The ZIMBABWE Situation
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Statement by the IMF Mission to Zimbabwe

Press Release No. 06/22
February 3, 2006
The following statement was issued today in Harare by the International
Monetary Fund (IMF) mission to Zimbabwe at the conclusion of a staff visit
from January 25 to February 1, 2006:

The purpose of the visit, which occurred ahead of the IMF Executive Board's
review of Zimbabwe's overdue obligations to the Fund, was to conduct a
review of the current economic situation and provide advice on policies to
help Zimbabwe achieve sustained growth, low inflation, and improved living
standards for all Zimbabweans.

As in previous rounds of discussions, including in June and August 2005, the
IMF mission emphasized that Zimbabwe's economic crisis calls for urgent
implementation of a comprehensive policy package comprising several mutually
reinforcing actions. These include: strong fiscal adjustment; full
liberalization of the exchange rate regime for current account transactions;
adoption of a strong monetary anchor; elimination of quasi-fiscal activity
of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe and transparent absorption of these losses
by the budget; and fundamental structural reform, including price
deregulation, public enterprise reform, strengthening of property rights,
and improvements in governance. In the absence of such a comprehensive and
immediate policy package, Zimbabwe's economic prospects would be bleak.
Zimbabwe also needs to strengthen relations with the international
community. The Fund staff stands ready to assist the authorities in
designing an appropriate policy package, which would help achieve
macroeconomic stability and growth and improve the welfare of the Zimbabwean

These discussions took place against the background of continued food
shortages in Zimbabwe. The IMF mission urged the authorities to use foreign
exchange to ensure adequate food imports and, in parallel, to improve the
efficiency of food distribution. The provision of adequate social safety
nets and food security for vulnerable groups, particularly those affected by
"Operation Restore Order" and HIV/AIDS are critical priorities that should
be funded by the budget.

The staff team would like to thank Zimbabwe's economic team led by Minister
of Finance Herbert Murerwa, Minister of Economic Development Rugare Gumbo,
and Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor Gideon Gono, for useful discussions.

A further elaboration of the Fund's policy advice and Executive Board's
views is given in the press statement following the Board meeting on
September 9, 2005 (see Press Release No. 05/205), the Public Information
Notice following the Board's conclusion of the 2005 Article IV Consultation
with Zimbabwe (see PIN No. 05/139), and the 2005 Article IV staff report
published on October 4, 2005.

The next Fund Board meeting to review Zimbabwe's overdue financial
obligations to the IMF is tentatively scheduled for early March.

      Public Affairs    Media Relations
      Phone: 202-623-7300 Phone: 202-623-7100
      Fax: 202-623-6278 Fax: 202-623-6772

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Zimbabwe confident of avoiding IMF axe

Zim Online

Sat 4 February 2006

      HARARE - Zimbabwe Finance Minister Herbert Murerwa was hopeful on
Friday that the country would not be expelled by the International Monetary
Fund (IMF), saying Harare had explained satisfactorily the source of money
used to pay back outstanding debt to the Fund.

      Zimbabwe, grappling its worst economic crisis since independence from
Britain 26 years ago, narrowly survived expulsion from the IMF last
September when it made a surprise payment of US$120 million or nearly 50
percent of the total US$295 it owed the Fund.

      Harare made further payments in the following months to leave its
current debt to the IMF at about US$137 million.

      Murerwa, who was speaking after seeing off an IMF team that was in
Harare for the past week for consultative meetings, said: "We have paid the
bulk of our arrears and we have a little amount to pay so that we can get
this compulsory expulsion removed."

      The IMF executive board is scheduled to meet next month and will among
other issues review Zimbabwe's continued membership of the multilateral

      Although impressed by Harare's efforts to pay back, IMF however
questioned the source of the money used by Zimbabwe to repay the debt given
severe shortages of foreign currency the country has been experiencing over
the past six years.

      Sources privy to discussions between Murerwa and the IMF team that
visited Zimbabwe say they had even demanded documentary evidence from the
Finance Minister and Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor Gideon Gono to prove
that the money used to pay the debt was raised form export earnings and hard
cash savings as claimed by Harare.

      The IMF began questioning the source of Harare's funds following
reports that the money may have been provided by China and the Democratic
Republic of the Congo. Former Zimbabwean businessman Mutumwa Mawere also
complained to the Fund that the money used to pay it was from export
earnings by his companies seized by the Zimbabwe government. But Murerwa
said: "We gave the visiting IMF team the pertinent information they wanted
about the source of the funds and they were satisfied."

      The Finance Minister said while the IMF team had welcomed Harare's
efforts to repay it had also pointed out the need for policy consolidation
so as to minimise the inadvertent squeeze on the economy arising from the
arrears payments.

      The IMF team had also pointed out to Murerwa and Gono that they could
do more to let market forces determine the exchange rate and help curb
inflation, a point Murerwa said Harare was in agreement with.

      He said: "They think we can do more in liberalising the exchange
control system and to curb inflation. We think we can do more. This is a
process and we think we are getting there."

      The IMF team will submit its finding to the Fund's board on March 8,
which will then decide on Zimbabwe's fate.

      If the southern African nation state is expelled, it will become only
the second country after the former Czechoslovakia in 1954 to be booted out
of the IMF. - ZimOnline

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Chaos reigns over introduction of Grade Zero in Zimbabwe schools

Zim Online

Sat 4 February 2006

      HARARE - Chaos is reigning supreme at most primary schools in Zimbabwe
after the government last month arbitrarily introduced Grade Zero, a new
entry level in schools for children below the age of five.

      Teachers, who said they were not qualified to handle pre-school
children, condemned the introduction of Grade Zero in schools saying it had
worsened the problem of hot-sitting.

      "We have no classrooms to accommodate these youngsters. Right now, we
have asked parents to contribute towards building a shade where teachers can
conduct their lessons," said a headmaster at a school in Harare.

      The secretary general of the Progressive Teachers' Union of Zimbabwe
(PTUZ), Raymond Majongwe said while the idea of Grade Zero was noble, the
government had failed to plan properly for its introduction.

      "It (Grade Zero) is a noble idea but the government has not invested
anything to accommodate this stream in terms of classrooms, toilets and
other needs.

      "You cannot expect a college graduate from Mkoba Teachers' College,
for example, to take care of children who would have soiled themselves. They
were not taught to do that," said Majongwe.

      Contacted for comment, Ministry of Education, Sport and Culture
permanent secretary, Stephen Mahere, defended the programme insisting no
schools had complained over its introduction.

      "We have not heard any complaints," said Mahere.

      Zimbabwe is in its sixth year of a bitter economic crisis which has
impacted negatively on the country's once revered education system.
Thousands of Zimbabwean teachers, disgruntled by poor pay and working
conditions, have fled the country in droves to seek better opportunities
elsewhere. - ZimOnline

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Cricket dispute ends as players sign contracts

Zim Online

Sat 4 February 2006

       HARARE - Zimbabwe's international cricketers have all but ended their
dispute with their national union after 16 of the striking players accepted
new contracts yesterday.

      A senior Zimbabwe Cricket official yesterday said  all the other the
players had agreed in principle to sign the contracts and were expected to
do so by Monday next week.

      "Right now I can confirm about 16 have already taken the contracts and
the rest have indicated they would do so by Monday," the official, involved
in the contract talks, said yesterday.

      The development has thrown into doubt threats by the disgruntled
players to drag Zimbabwe Cricket to court over money they claimed they were
owed in match fees and allowances since September.

      It also emerged that Zimbabwe Cricket had last week paid out over $12
billion for the overdue match fees and allowances. Most of the 35 striking
players have already accepted the cheques.

      On Thursday, the international media ran a story that has turned out
to be false when they claimed that the players had gone back on strike after
Zimbabwe Cricket had failed to address their grievances by the January 31
deadline the  union had been given by the government.

      Zimbabwe Cricket is in fact now finalising the contract issue after
deciding to talk to the players on a one-on-one basis without involving the
representative Clive Field - a move critics say was a divide-and-rule tactic
the union had adopted.

      "Zimbabwe Cricket saw me as a stumbling block and decided to talk to
the players themselves," Field told ZimOnline yesterday. "I did not object
because personally I was getting fed up with the issue and had wanted
someone to take over from me. So if the move will benefit the players and
they get what they want, I'll be happy."

      Clive said he had been quoted out of context on the story claiming the
players had gone back on strike and that the interview in question had been
done earlier in the week before the latest developments.

      The players had last week hired top lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa to pursue
the overdue payments through the courts if Zimbabwe Cricket did not agree to
pay them in foreign currency as they were demanding.

      But players who spoke to ZimOnline said they had become weary of their
fight with Zimbabwe Cricket and felt the dispute would drag longer if they
took legal action. There were also reports that most of the players were
broke and opted to make peace with the union.

      Among the players who have decided to take up the contracts are Test
players Hamilton Masakadza, Blessing  Mahwire, Prosper Utseya and Stuart
Matsikenyeri. Andy Blignaut and Charles Coventry were among the first six
players to accept the contracts last year.

      But it was not clear whether the players would still press ahead with
their other demands that forced them to turn their  back on national duty.
The cricketers were disgruntled with the continued tenure of Zimbabwe
Cricket chairman Peter Chingoka and managing director Ozias Bvute, who they
accused of bullying and financial mismanagement. - ZimOnline

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ZANU PF probes senior party officials over missing Z$1 billion

Zim Online

Sat 4 February 2006

      MASVINGO - Zimbabwe's ruling ZANU PF party is probing several senior
members of the party in Masvingo province for allegedly misappropriating
about Z$1 billion during last year's parliamentary election.

      According to ZANU PF officials in Masvingo, the funds which can no
longer be accounted for, were raised through the sale of party cards in the
run-up to the controversial election won by President Mugabe's ZANU PF

      Among those under probe are former Masvingo provincial chairman Daniel
Shumba and another senior party official in the province, Clemence
Makwarimba. The two have however strongly denied the allegation.

      Shumba, who has since quit the party to form his own United People's
Party, on Friday denied any wrong-doing saying as the provincial chairman,
he was not directly involved in the sale of party cards.

      ZANU PF provincial chairman for Masvingo, Samuel Mumbengegwi,
confirmed that the ruling party had launched  investigations into the
missing funds.

      "We are still to establish the exact amount of money involved but
could well be over Z$1 billion. As our investigations continue, we will be
able to give you the correct figures.

      But from the investigations carried so far, it is clear that some
members of the District Co-ordinating Committee have a case to answer," said

      Contacted for comment, Makwarimba vehemently denied abusing any funds.

      "I did not take a single cent from the party. This is just a political
game to tarnish the image of all former provincial executive members,'' said

      Cases of embezzlement of party funds are not new in ZANU PF. Several
cabinet ministers and senior party officials, among them Emmerson Mnangagwa,
have been accused in the past of looting party funds with impunity. -

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Opposition Says Zambia Gave No Reason for Deportation


      By Peter Clottey
      03 February 2006

A spokesman for Zimbabwe's main opposition party says Zambian officials gave
no reason for deporting party members earlier this week.  Nelson Chamisa,
the spokesman for the Movement for Democratic Change, said Zimbabwe's
government, led by President Robert Mugabe, was behind their deportation.

Chamisa dismissed claims on Zimbabwean state radio that MDC leader Morgan
Tsvangirai and his delegation had violated Zambian immigration laws.  But
Chamisa said the MDC leader would not have been allowed to stay in Zambia
for two days if he had disobeyed any rules.

From the capital, Harare, Chamisa told Voice of America reporter Peter
Clottey, "The MDC leadership, under the guidance and leadership of Mr.
Morgan Tsvangirai, had some business on the other side of the border, on the
Zambian side, in Victoria falls. And it was just for about two days, but
unfortunately, for some unknown reasons and unclear circumstances, the
Zambian authorities then requested us to be sent back to the Zimbabwean side
without clarifying the reasons as to why they were doing that."

Chamisa said around midnight there was a contingent of about 57 Zambian
intelligence and the police officers besieging the hotel where they were
staying and asking them to leave.

Chamisa said, "Certainly, I mean this is something that borders on a lot of
suspicion and I think that also raises a lot of sinister motives on the part
of authorities and on the part of those involved. So naturally, as the MDC
leadership, we are going to raise this matter with relevant authorities in
both Zambia and Zimbabwe."

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More Evictions In Zimbabwe


      03 February 2006

In Zimbabwe, gross government mismanagement has resulted in skyrocketing
prices and massive unemployment.

Unfortunately, economic policies are actually getting worse, not better.
Farm equipment is being seized contrary to court orders, fertilizer
companies are being nationalized, and suburban neighbors of President Mugabe
face eviction from their homes, ostensibly for national security reasons.
Finally, the dismemberment of Gletwyn Estate, within Harare's city limits,
crosses a new line in the government's assault on private property: for the
first time, non-agricultural land is being seized for non-agricultural
purposes - in this instance, reportedly to build low density/high income
housing for those in the ruling elite, including especially the security

These attacks on property rights and the rule of law could not come at a
worse time for Zimbabwe, when inflation is officially approaching
one-thousand percent, and unofficially has long since surpassed that dubious
milestone, and millions of Zimbabweans rely on remittances from overseas
relatives and food aid from the U.S. and other donors just to survive.
Zimbabwe needs jobs and accountable government; it does not need to put more
stolen property into the hands of corrupt officials and politicians. Despite
good rainfall, every indication is that Zimbabwe will have another bad
harvest in 2006, due to inadequate supplies of seeds and fertilizers.

The government must learn that secure property rights are fundamental to a
modern functioning economy and to maintaining high levels of investment.
Already, new foreign investment has virtually dried up in Zimbabwe, and
Zimbabwean investors put their money outside of the country because
government policies put domestic investments at risk. The only source of the
funds needed to stabilize and turn around the Zimbabwean economy is the
international financial community, which first needs to see implementation
of sensible economic policies and the restoration of democracy.

President George W. Bush recently cited Zimbabwe as one of several countries
in need of freedom and reform:

"At the start of 2006, more than half the people of our world live in
democratic nations. And we do not forget the other half -- in places like
Syria and Burma, Zimbabwe, North Korea, and Iran -- because the demands of
justice, and the peace of this world, require their freedom, as well."

Zimbabwe needs to reverse course, respect the rule of law, and re-open
political space so that all Zimbabweans can work together to restore
freedom, prosperity and stability, and see the country re-integrated into
the international community.

The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States

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In Zimbabwe, hardship teaches unusual lessons

Mail and Guardian

      Angus Shaw | Harare, Zimbabwe

      03 February 2006 12:31

            In Zimbabwe's capital and in need of a bath or a hot meal? Call
a friend, though it'll likely take several attempts to get through.

            Persistent power and water outages have revived friendships and
socialising in Zimbabwe, homeowners say.

            People see more of each other during outages that last several
days, according to businessman James Martin. He visits friends across Harare
to wash after making sure their taps aren't dry.

            "We call it social bathing," he said.

            When the power is out, he also invites himself over for dinner,
bringing supplies from his thawing freezer and warm beer for re-chilling.

            There was less cheer in the beer this week. With inflation
spiraling, its price rose by 40% on Monday, the fourth increase since

            Martin buys scarce gasoline at five times the official price.

            Charges for phone calls have increased by at least 1 000% in the
past year despite fast deteriorating service.

            Water shutoffs are blamed on pump failures and shortages of
water treatment chemicals.

            One Harare entrepreneur with a well has begun advertising water
deliveries by truck and the sale of storage tanks erected on stilts to
replenish household supplies by simple gravity-fed hoses.

            Last month, Martin's neighbour paid Z$15-million ($150) to
replace a car tyre slashed open by the razor-sharp edges of a pothole in a
main street in the capital. Zimbabweans now joke that sober drivers steer in
a zigzag to miss the holes, while only the drunk ones are foolish enough to
proceed in a straight line.

            City authorities say they lack the manpower, vehicles and
gasoline to mobilise sufficient road repair crews.

            Potholes deepened by seasonal rains have even inspired leading
Zimbabwe artist John Kotze to paint one.

            Kotze said the oil painting symbolised the nation's economic and
political decline.

            But "water in the pothole represents life. Blue sky reflected in
the water signifies better days to come. I'm trying to be optimistic as
well," he said.

            The state power utility has warned electricity outages are set
to persist, citing acute shortages of hard currency to import power from
neighbouring countries and spare parts to fix and upgrade its aging
equipment. Zimbabwe imports 40% of its power.

            Sydney Gata, head of the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority,
noted in a recent report the cost of monthly power imports rose from
$4,5-million (?3,73-million) to about $9-million (?7,46-million) since

            He said the utility's total revenue from tariffs raised only
one-third of the import bill.

            Gideon Gono, governor of the Reserve Bank, last week predicted
official inflation could reach 800%, the highest in the world, by March.
Current inflation is 586%.

            The power utility has proposed a threefold increase on its
charges this month, but sales of home generators from China, heard rumbling
in well-to-do suburbs and office compounds, have already surged.

            Accidents, meanwhile, have increased sharply at traffic signals
blacked out during power outages. An experimental solar powered signal was
reportedly too expensive and prone to theft of the solar cells.

            Shortages of new bulbs have also meant many working signals show
only one approach illuminated.

            "You take your life in your hands when you think the lights are
down but there's an oncoming green on the other side and people are speeding
through thinking you are on red," said Harare driver Jonas Mashu.

            The nation is suffering its worst economic crisis since
independence from Britain in 1980, with acute shortages of food, gasoline,
medicines and other essential imports. The crash has been blamed on
disruptions in the agriculture based economy caused by drought and the
seizures of thousands of white-owned commercial farms since 2000 in
Zimbabwe, once a regional bread basket.

            It took driver Mashu a week to find imported brake and clutch
fluid for his van. He said he used a viscous and thick mixture of soap and
water as a temporary measure, a tip he learned from a mining prospector from
a remote area of the bush.

            "Hardship teaches us unusual lessons," Mashu said. - Sapa-AP

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Furore over loincloths

By Steve Vickers
BBC News, Harare

Tafadzwanashe (r) and Tapiwanashe (l) Fichani wearing loincloths
The twins also shunned chairs and beds and sat and slept on the floor (Photo: The Zimbabwe Herald)
Twin Zimbabwean brothers arrested for wearing loincloths have agreed to end their shocking campaign for traditional dress and wear shirts and shorts.

Tafadzwanashe and Tapiwanashe Fichani were charged with indecent exposure after walking around in goatskin kilts, which left their buttocks exposed.

They spent two weeks in prison, where their mental states were evaluated.

The much-publicised case has reignited the debate over traditional versus western dress in Zimbabwe.

The brothers were arrested while wearing the nhembe loincloths on their daily walk to a shopping centre near their home in an upmarket suburb of the capital, Harare.

'Mentally colonised'

Since their release, their father has been shielding them from the media.

But prior to their arrest, the 22-year-olds said that they had received a calling from God to give up their western clothing when they were living in the UK.

If human nature developed from apes, so there's development in life
Man in Harare
They had spent two years studying there, but left after Tafadzwanashe was arrested on fraud allegations and deported.

The brothers said that those who look down on them for their decision were "mentally colonised", as they were just going back to how things were before Europeans arrived in Africa.

The twins also shunned chairs and beds and sat and slept only on the floor.


They have reignited a debate about the place of traditional dress, but not many people in the capital are on their side.

"What they did is very disgraceful, especially to the parents," one man said.

"If human nature developed from apes, so there's development in life. So they should appreciate the development of clothes," he added.

Another woman said she thought their move was "stupid".

"I think we're advanced. We can't wear those things," she said.

After their stay in prison, the public prosecutor says that it was concluded that they are not mentally disturbed.

However, they were only allowed out on free bail after agreeing to wear everyday clothes.

They left prison wearing shirts and shorts, seemingly having lost their battle, but having caught the attention of the nation.

Is there anything wrong with exposing your buttocks in public, whether or not you are in traditional dress? Do you think people in Africa should return to more traditional attire, or are the alternatives more practical? Do you agree with the twins that those who wear Western clothes are "mentally colonised"?

Let us know your views using the form below.

A selection of your views will be broadcast on the BBC's Focus on Africa programme at 1700 GMT on Saturday 4 February.

The following comments reflect the balance of opinion we have received so far:

In as much as we want to maintain African culture, we do not the ones that are not good. We have moved ahead from the ape or stone age. We are moving ahead with other continents, not copying the West. Sighting people in this way is very disturbing. Please my brothers change your dressing mode.
John Ene, Lagos Nigeria.

I believe these two brothers did a great job. Africa has it own cultures, and there was no need to arrest them. They are practising their cultures. Do not be ashamed of your own cultures.
Abe Magong, Sudan

If men can be arrested on charges of indecent exposure for wearing loincloths that exposes their buttocks, how do we then justify the wearing of "tight-western clothes" by women that virtually exposes sensitive parts of womanhood likely to turn men on? Isn't that also an indecent exposure in itself? If women are free to wear what they please, why can't men do the same?
larkai, Accra, Ghana

Human development is a dynamic process. New developments world-wide are an improvement upon an old system. As Africans, we have also developed and improved upon our past. This is evident in the beautiful 'African dresses' we see around - the traditional attire. To go back to animal skins is not only cruel to the poor animals but 'counter development' in this 21st century.
Kwasi Appeaing Addo, UK

I think one should adopt an attitude of 'each to his own'. Really if these boys want to wear loincloth so be it. I will still be eating sadza tonight. There are a few programmes on the old goggle box showing people in modern Europe walking about naked. It's caused controversy without a doubt, but life goes on.
Edson Mukundwi, Sheffield England

I do not see anything wrong; these boys were just practising their African culture. We Africans must not be ashamed of our own culture. We must be proud of it since our great great grand parents used to wear animal skins.
Charles T.J.S. Banda, Lilongwe, Malawi

I do not think exposing ones buttocks is indecent exposure. If that were the case then all the supermodels should be arrested as they walk virtually naked in fashion shows that are televised all over the world. Culture should be respected too.

This is pure madness. They should also stop eating western food and eat things harvested with stones.
TK Dzimega, London, UK

I see no reason for forcing these guys to wear western clothes. As a matter of fact people in the Zimbabwean village of Binga wear their traditional dress daily. Why don't the authorities make noise about these people? Again this shows how far people in Harare have succumbed to mental colonisation where they think anything African is inferior.
Wilberforce Majaji, Zimbabwean in Michigan USA

Recently in Virginia, a young man was acquitted of the charge of indecent exposure for baring his buttocks (or "mooning" as it is called here). The judge's reason for acquitting him was that if what he did was a crime then all the women who wear thongs (G-String) on the beach must be arrested. We Africans have become so mentally colonized that we frown on our own culture. These brothers must be commended not castigated.
Kobina Markin, Maryland, USA

Kwasi Appeaing Addo, your comment is interesting. I trust you are a vegetarian yourself. Don't mix animal rights with cultural rights. Those nhembe are made from skins from dead animals. It's a kind of economising since you use all parts of the already dead animal. What's wrong with eating the flesh and wearing the skin if that's you taste? It's not like fur where they kill just for the skin! Africans and anyone else with a past, be yourself, don't blindly imitate the values of others. Look at Sumo wrestlers - they are highly respected for keeping up their traditions and value. Sadza nema dora tinodya tichiguta. To each his own.
Chido, Zimbabwean in Japan

I'm really ashamed of this type of dressing in Africa. We are now in a civilised world and we are supposed to follow up the current attires and stop drawing back our future to nothing. The two brothers have tarnished the image of their country.
Mr Paul Mowell, Anambra State Nigeria

I think people of any country should wear clothes worn by their culture. Westerners should wear western clothes, Asians should wear Asian clothes and Africans should wear African clothes. I think Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe should show his anti-Western feelings by wearing a loincloth. Lead by example Mugs.
Yogs, USA

Africans should not feel that wearing jackets and ties is a mark of subjection to Colonialism; I don't think Japanese, Chinese, Indian and Indonesian businessmen and women need revert to kimonos, cheong-sams, dhotis and sarongs to prove their freedom. Rather than regard the suit, the shirt and the shorts as 'Western' dress, people the world over wear 'universal' dress. They wear such clothing to demonstrate that they are modern and connected with the world economy. For a Zimbabwean to revert to wearing the loincloth of 100 years ago is as absurd as it would be for a contemporary Welshman to walk around wearing nothing but woad (blue paint), and then claim that this is the traditional dress he would have worn before Roman and Anglo-Saxon colonialism.
Patrick Willis, London, UK

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Telephone Charges went up yesterday

Telephone Charges went up yesterday (2 February).  Was the previous local charge $1 430.00 a minute or for three minutes?...  It certainly says it's now 2 869.66 per minute...  The advert reads as follows:
Local Calls
                       Peak              Off Peak
Per minute             2 869.66          2 152.25
Per 3 minutes          8 608.99    
Per 4 minutes                            8 608.99 
Com-One Dial Up
                       Peak           Off Peak
Per minute             3 443.60       2 582.70   
The charge for Internet is composed of a minute local charge plus 20%
Sub-Regional Outgoing
                       Peak          Off Peak
Fixed                  13 018.39     12 367.47  
Mobile                 24 237.97     23 026.08
International Outgoing
                       Peak          Off Peak
Group 1 Fixed          14 934.98     14 187.76 
        Mobile         23 494.20     22 319.49
Group 2 Fixed          42 006.05     39 905.75
        Mobile        326 849.43    310 507.34
Group 3 Fixed         113 199.00    107 539.05
        Mobile        326 849.43    310 507.34
Immarsat              626 762.79    595 424.66
Trunk Calls per minute
Distance between Exchanges      Charge letter    Peak          Off Peak
20-40 km                       B                3 036.85      2 726.43
40-80 km                       C                3 503.04      3 144.96  
80-130 km                      D                4 029.07      3 617.24  
130-240 km                     E                4 630.45      4 157.09
240=-480 km                    F                5 322.19      4 778.10    
Over 480 km                    G                6 113.62      5 493.35
Landline to Mobile
     calls per minute                           4 643.55      4 0124.41
Rental is $100 000 a month, the peak periods remain the same (i.e.. 6.00 p.m. to 6.00 a.m. and from 1.00 p.m. Saturday to 6.00 a.m. Monday) - and all figures (naturally!) exclude VAT...
Happy phoning!

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Zapu leader says Mugabe now a costly liability to Zimbabwe


      By Tichaona Sibanda
      03 February 2006

      Zapu leader Paul Siwela predicts that the current unprecedented
hardships being faced by most Zimbabweans will force them to rise and revolt
against Robert Mugabe and his Zanu (PF) regime.

      The outspoken and fiery leader who favours federal governance to the
current political set-up said the current trend of events in the country
point to Mugabe exiting from his post earlier than expected.

      Since the beginning of the year the country's already dire economic
situation has reached new lows, with analysts pointing to a total collapse
of the system.

      Siwela cites critical shortages of food currently sweeping through
major cities in the country as a sign that 'the road ahead is full of bumps
and surprises.'

      He said the decision that has to be taken by the people is only one
decision, and that is that Robert Mugabe and Zanu (PF) must be removed from

      'How you remove him, that is something else, but at this stage the
focus is to remove Robert Mugabe and Zanu (PF),' said Siwela.

      He said Zimbabweans should be told to brace themselves for more
hardships to come as government will fail to rescue the country from the
economic predicament it finds itself in.

      'It is these hardships that will propel them to say enough is enough,
we have had enough of this dictatorship.Mugabe must go. If it means killing
a few people yes, he will kill 30, 50, a 100 or so but that's the price
people have to pay.

      'It happened elsewhere and it should not come as a surprise when it
happens here, so people must brace up for that too,' said Siwela.

      SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

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MDC team prepares for strategic international tour

      By Violet Gonda

      3 February 06

      A delegation of MDC officials, led by party chairman Isaac Matongo,
will be in the UK this coming week to start a tour of Europe, USA and South
Africa to meet with opposition structures. The MDC representative in
Brussels, Grace Kwinjeh, said the party is inviting the diaspora to
contribute to a policy and ideology report that will be presented at the
forthcoming party congress.

      Mr Matongo and his team includes Nelson Chamisa, Thokozani Khuphe and
Ian Makone and they will hold regional meetings in Leeds, Birmingham, London
and Southend on Sea.

      It's been a busy time for the MDC leadership who, in an unrelated
event, were deported by Zambian authorities in the early hours of Thursday
morning. Although Zambian authorities say the opposition leaders violated
Zambia's immigration laws the MDC says this is the continued paranoia about
opposition activities and merely demonstrates that the region does not take
it's obligation to human rights seriously.

      Eddie Cross, who was one of the delegates in Zambia with party
President Morgan Tsvangirai, says everyone in the delegation had presented
themselves to an immigration officer both on the Zimbabwean side and the
Zambian side. It's reported that a significant number of CIO operatives
greeted the MDC delegation on the Zimbabwe side and they wanted to know the
exact nature of the delegation's visit to Zambia. According to Cross, the
opposition leaders refused to divulge any information.

      He alleged Zimbabwe CIOs followed the delegation into Zambia and
pitched up at the hotel were the MDC leaders was staying. Cross claims hotel
management had to remove the security agents after complaints by the MDC. He
said they were surprised to see more than 50 Zambian law enforcement agents
that night, who came with a search warrant to evict the MDC leadership. The
MDC denies falsifying their identities.

      Eddie Cross said the leadership had gone to Zambia to hold a 2 day
detailed strategy session and chose Zambia because of the sensitive nature
of their discussions. The opposition believes the Mugabe regime has planted
informers in every sector and bugged most meeting places including hotels in

      Commenting on the deportation of the MDC leadership from Zambia,
Kwinjeh said it's unfortunate that SADC states have also taken on the
continuation of harassing the MDC.

      She said the opposition has found it increasingly impossible to hold
any political activity in Zimbabwe because of repression. She said, "It's an
unfortunate situation that we have such a hostile environment in Zimbabwe
that does not allow us to carry out democratic activities as Zimbabweans."

      SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

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Commentary: Eddie Cross with detailed account of what happened in Zambia

      By Violet Gonda

      3 February 06

      On the Programme Commentary we find out what happened in Zambia when
the MDC leadership were deported. Violet speaks to one of the MDC officials,
Eddie Cross, who alleges Zimbabwe CIO's followed the delegation into Zambia
and pitched up at the hotel where the MDC leaders was staying. Cross claims
hotel management had to remove the security agents after complaints by the
MDC but that night more than 50 Zambian law enforcement agents came with a
search warrant to evict the MDC leadership. The MDC denies falsifying their

      SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

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Political governance, corruption and the role of aid

The Guardian

Transcript of a speech given last night by the international development
secretary, Hilary Benn, to the Royal African Society, entitled: Political
governance, corruption and the role of aid

Friday February 3, 2006

"I would like to thank Camilla, Dapo, the Royal African Society and SOAS for
hosting tonight's event.
This is the third in a series of speeches I am making as part of our
consultation on the government's development white paper to be published in
the summer. The aim is to hear your views, and I look forward to the debate.

In addition to visiting DFID's website, you should visit Guardian
Unlimited - on there you'll find a message from "Jonny Boy" saying that
Hilary Benn is as pompous and useless as his father was when he was a
minister. I've certainly provoked!

A great deal was promised in 2005: Increased aid, commitments to reach the
UN target of 0.7%, debt cancellation, better ways of dealing with conflict,
action on getting children into school, and fighting the diseases that kill
so many, and developing countries committing themselves to play their part
through good policies and the rule of law.

Now all of this is, of course, about making poverty history. But the dream
that unites us won't be fulfilled without good political governance, and
it's that I want to talk about this evening.

Now my starting point is that only developing countries - led by their own
people and their own governments - can ultimately make the decisive changes
that are needed to fight poverty.

State-building can not be imposed. Its foundation must be a shared
understanding between those who govern, and those who give their consent to
be governed - the "deal" between citizen and state. And this foundation has
to be laid by each country itself.

It's a process. It takes time. Look at our own history. A thousand years of
progress, sometimes moving forward, sometimes back. Magna Carta. A bloody
civil war between parliament and King in the 17th century.

The rotten boroughs and rotten politicians at the start of the 19th
century - a culture of patronage that finally gave way to the universal
franchise, as people demanded a voice in how they were governed.

Our history tells us that public institutions evolve through a process of
bargaining between the state and groups in society.

And such institutions in developing countries cannot be constructed by
simply transferring models from rich to poor countries. They need to do it
for themselves.

However, as donors we can assist the process of creating more effective
states that can do it for themselves, and one of the ways we can help is to
be clear - and perhaps clearer than we have been in the past - about the
nature of that deal.

Clear - as we search for the right kind of conditionality - that our aid is
conditional on clear principles. Respect for human rights and international
obligations; commitment to improved public financial management and to
fighting corruption; and a will to reduce poverty.

These are the essential foundations of our partnership. By accepting them,
our partners undertake to use the aid for the purposes for which it has been
given. We expect the money to be accounted for, and it is right and proper
that we do so.

But we also recognise that where possible the best way to do this is through
the government's own system of accountability so that it does not end up
accounting to us - the donors - in one way, and to its own people in
another, or not at all.

Now, the biggest challenge we as donors face and governments face in
applying these principles is in the poorest countries, where governance is
weakest and corruption can be a major problem.

Now some would argue that we should refuse to work in such countries at all
until these problems are sorted out.

I think that view is wholly mistaken.

Let's take the case of Kenya, a country much discussed in the media, and
which I visited a few weeks ago.

Now, after years of misrule, the people of Kenya rejected Daniel arap Moi's
appointed successor in peaceful elections in 2002. Last year they rejected
the new government's wishes in a constitutional referendum - reflecting in
part their anger at the continued misuse of public resources.

In Kenya I met President Kibaki. We had a full and frank discussion, as they
say, about the persistence of corruption. I made no secret of our concern.

During the same visit, I also announced that we will be putting £55m into
improving education.

Some have criticised this. They say I should have suspended British aid

I put this question to them. Just because poor people live in a country
where corruption is a major problem, does that mean we should walk away?
Should they be made to suffer because governance is bad? I think not.

What I think it does mean, however, is that we should work in different ways
in different circumstances to ensure that the money gets to where it is most

That's why we have refused to give Kenya any direct budget support - money
which goes straight into the government budget to be used for supporting
general spending. That's why in Kenya we have already taken a different
approach - money ear-marked for a particular purpose.

Now this support to Kenya has helped an additional 1.5 million children to
go to school after the new government announced the abolition of school fees
in 2002. Our new aid will help build 12,000 new classrooms, improve water
and sanitation facilities and expand the supply of textbooks and
instructional materials for all 18,500 primary schools across Kenya.

One change the government has made in Kenya, is to send money for schools
direct to the schools' bank accounts, so reducing the opportunity for
corruption. I saw for myself that school budgets are posted on blackboards
so that parents can hold staff to account, and make sure the money for the
school goes on educating their children.

We also ensure that payment is agreed for planned expenditure, that further
payment is made only on evidence that the existing funds have been spent

Audits and surveys to track money provide additional assurance - for example
a joint government of Kenya and Price Waterhouse Coopers survey of primary
education spending last year showed that "...overall the flow of funds has
been efficient.......and at school level, funds received have been correctly
recorded and used for their intended purposes."

But that's not all, alongside providing money for education, we are also
helping to build systems that can help prevent corruption - if they are
used. Improving public financial management and procurement practice, and
helping with governance, justice, and law and order. Assisting Kenyan
citizens to hold their government to account through civic education and
support to Transparency International.

However, none of this will work if government itself doesn't act. All the
institutions in the world are no good if there isn't a will to act.

And that's why so many eyes in the world are - rightly, today - on the
government of Kenya as they face a choice about what to do in response to
the Githongo dossier.

And let me pay tribute here to John Githongo's bravery in blowing the
whistle on the extent of the problem. The resignation of the finance
minister yesterday will allow the allegations against him and his Ministry
to be fully investigated, and I applaud the Kenyan people and media for
bringing this about.

Swift action by the government will send a clear signal to the people of
Kenya, and to the world, that the commitment to good governance means
something. Failure to act, simply won't be acceptable, least of all to the
Kenyan people.

Let me ask a second question. Even where there is no reasonable hope of
working with the government - as is the case in Zimbabwe - does that mean we
should stop caring about its people? Would it be right to punish Zimbabweans
for their repressive regime; a regime they did not freely elect?

I think not.

The poorest still deserve help with life's basic necessities regardless of
the quality of their government. That's why in Zimbabwe DFID provides
life-saving humanitarian aid - not through the government - but through the
UN and NGOs - £30m this year to help feed people, support the growing number
of orphans, and fight HIV and AIDS.

There are those who say that giving governments support is wrong; it's like
writing a blank cheque encouraging corruption and inefficiency. That our aid
is best spent through NGOs.

Well we do a lot of work with and through NGOs. Some of the most impressive
projects I have seen - some of the most remarkable people that I have met -
are working to build the fabric of civil society and its capacity to hold
those in power to account.

But even the most enthusiastic supporters of civil society, and I am one,
recognise that ignoring governments and creating parallel systems, is not
the long-term solution to corruption nor a sustainable path to development.

Should a farmer in Malawi have to rely on an NGO for health and education?
Like you and me, she wants justice - she wants her rights and that of her
children realised - and she'll only get that in the long-term from good

The other argument is that our aid - in whatever form - can prop up bad

And that's a risk that we need to take seriously - and we do. That's the
argument for having a range of instruments through which to channel our aid.

Now, apart from the moral case against it, corruption is also a big problem
because it has huge economic, social and political costs. Businesses don't
invest. Jobs are not created.

Money which should be spent on services for the poor is stolen. People
distrust politicians and may eventually give up on the political system and
seek answers elsewhere

In short, corruption destroys the "deal" - the bargain - between the citizen
and the state; and it harms the poorest most.

Having to deal with weak governance is almost a universal problem for
ordinary people in developing countries. And in surveys, poor people point
out the effects of petty corruption - bribing a teacher to teach your child;
bribing officials in order to sell your produce in a market; bribing the
police not to harass you.

And large scale corruption is a problem too. For countries with scarce
resources, they can't afford funds to be siphoned away into foreign bank
accounts or spent on luxury goods.

So while - for all these reasons - we must be tough on corruption, let's not
be smug about it. Let's just remember our own history. Corruption, like
temptation, exists everywhere. There are many countries where there is good
political governance and yet corruption persists. Good systems cannot
perfect human nature. We are all fallible.

And the final argument for doing something is that corruption undermines
public confidence in aid and its effectiveness - after all, it is taxpayer's
money that we provide to poor countries. We have to make sure it is well

So what should we do?

· First - I think we need to recognise that corruption is most able to
thrive where accountability is weak.

Good political governance makes it much harder for governing elites to
plunder public wealth for private gain. Developing the institutions to do
this takes time, and is one of the most important challenges that developing
countries face.

· Second - corruption is both a cause and a consequence of poor - and
sometimes outright bad - governance.

The primary challenge for our partner governments is building strong,
responsive and accountable institutions.

· Third, in a globalised world, corruption is played out on a global stage.

We need to recognise that globalisation has increased the opportunities for
some ruling elites to make enormous fortunes from siphoning off a country's
natural resources or its tax base

There is huge potential as we know for illicit income from natural
resources. Consider the enormous waste of Nigeria's oil wealth over past
decades or the destruction of forests in a whole number of countries.

The extractive industries transparency initiative is one way of addressing
these problems. It is shedding new light on Nigeria's oil revenues. The
results of the first audit of oil and gas accounts were published last week.

And for the first time, Nigerians know how much money their government
received from sales of oil.

And where there are bribe-takers, there are also bribe-givers. We have to do
our bit in rich countries to address corruption in procurement and in other
areas where bribery is prevalent, as well as to speed up recovery of stolen
assets, and prevent money laundering. I'll say more on this in a later

· And finally, aid can be part of the solution to the problem of corruption.

In the past it has sometimes been part of the problem, where aid was used to
buy support in the Cold War, rather than to fight poverty. All too often it
rewarded dictators and the corrupt. Mobutu's Zaire received enormous aid
flows during this period.

Most aid went into projects that were both "off-plan" and "off-budget" - in
other words not part of the government's accounts, and thus reduced the need
for governments to improve their public financial management - or to account
to their people. Donor projects often paid local staff high salaries,
drawing them away from the civil service, undermining the strength of
government. Limiting capacity.

We have learned from these mistakes, and our approach has changed.

Where we can, we work with and through governments to support them in
becoming more accountable, more responsive, and better able to achieve
progress - and ultimately more legitimate. And where we can't, we will still
find ways of helping poor people. And we will continue to work to help
countries fight corruption.

Now what does this mean in practice?

· It means helping anti-corruption commissions in Sierra Leone, Malawi,
Zambia and Uganda where a major clean-out of corruption in the Uganda
Revenue Authority has led to a 35% rise in tax revenue. In Sierra Leone
we're working to link part of our aid to progress in reducing the theft of
drugs from the health service.

· It means supporting in Nigeria a community policing initiative. Given the
depressing catalogue of human rights abuses in Nigeria, DFID could have
pulled out of police work altogether. Instead, a public survey last year
showed that where the new approach to policing has been tried, people felt
more secure, trusted the police more, and thought that police corruption had
been reduced.

The chief of police has asked for our support to expand the scheme to other
parts of Nigeria.

· It means funding a range of work to help civil society hold their
governments to account - for example helping NGOs that monitor oil revenue
in Bolivia or work with parliamentary committees to track education spending
in Malawi. One NGO I met in Bangladesh, called Samata, helps landless people
claim their rights to state land.

· In Tanzania, public service reform, supported in part by DFID, saw an
increase in pay levels by up to 15% - helping to reduce the incentive for
petty corruption.

So, the question I want to pose is this: which aid instruments should we use
for different circumstances? What is the best way we can go on helping poor
people but minimise the risk of corruption? How best can we help our
development partners make progress?

Now, all of this is about helping to build good governance.

Question. So what is it that makes a good government? And why is that
important for addressing corruption and for development?

Now good political governance - the quality of how we govern and how we are
governed - is something that we all take for granted in this country,
although we still argue about it, and on occasions, question its existence!

But at heart, all of us want the same thing - whether you live in Leeds,
whether you're that farmer in Malawi I mentioned: security, a decent job,
education and healthcare when we're ill, the chance to raise a family, the
opportunity to play a role in society, and to hand on a better future to the
next generation.

We want to be able to express our views, our faith, freely. Some, and I'd
encourage you to do so, may even want to join a political party!

We want a government that represents our interests and takes our views into

Good political governance is, I think, based on four things - authority,
responsiveness, accountability and legitimacy. And by governance I'm not
talking about government - I'm talking about people - you and me.

First, authority. All governments need authority. It's simply about being
able to get things done. Does the government have the money, the will and
the capacity to build wells, provide health services to villagers, offer a
good education to children, and raise taxes to do all these things?

When those are absent, countries suffer. In what was then Zaire, Mobutu was
authoritarian, but had no authority. His corrupt and incompetent regime left
most of the country to fend for itself, as it got poorer and poorer, despite
its enormous natural wealth.

Secondly, governments must respond to the aspirations of their citizens
through some kind of representative government, and this includes respecting
peoples' civil and political rights.

Take Burundi - when President Pierre Nkurunziza was inaugurated last year,
in elections with a turn out of over three quarters of eligible voters, he
announced his commitment to free primary education. He implemented it.

Enrolments have risen sharply as a result, and DFID has provided support to
help with the consequences.

Thirdly, there's accountability. This means having to explain and answer
questions on what you have done. It applies to public officials, to
ministers and to governments.

In developing countries, it's not about me or other donors being
accountable - its about developing country governments being accountable to
their own people.

A free and open media plays a hugely important role in helping to make this
happen. In Kenya, the media - from newspapers to private radio stations to
mobile phones - are doing a lot to uncover and expose malpractice at the
highest levels of the state. Revelations from the Githongo dossier were
first covered by both the major Kenyan newspapers.

Civil society matters too. It helps people to come together and acquire a

I also think that the tax system is crucial for accountability. Now I said
earlier that developing countries should be primarily accountable to their
own citizens, not donors. Tax is at the heart of the social contract between
state and citizen; when citizens pay tax, they demand services back. As
someone once said, "No taxation without representation!"

But the best way to ensure the accountability of governments is a political
system that encourages scrutiny and questioning. And of course the ultimate
test is a free and fair election. Giving the people the final say. The
ability of citizens to elect and then get rid of their government and change
its leaders is fundamental.

Finally, there's legitimacy. The extent to which people think their rulers
have earned the right to govern. In the long-term the best way to gain
legitimacy is to rule justly in the public interest and to be elected to do

Now in Uganda, President Museveni came into power with legitimacy in much of
the country following the overthrow of a brutal regime. Huge progress
reinforced that legitimacy - poverty has been reduced from 56% to 38% over
the last decade. But now his efforts to change the constitution so that he
can remain in power are steadily eroding his legitimacy and that of his

Governments that display the four qualities I have described are more likely
to result in effective and capable states.

Given that countries are likely to be at different stages in their political
development, we should not set absolute standards or benchmarks to be
applied uniformly.

It would be wrong to judge a country emerging from conflict by the same
standards as a country that has never experienced war.

We must judge governments, I think, by where they are going - there may be
problems along the way - but are they heading in the right direction? Are
accountability and responsiveness improving? Is the government gaining

And in answering these questions we should also look at what they are
achieving. How many children are in school, how is health improving, what is
happening to incomes, are peoples' rights respected? In short, we need to
understand better both who and what is making change and development happen
in each country.

And over the past five years DFID has undertaken a series of what we call
"drivers of change" studies in 16 countries.

The purpose is to identify who holds real power, who benefits and who
opposes change - and how change comes about. Because if we don't as donors
understand the politics of the places where we work, then our task will be
all the more difficult.

We have learned that when we are faced by difficult circumstances such as I
have described earlier, we should not turn aid off like a light switch.

So rather than stop aid outright, we need to ensure our assistance is
designed to address the very different political governance circumstances we
find in each country. Let me illustrate this by the case of Ethiopia,
another country in the spotlight and again one I visited recently.

The government committed what I think were serious human rights abuses last
year - killing and arresting people, and detention of the opposition just
after the recent elections - bad in themselves, but also a breach of trust
in our relationship.

Yet here is a country with massive needs, a desperately poor population,
which receives significantly less aid than most other countries in
sub-Saharan Africa.

Now, the government has good programmes for reaching for people in education
and health and water. If I had stopped all aid to the government as a result
of the recent human rights abuses, it is not the government that would
suffer, but poor people.

And there are no effective non-government channels for reaching the millions
of poor people in Ethiopia. So I have adopted an alternative course.

I stopped direct general budget support which could be used for any purpose,
and we are now looking at different options to be sure our funds will be
used to reach poor people.

At the same time, with other donors, we will continue to push the Ethiopian
Government on human rights and governance.

It may not work in the short term but this is the best way of improving both
the quality of the life of poor people and the quality of governance in
Ethiopia. This will undoubtedly be a long-term and difficult process: but we
must try.

In some cases we have seen major improvements in governance - we shouldn't
get too depressed about the difficulties we face - and our aid is increasing
correspondingly. Tanzania continues to do well. I agreed last month to £310
million in support over the next three years direct to the government
budget, with 10% of that conditional on continued good performance in
governance and budget management.

So what does all of this mean for how donors in general, and DFID in
particular, should operate?

It comes back to the question I asked at the beginning.

It means - I think - that we need to have a more sophisticated response to
poor and weak governance. We need a clearer idea of what the right thing to
do is in different circumstances. And we need to recognise that countries
are at different stages of development.

We must refrain from the temptation to micromanage - telling governments
that they must reform this or that institution before we will help. But we
mustn't become a soft touch - in the long run, I don't think people would
thank us for that!

I recognise this is a complex issue; one where it is hard to get the balance
right. But I take it very seriously and so must all of us who dream about a
better world. Surveys show that an alarming number of people think that most
aid is wasted. So if we are to sustain their support after 2005 and with
other things happening in the world, we have to show that this isn't the
case - which it isn't.

As ever, development - and that includes DFID - does best when it listens
and learns in the light of experience. That is why your views today and in
the weeks to come will be so important as together we try and find a way

Because ultimately I believe government can and does make a difference to
peoples' lives. Politics has done this here in the UK, changing the lives of
poor people in a way that would be unrecognisable to their ancestors. And
poor people in developing countries want politics to do the same for them,
and they want to be part of the process.

I think making progress is about making politics work.

Politics that determines the choices we make. Politics that determines what
kind of society it is we wish to live in and create and hand on to the next
generation. And it will be politics that will help us make poverty history.

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SA tycoon takes on a country - and wins

From The Star (SA), 3 February

By Karyn Maughan

Nearly three years ago, a South African businessman persuaded a court that
the Democratic Republic of Congo owed him about R72-million for his exposure
of a R6-billion cobalt theft operation, allegedly operated by fugitive
millionaire Billy Rautenbach. Now, after spending R7-million to ensure that
he receives the money due to him - Frans Rootman has made legal history by
attaching his claim for the money on to an estimated R6-billion reparations
payment that Uganda has been ordered to pay the DRC. Rootman's legal team
also claim that his efforts to get the money back have stopped the DRC from
completing any financial transactions overseas. The judgment has recorded
that his claim has been recognised in the United States, Britain, Belgium,
Zambia and Uganda.

Rootman's attachment of the currently undetermined reparations payment,
which was ordered by the International Court of Justice in The Hague just
before Christmas, is the latest in his efforts to recover the money he is
owed. Speaking to The Star yesterday, the 49-year-old father-of-two said he
had received death threats over his refusal to back down. But what kind of
message would it send to the little guys trying to do business in Africa if
I just gave up? "At least I have the resources and know-how to fight this,"
he said. In addition to seizing and auctioning off a DRC presidential
Falcon-50 Jet for about R12-million, Rootman's lawyers have also
successfully frozen R120-million worth of gold, diamonds and foreign
exchange deposited by the DRC in two Belgian banks.

Rootman's woes began when, at the request of the DRC's late president,
Laurent Kabila, he started investigating the disappearance of large amounts
of cobalt, a heavy metal central to the operation of jet engines, from the
DRC's state-controlled mining company, Gecamines. At the time, the disgraced
former head of Hyundai South Africa, Rautenbach, against whom an
international warrant of arrest is currently outstanding,was chief executive
of Gecamines. He is believed to be living in Zimbabwe. Rootman recovered 139
tons of cobalt but was never compensated for his efforts, despite being
promised 10% of any amount he tracked down. After six years of legal
wrangling, which saw Rootman's claim make its way through several courts,
Pretoria High Court Judge Willie Hartzenberg ruled in the businessman's
favour in 2003. But the euphoria of the precedent-setting victory was
short-lived. According to Rootman's legal team, the DRC has prevented him
from recovering the money by hiding its overseas assets.

In an effort to force the government to assist him, Rootman asked the
Pretoria High Court to order that President Thabo Mbeki had a constitutional
duty to help him enforce Judge Hartzenberg's ruling. Judge Chris Botha was
not convinced and ruled that Mbeki was not responsible for Rootman's
predicament and did not have to take steps under the constitution to help
citizens enforce their legal rights against a foreign country. He added that
officials in the Office of the President, who had not bothered to answer any
of Rootman's letters, had "not served him well". Rootman's legal team look
set to appeal against Judge Botha's ruling in the Supreme Court of Appeal in
Bloemfontein later this year. For now, however, they are pinning their hopes
on being able to recover the cash from Uganda's reparations payment. After
hearing an application brought by the DRC in June 1999, the International
Court of Justice found the Ugandan army's activities in the DRC between
August 1998 and June 2003 violated human rights law.

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South Africa to accelerate programme of land reform

Financial Times

      By John Reed in Cape Town
      Published: February 3 2006 18:24 | Last updated: February 3 2006 18:24

      South Africa plans to regulate conditions under which foreigners buy
land, in an attempt to speed up its restitution programme, President Thabo
Mbeki said on Friday.

      Mr Mbeki made the announcement in his annual State of the Nation
speech marking the opening of parliament. "This will be done in line with
international norms and practices," he said.

      South Africa's property market has shown some of the fastest nominal
growth in the world during the past three years. Government officials have
blamed foreign speculators for driving up prices and sabotaging a
land-reform programme aimed at restoring some of the country's white-owned
farmland to majority blacks.

      "Land reform and land restitution are critical to the transformation
of our society," Mr Mbeki said. "Accordingly, the state will play a more
central role in the land reform programme, ensuring that the restitution
programme is accelerated."

      Land is an emotive issue in southern Africa, the last subregion of the
continent to decolonise.

      President Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe has expropriated most of the
country's white-owned farms during the past six years, contributing to an
economic tailspin. Namibia recently began to expropriate some white-owned
farms in cases where the owners and claimants could not reach agreement.

      Unlike its neighbours, South Africa has to date followed a
"willing-buyer, willing-seller" policy that respected property rights and
the rule of law. However, on Friday Mr Mbeki said that Thoko Didiza,
minister of agriculture and land affairs, would this year review the policy.
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Mr Mbe-ki's deputy, made a similar statement at a
national land summit in Johannesburg last year.

      The agriculture minister would also "review land acquisition models
and possible manipulation of land prices", Mr Mbeki said.

      South Africa's government faces local elections on March 1 amid
frustration among some poor blacks on the quality of local government, which
is dominated by the ruling African National Congress. During the past year
and a half, several poor municipalities have been rocked by riots against
corrupt or incompetent local leaders.

      Mr Mbeki painted an upbeat picture of South Africa in his speech,
saying his country had entered an "age of hope". However, he cited a poll
showing that only 45 per cent of South Africans thought that local
government was performing well.

      The president said he planned to "pay special attention to the
critical task of strengthening local government." The government would work
"to ensure that each and every?.?.?.??municipality is properly positioned to
discharge its responsibility to the people". Mr Mbeki also committed the
government and the private sector to investing R372bn ($61bn, ?51bn, £25bn)
in public infrastructure over three years to create jobs and improve rural
and urban areas.

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Bindura Hospital falls apart

Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

From Our Correspondent in Bindura
issue date :2006-Feb-03

THE Minister of Health and Child Welfare, David Parirenyatwa, this week said
there was need to construct a new Mashonaland Central provincial hospital in
Bindura because the present one had overstayed its usefulness.
Speaking during a tour of the hospital, Parirenyatwa said the hospital built
in 1937 could no longer accommodate new equipment.
"Everything at this hospital is almost falling apart, the buildings are too
old such that we cannot install new equipment. Last year some dialysis
machines for kidney patients were donated to the hospital, but the machines
are not being used as they cannot be installed in these old structures,"
Parirenyatwa said.
He pledged to work with Bindura Town Council and all other government
departments to speed up plans for the construction of a new provincial
hospital, which he said, would start soon.
He brought a plan for the proposed new provincial hospital that was shown to
the Governor and Resident Minister, Ephraim Masawi, who was present during
the tour.
The current hospital, with a capacity to accommodate 120 patients, serves 12
other districts in the province.
Parirenyatwa expressed concern over the shortage of basic equipment at the
hospital, as most of them were now grounded.
"I have noticed that kitchen staff has turned to firewood to prepare meals
for patients. This is unacceptable for such a big institution which caters
for Mashonaland Central Province," Parirenyatwa said.
Malfunctioning boilers and shortages of coal were cited as the main reasons
why the hospital resorted to the use of firewood as the source of power.
"Only one boiler out of the three that we have is working at the moment and
this makes it difficult for us to feed our patients on time," an employee at
the hospital told Parirenyatwa.
When the minister visited the hospital mortuary, a terrible stench could be
smelt, as most bodies had turned bad due poor refrigeration.
Parirenyatwa said poor mortuary refrigeration was not confined only to
Bindura hospital, but in most government run health institutions throughout
the country.
He promised that measures would be taken soon to change the face of all
hospitals in the country.
"As you are all aware, the government is going through a difficult time as
the shortage of foreign currency persists. My ministry, however, continues
to look for other alternatives to survive," Parirenyatwa said.
Most hospital equipment and drugs are sourced outside Zimbabwe, but the
government has been struggling to get hard to buy them.

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Land audit of A2 farms complete

Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2006-Feb-03

THE government has completed auditing A2 farms amid reports the review
unearthed multiple farm ownership and that vast tracts of productive land
was lying idle.
Lands, Land Reform and Resettlement Minister Didymus Mutasa told The Daily
Mirror on Wednesday that the audit was complete, but his ministry was still
studying the report before its final release to the public.
"We have completed the audit, but we will inform you when it is ready to be
released as a public document," said Mutasa who is also the Minister of
State for National Security. "I will be calling for a press conference to
reveal issues raised in the audit."
Last month, Mutasa, the first black Parliamentary Speaker, said preliminary
indications in the audit showed that 70 percent of land allocated to new
farmers was productive while the rest was lying idle.
He said the audit had identified a number of problems affecting farming
activities in areas where people were resettled during the land reform
The land reform programme which kicked off in 2000 has had  its ups and
Some farmers were wrongfully allocated land and later shifted while
accusations of multiple farm ownership have been at the centre of the
programme with fingers being pointed at people in influential positions.
Despite the allegations and a previous audit, no one has really been brought
to book or found guilty.
Only Obert Mpofu, then a Governor in Matabeleland, gave up a farm in line
with the one-man-one farm policy.
The land audit was conducted on 4 867 farms that were allocated to A2
farmers countrywide.
Last December, Agriculture Minister Joseph Made told the Zanu PF people's
conference in Esigodini that the acreage under crops on the farms was only
25 percent.
The conference recommended to the government to deal decisively with the
issue of multiple land ownership.
It also resolved that people owning both A1 and A2 farms should choose what
they preferred so that they release other farms.

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Fuel shortages hit relief supplies

Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

From Paidamoyo Muzulu in Chinhoyi
issue date :2006-Feb-03

FUEL shortages facing the country have affected drought relief distribution
in Mashonaland West, with villagers in Omay going for three months without
receiving food aid from the government.
District Administrator for Kariba, Jim Kadziya, told the provincial
development committee in Chinhoyi recently that apart from an acute shortage
of the precious liquid, the dilapidated state of the roads had also
contributed to donors shunning the area.
He said the area last received 120 tonnes of maize in October last year.
"A number of reasons have been proffered, among them, the shortage of fuel
and the reluctance of transporters to use the bad roads in Omay communal
area," Kadziya said. He added that he had since written to the Grain
Marketing Board (GMB) in a bid to find a way the food aid can be distributed
in the district. GMB was expected to deliver 2 000 tonnes of maize every
However, Provincial Administrator for Mashonaland West, Christopher Shumba,
said: "Efforts are being made to make sure that Omay communal area would
receive food relief. Fuel would be made available to make it easier for the
GMB to transport the maize to the area."
Meanwhile, Save the Children (UK), a non-governmental organisation (NGO),
has been supplying supplementary food to primary school pupils in the area.
"Save the Children (UK) has come to the aid of pupils in the area and they
provide supplementary feeding at primary schools. This has been of great
help to the children from Omay," Kadziya said.

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