The ZIMBABWE Situation
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We have been inundated by emails from individuals with all sorts of extreme opinions about the MDC - followers of one faction or another. We will now no longer publish any of these, using only material published elsewere. We trust readers to use their own common sense about the accuracy of reports, taking into account the original source.

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Zimbabweans blame Mugabe for economic mess, survey shows

Zim Online

Thu 23 February 2006

      HARARE - More than half of Zimbabweans hold President Robert Mugabe
directly responsible for the country's dire economic crisis, while only 24
percent believe his government can revive the comatose economy, according to
a survey by a local political think-tank.

      The survey was conducted in the last quarter of 2005 by the
Harare-based Mass Public Opinion Institution (MPOI) and on behalf of
Afro-Barometre, an international public opinion institute.

      A mixed bag of 2 000 people were polled in both opposition-supporting
urban areas and in rural areas where the government enjoys more support. The
results were released late on Tuesday night.

      "More than half (52%) of Zimbabweans blame the incumbent government
for the country's economic condition," reads part of report by the MPOI on
the findings of the survey.

      Only 27 percent of Zimbabweans have accepted claims by the government
that the country's economic problems were because of sanctions by former
colonial power Britain and its Western allies opposed to Harare's seizure of
white-owned farmland for redistribution to landless blacks, according to the

      And an even smaller percentage of the 12 million Zimbabweans believed
statements churned daily by the government's propaganda machine that the
main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party was also to blame
for their economic plight.

      "The sanctions message, which the Government associates with the
'regime change' agenda of Tony Blair and his "imperialist" allies, has been
absorbed by just over a quarter (27%) of the citizens.

      "The opposition MDC and the previous colonial governments have largely
been absolved, with only 4% thinking that the MDC is to blame for the
parlous state of the economy," the report says.

      Zimbabwe's economic crisis has manifested itself through acute
shortages of food, fuel, electricity, essential medical drugs and just about
every basic survival commodity. Unemployment is pegged at more than 80
percent while annual inflation shot up to 613.2 percent in January, making
it one of the highest such rates in the world.

      But Mugabe, 82 - and in power since Zimbabwe's independence from
Britain 25 years ago - denies ruining the country's once vibrant economy and
instead blames Western sanctions for wrecking the economy.

      The United States, European Union, Australia, Switzerland and New
Zealand have imposed financial and visa sanctions against Mugabe and his top
officials over their failure to uphold the rule of law, democracy and human

      While Mugabe says his dispute with the West is over his seizure of
white land for redistribution to landless blacks, only less than one percent
of interviewees said they regarded the land redistribution as a matter of
priority. Most listed food, failure to find jobs or HIV/AIDS as their more
serious worries than owning land.

      Commenting on the survey, MPOI director and also head of the
University of Zimbabwe's political studies department, Eldred Masunungure,
said it revealed a deep sense of pessimism among the populace about Mugabe
and his ruling ZANU PF party's ability to change the country's economic

      He said: "There is a deep sense of pessimism regarding the state of
the economy and the citizens believe the possibilities of the present
government turning around the economy are next to nil.

      "This pessimism which is found both in the urban and rural areas is
not captured in the speeches of the government authorities, including the

      The MPOI report has also been sent to the government but ZimOnline was
last night unable to get comment on the matter from Information Minister and
government spokesman Tichaona Jokonya. - ZimOnline

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MDC faction split over presidential candidate

Zim Online

Thu 23 February 2006

      BULAWAYO - Bitter differences have emerged between senior officials of
one of the factions of Zimbabwe's main opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) party over plans to recruit popular former student leader
Arthur Mutambara to head the faction.

      Mutambara, a respected robotics scientist and businessman, is popular
especially among Zimbabwe's fast-dwindling middle class and intelligentsia
who remember him from his days as a firebrand student leader in the late

      MDC secretary general Welshman Ncube and deputy president Gibson
Sibanda, who together co-lead the anti-Tsvangirai faction of the opposition
party want Mutambara as their president because of his impressive
track-record and also because the former student leader belongs to
Zimbabwe's majority Shona tribe - a useful factor in any national election.

      Ncube and Sibanda belong to the minority Ndebele tribe.

      But the plan by Ncube and Sibanda to rope in Mutambara appears to have
triggered a damaging split with MDC deputy secretary Gift Chimanikire,
yesterday accusing his two colleagues of plotting behind his back to recruit
the former student leader and of wanting to behave like "Shona king-makers".

      "The group has been calling clandestine meetings behind my back and
they invited Arthur Mutambara without even consulting me and other party
officials in their attempts to be Shona king-makers," a fuming Chimanikire
told ZimOnline on Wednesday.

      Chimanikire, who is Shona and seems to have banked on that factor to
land him the leadership of the Ncube/Sibanda faction of the MDC, vowed to
resist attempts to make him step aside for Mutambara, who he called an
"expatriate" who had not contributed anything to Zimbabwe or the MDC.

      Mutambara, who has studied and worked in Britain, the United States
and South Africa, has spent most of the last decade outside Zimbabwe.

      "They are pleading with me to step down from contesting the presidency
but want Mutamabara to stand unchallenged but I ask: who is Mutambara? We do
not know him, he is an expatriate who has not contributed anything to
Zimbabwe and the MDC," said Chimanikire.

      And to add to Ncube and Sibanda's problems, according to insiders, was
the fact that Chimanikire who is more known among MDC members could win
against Mutambara in a free and fair poll when then faction holds its
congress in Bulawayo next weekend.

      But Ncube, who has publicly stated that all members of the MDC were
free to contest any posts in the faction if nominated by provinces,
yesterday sought to downplay differences with Chimanikire saying the
selection of leaders was a prerogative of the forthcoming congress.

      He said "I do not want to comment on any allegations made by anyone
but the selection of leaders is the prerogative of congress and leaders are
not selected by individuals as Chimanikire is alleging but anybody is free
to nominate anyone."

      Describing allegations by Chimanikire that he himself and Sibanda were
behaving like Shona kingmakers as ridiculous, Ncube said: "Chimanikire has
the party constitution, he should know better. The constitution is clear
that any party member is entitled to stand for any position."

      Ncube, Sibanda, Chimanikire and others broke ranks with Tsvangirai
after failing to agree on whether to contest last November's controversial
senatorial election.

      Tsvangirai opposed participation saying there was no point in doing so
because the poll was going to be rigged by Mugabe. The MDC president also
argued that the senate lection was a waste of money when more than a quarter
of the 12 million Zimbabweans were starving.

      But Ncube and others insisted that the MDC should contest the election
because its national council had voted to do so and accused Tsvangirai of
being dictatorial by refusing to abide by the council vote.

      This weekend's congress by the Ncube/Sibanda faction and next month's
congress by Tsvangirai's faction will complete the breaking of the MDC into
two rival political parties.

      Political analysts are unanimous that the disintegration of the
six-year old MDC - Zimbabwe's most vibrant opposition party ever - could
rewind the political clock back to the 80's and early 90's era when the
country was a virtual one-party state under Mugabe and his ruling ZANU PF
party. - ZimOnline.

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Mugabe birthday protesters still in police custody

Zim Online

Thu 23 February 2006

      HARARE - At least 43 women protesters who were arrested on Tuesday for
demonstrating against plans by President Robert Mugabe to hold a lavish
birthday party at the weekend were still in police custody last night.

      Thirty women from the original group of 73 protesters were released on
Tuesday to leave the 43 still in custody.

      The women, who are from the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA)
pressure group that is fighting for a new, democratic constitution for
Zimbabwe were arrested on Tuesday after they marched in the streets to
register their anger at Mugabe's birthday plans.

      Lawyer Andrew Makoni, who is representing the women told ZimOnline on
Wednesday that the police appeared keen to keep the protesters in custody
last night.

      "From the look of things, they are likely to spend another night in
the cells. Forty-three are in custody now after some were released last
night," said Makoni.

      Police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena refused to
comment on the arrests yesterday.

      But NCA chairman Lovemore Madhuku said his organisation was planning
more protests in reaction to the "arrogance" shown by the police over the
continued detention of the women.

      "We are meeting over the matter to see how to show our anger to the
regime. We cannot rule out another march soon," said Madhuku.

      The NCA has organised several street protests over the past few years
against Mugabe's government which they accuse of gross human rights
violations and repression. But most of the protests have been violently put
down by the police. - ZimOnline

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Mugabe's minister fights to evict businessman from premises

Zim Online

Thu 23 February 2006

      MASVINGO - A Zimbabwean deputy government minister is embroiled in a
bitter dispute with a local businessman over a business premise at Rutenga
rural business centre owned by an evicted former white commercial farmer.

      Isaiah Shumba, who is the Deputy Minister of Education, Sport and
Culture, earlier this week filed papers at the Masvingo magistrates' court
seeking to evict the businessman Tarisai Mare from the premises.

      But Mare has defied the eviction order insisting the property was left
in his care by the owner Trevor Patel who left the country in 2000 after the
seizure of his farm by the government.

      In papers filed at the courts, the deputy minister wants the court to
order Mare to move out of the premises since he has a valid lease agreement
from the Mwenezi rural district council.

      "Defendant is allegedly occupying the property and has refused to
vacate despite numerous demands. I pray that the court grant me the order to
evict the respondent," says Shumba in papers filed at the court.

      But in his defence, Mare told the court that he would resist eviction
by anyone who was not the legitimate owner of the  property.

      Masvingo magistrate, Timeon Makunde, is expected to deliver judgment
on the case on 15 March.

      Several Zimbabwean government ministers and senior officials of
President Robert Mugabe's ruling ZANU PF party have been accused over the
past six years of using their political muscle to seize properties from less
powerful individuals under the guise of land reforms. - ZimOnline

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Zimbabwe government must hand over Mengistu

Zim Online

Thu 23 February 2006

      By Kidane Alemayehu

      It is a well known fact that Ethiopia, a country that has never been
colonized, has for ever been a symbol of freedom and has inspired many
countries which suffered under the yoke of oppression to strive for liberty.

      It is also a fact that Ethiopia has played a prominent role in the
process of the struggle for freedom, which preoccupied the African continent
throughout most of the 20th century.

      Many countries throughout the African continent have benefited from
Ethiopia's diplomatic and material assistance during their periods of
desperate struggle for independence from colonialism.

      Examples of this remarkable support include the Ethiopian Government's
support for liberation fighters such as Nelson Mandela who has acknowledged,
in his own book, that he had received military training and financial
support in Ethiopia.

      It is to be recalled also that Ethiopia was the main party that took
the racist apartheid regime of South Africa to the International Court of
Justice pressing for the liberation of Namibia, a country that is now free
and prosperous.

      Ethiopia's significant role in the establishment of the Organization
of African Unity (presently known as the African Union) is another important
factor that greatly facilitated the speedy independence of numerous
countries that suffered under severe conditions of colonialism, and the
unfolding process of increasing unity among African countries.

      One country that had a similar benefit from Ethiopia's support for its
struggle against racism and colonialism was Zimbabwe.

      Those in authority in the Zimbabwe government do know the full extent
of the very substantial assistance provided to them by the Ethiopian
government and people during their years of desperate struggle for freedom
from Ian Smith's vicious misrule.

      How did the Mugabe government express its gratitude for this generous
Ethiopian assistance? His government has given refuge to Ethiopia's worst
dictator, Mengistu Haile Mariam, a criminal whose record should subject him
to prosecution at the Hague International Court of Justice. This is an
insult to the Ethiopian people. Shame on the  Zimbabwe Government!

      A polite query for President Mugabe: could it be possible that your
betrayal of the Ethiopian people for USA dollars (referring to your
government's admission of having given refuge to Mengistu at  American
behest) may have had something to do with the total failure of your
government policy and devastation of Zimbabwe's once vibrant economy?

      Whatever Ethiopia did in support of Africa's struggle for freedom
emanated from its own abiding inner principle and belief in independence.

      It, therefore, does not crave for gratitude from recipients of its
support during their struggle for freedom. Nevertheless, there is no doubt
that the people of Zimbabwe would not support their current government's
action of harboring a criminal that had inflicted a grievous damage on the
Ethiopian people.

      Dictator Mengistu presided over a regime that was responsible for the
murder of thousands of innocent people but, thanks to the Zimbabwe
government, has yet to face justice and be accountable for his odious

      The tragedy that could ensue from this circumstance is that murderous
dictators like Mengistu and Liberia's Taylor could set an unfortunate trend
for other irresponsible leaders to engage in similar abuses of authority and
take refuge with like minded dictators. President Mugabe himself is a case
in point.

      There will be time when sooner or later the present Zimbabwe regime
will be removed and the people of Zimbabwe will offer their formal apology
to Ethiopia for having given refuge to one of the most vicious and murderous
dictators the  world has ever seen.

      "Ethiopia shall raise its hands unto God." (Psalm 68:31)

      * Kidane Alemayehu is a retired United Nations official residing in

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Zimbabwe Farmers in Kwara Begin Harvest

Daily Champion (Lagos)

February 22, 2006
Posted to the web February 22, 2006

Jide Bakare

For the past few days, the site of the Kwara State Commercial Farming, being
pioneered by the white Zimbabwean farmers at Shonga in Edu Local Government
Area of the state has become a be-hive of activities as the expatriate
farmers have begun the harvesting of the produce on the farm.

Business Champion gathered that at least, 4,000 tonnes of maize are expected
in the harvesting exercise, which is still in progress, while a total number
of eight tones has been already realized from the already completed
harvesting of soya beans on the farm site.

When the duo of Mallam Nurudeen Imam and Mr. Bisi Abidoye, the Special
Assistant to the Kwara State, Governor, Dr Bukola Saraki on Media and
Communication and the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor respectively led
journalists to the farm site on Friday, scores of the residents in the
community, whose services were engaged by the white farmers were seen
working assiduously in carring the already dried and plucked maize into
harvesters which remove the chaff and separate the grains from the corn with
ease and convenience.

Apart from the labourers, it was also discovered that the farm site,which
covers several hectares of land, had been turned into a sort of excursion
centers as students of the Nigerian Army School of Education, Ilorin, and a
team, led by the Special Assistant to the Oyo State Governor on Government
projects, Mr. Remi Olajide were met going round the farm site in sheer

Speaking with journalists, a member of the 13-member Zimbabwean team on the
farm, Mr. Dan Swart, who disclosed the quatities of the produce realized in
soya beans and expected to be realized from maize added that his team had
cultivated three hectares of tomatoes capable of producing 70 tonnes each.

Noting that the harvested maize would be sold for between N45,000 and
N50,000 per tonne,, Mr. Swart, who stressed that the production level would
be higher in the next planting season, said that the harvested produce would
first be kept in storage before they would be later release to the market
for purchase by consumers.

Also speaking on the farm, Mr. Remi Olajide, who said he studied in Europe
described the farming practice at the Shonga farm as exactly the same being
practiced in Europe, expressing the optimism that the Zimbabwean farmers
would soon turn around the situation of things in relation to Agriculture in
Nigeria such that in the nearest future, massive food exportation would
become a common phenomenon in the country.

The Kwara State Commercial Agricultural Initiative, the maiden planting
season of which was flagged off in September last year has been according
the State Governor, Dr Bukola Saraki a standing ovation and commendations
both within and outside the country, cumulating into the giving of different
national and International awards to the Governor.

It would be recalled that at several fora, Dr Saraki has announcedhis
determination to explore the Agricultural Initiative to make an
unprecedented history in the fortune of the country through agriculture,
which he repeatedly claims, has more potentials to than crude oil to fetch
money for the country.

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Zimbabweans trust press not police

Sunday Times, SA

Wednesday February 22, 2006 15:27 - (SA)

By Donwald Pressly

The Zimbabwe Republic Police is struggling to attract public trust while the
country's independent newspapers and broadcasters are enjoying rising levels
of trust, according to an independent survey, Afrobarometer.

The survey released on Wednesday - through Idasa in South Africa - shows
that of a study of 1,048 in a main survey and 64 adults in a sub-survey of
victims of Operation Marambatsvina - 60% of those surveyed in the main
survey did not trust the police much, while only 39% trusted them somewhat
or a lot.

In the sub-sample, 86% of respondents did not trust the police much and just
14% trusted them a lot or somewhat.

Distrust of the police is great in urban areas with 71% of urbanites not
trusting the police much, compared to 55% in rural areas. This was up from
58% and 39% respectively in 2004.

Afrobarometre asks whether Operation Marambatsvina - which saw the
destruction of informal housing and businesses in urban areas and
spearheaded by the police in 2005 - could have played havoc with public
trust of this law enforcement institution. It says that the figures gave
"clear insight into this".

The survey was carried out in October 2005.

The military and the judiciary enjoy 50% and 53% respectively of trust of
the respondents in the main survey - the only categories to enjoy the
support of at least half of the population.

Close behind, however, are opposition political parties and independent

Independent newspapers and broadcasting services attracted 44% and 41% trust
respectively. Although no figure was given to compare independent
broadcasting services in 2004, independent newspapers notched up only 25%

Opposition political parties climbed from 14% trust in 2004 to 47% in 2005.
This was described by Afrobarometre as a "dramatic recovery" - from May 2004
when the previous survey was carried out to October 2005.

The surveys show a rise in trust of opposition political parties in this
time from 18% to 51% among urban respondents and from 15% to 45% among their
rural counterparts.

Government controlled media services perform worse than their independent
counterparts. Both the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Services - State monopoly
electronic media - and the State controlled Zimpapers stable of newspapers
are trusted by 33% and 28% respetively. This was down from 42% and up from
27% respectively in 2004.

I-Net Bridge

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Food shortages are main concern

Sunday Times, SA

Wednesday February 22, 2006 09:18 - (SA)

More than two-thirds of Zimbabweans consider food shortages as one of the
most important problems they are facing, according to findings of a private

A total of 46% of Zimbabweans surveyed said they had gone without food often
in the past year, according to the poll from the Afrobarometer public
opinion institute.

"Food insecurity is by far the most troublesome problem for Zimbabweans and
has in between mid-2004 and late 2005...dethroned economic management as the
number one problem," according to the findings.

The survey was conducted from October 9 to 26, covering both urban and rural
areas with a sampling of 1,112 respondents carried out by the Mass Public
Opinion Institute, a Zimbabwean non-governmental research organisation.

United Nations aid agencies estimate that four million Zimbabweans out of a
population of 11 million are in need of food aid following years of poor
agricultural yields.

Asked to list their top three worst problems, some 45% of respondents listed
management of the economy at the top while 39 percent chose transportation
and 35% unemployment.

Health, Aids and education came in at the lower end of the list of the 10
top problems, with 8% of respondents choosing those areas as their worst

Some 79% of respondents said they knew someone who had died of Aids.

The survey also revealed widespread pessimism about the economy, with 82% of
Zimbabweans saying that they expect living conditions to be "much worse" in
the year ahead.

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Turning Out the Lights in Zimbabwe

By Gideon Chawawa

HARARE, Zimbabwe, February 22, 2006 (ENS) - These days, the Makoni family
can only afford bacon on Saturdays, soon after payday. It has become a
symbolic reminder of years past, when Zimbabwe used to run smoothly and they
used to breakfast on the typically English bacon, eggs and baked beans.

The Makonis are a middle-class family of five living in a middle-class
suburb of Harare, the Zimbabwean capital. The family misses the short car
trip they used to make to the supermarket to buy breakfast goodies. Because
of the ongoing fuel crisis, they now send their eldest son Tatenda down to
the shops to pick up the bacon and baked beans and thus save what little
petrol they have for more pressing purposes.

When Mrs. Makoni opens the packet of bacon she realizes it smells bad. Mr.
Makoni takes the bacon back to the supermarket, only to find a long queue of
disgruntled shoppers bringing back rotten merchandise. Some have sachets of
milk gone sour while others have steaks that have turned green.

"It's the power cuts," explained the demoralized shop manager. "We have been
having intermittent power cuts for 36 hours."

Welcome to Zimbabwe in 2006, where such blackouts are daily occurrences and
power cuts can last more than two days. It is now quite usual to see smoke
rising from gardens and chimneys as people cook food and boil water on open

When the power does come back, there is no guarantee it will stay on, and so
there is frantic rush to cook the next meal, do the ironing, work on the
computer and charge cellphones and batteries.
In factories, machines stop operating and pumps go quiet.

Assuming you can find them, a packet of six locally-made candles now sell
for more than a quarter million Zimbabwean dollars, about US$2.50.

Officials at the government power utility Zimbabwe Electricity Supply
Authority, ZESA, blame the power cuts on Gideon Gono, the powerful governor
of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.

ZESA Executive Chairman Sydney Gata told the government-owned daily "The
Herald" that the government's 2003 decision to reverse tariff increases it
had already sanctioned was at the heart of the power crisis.

"A government-approved tariff adjustment was implemented in January,
February and March 2003 but then reversed by the minister of energy at the
request of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, which sought to meet its own
inflation targets," said Gata.

This, Gata said, led to ZESA suffering a 45 percent loss in revenues.

ZESA currently produces a kilowatt-hour of electricity at a cost of 1,386
Zimbabwean dollars but because of the low tariffs, sells it for just 218
dollars. As a result of the discrepancy, last year it suffered operational
losses of eight trillion Zimbabwean dollars, US$80 million.

"Gono would like the world to believe the loss was due to mismanagement, yet
the truth is the buck stops at his doorstep," said the senior ZESA official.
"Because of the loss, ZESA no longer has the money to import power from
neighboring countries."

ZESA generates about 60 percent of the country's energy needs when all power
stations are working at full throttle. At the moment, though, several units
at the flagship Hwange plant near Victoria Falls are closed because of a
shortage of coal and spare parts. Hwange normally supplies 15 percent of
Zimbabwe's electricity.

Small coal-fired power stations in the country's two main cities, Harare and
Bulawayo, have been shut down altogether. When transformer stations break
down, they cannot be repaired because there are no spares.

The country imports about 40 percent of its normal total power consumption
from South Africa, Mozambique and the Democratic Republic of Congo. In
recent weeks, all three suppliers have cut off the power intermittently
because of ZESA's failure to pay bills.

Importing electricity costs ZESA huge amounts of money - nearly US$12
million a month, assuming it has the cash. As Gata told "The Herald," the
company's total revenue is currently equivalent to only a third of its
import costs.

ZESA argues that if it could make its customers pay economically viable
rates, it would earn enough Zimbabwean dollars both to buy the foreign
exchange needed to pay for imported supplies, and to purchase the parts to
repair broken-down equipment in power plants and transformer stations.

But the central bank chairman will not allow a price increase. "ZESA is
charging sub-economic tariffs, thanks to Gono," said a senior finance
official at Electricity House, ZESA's headquarters in Harare.

The official said Gono is blocking tariff reviews because rising electricity
prices would drive up the already massive rate of inflation, which in
January reached 613 percent over January 2005.

What angers the general public is that the power cuts are not planned. In
the past, ZESA used the national newspapers to announce the schedule for
when different areas would be without power.

But now it has stopped making predictions, so people have no way of making
According to Gata, this is because the company is itself unable to do
forward planning. "These power cuts are not part of planned load shedding by
ZESA. With planned load shedding, we always advised our valued customers of
the days, dates and times when it was in operation," he said. "The
[new-style] power cuts are due to factors far beyond the power utility's

The blackouts plunge many parts of the country into darkness at
unpredictable times. Industry is the worst-hit sector, because some plants
have no standby generators. Domestic users find themselves unable to cook,
while perishables rot in their fridges.

Precious Shumba, spokesman for the Combined Harare Residents Association,
said it is scandalous that the public is left to guess when the power might
be cut next. "ZESA is taking residents for granted," he said. "Electricity
just goes out at any time of day. It makes it difficult for people to plan
their daily schedules."

There seems to be no end in sight. The long-term solution for Zimbabwe would
be to build more power stations while ensuring that existing ones have the
resources to keep running. Zimbabwe's power industry is mulling a 20 year
development plan worth more than US$3.5 billion that would see the Hwange
coal-fired plant upgraded with two more units, the Kariba hydroelectric
station expanded, and a new methane powered unit built in Matabeleland.

But as the weekly "Zimbabwe Independent" commented, "All there is to the
plan is a document which will be discussed for many years without anything
actually being done, as demand for power continues to outstrip supply.

"Zimbabwe will soon not be able to import any power because exporters are
anticipating increased domestic demand in their respective countries.
Zimbabwe needs help."

So the expansion strategy is a pipe dream, while central bank governor Gono
refuses to allow the power utility to increase tariffs in the interim. For
the Makonis, a return to their old breakfast habits seems a long way off.

{Published in cooperation with the Institute for War and Peace Reporting.
Gideon Chawawa is the pseudonym used by a Zimbabwean journalist.}

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Mugabe's birthday ramble another alarm bell for Zimbabwe

Business Day

Dumisani Muleya


ZIMBABWEAN President Robert Mugabe gave a lengthy interview to state
television on Sunday night to mark the occasion of his birthday yesterday -
he turned 82. He spoke on a hotchpotch of unrelated subjects, which might
prove a reality check for Zimbabwe's citizens.

Mugabe spoke on issues spanning history, economics, politics, culture,
morality, HIV/AIDS, his own personal health, his succession struggle, the
performance of his cabinet, gay people, football and even Valentines Day.

He whinged about slavery and colonialism, neoimperialism, alleged plots to
oust his regime, the dominance of the global order by the west and the
United Nations reform agenda. He attacked US President George Bush and
British Prime Minister Tony Blair for interfering in Zimbabwe's internal
affairs. African leaders were described as cowards for failing to tell Bush
and Blair "to go to hell" after they rejected Mugabe's disputed re-election
in 2002.

South African President Thabo Mbeki, his Nigerian counterpart Olusegun
Obasanjo and others who tried to resolve Zimbabwe's political and economic
crisis were told to "keep away".

Posing as a moral knight, Mugabe also whined about cultural and moral
decadence in Zimbabwe. He lashed out at gay people and youths who aped
western culture. Mugabe's cabinet ministers also came under fire for
corruption and incompetence.

The International Monetary Fund was described as a monster and a political
instrument for regime change.

On economic policy, he rejected orthodox ideas - "bookish economics" as he
calls it - and vowed to pursue doggedly his own voodoo prescriptions. He
said he would continue to print money on a massive scale to alleviate
socioeconomic hardships.

Exonerating himself from any failure, Mugabe blamed capricious weather
conditions and sanctions for the economic crisis in Zimbabwe.

Mugabe, on a lighter note, said his doctors had told him his health was
good, to the extent that his bones were like those of "a 30-year-old boy".

He also spoke about football and what he had bought his wife, Grace, for
Valentines Day.

To return a verdict on Mugabe's interview: it provided the clearest sign yet
that he is rapidly losing his grip on reality. Mugabe's detachment from
events on the ground and the situation around him shocked many. He appeared
hopelessly handcuffed to the past, and confirmed that he is beyond his
sell-by date as a leader.

Mugabe's analysis of the current political and economic crisis was premised
on shaky grounds, and was, in the end, barely interesting. Due to the lack
of intelligent analysis, Mugabe was found wanting on real issues. He was
unable to articulate the political, policy and institutional issues
underlying the prevailing crisis. Eventually, he turned the interview into a
platform for a "blame game" typical of a messy political endgame.

He further proved that he was not only a political dictator but an
intellectual one as well, refusing to consider other people's ideas.
Describing others as intellectual slaves, Mugabe fails to realise that he
himself is a prisoner of shibboleths of the past.

However, Mugabe's interview provided interesting insights into his
make-believe world. It showed he is rigidly opposed to reform. It indicated
what he thinks about African leaders, including Mbeki: that they are not
revolutionaries, but cowards.

The interview also exposed Mugabe's threadbare grasp of modern economics and
his struggle to get to grips with global dynamics. It helped to confirm his
wholesale abdication of reason and a complete breakdown of common sense in

Mugabe avoided certain telling issues too, including the fact that state
institutions and government departments - a vast swathe of the bureaucracy -
have now collapsed due to leadership and policy failures. Zimbabwe has no
effective means for policy formulation and implementation.

The situation is compounded by government's failure to deliver even basic
services - water, electricity, education, roads, transport and health care -
the sort of things that make any government legitimate.

Without political legitimacy, nothing will work for Mugabe, who has shown he
is indeed a man of the past.

Muleya is Harare correspondent and Zimbabwe Independent news editor.

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Institute for War and Peace Reporting

Independent Judge Flees to UK
Benjamin Paradza found himself on trial after issuing one too many
judgements against the Mugabe government.

By Tendayi Mabasa in Harare (AR No.54, 20-Feb-06)

Benjamin Paradza, widely regarded as the last truly independent judge in
Zimbabwe, has fled the country and is believed to be in hiding in the United

When President Robert Mugabe appointed Paradza - a hero of the liberation
struggle against white minority rule - to the bench in 2000, he may have
believed he was getting yet another compliant judge who would accommodate
the political ends of the head of state by ignoring or bending the law.

But Paradza instead proved to be a turbulent and independent arbitrator
whose judgments infuriated Mugabe.

When Paradza, 51, was called for sentencing in January this year, in a trial
regarded as trumped-up by the United Nations, Amnesty International, the
International Commission of Jurists, the International Bar Association and
other international movements, the judge disappeared. He is widely believed
to have crossed the border to South Africa in a cargo truck, and made his
way from there to Britain.

One judgement that particularly infuriated the president was an order
Paradza gave to police in January 2003 to release from custody the elected
mayor of Zimbabwe's capital, Harare, Elias Mudzuri, a prominent member of
the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, MDC.

Mudzuri and 21 other MDC members had been arrested at a ratepayers' meeting
under a provision of the draconian Public Order and Security Act, POSA,
requiring that police permission be obtained for any gathering of more than
two people. Police can even break up a meeting between two people if they
judge it to be "a threat to public order."

Ironically, POSA is an almost exact replica of the Law and Order
(Maintenance) Act used by Ian Smith, the prime minister of Rhodesia, to
suppress black nationalists such as Paradza and Mugabe during the liberation
struggle for Zimbabwe in the Sixties and Seventies.

"To understand this turn of events, one has first to understand the thinking
behind the animal called POSA," a human rights lawyer who did not want to be
identified told IWPR. "POSA was specifically cobbled together to destroy the
MDC. So when Paradza ordered Mudzuri's release from police custody the
battle lines had been drawn.

"Remember that Mudzuri had given Mugabe a special slap in the face by
becoming the first executive mayor of Harare, thus making the nation's
capital a stronghold of the opposition party. Mudzuri became the first
target of the campaign to destroy the MDC. Paradza was frustrating that bid.
He had become 'non-compliant' and therefore had to be hounded out of

Police defied Judge Paradza's release order, but when Mayor Mudzuri appeared
in court, the charges against him were dropped.

President Mugabe is unforgiving towards those who oppose his wishes, and the
Mudzuri case was only one of several in which the judge annoyed him. Paradza
also overturned a government notice evicting 54 white Zimbabwean farmers
from their farms. He also ordered the government to issue a passport to
Judith Todd, a veteran human rights and democracy opponent of the Ian Smith
government, after Mugabe stripped her of Zimbabwean citizenship. Todd had
proved to be as strident a critic of Mugabe's human rights abuses as she was
of Smith's.

A month after Paradza ordered the release of Mudzuri, police raided the
judge's chambers, arrested him and threw him into prison, where he shared a
cell with 15 other prisoners. "There were lice and mosquitoes, and the
communal toilet did not flush," he said. "The smell was unbearable. I felt
humiliated and degraded."

He was charged with corruption and obstructing the course of justice by
trying to influence three fellow judges to release the passport of a man
then awaiting trial on a murder charge. Russell Labuschagne, a business
partner of Paradza, was recently tried and found guilty of murdering a
poacher on his safari property, and has begun a 15-year jail sentence.

Paradza denied the charges made against him, and the United Nations'
rapporteur on human rights has said the judge is in reality being punished
for judgements that were "unpalatable to the government". Amnesty
International issued a statement saying his arrest was "more likely to have
been politically motivated" as part of efforts by the Zimbabwean authorities
"to harass, intimidate and force out judges who are perceived to be in
support of the political opposition".

Paradza was released on bail of about 600 US dollars and ordered to forfeit
his passport. He was subsequently found guilty on all charges, but failed to
appear at the Zimbabwe High Court in January to hear his sentence, which was
likely to be three years minimum rising to a possible ten years
imprisonment. Judge Simpson Mutambanengwe issued a warrant for his immediate

But by then it was clear that Paradza was already out of the country.

"Paradza has been used to demonstrate to other members on the bench that if
you don't toe the line, if you don't comply with the political leadership,
then you will not receive protection," said Arnold Tsunga, director of
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights. "To decide whether he received a fair
trial, look at the way the case started. He was arrested in chambers by a
constable in a manner that is highly irregular, and he was humiliated in the
process of being arrested.

"By running away, I think he is saying he did not get a fair trial. He felt
his colleagues won't have enough clout to withstand political pressure, and
I guess it explains why he's on the run."

A British embassy spokesman in Harare questioned by the state-owned Herald
newspaper refused to confirm or deny Paradza's presence in Britain, but
noted, "The United Kingdom will afford protection in cases where prosecution
is being used as a tool of persecution against individuals."

Tendayi Mabasa is the pseudonym of a Zimbabwean journalist.

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Is Mutambara His Own Man?

( English Via Thomson Dialog NewsEdge)Harare, Feb 22, 2006 (The
Herald/All Africa Global Media via COMTEX) --IT is four days to the second
or is it first congress of the MDC faction led by party vice-president,
Gibson Sibanda; and as anticipated, the drama has already unfolded with the
fractious MDC's amoeba legacy manifesting itself again.

Two of the faction's top-four leaders expressed interest in the post of
party president; Gift Chimanikire (deputy secretary general) and Gibson
Sibanda (vice-president and current acting president).

But what surprised many was the entry of a rank outsider; the 39-year-old
former University of Zimbabwe student leader, Professor Arthur Mutambara. A
man who has not even lived, let alone worked in Zimbabwe over the past 15
years and who was not in the trenches in the MDC's formative years. The
party's South African branch even disowned him saying he was not even an
active member.

Also astounding was secretary general, Professor Welshman Ncube's admission
that any card-carrying member of the MDC can contest for the party
presidency. By this proviso, if someone were to buy the MDC card today, they
could stroll to the congress in Bulawayo and fight it out with founder
members like the long-suffering deputy secretary general.

Chimanikire felt rightly used by his Matabeleland colleagues who made him
believe the top-job was his simply by virtue of being the Shona-face among a
band, the Tsvangirai-group derisively dubbed "three Ndebeles and a white

But who is Mutambara, and why did Ncube, Sibanda and Dulini-Ncube risk the
fragile unity in their faction by bringing him in? Was it their decision -- 
if not -- who was behind it?

From his resume, Mutambara is more of an academic than a politician.Born on
May 25 1966, the man who is director of payments at the Standard Bank in
Johannesburg has an impressive resume.

Granted he has an illustrious academic career that culminated in his
attainment of a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Robotics and Mechanotronics,
becoming the first Zimbabwean to achieve that feat.

He was again one of the first two Zimbabweans to win the Rhodes scholarship
to study at Oxford University in the UK in December 1990 eventually ending
up on the selection committee which was always reserved for whites.

Mutambara scored another first by being the first Zimbabwean to work at the
nerve centre of American intelligence and technology, the National
Aeronautics and Space Administration from 1996.

He served as a visiting research fellow at NASA (JPL), in Pasadena,
California in 1996; and then as a visiting research scientist at NASA John
Glenn Research Centre in Cleveland, Ohio a year later.

Mutambara has managed NASA grants in various capacities since then and has
been a member of the US National Science Foundation and the Robotics Review
Panel Committee since 1996.

Most importantly, Mutambara is a permanent resident of the United States as
he holds a Green card; thus he may become the second Zimbabwean politician,
after former finance minister Chris Kuruneri, to have permanent residence in
two diametrically opposed countries.

This close association with one of the centres of American espionage raises
questions about Mutambara's entry into national politics, especially at a
time US-Zimbabwe relations are at an all time low and when the later has
clearly declared its intentions to unconstitutionally unseat the Government
in Harare. Two years ago, Mutambara was quoted as saying he had no interest
in national politics, he may have to tell the nation what made him change
his mind.

Is he his own man?

That aside, his candidature is a serious indictment of the leadership in the
Sibanda-led faction. Here are people who, for the past six years, claimed
that they had what it takes to lead Zimbabwe but who could not find a leader
from among themselves when push came to shove.

They had to look outside to rope in someone who was not even in the trenches
during the formative stages of their party. Someone who is clearly out of
touch with existential realities in Zimbabwe. Politics by its nature
presupposes gradual development; if the top-four in the Sibanda-led faction
failed to develop over the past six years what guarantee is there that they
will ever develop?

A lot has been said about Mutambara's leadership qualities based on his days
in the UZ Student Representative Council (SRC). However, after perusing
reports of his exploits, one is persuaded to believe the late MDC Spokesman,
Learnmore Judah Jongwe's constant refrain that, "Mutambara's only claim to
fame as a student leader was that he was arrested and detained by police."

His story reads like the portrait of a hooligan.

His assumption of the SRC presidency marked the turning point from the
progressive activism that had been nurtured by the likes of Rt. Brig Felix
Muchemwa and the late national hero, Witness Mangwende, that had student
leaders as partners in national development.

Mutambara introduced hooliganism and the perception that a good student
leader is he who opposed and called the State names.

Why would one reach this conclusion?

Mutambara hails from none other than Mutambara Village well-known as a
stronghold of Bishop Abel Muzorewa's UANC party that sacrificed the
liberation struggle in order to rule for less than a year.

He enrolled at the UZ in 1987, after a successful stint at Hartzell High
School, to read for a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering.

He was elected president of the UZ SRC on August 15 1989, having served as
secretary general to the SRC executive that was led by Edgar Mbwembwe the
previous year. Soon after his election, relations between students and the
Government soured amid allegations of anti-government activities by the
students. Mutambara claimed that the university and the students' union were
autonomous institutions.

"Since the union was established by an Act of Parliament, it is autonomous
and exists outside Government and university authority," Mutambara was
quoted as saying (The Herald August 25, 1989.)

Two months later, the University of Zimbabwe was closed indefinitely on
October 4 1989, after Mutambara incited students to demonstrate leading to
the destruction of offices and vice-chancellor Professor Walter Kamba's
Mercedes Benz car. The vice-chancellor's car was only saved from being burnt
by police intervention, though all its windows and lights were smashed.

This is the legacy Mutambara left on campus, which is why a bar in the SU
building -- October 4 -- was named to mark the violent demonstrations.

Prior to the unrest, Mutambara's office had issued a series of inflammatory
publications that were secretly distributed to students on October 2.

One document titled, "In Defence of Academic Freedom" claimed that the
Zimbabwe Government was worse than the De Klerk regime in apartheid South

Mutambara's argument was that the University of Zimbabwe, whose Chancellor
was ironically Cde Mugabe, had to be autonomous.

He was quoted as saying Cde Mugabe's influence ended at Churchill Avenue,
the southern border of the campus, saying Emergency Powers Regulations could
not be allowed to operate on campus.

But Professor Kamba differed saying, "Though the university could have
academic freedom and autonomy, it still had to operate within the laws of
the country because it was set up by an Act of Parliament, which could
either be repealed or amended. The institution is an integral part of

After the riots, Mutambara, his secretary general, Enock Chikweche
(Munyaradzi Gwisai) and the then Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU)
secretary general, Morgan Tsvangirai were detained under the Emergency
Powers (Maintenance of Law and Order) Regulations.

This was the first time the State had taken such drastic action against
students who, since independence, had maintained a policy of dialogue.

The politicisation of the student movement was evident in the way
Mutambara's SRC joined the bandwagon to demonise the outcome of the 1990
presidential and parliamentary elections, which, ironically were endorsed by
their partners in the ZCTU.

The SRC, which represented aspiring workers, surprisingly also wanted to be
at the forefront of May Day celebrations along with the ZCTU but was barred
by the Government from doing so.

Mutambara began calling himself "the executive president of the SRC"
inviting attacks from the Political Science Students Association that, on
May 30 that year, accused him of dictatorial behaviour.

There certainly appears to be nothing progressive in Mutambara's tenure, the
only notable thing was that it was the watershed of student activism, which
has never been the same again.

Now if this is the base that Mutambara hopes to build on, then he needs to
be reminded that national politics is a world apart from student politics,
and Zimbabwe has since moved beyond politics of confrontation, which is why
Tsvangirai is singing the blues today.

But if as he said in his statement, "as Zimbabwean citizens, it is part of
our civic duty and obligation to develop political and economic solutions to
the country's current problems," then he is welcome to national politics.

If he wins the MDC presidency on Sunday, many wait to see if he will live up
to that statement.

Curriculum Vitae


Standard Bank

5 Simmonds Street, Johannesburg, SA

cell: (+27)-83-287-9091 Office: (+27)-11-631-1146


A Standard Bank Director with responsibilities in 17 African countries. A
Research Scientist and Professor of Robotics and Mechatronics from the
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and NASA, with business
experience and skills as a Management Consultant with McKinsey & Company.
High technology expert and leader, global strategy specialist, and an
entrepreneur who advises senior managers and business leaders of top U.S.
companies. Community leader, public intellectual, and activist who is
extensively involved in socio-economic issues in both the U.S. and Africa


STANDARD BANK, JOHANNESBURG SA, 2002-Present: Director, Stanbic Africa
(Payments) Developing and executing an Electronic Payments strategy in
seventeen African countries


Management Consultant. Provide strategic advice to senior managers and
business leaders of top USA companies

Industry Sectors: High Technology, Telecommunications, Automotive Assembly,
Electrical Power/Natural Gas, Manufacturing, Financial Institutions, and
Pharmaceutical and Medical Products.

Functional Expertise: Technology Management, Corporate Strategy, Global
Strategy, Corporate Finance, Post-Merger Management, Business Building, and
Operations Strategy and Effectiveness


Telecom company (Fortune 100) Corporate strategy, Growth study; impact: 20%
increase in revenues

Hi-Tech company (Fortune 500) M&A/ Change of Ownership; impact: smooth and
effective transition

Insurance company (Fortune 100) Corporate strategy-Business unit strategy:
25% increase in new business

Banking and Securities (Fortune 100) Global strategy-business unit strategy:
creation of new products

Hi-Tech company (Fortune 500) operations and marketing: 30% increase in

Chicago Public School Systems, review of teaching effectiveness

Internal knowledge management: The value proposition for global outsourcing
of call centers

Chicago Public School Systems, review of teaching and learning effectiveness
(work in progress)

Sustainable Profitable Growth (insurance practice): designed innovative risk
management products

Business Building (High Tech): Developed a complete semester set of lectures
for Kellogg Business School


Advanced engineering research, publication of books and journal papers,
taught undergraduates and graduates in the MIT Aeronautics and Astronautics
Department. Assistant Professor, 1999-2001

Established and supervised teaching and research activities in the fields of
sensor fusion, and robotics.

Managed graduate controls and mechatronics laboratories, including budgets,
grant proposals and hiring

Taught undergraduate classes in feedback control systems, and computer
system architecture.

Taught graduate classes in nonlinear control systems, and advanced robotics.

Presented graduate research seminars in multisensor fusion and decentralised
estimation and control.

Chaired and participated in academic committees.

Visiting Research Scientist, 1999-2001

Carried out research activities, wrote research proposals, managed research
grants in the fields of decentralised estimation, multisensor fusion, and
modular robotics.

Managed a $500,000 NASA research grant, and a $200,000 NSF grant

Research into wheeled mobile robots, decentralized communication in scalable
flight formation.

Research into mechatronic design methodology, and modular robots.

Supervised Masters and PhD research students in the areas of decentralised
estimation and sensor fusion.

Author, 1999-2001. Wrote sixteen refereed journal papers in the areas of
Decentralised Estimation, Distributed Control, Sensor Fusion, Modular
Robotics, and Mechatronics. Authored three Electrical Engineering books that
are widely used in Engineering Graduate Schools, including MIT:

Decentralised Estimation and Control for Multisensor Systems, February 1998

Design and Analysis of Control Systems, June 1999

Mechatronics and Robotics: Design and Applications, December 2001


Advanced robotics research, seminar series, and NASA/ARL research grant
proposal with the CMU Robotics Institute.

Visiting Research Scientist, 1998

Carried out research activities, wrote research proposals, managed research
grants in field robotics, multisensor fusion, and modular robotics.

Managed a $200,000 NASA/ARL research grant

Research into experimental unmanned vehicles (XUV), their communication and
supervised autonomy.

Research into mechatronic design methodology, and modular robots.

Supervised Masters and PhD research students in the areas of wheeled mobile



Teaching undergraduates and graduates, engineering research activities,
research publication in the Mechanical Department.

Assistant Professor, 1995-1997. Established and supervised teaching and
research activities in control systems, mechatronics and robotics.

Managed a $400,000 NASA research grant, and a $200,000 NSF grant

Taught undergraduate classes in feedback control systems, and introduction
to robotics and echatronics.

Taught graduate classes in nonlinear control systems, and advanced robotics.

Presented graduate research seminars in multisensor fusion and decentralized
estimation and control.

Supervised undergraduate and graduate controls and mechatronics

Chaired and participated in academic committees.

Research into wheeled mobile robots, decentralised communication in scalable
flight formation.

Research into mechatronic design methodology, and modular robots.

Supervised Masters and PhD research students in the areas of decentralised
estimation and sensor fusion.


Rhodes Scholarship, Recipient, Zimbabwe (1991). Selection committee member:
Florida (2000), Illinois (2001-02)

Fulbright Fellowship, Awarded, 1991

Public Lectures, Numerous (socio-economic) presentations in the US,
Zimbabwe, and South Africa (1995-2001)

Africa Technology and Science Strategy (ATSS), Founder and President

Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE), Elected Member,

Institute of Electrical Engineers (IEE), Elected Member, 1995

British Computer Society (BCS), Elected Member, 1996

National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), Student advisor, FAMU-FSU 1996-7

US National Science Foundation, and the Robotics Review Panel Committee
member, 1996-2002



Mini-Master of Business Administration (MMBA), March 2001, Corporate
Finance, Strategy, and Microeconomics


Doctor of Philosophy, March 1995, Robotics and Mechatronics

Master of Science, October 1992, Electrical Engineering/Computer Engineering


Bachelor of Science (Honours), December 1990, Electrical and Electronic

VISA STATUS: Zimbabwean citizen with U.S. permanent residence (Green card).

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Speculation rampant as outsider Mutambara tipped to lead MDC

      pro-senate faction

      By Violet Gonda

      22 February 2006

      The return of former student leader Arthur Mutambara to the country
has landed like a bombshell in the increasingly volatile world of opposition
politics. He is expected to be voted the new president of the MDC pro-senate
faction at their congress this weekend.

      Expectations of Mutambara's presence has dominated Zimbabwe journalist
news sites and caused much excitement especially in the forums in the

      So who is this new kid on the block and why is his return threatening
to overturn the political situation in the country?

      Sidney Masamvu, a journalist and the analyst for Southern Africa for
the International Crisis Group (ICG) says Mutambara was his senior at
Hartzell High School in Manicaland.   Masamvu remembers students looking up
to him for leadership because of his academic achievements.

      Mutambara left Hartzell in 1986 after completing his A levels and
moved to the University of Zimbabwe (UZ) where he staged a number of
demonstrations as a student activist back in the 80's protesting against

      He gained his doctorate from Oxford University and became a Rhodes
scholar. For the last decade he has been mostly in the United States where
he attained high status as a scientist in the field of robotics . He went on
to work for the US space agency NASA.

      There has been some mixed reactions to the news that the 40-year-old
academic is returning to Zimbabwe. Some say that being a student activist
several years ago is hardly a qualification to lead a political party in the
very changed situation of Zimbabwean politics in 2006. Others say he could
be just the figure to bring together the disparate elements of the MDC
party. He has huge stature, wide respect and a prodigious intellect.

      In any event there are certainly big hurdles to be overcome, not least
is the fact that he is relatively unknown to ordinary Zimbabweans. Some say
that to be a leader of the opposition requires courage rather than

      Masamvu says politics in Zimbabwe, let alone Africa, has not really
matured to an extent where academic credentials take precedence. He said
although it is a positive element to have someone who is educated, "it's
really going to be a different ballgame when Arthur is down under a tree in
Chendambuya in Samangwa village in Gokwe, meeting the average villager. This
is the politics of understanding the needs of the common man."

      He said whatever their positives and negatives, this is where you see
the charisma of Robert Mugabe and the charisma of Morgan Tsvangirai as they
are people who can still command a large following on the ground. Masamvu
said Mutambara would have to climb down from his ivory tower to come to the
basics as the common man does not want to hear about theories but wants to
know when he is going to see freedom and how to feed his family.

      Outspoken political commentator Dr John Makumbe said he respects
Mutambara's reputation but believes he has taken a wrong turn that would be
difficult to extricate himself from by aligning himself with what he termed
as "the lifeless pro-senate camp." Dr Makumbe believes Mutambara should
rather have offered to be part of Morgan Tsvangirai's executive.

      Some say whatever the pros and cons of Mutambara as a candidate he is
the only show in town as far as the MDC party is concerned. The farce of the
separate factions squabbling over the symbols and name of the party, and
organising separate congresses is serving no apparent purpose except those
of providing enormous amounts of amusement to the ruling party.

      As Masamvu says, "The MDC would never be the same as a splinter
opposition. No matter how popular one faction is, they are chasing a wild
goose if they are dreaming of unseating ZANU PF."

      Mutambara himself has so far played a cautious game between the
factions and refused to declare himself for either side. Instead he pledged
to reunite the MDC in his first public statement earlier this week.

      The analyst for Southern Africa agreed that the MDC now needs people
like Mutambara to add value and re-energise the struggle. But perhaps the
biggest challenge is going to be challenging a system where the ruling party
controls the 'democratic process' at every stage.

      SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

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Bulawayo civic groups compete to promote rival MDC factions

      By Lance Guma
      22 February 2006
      Two of the most prominent civic groups in Matabeleland, Bulawayo
Agenda and Bulawayo Dialogue have apparently taken sides in the ongoing
opposition feud. This week for example sees the two groups hosting meetings
in Bulawayo on Thursday and Friday respectively. Both have invited
high-profile individuals aligned with the two factions. Bulawayo Agenda led
by Gordon Moyo and thought to be firmly behind MDC President Morgan
Tsvangirai has organised a seminar on Thursday which is expected to be
attended by Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) President and
Tsvangirai ally Lovemore Matombo, Pastor Neta from the Christian Alliance
and Dr Themba Dlolo.

      The theme for the meeting is 'Economic Woes worsen: what are the
prospects?'. Bulawayo Dialogue on the other hand has lined up a Friday
meeting with a similar theme 'Food shortages: Who is to blame?' and invited
pro-senate officials including Members of Parliament, Priscilla
Misihairambwi and Job Sikhala. The same meeting will apparently be attended
by Zanu PF's Cain Mathema who is also Governor for Bulawayo Metropolitan
Province and Sikhumbuzo Ndiweni of the newly launched Patriotic Union of
Matabeleland (PUMA).

      Bulawayo Dialogue led by Qubani Moyo and Jethro Mpofu have voiced open
support for the pro-senate faction of the party while Bulawayo Agenda
campaigned against the senate elections and even distributed fliers to that
effect in the run up to the poll. The group played a key role in mobilizing
support for Morgan Tsvangirai's White City rally in Bulawayo just before the
senate elections. With both groups pulling in different directions, how long
they will keep organising rival meetings in the city remains to be seen.

      The MDC split into two factions when party leader Morgan Tsvangirai
defied a National Council vote on whether to participate in the polls citing
the sentiment of the party's grassroots and the fact it was a waste of
national resources. His colleagues however accused him of being dictatorial
and said he should respect the narrow October 12 vote. The political fallout
with his colleagues has severely weakened the party.

      SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

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Fishing Permits to Cost $1bn

The Herald (Harare)

February 22, 2006
Posted to the web February 22, 2006


FISHING industry operators will have to fork out $1 billion a year for a
fishing permit at Lake Chivero, the Parks and Wildlife Authority has

In addition, they will also be required to pay a developmental fee of $10
million every month.

The fishing permit fees were increased from the $20 million pegged last year
after the authority failed to finance proposed development at Lake Chivero
where they own a recreational park which also offers accommodation

Due to lack of resources the authority was also battling to develop research
projects and ensure security for the lake.

Parks public relations manager Retired Major Edward Mbewe yesterday said
apart from failing to pay for the absolute conservation management, the
authority was being ripped off by fish operators who were taking home at
least $1,5 billion every month.

"We were having problems each time we raised the permit fee because the
operators gave us the impression that they were not getting much when, in
actual fact, after carrying out investigations we realised that they were
making huge profits," Rtd Maj Mbewe said.

He said the new business approach adopted by the authority also emphasised
that they charged prevailing market rates on all their services and

"We are aware that even if we peg our permit charges at $1 billion they will
still make huge profits because they will also, in turn, adjust their fish

Rtd Maj Mbewe said of the 12 fish operators at Lake Chivero, five have
already paid for their permits while the other seven had promised to do so
before the end of the month.

He said the authority would further increase permit fees for other water
sources such as Darwendale and Rusape dams and Lake Kariba, which like Lake
Chivero is home to many fish species.

"We are currently conducting negotiations with fish operators from these
areas while we do our groundwork on the developmental projects that need to
be carried out. Not much will be charged at dams such as Darwendale and
Rusape because there is not much fish. There is also not much work that
needs to be done in those places," Rtd Maj Mbewe said.

Fishing is regarded as one of the most lucrative business ventures in
Zimbabwe in the face of ever-escalating prices of beef and poultry.

Although the country has been under a drought spell in the last four years,
the fish population has proved resilient.

Environment and Tourism Minister Mr Francis Nhema recently spoke of the need
to put a more economic value on the country's natural resources to maximise
benefits which would be ploughed back into environmental development

He cited Malawi, Namibia, South Africa and Mozambique as some of the
countries in the region which depended, to a large extent, on fish for their
export revenues. For example in the 1990s Namibia's mackerel fish flooded
the local market, in the process threatening the local fishing industry.

"We need to come up with strategies to ensure the country really benefits
from our resources. My ministry has come up with many fish breeding projects
in various dams to breed unique types of fish that would be attractive on
the international markets," Mr Nhema said.

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Profiteering Banks Rapped

The Herald (Harare)

February 22, 2006
Posted to the web February 22, 2006

Business Editor

A GROWING number of individuals and corporates have called on authorities to
take stern measures to ensure equity and fairness in the financial sector in
view of an apparent pursuit of supernormal profits, by banks, without due
regard for the need for balanced returns to the banking public.

This comes against the background of banks offering "peanuts rates" on
deposits, most ranging between 0 percent and 30 percent, for current, call,
time, and savings accounts, while the same banks are pocketing returns of as
high as 500 percent in 91-day Treasury bills.

Over the last few years, banks have been reporting huge profits when the
rest of the economy has been battling to fend off obtaining economic

However, this sector has not effectively ploughed back into the economy and
has, instead, continued to make huge gains out of depositors' and investors'

The high rate of inflation -- at 613 percent last month -- has left the
banking public poorer.

When contacted to explain why they are rewarding depositors so poorly, most
banks proffered the explanation that these rates are low "because the RBZ
(Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe) is charging us high borrowing rates, as well as
statutory reserves for which they are not paying us interest".

However, analysts have dismissed this as a flimsy reason given the facts on
the ground where, for instance, some banks are believed to be making
trillion-dollar profits, which is directly contradictory to the proffered
hypothesis of "squeezed margins".

"Such a dichotomy can only mean one thing for sure, and that is to say
perhaps our banks have now become far too engulfed with the profit motive,
without paying equal attention to their growth and developmental roles in
the economy for which their very licences were granted in the first
instance," remarked one analyst.

Some argue that the basic tenets of national income accounting indisputably
say that in any given year, when national output is declining, supernormal
profits by one or some sectors are in general most likely to be a reflection
of "blood lost" by other sectors, and sucked by those that are expanding,
particularly if their growth is not backed by actual tangible resource

In this case, the banking sector's reported multi-trillion profits could be
a reflection of an implicit tax to the banking public and corporates.

Even when argued that a large part of their profits are from RBZ Open Market
Operation (OMO) bills and Treasury bills, the argument still holds: Why are
they not sharing the "spoils" fairly with depositors so as to promote a
national savings culture to support current and future investments?

President Mugabe declared 2005 a year of investment attraction -- both local
and foreign.

But without a determined savings culture, growing the country's investment
base will remain an elusive aspiration.

It is for this reason that authorities have been called upon to come up with
"market-friendly" interventions to help the plight of the defenceless
banking public and, in the process, lay solid foundations for a resounding
national savings culture.

Regions such as Asia managed to achieve significant economic growth figures
buoyed by average investment levels of 35 percent of gross domestic product
(GDP), which completely dwarfs Zimbabwe's current thresholds which are
estimated at under 15 percent of GDP.

"From the seemingly unbridled appetite for super profits, clearly borne out
of parasitic deposit rates to savers, our banking sector can be said to be
militating against the virtuous aspirations of investment promotion,
employment creation, GDP growth promotion, and even inflation control," the
analyst said.

Questions have been raised on whether the banks are doing enough to turn
around the economy.

Are the banks meaningfully lending to corporates? Are they supporting
farmers with innovative financing instruments? Are they raising offshore
lines of credit to shore up the domestic economy?

Are they advising their depositors on how to optimise value for money? Are
their charges justifiable? Are they following up on overdue export revenues?
What then explains their out-of-this-world super profits, when most sectors
of the economy are ailing?

Contacted for comment yesterday, advisor to the Governor of the Reserve Bank
Mr Munyaradzi Kereke had this to say:

"It is really not encouraged for supervisors of banks to publicly comment on
banks' own private business management strategies, as this may conflict with
the various confidentiality clauses, as well as the principal-agent
relations we are bound by as central bankers.

"But what I can say is that I agree with you that there is now an incredibly
yawning gap between deposit rates and investment/lending rates, so much as
to now constitute a significant cause for concern to various stakeholders,
particularly the hard-working depositors."

"Our Governor, Dr Gideon Gono, is innumerably on record clearly stating the
central bank's steadfast desire to shun any intrusive controls or
dictatorial policies on banks, precisely on the back of the understandings
and undertakings that the banking industry give to the Governor on their
promised unfailing co-operation with monetary authorities on areas of mutual
benefit to the national economy," he said.

On the extent to which banks were living up to their promised level of
co-operation, Mr Kereke could only say that monetary authorities were "deep
in our shafts to ensure that sooner rather than later, hard facts speak for
themselves, which would better inform policy flexibility, realism, and an
adept correlation of stakeholder actions with peculiarities attendant in our
economy, and all of this through constructive dialogue, moral suasion and,
in indeed, appropriate invoking of the battery of tools statutorily
deposited in the Governor's realm of operation".

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China supplies Zimbabwe with maize

      February 22, 2006,

      By Tagu Mkwenyani

      Harare :CHINA has started sending maize to Zimbabwe as it moves to
avert a food crisis, threatening millions of people in the country.

       In the past, western countries have provided assistance to Zimbabwe
during the times of droughts but the flow of aid has diminished over the
past few years as relations between the European Union (EU) and Zimbabwe

       The EU has slapped economic and travel sanctions on Mugabe and
officials close to him, tightening screws on the regime accused of human
rights violations. President Mugabe, blaming the west for the economic and
political crisis gripping Zimbabwe, has declared his country is now pursuing
a look East policy.

       Under the new policy, Mugabe hopes to court China, which has one of
the fastest growing economies in the world and other Asian countries to come
to Zimbabwe's assistance. Only last month, China donated an MA60 plane to
Zimbabwe which will be used by Air Zimbabwe. Sources said China was
exploring ways to further assist Zimbabwe which is facing its worst economic

      Officials from the Grain Marketing Board revealed that the Asian
country which is fast taking over the energy and mining sectors in Zimbabwe
would assist the country with maize. They revealed the first batch of
supplies from China had already arrived in Harare but were not at liberty to
reveal the quantities involved. A handover ceremony for the Chinese maize
will take place on Thursday at the GMB Cleveland Depot where senior
government officials, including the minister of Agriculture Joseph Made,
will grace the occasion.

      A government source says the Zimbabwe had appealed to China to assist
it with maize, which is critically short in urban areas. Aid agencies say
about five million people need food aid and the figure could rise in the
next few months. A number of Chinese companies have been given farms in
Zimbabwe where they are growing maize. The farms were previously owned by
white farmers who were chased off their land a few years ago.

      AND Zimbabwe

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Gono goes too far

Mail and Guardian

      Godwin Gandu | Harare

      22 February 2006 02:51

            Divergent groups -- ranging from the International Monetary Fund
(IMF) to Cabinet ministers, the security establishment and the opposition -- 
want Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono reined in, albeit for different

            "Some of the issues he touches are outside his domain,"
complained opposition Movement for Democratic Change shadow secretary for
economic affairs, Tendayi Biti. "His entanglement with quasi financial
issues: providing money to local authorities and parastatals, his creation
of the productive sector facility ... Those issues should be dealt with by
central government."

            This resonates with warnings from Intelligence and Land Reform
Minister Didymus Mutasa, quoted in the state-controlled Sunday Mail as
saying, "financial institutions, including the Reserve Bank, had entered
into contract farming programmes with white commercial farmers without
checking the status of those farms". He said that his ministry had not been
consulted and was concerned about the "side-lining [of] new farmers".

            Recently the IMF too cautioned that the governor was
overstepping his jurisdiction. Gono's delving into the political and
economic arena has also caused embarrassment to security chiefs. During his
Monetary Policy Statement last month the governor said defence force chief
General Constantine Chiwenga had encouraged him to revive agriculture to
avoid potential food riots. He said the general did not want his troops,
accustomed to crushing dissent, to "turn their guns on hungry Zimbabweans".

            Gono's revelation "raised unnecessary public fears about the
army", a senior Zanu-PF official told the Mail & Guardian. "It was uncalled
for and unsanctioned."

            Another member of Zanu-PF's politburo also confided: "He has
become untouchable because he has the backing of the president. If you
attack him, you risk being accused of lack of patriotism. There is a general
impression he is a messiah to take Zimbabwe out of its economic quagmire."

            Every three months, Gono invites captains of industry, Cabinet
ministers, army, air force, prisons and police chiefs, the media and
diplomats to his monetary policy briefing, where he often comments on
current political developments in the country.

            Tensions with the governor have been simmering for some time but
have been muted because "many senior government officials ... owe him
gratitude for lending them money from the productive sector facility", said
another Zanu-PF source.

            This mix of business and political interests, many commentators
have pointed out, is central to the current factions that have formed in the
ruling party. It is understood that the governor's comments about government
inefficiency, corruption and warnings of food riots have angered those
aligned to the vice-president's husband, retired general Solomon Mujuru.

            "He is going too far in using his Reserve Bank platform to speak
on -political issues," said a senior Zanu-PF official and politburo
heavyweight. "Gono was effectively now the prime minister. He is now
answerable only to the president [to whom] he has access day in and day out.
Very few of us have that access to Gushungo [Mugabe's clan name]."

            Concerns about the governor have not been discussed in the
Cabinet or the politburo, nor have they been raised with President Robert
Mugabe, but disenchantment is gaining pace.

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Rocket scientist pledges to reunite MDC

Business Day

Dumisani Muleya and Jonathan Katzenellenbogen


A FORMER Rhodes scholar - who was later a US space agency National
Aeronautics and Space Administration engineer and then a professor of
robotics - is set to become the new leader of a faction of Zimbabwe's main
opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

Arthur Mutambara, who led student protests against corruption in Zimbabwe in
the 1980s, sees his challenges as uniting the party and building its
credibility, after a split last year.

However, Mutambara's election could also seal the split in the party,
observers say. He arrived in Harare at the weekend and is expected to take
over the leadership of the MDC faction led by party deputy Gibson Sibanda at
a party conference this weekend.

As a Manyika, a Shona sub-group from Zimbabwe's eastern highlands, Mutambara
may be well positioned to build support among the Shona majority.

The Sibanda faction is seen as dominated by Ndebele members, who are a
minority in Zimbabwe.

However, MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai, whose boycott of recent senate
elections split the party, will hold his faction's party conference next

It is understood there were efforts at the weekend by Tsvangirai's camp to
stop Mutambara from joining the Sibanda faction.

Mutambara declined to be interviewed by Business Day yesterday, but released
a statement that said his first mission would be to reunite the MDC to
ensure that it regained its position as Zimbabwe's dominant opposition. He
called for "reunification of all democratic forces fighting for change in
the country".

"Zimbabweans have witnessed with distress the split in the main opposition
party, MDC.

"For the past four months, the party's top leadership has failed to unite
the ranks of the movement," he said.

"As the party goes towards two separate congresses, the infusion of new
leadership, untainted by current disagreements, is imperative to facilitate
the reunification process. It is in this context that I define the framework
of my entry into Zimbabwean politics."

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Let King Arthur set sail

New Zimbabwe

By Bekithemba Mhlanga
Last updated: 02/22/2006 18:55:57
LEGEND has it that when king Uther Pendragon died his son , Arthur, raised
in secrecy during troubled times assumed the throne in way that urban
legends are made of.

As Merlin, a wise magician, feared when King Urther died there was great
conflict over who should be the next king. Merlin used his magic to set a
sword in stone. Written on the sword, in letters of gold, were these words:

"Who so pulleth out this sword of this stone is the rightwise born king of
all England."

Of course all the contenders for the throne took their turn at trying to
draw the sword, but none could succeed. Arthur quite by chance, withdrew the
sword for another use in a tournament. Following this he became king.

Zimbabwe's circumstances could hardly be described as being in this mould
but again the situation that has unravelled over the last few hours cannot
be said to be far from this. It's the stuff that urban legends in Zimbabwe
are made from.

Professor Mutamabara we are told has re - entered the politics of Zimbabwe.
This statement or assertion must be placed in its proper context. The last
time that Mutambara , to the every Jack or Jill , Phiri or Banda was in the
political field in Zimbabwe ,was some seventeen years ago as the President
of Student Representative Council at the University of Zimbabwe. It's a long
time ago.

Robert Mugabe was sixty six years old, Munyaradzi Gwisai was still called
Enoch Chikweshe, students at the University of Zimbabwe were still having
three course meals including non residents. A student concession flight with
Air Zimbabwe to Bulawayo cost Z$96. Students worshipped the ground walked by
Sidney Malunga , Morgan Tsvangirai and Edgar Tekere. How things change.

Socialisim and communism held sway at the time. Shadreck Guto and Kempton
Makamure, may his soul rest in peace, were big time king makers on who would
ascend to the throne of the students council. Redstars was the preferred
football team for all the dyed in wool communists. Professor Mutambara ,
then simply known as AGO, was a leading member of the Society for Modern
Scientific Thought and flirted with the Society for African Studies (S.A.S).

It was a time when the PAC and the ANC battled for the souls of the
excitable students on campus. Seventeen years ago during those days of
student activism of Mutambara's time the politics at the University was
highly tribal. The north voting for one candidate and the south , amajaha ,
voting for the other. Hence we ended up with Mutambara on one corner and
Sikhumbuzo 'Razor' Mkandla on the other.

How bizarre that this week, during the week when Robert Mugabe is
celebrating his 82nd birthday, Prof Mutambara could possibly be coronated as
King Arthur. He will find, as much he knows that, his friends in the
trenches have been grinding national politics for the past six or seven
years. He will find that other cadres have emerged, submerged and passed
away. Different and questionable characters have walked the very same path
that he treaded at Mt Pleasant.

He will find a resolute, ferocious, vile and violent Robert Mugabe who will
brook no nonsense from anyone. He will know that students payout are no
where near the Z$300 to Z$500 range for residents that was the case during
his time.

As we started we must end with intriguing legend of King Arthur. The story
goes that as peace settled over the country things turned sour within the
court of Camelot and civil war broke out. Arthur was set upon a boat and
floated down the river to the isle of Avalon. Here his wounds were treated
by three mysterious maidens. His body was never found and many say that he
rests under the hill with all his knights - ready to ride forth and save the
country again.

Ahoy, King Arthur, let the party begin welcome to national politics.

Bekithemba Mhlanga is a Zimbabwean journalist and is based in West Sussex,
England. He can be contacted on:

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