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Million dollar chicken

The Telegraph

Peta Thornycroft
President Robert Mugabe has locked up, beaten and deported scores of journalists and Peta Thornycroft, a Zimbabwean, is one of the last remaining independent reporters still there, battling against logistical and security hazards and the world's fastest shrinking economy.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Million dollar chicken
Posted at: 16:30

Sorry to have been absent for so long.

With Zimbabwe’s official inflation now at 913 per cent, (international accountants say it is closer to 1500 percent,) it’s a pain going shopping. A decent sized whole chicken cost nearly a million Zimdollars this week.

It’s hard getting enough money to pay for a couple of baskets of basics as there are long queues in banks, and the automatic cash machines are always "run out of funds” or jammed. Imagine being an accountant and checking the overdraft.

Interest rates are officially about 783 per cent. Last week it was 750 percent. A medium sized engineering company had an overdraft of Z$10 billion in December. Now it owes the bank Z$65 billion. It can’t pay. In theory its trading figures should have kept its overdraft manageable as the value of the Zimbabwe dollar shrinks daily.

In reality it’s not OK as this company like all others has to charge out its goods and services in local currency, that is Zimbabwe dollars. So while its overdraft has been fairly constant at about £130 000, (calculated at black market rates) the Zimbabwe dollar numbers have forced this company to the brink.

Three years ago it employed 300 people, most of them skilled technicians in mining engineering. Today it employs 94 and needs to cut that number to 12 to try and stay alive for better days, if there are ever better days. No one knows how high these extraordinary figures - inflation and interest rates - will go, nor what will happen when they continue to climb, minute by minute.

The Reserve Bank, which runs most of the country (the army runs the other part) acknowledges without blushing that it prints trillions and trillions of Zimbabwe dollars, to keep the economy going.

Tuesday after Easter is Zimbabwe’s independence day, 26 years since the Union Jack was lowered in front of Prince Charles, and 26 years of rule by President Robert Mugabe.

When he came to power the Zimbabwe dollar was equivalent to US $1.60. This week the black market rate of the Zimbabwe dollar - which is the real rate - is Z$220 000 for US$1 on the street outside top hotel, Meikles, in central Harare. The official rate is Z$99 000 to US$1.

Every aspect of life in Zimbabwe is in a state of collapse. Education, health care, trade, commerce, and of course human rights. The most immediately visible decay is the roads. Advertisements on billboards around Harare now invite people to buy tarmac to “mend your own potholes.”

Zimbabwe’s main roads to South Africa and north to Zambia were probably the best roads in Africa 26 years ago. Potholes are the minor problem on serious roads south and north as the foundations are shifting. The old networks of smaller roads, both gravel and narrow tar linking the commercial farms and the communal or tribal lands are disppearing.

It is extraordinary for those who knew and travelled those roads to see them now. In one of the most fertile chunks of land in Africa, about 60 miles north west of Harare large sections of some farm roads, previously maintained by Rural Councils, then mostly funded by white commercial farmers, have disappeared.

There are some vague tracks among long grass while small bridges have sunk into river beds and this year’s heavy rains carried off some roads altogether. Its six years ago since Mr Mugabe began confiscating white farmers’ land and their equipment.

Welcome back Peta! Those of us interested in Zimbabwe have felt so helpless watching this endless decline. Nevertheless, for such an ignorant and arrogant man as is Mugabe, it must be very painful to see total failure wherever he looks. He was so damned certain he was the smartest cock in the African barnyard twenty six years ago, now all his mates and enemies can see that he most certainly wasn't. Zimbabweans are such decent people, they deserved better than this abject failure as a life-time president. May they soon be rid of him.
Posted by prs on April 12, 2006 6:41 PM

I visit Zimbabwe at least once a year and each time I am amazed at the apparent resilience of the residents. I spent several years of my growing up period in Zimbabwe (just after Bob took power and appeared reasonable) and a more friendly, happy people you would be hard pushed to meet. I cannot put into words me and my family's contemptuous feeling towards Mugabe. It was only the other day that my mother (a proper Christian i.e. not only through title but by her thoughts and actions) said she would gladly "do the necessary". Really out of character but such is the strength of feeling. I was only there in Oct 2005 and then the auction exchange rate (official black market rate) for GBP was Z$22,000. The best way of tipping for the last few years has been (and it sounds really degrading to outsiders) a bag of rice or pasta. Anything edible and you are friends for life. What a shame - beautiful country, beautiful people, brutal dictator in charge of the country.
Posted by Mr M OBrien on April 12, 2006 6:57 PM

Zimbabwe is a basket case, beyond redemption under the present leadership. I well remember a trip there in 1968, the country known then as Southern Rhodesia. It was as beautiful and lush a place as I have ever seen. Zimbabwe stands now as a monument to the destructive nature of demagogic governance.
Posted by Paul Bloustein on April 12, 2006 8:45 PM

It's very sad that when Africa has gotten rid of so many terrible dictators--Mengistu, Obote, Idi Amin all spring to mind--that one of the worst of the bunch is still reigning and ruling in Zimbabwe. One can only hope that his day, too, will come and that this regime will pass into history. When that day does come, it is, also, to be hoped that the international community will do its best to repair the damage done by this horrible man and will try to improve the lot of the long-suffering Zimbabwean people.
Posted by RCS on April 12, 2006 10:48 PM

Strange - two of Bob's degrees (I think he has about six) that were earned rather than honorary, are in law and economics. So its beyond belief that he wasn't aware of what he was doing when, after wrecking the rule of law, he has went about wrecking the economy. Zimbabwe's fall from grace brought on by Mugabe cannot be blamed on ignorance and bad advice from syncophantic advisors as, unlike most dictators in Africa, he had a very good education. Albeit much of it gained in his time in Rhodesian gaols. With this education Mugabe knew very well what he was doing was totally wrong, legally, morally and economically. It was all for political expedience. Those roads did not take 26 years to deteriorate - they were in excellent condition a mere 9 or 10 years ago. This is when the real fall started - after the payment of pensions to his bully boy war vets and other hangers on using non existent funds. The Reserve Bank's printing presses were running hot to produce the bank notes, and I remember that brand new but old style $20 notes began recirculating again as they needed to use the plates as they didn't have enough of the new style. Mugabe's refusal to admit that he knew that spending non existent money is inflationery has led directly to the 1000+ inflation rate prevailing today. Its very sad to see what could have been a shining example of how Africa could work things out become one of the worst cases of how to mess things up - all because of the overpowering ego of one man. And I hope that the chicken was worth it - if it was kept on the hoof so to speak then it would undoubtedly double its price in a couple of days.
Posted by Jongwe on April 13, 2006 4:46 AM

In 1980 I moved to live in Francistown, Botswana. At that time Francistown was little more than a rail stop with a few shops, nevertheless a charming place. Once a month or so I went to Bulawayo to do some shopping for goods not available locally. As the months went by Bulawayo deteriorated and Francistown grew. Soon Zimbabweans were coming from Bulawayo to Francistown to do their shopping. The last time I visited Bulawayo I asked a friend, who was driving me to the railway station, why there were so many queues in otherwise deserted streets. He informed me that they were queueing for bread. In leass than three years Robert Mugabe was well on the way to destroying the country, and he has long since completed the job, yet still African leaders support him and refuse to listen to any criticism of this evil man. For how long must we put up with, and help, these African leaders whose motivation is no more than selfishness, greed and racialism?
Posted by Robin Paine on April 13, 2006 7:23 AM

Born and raised in Zimbabwe, I left in my early 20's 1989, (and need now a visa of course to visit) as already our life style was on the decline. Why such a waste, this should not be allowed to happen. In this powerful world we live in why won't they reach out and touch and help these desolate people, who still offer the brightest smile matching their magnificent Victoria Falls sunset…although their smile is slowly being erased by the sneer and stench of dictatorship. True Zimbabweans hold on! the last thing to die is HOPE! therefore never lose it!! My best memories where made in my home land Zimbabwe!
Posted by Athena Pseftoudis on April 13, 2006 8:14 AM

Having been brought up in Zimbabwe and worked there - I can only look at that beautiful country and weep. Ah , if only they had oilfields like Iraq - then the West would have stepped in to ensure a stable responsible government - instead of the lunatics that have now gained control.
Posted by Brian Thomson on April 13, 2006 8:32 AM

I wish somebody with wisdom about humanity could give a set of reasons for why Mugabe would do this, and more over, how did he begin and how does he maintain his power.
Posted by elizabeth on April 13, 2006 12:37 PM

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Zimbabwe private media to fight internet law

Zim Online

Fri 14 April 2006

      HARARE - Zimbabwe's privately owned media on Thursday agreed to
challenge in court a proposed new law that will empower the government to
intercept and monitor internet communication.

      At a meeting called by the local chapter of the Media Institute of
Southern Africa (MISA) to discuss the proposed Interception of
Communications Bill, journalists, media lawyers and internet service
providers said they would in the meanwhile lobby parliamentarians including
those from the ruling ZANU PF party that is sponsoring the Bill to block its

      But if that failed they would challenge the constitutionality of the
law once it is signed by President Robert Mugabe into law.

      "The proposed law is unconstitutional as it is another assault on our
liberties," said Chris Mhike, a legal practitioner who addressed the meeting
on the constitutionality of the draft bill. "It is wide and vague. It is an
unreasonable piece of law that should never be allowed in a democratic
society," added Mhike.

      MISA Zimbabwe official Wilbert Mandinde said the media organisations
and private internet users were worried about the implications of the
proposed law that will grant the state permission to intrude into private
conversations between citizens.

      "It is certainly a bad law that we have agreed as stakeholders to
resist. We are strategising but the general consensus is to fight the law in
court if it is eventually passed into law," said Mandinde.

      Under the proposed law, the state will be empowered to monitor
telephone and internet communications between citizens while internet
service providers will be tasked to spy on their clients and report to the
police anyone caught receiving or sending out information deemed detrimental
to the national interest.

      The draft law, if eventually enacted, would be an addition to a raft
of other laws that restrict the free flow of information in Zimbabwe while
imposing severe restrictions on journalists and newspapers in the country.

      James Holland, a representative of the Internet Service Providers
(ISPs), said players in the industry would team up with the media and other
stakeholders to fight the proposed law in court. "We should start now by
lobbying ZANU PF legislators and then petition the President (Robert
Mugabe). If this fails, we will seek recourse from the courts," said

      The draft internet law seeks to empower the Chief of Defence
Intelligence, Director-General of the department of national security in the
President's Office, Commissioner of the Zimbabwe Republic Police and the
Commissioner General of the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA) to intercept
communications between private individuals and organisations in the country.

      Zimbabwe already has some of the worst media laws in the world with
for example, journalists being liable to two-year jail terms if they are
caught practising without a licence from the state's Media and Information

      Newspapers are also required to register with the commission with
those failing to comply with the requirement facing closure and seizure of
their equipment by the police.

      The southern African nation, described by the World Association of
Newspapers as one of the worst places for journalists in the world, has in
the past three years shut down at least four newspapers including its
largest circulating daily paper, the Daily News, for breaching the tough
media laws. - ZimOnline

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Harare lifts eviction deadline for white farmers

Zim Online

Fri 14 April 2006

      KAROI - Government officials in one of Zimbabwe's best agricultural
districts of Karoi have lifted a 14 May deadline they had given white
farmers to leave the district.

      The provincial governor of Mashonaland West province under which Karoi
falls, Neslon Samkange, on Thursday told ZimOnline that they now want the
white farmers, among the few still remaining in Zimbabwe, to remain on the
land and help revive food production and the economy.

      ''We are not evicting every white farmer ..those who are assisting the
government's efforts to revive the economy will not be forced to leave,"
said Samkange.

      There are slightly more than 10 white farmers remaining in the prime
farming district that lies about 200 km north-west of Harare after the
government seized more than 90 percent of white-owned land in the district
and across the country for redistribution to landless blacks.

      The Mashonaland West provincial land committee had earlier this year
written to white land owners in Karoi, among them President Robert Mugabe
ally Bill Rautenbach, informing them they had until the second week of next
month to vacate their properties.

      Samkange's reversal of the May ultimatum comes in the backdrop of
revelations that the white-representative Commercial Farmers Union (CFU)
about two weeks ago began meeting senior government officials in a bid to
improve frosty relations between the two and to seek a solution to the
impasse over the land reform programme.

      The CFU leaders are said to have held talks with Agriculture Minister
Joseph Made and Lands, Land Reform and Resettlement Minister Didymus Mutasa
and that more talks are scheduled in future.

      But it is too early to say whether the decision not to evict white
farmers from Karoi could be a sign of thawing relations between the
government and farmers.

      Zimbabwe has witnessed a free-fall in agricultural output since 2000,
a situation largely blamed on the government's programme of compulsorily
acquiring land from white farmers and redistributing it to landless blacks.

      The impasse between the government and white farmers has sucked in
other countries, with the West siding with the commercial farmers and mainly
African governments supporting Harare. - ZimOnline

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Life Worsens for Many As School, Medical Fees Go Up

Catholic Information Service for Africa (Nairobi)

April 13, 2006
Posted to the web April 13, 2006


Life for most Zimbabweans is set to become nearly impossible following a
sharp increase in school and medical fees.

Parents are worried that a rise of more than 1,000 percent in school fees
will force larger numbers of children to drop out and preclude others from
all education.

At the same time, the government has allowed private clinics and hospitals
to increase their fees by 100 per cent, effective April 1.

According to the state-owned newspaper, The Herald, Health and Child Welfare
Minister Dr David Parirenyatwa said his intention was to enable private
health care providers to remain in business.

Inflation stands at 913 percent, bringing a 12-fold rise in the cost of
basic commodities.

All schools, including those run by the government, said they would have to
enforce the new fees, effective May, the United Nations news agency IRIN

It is the second time that school fees have been hiked this year. Parents
had to fork out more money in January after private and church-run schools
raised tuition by between 150 percent and 500 percent.

"To say the increase is too much is to understate this problem - it is
simply unaffordable for everyone. This is no longer a matter of haves and
have-nots; this increase is too much for everyone, poor and rich," a parent
in Zimbabwe's second city, Bulawayo, remarked.

According to the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe, an average family of five
requires at least 350 US dollars every month for essential food and
services, but average monthly incomes are often less than 100 dollars.

Leonard Nkala, former president of the Zimbabwe Teachers Association, said
that the new fee structure could only worsen the school dropout rate, and
many children would miss the opportunity of ever going to school.

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'One bag of beans to feed hospital patients'


          April 13 2006 at 12:34PM

      Harare - Patients at two hospitals in Zimbabwe's second city of
Bulawayo are surviving on meagre rations after the institutions failed to
settle massive debts with a food supplier, the state- controlled Herald
newspaper reported on Thursday.

      Mpilo Hospital has only "one bag of beans" to feed its patients while
patients at United Bulawayo Hospitals were being fed just two meals a day,
consisting of cabbage and maize-meal, said the report.

      Zimbabwe's hospitals are desperately under-funded because of the
severe economic crisis gripping the country, and there are fears for the
health of patients. Drugs, equipment and qualified medical staff are in
short supply.

       The main food supplier for the two Bulawayo hospitals suspended
deliveries at the end of March following the accumulation of a $150 000
(about R920 000) debt, said the Herald.

      "We are having sadza and plain cabbage since last week and no tea at
all most of the time. If they do decide to provide us with tea it will be
black tea with no sugar and one slice of bread," patient Simangaliso Muringi
told the newspaper.

      Patients now have to hope their relatives will bring them food,
according to one man at United Bulawayo Hospitals.

      Hospitals aren't the only places where Zimbabweans are going hungry.
Aid agencies have predicted that at least three million Zimbabweans are in
need of food aid, following a succession of bad harvests. - Sapa-dpa

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Politicians take to the pulpit

Mail and Guardian

      Godwin Gandu

      13 April 2006 03:36

            As all hopes of economic and political salvation fade, President
Robert Mugabe's Cabinet members are turning to God.

            Six years into the country's worst economic recession, six key
members of the ruling Zanu-PF party are now messengers of God. But what is
not clear is whether this latest development is coming from the heart or is
driven by politics.

            Zimbabwe Anglican Archbishop Nolbert Kunonga recently made
Vice-President Joseph Msika a lay priest of the Anglican diocese of Harare.

            Kunonga said the honour mandated Msika to "preach, officiate and
perform other duties as he may be directed by the bishop" and was bestowed
on him after "realising the sterling work he had done for both the church
and the country".

            Msika acknowledged the honour and said he "prayed regularly for
God's guidance". He challenged other ministers to do "God's will to avoid
the devil's guidance".

            Msika is following in the footsteps of Zimbabwe's other
Vice-President, Joice Mujuru, who was elevated in the Salvation Army to
captaincy. Mujuru has long been an active member of the Salvation Army, but
her quick rise in status follows Zimbabwe's recent hosting of the All Africa
Congress of the Army.

            The venue for the politicians' turnaround has been the
prestigious Trinity Methodist Church, located behind Harare's High Court and
a few metres from the Munhumuta building where Mugabe holds his weekly
Cabinet meetings.

            Minister for Policy Implementation Webster Shamu and Finance
Minister Herbert Murerwa have applied to train as priests. Shamu's wife, who
has never been an active member of the Methodist Church, is already wearing
its red and white uniform.

            Murerwa is already performing layman's duties after getting the
nod from church elders last year. "Murerwa has been an active member of the
church since his late father, Bishop Murerwa, played a key role in the
church," said an insider.

            "Murerwa's amazing appetite for whiskey was initially a
drawback, but the issue was settled.

            "We debated Shamu's application at length, but no decision has
been made as yet. He is likely to get the nod, considering the amount of
presents he donates to the church every Sunday," the insider said.

            In the Midlands, former vice-presidential aspirant and Minister
of Rural Housing and Social Amenities Emmerson Mnangagwa has confessed to
being "born again". He has already preached at several funerals.

            Mnangagwa told journalists he repented in August last year. "I
feel I was called to the Christian world by God," he said.

            Former Zanu-PF provincial chairman for Mashonaland West, Philip
Chiyangwa, who survived espionage charges but was later fired from the
party, has also turned to God. He is now an active member of the Faith
Ministries, which is part of the Pentecostal churches.

            In a response to questions put to him by a local daily after his
trials and tribulations with the law and Zanu-PF, Chiyangwa quoted the Bible
extensively and has already donated a building to his church at Murombedzi
Growth Point, close to Mugabe's rural Zvimba home.

            "Are they intending to use the pulpit for politics?" asked Jonah
Gokova, coordinator of the Zim-babwe National Pastors Conference and
director of the National Ecumenical Services.

            "It could be a desire to seek God, but when you have prominent
politicians assuming positions of leadership, you begin to wonder if they
understand the implications of the link between the political podium and the

            Gokova said there have been instances when the church has been
"infiltrated by politicians".

            "We have seen church leaders supporting state-sponsored violence
and one wonders if it's not an extension of that strategy to pacify the
church. Church institutions should openly challenge repression," he said.

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My Day in Africa

Congolese children in Kinshasa eating food
The 2006 BBC competition for Africa - My Day - is about a typical day in your life on the continent.

Here BBC readers and listeners share their routine, from fighting bus queues to battling corruption.

Patience Mapulango, Zimbabwe, personal assistant

I start work at 0800 Monday to Friday but my day begins at 0500 if I am to get to work on time.

A kombi and driver in Zimbabwe
The touts rule the world around them and the fare depends on their moods
Patience Mapulango

I say a short prayer and rush to the bathroom for a quick bath and proceed to the kitchen to make some breakfast which is usual sour porridge.

We have had to resort to this meal because we can no longer afford to buy any peanut butter or margarine to add to the ordinary mealie meal porridge.

I then prepare packed lunches for my husband and myself. I leave home at around 0600 to the most horrible experience of my day - the taxi rank - we call them the kombies here in Zimbabwe.

It is where the touts rule the world and the fare depends on their moods.

If their football team has won during the weekend the fare will be fair but if it is the other way round they may charge you double.

That is life in our country because no-one cares about what is happening, even the police are busy soliciting for bribes.

Money counts

I work as a PA to a chief executive and my job is so demanding that by the time I knock off at 1630, I'm completely exhausted and dread another long kombi queue back home.

If I want to get home before dark I have to negotiate for a place in the queue by paying the rank marshal to put me in the next kombi. No-one complains because the rank marshals rule the queues.

If I don't pay I may not get home until seven or eight in the evening.

It is money that counts in our country.

So, I get home at 1730 and prepare dinner, clean the house, wash dishes and take a bath before I retire to bed.

Lissa Kijera, The Gambia, housewife

My typical day, which is filled entirely with housework, was designed by my husband.

The big boys never do any domestic work, simply because they are male
Lissa Kijera

I say this because he has not allowed me to engage in any gainful employment since we got married.

That was immediately after I completed my Grade 12 six years ago.

Before I got married, I had a strong ambition to become a medical nurse. But that ambition was firmly squashed by my husband.

Early in the morning, at 0500, I heat water for my husband and his elderly parents for their baths.

Next, I prepare breakfast. At 0600 I perform my prayers; then I serve breakfast for our family of eight.

After breakfast, I sweep our apartment and clean the furniture. Then I wash my two young children and dress them for school.

By 0730 I'm on my way to the market and I take my children along with me to drop them at school.

Painful moment

I always return home from the market around 0830 and before 1100 I finish preparing the meal.

Women in The Gambia
The women chat in the afternoon after finishing the housework

At midday I gather all dirty clothes and launder them. Washing the clothes of my two brothers-in-law is the most displeasing and painful moment of my day.

These big boys never do any domestic work, simply because they are male!

I always complete my work around 1600 and then I chat with some married women of my own age in the compound.

At 2000 I perform the last prayers of the day; then I meet my husband and use his wireless computer to view the internet.

I go to bed around 2230 without doing any gainful job for the day.

My mother, who was so enthusiastic about this marriage, is less happy now because I'm only a housewife.

Njiwaji Babila Gerald, Cameroon, preacher

Being a young preacher of a small church in one of the remote parts of my country Cameroon, I spend my day trying to contribute to ridding corruption which is cutting deep into the fabric of my society.

At times I am shunned by the population, but I always make my point clear to them
Njiwaji Babila Gerald

To this, I wake as early as 0400 to fine tune my small FM radio receiver to listen to the BBC's Network Africa programme.

I then hastily complete my morning chores.

At times there is nothing much to eat, but thank God, I always find leftover cold cassava to fill my stomach. I can not have a balanced diet because of poverty in a country of plenty.

Daily sermon

I quickly dash off to my one-roomed church to meet my small congregation.

There, I tell them to shun corruption for it darkens the mind and renders it incapable of correct reasoning and action.

I also warn them against HIV and Aids by recommending abstinence and fidelity.

Upon finishing my daily sermon, I am immediately in the streets of my area for door-to-door preaching, at times being shunned by the population, but I always make my point clear to them.

The fight against corruption and HIV/Aids are the main tenets of my door-to-door preaching too.

I only return home late to my humble domain sometimes eating nothing but the remains of my morning cassava, washed down my throat with water.

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Zimbabwe central bank controls stifle forex inflows

Engineering News


      Foreign currency inflows into Zimbabwe's formal market have ground to
a virtual halt in the last three months after the central bank tightened
controls, rekindling a thriving black market, analysts and traders say.

      The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe in January set limits on the local
dollar's fluctuations linked to actual trading volumes after the local unit
plunged 75% against the greenback in the previous three months, under a
managed float system.

      Since then the local currency has been pegged steady at 99 201 to the
greenback, effectively snuffing out a fledging interbank market launched
last October to replace central bank managed currency auctions.

      On a resurgent parallel market, it has slid to about 200 000 against
the dollar, a trend which bodes ill for record levels of annual inflation,
already above the 900% mark.

      "What the central bank did in January has effectively killed the
interbank market and things have been at a standstill since then," a trader
at a commercial bank said on Wednesday.

      "On an average basis trading volumes have only amounted to US $500 000
to $600 000 each day, far below the minimum $5-million which the Reserve
Bank says should justify a movement in the exchange rate," he added.

      Zimbabwe's economy has shrunk by about 40% over the past 7 years, with
an estimated unemployment rate of 70% alongside chronic shortages of food,
fuel and foreign exchange.

      Analysts said a black market for the Zimbabwe dollar, supplied mainly
by remittances from citizens working abroad, had re-emerged this year after
dwindling late in 2005 following measures by the central bank to float the
local unit.

      "We are hearing that most trade is being conducted on the parallel
market where those with access to free funds, for example people with
relations sending money from abroad, are selling directly to importers at
much higher rates," said Witness Chinyama, an economist with a local
commercial bank.

      The Reserve Bank has stopped publishing figures of foreign currency
inflows but analysts said the fact that state firms could not access forex
from the central bank for their import requirements showed its coffers were

      "We understand even parastatals are also having to resort to the black
market. That for me is a sure sign that nothing much is coming in through
the formal market," said Chinyama.

      Analysts said the stagnant rate was hurting registered exporters who
are forced to source foreign currency for key imports through the black
market, but compelled to sell their receipts to the central bank at the much
lower official rate.

      Some companies had resorted to under-invoicing their receipts to
reduce the amount of foreign currency they have to surrender to the central
bank, they said.

      "The current scenario is making it difficult for exporters to stay
viable because their production costs are moving at a much higher rate than
their revenues, especially when we also take into account the inflation
dynamics," said analyst Nyasha Chasakara.

      "There is now a strong incentive to move the (exchange) rate to more
sustainable levels although it is not clear whether the Reserve Bank will do
this any time soon."

      Inflation surged to an annual 913,6% in April, the highest level in
the world, triggering another round of basic commodity price hikes for
Zimbabweans grappling with a deepening economic crisis widely blamed on the

      Analysts see little hope this year of a reprieve from annual tobacco
sales which used to rake in about 30% of Zimbabwe's export earnings. They
are expected to fall by another third when auctions open later this month.

      Critics point largely to the seizure of large tracts of land from
white commercial farmers who used to produce the bulk of the leaf for the
drop in output.

      President Robert Mugabe, in power since independence from Britain in
1980, denies responsibility for the country's economic woes, and in turn
accuses his foreign and local opponents of sabotaging Zimbabwe's wealth over
his land reforms.

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More Defections From Zimbabwe Opposition's Mutambara Faction


By Studio 7
      13 April 2006

More defections have hit the faction of Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for
Democratic Change led by Arthur Mutambara, with former newspaper executive
and faction deputy elections director Samuel Sipepa Nkomo jumping ship

"I did not see them...achieving the objective of removing ZANU-PF from
power," said Nkomo to reporter Chris Gande of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe.
He said "the national mood is against a split in the MDC," and he did not
want to resist the national mood.

Nkomo said reports he had joined the MDC faction led by MDC founding
president Morgan Tsvangirai were inaccurate, but he did not rule out such a
move. He closely followed his former boss, elections secretary Blessing
Chebundo, out the door. Last week the faction's mines and energy secretary,
Joel Gabuza, also bailed out.

Adding to Mutambara's problems, the chairman of his faction's United Kingdom
branch and his entire executive committee were also reported to have

More members of the Mutambara faction are likely to cross over to
Tsvangirai's camp in the days ahead, predicted senior analyst Syndey Masamvu
of the Southern African office of the International Crisis group. He told
reporter Patience Rusere that many are defecting because they see Tsvangirai
as the best alternative to the ruling ZANU-PF.

Amidst signs of eroding support within his faction, Mutambara has been
reaching out to establish a working relationship with South African
President Thabo Mbeki. One of his top advisors, Priscilla
Misihairambwi-Mushonga, said he met with Mr. Mbeki last week in Pretoria,
along with faction vice president Gibson Sibanda, and secretary general
Welshman Ncube, the MDC's secretary general before the party split.

Reporter Carole Gombakomba asked parliamentary liaison officer Herman
Honekom of the Africa Institute of South Africa for his perspective on

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As Zim burns, mass strikes loom


      13/04/2006 19:22 PM

      Harare - The possibility of mass strikes looms for Zimbabwe's
embattled economy as workers demand higher wages to cushion them against
soaring living costs because of hyper-inflation and shortages of foreign
      Wage talks opened two weeks ago and were expected to continue until
the end of the month in Zimbabwe, where large-scale labour action could
become a reality for the first time in eight years, according to unionists.

      Zimbabwe's inflation reached an all-time high of 913.6% on Friday with
no end in sight for price hikes, analysts added, bringing more hardship to
the southern African country.

      "Although there have not been many strikes for some time now,
industrial actions are most likely to happen this year," union spokesperson
Collin Gwiyo said on Thursday.

      Salaries an embarrassment

      "The salaries that most workers get are an embarrassment. By the time
we get to August there will be a series of wage and salary deadlocks," said
Gwiyo, acting secretary general of the major Zimbabwe Congress of Trade
Unions (ZCTU).

      Independent economic analyst Best Doroh added: "It's obvious that the
potential for deadlock between employers and employees is quite high."

      "The purchasing power of wages for the factory worker even those for
civil servants have been severely eroded."

      Zimbabwe's annual inflation rate rose from 613.2% in January to the
record high Friday, blamed partly by central bank governor Gideon Gono on
the printing of money to service debt to the International Monetary Fund

      Gono revealed in February that the central bank resorted to printing
Zim$21trillion (R129 830.78) to buy foreign currency to clear the country's
arrears with the IMF.

      Avert expulsion

      Zimbabwe last month paid US$9m to the IMF to avert expulsion from the
global lender over the long-overdue arrears.

      Analysts however said Zimbabwe's galloping inflation was the sign of a
failed economy, with economist David Mupamhadzi saying "we are now feeling
those effects of printing the money."

      The National Employment Councils Union said in its latest figures that
farm workers earned a meagre Z$1.3m a month, mine workers got Z$6.5m, while
school teachers got Z$8.5m.

      The average room rental price in the high density areas of the capital
Harare topped at between Z$1.5-2m, while Zimbabwe's highest currency
denomination, a 50 000 bearer cheque introduced in February, is not enough
to buy a loaf of bread.

      Gwiyo said the average worker needed Z$25-30m a month to make ends

      Fearing reprisals

      He said the southern African country's workforce have for years
refrained from taking to the streets in numbers fearing reprisals under
Harare's tough security laws which forbid strikes and marches without police

      Unionists also feared that mass action would be construed as political
as the leader of one faction of Zimbabwe's divided opposition is Morgan
Tsvangirai, a former ZCTU secretary general who led mass strikes in 1998.

      But employees said their hands were tied should strikes go ahead.

      "Employers are in the same predicament as their workers," said
Employers Confederation of Zimbabwe president Mike Bimba.

      "We have not had many strikes over the years because of our cordial
relationship with workers... and I hope it will continue," he said.

      "Everybody knows that the economic situation is to blame for these
problems both employers and employees are facing."

      Economist Erich Block said although wage talks would see a number of
deadlocks, he believed that strikes were unlikely.

      He said: "Both employers and employees are facing the same difficulty
but I doubt that we will have widespread strikes. Everyone wants to protect
the little that they have."

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Ruling not to send failed asylum seekers still in force

      By Tichaona Sibanda
      13 April 2006

      Failed Zimbabwean asylum seekers will not be deported back to Zimbabwe
despite Wednesday's Court of Appeal judgement which ruled in favour of the
Home Office.

      The British government won its appeal against a ruling which had
prevented the Home Office from deporting failed asylum seekers back home.
The Home Office had stopped removing them six months ago amid valid claims
that they could be persecuted or tortured if they were deported.

      Yvonne Mahlunge, a lawyer with the Zimbabwe Association, explained
that the ruling did not give the Home Office the right to start deportations
because no one from the government has challenged the existing ruling
blocking removals to Zimbabwe.

      'The Home Office secretary did not challenge the fact that asylum
seekers would face persecution in Zimbabwe, so that decision still stands,'
said Mahlunge.

      The judgement in the Court of Appeal comes after more than a year of
bitter legal battles between Zimbabwean asylum seekers and ministers. The
arguments were based on the fact that claiming asylum in the UK endangered
Zimbabweans, meaning the British government was obliged to protect them even
if some of the applications were without merit.

      Wednesday's Court of Appeals ruling said the tribunal had 'erred in
law' and ordered it to reconsider test cases involving two Zimbabweans who
can only be identified as AA and LK.

      The Home Office argument regarding the case was that AA's asylum
application was without merit as he had even failed to explain what the
abbreviation MDC meant and therefore was clearly not under threat because of
his political beliefs.

      The government challenged the fact that they were unable to remove
unfounded asylum claimants and the ruling on Wednesday takes the case back
to the tribunal to reconsider both cases using fresh evidence.

      About 15 000 Zimbabweans have sought asylum in the UK in the last five
years. Only a few hundred have been granted refugee status.

      SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

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Electricity crisis set to worsen as coal mining grinds to a halt

      By Lance Guma
      13 April 2006

      Heavy rains and poor planning by company executives at Wankie Colliery
are threatening to worsen the country's already fragile electricity
generation capacity. Insiders at the company have told Newsreel most if not
all mining shafts are flooded with water and the equipment to drain water
has broken down and the company needs foreign currency to buy spare parts.
Worse still, some of that equipment is itself submerged in water. This has
meant there is virtually little or no coal mining taking place in the

      Zimbabwe relies on electricity from the Kariba Hydro-electric plant
and the Hwange Thermal Plant which uses coal. The shortfall is made up of
imports from neighbouring countries, especially Eskom in South Africa. 40
percent of the power comes from South Africa, the Democratic Republic of
Congo and Mozambique. The country is already in the midst of serious
electricity load shedding with many areas having to endure endless power
cuts. The latest revelations are set to compound the problem. The thermal
power plants in the country require coal to generate electricity without
this the problem gets worse.

      Several downstream industries will also be affected. Iron and steel
manufacturer Ziscosteel and others that use either coal or electricity face
a bleak future. Wankie Colliery officials are refusing to speak on the
matter but Brilliant Pongo a journalist who first broke the story says their
heads are on the line and they are aware they were supposed to plan in
advance of the rainy season. 'Right now there is very little or no coal
production and for a company that has been operating since 1923, one wonders
how they can find themselves in this situation,' Pongo told Newsreel.

      It turns out some of the workers at the colliery have gone for over 50
days without getting paid. The scaling down of operations has had a negative
effect on the morale of the Hwange community, which is built exclusively
around the coal mining activities of Wankie Colliery.

      SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

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Anti-Mugabe demos planned over holiday weekend in UK and Canada

      By Tererai Karimakwenda
      13 April 2006

      "The situation in Zimbabwe has no holiday and we can't afford to take
a holiday here either." These are the words of Washington Ali, chairman of
the MDC-UK branch. They have organised a demonstration on Saturday April
15th at the Zimbabwe Embassy in London. Ali said it is in solidarity with
our brothers and sisters in Zimbabwe who are suffering and also to protest
against the illegal and abusive government of Robert Mugabe and the arrests
of students, civic leaders and the opposition. The MDC Canada branch will
stage a demonstration the same day. Ali pleaded with all Zimbabweans who can
make it to come and make it clear that enough is enough.

      The MDC-UK demo is being hosted by Zimbabwe Vigil, another Zimbabwe
activist group that has held demos outside the Embassy in London every
Saturday come rain or shine. Ali explained that if many people show up the
message will become clearer to the international community and to the
African community that Zimbabweans want change. He said: "It is time to call
a spade a spade. If we want the international community to take action
against the Mugabe regime then we must show them that we are serious by
standing up and demonstrating."

      Ali said the large crowds that have been turning up at rallies for MDC
president Morgan Tsvangirai are a sign to Mugabe that enough is enough. He
believes the government has pushed people too far and they are beginning to
respond in large numbers. Ali also criticised the threats by government
officials trying to intimidate people and prevent them from protesting in
public. He said if the opposition made those same threats they would be
arrested for treason.

      The protest is also to mark Zimbabwe Independence Day (18th April) and
to show solidarity with the MDC rallies taking place in Zimbabwe and other
districts in the Diaspora.

      The London demo will be held outside the Zimbabwe Embassy on the
Strand at the usual Vigil time of 2 - 6 pm. Organisers urge people to bring
posters and banners.

      SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

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Exam Fees Hike: Will Zimsec Deliver?

The Herald (Harare)

April 13, 2006
Posted to the web April 13, 2006

Fortious Nhambura

Will the recent increase in examination fees for Ordinary and Advanced
levels announced by the Zimbabwe School Examinations Council (Zimsec) last
month help improve service delivery by the examination body?

Though the fees are modest in light of the prevailing hyperinflationary
environment, many parents may not be in a position to meet them due to the
erosion their earnings went through that left them with little or know
disposable income. Zimsec has in the past been embroiled in financial
problems that were affecting the operations of the examination authority.

Public examination entry fees went up by more than 1 000 percent from $35
000 to $500 000 per subject for O-levels while those for A-levels leaped
from $95 000 to $1,2 million per subject. Despite them being sharp
increases, educationists welcomed them saying they were long overdue given
the increases in the production and running costs of public examinations.

They said the adjustments, though coming a bit late, would help Zimsec
deliver its mandate and help preserve gains made in the country's education
system. Zimbabwe Teachers' Association chief executive officer Mr Peter
Mabande said the fee adjustments were long ove rdue given the ever
escalating costs of running public examinations, but that it is the level
that is a big blow to parents. "Increases were inevitable given the fact
that Zimsec is supposed to pay examiners so as to augment Government grants
and retain other qualified personnel," Mr Mabande said.

He was, however, worried that some parents would fail to pay in time owing
to the sudden and sharp increases effected by Zimsec, hence prejudicing
candidates who had prepared for the examination. A teacher in Harare
welcomed the increases saying they made sense given the economic situation
prevailing in the country but expressed concern that Zimsec had left it
until late to announce the increases. "Parents and guardians need to know
and budget in time if they are to guard against last minute rushes.

While it can be argued that parents had since January to prepare for the
examinations, no one anticipated a 1 000 percent increase. "In future,
Zimsec should at least give a hint of the percentage increases so that
guardians can at least plan accordingly," he said. Zimsec director Mr Happy
Ndanga said though proposals were forwarded to the parent ministry last
year, his organisation could only announce examination fees after carefully
looking at the shortfall after receiving government grants.

"Examination fees, like any other service are affected by inflation and
foreign currency considerations, hence the need for yearly increases in
fees," Mr Ndanga said. He said the time frame had been designed in such a
way to enable Zimsec to begin the process of purchasing of examination
materials and printing examination papers that are determined by the number
of entries.

"The candidates' specific data that is obtainable through actual
registration should be available early if the examination processes are to
flow smoothly and for deadlines to be met," Mr Ndanga said. Zimsec is
responsible for five examination papers at Grade Seven, 19 subjects at the
Zimbabwe Juni or Certificate level, 43 subjects at O-Level and 23 subjects
at A-Level.

Examination costs per subject include item writing to boost the examination
bank of examination questions, trial testing, forex for scanner forms,
machine purchases, certificate stationery, printing costs, examiner payments
and courier services for examination sheets and scripts. The cost of running
an examination had exceeded what Zimsec was getting from the Government in
the form of grants and entry fees charged could help meet the balance. Some
parents, however, appealed to Zimsec to extend the payment deadline to give
them enough time to raise funds.

"The time frame is so tight. We need more time to raise money otherwise if
we are not given enough time this may jeopardise the right of children to
get education. "As a concerned parent, I therefore appeal to the authorities
to extend the closing dates," said Mr Charles Chibwe of Chitungwiza. Other
parents said that because Zimsec had been given the ap proval to increase
fees, they now expected it to provide better service and timeous release of
examination results.

They said Zimsec should now move on to buy printing machines to cut
production costs and other delays in the production of examination papers.
Zimbabwe localised public examinations in 1998 in a move that was seen by
many as a noble initiative that would also ensure that the syllabi remained
relevant to the socio-economic needs of the country.

In advocating for the localisation of examinations, educationists felt that
this was a giant step in the total emancipation from a colonially designed
education system. The shortage of foreign currency also gave added impetus
to the localisation of examinations. But frequent delays in the release and
delivery of examination results have not endeared Zimsec to students.
Leakages of examination papers and mix-ups in results have also become
frequent, raising fears that the country's education standards could be

A rise in service charges should also be accompanied by improved service
delivery by the examination body. It is time that Zimsec puts its act
together and deliver quality service for the hard earned dollar paid by
Zimbabwean parents who are investing heavily in their children's future.

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Zim forced to revise budget


13/04/2006 14:51  - (SA)

Harare - Zimbabwe is likely to table a supplementary budget by the middle of
the year to help the government meet its spending goals as galloping
inflation erodes its purchasing power, officials and analysts said on

Zimbabwe's annual inflation rate, the highest in the world, touched a record
913% in March - the result of a deep eight-year recession widely blamed on
President Robert Mugabe's government.

Finance Minister Herbert Murerwa based his 2006 budget on inflation easing
to 80% by December this year, but analysts say it is likely to have hit four
digits by then in a trend which is also being acknowledged by the

Subject to approval

"A supplementary budget will be presented in June or July this year but this
is subject to approval from key economic stakeholders," the state Herald
newspaper quoted an unnamed official as saying on Thursday.

"Many government departments are failing to pay for services rendered
because funds allocated to them have been eroded by inflation," he said.

Government officials were not immediately available for comment.

The central bank had forecast inflation - branded the country's number one
enemy by Mugabe - peaking between 700-800% by the end of the first quarter
before subsiding to a 280-300 range by June.

"Given the strong inflationary pressures that the economy is facing, a
supplementary budget is now inevitable," David Mupamhadzi, an economist at
Zimbabwe Allied Banking Group, said.

"In a hyperinflationary environment, budgets are bound to be revised ... In
the government's case where the budget was calculated with a year-end
inflation target of 80 percent a supplementary budget is inevitable," he

Deficit seen growing

Inflation has played havoc with the life of ordinary Zimbabweans, whose
eroded income has forced many to carry huge wads of notes to buy the most
basic commodities.

Analysts say the rising prices of basic foodstuffs, public transport and
housing is stoking anger in an urban population already struggling with
breaking sewerage systems, water and electricity cuts, uncollected garbage
and deteriorating roads.

A supplementary budget would result in an upward revision to Zimbabwe's
official deficit for the year, initially projected at 4.6% of gross domestic
product, with the government borrowing more on the domestic market to plug
gaps, they said.

The government's domestic debt stood at Z$15 trillion at the end of last
month. Analysts say its upward march, along with the sliding Zimbabwe
currency, is driving broad money supply growth and inflation.

"The concern obviously of a supplementary budget is the impact on the budget
deficit, which will grow for the current fiscal year and will continue to
feed into the inflationary cycle," said James Jowa, a Harare-based

International donors have halted lending to Harare over policy differences
such as Mugabe's seizures of white-owned farms for blacks, forcing the
government to borrow locally.

Mugabe denies charges from critics that he mismanaged the economy and
instead charges that his opponents have ganged up against him to punish his
government for the land seizures.

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Spotlight on media repression in Africa

Mail and Guardian

      Reesha Chibba | Johannesburg, South Africa

      13 April 2006 01:56

            The South African National Editors Forum (Sanef) has endorsed a
statement condemning the rising incidence of media repression in five
African countries earlier this week.

            The fourth African Media Leadership Conference held in Nairobi,
Kenya from April 4-7, was attended by leading media executives and editors
from 12 African countries.

            They took the time to discuss the media situation in East Africa
and the Horn, and condemned the rising incidence of media repression in
Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda.

            Chairperson of Sanef Joe Thloloe told the Mail & Guardian Online
on Thursday that "we need media freedom in Africa".

            "We believe that one of the cornerstones of democracy is media
freedom. Without media freedom, there cannot be democracy," he said.

            A statement from the African Media Leadership conference read:
"Coming at a time when the region, and the African continent in general, is
trying to catch the world's attention -- with regard to higher foreign
direct investment, more significant roles and recognition in global
politics, and poverty alleviation -- these attacks on the media signify a
major setback in political and civil freedoms."

            It added the attacks on the media raise questions on "Africa's
commitment to democracy, globalisation and human and economic development".

            Peter Mwesige, the head of department of mass communication at
Makerere University in Uganda and former editor of the Monitor publication
in Kampala spoke to M&G Online and said that some of the concerns discussed
at the conference included the arrests and imprisonment of many Ethiopian
journalists, the expulsion of five Kenyan journalists from Tanzania because
of political reasons and the recent shutting down of a radio station for a
week in Uganda because the station aired a politically-based programme.

            "Ethiopia has one of the highest rates of imprisoned journalists
in the world. We were also concerned about the recent raids of The Standard
newspaper in Kenya," he said.

            Mwesige said that media repression in Zimbabwe did not go
unnoticed at the conference. "It did creep up. We did also note some of the
press-freedom issues and the state of free expression in Zimbabwe," he said.

            According to the statement the conference:

              a.. "Affirms its solidarity with the media institutions and
practitioners in the region and Africa, and their ability to serve their
respective societies effectively.

              b.. "Calls on governments in the region to respect
international conventions on universal freedom of expression and freedom of
the press, and to immediately stop repressing their media institutions;

              c.. "Encourages governments in the region to engage in
constructive dialogue with the media institutions and seek amicable ways to
strengthen the mass media's self-regulation initiatives; and

              d.. "Urges pan-African initiatives like Nepad [New Partnership
for African Development] and the African Union to recognise the freedom of
the press as a cornerstone of democracy and development."
            Incidents of media repression over the past six months "have
spelt out a systematic pattern to muzzle media institutions and
practitioners in the region", said the statement.

            The incidents include journalists being intimidated and detained
without charge or access to the due process of law; journalists being
charged with attempted genocide and high treason for reporting political
protests; and wanton damage to broadcasting equipment and printing presses
by government security agents

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While Mugabe regime leads to starvation

The Church of England Newspaper

      Number: 5815     Date: Apr 14
      CHURCH leaders in Southern Africa have warned that Zimbabwe is on the
brink of a man-made famine, after the army has begun seizing grain from
farmers. A report released by the Solidarity Peace Trust led by the Bishop
Ruben Phillip of Natal and the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Bulawayo, Pius
Ncube, reports that the government of Zimbabwe strongman Robert Mugabe has
"hijacked" this year's maize harvest from farmers in Matabeleland.

      "The fact that they have taken away the farmers' food, which is
rightfully theirs, produced by their hard labour, is a hugely immoral
 issue," said Bishop Phillip. While the military has been in control of food
distribution for several years, it has now been granted responsibility for
food production under the edits of Operation Taguta Sisuthi [Eat Well].
"Plot holders now have to beg for the very maize they themselves have
laboured to grow, and soldiers have the power to say yes or no," the report
finds. Fruit and vegetable crops planted by peasant farmers in Matabeleland
have been plowed over by military order, in a move critics see as an attempt
to concentrate all food distribution and production into government hands.

      "The destruction of productive market gardens can be viewed as part of
the pattern of abuse of communities by government. The destruction of the
economic base of these communities is either an act of unbelievable
stupidity, or furtherance of a policy aimed at impoverishing rural
communities as a means of controlling them," the report argued. Famine in
the countryside as the army strips the land of food to feed Zimbabwe's
restive urban population is a likely result of the government's "command
agriculture" policy, they argue, and will worsen an already desperate

      On April 7, the World Health Organization reported that Zimbabwe had
the lowest life expectancy rate in the world, with the rate of life
expectancy from birth for women at 34 years, and men at 37 years.

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Gertrude Mthombeni on BTH

Sent: Friday, April 14, 2006 12:46 AM
Subject: Gertrude Mthombeni on BTH

Lance Guma speaks to Gertrude Mthombeni a national executive member of the
MDC. She was recently elected the Secretary for Labour and Social Security
in the party. How did she get involved in politics and does her family
approve of the risks she takes as a result of her work? What next for the
role of women in the party in view of their limited representation in the
new MDC structures?

Lance Guma
SW Radio Africa

Behind The Headlines
Thursday 6:15 to 6:30pm ( British Summer Time) on Shortwave or live on the
internet at
Also available on internet archives after broadcasts at

SW Radio Africa is Zimbabwe's only independent radio station broadcasting
from the United Kingdom. The station is staffed by exiled Zimbabwean
journalists who because of harsh media laws cannot broadcast from home.

Full broadcast on Shortwave-3230 KHZ  between 6-8pm ( British Summer time)
and 24 hours on the internet at

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President Tsvangirai's Independence Day Message to the people of Zimbabwe

Sent: Thursday, April 13, 2006 10:54 PM
Subject: President Tsvangirai's Independence Day Message to the people of

13 April 2006
President Tsvangirai's Independence Day Message to the people of Zimbabwe
Fellow Zimbabweans,
Once again, the MDC wishes to acknowledge that difficult time of the year
when Zimbabweans have to reflect on the liberation struggle and their
victory against colonialism on the 18th of April 1980. The year 1980
witnessed the birth of what we thought was a secure nation with a strong
economy and functioning institutions.
We were a potential powerhouse in Africa with an industrial base which
compared favourably to what existed in the few well-managed African
countries at the time.
We anxiously positioned ourselves ready to rebuild the country and to
contribute to wealth creation and to explore the abundant opportunities
brought about by the promise of freedom. Today, 26 years later, Zimbabweans
are worse off than they were 50 years ago. We have nothing to show for our
Independence, except overwhelming poverty. No sector has escaped the hand of
the criminal and vampire state in our country today.
We are languishing in a hyper-inflationary environment where normalcy is
impossible to sustain. The situation is so bad that only extra-ordinary
steps must be taken, at the collapse of the dictatorship and the attendant
crisis of expectations, to avert the state from receding into some form of
spontaneous anarchy, if not total collapse. As a people we realize our
responsibility to come up with a convincing national recovery agenda, out of
which shall emerge a caring government with a capacity to re-kindle faith
and confidence in our society.
All sectors of the economy have collapsed. Our once impressive
infrastructure is in a state of decay. The dictatorship has destroyed our
once impressive education, health and social services. The idea is to create
a totally powerless citizenry, dependant on the patronage of the
dictatorship. The regime believes in pushing the people to a level of
extreme infirmity as a political control mechanism. I fully understand your
concerns, the agony and anxieties within your families.
As a party, we shall fight hard to address the root of the problem, which is
essentially political. A crisis of legitimacy, with us since the disputed
June 2000 Parliamentary election and buttressed by a flawed Presidential
election in 2002, has pushed us onto the edge of a precipice.
It is common cause that Zimbabweans never thought food could be a problem.
Food security was our responsibility within the SADC region. Today,
agriculture, the mainstay of the economy, is gone.
Out of greed and political avarice, Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF defied a
cardinal covenant that expects all states to observe the sanctity of private
property rights. And, out went the rule of law and with it business
confidence, local and international investment, trust and faith.
The millions who returned home from exile in 1980 have begun the great trek,
once again, out of Zimbabwe because of insecurity. The people are desperate
to get out. There is too much poverty and too little growth. This is
unacceptable. I know that those in the rural areas are caught between a rock
and a hard place. They are being forced to contribute their meagre earnings
towards the Independence celebrations. They are subjected to a barrage of
propaganda messages, all designed to cow them into submission.
We have a duty, a responsibility to correct these anomalies. Our previous
efforts were unheeded. We must organise ourselves against the dictatorship.
For the record, allow me Zimbabweans to re-state that the march to tyranny
can be traced to the early years of our Independence.

In a 24-page private letter in 1983 on the then emerging trend towards
state-sanctioned brutality, the late Joshua Nkomo told Robert Mugabe:
"Zimbabwe is defenceless today because the people live in fear, not of
enemies, but their own government."
Six years later on 10 July 1989, the late Ndabaningi Sithole - in another
letter to Mugabe said: "The exposure of the gross corruption of your most
senior ministers and other government officials raises questions regarding
the ability of the present government to run the country. The whole episode
causes one to wonder whether we have a government or merely a gang of the
most unscrupulous ever to be entrusted with the running of our country."
In March 2001, I wrote a personal letter to Mugabe. I pleaded with him to
put the national interest above his personal ambition. I was concerned about
the downward slide our nation was facing arising from Mugabe's selfish
approach to the resolution of the crisis. Nothing came out it. Instead,
Mugabe intensified his violent campaign against the poor.
As you can see, it was clear in those early years that the seed of the
dictatorship was already in the ground. The people were betrayed. Zimbabwe
was set for elite privatisation. Soon, intolerance reared its ugly head -- 
leading to massacres in Matabeleland and parts of the Midlands.
Today, the whole country is raising questions as to what happened to the
ideals of the liberation struggle; what has become of the democratic
resiliency of the nation. Zanu PF and Mugabe have no solution to the crisis
they created. Our nation must be rescued from a minority class that has
plundered our resources and our chances for national advancement.
Through democratic resistance, through people-power, we can change our
fortunes and determine our destiny. Our concern is the future. There is no
point in continuing to watch with trepidation a small nationalistic class,
aided by a corrupt and parasitic bureaucracy and supported by desperate
opportunists wreak havoc on the national cake. We are ready to pay the prize
to liberate ourselves.
From our experience during the past six years, it is clear that we are in
for a hard transition. Robert Mugabe, unlike Frederick de Klerk in South
Africa, Kenneth Kaunda of Zambia, Kamuzu Banda in Malawi and a host of
others, does not have an exit strategy to save his own country from a state
of paralysis.
Mugabe must be nudged into action. The people shall express themselves and
ensure that Mugabe understands their demands. Our leadership was given a
mandate to pursue all options to resolve the national crisis. Our Congress
recommended a short, sharp programme of action to deal with the national
grievance and achieve a permanent solution to the crisis of governance.
Our Congress further defined a road map to a New Zimbabwe, a road map to
legitimacy and a realistic reconstruction agenda. Our Congress called for a
comprehensive programme of social, economic and political transformation in
Zimbabwe to restore stability within the nation.
Political legitimacy shall be a forerunner to building local and
international confidence in our country as a member of the family of
nations. Our Congress pledged to tackle the immense challenges before us -
huge humanitarian emergencies covering all sectors of Zimbabwean life.
Given the confusion in Zanu PF on the way forward, you may ask: which
direction therefore are the forces of democratic change moving? The answer
defines our agenda for action. Our national policies and programmes are
informed by a need for a post-Mugabe period of national healing, in which
the nation could come to terms with 26 years of chaos and trauma.

Zimbabweans have to work out effective ways of handling the evils within our
past in order to vaccinate against any future reversion into tyranny and
darkness. The freedom we gallantly fought for, and the ideals of the
liberation struggle, is now confined to a vastly shrunk political arena. We
pledge to reverse that negative trend.
In conclusion, may I take this opportunity to thank you, the people, for
your refusal to give in to pressure from the regime and its surrogates. You
remained resolute and steadfast in your resolve to continue calling for
sanity in our country. I am aware of the agony you do through daily while
searching for food for your children. I know that many no longer have access
to medical support, fuel, water, electricity and jobs.
We cannot allow this regime to impose its false supremacy over the people.
Only action and political pressure shall bring in the desired results and
lead us to resuscitate our failed state and our dying institutions.
I thank you,
Morgan Tsvangirai

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President Mutambara Addresses Full House At Mt Pleasant Hall

From    : MDC Info[]
Sent    : 4/13/2006 5:07:34 AM
Subject : President Mutambara Addresses Full House At Mt Pleasant Hall

12 April 2006

President Mutambara Addresses Full House At Mt Pleasant Hall

The MDC President Professor Arthur Mutambara last night addressed an
ecstatic and exuberant crowd that turned up to listen to him and packed Mt
Pleasant Hall in the Harare North Constituency.

The President was accompanied by the party's Secretary General, Professor
Welshman Ncube, Deputy Secretary General Priscilla Misihairambwi Mushonga,
Deputy Treasurer General, Miriam Mushayi, Secretary for Lands and
Agriculture, Renson Gasela, Secretary for Defence and Security Job Sikhala,
Secretary for Policy and Research, and Member of Parliament for Harare North
Constituency, Trudy Stevenson, Deputy Secretary for Organising Gabriel
Chaibva and Chairperson of the National Youth Committee, Gift Nyandoro.

The President's address was punctuated by roars of applause from the
audience as he showed exceptional skills in both his address and responses
to questions raised by the audience. Professor Ncube, the party's Secretary
General set the tone when he chronicled the events that led to the conflict
in the party and the subsequent divisions that followed. He said that the
divisions were caused by fundamental differences between those who felt that
the party should respect democratic provisions as enshrined in its
constitution and those who disregarded the provisions of the party
constitution with impunity. He told the enthusiastic crowd that he would not
compromise on the fundamental and democratic values enshrined in the party
constitution as these, he said, differentiated the MDC from any other party
in the country. He categorically stated that even if this meant that he
would stand with a few people on his side in defence of the provisions of
the party constitution, he was prepared to continue the struggle with the
few who are committed to respecting democratic values. He said that the
struggle was not for the faint-hearted and warned those who are easily
swayed by the crowd figures that are published by the press, one day they
would find themselves in the ZANU PF crowds, supporting the regime that
manipulates crowd figures for political expediency.

When President Mutambara took to the stage, the crowd turned wild with
excitement. He spoke strongly on his party's vision, mission and and

He was unequivocal on the mission of the MDC. He said that the mission of
his party was to remove the current repressive government of Robert Mugabe
which has caused so much suffering to the people of Zimbabwe as a result of
its corrupt tendencies, mismanagement of national resources and its
lop-sided policies.

President Mutambara said that his vision was to create a government run by
competent people with capacity to turn the fortunes of the country and
create a new Zimbabwe that would be the envy of the world.

On the issue of strategy, the President said that he was working with his
team to come-up with various democratic options that include protests and
constitutionalism that would be implemented in the fight against the regime
of Robert Mugabe. He said that he had the capacity and stamina to lead a
democratic revolution against the regime to liberate the people of Zimbabwe.

He called upon University of Zimbabwe students to take up the generational
challenge and take the struggle a gear up by playing their role as the
future leaders of the country >

MM Changamire
Deputy Secretary for Information and Publicity

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