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Mugabe steps up political violence despite clear signs of upper hand

Zim Online

Wed 15 February 2006

HARARE - Zimbabwe experienced an almost twofold increase in political
violence and human rights violations last year despite President Robert
Mugabe and his ruling ZANU PF party facing a clearly diminishing threat from
the bickering main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party.

A total of 4 200 cases of human rights violations including four
murders and four rapes were recorded in 2005 compared to 2 711 such cases
recorded the previous year, the Zimbabwe Human Rights Forum (ZHRF) said in
its latest report on rights violations in the country made available to
ZimOnline yesterday.

The ZHRF said in the report: "In terms of the frequency of all
violations, 2005 is the worst year since we began publishing our monthly
reports ..and 2005 is markedly worse than 2004 . it was also seen that
displacements, unlawful arrests and detentions increased markedly during
2005."

The ZHRF is the biggest coalition of pro-democracy and human rights
groups in the country. It regularly issues reports on the state of human
rights in the southern African nation that is facing its worst ever
political and economic crisis.

The rights coalition said most of the political violence and human
rights abuses happened in the aftermath of the March 2005 parliamentary poll
in acts of retribution, which started in April and blamed on supporters of
Mugabe and ZANU PF.

There were human rights violations on a mass scale after the
government began its controversial urban clean-up campaign in May that the
United Nations in an earlier and separate report said left at least 700 000
people without homes or means of livelihood after police demolished
shantytowns and informal business kiosks.

University of Zimbabwe political commentator, Lovemore Madhuku, said
the fact that political violence and human rights abuses could be on the
rise even as the government appeared not under as much a potent threat from
the MDC as before, only served to confirm that coercion was Mugabe and ZANU
PF's weapon of choice to win and retain power.

"The report confirms what we have always said that the ruling party
thrives on violence," said Madhuku, who is also the leader of the National
Constitutional Assembly that campaigns for a new and democratic constitution
for Zimbabwe.

Giving details on some of the cases of political violence, the ZHRF
said in its report that the four people murdered in 2005 are Gift Chimbandi
of Mazowe in Mashonaland Central, Febby Muchacha of Beatrice Mashonaland
East, Abraham Moffat of Hurungwe in Mashonaland West and war veteran Godwin
Ganda from Marondera in Mashonaland East.

The three Mashonaland provinces are considered ZANU PF strongholds
where the MDC is virtually banned.

Political violence and human rights abuses have been on the rise since
the emergence of the MDC in 1999 to become the biggest threat ever to Mugabe
and ZANU PF's iron-fist rule. Most of the violence has been blamed on
militant supporters of Mugabe and his ruling party. They deny the charge.

With the MDC clearly weakened after a damaging split over how to
unseat Mugabe and ZANU PF, political analysts had expected violence to at
least decline. - ZimOnline


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Supreme Court refuses to take over Tsvangirai's election petition

Zim Online

Wed 15 February 2006

HARARE - Zimbabwe's Supreme Court on Tuesday dismissed opposition
leader Morgan Tsvangirai's application seeking the country's highest court
to take over hearing his petition against President Robert Mugabe's 2002
re-election victory.

Tsvangirai, who lost to Mugabe by about 400 000 ballots in the
presidential poll condemned by Western observers and southern African
parliamentarians as flawed, had claimed before the court that his right to
protection of the law was being breached because the High Court had
inordinately delayed in hearing and determining the petition filed about
three months after the March 2002 vote.

Zimbabwe's Constitution guarantees litigants the right to protection
of the law and to a fair hearing within reasonable time.

The opposition leader, who until his Movement for Democratic Change
party split late last year looked the most likely to unseat Mugabe, had also
claimed that because of the way the High Court had handled his matter, he no
longer had confidence that he would receive justice from the court and had
prayed on the Supreme Court to hear his petition against Mugabe's victory.

Ordinarily, the Supreme Court is not a court of first instance unless
it is in constitutional matters.

Supreme Court Judge Luke Malaba in a judgment read by his colleague,
Wilson Sandura, ruled that Tsvangirai's rights had not been breached and
that the opposition leader's fears that he would not get justice from the
High Court were unfounded despite that court having delayed in setting down
the election petition for hearing.

It was not possible to immediately get comment yesterday from
Tsvangirai or his lawyers as to their next course of action.

Tsvangirai, who has refused to recognise Mugabe as the legitimately
elected President of Zimbabwe, wants the 2002 poll result nullified saying
Mugabe used violence and outright fraud to cheat him of victory.

But the opposition leader faces an uphill task convincing a bench that
is packed with Mugabe loyalists to nullify the controversial poll result and
order a fresh ballot. - ZimOnline


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Police arrest 192 anti-Mugabe protesters in Harare, charge others under tough security law

Zim Online

Wed 15 February 2006

HARARE - Zimbabwean police yesterday arrested 192 mostly women
anti-government demonstrators in Harare while prosecutors in the city of
Bulawayo charged three women activists under the country's tough security
law for organising anti-President Robert Mugabe protests in the city.

The about 192 women and a few men arrested in Harare had not been
charged by late last night with their lawyers saying they expected them to
spend the night at Harare Central police station known for its filthy cells.
There are five breastfeeding babies also detained with their mothers.

"We have 192 women we have counted so far and five breastfeeding
babies among the group (detained at Harare central)," said the Zimbabwe
Lawyers for Human Rights' Otto Saki, who is one of the lawyers assisting the
women.

Saki said the women, arrested when they demonstrated outside
Parliament, had not yet been charged but said he expected them to be charged
under the Miscellaneous Offences Act.

In Zimbabwe's second largest city of Bulawayo, state prosecutors
charged the three leaders of the Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) activist
group, Jenny Williams, Magodonga Mahlangu and Emely Mpofu with breaching the
tough Public Order and Security Act (POSA) when they allegedly organised
members public marches in the city demanding Mugabe to resign.

The three women were arrested earlier this week on Monday while
marching together with a group of other protesters numbering about 500
people and which included other WOZA members and students from the National
University of Science and Technology.

The police also managed to arrest 176 of the protesters as they
marched across Bulawayo demanding Mugabe to step down saying he had ruined
Zimbabwe's once vibrant economy.

The state is however charging the rest of the protesters with a lesser
charge of obstructing traffic. All the Bulawayo protesters, including the
three WOZA leaders, were released on Tuesday with the state saying it would
proceed by way of summons. - ZimOnline


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Zimbabwe police find better use for Israel-made anti-riot tanks

Zim Online

Wed 15 February 2006

HARARE - Zimbabwean police are using Israeli-made anti-riot water
cannon trucks - acquired in 2002 to crush anticipated opposition-led
anti-government protests - to ferry water to Chikurubi police camp in Harare
which is battling persistent water problems.

With the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party in a
state of near paralysis, after an acrimonious fall-out last year, the police
appear to have now converted the "underutilised" water cannon trucks to
bowsers to supply Chikurubi with water.

The camp, like most suburbs in Harare, has experienced persistent
water shortages over the past few months.

"We have been facing serious water problems in the camp and the
authorities thought it worthwhile to use some of the trucks to ferry water
for residents since they can carry large volumes," said a senior police
officer at the camp, who did not want to be named.

While police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena admitted that Chikurubi was
facing water problems, he would not confirm or deny whether the
Israeli-manufactured water cannon trucks were being used to ferry water to
the camp.

Bvudzijena would only say: "Yes the camp is facing water problems but
what gives you the thought that we do not have other transport resources for
that?"

The trucks were acquired in 2002 as the government prepared to crush
mass protests that the then vibrant and powerful MDC was threatening to
call.

But the MDC is no longer seen as the same potent force that it was a
few months ago after disagreement among its top leaders over how to unseat
Mugabe split the opposition party into two rival camps that political
experts say neither have the capacity nor the spirit to confront Mugabe's
well oiled military in the streets. - ZimOnline


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"Bread and Roses" protestors held

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

Click here to enlarge image
kubatana.net

WOZA has been organising marches to highlight issues regularly

JOHANNESBURG, 14 Feb 2006 (IRIN) - More than 400 women have been arrested for protesting against high prices and unemployment over the past two days in Zimbabwe, after inflation shot past 600 percent.

Over 240 were arrested in the capital, Harare, on Tuesday for participating in a march led by the activist organisation, Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA), held annually on St Valentine's Day. The organisation's lawyer was also arrested when he intervened, according to WOZA.

Another 181 participants of a WOZA-led march in Zimbabwe's second city, Bulawayo, were arrested on Monday and remained in detention overnight.

"This year's theme is bread and roses [inspired by the 'Bread and Roses' strike by American women textile workers in 1912]," said Jenni Williams, national coordinator of WOZA, who was among those arrested on Monday. "The bread stands for the need for affordable food, and the roses represent the need to be dignified and the call for social justice."

Police have largely treated WOZA protests as illegal 'political' gatherings. In two years of demonstrations, about 900 WOZA activists have now been arrested for breaching the Public Order and Security Act (POSA), which prohibits public gatherings without police clearance.

According to the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe (CCZ), a watchdog body, the Central Statistical Office's latest consumer survey indicated that the monthly cost of living, including non-food items, for a family of five rocketed to more than Zim $21 million (about US $211) in January, up from Zim $17.5 million (US $176) in December 2005.

The average monthly salary of a public servant is US $121, despite a 231 percent increase in government salaries announced last month.

"The cost of accommodation, fuel and the hike in government salaries announced last month have all impacted on the cost of living," said CCZ's Henry Musongwe. The annual rate of inflation is now 613.2 percent, close to the all-time high of 622 percent reached in January 2004.

Basics like the cost of accommodation, commuting and school fees can now set a family back by Zim $12 million (US $121) a month, while food can drain almost Zim $8 million (US $81) from a family's monthly expenditure.

"The average salary of the lowest-paid government employee - a cleaner - has been hiked up from Zim $5 million to Zim $7 million (US $50 to $70), which has prompted shops to hike prices, making them [food items] even more unaffordable," added Musongwe.

Zimbabwe is in the throes of a severe economic crisis and facing serious food shortages as a result of recurring poor harvests and the government's fast-track land redistribution programme, which began in 2000 and has disrupted agricultural production and slashed export earnings.

The government blames unofficial sanctions by western governments for the economic crisis.

[ENDS]


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Zimbabwean lawyers for human rights condemn bulawayo arrests

African News Dimension

Tuesday, 14 February 2006, 6 hours, 56 minutes and 26 seconds ago.

By Nothando Zainab Migogo

Johannesburg(A.N.D) Zimbabwean Lawyers for Human Rights have come
down on the Zimbabwean police for human rights violations in conducting
yesterdays arrests of female protesters and their infants.

Following the arrests of at least 181 women, some carrying babies on
their backs, the Zimbabwean Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) have issued a
press release condemning the arrests.

The women, belonging to the human rights group Women of Zimbabwe Arise
(WOZA), were dispersing from a peaceful march when they were arrested and
charged with contravening section 24 of the Public Order and Security Act
for "participating in an unsanctioned procession".

According to the press release, the arrested women were held in an
open police courtyard and "exposed to heavy rains and the harsh elements"
for hours before being moved to holding cells.

The ZLHR has described the treatment received by the detainees as
"inhuman and degrading", disregarding "basic fundamental rights that are due
to all human beings" and in contravention of the Constitution of Zimbabwe as
well as the Basic Principles for the Treatment of Prisoners (1990).

Fourteen infants have also been arrested with their mothers. According
to ZLHR, there is no indication that the authorities followed the proper
procedure which states that "no female detainee who is breastfeeding a baby
shall be detained without the authority of the Officer Commanding the
Province, who must examine each case and decide on the necessity of
detention".

The ZLHR has called on the Zimbabwean Ministry of Home Affairs as well
as the Zimbabwe Republic Police to acknowledge, with respect to these
pre-trial detentions, that Liberty is the rule, to which detention must be
the exception; Respect the right of accused persons to be promptly informed
of reasons for arrest and detention, and of any charges against oneself;
Acknowledge and respect the right of the detained to access to and
assistance of a lawyer; To take heed that in the performance of their duty,
law enforcement officials shall respect and protect human dignity and
maintain and uphold the human rights of all persons; Acknowledge and respect
the rights of the human rights detainees to assemble, associate and freely
express their opinions without hindrance.

AND Africa


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New political party formed in Zimbabwe

African News Dimension

Tuesday, 14 February 2006, 7 hours, 50 minutes and 54 seconds ago.

By Tagu Mkwenyani

A new political party has been formed in the western provinces of
Zimbabwe.

A new political party has been formed in the western provinces of
Zimbabwe. The Patriotic Union of Matabeleland, (PUMA) is expected to
formally announce its agenda early in March.
At the moment, officials remain tight-lipped over their political
intentions citing security concerns. The new political outfit, fronted by a
group of civic leaders and political activists from Matabeleland and
Midlands provinces, is set to represent the interests of the provinces which
have remained largely undeveloped. Ndebele speaking people are the majority
of the inhabitants of the region. President Robert Mugabe, a Zezuru heads a
cabinet dominated by ministers from his tribe, fuelling disgruntlement from
politicians from other tribes. Among a host of nagging problems in
Matabeleland, water remains critically short and plans by the Zanu PF
government to undertake the Zambezi Matabeleland Water project have not
succeeded.

Former Zimbabwe Teachers Association Leader (Zimta) leader, Leonard
Nkala, is reported to have set up a 45-member executive committee, which
will spearhead the launch of PUMA. Former Zanu-PF Bulawayo spokesperson,
Sikhumbuzo Ndiweni, who is the party's interim secretary general, said they
were also working on the establishment of external wings, one focusing on
Southern Africa, and another on the rest of the world. "We are currently
working on setting up our structures, but everything would be complete on
time for the official launch.

Some of our members are drawn from the ruling party, as well as both
factions of the MDC. The interest from the diaspora is also very
overwhelming," said Ndiweni. A source in the party said PUMA's promoters
felt that they could capitalise on the fact that people in the area still
had fresh memories of an 80's crack military operation code named
Gukurahundi. The operation conducted by the Zimbabwe's North Korean trained
Fifth Brigade, left an estimated 20 000 civilians dead as soldiers sniff out
a few dissidents who operated in the area. Up to now survivors of the
operation have not been compensated and this remains a major source of
disgruntlement. Zimbabwe's main opposition party, the Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) draws the bulwark of its support from this region.
Officials of PUMA have in the past few weeks held meetings with students at
universities and teachers colleges.

The new party joins the fray at a a time when MDC is threatened with a
split.


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Mugabe lays off 10,000 soldiers

The Australian

Gavin du Venage and Jan Raath
February 15, 2006
ZIMBABWE says a lack of enemies is behind its decision to fire 10,000
soldiers, or a quarter of its army, but insiders say fear of a coup by
junior officers is behind the bloodletting.

The private Zimbabwean weekly Financial Gazette, a publication generally
favourable to the Government, reported in its latest edition that 10,000
troops had been let go in the past year.

A health catastrophe also looms in Zimbabwe as other government services
such as garbage collection fall apart, causing a wave of cholera.

The outbreak of disease follows President Robert Mugabe's notorious
"Operation Sweep Out The Filth" in June, in which police destroy up to
700,000 shantytown homes along with drainage systems and drinking wells.

The effect of such changes, the overloading of sewerage systems and a
chronic shortage of fuel for refuse carts is now being felt, with cholera,
previously rare in Zimbabwe, sweeping the country.

The state-controlled Daily Herald newspaper reported this week that five
people had died of cholera in Epworth and another 20 were being treated in a
tent encampment there. They were believed to have drunk infected water at a
wedding.

The Health Ministry announced a further eight deaths in the Kwekwe and Gokwe
districts in central Zimbabwe.

Twenty-seven people are now reported to have died of cholera across the
country in the past four weeks - eight of them in Harare. At least another
250 victims nationwide are being treated for the disease.

"The Government says it is nothing unusual, that we have seen cholera
outbreaks in Harare before," said Peter Iliff, the secretary of Zimbabwe
Doctors for Human Rights.

"They're wrong. It's in the heartland now. Before, cases in Harare were
traced to people who had brought the disease with them from neighbouring
countries like Mozambique and Malawi. Now it's home-grown.

"There is transmission inside the city now. There is going to be a lot of
cholera," Dr Iliff said.

The Government reacted to the outbreaks of cholera in Harare by shutting the
main township market near the city centre and relocating it to other
townships where there is no provision for lavatories or water. Police have
also banned street fish and meat vendors.

The health menace posed by the swamp of human waste in the townships is
compounded by mountains of uncollected rubbish in the city, including one
outside the gates of the Roman Catholic Cathedral of the Sacred Heart.

The report on the nation's dwindling army, which has not been backed up by
any other official government source, comes at a time of growing restiveness
in the lower ranks of the army.

Soldiers earn less than $US20 ($27) a month and are deserting in ever
greater numbers, often taking their weapons with them, according to local
sources.

The army has been a pillar of support for Mr Mugabe, whose agricultural
reforms have led to a disastrous decline in the once thriving economy.

Purges over the past five years have removed many officers suspected of
sympathising with Mugabe opponents.

In contrast, senior army officers have done well, particularly from
Zimbabwe's military incursion into the Congo to help put down a rebellion in
1998 in exchange for diamond and minerals concessions.

The scaling down of manpower is unlikely to weaken the army itself. Recent
imports of Chinese weaponry indicates the military will rely on smaller,
elite units consisting of trusted Mugabe supporters.

Additional reporting: The Times


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Ambassador fumes over SABC coverage on Zimbabwe

African News Dimension

Tuesday, 14 February 2006, 3 hours, 35 minutes and 2 seconds ago.

By Elias Wilson

ZIMBABWE's ambassador to South Africa Mr Simon Khaya Moyo has once
again lodged a complaint with the South Africa Broadcasting Corporation
(SABC) over its constant negative reference to Harare in its news bulletins

Mr Khaya Moyo in a letter to SABC Africa head of News, said the
negative reference to Zimbabwe was most astounding as the obsession with
Harare had gone too far to be understood by those who subscribed to the
notion that journalism was a noble profession. "Of late there is hardly a
news bulletin from your esteemed channel without negative reference to
Zimbabwe, "The agenda is difficult to comprehend. I have personally received
numerous calls from within and outside South Africa questioning the
objectivity of your news on Zimbabwe. For instance because of incessant
rains, a number of SADC countries have experienced outbreaks of cholera, but
from your news point of view it is Zimbabwe in the dock," said Mr Khaya
Moyo, Mr Moyo said the challenges facing Zimbabwe were as a result of its
bilateral disagreements with Britain, regarding the implementation of the
Land Reform Programme, after the colonial power reneged on its obligations
under the Lancaster House Constitutional Agreement. "Zimbabwe is a proud
member of SADC, the African Union, the NonAligned Movement, the United
Nations and enjoys cordial relations with all progressive states the world
over," Mr Moyo said. "There are a lot of good things happening in Zimbabwe
and with abundant rainfall this season, after four years of drought, the
economy is poised for a dramatic turnaround," In the past, Mr Moyo, has
challenged the South African media to refrain from being biased in its
coverage of issues affecting Zimbabwe.

A..N.D Zimbabwe


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War vets evicted

Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Anna Chibamu
issue date :2006-Feb-14

MASHONALAND Central governor, Ephraim Masawi, has clashed with war veterans
in the province after ordering local authorities to evict people who
occupied farmhouses at the height of land occupations because the properties
were reserved for clinics and schools.
But the ex-fighters, who spearheaded the occupations in February 2 000 and
say have no problem leaving if everything is done above board, have vowed to
stay put on the homesteads until top politicians (names supplied) have also
moved out. The government recently declared, all farmhouses and agricultural
equipment left on farms by former owners during the land reform programme,
State property.
Masawi, who is also the ruling Zanu PF national deputy secretary for
information and publicity, last week ordered rural district councils in the
province to evict settlers occupying farmhouses that the government wants to
convert into health centres and schools.
He said the initial arrangement was that the war veterans would occupy the
houses only as caretakers, and would move out once the properties were
required for State use.
The former freedom fighters occupied the homesteads at the height of land
occupations and remained there, but without offer letters. When they were
finally given the offer letters, Masawi said, the understanding was that the
occupiers would not be "sole" owners of the farmhouses, which he said
belonged to the State.
Masawi told the meeting in Mazowe that the homesteads were needed to
accommodate workers at farm schools and clinics situated on the concerned
farms.
"Civil servants need decent accommodation, yet some individuals are using
government property on farms as weekend homes.
The war veterans have been staying in the houses since the days of land
occu-pations, but the government now wants to turn them into clinics and
satellite schools to serve new farmers," the governor said.
"The issue has been discussed several times and now it's time to take
appropriate action.
"We want transparency in all our activities in this province. what do we
mean talking of development without focusing on education and health
matters?" he asked.
Masawi said people resisting orders to leave the farmhouses were
counter-productive as their intransigence meant that the infrastructure
could not be put to good use.
However, war veterans' chairman for Mazowe district, Taketwo Mabhota, said
his colleagues were ready to leave the houses on condition every other
person occupying State homesteads moved out as well.
"We have never refused to move out of these houses, but we want everyone who
is occupying the houses to move out including politicians. The houses should
be occupied by the relevant people we all know (civil servants)," the war
veteran leader said.
Meanwhile, Mazowe Rural District Council forcibly evicted war veterans from
farmhouses at Lowdale and Dunberry farms they had occupied since 2 000.
When farm invasions occurred, people occupied farmhouses and grabbed
property such as farm equipment, until the government restored sanity by
declaring all such assets State property.
In Mazowe, clinics have been set up at Montgomery, Ardura, Darvaar; Donje,
Watchfield and Dunbury farms, but members of staff have no accommodation.
The issue of new land occupations has also courted the ire of Reserve Bank
of Zimbabwe governor, Gideon Gono.
In his quarterly monetary review policy, the central bank chief called for
law and order on farms, warning government that new invasions would affect
production.


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122 touts, foreign currency dealers nabbed

Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2006-Feb-14

OVER 120 illegal foreign currency dealers and touts were arrested at
Road-Port bus station in Harare in a police raid at the weekend.
Harare police spokesperson, Inspector Loveless Rupere, told this newspaper
that 122 people were arrested on Saturday during a routine operation to get
rid of touts and illegal foreign currency dealers at the terminus.
Rupere said the police recovered about Z$570 million, 1 800 Botswana pulas,
210 South African rands, US$6 and 2 000 Zambian kwachas as well as three
vehicles they impounded from the suspects.
He said some of the people arrested were questioned and released, 56 were
fined under the Miscellaneous Offences Act while 30 others were detained for
further questioning.
"We had been monitoring some cars that would be parked at the bus terminus
daily and we realised that illicit activities where being carried out in the
vehicles. The idea was to ensure that there is peace and tranquility at Road
Port," Rupere said. Last year, the government launched Operation
Murambatsvina/Restore Order not only to rid cities and towns of illegal
structures, but also to flush out foreign currency black market dealers
among other crimes that had become prevalent in Zimbabwe.
Since the crash of the Zimbabwe dollar in November 1997, the country has
seen an upsurge in foreign currency parallel market with US$1 now pegged at
between $150 000 and $170 000.
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor, Gideon Gono, when he assumed office in
2004, introduced a number of measures to end the black market, among them,
the introduction of the foreign currency auction system, abandoned last
year.
This was a departure from a fixed exchange rate system that had operated
between 2001 and 2003. The foreign exchange system was further liberalised
last year in line with the objective to attain a single economy served by
one exchange rate.
Under the tradable foreign currency balances system (TFCBS), 70 percent
receipts are freely tradable in the foreign exchange market at a
market-determined exchange rate.
The remaining 30 percent of export receipts is sold to the RBZ at the
official exchange rate, meant to adjust from time to time, in line with
balanced economic fundamentals. At commencement of the TFCBS on October 24
2005, the market established an interbank exchange rate of $60 000 to the
US$1. This represented a depreciation of 131 percent from the last
established auction exchange rate of $26 000 against the greenback.
The 12 months period to December 31, 2005 saw foreign exchange inflows into
the formal market amounting to US$1,70 billion compared to a total of
US$1,71 billion in 2004, representing a decline of 0,46 percent.
Despite Gono's strenuous efforts, the black market hasn't gone away, with
analysts now calling for teamwork to rid the country of the illegal
practice.


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Police blitz nets 624

Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2006-Feb-14

POLICE have arrested 355 people including street kids in Harare in an
operation targeting criminals in the Central Business District (CBD)
code-named Valentine while 169 were nabbed in Bulawayo when demonstrating
against high tuition fees and soaring prices of basic commodities.
In an interview with The Daily Mirror, Harare police spokesperson Inspector
Loveless Rupere said: "The Central Business District is abound with unlawful
activities and the trend is anticipated to rise because of the Valentine
Week."
Rupere said illegal vending, gambling, dealings in foreign currency, street
garaging, fuel vending and activities of street kids have been classified as
crimes of concern.
"These are some of the vice that are occurring in the city and as the police
we are going to carry out a sweep of all offenders," he added.
Rupere said the move was meant to ensure "the smooth running of business" in
the CBD.
In respect to street kids, Rupere said they would soon be referred to
selected homes by the department of social welfare.
He said during the operation, the police would also invoke the Health Act by
arresting those who sell foodstuffs without licences.
"We would also want to invoke the Health Act by arresting those who sell
foodstuffs without licences and in the open. Such activities are bound to
promote the outbreak of diseases like cholera," he said.
Rupere appealed to the public to join the police in the war against illegal
activities by not buying anything from the black market.
The majority of those arrested yesterday had committed offences including
vending, touting, obstruction of justice, dangerous parking and conduct
likely to breach peace.
Notable among those arrested yesterday was a manager of Fairmeal (Pvt) (Ltd)
Tonderai Nyangombe.
Nyangombe was arrested after the firm, based at the National Railways of
Zimbabwe (NRZ), was found selling pork and chicken without a licence.
The police said Shepherd Shayamano owned the company.
The police confiscated 20kgs of chicken and 30kgs of pork worth $9,6 million
and $7,8 million respectively from Fairmeal.
Meanwhile, in a separate incident, the police in Bulawayo yesterday arrested
169 people in the country's second largest city.
According to our Bulawayo correspondent those arrested included students
from the Bulawayo Polytechnic and National University of Science and
Technology (NUST)-who were demonstrating against the recent hike in tuition
fees by government.
Police spokesperson Oliver Mandipaka confirmed the arrests saying: "I can
confirm that 169 people were arrested this afternoon (yesterday) in
Bulawayo. They were unlawfully gathered and police are investigating the
reasons behind the meetings."
Some of those arrested were allegedly protesting against the soaring prices
of basic commodities.
On Saturday police arrested 122 suspected foreign currency dealers at
Roadport and recovered more than $555 million and three vehicles in
connection with the offence.
Of those arrested, 30 are still in police custody and will appear in court
soon.


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Experts to meet over land reform

Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2006-Feb-14

EXPERTS in land tenure and reform will meet in the capital on Thursday to
review Zimbabwe's land reform programme embarked on by the government in
2000 to address the question of inequitable land distribution.
Organised by the African Institute for Agrarian Studies, the policy review
dialogue is expected to facilitate the development of clearer mechanisms of
framing and designing of policy both within government and among different
non-government stakeholders working in agrarian reforms.
It will also seek to develop a greater understanding and articulation of the
subject through consultations with all stakeholders.Invited to attend
include relevant government officials, Members of Parliament, Non
Governmental Organisation involved in land, gender and research.
"It is expected that at the end of the process of consultation, a more
concise policy brief will be put together which shall be made available to
all stakeholders, including government, for consideration," the institute's
executive director, Sam Moyo, said.
Another expectation is that the dialogue will set a platform for broader,
but empirical discussion on outstanding land and agrarian reform issues.
As of January last year, more than 155 000 families had been resettled
nationwide under the land reform programme, with about 140 866 beneficiaries
having been resettled under the A1 or villagisation farming scheme while
some 14 500 families have been settled under the A2 or commercial farming
scheme.
A number of land audits carried out by the government have revealed multiple
farm ownership, double allocations and underutilisation of land. That issue
is currently being attended to by the relevant authorities.


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2 Zimbabweans nominated for an International human rights defenders award 2006



Violet Gonda
14 February 2006

Zimbabwe has been put in the spotlight again. Jenni Williams, the
coordinator of the pressure group Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) and Arnold
Tsunga, Director of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, are among four
people nominated for the Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders for
2006 (MEA).The jury of human rights organizations which announced the award
on Tuesday said they decided to start publicly announcing the leading
candidates as they are all in an urgent need of protection.

In a statement, the group said Jennifer Williams continues to organise
and lead peaceful protests against the ongoing erosion of human rights in
Zimbabwe, in spite of having been arrested and beaten by the police. She is
one of the 181 activists arrested on Monday for handing out Valentines roses
in Bulawayo. All were released by a Bulawayo magistrate on Tuesday.

On Arnold Tsunga, the statement said that he represents victims of
human rights abuses and campaigns for greater respect for human rights. He
has repeatedly denounced the undemocratic system of justice in Zimbabwe. He
has also been threatened, detained, and is constantly harassed.

The other two nominees are Akbar Ganji from Iran, who is in prison for
having expressed publicly his views on the need for democratic reforms and
having denounced state crimes. He has been tortured and ill-treated. Lastly,
Golden Misabiko from the Democratic Republic of Congo, whohas denounced
human rights violations in his country for the past 20 years, was tortured
in 2001 and had to flee the country in 2002 due to death threats. He
returned to the DRC in 2005. Since then he has been detained several times
and constantly harassed.

The final MEA laureate is expected to be announced at a conference in
the Carter Centre in Atlanta, USA in May. The four candidates were carefully
selected by ten human rights organisations that constituted the jury. They
were Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Human Rights First,
International Federation for Human Rights, World Organization Against
Torture, International Commission of Jurists, German Diakonie, International
Service for Human Rights, International Alert and HURIDOCS.The award was
named after Martin Ennals, an influential figure in the modern human rights
movement who died in 1991. He was the first Secretary-General of Amnesty
International and the driving force behind many other organisations.

SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news


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China's appetite for African oil grows


African governments view China as a more cooperative partner than the West.
By Vivienne Walt, FORTUNE
February 14, 2006: 1:14 PM EST

NEW YORK (FORTUNE) - China, the world's second-largest energy consumer, now
imports about 28 percent of its oil and gas from sub-Saharan Africa,
compared with about 15 percent for the U.S.

In the past few years, China's leading energy companies -- Sinopec, China
National Petroleum Corp., and CNOOC -- have inked oil contracts from
Equatorial Guinea to Algeria to Angola. Chinese President Hu Jintao's
African trips have included pocket-sized Gabon, whose 1.4 million people
could fit into a corner of Shanghai but which has more than two billion
barrels of oil reserves. When China's Foreign Minister, Li Zhaoxing, toured
the region in January, he spent several days in Nigeria.

"We haven't been totally invaded by China yet, but it will come," says
Iheanyi Ohiaeri, head of business development for Nigeria's National
Petroleum Corp. "I get calls and e-mails daily from Beijing, from people
looking to buy oil."

The calls are being answered, in part because African governments view China
as a more cooperative partner than the West. China has refused to back
regular Western rebukes of African corruption and human-rights abuses and
last year used its permanent seat on the UN Security Council to block
genocide charges against Sudan -- source of about 7 percent of China's
oil -- for the massacres in Darfur.

"The U.S. will talk to you about governance, about efficiency, about
security, about the environment," says Mustafa Bello, head of the Nigerian
Investment Promotion Commission, who has visited China seven times. "The
Chinese just ask, 'How do we procure this license?'"

China has become the biggest foreign investor in Zimbabwe, where President
Robert Mugabe's policies have beggared the country and left millions
homeless. Zimbabwe doesn't have oil, but it is the world's second-largest
exporter of platinum, a key import for China's auto industry.

Chinese radio-jamming devices block Zimbabwe's dissident broadcasts, and
Chinese workers built Mugabe's new $9 million home, featuring a blue-tiled
roof donated by the Chinese government. While Western politicians railed
against Mugabe last year for flattening entire shantytowns, China was
supplying him with fighter jets and troop carriers worth about $240 million,
in exchange for imports of gold and tobacco.

China has also agreed to sell armaments to Nigeria -- $251 million worth of
Chinese fighter jets, financed by China's Exim Bank -- and satellite
technology provided by defense contractor Norinco. "If China wanted to go
out and develop Europe, it would be impossible," says Dai Adi, a Chinese
journalist in Lagos who moved from Beijing in 2001. "But here they can."

The next hot spot may be Angola, where offshore oil could transform the
country from one of Africa's poorest to one of its richest. In late 2004,
while International Monetary Fund officials were berating Angola for corrupt
oil dealings, China gave the government $2 billion in credit to repair
railway tracks bombed in the country's long civil war and to construct new
office buildings in the capital -- all using Chinese contractors. The timing
was flawless: When French oil company Total applied to renew its license on
a large oil-production block, Angola refused, handing it instead to Sinopec,
with which it then formed a joint venture to bid on other oilfields.

China, however, faces its own challenges in Africa. Tony Chukweke, head of
Nigeria's Department of Petroleum Resources, admits that he often finds it
difficult to negotiate with Chinese companies, since each detail requires
approval from officials in Beijing. "It is very, very slow," he says. "They
go back and forth. And when they come back, sometimes you find it is not
what you agreed to." Chukweke, who worked for years as a Shell geophysicist
in London, prefers negotiating with Western oil companies: "Exxon comes in
with clear mandates," he says. "We can negotiate within those mandates."

Still, China's intense energy needs make it an alluring partner. Nigeria's
oil-business development manager Ohiaeri points out that his government can
pressure China far more than it can Western governments. "They are desperate
for our resources," he notes. That symbiotic relationship continues to grow,
and with each passing day -- and each new deal -- China's role in the region
deepens.


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Conflict, development and natural disasters fuel internal displacement



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

JOHANNESBURG, 14 Feb 2006 (IRIN) - Internally displaced persons (IDPs)
remain a problem in Southern Africa, despite the resolution of many of the
conflicts that forced people to flee their homes.

According to a summit paper produced after the Regional Seminar on Internal
Displacement in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Region,
held in Botswana late last year, more than 10 percent of the world's
internally displaced persons (IDPs) are in SADC member states.

Although many people continue to be forced from their homes due to factors
such as natural disasters or to make way for development projects, there is
a distinct lack of specific data on IDPs in the SADC region.

Seminar participants agreed that IDPs faced inequities in accessing
international humanitarian relief and protection. "Unlike refugees, there
was no established international regime to ensure their protection," the
report noted.

"Nonetheless, it was evident that the causes of internal displacement in the
SADC region were diverse and interrelated. For example, it was pointed out
that displacement had been a defining feature of colonialism in Southern
Africa, particularly in the case of South Africa under the apartheid regime.
It was noted that the contemporary effects of colonial displacement policies
have not yet been fully acknowledged or addressed," the report said.

IDPs often became refugees when effective national protection and assistance
were not available, while returning refugees who came home to insecurity and
a lack of sustainable solutions often became internally displaced, according
to Walter Kalin, Representative of the UN Secretary-General, who noted that
IDPs and refugees frequently faced similar risks and their plights could be
interconnected.

Ebrima Camara, Regional Representative of UNHCR, the UN refugee agency,
noted that the agency was in the process of elaborating its commitment to
supporting displaced persons. Specifically, the High Commissioner for
Refugees had offered UNHCR's leadership in three key areas: protection, camp
coordination and emergency shelter.

Armed conflict was highlighted as a major cause of displacement in the
post-colonial era. Civil wars in Angola, Mozambique and the Democratic
Republic of Congo sparked massive displacement crises and generated
thousands of new IDPs, "even as other IDPs were making the difficult journey
home".

"Human rights violations and political violence also fostered internal
displacement, in many cases targeted along ethnic or religious lines," the
paper observed.

Natural disasters have also caused widespread internal displacement in the
SADC region, for example, cyclones in Madagascar, floods in Mozambique and
volcanic eruptions like Karthala in the Comoros, prompting sudden mass
movements to avoid danger.

"Moreover, the ongoing drought in Southern Africa has forced people from
their homes by fostering persistent food insecurity," the report commented.
The impact of natural disasters could have been mitigated through early
warning and disaster-preparedness systems, but in many cases these measures
were often either non-existent or failed to function properly.

Development-induced displacement was another factor influencing population
movements. "Mining-induced displacement ... was one of the most
under-reported causes of displacement in Africa, and one that was likely to
increase, as mineral extraction remained a key economic driver in the SADC
region," the report remarked.

The displacement of the San people, or 'Bushmen', from the Central Kalahari
Game Reserve, allegedly to open the park to diamond mining, was one such
example.

Urban renewal schemes also contributed to internal displacement, with the
government of Zimbabwe's recent Operation 'Murambatsvina' (Drive Out Filth)
cited as being of particular concern.

While a government had the right to renew and develop decaying urban
environments, "it was essential to carry out such projects in accordance
with internationally accepted standards upholding the rights of those at
risk of displacement".

A report by the UN Secretary-General's Special Envoy, Anna Tibaijuka, noted
that Operation Murambatsvina was conducted in an "unplanned and over-zealous
manner which ... unleashed chaos and untold human suffering" on the 700,000
people left homeless or without livelihoods.

It was recommended that SADC governments "address the root causes of
internal displacement" in order to "mitigate the conditions that leave
populations vulnerable to displacement by promoting reconciliation and
peace-building activities ... pursuing rights-based development strategies
and addressing food insecurity in the SADC region".

States had to facilitate humanitarian access to IDPs and improve data
collection on internal displacement. "Governments, academic institutions and
international agencies should collaborate to improve methods to gather,
analyse and disseminate data on the conditions and needs of IDPs," the paper
suggested.

The complex question of when displacement ends also had to be addressed. For
example, many of those displaced during Angola's decades of war have chosen
to settle in areas of displacement rather than return to their areas of
origin.

Increased efforts to tackle the specific needs of IDPs with "heightened
vulnerability", such as women and children, were urgently needed, as was the
inclusion of IDPs in comprehensive HIV/AIDS programmes.

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