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- may peace, truth and justice prevail.

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Sent: Tuesday, February 01, 2005 1:37 AM
Subject: Five Down

Five down, six to go.

It was quite an experience to watch the BBC backtrack on Monday morning as
news came in on the Iraq elections. It now looks as if up to 68 per cent of
the people voted and what was even more astonishing is that they were
clearly enthusiastic about the experience. So much for the doomsayers.

In the Sunni areas where voting was lowest, the women led the way in a
remarkable display of courage and commitment to their own freedom.

The Americans have been there before of course. First there was the way in
which an American General, Marshal, took a shattered Europe after 5 years of
war against a tyrannical government, which had at last overstepped the mark.
Millions died in the conflict but it took the Americans to make the peace.
Today, modern Europe is a child of American military intervention on the
side of democracy and freedom.

Secondly, there was Japan. Ruled by another tyrannical regime Japan had
fought a war against the rest of the world in an effort to secure its
control over much of China and the Pacific Rim. Once beaten by force of
arms - mainly American - it was another American General who took shattered
Japan and put it back on its feet, in a way that created modern Japan,
democratic, principled and dynamic. This was a remarkable story - of a
General who insisted his men ate what was only available to every Japanese
citizen. A man who recognized the value of Japanese culture and ensured that
it was respected in the modern structures being established. A man, whose
ideas remain at the heart of modern Japan 60 years later.

Then came the collapse of the Soviet Union and the global effort by the
Americans and the new Europeans to ensure that the fires of democracy and
freedom set loose in the Soviet landscape was fed and nurtured until today
much of the old empire is democratic and free.

The world has a very short memory but we need to keep this in mind when we
find fault with what the US is doing today in Iraq and Afghanistan. Lets be
big enough to accept that what they have achieved in these two countries is
remarkable. Especially when you understand how little they will get back in
return. In military terms the effect of regime change in both countries has
been a stunning story and the loss of such a small number of men and women
in the exercise is a tribute to training and leadership.

But even more remarkable is the commitment to giving these liberated people
the right to self-determination as quickly as possible and making the
commitment to ensure the resulting government is self-sustaining. In the
history of global conquest, these actions are absolutely unique. Both
Britain and the US leadership deserve recognition for these achievements.

Now Condoleezza Rice turns the sights of the American administration to the
other "tyrannies" in the world. Belarus, Cuba, Burma, North Korea, Iran and
Zimbabwe. She talked of the test of freedom as being the ability of any
citizen to walk to the town center and say in public what they think of
their governments and not suffer any consequences. She committed her period
as the most powerful woman on earth to eliminating these regimes and winning
for their peoples the kind of simple freedoms that citizens in free
countries take for granted.

Now that Iraq and Afghanistan are on their way to becoming democracies in
which the rule of law and the respect for human and political freedoms are
the norm, rather than the exception; surely we are next!

Zimbabwe is an easy case to deal with - no military conflicts, military
intervention not required. Global consensus that change is needed to put the
country back on the map. A powerful neighbor who is susceptible to pressure
and committed to the same principles as they are - at least on paper. Regime
change here would not be hard to secure by democratic means, all it requires
is a bit of pressure in the right places.

There are signs that this is happening - the statement by the ANC that
conditions in Zimbabwe are "not conducive to free and fair elections" and
the accompanying threat that if this is not changed, and soon, they might
not recognize the elections. That is tough talk. Then Cosatu coming back to
Zimbabwe and also talking tough, throw us out this time - at your peril.

At stake is a great deal. Zimbabwe as the bad apple in the region is slowing
down regional economies, inhibiting trade and other agreements with the
developed countries and interfering with the proposed massive effort by the
EU and the United States to turn Africa around and get us on track to
achieve the Millennium goals by 2015. We stand in the way of progress and
recovery and are being held to ransom by the whims of an aging group of old
style nationalists who simply do not know when it is time to step down.

Zimbabwe is a test case for African leaders. Can they sort it out in a way
that puts us back into the community of Nations and unlocks the
international effort to help Africa meet its peoples needs? We are about to
see if this is something they can do without US or European intervention.

A few years ago my son and I were driving through the bush in eastern Zambia
some 100 kilometers from the Malawi border. We came across a small clearing
with a few huts and three small children, two boys and a little girl. The
boys were selling mushrooms and we stopped to buy some from them. While this
was going on something caught my eye - the sight of the small girl pulling
herself along the path on the ground in a frantic effort to get to the
action. I took some chocolate cookies and walked down the path to where she

I do not know how old she was but she was paralyzed from the waist down and
was filthy from pulling herself along the ground. But what caught my
attention was her face - two intelligent and bright eyes looked at me, no
sign of self-pity or pleading, just a steady look at this stranger from
another planet. I gave her the cookies and sat with her on the ground for a
minute - she spoke Chinyanga and I knew a little as well.

She haunted me for weeks afterwards - I contacted a Presbyterian Hospital in
Malawi and asked them to go and see what they could do for her - offering to
pay whatever it cost. I heard no more but I still remember that bright young
face on a broken body with a spirit that would not lie down. I am in this
fight for her and millions like her who need a better, brighter future. You
might disagree, but I think that what Ms. Rice intends doing will help in
that pursuit.

Eddie Cross

Bulawayo, 31st January 2005.


Enough is Enough



We have a fundamental right to freedom of expression!


Education – A Shattered  Hope
Sokwanele Reporter:  31 January 2005
January is a time of new beginnings.  For the adults – new year resolutions, for the children – new schools, new teachers, new classrooms and new friends.  But in Zimbabwe January brings the same old problem: where to find money for school fees, for uniforms, for books. The only difference is that it gets worse every year. In 2005, not less than $400,000 will be required for each child to begin the school year, to pay fees, levy, buy a pair of shoes, one dress or shirt and shorts, socks and jersey.  But new books are needed too – at least $600,000 for a set if they are new, perhaps $300,000 if you are lucky to get them second-hand.  That is for one child, in an urban primary school, but most parents have more.  Imagine a working man or woman, who earns one  million a month, or much less, trying to find the money to send 3 children to school.  They simply can’t.  The first item abandoned is the books, so children’s chance of success is prejudiced.  Next they have to decide which of the three will have to drop out.  Will it be the girl, who can perhaps marry a working man, or the oldest who at least has finished grade 7?
It wasn’t always like this.  Fifteen years ago the biggest problem was to find a place in a school close to your home.  The schools were overflowing.  Places had to be booked half way through the previous year, or even earlier.  Fees still had to be found, but they were relatively low, books were available, often purchased by the school.  Government allocations did not cover everything, but they covered far more than they do today.  Levies charged were used to supplement – for sports, extra books or teachers, equipment, capital development.  Classes were large and teachers underpaid, older buildings were deteriorating, but the system somehow functioned with its imperfections.  Those who were not satisfied and who could afford to, sent their children to private schools runs by missions, churches, or the very expensive private trusts.
But already in 1990 there was a serious disjunction between education and the economy; the thousands of school leavers each year were having difficulty finding employment. Pressure built up to invest more in tertiary education so that they could occupy themselves in more advanced courses which might lead to better jobs.  The lack of integrated national policies was leading towards major contradictions.  Fifteen years later, those contradictions, combined with the destructiveness of the “land reform” and all that goes with it, has brought education to near breaking point.
Educational development was hailed as one of the great achievements of the Zimbabwean government of the 1980’s.  Within a few months of  Independence in April 1980, the government had announced that all grade 7 pupils could proceed to Form 1, thus transforming an exclusive, selective system into one which was open for all.  There followed a frenzy of building and development, especially of secondary schools, but also of teacher training facilities.  Syllabuses were changed and developed and textbooks written, printed and distributed.
The subsequent progress was not without its conflicts, as politics took the forefront.  In the interests of socialist equality, the despised but in fact highly practical F2 vocational secondary schools were dismantled.  Everyone must follow an academic curriculum and write O level in four years.  Added to that was the programme of “Education for Production”, widely misunderstood and variously interpreted in different schools and colleges, but universally resented by teachers, pupils, parents and administrators.  Eventually it died a natural death.  What a pity; in a different context it could have been a positive and practical programme which would have contributed to productive activity.
The greatest achievement was in quantitative expansion, as enrolments doubled and redoubled, especially in secondary education.  Predictably, standards dropped through the 80’s, as class sizes doubled, and pupils who failed O levels became “temporary” teachers in rural “upper tops” – primary school classrooms used temporarily to accommodate Form 1 and 2 classes while their schools were built.  Pupils walked up to ten kilometres to learn from unqualified youth and returned home exhausted at night.  In urban schools, shifts were used to multiply the numbers.  Yet all were presented with an academic curriculum designed in other countries for less than half the population.  Nevertheless, the small fee required for secondary school attendance was affordable, primary school pupils paid practically nothing, and parents were happy that their children were at last able to be educated and hope for a better future.  Enrolments reached 86% of the primary school age population in 1990, and 90% in 2000.  Secondary enrolment never attained the same percentages, but it more than quadrupled over the years.  The effect on adult literacy rates was dramatic – by 1990 they were the highest in Africa, and by 2002 reached 90%.  The youth literacy rate (age 13-24) hit 94% in 1990 and 98%in 2002.
What a resource had been created for the country’s future!
But the development was uneven.  It was not planned in relation to the growth of the economy.  Commercial agriculture remained largely in the hands of white farmers, using manual labour.  It could not absorb much more educated labour without a major reorganisation, which did not come, and there were cases of farmers resisting the establishment of secondary schools for the children of their workers.  In the communal areas as well, those adolescents removed from their traditional role in the family fields to linger in the classroom do not expect to return to the arduous and often unrewarding tasks of ploughing, cultivating and harvesting.  They join the trek to the towns where they look for “real” jobs.  Rural educational development swelled the long-established urban migration to a flood and depleted the rural areas of essential labour.  The addition of agriculture to an otherwise academic rural curriculum did nothing to alleviate the problem.  The notion of an “educated” person who had gone to secondary school finding a future “at home” was simply laughable. In the thinking of most rural people, the whole purpose of being educated was to leave the village.
The failure to dovetail educational development with economic development only began to have serious consequences after a decade of Independence.  There was such a long way to catch up, and the economy was growing, still enjoying the “Independence dividend” right through the 1980’s.  The contradictions remained simmering under the surface. But when the economy began shrinking after 1990 under the influence of ESAP, steam began escaping from the pot.  Government spending was not matching its income.  An ESAP programme dictated that this must be corrected.  The high expenditures on social services, primarily education and health, must cease, and the costs of these must be recovered from the beneficiaries. 
School fees were reintroduced on a higher scale.  The School Development Associations, which had replaced Parent-Teacher Associations were now expected to take a major role in “developing” the schools.  For this purpose they could levy the parents for payments approved by the Ministry.  Gradually “development” changed from simply meaning expansion of buildings, to cover repairs, textbooks, all science and sports equipment, security, grounds maintenance and finally even electricity and water bills.  Government continued to charge a “tuition fee” and to provide a per capita grant to each school, which was meant to pay for school administration and general operating costs, but by 2000, it was the SDA-administered levies which were sustaining the schools.  Obviously this type of arrangement produced enormous discrepancies between schools in high-income and low-income areas.  The former could afford to vote for high levies which would provide all the amenities a school could want, while the latter could afford the bare minimum.  The wealthier schools could also afford to pay professional book keepers and keep track of the expenditure, while the poorer schools, with fewer well-educated parents, experienced high levels of fraud and corruption in the administration of SDA funds. 
For those who were losing their jobs under the onslaught of ESAP and those who never had jobs, a Social Dimensions Fund was established which would pay fees.  Others depended on various charitable initiatives.  But by the end of the 90’s, the government was no longer allocating adequate amounts to the Social Dimensions Fund, and larger numbers of children simply dropped out, especially from secondary education which was far more expensive. The BEAM programme which replaced it catered for only a few of the needy.
The lack of allocations for education was affecting teachers as well.  Teaching was not a profession of choice for many.  Even from the early 80’s it had been seen as a stepping stone to something better for those who could not qualify to attend university.  The fact that most teachers would have to work in rural areas without modern amenities made it unattractive for most ambitious youth, and the deteriorating salaries in comparison to other professions put the seal on the matter.
A mood of despondency gripped the whole education sector.  Many teachers only remained because they had no other opportunities; pupils could not expect to do well with little equipment, and for most, their years in school did not lead to jobs.  Hundreds of thousands of school leavers were unemployed by the early 90’s.  Government did not look for an economic solution, as they were already committed to ESAP.  The best they could attempt was the expansion of tertiary education.  Thus, instead of putting money into job-creation, they put up new universities and colleges, to absorb the thousands who could not find jobs.  Fees were again low, heavily subsidised.  While an attempt was made to integrate some of the courses with economic requirements, especially at NUST, at Midlands State University and the Hotel School at the Bulawayo Polytech, the sad thing was that the economy was no longer developing to absorb them.
The best most could do was to get jobs teaching – engineers teaching maths in secondary schools, for example. 
For a while it seemed as if Zimbabwe was only a nation of teachers and learners.  The products of the new institutions immediately became lecturers in the next new institution.  But this could not continue for long.  The exodus began, and the new ambition of youthful graduates was to get enough qualifications to leave Zimbabwe for a place where they could get well paid. Just as secondary schools in rural areas became funnels channelling young people to the towns, tertiary institutions became avenues leading out of the country.  The amounts of money being poured into tertiary institutions became a drain on the economy, because the graduates could not find productive employment.  Zimbabwean institutions became training grounds for foreign economies.
The situation in education was already bad by 2000 when Zimbabwe plunged over the edge. Since then, along with everything else in the country, it has become catastrophic.  Government policies which have destroyed the economy have impacted heavily on education.  All efforts to balance inputs and outputs have been sacrificed for political expediency and for the perceived need to retain ZANU PF in power.
The current crisis in education is manifested in a variety of ways; these include contraction of enrolment, especially at primary level, but also at secondary, under-funding, declining standards and politicisation of education.  Government doesn’t seem to have any policy at all about how education relates to the economy or develops the potential of individuals.  It is just a matter, as with everything else, of keeping systems running in any manner possible, as long as ZANU PF can stay in government.  In this context, education has assumed another important role – another channel for control of the population.
Much of the loss of enrolment has occurred from the former farm schools.  They may not have been as good as they should have been, but at least they existed, providing a basic primary education for children on commercial farms.  When white farmers were driven off the farms, these schools went with them.  The drop in enrolment from over 90% of primary school age children in 2000 to 65% today is in large part attributable to the dispersal of the farm worker communities and the demise of their schools.  Those who remain on the farms are generally not paid workers and most of the schools are no longer functioning.  Those who have moved elsewhere generally cannot afford even the primary school fees.  The rest of the drop comes from families who cannot raise school fees and in any case have lost hope that schooling will benefit their children.  Why struggle to pay for secondary education when it does not lead to employment?
Under-funding has several causes.  The first is government’s lack of funds as a result of the mismanagement and subsequent collapse of the economy.  Second is the poor prioritisation of budget allocations, also caused by inappropriate policies.  Money goes to heavy subsidisation of corrupt loss-making parastatals, to fuel procurement, to subsidise agricultural produce.  It is being thrown at “new farmers” who produce little and rarely repay the loans, and being stolen by a predatory governing elite.  And it is being spent on “state” security which is in reality the retention of power by ZANU PF.  There is a clear lack of commitment to maintain standards in education, as all attention is focussed on the “third chimurenga”.  Government has now indicated that it will fund virtually nothing except teachers’ salaries, which are also far too low.  True, that is the single largest item of recurrent expenditure on education, but there is much, much more, and parents have to provide the difference – parents who are already so hard pressed that they live in despair and desperation.  Education takes up an ever higher proportion of their income, at a time when real incomes are falling rapidly.  Parents simply are incapable of doing it.  The consequence is low morale amongst teachers and pupils, crumbling buildings, few text books, crowded classrooms, an absence of any other equipment, and much higher levels of school dropouts, in both rural and urban areas.  Even a substantial increase in teachers’ salaries will do little to improve the situation.  With the lowest paid teacher earning only half as much as the lowest paid soldier, it is clear where government priorities lie.
The politicization of education is not new.  We saw how socialist ideology affected the curriculum in the 1980’s.  But with ZANU PF’s popularity in question since 2000, every government institution has been swept into the campaign to protect their hold on power.  Teachers in rural areas have been targeted and chased from their schools, accused of being opposition supporters.  Too frequently they have been replaced by unqualified graduates of Border Gezi militia camps.  Entry into teacher training colleges is reserved for those who have been through the same training and can be deemed “loyal”.  Administrators who refused to be drawn into open support of ZANU PF have been forced to resign, while spies and informers are placed in schools to report on any anti-ZANU PF sentiments.  History has been made a required secondary school subject, and its content distorted to glorify ZANU PF and its liberation war.  A modern society needs young people who have learned to question and be creative, not those whose minds are dulled by being refused the privilege of thinking.  It needs an enlightened concern for the individual child’s needs, not the militia idea of harsh discipline verging on brutality.
And finally, having failed to allocate sufficient funds to education, government prevents others from filling the gap. It has refused to allow those who have the means, to raise levies to a  level adequate to the proper running of a school.  SDA’s are expected to raise money to run the schools,  and inflation still close to 200% and rising again, it is inevitable that levies must go up.  But government prevented this last year, and is doing so again. 
Government knows that parents are struggling to pay the levies raised; instead of raising budget allocations, they hope to gain political capital by preventing SDA’s, and in private schools, the boards, from raising fees beyond a given level, while insisting that they provide the same service they have always done.  This is the same “we can make water run uphill” attitude that they have shown towards economic imperatives.  An urban primary school which calculated it required a levy of $200,000 per term per child to cover all essential costs, is told that it cannot peg it higher than $60,000.  Yet $60,000 will not be enough to run the school.  Already, water is restricted to flushing the toilets, while washing of hands is not allowed, and the taps are dry.  What kind of hygiene education is this?  How long can a school function on one third of the funds budgeted? How long before schools become health hazards, and cease to teach because there are no books, furniture, or exercise books to write in?  Certainly, ZANU PF will blame the SDA’s when schools collapse.  But it will not be the fault of the school or the SDA.  It is the fault of government who abrogate their responsibilities and sacrifice everything for popularity.
Instead of telling the people the truth – that it is unable or unwilling to provide affordable education, government blames the SDA’s and the boards of the private schools for trying to maintain their schools. Private schools have even had to obtain a court order to stop government from using force to close them down. Up to now, the schools have managed to hold together.  But after two years of holding back school fees for the sake of ZANU PF’s popularity, we have a catastrophic situation:  fees which parents still cannot afford, plus collapsing infrastructure, plus decreasing quality of education.
A similar situation prevails at the universities.  We spent a lot of money putting up expensive buildings.  The fees, which used to be heavily subsidised, were raised drastically two years ago, making university education beyond the reach of the vast majority.  But still there is not enough money to attract qualified staff, essential equipment to teach technical courses is not available, and libraries are pathetically under-stocked.  Students pursue courses and graduate, but the majority spend months before they secure employment, while many take the first opportunity to leave the country.  It is testimony to the calibre of both staff and students that the universities function at all.  And yet, unbelievably, government continues to promise people universities in places where there are no A level schools, and A level classrooms in schools where no one passes O level.
The funnel gets wider and more powerful as schools, colleges and universities are utilised by each participant for their own purposes:  by politicians to get votes, by young people to get enough qualifications to escape from Zimbabwe, by teachers to gain a wrung on the employment ladder which may lead to something better, by political thugs as targets for their frustrations.  No one seems to see education any more in terms of the visions of a decade ago – “preparing our future leaders”, “instilling moral values”, or even as a tool of social and economic development.
With the economy in freefall, government continues to make promises while delivering nothing.   Our once vibrant system, in spite of some contradictions, promised much for the future; but it is in shambles.  Fewer and fewer children are able to participate and of those who do, fewer are able to benefit from the low quality education now being offered.  It is clear that it will take many years before the educational institutions can be turned into what they should be – well-resourced centres of learning which provide the moral and intellectual development for young people while supporting a growing economy.
Very little can be expected until the government changes and the economy returns to a growth pattern.  Then a more realistic new policy can be devised which will link education with the needs of development. Until that happens, parents will still struggle to keep their children in schools, but most are having to accept the sad reality that education will not bring a better life for youth in Zimbabwe. It is more likely to lead only to an unproductive life on the streets, or for the lucky ones, escape to a happier life beyond Zimbabwe’s borders.

ZIMBABWE: "Govt has to import to improve food security situation"

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

JOHANNESBURG, 31 January (IRIN) - Humanitarian workers are concerned about
the food security situation in Zimbabwe but told IRIN the extent of the
problem hinges on the ability of the government to import enough grain to
cover a production deficit.

The US-funded Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET) last week
said 5.8 million Zimbabweans - almost half the population - were in need
of food aid.

In its overview of food security threats in sub-Saharan Africa, FEWS NET
noted that the situation in Zimbabwe is "deteriorating", and "staple food
availability is declining as market prices continue to rise".

The minister of lands, agriculture and rural development, Joseph Made, has
dismissed the FEWS NET report. He was quoted by the official newspaper,
The Herald, as saying, "Those claims from the West are simply because we
have embarked on an anti-Blair [British Prime Minister] campaign for our
elections, and they can see the land is in our hands. This is a clear
signal of how desperate they are."

Made said the state-owned Grain Marketing Board (GMB), which holds a
monopoly on the purchase and distribution of cereals, was distributing
370,000 mt of grain. "That is besides the 400,000 mt sitting in our
strategic reserve. Apart from that, we are moving some carryover stock
into the country."

The government has maintained that Zimbabwe produced 2.4 mt of maize last
year, against a national requirement of about 1.8 mt. However, a report by
the parliamentary portfolio committee on lands and agriculture revealed
that by October 2004, the GMB had received only 388,558 mt: the board told
the committee that some farmers preferred to hold onto their grain stocks
rather than sell to the GMB.

Independent estimates said the country produced only about a million
metric tonnes of maize last year.

In May 2004 the government decided not to renew an appeal for
international food aid and controversially cancelled a crop assessment
mission by the Food and Agriculture Organisation and World Food Programme
(WFP), claiming there would be a bumper harvest.

According to the South African Grain Information Services (SAGIS), more
than 32,000 mt of maize was exported to Zimbabwe through South Africa
between November 2004 and January this year.

A report on informal cross-border food trade, released by FEWS NET last
week, indicated that since July 2004, Zimbabweans had also informally
imported 8,290 mt from Zambia.

Aid workers in Zimbabwe told IRIN they suspected the figures reflected in
the SAGIS import/export records were "too low" and did not fully reflect
the amount of grain the government was bringing into the country.

They also stressed that the government's capacity to cover its import bill
would determine the food security situation over what is traditionally the
lean season, from December to March.

The humanitarian community faces a difficult working environment in
Zimbabwe, and aid officials said it was difficult to gather a
comprehensive assessment of household-level food availability in the

But, according to separate surveys released by both FEWS NET and WFP
earlier this month, while staple cereals are increasingly unavailable in
rural areas, maize prices on the parallel market continue to climb,
limiting the ability of households to buy enough food to satisfy their

"Zimbabweans have been facing food shortages since 2002 [when 7.2 million
people through to March 2003 were in need of food aid] and their coping
mechanisms are exhausted", an aid worker commented.

Chris McIvor of the development agency Save the Children, which operates
in the impoverished northern Zambezi Valley said, "People's survival
strategies have raised similar concerns, as they did in 2002, primarily
because of the impact on children's lives. For example, their withdrawal
from school; the time spent on labour activities rather than on education;
the exposure to hazards occasioned by trying to find wild foods to
supplement their family's diet.

"We continue to note a high incidence of chronic malnutrition [in the
Zambezi Valley], which is indicative of a perennial food shortage in the
area, which impacts on the growth of children. Acute malnutrition, which
is an indicator of sudden food crisis, continues to remain relatively

Other aid workers said the GMB was struggling to regularly supply all its
depots in the countryside. Maize was available in some GMB outlets, but
only for "a few days" at a time.

A Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee report in April 2004,
endorsed by the government, projected that around 41 percent of the rural
population (3.3 million people) would be food insecure from December 2004
to March 2005 if the price of maize reached Zim $750/kg. Maize is already
selling at above Zim $1,100/kg in most rural areas, reaching Zim $2,000/kg
in the worst hit districts, FEWS NET said in a report published in

The cost of living in urban areas increased steadily during 2004, and the
majority of urban households struggle to meet their basic expenditure
requirements, FEWS NET said.

The cost of food, as well as non-food items, rose by 92 percent from
January to November 2004, but wages failed to keep up. According to the
Consumer Council of Zimbabwe, the minimum industrial wage of Zim $500,000
(about US $86.96) could cover only 31 percent of the November expenditure

Zimbabwe could have another poor harvest this year after late seasonal
rains, particularly in the midlands and southern provinces, and lack of
inputs for farmers.

WFP spokesman Mike Huggins said although it was too early to make a
definitive assessment, "Delayed rains, given the limited availability of
fertilisers and seeds, and low tillage, these are some concerns about
Zimbabwe's harvest prospects."


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From Zim Online (SA), 31 January

Zanu PF Politburo demands sacking of Jonathan Moyo

Harare - The ruling Zanu PF party's inner politburo cabinet wants government information minister and propaganda chief, Jonathan Moyo, dismissed, party spokesman Nathan Shamuyarira told Zim Online last night. Shamuyarira said the politburo, Zanu PF's most powerful organ outside congress, discussed Moyo's fate last week with several members calling for his dismissal because his conduct was damaging to both the ruling party and the government. The Zanu PF spokesman would not say how Mugabe reacted to calls to fire his acerbic propaganda chief or whether Moyo was allowed to defend himself, only saying the politburo, which meets every Wednesday, will take a final position on Moyo this week. "Politburo members have suggested that Moyo be removed from government because having a chap like him as a member of the party and government will reflect badly on both the party and government," Shamuyarira said, officially confirming for the first time that Moyo could be facing the sack. He added: "He (Moyo) received a lot of criticism for attacking government and party leaders and this criticism will definitely be taken into account at our next meeting. Politburo members have expressed concern that he must be dealt with before the situation gets out of hand."

Moyo, an arch-critic of the government before his surprise conversion to become its chief defender five years ago, could not be reached last night for comment on the latest development regarding his continued stay in Zanu PF and the government. According to Shamuyarira, the politburo wanted Moyo urgently removed from the information ministry where he has used his control of the government's vast media empire to attack senior party and government leaders he disagrees with. The party's top committee also wanted Moyo punished for organising a meeting in his Tsholotsho rural home last year to plot ways to scuttle the appointment of Joyce Mujuru as Zanu PF and subsequently Zimbabwe's second vice-president. Mujuru, who had the backing of Mugabe, was appointed to the vice-presidency late last year, a position seen as a key stepping stone to the top job. Seven out of Zanu PF's 10 provincial chairmen, who attended the Tsholotsho meeting, were suspended by Mugabe for four years. Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa and Moyo were subsequently fired from the politburo. Mugabe also blocked Moyo's selection to the party's central committee as further punishment.

Moyo's stay in Zanu PF had remained tenuous since the Tsholotsho meeting but Mugabe had appeared unprepared to dismiss an efficient if crude lieutenant who was able to smoother much of the independent media and other critical voices, while ensuring the government's voice was the only one heard - loud and clear. But Moyo's unrelenting attacks against senior party leaders and his decision two weeks ago to sue party chairman, John Nkomo and senior politburo member, Dumiso Dabengwa, whom he accused of defaming him, finally pushed the politburo to demand his dismissal, according to Shamuyarira. Moyo, who is a political scientist educated in the United States, will forever be remembered for crafting some of Zimbabwe's most autocratic media laws under which hundreds of journalists were arrested and three newspapers including the country's biggest privately-owned daily, the Daily News, were shut down.

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From: Michael Laban
Date: Sun Jan 30, 2005  10:16:32  p.m Africa/Harare
Subject: Elections

Former-Councillor Laban's Occasional Newsletter - 30 January 2005

What used to be a bulletin of discussions, resolutions, events and
pertaining to Ward 7 (Avondale, Alex Park, Strathaven, KG6 Barracks, etc.)



I am listening to the elections in Iraq, and pondering the meeting on
Thursday, 27 January, at which Tendai Biti (MP, Harare East) and Brian
Raftopoulos spoke on the MDC's participation in the elections. My mind is
not made up, but I thought I would pass on some of their arguments, since
they are the first developed, rational and sane arguments I have ever heard
on why the MDC should participate. This will at least give you information
to make your own decisions, and you can do your own thing, in your own
constituency, when the time comes.

Tendai started by pointing out that the real power in Zimbabwe is in the
Executive, i.e. the President, and therefore the next real possibility of a
power change would be in 2008 with the Presidential elections. Therefore,
the real question must be, is 2005 a building block, or not, for 2008?

He commented on our "Vulture state", and how individuals were replacing
institutions, as indicated by the gutting of the judiciary, the police and
the soldiers; institutions of the nation sate were being replaced by groups
loyal to an individual and hence, as with Mobutu and Zaire, the whole
institution of the nation state did not survive the passing of the

On the SADC Guidelines, it was clear. They have not been complied with. Not
in the slightest. Not in any respect. However, the MDC's 26 August 2004
Declaration - not to participate in the elections without there being a
level playing field did have a modifier that is currently relevant. That
is, the declaration made it clear that the decision to participation
remained with the people. The Resolutions of 8 and 9 December 2003, from
the Show Grounds, made it clear that the decision would not be made by the
National Executive, nor "top people" at Harvest House, but would be decided
by the people.

He went on to note that the debate is largely divided on class lines. The
people who "live behind durawalls" are one class, and these people are
against participation. However, the people outside the durawalls are in
favour of participation.

The strategic issues around the debate;

1. The "Sanitisation of Zanu PF". It is clear they need it. They need it
badly. Gideon Gono's statements on Wednesday were not economic; they were
aimed at the sanitisation of Zanu PF. That was the major aim. That is why
the Zanu PF President did not put forward Zanu PF platform on Saturday.

Specifically on participation, the MDC's participation in 2002 did not
legitimise Zanu PF in 2002.

2. Lost political space. We had lost space in 2000 and 2002. And we have
lost a great deal of space with the closing of the Daily News since then.

To the people outside the durawalls, the above two points are not an issue.
They had no newspaper before, and have none now. The SADC guidelines were
not there before, and they are not there now. So what has changed? Tendai
quoted his District chairman on the attitude of the people, "A dead rabbit
does not run away from the dogs".

Participation in the Election allows action. It defeats inactivity.

Brian Raftopoulos then spoke, and thanked Tendai for inviting him, and then
taking his speech.

He said that an election is about constructing a majority. Or the
perception of a majority.

The region is keen to give legitimacy to Zanu PF/Zimbabwe. Their legitimacy
could well be based on based on the reform of Zanu PF. On USA - Zimbabwe
plays a small part in the USA's agenda on foreign affairs. Notwithstanding
Ms Rice's comment about outposts of tyranny. On the EU - they are divided
on Zimbabwe. Some players are looking for reasons to legitimise the
situation in Zimbabwe and wash their hands of it.

Therefore, with participation or without, Zanu PF might well get the
legitimacy it needs.

The current restrictions on our space were not made after 2002. They were
just consolidated after 2002. The major change since 2002 has been people
being forced "out of the sphere of public hope, and into the sphere of
private despondency." This change of space has lead to a desire to do
nothing (i.e. a boycott) because this matches the sphere many people are

The Zanu PF succession question if far from over. The regime has created
constituencies around economic control, e.g. land, finance, parastatals,
and a few others, which I could not write fast enough to capture. Zanu PF
also has a base - a social base. This is not to be forgotten. They do not
rule by fear alone. Deconstructing this regime needs confrontation.

Brian strongly believes that we need to participate in the elections. The
space we have was hard fought for. It should not be given up without a
struggle. Even an uneven struggle. We should be always raising new
obstacles to the ruling party.

Our regional connections are bearing some fruit. Cosatu, the SACP, Namibia.
People and organisations are coming onto our side. Tendai later said that,
"things said by the SACP speaker in the debate about Zimbabwe would never
have been said about Zanu PF a year ago".

Brian went on to mention that we cannot fight Zanu PF on its own ground.
While the MDC is showing signs of being like Zanu PF, this is largely due
to its growing up in a political culture with no alternative models to look

We then had some questions and answers (and the usual statements and
grandstanding from the floor). I asked if we fought the elections an lost,
could the MDC survive that?" The response was that the party has already
fought the regime and lost, and is surviving. Tendai said we must "Fight
the regime in whatever small space we occupy". The election is not about
power. Therefore, if we do not take power, there is no problem. Brian said
that the movement is derived from a broad social movement, and will stay so
long as Zanu PF suppresses society.

I was very surprised by the number of people in the audience who firmly
believe that the MDC can win 80 seats.

My comments on the whole thing, realising that I am a very slow thinker,
and it takes me time to come up with responses; The largest selling point
for me was the two speakers. They both seem to firmly recognise one of my
most important points; that Revolution's are made from hope and not from
despair. This is a historical fact. Their arguments are firmly rooted in
the recognition of this fact.

Brian spoke again that the Orange revolution and the Purple revolutions
(Ukraine and Georgia), arose from hope. Staying home can only lead to
despair. There needs to be a sense of doing. We must fight. Tendai talked
of building hope, not despondency. We need to keep the cost of dictatorship
high. He then talked about bashing dimwitted Zanu PF heads in Parliament,
forcing the Zanu PF MPs to remain in house and sleep there. He really
enjoyed that.

Nevertheless, the background of the Declaration of 2004 and the Resolutions
of 2003 strike me, gut feeling, as being political and verbal gymnastics to
extricate the party from a hole they have dug themselves in to. A bit like
"the Final Push", but perhaps not as damaging.

The class division on the opinion to participate or not, the comments about
durawalls, is highly accurate in my opinion. The mass opinion is certainly
in favour of participation. The reasons they give, however, are never
rational, and again are perhaps due to the party failing to give them any
other alternative action (positive action, Hope, etc.) or plan to focus on.

I am afraid I agree with the comments on legitimacy and sanitisation. Zanu
PF is keen to appear to be a clean party, with good policies, and putting
Zimbabwe back on a development path. If they can do this, or even if they
can appear to do this, they may well be regarded as the proper rulers of
Zimbabwe, one that foreign governments, NGOs, the World Bank, the
Commonwealth, the Cricket Board and others can deal with.

The comments on space are also very accurate. We have always fought with an
un-level field, and in limited space. We have less space and more slope on
the playing field now, but it is possible to fight. They mentioned that we
should not fight Zanu PF on its own ground, and we should fight in whatever
space we can find. We must make the cost of dictatorship high. I fully
agree with this, but there are other spaces to fight the regime in, such as
City Councils, suing individual policemen for false arrest, and a few
others I have suggested, which have not been used. And fighting national
elections is meeting Zanu PF on its own ground, where their financial,
administrative and physical clout can be best used by them. Surely the
party should have come up with something more creative.

It comes back to Tendai's original question. Will this be a building block
for 2008? When if and how you vote will be for your local Member of
Parliament. I am firmly convinced that it will not be for a new ruling
party in Parliament. Therefore, will your local MP be a building block for

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State Summit kicks off in Nigeria

January 30, 2005, 08:00

The fourth African Union heads of state summit kicks off in Abudja, Nigerian this morning with discussions on the restructuring of the UN expected to top the agenda. Among the leaders attending are Kofi Annan, the UN secretary-general, President Thabo Mbeki and Robert Mugabe, the Zimbabwean leader.

Olusegun Obasanjo, the Nigerian president and African Union chair, will officially open the two-day summit. African leaders are expected to review the security situation in the continent.

The report of foreign ministers states that there is stability in Burundi, Somalia, Liberia, DRC and the Ivory Coast. It commended the peace process in the DRC but warned that the peace process could be compromised if there is lack of support from the international community and the AU. The threat of diseases such as Aids, malaria, polio will be discussed.

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Mail & Guardian
Zimbabwe denies that it's facing famine


31 January 2005 01:26

The government on Monday denied Zimbabwe faces a hunger crisis and accused a United States-funded famine early warning unit of exaggerating food shortages to cause panic.

A report on Friday by the US-funded Famine Early Warning Systems Network, a food security monitoring group, said 5,8-million people in the country of 12,5-million will need food aid to avert starvation before the next harvests in April.

Agriculture Minister Joseph Made said the United States was stepping up efforts to destabilise Zimbabwe ahead of parliamentary polls in March by causing alarm over food stocks.

He said 370 000 tonnes of grain was now being distributed by the state grain marketing board to needy groups around the country and another 400 000 tonnes were being held as strategic food reserves.

Some food -- he called it carry-over stocks ordered in 2003 -- was also being imported.

The government insists Zimbabwe produced a bumper harvest of 2,4-million tonnes of maize last year, much of it still being held in private rural granaries by growers.

The country consumes about 1,8-million tonnes of maize a year, or 5 000 tonnes a day.

Independent crop estimates have cast doubt over the government's harvest figure, saying about one-million tonnes of food was produced last year.

Made said the famine unit report was part of a campaign by the United States to vilify the government's land reform programme in which about 5 000 white-owned commercial farms were seized, often violently, for redistribution to blacks since 2000.

He described the programme as "a resounding success" despite shortages of farm equipment, gasoline, seed and fertiliser.

The government has repeatedly accused Britain, the former colonial power, and the Unites States of campaigning for "regime change" and the ouster of President Robert Mugabe.

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice earlier this month described Zimbabwe as one the world's last "outposts of tyranny".

Zimbabwe is suffering its worst economic and political crisis since Mugabe led the nation to independence 1980. Inflation is 132%, one of the highest in the world and an estimated 80% of the population are living in poverty. Acute shortage of hard currency, gasoline and medicines and other imports are routine. - Sapa-AP
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Exiled Zimbabweans to launch weekly paper in UK

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - The founder of Zimbabwe's ill-fated pro-opposition Daily News paper plans to launch a weekly newspaper for exiled compatriots in Britain and South Africa in time for elections in March.

Wilf Mbanga, founding editor of the Daily News which was closed by Zimbabwean authorities in 2003, said he would launch "The Zimbabwean" on February 11 in Britain, with an initial print-run of 120,000 and a Southern African edition published in Johannesburg.

"We believe the paper can play a role in drawing attention to so much that is offensive to basic human decency and hostile to peace in our beloved Zimbabwe," Mbanga said in a statement on Monday.

"We believe those in positions of authority and power should be held accountable to those they are supposed to serve and that a free media is fundamental to ensuring such accountability."

He said the tabloid publication "will obviously have a heavy emphasis on Zimbabwean politics" but would also cover arts, culture, business, sports, and other news.

The closure of the Daily News was the most high-profile case brought under strict new media laws introduced by President Robert Mugabe's government.

Dozens of journalists have been arrested under the laws and a number of foreign correspondents have left the country.

Mugabe has accused his opponents, including pro-opposition publications, of supporting a Western agenda driven by a desire to avenge the forced seizure of white-owned farm land to give to landless black Zimbabweans, and says opponents at home and abroad have sabotaged Zimbabwe's once prosperous economy.

"A news blackout is dangerous for any society. The forthcoming general election scheduled for March adds urgency. We will ensure that our coverage is accurate, fair and balanced," Mbanga said.

Parliamentary polls are due in March although a date has yet to be announced and the main opposition has threatened a boycott.

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Church protests rape victim's return to Zimbabwe -31/01/05

The United Reformed Church has called on its members and others to help in the fight to prevent a refugee who escaped a nightmare of persecution in Zimbabwe from being sent back.

Edneth Gotora fled Zimbabwe in October 2002. Her husband had been a prominent figure in the Movement for Democratic Change. He spoke regularly at meetings and rallies and distributed literature criticizing the ruling Zanu PF Party.

Early in 2002, a series of brutal attacks began. In February Edneth and her husband were beaten by Zanu PF youths. In March, Edneth's husband was arrested, detained and beaten by Zimbabwean Police before being released without charge.

On 23rd March a group of Zanu PF members came to the house and subjected the family to the most unspeakable ordeal. Edneth's husband was taken and killed, and her 4 year old daughter later died from her injuries.

Edneth reported the incident and the perpetrators were apprehended. They were later released on bail and proceeded to threaten Edneth. After a series of such threatening visits Edneth was abducted and taken to a 'rehabilitation camp' where her abductors told her she would be encouraged to 'follow the right path' – a result normally achieved by the practice of torture. Whilst at the camp, Edneth was raped by the camp leader. She became so unwell that she was taken to the hospital from where she made her escape.

After her arrival in Britain Edneth settled in Stockton-on-Tees where she became a member of the local United Reformed Church.

While the facts of her case have not been disputed, her application for asylum has been refused on the grounds that it was her husband who was the activist and he is dead – a conclusion which the Church rejects as both naïve and grossly lacking in compassion.

Until 2004 the Government accepted that no-one was to be returned to Zimbabwe, whatever the status of their application, on the grounds that it was too dangerous. Now, with no change for the better in the political situation, refugees are being returned. Edneth is virtually in hiding and is very afraid.

Edneth and her local URC minister, the Revd Colin Offor presented a petition of some 300 signatures to their local MP. They were told that such is the hard line within the Home Office that it stood little chance of making an impact unless its size was substantially increased before it is next presented on February 21st.

The full text of the petition, together with the return address, can be found via the front page of the URC’s national website.

The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of Ekklesia
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$100bn Lifeline for Harare Hospital

The Herald (Harare)
January 29, 2005
Posted to the web January 31, 2005

By Tsitsi Matope

GOVERNMENT and well-wishers have come to the rescue of Harare Central Hospital, pouring in $100 billion and $230 million respectively in a development expected to save one of the country's major health institutions from collapse.

The injection of funds into the ailing hospital follows a story published exclusively by this paper on Tuesday highlighting the operational constraints which posed a serious threat to the hospital's viability.

Following publication of the article, officials from the Ministries of Health and Child Welfare and Finance visited the 1 428-bed health facility to assess the situation first-hand.

Touched by the plight of the hospital, well-wishers poured in funds to ensure the institution remains viable.

Harare Central Hospital medical superintendent Mr Chris Tapfumaneyi appreciated the gesture by the Government and the well-wishers.

He said plans are being drawn up to address critical areas in need of immediate attention.

These include the maternity ward, where up to 60 babies are born everyday, and the psychiatric unit which had almost been abandoned.

"We are working out the logistics of procuring equipment which costs less than $300 million, but for anything above that we have to go through the State Procurement Board to float tenders on our behalf," Mr Tapfumaneyi said.

In addition to injecting $100 billion into Harare Central Hospital, the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare yesterday revealed it had now secured foreign currency to buy new elevators to replace at least five of the broken-down lifts at the hospital.

A meeting with officials from the State Procurement Board, which has been blamed for some of the delays that saw facilities at the hospital go down to unprecedented levels, was on the cards to avoid such situations in future, said Mr Tapfumaneyi.

"We are concerned about the way they sometimes handle urgent matters at the board.

"Sometimes prices of equipment or refurbishment material doubles while we wait for them to process our papers. We hope all the issues we have raised before will be taken seriously this time," Mr Tapfumaneyi said.

Staff at the hospital and the general public yesterday praised the Government for its quick response.

"But the whole thing shows us that somewhere along the line some people are sleeping on duty - they are not relaying information to the powers-that-be," said one caller.

Describing this week's events, a nurse at Harare Central Hospital said she does not remember a time when senior officials at the health institution acted with such urgency.

"Some of our colleagues who include doctors and nurses left this hospital because they were frustrated by the working environment. The relevant authorities did not think that the staff exodus had anything to do with the working conditions," she said.

She said while poor salaries were another factor which the Government was now addressing, the flight of skilled personnel from public health institutions was also due to poor working conditions as professional health caregivers could not stand the emotional strain of watching their patients' conditions deteriorate in the absence of life-saving facilities.

"There is nothing as bad as failing to get to another floor in time to collect oxygen for a dying patient because the elevators are down. And it hurts when you finally get back minutes later only to find the patient dead. The experience haunts you for the rest of your life. And to get over the trauma, you sometimes just have to leave the institution," the nurse said.

Opened in 1954, Harare Central Hospital was the biggest hospital of its kind in Africa at the time. But its fortunes have taken a knock over the years, leaving it a pale shadow of its former glory.

Apart from its unkempt appearance, five of its elevators have broken down, many toilets and sinks are blocked, part of the ceiling leaks, the laboratory equipment and anaesthetic services are operating at reduced capacity.

Only three out of its five dialysis machines, the lifeline for patients suffering from kidney failure, are malfunctioning.

This has put under threat the lives of hundreds of patients referred to the hospital from different parts of the country on a weekly basis.

Mr Tapfumaneyi urged anyone wishing to help in the resuscitation of the hospital to deposit the money into the hospital's two bank accounts.

These are: Zimbank, Douglas Road branch, code number 4157, account number 120931001; and Barclays Bank, Graniteside, code number 2128, account number 1579576.

He said the money would go a long way in improving standards at the hospital as well as boosting staff morale.

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Zimbabwe hunger claims 'US plot'
Zimbabwe farmers
The government says land reform has been a success
The Zimbabwe government has angrily denied reports that half the population will need food aid this year.

Agriculture Minister Joseph Made said the report was part of western plans to destabilise Zimbabwe ahead of elections due in March, state media reported.

A US-funded food monitoring body said last week that almost six million Zimbabweans would need food aid before the next harvest.

The opposition accuses the government of using food as a political tool.

The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) says its supporters are denied state hand-outs.

God has been smiling on us
Joseph Made
Agriculture Minister
They say the government refuses international food aid in order to retain control of its distribution.

These claims are rejected by the government.

Last year, Mr Made said that, after three years of shortages, Zimbabwe had grown more than enough food to feed the population and even had a surplus.

Last week, the Famine Early Warning Systems Network reported that, of the 12.5 million Zimbabweans, some 5.8 million would need food aid before the next harvests in April.

"You see God has been smiling on us and we are lucky that in the northern parts there were some good rains in the last few days and crops are doing well," Mr Made was reported as saying in The Herald newspaper.

'Outpost of tyranny'

Government critics say the seizure of white-owned farms for redistribution to blacks has led to food shortages.

These claims are also rejected by the government.

"The land reform is a resounding success under the circumstances," Mr Made said.

Earlier this month, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice described Zimbabwe as one the world's last "outposts of tyranny."

The US and the European Union accuse President Robert Mugabe of rigging his 2002 re-election. Mr Mugabe denies the claims.

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Harare Fails to Produce Budget Again

The Herald (Harare)
January 29, 2005
Posted to the web January 31, 2005

HARARE City Council has once again failed to produce the much-awaited draft of the 2005 budget for as yet unknown reasons.

This is the second time that the commission has deferred the unveiling of the budget with the first deferment having been attributed to "inconsistencies and inaccuracies" within the proposed draft.

Part of the minutes of a commission meeting held on January 7 this year reads: "That in view of the inconsistencies and inaccuracies observed in the 2005 budget proposals, consideration of the proposals be deferred pending rectification of all the anomalies."

The estimated $1 trillion budget is however, set to be delayed further following Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor Dr Gideon Gonos announcement that all rates and tariff increases by local authorities should not exceed 70 percent.

Commissioners were locked in a meeting on Thursday evening, which was closed to the public and media where the issue of the budget was discussed.

However, council position on the formulation process could not be established.

Town Clerk Mr Nomutsa Chideya said council was still finalising the 2005 budget.

"We will convene a special meeting on Tuesday next week to finalise the budget but our proposals have to be reviewed in line with Dr Gonos announcement that tariffs increases should not exceed 70 percent," said Mr Chideya.

Acting city treasurer Mr Cosmas Zvikaramba said the commission was deliberating on the draft budget.

"The commission is deliberating on the draft budget before it is endorsed and presented to the public for perusal," said Mr Zvikaramba.

He revealed that the unveiling of the budget had been delayed owing to "problems" that he could not make public.

After discovery of the problem, he said a committee was set up to look into the anomalies. The team then resubmitted the draft with amendments.

All other local authorities have submitted their budget proposals to the Ministry of local Government for approval but those who had proposed huge increases would be forced to make changes in line with RBZ requirements. The prohibition to effect huge tariff increases is part of a comprehensive package by RBZ to reduce inflation.

To gain temporary reprieve from councils dire financial position, the commission resolved to seek the Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Cde Ignatius Chombos approval to effect 2004 quarterly tariff increases.

The town clerk is expected to brief the commission on the progress made in requesting the local government ministrys approval to increase tariffs while the budget process was underway.

Council briefly implemented some of its budget proposals that saw vehicle licence fees going up 1000 percent with effect from January 2004.

The licence for a light motor vehicle, which previously cost $16 000 per four month term, had been pegged $184 000 including 15 percent Value Added Tax (VAT).

The annual fee shot up to $552 000, from $48 000.

However the Harare commission rescinded the increases after a realisation that the move was illegal as Government had not yet approved the councils budget.

Further delays in the approval and implementing of the citys budget would scupper revival efforts and turnaround of the capital. Harare has been dogged by serious financial problems, which have compromised service delivery in areas such as efficient provision of water, road maintenance and public lighting among other things.

Residents have been patiently waiting for the unveiling of the citys budget, which is expected to bring better fortunes while others want to know the level of tariff increases.

Prior to the anticipated amendments, Harare had proposed a $1,1 trillion budget with the intention to raise $398 billion through revenue collection while incurring a budget deficit of $783 billion.

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Mdladlana advises Cosatu on Zimbabwe

January 31, 2005, 15:45

Membathisi Mdladlana, the labour minister, says he will advise the leadership of the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) not to go to Zimbabwe without the necessary permission and protocols, because Zimbabwe is not a province of South Africa.

Mdladlana said this during his meeting with Paul Mangwana, his Zimbabwean counterpart.

Mdladlana is in Zimbabwe to discuss the planned visit by Cosatu to that country as well as other labour issues. He says he is not convinced that there is a need for Cosatu to visit Zimbabwe as issues raised by the federation can be handled through the social dialogue provision enshrined in a memorandum of understanding between the two countries.

Cosatu said earlier that it would send a fact-finding mission to Zimbabwe this week. Zimbabwe expelled an earlier team from the labour federation in October last year and has warned the federation not to come back.

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'Baboon' murder case transferred to another court

January 31, 2005, 17:45

The Musina Magistrate's Court has referred the case against a local farmer who allegedly shot and killed his Zimbabwean employee, to the Polokwane High Court.

Jewell Crossberg allegedly shot at a group of seven Zimbabweans on his farm, killing Jealous Dube instantly. Six others escaped unhurt. Police say Crossberg claimed that he mistook Dube for a baboon.

Crossberg appeared briefly today. He entered the court room during the adjournment and went straight to the dock, a move that angered residents of Musina.

Sinky Makushu, a community spokesperson, said: "He doesn't even sit or stand. He puts his feet on a chair and then do whatever he wants. He has his own body there. He didn't sit with the people. He just came straight to the box and then he was just told that he must come again on the 17th. We were angry you know. We don't know whether the law is for whites."

The suspect is out on R8 000 bail.

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Revert to Traditional Foods: First Lady

The Herald (Harare)
January 29, 2005
Posted to the web January 31, 2005

By Respect Bangu

THE First Lady, Amai Grace Mugabe, has urged Zimbabweans to revert to the healthy traditional foods especially in a global village that is aggressively promoting exotic diets that may not be as healthy as our own.

In a speech read on her behalf by Vice President Cde Joyce Mujuru, Amai Mugabe said mothers had a role to play by encouraging children to eat indigenous food from a tender age.

"As a mother, I face a challenge of teaching my children the right eating habits especially in a global village that is aggressively promoting diets that may not be as healthy as our own.

"If the opportunity is not used at infancy, it becomes difficult to regain the lost ground late in life," she said.

She said people who ate a balanced and diversified diet were unlikely to succumb to physical ailments or suffer from malnutrition.

"Chronic diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, gout and some forms of cancer are in many instances occasioned or exacerbated by poor diet.

"Unfortunately, many young people in our nation have not acquired the taste for our indigenous foods and as parents we are totally to blame for failing to promote the indigenous diet within our family," Amai Mugabe said.

She, however, said Zimbabwe, as a nation, was still to take full advantage of the rich diversity of its traditional foods to prevent diseases.

The First Lady said she was happy to be associated with the opening of the first ever food fair in the country and valued the benefits that come with it.

"I am delighted to officiate at this important inaugural national event which not only showcases our natural dietary heritage but also serves to show us the health burden we could alleviate by adopting healthier nutrition," she said.

She said she was happy that young people had also attended the exhibition and stood to benefit from some of the traditional foods on display.

She castigated people who shun traditional diets in favour of refined foods when they prosper in life saying that such people should take pride in their nutritious and healthier indigenous foods.

She thanked the Food and Nutrition Council for coming up with the idea of a food fair that had brought together major players in the food industry.

"The Food and Nutrition Council at Scientific and Industrial Research and Development Centre (SIRDC) is therefore to be congratulated on coming up with this noble and ground-breaking event that brings together key players in nutrition, food processing, storage and security to inform us about the impact of our dietary habits on our health and livelihood," Amai Mugabe said.

She challenged agencies involved in science and technology development to come up with innovative solutions to ease the burden of women in preparing some of the traditional food.

"There is therefore need to develop technologies that would enable women to better meet the demands made on their time and resources as well as participate other development activities.

"Our food industry should also strive to make food available in a more convenient way," she said.

The permanent secretary in the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare, Dr Elizabeth Xaba, said the need for nutritious food could not be overemphasised as diet was linked to the 10 leading causes of death in the country.

She said the country would lessen its health burden by improving the people's eating habits.

"With regard to HIV/Aids, a more diverse and nutritious diet will ensure that all essential nutrients are consumed and will increase the life expectancy of parents thus reducing the period children are left to head households.

"The majority of people cannot afford ARVs and to date many people have survived for long periods just managing on good nutrition," she said.

She said the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare recognised the role played by good nutrition in the management of HIV and Aids hence the ministry had produced guidelines for dietary management.

More than 500 people including Government ministers, senior Government officials, members of the diplomatic community and some captains of industry attended the fair.

The food fair, the brainchild of the Food and Nutrition Council of Zimbabwe which falls under the SIRDC, was supported by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of United Nations (FAO), Kellogg Foundation, and United Nations Children's Education Fund.

The fair is set to become an annual event aimed at inculcating a sense of national pride in traditional cuisine and fostering the value of traditional food in disease prevention and management.

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Civil Furore Over Nepad's Integration

This Day (Lagos)
January 28, 2005
Posted to the web January 31, 2005

As African leaders converge on Abuja for the 4th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union (AU) which concludes this weekend, top on the agenda is the briefing on the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) and the Integration of the NEPAD Secretariat into the AU Commission (Economic). Tunde Okoli writes on the dissenting voices for and against the move

Africa has a long history of regional cooperation and integration initiatives and programmes, Kenyan High Commissioner to Zimbabwe, Prof. Maria Nzomo observed in a keynote address titled "From OAU to AU and NEPAD: Regional integration processes in Africa and African Women" at the regional strategy meeting on women's political participation and gender mainstreaming in AU and NEPAD in October 2003 in Nairobi, Kenya.

She averred that the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD), an economic project of the African Union (AU), is the most current in a series of blueprints and policy frameworks aimed at laying the foundation for a viable path for Africa's socio-ceonomic development and African economic integration. Since its establishment, experts have hailed the initiative as the "Marshal Plan" for Africa, the NEPAD purports to do what its predecessors such as Lagos Plan of Action (1980), the African Alternative Framework to Structural Adjustment Programme for Socio Economic Recovery and Transformation (1989) and the African Charter for Popular Participation for Development (1990) failed to do. NEPAD is so hailed by every strata of the African society because its central goal is to eradicate poverty and in so doing help Africa to achieve sustainable growth and development.

Since its establishment, the continental agency has continued to serve as catalyst of socio-economic development in the continent, so much so that it had made the continent attractive for foreign direct investments (FDIs) from, especially the G8 countries who have continued to pump considerable funds for developmental projects in the continent.

Within its relatively short life, NEPAD has achieved a lot in the area of education, agriculture, civil society, infrastructure, information and communications technology (ICT), health, conflict resolution etc. as a modem Marshal Plan aimed at lifting Africa out of the doldrums of poverty and misery.

However, top on the list of the agency's achievement is the conception and establishment of African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM), an instrument that seeks to promote democracy and accountability on the continent. Described as the most innovative aspect NEPAD, member states agree to undergo APRM review in conformity to agreed values in follows: democracy and political governance, economic governance, corporate governance and socioeconomic development. The initiative, pundits observed, has particularly endeared NEPAD to the G8 who have recognised it through its African Action Plan, as the only organisation through which they can help develop the continent.

It is in the light of these laudable achievements and the greater assignment(s) that lying ahead of the agency that the civil societies across the continent are vehemently opposing the planned integration of NEPAD into the operating mechanisms of the AU.

The worried civil society, who have since organised themselves into a coalition of a strong pressure group told THISDAY that the purported integration is "a French government's agenda to perpetually keep Africa under its government." They accuse the French government of using Francophone African leaders to trump up the idea.

The coalition's spokesperson who pleaded anonymity told THSIDAY that "You can sense the unseen hands of the French government in AU meetings. In fact, the French have always been well represented by 22 Francophone countries, who we all know, have continued to act on the instruction of from the government in Paris."

According to the spokesperson, the civil societies recognised and identified with the achievements of the AU especially for the conception and launching of the Pan African Parliament - the Peace and security council - the African court of justice. "In fact, one needs to praise the chairperson of the AU President Konare for these achievements."

The societies are teaming up against the planned integration of the two bodies, because they think time is not matured enough to do that. They reason that the AU, as the mother body should, for now continue to function as a body formulating developmental policies for continent while NEPAD, who have a track record of successfully implementing developmental projects across the continent translate AU policies to actions.

"This is because NEPAD is the hope of Africa for development. You know, NEPAD is about bringing development to the vast majority of the people of Africa. This is what some countries in the West do not want and are set to thwart. To ensure that these countries do succeed with their plans, the civil society groups from over 40 countries across the continent are assembling in Abuja to mount pressure on African leaders, who will be converging at the 4th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union holding in Abuja, Nigeria this weekend.

The spokesperson explained further that the civil society groups are not opposed to the integration move, but that it is still early since NEPAD has a better track record and more credibility on the international arena than the AU.

"They are saying that the AU still needs to finish with restructuring before thinking about the integration of NEPAD which to them has a better structure." He added that the utmost concern of the group is that if NEPAD is integrated in the AU the way the AU wants to do it, NEPAD will be disintegrated and the development partners (G8, EU, IMF, UN, IMF ...) that already have established reliable relationship with NEPAD will be confused about who to deal with."

Representatives of the civil societies have continued to advance arguments highlighting the demerits of the planned integration to NEPAD and Africa as a whole. They reasoned that the planned integration will ultimately dismantle NEPAD structures, the APRM, e-Africa commission, and NEPAD secretariat which will inevitably be relocated.

"Integration of NEPAD into AU will mean that NEPAD will no longer exist as a structure which should implement development policies of the AU. If this happens, it will inevitably kill the enthusiasm of the people about this new vision to bring about sustainable development to Africa, because the vast majority of the people of Africa see NEPAD as the symbol of a greater future of the continent," argued the spokesperson.

Nevertheless, there has been dissenting voices against NEPAD by some notable Africans. Dr. Samuel Nyandemo, a University of Nairobi economics lecturer, says: "NEPAD is an amorphous outfit that only exists in the minds of its architects and West donors."

In the same vein, Prof. Jasper Okello, also an economics lecturer in the same university, opined that NEPAD's direction is still muddled. "We were told it was to make the investment environment in the continent better, but nothing to that effect has happened," he says.

NEPAD, a blueprint for growth and poverty reduction in Africa, was formed in 2001 by five African leaders: South African President Thabo Mbeki, Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria, Abdoulaye Wade of Senegal, Hosni Mubarak of Egypt and Tunisia's Abdelaziz Bouteflika. The initiative was almost immediately adopted by the defunct Organisation of African Unity during its last summit in Lusaka, Zambia, a move that was immediately endorsed by the G8 in Genoa, Italy.

Peter Ondeng, the immediate former head of the NEPAD secretariat has described the initiative as "...a new spirit of optimism emanating from the continent, a historic opportunity for both Africa and the international community to work together in a renewed spirit of partnership."


Copyright © 2005 This Day. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (
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Gold Panners Wreak Havoc

The Herald (Harare)
January 29, 2005
Posted to the web January 31, 2005

By Respect Bangu

THEY came looking for gold and found it.

Today the men who left their homes from various parts of the country are very rich, at least by the standards of Makonde villagers.

But their wealth has become the source of contempt for locals and villagers accusing Chikuti gold panners of disrespect, causing environmental degradation, driving little girls out of school and worst of all - wife-snatching.

"We are now afraid of the panners, they are doing all sorts of ills in our community and the worst is that they snatch our wives," complained an old man requesting for anonymity.

"I cannot risk my name appearing in the papers or over the radio, these people will hunt me down," he said, adding the gold panners had a common saying that "ane mari ndiye muridzi wemukadzi (he who has the money owns the woman).

The villagers accused the panners of bringing a "bad" influence to their community saying public fights among panners were common.

Fetching some $60 000 per gramme of gold on average, the panners had left no stone unturned and have in some instances dug through villagers fields in search of the precious yellow stone.

A villager said if gold panners were dissuaded from digging through someone's field, they would openly defy and threats to report them to local chiefs were a waste of time.

"They do not care about chiefs or headmen, they simply ignore us and threaten to beat us up," said the villager.

The panners were reportedly responsible for corrupting young girls who were being driven into early sex and some men were losing their wives to them.

The villagers further alleged that since the arrival of the gold panners, prostitution was rife because gold panners lured women with cash.

Theft of small stocks such as chicken and goats had also increased in the villages while some children steal to sell to the gold panners.

"Who knows? the gold panners might also be stealing; they are not leaving anything behind," said another villager.

The gold panners brought with them a wave of violence in their fights for "mine shafts" and "gold belts" or "claims" and on New Year's Eve one gold panner was killed in one such fight.

Police in Mashonaland West have confirmed receiving the reports and said one man identified as Edwin was assisting them with investigations.

Two others were still at large.

"We have also tried our best to keep under check the activities of the panners whose arrival has seen a lot of illegal vendors swarming the area," Mashonaland West police spokesman Assistant Inspector Paul Nyathi said.

A number of raids had been made in the area where the prices of commodities had been pushed up by the sudden availability of cash from the gold panners, which irked villagers.

Police had at one time ordered the gold panners to fill up the "mines" they left in their trail of environmental destruction.

Another swoop netted vendors selling goods and operating illegal beer outlets.

Although police are doing all within their capacity, villagers look at the open defiance of their traditional leaders, the abuse of their school-going daughters and the violence as things not worth any amount of money.

"We are hurt, the number of young boys that are leaving school to venture into gold panning means we will have this problem for a long time after the gold is gone," lamented an elderly woman.

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Acid Spillage: Zim Shows Readiness

The Herald (Harare)
January 29, 2005
Posted to the web January 31, 2005

THE unfortunate railway accident that saw 40 tonnes of sulphuric acid spill on Wednesday near Gwanda provided ample proof that Zimbabwe can cope with such accidents.

It seems that someone moved remarkably fast to have ponds dug and bringing in the necessary alkali to neutralise the acid.

Sulphuric acid is a hazardous substance, but it is also a common substance and is a second choice for acidifying swimming pools, so the alarm needs to be kept in proportion.

The most likely result of the spill is serious environmental damage over a very small area, but little or nothing over the general Gwanda area.

While someone must check the water in the stream, river and dam for possible contamination, it is unlikely that the town's water supply is in any danger.

Even if the whole 40 000 litres reached the town's dam, it would be so diluted that even a first-class analytical chemist would have difficulty finding a trace in the water.

The danger lies in the stream and the river, where dilution is a lot less, so the prompt reaction of the police to seal off the area of the spill and warn local communities was the right thing to do.

The fact that the accident happened near Gwanda, a reasonably-sized town and, indeed, the capital of Matabeleland South, obviously helped to ensure that the correct procedures were followed.

There would have been senior railway and police officials living in the town, and they, if necessary, would have access to high-level expertise in the handling of chemicals since the area has several large mines with staff who know how to handle dangerous chemicals.

What is more worrying is if the accident had occurred in a more remote area. The person landed with the problem at the beginning would almost certainly be a police sergeant or inspector with nothing more than a radio link to his station or district headquarters as a source of advice.

Most experienced policemen, regardless of rank, have the training to deal with more common accidents, especially road accidents.

We have all seen how quite junior policemen have acquitted themselves well when they have had to take charge of rescue efforts at the scene of a road smash.

We realise that the necessary knowledge to deal with far rarer accidents, such as Wednesday's, is more limited.

That accident throws up the need to ensure that every station or police post has someone who can cope with a serious environmental accident for the first few hours while the experts are on their way.

In almost all such accidents, prompt action can minimise the effects of the accident dramatically.

The simplest solution in the case of spilt liquids is to do exactly what they did in Gwanda, dig ponds and channels and stop the liquids getting into nearby rivers, dams or lakes.

The expert squads brought in later to clean up the mess then have a far smaller problem to deal with, and the danger to the general public is considerably reduced.

The risk of such accidents is increasing. A growing economy has more dangerous chemicals and the like in use or in transit every year.

And in Zimbabwe, much of the economic growth is by propelled by small companies and mines, concerns that do not have high-level experts on the payroll and who, sometimes, can be more careless.

So there is a need to ensure the man on the spot, who will usually be a quite junior policeman, can cope, just as they are trained to handle so many other things that have little or nothing to do with crime.

The Gwanda accident shows that danger can be minimised dramatically when the right action is taken quickly. We hope that all future similar accidents are handled just as well, even if they take place far away from a major town.

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Don't Panic, Gwanda Residents Told

The Herald (Harare)
January 29, 2005
Posted to the web January 31, 2005

GWANDA residents should not panic since the sulphuric acid spilt from tankers of a derailed train had not flowed into the town's supplier dam.

"We would like to inform residents not to panic as the water is safe, the acid did not fall into the area in which we get our drinking water so there is no need to panic," the provincial administrator of Gwanda Mr David Mpofu said in a telephone interview yesterday.

The Zimbabwe National Water Authority had on Thursday sprayed chemicals in the water to neutralise the acid and prevent harm to people, acquatic life and plants.

Three holding dams had also been built along the stream in which the acid spilt and these would detain the acid so that it would not flow into the Mtshabezi River that feeds the dam supplying Gwanda town.

"The dams were built to check the movement of the acid," he said.

Zinwa Chief Executive Officer Mr Albert Muyambo confirmed the drinking water was safe and said swift action had been taken to contain the problem.

"Tomorrow (today) we will have more people in Gwanda to assess the situation," he said.

He said a team of South African experts had also arrived on the scene and were assisting.

Mr Muyambo said his department would continue spraying chemicals as danger may arise when the remaining wreckage is removed from the river.

"There is a chance that acid may be uplifted as the wreckage is being removed so Zinwa will continue to monitor the situation, residents have therefore nothing to fear," he said.

A water quality scientist at Zinwa said as long as the acid is neutralised, there was no need for residents to panic, as the acid would have been weakened. Forty thousand liters of highly toxic sulphuric acid spilt into a stream that feeds into Mtshabezi River on Wednesday after a goods train belonging to the Beitbridge Bulawayo Railway company derailed. The river is within the catchment area for Mtshabezi Dam that supplies Gwanda town with potable water.

The goods train derailed just three kilometers outside Gwanda town. The train headed for Bulawayo from Beitbridge derailed around 8am but no people were injured. According to police 14 of the wagons went off the railway line as the train neared a level crossing.

Officials from the BBR yesterday would not shed light as to what could have caused the accident referring questions Mr Mpofu.

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Zivhu Locked Up in Remand Prison

The Herald (Harare)
January 29, 2005
Posted to the web January 31, 2005

IT never rains but it pours for the chairman of the Cross-Border Traders Association, Killer Zivhu, facing allegations of theft by conversion who was yesterday locked up in remand prison after he failed to attend court on Thursday.

Zivhu, who was clad in a dark executive suit, appeared before magistrate Mr Cremmah Chipere who incarcerated him after a default inquiry.

He told the court that he had confused the dates, but Mr Chipere could not buy his explanation as his court records are littered with warrants of arrest.

In December, Zivhu was also incarcerated after he defaulted court and this time he will be behind bars until his cases are finalised.

Zivhu was last year set free on $1 million bail after the initial $500 000 was forfeited to the State.

He was also fined $100 000 as default fine.

Allegations against Zivhu arose after he was given $5 million by Pastor Joseph Makore to buy him goods from Zambia.

It is alleged Zivhu agreed to buy the goods but later converted the money to his own use.

Efforts by the clergyman to recover his money from Zivhu were fruitless resulting in the pastor reporting the matter to the police, the State alleges.

In the second count, it is alleged Zivhu was given $ 6 million by a member of his association who wanted him to source foreign currency.

Zivhu allegedly agreed to secure the foreign currency but later converted the $6 million to his personal use.

He denied the charges at the commencement of his trial but the magistrate Mrs Judith Tsamba ruled that he had a case to answer

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Please send any material for publication in the Open Letter Forum to: with subject line "For: Open Letter Forum".

Thoughts of the Day:

"There are two things that are infinite: the universe and Man's stupidity."

Albert Einstein.

"Great spirits have often encountered violent opposition from weak minds."

Albert Einstein.


- RE: Jean Simon's Letter - Bruce Gemmill
- The Zimbabwe Disaster - John (Willy) Robinson
- RE: CFU Accountable or are Farmers? - Jean Simon
- Firearms Renewal - Trish Henson
- Massey Ferguson Director's Statements - Canaan B
- RE: Voting as Permanent Residents - Permanent Resident


Letter 1: RE: Jean Simon's Letter (OLF 329), received 28 January 2005

by Bruce Gemmill

What Jean Simon said in her letter was absolutely right, in both principle
and detail. Unfortunately her letter is 10 years too late. Like most
institutions, the CFU establishment takes on an identity and style of its
own, and perpetuates this style regardless of elections. Remember Bud
Whitiker, his no nonsense forthright style didn't fit with the
establishement and he was sidelined. The grassroots membership didn't
protest because they were quiescent and docile.

Today there is a huge division of interestes and identity in the commercial
farming community. On the one side are the farmers still on their farms and
represented by the CFU. On the other side are the disposessed and
unrepresented. The CFU represents its remaining membership in a way it
would describe as pragmatic and realistic. The disposessed would
simultanaeously describe the CFU's policy as being craven, duplicitous, and
grovelling. JAG was set up to represent the disposessed and victimized, but
due in part to the continuing docility and quiescence of the disposessed
and a lack of comittment to fight JAG is not where it should be today.

The time for the disposessed to speak with one voice is now. Nothing will
ever be achieved without risk or sweat.

Bruce Gemmill


Letter 2: The Zimbabwe Disaster, received 30 January 2005

by John (Willy) Robinson

Dear Jag,

Ever so slowly, some more people in the world are starting to understand
the Zimbabwe Disaster. I have feeling that it is comparable to the Tsunami
Disaster. There are two major differences. Firstly, the Zimbabwe Disaster
is man made by greed. Secondly, The Zimbabwe Disaster has been insidiously
implemented over five years - there by not having the same shock impact on
the world as the Tsunami Disaster or The Holocaust which has just had the
60th Anniversary of its ending.

The farmers of Zimbabwe can hardly seek solidarity from the rest of the
world if those representing the victims in The Zimbabwe Disaster are still
in denial. With all due respect to Mrs. Simon and her passion for the CFU -
surely the time is long overdue for the organization to stand up and be
brutally honest about what has actually happened to agriculture in Zimbabwe
and the resulting complete social disaster. I have read figures of US$ 18
billion damage which will probably get the The Zimbabwe Disaster Makers
into the Guinness book of records. The social disaster and human rights
abuses are fairly well publicised world wide:

- The continual rape, torture and murder of "perceived non-ZANU people" by
the State just like the Gukuruhundi's 20 000 victims. - Amnesty
International have spoken up about the detention of Roy Bennett (MP). -
Cosatu appear to have shamed the SA Nationalists to a point where they
might do more than "spy on human rights abuses." - The Press reports that
5,8 million Zimbabweans face starvation due to The Zimbabwe Disaster. - JAG
reports that 3 500 commercial farms have been closed down resulting in 1,75
million people losing their livelihood. - The US Secretary for Foreign
Affairs has referred to Zimbabwe as an Outpost of Tyranny. - Between 3 and
4 million people having left the country because of political harassment.

The best that the CFU or ZTA could come up with was Andries Ferreira saying
"the Government has come on sides" and Trevor Shaw not so subtly reminding
people to feed the crocodile in the hopes of postponing his farmers' last
supper. To be fair in a worldly sense, how can the CFU or ZTA justify
calling for support from any quarter if this is their ethos?

Mrs. Simon's call for unity is noble to say the least, but it seems that
there are still many people who live in their own little world in the Pink
Palace and fail to grasp the meaning of The Beatitudes which got young
Benjamin into such big trouble - they still seem to think that Benjamin
should have more respect or fear for them than for God. Five years down the
track - "Collaborators of The Zimbabwe Disaster", they have chosen to

J.L. (Willy) Robinson.


Letter 3: RE: CFU Accountable or are Farmers?, received 31 January 2005

by Jean Simon

It is with interest that I read John Robertson (Willy) and Ben Freeth's
responses to my Open Letter Forum contribution last week. Once again they
sank to a level of dealing with individual personalities and personal

It is precisely for this reason that it is important for us all to view the
issues from a national point of view instead of an individual point of

In a democracy the view of the majority rules. It is important for the
leader of the majority view to take account of the needs of the majority
but the opinions of the minority are important too. The minority help to
police the behavior of the majority and ensure that the majority
behave/manage in a balanced way.

In a society where human rights are adhered to, the majority allow the
views of the minority to be expressed. In a tolerant society, the view of
all citizens is important and is taken into account in governing the

If there is a matter of policy where there are divergent views, the
majority view is taken.

When we, as members of a given society, do not agree with the views of the
leadership in that society, and we believe that our view is a majority
view, we have the right to ask for a change in the leadership. When an
election is held and the various groups have put foward their views and
have voted, we once again follow the decisions of the majority.

It is important that we, as commercial farmers, or ex commercial farmers,
take up our right to be part of our given society, the CFU in this
instance, and make sure that the UNION represents the interests and views
of the majority of the membership.

If we just sit on the sidelines, making distructive comments/ criticisms we
should be brave enough to ask ourselves if we are voicing the opinions of
the majority or not.

We should also, from our chairs on the sidelines, ask if we are as well
informed about the operations of the CFU as we think. It is very often true
that we make judgement calls about matters where we are not in full grip of
all the facts.

Perhaps the two gentlemen could bring themselves to hop out from behind
their own frilly pink aprons and give their opinions a good hard look. They
may in fact find that they have lost their trousers somewhere along the
path of self realisation?

Best regards

Jean Simon


Letter 4: Firearms Renewal, received 29 January 2005

by Trish Henson

Dear JAG

Please would you consider sending out a general circular just as a reminder
to farmers to check their firearms licences for dates of renewal. Ours is
due 1 March 2005 and I am sure that is a common date for many. With the
election coming up no-one should be in a position of not having done it as
they had forgotten!

For general information: fresh supporting letters have to be submitted
together with two copies of fingerprints.

Many thanks

Trish Henson


Letter 5: Massey Ferguson Director's Statements, received 29 January 2005

by Canaan B

Dear Sir/Madam,

RE Statements made by Massey Ferguson's regional director for Africa, Mr
Nick Wright

I read the following in the Zimbabwe Herald and the Zimbabwe Independent
newspapers on 25th January and 28th January respectively:

" Farming equipment manufacturer Massey Ferguson's regional director for
Africa, Nick Wright, says his company is ready to supply up to 500 combine
harvesters if government can pay the foreign currency required for such an
order. This was after his meeting with Agriculture minister Joseph Made,
who said the country was in desperate need of tractors and planters. Wright
told the Herald they had "fruitful" discussions with Made. "We can safely
say that Zimbabwe's agriculture is in safe hands," he said.

The full text from the Herald is quoted at the end of this letter.

Does a Nick Wright exist in your organisation and did he say what is quoted
above (or below) ?

Your urgent response would be most appreciated as it is going to have a
direct influence on my future business purchase decisions.

Yours faithfully,

Canaan B

The full text is as follows:

'Firm Ready to Meet Demand for Agric Equipment'

The Herald (Harare)

January 25, 2005
Posted to the web January 25, 2005


UNITED Kingdom-based farming equipment manufacturing concern Massey
Ferguson has indicated that it is ready to meet the country's demand for
agricultural machinery and implements.

Speaking soon after meeting Agriculture and Rural Development Minister Dr
Joseph Made, Massey Ferguson's regional director for Africa, Mr Nick
Wright, said they envisaged extending the long association that exists
between his company, the country and the local farming community.

"We do have the capacity to meet the country's demand and we will try our
best to help meet that demand.

"Our discussions have been extremely fruitful and the minister has put
across a strong case. We can safely say that Zimbabwe's agriculture is in
safe hands," he said.

Dr Made said the discussions had dwelt at length on matters relating to the
manufacturing capacity of Massey Ferguson and the ability of the company's
local agent, Farmec, to deliver on orders.

The minister said that they had emphasised the country's need for equipment
such as tractors and planters.

He said this was in view of the fact that some new farmers had started to
place orders for tractors individually and that it was essential to ensure
that there was capacity to meet that demand.

Dr Made said his ministry would try to ensure that the farmers were
allocated foreign currency to meet payment for their orders.

He, however, urged Farmec to play its part in securing foreign currency to
ensure that it imported tractors to meet orders from local farmers.

Apart from the demand for tractors and planters, the discussions, the
minister said, also dwelt on the demand for other equipment such as combine
harvesters, which are critical in the reaping process.

The minister said that it was indicated that Massey Ferguson was ready to
supply 100 to 500 combine harvesters if the Government met the foreign
currency requirements for such an order.

The meeting with Mr Wright, who was accompanied by Farmec's general manager
Mr John Allen, comes against a backdrop of concerted measures to ensure
increased agricultural production.

Such efforts have, however, faced hitches like shortage of farming
implements and inputs.

The Government has, nevertheless, been trying to get around the situation
by engaging friendly nations to help contribute to the success of the land
reform programme by facilitating loans to purchase equipment and outright
donations of such equipment.


Letter 6: RE: Voting as Permanent Residents, received 30 January 2005

by Permanent Resident

Dear Editor,

I was heartened by Trudy Stevenson's letter (OLF No 325 - 14 January 2005)
where she said "It is the contitutional right of every Permanent Resident
of Zimbabwe to vote."

Although not born here, I have been a resident, citizen and voter in
Zimbawe for over forty years. But my name was removed from the voters roll
and placed on the "Hit List" at the time of the 2002 Presidential election.

After reading Trudy Stevenson's letter I attempted to register at the
nearest voters' roll inspection centre.

I was refused. I was told by registration staff that I had lost my Zimbabwe
citizenship in 2002 and was therefore not eligible to register as a voter.
The registration officer showed, as the grounds for his refusal to allow my
registration, an extract from a 2002 Supreme Court (appeal court) judgement
which overruled a High Court judgement which ordered the Registrar General
to "restore to the voters roll all voters who on or before January 18 2002
who may have lost or renounced their citizenship of Zimbabwe but who since
1985 have been regarded by a written law to be permanently resident in

It would appear that those who have been permanent residents since before
1985 are eligible to be registered BUT NOT if they have been Zimbabwe
citizens and have lost (as in my case, due to the 2002 change in the law)
or renounced Zimbabwe citizenship.

Permanent Resident.


JAG Hotlines:
(011) 205 374 If you are in trouble or need advice,

(011) 863 354 please don't hesitate to contact us -
(011) 431 068 we're here to help!

263 (04) 799 410 Office Lines
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Sent: Tuesday, February 01, 2005 6:09 AM
Subject: Job Possibilities for Immigrants in Kalgoorlie

Good morning everyone
At the moment in our town Kalgoorlie-Boulder there are good job possibilities for tradesmen as immigrants.  I  was advised by our local Goldfields Esperance Development Commission that one of the local companies is seeking 60 tradesmen:
and this was only one of the many companies seeking skilled workers.
The  Goldfields Esperance Development Commission have an immigration scheme and have been asked to source these tradespeople outside Australia as there is a skills shortage here at present.
So please send this email to anyone that you know who is keen to immigrate to Australia and advise them to contact Goldfields Esperance Development Commission on email: - attention Stephanie Fletcher.
Goldfields Esperance Development Commission also have a webpage on which will have some information on it and a webpage for Kalgoorlie-Boulder information are: and
Regards to you all - I do hope that this helps someone who wants to immigrate
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From: egcross
To: undisclosed-recipients:;
Sent: Monday, January 31, 2005 1:39 PM
Subject: Help.

You will be aware of the fact that we are only six weeks away from an election in Zimbabwe that could change the course of history in our country. Six weeks if we cannot persuade those with the power to delay things. Even if we get a delay we only have 4 and a half months at most. While we have held back from participating in elections in Zimbabwe, our friends have withheld resources and we now face a task for which we will require substantial funds. US$30 will fill the tank of a vehicle, a gift of R50 000 will fund the campaign in a single constituency.
To support the democratic process, a group of us who live in the region have set up an account in South Africa to receive funds and these will be transmitted to the coal face in the usual way. What you can expect is that these funds will attract maximum value in terms of Zimbabwe dollars and go directly to support the democratic process and to try and ensure that people in Zimbabwe can vote freely and not have their vote stolen as it was in 2000 and in 2002. This is the only way many of you can help us in the process.
For people who live outside Zimbabwe the account to send your donation to is as follows: -
Acc No 1589406079
Brown Street Branch 
Branch Code 158952.
Republic of South Africa
For people who live in Zimbabwe you can send a crossed cheque or money order to ZIMFUND. P O Box 9127, Hillside, Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. The cheque or order should be made out to Zimfund.
It will not be possible to acknowledge external donations which will need to be made in good faith, we will try to acknowledge local donations.
On another front we will need 2400 vehicles and drivers for the election day itself. These will be organised to go to specific points on the day before the election and drivers will need a full tank of fuel and food for 48 hours. They will then deploy poll monitors to polling stations on that same day. The monitors to sleep at the polling stations and then to watch the poll the following day and keep detailed records of the days events. In the evening these same people will observe the vote counting and will then give a detailed report to the drivers who will in turn report to their control centers. Thereafter the vehicles will pick up the poll watchers and return them to their homes if required and then go back to their own bases.
We expect there to be up to 12000 polling stations - many in remote areas and will require a number of 4x4 vehicles and drivers. Otherwise pick up trucks are best although in the towns we can use any sort of vehicle. Only by watching the poll at every polling station can we control any underhand activity. We will have international observers but they cannot be expected to be able to undertake an exercise of this magnitude. E mail your offers to us and we will direct you to the local co-ordinators. We will have a co-ordinator in every constituency.
On the ground and on the day we wil need upwards of 60 000 volunteers to man poling stations and to be polling agents. For this you need to be a voter and to live as close to a polling station as possible. But we will also deploy people out of town in some cases. Again - e mail your offers to us and we will come back to you.
PS. If you think this a hoax or a scam e mail us for confirmation of these arrangements.
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