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

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Reign of terror

A campaign of tactical torture and random beatings ensures Robert Mugabe
wins by a landslide. But, as Andy Malone reports, his victory is a defeat
for Zimbabwe

Sunday December 22, 2002
The Observer

Just before dawn, the reason why Robert Mugabe had closed Zimbabwe's borders
became chillingly apparent. Caught in the death-white glare of our
headlamps, a group of young men in green bomber jackets and polished boots
were jogging along the side of the road. They were not soldiers, but they
appeared to have been on a mission.
When the sun rose a short time later, there was evidence that the young men
had been busy that night. Coaxed from their hiding places, black Zimbabweans
displayed their wounds and told harrowing stories of torture and death.

March was the month when Mugabe's madness plunged his country into mayhem
and terror. The men I saw on the road had been hired by the president to
terrify the population into voting for him in elections later that month.
These were the men Mugabe did not want the world to see, underlining why
foreign journalists had been banned from Zimbabwe.

Dubbed the Talibobs, the youths were marauding through villages across the
country, demanding to see the member- ship cards of Mugabe's ruling Zanu
(PF) party. Anyone without a card was beaten. Some were taken away to
're-education' camps, where they were forced to chant Mugabe's name
throughout the night. A group of women I met at a safe house claimed they
had been raped by the Talibobs; some were sexually assaulted by their fellow
male captives, who were forced to do so or face another beating. Those
reluctant to swear allegiance to Mugabe had their heads held down in buckets
of water until they passed out. Some were 're-educated' for weeks, with
regular beatings.

Along with stealing ballot boxes and setting up torture camps to punish his
opponents, Mugabe also used a new weapon against his people - food. The
strategy was straightforward: areas where people voted for him received
food, areas of opposition were not allowed any.

This was not what people thought would happen when Robert Mugabe was elected
leader of Zimbabwe in 1980. After four years of war against Ian Smith's
white minority rule, the former guerrilla was lauded at his state
inauguration as a hero of the black liberation movement.

More than two decades later, the former breadbasket of Africa, was on its
knees. The president had decided to preside over the collapse of the
economy, and the torture and starvation of his people, while he and his
second wife Grace were helicoptered between their various mansions around
the country.

How did he manage to wreck Zimbabwe so quickly, and why? By falling prey to
a common addiction among African dictators: greed. In 1999, he sent
thousands of troops into Congo to plunder minerals and diamonds on behalf of
his ruling elite. The troops were not paid. The drain on the country's
resources was huge.The people grew restless.

Fearing disaster in the March elections, Mugabe decided to invoke memories
of the revolution and put the blame on wealthy white farmers, who employed
hundreds of thousands working the land. Through his Stasi-trained secret
police, Mugabe sent in paid thugs to scare the farmers off their land. A
handful were killed; hundreds fled. Foreign investment dried up, the economy
collapsed, and unemployment and malnutrition soared.

Mugabe 'won' the elections by a narrow majority. People voted for him for
one reason: they might die if they refused to. Meanwhile, nine months later,
he continues to torture and starve a terrified population, and the world
continues to ignore Zimbabwe's cry for freedom.
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Travails of Spending Day in a Fuel Queue

Financial Gazette (Harare)

December 20, 2002
Posted to the web December 22, 2002

Abel Mutsakani, Deputy Editor-in-Chief

JAMES Chirove, a Harare business executive, believes he has found a smarter
way to fill up his car with petrol that beats queuing for hours at the
capital city's congested service stations.

He sneaks his motorbike through the long queue of cars, up to the pumps
where the attendants always seem too busy haggling with impatient motorists
to notice him as they quickly fill up his bike's 10-litre tank and tell him
to go away.

In about seven trips, Chirove will have emptied enough petrol into the
64-litre tank of his Mazda 626 parked at home and will still have some fuel
left over in the bike for the next petrol-hunting spree.

"Can you imagine, this is how bad things have become," he tells the
Financial Gazette, barely suppressing his anger.

"For as long as the people who are in charge of the country today remain in
control, then we Zimbabweans are a condemned lot."

Like other motorists with vehicles parked in a queue stretching for more
than two kilometres from the fuel pumps at Marimba shopping centre in
Harare's affluent Belvedere suburb, Chirove is not just bitter about the
government's handling of the severe fuel crisis that has gripped Zimbabwe in
the last five weeks.

He is also angry over the state's general mishandling of the entire economic
crisis engulfing the country.

Zimbabwe is in the throes of its worst economic and social crisis since
independence from Britain 22 years ago.

Fuel supplies have been erratic since 1999 due to a hard cash squeeze, while
drought and the government's agrarian reforms have left other basic
commodities such as cooking oil, sugar, salt, bread and essential drugs in
short supply.

In the last few weeks, the shortage of fuel, especially petrol, has reached
alarming proportions, almost forcing Zimbabwe to grind to a halt with long,
winding queues a common sight at the handful of garages still selling petrol
in Harare and other major centres.

President Robert Mugabe, who blames the country's economic and food problems
on political opponents at home and foreign interests he says want to punish
him for seizing white-owned farms for redistribution to landless blacks, has
blamed the deepening fuel crisis on inefficiency by some government

Officials at the state-owned National Oil Company of Zimbabwe (NOCZIM) have
failed to take advantage of a deal with oil producer Libya, he told an
annual ruling ZANU PF conference last weekend.

Under the agreement, Zimbabwe buys oil in local currency in exchange for
Libyan joint-ventures with Harare in tourism and exports of beef and soya

But for Zimbabwe's motorists, bracing for a bleak Christmas without fuel,
the long queues they have to endure at pump stations, the food shortages,
the crumbling health sector and the country's collapsing factories are all a
sign of how Mugabe has ruined an economy that not so long ago was a showcase
of hope for Africa.

The anger of most of the people queuing for fuel is almost palpable and
invariably all motorists interviewed by the Financial Gazette during a tour
of garages in Harare last weekend were directing their rage at Zimbabwe's

"This!" a man waiting with other motorists at a Mobil garage near Harare's
High Glen shopping complex said, as he angrily waved a copy of last
Saturday's Herald newspaper at our news crew.

The headline on the lead story of that day's issue of the state-owned daily
screamed: "Hard Decisions Vital: President."

The article quoted Mugabe informing delegates to the ZANU PF conference that
hard decision and tough measures were necessary to turn around the economy
and save people from the hardships they were facing.

The man brandishing the Herald - part of the small crowd that had now
gathered around our news crew - identified himself only as Solo and
continued with his tirade: "Only Mugabe and his government have a hard
decision to take, and that is all of them must resign because they have
messed up this country.

"No petrol, no food, no jobs: must we all die before these guys admit they
have failed to run this country?"

It was perhaps easy to understand Solo's desperate frustration.

The previous day, he and most of the about 200 other motorists queuing at
the High Glen garage had waited for their turn to fill up their cars until
10 o'clock in the evening, when the pumps were closed.

Solo and his colleagues had returned to the garage at dawn, hoping to be the
first in line when the pumps reopened. But three hours later, they were
still waiting because the service station's petrol supplies had actually run
out the previous night.

Joseph Mupande said: "We are waiting, one: because you cannot afford to
waste the little petrol still in the car looking around for a garage with
fuel and secondly, we are just hoping these guys here might just receive
another delivery of fuel from NOCZIM."

At a BP Shell garage in the high-density suburb of Budiriro Five, about five
kilometres from High Glen shopping mall, we joined a long and winding queue
of cars and commuter omnibuses that appeared relatively orderly.

For two hours the queue inched forward at a painfully slow pace. Then
suddenly, and to our pleasant surprise, the cars began moving faster. When
we finally emerged from behind the shop buildings into full view of the
petrol pumps, the reason the queue had suddenly picked up pace became
painfully clear.

Motorists were driving away because there was no more petrol. And such is
the test of endurance that the simple act of filling up a car has become in
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The Continuing Deadlock in Zimbabwe

Financial Gazette (Harare)

December 20, 2002
Posted to the web December 22, 2002

Brian Raftopoulos

ZIMBABWE seems a long way from the period 1996 to 2000, when for the first
time in the post-colonial period open debate flourished in the country's

There was a real sense of possibility as the nation at all levels began a
debate on the constitution, which was substantively an audit of the
governance record of the ruling party.

This was also a time when social movements, such as the labour and
constitutional movements, emerged as autonomous agencies determined to
establish their own critical agendas and to push for a more serious debate
on the future of the post-colonial state in Zimbabwe.

Not surprisingly, this focus on the legitimacy of the ruling party also
became a debate about the past, both the inequities of the settler colonial
state and the legacies of the liberation struggle.

It was a welcome and, for a brief period, fruitful airing of national issues
in which formerly sacrosanct subjects were brought into the open. Under
these conditions, legitimacy gained from an honourable political past could
not serve as a protection against scrutiny in the contemporary period.

The ruling party's defeat in the 2000 constitutional referendum was
therefore symbolic of a broader need for reflection on the nation and its
past. The gatekeepers of the ruling orthodoxy were understandably vexed by
such questions and their broader implications.

For the ruling elite, the battle for the past is usually as important as the
fight to retain control in the present. This is because the past contains
reservoirs of legitimacy which must be protected from dissenting
interpretations and enforced as a uniform process of national consciousness,
unfolding in the inevitable victory of the ruling party and its great

This is the kind of nationalist mythology that has been severely discredited
by historians, but which has found its way back onto the agenda by leading
nationalist politicians, sycophantic intellectuals and ruling party thugs.

The so-called orientation courses provided at national youth service
training centres, the proposed loyalty tests for civil servants and the
"history lessons" provided in numerous newspaper articles, news editorials
and television and radio documentaries are part of a broader process of an
ideological policing operation whose precedents can be found in the various
types of dictatorships of the 20th century. This deeply authoritarian
practice is likely to have severely damaging effects on the educational and
research agendas of our schools and universities.

It is this ideological operation which needs to be understood as intricately
as the more coercive actions of the state. For this regime of ZANU PF stays
in power not only through the more open acts of violence and repression, but
by the symbolic power it has constructed as the bearer of the liberation
legacy, and as the broader champion of the pan-Africanist and Third World

I have on many occasions pointed out that what we have witnessed since 2000
is the reconstruction of the state into a more repressive party structure.
This operation has been performed in many areas: the judiciary, the media,
the attacks on the labour movement, the crackdown on selected
non-governmental organisations and the disruption of local government

This operation has also been performed through the use of youth militia, the
continued use of violence as an election strategy, judicial harassment of
the opposition MDC leadership, the attacks on civil servants like teachers
and health workers considered sympathetic to the opposition and the
politicisation of food aid.

As important as this overt repression is to the regime, it is also important
to understand the constituencies that this form of politics has created, and
the new opportunities that it has provided for its supporters. For
repressive power not only constrains and destroys, it is also productive for
certain sections of the society.

The most obvious case of such opportunities is the land occupations. In this
area the ruling party has not only produced casualties, but victors who it
is envisaged will form the new commercial agrarian class that will provide
the long-term basis for the future of ZANU PF.

At lower levels, notwithstanding the chaos on the land and the unevenness of
distribution, sections of the African middle class are finding new ways to
accumulate that which the structures of the formal economy did not allow.

Similarly in the financial world, fuel supply sector, telecommunications and
other sections of industry, a close relationship to the ruling party has
provided fertile soil for a new breed of bankers, suppliers and other
"fast-track" entrepreneurs, while the growing black market has also created
opportunities in various areas.

Additionally, the non-constitutional activities of the regime have created a
plethora of opportunities for power to be exercised and abused at local,
micro levels, allowing many Chinotimbas to emerge - unaccountable, brutal
and subject to no legal constraints. These extra- judicial activities have
also provided new short-term opportunities for some unemployed youth.

More disturbingly, this lack of restraint has made life more vulnerable for
women and children as male party members and supporters have re-asserted
their violent, macho behaviour, taking their cue from a leadership that has
been determined to press home its own insecure notions of masculinity.

To return to the issue of symbolic power, it has been an essential part of
the ruling party strategy to represent itself as the sole representative of
the national interest and the authentic heir to the pan-Africanist cause.

President Robert Mugabe's performance at the World Summit on Sustainable
Development, the recent support of the African-Caribbean-Pacific (ACP)
countries at the European Union/ACP summit in Brussels and the selective
support of the African-American diaspora has had enormous symbolic
importance for the regime. It has made it more difficult to isolate ZANU PF,
and allowed the latter to subordinate the issue of the abuse of the human
rights of Zimbabwean citizens.

This strategy of ZANU PF has demonstrated the capacity of an authoritarian
state in crisis to repackage itself as a champion of Third World rights in a
global situation where Mugabe's anti-globalisation message finds a wider

However this strategy has a limited shelf life, for it has to ensure that
this symbolic power is transformed into a sustainable, national development
strategy. Presently, ZANU PF is unable to provide any answers to the rapidly
declining economy, with its hyperinflationary trend, fuel and forex crises
and shortages of several basic commodities such as maize, bread, cooking
oil, sugar, milk and other items.

Most serious of all is the shortage of food that is likely to affect up to
six million people over the next year. It is foolish for the regime to blame
this largely on the drought, for whatever the longer-term effects of the
land occupations, the short-term results are likely to be catastrophic.

By its own admission, ZANU PF has failed to deal with the food deficit and,
notwithstanding Mugabe's triumphalism, the land question is in disarray. In
a situation where it finds itself economically isolated - with no access to
financial assistance, growing unemployment and negative economic growth -
the regime has resorted to increasing economic controls over prices,
incomes, foreign exchange, food and fuel distribution.

In effect Zimbabweans are living in a wartime economy. In a more accountable
government driving a more sustainable economic strategy, various forms of
control would have a place for given periods of time. However with a regime
under such siege, these economic controls, linked to increasing political
repression, have moved the country into recognisably fascist-style politics.

The just-ended ZANU PF annual national conference was predictable in its
outcome. Mugabe used the stage to repeat his anti-imperialist diatribe,
proving beyond doubt the ruling party is devoid of new ideas and strategies.

At a time when the strategists in ZANU PF should be seeking ways to move
them out of isolation, Mugabe showed how little statesmanship he has to
offer. Given the continued course this regime has set itself, we must thus
expect more destructive economic decisions and further deepening of the
general crisis in this country.

It is also clear that even if there were some voices in ZANU PF seeking a
change of strategy, those elements have neither the courage nor the
integrity to speak the truth to power in their party.

One of the minor tragedies of the last few years has been to witness
one-time progressive intellectuals giving their support to this repressive
regime because of its perceived anti-imperialist politics. The severe
intellectual and political limits of this kind of analysis have become only
too apparent in the face of the crude accumulation strategies of the
political elite and the murderous political tactics they have deployed
against their opponents.

Mugabe's conference speech was saturated with threats and hate-filled
messages that epitomise the kind of vicious structure that ZANU PF has been
for many years.

It is to the discredit of the South African government that it has actively
embarked on a course to attempt to legitimise ZANU PF rule and to seek a
re-engagement between the latter and the international community on the
basis of the abominations that have characterised Zimbabwean politics since

It is clear that the South African government, for the most part, has little
regard for the MDC and feels that it is more realistic to try to "manage"
ZANU PF into a more presentable form. This strategy says a good deal about
the more general problem of post-colonial politics of former liberation

For the opposition and the civic movement, there is little doubt that there
are huge obstacles to be overcome in dealing with such a regime. There is
need for a multi- pronged approach that will include developing a broad set
of alliances nationally, using a variety of mobilisation strategies as well
as continuing to lobby at regional and international levels against the
ruling party.

It cannot be assumed that deteriorating economic conditions will
automatically mobilise the people. Such conditions are just as likely to
induce a sense of retreat and fatalism. This means that mass job stayaways
have to be properly prepared for, and the objectives more clearly thought

Moreover, stayaways cannot be the only strategy available to an opposition.
More patient activities based on building and consolidating legitimacy are
essential for the more confrontational approaches to be successful.

This is a very dangerous time for Zimbabweans, with the loss of hope quite
palpable among many people. However, it should be remembered that in moments
of danger opportunities might also emerge.

It is not unlikely that given the negative effects of the Zimbabwean crisis
on the region, new pressures will emerge for some form of national dialogue
as a means to finding a way forward. Much work needs to be done to push
Zimbabwean politics in this direction.

Brian Raftopoulos is an associate professor at the University of Zimbabwe's
Institute of Development Studies.

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Zimbabwe travellers stranded as fuel crisis grips

By Cris Chinaka

HARARE, Dec. 22 - Thousands of Zimbabweans hoping to travel to rural homes
for Christmas were stranded at bus stations across the southern African
country on Sunday as a severe fuel crisis crippled public transport.
       Oil industry sources said emergency fuel imports that began trickling
into Zimbabwe on Saturday had had little impact on a fuel shortage that has
virtually ground the country to a halt.
       Zimbabwe's fuel pumps have run dry in the last three weeks,
dramatising a deepening economic crisis which many blame on mismanagement by
President Robert Mugabe's government.
       Harare's main rural bus station was jammed with travellers on Sunday,
with some saying they had waited two days.
       ''I have been here since Friday evening, but I have not been able to
fight my way into one of the few buses to my home,'' one woman told Reuters
on Sunday. ''If I don't get anything by sunset today, I will have to give up
and spend my Christmas here.''
       Zimbabwe state media reported that commuters were stranded in many
other cities as lack of fuel choked bus services.
       The crisis has dampened the holiday season in a nation already
grappling with its worst economic crisis in decades, including serious food
       Energy Minister Amos Midzi said on Thursday a barter deal with Libya
to supply 70 percent of fuel needs had run into problems as Zimbabwe was
unable to supply the beef, sugar and tobacco it pledged in return.
       He said Zimbabwe had ordered fuel worth over $15 million from Kuwait
and South Africa, sparking a run on petrol stations as motorists waited for
the emergency imports which were scheduled to begin arriving over the
       Oil industry sources said some supplies have been trickling in, but
in very small amounts.
       The fuel crisis has worsened Zimbabwe's economic woes and sparked
public anger against Mugabe's government, in power since independence from
Britain in 1980.
       Zimbabweans are grappling with shortages of many basic consumers
goods, including bread, milk, cooking oil and sugar.
       Nearly half the country's 14 million people are threatened by severe
food shortages which Mugabe has blamed on drought but his critics blame on
the state seizure of white-owned commercial farms for redistribution to
landless blacks.
       Mugabe, 78, denies claims he has grossly mismanaged the economy and
says the country is a victim of sabotage by domestic and foreign opponents
opposed to his land reforms.
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Economic Times

      ICC resists calls for World Cup boycott of Zimbabwe

      REUTERS[ SUNDAY, DECEMBER 22, 2002 05:37:07 PM ]
      LONDON: The International Cricket Council (ICC) has defended its
decision to hold World Cup matches in Zimbabwe as planned early next year,
despite widespread calls for the maverick southern African country to be

      "I don't think it's difficult to justify," ICC chief executive Malcolm
Speed told BBC radio on Sunday.

      "The ICC is a cricket organisation and we make decisions based on
cricket issues. We are not a political organisation."

      A 10-man ICC delegation, including Speed, visited Zimbabwe last month
to monitor the security situation in light of the economic and political
crisis gripping the African nation.

      "We looked at the cricket issues, and particularly at the safety and
security of players and officials," Speed said.

      "Ultimately we were satisfied that there's no reason -- no good reason
from a security perspective -- to transfer these matches away from Harare
and Bulawayo."

      On Thursday, the game's world ruling body announced that the World Cup
matches would go ahead in Zimbabwe after reviewing the report by the ICC

      But former England captain David Gower, among many others, has since
called for a boycott by England and Australia of their World Cup fixtures in
Zimbabwe while Robert Mugabe is president of the African country.

      Six matches in the World Cup, taking place primarily in South Africa,
are scheduled to be hosted by Zimbabwe -- three in Harare involving England,
India and Namibia and another three in Bulawayo featuring Australia,
Pakistan and the Netherlands.

      Personal Opinions

      While Speed admitted that he held personal opinions about the
political situation in Zimbabwe, he added that he could not allow this to
cloud decisions on cricketing matters.

      "I do have a view on that but, for the present purpose, we can't take
our personal views into account," he said. "We can only make judgement on
cricket issues.

      "We've been consistent all along here. There have been sporting
boycotts and other political interventions in the past -- for example in
relation to South Africa. But there are no such sporting sanctions here and
it simply hasn't happened.

      "Politicians have had many opportunities to use them against Zimbabwe
but have not done so."

      "Zimbabwe is a valuable country for us and there are a lot of people
who will take a lot of pleasure from these matches.

      "And Zimbabwe is not the only country where people suffer from food
shortages. We can't solve issues like world hunger."

      Speed confirmed that the ICC had a contingency plan if Zimbabwe became
"too dangerous", with matches scheduled to be held there being relocated to
primary hosts South Africa.

      The same also applied to the two matches taking place in Kenya.

      "The contingency plan is in place -- and has been for some time," he

      The World Cup will be staged from February 9 to March 23. The holders
are twice champions Australia.

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Zimbabwe says Britain raising army against it

HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe has accused its former colonial ruler of
enlisting Zimbabweans into the British army for possible use in a military
campaign to overthrow President Robert Mugabe.
"Britain is recruiting Zimbabweans into its army, a move seen by the
Zimbabwe government as part of a plan to oust President Mugabe from power
violently," the state-owned Sunday Mail quoted security sources as saying.

"Security sources say the locals could be used in a military offensive
against Zimbabwe should Britain execute its plan," it added in an article
entitled "UK's military plot exposed".

Britain dismissed the report.

"Zimbabweans do join the British army. They are entitled to as members of
the Commonwealth," said a spokeswoman for the Ministry of Defence. The rest
of the story was "rubbish, pure and simple", she said.

Zimbabwe's post-independence relations with London are at an all-time low as
Mugabe accuses Britain of spearheading a campaign to demonise him for his
controversial land seizure programme aimed at redistributing white-owned
farms to blacks.

Mugabe, presiding over the country's worst economic crisis in decades which
his critics blame on 22 years of government mismanagement, says Britain has
become the enemy under Prime Minister Tony Blair and is working to overthrow

Harare's Information Minister Jonathan Moyo said Britain's recruitment
drive -- which the Sunday Mail said was also targeting Zimbabwean
soldiers -- was a sign of desperation.

Zimbabweans who joined a "hostile foreign army" risked losing their
citizenship, he told the paper, while one unnamed observer was quoted saying
those who joined the British forces could be "inviting unnecessary trouble"
on their families.

The 78-year-old Mugabe, who led a guerrilla campaign against white rule, has
been in power since the former Rhodesia's independence in 1980.
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Journo accused of spying for BBC

Harare - The Zimbabwe government has accused a local journalist of spying
for the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), the state-controlled Sunday
Mail reported.

The paper, which reflects government views, said Lewis Machipisa, a
Zimbabwean correspondent for BBC radio, was being hired by Britain's foreign
office to also film and write stories for BBC television.

The BBC has been officially banned from the country, but Machipisa, a
Zimbabwean national, has been able to continue working here for the

A senior BBC official quoted in the Sunday Mail denied the allegations
against Machipisa and also said the BBC was not behind an exiled radio
station broadcasting into Zimbabwe from London, as the government had

The permanent secretary in Zimbabwe's information ministry, George Charamba
told the BBC in a letter quoted in the Sunday Mail that the BBC's denials of
these charges were not accepted or believed.

The charges against Machipisa come ahead of the December 31 deadline set by
the government for all journalists working here to be registered, turned
down or de-registered under tough new press laws. - Sapa-AFP
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Govt to Begin Inflation Targeting?

Financial Gazette (Harare)

December 20, 2002
Posted to the web December 22, 2002


Last week I promised to devote a bit of attention on the 2003 National
Budget that was presented by the Minister of Finance on November 14 2002.

I highlighted the problems being faced by the economy and which, were
alluded to by the minister in his statement to Parliament - high inflation
levels, foreign currency shortages and declining savings, investment and

The momentum being gathered by these problems or their severity has blurred
the cause and effect relationships among them knowledge of which is very
important for devising lasting solutions instead of the current ad hoc
control measures which, if anything, only help to provide temporary relief.

This week I look at inflation because it is one of the most important causes
of the other problems being faced by the economy.

Although it has traditionally been caused by excessive money supply growth
due to RBZ overdraft financing of the chronic government budget deficits,
inflation has further developed cause and effect relationships with factors
like the exchange rate, expectations, supply bottlenecks arising from the
contraction in economic activity, wage-price spiral, and discretionary
pricing by retailers.

These factors have collectively pushed inflation onto a record-breaking path
with latest figures showing that inflation reached yet another all-time high
of 175.5 percent in November 2002, up from 144.2 percent the previous month
and 103.8 percent a year ago.

Both food and non-food inflation continue to show upward trends. Food
inflation rose by 31.3 percentage points to 234.6 percent while non-food
inflation rose by 54.6 percentage points to 146 percent.

The increase in food inflation reflects the decline in agriculture
production due to the negative effects of the initial stages of the land
reform programme and drought experienced during the 2001/02 rainfall season.

It is against this background of high and rising inflation that the
government aims "to target double-digit inflation by the end of the next
year, and single digit thereafter".

The target for 2003 is 96.1 percent.

If the minister is serious about using inflation targeting as a policy
instrument to cure inflation what then does this mean? In other words what
is inflation targeting and what are its requirements?

Inflation targeting refers to a framework for conducting monetary policy in
which decisions are guided by expectations of future inflation relative to
an announced inflation target. In terms of requirements, first and foremost,
the causes of inflation need to be simultaneously addressed.

As noted above the major cause is the financing of the budget deficit
through RBZ overdraft facility, which has caused excessive money supply
growth and the weak local currency on the parallel market.

In the case of money supply growth, this is particularly more so now because
of the restrictions on foreign borrowing by international aid agencies that
has resulted in the reliance on domestic capital markets by government to
finance its deficits.

Now, in an inflation-targeting set-up, the monetary authorities announce a
target or, more typically, a target range for future inflation. Thus, the
expected future rate of inflation, say after one or two years (in our case
96.1 percent for next year and single-digit for 2004), becomes an indicator
variable for monetary policy.

In tandem with such an inflation policy announcement, the authorities must
clearly spell out other accompanying fiscal and monetary policy measures
that will ensure that the actual rate of inflation after the target period
will be the same or close to the targeted rate of inflation.

In other words both fiscal and monetary policies should be synchronised for
the inflation target to be feasible.

This has not been the case in Zimbabwe as monetary and fiscal policies have
been pulling in opposite directions. Before the relaxing of monetary policy
in August 2000, while the Reserve Bank was grappling with inflation by
maintaining a tight monetary policy, the government was incurring excessive
expenditure overruns which, as already noted, continues to be financed from
the domestic banking sector thereby fuelling inflation.

Another condition that is necessary for inflation targeting is the use and
maintenance of a credible exchange rate system and here we are mainly
concerned with its pricing.

This is because the price of foreign exchange plays a highly significant
role in the ability of the economy to attain optimal productive capacity and
as a result a country's exchange rate policy, like monetary and fiscal
policies, is a key tool in economic stabilisation and adjustment, especially
in developing countries like Zimbabwe.

In a bid to preserve competitiveness, many countries have adopted rules
under which the nominal exchange rate is depreciated continuously to offset
differences between domestic and foreign inflation rates.

Such rules are known as real exchange rate targeting because they establish
a feedback relationship between domestic inflation and nominal exchange

Zimbabwe briefly adopted such a policy called a crawling peg in August 2000
and abandoned it October the same year. Since then the official exchange
rate has been pegged at Z$55 to the US dollar, a situation that has worsened
the inflation situation through the development of a parallel exchange
market where rates are upwards of Z$1 750.

Having said all this, the question is: are we by any chance going to tame
inflation given these requirements necessary to control it? Mind you, we
need to reduce inflation first before we can say anything that makes
economic sense!
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Zimbabwe Stock Exchange a Safe Haven for Investors in 2003

Financial Gazette (Harare)

December 20, 2002
Posted to the web December 22, 2002

Macdonald Dzirutwe

THE Zimbabwe Stock Exchange will remain a safe haven for investors in 2003,
but market analysts this week again cautioned investors against
underestimating the uncertainty caused by recent government policies.

The analysts said the exchange rate and tough new exchange control measures
requiring exporters to submit 100 percent of their earnings to the Reserve
Bank of Zimbabwe would determine the course of the stock market in the next
few months.

They said the market was anticipating that the government would, in the next
two to three weeks, announce additional measures to appease exporters, whose
operations will be hampered by the new policy.

"I think the performance of the stock market will be affected by the foreign
currency pricing in 2003," a stockbroker with Intermarket Stockbrokers told
the Financial Gazette.

"This will be the key determinant on the fortunes of the stock market."

Exporters are now required to surrender 50 percent of their earnings to the
central bank, while the remainder will also be submitted to the Reserve Bank
to be held for their use within 60 days.

Previously, exporters had to remit 40 percent to the central bank and could
trade the rest on the more lucrative parallel market for foreign exchange,
which the government has tried to stamp out by closing down bureaux de

The exporters are trying to determine an exchange rate more economic than
the government imposed $55 to US$1, and are expected to submit their
proposals to the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe before the end of the year.

The exporters have already warned that the new foreign currency policy will
sink a large number of companies.

Market watchers said the uncertainty resulting from the new exchange control
measures and a monetary policy introduced last month would continue to
affect the ZSE in 2003 unless the government revised its policies.

"A lot depends on additional statements in the next two to three weeks but
generally the stock market should remain a safe destination for investors in
2003," an analyst with Sagit Stockbrokers said.

"The uncertainty however makes it difficult to forecast with certainty what
will happen to the stock market next year."

Analysts said while interest rates could rise in the next few months, the
increase would not be significant because the government would not benefit
from a rate hike.

The analysts said even local banks seemed to be willing in the short-term to
allow interest rates to remain at their present levels because a rate
increase would force them to pay more for any money they had borrowed.

Market watchers said significant volumes were traded on the ZSE this Monday
because some investors were taking advantage of the lull in the market
during the festive period to take positions before the start of 2003.

The key industrial index however eased to 101 513.39 points on Monday, from
103 801.12 last Friday.

On the money market, dealers were unable to forecast the market position for
this week, saying they only had statistics for December 13, when the market
opened $13 billion short, a trend they said would continue up to the end of

Call rates were quoted at above 40 percent, the 30-day Treasury bill rate
was at 33 percent and the 90-day rate was quoted at 32 percent.

Foreign currency dealers said the Zimbabwe dollar continued to lose ground
on the parallel market, where the local currency was trading at between $1
350 and $1 600 against the United States dollar.

Dealers however said the local currency was likely to firm in the next few
weeks as more Zimbabweans working abroad returned home for the Christmas

"The rates on the parallel market will firm in the coming weeks as more and
more Zimbabweans return home for Christmas," a dealer told the Financial
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Activists threaten to dig up Zimbabwe pitches
By Neil Manthorpe in Cape Town and Huw Turbeville  (Filed: 22/12/2002)

As England's cricketers face increasing pressure to take a moral stand by
boycotting their opening match of the World Cup in Zimbabwe on Feb 13, it
has emerged that a protest group have threatened to dig up the pitches in
Harare and Bulawayo.

A human-rights group called Zimactivism have been phoning Zimbabwean
players, urging them to pull out of the tournament in protest at president
Robert Mugabe's regime. A senior player told The Sunday Telegraph that
threats have been made to "dig up the cricket fields to plant maize for
starving people", while other callers said they would "cut holes in the
covers" at the World Cup venues in Bulawayo and Harare.

The International Cricket Council announced on Thursday that last month's
fact-finding trip to Zimbabwe had assured them that there would be no danger
to players and officials, and that the six matches - three in Harare,
against Namibia, England and India, and three in Bulawayo, against
Australia, Holland and Pakistan - would proceed as planned. They did admit,
however, that there were contingency plans to switch the games to South
Africa, the main hosts, if violence escalated.

Frank Field, the Labour MP for Birkenhead and former welfare reform
minister, is calling on England's players to refuse to go and has formed an
all-party group of MPs to protest against the Zimbabwean regime. He said:
"The players can no longer say it is just a game of cricket - the policy of
genocide under Robert Mugabe is totally unacceptable, and I hope players
from all sides stand up and say they don't want to go there.

"The ECB and ICC have become so blinded by this notion that they are not
bound to make political judgements, but it is obvious Mugabe will milk the
World Cup for all it is worth to take attention off his murderous policies.
It will be surprising if some of the players don't speak out, and then I
hope the dyke will crumble."

Other members of Field's group include Lord Renwick of Clifton, a Labour
peer and a former diplomat who was the adviser to the governor of Rhodesia
in 1980, and Lord Biffen, a former Cabinet minister in the Thatcher

Former England player Gladstone Small, who now works for the Professional
Cricketers' Association, said Nasser Hussain and his team should stand up
and be counted. He said: "Sometimes we need to look at the wider issues and
not hide behind the excuse that politics shouldn't get in the way of sport.
The cricket authorities have made their decision - it now comes down to
individual players."

Hussain said on Friday it was not his role to question the ECB's decision.
He said: "I'm a paid employee of the ECB and if they tell me this is where
the World Cup is going to be and it's safe and morally right to go, then I
can only do what my bosses tell me."

ECB chief executive Tim Lamb, when asked what would happen if players asked
to miss the Zimbabwe match, said: "That is hypothetical, but we are in close
contact with Richard Bevan, the players' representative, and we remain
confident that as long as the players understand the reasons why security
and safety can be the only criteria for the ICC and ECB in making this
decision, then we can be confident that they will fulfil their contractual

"If a player does have any reservations, I would like to sit down and talk
to him on a one-on-one basis about why we do not think it is appropriate for
us to make political judgements about various regimes around the world.

"An additional factor is that if we did not play the match, we would lose
the points, and that is quite a telling factor from a cricketer's point of

The Zimbabwe squad are still saying publicly that they want the matches to
proceed. Security chief Dan Stannard said: "A few people sent e-mails out
urging a boycott during the Pakistan tour in November but that was it.
Feelings run deep, obviously, but the cricket will not be affected. It is as
safe here now as it ever has been."

Commenting on speculation that Australia were planning to arrive and depart
on the same day as their match against Zimbabwe, Stannard said: "That is a
load of rubbish. If they're going to come then come and enjoy it. Australia
are the best team in the world, why not meet the people and be ambassadors
for their country? If their politicians have decided there is no threat then
they should do the job properly."

The fear of speaking about politics is paralysing Zimbabwe's sportsmen and
women. One cricketer, who did not wish to be named, said: "It's not a
question of condoning what is happening, it's just a question of whether we
want cricket to die or survive. I'm sorry if that is too simplistic for some
people, but that is obviously the way cricket sees the situation."

The ICC have welcomed the decision of the Board of Control of Cricket in
India to call an emergency meeting on Christmas Day to discuss the personal
endorsement deals threatening their participation in the World Cup.
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NZ Herald

Cricket: Gower says England should not play in Zimbabwe

LONDON - England and Australia ought to boycott their World Cup fixtures in
Zimbabwe while Robert Mugabe is president of the African country, former
England captain David Gower said on Sunday.

"I don't think it is right that England should be playing a match in Harare
on February 13, 2003, or on any other day while the Robert Mugabe regime
remains in power in Zimbabwe," Gower wrote in a column Britain's The Sunday
Times newspaper.

"Nor do I think the Australians, as the other main Commonwealth nation
involved in the same World Cup group, should honour their fixture in
Bulawayo 11 days later," he said.

Six matches in the World Cup, taking place primarily in South Africa, are
scheduled to be hosted by Zimbabwe, three in Harare involving England, India
and Namibia and another three in Bulawayo featuring Australia, Pakistan and
the Netherlands.

The International Cricket Council (ICC), the game's world ruling body,
announced on Thursday that the World Cup matches would go ahead in the
African country.

The ICC said that a 10-man delegation that had monitored the situation in
Zimbabwe last month had found "no good reason in terms of the safety and
security of the players to relocate any of the six matches."

Fears had been expressed over player safety after political upheaval and
violence in Zimbabwe following implementation of the Mugabe government's
controversial land reforms.

Gower wrote that the players would almost certainly be safe with the Harare
government "bending over backwards" to shelter them from the country's
problems and show the world Zimbabwe was a safe place.

But he trashed the ICC view that playing there would be of benefit to the
beleaguered Zimbabwean people.

"Just what percentage of that population does (ICC chief executive Malcolm
Speed) think will get anywhere near the cricket or benefit from it in any
shape or form?" he asked.

Present England captain Nasser Hussain has said he is in no position to do
more than follow ICC recommendations.

Other protestors seeking an England boycott of the Zimbabwe matches look set
to take their arguments a lot further, the Sunday Telegraph reported.

It said a human rights group called Zimactivism have threatened to dig up
the pitches at the two World Cup venues and have been urging Zimbabwe
players to pull out of the February 8-March 23 tournament.

Labour MP Frank Field has formed a multi-party group to protest against the
Mugabe regime and is calling on the England team to boycott the Zimbabwe

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Scotland on Sunday

      White martyr's sainthood bid shames Mugabe


      HE TURNED his back on his privileged background to care for lepers in
Africa - only to die on a dusty roadside, cut down in a hail of bullets by
guerrillas wielding AK47 assault rifles.

      Now, nearly a quarter of a century after his death, British-born John
Bradburne, who eschewed his middle-class origins to become a Franciscan
missionary in a leper colony, is being proposed as Zimbabwe's first saint.

      However, his path to canonisation is unlikely to be smooth because he
was white and the guerrillas who murdered him in 1979 were supporters of the
country's president Robert Mugabe in his fight for black rule.

      The attempt to elevate him to sainthood comes at a time when Mugabe
has unleashed one of the most virulent anti-white campaigns ever seen in
Africa. And, according to his critics, the last thing the Zimbabwean leader
wants is approval by the Vatican for the canonisation of a man martyred by
his own followers.

      The campaign for Bradburne's canonisation is being led by one of his
former colleagues at the Mutemwa Leprosy Settlement, the 80-year-old Jesuit
priest Father John Dove. He said: "John was a strange vagabond of God. The
mere mention of his name lightens and brightens the faces of men and women
at Mutemwa. There were once 1,000 people there. Today, only 63. John loved
them and they loved him."

      There are now far fewer people at the settlement than there were in
Bradburne's day because of the wider availability of treatments for the
infectious disease.

      Commenting on the attempt to elevate Bradburne to sainthood, Dove
added: "The cause is under way and is presently on the desk of Archbishop
Patrick Chakaipa [the Roman Catholic primate of Zimbabwe] in Harare. It will
go forward. It will be considered by the Vatican. John could become Zimbabwe
's first saint."

      An elderly man, who suffered from leprosy and was cured, added: "If I
told you what John did here, I would burst into tears. He slept with the
dying, reading them the New Testament. He gave us his own food. He dug our
graves and wrapped our bodies in his only blanket."

      But the Archbishop of Harare is a close friend of Mugabe's and senior
Church sources in Harare claim the beatification of Bradburne - the last
step towards canonisation - has been vetoed until an African saint has been
found for the new Zimbabwe.

      A Christian churchgoer, who asked not to be named, said: "It seems
there will be affirmative action in heaven as well."

      Bradburne's fellow workers and people who were cared for at the
settlement, recall a mystical figure who helped overturn the widely held
prejudices about leprosy and allow people to see those he lived with for
what they were - fellow human beings with a curable disease.

      Bradburne was born in Cumbria in 1921. A cousin of the playwright
Terence Rattigan, he was also a distant relative of Britain's last governor
in Rhodesia. During the Second World War, Bradburne served with the 9th
Gurkha Rifles. At the fall of Singapore, he escaped to Sumatra after a month
living off the bush in the Malayan jungle. Later he went to Burma, where he
first met Dove, then serving as a soldier. Bradburne ended the war invalided
with recurrent malaria.

      He spent the next 16 years wandering between England and Italy and the
Middle East, his belongings held in a small Gladstone bag. Finally,
Bradburne - who said he had a vision of Christ telling him to go to Africa
and care for lepers - wrote to Dove, who was now a Jesuit priest in charge
of the Mutemwa Settlement, asking: "Is there a cave in Africa where I can
pray?" Bradburne arrived in Rhodesia in 1962, became a member of the Third
Order of St Francis and was appointed warden at Mutemwa in 1969.

      Dove said: "In John's life he wanted three things: to work with
lepers, to die the death of a martyr and to be buried in a Franciscan

      The first wish came true at Mutemwa where Bradburne, who lived alone
in a tin hunt on the edge of the mission settlement, nursed almost 80 blind
and deformed people. But by the end of the 1970s, the war against white rule
was reaching its peak and Bradburne came to the attention of the guerrillas
of Mugabe's liberation army (Zanla). On the night of September 2, 1979, he
was abducted, accused of being a Rhodesian spy, put on 'trial' and shot.
Villagers who discovered the body said when they approached it they heard

      And, at his Requiem Mass, another strange event took place, which
ensured the fulfilment of his 'third wish'.

      A friend placed three white flowers on the coffin. At the end of the
service, three drops of blood are said to have appeared on the floor
underneath it.

      When the coffin was re-opened, no traces of blood were found but it
was noticed that Bradburne had been buried in a simple white shirt. It was
removed and a Franciscan habit, instead, was wrapped around him. Since then,
dozens of people claim they have had their prayers answered by invoking the
name of John Bradburne.

      One British man sent £1,000 for the erection of the cross that stands
on the top of Mount Chigona, which Bradburne, dubbed the 'Leper Man' and
used to climb every day to see the sun rise. He says his failing eyesight
was restored after he prayed to God through the missionary.

      Whether or not Bradburne's journey to sainthood is ever completed,
while he was alive he said his memorial was to be found in the faces of the
lepers he loved and served so well.
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From SABC News, 21 December

Traffic building up at Beitbridge Border Post

Traffic has started building up at the Beitbridge Border Post. Elvis Mafhungo, an official at the border post, says the slow clearance process on the Zimbabwean Customs offices is causing a delay on the movement of people. Mafhungo further says the shortage of fuel in Zimbabwe is a major contributory factor as people travel from Zimbabwe to come and fill-up in Musina, and later have to be cleared for a second time on the South African side. Mafhungo says the Customs and Immigration Staff in South Africa are working hand-in-hand to control the situation. Mafhungo says truck movement is currently under control.

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From The Washington Times, 19 December

Africa's growing hunger

By Danna Harman

Christian Science Monitor

Boston - The Liberty Grace set sail from Louisiana on a hot, sticky evening in late August. Capt. John Codispoti and his crew steered downriver to the mouth of the Mississippi River, across the Gulf of Mexico, and in the early hours of Sept. 3, reached the open ocean and turned toward Africa. On board, sealed in six cavernous holds, were 50,000 tons of yellow corn kernels - a small part of the U.S. government's donation to an international emergency effort to help 14.5 million men, women and children facing hunger in six southern African countries. In the past few months, the consignment of corn traveled from Midwestern farms to the ports of East Africa, where it was unloaded and bagged. It will be piled high onto trains and trucks, and hauled to warehouses scattered across the region. And it will be balanced on heads and dragged in carts to the huts of the hungry. But along its journey, this corn will encounter many of the continent's problems, both old and new: corruption, Western trade barriers and subsidies, concerns about genetic modification and AIDS. It is these problems, more than just the drought, that are at the heart of Africa's growing hunger. The solutions to the African hunger crisis are as complicated as the problems. The challenge for the six countries - Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Lesotho and Swaziland - is not just to get through the immediate food shortage, but also to find ways to keep the problem from happening again next year. "This is not the same old story. There are deep-rooted problems in the region," said Tim Osborne, Malawi country director of CARE, an Atlanta-based nongovernmental organization (NGO) that helps fight global poverty. "Various factors have combined to make the populations so vulnerable that they cannot cope with any new crisis. This is an emergency all right - a long-term emergency."

Moreblessing Tigre stands guard at a small grain warehouse on the outskirts of Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, jiggling her ring of keys. She is the senior logistics officer and takes her job very seriously. Back in June, World Vision, another NGO, rented an old handbag factory and transformed it into a warehouse for emergency food aid. Today, the rooms are filled with hundreds of bags of corn from the United States, ready to be put on trucks and sent to distribution centers scattered around these barren plains. Mrs. Tigre is in charge. About 6.7 million Zimbabweans - about half the population - are facing hunger and depending on food aid to get them through the coming months, according to the World Food Program (WFP). When the warehouse is emptied, Mrs. Tigre explains, pushing back her thick glasses and pulling her hair into a bun, new truckloads of corn are supposed to come in. Part of the consignment on board the Liberty Grace will soon make its way here. "I am so busy moving the corn in and out that I really have no idea where it comes from," Mrs. Tigre said. "To be honest, I don't much mind. As long as enough gets here on time. That's good. That's a start." A start, but not an end. Because in Zimbabwe, as in other countries, even when the corn arrives at the warehouses and is sent to distribution centers, there is no guarantee that the neediest will receive it. Here, the problem is government mismanagement and corruption. "There is no doubt that the developing famine in Zimbabwe is rooted in bad governance and corrupt practices," said John Prendergast, Africa director at the International Crisis Group (ICG) think tank. As elsewhere in the region, there has been a drought in Zimbabwe. But in years past, Zimbabwe was able to sustain itself though similar drought periods, and even continue exporting to its neighbors. This year has been a different story. President Robert Mugabe's land-reform policy - taking land from minority white farmers and giving it to the landless black majority - has crippled the commercial farm sector.

For Mildred Rashal, this has been a good year. Her restaurant, Taks Tenth Avenue, in downtown Bulawayo, is packed every day with the city's bigwigs. "People are moving into new opportunities. There is a lot of money floating around," she said, touching up her lipstick. Outside, a long line of Zimbabweans queue for bread. They have been there since dawn. Mrs. Rashal pays them no attention. Because Mrs. Rashal's father was a politician, she grew up in the suburbs and had more money than most other black girls in town. She was the first nonwhite to attend the neighborhood private school. "I was not accepted," she said matter-of-factly. "Sometimes one of the girls would bring back lollipops from vacation in South Africa. There were 30 of us in the class and she would bring back 29. Nothing for me." Mrs. Rashal leans forward. "That was then - and this is now," she said slowly. "That's the way life goes. It's not about revenge. It's just a cycle. We have reclaimed what is ours." What black Zimbabweans have reclaimed is land. Mr. Mugabe's fast-track land-reform policies were intended to redress the imbalance in land ownership and wealth in Zimbabwe by transferring farms from the minority white commercial farmers - who held vast tracts of fertile land and produced more than 80 percent of the country's food – to the majority landless blacks. But in practice, during the past two years, many of these farms were handed over to wealthy Zimbabweans connected to the government, like Mrs. Rashal's family, who have little interest in farming. In other cases, the landless were trucked in to squat on these farms, but were not provided the tools, seeds or know-how needed to tend them properly. The former breadbasket of the region can no longer support even itself. Now, the continuation of bad governmental practices is making it hard for international aid organizations to remedy the food problem. Mr. Mugabe's government banned private food imports late last year. The government-run grain marketing board, which is managed by top military and intelligence officials, was given control over imports, allowing many of them to make a profit from the resale of food at exorbitant prices.

Worse yet, there are charges that food distribution is being politicized, with aid organizations being steered toward certain areas. The government denies these charges, but several aid organization officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity, confirm this takes place. In October, the WFP officially suspended the distribution of relief supplies in a district of southwestern Zimbabwe, charging that Mr. Mugabe's party was interfering with distributions by seizing food aid and intimidating workers. "Relief food distributions are not the place for any kind of political activity," said a WFP statement. "WFP will only distribute its food on the basis of need without regard to partisan affiliation." "This is not a black-white issue, although it is portrayed this way," said Zimbabwean economist Erich Bloch, a vocal critic of the government. "This is about destroying the economy and hurting the poorest of the poor – all blacks - for the sake of the rich and powerful. The next six months will be the worst this country has ever seen, and the region will suffer for our suffering as well."

On the old road leading from Dete to Binga, in the northwest part of Zimbabwe, there is a little village with no name. People here are feeling the effects of food politics. Only two children in this village attend school. The rest, barefoot and half naked, hang around all day by the rusting foosball machine, using unripe berries as the game balls when they get up enough energy for a match. This area should be getting food shipments from Bulawayo, but no trucks have come this way. In the town of Binga, the nearest center, an attempt at distributing food a few months ago was stopped when war veterans from a different area came in and claimed the food, according to eyewitnesses. "We all went and voted for [the opposition party Movement for Democratic Change] in the elections, but we did not succeed," said villager Matias Muleya. "So now other regions get aid, but the government doesn't let the food come here." Back at Taks restaurant, Mrs. Rashal rushes so she can pick up her son from cricket practice. One of the World Vision trucks, stacked high with bags of corn, passes. Mrs. Rashal does not seem to notice. "I'm running a business. I don't really care about hunger issues," she said. "I have my connections. I phone this one, that one - get what I need. It's not that I don't care. It's just, well, what could I do to help? I have nothing to do with the weather."

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Dear Family and Friends,
I have really struggled trying to think of something positive, peaceful and perhaps even thought provoking to write about as a Christmas message from Zimbabwe. As I sit here on an overcast and windy morning I know all the ugly realities outside my gate and it is almost impossible to see past them and look for that dim little light which must be shining at the end of the tunnel. When we were children and sulking or having a tantrum we had a little poem which went something like this: "Nobody loves me, everybody hates me, I think I'll go and eat worms, big fat juicy ones, squish squash sqooshy ones." I can't remember the last line but this little verse certainly sums up the overwhelming feeling of utter desperation in Zimbabwe today.  It is made a million times worse when we are dealt one blow after another by a world apparently terrified to do or say anything openly against Zimbabwe in case they are labelled racists.
The announcement that the ICC will hold 6 world cup cricket matches in Zimbabwe next year has devastated us. It is utterly obscene that men in crisply starched whites will play this so called gentleman's game in our cities while those of us who live here have no petrol or bread, no milk or sugar. I wonder if the ICC know that it is illegal for 5 or more people to hold a meeting in Zimbabwe without police permission. I wonder if they care that while they knock little balls around on the field other people are having naked wires attached to their testicles whilst in police custody. While they stay in our 5 star hotels, I wonder if the players will care that we can't even buy food on the black market without first producing cards proving we support the ruling party.  I wonder if the ICC know that if we say or write something about President Mugabe which may make people hostile towards him we can go to prison for a year. I am sure that both the ICC and the cricket players themselves know all of this but they say they are purely a sporting body and not a political one. Their hypocrisy and racism is disgusting and nauseating. It was OK for them to boycott games in apartheid South Africa and Ian Smith's Rhodesia but not in Zimbabwe now. When white people were oppressing blacks it was wrong, now it is black people oppressing black people, it is apparently OK. The ICC have shown who the real racists are here.
However, through our anger, disgust and despair, we Zimbabweans are doing the best we can this Christmas. For most of us there won't be turkey, Christmas pudding, lavish gifts and excesses of alcohol this year. Rather it is a time of quiet contemplation, counting our blessings and giving thanks for what we have got. Many Zimbabweans are fasting by choice, organising prayer vigils and doing whatever they can to help and support their friends and neighbours. We have all learnt to give thanks for the simplest of things like a loaf of bread or a glass of real milk and to take nothing for granted, an experience which is cause for both humility and gratitude. I apologise for not responding to the hundreds of emails and Christmas messages this week. I thank you all for caring, for your messages of love, support and encouragement and for giving me the strength and courage to speak out for another week.  Until next week with my love and best wishes for a peaceful and joyous Christmas, cathy
Copyright Cathy Buckle, 21st December 2002
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The Times
Letters to the Editor

December 23, 2002

Zimbabwe cricket tour 'unbelievable'

Sir, If the International Cricket Council insists on the England cricket team playing in Zimbabwe in next year’s World Cup (Sport, December 20) we should withdraw from the tournament.

Our country is preparing to go to war with Iraq partly because of the way Saddam Hussein treats his minorities. That we should remain on sporting terms with a country whose Government is engaged in starving its political opponents into submission, or even extinction, is unbelievable.

Yours faithfully,
Frieze Farm, Crowsley,
Oxfordshire RG9 4JL.
December 20.

From Mr John Evans

Sir, You have recently dwelt, in The Register, on the hopeful saying “cometh the hour, cometh the man”. Perhaps it would be appropriate for Peter Hain to adopt this as his new year resolution.

I well remember Mr Hain leading the battle against apartheid in this country by, amongst other activities, digging up cricket pitches. Yet he has been noticeably silent over the ICC’s decision to play World Cup matches in Zimbabwe.

Mr Hain would appear to be just the man to lead a similar charge against Mugabe’s repugnant attacks on white farmers and others by speaking out against the regime. Perhaps he could withhold the Government’s blessing on the spectacle and insist that we withdraw our team from the competition — or does one need to do such principle-demonstrating acts only once in a lifetime?

Yours faithfully,
Strathallan Close, Darley Dale,
Matlock, Derbyshire DE4 2HJ.
December 20.

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Residential Rentals Up By Over 200% in 2002

Financial Gazette (Harare)
December 20, 2002
Posted to the web December 22, 2002

By Staff Reporter

ZIMBABWE'S residential rentals have more than doubled this year, driven up by cash-rich individuals unable to buy their own properties because of serious shortages in the residential property sales market, it was learnt this week.

A snap survey by the Financial Gazette this week found that since the beginning of the year, rentals had increased by more than 200 percent in most of Harare's residential areas as desperate tenants competed for the few houses and flats on the market.

Though some of the rental hikes were a result of efforts by property owners to keep pace with inflation, which rose to a record high of 144.2 percent in October, real estate agents said some of the increases were caused by potential tenants offering more money to secure accommodation.

Archie Mberi, a consultant with a Harare real estate firm, said demand for properties was so high that his firm received more than 10 serious applications and several telephone inquiries for every house advertised.

He said some applicants offered to pay more than the asking rental.

"The demand is so serious that, in some cases, when we get a house to rent out for say $100 000 per month, someone will not only offer to pay $120 000 but also to pay rentals for the whole year in advance," Mberi said.

Partly because of this, rentals in high-density areas such as Mufakose, Budiriro and Glen Norah have increased from around $10 000 in January to between $25 000 and $30 000.

Properties in middle-density areas such as Msasa Park, Mabelreign and Hillside, as well as flats near the city centre, which used to cost between $15 000 and $20 000 per month, are now around $50 000.

In low-density areas such as Mandara, Greendale and Borrowdale Brooke, properties that were over $40 000 in January now cost up to $200 000 per month. Some up-market properties in these areas are being rented out for $1 million per month.

Single room rentals have increased from around $1 000 at the beginning of the year to $3 000 in high-density suburbs and from $3 000 to above $6 000 in middle-density areas.

Mberi said the margins of rental increases varied depending on the location of the properties, their condition and whether the owners closely monitored and followed trends on the market.

Another property consultant said Zimbabweans who had prospered despite the country's economic crisis were moving to secure, up-market locations, while those whose incomes had been eroded by inflation were moving out of the city centre and from middle-density suburbs to cheaper locations without reliable transport.

High-density areas, which are located some distance from city centres, have been hard hit by transport shortages, the result of Zimbabwe's fuel crisis and a foreign currency squeeze that has hampered imports of spare parts and new vehicles.

"The highest rental offers are made for properties in locations that have good security and where it is easy to get transport, that is why you see people moving from areas like Chitungwiza and Glen Norah to areas like Warren Park and Arcadia," the property consultant said.

He said those with money to spend and concerned with security were moving to rent properties in residential complexes like Borrowdale Brooke, which has round-the-clock security.

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