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

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      Second mass action planned

      4/14/2003 6:23:21 AM (GMT +2)

      By Lawrence Paganga

      THE MDC has resolved to stage another mass action, following the
government's refusal to yield to a wide range of demands it made last month.

      The decision, which could result in more arrests of members of the
opposition party, was reached at the MDC's national executive meeting held
in Harare yesterday.

      Paul Themba-Nyathi, the MDC spokesman, said the mass action would put
more pressure on the government to address 15 demands outlined by the party
on 19 March.

      The conditions, which include the restoration of the rule of law, were
openly rejected by President Mugabe at the burial of the late Minister of
Higher Education and Technology, Swithun Mombeshora, at Heroes' Acre on 21

      Mugabe was quoted in The Herald, saying he had no time to listen to
"sell-outs" like MDC president, Morgan Tsvangirai.

      Nyathi said: "We have no option but to stage another stayaway as Zanu
PF has failed to meet the 15 demands we gave them last month."

      The MDC spokesman, however, refused to say when the stayaway would
take place.
      "The dates of the mass action will only be known at the appropriate
time," he said.
      Police spokesperson, Wayne Bvudzijena, declined to be drawn into
discussing the latest stance by the MDC.

      "I am not going to comment on that issue," Bvudzijena said when
contacted for comment yesterday.

      The police have reacted heavy-handedly to previous mass actions.
      More than 200 MDC MPs and supporters have been arrested in recent
weeks for organising last month's two-day stayaway, which took place on 18
and 19 March.
      The police alleged that the mass action was accompanied by violence.

      Among opposition MPs arrested were the party's vice-president, Gibson
Sibanda, Themba-Nyathi, David Mpala, the MP for Hwange East and Jealous
Sansole, MP for Lupane.

      The other demands made by the MDC include the release of all political
prisoners and an end to all State-sponsored violence against its members and
the torture of suspects in police custody.
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      Food crisis to continue

      4/14/2003 6:39:18 AM (GMT +2)

      From Ntungamili Nkomo in Bulawayo

      WORLD Vision Zimbabwe (WVZ) is busy putting together the 2004 relief
budget following indications that the country could be headed for another
food crisis.

      "Prospects for the upcoming agricultural season are very unfavourable.
The situation is further complicated by the rapid economic decline, high
prevalence of the HIV/Aids, political instability and issues of governance,"
WVZ said in its report for March 2003.

      The agricultural sector suffered a blow this season due to inadequate
rainfall, which has plunged the country into the throes of another
disastrous drought.

      WVZ, a key food relief agent in Zimbabwe, noted that the volatile
political and economic conditions prevailing locally had contributed to

      The agency said it had expanded food distribution after wide
consultations with the Vulnerability Assessment Committee, which advised
that more aid was needed.

      The report said: "Given the existing and residual strain on coping
capacities from the current crisis, anticipated further economic and
agricultural decline, the government and humanitarian aid agencies were
advised to prepare for widespread food insecurity for the year 2003-2004."

      An estimated 7 million people were said to be in dire need of relief
aid last year, but the figure could increase due to poor harvests
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      Mutare raises $27m from shack dwellers

      4/14/2003 6:40:02 AM (GMT +2)

      From Sydney Saize in Mutare

      Mutare City Council is expected to make at least $27 million from
illegal shacks in the city, it has been established.

      From January this year, the council started charging shack dwellers
$990 a structure a month. Sternard Mapurisa, the director of housing and
community services, said Mutare had 18 000 illegal structures.

      He said in January alone the council got $3 788 537,87 from shack
dwellers. He told a recent community services, housing, health and education
committee meeting that the amount had been collected in a week.

      "We are hopeful that the collection of the shack levies will improve
in the future," he said.

      City treasurer Kudzai Mumbengegwi said his department had collected $4
million from the shacks in two weeks.

      "This figure would improve if the council effectively enforced the
levying of the shacks," Mumbengegwi said.
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      Chinotimba faces second charge

      4/14/2003 6:41:18 AM (GMT +2)

      By Lloyd Mudiwa Municipal Reporter

      Joseph Chinotimba, a chief inspector with the Harare Municipal Police,
is facing a second charge of violating his conditions of service.

      This emerged at a disciplinary hearing at Town House last Thursday.

      Simbarashe Muzenda, the chairman of the committee presiding over the
hearing, postponed the proceedings to 8 May after Chinotimba did not turn

      His lawyer, Aston Musunga, asked for time to prepare Chinotimba's
defence on the second charge.

      Musunga said he had failed to contact his client to inform him of the
date of the hearing.

      On the latest charge, Chinotimba is alleged to have contravened Clause
18 (g) (i) and (ii) of the Harare Municipality Undertaking (General
Conditions of Service) Statutory Instrument 66 of 1992 as read with Section
12B (2) (b) (i) of the Labour Relations Amendment Act of 2000.

      Cosmas Mukwesha, representing the council, said Chinotimba allegedly,
without the authority of his employer, became a director of Edlan Security
(Private) Limited, a security company. This resulted in a conflict of
interest with the employer's official duties.

      This charge arose when Chinotimba unwittingly gave his employer a $500
000 cheque on 24 February this year, for the repair of toilets at Machipisa
bus terminus in Highfield.

      Chinotimba, who signed the cheque for Edlan Security (Pvt) Ltd,
presented the cheque when his employer was first supposed to hold a
disciplinary hearing against him on the first charge.

      The war veteran leader who spearheaded the violent farm invasions in
the run-up to the 2000 parliamentary election, is accused of giving
unauthorised interviews to the government-controlled Herald newspaper last

      The first hearing did not occur after a committee, comprising of MDC
councillors, recused itself.

      It was replaced by a committee chaired by lawyer Oscar Ziweni.

      On the second charge, Chinotimba is not supposed to take up a position
elsewhere as a director while he is still employed by the council. He is a
director or signatory of cheques for Edlan Security (Pvt) Ltd.

      "Chinotimba is employed as a security officer in the capacity of chief
inspector," reads the charge.

      "He could not, therefore, become a director of another security
undertaking while in the employment of the council as this will result in a
conflict of interest with his duties."

      On the first charge, Chinotimba is accused of contravening Clause 18
(p) as read with Clause 18 (h) of the conditions in that he communicated or
made available to a recognised mass media, information concerning the
business of the council, without the authority of his employer.

      The information was published in The Herald issue of 9 and 10 October
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      Sida head attacks African states for wasting resources

      4/14/2003 6:43:44 AM (GMT +2)

      Staff Reporter

      THE new Swedish International Development Co-operation Agency
director-general, Maria Norrfalk, has blamed some African countries for
wasting resources by engaging in wars against each other.

      In her first official message released by the Swedish Embassy in
Harare last week, Norrfalk said the misuse of resources contravenes the 2000
Millennium Declaration.

      The declaration mandates governments to ensure that national resources
are used for developmental purposes.

      She said: "If an increased flow of investments and assistance to
Africa is to be of benefit, the countries themselves must take their task of
combating poverty and corruption seriously.

      "And if the Millennium Declaration pledges are are to be given any
credibility, governments cannot wage expensive wars with each other or with
their citizens.

      A country's resources must be fairly distributed and democracy must be

      Sida is working on how governments are succeeding in co-ordinating
their policies to promote development.

      "Sida is moving in the direction of supporting entire sectors, such as
the healthcare sector as this is an issue of democracy.

      "A country's government is responsible for overall poverty-reduction
policy. Donors can then contribute to this process in different ways," said

      Sida spends US$54 billion (Z$2 970 billion) a year in its
developmental projects.
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      Catholic bishops slam corruption

      4/14/2003 6:48:21 AM (GMT +2)

      By Fanuel Jongwe

      ROMAN Catholic Church bishops in Zimbabwe have made a scathing attack
on the corruption in the public and private sectors and the politicisation
of food distribution by government and Zanu PF officials.

      The Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops' Conference (ZCBC) described as immoral
the skewed distribution of food along political party lines.

      It is alleged that a Zanu PF party card is now a prerequisite for
accessing cooking oil, maize-meal and other essential commodities.

      Political analysts regard this strategy as part of a campaign aimed at
reversing Zanu PF's dwindling support base.

      "People's lives are at stake and the nation cannot afford to entertain
the politicisation of food, while people are starving. This is immoral.
      "The demand for citizens to produce a party card before receiving food
should be stopped forthwith," ZCBC said in its pastoral letter.

      ZCBC called for the protection of rights and the welfare of all
Zimbabweans regardless of political affiliation and the eradication of
widespread corruption.

      "The government is not only for the ruling party, but must protect all
its citizens, their rights, as well as their welfare.
      "We condemn some members of government who have practised partiality
and have openly refused to serve people who do not belong to their own

      "It should be clear to citizens as well as government that no social
group or political party has the right to monopolise power.
      "Preferential treatment and selective justice undermine the stability
and credibility of the government," ZCBC said.

      The pastoral letter was signed by the late Archbishop Patrick
Chakaipa, Archbishop Pius Ncube, Reverends Michael Bhasera, Francis Mugadzi,
Alexio Muchabaiwa, Helmut Reckter, Robert Ndlovu, Angel Floro and Patrick

      The church leaders appealed to the government to "take the lead" in
promoting dialogue to resolve the country's mounting political and economic
crises. They also called for the arrest of political thugs terrorising
perceived enemies of the government.

      "From the standpoint of moral concern, we call upon the government,
especially the individuals that represent the government at the ground
level, to deal urgently with those elements in our society that have placed
themselves above the law and are constantly harassing other citizens," the
church leaders said.

      They also lamented the "frightening levels of corruption as has been
embraced by both the leadership and ordinary citizens".

      "Current shortages of basic commodities have provided an opportunity
for corruption by people in strategic positions, including government
ministers and other government officials," the bishops said.
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      Beira mayor woos Zimbabwe investors

      4/14/2003 6:38:42 AM (GMT +2)

      From Sydney Saize in Mutare

      ZIMBABWEANS have been urged to exploit investment opportunities in the
Mozambican port city of Beira.

      "The message from Mozambique is for businesses in Zimbabwe to invest,
mainly in the tourism sector. Of course, there are also opportunities in the
construction of schools, clinics, roads and bridges." the mayor for Beira,
Chivavice Muchangage said.

      Muchangage was speaking during an official visit. He was accompanied
by Americo Jeremias, his director of Construction and Urbanisation, and
Anabela Santiago, a councillor in charge of co-operation affairs in the port
city, among other visiting delegates.

      The delegation was taken around Mutare by executive mayor, Lawrence
Mudehwe, and had the opportunity to view various development projects,
including the city's Hobhouse housing section and the Green Market informal
business sector.

      Beira, situated about 280km east of here, has a twinning arrangement
with Mutare.

      Mozambique, said Muchangage, has room for entrepreneurs keen to invest
in the construction and tourism sectors.

      Much of the port city's infrastructure was destroyed in the 10-year
civil strife that followed Mozambique's independence in 1975.

      "Mutare is set to benefit from the twinning arrangement and Beira as
well, since we have discovered there is a lot that we need from here," the
visiting mayor said.

      He added: "We cannot promise much of what is on offer in Beira save to
say Zimbabweans should come and see for themselves what we have."

      The port city would soon construct a warehouse where local companies
can store products intended for sale in Mozambique.

      Mudehwe also invited Mozambicans to look at similar investment
opportunities in the eastern border city.

      Muchangage promised to lobby the central government to loosen visa
requirements for Zimbabweans intending to take up serious business
opportunities in Beira and its immediate environs.
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      Mutare police defy court order

      4/14/2003 6:43:16 AM (GMT +2)

      From Our Correspondent in Mutare

      POLICE in Mutare are defying a court ruling ordering them to return
$117 000 seized from an MDC official arrested last month.

      The cash, a mobile phone and other personal belongings were
confiscated from Pishai Muchauraya, the MDC spokesman in Manicaland, as the
government - through the police and other State security agents - launched a
crackdown on members of the opposition party whom it accused of organising
the 18-19 March stayaway.

      Scores of MDC officials were arrested and thrown into police custody
across the country on allegations of contravening provisions of the
draconian Public Order and Security Act.

      In Mutare, Muchauraya was arrested along with three other MDC members:
Giles Mutsekwa, the MP for Mutare North, Patrick Chitaka, the chairman for
Mutare North and Knowledge Nyamhoka, the councillor for Ward 4 in Sakubva.

      All four have since appeared before the courts on initial remand and
are out on bail.

      Last Monday, Mutare magistrate, Samuel Zuze, ordered the police to
return all items confiscated from the MDC spokesperson, a reaffirmation of a
ruling made during initial remand by Lloyd Kuvheya, a different magistrate.

      The police voluntarily returned a mobile phone and personal belongings
confiscated from Muchauraya before he appeared before the courts.
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      MDC duo attacks loose fiscal policy

      4/14/2003 6:46:13 AM (GMT +2)

      Staff Reporter

      CONTINUED policy shifts tailor-made to ease tension in Zimbabwe will
not bail out the economy from the current economic crisis, MDC said last

      In a joint statement, MDC secretary for economic affairs, Tendai Biti
and shadow finance minister, Tapiwa Mashakada, said economic turnaround can
only occur if government pursues comprehensive stabilisation and recovery

      "March 2003 has gone down as the month when the non-coherent
macro-economic policies of Zanu PF entered into whirlwind confusion and
panic stance, ultimately plunging the Zimbabwean economy into deeper
catastrophe," read part of the statement.

      The two legislators blamed the loose fiscal policy for causing
perennial budget deficits and excessive declines in economic activity.

      Inflation, officially pegged at 280 percent in Zimbabwe, is now the
highest in the region.

      There was also no clear path to follow with regard to the exchange
rate and interest rates regime.

      An exchange rate of $824 to the greenback has been introduced to
exporters with other transactions trading at $55 to the same unit.

      Distortions also exist in interest rates, where exporters and the
productive sector were borrowing at heavily subsidised rates, while other
sectors were accessing loans at exorbitant rates.

      "With the continued shortages of basic foodstuffs owing to the
illegitimate regime's chaotic land reform programme, Zimbabweans are left at
the mercy of God for survival.

      "Firms, on the other hand, have adopted survival strategies to evade
the controls by packaging the scarce commodities in either too small or too
large forms with prices beyond the reach of many Zimbabweans," the statement

      A number of companies, particularly parastatals, were already
teetering on the verge of collapse.

      The National Railways of Zimbabwe, Wankie Colliery and Air Zimbabwe
were among the worst affected.

      Export earnings had also declined from about US$1,4 billion (Z$77
billion) in 1966 to about US$1,7 billion last year. Estimates suggest that
earnings could further plunge to about US$1,4 billion this year.

      "The consequence of this structural retrogression are the long-term
negative impacts on:
      (a) agricultural sector's economic contribution, which is unlikely to
attain former levels in the near future;
      (b) substantial multiplier consequences on manufacturing and service
sectors (for instance, from the demise of the tobacco industry); and (c) key
industries brought to an abrupt halt, for example, the cement manufacturing
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Leader Page

      Jonathan Moyo cannot fool anyone any more

      4/14/2003 6:21:29 AM (GMT +2)

      Professor Jonathan Moyo, the Minister of State for Information and
Publicity in the President's Office, seems to have outdone himself in his
efforts to taint the MDC and blame it for every ill that is currently
afflicting Zimbabwe's political, social and economic landscape.

      Zanu PF, being Zanu PF, would not have waited for the mass action to
succeed and not seize the opportunity to expose the rogue soldiers and army
deserters before the recent by-elections were held. Zanu PF and Moyo would
definitely not have wasted time and the country would have been bombarded ad
nauseum with that "information".

      The remarkable thing is that these so-called deserters did not look
like soldiers at all. They were scruffily dressed and had torn uniforms. If
they were truly deserters, the whole country would have been alerted of
their desertion long before the mass action and the by-elections. Moyo would
have been given a platform on State-controlled media to denigrate the MDC at
every opportunity.

      The whole country would have been subjected to a barrage of propaganda
on radio and television about these deserters, given the fact that the
government has already accused the opposition and its leadership of planning
to topple the government through unconstitutional means.

      Morgan Tsvangirai, Welshman Ncube and Renson Gasela are already on
trial for treason. This evidence would definitely have been brought up
during the State's case against the MDC trio. The fact that it was not
brought up means there is no truth behind all this propaganda. That is why
Moyo seems to have outshone himself in his concerted efforts to portray Zanu
PF and the Mugabe regime as an upright and democratic government.

      Moyo has to realise that he cannot fool all the people all the time.
People have memories and due to the hostile climate that this country is
presently experiencing, those memories are definitely not short. People will
remember and know that Zanu PF is nothing but a party of promises and no
action, when it comes to issues pertaining to genuine national development.

      This whole charade is focused on ensuring that the Mbekis and
Obasanjos of this world keep on supporting Mugabe and his party in trying to
win back international recognition, which was withdrawn with the suspension
of Zimbabwe from the Commonwealth councils, followed by smart sanctions on
Mugabe and 76 of his cronies in Zanu PF.

      They are not allowed to roam about the world as freely as they did
just four years ago. That to Mugabe - who earned the nickname "Vasco da
 Gama" due to his penchant for travelling - must be very painful. Zanu PF
must have thought it was just rhetoric on the part of the international
community at large. It must be dawning on them that the international
community means business, as its tolerance for dictators wanes.

      Now that Saddam Hussein, another dictator par excellence, has fallen
and that USAid has withdrawn funding for Zimbabwe's attendance at Southern
African Development Community meetings, the message must be sinking in.

      USAid went a step further and threatened to impose similar sanctions
on any southern African state that hosted Zimbabwe for any Sadc meeting.

      This tightens the travel restrictions imposed on Mugabe and his
henchmen. None of the Sadc countries would risk losing aid and international
links because of Mugabe's arrogance.

      So for Zanu PF what better way to try and divert attention from itself
than arresting its own hooligans whom it had unleashed on its own people?

      Even the so-called Chipangano had to be seen to be reined in. But it
is still incredible that only 10 members of this terror gang could have
caused the untold torture, harassment and intimidation of thousands of
people in Mbare and its environs.

      This further exposes the plot by government to be seen to be
democratic all of sudden. They are trying to play to the international
gallery and pretending that they are returning the country to the rule of

      Too late Moyo. The people in this country cannot be hoodwinked any
more. They now know all the tricks in Zanu PF's bag.
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Leader Page

      Chombo reducing himself to slapstick comedian

      4/14/2003 6:22:08 AM (GMT +2)

      By Cyprian Muketiwa Ndawana

      WITH effect from 20 March, 2003, the Minister of Local Government,
Public Works and National Housing, Dr Ignatius Chombo, was assigned interim
responsibility over the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education.

      When I heard the news it precipitated me into a mortuary-frozen state.
It sent ice-cold shivers down my spine as I pondered why, in this day and
age, fortune still favours the conspicuously inept.

      Despite being educated to doctorate level, Chombo conducts his
ministerial duties in a manner that gives education an extremely bad name.

      Most of his decisions are so devoid of logic that they exhibit a
tendency towards a Stone Age mentality. With all due respect, he has nothing
to show, not only for his education, but for his grey hair.

      At a time when government coffers have more holes in them than those
in a watering can, Chombo's recommendation of the creation of the positions
of governors for Harare and Bulawayo exposed how limited his thought process
is - his logic is as flawed as that of a housewife who cuts herself with a
kitchen knife because she has bandages in the medicine cabinet.

      With the majority in unison that the country does not require
governors at all, it takes one driven by a strong dose of Dutch courage to
advocate for the creation of more such unnecessary positions.

      The rationale that district and provincial administrators can
effectively perform the duties of governors is lucid; it need not be put to

      If Chombo does not see merit in the abolishment of the office of
governor, he deservedly invites scorn and ridicule that will inevitably
reduce him to a national political slapstick comedian.

      Chombo need not have had his thinking cap on in deciding on the merits
and demerits of the office of governor.

      It is obvious that the office is a reckless policy aimed at
squandering the taxpayer's hard-earned money, better dispensed with

      By calling for the appointment of more governors, against the
background of the depleted State coffers on one hand and the duplication of
duties on the other, Chombo is gulping poison in the forlorn hope that he
does not die.

      He is embarking on a nationally suicidal course whose repercussions
will indeed be far-reaching.

      The minister has fared disastrously in his dealings with city councils
that are being run by mayors from the Movement for Democratic Change.

      His interference, especially in the affairs of the Harare City
Council, is way beyond that of the call of duty.

      His efforts to bulldoze mayor Mudzuri have impacted negatively on the
latter. Mudzuri, with the massive support of Harare residents, has remained
resolute and steadfast, focused on bringing the city back to its Sunshine
City status, ruined by successive years of Zanu PF council leadership since

      Given his educational credentials, Chombo disgraced himself by giving
credence to a dubious petition that he alleges to have been authored by some
Mbare residents.

      He gave education an extremely bad name by stooping so low as to lend
his weight to a fake petition, yet it is public knowledge that the said
petitioners were, in fact, a few hired hooligans whose numbers were swelled
by some traders and rural-bound travellers, forcibly bundled into trucks and
delivered to Town House.

      The strategy was so poorly conceived and executed that the minister
lit a matchstick to his reputation.

      His standing plummeted several rungs on the socio-political ladder.

      It would not be surprising that it is now anchored right at the base,
given his specious track record, earned from the series of below-the-belt
punches which he has relentlessly and unashamedly delivered to Harare
Executive Mayor Mudzuri and his councillors.

      With the magnitude of problems wreaking havoc in the Ministry of
Higher and Tertiary Education, appointing Chombo as the acting minister was
as foolhardy as asking a toddler to teach a crawler how to walk.

      Both the university and polytechnic education systems are currently in
such a state of paralysis and deterioration that Chombo, given his naivety,
does not have the acumen to arrest.

      Prospects for restoring normalcy to higher and tertiary education in
general, and the reopening of the country's oldest institute of higher
learning, the University of Zimbabwe, in particular, have been dealt a
severe body blow as President Mugabe's penchant for reshuffling losers and
under-performers continues to be insatiable.

      As Chombo joins the legion of the recycled ministers - which includes
Dr Witness Mangwende and Dr Herbert Murerwa to mention but the duo - who
were given new leases of life through presidential patronage against a
backdrop of poor performances, I for one can only wonder when the voice of
reason, vociferous for some time now, will be taken heed of.

      Cyprian Ndawana is a Zimbabwean political and social commentator.
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Daily News

      Supplementary budget looms

      4/14/2003 6:27:39 AM (GMT +2)

      Business Reporter

      A MASSIVE supplementary budget could be tabled before Parliament in
the third quarter of the year amid revelations that most ministries had
already spent large chunks of their allocations with only four months into
the year.

      A treasury source said high costs of goods and services consumed by
line ministries and government departments had eaten into the $784 billion
2003 national budget.

      "We have cases, at the moment, where some departments and ministries
are struggling to meet their commitments," the treasury source said.

      Herbert Murerwa, the Minister of Finance and Economic Development,
tabled a $52,97 million supplementary budget last year to cater for civil
servants' cost of living adjustments, funding for agriculture and the
mitigation of drought effects.

      This year's supplementary budget could run into billions of dollars.

      Bulawayo chartered accountant, Eric Bloch, said costs of importing
food were ballooning by the day, with the rise in lending rates fuelling the
interest burden incurred by the government.

      Bloch said: "There is no doubt that the budget will be inadequate. The
critical question is: To what extent will the government look at recovering
increased expenditure by raising taxes and borrowing?"

      The chartered accountant said shortages prevailing on the money market
and punitive interest rates make it difficult for the government to finance
the deficit through borrowing.

      The government may look at improving tax revenue by either raising
sales tax on non-essential items or increasing tax levels for high income

      Duty on luxuries could also be raised, but this could be met with
resistance from neighbouring trading partners such as South Africa and

      "We have not lived within our means since independence and this means
we have had to borrow heavily," said Bloch.

      Analysts said the other problem is that the nation is expending large
sums of money that were not budgeted for.

      It is estimated that $715 billion would be required to support the
multiple exchange rates prevailing in several sectors of the economy.

      The $784 billion budget announced by Murerwa was based on the
assumption that inflation would be reduced to around 96 percent before the
end of the year.

      Inflation is now expected to end the year within the 450 and 500
percent range.
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      Stormy tobacco season expected

      4/14/2003 6:29:09 AM (GMT +2)

      By Takaitei Bote Business Reporter

      THE tobacco-selling season is likely to mirror the stormy season
experienced by farmers last year when Zimbabwe's three auction floors open
on 23 April.

      The season could go down in history as the worst period for tobacco
farmers and the nation, following the chaotic land reform exercise, which
disturbed farming activities and displaced an estimated 500 000 farm

      The ensuing confusion made it difficult for farmers to make
projections on harvests.

      For instance, the Farmers' Development Trust, headed by Lovegot
Tendengu, was expecting 200 million kgs of flue-cured tobacco to pass
through the auction floors.

      The Commercial Farmers Union, the Zimbabwe Tobacco Association and the
Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board put the figure at between 80 million
and 120 million kgs.

      Optimists such as Tendengu are convinced that the chaotic land reform
created new farmers, who closed the production gap left by white commercial

      Critics however, believe that the new farmers started late. They also
experienced a host of problems in securing seed and equipment.

      The situation was compounded by a critical shortage of seed and

      The decline in tobacco production is likely to negatively impact on
the agro-based economy and its ability to earn foreign currency.

      The country, which is experiencing a foreign currency crisis due to
reduced tobacco earnings, donor fatigue and poor export performance, needs
huge reserves to meet its growing fuel and electricity import bills.

      For example, the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority requires US$165
million (Z$9 billion) to pay arrears to the World Bank, European Investment
Bank, Africa Development Bank and suppliers of imported power and spare

      The foreign currency shortages have also adversely affected industry's
ability to import essential raw materials. This had, in some cases led to
scaled-down production or complete shut-downs of over 300 companies last
year alone.

      Farmers will not be able to earn sufficient returns that can cover
costs incurred during the farming season. They would be left with little
money to plough for the next season.

      "Load-shedding which began a few weeks ago, is likely to worsen the
constraints facing farmers. The mining and manufacturing sectors have lost
billions of dollars as a result of load-shedding," a local economic analyst

      Retrenchments look certain in the tobacco industry and other
supporting sectors. The tobacco industry used to employ 700 000 people prior
the land reform programme.

      To add to the confusion, international buyers are still to commit
themselves to purchasing the golden leaf, which contributes nearly 30
percent of Zimbabwe's foreign currency earnings.

      It is feared that international buyers could have abandoned Harare in
favour of more stable markets.

      Analysts said the anticipated decline in the crop, blamed on political
and economic turmoil, could also have scared away buyers.

      The requirement that all tobacco purchases be conducted in foreign
currency sourced offshore could be another contributing factor.

      Tobacco Trade Association president, Jim van Heerden said: "It is a
bit early to name international buyers coming to Zimbabwe because most of
the travelling arrangements were done late.

      "The tobacco industry didn't know the size of the crop and the
exchange rate to be used. Such information is important to buyers."

      Tobacco companies normally meet international buyers and other players
in the tobacco industry around February and March.

      It is during this period that the industry gets to know the number of
merchants participating at the floors.

      Individual tobacco companies will start visiting international buyers
this month although no details about this were immediately available.

      The Tobacco Merchants Association said its members were meeting over
the issue but could not release details of their discussions.

      Auction floors are expected to market a small flue-cured tobacco crop
of between 80 million and 120 million kgs for the first time since 1990.
Only 133 million kgs were produced that year due to adverse weather

      Other poor seasons were 1979, 1984 and 1988 when 111,6 million kgs,
119,9 million kgs and 111,9 million kgs were sold respectively.

      Crop output is however, said to have been as low as 56 million kgs in
the 1960s because farmers were still at a learning stage.

      Last year, Zimbabwe produced 165 million kgs which fetched US$377
million (Z$60 billion) from flue-cured tobacco sales.

      Previously, Zimbabwe has produced 215,9 million kgs of flue-cured
tobacco in 1998, 192,1 million kgs in 1999, 236,9 million kgs in 2000 and
2002, 5 million kgs in 2001 and 165,8 million kgs in 2002.

      Auction floors have been allocated one sale each a day compared to six
sales in the past in anticipation of reduced crop intake.

      An auction floor can trade between 3 600 to 4 000 bales of tobacco in
one sale. Sales would be increased if deliveries improved.

      Feisal Greenland, the general manager of the Zimbabwe Tobacco Auction
Centre is looking at the situation from a positive perspective.

      Greenland said: "We are likely to counter the financial losses caused
by the reduced production because there will be a high demand for tobacco
this year due to a world reduction in production."

      Brazil, the largest tobacco producer in the world, is expected to
auction about 480 million kgs this year, compared to 560 million kgs last

      Greenland expects prices to increase from last year by between 20 and
30 percent.

      Other economic pundits expect the price to remain the same as last
year's averages in United States dollar terms.

      David Slack, of the Burley Marketing Zimbabwe said tobacco prices
would be the same as last year in US dollar terms.

      Earnings will improve in Zimbabwe dollar terms because of the shift in
the exchange rate used by exporters from $158 against US$1 to $820.

      "The high exchange rate will offset the losses we would have made due
to low sales," Slack said. Flue-cured tobacco fetched an average price of
US$226,66 /kg ($35 925/kg).

      Giles Watson, the general manager of the Tobacco Sales Floors said:
"My feeling is that prices this year would be pretty much the same as last
year in US dollar terms."
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      Government using CIO agents to spy on exiled Zimbabweans

      4/14/2003 6:34:07 AM (GMT +2)

      Please inform your readers to take note of the fact that leaving the
country does not make any citizen safe.

      While in the UK, I got friendly with a man I have since discovered is
a CIO officer living in Luton, England, and pretending to be a student.

      He is financed to do all sorts of things that nobody in Zimbabwe could
possibly afford to do.

      He comes to Zimbabwe regularly, files reports on other Zimbabweans
frequently, and he can always afford to pay his university fees in order to
retain his UK student visa.

      This government has its eyes and ears all over the place at the
taxpayer's expense.

      While many of us here are starving, have no medicines, no fuel, no
jobs, no future etc for lack of forex, the government is spying on its own
citizens abroad.

      Be warned, choose your friends carefully or make sure you do not come
back to Zimbabwe before President Mugabe goes.

      Also, if you discover anyone who is serving this government against
the people, keep a good diary on them for future use.

      The governments of Europe, the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand
etc, will be helpful when we ask for co-operation in extraditing these

      Meanwhile, keep your eyes open. They can target your family back here.

      Benson Magaba
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      Zimbabwe in a worse situation than Iraq

      4/14/2003 6:35:17 AM (GMT +2)

      This letter is a special tribute to B & B (George W Bush and Tony
Blair), the two bravest leaders in the world.

      Congratulations, Sirs, on your sweet success in Iraq. Now the people
of Iraq are finally going to experience true democracy and freedom.

      It is my humblest pleasure to address this note to you.

      I would like you to show the world that you are not in Iraq for their
oil but to restore good governance and democracy, by carrying out similar
operations in Africa in general and Zimbabwe in particular.

      The people of Zimbabwe are in a similar, if not worse situation, than
the people of Iraq were before the fall of Saddam Hussein.

      People are being maimed, murdered, raped and tortured every day for
their political affiliations.

      Every member of the opposition has officially been labelled "an enemy
of the State".

      People despise President Mugabe, not the State. Mugabe can never be
the State. Honourable Members of Parliament are being arrested and beaten up
for no reason.

      Please, Sirs, show the world and the United Nations that where
democracy is at stake there can be no compromise.

      Mugabe must be given 48 hours or less to leave office.

      Kidman Maroto
      South Africa
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      Zanu PF actions easily personify the Nazis

      4/14/2003 6:20:48 AM (GMT +2)

      I wish to compare one fallen country we all know against Germany under

      It is really going to be up to you to decide whether I am making a
mockery of you know who, or I am indeed being truthful with my opinion. I
hope I shall not be offending anyone by making some frank but earthly

      I shall begin in the beginning. It shall not be the famed Biblical
beginning that went like this: "In the beginning there was the Word". It
shall be a beginning as an earthly beginning for earthlings.

      The beginning begins in Bavaria, the well known home of the highly
fancied BMW cars. We shall term Bavaria the home of Hitler, of course there
being no developmental equalities with our well-known Zvimba. If anyone
disputes that Austria instead of Bavaria is the starting point, then the
other starting point could as well be Malawi instead of Zvimba!

      Sometime in the late thirties of the past century, there was a man.
The man was a leader of his people and his country. He led his people to a
war that still remains the greatest war ever to be fought in history. The
war that was invited to the people was aptly known as the Second World War.

      The war ravaged several countries, killed economies of many
participating countries and ruined the social fabric of millions of people
through bereavement, displacement and other ills associated with the art of

      Adolf Hitler saw greatness in himself. He was a very proud and
arrogant man. He thought that the German people, who were Aryan by descent,
were the most superior. He wanted to create a pure race for the world, where
blue eyes, a skin lacking in the pigment enhancing hormone melanin and
naturally flowing hair would be a measure of superiority. He was more than a
racist. He was a dangerous supremacist, just like the KKK.

      At first, when the man started barking, world leaders watched in awe.
He made demands that were quickly acceded to in the destructive policy of
appeasement. When he had enough proof that the rest of the world would just
let him have his way, he started having his way in a big way.

      Neighbouring states started falling under his blitzkriegs. So swift
were his invasions of other states that those world leaders who were guilty
of appeasing him realised their folly when he was almost knocking on their
door-steps in readiness to attack.

      So, Hitler had a love for war. He managed to move the entire world
into a very long war. During his days as an ardent lover of war, he
developed a hatred he could not hide. He hated Jews!

      The man had more than enough hatred for Jews. He endeavoured to
exhaust all his abilities to cause pain on people by working full throttle
on satanic experiments on the Jewish people. Undisputed historical facts
even show us that the Jews were positively discriminated against, with the
few lucky ones being dog-tagged as 'Juedens' for easy identification. This
was just in case they erroneously benefited as ordinary German citizens.

      Somehow the world managed to end the Nazi terror after some six long
years of serious hostilities with the dictator. The eventual success of the
allies against Hitler was an achievement that still remains remarkable even

      The world was saved from the talons of a monster that had weird and
devilish intents for the people of the world. In defeating Hitler, the world
learnt that it was very dangerous to leave a mentally sick man to have in
his control the keys into the self-destruct button room.

      This is what Hitler the dead (I am sure there is no other Hitler, dead
or alive to speak of) did to German, the Jews and the world. Now for Baba
vaChats, the local behave-alike and look-alike!

      At first he was hailed as an enigma as he made the narrow path of
righteousness even narrower as he set standards that many envied but could
not attain. He preached no hatred and wished no bad fortune on anyone. He
made the term reconciliation look like his own addition to the dictionary.

      He added new dimensions to the spirit of forgiveness, even though he
confessed that he would not forget the tribulations he had suffered from his

      He was buying time! He had to prepare himself for the kill. He had to
assemble a private force that could be used to advance his wishes. He looked
to the very far East where he found the North Koreans who were willing to
extend their axis of evil to southern Africa.
      The raw recruits were got together and trained by the mean North
Korean instructors in the art of meanness. The result was a politically
charged brigade of storm troopers who would have matched the Christian
Youths of the Nazis pound for pound and wickedness for wickedness.

      Look at the operations they undertook in Matabeleland. I cannot
dignify that operation as a military operation. I will rightly call it a
genocide committed by gun-totting political misfits.

      The scale may have been far smaller than the Nazi/Jewish affair, yet
the effects are similar in devastation. Whereas the Nazi left millions of
Jews dead, the later-day storm troopers had a couple of tens of thousands
scalps to their credit. The two operations that straddle four decades were
full of hatred.

      The gentleman in question saw it fit also to employ the gullibility of
young and vulnerable citizens to enhance his cruelty and hatred. Party
youths were assembled all over with mandates to do as their fore-runners,
the North Korean trained gunmen.

      The young men and women made villages look like Hitler's concentration
camps. The very trusted youths graduated to the militia, where they were
issued with G3 rifles with plenty of live ammunition.

      There was terror in the villages! The Nazis were easily reflected in
the actions of Zanu PF.
      With striking similarity, the local champion of intense hatred showed
the world that he had some misgivings about Jews as well.
      In a terrible display of lack of statesmanship, he labelled the
behaviour of some people by saying, "they are as hard-hearted as Jews!"

      A look at the names of the two sister organisations will also reveal
an uncanny resemblance. Surely the gods could not be that crazy!

      There is something sinister in those names. Yet a further scrutiny of
the hierarchy of the two sister parties would also reveal a resemblance that
would make Lucifer wonder why he is seeing two images of himself - one Aryan
and the other Bantu!

      The abominably monstrous and vile moustache worn by each of the two
gentlemen speaks for itself!

      With time in his hands, the new menace on the block decided to go
nationwide, after realising that he had completed the rout in Matabeleland.
The thrust was then centred on everybody who would not dance to his tune.

      Torture and more killings began to take centre stage as his regime
went haywire.
      He did not only manage to break the feeble bones of most of those
opposed to his thinking, but also managed to wreck the economy, bringing it
to its worst state ever since the implementation of modern trading

      Despite the country's meagre resources, the armed forces have seen
unnecessary combat in battlefields around some African countries, thanks to
the Hitler look-alike.

      The citizens of the impoverished state have voiced their reservations
about these excursions, yet the man of his own ways has autocratically shut
out the people's voices.
      He will not listen to anyone but himself.

      When he speaks, he dances to the assumed sweetness of his own voice,
match to the chagrin of the captive audience.
      The rest of the people matter less.

      There is no difference to what Hitler gave Germany.
      Hitler visited war, terror, hunger, death, pillage and everything a
bad dictator could upon the Germans.

      One could ask: What did the people of Zimbabwe get? They got what the
Germans got under Hitler. They got nothing but arrogant scorn from the man
      They got the money to buy Zanu PF party cards and nothing else. They
got Green Bombers who made their lives a living hell.

      They got political measles and other political contagion, after
shouting slogans that demeaned them for that matter. They got nothing to
smile about!
      At first the world watched as the gentleman made mincemeat out of the
people of Matabeleland.

      Then some neighbouring countries thought that the issue was not for
them to intervene, yet their economies were dangling dangerously because of
the very actions of their peer.

      This evenly matches the appeasement that was accorded to Hitler.
      I could go on and on, yet I have to get going. I have a rare
premonition that the Gestapo could be zeroing in on me!

      I shall assume that this comparison has proven a point.
      The point is that our once beautiful country has been driven into
economic, political and social desolation.

      Thanks to Hitler's bad example in leadership qualities, someone is
emulating that madness big time. If I am wrong, please disprove me. If I am
right, I do not want any accolades, since I cannot take trophies for
agreeing with an old mathematical axiom that one plus one is two.
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