The ZIMBABWE Situation Our thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.

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From: "Trudy Stevenson"
Sent: Thursday, January 13, 2005 4:53 PM
Subject: Permanent Residents - Reclaim your Vote!

It is the constitutional right of every Permanent Resident of Zimbabwe to

“Constitution of Zimbabwe
Schedule 3.3 Qualifications and disqualifications for voters
1) Subject to the provisions of this paragraph and to such residence
qualifications as may be prescribed in the Electoral Law for inclusion on
the electoral roll of a particular constituency, any person who has attained
the age of eighteen years and who-
A) is a citizen of Zimbabwe; or
B) since the 31st December 1985 has been regarded by virtue of a written law
as permanently resident in Zimbabwe;
Shall be qualified for registration as a voter on the common roll.”

During the 2005 Presidential election, many permanent residents were removed
from the voters roll on the infamous "Hit List" and not allowed to vote.
This was completely unconstitutional, and it appears that the Registrar
General's Office now recognises this fact, because now Permanent Residents
of Zimbabwe are allowed to register again.

You can register at any Registration Centre (Makombe Building, Provincial
Offices and in Harare at Market Square, Mt Pleasant, Machipisa, Mabvuku and
Hatfield District Offices) NOW, or at the many Voters Roll Inspection
Centres which will open on Monday 17 January until 30 January ONLY.
Permanent Residents currently outside the country should contact their
nearest Embassy or Consulate.  You need to take your passport with
"Permanent Resident" stamped in it, plus a letter from Immigration
confirming your status.  The letter should not be strictly necessary, but
officers are insisting on this.

Please reclaim your vote NOW, to be ready to VOTE FOR A NEW BEGINNING FOR

Trudy Stevenson
MP & Candidate, Harare North Constituency
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Please send any material for publication in the Open Letter Forum to: with subject line "For: Open Letter Forum".

Thought of the Day:

"Laughing at our mistakes can lengthen our own life.Laughing at someone
else's can shorten it."



Letters 1 and 2 following are published as repeats from OLF No. 322 - in
the interests of transparency and clarity. (Editor)


Letter 1: THE WRONG TREVOR SHAW, received 10th January 2005 (Repeat)
by Patsy

Hi there

I read with interest the letters that have been circulating regarding
Trevor Shaw and his appeals for funds to feed Joyce.

But please, make it known that there are TWO Trevor Shaws in the Gweru
area.  'Chicken Trevor' whose appeal went out and 'Beef Trevor' who is NOT
involved!!! 'Beef Trevor' has been in Australia and should not be confused
with 'Chicken Trovor'.

A lot of damage could be caused to this young man if the record is not set

I do not have an email address for Debs and Jeff White, but, I would like
them to know that this is not one and the same the same person!!!

Regards, and happy New Year



Letter 2: FROM SHAW, received 10 January 2005 (Repeat)
by Reg & Beti-Ann McLean

Dear JAG

I read with horror the various replies to Mr Shaw's letter and the ensuing
confusion of "Beef" Trevor Shaw and "Chicken" Trevor Shaw.

I trust this has been sorted and that Mr Trevor Shaw (Beef) from Somabhula
has been given an apology.

Reg & Beti-Ann McLean


Letter 3: RE: TREVOR SHAW - FASCINATING DEBATE?, received 12.1.2005
by Rob Gass

The on-going debate over Trevor Shaw's circular letter requesting donations
for Joyce Majuru has been fascinating to watch. I wonder how many of the
persons condemning Shaw would stand the scrutiny of ' Let he who is without
sin cast the first stone..'

The brief point that I would like to make is that if from the very
beginning of the outrageous and illegal land-grab the attitude of white
commercial farmers had been solidarity, then the outcome would have been

The response of the farmers should have been that ' what they do to one of
us...they do to all of us'. The collective and united power of the farmers
particularly in the matter of the supply of foodstuffs was a potential
bargaining chip which was not exploited.

Fortunately it is not to late to do the right thing. Get together and let's
see some REAL solidarity from the farmers! The divisive bickering that
you've been engaged in must be a source of great satisfaction to the land

Rob Gass


Letter 4: RE: CFU, received 10th January 2004
by Ted Galante

Dear JAG,

Re the recent CFU appeal for funds it might be well to remember the words
of Sir Winston Churchill who said, "An appeaser is one who feeds a
crocodile, hoping it will eat him last."

Ted Galante


Letter 5: RE: Midlands CFU Chairman, received 8 January 2005

Farmer Abroad

Displaced Zimbabwean farmers around the world were recently treated to the
inimitable CFU policy in writing - dialogue at any cost - thanks to Joe
Whaley supplying a copy of the letter from the Midlands CFU Chairman. It is
a little surprising that there should be any surprise at all - following
the CFU Presidential words "we are working with Government with the land
reform programme" in August 2002. This leopard does not change its spots.
The current CFU Vice President's open admission of good relations with a
Mr. Chinotimba as being the CFU's and Government's accepted new form of
Land Tenure instead of Title Deeds - this occurred in Bulawayo in 2003.

Has Trevor Shaw simply revealed the CFU/Government's new form of Stamp Duty
which will be payable on a regular basis?

David Hasluck put it differently it seems. In his interview with Baffour
Ankomah on his last day as CFU Director, Hasluck quotes the Chief Justice
as saying "Mr. Hasluck, my court is going to deal with matters relating to
land in the context of what I see to be social justice." Hasluck is quoted
to go on to say that "a ginger group, not the whole organisation but a
group of like minded white farmers in and outside the union, joined
together and started a movement called Justice for Agriculture to deal,
they said, 'only in truth' (he laughs sarcastically). I believe I have
deepened and strengthened the commitment of our members to have dialogue.
In my community, in Burma Valley, every farmer is there. Here in
Mashonaland, maybe 5%."

Joe Whaley bought a run down 300 acre property in the new Zimbabwe about
twenty four years ago, with borrowed money and developed it into one of the
most intensive, efficient and productive properties in Mashonaland West.
Irrigation was developed for tobacco, cereals, maize and roses to be
produced. Millions of chickens were reared. It was the ideal property for
any party loyal member to get the nod to commandeer - lock, stock and
barrel of course - tractors, lorries and a Cessna. Terry Ford's place next
door was also desirable and 'appropriate' measures had already been taken
to liberate it - he paid the ultimate price.

*Who can blame Mac Crawford or Gavin Conolly for withdrawing the CFU's
privelege of representing farmers from Matabeleland? *Who can criticize Joe
Whaley for holding the CFU accountable? - having served it for the Poultry
Producers Association in 2002 he knows its inner workings better than most
- and he has simply stood up for what is right, for his fellow farmers, for
the 250 000 employees that lost their jobs, and their families who are now
at the mercy of the State.

Farmer Abroad.


Letter 6: THE TRUTH AND THE LAW, received 10 January 2005
by Pro Lege


The goings on in the CFU are fascinating for displaced farmers.

Perhaps the CFU could consider Stephen Covey's words:

"Principles are like lighthouses. They are natural laws that cannot be
broken. As Cecil De Mille observed in the movie "The Ten Commandments."

"It is impossible for us to break the law. We can only break ourselves
against the law."

Has the Govenrment lead the CFU into a fish trap that is getting smaller
and smaller at the one end, with no place to do a U turn?

Pro Lege.

Letter 7: DOUG TAYLOR-FREEME'S COMMENTS, received 12 January 2005
by Canaan Banana

Dear Jag,

I note with interest Doug Taylor-Freeme's comments about this "let's lie on
our backs and be raped again" request from the Midlands branch of the CFU
to it few remaining members.

I'm glad to hear that it is not CFU policy or a directive from Head Office.
Whew..... that IS a relief !!

What I would like to know is what exactly is the CFU policy when it comes
to political matters such as this ? And is it policy to have loose canon
hair-brain cringing letters being written under the CFU letterhead ?

If so, then the CFU is an absolute disgrace and like ZAPU, maybe they
should integrate their organisation into zanuPF. Then they might be able to
save themselves for a while, at least. But just remember, as sure as the
sun rises this regime will not last, neither will their apparent close
friend Mujuru. I recall her words in 2000 to the land invaders calling on
them to return with blood-soaked tee shirts. Does the CFU remember that?
Well, if they can't beat 'em, maybe they should join 'em.

Quoting directly from Mr Taylor-Freeme's response "Your are welcome to
contact me directly for further discussion on this matter." It is hoped
that this is not an attempt to take this debate out of the public forum.
That surely won't happen as most thinking people have tried direct
communication with the CFU in the past, to no avail. Many of us didn't even
get the courtesy of a reply.

No, Mr Taylor-Freeme, this won't go away in a hurry and it has made many of
us very angry, very bloody angry.



Letter 8: RE: MIDLANDS DISTRICT CFU LETTER, received 12 January 2005
by Helen Clarke

Dear JAG,

My son is still living and working here, one of the few young men trying to
make sense of their lives in a truly hostile environment. Where ones
colour, be it black, white or brown edicts some comment from the people the
young men try to work with. Most youth, again irrespective of their colour
have had to leave the country. He deals with a backward labour force and
business comunity but still loves the country.

The letter from the midlands district of the CFU and seeming aquiecence to
it by the CFU executive makes me truly wonder if there is any future for
him to strive for, in this, the country of his birth?

The letter was truly disgraceful and until the comment was made by the
executive I was sure it was not serious.

Helen Clarke


All letters published on the open Letter Forum are the views and opinions
of the submitters, and do not represent the official viewpoint of Justice
for Agriculture (JAG).


JAG Hotlines:
(091) 261 862 If you are in trouble or need advice,
(011) 205 374
(011) 863 354 please don't hesitate to contact us - we're here to help!
263 4 799 410 Office Lines
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The Herald

Power surge costs Highfield folk millions

Herald Reporter
SEVERAL residents of New Canaan in Highfield had their electrical appliances
such as radios, television sets and refrigerators worth millions of dollars
damaged on Monday evening owing to high voltage following a power outage.

Residents in the affected area blamed Zesa Holdings for the incident in
which their electrical gadgets were burnt and might need huge sums of money
for repairs or in severe cases, replacement.

Mr Regai Masuku, whose television and radio sets were damaged, blamed Zesa
Holdings, alleging the power utility did not notify people of their
intention to do repair work in the area.

This resulted in residents being caught unawares by the power surge.

"We did not get any notice from Zesa Holdings but we only realised that the
power supply in our area was not normal.

"The lights dimmed before we suddenly heard the radio and television making
some strange sounds that were accompanied by the heavy smell of smoke before
we saw the smoke being emitted from the appliances," said Mr Masuku.

Had they known, he said, they could have unplugged their appliances.

Many residents gave similar accounts of the incident that affected more than
100 houses in the area.

Some were lucky that their appliances were off at the time while others had
expensive appliances like digital videodisc players (DVDs), video cassette
recorders, stoves and satellite decoders damaged.

Residents yesterday organised themselves and went to the Zesa Holdings
offices where they said they were moved from one office to another without
any help.

They expected Zesa Holdings to explain and compensate them.

"We need millions of dollars to replace these gadgets because obviously some
of them cannot be repaired," said an irate Mrs Kudambu.

When The Herald visited New Canaan, some residents whose stoves were damaged
among other appliances, were cooking outside using fire.

At one house a stench from the refrigerator signified that the appliance had
been damaged and foodstuffs were rotting.

Efforts to get a comment from Zesa Holdings were futile as the public
relations manager insisted she had not received questions from this paper.
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Zim Online

Thur 13 January 2005
  HARARE - Ruling ZANU PF party councillors and the police have taken over
the vetting of hungry villagers requiring food under new distribution
procedures that could see opposition supporters sidelined.

      Under the new procedures, which ZimOnline witnessed being implemented
in the Midlands province and in some parts of Manicaland, villagers must
first get a letter from the ZANU PF councillor of their local ward stating
that they should be allowed to buy cheaper priced maize from the
government's Grain Marketing Board (GMB).

      But the prospective buyer must first produce a ZANU PF membership card
to get the letter of recommendation from their councillor.

      When a buyer gets the letter he then takes it to the village head and
to the local police who will verify and certify that they reside in the area
and must therefore be allowed to purchase maize.

      "Well known Movement for Democratic Change (MDC, Zimbabwe's main
opposition party) members do not get the purchase letters. A ZANU PF party
card is required before the councillor can give you the letter," said Susan
Chando, a villager in Lower Gweru district in the Midlands province.

      Chando said she was only able to get maize from the GMB after joining
ZANU PF three weeks ago. Several other villagers in the area also said they
had to produce ZANU PF cards to get permission to buy maize.

      The MDC's shadow minister for agriculture Renson Gasela also confirmed
that his party's supporters were being denied the letters allowing them to
buy maize if they failed to produce ZANU PF membership cards.

      He said: "I visited areas around Gweru (Midlands) last weekend where
the new procedure is being implemented. You have to be on the list for you
to access maize from the GMB and you also must have a ZANU PF card to be
registered by your local councillor."

      Social Welfare Minister Paul Mangwana could not be reached for comment
on the matter. Mangwana has in the past said that the government will
distribute and sell food to all who need it regardless of political

      GMB chief executive officer Samuel Muvuti denied that ZANU PF
councillors and the police had taken over vetting of people requiring food.

      "It is not true that there are new procedures for people to purchase
maize from the GMB," Muvuti said.

      "People in Harare and Bulawayo (MDC strongholds) are still receiving
food from the GMB," Muvuti, a former Zimbabwe army colonel, retorted when
told that reporters had witnessed villagers being asked to produce ZANU PF
cards before they could get a letter to buy maize.

      The government last year told international food relief agencies to
take their aid elsewhere saying the country had harvested enough to feed
itself, claims which were later proved false by Parliament.

      Critics say the government wanted food aid groups out of the country
so it could manipulate food relief for political benefit ahead of a crucial
election in March. - ZimOnline
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Zim Online

Mugabe vows not to reverse land reforms
Thur 13 January 2005
  JOHANNESBURG - Zimbabwe will press on with its land reforms despite
foreign opposition, President Robert Mugabe told a crowd of more than 30 000
people at celebrations to mark Zanzibar's 1964 anti-Arab uprising.

      Drawing parallels with the uprising that saw the Indian ocean island's
oppressed African population topple their Omani sultans, Mugabe said in the
same way Zanzibar will not reverse its revolution, Zimbabwe will not reverse
its controversial land

      "Zimbabwe and Zanzibar share a common history, a history of struggle
and resistance to all forms of colonial domination," the Zimbabwean leader

      He added: "My country faces retribution by the West and that means
being unfairly subjected to all kinds of sanctions imposed as retribution
for our embarking on a land reform programme and following in your

      "We will not yield to any pressure to reverse this programme, just as
you would not yield to any pressure to reverse your revolution."

      Mugabe has seized hundreds of white-owned farms in the last four years
and parcelled them out to black families denied land by successive colonial

      But critics blame Mugabe's chaotic and often violent land
redistribution exercise for causing food shortages in Zimbabwe because the
government did not give the poor black peasants inputs or skills training to
maintain production on the farms.

      Human rights observers have also accused Mugabe of violating property
rights and of racism against whites, charges rejected by the Zimbabwean
leader who insists drastic measures were necessary to rectify an "immoral
and unjust" land tenure system that reserved 75 percent of the best farmland
to the minority whites while blacks were cramped on dry and sandy soils. -
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Zim Online

Regional leaders pushing MDC to the polls: Tsvangiari
Thur 13 January 2005
  LUSAKA - Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai says Zimbabwe is now a pariah
state because of repressive rule and economic mismanagement by President
Robert Mugabe and his government.

      Addressing a public forum during a stopover in Lusaka, Tsvangirai, who
is touring the region, said: "Our country is now being treated like a pariah
state because of some bad laws which the government has enacted. We have to
change some of the laws."

      The opposition leader said his Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
party was under pressure from southern African leaders to contest a crucial
election scheduled for March. But the party wants the political field
levelled first before deciding whether to participate in the ballot, he

      Mugabe and his ruling ZANU PF party deny ruining the economy or using
repression against opponents, instead accusing the MDC of working to
undermine the government's image and sabotage the economy.

      Tsvangirai said tough security laws that prohibit more than three
people from meeting without a police approval and press laws requiring
journalists to obtain licences to work prevented the opposition from
mobilising and had to be repealed.

      The former trade union leader said if elected, his MDC party would
prioritise fixing Zimbabwe's bleeding economy.

      The party would also urgently revamp Zimbabwe's crumbling public
health and education sectors and sell away poor performing state businesses.
But it would retain in state hands control of power, water utilities and the
railway as assets strategic for development, Tsvangirai said.

      Tsvangirai was in Zambia for talks with President Levy Mwanawasa on
the March elections and presidential polls in 2008 when Mugabe has indicated
he might retire from office.

      The MDC accuses Mugabe and ZANU PF of rigging parliamentary elections
in 2000 and 2002 presidential polls and wants new regional guidelines for
democratic elections implemented in Zimbabwe before agreeing to contest in
March. - ZimOnline
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Zim Online

State drops charges against journalists
Thur 13 January 2005
  HARARE - Zimbabwe state prosecutors yesterday withdrew charges against
four journalists who reported that President Robert Mugabe had commandeered
an Air Zimbabwe plane to take him on holiday leaving passengers stranded.

      The journalists' lawyer, Linda Cook, told the Press that prosecutors
on Monday this week agreed to remove Vincent Kahiya, editor of the weekly
Zimbabwe Independent, the paper's special projects editor Iden Wetherell and
reporters Dumisani Muleya and Itai Dzamara from remand.

      The state agreed to drop the charges after the presiding magistrate
had pointed out that the four could not be kept on remand for a year and had
demanded that the state give the court a trial date.

      The four journalists were picked up at their homes almost a year ago,
detained in police cells for a weekend and charged with criminal defamation
of Mugabe and his government.

      A report carried by their paper alleged that Mugabe instructed the
national airline to give him one of its two long-haul jets to take him to
Geneva and then used the plane to fly him and his family to Malaysia for a
seaside holiday.

      The government denied the story with Information Minister Jonathan
Moyo denouncing the report as blasphemous.

      Mugabe has been accused of frequently cancelling Air Zimbabwe's
schedules at short notice and ordering the airline to fly him to his own
personal destinations, inconveniencing scores of enraged passengers and
forcing them to wait, sometimes for days, for the next flight.

      Scores of journalists have been arrested and brought to court in the
last five years by the government under its harsh media laws. But the state
has to date failed to secure even a single conviction. - ZimOnline
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The Herald

Monthly expenditure basket soars - CCZ

Business Reporter
THE cost of the monthly expenditure basket for a low-income urban household
of six people for December last year has soared to $1,7 million from $1,6
million in November 2004, the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe (CCZ) has said.

CCZ spokesperson Mr Tonderai Mukeredzi said the increase depicts a marginal
increase of 4,6 percent, with notable increases being recorded in the prices
of cooking oil, flour, rice, meat and washing powders.

Since the prices of most commodities are inflation-driven, the monthly
expenditure basket for December was expected to decline.

The country's annual inflation rate is currently pegged at 149,3 percent as
at November 30 2004 after shedding off a hefty 59,7 percentage points from
October's 209 percent.

"The increase in the overall basket was largely due to increases in the
prices of most commodities.

"White sugar was the biggest mover, rising by about 20 percent, while
notable increases were also recorded in items such as cooking oil, flour,
rice, meat and non- food items like washing powder, to mention but a few."

"There was a lot of price movement during the festive season as retailers
took advantage of envisaged consumers' spending power.

"It is surprising that most producers and retailers continue citing
inflation-induced costs for rises in prices even when the economy is
supposed to benefit from reduced inflationary pressures," Mr Mukeredzi said.

The December basket includes the price of roller meal, which was not
included in the November basket as it was out of stock in most retail

Among the major movers of the basket in November were tea leaves, which rose
by 28 percent and meat by 15 percent.

In spite of an increase in the tax-free portion of the bonus, the consumer
rights watchdog said the average consumer was still worse off during the
festive season as the new income tax threshold only came into effect
beginning this month.

While not many workers earn $5 million to have derived any meaningful
benefit from the non-taxed bonus, the situation was made worse by some
unscrupulous retailers who hiked the prices of some essential products to
take advantage of increased consumer spending power.

The consumer watchdog believes there is no real justification for the price
rise in meat, rice and tea leaves, the third in as many months.

The monetary and fiscal policies implemented by the Government since the
beginning of last year have ushered in a new culture of hope and confidence
in the economy.

Presenting the 2005 National Budget on November 25 last year, the Acting
Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Dr Herbert Murerwa, told the
nation that the Zimbabwe economy had experienced a significant improvement
in the supply response in the productive sectors of the economy, especially
mining and agriculture.

There are indications of an improved economic outlook for 2005, with the
economy projected to grow by between 3,5 percent and 5 percent.
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Catholic News

Zimbabwe paper threatened over interview with Archbishop

 The Zimbabwean government's Media and Information Commission has threatened
to close down the country's latest newspaper, the Weekly Times, within seven
days after its first edition, which carried an interview with Archbishop
Pius Ncube of Bulawayo.

In a letter to Mthwakazi Publishing House, publishers of the community-based
paper, commission chairman Tafataona Mahoso, accused the publishers of
"lying" that their paper would be a general news product when according to
him it was "running political commentary through and through."

Mahoso also took offence that the paper, which published its first issue
last week, had given space to Catholic archbishop Pius Ncube, who is a known
government critic.

The commission chairman said the publishers should have sent him copies of
the first edition before selling them to the public.

The government's media watchman said because of the alleged offences, he was
going to suspend or cancel the paper's registration certificate and gave the
publishers, "seven days, to show cause why your publishing licence should
not be suspended or cancelled."

Three newspapers including the country's only independent and biggest
circulating daily paper, the Daily News, were shut in the last two years
under tough state media laws.

13 Jan 2005
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East African Standard

      Mugabe seeks revolution against the West

      ZANZIBAR, Wednesday

      Zimbabwe will press on with its land reforms despite foreign
opposition, drawing strength from Zanzibar's 1964 anti-Arab revolt,
President Robert Mugabe said on a visit to the former slave-trading island

      Mugabe, speaking at a sports stadium on the tourist haven off Tanzania
at celebrations to mark the 41st anniversary of the rebellion, shouted
"Mapinduzi" (Swahili for revolution) and the crowd of more than 30,000
replied "Daima!" (forever). "Zimbabwe and Zanzibar share a common history, a
history of struggle and resistance to all forms of colonial domination," he
said, tracing parallels between Zimbabwe's fight against British colonialism
and Zanzibar's toppling of its Omani sultans.

      "My country faces retribution by the West and that means being
unfairly subjected to all kinds of sanctions imposed as retribution for our
embarking on a land reform programme and following in your footsteps.

      "We will not yield to any pressure to reverse this programme, just as
you would not yield to any pressure to reverse your revolution."

      Mugabe has seized hundreds of white-owned farms in the last four years
to resettle landless blacks, saying he was correcting imbalances created by
more than 90 years of British colonialism. His critics say the seizures
violated property rights and amount to racism against whites.

      He was speaking not far from the winding alleys of the main Stone Town
settlement, where African stevedores and porters rose up in 1964.

      The Zanzibar uprising, hailed by an admiring Africa hungry for
independence, took its cue from the struggle against European colonialism
then sweeping the continent.

      - Reuters

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Misa-Zimbabwe Speaks Out On Threats to Close the 'Weekly Times'

Media Institute of Southern Africa (Windhoek)

January 12, 2005
Posted to the web January 12, 2005


The Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA)-Zimbabwe notes with grave
concern that the government-controlled Media and Information Commission
(MIC) is threatening to suspend or cancel the registration certificate of
the recently launched "Weekly Times" newspaper, barely a week after it hit
the streets.

The MIC's notice to suspend or cancel the licence issued by its chairman Dr
Tafataona Mahoso, speaks volumes about the government's commitment to media
freedom and freedom of expression.

Dr Mahoso accuses Mthwakazi Publishing House, publishers of the "Weekly
Times", of having misled the Commission by not stating its "true intention"
in setting up the paper.

The MIC says the paper had not made any attempt at impartial reporting in
what it describes as its "running political commentary through and through".

Dr Mahoso cites the publication's lead story as "a clear sectarian view of
the President of Zimbabwe".

These assertions on the part of the Commission smack of interference with
the independence of the paper's editorial policy.

The fact that Dr Mahoso intends to suspend or cancel the publishing
company's licence in terms of the widely condemned Access to Information and
Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA) under which the MIC has wide discretionary
powers to regulate the media industry, gives weight to calls for the
establishment of an independent self-regulatory media council which is not
subject to manipulation by the State or any other interest groups.

It would appear from Dr Mahoso's notice of intention to close the "Weekly
Times" coming on the backdrop of the closure of the highly critical "Daily
News" and its sister publication, "The Daily News on Sunday", followed by
that of "The Tribune", that the MIC is there to serve the interests of the
State by protecting government officials from public scrutiny.

While MISA-Zimbabwe acknowledges the need to regulate the media industry,
this should only be done by an independent media council for purposes of
ensuring the impartial adjudication of issues pertaining to the ethical
conduct of journalists.
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Brown sees African poverty first hand
Thursday, 13 Jan 2005 04:47
Chancellor of the Exchequer, Gordon Brown, has begun his four-nation tour of
Africa to promote Britain's leadership of the G8 and European Union during

He is expected to outline Britain's plans to boost aid and free trade and
push for agreement on his brainchild - the international finance facility -
which aim to increase aid by 27 billion pounds each year to the poorest

He has called for the international monetary fund, the world bank and the
African development bank (ADB) to write-off poor countries' debt.

Mr Brown has called for a "new Marshall plan" for the continent - a
reference to US-backed plan to rebuild Western Europe in the aftermath of

Mr Brown started his visit in Kenya where he met Wangari Maathai, the Nobel
Peace Prize pro-democracy campaigner.

With Mrs Maathai he planted a tree at a park where she and three other women
were brutally beaten by police in 1992.

He then held talks with Kenyan president, Mwai Kibaki.

In Nairobi, the chancellor visited classrooms and met teachers at Olympic
Primary School on the edge of Kibera, one of Africa's largest slum

There he told teachers: "I am very proud of what you are doing.

"We want to work with you to provide universal primary education of the
highest standard. We are delighted you are making such progress and we want
to help you do more."

He later told journalists: "It is simply not acceptable in the modern age
for the rest of the world to stand by and have hundreds of millions of
children not getting the chance at education."

Mr Brown has said 2005 will be "a make or break year" in the fight against
global poverty.

His words took on all the more significance after the Boxing Day tsunami
tragedy in the Indian Ocean.

Mr Brown is also expected to visit Tanzania, Mozambique and South Africa on
his weeklong whistle-stop tour.

He is expected to see an HIV/Aids orphanage in Tanzania and a women's credit
union in Mozambique before moving on to meet the commission for Africa in
Cape Town.

Michael Ancram, Conservative foreign secretary spokesman, acknowledged the
laudable intention to help Africa escape poverty and oppression, but said Mr
Brown's "atlas" had "a gaping hole in that continent where mine shows

Meanwhile, Richard Dowden of the Royal Society for Africa warned EU
countries to reflect on giving debt relief to Africa countries where
governments were unstable.

Mr Dowden said: 'In so many case in Africa the money is simply being stolen
or diverted into the president's own home area or spent on white elephants.

"In those cases where the countries haven't been punished for that then if
you then gave them a whole lot of money through debt relief or aid the same
thing would happen again."
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New Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe Independent fires lying reporter

By Staff Reporter
Last updated: 01/13/2005 12:55:12
THE Zimbabwe Independent newspaper moved swiftly this week to fire one of
its reporters after he TWICE misrepresented stories about the Botswana

Reporter Itai Dzamara was dismissed from his job for what a source at the
paper described as "appalling sloppiness in reporting".

His latest fabricated story carried by the paper last Friday claimed that
Zimbabwe's opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai met Botswana President Festus
Mogae during a "private visit" over the Christmas holiday in Victoria Falls.

Botswana's presidential spokesman Jeff Ramsay was swift in his response to
the article. While confirming that Mogae and his family were in Victoria
Falls on a "recreational visit" on 29 December, he said the President never
met any MDC representative.

"There is absolutely no truth to the story," he said in a statement. "The
President did not hold discussions with Tsvangirai or any other MDC leader
over the holidays. This is the second false story concerning this Office to
be published in the Zimbabwe Independent during the past year under Itai
Dzamara's by-line."

In January last year, Dzamara doctored a statement from Ramsay (see
Independent apology) to craft a story claiming the Botswana government had
called for a crackdown on Zimbabwean immigrants.

The latest criticism stung the Independent editors who moved with haste in
showing Dzamara the door. It is believed that he was recently asked to stop
his contributions to a South African-based Zimbabwe news site after his
stories were questioned.

The Independent's editor Vincent Kahiya was not answering his mobile phone
on Wednesday and was said to be out of the office. The paper's news editor
Dumisani Muleya said he was away in South Africa last week and referred all
questions to Kahiya.

The Independent's swift response was necessary to save the paper's
credibility, media observers said. The decision to relieve Dzamara of his
job, it was felt, was also a statement to the Botswana government -- which
has not hidden its disillusionment with the Zimbabwe media -- that the paper
had no axe to grind.

Ramsay said: "It should be apparent that this Office has no motive to deny
the Zimbabwe Independent's report other than the simple fact that it is
blatantly untrue."

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      Heavies dropped

      Njabulo Ncube & Felix Njini
      1/13/2005 7:39:07 AM (GMT +2)

      MOST of the ZANU PF heavyweights barred from participating in the
primary elections to be held this weekend remain sidelined as the party,
which has sought to purge dissenters from its ranks, stuck to its guns on
its adopted affirmative action policy.

      The Financial Gazette is reliably informed that the final list of
participants in Saturday's primaries - to be announced tomorrow - still
excludes most officials whose candidacy was turned down by provincial
coordinating committees.
      Among the notable names missing from the preliminary list compiled
last week were ministers Jonathan Moyo, Patrick Chinamasa and Sithembiso
      While their fate could not be ascertained by the time of going to
print last night, politburo sources said ZANU PF's elections directorate
would not budge over the disqualification. The fate of the suspended
provincial chairmen - July Moyo, Mark Madiro, Daniel Shumba, Lloyd Siyoka,
Jacob Mudenda and Themba Ncube - was however sealed, the sources said.
      Insiders said yesterday the ZANU PF national elections directorate had
indicated it would not rescind the decision to allocate a third of the seats
to women despite demonstrations against the policy, which seeks to provide
up to 36 female candidates to the final complement of 120 contestants on the
ZANU PF ticket for the March parliamentary elections.
      The move has been interpreted as intended to appease the female
constituency within and without the party.
      Sources said the ruling party's elections directorate, which has been
accused of imposing candidates on the electorate in an internal row that has
spawned internecine conflict, has also barred Lazarus Dokora (Rushinga),
Elliot Chauke (Chiredzi South), Charles Majange (Chivi South), Paul Mazikana
(Guruve North) and Kindness Paradza (Makonde) from contesting the primaries.
      "There is no going back on the quota system. The party has taken a
firm decision to allocate a third of the seats to women in each and every
province," said a senior ZANU PF politburo member.
      Also dropped from the race is President Robert Mugabe's nephew, Leo
Mugabe, who was also eyeing Paradza's Makonde constituency.
      The sources said President Mugabe had expressed discomfiture with the
main Makonde contestants - Leo and the embattled Paradza - and ordered that
the constituency be set aside for female candidates.
      Dzikamai Mavhaire and Eddison Zvobgo Jnr, both of whom were interested
in the Masvingo Central constituency, have also been left in the cold.
      Shylet Uyoyo has been thrust on the Masvingo Central constituency,
while Priscilla Mupfumira, who had initially registered her interest in
contesting for the Chinhoyi constituency, is likely to be shifted to
      Two little-known female candidates will battle it out for Tsholotsho,
long coveted by Jonathan Moyo. Insiders said the ZANU PF elections
directorate had thwarted Moyo's impassioned appeal against the imposition of
a woman candidate in the constituency.
      The policy to reserve 30 percent of the candidatures for female
contestants has brewed controversy in ZANU PF, with some aggrieved male
politicians warning the move would divide the party and cost it crucial
votes in March.
      "There was lack of preparation and proper identification of competent
female candidates. Some were even called from the crowd to submit their CVs.
Most of them had not even bothered to apply, let alone campaign," said a
ZANU PF legislator who lost out due to the quota system.
      Jonathan Moyo, who lodged his appeal last week, accused senior
officials in the party of being "unfair". Moyo is particularly piqued by the
fact that he was sidelined after mobilising vast resources to wrest the seat
from the opposition Movement for Democratic Change.
      Party sources said the female quota system had created fresh fissures
within the faction-riddled ZANU PF, with affected men considering standing
as independents.
      Elliot Manyika, the ZANU PF political commissar, said on Tuesday a
full list of candidates would be announced tomorrow.
      ZANU PF's supreme decision-making organ, the politburo, also meets
tomorrow to consider the names vetted by the elections directorate, to give
the final word on the candidates to participate in the primaries.
      President Mugabe was on Monday forced to drive to the ZANU PF
headquarters to pacify an angry mob protesting against the alleged
imposition of candidates.

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      GMB threatens to withdraw millers' licences

      Staff Reporter
      1/13/2005 7:41:23 AM (GMT +2)

      THE Grain Marketing Board (GMB), which is currently grappling with a
worsening grain deficit, has sought to shift blame to millers, accusing them
of hoarding the commodity and "creating artificial shortages."

      As the nation faces the grim reality of yet another shortage of the
staple grain, the monopolistic GMB, which has been at the centre of disputed
figures of last season's maize yield, this week threatened to cancel the
operating licences of 16 milling companies, charging that they could have
exported grain sourced locally, creating a deficit that has been felt in the
      GMB marketing director Zvidzai Makwenda told The Financial Gazette
that the parastatal, a perennial loss-maker, was now carrying out an audit
of all grain stocks allocated to millers.
      Harare's retail outlets have been without mealie-meal for the past two
weeks, heightening apprehension among consumers, who faced chronic shortages
of the basic commodity between 2001 and 2002 after the government had lulled
the nation into a false sense of security over the food situation.
      The GMB has been importing maize from neighbouring South Africa on a
weekly basis.
      GMB officials are reported to have instituted an investigation to
ascertain how 3 600 tonnes of maize grain sold to Harare milling companies
this past week had been used.
      A 2001 statutory instrument gave the GMB a virtual monopoly over the
marketing and distribution of strategic grains - maize and wheat - and
requires all millers intending to purchase grain from the parastatal to be
      "We are carrying out investigations to establish what happened to the
maize grain sold to the millers this week and part of last week," Makwenda
      He threatened that millers exporting or holding on to the grain for
speculative purposes would have their licences revoked.
      "We have urged millers to produce and desist from hoarding the grain.
The situation should come under control," added Makwenda.
      GMB requires US$27 million (Z$165 billion) to import 222 554 tonnes of
grain to replenish the country's depleted grain stocks.
      The parastatal incurred a $302 billion loss in 2004 due to
sub-economic pricing. In 2003 GMB recorded a $24.8 billion loss.
      The GMB is purchasing maize at $130 000 per tonne and selling it to
local millers at $9 600 per tonne.

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      Masiyiwa buys into Kingdom

      Dumisani Ndlela
      1/13/2005 7:40:17 AM (GMT +2)

      TELECOMMUNICATIONS mogul Strive Masiyiwa's Econet Wireless Holdings
has broken into the banking industry following its $1.5 billion acquisition
of a 10 percent stake in Kingdom Financial Holdings Limited (KFHL).

      The deal, executed through a special bargain for 35.8 million shares,
went through the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE) on January 6 2005 and was
handled by Kingdom Stockbrokers, a KFHL subsidiary, sources indicated this
      It will now pave way for the appointment of Econet's representatives
to the KFHL board of directors.
      The telecommunications group's entry into Kingdom, one of the few
locally owned banks to survive a financial sector crisis that has resulted
in the closure of at least 10 institutions, comes a few days before an
extraordinary general meeting of shareholders expected to approve a
recapitalisation scheme.
      This will be the first step by KFHL to raise capital amounting to $100
billion, a proposal already supported by Econet and other existing
shareholders constituting about 60 percent of the KFHL's share capital.
      The sources said that Econet had bought the shares - totalling 35
million at a special bargain price of $40 per share - from a vehicle linked
to KFHL founder and former chief executive officer, Nigel Chanakira.
      Chanakira, who resigned as the banking group's deputy chairman in
November 2004, has been a director of Econet since its listing on the ZSE in
      Sources said the Johannesburg-based Masiyiwa, personally took interest
in the transaction, which analysts said is meant to cushion his long-time
ally Chanakira, from being diluted by other players in the diversified
financial group.
      An Econet spokesman confirmed the transaction, saying the
telecommunications group viewed the acquisition as a strategic investment
and were likely to increase their shareholding in the banking group.
      "This is a strategic investment for us and eventually we would be keen
to be at par with Meikles Africa as KFHL's major institutional investor,"
said the spokesman.
      Meikles Africa is the major shareholder in KFHL with a 24.73 percent
stake, while institutional investment giant Old Mutual comes second with a
10.18 percent interest.
      "Although a lot of banks had been pursuing a tie-up with Econet
because of its strong cash position, KFHL has always had the edge because of
its historical relationship with Econet," the spokesman said.
      Among its various investments in the telecommunications and
information technology sectors, Econet is the major shareholder in
Transaction Processing Systems, a company providing IT and electronic
banking services to the country's financial services sector.
      The telecommunications group said while it would continue with its
relationship with other banking sector companies, it would use its latest
share ownership opportunity in KFHL to grow the bank using the latest
technology available to the sector.
      The transaction positions Econet to participate in the forthcoming
recapitalisation exercise, should shareholders approve the resolution at the
January 17 EGM.

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      Mawere in desperate fight for ZimRe stake

      Felix Njini
      1/13/2005 7:40:49 AM (GMT +2)

      OUT-of-luck businessman Mutumwa Mawere has threatened to throw the
spanners into the proposed ZimRe Holding Limited (ZHL) capital-raising
project, which will effectively diminish his influence over the diversified
insurance giant.

      Mawere, who tops the Zimbabwe police's list of business tycoons who
fled the country after the unearthing of widespread corporate corruption
last year, is miffed by attempts by ZHL to float a $60 billion rights issue
believed to be targeted at weakening his influence in the group.
      The businessman, whose relations with the government moved from one
extreme to the other, is seeking to block the jumbo rights offer, which is
likely to whittle down his shareholding from 46.55 percent to a paltry 10
      Mawere's lawyers Costa and Madzonga this week launched an appeal
against the rights offer to the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE) chief
executive Emma-nuel Munyukwi, imploring the exchange to their client's
imperiled rights.
      The ZSE appeal is a precursor to a possible High Court interdict to
stop the rights offer, by the embattled former ZANU PF sympathizer who the
authorities say is a fugitive from justice.
      "ZHL management, with a board that has not been properly constituted,
came up with the proposal for a rights issue whose merit has not been sold
to the major shareholders," read part of the letter written to the stock
exchange authorities.
      Mawere, in his eleventh-hour desperate attempt to serve his
investments, is arguing that the specification of ZHL shareholders had an
ulterior motive.
      ZHL proposed a four-for-one renounceable rights offer of 2.9 billion
shares, each with a nominal value of 10 cents, at a price of $20.50.
      Shareholders unable to follow their rights in the scheme, which is
still subject to shareholder approval at an extraordinary general meeting
slated for January 28, would see the value of their stock being diluted by
as much as 80 percent, analysts said.
      Endurite Properties, which is currently the largest ZHL shareholder
with a 24.32 percent stake and Ukubambana Kubatana Investments (UKI), second
largest shareholder with 22.23 percent, are some of Mawere's firms specified
by the government in August 2004, after it failed to extradite him from
South Africa to face charges of foreign currency externalisation.
      First Bank, underwriters to the proposed rights issue, looks set to
emerge as a major shareholder with a cross-shareholding structure with ZHL,
which owns 21 percent of First Banking Corporation Holdings (FBCH).
      "We are informed that NSSA whose chairman is Mr E (Edwin) Manikai is
the instrument through which government wants to take control of the company
while using the specification to ensure that our clients (Mawere) have no
opportunity of raising capital when the companies are under investigation,"
reads the letter.
      Edwin Manikai could not be reached for comment at the time of going to
      An investigator appointed by the government in August last year to
probe the Mawere businesses is yet to produce any report of his findings.
      In a telephone interview, Mawere queried why a report from the
investigator has not been produced five months down the line. "Was the
specification for the purpose of dispossession?" asked Mawere.
      "Has the report from the investigator been furnished to Endurite or
UKI as required by law, where are the interim findings. This is no longer in
the national interest but there are businessmen using the state machinery
for their own benefit," Mawere charged.
      "This raises our suspicion that specification is nothing but a
strategy to expropriate our client's rights," Mawere's law-yers argued in
the letter.

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      MDC takes diplomatic offensive to Zambia

      Njabulo Ncube
      1/13/2005 7:41:53 AM (GMT +2)

      MOVEMENT for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai took his
diplomatic offensive to Zambia on Tuesday where he briefed President Levy
Mwanawasa of Zimbabwe's level of preparedness to fully comply with new
electoral guidelines ahead of the March parliamentary polls.

      MDC insiders told The Financial Gazette Mwanawasa's ruling Movement
for Multiparty Democracy (MMD) had informed President Robert Mugabe's
government over Tsvangirai's visit to Lusaka to avert a possible diplomatic
fallout with Harare.
      The consultative talks with Mwanawasa come as regional pressure
continues to mount on the main opposition party to participate in the
forthcoming parliamentary elections.
      The insiders said Tuesday's talks centred on Zimbabwe's forthcoming
polls set for March this year. Mwanawasa, they said, had implored on the MDC
leader to contest the polls, as it emerged that Southern African Development
Community (SADC) leaders had vowed not to accept a flawed election in
Zimbabwe, a former regional leading light-turned problem child.
      "We are in Zambia to discuss the political and economic impasse that
has beset Zimbabwe," said Tsvangirai upon his arrival at Lusaka airport.
      The MDC leader toured Zambia with MDC national treasurer Fletcher
      Tsvangirai, who faces another treason trial this month, arrived in
Lusaka on Sunday and held a closed door meeting with the MMD's national
secretary Vernon Mwaanga before proceeding to hold a closed door meeting
with President Mwanawasa.
      Mwaanga said the MDC leader, who has so far met more than 25 leaders
in Africa and Europe in the past few months following his acquittal in the
first treason case in October last year, was a guest of the Zambian
      "The Zimbabwean government has been notified of his visit," said
      MDC officials said their leader was on the second leg of a tour of
African states, three months before the parliamentary polls.
      Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga, the MDC shadow minister of foreign
affairs, said the tour to Zambia was a continuation of the opposition leader's
diplomatic initiative.
      "He is updating SADC leaders on Zimbabwe's compliance or non
compliance with SADC guidelines and principles. He is expected back home
today or tomorrow," said Misihairabwi-Mushonga.
      In August, the MDC announced a decision to boycott elections until
President Mugabe's government fully implemented guidelines and principles
for democratic elections adopted by SADC heads in Mauritius.
      The government has implemented some of electoral reforms but the MDC
and other opposition groups have dismissed them as cosmetic, as the
government has gone ahead to clamp down on democratic space through the
passing of laws such as the Non-governmental organisation (NGO) Bill and the
tightening of the draconian Access to Information and Protection of Privacy
Act (AIPPA).

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      'Opposition coverage mere ZANU PF ruse'

      Njabulo Ncube
      1/13/2005 7:42:29 AM (GMT +2)

      THE ZANU PF government, under immense pressure to level the electoral
playing field as Zimbabwe's crucial parliamentary polls draw closer, is
partially opening the airwaves to opposition political parties.

      But analysts are hardly impressed. They say the development is
intended to hoodwink regional leaders into believing that the government is
committed to the Mauritius protocol.
      In what government critics say is an unprecedented shift, the state
broadcaster, the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Holdings, formerly Zimbabwe
Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC), interviewed Welshman Ncube, the Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) secretary general, last week to clarify his party's
position regarding the parliamentary election, set for March.
      During the same week, an official from ZANU Ndonga, the tribal-based
opposition political party with a single seat in the 120-member Parliament,
was also interviewed on the popular vernacular radio station Radio Zimbabwe.
      Media activists said this week they had also noted that opposition
politicians, especially those from the main opposition MDC, were also being
"positively" covered in the public print media.
      Remius Makuwaza, the MDC director of elections, was widely quoted in
the state-controlled Herald of last Thursday, while another ZANU Ndonga
official was also quoted, confirming his party's participation.
      Analysts who spoke to The Financial Gazette this week said the
increasingly ostracised ZANU PF government, which for the past five years
had effectively shut out the opposition from the public media, was under
pressure to comply with the minimum standards set by Southern African
Development Commu-nity (SADC) heads of state for the staging of democratic
elections, which included granting unlimited access to opposition parties in
the public media.
      Elections held since the emergence of the MDC as a major political
force have severely dented President Rob-ert Mugabe's legitimacy.
      The main opposition party, which the government accuses of being a
Western front for effecting regime change, claims that ZANU PF used
bullying, intimidation and outright violence against MDC supporters in the
last round of parliamentary and presidential elections.
      The analysts said with the country's elections three months away, the
government would like to be seen to be adhering to some of the guidelines
and principles agreed by SADC in Mauritius last August, as ZANU PF was no
longer guaranteed the support of African states and institutions, which had
given the Zimbabwe government the benefit of the doubt and, with it,
vestiges of legitimacy. Member states are not, however, legally obligated to
adopt the SADC principles.
      While President Mugabe's government has approved some of the changes
agreed by SADC, such as conducting voting in one day and the use of
translucent boxes, among other measures, the ruling party has maintained a
grip on the public media to the exclusion of all dissenting voices. Public
media institutions have frequently been used to carry virulent
anti-opposition propaganda.
      Brian Kagoro, the chairman of Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, a grouping
encompassing 350 civil society organisations, doubted the government's
sincerity in granting access to the opposition and non-governmental
organisations with an interest in the forthcoming polls.
      Kagoro said the cosmetic changes recently noted in the state media
were meant to hoodwink people into believing that the opposition in Zimbabwe
had access to ZBH and state newspapers.
      "This regime has mastered the art of window-dressing," said Kagoro.
"They want the world to believe that the opposition has access to the public
media. The appearance of opposition politicians on national television is
for window-dressing purposes, nothing else. The truth of the matter is that
opposition political parties have no access to the public media, period," he
      Takura Zhangazha, a media activist with the Media Institute of
Southern Africa, said: "The government is not being honest by pretending to
grant media access to the opposition.
      "The MDC is an important stakeholder in the political culture of
Zimbabwe. It should be given consistent media coverage . . . not only when
elections are around the corner. The opposition must be allowed to flight
their campaign adverts as well as buy airtime to educate the electorate
about their party policies."
      Recently, ZBH reportedly declined to air MDC advertisements, in a
clear sign that opposition parties were still far from getting access to the
public media, which continue to show blatant bias towards the ruling ZANU PF
      Information minister Jonathan Moyo - who has presided over the
entrenchment of a starkly pro-ZANU PF stance in the government-owned press -
and Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa have recently stated that the public
media would only be open to a "loyal and patriotic opposition".

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      The fuzzy maths of SADC

      Mavis Makuni
      1/13/2005 7:43:08 AM (GMT +2)

      It's fuzzy maths. That is the only way to describe the Southern
African Development Commu-nity (SADC) Gender and Development Dec-laration
quota system.

      The gender policy, which was adopted in 1997, requires national
governments to reserve 30 percent out of the total number of decision-making
and public service posts for women.
      Governments were given a deadline to meet these targets by the end of
this year, but events on the ground make it very doubtful that any SADC
country will pass the test.
      The 30 percent quota system has generated considerable interest in
Zimbabwe because of the ascendancy of former freedom fighter Joyce Mujuru to
the position of Vice-President.
      The ruling ZANU PF late last year invoked the SADC declaration to
instruct its 10 provinces to nominate a woman candidate to fill the vacancy
created by the death of Vice-President Simon Muzenda in 2003.
      In his enigmatic "I have a dream" remark, President Robert Mugabe gave
a very clear hint that Mujuru could be his anointed successor as the
country's next President.
      Mujuru's appointment was, however, not welcomed by everyone in the
ruling party. As the Tsholotsho indaba, which was allegedly organised to
derail the historic appointment, has demonstrated, there was outright
opposition to her candidacy.
      Mujuru's rise to the top has, in fact, been unique in a controversial
way in that it has claimed an unprecedented number of political causalties.
Most of those linked to the Tsholotsho meeting have been punished in one way
or another.
      In addition, speculation has been rife that the ruling party presidium's
decision to elevate Mujuru was not exactly underpinned by a commitment to
gender balance.
      Rather, critics say, it came in handy as a way to thwart the political
ambitions of Speaker of Parliament Emmerson Mnangagwa. Whether this is true
or not is another matter.
      The policy has also been invoked to bar certain individuals from
contesting party primary elections. The male aspirants were simply told the
constituency was being reserved for women.
      The question that still needs to be asked, however, is whether the
SADC policy planners who crafted this quota system mean business.
      It has never been explained how they arrived at the figure of 30
percent when it is an established fact that women constitute the majority in
the populations of all the relevant SADC countries.
      In Zimbabwe, for example, women constitute 52 percent of the
population. As this is the trend in the rest of the SADC countries, the
effect of this half-hearted approach will be the same across the entire
      Affirmative action programmes have been undertaken in countries such
as the United States to redress discrimination against women and minorities.
These have shown that a much more aggressive approach is needed to enforce
the relevant laws.
      The US Equal Employment Oppor-tunity Commission (EEOC), for example,
is backed up by various enforcement agencies with powers to take legal
action or institute other punitive measures against non-compliers.
      As an example, discrimination in employment - hiring, salaries, fringe
benefits, etc - on the basis of colour, race, sex, religion or national
origin is prohibited under an executive order.
      A federal enforcement agency, the Office of Federal Contract
Compliance, is responsible for making sure that affected organisations
comply with the stipulated conditions.
      The enforcement agency is empowered to bar flouters of the
anti-discrimination regulations from getting federal contracts and grants.
Culprits also stand to lose any federal funding they have already received.
      However, despite this vigilance, the EEOC has still struggled with
huge backlogs of discrimination charges, which needed to be investigated and
      The SADC Gender and Development Declaration glaringly lacks an
enforcement mechanism and a regime of sanctions for non-compliance. It
depends solely on governments to voluntarily honour their obligations.
      It is safe to say it is too much to expect some of the governments,
which have no qualms about flouting principles pertaining to democratic
governance, the rule of law or human rights, to lose any sleep over gender
balance. They are bound to do everything possible to find loopholes or
resort to other tactics to delay or avoid having to implement the policy.
      On their part, the SADC policy formulators have demonstrated a lack of
political will and commitment through their preparedness to promote an
unfair quota system. By what mathematical formula did these bureaucrats
calculate that groups of people who represent the majority in most SADC
countries are entitled to only a third of the national political cake?
      The purpose of quota systems and affirmative action programmes is to
enable previously disadvantaged segments of the population such as
minorities and women to catch up in different spheres of human endeavour.
The SADC Gender and Development Declaration quota, which set the 30 percent
benchmark, could prove counter-productive in the long run. It can have the
effect of actually institutionalising the gender imbalances it is
purportedly seeking to eradicate.
      Most governments will not meet the 30 percent quota. The few that will
comply will pat themselves on the back for a half-baked achievement. The
affected segment of the population will, however, have no cause to celebrate
until the SADC policy planners get their maths right.

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      Headmen grumble over allowances

      Charles Rukuni
      1/13/2005 7:43:38 AM (GMT +2)

      BULAWAYO - ZANU PF, which is banking on chiefs to deliver the crucial
rural vote in the March general election, could be in for a rude awakening
as some headmen, who are considered as chiefs by their people but are a rung
below, are disgruntled by the huge gap between their allowances and those of
the top traditional leaders.

      The ruling party, which opposition parties claim scraped through the
2000 elections using violence and intimidation, has changed tact and is now
aiming for a clean victory that will bring legitimacy back to President
Robert Mugabe's administration and pave the way for a noble exit for the man
who has ruled the country for the past 25 years.
      Chief Fortune Charumbira, a traditional leader and Deputy Minister of
Local Government, dismissed the complaints from the headmen, saying they
were not justified.
      The headmen had complained that while they were regarded as chiefs by
their people, their allowances were a pittance compared to those of the
      Chiefs are paid a monthly allowance of $1 million and have been
promised Mazda B18000 trucks, electricity and potable water at their
homesteads. Headmen are paid an allowance of $400 000.
      "The gap is just too wide, yet we do most of the donkey work," one
headman complained. "Besides, we do not have any representation . . . Chief
Charumbira and Chief Jonathan Mangwende (president of the chiefs' council)
represent the interests of chiefs and not those of headmen."
      Charumbira said the headmen who were complaining had got it all wrong.
He said while he acknowledged that headmen were regarded as chiefs by their
people, chiefs were still above them and should in fact be kings.
      "Headmen are not deputies of chiefs because a chief can have up to six
headmen below him. This is not a typical job evaluation or grading system
because you only have three levels - the chief, headman and village head,"
he said.
      "The person who does most of the work is the village head anyway. Yet
he only gets $40 000, way below the allowance of a headman."
      Charumbira said the argument that headmen should be paid more because
they did more work did not hold water because even in the private sector,
workers did most of the work but their wages were far below the salaries and
perks of management.
      While it was not possible to establish the extent of the
disgruntlement among headmen, the ruling party is banking on them to deliver
this year's crucial vote. Zimbabwe has about 260 chiefs and more than 400
      The party, which is now shying away from violence, is using
traditional leaders as its trump card because they can ensure that their
subjects vote for the ruling party in return for the favours they have been
bestowed by the government.
      An opposition legislator who has been watching recent polls admitted
this was a new tactic that could earn the ruling party clean votes. He said
the new scheme had already been successfully tested in the Gutu North and
Lupane by-elections which had both been won by the ruling party.
      There was no marked violence in both by-elections though the presence
at polling stations of traditional leaders, who seemed to be keeping track
of who had voted and who had not, was intimidating enough to keep their
followers in line.
      ZANU PF has given chiefs more powers in the run-up to the election,
allowing them to fine people up to $100 million. The party also used them to
distribute seed to the people, a move aimed at ensuring that come elections,
it would be pay back time.
      But cracks are beginning to emerge within ZANU PF, with different
groups trying to capitalise on the desperation by the ruling party to secure
a victory in the forthcoming polls.
      First, the party was threatened with a split following the bulldozing
of Joyce Mujuru to the post of vice-president, a move that led to the now
famous Tsholotsho Declaration which has seen key campaigners in President
Robert Mugabe's anti-West propaganda, Jonathan Moyo and Patrick Chinamasa,
being excluded from the polls.
      At the moment, party supporters are disgruntled with the imposition of
candidates who will be contesting primary elections this weekend.
      Any divisions among traditional leaders could be the last straw,
something the opposition Movement for Democratic Change could capitlise on.
      But Zimbabwe's main opposition seems to be taking a laissez faire
attitude towards the whole election process.

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      Stop this madness!

      1/13/2005 8:02:20 AM (GMT +2)

      Controversy continues to dog the food security situation in Zimbabwe -
Southern Africa's erstwhile regional bread basket. The country's confusing
food security puzzle last week sparked yet another political storm.

      The furore touched off by an equally puzzling statistical haze over
the food situation pits on one hand, the government, which has hardly
behaved like it has nothing to hide and on the other international aid
agencies, humanitarian organisations and the opposition political parties -
all of which government accuses of ulterior motives.
      This is because the food situation is one of the more contentious
issues in Zimbabwean politics - which explains why there has always been
this unfortunate ill-feeling between government and Western-backed aid and
humanitarian agencies, some of whom have indeed not been working in Zimbabwe's
best interests.
      The Zimbabwean government is wary of the influence of Western
governments, which have persistently accused it of a democratic deficit and
of allegedly exploiting politics of the stomach by using food aid,
particularly amongst vulnerable groups, as a weapon to coerce them to vote
for it. The thinking in government is therefore that food relief from aid
agencies provides its Western detractors with a perfect heaven-sent
opportunity to whip up emotions against it from a population gripped by
disenchantment and fear of starvation - in order to effect regime change.
      Hence the haggling where government insists on claims of
self-sufficiency while its critics say that the nation has again been led up
the garden path insofar as the food security situation is concerned. The
figure of 2.4 million tonnes projected harvest of the staple maize for the
2003/2004 season bandied about some few months ago by the government, which
unfortunately faces a severe crisis of confidence when it comes to issues
pertaining to State held records - thanks to Ministers like Dr Joseph Made
who touch nothing they do not dehydrate - is thought to be a gross
overstatement for political reasons.
      Critics maintain that the regional bread basket-turned-basket case
could not have produced more than 1.3 million tonnes of maize in the
2003/2004 agricultural season - 500 000 tonnes short of the annual national
requirement. According to the critics, therefore, figures in government's
estimates were just plucked from the air.
      Government, on its part, dismisses this as an alarmist stance taken by
those desperate for not only a regime change but discrediting the land
reform as well - to give credence to claims that the land reform programme
was the seal of death for the once vibrant agricultural sector which had the
single biggest sectoral contribution to the country's gross domestic
product. Indeed given this confusing scenario, as indicated in one of our
comments of five months ago, the question is, if reason consists of seeing
things the way they really are, why then do we have these striking
discrepancies in the figures on the food situation?
      Unfortunately caught in the middle of this haggling are the ordinary
people who, in the previous food debacle, experienced the sharpest edge of
the knife. In the past when Zimbabwe experienced acute shortages of food,
after repeated official assurances on the food situation, it is they who
suffered the most. Put simply, they wear the shoe and therefore know how and
where it pinches.
      This is the very reason why the people get increasingly worried when
this war of words between government and aid agencies over the food
situation does nothing more than muddy the waters, so to speak. To get a
semblance of a clearer picture of the food situation, the people would have
to rely on reading between the lines - that is if basic commodities haven't
started disappearing from the shops. Yet the government has the data.
      That is why we are of the view that no matter how polarised the
political situation in the country is, there is no need for government to
over-state figures regarding the food supply situation or for those on the
other side of the political divide to exaggerate the "crisis". It is not
about political point-scoring. Most importantly the government should come
clean on the food situation so that various critical stakeholders would not
be found asleep at the switch. There is clearly need for a paradigm shift in
the way the authorities have been handling the food security situation.
Instead of the current short-sighted and narrow self-serving public
posturing of painting a rosier-than-real picture of the situation on the
ground, government should order its various arms that handle the issue to
release figures that reflect the true situation, no matter how ominous, on
public interests grounds.
      The last time the government was economic with the truth, the nation
was lulled into a false sense of security and inevitably found itself stuck
in awkward scrapes. That the less-than convincing Grain Marketing Board -
which only recently got into a scapegoating mode when it faced the
Parliamentary Portfolio Committe on Lands and Agriculture which was trying
to ascertain the situation as regards last year's harvest, claiming that it
had nothing to do with crop forecasting - this week tried to assure the
nation on the food situation does little to assuage the general perception
that the country could plunge into yet another food crisis.
      While we are aware of the need to withhold information in the areas of
national security and law enforcement, it is our considered view that there
would be no prejudice to national interest posed by the release of figures
on the food security situation which remains very much a subject to the
public interest test. If there could be any "harm" posed to state interest
that "harm" would certainly not outweigh the public interest that could be
served through the release of such information.
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      Police a real nuisance

      1/13/2005 7:45:54 AM (GMT +2)

      EDITOR-I wish to register my concurrence with the writer of the
article on the real cause of accidents.

      Our traffic police are more concerned about making sure only the buses
and kombis adhere to the rules of the road not because they value human
life, but because they are after the wallets these guys carry.
      The focus of the Traffic Police seems to be on making money than
making the roads safe. This is the reason why our traffic accident
statistics always seem to get worse.
      At the moment we have haulage trucks and tractors as the biggest
hazard on the highways. These guys have a habit of parking their trucks on
the road without any reflective warning anywhere and as such there have been
many people dying after crushing into these vehicles, but no one has done
anything about it.
      As for the tractors 95 percent of them have no lights but you find
them on the roads at night. The other thing that boggles me is why the
police continue to buy cars for which there are no spares.
      Recently they introduced the 306's. Does the Police Commissioner know
that Peugeot has stopped manufacturing these models and it only follows that
very soon their spares will be hard to come by.


      Harare: daredevil-driver land

      1/13/2005 7:46:18 AM (GMT +2)

      EDITOR-Having read Richard Wiley's article on speeding, I fully agree
with the author.

      I travel up to Zimbabwe on a regular basis and what never ceases to
amaze me is the reckless attitude displayed by most drivers in Harare.
      I was the unfortunate victim of a hit-and-run on Nov 21 2004 at the
intersection of Fife Ave and Fourth Street. Some suicidal maniac driving a
dark blue ex-Jap Mazda Capella came through the intersection at breakneck
speed (must have been doing 100kph at least!) and as a result I collided
with his/her car.
      The culprit then sped off and my efforts to chase him were
unsuccessful-after all, he/she went through all the intersections at the
same horrific speed.
      Of course the police were unable/unwilling to track down the idiot. I
now have to foot the bill for repairs to my car (about R30,000), never mind
the loss in value due to the accident.
      After this incident I was a very cautious driver and I began to notice
the atrocious manner in which Harare drivers go about their business.
      The red light doesn't mean anything to them, as long as the
intersection still has no vehicles in it it's fair game!
      Michael C
      South Africa

      Probe urban councils now

      1/13/2005 7:46:41 AM (GMT +2)

      Editor-I think there is need to launch an impartial investigation into
the state of affairs at Zimbabwe's local authorities, in particular the
Harare and Bulawayo city councils.

      This is in light of the financial mess at these councils and how, all
of a sudden, they are failing to pay their workers.
      I believe the investigations should also extend to the parent Ministry
of Local Government because that could be where the problems are coming
from. For instance, over the past few years the ministry has refused to
approve well-thought-out budgets submitted by councils, all in the interest
of protecting residents! Here is where the irony lies - trying to protect
residents by ensuring that the service providers don't have the muscle to
provide essential services.

      War Vet
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      ...and now to the Notebook

      1/13/2005 8:05:37 AM (GMT +2)

      Elections again!
      This year is an election year. Again! So soon! Before past election
promises have been fulfilled, we are already having another election once
more! Isn't it unfair?

      Just before those people who were clobbered in the past election have
had enough time to fully recover - if ever they will - another election is
upon them. This may mean another round of abuse - beatings, rape, murder,
you name it - in exchange for more empty promises.
      Are elections meant to bring nothing to the people, but misery only?
Maybe only here in Zimbabwe and some few other crazy countries where
sleeping in Parliament is still regarded as an achievement in life. Or are
there really any tangible benefits accruing from our elections?
      Elections, yes, can really bring something, other than misery, to the
people . . . something worth showing off later even if promises remain
      At least if standards set in Tsholotsho are anything to go by.
      Imagine if all aspiring candidates in Zimbabwe's past five general
elections, two presidential elections, dozens of parliamentary by-elections
and hundreds of local authority elections and by-elections were using
campaigning standards recently set in Tsholotsho. Wouldn't this country have
become Africa's first developed country long time ago?
      All those who have been following what has been happening in
Tsholotsho over the past year or so will understand what CZ is referring to.
      Donation after donation, project after project, scholarship fund for
all children - disadvantaged or not - you name it, and in no time the area
is known to everyone because that is where things are happening.
      By these standards, if this had been done by all aspiring candidates -
even those who end up not qualifying - in all elections, big and small,
surely there would be no reason today why this country would still be stuck
where it is today. No ways!
      Roads would be there, dams would be there, everyone would have two
houses each, we would be having unfettered access to education, health and
all the good things we dream of. Life would just be sweet, thanks to
      Look at what has been taking place in those areas where some aspiring
politicians are trying to copy the standards set by pacesetters in
      In Glen Norah, where Cde Chinos is trying to settle after that
humiliating loss in a Highfield by-election, when residents complain of
transport blues, he just unleashes ZUPCO buses in abundance.
      When they complain of searing poverty, he donates food, blankets,
hundreds of pairs of zhing-zhong shoes and bales of second - if not third -
hand clothes, including underwear.
      When they complained of life-threatening boredom, he introduced a
soccer tournament in his name. What more would one want?
      The same is happening in areas like Masvingo South, Mutoko North and
Chitungwiza. And imagine what would happen if all politicians would be this
creative and generous!
      In Chitungwiza, we were only told last weekend that a massive housing
project has just started - a project to deliver 60 000 housing units before
      This all because election time is upon us.
      Please don't ask CZ where these resources are coming from or whether
they are well or ill-gotten. He is also one of those people who are
wondering how come some of these brothers who were recently as poor as a
church-mouse have suddenly become ultra-rich as to be this generous. But you
see elections can be useful?
      Still on elections, someone asked CZ to please ask Cde William
"Analyst" Nhara why he is not featuring on the list of people who have shown
interest in representing the ruling party.
      So his "analyses" all over the public media have not done much to
endear him to the owners of that party, and he has therefore remained
largely a rank outsider? Sorry. By the way, what happened to that website?


      Zimboz are just something else. Heard this story about this Zimbo in
Canada who went around defrauding unsuspecting locals under the mask of
      Yes, thinking of poverty back home, the compatriot went from door to
door collecting cash and other donations under the guise that it was going
towards helping victims of the recent Asian tsunami disaster.
      To do this, he used a false Red Cross ID card and some cooked-up
documentation of a religious organisation.
      He is now helping Toronto police in their investigation since he is
the only person who knows how many people he conned.
      Does this sound new? It should not. Remember what happened when
similar funds were set up for local disasters? The Nyanga bus disaster fund,
Masvingo bus disaster fund, etc. Most of the money collected never found its
way to the funds and that which miraculously got to the funds never got to
the intended beneficiaries.
      And how much drought relief food supplies fail to find their way to
the people when our leaders invite themselves to be chairmen and/or patrons
of these organisations?
      Let us all pray that this time what the country will contribute into
the just opened Tsunami Disaster Fund will find its way to tsunami victims .
. . not our girlfriends and their grandmothers!

      Cde Busy

      CZ will not dignify those tendentious allegations by Cde Busybody at
The Chronicle. Until now, it used to be taken for granted that all people
who call themselves journalists care to double-check their facts before they
ink anything.
      Anyway, as CZ said before, a cobra with a broken spine will try to
bite anything within its reach before it dies - so it is not at all

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      Heavily-indebted ZESA on a borrowing spree

      Felix Njini
      1/13/2005 7:49:07 AM (GMT +2)

      THE Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) has targeted a
massive US$3.5 billion power development project, which is likely to rope in
investors from Iran, India, Malaysia, South Africa and China.

      ZESA's borrowing spree is despite the fact that the parastatal, which
had a monstrous Z$163 billion loss in the 2003 financial calendar, is
choking from a US$156 million external debt procured through government
lines of credit.
      The financial handicap, which resulted in ZESA floating Megawatt Bills
fortnightly to foot energy imports, has not deterred executives at Megawatt
house from crafting new borrowing plans.
      The US$3.482 billion required for the energy projects, spread over
three years, is outside the government's own borrowings to finance the
operations of ZESA.
      Insiders said the government had managed to negotiate the deferment of
loans acquired from the World Bank and its subsidiaries to pave way for new
investors from Asia and South Africa.
      The new string of ZESA's investment deals will see China, the lead
financier, splashing US$2.4 billion for the development of mainly Hwange 7 &
8 and Kariba 7& 8 power thermals at a cost of more than US$600 million.
      China, according to a signed memorandum of understanding, has also
agreed to spend US$70 million on coal mining, US$110 million on the rural
electrification programme and US$143 million on energy distribution links,
among other projects.
      Obert Nyatanga, ZESA general manager corporate affairs, said an
agreement had been reached with the Indian government to provide US$421
      The government of Iran has also agreed to provide US$220 million, with
Malaysia and South Africa promising US$270 million and US$200 million
      Nyatanga maintained ZESA had already sealed the deals to get the funds
with the exception of
      To C8
      South African investors, whom The Financial Gazette understands to be
a mining concern with strong links to Eskom.
      "We have secured the requisite funds for capital development
 projects," Nyatanga refused to disclose under what terms ZESA had
negotiated the loans.
      The bold survival plan comes amidst a continuously shaky financial
position and failure to secure meaningful timely investment into the key
power generation plants, Hwange Power Station (HPS) and Kariba South Power
      The cash strapped ZESA has to prepare for self-sufficiency in
electricity supply by undertaking expansion of HPS and Kariba South or face
complete power outages in 2007.
      The parastatal currently requires US$7 million a months for spares and
procurement of equipment.
      Failure to timely settle debts has seen regional power suppliers,
Eskom and HCB of Mozambique demanding prepayments.
      The power utility's monthly foreign currency requirements have surged
from US$17 million last year to US$19 million.
      This has seen the central bank raising its monthly foreign currency
allocation to ZESA from an initial figure of US411 million toUS$13 million.
      "ZESA requires US$7 million for spares and repairs every month but we
do not have the money, the Zimbabwean dollars to purchase the hard currency
so we have to prioritise prepaying power imports," Nyatanga said.
      "We would need money for spares and maintenance but we can not even
pay for US$19 million which is needed every month to keep ZESA running. Our
tariffs are too low," Nyatanga said.
      Last week government gave the nod for ZESA to hike tariffs by 126
      A proposal for tariff increment to government reveals that ZESA was
pushing for a 300 percent tariff rise.

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      Thumbs-down for farm produce marketing plan

      Zhean Gwaze
      1/13/2005 7:50:05 AM (GMT +2)

      PLANS by the government to take complete control of the marketing of
farm products through an Agricultural Marketing Authority (AMA) could drive
the sector further into the ground.

      Analysts this week cautioned that monopolistic tendencies by the
government in the marketing of hard currency-earning agricultural products
could lead to loss of lucrative export markets and worsen investor
      Already, the government's monopoly in maize and wheat marketing has
caused a plunge in production of the two products, with Zimbabwe being
reduced from a regional breadbasket to a perennial importer.
      In addition, a grey market for farm products has surfaced.
      "Any controlled form of marketing has not been conducive to
production. When there was free marketing there was increasing production.
In a restricted market there is no incentive to produce," said Commercial
Farmers Union president Douglas Taylor-Freeme.
      The government is already making overtures to strengthen its grip on
foreign currency inflows by seeking to directly oversee the marketing of
many lucrative exports, including non-agricultural goods such as platinum
and asbestos.
      The government, through the central bank, controls the marketing of
major foreign currency-earning commodities - such as gold, nickel,
diamonds - and will soon control the marketing of the lucrative platinum
group metals.
      Plans to take over the marketing of all horticultural products,
Zimbabwe's second largest foreign currency earner after tobacco in the
agricultural sector, have already been announced.
      An AMA Bill has already been crafted to legitimise the government's
intended takeover of agriculture and now awaits President Robert Mugabe's
seal of approval.

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      Floriculture loses bloom

      Staff Reporter
      1/13/2005 7:50:31 AM (GMT +2)

      FAILURE to penetrate foreign markets has dealt a hammer blow to
Zimbabwe's newly resettled farmers who ventured into the lucrative
floriculture industry.
      Several nascent farmers who ventured into flower production hoping to
fill the void left by white commercial farmers are now stranded with their

      The government has said it wants to increase revenue from the
industry, which earned the country US$142 million from exports at its peak
in 1999.
      But after the controversial 2000 land reform, which replaced white
farmers with blacks, the fortunes of the horticulture industry have turned
for the worse, according to a Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union official.
      The new farmers have been grappling with shortages of capital,
chemicals and general lack of technical know-how.
      Industry experts said disruptions to the horticultural industry caused
by the government's agrarian reform had resulted in a 20 percent dip in
      The latest problems have mainly been because the new farmers do not
have foreign currency to pay royalties to marketing agencies abroad.
      The quality of flowers is also reported to have gone down drastically.
      "Some farmers are finding it difficult to export their flowers. They
do not know the markets and arrangements have not been made for them to
access the agents.
      "The farmers are also unable to pay royalties to the agents, people
receiving the flowers, and are unaware of the conformance standards," said
ZCFU president Davidson Mugabe.
      Flower exports can only make it into the European Union if they meet
stringent regulations and standards.

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      ZMDC courts Chinese

      Chris Muronzi
      1/13/2005 7:51:03 AM (GMT +2)

      THE Zimbabwe Mining Development Corpo-ration (ZMDC) is conducting
feasibility studies in the Mazoe and Sanyati areas to identify copper mining
ventures for possible partnership with Chinese investors.

      The ZMDC has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with an
unnamed Chinese company, which will provide finance for work on the
undercapitalised government-owned mining group's concessions.
      ZMDC chief executive officer Dominic Muba-yiwa told The Financial
Gazette the corporation was hoping to enter into a marriage with the Chinese
firm if its explorations proved viable and sustainable.
      "We have signed a memorandum of understanding with a Chinese company
with a view to entering into a partnership if we unearth economically viable
concessions. The issue of the joint venture will be determined by the
viability of our findings," said Mubayiwa.
      Asked whether there was a revival plan for the ZMDC's closed Mhangura
Copper Mine smelter and refinery, Mubayiwa said the MOU did not involve
"resuscitating the operations".

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      Zim faces critical fertiliser shortage

      Synodia Bhasera
      1/13/2005 7:51:39 AM (GMT +2)

      ZIMBABWE faces a critical shortage of ammonium nitrate fertiliser,
amid revelations this week that the country's sole producer, Sable
Chemicals, is operating below capacity, thereby threatening the country's
prospects of a return to self-sufficiency.

      Major players in the fertiliser industry told The Financial Gazette
that Midlands-based Sable had not been able to produce at full capacity in
2004 and as a consequence, it is estimated that ammonium nitrate supplies to
the two local fertiliser companies, Windmill and Zimbabwe Fertiliser Company
(ZFC) would be about 140 000 tonnes between March 2004 to the end of
February 2005.
      Andrew Humphreys, Windmill's managing director, said the 140 000
tonnes expected to be produced by Sable for both his company and ZFC was
insufficient to meet the country's demands.
      "This is well below Sable's maximum production capacity of about 240
000 tonnes per annum. Windmill and ZFC use a significant portion of the
ammonium nitrate they receive from Sable for the production of fertilisers
and with the reduced annual supply of only 140 000 tonnes, the balance of
ammonium nitrate available for the market is extremely limited and well
below demand. This has resulted in the shortages currently being
      "The fact that local supplies of ammonium nitrate would be inadequate
to satisfy demand this season has been known for several months and several
discussions have been held with government on this important issue," he

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      Politicians pretend to care about us

      1/13/2005 8:03:48 AM (GMT +2)

      What is it about holding elective office that transforms supposedly
decent and principled politicians into violent rabble rousers?

      This is a question that needs to be asked as we approach the general
elections to be held in just over two months. In other countries, the
harbinger of such an event is a flurry of campaign activity or an explosion
of rhetoric as aspiring office holders seek to "sell" themselves to the
      In our part of the world, however, things are disastrously different.
Here, the surest sign that an election is around the corner is an increase
in the incidence of political violence perpetrated against innocent people
for entirely selfish reasons.
      In this country, if you hope to see candidates aspiring to be elected
to public office sweating it out on the campaign trail, presenting their
programmes and seeking to engage the electorate, you are in for a huge
      As a matter of fact, the people - the masses - are the last thing on
most politicians' minds at this stage. The only people they have on their
minds are themselves and the only goal they have is to ensure that they get
a seat on the gravy train. So much for altruism and dedication to public
      These greedy politicians remind me of an American coach (I forget his
particular sport) whose philosophy was: "Winning is not everything; it is
the only thing." I doubt that his tunnel vision is good even for competitive
sport, where contemporary thinking places great importance on participation.
      Violence has become a permanent feature of elections in Zimbabwe,
especially since 2000. The question of who is to blame for transforming the
use of violence into an acceptable form of canvassing support has remained
unanswered, officially at least.
      Moreover, fingers of accusation have been pointed at the ruling party
and the government by those who have cited the existence of youth militias
as incriminating evidence.
      However, the truth has a habit of coming out in unexpected and
embarrassing ways! It has been too clear to see whose hand was at work in
some violent incidents.
      What, for example, is the public to make of the increasing number of
ruling party legislators being accused of fomenting violence in their
constituencies ahead of ZANU PF's primary elections?
      The latest party cadre to be implicated in such violence is none other
than Agriculture Minister Joseph Made. He has been accused of fanning
violence in Makoni West, where he plans to challenge the sitting Member of
Parliament, Gibson Munyoro. The MP has alleged that Made unleashes gangs of
thugs to disrupt his (Munyoro's) meetings.
      To add insult to injury, the "thugs" hired to do Made's dirty work are
employees of the Grain Marketing Board (GMB).
      Made's actions reflect the nasty, brutish culture of impunity that has
become prevalent within the ruling party. As far as the notoriously inept
minister is concerned, there is nothing wrong with disrupting the operations
of the GMB.
      He is quite happy to divert workers from their normal duties to
spearhead his violent bid to become an elected MP. Munyoro has complained to
the party's relevant organs about Made's activities, which the agriculture
minister has, naturally, denied.
      Made is, of course, not the first government minister to be accused of
resorting to violence in Makoni. In another part of this Manicaland
district, Didymus Mutasa has become notorious for his intolerance of
opposition. He has been investigated for fomenting violence and committing
some violent acts himself.
      Police announced some time ago that he had a case to answer but
nothing further has been done.
      One, however, cannot help wondering how a politician whose stock in
trade is violence against anyone who dares to oppose him can truly serve the
people. Does the impatience he shows towards political rivals not reflect
the contempt he has for the voters in his constituency?
      My disgust with the activities of the likes of Made and Mutasa is not
only because they stretch the bounds of personal decency and integrity. I
also find it abhorrent that they use the charade of being the people's
representatives in Parliament as a means to cling to the unalloyed
privileges this position affords them.
      There can be no altruism in serving people who are forced to vote for
an MP. And so, whether intra-party violence rears its ugly head in Makoni or
Makonde, it is a symptom of the same arrogant disregard for the people's
interests that now characterises national politics.
      We will never enjoy true democracy and create a free and just society
as long as we have legislators who demand to be regarded as demi-gods. We
need candidates for public office who love being of service and respect the
people whose welfare and interests they are supposed to be catering for.
      They need to cultivate the art of give-and-take which is the hallmark
of democracy. It is the only way to promote dialogue between the governors
and the governed.

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