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

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Zim Independent

Decline in cotton output to worsen forex shortages
Eric Chiriga
THE shortage of foreign currency is set to worsen as Zimbabwe's cotton
output is expected to decline by 31% this year.

According to the Commercial Cotton Growers Association, cotton output will
fall from 331 000 tonnes in the 2003/4 season to 228 000 tonnes in 2004/5
due to lack of fertilisers, draught power and poor rainfall.

This will have a negative impact on the economy, as cotton lint is the
second largest foreign currency earner after tobacco.

In 2004, inflows into the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe from cotton were US$117,3
million and actual shipments and free funds were US$134,5 million.

This year's target is US$162 million.

Agriculture used to contribute about 16% to the country's gross domestic
product (GDP).

"We were pinning our hopes on cotton as a significant foreign currency
earner since the country has already lost in tobacco," economic analyst,
John Robertson said.

He said other foreign currency earners like timber and beef have lost

He said besides the reduction in cotton output, the country would also
suffer another blow from the drastic 40% cut in the international cotton

"Next year no cotton is likely to be produced because growers won't have
enough money to buy lint and other inputs," Robertson said.

However, non-tariff barriers imposed by international buyers inhibit the
marketing of cotton.

Mali, Africa's largest producer of cotton, is expected to produce about 600
000 tonnes of cotton in 2004/5, while Burkina Faso, Chad, Nigeria and Benin
are also expected to record increases favoured by good rainfall patterns.
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Zim Independent

Reinvent investment policy, Zanu PF told
Conrad Dube
ZANU PF, which won an absolute majority in the parliamentary polls last
week, should reinvent its investment policy structures to attract investment
to Zimbabwe, analysts have said.

The analysts say Zimbabwe faces a long recovery period ahead unless the Zanu
PF government changes investment policies.

They say Zanu PF, still frenzied from a two-thirds majority victory over the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), faces a daunting task to
assure the investing community that it will protect investments and uphold
property rights.

"We have a long period of economic recovery ahead of us and unless the
government reinvents its policy structures, we will find it difficult to
break through. At the moment investors feel not welcome in Zimbabwe,"
economist John Robertson said.

Robertson said the Zanu PF government would not succeed in attracting any
meaningful investment judging by its record.

"The past profile both locally and internationally will militate against
recovery efforts," he said.

Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce president Luxon Zembe concurred and
said if the government continues "in the old hostile attitudes, the
international community will continue to isolate Zimbabwe".

"If we continue with the antagonistic policies that have isolated us and
created uncertainty and low confidence, things will just get worse," Zembe

"They need to implement coherent investment policies that will determine
viability of industry and quality of life of the people. We need to remove
the dark cloud that is hovering above our economy by clearing the air of
uncertainty, building up confidence locally and internationally," Zembe

He said there was need for the government to realise that Zimbabwe is a part
of the global economy and should avoid policies that drive away investors.

Zembe added: "We need to take advantage of global opportunities but that
depends on our relations with the international community. We hope the
government will be dedicated to the restoration of relations with the
outside world.

"We still need balance of payments support and it is critical that we mend
our relations with the international community. Politicians must support
Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono's efforts to re-engage the international
donor community and financiers such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF)
and the World Bank," said Zembe.

He mentioned policy inconsistency as one of the factors affecting trade
agreements. For instance, President Robert Mugabe announced last year that
government would demand about 50% ownership in mining ventures whereas
standing agreements with foreign investors state that indigenous players
will get 15% in the mining ventures.

Now that the elections are over, there is need to improve on food security
and economic recovery, he said.

"You can never be proud of yourself when your children are going hungry and
scrounging for survival in a country which has the potential to feed its
nationals. Many of our people have left the country due to economic
hardships. For instance, unemployment is estimated at 70% with more or less
the same number living below the poverty datum line," Zembe added.

Foreign exchange inflows are likely to nosedive following a Supreme Court's
order barring the diaspora vote. Zembe said people in the diaspora were
likely to bring in hard currency through unofficial means as a direct
reaction to the Supreme Court ruling.

"The Supreme Court ruling will have an impact on the Homelink initiative.
People are most likely to continue bringing money into the country through
means other than the official channels. We should have put in systems to
allow them to vote," Zembe said.

Zimbabwe has grappled with serious foreign currency shortages in the last
five years and this has seen prices of imported inputs ballooning.
Businesses have also been constrained as they fail to expand due to lack of
foreign currency.

Only US$1,2 billion officially flowed into the country last year, a far cry
from the US$3 billion needed annually.

Foreign direct investment has dried up as more sources were closed last
year. Most non-governmental organisations (NGOs), usually a source of
foreign currency, closed shop after parliament passed the NGO Bill which
bars NGOs from receiving foreign funding. The Bill is yet to be signed into
law by President Mugabe.
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Zim Independent

Poll statistics stir familiar dispute
Ray Matikinye

ZIMBABWE'S election results in the 21st century have broken their own
record. Two general elections and a presidential poll in the past five years
raised the losing contestants' hackles and generated intense disputes that
the nature of their outcome appears cloned from a prototype.
Investing so much faith in translucent ballot boxes and the new arrangement
of one-day voting, followed by counting of ballots at each polling station,
did not guarantee transparency as many Zimbabweans believed.
The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has rejected the results
of last Thursday's polls outright while the ruling Zanu PF is basking in the
glory of having handed the opposition party a crushing defeat, garnering the
elusive two-thirds majority it needs for constitutional change.
Mugabe direly needed the required majority to consolidate his grip on power.
The ruling Zanu PF had predicted a landslide even before the final vote
count was announced.
"We are going to win. By how much is what we are going to see," President
Robert Mugabe beamed after casting his vote at Cyril Jennings Hall on
Thursday before discussing his party's intention to make constitutional
changes after garnering the required two-thirds majority.
Pollsters have remained unsurprised by the source of dispute - statistics.
Political pundits have often described statistics as the most vulnerable and
unreliable form of determinant, particularly because these are susceptible
to manipulation and easily convert into counterfeit data, often employed to
achieve an end.
Zimbabwe's bureaucracy has become a master at using counterfeit data to
prolong the lifespan of a moribund regime.
Oddly enough, the MDC, which said it had reversed its decision to boycott
the election in response to pressure from 95% of its members and took the
decision with " a heavy heart", fully aware that the odds were heavily
skewed in their opponent's favour, came out of the poll battle with an even
heavier heart. The election outcome inflicted on the opposition party untold
heartaches and left it wondering whether it was worth all the effort.

Voter figures released by the newly constituted Zimbabwe Election Commission
(ZEC) appear at variance with those announced as polled by Zanu PF
candidates in several constituencies.
But the African Union (AU), the 13-member regional Southern African
Development Community (Sadc) and government delegations from Zambia,
Mozambique and Malawi joined economic powerhouse South Africa in saying the
poll was free, credible and reflected the will of the people.
For the South African observer teams giving the election a clean bill of
health seems to be a clone from a prototype too. When polling day came,
about a tenth of the voters were turned away from polling stations for
various reasons.

One constituency, in which 14 812 people voted, according to ZEC, was
announced the next day to have awarded more than 15 000 votes to the
president's nephew, Patrick Zhuwawo.
Bulawayo South MP David Coltart, who is also an attorney, said the party was
preparing a report on election fraud. He said it would document "major
disparities" in the vote, including an unexplained 244 000-vote increase in
the turnout, hours after the official vote had been announced.
Although MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai ruled out taking legal action to
contest the results on the back of past experience of the 35 contested cases
whose outcome had been stayed by the Supreme Court since 2000, Coltart said
the party may consider contesting as many as 10 individual races to document
the poll abuses.
An analysis of the election results indicates that in a number of districts
where Zanu PF candidates won narrowly, the number of people who tried to
vote but were turned away on technical grounds exceeded the margin of the
opposition candidates' defeat.

According to the Zimbabwe Election Support Network (Zesn), in Makoni East
for instance, where Zanu PF won by 9 201 votes compared to the MDC's 7 708,
a total of 2 223 voters were turned away. In addition, in Mutasa South,
where Zanu PF got 9 715 and MDC 9 380 votes, a total of 1 460 voters were
turned away. In both cases, the number of voters turned away was higher than
the margin of victory.

This contravenes Sadc principles and guidelines which oblige all states to
allow all citizens the right to participate in the political process and
afford them equal opportunity to vote.
Tsvangirai told a media briefing that among the irregularities his team had
uncovered was subjective use of postal votes, citing 800 party militia he
said had been deployed into one constituency to bolster Zanu PF support.
Glaring variances are evident in the Beitbridge constituency where 36 821
people had voted by close of voting, according to announcements by the ZEC.
But the winning Zanu PF candidate polled 14 305 votes while his opponent
garnered 6 297 votes, giving a total of 20 602 votes. The total leaves 16
219 votes unaccounted for. Five years ago only 21 680 people voted in the
constituency, pointing to a phenomenal increase of 15 141 more registered
voters this year.
By contrast, Mutare South recorded 8 558 less voters than those who voted in
2000. This time the constituency had 14 054 ballots cast last Thursday
although the final result showed the total votes were 19 772, with 11 552
going to the ruling party.

The discrepancies in the number of people who cast their votes in six of the
13 constituencies as announced by ZEC exactly equals the number of voters
turned away in the whole province. These discrepancies are in Chegutu (8
221), Hurungwe East (3 227), Hurungwe West (2 789), Manyame (8 948), Zvimba
North (7 931) and Zvimba South (4 447). ZEC announced that 250 806 voters
had cast their votes in Mashonaland West province with 35 267 voters turned

When an election official in Harare South constituency heard election
figures announced over national radio, he was taken aback: "Those are not
the total votes our team agreed with the contesting parties as the final
figures for the election," he remarked.
With the European Union (EU) condemning the election and the US damning it
as a "sham" for its inconsistencies, Zimbabwe is set for a long haul of
economic stagnation. The cost of a landslide victory could be a worsening of
economic prospects for a country that desperately needs
foreign direct investment to survive. It could prolong Zimbabwe's isolation
from the international community.

While the poll outcome has entrenched Mugabe's grip on power, the chorus of
condemnation about his manner of victory from important international
quarters is only likely to worsen Zimbabwe's isolation.

University of Zimbabwe head of political and administrative studies Eldred
Masunungure says more targeted European and American sanctions are likely to
follow Mugabe's victory.
"Some of the EU countries and America will contemplate stiffening and
broadening the sanctions unless there is a fundamental policy shift by the
government. There has to be a serious paradigm shift and Mugabe must make a
conscious decision to change his domestic and foreign policies if he expects
a reprieve from the international community," says Masunungure.
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Zim Independent

MDC supporters suffer Zanu PF retribution
Dumisani Muleya
THE main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has accused the
ruling Zanu PF of unleashing a nationwide campaign of retribution after last
week's disputed general election.

The MDC said scores of its supporters had been injured in post-election
violence meted out by Zanu PF elements. It said some rural homes had been
burnt down during the attacks.

The attacks were reported mainly in Mashonaland West, Matabeleland South and
Manicaland, the MDC said.

The opposition said Zanu PF winning candidate for Insiza and Transport
deputy minister, Andrew Langa, was leading reprisals in Matabeleland South.

The MDC said Langa attacked its supporters at Avoca business centre in
Filabusi on Sunday. It said he fired gunshots in the air during the

One of those seriously injured in the assaults was named as Dumisani
Mthunzi. MDC spokesman Paul Themba Nyathi said Mthunzi was first taken to
Avoca clinic, then to Filabusi clinic before he was transferred to Bulawayo
Central Hospital.

"Mthunzi is in a serious condition and is still detained at Bulawayo Central
Hospital. Langa personally threatened and chased away Alderland Phiri who
was helping Mthunzi after he had fallen onto the ground and passed out
during the attack," Nyathi said.

"Other persons injured include Cornelius Siziba, a worker at Avoca Butchery,
Methuli Siziba, Mbongiseni Sibanda, Levi Sibanda, Sibonginkosi Chili and
Davies Dube."

Nyathi said several buildings had their doors and windows smashed during the
incident, including the Avoca Butchery and a bottle store that belongs to
someone identified as Aaron Phiri.

The assailants were named as Clement Ndlovu, Mudhodhani Sibanda, Nkosilathi
Moyo, Ndabazabo Siziba, Isaac Jele, and employees of the state-run Grain
Marketing Board.

Nyathi said police officer Gilbert Zvere tried to control the situation and
arrested several Zanu PF youths and took them to Filabusi police station
where they were later released by member-in-charge, Inspector Helmand Shoko.

He said instead of detaining the attackers, Shoko ordered the arrest of the
victims who included Aaron Nyathi, a shop owner whose property was
destroyed, Frank Gumbo, Ndabezinhle Mpofu, Mncedisi Ncube and Fanjani Moyo.

Police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena said law enforcement would investigate all
cases brought to their attention "without fear or favour".

"Our position is that irrespective of the political affiliation of people
accused or involved in violence, we will investigate all cases without fear
or favour," he said.

"This is what we did in the run-up to the election and we will continue to
do it. There have been some incidents in Avoca and police are looking into
all those issues."

In Karoi, Mashonaland West, Zanu PF militants were accused of threatening to
intensify attacks against MDC members, opposition party officials said.

At least 10 villagers from Kazangarare rural area reportedly sought refuge

the small town after fleeing Zanu PF militia attacks on Monday. In Gwanda,
Matabeleland South, 45 MDC supporters were reportedly beaten up and told
they would no longer be allowed to buy maize from the GMB.

Six MDC supporters were said to be holed up at the opposition party's
provincial head-quarters in Mutare after fleeing their homes in Makoni
East.MDC members who sought refuge in Mutare include Tendai Gonese, Nixon
Injisi, Langton Chifamba, Future Musindo, Thomas Handireki and Rosemary

Meanwhile, Nyathi said MDC member Loice Zimuto is recovering in a Harare
hospital after she aborted a two-month pregnancy after Zanu PF candidate for
Gokwe, Leonard Chikomba, unleashed violence on April 3.

"Chikomba led a group of Zanu PF supporters who went about assaulting people
in Chief Simuchembu's area," he said. He said a police report was made at

Nyathi said Chikomba and his supporters also attacked MDC supporters at
Sandura business centre. Victims were identified only as Zimuto and John

Police arrested Shuvai Better, Everton Chiwira, Danny Chitembetembe, Bigboy
Nyengerai, and Vengai Nyambe in connection with the attack.

In Shamva, MDC election agent Saul Nduna was severely assaulted near Zanu PF
candidate Nicholas Goche's residence, Nyathi said.

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Zim Independent

Journalists paid damages
Staff Writer
FORMER Standard chief reporter Ray Choto and the estate of the newspaper's
late editor, Mark Chavunduka, have been paid more than $20 million (about
US$3 225 at the official rate) in damages and interest claims for their
unlawful arrest and torture by state agents after the publication of a story
alleging a coup plot in 1999.

The damages were awarded posthumously to Chavunduka. Choto is now based in
the United States.

The damages, inclusive of in duplum interest, which were largely settled in
full, arose from claims for wrongful arrest and imprisonment, torture,
medical treatment and legal costs.

The Media Institute of Southern Africa (Misa) confirmed that on February 22
this year, their lawyer Simon Bull wrote to the Chavunduka family and Choto
informing them that they had struck an out-of-court settlement with the
Civil Division of the Attorney-General's Office.

Besides the other claims, Choto alone was paid £1 558 (about US$2 931) out
of the £2 077 (about US$3 907) which he was claiming in special damages for
accommodation in England while undergoing rehabilitative therapy and medical

In addition to the claims, the state also paid $3 277 500 as contribution to
the legal costs incurred by the two journalists.

In December 1998 the Standard published a story which claimed that 23
Zimbabwe National Army soldiers were detained at Chikurubi Maximum Security
Prison after they allegedly incited other soldiers to revolt against
President Robert Mugabe's government.

The army said the story was false, leading to the arrest of the two
journalists who spent a week in the hands of the military in January 1999.

Chavunduka and Choto, who claimed that they had been tortured by military
personnel while in custody, were subsequently charged under Section 50 (2)
of the now repealed Law and Order (Maintenance) Act for publishing "false
news likely to cause alarm and despondency".

Their claims of torture were confirmed by a government doctor who treated
them while they were still in police custody. The government at the time
vigorously denied that the journalists had been tortured, with the late
Defence minister, Moven Mahachi, saying the two had "scratched themselves".

The charges were subsequently dropped before plea after the Supreme Court
ruled in May 2000 that the section in question was unconstitutional as it
infringed on the right to freedom of expression.

Chief Justice Anthony Gubbay, now retired, ordered an inquiry into the
alleged torture of the journalists and instructed Police Commissioner
Augustine Chihuri to conduct an investigation and arrest the perpetrators
with the aim of bringing them to court

Nothing has been heard of what became of the inquiry ordered by Chief
Justice Gubbay nor has anyone been arrested in connection with the torture
of the two.

President Mugabe went on television to denounce the Standard newspaper and
justify the conduct of the military.

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Zim Independent

Foreign scribes spurn govt joyride
Shakeman Mugari
FOREIGN journalists last week rejected an all-expenses paid government
joyride to the Victoria Falls soon after the announcement of the
parliamentary election results, controversially won by the ruling Zanu PF.

Presidential spokesperson George Charamba offered the trip to foreign
journalists just before President Robert Mugabe's post-election press
conference at State House.

Charamba told about 60 journalists who had come to State House for the press
conference that it was "the president's wish" that the scribes be flown to
Victoria Falls. He also extended the invitation to observers.

He then invited them to register their names for the trip whose expenses
would be paid by the state from its depleted coffers.

According to the initial plan, the journalists were supposed to fly to
Victoria Falls on Sunday morning and return to Harare the same day.

Most journalists were, however, not interested as only a handful submitted
their names for the trip.

Desperate to bolster the number of participants, officials from the
Information department then called each journalist's hotel room in the early
hours of Sunday literally begging them to come for the junket.

"They called at about 5am in the morning and asked if I would be interested
in going to Victoria Falls. I said 'no thank you'," said one of the

The trip had to be cancelled after it found few takers.

Some of the journalists saw the offer as an attempt to draw them away from
their centre of focus - the disputed election outcome.

Another journalist said he felt it was against journalistic ethics to accept
a free holiday from a host government which had just gone through elections.
He felt the offer was inappropriate.

There were others who said the mere fact that the trip was funded from the

taxpayers' money put them off.

However, Charamba dismissed allegations that the proposed trip was a flop.
He said it was cancelled because "we realised that most of the observers and
journalists were leaving the same day".

"We always wanted to take advantage of their presence here because they
(journalists) are opinion shapers. It is an economic move, we wanted them to
sample what Zimbabwe tourism had to offer," Charamba said.

Asked whether the move was not going to compromise the journalists' overall
comments on the election result, Charamba said since the offer was made
after the announcement of the results there was no way the scribes would
have been influenced.
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Zim Independent

Famine stalks drought-hit Makoni
Shakeman Mugari
MBUYA Chinhamo (81) struggles with her walking stick as she tiptoes on the
edges of the stony gravel road to save her bare feet from the piercing

In her right hand, she clutches a bundle of yellowing vegetables for her
supper relish. The red colouring on her calloused fingers shows that she has
just voted. And although she probably prides herself that at least she is
not walking naked, her clothes resemble rags in the true sense.

There is anguish in her voice and sunken eyes as she talks about the hunger
scourge that is about to hit her homestead.

"There is no food to talk about. We are starving," she says as she points at
her nearby field with the walking stick.

"I have a bucket of maize (about 15kg) left. After that I will comb the
field for what the sun left for me. Perhaps after that, the government will
bring something."

But from the sight of the wilted maize in her field, Mbuya Chinhamo would be
lucky to harvest a few cobs.

Adjacent to her small field another dejected villager whose crop failed has

allowed his cattle to graze freely on the drying maize stalks.

She talks bitterly about how things have changed over the years.

She said her two sons who work in Harare last visited her in December. "They
(the sons) tell me life has become hard. So I have learnt to live alone. At
times they send money but I understand when nothing comes because things
have become difficult in Harare," she said.

She is not alone in her misery. This is the desperate sight that greets
visitors to Makoni, a once fertile area where Manicaland borders Mashonaland
East. Mbuya Chinhamo's situation typifies the widespread poverty and
starvation in Zimbabwe's rural areas.

It is this grim sight that welcomed the Zimbabwe Independent crew during a
drive through the area to cover the just-ended parliamentary election.

So dire is the situation that any further delay in food aid would lead to a
famine. Makoni West is ironically the home area of Agriculture minister
Joseph Made. And as if to add to the irony, it is the same seat that Made
contested and won.

The situation in Makoni is an example of how poverty has stuck in roots in
the rural areas. Normally during this period people would be busy harvesting
their crops, but this season there is nothing to reap.

Men in the village spend their wretched days sipping home-brewed beer while
disillusioned youths take to drugs. The women who are equally dejected pass
their time gathering firewood and gossiping.

"There is nothing to harvest," said Nelson Ngoma (34) as he wiped dregs of
opaque beer from his cracked lips.

"Made came for his campaign and told us that the government of Zanu PF would
not let us starve. We still haven't seen the maize," he said.

Virtually all the Grain Marketing Board depots seen by the Independent were
empty save for one near Wedza, with about 200 bags of maize. Personal food
reserves in the homesteads have been depleted and people say only urgent
food aid could save them.

The government last year rejected food aid from donors. President Robert
Mugabe accused donors of trying to foist food on Zimbabwe. He said a bumper
harvest was in the offing, predicting a maize harvest of 2,4 millions

Inspired by the unproven harvest figures, Mugabe ordered that organisations
like Care International and World Food Programme (WFP) be stopped from
distributing food to rural areas. Most non-governmental organisations have
stopped food aid to Zimbabwe altogether while few remaining ones "target"
vulnerable groups such as the aged and orphans.

A report by the parliamentary portfolio committee on Lands and Agriculture
in October last year revealed that GMB had received only 388 558 tonnes. The
country requires 1,8 million tonnes annually.

The humanitarian community faces a difficult working environment in
Zimbabwe, and relations between the donors and government are strained.

But with the election over, the government seems to have swallowed its
pride. Faced with a bleak reality, it has started to make overtures to the
donor community for food.

There are reports that the government has already compiled a consolidated
aid appeal that will be presented to the United Nations Development
Programme. It has also started importing food from South Africa. It however
does not have enough resources to carry out the task hence the international
appeal for help.

With serious foreign currency shortages wreaking havoc on the economy, it
would be difficult for the government to raise enough to import food. About
90% of the foreign currency bids at the auctions have been rejected.

Bankers say the country requires about US$200 million monthly but less that
US$10 million is available.

Still Mugabe has remained indifferent in the face of a looming disaster.
When asked about the rampant starvation in the rural areas by a foreign
journalist last week, Mugabe sounded arrogant. "Why didn't you bring those
starving people to me so that I could give them food?" he retorted at a
post-election press conference at State House.
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Zim Independent

New-look cabinet on cards
Ray Matikinye/Dumisani Muleya
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe is likely to announce a new-look cabinet next week
coloured by a heavy influence of the Zanu PF faction that won the bruising
internal power struggle last December.

Sources said Mugabe was likely to announce the new team on his return from
the Vatican where he is attending Pope John Paul II's funeral.

This came as the Zanu PF politburo on Wednesday rejected heavyweight
Emmerson Mnagagwa's attempt to appeal against his defeat in Kwekwe. The
party said it would not entertain any appeals from its losing candidates.

They said the cabinet, which could see several new faces, was bound to be
influenced by the so-called (General Solomon) Mujuru camp which emerged on
top after a fierce battle for supremacy in Zanu PF last year.

Mugabe will likely announce the cabinet after or before the swearing in of
parliament on Tuesday, sources said. He is expected back home this weekend
when the ruling party is likely to hold a central committee meeting on
Sunday to discuss several issues, including the election of a new speaker of

It is understood Mnangagwa, defeated again by the MDC's Blessing Chebundo in
Kwewke, was initially supposed to be replaced by Zimbabwe's first speaker
Didymus Mutasa but Zanu PF feared a by-election. Someone outside parliament
will have to be found.

Mnangagwa, retrieved from the political scrapyard after his defeat in 2000,
could be dumped in the anticipated senate as president.

Mugabe has said his party will amend the constitution to reintroduce the
senate likely to be a dumpsite for losing Zanu PF candidates. Mnangagwa, who
led the faction that was at war with the Mujuru camp, was defeated by Joyce
Mujuru in the run-up to the Zanu PF congress in December for the post of

Sources said the Mujuru faction wants Mnangagwa sidelined for ever from
mainstream politics over his role during the disastrous Tsholotsho meeting
on November 18 last year.

The meeting, which led to the fall of former Information minister Jonathan
Moyo and a number of senior Zanu PF members, including six provincial
chairmen, was allegedly organised to block Joyce Mujuru's ascendancy and
plot a palace coup against the ruling party leadership.

The Tsholotsho meeting is likely to claim more political casualties during
the appointment of the new cabinet. Sources said Mugabe was most likely to
replace minister Stan Mudenge with former Finance minister Simba Makoni at
Foreign Affairs. The Mujuru camp is said to be lobbying for Makoni to
replace Mudenge who was also linked to the Tsholotsho Declaration.
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Zim Independent

Mugabe to retire
Conrad Dube
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe will not seek re-election in the 2008 presidential
election, Zanu PF secretary for Information and Publicity, Nathan
Shamuyarira, revealed in an interview yesterday.

Shamuyarira told the Zimbabwe Independent the ruling party will have to
choose his successor before the presidential election in three years' time.

Shamuyarira said the party will intensify its efforts to choose a successor
to Mugabe in the next three years to 2008.

The party holds conferences every December and Shamuyarira said the party's
central committee will bring the issue up at these conferences.

"There are currently many aspirants to succeed the president but we will
narrow the discussion to a few people. We will have an election before the
presidential election to elect a successor," Shamuyarira said.

"The president has said that he will not seek re-election after 2008 so we
have to find a successor. We will do it publicly like we did with the other
members of the presidium," he said. Shamuyarira would not be drawn into
disclosing the names and the number of aspirants eyeing the post.

The issue of a presidential successor has been a thorny subject in Zanu PF.

Several names, including Vice-President Joyce Mujuru, the party's secretary
for legal affairs Emmerson Mnangagwa, and Defence minister Sydney Sekeramayi
have been touted to succeed Mugabe.

Shamuyarira disclosed the constitutional amendments to be effected by the
next parliament.

The amendments will provide for the establishment of a senate which will
review legislation passed by parliament. Senators will be elected by MPs,
according to Shamuyarira.

"Parliamentarians will elect senators but I cannot say how many senators
there will be. This will be determined at a later stage," he said.

The Electoral Supervisory Commission (ESC), which is established by the
constitution, will be also abolished.

"The ESC will be abolished because its work has been taken over by the
Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC)," Shamuyarira added.

Shamuyarira said Zanu PF would not oppose an amendment to the provision
which empowers the president to appoint 30 non-constituency members if the
opposition makes the proposal. He said: "That provision was included in our
recommendations to the constitutional commission in 2000 but the opposition
rejected the draft constitution because they did not want the land clause.
Unfortunately, they threw away the baby with the bath water. But if they
bring it up, we will not oppose it."

The Public Order and Security Act (Posa) and the Access to Information and
Protection of Privacy Act (Aippa), two notorious pieces of legislation used
by the ruling party to censure critics, will not be repealed, at least in
the next parliament but "their implementation will be different from past

"Their implementation will be very different because from now, they will be
implemented in a progressive manner," said Shamuyarira. "Past implementation
did not focus on the progressive elements. They were highly subjective,"
conceded Shamuyarira.

On the international scene, Shamuyarira said the Zanu PF government will
seek to normalise relations with the international community.

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Zim Independent

        Friday, 8 April 2005

      ZEC chief stuck
      Ray Matikinye

      THE Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) yesterday failed to explain
the discrepancies in figures that determined the outcome of the general
election held last Thursday saying media and public concerns stemmed from
updates issued by the commission rather than the actual voting figures at
the end of the poll.

      ZEC chairman Justice George Chiweshe struggled to clarify issues
raised by journalists at a press conference. He said the glaring
discrepancies were made up by stakeholders in political circles who were
using the media to try to discredit the poll and the ZEC itself.

      "I explained that the figures quoted in any update that the commission
may give are not necessarily an accurate reflection of the facts on the
ground and that the figures were given without prejudice and only for the
purpose of giving an indication as to the turnout trends in various
provinces and constituencies," Justice Chiweshe told a media briefing

      He said the updates were only given to show voting trends in the
constituencies. But he could not explain how the initial update announcement
for Beitbridge indicated 36 821 people had voted by 2pm when the final
result showed 20 602 people had voted. He also failed to explain how the
commission had gathered and compiled the initial updates.

      The final result showed that the Zanu PF candidate, Kembo Mohadi, had
polled 14 305 against Muruma Siphuma of the MDC's 6 297. The total shows a
deficit of 16 219 votes unaccounted for.

      The commission released voting figures from 72 constituencies last
Thursday evening but abruptly stopped doing so without explanation. There
was no mention of the figures being "interim" at the time. Chiweshe said his
commission would not publish votes cast at each polling station as this
would not materially affect the final vote count.

      Asked whether the commission could release the interim figures - up to
2.30pm - for the remaining constituencies in Mashonaland Central, Masvingo,
Matabeleland and Midlands, Justice Chiweshe said that would not change the
result of the election.

      "That is neither here nor there. The correct position is that there is
only one set of figures to be considered and only one process to be
examined. These are the official figures by which the election result was
determined. The question of inconsistencies does not arise," he said.

      Chiweshe, who had earlier said none of the contesting parties had
formally lodged complaints with the commission, admitted the opposition had
lodged a complaint over the results on Wednesday.

      The MDC, which rejected the poll results last Saturday, is currently
compiling data regarding the discrepancies with a view to lodging a
complaint with the courts before the April 15 deadline.

      Although Chiweshe said the process was witnessed by local and
international observers, monitors and agents of the contesting parties, he
could not say for certain whether all polling agents were allowed to witness
the counting -particularly at 13 polling stations located at chiefs'
homesteads and 12 other non-neutral locations.

      "The law allows agents to be present during the counting of votes,"
Chiweshe said.

      But the MP-elect for Bulawayo South, David Coltart, said he was locked
out from a counting centre in his urban constituency.

      Asked whether the commission had rigged the elections, Chiweshe said
the commission was an independent body whose members had been selected by
both the ruling party and the opposition MDC. He denied that the commission
was partisan.

      He said his commission was studying an African Union observer team
report that initially gave the polls a clean bill of health but is now
calling for investigations into alleged electoral fraud.

      Chiweshe said the AU had not retracted its verdict but was merely
giving suggestions and guidelines to improve the conduct of elections in
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Zim Independent

MDC evidence of election fraud

THE MDC has alleged massive irregularities in the electoral figures
initially released by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission and the final
results. Here we list in full the inventory of the alleged discrepancies.

*Manyame: ZEC announced the total votes cast as being 14 812. The MDC
candidate polled 8 312 votes, meaning she had an unassailable lead. However,
when results were finally announced the winning Zanu PF candidate was
reported to have received 15 448 votes, with 543 ballots spoilt. The total
vote count for the constituency becomes 24 303, with the discrepancy being 9
491 votes.

*Goromonzi: ZEC announced the total votes cast as being 15 611. The MDC
candidate, with 8 578 votes, polled more than half of the votes cast.
However, when results were finally issued, the Zanu PF candidate was
announced the winner with 16 782 votes, 1 171 votes more than the total
number of votes cast. The total votes cast for the two candidates, including
spoilt ballots, becomes 26 123. The discrepancy is 10 512 votes.

*Kariba: ZEC announced the total votes cast as being 16 676. The MDC
candidate, with 9 540 votes, polled more than half of the votes cast.
However, when results were finally issued the Zanu PF candidate was
announced the winner with 13 719 votes. The total votes cast for the two
candidates, including spoilt ballots, becomes 24 142. The discrepancy is 7
466 votes.

*Seke rural: ZEC's total votes cast in Seke are given as 11 344. The MDC
candidate, with 8 843 votes, polled more than half of the votes cast. But
when results were finally issued the Zanu PF candidate was announced winner
with 15 434 votes, which is 4 090 more votes than the total votes cast. The
total votes for all the candidates, including spoilt ballots, mysteriously
becomes 24 873. The discrepancy is 13 529.

*Mutare South: The ZEC figures for the total votes cast is 14 054. The MDC
candidate received 12 163 votes. The final result released shows total votes
as being 28 575, with 16 412 of these being for the winning Zanu PF. This
registers a discrepancy of 14 521.

*Buhera South: The total ZEC figure for votes cast is 25 447. The MDC
candidate received 13 893 votes, more than half of the total votes cast.
When results were finally issued, the Zanu PF candidate was announced the
winner, with 15 066 votes. This gives a total of 28 959 ballots cast for the
constituency, leaving a discrepancy of 3 512.

*Marondera East: The total ZEC figure for votes cast is 25 193. When results
were finally issued, the Zanu PF candidate was announced the winner, with 19
192 votes against 10 066 for his MDC counterpart. The total vote count for
the constituency is 29 935, leaving a discrepancy of 4 742.

*Buhera North: The total ZEC figure for votes cast is 16 795. When results
were finally issued, the Zanu PF candidate was announced the winner, with 17
677 votes against 4 137 for his MDC counterpart. The total vote count for
the constituency is 22 688, leaving a discrepancy of 5 893.

*Murehwa South: The total ZEC figure for votes cast is 8 579. The MDC
candidate received 4 586, more than half of the total votes cast. However,
when results were finally issued the winning Zanu PF candidate was announced
to have received 19 200 votes, more than double the number of votes cast.
This gives a total of 24 463. There is a discrepancy of 15 207.

*Mutasa South: The total ZEC figure for votes cast is 15 733. The MDC
candidate received 9 380, more than half of the total votes cast. However,
when results were finally announced the Zanu PF candidate was reported have
received 9 715 votes. The total vote count, including spoilt ballots,
amounts to 19 573, leaving 3 840 votes unaccounted for.

*Mutasa North: The total ZEC figure for votes cast is 10 986. The MDC
candidate polled 6 605 votes, again more than half of the total votes cast.
But, when results were finally announced the Zanu PF candidate was reported
have received 10 135 votes. The total vote count, including spoilt ballots,
amounts to 17 204, leaving 6 218 votes unaccounted for.

*Nyanga: The total ZEC figure for votes cast is 13 896. The MDC candidate
polled 9 360 votes. When results were officially announced, the Zanu PF
candidate was reported have received 12 612 votes. The total vote count,
including spoilt ballots, amounts to 22 739, leaving 8 843 votes unaccounted

*Chimanimani: The total ZEC figure for votes cast is 23 896. The MDC
candidate received 11 031 votes, while 794 votes were spoilt. When results
were officially announced, the Zanu PF candidate was reported to have
received 15 817 votes. The total vote count, including spoilt ballots,
amounts to 27 642, leaving 3 746 votes unaccounted for.

*Makoni North: The total votes cast for the constituency, according to ZEC
was 14 068. However, when results were officially announced the winning Zanu
PF candidate received 18 910, with the MDC's candidate polling 6 077 votes,
giving total votes for the two candidates as 24 987. There is a discrepancy
of 10 919 votes.

*Chipinge North: The total ZEC figure for votes cast is 23 896. When results
were finally issued, the Zanu PF candidate was announced the winner, with 16
047 votes against 10 920 for his MDC counterpart. The total vote count for
the constituency is 27 576, leaving a discrepancy of 3 625.

*Chipinge South: The total ZEC figure for votes cast is 29 479. When results
were finally issued, the Zanu PF candidate was announced the winner, with 16
412 votes against 12 163 for his MDC counterpart and 2 129 for Zanu Ndonga.
The total vote count for the constituency is 30 704, leaving a discrepancy
of 1 225.

*Makoni East: ZEC announced that 20 454 people voted. When results were
finally announced, the total votes for the two candidates, including spoilt
ballots, amounts to 17 341, leaving a negative balance of 3 113 votes
unaccounted for.

*Beitbridge: ZEC announced that 36 821 had voted but the totals for the
candidates only add up to 20 602, leaving a negative balance of 16 219 votes
unaccounted for.

*Hwedza: ZEC announced that 23 698 people voted. The total votes cast for
all candidates, including spoilt ballots, amount to 26 736, leaving 3 038
votes unaccounted for.

*Mutare West: ZEC announced that 18 584 people voted. The total votes
counted for the candidates, including spoilt ballots, amount to 20 950,
leaving 2 366 votes unaccounted for.

*Chegutu: ZEC announced that 19 763 people voted. The total votes counted
for the candidates, including spoilt ballots, amount to 25 374, leaving 5
611 votes unaccounted for.

*Chikomba: ZEC announced that 18 401 people voted. The total vote count,
including spoilt ballots, amount to 26 050, leaving 7 649 votes unaccounted

*Hurungwe East ZEC announced that 22 533 people voted. The total votes
counted for the two candidates is 26 552, leaving 4019 votes unaccounted

*Mudzi East: ZEC announced that 12 499 people voted. The total votes counted
for the candidates is 22 420, leaving 9 921 votes unaccounted for.

*Mudzi West: ZEC announced that 10 998 people voted. The total votes counted
for the candidates is 22 796, leaving 11 798 votes unaccounted for.

*Murehwa North: ZEC announced that 17 606 people voted. However, when
results were finally issued the winning Zanu PF candidate was announced to
have received 17 677, while his MDC counterpart received 4 137. The total
votes counted for the candidates is 22 353, leaving 4 747 votes unaccounted

*Mutoko North: ZEC announced that 10 721 people voted. But, when results
were finally issued the winning Zanu PF candidate was announced to have
received 16 257.The total votes counted for the candidates is 20 652,
leaving 9 931 votes unaccounted for.

*Mutoko South: ZEC announced that 15 863 people voted. But, when results
were finally issued the winning Zanu PF candidate was announced to have
received 19 390. The total votes counted for the candidates is 23 481
leaving 7 618 votes unaccounted for.

*Insiza: ZEC announced that 20 220 people voted. When results were
officially announced, the winning Zanu PF candidate was announced to have
received 12 537, while his MDC counterpart received 8840 votes. The total
votes announced for the constituency is 21 377, leaving 1 157 votes
unaccounted for.

*Gwanda: ZEC announced that 23 288 people voted. When results were
officially announced, the winning Zanu PF candidate was announced to have
received 13 109, while his MDC counterpart received 10 961 votes. The total
votes announced for the constituency is 24 594, leaving 1 300 votes
unaccounted for.
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M  & G
Why Mugabe could go to pope's funeral
Brussels, Belgium
08 April 2005 10:19
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, banned from entering the European Union, was able to go to Rome for the pope's funeral because of waivers in EU rules on sanctions for such countries as Zimbabwe, Belarus and Myanmar, an EU diplomat said on Thursday.

"Under these exceptions, an EU member state can indicate that it intends, on account of its obligations, to give a visa to somebody figuring on the list" of banned people, the diplomat said.

Italy has the right to invoke an "obligation under international law" as a "country holding the headquarters of an international organisation, hosting an international conference or linked by agreement [with the Vatican] giving special immunity privileges".

Under those rules, the only restriction is that the visa must be strictly limited in time and may not allow the holder to go anywhere other than the destination for which it was intended.

Rome appeared to have notified its EU partners of its intention to allow Mugabe, a devout Catholic, to attend the funeral of Pope John Paul II, the source said.

In the past, Mugabe has already benefited at least twice from the waivers, to go to a summit at the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation in Rome and a French-African summit in Paris.

Telenews, a channel that monitors flight arrivals and departures in Rome, said Mugabe arrived at Fiumicino airport.

The Vatican, a sovereign state, is not a member of the EU and has no airport, but EU member Italy should normally comply with the travel ban imposed on Mugabe. -- Sapa-AFP
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Expanded Initiative to Prevent Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV Expects to Reach 200,000 Women in 7 Nations

08 Apr 2005
Medical News today

The Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation today announced a $1,250,000 partnership with Johnson & Johnson to initiate and expand programs to prevent mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) of HIV in seven developing countries. In recognition of World Health Day and its theme, “Make every mother and child count,” the partnership will support training of health care workers, the delivery of HIV counseling, testing and critical drug interventions at 200 health care delivery sites in China, India, Russia, Malawi, the Republic of Georgia, Zimbabwe and Dominican Republic. Through these efforts, the Glaser Foundation expects to reach 200,000 women a year with PMTCT services that significantly reduce a mother's chance of passing HIV to her newborn baby.

“The dramatic reduction in mother-to-child transmission of HIV in the United States has been a true success story in the fight against pediatric AIDS,” said Kate Carr, president and CEO of the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation. “We work everyday with the hope of one day achieving that same success around the world. And thanks to Johnson & Johnson's generous support, we will be able to further expand our lifesaving programs and get one step closer to reaching our goal.”

The program announced today expands a successful two-year collaboration between Johnson & Johnson and the Foundation's Call to Action (CTA) Program, an initiative to provide PMTCT services at health sites in parts of the world that lack adequate resources.

“We know from firsthand experience with the Foundation's Call to Action program that a better world is possible by preventing thousands of newborn babies from being infected daily with HIV,” said Alfred T. Mays, Vice President of Corporate Contributions and Community Relations at Johnson & Johnson. “We are committed to helping eradicate mother-to-child transmission of HIV in these high-risk areas - and to ensuring that these precious children get a healthy start in life.”

The support from Johnson & Johnson builds on U.S. Government funding the Foundation is receiving through the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief. The overall goals of the partnership between Johnson & Johnson and the Foundation include:

-- expanding PMTCT services in underrepresented areas;

-- complementing and leveraging government support to reach more families;

-- improving quality and uptake of services;

-- establishing successful PMTCT models which can be replicated and sustained; and

-- ensuring the sustainability of PMTCT programs.

In 2004, the collaboration between the Glaser Foundation and Johnson & Johnson reached more than 170,000 women in antenatal care, providing voluntary counseling and HIV testing to more than 116,000 women and providing preventive drug interventions to over 4,300 HIV-positive pregnant women. Lessons learned through this partnership will be shared with other implementers and key stakeholders at an annual conference supported by Johnson & Johnson.

About the Foundation's Call to Action Project

Call to Action was launched with private funding in September 1999, and initially supported eight sites in six countries. As the project grew, the Foundation increased its capacity to implement at more sites. In just four years, CTA reached over 1.4 million women with critical PMTCT services. With geographically, culturally and economically diverse sites in approximately 600 health care facilities in 20 countries, and support from key donors such as Johnson & Johnson, CTA has given hundreds of thousands of women and infants a chance for a healthy future.

About the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation

The Foundation creates a future of hope for children and families worldwide by eradicating pediatric AIDS, providing care and treatment to people with HIV/AIDS, and accelerating the discovery of new treatments for other serious and life-threatening pediatric illnesses. For more information, visit

About Johnson & Johnson

Johnson & Johnson, through its operating companies, is the world's most comprehensive and broadly based manufacturer of health care products, as well as a provider of related services, for the consumer, pharmaceutical and medical devices and diagnostic markets. The more than 200 Johnson & Johnson operating companies employ approximately 109,900 men and women in 57 countries and sell products throughout the world.

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