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Opposition gangs up

Zim Independent

            Dumisani Muleya

            OPPOSITION political groups and civil society movements have
started consultations to form a united front to support one candidate in the
2008 presidential election, 23 months ahead of the crucial poll.

            Information obtained this week shows there have been numerous
meetings among officials of factions of the divided Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC), other opposition parties and civil society groups in a bid to
form a broad united front against Zanu PF along the lines of Kenya's
National Rainbow Coalition which brought President Mwai Kibaki to power in

            Apart from the MDC factions, other groups involved in the plan
include the South African-based Zimbabwe Diaspora Civil Society
Organisations Forum, which brings together a number of formations and civic

            The Diaspora Forum was formed in November 2005 as a network of
at least 20 local civic movements based in South Africa working for a
democratic dispensation in Zimbabwe.

            The United People's Movement - a shadowy assemblage of
disgruntled Zanu PF officials plus former Information minister Jonathan Moyo
and ex-ruling party MP Pearson Mbalekwa - has also been involved in efforts
to form a coalition to fight the presidential election with one contender
challenging a Zanu PF candidate, possibly Vice-President Joice Mujuru, in
March 2008.

            Zanu PF has been contemplating amending the constitution to
delay the 2008 election until 2010 when Mujuru, who now seems to be destined
to take over from President Robert Mugabe, would have consolidated her grip
on the ruling party and government. Since she came into office in 2004,
Mujuru has been holding political road-shows and rallies in a bid to build a
national profile and drum up support as Mugabe's possible successor.

            Sources said meetings have been held since last July between MDC
officials, UPM members and civil society leaders, including influential
church heads, to find a common strategy to confront the current political
and economic crisis, as well as prepare for the 2008 election.

            "There have been a lot of meetings between MDC officials, some
now aligned to the Morgan Tsvangirai faction and others to the Arthur
Mutambara camp," a source said. "Various meetings have been held between and
among opposition and civil society leaders."

            Sources said MDC officials from Tsvangirai and Mutambara's
factions  such as Paul Themba Nyathi, Gandi Mudzingwa, Nelson Chamisa,
Renson Gasela and William Bango have had meetings with UPM members,
including Moyo and Mbalekwa, over the issue. The meetings have been running
since July before the MDC split in October last year and were currently
continuing. The involved officials were not available for comment yesterday.

            Moyo and others, sources said, were recently invited to the
Tsvangirai faction's congress, to give a "solidarity message" although the
move was later aborted as it was seen not to be strategic. The source said
there has been a lot of SMS messages and phone calls flying around among the
officials trying to come up with a united front against Zanu PF.

            The South African-based Zimbabwe Diaspora Civil Society
Organisations Forum recently invited Tsvangirai, Mutambara and Moyo to speak
at a public meeting which was expected to have been held on April 18 to
coincide with the 26th anniversary celebrations of Zimbabwe's Independence.

            Sources said Tsvangirai's emissaries had held meetings with
Moyo, while Mutambara has also met Moyo twice this month. There are efforts
to organise a meeting between Tsvangirai and Mutambara. Founding MDC member
David Coltart said this week it was time the two met for the sake of their
own political interests.

            Both Tsvangirai and Mutambara have been calling for the
formation of a united front against Zanu PF.

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Govt orders 'flying coffins' for AirZim

Zim Independent

            Dumisani Ndlela/ Shakeman Mugari

            BELEAGUERED Air Zimbabwe staff this week expressed serious
misgivings over a planned US$500 million deal between the country and Russia
for the import of at least five Ilyushin and Tupolev aircraft from the
former communist country.

            The agreement was signed by the central bank governor Gideon
Gono and Transport Minister Christopher Mushowe during their visit to Moscow
earlier this month. A firm contract will only be signed in July, according
to a report in the UK's Flight International.

            Mushowe flatly denied the government had made an undertaking to
purchase aircraft from Russia, saying this was mere speculation.

            But the Zimbabwe Independent understands that the deal has
caused jitters among the airline's pilots and engineers, who have expressed
serious concerns over the technical quality of the aircraft. The staff wants
the airline and its engineers to have greater say in any planned
acquisitions following problems with recent plane acquisitions from China.

            Russian planes are notorious for technical faults and failures
which have resulted in them being labelled "flying coffins" and "death

            One of the Chinese aircraft acquired last year has been grounded
since delivery last year.

            The deal by Gono and Mushowe and their Russian counterparts
involves the acquisition of five Il-96s, consisting of three 400T freighters
and two 400M passenger aircraft. These planes have had many technical
problems over the past few years.

            Deliveries will start in 2008 from the Voronezh Aircraft
Construction Company (Vaco) plant once the final deal is signed in July.

            Vaco is one of the biggest factories in Russia producing
passenger and cargo aircraft.

            The deal will be financed by Ilyushin Finance Co, one of two
state-run Russian companies involved in domestic aircraft construction and
sales programmes.

            Ilyushin Finance Co focuses on financing Il-96-300, Il-96-400,
Tu-204-300 and An-148 aircraft.

            Sources indicated that Air Zimbabwe employees were building
resistance to the acquisition. They were however persuaded to accept the
deal at a meeting held this week.

            They allege that Air Zimbabwe was being sidelined in the
acquisition of aircraft, and the role of uninformed politicians in such
crucial acquisitions had cost the airline dearly.

            For example, one of the MA60 aircraft recently acquired from
China had been grounded since delivery and politicians had ducked tackling
the issue because of its potential to embarrass the government's "Look-East"

            But the new move could prove even more disastrous to the
government and the airline, the sources said. The aircraft from Russia were
of questionable quality, and Russia might be ready to finance the
acquisitions because the aircraft had a very limited market outside Russia.
Mushowe this week denied he had signed a deal with Russians for the
acquisition of new aircraft, describing the reports as "imaginary".

            "I'm surprised because when we acquired the MA60 planes from
China last year, the nation knew about it; everybody was told. So this is
imaginary. It's something I don't quite comprehend," Mushowe said in
response to a question from the Zimbabwe Independent at a press conference
on Wednesday.

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Chinamasa under probe

Zim Independent

            Clemence Manyukwe

            POLITICAL uncertainty surrounds Justice minister Patrick
Chinamasa amid reports that he and two intelligence bosses are being
investigated by the police on allegations of trying to defeat the course of
justice in a political violence case initially linked to Security minister
Didymus Mutasa.

            Sources said Chinamasa, the Central Intelligence Organistaion
(CIO)'s provincial head in Manicaland and the agency's district head in
Makoni identified only as Innocent Chibaya and Masiya, were being
investigated for interfering with witnesses in a matter they said reflected
Zanu PF's power struggles in the province.

            The case stems from the attack on a Zanu PF member, James
Kaunye, in 2004 when he was campaigning to be a party candidate ahead of
last year's parliamentary election in Makoni North where Mutasa was the
sitting MP.

            It was the state's case that Mutasa and Makoni North district
chairman, Albert Nyakuedzwa, led the attacks on Kaunye and others, leaving
him unconscious.

            Chinamasa is said to have approached a state witness and Kaunye
at the Zanu PF people's conference in Esigodini in December last year and
persuaded them to drop the case.

            Mutasa yesterday confirmed that the intelligence bosses were
under investigation but referred all questions on Chinamasa to Home Affairs
minister Kembo Mohadi.

            "I know that the people are being investigated," said Mutasa.
"The police should have talked to us. They have not approached us and it
will not go anywhere."

            Contacted yesterday for comment, Chinamasa said: "I am not going
to issue any statement on that."
            Mohadi said he was not briefed on the matter.

            The Attorney-General's office was also unable to comment on the
case. Although Attorney-General Sobusa Gula-Ndebele could not be reached
yesterday, last week he said he had
            not received any report on the matter.

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Govt to print $60t to meet salary bill

Zim Independent

            Augustine Mukaro/Shakeman Mugari

            GOVERNMENT will have to print large sums of money to fund the
bill for soldiers' and teachers' salary increments in view of its limited
$30 trillion budgeted for civil servants this year.

            Experts say government will need to print close to $60 trillion
to fund the salary hikes announced on Wednesday which they say will see
inflation going through the roof. The move is widely seen as an attempt to
pacify restless soldiers and an army of civil servants who have been
complaining about low salaries and poor working conditions.

            They said the timing of the increases was suspicious. It
appeared designed to prevent civil servants and members of the uniformed
forces from supporting a possible call for mass action by the MDC.

            Morgan Tsvangirai has been using low salaries as his trump card
in his nationwide campaign to drum up support for mass protests. He even
paraded payslips for civil servants in his bid to rally them behind him in
the proposed winter mass protests.

            "There is no point in continuing to watch with trepidation a
small nationalistic class, aided by a corrupt and parasitic bureaucracy and
supported by desperate opportunists wreak havoc on the national cake,"
Tsvangirai said in his Independence Day message.

            Zimbabwe Defence Forces commander General Constantine Chiwenga
and Police Commissioner Augustine Chihuri attended the Wednesday press
conference at which salary increases were announced, apparently to show
solidarity with government.

            President Mugabe has also heavily militarised government
operations with several parastatals now led by army or ex-military

            However the salary increases that will stoke inflation.
Government has often resorted to taking pre-emptive measures to prevent
protests. One such measure was the widely condemned slum clearance Operation
Murambatsvina last May.

            Government also launched Operation Maguta to avert possible mass
protests over food shortages created by its populist land reform programme.

            Zimbabwe's poverty datum line has risen to $35 million after
inflation recently surged to 913% against a backdrop of a wave of price
increases across the economy already reeling from shortages of foreign
currency, fuel, electricity, food and basic commodities.

            Trebling of the salaries of soldiers and teachers will multiply
by three government's wage bill which is already unsustainable.

            Government allocated $30 trillion for the public service wage
bill this year and the salary hikes mean the bill will go up threefold.

            The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has complained about
Harare's wage bill. Government's fiscal deficit widened substantially in
2005 to 11,5% of gross domestic product from 4,7% in 2004 due to high
spending. The wage bill rose from 15,5% of GDP in 2004 to about 20% last
year, a level that is very high by international standards.

            Government will now have to print $60 trillion to foot the bill.

            Recently, the RBZ printed $46 trillion to pay the IMF and
finance its operations, with President Mugabe's blessing.

            Economists have warned further printing of money will increase
inflation to levels way above 1 000%. Imara financial services group, a
regional firm, said this week Zimbabwe's inflation will reach over 1 000% by
the end of the month.

            Opposition MDC defence spokesman, Giles Mutsekwa, yesterday
accused government of raising salaries of security forces and civil servants
to bribe them to thwart mass protests. "We are not opposed to improving the
welfare of our civil servants," Mutsekwa said.

            "We are just concerned about the timing and the discrimination
in the whole process. If government is sincere about improving the welfare
of workers, they should not wait for a crisis to unfold for it to raise
their salaries."

            Highly placed sources in the ZDF said the urgency to increase
salaries took centre stage three weeks ago.
            Chiwenga reportedly told President Mugabe during a briefing that
soldiers needed incentives to deal with the protests mulled by the

            "Chiwenga presented a salary increase proposal to Mugabe," a
source said. "The president endorsed the proposal after realising how worse
off defence and other uniformed forces had become.
            "Following the endorsement, the increases were expected to be
effected in April but were blocked at a ministers' caucus where Education
minister Aeneas Chigwedere said his ministry was already broke," the source

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Coltart might go solo if MDC fails to unite

Zim Independent

            Loughty Dube

            THE self-appointed mediator in the crisis-ridden opposition MDC,
David Coltart, has said that if he fails to solve amicably the problems
affecting the fractured party he will consider standing as an independent.

            Coltart has over the past four months tried without success to
get the divided MDC back together. He has said that if the party fails to
reconcile itself then an amicable separation that would see the two factions
agree on the party's name, logos, slogans and property should be reached.

            Coltart this week further indicated that he still has four
options to raise his political profile after he shunned both factions of the
divided MDC.

            "If the negotiations towards a reunification or amicable
separation of the party fail, then I will have to look at other political
options and the options include deciding whether to join the Tsvangirai or
Mutambara faction or to join Zanu PF which is highly unlikely or to stand as
an independent or quit politics altogether," Coltart said.

            Sources argued that the MDC cannot be dissolved without
congressional approval and since the issue of dissolving the party was not
raised at the two factions' separate congresses the issue of an amicable
divorce was out of the question.

            "Coltart's negotiations are out of context because he wants to
negotiate for an amicable divorce but a party cannot separate or be
dissolved without the approval of congress.

            "He wants the two factions to share property amicably but that
again cannot happen because the MDC, just like any voluntary organisation,
has to donate its property if it is dissolved according to Zimbabwean laws,"
said the source.

            But Coltart this week said he was not calling for a dissolution
of the MDC but wanted to seek an agreement that would chart the way forward
for the two factions.

            "Neither side is talking of dissolution of the MDC. The issue of
an amicable solution has to be tackled lest the dispute spills into the
courts and such a scenario would not be good for the opposition in this
country," Coltart said.

            Questioned on the sharing of the property, Coltart said most of
the MDC property was registered under different companies and therefore
donating the property was out of the question.

            He said the whole negotiations of a mutual settlement of the MDC
crisis, which would see the two feuding parties continue to operate in the
country's remaining political space, was being impeded by Morgan Tsvangirai
who has not responded to his letters. Tsvangirai's spokesperson, William
Bango, when contacted, curtly said the two feuding sides were in contact
without elaborating further.

            "Tsvangirai believes that the parties to the conflict are in
direct contact," Bango said.

            The MDC split in October last year ostensibly over a decision on
whether to participate in the senate election. But Coltart, in interviews
given to South African radio over Easter, has made it clear that the issue
dividing the two sides was the violent attacks in 2004 and 2005 on members
of the party at Harvest House and the subsequent suppression of a report
into the incidents.

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Tsvangirai piles pressure on rump Mutambara group

Zim Independent

            Ray Matikinye

            MOVEMENT for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai is
ratcheting up pressure on his former colleagues now under Arthur Mutambara's
leadership after defections by a number of top officials in the past two

            Former national chairman in the Mutambara camp Gift Chimanikire,
the camp's former director of elections Blessing Chebundo and deputy
director Sam Sipepa Nkomo, Binga legislator Joel Gabuza, together with
provincial executives in Harare and Chitungwiza, crossed the floor last
week, creating a political dilemma in the Mutambara camp.

            Defectors have claimed to be heeding the voice of their
constituents and blamed lack of strategy to oust Zanu PF from power as
reasons for deciding to dump the Mutambara faction.

            The Zimbabwe Independent heard that Tsvangirai has lined up
rallies in Nkulumane, Bulawayo South, and Hwange East and West to exert
pressure on Gibson Sibanda, David Coltart, Jealous Sansole and Thembinkosi

            "Tsvangirai has decided to deal with the issue of his former
colleagues who broke away from the mainstream MDC in a political manner
rather than engage in internal mudslinging with them," a source said.

            "He has raised the stakes by seeking to isolate them from the
electorate and keeping the heat on them by holding rallies in their
constituencies. He is whipping up political emotions among his supporters to
remind his former colleagues of the Gwisai scenario."

            Former Higfield MP, Munyaradzi Gwisai, lost his seat in a
by-election after a fallout with his colleagues.
            But Sibanda said he had not witnessed anything unusual in his
constituency that would resemble preparations for a series of rallies or
pubic meetings.

            "I have no knowledge that anything like that is being planned in
my constituency," Sibanda said Wednesday.
            "I was there this morning. Everything is normal."

            Sources told the Independent that Sibanda had sought a meeting
with Tsvangirai last week to discuss the implications of his populist thrust
and work out an amicable stand.

            But Sibanda denied this. "I have neither spoken to him or
arranged a meeting with him. I see no need," Sibanda said.

            Coltart said it was the first time he had heard about the plan.

            "If that is the case they will be faced with a constitutional
problem. Their actions will be meaningless in terms of Section 41 (1)(e) of
the constitution which requires that the party informs the Leader of the
House that a sitting MP is no longer their member," Coltart said.

            He said he felt appalled by such a scenario in relation to the
pressure it exerts on some MPs.

            "My case is different because of the type of electorate in my
constituency. They have been supportive all along," Coltart said.

            Tsvangirai's strategy has made the situation in the MDC camps
more fluid.

            Further defections involving members who earlier had signed a
petition to the Speaker of the House demanding a change of portfolios held
by the opposition, particularly that of the opposition chief whip, could
whittle down the Mutambara camp's claim of holding a majority of seats.

            Earlier attempts by Mutambara's camp to effect these changes hit
a brick wall when the leader of the House, John Nkomo, said parliament did
not recognise the split in the MDC.

            Justice and Legal Affairs minister Patrick Chinamasa held the
same view when he handed over to Welshman Ncube, the party
secretary-general, $8 billion as part of the MDC's share of the funds
disbursed under the Political Parties (Finance) Act.

            Before the defections, Mutambara's camp boasted 23 MPs to 18 in
Tsvangirai's fold.

            The Mutambara camp failed to expel Tsvangirai through the courts
while Tsvangirai's  attempt to expel St Mary's legislator Job Sikhala was
also thrown out.

            Coltart, who turned down invitations from both camps, has been
making frantic efforts to broker a pact for sharing party assets following
the acrimonious October 12 split.

            Buoyed by the huge crowds that have been attending his campaign
to drum up support for planned anti government protest, Tsvangirai is taking
the battle to his erstwhile colleagues creating fears this could further
enfeeble the Mutambara camp.

            Pressure has been intensifying on Sibindi after Joel Gabuza
crossed the floor to the Tsvangirai camp at the behest of the electorate in
his Binga constituency.

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MDC leader tours region

Zim Independent

            MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai is in South Africa at the head of a
delegation for talks with South African President Thabo Mbeki.

            The delegation left on Tuesday.

            Sources in the opposition party told the Zimbabwe Independent
that the meeting in Johannesburg was at the invitation of the South African
president and was the first since the October 12 split in the MDC
            that saw the emergence two factions.

            The Mutambara faction has already met Mbeki after Tsvangirai
spurned an earlier invitation before his camp's March congress.

            The meeting is expected to improve relations with Mbeki, whom
Tsvangirai once referred to as "not an honest broker" in his efforts to
initiate dialogue between the MDC and the ruling Zanu PF party.

            Sources say the visit is the first of a regional tour that will
take the MDC delegation to Namibia for talks with Namibian president
Hifikepunye Pohamba.

            In February, Tsvangirai and his delegation that included
national chairman Isaac Matongo, information secretary Nelson Chamisa,
presidential spokesman William Bango, was booted out of Zambia.

            Meanwhile leader of the rival faction Mutambara, accompanied by
his secretary-general Welshman Ncube and a number of the camp's top leaders,
are scheduled to address rallies in the United Kingdom and Ireland at the

            According to a notice posted on the internet by Nobel Sibanda,
the information and publicity secretary for UK and Ireland, rallies have
been scheduled for Claremont Research Centre in Manchester.

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Executives slam govt policies

Zim Independent

            DELEGATES attending an international business conference at the
ongoing Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) have said government should
resign immediately as it has failed to steer the economy out of the current

            The delegates, who included heads of parastatals and company
executives, took turns during the question-and-answer session to lambast
government for policy failures while others said it should quit altogether
and make way for an interim administration.

            "What is good for Zimbabwe right now is for industrialists to
take care of this government," said one company executive. "With this
current government in power, we are going to perish. People can't continue
being suffocated, a caretaker government is needed urgently."

            Industrial Development Corporation boss Mike Ndudzo, who was
moderating, tried to interject and to stop one delegate from continuing with
his attack, but to no avail.

            Another delegate also took a swipe at Zesa saying the power
utility should have a timetable for power interruptions and for

            A spokesman for one parastatal, who preferred to address the
business meeting in his personal capacity after clearly stating that he
could be fired for his views, blasted deputy Minister of Science and
Technology Patrick Zhuwawo who had earlier told the business seminar that
Zimbabweans should not just question issues but act.

            "The problem with you politicians is you tell us not to ask
questions because you act as if you hold a monopoly to solving the country's
problems and you don't listen to people's advice," he said.

            Ruth Labode, a business leader, told the conference to import
goods in bulk from China and export them to Sadc countries, which Ndudzo
dismissed as a disastrous long-term solution to the country's problems. The
meeting was attended by three deputy ministers - Zhuwawo, Phineas Chihota
and Samuel Undenge with most ministers and Vice-President Joice Mujuru in
Harare for a politburo meeting.

            The president of the PTA Bank of East and Southern Africa,
Michael Gondwe, did not attend the meeting but instead a representative
George Mudange stood in for him. - Staff Writer.

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Mabhena is the man, say former Zipra commanders

Zim Independent

            Loughty Dube

            THE issue of a successor to Vice-President Joseph Msika has
taken another twist with former PF-Zapu members saying the disbanded party's
hierarchy should be observed in replacing Msika.

            Former Zipra military commanders and PF-Zapu leaders who spoke
to the Zimbabwe Independent this week said according to PF-Zapu's structures
the next in line for the country's vice-presidency is former party
secretary-general Welshman Mabhena.

            Several people who include John Nkomo, Dumiso Dabengwa and
Industry and Commerce Minister, Obert Mpofu, have been touted as likely
successors to Msika should he leave office now.

            Mabhena was dismissed from his job as Matabeleland North
governor for speaking out against what he termed the marginalisation of the
region by President Mugabe's government.

            "In terms of seniority in PF-Zapu, the next most important
person is Mabhena and there is no way John Nkomo can claim to be the most
senior member of PF-Zapu when people like Mabhena are still alive," said an
ex-Zipra commander who spoke on condition of anonymity.

            "He was not fired from PF-Zapu but he joined Zanu PF at the
signing of the Unity Accord."

            He said President Mugabe should come out in the open and state
that Mabhena was fired from Zanu PF so that all former PF-Zapu members come
to a common ground on who should succeed Msika.

            Max Mnkandla, the president of the Zimbabwe Liberators Peace
Platform and a former Zipra cadre, said there was no debate that Mabhena
should take over when Msika leaves the vice-presidency position.

            "John Nkomo was very junior to Mabhena and he was not even in
the decision-making body of the party," he said.

            "At the Lancaster House talks, Mabhena was there and always next
to Nkomo. We expect the former PF-Zapu leadership to make the right decision
on who succeeds Msika and that decision should not be made by Mugabe or any
other Zanu PF official," Mnkandla said.

            When contacted to comment on the views from former colleagues,
Mabhena said he was prepared to represent the people of Matabeleland and
Zimbabwe in government.

            "I am ready to serve the people of Zimbabwe. There has been talk
that I was fired from Zanu PF but since joining the party through PF-Zapu, I
have never been fired unless someone proves otherwise," Mabhena said.

            Efforts to get a comment on Mabhena's status from Zanu PF
spokesperson, Nathan Shamuyarira, were fruitless as he was said to be in

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'Rogue state' tag costs Zim food aid

Zim Independent

            Clemence Manyukwe

            ZIMBABWE'S appalling human rights record has resulted in the
international community and donor agencies snubbing appeals for food aid for
an estimated three million people facing severe food shortages, a
parliamentary committee heard on Monday.

            National Association of Non-Governmental Organisations (Nango)
advocacy and communications manager, Fambai Ngirande, said this year's
consolidated appeal for US$276 million sent out by the United Nations, NGOs
and church organisations in October 2005 had so far received only US$9

            Ngirande was giving evidence before the parliamentary portfolio
committee on Labour and Social Welfare chaired by Zaka West legislator,
Mabel Mawere.

            "Zimbabwe is not a donor darling, donors are skirting Zimbabwe.
Inflows have been substantially reduced," Ngirande said.

            "Out of $276 million requested, so far we have received only
US$9 million because of the country's contentious human rights record."

            He said apart from mobilising funds for food aid, the
consolidated appeal also sought funding for agricultural and livestock
assistance, home-based care for 55 000 HIV- positive people and education
needs for 93 000 children.

            Ngirande suggested the NGO Bill had added to the negative
perceptions of Zimbabwe. Declining economic performance, reduced
agricultural production and the HIV and Aids pandemic had contributed to the
numbers of people in need of assistance. The situation was worsened by the
government's controversial Operation Murambatsvina in May last year.

            A representative of Christian Care, Reverend Forbes Matonga,
said there was need for politicians to act as national leaders rather than
as representatives of their political parties to avoid allegations of food

            He said rising inflation, the exchange rate and bureaucracy in
government institutions were hampering the efforts of those intending to
offer food aid to vulnerable groups.

            "There is bureaucracy. When you want to import maize you go to
the Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Health, Zimra (Zimbabwe Revenue
Authority) people, the GMB. This is an emergency, by the time you finish
with them you do not have resources," said Rev Matonga.

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Two vie to replace Makwavarara

Zim Independent

            Augustine Mukaro

            ZANU PF central committee member and one of the sitting
commissioners running Harare, Priscilla Mupfumira, is tipped to succeed
chairperson Sekesai Makwavarara who is reportedly facing eviction.

            Makwavarara's term of office which expires in June is not likely
to be renewed after complaints from central government over her extravagant
lifestyle and failure to deliver service to residents.

            "Replacement names are being tossed around with two of the
sitting commissioners, Mupfumira and Viola Chasi, featuring prominently,"
sources said.

            Mupfumira is a Zanu PF central committee member while Chasi
works for the Jewel Bank.

            Neither Mupfumira nor Chasi could be reached for comment.

            The Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA) condemned
Makwavarara's taste for luxury saying she does not deserve it since she is
not an elected mayor.

            "She is not Harare's mayor; neither does she have the mandate of
residents to be at the helm of the City of Harare."

            CHRA said it was saddened by the trend at Town House where
priority is given to peripheral matters ahead of refuse collection, repair
of burst sewer and water pipes, water treatment and supply, road repairs and
the plight of victims of Operation Murambatsvina who continue to suffer,
almost a year after the demolitions and displacements.

            The removal of Makwavarara from the post of chairperson would
strip her of the privileges of using the mayoral Mercedes Benz, the mayoral
mansion and other council benefits.

            Makwavarara, a political turncoat who arrived at Town House on
an MDC ticket, undermined fired mayor Elias Mudzuri before defecting to Zanu
PF. She has stirred a storm of protests in the past few months because of
her extravagant lifestyle.

            First was her proposal to furnish the mayoral mansion at a cost
of $35 billion, followed by the acquisition of a $103 million satellite dish
she had installed at the mayoral mansion without approval. As if that were
not enough, Makwavarara proceeded to spend over $175 million on groceries at
the commission's expense.

            Only last week, the government blocked the sale of a council
house to Makwavarara at a cost of $780 million.

            Independent valuers pegged the property at not less than $20

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RBZ to rule in ZABG dispute

Zim Independent

            Shakeman Mugari

            A SIX-MEMBER independent panel investigating the controversial
take-over of two commercial banks' assets by the year-old Zimbabwe Allied
Banking Group (ZABG) has presented its report to the central bank, now
expected to make a ruling in a case in which it is an interested party.

            The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) is expected to make a ruling
within the next two weeks, according to a private undertaking made by RBZ
governor Gideon Gono to the panel, sources said.

            The panel completed the report on its findings on the dispute
last week.

            The panel's report will put to rest a two-year dispute between
the RBZ and the collapsed Trust and Royal banks, which allege the central
bank facilitated the illegal take over of their assets by ZABG, in which the
RBZ is the controlling shareholder.

            The RBZ was earlier this year forced to appoint an independent
panel after the two banks challenged their closure and forced inclusion into

            They have since taken the RBZ and the curators appointed to run
the commercial banks to court.

            The curators were accused of colluding with the central bank to
sell their assets to ZABG.

            The Supreme Court last year ruled as "unlawful, null and void"
the disposal of Royal and Trust Bank's assets by the curators.

            Sources this week said the panel had handed its findings to Gono
who is now expected to make a determination on the issue within the next two

            The source told businessdigest that the governor was now
planning a meeting with the panel to discuss the contents and implications
of the report.

            That meeting is likely to take place next week when South Africa's
corporate governance guru, Mervyn King, and former Zambian central bank
governor, David Phiri, who were key members of the panel, arrive in the

            King is currently in New York but is expected in the country
next week, the same time Phiri is also expected in.

            "Once these two arrive, the full panel will meet with Gono to
discuss the contents of the report," said the source.

            "The panel will give Gono a briefing on the implications of the
findings. A determination is expected thereafter," a source said.

            Sources said indications were that the report would recommend
the return of Trust and Royal banks assets, a move that would put ZABG in
the lurch.

            In any case, the Supreme Court had already made the ruling in
favour of the two banks' shareholders. The ruling said ZABG was operating
with assets unlawfully acquired from the closed banks.

            If ZABG is stripped off its assets, it would become a shell
company and consequently close down, a prospect experts said was unlikely as
it would spoil Gono's pride as the architect of the project.

            There was also a possibility that Trust and Royal shareholders
could claim ZABG's profit made through their assets.

            The closed banks are already working on a comprehensive
post-ZABG plan in anticipation of a favourable outcome.

            The two banks have already agreed on a new shareholding
structure but say they will maintain the current workforce and branches if

            The new entity would be known as Trust-Royal Bank.

            "ZABG has nothing. It has no assets of its own," said one of the
sources involved in the talks.

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No power for winter wheat: Zesa

Zim Independent

            Dumisani Ndlela

            THE Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (Zesa) has dealt a
body blow to the government's rhetoric promising a successful winter wheat
crop this year, saying the power utility was unlikely to meet farmers'
requirements for the cropping season.

            In a rare exchange between Zesa and the Ministry of Energy and
Power Development, Zesa's corporate secretary, Pardon Chakanyuka, insisted
the ministry had misled the nation when it announced "uninterruptible power
supplies during the winter cropping season" on national television.

            "The board is quite concerned about the announcement which was
made without its knowledge or Zesa having been consulted to ascertain the
facts on the ground," Chakanyuka said in a letter.

            "The board is worried that the announcement exposes the board as
it's generated a lot of expectations from Zesa's stakeholders and in
particular the farming community," Chakanyuka said.

            Chakanyuka's letter was addressed to the ministry's permanent
secretary, Justin Mupamhanga, who is also a board member of Zesa.

            In the letter, dated March 31, Chakanyuka noted that Zesa had in
the past made commitments to the industry on the basis of the central bank's
pledge to provide US$3,5 million in August last year but this had not
happened, leaving Zesa "in an invidious and embarrassing position of having
to explain continued deterioration of supply availability and reliability to
customers", it said.

            "It is against this background that the board resolved to direct
the group company secretary to write this letter to you so as to put the
record straight."

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RBZ warns market to brace for liquidity storms

Zim Independent

            Dumisani Ndlela

            THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe this week hiked the key
accommodation rate as it swung the pendulum in its fight against inflation,
warning the market to brace for a tighter monetary policy regime ahead of
record TB maturities in the next two months.

            But the central bank indicated it might not hike the treasury
bill (TB) rate, saying its interest rates policy would be guided by the need
to stabilise inflationary pressures wreaking havoc in the economy.

            "We once again call upon players in the banking industry to
carefully calibrate their funding positions in a manner that pitches their
sails strong enough to withstand the inevitable liquidity storm that
ordinarily comes with the vigorous anti-inflation thrust the Reserve Bank
will continue to maintain," said RBZ Gideon Gono.

            The market had been expecting the central bank's tight monetary
policy to become overwhelmed by record TB maturities in May and June,
expected to unleash $25 billion and $39 billion into the market during the
respective months.

            In a memorandum to bank chief executives, Gono said his call to
the market was pre-emptive and had been "made in the common interest of
balancing the dual virtues of inflation reduction and maintenance of a
sound, stable, bankable and developmental financial system".

            Inflation soared to 913,6% year-on-year for March, an all-time
high that surpassed the central bank's forecast, indicating inflation could
peak at 800% in March before starting to fall down. The RBZ increased the
overnight accommodation rates from 750% to 800% for secured lending and from
785% to 850% for unsecured lending under measures Gono said were meant to
fortify the central bank's framework for achieving its anti-inflation

            However, the TB and open market operation (OMO) rates would not
be increased, Gono said, noting that the market should not expect "a
one-on-one link between the accommodation rate and the TB and OMO rates".

            "The monetary policy update to a certain extent put the market
at ease," said Washington Mehlomakulu, an analyst with Highveld Financial

            There had been uncertainty in the market after the RBZ kept the
market uninformed over its policy position regarding interest rates after it
had not hiked the key bank rates despite a rise in inflation.

            The RBZ has consistently raised the key accommodation rate in
line with inflation, indicating its resolve to see positive real interest
rates in the market as well as its intention to use the blunt money market
instrument to curb credit expansion.

            Mehlomakulu said the central bank's resolve not to move TB rates
up had been informed by its view that current rates gave real returns to

            "The RBZ feels that the yield, compounded quarterly, gives above
inflation returns," said Mehlomakulu.

            "The market will now closely watch the inflation rate for April
to take a cue over where the central bank might be going in terms of the TB
and bank rates. But current pronouncements do not preclude it from
increasing the TB rate," Mehlomakulu said.

            Gono said the bank rate was purely meant to discourage borrowing
from the central bank and was "a forward looking anticipatory policy rate
which seeks to drive inflation from a priori expected levels".

            "It should, however, be noted that the policy framework will
continue to be that of maintaining positive real rates on money market
instruments," Gono said.

            He warned the corporate sector to avoid borrowings that could
destroy their balance sheets during its vigorous fight against inflation.

            "The high interest rate environment also calls for corporates
and all other players in the economy's productive systems to proficiently
realign their financing and capital structures in a manner that minimises
the interest cost burden," Gono said.

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Some hard lessons to learn

Zim Independent

            By Admire Mavolwane

            TODAY marks the close of yet another horrible month for a number
of players in the investment markets. Beginning the second week of this
month, the stock market looked as if it had bottomed out and was showing
signs of recovery but the last three days have put paid to all the high

            Notwithstanding these mid-April gains, the market is yet to claw
back the losses of 14,14% and 20,14% incurred in February and March,
respectively. For the year to date the industrial index is showing a 92,49%
gain some 53 percentage points lower than the 144,95% recorded in January.

            The problem, as we have highlighted before, is that the bulk of
the losses are sitting with the newer converts to the stock market who
bought in towards the end of January.

            It is this segment of investors that has been crying out loud
and is seen holding calculators everyday, enumerating their unrealised
losses and contrasting them with interest income foregone on the money

            What this does ultimately is to undermine confidence in the
share market if some of the not so quiet mumblings and vows not to gamble
again are anything to go by. The positive correlation between risk and
return is surely a hard lesson to learn.

            The foreign currency "investor" is also singing the blues.
Notwithstanding the acceleration of inflation from 585,8%  to 913,6%, a
differential of 327,8%, the exchange rate has just about doubled from $100
000 to $210 000 to the green leaf.

            However, working it out the other way using the monthly
inflation rates of 18,6%, 27,5% and 19,8% for January, February and March,
respectively, the dollar is still slightly ahead of the 81% compounded
monthly  inflation rates.

            Once we resort to calculators and other mathematically or
scientifically elaborate measurement of returns, it becomes apparent that
one is looking for solace.

            The only guys who have been smiling are those investors who have
either a diversified portfolio made up of all three asset classes or have
remained faithful to the short-term money market investment duration.

            The money market players have been enjoying high interest rates,
which at some point peaked at 400% per annum on the short end. A counter
argument against the latter category will be the negative real returns that
they have endured since June last year. At the moment, however, the three
markets are showing negative real returns so investors are rather worse off.

            The trouble with the money market is that it is essentially a
zero sum game. Whenever the investor is being enticed by a high interest
rate to invest his money, the institution looking for money will be
sacrificing a good slice of its profit margin.

            The situation is made worse where an institution is using the
deposit to fund a sovereign asset that is earning much less than the deposit
interest rate. A question which might be asked then is; when did banks start
practising GMB economics? Since late February into early March, when the
central bank started issuing short dated treasury bills at relatively high
yields when compared with the ones prevailing then, would be the response.

            To tighten the noose the central bank also increased the
statutory reserve requirements, which saw huge outflows from the market in
one day, at the same time hiking the overnight accommodation rate to 750%
per annum compounded daily.

            As with the case of the state grain utility, this rather
unfortunate situation arises from factors exogenous to the individual bank
itself and is a burden foisted upon the sector by an external force.

            Whereas the GMB can afford to pass the buck on to the fiscus,
the banks cannot exactly do that. Their recourse is to ask shareholders to
put up more money, but that could be asking too much from an already
overburdened lot.
            Many of the institutions had forewarned shareholders that they
would be coming to the market with rights offers and other capital raising
initiatives of some kind. Initially, the idea was to top up the
distributable reserves already sitting on the balance sheets but now they
have to raise more than previously envisaged.  Anyway, as they say: "Good
bankers, like good tea, can only be appreciated when they are in hot water."

            Bankers do not cry, if they did, then there could have been a
lot of wailing in the Reserve Bank auditorium after the presentation of a
memorandum statement to banking sector chief executives by the governor on
            After much hullabaloo about private health institutions raising
their fees and the intervention of government, a 70% increase was granted.

            Medical aid organisations immediately upped the expected
contributions from members by between 70% and 85%. Not to be outdone, the
government itself has reviewed fees at public health institutions from
300  -by comparison, a piece of chewing gum costs $5 000 - to between $800
000 and $1 million.

            It is not necessary to compute percentage increases in this
instance. No doubt, however, the increase was long overdue but suffices to
say that this highlights the folly of administered prices.

            If the official who has the handle on the fees is somehow
constrained, then frequent adjustments are forgotten.

            Large spikes are then experienced when the lid is lifted.  The
need to improve service was the rationale given this time around which is
somewhat misleading and introduces an expectations gap because it implies
that patients who were getting a $300 service should now expect a $1
million-dollar service. Press headlines have this week been dominated by
"Massive pay rise for teachers, armed forces"; "Hospital fees skyrocket";
"Harare water charges shoot up"; "RBZ ups overnight rates" and we expect
further such announcements in the coming weeks.

            It appears everyone, everywhere, is playing a catch-up game.
Unfortunately, the target keeps on moving. All these increases cause more
inflation but have also been necessitated by inflation.

            Essentially we now have a classic chicken and egg situation,
what causes what. But the question is when and what will break the circle,
if it ever will?

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Gata clears the air on woes besetting Zesa

Zim Independent

            WHILE Zimbabwe faces serious power shortages and possible
blackouts, the authorities are busy squabbling ahead of a major regional
energy crisis next year. Zesa has resorted to load-shedding after failing to
access foreign currency to buy spare parts and refurbish its power
generating plants. Senior business reporter Shakeman Mugari speaks to Zesa
Holdings executive chairman Sidney Gata about the pending power crisis and
other issues.

            Mugari: Why are we having load-shedding?

            Gata: We simply do not have enough foreign currency to import
spare parts to refurbish some of our plants like Hwange Thermal Station.
Added to that is a massive shortage of diesel and coal. We have managed some
refurbishments at Kariba but due to forex problems we could not do the same
at Hwange. We are operating below capacity. But the major problem now is the
uneconomic tariffs which we are charging.

            Mugari: What is this about tariffs?

            Gata: There has been a tariff freeze for the past three years.
Also you need to remember that of all the four tariff increases granted by
cabinet to Zesa, none of them was fully implemented. Only one was partially

            Mugari: Why were they not implemented after being approved by

            Gata: They were not implemented because of the intervention by
the central bank which wanted to keep the lid on inflation. You are aware of
the recent intervention by the central bank governor.

            Mugari: Are you saying that power cuts will stop if you get the
tariff increase that you want? Will load-shedding cease as soon as there is
a tariff increase?

            Gata: Well, the situation will certainly improve but that does
not mean load-shedding will stop. Load-shedding will remain because power
supply is a function of many things that we are unfortunately not able to
control like the supply of foreign currency, diesel and coal.

            Mugari: Are you therefore saying there will be more power cuts
throughout the year?

            Gata: Yes, because, as I said, with that tariff increase we can
only manage to a certain extent. The problem will be acute in winter. If we
get the tariff increase we will be able to pay Hwange Colliery for coal
supplies. We will be able to pay the National Railways of Zimbabwe. But the
truth is that even if we manage to pay Hwange there is no guarantee that
they will be able to supply us because their machines are too old. In fact
they are almost the same age as ours - 22 years. They also need similar
refurbishments. Tariffs alone will not eradicate the problem of
load-shedding, there is need for a broader approach.

            Mugari: So when is load-shedding going to stop?

            Gata: When we have an economic tariff review, enough forex to
refurbish our stations. We will also need forex to pay for our imports from
regional supplies. We will need the whole system from coal (Hwange Colliery)
and transport (NRZ). However, for this problem to go away we need our own
new generators.

            Mugari: When will that be?

            Gata: Preparations are underway but for Kariba we will need 36
months and Hwange 42 months. And that's assuming all the proper funding is

            Mugari: There are allegations that while you are complaining
about (low) tariffs hurting your capacity, it is said Zesa has been living
off government subsidies and funding for the past few years. It's said you
are living off the fiscus.

            Gata: Those allegations are completely false. They are not true.
The government has never given us any money. Even the rural electrification
programme which has been taken out of Zesa has been surviving from
commercial lending and levies.

            Mugari: Are you sure that Zesa has never got a cent from
government since 1986?

            Gata: Not at all. Zesa has not received a single dollar from the
government since 1986. Even in cases where government got a soft loan from
bilateral funding, it has always used commercial rates for on-lending to us.
All our projects have been self-funded. We never got a dollar from the

            Mugari: So how much is needed for Zimbabwe's generating plants
to have maximum capacity?

            Gata: I would say US$30 million for us to do refurbishments at
Hwange like the ones at Kariba. We will then need enough coal and diesel for
the stations to start running. That also depends on foreign currency and
Hwange Colliery's capacity.

            Mugari: Does that mean you will be able to reopen Munyati,
Harare and Bulawayo power stations which have been shut down for some time

            Gata: That should be possible.

            Mugari: How about allegations that you are already stripping
parts from these stations to repair the Hwange power station? I mean
cannibalising them?

            Gata: That is false.

            Mugari: What is correct then?

            Gata: The truth is that this is not possible because each
station has its own specifications. They are not like cars where you can
strip one of parts and put on the other. We are not cannibalising the
stations. Each station has special specifications.

            Mugari: Talking about power security, is there a concrete
guarantee that Zesa will be able to provide sufficient energy when the power
crisis starts next year?

            Gata: I think so, but the challenge is for us to renew our
contracts with some of our suppliers in the region. I am sure we will
manage. We have since managed to re-negotiate our contracts with Zesco of
Zambia and Snel of the DRC. If we maintain those and other standing
contracts with HCB of Mozambique and Eskom of South Africa that would be
sufficient to get us through the period when the region has a shortage.

            Mugari: You will however admit that we are already behind on
preparations for the crisis?

            Gata: Yes we are behind, but if we can maintain those contracts
then the situation would be under control.

            Mugari: But some of those contracts are shaky. In fact, the
contract with the Mozambican supplier is in danger because we still owe them
US$8 million. We also risk losing the Snel contracts because we owe them
about US$7 million. Are you therefore sure that we will manage to hold on to
the contracts?

            Gata: If we manage to pay those suppliers then the situation
will be under control.

            Mugari: That is understood but indications are that we are not
the only country in need of power. Botswana imports, I think 75% of its
power. Is Zimbabwe therefore assured that such countries will not snatch the
contracts if we fail to pay on time, realising that we have forex problems?

            Gata: Yes they could, but as I said, we are working to make sure
that does not happen.

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Tobacco season off to a bad start

Zim Independent

            Dumisani Ndlela

            ZIMBABWE'S tobacco season got off to a bad start with muffled
protests from predominantly small-scale growers bitter over a policy shift
by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) on prices.

            But large-scale farmers said the move by the central bank was
positive "in broad terms", although the exchange rate remained the single
major threat to viability.

            "In broad terms, the measures are positive because tobacco
growers are this year getting the interbank (exchange) rate and the RBZ is
rewarding early deliveries and quality," said Andrew Ferreira, deputy
president of the Zimbabwe Tobacco Association (ZTA).

            "But we're very shy on the viability model," said Ferreira,
referring to the interbank Zimbabwe dollar exchange rate that has remained
fixed for the past two to three months, weakening marginally on Tuesday.

            Ferreira said the tobacco sector needed an exchange rate of $180
000 to the US unit to ensure viability.

            But the central bank's policy, awarding a 35% bonus for early
deliveries, would ensure an effective exchange rate of $134 000 to the
greenback, Ferreira said.

            "This is 25% shy of levels required for viability, but this will
be counteracted by the fact that the Reserve Bank has said tobacco
production would be funded through Aspef," said Ferreira.

            Aspef, the Agricultural Sector Productivity Enhancement
Facility, is a cheap central bank financing facility extended to farmers to
enhance productivity.

            While the bigger and experienced farmers have welcomed the new
central bank measures, small-and-medium scale farmers - the majority of them
blacks given land under the government's controversial land redistribution
exercise - were resentful over what they considered a spiteful gesture to
the emergent black farmers by the RBZ.

            They said the policy rewarding farmers for quality tobacco would
hurt their operations.

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Espionage plan unconstitutional

Zim Independent

            By Chris Mhike

            THE Zimbabwe Independent's lead story of March 17 read:
"Government to spy on phones, e-mails". This was in reference to the draft
Interception of Communication Bill 2006.

            Will it be just an executive peeping or an ordinary exercise of
innocent governmental curiosity, as suggested by the word "spy"?

            If the draft develops to be a substantive Bill, and subsequently
into a law, would such be constitutional? That is the question.

            Interception connotes interference, obstruction, and stoppage of
flow, seizure and grabbing, among other negative processes. Grabbing! After
they grabbed farms, implements therefrom, Daily News computers and other men's
wives, now what is to be grabbed through this communication law?

            Communication involves the imparting or exchange of information,
ideas, or feelings. This can be via verbal, physical, electronic, written,
telephonic, virtual or other channels.   The draft Bill targets
"telecommunication, postal" or any other related service system. The
discussion on the constitutionality or otherwise of the provisions proceeds
here, from the premise that Zimbabwe is a free and democratic society.

            In 1980, the reigning jolly government gained (not grabbed)
power via a democratic process. They claim today that citizens freely and
democratically elected them into office.  Freedom and democracy are the
achievements that were celebrated through the gyrations witnessed by both
the "equal" and the "more equal" comrades on the Zimbabwe Oye night.

            So, even if some "unpatriotic" Sekaurema was to aver that the
democracy is in short supply in Zimbabwe, like many other things, it should
remain true that a democratic dispensation is the one that should be in
place, in the place of either the notional or the real autocratic regime.

            Even if it were to be proven that governance in the country is
undemocratic, citizens would still have to think like free people.  They
would not leave the rogues to monopolise the "grab" mentality.

            The citizens would have to rightfully grab back from the
"robber-grab-alls" whatever is at stake.

            In a democratic society, decisions, actions, plans, operations
(not necessarily Murambatsvina and Garikai, but including them), laws and
regulations, have to be constitutional. This means that they must all be
consistent with the constitution of the country. Besides being
quantitatively consistent with the constitution, they must also qualify as
being reasonable in a democratic society.

            The 21 sections of the draft Bill essentially and precisely deal
with the activity described in the document's title - that is, the
interception of communications.

            And, the sections of the constitution that deal with
communication include: the protection of the freedoms of conscience,
expression and association, the protection of the right to privacy,
protection of the right to personal liberty, protection from inhuman or
degrading treatment, and protection from deprivation of property.

            The draft law certainly interferes with citizens' consciences,
expression and association because all these could be exercised through the
targeted forms of communication.

            Clearly, if any private correspondence directed to one
particular person is intercepted, the right to privacy, or choice as to whom
one should associate with and whom he should not, are thereby severely

            If sensitive information that had been destined for someone ends
up in some stranger's hands, embarrassment and dehumanising consequences
could follow for either of the parties to the communications, or both.
Should mail containing personal works of my creativity (intellectual
property) be seized, such seizure would amount to deprivation of property.

            The interception of mass media-related communication would be
tantamount to the violation of freedom of the press.

            Acknowledged, it is widely accepted that in enshrining
fundamental rights and freedoms in the constitution and in other legal
instruments, drafters may formulate exceptions to the rule.

            But, where rights and freedoms are conferred on persons,
derogations therefrom, as far as the language permits, should be narrowly or
strictly construed. Wide and vague formulations are unacceptable, and
therefore unconstitutional.
            If derogation has to be made, then it must be absolutely
necessary, justifiable or "reasonable in a democratic society".  If the
exception fails that test, then what remains is for it to be struck down for
its want of reason. It becomes unconstitutional.

            The constitution itself already carries exceptions to the rights
and freedoms clauses. This draft Bill seeks to supplement the enshrined
exceptions, relating to communications.

            However, the authors of the draft Bill could not conjure up any
justification for these bonus exceptions. According to the memorandum
section of the draft, the "purpose" is simply "to establish an interception
of communication monitoring centre" - that is, to intercept for the sake of

            These above-stated violations of the constitution, and of the
principle of reasonableness, therefore make the daft Bill inconsistent with
the constitution, and unreasonable in a democratic society.

            In the US, in justifying a law that is similar to the one
envisaged in "our" draft Bill, President George W Bush cited the need for an
effective tracking system for terrorists, in light of 9/11, as the motive
behind the US Patriot Act (2001).

            To date, there is no evidence that the civil liberties that were
grabbed from Americans through the law had been in any way a barrier to Bush's
designs.  But there was some attempt at logical justification, unconvincing
as it might have been.

            In 1985, an Interception and Communications Act was introduced
in the UK, to replace the Royal Prerogative. Terrorism had not become a hot
topic then, but again, the British executive proffered particular reasons
for the promulgation.

            Could Harare be following in the footsteps of the "twin evils"?
If not, and there are no fresh circumstances in our "more democratic"
African nation to justify interception, then why? Why this draft Bill now?

            Perhaps there are particular detractors - individuals and
organisations - that are targeted.  Or it could be compliance with
international trends, never mind our own constitution.

            Besides the dreadful possibility of a purge, or the daft copying
from Uncle Sam, Uncle Bob could simply be out to overturn, in typical
patriotic fashion, a previous judgement. In 2003, the Supreme Court struck
down two sections of the Postal and Telecommunications Act for their

            The contested sections gave powers to the president of Zimbabwe
to intercept and detain mail. They empowered the same president to give
directions for interception and detention to any "licensee". Then the Law
Society successfully argued that the provisions were repugnant to the right
to freedom of expression.

            The Supreme Court accepted the argument and it struck the
sections down as unconstitutional.

            This draft Bill, therefore, cannot escape the damnation of
unconstitutionality because its effects are similar to those that arose from
the debunked sections of the Act.

            Whether the same unconstitutional provisions prevail in the UK,
the US, or anywhere else on the globe, "our" draft Bill remains
unconstitutional and unreasonable in democratic Zimbabwe Espionage on
private communication, as championed in the draft Bill, is unconstitutional
and unreasonable.

            * Chris Mhike is a Harare-based legal practitioner.

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Tsholotsho saga: the untold story

Zim Independent

            By Jonathan Moyo

            THIS is the third and final part of an article in which the
former Information minister reveals details of Zanu PF's power struggle
which culminated in the so-called Tsholotsho Declaration of November 2004.

            ON November 18 2004, the emergency politburo meeting started
just before 11:00am. President Robert Mugabe indicated that he had called
for the meeting in response to concerns that some members of the politburo
had raised regarding procedures for the nominations of the top leadership of
the party scheduled for November 21 2004 ahead of the party's congress.

            In particular there were concerns that the nominations were
supposed to be done by provincial executive councils, that the position of
one of the vice-presidents and second secretaries had not been reserved for
a woman as directed by Mugabe at the Zanu PF women's congress in September
and that there had been reports indicating that some provinces did not have
funds to facilitate the nomination meetings.

            Apparently, as it transpired, Nicholas Goche and John Nkomo had
raised these complaints with Mugabe. Reports that there were no funds for
the provinces to facilitate the nomination meetings were clarified and shown
to be false.
            Regarding the procedures for the nominations, Emmerson Mnangagwa
as secretary for administration explained that he had followed the
provisions of the party's constitution and that he had consulted extensively
with Elliot Manyika - the national commissar - and that he had sought
specific approval from Mugabe of his letter of November 11 2004 spelling out
the procedures.  Patrick Chinamasa, then Zanu PF secretary for legal
affairs, also confirmed that Mnangagwa's letter of November 11 detailing the
procedures for nominations was consistent with the constitution.

            When it became clear to all and sundry at the emergency meeting
that the procedures for nominations in Mnangagwa's letter of November 11
2004 were indeed in terms of the constitution, those members of the
politburo who are associated with Solomon Mujuru's camp demanded the instant
amendment of the party's constitution there and then to accommodate their
interests and wishes.

            Thus the provision requiring that nominations for the party's
top four leadership positions be made by provincial executives in a secret
ballot was amended so that the nominations would be done by provincial
coordinating committees without a secret ballot.  This ensured that
politburo members would also participate in the nominations which members
who demanded this amendment hoped to influence.

            Even more shocking was that the same members demanded an
amendment of the party's constitution to include a provision requiring that
there be "four members being the president and first secretary, the two
vice- presidents and second secretaries with one of the vice-presidents and
second secretaries being a woman, and the national chairman of the party".

            Mnangagwa was directed to withdraw his earlier letter of
November 11 on the procedures for nominating the top four leadership
positions of the party and to issue a new letter dated November 18 2004
based on the new amendment of the constitution by the politburo. This
amendment was illegally effected on November 18 and implemented immediately
by an organ of the party, the politburo, which has no powers to amend the
            The purpose of the illegal amendment was not just to attack the
constitution of the party but to also give the impression that only one of
the top four positions, the one previously held by the late Vice-President
Simon Muzenda, was vacant and that it had to be filled by a woman.
Specifically the amendment was designed to annul the decisions of the
provincial chairmen and provincial governors meeting in Harare on August 23
and in Zvimba on August 30 under the chairmanship of Manyika in support of
principles of what has become known as the Tsholotsho Declaration.

            During this politburo meeting, it became clear that the Zanu PF
old guard in general, especially those linked with Mujuru's camp, and Mugabe
in particular are not committed to democracy, transparency and
constitutional procedures. Above all, it became clear that there is a clique
in Zanu PF that unashamedly believes in the domination of national politics
by one ethnic group under the cover of some self-serving language of
revolutionary nationalism and the Unity Accord of 1987.

            For example, under the Unity Accord, the ruling clique in Zanu
PF has taken the view that former Zapu leaders are entitled to one of the
positions of vice-president and that whoever occupies that position, even if
they do not come from Matabeleland as is the case with Joseph Msika,
necessarily represents Matabeleland as if Zapu and Matabeleland mean one and
the same thing.

            Zapu is no more while Matabeleland lives with political
interests that must be addressed along with the interests of other regions
in the country. Even worse, the ruling clique in Zanu PF has interpreted the
Unity Accord to mean that the best that Matabeleland can aspire to is the
vice-presidency. Such a view is neither revolutionary nor national - it is
tribal, reactionary and wholly unacceptable.

            After the emergency meeting, Mnangagwa said he could no longer
travel to Tsholotsho as he had to make and effect the constitutional
amendments that had been illegally sanctioned by the politburo. He asked
Chinamasa to represent him and to read his speech at Dinyane High School.

            So I travelled to Tsholotsho with Chinamasa and we reached
Dinyane High School just before 5:00pm on November 18 2004 for an event that
had been scheduled to start at 10:00am. By the time we got there six
provincial chairmen and other Zanu PF leaders who were in attendance had
already gotten wind of the emergency politburo meeting earlier in the day
and they wanted to get first-hand information about it from Chinamasa who
told them to wait until after the Dinyane programme which had to be rushed

            During the Dinyane programme, nothing political was said or
expected. It was truly a speech and prize-giving day during which a number
of the high-ranking guests pledged support and gifts to the school, yet to
be honoured.

            Because the event started late, it ended just after 7:00pm
following which the visitors from outside Tsholotsho immediately left for
Bulawayo to have dinner at the Bulawayo Rainbow Hotel and wait for Chinamasa
to brief them about the decisions of the emergency politburo meeting.  I
remained for a little while with Chinamasa because the school authorities
wanted him to inspect some facilities as the stand-in guest of honour.

            When Chinamasa and I got to the Bulawayo Rainbow Hotel we found
the six provincial chairmen from Matabeleland North, Midlands, Matabeleland
South, Masvingo, Bulawayo and Manicaland and other senior Zanu PF
politicians including then Masvingo governor Josiah Hungwe, deputy ministers
Abednico Ncube  and Andrew Langa and minister Flora Bhuka, who had attended
the speech and prize-giving day in Tsholotsho, and other Bulawayo-based
politicians who had been told that Chinamasa was going to give an informal
briefing on what had transpired at the emergency politburo meeting earlier
that day in Harare.

            We joined them for dinner and later around 11:00pm asked the
hotel staff to find us a conference room where Chinamasa could give his

            Chinamasa explained in detail how the emergency politburo
meeting had been called after complaints to Mugabe by Nkomo and Goche over
the procedures for the nomination of the four top positions in the
leadership of the party. He further gave a detailed narration of how the
emergency politburo meeting had amended the constitution and how it had also
directed that one of the positions for vice-president and second secretary,
which was falsely presented as the only vacant position, should be filled by
a woman and that the nominations should be made by provincial coordinating
committees through consensus and not by provincial executive committees in
secret balloting.

            The informal meeting's reaction to Chinamasa's briefing was of
animated anger at, and contempt for, the politburo mainly because of a
widely held view to this day that the politburo had no right or power to
amend the party's constitution in the manner it did on November 18 2004.
The view of the informal meeting was that the politburo had to be defied at
all costs because it had blatantly violated the party's constitution.

            Chinamasa, with my active support and intervention, cautioned
against this view and strongly advised that even if the politburo had erred
by amending the party's constitution when it did not have the power to do
so, loyal party members were duty-bound to respect the decision of the
politburo and to find other legal ways of registering their outrage at what
had happened.

            After a protracted debate that took about four hours, the
meeting finally agreed to respect the politburo decision but rejected the
view that the only vacant position was that previously held by the late
Muzenda and that it had to be filled by Joice Mujuru as had been widely
reported in newspapers since the women's congress in September 2004.

            Various speakers at the meeting argued that all of the top four
positions, including that held by Mugabe, were vacant and that Mujuru was
not the most senior or most qualified woman to be nominated as one of the
two vice-presidents and second secretaries of the party.

            It was proposed and agreed by all of us at the Rainbow Hotel
meeting that the top four leadership positions of the party should reflect
the regional diversity and ethnic balance of the country as a whole; that
the elections should be democratic and held by secret ballot and that the
constitution as illegally amended by the politburo should be reluctantly
respected in accordance with the guidelines in the letter of November 18
2004 from the secretary for administration which replaced the one he had
sent on November 11 2004.

            More specifically, we proposed to nominate Mugabe for the
position of president and first secretary coming from the Zezuru ethnic
grouping; Mnangagwa for the position of vice-president and second secretary
from the Karanga ethnic grouping; Thenjiwe Lesabe for the position of
vice-president and second secretary reserved for women from the Ndebele
ethnic grouping, and Chinamasa for the position of national chairman from
the Manyika ethnic grouping.

            The Zvimba meeting in August had proposd the nomination of
Mugabe, Msika, Mnangagwa and Nkomo for the top four positions. Msika and
Nkomo fell off the equation at the Rainbow meeting.

            Chinamasa was nominated at Rainbow Hotel over Didymus Mutasa,
who had also been proposed for the post, because it was strongly felt that
the position of national chairman should be filled by a qualified and
experienced lawyer who would respect the disciplinary procedures in the Zanu
PF constitution, something which Nkomo had dismally failed to respect or

            The agreement reached at the Rainbow Hotel in Bulawayo was
dubbed the Tsholotsho Declaration by those opposed to ethnic balance in the
top four leadership positions in Zanu PF selected through democratic
elections under a democratic constitution.

            This oral agreement was consistent with the principles - which
are the pillars of the Tsholotsho Declaration - that emerged from the long
debate, discussion and consultation within Zanu PF that started soon after
the June 2000 parliamentary election when the need for modernising and
democratising Zanu PF became as self-evident as it is today.

            The agreement was consistent with the deliberations and
decisions of the provincial chairmen and provincial governors at the three
meetings chaired by Manyika on August 16, 23 and 30 2004 - the first two in
Harare and the last in Zvimba.

            This position was immediately communicated to all party
structures ahead of the nomination day on November 21 2004.  Even though
there was little time between the communication and nomination day, the
results of the elections indicated to any serious-minded person that the
principles of the Tsholotsho Declaration about the need for balanced ethnic
representation in the top leadership that is constitutionally and
democratically elected is very strong and widely shared within Zanu PF and
that is why there are still very serious divisions in the ruling party that
threaten to turn President Mugabe's succession into a nightmare for the old
guard who have squandered all opportunities to reform Zanu PF since the June
2000 election.

            Therefore, the principles of the Tsholotsho Declaration did not
carry the day on November 21 2004 not because Zanu PF members are opposed to
them but because the ruling hierarchy among the Zanu PF old guard which had
no shame in using the politburo to illegally amend the party constitution
used some elements of the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) to impose
the current top leadership of Zanu PF whose composition is not reflective of
the regional and ethnic balance of the country and is not based on merit in
terms of performance.

            Indeed, Mugabe boldly told me in the one-and-a-half hour meeting
I had with him and Joice Mujuru on February 17 2005, which he has discussed
a lot in public at my expense, that if the Tsholotsho Declaration had
succeeded through the party nominations and elections, the leadership would
have rejected the result. This kind of unbalanced leadership always ready to
use the hammer to crush democracy is also bereft of a national vision and
lacks the representative legitimacy and competence to deal with the
unprecedented economic and political problems crippling the country today.

            In his closing speech at the December 2004 Zanu PF congress,
Mugabe angrily reacted to the principles of the Tsholotsho Declaration by
attacking those whom he said were accusing him of tribalism and charged that
he took exception to what he said was an insulting accusation because he is
a revolutionary and not a triballist.

            Well, maybe so but there are no discernible revolutionary
principles in corrupting the Unity Accord and mutilating and personalising
the constitution of the party in order to end up with the current situation
in which three of the top four leaders in Zanu PF and the government,
Mugabe, Mujuru and Msika, come from one ethnic grouping not as an outcome of
democratic elections but because of an imposition from a deliberately
manipulated constitution, relying not on politics but on the brutal use of
CIO agents.

            Mugabe has been in power for more than a generation and that is
destabilising to our nation and it is against the national interest to
impose a successor from the president's ethnic grouping under these trying
circumstances in our country's history. Such attempts at ethnic domination
of the diversified nation by one group through foul means are not different
from similar colonial and UDI attempts that sought to impose racial
domination and failed.
            It is very ironic and rather sad that those behind the project
of ethnic domination call themselves nationalist and anti-colonialists when
their deeds tell a different story. The situation would of course be very
different if Mugabe had served for two or even three terms only and if the
country was not facing an economic meltdown underwritten by policy paralysis
in Mugabe's government.

            Zimbabweans need and must have a change of government not just
in terms of personnel in political leadership but in ideological,
constitutional, structural and policy terms.

            As someone who was both in the Zanu PF leadership and
government, and who therefore must take some responsibility not only for the
failure of the Tsholotsho Declaration but also some of the policies that
have not worked well for our country, I can say without any doubt that
Zimbabwe today would be different and better off had the principles of the
Tsholotsho Declaration carried the day on November 21 2004. This is because
Zanu PF would have changed for the better and that change would have
impacted on the country's policies and institutions positively.

            The current political and economic problems facing Zimbabwe are
due to the fact that the country is being ruled by a hopelessly clueless,
tired and terrified undemocratic clique which desperately wants to cling to
power by fair means or foul at the clear expense of national interest.

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How Zim 'bunked' independence classes

Zim Independent

            By Bill Saidi

            IF Zimbabwe had attended all the "classes" on how to succeed as
an independent African country, it would not be in the political and
economic mess that it is now. That, according to a liberal interpretation of
what Joshua Nkomo said on the subject, has to be the conclusion of many
objective analysts.

            An estimated 45 countries were independent in Africa before
Zimbabwe gained its own from the British in 1980.

            Among the oldest were Liberia and Ethiopia, the newest
Mozambique, Angola, Cape Verde and Sao Tomé and Principe.

            The last were handed their independence by the Portuguese after
a military coup in Lisbon in 1974.

            Ghana gained independence from the British in 1957. In 1966,
Kwame Nkrumah was toppled by the army, plunging the country into a long
period of instability. After its independence, again from the British, in
1960, Nigeria faced a long period of coups and counter-coups after the
assassination of its first federal prime minister, Sir Abubakar Tafawa

            There were lessons nearer home which the Zimbabwean politicians
didn't bother to attend. Just before its independence in 1964, Zambia sent
its soldiers into battle with a fanatical religious sect, the Lumpa church
of Alice Lenshina.

            Lenshina was from Chinsali in the Northern province which had
given the country its first black prime minister and later president,
Kenneth Kaunda.

            "She was not always like this," Kaunda was quoted as saying
about Alice, with whom he had either attended school or knew as a little

            Zimbabwean leaders also bunked a class in which they would have
learnt of Malawi's birth pains in 1964. The autocratic Hastings Kamuzu
Banda, the leader of the small poor country which, with the two Rhodesias,
had formed the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland, refused to listen to
criticism from his cabinet colleagues on the way he was running the country.

            The dissidents were led by Henry Chipembere and Orton Chirwa.

            The dissenting cabinet ministers would not bend to the doctor's
whims and fled the country. They launched a guerilla war which cost many
lives and disrupted the economic development which the country would have
enjoyed had there been political stability.

            But even more salutary lessons were provided by a country which
helped Zimbabwe fight a racist regime - Mozambique. Its independence in 1975
was rendered utterly meaningless as soon as the civil war erupted with the
dissident Renamo group, aided and abetted by the South African apartheid
regime, for its own purposes.

            Angola, on the other side of the continent, plunged into its own
civil war with Jonas Savimbi, backed by both the South Africans and the
United States, struggling to defeat the government set up by the MPLA, led
by Agostinho Neto.

            The cause of all these conflicts was greed and an insatiable
hunger for power. Clearly, the sinister hand of the former colonial masters
or their sympathisers could be discerned in all instances. What has not been
sufficiently debated is the spinelessness with which the leaders succumbed
to the blandishments of the pro-colonial plotters.

            Was independence of such little value and meaning to them? The
same question could be asked of the people who were in power: would dialogue
have harmed their cause, specifically the cause of the country's political
unity and stability? Were they too not blinded by greed and the hunger for
power to hang on until their opponents had been vanquished?

            What would Jonas Savimbi have lost if he had, right from the
beginning, allowed for a dialogue with Neto, to bring shame to the
Portuguese, some of whom had plotted against granting the African colonies
independence right from the beginning?

            For that matter, what would the Marxist Neto have lost if he had
accommodated Savimbi's ambitions?

            Which brings us, neatly, to Joshua Nkomo's thoughts on the
lessons Zimbabwe ought to have learnt to avoid messing up independence.

            Nkomo, according to some of his followers, decided not to be a
"Savimbi" after the outbreak of violence in Matabelaland and the Midlands
involving the so-called dissidents or bandits, depending on who you chose to
believe at the time.

            Nkomo returned from exile in the United Kingdom for this reason,
according to sources. "Father Zimbabwe" would not conclude an illustrious
liberation struggle career as a renegade, hunted day and night by government
soldiers, some of whom had been inspired to join the struggle by his own

            Recently, the government TV has been showing clips of Nkomo
speaking of how Zimbabwe had many "lessons" to learn from countries which
gained independence before us. Some of them had made serious mistakes, which
Zimbabwe would be mindful of avoiding as it consolidated its own

            Nkomo spent much time in Zambia, from which his forces launched
the struggle. He was very close to Kaunda, whose role in the struggle earned
him an accolade in the Silver Jubilee celebrations last year.

            What seems baffling is that neither Nkomo nor Robert Mugabe,
whose Zanla forces fought the war from Mozambique, appear to have taken to
heart the lessons they must have gleaned from observing at close hand the
mistakes that both Kaunda and Samora Machel made.

            Not until Joachim Chissano came on the scene did Mozambique's
economy begin to perform as robustly as it was entitled to. Under Machel's
flirtation with Marxism, it had simply stagnated.

            Kaunda's nationalisation of the mines in 1968 was to say the
least ill-advised, economically.

            Similarly, in Zimbabwe, the atmosphere which had, in the early
days of independence, attracted foreign investors, was poisoned, almost
fatally, by Mugabe's pursuit of political and economic policies steeped in
acrimony and intolerance.

            The most glaring example of politicians bunking the lessons on
independence "mistakes" made by other countries was the Gukurahundi

            All attempts at promoting a dialogue failed. It seems that, for
their own reasons, certain politicians believed that a dialogue would rob
them of their chances of rising to the pinnacle of political success.

            The hopes of a revival of tolerance and amity between the
political parties were raised by the so-called Unity Accord of 1987.

            But intolerance crept in again, so that by 1990 Edgar Tekere,
who some likened to what Simon Kapwepwe was to Kenneth Kaunda before they
fell out over the thrust of the Zambian economy, was speaking publicly of
"democracy" in Zimbabwe being in the intensive care unit.

            Nkomo constantly spoke of Zimbabweans being "one people", black,
white and of all ethnic groups.

            For the government to believe, seriously, that the slogan
"Sisonke" will attract Ndebele-speaking citizens to join Zanu PF, rather
than any other party, demonstrates most eloquently just how many lessons
that party has missed in learning how to consolidate our Independence.

            * Bill Saidi is editor of the banned Daily News on Sunday.

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NEDPP yet another of government's dead ducks

Zim Independent

            Dumisani Ndlela

            GOVERNMENT'S ambitious economic revival programme announced last
week in a bid to alleviate the numerous hardships besetting Zimbabwe has
failed to find buyers even among the most optimistic observers.

            The government's dismal policy record and the history of
economic programmes clearly show that the critics of the National Economic
Development Priority Programme (NEDPP) may well be justified in thinking the
latest initiative amounts to more of the same.

            Since Independence in 1980, Zimbabwe has had no less than 10
economic growth and poverty reduction-related programmes. These include
Growth with Equity (1981), Economic Structural Adjustment Programme (1991),
Poverty Alleviation Action Programme (1994), Zimbabwe Programme for Economic
and Social Transformation (1996-2000), Zimbabwe Millennium Economic Recovery
Programme (2001), the Ten-Point Plan (2002), the National Economic Revival
Programme (2003); and Zimbabwe: Towards Sustained Economic Growth -
Macro-Economic Policy Framework for 2005-2006.

            The NEDPP launched last week therefore adds to a plethora of
failed economic agendas the government has embarked upon to rescue a
faltering economy.

            The NEDPP, sold as a joint economic revival effort by government
and the private sector, is designed to create economic stability within the
next six to nine months.

            The challenges are enormous: Zimbabwe has experienced a major
humanitarian emergency due to the deteriorating economy and immense policy
constraints aggravated by the spread of HIV and Aids.

            Inflation reached an all-time high of 913,6% year-on-year for
March, with what economists describe as "structural unemployment" being
estimated at nearly 80%.

            Major foreign currency and fuel shortages have dominated the
crisis as well as shortages of basic food commodities.

            The NEDPP was formulated by the government through the Zimbabwe
National Security Council (ZNSC), chaired by President Robert Mugabe who in
July 2004 announced what he described as an "evident revival of our economy"
during his state-of-the-nation address.

            Under the NEDPP, the government plans to mobilise US$2,5 billion
within the next three months, boosting efforts to stabilise the economy,
reduce inflation and increase agricultural production.

            What's more, the programme will help enhance savings and trigger
investments inflows.

            What is not clear is how the programme will raise such a huge
amount of cash without support from external financiers, and especially in
the absence of balance-of-payments support from the International Monetary

            Indications are that the NEDPP, like its predecessor programmes,
will fail simply because it has not dealt with the basic reasons behind the
country's incredible economic decline.

            These include skewed economic policies, a breakdown of the rule
of law, and government's destruction of the commercial farming sector,
previously the bedrock of the country's economy.

            The attitude of government, which became apparent at the launch
of Nerp, was that sanctions targeted at President Mugabe and his inner
circle for alleged electoral and human rights abuses, are the main cause of
the economic crisis, which has seen gross domestic product contracting by a
cumulative 35% over the past six years.

            The latest document does not acknowledge that agricultural
production has shrunk because of government's controversial land reforms,
which triggered a tail-spin of export figures.

            Gideon Gono, the once-affable-but-now-crabby central bank
governor apparently put out by frustrations to his mandate to turn around
the country's struggling economy, gave the programme an early endorsement.

            "This is different from previous initiatives," Gono told a press
briefing during the programme's launch. "We have a clear vision of what
needs to be achieved and we have deadlines by which certain deliverables
must be achieved," he said.

            But Gono's efforts towards economic revival have encountered
immense resentment from top ruling party and government bigwigs, many of
whom have profited from the crisis through abuse of access to fuel and other
commodities in short supply which they have sold on the black market at
exorbitant prices.

            The RBZ, under the Agricultural Sector Productivity Enhancement
Facility, disbursed $5,59 trillion to farmers to increase productivity, but
most beneficiaries, among them ruling party bigwigs and cabinet ministers,
did not utilise the cheap funds, attracting 30% interest, for intended
purposes. Banks are charging interest above 800% for borrowings.

            A similar facility providing fuel to farmers has been equally
abused, with top ruling party members and their cronies being implicated.

            Buying diesel at $23 000 per litre, they sold it on the black
market for around $210 000 per litre. Two top ruling party members,
including a central committee member, have been arrested for abusing the
scheme, but cabinet ministers, some of whom received amounts "large enough
to irrigate vast farmlands", have remained free despite being implicated.

            The party officials have also been given access to mealie-meal
by the Grain Marketing Board, a government-owned company with a monopoly
over the buying and selling of grain in Zimbabwe.

            After buying the mealie-meal or grain at subsidised prices from
the GMB, ruling party and government officials resell the product to
consumers at exorbitant prices, often on the black market.

            This has resulted in missed targets, increased money printing
which has fuelled money supply growth and consequently inflation.

            Also, a major rift between Gono and Finance minister Herbert
Murerwa became apparent after recent reports by the Zimbabwe Independent
that the two had clashed over Gono's mandate in the fight for economic
revival, with Murerwa alleging the governor was encroaching on his mandate.

            The latest programme seeks to clip Gono's wings.

            For example, the NEDPP was formulated by the ZNCC chaired by
President Mugabe. The ZNCC will be supported by the National Economic
Recovery Council, chaired by Vice-President Joice Mujuru, believed to have
been a chief backer of Murerwa's motion limiting Gono's influence in the
revival agenda.

            The Nerc, with a technical committee chaired by chief secretary
to the Office of the President and cabinet, is composed of government and
private sector representatives, and will take charge of the implementation
process of the new economic programme.

            Economic Development minister Rugare Gumbo, said: "The
monitoring of progress in the implementation of projects and programmes is
being effected at the highest level of government. The management and
leadership skills in both the public and private sectors have been fully
mobilised to ensure successful implementation of NEDPP."

            Gumbo said NEDPP would aim to restore investor confidence, to
rehabilitate key infrastructure destroyed through neglect during the current
economic crisis, drastically reduce government's domestic and foreign debts
as well as restore a positive image of the country, battered by reports of
the country's human rights record and political and economic turmoil.

            "We have the right formula," Murerwa said, cognisant of the
failures of past programmes. But will he get it right this time? Nobody is
holding their breath.

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Why are political killers allowed to roam free?

Zim Independent


            LAST week we published a letter from Morgan Tsvangirai's lawyers
to the Attorney-General asking what progress, if any, was being made to
apprehend and bring to trial the alleged killers of two MDC activists in
April 2000, Tichaona Chiminya and Talent Mabika. The two were election
workers who were burnt to death in an attack at Murambinda growth point,
Buhera North.

            An employee of the Office of the President, Joseph Mwale, was,
according to evidence heard in an electoral petition and recorded in
judgement, "a principal offender and ringleader in the assassinations" who
is still at large.

            The two victims were bludgeoned unconscious before being burnt
alive. The judge, Justice Devittie, described the killings as particularly
"cold-hearted, brutal, and politically-motivated". He said they were a
"wicked act".

            Despite this no warrant of arrest was sought. Indeed, it would
appear Mwale was promoted. A record of evidence in the hearing was stolen
from a locked room at the courthouse. Nevertheless, the Attorney-General's
office required the Commissioner of Police to investigate and make a report
about the murders to facilitate a prosecution in terms of Section 76 (4a) of
the constitution. Such a report should have been made and included in the
commissioner's annual report to the minister to be laid before parliament.

            Inquiries at parliament have found no trace of such a report,
Tsvangirai's lawyers say. When two suspects in the same case were eventually
arraigned, the AG's representative advised the High Court that the delay in
bringing charges against them was due to political interference. But no one
was charged with obstructing or attempting to defeat the course of justice.

            This is an emblematic case. Farmer David Stevens was murdered
the same Easter weekend in 2000. The prosecution of his alleged killers
appears to be stalled. He was seized by armed men from a police station to
be bludgeoned and shot dead.

            The government is proposing to set up a Human Rights Commission
yet has failed to pursue cases involving its own senior employees. There are
numerous other cases of individuals being assaulted and tortured while in
custody where there have been no known prosecutions. The cases of Gabriel
Shumba and Tonderayi Machiridza come to mind. Shumba survived, Machiridza

            One of the functions of the Human Rights Commission is to
investigate cases involving "state actors", we are told. Why does the
government need a commission to investigate and prosecute state employees
implicated in human rights violations? Why are people like Mwale able to act
with impunity and then enjoy what looks very much like state protection.

            Torture and extra-judicial killings such as happened in this
case are international crimes and a violation of the Convention Against
Torture. They are also a violation of United Nations and African Union
treaties to which Zimbabwe is a party.

            Six years since the double killings in Buhera, described in the
letter to the AG as "showcase murders" committed in front of witnesses,
there has been no progress in the case.

            "The continuing failure to take any effective measures against
everyone implicated," Tsvangirai's lawyers argue, "undoubtedly creates the
appearance that some can get away with murder in Zimbabwe."

            It also suggests, they point out, ongoing political interference
and raises questions about the role of the AG's office.

            When the 18th amendment is introduced before parliament to
establish the Human Rights Commission, it is our sincere hope that civil
society and MPs will demand to know why so many cases of torture and
killings have not been brought to trial and why political killers roam free?
A Human Rights Commission in a society where human rights are routinely
ignored or violated by the state itself is pointless.

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Lack of patriotic youths killing Zim's economy

Zim Independent


            SUNDAY Mail political editor Munyaradzi Huni had a long
interview with Vice-President Joseph Msika this week.

            Despite strenuous attempts by Msika to claim that much has been
achieved since Independence, it was hard to demonstrate that people are
better off now. Instead it was a litany of "challenges" throughout.

            What we found most startling of course were the contradictions
in the VP's responses to these challenges. He said the youths should not
expect government to give them jobs but learn to be self-reliant. Which we
thought was a sensible statement.

            But then Huni didn't ask why government embarked on Operation
Murambatsvina which destroyed informal businesses, which were set up by the
youths in response to the shrinking job market in the formal sector.

            Asked why previous government policies had failed, Msika said he
could not rule out cases of human error in such failures. But the biggest
problem, came Msika's revelation, was that our people did not love their
country. "Our people are not patriots," he declared universally. "We don't
have young people who can say we are patriots."

            In other words there is nothing wrong with those who fought in
the liberation war and are today responsible for formulating wrong policies.
It is the youths who are to blame for government's policy failures.

            Asked why President Mugabe couldn't fire non-performing
ministers in his government, and why those engaged in corrupt activities
were not arrested, Msika said this would be foolish. His solution is that
such people should be "conscientised", including "making them do things
properly. Firing them is the last resort."

            Does somebody recall anyone being fired in the past 26 years?
And where is the incentive to perform when you know the worst that could
happen to you if you fail to deliver is to be conscientised?

            While most observers of the Zimbabwe economic scene are
understandably sceptical about the prospects of the latest panacea, the
National Economic Development Priority Programme, that is not true of Herald
reporters who are convinced that it is just what the doctor ordered.

            "Could this be just one of those ill-fated economic blueprints
that have been launched with so much fanfare in the past but failed to yield
the desired results?" Herald reporter Martin Kadzere asked himself.

            But no, after listening to Minister Rugare Gumbo's outline he
had "good reason to believe Zimbabwe was on the threshold of a new era".

            Kadzere could barely contain his excitement.

            "As he went through the document all faces were filled with
great enthusiasm. One couldn't help feeling that the new plan would
completely change the face of the economy," Kadzere gushed.

            "I was filled with renewed hope that our economy can be revived
within a very short space of time.The perceptions that I had before have
completely vanished."

            Kadzere felt up until that point he had not been playing his
role either as a patriotic Zimbabwean or as a journalist in reviving the

            "Forget about foreign currency shortages or inflation hovering
over 900%," he wrote, "our economy is still vibrant and requires a little
push to bring it back to its former glory."

            Kadzere is evidently more than a little push. He is a complete
push-over. After watching Esap, Zimprest, Merp and Nerp disappear down the
tubes, he is perfectly prepared to believe that this latest effort, NEDPP,
from the same team, is going to succeed where all the others failed!

            Just to illustrate the delusional thinking behind this latest
scheme, President Mugabe says he thinks the economy will grow this year
between 1%-2%. In other words the economy will recover in one year the 35%
it has lost over the past six years! Has he considered for one moment where
this growth will come from in the absence of any investment?

            And in the same speech in which he announced this growth, he
confirmed the state's intention to take an unearned stake in the mining
sector which will send every potential punter heading for the exits.

            Then the Herald is instructed to write something helpful about
this Mission Impossible! So we end up with business journalists saying it's
all goin' to be fine and dandy because those responsible for driving the
programme "will be held accountable and have promised not to let us down".
            It is difficult to know whether to laugh or cry!

            Which brings us to Nathaniel Manheru who, while claiming the
Zimbabwe Independent is wholly unimportant, devotes endless column inches to
denouncing it every week. Any newspaper should be grateful for this free
publicity even if it does involve a good measure of abuse and wading through
paragraph after paragraph of pretentious literary verbiage designed to
showcase the writer's brief British education which evidently included words
like "shat" and "phat".

            It is extraordinary that at a time when government policies have
condemned 80% of the workforce to unemployment, completely sabotaged
agricultural production, scared off investors and stoked inflation of 1
000%, the Herald's Goebellian inquisitor seeks to take us on a wild goose
chase to "prove" the Rhodesian ancestry of people working at a local
newspaper. And in the best racist tradition, he assumes blacks working at
the paper have no minds of their own. Long-since departed Rhodesian ghosts
guide their word-processors, we are led to believe. And he has an abiding
dislike of news editor Dumisani Muleya over what appears to be inconvenient
disclosures of Manheru's role in the Tsholotsho Declaration.

            Meanwhile, we hope he will disclose the circulation figures for
the Southern Times. We have heard sales of 1 500 copies tops. Nobody, it
seems, wants to buy the dreary state-owned publication. Instead of trying to
intimidate our staff, Manheru should improve the appeal of a declining paper
for which he is directly responsible. And we all had a good laugh over the
theory that the rooster had become a national symbol "both by association
and semantic reach".

            Very convenient but definitely a case of over-reach, we felt!

            What's in a road you may ask? The Sunday Mail led with a funny
little story on Malawi, the European Union and Robert Mugabe. And then five
million Malawians.

            The story: the Europeans built their road in Malawi. It is not
clear what they wanted the road called. But Malawi is a sovereign state and
it has decided to name this European road "Robert Mugabe Road".

            Now, you and Muckraker know very well that Robert Mugabe and the
Europeans do not see eye to eye as they say. Put differently, there is no
love lost between the two over human rights and "illegal" sanctions. To then
turn their money into a Robert Mugabe is the ultimate ingratitude and they
have made this known to their hosts in Lilongwe. It is, to borrow an
expression by another European in Kenya, to vomit on the shoes of your

            But who said dictators don't have admirers?

            Well, for the Malawians it is not admiration without cause.
There is a lot of self-interest in naming the road after our leader. He is
taking care of their kith and kin to the tune of five million. Malawi's
Information minister Sister Patricia Kaliati did not mince her words when
challenged on the inappropriateness of naming European money Robert Mugabe.
She said if some countries had problems with Mugabe that was their funeral.
Malawi, she declared, had every right to choose its friends. "Zimbabwe has
been a friend of Malawi for a long time, and it is playing host to over five
million Malawians," she disclosed. "If we quarrel with Mugabe where will
these Malawians go?"

            It makes political sense doesn't it for a poor country like
Malawi to have us feed part of its population?

            Then we were also interested in the statistics. At Independence
Zimbabwe's population was claimed to be 7,5 million. It rose to about 12,5
or 13 million in 1992. Come 2002, it was down to about 11 million. Now
subtract five million Malawians. That leaves you with about six million
Zimbabweans. Subtract the three million or so said to be in the diaspora,
and that leaves you with three million. Aids is said to be stealing at least
3 000 Zimbabweans a week. Could you possibly be the last man standing?

            Muckraker was touched by a notice in the Herald from the family
of Enos Chikowore marking the first anniversary of his death. It was placed
by four of his children. Of these, two were in Spain and one in the UK.

            This, we can be sure, is part of a wider pattern. So why do
ministers and other chefs never disclose to the public how many of their
children are not studying or working in the paradise they have created for
us at home and for what reason?

            Our ambassador to South Africa, SK Moyo, is a personable and not
unintelligent man. But, like so many others in his position, he has been
reduced to mouthing unintelligent twaddle.

            Here he was interviewed by Moky Makura on M-Net's Carte Blanche
on Sunday.

            Moky: "You have just mentioned tourism there. Zimbabweans
themselves are leaving the country in their droves. Are you expecting
tourists to come into Zimbabwe now?"

            SK: "I don't know where that notion came from. In their droves.
Who has been going all over the world? Zimbabwe is a country where people
still come in, in great numbers as well, and this is not mentioned either."

            Moky: "Well it is fair to say that at least a thousand
Zimbabweans have been crossing the border into South Africa on a monthly
basis. About 600 of them are deported every single month. So there is a huge
influx of Zimbabweans into South Africa."

            SK: "Of course, that is not denied. But the point is that if you
go to the repatriation centre here called Lindela, and see how many
Mozambicans are there, see how many Malawians are there, those are not
mentioned. See how many Nigerians are there - they are not mentioned. It is
only Zimbabweans. I don't understand why?"

            Moky: "There is a Methodist church in town. Apparently there are
hundreds of Zimbabweans sleeping on the floor because they need to leave
Zimbabwe. They would rather come to South Africa and sleep on the floor of a
church than stay in Zimbabwe. What do you think about that?"

            SK: "Are there only Zimbabweans sleeping on the floor of this

            Moky: "Yes."

            SK: "Are you sure? You go and see how many foreigners are in
this country from other countries. I don't see why Zimbabwe is singled out."

            On the same level, Vice-President Msika, in the interview
referred to earlier, was asked what was being done to win back the
confidence of the younger generation.

             "We need to organise more seminars," was the response.

            Told the people were asking when all the hardships would come to
an end, the VP was clear.

            "Why do they need to ask us when will this end? They should
fight to try and bring it to an end."

            Isn't that what Morgan said?

            Caesar Zvayi was on Tuesday waving his much-used fists at
Tsvangirai. "Treason in Zimbabwe is punishable by death," he threatened in
response to proposals by the MDC leader for mass action. Tsvangirai "does
not have a monopoly of violence", Zvayi warned, as if we didn't know who is
responsible for most of the violence in this country!

            "Most importantly Zanu PF is in power and commands the security
agencies that have already made their position clear."

            Indeed they have. But does Zvayi really think anybody is
impressed by the partisan and unprofessional stance taken by suborned
military leaders? One of the first tasks of a democratic government will be
to ensure military, intelligence and police personnel fulfil their
constitutional obligations, not prescribe to Zimbabweans who they should
vote for or manipulate the outcome.

            And in this context, why doesn't Zvayi tell us who is hiding
Joseph Mwale? They appear to have much in common.

            Finally, who is President Mugabe's speechwriter? At the National
Stadium on Independence Day Mugabe recognised Mrs Makwavarara and Mr
Makwavarara among the assembled dignitaries. Alas, Mrs Makwavarara's husband
is not Mr Makwavarara. He is Mr Shito.

            We can understand why the president preferred to get it wrong!

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Can we trust Nssa with our health?

Zim Independent

            Editor's Memo

            Vincent Kahiya

            DOES anyone remember the National Social Security Authority
(Nssa)'s plan last year  to set up a  National Health Insurance Scheme to
improve equity in access to family health-care through a prepayment scheme?

            We were told by the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS)
committee chair James Matiza that the scheme would equip rural health
centres, municipal clinics and general practitioners accredited by the
Ministry of Health with machinery, drugs and other essential facilities for
the benefit of NHIS members. The plan was immediately denounced by civic
groups and labour, and rightly so because Nssa does not have a good record
of accounting for the billions it collects from employers and employees in
the name of social security.

            The issue of national insurance crossed my mind this week with
the announcement by the Health ministry that it had raised hospital
consultation fees to between $400 000 and $1 million from $300 to $500.

            Health deputy minister Dr Edwin Muguti was quoted by the Herald
as saying "when people are not paying they tend to abuse facilities but when
they pay, hopefully they will become more responsible".

            But is it not the government which has abused health facilities
by failing to adequately fund them while pursuing populist policies in the
pricing of health services? Muguti's ill-conceived stance that shock
treatment to patients will improve health delivery is as hopeless as the
idea of Nssa setting up a national health insurance scheme under the current
inflationary environment.

            Commenting on the proposed scheme last year Mike Bimha, the
president of the Employers' Confederation of Zimbabwe said: "We need to get
our economy right. Unless we turn the economy around the benefits from any
scheme will be insignificant."

            It will not work as long as investment in insurance is eroded by
inflation and as long as government has no predictable system of raising
hospital fees.  I can imagine the impact this week's increase in hospital
fees would have had on a public health insurance scheme.

            And such a health insurance scheme can only work well when there
is adequate funding of the health sector by the state. This is the biggest
problem for Zimbabwe. Public-sector funding for health has become inadequate
and former co-operating partners have reduced funding in protest at
government policies.

            Five years ago private spending constituted 50% of total
national health expenditure, whilst public spending and donor funding
constituted 37% and 13% respectively.

            In the 1980s, it was estimated that the government was the
biggest institutional financier of the health sector services. However,
recent estimates suggest that individuals coupled with private health
insurance benefits now fund the greatest portion of health services. Studies
show that in Zimbabwe in 2001, an estimated 10% of the population purchased
private cover, accounting for 23% of total health expenditure. Private
health expenditure is now even larger as those in formal employment seek
medical aid cover to get treatment at private health institutions.

            It is significant that those on private medical cover will seek
treatment at private institutions first and only go to public hospitals if
the medical cover is insufficient to pay fees at the private health
institutions. Poor quality of service is the main cause people shun public
hospitals. It is estimated that medical aid societies are making at least
75% of insurance payments to the private health sector, benefiting a small
portion of the society in formal employment.

            The idea of a national health insurance scheme was thus
conceived to address equity concerns arising from the flow of funds in the
health sector as a whole.

            But there is another problem. Zimbabwe has a large informal
sector, which makes tax collection difficult. This will be a major handicap
in collecting sufficient revenues to fund social insurance systems to
provide broad financial protection for health care.

            The fear is having those in formal employment - who are already
paying large sums of money to private medical aid firms - being forced to
pay another tax to finance a health scheme to also benefit informal-sector
employees who have for years escaped the tax net. I do not believe Nssa or
the Health ministry are up to this task of safeguarding our health. The
record speaks for itself.

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Govt stranger to reality

Zim Independent

By Eric Bloch

FOR the greater part of Zimbabwe's 26 years of Independence, the government
has demonstrated a remarkably great skill at distancing itself from

Anything and everything that may be negative in the economy is due either to
the whims of nature, or the evil machinations of the international
community, the political opposition and those of other races.    On the
exceptionally rare occasion that there is any positive economic wellbeing,
that is perceived to be wholly due to the government's skills and actions,
even when the authorities had nothing to do with it.

But this self-induced divide of the government between fact and fiction has
been intensifying and growing more and more pronounced, at virtually the
same pace as the economic decline accelerates, and the hardships afflicting
the majority of the Zimbabwean population become greater and more
oppressively unbearable.

This was very evident when President Robert Mugabe delivered his 26th
Independence Day address at the "celebrations" at the National Stadium in
Harare.  What on earth was there to celebrate? Over a quarter of a century
the country has witnessed millions becoming unemployed, more millions
struggling to survive at levels far below the poverty datum line, while
there is extensive malnutrition and endangerment of life, a near destroyed
agricultural sector, a rapidly weakening manufacturing sector, an emaciated
tourism industry, a mining sector thrown into disarray by threatened
nationalisation policies, and near pariah and leper status with much of the
world at large!  That is cause for celebration?

Mugabe's address demonstrated, yet again, that he is surrounded by those who
ill-advise and misinform him, or that he is using speech writers who write
that which they think he would like to say, whether or not that is the case,
even if that is far apart from the actual situation on the ground.  In his
address, he did correctly record that the economy has suffered, but
attributed that suffering to the effects of devastating droughts and
unjustified sanctions.

However, the economy has been in decline for eight years since late 1997,
fuelled by grossly unaffordable government spending including massive
compensation packages for war veterans, widespread corruption, a bloated
parliamentary infrastructure including a financially unsustainable,
little-purpose senate. A massively mismanaged land reform programme,
incompatibility between fiscal and monetary policies and a great deal more
have also fuelled it.

In particular, the economic disasters can be ascribed to a near total lack
of constructive economic policies and good governance.

To ascribe the economic malaise to drought has incredibly little substance.
Although it is indisputable that Zimbabwe has suffered several very severe
droughts, in reality they had relatively little economic impact, for it is a
strange agricultural fact that that which isn't planted does not grow,
irrespective of climatic conditions, and the little that is planted also
does not grow if not timeously cared for with requisite nutrients,
chemicals, fertilisers, insecticides and the like.

Similarly, the never-ending contention that Zimbabwe is the victim of
unjustified economic sanctions is specious in the extreme. No country has
imposed such sanctions upon Zimbabwe since Independence.

Some have barred those connected to the government from travelling to their
countries and from holding assets in such countries. Some, such as the
United States with its Agoa programme to incentivise and boost African
development, have withheld such incentives and bonuses from - but continue
to trade with - Zimbabwe.

Some have diminished aid, but not as an economic sanction but responsive to
many abuses. Others, such as the International Monetary Fund, do not lend to
Zimbabwe as it has been a defaulting debtor for many years and, although it
has been reducing its arrears, it is still in default and has an economy
which cannot be expected to service further debt commitments.

These are not "unjustified economic sanctions" but normal exercise of rights
against individuals seen as being politically abhorrent, vested with
contempt for human rights, justice and law and order, and decisions based
upon sound fiscal practice. But the Zimbabwe government and its
state-controlled media have duped themselves into absolute belief that such
sanctions exist, and they have contended that so often that they are
convinced that their existence is fact.

Mugabe said, in his address, that rationalisation of the Bilateral
Investment Promotion and Protection Agreements (Bippas) showed the
government's commitment to bolster investor confidence.  If there is any
such rationalisation, the signatories to those agreements and the
international investor community are unaware of them.  None of the
dispossessed farmers from countries with whom Zimbabwe has such agreements
have had their farms returned to them. Based thereon, who can place any
faith in any such agreements, for they are clearly not worth the paper that
they are written on?

And it is difficult to believe that there is any substantive change of
attitude on the part of the government to honour Bippas, for now the
government appears to be determined to subject the mining sector to the same
"tsunami" that it afflicted upon the agricultural sector, albeit possibly
not to the extent of total dispossession.

Only six weeks ago, Mines and Mining Development minister Amos Midzi
announced that the government was contemplating proposals, to be placed
"shortly" before parliament, whereby the state and Zimbabwe's indigenous
population would acquire 51% of large gold, platinum, diamond and other
major mineral producing mines, and 50% of all other mines, with only half of
that being acquired being subject to compensation (of an unspecified nature,
and over an unspecified period), concurrently with all mines having to pay
royalties to the

There was an immediate furore and within a fortnight Mugabe, when addressing
the 65th Ordinary Session of the Zanu PF Central Committee, said that there
was no such policy in place, and hence the uproar was uncalled for.

But a little more than a fortnight later, in his Independence Day address,
the president said that his government would soon put in place policies and
regulations to ensure that all Zimbabweans would take control of the
exploitation of the country's natural resources, including minerals.  This
statement does not align with the contentions of compliance with Bippas, or
with his denials a fortnight earlier, and cannot in any manner be a motivant
to investors to invest the very considerable capital and technology
necessary for the significant development of Zimbabwe's vast mining

That potential is immense.  Zimbabwe has an estimated 13 million tonnes of
gold resources, and presently only mines 20 tonnes a year. Platinum reserves
are estimated at 2,8 billion tonnes, while annual production is a minimal
2,4 million tonnes.  Nickel reserves exceed 4,5 million tonnes, of which 9
000 tonnes are presently mined annually, while estimated reserves of
diamonds are 16,5 million tonnes, chromite 930 million tonnes, coal 26
billion tonnes, iron ore 30 billion tonnes, and there are diverse other
minerals, with all of those minerals presently yielding less than 6 million
tonnes per annum.

Mining can be a great source of Zimbabwean wealth, but not if the government
drives away investment with foolhardy, destructive policies.

Mugabe justified the government's intents by saying that although investors
bring in money and machinery, they must know that the resources belong to
Zimbabwe and, therefore, while the investor should get a reward, that must
be balanced with what Zimbabwe keeps for itsself. He supported this by
saying that over the years the country has lost considerable wealth, as only
foreign companies benefited from the exploitation of Zimbabwe's minerals.
But that is not factually so.

The fiscus has benefited markedly from the direct and indirect taxes paid by
the mines, and the mines' employees.

The downstream economy has benefited considerably from the patronage of the
mines and of the mineworkers.

Hundreds of thousands have benefited from employment.  Zimbabwe has accessed
substantial  (although not sufficient) foreign exchange to keep the wheels
of the government, commerce and industry, and Zimbabwe as a whole, turning
(even if presently at a lesser pace, for the needs for foreign exchange
exceed that being generated).

The government and its speechwriters need to "get real", instead of having
the president embarrass himself through reference to the incorrect, and
instead of driving further nails into the coffin of the Zimbabwean economy.

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Only time will tell who failed the people of Zimbabwe

Zim Independent

            MOST Zimbabweans have been misled into believing that Morgan
Tsvangirai is a  political messiah whose mission to liberate the people of
Zimbabwe has been stalled by his colleagues who decided to break from the
MDC mainstream.

            It has been claimed by Tsvangirai himself that those who broke
away from him are a group of power-hungry tribalists who wanted to wrestle
power from him.

            I will not dwell much on Tsvangirai's fallacious and baseless
claims, most of which have long been proven to be false and been discarded
into the political dustbin with the contempt they deserve.

            It is not correct that those who challenged Tsvangirai's
political legitimacy after the October 12 2005 debacle were bent on trying
to wrestle power from him. This is totally false.

            Those who have lived with Tsvangirai and under his
administration will testify that while the man is articulate on political
issues, he is a disaster in administration and totally lacks the necessary
skills required of a leader.

            For six good years, the man lived under siege, unable to
extricate himself from the web of indecision and fear of the unknown. He was
a virtual prisoner who could not sift through the rubble of information
supplied to him, especially by those who sought to gain favours from him and
those who capitalised on his administrative weaknesses.

            But once Tsvangirai gave legitimacy to information supplied from
the rumour factory via the kitchen cabinet, he began to lose faith in the
advice from the elected office bearers of the party.

            The kitchen cabinet got control of the president and began to
determine the menu that was suitable for his appetite and at what interval
he would get his meals.

            The situation got to a stage where Tsvangirai became so paranoid
that he lost trust in virtually everyone in top management and was now
deriving his authority and guidance from his kitchen cabinet. No decision or
resolution from either the national executive and national council would be
implemented without the  blessing of the kitchen cabinet. He would
clandestinely seek guidance from the kitchen cabinet before taking a

            No one up to this day has ever tried to demand that this  group
account for the resources they used.

            It is sad and unfortunate  that the people of Zimbabwe, who had
built so much hope and faith in the MDC now have to contend with the new
reality: that Tsvangirai may not be the messiah they thought he was. - Own

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Zim Independent Letters

            Stop denigrating Morgan, articulate issues Arthur!

            AS a former student leader I was critical of those who denounced
Professor Arthur Mutambara  and argued that national politics and student
activism are different.

            The report that the pro-senate faction leader is now
concentrating on assassinating the character of MDC president Morgan
Tsvangirai on the basis of his level of education and the elections he
 "lost" to Zanu PF resembles the mind of an Arthur Mutambara of 1989 at the
University of Zimbabwe who is yet to graduate from student activism.

            Addressing the Press Club in Gweru recently, Mutambara boasted:
"Give us a platform anywhere, anytime for debate with my brother Tsvangirai
and I will defeat him. He does not have any political wisdom. I taught him
opposition politics while I was a student leader at the University of
Zimbabwe but typical of a poor student, he grasped only 5% of what I taught
him. He lacks any democratic values and that is basically where we clash."

            Surely, journalists who attended the meeting could have been
baffled by Mutambara's claim that he taught Tsvangirai politics when he was
a student leader at the University of Zimbabwe.

            Does Mutambara know the history of Tsvangirai as ZCTU
secretary-general and the series of demonstrations that he led that shook
the Zanu PF regime?

            Does Mutambara want every Zimbabwean to regard him as the
Messiah and the only one who can solve the peoples' suffering because he
holds a PhD and was schooled at Oxford?

            Does Mutambara think that those that do not have degrees or
professorship are not presidential material?
            I think the man is merely politicking and trying to be an
opportunist-par excellence.

            The question that boggles the mind is why the learned professor
is now concentrating on undoing Tsvangirai who a short while ago was his

            The struggle in Zimbabwe is not against Tsvangirai but a regime
that is clinging to power despite people's disapproval.

            At the same meeting Mutambara said: "My party is the future and
Tsvangirai is not. He was defeated by Zanu PF in 2000, 2002 and in 2005, so
what else can he offer? If he is defeated again in 2008, which I'm confident
he will be, there will not be any other chance for him, he will be doomed."

            Mutambara is missing the point. To confirm that the man is
completely out of touch with the politics that has been taking place in
Zimbabwe in the past few years, Mutambara thinks that Zanu PF won the
elections genuinely in 2000, 2002 and 2005.

            This is dangerous thinking, especially coming from a person of
his stature. It is the sort of thinking that ignores issues such as the
murder and violence perpetrated on a massive scale by the ruling regime
against MDC supporters. It is on the basis of this parochial thinking that
Mutambara's faction is doomed and will not, at least in the near future, be
any force to reckon with.

            Our politics has not yet developed to the stage where a person
is voted into office because he holds several degrees.

            The world of academia and politics are two different entities
and this explains the reason why some professors have had problems in their
political careers.

            Mutambara must articulate the issues that his faction stands for
rather than concentrate on undoing Tsvangirai.

            By concentrating on supplanting Tsvangirai, Mutambara is
alienating himself from the majority of MDC members who still believe in the
man and his ideas.

            Phillip Pasirayi,

            Byo hailed for thanksgiving

            THE Bulawayo City Council needs to be commended for having
convened a non-denominational gathering for thanksgiving for the recent
rains which gave us a reprieve from looming tragedy.

            At the gathering, held on April 8 at the Large City Hall, one
Pastor D Masuku led us in prayer on the city's water situation, just one
segment of the programme.

            Keeping strictly to the letter, text and spirit of his mandate,
he had to exclude some information which I respectfully feel ought to be

            * It was indeed by the grace of God that the tropical cum
Equatorial rainfall belt moved southwards and settled over Zimbabwe for
almost four months;

            * This equatorial rainfall pattern continues and perennially
concentrates in the Equatorial belt throughout any given year;

            * It is precisely because of the nature of this rainfall pattern
that Matabeleland is wont to capitalise on the Inter Tropical Convergence
Zone (ITCZ) catchment flow which inevitably finds its way into the Zambezi

            * It therefore follows that the water in the Zambezi River
becomes the source which we can consequently take as a guaranteed water

            * Our need for recourse to the Zambezi source is accentuated by
the unabated influx of people from the eastern provinces of Zimbabwe. This
incessant influx is one major factor which has been a direct cause of a
dramatic population increase in Matabeleland.

            Consequently, this further strains the already scarce water

            Arnold C Payne,

            Create appropriate holiday mood at Great Zimbabwe

            OVER the Easter and Independence Day holidays I took my family
to Masvingo to savour the Great Zimbabwe National Monument.

            It was a lifetime experience.

            We thoroughly enjoyed the thrills and spectacular beauty of Lake
Mtirikwi and the sunset cruises, the breath-taking and spine-tingling
Bopoteke Gorge and the general scenic variety and beauty of the surrounding
hills. It was indeed a voyage of discovery.

            We were however unhappy with the Department of National Parks
and Wildlife and National Museums and Monuments Department who are not doing
a good job in creating the appropriate holiday mood for one of Zimbabwe's
major holiday destinations.

            I suggest, with the help of the Ministry of Transport, that the
Ministry of Tourism makes a welcome to visitors by constructing ornamental
structures denoting the Great Zimbabwe architecture punctuated by spacious
boulevards, traditional homesteads and curio shops and manicured lawns
between the town and the monument.

            The Department of Parks and Wildlife could do with bigger
billboards on the same highway publicising a game park where visitors could
go on safari to see the big five - the elephant, lion, leopard, buffalo and

            The National Museums and Monuments Department should not rely on
the great monument only for revenue, but build a small office near the
bushmen rock paintings.

            Visitors would have travelled long distances and their wish is
to get value for money and time. They would be prepared to pay to see the
paintings that depict the history of our people dating back tens of
thousands of years.

            We were dismayed by the neglect and signs of abandonment of the
paintings. Lack of care and security has led to vandalism by unruly
elements. Empty beer bottles were strewn all over in the caves while the
quality of the paintings has started to deteriorate. In a few years' time
there might be no "story" to see. - Own Correspondent.

            We're watching you Morgan

            AS MDC, we are greatly concerned with the level of policy
inconsistencies within Morgan Tsvangirai's group.

            The MDC is back on track and is in the process of positioning
its structures for any future elections and people-driven processes.

            We do not recognise Tsvangirai as the president of the MDC, but
we appreciate his input towards the growth of the MDC in Zimbabwe.

            Events within the party since the October 12 2005 National
Council meeting reignited a new era, new leader, new ideas and new
strategies of carrying out the people's mandate.

            As an opposition political party we shall continue to use
political ways in confronting the challenges ahead of us and shall not be
taken aback by financially-motivated fake rally figures given by local and
foreign media houses since we are a movement guided by principles.

            Threats by activists such as Morgan Femai will not be taken
seriously since the party has some other serious business to do rather than
listening to day-dreamers who rely on bootlicking for political survival.

            There are sound relations between Tsvangirai, Nelson Chamisa,
Tendai Biti and the other faction's leadership that comprises its president,
Professor Arthur Mutambara, Professor Welshman Ncube, Fletcher Dulini Ncube
and others.

            Amateurish statements by political upstarts in the mould of Paul
Madzore, Femai, Paurina Mpariwa and others will not be entertained.

            We shall put up posters, hold rallies and reclaim all assets in
their possession until they stop unleashing terror on our members.

            Serious human rights violations by the Tsvangirai group will be
monitored and dealt with accordingly.

            Kurauone Chihwayi,
            Information and
            Publicity Desk,
            MDC Harare Province.

            Why are these spared?

            ACCORDING to municipal by-laws, parking on public streets within
Harare'sinner city is permitted subject to the pre-payment of parking fees.

            Accordingly, any vehicle found to be non-compliant is clamped
and then towed away.

            This being the case, could the council explain why vehicles
parked in some streets, for instance outside Mukwati and Kaguvi buildings in
5th Street and 3rd Street between Central Avenue and Samora Machel Avenue,
are seemingly exempt from paying parking fees and penalties?

            I pass regularly through these streets and note that the
majority of parked vehicles do not display prepaid discs and I have never
seen even one vehicle clamped, let alone towed away!

            Is this not another case of special treatment for a select few?

            M Leppard

            United, MDC will win

            DAVID Coltart, the MDC former secretary for legal affairs,
recently reported after analysing 12 constituencies that the MDC team which
investigated the 2002 presidential poll concluded that at least 490 000
fraudulent votes were stuffed into ballot boxes to give President Mugabe
victory, "Probe team vindicates MDC claim", (Zimbabwe Independent, April

            Innocent Gonese, the anti-senate faction's secretary for legal
affairs, has now advised that he awaits briefing by the lawyers involved in
the matter before commenting.

            No inspection has taken place since the investigation was
indefinitely postponed last November - five months ago.

            I strongly recommend that the MDC pursue the 2002 poll
investigation urgently.

            Surely, if conclusive proof can be  produced that Mugabe was
fraudulently re-elected as president, international action could be invoked
to call for an immediate re-run under genuine international observers, not
just so-called observers, to counter the "daylight robbery", as Tsvangirai
described it at the time of Zanu PF's wiles and chicanery.

            And if the two MDC factions could be persuaded to be
sufficiently adult to join in this common cause for the country's sake
instead of acting like spoiled brats as they are doing, they might win the
election and perhaps international support in bringing this country back to
life again.

            PNR Silversides,

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'Zimbabwe border staff took my digicam'


          April 28 2006 at 05:05AM

      By Zeninjor Enwemeka

      Be careful when crossing the border into Zimbabwe, you might just have
your belongings taken from you, warns a resident of Wellington.

      Patrick Zyster said he had his Sony digital camera, worth R6 700,
taken from him by Zimbabwean border officials at Beit Bridge when he and his
wife were crossing into Zimbabwe on their way to Zambia last month.

      Zyster said they were also forced to pay ZIM$70 000 to carry the 70
litres of petrol they had with them into the country. Border officials
wouldn't allow him to carry R7 000 into the country and wanted to take some
of the money, he added.

      He has travelled through Zimbabwe five times and has experienced
similar incidents, but this time was the worst.

      "If you don't give them what they want, they don't let you through,"
Zyster said.

      He described the scene at the border as an open flea market where
border officials rummaged through people's luggage, opened their food and
scatter things on the ground.

      "We have heard a lot of complaints of this happening," Counsellor MR
Nyanga of the Zambian High Commission in South Africa said.

      Zyster filed a complaint to the South African High Commission in
Zambia after passing through the Chirundu border post at Kariba.

      Officials at the SA High Commission in Zambia confirmed receiving
Zyster's complaint and said they had forwarded it to the Zimbabwean High
Commission in Zambia.

      They were advised to pass the complaint to the Zimbabwean High
Commission in South Africa, and to inform Zyster that he needed to contact

      The officials said these messages were sent out about three weeks ago.

      Zyster said he had not heard anything since then.

      This article was originally published on page 5 of Cape Times on April
28, 2006

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Zimbabwe asset grab exposed in SA court case

Business Report

April 28, 2006

By Basildon Peta

Johannesburg - The pitfalls for foreign mining houses of doing business in
Zimbabwe are graphically illustrated in a lawsuit against President Robert
Mugabe's government that has been brought in a South African court.

Mugabe last week maintained that all major foreign mining companies would be
obligated to cede at least 50 percent equity to the Zimbabwean government
once amendments to mining legislation had been finalised. This would in
effect impose partnerships between these companies and the Zimbabwean

But the involvement of Mugabe's cronies in a business could become the kiss
of death, as revealed in papers presented in the Johannesburg high court by
Southern African Asbestos Sales (Saas), a South African firm owned by Nathan

The problems for Saas began last year when the government unilaterally
confiscated Zimbabwe's largest asbestos mining concern, Shabanie Mashaba
Mines Zimbabwe Holdings (SMMZ), which is the world's fourth-largest asbestos

Saas had been a marketing agent for SMMZ and helped the Zimbabwean mining
firm sell its products overseas.

The Mugabe government seized all the mines and assets of SMMZ after accusing
the firm's owner, prominent mogul Mutumwa Mawere, of illegally externalising
foreign currency and charging him with a plethora of economic crimes.
Attempts to arrest Mawere, who is a South African citizen, and bring him
before a Zimbabwean court collapsed after a South African magistrate
dismissed the extradition application.

Having failed to extradite Mawere, the government proceeded to specify all
the companies deemed to be under his control, followed by the promulgation
of a presidential decree paving the way for the nationalisation of Mawere's
empire. The named companies employ more than 19 000 people and generate
annual revenues of about $400 million (R2.4 billion).

After seizing SMMZ from Mawere, the government successfully applied for the
liquidation of Saas, alleging that the South African firm owed SMMZ more
than R20 million.

Judge Hilton Epstein of the Johannesburg high court granted the liquidation
order despite spirited opposition from Mariemuthu and other directors of
Saas, who rejected claims that Saas was indebted to SMMZ. In fact,
Mariemuthu contended, Saas was actually owed about R12 million in money
advanced to SMMZ.

The full liquidation of Saas is yet to be completed in line with Epstein's

But in its latest application, Saas wants the liquidation order set aside
because of what the company describes as "fraudulent non-disclosure" by the
Zimbabwe government and Alfres Gwaradzimba, who was appointed to run SMMZ on
its behalf.

Saas contends that if all material information had been disclosed, Epstein
would not have granted the order.

At issue is an admission by Gwaradzimba, which he made after Epstein's
order, that he claimed a certain shareholding in Zimbabwe's largest
agricultural services and equipment company, CFI Holdings. The purchase was
made using money diverted from Saas that should have been remitted to SMMZ.

Saas contends that the transaction had a material bearing on its alleged
indebtedness to SMMZ and should have been disclosed. There was no mention of
a reduction in Saas's alleged indebtedness to reflect the offset in which
its resources were used to acquire the CFI shares.

But it is what happened at CFI after the government's entry via Gwaradzimba
that indicates what may be in store for South African mining businesses that
enter into forced partnerships with the Zimbabwe government.

CFI failed to declare a dividend to other shareholders after it paid
Gwaradzimba Z$39 billion (about R2.4 million at the official exchange rate).
The payment was explained by CFI chairman Simplicius Chihambakwe in an
interview with the Financial Gazette as being for "services rendered" only.

This did not please other shareholders who felt they had been given a raw
deal by being forced to forgo a dividend in the listed firm despite the fact
that the company had performed well. The payment to Gwaradzimba strained the
company's resources, meaning that no dividend could be declared for the
financial year to September last year because the firm would have been left
in the red.

It is unclear how the money Gwaradzimba got from CFI was used. Saas has
obtained the information about the goings on at CFI to back its application
to lift the liquidation order granted by Epstein.

Legal observers said the fact that the Zimbabwean government or its
representative could acquire a shareholding in a listed firm and then either
demand or walk away with such a hefty payment at the expense of other
shareholders was probably a bad omen for South African mining companies that
are expected to surrender equity to the state.

Local companies with investments in Zimbabwe include Impala Platinum,
Aquarius Platinum and the unlisted Metallon.

"Imagine the government demanding these huge payments from the joint mining
operations, which it plans with the South African mining firms. Won't they
go bust?" asked one lawyer who preferred not to be named.

The lawyer also harshly criticised the earlier order liquidating Saas. He
said the judgment amounted to condoning Mugabe's seizures of private assets
in Zimbabwe and it had put the South African courts in a quandary.

"If that precedent is followed, it means South African courts would in
future be upholding Mugabe's nationalisation of private assets. Do we want
to be giving legitimacy to Mugabe's patently illegal seizures?"

Zimbabwe's new attorney-general, Sobuza Gula-Ndebele, has since advised that
the seizure of Mawere's companies was illegal and declined to represent the
government in pending court actions in Zimbabwe regarding the seizures. That
has forced the ministry of justice, which issued decrees effecting the
seizures, to hire a private law firm to represent it in court actions
brought by Mawere.

A high court in London has also indicated that the seizures were done
illegally and has refused to condone a preliminary application by
Gwaradzimba to have SMMZ assets held in the UK forfeited to Zimbabwe's
government. - Independent Foreign Service

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Inside the Zim bubble

Mail and Guardian

      Rory Carroll

      27 April 2006 11:59

            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 are 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 economics.

            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

            "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 one 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.

            "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

            The stock market has stayed ahead of inflation and is worth
US$3-billion, according to the official exchange rate -- a dramatic surge.
Under the more realistic black market rate it is worth $1,5-billion, still
an impressive performance in a crumbling economy.

            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.

            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 rate.

            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 Mugabe stepped down and investors regained -confidence. "Every-body is
waiting in anticipation," Machi-baya 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 Mugabe $10-million 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

            "Everybody is buying them -- the university, the council,
hotels," said Botho Chigwedere, a salesman at Arvee Wholesalers. "We've
almost sold out." -- © Guardian Newspapers 2006

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MDC leaders in international diplomatic offensive

New Zimbabwe

By Staff Reporters
Last updated: 04/28/2006 10:07:08
THE two faction leaders of Zimbabwe's feuding opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) party have left Zimbabwe to drum up international
support for their respective programmes to bring change in the southern
African country.

Morgan Tsvangirai, the MDC's founding president who now leads a faction of
the party following a split last November this week left for South Africa.
Sources said he would also visit Namibia before returning to Harare.

It is believed Tsvangirai was invited to meet South Africa's President Thabo
Mbeki, and a similar invitation had been extended by Namibian leader,
Hifikepunye Pohamba.

Arthur Mutambara, leader of the other MDC faction, was in Sweden this week.
He was expected to arrive in Britain late Friday. Officials said he would
meet his supporters at a public meeting at the Claremont Resource Centre in
Manchester on Sunday noon.

Political observers say the divided MDC is at its weakest, six years after
being thrust to the eye of the Zimbabwean political storm by a wave of
popular protests against President Robert Mugabe's economic policies.

The MDC split was precipitated by acute differences over party policy just
before last November's senate elections. Tsvangirai, a former trade
unionist, called for a boycott of the elections but some of his most senior
colleagues, buoyed by a vote of the party's national council, opposed their

The split in the MDC has divided international opinion. Some foreign
governments watching the political developments in Zimbabwe have been left
in a gap.

Sources told New Thursday night that the two leaders were using
the trips to re-ignite international interest in Zimbabwe and find new
strategic partners.

Conrad Nyamutata, a Zimbabwean journalist said: "Both factions have held
their congresses and rallies in Zimbabwe. Now it is time for diplomatic
maneuvering. Every political party needs strategic regional and
international friends."

Nyamutata believes the trips could also be used by the MDC leaders to raise
funds to sustain their political activities as they seek to break President
Mugabe's 26-year stranglehold on power.

Nyamutata added: "These diplomatic forays must be viewed within the context
of the ongoing battle for recognition and legitimacy between the factions,
locally regionally and internationally.

"In Tsvangirai's case, it is to reassert and maintain his position as the
founding father of the MDC. On the other hand, Mutambara wants to introduce
himself as the new leader of the party. It is particularly important for
Mutambara because Tsvangirai has already covered a fair amount of ground in
that zone."

Tsvangirai's visit to South Africa, observers say, is particularly
significant as he previously snubbed a meeting with President Thabo Mbeki
late last year convened in a desperate attempt to prevent the split.

After Tsvangirai refused to travel to South Africa, some of his colleagues
in the other camp, led at the time by his former deputy, Gibson Sibanda,
proceeded to meet Mbeki. Details of their meeting were not disclosed.

Early this month, Mbeki once again met the other camp for the first time
with Arthur Mutambara as leader following his election at the faction's
congress in February this year.

Following the meeting with Mutambara, the Zimbabwe Independent newspaper
said Mbeki was happy with the former NASA scientist's attempt to "re-brand"
the MDC to shed its alleged "Western puppet image" which discouraged many
African governments from supporting its agenda.

It was not possible to obtain comment from Tsvangirai's faction spokesman
Nelson Chamisa who was travelling with him. Also in the party was Tendai
Biti, the faction's secretary general.

Gabriel Chaibva, the Mutambara faction spokesman said: "The president is on
a trip to Europe and will be passing through London where he will meet the
party's structures."

Mutambara launched his campaign saying the MDC needed to "re-brand and
refocus". Mutambara said the MDC had been damaged by its perceived alliance
with whites and Western governments, also warning that the party needed to
take the battle to the Zanu PF turf by pursuing a Pan-Africanist agenda.

Tsvangirai, meanwhile, is promising a "winter of discontent" -- an ambitious
plan to lead a wave of street protests against President Mugabe's
government. Analysts say like all such threats from Tsvangirai in the past,
the risk of failure is high. They point at the vast state machinery at
President Mugabe's disposal to thwart any uprising, if ever Tsvangirai's
supporters heed the call.

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JAG Open Letter Forum No 415

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


Letter 1 - Mandiona Mandiziva.

Dear Jag

The Carter's letter encompasses the entire dynamics of Zanu PF's steps to
get New Mujibas to come grovelling on bended knee for the privelege of being
able to feed the Zanu PF crocodile - by leasing a farm from Zanu.
Those that do this are underming the efforts of the people of Zimbabwe to
achieve democracy. Do not think that the Taylor-Freeme, Giffords, Innscors
or Colcoms of this world can cavort with the devil unnoticed by the
peolple - in the words of the my late father, "the Africans know
everything." Do they honestly believe that the Webster Shamu's Short Haired
Pointer Brigade are going to live happily ever after?

The people of Zimbabwe seek justice - not expedience - expedience is sought
by the quick buck brigade worshipping money and power - totally indifferent
the plight of the people. This was well demonstrated by the Gukuruhundi.
Have we forgotten what happened to
20 000 men, women and children?

It is such a pity that the Taylor Freemes and Giffords of this world are
already suffering from memory loss - what will happen when they are cross
examined in Court for their actions?

Mandiona Mandiziva.


Letter 2 - Stuart

Dear Jag

I would like to now make a comment about the interview in South Africa
between Moky and the Zimbabwean Ambassador Simon Khaya Moyo on ZWNEWS. Mr
Moyo seems to be living in cuckoo land with his comments hinting all is
alright in Zimbabwe. Bearing in mind our inflation is now  913%  while the
next worse country I believe is Iraq with 40% and they are at war, unlike us
in Zimbabwe. Mr Moyo also states we have had 4 years of successive drought
which is a blatant lie.Why over the last 5 years Zimabweans have left in
droves whereas this has never happened before that both black and white
people have had to leave and claim asylum or be refugees in foreign lands on
such large scales? I will tell you why Mr. Moyo it's because we are denied
our birthrights and had our homes/livelihoods taken away, we are persecuted,
we have no jobs there and we are not able to speak or be in groups and our
president Mr. Mugabe encourages the murder of people. (20 000 Ndebele people
murdered in early 1980's and more opposition members and farmers in the last
5 years).Mr Mugabe has  also recently warned Morgan Tsvangirayi that he is
dicing with death if he calls for peaceful protests and you want to tell the
world there is democracy in Zimbabwe! Why are there food queues, fuel
queues, constant power cuts and such a deteriorating economy and
infrastructure in a country that had the second strongest economy in Africa?
Even under Mr Ian Smiths regime where there were wider sanctions and a war,
people still had easier lives to live than now in our so called peaceful
times. This does not mean I agree with all of Mr. Smith's policies as i was
born late 1970's and loved growing up in a mixed society. This interview
shows the level of intelligence and blatant lies that the Zimbabweans have
to live under. I urge Mr Moyo to come back down to earth from his safe haven
and see how his country men are suffering. Stop comparing our country to
others to avoid being caught out and face the facts and the truth. We know
in our hearts that Zimbabwe at this current time has gone to the dogs and it's
because of Zanu-PF. You have been in power 26 years and there is no excuse
especially as Britain the country you despise has been the largest aid
donator to Zimbabwe since independence. Not to say that Britain is perfect,
they have their faults too but this mess that we are in is due to bad
policies. governance and corruption in the highest degree. Mr Moyo if you
are a man of honour be true to yourself and the people. Remember you will be
judged by God when your time is up. Your comments are a crime to humanity so
stop behaving like an ostrich with its head buried in the sand in self
denial. Go stand in a bread queue in our homeland rather than shop in South
Africa and also if you fall ill go to a Zimababwe Government Hospital for
treatment as you say everything is fine in Zimbabwe.

P.S ask relatives to bring you food whilst there and possibly a wooden box
as there is no medication!

Thank you


Letter 3 -  Isabelle De Vinck

Dear Jag

I am a young intern working in the Belgian Embassy and as we receive you
mailing with ads I waned to know if you might help me because I am planning
to go to Villancoulos in Mozambique the 9 of may with my partner and was
wondering if you know anyone who is traveling there by that time. that way
we could split the cost of fuel.

I hope you will be able to help me

Isabelle De Vinck

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

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JAG Job Opportunities dated 27 April 2006

Please send any job opportunities for publication in this newsletter to: JAG
Job Opportunities; or

Ad inserted 23 March 2006

Positions Vacant

Maintenance Manager wanted for busy dairy & cropping farm 30kms outside
Harare.  Position includes maintenance of tractors, boreholes etc, running
of workshop and buying of spares.  Office work available for spouse.  Small
house available on farm with other company perks.  Suitable applicants
please phone 091 202692 or email


Ad inserted 23 March 2006

Farm Manager

Farm located 12km from Gweru city centre. We are looking for a horticultural
manager with experience in flowers mainly roses. Will also be required to
assist in
potatoes, tomatoes, cabbages and paprika. Good accommodation is provided on
the farm, also good perks for the right candidate.

Interested qualified persons should contact Evans/Bongi +263 9 889420 fax
+263 9 889421,


Ad inserted 23 March 2006


Looking for a maid/cook to work in the Ballantyne Park area.  Must be able
to read and write and have some cooking experience.  Duties also, include
general housework and childminding.  Accommodation is offered and would suit
someone without any dependants.

Please contact on or 494404 or 091 248460.


Ad inserted 30 March 2006

Tobacco Manager

If you were a successful former Tobacco grower now sitting in town but
wanting to get back into Tobacco, please make comms and write to:


Ad inserted 30 March 2006


Preferably a single woman who can speak English well and who can assist with
the cooking and undertake general housework, i.e. ironing, cleaning, etc.
The person must have contactable references.
Single quarters will be provided on site with very good conditions.
Contact 884270


Ad inserted 30 March 2006

Vacancy - Citrus Farm

We have a vacancy for a managerial couple on a well-established citrus farm,
good package for the right couple with usual farm perks.  Please send C.V to


Ad inserted 5 April 2006


Assistant farm manager wanted for farming set up in Mozambique 60km from
Mutare border, growing 60ha tobacco and 15ha paprika.  Position would suit a
school leaver with farming background or Blackfordby leaver.  US$ package,
medical aid, vehicle and usual farm perks.

PHONE LISA- 011 420805


Ad inserted 5 April 2006


We are looking for the impossible.... someone to fulfil a job that can be
hectic, boring, frustrating, inspiring, and humorous, depressing,
challenging, tiring, easy and impossible. We have a small camp and bar in

The applicant will be coordinating 6 staff. Sometimes they are outstanding;
sometimes they are comatose. Sometimes we can get stock; sometimes we can't.
Sometimes we can afford repairs; sometimes we can't. Sometimes we're busy;
sometimes we're not. We always have fun. Ideally the applicant will be
single and (semi-) retired and wanting to keep him/herself busy. A handy man
would be fantastic and the ability to socialize with all and sundry is
imperative. Salary will be commission based, according to sales/profit. We
provide food and very basic accommodation, beautiful surroundings,
elephants, zebras and hippos.


Ad inserted 5 April 2006

Job opportunity

I am looking for a retired farmer to help oversee my small dairy and do odd
jobs whilst I am away for two months at a time.  Accommodation available, in
lovely setting.

Replies to email: or telephone for an
appointment on 073 2737 or 011 607 275.


Ad inserted 13 April 2006


Preferably an enthusiastic school leaver who has done a Pitmans course or
Accounting to "O" level, willing to learn. We are a new, growing group who
need staff to take up accounts clerk positions. Successful candidate could
start immediately.

Contact Jean at 369800 or


Ad inserted 20 April 2006


To:  A Special Lady somewhere out there

Position exists for a Personal Assistant

If you are able to honestly answer YES to these questions, we ought to be

Are you -
computer competent in MSWord, Email (MSOutlook),
MSExel, File management, Address Book & Distribution Lists, an exceptional
office administrator?
Self-motivated, resourceful and able to work both independently and with

Do you -
have a working knowledge of the Internet
have a basic knowledge of accounts

possess a compassion for the elderly in our country, and want to make a
difference in their lives

It goes without saying that you will answer YES as to being a special person
with the attributes of confidentiality, integrity, a pleasant disposition
and exceptional telephone manner.

We operate a small but growing office located in Alexandra Park whose
activities comprise, in the main, varied para-legal advisory services and
charity programmes for the elderly.

This could be a full, or part day position - flexi - let's talk.

Thomas Vallance ACIArb
Commissioner of Oaths
Para-Legal Advisory Services
Trust Executives & Administrators
Tels: (B) 744 648  (M) 011 617 161


Ad inserted 27 April 2006


We are a young, dynamic & rapidly growing organisation focussing on the
facilitation of short-term mission teams working in Southern & East Africa.
This position would involve all of the associated logistics and bookings for
inbound teams. A suitable candidate will be a committed Christian, Microsoft
office literate, gifted administrator, financially literate. Offices in
Harare, competitive salary offered. Contact


Ad inserted 27 April 2006



This position would involve assisting the Project Manager to manage all
volunteer operations.
The position is unique in that you would have the opportunity to work with a
variety of people from around the world who have come to work in Africa and
want first hand experience in Conservation. You will be chosen for this
position because of your enthusiasm and passion for this project as well as
other skills needed to ensure that this remains one of the most successful
volunteer programs in the world.  For more information please email please send CV.


Ad inserted 27 April 2006

Position Vacant

Looking for an honest semi-retired man, needing to supplement pension funds,
to help with stock control / grading of frozen meat in Harare.
Basic salary and usual perks offered. Part time as hrs vary with quantities

Contact Bob.
Tel ; 480568
Cell; 091 253617


Ad inserted 27 April 2006


Dairy Manager Wanted - for medium size dairy on mixed farm in Midlands.
Must have some dairy experience.  Be hard working and responsible.  Good
package and accommodation offered to a suitable candidate.

Send C.V. to P.O. Box 805, Gweru or Tel 054-229020 or Cell 011607611.


Employment Sought


Ad inserted 16 March 2006



I am a specialist in tractor service/repairs, with 32 years experience,
having worked for several years in hands-on and management positions, for
such companies as Bain New Holland and Duly's.  After leaving Duly's, I
become self-employed (since 1990) with similar work.  Our work has consisted
of repairs/service work carried out at our workshops in addition to field
service work as and when required.  In addition to the above my business
includes the sourcing of spares and organising outwork such as injector
pumps, clutches, brakes and engine machine work being carried out by those
companies offering the best service.  One department of our business
specialises in the service/repair work of all tractor steering related
components such as steering boxes, orbital valves, rams, hoses, etc.

I would like to stress that I wish to work on a contract basis, preferably
for a farming syndicate or a large, well established farm set-up as I have
been self employed for 16 years and have a commitment towards children who
are being schooled locally.  I am seeking such work outside of Zimbabwe as
we feel the economics of our country have made it impossible to continue a
viable business.  My wife and I wish to keep our home as a base for the
stability of our children.  We would like to travel back to Zimbabwe every 3
to 4 weeks to be with them.

We hope the above meets with the approval of those looking for a contractor
for this type of work.

For further information contact Doug or Tracy Edwards -
or 068-22463 / 011212454


Ad inserted 5 April 2006

Employment Sought

Tania (Aged 27). She has finished her IATA course & is waiting for the
results. She has completed her schooling up to "O level standard, with
Executive Secretarial Pitman's Qualifications which include.... English for
business communications, Level one and two Book-keeping & Accounts, and
Typewriting. She has worked for several different companies in the past; her
experience was as a personal assistant to various persons in different
companies, secretarial and receptionist. Her most recent employment was as a
Trainee Travel Consultant.

Daniel (Aged 22). He has completed his schooling up to 'O level standard,
doing various studies. Previous employment experience includes, Supervisor,
Trainee Manager, Control room operations, Vehicle Surveillance operator,
Product manager and administrator. His current employment is as a part time
Headwaiter until he finds full time employment. He is very arty and business
minded. Social, motivated, hard worker and willing to learn.

Ron (Aged 19). he has completed his schooling up to 'O level standard, doing
various studies. Previous employment experience includes, Trainee
Computer/printer technician, Control room operator, Trainee motor mechanic,
vehicle Surveillance operator, Floor manager/supervisor and administration.
His current employment is as a vehicle Surveillance operator (After hours).
He is hard working, willing to learn and social.

These three young people are looking for well paid jobs, and are willing to
give it their all given the right employment opportunities that so fit their
experience, or in companies that are willing to take them on and train them
as to how it would best suit the companies needs. They are hard working,
fast learning, and social, Independent and motivated. Please could you let
everyone know as it is a necessity for them to find employment as soon as

Please contact Miss Carmen VanWyk for further details or to view their cv's
using the following details.
cell: 091 615 656 Tel: 575 431 - 3 E-mail:


Ad inserted 13 April 2006

Anyone seeking a Cook

I have an old cook who has been with me for 8 yrs; he is a family cook and
can cook any thing from pie's to pan cakes.

We have to leave, is there any one out there who would like to take him. He
has done every think from house washing and ironing. we are sorry to let him
go, but been born bred Zimbo's and with out a job we have to. May be there
is somebody out there who is looking for an couple to manage their farm or
lodge, have been in farming all our lives, well it was worth a try.

You can contact Tony at 091 404 449


Ad inserted 20 April 2006

Employment Sought

Very knowlegeable and experienced ex-commercial agricultural representative
with farming experience in Zimbabwe and Mozambique seeks position,
preferably external, Mozambique or further afield. Contact Stu Taylor Odzi
2288 (0204), cell 091 - 650997, or (Mozambique) 00258-8240407490.


Ad inserted 20 April 2006

Handyman Wanted


PLEASE CONTACT MRS. D"Elia   303056 or email


For the latest listings of accommodation available for farmers, contact (updated 27 April 2006)

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Witchcraft act review arouses disputes among Zimbabweans

Xinhua 2006-04-28 07:19:02

          HARARE, April 27 (Xinhua) The Zimbabwean government's review of
the Witchcraft Suppression Act, which makes it a crime to practice
witchcraft, has aroused disputes among Zimbabweans.

          The review was long overdue as the Act was the creation of the
former colonial governments that did not fully understand witchcraft, said
Gordon Chavhunduka, president of the Zimbabwe National Traditional Healers'
Association (Zinatha) Thursday.

          "We have been clamoring for a review of the Act for a long time
and we applaud the government for heeding our call. We fully support the Act
and it delights us that at last people have accepted that witchcraft
exists." said Chavhunduka.

          However, critics have questioned the applicability of the Act, as
judges are not qualified enough to deduce whether one is a witch or not.

          A pastor with a Pentecostal church in Harare who asked for
anonymity said this Act is going to be difficult to apply as this is the
work of evil spirits, something that the judges are not well versed with. He
also pointed out that many innocent people are going to be victims.

          "Witchcraft is the work of the devil and mere legal practitioners
have no power over this. We are going to have a situation whereby innocent
people are dragged before the courts because of jealous on the part of their
accusers." said Mtimba. Enditem

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UZ students 'buy freedom' after arrests

New Zimbabwe

By Staff Reporter
Last updated: 04/28/2006 11:43:00
RIOT police disrupted a students rally at the University of Zimbabwe this
week and arrested seven union leaders at a time the institution has lodged
papers in the High Court seeking a peace order against the students.

Human rights lawyer Harrison Nkomo on Thursday said the seven students have
since been released after paying admission of guilt fines.

Police said the student leaders had addressed a rally without seeking
clearance from the law enforcement agents.

Nkomo said: "We had to buy their freedom."

Nkomo could not comment on the UZ court application saying it was being
handled by another lawyer.

The arrests came after the out-going leadership of Mfundo Mlilo, Collen
Chibango, Wellington Mahohoma and Hentchel Mavuma went to campaign for a new
leadership ahead of the Thursday night elections.

In a statement Mlilo said: "The vice chancellor of the university Professor
Levi Nyagura authorised campaigning but as the outgoing SRC members were
addressing students at Swinton hall of residence, about 25 members of the
anti-riot police charged at them armed with baton sticks and dogs. All
students ran for dear life as tear gas was fired all over."

He added: "The five student leaders (Mlilo,Garikai Kajau, Chibango, Abisha
Dube and Zwelithini Viki) remained standing. The leadership was hauled into
police jeeps with dogs and were taken to Avondale police station where they
spent a night".

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