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Zimbabwe prison chief says inmates virtually on death row

Zim Online

Tue 7 February 2006

†HARARE - Conditions in Zimbabwe's overcrowded jails are so bad with
prisoners dying regularly that every inmate in the country's more than 40
jails was virtually on death row, according to a confidential report
prepared for President Robert Mugabe by chief jailer, Paradzai Zimondi.

Describing the mortality rate in prisons as a "cause for concern," Zimondi
said many prisoners were dying inside prison or just after being released
with one jail having recorded 127 deaths over the past 12 months alone.

Zimondi, a former army brigadier appointed Zimbabwe Prisons Service
Commissioner-General about five years ago, blamed the high rate of inmate
deaths on deteriorating conditions as well as on corruption by senior
officials that had resulted in the disappearance of drugs worth Z$10.2
billion that were meant for the treatment of prisoners.

"The mortality rate inside prisons is not pleasing. For instance, one prison
accounted for 127 deaths in one year," Zimondi said in the report entitled
Zimbabwe Prison Service Conditions Review and dated Tuesday 24 January,
2006.

"The rate at which inmates are dying is a cause for concern. Because many
former prisoners have died soon after release (from prisons), there is now a
perception that all prisoners are on death row," Zimondi added in his
report, a copy of which was shown to ZimOnline on Monday.

Both Zimondi and Mugabe's spokesman George Charamba could not be reached for
comment on the matter.
Zimbabwe's jails hold more than 25 000 inmates, with experts saying the
prisons are overcrowded, particularly in view of the cash-strapped Harare
government's inability to buy medical drugs or enough nutritious food for
prisoners.

Mugabe's government is hard pressed for resources as it grapples an acute
food shortage affecting a quarter of the 12 million Zimbabweans and a severe
economic crisis, that has spawned shortages of fuel, electricity, essential
medical drugs because there is no hard cash to pay foreign suppliers.

The Law Society of Zimbabwe (LSZ) in 2004 described conditions in prisons as
hazardous and said the country's jails were virtual death traps. The LSZ,
the representative body for the legal profession in Zimbabwe, was speaking
after touring prisons.

There have also been numerous reports in the past of inmates at for example
the country's infamous Chikurubi Maximum Security prison near Harare going
for months without running water or spending weeks on a diet of dirty
cabbage soup and meal porridge.

But Zimondi said in his report that the high death rate in jails was chiefly
because of high prevalence of HIV/AIDS and opportunistic infections such as
tuberculosis among inmates. The theft of medicines among them
anti-retroviral drugs from prison hospitals was only making the situation
worse with many lives that could have been saved lost, according to Zimondi.

He said: "The main handicap was the shortage of essential drugs. Of concern
was the unexplained disappearance of drugs worth $10.2 billion.

"While we were informed that the drugs had been purchased, they were never
recorded to have been dispatched to ZPS. We have already engaged the Police
over the matter and we hope their investigations will cast the net wide
enough to probe senior officials. We have lost lives of many inmates who
could have survived as a result of such corrupt practices." - ZimOnline


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White farmers beg Mugabe to halt farm disturbances

Zim Online

Tue 7 February 2006

††††† HARARE - Zimbabwe's few remaining white farmers at the weekend called
on President Robert Mugabe to declare a moratorium on his controversial land
policies to enable farmers to resuscitate the agricultural sector and beat
off starvation threatening the country.

††††† Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) president Douglas Taylor-Freeme said a
temporary halt on current land and agricultural policies would create
breathing space for the rehabilitation of the key agricultural sector, at
the moment in a state of near-total-collapse after Mugabe expelled most of
the country's about 4 000 white farmers and parcelled out† their farms to
landless blacks.

††††† "We urge the authorities to declare a moratorium on land and current
agriculture policies and, with the full protection of the law, bring
together all stakeholders and rebuild the entire industry to return as the
principal employer of labour and generator of food and forex," said Taylor
Freeme, in a statement to the "Government and People of Zimbabwe".

††††† Taylor Freeme, whose CFU is the main representative body for white
farmers in the country, said Mugabe's chaotic and often violent land seizure
programme had plunged the agricultural sector into problems.

††††† But the farmers' leader acknowledged the motive behind the state land
redistribution plan to reverse inequality in land ownership, adding that now
was "not the time for recrimination or going back - it is the time to draw
the line and go forward, learning from the past."

††††† Agricultural Minister Joseph Made was not immediately available for
comment on the CFU appeal for a temporary halt on current land and
agricultural policies to allow for the rebuilding of the farming sector.

††††† However, both Mugabe and Made have on numerous occasions in the past
declared they will not halt their land reform programme which has since 2000
seen the government seizing more than 10 million hectares of land from
whites† without paying compensation and giving it over to blacks.

††††† But failure by the Harare administration to follow up land
redistribution with inputs support and skills training for black villagers
resettled on former white farms saw total agricultural production dropping
by about 30 percent while food production fell by about 60 percent to leave
Zimbabwe dependent on food aid.

††††† To avoid mass starvation, the government last year signed an agreement
with the World Food Programme and other donor groups to help feed about
three million Zimbabweans or a quarter of the country's 12 million people
who face starvation after poor harvests the previous season.

††††† An acute economic crisis, in part blamed on the government's farm
seizure programme that destabilised the mainstay agricultural sector, has
worsened the humanitarian crisis in Zimbabwe with the southern African
nation also short of† electricity, fuel, essential medical drugs and other
basic commodities because there is no hard cash to pay foreign† suppliers.

††††† Taylor Freeme said with support from the government and other
stakeholders, white farmers had "the energy and capacity to help bring
Zimbabwe back, once again, to being the 'bread basket' of the
sub-continent."

††††† Only about 500 white farmers remain on the land in Zimbabwe and of
these many are battling to hang on to their farms after a fresh wave of farm
seizures that began late last year and has continued despite calls by Vice
President Joseph Msika and Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor Gideon Gono for
farm invasions to stop. - ZimOnline


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Zimbabwe government minister orders probe into allocation of clean-up houses

Zim Online

Tue 7 February 2006

††††† MASVINGO - A Zimbabwe government minister at the weekend ordered an
investigation into the allocation of houses in Masvingo town after senior
ruling ZANU PF party officials grabbed the properties which were meant for
clean-up victims.

††††† Webster Shamu, who is the Minister of Policy Implementation in the
President's Office, told ZimOnline that his ministry will fight to ensure
that the houses are allocated to deserving individuals.

††††† "I want to know how the names of these people some of whom are
reported to be owners of other properties in the town found their way onto
the list.

††††† "I am now ordering those responsible to come up with a proper, new
list," said Shamu after touring the housing project in Runyararo suburb.

††††† Among those listed as beneficiaries are Gilbert Chikata, a well known
ZANU PF activist in the town, Retired Major Alex Mudavanhu, and a senior
ZANU PF provincial executive member, Wilson Dzoro.

††††† Also on the list is a journalist for the state-controlled Herald
newspaper who is based in the town, George Maponga and Masvingo State
University senior official, Anderson Chipatiso.

††††† The Zimbabwe government, reeling under a six-year economic crisis,
last year destroyed thousands of houses and backyard shacks in towns and
cities in a campaign President Mugabe said was necessary to restore order
and crush a burgeoning foreign currency parallel market.

††††† At least 700 000 people were rendered homeless while another 2.4
million people were directly affected by the exercise which was condemned by
the United Nations and major Western governments as a violation of the
rights of the poor.

††††† But Mugabe initiated a new housing campaign in a bid to placate an
outraged international community. The new housing project was severely
hampered by a lack of cash resulting in the government handing over
incomplete houses to beneficiaries. - ZimOnline


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Zimbabwe's Export Performance: The Impact of the Parallel Market and Governance Factors

International Monetary Fund


Author/Editor: MuŮoz, SÚnia
Authorized for Distribution: January 1, 2006
Electronic Access: Full Text in PDF format. (PDF file size is 817KB)
Use the free Adobe Acrobat Reader to view this PDF file.
Disclaimer: This Working Paper should not be reported as representing the views of the IMF. The views expressed in this Working Paper are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent those of the IMF or IMF policy. Working Papers describe research in progress by the author(s) and are published to elicit comments and to further debate.

Summary: This paper analyzes Zimbabwe's export performance in recent years and identifies the factors that could improve export performance, from both a quantitative and qualitative perspective. Improving export performance is critical to a turnaround in Zimbabwe's economic situation. The growth rate of total exports declined dramatically in the early 2000s, following a large real appreciation of the currency and the introduction of the fast-track land reform program. An important finding of the paper is that policies that reduce (eliminate) the parallel market premium and lower ethnic tensions would be key to promoting export growth.
Series: Working Paper No. 06/28
English
††† Published: January 1, 2006
††† Format: Paper
††† Stock No: WPIEA2006028 Pages: 17
††† Price: US$15.00
Please address any questions about this title to publications@imf.org.


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Zim villagers pull hunter from jaws of crocodile

Mail and Guardian

††††† Harare, Zimbabwe

††††† 06 February 2006 03:24

††††††††††† A human chain of villagers pulled a hunter from the jaws of a
man-eating crocodile in north-eastern Zimbabwe, state media reported on
Monday.

††††††††††† Letikuku Sidumbu (32) was attacked by the crocodile while trying
to cross the swollen Mubvinzi River in Goromonzi district, about 40km east
of Harare, during an early-morning hunting expedition with his uncle.

††††††††††† As the crocodile clenched it jaws on his right arm, a human
chain of villagers tugged him from its grip in a struggle that also left him
with a broken leg and chest and stomach injuries, Sidumbu told the state
Herald newspaper from his hospital bed in Harare.

††††††††††† Crocodiles are the most dangerous animal to humans in Zimbabwe.
In recorded cases last year, they dragged away and ate 13 people, including
children, according to the Communal Areas Management Programme, a
conservation group.

††††††††††† "I called out to my uncle to hit the crocodile with an axe," the
Herald quoted Sidumbu saying.

††††††††††† But, he said, commotion by the two men's hunting dogs enraged
the crocodile. He heard the voices of fellow villagers arriving from nearby
Chitana Mafengu to help.

††††††††††† Before rescuers dragged him free, "one thing was clear, that
they wanted to salvage at least a piece of my flesh for burial should the
crocodile get the better of them", Sidumbu said.

††††††††††† The Communal Areas conservation group, in its annual report for
2005, said wild animals killed at least 27 people last year in cases
reported across Zimbabwe, but scores of other attacks in remote areas would
not have been recorded.

††††††††††† Elephants, hippopotamuses and buffaloes accounted for most other
attacks.

††††††††††† The Herald did not say when the hunter was attacked.

††††††††††† Sidumbu said he knew the river was crocodile infested, but "I
had safely crossed it many times before, especially at dawn". -- Sapa-AP


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Fat cats making money



Dear Family and Friends,
Writing a letter this week is no mean achievement, being able to actually
send it is going to be another matter altogether. Since my letter seven
days ago, we have had electricity cuts every day. At least once but
sometimes twice and even three times a day the power just goes off without
warning and has resulted in 47 hours without electricity in my home town.
It is not unusual now, in the middle of the day, in the middle of summer
to see smoke rising from gardens and chimneys in the suburbs as people
cook food and boil water on open fires. When the power does come on there
is no guarantee that it will stay on and so there is a frantic rush to
cook the next meal, do the ironing, work on the computer or charge
cellphones and batteries.

For businesses, these power cuts are diabolically bad news. Machines stop,
engines and pumps go quiet, computers, ATM's and tills are silent and only
those who can afford generators are able to keep operating. Little shops
which have only been surviving our 600% hyper inflation by offering things
like photocopying or computer services, are shuddering to a silent stop.
All around Marondera this week the sight has been the same - workers and
customers together, sitting outside on the pavements waiting for the
electricity to come back on. You almost don't need to ask what's wrong now
when you see a stationary queue, you just raise your eyebrows and someone
either shrugs or shows empty hands and you know - no power.† As has become
the norm in Zimbabwe, whenever there is a shortage of something, for
whatever reason, you can guarantee that some fat cat is making money out
of it. In the last couple of months the price of small generators have
soared from a few million to hundreds of millions and are out of reach of
virtually everyone. Even more despicable though is the way the money
makers even turn on the poorest of the poor. The price of candles have
soared in the last fortnight as the power cuts have become more frequent
and widespread. When you can find them, a packet of six locally made
candles are now over a quarter of a million dollars.

To make life a little tougher this week have been water cuts which covered
two full days and a telephone system just hanging on by a very thin and
frayed thread. In the last seven days my telephone has worked for less
than one hour in total. It pings incessantly, day and night, but there is
no one there. Lifting the receiver either leaves you listening to complete
strangers having long and loud conversations or a rash of electronic
buzzing, hissing and static but no dialing tone and no chance of making a
call. Numerous reports and visits to the state owned telephone company
have not achieved anything yet - they are overwhelmed with faults; a
result of no money, no spare parts, very little maintenance and being run
by a government in economic meltdown.

I do not know how soon I will be able to send this letter but will do so as
soon as both electricity and telephone are working at the same time.
Until next week, love cathy Copyright cathy buckle 4th Feb 2006


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Eskom denies 'forced cuts' in Zim supply

Cape Argus

††††† February 6, 2006

††††† Eskom has confirmed that due to planned maintenance power outages,
there had at times been insufficient power to supply Zimbabwe.

††††† Spokesman Fani Zulu said yesterday that power supplies had not been
suspended and Eskom had assisted Zimbabwe to get power elsewhere.

††††† "At no point did we cut our supply to Zimbabwe. We had a lot of
maintenance outages that were planned. It is normal at this time of the
year.

††††† "Because most of the plants are going through mid-life maintenance and
refurbishments, it took longer to bring the plants back into supply."

††††† But Zulu said Zimbabwe's contract with Eskom worked on "a day ahead"
basis whereby the country would stipulate it would need a certain number of
up to 300 megawatt.

††††† "In the last 10 days we have given them all the megawatts they
requested, but prior to that we had instances where we gave less than was
required because of availability of plants," Zulu said.

††††† And the Department of Minerals and Energy says media reports that a
decision was taken to stop fuel supplies to Zimbabwe are incorrect. The
Sunday Independent reported that the department, citing "refining problems",
asked fuel companies to cease supplies to Zimbabwe with "immediate effect".

††††† The South African Petroleum Industry Association (Sapia) reported
temporary fuel shortages yesterday after a disruption in production volumes
at the Natref refinery co-owned by Sasol and Total.

††††† Its crude distillation unit had an unscheduled shutdown at the end of
January. Sapia director Colin McClelland said: "There may be sporadic
shortages in South Africa which could affect other countries. But we
wouldn't cut off ... Botswana, Namibia or Zimbabwe."

††††† Most major Zimbabwean fuel companies source their fuel from South
Africa as the National Oil Company of Zimbabwe is bankrupt and unable to
find sufficient foreign currency for fuel since March last year.

††††† News agency DPA reported a senior official in the Zimbabwe Electricity
Regulatory Commission (ZERC) said "forced outages" in the supply from South
Africa, and inadequate supplies of coal to power Zimbabwe's main power
station, had put supplies "under serious threat".

††††† The problem had been worsened by the ZERC's inability to settle its
debts with its major coal supplier and the National Railways of Zimbabwe,
which transports the coal. - Sapa


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Zim turns to Zambia during power crisis

IOL

††††††††† February 06 2006 at 10:59AM

††††† Harare - Zimbabwe, already reeling from daily blackouts, faced
increased power cuts as a result of declining local production and import
cuts, a state-run newspaper reported on Sunday.

††††† Electricity imports from South Africa were suspended last week because
of planned cuts in its system expected to last at least two weeks, the
Sunday Mail reported.

††††† South African power company Eskom confirmed the temporary cuts, saying
they were necessary for maintenance and refurbishment.

††††† Production by local coal-fired generators had also been cut back
because of coal shortages, the Zimbabwe paper said.

††††† Zimbabwe is suffering its worst economic crisis since independence
from Britain in 1980, blamed largely on the often-violent seizure of
thousands of white-owned commercial farms for redistribution to blacks.

††††† Years of erratic rainfall have also taken a toll on the
agriculture-based economy.

††††† Zimbabwe is plagued by regular power and water cuts which are blamed
on acute shortages of hard currency, petrol and imported spare parts. The
country imports 40 percent of its power from South Africa - the main
supplier - Congo and Mozambique.

††††† The Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority is now seeking additional
power from Zambia, which shares output from the Kariba hydroelectric dam on
the countries' shared border.

††††† But Zambia will only be able to help when it has a surplus. Recent
coal shortages were worsened by the state power utility's inability to pay
its debts to suppliers and transporters, including the state railroad
company, Mavis Chidzonga, head of the government's power regulatory
commission, told the Sunday Mail.

††††† She said coal-fired power stations in Harare and Bulawayo had shut
down several weeks ago and production at the main Hwange station in
north-western Zimbabwe was also being curtailed.

††††† The government has previously refused to approve inflation-linked
hikes in electricity fees. But Chidzonga said management reforms and massive
tariff increases were needed to address what she called the country's
"precarious" power situation. - Sapa-AP

††††† This article was originally published on page 8 of The Mercury on
February 06, 2006


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Speculation grows as South Africa cuts fuel and electricity to Zimbabwe



††††† By Lance Guma
††††† 06 February 2006

††††† South Africa has cut both fuel and electricity supplies to Zimbabwe
sparking speculation the government is frustrated with the lack of progress
in resolving political and economic problems in Zimbabwe. South Africa's
power utility Eskom confirmed at the weekend that it had switched off power
supplies to Zimbabwe. The move coincides with a circular sent by South
Africa's department of minerals and energy telling fuel companies to stop
supplying fuel to Zimbabwe with "immediate effect". The department cites
"refining problems" as the reason for the move.

††††† For Zimbabweans who have had to endure endless power cuts and fuel
shortages the situation keeps getting worse. Last week the Zimbabwe
Electricity Supply Authority said it could no longer guarantee future
supplies of electricity. Although political analysts suspect South Africa is
playing power games with Zimbabwe, Eskom itself says the power cuts are
meant to enable planned maintenance work. Sidney Masamvu, Southern African
analyst for the International Crisis Group, says Thabo Mbeki's government is
frustrated by the lack of progress in resolving political problems in
Zimbabwe and wanted a subtle reminder of the economic pressure they could
put on Mugabe's government.

††††† The wellbeing of Zimbabwe's economy relies primarily on its
relationship with South Africa. Most analysts agree only economic pressure
will force Mugabe to accept political reforms. Mbeki told the South African
Broadcasting Corporation at the weekend how close both Zanu PF and the MDC
were towards secretly agreeing a new constitution two years ago. On the same
weekend Mbeki talked about these events, his government somehow cut both
fuel and electricity to Zimbabwe. According to Masamvu this shows that there
is a link between the two developments and that South Africa wanted to speed
up progress towards solving its neighbour's problems.

††††† Zimbabwe has struggled to pay for fuel and electricity supplies
because of foreign currency shortages caused by economic mismanagement, but
South Africa has always made concessions for them in the past. Masamvu says
what is obvious is that South Africa has run out of patience with Mugabe,
whether it be in the manner of payment for supplies or the political
environment that causes their inability to pay for supplies.

††††† SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news


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MDC alive and kicking back home, diaspora told

Zimbabwejournalists.com

††††† By Mathew Nyashanu

††††† VISITING Movement for Democratic Change officials received a
resounding welcome from Zimbabweans living in the United Kingdom over the
weekend. The delegation led by party chairman Isaac Matongo, included the
youthful Kuwadzana Member of Parliament and party† spokesman Nelson Chamisa,
Makokoba MP and deputy chief whip Thokozani Khupe and Ian Makone personal
assistant to MDC president Morgan Tsvangirai.

††††† Their message to the divided party in the diaspora was loud and clear:
"The MDC is still alive and kicking back home." The first meeting took place
in Leeds Saturday afternoon with more a one hundred and fifty people packing
the Leeds West Indian centre. Matongo was the first to address the people.
He said as a result of the differences brought about by the senatorial
elections, the MDC has emerged leaner, meaner, stronger and more focused.
The told the rally about the "senate rebels" and their futile attempts to
destroy the party. He urged Zimbabweans in diaspora to support efforts at
home that are aimed at restoring democracy.

††††† A vibrant Chamisa told the home-sick Zimbabweans living in the UK, the
collapse of social and health services in Zimbabwe was enough testimony to
show that the Zanu PF government is now in the intensive care unit. He said
the MDC was geared towards a new paradigm shift to step up efforts in
bringing peace and tranquility to the economic ravaged southern African
state. He said change was certainly in the air with Zanu PF failing to
provide for a restive society. Shortages of basics like fertilizer in an
agricultural country were set to worsen the people's day to day living.

††††† Khupe described the revived senate as a ZANU PF project only meant to
reward and placate Mugabe's cronies while ordinary people suffered from
hunger and starvation.

††††† On Sunday an even more bigger crowd - over three hundred and fifty-
people packed the Ladywood leisure centre in Birmingham to listen to the MDC
delegation. Chamisa explained to the crowd the situation obtaining back home
and deplored the deportation last week of MDC officials from Zambia. He said
that this is a clear indication that ZANU PF is uncomfortable with the
opposition hence it was coercing neighbouring governments to help its
efforts to frustrate Tsvangirai and his colleagues. He said Zambia deployed
more than sixty two army, police and immigration personnel to deport
Tsvangirai and his eight unarmed MDC officials, Chamisa, Matongo and Khupe
included, who had used a legal designated border post to enter the country
legally. Chamisa said he was surprised to find more than fifty four
Zimbabwean army, police and Central Intelligence Officers (CIO) operatives
waiting for them on the Zimbabwean side after their deportation. He
explained how they were made to walk ten kilometres into Victoria Falls town
as the operatives had no car.

††††† The meetings were electric as party faithfuls wearing party regalia
sang and danced as they reaffirmed their strong support for their party and
president Morgan Tsvangirai. Both meetings went past their set ending times
as person after person stood up to pledge their support to help press for
change back home.† After Birmingham the delegation headed for London where
they were due to meet more Zimbabweans at the weekly MDC Monday. They wrap
up their visit with a meeting in Southend on Sea on Tuesday.

††††† The UK tour by Matongo and his delegation comes at a time feuding
factions of the main opposition party are due to hold separate congresses in
the next few weeks to elect new leaders.

††††† The congresses will confirm the split that was caused by differences
over the senatorial elections held in November. The split has also seen the
MDC in the UK splitting into two factions loyal to leader Morgan Tsvangirai
and secretary general, Welshman Ncube.


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Assassination attempt?

From ZWNEWS, 6 February

Approximately two weeks ago an attempt was made to assassinate vice
president Joyce Majuru, a reliable source with military links has claimed in
an unconfirmed report. A private soldier, Joseph Mutima, is said to have
opened fire with his service issue AK47 rifle on the vice presidential
motorcade as it passed him by. Several shots hit the vehicle in which Mujuru
was travelling, but the car's armour-plating protected the occupants from
injury. Mutima was shot in the leg by the cavalcade's military escort and
was subsequently arrested. He has been interrogated by various branches of
the military and police, and as of last Friday it is believed he was being
held by the CIO at the Braeside police camp. Mutima is thought to come from
the Dorowa area. It is not known in what regiment Mutima was serving.


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Zimbabwe to probe opposition leader over meeting

Reuters

††††† Mon Feb 6, 2006 5:35 AM ET

HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe is probing a secret meeting between opposition
leader Morgan Tsvangirai and a U.S.-funded organization it says is linked to
the CIA, the official Herald newspaper said on Monday.

Tsvangirai and eight members of his Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
were expelled from neighboring Zambia last week for violating its
immigration laws.

Zimbabwe's state media has reported that the group was deported after they
secretly met officials from a U.S.-funded organization called Freedom House,
which it has said is headed by former agents for the Central Intelligence
Agency and Federal Bureau of Investigation.

"The organization is known worldwide for fuelling civil unrest in countries
seen as a threat to U.S. policies and interests," the Herald said.

Freedom House describes itself as an independent, non-governmental
organization dedicated to promoting democracy.

National Security Minister Didymus Mutasa told the Herald the government was
seeking to establish a motive for the meeting.

"We are very interested in the meeting and we are making a follow-up. We
want to know what is going on ... We can't divulge much at this stage
because it will work against our interests but this is a matter of national
security and we can't ignore it," Mutasa told the paper.

Mutasa was not immediately reachable for comment on Monday.

The state-controlled Sunday Mail at the weekend quoted unnamed sources as
saying the U.S. Embassy in Harare arranged the meeting, "raising suspicion
that the meeting could have been organized to plot ways of causing an
upheaval in Zimbabwe".

The U.S. Embassy said it had no immediate comment on Monday.

Tsvangirai's spokesman, William Bango, declined to comment on the report,
saying: "Our position remains that Mr Tsvangirai still awaits an explanation
from the Zambian authorities as to why he was treated like a fugitive when
he entered the country legally."

The government of President Robert Mugabe has frequently accused the MDC and
Tsvangirai of being agents of foreign powers opposed to his policy of
seizing white-owned forms for landless blacks.

Tsvangirai has already been charged twice with plotting to assassinate
Mugabe, for which he was acquitted, and with seeking to overthrow the
government, a charge the state withdrew last year.

The MDC, which once offered the stiffest challenge to Mugabe's 26-year rule,
has split into two rival factions amid political infighting that analysts
say has undermined the party's effectiveness.


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New legal amendments increase fines for "presidential insult" and "communication of falsehoods"

IFEX

† Country/Topic: Zimbabwe
† Date: 06 February 2006
† Source: Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA)
† Person(s):
† Target(s):
† Type(s) of violation(s): legal action
† Urgency: Threat
(MISA/IFEX) - The General Laws Amendment Act (GLAA), which tightens the
"presidential insult" and "communication of falsehoods" laws under the
Public Order and Security Act (POSA), has been signed into law.

The GLAA amends 22 sections of POSA, as well as several other acts. It was
signed into law by Acting President Joice Mujuru, according to a notice
published in the "Government Gazette" on 3 February 2006.

The amendments increase the fine imposed under Section 16 of POSA from
Z$20,000 (approx. US$0.20) to Z$2 million (approx. US$20). The penalty may
also entail one year imprisonment, either as an alternative or supplement to
the fine. Section 16 deals with the "publication of false statements that
will engender feelings of hostility towards - or cause hatred, contempt or
ridicule of - the President or Acting President."

Those convicted under Section 15 of POSA, which deals with "the publishing
or communication of statements prejudicial to the state", will now be liable
to a fine of Z$10 million (approx. US$100) - up from Z$100,000 (approx.
US$1) - or five years' imprisonment, or both.

Section 15 also covers the "publishing of statements likely to promote or
incite public disorder or adversely affect the security or economic
interests of Zimbabwe."

Under the new amendments, "causing disaffection among the police force or
defense forces" will be punishable by a fine not exceeding Z$4 million
(approx. US$40), while "unauthorized public gatherings for the purposes of
rioting or causing disorder" will be punishable by a fine of up to Z$10
million (approx. US$100).

The proposed amendments will not alter the prison terms previously
stipulated by POSA.

MORE INFORMATION:

For further information, contact Zoť Titus, Programme Specialist, Media
Freedom Monitoring, MISA, Private Bag 13386 Windhoek, Namibia, tel: +264 61
232 975, fax: +264 61 248 016, e-mail: research@misa.org, Internet:
http://www.misa.org


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Foreigners are stealing our birthright

From The Star (SA), 6 February

Musina, on the border of South Africa and Zimbabwe, has supposedly been
taken over by illegal immigrants, some of whom have obtained South African
identity documents fraudulently. Some of the Zimbabweans have taken over RDP
houses meant for poor South Africans, while others cross the border
illegally, to come and claim child grants for their children. In recent
months the town's leaders have blatantly shown their hostility to the
informal community, handing out pamphlets which say: "Go back to where you
came from." However, Ernie Sibanda, one of the perceived "aliens", angrily
flashes his South African identity book, saying: "Their claims that we are
foreigners are baffling and ridiculous. They did not question our identity
when we voted in the last local government elections. But now they suddenly
call us illegal immigrants." The rest of the community, about 3 000-strong,
is incensed that they have been shunted around for the last 10 years with
their basic needs for services and housing ignored.

In the meantime, their leaders claim to have found proof that there are
Zimbabweans living in RDP houses meant for poor South Africans. This
discovery has fuelled the shack dwellers' resentment towards the
municipality to the extent that they now defiantly say of themselves Sihlala
nge nkani - "we live by force". But the municipality disregards this.
Instead it has commented in the local press that the informal settlement is
a burden on the town, stretching its already limited resources. Although the
Limpopo premier, Sello Moloto, declared the informal settlement a part of
Musina last year, town officials are adamant that the shack dwellers will be
evicted by the beginning of March this year. "Those people invaded the land
and are staying there illegally. As a municipality we won't provide services
to them," said Musina municipal manager Abram Luruli. "Since the Vhembe
district began supplying them with water, their number has increased from
570 to more than 1 000,'' he said.

The municipality is increasingly under pressure to provide the shack
dwellers with safe drinking water and sanitation to prevent the outbreak of
diseases such as typhoid and cholera. The municipality has also made various
attempts to remove the settlement but the people vehemently resisted
attempts to dismantle their joined-up sheet iron and plastic homes. "While
we are not saying all the people there are illegal immigrants, it could be
possible that some of them are," Luruli said. "We wanted to evict them but
we were advised by the provincial government to negotiate with them
instead," he said. In the meantime, negotiations have begun with Limpopo's
local government to move shack dwellers who are not on the waiting list to
an area around Madimbo village, outside Musina. These include some of the
occupants of Sihlala nge nkani. But in the meantime, nothing can be done in
the case of Zimbabweans living in RDP homes, receiving basic services that
South Africans also want. Luruli explained that those with genuine
documentation could not be denied services. "Once illegal immigrants are
issued with identity books, it is simple for them to gain access to low-cost
housing and social grants. Their influx into the area is impacting
negatively on the municipality's capacity to provide basic services as we
are over-stretched," Luruli said.


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How else will we survive?

From The Star (SA), 6 February

Rather than simply escaping political tyranny, Zimbabweans illegally
crossing the border now want the same benefits as South Africa's poorest -
low-cost housing and child-support grants. Border police and officials, on
the other hand, are struggling to keep up with the thousands that cross the
border into Musina every week. When a Star team drove along the border on
Friday evening, dozens of Zimbabweans were spotted trying to enter the
country. Some walked up and down the treacherous waters of the Limpopo
River, looking for shallow points through which they could wade. Others who
had already swum across the swollen river used wooden poles to push apart
the electrified wires, so they could squeeze through the gaping holes
without being zapped too much by the electric current. As the sun began to
dip below the horizon, more Zimbabweans seemed to creep out of the bushes.
But they were seemingly unnoticed by members of the South African National
Defence Force, either busy washing clothes or playing cards at patrol
stations 10km apart.

In the meantime, it was also clear that another burgeoning industry, clearly
a result of the misfortune of the Zimbabweans, has emerged, in the form of
taxis. Scores of them carefully drove along the border waiting to ferry
those who had made it safely across the river, into Musina without drawing
the attention of police or immigration officials. Zimbabweans illegally
crossing the border seem to have no qualms about the fact that they are
breaking the law, and police have admitted that managing this was now
becoming impossible. Musina police spokesman, Jacques du Buisson, said the
river is particularly difficult to patrol because it is so wide. "We are not
allowed to release statistics of how many cross illegally. But there are
many of them. "We arrest many people around the areas of Musina on a daily
basis and deport them back to Zimbabwe, but they return as soon as we have
dropped them off," Du Buisson said.

Police are now considering restructuring the border line to improve
patrolling, and securing the bridge to control the cross-border problem. The
illegal immigrants usually cross at night and more choose to cross over
weekends or at the end of the month. Some in the town say this is when
patrol officers are least on their guard, because they are too busy spending
the money they had just received, or socialising. But not all manage to slip
past the law. Just two weeks ago, 2 300 illegal immigrants were arrested.
Police were astonished to find that many of them were pregnant women. Musina
Hospital spokesperson Phillemon Tlabane said there was a new phenomenon of
heavily pregnant Zimbabweans arriving in South Africa, just in time to give
birth. They then register their children at the Home Affairs department,
even when the fathers were not South Africans. "Once they have registered
their children for social grants, they go back home to return only on pay
days," he said.

His department receives over 50 new applications for child grants on a daily
basis from Musina Hospital as well as Nancefield and Madimbo clinics. Some
of the women are from Malawi and Mozambique but prefer to cross nearer
Musina, as it is seemingly the easier route. After giving birth, many stayed
on, settling in areas around the town. The township of Nancefield, in
particular, is home to many illegal immigrants, who rent back-rooms on
properties belonging to South Africans. Melita Chauke, a 39-year-old mother
of six from Zimbabwe, has been living in Nancefield since 2001. She has even
managed to obtain a South African ID book. "I couldn't tell them I was from
Zimbabwe when I applied for the child grants. I had to lie. I didn't know
what else I could do to help myself and my children survive," she said.

Another Zimbabwean, Taelo Manabalala (22) tells a different story. Out of
desperation, she crossed the river and fence on her own one night in 2002.
Not long afterwards she started a relationship with a South African man. The
two are not married, but he is the father of her 5-month old son and has
agreed to help her with the application for a child grant. "I applied for my
identity book in 2002. Now my boyfriend is helping me to get a grant," she
said. In the heart of Nancefield, a new block of RDP homes seems to be
thriving with luscious vegetation and neat hedges. But the music of
Zimbabwean band System Tazvila Chazezes and Challengers blares out from a
more awkward-looking construction among the RDP cluster. It is a block of 10
rooms that has been added on to the basic one-bedroom RDP house, now let out
to Zimbabwean and South African families. One of the tenants is Nelly
Nduvheni, a Zimbabwean woman with two children who have qualified for child
grants. "I use part of my children's grant to pay the R250 to stay in this
room. It's a lot, but there is nothing we could do because we were desperate
for accommodation," she said.

Sinki Makushu, a community leader at a squatter camp just outside
Nancefield, said it was commonplace for illegal immigrants to fake marriages
with local men to obtain South African identity books. "Everyone knows that
in Musina, Zimbabwean women and even men marry under false pretences just
for the sake of getting identity books. But it all comes with a price. There
is nothing for mahala," he said. Oupa Mashaba, anther community leader said:
" The officials are aware of the problem, but they don't know how to deal
with it," he said. The Department of Social Development's Lakela Kaunda said
they have started looking into the issue. But Limpopo's Health spokesperson,
Sophy Sekole, said that although they were aware of the problem, there was
little they could do. "We don't have the right to deny grants to those who
apply with authentic documents. Our system does not reflect the fact that
they are foreign nationals receiving the social grants money," she said.


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Don't rush: Kangai tells Madhuku

Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Oswelled Ureke recently in Mutare
issue date :2006-Feb-06

THE Deputy Speaker of the House of Assembly, Kumbirai Kangai, has told
National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) chairman Lovemore Madhuku and other
activists to be patient in their quest for constitution reform.
†††††† Speaking at the Centre for Peace Initiatives in Africa (CPIA)
workshop held in Mutare recently, Kangai urged the nation to be patient
while formal procedures were under way to restart constitutional talks that
stalled in 2000 after the rejection of the draft constitution
"Be patient. I am sure we will soon see a return to such dialogue. The
government is very committed to a new constitution, which has the input of
all Zimbabweans. If President Robert Mugabe was not committed to a new
constitution, there would not have been a referendum on the draft by the
Constitutional Commission five years ago. As it stands, a constitution was
drafted and presented to the people who rejected it," said Kangai.
He was responding to Madhuku's statement querying the government's
commitment to a new constitution after a presentation on the Constitution
and constitutionalism by legal expert Walter Kamba.
Madhuku had decried lack of initiatives to implement desired changes in the
Zimbabwean constitution, which to date has been amended 17 times.
"How long will it take us to implement decisions?† We cannot continue
talking about a way forward when we know the way forward is to change the
constitution.† The longer we wait, the more impatient people become and
tempers rise, leading to confrontation.† We know the President is going to
retire in 2008 or in 2010 and we should have come up with a new constitution
by then," Madhuku said.
The NCA has been calling for a new constitution in Zimbabwe and on several
occasions took to the streets to demonstrate for the change of the supreme
law.
Madhuku has been arrested on countless occasions for leading NCA
demonstrations.
Other participants at the CPIA's fifth annual review conference felt time
was fast running out for Zimbabwe to implement holistic constitutional
reforms before the anticipated departure of President Mugabe.
Constitutional expert Kamba, in his impassioned presentation expressed the
need by Zimbabweans to start constitutional talks before the expected
retirement of the President.
Kamba drew parallels between Zimbabwe's present Constitution and drafts in
2000 by the NCA and the National Constitutional Commission (NCC)
respectively.
He said there was need for consensus on constitutional reform and urged all
stakeholders to bury their differences for the sake of the nation.
"The great tragedy of Zimbabwe is the unpreparedness in the minds and
attitudes of many to accept the existence of political social and religious
pluralism in our society.
"Thus, there is no effort to seek to secure a consensus on matters of
constitutional or governance arrangements.† This attitude generates
resistance or opposition even in respect of issues on which agreement would
be easily arrived at," said Kamba who was a member of the Constitutional
Commission.
The CPIA conference this year ran under the theme: Zimbabwe: Assessment and
Way Forward.† More than 60 delegates representing the broad areas of
education, business and defence and diplomacy attended the three-day long
conference.


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Harare employees told to form one union

Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2006-Feb-06

THE Harare City Council Town Clerk, Nomutsa Chideya has ordered the
municipality's employees to form one Union that must be affiliated to the
Zimbabwe Federation of Trade Unions (ZFTU).
Chideya made the demand through a circular to all employees dated January
25, 2006 and on the pretext that it was a directive from the Minister of
Local Government, Public Works and Urban Development, Ignatius Chombo.
However, Chombo yesterday denied ever making such a directive.
There are currently two unions representing the municipal employees - the
Harare Urban Municipal Workers Union headed by a P Mabhibho and the Harare
Municipal Workers Union led by Cosmus Bungu.
"This circular serves to inform you that there was a meeting on 19th
December 2005 at Town House between the Honourable Minister of Local
Government, Public Works and Urban Development Ignatius Chombo,
commissioners, strategist, city council management and representatives of
the Harare Urban Workers Union of which the primary objective was to inform
the minister about the progress achieved in implementing council's turn
around strategy," wrote Chideya.
During the meeting, Chideya wrote, the conflicts between the two unions
"manifested itself very clearly" as they two openly exchanged accusations.
"At the end of it all the minister categorically directed that the leaders
of the two unions namely,† C. Bungu and† P. Mabhibho should meet and agree
on the parameters they can come up with in order to come up with one union
which should be affiliated to the Zimbabwe Federation of Trade Unions,"
Chideya wrote.
The town clerk registered his dismay over the failure by the leaders of the
two rival unions to form a single workers' representative body.
"To date this has not happened and the city management and commission are
still waiting for the two unions leaders to jointly advise on the way
forward," Chideya added.
The town clerk said the commission running the affairs of the capital was
still waiting for the leaders of the two unions to advise them on the nature
and parameters of how they were going to comply with the directive.
In an interview with The Daily Mirror yesterday, Chombo admitted addressing
a meeting at Town House on December 19 last year, but denied Chideya's
assertions.
"I never said that. There are free to form even three workers unions. The
two unions disagreed on certain issues during the meeting with some happy
and some not happy with the approach being taken by the turnaround
†strategy," Chombo said.
The minister said he then suggested that there must be dialogue between the
two unions in order for them to come up with a common viewpoint whenever
they attend such meetings.
While efforts to get a comment from the leaders of both unions on the matter
were fruitless, the country's major labour body-the Zimbabwe Congress of
Trade Unions (ZCTU)-described Chideya's directive as illegal. ZCTU president
Lovemore Matombo said: "Neither Chombo nor Chideya has such right.
"In terms of the Labour Act, unions are formed by members with common
interests, values and traditions and one cannot force a worker to join a
certain union against his or her will."
†Matombo stressed that the merger must be voluntary.


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The River Wild


Extreme-sports fans head down to the Zambezi for the ride of their lives




www.zambezi.com
MIND THE HIPPOS:Fast torrents and submerged rocks aren't the only hazards on the Zambezi
printsendsubscribe

Monday, Feb. 06, 2006
Victorian explorer David Livingstone reported the existence of the Victoria Falls back to the West after discovering them in 1855, and the numbers of tourists streaming to visit the "smoke that thunders" have been increasing ever since. Although some folks still prefer to take in the majesty of this geological wonder from the viewing platform, excitement addicts microlight overhead, whitewater raft below or bungee jump betwixt and between. Last summer, 75% of foreign visitors to the falls participated in adventure sports, according to Zambia's National Heritage Conservation Commission. For some of these thrill seekers, the falls aren't even the main attraction but a hazy, shimmering backdrop to the mighty Zambezi River and the challenges it presents.

Bundu Adventures, www.bunduadventures.co.za, and Zambezi Safari and Travel, www.zambezi.com, have added river boarding to the list of extreme sports on offer. Adrenaline junkies launch themselves 26 km down the Zambezi, through the winding basalt canyons of the Batoka Gorge, with no more than a wetsuit, helmet, lifejacket, fins and a body board with wrist leash. It's an irresistible challenge for river-boarding fanatics: a torrent of such force that it generates enough hydroelectricity to power both Zimbabwe and neighboring Zambia. Expert guides lead river boarders into violent Class IV and V rapids with dangerous drops and irregular currents and names like Stairway to Heaven and Oblivion; these waters are known to have flipped more inflatable rafts than any other rapids in the world. Then there's the wildlife: hippos' snouts break the surface of the water; baboon families clamber around at its edge and while only baby crocodiles survive the drop from the falls, they do grow up downstream.

American Richard Bangs, an international river explorer and award-winning author of Riding the Dragon's Back, about his first descent on China's Yangtze River, has led first river-boarding descents on 35 rivers worldwide. Bangs says that the rivers that cascade down such mountain ranges as the upward-thrusting Himalayas and Andes run rapidly continuously, leaving no room for human error. But the Zambezi gives boarders a chance to rest, "in that it has a beautifully designed sequence: a big rapid is almost always followed by a calm pool."

Marc Goddard, former world rafting champion and owner of Bio Bio Expeditions in California, www.bbxrafting.com, has rafted on the Zambezi every year since 1989. He says that, due to the river's special hydrotopographical features, "if you use your fins to face upstream at the right moment on a standing wave, you can stay there forever." Just save plenty of energy for the 250-m vertical climbs out of the gorge on handmade bamboo ladders that punctuate the rock face along the way.

Bangs remembers the pioneering days of the late '70s when he struggled to convince expatriates and local hoteliers that the Zambezi was navigable: "It is hard to believe that the Zambezi has now become an adventure-sports Mecca." Livingstone might be surprised at the river's new activities, but no doubt he'd wholly approve of the spirit of adventure that informs them.

From the Feb. 13, 2006 issue of TIME Global Advisor

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