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Mugabe to ask whites back in land grab U-turn

The Telegraph

By Peta Thornycroft in Harare
(Filed: 09/02/2006)

President Robert Mugabe has begun to reverse his "insane" land grab and
offer some white farmers the chance to lease back their holdings in

With the fastest shrinking economy in the world, Mr Mugabe has had to
backtrack on six years of chaos and his own determination to rid the country
of all white farmers.

In an orgy of violence, Mr Mugabe seized the land, homes, equipment and
infrastructure of about 4,000 white commercial farmers who produced almost
half of Zimbabwe's foreign currency.

The U-turn is expected to be announced within days. The ruling Zanu-PF
party's politburo has been informed and selected journalists in the
state-controlled media have been briefed on how to spin the policy reversal.

About 250 whites remaining on small portions of their farms will immediately
be offered state leases for the land they used to own. Some will be hoping
that their full land holdings will be restored at a later stage.

The leases will, farmers hope, give them some legal protection from local
warlords continuously trying to evict them or seize their equipment or

In a second stage, the leases will be extended to some white farmers who
have already been evicted, particularly where there is no activity on that
land. Some fled to Britain, Australia, New Zealand or South Africa and are
desperately homesick.

The government is expected to admit in the next few days that it has only
used about 50 per cent of the land it seized. In reality, land economists
say the figure of idle land is nearer 80 to 90 per cent.

The new policy is understood to have been approved by Mr Mugabe but it is
unlikely he will announce it, as the government hopes to play down the

It will be executed by two of his most trusted lieutenants: the lands
minister Didymus Mutasa and the agriculture minister Joseph Made. Neither
was available for comment yesterday.

In anticipation of this change of policy, the Commercial Farmers Union has
advised some members to apply for leases, and some farmers have already
filled in lease applications at the agriculture ministry.

The union yesterday issued a rare statement calling for a ''moratorium on
land and agricultural policies''. All those involved in agriculture should
get together and "rebuild the entire industry to return as the principal
employer of labour and generator of food and foreign exchange", it said.

"We have the energy and capacity to help bring Zimbabwe back once again to
be the bread basket of the sub-continent."

The statement was signed by the CFU president, Doug Taylor-Freeme, who would
not comment on the change of policy. "We need to create some stability on
the ground for existing farmers if we want any investment in agriculture.
That's the first step.

"All land has been acquired by the state for one reason or another but the
issue now is who uses that land? We believe it should be farmers. When you
look at the state of agriculture and the state of the economy we need to
find the right balance."

Behind closed doors last week, the International Monetary Fund told
Zimbabwe's finance minister Herbert Murerwa - who has helped himself to a
white-owned farm - that land seizures should halt immediately and that
without increased agricultural production there was no chance of halting
Zimbabwe's slide.

While this is a reversal of Zanu PF's policy to rid Zimbabwe of all white
farmers, some of those who lost their holdings are cynical about any offers
from the government. Many will need convincing that the offer is genuine
unless it is openly endorsed by Mr Mugabe and, even then, they may still be
sceptical about a president who has broken promises in the past. "The
government vastly underestimates the damage of its insane policies," said
one of Zimbabwe's former top cereal producers. "They probably believe that
allowing some of us to return will turn the economy around in a single
season. We won't be able to do anything without international finance, and
we won't get that until there is political reform," he said.

"It's bloody miserable out there. All our friends have gone, our equipment
has been broken, irrigation has been vandalised, our homes have been
wrecked, the roads are a mess, our workers have gone so why should we
return? I am sure there will be some clots who are so damn miserable in
other countries or living in towns that they will go back.

"We should be campaigning for compensation, not going back to help people
who wrecked our country."

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Farmers will not forget the murder and destruction

The Telegraph

By David Blair
(Filed: 09/02/2006)

When a mob of President Robert Mugabe's fanatical supporters dragged David
Stevens from his farm, they subjected the father of four to hours of torment
before finally killing him with shots to the head and chest.

Mr Stevens was the first white farmer to be murdered at the outset of Mr
Mugabe's land seizures in April 2000. During the next 18 months, another
seven landowners and 39 of their black workers would die at the hands of the
president's mobs. Scores of farms were looted and burned to the ground,
armed gangs were unleashed across Zimbabwe and law and order collapsed.
By the end, almost 4,000 white landowners had lost everything. Families who
had tilled the soil for generations were left with nothing.

One farming family - the Olds of Matabeleland - lost a mother, Gloria, and
her son, Martin. Both were murdered on separate occasions by men armed with
military-issue assault rifles.

Tragically, 1.5 million black farm workers and their dependants were also
deprived of their jobs and homes and poured into squatter camps and
throughout Zimbabwe.

Mr Mugabe's justification for sowing this violence and misery was that
Zimbabwe would be rid of the white farmers. These "racists" and
"oppressors", as he usually called them, would be driven from the country.
Yet suddenly the president realises that it was all for nothing. The murders
and beatings, the poverty caused by destroying the backbone of Zimbabwe's
economy, were entirely pointless.

Mr Mugabe appears to have accepted that some of those white farmers must now
be allowed to return.

But how do you rebuild something which has been smashed into a thousand

Some inescapable facts lie behind the impending U-turn. Entirely
predictably, Mr Mugabe's violent land grab has caused an economic
catastrophe. Commercial agriculture is the pillar of Zimbabwe's economy.
Recovery is impossible unless production of tobacco for export and maize for
domestic consumption revives dramatically.

So the officials with the unenviable task of rebuilding Zimbabwe's economy
have reached the unavoidable conclusion: some of those hated white farmers
must be allowed to return.

Mr Mugabe now appears to agree. He will not, of course, eat humble pie. He
will probably pose as a magnanimous leader, inviting back his former enemies
in the interests of national recovery.

Yet how many farmers will trust Mr Mugabe and return? How many would accept
assurances from a man who has gone to such lengths to destroy them?

When farmers remember the murder and destruction, they are likely to respond
to Mr Mugabe's offer with a simple phrase - "too late".

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Years of turmoil

The Telegraph

(Filed: 09/02/2006)

2000: About 4,000 white farmers are Zimbabwe's biggest export-earner,
employing 300,000 black workers. Mugabe encourages armed mobs to invade
white-owned land. Supreme Court rules land grab illegal.

2001: Mugabe packs Supreme Court with supporters. Land grab deemed a "matter
of social justice and not strictly speaking a legal issue". Squatters on
1,500 farms allowed to stay. Maize crop falls by 42 per cent.

2002: Regime lists 5,872 farms for seizure - 94 per cent. By end of 2002
fewer than 1,000 remain.

2003: By year end only about 400 white farmers left. Zimbabwe dependent on
World Food Programme (WFP).

2005: Zimbabwe suffers disastrous slump. Third of the economy wiped out
since 2000. Inflation at 502 pc. Fuel runs out and currency crashes. Only
about 250 white landowners left.

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Harare court orders review of newspaper ban


          February 08 2006 at 08:46PM

      Harare - A Zimbabwean court on Wednesday quashed a ban on a popular
daily by a state media commission and ordered the body to review its
decision to muzzle the newspaper under draconian media laws, a lawyer said.

      The Daily News, known for its anti-government line, and its sister
paper, The Daily News On Sunday, were closed down in September 2003 on
charges they violated the media laws.

      The media commission has twice refused to grant it a licence despite a
Supreme Court ruling in March last year that threw out the ban on the

      "The High Court has set aside the decision of the Media and
Information Commission to refuse to grant Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe
a licence," said lawyer Mordecai Mahlangu, representing the publishers.

      "Justice Rita Makarau also ordered the MIC to reconsider ANZ's
application for a licence to publish," he said.

      Lawyers for the newspaper had gone to court to challenge the decision
of the media commission, arguing that the chairman of the body had refused
to recuse himself from the case despite the Supreme Court ruling which found
that he was was biased.

      The commission said the company breached media laws by among other
things employing unaccredited journalists, failing to submit copies of its
newpapers and employing a reporter convicted of criminal defamation.

      Mahlangu said ANZ's application satisfied registration requirements
but the media commission denied it a licence because of a previous breach of
the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act.

      Once the country's best-selling daily, identified by its blue
masthead, the Daily News has been reduced to a handful of former managers
and journalists occupying a small office in central Harare.

      In its heyday, The Daily News had a circulation of 150 000 and offered
an alternative voice to the state media, even though sales were mostly in
cities and major towns.

      President Robert Mugabe signed the repressive media law in 2002,
barring foreign correspondents from working in Zimbabwe and forcing all
local journalists to seek accreditation to work. - Sapa-AFP

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Zambia Debacle Was Part Of CIO Plot To Harass MDC

Zim Daily

            Thursday, February 09 2006 @ 12:06 AM GMT
            Contributed by: makushalondon

            Nelson Chamisa addressing supporters in Birmingham, UK

            By Makusha Mugabe

            Zimbabweans have the right to engage in peaceful resistance
against those bent on perpetuating their misery and will not be intimidated
by state security agents or government propaganda, says Nelson Chamisa.
Despite attempts by the state to lie about purported meetings between the
MDC and Freedom House officials in Zambia, MDC will continue to mobilize the
people for confrontation and the second national congress will provide the
initial platform to chart the new course, said the MDC spokesman.

            The Zambian debacle was part of a CIO plot to harass the MDC
whereby they created a mythical story of intrigue to justify its attempt to
stop an ordinary party meeting in the Zambian town of Livingstone," said
Chamisa. "The truth of the matter is we held a normal meeting. By the time
the CIO managed to arm-twist their Zambian counterparts (to take action
against the MDC officials), the meeting was over. We were due to leave
Zambia the following day.

            "Some members of the Zambian secret service confirmed to us that
they were acting on orders from their counterparts across the border who had
told them the MDC delegation had weapons of war," said Chamisa. The Zambians
were misled and put under pressure to act on MDC officials who had violated
no law. The lesson to be learnt from the Zambia debacle is that if a simple
trip by the MDC leader and eight officials can cause such panic among the
CIO and their Zambian counterparts, then the party is as alive as ever.

            "It means the MDC is a the main political driver in Zimbabwe as
it still holds the hope of millions of living in abject poverty." There is
massive starvation in all parts of the country, no maize meal on the
supermarket shelves and no maize on the fields because senior government and
party officials looted the input scheme; the Zimbabwe dollar is on a free
fall and the breadbasket has once again skyrocketed to over $21.8 million
per month for a family of six, a figure far above the average monthly income
of Zimbabwean workers. "The country is facing a serious crisis but instead
of focusing on these issues, the government machinery chooses to focus on
President Tsvangirai's trip to Zambia. "This is why the people of Zimbabwe
will enter a new phase in the struggle for democracy next month which will
see the rebirth of the of the MDC and renewal of its leadership, said.

            Chamisa who has concluded a series of consultations with UK
structures of the MDC also said party president Morgan Tsvangirai was
continuing his consultations in Zimbabwe and had already completed meetings
in Manicaland, Masvingo, Gweru and other parts of the Midlands. The
consultative meetings are meant to keep the President close to the people to
hear their problems. Meanwhile the national chairman, Mr. Isaac Matongo, and
the transport portfolio secretary, Hon. Thoko Khupe are also on consultative
visits with overseas structures. "Elsewhere in Zimbabwe, our executives at
all levels are in constant consultation on the state of the party and the
state of the struggle for democracy," adding that the people of Zimbabwe are
positive that next month they will mark a new phase of democratic
resistance. "There is no other way to national salvation except to confront
this regime and take charge of our destiny. We reserve our democratic right
to engage in any process that will make this regime realize the folly of its
ways," he said.

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Power Outages Cripple Industry, Economy

Zim Daily

            Thursday, February 09 2006 @ 12:06 AM GMT
            Contributed by: correspondent
            Moves by SA to halt power supplies to Zimbabwe have virtually
crippled Zimbabwe's industry sounding a death knell to an economy already
overburdened by critical shortages of fuel, foreign currency and food.
Frequent power outages owing to Zesa Holdings' diminishing generative
capacity has virtually ruled out any chances of the much hoped for economic
recovery, especially in the manufacturing sector where capacity utilisation
is expected to be below 40 percent.

            Zesa, which previously generated up to 65 percent of the country's
power requirements, generated an average 49 percent throughout 2005, due to
lack of recapitalisation, coal supply bottlenecks and unrealistic tariffs.
As a consequence of the latter, Zesa recorded a disastrous $8 trillion loss
in 2005. Power outages have become the order of the day in Zimbabwe's towns
and cities, and industrial zones have not been spared.

            "Electricity is an essential input," said an economist "Efforts
to turn around this economy will remain a pipe-dream because low industrial
production levels simply precipitate a low GDP. Industrial output has
collapsed by nearly 40 percent and is still shrinking and the last thing we
need are these power cuts."

            Firms have been battling foreign currency shortages, loss of
credit lines and escalating costs of raw materials over the past six years
with the acute power supplies set to enfeebled meaningful production.
Contacted for comment Zesa executive chairman Sydney Gata said the situation
has been exacerbated by the foreign currency crisis, which has made it
difficult for the utility to import power from regional suppliers. South
Africa's Eskom has stopped supplying Zimbabwe, citing local generative

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Sunday Mail Lied 100% - US Embassy

Zim Daily

            Thursday, February 09 2006 @ 12:05 AM GMT
            Contributed by: correspondent
             The US Embassy in Harare has accused the State owned Sunday
Mail newspaper of lying 100% on it's report claiming America's Central
Intelligence Agency (CIA) was behind opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai's
recent trip to Zambia that ended in his deportation. The Sunday Mail claimed
the US embassy in Harare arranged a meeting between Tsvangirai, the head of
the legitimate Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party and a US-funded
civic group called Freedom House in Livingstone, Zambia.

            The broadsheet, which is government's official mouthpiece,
claimed the meeting "could have been organised to plot ways of causing an
upheaval in Zimbabwe". Tsvangirai and an eight-member delegation were
unceremoniously deported from Zambia in the early hours of Thursday morning
after they were accused of flouting immigration regulations. Zimbabwe's
notorious CIO tracked the delegation all the way to Zambia, confirming
government's real fear of the charismatic leader's influence in shaping
events in the country.

            The US Embassy in a statement issued yesterday denied "arranging
any meeting for Mr Tsvangirai." "These reports are baseless," the
hard-hitting statement said. "The government of Zimbabwe routinely alleges
that democratic opposition leaders are in league with Western governments,"
the statement added. "We view this as part of disinformation aimed at
blackening Tsvangirai's reputation." Tsvangirai's spokesperson William Bango
has also shot down the claims. In-fact Bango yesterday wrote to Herald
Editor-In-Chief Pikirayi Deketeke complaining about conspiracy theories
against Tsvangirai being hatched by the Herald's disgraced political editor
Ceasar Zvayi, "whose journalistic credentials are suspect."

            In an unrelated development, the State owned Chronicle newspaper
is set to lay off more than 20 reporters after the paper recorded an
appalling Z$11 billion loss. Zimdaily heard that the Bulawayo based paper,
which also prints monthly magazine Trends and vernacular newspaper Umthunywa
has been ordered to restructure by Zimpapers chairman Justin Mutasa in a
move aimed at mitigating losses.

            Zimdaily heard that Mutasa has also ordered the closure of
Trends and Umthunywa that were launched by ex Information minister Jonathan
Moyo in 2004. Reporters have received the news of retrenchment with
indignation. "It is not right," complained a senior reporter at the paper.
"Where will we be employed now since they have closed all the newspapers?"

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President Mugabe's Neighbours To Challenge Eviction In Supreme Court

Zim Daily

            Thursday, February 09 2006 @ 12:03 AM GMT
            Contributed by: correspondent
            President Robert Mugabe's neighbours are bringing a legal
challenge to the Supreme Court against eviction orders they were served
recently aimed at creating a security cordon around the 81 year old despot's
retirement home. Zimdaily heard that the 15 Borrowdale Brooke residents who
were served with the eviction notices met Monday where they decided to
engage Harare law firm Atherstone and Cook to represent them in their legal
challenge. Borrowdale Brooke Residents Association chairman John Ridgewell
confirmed the move but declined to comment further saying "the issue is

            Sources close to the legal challenge heard that Atherstone &
Cook lawyer Innocent Chagonda, who coincidentally is also opposition leader
Morgan Tsvangirai's lawyer, is handling the case. While it was not possible
to obtain comment from Chagonda up until late yesterday, sources told
Zimdaily that the residents were seeking to prove that the eviction was
irregular as the properties concerned did not constitute agricultural land
but urban land. Zimdaily understands the residents have already written to
Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo informing him of their intended
legal challenge.

            Chombo yesterday declined comment on the matter. Zimdaily was
told that the residents will base their legal challenge on Section 24 and
Section 18 of the Zimbabwe Constitution which guarantees full protection of
any citizen by the law and also allows aggrieved citizens to seek legal
relief straight to the Supreme Court. The residents are said to be also
looking at getting "proper, fair based compensation" for the properties
should their legal challenge fail. Zimdaily was unable to obtain comment
from the First Family spokesperson Lawrence Kamwe as he was said to be still
attending his father's funeral.

            The 15 homeowners had warning letters served on them two weeks
ago from the valuation department of the Local Government Ministry. The
letter read: "This serves to advise you that your property falls in a
designated security area in terms of general notice of 255 of 2004, and we
will be in contact with you soon with a view to inspecting your house for
valuation purposes." Zimdaily understabnds that among them are older couples
hoping to sell their homes and retire closer to children who left Zimbabwe
during the upheavals of the past six years.

            An estate agent specialising in Borrowdale properties, was
quoted recently saying: "These letters wiped out the value of any property
close to the president's palace. "Those who have actually received letters
warning them their homes will be acquired must know that they will never be
able to sell their homes and that they will receive no compensation." The
Zimbabwe government is bankrupt and is struggling to pay its civil servants'
wages. It has no money to import essentials such as fuel. Only a handful of
more than 4,000 white farmers whose homes, lands and businesses were
confiscated by the state in the past six years received compensation, in
most cases less than two per cent of the value of their property.

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Murambatsvina Victims Cry Out For Help

Zim Daily

            Thursday, February 09 2006 @ 12:01 AM GMT
            Contributed by: correspondent
            ABOUT 150 people displaced by Operation Murambatsvina are living
destitute lives along Mukuvisi River and the area adjacent to Glen Norah C'
where they drink contaminated water and use the bush as latrines. This
lifestyle goes on unabated yet the government of Zimbabwe has told the whole
world that Operation Murambatsvina victims have been assisted with shelter
and food. The victims have built shacks using plastics and broken pieces of
furniture which they use as their houses. They sleep together, irrespective
of gender. It is the children sleeping together with their parents on the
open ground covered with either plastics or cardboard boxes.

            John Maburutse, 63, from Mberengwa, his wife Beulah Mariki
Maburutse, 49, live in the same shack with their eight children. He has kept
records of the victims of Operation Murambatsvina between Glen Norah C' and
Mukuvisi River. Others who spoke of their problems are Onias Mhou, 44, from
Jerera in Masvingo, used to survive on part-time jobs as a mechanic. This
kept his family of three children well-fed.

            His wife Shelter Masirembwa, 36, now does manual jobs to
supplement their meagre earnings. "I have joined other women in the old home
industries in digging out bricks for resale at $1 million for a 1 000
bricks," Masirembwa said. "The situation is worse these days of heavy rains
because the ground is muddy and sticky. Digging is a bit difficult."

            Admire Chuma, 31; of Gutu in Masvingo said they lived destitute
lives. Blair toilets which the City of Harare had built for them were
destroyed during Operation Murambatsvina. The open holes that remain in some
cases are now being used as toilets by the victims. In separate interviews,
they said the Harare Municipality prohibited them from putting any
structures around the 'toilets' but has instead demanded that they vacate
from the place. Charles Chinyepe, 35, from Zaka in Masvingo, who is a
builder and carpenter by profession, said he lived in descent lodgings
before the vindictive operation was launched. In the aftermath of the
demolitions, he has found himself living in the shacks with his wife and
three children. For several months they tried to find alternative
accommodation but failed.

            Asked how they were making a living after their industry was
destroyed, Chinyepe said they were drinking water from small wells and
boreholes they dug prior to the exercise. "We try as much as possible to
make an honest living but it is proving difficult," he said. "There are no
jobs, construction work which was picking up has been destroyed and now we
horde some agriculture produce for resale as a vendor. The municipal police
occasionally raid us and confiscate our wares and the police have also
threatened us with arrests. We have no option but to continue struggling to
make ends meet."

            Elizabeth Munyoro, 25, from Mutare works as a security guard
with Watch Yard Security told this author that they have no food and enough
blankets to warm themselves at night. She lives together with her workmate
Precious Nyakudya and both lived in Glen Norah A' before Operation
Murambatsvina was launched. Nyakudya has a wife and two children. There have
been cholera outbreaks in the area which affected nearly 50 people.
According to the shack dwellers, some people nearly died in October,
November and December. The situation remains desperate.
            Combined Harare Residents Association spokeman Precious Shumba
said: "Talking to the victims' one is left with a feeling that these people
might one day unite and form a base for a calculated resistance against the
Zimbabwe dictatorship," Shumba said.

            Conmen have capitalised on the victims' destitution for their
benefit. At the beginning of the year, some men claiming to be home owners
wrote down their names and collected $20 000 from each person. But they soon
disappeared leaving no trace of their whereabouts. Another group came later
with some forms and claimed to the victims that they would process their
applications for residential stands but nothing materialised. They parted
with their $50 000 and remain exposed to more fraudsters masquerading as
responsible citizens.

            These people are some of the 700 000 who lost their livelihoods
through Operation Murambatsvina as reported by the UN Secretary General's
Special Envoy Anna Kajumulo Tibaijuka in her final report, rejected by the
government of Zimbabwe as exaggerated and lacking truths. The government has
also rejected another independent report crafted by Action Aid in liaison
with the Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA), the Zimbabwe Lawyers
for Human Rights (ZLHR), and the Zimbabwe Peace Project which concluded that
about 850 000 people had been left traumatised by the exercise.

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'Zambia won't meddle in Zim'

The Mercury

      February 9, 2006

      Lusaka: A senior Zambian official said yesterday the country did not
want to get involved in the affairs of Zimbabwe's opposition, days after a
delegation from Zimbabwe's Movement for Democratic Change was expelled from
southern Zambia.

      Information Minister Vernon Mwaanga was speaking after MDC party
leader Morgan Tsvangirai and a group of his party colleagues were expelled
from the southern tourist town of Livingstone.

      "We felt that some of the discussions he had would be better discussed
in Zimbabwe rather than in Zambia," Mwaanga said in Lusaka, stressing Zambia
had good relations with its neighbour to the south. Mwaanga did not disclose
what it was that Tsvangirai and his eight-member delegation had been
discussing at a meeting in a Livingstone hotel before being escorted out by
security officials last Thursday.


      "We did not want those meetings held on our territory," he stressed,
adding that Zambia did not want to get "even remotely involved in any way"
in Zimbabwean politics. Initial reports on the incident described the
expulsion of the MDC delegation as a "deportation".

      Zambian immigration authorities later admitted they had curtailed the
Zimbabweans' visit but denied any political motive. On Sunday, Zimbabwe's
official Sunday Mail claimed that the US Central Intelligence Agency was
behind the meeting, which it said was aimed at fomenting "upheaval" in
Zimbabwe. Harare launched an investigation into the incident, describing it
as "a matter of national security" that it "cannot ignore".

      On Monday, Zimbabwe's national Security Minister, Didymus Mutasa,
said: "We are grateful to Zambia, and we hope other countries in the
Southern African Development Community will act like that in the future."

      - Sapa-DPA

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Zimbabwean villagers succumb to cholera


          February 09 2006 at 01:25AM

      Harare - Five more people have died of cholera in Zimbabwe, bringing
the total number of known deaths from the highly infectious disease to 19,
state-controlled radio reported on Wednesday.

      The new deaths were recorded near the central mining town of Kwekwe
and nearby Gokwe South district, the report said.

      Three of those who died contracted cholera after they washed the body
of a cholera victim, the report said. The first victim had contracted
cholera after attending a funeral, it added.

      The authorities have been warning that the cholera threat is still
very serious in Zimbabwe, even though there had been no reports of new
deaths since mid-January.

      Earlier this week, Health Minister David Parirenyatwa said Zimbabweans
should stop shaking hands, even at funerals, to minimise the risks of
catching cholera.

      He also advised people not to buy fruit and fresh fish from unknown
sources, even if it was cheap. Three members of the same Harare family died
of cholera last month after buying fish from a police auction. - Sapa-dpa

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Chideya in charge: Chombo

Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :1901-Nov-12

THE Minister of Local Government, Public Works and Urban Development
Ignatius Chombo yesterday stressed that Harare Town Clerk Nomutsa Chideya
was in overall charge of the city's affairs as the battle for supremacy
between Chideya and strategist Chester Mhende rages on at the municipality.
The minister said he would issue a comprehensive statement on the matter
tomorrow after being briefed by his officials.
The war of words pitting Mhende and Chideya erupted last week after the
government appointed strategist refused to take orders from the town clerk.
The verbal fight has since turned nasty with Mhende having gone as far as
even suggesting that Chideya should be investigated for allegedly siding
with suspended director of waste management, Leslie Gwindi, whose
disciplinary hearing commences today.
Chombo explained: "The position is that the Town Clerk is the engine of the
city and all operations. The strategist came in for the implementation of
the turnaround strategy and that is what he monitors and advises on, but the
Town Clerk monitors the whole city.
The strategist is only there for a short period while the Town Clerk is
there for a longer period."
The minister, however, said it was the responsibility of the commission
running Harare chaired by Sekesai Makwavarara to restore sanity at Town
"At the moment I just want them to talk together, but it is the commission
that was mandated to implement the turnaround programme and should therefore
restore order at Town House to ensure that it (turnaround) succeeds.
"However, check with me on Thursday when I would be in a position to issue a
comprehensive statement after I have been briefed by my officials," Chombo
Yesterday, Makwavarara said she would only comment on the matter on Monday
next week.
Mhende was appointed last year to lead the implementation of Harare's
turnaround strategy designed by suspended Air Zimbabwe boss Tendai Mahachi.
Mahachi drew up the plan well before he was appointed to head the national
Chombo extended the city strategist's term by another year two weeks ago
with all heads of departments reporting to him. Since then, Mhende has been
accused of usurping the powers of heads of departments while simultaneously
trying to muscle out Chideya in the overall supervision of senior council
He has also resisted orders to submit his curriculum vitae (CV) to the
council's human resources department as required by the municipality. In a
letter to Ottilia Dangwa, Harare's acting chamber secretary, Mhende asked
that an investigation into Chideya's conduct be instituted.
He wrote: "It has come to my attention that Mr N.M. Chideya in his capacity
as Town Clerk has ordered your department to suspend the Gwindi hearing from
proceedings at 09:30 tomorrow morning (3rd February).
"Accordingly, after consulting the chairperson, the hearing must proceed and
be concluded in the next 10 days, failing which, please extend reasons to
the commission chairperson and our minister (Ignatius Chombo), given the
potential irregularity before us. Similarly, please proceed to cause an
inquiry into the act hearing of the Town Clerk and report to the commission,
the chairperson and our minister."
Dangwa however, said it was not her jurisdiction to call for such action.
She said: "As regards your instruction for me to cause an inquiry into the
acts of the Town Clerk and the reporting to the commission, the chairperson
and our Minister, please be advised that I am not qualified to institute an
inquiry into the Town Clerk's conduct.
 In terms of Section 139 of the Urban Councils Act (Chapter 29:15), the duty
to conduct an inquiry or cause an inquiry to be conducted into the Town
Clerk's conduct is the council, it having been initiated by the mayor, if it
appears to the mayor that the Town Clerk has been guilty of such conduct."
Other top council officials including chamber secretary, Josephine Ncube,
director of works, Psychology Chiwanga and director of housing and community
services Numero Mubayiwa where also suspended last year for allegedly
resisting Mhende's ideas.

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Black market fuel price goes up again

Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Business Reporter
issue date :1901-Nov-12

THE price of fuel on the black market went up yet again over the weekend for
the second time in as many weeks, forcing a further jump in urban commuting

The scarcity of the commodity has also seen most service stations that have
access to it charging the same prices as the parallel market following
recommendations by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to local monetary
authorities to remove all price controls.
Harare commuter transport operators interviewed by The Daily Mirror said
they were contemplating raising bus fares in reaction to the new fuel prices
and other operational costs.
Diesel, which sold at $130 000 a litre a fortnight ago, is now priced
between $140 000 and $160 000.
Some commuter transport operators have already hiked their fares from the
average $30 000 to $40 000 a trip. Buses plying the city to Mufakose trip
were the first to effect the new fares on Monday, which commuters have
complained against.
"Shall we work for transport? What is this world coming to?" queried one
Mufakose commuter on being asked to pay the new fare.
Moleen Matienga, the manager for Mupazviriwo Transport, whose fleet plies
the Harare-Norton highway, said input costs  had become prohibitive and
would not be affordable to new entrants to the transport industry. "If you
want to invest in this business, it's better to hold on to your capital
because you would only work for fuel. It's much better to buy a house than a
commuter omnibus. I have just ordered my driver to park one of our vehicles
because there is no fuel and besides, $160 000 a litre is too much for
anyone," she complained.
Phillip Mupfiga, a bus driver, said fares would continue skyrocketing so
long as the price of fuel increased.
He lamented the fact that privately-run public transporters were losing
business to the State-subsidised Zimbabwe United Passenger Company (Zupco),
whose fares were always marginally lower than those of other companies.
The buses, for instance, charge $20 000 between the city centre and
Dzivarasekwa, when other buses demand $30 000.
Besides fuel, other maintenance costs for public transporters were also
Five litres of engine oil cost $1,5 million while a single tyre is priced at
$15 million.
Munyaradzi Mbera, a conductor, said his 30-seater bus plying the
Harare-Norton trip for a fare of $60 000, grossed $9 million on an average
From this amount, the bus crew would have to deduct their lunch allowances
and buy fuel for the next day's business, if available.
To fill up a 90-litre tank for such vehicles, they would have to fork out
$14,4 million, which represents a loss of over $5 million a day.

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Key farming inputs shortage hampers

Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :1901-Nov-12

AGRICULTURAL production has been on a downward trend since 1999 owing to a
number of technical and environmental factors, a research by a leading
fertiliser manufacturing company has shown.
Chemplex chief executive Eben Makonese blamed the state of affairs on the
acute shortage of key farming inputs such as fertilisers, chemicals, seed
and draught power particularly in 2004 and 2005.
This had reduced crop hectarage hence low yields.
"There is reduced viability for crops brought about by increased costs
without corresponding increases in income generated by the crops. This
resulted in farmers reducing the hectarage that they grow and mostly
affected commercial maize, tobacco and paprika," said Makonese.
The Chemplex boss said Zimbabwe needed 550 000 tonnes of ammonium nitrate
fertiliser each season to have a good agricultural season, but due to lack
of foreign currency to import critical inputs, the southern African country,
once the breadbasket of the region, now has the capacity to produce only
about 300 000 tonnes.
A comparison of hectarages of crops grown between 1999 and 2006 showed that
86 000 of tobacco
was planted in the 1999-2000 season.
The hectarage was reduced to 64 000 in the 2001-2002 season and again to 46
000 the following year.
This season, only 35 000 hectares of tobacco was grown.
The downward trend also registered in the yields as they nose-dived from 190
000 to 135 000 to 95 000 and 68 000 tonnes (estimate for the current season)
respectively for the seasons under review.
The hectarage of commercial maize was similarly affected as 155 000 hectares
were grown in the 1999-2000 season, 65 000 the following season and 60 000
hectares for the 2003-2004 and 2005-2006 seasons.
The used hectarage for small-scale maize, however, remained unchanged at 1.2
million tonnes in all seasons and is expected to remain there this season.
The nation needs at least 1.2 million tonnes of maize a year to be
food-secure and feed its population of about 13 million.
Chemplex, however, revealed that 2 million tonnes of maize were produced in
the 1999-2000 season, 1.5 million and 1.3 million, respectively, for the
subsequent two seasons.
This season, an estimated 1.2 million tonnes of maize will be produced.
Other crops that registered decline in both hectarage and yields for the
same periods were soya beans, cotton, wheat, sugar cane, paprika and roses.
Tea was the only product whose hectarage was increased with 65 000 being
planted in the 1999-2000 season and increasing to 6 800 hectares for the
succeeding seasons.
Makonese said cropping was also affected by series of droughts that occurred
during the period under review.
He said: "The droughts reduced the yields that were achieved by each crop.
"They also negatively affected winter wheat cropping since dams and
underground water reserves that are used to supply the irrigation water had
low levels."

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Police still clueless on Paradza whereabouts

Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :1901-Nov-12

POLICE are still clueless on the whereabouts of fugitive Judge Benjamin
Paradza who skipped bail soon after his conviction mid-last month.
Chief spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena said the police
were still-hunting for Paradza who was found guilty of corruption and is
believed to be now in the UK after escaping reportedly via South Africa."We
are still looking for the judge," he said.
Bvudzijena said the police could not rely on unsubstantiated reports that
the judge was in the UK.
Paradza, who became the first judge in independent Zimbabwe to be found
guilty of corruption, was issued with a warrant of arrest after he failed to
turn up in court for sentencing.
Speculation is rife that he fled the country to avoid being jailed.
Retired judge Simpson Mutambanengwe, was expected to hear mitigation before
sentencing Paradza.
Paradza's defence counsel Eric Matinenga instructed by Selby Hwacha and
Canaan Dube, on the day of the conviction expressed ignorance about his
client's whereabouts. Mutambanengwe immediately ordered that copies of the
arrest warrant be faxed to all border posts and airports and also indicated
that Paradza's bail was provisionally forfeited to the State.
The State had proved that Paradza approached Bulawayo judges Maphios Cheda
and George Chiweshe to release the passport of his safari business partner,
Russell Labuschagne.
Labuschagne, then on bail for killing a fisherman in Binga, is currently
serving a 15-year jail term for the offence.

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SA govt dispels Zim power cut reports

Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :1901-Nov-12

THE South African government on Monday dismissed reports that it instructed
oil companies to cut off supplies to Zimbabwe, while regional power concern
Eskom also rejected reports that it had halted electricity exports to
Reports linking Zimbabwe Electricity Regulatory Commission (ZERC)
chairperson Mavis Chidzonga indicated at the weekend that "forced outages"
in power supply from Zimbabwe's southern neighbour, coupled with a slide in
coal supply from Hwange Colliery Company had put power supplies under
While Eskom confirmed the interruptions to local power company, Zesa
Holdings, it said no decision to suspend exports had been reached although
there were a series of planned maintenance, which had affected Zimbabwe.
Eskom spokesperson, Fani Zulu was on Monday quoted in the South African
media saying his company had instead assisted Zimbabwe to get alternative
sources of power.
"At no point did we cut our supply to Zimbabwe, we have a very healthy
relationship. 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
refurbishment it took longer to bring the plants back into supply," he said.
Zulu noted that Zimbabwe's contract with the Eskom worked on "a day ahead"
basis where Zimbabwe stipulates that it would need certain megawatts (MW) up
to 300MW.
Eskom said in the last 10 days Eskom had supplied enough power to Zesa.
Zesa imports about 50 percent of Zimbabwe's power requirements from Eskom,
Hydro de Cahora Bassa of Mozambique and the Democratic Republic of Congo
(DRC)'s SNEL but previously struggled to timeously settle debts.
As at December 31 2005, Zesa had accumulated US$330 million in debts amid
high operating loses of Z$8 trillion.
Kariba generates 750 Megawatts (MW), but due to poor rehabilitation of
electricity generation plants, HPC is generating 550 MW against a 920 MW
Yesterday, Zesa said as part of its agreement with Eskom, the local utility
prepaid for all power requirements and was currently paid up.
It added that in the past week, however, Eskom had struggled to supply
enough power and it ad communicated the circumstances.
South African government spokesperson, Yvonne Mfolo on Monday said the
energy department was not aware of the decision to halt export to Zimbabwe
and checks with related government departments had revealed that no such
decision had been made.
A senior South African High Commission in Harare told The Daily Mirror on
Monday that no communication to that effected had been forwarded by their
As far as they were concerned, he said, the power deal between Zesa Holdings
and Eskom was intact while fuel supplies were ongoing.
Petroleum companies in South Africa also said any supply bottlenecks to
Harare could be a result of disruption in production volumes from a plant at
Natref refinery in that country.
The refinery - co-owned by Sasol and Total South Africa was reported to have
experienced an unscheduled shut down of its crude distillation unit at the
end of January.
Oil companies in Zimbabwe source their fuel from South Africa because the
National Oil Company of Zimbabwe (Noczim) is facing acute operational
challenges due to foreign currency shortages.
Academic and politician Shakespear Maya, who claimed that he had done a lot
of feasibility studies in power development in southern Africa said while
Chidzonga's statements could be true, they were unfortunate in that they had
the potential to affect foreign investment inflows.
He added that such statements must only be made at cabinet level due to
their serious nature.
"The work of a regulator is to rationalise and demonopolise the sector not
to administer Zesa. On the other hand, Zesa has talked about expansion plans
since independence (but) nothing has been done. That is the reason why we
are facing these problems; there is no forward planning," he said.

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