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Zim Standard

MDC will win poll vows Tsvangirai
By Foster Dongozi

oParty election campaign and manifesto to be launched in Masvingo next

THE Movement for Democratic Change will next Sunday launch its campaign and
manifesto for the March general elections at Mucheke Stadium in Masvingo
where all the 120 candidates and thousands of the party's supporters are
expected to converge, the party's president, Morgan Tsvangirai, has said.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with The Standard at his Harare home on
Friday, an exuberant and confident Tsvangirai said his party was geared to
romp home to victory despite the uneven electoral playing-field and wanton
flouting of the SADC electoral guidelines by Zimbabwean authorities.

The MDC would have the majority seats in Parliament after the elections,
Tsvangirai declared, adding: "We will have the last laugh."

He said the MDC was now better placed to win the elections as it had become
more organised than it was in 2000 when it lost narrowly to the ruling Zanu
PF. The MDC leader said he was confident this time around, his party would
win a large number of rural seats.

"For the 2000 elections we did not have any structures in place. We have now
put in place structures throughout the country including in rural areas
where we have established village committees in every village," he said.

The opposition leader conceded, however, conditions for the 2005 elections
would be even tougher than they were during the 2 000 elections. He said:
"During the last elections, there was no Access to Information and
Protection of Privacy Act, (AIPPA) the Public Order and Security Act, (POSA)
and there were no militias and Green Bombers.

"Prevailing conditions make this election even more difficult and the
electoral field even more uneven than the last time but despite all the
obstacles being put in our way by Zanu PF, we will win," vowed the veteran
trade unionist with alacrity.

Tsvangirai said despite the widespread perception that the MDC had failed to
make inroads into the rural areas, the opposite was true. "The tragedy is
that we are operating in an abnormal environment. That perception has
continued to grow because of the closure of some media organisations which
would have been prepared to report on the MDC's activities on a daily basis.
The public media has also perpetuated that myth but our members know that we
have gone into the trenches and the rural communities have welcomed the MDC
with open arms."

Tsvangirai said over the past two years, he had been going into rural areas
to mobilise the electorate and to set up constituency campaign teams.
"Despite being subjected to state sponsored violence and terror, rural
communities were resisting coercion to be held captive by the militia and
Green Bombers.

"The enthusiasm for the MDC in rural areas is remarkable. The people in
rural areas are saying they are tired of Zanu PF's misrule and will not give
them free reign."

Asked to explain the growing perception that the MDC had lost steam compared
to 2000, Tsvangirai said: "That is an untruth being spread by the Zanu PF
propaganda machinery. Currently, Zanu PF is going through one of its biggest
crisis following the suspension of its provincial chairpersons and arrest of
its senior members. The ruling party wants to give the impression that the
upheavals it is experiencing are non existent and that it is the MDC having

On the reason for launching the campaign in Masvingo, Tsvangirai said:
"There is no particular reason other than the fact that Masvingo, like any
part of Zimbabwe, can host the launch of the MDC campaign. We actually had
two choices for launching the campaign, Murehwa and Masvingo but it will be
in Masvingo for logistical reasons because there is adequate accommodation
facilities and a big stadium for the launch."

Masvingo, formerly referred to as a "Zanu PF one-party province" by the
ruling party gave away Masvingo Central and Bikita West to the MDC in the
2000 Parliamentary elections, and the MDC is hoping to win over more voters
during the launch. The opposition party hopes to capitalize on the
disgruntlement among the Zanu PF rank and file after Masvingo was sidelined
from Zanu PF's top positions in the presidium to woo more voters.

The MDC nearly pulled the rug from under the feet of Zanu PF when it
snatched 57 seats from the ruling party in 2000 less than a year after its
formation."In fact we had 37 seats stolen from us and we can safely say we
won the 2000 elections, and that is why the courts have not even dealt with
our challenges," Tsvangirai said.

He said after lying to Zimbabweans that the opposition was full of
sell-outs, Zanu PF was struggling to regain its credibility after its senior
officials were arrested for selling Zanu PF secrets to foreign powers.
"Vatengesi vakazara muZanu PF. Vanotengesa nyika vanhu veZanu PF. (The
sell-outs are in Zanu PF).

On the issue of the controversy that has dogged the Masvingo Central
constituency, he said as party president, he had to intervene as four
primary elections had failed to take off because of infighting.

"After verifying with our national and district offices in Masvingo, the
electoral college voted in the primary elections and people came up with a
candidate of their choice. As party president I have to come in if some
activities threaten the existence of the party."

He said delays in holding primary elections in St Mary's had been created by
the fact that two factions each had their own lists of eligible voters.

He said: "The process could only go ahead after our national organising
office conducted a verification process and produced a list of district
executives who were eligible to vote in the primaries and again, the people
voted for their choice, which was Job Sikhala. There has never been any
attempt on the part of the leadership to impose candidates."

Tsvangirai said out of fear and desperation, the Zanu PF regime was
sponsoring factions within the MDC to create the impression that there was

"Zanu PF is funding some elements to hold demonstrations against the MDC
leadership to give the impression that we are having problems like
themselves. It is also very unfortunate that a few of our members do not
want to accept that in a democratic institution such as ours when the people
vote you out of office, you should accept the outcome. Unfortunately, some
newspapers are also getting involved in the conspiracy to misrepresent what
is going on in the MDC," he said.

He said the MDC accepted divergent opinions from its members and not those
sponsored by Zanu PF.
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Zim Standard

Moyo snubs Zanu PF campaign launch
By Foster Dongozi

AFTER removing Professor Jonathan Moyo from its upper echelons, Zanu PF has
been thrown into disarray after it failed to produce an election manifesto
in time for the launch of its campaign for the 31 March general elections on
Friday, The Standard can reveal.

The Zanu PF election campaign was launched by President Robert Mugabe where
he brandished a draft copy of the election manifesto saying the final
document was "not quite ready".
Moyo did not attend the launch on Friday.

The ruling party's election campaign was supposed to be launched in Harare
two weeks ago but was postponed after the party failed to produce a

Zanu PF sources in the Politburo told The Standard that there was panic at a
Politburo meeting as the ruling party's old guard struggled to come up with
the manifesto.

A draft manifesto produced by some Zanu PF supporters was rejected by the
Politburo which described it as "very shallow".

Jonathan Moyo, who has been dumped from influential posts in the Zanu PF
Central Committee and Politburo, was largely expected to draft the final
document, sources said.

Moyo was the architect of the Zanu PF election manifesto in 2000 and
confirmed this in his CV where he wrote: "I researched and wrote the Zanu PF
Election Manifesto for the 2000 Parliamentary Elections and my draft was
approved and adopted officially by the Politburo. I also wrote a widely
distributed campaign pamphlet for the 2000 Parliamentary elections entitled
'15 Reasons for Voting Zanu PF'."

In the 2000 elections, Moyo says he worked with all the ruling party's 120
candidates and provided them with campaign material including T-shirts.

"In 2002, I designed and led the implementation of the media campaign
strategy for the Presidential election," Moyo wrote

On 23 January, Nathan Shamuyarira, the secretary for information and
publicity for Zanu PF wrote a memo to Elliot Manyika, the political
commissar appealing for information to include in the manifesto.

"I need the following figures for the manifesto. How many people have now
been resettled in A1 and A2 resettlement schemes and how many people are
estimated to be resettled in the next five years. I need rough estimates
only. In the area of health, I would like to have figures on the number of
hospital beds available in both urban and rural areas. How many doctors and
nurses do we have and how many are we training. How serious is the brain

When contacted by The Standard, Moyo immediately switched off his cellphone.

Shamuyarira denied that there were delays in producing the manifesto.

"You people just want to create news where it does not exist. While the
President was launching the campaign, the manifesto was being printed and
what is wrong with that?"

On Friday, police details and Zanu PF security officials allegedly stormed
offices of Jongwe Printers, a printing company owned by the party, where the
manifesto was supposed to be printed following allegations that the
production of the manifesto was being sabotaged by some elements within the

Zanu PF security officers stood guard as the document was being printed.
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Zim Standard

CIO operatives grilled in SA
By Valentine Maponga

THREE members of the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) and a civilian
were arrested by South African police and detained for one night last week
for allegedly spying on a meeting between the two countries' powerful trade
union leaders, The Standard has been told.

Sources said South African police grilled the four intelligence operatives
before releasing them. The four were picked up after they tried to enter the
lodge, 40km out of Musina, where officials of the Congress of South African
Trade Unions (COSATU), were meeting a delegation from the Zimbabwe Congress
of Trade Unions (ZCTU) to discuss labour issues.
The Standard could not, however, establish the names of the agents but
sources in Beitbridge said the member-in-charge of the intelligence
organisation at the border town, identified only as Mhako was among those
arrested. Contacted for a comment Mhako was evasive and denied ever being
arrested by the South African police.

"I don't know anything about that, I have not been arrested. Who told you
that?" asked Mhako before slamming the phone down.

ZCTU secretary general Wellington Chibhebhe confirmed that the South African
police had arrested the four operatives .

"Initially our meeting was supposed to be held in Musina but it had to be
moved to some lodge 40km out of Musina and that is when it was discovered
that they had been following us," Chibhebhe said.

"After the incident we had to go to Johannesburg and board a plane because
we thought our lives were in danger."

The government reacted angrily to the recent COSATU visit, deporting the
delegation as soon as it set foot at the Harare International Airport. A
similar visit by COSATU last October also ended in acrimony when the
delegation was thrown out of the country.
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Zim Standard

Drunken soldiers attack MDC supporters in Nyanga

NYANGA - Drunken soldiers last week allegedly beat up 15 members of the
Movement for Democratic Change in Nyanga and frog-marched them to the police
station where they surrendered them.

Part of Nyanga now falls under Makoni North constituency, where Manicaland
Governor and Retired Lieutenant General Mike Nyambuya is the Zanu PF
candidate in the 31 March general elections.
Three supporters of the opposition sustained serious injuries.

The supporters were accused by the soldiers of holding a rally without
permission from the army.

Army spokesperson, Colonel Aggrey Hushe confirmed the incident that took
place in Nyanga but said they were "minor misunderstandings" which started
in a beerhall.

According to Pishai Muchauraya, the opposition's Manicaland spokesperson,
the party had applied for and been granted permission by the police to hold
a meeting.

He said the 15 were released on the same day after the intervention of a
senior police officer identified only as Ngulube, who is the Nyanga district
commanding officer.

Muchauraya said of the 15, Steven Kavhura sustained a deep cut on his head
and had his spectacles destroyed as the soldiers ran amok.

"The other two, Taona Bvunzawabaya and David Masaiti were also beaten up.
Masaiti is a relative of MDC Mutasa North legislator, Evelyn Masaiti, who
also confirmed the assaults.

The supporters were part of a group coming from a rally in Ruchera Village
in Nyanga when they came across the soldiers.

Ngulube said there was an undisclosed misunderstanding between the
opposition supporters and the soldiers who then "took the activists to the
police station".

"The MDC supporters were never made to write statements by the police as
there was no offence that they committed," Ngulube said.
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Zim Standard


Cosatu must revise its strategies

COSATU'S handling of the Zimbabwean crisis runs the risk of becoming
irrelevant. There are many ways of undertaking a fact-finding mission other
than their "tourist" approach, which we saw last year and early this month.

The labour movement in South Africa needs to appreciate that certain
strategies do not always work. Merely insisting on sending delegations is
not going to advance their cause and certainly not that of the people of
Zimbabwe bearing the brunt of the current crisis.
The one reason why the government is able to deal so decisively with the
South African trade unionists is because of the approach they are using. One
does not need a delegation tourist-style in order to learn about the
conditions in Zimbabwe. More importantly, it is what happens if and when
they believe they have gleaned a clearer picture of the status of the
majority of the people in this country that matters.

If Cosatu is serious about doing anything on the situation in Zimbabwe
instead of posing for cameras, let it send one or two people who could
travel incognito at different times to gather all the evidence on Zimbabwe
and then armed with this confront their government.

At the moment, to insist on sending delegations amid a blaze of publicity
and which in turn are publicly humiliated is to demonstrate an unparalleled
lack of creativity in their capacity to tackle a sensitive situation as the
one prevailing in Zimbabwe.

As long as delegations are sent Zimbabwe will kick them out. How, many times
does Cosatu want its delegations deported from Zimbabwe before they realize
the need to change tactics? Where a large and cumbersome group has not been
able to deliver, an individual or two might prove more successful.

The deportations do, however, serve only to prove and demonstrate to the
world how intolerant and terrified Harare is.

Cosatu's threats of a blockade are unlikely to be taken seriously. After the
deportation of the 13-member delegation last October, the South African
labour movement threatened a blockade in early December, then it was moved
to Christmas and the New Year holidays. We all know what became of those
threats - the hollow bark of a frightened canine. Among the people here they
have created a reputation of being long on threats but short on delivery.

If Cosatu is really the powerful ally of South Africa's ruling African
National Congress and if it is convinced that the crisis in Zimbabwe is
worthy of their intervention, they must prod their allies in government to
talk to Harare so that the concerns they raise, on behalf of the suffering
majority, are addressed.

In approaching the South African government, Cosatu could do well to seek
from President Thabo Mbeki and company what evidence they have had of the
previous promises by Harare to review, for instance, the repressive media
laws in this country. They were assured the laws were being amended. What
Pretoria was not told was that the amendments were to make the laws tougher.
Pretoria was assured that the ruling Zanu PF and the government were
committed to talks with the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).
That professed commitment is yet to manifest itself. What can Cosatu
possibly hope to achieve given this background?

Cosatu needs to review its strategy on a possible blockade and picketing of
the Zimbabwe embassy and the extent to which these tactics are likely to be
effective. These may be tactics that served their usefulness during the
1970s anti-apartheid and UDI eras. Today's crisis in Zimbabwe calls for
different approaches.

It is curious that both Cosatu and the South African Communist Party, which
make up two-thirds of the ruling alliance in South Africa, are apparently
unable to prevail over the remaining third of the alliance.

For the government in Zimbabwe, it is tragic that people who claim to have
fought fierce battles against a well-equipped enemy during the liberation
struggle could be so terrified by a visit of a handful of labour activists.

The government's own history demonstrates that no amount of effort will
prevent the march of history. Ian Smith tried all sorts of trickery to delay
or stop the freedom march. Today, the results of his futile efforts are

The government can only be afraid of a Cosatu delegation because it is fully
aware of its record and legacy of excesses. If the government believes its
own spin that the situation in Zimbabwe is paradisiacal, it would only be
too glad to let outsiders come and marvel at the many wonderful achievements
and its popularity among the majority of the people.

But, the guilty are always afraid. The government is conceding the lie that
it has lived all these years and is afraid that someone will hold up the
mirror to it and thus remind it of its own horrors of unfulfilled and broken
promises and disregard of the welfare of the very people whose support it

It is tragic that the government has demonstrated such paranoia in handling
the Cosatu delegation and is behaving like a frightened little man.

If the government is concerned that Zimbabweans will be influenced and
corrupted by a visiting Cosatu delegation, then it reveals profound contempt
for the capacity of Zimbabweans to act and think independently for

Cosatu needs to reassess its strategies on Zimbabwe, while Zimbabweans must
decide what their response to the government should be. At the moment we
seem to believe that outsiders are the ones who should come and fight our
battles for us.

The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade unions has threatened various forms of action
but does not appear to have the guts to stage them.

The people of the Ukraine did not wait five years to seek redress to a
disputed election. Neither did they wait for outsiders to come and champion
their cause.
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Zim Standard

No fear, no rules, no nothing
overthetop By Brian Latham

A break from politics for a while. After all, in the run up to the
elections, there'll be a glut of politicians to laugh at.

Instead of politics, motoring news - and the fact that Zimbabwe has become
one the most astonishing, interesting and amazing countries in which to take
a drive.
Middle-aged Zimbabweans will remember the days when one could go down to the
Post Office and buy a little book called "The Highway Code." It was a simple
little booklet that explained the rules of the road. The government could
now save itself a considerable amount of money by revising it down to a
single sheet of paper saying, "There are no rules."

It is no secret that drivers' licenses are now bought rather than earned and
that what were once rules are now more general sort of guidelines.

And once again, the ugly spectre of race and gender raises its gruesome
head. Many people believe the worst offenders, the most dangerous and unruly
drivers, are those men behind the wheels of the nation's ubiquitous ETs.

That's not true. No matter how perilous a trip in an ET, no matter how
uncaring its driver, there is a category of road user who is worse still.
You will discover this in very short order if, as Over The Top does, you
ride a large and very fast motorcycle in an effort to conserve fuel. We'll
come to the fuel saving abilities of 300 kmh machines later.

Zimbabwe's worst drivers are white ex-farmers' wives in twin-cabs. Their
ability to pull out in the face of on-coming traffic, to stop and talk in
the middle of the road, to reverse into other vehicles in car parks, would
make even the bravest ET drivers blush.

Still, ET drivers are bad and they are insolent. Recently OTT, on the right
side of the road on his way to Ruwa, was confronted by an ET on the wrong
side of the road. The ET was overtaking a very long line of traffic. It
flashed its lights at OTT, ordering him off the road, something OTT refused
to do, forcing the ET to come to a grinding halt. Playing chicken on
Zimbabwe's roads isn't a matter of fun, it's a matter of necessity. We are
the world champions of a pastime that has become even more popular than

There's another category of driver who manages to strike fear into the
heart. Women from Harare's leafy northern suburb of Mbaredale. Many of them
drive enormous four-wheel drive machines with careless disregard for
everyone else, chatting away on their cell phones while they travel from
shop to shop and café to café.

And all Mercedes drivers, irrespective of colour or sex. Why is it that a
Mercedes requires three quarters of the road, no matter how wide the road?

Diplomats, especially United Nations diplomats, must rank almost equally bad
as ET drivers. OTT recently had the pleasure of reprimanding an oriental
diplomat and threatening him with violence for cutting in front in a
dangerous manner. Another pleasant little interlude was the sight of a Red
Cross official experiencing road rage, and then fleeing when it seemed he
might be out-manned.

Still, considerable confusion could be ended if the authorities did away
with all robots and street signs. These things serve only to bewilder
drivers because some take notice of them and others don't.

Nor is it worth discussing the West's preoccupation with drunk drivers. No
sane person would undertake a trip entirely sober in this country where
travelling is best experienced in a fog of 12-year-old whisky.

But back to speed. The faster you get there, the sooner the fear ends. You
can travel from Jaggers to Troutbeck in 45 minutes on a motorbike, honestly.

This saves two hours and fifteen minutes of both paralysing fear and of
fuel. Therefore, in a country short of fuel (if not fear), it makes sense to
drive like hell.
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Zim Standard

Firms say confusion as Zimra introduces tax regime
By our own Staff

A NEW regulation on withholding tax requiring evidence of a tax clearance
certificate in virtually every business transaction has caused confusion in
local business.

The Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) said in a recent notice that with
effect from 1 January 2005, Section 80 of the Income Tax Act (Chapter 23:06)
had been amended such that the payer in a transaction will be required to
hold 10% of the total value of the amount owed as withholding tax.
This is in the case where the provider of goods or services has not produced
evidence that they have furnished a return under Section 37 of the Income
Tax Act.

"Those who fail to produce evidence that they have furnished such a return
will have 10% withholding tax deducted from the amount due to them. Evidence
of submission of a return takes the form of a Form ITF 263 - Tax Clearance
Certificate for Tenders. The original copy of this certificate should be
retained by the payer for audit purposes," Zimra said in the notice.

"A payer who has withheld the 10% is required by law to remit the amount so
withheld, to the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority on or before the last day of the
month, following that in which the payment was made."

Previously, this was only required of firms entering into contracts through
the State Procurement Board, the state tender board. However, the new
requirements have been extended to cover other private business transactions
outside those conducted with Government and its affiliates. The new
amendment means that businesses will now have to supply the tax information
each time that they supply goods or services.

According to one top tax expert, "this means your newspaper vendor will
withhold 10% of what you owe him if you can't produce the required tax
document. I don't think Zimra has thought this thing through".

Businesses, including auditors, are worried at the disruptive effect the
regulation will likely have on the smooth running of business. Apart from
this worry, there are also suggestions from commerce that Zimra is forcing
private business to collect revenue on its behalf.
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Zim Standard

Election violence likely to dampen tourism
By Kumbirai Mafunda

ZIMBABWE'S ailing tourism industry is likely to suffer a heavy knock from
the political and social unrest that characterises the election period,
experts in the tourism industry have said.

They said political instability would deprive the country of foreign
currency, dampening prospects of an early recovery to Zimbabwe's economy.
The elections are slotted for 31 March and will pit the ruling Zanu PF
against opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), as well as several
other smaller political parties.

Zimbabwe Council for Tourism (ZCT) chief executive officer, Paul Matamisa,
said the elections would affect revenue inflows from tourism, as fewer
people would visit the country during polling period.

Zimbabwe relied on visitors from overseas, a quarter of whom used to come
from the United Kingdom.

"Judging by past experience we saw a lot of reduction in the movement of
tourists," Matamisa said, "So we might see tourists making some decisions
not to travel."

Zimsun chief executive officer, Shingi Munyeza, also fears a slump in
tourism business. He said domestic tourism, which is partly sustaining the
industry at the moment, could "freeze" as companies become more cautious.

"There is a tendency to slow down. The movement of people for business
purposes is reduced during this period," Munyeza said.

One of the country's leading hotel groups Rainbow Tourism Group (RTG) last
week warned that the profitability of the company was being held back due to
the forthcoming elections, adding that ".the performance of the company for
the second half of the year will be significantly below market

Past elections have tended to be violent, a situation that scared away
tourists, costing the country enormous sums in foreign exchange revenue.

Tourism is Zimbabwe's third largest earner of foreign exchange after tobacco
and gold. But a plethora of self-inflicted misfortunes has resulted in the
shrinkage of earnings from US$770 million in 1999 to US$152 million in 2004.

During the 2000 parliamentary polls, the number of visitors into the country
fell by 60 percent, while some hotels experienced a 70 percent plunge in

During the same period 66 local tour operators closed shop as rampaging
gangs of war veterans and Zanu PF loyalists went on a wholesale seizure of

Besides safety concerns the tourism sector is also severely affected by a
barrage of negative publicity surrounding the country's economic and
socio-political climate.

The main threat to the industry, hoteliers say, will be the orgy of violence
usually perpetrated by self-styled liberation war veterans who in past
elections clashed with tourists and other perceived sympathisers of the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

"The period is too close to the upheaval of 2000 and 2002 and tourists
haven't forgotten about events that took place during this period," said one
leading hotelier.

Apart from the industry's troubles traditional source markets are issuing
travel warnings prohibiting their citizens from visiting Harare. Holiday
insurance companies have suspended travel cover to tourists travelling to
the country.

"We recommend travel with organised tour operators to well-established
destinations. We strongly advise against independent travel, particularly
back-packing," reads part of an advisory from the British Foreign Office.

The United States government recently reinforced "security fears" by
advising its citizens to delay planned trips to Zimbabwe until after the

"American citizens should consider postponement of non-essential travel
until at least April 2005," the State Department cautioned.
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Zim Standard

Harare water supply system under threat
By Emmanuel Mungoshi

HARARE's ground water supply system is under serious threat from
uncontrolled cultivation and sand poaching on wetlands around the city,
environmentalists have warned.

The warning comes at a time when people have raised questions about the
safety of Harare's drinking water.
Speaking after a tour of Harare's wetlands recently, Environment Africa (EA)
northern division branch manager, Barney Mawire, said wetlands cultivation
posed a serious threat to the city's drinking water.

Mawire said: "If cultivation on wetlands continues unregulated chemicals
such as fertilisers will also continue to accumulate in lakes which feed the
city with drinking water.

"This is mainly because the wetlands have no time to hold water allowing for
decomposition processes and for vegetation to reduce sediments and toxins in
water. As a result more chemicals are going to be needed to purify the

Natural resource experts say wetlands play vital hydrological functions such
as flood control, ground water discharge and regulating river flow.

Zimbabwe Rural Urban Planning Association (ZRUPA) president, Percy Toriro,
said there should be careful planning before any major activity is carried
out in the wetlands.

"An environment impact assessment should be undertaken before any
development takes place," said Toriro, who is also Harare's Principal Town

He said ZIRUPA had embarked on a multifaceted approach to create awareness
among the urban farmers.

"We are conducting training and teaching professionals (regional and town
planners) in land use, so that if they plan with the environment in mind,
wetlands have a chance for survival," Toriro said.

Harare City Council spokesperson, Leslie Gwindi, said the council in
conjunction with the government was in the process of relocating wetland
farmers to peri-urban areas.

"We are going to give the farmers alternative farming areas because wetlands
have problems of drainage and siltation," Gwindi said.
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Zim Standard

ZBH ventures into flower production
By our own staff

THE financially troubled Zimbabwe Broadcasting Holdings (ZBH) has already
started its ambitious horticultural operations at its Highlands premises in
order to raise much-needed foreign currency, The Standard has established.

Last week scores of workers were busy clearing the land meant for the
production of flowers. Others were putting final touches to the
approximately two metre-high fence to the farming plot, bordering the
Borrowdale Race Course.
Over the years, the land was reserved for future expansion of the
broadcasting station.

Workers at ZBH said the flower growing project was aimed at recouping losses
the group has suffered over the years as it tried to prop up President
Robert Mugabe's beleaguered government.

They questioned the wisdom of venturing into "a risky project" at a time
standards at the broadcasting station have "deteriorated heavily" and when
the company was failing to pay its workers on time.
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Zim Standard

Court reprieve for private schools
By our own staff

THE High Court has ordered the Ministry of Education, Sport and Culture to
refrain from shutting down private schools that increase school fees without
the government's approval.

In a judgment handed down last month, High Court judge Justice George
Chiweshe said shutting down schools that increased fees without government
approval contravened Section 21 of the Education Act and Section 4 of
Statutory Instrument 28A of 2003.
"First Respondent (Minister of Education, Sport and Culture) and Second
Respondent (secretary for education), are hereby restrained from closing
down or ordering or threatening the closure of non-government schools or
schools run by applicants by reason of any perceived or alleged
contravention of either Section 21 of the Education Act or Section 4 of
Statutory Instrument 28A of 2003," reads part of the judgment.

The Association of Trust Schools (ATS) sought a final order in September
last year to restrain the Minister of Education, Sport and Culture, Aeneas
Chigwedere, from closing down schools or causing the arrest of headmasters,
headmistresses and chairpersons of private schools.

In May 2004, the government shut down several private schools and arrested
school heads for "violating" the Education Act. The school heads had
increased fees without the approval of the secretary for education.

Jameson Timba, the chairperson of ATS, said the High Court order confirms
that the actions by the Ministry of Education, Sport and Culture and police
to close private schools and arrest the heads were illegal. "If someone had
taken time to read and understand the empowering Statutory Instrument 28A of
2003, then this sad chapter in our country's education history could have
been avoided," Timba said.

The High Court order also states that all pending cases before the courts,
in respect of the May 2004 fees issue, were "dead rubbers".

"In this respect, I have no doubt in my mind that our new Attorney General
Sobuza Gula-Ndebele, who has made an unequivocal statement on the need for
everyone to respect the law will ensure that the relevant instructions are
given to various provincial prosecutors to avoid the continued unnecessary
harassment of our members and the waste of our limited State resources,"
Timba said.

He added: "However, the information about the High Court order has not yet
filtered to the different courts and police stations handling these cases
around the country. As a result most cases have not been dropped".

Edith Mushore, an executive member of ATS, said the court order would remain
in effect until Chigwedere gives reasons why he says the fees charged by
trust schools should be reduced.

She explained that " Section 21 of the Education Act states that trust
schools are supposed to charge an amount that is reasonable for the running
of a school. This is done through compiling a budget, which is presented to
the parents, who have to vote for it.

With the majority vote from the parents, the school then applies for an
endorsement of the budget by the secretary of education.

The secretary or the minister has no power to reduce or increase the budget,
but can give suggestions that can lead to the reduction of the budget.
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Zim Standard

     Economists warn against ex-detainee gratuity payoff

      THE Zimbabwean government's decision to award large compensatory
payments this month to former detainees from the liberation war could have
long-term repercussions, economists said.

      The Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare, Paul
Mangwana, announced last week that former detainees held by the colonial
government for more than six months from 1959 will receive a one-off payment
and educational and health benefits.
      The Herald reported that at least 6,000 ex-political prisoners,
detainees and restrictees "are now set to be rewarded for their contribution
to the liberation struggle".

      Gideon Gono, governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ), warned
the government last year, when the Ex-Political Prisoners, Detainees and
Restrictees Act was passed, that a large payout could throw plans to reduce
inflation off course.

      The Standard reported recently that the once-off payments would be
worth $10 million each, and could amount to $60 billion. There are reports
that former detainees are now scrambling to register, which could push the
number of beneficiaries to 25,000, potentially raising the bill.

      Although every person who qualifies will be registered, only those in
need of assistance will benefit from the proposed schemes, The Herald noted.

      Last week, the government also raised the allowances and salaries of
chiefs and village heads by 150 percent, with effect from January.

      Most of the former liberation war activists have remained loyal to the
ruling Zanu PF, while village chiefs have been important to the party's
strength in the countryside.

      Economist and member of the RBZ's advisory board, Eric Bloch, said the
payouts made more political than economic sense, with parliamentary
elections due on 31 March.

      "That is blatantly an act of vote buying ahead of elections in March,
and that will have a negative impact on the government's deficit, as it will
have to resort to more borrowing. The decision will counteract the bank's
efforts to fight inflation," Bloch said in an interview. - IRIN.
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Zim Standard

Zanu PF's latest gimmick: Women
By Priscilla Misihairabwi & Grace Kwinjeh

HAVING thoroughly messed up the land distribution process, Zanu PF has a new
target - women.

In a desperate bid to deal with the twin problems of succession and growing
national unpopularity, the ruling party has found a scapegoat: women.
Women have become the latest cover for the regime to implement and complete
its insidious agenda of retaining power at all costs.

During its 24 years in power, and many more years as a party, Zanu PF has
routinely neglected and marginalised the women in its ranks and Zimbabwean
women as a whole.

However, desperate to retain its stranglehold on power, the ruling party is
now making a cynical attempt to hoodwink the public into believing it cares
for the welfare of women. Recent developments within the ruling party
concerning the fate and status of women cannot go unchallenged.

The recent history of Zimbabwe is rich with examples of Zanu PF trying to
repackage itself to gain national support and international acceptance. In
2000, a popular movement rejected the government-sponsored draft
Constitution on principle - because the people knew that the process was
flawed, and that no worthy document could emerge from such a process. Just
as many pro-democracy activists saw through that deceit, we must rise to the
challenge and see the recent development within Zanu PF in the same light.

Many women first became activists in the women's movement in Zimbabwe having
realised that Zanu PF had failed the generality of Zimbabwean women.

The liberation struggle did not result in our emancipation. In fact, as a
liberation party that went through an armed struggle, its structure and
system are based on male superiority ideology: patriarchy.

From the onset we need to demystify the appointment of Joyce Mujuru as
Second Vice-President and the status of Zanu PF women as a whole. The
patriarchal nature of Zanu PF has ensured that no strong woman in her own
right has emerged out of the Zanu PF system before now. This is also why the
question of gender equality, both nationally and within the party, remains

It must first be understood that Mujuru is only acceptable to President
Robert Mugabe as his Vice president because she does not threaten his hold
on power, either nationally or within the ruling party. She has been
propelled to the party's top most position precisely because she poses no
threat to any of the distinct factions engaged in a bitter power struggle
within Zanu PF. These include the Zapu faction, Emmerson Mnangagwa faction
and, of course, the Mujuru faction led by her husband, Solomon.

Putting Joyce Mujuru in the Vice presidency does not change the fact that
Zanu PF remains the same dictatorial regime with nothing to offer the people
of Zimbabwe. It is still the source of our misery. Women and children form
the majority of the three million people in need of food aid. They are the
victims of the collapsed education system and those experiencing the effects
of the crumbling health sector. They continue to suffer as a result of Zanu
PF's bankrupt policies, and the party's sole interest in retaining power at
all costs.

Reform of a corrupt political party or system does not come with appointing
a woman. Mujuru's appointment does nothing to address the real questions of
governance and democracy. The crisis confronting Zimbabwe is not about the
biology of those in the governing hierarchy, but their ability to deal with
critical national issues.

If one examines the way the new quotas for "women's empowerment" are being
handled, it becomes clear that Mugabe is in control. There was no democratic
process of nominating or selecting constituencies for women. The women being
put in the so-called constituencies set for them are simply replacing
Mugabe's enemies. The absurdity of the whole process becomes evident when we
see that women form the majority of those protesting against the imposition
of "women's constituencies".

Even those women who have been in parliament in the past 24 years, it is
clear that they have operated within a framework defined by the men - hence
their failure to push the women's agenda at a broader national level.

If this is the behaviour of Zanu PF, what is the lesson for women in the
alternative movement, MDC? We are fighting the same beast, patriarchy, which
transcends every aspect of our lives - at home, in church and even in the
political system we belong to.

As we struggle within the MDC, we are clear that patriarchy is an enemy we
will fight within and outside as we refuse to play junior partner to our
male counterparts. It is important that our colleagues understand that the
issue of gender power relationships cannot be separated from the whole fight
for human rights and democracy.

Therefore, we remain cognisant of the fact that in the alternative movement
we have a twin struggle. We must remain vigilant in transforming our
national political system into a people centred one. Internally we must
ensure that our party lives up to its promises and moves towards a better
life for all women in Zimbabwe, regardless of their political affiliation.

This commitment is made at many levels. Within the MDC, there is a
grassroots women's agenda. Our National Women's Assembly, held in Masvingo
in October 2003, passed a resolution stating that one third of all MDC posts
throughout all MDC party structures will be reserved for the nomination of
women candidates. The National Executive and National Council adopted the
resolution unanimously. On top of this we have mainstreamed gender in all
party policies.

Nationally, as MDC women we will continue to fight for democracy and human
rights for all Zimbabweans. We will carry the burden of arrests, torture and
rape from an illegitimate and evil regime.

Likewise, we will continue to insist that our own system does not do to even
one woman what Zanu PF has done to Zimbabwean women.

To achieve that we call upon our allies in civil society, the region and the
international community to stand with us as we push the MDC women's agenda
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Zim Standard

Health crisis runs much deeper
sundayopinion By Dr P. Hutano

I was very pleased to see the headline "Harare Hospital in Intensive Care"
in The Herald of 26/1/05. I was very pleased because at last someone has
noted that things are not well at Harare Hospital.

I, however, want to point out something that was missed in the article; the
quality of care that is offered in government hospitals in general. The
attitude of the health workers in Zimbabwe now is that of paid mercenaries.
Most of the health care workers, starting at the top and filtering to the
bottom, are no longer interested in providing quality medical care for the
patient. The majority of health workers in Zimbabwe just do not care anymore
and the patients are being short changed.

The majority of health workers and Ministry of Health staff hide behind the
excuse of "shortage of staff and equipment" when in fact they are just plain
lazy or looking for a way to extort money from patients.

The Ministry of Health is not helping at all. The monitoring system for
health workers is non-existent. Doctors can disappear on duty by 10AM and no
one calls them to be accountable.

How many times have patients presented to casualty at Harare Hospital and
most other government hospitals throughout the country and no doctor could
be found to attend to the patient?

I shall demonstrate how the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare and health
workers have contributed to the demise of a functioning health system, as we
know it.

The much talked about referral system is non-existent. (The referral system
is whereby if a patient can not be managed at a clinic he/she is referred to
the next level- district/mission hospital, then to the provincial hospital
and finally to the central hospitals.)

If a patient is taken by ambulance to the next level of care the ambulance
driver is told by a very rude nurse to take the patient to Harare Hospital
and not to bother them.

The doctor at this level does not bother to check the patient and see
whether they can do something to stabilize the patient before further
transporting the patient. If it is a maternity patient she will travel more
than 500 kms from her home while having labour pains.

It is not difficult to see what typically can happen to the mother or the
baby to be born. Many times patients are told to find their own transport
because the government hospital has no functioning ambulance or it is being
used for non-medical reasons by the people in charge.

Most patients referred to central hospitals come back to the district
hospitals without anything being done. Most doctors in the peripheral health
centres have the daily frustration of seeing orthopaedic (bone problems) and
urology (kidney problems) patients coming back to them without anything
being done at the central hospitals.

Most cancer patients, urology and orthopaedic patients as well as some
medical patients are sent back without proper tests and investigations being
done on them.

As a doctor who works in a peripheral hospital, if I decide to operate on
such patients without adequate staff and equipment (as determined by the
Health Professions Council) and something happens to the patient I am at
risk of losing my licence and career. Everyone will be clamouring for my
head - the relatives, the Health Professions Council and the Ministry of
Health, so why bother to help poor patients who have no alternative?

Should they continue to suffer for years because the referral system doesn't

In Zimbabwe, if you want to go the extra mile you end up getting your
fingers burnt by those who don't really care what happens to poor patients.
In fact, they want you to refer the patient to their private practice where
they can make $10-20 million for that surgery.

The best move is not to do anything, that way you are safe and you "fit in"
to the health system that does nothing to improve the lives of patients.

In the health system "tsitsi dzinotsitsirira." When things go wrong
(sometimes patients do die even with the best care possible) everyone is
there reminding you of the referral system which is non-existent and which
you have sent the patient through 10 times with nothing being done. You are
reminded by other "health professionals" it is better to just let the
patient die!

Working in the periphery is really disheartening to some of us who are
soldiering on. We haven't left the country for greener pastures, but are
concerned enough to help the poor rural people of Zimbabwe, and yet
constantly we are being discouraged by other health professionals.

You find that a patient has been discharged from a teaching (central)
hospital without proper investigations/ tests/ treatments being done and
without proper discharge summaries.

This attitude will never change even if you put millions of dollars into the
system so that sinks and elevators are working properly.

oTo be continued next week
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Zim Standard

March 31: Zimbabwe's day of reckoning
By Bornwell Chakaodza

ONCE again, the season of election manifestos is upon us. Zanu PF launched
its own in Harare last Friday. MDC is to follow suit in Masvingo next
Sunday. Yet another round again - what difference will it make, most
Zimbabweans will be asking. And rightly so given the fact that there has
been no end to the Zimbabwean national crisis since 2000.

It is cold comfort that most Zimbabweans appear to be resigned to their
fate - at least on the surface. They seem to have lost faith in the ability
of the system to change things for the better. In both 2000 parliamentary
elections and 2002 presidential election, there was a feeling in the air
that change must come. Not so any more.

The international community had intense interest in the outcome of those two
elections. But now there is a kind of lassitude and weariness about the
Zimbabwean situation within the international community. We have been

Even our brothers and sisters in the Sadc region are not showing any
interest or enthusiasm in our elections as they did in 2000 and 2002 - a sad
and regrettable situation indeed. Both at home and abroad, people appear to
have grown tired of our crisis.

The worst thing that can happen to a troubled country like Zimbabwe is for
the citizens to lapse into a laissez faire attitude and withdraw from the
political process. More dangerous is for the voting public to throw their
hands in the air in frustration and despair.

The major challenge, therefore, is to tell oneself that one is engaged in a
democratic process that is ongoing and that nothing is permanent in this

In fact, there are two main challenges as the clock ticks towards March 31.
The first is to strongly believe that it is the vote that counts. That
apathy is the No. 1 enemy of change. The second is to vote for a party which
has a clear vision and a plausible blueprint for the future; a party that
has the drive, the energy and the willingness to fix the Zimbabwean problem.

We cannot continue to be in permanent crisis as a country. The 2005 election
is critical in the sense that a solution has to be found to the national
crisis. The major issue here is about the need for change. Whether through
MDC or within Zanu PF itself it does not matter. What is needed is a party
whose promise of change has real meaning for the long-suffering people of

I hold no candle for either party, Zanu PF or MDC. I hold a candle for a
party with a fresh vision of leadership; a party that can restore hope and
lift Zimbabweans of all races and creeds from the economic quagmire that has
been haunting this country for the last five years.

Gideon Gono and his team at the Central Bank deserve kudos for trying very
hard to fix the 'economic problem' but he is obviously hamstrung by the
'political problem'. The full answer to our problems naturally lies in the
hands of the political leaders.

It is important for political parties to focus on the real issues not
theatrical posturing. The living standards of previously comfortable
Zimbabweans have plummeted to an all time low. For ordinary citizens, daily
hardships are intense: no jobs, no money, rising prices, collapse of the
health delivery system, deliberate destruction of the education system that
was once the pride and envy of Africa and indeed the whole world,
malnutrition, poorly-clothed and an unending list of economic hardships.

Yes, before we look beyond March 31, we have the right to assess what we
have come through. The essence of democracy is not just winning power; it is
also what you have done with that power when you were holding it.

It is easy to blame somebody else for one's problems rather than coming to
terms with them. Accepting responsibility and accountability for one's
actions and for a system that has gone badly wrong is the starting point on
the road to recovery and renewal. Dubbing a serious election an anti-Blair
election just does not wash. No sane Zimbabwean can buy this sort of thing.

Chanting slogans is the senseless act of fanatics or manipulated mobs. It
connotes mindless repetition which does not add value to anything. As
vacuous war cries during the liberation struggle yes to slogans but 'no
thought' when you are trying to convince voters with concrete facts. Zanu PF
must do better than this. Merely shouting anti-Blair and anti-Bush slogans
will not create jobs nor bring food on people's tables.

Zimbabweans can only assume that the old guard in Zanu PF remains wrapped in
the time warp of liberation politics unable to realise and appreciate that
the world has since moved on and that the time for liberation politics to
end is at the very moment of liberation. For President Mugabe to live in the
past is understandable. Forty-five or so years is a very, very long time in
politics - almost an eternity in fact. It is perhaps difficult to be
anything but an anachronistic liberation leader 25 years after liberation
has been achieved.

Yes, I would certainly be the first to concede that the West did a lot of
bad things to Africa and that many of the present pathologies that we are
facing are as a result of the legacy of colonialism. But we also must
realise that today much of the responsibility of our present predicament
lies at our own feet. This is largely the framework within which the
seriousness of the current crisis and challenges we are facing must be seen
and understood.

But we have come to the stage in our country where the issue is whether we
make change 'our friend and not our enemy'. This is the main challenge that
the ruling Zanu PF party faces.

MDC is naturally in a change mode given the fact that they are a party
presently in the political wilderness wanting to go into power. The sooner
Zanu PF appreciates that change is inevitable, the better for them. The
march of time takes care of that. Either the ruling Zanu PF party masters
change or change will inevitably master the party. It is just that simple!

There is a growing recognition that political legitimacy, stability,
security, progress, freedom and democracy and general sanity must return to

The March 2005 parliamentary election is yet another golden opportunity to
make real that promise. It is a huge mountain to climb but it can be done.
It is pertinent to remind ourselves that as Zimbabweans the only power that
we have to change things is our vote. Never mind the unevenness of the
electoral playing field but going out in full force to vote can and will
make a big difference.

Apathy should have no place in people's scheme of things. It is encouraging
that zero tolerance has been declared on political violence from whatever
quarter. Our message is that rhetoric must be genuinely translated into
practice and reality on the ground.

Once the ruling Zanu PF gets used to the idea that governments and sitting
presidents can be voted in and out of power through the ballot and the
verdict of the polling booths, they can stop feeling threatened by this
'monster' called MDC and move in the direction of normalising what to all
intents and purposes is an abnormal political environment in our country.

Zimbabwe deserves better leaders. This was once a beautiful country which
Zimbabweans and non-Zimbabweans alike enjoyed and with a very sound
infrastructure. All that has been massacred while countries in the region
such as South Africa, Botswana and Mozambique are moving ahead proudly and

The race to determine the direction in which our country should be moving is
now entering the home stretch. What some of us do best is analyse, comment
and warn. The rest is up to the generality of Zimbabweans to vote wisely -
come judgment day on March 31.

Let us not leave a terrible legacy to our children
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11 February 2005


Access to the state controlled media is one the MDC's key minimum standards
for a credible election and a standard that is enshrined in the SADC
Protocol on elections.

The Government has been under intense pressure from the MDC and the people
of Zimbabwe to open up the state media to the broad spectrum of views and
opinions that exist in our society.

The announcement by the Minister of State for Information and Publicity,
that the Government will next week publish regulations allowing all
political parties 'reasonable' access to the electronic media, is
theoretically a step in the right direction.

The real test of the government's sincerity on this issue, however, will be
how the new regulations work in practice and the time-frame allowed for
opposition parties to access the electronic media.

At this stage we are cautiously optimistic. However, whilst we are
encouraged that the Government has finally bowed to pressure from the people
and acknowledged, in principle, the right of all political parties to access
the electronic media, we are yet to be fully convinced of the sincerity
behind this latest reform measure. The Government remains intransigent on
the issue of equal access to the state controlled print media which
continues to reject adverts from opposition parties and misrepresents
comments by opposition leaders and politicians.

All of the reforms that the Government has introduced thus far to improve
the transparency and fairness of our electoral process have been cosmetic
and primarily aimed at tricking the region into believing it is complying
with the new SADC standards.

Following yesterday's announcement we expect to be able to have access to
the electronic media immediately after the regulations are gazetted next
week so that we have sufficient time in which to communicate our manifesto
to the electorate; a manifesto which sets out our agenda for a new beginning
and provides a credible programme for job creation and ensuring all
Zimbabweans have access to food.

If the government is playing games and only planning to allow opposition
parties airtime in the final two weeks of the election campaign then the new
regulations, whatever their merits, will be dismissed as another exercise in
obfuscation and political expediency.

Paul Themba Nyathi
MDC Secretary for Information and Publicity
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From The Sunday Times (SA), 13 February

Mugabe snubs SADC attempt at election visit

Latest silence from Harare follows Mugabe's cancellation of visit by Mbeki,
Nujoma and Mosisili

Sunday Times Foreign Desk

Zimbabwe is resisting attempts by the Southern African Development Community
to gauge conditions in the country ahead of the general election scheduled
for March 31. Official sources said Harare was unwilling to sanction a visit
by a team of lawyers from the SADC organ on politics, defence and security
whose duty it is to inspect the electoral legislation and conditions on the
ground. Despite several appeals - the last of which came last week - the
government has failed to give the team the necessary written invitation.
Sources said the Zimbabwe government had not responded to approaches. The
latest foot-dragging follows Mugabe's cancellation of a visit by SADC
leaders, comprising President Thabo Mbeki, outgoing Namibian President Sam
Nujoma and Lesotho Prime Minister Phakalitha Mosisili, scheduled for January
17, on the grounds that he was preparing for the poll. Sources said
crisis-ridden Zimbabwe is afraid the SADC will find conditions in the
country hostile to a free and fair election. The SADC leadership and the
secretariat are said to be working hard to resolve the issue. "We are going
to issue a statement on Tuesday," said an SADC secretariat spokesman in
Botswana on Friday. The SADC team will comprise lawyers from South Africa,
Namibia and Lesotho.

Sources said the team would include prominent South African lawyer Kgomotso
Ditsebe Moroka. However, Moroka said on Friday she had not been officially
informed of Zimbabwe's reluctance to allow the team in. "I have heard that
rumour, but I have no official invitation or brief on that," she said. The
SADC organ, which is chaired by Mbeki, is understood to be growing
increasingly anxious at Zimbabwe's recalcitrance. Said South African Foreign
Affairs Director-General, Ayanda Ntsaluba, last week: "Zimbabwe has not
given clearance for the team and we are a bit concerned. However, they have
in the past given us the assurance and there is no reason to believe they
will not be consistent now." But it is not clear what the SADC will do
should Zimbabwe continue procrastinating. Other than declare that the
elections cannot be free and fair, they have no choice. And they are running
out of time - ideally the inspection needs to happen before candidates are
nominated on February 18 and before campaigning gets under way. Zimbabwean
Justice Minister, Patrick Chinamasa, who oversees the electoral rules, could
not be contacted for comment.

Meanwhile, Mugabe launched his "anti-Blair" election campaign on Friday,
with a barrage of attacks on British Prime Minister Tony Blair, United
States President George Bush and his Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
Mugabe branded Blair a "liar" bent on overthrowing his government by
claiming there was no democracy and respect for human rights in Zimbabwe. He
also attacked Bush over the Iraq invasion, while lashing out at Rice for
calling Zimbabwe an "outpost of tyranny". The Zimbabwe president also
blasted the opposition Movement for Democratic Change for being a "puppet"
of the West.

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From The Sunday Independent (SA), 13 February

ANC won't stop Zim blockade

Christelle Terreblanche

In what appears to be a turnabout in the ANC, Cosatu this week received a
tacit nod from the ruling party for its plan for mass action in solidarity
with its Zimbabwean counterparts. Consequently, South African workers could
soon be blockading Zimbabwean border posts as well as taking other steps.
Zwelinzima Vavi, Cosatu's general secretary, said that the federation's
options included a blockade by South African and other southern African
workers of all Zimbabwe's border crossings. Asked whether a border blockade
and other solidarity action were still being considered after the tripartite
alliance discussions this week, Vavi was adamant: "Yes, we are doing that.
We are going to our central executive committee and the Southern African
Trade Union Co-ordinating Council to endorse that." Cosatu's first
announcement of its intended mass action, after it was expelled from
Zimbabwe for a second time on February 2, met some resistance from the ANC
and the government. At the time, Membathisi Mdlalana, the minister of
labour, said Cosatu's second attempted visit was without the blessing of
government, but the ANC later did endorse the visit. It had condemned the
first visit, which took place in October.

And while it appears that the ANC will not actively support mass action, it
has agreed not to stand in the way of its alliance partners' solidarity mass
action programmes. Vavi said three alliance secretariat meetings this week
paved the way for Cosatu's discussions with other union federations in
southern Africa about mass action in support of the Zimbabwe Congress of
Trade Unions (ZCTU). He said that the ANC had not raised any objections to
mass action at this week's discussions. "If they are against it, they did
not tell us," he said about what appears to be a breakthrough in the tense
alliance face-offs over Zimbabwe and perceptions that any alliance action
would be in conflict with the government's approach of "constructive quiet
diplomacy" to resolve the crisis. "The ANC has said Cosatu has a right to
have fraternal relationships with any other workers," Vavi said. "The
Communist Party openly said it would support efforts by workers to pledge
active solidarity with another union."

Smuts Ngonyama, the ANC's spokesperson, on Saturday did not explicitly
acknowledge a go-ahead for Cosatu, but said: "It was not for the ANC to
disagree [with the alliance]. The ANC agrees with the plan of action of the
alliance [but] also looks at the priorities of the ANC in the context of
what we would like to see and build in the region, such as free and fair
elections. The ANC would never engage in any activities that would either
directly or indirectly stand in the way of free and fair elections and would
not say or do anything that might lead to a situation that other people
outside Zimbabwe and South Africa may read as trying to create hostilities
and pre-judge the elections' free and fairness," Ngonyama said. Mazibuko
Jara, the SACP's spokesperson, confirmed that the alliance secretariat had
given Cosatu a tacit nod. "Cosatu did not ask for approval but submitted its
proposed programme. The alliance partners agreed [on the need for] an
all-round call for solidarity with Zimbabwe, a South African contribution by
unions, churches and civil society." He said Cosatu's programme was
"narrowly" endorsed "within the understanding that all of us must make a
contribution and our efforts should complement each other".

Cosatu's central executive committee meets from Monday to discuss its
options for mass action, which it previously said included intensified
pickets and demonstrations such as blockades of all border crossings with
Zimbabwe and the setting up of a legal aid fund with which to help the ZCTU
by mobilising "millions of workers" in the region. A week later, Cosatu
intends meeting other regional union federations at the co-ordinating
council to finalise joint action. In a report for discussion at the
meetings, Cosatu said its Zimbabwean counterpart had raised concerns about
the fact that a number of conditions for free and fair elections were not
being met and had detailed the harassment and repression unionists in
Zimbabwe were experiencing.

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From IRIN (UN), 10 February

Lindela deportation centre is 'for those who do not have money'

Johannesburg - The three meter-high security fence around the sprawling
complex is almost as intimidating to new arrivals as the dogs and the armed
security guards, who yell orders to form a proper queue at the admissions
table. This is Lindela, South Africa's deportation centre for illegal
immigrants. Located in Krugersdorp, west of Johannesburg, Lindela houses
both males and females arrested in regular sweeps by the South African
Police Services (SAPS). The bulk of the detainees are Zimbabweans and
Mozambicans, but there are also citizens of Nigeria, the Democratic Republic
of Congo, Congo-Brazzaville, Rwanda, Burundi, Ethiopia, Sudan, Somalia,
Liberia and Zambia. Lindela is, in theory, their last address before being
deported from South Africa. Last week an IRIN journalist, wrongly arrested
by the police in Johannesburg, was a temporary inmate of the notorious

Despite its modern design, space is at a premium in Lindela, particularly in
the male wing. A room no larger than a standard bedroom is meant to hold 18
men, but immigrants detained during heavy crackdowns remember occasions when
there were up to 54 people per room, two to three people shared the same
bed, and just one toilet. "Most of these toilets do not have functioning
flushing systems, a situation which dictates that we use them sparingly. To
keep out the smell, we drape one blanket over the toilet seat and pile
whatever else we can find on top of it," explained Mark Magwiro, a barefoot
Zimbabwean detainee clad in a dirty white shirt, which he said had not been
washed in two weeks. Due to the relatively small number of women in Lindela,
the female wing is less congested, with as few as six women sharing a large
room. Besides better accommodation, women also enjoy generally privileged
treatment from security guards and kitchen staff because they help to clean
the public halls and their own quarters. The men, on the other hand, have to
compete for the few jobs available on their side of the complex. The rewards
can be a loaf of bread, regular access to better food - a constant problem -
or, allegedly, help from security staff in arranging an escape.

The first meal of the day includes a bowl of porridge, a thin slice of bread
and a cup of tea, served as early as 6 am. Tablets of unknown composition
float in the tea, according to the guards, these help to suppress sexual
appetite. Detainees start queuing for lunch from 11:00 am, which can take
until 3.00 pm before everyone has been served. Supper times are the most
irregular, with the last person being fed as late as 11:00 pm. For inmates
who have something to trade, Lindela offers business opportunities and a
captive market. As the guards control access to the landlines, detainees
lucky enough to still have their cellphones can charge R4 for a one-minute
call. "No one is allowed to use the phones, except at given times. Even
then, one has to ask for permission from staff or guards and it is usually
denied unless they get R10 . So we provide phoning and charging services, so
that detainees can inform their relatives of their plight," said Mozambican
Emmanuel Nandza. Because charging the phones is done via illegal connections
to electricity supply lines around the complex, the going rate for a
five-minute zap of power is R5. Those doing menial jobs to earn a loaf of
bread make a killing by cutting it into small slices, which they sell to
hungry fellow inmates for as much as R3 each. Enterprising businessmen can
make up to R30 per loaf.

And then there are the "resident detainees" - people who have lived in
Lindela for years, even though 30 days is the maximum period. They are
mostly Congolese, Nigerians, Mozambicans and Zimbabweans who have no wish to
return home and allegedly bribe the security guards to avoid deportation.
"It is safer here than outside. I used to be a street telephone operator
outside, so when they caught me I brought my two sets here, only to discover
that there is more demand for telephone services than outside. Outside, one
has to compete; here there is zero competition. So I thought I would better
stay here to avoid harassment and arrest outside," explained one Congolese
detainee. Claims of appalling treatment of asylum-seekers led to a
demonstration outside Lindela in November 2004, held to coincide with the
final day of a hearing into xenophobia hosted by the South African Human
Rights Commission (SAHRC) and parliament's portfolio committee on foreign
affairs. They heard a litany of alleged abuse at the centre, including heavy
beatings by the guards, an increasing number of inmate deaths, and the
denial of access to immigration officials.

Head of communications at the Department of Home Affairs, Nkosana Sibuyi,
rejected the allegations. He said some Lindela inmates had died of
pre-existing medical conditions rather than abuse. "We are guided by country
and international conventions, which prohibit any form of ill treatment of
detainees," Sibuyi told IRIN. But, according to the inmates IRIN spoke to
last week, it would appear that little has changed since the publication of
a report in 2000 by SAHRC, exposing conditions at the deportation centre.
The report 'Lindela: At the Crossroads for Detention and Repatriation'
listed poor food, overcrowding, inadequate health services and the
systematic denial of basic rights as some of the problems needing urgent
attention. "The three most reported complaints are lack of adequate
nutrition, irregular or inadequate medical care, and systematic, forced
interruptions of sleep. Similar problems, such as general living conditions,
access to information, assault and the treatment of minors, have been added
to the list of unsatisfactory conditions at the facility," read part of the
SAHRC report. Proper access to lawyers and the right of detainees to inform
relatives of their arrest were violated by curbs on the use of the
telephones on arrival at Lindela, the commission found.

However, Sibuyi rejected the allegations. "Each and every room has an
allocated number of people and it's not true we exceed that capacity," he
told IRIN. He stressed regular check-ups by health inspectors ensured the
food served was sufficient and nutritious, and any reports of abuse by the
guards was investigated and could be verified by examining the records of
the closed circuit TV system. The detainees IRIN spoke to said corruption
was also rampant among staff and guards. An inmate's freedom could be
bought, or an escape from the deportation trains arranged for between R600
and R800. "Deportation is for those who do not have money. Those who can pay
police or immigration officers never get registered [at Lindela]; they just
wait for relatives to bring the money. In such cases, a detainee is
collected by special arrangement, on the pretext that he is going for
further questioning or to court, and freed on the way," said one illegal
immigrant. "If I had money I wouldn't be here." Sibuyi said he could not
confirm or deny there was corruption at Lindela, but the Department of Home
Affairs had adopted a "zero-tolerance policy" and any official found guilty
would be named and dismissed.

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Sunday Mirror, Zimbabwe

Row over constituency boundaries
Tawanda Majoni

A CABINET minister recently visited a police recreational club bragging that
the Delimitation Commission twisted constituency boundaries to the benefit
of the ruling Zanu PF, the Sunday Mirror has been told.

The revelation has sparked a fresh row over the alleged manipulation of
constituencies by the Commission that was appointed by the government and
has been accused of ignoring input from the opposition.

"The minister (name supplied) went to the police club where he told senior
officers that Harare Central should definitely go to Zanu PF since the
Delimitation Commission had done a 'splendid job' by ensuring that as many
voters as possible in the police, army, prisons and other security arms fell
within the area by virtue of residing in military and quasi-military camps,"
said the source.

"He (the minister) also reminded the officers that the uniformed forces
officers residing in military camps were doing so freely and of the
benevolence of the government, adding that they were also receiving free
uniforms in addition to other subsidised privileges, which he said could
easily be withdrawn," added the source.

However, the minister denied ever addressing police officers at the club in
question. "I have not been to that place in the last 10 years and I have
never addressed police officers. What you are hearing are lies being peddled
by people who are intimidated by Zanu PF, who know they are going to lose,"
said the minister.

A study of the current constituency in comparison with the previous map, and
with reference to the voters' roll, showed that Harare Central has grown in
size with a substantial voting population from the uniformed forces being
added to the area.

Cranborne, Braeside and Rhodesville suburbs, which previously belonged to
Harare South, are now part of Harare Central. They contain numerous military
and police residential camps with thousands of voters who could make a
difference to the voting patterns in the constituency if they were to vote
for the ruling party.

Besides the three new suburbs, New Arcadia, Hillside, St Martins,
Queensdale, Eastlea South and Wilmington were also added to Harare Central.

"The inclusion of all the other suburbs was done because it would have been
difficult to include the military camps without incorporating these too,"
said the source.

Harare Central now has a total of 13 army, police and prisons residential
camps falling under it, namely KGVI, Thomlison Depot, Morris Depot, 2
Brigade, 1 Commando Cranborne, Harare Central Prison, 2 Provost Cranborne,
Presidential Guard, HQ CO Barracks, ZRP Braeside, ZRP Milton Park, ZRP
Cranborne (Police Reaction Group) and ZRP Rhodesville, in addition to
several police posts. A survey done by this paper showed that these places
have a total of 4 120 constituents on the voters' roll. In the A-L
alphabetical volume, there are 853 voters while M and N-Z have 1925 and
1342, respectively.

In the 2003 by-election, which was marred by voter apathy, Zwizwai polled
slightly more than 3 000 votes. If the apathy persists and most of those in
the camps vote Zanu PF, the poll could swing in the ruling party's favour.
The opposition has been barred from campaigning in the uniformed forces'
camps, with authorities saying their standing orders foreclose that.
However, ruling party candidates have in the past accessed the camps. In
2003, during a by-election following the death of MDC's Mike Auret, Zanu PF's
aspiring candidate, William Nhara was given the nod to campaign in the
Thomlison police camp.

The exclusion of opposition candidates from campaigning in the camps has
caused an outcry. The candidates wonder why the soldiers, prison officers
and policemen should participate in the voting process if the prospective
legislators cannot sell their manifestos to them.

They charge that the preclusion flies in the face of the SADC guidelines
which stipulate that every voter should be given the chance to fully
participate in the electoral process while candidates should be given the
space to access constituents. "The Zimbabwean government is not principled
at all. They have argued that Zimbabweans living in the Diaspora cannot vote
because they can't be reached yet they are saying the opposition cannot
reach those at home, who are going to vote anyway. No contradiction goes
beyond this one," Dongo said.

"But how do they expect the opposition to be voted when it lacks the freedom
to campaign? This is part of the strategy to regain Harare Central by Zanu
PF by diluting us," she added. Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs
minister, Patrick Chinamasa recently vowed that Zimbabweans living abroad
would not vote because the country is under travel sanctions and as a
result, its officials could not travel to hostile countries.

His utterances followed the institution of legal action by a pressure group
abroad seeking the enfranchisement of Zimbabweans living abroad, who
unofficial statistics indicates number more than three million.

Chinamasa told the Sunday Mirror that those who had been denied entry into
police camps should not complain because that is what the standing orders
spelt out.

On the issue of Nhara having accessed Thomlison in 2003, Chinamasa said:
"Why should we be talking about 2003 when we are in 2005? There is no need
to worry about that because it's past." Complaints pertaining to
constituency boundaries are not limited to Harare Central. Evelyn Masaiti,
the MDC Member of Parliament for Mutasa North charges that the Delimitation
Commission "stole" nine wards from her and introduced unfamiliar territory
to her new area.

"They (the Commission) took away nine wards from and gave me nine in an area
that I was not familiar with. That means I have to go back to the drawing
board and start campaigning in this area which is generally sympathetic to
the ruling party.

"I wonder what justification they have, but the reason is obvious that they
want to weaken my support base. With so little time left before the
elections take place, the task of campaigning is very insurmountable,"
Masaiti said.

The same fate has befallen Paul Themba Nyathi, the MDC MP for Gwanda South.
Gwanda South and North constituencies have been merged into Gwanda, and
Nyathi lost seven wards, that reportedly formed his stronghold, to

The MDC expressed worries when the delimitation report was made public that
Harare and Bulawayo, both MDC footholds, lost a seat each, with the latter
city having already lost another in 2000.

The Delimitation Constitution argued that they were delimiting the
constituencies in accordance with the number of registered voters, saying
Harare had lost more than 50 000 voters due to urban-to-rural migration.

However, demographic patterns reflect that Harare has been cumulatively
gaining in population over the decades.

Priscilla Misihairambwi-Mushonga, the MDC MP for Glen Norah and shadow
foreign affairs minister puts the blame on the failure by the Delimitation
Commission to include other stakeholders.

"Gerrymandering could have been avoided if the Commission had been
all-inclusive," said Misihairambwi-Mushonga. "As it stands now, we are in a
quandary because we can't go back to the Commission to complain since,
understandably, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission is the one that has to
deal with such matters.

"In any case, the ZEC is now being led by the very person who headed the
Delimitation Commission and how can you ask a person to review his own
 work?" she added.

George Chiweshe, a High Court judge, was in January announced the head of
the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, a body that is supposed to oversee the
electoral process but will be supervised by the Electoral Supervisory
Commission (ESC) that has been mired in controversy over its conduct of the
electoral process in the past.
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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Diplomat arrested

Fortune Mbele
issue date :2005-Feb-14

A DIPLOMAT based at the Zimbabwe Consulate in Johannesburg, South Africa,
was last week arraigned before provincial magistrate Cremmah Chipere on a
corruption charge.
Edmore Magara (42), a second secretary (finance and administration), was not
asked to plead to the charge that he contravened the Prevention of
Corruption Act and was remanded to February 24 on $500 000 bail.
Prosecutor Ndabezinhle Moyo told the court that during the period extending
from April 2003 and September 2004, Magara allegedly posted or caused to be
posted an advertisement for Chris Consultancy Services (Pvt) Limited, a
company that operates in Zimbabwe.
The company is involved in obtaining birth and death certificates, police
clearance, divorce orders and marriage certificates on behalf of clients,
with charges ranging from 200 rands to 800 rands.
The advert was allegedly placed on the Zimbabwe Consulate website.
Interested people would communicate directly on the consulate telephones to
get further information.
Precious Lungile Masuku, a receptionist at the consulate, allegedly
processed Chris Consultancy customers.
Masuku allegedly issued out receipts after receiving undisclosed payments in
South African rands, which she sent to Chris Consultancy.
Moyo said Magara had no right to use Zimbabwe Consulate resources for Chris
Consultancy, as this was contrary to and inconsistent with his duties as a
public officer.
His duties included procurement of and payment for goods and services as
required by
the mission, supervising collection, receipting and banking of any revenue
and administered the mission's account.
Among the duties, were making recommendations on the management and
utilisation of funds and attending to personnel administration.
He was also tasked with compiling the station accounts for submission to the
Ministry of Foreign Affairs head office in Harare.
The State said it would produce a Chris Consultancy Services receipt book
recovered from Chris Matimura, uncollected documents returned to Matimura
and then referred to the then Zimbabwean consular-general, Matimura's
personal diary listing clients and orders and an extract of the advert from
the Zimbabwe Consulate website.
During that time, Godfrey Dzvairo, who was appointed Ambassador-Designate to
later in the year, was the consular-general.
Dzvairo was last week convicted of espionage and sentenced to an effective
six years in jail.
Another diplomat, Erasmus Moyo, who was based in Geneva, Switzerland, is
currently on the run after being recalled home to answer espionage charges.
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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Air Force officers order new farmers off property

The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2005-Feb-14

OFFICERS from the Air Force of Zimbabwe have ordered new farmers settled at
Shuri Shuri Farm in Chegutu, Mashonaland West, to vacate the property.
The farmers, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said officers had also
ordered them not to build permanent structures on the farm, their home for
the past three years, and had been told "to go back where you came from".
In interviews with The Daily Mirror, the new farmers said they felt betrayed
by the fact that they had been encouraged to move onto the property in 2000,
only to be told now to pave way for the airmen.
The number of affected families could not be immediately established.
Shuri Shuri Farm - previously known as Suri Suri - has a number of
sub-farms, such as Mukuti, Murrah Purra and Cornucopia, and lies near an
army base bearing the same name.
"There are laws which protect us against eviction, because we occupied the
farm as part of jambanja (land reform programme). Now we are being told to
pave way for some other people. The soldiers should have moved in themselves
in 2000. It's like we were being used so that they benefit," said one of
those affected.
Mashonaland West governor Nelson Samkange yesterday confirmed that the air
force wanted the farm, and added that if those settled there refuse to move,
they would be going against government policy.
He could not state if there was any other land identified to resettle the
"The government is saying all defence bases should have additional land
around them. The people must be resettled somewhere and in this case, they
will not be thrown into the streets. If they refuse to move, they would be
acting against government policy," said Samkange.
On accusations by people that the air force had used them to take the land
from the previous owners, the governor said: "If war veterans liberated the
country, they cannot say it's their land. They took it for all Zimbabweans."
No comment could be obtained from the Zimbabwe Defence Forces yesterday.  An
officer who answered its public relations department mobile phone said they
would be in a position to do so today.
A sizeable number of families in Mashonaland West, who occupied farms
beginning in 2000, have been issued with eviction notices.
At New England Farm, more than 40 families are battling against eviction in
both the High Court in Harare and the Chinhoyi Magistrate's Court after
government ordered that they should pave way for State House employees.
Last week, the mayor of Chinhoyi, Risipa Kapesa, told The Daily Mirror that
his council would soon take over 14 farms around the town for expansion
One of the 14 farms had been allocated to businessman Phillip Chiyangwa,
currently in remand prison on espionage charges.

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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Hwange struggles to pay debt

Munyaradzi Ushehwekunze
issue date :2005-Feb-14

THE country's sole coal miner, Hwange Colliery Company Limited (HCCL), which
is struggling to shake off a staggering US$7 million-plus external debt, has
extended its begging bowl to government again, amid revelations that the
mining concern is operating with more than half unused capacity.
The government, which has a 40 percent stake in the company, is said to be
working out additional mechanisms to strengthen HCCL's cash position and
boost its external debt servicing capacity undermined by heavy annual
losses, sources told the Business Mirror.
When probed, HCCL managing director (MD), Godfrey Dzinomwa, minced his
words, but revealed that the colliery has approached the government for debt
"The issue of debt is being resolved by senior government officials. They
are the ones handling the matter and better placed to comment," Dzinomwa
Part of the debt was incurred in 2002 when HCCL received about US$5.3
million from the African Export Import Bank (Afreximbank) to finance capital
expenditure on spare parts for its antiquated machinery.
The deal was brokered by the Commercial Bank of Zimbabwe (CBZ).
Already the troubled coal miner is struggling to come to grips with
staggering annual interest payments in hard currency on the outstanding
debt, which cannot be met by the company's resources, given the negative
financial results posted at the end of each accounting period.
The parastatal was last year put on a Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ)
financial drip to expedite its recovery as capacity utilisation had fallen
way below 30 percent.
The government intervention in HCCL to keep it afloat follows repeated
clamours by industry for the re-capitalisation of the company, which had
almost become a liability to firms that depend on coal to turn their
production wheels.
HCCL revealed to the Business Mirror that the parastatal has for a long time
been operating way below half its full throttle, with three of its main
underground mines lying derelict due to capital bottlenecks.
The three mines have the capacity of producing between 150 000 and 200 000
tonnes of coal per month each, but up to this month, HCCL was producing only
about 350 000 tonnes on monthly basis from its open cast and underground
mines that were operational.
Dzinomwa said a financial injection from the government had enabled them
early this month to acquire from Joy Mining of South Africa, a continuous
miner for its redundant underground mining units.
He added that the colliery's old continuous miner had been taken to South
Africa for repair.

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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Border Gezi inquest:

Court Reporter
issue date :2005-Feb-14

JUDGMENT will be handed down on March 11 at the Harare Magistrate's Court in
the case in which two Central Mechanical Equipment Department (CMED)
mechanics are charged with culpable homicide.
The two are alleged to have caused the death of former Cabinet Minister
Border Gezi and his driver by failing to perform their duties as expected.
Lemekani Chatama and Fidelis Muchenje have denied the charge of gross
negligence when they repaired the late minister's Mercedes Benz prior to the
Gezi, who was the Minister of Gender, Youth Development and Employment
Creation, and his driver Barnabas Murondatsinda, died in April 2001 in a car
crash after the rear tyre of his official Benz burst.
Prosecutor Fungai Nyahunzvi alleged that the two failed
to do their job efficiently and were grossly negligent in carrying
 out their duties as qualified personnel in charge of "very, very important
persons (VVIPs') vehicles.
Allegations are that Murondatsinda took the late minister's official Benz to
CMED headquarters VIP section to be fitted with a new tyre.
Chatama allegedly inspected the vehicle and made out a job card, before
assigning Muchenje to fit in the new tyre.
Instead of fitting a high profile tyre that tallied with the other three,
Muchenje allegedly fitted a low profile one on the left rear side of the
The State further alleged that Chatama never bothered to check if his
subordinate had fitted the appropriate tyre.
Chatama, a workshop foreman at CMED, denied the charges, arguing that it was
not his duty to supervise Muchenje whom, he said, was given orders by an
unnamed manager.
Muchenje was an artisan and allegedly fitted the tyre that burst on the
fateful day.
Chatama also said the manager was in charge of the changing of tyres.
"The manager was in
charge of changing tyres. We did not check the quality of tyres as that was
the duty of the buyers to purchase suitable tyres. We only checked
 if the tyre was fitted properly, that it had no bulges, that it had
enough pressure and that
 the rims were in order," Chatama said. Muchenje also pleaded not
guilty to the charge, saying he was not the last person to attend
to the vehicle as it was
brought back to the CMED
workshop for service after he attended to it.
He argued that he did not fit in the inconsistent tyre that resulted in the
fatal accident.

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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Zimbabweans yearn for a better life

The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2005-Feb-14

PEOPLE from across the country are unanimous that the standard of life has
generally gone down, and have expressed the need for the party that wins the
forthcoming elections to work on improving it.
In separate random telephone interviews carried out by The Daily Mirror last
week, the people said they yearned for a better life, and were all
optimistic that if politicians put the country first, that would be
Several others, especially in Masvingo, refused to talk, saying that they
were "not free" to talk to strangers about the country's politics.
Tinashe Chiremba (24), of Hatfield in Harare, said the party that wins must
address transport problems in the towns as well as the issue of funding for
new farmers in the rural areas.
"We look forward to the party addressing transport problems being
experienced in the country's urban areas. In the rural areas, priority must
be put on financing new farmers so that they can access inputs and other
farming equipment," Chiremba said
He added that schools must also be built in the new resettlement areas as
children were walking long distances. Chiremba also called for the equipping
of existing schools in the rural areas, saying they were currently lacking
learning resources.
Jane Chifamba (39), of Fairbridge, Mutare, said the new government should
help local authorities improve conditions in residential areas which, she
said, were deteriorating.
"We expect it (the party that wins) to help councils develop residential
areas, as they are failing to cope. This has been caused mainly by the rates
they are being made to charge.  At the moment, we are not different from
people who are living in the bush.  We do not have streets lights,
everything is deteriorating," she said.
Chifamba added that she looked forward to the party that won to ensure that
the country did not "go hungry again" as a result of a shortage of basic
A resident of Bulawayo, who preferred to speak on condition of anonymity,
said the winning party should provide people with security, regardless of
their opinions.
"Most people are afraid, especially in the rural areas, so we look forward
to them being given assurance that they are free.  In fact, this is what we
look forward to after the election.  Even right now, we look forward to
that," he said.
Antoinette Ruzive (28), of Nyamhunga Township in Kariba, said ways must be
pursued to ensure that opportunities were accorded to the country's youth.
"It seems that the country's youths are a forgotten lot, only remembered at
election time. The issue of jobs must be brought back as the number one
priority.  We have nothing to do.  Some of us are beginning to think that
our lives are in vain," she said.
Gugulethu Sibanda (44), of Tsholotsho, said her main expectation was that
after the election, all the parties that would have participated would
accept the outcome.
"All that we may wish for depends on one thing - all parties agreeing with
the outcome. Recent elections have shown that if the results are disputed,
progress will be difficult to achieve," she said.

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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

selling grain reserves was unwise: Mugabe

The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2005-Feb-14

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe has admitted that his government was duped into
selling off its strategic grain reserves by donor agencies in the 1990s, a
situation that has caused perennial food shortages in a country which prided
itself as the breadbasket of the region.
In a marathon speech lasting over three hours last Friday at the official
launch of the ruling Zanu PF election campaign
and manifesto for the March 31 general elections, President Mugabe said the
decision to sell the large grain
 reserves was largely to blame for the food shortages since the devastating
1992 drought.
He said the grave mistake was a bitter lesson learnt which should never be
repeated again.
"When they (donor agencies) came with their bookish economics, which is not
realistic at all, we had over 600 000 tonnes of strategic grain reserves and
they said it was money sleeping and was better off if it was sold," he said.
The government had also been advised, the President said, that it was better
off if the grain was sold to generate foreign currency that could be used in
other sectors to generate more of the much needed foreign currency.
He said: "They said if we sell the grain it would generate foreign currency
and that foreign currency would be used to generate more foreign currency.
It sounds very reasonable, doesn't it?"
President Mugabe said they
only realised their blunder when Zimbabwe was ravaged by its worst drought
in 1992, which resulted in acute hunger because of depleted food reserves
inadequate foreign currency to import the staple food.
"We have realised our mistake and we are now slowly building up our grain
reserve again," he added.
President Mugabe also blamed the prevailing situation on perennial droughts
and floods that have hit the country over the years.
Besides the 1992 drought, Zimbabwe also faced massive food shortages in 2003
that gave birth to a thriving black market following artificial shortages of
basic foodstuffs.
The President also admitted that the A2 model of the fasttrack land reform
had not scored expected successes, and accused multiple farms owners of
compounding the situation.
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      Zimbabwe excludes EU observers in parliamentary election 2005-02-14 03:03:21

          HARARE, Feb. 13 (Xinhua) -- The Zimbabwean government said on
Sunday that countries from the European Union will not be invited to monitor
the parliamentary election scheduled for next month.

          A spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Pavelyn
Musaka, said that the government had excluded European countries such as
Britain, Denmark, Sweden, Germany, the Netherlands and Finland from
observing the poll set for March 31.

          He said the process of sending out invitations to governments
mainly in the southern African region, the African continent and others is

          Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Patrick
Chinamasa, who is responsible for sending out invitations to localgroups,
said that there would be a limited number of local observers that would take
part this year.

          "We have to limit the number of local observers because we do not
want a situation where, say, 100 people will come and disturb the voting
process at polling stations on the pretext of observingelections," Chinamasa

          The country will hold its fifth parliamentary elections under the
recently introduced Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), which is
responsible for preparing and conducting elections and referendums.

          Prior to the setting up of the ZEC, the Registrar General and the
Elections Directorate used to conduct elections and the referendums while
ESC supervised, accredited election observers and appointed monitors.

          The election would be held in line with Southern Africa
Development Community (SADC) electoral principles and guidelines that SADC
heads of state adopted in Mauritius last year.

          Some of the guidelines that had been earmarked for implementation
include the requirement to hold elections over one day, the use of
transparent ballot boxes and counting of ballots at polling stations.

          The guidelines also allow political parties equal access to the
public media, establishment of independent electoral bodies to manage
elections, provision of security to all contesting political parties and
full participation of all citizens in the electoral process. Enditem
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