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Mugabe to return farms to whites

Zim Online

Fri 21 April 2006

      HARARE - The Zimbabwe government plans to take back land from close to
2 000 black owners who have failed to farm and return it to whites, State
Security Minister Didymus Mutasa has said.

      In a major policy reversal and the clearest admission yet by the
Harare government that its controversial land redistribution programme
failed, Mutasa said that the government had asked the white-member
Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) to submit names of applicants to receive land
repossessed from blacks.

      Mutasa, who spoke to ZimOnline earlier this week on Tuesday, said: "We
have set up land identification committees countrywide working at a
provincial level.

      "Figures coming from provinces indicate that there is still a lot of
under-utilised land. Some people are not farming at all and we will take
away this land. In some provinces, like Manicaland 200 farmers will lose
their land to new owners."

      Mutasa, a trusted confidante of President Robert Mugabe and who
oversees land reform and food aid distribution on top of minding state
security, said he and other government ministers had held meetings with the
CFU leadership in the past weeks, adding that the white union now
appreciated the government's land policy.

      He said the government wanted to boost farm production and end hunger
in the country but some blacks allocated land had failed the government by
failing to produce food. Whites will be brought back to revive food
production but more blacks willing to farm would also get land, Mutasa said.

      Mutasa said: "We have held fruitful meetings with them (CFU
leadership). They now seem to have a clear way forward and understanding on
how to work with this government and we are happy with that.

      "It was in this vein that we asked them to submit applications for
land and these will be treated favourably. They are Zimbabweans like
everyone else."

      CFU vice-president Trevor Gifford confirmed his organisation had held
talks with the government and had submitted names of former white farmers
wishing to be allocated land by the government.

      Gifford said: "We have been talking to Honourable Mutasa and other
ministers over the future of agriculture in this country.

      "In fact, we have just submitted to the government 200 applications
for land from our members, and in the spirit of the talks we hope the
applications will be treated favourably .. we could soon have our members
farming again soon."

      Mugabe and his government have over the last six years chased away
virtually all of Zimbabwe's 4 000 white farmers and gave their land to
blacks in what Mugabe said was a correction of a colonial land tenure system
that unfairly allocated all the best land to whites while blacks were
cramped in poor arid regions.

      The farm seizures however destabilised the mainstay agricultural
sector, plunging the economy further into the mire, while food production
plummeted, leaving the once food self-sufficient southern African country
dependent on handouts from international donors.

      For example, a quarter of the 12 million Zimbabweans require food aid
this year and food relief groups say millions more will require help in the
2006/2007 period.

      But Harare had until now insisted it would never go back on its
controversial land reforms. - ZimOnline

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Wayward policies will torpedo Mugabe's economic recovery plans

Zim Online

Fri 21 April 2006

      HARARE - Zimbabwe's latest drive to revive an economy teetering on the
brink of meltdown is bound to fail as President Robert Mugabe defiantly
pursues economic policies that have put the country at cross-paths with the
global community, analysts said yesterday.

      Zimbabwe officials this week launched a National Economic Development
Priority Programme - a brainchild of a Communist-style committee chaired by
Mugabe - which it  said would see a reversal of an eight-year recession
within 6-9 months.

      But analysts - who spoke as the International Monetary Fund (IMF)
called on Mugabe's government to change economic course and governance
style - doubted the success of yet another blue-print, saying the government
was skirting the root cause of Zimbabwe's crisis by tinkering with
peripheral issues.

      "It is a big set of promises, some of which are outrageous," said John
Robertson, a Harare-based economic consultant. "It is not the right course
that we are taking, we know the problems that we need to address."

      Zimbabwe, once touted as a shining beacon and a model economy for
black Africa, is fighting its most crippling economic crisis to date, which
has been worsened by the withdrawal of international support over policy
differences with Harare such as its forcible seizure of white-owned
commercial farms for blacks.

      The crisis is highlighted by the world's highest inflation rate at
913.6 percent, joblessness above 80 percent, crunch shortages of foreign
currency and fuel and grinding poverty.

      Analysts were sceptical of the latest economic revival plan, which the
government said was crafted with industry's input.

      They pointed to the consistent failure by the government and central
bank to meet growth and inflation targets and said there were no guarantees
the latest drive would pull the country from its punishing crisis that has
angered the majority, whose incomes continue to be eroded everyday.

      The revival initiative would see inflows of US$2.5 billion flowing
into Zimbabwe "either in cash or in the form of investments" within the next
90 days, the government said.

      Analysts said the blue-print lacks detail on actual growth and
inflation targets and does not say where the government will get resources
to support its bid to turn around the economy.

      "There is no one who will bring that kind of money or investment when
there are no guarantees of the sanctity of property rights," James Jowa an
economist with a Harare financial services house said. "In one breath the
government says it is not apologetic for its actions and on the other you
say you want to mend relations, it is confusing," he said.

      IMF head Rodrigo Rato told journalists in Washington that nothing
short of a complete change of course "both in macroeconomic terms and also
in the respect of plurality and human rights and governance", was needed to
pull back Zimbabwe from the brink.

      The IMF cut financial assistance to Harare in 1999 after disagreeing
with Harare on fiscal policy and other governance issues. Rato said help
would remain frozen despite Harare paying off a huge portion of its debt to
the multilateral institution.

      Economic experts see little prospects of economic recovery in Zimbabwe
without significant help from the IMF.

      Mugabe's government has clashed with the West not only over his
controversial land reforms, but also over charges that his ruling ZANU-PF
party has rigged key elections since 2000 and violated human rights, earning
the country the title of an "outpost of tyranny" by Condoleeza Rice, United
States Secretary of State.

      The veteran leader again rattled investors by backing controversial
government plans to take over 51 percent of foreign-owned mines. Mining is
one of the few remaining sectors with a large share of foreign investors.

      Robertson was critical of the government blue-print saying it put
emphasis on the setting up of committees to preside over recovery instead of
focusing on real projections which the government would be measured against.

      "You don't create growth by starting committees. What we need is to
build factories to create employment and restore confidence in the economy
then we can talk of a turnaround," he said.

      Mugabe has predicted Zimbabwe's economy will grow by between 1-2
percent, the first time since 1999 but analysts predict the economy, which
has shrunk 40 percent since then mainly due to a slump in the key
agriculture sector, will contract again in 2006.

      Zimbabwe has forged ties with China after falling out with the West
but there has been little investment coming from the Asian giant. Instead
tourist arrivals have fallen 70 percent from Asia, as the government's "Look
East" policy wobbles.

      "Even China will not bring its money without a guarantee of return on
investment. I suspect they (Chinese) are interested in the mining sector but
there is a danger of breaching existing agreements signed with other
companies especially from South Africa," a Harare banker who declined to be
named told ZimOnline.

      The government has hinted it wanted to take part of platinum claims
owned by Zimbabwe Platinum Mines, a subsidiary of South Africa's Impala
Holdings, and industry officials say China is the likely recipient. -

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IMF demands reforms from Harare

Zim Online

Fri 21 April 2006

      HARARE - The head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Rodrigo
Rato said yesterday President Robert Mugabe's government needed to change
its economic course and the way it is governing the southern Africa nation.

      The IMF has been critical of Harare's policies and has stopped lending
to the country over controversial policies such as the seizures of land from
white commercial farmers, which critics say has led to a plunge in
agriculture and food shortages.

      Rato, who was addressing journalists in Washington said the
multilateral lender was still concerned over Zimbabwe's future.

      "We are really engaged in the future of Zimbabwe and we have been
advising the authorities of Zimbabwe to change their course, both in
macroeconomic terms and also in the respect of plurality and human rights
and governance," Rato told a press conference.

      Rato said Zimbabwe was for a long period in arrears on loan repayments
to the Fund and that is why its voting rights at the Fund had been

      Harare last month accused the IMF of being hijacked by Washington and
London to continue suspending its voting rights despite having cleared a
critical account that had seen the country being faced with expulsion.

      "Those arrears have been cleared but also there are issues right now
regarding the consistency of data and we are working on that," Rato said.

      Zimbabwe is in the throes of its worst economic crisis that has been
worsened by the withdrawal of international support mainly over Harare's
controversial policies.

      The meltdown has shown in chronic shortages of food, foreign exchange
and fuel, surging unemployment and the world's highest rate of inflation at
913.6 percent.

      The government this week launched a drive to revive the economy and
expects inflows of US$2.5 billion "either in cash or in the form of
investments" within the next 90 days.

      But analysts have been sceptical about Zimbabwe's prospects and say
the economy, which has contracted by 40 percent in the last eight years, is
likely to shrink further in 2006. - ZimOnline

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Zim farms with grown crops seized

Cape Argus

      April 20, 2006

      By Basildon Peta

      President Robert Mugabe's militant supporters have invaded and seized
five farms with grown crops owned by mostly South African investors in
south-eastern Zimbabwe, farmers report.

      Farmers confirmed reports that the farms had ready-to-harvest crops,
mainly sugar cane. They say the occupation and seizures are in line with a
new method of seizure by Mugabe supporters whereby they target farms that
have mature crops.

      They move in to harvest and sell the crops and equipment before
abandoning the properties and leaving former owners virtually bankrupt.

      The affected South Africans have since written a joint letter to the
South African High Commission in Harare seeking help. They complain that
they were about to start harvesting their sugar crop in time for the milling

      In a letter to Willem Geerlings, first secretary at the SA embassy,
which was copied to the Commercial Farmers Union and published in the
Zimbabwean press, the farmers detailed the harassment they had suffered at
the hands of government supporters.

      "Today, April 11, 2006, the Chiredzi lands officer, Mukonyora, and
Guruvheti arrived on the farm to inform Wayne Petzer that the remainder of
(his) farm has been taken over and that he has 30 days to get off," reads
the letter.

      "The lands officer and a new A2 farmer (called) Jambaya then walked
around the homestead and stated that Petzer could cut one block of cane
(about 5ha) and then the rest will be taken by them."

      A farmer from the area interviewed last night said it was obvious that
government supporters wanted to reap where they had not sown.

      No comment could be obtained from the South African High Commission
last night.

      a.. British Prime Minister Tony Blair has launched a strongly worded
attack on President Robert Mugabe, calling his regime a "disgrace" that had
brought the country to its knees, reports Sapa-AFP.

      "What the regime is doing in Zimbabwe is a disgrace," Blair told
parliament in his weekly question and answer session yesterday when asked
why Western governments appeared powerless to prevent human tragedy in the

      "While Zimbabwe remains as it is, it casts a shadow over that whole
part of southern Africa and it is a tragedy for the people concerned."

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Soldiers unleashed on Matebeleland

      By Magugu Nyathi

      JOHANNESBURG-President Robert Mugabe's regime has deployed soldiers in
rural Matabeleland to brutally assault rural people and confiscating their
maize harvests. The move is apparently meant to force them to vote for ZANU
PF in the forthcoming local government elections in September.
      A report by Solidarity Peace Trust on operation Taguta / Sisuthi/ Eat
well: Command Agriculture in Zimbabwe, which was launched by the government
late last year, suggests continued excesses by the army.

      Bishop Rubin Philip of the Trust said at the launch of their latest
report: "Deploying of the army under the guise of Command Agriculture means
that army units are now embedded deep in rural areas. This effectively
closing democratic space and will have a repressive impact during Rural
District Council election due in September. It is likely that the army will
stay and increase in numbers in rural areas," said Bishop Phillip.
      Zanu PF regime is deploying army personal to take charge of food
distribution in order to suppress rural through disrupting the farming in
communal areas. The army is accused in Matabeleland for bringing down once
well utilized irrigation to its knees. They are said to have taken custody
of early maize harvest in one scheme, where inputs were made well before the
arrival of the army.
      The report, which was authored by Bishop Phillip of Kwazulu Natal and
Bishop Kevin Dowling who traveled to Zimbabwe recently, assesses the impact
of "Command Agriculture on rural communities in Matabeleland". It paints a
sorry and sad picture as soldiers are wantonly and systematically destroying
lucrative markets gardens and seizing people yields. Matabeleland is viewed
by the Mugabe regime as the stronghold of the opposition and there the
government doesn't care about that region.
      "In Matabeleland, soldiers beating people in the field and withholding
food is reminiscent of the great food curfew of 1984 in the Gukurahundi era.
During 1984, 400 000 people were deliberately brought to brink of starvation
by 5 Brigade. This presence of soldiers has disrupted the social fabric and
left people angry and afraid.
      "Some comments by senior govt officials recently suggest that they are
not only intending to forcibly acquire not just harvest from irrigation
schemes but also from rural farmers who have good harvest. Therefore there
is need foe the world to prevent what would amount to confiscation of crops
in exchange of pittance," read part of the report.
      It was noted that Mugabe regime does not pay any attention to
international advice and assistance. The government rebuffed the
humanitarian assistance offered by United Nations after Operation
      "Government is hostile to international donors and army and uniformed
forces continue to benefit from Operation Garikayi," said Bishop Phillip.
      Bishop Dowling said people are living in fear because of soldier's
brutality in the rural areas and also stressed that they had difficulties in
getting information from people as the soldiers are stamping authority. It
also reveals that soldiers are sexually abusing school children in the rural
areas exposing them to HIV/AIDS.
      Reverend Nicholas Mukaronda the Co-ordinator for Crisis Zimbabwe-SA
office said, "Since 2000 people have been raising the issue of soldiers
involvements in food distribution. The report shows clearly that the state
is at war with its own people. Zimbabwe has turned out to a refugee
producing country. It is naďve to think that the Mugabe regime is not aware
that the crises are out of hand. This might be a Zimbabwean problem but it
is the entirety of humanity that suffers at the end of the day."
      The army is regularly used by Mugabe to suppress any dissenting voices
in the country by brutally assaulting people. During 2002 Presidential
election they were deployed in townships to quarrel any uprisings.
      "The Zimbabwe govt has developed a liking for terming all its
large -scale policies in language more associated with Military. It is the
military that undertakes "Operations" not farmers or municipalities and its
is no coincidence as the uniformed forces were intimately involved in the
past "Operations".
      The report goes on to reveal that Command Agriculture has been a
failure in 2005/6 season in relation to improve the maize production at
rural irrigation schemes in Matabeland as it has undermined such production
and has extremely negative effect on the community at large.
      "It has instead destroyed self -sufficient in rural population and
created vulnerability through dependency on government as the only source of
food, Command Agriculture is likely to prove a resounding "success"."

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The life of a critical writer, or journalist, in Zimbabwe

                    Chenjerai Hove, who now lives in Norway, shares his
experiences with the secret police in Zimbabwe.

      By Chenjerai Hove

      READING Bill Saidi's story made me both cry and laugh. How can our
experiences be so similar: the same tricks, the same kind of security
officials, and the same crimes?

      One Friday afternoon, in 2001, I was playing snooker, my favourite
game then, at Queensdale Sports Club, with friends and foes, enjoying a
stream of political jokes as usual. And the drinks were flowing, with
erratic supplies of our favourite braai of juicy pieces of pork and beef.

      The economy was struggling already, but still staggering ahead on
shaky feet, hence the drinks and the subdued joy.  Then around 4.15 on that
Friday afternoon, a Defender CID truck with civilian number plates came to a
halt in the club car park. I did not see them arrive as I had gone to the
other side of the club hall to play table tennis. The waiter on duty came
rushing to me:

      "Mr Hove, there are people who urgently want to see you in the
entrance area," he said, his face shrunken with a turbulent kind of
suppressed fear.

      "Did they say who they are?" I asked, wondering if it were another
group of relatives coming to inform me of another AIDS-related death. Such
deaths are so many in Zimbabwe it is rare to pass a single day without a
close relative departing that way.

      "No, but they......", he did not know how to finish. I walked to the
entrance area, rather shaken already. Standing in the doorway were two men
in plainclothes. On introducing myself, they quickly produced their identity
cards and waved them into my eyes.

      "We are detectives from the CID Airport Depot," the senior of the two
said.  The other two officers were standing beside their car parked outside,
apparently waiting for action. I could see the guns tucked openly on their
waist belts.

      Now almost exploding with fear, I said: "Gentlemen? Is anything
wrong?"  "You are under arrest for attempting to smuggle 23.5 kilogrammes of
marijuana to Botswana via the Plumtree border post. You and your two fellow
smugglers jumped out of the car and escaped into the forest on seeing a
police road block a few metres ahead of you. The car's registration number
is 326-518K, and it is a Datsun 140Y yellow station wagon," the Chief
Inspector concluded the charges.

      "But, I have never been to Plumtree in my life," I said. 'And the only
car I have is the one you saw at my house," I pleaded, having been told by
them that they had first gone to my house and were directed
      to the Club. "In addition, I do not even know how to roll a cigarette
of any kind, let alone export marijuana,"  I continued, almost resigned to
my fate: a filthy prison cell.

      As it happened, I had once upon a time, owned a car with the same
registration numbers, a Datsun 140Y sedan, yellow. On telling them that I
had sold that car, a sedan, not a station wagon, five years before, they
were adamant that I could argue that in court Tuesday the following week.
They had to take me with them. Then an idea clicked in my mind. I had sold
the car through a registered
      garage, so I pleaded with them to phone the owner of the garage using
my cell phone, to check the name of the person who had bought my car then. I
did not even know the man since every transaction was done through the
garage as my authorised representative.

      Fortunately, the owner of the garage was still at work, and he was
willing to meet with the detectives and give them all the details of the
Kwekwe man who had bought the car, a yellow sedan, not a station wagon.

      The Chief Inspector stepped forward and shook my hand, looked straight
into my eyes and said: "You are a lucky old man. We had instructions to lock
you up for the weekend. But your story is
      convincing. We will confirm everything with the garage owner," he
said, sitting down before asking if he could be allowed to buy a few beers
for himself and his team.

      Sitting down with the four of my possible jailers, I became relaxed
enough to ask where the 'instructions' to arrest me had come from. They just
laughed and warmed me to 'be careful.'

      But before this incident, I had experienced a serious hit-and-run
accident at the corner of Fourth Street and Samora Machel. I had been
returning from a literary awards ceremony at the Oasis Hotel. A friend had
asked to be dropped at a flat near Specis College. And the accident happened
as I, with three other writers, southwards along Fourth. With traffic lights
perfectly green on my side, we chatted and entered the intersection. And the
big bang came, like an explosion. Fortunately, my car did not roll over
because of the weight of the four passengers. No one was hurt, and but
hit-and run-driver had dropped the front number plates of his car, a BMW.

      The accident happened at 21.30 just a few minutes walk from the
central police station and we telephoned to report it to the police soon
after. We waited for nearly three hours without any police officer turning
up. My car was not too badly damaged, so we were able to start it and drive
to the Central Police Station.

      The police officer in charge that night insisted on keeping the number
plate. But I refused and took it home. I had it properly hung in my lounge
as a souvenir. For three months the police were failing to find the owner of
the hit-and-run car despite the computerised Central Vehicle Registry data

      Coincidentally, the number plate disappeared one night after a
burglary in which no door or window was forced open at my house.

      Coincidentally as well, after the marijuana incident, another break-in
resulted in my cell-phone and other electrical gudgets disappearing. I had
heard them forcing the door, and so they were not able to take much.

      After claiming to have no transport to come to take fingerprints and
investigate, I went to fetch them, only to be told by one officer who looked
at me, identified me as 'the writer' before declaring that he thought 'the
crime looks political.'

      Little did I know that the 'burglars' had not finished their job. A
few months after I had left the country, they came in broad daylight, with
careful planning and observation of the movements of the
      occupants, to swiftly steal my computer hard disk drive, diskettes,
laptop and fax machine. Nothing else except 'communication equipment.'

      Knowing fully well that no one can touch them, the agents of the
Central Intelligence Organisation even boast about the various ways in which
they can make you disappear, especially after having an abundance of
alcoholic drinks at the express expense of the taxpayers.

      The life of a critical writer, or journalist, in Zimbabwe, is full of
coincidents, one after another. As for seemingly casual death threats, I had
stopped counting them after receiving the fiftieth one
      or so. Thus I learnt hard and fast that some crimes in Zimbabwe are
simply 'political' and no amount of investigation will ever lead to an

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Zimbabwe opposition dismisses Mugabe threats


      20 Apr 2006 13:24:03 GMT

      Source: Reuters

By MacDonald Dzirutwe

HARARE, April 20 (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's main opposition party vowed on
Thursday to press ahead with mass protests against President Robert Mugabe,
saying it would not be cowed by his threats to crush the demonstrations.

"We are unmoved by the ramblings of an 82-year-old geriatric," Tendai Biti,
the Movement for Democratic Change's secretary-general, told Reuters.

"We are not deviating from the course we have taken."

MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai, whose party has come closest to unseating
Mugabe at the polls, last month threatened a campaign of peaceful mass
protests, prompting warnings from the veteran leader that the MDC was
"dicing with death".

MDC officials said anti-Mugabe protests were still on, and that Tsvangirai
would address weekend rallies in Harare and the eastern border city of
Mutare to mobilise support for the drive, which comes as Zimbabwe teeters on
the brink of economic meltdown.

Political and economic analysts say 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 roads riddled with potholes.

But they say the MDC still needs to shore up support for a unified stand
against Mugabe's forces, with the military, police and security agencies
still believed to be firmly behind the longtime president. "Zimbabweans are
increasingly moving away from collective action in preference for individual
action to solve their problems, so they need to be convinced to buy into the
MDC programme," said leading political analyst Heneri Dzinotyiwei.

Previous MDC protests have been met with tough tactics by Mugabe's security
forces, the last being in June 2002 dubbed "final push" to drive Mugabe from
power. It failed and led to Tsvangirai's arrest on treason charges.

The opposition has not given a timetable for new protests but Tsvangirai
told supporters at a congress last month they should save money and stock up
food ahead of a "cold season of peaceful democratic resistance".

"There has never been a revolution with a time-table but it is the pressure
on the ground and the momentum from congress that will determine when such
action will start," said MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa.

Political analysts say the MDC was keeping information on demonstrations to
a minimum to keep the government guessing.

"The are probably keeping their plans close to their chest maybe because
they are borrowing from the military strategy of a surprise attack," said
Eldred Masunungure, chairman of the political science department at the
University of Zimbabwe.

Tsvangirai, who has led the MDC since its formation in 1999, has been
constantly outmanoeuvred by Mugabe but analysts say he has emerged from his
party's recent split intent on taking the battle to the veteran leader.

On Wednesday, a rebel MDC faction which this year formally broke ranks with
Tsvangirai over how to tackle Mugabe's ZANU-PF, announced its chairman had
joined three other senior officials who quit and defected to Tsvangirai's

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Church leader's vision of new dawn for Zimbabwe draws cheers

Ecumenical News International

19 April 2006

David Wanless
Bulawayo, Zimbabwe (ENI). For a visitor to the country, or the consumer of
news reports, the numbers in Zimbabwe are staggering and depressing, whether
they relate to the economy, inflation, or HIV infection. But some Christians
in the southern African country, which this week celebrated 26 years of
independence, still believe there is reason to hope.
On a recent weekend, when the funeral of liberation struggle hero James
Chikerema was carried live on national television, workers in an old-age
home in the eastern city of Mutare were shown on state TV striking in a
protest against a monthly wage of 1.8 million Zimbabwe dollars (US$18).

Chikerema was a cousin of President Robert Mugabe and raised at the same
Roman Catholic mission but his criticism of the Zimbabwean leader was said
to have denied him a burial at Heroes Acre, a resting spot for those in the
ruling party's faithful who fought for liberation. "It is not everybody who
qualifies to be buried at the Heroes," said Mugabe in a statement in the
government-run Herald newspaper.

Zimbabwe's Central Statistical Office reported on 7 April that inflation for
March had climbed to 913 per cent, the highest in the world, according to
the International Monetary Fund. Trade Union leader Collin Gwiyo was
reported by Agence France-Presse as saying the average worker would need
25-30 million Zimbabwe dollars (US$253-302) a month to make ends meet.

There are other signs of an economy that is estimated to have shrunk by up
to 40 per cent in the past five years. Because they cannot afford the bus or
taxi fare, hundreds of people can be seen walking to work - or in search of
it. Filling stations rarely have petrol and many have an abandoned look.
Supermarket shelves are often without stocks of staples such as maize, rice,
sugar and cooking oil in a country that was once considered the breadbasket
of Africa.

But you can buy a medium-sized slab of chocolate for 450 000 Zimbabwe
dollars. On Sunday afternoon, minibus taxis full of football fans returning
noisily from a match won by a local team, give an impression that normal
life goes on.

One church leader told Ecumenical News International that the bags of maize
seen on sale at a roadside stall in a suburb of Bulawayo were probably
obtained by corrupt means and the price mark-up put their purchase beyond
the reach of the ordinary citizen.

Other Zimbabwean numbers seem even more depressing. Although the HIV
infection rate has reportedly declined slightly, the World Health
Organization has stated that because of the pandemic and the breakdown in
health services, average life expectancy for Zimbabweans in 2006 has dropped
to 36 years, making it the world's lowest.

Still, at church services in Zimbabwe's second city on 2 April, Passion
Sunday, worshippers who spoke to ENI said they believed that God would bring
change and improvement to their lives. Deacon Agnes Saymani, the lay leader
of a congregation that meets in the open air while it struggles to raise
funds for a church building said: "When we have faith in God, and work
together, our needs will be met."

Later, at an ecumenical service in the Njube Congregational Church, after a
march through the suburb to highlight the stigmatisation of people with HIV
and AIDS, factory manager Joseph Ndhlovu said, "We face shortages of
materials. Although most of our production is exported and we have to
surrender much of our foreign exchange to the government, we somehow manage
to keep production going and pay our workers what we can."

Preaching at the service, the Rev. Prince Dibeela, a member of the central
committee of the World Council of Churches, likened the hardships being
experienced by Zimbabweans to those of the ancient Israelites during their
exile in Babylon, who lamented: "How can we sing the Lord's song in a
strange land?"

He drew parallels between the political, economic and spiritual hardships
experienced then and now, but told the congregation that he shared their
hope. His affirmation, "There will be a new day in Zimbabwe," drew prolonged
applause and ululation from the congregation.

. Journalists and critics of the government can face draconian action. The
names of some of the people interviewed have been changed for their own
protection. Editors.

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Zim vendors questioned

Zambia Naional Broadcasting Corporation

The Immigration Department in Livingstone has rounded up and questioned 15
Zimbabwean nationals for trading illegally in the tourist Capital -

Immigration Department Public Relations Officer Mulako Mbangweta said the
Zimbabweans were picked up, for trading on the streets of Livingstone when
their entry permits indicate that they were entering Zambia as visitors.

Ms. Mbangweta said the Zimbabweans would be taken to Zimbabwe for them to
formalise their business entries into Zambia since they are free to conduct
cross border business under COMESA trade agreements.

She however said the Zimbabwean traders should conduct their businesses only
in designated places and not on the streets.

The Zimbabwean traders tell border officials that they are entering Zambia
to visit friends and relatives but once they enter they become street

She advised the Zimbabweans to respect Zambian laws.

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Statistics and Strategy

      Eddie Cross
      Bulawayo, 20th April 2006

      A friend sent me a table yesterday that sets out the statistical
situation as derived from the Governments own figures of our economic
performance since 1996. Why 1996? Because that was the year in which our
exports peaked and our GDP reached US$8,5 billion. The stats from that year
onwards simply nose dive.

      Gross Domestic Product (the usual measure of total economic output of
      country) has declined by almost 50 per cent. Income per capita has
fallen from US$830 per person to US$358 - a drop of nearly 60 per cent. Our
GDP is now nearly 20 per cent below the level of our GDP in 1980 - after 16
years of mandatory sanctions and 8 years of civil war. Our GDP per capita
now classifies us as a nation of very poor people. If the average GDP per
capita is at that level and we still have some very wealthy people -
goodness only knows what the incomes of the bottom third of our population
have become.

      On Tuesday our beloved State President told the nation that he was
expecting growth of 1 to 2 per cent in 2006 and stated that this was due to
a recovery in agriculture. Well, the real news is that the figures issued by
his own Ministry of Finance and the Reserve Bank point to another year - the
7th in a row, when the economy will decline by over 5 per cent. Every sector
is down on last year - including agriculture and we have just had the most
perfect farming season I can recall.

      Pretty dismal reading. Of course these are just the stark economic
facts - they say nothing about the rampant corruption, the erosion of living
standards and the total destruction of all forms of savings leaving
pensioners in dire straits. Can this go on - yes it can and if it does the
consequences will be catastrophic. Increasing movement of people across
borders, rising levels of internal displacement and a rapid decline in
population due to increased mortality and emigration.

      There are three options -

      1. Leave things as they are, drift along and accept that there is
little we
      can do about the situation. Yesterday in the British Parliament Tony
Blair basically said just that - there was "little they could do to
influence matters".
      2. Go the Mbeki route - engineer Mugabe's early retirement, adopt
      number 19 to the Lancaster House constitution and allow Parliament to
appoint his successor, extend the life of this government to 2010 and create
a fictional "government of national unity" with some international (UN?)
      3. Go down the road chosen by the MDC - throw everything we have into
      short non-violent struggle to force Zanu to accept they have failed
and cannot get us back on the road to the future. Get them into a national
conference and there thrash out what to do about all our problems and set up
a transitional government that will take us to elections as soon as possible
so that the people can chose who will lead us out of the hole we are in at

      Quite clearly option one is simply suicide - we cannot go on as we
have been. To do so would reduce Zimbabwe to an impoverished backwater with
a few million people living at a level of about US$100 per annum and
virtually no future for anyone except a tiny political minority who lived in
      (feudal) wealth. Do not say it cannot happen - it is happening in many
countries and the global community simply does not have the will (they have
the means and the resources) to do anything about matters until a real
Sierra Leone or Rwanda type situation happens.

      I fume when I see the pictures of educated African refugees in Europe,
holding sit ins in Churches and marching on the streets to protest their
situation. They should be home in Somalia, in the Sudan fighting for their
rights as citizens and demanding performance from their leaders. By fleeing
the continent they not only bring shame on all of us who live in Africa, but
they make the situation in their countries more hopeless. Stay and fight -
for democracy, for human rights, for political rights, for jobs and
prosperity. These things do not come easily or cheap.

      Option two is being hatched as I write - but very soon its architects
will run into Robert Mugabe who is simply demanding that he be allowed to
complete his current term and is saying to anyone who will listen - "I am
ready to do four more years". It is a non-starter and thank goodness (or
      Robert) because that solution would leave the Zimbabwean populace in
the hands of the same corrupt despotic collection of clowns that have been
responsible for the mess we are in now. It would do nothing to restore the
rule of law; it would not restore our basic freedoms and would not be either
legal or democratic.

      So we are thrown back onto our own resources and courage. Everyone I
speak to says that we (Zimbabweans) do not have what it takes to topple this
dictatorship. This is not Bosnia, the Philippines or Russia - Zimbabweans
are simply too passive and compliant to do what is required. One such
commentator said to me today - you would be better off launching the
struggle in South Africa where you have two or three million very angry
Zimbabweans. Sure - that might be true; it is also true that if those angry
young men came back - we could probably sort out the mafia here in short
order. But that is not going to happen.

      We have two more rallies this weekend - one in Mutare and another in
      I am going to both because I want to see and sense the mood of the
      My own view is that Zimbabweans are ready to do what is needed and we
need not fear the armed forces - they are as fed up as we are. A business
executive told me yesterday that these situations are often like an
eggshell - hard and impervious, until it cracks. Then it just splinters and
falls apart.

      We are about to hit this egg hard - the egghead is nervous and
worried. He might well be because he has no certainly that when this
situation cracks open, that he will be able to protect himself from a very
angry and frustrated people. Remember East Germany just before the wall came
down - tough, strong and invincible, until the egg cracked and then there
was nowhere to go.

      Eddie Cross

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Fears for Zim cricket as Pakistan mulls on postponing one-dayers

      By Tichaona Sibanda
      20 April 2006

      Zimbabwe Cricket might be forced to cancel their tour to Pakistan
after cricket authorities there signalled their unwillingness to host a
depleted Zimbabwe side for a series of one-day internationals later this

      Zimbabwe were scheduled to visit Pakistan for a test and one-day
series in September, but a players' strike forced the Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC)
to postpone all test cricket until next February.

      The ZC interim committee said it would continue to play one-day
internationals but not tests, due to the depleted strength of the squad.

      But Reuters reports that unhappy with the situation, a Pakistan
Cricket Board (PCB) official told them that a letter had been sent to the ZC
asking them to arrange a full test and one-day international tour next year.

      Former Zimbabwe fast bowler Henry Olonga told us news of Pakistan's
reluctance to play a depleted squad was disappointing for Zimbabwe Cricket,
especially for those who have seen the country's cricket fortunes collapse
in the last couple of months.

      'Sad thing is that all the youngsters have been let down by the
administrators of ZC, who have promised so much but delivered nothing. I
hope it doesn't set a dangerous precedence because other countries can start
pulling out of tours,' Olonga said.

      He admitted though that 'things like this' were going to happen at
some point because the ZC administration has been acting like renegades, and
he pointed a finger of blame towards the International Cricket Council for
not doing enough to rescue cricket in Zimbabwe.

      'The ICC should have been stronger earlier, there is no doubt the game
has been administered very poorly. The collapse of cricket in the country is
no ordinary occurrence, the government has had a hand in it because they
stepped in and set up an interim committee run by Peter Chingoka, the man
who is behind most of the controversies,' he said.

      He added that it's 'like fighting fire with fire' and cricket will die
in the blaze.

      SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

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Award All Workers Inflation-Adjusted Salaries, Says PSA

The Herald (Harare)

April 20, 2006
Posted to the web April 20, 2006


ALL workers should be given inflation-adjusted salaries to survive
hyperinflation, the Public Service Association (PSA) has said.

The association said although the issue of better wages was before the
Tripartite Negotiating Forum, the resumption of talks should be considered
as a matter of urgency. In an interview, PSA executive secretary Mr Emmanuel
Tichareva said salary increases that were awarded to civil servants in
January this year have since been eroded by inflation, which now stands at
913 percent. He added that the cost of health care was had also gone beyond
the reach of many despite it being a basic human right. "We call upon
employers to review the conditions of service for all Government employees
and other workers in the country," he said.

"It is our duty to remain loyal and steadfast to our motherland and should
remain resolute in our march against unfair labour practices in our beloved
country," he said. He said the biggest puzzle is: where are the underpaid
civil servants going to get school fees for their children next term since
the fees far outweigh their earnings? Government recentl y met business and
labour representatives in a bid to resolve the impasse over salaries between
the TNF social partners.

Business and labour had delayed the resumption of the TNF, a strategic
framework for addressing social and economic problems, following a stalemate
over the adjustment of salaries to be above the Poverty Datum Line (PDL).
The last TNF meeting was held in January this year and labour called for a
review of monthly salaries from $2 million to about $28 million, in line
with the PDL. However, the PDL has since risen to $35 million after
inflation surged to 913 percent and prices of basic commodities continued to
soar against the stagnant salary earnings. Employers are yet to adjust
workers' salaries although some of them were declaring huge profits running
into billions of dollars.

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Mugabe's comments hit platinum stocks

Business Report

April 20, 2006

By Janice Kew

Harare - Shares of Impala Platinum (Implats) and Anglo Platinum (Angloplat)
fell yesterday after Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe said he backed a
plan to take 51 percent stakes in mines owned by foreign companies.

Implats shares fell 3.25 percent to R1 100, while Angloplat fell 2.31
percent to R585.

The Top40 index was 0.81 percent higher.

Implats' Zimbabwe Platinum Mines unit, which owns a mine in Zimbabwe and
most of the country's known reserves, said last month that the state might
take a 51 percent stake in the nation's platinum projects, citing a
government proposal.

Angloplat also plans to dig a mine there.

Mugabe told a rally in Harare on Tuesday that he backed the plan, according
to Reuters.

"Mugabe's comments are definitely hitting the platinum stocks and probably
more so than the rand," said Mark Kalil of Andisa Securities.

The rand climbed to a three-month high against the dollar yesterday,
breaking through R6 to reach R5.949. - Bloomberg

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Democracy Mugabe style

Khaleej Times Online  Editorial

  20 April 2006

  PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe is not your usual, run-of-the-mill
politician. He has always been unorthodox in his approach to politics and
democracy, for ever courting controversy with his unconventional views,
policies and actions.

  Who could forget how he, as part of his 'beautification' drive, recently
demolished tens of thousands of homes in the poor suburbs of Harare? No
wonder he is thoroughly despised in the West even as the rest of Africa
views him with increasing alarm.

  This week, addressing the 26th anniversary celebrations of the country's
independence, Mugabe warned opposition parties of dire consequences if they
used street protests and strikes to come to power. The president thundered:
"I am warning them from playing with fire - they should stop it." Responding
to the threat by opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, that he would
mobilise people to push the government out of power, the Zimbabwe president
promised the wrath of the state machinery.

  While as the leader of Zimbabwe, Mugabe has every right to maintain peace
and order in the country, he cannot prevent opposition parties from doing
what is their democratic right: to protest, criticise and strike - if
necessary - to draw people's attention to government failures.  After all,
that is what the opposition is supposed to do in a democracy. If the
political parties in Zimbabwe are taking to streets to make their point, the
government has no option but allow it to do so. As long as such protests and
demonstrations remain peaceful, the government cannot and mustn't interfere
with them, if Mugabe genuinely believes that Zimbabwe is a democratic
country. As someone who loves to chastise the West for its 'double standards'
from time to time, it's time for Mugabe to demonstrate his own commitment to
genuine democracy.

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Land invaders to leave prime game park

      April 20, 2006

      By Oscar Nkala

      Over 750 Zimbabwean families that invaded the Gonarezhou National
Park, an important component of the tri-nation Trans-Limpopo peace park
initiative, will finally vacate the intensive conservation zone, a
government newspaper has reported.

      According to The Herald, the families agreed to move following an
agreement on relocation with provincial government officials.

      The paper, which did not give details of the agreement, added that the
families had for long resisted eviction efforts by the government's
Department of National Parks and Wildlife.
      They reportedly contented that the game park was part of their
ancestral lands, from which they were unfairly evicted by the colonial

      The tri-nation frontier park will link South Africa's Kruger National
Park, Gaza National Park in Mozambique and the Gonarezhou in Zimbabwe. But
the invasion of Gonarezhou has slowed the project down, with the government
dithering on when the invaders would be ordered to leave.

      The DPNW has always insisted on the removal of the invaders to make
way for the development of the park, but the government has consistently
refused to act firmly against them because they are all supporters of
President Mugabe's ruling ZANU PF party.

      The Herald quoted the governor of the south-eastern province of
Masvingo as saying the invading families would leave by the end of August.
The presence of human populations in the game sanctuary led to a sharp
increase in indiscriminate poaching in which all sorts of weapons- ranging
from crude wire snares to automatic rifles - were used to kill game.

      Because of the invasion of the game sanctuary, the lauch of the
Trans-Limpopo frontier park has been delayed several times. While Mozambique
and South Africa have proceeded with the opening of an elephant corridor
from Kruger into Mozambique's Gaza Park, Zimbabwe may still be a long way
from joining because of the dilapidated state of Gonarezhou.

      The invaders are also reported to have destroyed the perimeter fence,
raising the cost of rehablitation beyond the financial capabilities of the
Zimbabwe governmnet.

      AND Africa

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Zim - Get Active!!

"No citizen has the right to be
an amateur in the matter of physical training.
What a disgrace it is for a man to grow old without
ever having discovered the strength and beauty
of which his body is capable."
                                                                                                                        - Socrates -
On the back of the hugely successful Charity International EcoChallenge (Hippo Pools) and the Africa Triathlon Championships (Troutbeck, Nyanga), the Zone 6 International Judo Chmpionships were hosted by Zimbabwe over Easter Saturday here in Harare. Six countries fought it out for the medal honours and for the first time in ten years, we were able to field a full team! Comprising members from the police support unit, high school young men and a few of our full-time national coaches, they gave their all and more against the "big guns" from South Africa, Zambia, Angola, Mozambique and Botswana. For most, it was their first time to step onto an international mat - but despite the obvious stress that this causes, they squared their shoulders, lifted their heads and looked their opponents in the eye as they put it all on the line.
Their hunger for this experience left me humbled again and again. We have watched most of these men struggle continuously to get enough money to pay for transport to get to training and to just eat at least one decent meal a day ... for just over a year they have committed to the fitness tests, the training the regular small competitions and national rankings.
Here they were, no excuses, no insecurities, no delusions, simply desperately wanting to pit themselves against as many opponents as possible to test their limits and discover their personal bests. As a referee, I had the unpleasant experience of awarding the fight to the other side with two of our team members in a matter of seconds into the 5 minute fight ... they had been thrown for a "knock - out"!! My heart sank for them, but they got straight back up, bowed to the winner and walked across to shake his hand and thank him for the fight!! I remember someone once said "The measure of a man is not where he stands in times of victory and comfort, but how he conducts himself in times of defeat and hardship." This also goes for the very small band of organisers and coaches who dug deep into their own pockets, time and personal lives to bring our squad this far, often overcoming seemingly hopeless situations to do it.
In all we won four silver and four bronze medals ... but most importantly, as athletes, officials and supporters from all the countries stood for our National Anthem at the opening ceremony, our whole Zimbabwe team stood side-by-side and lifted their voices as they sang the words together. My son was one of them. Words fall short of describing his experience over this last year training, competing, laughing, winning some, losing some, staying in camp, fighting whilst the Zim supporters and fellow fighters went beserk cheering him on flying the flag and drumming out Shona war cries .... Sitting opposite all this I caught a glimpse of the future. No colour, no race issues. Only a deep respect and friendship for having struggled together, being there for each other through good and bad times and finally, for the opportunity to stand as one in the pursuit of personal and national excellence.
Thank God for sport. Thank God for bringing these athletes to the arena where each is able to watch as the other dares to better himself. Stripped of everything save the man himself, his essence and his being exposed for all to see as he steps forward to reveal his true self. In doing so, we are all too aware of the common potential, principles and fears that we all share. Supported, uplifted and unconditionally accepted, the whole becomes stronger through the sum of all the individual parts. The community stronger through the individual investment we make on each other and ourselves.
I salute all who strive against the greatest of odds to continue to attract, encourage and ensure that Zimbabweans of all ages, backgrounds, potentialities and abilities are able to reveal themselves to themselves and in doing so, contibute towards and be a part of the building of a brother or sisterhood, a team, a community, a nation. No matter how small, how spontaneous or how relatively insignificant it may seem, if you have the power, a few resources and simply the passion to bring more than one person together through sport, through group participation in exercise, through the freedom of movement towards a common goal .... do it. For you, for them, for us, for the future. Mum and Dad ... this one's for you! Well done for Saturday and for your life-time work in building hopes, dreams and people in Zim through judo. For all of us ... let the games begin!
As always,
Debi Jeans xxx

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Zimbabwe says to revive economy, defiant on policies

Engineering News


      Zimbabwe on Wednesday launched a new drive to revive its ailing
economy, saying it would do away with past obstacles to growth, but vowed to
press on with policies that have repelled key donors.

      The southern African state is in the throes of a deepening economic
crisis that has been worsened by the withdrawal of international support
mainly over Harare's forcible redistribution of white-owned commercial farms
among blacks.

      The meltdown has been revealed in chronic shortages of food, foreign
exchange and fuel, surging unemployment and the world's highest rate of
inflation at 913,6%.

      Critics say political interference, including failure to prosecute
ruling party supporters implicated in disruptions to agriculture linked to
the land reforms, have undermined efforts to reverse the crisis.

      "Previously we have been very good at crafting turnaround programmes
that have fallen short at the implementation stage. This time round the
programmes we have got are action-oriented," central bank Governor Gideon
Gono told a news briefing also addressed by government ministers and
business leaders.

      "We also have commitment to do away with the bureaucracy that has
stifled (us) before. Where the issue is delivery versus bureaucracy,
bureaucracy must give way."

      Economic Development Minister Rugare Gumpo said the drive was aimed at
"restoring the positive image of the country" by, among others, seeking to
boost investor confidence and cut government debt. The plan will be overseen
by a council headed by President Robert Mugabe.

      But Gumbo also struck a defiant note over Zimbabwe's strained
relations with the international community, saying: "We are not apologetic
about what we are doing in Zimbabwe."

      Mugabe has clashed with the West not only over his controversial land
reforms, but also over charges that his ruling ZANU-PF party has rigged key
elections since 2000 and violated human rights. The veteran leader, in power
since independence from Britain in 1980, denies the charges.

      In a move likely to further rattle investors, Mugabe this week backed
government plans to assume 51% control of all foreign-owned mines.

      But an optimistic Mugabe told supporters at a rally on Tuesday to
commemorate 26 years of independence that the country was on course for
recovery and would register positive economic growth for the first time in 8

      Gono said on Wednesday the revival initiative would also trigger
inflows of $2,5-billion "either in cash or in the form of investments"
within the next 90-days.

      But analysts have been sceptical about imbabwe's prospects and say the
economy - which has shrunk by 40% since 1999 - is likely to see another
contraction in 2006.

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Yvonne Mahlunge on BTH- The asylum ruling in the UK

20 April 2006.

Zimbabwean activist and immigration lawyer Yvonne Mahlunge is the guest on
Behind The Headlines. Lance Guma interviews her on the recent asylum ruling
on the fate of failed Zimbabwean asylum seekers by the UK Court of Appeal.
With so much confusion surrounding the implications of that ruling, the
programme explores all the possible angles and what they mean for
Zimbabweans in the UK.
Yvonne Mahlunge

NEXT WEEK- Blessing Chebundo (MP) on BTH- Why he left the pro-senate MDC.
27 April 2006.

Don't miss Behind The Headlines next Thursday as Lance Guma speaks to the
MDC's Kwekwe Member of Parliament Blessing Chebundo. Why did he resign from
the faction led by Arthur Mutambara to rejoin Morgan Tsvangirai and his
camp? Chebundo gives an explosive recounting of events that led to his
departure and how some of his colleagues gave him a verbal lashing for
defecting. It's one not to miss.
Blessing Chebundo

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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Fuel prices going down

Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Oswelled Ureke
issue date :2006-Apr-20

THE PRICES of fuel at most city service stations countrywide have been going
down in recent days, a survey by The Daily Mirror has established.

The development comes at a time trends on the international market show
prices going up due to the current stand off between the USA and Iran over
the latter's nuclear development programme.
Diesel can now be bought both at service stations and on the parallel market
at about $190 000 a litre, while    petrol is $10 000 more expensive at $200
This has been a downward change from about a fortnight ago, when fuel sold
at anything above $220 000 a litre, both on the parallel market and at
service stations.
Besides lowering the fuel prices, many service stations have also put up
boards and notices advertising 'special offers' for the commodity to lure
Some of the signs that could be seen at service stations in Harare's central
business district (CBD) read 'diesel and petrol available', or 'fuel on
special offer' with motorists filling up their tanks without having to
The availability of fuel at most service stations countrywide has been  a
cause for relief, as the commodity had in recent years become more scarce
that only a few stations sold it.
Fuel was reportedly abundant in Masvingo and Bulawayo, where it was said to
be selling below $200 000, while in Bindura diesel sold at $210 000 a litre.
Some motorists, however, said fuel was not so readily available in Bindura
as in Harare and Bulawayo, and efforts to get an official comment on the
variegated fuel supply trend were fruitless.
A Mufakose-based fuel vendor, who requested anonymity, said demand for fuel
had declined with price increases, forcing fuel dealers to revise the price
"Before we started selling the fuel at over $200 000, it was around $150 000
a litre.
"That figure was not lucrative for service stations, so they were not
importing much of the commodity, causing high demand for fuel, compared to
the number of suppliers on the market.
"But the $200 000 per litre price was lucrative so all service stations
began selling it, but motorists could not afford it, causing us to review
the prices downwards," said the vendor.
Officially the pump prices for diesel and petrol are $22 000 and $23 000 a
litre respectively pending a review by the National Oil Company of Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC) president Luxon Zembe said the
trends were normal and predicted that fuel prices would continue to go down
before stabilising as long as market forces were left to determine demand
and supply. "Fuel is in abundance because government has allowed individuals
to bring in the product, so it becomes more available and the price goes
"This is the basic economic theory of demand and supply and it is a good
lesson that we need to remove price controls.
 "Though not officially communicated this is what is happening and we may
see the prices continuing to go down despite international trends, to as low
a level as makes business sense,' Zembe said.
The normalisation of fuel supplies has seen some stability and sanity
creeping back into the transport sector.
Both commuter omnibus and long-distance transport operators have continued
charging stable fares, which recently were not uniform and rose at short
Long distance bus fares were largely unchanged going into the Easter break,
although a few unscrupulous transporters temporarily hiked them taking
advantage of the influx of commuters during the period.
City transport blues have, of late, also eased up.
Efforts to seek comment from the Noczim over the trends on the fuel market
were in vain as calls to their offices went unanswered.
According to international reports, petroleum prices rose above US$70 a
barrel on Easter Monday and showed indications of rising to new record
prices on the back of tensions over Iran's nuclear standoff with the US.
Prices of the commodity opened the year at around US$55 a barrel in the
first week of January.

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African jewel turns to dust

Daily News, SA

      April 20, 2006

      By the Editor

      With the reputation of being the fastest shrinking economy in the
world, there can be little for the people of Zimbabwe to celebrate as that
country goes into its 27th year of independence.

      When reigning president Robert Mugabe took over the country, Zimbabwe
had the potential of being the shining example under the African firmament.

      It was well endowed with natural resources, plenty of fertile
agricultural land - although, as in much of Africa, water is a problem - and
an industrious population with a generally good standard of education.

      Alas, it was never to fulfil that potential. Slowly but surely Mugabe
allowed his wonderful country to haemorrhage through corruption, poor
government, political nepotism and disastrous economic policies.

      At the same time, Mugabe himself started losing touch with reality as
his megalomania grew to the extent that he has alienated his important
friends in the West who have washed their hands of his many problems,
allowing his country to crumble into its current socio-economic crisis.

      What was once the breadbasket of Africa has become a country of food
shortages brought about largely through the farm land grabs under the guise
of Mad Mug's land redistribution policy, during which time the elite grabbed
the best properties with little idea of how to farm them.

      As investment dried up as a result of Mugabe's threats to at least
partially nationalise foreign-owned industry and mines, so too did foreign
exchange. Today Zimbabwe is unable to pay for its imports of fuel, medical
supplies, machinery and other goods, driving inflation to around 900%.

      From a jewel in the African crown, Zimbabwe today is a sad litany of
failure, brought to its knees by an 82-year-old man gone mad on his own
perceived importance, grudgingly supported by his neighbours, including
President Mbeki.

      Time is running out for the 11-million Zimbab-weans who are dying
through Aids and its attendant diseases, along with starvation and a general
hopelessness. It can only get worse while Mugabe is still around.

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Sterilising machine remains unrepaired

      April 20, 2006,

      By ANDnetwork .com

      Mpilo Central Hospital in Zimbabwe is operating without a sterilising
machine, putting the lives of patients undergoing surgery at risk because
surgical equipment is being cleaned using an ineffective boiling process.

      A source at the hospital said doctors feared patients could be in
danger of contracting infections or dying because surgical tools were not
properly sterilised. The hospital's autoclave sterilising machine broke down
six months ago.
      "It is very difficult for one to operate on a patient with a clear
conscience when you are aware that the tools you are using are not properly
      "I do not regard it as ethical to operate on a patient when you know
that their lives could be at risk because tools are not sterilised," said
the source.
      He said the autoclave sterilisation process entails tools being
steamed under pressure over a stipulated period and temperature to ensure
that all germs are killed.
      "When the autoclave sterilisation process is used, it is unlikely that
surgical tools remain contaminated. The tools are heated in extreme and
intense temperatures over a time measure that is controlled according to
recommended specifications.
      "Boiling on the other hand only heats the tools to a maximum of 100
degrees only, even if you boil the tools for over three hours, the maximum
temperature remains the same and that temperature is not effective in
removing all the impurities," he said.
      He said that the responsible authorities should act to have the
sterilising machine repaired.
      Mpilo Medical Superintendent, Dr Lindiwe Mlilo, could not be reached
for comment yesterday as she was said to be in Harare for a consultative

      Source : Angola Press

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Africa And Security Council Seat

This Day (Lagos)

April 19, 2006
Posted to the web April 20, 2006


In a characteristic manner, Africa is unable to produce a compromise
candidate(s) for the proposed expanded permanent membership of the United
Nations Security Council, five months to the deadline. If this opportunity
is frittered away, Black Africans will remain the only race without
representation in the most powerful organ of the United Nations, with the
attendant negative implications.

Since the world body was established six decades ago, it has served as a
widely accepted platform for international relations, diplomacy and
arbitration. Specifically, the security council that takes final decisions
on war and related matters has become a forum where awesome military
credentials are used as weapons for negotiations and supremacy. Also, the
veto power held by its five permanent members - US, China, France, Britain
and Russia - confers on them rare privileges whose misuse can have serious
global consequences. Over the years, this status quo has provided the basis
for apprehension, inferiority and agitation among the non-veto members of
the organisation.

The current reforms at the UN are aimed at correcting that imbalance to
foster a better sense of belonging in the world community. The cold war era
promoted the polarisation of nations along ideological lines, which in turn
hampered global peace, trust, and integration. In the new world, there is
the need for a repositioned UN to move closer to racial equality.

That is why the most backward part of the planet - Africa - must not be
sidelined as a new thinking sweeps through the UN. From centuries of
slavery, through direct colonialism, and now to economic imperialism, Africa
has remained the butt of all other races of the world.

It is sad that now that an occasion has presented itself to move the
continent up in the global family, Africa is once again in contention with
itself for the one or two security council slots. It is unfortunate that the
seven aspiring countries - Nigeria, South Africa, Egypt, Kenya, Senegal,
Libya and Gambia - do not seem to appreciate the gravity of the situation.
Majority of the veto holders prefer the existing structure and composition
of the influential organ. The failure of African nations to forge a common
front would only justify the alibi for their position that the elite club of
veto-wielders should not be expanded.

This point has been well made by Nigeria's minister of foreign affairs,
Chief Olu Adeniji. Says he: "The quest (for a candidate) has hit a
brickwall. The battle is now between aspirants to that seat and members not
willing to admit new entrants...And for the five permanent members, the
disagreement among the contenders is sweet music."

If this discordant tune is received as symphony by advanced nations, it
will, no doubt, have a cacophonous fall-out in Africa whose underdog rating
has continued to deny it the best on offer in a world that is often unkind
to the feeble. The African Union (AU) should urgently put its acts together
and prove that it is united, focused and undaunted in the pursuit of its

At the risk of appearing immodest, we reiterate our stand on Africa's
selection for the UN slot. Nigeria is eminently qualified to clinch it,
against the background of its unstinted involvement in peace-keeping
operations around the globe. It has committed more human, financial and
material resources to peace efforts in the continent and outside it than any
other African country. Furthermore, apart from its predominant population,
it also possesses the potential to be the strongest economy in the

Whichever way it turns out, Africa must show that it has come of age, and
that it is prepared to be realistic in its choice of which of its countries
assumes the critical responsibilities at the world's centre stage.

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International Community ignoring China's destructive role in Africa

      By Tererai Karimakwenda
      20 April 2006

      The Chinese premier Hu Jintao is in the United States meeting
president George Bush and influential business leaders like Bill Gates. As
smiles and handshakes grace television screens and newspapers worldwide,
victims of China's abusive tendencies at home know that their case will at
least be heard during discussions in Washington. But it is unlikely that the
subject of China's support for ruthless regimes in Africa will come up. Due
to it's massive economic growth China appears to be prepared to lend support
to anyone, if it gains them access to rich resources.

      For Zimbabweans in particular, the Chinese have become a symbol of
Robert Mugabe's "Look East" policy. Their cheap products (known as
"zhing-zhongs" to Zimbos) flood the shops as a constant reminder of the role
the Chinese government has played in the deterioration of their country.

      Tim Hughes at The South African Institute of International Affairs
(SAIIA) has been looking at China's growing influence in Africa. He believes
the country is already a major player on the continent, doing at least US$40
billion worth of business annually. Construction contracts, deals in
agriculture and preferential access to Zimbabwe's markets were granted by
Mugabe in exchange for military hardware, foreign currency and protection in
the United Nations' security council. It's also generally believed that
China provided the equipment that the Mugabe regime used to jam our
shortwave broadcasts to Zimbabwe.

      Hughes said China is also influencing business in Sudan and Angola,
which provide it with crude oil. The Sudanese scenario is perhaps the most
tragic. Thousands were killed in the Darfur region and weapons from China
were implicated. This Chinese role in military affairs worries Hughes even
more. He said the Chinese government has also provided Zimbabwe with
military hardware. This is contrary to its stated foreign policy of
"non-interference in internal affairs." Hughes said China's activities are
undermining government structures in Africa and its influence is now
extending beyond Zimbabwe, Angola and Sudan into the Gulf of Guinea.

      According to Hughes China has been changing international business
since the US normalised relations with the country under president Bill
Clinton. He said the flood gates then opened when Bill Gates and his giant
Microsoft compromised its principles by allowing China to restrict the use
of certain language on its internet browser. Google and Yahoo then followed
suit. Hughes said when these companies compromise themselves in allowing
China to restrict them and censure information, China will not reform or
fall in line with accepted human rights standards. He believes these
companies are so powerful they could have forced the Chinese government to
mend its ways.

      Meanwhile China's relationship with Zimbabwe is already changing. The
Mugabe regime has run out of resources to offer as the country's economy
continues to deteriorate at a rapid pace. Recent reports indicate that
Chinese tourism figures have declined drastically. Zimbabweans have no more
money to spend on the zhing-zhongs due to hyper inflation. But China
continues to thrive elsewhere, supporting military juntas around the world
which are condemned by most democratic nations.

      SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

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MDC factions submit candidates for Budiriro election

New Zimbabwe

By Lebo Nkatazo
Last updated: 04/20/2006 19:23:56
THE two feuding factions of Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) will submit names of their candidates for the Budiriro
by-election on Friday, offficials said.

The nomination court for the parliamentary by-election will be taking
candidates' names on Friday, and the contest is likely to be between Zanu PF
and the two MDC factions.

Nelson Chamisa, the spokesman for a faction led by the MDC's founder leader,
Morgan Tsvangirai, said Wednesday that they would be fielding Emmanuel
Chisvuure as their candidate.

Chisvuure is a former information and publicity youth secretary in Budiriro.
Chamisa rejects suggestions that the confusion within the party could split
the vote and favour the Zanu PF candidate.

He said: "There is no issue of splitting the vote as there is one MDC. Our
supporters also know that there is only one MDC."

The other faction of the party led by former NASA rocket scientist Professor
Arthur Mutambara was expected to release the name of its candidate late
Thursday following a meeting of the national executive.

However, New understands that Gabriel Chaibva is likely to be
the candidate.

The two MDC factions are smarting from defeats in the Chegutu mayoral polls
and ward elections in Bulawayo at the hands of Zanu PF.

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