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MDC PRESS

 

3 February 2005

 

MDC to Participate in 2005 Elections

 

The National Council of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) met this morning of the 3rd of February 2005 and deliberated on the critical issue of participating in the 2005 general election.

 

The Council noted that the on the 26th of August 2005, the National Executive of the party suspended the party’s participation in the elections until such time as the Mugabe regime had complied with basic fair election standards as set out in our Restore Document and the SADC Election Guidelines and Principles as agreed in Mauritius on the 18th of August 2004.

 

The National Executive stated that for this to happen, the government needed to combine a comprehensive reform of Zimbabwe's electoral framework with significant political reforms, in particular the ending of political violence and the repeal of repressive laws that place gratuitous curbs on the independent media and citizens' democratic rights pertaining to freedom of speech, assembly and association.  

 

The Council reviewed the extent to which the regime has complied with the party’s demands for compliance with the SADC Protocol and noted that the regime has failed and failed dismally to comply with those guidelines.

 

More than ever the electoral playing field remains uneven and unequal. Rule of law concerns have not been addressed. The media remains muzzled. Free assembly is proscribed by the Public Order Security Act. The recently appointed Electoral Commission is yet to prove its independence. The shambolic voters’ roll continues to be the principal vehicle for electoral fraud. The Constituency boundaries have been subjectively gerrymandered whilst militias and militia bases continue to multiply. International observers continue to be unwelcome.

 

The Council expressed concern over the violation of the one-man, one-vote principle, through the continued disenfranchisement of Zimbabweans because of their ancestry, place of residence and a deeply flawed voter registration and management regime. 



At the same time we note with regret the failure of the SADC of putting the regime on the spot and demanding the reproduction and implementation of fair electoral standards in this country. Zimbabweans feel betrayed and let down by the region.

 

Clearly therefore a free and fair election is not possible in Zimbabwe under the present conditions.

 

The Council noted various resolutions from our 12 provinces, from hundreds of party structures, from our supporters and friends and from our pro-democracy partners mandating the MDC to lift the 26 August suspension, in spite of the hostile political environment in the country today.

 

We, however, remain vigilant of the regime’s machinations and reserve the right to take corrective measures should the political situation on the ground deteriorates further.

 

Having regard to the above, it is with a heavy heart, that the National Council has resolved the MDC will participate in the forthcoming elections.

 

This is a decision based primarily on the demands of our people, the working people of Zimbabwe who wish to exercise their hard fought and inalienable right of voting and still make a statement against the tyranny of this criminal state.

 

The participation is therefore a strategic decision to recognize our internal democracy and sacrosanctity of nationhood and the right to vote.

 

We participate under protest. We participate without prejudice. We participate to keep the flames of hope for change alive.

 

 

Paul T Nyathi

Secretary for Information and Publicity.

 

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FinGaz

      ZANU PF at war

      Charles Rukuni & Felix Njini
      2/3/2005 7:23:32 AM (GMT +2)

      THE ruling ZANU PF will go into next month's polls in a state of
disarray as it emerged this week that its Young Turks, slowly being
sidelined from President Robert Mugabe's inner cabal, are itching to hit
back at the party's old guard at the least expected time.

      A coterie of disgruntled Young Turks, claiming to have played a
crucial role in securing the disputed 2000 and 2002 ZANU PF election
victories against the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), is causing
discord in the volatile provinces of Matabeleland, Midlands and Manicaland,
where the party is yet to regain ground lost to the MDC in 2000.
      The infighting between the old guard, credited for freeing the country
from the yolk of colonialism, and the Young Turks, ostracised for
disrespecting senior ZANU PF members, could put spanners in the party's
campaign trail, which goes into full throttle next week.
      Fissures within the party, which has ruled Zimbabwe since 1980,
worsened after the divisive party primary elections held last month and the
suspension of six provincial chairmen and other senior party officials in
December over what has come to be known as the Tsholotsho Declaration.
      Observers however say the escalating discord in the upper and lower
ranks of ZANU PF meant President Mugabe was fast losing control of his
faction-ridden party.
      In the Midlands and Manicaland provinces, there is a strong feeling
that the most senior representatives in ZANU PF have neglected their people
and were now being used by President Mugabe to maintain his ethnic balancing
act.
      The situation has reached boiling point in Matabeleland, where the top
leadership of Vice-President Joseph Msika, ZANU PF national chairman John
Nkomo and former PF Zapu commander and politburo member Dumiso Dabengwa are
accused of frustrating efforts to rebuild the party and reposition it to
recover from massive losses inflicted by the MDC in 2000.
      They even accused the trio of working flat out to ensure the MDC
maintains its stranglehold in the region where the ruling party won only two
seats in the controversial 2000 parliamentary elections.
      Worse still, the Young Turks say the leaders are not prepared to put
themselves before the electorate to prove that they are popular and truly
represent the region. None of the three contested the just ended ZANU PF
primary elections to decide who is going to stand in the forthcoming
elections.
      The 1987 Unity Accord, painstakingly forged between arch rivals ZANU
PF and PF ZAPU, said sources, could face a serious litmus test amid calls
for the sacking of Nkomo and the party's political commissar Elliot Manyika.
      In a rare show of dissent, deposed war veterans leader Jabulani
Sibanda challenged Nkomo, who declined to contest in the parliamentary
elections saying he is a national leader, and Dabengwa to show their
political mettle by contesting in the March 31 polls.
      "I wonder why the President has not taken action against Nkomo and
Manyika, they are only destroying the party," he said.
      Sibanda accused Nkomo and some senior ZANU PF officials of taking the
ruling party as their 'social club'. "There is no superman in the party who
is above the constitution," he added.
      The attack comes barely a week after embattled Information Minister
Jonathan Moyo launched an acerbic attack on Nkomo and Dabengwa, whom he
called "primitive liars" after they implicated him in an alleged foiled coup
against top party officials.
      Both Nkomo and Dabe-ngwa have hit back, labelling Moyo "a stupid and
confused Professor".
      A former ZANU PF provincial chairman for Bulawayo, who declined to be
named for fear of reprisals, said problems in Bulawayo and Matabe-leland
started soon after the death of Vice President Joshua Nkomo in July 1999.
      "For some leaders, especially those who had never supported the Unity
Accord of 1987, the death of Nkomo meant the end of the marriage between
ZANU PF and PF ZAPU," the former chairman said. "For them, the unity accord
was just a marriage of convenience. With Nkomo dead the unity was no longer
convenient."
      The former chairman said the leadership from the region had from 1999
frustrated any progressive moves by the provincial leadership by setting up
parallel structures to ensure there was no united front.
      A quick check shows that Bulawayo province has had nine provincial
chairmen since 1999, with Edson Ncube, a member of the central committee who
has been elected to the interim committee currently running the province,
being one of the longest serving chairmen.
      Ncube began facing stiff challenge from war veterans in 1999 but
weathered the storm until his executive was dissolved in October 2000.
      Swazini Ndlovu took over as interim chairman and served for just three
months before a new executive led by war veterans leader Jabulani Sibanda
was elected.
      Sibanda was suspended in January 2003 after a series of run-ins with
the top leadership whom he accused of failing to champion development in the
region.
      "There are some individuals who want to maintain the pre-1987 Unity
Accord scenario," Sibanda said before his suspension. "The same people have
always complained about the marginalisation of Matabeleland."
      Sibanda was replaced by Silas Dlomo, who in turn gave way to Abednico
Nyathi who served until Themba Ncube, a war veteran, was elected substantive
chairman last year.
      Ncube was sacked for his role in the infamous Tsholotsho indaba and
was replaced by George Mlala, whose executive was kicked out last month,
though it claims to have resigned en masse.
      Accusations that divisions in Matabeleland are being caused by the top
leadership are not new. Saineth Dube, then publicity secretary for Bulawayo
province, made the same allegations way back in 1999 claiming that the top
leadership from the former ZAPU was creating divisions soon after Nkomo's
death as they jostled to fill Nkomo's shoes.
      The former provincial chairman said the situation had not changed
because deep down, some of the leaders still harboured ambitions of
resuscitating ZAPU in one form or another.
      The only difference, he said, was that this time, President Mugabe had
bought into their scheme because they had convinced him that his future was
at stake too.
      "What pains some of us most is that these leaders do not want to
subject themselves to the electorate. They claim to be national leaders but
will not stand for the vote. Who are they? Even President Mugabe is elected.
Vice-President Joyce Mujuru went to the primary elections and will be
contesting the coming elections."
      Some people from Matabeleland have always harboured ambitions of
resuscitating ZAPU even when Joshua Nkomo was still alive. Although two
parties called ZAPU already exist, one led by Agrippa Madlela and the other
by Paul Siwela, a Scottish newspaper on Sunday reported that a Zimbabwean
based in the United Kingdom, Arthur Molife, was planning to revive ZAPU
after the March elections.
      "We are keeping out of the March general election so as not to split
the anti-Mugabe vote," Molife was quoted as saying. "But the moment those
elections are over, we will hold a ZAPU congress inside the country, elect a
new leadership, and then go for Mugabe."
      Molife claimed that his party would win overwhelming support from the
region because people had voted for the MDC because there was no one else
around.
      "The leadership of the MDC is ineffectual, weak and discredited and
everyone voting for the MDC today will vote for ZAPU tomorrow. They know our
record and understand we never really packed up," Molife said.
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FinGaz

      Govt bungling to cost ZESA billions

      Charles Rukuni
      2/3/2005 7:24:32 AM (GMT +2)

      BUREAUCRATIC bungling by the government could cost the cash-strapped
Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) billions of dollars, as all the
tariff increases it has effected since August 2003 are technically illegal,
it has emerged.

      Under the Electricity Act (Chapter 13:19), which was promulgated in
2002 but only came into effect on August 1 2003, the country's sole supplier
of electricity, which made a loss of $163 billion in 2003 and has an
external debt of over US$150 million, can no longer increase tariffs.
      That responsibility was given to the Electricity Regulatory Commission
that was supposed to be established under the Act but was never set up. The
commission was supposed to have not less than five but not more than seven
commissioners. At least three of them had to be full-time and at least two
had to have experience or professional qualifications in the generation,
transmission or distribution of electricity; or law, accountancy, economics,
finance or administration.
      This revelation, which could have serious repercussions on the
operations of ZESA as consumers could rightly insist they can only pay
tariffs that prevailed prior to August 2003, came out of the High Court in
Bulawayo after eight companies challenged the authority over its revised
tariffs effected towards the end of 2003.
      ZESA hiked tariffs by 450 percent and said exporters should pay part
of their bills in foreign currency.
      The companies include some of the city's biggest industrial concerns.
They are Nimr and Chapman, Cecon Enterprises, Nampak Foil, National
Blankets, O'Conolly and Company, Cotton Printers, Radiator and Tinning and
Universal Component Manufactu-rers.
      ZESA had threatened to cut off the firms' electricity unless they paid
their bills. The companies reportedly owe ZESA over $5 billion.
      The companies took ZESA to court challenging the bills because the
tariff increases had not been approved or gazetted under the new Act.
      High Court judge George Chiweshe last year ruled in favour of two of
the companies, Nimr and Chapman and O'Connolly and declared the tariff
increases null and void.
      ZESA appealed against Justice Chiweshe's ruling and tried in vain to
settle the matter out of court, but it was dealt another blow last week when
Justice Nicholas Ndou ruled that the eight companies should not pay the
amounts requested by ZESA because nothing had materially changed.
      "I should point out the minister responsible for the administration of
the Act should by now have appointed the commission so that the respondent
(ZESA) can effect increases in consultation with consumers as provided for
in the Act," Justice Ndou said.
      According to the Act, only the commission can approve price or tariff
increases. The commission should also "ensure that the prices charged by
licencees are fair in the light of the need for prices to be sufficient to
allow licencees to finance their activities and obtain reasonable earnings
from their efficient operation".
      The government approved a ZESA tariff increase of 126 percent last
month but central bank governor Gideon Gono said the increase should not be
affected because it was inflationary.

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FinGaz

      Mystery diamond deal

      Dumisani Ndlela
      2/3/2005 7:26:03 AM (GMT +2)

      CAYMAN Islands-incorporated Oryx Natural Resources has taken over a
US$2 billion, 800-square-kilometre diamond concession in the Democratic
Republic of the Congo (DRC) under a mysterious transaction in which original
owners are said to have received no payment.

      The Sengamines diamond concession south of Mbuji Mayi in the DRC was
originally owned by a Zimbabwe-incorporated company, Operation Sovereign
Legitimacy (Osleg), Comiex and MIBA - the latter two representing the
interests of the DRC government.
      While Osleg has been reported as a Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF)
company, a three-month investigation by The Financial Gazette revealed that
the real owner of the shadowy military company is not the ZDF, but four
prominent citizens, two of them key figures in the defence forces during
Zimba-bwe's military intervention in the diamond-rich country to prop up the
late DRC leader Laurent Kabila's regime.
      During the investigations, questions on the ownership of Osleg where
flatly denied by the individuals associated with the company, while the ZDF
refused to entertain the newspaper's questions on the activities of the
group and its shareholders.
      The Financial Gazette also encountered an intricate web of companies
representing the interests of either key members of the military or those in
the government.
      The concession was allegedly given to the ZDF as compensation for its
participation in the war against insurgents funded by Uganda and Rwanda
since the DRC did not have the cash resources to prop up the war
      Geoffrey White, a spokesman for Oryx and chief executive officer for
African Mining Management Company (AMMCO), told The Financial Gazette that
the current ownership structure of Sengamines since January 2003, confirmed
by a presidential decree, is 80 percent Oryx and 20 percent MIBA.
      Osleg, White said in written responses to The Financial Gazette's
questions, was no longer a shareholder in Sengamines.
      "There was no payment by Oryx to Osleg or individuals related to Osleg
when the new Sengamines was formed and Osleg departed," White said.
      During a follow-up to White's responses, The Financial Gazette spoke
to Rob Scott, an executive with the South Africa-based AMMCO headed by
White, on telephone.
      Asked how it had been possible for Oryx to take over the Sengamines
concession without paying a cent to the original owners, Scott said the
decision had been made at a political level between the governments of
Zimbabwe and the DRC.
      "Originally, Osleg was involved, with Oryx as the major funder (of the
Sengamines). The two states decided that they would not be involved (in the
Sengamines business) and took a back seat," Scott said.
      Scott said the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank had
insisted that states should never be involved in the running of businesses,
prompting the decision to have Osleg on the "back seat".
      Both the DRC's Comiex and Zimbabwe's Osleg were involved in the
project through a vehicle called Cosleg, jointly owned by the two companies.
      Oryx owned 49 percent of Sengamines, Comiex had a 35 percent stake in
the large diamond concession, while MIBA held a 16 percent shareholding.
      After a foiled listing on the London Stock Exchange in June 2000,
Sengamines claimed that it had restructured its equity, and that Oryx owned
49 percent under the new shareholding structure, with Comiex and MIBA owning
35 percent and 16 percent respectively.
      But a United Nations (UN) panel tasked to investigate the plunder of
mineral resources in the DRC in 2000 said in its report that the ZDF,
through Osleg, still owned 49 percent of Sengamines that was being claimed
by Oryx.
      "In the course of a meeting held on 1 August 2000, Osleg nominated
Oryx to hold its 49 percent interest in Sengamines; 35 percent is held by
Comiex-Congo, and 16 percent has been allocated to MIBA," the panel's report
to the UN Secretary-General, Koffi Annan, said.
      The UN panel said this had been done to "disguise the close
association between Sengamines and ZDF, and to deceive international
investors".
      Oryx executives vigorously denied the panel's report, challenging it
to make the claims at an open forum outside the UN to enable them to
challenge the claims in a court of law.
      The current restructured Sengamines is therefore the second since the
one allegedly undertaken in 2000.
      Oryx planned a reverse listing through South Africa's Petra Diamonds
but its links to President Robert Mugabe's government, and claims that the
company was dealing in conflict diamonds, led to the resignation of its
British financial adviser Grant Thornton. This immediately scuppered the
company's listing on the London bourse.
      "Oryx assumed the responsibility for the management and financing of
the project following the creation of the new Sengamines," White said. "The
total development costs of Sengamines have been invested by Oryx Natural
Resources, which has invested in the project by way of a repayable, interest
bearing, foreign direct investment loan."
      During its investigations, The Financial Gazette established that four
individuals, not the ZDF, were listed as the core owners of Osleg.
      The four are retired ZDF general Vitalis Zvinavashe; Job Whabira, a
former Ministry of Defence permanent secretary recently appointed to the
Delimitation Commission ahead of this year's parliamentary election; Onesimo
Moyo, the Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe general manager; and
Isiah Ruzengwe, a former Zimbabwe Mining Development Corpo-ration (ZMDC)
general manager.
      Zvinavashe, who was commander of the ZDF - which incorporates the
Zimbabwe National Army and the Airforce of Zimbabwe - until 2003, presided
over the ZDF's military intervention in the DRC to prop up Kabila senior's
regime in 1997.
      Zvinavashe denied when interviewed last November that he had any
shareholding in Osleg, maintaining that he was no longer a director in the
company as he was "now no longer in the system".
      "Phone the Zimbabwe Defence Forces and they will tell you who is
running that company. I am no longer in the system," said the retired army
commander.
      Asked about his shareholding in the company, he said: "What do you
mean? I am not a shareholder. The papers are with the Ministry of Defence."
      But The Financial Gazette can reveal that the ZDF never officially
held the stake since the four individuals own Osleg. The four individuals
are also the only listed directors in Osleg, in accordance with Zimbabwe's
Companies Act.
      Defence Minister Sydney Sekeramayi denied in an interview with The
Financial Gazette in October that the ZDF had any commercial interests in
the DRC.
      Moyo also denied that he was a shareholder in Osleg.
      "I was never a shareholder and I am also no longer a director," Moyo
said.
      Ruzengwe claimed that he did not have any interests in Osleg, saying
he had signed a document of incorporation entitling him to a stake in the
company as a representative of a mining parastatal, ZMDC, as its head at the
time.
      According to a document of incorporation shown to The Financial
Gazette during its investigations, the four directors own 2 500 shares each
in Osleg.
      A statement of incorporation reads in part: "We, the several persons
whose names, addresses and occupations are subscribed, are desirous of being
formed into a com-pany in pursuance of this memorandum of association, and
we respectively agree to take the number of shares in the capital of the
company set opposite our respective names."
      The ZDF refused to comment on the ownership structure of Osleg. A
military spokesman, Squadron Leader Mukotekwa, said in a terse statement
responding to The Financial Gazette's questions: "The permanent secretary
has said we cannot respond to your questions."
      Information gathered during the investigation indicates that Oryx was
invited by Zimcon (Zimbabwe-Congo), a Zimbabwean military-led diamond
company, which was in partnership with the DRC military, to come in as a
financier to the Sengamines project.
      Zimcon either transmuted into Cosleg, the investment vehicle jointly
owned by Comiex and Osleg, or was simply replaced by Cosleg.
      The ruling party's diversified investment vehicle, the Zimbabwe
Development Company (Zidco), then purchased a 0.24 percent stake in Oryx
valued at 120 000 pounds in 2000.
      But White said about Zidco's investment in Oryx: "Zidco is no longer a
shareholder on Oryx Natural Resources and has not been one since November
2000."
      White did not say how Zidco had lost its shareholding in Oryx.
      He said Oryx had been restructured in July 2004 following a
cash-raising exercise to continue the development of the company.
      "At this restructure, Dr Issa Al Kawari and the office he represents
injected further funds into the company to further its development, and in
so doing diluted the original shareholders in Oryx. Africa Mining
Investments (AMIL), a company 100 percent owned by Dr Issa Al Kawari and the
office he represents, during the restructure, took over equity and board
control of Oryx. They ceded the management rights of Sengamines to AMIL, who
now operates the company," said White.

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FinGaz

      RBZ grapples with impossible trinity

      Nelson Banya
      2/3/2005 7:27:01 AM (GMT +2)

      THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe's (RBZ) success in extinguishing the
economic turmoil precipitated by the International Monetary Fund's (IMF)
withdrawal of balance of payments support in the late 1990s, hinges on the
inflation, interest and exchange rates - the seemingly impossible trinity.

      In his fourth quarter monetary policy review announced last week, RBZ
governor Gideon Gono stressed that the central bank would rigorously pursue
a disinflation programme, seek to stabilise the exchange rate and
progressively reduce interest rates, concurrently.
      Since the inception of the economic recession, Gono's predecessor
Leonard Tsumba had struggled to find a proper prescription to the three
macro-economic fundamentals, that seem to require totally different
approaches to rein in.
      The incumbent RBZ boss, whose inflation-targeting plan has seen the
annualised rate of inflation decline from a peak of 622.8 percent in January
2004 to 132.7 percent by December 2004, appears to have struck the right
chord and has set a year-end target in the 20 percent to 35 percent range.
      On the interest rate front, Gono announced further rate cuts, with the
central bank's key policy overnight accommodation rate being slashed by 15
percentage points from 110 percent to 95 percent with effect from February
1.
      The RBZ also announced the discontinuation of the dual interest
policy, with rate convergence expected in June, when the productive sector
facility (PSF), under which funds were lent to producers and exporters at a
concessionary 50 percent, is expected to be wound up.
      There will be progressive cuts until June, when the rate is envisioned
to be down to 70 percent. Penal rates for unsecured borrowing are 10
percentage points higher than the rate for secured borrowings.
      Banks' minimum lending rates, which averaged 400 percent in April last
year but have recently receded to levels around 140 percent, are expected to
be dragged further down in the aftermath of the central bank's intervention.
      The exchange rate, which was devalued by as much as 600 percent in
2004 after the introduction of managed foreign currency auctions by the RBZ,
is critical in the disinflation programme and, for the first time since he
introduced quarterly monetary policy reviews, Gono did not announce a new
floor rate.
      He, however, adjusted incentives availed to exporters for enhanced
foreign currency generation and also sought to converge the various schemes
under the "carrot and stick" package of incentives.
      Exporters who remit their export proceeds within 90 days will retain
70 percent of their earnings in their foreign currency accounts (FCAs) and
sell the remainder at the ruling auction rate. Remittances after the 90-day
period, following the granting of an RBZ waiver, will see exporters
surrendering 15 percent of their earnings at $824 to the United States
dollar, 35 percent converted at the ruling auction rate and the remaining 50
percent retained in FCAs.
      The foreign currency auctions have been critical to the eradication of
inflationary exchange rate volatility - a common feature before last year -
while the progressive reduction in interest rates, after the 2003 spike,
which saw rates going up to as high as 900 percent, has brought about
increased levels of productivity.
      The central bank's robust liquidity management programme, through
various money market instruments such as RBZ Bills, RBZ Financial Bills,
Special Zimbabwe Treasury Bills and ZTB Open Market Operation (OMO) Bills,
has been critical in reining in money supply, a major inflation driver.
      Broad money supply growth receded from 490.9 percent in January 2004
to 219.4 percent in November. Gono said the December outturn of 150 percent
was expected. The money supply growth is expected to further come down to 60
percent by the end of 2005 and 14 percent by mid-2006.
      The RBZ is, however, faced with a poser - keeping the market short, as
it did for long period in 2004, inevitably results in firming rates on the
short end of the market.
      The Zimbabwe Financial Holdings (Finhold) economics department has
also cautioned that the low interest rate policy pursued by the central bank
could work against its disinflation crusade through the inflationary
expansion of credit.
      "It is our view that the low interest rates the central bank is
advocating for may actually encourage credit expansion and again militate
against the RBZ's initiatives," Finhold said in its analysis of the monetary
policy review.
      Finhold further points out that going forward, the 2004/2005
agricultural season would be critical in the achievement of the inflation
target for 2005.
      "Not only will a good harvest reduce pressure on food imports, it will
also limit domestic food price increases and thus dampen food inflation."
      Food inflation has the biggest weight of 33 percent in the consumer
price index (CPI) basket.
      Wage increases in 2005 would also be critical and analysts have
cautioned that labour might not be willing to cooperate with the central
bank on its pleas for moderate increments.
      Witness Chinyama, an economist with Kingdom Financial Holdings, said
the major challenge for the monetary authorities in 2005 would come on the
exchange rate front.
      "The missing link in the governor's policy arsenal is the
unavailability of effective policies to enable the external sector to
generate more foreign currency from known sources.
      "The known sources of foreign currency are export earnings, capital
inflows such as loans and unrequited transfers, private and official, as
well as foreign direct investment. The plan, however, targets one source of
foreign currency - exports. It should be noted that the export sector alone,
even if it is served with the best exchange rate policy, is not able to
generate enough foreign currency to service the domestic economy, that is
monthly national requirements plus reserves that need to run into several
months of import cover," Chinyama said.
      Last year, the country realised foreign currency inflows amounting to
US$1.71 billion, up from US$301 million in 2003. The RBZ is now targeting
inflows of US$3.050 billion this year, an all-time peak of US$3.9 billion in
2006 and US$4.5 billion in 2007.
      Zimbabwe, which realised its highest level of foreign currency
inflows - US$3.88 billion - in 1996 has monthly requirements of at least
US$250 million. Last year the country raked in a monthly average of US$142.6
million.
      Proceeds from minerals - mainly platinum, gold and nickel - tobacco
and remittances from non-resident Zimbabweans are expected to continue
boosting inflows.
      Chinyama said the re-engagement of the international community and
clarity on the country's investment climate were prerequisite if Zimbabwe
were to get meaningful capital and foreign direct investment to further
bolster the foreign currency situation.
      "Flows from multilateral financial institutions are locked up in the
provisions of the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act (ZDERA)
(passed by the United States in 2001). In addition to smart sanctions that
have seen the assets of top government officials being frozen and their
trips abroad being curtailed, the economic sanctions bar Zimbabwe from
receiving financial aid from multilateral financial institutions and the
IMF. Foreign direct investment flow might not improve because foreign
investors normally use the Bretton Woods institutions as the international
commissioner of oaths to assess the sovereign risk of a country," Chinyama
said.
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FinGaz

      No easy walk to parastatal reform

      Nelson Banya
      2/3/2005 7:27:38 AM (GMT +2)

      STIFF challenges stand in the way of the far-reaching parastatal and
local authorities reorientation programme (PLARP) announced by Reserve Bank
of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor Gideon Gono last week.

      The $10 trillion PLARP is a critical cog in the RBZ's monetary policy
framework, through which Gono has sought to trigger positive supply side
responses through greater and more efficient capacity utilisation. The funds
are going to be raised through the issuing of medium to long-term government
paper.
      The funds will be committed towards inter-parastatal debt-takeovers,
manpower rationalisation, capital expenditure, external debt servicing as
well as research and development in parastatals. Municipalities will channel
the funds towards roads, water treatment and reticulation, lighting,
housing, investment promotion, computerisation and debt restructuring.
      Gono labelled parastatals and local authorities the "missing link in
enhancing quick productive sector supply response to fiscal and monetary
policy incentives."
      "Intense analysis of the country's supply side response rates has
clearly shown that the fight against high inflation and productivity
reversals can be much longer if there is no radical transformation in the
parastatal and municipal sectors," Gono said.
      However, analysts this week cautioned that the plan could turn out to
be a monumental failure if structural reforms of the state enterprises and
local authorities do not precede it.
      "The intervention is noble because state enterprises have been
enmeshed in costly mismanagement and inefficiency and drained the fiscus,
but the governor should be wary not to throw money at this problem without
addressing the roots of this profound ill, which are in government itself,"
a Harare economist, who preferred anonymity, said.
      Although Gono spoke of "stress-tested" turnaround programmes as
prerequisites for funding PLARP funding, analysts maintain that radical
manpower changes needed to be effected first.
      "While this is a positive and long overdue move by the central bank,
it would be better to first undertake extensive restructuring of the
management structures at some of the parastatals in order to eliminate
managerial deficiencies, which have often led to the underperformance of
these enterprises in the past.
      "Both parastatals and local authorities should also be allowed to
charge economic prices and tariffs for the goods they produce, otherwise
they will continue to post huge operational losses and hence continue to
place a huge burden on the fiscus," a local financial institution, Finhold,
said in a post-policy commentary.
      Under the 18 to 24 month PLARP, state enterprises and municipalities
are expected to be weaned off budgetary provisions in 2006. Repayment of
interest obligations by institutional beneficiaries are expected to begin
this year.
      Most parastatals have been run down due to managerial shortcomings and
government interference in the running of the enterprises, some of which are
perennial loss-makers despite the monopoly positions they enjoy.
      In the past year alone, power utility the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply
Authority, the National Railways of Zimbabwe, the Grain Marketing Board, the
few state enterprises where the shroud covering their financial statements
was lifted, recorded massive losses, while Air Zimbabwe, the Zimbabwe United
Passenger Company, the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Holdings and the Zimbabwe Iron
and Steel Company remained in the financial doldrums and relied on grants
from treasury to remain afloat.
      Under PLARP, most of these firms will receive about $1 trillion.
      Government's efforts to reform municipal administration through the
provision, in the Urban Councils Act, for executive mayors as opposed to the
previous ceremonial figures, has largely failed to improve service delivery.
      Instead, the venture has provided a platform for political meddling,
by central government, in municipal affairs.
      The opposition Movement for Democratic Change secretary for economic
affairs Tendai Biti, whose party dominates most urban council chambers, says
the ruling ZANU PF government, has abused local authorities to "promote its
narrow, selfish interests."
      "The prime example of this is the interference with the work of the
elected MDC council of the city of Harare. Its programme of recovery for the
capital city was thwarted and the council eventually illegally and cynically
pushed aside," Biti said.
      The MDC's Elias Mudzuri, who was elected Harare's executive mayor in
2002, was suspended and eventually dismissed by Local Government Minister
Ignatius Chombo in a development the opposition party have charged was
designed to weaken the council. For the second time since the executive
mayorship was introduced in 1996, the affairs of Harare Municipality have
been placed in a government-appointed commission, while service delivery and
general standards have continued to deteriorate in the capital.
      Indeed, the past couple of years have seen Chombo reversing budgetary
decisions taken by councils, particularly where rates are concerned, further
resulting in attenuated revenue streams for the already under-funded
councils.
      Biti also charged that parastatals "have long been a vehicle of
clientism and partriarchalism fostered and promoted by ZANU PF and its
parasitic followers."
      While Gono has managed to come up with a workable, government-approved
framework to rescue the moribund state enterprises and municipalities, it
remains to be seen whether he will get the critical support of politicians
in government, many of whom have benefited from a deeply entrenched system
of patronage.

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FinGaz

Comment

      Populist intervention

      2/3/2005 7:39:11 AM (GMT +2)

      SERVICE delivery in almost all the country's local authorities without
exception is, for want of a better expression, on the brink of collapse.
Prospects for a quick turnaround under the current circumstances are rather
grim to say the very least.

      This could be aggravated following weekend reports that the Ministry
of Local Government and National Housing, headed by Dr Ignatius Chombo, has
once again shot down proposed rate hikes by local authorities. It is
imperative to point out right on the outset that the situation in the
municipalities has been allowed to deteriorate over the years as the
powers-that-be ignored graft, cronyism and the influence of reality and
instead opted for populist decisions for political capital. All this because
all the responsible minister sees around him is the fierce struggle of
politics - mostly imagined, at that!
      A case in point is the government directive that local authorities
should not increase rates by more than 70 percent this year, ostensibly to
cushion the long-suffering ratepayers. That the people, feeling the pinch in
the face of an unprecedented economic meltdown, need cushioning is beyond
argument. While the minister might not have said exactly that - a lot is
said by the unsaid in politics. In any case that could be the only plausible
reason why government would give the proposed, and in most cases reasonable,
rate hikes the thumbs down.
      But from our past experience with Zimbabwean government ministers, the
concern for ratepayers could be nothing more than window-dressing for the
public's benefit. It is a falsity and it seems more false than the ministry's
insincerity, so to speak. The latest move is a threadbare
politically-motivated uncalled for and short-sighted populist intervention
because Zimbabweans can endure even suffocating belt-tightening for the
long-term good as long as there is accountability on the part of the
authorities. Put simply, Chombo's directive is a vote-buying gimmick
whatever the authorities may call it. Just as well Zimbabweans have learnt
not to confuse real life with politics otherwise they could end up believing
the things that some of these ministers say.
      This is not the first time we have taken issue with government's
predilection, through Minister Chombo, to be involved in the day-to-day
running of local authorities especially in the face of the long-drawn
acrimonious wrangling with Movement for Democratic Change-dominated councils
over key issues. And we are afraid, at this rate, Minister Chombo is fast
joining the ranks of his Cabinet colleagues whose word no man relies on
anymore. These include Dr Joseph Made of Agriculture, Dr Simbarashe
Mumbengegwi of Industry and International Trade and of course Aeneas
Chigwedere whose handling of educational matters connotes the strange
behaviour of the guy in the science fiction movie who is the first to see
the "creature".
      Because of their bungling, these ministers are part of a coterie of
politicians who, when they take a position on anything, Zimbabweans
automatically take the opposite one and know they are right! In any case,
the people always know where they are with these ministers because they have
always let the nation down.
      Admittedly, as alluded to earlier, there has been widespread
corruption, management ineptitude and inefficiency which have worsened the
crises in most of these local authorities. And this we do not condone, which
is why we have, time without number, called upon government to deal
decisively with corruption in other areas of public life which have remained
largely opaque and unfriendly to scrutiny.
      But whatever his motivations, we are at a loss as to what really
prompted this decision by Minister Chombo. We ask again as we did in our
editorial of July 8 2004: Did government, which for political
considerations, is wary of upward price movements, ever consider the
requirements of the respective local authorities for them to be able to
restore their fast collapsing service delivery systems? Isn't what the
government has done tantamount to postponing the inevitable? Would these
budgets not have to be revised upwards before anybody could say election
after the Parliamentary poll in March? Shouldn't the Ministry of Local
Government have looked at each case on its own merit? Will Zimbabwe ever
have Cabinet ministers who have ideas above scheming for political survival?
Lastly but not least, when is government going to learn that the
one-size-fits-all approach does not work?
      We ask these questions because they are pertinent. While it might seem
politically convenient now as it could capture the all-elusive urban voter
into the jam-jar for ZANU PF, the move to revise downwards the proposed rate
increases is as sure as hell, an unrealistic and wrong-headed stance which
shows that government did not learn anything from the fuel-pricing debacle a
few years ago.
      Somewhere down the line, the government will have to bite the bullet
and allow local authorities to charge economic rates whose cumulative shock
the people might not be able to absorb due to their magnitude! And that, we
dare say, could be sooner rather than later. In fact government could learn
a lot from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe's pragmatic approach which has seen
the central bank setting up the Parastatal and Local Authorities
Reorientation Programme which also covers municipalities and will eventually
see them being weaned from the life support system provided by the fiscus in
the not-too-distant future.
      Given the foregoing, we are left wondering whether the government
would not see the justice of it all when we say that some narrow-minded and
obstinate government ministers have been so hackneyed in populist politics
and so lost to all sense of pragmatism - which in essence has become the
hallmark of Zimbabwean politics? How sad!

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FinGaz

      ...and now to the Notebook

      2/3/2005 7:38:34 AM (GMT +2)

      Humble pie?

      So the government this week finally decided to eat the proverbial
humble pie and dropped its appeal against the just acquittal of MDC leader
Morgan Tsvangirai?

      So, what this means in total is that there was nothing in the first
place? Someone was just kidding? What an ulcerous waste of public resources!
      Imagine how much money was spent on this case in the four years from
2001 until now? How much was spent on those state goons who repeatedly went
on holiday in Canada under the guise of investigating the case, how much was
spent on flying conman Ari Ben-Menashe and his colleagues around the globe .
. . and their lengthy stay in one of the world's top 10 hotels which is here
in Harare . . . and how many man-hours were spent by the judiciary on this
case?
      Is there no way someone - whoever it is - can be prosecuted for gross
abuse of public funds, wasting other people's time, and just being a
nuisance? Isn't there any crime like "abuse of the judicial system" or such
other law under which mischief-makers can be punished for keeping serious
judicial officials busy on a see-saw when there are other more important
cases to attend to? If there isn't, we ought to coin one to protect our
justice system from being abused.

      Strategic?

      CZ could not understand why last week Chinhoyi town council officials
reportedly booked themselves in one of Kadoma's hotels for a good three days
under the guise of holding what we were made to believe was a strategic
workshop to turn around the town.
      Why Kadoma of all places on earth?
      Sounds like our government officials going to Johannesburg to hold a
workshop to discuss how to turn the country around, doesn't it?
      Was the idea here to discuss how to turn the fortunes of the town
around or someone just wanted to have a good time away from work and family
commitments at the expense of the poor ratepayer? Surely what was it that
needed to be discussed at such expense that could not be discussed in the
offices?
      So the culture in the donor community is fast spreading even to
publicly funded entities?

      Postponed!

      And the guys at the Zimbabwe Tourism Council decided to enter
themselves into the Guinness Book of Records by postponing their congress
for a record nine months!
      Last week the organisation announced that it was postponing its
two-day congress from January 26-27 to October 27-28, a record nine months,
because the event clashed with the Reserve Bank's fourth quarter monetary
policy statement.
      While we can understand the reason (or is it excuse?) given this time,
we just wonder whether there is any justification for the nine-month wait.
      And remember, this is not the first time the congress has been
postponed. It was initially pencilled for December last year and it was
postponed because it clashed with the ZANU PF congress! ZANU PF congress of
all events on the calendar!
      Hopefully, the MDC will not hold its congress during the same dates in
October because the Zimbabwe Council of Tourism indaba may never be held at
all!
      Or is this congress elective? Maybe this explains why someone,
somewhere is taking their sweet time . . . the longer it takes, the better,
since there are lots of featherbeddings that come with these public offices.
      Remember, there is the six-month Aichi fair in Japan. One can go and
market one's private firms wearing that institutional hat!

      Newsy!

      Below is a bit of news sent to CZ by a concerned patriotic colleague.
The newsy item was extracted whole and raw from the December 2004 issue of
ZANU PF's magazine, Zimbabwe News.
      "Tel-one on expansion programme - Public fixed telephone company,
Tel-one, has embarked on a phased expansion programme to add up to 1.6
million new telephone lines over five years at a cost of US$288. The
contract for the first phase of the drive worth US$28.9 was expected to
start soon. When commenced, the project will take nine months to complete,
and will mainly target rural areas."
      Due to exigencies of space, the party publication could not tell us
which donor country - China, Malaysia, Libya, Iran, etc - was involved in
this latest project. CZ wonders what our detractors, who for a long time
have been saying life in Zimbabwe is now a struggle, will say this time.
      Yes, the country is starved of good news, but surely this is something
else.

      Developments!

      With our one and only TV station now also available on DStv, we are
pleased that most people can also witness the torture we are subjected to
every day of our lives. By the way, when are we getting the next jingle?
      cznotebook@yahoo.co.uk

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FinGaz

Letter

      Dongo a crucial factor in the political game

      2/3/2005 7:36:19 AM (GMT +2)

      EDITOR - Former MP Margaret Dongo's comeback bid is a welcome
development in the politics of our country. I'm saying this because
independents by their nature rarely assume national power. This fact should
not be scoffed at.

      There is no doubt that the current tug-of-war between the two main
parties is all about the control of the instruments of governance. Very
little, if any, effort is invested in finding solutions to the burning
issues. The feeling that the opposition sees an escalation of the economic
and social situation as a potential blow against the ruling party is
growing. On the other hand, the ruling party seems to be investing all its
energy in fighting off the opposition. With this scenario, there is no will
by both sides to concentrate on seeking out solutions.
      Exprience in the UK, Australia and India has shown that independents
can be very effective at a single or limited number of issues. During her
last tenure in parliament, Margaret Dongo concerntrated on the issues of
corruption and helped to uncover the abuse of the War Victims Compensation
Fund and the corrupt lease of government farms in the land reform programme
of the early 1990s. She also helped to uncover corruption at Solomon
Tawengwa's Town House administration, which was subsequently sacked.
      Such a remarkable record and the fact that Dongo, if elected, will
likely only dream about the ultimate political power, is something an
educated population like ours should consider seriously. Dongo would be a
crucial factor in the political game.

      Lawrence Ncube
      Harare
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FinGaz

      NRZ to be leased to private investors

      Nelson Banya
      2/3/2005 7:29:55 AM (GMT +2)

      THE National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) could soon be leased to
private transport players as the government seeks to resuscitate the ailing
parastatal, which is now struggling to pay its workers.

      The government, which has turned to the Far East to salvage most of
its lossmaking enterprises, has listed the NRZ among 58 projects open for
various forms of public-private partnerships (PPP) under new guidelines
recently announced by acting Finance Minister Herbert Murerwa.
      Other projects in which private sector involvement has been invited
include the long-stalled thermal power projects in Hwange and Gokwe, the
rural electrification programme, airport upgrades in Buffalo Range, Kariba
and Victoria Falls, the Harare-Chitungwiza railway line, the dualisation of
major highways, blast furnace refurbishment at the Zimbabwe Iron and Steel
Company as well as the construction of various dams across the country.
      Murerwa has said the launch of the PPP framework in infrastructure
provision was born out of a realisation that "government had limited
resources and capacity to adequately address the country's large
infrastructural requirements".
      The government has been criticised for committing inadequate resources
towards capital expenditure, with 81.8 percent of the 2005 national budget
allocated to recurrent expenditure.
      Under the PPP guidelines, private institutions can forge partnerships
with the NRZ, which has suffered from gross undercapitalisation, uneconomic
tariffs and mismanagement over the years, on the basis of either a
management contract or, as is more likely, a lease.
      The government, which has aborted its privatisation scheme launched in
the early 1990s, is keen to retain control of its assets but has indicated,
through the guidelines, that it is amenable to letting private partners run
or manage some of the enterprises.
      "In the case of a lease, government maintains ultimate ownership of a
facility but leases to a private partner full operating rights and
responsibilities, in exchange for a lease payment to the government. The
private partner directly derives income from tariffs, but bears full
commercial risk and responsibility for maintenance and replacement of
short-term assets.
      "Government will retain the responsibility for fixed assets and
servicing of long-term debt. This partnership can apply to transport and
water supply, among other sectors," the guidelines state.
      Under a management contract, the government also retains ownership,
with private partners managing the operations and maintenance of the
enterprise, guided by set out targets. It also retains the decision-making
role with respect to capital investments.
      The guidelines state that this model will be used for the energy,
waste water and construction sectors.
      The NRZ, whose severely depleted and obsolete rolling stock has
compromised the mining and industrial sectors, has been one of the worst
performing parastatals.
      The NRZ is, along with the similarly afflicted Air Zimbabwe, in line
for a $1.1 trillion capital injection under an ambitious $10 trillion
parastatal reform plan announced by Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor Gideon
Gono last week.
      The government has in the past mooted several rescue packages for the
NRZ and other state enterprises, but the initiatives have failed to take off
the ground. The railway monopoly has signed memoranda of understanding with
several potential technical partners, apparently to no avail.
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FinGaz

      Govt moves to protect shaky Vic Falls bridge

      Staff Reporter
      2/3/2005 7:30:27 AM (GMT +2)

      THE government has imposed a tonnage restriction on the Victoria Falls
Bridge, a trade gateway between Zimbabwe and other regional countries such
as Zambia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, amid concerns that the
crucial link had reached the end of its lifespan.

      The bridge, constructed in 1905 with a lifespan of up to 100 years,
urgently requires reconstruction to avert a potentially disastrous
structural failure.
      The government, through the Ministry of Transport and Communications,
announced a maximum restriction of 10 tonnes, from the previous 30 tonnes,
with effect from December 17 2004.
      The tonnage restriction was gazetted by the ministry in terms of
Section 68 of the Roads Act (Chapter 13:18).
      Officials in the National Railways of Zimbabwe's (NRZ) infrastructure
division had raised alarm that the high-level dual carriageway bridge -
which carries a railway line, a roadway and a pedestrian walkway - had for
long been overburdened because of lack of load restrictions.
      However, the NRZ officials said the bridge's railway loading remained
within stipulated levels.
      The 1929 design load for the roadway was derived from two five-tonne
axles spaced about three metres apart. Two such lorries were allowed side by
side to give an intensity of one tonne per foot (or 32.8 kiloNewtons per
metre).
      Documents prepared by the NRZ infrastructure department revealed that
the bridge was being overloaded for the past 15 years.
      "There have been no loading restrictions operational on the bridge.
Thus the legal load limit on the roadway has been assumed to be the limit on
the bridge by transport operators. The legal road limit for vehicles in
Zimbabwe is 24.6 tonnes (241 kiloNewtons) for a triaxle combination 2.8
metres long.
      "This gives a load intensity of 57.4 kiloNewtons per metre, which is
75 percent over the design load. Overweight vehicles have been measured and
found to have weights of up to 37.9 tonnes for a triaxle combination, giving
load intensity of 88.5 kiloNewtons per metre, which is 170 percent above
design limit.
      "There are excessive vibrations being felt whenever heavy truck
traverses the bridge," reads part of the document, prepared by the NRZ to
lobby for othern neighbour Zambian support in imposing load restrictions.
      Zimbabwe shares the bridge with Zambia.
      A structural analysis of the bridge was carried out last year, on the
basis of which action to either reconstruct or reinforce it would be taken,
NRZ sources said last year.
      It has also been established that the Zambian authorities have
received World Bank funding for adjustments to be made to the bridge.
      Built by Freeman Fox and partners in 1905, the bridge was originally
set up to support two railway lines but was reconfigured in 1929 to
accommodate one railway line, one roadway and a walkway.
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FinGaz

      RBZ takes cleanup exercise to farm sector

      Felix Njini
      2/3/2005 7:32:43 AM (GMT +2)

      CHICKENS may be coming home to roost for farmers and institutions that
might have abused the productive sector facility (PSF) in the agricultural
sector as the central bank takes its cleanup exercise into the bedrock of
Zimbabwe's economy.

      The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ), which has successfully cleaned up
imprudent banking practices in the erstwhile financial sector, last week
sent chills down the spines of most farmers and agro-concerns when it
announced that it would soon be carrying out a probe into how $1.5 trillion
allocated to the sector through the Agriculture Ministry was used.
      There are suspicions that some farmers and farming institutions abused
cheap PSF funds meant for the purchase of agricultural equipment.
      Cases of PSF abuses were also detected in other industries where
directors commandeered the resource to pay dividends at the expense of
production, forcing the RBZ to descend heavily on the offenders.
      Last year the RBZ recalled funds which had been diverted by companies
to pay dividends.
      In his fourth monetary policy review presentation last week, RBZ
governor Gideon Gono said the bank would soon carry out an "exhaustive
 audit" to find out whether the funds were put to proper use.
      "Within the turnaround framework of promoting transparency and
accountability in deployment of public funds, the Reserve Bank will be
conducting an exhaustive audit on how these resources were used, including
deployment of agricultural equipment that was acquired under the
agricultural equipment scheme," Gono said.
      The central bank, which has gone all out to stimulate the supply side,
doled out the $1.5 trillion for the procurement of agricultural equipment,
upgrading of irrigation facilities and the purchase of fertiliser.
      Sources within the industry said the RBZ's inquisitive eye would also
fall on the Agricultural Rural Development Authority, which has been
spearheading the sector's standstill mechanisation programmes.
      Suspicion is high that there was over-invoicing in the importation of
some agricultural equipment.
      "If a company is given public funds to boost production and then the
money is not put to its intended use, there is justification for the central
bank to intervene," said a local economist.
      The probe into the abuse of PSF funds comes hard on the heels of a
similar investigation into the abuse of loan facilities at the Agricultural
Bank of Zimbabwe (Agribank), the national land bank.
      The Agribank probe has since revealed more than 120 cases of abuse of
funds.
      There are also fears that some of the irrigation equipment such as
tractors had surreptitiously found their way into the hands of undeserving
senior government officials.
      Industry players said the biggest drawback in the agricultural sector
over the past years has been the unavailability of tillage and irrigation
facilities.
      Farmers have also been failing to access the critical ammonium nitrate
fertiliser despite numerous promises made by government to provide all the
required inputs.
      Analysts forecast the 2004/5 farming season to be one of the worst
ever due to poor planning and lack of adequate financing.
      Over the past four years production in all facets of the sector has
plummeted, dragging down the economy. Analysts estimate that agriculture has
declined 70 percent.
      The spotlight is also likely to fall on the corruption riddled
National Oil Company of Zimbabwe over the abuse of a farming sector fuel
facility introduced to benefit farmers with subsidised fuel for their
productive activities.
      Investigations have clearly revealed that the bulk of the fuel is not
reaching the targeted needy farmers but is being diverted to insider petrol
stations or underground fuel catchments.
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FinGaz

      Where will you be on April 18 2005?

      By Mavis Makuni
      2/3/2005 7:45:18 AM (GMT +2)

      To the question: "Where were you on April 18 1980?", a sizeable number
of Zimbabweans would, I am sure, respond to the effect that they were at
Rufaro Stadium in Harare.

      For it was on that day 25 years ago that the people of this country
experienced the incomparably euphoric phenomenon of attaining independence
from Britain.
      As the Union Jack was lowered for the last time after 100 years of
colonial oppression and the new Zimbabwe standard went up, I honestly
believed the sky was the limit to what this new, fledgling nation could
become.
      Unfortunately, I was not at Rufaro Stadium that historic day but
followed the proceedings on television and radio. I had landed in the
capital Harare, which was called Salisbury when I had left six years
earlier, the previous day.
      As a result, I was nursing a serious case of jet lag after a long-haul
flight from an "imperialist" Western country where I had been studying.
However, despite the fatigue I was experiencing, the sense of national
pride, excitement and hope was almost palpable and I felt privileged to be
part of this great moment in our country's history.
      It is tragic therefore that as the countdown towards the 25th
independence anniversary continues, I see this milestone as an anti-climax.
      Despite being advertised and promoted to saturation point, the
forthcoming Silver Jubilee has failed to ignite any sense of excitement,
hope and anticipation in me. In fact, if the truth be told, I find our next
independence anniversary quite painful and depressing.
      Why? The main reason is that I honestly do not believe that the
ordinary person has much cause to celebrate. There is not much evidence that
the quality of his or her life has improved or that it is likely to do so in
the foreseeable future.
      Much as he or she would like to be upbeat and positive, the ordinary
person's sense of optimism is dampened by a heavy fog caused by the
countless crises bedevilling the country.
      Indeed, nothing could be more disturbing than the fact that in order
to appreciate the full impact of the attainment of independence, one is
obliged to sift through the ashes of the past to find inspiration. The
prevailing landscape is bleak indeed, littered as it is with all the ills
Zimbabweans thought would be eradicated through the defeat of colonialism.
      One of the worst problems is that the average person has to toil even
harder than he or she did under Ian Smith's rule to barely survive
economically.
      True, people now earn salaries running into millions of dollars, but
what good are these millions when prices have shot through the roof? It is
sad but true when people say they were better off with their two-figure
pre-independence wages because they could at least afford to meet their
financial obligations.
      The gap between the rich and the poor was wide under colonial rule,
but it has now become an unbridgeable chasm. Courtesy of rampant corruption,
lack of accountability, economic mismanagement, a deeply embedded crony
system and a culture of impunity, the ordinary person can only gape at the
opulent lifestyles of the ruling elites.
      To add insult to injury, he is just as helpless as he was under
colonial rule with regard to voicing his grievances in a bid to improve
his/her lot.
      The ordinary person has been bombarded with relentless propaganda over
the last four or so years. Its main thrust has been to drum into Zimbabweans
the message that despite the evidence of their own eyes and experiences,
everything is, in fact, hunky-dory! Failure to see things in these glowing
terms amid suffocating belt-tightening and unbearably pinching shoes results
in being labelled unpatriotic or puppets of foreign agents, particularly
Tony Blair.
      The government's "Look East" policy - or look wherever else in a
geographical sense - is debatable. However, its "Look to the Past" in order
to move forward decree is a definite no-no. It has never worked anywhere
else.
      Granted, the liberation war, to which most Zimbabweans contributed in
different ways, represents an important period in our history. No one can
dispute that. However, participation in this war should not be decreed a
permanent point of reference for every other facet of our existence.
      It can be a retrogressive fixation, as the political and economic
stagnation of the last few years has demonstrated beyond a shadow of doubt.
It has been a polarising force. It has definitely hampered national
political growth by limiting free and unhindered participation to a
particular party and section of the nation.
      Those with specialised knowledge and skills that could enhance
democracy and improve governmental performance have been excluded on the
basis of party affiliation. But as an American judge Justice Robert Jackson
once said: "It is not the function of our government to keep the citizen
from falling into error; it is the function of the citizen to keep the
government from falling into error."
      The low voter turnout in the ruling party's recent primary elections
suggests that people are fed up, cynical, disgusted and turned off by the
political system. Unfortunately, this is what I also feel with regard to the
Silver Jubilee unless the occasion can be used as a rallying call to
reassure and re-unite all Zimbabweans.
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Daily News online edition

      Police arrest photographer at airport

      Date: 3-Feb, 2005

      HARARE -The police manning the Harare International Airport on
Wednesday arrested an official from the Crisis Coalition of Zimbabwe, Itai
Zimunya, for allegedly taking pictures of a deported South African
delegation without seeking government authority.

      According to Pedzisai Ruhanya, the information officer at the CCZ,
Zimunya was at the Harare International Airport at the same time immigration
officials were deporting the 20-member Congress of South African Trade Union
delegation that had come to Zimbabwe for a

      fact-finding mission.

      "Zimunya took pictures of the COSATU delegation," Ruhanya said. "The
police then pounced on him and arrested him for taking the photographs in a
protected security area without State authority. He was detained for nearly
four hours. The police only released him after he paid a $25 000 admission
of guilt fine."

      Zimbabwe immigration officials barred the COSATU delegationfrom
entering the country, charging that they had come without following laid
down procedures.

      The deportation became the second within a few months after Zimbabwe's
police and immigration officials expelled the COSATU delegation in October
for defying a government directive barring such action.

      The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) condemned the
government action saying: "The treatment of the COSATU officials should
clear up any lingering doubts about the Government's position on political
tolerance and ensuring freedom of association - two of the key principles in
the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Protocol on democratic
elections."

      The Zimbabwe government has constantly come under attack from Zimbabwe's
opposition political parties, civic society and the international community
for being undemocratic and pursuing dictatorial political values.
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Daily News online edition

      Embassy staff caught up in espionage net

      Date: 3-Feb, 2005

      JOHANNESBURG - Staff at the Zimbabwe Embassy here have been caught up
in the espionage case in which a former senior embassy official was recently
nabbed on charges of selling state secrets to a South African handler in the
country's secret service.

      Sources at the embassy yesterday told The Daily News Online that
members of Zimbabwe's secret service, the Central Intelligence

      Organization (CIO) were at the embassy and questioned staff on their
involvement in the activities of Godfrey Dzvairo, the former

      consular general. They said some of the intelligence officers at the
embassy were set to be relieved of their duties or posted elsewhere

      after it was discovered that they were aware of Dzvairo's activities
but did not bother to inform their bosses in Harare.

      "There is apprehension among the members of staff because they are now
under the watchful eye of the CIO. Although we were aware that our movements
would be monitored, current surveillance by the CIO is now a bother," said
one of the employees who refused to be identified.

      Activities at the Zimbabwean embassy recently came into the spotlight
when Dzvairo, was nabbed by the intelligence agents, together with
flamboyant businessman and politician, Phillip Chiyangwa, banking executive,
Tendai Matambanadzo, Zanu PF employees, Kenny Karidza and Itai Marchi. The
four were nabbed after a South African intelligence officer, arrested in
Zimbabwe, spilled the beans, and agreed to talk, resulting in their arrests.

      The other three, Marchi, Matambanadzo and Dzvairo, have so far been
convicted on their own plea, after a magistrate refused their

      defence that they had pleaded guilty to espionage under duress.
Chiyangwa, who is being charged separately, has pleaded not guilty to

      espionage charges.

      According to media reports, the agent, who is currently under the
custody of intelligence officers in Harare, is alleged to have tried

      to add on his list of informers, a senior official of the CIO. The
move however backfired when he was trapped, resulting in his

      subsequent arrest.

      An official at the embassy, told The Daily News Online that what
Dzvairo had done was unacceptable and that some of them were set to

      suffer as a result of that. The official said although members of the
CIO had finished their investigations at the embassy, a witch-hunting

      process between those who sympathized with Dzvairo and those who did
not, was set to start soon.

      "Everyone trusted Dzvairo, even those who knew that he was involved in
some clandestine activities. Even president Mugabe trusted him, hence his
promotion and subsequent posting to Mozambique as an ambassador," said the
official, adding that recent developments had resulted in the president not
trusting young turks within the party and government.

      "Embassy staff are the highest paid civil servants because even junior
officers are paid more than government ministers. We do not understand why
Dzvairo decided to trade state information for money because he was living
pretty," said the official, adding that

      the whole incident had embarrassed the government because people had
always thought that spies where within the opposition MDC, and not the likes
of Chiyangwa and Dzvairo.

      Efforts to get comment from the Zimbabwean ambassador to South Africa,
Simon Khaya Moyo, proved fruitless as he was said to be too

      busy to respond to media queries.

      However, Moyo, who has always spoken the loudest whenever issues
concerning Zimbabwe's main opposition party, MDC are raised, has remained
mum on the issue.

      On the other hand, the South African government, which has always
publicly spoken out against harassment and illegal detention of its

      nationals, has equally played down the issue, choosing to instead make
indirect comments concerning their arrested secret service agent.
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Daily News online edition

      Civil society attacks Zim government over COSATU deportation

      Date: 3-Feb, 2005

      JOHANNESBURG - Yesterday's deportation from Zimbabwe of a
Confederation of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) delegation

      which had intended to embark on a fact finding mission in the country,
has been roundly condemned by civic organizations inside and

      outside Zimbabwe.

      The COSATU delegation, which had the blessings of both the ruling
African National Congress (ANC) and the South African Communist Party
(SACP), was yesterday barred from entering Zimbabwe by the embattled
government of Robert Mugabe, which is arguing that the South African trade
union movement was being used by western critics bent on meddling in
Zimbabwe's internal affairs.

      COSATU secretary general, Zwelinzima Vavi, speaking from Harare
International Airport, said his delegation had been issued with a

      prohibition order by the government, stating that the delegation was
not welcome in Zimbabwe.

      "There is a prohibition form waiting for all here containing all our
names, so the plan was to kick us back," said Vavi. Another

      member of the team, Rosaline de Wee, speaking just before the group
left the Harare International Airport, said the group would not

      resist deportation and that their fears that Zimbabwe was not being
run democratically, had been confirmed.

      "We have been kicked out formally . We are about to go home on the
very same flight we came with.

      Jorum Mlambo, chairman of the Johannesburg based Disadvantaged People
of Zimbabwe Forum, told The Daily News Online that what the government had
done was not acceptable. He said most of the people who had decided to move
out of Zimbabwe had done so as a result of Mugabe's dictatorial tendencies.

      "What will the ANC government say? What it means is that they have
been chased out of Zimbabwe because the Labour Minister here,

      Membathisi Mdladlana had indicated that the government was very much
behind the mission. What our government does not know is that democracy in
South Africa is built on the bedrock of workers, who are a key element in
the success of ANC in the previous elections," he said.

      In England, Dr. Edison Musanhu, a Zimbabwean who has lived there in
exile since 1983, said the attitude shown by the Zimbabwean

      government was not encouraging. Dr. Musanhu, who also co-ordinates
activities of Zimbabweans in Birmingham, under the Zimbabweans in England
Business Consortium, a business focused group which is pulling resources for
investment in the country after the Mugabe era, said the decision to refuse
peer criticism was not good for business.

      "We have one life to live and therefore no one should have the right
to make decisions which can negatively affect all of us. Many

      Zimbabweans have lost their jobs, with some of them living in abject
poverty because of what one man is doing. That is not fair," he said, adding
that a number of British companies which his organization had approached,
had indicated that they were not prepared to invest in Zimbabwe because of
the political risks.

      In Zimbabwe, Eddison Ncube of the Bulawayo based Concerned Christians
Forum, said what had been done by the government was an indication that it
would not accept any dissenting voices.

      "We are heading towards an election and such things should not have
happened. We are calling on the government to allow open debate on political
issues. This business of banning the opposition from holding any campaign
meetings should stop. MDC commands a reasonable following in the Zimbabwean
political field and therefore it should be allowed to carry out campaign
meetings," he added.

      The COSATU debacle has come a few days after ANC secretary general,
Kgalema Motlanthe, also expressed concern over the banning MDC meetings in
the country. He urged the Zimbabwean government to level the country's
political playing field.

      "As a party, we are nudging Zanu PF to ensure that the outcome of the
election should really be without the possibility of being questioned by
anybody. It is in the interests of South Africa to ensure that Zimbabwe's
forthcoming elections are free and fair," he said, adding that the country
should stick to the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) electoral
principles.

      Meanwhile, ANC is set to urgently meet over COSATU's deportation from
Zimbabwe, sources in the party have indicated. An official in

      the party said the party's lekgotla, was set look into the COSATU
issue as a matter of urgency.

      "For ANC, political developments in Zimbabwe are a sensitive issue
which has to be tackled with delicacy. Of late ANC had abandoned its
pro-Zanu PF attitude, and looked at issues in that country from both sides,
hence the recent criticism of the ruling party. We have come to realize that
MDC is also a party of repute in Zimbabwe and that there are many
Zimbabweans who see it as a viable entity," said the official.
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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

State backtracks on Tsvangirai judgment

Brian Mangwende Assistant Editor
issue date :2005-Feb-03

IN a move perceived by political analysts as maximising political mileage
for the government, the State has somersaulted on its leave to appeal
against a High Court judgment that set free MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai on
charges of attempting to kill his nemesis, President Robert Mugabe.
The country's newly-appointed Attorney-General, Sobusa Gula-Ndebele,
confirmed the withdrawal to The Daily Mirror yesterday, but denied the
latest development was politically motivated.
Last November, the State made an application for leave to appeal in the
Supreme Court against a decision by High Court Judge President Paddington
Garwe who threw out its case.
Garwe said the State had failed to prove beyond reasonable doubt that
Tsvangirai had requested Dickens and Madsen - a Canadian based political
consultancy - to assassinate President Mugabe and stage a military coup.
The judge also dismissed evidence by the State's key witness, Ari Ben
Menashe, a former Israeli spy, saying his evidence was unreliable and
unsubstantiated.
Yesterday, Gula-Ndebele said: "It's true that we have withdrawn the case."
Asked why, he replied: "We considered the documents before us and saw that
there was no merit in pursuing the matter."
Tsvangirai's lawyer Innocent Chagonda said: "It's a realisation by the State
that there was no basis for the application. Garwe's judgment can't be
interfered with on appeal. The application had no merit whatsoever. The
whole treason trial should not have taken place because it was unfounded.
Constitutional law expert and chairman of the National Constitutional
Assembly, Lovemore Madhuku said of the government's sudden U-turn: "The
government wants to gain maximum political advantage and create an
impression that the political environment has improved in the country. The
reality is that they no longer consider Tsvangirai as a threat and keeping
him on a leash would not be advantageous."Asked about the timing of the
State's decision to withdraw seeing that the elections were just around the
corner, Madhuku claimed: "They think that Tsvangirai gets more political
mileage by claiming political persecution, therefore it would be to their
advantage to set him free, because they believe he is now a political
nonentity. They will probably withdraw the second treason charge as well
before the election."
Tsvangirai, who switched unionism for politics, faces another treason charge
for allegedly inciting the public to remove President Mugabe from power
through civil action dubbed by the media "The Final Push" after the 2002
presidential election controversially won by the Zimbabwean Head of
State-whose results the MDC leader is challenging in court.
In response Gula-Ndebele said: "If someone gets political mileage out of it,
so be it, but we considered this issue purely as a legal matter and nothing
else. We took a legal and not political decision."
Harare lawyer Terrence Hussein said the withdrawal signalled a vote of
confidence in the judiciary by the State.
Said Hussein: "Essentially it's a vote of confidence by the State. They are
simply saying that they may not have been happy with the decision but they
accept it. It is a vote of confidence in Garwe's decision after the State
saw it fit not to proceed."
Political analyst Eldred Masungure from the University of Zimbabwe had this
to say of the State's backflip: "I would like to agree with sceptics that
there could indeed be some political undertones to the withdrawal because
everything relating to the government has some political connotations.
"However, on the other hand it may work in favour of creating a more
conducive environment for the forthcoming elections. It maybe a
reconciliatory statement by the government to pave way for dialogue and can
be seen as healing process in that Tsvangirai no longer has an appeal
hanging over his head. It can also be seen as a morale booster for
Tsvangirai and his party."
Tsvangirai was initially charged alongside two senior MDC
officials-secretary general Welshman Ncube and shadow agricultural minister
Renson Gasela who were acquitted during the trial.
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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Gono clashes with ZCTU

The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2005-Feb-03

THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor Gideon Gono has clashed with the
Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) over his statement recently,
imploring employers and employees to exercise restraint in wage increases
this year.
In a statement Wellington Chibebe, the union's secretary general said
yesterday:
 "The ZCTU is concerned with the Governor's disregard of the laws that
govern collective bargaining in this country, in particular, the Labour
Relations Act.
"Gone are the days in which government officials peg parameters of wage
negotiations. His sentiments are also contrary to ILO Convention 98 that
deals with the Right to Organise and Collective Bargaining."
Gono, widely perceived as the country's economic messiah after introducing
measures that saw inflation tumbling from over 600 to below 200 percent,
impressed on employers and employees in the private sector not to increase
wages by more than 80 percent.
The monetary czar's argument was that since the average inflation for 2005
was expected to drift between 80 and 90 percent, wage increments should move
in sync with the projected targets, unless they were still below the market
rate.
Chibebe added: "It is unacceptable for the RBZ to set the agenda on
negotiations. We would like also to remind him that the social partners
signed the Prices and Incomes Stabilisation Protocol on 30 January 2003 in
which it was agreed that the wages have to be linked to the poverty datum
line (PDL)."
Presently, Chibebe said, the average wage for workers in the private sector
was around $800 000 yet the PDL was around $1 700 000.
The ZCTU noted that the belief by Gono was premised on the fact the central
bank chief was using the Central Statistics Office PDL figures pegged at
$662 541 in December 2004. Chibebe said the figures  were based on "economic
theories that have nothing to do with the reality on the ground."
"The ZCTU can only restrain its demands for higher wages if and when the
workers start earning wages that match the PDL and will continue to advocate
for higher wage increases as long as workers' wages fall below the PDL,"
vowed Chibebe.
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Hospital in need of care

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

HARARE, 3 Feb 2005 (IRIN) - Lack of finance has left the Harare Central
hospital, one of Zimbabwe's major referral centres, on the verge of
collapse.

The superintendent of the 1,428-bed hospital, Chris Tapfumaneyi, told IRIN,
"Most of our machines are obsolete and cannot be repaired - some of them
have been like this for the past 10 years".

When IRIN visited the hospital last week, five elevators were broken down;
many toilets and sinks were blocked; part of the ceiling leaked badly; the
laboratory equipment and anaesthetic machines were not functioning;
incubators were operating at reduced capacity; and three out of the five
dialysis machines were not in working order.

Dirty linen - normally carried down in elevators from the upper floors - was
being thrown haphazardly to the ground floor corridors below.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, a nurse at the hospital said sick people
had to be carried up the stairs to wards on upper floors, while bodies being
removed from upstairs wards to the mortuary were placed in body bags and
dragged down the stairs.

A company called in to repair the elevators five years ago had declared them
obsolete; last year the National Social Security Authority inspectors
declared the elevators unfit for hospital use.

"We were allocated $300 million (about US $5,000) to purchase two elevators,
but our problem is that the State Procurement Board has not yet awarded a
new tender for the work. We wrote to them in October last year but there is
no development yet," Tapfumaneyi said.

Theatre equipment, including anaesthetic machines, barely function.

Patients also have to cope with bathing in cold water, as the geysers and
showers have broken down - showers are recommended in hospitals, as they are
more hygienic.

In the maternity wing more than 60 women give birth every day. When IRIN
visited, thirty-six sick and premature babies were being looked after in the
nursery, where the central heating system that is supposed to provide a
regulated environment for them no longer works.

Tapfumaneyi said facilities at the hospital started deteriorating three
years ago when foreign currency shortages hit the country.

"A hospital cannot function properly without the injection of foreign
currency by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe. Things are improving now with the
new developments at the bank, but we are not yet there," he explained.

When contacted for comment, the Minister of Health and Child Welfare, Dr
David Parirenyatwa, failed to respond.

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National Review

February 03, 2005, 9:25 a.m.
"No" to "Democracy"
Zimbabwe's implosion.

By Roger Bate

Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe recently cut short a month-long holiday
in Malaysia and Singapore to stem wrangling within his ruling Zanu-PF party
due to a vicious internal power struggle.

Party insiders say Mugabe, never known for admitting a crisis, is now
seriously worried that growing rifts in the party could have a catastrophic
effect on the March general election in which Zanu-PF is pitted against the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). For the final, fatal
collapse of the odious Mugabe regime, however, the MDC must withdraw from
the election it cannot win.

The president stole the elections in 2000 and 2002 and has brutally
suppressed the opposition from operating properly. He says he will live up
to regional Southern African Development Community (SADC) election
protocols, but no -one believes him, and with good reason. Without an MDC
withdrawal the façade of democracy will remain and the international
community will not intervene as it must.

As army officers, team captains, and political-party leaders know, nothing
prevents infighting as well as a common enemy. So it would be of no surprise
if Mugabe sincerely hopes that the MDC contests the election. Without an
opposition to fight, Zanu-PF might well implode - the result of which may be
civil war.

Boycotting the election will have two additional effects. First, it will
force the international community to get off the fence when the reality of
Zimbabwe's dictatorship replaces the façade of democracy. Second, it will
exacerbate the infighting within Zanu-PF, probably leading to a real power
struggle.

As for the U.S., the State Department must make all aid, trade deals, and
other largesse to the region dependent on their pressuring Mugabe to stand
down - or hold fair elections, not the farces of 2000 and 2002. In the very
short run they must demand that food aid be brought in. Mugabe no longer
cares how the world sees him, but the presidents in the rest of the region,
including South Africa's Thabo Mbeki, do. It is pressure applied to them
that counts, and it can work. There is an entirely relevant historical
precedent - the white Rhodesian Government of Ian Smith was brought to its
knees by pressure from America, South Africa, and Britain. If those three
countries work together again it could be achieved - but it has to be led by
Mbeki. The big question is will Mbeki finally stand up to the man who
supported him during the apartheid years by allowing ANC bases in Zimbabwe.
America can, and it should, make it too uncomfortable for Mbeki not to.

- Roger Bate is a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and a director
of the health advocacy group Africa Fighting Malaria
.
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Plea for a safe Haven Feb 3 2005

    Mike Blackburn, Evening Gazette

      An asylum seeker who fled Zimbabwe after her husband and daughter were
murdered is desperately fighting deportation from Teesside.

      Edneth Gotora, who is trying to rebuild her life in Stockton, fears
she will be in danger if forced to return to her homeland.

      The widow is being backed in her battle to stay by local churchgoers
and church leaders, who she has befriended and who have now launched a
petition on her behalf.

      Edneth's husband, a prominent political activist, was murdered in 2002
after speaking out against Mugabe's ruling Zanu PF Party.

      After he was beaten and arrested without charge a number of times a
group of Zanu PF members came to the Gotora's house and subjected the family
to an unspeakable ordeal.

      Edneth's husband was taken and killed and her four-year-old daughter
later died in hospital from her injuries.

      The gang was arrested, but when released on bail came back to the
house and threatened Edneth. She was then abducted and taken to a
"rehabilitation camp" where she was raped by the camp leader.

      She became so unwell that she was taken to hospital from where she
escaped and fled to England in October, 2002.

      Edneth was settling in her new community in Stockton, where she became
a member of the United Reformed Church, when she was hit with devastating
news - the Home Office had rejected her application for asylum.

      "The people here have made me feel so welcome and safe," she told the
Gazette.

      "If I am made to go back to Zimbabwe I fear for my life."

      Edneth's minister, the Reverend Colin Offor of the Stockton United
Reformed Church, has launched a petition and is urging Teessiders to show
their support.

      "We are urging the Home Office to be compassionate and give Edneth
exceptional leave to remain," he said. "She has just been told to make
immediate arrangements to leave the country, but she is terrified if she
returns to Zimbabwe she will be in great danger.

      "Edneth has been coming to our church since she arrived in Stockton
two years ago and we all know and love her. She has been through so much and
we are keen to support her as much as we can."

      Mr Offor, who is seeking support from Stockton North MP Frank Cook, is
urging people to sign the petition at the church in Springfield Avenue or
visit the website at www.urc.org.uk/petition/index.htm

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IOL

Zim says Cosatu eviction won't mar relations
          February 03 2005 at 10:15AM

      The Cosatu incident will not affect relations between Zimbabwe and
South Africa, the South African Broadcast Commission (SABC) reported
Zimbabwean home affairs minister Kembo Mohadi as saying on Thursday.

      A delegation from the Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) was refused
entry to Zimbabwe on arrival at Harare's international airport on Wednesday.

      The African National Congress (ANC) is to meet Zimbabwe's ruling
Zanu-PF part to discuss the matter, the SABC reported.

      Meanwhile, a delegation of the Zimbabwean Congress of Trade Unions
(ZCTU) will meet members of Cosatu in Limpopo on Thursday.

      Cosatu spokesperson Patrick Craven said talks would probably get
underway at around 9am at the Aventura resort in Tshipise.

      The Zimbabwean delegation arrived in South Africa late on Wednesday
night after crossing into the country at the Beit Bridge border post.

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SABC

Cosatu and ZCTU meeting under way

February 03, 2005, 11:15

The meeting between Congress of South African Trade Union (Cosatu) and the
Zimbabwean Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) is underway at the Tshipise
Aventura resort outside Musina in Limpopo. Delegations from the two
federations arrived in Musina last night.

This is after the Zimbabwean government denied them permission to hold
discussions in Harare. Zwelinzima Vavi, the Cosatu delegation leader, is
adamant that his federation will continue pressuring the Zimbabwean
government to respect the rights of workers. Vavi also briefed Cosatu
members about what happened in Zimbabwe.

Cosatu to find out ZCTU needs
Vavi also told executives of member unions such as the National Union of
Mineworkers (NUM), Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union, South African
Democratic Teachers Union, South African Municipal Workers Union, and
National Education Health and Allied Workers Union, ahead of today's meeting
in Musina last night, that Cosatu will also find out from its Zimbabwe
counterpart about the help they needed in their fight against the oppression
they were going through in Zimbabwe.

Gwede Mantase, the Num leader, is also part of the delegation. He says
because mining is one of the pillars of the Zimbabwean economy, his union
feels it is important for the Zimbabwean employees particularly miners, to
be liberated. Lucia Matibenga, the leader of the Zimbabwean four member
delegation, told the media that it was for them an emotional moment
yesterday as Cosatu members were turned away from Zimbabwe. Today's meeting
is expected to end with a press conference at the Aventura resort at about
2pm
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From The Financial Mail, 28 January

Zimbabwe's new gold rush, 19th century style

By Brendan Ryan

Displaced farm workers have founda new livelihood

In Brazil they would be known as garimpeiros but, in Zimbabwe, the hordes of
gold miners wielding picks and shovels are called mkorakoza, a Shona word
meaning "panner". It's estimated there are more than 1m of them countrywide
and they produce in total between 400 kg and 600 kg of gold a month. That
means the mkorakoza could account for between 25% and 37% of Zimbabwe's gold
output, which was 19,5 t for 2003, according to Gold Fields Mineral
Services. Many have been driven into gold panning by Zimbabwe's land grabs,
which have forced hundreds of thousands of farm workers off farms. They can
find no other way to make a living and, in inflation-racked Zimbabwe, gold
mining pays a lot better than most unskilled occupations, even if there were
jobs available. A panner can recover around 2 g of gold a day, from which he
will make about Z$140 000 (about R140). That's what a Zimbabwean farm
labourer makes in a month. The result is a 19th-century-style gold rush as
the mkorakoza flood - legally and illegally - on to farms in Zimbabwe's
various gold belts. Zimbabwe has extensive gold-bearing zones but the reefs
are narrow, geologically complex and erratic in grade, making standard
commercial mining operations generally unviable.

The mkorakoza live in tents and "bivvies" made of plastic sheeting or
hessian sacks, right next to their mine workings. They get their supplies
from - and let their hair down in - shanty towns in the bush near the
workings. Apart from the harsh working and living conditions, many risk
long-term health problems because they use mercury to form the gold they
recover into a crude amalgam for smelting. They are also using technology
that dates back to 1886, when gold mining first started on the
Witwatersrand. The mkorakoza get their ore crushed by stamp mills. There's
still one stamp mill in Johannesburg. It's a national monument on a plinth
outside the Chamber of Mines building in Hollard Street. Yet these mills are
now being made to order by small engineering firms in Zimbabwe. Stamp mills
were replaced in the early 1900s by the vastly more efficient ball mills,
which are, with significant enhancements, still standard technology in
modern gold recovery plants. According to the Zimbabwean operator who showed
me around his property on condition of anonymity, stamp mills "are a son of
a bitch to maintain because they vibrate like hell. One worker is dedicated
full-time to constantly tightening every nut in sight and knocking bits of
metal back into the frame that are being shaken out of it."

The mkorakoza refuse to use ball mills. They prefer stamp mills because they
can watch their ore being treated. One miner says: "There's a mukiwa [Shona
for white man] in the ball mill stealing our gold." In a way he's right,
because some gold is lost as fine particles get trapped in the cracks
between the liners of a ball mill. The trapped gold is recovered through
clean-up operations when the liners wear down and have to be replaced, which
happens every few months. The mkorakoza cannot afford to buy their own stamp
mill. These are often owned by the holder of the mining permit for the area
being exploited. Frequently, that's a white farmer who has been kicked off
his land and has also turned to gold mining to survive. The mkorakoza brings
his ore, usually a ton at a time, to be crushed. He then takes the recovered
gold-bearing fraction of the ore and concentrates it further through several
stages of panning to isolate the heavier gold particles from the lighter
waste material.

With high-grade ore it's at this stage that the gold becomes visible as a
yellow "tail" in the bottom of the pan, standing out against the dark grey
of the remaining dense material. The gold-bearing concentrate is then formed
into an amalgam using mercury and crudely smelted to produce a form of
"sponge gold", which the mkorakoza sells to Fidelity Printers & Refiners,
which buys it on behalf of government. The operator makes his money in two
ways. He charges a fee for toll-milling the ore and providing basic services
such as a tractor and trailer to haul ore from the workings to the stamp
mill. The stamp mill recovers only the coarse gold fraction in the ore. The
fine gold fraction is carried through the process by the flow of water but
is then trapped in a small slimes dam. That fraction belongs to the
operator, who recovers it using the same cyanide process that most modern
gold mines use. Depending on grade and geological properties, the mkorakoza
recovers 50%-80% of the gold that was contained in his ore. The cyanide
tailings treatment process typically yields between 1 g/t and 2 g/t for the
operator.
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New Zimbabwe

Gono's relaunch of failed banks is doomed

By Patrick Mlambo
Last updated: 02/03/2005 23:53:44
I HAVE watched with interest the unfolding events regarding the
yet-to-be-opened Zimbabwe Allied Banking Group. In my own opinion, that bank
is essentially doomed unless the political process of coercion and beatings
is applied to retain clients who still have something to salvage from the
banks that make it up.

It is such a pity that Dr Gideon Gono has already made up his mind about its
formation and attempting to retract that decision may not be politically
correct. I have compelling reasons for feeling the way I do.

The first reason is that this bank is not a result of market forces. It is
not a result of any conspicuous intellectual verve. No one has a passion to
see it succeed except for the regulator, being the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.
When you look at the likes of Kingdom, you realise that the Nigel Chanakiras
were passionate about the successes of their ventures. Even the Tandis of
Time Bank, the Nyembas, the Dr Ncubes whose institutions ultimately failed
were passionate about their ventures. No amount of the regulator's
persuasion can entice clients to switch from banks that they already have
relationships with to this one especially knowing where it came from.
Because of the above deficiencies, I do not see the bank doing anything
special.

In addition, the ZABG is, put simply, an amalgamation of failed banks. It is
dysfunctional. There will be no real organisational culture to talk about
because the people at the top are from the various failed banks. The man at
the helm is a former regulator. And what contribution can a regulator make
to this bank besides managing compliance? He lacks the necessary
entrepreneurial background required of such a position. I am not too sure if
that would be encouraging to the departmental heads who fall under him.

Taking the point further, the potential market knows what the constituents
of this new bank are - the failed banks. There are healthy banks that were
there before independence and that are still there to date. There are also
healthy banks that were born in the mid-90s that are still there today. And
there is this big bank that is composed of most of the failed banks. Faced
with this array of banks, it would beat all reason to go to a bank whose
constituents once resulted in an individual failing to access their savings
and/or salary just a year ago. The implication of this is that there is
nothing to gain by being a depositor with ZABG. Ibhengi remadofo.

As if the above is not enough, the bank's failure to open as envisaged is a
stark reminder to anyone intending to bank with them that it is a bank that
is not well organised. That relaunch of failed banks should have been done
in style. That would perhaps have put paid to messages of discouragement
from people like me. Failing that first hurdle was a sure sign of what
awaits those who will choose to bank with it.

Their only hope is to be one of the banks used by government departments.
The Reserve Bank might also like to channel foreign currency from those in
diaspora though that bank.

In conclusion, that bank is a non-starter. Lest RBZ does not know, the
bank's current clients (those whose savings were frozen when the ZABG's
constituents went under) would like to see one thing happen - time to take
away their savings. Already they are with other institutions and no amount
of pursuasion will push them away from their current banks. As such, there
is no real potential market for this bank and those intending to join it are
better off ensuring that they make their next moves to more solid banks as
soon as the opportunities arise.

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Reuters

      S.Africa sees "positive" poll reforms in Zimbabwe

      Thu February 3, 2005 2:28 PM GMT+02:00
      By Andrew Quinn

      PRETORIA (Reuters) - South Africa on Thursday praised electoral
changes in Zimbabwe, calling them "positive developments" ahead of a March
poll seen as a crucial test of the country's commitment to democratic
reforms.

      Chief government spokesman Joel Netshitenzhe said South Africa had
taken note of the recent reforms, including a new "independent" electoral
commission, which is a key element of the electoral guidelines agreed by the
Southern African Development Community (SADC) last year.

      "There are some positive developments which give us hope that Zimbabwe
should come as close as possible to the protocols that have been agreed by
SADC," Netshitenzhe told a news conference.

      He said South Africa was unable to make a judgment on complaints by
Zimbabwe's main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) that the
reforms do not go far enough and fail to take into account a raft of
security and media laws, which it says favour President Robert Mugabe's
ruling ZANU-PF.

      The MDC said on Thursday it had decided "with a heavy heart" to take
part in the March 31 parliamentary elections after earlier threatening a
boycott in protest at the laws.

      Netshitenzhe said SADC, a 14-member regional bloc, planned to send a
technical fact-finding mission to Zimbabwe before the elections to assess
the situation and that South Africa would reserve judgment until the team
reported its findings.

      He said Pretoria would not be diverted by "sideshows" after a Congress
of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) team was denied entry in Harare on a
planned fact-finding visit on Wednesday.

      "There is a fundamental strategic objective that we pursue as South
Africa and as the Southern African Development Community, and that objective
is to help (Zimbabwe) achieve free and fair elections," Netshitenzhe said.

      "If we allowed ourselves to be diverted by sideshows, we might lose
sight of the ball."

      COSATU, a key ally of South Africa's ruling African National Congress
(ANC), reacted with outrage after Harare turned back its delegation as
uninvited visitors with a hostile agenda.

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Daily News, SA

      Starting all over again
      February 3, 2005

      By Daniel Balint-Kurti

      Riding through a Nigerian forest on motorbikes, four white Zimbabwean
farmers are checking out the land they'll soon settle on, hoping to start a
new life here after being chased off their farms by government-backed thugs
back home.

      Uprooted by Zimbabwean Presi-dent Robert Mugabe's land redistribution
programme, scores of farmers have already been welcomed by the country's
immediate neighbours for the jobs and economic growth they promise to
create. But Nigeria, 4 000km north-west of Zimbabwe, represents a new phase
of a budding exodus.

      The four men visiting Shonga are an advance party for 15 farmers
planning to move here next month, along with families, 50 black Zimbabwean
farm workers and 2 000 cattle.

      "Everybody is enthusiastic for the project to get going," says Alan
Jack, 46, whose farm was grabbed five years ago by about
      50 youths armed with clubs and machetes.

      Mugabe has encouraged the land seizures as a means of redressing
wealth inequalities rooted in British colonial times. But the policy has
been widely criticised for its brutality and has made Zimbabwe, once a food
exporter, dependent on food aid to save nearly half its 12.5 million people
from starvation.

      Since 2000, some of the thousands of farmers forced off their land
have moved to neighbouring Mozambique, South Africa and Zambia.

      Few, if any, have moved to West Africa, but governments here - Ghana
and Senegal as well as Nigeria - are lining up to host them, according to
the farmers.

      It's an endeavour that requires tact, if only because all these
countries bear the legacy of white colonial rule.

      Zambia has publicly warned its newcomers not to form white "cliques"
or set up "elitist" white country clubs, to stay out of politics and not get
involved in supporting opposition groups as they did in Zimbabwe.

      There are also fears in Nigeria that the farmers' arrival will raise
unrealistic expectations among the low-income farmers already working in the
Shonga area, 322km north of Nigeria's main city, Lagos.

      But the Nigerian government, which initiated the white migration,
remains gung-ho. Olayinka Aje, an aide to the governor of Kwara, Shonga's
state, says the farmers could turn the area "into the food basket of the
West African sub-region."

      Jack said he was attracted to Shonga because of good rainfall and
firm, deep soil in which "just about any crop will grow".

      Nigeria, Africa's most populous country with 126 million inhabitants,
also offers a huge domestic market.

      If things go well, more white Zimbabweans could move in next year, he
said.

      Mugabe's government refuses to comment on the farmers' emigration, but
continues to insist the land seizures are the way forward.

      The farmers will hire hundreds of Nigerian workers who, along with the
Zimbabwean farm workers, will clear an allotted 14 800ha of trees and
towering termite mounds to make way for maize, rice, soybeans and dairy and
poultry farms.

      Nigerian farmers here tend small plots growing staples such as cassava
and corn without machines or fertiliser. The Zimbabweans are offering
technical know-how and advice on cost-free techniques for improving yields,
such as better crop spacing. The government has promised to fund a 16th farm
for training purposes, run by a Zimbabwean farmer.

      But people here are wary. Huge state-run projects here usually are
gutted by corrupt managers. Near Shonga, a number of harvesters corrode in
open fields, left over from a project that collapsed in the 1990s.

      "We have a vision and I am trying to share that faith with the
people," says Halina Yahaya, the emir of mainly Muslim Shonga, but "people
say we hope we are not being taken for a ride."

      As well as signing an agreement with the local government, legal owner
of Kwara's land, the farmers also needed to negotiate with the emir, who
also holds land rights under local custom.

      The 7 000-plus villagers of the area, who have virtually no health
care or primary education, harbour very high expectations.

      Jibril Muazu, the chief of Ogudu, a village bordering the Zimbabweans'
future farmland, wants new roads, electricity, drinking water, hospitals and
schools.

      "If the commercial farmers are going to benefit from our land, these
are the ways we shouldbenefit from them," he says.

      Aje, the governor's aide, in-sists all these demands will be met by a
trust fund financed by a 1% levy on the newcomers' turnover.

      The four Zimbabweans, constantly joking like old friends, seem
undaunted by the challenge of rebuilding a social life far from home.

      "In Zimbabwe, we did everything together as farmers. We'll just do the
same here," Jack said. "There's 15 of us. It's enough to get on in life." -
Sapa-AP
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ReliefWeb

UN agency provides Zimbabwe with 1 million-US-dollar aid package

HARARE, Feb 3, 2005 (Xinhua via COMTEX) -- The United Nations Development
Program (UNDP) has unveiled a 1-million-US dollar aid package to Zimbabwe
for the agricultural sector, The Herald newspaper reported on Thursday.
Three departments in the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development -- 
the Agriculture Research and Extension Department, the Irrigation Department
and the Economics and Marketing Department are to benefit from the aid
package.
The UNDP would provide the financial and technical support, while the
ministry will be responsible for implementing the project in ecological
regions 4 and 5 which are prone to drought and low rainfall, said the
report.

The program is expected to benefit between 3,000 to 4,000 small- scale
farmers in the country.

The UNDP is to rehabilitate the irrigation schemes among the farmers and
provide them with water-saving technologies to enhance their productivity.
Irrigation allows farmers to at least double their productivity as they
would be able to grow crops all year round. Small-scale farmers would also
be able to diversify into other crops which they would not normally grow in
the absence of irrigation.

Agriculture contributes significantly to Zimbabwe's economy, accounting for
at least 16 percent of the country's Gross Domestic Product.

Zimbabwe's small-scale producers have been battling to increase productivity
in low-rainfall areas as some of the irrigation equipment commissioned in
the 1980s is now antiquated.
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LegalBrief

      Justice Minister dismisses exiles election bid as a political move
      Published in: Legalbrief Today
      Date: Thu 03 February 2005
      Category: General
      Issue No: 1268

    Zimbabwe's Minister of Justice, Patrick Chinamasa, has dismissed as a
political ploy the action by exiles to file a constitutional application
seeking to invalidate the government's decision to exclude them from taking
part in the March polls.

      The state-owned newspaper, The Herald, quotes Chinamasa as saying the
move was a political stance by the country's detractors to disturb the
electoral process. 'It is a frivolous and vexatious application. They are
free to come back home and vote provided they are registered like anybody
else,' said Chinamasa. He said the government would strongly oppose the
application because such actions were a clear abuse of the court process. A
group called the Diaspora Vote Action Group filed an urgent chamber
application seeking to be allowed to vote.

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