The ZIMBABWE Situation Our thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.

Back to Index

Back to the Top
Back to Index

From The Mail & Guardian (SA), 29 April

Harare reaches state of collapse

Harare - Picture a township of 100 000 people going two weeks without water,
suffering sewerage bursts, no fuel, and power blackouts that often last half
the day. That is the reality in Mabvuku/Tafara township, one of at least
seven Harare suburbs afflicted by the progressive collapse of basic
services. "It's a recipe for disaster," said John Chirosvo, of Mabvuku. "The
city's crumbling," says Mark Davies, chairperson of the Harare Residents and
Ratepayers Association. "Water and power cuts are widespread; the people who
have run the city for the past 25 years have failed us." Davies said several
suburbs had gone for two months without water, while there were intermittent
power cuts. In Mabvuku/Tafara residents are surviving on water from
boreholes and streams that are considered a health hazard. Timothy Mabhawu,
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) MP for the constituency, said he had
been warned the township might be without piped water for a year.

The Mail & Guardian witnessed scores of Mabvuku residents trudging long
distances to collect water from streams in Gosden. Marceline Nyika (32) was
interviewed while fetching water from a borehole at RC Hondo building
contractors, meant for brickmakers. "We don't know who's to blame," she
said, sitting on two tins in a 100m queue. "It's two weeks now, and no word
from the government." About a kilometre south sewerage pipes that burst a
few weeks ago remain unrepaired. Inquiries established that the water supply
had been interrupted in six other black residential areas in and around the
capital, including Ruwa, Epworth, Mbare, Mufakose and the dormitory town of
Chitungwiza. Davies said up-market areas of Harare, such as Borrowdale and
Greendale, had not been spared. The "overall state of the economy" was to
blame. City engineers had told him the government would need $100-million
for the construction of another waterworks. The existing facility could
service only half the townships and nearby industry.

Lake Chivero dam, about 30km west of Harare, has been the traditional water
source for the city. However, rapid population growth - fuelled by the
government's land reforms and the collapse of the rural economy - has
outstripped capacity. To ease the pressure, the government proposed building
Kunzwi dam and a new waterworks. The project has been on the drafting table
for eight years, sources said, as its huge budget required Cabinet approval.
Engineers at the city council said the problem was that "everything is
centralised". "It was foreseen 50 years ago that Harare would need a new
waterworks. But government has sat on the plans." Mabhawu said he had tried
to break the water impasse. "Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo is
running meetings at the party headquarters, and the mayoress and her town
clerk are at a trade fair in Bulawayo," Mabhawu said. "There is nobody to
assist." Former Harare Mayor Elias Mudzuri said nearly all the engineers had
left the council. "We now have many incompetent people running city affairs
because the [national] government bullied its way into council affairs," he
said. "[Local Government Minister] Chombo is an educationist, not an
engineer," he added.

Harare's regular power cuts flow from a crippling foreign exchange shortage
that prevents the Zimbabwe government from servicing its debts to Eskom and
Mozambique's Cahora Bassa.Zimbabwe's Standard newspaper has estimated that
the Zimbabwe Electricity Authority owes $200-million, of which $12-million
(R70-million) is owed to Eskom. However, Eskom spokesperson Fani Zulu said
Zesa owed Eskom "less than R15-million". Eskom was in no way responsible for
Harare's power cuts. "Several schools may have to be shut down," Mabhawu
said. "Children can't use filthy latrines - it's a health hazard." Driving
into town from Mabvuku, one sees meandering fuel queues that have resurfaced
since the elections. Most Harare garages have run dry. The woes of Harare
residents are compounded by a shortage of basic food commodities at most
supermarkets. Sugar, maize meal, cooking oil and margarine have disappeared
from shelves. The MDC on Wednesday said Zimbabwe had run out of food,
including the national staple, maize, and demanded an apology from President
Robert Robert Mugabe's government for lying about abundant harvests. "The
country has run out of maize, this a fact," Renson Gasela, MDC's shadow
agriculture minister told a news conference. The government, which last year
claimed Zimbabwe had produced a bumper harvest, should apologise for
misleading Zimbabweans and start approaching international aid donors,
Gasela said. Mugabe admitted before the parliamentary elections in March
that Zimbabwe would have to import grain following drought and a poor

Interfin Securities economist Farayi Dyirakumunda said shortages of fuel and
basic commodities were linked to Zimbabwe's critical forex problem. "People
could be holding back on fuel supplies in anticipation of a devaluation of
the Zimdollar, which would trigger price hikes," Dyirakumunda said. "Many
producers of basic food commodities have scaled down their operations
because they don't have forex to import inputs," he said. "The government
has aggravated the situation with price controls." Zimbabwean economist Eric
Block confirmed that the country's economy was "in continuing decline", and
that Harare was suffering from a lack of forex to maintain equipment and buy
water purification chemicals. Tourism was depressed, because of both the
political climate and rising prices. The only bright spot was the fall in
the inflation rate from a high of 622% in January 2004 to its current 123%.
However, Block predicted inflation would start rising again because of oil
price increases and Zimbabwe's poor harvest. The country had produced only a
third of the basic foodstuffs required to feed the population. Drought was a
factor in this, but "chaos in the agricultural sector" had also played its
part. Block suggested the government had subsidised food prices before the
election, but said this was not sustainable.
Back to the Top
Back to Index


42 MDC supporters arrested in Zim - report
          April 29 2005 at 12:20PM

      Harare - Police in Zimbabwe have arrested 42 opposition supporters
after they allegedly assaulted ruling party supporters and stoned houses in
a district of southeastern Zimbabwe, the state- run Herald newspaper claimed
on Friday.

      Police spokesperson Brian Makomeke said the 42 Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) supporters were arrested earlier this week in the Chipinge
South constituency in Zimbabwe's eastern Manicaland province, the Herald

      The paper claimed "millions of dollars worth" of property had been
destroyed. Opposition spokesperson Paul Themba Nyathi said that he had not
received any information on the arrests and could not comment.

      The MDC lost to President Robert Mugabe's ruling Zimbabwe African
National Union - Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) in disputed elections held on
March 31.

      ZANU-PF won 78 seats to 41 for the MDC.

      The opposition says Mugabes party used vote-rigging and intimidation
to win the polls, and has launched court appeals against 13 of the seats won
by the ruling party. - Sapa-dpa

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Online

Armed police summoned as fuel crisis worsens
Sat 30 April 2005

      HARARE - Armed police were yesterday called in to control rowdy
motorists at the few garages in Harare that still had petrol or diesel as
Zimbabwe's five-year old fuel crisis deepened this week.

      With the majority of workers preparing to go on holiday mostly to
their rural areas to celebrate Workers Day on Monday, long and winding
queues characterised most filling stations in Harare as motorists waited for
fuel deliveries - which in most cases never came.

      Prices immediately shot up on the illegal black market where fuel is
readily available but at more than four times the official pump price.


      Black-market traders risking arrest by the police could be seen doing
brisk business ironically just outside NOCZIM House, the head office of the
government's fuel procurement National Oil Company of Zimbabwe. Prices there
were ranging between $80 000 to $90 000 per five litre gallon of petrol
compared to about $18 000 garages charge for the same quantity.

      At a Total garage, a few metres away from NOCZIM House, baton-wielding
and gun-toting policemen could be seen battling to bring to order agitated
motorists who had started gathering at the garage as early as 5am.

      After showing signs of easing a little a few months ago, the fuel
crisis is worsening with only a few filling stations receiving fuel in
Harare this week. But there were virtually no deliveries outside the capital
except in the second largest city of Bulawayo where the government has made
contingent plans to ensure supplies to ensure the on-going Zimbabwe
International Trade Fair is not disrupted.

      The shortage of diesel and petrol has left commuters countrywide
failing to get to work on time and arriving home late.

      Meanwhile, commuter omnibus operators have taken advantage of the fuel
crisis to hike fares with some charging as much as $10 000 a trip that would
normally cost $2 000.

      Fuel is one among a long list of vital commodities including food,
electricity and essential medical drugs in short supply in Zimbabwe because
there is no hard cash to pay foreign suppliers.

      Zimbabwe has grappled an acute forex crisis since the International
Monetary Fund withdrew balance-of-payments support to the country over
differences with President Robert Mugabe on fiscal, land policy and human

      Mugabe's seizure of farmland from white farmers only helped worsen the
forex crunch after destabilising the agriculture sector that generated the
bulk of Zimbabwe's export earnings.

      The Zimbabwean leader denies he is to blame for the unfolding economic
crisis saying it is the result of sabotage by Britain and other Western
nations opposed to his expropriation of white farmland for redistribution to
landless blacks. - ZimOnline

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Online

MDC supporters flee retribution campaign in Chipinge
Sat 30 April 2005
  MUTARE - Dozens of opposition supporters from Chipinge town fled their
homes for dear life this week as war veterans and ruling ZANU PF militants
intensified retribution against opposition supporters in the small farming
town, 200 km south of Mutare city.

      Some of the families - who told ZimOnline yesterday they had fled
after receiving death threats from ZANU PF militants - alleged that some
members of the police in Chipinge were actively assisting the ruling party
militants in persecuting people suspected of having voted for the main
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party in last month's
parliamentary election.

      A spokesman for the police in Manicaland Province under which Mutare
falls, Brian Makomeke, refused to discuss the matter when contacted by
ZimOnline last night.

      But MDC provincial vice-chairman, Prosper Mutseyami, said ZANU PF
leaders were moving around Chipinge, a stronghold of the opposition party,
urging their militant supporters to weed out opposition sympathisers. He
said the activities of the local ZANU PF in Chipinge had been brought to the
police who had so far not moved to stop harassment of opposition members.

      Mutseyami said: "In rural Chipinge, traditional leaders, ZANU PF
supporters and the police are actively involved in the evictions. In
Chipinge urban, ZANU PF leaders are moving around urging their militias to
weed out MDC sympathizers."

      A senior clergyman in Mutare, whose church has offered sanctuary to
displaced MDC supporters in the city, also said the families had told him of
widespread victimisation of opposition supporters in the small town.

      "We are helping about 12 families from Chipinge who fled their homes
after the elections. But we are doing it clandestinely because we too will
be targeted for helping these people," said the church pastor, insisting
that his name and that of his church not be mentioned for fear of reprisals.

      The run up to last month's election, controversially won by ZANU PF,
was relatively peaceful compared to previous elections in 2000 and 2002 when
war veterans and ruling party militias tortured and murdered MDC supporters.

      But the MDC has rejected the poll result claiming President Robert
Mugabe and ZANU PF secured victory through fraud. The opposition party has
filed petitions in court challenging the results of 16 constituencies in an
exercise it says is intended to demonstrate how Mugabe and ZANU PF stole the
March 31 ballot.

      The situation has remained relatively peaceful but tense across the
country with several reports of militant supporters of ZANU PF victimising
MDC supporters as punishment for backing the opposition party. - ZimOnline

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Online

Media institute bemoans cowing of free media
Sat 30 April 2005
  HARARE - The Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) says there has been
a 54 percent drop in incidents of media freedom violations in Zimbabwe but
said this was more a reflection of how repressive laws had effectively cowed
the media.

      A more determined enforcement of the Access to Information and
Protection of Privacy Act, inhibiting independent and free journalism and
the Public Order and Security Act that prohibits criticism of President
Robert Mugabe, meant journalists had to be extra careful in what they

      The closure of at least four independent newspapers including the
country's largest non-government-owned daily paper, the Daily News, also
effectively reduced capacity for critical and independent reporting, meaning
less clashes between journalists and the state, according to MISA.

      As a result, the regional media rights watchdog issued 47 alerts on
Press freedom violations in Zimbabwe last year compared to 102 such alerts
issued the preceding year.

      "The closure of the Daily News in September 2003 and that of the
Tribune in 2004, impacted decisively on critical and independent reporting,"
MISA said in a report on media freedom in the region released this week
ahead of World Press Freedom Day on May 3.

      The report entitled "So this is Democracy? - State of Media Freedom in
Southern Africa 2004", assesses media laws and operating environments for
journalists in southern African countries.

      A total of 169 incidents of media freedom violations were recorded
across the region in 2004, a drop of 10 percent compared to 188 reports in

      Zimbabwe, where journalists can be jailed for up to two years for
writing stories without obtaining a licence to do so from a
government-appointed Media and Information Commission, is considered one of
the most dangerous places for the media.

      The southern African nation was last year listed by the World
Association of Newspapers among the three worst countries for journalists in
the world. The other two are Iran and the former Soviet Republic of

      Meanwhile, the chairman of the government's media commission Tafataona
Mahoso, yesterday called off a meeting he was supposed to hold with
management of the banned Daily News to discuss the possibility of the paper
returning to the streets.

      Mahoso's action puts a damper on hopes that the Daily News might
resume publishing soon. - ZimOnline

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Online

Trade unionists arrested
Sat 30 April 2005
  MUTARE - Police in the eastern city of Mutare on Wednesday swooped on
Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) leaders planning May Day
celebrations in the city and arrested them for meeting without police

      ZCTU information officer, Mlaleli Sibanda, said the five trade
unionists: Eliah Mandipe, Tambaoga Nyazika, Stephen Chakandibata, Superior
Boka, Medicine Muringi and Hilarious Ruyi were still in police custody by
late yesterday afternoon.

      "The five were arrested and detained at Mutare charge office," Sibanda
told ZimOnline. The ZCTU official said the police had indicated that they
were arresting the unionist because they had not sought permission from the
police for their meeting.

      "The police said they have to apply for permission from the police if
they want to hold any meetings ... (but) the ZCTU should not apply to the
police (to hold meetings) under POSA (Public Order and Security Act)," he

      Under the draconian security Act, Zimbabweans must seek police
approval first before meeting in groups of three or more to discuss
politics. But professional bodies, trade unions and churches are exempt from
this requirement.

      Police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena could not be reached for comment on
why the unionists were arrested or what charges the law enforcement agency
will lay against them.

      The police have routinely used the tough security law to prevent the
main opposition Movement for Democratic Change party, civic society
organisations and other groups perceived as opponents of the government from
holding meetings with ordinary Zimbabweans to propagate their ideas and
programmes. - ZimOnline
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Online

Water Crisis Hits Schools

The Herald (Harare)

April 29, 2005
Posted to the web April 29, 2005


SOME schools in Harare's eastern suburbs are ending lessons at mid-morning
due to the critical water shortages that have continued to haunt the

Although there have been intermittent water shortages throughout Harare, the
situation has remained critical in the eastern and southern suburbs of
Mabvuku, Tafara, Zimre Park, Waterfalls, Uplands, Ruwa, Hatfield and
Epworth, forcing most residents to rely on untreated water from streams and
unprotected wells.

So acute is the problem that there has been interruption of classes at most
schools in Tafara and Mabvuku, which are now conducting lessons only for a
few hours.

At Donnybrook Primary, Tafara Primary, Mabvuku Primary, Simudzai Primary,
Batanai Primary, Tashinga Primary, Tafara High 2 and Mabvuku High, pupils
could be seen leaving at around 10:30am.

A visit to the affected schools on Wednesday and yesterday saw pupils being
released at break time as school authorities moved to avert a looming health

"We have to turn away the students at tea break because we cannot keep them
for the whole day as there is no drinking water and none for toilet use,"
said a headmaster at one of the schools who declined to be named.

The headmaster told The Herald that schools in Mabvuku and Tafara were
facing difficulties due to the persistent water shortages.

"We are appealing to the responsible authorities to at least drill boreholes
at all schools because schools cannot do without water. It's unhygienic and
hazardous to operate without water," the headmaster said.

Another school head said some officials from the Ministry of Education,
Sport and Culture toured schools in Mabvuku and Tafara to assess the

"They (ministry officials) came here on Wednesday and we discussed the
problems facing the school due to the persistent water shortage. They
assured us that they were going to look into the issue and see how best they
can address the problem as soon as possible," he said.

City of Harare director of works Mr Psychology Chiwanga yesterday ascribed
the water supply cuts to the low levels in most of the city's reservoirs.

"Most of the levels are low. This can be attributed to the current dry
spell, which has led to increased demand for water.

"Water supplies which were cut in the southern suburbs will be restored in
line with our demand management programme.

"However, we will be reviewing the programme and we will advise residents
accordingly," said Mr Chiwanga.

But by late yesterday afternoon, there was no water in the long-affected

Several residents of Mabvuku expressed displeasure with the City of Harare,
saying the municipality should urgently come up with ways of addressing the

"We have not received a drop of water since last week. The scarcity of water
has been persistent for the whole month and it's seriously inconveniencing
us," said Mr Togarepi Gandiwa of New Mabvuku.

Mr Gandiwa said the water cuts had forced many residents to resort to
untreated water from streams and wells.

"Unless supplies are restored urgently, a serious health hazard is looming.
The city fathers have to do something before this time bomb explodes," he

Another resident, Mr Mike Banda, said the water woes had to be addressed as
a matter of urgency to avert the increasing likelihood of a disease

Mr Banda said although the Commission running the affairs of the Harare City
Council had commendably worked hard since its appointment to solve the many
deep-seated problems faced by the city, it should act without delay to find
and implement effective and lasting measures to address the water problem
which has become perennial.

"Residents have been patient and we are so happy that there have been no
cases of violence arising from the water shortages," he said, commending the
Zimbabwe National Army, which has voluntarily come to the aid of the
residents by delivering water in bowsers to the suburb.

This, Mr Banda said, was proof enough that the Government was concerned with
people's needs. He dismissed claims from some quarters that the cause of the
water woes was political.

"Anybody who wants to politicise the water problems because the ruling party
lost in urban areas is merely expressing hogwash," Mr Banda said.

In Waterfalls, residents were relying on Mukuvisi River, which carries
industrial effluent, for washing clothes while they turned to deep and
shallow wells for drinking water.

"We are suffering as it is. You just cannot do anything without water.
Please tell the responsible authorities to address the problem," said an
elderly woman.

She said it was sad that they had to rely on dirty water they fetched from
Mukuvisi River and streams flowing into it.

In a related matter, some Mabvuku and Tafara residents have been vandalising
water pipes that feed Donnybrook reservoirs from Letombo in order to draw
the water from the resultant leakages. This has had the effect of scuttling
efforts by council to address the long-standing water supply problem in the

The Herald observed at least six points along the pipeline which were either
vandalised by residents or by sand poachers. At all the points, residents
were fetching water, doing laundry and taking bush baths.

Yesterday, the Deputy Minister of Local Government, Public Works and Urban
Development, Cde Morris Sakabuya, Harare Commissioner Professor Jameson
Kurasha and senior council officials visited the area to acquaint themselves
with the situation.

Cde Sakabuya was, however, not impressed with the city's public relations
department, which has failed to regularly update residents on the situation
by way of issuing notices, resulting in blame being heaped on the

"Your public relations unit should tell the people what is happening. It
should have explained the problem. If the residents are told the truth, they
will appreciate," he said.

Cde Sakabuya said it was worrying that Government only got to know of the
extent of the problem through the Press.

Chamber secretary Mrs Josephine Ncube said plans to sink boreholes had
reached an advanced stage. The boreholes are envisaged to augment supplies
in the absence of a new source of water.

Engineer Dumisani Sithole said the construction of Kunzvi Dam would solve
the problem. He said council was unable to supply the required amounts of
water because of the heavy pollution of Manyame River and Lake Chivero, the
main sources.

Cde Sakabuya said the commission should deploy more bowsers in the area,
especially at schools and clinics.

"We should not close schools because there is no water," he said.

The deputy minister took time to address residents at the vandalised water
points, urging them to desist from the practice.

He said destroying the pipeline only delayed the filling-up of reservoirs at
Donnybrook and worsened the problem.

The residents, however, shot back, saying they "vandalised" the pipe out of
desperation because authorities were not updating them on the situation.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

US$2 Billion Needed to Avert Power Crisis: Zesa Chief

The Herald (Harare)

April 29, 2005
Posted to the web April 29, 2005

Bulawayo Bureau

ZESA Holdings says there is an imminent shortage of electricity in the
country due to an envisaged shortfall in power supplies in the region in the
next two years and the power utility needs to spend over US$2 billion
between this year and the year 2010 to avert a crisis, chairman Dr Sydney
Gata said yesterday.

Addressing delegates at an international business forum held on the
sidelines of the ongoing 46th edition of the Zimbabwe International Trade
Fair, Dr Gata said Zimbabwe was already experiencing power shortages as a
result of the deficit in power supply in the region.

The shortfall, which is expected to widen in 2007, is attributed to the fact
that South Africa will not be generating excess electricity to export to
neighbouring countries beyond that period due to its expanding economic

Zesa imports electricity from Eskom of South Africa and other regional power
utilities to offset local deficit during peak hours.

The country would need to generate an extra 650 megawatts to compensate for
the imports and a further 600 megawatts required to support the forecast
economic growth between this year and 2010. An extra 450 megawatts would be
required for new irrigation and rural electrification demands.

"Zimbabwe needs to address the basic issue of self-sufficiency in
electricity generation in respect to the projected shortfall in the supply
of electricity in the region by 2007. There is an absolute need to deal with
the projected deficit," Dr Gata said.

"We, in Zesa, might sound alarmist but there is a real problem that will
emerge in 2007. Already there have been times where we have failed to get
electricity supplies from Eskom at peak hours even after making payments in

"I have no doubt that Eskom has the capacity to service the South African
economy beyond 2007, but it will not have surplus to export to us."

He said there was no hope that Zimbabwe could secure a new power supplier
elsewhere in the region when Eskom stops exporting.

"I do not think there is anything coming up in the region in terms of an
alternative. As we speak no one is building a power station in the region,"
he said.

Dr Gata said some of the projects that Zesa is planning to embark on include
generation projects through investments in coal mining, heavy engineering
and power telecommunications, among others.

However, Dr Gata said Zesa had already secured agreements with China, India
and Iran who have committed themselves to funding some of these projects.

"Zesa alone will not afford to address the imminent deficit, thus, there is
need for the public sector to get involved to finance the shortfall," he

Some of the projects where the private sector could be involved in include
the increasing of power generation at the Hwange and Kariba hydro-power
stations and the exploitation of the Lupane Methane Gas Project.

He said there were also areas where Zesa could join forces to mine coal for
electricity generation in the country.

On a positive note, Dr Gata said Zesa had managed to reduce debt to Eskom
from $66 billion last year to about $10 billion this month.

Dr Gata added that some of the problems faced by the power utility included
the shortage of coal and foreign currency, which have forced the parastatal
to default on payments. Some of the utilities that supply the authority such
as HCB of Mozambique now demand that Zesa should pay for electricity
supplies in advance.

"The operational challenges that we face include the shortage of coal at all
the power stations and the projected power deficit in the region in 2007.

"Due to the shortage of foreign currency we have not been able to honour our
payments on time and as we speak, we only have one firm import contract for
2005 from Snel of the Democratic Republic of Congo," he said.

"We have to make prepayments for current power imports from Eskom and HCB of
Mozambique and all the new import contracts are now under much tougher terms
for the period 2006 to 2007.

"There is also the threat of reduced power generation at Kariba due to a
suspected wave of droughts."

Dr Gata paid tribute to South Africa for its continued support to Zimbabwe
during the difficult economic period characterised by shortage of foreign
Back to the Top
Back to Index

From: Elliot Pfebve
Sent: Saturday, April 30, 2005 7:12 AM
Subject: Mathew Pfebve remembered: Murdered by Mugabe.

Aluta continua!!

Today the 30th of April in 2000, my brother retired Inspector Mathew Pfebve
was murdered by Robert Mugabe in cold blood. Mathew a family man and a
symbol  of the Pfebve family was murdered by ZANU(PF) in cold blood, his
crime being a brother to Elliot Pfebve the MDC political National Executive
member and MP candidate  for Bindura. He was murdered 2 months after having
retired from the ZRP after having served the same government that killed him
for 21 years. Today Mathew could have been 50, energetic and contributing to
the development of his country.  His Death Certificate number 672017
registered at MT Darwin District Office confirmed the cause of his death as,
"Massive brain injury from trauma, assault and laceration of right lung" and
this was signed by Dr. Kabanda and countersigned by the informant Officer-
In- Charge Mkumbura Police, Inspector Daniel Dennis Makaure. 5 years after
he was murdered nobody has been brought to book for the murder despite the
fact that the people who murdered him are well known and moving freely doing
their normal business, scaring and probably murdering more people in

Robert Mugabe and his ZANU (PF) government did not issue any statement to
condone those who murdered my brother other than unilaterally declaring an
amnesty to all those who could have been involved in political crimes and
murders. 5 years down the line more and more people continue to die, maimed,
raped and displaced from a country of their birth. The massive exodus of
Zimbabweans fleeing the country meant that Zimbabwe will never be the same
again. The impact this had on social and economic factors is beyond human
imagination yet today the international community has watched from the
terrace while we Zimbabweans continue to live under the yoke of tyrant and
systematic persecution. Zimbabwe today has even been rewarded by being
elected to the UN Human Rights Commission in New York on the 27 April 2005.
What this means is Mugabe for the next 3 years will advice the UN on Human
Rights Issues in the region and beyond, what a shame!

I dream of a Zimbabwe where the young get charge and the old get change. I
believe in a country where the President is from the people and by the
people. I believe in a new Zimbabwe where the people of Zimbabwe are free to
be free. I believe in a world of peace liberty and stability. I don't
believe in politics of patronage, I believe in a natural selection of
leadership which is democratically changeable. At 81, we Zimbabweans are
fighting with our ancestors. I salute all those who had been murdered in
cold blood in pursuit of a true democratic Zimbabwe. I salute those who
languish in filth jails serving politically motivated crimes they did not
commit. I salute those who voted in the past election against the lord of

Long live Zimbabwe! Long live the struggle for peace and justice! Long live
civil disobedience against tyrant!! Long live the match to victory!! Aluta
Back to the Top
Back to Index

The Age, Australia
High finance behind Zimbabwe's market stalls
By Rochelle Mutton
Age Correspondent

April 30, 2005
An illegal foreign exchange dealer holds a $US10 bill and its 
Zimbabwe equivalent, $Z350,000.

An illegal foreign exchange dealer holds a $US10 bill and its Zimbabwe equivalent, $Z350,000.
Photo: Reuters

The foreign currency black market booms as the economy goes into freefall.

A shonky market fringing Zimbabwe's second city, Bulawayo, shows little enthusiasm for selling its hoard of clothing, kitchenwares and stereos: The real business here is the deals behind the stalls - selling foreign cash.

With the devastated economy plunging further into the financial abyss since last month's disputed elections, the black market is increasingly eager for US dollars, British pounds and euros.

Dubbed "The World Bank", Bulawayo's illegal foreign exchange dealers run the only bank without a queue and ready stocks of foreign cash.

This is a seller's paradise, securing up to three times more than the official rate, with a staggering 30 per cent rise in black market payments for foreign cash since the March 31 election.

But first you have to know where to find it.

Rickety wooden tables displaying goods of dubious origin are manned by up to 100 women, mostly dressed head to toe in the white dress-code of a local religious sect.

This is all a charade - the real game is brokering foreign currency deals for the local dollar in a dilapidated shack behind the market stalls.


Say the magic word - "forex" - and the white-cloaked women will step back and allow you to pass into their inner sanctum, behind the makeshift high wall that surrounds the dealer's shack.

The white-cloaked woman who led me behind the partition is crestfallen to learn I have come without forex and hisses, with urgency, for me to return with cash. "Don't change in the street, my friend, they will cheat you. You will cry, my friend," she warns.

In the past few weeks, Zimbabwe has almost run out of the staple maize meal, power supplies are erratic, fuel supplies have run dry and basic commodities are scarce.

After five years of seizures of white-owned farms, compounded by a drought, Zimbabwe has harvested only 500,000 tonnes of maize, and another 1.3 million tonnes is required to feed 4 million people - a third of the population.

But the Zimbabwe Government does not have the estimated $300 million in foreign cash to buy the necessary maize and its hostile new laws targeting aid agencies have helped scare away donor funds.

Government department officials have been seen visiting Bulawayo's "World Bank" where the black market dealers hold the strings to the foreign exchange.

Zimbabwe economist Eddie Cross says the parallel market of foreign exchange dealers is a response to the Zimbabwe Government overvaluing the Zimbabwe dollar and pocketing the difference.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Belfast Telegraph

Mugabe protest being held in Belfast

By Ben Lowry

29 April 2005
Zimbabweans who live in Northern Ireland are holding a demonstration in
Belfast in protest at the country's dictator Robert Mugabe.

Organisers described the event outside the City Hall at 2pm tomorrow as a
peaceful occasion, timed to coincide with a major demonstration outside the
Zimbabwean Embassy in London.

One of those behind the Belfast vigil, Gudrun Witt (41), said: "Zimbabwe is
a country with so much potential in terms of natural resources, in terms of
resilient and warm people - I feel that because of the mismanagement of
these human and natural resources by the present administration, the bread
basket of Africa and now it has become a basket case."

Ms Witt, who is a midwife, moved to Northern Ireland because she so much
enjoyed a brief visit here in 2000.

A white Zimbabwean, Ms Witt said there were also many black Zimbabweans
living in Northern Ireland, including many nurses.

"Many have come over as economic refugees. They are concerned about life

Her co-organiser, Adelyn Carr, who also moved here from Zimbabwe, said:
"More and more Zimbabweans are leaving the country. I think Mugabe has been
very cruel to a certain percentage of the population and has retained power
through fear."

President Mugabe won re-election last month in highly controversial
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily News online edition

      Campaign launched against Africa's insult laws

      Date: 29-Apr, 2005

      JOHANNESBURG - A campaign to rid African countries of "insult laws" -
laws ostensibly intended to protect the dignity and reputation of people in
high office but which are actually used to protect presidents,
parliamentarians and in varying degrees other state officials from scrutiny
of their conduct in office - is to be launched in Lusaka, Zambia, on Monday
during a workshop which coincides with World Press Freedom Day on May 3.

      "Insult laws" are continually invoked against the media in Africa when
personal references to heads of state or officials are deemed insulting or
when journalists allege official or other misconduct such as corruption and
maladministration especially when related to the police or military.

      Cases of editors and journalists being charged or imprisoned for such
reports abound. These laws apply in varying degrees of severity in 48 of the
53 countries in Africa, including Zimbabwe which has one of the harshest

      The Lusaka meeting is the first of a series of sub-regional advocacy
workshops on these laws in sub-Saharan Africa to create awareness of the
legislation, broaden knowledge about their application and effects and
devise an action plan to campaign for their removal from the statute books.

      This campaign has taken on an additional thrust with the introduction
of the African Union's NEPAD African Peer Review Mechanism process in
relation to the assessment of good political governance in countries.

      The Media Institute of Southern Africa and other organisations
involved in this campaign believe that countries cannot be assessed by the
NEPAD African Peer Review Mechanism as practising good political governance
if it has such legislation as "insult laws" preventing the disclosure of
information about the conduct of those in government.

      Among the other organisations taking part are the World Press Freedom
Committee, the SA National Editors' Forum, the Southern African Editors'
Forum, the Southern African Journalists' Association, Journalistes en Danger
(JED) of the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Organisations of the Media in
Central Africa, the Media Foundation for West Africa and the Media Rights
Agenda in Nigeria.

      The purpose of the action plan is to devise strategies and methods to
tackle governments so that, like Kenya in Africa and a number of countries
in South America, they remove the legislation from their statute books and
foster freedom of expression and freedom of the media as a people's right. -

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Mining decline hits workers hard

[ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]

HARARE, 29 Apr 2005 (IRIN) - The sudden closure of mines in Zimbabwe five
years ago is still having a negative impact on the livelihoods of thousands
of former employees.

Forty-four year old Sara Muwati was among the 1,300 workers who lost their
jobs when the Mhangura copper mine in Mashonaland West province shut down in

"Ever since we were retrenched, after the mine closed, life has been
miserable for me and my family, not to mention many other people who were
employed by Mhangura," she told IRIN.

A mother of five, Muwati worked as a clerk at the mine offices in the small
town of Mhangura for 15 years, some 150 km northwest of the capital, Harare.
Her husband, Tom, had been an underground miner since 1979. When the
operation shut its doors they received retrenchment packages totalling Zim

The Muwatis used the money to rent a bottle store in the city centre, but
poor patronage forced them to abandon the venture, setting off a string of
financial problems.

2000 was a difficult year for Zimbabwe's mining sector - a second straight
year of negative economic growth, high unemployment, a 60 percent inflation
rate and a crippling shortage of fuels and spare parts had started to damage
the operations and viability of the manufacturing and mining sectors

All gold had to be sold to the central Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, with
payment in local currency at a fixed rate, which was lower than the rate at
which companies could buy foreign exchange. Three major mines and several
small operations ceased operations, including the Connemara, Eureka and
Venice mines.

Worker unions said the loss of the mines had been a disaster for former
employees and their families.

"The sudden and swift closure of mines that took place in the late 1990s,
particularly from 2000, present well-documented cases of suffering and
misery for the majority of those who were employed in the mining industry,"
Collin Gwiyo, the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) deputy
secretary-general, told IRIN.

ZCTU attributed the spate of closures mainly to the reaction of donors and
investors to the government's controversial fast-track programme of violent
farm seizures in 2000.

"The land redistribution programme, which entailed the forced removal of
white farmers from their properties, gave rise to the perception that the
country is a risky, unfriendly destination for investors," said Gwiyo.

Research carried out in July 2004 by the Labour and Economic Development
Research Institute of Zimbabwe, in conjunction with the Friedrich Ebert
Stiftung, a German-based foundation, revealed that the mining sector had
also been dealt a body blow by declining global mineral prices.

"The fluctuating international commodity prices have hit the (mining) sector
hard, resulting in erratic variations in production and foreign currency
earnings," the report noted.

It also pointed out that domestic economic trends had contributed to the
slump in mining activities. "The massive depreciation of the local currency
in the 1990s resulted in soaring input costs, thereby undermining the
viability of most mineral producers," the report observed.

While the capital-intensive mining industry provided six percent of total
employment in 1980, data from the Central Statistical Office showed that
this figure had fallen to a paltry 0.8 percent by 2002.

Although Muwati was among the fortunate few who were given houses as part of
their retrenchment packages, everyday life remains an uphill battle.

When their liquor business collapsed, she and her husband decided to look
for employment elsewhere. "Tom moved from one mine to another doing piece
jobs [contract labour]. His visits back to Mhangura became less and less
frequent and, after a year, he stopped coming home. I then heard that he had
taken another wife," said Muwati.

Confronted with the task of fending for the children alone, she sold
second-hand clothes from a stall set up outside her home. However, clients
were few and far between, because the other town residents had been equally
adversely affected by the closure of the mine.

Then she tried smuggling foreign currency from Mozambique to Zimbabwe and
selling it on the parallel market.

Two of her sons took to illegal gold panning and one of them was maimed in a
brawl stemming from a quarrel over the ownership of a gold claim at an
abandoned mine, while her daughter took to prostitution in the tourist town
of Kariba.

When IRIN visited Mhangura town, once characterised by roaring blast
furnaces, all that was left were mounds of slag left over from the
operation. The neglected water and sewerage systems suffered constant
breakdowns, causing a health hazard to the residents.

"The mine used to subsidise the education of our children, and when it
closed there were massive dropouts. There have been many deaths because the
mine hospital was closed and the nurses were also retrenched," said Muwati.

Two leading banks, Standard Chartered and Barclays, moved out when the mine
shut down and the few remaining shops took advantage of reduced competition
to hike their prices.

Similarly, former employees of the Venice gold mine, about 50 km northwest
of Kadoma in Mashonaland West, complained of the hardships they had endured
since the mine closed.

"Most of the people here are unemployed and survive by doing odd jobs and
selling second-hand clothes. But most of the youths have been kept going by
gold panning in the disused shafts," said Goodman Marufu, a shop assistant
in the small business centre of Venice town.

Over the past three years, Marufu said, former employees of Venice who could
not make ends meet had trekked back to their rural homes.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Experts call for new assessment to determine food shortages

[ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]

JOHANNESBURG, 29 Apr 2005 (IRIN) - Agricultural experts have called for an
"objective" assessment of crop production in Zimbabwe, as preliminary
forecasts point to yet another year of widespread food shortages.

"There is consensus around the view that food production in the 2004/05
agricultural season will be poor, and not nearly enough to satisfy the needs
of the country in the next consumption year. However, objective and
transparent assessments need to be undertaken in order to determine the
magnitude and geographic spread of the production shortfall," the Famine
Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET) cautioned in its latest food
security update.

Last week IRIN reported that Zimbabwe had turned to Zambia, Uganda and
Tanzania for grain imports as the state Grain Marketing Board (GMB) sought
to restock dwindling maize and wheat holdings. Minister of Public Service,
Labour and Social Welfare Nicholas Goche confirmed that over the past month
about 150,000 mt of grain had been received from South Africa, the major

Since last year Zimbabwe has been involved in a war of figures with
international donor agencies on the country's projected harvest for 2004/05.
The main growing season usually runs from October to March.

The GMB recently reported to the National Taskforce on Food Security that,
rather than government's harvest estimate of 2,4 million mt, only 600,000 mt
of grain had been delivered to its silos after the 2004/05 harvest. The
country needs 1,8 million mt of grain annually to meet domestic consumption

FEWS NET warned in March 2005 that up to 4.5 million people were in need of
immediate food aid, compared to government estimates that 1.5 million would
require some kind of assistance.

The early warning system stressed that assessments were critical to
establish "the 2004/05 food crop production prospects, current levels of
national food stocks, the government's import capacity and, ultimately, the
national 2005/06 consumption year food deficit".

"Such assessments will help the government of Zimbabwe to determine whether
they will need outside assistance to close the food gap, and how much
assistance may be required," FEWS NET pointed out.

The major food security problem remains the inability of a significant
proportion of poor households to generate enough income to buy the food they

Although the annual rate of inflation has maintained a downward trend, from
505 percent in April 2004 to 123.7 percent in March 2005, household incomes
continue to trail general price increases, the early warning system
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Washington File

29 April 2005

Zimbabwe's Election to Human Rights Body "Unacceptable"
U.S. ambassador to U.N. calls for reform after election of rights violator

By Charles W. Corey
Washington File Staff Writer

Washington -- The United States is "dismayed" that Zimbabwe was elected a
member of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights and finds such a
result "unacceptable," the acting U.S. representative to the United Nations
stressed April 28.

Ambassador Anne W. Patterson told the press after the election that the
United States considers the election of Zimbabwe to a body that "is supposed
to maintain the highest standards of human rights compliance in the world"
to be "totally inappropriate."

"It is simply unacceptable that countries like Zimbabwe sit on the Human
Rights Commission," she said.  "What's wrong with Zimbabwe is its repressive
press, [its] electoral process and its generally repressive government."

Patterson said efforts have been under way to reform the commission.  "This
is one of the issues outlined in the secretary-general's report" on the
matter, she explained, adding that the elections of known human rights
violators are good examples of why the entire human rights machinery of the
United Nations needs reform.

Asked to detail the U.S. position on U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan's
effort to reform the commission, Patterson said: "We believe that the Human
Rights Commission needs exceedingly widespread reform.  He has certainly
presented a number of interesting and useful ideas, and we'll be looking at
them closely."

Citing the fact that China sits on the U.N. Human Rights Commission, a
reporter asked whether it was hypocritical to castigate the election of
Zimbabwe to the panel when the United States recently voted in Geneva on a
resolution to denounce China's human rights violations.

Patterson responded that the permanent members of the Security Council are
automatically accorded seats on all U.N. bodies, but the issue in this
instance was the election of "countries like Zimbabwe and, in previous
years, Sudan, and, of course, Cuba . human rights violators of the first
order," to the commission.

Patterson acknowledged that Zimbabwe "was chosen by its peers," but cited it
as "one of the things that is wrong with the system, because regional groups
put up slates of their neighbors and they're elected with basically very
little discussion."

Zimbabwe was among 15 countries chosen April 28 to sit for the next three
years on the 53-member commission.

Although members of the U.N. Commission on Human Rights are elected by the
U.N. Economic and Social Council, seats are allotted to regional groupings,
which often put forward most of the candidates without opposition.

(The Washington File is a product of the Bureau of International Information
Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site:
Back to the Top
Back to Index