.

"In the passion fruit fields it looks like everything is going on well but
the truth of the matter is that we are just reaping fruits planted by the
previous owner. Stubs of the old crop, which the new owner is trying to
resuscitate, won't work because the quality of the fruit will not meet
export quality," he said.

Under normal circumstances, new seedlings should be developed each year and
transplanted into trellised land. The passion plant for export produce
should be in the ground for 20 months with its production having commenced
at month six.

Chindori Chininga defended his position saying he was fully utilising the
farm. "This winter I have done 100 hectares of wheat, 12 hectares of
cabbages, granadillas and avocados," he said. The granadillas for export
were removed to plant cabbages for the local market.

Other than taking over Bally Carney Farm, Chindori Chininga is also accused
of grabbing two other farms. He is understood to have taken over Wilderness
in Mhangura and Kodzwi in Banket.

"I do not know anything about those farms. The two farms belong to Jenita
and Victor - vana vababa vangu vese (Both my father's children). In fact,
they have been on those farms since the 1980s," Chindori Chininga said.

"I cannot be fighting in the press everyday. I am busy doing my farming and
it does not help anyone to continue fighting in the press. This case has
gone to the courts and decisions were made. Please, I cannot continue
fighting I am now tired of this."

The High Court ruled in Philp's favour on two occasions, issuing eviction
notices which Chindori Chininga ignored.

Philp said Chindori Chininga had barred him from taking his movables valued
at around $11 billion.

These include irrigation equipment, fresh produce storage facilities, diesel
tanks and tractors, fuel, chemicals, farm machinery as well as personal
effects.
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Zim Independent

Zanu PF women petition Mugabe over Chiyangwa
Conrad Dube/Ndamu Sandu
ZANU PF women from Mashonaland West Pro-vince last week petitioned President
Robert Mugabe to probe senior party officials over allegations of vote
buying and irregularities in the running of the province.

The women have sent a petition to the Zanu PF Women's League leadership and
to Mugabe's office complaining about the conduct of the senior party
officials.

Former Women's League chairperson in the province, Chipo Chakweza, last
Wednesday confirmed that a petition had been handed in.

The women accuse provincial chairman Phillip Chiyangwa and his

executive of paying members to influence the election of certain women to
represent the province on the central committee.

The money, according to the petition, was released on June 19 to influence
the election of central committee members.

The women said Chiyangwa's team wanted to fast-track Bybit Tsomondo to
represent Mashonaland West on the central committee. The women contend that
Tsomondo had only been on the provincial executive for a year.

The women last week presented the petition to the national Women's League
who assured them that the cases would be investigated.

The national executive also showed the women a circular written to provinces
that only cadres who have served for at least five years at provincial level
would be considered for national posts.

An official in the Women's League confirmed last week that Mashonaland West
women handed over their petition to the national executive.

She said they met Muchinguri, national secretary for women's affairs
Thenjiwe Lesabe, secretary for administration Tsitsi Muzenda, and
Matabeleland South governor Angeline Masuku who is also a politburo member.

Muchinguri last week would neither confirm nor deny receipt of the petition
saying she did not talk to the press. Muchinguri is the party's deputy
secretary for women's affairs.

The women, drawn from Chinhoyi, Makonde, Chegutu, Mhondoro and Norton,
expressed their discontent with the leadership of Chiyangwa, politburo
member Edna Madzongwe, deputy provincial chairman John Mafa and Local
Government minister Ignatius Chombo in the province.

Meanwhile, the Zanu PF Womens Congress kicked off yesterday.
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Zim Independent

Ministries still to submit audited accounts
Shakeman Mugari
GOVERNMENT ministries have not submitted to the Parliamentary Public
Accounts Committee audited accounts they tendered to the Reserve Bank of
Zimbabwe (RBZ) on behalf of parastatals they control.

The submission of the accounts to the RBZ is a prerequisite to access money
from the bank's Productive Sector Fund (PSF). But the committee wants to
scrutinise the accounts before the central bank doles out billions of
dollars of public funds to the debt-ridden state entities.

Ministries or departments which have not submitted reports to the committee

include Information and Publicity, Local Government and Transport and
Communications.

The chairperson of the committee, Glen Norah MP Priscilla
Misihairabwi-Mushonga confirmed that the ministries had not yet submitted
accounts to her committee.

She said the committee should scrutinise the accounts before parastatals
access cheap funds from the central bank.

"We want to have a look at the accounts before RBZ releases even a cent to
these parastatals," Misihairabwi-Mushonga said.

"We believe that there are serious holes in the accounts. Otherwise why are
they (ministers and parastatals) suddenly producing up-to-date accounts when
they have not been doing so for years?"

The Department of Information has not yet submitted audited accounts for
debt-ridden ZBH Holdings to parliament for inspection. The company has also
not submitted its annual report to the committee.

The Ministry of Local Government is still holding on to Zupco's audited
accounts despite having been directed by parliament to submit the documents.
Transport and Communications is also sitting on audited accounts for CMED,
Net*One and Air Zimbabwe.

Governor Gideon Gono has said parastatals that wanted to access cheap funds
from the PSF should have externally audited accounts and a turnaround plan.

A number of cash-strapped parastatals hurriedly submitted their audited
accounts to the central bank in a desperate bid to get the lifeline from the
bank.

Ministers are required by law to submit to the parliamentary committee
financial and annual reports of parastatals falling under their ministries.

Companies that have submitted accounts to the central bank include Zesa
Holdings, ZBH Holdings, TelOne, Zimpost, Industrial Development Corporation
(IDC), Air Zimbabwe, National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) and the
Agricultural and Rural Development Authority (Arda).

However, only Zesa, TelOne, Arda and IDC offered their accounts to
parliament for inspection.

"It is not all about reports. We want these companies to address issues of
corporate governance that have been outstanding for sometime. Until those
issues are addressed there is no reason why they should get the money,"
Misihairabwi-Mushonga said.

There is also concern over RBZ's move to approve a $50 billion payout to
Zesa Holdings.

"These are the same issues that we have been talking about. We have genuine
fears about these parastatals getting billions when we have issues against
them," said Misihairabwi-Mushonga.
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Zim Independent

Kondozi workers rue farm takeover
Roadwin Chirara in Odzi
BARELY three months after the Agricultural and Rural Development Authority
(Arda) took over operations at Kondozi, employees at the estate have downed
tools pressing for better wages and working conditions.

Workers at the estate are complaining about their current living conditions
which they said have worsened since Arda took over.

The workers are currently getting $3 250 a day which they say is totally
insufficient in view of the current economic situation.

They said management of the estate had promised to revise their wages to $5
000, an amount which many still felt was not enough.

"I have been working here for a long time but these people are using us and
paying us nothing for it. How can they say they are doing us a favour by
paying us that amount," said a disgruntled worker.

"We are made to work hard but they seem not to be interested in giving us
anything for the extra effort that many of us put in. I used to get a bonus
but from my understanding this has been removed by these people for reasons
I really do not understand."

However, estate officials threatened to cut their pay to $2 800 if the
employees continued with the industrial action.

One employee, who claimed to be part of the workers' committee, said the
atmosphere had become tense after graduates from militia camps were brought
onto the estate.

"They were brought here about a month or so ago and things have really
changed because we no longer feel we can express ourselves without fear of
being attacked by them. I can tell you, these boys are rough and they really
will deal with you," said one of the employees.

Workers said Arda was failing to grow some of the produce the former owners
were growing.

"You can see for yourself, how can you be planting these kind of beans at
this time of the year? We told them that it should have been done in winter,
but they didn't listen," said an employee.

"We no longer have any exports because we have been told that our quality
was not up to standard."

The worker said they no longer had shifts at the sorting shed because there
were no markets for the produce. He said before Arda came the produce was
boxed and coded for the export market.

"We are currently just packing them in plastics and I understand it's being
consumed locally. You have seen for yourself that some of the trucks used to
transport the produce are grounded at the workshop," he said.

"We used to run a 24-hour sorting operation, employing hundreds of people
but right now we are only operating one line out of five and its currently
manned by less than 20 people."

Another worker said most of the produce on the estate was what Arda
inherited from the former owners.
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Zim Independent

Govt wants 'mercenary' plane
Godfrey Marawanyika
THE government wants to keep the plane that flew suspected mercenaries into
the country and the US$200 000 the men had on them when they were arrested
in Harare in March. It is also after their boots.

Chief Law Officer Stephen Musona last week made a formal application to
Magistrate Mishrod Guvamombe to enable the state to forfeit the plane and
the money. The plane is valued at between US$3 million and US$5 million.

While outlining the role played by Simon Mann in recruiting the men and his
alleged role in the coup plot in Equatorial Guinea, Musona said that the
accused should face a stiff penalty for his role.

"From the evidence we have it is clear that he had a role to play in the
coup in Equatorial Guinea," Musona said. "We also apply that there be
forfeiture of the plane, money and the boots."Before Musona could finish his
submissions, Jonathan Samkange, representing Mann and another 66 men,
objected saying there was no indication that Mann was going to Malabo.

"There is no basis whatsoever for what my learned friend is saying. In fact
even from the submissions that were made by your (state) witness there is no
indication that he was going to Equatorial Guinea."

Samkange told the court that it was not procedural for the state to take his
clients' goods. He also disagreed with the state on the value of the plane.

The defence was of the opinion that the plane was valued at US$3 million
whilst the state said it was worth US$5 million.

"We cannot get the value of the plane, but I think it is valued at around
US$3 million, but our friends are of the opinion that it is valued at
US$5million. I think on the actual value we should get it from Reserve Bank
Governor (Gideon) Gono," he said.

"On the plane alone we will end up looking at $3 trillion depending on the
auction rate being used. It is also completely outrageous to take everything
away from him."

Mann was last week convicted of contravening the Firearms Act by conspiring
to purchase dangerous weapons without an end-user certificate.

He also pleaded guilty to contravening the Public Order and Security Act,
for attempting to possess dangerous weapons. Mann will be sentenced next
Friday.
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Zim Independent

Masawi 'unleashes terror'
Itai Dzamara
MASHONALAND Central governor Ephraim Masawi has been accused of unleashing a
reign of terror in the province in a bid to win the forthcoming Zanu PF
Bindura primary election.

Masawi is allegedly trying to wrestle Bindura from former Minister of Youth,
Gender and Employment Creation and Mashonaland Central governor Elliot
Manyika although he denies it.

The Zimbabwe Independent visited Bindura last week to monitor the situation
in the area. People who spoke on condition of anonymity said political
tension was rising in the constituency. Masawi's supporters are said to have
set up bases and have been attacking opposition supporters.

MDC Chitungwiza executive council member Claudius Marimo said he lost goods
valued at about $1 million and about $3 million in cash last month after
Masawi's supporters raided his general dealer shop and grinding mill in
Musana.

"Masawi initially approached me and urged me to defect to Zanu PF, which I
openly said was impossible," Marimo said. "He then told me that he was going
to deal with me and that my plans to contest against Herbert Murerwa in the
Goromonzi constituency were unacceptable."

"He started sending chiefs to persuade me to join the ruling party before
his youths attacked me on several occasions, at one time looting goods and
cash worth over $4 million," Marimo said. "Now I can only go to my business
at night and cannot spend more than 30 minutes there."

However, Masawi denied the allegations that he was perpetrating violence.

"I don't normally speak to newspapers. Just write Masawi says its rubbish.
Who is he? Who is Marimo? He is running a grinding mill and I am running a
farm. So that is damn bulls..t," Masawi said.

"He was attacked because he is a problem. If he wants, he can come and get
his money," Masawi said.
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Zim Independent

Pius Ncube in talks with Prince Charles over Zim
Gift Phiri
OUTSPOKEN Bulawayo Archbishop Pius Ncube secretly met Prince Charles and
briefed him about Zimbabwe's deepening economic and social crisis, the
Zimbabwe Independent heard this week.

Archbishop Ncube, a fierce critic of Mugabe, met the Prince of Wales in July
at his London residence where he told the heir to the British throne that
Mugabe was slowly joining the elite squad of tragi-comic African dictators.

Prince Charles was told about Mugabe's obsession with arming soldiers to
fortify his rule when Zimbabwe was mired in unprecedented poverty, hunger
and disease.

The meeting was kept under wraps by the British Foreign Office ostensibly
because of its potential to spoil relations between the Royal Family and
Harare.

Ncube this week confirmed the meeting but emphasised that Prince Charles did
not want the get-together to be publicised.

"It's true I did meet him but he did not want it reported on," said Ncube.
"I told him about the deteriorating situation in Zimbabwe but he was well
informed. He expressed his sadness and stated that he was the one who handed
the leadership to Mugabe (at Rufaro Stadium in April 1980)."

Mugabe has accused Archbishop Ncube of joining hands with the former
colonial power in a "satanic" double effort to oust him from power.
Addressing mourners at the funeral of former governor Mark Dube last month,
Mugabe said:

"Dube would never have gone to Britain to invite Blair to please come and
invade his motherland, in the same satanic way Archbishop Pius Ncube and his
opposition colleagues are doing repeatedly today."

However, Ncube said he was prepared to die defending the rights of the
voiceless in the country.

"People are suffering and as long as they continue suffering I am going to
talk," Ncube said. "I can't stop talking because it is a God-given duty that
the Church must talk when people are suffering. But I have never advocated
violence."

Ncube said he told the Prince of Wales about inflation, high unemployment, a
burgeoning HIV/Aids crisis and hunger.

The cleric also told Prince Charles about Mugabe's misplaced priorities such
as equipping the army instead of ensuring that people are well fed. He also
briefed him on the lawlessness currently pervading the country.
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Zim Independent

Air Zim go-slow disrupts schedules
Itai Dzamara
AIR Zimbabwe flight schedules have been experiencing disruptions since last
week due to disgruntlement in the workforce over unfulfilled pay increments.

The national airline has been incurring extra costs in parking expenses
because its planes are overstaying at international airports due to long
departure delays.

The workers at the national airline received their pay slips for the month
of August a fortnight ago, only to discover that the 80% increment promised
by management in July had not been effected. A full-scale strike has been
planned for Monday and is likely to further disrupt operations at the
beleaguered airline.

Air Zimbabwe acting managing director Tendai Majuru this week referred all
questions to the Transport and Communications permanent secretary, Karikoga
Kaseke.

Kaseke this week said the issue of wage and salary increments at Air
Zimbabwe was being looked at. However, he admitted there were problems in
securing the money for increases.

"That issue is being looked into and management at Air Zimbabwe has to
appropriately communicate with the workers in order to avoid the situation
whereby operations will be disturbed," said Kaseke.

"But for such increments to be effected, the money has to come from
somewhere and that is what we have been working on."
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Zim Independent

Mugabe accepts US envoy's credentials
Gift Phiri
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe yesterday accepted the credentials of US ambassador
to Zimbabwe Christopher Dell after negotiations between the United States
government and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. A diplomatic row erupted
last month over remarks by the incoming US ambassador at his Senate Foreign
Relations Committee hearings.

Mugabe had said Dell would not be welcome to Harare after the remarks which
had been spun in the official press to look like demands for regime change.

"I don't think he is admissible as he is, if that is his state of mind,"
Mugabe told the state-controlled Sunday Mail. "He certainly is not one we
should receive here but the matter is being addressed I think."

A US embassy spokesman yesterday said Dell presented his credentials to
Mugabe at State House.

"Yes he is in the country, he arrived over the weekend," the spokesperson
said. "We can confirm that the president accepted his credentials today,"
(Thursday).

Mugabe yesterday also accepted the credentials of Britain's new ambassador,
Dr Roderick Pullen who has been in the country for almost a month.

Political Secretary at the British Embassy, Sophie Honey, confirmed
yesterday that government had accepted the new ambassador's credentials.

"Yes he presented his credentials today," Honey said.

There were fears that Pullen would be made to wait much longer considering
that his predecessor, Sir Brian Donnelly, had fierce run-ins with Mugabe's
embattled government during his three-year tenure. It appears that Pullen is
headed for a stormy tenure after Mugabe declared that he was running an
"anti-Blair" election.

Western ambassadors have been facing difficulties securing their
accreditation from their hosts before commencing duties. When diplomats
arrive they are only accredited after presenting their credentials to the
head of state.

Mugabe is yet to accept credentials for the new Nigerian ambassador who was
reportedly posted to the country some four months ago. Relations between
Zimbabwe and Nigeria have not been the warmest since President Olusegun
Obasanjo refused to invite Mugabe to the Chogm meeting in Abuja last year
that resulted in Zimbabwe pulling out of the Commonwealth.

Mugabe is yet to accept the credentials of Australian Ambassador designate,
Jon Sheppard, who came to the country in mid-July.
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Zim Independent

Paradza to appear before disciplinary committee
Augustine Mukaro
ZANU PF's Makonde MP Kindness Paradza is on Monday expected to appear before
the party's national disciplinary committee on allegations of undermining
party and government policies.

The committee led by John Nkomo will also probe Paradza's alleged disrespect
for the party leadership and the president, insubordination, gross
indiscipline and fanning disunity among cadres in the district and province.

Other members of the committee are Security minister Nicholas Goche, Justice
minister Patrick Chinamasa and politburo member Angeline Masuku.

Paradza, publisher of the Tribune Newspapers whose licence was suspended
three months ago, has already been found guilty by the Mashonaland West
province disciplinary team. The team recommended his expulsion from the
party. The decision of the provincial team is however subject to review by
the national disciplinary body.

The charges of undermining party and government policies stem from an
alleged trip to London to solicit funding for his publishing company.

The disrespect charges arose after Paradza criticised Mashonaland West
provincial chairman Philip Chiyangwa and Zanu PF deputy secretary for
information and publicity Jonathan Moyo.

The hearing comes at a time when Paradza and members of the Women's League
in Mashonaland West wrote to President Robert Mugabe protesting against the
provincial leadership. Paradza is seeking Mugabe's intervention against top
politburo members ganging up to wrestle the Makonde constituency from him.

The Women's League is complaining against the local leadership imposing
their own candidates without elections.
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Zim Independent

MDC wrong on boycott timing

THE decision last week by the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) to
boycott elections until government adheres to the electoral standards laid
down by Southern African Development Community (Sadc) heads in Mauritius
last month has generated debate both inside the party and within civil
society.

The MDC was obviously justified, many observers say, in claiming that any
future election would place them at an unfair disadvantage given the ruling
party's refusal to do anything more than submit to pressure from Sadc for
technical reforms in the conduct of polls. While those reforms, providing
for independent electoral institutions, non-discriminatory voters'
registration and accessible voters' rolls, will do much to improve the
electoral process in Zimbabwe, they don't address the wider context.

Mauritian premier Paul Berenger spelt out that wider context when he said
"really free and fair elections mean not only an independent electoral
commission but also include freedom of assembly and absence of physical
harassment by the police or any other entity, freedom of the press and
access to national radio and television, and external and credible
observation of the whole electoral process".

The MDC argues that none of those broader, but essential, requirements are
in place. More to the point, Zanu PF appears to have no intention of putting
them there.

Southern Africa Publishing House chief Ibbo Mandaza said the boycott was a
smart tactic.

"It's a smart election campaign tactic," Mandaza said. "I think they are
trying to put Zanu PF on the spot. It's not a pullout. They have put the
election on an upbeat. Zanu PF needs to take note."

Human Rights Trust for Southern Africa deputy director Noel Kututwa however
said the decision was premature.

"As a political party they did not adequately consult their own membership,"
Kututwa said. "The decision was supposed to be taken to congress. By pulling
out of elections what message are they communicating? Democracy entails
standing in elections. Yes the issues they raise about the electoral playing
field not being level are valid but now there was a Sadc protocol and they
were supposed to hold Zanu PF accountable."

The MDC points out that even before the ink was dry on the Grande Baie
protocol ministers were planning new ways of closing democratic space. The
draft Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO) Bill plans to further close
democratic space by refusing registration to foreign-funded civics.

Both Sadc and the African Union share a commitment to popular participation
in the political process. That in turn enables citizens to make an informed
choice at the ballot box. But voters cannot make an informed choice if they
are denied access to competing views or don't know what their rights are.

NGOs say they perform a vital public service in telling voters what rights
they have under the law. Now they will be excluded from that role leaving
the electoral field open to Zanu-PF's coercion.

There is not much likelihood of equal access to the media either. Never has
the so-called public media been more an instrument of the ruling party than
now. As Welshman Ncube pointed out in this paper last week, it has been
"wholly appropriated not just by a political party but by an individual
within that party". Far from tolerating dissent, it pours forth a daily lava
of lies, hate-speech and deceit that is the very antithesis of what the Sadc
accord is designed to establish.

Berenger referred to the need for freedom of assembly and for voters to be
free from police harassment. Posa makes that a pipe dream.

It is therefore understandable that the MDC should wish to draw a line in
the sand. It must also be said that this was not an arbitrary decision but
one that emanated from the party's district assemblies which concluded that
while they could take a bashing from Zanu PF's armed thugs, electoral
manipulation - in other words being cheated - was intolerable.

Refusing to provide a veneer of legitimacy to the ruling party's electoral
chicanery was the most logical decision. In response to claims that the
pull-out was mistimed, political analyst Professor Elfas Mukonoweshuro said
the timing was perfect.

"We have a situation where election management has been mired in
irregularities," Mukonoweshuro said. "It does not make any sense to
participate in an election whose outcome is always predetermined. We have
the Sadc protocol as an indication of sincerity and good faith, but
government did not assure the nation that the upcoming by-election would be
held in the spirit of the new regional dispensation."

Whatever can be said about the reluctance of Sadc leaders to make a stand
against misrule in Zimbabwe over the years, the fact is they have now
finally succumbed to patient prodding from Thabo Mbeki and set down
benchmarks on electoral reform that are unambiguous.

We can comfortably abandon the fiction that these were not directed at any
one state. These were all about Zimbabwe and everybody present understood
that. President Mugabe's pretence on his return from Mauritius that he had
always favoured electoral reform told us all we needed to know.

What was required, civic players insist, was for the MDC to test the water
in the wake of the Mauritius accord. They could have exposed Zanu PF's
insincerity by using debate on the NGO Bill to reveal how far it departs
from the Sadc principles. And then explained to the country and the region
the implications of stunted electoral education ahead of a general election.

The MDC could have applied for access to ZBC and monitored professional
standards in the broadcaster's coverage of the early stages of the election
campaign. It should have above all waited to see who Mugabe appointed to
head the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission.

This was an ideal opportunity to test the government's commitment to the
electoral principles as set out by the heads of state with each new travesty
documented. As it is, Sadc heads will feel their efforts were ill-rewarded.
But worse still, they now have the perfect excuse to nod through the March
outcome however un-free and fair it turns out.

The MDC has let them off the hook just as they were showing a hint of
firmness. And it is very doubtful that Zanu PF will feel sufficiently
impressed by the MDC's boycott to introduce anything but the most
superficial reforms. If the MDC decides to re-engage it will be on Zanu PF's
terms. The ruling party has made it quite clear it favours a one-party race
as in the 1980s with Zanu Ndonga lending a figleaf of credibility.

Despite occupying the moral high ground, the MDC has in tactical terms lost
an opportunity to expose the face of the beast of misrule. It is not clear
when they will get another chance as important as this one. - Staff Writers.

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Zim Independent

Zim must guard against money laundering, says Bloch
Staff Writer
IT is important that Zimbabwe is not allowed to become a country that can be
used for money laundering, Institute of Chartered Accountants of Zimbabwe
(Icaz) president Eric Bloch told participants at an anti-money laundering
workshop this week.

Speaking at the end of a three-day workshop organised by Icaz, Bloch said
the world had become more conscious of the evils of money laundering than it
once was, particularly following the September 11 attacks in the United
States.

Money laundering could be used, he said, to finance a wide range of illegal
activities including terrorism, revolutions, drug trafficking, tax evasion
and other crimes.

A recent International Monetary Fund (IMF) report said the illicit economy
could account for as much as 2-5% of gross domestic product (GDP) worldwide
although no one knew exactly how much money was laundered every year.

If one country had a weakness in its system then there was a risk that
terrorist finance could be channelled through it and that it could be used
for money laundering.

"We must not allow Zimbabwe to become that country," he said.

In the light of international developments it was vital that Zimbabweans had
a deep awareness of the disastrous consequences of money laundering and the
need to ensure Zimbabwe did not become an enabling environment for it, he
said.

It was in that context, he said, that Icaz had decided to organise the
anti-money laundering workshop.

The workshop was also part of the institute's drive to promote good
corporate governance issues. More were planned on a number of issues
including the monetary policy.

The next workshop would be on information security.

Vulnerability in the present information technology age to distortion and
corruption of information was frightening, as was the lax attitude that many
companies and organisations had towards information security measures, he
said.

Icaz would initially hold a breakfast meeting on this and then follow it up
with a full-scale workshop.

The anti-money laundering workshop facilitator was South African Institute
of Corporate Fraud Management president Bart Henderson.

Henderson has also facilitated Icaz workshops on corporate fraud management
in the past and has become a regular contributor to the welfare of orphans
in Zimbabwe.

He has been donating $1 million a month to Alpha Cottages in Masvingo since
January and is increasing that to $2 million a month from this month.

Briefing journalists on the workshop, Henderson said he had been surprised
to discover that in terms of up-to-date legislation regarding money
laundering, Zimbabwe was among the best.

There was need, however, to promote awareness among those who were not
legislators.

The workshop had been helpful, he believed, to officials of banks,
government organisations and various companies.
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Zim Independent

RBZ in ambitious alliance
Godfrey Marawanyika
THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) in conjunction with tobacco growers has
come up with Vision 160, a policy meant to increase tobacco production from
this year's paltry 65 million kg to an ambitious 160 million kg next year.

Zimbabwe Tobacco Association (ZTA) chief executive officer Rodney Ambrose
said the industry was working towards stabilisation before tobacco output
could increase again, adding that farmers were behind with land
preparations.

He said the tobacco industry had the potential to produce a huge crop if
farmers received adequate funding.

"There is need for financing to rehabilitate some infrastructure which has
been left idle over the years. The Vision 160 has been put in place by the
Reserve Bank and I must say it has given us tremendous support this year,"
Ambrose said.

"We have had at least four or five years of decline. So this vision will
result in some sort of stability. Next year will be a rebuilding exercise,
where we hope the production will be around 160 million kg."

Tobacco is Zimbabwe's largest foreign currency earner, accounting for about
a third of the country's earnings.

However, due to the fast-track land resettlement programme in which tobacco
farmers were removed from their farms, production has gone down from the
high of about 250 million kg three years ago.

By Tuesday afternoon the 2003/04 flue-cured Virginia tobacco crop had
reached about 64,3 million kg when the sales floors closed from the previous
season's 82 million kg.

Ambrose said at most Zimbabwe was expecting at least 65 million kg for this
year.

The irrigated tobacco crop, which accounts for 40% of output, was being
planted as of this week while the dryland crop is expected in the ground by
October.

Ambrose said judging by the number of sold seeds, next year's production
could increase.

Analysts, however, dispute this saying tobacco production could be reduced
even further next year judging by the land preparations and the fact that
banks were not lending commercial farmers money citing the great risk
associated with lack of security.

To accommodate extra tobacco which might not have found its way onto the
floors during the normal marketing season, Ambrose said mop up sales would
be held on October 14 and 18.

He said Vision 160 was made up of an RBZ advisory task force, adding that he
was confident that production would increase next year.

During the past years Zimbabwe stood among the top five tobacco growers

and exporters but has lost the title due to the controversial land
programme.

Tobacco production has continued to decline resulting in low foreign
currency earnings.
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Zim Independent

Govt, input suppliers' meet flops
Staff Writer
GOVERNMENT has failed to meet seed and fertiliser manufacturers to
deliberate the issue of price controls.

Minister of Industry and International Trade Samuel Mumbengegwi was supposed
to meet Seed Co and ZFC Ltd this week.

Mumbengegwi said he did not meet the seed houses because he was in Mutare.

He refused to comment further on the issue.

Fertiliser and seed manufacturing firms are facing viability problems as
government is imposing prices on their products.

Fertiliser manufacturer, ZFC Ltd said it did not perform to its best in the
six months ended June 30.

Executive director Shingai Mutasa said ZFC was facing viability problems
because government was controlling their product prices.
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Zim Independent

Letters

Hurt to the bone

ADDRESSING his party's zealots a few years ago, I distinctly remember the
words: "We must strike fear in the hearts of the white man" being uttered
with venom by President Mugabe.

This year he is the same man singing praises for swimming sensation Kirsty
Coventry. This confirms the old adage that politicians do not have permanent
friends but permanent interests - to remain in power. As I am one of those
"totemless people from Mbare" I understand the hurt which the whites have
suffered at the hands of President Mugabe.

The grapevine is full of rumours that the Coventrys were offered a farm with
a large farm house which they politely refused.

I am also told that they refused the police and CIO details who had been
dispatched to provide "security".

I am sure that the Coventrys, like us without totems, will never forgive
those very hurtful words.

Totemless,

UK.
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Zim Independent

Letters

We can't eat Bob's popularity

"Robert Mugabe the third greatest man in Africa, after Nelson Mandela and
the late Kwame Nkrumah", read the findings of a recent survey. Where is all
this rubbish coming from?

Whether he lies first, last or middle of the rankings does not matter. We
don't eat greatness. We are the victims of his ego and know him better than
most of these protestant, cheer figures who buy this nonsense and vote
freely on cyberspace surveys to make him "great" at the expense of
Zimbabweans.

He is the same Mugabe who cannot allow his subjects to aspire to greatness.

I think this is the work of a discredited minister and his former colleagues
doing consultancy work during their academic escapades. I mean the Ari
Ben-Menashe type. A political party that is hollow on policy can go that
extra mile to do the unorthodox.

The timing of these polls and surveys on the "popularity and greatness" of
President Mugabe coincides with the clampdown on non-governmental
organisations which have been doing surveys since 1980, thereby raising
eyebrows.

This is President Mugabe elevating himself by scheming and puffing!

They can give him all the accolades which we dismiss with contempt because
President Mugabe was great and is not now.

The so-called anti-graft exercise seems to be not yielding desired results
as victims like James Makamba and Mbedzi are detained while Philip Chiyangwa
pompously displays his expensive houses to the poor public.

The late Eddison Zvobgo could have been my witness. After crafting a
constitution that makes one "great", he died a redundant and useless man
because he said "every teacher would like to be a headmaster, every lawyer
would like to be a chief justice and every policeman would like to be a
police commissioner", when asked about his presidential ambitions.

An ageing leader with no succession plan, who believes opposition parties
are enemies in the real war sense, is the problem we have on our hands.

Bright Musonza,

Harare.
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Zim Independent

Letters

Author put it mildly

"Frustrated", who wrote the letter "Probe scam at Beitbridge border post"
(Independent, August 27) pointing out shortcomings in the customs management
and customer care departments, was cautious, considerate and polite about
his/her comments.

In my view, management, motivation and supervision are nothing short of
non-existent, inexcusable and disgraceful for a national gateway into any
country.

In fact, if your sense of humour is working overtime and you're not in a
hurry you might just break out laughing.

To seasoned travellers there is no need to point out what the issues are.
They are self-evident. The uninitiated will be appalled at the confusion,
unhelpfulness, lack of information and chaos - any combination of which
might lead to panic.

The order of events can cause delays from one, if you are lucky, to five
hours or more.

Mention should be made of the "unofficial clearing agents". These people
target anybody they think might be giving up hope, have foreign currency,
foreign number plates on their vehicles or foreign identities.

They will probably be off-duty staff who for a fee of R200 and upwards will,
with the nod of a head and a wink, negotiate with on-duty staff to have your
passport stamped for easy passage.

Here are a few tips that the officer-in-charge of customs might need. And,
shortage of staff is not in the armoury of defence options.

Here goes:

Big visible signs from the bridge exit indicating car, taxi, bus or lorry
parking areas, entry, exit, etc;

Actual vehicle search area after clearing customs desk staff. This is
another shambles arena with no staff and plenty of customers;

Entrance/exit doors to building with customs declaration forms available
given out to each family or individual at entry by an alert security or
customs man who would also offer information and directions if necessary;

Vehicle bridge payment revenue desks manned with adequate change to prevent
10, 20, or 30 minute delays;

Immigration. Normally no delays; and

Appropriate declaration routes for pedestrians, collective taxi, or bus
declarations, visitors (not returning residents), green route fast service
(nothing to delare or under limit); red route declarations over the top;
payment counter, etc.

Most of these desks are available but never manned.

One could argue that management is encouraging mismanagement because, as we
know, where there's chaos there's cash. And, if there's something in it for
the staff, we are unlikely to see any improvement.

Mike Whitfield,

Marondera.
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Zim Independent

Economic recovery sacrificed for votes

ZIMBABWE has over the past four years been locked in election mode. A
referendum was held in 2000 and a general election later the same year. Then
there was the presidential poll in 2002 which was followed by at least half
a dozen by-elections. In six months' time Zimbabweans will go to the polls
again to elect a new parliament.

Zanu PF has often tried to convince the world that there is democracy in
Zimbabwe because elections are held regularly notwithstanding the criminally
flawed process.

A democratically held election engenders a culture of unity in a country,
which is crucial to achieving political stability, a pre-requisite in turn
for investment and growth in all sectors. The perpetual state of electoral
combat has drained the country of its energy to be creative and to expand
industry and commerce, create jobs and ultimately reduce poverty.

Elections are important so long as they are held in a positive spirit. Other
than effecting a change of leadership, elections are important as agents of
social and political renewal. The pre-election period in most societies
creates anxiety and tension, which is expected to evaporate after results
are announced and the country accepts the popular verdict. Businesses wait
for that period to pass before making crucial decisions.

The 2005 general election is just six months away. But given the poisoned
political climate, the ruling party's paranoid intolerance of opposition,
and endemic violence, there is little likelihood of national consensus that
is vital to recovery.

Zimbabwe will not weather its current political storm and move ahead to
economic growth if the poll leaves the community fractious and hurting.
Elections since 2000 have been held in an atmosphere of threats and
coercion. The guiding principle for the ruling party has been to subjugate
the opposition at all costs on the fatuous pretext that it is plotting to
restore colonialism but in reality to teach it a lesson for winning votes in
2000.

Speaking at the burial of veteran nationalist and lawyer Eddison Zvobgo at
the Heroes' Acre last Sunday, President Mugabe swore that there would be no
regime change in Zimbabwe. He qualified this by saying that change should
only come from the people of Zimbabwe but we all remember the 2002
presidential bluster: "Tsvangirai will never, ever rule this country".

That position has not changed and has become a major factor in determining
electoral policy. Zanu PF is now pretending that Tony Blair is a candidate.

The drive by Zanu PF for political hegemony has vitiated the need for
healing and attendant pluralism in the pre- and post-election period. The
politics of elections has become the Achilles heel of economic recovery
impacting on direct foreign investment and industrial growth.

Our elections have been characterised by lawlessness, violence, looting, and
insecurity. With it, investors have taken flight and expansion projects have
been mothballed. Unemployment has climbed while poverty and disease stalk
the land. Any plans for social or economic progress have been sacrificed on
Zanu PF's altar of political survival and, with it, access to the public
feeding trough.

Elsewhere in this paper we carry the story of hotel properties listed firm
Dawn which fears there will be a slump in business in the period leading up
to the 2005 poll. Businessmen know exactly what is hurting their businesses.
Zimbabwe is carrying the bad-boy tag with uncanny pride. There is no need to
drop the notoriety as long as the bad boy remains the talk of the town. But
industry has suffered as a result and more people will be without jobs.

Dawn's fears reflect the concerns of the entire hospitality sector.
Economists forecast that Zimbabwe will again register negative growth in the
year ahead. The election will, it seems, be a contributory factor in that
slide as Zanu PF puts its followers on a war footing.

It was reported last week that Zanu PF politburo member and Anti-Corruption
Programme mini-ster Didymus Mutasa led his supporters in attacking a rival
who was hospitalised. He boasted to the press that his rival deserved what
he got. What would a potential investor make of that?

In this unsavoury environment where key fundamentals are negative, Mugabe's
government has tried to create the myth that economic turnaround is possible
in an environment of political uncertainty and social decay. There is a firm
belief in official circles that that central bank governor Gideon Gono's
monetary policy has beaten a path to recovery and ultimately to prosperity.

While the Gono plan may work up to a certain point, prudent political
decisions are required to attract balance-of-payments support, obtain grants
and secure export markets. A government which does not demonstrate
commitment to the tenets of good governance, including the rule of law and
security of property, will invariably come short when it comes to
implementing economic policies, even plans of its own.

We have to ask whether the Zimbabwe government was ever serious in
implementing Zimprest, the New Economic Revival Programme and the Millennium
Economic Recovery Programme?

Demagoguery has never been a tonic for sustained recovery. Any economic
revival plan would turn to dust if it was not built on the pillars of trust,
transparency, freedom and tolerance.

Zanu PF has sacrificed recovery for votes. But what will it do with the
election victory it so brazenly touts? More of the same?

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Zim Independent

Eric Bloch Column

Brain drain revisited . . .

TWO weeks ago this column bewailed the devastating consequences of Zimbabwe'
s pronounced brain drain upon an already greatly distressed economy.

In doing so, and wholly unintentionally, various sensi-tivities of some of
the Zimbabweans abroad were pricked and caused them undeserved distress.
Albeit that it was only a miniscule number of the millions of Zimbabweans
who have left the country and sought employment or other income-generating
activities elsewhere, a few construed the column to be critical of them for
having departed for pastures new.

To a major extent it was the column's headline that particularly provoked
the reaction of being unjustly accused, for that headline intimated that
economic recovery was hindered by the brain drain. The Zimbabweans abroad
perceived that headline and, therefore, the underlying article, to be a
criticism of them for having left Zimbabwe and thereby harming the economy.

That was certainly not the case. The intent, and substance, of the column
was that because so many skilled people had departed, Zimbabwe no longer
possessed a sufficiency of the skills necessary for economic recovery.

However, it in no manner blamed those who had, for a variety of reasons,
left Zimbabwe. In fact, the reverse was the case, for it greatly regretted
that so many had gone. But it attributed the mass exodus to the catastrophic
environmental circumstances creat-ed by an uncaring, autocratic and
domineering government.

There have been several different reasons that have motivated, and continue
to trigger, the exodus of the skilled from Zimbabwe. First and foremost has
been the abysmal erosion of the economy.

From 1994 to 1997, Zimbabwe was enjoying an economic trans-formation. Very
belatedly, thegovernment facilitated progressive deregulation of the
economy, created an investment-conducive environment, interacted
construc-tively with the international community and pursued many of the
other measures necessary to develop a virile economy.

By mid-1997 there was strong indication of economic growth and a positive
prospect of markedly improved circumstances for most Zimbabweans. And then
the government took a 180-degree about-face.

First it made it clear, in August 1997, that it was going to implement the
Land Acquisition Act that had been promulgated four years earlier. That in
itself was not negative, but it was made radically apparent that the
implementation would be without regard for equity and justice, without
consideration for redistribution and resettlement to those able and willing
to work the land, and with no consideration as to the preservation of
agricultural viability.

Less than two months later, the government inflicted its next body-blow to
the economy, granting irresponsibly great compensation packages, far beyond
Zimbabwe's means, to war veterans - genuine and imposters - which in turn
triggered a cataclysmic collapse of Zimbabwe's currency.

Over the next six years the government continued relentlessly along its
self-created path of economic destruction. It arrogantly alienated much of
the international community, thereby deterring investment and forfeiting
developmental and balance-of-payments support. It was profligate in its
spending, fuelled inflation, progressively created more and more
back-breaking taxes (direct and indirect) and intensified regulation of the
economy.

The result was greater numbers of unemployed and an increasing inability for
many to provide much-needed support to not only their immediate families and
dependants, but also to their destitute extended families. The pressures to
support ever greater numbers of dependants impacted even upon those
fortunate enough to be in employment, for many of them found that their
earnings were insufficient to support all that were reliant upon them.

Eventually the circumstances became increasingly untenable, motivating tens
of thousands to depart Zimbabwe to seek employment incomes in hard
currencies which, via a very virile black market, they could internalise
into Zimbabwe at very favourable exchange rates, thereby yielding the funds
necessary to maintain or, at the least, assist their families still living
in Zimbabwe.

So, very simply, the government's disastrous destruction of the economy
initiated much of the brain drain. And who can credibly blame those who
left, being effectively forced to do so out of desperation?

None can justifiably state that they were wrong to leave Zimbabwe in such
circumstances. They were not, and certainly are not, to blame for Zimbabwe's
economic morass. In fact, by way of their support for their extended
families, they injected some life into the almost lifeless economy.

The second key factor that has been the cause for much emigration has been
concern at the declining health services and education resources.

Insofar as the health services are concerned, there has been an ongoing and
escalating emigration from Zimbabwe by doctors, radiologists,
physiotherapists, nur-ses and many others within the healthcare profession,
denuding Zimbabwe of many of the specialist skills that are prerequisites of
a sound health care resource.

Moreover, a combination of grossly inadequate funding of hospitals, clinics
and like-institutions by the government, and of an inadequacy of foreign
currency to fund essential imports of healthcare inputs, has further
demolished the infrastructure intended to be the support for the wellbeing
of the Zimbabwean people.

As a result, many reluctantly concluded that in the best interests of their
families and themselves, they had to relocate to other countries where good
and sound health services are readily available.

Similarly, tens of thousands have left, and even greater numbers are
planning to leave, because of the dismal lowering of standards in government
schools, and the war of attrition being waged by the Education, Culture and
Sport minister upon private schools.

Government schools accommodate any number up to well over 40 pupils in a
class, notwithstanding that its is recognised worldwide that classes should
not, for effective education, be more than 24. Moreover, the schools have a
chronic lack of textbooks - often only 5 to 10 copies for more than 40
scholars - computers, science laboratory equipment and other teaching aids.

And now the minister is vigorously striving to reduce the private schools to
the same appallingly low levels by constraining them from charging fees
realistically required, and which most parents are willing to pay.

These developments are occasioning a great sense of insecurity among
teachers, resulting in many leaving Zimbabwe. That sense of insecurity is
only exceeded by the depths of fear and concern of parents who foreshadow,
with justification, a total collapse of Zimbabwean education, and therefore
they have been, and are, departing Zimbabwe in droves in order to assure
their children of an acceptable education.

Who can justly blame them for doing so?

Only years of developing a new pool of essential skills will rectify the
harm that the government has wreaked upon the economy, upon Zimbabwe and
upon its people.

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Zim Independent

Muckraker

Surely not while Chigwedere stays

THERE were a number of letters and articles in independent newspapers last
week commenting on Zanu PF's exploitation of Kirsty Coventry's success in
Athens. The writers pointed out that Kirsty would never have been able to
benefit from mosquito-infested swimming pools at government schools in
Zimbabwe or the Chitungwiza aquatic black hole.

One of those hoping to acquire a little political lustre from Kirsty's
parade was that Sunday News vulture Mzala Joe who is in reality nobody's
cousin.

He spotted a placard at Harare airport last week on Kirsty's homecoming
which said "Our Kirsty is our Prosperity".

Muckraker should "eat his British heart out", Raptor Joe suggested, "because
the message that 'our land is our prosperity' has gone down well with
Zimbabweans of all races and is now in the swimming pools".

We're glad to hear there's something in the swimming pools because it's
certainly not water!

But we did like the report in the Sunday Mail which told us how the "first
family" had been following Kirsty's success on TV.

President Mugabe said he had watched Kirsty clinch the silver in the 100m
backstroke and then the bronze in the medley race a day later.

But he was unable to watch live the gold-winning event on Friday, August 20
because he was having a bath.

Grace and the kids were watching, however. "My wife suddenly gave a shout.
'She has done it. She has done it.'

"I asked what she had done and learnt that she had finished first to win
gold."

That meant both Kirsty and himself were "in the waters" at the same time, he
joked. But he warned Zimbabwe's dolphin that his totem in Zvimba was Garwe -
the crocodile! Quite what we were supposed to conclude wasn't clear. But we
know how he feels about totemless citizens.

Mugabe, who managed to produce US$50 000 faster than you can say "Gono",
promised to do more for sport and "hinted" at creating a separate ministry.

"This is a golden country so what stops us from winning gold," the president
asked?

The answer should be self-evident. First get rid of Aeneas Chigwedere. He
has been an unmitigated disaster in the job.

Secondly, stop the campaign against private schools that want to uphold
sporting standards. Thirdly, maintain facilities at government schools that
enable pupils to excel.

Why doesn't he know what needs to be done?

Finally, Muckraker was struck by the wonderful irony of it all. Here is a
regime that has been preaching a diet of unadulterated racism for over four
years telling whites to "go back to Britain".

Yet whites who have not been driven out hold the country's flag aloft in
Athens while Britain's medal-winning black athletes and Asian boxers have
been draping themselves in the Union Jack.

The world it seems is no longer amenable to Zanu PF's simplistic racial
theorising. And despite last week's attempts to have some of Kirsty's glory
rub off on the ruling reptiles, what the whole country was saying was how
those Zimbabweans who succeed in sport do so without official sponsorship of
any kind and from their campuses deep in the heart of "enemy" territory.

Minister for Policy Implementation Webster Shamu appears to have excited the
wrath of his home-boy rivals with comments made in the Independent last week
suggesting there should be a probe into how some party leaders became so
rich so quickly.

His remarks were subject to "deliberate distortions", he claimed. What he
said was "Zanu PF does not want to see greedy people in its structures who
use money to buy their way into the party structures".

So what did we quote him as saying?

"Corrupt officials have tried to usurp the restructuring process in order to
appoint their henchmen to ensure their re-election."

Sounds pretty much like what he admits to saying!

"Problems within the party," Shamu told our reporter, "are caused by people
who want everyone to know that they drive a Mercedes Benz ML or the size of
their mansion. They have destroyed the party in the province. Such people
buy their way into office and hence cause conflict with genuine party
members."

Now did he say that or not? What does it look like?

His complaint in the Herald the next day appeared to focus on our reluctance
to include his remarks in full about the need for a "holistic approach" to
tackling problems within the party.

As a former editor himself, Shamu will appreciate that not all of what he
says can be included, especially when it becomes a tad long-winded. He will
also appreciate that it is unprofessional, when you have a complaint about
what is carried in one paper, to complain to another that is not a party to
the dispute. And trying to discredit the journalist who wrote the story by
revealing details of a pre- or post-interview discussion is not the best way
to endear yourself to readers!

Webster: when you speak to a journalist the next time try and understand
that it is all on the record unless you say otherwise. And however much your
comrades may howl the next day, try not to be a political coward by running
away from the very pertinent remarks you made. Nobody likes a politician
who, like Sekesai Makwavarara, bears the impression of the last person to
have sat on them!

Muckraker was interested to note a report carried in the Herald on Saturday
saying Odzi commercial farmer Peter Spero Landos had been granted bail.
Justice Tedias Karwi said in view of the forensic, ballistic and post-mortem
reports, it was accepted that the state's case was weakened.

The evidence, the Herald reported, seemed to support the defence contention
as to the circumstances leading to the commission of the offence and
contradicted the state's case that Landos had fired his gun indiscriminately
at the crowd and shot the victim unprovoked from a long distance.

Charges against Landos arose after he allegedly shot dead a war veteran and
injured another in a boundary dispute on Riverside Farm.

According to the reports submitted in court, the victim could have been shot
from close range as he tried to wrest the pistol from Landos who was
allegedly lying on the ground.

Now don't we recall at the time of Landos' arrest police spokesman Oliver
Mandipaka speculating that "the misunderstanding emanated from Landos'
attitude towards the government's resolution to have new families on
Riverside Farm as he wanted the whole farm to himself . . . Some newly
resettled farmers who witnessed the shooting tried to disarm him. He was
injured in the process."

In fact he had both legs broken.

"We would like to advise white farmers," Mandipaka said, "to desist from
taking the law into their own hands by shooting, injuring or killing some
people who were legally resettled by the government."

Does that include defending themselves from attack?

On the subject of premature declarations, we were interested to note that 66
detainees who the Zimbabwean state media, bowing to the dictates of their
political masters, had been referring to as "terrorists" implicated in a
coup plot against the president of Equatorial Guinea, had on Saturday been
transformed into "suspected mercenaries" after the state failed to provide
any clear evidence to link them to the purchase of firearms - the key charge
against them.

Simon Mann was the only member of the group to be convicted. The men had
earlier pleaded guilty to lesser charges of violating immigration and
aviation regulations.

"The state has failed to discharge its onus of proving the accused (66)
persons guilty beyond reasonable doubt," the magistrate declared.

But that didn't stop the state incarcerating them in appalling conditions
for six months while, as with James Makamba, it tried to fish for a case
against them. And it didn't stop government spokesmen and newspapers
assuming their guilt - including the two exonerated on Friday of all
charges - in violation of elementary professional procedure that you don't
convict somebody before the court has.

At least from evidence provided in the Nkala case we know who the real
terrorists are: those who tortured suspects who were subsequently found
innocent. But that didn't stop the state holding them for two-and-a-half
years and directing the government media to broadcast their "guilt". It didn
't stop President Mugabe declaring their party to be a terrorist
organisation on the basis of evidence which the judge called a "work of
fiction".

Needless to say, the state has learnt no lessons whatsoever from these cases
except perhaps to squeeze their victims harder in future. The two "suspected
mercenaries" released last Friday are busy telling the international media
how they were tortured and abused during their stay in Zimbabwe. The country
is increasingly resembling Equatorial Guinea.

We liked the report in the Standard about only nine cattle being exhibited
at this year's Harare Show. There were also two East African goats and three
sheep.

The Herald's business supplement last Thursday showed a spectator asking a
cow from Henderson Research Station to smile for him. It seemed reluctant to
do so, having lost all its relatives. But at least it had all four of its
legs still attached.

In this context it is surreal to see ZTA chief Tichaona Jokonya and Tourism
minister Francis Nhema talking blithely about community-based tourism as a
"sustainable livelihood" when some 60% of our wildlife has been destroyed
over the past four years.

They were speaking at a cocktail party to launch a community-based tourism
initiative.

Nhema spoke about the "empowerment of our marginalised African majorities",
"poverty reduction" and "self-sufficiency".

What planet do these guys live on? Is Nhema completely unaware of the
destruction of forests, the poaching of game that has seen some species
decimated, and the illegal hunting that is now endemic in some areas?

Zimbabwe has never been less self-sufficient as a direct result of the
mayhem unleashed by the party to which these professed advocates of
"community-based tourism" belong.

Jokonya and Nhema should tell us what they are doing to stop the slaughter
that has deprived Zimbabweans of one of their richest resources. Cocktail
parties are one thing. Getting real is another.

The Herald carried a story last Friday headed "Public scoffs at MDC poll
boycott".

But readers hoping to find the views of the public were disappointed. The
"snap survey" of "Zimbabweans from different walks of life" included
Professor Claude Mararike who despite being a professional researcher
appears determined to ignore the statement of Nigeria's foreign minister
that reports of Nigerian support for the MDC were "ludicrous and false". Let
's hope his disregard for this key evidence is not because it might get in
the way of his conclusions!

Also among the cross-section of the Zimbabwean public interviewed was a
certain William Nhara who said the MDC had pulled out because it had failed
to deliver on its election promises.

Nhara didn't say how he had managed to deliver on his by-election promises!

Exactly what are Nhara's qualifications as a "political analyst" and who
funds the research agency he heads? Does anybody else work there?

If anybody knows, will they please tell us.

Mzala Joe, not content with keeping his dim light under a bushel, is intent
upon advertising how little he knows. He claims that in the Zimbabwe
Independent of Friday, August 27, our reference to a statement by Patrick
Chinamasa in parliament "last Wednesday" was inaccurate because "last
Wednesday" would have been two days earlier, on August 25, not the week
before.

In fact, as any student of journalism could have told the Sunday News
ignoramus, from the standpoint of Friday, August 27, Wednesday, August 25
was simply "Wednesday", as in "this Wednesday".

"Last Wednesday" was the previous week.

This is elementary stuff for journalists with some grasp of English usage.
Which excludes the dead-beats at the Sunday News who in all seriousness
think they can talk about "MDC officials taking their instructions from
imperialist overlords at 10 Downing St" without readers laughing out loud.

How many people, with the possible exception of Tafataona Mahoso, do you
hear using that redundant language in Zimbabwe today? Now we understand why
their editor is called Brezhnev. They are all living in the 70s. But very
soon the Bulawayo Wall will have to come down!

We were interested to note, by the way, that Mzala Joe uses identical
language to Nathaniel Manheru and Lowani Ndlovu when hurling abuse at the
Zimbabwe Independent. They also seem to have difficulty spelling Kansteiner
the same way twice.

Is this just a coincidence or is the same multiple-farm-owning big head
imposing himself on the Bulawayo Bore as well as the two Harare papers he
effectively edits?

This may also explain why his columnists can't understand why the Zimbabwe
Independent may not want to carry the same lead story as another paper
appearing the day before. Evidently, nobody in the Zimpapers stable, where
repetition is a much-prized virtue, understands the logic of that!

So everything is looking up in the parastatals sector, New Ziana tells us,
because the Ministry of State (sic) for State Enterprises and Parastatals in
the President's Office is "spearheading turnaround strategies".

These strategies will see parastatals play their rightful roles in the
development of the country's economy, Secretary for Finance Willard Manungo
assured a workshop on public policy.

He didn't say why nothing had been done to "turnaround" these parasitic
non-performers earlier or what magic panacea government had suddenly
discovered to break with the record of failure over the past 24 years.
Sydney Gata showed us what they might have in mind when he suddenly started
talking about George Bush and Tony Blair at the CZI congress last month.
Even funnier, the Herald carried a picture of Noczim House saying the
useless corporation "is one of the key parastatals expected to benefit from
turnaround strategies being managed by the Ministry of State Enterprises and
Parastatals".

How nave can a paper get?

'Vindictive" and "out of control" were just two of the more printable things
said about a certain spin doctor in the British press last weekend.
"Deranged" and "political thug" were others.

It must have been a Zimbabwe story, we naturally assumed.

No, it was ex-BBC head Greg Dyke talking about Tony Blair's former media
advisor Alistair Campbell.

Dyke should consider himself lucky. At least Campbell didn't get to lock up
his critics!

Then we had Thejiwe Lesabe making curious disclosures in The Voice last
weekend. She said party members should submit their CVs because after the
liberation war some members had tended to "relax without being reactionary",
while others "really turned reactionary and issued reactionary statements".

Who could she be referring to? "We are not convinced those people have now
changed," she said, "given what they are now doing and the statements they
are now uttering in the press."

All very mysterious. But as with the Soviet Union in the 70s, you have to
read between the lines.

Lesabe said there were "some individuals in the party who criticised others
when it suited them, but frowned upon those who criticised them for the same
things".

Surely not!
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Zim Independent

Editor's Memo

Optimistic mode
Vincent Kahiya

THE times when optimism really pays off are when you are faced with a
life problem, challenge or setback. An optimistic thinking mode at these
times will increase your resilience, maintain hope and improve your chances
of a successful or acceptable outcome.

In Zimbabwe's current political environment, optimism has become a
virtue not possessed by many. There are not enough positives around to spur
positive thinking in a society tortured by imprudent political decisions.

The decision by the MDC last week to suspend participation in all
elections created an interesting scenario for both the optimists and
pessimists. The optimists believe President Mugabe will buckle under
pressure and effect the requisite reforms envisaged by the opposition. The
pessimists are despondent. They see the opposition playing into President
Mugabe's hands as the decision was bound to kill political momentum.

The argument here is that the face of the Zanu PF beast will not be
revealed if the quarry recedes into its shell. For the world to see the
election rigging machinery in play, the MDC has to participate in the poll.
Only then can observers witness the opposition being denied access to the
public media and opportunities to hold rallies. This would bring about
greater pressure on the incumbent than watching from the sidelines.

MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai in his Tuesday message this week struck a
chord rich in optimism. I am not sure whether he was trying to be deceptive
or genuinely forward looking. Tsvangirai spoke of a turnaround plan for
Zimbabwe which he said "remains intact".

"It is clear we shall, once again, get everything we envisage before
the next parliamentary election," he said. "We are very clear about the
success of the route we have chosen to restore legitimacy to Zimbabwe.

"We know of attempts to confuse the people, push them further into
despair and spawn a despondent and hopeless electorate," he said. "We are
finalising the selection of our candidates, consolidating our campaign teams
and engaging various community leaders in their constituencies.

"In the spirit of Mauritius, you shall soon be hearing our voices on
radio, on television and other public media. We shall share ideas openly at
our workplaces and in our villages.

"The political electric fence that denied you access to the watermelon
has rusted away. A new Zimbabwe is within sight. Together, we have managed
to overcome a main barrier - a vital part of our struggle for freedom and
choice," he said.

To the uninitiated the party's position sounds convoluted. The MDC is
pulling out of all polls because it is sick and tired of Mugabe's refusal to
embrace electoral reforms that would ensure free and fair elections. At the
same time the party sees a window of opportunity in which Sadc heads would
chaperone President Mugabe into implementing the Sadc protocol which would
open the way for free and fair polls next year.

This may be rich in optimism but it can be heavy going for an
unsophisticated electorate, especially if the party leadership were to take
the podium to explain this at a rally. At rallies the party's stratagem and
policies for the 2005 elections looks set to be superseded by the need to
explain the decision to suspend participation in elections.

Tsvangirai's message to the electorate is phrased thus: "Any election
conducted without a new Zimbabwe in mind shall yield a flawed result and
perpetuate our misery for a long time to come.

"It is far better to delay such an election until our national poll
management structures are ready to take on such a watershed assignment. We
are better off without participating in an election than to endorse a
senseless orgy of violence and murder."

The party has to mollify a section of its supporters who wanted to
participate in the poll at all costs. The rest of the party has to be kept
engaged and psyched up for the election in the hope that circumstances will
change for the better. This will not be a walk in the park for the
opposition as, in the meantime, the government propaganda machinery is being
honed to "push them (voters) further into despair and spawn a despondent and
hopeless electorate".

Tsvangirai's Tuesday message envisioned a Nirvana-like new Zimbabwe in
which tyranny, repression, election manipulation and political intolerance
would be replaced by "a haven of peace, a place where our diversity becomes
our strength. A new Zimbabwe shall respect your rights, your divergent
opinions, your freedoms and your creative initiatives".

Does he know something we don't?

Tsvangirai has said he is clear about the success of the route the
party has chosen to restore legitimacy. Let's hope he's not taking us down
the garden path!

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JAG JOB OPPORTUNITIES: Updated 2nd September 2004

Please send any classified adverts for publication in this newsletter to:
JAG Job Opportunities jag@mango.zw
--------------------------------------------------------------------------

1. Advert Received 29th August 2004

Wanted. Two managers. 1. Experienced tobacco manager to run Section.
2. Experienced irrigation crop section manager, some dryland with tobacco
experience. Please phone T I Beattie on 011 404 297 or home 053 2448 or
office 053 2573.
______________________________________________

2. Advert Received 30th August 2004

House maid required for family in Harare. Housing, good salary offered.
Must have traceable references. Phone 091 292 949, 091 235 197.
_______________________________________________

3. Advert Received 30th August 2004

Teaching opportunity at Once Upon a Time Nursery School

Once Upon a Time Nursery School is looking for a lovely, fun-loving but
gentle, qualified Infants or Junior School trained teacher for January
2005. We would also be interested if you are a Nursery School trained
teacher.

We are all ex-teachers and work well together. It is a very happy school
and we are well equipped and have a good infrastructure. We provide a well
organized working environment and good conditions of service.

The school has four classes and the teacher who we need to replace is
emigrating at the end of the year. We are trying to find the right lady,
one who is dedicated and enthusiastic in her approach.

We try to match the pay package to that of teachers at Infant and Junior
School level at any of the private schools.

This is an ideal job, if you have small children, or if you are looking for
total job satisfaction.

Please phone Rosy van der Westhuizen (Headmistress) 091 216 730
or Andy Kristiansen (mother)
091 315 455
or School premises (answer/fax)
776470
e-mail rosyv@zol.co.zw
_______________________________________________

4. Advert Received 31st August 2004

Situation Vacant

An elderly lady living in Harare is looking for a responsible couple with
good references. The man is required to be an experienced driver, willing
to assist with gardening, and the wife to help in the house.

Please phone: 744743.
______________________________________________

5. Advert Received 1st September 2004

Looking for household help in Avondale area.

- a mature maid/housekeeper who can do some cooking

- and a mature gardener who has had experience of looking after a largish
garden with pool [if he has a driving licence this would be a plus factor].

Must both be of proven responsibility prepared to live in and have
traceable references. A husband and wife team would be ideal.

Please contact Val at 794478.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
For the latest listings of accommodation available for farmers, contact
justiceforagriculture@zol.co.zw
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