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

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Zim Online

Chissano lays ground for talks amid fears of Mugabe rebuff
Thu 11 August 2005
  HARARE - The African Union (AU) has begun pushing for talks between
President Robert Mugabe and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, its first
public bid to end Zimbabwe 's crisis but diplomats and opposition officials
on Wednesday said Mugabe could still scupper the AU's efforts.

      AU chairman Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo has appointed
respected former Mozambican leader Joaquim Chissano as mediator between
Mugabe's ruling ZANU PF party and Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) party as the continental body acts to halt an economic meltdown
in what was once one of Africa's best prospects for economic success.

      But diplomats said Chissano, best man at Mugabe's wedding and a
comrade during the anti-colonialism struggle, was likely to fail as Mugabe
has in recent weeks increasingly shown hostility to any suggestions for
talks with the MDC.

      Speaking earlier this week during celebrations to honour heroes of
Zimbabwe's 1970s war of independence, Mugabe said that it was more useful to
talk to British Prime Minister Tony Blair who he claims is the architect
behind the MDC.

      "This is a clear departure from our past stance of not interfering in
the affairs of another country and it shows that the AU takes the Zimbabwe
issue very seriously," a Harare based African diplomat, who declined to be
named, told ZimOnline.

      "But I must say signals coming from the President (Mugabe) are not
encouraging and makes Mr Chissano's job all the more daunting."

      A quiet man known for his diplomatic skills, Chissano brings to the
table proven credentials after he signed a peace deal in 1992 to end a
16-year war with the then rebel Mozambique National Resistance (Renamo),
opening the way for his country's first multi-party elections in October

      But all that could count for nothing as Mugabe, buoyed by a recent
controversial win during a parliamentary election last March that gave ZANU
PF absolute control of Parliament, has increasingly become less amenable to

      MDC secretary general Welshman Ncube yesterday said Chissano had been
in touch with both the MDC and ZANU PF to lay the groundwork for a return to
dialogue and said pressure from South Africa and Nigeria could force Mugabe
to talk.

      Most Western countries have in the past criticised African leaders for
failing to tackle the Zimbabwe crisis and this week a UN expert on human
rights hit out at African countries for failing to speak out against the
veteran Zimbabwean leader's controversial policies.

      "If the continent's two powerhouses Nigeria and South Africa refuse to
protect Mugabe - yes, Mugabe will yield to pressure to negotiate," he said.
"From our interaction with them (Pretoria and Abuja), they are quite
determined to have these talks start but how far they will go is up to
 them," said Ncube.

      Efforts to restart talks between ZANU PF and the MDC in the past have
floundered, deepening a political and economic crisis that has seen
inflation sky-rocket to three digit figures while unemployment has gone
above 80 percent.

      Mugabe has said he could talk to the MDC if it dropped its support for
sanctions imposed on himself, his wife and his lieutenants by some Western
nations which ZANU PF officials in private admit have begun to bite harder.

      "Its now entirely up to Robert Mugabe to talk to us or whether they
want to stop pontificating and grandstanding as they are doing," Ncube
said. - ZimOnline

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Zim Online

Zimbabwe 's economy back to 1953 levels, says report
Thur 11 August 2005

      HARARE - Zimbabwe, in its sixth year of bitter economic recession, is
now worse off economically than it was 52 years ago with the poorest in the
country virtually condemned to sickness and death, according to the
Washington-based Centre for Global Development (CGD).
      The CDG is an economic and development think-tank which tracks
economic trends across the globe.

      The group said Zimbabwe's economic collapse was unusual outside a war
zone adding that the gains the southern African nation had made over the
past decades had been wiped away with the purchasing power of the average
Zimbabwean in 2005 dropping to 1953 levels.

      "The purchasing power of the average Zimbabwean in 2005 has fallen
back to the same level as in 1953. For people in extreme poverty, a collapse
like this translates directly into sickness and death," the CGD said in a
report on Zimbabwe.

      The group said the scale and speed of income decline in Zimbabwe was
unusual and even "greater than those experienced during the recent conflicts
in Cote d'Ivore, Democratic Republic of the Congo and Sierra Leone."

      The CDG report echoes observations two weeks ago by the World Bank's
country director responsible for Zimbabwe, Hartwig Schafer, who said
economic decline in the southern African country was unprecedented in a
country not at war.

      Zimbabwe's economic crisis began in 1999 after the International
Monetary Fund withdrew balance-of-payments support to Harare over
differences with President Robert Mugabe on fiscal policy and other
governance issues.

      Mugabe's chaotic and often violent seizure of productive farmland from
whites a year later hastened collapse of the agro-based economy as the
mainstay agricultural sector dropped by a cumulative 26 percent.

      Over the years the economic collapse has manifested itself through
severe shortages of food, fuel, electricity, essential medical drugs and
hard cash, while inflation is pegged at 144.4 percent and is one of the
highest such rates in the world.

      Mugabe however denies running down Zimbabwe's economy and instead
blames Britain and its Western allies of sabotaging the economy to punish
Harare for seizing land from whites and giving it to blacks. - ZimOnline
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National Post, Canada

Funding Mugabe's brutality

      National Post

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Re: No Aid To Mugabe, letter from Ric Cameron, Senior Vice President,
Canadian International Development Agency, Aug. 6.

Liberal government reports show that over the last 10 years Canadian
taxpayers have given $205-million to Zimbabwe under Robert Mugabe's
repressive regime, with $95-million in government to government aid.

Any Canadian foreign aid spent in Mugabe's Zimbabwe is highly questionable,
where rule by fear and repression are the norm. Every dollar that Canada
gives to Zimbabwe, no matter how well intended, frees up another dollar for
Mugabe to fund his state brutality.

A senior Canadian bureaucrat is now publicly arguing that the Liberal
government's statistical reports on foreign aid falsely show Canadian
taxpayers giving direct government-to-government aid to Mr. Mugabe. This
bureaucratic bungling only increases the problem of Liberal political
misdirection. Canadian taxpayers deserve to have full transparency for how
their tax dollars are spent in rogue states by Liberal International
Co-operation Minister Aileen Carroll. The Conservative Party of Canada will
continue to question the Liberal government's aid program in Zimbabwe.

Helena Guergis, MP, Official Opposition Critic for International
Co-operation, Ottawa.
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Business Day

Lifeline or licence for Mugabe?
Stan du Plessis


IF CURRENT negotiations are successful, South African taxpayers could soon
be funding the cost of a loan to the Zimbabwean government. The immediate
purpose of the loan is apparently to roll over existing debt owed by
Zimbabwe to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), on which Zimbabwe has
defaulted. If the loan exceeds this immediate requirement it will amount to
a more general lifeline for a government in fiscal disarray.

It is disconcerting that these negotiations have proceeded to such an
advanced stage while the South African public has yet to hear convincing
reasons for supporting such an irregular project.

There is a basic incoherence at the very core of the negotiations: on the
one hand we are told that Zimbabwe is too close to fail financially, as the
ensuing economic chaos might engulf SA, or at least impose massive regional

On the other hand we are told that the South African government is attaching
what are called tough conditions to the prospective loan, including
conditions of a political character, in addition to the economic conditions
which such loans often entail.

But these two positions are fundamentally at odds: the first is a position
of unconditional support for the Zimbabwean government, depending as it does
on the unconditional facts of geographic proximity, while the second is a
conditional position qualifying our support by the compliance of the
Zimbabwean government with a set of conditions. The rationality of this loan
depends on which of these positions will take precedence.

Starting with the unconditional argument: this argument makes nonsense of
the present wrangling over conditions. If it is taken at all seriously - as
it seems to be by President Thabo Mbeki - then conditions simply do not
matter. Bearing in mind that the very IMF loans on which Zimbabwe has
defaulted also carried conditions, we can reasonably expect that the
Zimbabwean government will soon fall foul of any conditions the South
African government might impose.

But that would hardly lessen the force of the unconditional argument for
supporting Zimbabwe. On the contrary, as Zimbabwe sinks further into debt
the crisis will become increasingly acute and, since Zimbabwe will still be
too close to fail, SA's financial support risks becoming open-ended.

The incoherence to which I am pointing does not change if another
unconditional argument is swapped for the "too close to fail" argument, for
example, the cabinet's argument that it would support Zimbabwe financially,
provided that the support would be to the benefit of the "Zimbabwean people
as a whole".

Practical politicians know all to well that there are no loans or spending
programmes that benefit Zimbabweans (or for that matter South Africans) "as
a whole". The art of government is about making difficult trade-offs with
limited resources, and it is disingenuous to suggest that we can do in
Zimbabwe what we cannot achieve at home.

Which brings me to a further concern; this loan will not be without costs,
even in the unlikely circumstance that it is repaid. In financing Zimbabwe,
the South African government is trading off domestic needs against doubtful
international goals, and the public has a right to know how this trade-off
is made. To put it bluntly: how did the self-inflicted economic crisis in a
neighbouring country come to trump domestic needs in SA?

If, however, the conditions really did matter then we have to assess the
likelihood that Zimbabwe will honour the conditions, including repaying the

The primary purpose of conditions for an international loan is to raise the
likelihood that the loan will be repaid. Unfortunately, the track record of
the Zimbabwean government could scarcely be worse in this regard, as was
comprehensively shown by its inability to meet the conditions attached to
the same IMF loan which the South African government is now hoping to roll
over on Zimbabwe's behalf.

IMF financing is highly concessional and certainly more so than the terms
that the South African government could get on the capital markets. It
defies belief to think that the Zimbabwean government could meet the cost of
a more expensive loan from SA, carrying political conditions in addition to
economic ones, when it has just failed with respect to the IMF loan.

In this regard it is important to remember that Zimbabwe's failure to meet
the IMF's conditions is not due to some act of God, but almost entirely to
the foreseeable consequence of ruinous policies, implemented in the face of
repeated international warning and, ultimately, condemnation.

Perhaps it is not surprising that the same South African government that
evidently failed to anticipate the economic catastrophe in Zimbabwe, though
it was plain for all to see, is now ready to offer conditional finance as if
the Zimbabwean government had not yet convincingly demonstrated its lack of
credibility in such transactions.

At the time of writing, the Zimbabwean government was holding out for a
sweeter deal, hoping to exclude the political conditions which have so far
been insisted on. Such brinkmanship is an ideal opportunity for the South
African government to reassess the whole transaction. It is an opportunity
to untangle the conceptual muddle of the prevailing approach by dropping the
arguments for unconditional support and realising that conditional finance
for a Zanu (PF) government is throwing good money after bad. SA should offer
no financial assistance as long as Zanu (PF) prevails.

Du Plessis is associate professor in the economics department at the
University of Stellenbosch.
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Business Day

Mugabe told to accept instalment plan for bale-out
Dumisani Muleya


Harare Correspondent

HARARE - Details of SA's financial bale-out of Zimbabwe emerged yesterday,
with sources saying SA will soon release an initial tranche of $470m to
settle Zimbabwe's $295m arrears with the International Monetary Fund and to
deal with the humanitarian crisis.

Zimbabwean government sources said SA would give Zimbabwe the tranche with
conditions attached - despite President Robert Mugabe's hostility to the

SA is keen to avoid a repeat of the crisis in Zimbabwe and wants Mugabe to
effect long-term economic and constitutional reforms. Sources said the $470m
advance could grow to $1bn, depending on circumstances in Zimbabwe.

"More money will be released, depending on how Zimbabwe responds to SA's
expectations on political and economic reforms. The second and possibly
third tranches would be for things like fuel, power and food," a source

After raising only $59m from China for fuel, Mugabe still needs a financial
rescue package and hopes to strike a deal with Iran next month.

Sources said money for the humanitarian crisis would be channelled through
groups such as the South African Council of Churches (SACC) and the Zimbabwe
Council of Churches.

However, SACC secretary-general Molefe Tsele said: "We will not deal with
money. We deal with humanitarian aid."

The SACC, which met President Thabo Mbeki on Tuesday to discuss its
Zimbabwean mission, has sent blankets, white maize, cooking oil, sugar beans
and other necessities to Zimbabwe.
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AU's efforts may fail - analysts

August 11, 2005, 08:30

Analysts say the African Union's latest attempt to get Zimbabwe's ruling
party and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change talking, is likely
to fail. Olusegun Obasanjo, the African Union chairperson, delegated Joachim
Chissano, the former Mozambican statesman, to mediate in Zimbabwe.

"We have just read about it, there hasn't been any official communication
either from the AU or the former Zambian president," said George Charamba,
Zimbabwe's secretary of information. Charamba says Chissano will only be
welcomed to Zimbabwe as "African brother and as an African leader" but not
in respect of the talks. He says Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwean president, has
made it clear that there is basis for discussion with the MDC.

However, the MDC is more optimistic, Welshman Ncebe, the party's secretary
general says he is overwhelmed by the initiatives and determination of
African leaders in ending the chaos in Zimbabwe. "We have been impressed by
the conviction by president Mbeki that there is a problem and the
determination of president Obasanjo.

David Monyae, international relations lecturer at Wits University, says
Mugabe will not easily evade AU's call for talks in Zanu (PF) and the MDC.
He says this decision is backed up by many African leaders. Monyae says
Chissano was a tactful choice because he is a respected leader in Zimbabwe.
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Business Day

Africa may give up veto demand on UN
Jonathan Katzenellenbogen


International Affairs Editor

AFRICA has the chance to back down from its insistence that all new
permanent members of a proposed expanded United Nations (UN) Security
Council have the right of veto.

The African Union (AU) took the position to insist on a veto at last month's
summit in Addis Ababa.

The decision has substantially decreased the chances of the passage with a
two-thirds majority of a resolution to expand the security council, since
Africa has returned to its original position seeking a veto.

The Group of Four (G-4) - which is made up of Brazil, Germany, India and
Japan - has agreed to drop a veto demand for 15 years.

To seek clarity on support for its position on a veto, the AU has appointed
10 foreign ministers to sound out African and global views.

Namibia and Zambia are responsible for ascertaining southern African views
on a veto.

The consultations could also give Nigeria and SA a chance to lobby other
African countries on the issue.

However, if the G-4 resolution is to be put before the UN General Assembly
ahead of next month's summit of world leaders, there is little time

China and the US have agreed to veto any attempt to alter the UN charter to
allow for a security council expansion.

The US says reform within the body should come first.

SA, Nigeria, and Egypt are vying for the two seats that could be allocated
to Africa, although it is unlikely that Egypt would find much support for
its candidacy south of the Sahara, analysts predict.

Should AU chairman Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo find that on the
basis of consultations with selected African foreign ministers there is not
sufficient support for the current proposal, he could call another heads of
state meeting.

One proposal gaining favour in the midst of the current deadlock on
expansion of the security council is for the creation of a number of
long-term, but not permanent, seats on the council that would go to
countries that would otherwise obtain permanent council seats.

Diplomats say that as Nigeria wants a permanent seat, it is highly likely
that Obasanjo will call another extraordinary summit.

At last month's AU summit in Addis Ababa, which was specially called by
Obasanjo, African leaders turned down a compromise with the G-4, who are the
leading candidates for permanent seats. The compromise is an attempt to
placate the five existing permanent members of the UN Security Council.

The permanent five do not wish to have their veto rights diluted.

The compromise will also allow for a nonpermanent seat, which would bring
the total membership of the council to 26, to be rotated among countries
from Africa, Asia, and Latin America and the Caribbean.

At last month's summit 19 countries out of 46 spoke out against the
compromise. Among those opposing an expansion are Algeria, Zimbabwe, and
Libya, and diplomats in Addis Ababa say that Egypt is also against the

Analysts say some countries may have a separate agenda. They may be
motivated by not wanting certain regional powers to be represented on the
council, rather than by upholding the principle that veto rights should be
extended to all new permanent members, including Africans.
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Stuff, New Zealand

Zimbabwe's NZ tour cancelled
11 August 2005

The planned tour to New Zealand by Zimbabwe in December has been officially
called off.

In the lead up to the Black Caps' current controversial tour to the African
nation, there had been talk the New Zealand government would not issue visas
for the Zimbabwe players' intended visit here.

Subsequently, Radio New Zealand reported New Zealand Cricket chief executive
Martin Snedden as saying they had no choice but to cancel the tour.

To try and compensate for the loss, the West Indies' planned two tests here
late in the summer have been extended to a three-test series in New Zealand
cricket's 2005-06 home international programme released today.

"Attempts to replace the cancelled Zimbabwe tour have been partially
successful," Snedden said.

"The West Indies cricket board has agreed to a third test match which will
assist us to mitigate any potential losses from the cancelled tour."

The West Indies arrive in February for a visit featuring one Twenty20 match,
five one-dayers and the tests.

The first test, on March 9-13 at Auckland's Eden Park, will mark the 50th
anniversary of New Zealand's first test victory, against the West Indies at
the same ground.

"We expect this anniversary to be a very special occasion for cricket in New
Zealand and (it) will be appropriately celebrated at that time," Snedden

The home international season - featuring three tests, 12 one-dayers and one
Twenty20 match - begins in December when the Chappell-Hadlee Trophy one-day
series is played on New Zealand soil for the first time.

The Black Caps meet Australia in three matches. The inaugural series was
held last year in Australia, ending in a 1-1 tie after one match was washed

That series is followed by four one-dayers against Sri Lanka, then the visit
by the West Indies.

The matches against Sri Lanka were rescheduled from last summer following
the Boxing Day tsunami in the Indian Ocean that devastated Sri Lanka and
other countries.
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Where is the African Press?

New Vision (Kampala)

August 10, 2005
Posted to the web August 10, 2005

Wole Soyinka

Zimbabwe is practically a journalism-free zone with only the foreign press
to hold Mugabe accountable

In much of Africa, the challenge for journalists, editors, and readers goes
beyond freedom of the press, and involves its very survival.

Under Nigeria's various dictatorships, many journalists underwent a rite of
passage that most prefer to forget: routine harassment, beatings, torture,
frame-ups on spurious charges, and long prison sentences.

Among the numerous victims, perhaps the most bizarre case was that of a
young journalist named Bagauda Kaltho. His body was found in a hotel toilet
in Kaduna with the remains of a parcel bomb after an explosion that no one
heard. Yet there he lay, with a copy of my book The Man Died beside him.

The implication was that Kaltho was my recruit who blew himself up while
preparing his next bomb in a campaign of terror aimed at Sanni Abacha's
dictatorship. This fabrication was fully exposed only after Abacha's death
and the spate of confessions by the police agents who committed the crime.

The press fought back tenaciously, despite casualties. Journalists adopted
tactics of underground publication, in the best tradition of East European
samizdat. When police raided one place, copies emerged from other secure
depots, to be sold in the streets by kamikaze youth who darted in and out of
traffic offering the subversive contraband. It did not matter that these
youthful hawkers, some no more than seven or eight years old, were often
arrested, beaten, and locked up for weeks, occasionally months. When they
emerged from prison, they returned to their dangerous work.

But Nigeria does not offer the premier example of the awesome power of the
press. That honour belongs to a different history and region. If benchmarks
such as focus, mobilisation, commitment, organisation and sheer impact are
any guide, then the prize goes to the media's baleful role in preparing the
Rwandan massacre of 1994, and in directing, overseeing and stoking the
fervor of the génocidaires once the extermination of Tutsis began. It
remains a sobering lesson, one that presents the media in the role of
aggressor and violator, in contrast to their normal position as victim.

What matters now is the role that the rest of the African media should have
played, and the questions that this raises about their capacity to function
as a watchdog.

Not many Africans, even among those who are knowledgeable in world affairs,
had ever heard of Radio Milles Collines, the most blatant instrument of the
Rwandan genocide. It is chastening that events primarily concerning Africans
enter the public domain mainly owing to the intervention of the foreign

It was they who exposed the complicity of certain foreign powers in an
ongoing crime against humanity. And it was the foreign press that detailed
the failure of the United Nations, whose agents were on the ground but whose
inability to call genocide by its proper name led to a comatose response.

The African media failed to reach beyond immediate borders and serve as a
voice for the continent in its encounters with the world.

The African media's response to the massacres and rapes in Darfur has been
equally muted. Once again, African readers are being shortchanged, remaining
dependent on foreign reportage in order to grasp the enormity of what is

African civil society, whose mouthpiece is the press, cannot escape some
measure of reproach for its failure to urge leaders to rescue fellow
Africans. The predicament of the continent today demands that the press act
not only as a watchdog, but as a goad. It is to the media that the continent
must look for an example of solidarity.

Such solidarity should not be understood as something to be exercised only
in times of convulsion. The cheap recourse to dismissive invectives such as
'outside interference,' 'jaundiced reporting,' and 'imperial mouthpiece' -
so beloved by corrupt and or repressive regimes- is recognised as
self-serving cant even by those who routinely mouth them. Africa's media
must respond with its own analyses, explanations and narratives.

Unfortunately, in repressive conditions such as those in, say, Zimbabwe,
Third-World journalists tend to take their cues from the conduct of their
national leaders and close ranks around the continent's rogue elephants.
This reflex has left Zimbabwe practically a journalism-free zone, with only
the foreign press seeking to hold President Mugabe to account.

Imitation appears to be a hallmark of tyrants in their exercise of power, so
the absence of solidarity among Africa's journalists and peoples has created
a dangerous vacuum.

Today it is Zimbabwe's press that is under the gun. Tomorrow? We should all
bear this in mind, for territorial ambition often goes hand in hand with the
censor's creed.

Wole Soyinka is a Nobel laureate in Literature
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Business Report

SA must hold prodigal Mugabe to account
August 10, 2005

Mandla Maleka's views "Mugabe doesn't deserve fruits of SA's fiscal
discipline" (Business Report, August 5) coincide with my own images on the
Zimbabwe loan, from B Walters, Former finance secretary of Zimbabwe.

I picture Mugabe as a prodigal son who is now looking to an indulgent
relative to save him from his own profligacy.

Unfortunately for South Africa, the "fatted calf" that must be killed for
him is the high reputation of the local economy and of its architects in the
economic ministries.

While we all wish to see that wonderful country to our north being relieved
of the plague of plagues visited upon it by Zanu-PF, this government should
insist on a lot more than merely handing over a blank cheque.

Mugabe has previously resisted conditionality, whether from the
International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, bilateral donors or whatever,
following the teachings of that false prophet Julius Nyerere, whose obduracy
in this respect has proved disastrous for the whole of Africa.

But this time he and his central committee will - if they have a shred of
their liberation righteousness left - simply resign and leave a government
of national unity to negotiate a loan to facilitate economic rehabilitation
and to work towards the restoration of the rule of law, respect for human
rights in the once-proud judicial, civil and uniformed services.

B Walters, Former finance secretary of Zimbabwe

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Report more positive about agricultural development in Southern Africa

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

JOHANNESBURG, 11 Aug 2005 (IRIN) - Trends in the long-term prospects for
agricultural development in most of Southern Africa are positive, with the
exception of Zimbabwe, a new report predicts.

"Most of Southern Africa, particularly the republic of South Africa, has
implemented the kind of macroeconomic reforms" that had enabled governments
to spend more on agricultural reforms and research, said Mark Rosegrant,
division director of environment and production technology at the
International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and lead author of the

But Rosegrant noted that the region also had one of the highest HIV/AIDS
infection rates in the world, giving cause for concern.

The UN has also emphasised the "triple threat" of HIV/AIDS, food insecurity
and weakened state capacity as a trigger of humanitarian crises.

The report, 'Looking Ahead: Long-Term Prospects for Africa's Agricultural
Development and Food Security', does not paint a rosy picture for rest of
Africa. It projects that child malnutrition will escalate over the next two
decades, and the continent will fail to meet the Millennium Development Goal
(MDG) of cutting child malnutrition in half by 2015 unless more aggressive
measures are taken now.

"Child malnutrition is on the rise in Africa. By 2025, hunger could be a
daily reality for nearly 42 million children," said Joachim von Braun,
director-general of IFPRI. "But it doesn't have to be this way - with
significant changes in policy and investment priorities, starting now,
Africa could sharply reduce child malnutrition and come close to achieving
the Millennium Development Goal on time."

Southern Sub-Saharan Africa is projected to have the smallest increase in
malnourishment, from four million malnourished children in 1997 to 5.9
million in 2025.

The report hopes to provide options to African policymakers and the
international donor community when they gather at the Millennium+5 Summit in
New York next month to assess progress on the MDGs.

"When the UN member countries meet on September 14, they have the
opportunity to make good on the promises made five years ago. They need to
decide if they are serious about fulfilling these promises; if they are
serious, they need to accelerate the pace of change in Africa," noted

Poor governance, inadequate infrastructure, limited access to markets, and
low investment in agriculture were contributing to the underperformance of
Africa's agricultural sector, he observed.

According to a "vision scenario" proposed in the report, sound policies and
increased investment could strengthen food security and reduce child
malnutrition significantly, bringing it down to four percent in Southern
sub-Saharan Africa.

Investment in rural roads and information and communication technologies
could improve market efficiency and farmers' productivity, while innovative
crop, land, and water management practices would encourage more sustainable
agricultural production.

Trade liberlisation would see reduced subsidies to farmers in the developed
world, while aid promised by the G8 could help the agricultural sector in
Africa, said Rosegrant.

The G8 has agreed to increase annual development aid to Africa by US $25
billion by 2010, more than double the 2004 level. Global annual development
aid - currently around $50 billion - would increase by $50 billion by 2010.

"Our findings reveal that an additional $4.7 billion per year in investments
... along with appropriate policy changes, would enable Africa to confront
child malnutrition as effectively as the rest of the developing world,"
Rosegrant noted.

The projections were prepared using state-of-the-art computer modelling. An
integrated water-food model to assess current and future water resource
availability in Africa was also included.

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Zimbabwe committed to New Zealand tour says ZC
Thu Aug 11, 2005 5:22 PM BST

By Telford Vice

HARARE, Aug 11 (Reuters) - Zimbabwe "remain committed" to their apparently
cancelled tour of New Zealand, cricket officials said on Thursday.

Captain Tatenda Taibu's Zimbabwe team were scheduled to travel to New
Zealand in December.

New Zealand Cricket (NZC) chief executive Martin Snedden, however, said
earlier on Thursday: "Attempts to replace the cancelled Zimbabwe tour have
been partially successful.

"The West Indies Cricket Board has agreed to a third test match which will
assist us to mitigate any potential losses from the cancelled tour."

Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) managing director Ozias Bvute took a different view.

"We remain committed to engaging our New Zealand counterparts in New
Zealand, just as they are fulfilling their commitments here," Bvute told
Reuters with reference to New Zealand's current tour of Zimbabwe.

Asked if ZC had been in contact with NZC regarding the December tour, Bvute
said: "All tours operate on the basis of ongoing communication."

Lovemore Banda, ZC's media liaison officer, had told reporters earlier that
Zimbabwe were unaware that the tour had been cancelled.

"ZC has not been informed of this by NZC, and therefore we cannot respond,"
Banda said.

Told that reports of the development had appeared on the internet, Banda
said: "We don't take notice of the internet, we will wait for official

Zimbabwe's tour was put in jeopardy when the New Zealand government said it
was unlikely to issue visas to the Zimbabwean squad because of the poor
human rights record of President Robert Mugabe's government.

New Zealand were originally due to host West Indies in two tests next March
but have reached an agreement to play a three-test series, Snedden said.

West Indies will also play five limited-overs internationals and a twenty20
match on their six week tour.

New Zealand's domestic summer will begin with three one-day matches against
Australia in December for the Chappell-Hadlee trophy, a new annual
competition between the trans-Tasman rivals.
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Sunday Times, SA

Private schools warn of closures

Thursday August 11, 2005 14:34 - (SA)

HARARE - Hundreds of private schools will be forced to shut down in Zimbabwe
if a bill allowing the government to set fees and recruit teachers is
passed, warn teachers and school associations.

"If this bill passes through parliament in its present form, by mid-next
year half of our schools will be closed down and our children will be
roaming the streets," said lawyer Edith Mushore, representing the
Association of Trust Schools, grouping some 550 private schools.

Mushore told a parliamentary committee hearing that the proposed reforms to
the education laws were "an unprecedented attack on private schools" in
Zimbabwe, which has one of the highest education levels in Africa.

The Education Amendment Bill was presented in May, allowing the education
minister to set school fees, impose a school uniform and determine the
recruitment for all teachers, including those in privately run schools.

The government contends that the private schools which cater to well-off
Zimbabweans, including the small white minority, should be made accessible
to all.

One of the two major teachers' unions agreed that the bill would prevent
private schools from operating in Zimbabwe.

"We are convinced it will cripple the operations of all private schools,"
said Raymond Majongwe of the Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ).

"The government should not be allowed to make rules and regulations to
control the running of private schools and the conduct of teachers they
don't employ," Majongwe said.

The proposed law would allow the government to close down schools that
charge fees above those set by the minister or receive cash donations.

School heads could be prosecuted if their schools overcharge. Zimbabwean
authorities last year shut down several private schools they said were
charging exorbitant fees.

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Cape Argus

      Fury over Zim plan to confiscate passports

      August 11, 2005

      By Peta Thornycroft

      A Zimbabwe constitutional amendment due to be tabled in parliament
next week is reminiscent of South Africa's travel restrictions at the height
of apartheid oppression.

      Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa seeks the power to restrict freedom
of movement drastically.

      He has used the terms "terrorism" and the "national interest" in draft
legislation to justify an amendment allowing the state to withdraw citizen's

      Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights has submitted objections to the
parliamentary justice committee about this and 21 other constitutional
amendments as an "affront to constitutionalism".

      The lawyers point out that the words "national interest" have not been
defined, and the effect is to "leave it to a parliament, divided upon party
lines, to decide the right of Zimbabweans to seek and secure the protection
of the law or be denied their right to freedom of movement by legislation
that will withdraw, cancel or rescind passports or other travel documents".

      This amendment, they say, would "allow the authorities unfettered
discretion to clamp down on any person they would not wish to travel out of
the country for any purposes whatsoever. Examples that spring to mind are
MPs critical of a government policy who are invited to address international

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The Economist
Home, sweet home—for some
Aug 11th 2005 | JOHANNESBURG
From The Economist print edition

How can Africa move from brain drain to brain gain?

FOR Francois Pienaar, the World-Cup-winning former rugby captain, moving back to South Africa from England in 2002 was one of the best decisions he ever took. Going to Europe for a few years was a good professional move, but he missed friends and family and thought South Africa a better place to raise children. He has now become the poster boy for the Homecoming Revolution, a non-profit outfit helping South Africans living abroad to come back. Its aim, with a warning that it is not for “pessimists, racists, bigots and moaners”, is to bring talent back home. Apartheid deprived the black majority of high-quality education, leaving the country with a shortage of skills that the education system is now struggling to remedy. The brain drain of the most highly qualified has worsened the problem.

Though hardly new, emigration accelerated after the country moved to democracy in 1994 and its international isolation ended. While 70,000 South Africans are thought to have left the country in 1989-92, the estimated number ballooned to over 166,000 in 1998-2001. Some 1.4m South Africans are thought to be living in Britain alone. According to official statistics, over 16,000 highly-skilled South Africans emigrated between 1994 and 2001, but the real numbers are probably three to four times higher. Close to half of the South Africans living in rich countries have higher-education degrees.

Official statistics do not offer a racial breakdown of migration, but a survey has indicated that white professionals are only slightly more likely to consider emigrating than black professionals. Whites probably make up the majority of those who leave, largely because they are disproportionately well-educated: close to 45% of South Africans with a university degree (and possibly over 70% of those with a doctorate) are white, though they make up less than 10% of the population.

But South Africa is hardly alone. The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) in Geneva reckons that the global stock of international migrants more than doubled in 30 years to 175m in 2000 and the African continent probably has the most mobile population in the world. Many Africans are pushed out by conflict or poverty. Those with exportable skills are lured by countries that pay better and offer more attractive career prospects, work conditions or lifestyle. South African expatriates also cite crime as a reason to leave, while some whites say that affirmative action to advance blacks is shrinking their career opportunities at home.

The effect of emigration is hard to assess. According to the Human Science Research Council, a South African think-tank, the country's research-and-development activity has been resilient. But the departure of doctors and nurses, for instance, is hitting the region hard. The British Medical Journal has reported that 23,000 of them leave Africa every year. According to some estimates, 10% of hospital doctors in Canada are South Africans, while the countries whose nurses got the most British work permits in 2001 were South Africa and Zimbabwe. The IOM says that more Ethiopian doctors are practising in Chicago than in Ethiopia.

Emigration is aggravating already crippling staff shortages in many of Africa's state clinics and hospitals. Only 50 of the 600-odd doctors trained in Zambia since independence have stayed. In South Africa, over a quarter of annual vacancies for doctors and nurses in the state hospitals and clinics are unfilled; as many as two-thirds of such jobs outside the bigger cities are not taken up. About $1 billion has been spent on training South African health-care professionals now working abroad.

You can leave and still help

Those who leave can still, however, help their home countries develop. An increasing number of diaspora networks, such as the South African Network of Skills Abroad or the IOM's Migration for Development in Africa, are trying to foster research and exchange programmes or even business links between those who have left and those who have stayed. The Francophone Initiatives of African Women in France and Europe, another diaspora network, has contributed to humanitarian aid, vocational training for orphans and micro-credit for women in places like Congo, Gabon and Cameroon. Many African expatriates also send money back to their families. The amount is a lot higher than the $4 billion officially recorded in 2002, as cash often travels in suitcases or through informal channels. For small countries, such as Cape Verde and Lesotho, remittances make up 12.5% and 26% of GDP, respectively.

In a regional powerhouse like South Africa, the migration door swings both ways. The number of foreign students enrolled in South African universities, most of whom are from other African countries, is reckoned to have grown from 12,600 in 1994 to 35,000 in 2001. South Africa has also signed agreements with several countries, including Cuba and Germany, to lure doctors to South Africa for a specific period. New immigration rules, in force since last month, are supposed to make it easier for educated foreigners to move south, while staunching the inflow of illegal migrants; some 2m Zimbabweans are now said to be in South Africa.

Most African countries are still a long way from being tempting places to come back to. But those such as South Africa, with strong and sophisticated economies and fine amenities, are plainly better placed. South Africa The Good News, an outfit which has produced a series of books, arranges public events and has a website, all born out of the frustration of two Johannesburg businessmen tired of hearing their compatriots moan about their country, is trying to change perceptions. A lot of young South Africans working abroad are keeping their options open—and may come back. The Homecoming Revolution has organised events in London to convince South Africans that, in the wake of Mr Pienaar, it is worth returning. But it will be an uphill task

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New Zimbabwe

Ndebeles and Zimbabwe national leadership

By George Mkwananzi
Last updated: 08/12/2005 03:51:55
RESPONDING to enquiries on the divisions allegedly rocking the opposition
MDC made by SABC Africa recently, Professor Welshman Ncube, who is the
organisation's secretary-general dismissed the claims that he was vying for
the party presidency as untrue and unfounded.

Prof Ncube then gave a glowing exaltation of the MDC President Morgan
Tsvangirai, whom he depicted as an indispensable asset to the party without
whose visionary leadership, there cannot be any MDC to talk about. It is not
the object of this write-up to contest this view which I must admit makes
excellent public relations effort by the professor to project the party in
positive light. His comments should, however, have ended there.

Unfortunately, the good professor decided to insult himself and his fellow
Ndebele-speaking people in an exaggerated and overzealous attempt to
convince his interlocutors that he had no presidential ambitions. The man
said he was unqualified to become MDC president on the basis of ethnicity as
Ndebeles cannot make national leaders in Zimbabwe. To illustrate this point,
the professor alluded to the case of Joshua Nkomo and PF-Zapu who could not
govern Zimbabwe on account of this tribal qualification.

As if this was not enough, Paul Themba Nyathi, spokesman of the MDC,
reiterated Prof Ncube's criteria for leadership eligibility in Zimbabwe in
the Chronicle of 27 July 2005 by saying: "There is no way Matabeleland can
produce a national leader in this country."

Gentlemen, I am not saying that your reading of the Shona mindset is
inaccurate, but don't you think that by publicly pronouncing such uncritical
stereotypical statements with such a sense of finality as a way of
exonerating yourselves from blame you are endorsing Shona tribalism against
Ndebele speakers? I am even surprised that no-one saw anything wrong with it
up to this day. The media should be printing screaming headlines in disgust
of such sick mentality on the part of those opposed to Ndebeles assuming
national leadership positions.

Is it therefore worth it for people like Gibson Sibanda, Ncube, Nyathi and
others of their kind in the MDC to continue to sacrifice their lives trying
to install other people into positions of authority or retain them at great
personal risk when the same cannot be done for them?

Incidentally, many of these Ndebele speaking leaders of the MDC have been
subjected to cruel treatment by the regime for a cause that discriminates
against them. Do you remember the long incarcerations Prof Ncube and Renson
Gasela suffered for the sake of Tsvangirai in the Ari Ben Menashe saga? Do
you remember how much suffering Sibanda and Nyathi experienced following the
abortive Final Push? Do you remember how Fletcher Dulini lost one of his
eyes fighting a cause that does not fully recognise his sacrifice?

When you erect prison walls around people's desire to experience unhindered
freedom, you are providing them with a solid cause to rebel and overthrow
that inhibition. Was it not this same apartheid system which compelled black
people in this country to seek to free themselves from a legislated culture
that oppressed them? The sacrifice and contribution of Sibanda's, Ncube's
and Nyathi's people in Matabeleland and the Midlands in that struggle in
which they excelled are well known. Since that struggle seems to have bone
fruits whose nourishment excludes you, do you think it is wise to continue
to uphold it?

In any case, why is it in Zimbabwe only where people from fewer national
groups such as the Ndebele are distrusted as national leaders? Bakili Muluzi
of Malawi came from the small Tumbuka tribe and was president of a country
which is dominated by Chewa speaking people. In Kenya, Daniel Arap Moi came
from a small tribe in a country dominated by the Kikuyu and Luo speakers. In
South Africa, Nelson Mandela and Thabo Mbeki belong to the Xhosa people who
are not the majority ethnic group in that country. What is it with the
Ndebele which makes the Shona dread them with such alacrity?

As parties which claim to be 'nationally-based', both Zanu PF and the MDC
are expected to shun tribalism. The people of Matabeleland, who sacrificed
their 'regionally-based' parties on the altar of national outlook, certainly
feel betrayed and cheated when they discover that their leadership ceiling
is fixed lower than that of their Shona counterparts on tribal grounds. This
makes a mockery of their attempt to forge national unity. If the MDC
sincerely wishes to be a nemesis to Zanu PF, then it must stop exuding the
Zanu PF odour.

How does one justify leadership criteria which worship tribalism and banish
ability? Isn't this the cause of this country's ills? Although the Ncube's
and Nyathi's in the MDC may engage in self-effacing endeavours and forego
their claim to national leadership, the people of Matabeleland know very
well that it is their resources which fuel the economy of the country. In
spite of their fewer numbers, their region contributes 40% of the country's
GDP. It is their coal which makes Zimbabwe's tobacco competitive. It is
their electricity which illuminates the whole country and powers the
industries. It is their tourism and beef which bring the limited foreign
currency. It is their timber which decorates homes and anchors railway lines
throughout the country. It is their gold, chrome, cement, nickel, iron ore
and other minerals which are the mainstay of the country's economy.

There is only one word to describe a situation where a people's resources
are exploited without allowing them to contribute at the highest level of
national affairs: COLONIALISM. This is an enemy we are prepared to lay down
our lives for.
George Mkhwananzi is president of the Matabeleland pressure group Imbovane
Yamahlabezulu and writes from Bulawayo

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UN watch

Ambassador of Zimbabwe to the UN Defends House Demolitions

(As translated from the Portuguese-language original article by EFE,  the
leading Spanish news agency, 4 August 2005)

(EFE) Geneva, August 4 - The ambassador of Zimbabwe to the UN in Geneva,
Chitsaka Chipaziwa, defended, before the Sub-Commission of Human Rights, the
demolition of thousands of houses in his country, asserting that "illegal
activities" to the national economy were practiced in them, according to
news reports this Thursday.
The diplomat from Zimbabwe delivered a speech to the Sub-Commission, a
division of the UN Commission on Human Rights, and emphasized the
convenience of this operation, implemented by the government of Robert
Mugabe last May.

A spokesperson of UN Watch, a non-governmental organization, situated in
Geneva, reported today that during the meeting of the Sub-Commission this
Wednesday, Chipaziwa stated that the demolished houses were "illegal slum

The diplomat affirmed that, in these houses, "detractors had plotted and
carried out illegal currency trades in efforts to destroy the country's

The UN estimates that this operation of Mugabe's dictatorial regime has left
over half a million people homeless, and last week, requested authorities in
Harare to recognize the retrieval of people from their homes as "massive
internal displacements".

Walter Kalin, special representative of the Secretary-General of the UN for
displaced persons, indicated last week in Geneva that 92,460 houses have
been destroyed and that 569,685 people have been affected by the measure.

The government of Zimbabwe reaffirmed that the demolitions were carried out
to end street commerce, precarious houses and illegal cultivating in the
urban centers of the country.

A UN Watch source said that the representative of Zimbabwe at the UN
mentioned various times the attempt made by detractors of Mugabe's regime in
"conspiring to harm Zimbabwe".
Hillel Neuer, Executive Director of UN Watch, considered that these constant
references to "enemies" of the regime demonstrate "growing insecurity of a
tottering dictatorship whose only strategy for survival seems to be the
fostering of fear from external scapegoats".

During his speech, Chipaziwa added "Our land had been stolen from us, the
indigenous people, by agents of the British ruling class. These British
settlers had largely abandoned the growing of staple foods when land
redistribution got underway," to which has been added "successive
unremitting droughts, which have postponed the day when our country can once
again produce surplus grains" of agriculture in the country.

Mugabe expropriated from the farms the white farmers, without paying any
reparations, to distribute them amongst the black population, who divided
and transformed them into small subsistence agriculture, many of them with
no future.

"There is no revolution which is ever perfect in all its aims and means -
Zimbabwe is no exception in this regard," stated Chipaziwa in his speech to
the Sub-Commission.

Faced with these statements, a group of specialists from 16 human rights
organizations urged the UN assembly today to, "speak out against Mugabe's
policies of land seizures, mass home demolitions and torture."

According to a member of UN Watch, "the human rights catastrophe in Zimbabwe
underscores the critical need to ensure that the upcoming U.N. reform summit
in September endorses Kofi Annan's call to prevent human rights abusers from
obtaining membership on the Commission, which they use to frustrate its true

(Translated from the original Portuguese by Ana Becker-Weinberg.)

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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Blair not ready to talk to Mugabe: British envoy

Brian Mangwende
issue date :2005-Aug-12

BRITISH Prime Minister Tony Blair, widely perceived as the principal sponsor
of the opposition MDC in efforts to topple President Robert Mugabe's
government, is not yet ready to talk to the Zimbabwean Head of State, with
his envoy in Harare Gillian Dare, saying there was no specific Zimbabwe/UK
The statement comes in the wake of President Mugabe's speech at Heroes Acre
on Monday that he would rather talk to the British Premier than the MDC
leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, amid calls from some quarters for dialogue
between the country's main opposition party and the ruling Zanu PF.
In the same breath, the spokesperson for the British Embassy in Zimbabwe,
Dare told The Daily Mirror yesterday that there has not been any attempt
from the Zimbabwean government or anyone on it's behalf to press for
possible talks between President Mugabe and Prime Minister Blair to iron out
their differences.
Said Dare, the first secretary (Political /Public Diplomacy): "We have not
been asked by Zimbabwe or anyone on its behalf for Mugabe/Blair talks. But
in any case, we have diplomatic relations and embassies in each capital so
we can talk to each other when needed. There is no specific bilateral
UK/Zimbabwe crisis, which needs addressing through high-level talks. Our
concerns about Zimbabwe are shared by many in the international community.
Mugabe needs to engage with his fellow Zimbabweans and 'talk about talks'
with Western leaders simply detracts from the pressing issues at hand.
"Of course, if Zimbabwe does start down a path of internal dialogue and
positive policies, we and the European Union will react accordingly to
support and assist."
Pressed further on the possibility of the British leader meeting the
Zimbabwean President if approached, Dare said: "We see no point in the two
leaders talking. There is nothing to talk about because it is not a
bilateral issue. There is no issue with Britain."
Instead, the British are insisting on internal dialogue, saying the
Zimbabwean government must heed calls by the international community to
reconcile and adopt policies that will help restore democracy - a motion
that has already been dismissed by President Mugabe, who said no to talks
with the MDC.
On persistent assertions by President Mugabe that Britain was behind the
MDC, Dare said: "We see the MDC as an opposition party and an opposition is
necessary in any democracy, but we do not necessarily support the MDC."
Back to the Heroes Acre President Mugabe said - without mentioning names -
that he was
surprised by those he expected to know better calling for talks between Zanu
PF and the MDC when he had already stated that the two protagonists were
engaged in discussions in Parliament every week.
"Some of these calls have been motivated by the MDC leadership, which
wrongly thinks it can use international pressure to compel us to talk to it.
Today (Monday) we tell all those calling for such ill-conceived talks to
please stop misdirecting themselves. The rest of the world knows who must be
spoken to," President Mugabe said.
"In case they do not, we tell them here at Heroes' Acre that the man who
needs to be spoken to in order to make him see reason resides at Number 10
Downing Street (the official residence of the British Prime Minister).
"That is the man to speak to and those at Harvest House (MDC headquarters)
are no more than his stooges and puppets. What does it pay us to speak to
them? We would rather talk to the principal."
This was in apparent reference to reports that MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai
was intensifying moves to meet President Mugabe over the political and
socioeconomic problems throttling the country using Zanu PF stalwarts to
arrange for a possible face-to-face with the Head of State.
But to that President Mugabe said, no.
"What does he (Tsvangirai) want to meet me for? No sir. I don't want to meet
President Mugabe then went on to explain that he was surprised that when
Tsvangirai's deputy, Gibson Sibanda, paid an official visit to State House
as required by Parliamentary Standing Orders when the Speaker of the august
House formally introduces himself to the President, the opposition leader
maligned him.
President Mugabe questioned why Tsvangirai was blocking others from his
party from meeting him, yet he wanted to do exactly the same.
On the regional scene, Zimbabwe's detractors are pressuring South African
President Thabo Mbeki to attach conditions to a loan the country is seeking,
but the South African leader has already made his intentions of not to be
bullied over the credit known.
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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Stakeholders condemn changes to Education Act

The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2005-Aug-12

VARIOUS stakeholders in Zimbabwe's education system yesterday condemned
proposed amendments to the Education Act.  During a public hearing, they
argued that the Education Bill was detrimental to providing quality
The Portfolio Committee on Education, Sport and Culture conducted the public
hearing at Parliament Building in Harare.
If the Bill is passed into law, it would empower the education minister to
determine fees for private schools, set minimum qualifications for teachers
there and to establish parent and teacher associations (PTAs) for all
Progressive Teachers' Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) chairman Raymond Majongwe
cautioned it was important to leave management of private schools in parents'
"It is quite important that we move with time. We should ask ourselves why
certain schools are ahead of others," Majongwe said. "The ministry should
not be allowed to be involved in all schools because where they have been
involved, we haven't seen much. They can't manage all schools, when they
have failed to manage those under them."
Majongwe said instead of addressing issues forcing some teachers to abandon
public schools, the Bill wanted to create the same environment in public
schools compelling staff exodus in the first place.
Association of Trust Schools (ATS) legal advisor Advocate Edith Mushore said
the Bill was unconstitutional in many respects.
"We have not been engaged in the drafting of the Bill and to put it in black
and white it is targeted at mission and private schools," Mushore said.
"Ninety-five percent of parents in trust schools said they are willing and
capable to pay fees that are desirable to the school. Trust schools are not
profit-making organisations," she added.
Mushore noted that the Bill contravened the UN Convention on Education that
Zimbabwe ratified, especially on aspects concerning parents or guardians
sending children to schools of their choice.
"Section 21 that empowers the minister to set fees is unconstitutional, it's
just one size fits all," she said.
"It allows him arbitrary power and also conflicts with the rights of a
person to look after their own affairs."
Association of Church Education Secretaries (ASCS) secretary Lazarus Jumo
said: "I don't believe the minister should set fees for our schools when he
doesn't know how we operate.
"The fact that the minister can de-register a school shows that the Bill has
no interests of students at heart at all. The minimum qualifications should
be set for all teachers and not those in private schools only."
Tonderai Makoni, of the Zimbabwe Cultural Preservation Group (ZCPG), said it
was the duty of the State to monitor all private schools, saying most had
developed a mentality to discriminate against the poor.
Portfolio committee chairperson Fidelis Mhashu said the report on the
presentation by the various interest groups would be produced by Tuesday
when Parliament resumes sitting, after recessing for the Heroes' holiday.
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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Most Bulawayo City ambulances grounded

From Our Correspondent in Bulawayo
issue date :2005-Aug-12

THE cash-strapped Bulawayo City Council has grounded eight of its 10
ambulances due to the on-going fuel crisis.
The development has affected the Fire and Ambulances department, which is
finding it difficult to fulfil its obligations with the remaining two
Chief Fire Officer Dumisani Mpofu told The Daily Mirror yesterday that the
situation could turn ugly as the two remaining ambulances had very little
fuel left and could run out any time.
Mpofu said although they had tried to make arrangements with the
municipality stores department, there was no reprieve since the section was
also dry and was not likely to get fuel supplies in the near future.
"We have grounded eight of the ambulances due to shortages of fuel that are
currently being experienced throughout the country.  Two of the ambulances
that had fuel are just operating with little fuel, which we fear might run
out soon," Mpofu said.
"The department has also been affected by the shortage because we need
foreign currency to import the spares."
He added that efforts to secure fuel from other filling stations in the city
centre and outside had proved futile.
He said the city council had since approached the National Oil Company of
Zimbabwe (Noczim) seeking preferential treatment in the supply of fuel, but
they were yet to get a response.
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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Tourist arrivals decline

Shame Makoshori
issue date :2005-Aug-12

THE high-geared drive by stakeholders in the tourism industry to increase
tourist arrivals and boost foreign currency inflows to resuscitate the
ailing sector has failed to yield positive results.  Arrivals took an 8
percent plunge in the first half of 2005, as shown by statistics released by
the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) yesterday.
Tourist inflows nose-dived from 830 178 in the first half of 2004 to 766 986
visitors in the period under review with arrivals from the key overseas
markets declining by 36 percent from 146 045 visitors in the first half of
last year while African markets also suffered marginal declines.
Visitors from Hong Kong and China, where the latter sealed the Approved
Destination Status (ADS) deal with Zimbabwe last year suffered a 70 percent
decline during the period under review from 11 800 in the first half of 2004
to 3 500.
While the ADS was seen as a possible catalyst that would trigger higher
tourist inflows from the vast Asian country the Chinese, analyst noted, have
been repelled by slow progress by local operators to conform with their
demands such as language training  and providing Chinese cuisine in tourist
"The first half of 2005 has again been very challenging for the industry.
These results include 92 617 visitors from overseas markets, which declined
by 36 percent, the results show that there has been a general decrease in
tourist arrivals particularly from the overseas market.  "The continuous
shrinking of this market is a major concern for the tourism industry as this
is a high spending market which contributes a large proportion of foreign
currency receipts," said the ZTA at a workshop held in Harare to enable
stakeholders to understand tourism statistics. The authority added that as a
result of the decline, hotel occupancy rates remained low, with most
properties struggling to maintain break-even levels. Hotels in the ancient
city of Masvingo suffered major setbacks as occupancies declined by 10
percent from 37 percent in the first half of 2004 to 28 percent.
Officially opening the workshop, Environment and Tourism Minister Francis
Nhema said the government was concerned by the continuous troubles that have
beset the once prosperous and fastest growing sector of the local economy.
He said the tourism industry contributed 7 percent to the Gross Domestic
Product (GDP) and employed 200 000 people in the first decade of
independence but all this has been reversed.
Nhema added that government was still confident that the industry remained
the cornerstone of the current economic turnaround efforts but was concerned
about continued foreign currency leakages and the controversy surrounding
the production of statistics, which made planning difficult.
"Investors cannot make decisions without proper statistics, policy making
needs accurate statistics and production of good quality statistics must
become the driving force behind the growth of the industry. But ZTA
statistics have of late become a source of confusion and this must become a
thing of the past," Nhema said.
Zimbabwe's tourism industry has been hit by bad publicity in the major
source markets emanating from a political stalemate between Zimbabwe and
former colonial power,  Britain.
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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

SA musicians barred from entering Zim

Chakanza Paranji
issue date :2005-Aug-12

FOUR top South African gospel musicians invited to the popular annual Nguva
Yakwana Part 7 show last weekend were reportedly barred from entering
Zimbabwe following a communication breakdown between show organisers and
immigration officials in Harare.
Impeccable sources said Zodwa, Lundi, Buhle and Vuyo, all household gospel
singers down South, did not have proper travel documentation which prompted
immigration to halt their planned business in Zimbabwe.
The quartet was among some of the invited guest artists expected to perform
at Saturday's Nguva Yakwana bash at Harare International Conference Centre
Their absence at the much anticipated show dampened the spirits of fans who
had thronged the venue expecting to see their models perform only to be
disappointed by news that they had reportedly been turned away at Harare
International Airport.
Describing the reception given to the SA gospel artists as "cruel and
 unfair", impeccable sources within the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe
(NACZ) blamed poor networking between the relevant bodies for the stars'
failure to perform at the annual gospel extravaganza.
The sources also claimed that  NACZ demanded $15 million upfront from each
foreign artist which most failed to raise at such short notice while Nguva
Yakwana insisted that the charges they paid the NACZ catered for all the
invited foreign guests.
Information at hand is that the trio of Thembinkosi, his wife and Marty
Sengwayo, daughter of late Zimbabwe gospel music patriarch Freedom Sengwayo,
forked out $45 million between them.
"Zimbabwean authorities never barred entrance to the South African artists,
but there was poor arrangement and communication breakdown between the two
parties," a senior NACZ official said on condition he was not named.
"In fact, NACZ were supposed to notify the immigration officers about the
arrival of these foreign artists on time which they delayed to do so. So by
the time they (musicians) arrived in the country they couldn't be permitted
to enter without requisite proper documentation."
However, many people at show accused organisers of using "ghost" South
African musicians as bait to entice them to come in large numbers.
"The organisers should have told us the plain truth that only Thembinkosi
and Marty Sengwayo would grace the occasion rather than misinforming
thousands of people who were anticipating the arrival of their favourite
artists such as Lundi, Zodwa and Vuyo," said angry Tapiwa Gumbo of
Nguva Yakwana founder/director Pastor Admire Kasi, admitted that the foreign
artists' absence was indeed a disgrace to the organisers and ardent
followers of the immensely popular event on the national gospel calendar.
But Kasi and company quickly distanced themselves from the "whole confusion"
and shifted the blame instead on to immigration department and NACZ saying
they failed to deliver the right information on time.
"We had problems with the immigration officers at the last minute and only
Marty Sengwayo and Thembinkosi were allowed to enter the country.
Thembinkosi slept at the airport on Friday and was only released the
following day," Kasi claimed.
"Therefore, people should not blame us for poor organisation of the event as
we tried our level best to have the best. We made frantic efforts to make
sure that these musicians are allowed into the country," Kasi said. "But I
want to promise our followers that the same will not happen in our next show
in Bulawayo."
Kasi also said that the show billed for Bulawayo 8 August had been cancelled
because of logistical problems including unavailability of a suitable venue
and pleas by church leaders in Bulawayo to stage the event on a Saturday.
But investigations by this paper revealed that the show would now take place
in December to allow for adequate preparations for much better outage after
the flop in Harare.
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