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SADC Poll Guidelines Not Legal Document: Minister

The Herald (Harare)

February 9, 2005
Posted to the web February 9, 2005


THE Southern Africa Development Community (Sadc) election guidelines are
only a roadmap to guide countries during the conducting of their elections
in terms of their laws and are not a legal document, nor a protocol
enforceable at law, the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary
Affairs, Cde Patrick Chinamasa has said.

The minister said this in his papers filed at the High Court yesterday
responding to a challenge by the Diaspora Vote Action Group who are seeking
an order compelling Zimbabweans living abroad to be allowed to vote in the
March 31 general elections.

"The Sadc guidelines and principles are a political document pegged out for
the region, a roadmap which we must all follow towards a perfect democratic
future," said Cde Chinamasa.

"The document recognises that different member-countries are at different
stages on the road towards a perfect democratic future.

"It recognises that there are countries in our region, the Democratic
Republic of Congo and Angola are good examples, recently emerging from
conflict and which are yet to hold elections."

The minister was responding to contention by the group that Zimbabwe must
abide by Sadc guidelines adopted last August by Sadc member-countries.

He said Zimbabwe was under sanctions from western countries and therefore,
Zanu-PF officials were not welcome in those countries while the MDC had the
liberty to spread all sorts of propaganda against the sitting Government.

"Under such factual situations, it is only prudent to restrict voting to
that section of the electorate that has the opportunity to hear from all
political sides," he said.

"There is also the demand of capacity in the form of resources. The State
will be required to put in place all logistics which have to do with voting
in the form of manpower and material."

The minister submitted that since the applicants were non-resident and in
order to secure an award of costs that might be made against them in the
proceedings, he contended that they be ordered to pay $500 million as
security deposit.

Cde Chinamasa said the applicants had not demonstrated to the court that
they themselves had been affected hence they had no locus standi (legal
right) to institute the legal proceedings.

The applicants had cited the Minister, the Electoral Supervisory Commission,
the Registrar-General and the Attorney-General as respondents.

In its opposing papers filed last week, the Attorney-General's Office said
the group had no right to sue on behalf of registered voters living outside

It said for a person to seek remedy in court, that person must have a direct
and personal interest in the remedy sought.

The AG's Office said the concerns raised by the Diaspora Vote Action Group
about the legality of the move to bar Zimbabweans living outside the country
from voting were not enough as the law did not recognise the right to bring
an action on behalf of others to protect the general public.
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Institute for War and Peace Reporting

Crop Failures Spark Famine Fears

Millions said to be in need of food aid, largely as a result of chaotic land
reform programme.

By Elias Mugwadi in Harare (Africa Reports: Zimbabwe Elections No 05,

Zimbabwe is sliding inexorably into famine as crops fail and the ZANU PF
government remains unwilling to import grain to cover the production

"Land preparation by resettled [black] farmers is way behind schedule,"
admitted Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo, who is chairman of a
government food supply task force. "We were targeting four million hectares
[of tilled cropland], but only 900,000 hectares have been prepared."

A report just released by the Famine Early Warning Systems Network, FEWS
NET, the regional prediction service, said 5.8 million Zimbabweans - half
the total population - are in need of food aid.

The problem stems largely from the chaotic organisation of President Robert
Mugabe's land reform programme, in which white commercial farmers have been
driven from the land since 2000 to be replaced largely by peasant
subsistence farmers and government ministers, army officers, judges and top
civil servants with no farming skills.

The majority of the new farmers have no ploughing equipment and they have
been sowing maize, the country's basic food crop, on untilled soils. In
addition, because the handful of highly skilled maize seed farmers have been
driven from their land into exile, this season's crop has been planted with
untreated, low quality seed. There have also been severe shortages of
fertiliser and other critical inputs.

"The biggest drawback over the past four years we have seen here has been
the lack of ploughing equipment," Obediah Mupanganyama, a resettled farmer
at Vairona, a previously white-owned farm near Mazowe, 67 kilometres north
of Harare, told IWPR.

"Most farmers have been planting on unploughed land which brings us to the
problem you are looking at. The weeds have overwhelmed the crops and we have
no machinery or chemicals to deal with them."

Mupanganyama said there were a few private tractors for hire, and the cost
of doing so, 350,000 dollars [60 US dollars], was far beyond anything that
any "new farmer" could afford.

Black settlers at the previous white-owned Bally Hooly Farm at Glendale, 83
km north of Harare and formerly a rich wheat and cotton area before Mugabe's
land invasion strategy was launched, told IWPR they had been unable to till
their soil and had scattered only untreated maize seeds.

Elsewhere hungry Zimbabweans are staving off starvation by selling property
or receiving money from relatives among the three million or more of their
countrymen who have gone into exile. Many have sold cattle and the tools
they need to produce crops. "There aren't obviously starving people walking
the streets, but people are having to resort to things like selling their
last cow to buy food," a senior western diplomat told the Reuters news

The Independent, one of the country's few remaining private weekly
newspapers, reported that many people are now going without food for days,
with children fainting in schools and women miscarrying as a result of
malnutrition. Around the country, hungry and irritated people have been
standing in long queues for hours to buy tiny rations of maize, and police
have had to calm unruly crowds.

Eddie Cross, economic spokesman of the opposition Movement for Democratic
Change, described the situation as frightening. "Food shortages are causing
extreme hardship across the board and across the country," he said. "The
political implications are profound. I would hate to run an election
campaign amidst a food crisis for which there is no solution."

By February, the maize crop throughout the country is usually at knee-high
level. But IWPR's enquiries showed that many farmers were still planting -
far too late to secure a decent crop because the summer rains are now
ending. The coming harvest is likely to be one of the worst ever because of
poor planning, erratic rains and absence of low interest loans.

The forecast by international donors and the political opposition that the
chaotic land reform programme would be unworkable and a recipe for disaster
is turning out to be true. While no accurate figures are available, farm
experts estimate that Zimbabwe's agricultural production has fallen by 70
per cent in the last four years.

Just three years ago, Zimbabwe was still the breadbasket of southern Africa,
fully self-sufficient in basic foodstuffs, with surpluses for export. Now it
is a net food importer and production of such key crops as maize, wheat,
tobacco, horticultural produce, soya and cotton has been slashed.

Last year, the ZANU PF government banned the import of food by international
humanitarian organisations. It claimed a record 2.4 million tonnes of maize
and wheat had been harvested. But this was shot down when parliament's farm
sub-committee said only 388,000 tonnes were produced, representing only
one-sixth of the country's requirements.

Minister Chombo's gloomy harvest prediction has been contradicted by
Agriculture Minister Joseph Made who boasted that the new settlers would
produce a record grain harvest in the next few months of three million

Following a harvest of less than one million tonnes last year, such a
production total would be "a staggering turnaround, if true", said James
Morris, executive director of the UN's World Food Programme, WFP. "If the
projections are not correct, a great number of people will be very much at
risk. I don't know what the evidence is that things will be any better than
last year. The next 90 days are going to be crucial."

Elias Mugwadi is a pseudonym for an IWPR contributor in Zimbabwe
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Institute for War and Peace Reporting

Comment: Playing Politics with Malaria

Government's politicisation of healthcare hampers work of malaria control
workers at every turn.

By Richard Tren in Harare (Africa Reports: Zimbabwe Elections No 05,

The rainy season has begun in Zimbabwe, which is welcome news for gardeners
and farmers alike. Over the past few weeks, dramatic thunderstorms and heavy
downpours have covered much of the country, sparking vigorous growth in
plants and whatever few crops have been planted. But while the rains bring
new life, they unfortunately also mark the beginning of the malaria
transmission season.

This year, malaria, along with almost every aspect of life in Zimbabwe has a
political slant to it. This deadly mix of politics and disease does not
augur well for ordinary Zimbabweans now more than ever at peril from
mosquitoes and their own government.

I was recently asked by Zimbabwe's malaria control programme to assist them
in communicating their new malaria control policy, which includes the use of
DDT. DDT is sprayed in tiny quantities inside houses and is one of the most
effective ways of controlling the disease. It is also somewhat controversial
because of the bad reputation that DDT has among environmentalists. I agreed
to assist as I thought that I may help to save some lives and improve
malaria control in that country. This was a mistake.

The Zimbabwean Department of Health had organised two events, a press
conference in Harare followed by a public rally near Lake Kariba in the
north west of the country. Both events had an overt political agenda that in
the current climate in Zimbabwe is both sickening and dangerous.

Not a single journalist from the remains of Zimbabwe's independent media had
been invited to the press conference in Harare. Only writers from the state
media, who unquestioningly regurgitate the violent and abusive messages of
the Mugabe government, were involved.

Matters deteriorated at the public rally, which was held in an area that is
not a stronghold for the ruling ZANU PF party. During the last parliamentary
election, a number of awful atrocities were committed in the area against
supporters of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, MDC, party.
While Kariba is a highly malarial area, the choice to hold a government
malaria rally there was probably a carefully thought out strategy.

The audience was divided between the locals from the village, who crowded
underneath a large green tent that had seen better days, and supposed VIPs,
such as World Health Organisation, WHO, staff and dignitaries who were under
a slightly smarter large striped tent. A raised, covered stage, decked in
the colours of the Zimbabwean flag and flanked by large photographs of
Mugabe, housed the event's speakers which included the ministers of health
for Zimbabwe and Malawi as well as a representative from UNICEF and,
interestingly, one from Mugabe's arch enemy, the British Aid agency, DFID.

Before the speeches and songs about malaria could begin, the master of
ceremonies asked local ZANU PF office bearers from the VIP tent to identify
themselves and give a rousing message to the crowd. One "comrade" after
another stood up and shouted "Forward with Mugabe" and "Down with the MDC"
to which the crowd was supposed to respond "Forward" and "Down" in turn. The
lack of enthusiasm from the locals was very apparent, but there were many in
the VIP tent gleefully raising their fists.

Before the Zimbabwean minister of health gave his speech, he was asked to
think up an anti-malaria slogan. The minister duly stood up, raised his fist
and shouted "Down with the MDC" and then "Down with Mosquitoes". As someone
who has followed Zimbabwean politics for a while, I shouldn't have been
surprised, but I was.

In Zimbabwe, almost everything is politicised. People are denied access to
food if they cannot produce a ZANU PF party card. Worse still, they are
frequently beaten, tortured and raped for supporting the opposition MDC.
Politicising malaria control in such a blatant way marks a new low for
Mugabe's government. Zimbabwe always had an excellent malaria control
programme, but in the past few years it has all but disintegrated. Starved
of funds due to the economic chaos caused by Mugabe's disastrous policies,
along with the fact that public funds have been diverted to Mugabe's hated
secret police, the Central Intelligence Organisation, most of the
anti-malaria personnel have left.

Last year, the malaria control programme only managed to protect 3.4 per
cent of households from malaria because they did not even have petrol to
drive out to the malaria areas.

Some of the malaria control staff are simply trying to do their job under
very trying circumstances, but the politicisation of healthcare by the
country's leadership hampers their work at every turn. More worrying is the
fact that various UN bodies as well as aid agencies appear to be endorsing
and legitimising this political abuse by standing shoulder to shoulder with
the ZANU PF leadership. This should stop immediately. The only way for the
long-term health of Zimbabwe's people to improve is to ensure peace,
democracy and economic growth. That will not and cannot happen under Mugabe's
government and the UN should come out and say so.

Richard Tren is a director of the South Africa-based health advocacy group
Africa Fighting Malaria.
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Scottish Herald

Witch-doctor's spell backfired, says transvestite

DOUG GILLON February 10 2005

A transvestite who is being prosecuted after winning medals and titles in
women's athletics events has blamed a witch-doctor's faulty spell.
A Bulawayo court heard that Samukaliso Sithole, a Zimbabwean who competed in
domestic and regional competitions for women, was actually a man. Sithole
faces charges of psychological offence, reported the state-run Herald
Prosecutors allege Sithole offended the dignity and sexuality of a woman who
befriended him, confided in him and felt comfortable being naked around him,
while believing him to be female.
Sithole was identified to her as a man by an acquaintance when he was among
a group of women preparing to travel by train to an athletics meeting.
Sithole tried to sprint away but was caught, and police supervised a medical
Sithole told the court he was born congenitally deformed. A tribal healer,
known in the west as a witchdoctor, gave him "female status" but Sithole
said the spell did not work properly because his family did not pay the
healer's full fee. The Zimbabwe Athletics Association say he could be
stripped of titles and prize money. He competed in several women's
disciplines, with reported success for Zimbabwe in last year's Southern
Region Athletics Championships in Botswana.
Results of that event show a Samkeliso Sithole to have won the long jump
with 5.13 metres, and a Samukeliso Sithole winning the discus with 30.16m.
It is unclear whether they are the same person.
The world athletics body no longer conducts gender determination tests, and
the Olympic movement ceased these in 1999. The International Olympic
Committee legally recognises transsexuals provided hormone therapy ceased at
least two years ago.
Sport in Britain was relieved a year ago when the Gender Recognition Bill
was amended to allow UK sports bodies to decide, case by case, whether
individual transsexuals should be allowed to compete.
Now they must meet medical criteria and live in their new genders for at
least two years before applying for a new birth certificate.

All change
The 1932 Olympic 100 metres champion, Stella Walsh, was exposed as a man
when she died in 1980. Her world records stayed on the books.
The Press sisters, Tamara and Irina, won five Olympic titles for the
Soviets, but disappeared after sex tests were introduced.
Richard Raskind, an average male tennis player, became Renee Richards, lost
to Virginia Wade, and is now a consultant to Martina Navratilova.
Heidi Kreiger used so many drugs to become European shot champion that she's
now a man.
Zdenka Koubkova, a Czech who twice broke the world 800m record in 1934,
decided the following year she was a man.
Ewa Klobuskova won European sprint titles in 1966, but later proved to be
Transsexual golfer Mianne Bagger, was cleared yesterday to play in the
Women's British Open.

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Expansion of Power Station Begins

The Herald (Harare)

February 9, 2005
Posted to the web February 9, 2005

Vimbiso Mafuba

EXPANSION of Kariba Power Station with support from Iran at a cost of US$200
million has started, Zesa Holdings said yesterday.

The expansion will see Kariba Power Station*s generation capacity increasing
by 300 megawatts from the additional units with an output of 150 megawatts

Zesa Holdings general manager (corporate affairs) Mr Obert Nyatanga said the
expansion was being done under a government to government protocol
arrangement with Iran and Iranian companies had been contracted to carry out
the expansion works. "Work has already commenced and Zesa has contracted an
engineering company to review the feasibility study for the expansion. The
company will give us a position at the end of this month."

Zesa Holdings is expected to raise US$80 million while Iran would provide
US$120 million.

Some local engineering companies are expected to be sub-contracted for civil

At the moment Kariba has six units each with a generation capacity of 125
megawatts and after the expansion the capacity will be 1050 megawatts.

Mr Nyatanga said besides creating employment and other downstream benefits
to local companies expected to supply material for civil works, the
expansion would also stimulate economic growth.

"The undertaking of the civil works will thereby create more employment,
resource supplies of raw material and down stream benefits for local
companies to increase production therefore inevitably boosting Zimbabwe*s

Zesa Holdings was allocated $1 trillion under the parastatals and local
authorities reform programme by the Reserve Bank.
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A Man And A Golfer Without A Country

Published: Feb 10, 2005

LUTZ - Mark McNulty is choosing his words carefully. Almost painfully.
``My parents live there,'' he says. ``I still go back there. That's why I am
very careful.''

You would not want to walk in McNulty's shoes these days, not even after
taking into account that the native of Zimbabwe won more than $2 million
last year on his way to being voted Champions Tour rookie of the year. Not
even after you do inventory on his 51 international tournament victories
before turning 50 and start to appreciate his reputation as one of the best
putters golf has ever known. Not even when he returns to TPC of Tampa Bay in
two weeks to try to defend the Outback Pro-Am championship that he won last
year in his very first senior tour appearance.

You would not want to pay the price.

McNulty is very much a man without a country, or maybe even worse, a man
with too many of them. He was born in Zimbabwe, carries an Irish passport
and lives at Orlando's Lake Nona. All of which is a way of saying McNulty
has a beautiful house, but no home.

``How can I be proud to say I'm from Zimbabwe when every single family's
farm has gone pheeew - taken out from under you without any compensation?''
he says. ``If they had been paid fair and square, I would not have a bone to
grind. But no compensation? That's where I find it hard to swallow.''

McNulty's homeland is deep in civil unrest, a continuing nightmare of havoc
and violence. It is one of the richest nations in Africa, a cradle of
fertile land and mineral deposits, but whites, who make up less than 1
percent of Zimbabwe's population of 12 million, always owned more than 50
percent of the arable land.

Under the dictatorship of Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe, thousands of
farmers have been forced to abandon their land in recent years for the
government to simply take. Now, because of economic sanctions, the economy
is in tatters, with inflation running wilder than a frightened jack rabbit.

``Just to give you one example, about seven, eight years ago, the U.S.
dollar was worth 28 Zimbabwe dollars,'' McNulty said. ``About three years
ago it was worth about 60 Zimbabwe dollars. Now it's up to 5,000. As you can
imagine, it's pretty tough for people who live there.''

Tampa Visit
McNulty, who visited TPC of Tampa Bay to promote the Feb. 21-27 Outback
Pro-Am, traditionally is so soft- spoken he is a guy who would not say boo
if he met Casper the Friendly Ghost. He has a delightful wit and warm
manner, but has always been most comfortable in the background.

These days, however, as much as he seems to try, it is hard for McNulty to
hold his tongue.

It was about two years ago that his parents and other family members were
forced to abandon their 2,000-acre farm by government order. His parents, 78
and 75, and one brother remained in the country. One sister moved to
England, another to Australia. McNulty, aware that a grandmother was born in
Ireland in 1885, pursued Irish citizenship.

``It's my quiet objection,'' he said.

Never Again
So after joining countryman Nick Price to give Zimbabwe international sports
attention - McNulty represented his country in eight World Cup competitions,
seven Dunhill Cup matches and two Presidents Cups - there is no patriotism

``My days of representing Zimbabwe are long gone,'' he says. ``Nick and I
have played many Dunhill Cups and a lot of World Cups together. Those days
are over.

``I feel if you are going to play in the World Cup for a country, you better
be passionate. You have got to play for the right reasons.''

Or not at all.

Even if it hurts.
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Antiquated Equipment to Be Moved to New Museum

The Herald (Harare)

February 9, 2005
Posted to the web February 9, 2005


NATIONAL Museums and Monuments of Zimbabwe will move antiquated mining
equipment from the Kwekwe Mining Museum at the Globe and Phoenix Mine to a
new mining museum in the city of Kwekwe as environmental degradation due to
rampant gold panning activities is threatening the old museum.

The curator of mines at National Museums and Monuments Mr Wonai Mafuma
confirmed in an interview from Kwekwe that the site museum that houses the
Paper House will be stripped of most of the antiquated mining equipment that
would be relocated to the new museum.

"We will remove all the equipment to the new place except the Paper House
which will remain at the site because it is a monument so it would rather be
viewed on the original site," he said.

The Paper House was constructed in 1894 and was used as the home and
subsequently as an office of the then general manager of the Globe and
Phoenix Mine, a Mr H A Piper.

According to Mr Mafuma the Paper House that is made of papier marché was
also a stop over house for the colonial architect Cecil John Rhodes during
his mine exploration visits across the country.

The house was later proclaimed a national monument in 1975.

Mr Mafuma said tourists preferred to see the house on the original site.

"Due to massive gold panning activities the environs of the museum are no
longer safe hence the relocation to the new site, where we hope to display
more mining equipment," he said.

The Kwekwe Mining Museum was constructed in the 1930's after the mine
donated a piece of land and the Paper House to the Department of National
Museums and Monuments.

"The idea of the construction of the museum at the Globe and Phoenix Mine
was that it was the oldest mine in the country," he said.

Meanwhile, National Museums and Monuments of Zimbabwe (NMMZ) and the United
Nations Educational and Scientific Cultural Organisation have forwarded two
sites to the World Heritage Council for designation as World Heritage Sites.

These are Ziwa and the Chimanimani Mountains, both in Nyanga. [AHEM...
Chimanimani Mountains in Nyanga? B]

"We have submitted the sites to the tentative list of the World Heritage
Council," said NMMZ public relations officer, Mr Stanley Goredema.

There are a total of five World Heritage Sites in Zimbabwe namely the
Victoria Falls, jointly listed with Zambia in 1989, Mana Pools in 1984,
Great Zimbabwe in 1986, Khami Ruins in 1986 and the Matobo Hills in 2003.
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Preparations for President's Birthday Gain Momentum

The Herald (Harare)

February 9, 2005
Posted to the web February 9, 2005


PREPARATIONS for President Mugabe's 81st birthday celebrations have gained
momentum with many donations being received in both cash and kind, a Zanu-PF
Politburo member has said.

Secretary for Youth Affairs Cde Absolom Sikhosana said preparations for the
event were progressing well with the public at large and the business sector
giving generously.

"The event has been met with an overwhelming response from the corporate
world and the general public. We have received a lot of donations in cash
and kind towards commemorating the day," Cde Sikhosana said.

He however, could not disclose the amount they had raised so far as more
donations were still pouring in.

"I cannot tell what we have raised so far because more donations are still
being received and it is also difficult to ascertain the value of what we
got in kind," Cde Sikhosana said.

The annual celebrations, which were held in Zvimba, Mashonaland West
Province, last year, would this year be held in Marondera, the Mashonaland
East provincial capital, on February 26 in line with the policy of rotating
them province by province.

At least 10 children aged between seven and 15 who share the same birthday
with President Mugabe from each of the provinces would attend the

The children would have lunch with the President.

This year's 21st February Movement commemoration is of especial importance
as it coincides with the Silver Jubilee when the nation celebrates 25 years
of independence and democracy.
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Tobacco Farmers Urged to Establish Energy Woodlots

The Herald (Harare)

February 9, 2005
Posted to the web February 9, 2005


TOBACCO farmers have been encouraged to establish energy woodlots as an
alternative source of energy to cure tobacco.

The call was made in the wake of rampant destruction of indigenous forests
by newly resettled farmers who are mainly dependent on woodlands as a source
of energy to cure the golden leaf.

Since many farmers have taken up tobacco farming in the wake of the
successful land reform programme, there has been a major shift from coal,
the traditional fuel used by the former large-scale commercial farmers, to

The prices of coal have become prohibitive especially to the new farmers who
do not have sufficient resources to buy it in sufficient volumes to cure
large quantities of tobacco and so have resorted to cheap sources of energy,
notably wood.

Tobacco growers are currently buying coal at $210 000 per tonne.

Although coal prices have gone down significantly in recent months, some
farmers with their own woodlots have continued to use firewood to cure

In an interview with Herald Business this week, the corporate manager of
Forestry Commission Zimbabwe, Mr Dzidzai Maruzane, said his organisation was
working in conjunction with various stakeholders to ensure most farmers
adopt the initiative.

He said a sizeable number of new farmers in Mashonaland and Manicaland
provinces, where the bulk of the crop is grown, had already started setting
up woodlots, which mature after five years.

"We have realised that many farmers who have benefited from the land reform
programme cannot afford to purchase coal for tobacco curing.

"That is why we took the initiative and we are closely working with the
Zimbabwe Tobacco Growers' Association and other stakeholders to encourage
new tobacco farmers to establish energy woodlots," said Mr Maruzane.

"Energy woodlots grow faster and farmers would be assured of a sustainable
source of energy," he added.

Hybrid eucalyptus, he said, was particularly recommended as it matured
between five and 10 years. He said it was also advisable for every farmer
who planted about five hectares of tobacco to establish one hectare of wood.

Although coal is widely used by farmers in Zimbabwe, most African countries
that produce tobacco have reportedly started implementing the woodlots
concept, which has been described as cheap and less consumptive.

Brazil, one of the world's largest tobacco producers, has over the years
been using the same system.

Tobacco remains the country's biggest foreign currency earner and sufficient
energy - in the form of coal or wood --- is required to ensure high quality.

Over the past years, curing of dryland tobacco has been affected by erratic
coal supplies from Hwange Colliery Company, thereby adversely affecting the
curing for the harvested crop.

However, this season, unlike in the past, farmers have had fewer problems
securing coal or wood for tobacco curing.

Curing has been made easier as the farmers can now access coal directly from
Hwange instead of relying on the National Railways of Zimbabwe to transport
the commodity.

Also, in the past, coal merchants used to rip off farmers by charging
exorbitant prices.

A pilot energy woodlots project was launched by the Forestry Commission of
Zimbabwe in Karoi, Mashonaland West Province, last year.
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Sunday Times (SA)

Signing of SA-Zimbabwe agreement postponed

Thursday February 10, 2005 06:59 - (SA)

The signing of a bilateral investment protection agreement between South
Africa and Zimbabwe was postponed on Wednesday, the department of trade and
industry (DTI) said.

DTI chief director for African Trade, George Monemongane, said the signing
was postponed because the Zimbabwean minister was not available. It was not
known when it would be signed now.

"It will be signed at the earliest opportunity that both ministers are
available," he said.

The agreement deals with investment promotion and reciprocal protection of
investment between the two countries. It would among other things protect
the land rights of South African farmers who own land in Zimbabwe.

Monemongane said the department had previously tried to have the agreement
signed, but the ministers were never available at the same time.

AgriSA president Lourie Bosman said his organisation was disappointed at the

"We are disappointed that the signing has yet again been postponed," he

"It was postponed in October because Zimbabwe refused to accept the terms
under which we wanted protection for the rights of South African farmers
owning land in Zimbabwe."

He said AgriSA had insisted over a number of years that there must be
protection for South African farmers who owned land in Zimbabwe.

Several farmers had already lost their farms under the Zimbabwean
government's land policy.

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      Chiyangwa's mansion sold

      Njabulo Ncube
      2/10/2005 7:29:43 AM (GMT +2)

      PHILIP Chiyangwa, the maverick ZANU PF legislator and businessman
currently languishing in remand prison on allegations of espionage, has sold
his lavish Borrowdale mansion for an estimated $6.8 billion.

      The white two-storey palace, popularly referred to as Harare's White
House, has been flogged off to an undisclosed buyer who market sources said
feared being identified in light of the controversy surrounding the
incarcerated businessman-turned-politician.
      The deposed ZANU PF Mashonaland West chairman is in remand prison
awaiting a High Court judgment on his bail application.
      Chiyangwa, who faces up to 20 years imprisonment if convicted of
breaching the Official Secrets Act, is expected to appear at the magistrate
courts tomorrow on routine remand.
      Zimbabwe's ambassador-designate to Mozambique, Godfrey Dzvairo, banker
Tendai Matambanadzo and ZANU PF external affairs director Itai Marchi, who
were facing similar charges, were on Tuesday jailed for a maximum of six
years each.
      Speculation swirled this week the property could have been disposed to
a foreign embassy or international organisation based in Harare.
      Investigations by The Financial Gazette revealed that the
double-storey property, which boasts of 18 bedrooms - all ensuite - 18
stylishly furnished lounges, three roof helipads and a fully furnished
office with state-of-the-art technological embellishments, has been on sale
since December last year but the sale was concluded in the past three weeks.
      A "sold" sign was by yesterday morning still posted outside the huge
property at the corner of 11 Prestwood Lane and Crowhill in Quinnington,
      An official with the Harare realtor that handled the sale, Seeff
Zimbabwe, confirmed the development.
      "We sold the property in December last year but we are not supposed to
say for how much and to whom," the official said.
      It could not be ascertained if the house, which has Greek, Portuguese
and Italian tiles, went voetstoets with plasma televisions, a theatre-type
television in the main bedroom, computerised wardrobes, several satellite
dishes and other accessories.
      Chiyangwa's neighbours who spoke to this newspaper said they were
taken by surprise when the leading Harare estate agent three weeks ago
erected a sign proclaiming that the house, an oasis even in the midst of the
suburb's extravagant opulence, had been sold.
      "The "sold" sign was posted three weeks ago but other people continue
flocking here to inquire about the property," a neighbour said. "Just
yesterday sales representatives from another Harare estate agent were here
inquiring about the property," added the nighbour, who spoke on condition of
      However, it is understood that Chiyangwa's wife and other members of
his family were this week still occupying the property as final transactions
were being concluded.
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      ZANU PF 'rebels' chicken out of polls

      Felix Njini
      2/10/2005 7:30:19 AM (GMT +2)

      LOSING ZANU PF stalwarts, who were mulling standing as independent
candidates in next month's crucial parliamentary polls, have backed off from
the idea for fear of reprisals by the ruling party machinery known for
dealing ruthlessly with rebels.

      Sources said President Robert Mugabe, who could be seeing out his last
term of office ending 2008, had been fully briefed by his lieutenants that
cracks within the fractious ruling party, widened by controversial ZANU PF
primary elections, were on the mend ahead of the March polls.
      Of major concern, they say, was a silent war being waged by some of
the losing aspiring ZANU PF legislators to swing the vote in favour of
opposition party candidates, in protest over what they called the
"imposition of candidates".
      President Mugabe, who has maintained a tight grip on ZANU PF despite
intermittent fights that have come to characterise it, is eyeing a majority
win over his bitter rival, the Movement for Democratic Change, in order to
effect planned constitutional changes.
      A repeat of the disputed June 2000 polls, in which a number of
disgruntled ZANU PF members stood as independents, has been the ruling party's
major worry.
      Speculation has mounted in recent weeks that a third political force
led by firebrand independent candidate Margaret Dongo and mainly made up of
spurned ZANU PF candidates could come into play ahead of the March 31 poll.
      Dongo, who is in the running for the Harare Central constituency as an
independent, yesterday confirmed that such overtures had been made by some
ruling party candidates, but said it was hugely unlikely the loose coalition
could materialise.
      "Yes, there are discussions to that effect underway, to see if a way
to bring alternative voices into parliament as a way of challenging the
power politics the country has been subjected to under the two-party system.
That coalition would be a godsend because independents are not beholden to
any party.
      "But you have to realise the constraints on the way. Most of these
people will not readily take this route because of several factors, for a
start, your farm will be taken away and, if you are in business and rely on
government contracts as many do, you will lose that as well. There are also
issues pertaining to financing your campaign. So it is a question of
commitment, but people are not prepared lose that for the sake of the
      "However, there remains room for independents. If you look at Malawi,
where several independents made it into parliament in the last election, you
can see the positive impact they have had on that country's politics. Bingu
wa Mutharika has refused to be bullied by UDF and he can rely on the support
of independents, who tend to be more driven by real issues and not power
considerations. So it is just not true that there is no room for
independents in this country because the experience of this current
parliament has exposed a gap," Dongo said.
      ZANU PF is however, known for its ruthless streak in dealing with
defectors. Those thrown out from the party have found it difficult to
reclaim their former glory even after being readmitted.
      According to the ZANU PF constitution, one ceases to be a member if he
or she campaigns as an independent.
      Those dislodged from the party's positions of power comprise of Victor
Chitongo - Murewa North, Lazaraus Dokora - Rushinga, Paul Mazikana - Guruve
North, Pearson Mbalekwa - Zvishavane, Gibson Munyoro - Makoni West, Ishmael
Mutema - Kadoma Central and Kindness Paradza - Makonde.
      Former legislators Irene Zindi and Dzikamai Mavhaire, who fell out of
favour after urging President Mugabe "to go", are some of the ZANU PF
politicians who were rumoured to be considering going it alone after failing
to secure the party's support in the primaries.
      Chitongo, Mbalekwa, Munyoro and Paradza all said they 'would remain
loyal members of the party'.
      "Whether there was cheating, that is an internal ZANU PF game.
Outsiders should not worry much about that. As for my political career, I
will remain a loyal ZANU PF member," said Chitongo who lost the right to
represent the ruling party to Health Minister David Parirenyatwa.
      "There is no need for me to stand as an independent, I will wait and
in 2010 I will be in," said Paradza who was barred from contesting the
Makonde slot because of his pending court and disciplinary cases.
      "I will not fight the party I helped create but I can tell you this
has created problems for our supporters," said Munyoro, who lost the battle
to Agriculture Minister Joseph Made.
      "Standing as an independent is not an option," quipped Mbalekwa.
      Sources said most of the MPs had chickened out from standing on the
independent ticket, fearing the wrath of President Mugabe, the wily veteran
leader who has not hesitated to wield the axe on ambitious young Turks.
      Many young Turks, a constant thorn in the ruling party old guard's
flesh, are being punished for throwing in their lot with presidential
aspirant Emmerson Mnangagwa's campaign for the vice presidency last year,
said sources.
      Deliberate action by the ruling party to dump sitting MPs perceived to
be sympathetic to Mnangagwa comes hard on the heels of the banning of six
provincial chairpersons amidst a flurry of accusations that they had plotted
to influence the shape and form of the party's four-member presidium.
      Analysts hinted that there was still time for the MPs to weigh their
options before the February 18 nomination day.
      "The option to stand as independent candidates is not completely
thrown out. There is still time as long as the support is there," said one
deposed MP.
      Already, ZANU PF chairman John Nkomo and some senior party officials
from the traditionally troublesome Matabeleland province stand accused of
enjoying the gravy train of the 1987 Unity Accord, "despite commanding very
little, if any support from the province", sources said.
      "Even our own supporters have become disgruntled by the senior
officials' insatiable appetite for luxury, without addressing the suffering
masses' problems despite numerous promises made for the past two decades,"
said the deposed MP.

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      Massive registration fee hike hits aspiring MPs

      Njabulo Ncube
      2/10/2005 7:32:53 AM (GMT +2)

      ASPIRING Members of Parliament with shallow pockets would be the
hardest hit in a new round of fee increases for candidates in the March 31
parliamentary elections, which have gone up by about 2 000 percent.

      The fee increase has raised the ire of Zimbabwe's opposition parties
who are accusing the ruling ZANU PF of charging exorbitant fees to
financially cripple opponents operating on shoestring budgets.
      In a statutory instrument 14 of 2005 published last week, the
government pegged the registration fee for parliamentary nominees at $2
million per candidate from the previous $100 000.
      The price to secure a copy of the voters' roll has been increased to
$5 million from the previous $200 000, a whopping 2 500 percent increase.
      Parties intending to contest all the 120 parliamentary seats would
have to fork out $240 million for their candidates, while acquiring the
national voters' roll would leave a $600 million hole in their pockets.
      Insiders within the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) said the
party, whose financial resources have been haemorrhaged by a plethora of
court battles the party has fought against the government and ZANU PF since
2000, had this year only received $300 million from the state under the
Political Finances Act.
      The MDC now desperately needs nearly $1 billion to register candidates
as well as acquire the voters' roll for all its candidates.
      Paul Themba Nyathi, the MDC spokesman, said the high fees were a
cynical response to democracy calculated to discourage the main opposition
party, already tottering under a heavy weight of legal bills.
      "If you notice the statutory instrument, it is dated 28 January 2005
but it was only gazetted on 4 February, a day after we announced our
participation in the polls. This is targeted at us, to cripple the MDC
financially," he said. "Representative democracy should not be so
 expensive," added Nyathi.
      Wilson Khumbula, the leader of ZANU (Ndonga), which has a single seat
in parliament, said the fees were indicative of ZANU PF's desire to be the
only party in parliament.
      "This is betrayal of democracy, ZANU PF wants to be alone without the
opposition. They are trying to stop us from contesting because they are not
affected financially because they are using taxpayers' money. This is a
shame," said Khumbula.
      "We don't have any meaningful funding like ZANU PF. With the latest
developments, we might be forced to cut our participation in some
constituencies. Two million dollars is a lot of money for opposition parties
considering that there are 120 seats. We need money for campaigning and for
use during the elections and the actual counting," added Khumbula.
      Paul Siwela, the president of the fringe opposition ZAPU Federal
Party, said his party, which had intended fielding candidates in all the
constituencies, was reviewing its initial decision to participate in the
crucial polls.
      "This is unacceptable, we might pull out of the race because the
figures being mentioned are too expensive for small opposition parties like
ours that are not getting any funding from the state or foreign donors,"
said Siwela whose party participated in both the 2000 parliamentary polls
and the Presidential polls in 2002.
      Margaret Dongo, who has announced her participation as an independent,
said: "It's trying to make money out of the electoral process. Where will
candidates get this kind of money? Politics turning into commerce," she
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      Manifesto, chaotic primaries delay ZANU PF campaign

      Staff Reporter
      2/10/2005 7:33:19 AM (GMT +2)

      DELAYS in finalising the ZANU PF election manifesto and the chaotic
primaries caused the two false starts suffered by the ruling party in
officially launching the March 31 parliamentary polls campaign trail.

      Party insiders told The Financial Gazette this week that Nathan
Shamuyarira, the ageing ruling party information chief, had to work overtime
to ensure the manifesto was completed in time for the delayed launch, now
slated for Saturday.
      Changes in the party's information and publicity department, which saw
the government's spin doctor Jonathan Moyo being jettisoned from his post,
also contributed to delays in cobbling up the Anti-Blair campaign manifesto.
      Moyo, whose political fortunes have been on a tailspin since the
Tsholotsho debacle, credits himself of penning ZANU PF's manifestos for the
2000 parliamentary and 2002 presidential polls.
      Elliot Manyika, the party's national political commissar who has
recorded an album to be released concurrently with the ZANU PF campaign
launch in Harare, said everything was now in place for the official launch.
      "We are on a roll and ready to bury the British-sponsored MDC
(Movement for Democratic Change)," said Manyika, adding that President
Robert Mugabe would be on hand to launch the ruling party's campaign where
its 120 candidates would also be officially unveiled at a function envisaged
to be attended by over 3 000 delegates from the country's 10 political
      A number of cabinet ministers and sitting ZANU PF legislators lost the
right to represent the party during primaries held last month, among them
Samuel Mumbengegwi, the Minister of Industry and International Trade, Paul
Mangwana, the Minister of Labour and Social Welfare and Moyo.
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      The good, the ugly and the unacceptable

      Nelson Banya
      2/10/2005 7:35:48 AM (GMT +2)

      DEVELOPMENTS in Zimbabwe's northern neighbour Malawi and the far-flung
Togo in west Africa this week alone served to show the two faces of African
politics; one that is ugly and another, well, quite beautiful to behold.

      The death of one of Africa's last Big Men, Gnassigbe Eyadema of Togo
after almost 40 years in power brought with it another coup - after the,
military there armtwisted parliament to tweak the constitution - in a west
African region that just cannot break away from that curse.
      Despite widespread protests and outright condemnation, Togo went ahead
and - at the discomforting behest of the military - swore in Faure Eyadema
to replace his father as the country's next president.
      Had the military stayed in the barracks and the constitution adhered
to, the parliamentary speaker would have replaced Gnassibe, who suffered
heart failure, until polls 60 days later. Needless to add, the two Eyademas
to rule Togo for a whole generation rode to power on the back of the
military and pulled their middle fingers at democracy and popular will.
      The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has voiced its
displeasure at developments in Lome, with Nigerian president and African
Union chairman Olusegun Obasanjo condemning the virtual coup.
      This gives comfort, at least, that Africa could be moving away from
its conspiracy of silence, which has seen its leaders stooping to peer
shielding at the expense of the masses.
      Even more refreshing were indications that this condemnation would be
followed by resolute action in the form of sanctions.
      Closer to home, in a dramatic twist that will disconcert all
continental Big Men wherever they may be, Malawian President Bingu wa
Mutharika broke ranks with the United Democratic Front (UDF), alleging that
he has had enough of interference in his efforts to rid the central Africa
country of the scourge of corruption.
      Ever since he assumed the Malawian presidency having been picked by
former president Bakili Muluzi, wa Mutharika - a former executive secretary
of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa(COMESA) who left the
trade bloc in inauspicious circumstances- has battled against a tag that he
was not his own man.
      However, his drive against graft in high places was soon to translate
into an uneasy relationship with his predecessor, who remains powerful as
UDF chairman.
      Serious accusations and counter accusations have gone back and forth
between the two, culminating in last weekend's shock decision, by wa
Mutharika, to quit UDF.
      Incidentally, the Malawian president announced the decision at an
Anti-corruption Day rally where he also took a swipe at Muluzi's sugar
      For good measure and, according to some reports, by no coincidence,
bailiffs raided the Trade and Investment Bank in Lilongwe controlled by
Muluzi and attached some property over obligations the bank had failed to
      It was clear to all and sundry that the boot was firmly on the other
      To further buttress his position, support for wa Mutharika's stand
against corruption, popular among the masses, has been growing during the
week. Cabinet ministers in his recently reshuffled cabinet rallied behind
him as did several legislators and aldermen.
      The Malawian experience has shades of the Zambian scenario, when
former president Fredrick Chiluba plucked Levy Mwana-wasa - who was down on
political luck and had slipped into virtual oblivion - to position him as
his successor.
      Mwanawasa, who had previously served as Chiluba's vice president,
wasted no time in visiting his predecessor's cupboards to unearth a raft of
      Chiluba's vicissitudes, including long stretches under house arrest,
are well documented, but the greatest import of his case and, as could soon
happen, that of Muluzi is that African leaders can no longer take comfort in
anointing successors in the hope of securing protection once they leave
offices teeming with the skeletons of graft and worse.
      Better still, that wa Mutharika could risk his political future by
betting the farm and going for the jugular against the corruption curse is
cause for optimism that the new, emerging brand of African leaders could yet
bring hope to the continent the rest of the world seems to have given up on.
The continent has to break away from the milieu of Big Men and embrace
democratic, transparent and accountable governments.
      To this end, the unwelcome leadership that has just been foisted on
the people of Togo has to be the last such product of retrogression and the
first to go.
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      World fiddles over what to call tragedy

      Edna Machirori
      2/10/2005 7:36:15 AM (GMT +2)

      YOU know something is seriously wrong when those in a position to
influence global events decide that agreement over semantics should take
precedence over the need to end human suffering and save lives.

      But hard as it may be to believe, this is exactly what is happening
with regard to the situation in the Darfur region of Western Sudan.
      United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan has described the horrors
taking place in this part of Africa as the worst humanitarian crisis in the
world today.
      You would think that this grim assessment by the world's top civil
servant would prick consciences and galvanise those capable of making a
difference to act urgently.
      But what do we have? While tens of thousands are slaughtered and
almost two million are displaced from their homes, the international
community continues to fiddle over what to call the tragedy.
      It is genocide, declares the world's only remaining super power, the
United States. It is crimes against humanity, concludes the world governing
body, the United Nations. Others claim that while genocide proper did not
occur, certain groups in Sudan acted "with genocidal intent" against the
people of Darfur.
      What message is the international community sending to the people of
Darfur from behind this confusing verbiage?
      "Thousands can continue to be killed and displaced, women can continue
to be raped and children can continue to die from disease and starvation
while we take our time to define what is happening to you", is what the
people of Darfur are hearing.
      It is not clear whether the international community is hoist with its
own terminological petard out of a genuine desire to build consensus or
whether the word games being played are a convenient excuse to remain
      But whatever the motivation, this semantic confusion within the
international community has resulted in handing over on a platter, a
propaganda coup to the Khartoum regime.
      The negligent government's spin doctors have wasted no time in
claiming to have been exonerated. How scandalous! But as long as the
killings and other atrocities perpetrated against the people of Darfur do
not fall under the ambit of an acceptable definition of genocide, the
government can beat its chest in self-congratulation. What's more, it can
continue to collude with the Janjaweed militias that are terrorising and
massacring the people. The question that needs to be answered is, who says
only killings constituting genocide warrant being stopped urgently.
      The sanctity of human life is clearly and simply defined by the
Biblical commandment, "Thou shalt not kill". There are no grey areas there.
Killing should not be defined in degrees on the basis of the method used,
whether the victims are of one race or ethnic group or whether they die in
large enough numbers.
      The unnecessary taking of one human life is a death too many as far as
I am concerned. It is preposterous and dangerous to cloud the issue by
hiding behind confusing terminology as the internatioal community is trying
to do.
      POST SCRIPT : The appointment of Condoleeza Rice as US Secretary of
State presents newspaper headline writers with countless pitfalls as well as
opportunities for clever word play.
      A local newspaper set the ball rolling with this gem: "RICE RISES TO
THE TOP" Listed below are other tongue-in-cheek possibilities:
      "WE WANT RICE" demonstrators chant
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      ...and now to the Notebook

      2/10/2005 7:49:08 AM (GMT +2)


      SO the thugs in the web-hacking business recently decided to try
forays into no other website but the Great Uncle's own?
      And this time they wanted to address him mbune, after having tried to
do it through the Chronicle last year? Doesn't this say something about the
calibre of thugs in our national security?


      Developments in Malawi are something quite new on the African
      Our brother-in-law Cde Bingu wa Mutharika has decided to part ways
with the "ruling" "United" Democratic Front (UDF), the party that smuggled
him into power ahead of several veterans.
      Yes, the man, also known as Bingu wa Muluzi because of him being
handpicked by ex-Malawi president Bakili Muluzi has surprised all his
detractors by throwing his anti-corruption dragnet as far wide as to
threaten even his own godfathers.
      Wa Mutharika at the weekend resigned from the UDF - barely a year
after being entrusted with the safety of all public thieves in Malawi - as
he takes his anti-corruption drive to top gear, threatening all the corrupt
big fish in the tiny southern African country who all along have been
protected by past regimes.
      CZ cannot help but just wonder if anything close to this can ever
happen to this country . . . the Great Uncle handpicking one of his minions
to pretend like there is a new ruler, and suddenly the minion turning around
to embarrass everyone!


      It has always been said that a man who repeats a lie over and over
again ends up believing his own lie. That is no problem as long as the man
in question is alone forced to realise the consequences of his mischief.
      Last week one weekly newspaper published a true story that workers at
one of the many "SMEs" at the former ZBC had not been paid . . . more than
two weeks after pay day.
      Guess what? The "SME", which is full-time into the business of lying
round the clock, did not hesitate to run a story denying that its workers
had not been paid. It went further to claim that its workers had been paid
way before their pay-day, etc, etc.
      And the effect? Some landlords who genuinely believed that their
tenants were yet to be paid rightfully thought they were up to some mischief
and some of the workers found their belongings scattered outside!
      Can't there be a limit beyond which lying becomes a criminal offence?
Surely, if one's employer can have the gall to deny that they have not yet
paid their workers when they know very well that the opposite is the truth,
isn't it criminal?

      Food for thought

      A girl was directing her boyfriend to her apartment: "At the gate,
press the intercom button with elbow and somebody will let you in. With your
elbow, press the elevator button to open and press floor number three. That
is my floor. And with your elbow, knock on room 16. That is my room and I
will let you in."
      Confused, the boyfriend asked: "Why am I going to use my elbow?"
      She paused for a while and asked: "You are not coming empty-handed,
are you?"
      lA young boy was sitting in the park eating one burger after the
      An old man sitting across the bench approached the boy and said: "Son,
do you know it's not good for your health to eat one burger after the other
the way you are doing? You will not get to a ripe old age as I am."
      The little boy answered back: "My Grandpa lived to be 100 years."
      And the old man asked: "Did he use to eat this much?"
      The boy answered: "He used to mind his own business!"
      lWhen he was drunk, Harry always liked this habit of kissing his wife,
crawling into bed and falling to sleep.
      One night, all of a sudden he "woke up" with an elderly man dressed in
a shiny gown standing in front of his bed.
      "What the hell are you doing in my bedroom? And who are you?" he
      "This is not your bedroom," the man replied. "I am St Peter, and you
are in Heaven."
      "What!?? Are you saying I'm dead? I don't want to die
      . . . I'm too young," said Harry. "If I'm dead, I want you to send me
back immediately."
      "It's not that easy", said St Peter. "I can only smuggle you back to
life as a dog or a hen. You can choose on your own."
      Harry thought about it for a while, and figured out that being a dog
was too tiring, but a hen probably had a nice and relaxed life. Running
around with a rooster can't be that bad, he told himself.
      "I want to return as a hen," Harry replied.
      And in the next second, he found himself in a chicken run, really
nicely feathered.
      But "he" felt like the rear end was threatening to blow
      . . . then along came the rooster.
      "Hey, you must be the new hen on the farm?" he said. "How does it
      "Well, it's OK I guess, but it feels like my rear end is blowing up."
      "Oh that!" said the rooster. "That's only the ovulation going on. Have
you ever laid an egg before?"
      "No, how do I do that?" Harry asked.
      "Cluck twice, and then you push all you can."
      Harry clucked twice, and pushed more than he was good for, and then
"plop" - and an egg was on the ground.
      "Wow," Harry said. That felt really good!"
      So he clucked again and squeezed.
      And you better believe that there was yet another egg on the ground.
The third time he clucked, he heard a shout: "Harry, for God's sake, wake
up. You have messed the whole bed," his wife was shouting!
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      Bumper tobacco crop a reality: ZFU

      Audrey Chitsika
      2/10/2005 7:42:37 AM (GMT +2)

      INDIGENOUS tobacco producers are upbeat an increased harvest of 160
kilogrammes, a whopping threefold haul compared to last year, is attainable
in the 2004/05 season despite earlier indications that the crop would barely
reach 100 kilogrammes.

      The Zimbabwe Tobacco Association had said this year's crop would just
top 100 million kgs, itself an improvement on a 65 million kilogramme haul
recorded last year.
      But Kwenda Dzarira, executive director of the Zimbabwe Farmers Union,
said the availability of coal from Hwange Colliery Company had boosted the
chances of tobacco farmers reaching the target of 160 million kilogrammes.
      "Enough coal has been delivered by Hwange and that caters for the
curing of the 120 kilogrammes collected," said Dzarira.
      The past poor tobacco harvests have been partly blamed on an acute
shortage of coal to cure the crop.
      Hwange, in turn, has blamed the erratic supply of coal on a shortage
of wagons from the National Railways of Zimbabwe.
      "The only problem could be of curing space since tobacco has to stay
in the pan for about 10 to 18 days, depending on the quality of the leaf,"
said Dzarira.
      Davison Mugabe, president of the Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union,
this week said with continued good rains, the harvest could surpass 160
million and reach 250 million kilogrammes.
      "So far 120 million kilogrammes has been collected and is already in
the pans for cure," said Mugabe. "We already have a 100 percent harvest," he
      Mugabe said contract farming had increased chances of the industry
hitting the targeted 160 million kilogrammes for 2004/2005.
      In the 2003/04 season, the industry harvested 65 million, earning the
country US$240 million, a far cry from the peak of 200 million kilogrammes
in the 1999/2000 season.
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      Local firm launches farming software

      Zhean Gwaze
      2/10/2005 7:41:26 AM (GMT +2)

      A LOCAL technology firm, Incisive Techno-logies, has established a
five-year period desktop farm business planner in a bid to increase farmer
output and efficiency in an industry currently going through a lean spell
due to myriad problems.

      The planner, known as the Incisive Taguta, enables users to create
cropping scenarios from a total of 240 possible varieties, spread them over
user-defined seasons and allocate them to named land blocks of given sizes.
      Incisive Taguta will then compute comprehensive five-year financial
forecasts corresponding to the scenario created and can store five scenarios
      The scenarios can generate financial forecasts on production output,
sales revenues, variable assets, balance sheets, project costs, loans
required and repayments, debtors, creditors, stocks and financial ratios.
      Incisive Techno-logies managing director Misheck Khosa said
consultative meetings on the implementation of the project have already been
held with various stakeholders in the agriculture sector and officials from
the Ministry of Agriculture.
      The firm has also met with officials from leading horticultural
concerns such as Interfresh and Cairns and eight farmers have adopted the
      "The Incisive Taguta is all in one, a five-year cropping project
planner, a farm budgeting facility, a sales and financial forecasting tool,
a project appraisal facility, an inputs requirements reporter and a
"cash-flows" generator- all for the layman," Khosa said.
      The agriculture sector has shrunk by 50 percent in the past four years
because of a myriad of viability problems including lack of inputs, finance,
erratic weather as well as low international prices.
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      Ruling parties, too, should accept defeat

      2/10/2005 7:57:59 AM (GMT +2)

      I recently caught the tail-end of a news broadcast on the New
Partnership for Africa's Development television channel, AFRISAT.

      The story that was in progress when I tuned in featured the
inauguration of Mozambique's new President, Armando Guebuza. The report
ended with Tanzanian President Benjamin Mkapa, who was one of the VIP guests
at the ceremony, giving his views on how opposition parties in Africa react
to election results.
      Unfortunately and disappointingly, the Tanzanian head of state
launched into holier-than-thou sermonising about the need for opposition
parties on the continent to "learn to accept election results".
      He was obviously referring to Afonso Dhlakama's party, RENAMO, which
was defeated in recent elections. Dhlakama had threatened that his party
would not accept the poll results.
      Mkapa said a trend was developing in Africa involving opposition
parties failing to appreciate that accepting defeat was part of the
democratic process.
      I have always considered talking back to the television something a
bit weird , limited to sports fanatics. But on this occasion I found myself
audibly disputing the Tanzanian leader's statement and questioning his
      "Easy for you to say because you have never had to buckle down to an
unfair electoral defeat," I mumbled in the general direction of the TV set.
      Mkapa is not the first African leader to turn the legitimate argument
about rigged elections in Africa on its head by trying to promote the
fallacy that all that is wrong is the inability or reluctance of opposition
parties to face realities when they lose elections. According to the
Tanzanian leader and his fellow long-serving presidents, African democracy
will flourish as long as they remain in power.
      I am sorry to say this, but His Excellency is lying through his teeth.
Opposition parties in Africa are not the group that needs to learn anything
about defeat at the polls. They have known nothing else over the last 40
years when most nations attained independence.
      The group most in need of learning to accept that they cannot always
win at the polls consists of the ruling parties now holding sway
      True, these parties led their nations to independence and no one
disputes that. What I and most other long-suffering Africans cannot stomach
is the illogical and self-serving conclusion they have reached that they
have an exclusive right to govern indefinitely.
      As a result of this erroneous and convoluted reasoning, these parties
have decreed that dislodging them from power is un-African, unpatriotic and,
in some extreme cases, even treasonous.
      The weapons these dictatorial rulers have in their arsenal to ensure
that they never have to experience electoral defeat include repression,
ruthless crushing of dissent and downright rigging of elections.
      Not every ruling party is guilty of these abuses, but all of them owe
the world an explanation on how they manage to beat the law of averages to
win elections over and over for up to 40 years.
      As an example, Mkapa's party, Chama Chama Pindudzi, has ruled Tanzania
since independence in 1963. It goes without saying that in all those years,
opposition parties in Tanzania have had to come to terms with electoral
defeat after electoral defeat. What, may I ask, can Mkapa teach these groups
about experiencing and accepting defeat when his party has never done so?
      It is quite clear, that the bloc that has the most trouble fathoming,
let alone accepting, electoral defeat includes ruling parties in Tanzania,
Uganda, Mozambique, Angola, Togo, Egypt, Libya and Zimbabwe, etc, which have
some of the longest-serving presidents.
      Kenya, Zambia and Malawi, among others, were in the same category
until recently when opposition parties in these countries achieved the
seemingly impossible feat of booting out the erstwhile invincible ruling
      However, their successes at the polls seem to have caused jitters
among the remaining one-party rulers, hence their determination to cast
opposition parties as the villains for questioning their skewed and
unnatural winning streak.
      What Mkapa and Co are saying, in essence, is that opposition parties
should continue to allow the power-addicted ruling parties to steal
elections. That way they would never need to learn to accept losing
themselves but continue to preach their condescending "defeat is good for
you" gospel to others.

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      The constitution and issues of human rights

      2/10/2005 7:55:19 AM (GMT +2)

      The subject of human rights, which is closely related to the doctrine
of constitutionalism or democracy, is one that caused bitter controversy
locally during and after the civil strife in Matabeleland in the early 1980s
and during the past few years after the controversial 2000 and 2002 national

      National and international politics has also been dominated by debates
and continuous calls for the observance of people's rights, especially after
the collapse of colonialism and communism.
      The loud and persistent demand for the recognition and protection of
human, social, political and economic rights has been made and continues to
be made. But the unfortunate reality is that human rights violation
continues unabated, locally as well as across the entire length and breadth
of the globe.
      It is only through an acknowledgement and absolute respect for human
rights that meaningful peace and development may be attained globally.
      In this vein, the United Nations, governments, non governmental
organisations, political parties, churches, lawyers and some eminent persons
have formed the bandwagon that has been pushing for a genuine commitment to
the cause of human rights.
      The time has come for local politicians and other role players,
including the judiciary and the hitherto violence-prone members of the
security forces, to show a genuine commitment to respecting the rights of
      Recent assurances by President Robert Mugabe that there shall be a
zero tolerance to violence must be applauded because it signifies an
important change of stance by the ruling party, which in the past vigorously
employed violence, intimidation, torture, rape and other vices as a tool to
win people's favour.
      It is unfortunate that the human rights abuses that have been
perpetrated locally were unleashed despite us having a modern constitution
that has a relatively progressive Bill of Rights and other legal safeguards.
      The cause of this blatant disregard for people's rights and our
supreme law appear to emanate from our politicians' deep desire for infinite
political power.
      With Zimbabwe's parliamentary elections around the corner, it is hoped
that everyone will desist from the culture of pounding human flesh and
spilling innocent blood to win or maintain power. Those who wield political
power must stick to their pre-independence promises and stop dishing out to
people counterfeit democracy or token human rights.
      A Bill of Rights is an important component of any modern state that
subscribes to the universal doctrine of democracy. It confers certain rights
and freedoms and must provide guarantees against violation of such rights.
      But it is one thing to have a constitution with a Bill of Rights and
quite another to have a political system that does not give respect to such
rights and freedoms. A constitution can only have meaning if those with
political power show a commitment to the observance of human rights and the
law, and abstain from selectively recognising or giving effect to the
supreme law of the land.
      In domestic systems, a model constitution must provide for a balance
of power between the executive, judiciary and legislative arms of the state.
These three important pillars of a modern state, if allowed to function
properly and impartially, can limit abuse of power chiefly by the executive
      Once a human right is protected by a constitution, it becomes a legal
right, and upon its violation, an affected party can seek remedies through
the courts of law.
      Our courts, however, can only protect citizens from alienation of
their rights if they are allowed to function with unhindered independence,
adequate funding and free from the verbal and written diatribe by some
quarters of the media and politicians.
      Our constitution confers fundamental rights and freedoms of the
individual which must at all times be respected and protected, primarily by
the state. Such rights include the right to life, liberty, security of the
person and the protection of the law. Other rights include the right to
freedom of conscience, of expression, of assembly and association and,
finally, the right to protection of property and protection from arbitrary
and compulsory acquisition of property. These rights are fundamental but not
absolute because they must be enjoyed subject to the rights of others and
the public interest. The state is therefore permitted by the constitution to
deprive an individual his/her right where that right encroaches or poses a
danger to the rights of others.
      lVote Muza is a legal practitioner with Gutu & Chikowero law firm.
      E-mail address:
      Website :
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