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

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Crucial IMF assessment will put membership in the balance
22 Aug 2005 17:06:13 GMT

JOHANNESBURG, 22 August (IRIN) - A meeting between Zimbabwe and the
International Monetary Fund (IMF) this week could prove crucial to
overcoming the country's deepening economic crisis, analysts said on Monday.

Although the authorities have downplayed the significance of the Fund's
latest visit to Zimbabwe, calling it a "routine" assessment, economists have
argued that it was probably one of the last opportunities Harare would have
to convince the Fund not to expel it.

"I cannot say much, except that they will be looking at how the country is
resolving the current economic challenges," Finance Minister Herbert Murerwa
told IRIN, adding that the government had agreed to implement "some
measures" during the Fund's visit in May 2005.

The IMF has already initiated procedures to strip Zimbabwe of membership
over arrears to the tune of $295 million and its failure to rein in public

If Zimbabwe is expelled, it will be the first country to have been kicked
out since 1954. The executive board will make its decision on 9 September.

South Africa has agreed "in principle" to step in with a loan to ensure that
its neighbour retains IMF membership, but Zimbabwe has not yet said whether
it will accept the offer.

Harare-based economist Denis Nikisi remarked, "It is crunch time for the
government. The IMF is probably expecting to get some clarity on whether
Zimbabwe will accept the loan or not - but that in itself is a complicated
issue, because the government has been firm that it will not accept any loan
that comes with stiff political conditions."

South Africa has reportedly demanded constitutional and political reforms,
such as the repeal of repressive laws, freeing the media and restructuring
the economy, in exchange for the bailout worth around US $500 million.

Nikisi added that the IMF delegation would want to see evidence of some sort
of economic recovery plan, which would form the basis for continued
financial aid to the country.

"The government has been scrambling to create a positive image of the
country before the 9 September deadline - last week Murerwa introduced a
supplementary budget, but also raised taxes and cut spending," he noted.
"But whether or not it is enough to placate the IMF is still to be seen."

Chris Maroleng of the Pretoria-based Institute for Security Studies said
although Murerwa had the unenviable task of trying to manage Zimbabwe's
ailing economy, his policy interventions had so far failed to address the
"fundamental shortcomings".

"Essentially, Murerwa has tried to clean up Zimbabwe's economic image but
has only tinkered with the problem. The IMF is likely to see right through
this - the real problem behind Zimbabwe's economic difficulties is poor
governance and economic mismanagement."

A report released earlier this month by the Washington-based Centre for
Global Development said Zimbabwe's economy had contracted to 1953 levels.
The price of goods and services rose by at least 47 percent in July, the
highest increase ever recorded in the country, while the shortage of forex
has been blamed for large numbers of business crashes and the dramatic
increase in the price of fuel.

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Mail and Guardian

Zim starts crunch talks with the IMF

Harare, Zimbabwe

22 August 2005 01:50

Zimbabwean officials on Monday began a week of crunch talks with
a delegation from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which is weighing
whether to expel the Southern African country from its ranks.

"We began meeting," said Finance Minister Herbert Murerwa,
adding: "We are not ready to make any comment at this time."

The delegation will be holding meetings until next Monday after
which it is expected to issue a statement on the conclusion of its mission.

The talks come ahead of the meeting on September 9 of the IMF
board that is to decide whether to strip Zimbabwe of its membership in the
lending club because of its failure to meet its obligations.

Zimbabwe has fallen behind on repayments of IMF loans totalling
about $300-million (?245-million) and has failed to meet IMF demands to
limit public spending.

South Africa earlier this month agreed to step in with a loan to
ensure that its neighbour retains its IMF membership but Zimbabwe has not
yet said whether it will accept it.

Talks held in Pretoria three weeks ago reportedly yielded a
tentative agreement on a loan of between $200-million and $500-million
including about $100-million to be paid to the IMF.

But South Africa is pressing Zimbabwe to enact reforms to
prevent the economy from sliding further into chaos and recession.

The IMF warned during its last visit in June that the government
needed to take "decisive action" to curb spending, combat inflation and
adjust its exchange rates.

Since then, the central bank has doubled interest rates to over
200% to try to rein in inflation and allowed the exchange rate to slide on
the foreign currency auction market from Z$18 000 to the US greenback to
over Z$24 000.

"The government is making an effort," said private economist
John Robertson, who warned that expelling Zimbabwe from the IMF would plunge
the country into isolation.

"We would face the danger of becoming North Korea or Burma. We
would be sealed off from any form of inspection from foreigners and that
would immensely put off foreign investors and discourage even Zimbabweans
from doing anything," said Robertson.

Zimbabwe's economy has shrunk by 30% in the past four years
following the seizures in 2000 of about 4 500 white-owned commercial farms
which sent agricultural production plummetting.

President Robert Mugabe's government has blamed drought and
sanctions by the European Union and the United States for the country's
economic decline.

Murerwa last week presented a supplementary Budget to pay wages,
import food and build new housing, after admitting that targets for economic
growth and inflation would be missed.

Inflation, already hovering at 164,3% in June, shot up to 254,8%
in July, dealing a blow to the government's goal of bringing inflation down
to 80% by the end of the year.

The government is also spending on a housing reconstruction in
the wake of an urban clean-up campaign in which shacks, market stalls, shops
and homes were demolished.

The United Nations has condemned the government for the
campaign, saying it has left 700 000 Zimbabweans homeless or without
incomes, or both, at a time of severe food shortages and economic crisis. -

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What should be Zimbabwe response?
Andy Flower of Zimbabwe hits a ball bowled by Shane Warne
Should Zimbabwe be prevented from competing in international sporting events?

Controversial Zanu-PF policies like Operation Murambatsvina (Drive Out Rubbish) have seen people's homes destroyed and residents forced to moved to rural areas.

Government ministers in the UK have issued a letter to the International Cricket Council urging them to suspend Zimbabwe.

Do you live in Zimbabwe? How should other countries respond to the situation in the country? Can politics and sport be separated? Send us your comments and experiences using the form on the right.

This topic was suggested by Bruce Acton, Winchester, UK
Can we really make any difference to the situation in Zimbabwe unless we are prepared to intervene militarily?

Is a ban on sporting events really the best way to punish the Mugabe regime? Surely we as the West can come up with something a bit more harsh than that, given the Zimbabwean government's actions.
David, Washington DC, USA

If a country's human rights record is reason enough for banning them from sporting events, why are the next Olympics in Beijing?
Al, London, UK

Other countries should respond to the situation in Zimbabwe with caution. Its sovereignty has to be respected even though what is happening there is pathetic and incomprehensible. Politics and sport are different entities and as such, should remain independent of each other. The cricket players are not responsible for Zimbabwe's woes. They should be allowed to compete in any international competition.
Omorodion Osula, Boston, USA

If Mugabe is determined to act like a pariah, then treat him as such. Whether or not the cricket boycott takes place (and it should), I shall continue to boycott Zimbabwe and Zimbabwean goods, as Zimbabwe is on my list of countries not to be subsidised or aided until they stop treating their people like dirt. To do otherwise is to tolerate, and give approval to the unacceptable.
Martin, London, UK

The ban on sporting links with South Africa was a major signal to white South Africans that apartheid was not acceptable and most certainly influenced their government. Of course Zimbabwe should also be boycotted.
Deyo Okubadejo, Peterborough, UK

Any stand against Zimbabwe should be taken by our government, not our sports' teams. Why punish either the team or the fans when they may not agree with the regime they have to live under.
Paul Woolley, Notts, UK

Do not mix sports and history/politics. Support Mugabe in his efforts to return the land to the rightful owners, and then give them time as well as material and technical support to build their country.
David Karani, Helsinki, Finland

Funny isn't it how so many of the people who screamed so loudly to have racist South Africa isolated in the 70s and 80s both in business and sport are now turning a blind eye to Mugabe, now that the boot is on the other foot?
Jon Johnson, Morgan Hill U.S.A.

No. Sport and politics should remain separate.
Paul, Cardiff, UK

Suspending Zimbabwe from international sporting events is going to do little to change the situation
Anon, Harare, Zimbabwe
Unfortunately, suspending Zimbabwe from international sporting events is going to do little to change the situation. The reality is, while Zimbabwe is still involved in embarrassing defeats such as that against the New Zealand cricket team, the more publicity is generated about the situation there. This has gone beyond the ridiculous and more needs to be done. It is obvious that the international community needs to take a stronger stand against Mugabe and his farce of a government. He is making a mockery of human rights and as patron of cricket in Zimbabwe, is laughing all the way. All talk and no action is going to get Zimbabwe nowhere.
Anon, Harare, Zimbabwe

Best to prevent them from competing in any such events until their government snap out of their archaic ways and grow up - Set an example by showing these lunatics that the rest of the world won't tolerate it.
Paul, UK

Stiff sanctions with exception of food and drugs must be enforced to bring President Mugabe to his knees.
John Jacobs, Harrisburg, Pa. U.S.A.

No, Zimbabwe should not be prevented to take part in the international sport. If we do we will be victimising innocent Zimbaweans not Zanu-PF who initiated this dirty policy campaign. Therefore, politics and sport should be definitely separated at any time not only in Zimbabwe but also wherever in the world.
Peter Tuach, Minnesota,USA

Given what was done to South Africa before the apartheid system came down, I think it is only right that Zimbabwe should suffer the same fate. The West also seems to be ignoring the way the South African premier is covertly supporting Zimbabwe, (as Hendrik Verwoerd did in the 60s) and so action should also be taken against South Africa.
Graeme Phillips, Guildford, UK

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Australian Daily Telegraph

No grey shade in this tyrant's terror

August 23, 2005

ZIMBABWEAN President Robert Mugabe is swiftly moving to drive the last white
farmers from their land and eradicate the last vestiges of human rights
protection in his crippled, bankrupt, nation.

Under a series of constitutional amendments, the ageing dictator will
nationalise the last farms held by white Zimbabweans and remove all their
rights to appeal against the land seizures and any claims for compensation.

Another amendment will bar people deemed to be "of interest" leaving the
country, preventing critics of his murderous regime from travelling abroad
to condemn his tyrannical Government.

For the past five years, white farmers have been subjected to violent
harassment aimed at driving them from their properties but several have
delayed the compulsory acquisition process by challenging the Government in
the courts. The amendments will remove that last shred of protection.

It's not just whites who have been subjected to the monstrous Mugabe's
savagery, either. Nearly 750,000 black Zimbabweans have had their homes
bulldozed and burned in the name of slum clearance by Mugabe's soldiers and
have been driven into camps where they are slowly starving.

Mugabe's thuggish behaviour has been roundly condemned internationally but
one voice which has been conspicuously mute has been that of former prime
minister Malcolm Fraser who 26 years ago loudly championed Mugabe and his
terrorist force in the face of opposition from then British prime minister
Margaret Thatcher.

Indeed, Mr Fraser startled Mrs Thatcher in July, 1979, when, swept up in a
giddy fit of anti-colonialism, he announced that Australia was against
showing any leniency towards Rhodesia's former leader Ian Smith and his
coalition partner Bishop Abel Muzorewa, and that he was in agreement with
the Marxist leaders of the front-line states surrounding Rhodesia in
supporting Mugabe.

Mr Fraser, who has most recently been heard promoting the rights of
refugees, many of whom arrive with an ingrained hatred of Western values,
has always been a welcome guest of the state broadcaster, the ABC, and its
print arm, the Fairfax press, but though he is usually prepared to
prevaricate and prognosticate on anti-US and anti-Western causes, and all
the woes of the world the West may be blamed for, he has been silent about
the evil actions of his old chum.

Once appointed an Eminent Person to advise on South Africa, he has not been
so eminent on the even greater calamity now being perpetrated on the
Zimbabwean people.

Though he has been happy to discuss the issues of the day, he refused a
diplomatic appointment to South Africa offered by the Howard Government
despite his interest in the African continent.

Given that he shocked Mrs Thatcher with his announcement of support for
Mugabe in 1979, and literally embraced the dictator at the Commonwealth
Heads of Government meeting (CHOGM) in Australia in 1981, cementing his
awful regime, Mr Fraser's silence is most telling.

Though Mr Fraser's loss of his trousers in a Memphis hotel may have left him
temporarily over-exposed, there is no reason why he should not now be given
more exposure should he vigorously condemn Mugabe for his savage attacks on
his own countrymen.

However, he appears content to sit this one out on the sidelines, unlike
Britain's Jack Straw, the US's Condoleeza Rice and Australia's Alexander
Downer, and many Commonwealth leaders who have condemned Mugabe.

Even China, long a supporter of repressive African dictatorships has baulked
at providing a $US1 billion loan to Mugabe, despite the promise of shares in
various nationalised mining operations, and the South African Government of
Thabo Mbeki has failed in its attempt to force Mugabe to hold talks with
Opposition Leader Morgan Tsvangirai in a bid to solve the country's economic

The lack of condemnation coming from other African leaders must be noted
and, in its absence, it must be believed that the majority support Mugabe in
his campaign of terror.

In light of the latest assault on human rights in Zimbabwe, the Australian
Government should put on hold its campaign to attract skilled migrants from
Europe and elsewhere until those white Zimbabweans being forced off their
land by Mugabe's racist government are offered an opportunity to resettle in

There are already numbers of Zimbabweans living here and they have proved to
be excellent migrants.

Unlike the former South Africa, the former Rhodesia was not based on racism.
Those who have come here appear to be hard workers, keen to integrate into
Australian society and contribute to their adopted nation, unlike some
refugees from other areas who say they are determined to maintain their own
regressive culture and protest against the customs of the dominant society.

There is no real reason to spend millions of dollars advertising for this
century's equivalent of Ten Pound Poms until we have exhausted the reserves
of those Zimbabweans needing a new home.

Should it be necessary, RAAF aircraft and even RAN vessels could be pressed
into service to assist the remaining white Zimbabweans flee their

This is truly an international disaster. The UN, again, has failed and the
Commonwealth is hobbled by the reluctance of its African members to admit
that one of their number is a tyrant.

Australia is well placed to assist and should do so, despite the eerie lack
of encouragement from that self-proclaimed champion of all humanitarian
causes, Mal- colm Fraser.

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Red tape is slowing relief aid for Zimbabwe
August 22 2005 at 04:04PM

Johannesburg - The South African Council of Churches (SACC) was still
waiting for clearance certificates from the Zimbabwean government for the
transport of a consignment of relief food to that country, the SACC said on

"All the paperwork has been submitted... we are waiting," said SACC
spokesperson Ron Steele.

Thirty-seven tons of white maize, sugar beans and cooking oil destined
for distribution by the non-governmental organisation Christian Care was
poised to leave a Randburg depot in South Africa as soon as permission was
granted by Zimbabwean authorities.

A load of blankets was already in storage in a bonded warehouse in

The SACC is sending the food as part of its response to the
socio-economic crisis in the southern African country. - Sapa

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The Guardian

Zimbabwe's teachers fear for private schools

Liz Ford
Monday August 22, 2005

Teachers' leaders in Zimbabwe have expressed concern over government plans
to set fees and effectively manage the country's private schools.
Unions and church groups, which run a number of mission schools, say the
move would end private education in Zimbabwe. Private and church-run schools
have remained out of state control since the country gained independence
from Britain in 1980.

According to reports on the website, members of the ruling
Zanu PF party whose children attend elite private schools attacked the
proposals last week, saying they threatened standards.

The changes, contained in the education amendment bill, follow a recent high
court ruling that prevented the education minister from closing private
schools that had raised fees without government permission.

Members of the Progressive Teachers' Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) said waiting
for the government to set fee tariffs would cripple non-state schools.

In a letter seen by to the chairman of the
parliamentary portfolio committee on education, the union's general
secretary, Raymond Majongwe, wrote: "Considering that it takes him [the
education minister] more than six months to decide what fees are to be paid
in government schools, as has happened this year, most schools may not be
able to operate while he dilly-dallies with their applications."

The union has suggested instead that a committee representing private
schools and the government be established to consider fee increases.

The letter goes on to criticise the wording of another of the bill's
clauses, which it says could be used to discriminate against certain
teaching associations. It also says the government should address the
problems in its own schools before examining practices in the private

"As far as we are concerned, the minister should be more concerned about the
conditions of service and remuneration of teachers in government schools,"
it says.

These teachers are grossly underpaid and ... are virtually starving. They
have to borrow so that they can show up for work. Why should the minister
waste time harassing teachers who are well paid and are happy with their
jobs? Address the issue of poor salaries for teachers in your schools first,
comrade minister."

Mr Majongwe said the bill failed to address other pressing matters facing
Zimbabwe's teaching profession, specifically the shortage of teachers due to
Aids-related illness. The union has called on the government to give
infected teachers anti-retroviral drugs to allow them to carry on in their

The PTUZ, the Zimbabwe Teachers Association and the Associated Trust Schools
presented their submissions on the bill, which has already had its first
reading in parliament, to the portfolio committee earlier this month. The
committee liaises on legislation with interested groups.

All children have the legal right to an education in Zimbabwe, but tuition
fees must be paid in both state and private schools. The government is
working towards compulsory primary education.

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SADC Silent On Abuses in Zimbabwe

Sunday Times (Johannesburg)

August 21, 2005
Posted to the web August 22, 2005

Brendan Boyle

THE Southern African Development Community refused this week to act on a
devastating United Nations report on Zimbabwe, opting instead to give
President Robert Mugabe a place of honour at its silver jubilee summit in

But if Mugabe thought the silence of his S A D C peers signalled approval of
his destructive social and economic policies, President Thabo Mbeki has
since proved him wrong.

"A stable and prosperous Zimbabwe is critical to the integration of the SADC
region," Mbeki said in his weekly online letter on Friday.

Then, in apparent reference to Mugabe's intransigence, he added: "As members
of SADC, we must be ready and willing to work closely together,
understanding that we share a common destiny. It means that all of us must
understand that what we do in any one of our countries has an impact on the
rest. It means that, as countries, we will sink or swim together."

Mugabe, 81, was seated next to the incoming chairman and host, President
Festus Mogae, for the opening of the summit and was extensively quoted in
speeches recalling the SADC's launch 25 years ago.

But while he could rely on the public solidarity of SADC, there was little
warmth towards the man diplomats labelled the main obstacle to regional

And there were glimmers of a hardening attitude towards the one leader among
them who has been unable to ride the wave of economic growth and increasing
inter-regional trade.

Mbeki - who was seated next to him - and other leaders seemed reluctant to
seek the Zimbabwean's company. With no one obviously keen to chat to Mugabe,
he entered and left alone, flicking his fingers or crunching his fists
together until his knuckles audibly cracked.

A guest at Mogae's banquet for the leaders said Mugabe ate largely alone and
in silence.

"We tell them all the time that these economies are never going to take off
until they deal with that man in the middle of the stage," said a diplomat
from one G8 government.

He said that the SADC appeared poised to accelerate the implementation of
programmes that could give the community international muscle.

Uncritical solidarity with a man perceived to be wantonly trashing a once
thriving nation at the geographical heart of the community undermined that
growing credibility, he said.

Officials from three of the SADC states said privately that concerted action
against Mugabe was out of the question. Zimbabwe would be supported, cajoled
and guided, but never castigated.

But all went on to say this did not mean Mugabe's neighbours failed to
recognise the threat his misgovernment posed.

Mogae refused at a news conference to acknowledge that anything was amiss,
but his government is building an electrified fence along its border with
Zimbabwe - ostensibly to contain foot and mouth disease but, many suspect,
primarily intended to contain illegal immigration.

And though Mogae did not accept that the SADC had a duty to deal with
Zimbabwe, he did add that he and Mbeki were talking directly to Mugabe and
"offering advice".

"It [Zimbabwe] was not on the agenda, so it was not discussed," Mogae told
reporters before the news conference was cut short as questions from the
mainly black press corps focused on the failure to tackle Mugabe.

Mogae said the summit did not discuss UN Habitat Chief Anna Tibaijuka's
searing report on Operation Murambatsvina, Zimbabwe's razing of homes that
left 700 000 without shelter or income.

She specifically urged the SADC to promote internal dialogue and human
rights in Zimbabwe and to assist in the prosecution of those responsible for
the man-made disaster. Mogae said the SADC would act on the report only if
obliged to do so by a resolution of the Security Council.

"There is nothing that we don't know about what is going on in Zimbabwe, but
we cannot help until the person who needs help admits he has a problem. The
affected party does not see a crisis, it sees interference," one South
African diplomat told the Sunday Times.

Claire Keeton reports that delivering aid to destitute Zimbabweans is
proving difficult for humanitarian groups, which fear a backlash from the
Zimbabwean government.

A Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights' spokesman, Otto Saki, said: "There are
a lot of bureaucratic hurdles and delays that make it virtually impossible
to respond in time to people's needs." He observed that these organisations
had a "well-founded fear" that their charitable work would be restricted
unless they kept a low profile.

South African charitable efforts have also run into obstacles.

The South African Council of Churches deputy general secretary Eddie Makue
said on Friday that they were still involved in sensitive negotiations about
the delivery of food to Zimbabwe. The churches have collected 37 tons of
food but this consignment was yesterday still delayed at the Beit Bridge
border post.

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UN demands unfettered access to those in need

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

JOHANNESBURG, 22 Aug 2005 (IRIN) - Unrestricted access to people affected by
the Zimbabwe government's controversial urban cleanup campaign is crucial if
humanitarian needs are to be addressed, says UN Resident Coordinator Dr
Agostinho Zacarias.

He told IRIN that the UN country team hoped to sign a memorandum of
understanding (MOU) with the government of Zimbabwe, to ensure that aid was
distributed impartially and reached those left homeless and vulnerable by
Operation Murambatsvina ('Drive out Filth').

According to the UN, over 700,000 people were affected when the government
demolished informal homes and businesses in the country's urban centres.

The campaign was heavily criticised by UN Special Envoy Anna Tibaijuka, who
said it "breached both national and international human rights law
provisions guiding evictions", and had resulted in a humanitarian crisis.

A recent report by ActionAid International, the Combined Harare Residents
Association and the Zimbabwe Peace Project claimed that up to 1.1 million
people were affected by Operation Murambatsvina, and that the assistance
they received subsequently was "sub-optimal and inappropriate - to say the

The UN was still holding discussions with the government over a planned
appeal to assist those displaced by the cleanup campaign, and the issue of
access was "on the table also".

In and around urban centres "de facto access is not a concern, but a general
policy is needed to safeguard the activities of UN agencies and those of our
partners ... we need to have a MOU to assure that," Zacarias pointed out.

However, many of those displaced by the cleanup campaign had moved to rural
areas and "just reaching some of the groups who have returned to the
countryside has been very difficult", he noted.

"The MOU is aimed at facilitating us reaching such people. So, really, we
are looking for a general agreement about respecting the humanitarian
principles of non-discrimination and neutrality, and access to all those in
need," Zacarias said.

He added that humanitarian aid should not be compromised, particularly "not
because of political party affiliation - that should be clear to everybody,
including those people at local [authority] level".

"Humanity, neutrality, impartiality, non-discrimination, are key principles
that guide humanitarian work, and these should be [included] in the MOU,"
Zacarias commented. There should be no room for "different interpretations
of the general rules of engagement of the UN in this country, and that kind
of communication must filter down to local levels," he stressed.

Negotiations with the government over the appeal and the MOU would continue
until Wednesday, when "we hope to reach a full agreement", Zacarias said.

For the full ActionAid report go to:

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Zimbabwean president appoints judge to try judge 2005-08-22 21:36:04

HARARE, Aug. 22 (Xinhuanet) -- Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe
on Monday appointed former High Court Judge Justice Simpson Mutambanengwe to
preside over the corruption trial of suspended High Court Judge Benjamin

Justice Paradza is being tried on allegations of attempting to
defeat the course of justice.

Charges against him arose sometime in January 2003 when he
allegedly wanted to influence Justices George Chiweshe and Maphios Cheda to
release the passport of Russell Labuschagne, his business partner in a
safari-hunting venture.

Labuschagne was on bail pending trial for the murder of a man he
found poaching fish at his camp in Binga.

His passport was at the time being held by the Registrar of the
High Court in Bulawayo as part of his bail conditions.

Labuschagne has since been convicted and jailed for 15 years for

The appointment of Justice Mutambanengwe is in line with section
85 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, which allows for the president to seek
services of an additional judge for a limited period in consultation with
the Judiciary Services Commission.

Justice Mutambanengwe said he had accepted to preside over the
issue as a neutral person.

"There is a special case which I have been asked to preside over.
Most of the other judges know and have worked with him (Justice Paradza). I
have agreed to come and preside over the trial," he said.

Justice Mutambanengwe is currently based in Namibia where he was
seconded to the Namibian High Court in 1994 for an initial period of three

When his term came to an end, the Namibian government asked him to

After his retirement, he was appointed as the acting chief justice
in the country. Enditem

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Business in Africa

The West has let Zimbabweans down
Charles Rukuni
Published: 22-AUG-05

Bulawayo - The West has now probably run out of adjectives to describe
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe. He has been called a tyrant, a dictator
and an evil despot.

But five yeas after the European Union and the United States slapped
Mugabe's administration with "smart" sanctions to force Mugabe out of power,
the octogenarian still hangs on. His country is in tatters, but he is still
calling the tune.

Online magazine Slate, way back in 2000, called him a scheming survivor. It
was right.

Mugabe lingers on though the Western media started predicting his demise in
1997 following his controversial listing of nearly a third of white-owned
commercial farms for compulsory acquisition. He is now boasting that while a
cat has nine lives, he has 10.

Mugabe has reduced Zimbabwe - the "jewel of Africa" that he inherited in
1980 - to a basket case. Inflation stands at 254.8%, probably the highest in
the world. The Zimbabwe dollar, which was stronger than the United States
dollar at independence, is currently trading at Z$45 000 to the US dollar on
the parallel market and Z$24 000 on the official market.

The country has no fuel. It has just been saved from expulsion by the
International Monetary Fund (IMF) by South Africa which asked for a stay
until September 9.

Mugabe, who was showered with international awards and honorary degrees by
the West in the 1980s, is now a pariah.

But his demonisation by the Western media and by British Prime Minister Tony
Blair and United States President George Bush since 2000 seems to have
actually bolstered his position and prolonged his reign.

Mugabe had run out of excuses to hold on to power after his re-election in
1996. His platform was land reform. All he had to do was to redistribute the
land and retire. But he needed a noble exit.

His colleagues came up with a new constitution that would allow him to hang
on as titular head while a Prime Minister took over the reigns. But the
West, aided by local civic organisations, misread this and argued that the
draft constitution would entrench Mugabe's rule.

Mugabe's former chief spin-doctor, Jonathan Moyo, who was sacked from the
ruling party and is now an independent Member of Parliament, is now
challenging anyone to re-read that constitution.

He argues that the rejection of the draft constitution was the second chance
Zimbabweans had squandered to oust Mugabe.

The first was when Joshua Nkomo's Patriotic Front-Zimbabwe African People's
Union (PF-Zapu) joined Mugabe's Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic
Front (Zanu-PF) in 1987 because Zapu was a formidable opposition party that
matched Zanu-PF issue for issue, unlike the Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) that has no liberation credentials.

Draft constitution

When the nation rejected the constitution, Mugabe was furious. He descended
on the electorate, especially the white farmers whom he accused of
bankrolling the opposition, with a vengeance.

He ordered the acquisition of more farms than had initially been intended
and started bashing Blair, Bush and the IMF.

United Nations special envoy, Anna Tibaijuka, who was in Zimbabwe in July to
assess the scope and impact of Operation Murambatsvina (Drive out Trash),
said in her report that at least two independent scholars maintained that it
was the rejection of the draft constitution that had kept Mugabe in office.

They claimed that Mugabe had personally introduced the "land acquisition
without compensation" article after realising that the draft constitution
was silent on the land issue.

They also claimed that former Zapu leader Joshua Nkomo, a strong advocate of
land reform, had asked Mugabe at his death bed, to promise him that he would
not leave office before solving the land question.

The West, citing a breakdown of the rule of law, went on the defensive. It
slapped Mugabe with "smart sanctions". It ordered a freeze on Mugabe's
assets and those of his lieutenants.

Zimbabweans, who had been bombarded with reports that Mugabe was one of the
10 richest people in the world, thought this was his end.

The West with its machinery would pull him down. After all they had tracked
former Philippines leader Ferdinand Marcos' fortunes, former Zairean leader
Mobutu Sese Seko's and former Nigerian leader Sani Abacha's.

But five years down the line, Zimbabweans feel cheated. No assets belonging
to Mugabe have been frozen, though the United States and the European Union
have just extended their sanctions.

The West's failure to pin down something on Mugabe gives credence to
Mugabe's claims that he has no assets outside the country. Some people now
believe Mugabe is probably clean and the West is only against him because he
took away land from "whites".

Job performance

While the country sunk deeper and deeper into crisis, Mugabe's popularity
soared. His approval rating shot up from 20% in 1999 to 46% last year
according to a survey by Afrobarometer.

His job performance score rose from 21% to 58% during the same period.

The Afrobarometer survey was conducted jointly by the Institute for
Democracy of South Africa (Idasa), the Ghana Centre for Democratic
Development (CDD-Ghana) and Michigan State University.

The study attributed Mugabe's popularity to propaganda, but political
analyst Heneri Dzinotyiwei of the University of Zimbabwe thought Mugabe
became a hero with the ordinary folk, not because they supported his
policies, but simply because he was one of the few African leaders who had
stood up against the West and against whites who had oppressed them for

This is given credence by the fact that when Mugabe launched what he termed
his anti-Blair campaign to win the March 2005 elections, even Zanu-PF was
surprised by its victory.

The party won 78 out of the 120 elected seats.

There were cries of rigging. But Mugabe's anti-West campaign had simply

On the other hand, the campaign for regime change by the West has fallen
flat. It is hurting the ordinary Zimbabwean more than the intended leaders.

Mugabe continues to enjoy his trips around the world while ordinary
Zimbabweans cannot afford the bus fare to and from work.

The average Zimbabwean has to buy fuel at US$1 a litre (US$3.79 a gallon)
but he or she buys that at the equivalent of US$3 on the parallel market
while the leaders get fuel for free or if they have to pay for it, at less
than US50c a litre.

Mugabe does not even face daily shortages of bread, bathing soap, sugar or
cooking oil.

In short, nothing has changed for Mugabe, except that he probably has fewer
friends even among his lieutenants. In fact, he has become more defiant and

But with the country tottering on the brink of collapse, it is increasingly
becoming apparent to Zimbabweans that, no one will save them.

South African President Thabo Mbeki, who has been lambasted by the
opposition for his quiet diplomacy, is dead right. Zimbabweans have to find
solutions to their own problems.

They are their own liberators. No one else can liberate them. After all,
according to the late professor Masipula Sithole, "any effort to liberate
another people, is imperialism" and when it is done on behalf of another it
is to colonise.

Mugabe has vowed that Zimbabwe will never be a colony again. Jonathan Moyo
agrees. But he adds that once they have ousted Mugabe, Zimbabweans must make
sure that Zimbabwe will never be a tyranny again, and it should never be a
basket case again.
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Fewer whites remain in Zimbabwe: census
Date: 23/08/05
By Michael Hartnack

Fewer than 50,000 whites remain in Zimbabwe, down from a peak of
293,000 under white rule, according to an analysis of the most recent census
published in a state-run newspaper.

The figure has continued to drop since the census was conducted in
August 2002 amid the seizure of thousands of white-owned commercial farms
for redistribution to black Zimbabweans.

Independent analysts estimate fewer than 30,000 whites remain.

The so-called fast-track land reform, coupled with years of drought,
has crippled Zimbabwe's agriculture-based economy.

Inflation has soared to 254.8 per cent, unemployment is over 70 per
cent and an estimated four million people are in need of food aid in what
was once a regional breadbasket.

Initial results of the 2002 census published in December that year
showed that three million to four million Zimbabweans had fled the country
as economic refugees, bringing the total population down to below 12

A detailed analysis of the results was completed recently and made
available to the state-owned Herald newspaper.

Independent journalists were not given a copy.

Among the findings were that whites numbered just 46,743 in 2002, The
Herald reported.

Nearly 10,000 of them were over the age of 65, and less than 9,000
were under 15.

The white population peaked at 293,000 in 1974. White rule ended six
years later.

Other African nations, including Mozambique and Nigeria, have welcomed
Zimbabwe's experienced white farmers in the hopes they can help boost
commercial agricultural production.

But Zimbabwe officials have appeared undisturbed by the dwindling

Didymus Mutasa, now head of the country's feared Central Intelligence
Organisation, told the British Broadcasting Corporation at the time of the
census that he would be happy to see Zimbabwe's population halved.

"We would be better off with only six million people, with our own
people who supported the liberation struggle. We don't want all these extra
people," he said.

Other findings included a rise in the death rate from 11 out of every
1,000 people a year after independence from Britain in 1980 to 17.2 in 2002,
The Herald reported.

Analysts blame the country's aging population and a surging HIV/AIDS
epidemic now estimated to be claiming at least 3,000 lives a week.

Fertility rates, however, were about half their 1980 level, with each
woman bearing an average 3.6 children.

"The major reason for this drop is the measures taken soon after
independence to ensure all children, including all girls, had access to full
education, coupled with the development of a wide and effective primary
health care network," The Herald said.

Aid agencies say family planning has been widely accepted in Zimbabwe,
despite significant drops in the quality of health care and in school
enrolment in recent years due to the country's deepening economic crisis.

Last week, Finance Minister Herbert Murerwa slashed spending on health
and education even further to fund the reconstruction of homes and
businesses destroyed in a widely condemned slum clearance campaign.

It was unclear whether HIV/AIDS, which strikes hardest at people in
their prime reproductive years, may also be contributing to the drop in
fertility rates.

The next census is due in 2012.

Copyright 2005 AP

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Namibian president visits Zimbabwe 2005-08-22 01:42:10

HARARE, Aug. 22 (Xinhuanet) -- Namibian President Hifikepunye
Pohamba arrived in Zimbabwe on Monday for a three-day state visit during
which he will officially open the Harare Agricultural Show.

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and several cabinet ministers
welcomed Pohamba, who was accompanied by Foreign AffairsMinister Marco
Haisiku and Mines and Energy Minister Nicky Iyambo,at the Harare
International Airport.

On Wednesday, Pohamba will officially open the Harare Agriculture
Show, after which he is expected to return home.

President Pohamba was elected in November last year, replacing
veteran nationalist Sam Nujoma who led the southern African country to
independence from colonial rule in 1990.

Namibia has been unwavering in its support of Zimbabwe against
western countries led by Britain, who was accused to have been demonizing
the government for embarking on agrarian reforms that saw the acquisition of
more than 11 million hectares of previouslywhite owned land for
redistribution to the black majority. Enditem

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