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

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International Crisis Group
Zimbabwe: Another Election Chance
Africa Report N°86
30 November 2004


Zimbabwe's crisis -- political as well as economic -- remains as deep as ever, with widespread abuse of human rights and ever harder lives for the average citizen. The ruling ZANU-PF party continues to use repression and manipulate food aid unscrupulously for partisan purposes. African institutions and above all South Africa need to apply pressure to make the crucial elections scheduled for March 2005 free and fair in order to give the democratic opposition a chance. Western friends of Zimbabwe like the U.S., UK and EU should tone down rhetoric and get behind the African efforts if a vital chance to resolve the crisis peacefully is not to be lost.

President Mugabe has used economic bribery, bullying, and propaganda to stage something of a comeback. While polling data in Zimbabwe is controversial, a recent finding suggests his support may have increased from a 2000 low of 20 per cent to as much as 46 per cent, and his job approval from 21 per cent to 58 per cent. It is just possible ZANU-PF could win those elections in a relatively straightforward way now that it has used so many unfair advantages to tilt the electoral playing field.

As the party prepares for its annual Congress in the first week of December, however, it is riven by bitter ethnic, generational and even gender disputes. Important decisions foreshadowing an eventual successor to Mugabe are due but he may well continue to keep the key contenders guessing. ZANU-PF seeks a sweeping victory in the parliamentary elections so it can amend the constitution at will, perhaps to create a new executive structure and an honorary position into which Mugabe might step before his term expires in 2008.

In recent months, Zimbabwe has come under African scrutiny in regard to those elections. In July 2004 the executive council of the African Union's (AU) foreign ministers adopted a report severely critical of the government's poor human rights record. AU heads of state deferred early action, but the following month the Southern African Development Community (SADC) adopted a protocol setting out principles and guidelines for democratic elections in the region.

Partly out of his renewed sense of confidence, partly in reaction to the pressure from African quarters he cannot afford to dismiss and has thus far always been able to work an accommodation with, Mugabe endorsed the SADC principles and guidelines. The specific legislative steps he indicates he will take to implement them, however, are flawed, such as a new electoral commission whose independence will be doubtful because he and his party are to have overwhelming influence on selection of members.

As matters now stand parliamentary elections would clearly not be free and fair. If the technical reforms now under discussion are taken but are not matched by other measures -- repeal of repressive laws and an end to political violence such as that widely practiced by state-sponsored youth militias -- the best prospect in sight is a C-minus election that is fairly clean on election day but deeply flawed by months of non-democratic practices. There are no signs that the government is yet prepared to take those essential additional steps.

The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) must revive itself quickly and develop a unified strategy if it is to make the most of the March elections. Its leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, has at least been acquitted of one set of trumped up treason charges but a second such case still hangs over his head, the party remains persecuted in numerous ways, and its leadership is uncertain over how to respond. The decision taken in August 2004 by the MDC leadership group to boycott the March 2005 elections unless there can be a guarantee in advance that they will be free and fair will be reviewed in the coming weeks. A last minute decision to boycott can always be made if circumstances compel it, but it is critical for the MDC's credibility and effectiveness as a political force that it participate now in the political and electoral process to the greatest possible extent. At the same time, it should seek to maximise understanding from SADC and other observers of the need for genuine electoral reforms to be implemented before the elections.

If something is to be made of the electoral opening, small and problematic as it is, it will need to be those with the greatest leverage -- Mugabe's fellow Africans -- who make most of the running. South Africa, the state with by far the most influence on its neighbour, remains committed to quiet diplomacy, and other African states strongly prefer to emphasise gradual change -- a "restoration" of at least better governance -- rather than sudden, and as they tend to see it, destabilising "regime change". If they are to be effective in the next few months, London, Washington and other Western capitals, whose own rhetoric has at times been considerably more forceful, need to harmonise policies and support the Africans.

Specifically, efforts should focus on holding the Mugabe regime to its commitment on the SADC Protocol and getting observation missions into the country immediately so they can monitor and raise warnings about the broader environment in which the election process unfolds. If ZANU-PF does not undertake major reforms in the coming weeks, and most particularly if a genuinely independent electoral commission is not operational at least two months before the scheduled date of the elections, those missions should press for rescheduling at least to June, when the term of the present parliament expires. The MDC should conduct a full campaign.

If these things can be done, it may just be possible for the 2005 elections, whether in March or slightly later, to be free and fair enough to mark an important turn back toward genuine politics as the means for resolving Zimbabwe's crisis. Out of that might come a division of power based on genuine election results, perhaps followed for the first time by productive inter-party discussion on the country's future.

It must be said frankly that the odds against such a relatively optimistic scenario are substantial. Because the international community appears to lack the will or the means to formulate and implement a more comprehensive and forceful strategy at this time, however, it is worth dedicating the next few months to even a small chance. The alternative is a continued slide toward national and regional chaos, which would ultimately require the international community to consider much graver measures in even less promising circumstances.


To the Zimbabwe Government and ZANU-PF:

1.  Implement by 1 January 2005 as preparation for the parliamentary elections scheduled for March 2005 the SADC principles and guidelines governing democratic elections in letter and spirit, including by:

(a)  working with the opposition MDC to develop consensus on technical electoral reforms and their implementation, including appointments to a new, independent electoral commission;

(b)  revising or repealing laws such as the Preservation of Public Security Act (POSA), the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA), the Private Voluntary Organisations Act (PVO) and the new NGO Bill so as to restore rule of law and political freedoms necessary for the conduct of truly free and fair elections;

(c)  ending political violence by disbanding youth militias and desisting from using the military to repress political opponents;

(d)  ceasing manipulation of food aid for political purposes; and

(e)  desisting from messages of hate in public rallies, state events and the press, and tacit approval of violence.

To the MDC:

2.  Decide to contest the parliamentary elections, and campaign accordingly, even if it is not possible to obtain at this stage absolute guarantees that they will be conducted in a fully free and fair manner.

To the South African Government:

3.  Press the Zimbabwe government bilaterally and within SADC to:

(a)  adhere to the SADC principles and guidelines;

(b)  repeal repressive laws so that truly free and fair parliamentary elections can be held in March 2005; and

(c)  cooperate within SADC and the AU to ensure a robust monitoring presence is in country by 1 January 2005.


4.  Pursue implementation of the protocol on principles and guidelines for democratic elections vigorously with Zimbabwe in connection with the parliamentary elections now scheduled for March 2005, including by:

(a)  setting specific timelines for incorporation of those principles and guidelines into national law, regulations and procedures and for the establishment of a genuinely independent electoral commission;

(b)  sending a team by 1 January 2005 first to work with ZANU-PF and the MDC on implementation of the protocol's principles and guidelines, in letter and spirit, and then to monitor the elections;

(c)  announcing publicly that SADC will call for postponement of the elections at least to June 2005, when the parliamentary term expires, if the necessary preliminary steps, including establishment of a genuinely independent electoral commission, are not in place at least two months before the scheduled date of those elections; and

(d)  announcing publicly that SADC will not endorse the results of elections unless its monitoring team is satisfied that the entire election process was in conformity with the letter and spirit of the protocol's principles and guidelines.

To the Nigerian Government:

5.  Use the chairmanships of the Commonwealth and the African Union to intensify pressure on the Zimbabwe government to create a level playing field for the 2005 parliamentary elections.

To the African Union:

6.  Maintain a watchful eye on the human rights situation before the 2005 parliamentary elections, including by sending a team of experts by 1 January 2005 to assess the electoral environment, and support implementation of the SADC principles and guidelines by the Zimbabwe government.

To the Wider International Community, especially the European Union and the United States:

7.  Support the efforts of African states and institutions to achieve free and fair parliamentary elections in Zimbabwe in 2005, in conformity with the letter and spirit of the SADC Protocol, including by:

(a)  helping finance and train monitoring teams;

(b)  urging deployment of a UN election monitoring team by 1 January 2005; and

(c)  assisting Zimbabwean civil society voter education efforts.

8.  Deliver clear messages to the Zimbabwe government through diplomatic channels that it cannot expect any development assistance or positive political relations, including relaxation of existing targeted sanctions unless a clear consensus exists among monitoring teams that the parliamentary elections have been free and fair, within the letter and spirit of the SADC Protocol.

Pretoria/Brussels, 30 November 2004

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            International Activists to Demand Freer Zimbabwe

            CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation

                  MEDIA STATEMENT
                  For immediate release


                  29 November 2004; Johannesburg, South Africa - Civil
                  organisations from the surrounding countries to Zimbabwe
will be holding peaceful placard demonstrations in front of the Zimbabwean
Embassies on 10 December 2004 to mark International Human Rights Day.

                  The demonstrations are part of a series of civil society
events aimed at putting an end to ongoing human rights violations and the
closure of civic space in Zimbabwe. They will provide opportunities for
civil society activists, Zimbabweans in the Diaspora and citizens of Africa
to show solidarity towards their Zimbabwean brothers and sisters and to
advocate for the repeal and progressive amendment of existing and planned
repressive legislation in Zimbabwe, including the proposed NGO Bill.

                  Subsequent to the demonstrations, civil society
organisations from the region will be organising a Zimbabwe Solidarity Rally
(ZSR) on 14 February 2005 in which thousands of people and organisations
will march to the main border posts of Zimbabwe in the neighbouring
countries of Botswana, Mozambique, South Africa and Zambia. The Rally,
originally planned for 10 December 2004, has been rescheduled on account of
the huge expression of interest from civil society in the SADC region, which
calls for additional time to plan the activities. Rescheduling the march
will allow for a broader inclusion of civil society members and individuals,
a greater impact and a stronger coalition in solidarity.


                  For more information on these events, please contact
                  International South Africa (AISA) on +27 12 320 8155 ( or CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen
Participation on +27 11 833 5959 (

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Mail and Guardian

Delegates gather for Zanu-PF conference


      30 November 2004 14:44

Hundreds of delegates started arriving on Tuesday in Harare ahead of this
week's ruling party congress which is likely to see the election of
Zimbabwe's first woman vice-president.

Around 9 000 delegates of President Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe African
National Union - Patriotic Front (Zanu-PF) are due to attend the five-day
conference, which begins on Wednesday.

Top of the agenda is the election of a new vice-president to replace Simon
Muzenda, who died last year in his eighties after years of deteriorating

That position is almost certain to go to Water Resources Minister Joyce
Mujuru, after Mugabe said last week he thought the position should go to a

"We really support the nomination of Comrade Mujuru," Mugabe told party

There have been reports of bitter fighting within Zanu-PF for the position.
Most provincial ZANU-PF committees have now supported Mujuru's nomination,
which will now have to be ratified by the congress.

Zimbabwe has two vice presidents. Sitting vice president Joseph Msika is
likely to retain his post after being nominated by most provinces.

If elected, Mujuru, who has been in the Zimbabwean Cabinet since
independence in 1980 when she was only 25 years old, will be the southern
African country's first female vice-president.

She has held several portfolios and is the wife of the former army commander
Solomon Mujuru. She is also a veteran of Zimbabwe's war for independence.

The election of a new vice-president is not the only item on the agenda of
the congress, which is held every five years.

The party's spokesman, Nathan Shamuyarira, has said issues like rural
development, electrification and water supplies will be discussed, as will
the country's controversial land reform programme.

"It will be an eventful congress," Shamuyarira said this weekend.

Another top party official, Amos Midzi, the governor of Harare province, has
said transport problems must be discussed, as well as ways of improving
people's access to health care. Doctors' fees and the cost of health
insurance have recently soared, putting them out of the reach of many.

But the independent press has been sceptical that any advances will be made,
with the weekly Standard calling it a "non-event."

Well-known government critic and constitutional lawyer Lovemore Madhuku told
reporters that the congress was just another government meeting.

"No one takes those congresses seriously. It's not different from a
government function," he said.

He described the 49-year-old Mujuru as "young blood in terms of age, but not
in terms of ideas".

"Her ideas are as old as those of Mugabe," said Madhuku.

Several foreign delegates wil be attending the congress, including officials
from China. Mugabe has urged Zimbabweans to forge closer links with China.

The meeting is to be held at Harare's International Conference Centre, in a
city hotel. Although officially due to start Wednesday, most of the
important business is likely to take place later in the week.

The congress has been estimated to cost 20-billion Zimbabwe dollars. -
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Dear subscriber,


We apologise for the delay in sending the Weekly Media Update update. This was due to circumstances beyond our control. 


MMPZ Advocacy Office



The Media Monitoring Project Zimbabwe

Monday November 15th – Sunday November 21st 2004

Weekly Media Update 2004-46










1. General Comment


MMPZ notes with concern the widespread abuse by the media of using unattributed sources to corroborate their stories. It is a fact that the hostile political climate and prevalent lack of accountability at all levels of government has given rise to a climate of secrecy, fear and anxiety throughout Zimbabwean society.

As a result, the media have often been obliged to rely on unnamed sources to bring important stories to their audiences. But the government-controlled media particularly, have exploited this situation to such an extent that they now habitually foist their opinion on their audiences by hiding behind the fig leaf of unnamed sources in their news coverage, even, on occasion, resorting to “government sources” in stories about official government activities.


The private media are also known to be guilty of what would, in a normal society, be considered to be a dereliction of journalistic duty, but have generally attempted to limit resorting to anonymous sources in “sensitive” reports where “whistle-blowers” provide information on the strict understanding that they remain anonymous. This happens anywhere in the world, but in Zimbabwe it is far more prevalent because people no longer have faith in the ideal that justice will be done and that offenders will be brought to account.

But the government media have exacerbated this gross lack of transparency by adopting the trend even in apparently harmless cases, which do not warrant masking the identity of individuals quoted in their stories. For example, in the week under review ZTV (15/11, 8pm) reported that private fuel companies had failed to shed light on the findings by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) that more than $70 billion worth of foreign currency meant for fuel procurement had been misappropriated.

The report quoted “industry sources”, “analysts” and “some companies” but failed to reveal their identity.

Similarly, Power FM (20/11, 1pm) reported that, “economists have expressed concern over recent fuel price hikes saying it will have an adverse impact on the country’s inflation rate”.  Not a single economist was named and the reasons for not identifying the sources on such a general story remain a mystery. Consequently, the failure by these media to identify their sources compromises the authenticity of their reports and gives the impression that they do not entirely represent the truth of the matter.


It is, of course, easy for reporters to “interview themselves” and in fact, to distort a story at will without providing any identifiable sources. Such activities are a travesty of journalistic practice and represent some of the essential elements necessary in the creation of propaganda, which is so prevalent in the government-controlled media. 

Besides its own extensive use of unnamed sources, the government broadcaster frequently also tends to misrepresent general opinion by presenting the views of a few selected individuals as reflective of all Zimbabweans’ support for government policies.


For example, on the day that the Registrar-General launched the new synthetic identification cards, ZTV (18/11, 8pm) claimed that the public had “applauded” the move, saying it would speed up the issuing of identity documents. However, only four individuals were quoted welcoming the latest development.

In fact, the credibility of ZTV’s public opinion surveys suffered another blow when it (11/11, 8pm) used one of its own staffers as a source in its report on public sentiments over commuter transport problems.

The station quoted Artwell Manyengavana masquerading as an unnamed general member of the public calling on commuter bus operators to charge government sanctioned fares.



2. Parliamentary issues


MOST of the media failed to explain to their audiences how the self-serving interests of the ruling party appear to have assumed predominance over Parliament’s mandate to enact laws that do not violate the constitutionally guaranteed freedoms of Zimbabweans.  

This was clearly demonstrated by their failure to fully expose ZANU PF’s continued abuse of its majority in Parliament to subvert parliamentary procedures and ram through controversial laws such as the NGO Bill and the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission Bill, despite findings by the Parliamentary Legal Committee (PLC) that both the proposed laws contained provisions that violate the Constitution, the country’s supreme law.


For example, except for The Financial Gazette (18/11), none of the media attempted to fully discuss the controversies surrounding government’s determination to promulgate the two Bills. Neither did they give full details of the PLC’s strong criticism of the proposed laws, let alone, reconcile the committee’s objections with ZANU PF’s justifications for disregarding them.

Rather, the government media avoided these issues by dwelling more on the trivial aspects of the matter as exemplified by Power FM (17/11, 6am) ZTV (17/11, 8pm), The Herald and Chronicle (18/11). Instead of adequately informing their audiences of the MPs’ debate during the unprecedented all-night sitting of Parliament, which resulted in ZANU PF’s legislators throwing out the PLC’s adverse reports, these media were content with magnifying the fact that the legislators had sat for a record 16 hours  “without recess breaking its 2002 record of 13 hours”.


The Herald (19/11) even went on to claim that the 16-hour marathon debate was “a celebration of the vibrancy of our parliamentary democracy and a sense of selfless duty by MPs” from both ZANU PF and the opposition MDC. None of the government media questioned why government was in such a hurry to fast-track the enactment of the laws to the extent of suspending parliamentary standing orders.  

Instead, The Herald (19/11) drummed up a vague and feeble defence of the conduct of the ruling party’s legislators, saying the suspension of parliamentary standing orders was necessary because “detractors” have always alleged that there was “insufficient time for the implementation of electoral reforms and called for the postponement of next year’s general election”. Moreover, it contended that Parliament’s all-night debate reflected “meaningful engagement between ZANU PF and the opposition in Zimbabwe”, which, it claimed, MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai has always “trashed”.

Ironically, while the paper was giving the impression that there was meaningful dialogue in Parliament on the proposed laws, its previous issue (18/11) and ZTV (18/11, 8pm) quoted Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa attacking MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai, during parliamentary debate, as “unpatriotic” and “State enemy number one” for allegedly lobbying Europe to impose sanctions on Zimbabwe. 

There was no attempt to analyse the underlying implications of such potentially harmful remarks, which the Speaker, Emmerson Mnangagwa, defended when the opposition sought a retraction.


Only SW Radio Africa (18/11) condemned Chinamasa’s remarks and quoted MDC spokesman Paul Themba Nyathi saying it was within Tsvangirai’s “rights to suggest ways and means of exerting pressure on the government of Mugabe so that it does what the people of Zimbabwe expect”.

The Sunday Mirror (21/11) also quoted MDC secretary-general Welshman Ncube expressing similar sentiments.

However, these two organisations remained largely reticent about explaining the effects of the proposed laws and failed to give details of the PLC’s damning reports.

The Zimbabwe Independent (19/11) also failed in this regard. The paper briefly mentioned the parliamentary proceedings on the NGO Bill within the context of a demonstration by the National Constitutional Assembly in its story, NCA protest foiled.

It was only The Financial Gazette which highlighted that the PLC had declared 12 provisions of the NGO Bill as “inconsistent with the Constitution of Zimbabwe” and had thus described the Bill as constituting “a determined and pervasive attempt to curtail and extinguish the fundamental freedoms” of Zimbabweans.

The paper’s story, compiled while Parliament was still conducting its night deliberations, warned that the PLC’s findings notwithstanding, ZANU PF would use its parliamentary majority “to rubber stamp” the two pieces of legislation.


In contrast, government media reports were evasive, severely biased and misinformed their audiences over the gravity of the PLC’s condemnation of the Bills.

For example, The Herald (17/11) drowned the PLC’s critical report of the ZEC Bill with the purported virtues of the proposed law, which Chinamasa maintained dovetailed with the SADC principles and guidelines on democratic elections.

Power FM (17/11, 6am) also suffocated the PLC’s findings and cynically seemed to celebrate the fact that ZANU PF had abused its majority to reject the committee’s reports, saying the passage of the Bills to the committee stage demonstrated that “the power of numbers (has) started to work for the ruling ZANU PF”.

However, it emerged through The Daily Mirror (16/11) and the Financial Gazette that ZANU PF had to whip its MPs into line to ensure that the party outvoted the opposition to enact the Bills. The papers reported that during caucus held a day before the debate on the Bills, ZANU PF Chief Whip Joram Gumbo had threatened ruling party MPs with unspecified action from President Mugabe if they skipped parliamentary sittings ahead of the debates on the Bills.

Although ZTV (15/11, 8pm) and The Herald (16/11) carried similar reports, they failed to view the issue as ZANU PF’s attempts to force its MPs to support the promulgation of unconstitutional legislation regardless of their own independent convictions on the issue.


Meanwhile, the Zimbabwe Independent reported corporate law experts expressing concern over government plans to fast-track into law before year-end the Reconstruction of State-Indebted Insolvent Companies (RSIIC) Bill following its recent amendment to cover banks as well. The paper quoted lawyers criticising the law, which they viewed as plans by the authorities to nationalise certain private companies “in the wake of similar actions in agriculture”.

Lawyer Sternford Moyo told the paper that the “mischief” that RSIIC was meant to address was well catered for under the Banking and Companies Acts, so there was no need for the “drastic measures proposed in the Bill”. He also observed that “the potential for abuse of the new powers is very high”.  


The government media ignored this matter, with The Herald (19/11) choosing instead, to gloss over the full provisions of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Bill. The paper only dealt exclusively with that section of the Bill repealing the Witchcraft Suppression Act while remaining silent on the changes it would bring to other affected laws such as the Marriage, Sexual Offences, and the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Acts.

And besides briefly referring to the fact that Parliament had thrown out the PLC’s adverse report on that Bill as well, the paper once again failed to state categorically what the committee’s objections were. A glimpse into some of the secretive provisions of the Bill only emerged after the paper cited acting chairperson of the PLC, Innocent Gonese, as claiming that “some sections of the Bill that included Clause 33 criminalising statements denigrating the person of the President or Acting President were unconstitutional” because to “ring-fence his office amounted to a derogation from fundamental freedoms” of the citizenry.

Unforgivably, the private media completely ignored reporting on this proposed piece of legislation.



3. Political developments


THE government media’s censorship of the power struggles within ZANU PF, largely triggered by the scramble for the post of vice-president, reaffirmed them as unreliable sources of information unable to inform the public adequately on important events. 

While the private media openly discussed the succession issue, the government media largely ignored the matter and only covered it at the weekend, more than a week after the private media broke the story.

Even then, coverage by the government broadcaster (20 & 21/11, 8pm), The Sunday Mail and Sunday News (21/11) seemed to have been prompted by President Mugabe’s public comment on the matter during his address to ZANU PF supporters who had come to meet him at the Harare International Airport on his return from a two-day visit to Tanzania.

These media reported Mugabe saying he fully supported the decision by his party’s politburo to reserve the vice-presidency for a woman.


Ironically, a day before Mugabe’s comments, ZTV (19/11, 8pm) even tried to dismiss private media reports on the issue. It passively quoted ZANU PF spokesman Nathan Shamuyarira dismissing the Zimbabwe Independent (19/11) story, which noted that the decision by the politburo to nominate a woman for the vice-presidency had enhanced the chances of Water Resources Minister Joyce Mujuru of clinching the post while diminishing those of another contender, ZANU PF secretary for administration Emmerson Mnangagwa. 

Without attempting to carry out an independent analysis of the matter, ZTV’s chief correspondent, Reuben Barwe, simply resorted to editorialising his report with his own spiteful bias “calculated to influence opinion”: “…The report in the so-called independent weekly that has unashamedly taken a position to denigrate the ZANU PF leadership over the years is littered with a lot of spite all calculated to influence opinion.”


However, The Daily Mirror (15/11), The Financial Gazette (18/24), Zimbabwe Independent (19/11), The Standard and the Sunday Mirror (21/11) did not display such professional journalistic poverty. They fully updated their audiences on the unfolding events and explored the power struggles within the party that the issue had sparked.

For example, The Standard reported that the decision to appoint a woman as one of the two vice-presidents had created disenchantment within ethnic groups, such as the Karangas and Manyikas, who believed the elevation of Mujuru to the vice-presidency would “perpetuate” the Zezurus’ stranglehold on the ZANU PF leadership.

These observations seemed to tally with President Mugabe’s apparent confession on ZTV (20/11, 8pm), and in The Sunday Mail and Sunday News the next day, that some party officials were unhappy with the politburo’s decision. He warned that the issue could become a problem at the party’s Congress in December.

Besides revealing the extent of the fierce rivalry within the ZANU PF leadership, the media also exposed serious in-house fighting among ruling party officials as tension heightened ahead of the party’s primary elections to nominate candidates to represent ZANU PF in the 2005 general election.


For example, the Press carried six reports about violence erupting within the ruling party in areas such as Masvingo and Beitbridge. Three of the stories were carried in the government Press, the rest in the private Press.  

In fact, the Independent reported that campaigning among ZANU PF candidates ahead of the party’s primaries had assumed fever pitch with the ruling party’s aspiring candidate for Kadoma, Jimayi Muduvuri, “using bizarre campaign tactics such as buying lingerie for women to attract voters”.

The broadcast media ignored these issues.

Nevertheless, the private radio stations continued to highlight the continued rights violations allegedly perpetrated by state security agents and supporters of ZANU PF against members of the opposition and civic society by carrying about seven reports on the issue.  

However, these were compromised by their over-reliance on the MDC’s account of the incidents, which were not balanced by alternative sources. 



The MEDIA UPDATE was produced and circulated by the Media Monitoring Project Zimbabwe, 15 Duthie Avenue, Alexandra Park, Harare, Tel/fax: 263 4 703702, E-mail:


Feel free to write to MMPZ. We may not able to respond to everything but we will look at each message.  For previous MMPZ reports, and more information about the Project, please visit our website at





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Deafening Silence As Mugabe Flouts Poll Protocol

Business Day (Johannesburg)

November 29, 2004
Posted to the web November 30, 2004

Dianna Games

A RECENTLY published story about Shadreck Chipanga, a former member of
Zimbabwe's notorious secret service and current deputy home affairs
minister, who was seen presiding over the disembowelling of an opposition
supporter during the country's 2000 elections, makes disturbing reading.

A high court judge deemed Chipanga's actions bad enough to warrant
cancellation of the election result that saw the Zanu (PF) thug assume a
parliamentary seat by a tiny margin over the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC). President Robert Mugabe not only ignored the
ruling, but elevated his man to the cabinet. That this individual was then
appointed a senior election observer of the recent Namibian elections by the
Southern African Development Community (SADC) Parliamentary Forum highlights
a patent lack of concern for integrity in election processes both in
Zimbabwe and elsewhere in the region.

With the next Zimbabwean elections just around the corner it looks like
"business as usual" in that benighted land. The furore around the England
cricket tour and the visa denials for journalists wanting to cover it has,
ironically, had the positive effect of getting the country back on to the
radar of a media suffering from "Zimbabwe fatigue" when close scrutiny is
most needed.

One of Zimbabwe's most repressive laws to date was passed by parliament 10
days ago, but did not draw the level of outrage in international media it
would have just a few months earlier.

Far from moving away from biased and manipulative election laws, the ruling
party has rammed through election legislation that is even more one-sided
and unacceptable than that already on the statute books. The only people who
seem to have noticed this thumbing of the nose at all "concerned" regional
partners are the officials of trade union federation Cosatu.

Whether a country's election is free and fair can hardly be assessed only on
polling days, which seems to be the direction the South African government
is heading. All kinds of skullduggery can be perpetrated beforehand, with a
woefully corrupt election looking squeaky clean on the big day to any
worthies who fly in and out to "observe" it.

There was much fanfare about the SADC election code for member countries
approved in August at a heads of state summit. Mugabe signed up to it,
promised to implement it, then went home and ignored it. Even worse, he
devised new measures that flagrantly violated it.

His Electoral Commission Bill further entrenches government control of
voting regulations. His lip service to the idea of introducing a truly
independent electoral body was patently just a sop to the SADC and SA the
usual smoke and mirrors.

Zanu (PF) rejected MDC proposals for the appointment of an independent
electoral body by an inclusive parliamentary committee without being vetted
by Mugabe. President Thabo Mbeki, ever hopeful, had urged the Zimbabwean
government and the opposition to agree on revised election laws before the
March poll to ensure no recurrence of disputes over the result. His pleas
were listened to then summarily dismissed as the ruling party fashioned
rules that best suited its needs and pushed them through with unseemly

Not only does the Zimbabwean president still have total control over the
electoral machinery, the law now also allows soldiers and policemen, whose
loyalty is firmly to Zanu (PF), to become election officials.

Also underreported earlier this month was the government's casual suspension
of the constitution to allow it to rush through another raft of repressive
legislation designed to cripple human rights and governance groups by
putting them under state control and cutting off their foreign funding. This
removed the last watchdogs of government abuse.

In the run-up to the 2000 poll, a nongovernmental organisation (NGO) called
Zimbabwe Human Rights Forum recorded 37 political murders and 18000 other
abuses, ranging from assault and torture to rape, and blamed the ruling
party for more than 90% of these outrages. There is going to be no such
close scrutiny ahead of next year's elections.

With the media under government control, and nongovernmental political
activity effectively outlawed, all forms of independent observation and
analysis have been eliminated.

According to the Zimbabwe Electoral Support Network, another NGO being
suppressed, election observers next year will have to be accredited by a
committee dominated by nominees of government ministers and the president's
office, and only those invited by a minister or by the partisan Electoral
Supervisory Commission will be eligible.

Commissioners can be summarily fired by the justice minister, Mugabe
mouthpiece Patrick Chinamasa, himself a candidate in the election! Not much
room for obfuscation there.

The new regulations also do not preclude Mugabe from amending electoral laws
as and when he sees fit by using his absolute power under the Presidential
Powers (Temporary Measures Act) a favoured tool.

The opposition is due to decide next month whether it will participate in
the election but, given its original reasons for wanting to suspend
participation, the latest developments are not likely to lure it in.

All this raises the question: is the region watching? Or is it business as
usual out there as well?

The strength of the SADC electoral protocol is that it provides a benchmark
against which to measure the electoral practices of countries. What is to be
done, then, about this flagrant violation of its principles in Zimbabwe? So
far there seems to have been a deafening silence. Or is that just quiet
diplomacy at work?

Dianna Games is director of Africa @ Work, a research, publishing and events
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30 November 2004

President Tsvangirai's Tuesday message to the people of Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe remains firmly under international observation out of fears that
the current political impasse could easily slide into a full scale conflict.
In my discussions with European leaders during the past few days, concerns
are being raised as to whether serious attempts are underway in Harare to
use the March 2005 parliamentary election to avert a debilitating political
conflict from becoming a reality.

The challenge lies with all of us and the Southern African Development
Community (SADC). We must ensure that we seize this golden opportunity to
resolve the current crisis through a democratic election. Zimbabweans have
the capacity and ability to restrain their national leaders from inflicting
further damage to their nation. SADC can assist in applying pressure to a
member to adhere to its protocols and restore order within its borders.

Europe is particularly concerned about the effect of a risky and potentially
dangerous Zimbabwe to its relationship and engagement with the SADC region.
Europe wants a stable southern Africa, with a vibrant culture of democracy.
Europe wants a region that respects human rights, a region that conducts
elections in accordance with universal standards.

SADC's link with Europe has suffered because of the Zimbabwean crisis. A
consensus is emerging in Europe on the way forward. As the world's largest
trading block, Europe can have a mutually beneficial partnership with SADC.
Brussels is prepared to help the people of Zimbabwe and the entire region
immediately after our crisis of governance is attended to. All indications
show that we are near that finishing line.

SADC, the African Union and Europe know that the solution lies in a free and
fair election in which all Zimbabweans decide the future; choose leaders of
their choice; enjoy basic freedoms and conduct their affairs in a sovereign
and democratic fashion.

SADC, the AU and Europe accept that our elections cannot go ahead under the
present conditions as that would expose Zimbabwe to a state of permanent
disability. We were assured that SADC, the AU and Europe shall be unkind to
any attempts to subvert a free and fair election, as has happened in the
past. The stance taken by the international community has given us so much

Our nation must get rid of its pariah status and join that community to
enable us to tackle the massive humanitarian emergency confronting us.
Zimbabweans desperately need food and jobs. An international understanding
of a legitimate election allows foreigners access to the same rights as the
citizens in ensuring the observance of minimum standards in the way a vote
is conducted.

Opinions of local and international observation teams carry an equal weight
and complement each other in any assessment of the legitimacy of any
national election. A flawed election makes everybody uncomfortable.
Foreigners and locals alike are wary of ballot thieves because of their
effect on food production, business and peace and security.

Since 2000, Zimbabwean elections have sparked immense political controversy
and divided the SADC region, Africa and the international community. That
was the past. There won't be a repeat of the same this time around. Raising
emotions in an attempt to revive selective memories of racism, colonialism
and imaginary victimisation shall not be tolerated. All the elements of a
transparent, free and fair poll must be evident, on the ground.

As political leaders, we have a duty; we have a responsibility to review and
revise our personal preferences in order to seek a lasting solution to the
crisis, worsened in past five years by disputed elections and flawed
election outcomes.

The MDC continues to stand ready to play its part in the resolution of the
crisis. Our election campaign machinery is now in full swing. Our
structures, our candidates and our campaign teams are working flat out on
the ground. Their message is simple and straightforward. We need a new
Zimbabwe. We need a new beginning.

We must learn from our neighbours. South Africa, Botswana, Namibia conducted
violence-free elections which ended without any disputes. They are now
concentrating on developing their communities and nations.

This week Mozambicans go to the polls after an almost violence-free
campaign. For the first time, Maputo has allowed Mozambicans in the
Diaspora, including those living in Zimbabwe, to vote in their elections.
Zimbabweans all over the world yearn for similar arrangements.

We learn a lot by observing the behaviour of our neighbours, taking note of
some positive trends, in particular the manner in which those around us
develop and consolidate their democracies. While Robert Mugabe was nominated
to lead his party for another five years, his counterparts Bakili Muluzi,
Sam Nujoma and Joaquim Chissano have retired. Presidents Thabo Mbeki and
Festus Mogae are also on the way out of public office.

In our engagement with various world leaders, we maintain our commitment and
our willingness to work with Zanu PF to build a national consensus on the
way forward. The mandate I have from the people is to deliver a solution to
this crisis. I am confident that with your support, that solution could be
with us in the New Year.

SADC is keen to chart a new course with the European Union after our
parliamentary election. Zimbabwe must never be allowed to stand in the way
for such a positive outcome.

Together, we shall win.

Morgan Tsvangirai
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30 November 2004



Gender Inequality Has to Be Properly Addressed If We Are to Reverse the HIV/AIDS Pandemic



Tomorrow thousands of events will be held around the world to commemorate World Aids Day. It is hoped that the events held, and the attention generated, will further assist in galvanising global efforts to tackle and reverse the spread of the HIV/AIDS epidemic.



The current statistics are deeply disturbing. Sub-Saharan Africa continues to be the worse affected region with 25.4 million people suffering from HIV/AIDS. In Zimbabwe 2.3 million people are now infected with the disease and an estimated 2,500 are dying each week.



We are losing a generation of workers and are producing a generation of orphans. Zimbabwe now has 800,000 AIDS orphans and the number is growing.



Women account for over half of those infected, a factor which underlines the urgent need to tackle the key issues of stigma, discrimination and gender inequality. We need to promote women’s leadership and ensure equal access to treatment and care.



Reversing the pandemic will take a collective effort by all elements in society. Everyone needs to play their part. Civil society organisations in particular have a key role to play given that many of them are already on the frontline of service delivery.



The progress of the NGO Bill through parliament is therefore a source of deep concern. It contains provisions that pose a grave threat to the continued ability of civic organisations to continue operations in the area of humanitarian relief. The ban on foreign funding will force most of these organisations to close down.



Will the government make up this inevitable deficit in humanitarian support and aid? Unlikely. In its annual Budget statement last week the government illustrated its warped sense of priorities by allocating Zim$5 trillion to defence and only Zim$2 trillion to health.



The deliberate lack of investment in the health sector has reduced a once vibrant and efficient infrastructure to a stagnant, ill-equipped and crumbling mess that is increasingly unable to cope due to the Aids-related opportunistic diseases such as tuberculosis and pneumonia.



The MDC, through its RESTART programme for economic recovery, and its policy document on HIV/AIDS, has formulated an integrated and comprehensive policy response to the pandemic that is gender sensitive and respects the rights of those suffering from the disease.



We need to usher in a new beginning in order to implement this policy programme. This new beginning can only come about through a free and fair election.

HIV/AIDS is a national development crisis in Zimbabwe. In the new Zimbabwe envisioned by the MDC the whole of society will have to be geared towards tackling this crisis, otherwise we are looking at a very bleak future.



Blessing Chebundo

MDC Shadow Health Minister





The MDC has formulated a comprehensive policy document on HIV/AIDS. Listed below are some of the key elements contained in the document:


Ø       provide strong leadership on HIV/AIDS across the political, public, private, and community sectors


Ø       declare HIV/AIDS a public development crisis


Ø       mobilize national and international resources to ensure that those suffering from the disease receive adequate treatment and care


Ø       establish a policy and regulatory framework for treatment and the provision and distribution of drugs


Ø       establish a National Aids Trust whose core responsibilities will include the co-ordination and provision of support to ‘Aids Orphans’. 


Ø       guarantee free access for all to anti-retroviral drugs for the prevention of mother-to-child transmission and post-exposure prophylaxis for health workers


Ø       provide public information to support changes in perception, knowledge, attitudes and practices around AIDS, knowledge of prevention and treatment strategies, understanding of risk factors, such as sexually transmitted infections, and of co-infections, such as tuberculosis


Ø       eliminate stigma and discrimination. This is particularly important in the case of women sufferers who often face discrimination in their own families, in the workplace and in society


Ø       put in place laws and mechanisms to ensure that labour organizations actively enforce non-discrimination in the work-place and to penalize gender violence and sexual abuse in all forms, especially where it relates to deliberate HIV/AIDS transmission


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Dear Friends,

The Free Roy Bennett Campaign website is now live and can
be found at

Please can you help us to publicise the website. We'd be very
appreciative if you would circulate information about the site to
everyone on your mailing lists.

The Free Roy Bennett website provides downloadable factsheets;
petitions; emailing facilities to easily enable people to contact
their friends with information about Roy; collected articles about
what Roy, his family and employees have endured for the past few
years; and images which record some of those events.

The website has been designed to give people as much opportunity as
possible to participate in the campaign to free Roy; in particular,
by helping to spread the word and by collecting petition

We'd be grateful if you would consider adding a link to our website
from yours, and we have provided images for this purpose to be used
by your webmasters - visit the 'Add a link to your site' section of
the website.

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions, and
thank you very much for your support.

With best wishes,
The Free Roy Bennett Campaign

"We do not need titles or fancy cars. We just need the courage to stand up,
oppose the oppression we face." Roy Bennett, August 2003

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Daily News online edition

      Zanu PF dishes out free beef to urban residents

      Date: 30-Nov, 2004

      THE ruling Zanu PF is now distributing free beef to urban residents in
Harare as the party gears itself for next year's parliamentary election,
raising fears of an anthrax spread in the capital.

      Zanu PF supporters and other unsuspecting residents have each returned
from the ruling party's evening meetings at Magamba Hall in Warren Park with
beef averaging above five kilograms in recent weeks.

      It remains unclear where the beef is coming from. Last month hundreds
of cattle died at a Harare farm following an anthrax outbreak.

      Contaminated beef has the potential to cause deaths and severe illness
among Harare residents. This is likely to happen unless health officials and
the police move in to inspect the quality of the beef.

      Close ruling party supporters in the high-density suburb have openly
told people that they stood to benefit from receiving beef if they ensured a
Zanu PF victory in the crucial March parliamentary election.

      Thandiwe Makaya, 34, a lodger in the high-density suburb told The
Daily News Online at the weekend that she had received beef at Zanu PF
gatherings in the past three weeks.

      "Our families are desperate for food," she said. "The cost of beef is
just prohibitive. It came as a relief when the people chairing the last
meeting of the ruling party on Monday announced that they had brought some
five kilograms of beef for all those who were present. We are not worried
where the beef is coming from."

      Morgan Mapiya, 45, of Warren Park 'D' said he found the meat "safe"
because there has not been any complaint of illness or anything unusual in
the donations.

      Mapiya, a teacher said: "The motive is clearly sinister. We have been
complaining about the outrageous pricing of beef but no one has responded.

      "Now Zanu PF has come up with its programme of free beef, we welcome
it. But what I believe is that no one should try to tell me whom I should
vote for when elections come next year. I will vote for the person from a
party of my choice," he said.

      Aspiring Zanu PF candidates have been doling out cash, computers and
farming inputs in their respective constituencies.

      Recently, a weekly independent newspaper reported of a Zanu PF
aspiring candidate dishing out panties and cash to women supporters in a bid
to woo their support. Women constitute the majority of voters.

      The ruling party faces the opposition Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) in next March's parliamentary elections. The MDC and civic society
have constantly accused President Robert Mugabe's ruling Zanu PF of abusing
state resources for political gain.

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Daily News online edition

      Mugabe*s obduracy undermining Gono*s efforts

      Date: 30-Nov, 2004

      CAN Zimbabwe regain its place at the table of international financial
institutions like the Bretton Woods pair of the World Bank and the
International Monetary Fund?

      That these bodies still find it necessary to pay visits to the country
and even sit down with President Robert Mugabe is evidence enough that there
is a lot of goodwill out there for the country. Reciprocal visits to
Washington by Zimbabwe's top banker, Gideon Gono, to argue Zimbabwe's case
drew a blank - but at least Gono was granted an audience.

      Gono last met IMF officials in Washington in September in a bid to
stop Zimbabwe's expulsion from the multilateral lending institution. After
its Article IV consultation meeting on July 7, the IMF's executive board
gave Zimbabwe until December to settle its US$295 million arrears or be
cashiered for non-payment.

      An IMF delegation was in Zimbabwe from March 17-31 ahead of the annual
Article IV consultation. It reported that Zimbabwe's real gross domestic
product had declined by about 30 percent.

      In another report released on September 17, the IMF again said
Zimbabwe's social and economic situation continued to worsen because of poor
policies. In particular, the IMF said, the disorderly implementation of the
land reform programme had precipitated a sharp decline in agricultural

      The IMF further expressed concerns about the rule of law and human
rights, and lack of clarity on property rights which have severely
undermined investor-confidence and fuelled capital flight and emigration.
However, the real stumbling block to the normalisation of relations with the
institution - and by implication other lenders - are politics back home.

      Zimbabwe needs the support and goodwill of the international community
before it can think about economic recovery. Donors have made it clear to
the RBZ governor that there is no prospect of their resuming support until
there is a domestic consensus.

      Since his appointment last December, Gono has been trying to improve
relations with the IMF. Everybody, except for dogmatic Zanu PF mandarins,
knows that this is critical, not only for balance-of-payments support but
also for our international rehabilitation. But Gono has been undermined,
largely by President Robert Mugabe's obduracy.

      Government's fundamental policy contradictions and leadership failures
have caused the current problems and its obduracy has prevented the sort of
re-engagement that Gono is attempting to engineer.

      As he would be the first to admit, nothing could be more important
than resumption of balance-of-payments support as the country faces an
ongoing forex crunch.

      Mugabe wants to spin the country to face East. He admires prospering
countries like China and Malaysia and dreams of emulating their achievements
without adopting their sound economic policies.

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European Parliament

      Zimbabwe opposition appeals for EU help
      Will the elections scheduled for March 2005 in Zimbabwe be fair?
According to Morgan TSVANGIRAI, leader of the Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC), they will not be free and they will certainly be disputed. Mr
Tsvangirai spoke on Monday to members of the EP Development Committee. The
MDC is the main party in opposition to President Robert Mugabe, who has been
Zimbabwe's leader since independence in 1980. Mr Tsvangirai called on the EU
to do everything possible to ensure that the elections are democratic.

      He argued that the current reforms are just a façade. For example, on
the pretext of codifying legislation, the Zimbabwe Parliament has adopted
new laws penalising anybody who speaks out "against the economic or social
interests of the country". As a result, no criticism of the regime is
possible. This legislative arsenal reinforces the ban on meetings of more
than three people without advance police authorisation under the law on
public order. It would be a remarkable feat to conduct a campaign in these
conditions, particularly as the opposition media are constantly harassed.

      In an effort to prevent a repeat of the scenario that occurred at the
2002 presidential elections, which were characterised by widespread fraud,
the SADC (Southern African Development Community) has adopted four
recommendations: an independent electoral commission must be set up,
violence must stop, there must be broad access to the media and the law on
public order must be abolished. To protest against the failure to observe
these basic conditions, the MDC has suspended its campaign but is still not
planning to boycott the elections. Mr Tsvangirai is calling on the EU to put
pressure on the SADC to ensure that the recommendations are implemented.

      Mr Tsvangirai also welcomed the change of attitude among African
leaders, who are starting to understand that the issues in Zimbabwe do not
boil down to a problem of colonialism, of conflicts between whites and
blacks over land distribution, but that the real question is one of human
rights and the lack of democracy. Agrarian reform has only resulted in
"replacing a white elite with a black elite" said Mr Tsvangirai. Poor
peasants had gained nothing. Nirj DEVA (EPP-ED, UK) endorsed this point.

      "You only have friends here" irrespective of political parties and
nationalities, said Max van den BERG (PES, NL), and he was backed up by
Linda McAVAN (PES, UK). Regarding the monitoring of the elections, Michael
GAHLER (EPP-ED, DE) wanted this task to be carried out by leading African
public figures. An EU election mission could only be sent at the invitation
of the government, which was unlikely to be forthcoming, and when the
conditions for free elections were met, which for the moment was difficult
to envisage. But Mr Tsvangirai particularly wants the conditions in which
the campaign takes place to be monitored, since he believes "the electoral
process is more important than voting day".

      29.11.2004 Committee on Development
             In the chair: Max van den BERG (PES, NL)

      Press enquiries:
      Armelle Douaud - tel. (32-2) 28 43806
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WFP to expand targeted feeding

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

JOHANNESBURG, 30 Nov 2004 (IRIN) - The World Food Programme (WFP) confirmed
on Tuesday that it plans to expand its support to 1.6 million Zimbabweans
during December via its targeted feeding programme.

WFP spokeswoman in Zimbabwe, Makena Walker, told IRIN that about 25,000 mt
of food aid, left over from its assistance programme last year, would be
distributed next month to vulnerable groups, including the chronically ill,
child-headed households and the disabled.

"At the request of the government we will go ahead and increase the number
of people under WFP's targeted assistance programme. It is a necessary move
because it coincides with the upcoming lean period, when vulnerability
increases among the population," Walker said.

Up to 600,000 beneficiaries received WFP aid between October and November.

Earlier this year the government decided not to renew an appeal for
international food aid and, controversially, cancelled a crop assessment
mission by the Food and Agriculture Organisation and WFP, claiming the
country would have a bumper harvest.

Walker said: "So far there has been no indication from the government that
they would like us to continue with general distributions."

A report released by the parliamentary portfolio committee on lands and
agriculture last month said the government had seriously miscalculated the
size of its grain stocks, and noted that despite a predicted maize
production of 2.4 million mt, as of 15 October the state-owned commodity
buyer, the Grain Marketing Board, had received only 388,558 mt.

The GMB told the committee that farmers prefered to hold onto their grain
stocks rather than sell them to the board.
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Yahoo News

Politician Woos Voters with Lingerie

      Tue Nov 30,10:20 AM ET

HARARE, Zimbabwe (Reuters) - An unnamed Zimbabwean politician has been
trying to win women's votes by handing out free lingerie, state television
reported Tuesday.

Handing out gifts is not uncommon in election campaigns in Zimbabwe, but
this time the publicity incurred the wrath of his ruling ZANU-PF party.

"Supporters have been angered by the antics of an aspiring parliamentary
candidate (who) has been accused of using unorthodox means to garner
support -- including the buying of undergarments for women," Zimbabwe
Television said.

The main opposition party has threatened to boycott the elections, demanding
that sweeping electoral reforms be implemented first. - Reuters
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Zimbabweans see no quick relief in reforms
Tue 30 November, 2004 13:01
By MacDonald Dzirutwe

HARARE (Reuters) - Tendai Dube is angry and despondent as he counts the last
notes in his pocket, and it is only two days after pay day.

"Things are tough my friend. You can't just make ends meet yet they say
inflation is slowing down," said Dube, sitting in the shade in a park in
Zimbabwe's capital, Harare. He had only a slice of bread for lunch.

For Tendai and many of Zimbabwe's poor majority, President Robert Mugabe's
government's economic reforms ring hollow; they have not brought the quick
relief they want.

The government says its central bank-led reforms are working, noting the
slow-down in annual inflation to 251.5 percent in September from a peak of
624 percent in January, the availability of basic commodities, rising export
earnings and the stabilisation of the Zimbabwe dollar.

Yet for many Zimbabweans the daily grind to eke out a living continues as
the price of basic goods continue to rise while wages fall behind and
pensions and savings are eroded by inflation.

"How can they say inflation is coming down when prices are going up?" asked
Dube, a question echoed by many unable to link the decline in inflation with
the rising cost of living.

Statistics from the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe show that a low income
urban family of six now needs double the amount each month to cover basic
costs from the Z$750,000 it did in January when the economic reforms were

Under Zimbabwe's official fixed exchange rate, Z$1.4 million translates into
$225.80 needed to survive each month. In reality, inflation has led to a
black market exchange rate closer to Z$7,000-8,000/dollar, further eroding
the buying power of poor families.

Godfrey Kanyenze chief economist of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions
said: "The rate of wage increases is not matching price rises and from a
worker point of view the economic reforms have not improved the lives of
Zimbabweans. And people are understandably impatient."


Prices of basic products like bread, milk and meat have gone up by more than
100 percent since January while rentals and building materials continue to

But Gideon Gono, governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe RBZ.L , remains
upbeat, saying a slowdown in inflation will not see prices coming down, and
warns that reforms will hurt Zimbabweans as the country adjusts from a
speculative driven economy.

"As a country we (must) stay the course of self imposed reforms, which
inevitably come with painful we have said 'no pain no
gain'," Gono told a monetary policy review meeting in October."

Zimbabwe, whose GDP has contracted by 30 percent in the last five years, has
a jobless rate of more than 70 percent and is battling shortages of foreign
exchange and fuel.

The country has faced food shortages since 2001, some caused by successive
droughts but others blamed on Mugabe's controversial land seizures to
resettle blacks.

Some companies have found themselves deep in debt, caught by a shift in RBZ
policy on interest rates last December when they soared to over 900 percent,
raising the cost of loans.

Many had borrowed while rates were low for expansion and acquisitions but
the RBZ says some of the money was used in speculative trade of foreign
currency, property and stocks.

A year later many firms are selling assets like buildings, machinery and
vehicles to repay the loans.


"The monetary policy on interest rates has resulted in major debt financing
costs ...," the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries CZI.L said in a study
released in October on the state of the manufacturing sector.

The government has spent Z$200 billion and the central bank Z$2.1 trillion
in bailing out distressed businesses.

Gono says the money has saved some companies from collapse and boosted
exports but the CZI said 40 firms in the manufacturing sector, which
accounts for 18 percent of GDP and a third of exports, could fold this year
due to a tough operating climate.

Critics say reforms have largely ignored graft in Mugabe's government and
state-run firms, focusing mainly instead on the financial sector where seven
institutions have been put under curatorship.

Some bank directors are battling to repay insider loans from 2003 while
others have fled a government graft busting drive which has largely snuffed
out parallel market trading for foreign currency and basic commodities.

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      Ancram: Government two-faced over Zimbabwe cricket tour

            Following Peter Hain's comments on the Jonathan Dimbleby
programme this weekend, Shadow Foreign Secretary Michael Ancram has written
to Jack Straw today, asking him to clear up discrepancies in the
government's position on the England Cricket team's tour to Zimbabwe. He

            "Yesterday on the Jonathan Dimbleby programme Peter Hain MP
expressed in no uncertain terms that the cricket tour to Zimbabwe should not
have gone ahead. Both the Prime Minister and yourself are also on record
expressing that you would prefer that this tour did not go ahead. Despite
these views last week your Junior Minister Denis MacShane summoned the
Zimbabwean Chargé in order to facilitate the entry of journalists into that
country in order that the cricket tour go-ahead."

            "I look forward to your explanation of this recently adopted
two-faced approach to this shameful affair."

            For further information, please contact Elle Hudson on 020 7984
8094 or 07739 728 079

            Rt Hon Michael Ancram QC MP

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      Duncan: British Government's shameful U-turn on Zimbabwe cricket tour

            Alan Duncan, Shadow Development Secretary, on learning of the
decision by the Mugabe regime to lift its ban on British media covering the
English cricket team's tour of Zimbabwe, said:

            "Last night Denis MacShane fought vociferously for journalists
to be allowed into Zimbabwe. He should not be facilitating this tour he
should be opposing it. Whatever happened to the Government's "preferring"
that this tour did not go ahead. In a complete u-turn MacShane gave tacit
support to the tour going ahead."
            "The UK government has been totally duped by Mugabe. Now the ban
on journalists has been lifted, a cricket tour most people don't want to go
ahead, will now go ahead. Having used cricket as a political weapon
internationally, he will now be free to use starvation as a political weapon
domestically. This battle is not primarily about journalistic freedom, it is
about freedom for Zimbabweans to live without fear and starvation"

            For further information, please contact Elle Hudson on 020 7984
8094 or 07739 728 079

            Alan Duncan MP

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'IMF, WB Ready to Assist Zimbabwe'

The Herald (Harare)

November 29, 2004
Posted to the web November 30, 2004


INTERNATIONAL financial institutions are ready to assist Zimbabwe as long as
the ongoing restructuring programmes are complete, Acting Finance Minister
Dr Herbert Murerwa has said.

"The International Monetary Fund (IMF) will support Zimbabwe once the
turnaround strategies are achieved," Dr Murerwa told a breakfast meeting
debating the National Budget in Harare last Friday.

The acting Minister delivered the Budget on Thursday.

Relations between Zimbabwe and institutions such as the IMF and the World
Bank have seriously deteriorated over the last four years, strained by
disagreements over the country's land reform exercise.

Consequently, the institutions cut financial aid to the country due to
ballooning arrears.

Indications are that the relations are thawing.

Zimbabwe's economy has been on the mend since January 2004 owing to a
tighter Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe monetary policy.

Various macro-economic variables such as inflation have been addressed while
imprudent business practices in the financial industry have been arrested.

Annual inflation has dropped from a record high 623 percent in January to
209 percent as of October.

RBZ forecasts year-on-year inflation to be in the two-digit level by
December next year, and in the single digit territory by end of 2006.

Furthermore, foreign exchange trade is now more regularised as most of the
hard currency is now finding its way into the official banking system with
activities of the parallel market activities having been subdued.

Zimbabwe has a debt of about US$300 million to the IMF and has increased
quarterly payments to US$5 million from US$1,5 million at the beginning of
the year.

This has prompted the global lender's executive board to suspend plans to
eject Zimbabwe from IMF membership, a position which comes up for review at
the end of the year, when the top brass of the institution next convene.

IMF has cut off new lending to Zimbabwe as part of British-led international
pressure on the country to force it to relent on land reforms, under which
the Government has acquired excess farms from white farmers to resettle
landless peasants.

The World Bank has helped to fight poverty and improve living standards of

As of June 2004, the bank had approved 19 loans and 14 credits for a total
of approximately US$1,55 billion.

The lending programme in Zimbabwe is inactive due to arrears.

World Bank's role here is now limited to technical assistance and analytical
work focusing on macro-economic policy, food security issues, social sector
expenditures, social service delivery mechanisms and HIV/Aids.

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