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Zimbabwe commission hounds unregistered journalists at arts festival

Zim Online

Sat 29 April 2006

      HARARE - Zimbabwe's Media and Information Commission (MIC) is
investigating journalists covering an arts festival taking place in Harare
and could order the arrest of foreign and local reporters covering the event
without its permission.

      Under the government's tough Access to Information and Protection of
Privacy Act (AIPPA), journalists and newspapers must obtain licences from
the MIC in order to practise or publish in Zimbabwe.

      Newspapers that breach the licence law face closure and seizure of
their equipment by the government while reporters who carry out their work
without a licence face up to two years in jail.

      MIC official Munyaradzi Nyamagodo is said to be leading the probe into
hundreds of journalists that have flocked to the popular Harare
International Festival of the Arts (HIFA) and is said to have demanded that
organisers submit to him a full list of all journalists covering the

      Both Nyamagodo and MIC boss, Tafataona Mahoso were not available to
explain what had prompted the investigation or what action they would take
against any journalists who may be found reporting on the festival without
being licenced to do so.

      But an MIC official, who did not want to be named because he is not
authorised to speak to the Press, told ZimOnline: "It is easy to catch them.
We are aware that all media personnel accredited to cover the event will
have green bangles strapped on the wrists.

      "We will target anyone with the green bangles and ask them to produce
their MIC Press cards. Anyone found wanting would be arrested because they
are in violation of AIPPA."

      In a letter sent out yesterday to media houses covering the six day
arts festival that began last Tuesday, HIFA media relations executive Jill
Day alerts the news publishers that the MIC is probing the licence status of
journalists reporting on the festival.

      "Mr Nyamagodo from the Media and Information Commission has requested
a list of all the journalists we have accredited to HIFA .. I am sure your
accreditation with MIC is in order but I thought I should draw this to you
attention," reads part of Day's letter to media houses.

      Zimbabwe has some of the toughest ever media laws and is rated by the
World Association of Newspapers as among the three worst places for
journalists in the world. The other two are the former Soviet Union Republic
of Uzbekistan and Iran.

      Foreign journalists wishing to cover events in the troubled southern
African country must first be vetted and cleared by the Ministry of
Information and then they have to apply for temporary accreditation to the
MIC and pay US$600 for a temporary licence.

      Local journalists need no clearance from the Information Ministry but
are required to fork out Z$250 000 if registering for the first time or
Z$200 000 if renewing registration.

      At least a hundred local and foreign journalists have been arrested in
the past three years for breaching some of the government's harsh media laws
although none have been successfully prosecuted.

      The country's biggest and non-government-owned daily, the Daily News,
was shut down three years ago and its equipment seized because it had not
registered with the MIC. - ZimOnline

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Zimbabwe power firm seeks US$900 million to refurbish power stations

Zim Online

Sat 29 April 2006

      BULAWAYO - The Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) says it
requires nearly US$900 million to refurbish its archaic power stations at
Kariba dam and Hwange coalfields.

      Hwange, the biggest thermal power station in the country, required
about US$600 million while Kariba required US$300 million, all money the
hard cash-strapped Harare government does not have.

      "We have applied to the RBZ for funding of the two projects that are
aimed at improving our power outages from the two power stations as we are
failing to meet national demand, the demand for electricity has been growing
at three percent per annum," said ZESA spokesman James Maridadi.

      Maridadi, who was speaking to journalists at a reception on the
sidelines of the ongoing Zimbabwe International Trade Fair in Bulawayo, said
shortage of foreign currency to buy new machinery and spare parts had seen
the country's power stations operating below capacity.

      He cited Hwange for example, which he said was only producing 400
megawatts or less than half of its designed capacity of 980 megawatts.

      However, even if foreign currency was availed to improve generation at
Hwange and Kariba to maximum capacity, their combined output would still
fall short of national power consumption.

      Several hundreds more of millions of foreign currency would still be
required to expand existing power stations or build new ones if Zimbabwe is
to be self-sufficient in power and avoid an energy crisis forecast for
southern Africa by 2007.

      Zimbabwe - facing its worst ever economic crisis - has grappled a
severe power shortage that has seen whole cities and regions of the country
without electricity for periods ranging up to five hours at times as the
ZESA rations the little power available.

      The country consumes 2 100MW about 30 percent of which is imported
from the Southern African Power Pool comprising neighbouring countries such
as South Africa, Mozambique and Zambia. - ZimOnline

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Rewriting History in Zimbabwe

Institute for War and Peace Reporting

Josiah Tongogara was a major figure in the Zimbabwean independence movement,
but the country's present leaders are carefully erasing his place in

By Maxmillion Sengwe in Harare (AR No. 61, 28-Apr-06)

Twenty-six years after Zimbabwe became independent, one of the most
illustrious figures of the war of liberation is being systematically written
out of history.

Josiah Magama Tongogara was the current president Robert Mugabe's main rival
for power in the exiled liberation movement of the Seventies.

Now political analysts say the president is intent on ensuring that
Tongogara's contribution to the creation of modern Zimbabwe as commander of
the guerrilla wing of ZANU, the Zimbabwe African National Union, fades away.

Tongogara died on Christmas Day 1979, four days after the Lancaster House
Agreement was signed in London, securing Zimbabwean independence. He had
played an important conciliatory role in the talks leading up to the

His death was announced by Mugabe on the liberation movement's radio station
two days later. Mugabe said that 41-year-old Tongogara had been killed in a
car accident. No autopsy results or photos of the body were ever released.

Mugabe's apparent decision to sideline Tongogara and his achievements from
the country's official memory emerged in April last year, when the late
guerrilla commander was not one of the "eminent heroes" honoured in
Zimbabwe's Silver Jubilee Awards.

Another major figure in the liberation struggle, former ZANU leader Herbert
Chitepo, who was assassinated by a car bomb in Zambia in 1975, was also
excluded from the pantheon of heroes.

That such important leaders can simply be eradicated from Zimbabwe's
official history reflects Mugabe's aversion to other leaders - dead as well
as living - whom he perceives as threats to his ascendancy.

Patrick Kombayi, a veteran former ZANU activist who was Zimbabwe's first
black mayor, said Mugabe sees all potential leaders merely as obstacles on
his own path to power.

During the Lancaster House negotiations, Tongogara is believed to have held
secret meetings about post-independence power-sharing with leaders of the
rival ZAPU, Zimbabwe African Peoples Union. A senior ZAPU source confirmed
that Tongogara did hold talks with ZAPU, including its leader, the late
Joshua Nkomo.

According to this source, Tongogara "did not really like Mugabe's policies,
and he claimed that he could draw away support from both ZANU and ZANLA",
the latter being the Zimbabwe African National Liberation Army, ZANU's
military wing which Tongogara headed.

A ZANU war veteran recalled to IWPR how he saw Tongogara on his return from
Lancaster House to ZANLA's guerrilla bases in Mozambique.

"Tongogara slung his AK rifle on his back and announced to us that he was
going to be the first black prime minister of independent Zimbabwe," he
said. "We all supported him. He was our leader and we hardly knew Robert
Mugabe. To our shock, he was killed a few days later."

It was instead Mugabe who became Zimbabwe's first prime minister and later

Mugabe's attitude to the liberation guerrilla commander is further evident
in his failure to look after his family. In a recent interview, Tongogara's
widow Angeline said she was living "an ordinary widow's life". She said she
struggled to raise her children, with no support from the ZANU hierarchy,
and depended instead on the Catholic Church. While many ZANU stalwarts were
awarded landholdings in the land-grab from white farmers, Angeline Tongogara
said she had not benefited.

When Tongogara's family held a memorial service for him in December at their
home in Harare, no senior ZANU figures were invited. Angeline noted that the
state had failed to hold a memorial service for the guerrilla chief. Asked
why she had not asked ZANU officials to come, she said she had decided to
make it "purely a family affair".

State-owned media have been extremely careful about what they say concerning
Tongogara. A source at the state-controlled Herald, Zimbabwe's only daily
newspaper, said there was controversy over whether to publish a report on
the family memorial service. It was published in the end, but was safely
tucked away in an unobtrusive place in the paper after the editor received
instructions from top government officials that it must not be "prominent".

Tongogara's brother Joshua became so disillusioned with what he described as
Mugabe's double standards that in 2002 he planned to stand for parliament as
an independent candidate in his home constituency. But he was harassed and
was forced to shift back to ZANU, and he has since retreated into silence
and avoided active involvement in politics.

Apart from the formative political role that Tongogara played, there may be
a second reason why Mugabe has sought to efface his memory: tribalism. The
president has consistently promoted close associates and relatives from his
Zezuru clan, part of the wider Shona nation, to positions of power in modern

Tongogara was a Karanga - a different Shona clan that historically inhabited
lands to the south and east of the Zezuru. During the war of independence,
it was the Karangas - led by Tongogara supported by other prominent fighters
such as Josiah Tungamirai, Vitalis Zvinavashe and Emerson Munangagwa - who
formed the backbone of the ZANLA force.

Since independence, Mugabe has systematically marginalised Karangas in
favour of the Zezuru. He has militarised Zimbabwe's key institutions and
appointed members of his own clan to head them. The army, police, judiciary
and all top government departments are now headed by Zezurus.

Acknowledging Tongogara as a central figure in the struggle for independence
would, for Mugabe, be tantamount to recognising the immense role played by
the Karanga group as a whole.

The timing of Tongogara's elimination from the political scene, coupled with
President Mugabe's subsequent ruthless rise to power, has led many to
speculate that the present regime had something to gain from his death.

"Remember, there is a clique in ZANU that is very aware that the people who
should be leading this country - had they not been assassinated - are
Tongogara and Chitepo," said Kombayi. "Some of the top ZANU leaders regarded
Tongo[gara] and Chitepo as stumbling blocks in their way to higher positions
during the liberation struggle."

However, Kombayi believes people would not be fooled by the arbitrary
rewriting of history.

"ZANU leaders hate the true heroes even in death," he said. "But the good
thing is that the people of Zimbabwe know who their true heroes are."

Maxmillion Sengwe is a pseudonym for an IWPR contributor in Zimbabwe.

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Zimbabwean companies resort to barter trade at annual fair as forex shortages bite

      By Ian Nhuka in Bulawayo

      The biting foreign currency shortage has forced Zimbabwean companies
to negotiate barter deals with foreign exhibitors at the Zimbabwe
International Trade Fair which ends in Bulawayo tomorrow.

      An exhibitor from Kenya, who is showcasing agricultural implements,
said many Zimbabwean companies and farmers he has dealt with at the ongoing
ZITF had suggested that they pay for his products using agricultural

      "Our comrades want our products," he said referring to Zimbabweans.
"But they say they do not have foreign currency so they want to pay in form
of agricultural produce.  We are still considering their suggestions and
possibly by the end of the trade fair tomorrow, we would have agreed on
something.  But barter deals are cumbersome."

      Gripped by widespread foreign currency shortages, Zimbabwe has over
the past few years resorted to barter trade to procure critical imports.
Power utility, Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority is financing imports of
machinery and vehicles from China and Iran through agriculture produce.
      ZESA has also agreed to give a Chinese power company a multi-billion
dollar concession to mine coal in Matabeleland region in return for the
rehabilitation of its ageing electricity generation machinery at Kariba and

      The cash-strapped power utility has also ventured into large-scale
commercial farming with the yield to be used for the barter deals. The
turnout to the ZITF has declined drastically in recent years as the economic
meltdown in the country continues. For the fourth year running, no company
from Europe or America is taking part at the fair, which started on Tuesday.

      ZITF company marketing and public relations manager, Cecilia Bhebhe
refused to disclose the number of exhibitors, but earlier Press reports
indicated that they are around 400, down from about 600 who took part last

      A Botswana exhibitor, Binn Matengu said the poor turnout of Batswana
companies at the fair and the inability by Zimbabweans to buy using foreign
currency mirrored the poor state of the economy. Matengu, an Export
Promotion Officer for the Botswana Export Development and Investment
Authority said even BOtswAna firms, which have previously participated at
the ZITF are shunning the exposition as the business content was declining.

      He said only two Batswana companies are exhibiting, down from six last
      "I think Botswana firms see no reason why they should take part.  Your
economy is performing poorly at the moment.  Business is there but the
problem comes on payment in view of the lack of foreign currency.  Any
businessperson would not accept payment in Zimbabwe dollars," said Matengu.
      Tanzania President, Jakaya Kikwete officially opened the show on
Friday afternoon.

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Zimbabwe Nightmare

Christianity Today.

Christians try to negotiate ministry in southern Africa's most failed state.
by Isaac Phiri | posted 04/28/2006 10:00 a.m.

It still feels like last night to Newton Mudzingwa. Seven months ago,
Mudzingwa, a security guard in an affluent suburb of Harare, Zimbabwe's
capital, had a much-appreciated night off-duty.

He spent the evening in one of the city's burgeoning slums, in the one-room
shack he had rented-with him, his wife, and his two young children crammed
into a single bed. It was to be their last night at home together.

Around midnight, the blare of loudspeakers jolted them out of sleep. Police
and military officers cheered by President Robert Mugabe's political
activists swooped down on the slum to demolish "illegal" structures.
Operation Murambastvina (meaning "Drive Out Trash") had begun. Mudzingwa
quickly threw together whatever goods he could save. His wife bundled
blankets around their children. As temperatures plummeted to biting levels,
they rushed outside. The family then watched as bulldozers reduced to rubble
the only home the children had ever known.

"All I could ask was: 'Why, God? Why?'" recalls Mudzingwa.

The government says that only 700,000 people were relocated and that urban
renewal was long overdue. Other reliable estimates put the figure at 1.7
million displaced people. Either way, the Mudzingwas were among tens of
thousands of locals suddenly without shelter, proper food, and clean water.

Broken Promise
The "Mugabe tsunami," as African news media have labeled the event, pushed
Zimbabwe, a country the size of Montana with a population of 12 million,
back onto front pages around the world. U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan
rushed top envoy Anna Kajimulo Tibaijuka to begin a fact-finding mission to
the former Rhodesia.

On the ground, away from the media, churches located in the slums felt the
first brunt of the government's action. Thousands sought help.

"Many were coming to churches saying, 'We are desperate,'" says Jethro Dube,
a pastor on staff with the Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) in Bulawayo,
the country's second-largest city.

Churches responded by delivering food, water, and blankets, as well as by
housing many of the displaced-at least until they, too, were forcibly moved.
The government put many families into holding camps in remote areas.

"The government has been very harsh in dealing with poor people," observes
Bulawayo-based Useni Sibanda, program manager of the Justice and Peace
Commission of the Association of Evangelicals in Africa (AEA). Sibanda
witnessed the suffering and death of some in these camps.

Fortunately, through the help of churches and friends, Mudzingwa managed to
find safe haven in the country for his wife and children. Mudzingwa remains
an "illegal" squatter in an urban building under construction.

The government eventually succumbed to local and international pressure and
halted the destruction. But by February, the beginning of the rainy season
in Zimbabwe, thousands were still living out in the open or under plastic
sheets. The government had promised earlier to build 200,000 new homes by
the year's end. But the deadline came and went without much being done. Some
media reports say the few houses that were constructed crumbled under the
first heavy rains.

Many church leaders told CT that restoring order in townships was not the
original issue, regardless of what the Mugabe government claimed. "It is the
way it was done," explains Tawona Mtshigo, then a church-based activist and
now director of the International Bible Society in Zimbabwe. "Was it
cleaning up places or people?" she asks.

House of Stone Crumbles
Everything about Zimbabwe nowadays is bleak. Harare is gloomy. Potholes
cripple the already rickety public transportation system. Water shortages
occur daily. Power outages are frequent and will get worse. The utility
company says it needs u.s.$9 million per month to pay its bills for imported

People line up for basic necessities-food, gas, medicine-if they can be
found, that is. Even cash is scarce. Banks run out. If you can get cash, you
need a wheelbarrow to carry it home. Gideon Gono, the country's reserve bank
boss, said inflation would be at 800 percent by March. "We are all
millionaires," laughs a trader of foreign currency outside a Harare bus
stop. He offers 1 million Zimbabwean dollars for u.s. $10.

Pessimism reigns. In Mbare, a high-density slum township near Harare, the
poverty is glaring. Garbage gathers. Burst sewage pipes gape and spill.
Street children roam. Residents struggle to make ends meet by peddling
anything and everything.

Workers are frustrated. "The government has no clue or strategy to turn
around the economy," said Lovemore Matombo, president of the Zimbabwe
Congress of Trade Unions.

But how did Zimbabwe (Shona for house of stone), once paraded as Africa's
most promising nation, become a "wasteland" and a "colossal disaster," in
the words of Trevor Ncube, a local newspaper publisher?

All fingers point to Mugabe, now 82. The apparent political stagnation (many
say degeneration), economic quandary (some say squandering), and general
social disorder are all deeply rooted in Mugabe's 25-year rule.

Four years ago, Mugabe unexpectedly faced formidable opposition to his
reelection. The Movement for Democratic Change was overtly white-supported.
Mugabe said it was "the resurgence of white power." The response was severe.
"Gangs armed with axes and pangas [machetes] invaded white-owned farms
across the country," said one report. "Government and army trucks were used
to transport them to the farms and to keep them supplied with rations once

The result was that no serious political or economic reform has been
possible. Zimbabwe remains among the world's top-20 most-failed states,
according to Foreign Policy magazine, for its weak economy, poor security,
ongoing violence, and corruption. As a result, millions are at risk of
severe malnutrition for the remainder of 2006.

Call to Prayer
It is a few days before Christmas, and a slender, rather tall man in a blue
business suit, carrying a black briefcase, walks through the doors of the
once-lavishly appointed Harare International Conference Center. He is here
to lead a convention-a prayer convention. He is Alexander Chisango, pastor
of a Harare church and chair of the Evangelism and Discipleship Commission
of the Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe (EFZ)-a member of the World
Evangelical Alliance. In 2005, the EFZ called all churches in Zimbabwe to
prayer for "the restoration of our nation."

As pastors take their seats, a team is already on stage leading worship. The
music is a sweet combination of local choruses in indigenous languages,
international contemporary tunes, and traditional hymns. Hands are raised.
Knees are bent. Bibles are opened. Floors are paced. Prayer for the nation
is on the minds of everyone.

The music fades. Chisango takes the pulpit. He does not mince his words. "We
pledged ourselves to pray for our nation." He says the plan for the all-day
event is prayer. Period. No long sermons. No networking. No coffee breaks.
Just prayer for the nation. The need is urgent.

"We are saying things in our nation are not the way they ought to be," he

Before long, everyone turns to prayer.

Chisango prays in a corner. Listening to the passionate prayer for his
country stirs hope. "Lord, bring us to that place where there will be
complete restoration to the nation of Zimbabwe."

An announcement is made. Evidently, hotel leaders did not know this would be
a "noisy" event. They want the convention to move to a soundproof theater.
Music equipment is pulled down. Directions are given. Church leaders troop
to the theater designed to contain noise. Fortunately, none need control
their prayer levels now.

Chisango is not alone in this fervency for prayer.

"Only God can fix this mess," Samuel Manyika says later (to loud applause).
A prominent pastor and overseer of 50 churches, Manyika is clad in a casual
black outfit, but he commands a strong presence that reveals his standing
among his peers.

"Zimbabwe's problems can only be solved by God, not by political parties,"
he reiterates.

The call to pray for Zimbabwe is picking up momentum. In Bulawayo, a monthly
interdenominational vigil already attracts 3,000 to 4,000 people. "It is a
wake up call-a kairos moment for the churches," says AEA's Sibanda.

But Chisango and Manyika hunger for more. Manyika calls for a "no-church
Sunday." All church buildings will be closed so that Christians can gather
in stadiums to pray. "Forgo one Sunday's offering," he says to his fellow
pastors. "We need to saturate our nation in prayer."

Christians in top government positions agree. "God says if we pray, he will
heal our land," says Rutendo Wutawunashe, an influential pastor and also
vice chair of the nation's Anti-Corruption Commission. "Corruption comes
from the heart. We are the only people with the power to change hearts."

Meanwhile, Christians continue to help with immediate needs. When drought
and farm invasions caused food shortages, church organizations responded.
Christian Care became one of the largest distributors of food. Staff numbers
shot up from 85 to 500 in order to feed 1.6 million people. World Vision and
the Mennonite Central Committee also delivered relief aid.

The United Nations and other international organizations have come to see
churches as reliable partners in responding to Zimbabwe's crisis. Senior
U.N. executives often prefer to deal with church leaders rather than
government officials. "They met with us for an hour," said Sibanda,
recalling a high-powered delegation that visited Bulawayo.

Still, pastors and other Christian leaders must walk a tightrope. State
security services monitor outspoken religious leaders. Christians say they
will not back down from speaking out.

"The church cannot keep quiet when evil is being committed," said Bishop
Sebastian Bakare of the Anglican diocese of Manicaland. "The church is not
against politicians, but against evil and unjust acts."

Isaac Phiri is a journalist based in South Africa.

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Business Conference Delegates Agree to Brand Zim

The Herald (Harare)

April 28, 2006
Posted to the web April 28, 2006

Bulawayo Bureau

DELEGATES attending the third Zimbabwe International Business Conference on
Wednesday agreed that the country needed to be branded so that it could be
easily marketed.

Although the delegates could not agree on a theme, arguing that the country
needed more time to come up with a brand name, which would reflect the
country's history and aspirations, a number of themes were discussed, the
most popular of which was "Truly Zimbabwean". Among other proposed themes
were "Together We make Zimbabwe Great", "Prosper Zimbabwe", "Genuine
Zimbabwe" and "Great Zimbabwe". Most countries in the world have brand
names, which they use to market their country, products and services. South
Africa's brand name, for example, is "Proudly South African". "On the issue
of branding, I propose, 'Truly, Proudly Zimbabwean'. This is because most
Zimbabweans are very apologetic for being Zimbabweans to the extent that
they are afraid of identifying themselves as Zimbabweans," said Dr Ruth
Labode, a businesswoman and former Matabeleland North provincial medical

Most delegates seemed to agree with the brand name but others who included a
local businesswoman Ms N ancy Guzha, were of the opinion that a suitable
brand name should only be arrived at, after analysing the country's core
values, history, culture, heritage and aspirations. Her argument was
supported by the Deputy Minister of Science and Technology, Cde Patrick
Zhuwawo, and the Deputy Minister of Economic Development, Cde Samuel
Undenge. The delegates, however, agreed that a brand name for the country
was essential but said there was need for further debate.

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Tobacco Farmers Should Be Self-Reliant

The Herald (Harare)

April 28, 2006
Posted to the web April 28, 2006


THE scrapping this week of the tobacco support price system by the Reserve
Bank of Zimbabwe is a wake up call to tobacco farmers who should take their
business seriously and not wait for Government support everytime.

The Government's objective in making this move is clearly to separate
opportunists from genuine tobacco farmers. And the message is clear to all:
Produce a quality tobacco crop and get rewarded, if you can't, quit trying.
This was underlined by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor, Dr Gideon
Gono, in his brief address to tobacco farmers during the opening of the 2006
tobacco selling season at the Tobacco Sales Floor this week. Dr Gono was
being forthright in telling the farmers to stop relying on Government
support but to work hard on producing quality crop, be innovative and
self-reliant. Tobacco farmers have for the past few years benefited
immensely from the Government's support price system, which rewarded farmers
across the board -- good quality and poor quality tobacco growers alike. The
support was meant to give a leg up to tobacco farmers, most of whom are
smallholders and beneficiaries of the land reform programme. The Government
wants our tobacco farmers -- particu larly the small holders -- to move out
of the dependency syndrome trap and produce their crop to acceptable quality

This is exactly the route taken by the world's largest tobacco producer,
Brazil. That country's smallholder tobacco farmers are today famous for
their quality tobacco. This latest development by the central bank has
caught tobacco farmers unawares, coming as it did, on the eve of the opening
of the 2006 selling season. Opportunists, who have been in the tobacco
growing business solely to take advantage of the support price and other
Government facilities availed to the farmers, are as a result crying foul.
Some smallholder tobacco farmers feel that scrapping the support price
system is tantamount to killing tobacco farming. However, we are prompted to
believe that these are opportunist tobacco farmers. They have in the past
been holding on to their crop and exerting pressure on the Government to
increase the support price.

The same farmers are ignoring the huge incentive being offered by the
Government. Growers, who sell their tobacco before July 31 this year, will
be paid a 35 percent bonus of the total value of their crop. Tobacco is sold
in United States dollars and farmers are paid in local currency at the
ruling exchange rate of US$1 to Z$99 201,58. If the exchange rate falls, it
will bring significant benefits to tobacco farmers as both the total value
and bonus will increase. We see the scrapping of the tobacco support price
system as an incentive that should spur farmers to aim for quality crop. The
benefits, as learnt from the Brazilian experience, will be realised in the
medium to long- term. We therefore back the Government's advice that those
who feel the heat in the tobacco barns is too hot to bear should simply

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ZSE Grounded As Workers Demand Better Salaries

The Herald (Harare)

April 28, 2006
Posted to the web April 28, 2006


THE Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE) has failed to publish the latest mining
and industrial indices since Tuesday, as workers protest over poor salaries.

Market sources indicated that ZSE employees were on a go-slow although the
finer details could not be obtained at the time of going to press. Stock
market chief executive Mr Emmanuel Munyukwi, however, attributed the delays
to a "crash of the system", which forced the bourse to compile the figures
manually. But in the absence of index data, broadly, equity prices have
maintained an upward pattern, as short-term deposit rates remained steady
over uncertainties of their direction going forward.

On Monday, the key industrial index closed 8 618,93 points down at 35 579
058,05 points while minings traded unchanged at 7 764 412,43 points. On
Tuesday, first-tier stocks Meikles and Old Mutual rose $10 500 and $10 000
to close at $230 000 and $570 000 respectively while industrial conglomerate
Innscor ended at $55 000, up $5 000. Other significant gains were recorded
in Cafca, Cottco and Art. Analysts predict equities will continue running
high during this quarter, as rates are projec ted to weaken on the back of
high inflatio, currently running at 913,6 percent.

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Zimbabwe ministers snub crucial conference

      April 28, 2006.

      By Tagu Mkwenyani

      Harare (AND) ZIMBABWE'S Vice President and several ministers yesterday
snubbed a crucial conference called to explore ways to generate foreign
currency for the nation opting to attend a Zanu PF party meeting.

      Analysts said this underlined how officials in President Mugabe's
government prioritised party issues at the expense of national issues. The
crucial International Business Conference, held at the on-going Zimbabwe
International Trade Fair (ZITF) in Bulawayo, focused on foreign currency
generation. It was organized at a time when Zimbabwe faces a critical
shortage of foreign currency and organizers hoped to bring together business
leaders together with Vice President Joyce Mujuru and ministers whose
portfolios are critical to the economy. But the Vice President and his team
of ministers snubbed the conference, opting to attend a Zanu PF meeting
instead. The other ministers were Obert Mpofu, the Minister of Industry and
International Trade, Finance Minister Herbert Murerwa, Rugare Gumbo the
Minister of National Development, Rural and Water Development Minister, the
Science and Technology Minister, Munacho Mutezo and Olivia Muchena. Mujuru
was supposed to present a paper tilted 'In pursuit of a shared vision' while
Murerwa was t give a talk on the 'Role of Corporate Leaders on Foreign
Currency Generation Strategies.' A deputy minister who turned up at the
conference said the party VP and the minister were attending a Politburo
meeting. The Politburo is the ruling party's supreme decision-making body,
which is chaired by President Mugabe.

      AND - Zimbabwe

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Firms stay away from Zimbabwe annual show


      Fri Apr 28, 2006 6:15 PM GMT

HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe opened its annual trade fair on Friday with
fewer overseas participants than ever, a stark sign of the country's
economic downturn and deepening isolation critics blame on President Robert
Mugabe's government.

The annual fair in the second city of Bulawayo, once one of Africa's leading
trade events, attracted just a handful of companies from African and Asian
countries unafraid of showing solidarity with Mugabe during his stand-off
with the West.

"I would say this year's fair is the worst in the 47 year history of the
fair, from a business perspective, and this is a direct reflection of
Zimbabwe's poor international image," said Bulawayo businessman Eddie Cross,
an official in the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

"There has not been much real trade conducted and most of the countries that
have come are here mainly as a political show of solidarity with the ZANU-PF
party government," Cross told Reuters by telephone.

Official figures show the number of exhibitors at the fair declined with
local companies down to 353 from 369 last year and only 12, mostly African
and Asian countries, represented among the foreign stands.

Companies from the United States and Europe who have given the fair a wide
berth since 2000 stayed away again this year in a reflection of their
countries' disapproval of Mugabe's seizure of white-owned farms for blacks
and charges he has rigged recent elections.

Independent financial analyst James Jowa said the economic climate in
Zimbabwe was not attractive to most foreign investors.

"The signals are not there for foreign investors to come and commit money at
the fair when they may not get any returns," Jowa said.

Companies in Zimbabwe are struggling with shortages of foreign exchange and
fuel and the world's highest inflation rate of 913.6 percent. Mugabe this
year announced his government's plan to extend state control of the economy
to the key mining sector by taking controlling stakes in foreign-owned

"Also there are issues to do with Zimbabwe's pariah status which have
influenced especially companies from the West. Most of them will be taking a
cue from their governments," Jowa said.

Mugabe's fellow African leaders have overwhelmingly shown solidarity with
him in his stand-off with the West. Tanzania's new president Jakaya Kikwete
officially opened the Bulawayo show, promising to promote trade between the
two countries.

The number of local companies at the show appeared surprisingly respectable
given Zimbabwe's steep economic decline over the past six years which has
seen industrial capacity reduced to around 50 percent.

Analysts said some companies had taken a long view that the economy would
eventually bottom out, and they would need a foothold in Zimbabwe to benefit
from a rebound.

"I have been speaking to both locals and foreigners at the fair and they
believe that although there is a lot wrong with the economy at the moment,
change will come eventually and they want to have a presence in Zimbabwe
when it does," said leading private economist Eric Bloch.

The four-day fair has drawn mostly tourism operators as well as companies
from the printing and packaging, food and beverage, chemicals and detergents

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Zimbabwe's downward spiral

Nation News, Barbados

Published on: 4/28/06.

THE CRICKETERS are here in the West Indies to do battle but the news coming
out of Zimbabwe are as grim as ever. Much as we hate to condemn the man who
led the independence struggle against colonialism, we have to say, even from
this distance, that it is time for President Robert Mugabe to go.

Closer home we have had the sorry spectacle of a former Prime Minister of
Trinidad and Tobago, Basdeo Panday, going to prison for making false
declarations to the Integrity Commission. We do not rejoice.

In Zimbabwe, we have an octogenarian leader who has presided over the
economic desolation of this once prosperous, though imperfect, country,
causing incalculable suffering in what was once one of Africa's most
developed countries.

It was earlier reported that agriculture and industry were in ruins,
unemployment is almost 80 per cent and the official inflation rate is
estimated at 913 per cent. The economy has shrunk by about 50 per cent over
the last six years.

These are startling statistics that would shame the average leader
elsewhere. Not in Africa it seems. This has largely been its post-colonial
fate. Consider the fate of Ghana, the first post-colonial African nation,
with Kwamei Nkrumah's ringing words in 1957: "Today, from now on, there is a
new African in the world" at the celebration of Ghanaian independence.

He summarised what became the principal approach to economic development
across newly-liberated Africa: "Ghana inherited a colonial economy . . . We
cannot rest until we have demolished this miserable structure and raised in
its place an edifice of economic stability, thus creating for ourselves a
veritable paradise of abundance and satisfaction . . ."

We must go forward with our preparations for planned economic growth to
supplant the poverty, ignorance, disease, and illiteracy left in the wake of
discredited colonialism and decaying imperialism . . . Socialism is the only
pattern that can within the shortest possible time bring the good life to
the people."

Quite tragically, the most idealistic leaders of the newly liberated African
nations pursued this economic development put out by the Soviet Union. They
were supported by economic experts who were also misled, and who also
believed that socialism, rather than capitalism, was the best system to
implement in newly liberated African nations.

Nkrumah had destroyed his country's private industries and private
agriculture systems based on socialist ideals and the advice of economic
advisors. His idealistic leadership in liberating Ghana was a precursor to
colonial liberation across the continent, and led to a long series of
horribly misguided economic disasters.

The economic collapse of one African nation after another led to the rise of
one African dictator after another. These, in turn, have led their nations
in dozens of wars leading to millions of deaths that were often barely
noticed in the restof the world.

Zimbabwe is suffering the same fate.

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New Zim bill 'fascist'


28/04/2006 17:48  - (SA)

Harare - Zimbabwean rights groups on Friday said they were outraged at plans
to introduce a new bill which will enable state agents to eavesdrop on
private conversations and monitor faxes and emails.

The government has drafted the Interception of Communications Bill that will
set up a spy centre to "monitor and intercept certain communications" from a
variety of sources, said a draft of the bill of which AFP obtained a copy on

Under the proposed law, telecommunication service providers will be
compelled to install devices to enable interception of phone conversations,
faxes and emails.

Rights groups have slammed the proposed law as further tightening President
Robert Mugabe's iron grip on the media and communications.

"This is fascism, simple and pure, and it's so shocking that we are having
such type of laws in this age," said Jessie Majome, of the National
Constitutional Assembly (NCA).


"This is going to formalise what the government has always been doing, that
is monitoring and intercepting communications. This will totally erode the
target's right to privacy," Majome said, whose civic organisation is
agitating for a "people-driven" constitution for Zimbabwe.

Human rights lawyer Chris Mhike deplored the bill as "unconstitutional and
unreasonable" saying it would amount to violation of press freedom if it was
to be used to intercept media-related information.

"By empowering state officials to intercept everything from letters, faxes,
e-mail and telephone conversations, the bill will take away the little,
almost non-existent democratic space in the country," Elizabeth Marunda,
spokesperson for civic alliance, Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition.

Human rights lawyer Otto Saki said the bill "takes us years backwards."

"We already have a restrictive bill of rights which does not guarantee
fundamental freedoms. Now we have a bill that will allow illicit means to
obtain information," Saki said.

Transport and Communications Minister Christopher Mushowe confirmed the bill
was under discussion but declined to comment on it.

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Tsvangirai starts diplomatic offensive to brief leaders on protests

      By Tichaona Sibanda
        28 April 2006

      MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai is reported to be in South Africa as head
of his party's delegation for talks with South African President Thabo

      His arch-rival Arthur Mutambara, leader of the pro-senate faction, is
expected in the UK from Sweden for a meeting with his supporters in
Manchester on Sunday.

      Savious Kwinika, a journalist based in South Africa, told us he heard
from his sources that Tsvangirai's meeting was at the invitation of Thabo
Mbeki, the first since the October 12 split in the MDC that saw the
emergence of two factions.

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

      The meeting is expected to improve relations with Mbeki, whom
Tsvangirai once referred to as "not an honest broker." Mbeki is reported to
still be trying to initiate dialogue between the MDC and the ruling Zanu PF

      The Zimbabwe Independent reported Friday that the visit is the first
of a regional tour that will take the MDC delegation to Namibia for talks
with Namibian president Hifikepunye Pohamba.

      Early this year Tsvangirai and his delegation of national chairman
Isaac Matongo, information secretary Nelson Chamisa and presidential
spokesman William Bango were booted out of Zambia.

      While the Mutambara delegation is expected to meet its supporters on
Sunday, UK activists aligned to the Tsvangirai led MDC will have their
meeting on Saturday to look at the progress of the restructuring exercise,
also in Manchester.

      Paul Ruwona, information and Publicity officer for the branch, said
people should not construe their meeting as a tactical ploy to try and
destabilise the Sunday meeting.

      'We live in a democracy where we can meet and discuss as a group
anytime, anywhere. And so can they, in fact this is the type of democracy we
want in Zimbabwe. If they are genuine politicians fighting for a democratic
Zimbabwe I am sure they will have no problems with that,' Ruwona said.

      SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

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Donors snub Zimbabwe's appeals for food aid

      By Tichaona Sibanda
      28 April 2006

      The National Association of Non-Governmental Organisations (Nango) has
issued a stark warning that the country is headed for a catastrophe if the
food situation doesn't urgently improve.

      With an estimated three million people facing severe food shortages
Nango advocacy and communications manager, Fambai Ngirande, recently told
Parliament that appeals for food aid from the international community had
received a 'very poor' response.

      Giving evidence before a parliamentary portfolio committee on Labour
and Social welfare, Ngirande blamed the country's appalling human rights
record for the snub by the donors.

      'The level of funding into Zimbabwe is devastatingly low. Donors are
skirting the country because out of US$276m that we requested only a paltry
US$9m has so far made its way into our coffers,' Ngirande said.

      Ngirande's warning comes in the wake of a similar warning by retired
Zimbabwe Defence Forces commander General Vitalis Zvinavashe who on Thursday
called for openness about food shortages affecting the country.

      In a thinly veiled attack on Robert Mugabe and his Cabinet, who in the
past have claimed that the country had enough food when it did not,
Zvinavashe said: 'We have to be open about the food situation. We have heard
people saying I have so many tonnes of food but if you go to the Grain
Marketing Board there is nothing.'

      The government is sensitive and highly secretive on issues regarding
food security in the country. Last week they barred the Food and
Agricultural Organisation (FAO) from making an independent assessment of
food requirements in the country which once again is expected to harvest
less food this year.

      Mugabe and Agriculture minister Joseph Made last year falsely said
Zimbabwe had a bumper harvest of maize, in a bid to portray the government's
controversial land reforms as successful.

      The land reforms under which the government seized productive farms
from whites for redistribution to blacks are blamed for destabilising the
mainstay agricultural sector, causing a 60 percent drop in food production.

      Once a regional breadbasket the country has largely survived on food
handouts from international donor groups since the farm seizure programme
began six years ago.

      SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

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ZCTU takes Mutare City Council to court over workers day venue

      By Lance Guma
      28 April 2006

      The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions has filed an urgent chamber
application in the High Court challenging a last minute decision by the
Mutare City Council to cancel a venue booking. The ZCTU was scheduled to use
Sakubva Stadium as one of their venues for the May Day celebrations on
Monday next week but political pressure led to officials there making a
u-turn. The ZCTU becomes the second organisation inside two weeks to be
snubbed by the same council after the opposition MDC were last week told the
venue was not available for their Mutare rally. Despite the move the MDC
still held a successfully rally at the Chisamba grounds in the city.

      Mlamleli Sibanda a spokesman for the ZCTU says they booked and paid
for the use of Sakubva Stadium last year but now the council have offered
the money back saying they don't have police clearance. Sibanda says this is
just an excuse because under the relevant legislation they only need to
inform the police about the event and not get their permission. He suspects
the government wants to keep the venue free for rival trade union, the
Zimbabwe Federation of Trade Unions (ZFTU) which is a government-sponsored
organisation. Despite the Mutare set back the ZCTU is hoping to conduct
workers day celebrations in 20 stadiums across the country. Gwanzura
(Harare), White City (Bulawayo), Chibuku (Chitungwiza) and Mkoba (Gweru) are
some of the selected venues.

      Meanwhile Sibanda told Newsreel that they have taken delivery of the
sanitary protection donated to them by well-wishers from outside the
country. The government playing political games, insisted the trade union
pay duty for the donation because it was not their 'core business.' The ZCTU
forked out Z$1,7 billion in duty to secure the release of the donated
products. It hopes to distribute the 19 tonnes of pads through its
nationwide structures.
      Due to Zimbabwe's economic collapse the majority of women are no
longer able to afford any sanitary pads, and have to resort to the unhealthy
use of newspapers, rags or even leaves.


      Tsvangirai starts diplomatic offensive to brief leaders on protests
      By Tichaona Sibanda
      28 April 2006

      MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai is reported to be in South Africa as head
of his party's delegation for talks with South African President Thabo

      His arch-rival Arthur Mutambara, leader of the pro-senate faction, is
expected in the UK from Sweden for a meeting with his supporters in
Manchester on Sunday.

      Savious Kwinika, a journalist based in South Africa, told us he heard
from his sources that Tsvangirai's meeting was at the invitation of Thabo
Mbeki, the first since the October 12 split in the MDC that saw the
emergence of two factions.

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

      The meeting is expected to improve relations with Mbeki, whom
Tsvangirai once referred to as "not an honest broker." Mbeki is reported to
still be trying to initiate dialogue between the MDC and the ruling Zanu PF

      The Zimbabwe Independent reported Friday that the visit is the first
of a regional tour that will take the MDC delegation to Namibia for talks
with Namibian president Hifikepunye Pohamba.

      Early this year Tsvangirai and his delegation of national chairman
Isaac Matongo, information secretary Nelson Chamisa and presidential
spokesman William Bango were booted out of Zambia.

      While the Mutambara delegation is expected to meet its supporters on
Sunday, UK activists aligned to the Tsvangirai led MDC will have their
meeting on Saturday to look at the progress of the restructuring exercise,
also in Manchester.

      Paul Ruwona, information and Publicity officer for the branch, said
people should not construe their meeting as a tactical ploy to try and
destabilise the Sunday meeting.

      'We live in a democracy where we can meet and discuss as a group
anytime, anywhere. And so can they, in fact this is the type of democracy we
want in Zimbabwe. If they are genuine politicians fighting for a democratic
Zimbabwe I am sure they will have no problems with that,' Ruwona said.

      SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

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Council workers on 'go slow'

Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2006-Apr-28

HARARE City Council employees are on a go-slow and have threatened to embark
on a fully-fledged strike to force the municipality to review their salaries
in tandem with the poverty datum line pegged at $35 million.

  The go-slow is likely to affect service delivery in the capital.
Some employees told The Daily Mirror yesterday that  the job action, which
started on Monday, followed a meeting with the leadership of the Harare
Municipal Workers Union (HMWU) at Mai Musodzi Hall in Mbare last week.
"After the meeting, all employees were advised by the HMWU to be on a
go-slow pending a fully-fledged strike.  The message was disseminated to all
departments on Friday (last week) and as we speak we are on go-slow," said
an employee who requested anonymity.
Other employees said the meeting was to be held with Town House authorities
this week to try and find a solution.
"We intended to meet Town House authorities this week over the matter, but
the majority of them have since travelled to Bulawayo for the Zimbabwe
International Trade Fair (ZITF)," another employee said.
However, some employees noted that the go-slow would not yield any
significant results unless they completely downed tools.
"The majority of council employees do not have tools and other equipment to
use in their respective departments and can as well be said to be on a
go-slow even if they were not," said another employee.
HMWU chairman, Cosmos Bungu, last week wrote a letter to the chairperson of
the Commission running the affairs of the municipality, Sekesai Makwavarara,
expressing dismay over the failure by council to attend employment council
meetings to discuss the welfare of the employees.
"The HMWU has therefore been mandated to request for a meeting with your
commission and town clerk (Nomutsa Chideya) in order that a way forward can
be found as a matter of urgency.
"We wish to point out that the HMWU has been directed to premise this
request for a meeting within a period of 7 days from the date of this letter
due to the hardships being faced by the employees wherein the paltry
salaries they get no longer make sense," read part of Bungu's letter.
He claimed the least paid employee earned a basic salary of $5,6 million yet
the poverty datum line was pegged at $35 million.
Added Bungu: "The understanding would have been that with the increased cash
flows the City would endeavour to award its workers the recognition they
deserve by giving them decent salaries."
He argued that the majority of the municipality's employees were reeling
under poverty as their salaries were still pegged in terms of the "2005
first quarter salary increase."
He further claimed employees were getting $560 000 as housing allowances,
yet council was charging them $3 200 000 for the accommodation it provides
to them.
Bungu said HMWU recently agreed with the Minister of Local Government,
Public Works and Public Development,Ignatius Chombo, that since the approval
of the economic tariffs, the city was supposed to expeditiously address the
issue of salaries.
Recently, Chombo told the council to remunerate its employees well taking
into consideration the current hyper-inflation.
Inflation is pegged at 913 percent.
Yesterday, Bungu's deputy Edmore Mudukuti confirmed the employees were on a
go-slow, but referred questions to Bungu.
"They are on a go-slow following a misunderstanding with council on issues
pertaining to their welfare," he said.
He said HMWU leadership has since met Makwavarara and Chideya, but would not
divulge issues discussed.
Efforts to get a comment from either Makwavarara or Chideya were fruitless
as they were reportedly attending the ZITF in Bulawayo.

Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA) spokesperson, Precious Shumba,
said the industrial action was going
to impact heavily on service
"The industrial action is going to destroy what remains of Harare, but this
does not take away the blame from authorities running the affairs of the
"It is their responsibility to satisfy the needs of their employees and most
importantly, of the residents," Shumba said.
He added the go-slow was likely to worsen the situation considering that the
municipality was failing to deliver because of shortage of manpower and
equipment, among other reasons.
"The shortage of equipment is a clear testimony that under Makwavarara the
municipality will not deliver anything," Shumba said.

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Zimbabwe: Swedish funding to allow greater humanitarian assistance

Source: International Organization for Migration (IOM)

Date: 28 Apr 2006

A donation to IOM's humanitarian programmes in Zimbabwe by the Swedish
government will go a long way in providing much needed assistance to mobile
and vulnerable populations this year.

 The donation of $US 1.9 million for 2006 through Sweden's development
agency (SIDA), makes the Scandinavian country the largest donor to IOM's
work in Zimbabwe, having provided more than $US 5.7 million over the past
three years.

IOM, which has taken the lead in providing humanitarian assistance to
displaced populations in the country, has helped nearly 455,000 people since
2003. Assistance has been through food and non-food items, livelihood
support, water and sanitation, transportation and shelter. In addition,
HIV/AIDS activities have been mainstreamed within these programmes.

SIDA's donation will primarily be used to provide assistance to mobile
populations and Zimbabwean migrants deported from South Africa at the border
town of Beitbridge as well as on work to minimize HIV risks and gender-based
violence during emergencies.

"2005 was a year of real success for IOM in reaching more and more
Zimbabweans. But the needs have not dissipated and these crucial funds allow
us to continue and expand our work. I am sincerely grateful to the Swedish
government for this support, as I am sure are the Zimbabweans who will
receive it," said IOM chief of mission in Harare, Mohammed Abdiker, during a
ceremony attended by Goran Engstrand, Minister for Development Cooperation
at the Swedish Embassy in the Zimbabwean capital.

For further information, please contact Nicola Simmonds, IOM Harare, Tel:
+263 433 5044/48 Email:

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