The ZIMBABWE Situation
An extensive and up-to-date website containing news, views and links related to ZIMBABWE - a country in crisis
Return to INDEX page
Please note: You need to have 'Active content' enabled in your IE browser in order to see the index of articles on this webpage

Zimbabwe tobacco farmers hold on to crop over low prices

Zim Online

Wed 26 April 2006

      HARARE - Zimbabwe's tobacco selling season kicked off to a slow start
as the Zimbabwe Tobacco Association (ZTA), advised growers to hold on to
their crop until prices improve by at least the third week of marketing.

      Prices ranged from US$0.60 to US$2 per kilogramme yesterday and the
ZTA - grouping the few remaining white farmers and the biggest tobacco
producers - said unless prices improved, farmers would not be able to remain
in business.

      Only 500 bales had been delivered to the auction floors by close of
business yesterday, a development that should worry the government that only
a day earlier had announced a 35 percent early delivery bonus for farmers in
a bid to quicken sales of tobacco that together with the minerals sector
generates the bulk of Zimbabwe's hard cash earnings.

      President Robert Mugabe's government is banking on the sale of 50
million kilogrammes of tobacco produced this year to help ease an acute hard
cash crisis gripping the southern African country since the International
Monetary Fund withdrew balance of payments support seven years ago.

      Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor Gideon Gono had earlier on Monday
announced fresh incentives for growers including the early delivery bonus
plus a new arrangement allowing farmers to receive payment for their crop in
local currency at the prevailing interbank rate.

      But the ZTA, grouping the few remaining white farmers and biggest
tobacco growers, said the interbank rate, which is virtually fixed at Z$100
000 to the US dollar, would put their members out of business.

      Tobacco growers, like other business operators in Zimbabwe, often have
to rely on the illegal but thriving foreign currency black market for hard
cash where the greenback fetches anything above Z$200 000.

      ZTA president James P de la Fargue said tobacco farmers were concerned
that minerals such as gold were now fetching much more than tobacco because
of the exchange rate being applied on tobacco.

      He said: "There is dismay because of the exchange rate that farmers
are disposing their foreign currency.

      "The last four months inflation (month-on-month) has been around 108
percent but the (interbank) exchange rate has been fixed at $100 000 to
US$1. We need something in the region of $180 000 to US$1 to remain viable
because most of the inputs are available at parallel market prices."

      It was not possible to immediately get comment on the poor start to
the tobacco selling from Gono who had said on Tuesday that his new
incentives would reward farmers and help them unlock working capital.

      Noting that production dropped 35 percent this year, De la Fargue
warned that unless viability problems affecting farmers were fully
addressed, the tobacco sector, the biggest single foreign currency earner
before Mugabe's land reforms, was headed for more troubled times.

      He said: "Tobacco plays a significant role in the national economy and
all those involved in the production would want to see production
increasing. But this is difficult when production was falling because of
viability problems."

      Zimbabwe produced between 45 million and 50 million kilogrammes of
tobacco this year a far cry from the 260 million kgs produced at its peak
before land seizures that began in 2000.

      Recent announcements by the government that it is inviting white
farmers back to the land are seen as an attempt to revive food production as
well as tobacco output and end a foreign currency shortage that is
responsible for acute shortages of fuel, electricity, essential medical
drugs and other basic commodities because there is no hard cash to pay
foreign suppliers. - ZimOnline

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Returning farms to whites shows Mugabe's land reforms have failed

Zim Online

Wed 26 April 2006

      HARARE - President Robert Mugabe's government's invitation of white
farmers back on the land is a sharp policy turn which signals its often
violent populist reforms have failed to achieve their intended goal of
eradicating poverty, analysts said.

      The government has invited members of the mainly white Commercial
Farmers' Union to apply for land despite having dispossessed them from 2000,
when veterans of Zimbabwe's independence struggle occupied white-owned

      But many of the black beneficiaries have failed to lift production to
the pre-2000 levels with analysts saying the new farmers did not have enough
inputs such as fertilizer and seed besides lacking adequate commercial
farming skills.

      "It goes to show there is no coherent policy, because different people
in government are saying different things. I think they are clutching at
straws," Anthony Hawkins, a University of Zimbabwe business professor said.
"I think they see this as a potential of increasing a bit of a buck (to
dwindling exports)," he added.

      Commercial agriculture, once Zimbabwe's top employer accounting for 70
percent of formal jobs and the largest export earner, racking in US$800
million at its peak, has plunged in the aftermath of Mugabe's land seizure

      Foreign currency shortages are a major highlight of Zimbabwe's deep
economic crisis, which is also marked by the world's highest inflation rate
and shortages of food and fuel.

      Mugabe has previously vowed never to give back land to whites but
Security Minister Didymus Mutasa, also in charge of land reform and
resettlement, has appeared to soften the government's stance saying it is
considering land applications from white farmers.

      This would appear to be giving in to central bank governor Gideon
Gono's pleas to allow skilled white farmers back on the farms to help revive
an economy on the brink of total collapse.

      Although Mutasa has not expressly admitted returning land to whites,
analysts said the exercise was just as good as acknowledging that the hyped
about reforms had not produced the desired results.

      In its often defiant tone, the government says it has been let down by
farmers who abuse cheap credit and subsidised fuel by diverting it to a
thriving black market.

      "This would seem like a shift in government policy but there could be
a realisation that there are skills which are not being used that could be
harnessed for improvement in the economy," James Jowa, an economist with a
Harare financial services firm said.

      The analysts however doubted the government's commitment to the
agriculture sector pointing to its failure to come up with the much talked
about 99-year leases after passing a constitutional amendment that
effectively nationalised all land in 2005.

      They noted that the government was still evicting some farmers to
date, further eroding confidence in a sector that has triggered an exodus of
foreign investors in the past six years over Harare's failure to respect the
sanctity of property rights.

      "Farming is a very risky business especially for one who is not on the
land because there is no guarantee that the land will be yours anyway even
if you have a 99-year lease," Hawkins said.

      A recent World Bank study on Zimbabwe's agriculture sector revealed
that the government's land reforms had redistributed 80 percent of farmland
and improved racial distribution of agricultural property, but had increased

      Yesterday, the tobacco auctions opened on a low note with farmers
complaining over low leaf prices, with some fetching prices as low as
US$0.60 per kilogramme.

      Analysts however said the current land tenure, where farmers do not
have titles would see the agriculture sector continue to plummet as
investors keep on the sidelines despite official optimism of a rebound in
the key sector.

      Aid agencies predict more than three million Zimbabweans will need
food aid this year after another failed harvest despite above normal rains
in most parts of the country.

      Zimbabwe, once a bread basket of the region, has been turned into a
net food importer as harvests decline every year with critics blaming the
land seizure drive although Mugabe argues that the economy has been
sabotaged by foreign powers opposed to his long rule. - ZimOnline

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Mayor says Harare must adopt sound economic policies to stop the rot

Zim Online

Wed 26 April 2006

      BULAWAYO - The mayor of Zimbabwe's second largest city of Bulawayo has
told visitors, including foreign business executives, attending the
country's trade fair that there would be no end to the country's economic
crisis unless the government adopted sound economic policies and acted to
restore confidence in the business sector.

      Mayor Japhet Ndabeni-Ncube, who was welcoming visitors and exhibitors
to the 47th trade fair that opened in Bulawayo on Tuesday, said Zimbabwe's
harsh economic climate made it difficult for businesses to remain afloat and
hampered potential investors.

      "There is therefore great need for positive responsiveness from the
government by way of initiating and maintaining sound economic policies that
will not only instil confidence in the business fraternity but sustain the
overall economic punch in the country," he said.

      "We also hope that this process will be supported by a viable and
sound economic recovery plan, with the right and correct policy measures
based on sound and balanced research," he added.

      Zimbabwe, with inflation of 913.6 percent and the world's highest such
rate outside a war zone, is one of the most inhospitable countries for
business in the world.

      Often company executives have to spend several hours on end agonising
over where to get foreign currency to import materials, electricity and fuel
to keep machines running while in the case of firms running farm-based
projects, they have to worry every day whether the government will not seize
their properties.

      The five day trade fair will be officially opened by Tanzanian
President Jakaya Kikwete.

      Only a dozen foreign companies mostly from Asia are participating at
this year's trade fair while companies from industrialised Western nations
have shied away from the trade exhibition that at its peak about six years
ago used to attract hundreds of European companies and was one of the
premier fairs in southern Africa. - ZimOnline

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zimbabwe central bank hikes rates in bid to curb inflation

Zim Online

Wed 26 April 2006

      HARARE - The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe on Tuesday announced a hike in
accommodation rates, in a move meant to curb rising inflation.

      In a circular to banks, RBZ chief Gideon Gono said secured overnight
accommodation would rise with immediate effect from 750 to 800 percent.
Unsecured overnight accommodation jumps from 785 to 850 percent.

      Gono, tasked by President Robert Mugabe to spearhead efforts to turn
around the comatose economy, said the rate hikes were because of a need to
maintain a tight monetary policy, characterised by maintenance of positive
real interest rates and short money market positions.

      The central bank has battled without much success to contain
inflation, labelled Zimbabwe's number one enemy by Mugabe.

      Year-on-year inflation ballooned to 913.6 percent in March from 782
percent the previous month and analysts expect the key rate to shoot past
the 1 000 mark in April.

      Zimbabwe, in its sixth year of an economic recession described by the
World Bank as unseen in a country not at war, has the highest inflation rate
in the world.

      The main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party blames
the economic crisis on repression and wrong policies by Mugabe, in
particular his seizure of land from whites that destabilised the mainstay
agricultural sector and caused severe food shortages.

      The veteran President, in power since Zimbabwe's 1980 independence
from Britain, denies ruining Zimbabwe's once brilliant economy and says the
country's problems are because of sabotage by Western governments opposed to
his land reforms.

      Meanwhile, Gono also said the RBZ would not go back on a new US
dollar-linked minimum capital requirement for financial institutions that
becomes effective on September 30 and which financial analysts say could
force some institutions to either fold or merge.

      Under the new dispensation, commercial banks will be required to have
minimum capital requirement equivalent to US$10 million, merchant banks,
finance houses and building societies will have a minimum capital of the
equivalent of US$7.5 million.

      Discount houses have their minimum capital requirement set at the
equivalent of US$5 million while asset management firms must prove they have
the equivalent of US$1 million to operate.

      "Compliance with these parameters as set out and pre-announced will,
thus, not be negotiable, and players in the banking industry are called upon
to take heed," said Gono, credited with bringing order to Zimbabwe's banking
sector after a crackdown 12 months ago that saw at least seven banks and
financial institutions forced to close or put under supervision. - ZimOnline

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zimbabwe inflation to top 1 000%

Mail and Guardian

      Johannesburg, South Africa

      25 April 2006 12:38

            By month-end Zimbabwe's year-to-year inflation rate will have
topped 1 000%, according to calculations by the regionally represented Imara
financial-services group. Fungai Tarirah, chief investment officer of
Harare-based Imara Asset Management Zimbabwe, says inflation benchmarking by
some of the country's larger companies actually puts the rate as high as 1

            He adds: "A month-on-month increase of only 16,6% will get us to
1 000% inflation, though if we maintain the month-on-month average of 22%
seen so far in 2006, the year-on-year reading will reach 1 051.0%.

            "In-house inflation computations from some companies canvassed
by our research unit range from 1 100% to 1 600%, depending on the import
content of the goods and services under review."

            The effectiveness of management's response to the
hyper-inflation challenge has become the critical factor when measuring
corporate value and performance.

            Tarirah notes: "The maxim 'cash is king' tells only part of the
story. Cash generated by business must hastily find its way into raw
materials, fuel, spares, capital expenditure or some other tangible asset
before it loses value.

            "The value of a Zimbabwean dollar is halving every 29 days, if
official inflation is to be believed. Only debtor balances that attract at
least 23% a month in interest are of any use."

            As inflation accelerates, other activities slow down.

            Tarirah explains: "Cash and near-cash assets deliver
sub-inflationary returns in the medium-to-long term, forcing business to
seek alternatives. Increasingly, companies are reluctant to sell their
product, opting to hold onto stock or hoard finished goods, selling only
what they need to meet monthly obligations.

            "As all participants along the value chain strive literally to
pass the buck, management's ability to avoid ungainly cash positions remains
a key factor when selecting stocks."

            As hyper-inflation continues to erode the value of the local
currency, safety is sought in real assets by businesses and investors alike.

            Exports provide no escape.

            Tarirah comments: "Numerous exporters have been increasing
local-market volumes at the expense of exports, largely because of the
foreign-currency remittance regime."

            The exchange rate has stagnated at Z$100 000 to the US dollar
for some time, yet the cost of US dollars rose 108% on the parallel market
in the first quarter of the year alone. At the same time, the effective rate
on export proceeds rose only 17%, squeezing export profitability.

            Tarirah says: "Inputs that go into export manufacturing are
denominated in Zimbabwe dollars and have to be paid for, something the
foreign currency merry-go-round cannot manage.

            "It thus makes more sense to sell on the local market where
pricing is not constrained and companies can factor in the cost of inputs.
This undoubtedly aggravates the country's deteriorating foreign-currency
situation." -- I-Net Bridge

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Coltart says: Mutambara faction is still viable


      With Violet Gonda
      25 April 2006

      Although the two warring MDC factions have been conducting their
separate rallies and activities there is still the outstanding issue of
ownership of the party name and assets. The MDC MP for Bulawayo South and
the party's former legal secretary David Coltart, who has been trying to act
as mediator to help find a resolution to the party's split, has said his
efforts have hit a snag.
      Speaking in a two part series on the program Hot Seat, Coltart said he
has been trying to get both sides to recognise that they could function
independently of each other and in a way that will ensure the struggle to
bring democracy was not tampered with or hindered in any way.
      But despite writing a letter to both sides setting out the contentious
issues and the process to resolve them, Coltart says he has only received a
response from the Arthur Mutambara led faction of the MDC.
      Some analysts have said the large turnouts for the Morgan Tsvangirai
led rallies and the recent defections from the other faction have made his
camp grow in confidence, with a feeling that it did not need to negotiate.
Coltart responded to this by saying, "Well I think it may entrench their
position on this but I think if it's their feeling it's unfortunate for a
variety of reasons: I think firstly, one cannot dispute the fact that
irrespective of what's happened in the last six months that some highly
significant leaders of the MDC have split away."
      He added, "It's wishful thinking that these people (in the Mutambara
faction) who were very effective members of parliament, can be said to be
irrelevant now."
      The legal expert also believes that if mediation fails it is not in
anybody's interest for this dispute to be resolved by the courts. "It is
very clear that the Tsvangirai faction is attracting a greater number of
people than the Mutambara faction, but that doesn't help in court." A court
hearing would mean the future of the opposition party would be left in the
hands of Zanu PF to decide.
      Many believe Tsvangirai is still a powerful force in Zimbabwe
politics. He appears to have the numbers behind him and the recent
defections from the Mutambara faction have led some to believe that that
side is literally falling apart.

      When asked if a side that is shrinking in numbers deserves any assets
Coltart responded, " Politics is all about marketing.the Tsvangirai faction
has the advantage at this stage that the main MDC is very closely linked to
Morgan Tsvangirai and it has been deliberately marketed in that way in the
last six years. and in the short term it is inevitable that wherever Morgan
Tsvangirai is, people will naturally link his presence to the main MDC."

      But Coltart said this is not the end of the Mutambara faction as it
has formidable people. He said people like Professor Welshman Ncube,
Priscilla Misihairambwi Mushonga and Paul Temba Nyathi cannot just be
written off as they have also contributed to the struggle. "That is why
there needs to be mediation . and avoid the unseeingly sight of those former
comrades battling it out in the courts." He believes this faction has more
of a long-term view of the struggle.

      Right now the MDC under Tsvangirai is in the process of mobilising
people for mass action, while the pro-senate camp is shrinking, but Coltart
believes in the long term this group may be able to become a viable
opposition party. When asked if Zimbabwe has the time to wait for the
Mutambara camp Coltart said any patriotic Zimbabwean hopes that mass action
would be achieved but added; "On the other side they will say this is not
the first time that such an ambitious goal has been set. The tragedy of
Zimbabwe is that statements have been made in the past that Mugabe would be
gone by Christmas and it hasn't happened."

      The MP also expressed concern over what he described as the extreme
intolerance shown by many Zimbabweans about the right of the Mutambara
faction to believe what they believe. Coltart said the Mutambara faction has
the right to hold their views and all democratic people should respect that.

      Join David Coltart for more on this discussion on the programme Hot
Seat. Some have labelled Coltart as biased towards the Mutambara/Ncube
faction, although he has in the past refused to take a personal position.
Next Tuesday Violet will be asking David Coltart about his personal views on
which MDC group he is going to join? Who is primarily responsible for the
violence and break up of the MDC? And among other issues - whether or not he
now sees the MDC as a viable party that can lead mass action?

      SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

White farmers spurn Mugabe's lease offer

Independent, UK

By Basildon Peta In Johannesburg
Published: 25 April 2006
White farmers evicted from their land in President Robert Mugabe's violent
land seizures are likely to spurn his offer to get their land back and help
in reversing Zimbabwe's economic collapse.

In a major policy U-turn, Mr Mugabe's embattled regime, fighting soaring
inflation close to 1,000 per cent and 80 per cent unemployment, offered
99-year leases to farmers for their land in a desperate attempt to revive
Zimbabwean agriculture, which has all but collapsed.

But many of the farmers are not impressed. Even as the government was
extending its olive branch at the weekend, Mr Mugabe's militant supporters
violently evicted two farmers in Zimbabwe's Midlands Province.

"I have long stopped taking this government seriously and I see no sincerity
in its promise to give land back," said Hans Oosthuizen, a farmer who lost
his land and is now working in South Africa.

"I know many of my colleagues feel the same and I don't see them abandoning
whatever they have started in foreign lands to rush back into Mugabe's

A farmer still operating in Zimbabwe said those most likely to accept the
99-year leases were the 300 farmers who remained on their land after
surviving the six years of violent land seizures which saw about 4,000
others being evicted.

"I think most of the offers for leases will be accepted by these guys
because they have no other option but to try and get back into farming to
survive," said the farmer, who asked that he should not be identified. "But
agriculture will never be the same again."

Many of the evicted farmers relocated to neighbouring countries, mainly
Mozambique, Zambia, Malawi and South Africa. Others went as far as Nigeria,
while others left farming altogether and migrated to get new jobs or settle
with children in Europe, America, Australia and New Zealand.

Others moved to settle in Zimbabwe's towns and cities while awaiting the
outcome of their legal challenges to the seizures. Hopes were dashed when Mr
Mugabe changed the constitution to nationalise all farmland and nullify
their court applications.

White farmers evicted from their land in President Robert Mugabe's violent
land seizures are likely to spurn his offer to get their land back and help
in reversing Zimbabwe's economic collapse.

In a major policy U-turn, Mr Mugabe's embattled regime, fighting soaring
inflation close to 1,000 per cent and 80 per cent unemployment, offered
99-year leases to farmers for their land in a desperate attempt to revive
Zimbabwean agriculture, which has all but collapsed.

But many of the farmers are not impressed. Even as the government was
extending its olive branch at the weekend, Mr Mugabe's militant supporters
violently evicted two farmers in Zimbabwe's Midlands Province.

"I have long stopped taking this government seriously and I see no sincerity
in its promise to give land back," said Hans Oosthuizen, a farmer who lost
his land and is now working in South Africa.

"I know many of my colleagues feel the same and I don't see them abandoning
whatever they have started in foreign lands to rush back into Mugabe's

A farmer still operating in Zimbabwe said those most likely to accept the
99-year leases were the 300 farmers who remained on their land after
surviving the six years of violent land seizures which saw about 4,000
others being evicted.

"I think most of the offers for leases will be accepted by these guys
because they have no other option but to try and get back into farming to
survive," said the farmer, who asked that he should not be identified. "But
agriculture will never be the same again."

Many of the evicted farmers relocated to neighbouring countries, mainly
Mozambique, Zambia, Malawi and South Africa. Others went as far as Nigeria,
while others left farming altogether and migrated to get new jobs or settle
with children in Europe, America, Australia and New Zealand.

Others moved to settle in Zimbabwe's towns and cities while awaiting the
outcome of their legal challenges to the seizures. Hopes were dashed when Mr
Mugabe changed the constitution to nationalise all farmland and nullify
their court applications.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zimbabwe Government, White Farmers Edge Toward Compromise


By Blessing Zulu & Carole Gombakomba
      24 April 2006

The Zimbabwean government has begun to process some 200 applications from
white commercial farmers who are hoping to continue - or resume -
agricultural activity.

An official with an organization representing the farmers said that the
understanding of the Commercial Farmers Union is that state approval of an
application will be followed by the granting of a 99-year lease on the
farming property in question. But Harare has not promulgated or even
explicitly stated a new agricultural land use policy.

A senior Agriculture Ministry official, declining to be named, said the
first applications to be processed will be for horticultural farms that
produce flowers for export, bringing in foreign exchange which has been in
extremely short supply for many months.

Agriculture Minister Joseph Made declined to comment, referring all
questions to State Security Minister Didymus Mutasa, who is also in charge
of land reform. Mutasa said the issuance of leases is strictly a Zimbabwean
matter and also declined to comment.

Reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe asked Commercial
Farmers Union President Douglas Taylor-Freeme what he understood to be the
new policy.

Though some farmers saw hope in these developments, Justice for Agriculture,
which represents about 4,000 dispossessed white farmers, says the 99-year
leases are not a viable solution as they would neither serve as collateral
and or be transferable.

Justice for Agriculture for Vice Chairman John Worsely-Worswick told
reporter Carole Gombakomba that in contemplating such agreements with
Harare, the CFU is failing to recognize the disadvantages of long-term
leases compared with traditional tenure

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

As Zimbawe's economy collapses, a tiny few make huge profits

In the second of our dispatches from inside Robert Mugabe's tightly
controlled country, the Guardian discovers one of the world's most surreal
and successful stock exchanges

Rory Carroll in Harare
Tuesday April 25, 2006
The Guardian

At one end of the stock exchange a man writes numbers on a whiteboard with a
blue marker; at the other brokers tap sums into large calculators. Shares
are bought and sold in crisp, verbal transactions; the deals noted on
ledgers filled with carbon paper. In the corner a man with a laptop, the
only computer in the room, keeps a record of the trading.
It resembles a scene from another era, but this is one of the world's
best-performing stock markets. In January alone it doubled in value and the
bull run is set to continue. Welcome to the surreal world of Zimbabwean

Inside this exchange, on the fourth floor of one of the less dilapidated
buildings on Nkwame Nkrumah Avenue, serious profits are being made while
outside, businesses are collapsing, driving millions of people into penury.

Zimbabwe has the fastest shrinking economy outside a war zone, with
unemployment pushing 80% and inflation a rampant 913%. But amid the meltdown
a small minority - some legitimate investors, others crooks - is thriving.
"Where some see crisis others see opportunity," said Jonathan Waters, an
economist and commentator.

The winners in today's Zimbabwe are an eclectic group of share traders,
currency dealers, estate agents, small-time entrepreneurs and cronies of
Robert Mugabe's government, which is widely blamed for ruining what was once
of Africa's most developed economies.

The stock exchange, comprising 16 broking firms trading in the shares of 75
companies, including Barclays, British American Tobacco and First Mutual, is
perhaps the most incongruous success.

Distorted market

"It's quite embarrassing because the exchange is supposed to mirror the
reality of the economy," said Emmanuel Munyukwi, the institution's chief
executive. "We have benefited from the distortion of the market."

The stock market has stayed ahead of inflation and is worth $3bn (£1.68bn)
according to the official exchange rate - a dramatic surge. Under the more
realistic black market rate it is worth $1.5bn, still an impressive
performance in a crumbling economy.

Mr Munyukwi said negative interest rates and inflation had caused a stampede
for assets, which had driven share prices to record highs, even in real
terms. "Pension funds and other institutional investors have made a
killing." He admitted that there was some insider trading but said most
deals were legitimate. "The early bird catches the worm. You come in now and
reap the benefit."

However, the profits are on paper and could yet vanish because currency
controls make it difficult to take money out of the country.

Analysts say the stock market boom masks the fact that thousands of
businesses have gone bankrupt, slashing exports and halving the size of the
economy since 2000.

"Those who are flourishing are finding ways to make money that is not
productive," one western diplomat said. "Buying and selling in this way does
nothing for the economy. The economy is being hollowed out."

President Mugabe, 82, who has led the former British colony since
independence in 1980, has blamed the crisis on successive droughts which hit
commercial agriculture, and western powers who "punished" Zimbabwe for
taking over white-owned farms.

Printing money

Critics say the fault lies with his Zanu-PF government, which gave land to
loot-minded cronies and under-capitalised black peasants, frightened away
investors and then printed money to cover budget deficits - triggering
inflation which some say is close to 2,000%, more than double the official

The impact on living standards has been catastrophic. About 4.6 million
people rely on food aid; children miss school because their parents cannot
pay fees and hospitals lack basic equipment and medicine - handing a death
sentence to those with Aids and other treatable diseases.

Yet for some these are good times. "Property prices are steadily picking
up," said Justin Machibaya, the director of Homelux, a Harare-based estate
agency. A top-of-the-range house with four bedrooms, a swimming pool and
maybe a tennis court cost $160,000, up from $100,000 a few years ago, he

Institutional investors and individuals from South Africa and Britain were
eyeing property in the belief that prices would soar if and when Mr Mugabe
stepped down and investors regained confidence. "Everybody is waiting in
anticipation," Mr Machibaya said.

Some have already swooped, notably the controversial British tycoon Nicholas
van Hoogstraten. In addition to the stock market, he has invested heavily in
property and mines. Earlier this year he denied reports that he had given Mr
Mugabe $10m but made no secret of his financial engagement. "I'm probably
the sole supporter, up in the UK, of this country and I think I'm the sole
major investor in this country," he said.

Chinese and Indian firms have also snapped up mines and land at bargain
prices, filling a gap left by western investors skittish about the risks.
Some Zimbabweans welcome this investment as a lifeline, others condemn it as
exploitation of a country's desperation.

Perhaps the biggest winners are senior Zanu-PF officials who have helped
themselves to the best farms and assets. Three cabinet ministers, Joseph
Made, Christopher Mushowe and Didymus Mutasa, have been accused of looting
Kondozi farm, a once thriving vegetable concern in Manicaland, which is now
in ruins. Harare city council reportedly plans to buy 329 sedans and pick-up
trucks for its managers and staff, while the capital's state-appointed
mayor, Sekesai Makwavarara, has been accused of buying a plush house from
the council for just 5% of its market value. The reserve bank governor,
Gideon Gono, is said to be building a huge mansion.

Some members of the elite are not ashamed to flaunt their wealth. Senior
army and government officials knock back doubles of Chivas Regal whisky at
the Big Mug, a Harare pub, running up tabs of the equivalent of several
hundred US dollars in the space of an hour.

With a soft drink costing Z$90,000 it takes bricks of notes to buy anything,
spawning a boom in demand for electronic note counters. Sales of the
Chinese-made devices are the one bright spot for the electronics industry.
"Everybody is buying them - the university, the council, hotels," said Botho
Chigwedere, a salesman at Arvee Wholesalers. "We've almost sold out."

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zimbabwe hospital fees skyrocket

Mail and Guardian

      Johannesburg, South Africa

      25 April 2006 09:03

            Fees at Zimbabwe's public hospitals have been increased by more
than 2 700%, Harare's Herald newspaper reported on Tuesday.

            Its website said the move formed part of a drive to improve the
quality of service in government hospitals.

            Consultation fees in the casualty departments in central
hospitals had jumped from Z$300 to Z$1-million while provincial and general
hospitals would charge ZIM800 000.

            District and mission hospitals would now charge Z$400 000. The
new fees -- which had been approved by Cabinet -- came shortly after a 100%
fee hike by private doctors, clinics and hospitals.

            The Herald said public hospitals had for a long time been
failing to provide quality services and facilities owing to poor financial

            This was largely because the Z$300 they charged was no longer

            Very few people could lay their hands on a Z$100 note these days
as mostly higher denominations were now being used.

            Consultation fees in the outpatients departments at central
hospitals were now pegged at Z$760 000 while children will pay Z$80 000

            When admitted to an intensive care unit, one could now expect to
pay Z$8,5-million a day while maternity fees would start from Z$1,3-million
per day.

            In theatre, people could now expect to pay Z$105 000 per minute.

            Deputy Health Minister Dr Edwin Muguti said the government had
revised the fees and charges to improve on service delivery.

            "We also want to improve efficiency through rational use of
services. I am sure you are aware that the referral chain has been under
threat because of the small amounts that our hospitals have been charging,"
he said.

            "These increases should lead to a decongestion of casualty
departments in our hospitals, leaving specialised personnel to deal with
emergency cases only."

            People suffering from tuberculosis, leprosy, those aged 65 and
above, and those in need of anti-retrovirals would be exempted from
paying. - Sapa

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

JAG Open Letter Forum No 414



Please send any material for publication in the Open Letter Forum to with “For Open Letter Forum” in the subject line.




Letter 1                   Michael and Judy Carter




Dear JAG,


The latest plan to reinvent Zimbabwe's Land Reform program is called "Corporate Farming". Under this scheme the Government lease out land to corporates, like Innscor or Colcom who in turn sublet farms back to individuals.Under this plan, farms can be returned to their former owners under the banner of "Production".It appears like a WIN/WIN situation.It is a win for the farmers who can go back to their farms while keeping their Title Deeds and start farming again with access to very cheap money, while the Government has the responsibility of clearing  off the re-settled farmers .It is a win for the Government who will be able to point to a successful land reform which is finally paying off and take the credit for being able to feed the country in 2007. How insane is it that it will be the white farmers who finally make a success of the Land Reform!  Naturally the Commercial Farmers Union is amending its constitution so that it can be a part of this process.


In 1998 the Zimbabwe Government agreed to a Land Reform Program based on transparency and poverty alleviation.By initiating this Land Conference the British effectively internationalized Zimbabwe's Land Reform Program and cut the apron strings with its former colony.This powerful agreement,sponsored by international donor agencies, the World Bank,Britain and the US was central to the way forward for the Commercial Farmers Union(C.F.U.) at the time. In subsequent years this agreement was ignored by the Zimbabwe Government.The reason they reneged on their agreement began with the Referendum in 1999 when the CFU urged its members to vote against the Government proposed amendments which included the acquisition of land without compensation.The result was an open declaration by the President that white farmers were"enemies of the state"and it proceeded to institute an illegal violent,often murderous policy of forced removal of farmers and the workers.In spite of historical proof that two wrongs never make things right,the rationalization for this was based on "historical correction of injustice".


At the same time the opposition MDC was formed.They were treated with the same venom.The result of this period of madness is the silent genocide which is creeping across our land; as the destruction of our currency kills off the weak, the sick,the old,and the rapidly increasing  number of destitute people.


Many people feel the price of following their conscience and standing up for justice is now too high.


Those who make this decision to return to their farms under the same Government which destroyed their lives and murdered their friends must take a serious look at their own motives and be aware of history.


Severe repression yields one of three characteristic responses;


The call to conviction, which risks death;

The aim to survive, which involves compromise, which involves delicately balancing on a fence;

The desire to collaborate results in extending and strengthening the power of the oppressors.


It is  established  that the sins of the fathers will come back to haunt the children.This is rooted in Universal Values which find their expression in humans in the form of their conscience.This small voice of calm speaks to us and we know what is right.Those who choose to shake hands with the devil may suppress their conscience for a while but they are feeding the guilt and shame which becomes alive inside them. Their children will not thank them for it.


The time for going back to certain farms will come. Justice comes to those who are patient.


Michael and Judy Carter





Letter 2                   Cathy Buckle


Dear Family and Friends,


I don't know why, but after a short stay outside of Zimbabwe, and with things as tense as they are, you come back into the country and expect something to have happened. Its hard to believe that with inflation at 913% the country can carry on, the people can survive and tolerate or that anything can be maintained at all. Amazingly though, a fortnight has passed since my last letter and everything in Zimbabwe seems to be the same as ever.

Coming back into the country by road and at night took me back in time 40 years. On the main highway I travelled, for mile after mile the roadside vegetation has not been cut and golden grass, 6 foot high, waves and sways, dipping into the road as you pass. On either side of the road and in the valleys there are no lights from farms anymore and in the distance - as far as you can see in any direction - there is only darkness, not even an orange glow on the horizon from a big town or city. The sight of the bending grass and the intense darkness took me back to journeys in remote country areas during my childhood.  Journeys sitting in the back of the family station wagon, elbowing siblings and squabbling, looking out into the darkness watching for eyes. 40 years on though, and the roadside darkness is not from a sparsely populated countryside but from mile after mile of empty or subsitence level farms. Farms once overflowing with production, powered by generators when necessary, which ensured the lights stayed on over vast fields of export flowers and vegetables and kept cold rooms humming day and night. The farms now are just silent and dark.

The lack of urban lights in Zimbabwe these nights is from major and widespread power cuts. On the night of my journey the electricity had apparently been off in an area covering three main towns and over 100 kilometres for twelve hours. The long roadside grass is from municipal negligence - there are no excuses for it - we have abundant manpower due to massive unemployment and pay exhorbitant rates every month in all rural and urban areas. The lack of road signs and reflective lenses to give some light in the night are the result of people desperate for money removing anything and everything they come across - even tin road signs and little squares of shiny material buried in the tar.

The only thing about travelling at night that is not reminiscent of 4 decades ago is that now there are no eyes in the dark. As a child I remember watching the road ahead and being filled with excitement, anticipation and even a little fear as the night time world came into view and raced passed in fleeting glimpses. The eyes of wild animals used to be caught, just for a split second in the  car headlights - hares, antelope, civet and genet cats, mongoose and other creatures you couldn't identify but whose eyes glowed orange, even red as you passed. Now you see nothing, just nothing; the animals seem poached almost out of existence but still you watch, ever hopeful, mesmerized by the long grass bending and swaying along the roadsides. Zimbabwe is staggering back in time and still there seems nothing happening to halt the regression. It is, however, very good to be home and, like looking for eyes in the night, I remain ever hopeful. Until next week, love Cathy. Copyright cathy buckle  22 April 2006.
My books "African Tears" and "Beyond Tears" are available  from:




Letter 3                   ROB MILBANK UPDATE


Dear all

This letter is long overdue, please forgive me for taking so long to write and thank you, so many of whom I do not even know!

We have been back in Zimbabwe since October last year, with a three week visit back to the Cape in January, partly for a Holme wedding, and mostly for Rob to have various check ups. The wedding was a fantastic opportunity for many of Rob's family to see him, most of them had not seen him since his collapse, and for Harry and Jack to see the remarkable progress Rob has made. All his specialists were delighted with his progress in the three months we had been back in Zim, so at least we know we made the right move coming home.

Zimbabwe is a remarkable country in so many ways, despite my concerns that we would not find the various therapists that Rob would need, we have been incredibly lucky and found a wonderful Neuro muscular Massager, who Rob sees three times a week, and we have now tracked down a speech therapist, who trained at UCT, and seems very competent and full of good ideas. Of course this all costs a great deal, Rob's physio three times a week at present comes to just under $9 000 000 a week, and the cost goes up monthly, for some reason it is not claimable on medical aid. But with all of your great generosity, we at least can continue with the therapy without worrying about how we are going to pay for it. Rob will eventually have to go back to Cape Town, and have an embolization to seal off the remainder of his AVM, which is not destroyed by the radio therapy, this will probably happen sometime towards the end of next year. I am not sure whether or not we have to return to Jo'burg this year to see his Neurosurgeeon for a scan to see how the radiotherapy is going. It should start to work round about now, but is a slow process. We also have him on a classical musical programme, which is supposed to work wonders for people with brain damage. While we were in Cape Town he did a few sessions of light therapy, which I am trying to find someone to do here in Zim. And probably the best thing to happen to Rob in the last year was his double vision going while we were in the Cape. It returns occasionally when he is very tired, but at least he can now watch the TV without seeing 4 batsmen on a cricket pitch!

Rob has his ups and downs; right now he is in trouble with everyone. He has been nagging me to get on a horse for weeks, finally a couple of weeks ago I relented, and got the quietest horse we have ready for him. Unfortunately, having been kicked in the stomach a few times by Rob's bad leg as I tried to heave him over, she decided it was time to depart, and he fell down hitting his arm on the step we were trying to get him on from. He has a small fracture in his right arm. He remains undaunted and is determined to try again, so before the next time, we shall build a proper mounting block, and get a friend who has done riding for the disabled to come out and show us how to get him on. He has put on a great deal of weight, and my shoulder is still in shock from having his full weight sitting on it, as I was trying to heave him over.

We are off to Mana Pools on the 1st May, which we are all longing for, Rob needs a break from the relentless physio he has, and I hope the Zambezi Valley will be just the stimulation he needs! It is a long and slow road, and the progress seems so slow for Rob and I, but in fact is probably quite remarkable. Rob has managed to retain his wonderful sense of humour, pretty much throughout, which has kept us going.

We have finally got our garlic crop planted, and should hopefully export again this year to Holland. Last year it was grown for us by one of the managers on Forrester, who did a fantastic job, and he is on hand to give me all the advice I need. I am having to learn a great deal, in a hurry, but hopefully it will keep us going, and it gives Rob something to do, and boss me around about!

And of course without the incredible support in so many different ways from our families, friends and others, we would never have got this far! A very big thank you to you all, for your incredible kindness, please know that it is enormously appreciated by us both

Our love and thanks to you all


Rob and Amanda Milbank



All letters published on the open Letter Forum are the views and opinions of the submitters, and do not represent the official viewpoint of Justice for Agriculture.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

DRAFT Interception of Communications Bill, 2006


April 2006
This Bill has not yet been gazetted and therefore may change substantially before it appears in the Government Gazette. It is being circulated to facilitate wide discussion around the Bill's contents and application.

Interception of Communications Bill, 2006
The purpose of this Bill is to establish an interception of communication monitoring centre and for the appointment of persons to that centre whose function shall be to monitor and intercept certain communications in the course of their transmission through a telecommunication, postal or any other related services system. In more detail the Bill provides as follows:
The Bill’s short title is set out in clause 1. Clause 2 defines the terms that are used throughout the Bill.
This Part will establish a monitoring centre which shall be the sole facility through which authorised interceptions shall be effected. The centre shall be controlled and operated by designated technical experts.
The persons who are authorised to make applications for interception of communications include the Chief of the Defence Intelligence, the Director-General of the President’s department of national security, the Commissioner of the Zimbabwe Republic Police and the Commissioner-General of the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority. Under this Part the Minister is authorised to issue an interception warrant to authorised persons where there are reasonable grounds for the Minister to believe (among other things) that a serious offence has been or is being or will probably be committed or that there is threat to safety or national security of the country. The warrant issued by the Minister shall be valid for a period not exceeding three months and must specify the name and address to which the interception shall take place. Any communication which has been intercepted in terms of any warrant shall not be disclosed to any other person with the exception where the information may be required in any proceedings in any court. No court shall accept as evidence where such evidence has been obtained by means of any interception committed in contravention of this Act. Furthermore a telecommunication service provider is required to install hardware and software facilities and devices to enable interception of communications and also that the telecommunication service can store communication-related information and how the service could be connected with the communication monitoring centre or the manner in which information can be re-routed to the monitoring centre. The telecommunication service provider shall be assisted or compensated for the assistance he or she may provide to the Authority or the monitoring centre.
This Part will provide for the general prohibitions and exemptions from disclosure of any information which an individual may have obtained in the exercise of his or her duties in terms of this Act. Only authorised persons who execute an interception or assist with the execution of any intercepted communication may disclose such contents to the extent that such disclosure is necessary for the proper performance of the official duties of the authorised person. The authorised person is also required to destroy as soon as possible after use any intercepted material. Authorised persons may also make applications to the for a detention order to detain any postal article where the authorised person has reasonable suspicion that that article in the custody of a licensee contains anything in respect of which an offence or attempted offence is being committed.
Any person who may be aggrieved by a decision made by the Authority, authorised person may appeal to the Minister and the Minister may confirm, vary or set aside the decision appealed against. If an aggrieved person is not satisfied with the decision of the Minister, he or she may appeal against it to the Administrative Court.
The Minister under this Part is empowered to make regulations providing for all matters which by this Act are required to be prescribed or which in his opinion, are necessary or convenient to be prescribed.
Interception of Communications Bill, 2006
Arrangement of Sections
1.       Short title.
2.       Interpretation.
3.       Control of interception.
4.       Monitoring centre.
5.       Authorised persons to make an application for interception.
6.       Issue of warrant.
7.       Scope of warrant.
8.       Nondisclosure
9.       Evidence obtained by unlawful interception not admissible in criminal proceedings.
10.   Assistance by postal and telecommunications service providers
11.   Duties of telecommunication service provider and customer.
12.   Notice of disclosure of information protected by security key.
13.   Interception capability of telecommunication service.
14.   Compensation payable to postal service provider or telecommunication service provider or protected information key holder.
15.   General prohibitions and exemptions.
16.   Disclosure of information by authorised persons.
17.   Disposal of intercept product.
18.   Application for a detention and examination order.
19.    Examination and accountability for detained postal articles.
20.   Appeals.
21.   Regulations
To provide for the lawful interception and monitoring of certain communications in the course of its transmission through a telecommunication, postal or any other related service or system in Zimbabwe; to provide for the establishment of the monitoring centre; and to provide for any other matters connected with or incidental to the foregoing.
ENACTED by the President and the Parliament of Zimbabwe.
1.       Short title
This Act may be cited as the Interception of Communications Act [Chapter ]
2.       Interpretation
“access”  means the technical ability to interface with a communications facility such as a    telecommunications line or switch to enable the interception of any communication carried on that facility;
“Agency” means the government telecommunications agency comprising telecommunications experts which has been designated to operate the monitoring facility and which give technical directions to service providers so as to ensure compliance of the provisions of this Act;
“Authority” means the Postal and Telecommunications Authority established by section 3 of the Postal and Telecommunications Act [Chapter 12:05] (Act No. 4 of 2000).
“authorised persons” means persons referred to in section 5
“call” means any connection fixed or temporary capable of transferring information between two or more users of a telecommunications system;
“call-related information” includes switching, dialling or signalling information that identifies the origin, destination, termination duration and equipment identification of each communication generated or received by customer or user of any equipment, facility or service provided by a service provider and where applicable, the location of the user within the telecommunications system;
“customer” means—
(a)     any person, body or organisation which has entered into a contract with the service provider for the provision of a telecommunication service to that person, body or organisation; or
(b)     any person to whom or any body or organisation to which a service provider provides a pre-paid telecommunication service;
“intercept”, in relation to communication which is sent by—
(a)     means of a telecommunication system or radio communication system means to listen to, record, or copy whether in whole or in part;
(b)     post, means to read or copy the contents, whether in whole or part;
“interception interface” means the physical location within the service provider’s telecommunications facilities where access to the intercepted communication or call-related information is provided;
“Minister” means the Minister of Transport and Communication or any other Minister to whom the President may from time to time assign the administration of this Act;
“monitoring centre” means a central monitoring apparatus designated to be the monitoring facility through which all the intercepted communications and call-related data of a particular interception target are forwarded to authorised persons;
“national security of Zimbabwe” includes matters relating to the existence, independence and safety of the State;
“party”, in relation to a communication, means a person whose access to the communication is or might reasonably be known by all other parties;
“warrant” means a warrant issued in terms of section 6.
(2) Any word or expression to which a meaning has been assigned in the Postal and Telecommunications Act [Chapter 12:05] shall have the same meaning when used in this Act.
3.       Control of Interception
(1)     Subject to subsection (2), no person shall—
(a)     intercept any communication in the course of its transmission by means of a telecommunication system or radio communication system unless—
(i)                  he or she is a party to the communication; or
(ii)                 he or she has the consent of the person to whom, or the person by whom, the communication is sent; or
(iii)               he or she is authorised by warrant;
(b)     intercept any communication in the course of its transmission through the post unless—
(i)                  he or she has consent of the person to whom, or the person by whom, the communication is sent; or
(ii)                 he or she is authorised by warrant.

(2)     Subsection (1) shall not apply to the bona fide interception of a communication for the purpose of or in connection with the provision, installation, maintenance or repair of a postal, telecommunication or radio communication service.
(3)     Subject to subsections (1) and (2) any person who intentionally intercepts or attempts to intercept, or authorises or procures any other person to intercept or attempt to intercept, at any place any communication in the course of its occurrence or transmission shall be guilty of an offence and liable to pay a fine not exceeding level fourteen or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding five years or both such fine and such imprisonment.

4.       Establishment of a Monitoring centre
(1)     There shall be established a centre to be known as Monitoring of Interception of Communication Centre (MICC).
(2)     The monitoring centre shall be the sole facility through which authorised interceptions shall be effected.
(3)     The monitoring centre shall be manned, controlled and operated by designated technical experts from the agency.
(4)     The technical experts shall give technical advice to—
(a)     authorised persons;
(b)     to service providers;
on the implementation of the interception of communications in terms of this Act.
5.       Authorised persons to make an application for interception

(1)     An application for lawful interception of communications shall be made by the following persons—
(a)     the Chief of Defence Intelligence or his or her nominee;
(b)     the Director-General of the President’s department of national security or his or her nominee;
(c)     the Commissioner of the Zimbabwe Republic Police or his or her nominee;
(d)     the Commissioner General of the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority or his or her nominee.

(2)     An application in terms of subsection (1) shall be made to the Minister for him or her to issue a warrant for the interception of communications.

(3)     An application in terms of subsection (1) shall indicate the following information—
(a)     person or customer, if known, whose communication is required to be intercepted; and
(b)     postal service provider or telecommunication service provider to whom the direction must be addressed, if applicable; and
(c)     specify the nature and location of the facilities from which, or the place at which, the communication is to be intercepted, if known; and
(d)     contain full particulars of all the facts and circumstances alleged by the applicant in support of his or her application; and
(e)     indicate, if applicable, whether other investigative procedures have been applied and have failed to produce the required evidence or must indicate the reason why other investigative procedures reasonably appear to be unlikely to succeed if applied or are likely to be dangerous to apply in order to obtain the required evidence.

Provided that this section shall not apply to an application for the issuing of a warrant in respect of a serious offence governed by the Serious Offences Act [Chapter 9:17];
(f)       indicate the period for which the interception is required to be issued; and
(g)     indicate the basis for believing that communication relating to the ground on which the application is made will be obtained through the interception; and
(h)     any other information which may be required by the Minister for the Minister to make an appropriate decision.

6.       Issue of warrant
(1)     An interception warrant shall be issued by the Minister to authorised persons referred to in section 5 if there are reasonable grounds for the Minister to believe that—
(a)     a serious offence has been or is being or will probably be committed;
(b)     the gathering of information concerning an actual threat to the national security or compelling national economic interests of the country is necessary;
(c)     the gathering of information concerning the potential threat to safety or national security of the country is necessary;
(d)     the interest of the country’s international relations or obligation are threatened.
(2)     In the case of urgency or the existence of exceptional circumstances, an oral application may be made to the Minister by the authorised person if he or she is of the opinion that it is not reasonably practicable to make a written application, but in such case a formal application in terms of this Part shall be lodged as soon as possible with the Minister.
(3)     When circumstances so require, a warrant issued may be amended or revoked by the Minister or the Minister may issue certain directives to a service provider without the actual monitoring of a communication.
7.       Scope of warrant
A warrant shall—
(a)     be valid for such period not exceeding three months as may be specified therein but may, for good cause shown, be renewed for periods not exceeding one month at a time by the Minister;
(b)     specify the name and address to which the interception shall take place or the communication facilities to be intercepted;
(c)     order the service provider to strictly comply with the technical requirements as may be required by the agency;
(d)     set out the address, number, apparatus or other factors that are to be used for identifying the communications that is to be intercepted;
(e)     set out the premises in relation to which the interception shall take place and all the necessary details relating to the interception target.
8.       Non disclosure
No person shall disclose the contents of the whole or part of any communication which has been intercepted in terms of any warrant except in so far as it may be necessary for the purpose for which the warrant was issued, including proceedings in any court.
9.       Evidence obtained by unlawful interception not admissible in criminal proceedings
Evidence which has been obtained by means of any interception committed in contravention of this Act shall not be admissible in any criminal proceedings except with the leave of the court and in granting or refusing such leave the court shall have regard, inter alia, to the circumstances in which it was obtained, its potential effect on issues of national security and the potential unfairness to the accused that might be caused by its admission.
10.   Assistance by postal and telecommunications service providers
(1)     A postal or telecommunication service provider must ensure—
(a)     that their postal or telecommunications systems are technically capable of supporting lawful interceptions at all times;
(b)     that they install hardware and software facilities and devices to enable interception of communications;
(c)     that their services are capable of rendering real time, full time monitoring facilities for the interception of communication;
(d)     that all associated data is provided in real-time or as soon as possible upon call termination;
(e)     they provide one or more interfaces from which the intercepted communication shall be transmitted to the monitoring facility.
(f)       the intercepted communications is transmitted to the monitoring facility via fixed or switched connections as may be specified by the agency;
(g)     that they provide access to all interception subjects operating temporarily or permanently within their communications systems, and where the interception subject may be using features to divert calls to other communications service providers or terminal equipment;
(h)     that they provide, where necessary, the capacity to implement a number of simultaneous interceptions in order—
(i)       to allow monitoring by more than one authorised person;
(j)       to safeguard the identities of monitoring agents and ensure the confidentiality of the investigations;
(i)       that all interceptions are implemented in such a manner that neither the interception
target nor any other unauthorised person is aware of any changes made to fulfil the interception order.
(2)     A postal or telecommunication service provider who fails to give assistance in terms of this section shall be guilty of an offence and liable to a fine not exceeding level twelve or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding three years or to both such fine and such imprisonment.
11.   Duties of telecommunication service provider and customer
(1)     Before a telecommunication service provider enters into a contract with any person for the provision of a telecommunication service to that person, he or she must obtain—
(a)     the person’s full names, residential address, business address or postal address and his or her identity number
(b)     the organisation’s business name and address and its registration number where applicable;
(c)     any other information which the telecommunication service provider deems necessary for the purpose of this Act.
(2)     A telecommunication service provider must ensure that proper records are kept of information referred to in subsection (1) and where applicable, any change in such information which is brought to his or her attention.
12.   Notice of disclosure of information protected by security key
(1)     If an authorised person believes on reasonable grounds—
(a)     that a key to the protected information is in the possession of any person;
(b)     that the imposition of a disclosure requirement in respect of the protected information is—
(i)                  necessary in the interests of national security;
(ii)                 necessary for the purpose of preventing and detecting crime; or
(iii)               in the interests of the economic well-being of Zimbabwe

(c)     that the imposition of such a requirement is proportionate to what is sort to be achieved by its imposition;
(d)     that it is reasonably impracticable for the authorised person to obtain possession of the protected information in an intelligible form without giving the notice under this section;
the authorised person may by notice to the person whom he or she believes to have possession of the key, impose a disclosure requirement in respect of the protected information.
(2)     A notice under this section imposing a disclosure requirement in respect of any protected information must—
(a)     be in writing;
(b)     describe the protected information to which the notice relates;
(c)     relate to matters referred to in subsection (1);
(d)     specify the reasonable time by which the notice is to be complied with; and
(e)     set out the disclosure that is required by the notice and the form and manner in which it is to be made.
(3)     A notice under this section shall not require the making of any disclosure to any person other than—
(a)     a person giving the notice; or
(b)     such other person as may be specified in or otherwise identified by, or in accordance with, the provisions of the notice.
(4)     A person to whom a notice has been given in terms of this section and who is in possession of both the protected information and the key thereto—
(a)     may use any key in his or her possession to provide access to the information;
(b)     must, in providing such information, make a disclosure of the information in an intelligible form.
(5)     If, a person to whom a notice has been given, is in possession of different keys, or combinations of keys to the protected information—
(a)     it shall not be necessary for purposes of complying with the notice requirement, for the person given notice to disclose any keys in addition to those the disclosure of which, alone, is sufficient to enable the authorised person to whom they are disclosed to obtain access to the protected information and to put it in an intelligible form;
(b)     the person given notice may select which of the keys or combination of keys, to disclose for purposes of complying with the requirements.
(6)     If a person to whom a notice has been given—
(a)     has been in the possession of the keys to the protected information, but is no longer in possession thereof;
(b)     is in possession of any information that would facilitate the obtaining or discovery of the keys to protected information;
he or she must disclose all such information as is in his or her possession to the authorised person.
(7)     An authorised person to whom a key has been disclosed under this section—
(a)     shall use the key only in respect of the protected information, and in the manner and for the purposes, specified in the notice; and
(b)     must, on or before the expiry of the period or extended period for which the notice has been issued, destroy all records of the disclosed key if, in the opinion of the authorised person—
(i)                  no criminal proceedings or civil proceedings will be instituted in connection with such records; or
(ii)                 such records will not be required at any such criminal or civil proceedings for purposes of evidence or for purposes of order of court.
(8)     A person who fails to make the disclosure as required by the notice shall be guilty of an offence and liable to a fine not exceeding twenty million dollars or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding five years or to both such fine and such imprisonment.

13.   Interception capability of telecommunication service
(1)     Notwithstanding any other law, a telecommunication service provider shall—
(a)     provide a telecommunication service which has the capability to be intercepted; and
(b)     store communication-related information.
(2)     The Postal and Telecommunication Authority shall, after consultation with the Minister, within two months after the fixed date, issue a directive to telecommunication service providers determining—
(a)     the manner in which effect is to given to subsection (1) by the telecommunication service provider;
(b)     security, technical and functional requirements of the facilities and devices to be acquired by the telecommunication service provider to enable—
(i)                  the interception of communication in terms of this Act;
(ii)                 the storing of communication-related information;
(c)     the period for which compliance with such directive must be fulfilled.
(3)     A directive referred to in subsection (2) must prescribe the—
(a)     capacity needed for interception purposes;
(b)     technical requirement of the systems to be used;
(c)     connectivity with the interception monitoring centre;
(d)     manner of routing information to the interception monitoring centre;
(e)     any other relevant matter which the Authority deems necessary or expedient.
(4)     A telecommunication service provider shall, at his or her own expense acquire the facilities and devices determined in a directive issued in terms of subsection (2).
(5)     Any cost incurred by a telecommunication service provider under this Act in—
(a)     enabling—
(i)                  a telecommunication service to be intercepted; and
(ii)                 communication related information to be stored; and
(b)     complying with section (10);
must be borne by that telecommunication service provider.

14.   Compensation payable to postal service provider or telecommunication service provider or protected information key holder
(1)     The Minister, after consultation with the Authority, shall by notice in the Gazette prescribe—
(a)     the forms of assistance in the execution of a directive for which a postal service provider, telecommunications service provider or protected information key holder, must be compensated; and
(b)     reasonable tariffs of compensation payable to a postal service provider, telecommunication service provider or protected information key holder for providing such prescribed forms of the assistance.
(2)     The tariffs prescribed under subsection (1)(b)—
(a)     may differ in respect of different categories of postal service providers, telecommunication service providers or protected information key holders;
(b)     must be uniform in respect of each postal service provider, telecommunication service provider or protected information key holder falling within the same category.
(3)     The forms of assistance referred to in this section must include, in the case of—
(a)     a telecommunication service provider, the making available of a facility, device or telecommunication system; and
(b)     a protected information key holder—
(i)                  the disclosure of the key; and
(ii)                 the provision assistance
(4)     The compensation payable to postal service provider, telecommunication service provider or protected information key holder shall only be for direct costs incurred in respect of personnel and administration which are required for purposes of providing any of the forms of assistance in subsection (1).
15.   General prohibitions and exemptions
(1)     No person may disclose any information which he or she obtained in the exercise of his or her powers or the performance of his or her duties in terms of the Act except—
(a)     to any other person who of necessity requires it for the performance of his or her functions in terms of this Act;
(b)     if he or she is a person who of necessity supplies it in the performance of his or her functions in terms of this Act;
(c)     information which is required in terms of any law or as evidence in any court of law.
(2)     No—
(a)     postal service provider, telecommunication service provider or protected information key holder may disclose any information which he or she obtained in the exercise of his or her powers or the performance of his or her duties in terms of this Act; or
(b)     employee of a postal service provider, telecommunication service provider or protected information key holder may disclose any information which he or she obtained in the course of his or her employment and which is connected with the exercise of any power or the performance of any duty in terms of this Act.
(3)     Any person who discloses any information in terms of subsection (1) shall be guilty of an offence and liable to a fine of not exceeding ten million dollars or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding five years or to both such fine and such imprisonment.
16.   Disclosure of information by authorised person
Notwithstanding section 15, any authorised person who executes an interception or assists with the execution thereof and who has obtained knowledge of the contents of any communication intercepted may disclose such contents to the extent that such disclosure is necessary for the proper performance of the official duties of the authorised person.
17.   Disposal of intercept product
The authorised person shall destroy beyond any retrievable proportions as soon as possible after use any intercepted product.
18.   Application for a detention and examination order
(1)     A person authorised in terms of section 5 shall, if he or she suspects on reasonable grounds that a postal article in the custody of a postal licensee—
(a)     contains anything in respect of which an offence or attempted offence is being committed; or
(b)     contains anything that will afford evidence of the commission of an offence; or
(c)     is being sent to further the commission of an offence;
may apply to the Minister for a detention order to detain the postal article for the purpose of examination.
(2)     If the Minister, by written order to the authorised person, certifies that it is necessary in the interests of defence, public safety or public order for a postal article in the postal licensee’s custody to be detained and additionally, or alternatively, opened and examined, the postal licensee shall forth with comply with the order.
(3)     Section 5 shall apply with necessary changes to the information required to be furnished to the Minister before a detention order is issued.
19.   Examination and accountability for detained postal articles
(1)     On an appointed day the authorised person shall, in the presence of the postal licensee or his or her nominee, examine the detained postal article.
(2)     If, on examination of a postal article in terms of subsection (1)—
(a)     the suspicion that gave rise to its examination is substantiated, the postal article may be detained for the purposes of prosecution or destroyed or dealt with in such other manner as may be prescribed;
(b)     the suspicion that gave rise to its examination is not substantiated, the postal article shall be delivered to the person to whom it is addressed or to his or her representative on payment of any postage payable thereon.
20.   Appeals
(1)     Any person who is aggrieved by a decision made by the Authority, authorised person or agency may appeal to the Minister within fourteen days after being notified of the decision, and the Minister may confirm, vary or set aside the decision appealed against or make such other order in the matter as he or she thinks appropriate.
(2)     Any person who is aggrieved by a decision made by the Minister in terms of this Act may appeal against it to the Administrative Court within one month after being notified of the decision.
(3)     The Administrative court may in any appeal confirm, vary or set aside the decision or action appealed against and may make such order, whether as to costs or otherwise, the court thinks just.
21.   Regulations
The Minister may make regulations providing for all matters which by this Act are required or permitted to be prescribed or which, in his or her opinion, are necessary or convenient to be prescribed for carrying out or giving effect to this Act.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zimbabwe FX rate seen undermining tobacco output


      Tue Apr 25, 2006 8:31 AM GMT

By Stella Mapenzauswa

HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's fixed exchange rate will hurt producer
earnings at tobacco auctions opening on Tuesday, leading to another sharp
decline in output of the key foreign currency earner next season, industry
officials said on Monday.

Central bank Governor Gideon Gono announced a 35 percent bonus on all early
deliveries of the crop, but officials said this would still put producer
earnings well behind input costs.

"Essentially growers are going to be starting below their reward for the
risks that they take...and I believe that they are going to draw the
conclusions that there is certainly not the money to reward the risk in
tobacco growing," said James de la Fargue of the Zimbabwe Tobacco
Association, one of three farmers' groups in the sector.

Although the leaf -- which in the past used to rake in nearly a third of
Zimbabwe's export earnings -- is sold in U.S. dollars at the annual
auctions, growers are paid in local currency at a rate which has been fixed
at 1:99,201 since January under tight central bank controls.

The rate has however more than doubled to around 200,000 on a thriving black
market in line with inflation of 913.6 percent, sending production costs

"A doubling of costs and the fixed exchange rate does not make sense. We had
asked for 1:180,000 which we believed was a realistic exchange rate," said
de la Fargue.


The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) in January set limits on the local
dollar's fluctuations linked to actual trading volumes to halt the unit's
free-fall on the interbank market.

Under the new framework, trading volumes of at least U.S.$5 million should
be recorded each day to justify a movement in the rate, but foreign currency
traders say the market is only managing between $500,000 and $600,000.

On Monday Gono insisted the RBZ would not allow the exchange rate to move at
present trading levels, telling farmers and journalists: "Bring enough
volumes into the market (and) the exchange rate will move within the
parameters that were set."

Tobacco growers said Gono's hardline stance spelt doom for an industry whose
2006 output is seen down a third at 50 million kgs, worsening an economic
crisis marked by chronic shortages of foreign currency, fuel and food,
unemployment of some 70 percent and the world's highest rate of inflation.

"I wonder if perhaps you have seen it that tobacco is not worth growing in
this country?" Julius Ngorima, President of the Zimbabwe Association of
Tobacco Growers grouping some 30,000 mainly small-scale growers, asked the
RBZ governor.

Tobacco output hit a record high of 236 million kgs in 2000, but is on a
steady decline, with critics pointing largely to disruptions to agriculture
linked to President Robert Mugabe's controversial land reforms, which have
displaced the white farmers who used to produce most of the crop.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

People Power

Just been watching the celebrations in Nepal following the King's decision
to give in to popular demands that he restore the democratic structures in
that country. It is very moving to see this massive commitment by simple,
ordinary people in a very poor country demanding that they no longer be
treated as feudal slaves to a totalitarian regime but be granted the
democratic right to choose their own government.

My mind goes back to that night in Harare in 2002 when people were unable to
cast their votes because the regime here had reduced the number of polling
stations and the remaining ones were unable to cope. The sight of thousands
of people demanding their rights and standing in queues for days and nights
to do so was imprinted indelibly in my mind.

We traveled up to Mutare on Saturday for the MDC rally there and then went
through to Harare to be present at the rally in the Zimbabwe stadium in
Highfield. For those who are not aware of these grounds they are very much
the home of African Nationalism in Zimbabwe. It was to these grounds that
Mugabe came when he returned from overseas to lead his Party to contest our
first "one person, one vote" election.

By now many of you would have seen some images from these two events, but
being there was a very special experience. The Mutare rally was very well
attended - perhaps 25 000 people, but what stood out was the presences of
traditional leaders from the Province. One of the most senior Chiefs in the
country sent an aide and his most trusted lieutenant to the rally to accept
the gift of a ram from Roy Bennett who is in South Africa seeking asylum.

Their presence electrified the gathering and the simple dignity of the
ceremony involving the gift from Roy, who's the adopted son of Chief
Mutambara, was a special aspect of the rally. The people also presented
Morgan with a ram - a sign of respect and leadership. Aside from this, the
gathering was disciplined and attentive - people wanted to hear what was
being planned to resolve the national crisis. Roy phoned up after the rally
to find out how it had gone and was very emotional - wished he had been
there and feeling far away from home. But no doubt he is better off where he
is - no use to us in prison here on some trumped up charges

We then traveled through to Harare to the rally there, arriving at 14.00 hrs
and joining a huge crowd gathered to hear Morgan Tsvangirai. It was quite
apparent that he is the man of the moment - the people gave him a tumultuous
greeting when he arrived and when he rose to speak at 16.30 hours the
crowd - perhaps by then 40 thousand people, went completely quiet. They
wanted to hear what he had to say, what he was planning to do to get the
country back on its feet.

This completes the second phase of our programme leading up to the first use
of "people power" to try and change the course of events in Zimbabwe. The
first step was to get our Congress behind us and this we have - with great
success. Now we have held rallies in all major centers in the country -
again with good results, large crowds of very attentive and supportive
people. All these functions have been disciplined and gave the authorities
no problems - no violence and no heckling or disorderly behavior. They have
also demonstrated to all who watch events here, just who has the people's
hearts and hearing. They also demonstrate the extent to which popular
support for Zanu PF has waned in the past decade, references to Mr. Mugabe
were received with derision and laughter.

So where do we go next? The MDC is now pressing on with a Provincial
programme - we are holding meetings across the country in the next few weeks
to explain what it means to take the struggle to the streets using only
people power to influence events. Twelve teams have been formed and these
are now fanning out across the country meeting the people and alerting them
to what we expect from them during our winter of discontent.

Just to highlight their desperation and inability to get anything right, the
regime has announced another "recovery programme". The actual content of
this is so ridiculous it simply serves to emphasize how little this regime
has learned about managing the economy in the past 26 years. Mutasa, who for
months has been threatening the remaining commercial farmers, does a
complete about turn and says they are prepared to "allow" white farmers back
to their farms on certain terms.

No such desperation for Mugabe however, on Tuesday last week he went out of
his way to say that they would take 51 per cent of the mining industry -
because that is what being independent was all about. Needless to say, the
attempts to repair the damage done by the Minister when he leaked draft
legislation to this effect, was wiped out and the mining industry now knows
they face a bleak and uncertain future - at a time when commodity prices
seem to be unstoppable.

We have decided to give the bi-election in Budiriro a go - this seat was
held by a MDC Parliamentarian and the Party felt that we should not concede
this political space to Zanu PF. We held our primaries and a young candidate
(he is 32 years old) was elected. At the nomination Court on Friday we had
no problems getting his candidacy accepted but the Registrar General allowed
the Mutambara group to register with the same name as the MDC and the same
symbols. So we now have an election coming up with the potential for
confusion as to who is who.

This was quite deliberate - and we will have to counter it with a campaign
to explain the problem to our supporters in the area so that they do not
just vote MDC - but make sure they know who it is they are voting for. The
voter's roll closed two weeks ago and as of today we have been unable to get
a copy - for Z$10 million cash! But we hear that Zanu is still registering
voters in the rural areas adjacent to the constituency - the usual ruse in a

The motive of the Mutambara group in doing this is also not difficult to
understand - if you cannot gatecrash the Party then just be a spoiler. What
we are saying to our people in the Constituency is we know that the election
is largely irrelevant to the resolution of the crisis - but lets show the
rest where the peoples hearts are and turn out in large numbers to swamp the
rigging and the confusion that is being used to try and defeat the MDC on
this occasion.

Eddie Cross
Bulawayo, 26th April 2006

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

'Fearful' Zimbabwean MP Bennett joins queue


          April 25 2006 at 12:57PM

      By Boyd Webb and Sapa-AFP

      The department of home affairs has confirmed a request for asylum from
Zimbabwean opposition party MP Roy Bennett who fears the Mugabe regime wants
to kill him.

      But department spokesperson Nkosana Sibuyi said Bennett was at the
back of a long queue and was not sure when his request would be attended to.

      "I can confirm we have received his request but there is a backlog of
103 000 applications for asylum and he is not going to jump the queue simply
because of his status," Sibuyi said.

      A home affairs initiative designed to expedite the backlog in
immigration and asylum seeking requests was implemented early this year, but
Sibuyi refused to estimate when Bennet's application was expected to be

      "We are making headway," he said.

      Bennett, a senior member of the opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) was released from prison in June last year after serving eight
months for shoving the justice minister during a heated parliamentary

      He fled Zimbabwe last month after police said they wanted to question
him following the security services' discovery of an arms cache in eastern
Zimbabwe that they claimed was to be used to overthrown President Robert
Mugabe's government.

      "It's true he is looking for political asylum in South Africa," said
MDC spokesperson Nelson Chamisa. "The regime is after his head. We cannot
afford to have a dead hero," Chamisa said Bennett was last month elected
treasurer of one faction of the split MDC led by Morgan Tsvangirai.

      "He (Bennett) will continue to serve as the treasurer of the party"
from South Africa, Chamisa said.

      "Location is not a factor, but the critical thing is the contribution
to the struggle."

      In October 2004, Bennett was jailed after he pushed Justice Minister
Patrick Chinamasa to the floor during a rowdy exchange over land reform in

      Bennett lost his large coffee plantation in eastern Zimbabwe during
Mugabe's land reform programme launched in 2000, which saw nearly 4 000 of
the 4 500 white Zimbabwean large-scale commercial farmers evicted from their
land, which was then given to landless blacks.

      The lawmaker was in trouble again last month after the discovery of a
huge arms cache. Former soldier Mike Peter Hitschmann was identified as the
kingpin of an alleged assassination plot, and fled the country to avoid

      State authorities said Hitschmann, whom they described as a member of
a shadowy organisation called the Zimbabwe Freedom Movement (ZFM), was
involved in stashing arms at various locations in the country.

      Media reports said an AK-47 assault rifle, seven Uzi machine guns,
four FN rifles, 11 shotguns, six CZ pistols, four revolvers, 15 teargas
canisters and several thousand rounds of ammunition were found at
Hitschmann's home.

      The MDC has denied any links to Hitschmann and claims he is a member
of the police reserves.

      Zimbabwean Home Affairs Minister Kembo Mohadi said there were no
grounds for South Africa to grant Bennett political asylum.

      "We have never persecuted anybody in Zimbabwe," Mohadi said, adding it
was "peculiar" that Bennett was seeking asylum abroad "yet his boss
Tsvangirai is in the country making all the useless noise".

      This article was originally published on page 6 of Cape Times on April
25, 2006

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

DA: Government must act on Bennett asylum

Mail and Guardian

      Cape Town, South Africa

      25 April 2006 04:11

            The government must act to protect former Zimbabwean opposition
MP Roy Bennett and grant him political asylum in South Africa without delay,
the Democratic Alliance said on Tuesday.

            "The DA believes that Bennett's application for asylum provides
the South African government with the ideal opportunity to signal to Harare
that it believes there is a crisis in Zimbabwe, and that it will not
tolerate tyranny in the region," DA Chief Whip Douglas Gibson said in a

            Bennett fled to South Africa last month and has applied for
asylum, claiming his life is in danger from security forces in Zimbabwe.

            This follows allegations in that country's state-run Herald
newspaper that he is linked -- through the discovery of an arms cache -- to
a plot to topple President Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF government.

            According to media reports last week, Bennett has applied
through Lawyers for Human Rights for international asylum.

            Gibson said Bennett had lost his land, his livelihood and had
been jailed for his political beliefs.

            "The South African government was quick to provide a haven for
the unsavoury (deposed Haitian President) Jean Bertrand-Aristide, a known
abuser of human rights. It appears reluctant to offer Bennett the same
treatment despite his record of fighting for the rights of ordinary

            "I therefore strongly urge the South African government to
expedite Bennett's application for political asylum before more harm is done
to him and his family," he said.

            Bennett spent nine months in jail with hard labour following an
incident in May 2004 when he pushed Zimbabwe's Justice Minister Patrick
Chinamasa during a heated debate in that country's Parliament.

            The sentence he received was condemned at the time by
international human rights organisations as being grossly disproportionate
to the offence committed. -- Sapa

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Massive Murambatsvina remembrance activities set for two months

      By Lance Guma
      25 April 2006

      It's has been described by its co-ordinators as the 'second biggest
movement ever since the no vote campaign against Zanu PF's proposed
constitution of 2000.' Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition says it is organising 2
months of nationwide activities to commemorate the brutal destruction of
peoples homes and vending stalls under Operation Murambatsvina by police in
May last year. Starting on the 18th of May, the first week will be dominated
by overnight vigils, petitions, public meetings and various forms of theatre
linked to the plight of victims of the 'clean up.' Stretching up to the 18th
of July various other forms of protest and remembrance activities will

      Speaking to Newsreel on Tuesday Itai Zimunya, an advocacy officer with
the coalition, says they are working on building up momentum towards the
remembrance so as to make it a success. He is confident they have
decentralized the planned activities in a way that will make it hard for
security forces to disrupt. The coalition plans to have some form of
activity in every town and city in the country. Theatre performances and
public meetings in schools and churches accompanied by radio commentaries on
cassette will be used to highlight the negative effects of the government
sponsored clean up. Well-known theatre director and producer Davies Guzha is
said to have already pledged to assist in writing the plays.

      Zimunya says they want to take stock of everything that has happened
and use the opportunity to seek assistance from well-wishers eager to help
the victims. The remembrance will also raise political issues linked to the
much touted Operation Garikai which the coalition says has failed to provide
housing for the victims. 'We want to know where the Z$3 trillion ear-marked
for the project has gone to?' Zimunya added.

      SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Rocket scientist on the rocks?

Mail and Guardian

      Godwin Gandu

      25 April 2006 02:59

            Barely two weeks after meeting and assuring President Thabo
Mbeki of their strength and unqualified support, the pro-Senate faction of
Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) is on its
political death bed, analysts predict.

            The Mail & Guardian has been informed that 10 or more
legislators in the Midlands, Harare and parts of Matabeleland have already
made known their intention to jump ship from the pro-Senate faction led by
Arthur Mutambara.

            Three high-profile members of its national executive have
resigned from their posts just six months after going on a crusade against
their rival, Morgan Tsvangirai, of the anti-Senate faction of the MDC.

            The split followed the outcome of the October 2005 national
council elections in which Tsvangirai unilaterally decided against
participation in the senate elections, opposing secretary general Professor
Welshman Ncube, who favoured participation.

            The split saw the two camps, one now led by Mutambara, going on
rallies to woo the affections of the masses of Zimbabwe. Robert Mugabe and
his ministers, who initially labelled Mutambara a CIA agent when he appeared
to be a new threat, have now turned their attention to their old foe,
Tsvangirai. At the 26th independence celebrations recently, Mugabe warned
Tsvangirai that he would be "playing with fire" if he led demonstrations
against his government.

            When Tsvangirai's rallies continued to woo tens of thousands of
supporters and Mutambara drew only a trickle, questions were raised about
the long-term survival of Mutambara's faction.

            It wasn't long before the party's choice for Parliament chief
whip, Blessing Chebundo, businessperson Sam Siphepha Nkomo and national
chairperson and a former Tsvangirayi ally in the union movement, Gift
Chimanikire, resigned. Their resignations are a blow to Mutambara.

            "The others will hold on. Maybe they will continue to exist on
paper or in newspapers," says Dr Lovemore Madhuku, constitutional reform
pressure group chairperson. But there are no indications yet that Mutambara
is giving in.

            "All those in leadership positions who have developed cold feet
or doubts about the efficacy of our values and non-violence, democracy and
equality and respect for every Zimbabwean ...We call upon them to take this
opportunity to resign," Mutambara said, in a brief statement.

            His deputy secretary general, Priscilla Misihairambwi-Mushonga,
told the M&G the party "is happy with the defections" and "ours is not about
just a quest for power, but principles, values and the ideology that should
guide us.

            "It's a marathon. What is happening is not the final. This is
the beginning of a long run. If we are able to weather the storm, then the
leadership we shall retain would be principled and one to be proud of."

            "We are witnessing the decomposition of Mutambara's MDC," says
Professor Eldred Masunungure, of the University of Zimbabwe's political
science department.

            "It will not be able to retain the little support it had, let
alone attract new support," he added.

            "It is on the verge of collapse and maybe on its death bed."

            Masunungure expects that a number of Mutambara's faction members
may go back into business, academia or private lives, while others, with
"tails between their legs", may have to back to Tsvangirai "as prodigal
sons, as an act of repentance". Chimanikire is a "prodigal son candidate" he
said, while Welshman Ncube will go "back into academia", with Mutambara
eventually "finding common ground with Tsvangirai" and the party's deputy
president, Gibson Sibanda, "retreating into his private life" should
Tsvangirai refuse to resuscitate his (Sibanda's) faltering political

            A researcher at the Wits Institute for Social and Economic
Research, Robert Muponde, said: "Mutambara is not the kind of leader who
attracts the masses around him. When he talks he can be accused of setting
his party's agenda in terms of a foreign audience. He is quite arrogant in
his speech as he talks to people, not with them."

            MDC spokesperson Nelson Chamisa said Tsvangirai will not pursue
"recriminations and retributions against his erstwhile colleagues".

            "Tsvangirai's target is the Mugabe dictatorship," Chamisa
insisted. "It is a broad-based movement willing to accommodate anyone in the
fight for democracy."

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Mutambara-Led MDC Faction Fills Vacant Posts

The Herald (Harare)

April 24, 2006
Posted to the web April 25, 2006


THE MDC faction led by Professor Arthur Mutambara on Friday appointed new
members to their national executive to fill in the vacancies left by those
who have resigned.

Mr Jobert Mudzumwe takes over from Mr Gift Chimanikire as the national
chairperson while Mr Paul Themba Nyathi replaces Kwekwe MP Mr Blessing
Chebundo as the party's director of elections and Mr Shakespear Maya becomes
the deputy national elections' director. Mr Sam Sipepa Nkomo was the
national elections' director but like Chimanikire and Chebundo, threw in the
towel last week.

In a statement, the Mutambara faction that seems to be on the verge of
collapse said these appointees were "cadres fully committed to the party's
founding principles". The faction's secretary-general, Prof Welshman Ncube
said Mr Morgan Tsvangirai had promised those who were abandoning his faction
cellphones, cars, money and top posts. The Tsvangirai-led faction has since
denied coercing Chimanikire, Chebundo and Sipepa Nkomo to resign from the
Mutambara-led faction. The officials have also refuted Prof Ncube's claims
that they resigned out of their own volition.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Hwange Colliery Loses Export Deal

The Herald (Harare)

April 25, 2006
Posted to the web April 25, 2006

Jeffrey Gogo
Nairobi, Kenya

HWANGE Colliery Company (HCC) has lost out on a multi-billion-dollar coke
and coal export deal with a Kenyan firm due to capacity constraints.

Sources said Hwange had failed to supply an estimated 300 tonnes of coke to
Satnel Engineering of Kenya, despite entering into an agreement with the
company earlier this year. "Hwange could not meet the demand from Satnel,
which had abandoned its traditional suppliers from Germany," said a source
in Kenya. "Reasons given are that the company cannot supply enough for the
export market, as it still needs to meet high local demand. "We are not sure
where Hwange would pick it up from now, but Satnel is still quite interested
in the deal."

Asked for comment HCC managing director Dr Godfrey Dzinomwa said the group
had been handicapped by a number of challenges, mostly of a logistical
nature. He said: "Currently, we are strategising on new routes of
transporting the commodity, which we have ready and piled up waiting for
shipment. Initial plans were to use rail but this transport mode has not
been smooth." But analysts say Hwange could do well with a vigorous export
strategy, as a m ajor hard currency generator. "The cashflow problems at the
coal producer could be sorted out if exports were competitive," remarked one
analyst. "There is no reason why Hwange must suffer with such an
international saleable commodity." Last year, net profit surged $264,5
billion from $49,9 billion, translating into EPS of 149 460 cents. But
cashflow problems persisted owing to late payments by the company's major
customers, notably the Zimbabwe Power Company and Ziscosteel.

The two owe Hwange over $500 billion. Coal sales declined from 1 022 497 614
tonnes in 2004 to 831 614 tonnes last year owing to low production from its
new underground mine. Exports, at 39 067 tonnes, were down sharply on prior
year at 99 514. Over the last two years, Hwange has seen its fortunes
improving after re-engineering its business affairs, but recent Press
reports suggest the group could be in for another spell of red ink. The coal
miner is said to have suffered a major setback on its 3 Main un derground
mine, after hitting an aquifer. An aquifer is an underground layer of earth,
gravel or porous stone that yields water. At least US$160 million is
required to remedy the situation.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Mugabe pockets Obiang's US$10 million gift

New Zimbabwe

By Mzilikazi wa Afrika
Last updated: 04/25/2006 17:51:14
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe was paid a $20-million reward by the Equatorial
Guinea government as a "thank you" for foiling the attempted coup in the oil
rich African state, it has been established.

The Johannesburg-based Washing Line news agency reported Tuesday that it had
established that $10-million was paid into Mugabe's personal bank account
and another $10-million went to his government.

A Riggs Bank employee, where the Equatorial Guinea government had a string
of bank accounts, confirmed this week that the institution was instructed by
its client to transfer the money to Mugabe and his government.

The Zimbabwean government allegedly used the $10-million towards settling
their debt with the International Monetary Fund [IMF] in December last year.

George Charamba, Mugabe's press secretary, insisted the allegations were

Charamba said: "We are a very proud people and we will never depend on
handouts. Because we have managed to pay the IMF, people then think we got
it from a Father Christmas."

He said Zimbabwe would never have accepted a 'thank you' from Equatorial
Guinea government in a monetary form.

He said: "The IMF had asked us where did we get the $10-million from and we
told them that it came from our export activities."

Equatorial Guinea President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo has already
presented Mugabe with the Grand Collar of the Order of Independence "in
recognition of the great action by the people and government of Zimbabwe and
by Mugabe in person for the defence of the interests of the people of
Equatorial Guinea" in November 2004.

The Zimbabwe government arrested 68 suspected mercenaries at Harare Airport
while they were in transit to Equatorial Guinea where they were going to
topple Mbasogo in March 2004.

The Washing Line investigation also established that the payment to Mugabe
came from the $700-million that Mbasongo had secretly invested with Riggs
Bank in the United States of America.

The bank was probed by U.S senate after it was exposed as one of the
institutions where Mbasogo - who is regarded as a dictator --- is hiding
money allegedly stolen from his government.

Simon Kareri, Riggs Bank' senior vice president was fired and the
institution was fined $16-million last year for violations of American money
laundering rules by not reporting suspicious transaction by Mbasogo.

U.S. senate investigation into Riggs Bank established that:

. Mbasogo used Riggs Bank to enrich himself and his family with money from
oil revenues meant for the Equatorial Guinea government.

. Mbasogo started banking with Riggs Bank in 1995 and he as well as his
relatives had more than 60 accounts with the bank.

. One of Mbasogo's wives, Constancia Nsue, had a $10 000 daily limit on
debit card with the bank.

. Mbasogo used the bank to buy two mansions in Washington D.C one of which
he paid $2.6-million in cash. and

. Riggs Bank gave $3.75-million loan to Mbasogo's eldest son, Teodoro Nguema
Obiang, to be used a deposit for a penthouse apartment in California.

The penthouse worth $6-million in Los Angeles has already been paid off.

After Riggs Bank was forced to release the $700-million to the Equatorial
Guinea government, Teodoro Nguema Obiang, the controversial minister of
Forestry, Environment and Housing, went on shopping spree, spending more
than R60-million in South Africa, where he:

. Bought a R26-million mansion at 35 Klaassens Road in Bishopscourt, Cape

. Another R23.5-million mansion at 76 Fourth Beach, Clifton, Cape Town,

. R3.2-million for a Lamborghini at Bloomsbury in Buitengracht, Cape Town,

. R7-million for two Bentleys also at MG Rover in Cape Town.

Documents in The Washing Line News Agency's possession prove that the money
was channeled through Standard Bank in South Africa. Documents show the bank's
"client Equatorial Guinea" made two separate transfers on March 31, 2004:

. R28 141 286. 30 from Belgolaise Bank in Paris, France, and

. R25 451 795. 70 also from Belgolaise Bank.

A Johannesburg businessman, George Ehlers, won a court battle to attach the
houses and the luxury cars in February this year after the Equatorial Guinea
government failed to pay him $7-million it owed him for building
done in the oil rich country dubbed as the Kuwait of Africa.

Ehlers's lawyers produced evidence in court to prove that the properties
were bought with money belonging to the Equatorial Guinea government and not
Obiang's cash. --- The Washing Line News Agency

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Civil society changes tone on Mugabe's visit

The Nation, Malawi

      by George Ntonya, 25 April 2006 - 05:39:02
       Civil society organisations in the country on Monday swallowed their
pride and promised to offer Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe a hearty
welcome on May 3.
      Last week the organisations threatened to hold demonstrations in
protest against Mugabe's visit because of his bad human rights record in his
country. But yesterday they changed their tune after four hours of
discussion with President Bingu wa Mutharika and senior government officials
at the New State House in Lilongwe.
      Speaking on behalf of the organisations after the meeting, Programme
Manager of Church and Society of the Blantyre CCAP Synod Billy Mayaya (in
the picture) said that their statements were made in haste when they had
inadequate information surrounding Mugabe's visit.
      "There was lack of information on the visit [but] that gap has now
been filled up by this meeting," he told journalists. "As civil society we
should be willing to admit our shortcomings when need arises and this is a
case in point."
      Mayaya said that the meeting - the first by the two sides since
Mutharika assumed office in 2004 - also provided them with ideas on how they
could present their concerns to the Zimbabwean leader.
      "Civil society may meet president Mugabe and seek clarification on
issues pertaining to that country," he said.
      But Minister of Foreign Affairs, who spoke for the government side,
could not guarantee the meeting between Mugabe and the civil society
organisations, saying the itinerary has been concluded.
      "To do that we have to consult our colleagues in Zimbabwe," said
Katsonga, who described the meeting as "amicable".
      The minister said that the civil society organisations understood the
importance of Mugabe's visit considering that Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe
were once one country and any problems affecting one of them have spill-over
effects on the others.
      "We should know that we have between four and five million Zimbabweans
of Malawian descent in that country, therefore if that country is going
through a very difficult [period] it is necessary for Malawi to engage the
political leadership of that country to improve the situation," said
      Speaking in an interview later, Executive Director of Institute for
Policy Interaction (IPI) Rafiq Hajat - who some people saw as leading those
against Mugabe's visit - concurred with Mayaya, saying "we were hasty [in
issuing threats] because we wanted to be pro-active rather than reactive"
following media reports that Mugabe would visit the country and the
government would name the Blantyre-Midima Road after him.
      He said there was no reason for regret because the meeting would not
have taken place if they had not issued the statements.
      Hajat said government can proceed with arrangements to have the road
named after Mugabe.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Three million Zimbabweans will need food aid, parliament hears

Source: Deutsche Presse Agentur (DPA)

Date: 25 Apr 2006

Harare (dpa) - The Zimbabwe parliament has been told that around three
million Zimbabweans - one quarter of the population - will need food aid
this year, it emerged Tuesday.

The report is unlikely to please President Robert Mugabe's government, which
is keen to see the agricultural sector recover after more than three years
of reduced harvests.

"A large number of the population is failing to cope on food," said Fambai
Ngirande from the National Association of Non-governmental Organisations
(NANGO), speaking to a parliamentary committee on public service, labour and
social welfare.

Ngirande's comments were carried in the state-run Herald newspaper.

Most of those in need are in Zimbabwe's rural areas and aid groups will
bring in 300,000 tonnes of food to help the authorities feed those in need,
said the newspaper.

Another aid worker, Forbes Matonga of Christian Care explained that
charities were finding it "difficult to operate" because of record inflation
levels of more than 913.6 percent and the government's controlled exchange

The fixed rate of exchange for the US dollar - much less than half the
amount the greenback goes for on the streets - makes imports extremely

The authorities blame the repeated crop failures in Zimbabwe over the past
few years on drought, though critics say the reduced production may have
something to do with a controversial programme of land seizures from white

There have been hopes that better rains this year may see an improvement in
production, although farmers have warned that the high cost of inputs and
shortages of vital fertiliser is crippling their operations. dpa rt cb

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Russia brokers jet exports

From Flight International (UK), 25 April

Vladimir Karnozov

Moscow - Cuba and Zimbabwe have signed agreements with Russia to acquire
Ilyushin and Tupolev airliners and take advantage of Russian government
export financing. Zimbabwe aims to take 10-20 Il-96s and Tu-204s. Zimbabwe's
National Reserve Bank president Gedeon Gono and transport minister
Christopher Mushohwe signed an initial agreement with their Russian
counterparts in Moscow in April calling for delivery of five Il-96s,
including three -400T freighters and two -400M passenger aircraft.
Deliveries will start in 2008 from the Voronezh VASO plant via lessor
Ilyushin-Finance. The deal is valued at $500 million. The firm contract is
to be signed by July. Meanwhile, Ilyushin-Finance general director Aleksandr
Rubtsov and Cubana Aviacion president Ricardo Santilian have signed a firm
contract for two additional VIP versions of the Il-96-300, two Tu-204-100
passenger aircraft and a Tu-204-100C freighter. The order follows delivery
of a second Il-96-300VIP under a 2003 contract worth $110 million, of which
$95 million was provided by Russian banks. The second contract will use $325
million of Russian government-sponsored credit. Cubana and second Cuban
carrier AeroCaribbean also seek 20-30 regional aircraft to replace Antonov
An-24s and leased ATR 42/72s. Cubana says it is negotiating with ATR for new
ATR 72s and with China for Xian MA60s. Russia is offering Il-114s,
VASO-manufactured Antonov An-148s and Aviacor-assembled An-140s.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Thierry Henry, Zimbabwe and Freedom


      By Daniel Fortune Molokele
      Last updated: 04/25/2006 20:15:46
      Dear Robert Mugabe,

      AS I SIT down and work on my computer, I somehow take a cursory glance
across the room.

      I notice from the clock in front of me that it is now fifteen minutes
after midnight.

      This then, according to the Roman system of time, means a new day has
just begun! This in effect also means it is now exactly a week since
Zimbabwe celebrated its 26th birthday.

      May I also add that the new day has already started but outside as
always, it is still as dark as it has been for the last few hours. The fact
that I am wide awake when most of the people around me are totally asleep
then helps me to understand another time honoured adage, 'the darkest hour
is the one before dawn!'

      As such for many undiscerning people, the situation in Zimbabwe has
become a hopelessly dark one. However, it may also mean that the dawn of a
new Zimbabwe could be much closer than we all, including you Mugabe, assume.

      But hey, I digress. Let me return to my original subject. Oh yes, I
was talking about the start of a new day right in front of my eyes. So what
is so special about this new day? Nothing much one might say. May be, but
then may be not.

      For starters, as a big Thierry Henry fan, I quickly remember that
later tonight the doors towards his future stay at Arsenal will be opened
wide at last. The key that will achieve such a feat will of cause be a
victory against Villarreal. Such a victory will pave the way for the
inimitable Henry to return to Paris as a world class player leading his
Gunners possibly against the mighty Barcelona.

      Paris is not just the French capital for this great soccer genius.
Nay, it is much more than that! Paris is where it all begun for this now
famous man. Paris is the very same city in which he arrived upon this
planet. He was born there. He grew up there. But still throughout those
crucial years as a boy in Paris, no one who came across him asked for his
autograph. No one even stopped to have a second look at him. But still, for
him to be where he is today, he had to go through those years of anonymity.
He was playing his soccer in Paris, yet no one among its millions of
residents ever thought for once, that one day he might on the very same
city, stand a chance of lifting up the world's most coveted trophy in terms
of international club football.

      But then as I write this morning, Henry might be on the verge of
lifting the UEFA Champions league trophy right there in Paris, where his
simple but eventful life begun. It has taken almost thirty years for him to
be where he is today. His journey towards his great destiny begun there but
it never reached its full potential there. Why? Simply because familiarity
breeds contempt! Why? Simply because for many Parisians, Thierry was not
something special at all! He was just yet another boy who liked to kick the

      As a result, young Thierry left his city of nativity and begun a
journey that has now lasted almost ten long years. That very same journey
led him to the royal enclave of Monaco, and then later, he had to fly across
to Turin in Italy. There at Juventus, he appeared to have lost touch with
his great destiny. But somehow, he soldiered on and survived those dark
hours of a stagnating career.

      And as fate would have it, his path of destiny once again crossed that
of his former Monaco mentor, The Great Arsene Wenger. Before long, he flew
across the English Channel and found himself a new home in Highbury of all
the places! Indeed I can bet my last Rand that when he arrived in London,
not even one Gooner was moved enough to welcome him at the airport. It was
such an uneventful arrival. No one seemed able to notice that a new
phenomenon was about to help change the destiny of Arsenal forever.

      But before long, everyone was talking about this new French striker at
Highbury. Today, he is not only the Captain and the club's all time top goal
scorer but he also stands on the verge of being its highest paid player in
the more than one hundred years of Arsenal's history. The rest as they say
is history.

      I am inspired by Thierry Henry. I am even more inspired when I
remember the words of Jesus Christ, 'no prophet has honour in his own
country'. Honestly it took Arsenal and not Paris St German to fully develop
the potential of this man into becoming the world class player we now have
come to know him today. The question then we need all to answer is simple.
What if he had stayed on in Paris for the rest of his soccer life? Would he
have been able to reach the icon status he has now attained? Honestly, I do
not think so.

      But what then is my point? My point is that we need to start to
develop a new paradigm shift with regards to all Zimbabweans who have left
the country in the last few years. We need to start to look at them in a
much more positive way. May be like Henry, they also need another country to
fully appreciate them first before Zimbabwe realizes their full potential.
Otherwise, they will continue being devalued and taken for granted if they
remain in their home country.

      They are not stupid and hopeless cowards. Believe me it takes a lot of
guts to make that decision to leave Zimbabwe, the land of their nativity.
Leaving one of the most beautiful countries in the world can never be deemed
as an easy choice. It takes a lot of guts to say enough is enough and leave
their motherland that is renowned for its stunning beauty.

      So why then Mugabe, have the four millions or so of them left
Zimbabwe? The answer is simple. They have left because your very own
government denied them the right to develop their full potential. Your very
own government decided to take away from them their God given right to live
out their destinies in full. It is your own very government that chained
millions of people away in an unquenchable thirst for power. The truth is
that you Robert Mugabe are a big control freak. You took it upon yourself to
define the future of all these millions of Zimbabweans in your own egoistic
terms. You shut them up in your rather long ego trip.

      And as fate would have it, one day they all realized that there was no
more freedom in Zimbabwe. Yes, there was still INDEPENDENCE but there was no
more FREEDOM! Freedom can never co-exist with a tyrant and dictator that you
have now grown to be since 18th April 1980. The bad news for you Mugabe is
that freedom long escaped your strong grip of power. Only independence has
remained with you. As such Zimbabwe is an independent country but this does
not mean that its citizens are a free people.

      In the final analysis, you need to awaken to the reality that all the
four million or so Zimbabweans who now constitute the Diaspora did not flee
Zimbabwe. No, not at all! They only chose to pursue after freedom when she
fled from Zimbabwe. The love of freedom has since then made them risk the
hungry crocodiles of the Limpopo River and join the ever growing
international Zimbabwean communities.

      But then I am reliably informed that a week ago, on Tuesday 18th April
2006, you made a public appeal for them to return to Zimbabwe in their
millions. Well, I have very sad news for you Robert Mugabe. The reality you
have to face is that it is most unlikely that most of them will ever return
to Zimbabwe. Forever! It appears only a remnant shall return home. Worse
still, they will not just return alone. They have made it a condition that
they will only do so when freedom has also returned to Zimbabwe. As such,
only a remnant shall return home, but with FREEDOM!!!


      Daniel Molokele

      Daniel Molokele is a Zimbabwean Human Rights Lawyer who is based in
Johannesburg. He can be contacted at

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Former Mugabe Ally Accuses Government Of Incompetence


      By Ashenafi Abedje
      Washington, DC
      24 April 2006

He was once the controversial minister of information for President Robert
Mugabe and a member of the ruling ZANU-PF politburo. Now Jonathan Moyo, who
is an independent member of Parliament, is giving us an inside look into the
Zimbabwe government. Moyo tells English to Africa reporter James Butty about
a power struggle to within ZANU-PF over who will succeed President Robert

"If you have a situation such as we have in Zimbabwe, where the incumbent
president has been in power for 26 years under one party and is serving the
last few months of his tenure, 2008, that means ZANU-PF must find a
successor. But because they have delayed doing so, and worse, because they
don't have a transparent and democratic means for doing so within ZANU-PF,
it means you will have a power struggle. And it is raging."

Moyo says it is a senseless question for anybody to ask him why he never
spoke out as Zimbabwe's minister of information."That would be such a
senseless question because it would be overlooking a fundamental issue,
namely that ZANU-PF, as a liberation movement, is a summation of who we are
as Zimbabweans. We as Zimbabweans fought for our liberation under this
movement, and it does not make sense just because one of two or more
individuals who constitute a clique hijacked [it], that we should condemn
the movement itself. It is important to fight within. Right now the most
critical opposition to Mugabe's rule is within ZANU-PF. And the many people
associated with the so-called Tsholotsho Declaration are inside ZANU-PF."

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Trial of Four MDC Youths Continues

The Herald (Harare)

April 24, 2006
Posted to the web April 25, 2006


THE trial of four MDC youths, who allegedly assaulted a fellow party member
and broke his leg last week, continued at the Harare Magistrates' Courts
last week.

Magistrate Mrs Priscilla Chigumba adjourned the trial to today. Costa
Machingauta, Sylvesta Majekuza, Khamazula Chirilele and Nathan Ndemura, who
were represented by a Harare lawyer, Mr Charles Kwaramba, pleaded not guilty
to assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.

Mr Kwaramba maintained that Ishmael Khauzani falsely implicated his clients.
He further argued that Khauzani was assaulted by over 40 youths including
others from Bulawayo but he only wrongly implicated his enemies. He further
submitted that Chirilele and Majekuza had been sent by Professor Welshman
Ncube to take party vehicles that were being abused by party officials at
Harvest House (MDC Headquarters) when the complainant and others stoned

Prosecutor Mr Abel Chivasa said on May 17 last year, Khauzani, who works for
MDC at Harvest House in Harare, went to the offices for a meeting that was
being addressed by Mr Morgan Tsvangirai. As he approached the offices, it is
alleged, other party members st arted shouting his name, intending to attack

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zimra Accused of Insensitivity

The Herald (Harare)

April 25, 2006
Posted to the web April 25, 2006

Tendai Chikamhi

THE Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) has been criticised for being
insensitive to the plight of orphans after it publicly auctioned an
assortment of goods donated to Mother of Peace Orphanage in Mutoko.

The goods were donated by well-wishing Zimbabweans based in the United
Kingdom who were not informed about immigration procedures and were not even
contacted when the goods went under the hammer. In an interview, Mother of
Peace administrator Mr Hillary Zimudzi said Zimra auctioned the consignment
of goods for the charitable organisation while they were trying to raise the
$1 billion storage fee required by the revenue authority. "We were in the
process of finding ways to raise the money but later we were told that the
goods were on auction," said Mr Zimudzi.

The goods included clothes, shoes, postures, rosaries and some statues,
among other things. "We are a Catholic organisation so some of the goods
were meant for the church. "We never had an opportunity to see the goods but
Father Oji, who stays in Harare, managed to identify them because they had
our name inscribed," he said. In a separate interview, Gogo Jean Cornneck
said she was told to produce certificates of the dona tion so that they
could be able to retrieve their consignment. "We were told to produce a
certificate of donation and they told us that it looked more like a project
proposal. "Later on, they told us to pay a billion dollars for storage," she
said. She added that the money was too much and "in the process of our
clearing agent trying to negotiate with them, Zimra then auctioned the
goods." Asked for comment, Zimra corporate communications manager Miss
Priscilla Sadomba said the orphanage was supposed to clear their goods on

"For our postal importations, postal detention notices are issued notifying
the importer of the need to clear the goods, be it by duty payment or rebate
letter. "A State Warehouse rent notice is also issued for each parcel," said
Miss Sadomba. She said if clearance was not effected within three months of
the date of the final notice, the goods would be sold by public auction.
Miss Sadomba said in terms of the Revenue Authority Act, Zimra was preclud
ed from divulging specific information, thus they were unable to give any
information about the client in question.

Back to the Top
Back to Index