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

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Zim Online

Journalists arrested in swoop
Tue 15 February 2005
  HARARE - Zimbabwe state security agents yesterday arrested three senior
correspondents for leading international news agencies as the government
intensified an onslaught on the media ahead of next month's election.

      Officers from the police's law and order section and agents of the
government's spy Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) yesterday morning
raided the offices of Brian Latham, Angus Shaw and Jaan Raath and arrested
the three journalists.

     The three journalists were still detained at Harare Central police
station by late last night. The police are accusing the journalists of
working without being accredited by the government's Media and Information

      Raath works for Times of London, Shaw writes for Associated Press
while Latham writes for several South African papers. Under the government's
draconian Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act, the three
could be jailed for up to two years if found guilty of working as
journalists without being registered.

      But the trio's lawyer, Beatrice Mtetwa, denied the journalists had
violated any law and said their arrest was a "clear case of harassment and

      Mtetwa said: "They are detained at the police station and are being
accused of working without accreditation. Policemen and CIO (agents) visited
their offices in the morning.

      "The journalists are arguing that they submitted their application
forms to the Media and Information Commission (MIC), which have never been
responded to. It seems to me to be a clear case of harassment and
intimidation but we are working on it."

      It could not be immediately established when the police intend to
bring the journalists to court for trial.

      The arrest of the three journalists is the latest in a three-week
crackdown against the media which saw CIO agents launching a massive manhunt
last week for journalist, Cornelius Nduna. The government agents say they
want to interrogate him in connection with sensitive video tapes in his

      In the same week, state prosecutors revived a three-year old case
against newspaper columnist Pius Wakatama in which he is accused of
repeating in one of his columns information gleaned from a story that was
later proved to have been false.

      Under the state's tough press laws, journalists or newspaper
columnists can be jailed for up to two years if found guilty of reporting or
writing falsehoods.

      ZimOnline broke the story of the joint CIO and police crackdown on the
media three weeks ago, quoting intelligence community sources who said the
onslaught was meant to paralyse the media particularly the few journalists
still stringing for international media in Zimbabwe ahead of the March poll.

      The sources said that the government wanted to ensure as little
coverage as was possible for possible violence and disturbances during the
election, which the government wants to present as a successful and
democratic plebiscite in order to regain international acceptance.

      Meanwhile, it is understood that information ministry permanent
secretary George Charamba has told the Foreign Correspondents Association of
South Africa that their members could apply for accreditation to cover next
month's election but there was no guarantee that all wishing to report on
the poll will be allowed to do so.

      Charamba yesterday refused to comment on the crackdown against
journalists in Zimbabwe and his failure to guarantee South African foreign
correspondents that all bona fide journalists would be allowed to cover the
March 31 election. - ZimOnline
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Zim Online

ZANU PF takes propaganda war to new heights
Tue 15 February 2005
  HARARE - The ruling ZANU PF party has released a book attacking the evils
of colonialism and the main opposition party in a fresh assault to win the
hearts and minds of the electorate ahead of a crucial poll next month.

      The book, "Traitors do much damage to national goals", released at the
launch of the ZANU PF election campaign last Friday, charts a new course in
political demagoguery by the party's propaganda arm in a bid to sway the
electorate to its cause.

      President Robert Mugabe last Friday launched his party's election
campaign for the March 31 election dubbed "the anti-Blair (British premier
Tony) election".

      Mugabe accuses the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) party of being a front for the former colonial power Britain out to
reverse the gains of the liberation struggle and oust him from power. The
MDC denies the allegation.

      Couched in coarse language and vitriol, to instil anger in an
unsophisticated peasantry against ZANU PF's perceived enemies, the book
takes the propaganda war to new heights.

      "Traitors" was prepared by the government's department of information
and publicity which has waged a sustained and vicious propaganda war against
the West and the MDC over the last four years.

      With no independent daily newspapers, radio or television stations,
Zimbabweans have had to endure a heavy dosage of state propaganda harping on
the evils of the "white man" from the information ministry.

      This is the first time ZANU PF has crystallised its propaganda
ideology in book form.

      Spewing hate language, the book takes a shot at Catholic Archbishop
Pius Ncube who has spoken out against excesses of President Robert Mugabe's

      Ncube is lumped among a new generation of traitors in
post-independence Zimbabwe who have teamed up with the enemies of the state
to return the country into the hands of the former colonisers.

      "Before our weary eyes have even dried up from the astonishments of
yesterday, from nowhere . . . rises an even greater phantom of traitors,
more frightening than those from the Second Chimurenga era."

      "Pius Ncube decides to be the Devil himself. Officers of religion,
especially when they have risen so high in ranking to be archbishop as Pius
Ncube now is, are supposed to be peacemakers. The new breed of clergymen is
amazing to say the least," says the book.

      ZANU PF also says the Ncube name needs cleansing as it had been soiled
by the likes of Pius Ncube and MDC secretary general Welshman Ncube,
Bulawayo mayor Japhet Ndabeni-Ncube and the MDC legislator Fletcher
Dulini-Ncube "who all seem to have decided to turn the Ncube name into an
acronym for turncoats against the Zimbabwean revolution."

      The book attacks the mayor who has in the past highlighted deaths as a
result of starvation in Zimbabwe's second biggest city. "Every death (in the
city) is now being capitalised on and politicised in order to gain political
mileage," says the book.

      The British are not spared either. Making sweeping generalisations,
which cannot stand close scrutiny, ZANU PF blames all the problems of the
world on its former colonial master.

      "It should be taken note of here that the problems that the whole
world, including what Africa is suffering under today is a result of England's
diabolical greed and disrespect for other nations created differently from
themselves by God the Almighty," says the book.

      "In fact, the epicentre of Hell is in Britain - and the Queen or King
in power at that moment, is the Devil himself or herself." - ZimOnline
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Zim Online

High Court judge wants tribunal disbanded
Tue 15 February 2005
  HARARE - High Court Judge Benjamin Paradza wants a tribunal appointed to
investigate him disbanded allegedly because President Robert Mugabe breached
the law when setting up the committee.

      In an application filed at the Supreme Court this month, Paradza said
Mugabe erred when he did not personally appoint the tribune and instead
allowed Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa to appoint the members of the
board with the assistance of chief justices of three other countries.

      Paradza's application reads in part: "The decisions necessary for the
selection of the tribunal were not his (Mugabe) own but an amalgam of
decisions of the fourth respondent (Chinamasa) and the chief justices of
three other countries .if, as the applicant contends, the tribunal has not
been validly appointed then it is a nullity ab initio and its proceedings
are vitiated."

      Paradza is being probed for allegedly attempting to defeat the course
of justice when he phoned a Bulawayo High Court judge to release the
passport of his friend and business partner, Russell Labuschagne.

      Labuschagne, who is serving a 15-year jail term for the murder of a
fisherman two years ago, was being held in remand prison awaiting trial for
the murder. His passport and other documents had been seized by the
authorities as precaution from fleeing the country.

      Paradza was arrested from his Harare High Court chambers in 2003 and
charged with attempting to defeat the course of justice. His trial has been
suspended to allow for the tribunal process to be completed.

      Members of the tribune appointed by Mugabe last year to probe Paradza
are Justices Dennis Konani Chirwa of Zambia, John Mroso of Tanzania and
Isaac Mtambo of Malawi. The three judges are first, second and third
respondent respectively while Chinamasa and Mugabe are fourth and fifth

      Paradza contends that Mugabe should have personally handpicked the
tribunal instead of delegating the function to Chinamasa and the three
foreign chief justices.

      "The fifth respondent misconceived his jurisdiction . . . firstly, he
considered that section 31 H permitted him to abdicate his power and duty of
selection to the fourth respondent (Chinamasa) (by unlawful delegation,
which he confused with lawful agency) and, through him in turn, to foreign
functionaries," Paradza said.

      Chinamasa could not be reached for comment on the matter yesterday.
The matter has not been set down yet. - ZimOnline
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Zim Online

Attorney General revives court cases against MDC activists
Tue 15 February 2005
  HARARE - The main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party
says Attorney General Sobuza Gula-Ndebele is reviving old cases against its
activists and pushing forward fresh cases in a bid to hamstring its campaign
ahead of next month's election.

      The party's parliamentary chief whip Innocent Gonese said some of the
activists had been removed from remand but were surprised to receive
summonses last week to appear in court over cases they thought had been

      Gonese, who is a lawyer and is handling some of the MDC activists'
cases, said: "We are now busy working on legal representation and assuring
our supporters that they are just being targeted because of the elections.

      "Some of the people I am representing had their cases brought forward
from March 3 to February 18. Others had already been removed from remand but
have now been summoned back to court. The whole idea is to sabotage our
campaign by making sure that our activists become afraid to participate
because of the pending cases."

      Gonese could not give the total number of MDC activists whose cases
have been resuscitated so far.

      It was not possible to get a comment from Gula-Ndebele with his office
consistently insisting since last week that he was either out of his office
or too busy to take questions from the journalists.

      But officials at Gula-Ndebele's offices told ZimOnline that
prosecutors around the country had been ordered to revive charges against
MDC activists that had been dropped because of lack of evidence.

      The police, who have been accused by the African Commission on Human
and People's Rights of bias against the opposition, routinely charge MDC
activists for political violence or for breaching the draconian Public Order
and Security Act. But most of the cases are always dropped due to lack of

      A senior prosecutor at the AG's office, who did not want to be named,
said: "Some of the suspects have already been summoned to appear in court
and trial dates have been set for this week while others will be summoned

      "The move is to bog them down with court cases. This will cool them
off and it is believed most of them will not involve themselves in political
activism if they know they are already being tried for politically-related

      The MDC battles it out with the ruling ZANU PF party in a key general
election scheduled for March 31 after the opposition party rescinded two
weeks ago an earlier decision to boycott the poll unless the political
playing field was levelled. - ZimOnline
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Zim Online

Women protesters demand violence-free election
Tue 15 February 2005
  HARARE - About 200 members of the Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) activist
group demonstrated in Harare on Valentine's Day yesterday demanding a
violence-free election next month.

      Waving placards written "The power of love can conquer the love of
power", the women marched through the streets before the police dispersed

      By late last night, there were no reports of any arrests of the WOZA
activists. About 53 members of the group were arrested in the city of
Bulawayo last Saturday during a pre-Valentine's Day march for a peaceful
poll next month.

      All but four of the women arrested in Bulawayo were released yesterday
after paying admission of guilty fines of Z$25 000 each. The four still in
police custody are expected to appear in court today to answer to charges of
blocking traffic, their lawyer said. - ZimOnline
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Zim Online

Mbeki pushes for SADC delegation to Harare
Tue 15 February 2005
  CAPE TOWN - South Africa's President Thabo Mbeki yesterday urged the
Southern African Development Community (SADC) to quickly dispatch a
delegation to Zimbabwe to help ensure a free and fair election next month.

      Mbeki was last month expected to lead a high-powered team to Harare to
see whether President Mugabe had fully complied with SADC guidelines
governing elections agreed by the regional bloc last August.

      Press reports say Mugabe was refusing to sanction the visit.

      But yesterday, Mbeki expressed optimism that Mugabe would not stand in
the way of the SADC team.

      Meanwhile, South Africa's ruling African National Congress (ANC) party
has given its powerful trade union ally the Congress of South African Trade
Unions (COSATU) the go-ahead to blockade Zimbabwe's lifeline border post in
solidarity with its Zimbabwean trade union counterparts.

      A COSATU team led by the union's secretary general Zwelinzima Vavi
which sought to assess the plight of workers and whether conditions in
Zimbabwe were conducive for free and fair elections next month, was kicked
out of the country earlier this month.

      COSATU immediately threatened to blockade Zimbabwe's borders in

      ANC, which criticised COSATU's ill-fated earlier visit to Zimbabwe,
had initially opposed plans by the union to blockade Zimbabwe's borders.
This time, the ANC has given the union tacit approval to proceed with its
plans of a blockade while it pursues its policy of "quiet diplomacy" against

      COSATU is still to set a date for the mass action. - ZimOnline
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Zim Online

Zimbabwe's cricket greenhorns face SA whitewash
Tue 15 February 2005
  HARARE - Captain Tatenda Taibu and his inexperienced Zimbabwe crew touch
down in Johannesburg today facing prospects of a humiliating whitewash at
the hands of South Africa in a three one-day international series.

      South Africa at the weekend wrapped up a one-day international series
victory over England, whose second-string side did not raise a sweat to
thump the Zimbabweans last December.

      Zimbabwe have not included any of the experienced white players who
walked out on national duty last April to protest the dismissal of Heath
Streak from the captaincy despite "promising talks" to woo the rebels back.

      Speculation was rife most of the rebels would make a comeback
following Zimbabwe's humiliating loss to lowly Bangladesh in a Test and
one-day international series.

      But a Zimbabwe Cricket board member said yesterday the selectors had
not been given the go-ahead yet to consider the rebels.

      "The issue is still in the hands of an ad hoc committee which is
independent of Zimbabwe Cricket and once we are briefed on the progress of
the talks, maybe we will consider the rebels. So at the moment we select
from what we have," the director said, who preferred not to be named.

      Zimbabwe have made three changes to the squad that toured Bangladesh
last month, with vice-captain DionEbrahim the notable absentee.

      Hamilton Masakadza takes over the vice-captaincy in the three
one-dayers, but Ebrahim will be back for two Tests to be played later.

      Meanwhile, Zimbabwe Cricket has employed a controversial secretary who
was once implicated in a US$125 000 financial scandal that left local rugby
teetering on the brink of collapse last year.

      Janice Johnny, a former office administrator at the Zimbabwe Rugby
Union (ZRU), is now secretary to Zimbabwe Cricket operations manager
Qhubekani Nkala. It could not be established when Johnny started her new job
at Zimbabwe Cricket, but she has been picking Nkala's calls for the past

      Johnny last year left her ZRU job after being accused of conniving
with a senior executive there to divert to personal use part of the money
given to the union by the International Rugby Union as development

      Both Nkala and Johnny could not be reached for comment on the matter
yesterday. - ZimOnline

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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

MDC cracks whip

Takunda Maodza
issue date :2005-Feb-15

THE MDC - taking a cue from Zanu PF - says it will take stern disciplinary
action against its legislators threatening to cause chaos for Zimbabwe's
main opposition party after losing intra-party primaries to contest the
March 31 parliamentary polls.

The ruling party has since warned those who lost in the party's primary
elections that they risked expulsion if they stood as independents.
Disgruntled opposition party stalwarts, who have fallen by the wayside after
losing primaries to stand for the MDC in the crucial general elections, have
become hostile towards their colleagues and vowed to disrupt party
activities in their constituencies.

Gonese not amused

MDC chief whip Innocent Gonese did not take the threats lightly. Yesterday,
he said the party would crack the whip on dissenting voices intending to sow
seeds of confusion and despondency in the opposition party that has become a
thorn in the flesh for the ruling Zanu PF.
"As a party we are going to take disciplinary measures provided for by our
constitution at the right time," Gonese said.
He refused to say when the MDC would "whip" the rebels into line, saying the
party's focus now was on the parliamentary polls.
"As for now, we have not looked at any particular matter. We have not
actually done anything about it, but disciplinary action would be taken in
due course," Gonese said.
 A number of seating MDC parliamentarians lost intra-party polls to select
candidates for next month's election and have vowed to de-campaign the
opposition party, a development critics say threatened to tear apart the
country's biggest opposition party since the old ZAPU.
Among the losers are incumbent Mabvuku legislator Justin Mutendadzamera,
Dunmore Makuwaza (Mbare East), Tichaona Munyanyi (Mbare West) and Silas
Mangono (Masvingo Central).
Munyanyi and Makuwaza lost the almagamated Mbare constituency to the party's
deputy secretary- general Gift Chimanikire. Mutendadzamera, Makuwaza and
Munyanyi have publicly declared their desire to disrupt MDC activities in
their constituencies, while Mangono has vowed to contest the March 31 polls
on an opposition ticket; despite being defeated by lawyer Tongai Matutu in
an election he alleges was "fixed".
MDC President Morgan Tsvangirai reportedly presided over the controversial
poll whose results Mangono is vigorously challenging.
After losing the opposition's right to stand in Mabvuku, Mutendadzamera
threatened an "eye-for-an-eye" for his erstwhile political colleagues.
"I am going to do all I can to bar him from campaigning in the constituency.
I am a seasoned political activist who has seen it all. The people of
Mabvuku do not want him because the party leadership imposed him on them. We
are going to treat (Timothy) Mubhawu worse than we would Zanu PF,"
Mutendadzamera said.
Mubhawu, the opposition party's Manicaland provincial chairman, won the
controversial primaries in Mabvuku last year and elbowed out Mutendadzamera.
In Mbare, Makuwaza, who is believed an independent, sang from the same song
as Mutendadzamera.
"Some members of the national executive have manipulated the outcome in
Chimanikire's favour, and as a result I urge all our supporters not to vote
for him in the coming polls. I am not going to give in. I declare myself the
candidate," Makuwaza said.
Another seating MDC legislator, Gabriel Chaibva (Harare South), has lost the
right to stand for the opposition party in next month's elections to
newcomer James Mushonga in a poll held last Sunday. Yesterday, Chaibva
confirmed losing the primary election, saying: "We held primary elections
yesterday (Sunday). I lost to James Mushonga."
Kuwadzana legislator and national youth chairman who presided over the poll
Nelson Chamisa said: "James Mushonga is the winner of the Harare South
primary election that were held on Sunday, but I do not have the figures,
all I know is that he won."
Meanwhile, the MDC completed its primary elections in all the 120
constituencies. "We are completing our primary elections in Rushinga today
(yesterday) and are ready for the parliamentary elections," MDC organising
secretary Esaph Mdlongwa said yesterday.

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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Chinamasa invites local observers for accreditation

The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2005-Feb-15

THE government has invited local organisations and persons interested in
observing the forthcoming general elections for accreditation.
In a statement the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs
Patrick Chinamasa, said those interested should submit their names and
constitutions to his ministry before February 18 for accreditation by the
Electoral Supervisory Commission (ESC).
Observing the poll, which is slated for March 31, would be at the expense of
the organisations or persons involved, Chinamasa said.
Section 14 of the Electoral Act authorises the Justice Minister to invite
local observers.
"Accreditation will be done by the Electoral Supervisory Commission (ESC)
upon production of a letter of invitation from the Minister of Justice,
Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, a national identity card and the requisite
fee of $100 000 per individual," said Chinamasa.
Chinamasa said accredited observers would be expected to furnish the ESC
with two reports, one after voting but before counting and another within 14
days after counting.
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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Students protest over food,destroy school property

The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2005-Feb-15

STUDENTS at the United Methodist Church-run Nyamuzuwe High School in Mutoko
last Friday boycotted lessons and went on the rampage, destroying school
property in protest over poor quality food.
According to sources at the school, trouble at the educational institution
started at lunchtime when students rejected food they claimed was bad.
The protest comes amid allegations that food at the school was badly
prepared and its quality not in line with fees charged.
Nyamuzuwe High hiked its fees from $250 000 last year to $2,5 million this
During last week's disturbances, plates and other kitchen utensils were
destroyed and, according to the sources, the dust only settled after school
authorities came to address students with promises of improvements in the
quality of meals.
However, students refused to go for afternoon lessons and demanded another
meal that was served shortly after 3pm.
"The students only calmed down after being told that another meal would be
prepared. Friday's problem did not start with the protest. It has been there
for some time, with no one addressing it, hence the disturbances," said one
of the sources.
Yesterday, the school's headmaster could not be reached at the institution
but the school's senior master, only identified as Kaserere confirmed the
incident, but refused to give details.
"I am not authorised to comment, but everything is back to normal now," he
said curtly.
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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

GMB battles to recover property from ex- boss

The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2005-Feb-15

THE Grain Marketing Board (GMB) is battling to recover household property
from former boss Martin Muchero, arguing that he bought it fraudulently in a
2000 scam that prejudiced the cash-strapped parastatal of substantial
amounts of money.
Muchero, together with Harare businessman Lastworth Kadirire, have since
been convicted of the offence and fined by a magistrate's court.
They were found guilty of fraud after misrepresenting that $415 000 had been
used in 1988 to buy furniture for the parastatal's boardroom, when, in fact,
Muchero had also bought his home furniture from the same money.
The property was purchased from a Harare firm, Global Systems run by
Kadirire for $229 800, but the two allegedly inflated the figures on the
invoice presented to the GMB, leading to their arrest in 2000.
In an interview with The Daily Mirror, GMB's loss control manager, Wilson
Ncube said: "We are trying to recover the property, but Muchero has refused
to give us the property. We have sent people to collect it, but he has
indicated that he will not deliver it back on grounds he wants to appeal in
the courts."
Ncube could not immediately provide details regarding the contested
And yesterday, the personal assistant to Muchero's lawyer Jonathan Samkange,
of Byron and Venturas, who identified herself only as Farai, said they could
not comment on the issue as their client still had other outstanding court
cases pending against the parastatal.
"We can not comment because we have boxes and boxes of Mr Muchero's cases
against the GMB which are pending in the courts. Worse still, Mr Samkange is
still outside the country," she said.
Muchero yesterday said: " When they came I referred them to the judgment.
It shows that I paid."
Press reports on Muchero's conviction also indicate that he subsequently
paid for the ill-gotten properties.
The drama comes hardly days after reports that the parastatal's regional
manager for the Midlands, Goodwill Shiri, will be hauled before a
disciplinary hearing on allegations of abusing GMB maize grain and trucks in
his failed bid to represent Zanu PF in parliament in next month's general
While Shiri has vehemently denied the allegations, the
GMB however, insists that he indeed abused his authority in Mberengwa East
where he locked horns with and lost the ruling party primary poll to the
Minister of State for State Enterprises and Parastatals, Rugare Gumbo, the
incumbent MP.

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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Harare belatedly consults residents

The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2005-Feb-15

THE Harare City Council is finally consulting residents on the draft budget
it presented last week, following complaints that the commission running the
affairs of the capital was sidelining them on decisions that directly affect
their lives.
However, the Combined Harare Residents' Association (CHRA) sees the
last-minute move by the council as a nonevent, saying  it was senseless to
draft the budget without the residents' input - only to consult after the
process had been completed.
Critics said what the municipality did was like putting the cart before the
horse, conferring with ratepayers when council had already endorsed the
draft budget.
CHRA chairman, Mike Davies, quickly dismissed the exercise as futile,
advising that council should have consulted residents first before compiling
the draft budget.
"They said the draft budget was completed last week and it doesn't make
sense to consult residents now when the whole process was completed.  This
shows how contemptuous the commission regards residents," Davies said.
He was pessimistic that the residents' views would be adopted, since the
whole process had already been completed.
Compiling Harare's budget met with a number of problems, resulting in the
presentation being suspended on three occasions.
Leslie Gwindi, City of Harare's spokesperson, said the residents' views
would be included in the final budget.
"We finished the draft budget last week and now we are going around suburbs
to get input of the residents before amendments are made," he said.
On why they were consulting residents now, Gwindi said: "The important thing
is we are getting their views now and the meetings we had today were
successful. Their views would be included and that's what matters."
There was no time frame for the budget to be presented to the public, Gwindi
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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Police raid news agency

Clemence Manyukwe
issue date :2005-Feb-15

HARARE police yesterday raided the offices of the Associated Press (AP) in
the capital thrice, alleging that the news agency harboured journalists who
were involved in spying, prominent lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa has said.
Mtetwa, of Kantor and Immerman, told The Daily Mirror the police search drew
a blank.
Said Mtetwa: "I was called to the office and the police were there. They
(the police) said they had received information that the journalists were
engaging in spying activities. They searched for the evidence, but they
found nothing."
At the time of the raid freelance journalist Jan Raath, and former Daily
News chief photographer Tsvangirai Mukwazhi, were in the office.
Mtetwa added that the police raided the offices on three separate occasions,
and on the last demanded press cards issued by the Media and Information
Commission (MIC), which the newsmen failed to produce.
The lawyer explained that the journalists were not yet accredited, but
provided the police with receipts showing that they submitted their
applications and the MIC was working on their papers.
MIC boss Tafataona Mahoso could not be reached for comment at the time of
going to press last night.
Police chief national spokesperson Wayne Bvudzijena yesterday professed
ignorance on the matter.
"We do not have any information on that effect," he said.
One of the journalists who was quizzed said the policemen wanted to
confiscate their computers and cameras, but retreated only when Mtetwa
The journalists, who declined to be named, added that prior to their lawyer's
arrival the police questioned the scribes for more than an hour.
But Angus Shaw, the AP correspondent in Harare, said: "I arrived when they
were about to go. I gather they are from CID.  They went back after the
arrival of our lawyer and said they would come back."
He refused to provide more details and referred all questions to their
Since 2000 the police have pounced on dozens of journalists on charges of
violating the restrictive Access to Information and Protection of Privacy
Act (Aippa) as well as the Public Order and Security Act (Posa).
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Business Report

      Claims of Zimbabwe's economic recovery mask a collapse in social

       By Terry Bell

      Cape Town - Zimbabwe's economic performance has improved. This is
being trumpeted by acting finance minister Herbert Murerwa and by reserve
bank governor Gideon Gono, who is playing an ever larger role in economic

      "It is a fact that there has been an improvement," says economist
Godfrey Kanyenze. "But these things are relative and have to be seen in

      Kanyenze and a team at the Labour and Economic Development Research
Institute feel there will be further improvements in the various economic
indices, but at even greater cost to the already impoverished majority of
the population.

      They point out that the government is managing to improve its economic
performance but is cutting back still further on social spending.

      "Cost recovery is now the name of the game," says Kanyenze. "This
concept was employed in the health sector and has now been extended to
schools. These institutions have simply been told that they now have to pay
their own way."

      But because the majority of Zimbabweans can no longer afford health
services, the revenue base for hospitals and clinics has all but

      Even the slavishly pro-government Herald newspaper recently admitted
that the once prestigious Harare general hospital was "in intensive care".

      There are no accurate figures, but it is generally admitted that
increasing numbers of children are dropping out of school as the fees become

      However, there has been no backing off the statement made in November
by Murerwa that even examination fees should be subject to "cost recovery

      These moves, as well as better control of the foreign exchange market,
mean that the government can truthfully boast that economic indicators have
shown marked improvement.

      Year-on-year inflation, for example, officially stood at 622 percent
in January last year. By last December it was probably comfortably within
the initial target of 200 percent.

      Gono has now announced that the economy was on track to lower
inflation to between 30 percent and 50 percent by the end of the year and to
dip into single figures next year.

      This has been described as "pure fantasy" by Tendai Biti, the shadow
finance minister for the opposition Movement for Democratic Change.

      Kanyenze's assessment is slightly more diplomatic. He notes: "On the
basis of the evidence, I would say it is extremely improbable

      Gono's projections appear to be based on what seem to be wildly
optimistic assumptions published in Murerwa's 2005 budget statement. This
assumes a 28 percent increase in the performance of the agricultural sector
this year.

      Other assumptions are that there will be a surge in productive
investment and that the foreign exchange position will improve with an
projected increase in tourism.

      These factors are supposed to see Zimbabwe's gross domestic product
(GDP) rise by 5 percent.

      Last week the reserve bank admitted there was a gross shortfall in
agricultural production and called for a move to "command agriculture". But
the projections remain unchanged.

      "In a country with virtually no national savings to draw on and where
real GDP declined by a cumulative 28.4 percent between 1999 and 2003, the
idea of a rise in GDP does seem fanciful," Kanyenze agrees.

      He also points out that economic growth has continued to decline over
the past two years, although at a slower rate.

      "But now we have the 'Look East' policy. Perhaps China is supposed to
provide the investment," he says.

      There are no accurate crop estimates, but even before the reserve
bank's latest revelation, it was privately agreed in government departments
that there would again be a large shortfall in the production of staples
such as maize.

      Tourism has also collapsed, with some hotels reporting occupancy rates
as low as 12 percent. Attempts by the government to stamp out the thriving
parallel foreign exchange market have also had a negative effect.

      Hotels have now been instructed that all foreign visitors must pay
their bills in US dollars, sterling, euros or rands. This is done at a rate
of exchange lower than the official rate, which, in turn, is nearly half the
rate offered illegally "on the street".

      If the parallel market is any guide to the real value of the Zimbabwe
dollar, the exchange rate for the rand varies from Z$1 500 to Z$1 800, while
the US dollar fetches up to Z$10 000.

      "It makes for an economic and political situation that is like a piece
of elastic that has been stretched and stretched," says Zimbabwe Congress of
Trade Unions secretary-general Wellington Chibebe.

      "It becomes harder to stretch it more before it snaps, and if and when
it does, Africa will face a major disaster."
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Gono Blasts Service Providers

The Herald (Harare)

February 12, 2005
Posted to the web February 14, 2005


MANUFACTURERS, service providers and other market players have come under
attack from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor, Dr Gideon Gono, for
inducing inflationary pressures in the economy through unwarranted price

This comes in the wake of a rise in the rate of inflation for January by 0,9
percent to 133,6 percent at a time when monetary authorities had hoped to
maintain the deceleration that began last year.

The Central Statistical Office attributed the rise to increases in food
prices, rents and rates, education fees and communication.

Commenting on the statistics, Dr Gono said such a trend would not be

"The January 2005 annual inflation outcome of 133,6 percent, underpinned by
a monthly inflation rate of 14,1 percent, comes as an unfortunate
disappointment to monetary authorities as this has marginally reversed the
inflation-reduction gains, which had seen annual inflation decline to 132,7
percent by December 2004," said Dr Gono yesterday.

The steep price adjustments witnessed of late threatened to derail the gains
made on the inflation front so far. The central bank would soon engage
market players on the matter.

"The economy cannot continue to be saddled by these unjustified price
increases by service providers as much of the increases are largely exerting
a tax on consumers for inherent service provider inefficiencies, as well as
going towards bloated profits in some instances.

"Where malpractices are detected, the relevant Government authorities will
be called in to ensure redress," quipped Dr Gono.

He reiterated the need for stakeholders to exercise restraint on prices and
incomes policies to ensure a successful anti-inflation drive.

In this regard, RBZ employees and management had agreed on a 95 percent
salary increase for the whole of this year "as a modest contribution to the
need for a social contract to stabilise inflation spiral".

The rest of the financial sector, industry and commerce, among others
sectors of the economy were encouraged to follow suit.

"Equally, we call upon producers and retailers of goods and services to
calibrate their price adjustments to underlying costs, and not index price
increases to imagined, unrealistic benchmarks that can only be justified as
sheer profiteering."

Further tightening of the money market liquidity conditions would be
expected to weed out speculative trading activities and non-productive
demand for credit.

This called for the banking sector to expertly manage their funding
positions to avoid disruption to the banking public.

Furthermore, the Parastatals and Local Authorities Reorientation Programme
currently underway would also be expected to rid the productive system of
inflationary rigidities and supply bottlenecks to boost the economy's
overall supply response.

Dr Gono also promised to review the total foreign currency made available
for importers on the auction to encourage more productive activities.

He remained resolute that the inflation target for this year would be

"As monetary authorities we are confident that the current measures,
supported by responsible pricing and wage demands for this year, will see us
collectively reduce annual inflation to the targeted range of between 20
percent and 35 percent by December 2005 and to single digit during the first
half of 2006," said Dr Gono.

Inflation was significantly reduced from 622,8 percent in January last year
to 132,7 percent in December.

This was largely attributed to tight monetary conditioned maintained last
year supported by fiscal austerity.

Initiatives to increase production capacity, largely through the Productive
Sector Facility, also contributed to burst the inflation bubble.
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New Zimbabwe

Zanu PF, MDC war chest boosted by State funds

By Staff Reporter
Last updated: 02/15/2005 13:10:14
ZIMBABWE'S government on Monday dished out more than a US$1 million to the
country's two main political parties as part of the annual grant they are
entitled to under law.

State radio cited Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa as saying the ruling
Zanu-PF party received about Zim$3,3 billion (US$530 000) while the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) got Zim$3,1 billion.

Under the country's Political Finances Act, a political party has to have a
minimum of five percent of the total parliamentary seats to qualify for the
State funding.

The MDC has slighly more than 30% of the total parliamentary seats in the
150-strong legislature, dominated by the governing party.

Zimbabwe holds parliamentary elections on March 31 in which President Robert
Mugabe's party aims to further consolidate its nearly 25-year-old
stranglehold on power.

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      Zimbabwe's industry urged to add value to products 2005-02-15 05:25:46

           HARARE, Feb. 14 (Xinhuanet) -- Zimbabwe's industry should come up
with ways and technologies of adding value to products so as to earn more
foreign exchange, Science and Technology Development Minister Olivia Muchena
said here on Monday.

          Export of unprocessed products was not beneficial, while products
such as minerals had by-products that could be used for the country's
benefit, said Muchena when addressing a two-day strategic planning workshop
under the theme "Consolidating Science and Technology toward the Attainment
of Sustainable Development 2005-2010."

          "We need a systematic approach of unleashing the power of science
and technology to 'leapfrog' development in the country," she said.

          Muchena said value addition would minimize the number of cases in
which Zimbabweans imported expensive goods made from Zimbabwean raw

          As the Zimbabwean economy was based on economy, there was need to
find out how to use technologies in value added products such as soya beans
and small grains, she said.

          When presenting the fourth quarter monetary policy, Reserve Bank
of Zimbabwe Governor Gideon Gono said "focus on increased value addition is
also strategic in terms of employment creation, as well as raising the
general level of internal resource utilization." Enditem

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