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

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Zim landowners to be given 'paltry' sum
April 11 2005 at 11:41AM

Harare - President Robert Mugabe's government is to compensate
hundreds of white farmers whose land was seized under Zimbabwe's land reform
programme, a state-run newspaper said on Monday.

"Government has completed fixing compensation for 822 farms
compulsorily acquired under the land reform programme," The Herald said.

The government has said it will pay money for buildings, dams and "any
improvements" on the farms but not for the land itself.

The daily quoted Land Reform and Resettlement Minister John Nkomo as
inviting "former owners or representatives to contact the ministry as a
matter of urgency in connection with their compensation."

Some landowners have refused to accept the money
Thousands of white commercial farmers have had their land confiscated
since early 2000 when Mugabe's government launched land reforms ostensibly
to correct land ownership imbalances created under British colonial rule
which ended in 1980.

Some landowners have refused to accept the money that was being
offered by the government as compensation saying it was paltry.

The Herald said compensation was now being offered "after the
government engaged evaluators to assess the value of developments on the
acquired farms".

Of the 4 500 commercial farms that were the backbone of Zimbabwe's
strong agricultural sector in 2000, only 600 remain in the hands of whites
while about 200 000 black farmers have been given land, according to
government figures.

The new black farmers often lack skills and rely on government

Before the land seizures, about 70 percent of the most fertile land in
Zimbabwe was owned by white farmers who were mainly descendants of British

Once the breadbasket of southern Africa, Zimbabwe's agriculture
production has plummeted, from providing 50 percent of all export earnings
in 2000 to 11 percent at the end of 2003, according to an independent
study. - Sapa-AFP

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Be careful, Zim farmers warned
11/04/2005 21:47 - (SA)

Harare - Organisations representing 5 000 farmers forced off their land by
President Robert Mugabe's "fast track" redistribution to black Zimbabweans
were on Monday urged to be cautious with his government's latest
compensation offer.

"It is chaos and a scam," said John Worsley-Worswick of the militant lobby
group Justice for Agriculture, who takes a more confrontational approach
than the old established Commercial Farmers Union (CFU).

"We will be encouraging farmers to go and see what is on offer, but coming
from an informed position as to what compensation is required," he said.

Worsley-Worswick said past offers had been five to 10% of professional
valuators' estimates of farmers' total losses following their violent
eviction by militants from Mugabe's ruling Zanu-PF party.

All but 200 of those affected had refused the proffered payouts and kept
their title deeds, he said.

Mugabe vowed to give whites only the value of "improvements" such as
buildings and dams, saying former colonial power Britain must pay them for
the land itself.

Britain froze 47m in aid to land reform in 1993 when it was revealed farms
bought for peasant resettlement were being given to ruling party moguls.

Worsley-Worswick said the aim of the latest compensation offers was to
induce farmers to surrender title deeds, so members of the elite who had
occupied their land could gain security.

A notice published in the official Government Gazette on Friday invited 822
evicted whites to contact officials "as a matter of urgency, in connection
with their compensation".

Verbal offers only

Hendrik Olivier, executive director of the Commercial Farmers Union, on
Monday said those who had responded were still only being given verbal

In the past, offers had been based on assessments done in half an hour by
unqualified students.

Olivier gave as an example a 2 000ha cattle ranch for which the state
offered 10 - 13 million Zimbabwe dollars (US$1 600 - US$2 100 at the
official rate of exchange, US$600 - US$750 at the more realistic black
market rate).

He said that in addition to losing valuable infrastructure such as
homesteads, fencing, barns and irrigation, farmers had forfeited production
and earnings.

Mobs stormed onto many properties forcing families to flee without even
their personal possessions, and 14 farmers were murdered.

None of the perpetrators has ever been brought to justice.

Worsley-Worswick and Olivier urged their members not to ignore the state

Those who were destitute and felt forced to accept should advise lawyers
they had "acted under duress" to safeguard future rights of appeal, said

Olivier said evicted landowners also feared unfavourable payment terms.

With inflation touching 600% in recent years, they were promised 25% of the
cash immediately, 25% in two years' time, and the balance after four years
when its value would have been heavily eroded.

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Thugs desert Mugabe forces

CHIMANIMANI, Zimbabwe -- Enforcers who beat and tortured opponents of
Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe in past elections said in a series of
clandestine interviews that hunger, lack of jobs and broken promises have
persuaded them to switch sides.
Thugs hired to intimidate critics of the Mugabe government "never got
the money or jobs" they were promised, only beer, one said.
The defections could prove critical if the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) decides to mount protests over recent parliamentary
elections, in which the party accused the government of widespread fraud.
One youth, who asked to be identified only as Sikhumbuzo, said his
disillusionment with the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic
Front (ZANU-PF) began in 2002 when Mr. Mugabe won a new term as president.
"ZANU used to get us to stay outside polling stations to frighten away
the opposition. If the MDC came, we would chase them away," Sikhumbuzo said.
"But we never got the money or jobs that they promised us; all we got was
He and others quoted in this report were interviewed before the March 31
election in which Mr. Mugabe's party secured a two-thirds majority in
Zimbabwe's parliament. The government banned election observers from Europe
and the United States, and the opposition charged fraud.
Sikhumbuzo said he recently was accused of being an opposition supporter
and, as a result, was told he no longer would be able to purchase corn in
his village.
That incident severed his last links with the ruling party and prompted
him to begin campaigning for the MDC.
One member of the notorious pro-Mugabe youth militia known as the Green
Bombers recalled an earlier campaign:
"They used to give us pills before we went to beat people, but never
food. We beat up one old man, he must have been in his 60s, for criticizing
the lack of development in the area. He kept apologizing, but none of us
stopped. If you were not enthusiastic enough, you would be the next victim."
The Green Bomber, who begged to remain anonymous, was so terrified of
retribution that he insisted the interview take place in a moving car before
He said that many thousands of young Zimbabweans who had been forced
into militia training camps have fled the country.
Other Green Bombers, he said, remained outwardly loyal to the government
but planned to cast their votes for the MDC.
"They promised us jobs if we went through border [camps], but we never
got anything," the Green Bomber said, hiding his distinctive olive vest
under a sweater as he and a reporter passed a police vehicle. "I registered
to vote last year, and I am going to vote MDC."
The lack of violence in the campaign leading up to the recent election
surprised those who remember the widespread use of torture, rape, killings
and other forms of intimidation during the 2000 and 2002 elections.
Brian Kagoro, head of the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, said the
relative peace may have been due to the MDC's late decision to enter the
"Until six weeks ago, there was no opposition contesting the election so
there was no one for ZANU-PF to beat up. They were occupied with internal
struggles instead," Mr. Kagoro said.
The biggest split in ZANU-PF since independence in 1980 preceded the
election. Information Minister Jonathon Moyo was dismissed and six of the
party's 10 provincial chairmen were suspended after conducting an
unsuccessful campaign to stop appointment of a new vice president, Joyce
Lazarus Shave, a former secret policeman, admitted that in past
elections he committed arson, tortured grandmothers and led invasions of
white-owned properties by landless blacks.
In the latest election, he said, ZANU-PF tried to reassert control over
its own ranks by using tactics reserved for the opposition in past
contests -- beatings, rigged primaries and denial of food.
Mr. Shave said he was beaten by five men last month because he supported
one candidate for parliament in a ZANU-PF primary that the government did
not want to win.
"Now I want to work for the MDC, and I will not beat anyone anymore," he
.The Washington Times is withholding the identity of this correspondent
to protect the reporter from government retaliation.
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Cape Times

Food shortages fuel Zimbabwe's row over prices
April 11, 2005

Harare: Zimbabwe's government and businesses have clashed over the
prices of basic commodities, now blamed for widespread shortages. Prices
shot up by as much as 100% after the March 31 elections, but the government
told businesses to reverse the hikes.

Most businesses have defied the order and essential foods have
disappeared from shops, but some have re-emerged on the black market.

"Increases were delayed to avoid harsh criticism of the government
before the elections, but now the government is saying you cannot increase
prices without consulting us... that's not what we agreed," a spokesman for
the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries said.

Industry officials said the shortages were not artificial, but
production was falling because of uneconomic pricing and shortages of
foreign exchange.

"(This) leads to panic and... hoarding," said the Chamber of
Commerce. - Reuters

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New Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe and liberation war politics

By Tonderai Munakiri
Last updated: 04/11/2005 12:46:42
THE elections have come and gone. However, in a society where people's
voices cannot be heard through the pen or any form of activism (people
power), it's difficult to measure the reactions of people to the just ended

Since the time we started on this democratisation experiment we have never
gotten it right. It's very sad that Zimbabweans have been casting their vote
for the last 25 years but nothing new has come out of this process. Some
like to argue that the democratisation experiment is a process and not an
event but 25 years in my opinion is a long enough time to learn how to affix
an X on a piece of paper. It is my submission that the democratisation
experiment is not a panacea to our woes which have haunted us most in the
last 15 years.

The current regime has failed Zimbabweans because of the "liberation
struggle" theory that has been advanced to justify their continued misruling
of the country. The school of thought of the "liberation struggle" politics
argues that Zimbabwe was born out of massive bloodshed by those who made
that ultimate sacrifice to realize this independence. It is my submission
that our late brothers and sisters whose "bones have been interred with the
good" that they did are the real heroes because of the ultimate price that
they paid.

It's worrisome that the current regime continues to monopolise and privatise
the "liberation struggle" theory as if only Robert Mugabe and his
lieutenants went to the battleground. I am worried because everyone is being
made to believe that we shall be saved by the "liberation struggle" theory
and that it is only the liberation heroes who have the right to rule
Zimbabwe until they are a "century old". Remember what the army generals
said prior to the 2002 Presidential elections. Remember what Mugabe has been
saying throughout this campaign; that allowing the opposition to rule
Zimbabwe would warrant going back to the trenches. The messages are very
clear; instil as much liberation war fear as possible. And some Zimbabweans
are buying this.

Here are my reasons why l think the "liberation struggle" theory will not
take Zimbabwe to its rightful place in the annals of history. The current
regime has very little to show for the liberation struggle theories to the
rest of the world or Zimbabweans. This is because instead of advancing the
ideals of economic development and economic empowerment of the black masses,
there is competition among the big chefs to loot the country dry. A cursory
look at scandals like the NOCZIM, DDF, War Veterans Compensation Fund, land
grab and many others show beyond reasonable doubt that the "liberation
struggle" theory is propaganda for big chefs to enrich themselves and not to
empower the masses of our black people. There has been unprecedented looting
of resources to the extent that one wonders if the "liberation theory" is
propounded by leaders who practice what they preach or is it "do as l say
not as l do".

In addition, the "liberation struggle" theory is out of step with the
current global realities. In an era where the world is gravitating towards a
global village, Mugabe curses every world leader for political expediency.
Zimbabwe has become a pariah state because the current leadership believes
that the rules of engagement are not in its favor. Again, the current
leadership believes that they can do without the rest of the world. It is
this arrogance that has robbed our country of the global benefits of
economic development and international cooperation in fields like medicine
and the sciences.

The rest of the world is moving forward making discoveries in science,
healthcare and taking giant steps in economic development. My major fear is
that it might take Zimbabwe a couple of decades to catch up with the rest of
the world. Other countries have made a lot of strides in health care, social
reforms to cure diseases and fight poverty. These are all global benefits
that Zimbabwe has been deprived of for the last decade because she is
"eating sovereignty". It is the height of insanity to persecute NGOs for
distributing food and medicines to starving masses in rural areas because of
political expediency. It is amazing that "liberation struggle" politics has
taken precedence over life and death issues in our country. It is this
thinking that has caused untold suffering to rural masses because everything
positive in Zimbabwe is sacrificed at the altar of political expediency.

The liberation struggle theory does not give in to common sense. Zimbabwe is
a country with the best human resources all over Africa. It is worrisome if
such a dynamic and prosperous country is held to ransom by a leadership that
is insensitive to the needs of the people. Why do the liberation struggle
theorists believe in "monopolising and privatising" political power? The
current thinking is guided by mischief and selfishness and a serious
disregard for human welfare and wellbeing. It is a very retrogressive
thinking that is not consistent with the 21st global realities. In a country
where everything is beholden to the "liberation struggle" theory, it is
indeed worrying that we have to be held to ransom for the political survival
of the old guard.

One scholar once said "Zimbabwe is loaned to us by future generations". It's
high time we consider what we shall bequeath to our sons and daughters who
don't know much about the liberation struggle. Shall we tell them that they
have no jobs because of the liberation struggle; shall we tell them that
they are hungry because of liberation struggle? Food for thought!

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People's Daily

Zimbabwe's Mugabe rules out inclusion of opposition in cabinet

President Robert Mugabe said on Sunday opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) legislators will not be included in the new cabinet
he is expected to announce this week.

He said neither British Prime Minister Tony Blair nor US president
George W Bush would push him to accommodate the MDC legislators in

"Let them (MDC legislators) stay away if they want," said President
Mugabe. "No one will be surprised. Blair or Bush cannot force us to
accommodate them contrary to our policies. We are not going to accommodate
them or make them ministers."

The ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF),
which has been ruling since the country won independence in 1980 from
Britain, claimed a major victory in last Thursday's vote, winning a
two-thirds majority in the legislature.

Opposition leaders have rejected the outcome over alleged voting
irregularities and are calling for a new poll.

The MDC points to conflicting figures of the actual number of voters
provided by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission as evidence of massive

Previously, MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai called on members of
parliament elected on the party's ticket to boycott the swearing in ceremony
in protest against alleged rigging in the election.

Meanwhile, Mugabe said the party would soon make amendments to the
country's constitution to create a Senate or Upper House, which was expected
to "accommodate most losers in the recent parliamentary election," should
also be quickly established.

Source: Xinhua

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Vanguard, Nigeria

Mugabe unfazed by possible opposition boycott of parliament

Posted to the Web: Monday, April 11, 2005

HARARE - Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe said his ruling
party would be undeterred if the main opposition party boycotted a new
parliament to be sworn in this week and "run the country in the normal way.

"Mugabe said ZANU-PF would not be worried by whatever action the
(opposition) MDC resolves to take following indications that it will boycott
parliament in protest over alleged rigging in the recent parliamentary
elections," the state-run Sunday Mail said Sunday.

A new parliament will be sworn in on Tuesday following elections
on March 31 in which Mugabe's Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic
Front (ZANU-PF) party took 78 seats against 41 won by the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

The MDC says the polls, which were keenly monitored as a test of
Zimbabwe's pledge to hold a free vote after two flawed ballots earlier,
unfairly handed victory to Mugabe's party.

"We don't know what the MDC will do," The Sunday Mail quoted
Mugabe as saying during a dinner at the residence of Zimbabwe's ambassador
in Rome, where the ageing leader had gone to attend the funeral of Pope John
Paul II.
"Some of them have said they will boycott. We don't care about
what they will do. We will proceed to run the country the normal way,"
Mugabe was quoted as saying.

The opposition party last week said investigations in four
provinces revealed "serious and unaccountable gaps between the Zimbabwe
Electoral Commission's official pronouncements on the number of votes cast
and final totals accorded to each candidate."

"This indicates massive electoral fraud by the ruling party,"
said MDC spokesman Paul Themba Nyathi.
But the poll body's chief George Chiweshe dismissed the claims
as mere "politicking".

Last week, scores of youths took to the streets of Harare urging
Zimbabweans to reject the results, prompting a police alert.
They said the elections, endorsed by observer missions from the
African Union and the Southern African Development Community (SADC), as
"reflecting the will of the people," were actually "a fraud."

At least 18 opposition youths and a newly-elected MP were
arrested following the protests and charged with breaching Zimbabwe's tough
security laws.

The MDC has denied links to the protests, saying "the youths
could be concerned Zimbabweans sympathising with the MDC or ZANU-PF thugs
wearing MDC T-shirts to tarnish the image of our party."

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The Telegraph

Blow to democracy
(Filed: 11/04/2005)

One-party rule in South Africa has come a step closer. The New National
Party, shrivelled heir to the party of Verwoerd and Botha, has disbanded and
urged its followers to join the ANC.

On paper, this may not seem especially important: at the last election, the
NNP secured less than two per cent of the vote.

But autocratic governments rely on a degree of cowardice in their
ideological opponents. Rather than taking a principled stand for political
pluralism, NNP activists have decided to clamber on board the gravy train,
following their leader, Marthinus van Schalkwyk, who joined the ANC
government as minister for tourism last year.

In consequence, the enclave of the Western Cape will come under ANC control.

Without opposition parties to worry about, even the best and wisest
politicians begin to exhibit dictatorial tendencies. Looking on office as an
entitlement, they become tempted to treat the entire state as private

This has happened across post-colonial Africa; and, in each instance,
well-intentioned people maintained until the last minute that their own
country was different, that there was some special circumstance that would
cause it to escape the fate of the rest of the continent.

Similar arguments are being made today in South Africa. They may even be
true. It is, after all, more advanced than its neighbours. It has an
uncensored press, an independent judiciary, an autonomous reserve bank, a
global economy and, not least, a free electoral commission.

Yet, even 10 years ago, most of these things could be said of Zimbabwe
(where a merger of the ruling party with the main opposition was,
significantly, the prelude to tyranny).

South Africa's determined support for the blood-soaked regime across the
Limpopo raises the awkward question: does the ANC approve of what Robert
Mugabe has done to his opponents? And, if so, would it like to do similar
things itself?

Dictatorships emerge, in large measure, because their peoples allow them to.
It is easier to accommodate yourself to the system than to challenge it; and
you can always justify yourself with cant about "influencing government from

The NNP, in its small way, has set back the cause of democracy in South
Africa. In this, at least, it has been true to its roots.
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Producers raise prices of basic goods

[ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]

JOHANNESBURG, 11 Apr 2005 (IRIN) - Prices of basic commodities have
increased sharply since Zimbabwe's 31 March legislative elections, causing
panic buying and fears of a return to widespread shortages.

Economist Dennis Nikisi told IRIN on Monday that the country's foreign
currency shortages were to blame for the current situation, because "84
percent of inputs in the productive sector are sourced through foreign

Prices of basic goods were capped prior to the legislative elections, with
industry agreeing not to increase prices as "that might create discontent,
especially among the urban electorate", Nikisi explained.

However, prices of basic commodities began to increase immediately after the
31 March poll, while the availability of goods contracted.

In its latest situation report the World Food Programme (WFP) noted that
"steep price increases in all basic commodities, and a severe shortage of
fuel and maize meal products [have been] reported", and that "the price of
some commodities has increased by over 100 percent, while the Grain
Marketing Board (GMB) [the state monopoly buyer] is reported to be holding
urgent consultations over the shortage of maize products".

When available, the price of maize per kilogram ranges from the equivalent
of US 27-38 cents, which is "well above the casual daily wage equivalent of

Consumer Council of Zimbabwe director Ms R Siyachitema told IRIN: "We know
that prices have gone up on a certain number of commodities and the result
... is that people start panicking. What we are saying is that they should
not panic ... there are discussions being held at the moment between the
Ministry of Industry and International Trade, and producers."

The discussions were aimed at addressing rising commodities prices.

"Manufacturers are saying, 'if we hold prices at pre-31 March levels we are
not going to survive' ... so there's no cooking oil, sugar, salt and
commonly needed drugs on the shelves. Unless something fundamental is done,
we are back to where we were again around 2000. The major concern is about
foreign currency ... if between 90 to 95 percent of all bids for foreign
currency [at Reserve Bank auctions] are being rejected, then what does the
productive sector do?" asked Nikisi.

In order to maintain tighter control over foreign currency, the Reserve Bank
of Zimbabwe has adopted a foreign currency auction system. It involves the
bi-weekly auctioning of foreign currency to the foreign exchange market
through the Reserve Bank.

"The explanation from some quarters is that some companies are playing
politics, but mealie [maize] meal and fuel are controlled by state
institutions - how then can you say that they are playing party politics?"
Nikisi remarked. "The situation is bad. To me, the problem is purely

Zimbabwe's inflation rate fell to just under 130 percent in February from a
peak of 620 percent in January 2004.
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Farmers brace for yet more hard times

[ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]

HARARE, 11 Apr 2005 (IRIN) - Zimbabweans are bracing themselves for yet
another year of food shortages as adverse weather conditions take a heavy
toll on crops.

The government has warned that the impact of drought conditions is expected
to be worse than last year, although the extent of the damage will only
become clear when the harvest period ends on 30 April.

Public Service and Social Welfare Minister Paul Mangwana recently told the
official Herald newspaper his ministry had sent teams to assess the
country's food requirements as a result of the prolonged dry spells that
were affecting most parts of the country.

"At the moment we cannot give exact figures because our teams are still
gathering information, so that we know how many people will need food
assistance. The number of people needing food assistance will obviously be
higher than last year, because most parts of the country were affected by
crop failure," Mangwana told The Herald.

He added that the authorities would approach "friendly countries" and the
United Nations for assistance after the country's food needs had been
verified, highlighting that about 400,000 households had been coping with
insufficient food supplies since September 2004.

According to the UN Regional Inter-Agency Coordination Support Office,
Zimbabwe's southern provinces of Matabeleland, Masvingo and Manicaland
experienced the driest spells during February and March.

The US-funded Famine Early Warning System Network reported that although
rain had recently fallen across the country, the showers were too late to
revive the crops, which were at a critical stage of development.

John Robertson, an economic consultant, was recently quoted by the privately
owned Zimbabwe Independent as saying that more than US $225 million was
needed to import about 1.4 million mt of maize and 300,000 mt of wheat to
cover the estimated food deficit.

Zimbabwe's rural population has borne the brunt of recurrent maize
shortages, with some communities last year relying on wild fruits and
informal trade networks and remittances from those working abroad to pull

Davison Mugabe, president of the Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers' Union, which
represents more than 4,000 newly resettled farmers, said Zimbabweans should
prepare themselves for difficult times ahead yet again.

"Our situation is beyond salvation - the erratic rains that characterised
this planting season spared no crop and harvests will be very bad. The lower
half of the country is particularly affected, considering the reports we are
receiving from our members," Mugabe told IRIN.

"In some areas I have visited, farmers actually failed to plant anything
because they miscalculated rainfall patterns. In other instances, farmers
waited until December to plant because they did not want to take the risk of
early planting, fearing that the first rains in October would be followed by
a dry period that could stress their crops," he explained to IRIN.

However, Mugabe pointed out that in areas where rainfall had been normal,
such as the Chiweshe, Dotito and Guruve communal areas in Mashonaland
Central province, farmers were enjoying good harvests.

When IRIN visited the province last week, farmers expressed confidence that
they would have enough to feed themselves until the next harvest period.

Fifty-year-old Phineas Mapondera of Chiweshe said he hoped to produce at
least five mt of maize from his fields. "We are blessed because this area
always receives good rains, even when the country suffers very bad years. In
addition, the soil is good for maize and tobacco, and we do not have to
apply much fertiliser," he told IRIN.

Although Mapondera's harvest prospects are favourable, he remains cautious
about selling part of his produce to the Grain Marketing Board, the monopoly
buying agency.

"Experience has taught me that whenever there is drought in most parts of
the country, it is not wise to sell because you might suddenly find yourself
in need of the very grain you would have sold, so I will store away what I
have got to make sure that my family does not starve," he said.

On the other hand, newly resettled farmers in the perennially dry Masvingo
province were struggling. Malnourished cattle could be seen grazing on the
wilting maize crop and villagers told IRIN it was difficult to find water
for their animals because the rivers were dry.

In the Zaka and Bikita districts some farmers had given up hope. "We hope
the government will be able to supply us with food because we virtually got
nothing from our fields. There is no grass for the cattle, donkeys and
goats," said Samson Hlasera, headman of a village in Zaka.

"What makes the situation even more worrisome for us is that we had obtained
loans for maize seed and fertiliser from the government. Now that we have
not managed to harvest anything, how are we going to repay the loans,
assuming the government insists that it wants its money?" he wondered.

Meanwhile, the World Food Programme (WFP) this week said it expected to feed
1.1 million beneficiaries during April through three programmes: school
feeding, supplementary feeding for malnourished children and support for
HIV/AIDS-affected households. However, the UN food agency warned that food
supplies were running low, with significant shortages expected in May.

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Zim Online

ZANU PF chairman to take over as Speaker
Tue 12 April 2005

HARARE - Ruling ZANU PF party chairman John Nkomo will be nominated
Speaker of Parliament today as President Robert Mugabe reshapes his party
and government ripped apart by bitter division over who should succeed him.

Impeccable sources told ZimOnline yesterday that Nkomo, from the
minority Ndebele tribe and an ally of powerful former army general Solomon
Mujuru, emerged the preferred choice after a series of consultative meetings
of ZANU PF top brass since last week.

As head of Parliament, Nkomo becomes the third most powerful figure in
the government and also joins Mujuru's wife Joyce as a leading candidate to
take over the top job when and if Mugabe retires. Both belong to the same
Mujuru-led faction opposed to the faction of former parliamentary speaker
Emmerson Mnangagwa, for long seen as Mugabe's chosen heir.

Mugabe and his first Vice President Joseph Msika are expected to step
down in 2008. Joyce is currently second vice-president of ZANU PF and the

In the reorganisation exercise meant to end squabbling over who should
succeed him, Mugabe yesterday named four new provincial governors dropping
long-serving Masvingo provincial governor Josiah Hungwe who worked with
Mnangagwa and dismissed state propaganda chief, Jonathan Moyo, in a failed
bid to block the elevation of Joyce to the vice-presidency.

Hungwe was replaced by loyal civil servant, Willard Chiwewe.
Newly-elected Member of Parliament for Mudzi East, Ray Kaukonde, was
appointed governor of Mashonaland East while Thoko Mathuthu and Tinaye
Chigudu were appointed governors of Matabeleland North and Manicaland
provinces respectively.

The four new governors are all allied to the Mujuru faction.

Four other governors also allied to Mujuru's camp, Ephraim Masawi
(Mashonaland Central), Nelson Samkange (Mashonaland West), Cain Mathema
(Bulawayo), Angelina Masuku (Matabeleland South) and Cephas Msipa (Midlands)
were all retained.

Former Mashonaland East governor David Karimanzira was appointed
governor of Harare metropolitan province while retired soldier and former
Manicaland governor, Mike Nyambuya, and former Matabeleland North governor
Obert Mpofu are tipped to get Cabinet posts.

Six ZANU PF provincial chairmen remain suspended after attending a
meeting last year organised by Moyo in his Tsholotsho rural home to plot to
scuttle the appointment of Joyce to the vice-presidency and instead push for
Mnangagwa's elevation to the post, seen as a key stepping stone to the
highest office.

Moyo was fired from the government for calling the meeting while
Mnangagwa was demoted from the influential party secretary for
administration post to become secretary for justice.

Moyo contested last month's parliamentary election on an independent
ticket and won in Tsholotsho, while Mnangagwa was beaten by the main
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party's Blessing Chebundo.

It was not possible to immediately establish whether Mugabe would
totally discard Mnangagwa or would probably throw him a lifeline by
appointing him a non-constituency Member of Parliament and give him a lesser
Cabinet post. - ZimOnline

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Zim Online

Church leaders in bid to revive talks
Tue 12 April 2005
HARARE - Zimbabwean church leaders say they will attempt to revive
dialogue between the ruling ZANU PF party and the main opposition Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC) in the aftermath of a disputed parliamentary
election last month.

Zimbabwe Council of Churches (ZCC) bishop Sebastian Bakare, who led a
failed attempt to bring the two parties to the negotiating table two years
ago, told ZimOnline that religious leaders were only waiting for tempers to
cool down between the two political foes before re-engaging them on resuming

"We are keen to see the revival of talks between the two parties and
we hope to make them talk to each other. We have agreed to give them time to
settle after the elections," said Bakare.

Bakare, who together with Catholic bishop, Patrick Mutume and
Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe head, Trevor Manhanga, in 2003 separately
met President Robert Mugabe and other ZANU PF leaders and Morgan Tsvangirai
and top officials of his MDC party in a bid to rekindle dialogue between the
two sides which collapsed in 2002.

Although both Mugabe and Tsvangirai had said they were committed to
dialogue, the church-led search for a negotiated solution to Zimbabwe's
crisis soon hit a brick wall mainly because ZANU PF appeared unprepared for
such a compromise solution.

But political analysts say with ZANU PF firmly in control after
controversially securing a two-thirds majority in Parliament, it may be more
than prepared for dialogue with the opposition if only as a ploy to placate
the international community which is refusing to recognise its victory.

Mugabe hinted soon after ZANU PF's victory in the March 31 ballot that
the party was prepared to re-engage the MDC in dialogue.

Bakare, who said his colleagues and himself have maintained contact
with the two parties after the collapse of their initiative at restarting
dialogue two years ago, said: "We were concerned about violence and we met
the parties separately (to discuss political violence) but we now want them
to come together for talks." - ZimOnline

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Zim Online

Police say notebook, camera implicate British duo
Tue 12 April 2005
NORTON - A Zimbabwean police officer yesterday said that two British
journalists who were arrested last month were illegally covering elections
in Zimbabwe after finding a notebook and camera among their possessions.

The investigating officer, Inspector Denford Dhliwayo told the court
that while he could not read the journalist's shorthand, he was convinced
the two were covering the election.

"I could not get a transcriber to transcribe what appeared to have
been shorthand but there are portions that I read and came to the conclusion
that the two were covering the elections," said Dhliwayo.

The two Britons, Toby Harnden and Julian Simmonds have denied the

They were arrested last month in Norton town, 40 km west of Harare,
for allegedly covering the March 31 election without permission from the
government's Media and Information Commission.

Under Zimbabwe's tough media laws, it is an offence for journalists to
operate without accreditation from the commission. The two face jail terms
of up to a maximum of two years if convicted of flouting the law.

Zimbabwe is accused of waging a bruising war against the media
critical of government policies. Most foreign journalists have also been
hounded out the country in a bid to control public information. - ZimOnline

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Zim Online

Mugabe victory haunts Zimbabwe cricket
Mon 11 April 2005
HARARE - President Robert Mugabe's victory in disputed parliamentary
elections a fortnight ago is back to haunt Zimbabwe cricket, with
politicians in New Zealand urging their national team to boycott a tour of
the southern African country on moral grounds.

New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark has joined a chorus calling for
the boycott, arguing: "Zimbabwe has just had elections that no reasonable
person would agree were free or fair."

Clark joined the minor Green party, which at the weekend said it had
written to all players named for the August tour to Zimbabwe urging them to
consider their positions. New Zealand Cricket chief executive Martin Snedden
last week said any players who refused to tour on moral grounds would not be

The Black Caps are scheduled to play two Tests and take part in a
one-day international triangular series involving the hosts Zimbabwe and

"The Black Caps are role models with considerable power to task a
strong stand against the brutality of the Zimbabwean regime," Rod Donald,
joint leader of the Green party, told reporters in New Zealand.

Donald said cricket meant a lot to Zimbabwean culture, "and not being
able to welcome international cricketing sides would be a blow to the
regime's claims to legitimacy. Ideally, the government and New Zealand
Cricket would get together and decide to call off the tour. However, the
players now have the power to force the hands of the authorities."

The boycott calls come hardly five months after England threatened to
pull out of a tour to Zimbabwe to protest what they said were human rights
abuses by Mugabe's government.

England, which boycotted a World Cup fixture with Zimbabwe in 2003,
later relented on the boycott threat but several top English cricketers
pulled out of the tour and those who made the trip were advised not to shake
hands with Mugabe.

New Zealand has, alongside many Western countries, condemned Mugabe's
victory in parliamentary polls held on March 31, accusing him of
manipulating the system to ensure a majority win. Mugabe's ZANU PF won 78 of
the contested seats against the opposition Movement for democratic Change's
41, while one seat went to an independent candidate.

"The Mugabe government is a brutal, illegitimate dictatorship that has
just rigged what it claimed were free and fair elections. It has no respect
for human rights, and intimidates and brutalises its enemies," Donald said.

The boycott calls have unsettled Zimbabwe Cricket administrators, who
spent the past year in a wrangle with rebel white players that threatened
the future of the game in the country.

"Honestly it would be unfair for New Zealand to boycott. It's the last
thing we would want to hear after all the upheavals last year," a Zimbabwe
Cricket executive who did not want to be named said yesterday. "Politics
should not be mixed with sport." - ZimOnline

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Daily News online edition

Mugabe to usher in major changes after poll win

Date: 11-Apr, 2005

JOHANNESBURG - President Robert Mugabe, coming out of a bruising fight
at the polls with the opposition MDC, has said he plans to scrap holding
separate presidential and parliamentary elections in a country he has ruled
for more than 25 years.

In an interview with the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC)
yesterday after his party had won a two thirds majority in the parliamentary
elections, Mugabe said he did not believe it was a better system to have a
presidential election on its own and a

parliamentary election on its own.

The opposition MDC has slammed the elections as being fraudulent.

"If the president is not good even after one term, they can vote
against him or her," he said.

He also said he was planning to introduce more members of parliament
and a two-tier system for the parliament of Zimbabwe, bringing back the
House of Senate which was abolished in 1987 when the executive presidency
was introduced.

"At the moment it's 150 (members of parliament) but I think we can
bring it up to about 200 and also have a two-tier system, a lower house and
an upper house..." he told SABC.

Mugabe reiterated that he would incorporate into the current
constitution, some sections of the draft constitution which were rejected by
Zimbabweans in a constitutional referendum in 2000.

He attributed his party's victory in the just ended elections, to its
age and revolutionary nature as well as to the commitment of its members.
"We are a much older, much more revolutionary party.

We have definite principles which we follow and that guide us. We have
a membership that is permanent and committed to us," Mugabe said. He said
the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) was based purely on

"You can't just be negative," he said. The party was still finding
"it's own ground, if it

will find it at all", he added.

Asked about his plans for national reconciliation, Mugabe encouraged
debate between his party and the MDC.

"Should they (the MDC) have any ideas they believe in sincerely...that
will help us to move forward constructively and economically improve the lot
of our people, fine, they will be very welcome to bring those ideas to us,"
he said.

Turning to the country's economic situation, Mugabe said that as a
result of the drought, Zimbabwe would need to import maize once again.

"We have the money to do so," he said.

Asked how he planned to turn his country's sagging economy around,
Mugabe said that foreign currency must be made available to the mining

The "corruption and dirt" in the financial sector - some of it dating
back to colonial days - would have to be looked at "very sternly and very

He hoped to have inflation back to double digits by the end of 2005.
Asked how he planned to improve his relations with the European Union, and
those countries which had imposed embargoes against Zimbabwe, Mugabe told
the SABC that he had not offended anyone.

"We are more sinned against than sinning... We have been put into the
dark by Mr Blair, for his own reasons. It's a very unfair act, indeed, to
us," he said.

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Daily News online edition

Mbeki ignored the voice of Zimbabweans

Date: 11-Apr, 2005

PRESIDENT Thabo Mbeki of South Africa has again expressed an opinion
which persuades many of his critics not to wonder why his initial views on
the origins of HIV/Aids were so controversial and so downright inaccurate in
the end.

Mbeki said on Saturday he was surprised that people are relatively
unmoved when there are killings in the DRC, Rwanda or Burundi, but go
berserk every time President Robert Mugabe does something in Zimbabwe.

But Mbeki ignores the fact that Zimbabwe was never in similar
situations as the other countries. The DRC, independent since 1960, was
ruled by a dictator for 31 years, until a guerilla movement drove him out
with his tail between his legs.

Rwanda and Burundi were plunged into ethnic violence shortly after
their independence from the Belgians who, incidentally, were also the
colonisers of the DRC.

Zimbabwe had its birth pangs as well. The Gukurahundi massacres are
the darkest patch in our history, when 20 000 people, including women and
children were killed. But after that, what troubled the people mostly was
one man's determination to hang on to power, regardless of the overwhelming
disapproval of his rule. Coercion and force have been used by Zanu PF to
retain its iron grip on power. Mbeki's party has never had to do that.

His critics are quite often reminded that Mbeki's outlook on politics
and even on life itself is not easily understood, not even by his own

For an inordinately long period, he maintained a position on the
origins of HIV/Aids which must have resulted in many needless deaths in his
own country. To this day, nobody can state categorically the logic with
which Mbeki justified this extraordinary position.

Even on Zimbabwe, not many of his own sympathisers can explain
convincingly why he believes Mugabe is right and the rest of the world

On Sunday, Mugabe hailed the rural people for voting for Zanu PF. He
made his usual abusive remarks against both the MDC and the urban people of
Zimbabwe who rejected him, as they did in 2000 and in 2002.

Why many Zimbabweans refuse to accept the 31 March elections as free
and fair is anchored in the pathetic state of life in this country. How
could even the rural folk vote for a party which has brought them nothing
but misery for 25 years?

Why would they vote overwhelmingly for a party which has reduced a
country formerly hailed as the breadbasket of the region to a nation of

The only explanation is that Zanu PF rigged the election. Chiefs and
headmen were used to coerce their people to vote for the party. In the urban
areas, not one single voter would have been forced to do Zanu PF's bidding.
They all know why it would be political suicide do so. They know why Zanu PF
is not good for Zimbabwe.

Mbeki ought to know, but when you are reminded of his amazing position
on the HIV/Aids origins, then you pause. It may not be soon before he
appreciates the origins of our ordeal either.

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Daily News online edition

Consider MDC evidence on poll fraud seriously

Date: 11-Apr, 2005

THE overwhelming evidence of electoral fraud compiled by the Movement
for Democratic Change ( MDC) should compel the international observers from
Sadc and South Africa to reconsider their submissions which are at great
variance with what has been unearthed by the opposition.

So far, the MDC has identified gross irregularities in at least 76
constituencies which were won by the ruling Zanu PF.

In all the constituencies, there are glaring discrepancies in the
number of people who voted and the totals of results announced by the
Zimbabwe Electoral Commission.-ZEC.

The ZEC is led by Justice George Chiweshe, a former Zanla combatant
who also served as the legal director of the Zimbabwe National Army after

To say that his judgment on what transpired in the elections is
questionable would be an understatement. Evidence at hand suggests that the
results were predetermined as they differed a lot from what actually

That the ZEC stopped before completing the announcement on national
television of the results suggests that they had realised that there were
discrepancies which could not be explained.

In some cases, 5000 or more votes could not be accounted for, casting
a very dark cloud on the entire electoral process and raising questions
about the legitimacy of the results.

Those who support the MDC and have dismissed the election as a "
stolen vote " say so with a high degree of justification while those who
rejoice in the victory of Zanu PF are cushioned by as much guilt as Judas
Iscariot must have felt after he received the 30 pieces of gold for selling
out Jesus.

As for Judas, he realised his guilt and decided to throw his ill
gotten money away.

But not so for our Zimbabwean counterparts who are basking in the glow
of electoral fraud and do so with unashamed rollicking jubilation.

The MDC must be commended for taking a decisive approach to the whole
issue. They have given the ZEC up to 24 hours to explain the glaring
anomalies in the results.

If this brings no joy, then the opposition will take up the matter
with the recently established Electoral Court which is chaired by Justice
Tendai Uchena, another pro-Zanu PF member of the judiciary who has
benefitted from the land redistribution programme.

We agree with the MDC spokesman, Paul Themba Nyathi's view that it is
regrettable that the Sadc and South African observers have not taken the MDC
concerns seriously.

In the final analysis, the new cabinet to be sworn in by President
Mugabe soon will rule the former British colony just as the colonialists
did - without the mandate of the majority.

It is an international sham.
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From The Mail & Guardian (SA), 10 April

Bob's your owner?

Kevin Bloom

It happened well under the radar, but if you looked hard enough in January
you would've found news that Zimbabweans living in South Africa were about
to get a choice of two locally distributed newspapers. In February the first
of these was launched by Wilf Mbanga, founder of Zimbabwe's famously
silenced Daily News. The Zimbabwean, as Mbanga's new tabloid weekly is
known, is now published in the United Kingdom with a Southern African
edition produced in Johannesburg (the initial print run was 120,000 copies).
Prior to launch, Mbanga issued a press statement that made his intentions
clear: the paper would give voice to the "fears and frustrations" of exiled
Zimbabweans. "A news blackout is dangerous for any society," Mbanga said.
"The forthcoming general election scheduled for March adds urgency. We will
ensure that our coverage is accurate, fair and balanced. We will be
accountable to our readers. We will endeavour to give all viewpoints, and
everyone - including the government of Zimbabwe - will have the right of
reply. In short, we will do everything the government newspapers in Zimbabwe
are not allowed to do."

Which was a significant comment, given that the other paper about to go
after Zimbabweans in South Africa is The Herald, Zimbabwe's top-selling
government daily. On a trip to Johannesburg to secure printing and
distribution contracts with a "major South African group", The Herald editor
Pikirayi Deketeke was equally adamant about his own intentions. "This is not
a propaganda mission, it's a business mission," he said. Deketeke estimates
that there are 3-million Zimbabweans living in South Africa. The number is
way above the estimate of The Zimbabwean, which argues that there are more
than 2-million Zimbabweans "living outside Zimbabwe in Southern Africa".
Irrespective of whether the difference can be ascribed to the difficulty of
accounting for "illegals", Deketeke is confident that he can reach a local
circulation of 30,000 (one percent of his guess). The business model, he
says, will be driven by copy sales. The newspaper won't be taking South
African advertising in the short-term. Unlike The Zimbabwean, which will
carry editorial specifically designed for the Zimbabwean diaspora, The
Herald will be a full reprint of the edition produced in Harare. But still
Deketeke denies that the goal is to push the Robert Mugabe and Zanu-PF line
in South Africa.

"It is not my job to change perceptions. It is not the role of The Herald to
change the South African reader's views of Zimbabwe. We are coming here as
we believe there is a big market of Zimbabweans, as well as a big market of
South African readers, who want a different view on what is happening in
Zimbabwe." As for what constitutes this "different view", Deketeke makes no
apologies. "I have been a journalist for 19 years in Zimbabwe. To a large
extent I agree with Mugabe's views on certain positions. I am exercising my
editorial right to express this agreement." Of course it could be said, with
government paying the bills, it's the editor's job to agree. "That's a
misconception," says Deketeke. "Government- or state-owned newspapers in
Africa differ from country to country. South Africa isn't familiar with this
form of ownership. From a technical perspective, we are not
government-owned. Government only owns 51% of Zimbabwe Newspapers (1980)
Ltd., through a trust, and they appoint the trustees. The South African
company Old Mutual owns 20%, which they bought in 1980, although they have
never taken an active interest. The company is publicly listed. We have
never been given a grant or a subsidy from government. We actually pay a
dividend to government. Last financial year we paid a dividend of

Then what about the fairly popular view that former Information Minister
Jonathan Moyo was the de facto editor-in-chief of the titles in the Zimbabwe
Newspapers stable? "Anybody who has been a journalist would never believe
that such an energetic minister would have the time to do that. From a
technical perspective, it's impossible. What occurred is that he was quoted
in the government-owned media and not in the private media. Things were
happening in Zimbabwe that required daily comment from government.
Everybody, including South African media, Reuters, the BBC and so on, wanted
Moyo's view on events. He wasn't talking to them. The only place you could
get government's comment was in The Herald." So presumably The Herald now
becomes the only newspaper in South Africa where you can get the official
Zimbabwean government line? In other words, a local mouthpiece for Mugabe?
"Look, Mugabe hasn't blocked the selling of the Sunday Times and Mail &
Guardian in Zimbabwe. People could say that those titles are propaganda
vehicles for South African interest groups. By the way, the politicians
actually do hold those views, but that's the politicians. I'm a newsman, and
I think there's an opportunity. "Competition is healthy and it's not as if
The Herald will be given away in South Africa for free. If Mugabe did
directly fund the newspaper and wanted to use it as a mouthpiece, he would
give it away. We are selling this thing."

Another unavoidable point is that "this thing" isn't being given away in
Zimbabwe either. Every weekday between 75,000 and 90,000 Zimbabweans part
with Zim$3,500 - the price of a loaf of bread - to buy one. Whether 30,000
Zimbabweans living in South Africa will do the same remains to be seen. The
alternative is to wait for the weekend and choose The Zimbabwean, but Mbanga
has his own obstacles to overcome. "Obtaining independent news from Zimbabwe
will be a challenge, as foreign correspondents are banned from entering the
country," he admits. Still, it's clear his own inside source won't be The
Herald. "The various on-line resources, together with some radio stations,
have done an excellent job in keeping the story alive since the silencing of
the Daily News. We will be maximizing synergies with them."

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The Zimbabwean

'Politricks' cause of decay of cities
During the electoral campaign Mr Mugabe said some interesting and daft
things that need to be responded to by those of us who now know the
politricks of that old tyrant. While addressing Zanu (PF) supporters at
Masotsha Secondary School in Magwegwe North constituency, Mugabe said that
central government was going to take over the provision of services such as
roads and sewage in Zimbabwe's urban areas. He alleged that the MDC was
failing to run those urban areas in which it won council elections.
We all know how desperate Mugabe and his party are to reclaim the urban
areas where the electorate has rejected them overwhelmingly since 2000. We
are aware that in Harare, Ignatius Chombo worked very hard to remove Mayor
Mudzuri from office simply because he was a member of the MDC. We remember
that within a few weeks of assuming office, Mudzuri started to re-surface
some of the roads in Harare, much to the chagrin of Zanu (PF). The sacking
of Mudzuri was quickly followed by the takeover of the leadership of the
Harare council by the political prostitute, Makwavarara, who has not managed
to improve anything in that city.

This recent threat by the autocratic regime to take over the provision of
services in urban areas is part and parcel of the same effort of
centralizing all power in Mugabe's hands against the wishes of the voters,
and indeed, the people of Zimbabwe as a whole. It is obvious that Mugabe and
Zanu (PF) are stung by the MDC's over-whelming support in urban areas. The
appointment of ineffectual city governors for Harare and Bulawayo was a
futile attempt at confiscating power from the hands of democratically
elected MDC mayors and councillors.

Mugabe fails to realise that as citizens of these cities, we are fully aware
that the central government owes virtually all local authorities in Zimbabwe
millions, if not billions of dollars in unpaid dues. The Ministry of Local
Government has also been very reluctant to permit urban councils to borrow
money from commercial finance houses. How then can the city councils
facilitate the development of their areas? Mugabe claimed that Bulawayo had
been allocated $150 billion a month before his visit to Magwegwe. Either the
old man has totally expired or time does not have the same sense and meaning
to him anymore.

No council can receive and start spending such money within a month. There
are strict procedures of going to tender and awarding contracts to the right
contractors that have to be followed. This cannot be done in one month,
except, of course by a Zanu (PF) outfit, which does not bother with such
transparency and accountability procedures. No, a Zanu (PF) council would
have allocated and spent that money in less than a week, but without
repairing any roads or sewage works at all. Perhaps that is what Mugabe was
complaining about to the residents of Magwegwe North.

Fortunately the people of Bulawayo know very well that it is Zanu (PF) that
killed the City of Kings by grabbing all kinds of industries from that city
to Bambazonke, (aka Harare). The contrast between the two cities is
frightening, to say the least. Skyscrapers are still going up in every
corner of Harare, while in Bulawayo the whole place is downstairs.

Further, it is the Mugabe regime that forced every decent company providing
jobs, goods and services in Bulawayo to close down as a result of the biting
economic crisis. Some companies even relocated to Botswana and South Africa
to escape the collapsing Gono-Mugabe economy. It is therefore ridiculous for
the sick old man to blame the MDC for the problems local authorities are
facing today.

Sekuru Chimhosva went further to inform the Zanu (PF) supporters that Gideon
Gono, the Reserve Bank Governor, had visited companies in Bulawayo, Mutare
and Kadoma to determine how these companies could be assisted. The tired old
man should be told that Gono is not the Minister of Finance. He is also not
the Minister of Trade and Industry. He has no business running around the
country like a rabid politician when the local currency is in the intensive
care unit. Is Mugabe no longer able to trust his own ministers to do the
jobs he appointed them to do? Madanetsetswa mavende emhandara (It is a
laughable matter).
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Fuel Supplies Improve

The Herald (Harare)

April 11, 2005
Posted to the web April 11, 2005


THERE was a marked improvement in fuel supplies in Harare yesterday with
several filling stations having the commodity and queues having virtually

Surveys conducted by The Herald showed that a number of filling stations in
and out of town had both petrol and diesel while a few had diesel only. Only
a few were out of stock.

Some of the filling stations selling petrol yesterday afternoon included
Wedzera Petroleum, Matlock, Mobil Samora Machel Avenue, BP along Fourth
Street, Mobil Sam Nujoma Street and Country Petroleum.

Motorists who spoke to The Herald, however, said the situation was still far
from normal as they should be able to get fuel at all filling stations.

"Yes, I am happy that the queue is only of five cars today but the thing is
I do not live anywhere near here and drove all the way from Marimba Park
into town just to get petrol.

"Petrol should be available at all the filling stations for the situation to
be ideal," said Mr Artwell Mariva who was queuing at Wedzera along Chiremba
Road in Chadcombe.

Others said there was need to regulate the prices since different filling
stations were now charging different prices.

"We would like to know what the actual price of petrol and diesel is because
at some filling stations, petrol is selling for $3 600 while at others it
has since gone beyond $4 000," said Ms Catherine Muuti.

Commuters also continued to sing the blues as fares were increased due to
the fuel shortages and subsequent increase in fuel prices by some filling
station operators.

Citing an increase in the price of fuel, commuter omnibus operators have
since increased fares to between $3 000 and $5 000 up from $1 500 to $2 000.

This has become common practice with commuter omnibus operators that
whenever there are fuel shortages or price adjustments, no matter how
temporary, they unilaterally increase fares citing viability problems.

The National Oil Company of Zimbabwe chief executive, Mr Zvinechimwe Churu,
said he expected fuel supplies to be back to normal by today following his
company's intervention.

Noczim, he said, had made available bulk fuel supplies to oil companies.

However, industry sources have refused to shed any light on what exactly had
led to limited fuel supplies especially to Harare.

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The Star

Observing with a blindfold

Myopic view of the Zimbabwean elections marginalised the reality
April 11, 2005

By Susan Booysen

With the flurry of soothing yet evasive election observation reports
from Zimbabwe, observation practice last week came full circle. From 2000 to
2005, the observer reports had moved from potentially contributing to
electoral management, to becoming indistinguishable from the practice they
were intended to observe.

Each season of elections in Zimbabwe, from June 2000 and March 2002,
to March 2005, has brought new benchmarks for the adaptation of observation
reports and statements to prevailing politics. The "politics of election
observation" was in full play, at each turn increasingly helping to
legitimate instances of the illegitimate.

Voices from South and Southern Africa dominated the recent salvo of
election observation reports. The South African Parliamentary Mission, the
South African Government Mission, and the South African-dominated SADC
Mission, used phrases that affirmed what was, in reality, severely flawed
electoral practice. These were the lines that were appropriated by the
re-elected government, even if, between the lines, the missions quietly
confessed that all was not in order.

Election observation in abnormal times in Zimbabwe meant that the
dictum of no intervention in the sovereign, national sphere could be
invoked. This was used, first, to exclude the most professional of election
observers. The Zimbabwean ruling party also used nationalism and the
discourses of anti-colonialism and anti-racism to discredit voices that
challenged its adaptation of multiparty democratic elections.

The 2005 observation practice was no longer intended to help build
sound elections. Rather, the goals were to get a rubberstamping of slightly
(but also somewhat deviously) amended electoral practice, under the cover of
the SADC electoral principles and guidelines, from a cherry-picked selection
of observer missions.

Regional stalwarts of professional election observation were absent.
The Electoral Institute of Southern Africa (EISA) called off its mission
because an invitation was not forthcoming. The SADC Parliamentary Forum,
after having observed 13 elections in ten countries, was snubbed. It was
told that its invitation was restricted to its being part of a general SADC
mission. In the past, these two missions had divergent verdicts - the one
offering systematic observer assessments (which included criticisms); the
other delivering fraternal affirmation.

The Zimbabwean state/Zanu-PF newspaper, The Herald, noted that there
were 45 foreign observer missions, including 23 from "friendly countries".
The Zimbabwe Independent noted that there were 500 international observers.
Few were spotted at election events.

Much of the recipe for Zimbabwe's designer-made observer missions was,
in the words of Zanu-PF's Patrick Chinamasa, to invite only those who would
"not have pre-conceived ideas as to the outcome of the election". Fair
enough in principle. In practice, however, this translated into "those who
had no pre-designed reluctance to investigate and then tell what they

In the past, in many localities across Southern Africa, lessons have
been learnt from well-intended observer reports. Yet, the 2005 Zimbabwe
statements were precluded from offering, to use "observer speak", any
"recommendations for improvement of the practice and management of

In order to be seen to be observing elections, yet be guaranteed to
arrive at affirming observation reports, fraternal missions follow a
well-documented route. The 2005 Zimbabwe election was no exception. First,
missions ensure that they cover the minimum period, probably two weeks.
Whereas the SADC guidelines support the two-week period, they never
prescribe that observations should be virtually limited to two weeks.

Second, missions are of a limited size, guaranteeing that even if they
"cover all provinces" (as missions love to note in their statements) this is
limited to "hit-and-run", dipstick approaches. Cost and limited availability
of longer-term observers often dictate this economy of approach. Yet,
missions need to be frank in their acknowledgement of limited coverage,
including the extremely short amount of time often spent on each visit to
any electoral site.

Third, missions limit themselves in terms of the type of evidence that
they accept. Longer-term research and monitoring reports - in Zimbabwe by
local civil society and professional groupings such as the Media &
Monitoring Project, the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, the Zimbabwe Human
Rights NGO Forum, the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, and the Zimbabwe
Election Support Network - are discarded or diminished in favour of the
election day observations.

Extensive reports and information about problems with demarcation and
the voters' roll, for example, were displaced with discourses of the polling
day being "peaceful", "commendable" and "reflecting the will of the people".

The three-pronged approach systematically marginalises recognition of
the reality that Zanu-PF, over five years, had systematically closed the
space for party political and civil society opposition to function,
shrinking the legal space, and eliminating media space. A civil society
researcher noted that the only place that was still
available to the opposition in Zimbabwe was the line on the ballot

It has been acknowledged that there was a brief Prague Spring during
the roughly four weeks of the campaign period. After the annihilation of the
opposition through provoking fear among all the non-Zanu-PF population (and
this grouping is vastly different from the image of the opposition as
white-farmer, white-liberal, which the governing party tries to create), it
would be safe from February to March to allow for a "free" campaign period.
The observers would be there to bear witness to "tolerance", "freedom to
have rallies", and space to broadcast opposition campaign messages.

The 2005 missions were keen to find evidence that Zimbabwe was
adhering to the SADC guidelines and principles. Zimbabwe Election 2005
presented evidence of conformity with five of the ten guidelines. The South
African Parliamentary Mission offered a general endorsement, proclaiming the
existence of free and fair elections that "conformed to the guidelines".

The South African Parliamentary mission statement was sprinkled with
words like "credible" and "legitimate". The SADC mission leader, according
to Zimbabwe media reports, dismissed as insignificant the use of food
politics, political coercion by
traditional leaders, and the state of the voters' roll.

The statement of the South African Government mission followed, using
the well- tested phrases: "reflecting the will of the people" and an
ambiguous "voting proceeded without any notable irregularities reported". It
trod carefully, after its pre-election faux pas of virtually giving the
elections the green light.

In Harare's Chipanga sculpture garden, there is a stone carving of
three human figures depicting the "hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil"
dictum. They bear quiet testimony to officially sanctioned election
observation in Zimbabwe, circa 2005.

.. Susan Booysen is Contributing Editor to The Star. She is also
Professor of Political Studies at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan
University, and has researched and published on the "politics of electoral

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Financial Mail


By Vincent Kahiya

Mugabe's overwhelming win spells economic disaster and political

When President Robert Mugabe said he would win back the urban
constituencies from the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) in
the March 31 general election, he was wrong.

Equally wrong was the MDC and its leader Morgan Tsvangirai in
confidently saying they had made inroads into the ruling Zanu-PF's rural

Zanu-PF, which won 78 seats, maintained its hold in the rural areas.
The opposition won 41, mainly urban, seats. This was almost the same story
in the 2000 general election. The 2005 election was a poll no party really
won if we are to move away from the rhetoric of frenzied celebrations and
posturing by Mugabe about having clinched a two-thirds majority in

After the dust has settled, the election result is a harbinger of
tougher things to come. For Mugabe's landslide win is just that - a
landslide in which there is no guarantee of food on the table for a hungry
populace, or jobs, foreign investment, balance of payments support,
affordable health care or housing.

The election result is a further complication of the political logjam
that has been the hallmark of Zimbabwe politics in the past five years.

The economic meltdown is a product of Mugabe's failure to come up with
an acceptable internal settlement that brings on board the opposition and
civic groups. Dialogue has in the past failed because of Mugabe's insistence
that any talks should be on his own terms.

At a press conference at State House last Saturday, Mugabe tried to be
magnanimous. He appeared to dangle an olive branch before the opposition.

But this is not the first time that such magnanimity has failed to
stir the national conscience into believing that the country's leader since
independence in 1980 is now amenable to dialogue with the opposition. At his
inauguration as president in 2002, Mugabe spoke in the same vein, but it was
a ruse, and it didn't wash.

The political tension in Zimbabwe will be sharpened by the refusal of
the MDC to accept the results of a poll it says was rigged. There are likely
to be court challenges to the results, which will only increase Mugabe's
anger at the opposition. It would, therefore, be a surprise if the two
parties agreed to work together on anything at the moment, when they cannot
agree on the election outcome.

There is another problem in the offing: simmering discontent within
the ranks of the opposition over the leadership of Tsvangirai. The various
interest groups - unions, students, academics, "old money" business - which
created the opposition party in 1999 do not seem to agree on an alternative
leader. They have also in the past failed to agree on how to engage Zanu-PF
in dialogue. Neither was there homogeneity among them on whether to
participate in last week's election or not. A younger faction of the MDC is
now pushing for a more robust approach.

This fragmentation threatens any prospects of successful dialogue
between Zanu-PF and the opposition.

With it, President Thabo Mbeki's diplomacy, geared to achieving a
government of national unity, is in jeopardy. The SA election observer team
in Harare "endorsed" the poll results, as did the African Union mission, and
the Southern African Development Community team representing the SADC's
organ on politics, defence & security, currently chaired by Mbeki. The
SADC's parliamentary team was barred.

This endorsement of Mugabe by his African brothers will only puff his
ego and strengthen his dead man's grip on power. Meanwhile, the political
and economic climate will continue to deteriorate. (See our Business story.)

The political atmosphere in Zimbabwe has been poisoned by Mugabe's
obduracy and demagoguery. He is the chief obstacle to achieving national
healing and recovery. At international conferences, auditoriums have
reverberated to applause for the octogenarian leader's bluster against
British prime minister Tony Blair and the West in general.

The Zanu-PF government, in power for the past 25 years, has remained
encrusted in liberation war dogma which has blinded Mugabe to the realities
of changing world politics. His election campaign was steeped in this
retrogressive rhetoric, which said that voting for the MDC meant a return to
British rule. That's the level of crude and petty politicking Zanu-PF has
degenerated to. Expecting it to raise its approach and face the myriad
problems at hand would be akin to expecting Blair to leave 10 Downing Street
and take up abode at State House in Harare.

On the eve of the election, Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor Gideon
Gono, an undisguised Zanu-PF implant, was quoted in the state media as
saying the country was on the path to good times. He forecast foreign
currency inflows of US$3bn, a further retreat in inflation and a revival of
the export sector. Gono has been on about that path to Nirvana since he took
over at the central bank in October 2003, but few believe they are on the
path to the promised heaven. In its current state of affairs Zimbabwe is
also a country crying out for balance of payments support to plug the large
foreign currency hole.

But the international community, especially those with deep pockets,
will not be riding to rescue Zimbabwe as long as Mugabe elects to remain the
international bad boy.

Armed with his two-thirds majority Mugabe now has the power to amend
the constitution as he planned to in 2000. He was thwarted in a referendum,
but went ahead and seized white-owned farms anyway. Zanu-PF can now extend
the term of Mugabe's presidency. But to what end?

.. Kahiya is acting editor of the Zimbabwe Independent
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Financial Mail


By Shareen Singh

Agreement to protect trade and investment may be signed soon

South Africa's tacit political support for Zimbabwe's President Robert
Mugabe is certainly not in the best interests of the SA business community.

Though SA remains Zimbabwe's biggest trade and investment partner,
that country's economic meltdown has had an adverse impact on the
considerable investment of SA companies.

But too much has been invested over the years and these companies are
willing to stick it out in the hope that Zimbabwe's economic crisis passes
and reconstruction begins soon.

Many businessmen who spoke to the FM say Zimbabwe's economy has
reached rock bottom. "No-one is going to invest, but we are certainly not
pulling out," says one executive.

SA companies are significant employers in Zimbabwe. A survey by
research firm Africa Inc suggests that among the largest 40 JSE companies,
27 have operations there and employ about 20 000 people. A spokesman for the
Zimbabwe Stock Exchange estimates that over half of all the shares listed in
Harare are controlled by SA companies.

Zimbabwe's economy has fallen for the past five years . Growth last
year fell by an estimated 5% after a 13% decline in 2003. Inflation is
running at around 350% and the Zimbabwe dollar has been in free-fall.
Foreign direct investment was US$4,5m last year. It's one of the world's
riskiest places in which to do business.

Research in 2003 suggested that the chaos in Zimbabwe had cost the
Southern African region about $2,5bn, shaving 1,3% off SA's GDP. Some SA
businesses, such as Nampak and Absa, have responded to the crisis by staying
but writing down their investments .

SA exports to Zimbabwe are still fairly sizeable at R6,2bn last year,
but down from R7,3bn in 2002.

Calvin Manduna, a researcher at the Trade Law Centre for Southern
Africa, says trade and investment figures are unlikely to change in the
short term as investors "wait and see" whether the business and political
environment will improve. He says new investments and expansion are
unlikely, except in the platinum sector. The once thriving tourism industry,
too, will remain largely stagnant, given that most of its tourists come from
Europe, where the country's image has been tarnished, Manduna says.

Though SA firms are likely to sit it out for a while, they remain
vulnerable in Zimbabwe as long as there is no binding protection over their

The long-awaited protection of trade and investment agreement between
SA and Zimbabwe has yet to be signed. Without the agreement, local companies
find it hard to get credit guarantees and insurance for their assets in
Zimbabwe. A department of trade & industry official says the agreement was "
held back" largely by Zimbabwe's parliamentary elections.

A representative at SA's embassy in Zimbabwe says the terms of the
agreement have been concluded and once the new Zimbabwean cabinet is formed,
the endorsement of the document should not take too long. The agreement, he
says, will go a long way to instill confidence among SA investors in
Zimbabwe. He believes investment opportunities in Zimbabwe will increase now
that the election is over .

SA platinum companies - Impala Platinum, Aquarius and AngloPlat - have
been the largest investors of late in Zimbabwe and the mining industry in
general has been getting more government support than other sectors.

Corporate taxes for mining have been reduced to 15% and the ore body,
believed to be the second-largest in the world, is tantalising for a brave
investor. On the downside, Zimbabwe's deflated currency, high inflation and
costs do squeeze margins.

Implats owns 85% of the company and, through a joint venture with
Aquarius, owns a stake in the Mimosa mine. Implats' total investment in
Zimbabwe is R1,7bn. In the six months ending December 2004, Zimplats
contributed R52m to Impala Platinum's bottom line and Mimosa brought in

Zimplats director Les Paton says the investment is lucrative despite
the hurdles. He says Zimplats is considering expansion but it needs clarity
on issues such as the exchange rate and "indigenisation" - similar to SA's
economic empowerment policy. The indigenisation target is for 20% ownership.

The other big player in the sector, AngloPlat, is involved in the $92m
Unki platinum project, where primary infrastructure is being put in place.

AngloPlat has moved fast in identifying a partner to meet Zimbabwe's
indigenous requirement. Negotiations over a 20% stake are under way. The
project employs 15 full-time staff and 150 contractors, but numbers will
pick up once mining starts. Altogether the Anglo American group is SA's
largest investor, with about 5 500 permanent and 1 500 temporary workers,
many of them on large agricultural estates.

On the financial services side, Absa, Standard Bank and Old Mutual,
among others, are still operating in Zimbabwe.

The head of Absa's Africa division, Dana Botha, says it does not make
sense to pull out of Zimbabwe. "We have written off the investment in our
books. It's not a liability. If things change we have the infrastructure and
we will capitalise on it."

Botha says Absa's commercial retail banking arm was doing well until
Zimbabwe's economic and political woes plunged the country into a liquidity
crisis. The demand for US dollars far exceeds availability, he says.

SA packaging firm Nampak, which acquired several assets from Crown
Cork in the 1980s, is also staying put , despite volumes, sales and profits

Eskom continues to supply Zimbabwe with electricity despite its
outstanding debt of more than R30m in January. Yet plans by Eskom to buy
Hwange power station were scuppered when a Chinese power utility came
forward. Chinese investors have increasingly made their presence felt in
Zimbabwe despite the perceived risks.
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