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Zimbabwe: Living with hyperinflation

Child with Zimbabwean dollars in a bag
People are now carrying money in plastic bags
The governor of Zimbabwe's reserve bank last week admitted that his country is in the grip of hyperinflation, with some economists predicting an inflation rate of 1,000% within two months.

This week saw the introduction of a so-called "bearer cheque" worth 50,000 Zimbabwean dollars - 50 times the highest available banknote - but actually worth around half a US dollar and only enough to buy a loaf of bread.

BBC World Service's Outlook programme spoke to five Zimbabweans, all of whom did not wish to be named, about what life is like living under rampant hyperinflation.


Now, we can hardly even look after our families.

When we talk of inflation, almost everyone is being affected.

It's as if our customers have left the country, because most of the people are walking in and out of town.

It's now even worse when you try to increase the fares, because already people can't afford them.

I buy five litres of petrol from the black market. This is normally 650,000 - 700,000.

On a good trip, that five litres can raise 1 million - but additional costs leave around 250,000 - absolutely nothing.

That is barely enough to feed yourself, let alone your family.

It's like we are living hand-to-mouth.


When I go to withdraw my money, I have to wait around 30 minutes because there are so many people waiting.

It's so difficult.

Maybe you want 10 million but they only give you 2.8, because there is not enough at the bank.


Children in Harare play in uncollected rubbish
Hyperinflation has meant an end to rubbish collections
It's a very strange environment.

There are a lot of pay rises, but they are meaningless.

They are always eroded the minute they give us the pay rise.

Also, considering we have so much to pay - we have parents in the countryside, and we have families - it doesn't work.

People are willing to lend money, but they are not willing to lend it for nothing. It's usually at a rate of 90 or 100%.

Sometimes these are your relatives or people you work with, taking advantage of this.

People are cannibalising each other.


Because my income hasn't risen as much as the prices in the shops, we have had to adjust quite a bit.

The things that we buy - the groceries at home, the things we get for our two children - we have to buy immediately, as soon as we get the money.

We know that if we wait a bit, the prices are going to go up again. If we wait another week, we will not be able to afford anything.

People are taking the money out in suitcases or carrier bags.


I don't even know if I'll have a job at the end of the week, because there is so much uncertainty. There are so many companies closing down.

It is quite interesting to see people going in banks with bags and sometimes even suitcases.

You know that there are large amounts of money in there - which unfortunately are not going to buy much.

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The Crunch

When I think about what is happening right now I wonder - when will the
crunch come? This morning I was in one of the largest food companies in
Zimbabwe. Parked outside were long lines of 30 tonne trucks - all empty, the
drivers standing by waiting for food aid to arrive. The company staff told
me that they had not had a delivery of maize for four weeks. Other millers
tell the same story. In town I passed a man with a small sedan vehicle - he
was selling 10 kg bags of maize meal at Z$350 000 per bag. He was surrounded
by a couple of hundred desperate customers.

Bulawayo has been without maize meal for the past fortnight - the Sunday
News headlined the shortage this last weekend.

The GMB has a national monopoly over the purchase, storage and sale of raw
maize in Zimbabwe. We consume about 1,2 million tonnes a year as maize meal
for human consumption - it is the national staple food. That is 110
kilograms of maize per capita.

The financial numbers of this exercise are huge. A tonne of maize from South
Africa lands here in Bulawayo at about R1500 per tonne. At official exchange
rates this is Z$24 million dollars per tonne. The GMB sells it at Z$600 000
a tonne - a direct subsidy of Z$23 400 000 per tonne - a 97.5 per cent
subsidy. Take into account the costs of the GMB - interest, transport, and
staff, silo management costs, unloading and loading, sales costs and you are
probably looking at a direct subsidy per tonne of Z$28 million per tonne -
Z$33,6 trillion a year or nearly a third of total revenues from all taxes.

This is clearly not sustainable and how the Government will deal with this
is anyone's guess but the profiteering going on in the trade is equally
stunning. That 10 kilogram bag of maize meal probably used 11 kilos of maize
at a cost to the miller of Z$6 600. His gross margin is Z$343 400 per bag -
his costs probably about Z$70 000 leaving him a profit of Z$273 400 or 78
per cent of his selling price. Not bad.

If they were to charge an economic price for maize of Z$28 000 a kilo, the
product would probably end up on the shelves at about Z$413 000 for a 10
kilo bag. So the bulk of the subsidy on maize is actually going to the
middlemen. I run a supermarket as one of my concerns, we cannot buy maize
meal from the GMB mills and have to buy from intermediaries who put a
substantial mark up on the product. This sort of thing is going on across
the country.

So we are left to wonder - when will the crunch come - Maize imports at
US$250 a tonne will require us to find US$350 million this year for our net
import needs. If the State cannot find this money - we will go hungry. If
they do find it and continue to sell at present prices, then the subsidy to
the GMB will, by itself, push the budget deficit over 20 per cent of GDP.
This is simply not sustainable.

By my own calculations inflation in January is well over 900 per cent and
still rising. Inflation, a runaway budget deficit, the impossible demands of
the patronage system in a shrinking economy, a hungry angry people. We are
close to breaking point in every sense. Perhaps the crunch has come.

Eddie Cross
Bulawayo, 31st January 2006

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Zimbabwe faces worst harvest on record

Voice of America (VOA)

Date: 31 Jan 2006

By Peta Thornycroft

Harare, 31 January 2006 - Even though weather conditions have been ideal for
growing, crop forecasters say Zimbabwe is going to have its worst-ever

The rains came on time this summer, in November, and they have not stopped
since. It rains every day, especially in areas where food crops are grown.
Even in the dry Matabeleland provinces in southern Zimbabwe there has been
plenty of rain.

The dams are full and rivers are flowing across the country. Despite this,
agricultural analysts and crop forecasters say this will be the worst
harvest season ever.

The Commercial Farmers Union is the only agricultural organization still
producing technical data and timely statistics in Zimbabwe. Its crop
forecasts have proved to be accurate over many years.

It predicts that this year the country will produce only about 700,000 tons
of corn - Zimbabwe's staple crop - less than half the amount of corn that is
needed to feed the nation. And the harvest might be even lower if rains
persist and reduce nutrient levels in the soil.

If the experts' predictions are right, this will be the sixth year in a row
of failed crops in Zimbabwe. At present, three million people, or
one-quarter of Zimbabwe's population, depend for their nutrition on on U.N.
food aid.

Zimbabwe once produced enough agricultural produce to earn sizable foreign
income from exports. Today, it has not enough produce to feed its population
and not enough foreign currency reserves to import food.

According to the Commercial Farmers Union, Zimbabwe will produce only 50
million kilograms of tobacco in 2006. Six years ago it produced nearly five
times that amount. Tobacco export earning accounted for 40 percent of the
total foreign exchanged earned.

Hendrik Olivier is director of the Commercial Farmers Union, which has lost
most of its members since 2000, when President Robert Mugabe began seizing
white-owned farms. Mr. Olivier says farmers don't have the basics, such as
fertilizers or fuel, to produce more.

"In the main cropping areas, we have seen good rain, when it is necessary,"
said Hendrik Olivier. "When we speak to farmers they say they had very good
rain on time. The same cannot be said about inputs [fertilizers]. In the
main cropping areas we see shortage of inputs, and of late, the biggest
shortage is nitrogen, and we see in some areas planting still taking place
especially of maize, because of the lack of inputs."

Zimbabwe is so short of foreign currency it cannot afford to import the
chemicals needed to produce fertilizers or fuel for farmers to operate their

Ninety percent of the millions of hectares taken from white farmers over the
last six years now lies fallow. New farmers say they don't have the
experience, technical support or financial muscle to succeed.

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More darkness lies ahead for Zimbabwe


          January 31 2006 at 11:14AM

      Power cuts that have plunged most parts of Zimbabwe into darkness
since last week could continue longer than expected, Harare's Herald
newspaper reported on Tuesday.

      Its website said the national power utility, Zesa Holdings, was
struggling to raise foreign currency and Zimbabwe dollars needed to pay for
power imports and spare parts.

      Many parts of Zimbabwe had in the past four days endured power cuts,
with some areas going for long hours without supplies, as the power utility
grapples to solve the problem.

      The country has also lost all its 450 Megawatts power imports from
Eskom South Africa due to a generator breakdown.

      Zesa Holdings executive chairperson Sydney Gata said the problem had
been aggravated by the local electricity import bill that had doubled.

      "Our electricity power bill has increased from $4,5-million
(R27-million) per month denoted in Zimbabwe dollars to about $500-billion
(R3-trillion) at the inter-bank exchange rate," he said.

      "It is obvious that Zesa cannot raise the required Zimbabwe dollars at
the new exchange rate to pay for the imports given that the companyis total
revenue is a third of the electricity import bill alone."

      Gata said generators at Hwange had broken down and needed repairing,
which Zesa could not afford owing to its failure to raise money to buy
foreign currency from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.

      "Yes, there is a shortage of foreign currency to procure the spares
but we also need Zimbabwean dollars to pay for the foreign currency at the
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe."

      About 60 percent of Zimbabweis power requirements are met through
internal generations and 40 percent through imports from South Africa, the
Democratic Republic of Congo and Mozambique. - Sapa

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Mugabe's ministers grab anti-AIDS drugs

Zim Online

Wed 1 February 2006

      HARARE - Top officials of President Robert Mugabe's ruling ZANU PF
party and government are using their powerful positions to grab
anti-retroviral drugs (ARVs) meant for public hospitals, depriving millions
of poor citizens suffering from the disease, ZimOnline has learnt.

      Authoritative sources said the officials intercept the drugs - which
are either donated or bought using tax money - at the government's National
Aids Council (NAC) before they are distributed to state hospitals for
dispensing to the public. The NAC runs the government's national anti-aids
policy and ARV supply programme.

      ZimOnline has a list of some of the names of the government and ZANU
PF officials involved in the drugs scam but for ethical and legal reasons
cannot reveal these.

      The list includes Cabinet ministers, members of ZANU PF's inner
politburo committee, police and military officials as well as some close
relatives and friends of the politicians and government officials. They are
all said to be infected by the HIV virus and need the drugs for their own

      "The National Aids Council just hands over the drugs (to top
officials). It has become so normal that it is kind of semi-officialised,"
said one source, who refused to be named for fear of reprisal.

      According to another source, who is a senior official at the NAC, the
state anti-HIV/AIDS body has over the last few years been getting supplies
of ARVs in "dribs and drabs" owing to a shortage of money to buy more drugs.

      But he said of the little that has been coming in, most has been
snapped up by the powerful government and army officials or those connected
to the ruling elite.

      "Due to cash shortages, the drugs have been coming in dribs and drabs.
But even the few ARVs are not getting to the intended beneficiaries. These
top guys get the ARVs before the hospitals have access to them," said the
official, who again requested not to be named for fear of victimisation for
exposing the scam.

      According to the official, former NAC director, Everisto Marowa, had
at one time reported to Mugabe that top government officials were raiding
drugs meant for poor people. But the President is said to have told Marowa
that he would not stop his officials from accessing medical drugs, ARVs
included, and that in any case a few government officials could not finish
all the drugs.

      "Marowa informed Mugabe that he was being harassed by people who
wanted access to ARVs meant for poor people. Mugabe told him a few top
government officials could not probably finish all the drugs as long as they
were not allowed to hoard them," the NAC official said.

      Written questions sent to NAC on the matter a fortnight ago were still
unanswered by late last night.

      Health Minister David Parirenyatwa, under whose portfolio the NAC
falls, confirmed receiving complaints mostly from anti-HIV/AIDS
non-governmental organisations that senior government and ZANU PF officials
were abusing the state-funded free ARV supply programme.

      But Parirenyatwa vehemently rejected that the government's AVR scheme
was being abused insisting that the scheme was not only being run
transparently but was also being widened to cover more poor Zimbabweans
living with HIV/AIDS.

      Parirenyatwa said: "I am aware that there are concerns from many NGOs
that senior government officials are abusing our free ARV programme . . .
the allegations are wrong.

      "The NGOs are wrong and your (ZimOnline) sources are wrong. We are a
professional and transparent government and there is no interception of ARVs
by senior officials or ministers. We have actually managed to reduce the
number of HIV/AIDS cases and that is mainly because of effective government
programmes to fight the disease.

      "This year we are targeting 25 000 (new) people for our ARV programme.
Twenty thousand people from the public sector and another 5 000 from the
private sector. Resources are our biggest headache because we are under

      The government was last year providing ARVs for free to about 20 000
people but HIV/AIDS experts say about 300 000 more AIDS patients have no
access to drugs.

      According to United Nations figures released late last year Zimbabwe,
which has one in every five of its 12 million people infected with HIV, has
become only the second African country after Uganda to achieve a reduction
in new infections.

      However the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party
said it planned to question in Parliament the government's anti-HIV/AIDS
programme in particular reports that the elite and powerful were abusing the
ARV supply scheme.

      MDC legislator for Kwekwe constituency and chairman of Parliament's
portfolio committee on health, Blessing Chebundo said: "Those who are
politically connected are abusing their authority to get the ARVs ahead of
the intended beneficiaries. It is an issue I actually plan to bring to the
House and give it public attention because the public's money is being

      The government's ARV programme is funded by money levied from every
Zimbabwean worker while some of the money is from international
anti-HIV/AIDS groups. The deadly disease kills at least 2 000 Zimbabweans
every week. - ZimOnline

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Desperate Harare residents harvest water from rooftops

Zim Online

Wed 1 February 2006

      HARARE - Each time there is a sputter of raindrops on the roof of her
house, 48-year old Edna Bwanyi springs into action.

      Bwanyi, who lives in the poor suburb of Mabvuku in Harare, quickly
abandons whatever she will be doing and grabs buckets and bowls which she
arranges in neat rows where rain streams off from the roof.

      For Bwanyi, this desperate attempt to harvest water from the rooftop
will certainly come as a major relief as it saves her the drudgery of
walking some two kilometers away to fetch water from the nearest unprotected

      "We save ourselves a lot of hassles through this process. Water
supplies from council are highly erratic," says Bwanyi.

      Mabvuku, like most poor suburbs in Harare, has since last year
experienced serious water shortages because of  frequent breakdowns of the
city's ageing water supply system and also because of downright
mismanagement by the city council. Persistent water cuts are so common in
the suburb leaving residents with no option but to rely on  unprotected

      Harare's water crisis is emblematic of the general decay of major
infrastructure in Zimbabwe after six years of a severe economic recession
critics blame on repression and wrong policies by President Robert Mugabe.

      The veteran President, in power since Zimbabwe's independence from
Britain 25 years ago, denies ruining the country blaming its economic
problems on sabotage by Britain and her Western allies out to fix his
government for seizing large swathes of commercial farmland for
redistribution to landless blacks six years ago.

      "Although this (harvesting of rain water) cannot be a lasting solution
we appreciate that the rains that have been falling have given us a
temporary reprieve," says Eleanea Dzvova, another resident of Mabvuku.

      Bwanyi and Dzvova are part of a growing number of housewives in Harare
who are battling to find alternative sources of drinking water. Apart from
being erratic, Harare's water has been condemned as unfit for human
consumption given its high levels of toxicity.

      "Rain water is safer than the supplies we get from the city council.
We have discovered it is better to use plastic containers than metal drums
because metal containers rust and make the water undrinkable," says Bwanyi.

      A World Health Organisation (WHO) report published last year also
condemned Harare's water saying it was unfit for human consumption.

      "Prevention of the health effects of water contamination is vital to a
society's well being due to the fact that access to clean and safe water is
a cornerstone of public health and increases life expectancy if sanitation
methods are  improved," said the WHO report.

      A gynecologist in Harare who refused to be named for professional
reasons also added his chorus of condemnation of the city's water.

      "Harare's water needs to be purified properly. Pregnant women and
children are in danger of contracting gastroenteritis and typhoid. Residents
should also make it a habit to boil their water before drinking as a
contingency measure," he said.

      Another doctor in Harare, Frank Nyamutumbu, said a host of diseases
ranging from fungi and allergic infections could also be contracted after
drinking contaminated water.

      Contacted for comment, the state-appointed commission running the
affairs of Harare after the government fired an opposition Movement for
Democratic Change-led council, shifted blame to the Zimbabwe National Water
Authority (ZINWA), a statutory body that oversees the supply and storage of
water in the country.

      The commission said ZINWA had failed to treat water to acceptable WHO
standards, a charge ZINWA has in the past  repeatedly and publicly denied,
instead blaming the water problems on the Harare commission saying its
failure to pay  for water on time was hampering efforts to procure enough
water treatment chemicals.

      But for Bwanyi and Dzvova, who like other residents of Harare have
become accustomed to water cuts and generally shoddy service from council,
it serves little purpose trying to find out who between the commission and
ZINWA is to blame for the erratic water supplies. They would rather spend
time harvesting water and save themselves the pain of another trip to the
well. - ZimOnline

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Four Zimbabwe students arrested for carrying out research

Zim Online

Wed 1 February 2006

      HARARE - Zimbabwe police yesterday arrested four university students
who were carrying out research on the effects of the government's
controversial urban clean-up campaign after mistaking them for journalists.

      The four University of Zimbabwe journalists were arrested at Hopley
Farm, a holding camp set up by the government last year at the height of the
clean-up exercise that left at least 700 000 people homeless and affected
another 2.4  million people according to a United Nations report.

      In a statement released to the press yesterday, the Zimbabwe Lawyers
for Human Rights (ZLHR) said the students were only released after the
rights body convinced the police that the students were not journalists.

      "Two police officers arrested Munyaradzi Tsunga, Promise Mkwananzi,
Washington Katema and Tilda Mutambanashe  after erroneously thinking that
the students were unaccredited journalists and/or working for independent
broadcasters and publishers," the ZLHR said.

      "The lawyers were forced to furnish the police with details including
their home addresses, before they were able to  leave Hopley Farm," ZLHR

      Under Zimbabwe's tough media laws, it is an offence for journalists to
practice their profession without accreditation from the government
appointed Media and Information Commission. Journalists face a two-year jail
sentence for flouting  the law.

      At least a hundred journalists have been arrested over the past three
years for allegedly violating the country's media laws. Four newspapers have
also been shut down during the same period.

      Zimbabwe's Security Minister Didymus Mutasa last week threatened to
clamp down on independent journalists whom  he accused of working with
foreign owned newspapers to tarnish the image of President Robert Mugabe's
government.  - ZimOnline

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Zim Dollar Crushes To Record Lows

Zim Daily

            Tuesday, January 31 2006 @ 12:04 AM GMT
            Contributed by: correspondent
            The Zimbabwe dollar crushed on the parallel market yesterday,
shooting to a record low of Z$165 000 against the greenback. The crush of
the Zim dollar followed the prescription of an 'allowable margin' for daily
trades by the central bank, throwing the interbank market into jeopardy.
Dealers were quoting the Zimbabwe dollar at $165 000 per United States
dollar yesterday, a further decline from about $150 000 prior to Reserve
Bank governor Gideon Gono's Tuesday policy statement. Gono said the central
bank would now implement a 'volume-based' system for adjusting the mid-rate.

            Volumes below US$5 million will not trigger any change in the
mid-rate, while volumes within the US$5 million and US$10 million would see
the rate move by +/-1 percent. The US$10-US$15 million range will, in turn,
see an automatic adjustment to the exchange rate either side of 1.5 percent
and volumes exceeding US$15 million will be rewarded with a 2 percent
adjustment. Gono said the volume-based adjustments to the exchange rates had
been necessitated by abuse of the interbank system, where 'even US$10
transactions were seen to be pushing the rate by inordinate quantum.'

            "It has become necessary that the market determined exchange
rate fluctuate in line with actual volumes traded in the market. Occasions
as have been noted over the past quarter where the exchange rate
depreciated, even on days where as little as under a quarter of a million US
dollars was traded, reflecting the need for the foreign exchange market to
be reformed further. "In this regard, therefore, with immediate, the
interbank weighted exchange rate system has been refined such that exchange
rate adjustments are triggered at varying allowable margins, based on actual
volumes traded in the market," Gono said.

            The rates were approaching a temporary convergence over the
holidays as sagging demand and inflows from non-resident Zimbabweans saw
parallel market rates coming off. Greater divergence can now be expected
following the new policy intervention by the central bank.

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Months After State Demolitions, Many Still Seek New Homes


By Carole
Gombakomba & Netsai Mlilo
      Washington & Bulawayo
      30 January 2006

Six months after the supposed conclusion of Operation Murambatsvina, the
demolition campaign mounted by Zimbabwean authorities with the purported aim
of cleaning up the cities remains a very present reality for many in the
Harare suburb of Mbare.

Local sources said about 25 families are living in the open, facing a
constant threat of police eviction from the elementary shelters they have
improvised - often on the ruins of their former homes. Church sources say
many more roam the streets, sleeping in store verandas when they cannot find
floor space in the homes of relatives.

Reporter Carole Gombakomba of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe spoke with people
in Mbare who continue to live under the shadow of Operation Murambatsvina.

Outside Zimbabwe's second city of Bulawayo, some former inhabitants of the
Killarney squatter settlement evicted in Operation Murambatsvina are
returning to the site along the highway heading east to Harare. At least 100
families call the settlement home.

Correspondent Netsai Mlilo says many of them are keeping a low profile for
now in the hope that they will eventually be able to put up more permanent

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European Union extends Zimbabwe sanctions

New Zimbabwe

By Staff Reporter
Last updated: 01/31/2006 12:21:06
THE European Union has extended sanctions against Zimbabwe for another year.

The sanctions include an arms embargo, travel bans on certain officials and
a freezing of their assets.

President Robert Mugabe and more than a hundred ministers and officials are
included in the travel bans and freezing of assets.

EU officials accuse them of human rights violations, and violations of
freedom of speech and assembly in Zimbabwe.

The sanctions, extended until Feb. 20, 2007 were originally in reaction to
the forced transfer of white-owned commercial farms to mainly landless black
peasants, and Mugabe's disputed re-election in 2002.

When the government began the land transfer, it said it was to benefit
landless black Zimbabweans. But sharp falls in agricultural production soon
followed, and Zimbabwe has since endured rampant inflation and food and fuel

Aid agencies and critics partly blame food shortages on the land reform
program. The government blames a long-running drought, and Mugabe has
accused the EU of sabotaging the economy.

Zimbabwe, formerly called Rhodesia while under British rule, gained
independence in 1980 after a 17-year bush war fought mainly between black
liberation movements and the 250,000 white Rhodesians.

The war was all about land and its fair redistribution. Mugabe, a rebel
leader, became the country's first president in a post-independence
landslide election victory for his ZANU-PF party.

Initially, he extended the hand of reconciliation to the country's remaining
whites. But then veterans of the independence war - and many hangers-on paid
by the ruling party - began their increasingly violent campaign of farm

By April 2000, some Mugabe backers said more than 1,000 farms had been
occupied by 60,000 "war veterans." But the opposition says half of the
"veterans" weren't even born in 1980, when independence was achieved -

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Energy Plan to Gobble US$3bn

The Herald (Harare)

January 31, 2006
Posted to the web January 31, 2006

Tsitsi Matope

ZIMBABWE is mulling a 20-year electricity generation development plan that
will cost at least US$3 billion to upgrade three existing power stations and
build five new ones.

This was announced at a conference, dubbed "Air Pollution National
Stakeholders' Dialogue", held this week in Harare under the auspices of the
Zimbabwe Electricity Regulatory Commission.

Power development engineer Engineer Ikhupuleng Dube said following in the
footsteps of other countries in the region, Zimbabwe had come up with the
development plan to cater for the increasing regional power shortage which
is expected to peak next year.

"Zimbabwe's power sector has not been left out in the power development rush
and is mulling a 20-year development plan that will see the upgrading of
Hwange Thermal Power Station by adding two more units, extension of Kariba,
and building a methane-driven generating station in Lupane.

"The 20-year horizon will also see the development of power stations in
Gokwe North (Sengwa coalfields), Batoka on the Zambezi River and three other
thermal power stations in the Eastern Highlands." said Eng Dube.

He said the development -- which is imperative in view of the impending
crisis in the region -- requires up to US$3 billion which investors in the
power sector will have to generate.

"The bulk of the work should be complete by 2014," Eng Dube said.

As a result of the anticipated shortage, Zimbabwe faces severe import cuts
as the country currently gets 35 percent of its requirements from the
Democratic Republic of Congo, South Africa and Mozambique, of which 3,6
percent is lost during transmission.

The revelation, however, brought in a new dimension -- that of the need to
urgently develop new renewable technologies that not only save the
environment from pollution, but also ensure demand for power is met.

In his report, Eng Dube said Zimbabwe currently needed up to 2 145 megawatts
yearly but was producing only 1 650MW.

"However, by next year, our assessment is that importation could be
impossible although Zimbabwe is a member of the Southern African Power Pool
which makes us access power from other countries within the region."

Eng Dube said the regional power shortage would be due to, among other
factors, population growth, industrial development, rural electrification,
water development, provision of advanced infrastructure and the need to
advance security mechanisms.

He said all countries within the region were making great strides to develop
in various sectors and such developments mainly came with increased demand
for electric power.

Eng Dube said in view of the high level of air pollution that results from
thermal power stations -- which exacerbates global warming more than any
other pollutant in the world -- planners were taking into consideration the
need to design new stations producing minimal emissions.

Thermal power stations emit carbon dioxide, sulphur dioxide and nitrous
oxides, which damage humans' respiratory systems and cause other illnesses.
Zimbabwe is rated second after South Africa in the emission of pollutants
that damage the environment in the region. It is followed by Zambia,
Tanzania, Mozambique, Malawi, Botswana and Angola.

"We are considering coming up with environment-friendly power stations that
use biomass, create mini-hydropower stations and co-generation which uses
bagasse from sugar."

He said, while all these developments are taking shape, Zimbabweans needed
to come up with strategies to reduce wastage of electricity.

"Our power use assessment showed that despite the country's inability to
produce adequate electricity, the public is not aware of the impact of some
of their habits that constitute to a wastage of 20 percent of our
electricity," Eng Dube said.

He said unnecessary lighting, use of inefficient equipment, industrial
mismanagement, and use of high voltage bulbs immensely contributed to
electricity loss.

Air Pollution Network for Africa (APINA) representative Professor Sarah
Feresu said the dialogue was meant to bring together all stakeholders and
map the way forward to resolve the problem of air pollution, which is not
considered a major issue of concern in the country.

She said the public needed to understand the effects of thermal generation,
pointing out that the largest percent of emissions into the air in the form
of particles, gases and vapours came from such generation.

With the US$1,5 million APINA got from the Swedish International Development
Agency, the network hopes to have influenced policy makers that air
pollution is indeed a major problem which demands proper legislation and

"Thermal power, which is mainly used in South Africa and also in Zimbabwe,
has had a negative impact on other countries, hence the need for concerted
efforts from all countries in the region to come up with new technologies
that cut down on emissions."

Prof Feresu said air pollution, unlike other disasters, is not easy to
control once emissions have been made because the air in the atmosphere
cannot be captured and treated to reduce impact.

"This is the same air that we all breathe and to take a blind eye to what
affects our air is like watching ourselves dying when we can do something
about it," she said.

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Zimbabwe's cricket manager fired

Mail and Guardian

      Harare, Zimbabwe

      31 January 2006 05:32

            Zimbabwe's national cricket manager, Mohammed Meman, was fired
on Tuesday after 15 years in the job.

            Meman immediately went to see his lawyer after being given three
months' notice -- a move he described as "an absolute disgrace".

            Meman has been in charge of almost all Zimbabwe's Test and
one-day international teams since 1991.

            He was a national selector and administrator and provincial
cricket selector with the Zimbabwe Cricket Union.

            Richie Kaschula, one of three national selectors, also received
a letter informing him that he would be out of a job in three months' time.

            Kaschula told The Associated Press he was fired under the Labour
Relations Act, but claimed the action was illegal.

            "This Act requires a disciplinary procedure before anybody can
be fired in this way," Kaschula said.

            "And there has been nothing of that kind. My termination is
therefore illegal and this will end up in court. I have already seen my

            "They sent me a cheque for 145-million Zimbabwe dollars ($1 450)
but I am ignoring it."

            The other national selectors, volunteers Macsood Ebrahim and
Ethan Dube, have already stood down.

            More than two weeks of sporadic talks between Zimbabwe Cricket
and the country's professional players association have failed to break a
deadlock over payment and fees, owed for six months. These include Test
match and one-day international payments plus salaries and allowances.

            Tuesday was the deadline set for the two parties by the
government's Sports and Recreation Commission to resolve the financial
dispute, which has been calculated at more than $750 000, and to make sure
all players have signed new contracts.

            Neither has been achieved.

            The players were meeting on Tuesday to agree on their next
course of action.

            Their representative, Clive Field, said: "I have been told by
the players' own lawyer that she will be issuing a writ beginning a civil
action against Zimbabwe Cricket tomorrow to recover the money they are
owed." - Sapa-AP

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NGOs urge IMF to spare Zimbabwe

Sunday Times, SA

Tuesday January 31, 2006 08:09 - (SA)

HARARE - Zimbabwean non-governmental organisations have asked an
International Monetary Fund (IMF) team not to expel the southern African
country over debt arrears, an official said.

Representatives from non-governmental organisations warned that Zimbabwe's
expulsion from the IMF would widen disparities between rich and poor and
push the country to civil strife.

"Our main recommendation was that Zimbabwe has to remain an IMF member
because if it is expelled there will be more problems for the ordinary
people," said Fambai Ngirande, spokesman for the National Association of
Non-governmental Organisations (Nango), representing 400 groups.

"We told them the existing levels of inequality in Zimbabwe make it socially
and politically volatile. This leads to civil unrest. It's a difficult
situation we find ourselves in."

Nango also urged the IMF to cancel the country's debt.

Zimbabwe is in the throes of economic crisis characterised by runaway
inflation, soaring poverty levels, an unemployment rate hovering at over 70%
and chronic shortages of fuel and basic goods like cornmeal.

A controversial urban clean-up campaign named "Operation Murambatsvina"
(Drive out filth) left at least 700,000 homeless from May to July of last
year, according to the United Nations (UN).

Central bank governor Gideon Gono said last week that the army chief had
asked him to make money available for food production, warning that
shortages could spark a popular revolt.

At least four million of the country's 13 million population will require
food aid until the next harvest in May, according to UN agencies.

The five-member IMF team arrived in Harare last week to discuss Zimbabwe's
outstanding debt of 137 million US dollars (113 million euros) to the world
lending body, owed since 2001.

Findings from the mission will be submitted to the IMF executive meeting on
March 8 which will decide Zimbabwe's fate.


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UK keen to maintain diplomatic ties with Zimbabwe

Xinhua 2006-02-01 01:52:45

          HARARE, Jan. 31 (Xinhuanet) -- Despite political differences,
Britain and Zimbabwe wish to maintain diplomatic relations as evidenced by
the presence of ambassadors in both countries, outgoing British Ambassador
to Zimbabwe, Roderick Pullen, said on Tuesday.

          He said this while addressing journalists after paying a farewell
courtesy call on Vice President, Joyce Mujuru, at the end of his tour of

          "The United Kingdom has an ambassador in Zimbabwe and Zimbabwe has
an ambassador in London and that represents, as I see it, a wish by both
governments to maintain diplomatic relations," he said.

          Relations between Zimbabwe and Britain soured when the government
embarked on the land reform program in 2000 to address colonial imbalances,
which had seen about 80 percent of prime landin the hands of white
commercial farmers.

          The government compulsorily acquired land from the white farmers
after Britain reneged on its promise to fund the land reform program as
agreed to in the 1979 Lancaster House Agreement.

          This move did not go down well with most Western countries,
especially Britain and the United States, which reacted by imposing economic
sanctions on the country and travel bans on President Robert Mugabe and
government officials.

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Questionable Pricing Structures Affect Zim's Petrol

The Herald (Harare)

January 31, 2006
Posted to the web January 31, 2006


WHEN in 2004 the Government deregulated the fuel industry to allow private
companies holding foreign currency to import the commodity, that certainly
looked like a brilliant idea.

The initiative still holds the brilliance, although now at a disappointingly
low rate that all but appears to have betrayed the overriding initial
objective -- that of boosting fuel shipments.

Arguably, deregulation has propped up fuel imports, but questionable have
been the pricing structures by independent dealers.

Motives (or excuses, if you want) by private players in adopting to distinct
pricing models range from import costs to labour costs and increases in
international oil prices, amongst a host of other reasons.

Whilst liberalisation of the fuel industry has undoubtedly weaved in a new
sense of hope into the economic fabric, the dispensation has also ushered in
the detestable capitalist principle of price manipulation and

The key aspect is on profit maximisation -- at all costs: the individual,
the economy, the country, the dogs, cats, houseflies and even cockroaches.

And this is exactly what has been happening in Zimbabwe's fuel sector.

Official fuel prices at $23 000/litre for petrol and $22 000/litre for
diesel have been set by the State, but nobody pays attention to them.

By December last year, private fuel importers were selling petrol at black
market rates (which is their pump price) of $85 000/litre and diesel in the
same region. They were openly allowed to continue trading in this mode,
although no public consent was given by the responsible ministry, Energy and
Power Development, meaning all assumed it was legitimate.

In the last two weeks, private companies, however, increased their fuel
prices again -- twice in this short space of time.

Petrol prices initially rose to $110 000/litre from $97 000/litre before
rising further to $140 000/litre by the end of last week. The official
prices have not moved.

And now, analysts say, the major question is: whether private players should
continue increasing fuel prices willy-nilly even in the absence of the need
to cover any increase in production/import costs or international fuel

What is the role of Government in ensuring that independent players do not
hold the economy and public to ransom whilst at the same time ensuring
constant importation of the commodity?

"I think there is some economic sense in adjusting fuel prices to movements
in international oil prices because it increases viability of the importer,"
said a Harare economic commentator, who refused to be named.

"However, prices cannot be allowed to rampantly rise as a result of the urge
to profiteer. There is need to strike a balance between input costs and
revenue, and to be aware of what unwarranted price increases could do to

Fuel -- petrol and diesel -- in Zimbabwe has over the past three years
continued to be the "unattainable elixir" on the official system although it
is readily available on the black market, but at unrealistically high

An increase in the cost of fuel has a direct upward price movement impact on
a wide range of products and services. Its cost-push effects have been read
well on the inflation front, which has ballooned to 586 percent.

Another analyst said: "Government should timeously announce official fuel
prices so that importers do not take advantage of the situation by hiking
prices, which will have a ripple effect across the entire economy. I suspect
some level of control would still be necessary."

The Reserve Bank also raised concern about the fuel industry in its 2005
Fourth Quarter Monetary Policy Review Statement.

It noted: "As part of the fiscal realignment process, it is also critical
that the relevant authorities realign the fuel sector in a manner that
removes room for retrogressive arbitrage and rent-seeking behaviour.

"As monetary authorities, we are ready to enter into some arrangements where
tailor-made interventions are put in place to cushion, on a targeted basis,
the vulnerable groups, to allow for the realignment and liberalisation of
fuel prices."

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Website in Zimbabwe checking up on Echo

Daily Echo, Poole, UK

by Ceri Rees

A PRO-government website in Zimbabwe has been monitoring articles appearing
in the Daily Echo about Poole-based asylum seeker Williard Chinhanhu.

The Echo has been covering Williard's story since he was released from
Harmondsworth Detention Centre last July.

He claimed asylum in the UK in 2002, believing himself to be in danger from
the Mugabe regime, having been threatened for promoting the opposition party

Last month he was invited to a cross-party press conference in Westminster
to ask for permission to work while he remains in the UK.

He is also a former international athlete who finished ninth in an
international cross-country race in Cardiff a week ago.

But it seems his increasingly high profile has attracted the wrong kind of

The Zimupdates website claims to have made visits to the families of the
Chinhanhus and that "nobody had any knowledge of Williard".

It adds: "A visit to the Registrar General's Office, where a highly
up-to-date record of all Zimbabweans are kept, also revealed that there is
no person with that name."

Declaring that Williard is a "non person" and a "fake", it claims that
Williard has generated a "media frenzy in the UK with online publications
donating acres of space to those purporting to be fighting for his cause to
escape deportation to Zimbabwe".

Phillip Chikwiramakomo, of the Zimbabwean Human Rights Forum, who monitors
Zimbabwean websites, said: "I have not yet seen anything targeting an
individual in this way, so it is a cause of worry.

"Why are they going to these lengths to discredit and investigate him?

"I would say it is consistent with the Zimbabwean government's strategy of
propaganda which is something they have started to do because they are quite
aware of the influence of the internet.

"It is definitely a government sanctioned website or government apologists
because the headlines are completely one-sided and all of its links refer to
government-backed newspapers."

The Zimupdates website adds: "The chickens will come home to roost as the
British will be merciless in flushing out illegal immigrants.

"They will have nowhere but only home to return to where shame and reality
that nobody gives a damn about them will dawn on them."

Sarah Harland, a Zimbabwean expatriot and director of the Zimbabwe
Association, described the article as "a load of rubbish".

"The reference to the Registrar General is the biggest joke of the lot
because they cannot even keep a record of all their electors during an
election," she said.

David Banks, co-ordinator and policy adviser for the all-party parliamentary
group on Zimbabwe, said: "No one is being forcibly returned at the moment.
There is a moratorium on this."

First published: January 31, 2006

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Legal position on rates payment to Harare Commission

From: Trudy Stevenson
Sent: Tuesday, January 31, 2006 10:03 PM
Subject: Legal position on rates payment to Harare Commission

The legal position on payment to any body whose legality you are challenging
has changed since the Supreme Court ruling in the matter of the Daily News
registration with the Media Commission.  That ruling states that you pay
first and then protest.

It appears that residents have been in a position to make this protest since
June 2005 when the lawful 6 month-period of the Makwavarara Commission
expired.  Protests will be further enhanced after April 2006 with the expiry
of the 4-year term of office of the elected Harare City Council.

I propose that residents coordinate their efforts through CHRA, email
P O Box HR 7870, Harare or to your Ward Coordinator (eg Mike Davies
Highlands, myself Marlborough-Emerald Hill...)
Further details and up-to-date information can be accessed on our website at or call 011 612 811 for details.

CHRA will soon make a fuller statement on this issue.  Please let us know
any action you intend to take, retain copies of any documents, and please
join or renew your membership of CHRA - at the contacts above.


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No end to fare hikes

Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2006-Jan-31

IT never rains but pours for the urban dweller after it emerged yesterday
that commuter omnibus operators in some of the country's major cities
unilaterally hiked their fares by 50-100 percent.
As a result, commuters have devised unusual means to counter the
ever-increasing fares.
Operators have defended the new fares arguing that the recent increases in
fuel prices and maintenance costs justified the fresh hikes for them to
remain viable.
The latest increase, in addition to those of long distance buses, coupled
with price hikes of basic commodities and other essential services, has
forced commuters to devise unorthodox means of travelling to and from work.
Some Bulawayo residents have formed footing clubs in which they group to
ease the burden of walking long distances individually. This was also seen
as a safety measure against muggers and robbers who could be tempted to
capitalise on the plight of the hard-pressed commuters.
Others have also devised some short-cuts to and fro town, while the demand
for accommodation in areas near the city centre is reportedly high, as
overburdened workers try to eliminate commuting costs from their budgets.
Most conventional buses are charging an average of $30 000 up from $20 000,
eating deeper into the consumer's pockets.
The Minister of Local Government, Public Works and Urban Development,
Ignatius Chombo last week said the new commuter fares were illegal and
ordered their immediate reversal.
The message was reinforced by police spokesperson, Andrew Phiri.
A trip from the capital city centre to nearby low-density suburbs such as
Mabelreign, Westgate, Greencroft and Marlborough now costs $30 000, up from
$20 000 effective yesterday.
The same fare applies for a trip from the city centre to Braeside,
Waterfalls, Cranborne, Eastlea and Chisipite, while city to Southerton
commuters now folk out $20 000, up from $15 000.
The fare has since doubled to $50 000 a single trip for Tafara and Mabvuku
commuters, while it now costs $60 000 to travel from Harare to Chitungwiza,
up from $30 000.
In Bulawayo, where most commuters were paying an average of $20 000 a trip,
people from western high and medium density suburbs such as Pumula and
Cowdray Park now have to part with $40 000.
"It is better for me to foot to work than pay $30 000 for such a short
distance. This is very unfair," lamented Joyce Ntini of Northend, a low
density suburb near town.
But a Harare resident Edward Madya believes the new bus fares were in line
with increases in the prices of many other goods and services.
He said: "There is nothing we can do. We have to pay, but it makes life more
Although no new fares had been effected in Mutare at the

time of going to print yesterday, some residents predicted that plans were
underway to increase commuter bus fares by 60 percent.
Transport operators interviewed said they had reviewed upwards their fares
to recoup fuel and other related costs.
"Diesel which last month sold at $100 000 now costs $130 000 a litre on the
black market. A 90-litre tank of fuel cannot last one busy day and if there
isn't much business, the tank can last two days after which we have to hunt
for diesel again," lamented Herbert Manjengwa, whose 30-seater bus plies the
Harare-Norton route.
At that rate it means that to fill up his bus fuel tank to complete a busy
day's work, Manjengwa has to pump out $11.2 million.
Elisha Sithole, another transporter plying the same route, said besides
fuel, bus owners also buy spares and oil in addition to servicing the
vehicles. He said it was difficult to exact the maintenance costs due to
rising inflation. Sithole could not also say by how much operators would
review the Harare-Norton fare which was currently pegged at $50 000.
Well before the latest hikes, most Harare commuters were already walking
distances of over three kilometres to board the much cheaper commuter
Popularly known as 'Freedom Trains', the National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ)
coaches charge $6 000 per trip, which, however, would be upped to $10 000 -
and still far below what the commuters omnibuses are charging - effective
February 1.
But despite passing on the burden to the commuter, the urban omnibus
operators feel they just have to do so to remain on the road or else they
have to kiss goodbye to the cut-throat business.
They argue it is now a luxury to service a vehicle before it shows primary
signs of faulting.
"We only take the buses for service when the mechanic says there is a
problem. To cut down on costs, we tell the mechanic to deal with the
specific fault only. Right now, we have a bus that is grounded and needs
spares worth $200 million to get back on the road," said one bus conductor
who only identified himself as Shadreck.
High fuel prices aside, a single tyre for a conventional 75-seater bus costs
more than $40 million which translates to $240 million since such buses move
on a set of six tyres.
And to maximise their profits, most transport operators charge full fares
for half the distance they are permitted to travel. After passengers
disembark, the operators continue the remainder of the journey for another
full fare.
For example, unscrupulous operators ferry commuters from to Glen View or
Budiriro to Rothmans at the intersection of Simon Mazorodze and Willowvale
roads for $25 000.
They then continue the last part of the journey into the city for another
$25 000 which desperate commuters have no option but to pay if they are to
keep their appointments or not risk losing their jobs.

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People turn to mushroom

Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Kristofah Mahove in Masvingo
issue date :2006-Jan-31

MOST people in Masvingo's high-density suburbs have turned to mushroom as a
substitute for meat, whose astronomical price has put it beyond the reach of
Mushroom are found in abundance in and around Masvingo province, especially
during the rain season.
People who spoke to The Daily Mirror said mushroom had come in handy as a
substitute for meat, given that they were not only affordable, but were
equally delicious.
"This has become our main relish as it is reasonably priced and also very
delicious. In fact, I have always loved mushroom since childhood so I don't
have problems adjusting," said Anna Chikozho of Runyararo West.
Runesu Gumbo of Mucheke said he had reduced the number of days his family
ate meat a month, adding he now alternated the relishes.
He noted that mushroom were equally nutritious and if cooked well, very
Mushroom are found in different types such as Chihombiro, Nhedzi and Jongwe.
"If you eat especially Chihombiro, you will not notice its difference from
meat," he quipped.
Enterprising men and women in the town are eking out a living through
selling mushroom.
Famous Takawira of Rujeko said business was brisk these days as more and
more people opted for the wild delicacy.
He said on a good day he rakes in up to $1 million.
"The four buckets I have are really nothing as they will soon be finished,"
he said.
Takawira said although Chihombiro was the most wanted, it was not easy to
come by and if found it fetched more than the other types on the market.
"Jongwe goes for $20 000 a plate, Nhedzi for $30 000 while Chihombiro
fetches between $35 000 and $40 000 a plate, which is almost equivalent to
half a kilogramme," he said.
A vendor who declined to be named said: "I managed to pay school fees and
buy a school uniform for my daughter with the money I got from selling
mushrooms," she said.
She, however, said sometimes police confiscated the mushroom because they
were selling from undesignated points.
"We have to be where the people are and the markets are on the outskirts
where we rarely get customers," she added.
Asked about the dangers of poisoning associated with mushroom, the woman
said those who bring the relish from the villages were experienced and knew
their mushrooms well.
She noted that those who tried to pick mushroom from some bushes in the city
risked picking poisonous ones.

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Arda sets aside 170ha for Jatropha project

Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Patson Ndhlovu
issue date :2006-Jan-31

AS efforts to explore homegrown fuel extraction methods take shape, the
Agricultural Rural Development Authority (Arda) has availed 170 hectares of
land to the National Oil Company of Zimbabwe (Noczim) for the jatropha
bio-diesel project.
The national target is for the project to cover 10 percent of the country's
diesel consumption requirements.
"Arda has so far availed to Noczim 170 hectares of land to be placed under
Jatropha as a joint venture between Noczim and Arda", said Zvikomborero
Sibanda, Noczim's public relations manager.
A tonne of Jatropha will give between 350 and 400 litres of biodiesel.
The Ministry of Youth Development and Employment Creation and Ministry of
Women Affairs, Gender and Community Development have also set aside
unspecified hectares of land for youths and women to embark on Jatropha
Mashonaland East Governor and Resident Minister Ray Kaukonde, Sibanda said,
has also promised to avail 200 hectares of land for Noczim to grow Jatropha.
"The company is approaching other Governors and Resident Ministers with a
view to access more land for the purpose of growing Jatropha," Sibanda said.
The oil concern has also partnered with the Forestry Commission of Zimbabwe
for the production of 150 000 jatropha seedlings.
Noczim was given the mandate by government to spearhead the Jatropha project
and the company has been purchasing seeds at $7 million per tonne.
The seeds would then be distributed to farmers with whom Noczim would have
entered into contract farming.
"Noczim is entering into contract farming with farmers who have at least 5
hectares for immediate planting of Jatropha.
"The company provides seed and technical support to farmers.
"Noczim is encouraging farmers to use that land which is not being utilised
for maize and other food crops," she said.
To date, Noczim has launched the project in Matabeleland North, Mashonaland
Central and East provinces.
Sibanda said one of the major constraints in rolling out the project has
been the unavailability of seed to distribute to farmers.
Jatropha is best suitable in arid and semi-arid conditions and has been
grown more successfully in drier regions of the tropics with an average
rainfall of between 300 and 1 000mm.
The plant also grows well at lower altitudes of between 0-500 metres above
sea level.
Jatropha grows on well drained soils with good aeration.
Fertile soils result in higher seed and oil yield.
Heavy soils are not suitable for growing jatropha as they retard root
Degraded lands and gullies can be put under Jatropha to rehabilitate and
reduce soil erosion.

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Medical aid society hikes fees by 85 percent

Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2006-Jan-31

ONE of the country's leading medical aid societies, Cimas, will increase its
monthly contributions by between 85 and 90 percent from February 1, an
official said at the weekend.
The official said runaway inflation and doctors' fees, which went up by
between 80 and 110 percent, caused the increase.
"For our members to continue benefiting in the same way, we need to make the
adjustment," the official said.
This would ensure continued viability of the society.
The last increase was in November, and the next should be in May.
The packages for Private Hospitals and Medexec would increase by 90 percent.
Contributions for these packages would increase from $1 514 000 to $2 877
000 and $3 647 000 to $6 930 000 respectively.
The Basicare Package would go up from $63 000 to $117 000 while the Primary
Package from $156 000 to $289 000, and the General Package from $474 000 to
$877 000.
Benefits for other packages had also been reviewed to enable members to
receive the same level of care as before.
Meanwhile, the society opened its first Roland Square Clinic last November,
specialising in chronic conditions of hypertension, asthma and HIV and Aids.
The society acquired properties in Gweru, Mutare and Bulawayo for use as

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Chitungwiza to borrow $234bn for rehabilitating sewer system

Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2006-Jan-31

CHITUNGWIZA Municipality intends to borrow $234 billion to rehabilitate its
dilapidated sewer and water reticulation systems.
The town, which is Zimbabwe's third largest urban settlement, faces a
perennial sewer and water reticulation problem due to an increase in
population that has overwhelmed the system.
Chitungwiza town clerk, Simbarashe Mudunge, recently applied to the Minister
of Local Government, Public Works and Urban Development, Ignatius Chombo for
borrowing powers and invited residents to raise their objections.
"Notice is hereby given that the municipality of Chitungwiza has resolved in
terms of Section 290 (3) (a) to apply to the Minister of Local Government,
Public Works and Urban Development for borrowing powers," Mudunge said. "The
municipality intends to borrow an amount of $234 billion for the purposes of
upgrading sewer and water reticulation in Chitungwiza."
Mudunge said the money would go towards four specific areas; upgrading sewer
reticulation ($81,9 billion), refurbishment of sewer treatment works
($93,6), up-grading water reticulation ($35,1 billion) and construction of a
water reservoir ($23,4 billion).
Chitungwiza's water and sewer problems reached peaked last year resulting in
some sections of the town going for close to a month without water supplies,
while blockages caused raw sewage to flow in the streets.
These problems, among others, resulted in the suspension of executive mayor
Misheck Shoko and other councillors on allegations of incompetence.
The mayor has since approached the courts for recourse.
Chitungwiza recently received $5 billion from the government to improve
water reticulation and the sewer system.Meanwhile, the Epworth Local Board
has applied to the same ministry for $50 billion to complete the Zinyengere
water and sewer reticulation project.
Epworth - which relies on Harare for water - has also been facing water
supply problems.

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Mugabe Sells 7 Mutumwa Mawere Companies To His Cronies

Zim Daily

            Tuesday, January 31 2006 @ 12:05 AM GMT
            Contributed by: correspondent

            President Robert Mugabe's embattled regime has sold seven firms
owned by self exiled tycoon Mutumwa Mawere to its cronies in a move seen as
retribution over the tycoon's moves to inform the IMF that government was
raiding private companies to pay off its arrears. Mawere's vast business
interests have been under siege from the state since September 2004 when
government failed to extradite him from South Africa under a $300 billion
fraud charge. Mawere, who has, once again, taken the government to court
over the disposals as well as the proposed scheme of arrangement, told
Zimdaily that his firms had been sold off to persons linked to the ruling
Zanu PF party.

            Justice Minister Partrick Chinamasa, who pushed the
controversial 'Mawere Law'- the Reconstruction of State-Indebted Insolvent
Companies Act- through Parliament, announced last Friday that the 7 firms
had been sold off and were, therefore, struck off the list of firms under
reconstruction. To date, the law has been invoked with respect to Mawere's
diverse assets, held under SMM Holdings. Mobile network service provider
Firstel Cellular, Regatta Financial Advisory Services, security firm Midsec,
FSI Trading, Fortress Travel and Tours, Masvingo Brick and Tile Company as
well as public relations consultancy Words and Images all went under the
hammer in obscure circumstances.

            Mawere revealed that Micheal Bimha - who is believed to have
married into President Robert Mugabe's family- and former SMM senior
official Peter Moyo were some of the notable beneficiaries of the sale-off.
Chinamasa also announced that 5 listed SMM associate firms- Turnall
Holdings, Steelnet, General Beltings, Zimre Holdings and CFI Holdings - had
been removed from reconstruction with effect from January 1 2006. However,
Mawere's Endurite Properties- whose most notable asset is its shareholding
in Zimre Holdings, remains under reconstruction, as does FSI Agricom and TAP
Building Products. Endurite was the single biggest shareholder in Zimre
Holdings, with about 52 percent, until a controversial $60 billion dollar
rights issue whittled its interest below 10 percent. Endurite, which has
been specified along with its principal and his various businesses, was
precluded from following its rights.

            Schweppes Zimbabwe, whose purchase from Coca Cola Central Africa
Mawere had engineered through FLAM in 2003, has also been removed from
reconstruction. Coca Cola is on record saying the firm had long since
reverted to being its subsidiary, following the failure, by FLAM, to pay the
purchase price. "The administrator is hereby directed to proceed forthwith
to appoint or confirm interim boards of management of the said SMM
associates and to vest the management of such SMM associates in the
respective boards of directors as the administrator may deem," Chinamasa
announced. The state-appointed administrator, Afaras Mtausi Gwaradzimba of
AMG Global chartered accountants, has raked in billions of dollars for his
'administration' of the raft of companies, a development Mawere has
described as cynical.

            "Those companies were making profits, so why was Gwaradzimba
being paid for reconstructing profitable businesses?" Mawere queried.
Efforts to inspect documentation pertaining to a scheme of reconstruction
proposed by Gwaradzimba and approved by Chinamasa failed last Friday, with
AMG officials declining to avail the documents, despite Chinamasa's
announcement that they would be available to 'any interested party.'

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Leo Mugabe defies Mutasa over farm

New Zimbabwe

By Lebo Nkatazo
Last updated: 01/31/2006 13:02:32
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe's nephew, Leo Mugabe, has reoccupied a farm in
Mashonaland West province in defiance of an order by Lands and Lands Reform
Minister, Didymus Mutasa.

Sources said Monday that Mugabe, who went on to invade another farm after
being booted out from Journey's End Farm, had secretly moved back to the
property which was acquired from him by the government shortly before his
arrest on corruption charges.

Mugabe has also accupied Nhangadza Farm in the same province.

A lands officer in the province said last night: "Mugabe is now in
possession of two farms. When he was booted out of Journey's End, he said he
wanted some time to move out. Surprisingly he has started taking his things
back. He has not given up the other farm he invaded after Journey's End was
listed for compulsory acquisition."

Mugabe recently faced corruption charges but was later cleared. The charge
related to the export of wheat to neighbouring Zambia in breach of new
Zimbabwean laws preventing the export of specified agricultural products.

No comment could be obtained from Mugabe last night.

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Open letter to Didymus Mutasa

New Zimbabwe


      Last updated: 01/31/2006 12:47:27
      Dear Didymus Edwin Noel Mutasa,
      (Former Chairperson of the Zanu-PF United Kingdom District and founder
member of the Zanu-PF Birmingham Branch between 1972 and 1975)

      Belated complements of the new season fellow Zimbabwean!

      I trust this letter finds you well. I am doing great. Even though, I
know that things could even be better for me had it not been for the
situation back at home. But hey, I digress.

      I know you were not expecting any letter from me and as such you will
find my missive quite as a surprise to you. I leave it to you however, to
decide whether the letter is a pleasant or pugnacious surprise. That will be
your call to make.

      Didymus, I only know you because as a senior politician; you have been
in the public light for a very long time. But maybe to be even more honest
with you, we have never met in life at all. Neither am I your long lost son
or nephew. Nor am I a youthful member of Zanu or the MDC for that matter. I
am just a concerned young Zimbabwean who feels so desperate to express his
patriotic views and sentiments to you.

      This letter has been occasioned by your recent public utterances
against some section of our beloved country's media community. According to
a high publicized news story that was originally released by the Manica
Post, you are reported to have issued a stern warning to all journalists
whom you claimed were putting the nation's security at risk.. It is further
reported that you warned that the government will soon come hard on all
those journalists whom you claimed were reporting negatively against

      In the first place, it was actually surprising to me that you took it
upon your self to make a direct policy statement against some members of the
media community. As far as I concerned, media practice or professionalism is
most certainly not part of your current job description. My honest and
informed view is that if you had any serious concerns against the media, the
logical procedural thing for you would have been to raise the matter with
the relevant authorities. I am sure that Ambassador Tichaona Jokonya
(Minister of Information) and Tafataona Mahoso (Media and Information
Commission) would have been delighted to entertain your legitimate concerns
in this regard.

      But then I do not think issues of procedure and technicality are of
much serious consideration and concern to you. And so then let me proceed to
address the merit of your substantial claim. In essence, your main head of
argument is simply that all Zimbabwean journalists who are writing for
anyone else except the government media are national traitors and a source
of national insecurity. In other words, you expect every patriotic scribe to
push the Zanu-PF line of things under whatever circumstances. That in the
final analysis means that media practice in Zimbabwe in your view should be
an appendage of the Zanu-PF government's propaganda department. Period.

      Didymus, I wish to point out to you that the media just like all other
respectable profession is not a playground for politicians. It is a passion.
It is a calling. For others it is lifelong source of livelihood. For some it
is their very life! Even though, I doubt that you would understand what I am
saying since from an experiential perspective, you have no media background
at all. You were never trained in the media profession and have never been a
practicing journalist in the first place. But then once again I digress by
becoming too personal with you.

      In essence the point I am trying to bring across to you, is simple
that the media as a profession has its own traditions, values and standards.
It has over the years developed its own passionate ideals. These include
among others the concept of the 'freedom of the press'. What this simply
means is that journalists pride themselves as an independent profession and
guard jealously any attempt to interfere with their practice at all costs.

      This point also brings me to the one that insists on 'freedom of
_expression'. The concept is a globally acknowledged human right in terms of
Article 19 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights of
10th December 1948. For the record, Zimbabwe is a full signatory of this

      Further to that, in terms of Section 20 of the much amended national
Zimbabwean Constitution, the media in the country is free to practice
without the risk of being labeled as a threat to national security. The
point is that media practice just like legal or medical practice is a
profession that should never be adulterated by the selfish ambition of any
politician. I therefore urge you to respect the professional integrity of
the Zimbabwean media. And as I have already advised you, if you have any
problems with the quality of media practice in Zimbabwe, please feel free to
approach the relevant persons and institutions such as the Minister of
Information, MIC, MISA, ZUJ, MMPZ, IJAZ, FAMWZ, ZINEF, ZEA, among others.

      I also beg to differ with you on the aspect of some journalists being
a serious threat to our national security. On the contrary, these
journalists are brave professionals and patriots who have continued to ply
their trade amid all forms of disruptive harassments and arrests. The legal
labyrinth created by such harsh laws as AIPPA and POSA have further
complicated their abilities to freely express themselves in the most
professional manner as possible. It is thus my humble view that these
journalists, far from being treasonous threats, are a national treasure that
is unfortunately facing professional extinction.

      But then as the Minister of State Security you might benefit from my
free advice on what I perceive to be the real threats to national security
at the moment. There are a lot of them actually but let me list the
following for your immediate consideration;

      * Lack of food productivity in the agricultural sector. Most of the
invaded farmland is lying idle while the new farmers expect further free
food handouts from the government and relief agencies

      * Ever high unemployment rates that are said to be at over 80% at the

      * Runaway high inflation rates and the continued devaluation of the
local currency.

      * The ever rising poverty gap and datum line. Most people are much
poorer today than they were at independence in 1980.

      * Perennial loss making parastatals such as the NRZ, NOCZIM, Air
Zimbabwe, ZICSO, among others who have proved themselves to be bottomless
pits for our national funds for the last 25 years.

      * Harsh laws such as AIPPA and POSA that make it virtual impossible
for the people of Zimbabwe to freely express themselves.

      Need I say more? No, maybe not. I think I have already given you more
than enough for you to handle. I therefore hope and trust that from
henceforth you will focus on helping to deal with the above suggested
problems. These in my honest view, are certainly much more of a threat to
our national security than some journalists trying to express themselves in
the profession they were trained to practice at college.

      Yours truly,

      Daniel Molokele

      Daniel Molokele is a Zimbabwean Human Rights Lawyer who is based in
Johannesburg. He can be contacted at

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