The ZIMBABWE Situation
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Energy crisis throws Harare residents back into Stone Age

Zim Online

Fri 10 February 2006

      HARARE - Using water-soaked wood and bundles of old newspapers, Sophie
Hama struggles to light up a fire in the  drizzling rain.

      After a while stuffing more paper in the wood, Hama and her
daughters - who have been helping her build the fire - for a moment appear
to forget themselves, erupting in joy and applause welcoming the small flame
that slowly flickers from the firewood.

      "It's as if we do not have an electric stove," Hama told ZimOnline, as
she carefully balanced a black pot over the fire in the open ground just
outside her home in Harare's working class suburb of Warren Park D.

      A week after South Africa's Eskom power utility cut off electricity
supplies to Zimbabwe, residents in Harare and other cities find themselves
back in the Stone Age, forced to cook meals over open fires because of
frequent and unregulated by powers cuts as the local Zimbabwe Electricity
Supply Authority (ZESA) rations the little available power.

      Zimbabwe imports more than a third of its power requirements most of
it coming from Eskom. A shortage of coal at ZESA's largest thermal power
station at Hwange plus frequent breakdowns of ageing electricity generation
equipment at other stations across the country has only helped worsen the
energy crisis.

      Power cuts can last for several hours as happened in the third most
populous city of Chitungwiza and in the Harare suburbs of Budiriro,
Southerton, Mufakose, Marimba, Tafara, Mabvuku that went without electricity
for about four hours on Tuesday and on Wednesday this week.

      In the worst cases, whole suburbs can be switched off for a whole day
or even more, forcing residents to throw away food from fridges because it
would have gone bad.

      But Hama said the most trying time for her is when she has to build a
fire in the rain. Zimbabwe is in the middle of its rain season and heavy
rains have continued to pound the country for the past four weeks.

      "It is worse than torture when you have to build a fire in the rain,"
Hama said, her eyes reddish and teary from the smoke from her fire that
keeps coming up and dying down again when the drizzle intensifies.

      The rain is however not the only problem for Hama and other residents
in Zimbabwean cities and towns.

      Residents have to grapple with a shortage of firewood as well as
rising prices of the commodity as suppliers take advantage of increasing

      Ranga Zoro, who stays in Southerton, said his family has resorted to
simply waiting for the power to be restored before cooking any meals because
they cannot afford the cost of firewood.

      He said: "We are barely managing to pay for the electricity and the
food in the first place, so we cannot waste the little dollars that we have
to buy fire wood. We wait until the power comes, that's when we cook. If it
does not come, we say tough luck and go to bed hungry."

      The paraffin stove that Zoro had always kept for times like these has
been rendered useless because paraffin, just like every other petroleum
product is in critical short supply in Zimbabwe as the country grapples its
worst economic crisis since independence from Britain 26 years ago.

      At least for Zoro he has studied well the power cuts timetable and
says in his neighborhood electricity goes out every Monday, Wednesday and
Friday between 8 in the morning and midday and then in the evening between 6
pm and 10 pm.

      "So we time our cooking based on these times. When we hear the
commuter trains arriving with workers in the evening, we know it is about
6pm, time for load shedding," added Zoro.

      However Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA), spokesperson
Precious Shumba says residents should not be left to guess when power might
be next cut.

      "They (ZESA) are taking residents for granted. Electricity just goes
out at anytime of the day," said Shumba. "It makes it difficult for people
to plan their daily schedules," he added.

      ZESA, which insists the power cuts by Eskom are not because it has
failed to pay the South African firm, says it has done its best to keep
residents informed, adding that whatever troubles consumers are facing at
the moment, power supplies will be back to normal "soon".

      "We are very confident from ESKOM's communication that the situation
will normalise in the near future," ZESA spokesman James Maridadi said in a
statement earlier this week.

      The assurance by the power firm has however done little to calm
industrialists who fear the prolonged electricity cuts could bring a number
of the country's tottering firms to their knees, a majority of which are
already operating far below their capacity.

      "What is disturbing the industry and other businesses is that the
power goes at anytime of the day and this does not enable the industry to
plan. Production is affected," said Bulawayo based economic analyst Eric

      The power shortage is only the latest in a long list of shortages of
key commodities affecting Zimbabwe in its sixth straight year of bitter
economic recession, critics blame on repression and wrong economic policies
by President Robert Mugabe.

      But the veteran President - who has ruled Zimbabwe since 1980 - denies
ruining the country's once vibrant economy. Food, fuel, essential medical
drugs, chemicals to treat drinking water for urban residents and nearly
every basic survival commodity is in short supply because there is no hard
cash to pay foreign suppliers. - ZimOnline

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SA says concerned about Zimbabwe crisis

Zim Online

Fri 10 February 2006

      JOHANNESBURG - South Africa's foreign minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma
on Thursday said Pretoria was seriously concerned about the deteriorating
economic situation in Zimbabwe.

      Addressing the media in parliament in Cape Town yesterday,
Dlamini-Zuma however said South Africa had no immediate plans to engage
President Robert Mugabe's government in talks over the continued crisis.

      Hundreds of Zimbabweans are said to be illegally crossing the border
into South Africa daily, with newspaper reports earlier this week saying
some Zimbabweans had also taken over government houses in the border town of

      Zimbabwe is in its sixth year of a bitter economic recession described
last year by the World Bank as unprecedented for a country not at war. Food,
fuel and essential medicines are all in critical short supply spurring
millions of Zimbabweans to flee the country in droves.

      Western governments and the main opposition Movement for Democratic
Change party blame President Robert Mugabe, in power since independence from
Britain 26 years ago, for ruining what was once one of Africa's success

      Dlamini-Zuma also confirmed remarks by President Thabo Mbeki that
Zimbabwe's ruling ZANU PF party and the MDC were on the verge of striking a
deal for a new constitution two years ago.

      Both factions of the MDC, which split into two after falling out last
year over the senate election, earlier this week denied any knowledge of a
new constitution.

      Pretoria has in the past expressed interest in assisting Zimbabwe with
Mbeki saying his government would do everything to avoid having a "failed
state" on its doorstep. - ZimOnline

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Zimbabwe court dismisses senior ZANU PF official's eviction case

Zim Online

Fri 10 February 2006

      BULAWAYO - A Zimbabwean judge on Thursday threw out an application by
ruling ZANU PF national chairman John Nkomo seeking the eviction of a rival
from a multi-billion dollar lodge which is at the centre of an ownership

      Nkomo applied to the High Court last week seeking a summary judgment
against Langton Masunda who has occupied the wildlife-rich Lugo Farm in
Lupane district, about 150km north of Bulawayo. The farm also houses the
multi-billion dollar Jijika lodge.

      Nkomo wanted the court to order Masunda off the property immediately.
Nkomo, who is also the Speaker of Parliament, was at one time in charge of
Zimbabwe's chaotic land reforms.

      But High Court judge, Justice Francis Bere yesterday dismissed Nkomo's
application with costs saying Masunda had availed before the court ample
evidence to warrant a proper trial.

      Bere said: "The respondent clearly has proved that he has strong
arguments to defend himself . hence this case should  proceed to trial. The
applicant's case is therefore dismissed with costs."

      The former white-owned farm was seized at the height of farm invasions
that broke off six years ago which were tacitly  endorsed by President
Robert Mugabe's government as genuine "demonstrations of land hunger."

      But the farm  take-overs plunged the country into economic crisis
leaving the majority of Zimbabweans depending on food handouts for survival.

      Senior Zimbabwe government officials have been accused in the past of
taking over prime farms, muscling out less influential individuals from the
properties. - ZimOnline

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Alleged land policy reversal criticised as propaganda

      By Tererai Karimakwenda
      09 February 2006

      A report in the UK Telegraph newspaper says Robert Mugabe has begun to
reverse his controversial land grab policy and will soon offer some white
farmers an opportunity to lease back their property in Zimbabwe.
      The report says the U-turn is expected to be announced within days,
and the ruling party's politburo has been informed. News of the intended
reversal came as a shock to the 2 existing farmers' organisations, both of
which said they had not heard about this from any other source. And despite
any government rhetoric, the farmers confirmed that illegal evictions were
continuing and the government had to prove they were serious about
agriculture first.

      John Worsley Worswick of Justice For Agriculture (JAG) said he found
the news very difficult to believe since there is still intense pressure on
the remaining farmers and evictions have escalated in the last 3 to 4
months. Worswick added that this reversal plan was impractical anyway,
because no farmer in their right mind would go back under the current
conditions. The Mugabe regime violently evicted about 4000 white commercial
farmers in the last 6 years without compensation, and Worswick said he
believes the latest news is just propaganda. He said as the situation
remains, there is no respect for property rights, no compensation and no
adherence to the rule of law. He believes there is a long way to go before
the government can be trusted again.

      Trevor Gifford of The Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) also said news of
this intended reversal in land policy came as a shock as it goes against the
field of play. He said evictions were continuing and farmers need to see a
turnaround in policy and tangible implementation of it. The CFU has had a
traditionally more moderate approach and has been willing to negotiate with
government. But many broken promises and the continued evictions have
brought about a desire to see action rather than more talk. However Gifford
reiterated their commitment to rebuilding agriculture in Zimbabwe. He said:
"If the government will is there, we have not changed our commitment."

      According to the UK Telegraph, about 250 whites still occupying small
portions of their farms will immediately be offered state leases for the
land they used to own. These leases would later be extended to some white
farmers who have already been evicted, particularly where there is no
activity on that land. But both JAG and the CFU are concerned about the
issue of trust. Several government officials including Reserve Bank Governor
Gideon Gono and Mugabe himself have previously called for an end to
evictions. But they have stood by while government officials and state
agents continue to take the most productive farms in the country. Should the
government announce a reversal of this policy in the coming days, it would
need to show somehow that it is serious this time. Otherwise it is just more

      SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

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MDC faction seizes control of parliamentary party

New Zimbabwe

By Lebo Nkatazo
Last updated: 02/09/2006 23:05:28
A FACTION of Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
opposed to leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, has taken control of the parliamentary
party ad moved swiftly to appoint a new shadow cabinet.

Paul Themba Nyathi, a spokesman for the faction led by Tsvangirai's deputy,
Gibson Sibanda, unveiled the new shadow cabinet in a statement issued

At least 22 MPs out of the 41 MDC legislators in parliament had swung behind
Sibanda's group, with at least one other MP, David Coltart, preferring to
remain outside the factions as an arbiter.

The two factions have been fighting for control of the party, both insisting
they are the official MDC -- a fight that looks destined to be settled in
the courts.

However, the seizure of the parliamentary majority by Sibanda's group makes
them the official opposition, at least in parliament, and entitles them to
government funding under the Political Finances Act.

The MDC split irreconcilably over the senate elections last November, with
Tsvangirai breaking rank with his party to declare that he would oppose
participation in the elections.

His colleagues accused him of being a dictator, an accusation that he

Nyathi said: "MDC, having realised that parliament is the theatre of
political activity, held its parliamentary caucus on Wednesday, after which
some appointments were made.

"These appointments are a deliberate effort to reposition the party and to
ensure that the contributions of party parliamentarians in the august house
is accurately and properly articulated for the benefit of the nation."

Kwekwe legislator, Blessing Chebundo, is the new party Chief Whip and will
be deputised by Nomalanga Mzilikazi Khumalo, Member of Parliament for

Glen Norah MP, Priscilla Misihairambwi Mushonga, is the new parliamentary
spokesperson for the party.

Edward Mkhosi, the MP for Mangwe is the new shadow minister for Lands &
Agriculture, with Harare North MP, Trudy Stevenson re-occupying the Local
Government portfolio.

Moses Mzila-Ndlovu, MP for Bulilima is the new Foreign Affairs shadow
minister, whilePumula-Luveve MP, Esaph Mdlongwa, takes over the Labour &
Social Welfare portfolio.

Other appointments were, Blessing Chebundo (Health), Dvivarasekwa MP Edwin
Mushoriwa (Economic Affairs), Lupane MP Njabuliso Mguni (Education &
Culture), Pelandaba-Mpopoma MP Milton Gwetu (Industry and Commerce), Gweru
Urban MP Timothy Mkhahlera (Home Affairs), Zengeza MP Goodrich Chambaira
(Gender & Youth Development), Binga MP Joel Gabbuza (Mines), St Mary's MP
Job Sikhala (Defence & Security) and Nkayi MP Abednico Bhebhe as Transport &
Communications shadow minister.

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Local government debate in Parliament

----- Original Message -----
From: Trudy Stevenson
Sent: Thursday, February 09, 2006 6:20 PM
Subject: Local government debate in Parliament

Yesterday in Parliament there was considerable debate on the motion:

That this House:
Alarmed by the collapse of infrastructure and services in our cities and
Further alarmed by the outbreak of cholera in our capital city in December;
Dismayed by the removal of elected councils and their replacement by
appointed commissions which have manifestly failed to improve the running of
our cities;
Demands that the Minister of Local Government and Urban Development
immediately cease interfering with elected councils and take immediate steps
to restore democractic local governance.

Moved by myself, seconded by Hon Edwin Mushoriwa (Dzivarasekwa)

Further details will be available soon.  Unfortunately Hansard is no longer

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BTH: What caused the split in the MDC UK branch?

Six years ago courageous men and women in Zimbabwe came together to form the
Movement for Democratic Change. Since then a lot of activists have died for
the cause. Out of nowhere the movement slid off the rails after squabbles
emerged over whether to participate in senate elections or not. The split
spread to the party structures in the UK. Lance Guma speaks to the MDC UK
Chairman Washington Ali to find out where it all went wrong. Sipho Nkala,
the District Secretary who has aligned herself with a faction opposed to Ali
also gets the chance to respond and explain the split.

Washington Ali
Lance Guma
SW Radio Africa

Behind The Headlines
Thursday 5:15 to 5:30pm (GMT) live on the internet at
Friday     5:15 to 5:30am on Medium Wave broadcasts 1197khz
Also available on internet archives after broadcasts at

SW Radio Africa is Zimbabwe's only independent radio station broadcasting
from the United Kingdom. The station is staffed by exiled Zimbabwean
journalists who because of harsh media laws cannot broadcast from home.

Full broadcast on Medium Wave -1197KHZ between 5-7am (Zimbabwean time) and
24 hours on the internet at

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Reporters Without Borders Press release

----- Original Message -----
From: RSF Afrique / RSF Africa
Sent: Friday, February 10, 2006 3:21 AM

9 Febuary 2006


High court decision opens way for Daily News to reappear

Welcoming a Harare high court decision that ordered the governmental Media and Information Commission (MIC) to reconsider an application by the independent Daily News for an operating licence, Reporters Without Borders today urged the MIC to comply with the order at once.

"This ruling revives hope of seeing the Daily News on the news stands again," the press freedom organisation said. "The supreme court already issued a similar decision on 14 March 2005 without the MIC complying. As a matter of urgency, the MIC must conform to these court rulings and issue accreditation to the Daily News' journalists at once."

In its ruling yesterday, the high court set aside the MIC's decision to deny a licence to Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe (ANZ), the publisher of the Daily News and its sister Daily News on Sunday. The decision was issued in response to a complaint filed last July by ANZ's lawyers pointing out that the MIC's chairman had refused to recuse himself from the case although the supreme court had found him to be biased.

The high court judge in charge of the case, Rita Makarau, said the MIC's refusal to approve the ANZ's licence request was biased and that it should therefore reconsider the request.

Jonathan Maphenduka, the press representative on the MIC board until he resigned on 18 August, had submitted a statement to Judge Makarau in November claiming that the MIC originally agreed to issue the Daily News with a licence but changed its mind as a result of pressure from the government's Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO).

A milestone in the drawn-out legal wrangle between the Daily News and the government was reached on 14 March 2005 when the supreme court quashed the MIC's September 2003 ban on the newspaper, forcing the MIC to reconsider the ANZ's request for a licence within 60 days. Although the deadline expired on 15 May, the MIC waited until 16 June to consider the ANZ's request.

After two days of deliberations, the MIC's chairman refused to make any statement, saying the newspapers would be notified when a decision had been made, without explaining what he meant. The MIC finally announced its refusal to give the ANZ a licence on 18 July, as a result of which the ANC immediately challenged the decision before the Harare high court.

The legal battle between the ANZ and the MIC has gone from court to court ever since the Daily News and its Sunday edition were banned in September 2003. In February 2004, the battle reached the supreme court, which took a year to issue a ruling. Because of enormous financial difficulties and its desire not to expose its journalists to the possibility of arrest, the Daily News decided to stop publishing pending a resolution of the dispute.

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Floods drown hope for better harvest

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

BULAWAYO, 9 Feb 2006 (IRIN) - After five years of consecutive drought and
food shortages, farmers in Zimbabwe were hoping for a better harvest in
2006, but torrential rains over the past two weeks have dampened the
optimism of many, particularly in northern parts of the country.

When the planting season began in October 2005, Ngonyama Dlamini, a communal
farmer the low-lying district of Tsholotsho in Zimbabwe's Matabeleland North
province, had high hopes. The elderly Dlamini was looking forward to a
bumper harvest that would see his family through to the next season. The
time had come, he thought, for his family to graduate from being perennial
candidates for humanitarian aid to becoming a self-sufficient household.

Now the 65-year-old admits he is less optimistic. "My crops have been washed
away and the whole field has become so waterlogged that I doubt if the
remaining crops will recover," he commented. "We thought the rains were
bringing in happiness, but now everyone has lost hope due to the destruction
caused by the floods. It is so serious that we are living in fear of being
washed away too. I have lost 10 goats and a sheep, 13 chickens, and all my
huts have collapsed. My family is in trouble."

Personal possessions were also swept away when floods hit Tsholotsho a few
weeks ago for the third time since late December last year.

Official statistics indicate that more than 200 subsistence farmers in
northern and eastern Zimbabwe have lost crops and homes to raging
floodwater. Humanitarian organisations like Save the Children (United
Kingdom) have since weighed in with material support for those affected by

Last week the NGO donated 100 emergency kits and tents to Tsholotsho
victims. Each kit, meant for a family of five, consisted of a cooking pot,
two metal plates, a dish, two mugs, a bar of soap and a 20-litre bucket of
potable water.

Save the Children relief officer Andrew Sithole told IRIN the villagers
needed more help.

Chief among Sithole's concerns was the possible risk of an outbreak of
malaria. "It is general knowledge that Matabeleland North is a malaria-prone
zone, and areas such as Tsholotsho have often been affected, even in times
of average rains. So, basically, it goes without saying that the risk of
malaria is advanced as a result of the floods."

Agricultural experts noted that although chances were high that most parts
of the country would record better harvests this year, the opposite could be
said of flood-hit Matabeleland North.

"The crops have since turned yellowish due to high water levels, and this
basically means stunted growth. When the growth of crops, or any other
plant, gets affected, then it becomes virtually impossible for it to bear
any fruit. Its reproductive system becomes grossly affected to the point of
infertility," said Edward Mkhosi, an opposition MP and member of the
parliamentary agricultural portfolio committee.

A specialist with the state-run Agricultural Research Extension (AREX), who
wished to remain anonymous, told IRIN that farmers in Matabeleland North had
also not received adequate inputs, such as fertiliser, and this would also
impact on the harvest.

"They might have planted to their satisfaction, but they did not get
fertiliser. Technically speaking, loose soils require fertiliser, especially
when there are adequate rains," the specialist noted.

Veterinary and wildlife experts have reported that cattle and wild animals
such as kudu, rabbits and small birds have not been spared by the ravaging
floodwaters. They have also warned of an outbreak of diseases among animals.

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Zim's Chamber of Mines warns of gold depletion

Mail and Guardian

      Harare, Zimbabwe

      09 February 2006 04:33

            Zimbabwe's gold reserves are fast depleting and pushing hundreds
of miners out of business, the Chamber of Mines said in a letter to the
government obtained by Agence France-Presse on Thursday.

            "With more than two million operators out there, surface gold is
fast running out," Jack Murehwa, president of the mining association, said
in a letter to Mines Minister Amos Midzi.

            "Operators are now moving into alternative employment like
farming," he said.

            Gold production dipped by 40% from 21,3 tonnes in 2004 to 13
tonnes between January and November last year.

            Midzi said small-time miners operated in areas prone to
flooding, adding that their capacity to deal with flooded shafts and open
working areas was limited.

            Last year, President Robert Mugabe said the government would
seek 50% shareholding in all foreign-owned mines.

            Junior mines minister Tinos Rusere last week said that the
proposed mining amendment would be introduced this week in Parliament.

            Murehwa said uncertainty about the legislation had stopped both
potential foreign and local investors committing borrowed and equity funds
towards exploration and expansion, for fear of losing both control of
business and a big portion of their investment.

            He also said the consumption of imported raw materials like
electricity, explosives, chemicals, machinery and spare parts is rising
without a reciprocal increase in the mineral output. - AFP

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Rights body says Mugabe intensifying crackdown against press

Zim Online

Fri 10 February 2006

      HARARE - President Robert Mugabe's government has launched a fresh
crackdown against the press with a wave of criminal prosecutions and
arrests, international rights watchdog, Human Rights Watch (HRW), said on

      The New York-based HRW cited the trial in Harare today of six trustees
of the independent Voice of the People (VOP) broadcasting firm accused of
breaching the government's tough Broadcasting Services Act.

      The trustees face criminal charges of allegedly owning broadcasting
equipment and carrying broadcasts from Zimbabwe without licence from the
Zimbabwe Broadcasting Authority (BAZ).

      If convicted, the VOP trustees face up to two years in jail.

      "The Zimbabwean government is using criminal charges to muzzle
independent reporting and criticism," said Paul Simo, Africa advocacy
director at HRW. "This crackdown targets media that criticise government
institutions, officials and the ruling party."

      The police last year raided the Harare offices of VOP, arresting three
journalists and seizing documents from the office.

      The journalists were only released and without charge after the
broadcasting firm's executive director John Masuku handed himself to the
police. Masuku is also facing charges of running a broadcasting service
without licence.

      VOP, whose offices were firebombed by as yet unknown people about
three years ago, was one of the few alternatives to the state-controlled
Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation, the only broadcaster with a licence to
operate legally in the country.

      It employs journalists in Zimbabwe but to circumvent the licence
regulations, airs its stories from a Netherlands Radio transmitter on the
Indian ocean island of Madagascar.

      As part of the crackdown police last month arrested Sydney Saize, an
independent journalist who had allegedly filed a story for Voice of America
claiming that militants of the ruling ZANU PF party had beaten teachers in
Zimbabwe's eastern city of Mutare.

      Saize, who was detained for several days, was later released with
police saying they would proceed by way of summons once they dig up more
evidence. The journalist also faces possible criminal charges for practising
journalism without licence from the government's Media and Information
Commission that accredits journalists in Zimbabwe.

      Saize could be jailed for up to two years if found guilty of
practising journalism without being accredited.

      The HRW also noted that the state commission that also licences
newspapers to publish in the country had last month threatened to cancel the
licence of the privately-owned Financial Gazette newspaper, if it did not
retract a story that had questioned the commission's independence from

      The paper had to retract the story in order to be able to continue

      The rights group said on January 29, the state commission also refused
to renew the accreditation of fifteen journalists working for another
privately-owned newspaper, the Zimbabwe Independent, until the paper was
forced to retract a story that the commission claimed was not correct.

      HRW said even individuals somehow associated with those involved in
independent media organisations have been harassed by the police, citing for
example the arrest and detention by the police of four employees of Arnold
Tsunga, one of the VOP trustees.

      The employees were arrested for failing to disclose Tsunga's
whereabouts to the police.

      "The Zimbabwean government has detained innocent people to coerce
others to surrender. This is a gross abuse of the criminal justice system,"
the rights group said.

      Zimbabwe is ranked by the World Association of Newspapers as one of
three worst places for the press in the world. The other two are Iran and

      The Harare government has over the past three years forcibly shut down
four newspapers including the country's biggest and only non-government
owned daily newspaper, the Daily News. And at least a hundred journalists
have been arrested for breaching the government's tough press laws over the
past six years. - ZimOnline

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Zimbabwe soccer authorities want probe of Warriors funds

Zim Online

Fri 10 February 2006

      HARARE - The Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) has called for a
thorough investigation into allegations of embezzlement of billions of
dollars raised for the national soccer team's participation at the African
Nations Cup.

      ZimOnline understands that there have been counter allegations between
Zifa and members of the Warriors Fund-raising Trust, which was formed late
last year to raise funds for the Warriors over the missing money.

      The  committee, which was launched by Vice-president Joseph Msika is
said to have raised over $70 billion but most of  it could not be accounted

      A senior Zifa official told ZimOnline yesterday that there was a
serious problem between Zifa and the fund raising committee which will only
be solved by an audit and subsequently police coming in.

      Zifa vice-chairman, Wyatt Mpofu sensationally quit while the Warriors
were still in Egypt after allegedly failing to account for some funds.

      "The fact is that some funds were misused but the question is who is
to blame. We at Zifa feel that members of the fund raising committee have
questions to answer on the issue. Zifa officials were never involved in the
raising of the money and they barely touched it.

      "What we want is an independent audit to expose the people who stole
money which was meant for the Warriors. The scandal should be unearthed as
soon as possible," said the top Zifa official.

      But members of the fund raising committee were singing a different
tune yesterday.

      An official of the trust who refused to be named for fear of
victimisation said that they gave all the money to Zifa officials who are
now failing to account for it.

      "The committee's mandate was to raise money for the Warriors. We used
the money to pay some bills but we gave the bulk of it to Zifa officials. We
now want them to account for every cent they used.

      "Already, we have discovered that players were not being made to sign
for the daily allowances they were given. It's a scandal because we feel
huge sums of money were abused. We understand that some people were paid
money although they were not on official duty. We will take Zifa head on,"
said the official.

      Relations between Zifa officials and members of the fund raising
committee have been frosty from the first day. At one time the two groups
clashed over gate takings collected from the friendly match between Zambia
and Zimbabwe at the National Sports Stadium on December 31.

      Zifa also accused the committee of hijacking the Warriors for
political mileage. Members of the fund raising committee were all ruling
ZANU PF officials and apologists. - ZimOnline

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Zim-SA investment deal not signed

Sunday Times SA

Thursday February 09, 2006 12:05 - (SA)

By Donwald Pressly

Zimbabwe and South Africa have not yet signed an investment protection
agreement, although trade ministers had conducted negotiations to protect
South African nationals' investments in that country, it emerged at a media
briefing by South Africa's Minister of Foreign Affairs Nkosazana

Flanked by deputy South African Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies,
Dlamini-Zuma said that as far as she knew "an agreement was concluded ...
and it was up to two ministers to sign (the agreement)." Davies said he
could not provide dates as to when the agreement would be signed.

Pressed on the deteriorating economic situation in Zimbabwe, Dlamini-Zuma
was at first defensive saying "Zimbabwe is a huge place", but said that any
government would be concerned about "any country (in Africa) which was not
doing well". She noted that in terms of the New Partnership for Africa's
Development (Nepad), all countries on the continent "must prosper".

Asked what her government was doing in reaction to Zimbabwean nationals
streaming over the border into Limpopo - and many apparently occupying
Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP) houses in South Africa - she
said: "I don't have the details of that ... no information on that."

When pressed again that the country had recently brought out a new 50,000
dollar note which was worth just three South African rand (about 50 US
cents), she said that South Africa had no control over this.

But Dlamini-Zuma said South Africa remained engaged with Zimbabwe - but did
not spell out if this involved both government and opposition parties. She
noted that a new constitution had been negotiated by the two main parties -
Zanu-PF and the Movement for Democratic Chagne - but this had not been

I-Net Bridge

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Zimbabwe's trade union expels president

Peoples Daily

      The general council of Zimbabwe Federation of Trade Unions (ZFTU) has
expelled its president Alfred Makwarimba on allegations of mismanagement and
embezzlement of funds.

      The ZFTU general council on Wednesday also lifted the suspension
imposed on vice president Joseph Chinotimba and immediately appointed him to
act as president until the next general meeting to be held within a

      Makwarimba's expulsion followed a vote of no confidence that was
passed by 23 affiliate unions during a heated meeting at the union's office
at Makombe Building in Harare.

      Two other members of the organization, organizing secretary, Tawanda
Mupeti and information secretary Kenias Shamuyarira were also expelled
because they were unconstitutionally appointed since they were both

      The general council also lifted the suspension of Bernard Dhanda, the
union's secretary general.

      Contacted for comment, Makwarimba, Mupeti and Shamuyarira denied the
allegations leveled against them.

      The three said that their expulsion from the ZFTU was

      "The general council has no power to dismiss us from the union.
Besides it is unconstitutional and we will not accept the dismissal over
flimsy and unfounded allegations," Mupeti said.

      Source: Xinhua

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Zimbabwe: Mbeki Policy Failing

Institute for War and Peace Reporting

South African leader's reluctance to get tough with Mugabe said to have
contributed to Zimbabwe's demise.

By Benedict Unendoro in Harare (AR No.53, 7-Feb-06)

South Africa has begun to suffer the consequences of President Thabo Mbeki's
ineffective policy of "quiet diplomacy" towards Robert Mugabe's regime as
thousands of hopeless Zimbabwean youths invade the country from across the
crocodile-infested Limpopo River.

The government's official daily The Herald reported that about 100
Zimbabweans are illegally crossing into South Africa every day in a vain
search of jobs - and there are indications that a recent upsurge in crime
there is linked to the illegal immigrants.

Many observers believe that President Mbeki's bears a good deal of
responsibility for the political and economic crisis in Zimbabwe.

"South Africa is reaping the whirlwind. If Mbeki had been sterner with
Mugabe from the onset of the crisis six years ago, Zimbabwe would not be in
a situation where almost all its youths are unemployable. There would be no
need for these youths to invade South Africa looking for non-existent
jobs, " said a veteran Zimbabwean journalist who has written widely on the
implications of Mbeki's policy on Harare.

Zimbabwe's economy, which began plunging in the mid-1980s, went into a
tailspin in 2000 when Mugabe faced imminent defeat in parliamentary
elections at the hands of a young opposition party, the Movement for
Democratic Change. The MDC had taken advantage of widespread discontent and
mobilised mainly working class people to challenge Mugabe for power.

Earlier that year, in February, Mugabe had suffered a stunning defeat when
he lost a referendum on a new constitution that commentators said was
designed to entrench his power and give him the right to extend the twenty
years he had been in officer by another ten.

His proposed new constitution, rejected by the electorate, would also have
allowed the government to expropriate land legally without compensation.
Mugabe believed, incorrectly as it turned out, that this would help secure
the rural vote.

In the aftermath of defeat, Mugabe gave the go-ahead to veterans of the
1970s war of liberation to invade commercial farms, which mostly belonged to
white farmers. The invasions destroyed commercial agriculture, which for the
first two decades of independence had been the backbone of the country's
agro-based economy and Zimbabwe's biggest export earner.

The country deteriorated into lawlessness as the land grab became a
free-for-all. Government ministers, judges, army officers and pro-government
journalists were given farms that they used mainly as weekend retreats
rather than for intense production.

The international community urged Mbeki, as Mugabe's most powerful
neighbour, to force the Zimbabwean leader to restore the rule of law. But
Mbeki insisted on his policy of "quiet diplomacy", so quiet that few people
wondered what it consisted of.

It did not work, and Tito Mboweni, the powerful governor of South Africa's
Reserve Bank, warned, "The wheels have come off there [in Zimbabwe]. I am
saying this as forcefully as I am because the developments in Zimbabwe are
affecting us and stressing us unnecessarily.

"The situation has become untenable when it is seen that the highest office
in that land seems to support illegal means of land reform, land invasions,
beating up of people, blood flowing everywhere."

The veteran Zimbabwean journalist told IWPR, "Mbeki was warned this policy
would not work on a strong-headed despot such as Mugabe and that the
meltdown in Zimbabwe would destabilise South Africa."

Mugabe's farm invasion strategy left more than half a million farm workers
without jobs. To survive, these workers and their families flooded the
cities where they got involved in different forms of informal work,
including crime. Economic meltdown had left about 70 per cent of the
population without jobs, so the influx of another half a million jobless
people into the market was too much for the informal sector to bear.

All urban centres turned against Mugabe's ZANU PF government, with the MDC
winning almost all seats in cities and towns across the country. Mugabe is
believed to have stolen the vote in the 2000 and 2005 general elections when
evidence of voter intimidation and ballot rigging was overwhelming.

Mbeki endorsed both these elections as free and fair, as well as a separate
presidential poll in 2002, which many observers, including those from the
West, claim the MDC's Morgan Tsvangirai won. In the face of lawlessness, bad
governance, election rigging and blatant violations of human rights, western
countries imposed crippling sanctions on the Mugabe government. Another
mainstay of the Zimbabwean economy, tourism, was destroyed as the number of
visitors plummeted dramatically. But Mbeki still did not act.

In May 2005, Mugabe launched the much-condemned Operation Murambatsvina
(Drive Out the Filth), ostensibly to pre-empt a Ukrainian-style "Orange
Revolution". The operation left a further 2.5 million people without a
source of livelihood as their informal businesses were destroyed. A United
Nations report estimated 700,000 people were left homeless as police and
soldiers moved into working class suburbs and destroyed homes with
bulldozers and sledgehammers.

Calls for Mbeki to act again went unheeded.

"We warned him [Mbeki] that with so many people without sources of
livelihood across the Limpopo, South Africa would not remain untouched,"
said the veteran journalist.

A South African embassy official in Harare said recently that the upsurge of
crime in South Africa could be directly attributed to illegal Zimbabwean

"Many violent crimes in South Africa today are perpetrated by Zimbabweans,"
he said, adding that the embassy had conducted a survey of all new expensive
vehicles plying the streets of Harare and had established that at least one
in five had been stolen from South Africa. He said the issue had been
discussed at bilateral level but it was difficult to contain because of the
continuing deterioration of the Zimbabwean economy, which saw more and more
desperate people crossing into South Africa.

A social scientist at the University of Zimbabwe said many Zimbabwean youths
were under the false impression that South Africa offered boundless
opportunities and all they had to do was cross the Limpopo by any means
necessary. But they find the reality very different. "They see the rainbow
across the Limpopo but it is exactly that - just an optical illusion," she
said. "There are no ready jobs in the 'Rainbow Nation', so the vicious cycle
of hopelessness will continue and the youths easily turn to the only means
that can keep them fed if for just a while - crime."

She said the youths in Johannesburg and other big South African cities begin
with petty crimes but eventually graduate into big-time crime such as
carjacking, bank robbery and burglary. Women end up in prostitution.

"South Africa now has to divert lots of human and financial resources to
fighting crime instead of directing the same resources to developmental
issues," asserted the veteran journalist.

Mavis Makuni, writing in Zimbabwe's independent Financial Gazette, said,
"Mbeki's government is prepared to get tough with the victims of the
economic and political crisis in this country while continuing to appease
the political leadership responsible for the situation." It is estimated
that at least two million Zimbabweans have flooded illegally into South
Africa, which has strengthened military and police patrols along its Limpopo
River border with Zimbabwe. Last year alone Pretoria said it deported 97,000
illegal Zimbabwean immigrants at taxpayer's expense.

But once repatriated back to Zimbabwe they quickly re-enter South Africa.
"It's a no-win situation until Zimbabwe begins to improve and create jobs
for its people," said the South African embassy official.

But that will be a long time coming. Since 2000, the Zimbabwean economy has
regressed more than 50 years and the desperation of the youth is similar to
that of the 1970s when hordes of young men and women crossed borders into
Mozambique and Zambia to join forces fighting Ian Smith's white minority

"In the 1970s young people had no lives. They could not get jobs. They could
not get a decent education so they did the only thing left, namely to fight
the regime," said the social scientist. "The situation has come full circle.
The youths are in the same invidious situation and they are jumping borders
and who knows what they will do next?"

The veteran journalist added, "If one country in a region is unstable, the
instability will spread across the region: that's the simple truth Mbeki
refused to accept all those years ago. Soon the youths might be ready to
fight. They have got absolutely nothing to lose."

Benedict Unendoro is the pseudonym of an IWPR contributor in

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IMF's executive board is unlikely to recommend expulsion

From The Financial Mail (SA), 3 February

By Tony Hawkins

Harare - When it meets next month (March 8) to reconsider Zimbabwe's status,
the IMF's executive board is unlikely to recommend expulsion. This is not
because the fund believes the government's economic policies, encapsulated
in last week's monetary policy review by Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono,
are likely to halt Zimbabwe's seven-year economic decline. Far from it. By
effectively re pegging the exchange rate while making clear the central bank
will continue to spend outside the national budget, Gono signalled his
intention to persist with policies that, evidenced by the surge in inflation
and the collapse of the Zimbabwe dollar, are simply not working. The fund's
position seems to be that there is nothing to be gained from expulsion and
that as long as its technical experts are talking to Harare, there is at
least a chance some good may come of the dialogue.

Gono's January monetary policy review underlines just how bare his policy
cupboard now is. Last October he partially liberalised the exchange rate,
subsequently allowing it to slip 75% from Z$26 000 to the US dollar to Z$99
200. But last week, this interbank market system was shackled when he
imposed a new system that ties exchange rate movements to the volume of
market turnover. Only when the turnover reaches US$5m/day, which is seldom
the case, will the rate be allowed to move, by 1%. If turnover exceeds
US$15m/day, a maximum movement of 2% is allowed. Unsurprisingly, in the week
since his statement, the rate has stayed at Z$99 200, but the net effect of
this policy "refinement" is to re peg the rate and chase more business into
the parallel market. Over the Christmas period, the gap between the
interbank and parallel rates was less than 10%, but with the parallel rate
now being quoted at Z$140 000/US$1 and even higher, the premium has widened
to 40%.

Exporters did welcome the change that allows them to sell 82,5% of their
export earnings to the interbank market and the balance to the central bank
at the "official rate" of Z$30 000 . But they will have to use their funds
more quickly as the holding period for export funds has been cut from 45
days to 30 days. Exporters say this tinkering will improve the supply of
exports and foreign exchange. Gono himself revealed that exports last year
fell 9% to US$1,4bn, from a peak US$2,6bn in 1996. Much of the decline is
attributable to smuggling by small-scale gold miners. In 2006, tobacco
production will be down; so will horticultural and livestock exports, though
this will be offset by higher earnings from platinum, diamonds and probably
gold. Against this, forex inflows were swollen in 2005 by trade credits
which will unwind over the next year, meaning that with oil prices on the
rise and probable food imports of 650 000 t, the foreign currency crisis
will continue.

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Zimbabwe Union of Journalists to lobby against new draconian law

      By Tichaona Sibanda
      09 February 2006

      The Zimbabwe Union of Journalists said on Thursday they will lobby as
many like minded Parliamentarians, Senators and civic organisations to help
them fight the tough new General Laws Amendment Act.

      The Act, passed by Parliament last year was signed into law by Acting
President Joyce Mujuru in Harare last week Friday. It places more hurdles in
front of the country's journalists, already suffering under massive
government repression.

      ZUJ Vice-President Njabulo Ncube painted a gloomy picture when he
described journalists in the country as walking with their heads down ever
since the Act was signed into law.

      'This new law is harsher than AIPPA and the origional POSA. It's a
stumbling block to investigative journalism. It really was a bad day when
the acting President signed that legislation,' said Ncube.

      Zimonline reports that under the new law, journalists convicted of
publishing false information or statements that are prejudicial to the state
or likely to cause, promote or incite public disorder face up to 5 years in

      Journalists in the country already face up to 20 years in jail for
committing the same offences under government's Criminal Codification Act
enacted last year.

      'Since the introduction of Aippa and Posa there has been a lack of
critical stories and this will make it even worse,' said Ncube.

      SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

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Floods wash away dam wall

African News Dimension

      Thursday, 9 February 2006, 3 hours, 35 minutes and 28 seconds ago.

      By Elias Wilson

      Bulawayo-CONSTRUCTION of the Gwayi-Shangani Dam, one of the dam set to
provide water to the drought prone Matabeleland region, has been stopped
following floods that swept away the dam wall and access roads at the
construction site.

      Large blocks of stones and gravel were washed away after the Gwayi
River flooded following torrential rainfall received in most parts of
Matabeleland North Province. A Mr Wang who refused to divulge his first
name, who is an official with China International Water and Electricity
Co-operation engineer, said construction would resume after the rain season.
"We had put up gravel as part of the dam wall and a road, for crossing to
the other side of the river where we were doing excavations. The river was
flooded and all these blocks were washed away," said the official during a
tour of the dam site. "We have to re-excavate and put new pegging. It's not
going to be an easy task." He said the construction was likely to take
longer than planned if the rains continue until the end of next month.
Construction has also been affected by a power failure following a technical
fault at one of the transformers. 'We have the fuel and everything is moving
well although we are facing power shortage. ZESA promised to repair the
equipment but they don't have fuel," he said. The Government of Zimbabwe has
channeled more $150 billion to the Matabeleland Zambezi Water Project.

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Health experts predict major disease problems ahead

African News Dimension

      Thursday, 9 February 2006, 4 hours, 33 minutes and 45 seconds ago.

      By ANDnetwork Journalist

      Health experts in Zimbabwe have warned of a high potential for future
outbreaks of hygiene related diseases in urban centres in the wake of the
government order that beneficiearies of its faltering housing programme
should erect "temporary" blair toilets for use until they are connected to
the existing sewerage systems.

      The fears came as government handed over 790 incomplete housing
structures in the southern towns of Gwanda, Beitbridge, Filabusi and
Maphisa. In a survey carried out by A.N.D, residents said some 90% of the
structures were incomplete, with none connected to the sewerage, water and
electricity networks. In Gwanda, some of the structures that were handed
over were reportedly at slab level while some blair toilets are reported to
have been built in some surbubs of the border town of Beitbridge. Health
experts in the region told AND that the erection of blair toilets in
surbuban areas posed deadly environmental and hygenic threats. They said the
operation of blair toilets would not only pollute the air but heighten the
cholera threat as flies from the toilets would circulate freely around the
homes. "The presence of blair toilets means that flies are in abundance and
the transmission of any disease can happen on a major scale in a short time.
The generally lowered hygenci standards in places like Beitbridge will
worsen with the operation of balir toilets. So there could be plenty of
trouble ahead," said an environmental health techinician who declined to be
named. In Gwanda, mayor Thandeko Mnkandla told A.N.D that he was not fully
aware that blair toilets were coming to his town. He however said blair
toilets would pose a deadly threat to the town's faltering health systems.
"We do not have the capacity to contain even the smallest outbreak of
diarrhoea at the moment. So you cam imagine what would happen if we faced
anything bigger. We would just crumble," Mnkandla told A.N.D. Dennis
Sibanda, the spokesman for the government housing programme in the province
confirmed to A.N.D that there were indeed blair toilets in Beitbridge. He
added that they would be extended to all areas that were still off the sewer
system. He said government would help the people get connected and then
demolish the toilets. A.N.D Africa

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Want to Cope? Go E-Banking

Financial Gazette (Harare)

February 8, 2006
Posted to the web February 9, 2006


THE cost of living continues to skyrocket due to the continued rise in
inflation. The Consumer Council of Zimbabwe (CCZ) estimates the January 2006
minimum requirement for a family of six at Z$21.8 million.

This calls for significant austerity measures by all economic agents -- 
household, company and government.

However, we should be excited about such socio-economic developments
because, since time immemorial, it has been proved throughout the world that
challenges normally produce the best out of people. It should follow that we
should be entering a challenging and exciting era in which only the
innovative thrive.

The challenge is to those who happen to be privileged by being in positions
of authority to develop solutions to counter the prevailing socio-economic
problems in Zimbabwe.

Let us consider the following scenarios.

If one is to travel by public transport from Norton to Harare and back,
he/she would need Z$100 000. A motorist using an efficient car which travels
10 kilometres per litre, after paying Z$140 000 per litre would, need Z$1
120 000 (eight litres of fuel) to travel the same distance of 80 kilometres.

In the case of the Chitungwiza-to-Harare journey, the cost is $50 000 for a
return journey using public transport, while our motorist would require a
minimum of $840 000 (six litres of fuel) for the 60 kilometres.

The average local fare in Harare is $40 000 for a return journey or a
minimum of $280 000 for 20 kilometres (two litre of fuel).

This is damn expensive by any Zimbabwean standard if you consider that
people travel these distances regularly, eat and move around town.

Further, their cars are old, lack quality spare parts due to foreign
currency shortages and therefore are not efficient. The transport costs for
motorists are therefore much higher than the figures stated here.

It is against this background that banks, in the national interest, have
seen it fit to take aggressive measures to reduce the high transport costs
by Zimbabweans through the provision of mobile and Internet banking

Banks realise that cheques are no longer a viable cost reduction alternative
because a 100-leaf chequebook now cost an average of $500 000.

The government also realizes this expensive nature of chequebooks, hence the
increase in the stamp duty on cheques to force people to use the electronic
route of mobile and Internet banking.

These new channels, even if they are to cost up to $100 000 a month, are
cost-effective by any standard in both the short and long run.

Mobile and Internet banking channels create more time for banks and their
clients. Families can have more time together as banking and other payments
can be done from the office, home or anywhere and anytime as long as there
is Internet or cell phone coverage.

Employers can also realise more output from their employees because workers
will no longer leave office to go and do banking and pay bills.

How many people have got access to Internet and cell phones? One may want to
ask since these new channels are heavily dependent on these devices.

The answer is that what comes first is the controlling desire or dominant
aspiration in a people to have these devices available to the majority of
them before finding ways of making them available.

Zimbabwe has about 800 000 cell phone users and about 820 000 computer
users. The more services we put on the devices, the higher the demand for
them by the public.

Today, besides banking on the cell phone, one can also have a radio, digital
camera, video camera, bible, calculator, messaging facility, Internet
access, games and satellite tracking for one's car. You can use the cell
phone to open your car and gate at home. So who are you to resist such a
heavenly life style?

This makes mobile banking the future of banking because the cell phone is
already defining a new lifestyle.

Market research studies that have been done throughout the world by
Miniwatts Marketing Group show an immense growth of Internet users in Africa
during the period 2000 to 2005 of 403.7 percent. Only the Middle East
region, where the number of Internet users grew by 454 percent during the
same period, rivalled this growth. All other regions trailed Africa, with
Latin America and the Caribbean regions at 337.4 percent, Asia 218.7
percent, Europe 176.1 percent, Oceania/Australia 132.2 percent and number
muswe being North America at 108.9 percent.

In the case of Zimbabwe, the government, through the Ministry of Science and
Technology, is working on establishing information and communication
technology (ICT)projects to enable access to information and contribute to
developmental efforts.

Further, the President has done a sterling job by bringing about computer
awareness to Zimbabwe through schools.

A well-defined national ICT strategy will enable Zimbabwe to effectively
participate in the global market along with other countries that have
embraced the technologies and the knowledge economy.

At some point, computers need to be more affordable if the strategy is to
succeed. The government needs to reconsider the customs requirements. The
same applies to cell phone handsets. Such policy adjustments need to be done
as a matter of urgency because our lifestyles are increasingly becoming

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Freedom of expression in Zimbabwe: A Brief overview

      By Selbin Kabote

      FIFTEEN years after the formulation of the 1991 Windhoek Declaration
on Promoting an Independent and Pluralistic Press, the outlook on Freedom of
expression Zimbabwe continues to be bleak. There is no sign that this
important human right is recognized for what it is, a prerequisite to the
democratic development of a country.

      Notwithstanding this discouraging scenario, some journalists in
Zimbabwe are continuing to show courage in the face of adversity, and the
independent media tenaciously send their messages to the public. In this
regard, I am persuaded to commend journalists who work for some independent
Zimbabwean publications like the Standard newspaper and the Zimbabwe
Independent. The journalists are continuing to report events in Zimbabwe
without fear or favour in spite of the naked hostility demonstrated by
President Mugabe's government.

      I am saying this in view of the recent threats made to Zimbabwean
journalists by the country's minister of State Security and Land
Distribution, Didymus Mutasa.

      He told the government controlled newspaper, Manica Post, that some
journalists are selling the country to the enemy by writing what he
described as "falsehoods". Minister Mutasa said the intention of
      the journalists is to agitate violence in the country. The minister
added that the net will soon close on them. As if this violation of media
freedom was not enough, on the 27th of January-2006, all the journalists
working for the Zimbabwe Independent newspaper were denied accreditation by
the Media and Information Commission, headed by the Zanu PF apologist,
Tafataona Mahoso. The accreditation is renewable every year under the
draconian media laws existing in Zimbabwe.

      Against this background, it is imperative that all journalists at home
and in the Diaspora, must brace themselves for a long, hard struggle. The
democratization process which began with the holding of elections in
Zimbabwe in 1980 is now in the intensive care unit. The constitution of
Zimbabwe, like that of most Southern African Development Community-SADC
countries are mere documents which the government do not respect and do not
hesitate to amend
      if some of their provisions do not suit their purposes.

      The people of Zimbabwe should continue to be made fully aware of their
basic rights, the basic right of freedom of expression in my opinion, is
perhaps the least understood, not only by the mass of people, but also by
governments which usually regard the exercise
      of this freedom as a challenge to their authority.

      Media organizations in Zimbabwe must continue to work with the rest of
civil society, to enhance the understanding of freedom of expression and to
marshal support for basic human rights.

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Public calls for return to price controls

Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Patson Ndhlovu
issue date :2006-Feb-09

PEOPLE in Harare have urged the government to re-enforce price controls as
prices of most commodities continue to skyrocket beyond their reach.
Life has become very difficult for most people so much that they can no
longer afford a decent lifestyle.
The Consumer Council of Zimbabwe (CCZ) recently announced that an urban
family of six now requires $21,8 million to see them through the month.
Considering that most people's earnings are miles below this figure it shows
that the majority of Zimbabweans are living in poverty.
Most people can no longer afford a balanced diet due to the biting prices of
food items, a situation that puts the populace's health at risk.
Transport operators are increasing commuter fares willy-nilly and one has to
fork out a maximum of $80 000 daily for a trip to and from town. On average
a person has to put aside over $1,9 million per month for transport alone.
Employment levels are dwindling as employers are either closing or scaling
down operations, while tertiary institutions continue to unleash graduates
in large numbers.
The current developments have widened the gap between the rich and poor with
the rich getting richer and the poor becoming poorer.
Foroma Tichawanda, a bus driver who lives in Chitungwiza, said the
government should take proper consideration of the costs involved in
producing the commodities when effecting price controls."Life has become
very difficult for most of us as we cannot even afford to buy basic
commodities that can last for the whole month.
"Government should re-introduce price controls on all goods and services
since they are going up on a weekly basis, we are no longer sure whether the
increases are justified or not", he said.
Tichawanda said there is need to ensure that industry remained viable and
agriculture, the mainstay of the economy, should be given adequate support
to boost export earnings and generate foreign currency.
"The land reform is a noble idea but its fruits can be fully enjoyed if land
is given to people who can fully utilise it for the benefit of the economy
at large".
Chrispen Danda, who survives on selling airtime cards in the city centre,
said there is need to fight corruption in high offices in order to restore
normalcy to the economy. He further said the Tripartite Negotiating Forum
(TNF) social partners should step up negotiations on the pending incomes and
prices stabilisation protocol.
The protocol seeks to balance incomes with the ever-increasing cost of goods
and services among other things.
"The TNF should not serve just as a mere talk shop but should find
comprehensive ways of policing their resolutions. In other words they should
begin to walk the talk", he said.
Nelson Chenga, a security guard with a local security company, said he doesn't
know what tomorrow holds for him and his family as prices of every commodity
continues to rise.
"Mwana wamai zvinhu zvaoma (times are tough). My pay is very little compared
to my expenses", he said.
Timothy Rakabopa of Dzivaresekwa, who makes his living out of selling
sunglasses and phone strings, said the government must re-open flea markets
for people to earn an honest living.
"The government should consider re-opening flea markets as crime and
prostitution are on an increase due to unemployment", he said.

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Don't tarnish country's image, police warned

Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2006-Feb-09

POLICE Commissioner Augustine Chihuri on Tuesday said officers who tarnish
Zimbabwe's image through indiscipline while on foreign missions would face
appropriate disciplinary action.
He was commenting on a report that Liberian and UN authorities censured a
Zimbabwean male police officer for indecency.
The officer was warned that he would be banished from all UN peacekeeping
"The force has no room for deliberate misguided acts. We will not accept any
untoward behaviour (by our officers). Corrective action will be taken
against the concerned individual," said Chihuri without elaborating.
The police boss was speaking at the sending off ceremony of nine officers to
a UN peace- keeping mission in Liberia.
The officers will replace
those who finished a year long tour of duty in the West African nation's
capital Monrovia, last month.
The nine cops join five others already there who left the country on
December 23 last year.
Zimbabwe has maintained its presence in crises-hit states such as Angola,
Kosovo, Sudan, East Timor and Sierra Leone where the peacekeeping mission
folded on December 31.Another mission has since been set up to allow for
only advisory services from the UN Civilian Police Department.

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Brain drain a major threat to Zim

Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2006-Feb-09

ZIMBABWE could in the next 10 years continue to suffer from the effects of
the migration of skilled labour to developed countries if conditions of
employment and the macro-economic environment do not improve, says leading
academic Hope Sadza.
Sadza, the Vice Chancellor of the Women's University in Africa (WUA), said
there could come a point when, due to intermarriages, Zimbabweans living in
the diaspora would not remit their earnings to the country because they
would not have anyone they felt obliged to support back home.
"There are millions of Zimbabweans working in countries like South Africa,
Canada, England, the United States  (US), Namibia and Botswana, who are
remitting their earnings to the country .
But because some of those people are intermarrying in the countries they
work and taking permanent residence, they may in the long-run not be obliged
to remit a single cent and that would worsen the country's economic
problems," Sadza said at a recent workshop.
She said a recent study had shown that there were five million
locally-trained professionals working abroad.
Sadza said: "Economically, Zimbabwe has lost and will continue to lose
considerably in the next 10 years because of loss of revenue through revenue
tax of these skilled labour.
There is a high demand for Zimbabweans owing to the high standards of
education in the country, where the literacy rate is over 90 percent, the
best in the Southern African region.
 Unskilled workers have also joined the bandwagon of those trekking to the
diaspora as they attempt to escape poverty pushed by unemployment, which
currently hovers over 70 percent.

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City residents to dump refuse in Hatcliffe

Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2006-Feb-09

HARARE City Council has set Saturday as the day for residents who can afford
to dump domestic waste on their own to do so at Pomona dumpsite, Hatcliffe,
following an outcry over the city's failure to collect refuse.

Those who can't afford, the city fathers said, have to wait until the
council collects the garbage.
Heaps of garbage have become a common sight in the capital's suburbs since
mid-last year prompting residents to opt to dump their own waste.
The municipality has failed to collect refuse because of a myriad of
problems they cited including shortage of fuel and rundown trucks.
City spokesperson Madenyika Magwenjere said the move was adopted after some
residents, irked by the continuous non-collection of refuse, requested for
council permission to dump their rubbish at the city's dump sites.
"Residents who want to dump their domestic waste can do so every Saturday.
We have reached this position after some of them called on us requesting
permission to dump their refuse on their own. They would, however, still be
required to pay the refuse collection fees as usual," he said.
 "Our fleet is still depleted and we are operating with between 12 and 14
trucks a day. To carry out our duties normally we need over 60 trucks a
 day," he said.
"Of late, we have been managing to collect bins in some suburbs although we
are yet to clear the heaps that have been accumulating in some open spaces."
Recently, the city embarked on a clean-up exercise that resulted in the
closure of Mbare Musika wholesale market and the opening of satellites
markets in Mabvuku, Highfield, Dzivaresekwa and Hatcliffe.
Harare is facing numerous service delivery problems that have seen residents
going for days without water, uncollected garbage, poor street lighting and
potholed roads and streets.
Council has attributed these problems to poor revenue due to sub-economic
tariffs and rates it has been charging.
Meanwhile, numerous traffic lights in Harare's Central Business District
(CBD) continue malfunctioning due to constant power cuts and mechanical
City authorities have attributed the problem to electricity cuts, vandalism
and shortages of spares. Our Bulawayo correspondent reports that the city
has been experiencing problems with its street lighting switches due to the
periodic electricity cuts.
It is estimated that it would cost the city billions of dollars to replace
damaged equipment required to put the street lighting switching system on
The department of engineering services has proposed to spend more than $60
million to buy 120 gadgets commonly known as time switches.
"Residents will have noticed that some lights have been continuously on
during daylight.
"This is not deliberate, but a result of faulty switching equipment," Peter
Sibanda, Bulawayo's Engineering Services director, said.
"As a result, our technicians together with assistance from Zesa have to
manually switch on and switch-off the lights," he said.
Sibanda said the city would buy the time switches as soon as council
approved its budget.
About 120 switches are needed for the estimated 120 different circuits
controlling streetlights across the city. Zimbabwe's second largest city has
an estimated 15 000 lights in the eastern areas of which 50 prrcent   are
Bulawayo also has an additional 532 fully-equipped tower lights in the
western suburbs while another 26 tower lights were recently erected but are
still to be equipped.
Sibanda, however, assured city residents that council was attending to the
problem as a matter of urgency.
Erratic supplies of material and fuel have hampered the city's engineering
services, traffic control and the public lighting sections compromising
service delivery. Bulawayo needs more than $520 million and nearly 1 000
litres of fuel to effectively implement its maintenance backlog action plan
on street lighting.
Implementation of the plan was started on November 21 in 2003.

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Health time bomb looms at Marondera apartments

Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Patience Nyangove in Marondera
issue date :2006-Feb-09

A HEALTH time bomb is looming at Rusike and Hwata residential flats in
Marondera's Dombotombo high-density suburb where raw sewage and other waste
oozing out from blocked pipes have been flowing for the past month.
A survey carried by The Daily Mirror on Tuesday showed  that the block of
flats, owned by the Marondera Municipality, was dilapidated and needed
urgent attention to avert a major possible health
At Hwata flats, which houses 120 families, raw sewage flows from leaking and
broken down sewers with the waste material forming a stagnant pond nearby.
The tenants also do their laundry and cooking in the open, while tap water
gushes out of the loose taps that reportedly faulted last year.
Since sink pipes there are also broken, maggots can be seen flowing in the
flats' water.
At Rusike hostel, the situation was equally worse with a sewer that has been
blocked for a long time ago spilling raw sewage at the entrance.
Residents have placed an old tyre a bridge between the hostel and dry land.
Meanwhile, residents at the two flats have since boycotted paying rates of
between $2,5 and $3 million until the council improves service delivery. "We
are living in extremely squalid conditions, not even fit for pigs.
Look around, raw sewage and maggots are everywhere and the council expects
us to pay $3 million to live in these pathetic conditions. We won't pay
until the situation is rectified," said an irate Eve Chaperuka at Hwata
An equally angry Tabeth Mwazikana called for an urgent intervention from the
Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and Urban Development Minister
Ignatius Chombo.
"There is no electricity and the water is not fit for human consumption,
sewage is flowing everywhere and we live in fear for our health and the
council is not doing anything to help us.
"Instead all they want is our money. Why is the minister (Chombo) not
intervening?" she asked.
Contacted for comment on the situation at the flats, Marondera Municipality
town clerk, Josiah Musuwo referred all questions to the executive mayor
Ralph Chimanikire who was said to be locked in a series of meetings at his
The local authority in Marondera built the flats over 50 years for single
men working in the town although families have since moved into the single
rooms in search of cheap accommodation.
The Marondera Municipality closed one of the flats, Marondera, after it
developed some cracks amid fears that it could collapse with people still
using it.
The council then announced that it would demolish the buildings, which are
still standing.

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Valentine's Radio Give Away

To celebrate Valentine's Day, Studio 7 is sharing the love with our listeners.

Tune in to VOA's Studio 7 and be a part of our 7Love Radio Give Away. Yes YOU could be a lucky winner. All you have to do is listen, then SMS or email and win!

When: Between 7pm - 8:30pm on 8, 9, 10 and 13 February 2006 [Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Monday].

Where: Tune your radio to 4930, 9830, 12080 and 17785 kHz Short Wave or 909 AM-Medium Wave.

How: Listen in and when the DJ's announce the competition questions, send us an SMS or an email with your answers to the telephone numbers and email address they will give out.

Studio 7 has been a reliable source of objective and balanced radio news for the people of Zimbabwe since 2003. Studio 7 reaches listeners in southern Africa every Monday through Friday evening in Shona, Ndebele and English from 7 to 8:30pm. Studio 7 radio offers stories about Zimbabwe, Africa and the world as well as features about Zimbabwe's people, society, economy, culture, sports, and music.


Pass this message on to your friends and colleagues and spread the love far and wide!

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