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Zim Independent

Zanu PF/MDC clash on electoral reforms
Staff Writers
THE ruling Zanu PF and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
are on a collision course over the proposed electoral reforms which the
ruling party is touting as key to Zimbabwe's international rehabilitation.
The two parties clashed this week on how to proceed on the issue. While Zanu
PF spokesman Nathan Shamuyarira sounded conciliatory, saying there was need
for dialogue with the MDC, the opposition hardened its position, complaining
the reforms were a smokescreen behind which rigging and violence would

Shamuyarira said at a two-day conference in Victoria Falls on electoral
reforms that there was need to engage the MDC on the issue.

"We only need four votes from the opposition to form a (two-thirds) majority
and then make constitutional amendments to enable us to implement the
electoral reforms, and we hope the MDC will join us in effecting the
reforms," he said.

For Zanu PF to amend the constitution to accommodate the setting up of the
proposed Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), a purportedly independent
body, it needs MDC support. Zanu PF has 87 MPs, including 12
non-constituency ones, but it is almost assured of the support of the 10
chiefs who are MPs. The MDC has 51 MPs, while Zanu (Ndonga) has one.

Shamuyarira's statement on the need to engage the MDC was in direct conflict
with remarks by Information minister Jonathan Moyo's department last week
which claimed there were no talks with the MDC on electoral reforms.

The statement pointed to fissures within the ruling party over the issue.

Zanu PF and the MDC have in the past few weeks been trying to engage each
other to agree on a draft Bill to usher in the changes. The first encounter
between Zanu PF's secretary for legal affairs Patrick Chinamasa and MDC
secretary-general Welshman Ncube at Parliament Building on July 14 ended in

Chinamasa wanted the MDC to rubber-stamp Zanu PF's proposals when the Bill
comes before parliament next month but Ncube refused.

Although Chinamasa told a recent politburo meeting that President Robert
Mugabe would appoint five electoral officers, including the ZEC chairman, to
the new agencies from a list of nine proposed by parliament, sources say the
proposed Bill wants the widely criticised Judicial Services Commission
involved in the appointment process.

MDC secretary for legal affairs David Coltart said the MDC would not support
the reforms if they were a sham.

"If Zanu PF chooses to pick and choose certain electoral reforms, we cannot
play that game with them," Coltart said. "If they present constitutional
reforms that do not result in a genuinely independent and powerful electoral
commission, we will not lend our support to such a proposal."

The Victoria Falls meeting resolved that Zimbabwe's proposed reforms need to
comply with regional standards. It also said they should be agreed by

Mozambique has adopted this approach insisting that the opposition Renamo
must be involved in electoral law making.

Zimbabwe will be in the spotlight at the Sadc meeting in Mauritius from
August 15-17 where regional leaders are due to adopt a draft on principles
and guidelines governing democratic elections.

Ncube said the MDC would not support fake reforms.

"You need to build national consensus on these reforms. Reforms that are
suitable to Zanu PF are not acceptable. If they don't address all the
pertinent issues, there is a high probability that the MDC national
executive will resolve not to participate in the elections," he said. "We
have already told them that we will not participate in yet another
fraudulent election and if they want, they can declare a one-party
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Zim Independent

NGOs prepare to lobby Sadc heads on Bill
Godfrey Marawanyika
DIVISIONS have emerged over the Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) Bill,
which, if promulgated into law, will cut off donor funding to local civic
groups involved in democratic awareness.

Some NGOs who met last Friday to discuss the Bill wanted to lobby Southern
Africa Development Community (Sadc) heads of state meeting in Mauritius
later this month to dissuade government from the move. Others urged
consultations with government.

Brian Kagoro, a consultant who was hired by the National Association of
Non-Governmental Organisations (Nango) to provide a critique on the Bill,
said that there was a need for Nango to lobby Sadc heads of state in

"I personally believe that in Mauritius Nango should make its presence felt.
In a few days' time strategies should have been made, but there has to be
representation in Mauritius," he said.

"I don't think we will get anything from government but let's keep lines of
communication with them open."

The proposed legislation, which will repeal the Private Voluntary

Organisations Act, makes it illegal for NGOs involved in issues of
governance to receive foreign funding.

The Bill will also outlaw the registration of foreign NGOs whose "sole or
principal objects involve or include issues of governance".

The proposed law will have a huge bearing on the ability of affected NGOs to
operate since most of them are foreign-funded, critics complain.

Civic groups likely to be affected include Crisis Coalition, Human Rights
Trust of Southern Africa, Transparency International and Zimbabwe Lawyers
for Human Rights. In the Bill, civic groups dealing with media rights and
advocacy are not covered under the definition of a non-governmental

Legal experts said this could be deliberate so those organisations like the
Media Institute of Southern Africa and the Media Monitoring Project of
Zimbabwe are denied foreign funding.

Another NGO activist who represented people living with Aids was of the

opinion that people should negotiate with the government, something which
did not go down well with Lovemore Madhuku from the National Constitutional
Assembly (NCA).

"It is possible to negotiate with the government but I know they want to
resort to divide and rule using this Bill. That's the purpose," he said.

"We may not continue to be together because some Zanu PF-related NGOs will
not be monitored as they would the NCA for example.

Organisations from where I come from would be targeted," Madhuku said.

If promulgated into law the Bill will virtually cut off aid to NGOs that
deal with issues such as Aids, media advocacy and women's and children's
rights, since these also relate to governance and human rights.

Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights director Arnold Tsunga yesterday warned
that the government could use Section 2 of the Bill to close down NGOs.

"Given that the universally accepted perception of human rights is broad
enough to cover civil and political as well as economic and cultural rights,
it is clear that the government could ban any foreign funding for any
disliked NGO using this provision if the Bill is promulgated into law,"
Tsunga said.

The proposed Bill also creates an NGO council that is composed of five civil
society representatives and nine government representatives, that are all
appointed by and at the discretion of the Minister of Public Service.

Once enacted into law the Bill will enable government to investigate
finances and resources of NGOs.

The government can order NGOs which get funding from outside the country
illegally to repatriate the funds or the state may take possession of money,
securities or property and pay it into a Guardian's Fund. The NGOs can also
be dissolved.

At the end of last week's meeting a task force was formed that would deal
with mobilisation both at the international and regional stage.

Another group was formed for constitutional challenge and community
mobilisation. However, other people who attended the meeting were of the
opinion that there must be people who should be responsible for mobilisation
at the local level.
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Zim Independent

Bell tolls for Porta squatters
Augustine Mukaro
GOVERNMENT last week deployed police and the army to compile a list of Porta
Farm squatters in preparation for eviction in the next fortnight.

The move follows Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo's visit to the
farm a fortnight ago. Chombo told over 10 000 squatters at Porta to wind up
their operations in preparation for relocation by August 15.

Government claims the area needs to be cleared to make way for the
construction of a sewerage plant. The squatters claim the government wants
to give the farm to a senior Zanu PF politician.

Residents of Porta this week told the Zimbabwe Independent that Local
Government officials who visited the camp were escorted by the army and
police, fearing that the squatters might be violent.

"We were told that we would be relocated to acquired farms in Nyabira," one
resident said. "We are hearing that government vehicles and the army will be
used to transport us to the farm."

The registration was completed last Wednesday. Two farms in Nyabira have
been earmarked for the squatters.

The residents however lambasted government's intention to move them, saying
it would worsen their situation.

"The majority of us have been employed in businesses around Lake Chivero.
The unemployed ones were surviving on fishing, so moving us will be taking
away our life-line."

Residents of Porta Farm have been accused of massive poaching on Lake
Chivero and Lake Manyame.

Porta Farm squatter camp was created in 1991 when government demolished a
squatter camp in Mbare ahead of Queen Elizabeth's visit to the country.

Over the past four years several illegal settlements have sprouted in the
peri-urban areas. The settlements which came up as a result of farm
invasions include Hopley Estates along Highfield-Chitungwiza road, Chenjerai
Hunzvi Housing Scheme along Seke Road and White Cliff along Bulawayo Road.
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Zim Independent

Tsvangirai slams Posa
Staff Writer
MOVEMENT for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai has said the
Public Order and Security Act (Posa) drastically infringes on the party's
political rights.

Tsvangirai said the repressive legislation was interfering with the MDC's
freedoms of expression, assembly and association. He said public
demonstrations and protests were effectively illegal under Posa.

"The majority of meetings are either declared illegal or are otherwise
disrupted," Tsvangirai said. "We wanted to have a meeting in Bikita West and
East on (last) Friday and Saturday respectively but we were told late on
Friday that the officer handling our application was not available. We had
to cancel the meetings at the last minute."

Writing in his weekly message, Tsvangirai said he had to rush through his
meeting at Masasa Business Centre in Buhera South on Wednesday last week
after police limited the time for his party to gather.

"Our protests and indications that this was not a rally but a private
consultative meeting with district structures went unheeded," Tsvangirai

"Posa and the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (Aippa)
are the two main restrictive laws, specially promulgated with the MDC in
mind. The idea is to disturb our political activities altogether, leaving
millions of Zimbabweans without a political choice."

Tsvangirai said on Tuesday last week he was supposed to meet party officials
in Hwedza but police refused to sanction the meeting, saying Education
minister Aeneas Chigwedere, who is MP for the area, needed the same venue
for meetings the whole week.

"To change the venue requires a fresh application to the same police
station, submitted four working days in advance," Tsvangirai said. "We have
had to postpone the meeting."

Tsvangirai said in the run-up to the presidential election in 2002 police
cancelled nearly 100 MDC applications to hold rallies.

"I only managed to address eight campaign rallies because of these legal

restrictions," Tsvangirai said. "For us to have a free and fair election
there is need for a profound rethink on the political restrictions imposed
by Posa and Aippa, otherwise we are wasting time."
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Zim Independent

Government yet to adopt judicial code of conduct
Gift Phiri
GOVERNMENT is yet to adopt a code of conduct for the judiciary almost two
years after making assurances to visiting experts from the African
Commission on Human and People's Rights (ACHPR) that a standard code was on
the way.

Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku told visiting ACHPR commissioners that he
was conscious of the need to rebuild public trust. In this respect he
advised that a code of conduct for the judiciary was under consideration.

The commissioners had noted that the judiciary was politically compromised.

"The mission was struck by the observation that the judiciary had been

tainted and.bears the distrust that comes from the prevailing political
conditions," their report said. "It appears that their conditions of service
do not protect them from political pressure; appointments to the bench could
be done in such a way that they could be insulated from the stigma of
political patronage," the report said.

Chidyausiku this week declined to shed light on when the code of conduct
would come into force. "I do not talk to the press," Chidyausiku said. "You
should communicate through the ministry or through the registrar's office."

High Court registrar Charles Nyatanga said the permanent secretary in the
Ministry of Justice was drafting the code. But he professed ignorance as to
when the process would be completed.

Constitutional law expert Lovemore Madhuku said the Code of Judicial Conduct
was intended to set ethical standards for judges.

"The Code of Judicial Conduct is not intended as an exhaustive guide for the
conduct of judges," Madhuku said. "They should also be governed in their
judicial and personal conduct by general ethical standards. The code is
intended, however, to state basic standards which should govern the conduct
of all judges and to provide guidelines to assist judges in establishing and
maintaining high standards of judicial and personal conduct."

The code of judicial conduct usually comprises five broad statements called
canons. The first canon is that a judge shall uphold the integrity and
independence of the judiciary. A judge should avoid impropriety and the
appearance of impropriety in all the judge's activities. The third canon is
that a judge shall perform the duties of judicial office impartially and
diligently. A judge shall so conduct the judge's extra-judicial activities
as to minimise the risk of conflict with judicial obligations.

The last canon is that a judge refrain from political activity inappropriate

the judge's judicial office.

Madhuku said the country had seen the promulgation of bad laws that

trample on citizens' rights, the undermining of the judiciary characterised
by the loading of the bench with ruling-party cronies, and the virtual
collapse of the rule of law.

"All these have seriously compromised the independence of the judiciary and
undermined the protection of citizens by law," said Madhuku.

"We have seen judges getting farms as bribes from government. The code of
judicial conduct if adopted would put a stop to all this."

Madhuku said the independence of the judiciary was the cornerstone of all

"The capacity to investigate violations and prosecute in a fair, effective,
and competent manner by relevant judicial, administrative, or legislative
authorities is key to the implementation of laws. However, the Zimbabwe
government has failed to provide for this," said Madhuku.
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Zim Independent

Police empty-handed after raid
Gift Phiri
IN what is seen as an intensification of the siege mentality currently
gripping government, police from Harare's Law and Order section this week
raided opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan
Tsvangirai's Strathaven home searching for weapons.

The squad, led by one Garnett Sikovha, alleged that Tsvangirai was keeping
an arsenal of weapons including grenades and tear smoke canisters in his
house. At the end of the search, nothing was found.

Meanwhile, police in Bulawayo this week arrested activist Jenni Williams
after raiding the Women of Zimbabwe Arise (Woza) offices saying they were
looking for explosives and weapons. Police managed to find 200 whistles and
scarves. Williams was taken in for questioning on Monday and released on
Wednesday after being interrogated about the source of the whistles.

Tsvangirai said he was surprised that he was being targeted for
investigation when he was a victim of political violence. "Police seem to be
targeting me in order to frustrate my political work," Tsvangirai said.

The search on Saturday and Sunday stems from the attack on Tsvangirai during
a meeting with the MDC provincial council in Mvurwi, 100km north east of
Harare, last month. Tsvangirai, who was a victim of the attack, is now being
accused of having caused the trouble and of firing teargas in the melée that
resulted from the disruption of the meeting.

The MDC leader alleges that Zanu PF functionaries in six vehicles carried
out the attack and it took place at the end of a police-approved meeting in
the farming town of Mvurwi.

The officers who searched Tsvangirai's home on Sunday took slightly over 45
minutes to go through the entire four-bedroomed home of the MDC leader.Also
searched was Tsvangirai's two-roomed office, his staff quarters and other
outbuildings. Tsvangirai said the officers did not produce a search warrant.

Two weeks ago, four other officers, led by one Dhowa who once served as part
of the UN peacekeeping force in Kosovo and had to be withdrawn after rights
groups protested, visited Tsvangirai at his home saying they were
investigating the Mvurwi incident. They questioned him and later his
security guards on the origins of the teargas cannisters which were thrown
at MDC supporters at the Mvurwi meeting. One of the guards was taken to
Harare Police Station for further questioning.

The security guard's home in Rugare, Harare, was later searched and nothing
was found.Tsvangirai said his staff do not carry any firearms, grenades or
teargas cannisters.

"On the day in question, our convoy was thoroughly searched at a police
checkpoint outside Mvurwi before we entered the town," said Tsvangirai.
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Zim Independent

Gono fails to impress MDC/IMF
Gift Phiri
ZIMBABWE'S opposition Movement for Democratic Change and the International
Monetary Fund (IMF) have said Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono's economic
reforms fall far short of what is needed to turn around the economy.

MDC secretary for economic affairs, Tendai Biti, said a cursory analysis of
Gono's monetary policy statement exposed an extremely gloomy picture of what
was going on in the economy.

"The governor has made his main platform the reduction of inflation," Biti
said. "In this, the official annual figures show a large degree of
improvement from 622,8% in January to 394,6% in June. However, this decline
still implies prices in June 2004 being five times prices in June 2003, and
most consumers feel that even these startling increases in the official CSO
(Central Statistical Office) basket of goods do not reflect the actual price
increases they have had to face in their day-to-day lives."

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) board last week expressed "grave
concern over the continued and sharp decline in economic and social
conditions", noting that GDP had fallen 30% over the past five years and
will decline a further 4-5% this year. The IMF noted that although inflation
had slowed dramatically from 622% in January to 395%, "unemployment is very
high and increasing, social indicators, which were once among the best in
Africa, have worsened, and the widespread HIV/Aids pandemic remains largely

"Severe food shortages have necessitated massive food imports and donor
assistance," which the IMF board blames on "inappropriate macro-economic
policies and structural changes".

In particular, it says, "the disorderly implementation of the land reform
programme has contributed to a sharp reduction in agricultural production.
Concerns about governance and human rights, and the continued lack of
clarity about property rights have severely damaged confidence, discouraged
investment and promoted capital flight and emigration."

The IMF said there would be no international support for theZimbabwe
government until far-reaching economic and policy reforms were put in place.

Analysts say Gono is tinkering at the edges of the problem and even his
well-meant reforms are starting to unravel. Month-on-month inflation, which
slowed to 4,8% in April, shot up to 9,2% in June. And although Gono was
likely to reach his year-on-year inflation target of 200% by December, the
signs are that inflation will rise again in the first half of next year.

"Looking at the Reserve Bank's figures for reserve money, which is an
indicator of underlying inflationary pressures, the latest figures for May
2004 show a 900% increase over May 2003," Biti said. "A resurgence in
inflation is certainly in prospect."

MDC economic adviser Eddie Cross said the RBZ last month only managed to
meet a paltry 31% of foreign-exchange demand at its twice-weekly auctions.
The auction rate has been raised marginally from $5 350 to $5 600 against
the US dollar and Gono has remained adamant that he will not devalue despite
distress calls from exporters. Exporters are warning that they cannot
continue without further devaluation or new export incentives. Bankers
expect Gono to announce devaluation - to at least $8 000 against the
greenback - within the next few weeks. Cross said money supply figures and
especially the recent surge in lending to troubled banks would unleash a
huge inflationary surge next year.

"At the end of May loans to banks were $2,8 trillion - or more than 12% of
GDP - while money supply was expanding at about 450%," Cross said. "On the
Zimbabwe Stock Exchange share prices have more than doubled in little more
than six weeks as investors have concluded that the RBZ is not going to
allow interest rates to rise. Investors are shunning money market
investments that yield well below inflation and are piling into the stock
market, just as they did during the hyperinflationary boom a year ago."

Analysts argue that Gono dare not raise interest rates because troubled
banks are at risk while the cost of servicing the government's domestic
debt, currently $1,8 trillion or 8% of GDP, would bust the budget.

The UN Industrial Development Organisation's Industrial Deve-lopment Report
for 2004, published this month, paints a grim picture of how much Zimbabwe
has deindustrialised in recent years, slipping 20 places down its
compe-titive industrial performance index.

The UN Development Program-me's Human Development Report shows that Zimbabwe
has slipped down that league table, too, so that its human development index
is lower now than in the mid-1970s. Above all, the African Union's damning
report on the flawed 2002 presidential election and the country's atrocious
human rights record sustain the IMF's assessment that Gono's reforms fall
far short of what is needed to turn the country around.
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Zim Independent

Uncertainty grips CFU
Augustine Mukaro
UNCERTAINTY continues to grip the agricultural sector as government lists
more commercial farms for compulsory acquisition.

Speaking at the 61st Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) annual congress this
week, CFU president Doug Taylor-Freeme said continued listings had created a
climate of uncertainty about whether the few remaining white farmers should
plant crops they may not be able to harvest because of Section 8 orders.

"There are continued listings for acquisition every week, be they Section
5s, 8s or 7s," Taylor-Freeme said. "These listings have a huge negative
influence on the agricultural industry. In certain districts of certain
provinces, there are those that say that ethnic cleansing of white
commercial farmers is taking place," he said.

He said every farmer was in danger of receiving a Section 8 acquisition
order anytime. "It is said that certain officials are offered bonuses for
every white farmer evicted off their farm," the CFU chief said.

"This renders any attempt at continued production unwise, even for those who
still have access to land. An example of this was in April when there were
signals of encouragement to maximise planting of winter cereals. Many
farmers made a commitment to plant. Unfortunately, as I speak, these
farmers, despite the crop being in the ground, are being harassed and
bullied to vacate their farms by various opportunists and authorities such
as what is happening in Karoi. This does not bode well for the summer
plantings," Taylor-Freeme said.

He said despite farmers showing goodwill by offering land or sub-dividing to
keep their core business operating, "there are still thugs who don't
understand the business of agriculture and are shutting them down, resulting
in large numbers of businesses lying idle, no longer contributing to the
fragile economy", he said.

He said the new amendments to the Land Acquisition Act had removed all
farming security, security of investment and much of the personal security
that remained to the few farmers who had been allowed to carry on.
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Zim Independent

Chigwedere orders private schools to return donations
Augustine Mukaro
EDUCATION minister Aeneas Chigwedere has directed all schools that have
requested parents to make donations to reimburse them or credit the amounts
to next term's fees. He said such donations, raised to keep the schools
afloat, were illegal.

A number of private schools had asked parents to donate money following
government's slashing of their fees.

A letter addressed to Arundel School demands that the school should refund
the parents their money or credit it to next term's fees as it was a
violation of the Education Act.

"The notion of donations which are compulsorily exacted, as in this case, is
an obvious illegality," the letter says.

"It should be noted that these voluntary donations are not authorised by my
ministry and are a clear contravention of Section 21 (1) (a) and (b) of the
Education Act. Accordingly, all monies collected in this manner should be
refunded to the parents or credited to the next term's fees."

Arundel School had created a Refundable Security Deposit and a Deficit Funds
schemes through which parents would donate extra funds to help the school
keep afloat.

Through the funds parents were expected to pay extra fees of up to $3,8

The refundable security deposit had been pegged at $3, 2 million, deficit
fees per day pupil at $690 000 and deficit fees for boarding at $760 000.

A similar letter has been sent to Eaglesvale School which has sought
voluntary liquidation following the ministry's order that it can't raise any
further funds.
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Zim Independent

Govt under pressure to send SOS
Augustine Mukaro
GOVERNMENT has come under pressure to make a formal humanitarian assistance
appeal to the donor community as provincial governors discover serious food
deficits in their areas.

Highly placed sources said governors from Masvingo and Matabeleland
provinces last month wrote to government asking it to authorise
non-governmental organisations to resume feeding programmes to avert mass

Governors from Masvingo, Matabeleland North, Matabeleland South and
Bulawayo, which are prone to droughts, are understood to have told Public
Service, Labour and Social Welfare minister Paul Mangwana that people in
their provinces were starving and needed food urgently.

Under government's new policy on food aid, donor agencies can only operate
in specific areas upon receiving authorisation letters from the Social
Welfare ministry. The ministry acts on recommendations from provincial
governors and is responsible for sourcing food to be distributed in the
needy areas.

Government officials said Mangwana has not yet responded to the governors'
requests despite mounting starvation in rural and urban areas.

"The governors cited massive deficits in their appeals," one official said.

"The deficits come to light following findings of a vulnerability assessment
team that went around the country to audit the current season's production."

The vulnerability assessment team, which comprised non-governmental
organisations and government representatives, has indicated that the country
did not harvest enough crops to feed its population. An estimated between
800 000 and 900 000 tonnes of maize are expected this year.

Government is claiming that there would be a bumper-harvest of around 2,4
million tonnes of maize this year.

Masvingo governor Josaya Hungwe denied forwarding any requests to the
minister insisting that his province had enough food.

"I have not approached the minister requesting for food," Hungwe said.

"We have enough food for the year."

Hungwe's denial is a u-turn from his earlier position that Masvingo needed
food handouts following a poor harvest caused by receiving the wrong seed
from Care International.

While the government claimed that the country would get a bumper harvest,
Unted Nations assessment reports indicate that 2,3 million Zimbabweans will
need food assistance this year.
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Zim Independent

Msipa quits board over gay spat
Ndamu Sandu
MIDLANDS provincial governor Cephas Msipa has quit as an honorary trustee of
the Zimbabwe International Book Fair (ZIBF) to escape a deepening row over
the exhibition by gays at the fair.

Msipa resigned on Monday to protest ZIBF's decision to allow the gay rights
organisation, Gays and Lesbians of Zimbabwe (Galz), to exhibit at the annual

ZIBF executive director Samuel Matsangaise confirmed that Msipa had
resigned, citing the gays' presence at the fair.

"Governor Msipa resigned on Monday. He was an honorary trustee of ZIBF,"
Matsangaise said. "He said his resignation was against the decision to let
Galz exhibit at the book fair."

Msipa's resignation means ZIBF now has seven honorary trustees from across
the world. George Kahari is the only remaining Zimbabwean on the board of

The ZIBF board has 13 members chaired by Professor Rukudzo Murapa of Africa
University in Mutare.

A confrontation has been looming between government and ZIBF over Galz's
participation at the fair. Clashes broke out on Monday at the fair between
Galz officials and a group apparently responding to President Robert
Mugabe's homophobia.

Members of Galz were reportedly forced to flee after a mob pounced on them
at the exhibition venue. Galz director Keith Goddard said it was regrettable
that homophobic elements were illegally using violence to suppress other
people's freedoms of assembly, association and expression.

Mugabe has personally opposed gays' exhibition at the book fair.

He is on record as saying gays and lesbians are worse than "dogs and pigs"
and a "moral outrage".

Mugabe's hatred for gays seemed to have been worsened by his clashes with
British gay rights activist Peter Tatchell of Outrage! who tried to arrest
him on two occasions in London and Brussels a few years ago for alleged
human rights abuses.

Gays were banned by government in 1995 from participating at the fair until
they got a Supreme Court order in 1996 allowing them to take part. But
government has remained consistently opposed to their attendance.

Between 1997 and 2002, Galz participated at the book fair as part of the
human rights stand. Last year the group exhibited on its own amid hostile
rhetoric from officials and members of the public.

Official double standards were exposed during the sensational sodomy trial
of the country's first post-Independence president, Canaan Banana, in 1998.

Testimonies from victims, including the late Jefta Dube, during the 17-day
trial revealed that the ex-president sexually abused male subordinates who
guarded him at State House.

Banana was subsequently convicted and jailed for a year.

Goddard said although Banana's trial was more about abuse than the pursuit
of sexual freedom, "it went a long way to convince people that being gay is
not a white-imported thing".
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Zim Independent

Train accident exposes RMS
Godfrey Marawanyika
TRANSPORT and Communications permanent secretary Karikoga Kaseke has slammed
Road Motor Services (RMS) personnel for allowing services at the parastatal
to deteriorate.

Addressing journalists after Wednesday's train accident in Harare, Kaseke
said the service at RMS had degenerated into systematic confusion.

Kaseke was furious that a statement on the accident could not be produced on
time, as the computers at the parastatal were not working. RMS is a wholly
owned government road haulage company.

After a tour of the accident scene at the central station senior government
officials went to the RMS offices which are in the railway yard along Seke
Road. Transport minister Christopher Mushowe was supposed to issue a
statement on the accident from the RMS offices but he was disappointed.

"Nothing works here. Computers don't work, people don't work, trains are
involved in accidents," Kaseke said. "They are saying the printer is not
connected to the computer and the two are not interlinked, which means the
statement cannot be printed. So let me make a hand-written one."

Journalists and cabinet ministers waited for more than an hour before they
could get the press release on the cause of the accident.

The delay prompted Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo to make a
long-hand draft. Ministers who witnessed the confusion included Mushowe, his
deputy Andrew Langa, and Chombo's deputy Chief Fortune Charumbira.

Kaseke tried to write his own statement before Chombo intervened.

However, Chombo was unable to complete it because the pen he was using was
not working properly.

After Mushowe started reading Chombo's draft, RMS area manager Stanley
Murenje produced a typed statement.

Meanwhile, MDC secretary for Transport Silas Mangono said the accident
proved that trains in Zimbabwe had become a "death trap".
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Zim Independent

MDC wary of infiltration
Loughty Dube
THE opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) says Zanu PF is trying
to infiltrate it by planting intelligence agents and dubious democracy
organisations in its structures ahead of the 2005 parliamentary election.

"The CIO were allocated a large amount of money in the last budget and we
are aware that the bulk of those funds are to be paid to infiltrators who
will be used to monitor and destroy organisations like the MDC and others
perceived by Zanu PF to be a threat to them," David Coltart, the MDC
secretary for legal affairs, told the Zimbabwe Independent this week.

He said the bulk of the $62 billion allocated to the CIO in this year's
budget would be used to infiltrate Zanu PF's opponents.

"We are aware that a lot of organisations have already been infiltrated by
state security agents and Zanu PF supporters and we are already aware of
such infiltrators," he said.

Coltart's comments come in the wake of attempts by a group of purported MDC
supporters calling themselves MDC Supporters for Democracy (MSD), led by
Kurauone Chihwayi, that has in the past made a number of allegations against
the MDC leadership.

The MSD gained the spotlight in the state media after it called for the
resignation of the MDC president and chairman, Morgan Tsvangirai and Isaac
Matongo respectively, before the 2005 election.

"Anyone calling on Morgan Tsvangirai to step down is working against the
interests of democracy because Tsvangirai has contributed immensely towards
democracy in this country," Coltart said.

The MSD has endeared itself with the public media that gleefully beam all
statements it makes purportedly on behalf of MDC supporters.

"The people that are causing all that commotion are definitely not true
members of the party but infiltrators paid by Zanu PF to destabilise the MDC
and other pressure groups," Coltart said.

Coltart said the MDC was aware that $62 billion was allocated to the CIO
this year to enable it to infiltrate organisations deemed to be a threat to
Zanu PF ahead of the parliamentary election in March next year.

He said the party was aware that Zanu PF would start using the defection
strategy to portray the MDC as a collapsing party.

"We are aware of all those tactics and we are working on countering them
because we know that Zanu PF will intensify its dirty tactics as the
election date nears," Coltart said.
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Zim Independent

Witness gives 'mercenary' case new twist
Dumisani Muleya
THE court testimony of a key state witness in the trial of 70 suspected
mercenaries last week supports the accused's plea that they were not
involved in the alleged Equatorial Guinea coup plot, defence lawyer Jonathan
Samkange has said.

Samkange said the evidence given by Zimbabwe Defence Industries (ZDI) group
marketing manager, Goliath Hope Mutize, helped his case. He said one of the
accused, Simon Mann, had consistently said the men were going to guard mines
in the Democratic Republic of Congo and not to overthrow the Equatorial
Guinea leader, Teodoro Obiang, as alleged.

"We did not cross-examine the state witness because his evidence was like
that of a defence witness," Samkange said. "There is no evidence to prove
the allegations against the accused."

Mutize, an Air Force of Zimbabwe group captain presently attached to ZDI,
was closely involved in the sale of weapons by the state arms firm to Mann
and Nick du Toit, who is now detained in Equatorial Guinea with 14 others
accused of the same crime.

In his testimony Mutize said the arms deal started after he was briefed by
ZDI general manager Colonel Tshinga Dube on February 10 that he should deal
with Mann and Du Toit.

Mutize said Mann told him he wanted arms to protect a mine near the town of
Isiro in the DRC, while Du Toit said he wanted to supply DRC rebels. The two
had a certificate to buy arms which belonged to a Virgin Islands-registered
firm, Military Technical Services, issued by Armaments Corporation of South
Africa Ltd on December 12, 2002.

Mutize said he gave Mann and Du Toit quotations at Cresta Lodge in Harare
where they were staying. The two promised to make a down payment of US$90
000 the following day.

Someone named James Kershaw flew into Harare aboard a South African Airways
flight, SA 024, on February 11 to make the down payment of US$90 000.

Mutize said Mann and Du Toit came back to Zimbabwe on February 18 in a bid
to collect the arms but they failed after their plane developed a fault.

He said they then left on February 19. Before that Mann had paid the balance
of US$90 800 to clear the total of US$180 800 for the arms.

Mann came back on March 6 with two colleagues to try to collect the arms. A
plane to carry the arms was to arrive the following day. Mutize said on
March 7 he told Mann and his colleagues to remain at Cresta Lodge where they
were to be collected by ZDI factory manager, Joseph Muchapondwa, to link up
with the plane at Manyame Airbase.

He said Muchapondwa dropped them at Manyame as the plane arrived after
refuelling at Harare airport. Mutize said the suspects were then arrested
while they were inspecting the arms in a truck before they could be loaded
on to the plane.

He said he was also arrested although he was subsequently released. But
Mutize did not say whether or not the whole drama was a sting operation.
Samkange said the testimony was helpful to his case.
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Zim Independent

State rejects Chronicle 'evidence'
Loughty Dube
THE Attorney-General's office has refused to prosecute two women for
allegedly violating foreign exchange regulations on the basis of pictures of
them taken by the Chronicle as they chatted with Reserve Bank governor
Gideon Gono.

A state lawyer said the two women, who are vendors at a nearby flea market,
had no case to answer as there was no evidence of wrongdoing against them.
The two were arrested three days after pictures appeared in the Chronicle
newspaper of July 17 showing them in a conversation with Gono, who was
attempting to be incognito.

The RBZ governor had visited the Bulawayo foreign currency black market
along Fort Street, dubbed the "World Bank", to assess the extent of the

Gono was accompanied by journalists from the Chronicle to see how the black
market operated. He strolled around the area and managed to convince some
women to sell him foreign currency. The women only abandoned the deal after
being tipped off by onlookers that they were being filmed and that their
"client" was the RBZ governor.

The women, Memory Mujuru and Nokuthula Marara, were arrested four days later
on July 21 by plainclothes police. They were subsequently detained for five
days at the Bulawayo police station.

The lawyer representing the women, Sindiso Mazibisa of Cheda & Partners,
said in a High Court application the arrest of his clients was a violation
of the country's constitution.

"The facts of the case evince a clear abuse of power and arbitrary arrest
and detention of citizens of Zimbabwe. It is a brazen violation of the
constitution of Zimbabwe and my clients' detention is unlawful," Mazibisa

Public prosecutor for Bulawayo, Mary Zimba-Dube, refused to defend the case.

Mazibisa said if the women were deemed to have contravened sections of the
Foreign Currency Exchange Act, then Gono was also liable for prosecution.

"It is common cause that the applicants' arrest is based on photographs of
people whom Gono spoke to during his visit to Fort Street," the court papers

"It is also common cause that there are no witnesses other than Dr Gono as
to what was discussed between them.

"No statements were taken from Dr Gono to date and in any event it is not a
crime to have been talked to by the governor of the Reserve Bank."
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Zim Independent

Gono yet to turn economy around

Shakeman Mugari/     Conrad Dube

RESERVE Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor Gideon Gono last week painted a
largely bright picture of the country's economic situation when he presented
his second monetary policy review.

Gono's positive outlook, which claimed there was a "turnaround" in the
economy - something widely disputed by analysts - was reinforced by acting
Finance minister Herbert Murerwa's mid-term fiscal policy review, also
released last week.

Like Gono, Murerwa said: "the recent macro-economic measures by government
are beginning to bear fruit".

The evidence cited to support this claim included the falling annual
inflation rate, the almost balanced budget in 2003, increased deliveries of
gold, the purported success of the land reform programme, and remittances in
foreign exchange from Zimbabweans working abroad.

Gono and Murerwa's statements further claimed the utilisation of
manufacturing capacity had risen from a range of 30% to 40% in the second
half of 2003 to between 60% and 70% by the end of June this year.However, a
cursory examination of the evidence to back the recovery assertions shows
that they are both shallow and dishonest.

For instance, the decline in year-on-year inflation is not explained and
thus can be manipulated to arrive at a conclusion which is not only
political but misleading.

While it is clearly a fact that inflation - the rate of increase in prices -
has decreased, this is largely due to direct interference in the exchange
rate. For the past three months, the exchange rate has barely changed even
though the consumer price index increased by about 25% over the same period
and the less current producer price index almost certainly rose by a wider

Analysts say the fixed exchange rate could turn out to be a very high price
to pay for the decelerating inflation rate. They say increasing numbers of
exporters are now finding that they cannot recover their production costs,
but Gono's response has been that the producers' access to subsidised
low-interest rate loan funds should allow them to survive.

Analysts say Gono's productive sector facility has left many companies
deeply indebted so that they now rely heavily on the value of the capital
amount owing being inflated. If the real value of the borrowings become more
stable because of a much lower rate of inflation, the borrowers would have
diminishing prospects of repaying their debts, analysts argue. The banks
through which this concessionary lending of statutory reserve money was
sourced would therefore be placed at risk by rising non-performing loans.

But Gono seemed to be single-minded in promoting this arrangement.

"It is.pleasing to note that through a combination of monetary austerity,
fiscal discipline and focused selective credit allocation to the productive
sectors, the high inflation bubble has been burst," he said.

Gono said in the past seven months he had brought stability to the financial
sector, which he said was the key driver of inflation and speculation last
year. He also said the facility had resuscitated the crumbling manufacturing
sector, thus saving thousands of jobs that were on the line.

Increased foreign currency inflows and access to concessional finance, he
said, were also galvanising the economy to recovery. Furthermore, he said,
manufacturing plants that accessed concessional financing had "markedly
increased their capacity by between 60-70%", up from below 40% last year. A
total of $1,7 trillion has been poured into the productive sector under this
facility. Gono also produced numbers to justify claims that foreign currency
inflows had increased drastically.  Foreign currency inflows into the
country over the past six months, according to Gono, have gone up by a
massive 385% to US$778,6 million compared to US$160,7 million achieved
during the same period last year.

The state media and Zanu PF politicians have been quick to jump on the
alleged recovery bandwagon. Armed with threadbare statements from Gono's
monetary policy document, officials insisted the economy was recovering.

However, despite the purported "turnaround", Gono also said the economy
would shrink by 5% this year. This is probably where the real issue lies.

"Overall GDP (gross domestic product), which shrunk by an estimated minus 9%
in 2003, is expected to decelerate by a further minus 5% in 2004 largely
reflecting lagged effects of structural rigidities experienced over the 12
months to December last year," Gono said.

Economic growth, experts say, is measured by the amount of investment, job
creation, increased national output, improved exports and food security. But
all these indicators are negative at the moment.

The GDP is expected to plunge as exports are still at their lowest and
unemployment continues to gallop on the back of more company closures.

Economic analyst John Robertson said there was no economic "turnaround" as
claimed by Gono and Murerwa.

"There is no evidence that the economy is recovering. I don't see it,"
Robertson said. "The economy is still in trouble. The manufacturing sector
has not recovered, and there is no hope for the agricultural sector. Other
sectors of the economy are still depressed and are showing no signs of

An analyst with a local financial institution who did not want to be named
said there was nothing to show there was an economic "turnaround" as yet.

"Apart from the annual inflation that is going down, there is nothing else
Gono can use to justify his claims," the analyst said. "Unfortunately he is
using year-on-year inflation which is not an accurate reflection of the
situation. In any case, inflation itself is not the only barometer to
measure economic growth."

Analysts argue that the month-on-month inflation is a more realistic way of
measuring economic performance. Recent figures from the Central Statistical
Office show that month-on-month inflation for June rose by 3,2 percentage
points to 9,2%. This upward trend is expected to continue, bolstered by
recent hikes in prices of basic commodities and salary and wage increases.

In the past four months prices of basic commodities have gone up by between
12% and 25%, indicating that for ordinary people, things are not getting any

There is still a perennial shortage of foreign currency caused by the
country's export capacity, which has been nose-diving over the last five
years. The demand for the foreign currency continues to surpass the supply.
More than a thousand bids have been rejected on the foreign currency
auctions floors. Zimbabwe Confederation of Trade Union economist, Godfrey
Kanyenze, said the economy would continue to bleed because of the foreign
currency shortages.

"Gono has not addressed the supply side. This country is not exporting
enough. How can the economy recover without exporting?" said Kanyenze. "He
has not come up with a concrete plan to increase exports. Even though the
dollar has stabilised, it is still losing against major currencies."

The shortage of foreign currency and the overbearing control of the central
bank on the rate have forced companies and individuals to revert to the
black market. Zimbabweans in the diaspora have gone back to the black market
after being frustrated by the low exchange rate on the auctions.

"We are still in a crisis. We still face major challenges. It's too early
for anyone in his right mind to say the economy is back on track," Kanyenze

Agriculture, the mainstay of the economy, is still to recover from the
disastrous effects of government's chaotic land reform. This year tobacco
has so far grossed about US$107 million compared to US$600 million at its
peak four years ago. Tobacco production has decreased 72% over the past four
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Zim Independent


Police must redeem their image

 "THERE are parties that cannot campaign and they will always blame the
police. If people do not come to a rally the police will be blamed," Police
Commissioner Augustine Chihuri said this week at a ceremony to honour
officers returning from a UN mission in Kosovo.

He was quick to remind us that the contribution of the Zimbabwe Republic
Police (ZRP) officers under United Nations assignments was a yardstick to
measure the force's professionalism.

What deception! ZRP spokesman Assistant Commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena last
year tried to use Chihuri's appointment as honorary vice-president of
Interpol as a sign of international confidence in, and an endorsement of,
the conduct of the ZRP. But Chihuri was subsequently obliged to step down
and there were no words of comfort for him from the Interpol leadership.

Interpol's secretary-general Ro-nald Noble said he regretted that Bvudzijena
had interpreted the appointment as a sign of support for the actions of the

"That statement was inaccurate," said Noble. "The fact that a ZRP spokesman
attempted to use Interpol to fight off political criticism has caused
Interpol to be unfairly and unnecessarily attacked."

Now Chihuri would like to create the myth that his men have been unfairly
criticised by what he called "political malcontents masquerading as
journalists". Parallels can be drawn between Chihuri's attempt to portray
the force as being under siege and conspiracy theories which Zanu PF
politicians have been vending to justify repressive policies.

Chihuri is a piece in that jigsaw. He declared in the media in January 2001
that he was a Zanu PF supporter.

"Today I would like to make it public that I support Zanu PF because it is
the ruling party. If any other party comes to power, I will resign and let
those who support it take over," he told the Sunday Mail.

In other words he admits to a partisan stance. And it would be unreasonable
to expect his subordinates to be impartial in the fulfilment of their duties
when their chief has made his loyalties clear.

In a democracy the public would expect their police commissioner to serve
them with impartiality and professionalism. His salary is after all paid by
the public as a whole and not by one section of it. And the Police Act makes
clear the responsibilities of those who occupy the post.

But it is all too clear in recent years that the force has been badly
compromised and it needs urgent depoliticisation and retraining to restore
its credibility.

ZRP officers stand accused of torturing suspects including lawyers, of using
brute force to break up peaceful demonstrations, of hounding civic leaders
and using the law to prevent opposition parties and civic groups from

The selective application of the Public Order and Security Act (Posa) by the
police in the run-up to the presidential poll in 2002 pointed towards this
trend. The African Commission for Human and People's Rights team which
visited Zimbabwe in 2002 concluded that the police had been politicised. The
team said no effort should be spared to avoid further subornment of the

"The police should never be at the service of any political party but must
at all times seek to abide by the values of the constitution and enforce the
law without fear or favour," the commission's report clearly states.

The opposition MDC has complained that, on the rare occasions permission to
hold rallies is given, the party is not given enough time to address its
supporters. The party sometimes has as little as an hour to address public

Last weekend police cancelled MDC rallies in Bikita and Wedza citing
security. They also broke up a Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions meeting in
Masvingo. Secretary-general Wellington Chibebe said he was briefing labour
leaders on the outcome of a recent International Labour Organisation meeting
he attended. Is the High Court order exempting trade union meetings from the
provisions of Posa not still in force?

Over the weekend police also searched the home of MDC leader Morgan
Tsvangirai for dangerous weapons allegedly used in skirmishes which occurred
in Mvurwi early last month. The MDC this week said prior to Tsvangirai's
entourage entering Mvurwi, police searched all the vehicles in the convoy
for weapons but found none. At Tsvangirai's house over the weekend they
found no weapons either.

Bvudzijena was quoted in the media on Monday as saying shots fired during
the Mvurwi clashes came from the MDC side. He said MDC violence would not be
tolerated. Evidence from eyewitnesses says otherwise.

"We are not going to tolerate any form of political violence and we are
going to recover the firearms," he said.

This would be welcome news if police arrested suspects regardless of
political affiliation and without rushing to the media to make political
statements. When United Nations security officers warned of insecurity and
crime in parts of the country they were treated to a lengthy statement that
was astonishing for its partisan nature. The same can be said of a statement
relating to a seriously injured farmer trying to defend himself in Odzi.

The likes of Kainos Mwale who wreaked havoc in Manicaland two years ago are
still walking free despite incriminating evidence against them.

The AU commission made recommendations regarding the CID's Law and Order
section and the CIO that have been studiously ignored.

All talk about electoral reforms is useless if the police continue to apply
Posa against the opposition during an election campaign. The public are
thereby denied access to information and are unable to make an informed

Never has the country more needed a professional police force to ensure
Zimbabweans enjoy the rights to which they are entitled. And never has the
prospect of getting such a force seemed more distant.
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Zim Independent

Eric Bloch Column

Too many currency markets in Zimbabwe

 DEVELOPED, deregulated and free economies operate a single, open currency
market that is conducted wholly through the banking system. Almost entirely,
exchange rates are determined by market forces, the only exception being
occasional interventions by the central bank, usually motivated to maintain
exchange rate stability.

These interventions are generally limited to the central bank either selling
foreign currency into the market, or purchasing foreign currency within the
market, or movement of its base lending interest rate to such extent as
will, as desired by the central bank, attract foreign currency inflows or
stimulate outflows, thereby influencing the market's determination of
exchange rates.In contrast, Zimbabwe operates four different foreign
currency markets, only two of which are wholly lawful.

The first is a Reserve Bank (RBZ)  controlled market where exporters are
obliged to sell between 15 and 25% of all export proceeds as are not
received by way of prepayments, or within 30 days of export, to the RBZ at a
grossly artificial and ludicrously low exchange rate of US$1:$824. The
extent of the mandatory sale to the RBZ is driven by the period of time that
has elapsed from date of export to date of receipt of payment and acquittal
of the relevant export authorisation (Form CD1). The foreign currency thus
received by the RBZ is sold by it to government and to parastatals at the
same rate. Effectively, therefore, this market is naught but a vehicle
whereby exporters are victimised, being forced to subsidise the state by
making foreign currency available at a rate markedly below a realistic
exchange rate. To all intents and purposes, exporters are subjected to a
highly discriminatory, and economically destructive tax.

The second foreign currency market is that operated by the RBZ by way of a
"controlled" auction. Those foreign currency inflows that not forcibly
directed into the first mentioned market to serve the needs of the State,
and as exceed amounts which recipients are lawfully entitled to retain as
foreign currency, mandatorily must be sold on the RBZ's foreign currency
auctions. The seller has no option but to sell, and cannot even specify a
reserve price below which the foreign exchange may not be sold, and is
obliged to accept a Zimbabwean currency payment at the weighted average
auction rate. Purchasers of the currency are also subjected to extensive
controls, which include that they are barred from bidding for currency
unless in receipt of prior RBZ authorisation, determined according to the
intended usage of the foreign currency. The controls further result in bid
rejections in the event that the purchaser's bid exceeds a level determined,
but not pre-notified, by the RBZ, or if the intended usage of the foreign
exchange, although pre-authorised, does not meet the RBZ's decided
priorities for a particular auction. In addition, of course, bids that are
too low are also rejected.

That which is known as the parallel market is the third of Zimbabwe's
foreign currency markets. The authorities deem trading in that market to be
unlawful, and have been descending with draconian force upon many who traded
within that market. Essentially, the parallel market comprised the sale by
possessors of foreign currency to others who were in desperate need for that
scarce commodity in order to pay for imports, service loans, and fund
legitimate business expenses such as commissions to agents in export
markets. To a very pronounced extent, the transactions were initiated by, or
effected through, registered banks. They being authorised dealers of the
RBZ, there was a widely held perception that the transactions were wholly
lawful, for authorised dealers were viewed as being duly appointed agents of
the RBZ. That perception was recurrently reinforced by the fact that it was
widely believed that the government was a very major, if not the greatest,
trader in the parallel market, sourcing much of the foreign currency
required by it and its parastatals, including Noczim, Zesa and the Grain
Marketing Board.

Moreover, there were ready and frequent references to the parallel market in
parliamentary debates and ministerial statements. But the authorities
suddenly decided, only eight months ago, to descend heavy-handedly upon
private sector enterprises and individuals who had been engaged in parallel
market operations, and subject them to prosecution. In contradiction, banks
that had been reprimanded by the RBZ, had fines imposed upon them and
licences suspended, were "forgiven", the fines refunded and licences
reinstated. Clearly, double standards of justice were applied and they have
been great contributors to the near demise of business confidence and the
exodus of many highly skilled and greatly needed executives. Notwithstanding
the authoritarian descent upon the parallel market, there are many
indications that it still exists, even if to a lesser extent. One of such
indications is the ready availability of many non-essential and luxury
imported goods of a nature as does not qualify for currency from the foreign
currency auctions.

There is little doubt that the survival of some businesses is contingent
upon continuing availability of foreign exchange through the parallel
market, albeit if accessing thereof is now far more surreptitious and

On the other hand, the directing of foreign currency through the parallel
market has two very major negative consequences. In the first instance, such
usage of the foreign exchange is to the prejudice of importation of many
critically essential imports upon which many enterprises, if not the economy
as a whole, are dependant.Secondly, the premiums payable within the parallel
market are inevitably fuellants of inflation.Finally, Zimbabwe has a virile
and thriving black market.

Most of the foreign currency traded in that market emanates from tourists
and other visitors to Zimbabwe, expatriates in the employ of foreign NGOs
and like bodies, from Zimbabweans abroad, and from resources usually
unlawfully accumulated outside of Zimbabwe by businesses in and residents of

The methods of such accumulation are diverse, including transfer pricing of
imports and exports, and externalisation of unutilised travel allowances.In
other instances, the funds have been acquired lawfully by way
ofinheritances, gifts, assets acquired when non-resident of Zimbabwe or for
services rendered externally of Zimbabwe.

In contradiction to parallel market trading, which has generally been
effected through interbank transfers and like transactions, the black market
dealings are almost entirely transacted by exchanges of bank notes, and the
dealings are negotiated and concluded in back streets of Bulawayo and
Harare, at bus terminii and in areas heavily patronised by tourists,
cross-border traders and other visitors to Zimbabwe.

The worst characteristic of the black market is that most of the monies
traded exit Zimbabwe. Buyers resort to the black market in order to
externalise their assets, and in order to fund purposes which do not qualify
under the foreign currency auctions, such as holiday travel. Thus, the
Zimbabwean market, which is desperately starved for essential foreign
exchange, is further emaciated by the operations of the black market.

Admittedly, there is some economic benefit flowing from the market in that
not only do the black marketeers derive a livelihood, but in addition, some
of the funds are used for informal sector operations. However, these
economic benefits are outweighed by not only inflationary repercussions, but
also the prejudices of the diversion of the foreign exchange from higher
priority needs, and by diminished revenue flows to the Fiscus.What is
incomprehensible is that the authorities are now so vigilantlypursuing those
who transacted in the parallel market, believing from theexamples set by the
State that they were operating within the law, and doing so in order to keep
their businesses operational, their employees employed, and the wheels of
commerce and industry turning. At the same time, and with extremely rare
exceptions, they do nothing to contain the black market but allow its
operators to trade almost without hindrance.

An amnesty in respect of past parallel market trading would not only be just
and equitable, and is long overdue, concurrently with determined measures to
curb the black market. The medium term objective must be the restoration of
a single, decontrolled currency market, but in the meanwhile too many
markets exist and, as a first step, the US$1: $824 exchange rate and the
black markets must be eliminated.
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Zim Independent

800 auditors flee Zimbabwe
Conrad Dube
ABOUT 800 auditors have emigrated in the past year for various reasons as
the profession suffers a severe brain drain, the incoming president of the
Institute of Chartered Accountants of Zimbabwe (ICAZ), Eric Bloch, has said.

"The emigration of the skilled workforce in the accounting profession is
appalling and a major constraint upon the economy. There is need to
intensify training and enhance professional education," said Bloch.

"About 60% of the 1 400 members of ICAZ have left the counry for various
reasons. The profession has lost irreparable skills to the brain drain due
to the unfavourable operating environment," Bloch said.

The economist said the brain drain was so serious that filling the gap in
the foreseeable future would be difficult as only about 50 members qualify
to join the profession each year.

ICAZ is currently training 1 100 students.

"We hope to increase the number of qualifying auditors each year to about a
100 but not at the expense of standards as set out in the statutes," he

Bloch said problems facing the profession included negative perception,
which has led to scepticism on auditors, especially after the collapse of
WorldCom and Enron and the turbulence that rocked the local financial sector
after the monetary policy announcement on December 18 last year.

The collapse of Enron, and the conviction of its former auditor Arthur
Andersen for obstruction of justice, allegations of massive fraud at global
telecom giant WorldCom and the turmoil that hit the local financial sector
have exacerbated the scepticism towards auditors, according to Bloch.

Out of the 41 local banking institutions, five are under curatorship, two
under liquidation and three under the Troubled Bank Fund.

But Bloch said inadequacies of "one or two accounting professionals

should not be taken as the character of the whole profession".

Bloch emphasised the need for chartered accountants to interact with various
arms of government more vigorously.

"There is need to continue to work with the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, the
ZimbabweInvestment Centre, par-liament and variousgovernment ministriesand
bodies in order to contribute to economic recovery and to greater compliance
by all economic sectors with principles of good governance," Bloch said.

Bloch was speaking at an event marking his appointment as new ICAZ
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Zim Independent


Does Obasanjo know something we don't?

 THE Sunday Mail's Under the Surface columnist is miffed that the Nigerian
state of Kwara is giving expelled Zimbabwean commercial farmers land to
continue to do what they do best - produce food. He says this proves that
the Nigerians cannot be trusted. He is sceptical that Nigerian president
Olusegun Obasanjo ever meant well when he tried to mediate in the political
stalemate between Zanu PF and the opposition MDC.

"Next time you see President Obasanjo appearing as if he wants to mediate in
solving any problem, then know that he is up to something bigger than help
solve your problems," complains Under the Surface.

He doesn't say what is wrong with Nigerians appreciating talent when they
see it. The Nigerian leader has not hidden the great esteem in which he
holds Zimbabwe's cast-away white farmers. We still remember earlier this
year when he said he did not want Zimbabwe's former farmers to leave the
continent because that would be a great loss to Africa. This is unlike
President Robert Mugabe and his Zanu PF party who would rather cut their
nose to spite their face. So what would Under the Surface have Nigeria do?
Turn down offers from Zimbabwe's farmers in the name of spurious solidarity?

Fortunately Obasanjo knows which side his bread is buttered on.

Is there something they put in their reporters' tea at the Sunday Mail that
produces the lickspittle journalism that is the chief characteristic of that
ministerial propaganda mouthpiece?

We have weekly the conspiracy theories of its political editor which appear
to have been inspired by his swollen-headed mentor and are therefore given
prominence despite being far-fetched, improbable, and mostly downright daft!
The same emasculated individual would also seem to be using the paper's
Under the Surface column to settle a few scores with journalists in the
independent press, not to mention foreign diplomats.

We still haven't managed to work out the point about Sir Brian Donnelly
being an MI6 agent in uniform. Why would he want to be in uniform if he was
an MI6 agent? Something seems to have got lost in the translation here!

But competing vigorously for the Sunday Mail's Bootlicker of the Year
ward  - in a busy field - is young Robert Mukondiwa who last weekend
supplied a loving paean of praise to the author of the Back2Black album.

"I felt that after listening to the grooves and words in the songs,
exploring the intercourse of sound on the album I had grown a shade darker
after the experience - I had truly and in practical essence gone
 Back2Black," he gushingly wrote.

Nothing that is black is ever good, Mukondiwa bemoaned. "Even in snooker and
pool, where the highest scoring ball is black and is the most coveted, the
catch is the same. The black ball has to be sunk last after all other
lighter-shaded balls and it is given its painful whack by - you guessed it,
the WHITE ball!"

Some therapy is obviously needed here.

Nathaniel Manheru offered a back-handed welcome to the new British
ambassador, Roderick Pullen, in his weekly column last week. In fact he
invented an entire history for himself so he could posture as the great
nationalist redeemer.

"I am sure Sir Donnelly (sic) would have told you a thing or two about me,
Nathaniel, the first son of old Manheru."

Indeed, he would probably have told his successor what an old fraud you are.
Don't we recall Pikirayi Deketeke telling a judge last year that he was
Manheru? So are all the ancestors listed last Saturday his or yours?

And they would have had difficulty fighting for the "great Queen" in Burma
when she had been dead 40 years!

Let's hope Dr Pullen turns out to be as outspoken as his counterpart in
Kenya, Edward Clay, who, accusing the Kenyan government of arrogance, greed
and corruption, told an audience of businessmen recently that ministers
"could hardly expect us not to care when their gluttony causes them to vomit
all over our shoes".

The East African Standard, one of the papers our government has been trying
to court, had this to say of Clay's remarks: "Below the indelicate vomit
imagery, beneath the usual British scepticism about us, Mr Clay was speaking
the ugly truth about the state of our country and its government."

And in comments that will resonate in this country, Anglican Archbishop
Benjamin Nzimbi said if the Kenya government's commitment to fight
corruption "is to carry any credibility and conviction, then it must act
firmly against the culprits in its ranks in accordance with its pledge that
there will be no sacred cows".

We were intrigued by Jonathan Moyo's remarks that next year's general
election would be aimed at consolidating Zanu PF's gains made in 2000. Does
he mean the "gains" that saw his party lose 57 seats? Or the "gains" that
have seen the country's economy contract by 30% since?

There appears to be some confusion here.

"Time has come for us to deal with the puppet once and for all," Moyo
declared to supporters at Nyahondo Primary School. The MDC had fallen into
Blair's toilet and what was left was to flush them down, he said using the
scatological metaphors now common in the ruling party.

Herald columnist Caesar Zvayi had a better idea. "Every Zimbabwean must
pledge his ballot to kill the sellouts in our midst at the polls," he said.

This is the second threat made against opposition voters by this  state
columnist and it is remarkable that none of our church leaders or civic
spokesmen think it is noteworthy! Why are Densen Mafinyane and Trevor
Manhanga so quiet about intimidation of this sort?

If anybody was in doubt about the depth of the skills drain from the
University of Zimbabwe, the Sunday Mail laid everything bare this week. Out
of an optimum staff complement of 1 200 lecturers, the university has about
580 as of February this year. In other words while enrolment figures have
been rising sharply, the staff required to teach has been deserting the
institution because of "poor conditions of service". We don't know if there
is a minister responsible.

But these shocking developments have not, of course, stopped the predatory
Education minister Aeneas Chigwedere from interfering in the affairs of the
few remaining private schools still offering quality education in the
country. In other words soon we might have another exodus of skilled
teachers from primary and secondary schools because of poor salaries and
political uncertainty in the country.

Even the patriotic Herald was on Friday forced to concede that something was
wrong with the government arbitrarily setting limits on fees schools could
charge. Not only had standards in government schools declined over the
years, it said. In a telling metaphor on what is happening, it compared
private and government school education to a Mercedes Benz and a Mazda 323.
Suppose farming doesn't need education!

For the first time Saturday's Herald appeared to acknowledge that some of
the land seized under the free-for-all land grab had been laid to waste.
Except that in this case it was mainly to spite the new owner. Resettlement
permanent secretary Simon Pazvakavambwa has allegedly not paid his workers
on Lynton Farm since May. Irrigation equipment and tractors on the farm are
lying idle, moaned the Herald in its lead story. "The previous owner," it
said, "Mr Mike Malzer, used to grow paprika, maize, tobacco and ran a
thriving cattle ranch and piggery."

It didn't say why a productive farmer was chased off the land, of course.
"Workers on the farm said the farm used to be very productive but was now
run down and feared for their future as the new owner was allegedly not
committing himself to farming," disclosed the Herald.

That's what happens when resources are allocated to people for free on the
basis of political affiliation. Meanwhile, less jaundiced investigations by
the Herald could reveal that the new wastelands go well beyond Lowani Ndlovu
's petty quarrel with Minister John Nkomo over the Tsholotsho constituency.

There are multiple farm grabbers who are refusing to surrender extra
properties despite President Mugabe's repeated appeals to these greedy
fellows. Muckraker understands one judge who seized what used to be a hugely
productive estate in the Chinhoyi area has reduced it to a two-donkey
affair. Nobody knows what happened to the tractors and combine harvesters on
the farm.

Hell hath no fury like a columnist whose newspaper group has been ordered to
pay damages for defamation. Lowani Ndlovu was furious that Justice Yunus
Omerjee found for the banned Daily News after they were defamed by
Information minister Jonathan Moyo in his many reckless articles published
in the Herald in 2003. The Herald and its shadowy Nathaniel Manheru were
also ordered to pay damages.

What struck Muckraker as contradictory beyond description was Lowani's howls
about democracy and freedom of expression. It has a jarring feeling like
chewing sand. In comments that verged on contempt of court, Lowani
pronounced Justice Omerjee's judgement the worst ever made by the High Court
and a direct attack on freedom of the press. He said of the judgement:

"It is a naked and rather crude attack on freedom of expression that should
never ever be allowed to stand in any constitutional democracy because it is
unreasonable and unjustified in such a society."

Really Cde Lowani? Since when have you become a spokesperson for those
seeking to reclaim their right to freedom of expression and freedom of the

While he was attacking Justice Omerjee's judgement, he could not miss the
chance to gleefully refer to the Daily News as "defunct". What hypocrisy!

It is no secret that it is the likes of Lowani and other charlatans in the
state's propaganda armoury who orchestrated and celebrated the closure of
three newspapers and the arrest of dozens of journalists in a space of two
years. Not even diabolical Ian Smith could match that. Not in a thousand

But then Lowani is a clever fellow who can hedge his bets. While he was
bitter about Justice Omerjee's judgement, what better way to attack it than
mask his assault as a defence of freedom of expression? That should
forestall a possible contempt of court charge as an infringement on his
freedom of expression. Let's see how this one pans out!

Meanwhile, Lowani's alter ego in the Sunday News, Mzala Joe in Bulawayo, had
a go at Zanu PF chairman and Resettlement minister John Nkomo. Nkomo's sin
was an interview he had with the Zimbabwe Independent in which he said the
ruling party had been infiltrated. The Independent was gratuitously labelled
an opposition mouthpiece "that never ever publishes a single true or good
thing about President Mugabe, Zanu PF, the government and Zimbabwe".

We are not going to waste our time defending the Independent from Mzala Joe
Lowani Ndlovu who, for some very strange reason, sees himself as the people,
the government, Zanu PF, the state and President Mugabe all rolled into one.
The court of public opinion is out there to make a verdict. The real issue
is that Lowani and Mzala Joe are two faces of the same coin. The attack on
Nkomo was transferred to Bulawayo to accommodate the attack on Justice
Omerjee's judgement in Lowani's "colonised" Sunday Mail. That's as
threadbare and flyblown as the trick can go. The source is exactly the same.

Control of the state media has become a personal passion, a one-man struggle
for access to public attention. We have said it before that only one person
now is able to speak through the state-controlled media. Aggrieved Zanu PF
officials cannot use the state media unless they are attacking Tony Blair or
the MDC. When some evil laws were promulgated to muzzle the media or to
close down certain newspapers, Zanu PF MPs voted with their feet because
they thought it was an opposition thing. Now while the likes of Lowani are
shedding crocodile tears about freedom of expression, all he is crying for
is a licence to attack all and sundry because he is guaranteed space in the
state media. Nobody else enjoys that "democracy". In fact everybody else has
been relegated to The Voice, which nobody reads.

So it was that Nkomo committed the unpardonable sin of granting an interview
to the opposition press. And in Lowani's logic you cannot use the private
press without being a traitor. He holds the key to the state media.

Thus spoke hypocritical Mzala in the Sunday News: "The fact that Cde Nkomo
chose to speak through a paper that everyone knows is opposed to President
Mugabe, Zanu PF, the government and Zimbabwe itself raises eyebrows and
leaves Cde Nkomo open to criticism that he used that paper fully knowing
that the outcome would be negative on President Mugabe, his own party, of
which he is national chairman, and the government of which he is a senior

Has Mugabe grown so old that he is supposed to be seduced by this kind of
cheap flattery by people in Zanu PF who don't want to surrender the extra
farms they looted during land reform? So if you steal a farm all you need to
do to keep it is to pretend to love Zanu PF and the president and you are as
safe as a leech?

How do you describe an organisation that still calls itself the best
employer in the country after its workers go on strike demanding a pay rise?
Such is the phenomenon that is Zimpapers. Its workers downed tools on Monday
over salary increases and this was described by management as an act of

"There is definitely an agenda behind this illegal sit-in," fumed the group'
s acting chief executive Oswell Matore. The Herald then bragged that
"Zimpapers employees are currently the envy of many organisations".

Zimpapers chief executive Justin Mutasa recently also bragged that they were
buying their senior employees "state-of-the-art" executive vehicles. Two
weeks down the line the employees cannot take any more  of this
forked-tongue double-speak. It's called the ostrich mentality.

We hope young Tommy Deuschle and his fellow-student from Celebration
College, Andrew Irish, benefited from their visit to the US where they were
due to attend the Global Youth Conference. They were also due to visit the
World Bank, Wall Street and the United Nations, we were told. Last we heard,
they were seeking donations for their trip.

While we wish the two lads all the very best, we can't agree with Tommy that
"it's our duty to cast Zimbabwe in good light" while in the States. Surely
their first duty is to tell the truth!
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Zim Independent

Govt to keep eye on prices
Godfrey Marawanyika
THE government says all goods produced locally will now be monitored for
price adjustments to make sure producers don't profiteer at the expense of

Industry and International Trade minister Samuel Mumbengegwi last week said
the move was being undertaken to ensure that producers were not profiteering
at the expense of consumers.

"All goods that are produced locally are now being monitored for pricing
because some firms here believe that if they do not make a profit of 600%
then they are not making anything," he said.

"I have heard some arguments that some manufacturers' machines are being
affected by wear and tear but that's useless. All goods are now permanently
being monitored for price adjustments. In short, manufacturers want to
benefit at the expense of consumers."

Maize meal, flour and agricultural products are already being monitored.

Government in 2002 introduced price controls which led to massive shortages
of most basic commodities which could only be found on the black market.

Consumer Council of Zimbabwe spokesperson, Tonderai Mukeredzi, said as a
consumer watchdog they welcomed government's decision, but warned that the
monitoring should not be done arbitrarily otherwise it would lead to product

Mumbengegwi also attacked the local business community's continued export of
raw materials without adding value to them, saying this undermined the
country's export potential.

"For example, of all our cotton production, only 25% is processed locally
and the rest is exported as raw lint, then locally there is nothing to
produce," Mumbengegwi said.

"Can you go into a shop and buy a 100% cotton shirt today? No you cannot. So
locally there is a permanent scarcity of cotton. At this rate some people
will go naked.
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Zim Independent

Documents go missing at Agribank
Ngoni Chanakira
MYSTERY surrounds the whereabouts of documents at Agribank containing names
of beneficiaries of the controversial government's $60 billion dollar loan
disbursed through the land bank last year.

Although management has decided to keep a tight lip on the issue because of
its sensitivity, insiders told businessdigest that it was now "proving
difficult to find some files about borrowed funds".

The revelation comes as the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) has moved into
Agribank to try and help it recover the money.

Agribank is currently undergoing various structural and management changes.

The bank recently appointed former RBZ deputy governor, Sam Malaba, to take
over from Taka Mutunhu as chief executive officer.

Agribank, which was set up to service the farming community, was
restructured from the beleaguered Agricultural Finance Corporation (AFC), a
former loss-making parastatal that milked money from the fiscus.

Malaba recently confirmed that Agribank was now scrutinising all activities
and potential clients with a view to rectifying the issue of loans dished
out to mainly new small-scale farmers under the fast-track land resettlement

Insiders say the loans were being abused with some individuals buying luxury
vehicles, residential and industrial stands and properties instead of inputs
and agricultural equipment such as tractors.

"The bank is now asking for several things before one is given a loan," a
customer said. "Many applications are now being rejected with those who
received monies being asked to account for it."

RBZ governor Gideon Gono in his monetary statement review confirmed that
there was a "scam" within the agricultural sector and individuals were
abusing loans because of a "poor accounting system in place".

This is not the first time confidential documents have disappeared in state

Files have gone missing when senior officials were alleged to have abused
facilities and disappeared with billions of taxpayers' money in various
other scams.
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Zim Independent

Homelink forex receipts dip
Shakeman Mugari
FOREIGN currency receipts through money transfer agencies related to the
Homelink initiative this week took a knock following moves by the Reserve
Bank of Zimbabwe to stop the agencies from making payouts in hard

Gono said last week all MTA were no longer allowed to make payouts in
foreign currency. All payouts under Homelink would now be made in local
currency at a rate of US$1: $5 600.

Officials in the money transfer sector this week confirmed that business had
been hit by the new ruling.

A senior official with a leading money transfer agency said business had
been affected by the new regulation. "We have noticed a downward trend in
the receipts from the diaspora since the governor made an about-turn on the
Homelink," said the official. "Business has been low of late. Perhaps it is
because people in the diaspora are still digesting the effect of the
governor's decision."

A manager with a bank that is part of the Homelink family told
businessdigest that foreign currency receipts had gone down following Gono's
announcement. "It seems as if people are holding on to their money. We have
noticed a general dip in receipts since the monetary policy review," said
the manager.

Prior to the recent policy shift, about 70% of the money sent through
Homelink from the disapora was paid out in hard currency, a situation Gono
last week said was driving the parallel market.

Analysts have also warned that Homelink might collapse if the new decision
is allowed to stand. They say the move is likely to force people in the
diaspora to use other irregular means to send money back home. This would
provide a large pool of foreign currency to sustain the parallel market.

CZI acting chief executive Farai Zizhou said it was a self-defeating move
which would worsen foreign currency scarcity. "People will now go back to
the methods they were using before Homelink wase introduced," said Zizhou.
"The auction and the diaspora rate are still not attractive. And if the
central bank says they are not paying out in foreign currency then people
will stop sending money through Homelink."

The parallel market is on the rampage with the ailing Zimbabwe dollar
trading at US$1: $7 500. It has also lost ground against the strengthening
South African rand.

"People will stop sending money through Homelink. There is no incentive to
do so," said economic commentator, John Robertson.
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Zim Independent

ISPs approach RBZ
Staff Writer
LOCAL Internet Service Providers (ISP) have approached the central bank over
plans by the country's sole telephone company, Tel*One, to charge them in
foreign currency.

Tel*One, used by most ISPs to move their cyberspace traffic, demanded that
ISPs pay in foreign currency in contravention of exchange control

The chairman of the ISPs, Shadreck Nkala, confirmed approaches to the RBZ
were made this week.

"Some people found it necessary to approach the Reserve Bank over the
payment requirements set by Tel*One because we feel this is in conflict with
the country's regulations," Nkala said.

Nkala said Tel*One was charging as much as US$4 million depending on the
service licence of the individual company.
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Zim Independent

Loans gobble auction money
Ngoni Chanakira
THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) says from the US$778,6 million it has
received from the weekly auctions, the majority has gone towards repayment
of outstanding loans.

RBZ governor, Gideon Gono, said US$151,1 million had been used for central
bank loans and "other" priorities.

The "other" priorities were not, however, specified.

"In carrying out its function, special attention is placed on the pressing

needs of the productive sectors, so as to stimulate a meaningful supply
response," Gono said when presenting his monetary policy statement review
for the second quarter to June 30.

"In terms of usage, US$778,6 million was received during the first half of
the year."

Raw materials accounted for the second highest amount of the foreign

currency allocations, taking up US$128,4 million.

"As your central bank, part of our statutory mandate is to discharge the
efficient management of the country's foreign exchange resources, ensuring
that there is optimal allocation of the scarce resource among competing
needs of the country," he said.

Government ministries gobbled US$90,1 million from the auctions for various

Gono did not specify what these items were.

"It is important to note that over and above the total foreign exchange
availed to the productive sectors through the Reserve Bank via the auction
system and other direct allocations, the productive sectors had access to
additional foreign exchange through utilisation of their foreign currency
account (FCA) balances under the foreign currency retention system," he

Sectors that received a substantial amount of foreign currency include
machinery US$38,1 million, spares (US$29,9 million), motor vehicles (US$17,9
million), chemicals (US$11,1 million), loan repayments (US$6,8 million) and
gold producers (US$24,7 million).

He said the first six months of the year had seen a considerable
stabilisation of the energy supply situation throughout the country.

"Shortages of fuel had caused untold suffering to the commuting public as
well as impaired business operations," Gono said. "Against this background,
the Reserve Bank, in close consultation with the Ministry of Energy and
Power Development, attaches immense priority to fuel procurement."

However, fuel supplies have been haphazard and the country is still not
receiving the required amounts.

Some service stations have gone for weeks without receiving any supplies
from their normal sources.

Gono said over and above the US$80 million allotted for fuel imports on the
foreign exchange auction, the RBZ availed an additional US$51,8 million to
Noczim over the period December 2003 to June.

He said the increased involvement of the private sector in procurement of
fuel was expected to enhance stability in fuel supply.

"Lasting stabilisation of the fuel sector also requires that the country
effectively utilises the existing Beira pipeline infrastructure," Gono said.

The struggling Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority was given US$22,6
million from the auction, while the Grain Marketing Board received US$700

Zesa utilised the amount for long outstanding debts to neighbouring
creditors such as Mozambique, South Africa and the Democratic Republic of
the Congo as well as for the importation of power and spare parts.

"Given the central nature of electricity energy to the achievement of
economic growth and development aspirations of the country, greater priority
is being given to Zesa in terms of foreign exchange allocation," Gono said.
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Zim Independent

Zesa jingle an irritating insult

IMAGINE it is five minutes to 8 o'clock in the evening and you have just
arrived from work.

Tired, hungry and in the midst of your cooking, electricity supplies are cut

You quickly light your candle and resort to your paraffin stove and continue

You also switch on your battery radio and just before Newshour you hear the
Zesa yauya zvine power jingle. So irritated will you be I am certain, that
you wish you could kick the radio to stop the song.

With the blackouts we experience now and again, and with several
unelectrified places countrywide, shouldn't it be Zesa yaenda nemagetsi?

Zesa has gone down the drain with the incessant blackouts leaving the
country in the dark.

Luxon Ekeni Maposa,

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Zim Independent

Real Zim problem

THE response from the beleaguered Zanu PF government on the ACHPR report is
typical of the way it handles any views different from its own.

The party denies everything that it assumes is British-sponsored.

Even South African president Thabo Mbeki can be painted with the same brush
if he dares criticise President Mugabe and his government.

Remember Nigerian president Olusegun Obasango and the former commercial
farmers? This is exactly what all these African heads of state were refusing
to listen to from long back.

Mugabe and company are the problem in Zimbabwe and not the land issue.

Mudhara weNorton,

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Zim Independent

Editor's Memo

 Windshield smash
Vincent Kahiya
THIS week President Mugabe returned from the Langkawi International Dialogue
in Malaysia where leaders of developing countries sought business deals with
the rich Asian nation, considered an icon of anti-imperialism.

Mugabe and his entourage have always brought back promises of fantastic
projects from their escapades in the East. This time around the trip was
supposed to bring back bucketfuls of water for the people of Matabeleland
who have been waiting for the fruition of the Matabeleland Zambezi Water
Project for decades.

But Mugabe did not append his signature to the agreement for Malaysia to
provide the US$600 million for the construction of the pipeline. The deal
could not be sealed because Mugabe had not taken his "water people" to

How did Water and Infrastructure Development minister Joyce Mujuru miss the
trip when a US$600 million water deal was on the table? Did someone fail to
remind the president that a major spin-off from the trip would be the water

Perhaps Science and Technology minister Olivia Muchena, who did attend, was
following up on technology transfer deals announced two years ago. Had
Agriculture minister Joseph Made, who was also there, gone to assure the
Malaysians that $2,5 billion agro-exports were on their way after this
year's bumper harvest? Perhaps Stan Mudenge went along in search of another
diplomatic victory for the country!

So there will be no gargantuan deals to splash in the media because the
water people did not make the trip. But the non-water delegation evidently
had a good time on the island resort.

"The hospitality is abundant. I have expressed our gratitude to your Prime
Minister for hosting it and for the hospitality that we have received,"
Mugabe told the Malaysian media.

What could have spoiled the party are statements which have followed Mugabe
on his last two foreign trips calling for good tenets of governance such as
power-sharing and transparency.

Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi urged leaders gathered for
the smart partnership dialogue to adopt a new mindset and attitudes which
embrace openness and transparency.

"Genuine power-sharing between different groups in the country should be
considered as an important element in nation-building," said Badawi.
"Nations should develop and implement a positive approach to ethics and

So this is no longer an imperialist ploy as we have been tutored by our
rulers here? Mudenge will argue that this was not aimed at Zimbabwe.

Last month at the AU summit in Addis Ababa United Nations secretary-general
Kofi Annan opened up on intractable rulers on the continent.

"Let us pledge that the days of indefinite one-man or one-party governments
are behind us," Annan said to applause. "There is no greater wisdom and no
clearer mark of statesmanship than knowing when to pass the torch to a new

Mudenge told the media in Addis that this had nothing to do with Mugabe. The
minister should be reminded that when the winds of change start to blow some
build windshields and others windmills.

Mudenge may continue to erect windshields but this is not the last time that
Mugabe will encounter similar sentiments at international fora. It will
become increasingly difficult for Zimbabwean rulers to market their brand of
democracy built on political intolerance and suppression of dissent

At the Sadc summit in Mauritius this month the Zimbabwean delegation will
hear about international best practice in governance, transparency and power

Parliament reconvenes next Wednesday for the final session before the
general election in March next year. This is the last opportunity for
legislators to make meaningful contributions in the House instead of
emulating Innocent Chikiyi who had to be ejected from the House for using
vulgar language against a fellow member.

As usual there will be the tepid debate on the presidential speech where MPs
will fall over each other in singing praises to their dear leader. The
debate on the presidential speech is supposed to mirror societal discourse
on key national issues and influence policy formulation. The Zimbabwean
parliament has fared badly on that.

The danger is for the House to be bogged down in petty discussions which
give excitable MPs the opportunity to prance about like prima donnas.

This session of parliament bears immense significance to the country's
future as legislators have to debate crucial pieces of legislation. The
House will consider changes to the electoral law. There is the contentious
NGO Bill and a repealing of the Witchcraft Suppression Act.

The proposed amendments to the electoral system - which could entail the
repeal of sections of the constitution - should be the focal point of
legislators, some of whom have endorsed Bills they have never set eyes on.

The electoral legislation that will come out of parliament will have a huge
bearing on the conduct of the general election next year, which will chart
the future for the country. The current tension between Zanu PF and the
opposition MDC stems largely from the issue of Mugabe's legitimacy. The
opposition claims Mugabe was elected on the platform of a flawed electoral
system hence questions about his legitimacy.

But power-drunk politicians have been known to sacrifice common sense on the
altar of political expediency. That has been accomplished with perfection by
Zanu PF legislators. The record speaks for itself: the Public Order and
Security Act, the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act, and
the Land Acquisition Act and its attendant amendments.

Given this record, it is hardly surprising they now want to repeal the
Witchcraft Suppression Act in the coming session!

l Last week we informed readers that the judgement in Morgan Tsvangirai's
treason trial, initially due on July 29, had been postponed to give the
assessors a chance to go through the trial transcript. The court's registrar
took issue with our story and sent us a statement to publish which you may
have already seen in the Herald. It appears in full (opposite, top) on this

I must place it on record that contrary to the registrar's contention, we
did not suggest that the Judge President had already prepared a judgement.
Nor was it our intention to do so.

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