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Msika to go

Dumisani Ndlela
8/5/2004 8:32:03 AM (GMT +2)

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe's succession, for long considered a political hot
potato, will not come up for discussion at the ZANU PF congress slated for
December, but drastic changes to its supreme decision-making organ, the
politburo, and the presidency are in the offing as the party gears up for
the 2005 parliamentary poll.
Party insiders confirmed this week that President Mugabe and his "inner
circle" were mulling far-reaching changes in the politburo.

The imminent changes were meant to soothe the elusive Matabeleland
constituency the ruling ZANU PF is anxious to capture, they said. This could
see a number of key politburo posts being dished out to members from that

It was the Matabeleland constituency, which Zanu PF had held together
because of the stabilising influence of the late Co-Vice President Joshua
Nkomo, which almost handed over power to Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) president Morgan Tsvangirai in 2002. Tsvangirai is disputing the
election results, saying Zanu PF stole his victory in the poll.

In the mooted changes, the sources said, Vice-President Joseph Msika, who
was recently embarrassed by the Minister of Information and Publicity in the
Office of the President and Cabinet, Jonathan Moyo, after losing out to
President Mugabe's propaganda chief on the forced acquisition of Kondozi
Estate, could be retired at the congress.

Msika is a former deputy to the late Joshua Nkomo in the former PF Zapu,
forced into a marriage with Zanu PF in 1987 to end a bitter anti-insurgency
operation by the North Korean-trained Five Brigade that resulted in the
alleged massacre of over 20 000 innocent civilians in Matabeleland.

The insiders say President Mugabe and his ZANU PF colleagues were keen on
capturing the Matabeleland constituency, which has long held a grudge
against both ZANU PF and the government for the pre-1987 massacres, and for
the perceived general lack of development in the constituency since the
unity pact.

Msika who has failed to whip Moyo into line, although he has publicly
announced his feelings of resentment for the former University of Zimbabwe
political science lecturer's antics, is likely to be replaced by John Nkomo.
Nkomo is the current party chairman and also a former PF Zapu cadre.

Another Vice-President would be appointed from members who had always been
in Zanu PF before the party's wedding to PF Zapu. Once ushered into the
Vice-Presidency, John Nkomo is tipped to become a favourite candidate for

Believed by many to have support from the Pretoria administration, Nkomo is
also widely seen as "the fairest person across the tribal divide in Zanu PF.
He goes along with everybody and does not look at where you come from," a
top party member says.

The sources indicated that President Mugabe's second Vice-President, to
replace the late Simon Muzenda, was likely to be appointed at the congress.

Although President Mugabe had anticipated appointing former Zimbabwe Defence
Forces commander General Vitalis Zvinavashe as the second Vice-President,
they said he had been constrained from doing so by Zvinavashe's
deteriorating health.

Zvinavashe threatened prior to the 2002 presidential election, when it
looked almost inevitable that the MDC's Tsvangirai would win the race
against President Mugabe, that members of the defence and security forces
would not accept, nor salute, an individual who negated "gains of the
liberation struggle", a veiled reference to Tsvangirai.

"There is a feeling that they cannot get the winning vote without capturing
the Matabeleland constituency. It's very clear the party will have to play
tribal politics aimed a pleasing Matabeleland to win the hearts of the
people in that area," a Zanu PF party insider said.

However, this was expected to be done on a proportionate basis to avoid
upsetting other key constituencies in the party. Matabeleland is dominated
by Ndebele people, while the majority of the country's population is Shona.

Other key politburo posts likely to come under scrutiny in the delicate
balancing act to win over Matabeleland include that of secretary for
information, in which Moyo deputises Nathan Shamuyarira, that of secretary
for administration currently held by Emmerson Mnangagwa, and that of
secretary for the commissariat headed by Elliot Manyika, who is deputised by
Sikhanyiso Ndlovu. The chairman's position is also likely to come under the

Manyika was handed the portfolio ahead of Ndlovu, a former PF Zapu cadre who
had been a deputy, following the death of party activist Border Gezi.

Moyo, who has publicly clashed with his party boss Shamuyarira over
President Mugabe's interview with Sky News, could move from deputy secretary
for information to replace Shamuyarira. Shamuyarira, widely believed to be a
confidante of President Mugabe, has long indicated his desire to retire from
active politics. Both Moyo and Ndlovu are from Matabeleland.

A senior member of ZANU PF said that another potential candidate to succeed
President Mugabe from Matabeleland and the former PF Zapu would be Dumiso
Dabengwa, but he is widely viewed with suspicion by many Zanu PF members
because of his perceived aloofness. Even former PF Zapu members feel that
Dabengwa, a very powerful member of the late Joshua Nkomo's party who was
detained by the government after independence, "is too quiet for comfort".

Ever since being dropped from President Mugabe's cabinet in 2000, he has
confined himself to a regional project aimed at drawing water from the
Zambezi River for the drought-stricken Matabeleland. The project, mooted in
the 1930s, has been frustrated by lack of government commitment.

"Dabengwa has recoiled into a shell, shunning activities that would give him
a national stature. Mugabe does not trust him as much as he trusts John
Nkomo," a party activist noted.

Parliamentary speaker Mnangagwa can only hope to be bestowed with power by
President Mugabe, but sources say his relationship with the ageing
Zimbabwean leader has somewhat deteriorated, although he still remains
influential in Zanu PF's decision-making processes.

The Midlands State University balked from conferring an honorary doctorate
in law to Mnangagwa in May after what some academics suspected was an
instruction from President Mugabe, who is the university's chancellor.

Mnangagwa has been discredited by his alleged involvement in the plunder of
minerals from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, together with
Zvinavashe, which was highlighted by a UN-appointed commission. He is also
loathed by former PF Zapu stalwarts because of his alleged involvement in
the Matabeleland atrocities as the former chief of security.

At the 1999 Zanu PF congress, Mnangagwa lost the party's chairmanship to
John Nkomo despite President Mugabe's bidding on his behalf. Retired army
general Solomon Mujuru, a kingmaker in the party, had mobilised against
Mnangagwa, whom he has a strong gripe against for influencing President
Mugabe to block his takeover of a 50 percent stake in key platinum and
chrome mine Zimasco.

Mujuru, whose camp includes Defence Minister Sydney Sekeramayi and former
finance minister Simba Makoni, bid for Nkomo's election as chairman.

Sekeramayi, a medical doctor by profession, is seen as another key contender
for President Mugabe's job. Insiders indicate that he is acceptable to
former PF Zapu members in Zanu PF because he "never rubbished Joshua Nkomo"
during the government-sponsored anti-insurgency operation in Matabeleland.

Makoni, kicked out of President Mugabe's cabinet for advocating market
reforms, is a dark horse in the race for the country's top job. He lacks the
clout to hold his own in Zanu PF, but would be able to stand in between any
factions just as much as John Nkomo.

ZANU PF congresses, held every five years, elect the party's leadership,
including its president. There are fears in Zanu PF that any announcement of
President Mugabe's successor, or debate on the issue, would scuttle the
party's prospects in the 2005 parliamentary election, scheduled for March,
as no other candidate is expected to hold the party together amid internal

This means that President Mugabe is unlikely to step down at the congress,
which should ideally elect his successor to contest the 2008 presidential
race. He has indicated that he will not seek re-election in 2008.

By President Mugabe's own acknowledgement, there is already intense lobbying
and squabbling among ZANU PF members over the party's top job, which would
give the incumbent a party ticket to contest the country's presidential

Interestingly, the party's women's league is also pushing to have a woman
appointed to the position of vice-president or party chairman at the
congress. The league's plea at the 1999 congress met no success, despite a
contingent including Thanjiwe Lesabe, the women's league chairperson, Oppah
Muchinguri, Dr Olivia Muchena, Nyasha Chikwinya and Tsitsi Muzenda, the
daughter of the late Muzenda, delivering their petition to President Mugabe.

The women's league wants one of its members to become a vice-president or
alternatively the party's chairperson, a position currently held by John
Nkomo, who could then become one of the party's two vice-presidents.

Women's league members tipped to occupy the any of the top positions in the
party include Lesabe, Muchinguri and Joyce Mujuru, a cabinet minister in
President Mugabe's government since independence and wife to Solomon Mujuru.

Joyce is understood to be the front runner: she was the first women's league
chairperson in 1979 when it was formed and was the only woman member of Zanu
PF's Dare Rechimurenga (War Council) during the liberation war. She was also
the commander for female combatants during the war.
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A tale of two cities

Charles Rukuni
8/5/2004 7:07:23 AM (GMT +2)

It's a tale of two cities. Not Charles Dickens', but Bulawayo and Harare.
They are so alike, yet they are so different. They are both under Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC) councils, yet Harare's elected mayor was booted
out while Bulawayo's hangs on.

Service delivery is deteriorating in both cities, but Harare is worse. Local
Government Minister Ignatius Chombo meddles in their affairs more than he
does in other local authorities, yet he appears to be harsher on Harare,
where he has sacked at least 19 councillors, and the remainder are reported
to be threatening to quit.

Harare, whose supply dams are full, is under water rationing yet Bulawayo,
which has a decades-long water problem, does not have any.

Harare residents are threatening to stop paying their electricity bills and
money they owe the council for rates and services because of poor service
delivery while Bulawayo residents are being encouraged to pay up.

Harare residents blame Chombo for the deteriorating service delivery while
Bulawayo residents blame the council.

Despite these differences, the two principal local authorities are in a
quandary. Their service delivery is deteriorating rapidly.

Refuse collection is haphazard. The few tarred roads are full of potholes.
There is no street lighting. Sewerage treatment works are collapsing. As a
result, the councils are polluting rivers or streams, some of which feed
into dams that supply the cities with drinking water.

Even the Zimbabwe National Water Authority, which polices the country's
rivers and dams, is at its wits' end. It has red-carded the municipalities
on so many occasions that continuing to fine them now looks like extortion
because it knows their problem and the fact that they do not have a solution
to the problem.

The recent government freeze on rate increases could worsen the problems as
the cash-strapped local authorities will be hard-pressed to stretch their
grossly inadequate budgets.

Combined Harare Residents Association chairman Mike Davies said services by
the Harare City Council were facing imminent collapse.

"People in urban areas need clean, potable water. This is the cornerstone of
any urban area because unlike people in rural areas who have access to
uncontaminated water sources, those in urban areas do not," he said.

"Health services are collapsing and they are now overloaded because of
inadequate funding as well as an influx of internally displaced people
either fleeing from violence and intimidation in rural areas or simply
coming to the capital to seek survival.

"Schools are deteriorating because the government dumped them on local
authorities without providing adequate support. Roads and street lights are

Davies said services were deteriorating not just because of the general
economic climate but also because people were resorting more and more to
council services because they were cheaper than those provided by the
private sector.

He stressed that another major cause of the decline in services was the
interference by the Ministry of Local Government in the affairs of the

"The whole system of representation has broken down. Central government has
destroyed the system of council representation. People can no longer go to
their councillors and demand service because their elected representatives
have been fired by the government," Davies said.

"Nineteen out of 45 councillors have been fired. The other four have either
defected to ZANU PF or are now independent. But though they have forfeited
the mandate to represent the people, they are being kept in council. Even
acting mayor Sekesai Makwavarara has been rejected by the people of

Davies said the situation was pathetic because political squabbles had cost
Harare free water pumping equipment and refuse removal trucks that had been
promised by its twin city, Munich of Germany.

Asked whether residents were not exacerbating the situation by not paying
their rates and for services, Davies said this was a "chicken and egg
situation". He said that while it was true that the council could not
deliver services if people did not pay, residents could not pay for services
that they were not getting.

"We support the right of residents to withdraw their financial support if
they are not getting services," he said.

The Financial Gazette could not establish how much Harare residents owe the
city council. The council's public relations department had not responded to
questions sent by the paper up to the time of writing.

On whether the freeze on rate increases imposed by Chombo would not worsen
the situation, Davies said his association did not support the freeze, not
because it felt the rate increases were justified, but because the freeze
was political.

"He (Chombo) does not have the interests of the people of Harare at heart,"
Davies said.

He said the only way forward was to resolve the national economic crisis.

"The difficulties people are now facing at local government level are a
reflection of difficulties at national level," he said. "So you have to
resolve the national crisis first before tackling problems at the local
level. These are problems of governance."

Bulawayo United Residents Association (BURA) chairman Winos Dube was less
confrontational. But he said service delivery in the country's second
largest city, once reputed to be the best in the country, was deteriorating.

"Certainly we cannot compare our situation with that in Harare but the
Bulawayo of today and the Bulawayo we used to know are different," he said.

"Refuse is not being collected on time. Just take a ride to Vundu Hostels in
Makokoba and you will see heaps and heaps of rubbish that has not been
collected. Roads are full of potholes. There is no street lighting, and
therefore no security at night."

Dube said every time the association appealed to the council to improve its
services, it was told the municipality had no money.

"We are therefore appealing to residents to pay up. We want to see what will
happen when the residents have paid up because once they have paid up, we
expect the council to give us the best service available."

Residents owed the council $18.6 billion up to the end of May.

Dube said his association had also approached the governor and resident
Minister of Bulawayo, Cain Mathema, to help. Government departments owed the
council a further $5.6 billion up to the end of May.

Dube dismissed allegations that BURA was giving the council a hard time
because it was pro-ZANU PF.

"We are a pressure group. Calling us ZANU PF is malicious. We are the
mouthpiece of the residents of Bulawayo.

"BURA has been in existence since 1964 and has been fighting ever since to
ensure that ratepayers get the best service for their money. Even the
previous ZANU PF council disliked us," he said.

Dube said BURA was above party politics and would not be silenced by the

"We are the main stakeholders in governing this city, so we want council to
be accountable to the residents. For example, we hear that Ingwebu Breweries
(the council's now privatised brewery) has made super profits. We want to
know where these profits are being ploughed because in the past profits from
beer were used for most of the major improvements in the city.

"We cannot be against the council because we want the best service from the
same council. And we avoid confrontational approaches. We want dialogue,"
Dube said.

While the debate rages on, services will continue to decline. Perhaps the
only person who will be happy is central bank governor Gideon Gono because
the freeze on increases in rates and service charges helps curb inflation,
which he has declared the country's enemy number one.

Rents and rates are weighted at 15.8 percent of the consumer price index,
used to calculate inflation, making them the single largest determinant of

Though food is weighted at 33.6 percent, it comprises nine items. Bread and
cereals contribute the highest figure of 12 percent, followed by meat at 6.6
percent, and fruits and vegetables at six percent.
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      UN spying on Zim

      Hama Saburi
      8/5/2004 8:33:16 AM (GMT +2)

      THE United Nations (UN) has secretly sneaked one of its top envoys
into the country to assess the volatile political situation in what could
result in the world body toughening its stance on the Zimbabwean government,
which has been battling to defend its human rights record.

      The UN, which has twice rejected attempts by Britain and the United
States to punish the southern African state for alleged human rights abuses,
clandestinely dispatched the world body's assistant secretary-general for
political affairs, Tuliameni Kalomoh, on a closely guarded mission.

      Kalomoh, who is being hosted by the Centre for Peace Initiatives in
Africa, arrived at the Harare International Airport from New York at around
9:00pm on Monday this week and is expected to depart for his base on
Saturday at around 1:10pm.

      While government officials said they were unaware of Kalomoh's visit,
sources told The Financial Gazette this week that the UN, which had taken a
softer stance towards Zimbabwe, was now interested in seeing marked
improvement in the country's political situation.

      The UN envoy, who led a special mission to Liberia at the height of
the insurgencies last year, wants to get an independent feel of the
political situation in Zimbabwe and produce a report that would guide the
world body in dealing with Harare.

      The Zimbabwe situation has been made tense by the feuding ruling ZANU
PF and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), which have
remained at loggerheads despite intervention by eminent African leaders such
as South African President Thabo Mbeki and Nigerian leader Olusegun

      "The UN would want to get his own assessment of the political
environment. It's a very discrete visit and they don't want it to be known,"
said the source.

      "They were no diplomatic protocols followed," claimed the source.

      The visit by Kalomoh comes a few weeks after the African Commission on
Human and People's Rights (ACHPR) released a damning report that put to
shreds Zimbabwe's human rights record.

      The ACHPR report, which was shelved after a spirited opposition from
the Zimbabwean-government led by Foreign Affairs Minister Stan Mudenge noted
with concern the suppression of the basic freedoms of expression,
association and assembly.

      It also condemned in the strongest terms a flurry of new legislation
such as the Public Order and Security Act and the Access to Information and
Protection of Privacy Act, which are meant to stifle the media and basic
human rights.

      Harare, which is yet to respond to the report, dismissed the document
as yet another attempt by Britain and its allies to weaken President Robert
Mugabe's government, which has ruled Zimbabwe since Independence in 1980.

      It said the African Union secretariat could have been infiltrated by
forced bent on influencing the course of events on the continent.

      In the past, the UN has been critical of the independence of the
judiciary following the arrest of retired judge Fergus Blackie, which it
said was another clear systematic attack on the basic fabric of democracy,
i.e. the rule of law.

      Eight judges including former Chief Justice Anthony Gubbay were forced
to leave the bench by government through a campaign of intimidation.

      But despite the criticism, it has rejected attempts by Britain, the US
and other European countries to have Zimbabwe punished for alleged human
rights abuses.

      The head of the Centre for Peace Initiatives in Africa, Leonard
Kapungu remained tight lipped about the visit when contacted for comment

      Kapingu said: "It is confidential for now, try go get in tough with me
after his departure, say on 7 August."

      Kalomoh has been a special representative of the Kofi Annan, the UN
secretary-general in Liberia. He has served as the permanent secretary in
the Ministry of Foreign Affair of Namibia and as Namibia's ambassador to the
United States of America and High Commissioner to Canada.

      Kalomoh was educated in Namibia and India and he holds a diploma from
Indian Academy of International Law and Diplomacy in New Delhi.

      He acts the role of conflict resolution that occupy the UN Security
Council in Africa's troubled spots such as Angola, the Democratic Republic
of Congo, Madagascar, Sudan, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

      While Mudenge could not be contacted for comment as he had accompanied
President Mugabe on a visit to Malaysia, his deputy Abdenigo Ncube said he
has not heard anything about Kalomoh's visit.

      He referred further questions to a Mr Mazemo from the Foreign Affairs
division of Europe and America who could not be contacted for comment by the
time of going to press.
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      Meikles loses $1bln goods to thieves

      8/5/2004 8:38:05 AM (GMT +2)

      MUTARE - Police are investigating an incident in which goods worth
about $1 billion were stolen from a departmental store, which is part of the
blue chip Meikles Africa Limited, amid indications that it could have been
an inside job.

      Goods ranging from decoders, DVDs and an assortment of mobile phone
handsets were stolen from Meikles Departmental Store on Sunday soon after
staff had just finished conducting a stock take for the day.

      Although the police and management at the departmental store declined
to divulge the value of the stolen goods, insiders estimated the total cost
to be close to $1 billion.

      Goods such as decoders, DVDs and mobile handsets are in high demand in
neighbouring Mozambique where they are sold in hard currency.

      Edmund Maingare, a police spokesman for Mutare, confirmed the incident
saying investigations were in progress.

      "We do not have the correct figure at the present moment, but
investigations are in progress," he said:

      Police revealed on Tuesday that the incident might have occurred
between 7:30pm on Sunday after staff had finished conducting a stock take
for the day and around 7:30 am on Monday.

      Although management refused to discuss the break in, sources suspected
that it could be a well-calculated inside job. - Own Correspondent
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Is Zimbabwe the perfect dictatorship?

Njabulo Ncube
8/5/2004 7:03:07 AM (GMT +2)

PERUVIAN writer Mario Vargas Llosa once remarked that Mexico had a "perfect
dictatorship". According to the South American writer, who at one time had
presidential ambitions, the dictatorship was made perfect by its camouflage.
"I do not think Latin America has any other similar dictatorship which
effectively uses intellectuals for its own ends, skillfully keeping them in
submission by appointments to well paid jobs, high public posts, without
demanding flattery: this is a technique of cruder dictatorships . . . This
system even encourages intellectuals to take a critical stand . . ." a
Soviet weekly, the New Times, quoted him as having said in early 1990.

According to the newspaper, he was speaking at an international meeting for
intellectuals called "20th Century: the Experience of Freedom", sponsored by
the Mexican magazine, Vuelta.

Closer home, when speaking of perceived African dictators that once roamed
the continent, two names stick out like the proverbial sore thumb - Jean
Bedel Bokassa and Idi Amini, formerly the presidents of the Central African
Republic (CAR) and Uganda respectively. The two African leaders, for whom
many across the continent shed crocodile tears when they died, had out-shown
each other with their ruthless leadership styles, rightly or wrongly earning
themselves notoriety as the continent's celebrated "dictators".

In fact, history has recorded the two former presidents as the worst
dictators that have walked this continent, citing the alleged mysterious and
still unsolved killings of political opponents, charges of cannibalism,
unparalleled corruption and mismanagement of their economies.

A dictator, according to the latest Oxford dictionary, is a ruler who has
complete power over a country, especially one who has gained it using
military force. Or a person who behaves as if they have complete power over
other people, and tells them what to do.

The question now is where does Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe, a target
of bitter attacks from western governments and local political opposition
parties who has been called all sorts of names, stand in this unflattering

This question is bound to provoke confused reaction because very few people
within ZANU PF know the full profile of President Mugabe except what they
read from both the local and international media.

At the height of the war of liberation he was, to the West, a hardline
terrorist who should have been stopped dead in his tracks. But at
independence President Mugabe was grudgingly hailed by western critics as an
embodiment of moral integrity and cordiality when he "surprisingly"
pronounced reconciliation as a national policy to heal the wounds of the
bitter war of liberation and help to bring together the previously feuding
parties. The same western governments, whose political yardsticks keep
changing to suit their own interests, now demand his departure on the
pretext that he has lost the confidence of the people.

Indeed the Zimbabwean leader has of late been referred to as "the caricature
of an African leader" with dictatorial tendencies by some of his critics,
notably Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa.

But is President Mugabe, who has been at the helm of the Zimbabwe political
landscape for the past 24 years, a tin-pot dictator or a misunderstood
benevolent nationalist driven by his strong Pan-Africanist beliefs?

Apart from allegations of being a dictator, opposition politicians accuse
him of intolerance for political opponents and deep-seated hatred for
compromise. His ZANU PF supporters are also accused of fanning violence,
murdering, bullying and intimidating his opponents. The government is also
accused of waging a war of attrition against the private press.

President Mugabe himself, portrayed by government spin-doctors as being
driven by the need to protect the rights of the common people, has not
chafed at the criticism and allegations and seems to have instead gotten
used to them. Again one cannot help but recall Llosa's remarks that a
perfect dictatorship allows criticism against itself.

Ruling ZANU PF party insiders who claim to be close to the introverted
Zimbabwean leader who gives away very little if any, in terms of his true
self, say that those who accuse President Mugabe of dictatorial tendencies
can have never known his convictions, nurtured from the days of the
liberation struggle which he led up to independence in 1980.

Political analysts and politicians who spoke to The Financial Gazette this
week were agreed that President Mugabe, accused of bludgeoning his political
opponents into submission, is not in the same league with the "ruthless and
barbaric" Bokassa and Amin or other tin-pot dictators that have made Africa
a laughing stock in the eyes of the West.

They however said President Mugabe's penchant to use crude words against the
main opposition Movement for Democratic Change and the West made his critics
draw parallels between him other less brutal Africa leaders still holding
sway in Africa.

Ibbo Mandaza, a political commentator widely seen as sympathetic to ZANU PF,
said it would be morally wrong and naïve to lump President Mugabe together
with perceived dictators in Africa.

Mandaza was adamant President Mugabe was a greatly misunderstood nationalist
of the same mould as that of former Presidents Nelson Mandela of South
Africa and Kenneth Kaunda of Zambia.

"He (Mugabe) is in the same mould as the other old nationalists such as
Mandela and Kaunda. They all get angry when they realise what they set out
to achieve when they fought for freedom has not been attained. In the case
of Zimbabwe, the land reform and in South Africa, black economic
empowerment. The failure to balance the legacy of colonial rule make these
nationalist agitated. The slow pace of achieving these things frustrates
them," said Mandaza.

Eldred Masunungure, who teaches political science at the University of
Zimbabwe, said President Mugabe's complex character made it extremely
difficult if not next to impossible for people not close to him to grasp his
thinking and actions. He said because of this, it was easy for critics and
political opponents to label him, rightly or wrongly, a "lesser" dictator.

"President Mugabe is difficult to penetrate, to really know who he is, hence
the aspersions that he is a typical African dictator,' added Masunungure.

"Because he is difficult to penetrate and sway away from his Pan-African
beliefs, The West and others see Mugabe as having several faces. People from
a distance see a dictator while others see a nationalist. They are some that
see him as a rebel," said Masunungure.

Because of his perceived Pan-African beliefs President Mugabe, Masunungure
said, was held in high esteem among African leaders sharing the same

Brian Raftopoulos, a social sciences lecturer at the University of Zimbabwe,
described President Mugabe as an authoritarian nationalist created by ZANU
PF for the benefit of the ruling party and its general membership.

"I wouldn't call him a tin-pot dictator but an authoritarian nationalist.
Within ZANU PF, they have created an authoritarian political structure in
which there is little or no room for dissent or plurality of opinion," said

Masunungure added: "All these names - dictator, autocrat and rebel can not
be correct. Whoever coins them is influenced by his or her ideological
position. But one thing that is clear is that Mugabe has stuck to his
principles, principles that are embodied in his Pan-African beliefs. In his
party they see consistency in him, dating from the days of the war of
liberation. He has stood up to the West, telling them that Zimbabwe is a
Pan-African village."

A ZANU PF central committee member based in Matabeleland said: "Those
looking from a distance, especially the opposition, see a partial picture.
The real Mugabe is not known hence the widely parroted statements in the
international media that he is dictatorial. (Ian) Smith (the former
Rhodesian Prime Minister) would not be here if Mugabe was a dictator. We
(ZANU PF) have not seen it, maybe you, the media."

Some commentators refused to discuss whether there was some semblance of
logic in describing President Mugabe as a dictator, citing the repressive
Public Order and Security Act and Access to Information and Privacy Act.

"In the context of our politics, this is a delicate matter. Mugabe's
gate-keepers will like to jump on us and demonstrate his power," said a
political analyst who spoke on condition of anonymity.
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      Steep rise in seed prices looms

      Felix Njini
      8/5/2004 8:34:30 AM (GMT +2)

      FARMERS will have to brace for a steep increase in the price of seed
if the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange-listed SeedCo fails to secure the $105
billion it has applied for under the Productive Sector Facility (PSF), The
Financial Gazette can reveal.

      The leading seed-producer, which has subsidiaries in 11 regional
countries, is asking for $105 billion from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe
(RBZ) to buy 28 000 tonnes of seed for resale.

      SeedCo has been, without success, pressing for an increase in seed
prices and has been holding marathon meetings with Industry and
International Trade Ministry officials pleading its case.

      Sources said the seed prices will increase by at least 200 percent if
the company fails to access cheaper money, which attracts interest of about
50 percent. Funds accessed outside the PSF are attracting as much as 200
percent interest.

      They said central bank authorities, who have been sitting on the
application for weeks now, are said to be viewing the loan application

      Morgan Nzwere, the group finance director for SeedCo, did not rule out
the possibility of seed prices increasing should the company fail to dip its
fingers into the cheap funds.

      Nzwere said the company was still discussing with the agriculture
ministry on the final selling price.

      The company, which was buying maize seed at $1.5 million per tonne in
2003, will this year be sourcing it at $3 million per tonne.

      The likely resale price, Nzwere said, would be $10 million per tonne.

      "If we do not get the money from the RBZ, the price of seed will go
up. That is why it is important that we get the money."

      SeedCo has in previous years been borrowing money from the open market
for seed purchases. With current rates of up to 200 percent, this would mean
a more than 250 percent increase in the retail price of seed, Nzwere

      "The interest bill will go up four-fold and this will be reflected on
the price of seed," Nzwere said.

      He said that finance charges per tonne of maize seed accounted for
almost $6 million.

      "In addition to finance charges, there are also research and
administrative charges plus the fact that we also want to make a profit,"
Nzwere said.

      The government has said it requires 80 000 tonnes of seed for this
year's farming season.

      SeedCo, which has tended to be export-orientated, has achieved
self-sustenance status in countries such as Zambia and Malawi.

      In the 2003 financial year, Seed Co posted a $93 billion turnover, a
687 percent increase, with regional operations contributing $41.2 billion.

      Regional sales grew by 649 percent on the back of higher selling
prices and a depreciating local currency.

      Market analysts have tipped SeedCo to increase seed production this
year and bank on prospects of seed being used as an electioneering tool in
polls scheduled for various regional countries in the next 12 months.

      The group has managed to turn around the Mozambican operation from a
loss-making entity to a profit-making one.

      Insiders said the Maputo research operation is making progress in
coming up with early maturing maize varieties suitable for the coastal belt.
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      Vultures circle over Mawere's empire

      Zhean Gwaze
      8/5/2004 8:39:06 AM (GMT +2)

      CORPORATE vultures are lining up to swoop on ostracised business
tycoon Mutumwa Mawere's unfettered assets following the government's
decision to specify the South African-based businessman.

      Well-placed sources said investors were queuing to pounce on Mawere's
struggling operations amid speculation that the Africa Resources Limited
chairman, whose deal-making dexterity first came to light in 1998, is
exiting Zimbabwe.

      The predatory manoeuvres are aimed at companies within the Zimbabwe
Stock Exchange-listed CFI Holdings, agro-concern FSI Agricom and stationery
operation, Textbook Sales.

      CFI Holdings, which has fallen on hard times since the emergence of
Mawere as a major investor, is saddled with a $67 billion debt which is
attracting punitive interest.

      The group, which has a strong presence in agriculture, also operates
retail outlets, milling, irrigation equipment manufacture and a construction

      Steve Kuipa, CFI group chief executive, said that the firm was
disposing of its non-core businesses to retire the $67 billion debt and
improve its cash position.

      Crest Breeders International, Town & Country, Farm & City and
Maitlands, which fall under CFI Holdings, have become a subject of frenzied
speculation with pointers suggesting that the poultry operation could be
snapped up.

      Upmarket retail outlet, Town & Country is likely to be spinned off to
Jaggers Wholesalers for an undisclosed amount.

      The assets are being parcelled out for a song to offset accrued debts
and improve the remaining operations' cash positions, sources said.

      Crest Breeders' operations have been hamstrung with demand for day-old
chicks slackening.

      Kuipa said strengthening of the local currency early this year had
affected exports of day-old chicks and hatching of eggs became difficult.

      "The local market has not fully absorbed all the production
necessitating the discounting of prices. This has put tremendous pressure on
margins," Kuipa said.

      Mawere was specified by government last month following an
unsuccessful attempt by the state to extradite him from his base in South

      It has however emerged that the government has not yet formally
notified management at some of Mawere's business interests about its
intention to take over the operations.

      Mawere has been residing in South Africa since 1995 and is wanted in
Zimbabwe to answer allegations of violating exchange control regulations.

      Allegations are that Mawere, whose business tentacles extend to every
facet of Zimbabwe's economy, faces trial for fraud involving $300 billion.

      The government has expropriated farms owned by FSI Agricom under the
controversial Land Acquisition Act and allocated them to the poorly run
state-controlled Agricultural and Rural Development Authority (ARDA).

      Four of the farms - Risboro, Pogate, Bosbury and Essex - measuring in
excess of 4 305 hectares have been served with Section 8 notices and have
been handed over to ARDA despite the parastatal's stark failure to live up
to expectations.

      CFI borrowed heavily under the productive sector funding facility.

      "The move to dispose of Town & Country has been prompted by the need
to restructure the company's debt and improve its cash position," Kuipa said

      Analysts have also indicated that the retail arm had not fully
recovered from the effects of price controls introduced by the government.

      CFI's milling divisions have been jolted by the shortage of grain and
cereals in the country.

      Mawere had also invested into UKI Limited, Africa Associated Mines,
SMM, Steelnet, Turnall, General Beltings, First Banking Corporation and
ZimRe Holdings among others.
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      Lest we forget

      8/5/2004 7:17:41 AM (GMT +2)

      WITHIN a few days, Zimbabwe will be commemorating Heroes Day holiday.
This will be in honour of the gallant sons and daughters who, even in death,
are today a symbol of black people's resistance to white racial
discrimination. They are the reason Zimbabwe has experienced a rupture with
what can only be described as the darkest of its historical periods - the
pre-democracy days of black subservience to a minority regime which brought
about deeper reactive consequences in the would-be freedom fighters.

      They will forever have a special place in the hearts and minds of all
who appreciate the political meaning and indeed basic significance of their
invaluable sacrifice in the bloody war of liberation, which inflicted
permanent emotional scars on the nation. Of course brutal wars like the one
liberation movements, the now defunct PF ZAPU and ZANU PF, waged against the
Rhodesian regime are not a stroll in the park. Soldiers are decorated to
kill and demoted for not killing sufficiently. But to have lost the freedom
fighters to a war that could have been avoided were it not for the rabidly
racist Ian Smith's intransigence was to the nation hard enough and to their
families unbearable.

      The memory of these men and women of exceptional personal
responsibility who paid the ultimate price for the sake of a democratic
Zimbabwe could never be interred with their bones. It is a sacrifice that
transcends parochial party political affiliation. A sacrifice for a national
cause hence the ropa rangu munoriwana pasi pemureza weZimbabwe ("I'm
prepared to die for my country at all costs") war-time emotional clarion

      No doubt, given the depressing developments unfolding in the country
which have spawned inevitable socio-economic difficulties, stagnation and
misery, there are misgivings about the hero status of those of our current
leaders who even President Robert Mugabe has since admitted have a terrible
aura of bloated self-interest - but who also nonetheless accepted and
endured torture in Rhodesian jails for the sake of Zimbabwe. Be that as it
may, there is no shadow of a doubt that for those heroes that have since
gone the way of all flesh, Monday will indeed be a fitting tribute they can
be accorded and deservedly so.

      But we are afraid, that alone, will unfortunately not be enough. This
is because we feel that the fallen heroes could rest in peace if those of us
lucky enough to be enjoying the independence they paid for through their
lives, could be reasonable enough not to turn what should be a day of
national reflection and stock-taking into some annual orgy of
self-congratulation, beating our chests to no end. Come Monday, our leaders,
against whom there is a deep well of disenchantment, should not try to, as
has been the tradition, erect an edifice of philosophy on a wasteland of
sterile dogma. The Heroes Day holiday is neither the time nor place for

      Instead, our leaders who seem to erroneously think that everything in
this day and age revolves around their participation in the liberation
struggle, need to have a modicum of sensitivity, humility as well as
self-introspection and disabuse themselves of the notion that the liberation
struggle is going to be a rallying point for the future because it will not
be. And there is no reason to pretend otherwise.

      Admittedly the traumatic epoch-defining war of independence which
widowed wives, orphaned children and maimed hundreds of thousands of our
people will forever remain probably the most outstanding chapter in our
history. It evokes feelings of both pride and achievement, loss and sadness.
But we have to come to terms with the fact that it now belongs to the past.

      True, it is a war and a past that we should be proud of but it would
not only be wrong but retrogressive to live in that past. The 1970s war of
liberation is now more relevant as a reference point to help us redefine our
national goals in terms of the sacrifice, principles and selflessness of the
freedom fighters. These values should be the springboard, nay, the rule of
thumb in all else we do. Acknowledging the aforesaid will enable us to move
on with the rest of the world, otherwise we risk being frozen at the point
of liberation. Yet the fallen heroes never meant for Zimbabwe to be caught
in some time warp.

      This can only be achieved if our liberation war politicians, most of
whom are our leaders today, are flexible, courageous and evolutionising
enough. Then and only then, will we be able to muster the political will and
that seemingly all-elusive political maturity to see the broader picture and
start asking uncomfortable but pertinent questions about ourselves. The
questions should include issues such as whether what we have now is a strong
and self-sufficient country which caters for broad-based population needs -
a Zimbabwe that the heroes envisaged or one that will not make posterity
spit on our graves?

      Can we safely say that all the despicable isms practised by Smith were
swept away with the rubble of his tyranny and regime? Does the Zimbabwe of
today have the credibility, prestige, friends and indeed prosperity that it
deserves? If not, how did we lose it when there was so much promise at the
turn of independence in 1980? Why is there such heightened disillusionment
and disenchantment that one can literally cut with a knife at a time when
Zimbabwe should be experiencing the true meaning of independence and the
value of hope? Indeed, where did we go wrong ad infinitum?

      Such an honest self-assessment will help us revisit the sacrifice,
principles and the selflessness of the liberation struggle heroes earlier on
alluded to, which in essence should and must be the guiding compass for all
Zimbabweans, particularly those entrusted with the leadership of our beloved
country's national institutions in the discharge of duty and vocation for
the few who have uplifted themselves to that wavelength.

      Such a stance will enable us to search deeper as we embark on a path
of self-correction to come up with measures to re-integrate Zimbabwe into
the community of nations after its ostracisation, restore ebbing foreign and
indeed local investor confidence as well as rid the country of the growing
political intolerance and confrontation. Otherwise we could risk bequeathing
a terrible legacy to posterity - obsolete socio-political and economic
structures. And the fallen heroes will forever turn in their graves on
seeing that picking up the maxim gun was the beginnin g of a road to nowhere
other than a banana republic. That will not only be sad but also terrible.
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      ...and now to the Notebook

      8/5/2004 8:30:31 AM (GMT +2)

      It is interesting that, at the
      weekend, our partisan police camped at the home of MDC leader Morgan
Tsvangirai, purportedly in search of some arms of war that might have been
used by the party's officials to defend themselves when they were attacked
by ZANU PF thugs while campaigning in Mashonaland West.

      That was quite interesting - a competent police force scouring a
single house for more than two days in search of weapons?

      We wonder what sort of weapons the fellows were looking for that
needed so much time, if ever they were looking for anything at all,
otherwise the opposition leader risks something incriminating being planted
at his house by these goons.

      Even the most foolish of all fools would not be so stupid as to hide
illegal weapons under his pillow when it is definite that the ruling party
and its police force are looking for someone to lock up.

      There are so many cases involving firearms by ZANU PF officials and
their rogue war veterans, but the police have never bothered to camp at
their houses. Too many to mention, including cases in which the weapons have
been used to kill people, but the same police are not excited.

      If this is how the coming election is going to be handled, then it
better be cancelled because it is worse than no election at all.

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      Tobacco farmers plead for funds

      8/5/2004 7:38:07 AM (GMT +2)

      THE government, whose controversial policies have been blamed for the
collapse of the tobacco industry, has been urged to find ways of financing
the golden leaf instead of relying on the risk-averse private sector.

      The call follows last week's announcement by the Finance Ministry that
it would no longer guarantee borrowings made by tobacco farmers.

      Davidson Mugabe, president of the Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers' Union,
said the government's dithering on the financing of next season's crop could
destroy the industry.

      He said funding was critical because preparations for the next crop
were now at an advanced stage, with the deadline for seedbed planting being
August 15.

      "This is the time to make funds available for tobacco, for the country
to attain average yields. If we miss this month's deadline, then we should
forget about having any meaningful yields.

      "The government should look at other forms of financing the crop and
remember that the farmers require local currency to finance a crop that will
bring foreign currency into the country," he said.

      Mugabe said industry stakeholders were reconvening to map out
strategies before approaching the government to reconsider its position.

      "We will definitely organise ourselves (stakeholders in the tobacco
industry) before we meet with the government to explain the implications of
the situation."

      Tobacco output has nosedived during the past three years because of a
myriad of viability problems, including lack of inputs, finance, erratic
weather as well as low international prices.

      Latest figures indicate a 32 percent decline in output from last year'
s 83 million kg. Last year, the auction floors closed at a selling price of
US$2.25 per kg, higher than the current price of US$1.88 per kg.

      Tobacco farmers earn 75 percent of their proceeds at the auction floor
rate of $5 600 to the greenback. The 25 percent balance is paid at $824.
They also enjoy a support price of $750 per kg.
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From Zim Online (SA), 5 August

World Food Programme retrenches workforce in Zimbabwe

Harare - The World Food Programme (WFP) has retrenched 140 members of its
workforce in Zimbabwe following President Robert Mugabe's insistence that
the country has harvested enough to feed itself and will not require outside
aid. ZimOnline has established that out of the 230 workers that the WFP
employed in the country, 140 have been retrenched, with the first batch
having already left and the last group set to leave at the end of this
month. Sources at WFP' Harare office said this week that management had sent
a circular stating that retrenchment was inevitable due to the refusal by
Mugabe to accept humanitarian assistance. Richard Lee, WFP's
Johannesburg-based Regional Office corporate affairs manager, yesterday
confirmed the retrenchment exercise, saying it was necessitated by a drastic
reduction in the number of Zimbabweans receiving food aid. 'We have scaled
down (the workforce) to 140 from 230. We have scaled down because the number
of people we are feeding has gone down from 4 million to just over 600 000.'
There seems to be controversy over what some of the retrenched workers
described as 'peanuts' in terms of terminal benefits and exit packages. 'I
wouldn't comment on the issue of disgruntlement over the packages. The
Harare office will have to speak on that,' said Lee. Makina Walker, the WFP
spokesperson in Harare, was said to be on leave yesterday. WFP still gives
'targeted assistance' to starving Zimbabweans and reports are that the
Harare office has been receiving more requests for food aid from across the
country. Government, however, is understood to have reminded WFP and other
donor agencies that their 'assistance is not required this year and it would
be appreciated if they stopped operations'. Mugabe has repeatedly claimed
that the country had a good harvest this year and that donor agencies had to
'look elsewhere for hungrier people'.
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Sent: Thursday, August 05, 2004 9:57 PM
Subject: To all Zimbabweans concerned about their future.

In the past 10 days, the Zimbabwe Republic Police have barred President Morgan Tsvangirai from addressing 11 meetings convened for grassroots officials of the MDC in Bikita East, Bikita West, Masvingo North, Guutu South, Gutu North, Gokwe Central, Gokwe East, Gokwe West, Kadoma Central, Silobela and Hwedza.
Mr Tsvangirai believes the police are abusing their powers in denying a political leader of his stature, with millions of supporters and followers, from performing his national duties. He has no option other than to put up a test case in the courts to get clarity on the police interpretation of the Public Order and Security Act. He says POSA merely requires political parties to inform the police as a formality, not to ask for their approval, to hold meetings.
Mr Tsvangirai is further disturbed by the fact that the planned meetings were not open, public rallies but consultations with officials from the MDC's structures in the rural areas. Such meetings are not covered by POSA, according to Mr Tsvangirai's understanding.
The reasons given by the police vary from place to place. The most common is that there is a shortage of manpower, or that Zanu PF also wants the same venue, or that the officer who is supposed to give the go-ahead is off-duty. Mr Tsvangirai is very concerned about this new development which casts serious doubt as to whether Zimbabwe can have a free and fair election in 2005.
He is watching the political situation closely with a view to seeking permanent remedies to the anomaly.
T W Bango
Spokesperson for the President,
Movement for Democratic Change, Harare, Zimbabwe.
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Zim Online

Thurs 5 Aug 2004

      GWERU/JOHANNESBURG -  Zimbabwe police today arrested top trade union
officials in an apparent fresh crackdown on the labour movement.

      They are Southern African Trade Union Coordinating Council (SATUCC)
president Lucia Matibenga, the secretary general of the Zimbabwe Congress of
Trade Unions (ZCTU), Wellington Chibhebhe, and an advocacy officer, Timothy

      The three were picked up by police while conducting a labour workshop
in the city of Gweru, about 300 kilometres west of Harare. By late afternoon
they had not been charged and are being held at Gweru Central police

      ZCTU president Lovemore Matombo told ZimOnline: "The reason for their
arrest is that they were holding a workshop.  The government is anti-ZCTU in
this country and they would take every action to disrupt any activity
organised by ZCTU."

      Police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena could not be reached for comment on
what charges police would lay against the trio or when they were likely to
be released.

      The arrest of the trade unionists comes as the Congress of South
African Trade Unions (COSATU) plans to send a fact finding mission to
Zimbabwe  to investigate alleged threats and harassment of labour activists
as well as other human rights abuses.

      COSATU official Pat Craven said they had 'agreed in principle (on the
mission) but we haven't agreed on the date'. The arrests, he said,  had made
the planned mission even more urgent.

      Craven said trade unions in Zimbabwe were no longer free to organise
meetings and hold demonstrations.

      An ally of South Africa's ruling African National Congress party,
COSATU has on several occasions in the past disagreed with Pretoria's policy
of 'quiet diplomacy' towards President Robert Mugabe and his government,
particularly on matters relating to infringement of labour and other human
rights. ZimOnline
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Concerns over possible maize shortage

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

JOHANNESBURG, 5 Aug 2004 (IRIN) - Zimbabwe's Grain Marketing Board (GMB) has
received about 119,000 mt of maize, out of an expected 1.2 million mt since
the beginning of the marketing season in April, the official newspaper, the
Herald reported on Wednesday.

The newspaper quoted GMB's acting chief executive Winston Dzawo as saying
that the parastatal had been receiving about 30,000 mt of maize every week
and deliveries were expected to reach a peak in the middle of this month.

The Zimbabwean government has since the beginning of this year forecast a
bumper harvest of over two million mt for the staple maize. However, other
analysts have consistently warned the crop is likely to be well below
national demand, estimated at 1.8 million mt.

Reacting to the newspaper report, Pierre-Luc Vanhaeverbeke of the European
Union's food security division in Harare expressed concern that "if by the
beginning of August, the board has only received 119,000 mt of maize, how
will the country meet the shortfall?"

Zambia's Food Reserve Agency told IRIN last month that it had received
export queries from Zimbabwe.

Other food relief agencies have expressed concern over whether the GMB has
the logistical capacity to receive 30,000 mt of maize every week.

The Herald also reported that the board has been paying cash upfront to
farmers who delivered maize. "The parastatal [GMB] had by mid-last month
paid farmers $40 billion [about US $7 million] out of the $100 billion
[about US $18 million] released by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to purchase
grain," the newspaper said.
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Cape Times

      Zimbabwe recognises whistles as weapons of mass destruction
      August 5, 2004

      By John Scott

      Friends have returned safely to Cape Town after a two-month motoring
trip to Zimbabwe, having survived countless roadblocks and requests to open
their car boot. Fortunately they had no children's plastic whistles in their

      The police in that embattled country hate toy whistles.
      This week they arrested Jenni Williams, a Woza (Women of Zimbabwe
Arise) leader and confiscated 2 000 such whistles to stop the women blowing
the whistle on Robert Mugabe's excesses.

      The investigating officer interrogated Williams for more than four
hours about the whistles, then said he would release her if she confessed
where the whistles had come from.

      Naturally she refused to divulge such damaging information, so he
released her anyway, but she has to appear in court again tomorrow with 45
other women for "blocking the pavement" and, presumably, blowing her

      I'm not surprised the Zimbabwean authorities are keen to rid the
country of whistles.

      There is no more potent weapon than a whistle if someone phones you
and breathes heavily in a threatening kind
      of way.

      Ask Helen Suzman. In her day she received umpteen nasty calls, and
blew them all away with her whistle.

      I used a referee's whistle to good effect myself during the people's
revolt of 1976.

      Late at night I had to cross the railway line via a subway
spray-painted with the slogan KILL THE WHITE PIGS.

      One blast on my whistle in the confined space was enough to freeze any
attacker into a state of immobility for three seconds - enough time for me
to make a long-legged getaway.

      So a whistle is not to be scoffed at.

      Two thousand blown simultaneously might topple the Mugabe government,
like the trumpets flattened the walls of Jericho.

      No wonder they subjected Jenni Williams to the third degree.

      Having proved to the police that they were clean as a whistle, my
friends quite enjoyed Zimbabwe.

      Beers only cost Z$6 000 (about R6), petrol was cheaper than in South
Africa (having been imported from South Africa in the first place) and for a
couple of nights they had the luxurious Leopard Rock hotel/casino all to
themselves, because tourists are as rare these days as unseized farms.

      Potholes were the biggest problem. Car-swallowing craters.

      Motorists drove a zigzag course down the roads to avoid them, hitting
other motorists, cyclists and even pedestrians, who were also swerving to
avoid them.

      Road signs were all gone, melted down to make coffin handles, and
traffic light bulbs were now illuminating private homes in red and green.

      "That was by day. Driving at night was more difficult," said Will.

      "Just be thankful you weren't transporting whistles," I said.
      "They may never have let you come back."
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Sunday Times (SA)

Another Zimbabwe bank bites the dust

Thursday August 05, 2004 14:47 - (SA)

HARARE - A local commercial bank in Zimbabwe that was teetering on the brink
of bankruptcy was shut down for a period of six months, the fifth to be
closed down this year due to liquidity problems.

All deposits at the Royal Bank of Zimbabwe have been frozen and a curator
has been named to manage the bank, founded two years ago, the central bank
said in a statement.

"The Reserve Bank took this action upon discovering that Royal Bank was not
in a sound financial condition," it said.

"In particular the bank is facing serious liquidity and solvency problems
which are attributable to poor corporate governance practices," it added.

The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe has this year placed several of Zimbabwe's
newly opened banks and asset management firms under its direct control.

Thousands of depositors have been unable to withdraw their savings as a
result and many are returning to the established international banks such as
Standard Chartered, Stanbic Bank and Barclays Bank.

In April the central bank announced new measures to tighten the operation of
locally-owned banks which have been blamed for plunging the country into
economic crisis.

Several high-profile bankers, businessmen and politicians have been arrested
or fled the country for alleged financial crimes, including funnelling
foreign currency abroad.

Zimbabwe's financial sector crisis came to light after President Robert
Mugabe appointed a new central bank governor who unearthed the malpractices
and mismanagement in the sector.

A "troubled banks fund" was created to help with liquidity support while
other banks faced closure.

Central bank governor Gideon Gono said the house-cleaning in the banking
sector "has helped a great deal to avoid a system-wide collapse of our
financial sector".

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Rights-Zimbabwe: Media Environment Bodes Ill for 2005 Poll

Inter Press Service (Johannesburg)

August 5, 2004
Posted to the web August 5, 2004

Moyiga Nduru

When two reporters and a lawyer traveled to Zimbabwe recently on a
fact-finding mission, they found it a journey of the most arduous kind.

The delegation - from Botswana, Mozambique and Zambia - was sent by the
Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA), with support from the Southern
Africa Media Project of a German foundation: the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung.
(MISA is a non-governmental organisation based in the Namibian capital,

The aim of the team was to examine first hand the state of media freedom in
Zimbabwe in the run up to parliamentary elections scheduled for March 2005.

"We did it under a very difficult condition and hostile environment," said
Fernando Goncalves, editor of the Savanah newspaper in Mozambique. He was
addressing journalists at the launch of a 22-page report on the group's
findings, 'Fact-Finding Mission to Zimbabwe: June 2004'. The event took
place in South Africa's commercial hub of Johannesburg on Wednesday, Aug. 4.

One day after the team's arrival, Zimbabwe's state-run media were calling
for the closure of the local MISA office, noted Goncalves.

His colleague, Pamela Dube, editor of the Mokgosi newspaper in Botswana,
used the work "chaos" to describe the state of the media in Zimbabwe. She
told reporters that news outlets had become polarized along political lines.

"The battle lines is no longer the terrain of the political opponents - the
media is the battle field...In the fight for dominance on the one hand and
survival on the other, journalistic ethics are being compromised," she

Added Goncalves, "The political environment in Zimbabwe is extremely
volatile and polarized. The two main political parties (the ruling ZANU-PF
and opposition Movement for Democratic Change) each see their continued
existence and dominance as only possible with the elimination of the other.
This breeds violence."

The MISA report accuses the state-controlled media of putting out hate
messages against perceived political opponents.

"Violence seems to be encouraged by hate messages that are carried out in
the state media, particularly the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC)
and the country's main daily newspaper, The Herald," it says.

According to MISA, state media hardly mention activities carried out by the
opposition. When they do, the reports are invariably filled with derogatory
terms that portray opposition leaders and their supporters as unpatriotic,
subversive elements who are seeking to instigate violence and overthrow the

One example cited was the coverage given to the Catholic Archbishop of
Zimbabwe's second largest city of Bulawayo, Pius Ncube. The cleric has been
subjected to a campaign of vilification and ridicule because of his views on
politically-motivated violence in Zimbabwe.

"Violence and intimidation is extensive to journalists and lawyers.
Independent journalists are not allowed to cover certain events, while
lawyers find it increasingly difficult to access their clients who would
have been arrested on politically trumped-up charges," the report notes.

According to MISA, Zimbabwe registered 102 attacks on the media in 2003 -
the highest number in the Southern African Development Community (SADC).
These included incidents of assault, imprisonment and legal threats.

The organisation says this has created a feeling of uncertainty amongst
reporters - many of whom have also lost trust in each other. Journalists
feel restricted, and find it difficult to hold the government accountable.

MISA's report notes that reporters, from the state media in particular, have
fallen into the habit of supporting authorities and ZANU-PF without
question, at times even taking a position on factions within the ruling

In addition, MISA laments the closure of Zimbabwe's only private daily
newspaper, The Daily News, last year. Amongst other things, this has
deprived independent voter education groups of a forum where they can place
adverts that encourage Zimbabweans to register.

The closure took place under Zimbabwe's draconian media law - the Access to
Information and Protection of Privacy Act.

Basildon Peta, a Zimbabwean journalist based in South Africa, told reporters
at Wednesday's launch that "Zimbabwe, which is further tightening its media
laws, has descended into totalitarianism comparable only to Burma

The government is reportedly also planning to acquire equipment for the
purpose of monitoring internet communications.

In the absence of any privately-owned radio or television stations, the
internet has become a popular source of news for Zimbabweans. It also serves
as a valuable method of communication for many of the 3.5 million citizens
who have left the country for political or economic reasons.

Rural voters who depend on the radio have been particularly hard hit by the
lack of independent broadcast media, says Goncalves: "People in rural areas
are so scared to listen to shortwave radio because of the consequences. They
listen to it in the hiding or inside the house - not in the public - because
of fear."

MISA said shortwave radios are not allowed into the country by Zimbabwean
authorities. This is largely to prevent the population from listening to a
London-based radio station run by Zimbabwean nationals, SW Radio Africa -
and another which broadcasts from within Zimbabwe: Voice of the People.
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MDC men acquitted after marathon court case

          August 05 2004 at 07:27PM

      Harare - A controversial year-long murder trial that revealed torture
and a state plot to incriminate six members of Zimbabwe's main opposition
party in the killing a ruling party activist ended on Thursday with their

      Fletcher Dulini Ncube, national executive member of the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change, and five junior party members were
discharged by Harare High Court judge Sandra Mungwira, who said that state
lawyers had failed to produce any evidence against them.

      She said police witnesses were manifestly unreliable and the
confessions obtained from them one of them under torture and used against
them were inadmissible.

      They were accused of abducting and strangling Cain Nkala, a leading
member of the notorious war veterans militia of President Robert Mugabe's
ruling Zanu-PF party in 2002.

      The ruling is seen as a major embarrassment to Mugabe, who turned the
killing into a major political strategy against the MDC.

      He declared at Nkala burial at Heroes Acre, the shrine outside for
Harare reserved for ruling party officials, that the killing proved that the
MDC was a party of violence and urged party supporters to extract vengeance
from the opposition party.

      Now, opposition figures said, the blame for the murder points to the

      Mugabe's rhetoric was followed by a series of violent mob attacks on
the MDC, the burning of offices and assaults and abductions of hundreds of
members in a wave of terror shortly before presidential elections in 2002.

      The MDC six were arrested soon after Nkalas abduction in November
2001. Ncube lost an eye in detention after officials refused to allow him to
see a doctor.

      Three of the group spent 21 months in appalling conditions in jail as
authorities repeatedly ignored court orders for their release.

      The whole courtroom shrieked when the judgement was handed down, and
people started crying, said Edith Mushore, one of the defence team.

      "This is a very serious indictment against the police and the
intelligence services," said David Coltart, the MDC's legal director. "It
raises the question, who killed Cain Nkala? Zanu-PF has a long history of
killing their own to achieve their political objectives."

      He said he expected Zimbabwe's attorney-general to pursue the case,
and look closer to home for the answers.

      Nkala was himself arrested in 2001 in the western city of Bulawayo
over the abduction and death of an MDC official a year earlier.

      During the trial of the MDC six, evidence was led that he had named
senior government officials as the killers of the abducted MDC official.

      Soon after, Nkala disappeared, and his body was found in a shallow
grave outside Bulawayo. The six MDC officials were arrested and charged with
murdering him.

      Defence lawyers challenged police evidence, and were granted a special
hearing to examine their statements.

      After months of a trial-within-a-trial, judge Mungwira ruled in March
that the police investigating the killing had shamelessly lied. She
described the state case as surreal and said the police investigation record
was an appalling piece of fiction.

      She found that police had arrested the six and accused them of murder
before it was known that Nkala was dead.

      She also accepted evidence that a shadowy third force, comprising
secret police, soldiers and war veterans, had been controlling the police

      After she gave her ruling in March, state prosecutors said they would
bring new witnesses. None were produced, and the judge pronounced her

      Lawyers said the judge had delivered her ruling in an atmosphere of
intimidation by the government to produce a guilty verdict.

      Through much of the trial, she was undergoing chemotherapy for cancer.
"She's a very brave woman," said one of the defence team.

      All of the defence advocates said they were trailed by secret police
during the trial, and repeatedly received threatening telephone calls. -
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Zim police want white farmer
05/08/2004 14:26  - (SA)

Harare - Five men have been arrested in Zimbabwe for trying to smuggle farm
equipment worth millions of dollars to neighbouring Zambia where most of the
white farmers have resettled, police said on Thursday.

"The five were arrested this week in connection with the attempted smuggling
of farm equipment to Zambia using forged documents," Assistant Police
Commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena said.

Under new laws that came into effect in December last year, it is an offence
for a farmer to get rid of any equipment without authorisation from the
lands minister.

The law was passed after the government accused white farmers who lost their
land under Zimbabwe's controversial land reforms of trying to export, lock
away or destroy their equipment.

"The tip of the iceberg"

President Robert Mugabe's government ruled that it would "compulsorily
acquire" any farming equipment and material left behind by white farmers.

Bvudzijena said the equipment was seized in the western city of Bulawayo and
that the five who worked with two private freight companies and the customs
department will appear in court to face charges once the investigation is

"It's a lot of equipment which includes tractors, planters and electrical
gadgets," he said.

Police were searching for a Harare-based white farmer, who allegedly
organised the export of the equipment.

"We are still looking for the white farmer," said Bvudzijena.

"We suspect this could be just a tip of the iceberg. There could be a racket
going on between the farmers, freight agents and ZIMRA (customs) officers,"
said Bvudzijena.

In 2000, the government embarked on the controversial reform programme to
acquire millions of hectares of land from whites and redistribute it to

About 4 500 white farmers owned 70% of prime farmland in the country, but
now only around 500 remain as many have resettled in Zambia, Mozambique,
Uganda and Nigeria or have moved to Australia or New Zealand.

In April, the government started selling farming equipment to the new black
farmers. Land Minister John Nkomo said the machinery used to be owned by
white farmers "who are largely hostile and unsupportive to the land reform
programme". - AFP
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Lawyer for 'mercenaries' disappointed but satisfied

August 05, 2004, 09:04

Alwyn Griebenauw, the legal representative for the accused in case of the 70
alleged mercenaries in Zimbabwe, says his clients are disappointed with
yesterday's judgment, but it is sound in law. The Constitutional Court
dismissed an appeal for the extradition of the men being tried in Zimbabwe.
They are facing charges in connection with an alleged plot to topple the
government in Equatorial Guinea.

Griebenauw says there is a positive aspect to the judgment. He says this is
because the South African government has a duty to consider any help for the
men, if they are approached, especially if there is a possibility that their
constitutional rights will be infringed in another country. "We are
satisfied with the judgment and obviously we will now approach the South
African government on that basis and ask them for help as far as the men are
concerned in Zimbabwe."

He says according to the Zimbabwean the request for extradition to
Equatorial Guinea is still pending. "Our major concern is extradition to
Equatorial Guinea and the imposition of the death penalty in Equatorial
Guinea if found guilty there."
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New Zimbabwe

Moyo sues Zimbabwe Independent journalists over 'mole' story

By Staff Reporter
Last updated: 08/05/2004 07:38:59
INFORMATION Minister Jonathan Moyo is suing the Zimbabwe Independent
newspaper for $50 million claiming defamation over a story which he says
insinuated that he was a mole within the ruling Zanu PF party.

The Independent story carried in the current issue was written by News
Editor Dumisani Muleya who is cited as the first respondent in the suit.

The story at the centre of the storm was a front page splash under the
headline: "Nkomo hits back: I won't be scared by infiltrators" and the other
on the second page under the headline "Moyo exposed".

"The aforesaid statements were wrongful and defamatory of the plaintiff
(Prof Moyo) and intended to damage his reputation and fair name," Moyo's
papers filed at the High Court said.

The Independent story was quoting Land Reform and Resettlement minister John
Nkomo who warned ruling party "infiltrators and saboteurs playing to the
gallery in the deepening multiple farm allocation row that their antics will
no longer be tolerated."

The story went further to state that Moyo "was allocated more than one farm
despite his angry denials, official documents show."

Moyo claims the statement was understood by members of the public to mean
that he was allocated more than one farm and in particular that he was given
four farms, which also damages his reputation and "fair name".

Nkomo told the Independent he was proceeding to recover surplus farms
ministers and high-ranking officials were allocated, despite protests by
those affected.

"I won't be intimidated, per-turbed or frustrated by those causing all this
hullabaloo," Nkomo told the paper.

"There are some people now abusing Zanu PF for personal ambitions and gain.
As chairman of Zanu PF and, indeed, as minister I will stand firm in defence
of the party. Zanu PF has come a long way and at different times it has had
infiltrators and people planted within - the fifth columnists - but they
have always been flushed out."

"We can't have people who behave like the opposition among us. Sooner or
later Zanu PF shall cleanse itself of these elements," he said.

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Business Day

MDC suspicious of overture


Business Day Correspondent

NEWS that Zimbabwe's ruling party, Zanu (PF), is making overtures to end
hostilities with the opposition, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC),
ahead of next year's parliamentary elections, was greeted with scepticism

Nathan Shamuyarira, Zanu (PF)'s secretary for information and publicity, has
asked the MDC to support his party's declared intention to amend the
country's constitution so that electoral reforms can be effected before next
year's election.

Shamuyarira made the appeal at a Southern African Development Community
(SADC) meeting convened in the resort town of Victoria Falls to discuss
electoral reforms in the region. The aim of the meeting was to set new
standards for the running of elections in (SADC) member states.

Shamuyarira said Zanu (PF) only needed four votes in parliament from the MDC
to push through reforms that could see key revisions to the process.

Among the likely revisions could be the appointment of an independent
electoral commission that would marry the operations of four controversial
electoral bodies.

However, under the plan, President Robert Mugabe would appoint the chairman
of the commission, while its five commissioners would be appointed by
parliament a factor that could prove to be the stumbling block for the

Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the MDC, said the only news his party had of
the proposed electoral reforms had been what he had seen in the media. "We
have not been approached to discuss the much-needed reforms."
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