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Eight more students held after Harare marches


          February 28 2006 at 01:45AM

      Harare - Police in Zimbabwe on Monday arrested another eight
university students amid escalating protests over massive fee hikes, a
lawyer said.

      The students, from the University of Zimbabwe, are being detained at
Matapi Police Station in the high-density suburb of Mbare, said Otto Saki of
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR).

      A student representative, Promise Mkwananzi, said that his colleagues
addressed a student meeting on Monday morning and then were "urged to march
to the vice-chancellor's office".

      "The police barricaded the way and arrested the eight students," said

      One of the detained is Washington Katema, the president of the
Zimbabwe National Students' Union (Zinasu).

      Lawyer Saki said ZLHR had lodged a high court application to secure
the release of the detained students.

      Protests have been mounting over shock fee hikes announced earlier
this month for many institutions of higher learning in Zimbabwe. In some
cases the new fees - which were reportedly approved by the government - were
10 times more than those for last year.

      At least 21 students were arrested earlier this month for staging a
violent protest against fee hikes at the National University of Science and
Technology in the country's second city of Bulawayo.

      Students complain that with the new fees education will become a
preserve only of the very rich. According to Mkwananzi, only a few hundred
students have been able to pay the new fees at the University of Zimbabwe.

      Many Zimbabweans - young and old alike - are struggling to keep afloat
in an economy characterised by inflation of more than 613 percent and
frequent price increases.

      Also on Monday, the ZLHR lodged an official complaint with the
commissioner of police and the attorney general over the "inhuman and
degrading" conditions in which students have been kept in Harare police
cells in earlier incidents. - Sapa-dpa

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Rautenbach facing eviction in Zimbabwe

The Star

      Tycoon wanted in SA gets the push despite cosy ties with Mugabe
      February 28, 2006

      By Basildon Peta

      Billy Rautenbach's seemingly endless luck in Zimbabwe has begun
running out.

      The controversial businessman was one of few white farmers who
retained their large tracts of land on account of their close ties with
President Robert Mugabe's establishment.

      But Rautenbach has now been given an ultimatum to vacate his huge
farming concern in Mashonaland West province on or before May 14 because the
Zimbabwean government appears bent on evicting all remaining white farmers.

      It seems unlikely that the fugitive Rautenbach, wanted in South Africa
over a multimillion-rand fraud and tax evasion scam, can still successfully
rely on his political connections to save his land holdings.

      A notice sent to Rautenbach and other white farmers in the province is
categorical. "It has been resolved that you move out of the farm on May 14
2006 as the land reform is being finalised," it reads in part.

      The governor of Mashonaland West, Nelson Samkange, has added to
Rautenbach's woes by making it clear that the controversial tycoon will not
receive any special treatment. Samkange said that if Rautenbach's farm had
been listed for seizure, then he would have to vacate it.

      Emmerson Mnangagwa, the man on whom Rautenbach relied most for
political protection, is now a shadow of his former self. Mnangagwa fell out
with Mugabe after he was accused of plotting to try to scuttle Mugabe's
plans to anoint Joyce Mujuru as deputy president and his eventual successor.

      During his tenure as powerful minister of state security in charge of
the notorious Central Intelligence Organisation and later as minister of
justice, Mnangagwa facilitated Rautenbach's entry into the lucrative mining
trade in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

      After fleeing South Africa in the wake of the seizure of his
properties, including a block of flats, a wine farm and a helicopter,
Rautenbach now spends most of his time in Harare.

      Efforts by South Africa to have him extradited seem to have stalled.

      Other white farmers are also facing expulsion.

      The former president of the Commercial Farmers Union, Colin Cloete,
has been thrown off his farm in Selous, according to reports from Harare, as
was another CFU moderate, Nicholas Swanepoel. Cloete and Swanepoel advocated
dialogue with the Mugabe regime.

      Officials in Didymus Mutasa's Lands and Land Reform Ministry are
reportedly on the ground serving notices to white farmers still remaining on
their land. Mutasa has declared that "we are still hungry and we want all
our land back to be used by our own (black) people".

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Zimbabwe cracks down on shops selling bread at inflated prices

The Mercury

      February 28, 2006

      By Basildon Peta

      The Zimbabwe government said it had deployed police to monitor and
arrest shop owners who had unilaterally increased bread prices from the
government- controlled Z$44 000 (R2.73) to as much as Z$70 000 (R4.35) a

      The increases, which represented a near-overnight doubling of prices
at the weekend, will severely hurt consumers, most of who take home less
than Z$3 million monthly.

      The latest increases also mean that the wage of a general labourer in
a Zimbabwean factory is no longer enough to buy bread for the month alone,
not to mention other staples like maize meal, milk and vegetables, cooking
oil and sugar.

      The Zimbabwe government said it would crack down on bakers
      and shopkeepers raising prices above its controlled limit.

      But the business owners are sticking to their guns, saying the
government should rather shut them down forcibly than have them continue to
operate at a loss.

      Industry and International Trade Minister Obert Mpofu said in a
statement that no new prices had been agreed upon and declared the latest
unilateral price increases illegal.


      "The government allowed the bakery industry to increase the price of
bread to $44 000 and that is the price we recognise," said Mpofu.

      "Any other price increases are illegal and we will take the
perpetrators to task."

      Mpofu said the government had already deployed police and price
inspectors to identify and deal with shop owners charging anything above the
controlled prices.

      He said the government had subsidised the prices through which millers
and bakers bought flour. There was therefore no need for them to increase
prices unilaterally.

      Mpofu encouraged consumers to co-operate with the policy and report
any business owners charging above the government's controlled prices.

      The government is being supported by the consumer watchdog, the
Consumer Council of Zimbabwe.

      The Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries has defended business owners,
saying the government's controlled price limit had made businesses unviable
in the face of increasing input costs.

      The confederation said any arrests and prosecutions of business owners
over the latest increases would only worsen the food shortages.

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Zanu PF Struggling To Sell Party Cards, Begs Companies For Z$200 billion

Zim Daily

            Tuesday, February 28 2006 @ 12:06 AM GMT
            Contributed by: correspondent

             ZANU PF is seeking to raise $200 billion from private companies
to bankroll its programmes and activities following a massive downturn in
the sale of party cards, Zimdaily heard yesterday. Zanu PF Finance Chief
David Karimanzira told a National Fundraising Committee last week that his
department was struggling to sell the ruling party cards. As a result,
Karimanzira said, his department had no choice but to write letters to
private companies seeking for donations to bankroll its activities.

            Zimdaily heard that the party had set a target of $300 billion.
The committee was tasked with raising $200 billion while the provinces are
expected to raise $100 billion with each of the country's 10 provinces
expected to raise $10 billion. Zanu PF's move to take its begging bowl to
the corporate sector exposes its desperation to get funds from companies
reeling under viability problems.

            According to a letter sent to one of the companies and in
possession of Zimdaily, Karimanzira wrote: "Let us invest in Zanu PF to day
in order for our heritage to achieve success as a great nation in future."
"We are kindly appealing for cash or kind . Kindly make cash donations
payable to Zanu PF. The account number is 4125-031273003 ZimBank."
Karimanzira said this year's budget had increased to $300 billion from last
year's $100 billion due to the hyperinflationary environment.

            "Given the challenge of limited financial resources, it is an
imperative and we are committed to expand party business investments and to
strengthen other ways and means of generating revenue for the party,"
Karimanzira told the meeting in his keynote address. The main source of
revenue for Zanu PF is subscriptions, government grants, dividends from
party companies and donations. But the ruling Zanu PF empire is in a mess,
with books having gone for five years without audit. Zimdaily heard that
last year the party raised $105 billion through donations. Karimanzira
expressed concern over the poor sale of party cards and subscriptions. "This
increase in revenue from membership fees notwithstanding, the department of
Finance is disheartened by the rate at which membership cards are selling
since their launch on October 1 2004," Karimanzira said.

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Newsnet Reporters Drag Govt To Court Over Appallingly Low Salaries

Zim Daily

            Tuesday, February 28 2006 @ 12:05 AM GMT
            Contributed by: correspondent
             Newsnet reporters, who for long have been propping up President
Mugabe's regime, have now turned against their masters, dragging government
to court over it's intransigence in reviewing their appallingly low
salaries. Zimdaily heard that the reporters, who are getting paid an average
$4 million per month, have taken their case to the Labour Court for
arbitration after management declined to yield to their demand for an 800%
increase. Management says it is willing to give them a lowly 30% increase.

            Zimdaily understands that the highest paid reporter at the State
broadcaster is getting $7 million. According to a letter filed at the Labour
Court, the lowest paid reporter is taking home $1,6 million. "The lowest
employee at Newsnet takes home $1 600 000 with the majority earning about $4
000 000 each month," the journalists said in their papers filed at the
Labour Court.

            "The workers believe the percentage increment being offered by
management is far below the official poverty datum line of over $20 million
that workers are supposed to receive to make ends meet.

            "Management was proposing a salary increment of 30 percent
against the workers position of 800 percent based on the current high
inflationary environment and the low salaries that they have been
 receiving." According to the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe, a family of six
now needs $21 million to buy basics such as bread, cooking oil and mealie
meal. The Labour Court is yet to set a date for a hearing into the matter.
The workers have also appealed to Parliament to look into their matter.
Meanwhile journalists at another state owned company, New Ziana are earning
less that $4 million. The journalists who embarked on industrial action last
month, say they are contemplating 'downing their pens' yet again. Zimdaily
heard that at least six reporters have been suspended.

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RBZ Probes Govt Agro-Businesses Amid Fears Of Gross Malfeasance

Zim Daily

            Tuesday, February 28 2006 @ 12:03 AM GMT
            Contributed by: correspondent
            AN "exhaustive audit" into the use of funds availed by the
central bank to the agricultural sector is likely to zero in on the
Agriculture and Rural Development Authority (ARDA), the Grain Marketing
Board (GMB) and the Agriculture and Rural Extension Services (AREX) in the
coming weeks. Zimdaily is reliably informed that a team of central bank
investigators have been deployed to probe the three state-controlled
agro-based institutions' use of funds availed by the Reserve Bank of
Zimbabwe (RBZ) in its efforts to turn around the flagging fortunes of the

            Of the three institutions, the spotlight is likely to fall on
ARDA and GMB, which are at the centre of efforts to revive the floundering
agricultural sector, sources said. Although no official confirmation could
be obtained from the monetary authorities, sources said suspicion was high
that some of the funds availed to the sector, could have been abused. "I am
not aware of that. I have not met anybody," said Joseph Matovanyika, the
chief executive officer of ARDA.

            The RBZ, which has gone all out to stimulate positive supply
side responses in the economy, doled out $1.5 trillion for the procurement
            agricultural equipment, upgrading of irrigation facilities and
the purchase of chemicals. The audit will, among other things, seek to
establish whether the expenditure of the funds, which have already been
exhausted, had been channelled towards the intended purposes. When contacted
for comment, Samuel Muvuti, the chief executive of GMB said: "We haven't
seen officers who came here to audit us about anything, maybe they are still
on their way."

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IMF Denies Zim Payment Pushed Up Inflation, Blames Gono For Upward Spiral

Zim Daily

            Tuesday, February 28 2006 @ 12:02 AM GMT
            Contributed by: correspondent
            The IMF has categorically denied that Zimbabwe's payment to the
world lender was responsible for the continuous upward trend in inflation,
blaming instead the central bank's quasi-fiscal activities for the soaring
figure, which touched 600% last month. Inflation shot to 612% last month,
making Zimbabwe the country with the highest inflationfigure in the world.
Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono, who has in the past two years, showed
determination to reduce it to single digits, said last month that the
printing of money to settle Zimbabwe's arrears to the IMF under General
Resources Account pushed inflation up.

            The RBZ printed $21 trillion to pay the world lender its dues on
the orders of President Mugabe. Mugabe told journalists that he had to
abandon "bookish economics" because Zimbabwe's problems required
extra-ordinary solutions.

            Commenting on reports that this could have pushed inflation up,
Thomas Dawson, IMF External Relations director said: "I would make it very
clear that-and I would note that there's been the comment, allegations made
both within the government, but also from others, observers, that the high
inflation in Zimbabwe in some fashion is owed to repayment of the Fund
resources. We do not believe that is in fact the case at all." He added:
"The reality is that inflation in Zimbabwe has been driven mainly by
quasi-fiscal activities of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe."

            Over the past two years the RBZ has been availing billions of
dollars to ailing parastatals. The central bank has also funded agricultural
activities, among many other things, in what analysts said would fuel
inflation. "There's also been comments made that because of payments to the
Fund in some fashion, the Zimbabwean Government, Zimbabweans have had to do
without medicines, adequate food, fuel and other essentials, and we do not
believe that has been the case at all. "If in fact there have been shortages
in that regard, it has been entirely because the authorities have chosen the
course of action in not implementing the comprehensive package of
macroeconomic and structural reforms, that the Fund and including the Fund
Board have repeatedly recommended," said Dawson.

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Of dodgy bus passes, amnesties and a looming judgment

New Zimbabwe

By Taffy Nyawanza
Last updated: 02/28/2006 09:08:45
BANBURY, square in Oxfordshire, is a smart town of idyllic quays and
canal-side shopping malls. It is famous in part because of a popular nursery
rhyme dedicated to it and the famous Banbury cake.

A group of Zimbabweans have settled in this town and are doing amazing
things. They have negotiated and obtained the freedom of the borough from
the city fathers, no mean feat this in a foreign land. This status entitles
them to the full protection of the mayor and free use of the cavernous town
hall, amongst others.

Here they occasionally gather, with others travelling from all over the UK,
to attend and to strategise and compare notes on the pertinent issues of the
day, including their immigration situations. And this last Saturday the
25th, I sat amongst them at their invitation and wished there were many more
places in the UK where Zimbabweans could similarly gather to collectively
address the challenges of living in a foreign land. I have done the lazy
thing this week and reproduced what I shared with them with respect to
recent immigration developments in the UK.

The Extension of the Family ILR Amnesty Deadline:
The Family ILR Amnesty initially came into effect on the 24th October 2003
and ended in December 2004. The deadline has now been extended to April
2006. The amnesty is a one-off exercise to grant indefinite leave to remain
in the UK to certain asylum seekers and their dependants who claimed asylum
before October 2000 and who have a dependant child who was aged under 18 in
October 2000 or October 2003. Time is running out and if you think you
qualify, act now. One of the conditions for qualifying for the amnesty
though is that the Applicant must not have a criminal conviction, ASBOs
included. There is a documented case of an applicant who was refused under
the amnesty solely for a conviction of the petty offence of using his sister's
bus pass. Small offences can cost dear.

Choosing an Immigration Adviser/Solicitor

It is critical to choose a competent and reputable advisor at the very
beginning of a claim or case. Many potentially strong cases have been
botched by fly-by-night advisors operating from dodgy alleys. To undo the
damage at a later stage can be as hard, if not as impossible, as rectifying
a bad haircut. The good news is that since April 2005, it is now unlawful
for anyone to give immigration advice without being registered by the Office
of Immigration Services Commission (OISC). Every registered advisor, or
organisation, appears on the OISC online register.

Further, advisors who do publicly funded immigration work under the 'legal
help' scheme are now required by the Law Society and the Legal Services
Commission to be accredited at the level of their competence and practise.
Immigration solicitors are also regulated by the Law Society, which offers
greater assurance of quality of work. There is also an organisation called
the Immigration Legal Practitioners Association (ILPA) for immigration
specialists. A full register of its members appears on the ILPA website. It
would be suspicious if an immigration advisor did not appear anywhere on
either of these three websites.

My advice is to obtain proof of registration, at least with the OISC,
especially before parting with money. In the event of misconduct or
mishandling of a claim, you will have avenues to explore, not least the
in-built complaints systems inherent in the membership schemes. All these
arrangement for registration, accreditation and self-regulation are geared
at protecting the public by flushing out rogues masquerading as lawyers.

On Tagging:

It turns out that quite a few Zimbabweans have been asked to submit to
involuntary tagging. This involves wearing an electronic bracelet on the
wrist or ankle. The starting point is that the current law, (Section 36 of
the Immigration and Asylum (Treatment of Claimants etc) Act 2004) does allow
for the electronic monitoring of those liable to detention under the
Immigration Acts. This includes asylum seekers, illegal entrants, those
found working in breach of their conditions of stay, overstayers, people
subject to further examination at a port of entry, and those refused leave
to enter.

Electronic monitoring can be telephone reporting using voice recognition
techniques, tagging and tracking. Tagging is far more widely used by the
Home Office. Having said this, however, it is important to remember that
during the passage of the 2004 Act, the then Minister for Immigration and
Citizenship, Beverley Hughes, stated that an electronic monitoring
requirement would be imposed only with the consent of the individual. The
government has now done a volte-face and have announced that consent is no
longer a requirement.

It appears however that tagging can be challenged because the Secretary of
State has not implemented the statutory instruments necessary to make the
provisions of the 2004 Act and the 2005 Procedure Rules a reality. Basically
until this is in place, a requirement to comply with electronic tagging may
appear to be outside the current rules. Readers will remember that attempts
last year to tag the Belmarsh detainees floundered for this reason, and they
were all sent back from Court.

In practise, anyone asked to comply with tagging must insist of the reasons
for tagging in writing, sign under protest (because a straight refusal may
be construed as non-compliance with a requirement of the Secretary of State
which can lead to dire consequences), then contact their legal advisors as a
matter of urgency to challenge the tagging by way of judicial review. There
is a strong argument to be made that tagging contravenes key human rights
instruments that the UK is party to. In any event, tagging humiliates,
stigmatises and criminalises asylum seeking.

On Changes to Refugee Status:

Since 30 August 2005, people granted refugee status in the UK no longer get
Indefinite Leave to Remain at the first instance. They now get only 5 years
leave to remain which will be kept under active review. A review of the
status can be triggered by the individual's conduct or a change of
conditions of the country of origin. The vital point to note is that refugee
status can be a brilliant opportunity. It can open doors to cheap higher
education (refugees pay home student rates at UK universities in terms of
the Education (Fees and Awards) Regulations of 1997). The new regime is such
that one should never be complacent with refugee status, at least not until
the grant of ILR. It can be taken away. It is therefore important to
consider obtaining good qualifications which one can always fall back if the
worst were to happen.

Marriage in the UK:

Since 1 February 2005, all persons subject to immigration control will now
need the permission of the Secretary of State for the Home Department in
order to get married in the UK. The permission is obtained in the form of a
Certificate of Approval, a move which has been described as making, 'the
Home Secretary the Marriage Registrar of last resort.' Under the rules,
non-EEA nationals with less than six months' leave to remain can be barred
from getting legally married in a UK ceremony unless they obtain the special
permission of the Home Secretary at a cost of £135 per person. Statistics
show that the Home Office could be generating as much as £1.6 million a year
by charging couples for the permission to marry, as between the introduction
of the new rules in February 2005 and the end of August, the Home Office had
already received 7,201 applications to marry, generating just under a £1

The new marriage rules apply whether a non-EEA national wishes to marry
another non-EEA national, or a UK, or EEA national who is fully entitled to
residence. These draconian rules are now being challenged in the courts in 3
cases in which the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI) has
intervened. The JCWI's position is that these rules discriminate against
many in genuine relationships.

It is interesting to note that one of the 3 cases involves a failed asylum
seeker wishing to marry an individual granted refugee status in the UK. This
will be the one to watch.

I spoke to Rhian Beynon, the JCWI Communications Officer on the 27th
February 2006 and she told me that, "The High Court has re-scheduled the
hearing on a separate point of law but even if we win, the Home Office is
likely to appeal and if we lose, we will appeal and so this will take a long
time to resolve."

Watch this space for further developments on this issue.

The AA Decision and Current Developments:

I end this despatch with news that the Home Office appeals in AA and LK have
been expedited by the Court of Appeals and that the substantive hearing is
listed for three days from 6th March 2006. AA and LK are of course the
leading Zimbabwean cases which establish that there exists a real risk of
harm in Zimbabwe to returned asylum seekers. The Home Office have also
indicated that they will seek to have all Tribunal determinations resolved
solely on the basis of AA and LK reconsidered. In particular, the current
position that the benefits of the Refugee Convention are available to those
who qualified for them regardless of any question of good faith or bad faith
(called the Danian point after the case that established it) is likely to be
the focus of the appeal. Now, let us remind ourselves of the 3 reasons why
the Home Office lost in AA:

Firstly, they sent to Zimbabwe a team from the Home Office Policy Unit,
in-spite of the fact that they have at their disposal the Country of Origin
and Information Unit with the competence for field investigations. The fact
that this more independent body was not used buttressed the possibility that
the investigators had an existing policy in mind rather than the discovery
of new facts.

Secondly, the Home Office did not do enough to protect failed asylum
seekers. Their documents were handed over to the air crew in a move that
expose them to the regime on arrival at Harare airport. Further, the
investigation by the Home Office was considered to be insufficient. In spite
of the resources and the level of the investigation, it revealed nothing of
what actually happens when someone is handed over at the Harare airport.

Thirdly, the Home Office did not rely on individual cases to prove
allegations of real risk in Harare. They argued from silence - asserting
that if returned asylum seekers were at risk of persecution, the NGOs on the
ground would have heard about it. This was considered to be a mistaken view.
Because of their resources and information at their disposal, their failure
to trace and monitor any individual complainants was considered 'exceedingly

You will note that all these 3 'errors' are well within the Home Office's
powers to rectify and the Home Office will be attempting to show the court
that they have since done so. AA is therefore by no means a safe decision.
However, even if the worst were to happen, it is ultimately the individual's
particular circumstances which count. What is critical in any Zimbabwean
asylum claim is that emphasis should be made on the particular substantive
facts of the applicant and not simply to seek to establish refugee status on
the basis of AA.

For now, as judgement day looms, fingers crossed.

Taffy Nyawanza is accredited by the OISC and writes in his personal
capacity. He can be contacted at

Disclaimer: This article only provides general information and guidance on
immigration law. It is not intended to replace the advice or services of a
solicitor. The specific facts that apply to your matter may make the outcome
different than would be anticipated by you. The writer will not accept any
liability for any claims or inconvenience as a result of the use of this

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Senate Backs Plans for One Fertilizer Firm

The Herald (Harare)

February 27, 2006
Posted to the web February 27, 2006


THE Senate has hailed plans by the Government to consolidate the fertilizer
industry through the establishment of a single firm -- the National
Fertilizer Company -- saying the availability of the commodity is pivotal to
the success of the land reform programme.

Chitungwiza Senator Cde Forbes Magadu (Zanu-PF) told the Upper House of
Parliament on Thursday that the Government should move with speed to
consolidate the industry.

He was contributing to debate on the acute shortage of fertilizer moved by
Lobengula-Magwegwe Senator Mr Thabiso Ndlovu (MDC).

Sen Magadu said the availability of fertilizer could not be separated from
the land reform programme.

"If the land reform programme is going to be successful we must control
those companies supplying the fertilizer," he said.

However, Sen Magadu said he did not agree with sentiments by Sen Ndlovu that
plans by the Government to consolidate the fertilizer companies would worsen
the shortages of the commodity and ultimately affect agricultural

He said there was need for the Government to have control in strategic
parastatals and this included the fertilizer industry.

Contributing to the same debate, Pumula-Luveve Sen Fanuel Bayayi (MDC) said
the manufacturing and supply of fertilizer should be the preserve of the
private sector in view of the questionable performances by some parastatals,
which were riddled with corruption.

He alleged that the proposed move by the Government was likely to worsen
fertilizer shortages.

Non-Constituency Sen Aguy Clement Georgios (Zanu-PF) disputed assertions by
Sen Bayayi about corruption being rife in the public sector, saying the vice
was also rampant in the private sector.

"If we leave the control of fertilizer to the private sector there will be a
multiplicity of corruption," he said.

Harare-Mbare-Hatfield Sen Vivian Mwashita (Zanu-PF) said the Government
should now start preparing inputs for the next season to avoid a repeat of
the shortages that characterised the current season.

She said measures should be put in place to ensure adequate availability of
fertilizer and other agricultural inputs.

The Government has plans to take over TA Holdings' and Yara's stake in three
companies -- Sable Chemicals, Zimbabwe Fertilizer Company and Windmill -- to
consolidate the fertilizer industry.

Yara holds significant equity in ZFC and is also the largest shareholder in

A consolidated industry would facilitate strategic planning and lead to the
streamlining of decision-making.

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Harare commuters stranded again

Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2006-Feb-28

MANY commuters in Harare found themselves stranded or overcharged at the
weekend as transport operators pulled their fleets off the road due to
pressing fuel shortages.

Commuters at the city's main termini in Fourth Street, the 'Charge Office'
and Market Square stood in long queues for hours with no sight of transport
to ferry them home.
In extreme cases commuters were delayed until around 11pm as the demand for
transport far outstripped the vehicles on the road.
Transporters in turn have resorted to charging exorbitant fares, which they
maintain are the only way for them to recoup fuel costs, which have seen a
litre of petrol being priced at $200 000 on the black market.
Commuter transporters plying the City-Mufakose or Budiriro route were
charging $50 000 up from $40 000 a trip.
Commuters from other residential suburbs like Southerton, Warren Park, Glen
View, Chadcombe and other high-density suburbs who had been paying $30 000
said they were since Sunday paying $40 000.
The increases, which have become the norm in the inflationary environment,
have added to the bludgeoning effect price hikes on the stagnant incomes of
many a consumer."This is just too much. I don't know what to do. Every hour,
something is rising. How are we going to survive?" said Elisha Mambondiani
of Glen Norah.
Another Mufakose commuter said that it was increasingly becoming difficult
to budget for transport even on a daily basis, as one was not assured that
the fare paid when going to work in the morning would be the one maintained
in the evening when travelling back home.
"Things are tough. Instead of Zimbabweans uniting to fight poverty, it seems
they are uniting against the poor.
I think we need God's intervention," said Blessing Kadira of Chadcombe.
With everything almost daily, most income earners have found themselves
unable to budget for their salaries, as their incomes are virtually
swallowed up in transport and accommodation costs alone.
Last week, bread prices also shot up from the gazetted $44 000 to over $70
000 a standard loaf on the backdrop of increases in the prices of many other
basic commodities such as cooking oil, sugar, mealie meal and salt.
The Consumer Council of Zimbabwe (CCZ) and the government said the bread
price increases were illegal.
Many consumers think they have had enough of the price hikes, some of them
seemingly unjustifiable.Yesterday, some Mufakose-bound commuters threatened
to beat up a bus conductor who had asked them to fork out $50 000.
 They insisted on paying the old fare, resulting in half of the bus
passengers paying $10 000 less than others who could not resist the fare.
Last week beer consumers scored a first when they successfully boycotted the
consumption of Chibuku opaque beer, resulting in the reduction of its price
from $100 000 to about $70 000.

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Sweden ready to convince EU against Zim sanctions

Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2006-Feb-28

SWEDEN says it is willing to convince the European Union (EU) to revoke
sanctions against Zimbabwe if President Robert Mugabe's government moves to
eliminate corruption and uphold property rights in the country.
The government has however queried Sweden's reference to property rights
abuses, arguing also that it has been doing its best to curb corruption,
which it says is a global phenomenon.
Sweden and other European Union countries accused the government of not
respecting property rights and were opposed to Zimbabwe's land reform
programme, which addressed land imbalances that existed in the country.
The government moved in to balance the skewed land ownership regime, by
acquiring large tracts of land from the few white commercial farmers who
owned 80 percent of prime arable land, and distributed it to the majority
landless blacks.
Incoming Swedish ambassador, Sten Rylander last Friday said while he was
committed to dialogue with government, it remained very difficult to
convince the EU to drop sanctions on top government officials until "certain
matters were addressed".
"The ball is in Zimbabwe's court. I notice the President (Mugabe) says the
ball is in the EU's court, but I think otherwise and I think the people of
Zimbabwe want government to take strong action against vices such as
corruption .," said Rylander.
Rylander was speaking at a function held in Murehwa, where the Swedish
International Development Agency (Sida) donated a four-wheel drive double
cab vehicle and two motorcycles to a Human Rights Trust of Southern Africa
(SAHRIT)-Murehwa community based Child Rights Protection programme.
Contacted for comment, the Permanent secretary in the Ministry of
Information and Publicity, Gorge Charamba said: "I do not think his
government would want to be associated with parochial and primitive
"The west imposed sanctions because they wanted to protect white interests.
When he talks of property rights does he mean, industrial rights or home
rights or he is referring to the pre-fast track land reform period?"
Charamba also said while the government was serious in its fight against
corruption, there was no society that had totally eradicated the vice.
"There is no society that has totally solved the problem of corruption. We
are doing our best on that," he said.
The Swedish ambassador spoke glowingly of Central Bank governor, Gideon Gono
and Finance Minister, Herbert Murerwa, whom  he described as committed to
the anti-corruption fight, and righting the faltering economy.
"The government of Zimbabwe can do more. They should complement the work of
these two guys. As the incoming ambassador, I prefer to look at the current
situation and work with the Zimbabwean government in eliminating these
 ills," Rylander added.
However, Rylander could not respond to questions on whether his country
would lobby the EU to rescind sanctions on all those members of President
Mugabe's cabinet committed to the concerns he cited as the major bone of
contention with the EU.
He remained confident that under his tenure, relations between Zimbabwe and
Sweden would definitely improve.
Rylander told the Murehwa community that he had come to witness the
handover, a promise he had made to President Mugabe that he would engage in
broad based contacts and dialogue.
Said Rylander: "As you may all be aware, official relations between Zimbabwe
and the EU and its member states, including my country are currently
strained. Despite this situation, Sweden - as well as the EU - will not
abandon the people of Zimbabwe."
He urged parents and guardians to uphold the rights of children, saying this
presented an opportunity for dialogue and restoration of relations between
Zimbabwe and Sweden.
"Initiatives such as the promotion and protection of the rights of children
are very good examples of endeavours that could ignite dialogue on the need
for cohesion and national building," he added.
President Mugabe recently said the ball was in the court of the British and
the EU, who have led an international onslaught against Zimbabwe.
In addition, two weeks ago, the President took a swipe at corrupt and
non-performing ministers within his cabinet, whom he attacked for
disadvantaging ordinary Zimbabweans.
Standing in for Chief Jonathan Mangwende was Headman Zihute, who thanked
Rylander for his donation, through Sida and Sahrit.
Headman Zihute said he would be monitoring the use of vehicles to ensure
that they would be properly utilised for the purposes envisaged by the
donors, and not for personal errands and corrupt activities.
"I am aware that certain officials are prone to abusing such facilities. Let
me warn you against this," he said.
His sentiments were echoed by Sahrit chairperson, Walter Kamba.

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