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Zim Standard

Moyo is free to leave Zanu PF, says Nkomo
By Foster Dongozi and Savious Kwinika

ZANU PF national chairman, John Nkomo, yesterday lashed out at Professor
Jonathan Moyo saying he was attempting to undermine and belittle the Unity
Accord of 1987, while his home province, Matabeleland North, said it would
not miss him.Nkomo also told Jonathan Moyo he was free to leave the ruling party. Nkomo's
irritation follows Jonathan Moyo's assertion that Nkomo and Dumiso Dabengwa
were mafikizolos in Zanu PF.

"Those of us who have served the party and contributed to the liberation
struggle all our lives are poignantly aware of these divisionist
machinantions of counter revolutionaries. They are meant to undermine the
unity of our people by denying the historical significance of the 1987 Unity
Accord," he said.

Nkomo and Dabengwa belonged to PF Zapu, which merged with Zanu PF in 1987,
while Moyo belonged to the old Zanu, then led by the late Rev Ndabaningi

Zanu PF Matabeleland North Provincial Chairman, Headman Moyo, yesterday told
The Standard that the people of Tsholotsho and the entire Matabeleland North
province would not miss Professor Jonathan Moyo.

Headman Moyo said: "Our blood circulation is not affected at all, and if the
MDC wants Jonathan Moyo, let them take him. We are not worried at all. After
all, the people of Tsholotsho never liked Jonathan Moyo before except for
his money and donations, which kept coming to Tsholotsho.

"One thing for sure is that the ruling party will bury differences, support
the woman who would have won the primaries before facing the common enemy,
which is MDC."

In statements, which appeared in The Herald on Friday, Jonathan Moyo said he
had a longer association with Zanu PF than Nkomo and Dabengwa.

Moyo made the statements after Nkomo and Dabengwa visited Tsholotsho, where
they repeated President Robert Mugabe's statements, that the professor
convened a meeting to plot leadership changes in the ruling party.

Nkomo said the door was open for Moyo to resign from the party, after he
said there were many tickets to heaven, a statement interpreted by many to
mean that Moyo was considering standing in Tsholotsho either as an
independent candidate or joining other exisiting parties.

"Zanu PF is a voluntary association and as such cannot stand in the way of
any member who may wish to quit because he or she no longer shares its
values or is no longer able or willing to abide by its constitution."

"It is not enough to be a card carrying party member. One also has to uphold
the values of Zanu PF. In this context, the choice is yours professor, to be
or not to be Zanu PF. But rest assured, we will not let you, or others, who
are similarly inclined, destroy the party on our watch.

"The professor has to be reminded that had it not been for the consistent
and unwavering contributions of cadres of the liberation movement like
ourselves and many others, he would not have been able to return to
independent Zimbabwe more than five years after liberation day."

He said Moyo was trying to give the impression that he wanted to strengthen
Zanu PF ahead of the elections when the ultimate aim was to destroy it from

"These counter revolutionary activities are sheathed in the false agenda of
furthering intra-party democracy and yet, if unchecked, would lead to the
party's self destruction. Over time, I have observed the systematic misuse
and outright manipulation of public media for personal ends."

Nkomo said he had been forced to make a public response after Moyo took his
grievances to The Herald where he made the "unfortunate and irresponsible

Nkomo said the meeting he held in Tsholotsho was part of a mandate he
received at the December 2004 Zanu PF congress, to investigate the
unsanctioned Tsholotsho meeting.

When The Standard telephoned Jonathan Moyo, yesterday to seek his comment he
retorted: "And you think that is important?" before switching off his

Staunch Zanu PF supporter and Tsholotsho resident, Thubelihle Moyo, said it
was good to hear Jonathan Moyo complaining about violation of human rights
by his party. "Before him there was no chaos in Matabeleland,everything the
man touches will never be the same again," said Thubelihle Moyo.

But the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) says it will accommodate the
embattled Zanu PF propagandist and junior minister of information in their
ranks if he condemns human rights abuses, tyranny, lawlessness and
infringement of democratic values perpetrated by Zanu PF, The Standard has

In an interview on Friday, MDC spokesperson, Paul Themba-Nyathi, said there
was nothing wrong in accepting "sinners" in their party as long as they
repented and quickly joined the nation in the fight against human rights
abuses, tyranny and championed democracy.
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Zim Standard

Chaos mars Zanu PF primaries
By our own Staff

THE Zanu PF primary elections to select candidates to contest in the general
elections slated for March started yesterday and were marred by chaos,
confusion, violence and allegations of vote rigging, The Standard can
reveal.Most people did not vote by the end of yesterday as polling started late in
most provinces. In Bulawayo, the elections did not take place as the Zanu PF
secretary for the commissariat, Elliot Manyika, and national chairman, John
Nkomo are expected in the city today to dissolve the provincial executive,
which reportedly owes its allegiance to suspended war veterans chairman,
Jabulani Sibanda.

The delay in holding the elections was necessitated by an alleged witch-hunt
of aspiring candidates who are reportedly aligned to Sibanda."We agreed as
province that since Bulawayo has no leader, we cannot hold primary elections
until there is order," said a Politburo member yesterday.

Bulawayo Zanu PF provincial chairman,Themba Ncube, was suspended after he
attended the Tsholotsho meeting last year.

In Harare's Mufakose constituency, youths alleged that people were bused
from Mbare to vote for Sabina Zvenhamo Thembani.

In Dzivarasekwa constituency, riot police were called after violent clashes
erupted as supporters rejected most of the contestants in favour of Omega
Hungwe, who was disqualified.

In Midlands province, Speaker of Parliament Emmerson Mnangagwa won. In some
constituencies in Midlands, voting was not completed as it started well
after mid-day.

In some constituencies, contestants "withdrew". In Mutasa North, Manatsawani
Mutasa withdrew leaving Mike Nyambuya unchallenged, while in Mashonaland
West's Manyame constituency, Bybit Tsomondo "withdrew" from the race to pave
the way for President Robert Mugabe's nephew, Patrick Zhuwao.

His mother, Sabina Mugabe, is unopposed in Zvimba South while the
president's other nephew, Leo Mugabe, is fighting it out in Chinhoyi.

In Matabeleland North province, Dunana Gumbo also withdrew leaving, Obadiah
Thembani Moyo, uncontested.

Victoria Chitepo, the wife of the late nationalist Herbert Chitepo, was
confirmed the winner of the Glen Norah constituency after Claveria Chizema
pulled out at the last minute.
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Zim Standard

March poll could be moved to June, says Tsvangirai
By our own correspondent

LUSAKA, Zambia - Opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader
Morgan Tsvangirai told Zambian President Levy Mwanwasa that President Robert
Mugabe was rushing this year's parliamentary elections .

Tsvangirai told his Zambian host that the polls slotted for March this year
could have been moved to June.
"We do not have sufficient time for free and fair elections. As of now the
electoral process is not fair enough to hold free and fair elections,"
Tsvangirai said.

The MDC leader said this when he met President Mwanawansa at State House in
Lusaka on Tuesday in the company of MDC treasurer general, Fletcher Dulini
Ncube and coordinator Isaac Maposa.

MDC is challenging the ruling Zanu PF, under the leadership of President
Mugabe who has led Zimbabwe since independence in 1980.

Tsvangirai was on a three-day diplomatic offensive in Zambia. The MDC leader
has already been the Southern African Development Community (SADC) member
countries of Mauritius, South Africa and Botswana to consult on how
peaceful, free and fair polls could be conducted in Zimbabwe.

"Zambia is a big asset to the region's growing democracy. I am very grateful
to engage in talks with the Zambian political leaders," the MDC leader said
when he met Mwanawasa and Zambia's ruling Movement for Multiparty Democracy
(MMD) party leadership.

During a public forum in Lusaka, the MDC leader noted that Zambia's
political dispensation had been characterized by tolerance since the
country's independence in 1964, a political virtue he said was worth

He said the MDC had at one point contemplated a boycott of the elections
because the electoral process did not guarantee a platform for free and fair

Tsvangirai said: "We do not want to go into an election whose outcome is
predetermined. There is a common understanding that elections have to be
conducted in the spirit of the SADC protocols on guidelines and principles
on democratic elections. The crisis in Zimbabwe can not be allowed to
continue, it has to be stopped before it turns into conflict."

However, President Mwanawasa advised the MDC leader not to boycott the
elections. Participation, Mwanawasa said, would strengthen democratic tenets
in Zimbabwe.

But Mwanawasa said foreigners would not solve the political differences in
Zimbabwe, adding that they could only help to some extent. "It will take
dialogue among Zimbabweans themselves to iron out their political
differences. Dialogue is a political necessity."

Mwanawasa hoped that the United Nations (UN) Secretary General, Kofi Annan,
would assist democratize Zimbabwe's electoral process by sending election
monitors and observers.

Tsvangirai said that Mugabe should not put restrictions on election
observers because the outside world would think there was something the
government was anxious to hide.
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Zim Standard

Masanga back at Zisco
By Rangarirai Mberi

GABRIEL Masanga, sacked as Ziscosteel managing director in November, was
back in office Wednesday after a shock government directive to the ailing
firm's board to reinstate him.

A team of human resources consultants commissioned by the board to
restructure Zisco's top-heavy staff structure immediately withdrew after
Masanga turned up for work.
Two teams investigating a raft of mismanagement allegations at Zisco - a
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe unit and the National Economic Conduct Inspectorate
(NECI) - also looked set to pull out late last week after failing to get any
official explanation from the government on the matter.

Masanga, a native of Zvimba, was sacked late November on charges of
mismanagement. The board had appointed Alois Gowo to act as general manager,
but a "senior Government official" early last week ordered Zisco chairman
David Murangari to reverse that decision, a source familiar with the matter

"We are surprised that at this advanced point in our investigations, he has
been allowed to return without our knowledge. The same people who supported
this (investigation) are the same people who have taken this strange
decision," an investigator told StandardBusiness.

According to staff at Zisco, Masanga chose to be dramatic about his return.
He allegedly ordered Gowo to remove his vehicle from the MD's parking spot
to make way for his (Masanga's) own car. Masanga then asked senior
management to take him on a tour of the aging plant.

"He said he wanted to find out what had been going on while he was away.
There has not been any official announcement, so nobody knows in what
capacity he has been reinstated," a source said.

Government in November announced a new board for Zisco, saying the former
board had failed to return the country's sole steel maker to stability.
Murangari was retained as chairman, but the rest of the board was sacked.

Masanga's return is in clear disregard of the new board's turnaround plan
for Zisco, which has recommended a substantive replacement for Masanga and
further top-level job cuts. The plan was handed to Samuel Mumbengegwi, the
Minister of Industry and International Trade, in December, and would have
been put to work this month.

Mumbengegwi, who in November said he backed Masanga's sacking, would not
comment when contacted Friday. Murangari said: "I can't make any comment on
that." Zisco spokesperson, Augustine Timbe, could not be reached for
comment. Masanga was also unavailable for comment.

Masanga has been at Zisco for more than a decade, during which time he has
presided over a steady decline in the company's fortunes. Zisco is currently
operating on 25% capacity and is unable to meet local demand, let alone make
capital of a booming global steel market. Zisco has over the years hired 11
different consultant teams to find a way out of the rut, but all these
failed to save the company.

Zisco currently requires $300 million in capital to lift production, but RBZ
has on three separate occasions over the past year turned down applications
for Productive Sector funding to Zisco, saying the company's books were not
in order.
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Zim Standard

Uncertainty shrouds ZABG launch
By Kumbirai Mafunda

NEW executives charged with leading the much-vaunted Zimbabwe Allied Banking
Group (ZABG) have discovered that the configuration and launch of the
banking phoenix is not a stroll in the park as the central bank had earlier

Touting the Troubled Bank Resolution Policy as the magic antidote to the
tempest that rocked the financial sector, Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono
proclaimed in his third quarter monetary policy review that all
administrative hiccups would be dealt with by December 2004. But in the few
weeks they have been in their new roles executives are facing a different
picture. The new institution has already missed the self-imposed opening
deadline of January 1, 2005, and indications are that the opening could be
further delayed because of a number of operational, legal and administrative
bottlenecks that need to be ironed out. Critics who warned that the
timetable to the launch of the mamoth bank was short could argue they have
been vindicated.
For a start, banking sources say the banks being amalgamated into ZABG
namely Trust, Barbican, Time, Royal and Intermarket all have different
conditions of service for staff, service cultures, branding and a plethora
of other different operational manuals that need to be harmonised.

Another issue which seemed to have been overlooked is that the legal
instrument enabling the central bank to launch ZABG needed to be passed by
parliament first, before being signed by President Robert Mugabe into law
for the new institution to become a reality.

Although the central bank's deputy Governor Charity Dhliwayo moved on New
Year's day to soothe market discomfort with a statement maintaining the bank
would open to members of the public as scheduled, the banking fraternity is
on edge.

"They have got a lot of things to sort out," said one executive who is a
member of the Bankers' Association of Zimbabwe (BAZ).

Banking executives who spoke anonymously said ZABG executives are battling
with such critical issues as how to select those who would be recruited into
the new institution, while those who would not be absorbed would be
compensated, taking into account their years of service, conditions of
service and terms and conditions of their contracts.

The heads of departments have been conducting interviews with selected staff
from each bank under a curator, but workers inside these institutions have
queried the basis upon which these interviews are being conducted. Staff is
also questioning the criteria used to appoint some members of staff who have
already been given appointment letters by ZABG. The enlistment drive is
expected to be through by January 24.

Already, the Zimbabwe Banking and Allied Workers Union (ZIBAWU) has voiced
concern about the treatment of its members who are employed by banks under
curatorship and who are going to form ZABG. The union is believed to be
preparing for a major labour tussle over the retrenchment packages to be
paid to those who will not make it into the new institution. Even workers at
some of the affected banks have vowed to fight to the bitter end until they
are properly compensated.

By Friday the union was still finalising a document detailing its concerns
and the uncertainties faced by its members, which will be sent to Gono, said
Collin Gwiyo, the secretary-general of ZIBAWU. Apart from integrating the
different bank cultures, branding is another major challenge that could not
have been easily overcome in the short space of time that ZABG was supposed
to be launched. All the interior and exterior signage has to be changed and
this is not an overnight job. In addition, there has been no communication
on the new corporate colours of ZABG or its logo, neither has there been
word on whether there would be new cheque books, ATM cards and other
corporate stationery in time for the launch of the bank.

Banking sources indicated that Trust Bank's infrastructure, including the
bank's IT system and branch network, would form the core of the ZABG branch
network. The new executives are visiting each branch to assess its
suitability and how they can be rebranded. During the trips, the executives
would also decide what to do with the branches of other banks being absorbed
into ZABG.

"All these processes take time and not the few weeks that had been given by
the Governor when he released his statement," said one banker.

But the greatest challenge to the tardy birth of ZABG is the decision by
Time Bank shareholders to sue the central bank over its decision to place
the bank under curatorship. Analysts said the unprecedented legal challenge
could open a financial can of worms, as there are indications shareholders
of other banks under the management of a curator are either contemplating
suing or are finalising their papers.

"The fundamental argument is that shareholder interests have been
subordinated to those of the central bank and government," said a
shareholder with one of the affected banks. "Up to now, no-one has consulted
shareholders on how the central bank intends to compensate us for taking
over our investment, neither has there been clarity on how the valuation of
our investments will be done."

StandardBusiness understands the situation is even more difficult for
shareholders of listed companies like Trust Holdings Ltd, as they need to be
consulted and compensated for the takeover of the bank by ZABG.

While the central bank is believed to be contemplating conversion of
liquidity support owed by Trust and other beneficiaries of the Troubled
Banks Fund (TBF) into equity-which would in some cases wipe out the value of
existing shareholders, analysts point out that the same shareholders will
argue that the interest calculations made on the liquidity support were
arbitrary and contravened the in-duplum rule.
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Zim Standard

Gono, bank workers' union, head for clash
By Rangarirai Mberi

CENTRAL Bank Governor Gideon Gono is headed for a clash with bank employees
after their union demanded on Friday that RBZ employ all workers of closed
banks in his Zimbabwe Allied Banking Group.

The Zimbabwe Banks and Allied Workers Union (ZIBAWU) has written to Gono
demanding that he assure employees of banks under curatorship that they
would all be employed by ZABG.
This is the latest hurdle to face the ZABG, an ambitious plan by Gono to
merge troubled banks into one. RBZ missed its own January 1 deadline for the
opening of the new bank, hurt by a combination of legal challenges by the
affected banks, difficulties over staff selection, delays in securing the
desired $2 trillion capital and a string of other logistical problems.

RBZ is also yet to secure the requisite legislative support to fully
implement the ZABG project.

ZIBAWU secretary general, Colin Gwiyo, confirmed to The Standard that his
union had sent the letter to Gono on Friday, and was waiting for a response.
Banks under curatorship collectively employ between 1 500 and 2 000 workers.

Some 500 jobs have already been lost in Gono's tough bank reforms, while
hundreds of other workers are on half salaries, the union said last week.
The banking sector employs around 9 000, Gwiyo said.

There was no official reaction from RBZ to ZIBAWU's demands at the time of
going to Press. However, The Standard understands that Gono, in fact, only
intends to absorb less than a third of the total work force of the six banks
that he has placed under curatorship - Time Bank, CFX, Trust Bank,
Intermarket Bank, Royal Bank and Barbican.

An RBZ source said the central bank was currently holding interviews to fill
posts at ZABG. The interviews should be completed by January 24 - next
Monday - the source said.

Gwiyo, in his letter to Gono, said the length of the period during which the
banks have remained closed "is in our view unnecessarily too long". ZIBAWU
also criticised the Reserve Bank Governor for not consulting workers in his
continuing financial sector purge, saying "workers have had to hear of their
fate from the media and via rumours".

The RBZ has created a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV), called Allied Financial
Services, which will facilitate conversion of debt into equity. AFS will
hold shares that the Government will acquire in troubled banking

Government will acquire the shares through conversion to equity of liquidity
support loans granted to troubled banks under the Troubled Bank Fund or
temporary liquidity aid and other outstanding loans.
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Zim Standard

Promised ARV's slow in coming
By Bertha Shoko

ALMOST six months after the government launched its national anti-retroviral
programme, some centres selected to implement the project have not
distributed any anti-retroviral (ARVs) drugs, The Standard has established.

At Parirenyatwa Hospital, one of the largest referral health centres in the
country, the drugs are awaiting clearance from the relevant authorities,
while Harare Hospital has stopped putting new people on the programme
because "it is fully booked" until May.
"The first set of ARVs arrived sometime in December but as we speak they are
still stuck in the dispensary awaiting clearance from the relevant
authorities but as for now, the clinic will go on operating as it has in the
past," sources said.

They said even though all the requirements of an ARV clinic were available,
including nurses and doctors who trained in HIV/Aids issues, the hospital
was still to distribute the drugs.

In a country where 25 percent of the population is said to be infected with
HIV/Aids and an estimated 3 000 people dying of the disease a week, the
revelations raise serious questions about the willingness of the government
to lessen the impact of the pandemic.

Parirenyatwa Hospital and other health institutions such as Harare Hospital,
Mpilo Central and United Bulawayo Hospitals in Bulawayo, opened up the first
opportunistic infections and ARV clinics in the country under the Ministry
of Health and Child Welfare (MOHCW) programme in July last year.

Under the ARV programme, the ministry is expected to administer free Anti
Retroviral Therapy (ART) to People Living With Aids (PLWAs) as part of the
ministry's efforts to provide Aids treatment to more than 1,8 million PLWAs.

At Parirenyatwa, an opportunistic infections clinic has been running since
the ARV programme was launched in July but has only been offering treatment
to HIV/Aids patients for opportunistic infections such as Tuberculosis and
oral thrush.

"The clinic is operational and has been since last year. The clinic also
offers free check up facilities to PLWAs and where necessary, has
recommended some patients for ART, but because the ARVs are not available at
Parirenyatwa, prescriptions are written for them to buy the drugs at private
pharmacies," sources said.

These revelations cast a shadow of doubt on other ARV programmes on the

Parirenyatwa Hospital medical superintendent, Thomas Zigora confirmed to The
Standard that the hospital had only recently received its first batch of
ARVs and said the hospital expected to start rolling-out the programme in
"two weeks time".
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Zim Standard

Kariba mayor says Zanu PF is after him
By Foster Dongozi

KARIBA'S executive mayor, David Houghton, says people claiming to represent
Zanu PF are trying to persuade him to defect to the ruling party, The
Standard can reveal.

Houghton was elected on a Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) ticket in
September 2003 alongside the majority of councilors in the town.
The Kariba Mayor told The Standard that he ws offered a farm and money if he
abandoned the opposition party as did Harare acting executive mayor, Sekesai

"I keep telling Zanu PF representatives who want me to defect that they
should go and re-organize their party so that they don't have to entice
anybody to join them. If they are organized, people will just join them
without being invited," Houghton said.

"Surprisingly, until recently, my take home salary was $350 000 but it has
now been upped to $3.5 million. Although I used to get a lot of resistance
from local politicians, they are all very friendly to me of late," Houghton

The first vice president of the Urban Councils Association of Zimbabwe,
Japhet Ndabeni-Ncube, who is also the executive mayor of Bulawayo, said as
far as they were concerned, no mayor had received a salary increment.

"We are still negotiating with Minister (Ignatious) Chombo as a group and I
don't know of any mayor who has received a raise," Ndabeni-Ncube said.

Paul Themba Nyathi, the MDC spokesperson, described moves to bribe Houghton
into joining Zanu PF as "disgusting".

"That is the cheap politics that we have come to expect from Zanu PF, which
believes that everybody is a political prostitute whose soul can be bought.
But genuine democrats will not accept their 30 pieces of silver," Nyathi

The ruling party's national chairman, John Nkomo, said he was not aware that
Zanu PF was trying to lure Houghton to defect.

Harare's Sekesai Makwavarara was rewarded with Tindo Farm in the prime
farming area of Raffingora in Mashonaland West province. She occupied the
farm in September last year.

Chegutu mayor, Francis Dhlakama, who was elected on an MDC ticket, told the
media last year that he was approached by Makwavarara in a bid to lure him
join Zanu PF.

n Meanwhile, Kariba town council has resolved to open a bank account in
Chinhoyi, more than 250 km away, following the closure of the only
commercial bank in the resort town, CFX Bank on December 17 last year.

Executive mayor, John Houghton, told The Standard that the closure of the
bank had dealt a severe blow to the operations of the council.

"CFX Bank was the only commercial bank in Kariba while the Barclays Bank
branch closed several years ago. We need to operate several bank accounts
but our situation right now is a very difficult because we don't even have a
single account with a commercial bank," Houghton said.

The closure of the bank had placed the local authority in a precarious
financial position as "several millions of dollars" belonging to the local
authority had been locked up in the financial institution.
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Zim Standard

Hundreds force-marched to Mujuru bash
By our own staff

MARONDERA - Zanu PF youth militia last Sunday force-marched thousands of
people to attend a rally in Marondera to celebrate the election of Joyce
Mujuru as the country's second Vice-President, disrupting their activities,
The Standard has learnt.

As a result, the proceedings were held outside Rudhaka Stadium because it
could not accommodate all the people.
Marondera residents, mostly from the high-density suburbs of Dombotombo,
Ruware, Yellow City, Cherima, Nyameni and Cherutombo told The Standard that
they were forced by Zanu PF supporters and youth militia to abandon their
programmes so they could attend the celebrations.

"What happened on Sunday is a clear testimony of the military environment we
have been subjected to for a long time. Are we not supposed to do our chores
because she (Joyce Mujuru) is in town?

"What will happen if the President (Robert Mugabe) himself comes here? I
missed my church service because of this political nonsense," complained
Patience Murovi of Ruware high-density suburb.

Amai Adelaide of Cherutombo said the youth militia started harassing people
early in the morning.

"This is actually an infringement of our rights. We were forced to go to
Rudhaka as early as 6AM. I really wanted to go yes, but I thought it was
fine to go after my morning routine because this was a big day for women,"
she said.

The harassment also affected commuter bus operators, who were forced to
divert from their normal routes to Rudhaka Stadium. Robert Tandi, who plies
the Harare-Marondera route, said he had to use connecting roads to avoid the
marauding youths.

"I escaped the net but some of my colleagues were forced to drive people to
the stadium. ," he said.

To further boost the number of people at the event, Zanu PF also rounded up
farm-workers from nearby farms and 'loaded' them onto council lorries to the
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Zim Standard

Chipinge folks cry foul over ID cards
By our own staff

MUTARE - Chipinge North legislator Mathius Matewu Mlambo says several people
from his constituency were last week denied national identity cards on the
instigation of district administrator (DA), Morris Sakabuya.

Sakabuya was last Friday appointed, unopposed, to represent the ruling Zanu
PF party in the same constituency during the forthcoming March parliamentary
The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) legislator said Sakabuya, the
Chipinge DA, instructed registration officials in Mutare not to assist
people Mlambo had ferried to the city in order to apply for identity cards.

"People from Ward 17 in Chikore-Pfidza failed to get IDs during a mobile
registration issuing programme.

"I then arranged transport for them to come to Mutare. About 50 managed to
get them, but the other 50 failed after Sakabuya told the officer that they
were MDC activists," Mlambo said.

Sakabuya could not be reached for a comment last week.

But Provincial Registrar, Joyce Munamati, last week said she had heard of
the alleged MDC supporters, who were denied identity cards.

"I was briefed of the incident, but am yet to get the details from those
that were present as it happened while I was away," Munamati said.

She, however, would not say what action would be taken against the officer
who acted on Sakabuya's directive.

Mlambo said the actions were aimed at denying the people of Chipinge North
their legitimate right to inspect the Voters' Roll and ultimately voting in
the elections.

"It is clear the intention is to deny the people a chance to exercise their
democratic right. This is primitive," Mlambo said.

Tobaiwa Mudede, Registrar General, last week said the inspection of the
voter's role would begin this week, while those without national identity
cards would have a chance to apply and get them.

The country has 5 658 637 registered voters.

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Zim Standard

Govt orders Mutare council to involve youth militia
By our own Staff

MUTARE - The government has directed Mutare City Council to involve
the youth militia trained at the "Border Gezi" centres in identifying
beneficiaries of both rural and urban public works programmes. In a circular, the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and
National Housing last week demanded that the local authority involve the
Ministry of Youth Development, Gender and Employment Creation, under which
the youth militia falls.

Previously, councillors were responsible for selecting beneficiaries.

The circular states in part ..."the selection and identification of
beneficiaries shall utilize its ward structures that include the ward
co-ordinators from the Ministry of Youth Development, Gender and Employment
Creation to identify and select beneficiaries and to compile registers..."

Almost all ward co-ordinators are from the Ministry of Youth
Development, Gender and Employment Creation, and ruling party activists.

The directive has angered the MDC-run council in Mutare and other
party officials in the city.

Prosper Mutseyami, the opposition MDC provincial vice chairperson said
the circular was meant to render Mutare councillors powerless.

Mutseyami said the directive meant that only Zanu PF supporters were
likely to benefit from the public works programme.

A councillor for Dangamvura, Boniface Gweru agreed with Mutseyami
saying the new directive empowered unelected Zanu PF functionaries instead
of the councillors.

"The circular for the public works programme has usurped our powers
and belittled our authority. They want to get political mileage out of it as
we draw closer to the parliamentary elections," he said.

Reward Magamu of the Ministry of Youth Development, Gender and
Employment Creation in Mutare could not be reached for a comment last week.

The programme caters for the less privileged, who work for money and
food. Beneficiaries receive monthly assistance of $60 000, half of which is
provided as cash and the remainder as maize grain purchased from the
state-run Grain Marketing Board (GMB).

Previously, the programme used to cover rural areas only but has since
been extended to urban centres as the economic crisis continues to bite
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Zim Standard

Poverty drives many onto the streets
By Caiphas Chimhete

WITH tattered clothes draped around his skinny and greasy body, he begs for
food and money from passers-by at the footbridge across Julius Nyerere Way
in Harare.

Despite his loud pleas for help, most passers-by do not seem to notice him
as they go about their business. Some see him as a social outcast, others
think he is mentally unstable while others still are convinced he is
possessed by evil spirits.
He says his name is Ras.

"I am Ras, what do you want? Go and ask your mother," he shot back in Shona
when a Standard journalist tried to strike a conversation with him.

When he is not at the footbridge, Ras is foraging in rubbish bins in
Harare's dirty sanitary lanes in search of food. Because of prevailing
economic hardships people are no longer that generous with food donations
and there are hardly any leftovers from restaurants. However, around mid-day
everyday, the bearded Ras heads for the Anglican Church at the corner of
Kwame Nkrumah and Sam Nujoma Avenue, where he gets free lunch, courtsey of
the church.

Ras is one of hundreds of destitute people who live on Harare's streets,
parks and alleys, where they beg for money and scavenge for food in the
fly-infested garbage bins, oblivious to the health hazards they expose
themselves to.

Some of them are blind or mentally ill while others are homeless children.

Other destitute people are normal - and may even have families - but are
driven onto the streets by acute poverty and stress-related problems.

While in the early years of independence, most destitute Zimbabweans
returned to their rural homes where relatives could look after them, the
majority of people living on the streets were of foreign origin - mostly
Malawians, Mozambicans and Zambians. However, presently Zimbabweans now
constitute the majority as the economic downturn takes its toll.

Most of them live in shacks at the Railway station, along Mukuvisi River and
under bridges.

To most residents of Harare, the destitutes have become a menace and a
nuisance. Apart from pestering shoppers in the city centre - begging for
money and food - they also defecate and urinate in sanitary lanes, posing a
health hazard.

"I have stopped using this footbridge because the area stinks to high
heaven. There is human waste everywhere," said Chris Dube in disgust

University of Zimbabwe sociology lecturer Claude Mararike conceded that the
number of destitute people had generally increased and he attributed the
upsurge to social, political and economic problems bedeviling Zimbabwe.

"Urbanisation and socio-political and economic problems are driving a lot
people to destitution. Some of them can lead a normal life if they get
proper counseling. They are so many these days," said Mararike, who however,
could not estimate the number of destitutes in Harare.

With unemployment at over 70 percent and rising, the cost of basic
commodities escalating on a daily basis and inflation skyrocketing, most
people are failing to cope with the demands of life forcing them onto the
streets, he said.

According to the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe a family of six now requires
$1,7 million up from $1,6 million in November last year. That amount is
beyond the reach of most families in the country, where 75 percent of people
live below the poverty datum line.

The director of Social Welfare Department in the Ministry of Public Service,
Labour and Social Welfare, Sydney Mhishi, had not responded to questions
submitted to him by the time of going to print.

But an official with the department said they had no money to take care of
destitutes and other disadvantaged people. The department has since stopped
paying school fees for disadvantage children because it lacks financial
resources for the purpose.

"We have an obligation to support destitute people, including the elderly
but because we don't have any money we can not do anything," said the

Last year, the government rounded up destitutes and street children in
Harare and dumped them at farms outside the city. But this has not helped as
they were soon back on the streets.

The burden of taking care of destitutes has since been taken up by
charitable and church organisations that offer them food, clothing as well
as shelter. One such organisation is the Anglican Church in Harare.

Reverend Josephat Muzambi of the Anglican Church said they feed between 30
and 40 elderly people a day in Harare. Some of them are ex-soldiers who
served in the Rhodesian army during Ian Smith's regime.

"The privileged social net for whites and coloureds that was there before
independence is no more. That is why we have white destitutes on the streets
these days and we also help them," said Muzambi.

A few months ago, he said, hordes of people including able-bodied youths
would throng the church premises for free lunch but that had since stopped
after the institution introduced thorough vetting procedures to determine
the really needy.

"Even security guards in uniforms and unemployed youths used to come here
for free food but they are not any longer ," Muzambi said.

Other church organisations assisting destitutes in Harare include the Roman
Catholic and Presbyterian churches.

Alice Chikomo, the director of the Presbyterian Church's Children's Club,
said the institution was assisting 40 elderly people, half of them blind.
They are being taught courses such as sewing, knitting and jam-making.

Apart from that, the church also provides uniforms and pays school fees for
about 90 disadvantaged children, some are born of destitute parents.

"It is overwhelming. There are so many destitute people in the city and the
number is increasing by the day. We need to find a lasting solution,"
Chikomo said.

Independent commentators said the influx of destitutes into the streets of
Harare was a result of the chaotic land reform programme, which drove
hundreds of people from their sources of livelihood at the farms.

"Others are victims of the land reform while some ran away from their homes
due to political violence during the past elections," said one commentator.

Harare City Council spokesperson, Leslie Gwindi, could not be reached by the
time of going to print.
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Zim StandardZanu PF sacrifices economy for votes
By Kumbirai Mafunda

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe's ruling Zanu PF government has paved its way for
the crucial March election with sugared pills calculated to induce support
for the ruling party.

Cementing the pathway is a massive hike in the salaries of civil servants
who for long have been poorly paid. Beginning January, civil servants'
salaries will be increased by between 250% and 600% with the new entry
salary for the least paying grade now pegged at $830 680 a month. Employees
in the top bracket will now earn at least $12 million a month.
However, critics who reason that the government has already set in motion
its political machinery aimed at winning the March parliamentary elections
have received the government's promise with guarded optimism. The ruling
party squares up with the opposition MDC and other juvenile political
parties in the election.

A swollen civil service backed by a substantial pay hike would have grave
ramifications for the government's bloated payroll, analysts have noted.
Already, Acting Finance Minister Herbert Murerwa expressed concern over the
huge public service wage bill. He says the allocation of $11,49 trillion in
this years' national budget to wages would raise the wage bill to 42% of
total expenditure and net lending.

"Mr Speaker Sir, this is way above the cabinet benchmark target of under 15%
of Gross Domestic Product," Murerwa disclosed in his 2005 budget statement.
Reducing the wage bill to this threshold would require rationalisation of
the public service."

Although critics are unanimous that a salary review was long overdue for
nurses, teachers and other civil servants who have lost their prestigious
status in the family and the community due to pitiable remuneration, they
question the timing of the payments. Many are convinced the forthcoming
elections were the major motivation for the timing.

"They always do that before any election. But the increases are inadequate
considering that hyperinflation has really gone hyper," says Tendai Biti,
the opposition MDC secretary for economic affairs whose party is mounting
the biggest challenge to President Mugabe's Zanu PF party.

Economists say the only way of absorbing the increment would be to
accelerate the retrenchment of civil servants, referred to by Murerwa in the
2005 national budget. Another option would be to resort to the domestic
market to borrow money to fund the payroll, which would destabilise interest

This route, economists warn, could fuel money supply and consequently
inflation, which according to official estimates is decelerating. At 149,3%
Zimbabwe's annualised inflation is still one of the highest in the world and
analysts fear that recent increases in electricity tariffs and foodstuffs
could scupper attempts to arrest it.

"The increments in civil servants' salaries illustrate extravagance on the
part of the government that can not be tolerated by this economy
indefinitely," says John Robertson an independent economic consultant.

Apart from flattering civil servants, President Mugabe had set the ball
rolling by painting an optimistic economic outlook for 2005 premised on the
fantasy that inflation has been tamed and the exchange rate has evened out.

Mugabe claimed the six-year economic recession had reached its finality as
foreign currency inflows, which had virtually dried up, were improving and
allocation to various sectors of the economy had increase.

"From a paltry US$301 million in 2003, the inflows have risen to US$1,6
billion as of two days ago (7 December 2004), with encouraging signs of
greater inflows arising from growing export capacity," Mugabe thundered
during the delivery of his 17th state of the nation address towards the end
of December.

Mugabe's optimistic statement was presented against a background of strong
global economic growth forecast at 5%, the strongest since 1973. Sub-saharan
Africa's growth rose from 3,5% in 2003 to 4,2% in 2004 while Asia is the
largest at a projected 7,2%. However, the upbeat global economic
performances contrast sharply with the contraction that has characterised
Zimbabwe's economy since 1997.

"These gains on inflation should translate into lower interest rates thus
making investment finance more affordable...the coming year should be one of
investment, during which we should consolidate and grow our economy," Mugabe
said in parliament.

However, Zimbabweans in general do not seem to be reading from the same
script with the octogenarian leader. They dispute claims that the economy,
which has been in a tailspin since 1997, has turned the corner pointing to
mounting poverty, skyrocketing prices, shortages of medical drugs, scarce
disposable incomes and energy constraints.

"The economic prospects remain fragile and the sustainability of current
efforts is dependent on the extent to which the political environment
improves.," said Godfrey Kanyenze, the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Union
(ZCTU) chief economist.

Critical observers say while tax measures that raised disposable incomes are
commendable, the 2005 national budget on which Mugabe is basing his
projections falls short on measures to resuscitate the economy on a
sustainable basis.

The opposition MDC disputes the Mugabe's prognosis saying it is meant to
sway the electorate ahead of the crucial parliamentary elections slotted for
March. The five year-old party, which unveiled its Restart economic
blueprint early last year points to the cumulative decline of the economy
and says vulnerable households are on the increase.

"..The sectoral GDP growth rates projected for 2005 are unrealistic, as is
therefore the resulting forecast of 3.5%-5% growth in GDP for 2005,"
observes Biti.
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Zim Standard


Taking a stand against political violenceTHE next three months will be stressful, dangerous but also decisive in
whether or not the country will have a better agricultural season and earn
more foreign exchange than during previous years.

Zimbabwe's economic turnaround strategy is based on the assumption that a
better agricultural season will drive the economic revival, while export
earnings based on such crops as tobacco will swell the inflows of foreign
But this year's parliamentary elections fall within the critical and final
peak phase of the agricultural season. Election campaigns and polling are
the bane of the farming sector in this country; workers are absent from work
between the campaign period and the day of the elections.

Agricultural operations will be disrupted as campaign rallies, especially by
the ruling party tend to demand a shutdown of all operations, with no regard
to the immediate consequences.

There is a case for locating elections just after the harvest period but
before the start of the agricultural season. The contesting parties need to
agree on what is in the best interests of the country and decide where
elections should fall.

For the education sector, the parliamentary elections will represent one of
the most destabilising factors. During the 2000 parliamentary and 2002
presidential polls many teachers were killed while scores of others were
beaten up and arrested. As a consequence, many fled not only the countryside
but the country also.

School lessons will be disrupted as politicians, particularly those from the
ruling party, demand that teachers and their charges attend their rallies,
with no consideration of the effect this will have on the children's

Despite recent assurances by President Mugabe during visits to rural areas
during which he belatedly tried to acknowledge and recognise the role of
teachers in the country's development, teachers are not likely to forget so
easily what happened in the past. They will not forget that it was the
ruling party's members and supporters, who terrorised and branded them
traitors often on mere suspicion that they were members of the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), as if supporting the opposition was a

There is therefore likely to be an exodus of teachers, for their own safety,
from the rural areas during the campaign, polling and the post-campaign
period depending on the outcome of the results. No amount of rhetoric is
going to reassure the teachers because many will recall that when they
sought protection from the law enforcement agencies, they found themselves
in more serious trouble or they were simply ignored and told theirs was a
political matter and the agencies had no power to intervene.

The ruthless manner in which the ruling party is dealing with its own
members who deviated form the party line will be instructive to Zimbabweans
who do not support the ruling party.

These concerns about violence are informed by the politically motivated
disturbances during what should have been a peaceful period -2004. Last year
between January and September 12 people were killed in politically motivated
violence, while 202 were arrested unlawfully, 7 491 were tortured and 329

The opposition says 53 of its members were either intimidated, arrested,
beaten up or tortured during 2004.

Violence will escalate as the elections draw closer because the ruling party
has a record of consistently using violence to intimidate people.

Zimbabweans do not have to look far for supporting evidence. There are at
least three very recent cases of members of the ruling party or their
supporters being engaged in violence.

War veterans have already declared parts of the country off limits to the
opposition and an example is in Mudzi/Mutoko, Mashonaland East, while in
Masvingo 13 supporters of the ruling party clashed among themselves on
Boxing Day.

In Mashonaland West, supporters of a ruling party legislator, Kindness
Paradza, were engaged in running battles on Christmas and Boxing Days with
supporters of Leo Mugabe, who was seeking to unseat Paradza and represent
the ruling party in Makonde constituency.

Phone Madiro, another ruling party legislator for Hurungwe West, is on $500
000 bail on charges of inciting violence in his constituency.

It is instructive to remember that all this has taken place after President
Mugabe declared the government's "determination to stamp out incidents of
violence from whatever quarter".

Police Commissioner Augustine Chihuri has also declared "zero tolerance" to
violence, saying their mandate is to ensure a peaceful and stable
environment prevailed all the time. This was long before the opposition
signalled its intention to contest the polls. Now that it has, the stakes
will be raised and the level of violence can only escalate.

Yet if there was political will to stamp out violence, the government would
deal as ruthlessly as it has demonstrated in its reaction to members of the
ruling party who are accused of plotting changes to the party's hierarchy.

If indeed there is desire by the two main political parties to kick out
violence from elections they could simply agree on disqualification of
candidates accused of fanning violence. But they are unable to do that
because even they are not really sure of the extent of the support they

In urban areas, the government has aready created a different no-go area by
preventing elected representatives from meeting regularly with the
electorate or to hold consultative meetings. The impact and effect of such
actions demand that the electorate interrogate whose interests the
directives are designed to serve.

It is time the electorate decided on kicking out parties and politicians
that employ violence on their way to parliament.
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Zim Standard

How not to win friends
overthetop By Brian Latham

IT has been a good week in the troubled central African basket case.
If the country appeared divided last week, this week it appears even more

And not only divided, but in every danger of offending it's big,
powerful southern neighbour. And that southern neighbour must be more
confused than ever after learning that its visiting citizens stood every
chance of being "thrown away" by the troubled central African regime's angry
unemployment minister.
Meanwhile, closer to home, the surely soon to be unemployed
misinformation minister called his own Zany Party leaders primitive liars.
If that's not an invitation to have an early appointment with a black dog,
it is certainly an invitation to be placed on the unemployment line. Still,
he won't be lonely. With almost 80 percent of the troubled central African
nation's impoverished people without meaningful work, he'll find plenty of
people with whom to debate his own contribution to the calamity.

But there was more. It appeared to emerge that the so-called spy ring
"busted" by the troubled central African police state's notorious men in
dark glasses was working for. the confused southern neighbour.

If true, the appalling imperialists, neo-liberal colonialists (or is
that the other way around) and western gay gangsters have been undermined as
the troubled central African country's public enemy number one.

It's one thing when your enemies behave as enemies are expected to
behave, but quite another when you friends behave like enemies.

Still, Over The Top hears that the confused southern African nation
was growing increasingly despondent because bi-lateral relations, which
include the sharing of important information, were serving only to confuse
it still further.

Even basic and largely harmless information like the sharing of food
estimates were not reaching the confused southern African country without
first being "spun" to suit the Zany Party's deluded misinformation machine.

So, growing weary, the confused southern Africans decided to purchase
the information from more reliable sources, so OTT hears what is said in
various shebeens where the story is considered a large joke.

And not just buy it, but buy it at a huge cost - which is the really
funny part. As an informed source who cannot be named told OTT, given the
economic crisis facing the troubled central African banana republic,
millions of people who do not own over 500 suits would have been prepared to
supply the information for a tenth of the price.

It seems the confused southern African spymasters broke a cardinal
rule and sought out the most flamboyant and garrulous and least likely of
spies, instead of going to someone better known for discretion.

Still, in order to save our continental brothers a great deal of time
and money, Over The Top can tell them exactly what the state of play is in
the troubled central African basket case.

A visit to any supermarket will prove that there is no food.

A glance at even the state-controlled press will prove that the Zany
Party is in a state of unprecedented disarray and that the members are at
each other's throats and baying for blood - or at least legal action.

A peek into any shop will prove that inflation has retained its iron
grasp on the economy and that claims of massive drops are clearly imaginary.
One look at OTT's electricity bill gives the lie to central bank claims.

A sneak into the opposition More Drink Coming Party's headquarters
will reveal that they're as bewildered as everyone else in the troubled
central African regime, but that they're also enjoying the Zany floor show.

And now if any confused southern African wants to send Over The Top
US$10,000 for this valuable information, please don't convert it into local
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Zim Standard


Zimbabwe sinking deeper into the mireEVERYTHING with a beginning has got an end; so goes the old adage. The
current squabbles and bickering in Zanu PF are all vivid signs of a
desperate party that is no longer confident of its future.

Democracy in Zimbabwe is now a far fetched commodity under the present
President Mugabe, probably the last remaining, longest serving and most
ruthless ruler in the southern African region has shown his heartless nature
to the people he has always referred to as 'my people'. Such is the person
he is; at whatever cost; no matter how many lives he takes, as long as it
ensures he remains in power.

Trying to uphold democratic principles in Zimbabwe of late has become almost
impossible as beleaguered Mugabe and his cronies are preoccoupied with
creating repressive bills and turning them into laws overnight for personal
aggrandisement and to ultimately consolidate their stay in power at the
expense of the people they lead or mislead.

Anybody who voices his concern faces the wrath of the law. Almost all
dissenting voices have been brutally suppressed, private media silenced and
the lives of journalists made difficult.

Sadly even entertainers have not been spared either as some of them have
suffered personal threats and torture. Others whose works are perceived to
be critical of the government have been subjected to a virtual ban from the

It pains to think that Mugabe, a former teacher, expects the people to rally
behind him when he continues to recklessly drive the country into the
doldrums. Is he so blind not to see that the country's economy has taken a
nose-dive resulting in gross unemployment and debilitating poverty among the
people. The old man's stubbornness will actually worsen our plight.

What I find amazing is that Zimbabweans are so docile despite their
impressive academic and professional education. Surely, we do not deserve
such an illogical, insincere and insensitive government as the ruling Zanu
PF regime .

To everybody who is Zanu PF, I say zvakwana/sokwanele; you have failed us or
we have failed you. So give others a chance. But bear in mind that 'kangoma
karirise ndiko kapanike or ingungu ekhala kakhulu ikhalela ukudabuka' watch
out the tide is beginning to turn.Jay-the wave rider

Pumula north

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Zim Standard


March elections likely to be a farceI write this letter with a heavy heart. As Zimbabweans, we are a forsaken
lot continuously fed on Zanu PF lies by the likes of Jonathan Moyo. But let
us not celebrate yet - motor mouth is, unfortunately, not going anywhere
yet. He is too evil to be discarded by "the party" yet. His services are
still in demand lest he spill the beans!

Clearly, the SADC guidelines on elections will not make any difference in
Zimbabwe. From what has transpired so far, it's obvious those guidelines
will be trampled upon with impunity.
However, if Zanu PF is serious about a level electoral playing field, let it
adopt the following: firstly, people who defect to another party should be
made to surrender cards, T-shirts and any other paraphernalia and to the
party they got them from. They should not be surrendered to a party one is

Secondly, withdrawal from the March elections is not about fear of losing
but genuine fear of losing lives and property and these concerns should be
addressed if anyone including, SADC leaders, is serious about addressing
these issues.

My heart is heavy because we are heading for a monumental electoral farce
come March 2005. Zanu PF is gleeful about counting votes at polling stations
simply because of the likely intimidation and the inducement of knowing who
voted for what party and the burning of huts if not hearts that will be made
a lot easier.

I pray to the Almighty God not to forsake us and expose people to be killed
by Zanu PF's barbarians for T-shirts or for merely being suspected of being
opposition party supporters. A simple statement like "Uyu hatimuone
zvakanaka," (We are not sure of his political leanings) can be a death

The true people's party, Movement For Democratic Change (MDC), should
seriously consider avoiding to fall into known traps. We are dealing with
the devil himself so let us postpone participation in forthcoming pseudo
elections.Mapfumo Mutapati

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Zim Standard

WB official sees hope for Zimbabwe economy
By our own staff

IF the Reserve Bank was looking for a belated Christmas present, the World
Bank appears to have found one to fulfill such an expectation. The World
Bank believes that there is an emerging commitment in Zimbabwe to tackle
problems affecting the economy.

Dr Callisto Madavo, until recently the World Bank vice president for Africa,
said during an interview with The Standard: "The Reserve Bank has been
working the last 12 to 18 months to really stabilize the economy and to
stimulate investment and growth. Yes, I think there is an emerging
commitment. This is something that people should build on."
A Zimbabwean, Madavo is, until June this year when he retires, a special
adviser to James Wolfensohn, the World Bank president.

His assessment of the Zimbabwean situation is based not only on a reading of
what is taking place, but also on two recent meetings with Zimbabwean
delegations in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, in September and recently during
the IMF/World Bank annual board meetings in Washington.

Madavo said the World Bank stands ready to engage Zimbabwe and discussions
to this end were underway, although there were a number of issues that
required ironing out.

However, he said, the World Bank had a lot of experience in re-engaging
countries where support had been interrupted.

The challenge for Zimbabwe he said, was to address issues of macroeconomic
stability; to rebuild and restore critical institutions, such as the
financial sector and the judiciary; to deal with questions of governance
from a political perspective; and no less important, from an economic

Madavo said: "Behind all this, there's need to revive economic growth,
bringing back crucial sectors such as agriculture and tourism Zimbabweans
are a resilient people, and up until the recent exodus of trained people,
there was an emerging middle class there. Finally, it is critical for
Zimbabwe to be in the frontlines on the HIV/Aids crisis, while learning from
neighbours such as Botswana, and Uganda."

While he seemed to give the thumbs up to efforts by the central bank, Madavo
said it was important for the government to ensure that its expenditures
were within the parameters of what was consistent with macroeconomic

On the proposed payout to former political prisoners, ex-detainees and
restrictees, Madavo said: "We must learn from the experiences in 1997, when
the initial veterans payments were, but in a way that couldn't be smoothly
accommodated. The macroeconomic situation deteriorated significantly and
Zimbabwe has never recovered from that."

Asked whether the lack of sufficient investment on the African continent was
not given impetus by leaders from the continent who preferred to squirrel
their funds abroad, Madavo said:

"Obviously flight capital is an issue, and to the extent African leaders
don't have confidence to invest in their own countries, it's a little wonder
that foreigners are hesitant.

"But to create the kind of business climate that encourages people to invest
goes to the challenge of building stability, strong governance, and a space
for private sector activity.

"One other point on certain overseas accounts: it's a good thing that the
international community is helping in tracing looted wealth held abroad."

On the continent's leadership, Madavo said broadly, since the late 1990s,
there had emerged African leaders who were taking on considerable
responsibility for solving the continent's problems.

"President Yoweri Museveni's response to the HIV/Aids crisis has been a
model for many heads of State worldwide. President Olusegun Obasanjo has
been active in the Darfur crisis. President Thabo Mbeki has worked hard to
find a resolution in Cote d' Ivoire.

"Meanwhile, Nepad's (the New Partnership for Africa's Development)
mechanism - though it's early days - constitutes a bold step in the right

For Madavo, the way ahead for African leaders is first and foremost to
create conditions conducive to peace and stability. He also believes the
continent's leaders have to be serious about generating economic growth,
which requires investment in infrastructure, building a space for private
sector activity, accelerating regional integration, and encouraging
agricultural productivity.
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Zim Standard

For Mbeki - no end to Zimbabwe crisis
sundayopinion By Geoff Nyarota

WHILE the stature of President Thabo Mbeki as conflict mediator continues to
grow elsewhere on the African continent, success has remained elusive in
troubled Zimbabwe.

Thousands of residents greeted Mbeki as a possible saviour when he arrived
in a rebel stronghold in northern Ivory Coast recently to negotiate with
rebel leaders.
In 2003 Mbeki was among influential African leaders who presided over the
departure of guerilla leader-turned-politician Charles Taylor, when the
brutal Liberian dictator headed off to asylum in Nigeria.

While Mbeki skillfully negotiated recently with the warring factions in the
Ivory Coast in West Africa, nearer home, worried Zimbabweans looked on
helplessly as President Robert Mugabe consolidated his hold on power. Over
the past four years the country has reeled from the effects of political
violence, corruption, shortages, economic stagnation, an unemployment rate
now pegged at more than 70 percent and a general breakdown in law and order.

Mbeki's policy of "quiet diplomacy" in seeking to broker negotiations
between President Robert Mugabe's ruling Zimbabwe African National Union -
Patriotic Front (Zanu-PF) party and the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
of opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai has so far failed to achieve
significant results or to reign in the Zimbabwean leader, as widely
expected. Undeterred, the Mugabe regime has just enacted new legislation
that effectively outlaws foreign-funded Non-Governmental Organizations.

Far from signaling any imminent retirement after 24 years in office, the
geriatric Zimbabwean leader emerged from his party's recent congress with a
firmer grip on power and, of more concern, no visible sign of willingness to
negotiate with the opposition, as expected by Mbeki.

Mugabe was ebullient after the congress. He dispensed with the niceties of
intra-party democracy to outmaneuver the powerful House Speaker, Emmerson
Mnangagwa, for long known to be his own chosen successor. Mugabe decreed
just before the congress that one of Zanu-PF's two vice presidents must be a
woman. He ruthlessly suppressed an internal challenge to his leadership when
he suspended six young and upcoming politicians who had rallied to support
Mnangagwa's campaign against Mrs. Joyce Mujuru, the president's favourite.
In a swift move, the controversial information minister, Jonathan Moyo,
alleged leader of the rebellion, was dumped from the party's policy-making
central committee and powerful Soviet-type politburo.

While reaction outside the party was mixed, Mugabe endeared himself to his
party's increasingly powerful and vocal women's league when he swore Mrs
Mujuru in as Zimbabwe's second vice-president.

Ominously, this internal jockeying for power and the concurrent enactment of
more stringent measures to suppress the media do not augur well for the
accommodation of the opposition into any power-sharing scheme or
negotiation, as envisaged by Mbeki. Any reference to the MDC during the Zanu
PF congress was only in very depreciatory terms. Tsvangirai, who was
acquitted recently on treason charges of plotting to assassinate the
president, was briefly detained at Harare International airport on return
from a recent trip abroad.

"To the new Zanu PF leadership," Tsvangirai said in a statement afterwards,
"I welcome you with the same old message: I am still holding out that olive

The MDC has previously threatened to boycott general elections scheduled for
March 2005.

For his part, Mbeki hosted Tsvangirai in Pretoria once the Zimbabwean
opposition leader was able to travel again after his marathon court case.
Sources close to Mbeki's ruling African National Congress, say the South
African President is, however, wary of the close links forged between the
MDC, a trade union-based party and the powerful Congress of South African
Trade Unions (COSATU), the ANC's most conspicuous political rival. A
high-powered COSATU delegation on a recent visit to Zimbabwe, was bundled
onto a bus by state agents in Harare, driven to the border under cover of
darkness and deported. The South African government's response to this
diplomatic spat was lukewarm.

Separately, Mbeki is said to be peeved by the MDC's perceived alliance with
another major ANC political rival, the opposition Democratic Alliance,
essentially a white-interests party. In Zimbabwe Mugabe's propaganda
machinery accuses the MDC of embarking on a campaign to reverse the
expropriation of white-owned farms by the state which, while accompanied by
widespread violence was, according to them, entirely legitimate. Tsvangirai
denies this and another charge that he is a "front for western imperialist
interests". The state-controlled media ignore his protests.

Mugabe was the only foreign dignitary to receive a standing ovation when he
attended celebrations held in Pretoria in May to mark the tenth anniversary
of the end of apartheid in South Africa. Mbeki will overlook, only at his
own peril, the fact that Mugabe's controversial land reform programme in
Zimbabwe has earned him hero cult status among ANC supporters in South

The arrest in Cape Town of Mark Thatcher, son of former Conservative British
Prime Minister, Lady Thatcher, must have been a cause of great discomfort to
Mbeki. Thatcher recently appeared in court charged with conspiring to
sponsor suspected 70 mercenaries who were arrested by Mugabe's security men
in Harare en route to oil-rich Equatorial Guinea, where they plotted to
stage a coup to topple the government.

The highly respected Richard Goldstone, a retired South African
Constitutional Court Justice and UN special prosecutor for Rwanda and the
former Yugoslavia, has said that, unfortunately, Western criticism of
state-sponsored violence and torture is seen as an anti-African campaign.

Mbeki's cautious approach and his failure to display more decisiveness and
exert more force in putting pressure to bear on Mugabe, a failure which has
had the effect of casting a shadow on his presidency, has in all
probability, been influenced by a fear of being perceived to be prescribing
a Western-sponsored solution to an African problem.

Meanwhile, Zimbabweans could very well discover that they may have placed
too much faith in Mr Mbeki's ability to resolve their country's political
crisis.o Geoff Nyarota is the founding editor-in-chief of The Daily News in
Zimbabwe, now banned. Currently he is a fellow with the Carr Center for
Human Rights Policy and the Shorenstein Center for Press, Politics and
Public Policy at Harvard University.

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Zim Standard

Mugabe gives nod harsh media law PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe has signed into law a measure that sets prison
terms of up to two years for any journalist found working without
accreditation from the government-controlled Media and Information
Commission. The new media law is termed "repressive" by press freedom

The newly enacted measure stiffens the 2002 the Access to Information
and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA), which has already been used to shut
down Zimbabwe's only independent daily newspaper, the 'Daily News'. The
measure, titled the AIPPA Amendment Act, took effect on 7 January.
Parliament passed the AIPPA Amendment Bill in November as one in a
series of draconian measures adopted in advance of general elections
scheduled for March. Critics say the measures are intended to intimidate the
last vestiges of the independent press.

Three independent weekly newspapers still operate in Zimbabwe, and
some local correspondents work for foreign news agencies. The three
remaining independent Zimbabwean weeklies are The Financial Gazette, The
Standard and The Zimbabwe Independent.

There are other laws that severely limit the freedom of speech and of
the press in Zimbabwe, and more are in the process of being made. Other new
legislation includes the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act, which
could be used to jail journalists for up to 20 years for publishing or
communicating to any other person "false" information deemed prejudicial to
the state. The Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act now only awaits
President Mugabe's signature.

Meanwhile, the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ)
urged Zimbabwe's President and his government to "turn away from such
measures, including another piece of repressive legislation still pending."

CPJ sources said the law could be used to intimidate journalists and
the sources upon which they rely. They also fear its broad language could be
used against Zimbabweans who communicate with news outlets and other
organizations based abroad.

"CPJ is deeply troubled by these measures, which will have a further
chilling effect on independent journalism in Zimbabwe," CPJ executive
director Ann Cooper said.

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Tehran Times

Zimbabwe's Mugabe approves election laws-govt mediaHARARE (Reuters) -- Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe has signed into law
electoral reforms which the opposition says do not go far enough to
guarantee a fair vote in March's parliamentary polls, official media said on

The state-owned Herald newspaper quoted a government gazette saying Mugabe
had signed the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission Bill and Electoral Bill, which
were passed by Parliament last month.

The laws seek to set up an independent election commission, bring in a
single day of voting instead of two, ensure counting of ballots at polling
centers and the establishment of an electoral court to deal with election

All these conditions have been demanded by the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC), which is expected to participate in the March polls
despite threatening a boycott.

But it also wants guidelines on the conduct of political parties and laws to
curb and punish perpetrators of violence and intimidation it says has helped
sway past elections in the ruling ZANU-PF's favor.

And it has called for the electoral court to prosecute cases of political
violence instead of only hearing disputes.

The date Mugabe signed the bills was not immediately clear, but they come
into effect as soon as they are signed. The government gazette was not
immediately available to Reuters on Saturday.

Mugabe has been under pressure from the opposition and Southern Africa
Development Community peers to institute reforms ensuring free and fair
elections in March.

Mugabe has already said Zimbabwe will only allow invited observers to the
March elections.

The MDC wants the parliamentary elections delayed to allow more time for
implementation of the reforms but the government says this is unlawful. A
date is yet to be set for the polls.

Mugabe, in power since independence in 1980, accuses Zimbabwe's former
colonial ruler Britain of leading a Western campaign to oust him over his
government's seizure of white owned farms for redistribution to landless

The 80-year-old leader rejects charges he has manipulated previous elections
and says the land seizures are not responsible for food shortages which have
plagued the country since 2001.
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Trinidad and Tobago Express

AG: Death of Justice Georges a great loss

Sunday, January 16th 2005 ATTORNEY GENERAL John Jeremie says the passing of Justice Telford
Georges is "a tremendous loss, not only to the regional jurisprudence but to
the Commonwealth".

Justice Georges, 82, of Dominica, died while undergoing surgery in
Barbados last Thursday.

He was a member of the Judicial Council of the London-based Privy
Council, this country's highest Court of Appeal. He also served as Chief
Justice of the Bahamas and Zimbabwe.

In a statement issued yesterday, Jeremie said Georges, despite having
"a highly distinguished career as advocate, jurist and legal scholar ...
always maintained a humility and integrity, which endeared him to all with
whom he came into contact".

Jeremie added, "Given his indelible contribution to West Indian and
Commonwealth jurisprudence, Justice Georges' death will be mourned by the
entire legal community in Trinidad and Tobago."
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The Times

McCall Smith gives book royalties to Aids
Karin Goodwin THE Scottish writer Alexander McCall Smith, whose lady detective
novels have become a publishing sensation, is to donate the royalties of his
latest book to a hospital in Africa that treats Aids victims.

The Edinburgh-based author, whose No 1 Ladies' Detective Agency
series has sold more than 6m copies worldwide, will give all proceeds of the
book to the Murambinda Hospital Trust in Zimbabwe. Bookshops have already ordered 60,000 copies of The Girl Who
Married a Lion, a collection of 40 African folk tales that McCall Smith has
been gathering since his childhood in Zimbabwe, which was published by
Canongate last month.

The book's preface is "written" by his famous heroine Mma
Ramotswe, and many of the tales, originating from the Ndebele people of
Matabeleland, Zimbabwe, parallel classic western fables.

It is anticipated that up to 100,000 could be raised from the
royalties, which will be spent on medicines and resources, salaries for
doctors and nurses as well as outreach programmes for HIV patients and
orphaned children.

"I heard about the trust towards the end of the year and thought
the royalties could really help," said McCall Smith. "They don't have enough
money for basics or for drugs and this could make a difference. The best
thing about how my life has changed since the books began to sell so well is
that I can lift a finger and it makes a great difference."

Despite his newfound wealth, McCall Smith said that his
lifestyle had not changed. His only extravagance is business-class air
travel. He still drives a second-hand car.

The professor of medical ethics at Edinburgh University is
taking a three-year sabbatical to concentrate on writing. He is working on
two new novels and 14 of his children's books written up to 20 years ago
will be republished this year.

A BBC adaptation of the No 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series
directed by Anthony Minghella, the director of The English Patient and Cold
Mountain, is also anticipated.

In recent months McCall Smith has resigned from high-profile
public positions, including membership of the medical ethics committee, and
is instead concentrating on charity work. Last week he became patron of the
Scottish Book Trust and will raise funds for the organisation's new scheme
to encourage young people in children's homes to read.

The first chapter of a second book in the Isabel Dalhousie
detective series, based in Edinburgh, will be included in a collection
published by Bloomsbury on World Book Day to raise money for victims of the
Asian tsunami.

Last year he also became patron of Waverly Care, a charity
helping African Aids victims in Scotland, and he donates to other Aids

"The Aids epidemic is devastating. It is a dreadful burden for
people and so sad that just as Africa might have been able to make economic
progress that such a disease comes along and knocks everything back," McCall
Smith said. "It is a great pity that the West's response in terms of
assistance and providing drugs has been slower than one may have wished.

"I am delighted, though, to see debt relief pushed further up
the agenda. That is absolutely vital to the development of Africa."

The Murambinda hospital is based in Buhera, one of the poorest
areas of Zimbabwe where malnutrition, malaria and Aids are common. Infant
mortality rates are high. The only government district hospital in the area,
it has three doctors and 36 nurses - last year it had nearly 7,000
admissions and saw more than 16,000 outpatients.

Mary Miller, a trustee of the Friends of Murambinda Hospital
Trust, said: "It's an extremely generous offer and will certainly help a
lot. Obviously Africa is very close to his heart. Economic problems are
central and, as the situation stands, funding of the services is less than
adequate. This money will help to supply the pharmacy, pay extra staff and
pay for treatment and drop-in centres for HIV and Aids patients."

A spokeswoman for Canongate said: "Sales of The Girl Who Married
a Lion have already hugely exceeded what was anticipated.

"As a collection of African folk tales I think it is really
feeding into the interest raised by the Botswanan setting of the No 1 Ladies'
Detective series.

"This is fabulous news in terms of the royalties raised."
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Daily News online edition

Have ZANU PF bribes not bought enough chiefs?

Date: 16-Jan, 2005 MANICALAND chiefs have reportedly refused to let Zanu PF field women
as the only party candidates in some of their constituencies in the March
elections. Not one chief is quoted as confirming this stance, which is
understandable. After all, they owe Zanu PF a lot: 4x4 vehicles, roads to
their homesteads and other perks. But if it's confirmed that they are
standing firm, it could mean the Zanu PF bribes did not work as effectively
as the party hoped they would. It is unlikely that Zanu PF showered the chiefs and their immediate
subordinates with this largess without looking forward to a quid pro quo.
This would be so unlike Zanu PF, to act so generously towards a group of
people without expecting any reward from them. For instance, they would be expected to campaign vigorously for the
party. They would be expected to virtually threaten their subjects with some
unspecified action if they did not vote for Zanu PF. They would be expected to follow party orders without question. At one
election, voters were reportedly forced to stand behind their chiefs at
polling stations. The chiefs were to ensure their subjects voted "correctly". There were reports those who refused to comply with this order were
threatened with expulsion from the village or district. It would be
exemplary for the chiefs to refuse to be dictated to by the party over the
women candidates, except that they are doing this for the wrong reason. Most traditional leaders are, unfortunately, raised to be male
chauvinists. They probably have three or four wives who are not more than
their serfs in status. The women will do the chief's bidding without
question - or risk the direst consequences. If their resistance included threatening to let their subjects vote
with their consciences, the chiefs would deserve a lot of praise and
admiration. But on the question of women standing as candidates, they will
find very few allies. Zanu PF may be entering a new era of enlightenment, albeit belatedly.
If the appointment of Joyce Mujuru as the party's second vice-president is a
genuine attempt to give the women a fairer political deal than in the past,
then even the chiefs ought to play a role to support the programme. Of course, with Zanu PF, a party so steeped in the dinosaur policies
of Marxism-Leninism, all this liberalism could be a front for a sinister
plot: to use the women to win an election and then dump them when they have
served the party's purpose. This is not as far-fetched as it sounds. The Zimbabwean political
landscape is littered with the corpses of others who placed too much faith
in this party. - Editorial
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Zanu(PF) primary elections marred by logistical glitch

January 16, 2005, 18:45

Zimbabwe's ruling ZANU PF party primary elections to choose candidates for
the next parliamentary elections had isolated incidences of violence and
marred by logistical, manpower support and allegations of vote buying and
busing of non-supporters.

Voter apathy was high in urban constituencies. Lessons shall be drawn from
this towards the March polls. Only 59 constituencies conducted primaries
where 177 candidates battled it out to represent the ruling party. Voters
casting their votes in cardboard boxes showed a lack of resources for the
party. A handful voters turning out in urban centers, while rural areas
registered a huge turn out.

Every election has its own problems, candidates are often left feeling
bitter. What came out significantly lacking was voter education. With a
number of NGOs left out, the task could be very high for the government,
which often has to rely on donors for funding. The opposition has been
holding primaries for the last eight months. Only four constituencies are
left. It says, until President Robert Mugabe announces the dates of the
elections, its executive will meet to make a formal position on whether it
should participate.
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Chicago Tribune

Senegal leader `disappointed' with pace of reform

By Laurie Goering
Tribune foreign correspondent
Published January 16, 2005DAKAR, Senegal -- Africa's failure to speed its economic development is
largely the fault of the continent's leaders, who have been slow to stem
corruption, are reluctant to criticize each other and have wasted time
putting donor funds to work, according to Senegalese President Abdoulaye

Wade, one of the founders of a continentwide initiative to boost foreign
investment and reduce poverty, said criticism of Western donors and
investors for not adequately helping Africa is largely misdirected.

African leaders "accuse our partners but we are the ones wrong this time,"
Wade, 78, said in an interview at the presidential palace. "We are not

Wade, a longtime opposition leader, human-rights campaigner and economic
reformer, has made a name for himself as a straight-talking critic of the
continent's failings since taking office in 2000.

In 2001, he helped launch the New Partnership for Africa's Development, or
NEPAD, an effort to lure Western investment, spur economic growth and combat
poverty in Africa in exchange for the continent doing a better job of
policing its problems, from human-rights violations to corruption.

Breaking with other African leaders, he criticized rigged elections that
returned President Robert Mugabe to office in Zimbabwe in 2002, and was the
first African president to recognize Marc Ravolomanana, a popular favorite,
as Madagascar's president after the previous administration refused to
recognize defeat. The African Union, the continent's leading political body,
eventually followed Wade's lead.

At home in Senegal, he has simplified tax codes, cut bureaucratic logjams,
negotiated a billion dollars in international debt relief and used the new
income to substantially boost public spending on education and health,
economic analysts say.

Too little action

But at a recent NEPAD meeting in Johannesburg, he complained that the
organization--and the continent as a whole--was spending too much time and
money discussing its problems and too little taking action.

"I'm disappointed," he said, in remarks in stark contrast to those of other
leaders. "I have great difficulty explaining what we have achieved when
people at home and elsewhere ask me that question."

Three years after its launch, NEPAD, he said, had become "confused and a
little unfocused."

"We're spending a lot of money and, above all, losing time with repetition
and conferences that end and you're not quite sure what they've achieved,"
he said.

NEPAD officials, including Wiseman Nkuhlu, the South African head of the
organization's steering committee, insisted that the group's responsibility
is only to create a structure and environment for change, and that
development projects are the responsibility of nations and regional groups.
Implementing dramatic reform in a continent beset with problems from wars to
widespread poverty will take 20 years or more, he emphasized.

But even South African President Thabo Mbeki, another founder of NEPAD and
one of its main boosters, warned that delays in bringing real change to
Africa could lead to a loss of faith in the project.

"If we lose this moment it will take many, many years to regenerate the
enthusiasm needed to take the continent forward," he told delegates at the
Johannesburg meeting.

Wade said he is most frustrated by West Africa's inability to put donor
funds to use. The region has won a large share of $580 million in African
Development Bank funds and $570 million in World Bank contributions for
energy and infrastructure projects, he said, and has been offered additional
funding from Japan.

But while the Economic Community of West African States now has much of the
money in hand, it has so far failed to produce the studies and
implementation plans needed to get the projects started, he said.

The region's problem, Wade said, is that it has too many highly educated
experts in high-level jobs, but few engineers and capable bureaucrats with
the experience to effectively manage projects.

"It's tragic," he said. "We need some people who know how to administer
projects. We don't need PhDs. We need managers."

He said he and other leaders hoped to lure highly trained West African
expatriates back from jobs with the World Bank and other organizations in an
effort to get development projectsimplemented.

The other serious problems threatening NEPAD's success, he said, are
widespread corruption and a reluctance by African leaders to criticize their
neighbors for governance and human-rights failures.

Even in Senegal, as in many African countries, "corruption is very
generalized and not just at the government level but through the public
administration and all levels," he said. "It's a true, real problem.
Everyone wants to gain in an unclean way."

In Senegalese society--and across much of West Africa--anyone with access to
a top job is expected to steal, said Elhadji Alioune Diouf, a trade and
economic analyst in Senegal and an economic adviser to the country's former

"If you're the head of a financial service and you don't steal, people will
say you're foolish," he said. And if an honest man tries to turn in
colleagues, "he's out," Diouf said.

In Dakar, graffiti on public walls accuses even the nation's reformer
president of graft, calling him a "criminal." But Wade insists he's doing
everything he can to stop corruption, by prosecuting offenders--even the
prime minister is under investigation--and reducing bureaucratic logjams,
where bribes are routinely sought for service.

Crossing poverty line

"If we could eliminate 70 or 80 percent of corruption, we wouldn't need many
resources from outside Senegal" to develop the country, which remains among
the poorest in the world, Wade said. More than half of Senegalese households
live below the poverty line, and unemployment is nearly 50 percent.

The other key to improving international faith in Africa, solving problems
and winning new investment, Wade said, is getting African leaders to
criticize their wayward neighbors. NEPAD's first "peer review" reports are
due out in March, on Rwanda, Ghana, Kenya and Mauritius, the first African
nations to consent to have their governance and human-rights policies

But the continent's worst offenders--nations like Equatorial Guinea and
Zimbabwe, run by dictators and strongmen--have not joined the process, and
their neighbors remain reluctant to strongly criticize them or take
political or economic action.

Even if nations that join the peer review process are found wanting,
"there's no capacity of enforcement, no action at the end," Wade complained.

One way for Africa to jump-start its development, Diouf suggested, is for
the continent's nations--particularly its richest--to combine their own
funds to launch projects and show overseas nations they are serious about

"If we want the world to be serious about Africa, we have to show we are
serious ourselves about solving the terrible problems. Africa needs to
unite, put up its own money and only then go to the West or institutions,"
the analyst said. "If we give the West a good example, the West will be
willing to help us."

Wade said he agrees that Africa must take action toward solving its own
problems before it can expect dramatic new help. But he believes NEPAD,
despite its shortcomings, will eventually work.

"If we can make people aware the time has come to work, there is no
problem," he said. "Then the problems will not last."

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The Business Online

The squalid politics of squandered aid
The Business
January 16, 2005 6:00 PM (GMT)
Peter Bauer, the late British expert on the economics of dev-eloping
countrie,s famously quipped that foreign aid is a system by which the poor
in rich countries are taxed to subsidise the rich in poor countries. How
right he was: since 1951, Western countries have given developing countries
more than $1 trillion (530bn, E750bn) in economic and humanitarian aid;
instead of stimulating economic growth and helping the needy, foreign aid
has perpetuated poverty, bred corruption and financed kleptocracy.

Gordon Brown, Britains Chancellor, appears to know nothing of this: he is in
South Africa this weekend, completing a tour of the continent to extol the
virtues of his plan to double foreign aid to $100bn a year over the next
decade, grandly (albeit incorrectly) dubbed a new Marshall Plan. Under his
proposed International Finance Facility, which has failed to garner US and
other support and will therefore likely never materialise, bonds would be
issued using rich countries long-term funding commitments as collateral.
This is likely to do more for Mr Browns ambitions to replace Tony Blair as
Prime Minister than it is to eradicate poverty in Africa.

When it comes to the scandal that is global poverty, Mr Brown undoubtedly
has his heart in the right place: but he refuses to see that his
old-fashioned approach to helping Africa has already been tried and found
disastrously wanting. That around a billion human beings must still survive
on under a dollar a day in 2005 is nothing short of an obscenity; it is a
terrible blot on all our consciences and must be tackled urgently. But
before they waste yet more time and money in feel-good schemes while doing
little that actually helps the poor, Mr Brown and those who agree with him
that more aid is the solution (including, for reasons which escapes u,s
Michael Howards Conservative Party) should take a look at the facts.

Zambia, a recipient of foreign aid for over four decade,s is a typical
horror story: it has received well over $1bn in bilateral economic aid from
the US alone and was the beneficiary of 12 adjustment loans from the World
Bank and the IMF during the 1980s and 1990s. Yet Zambias real gross domestic
product (GDP) per person collapsed by almost 50% in its first 35 years after
independence. Today, its citizens are substantially poorer than they were
four decades ago and threequarters of the population still lives in abject

The situation is little different in the rest of sub-Saharan Africa: since
1980, gross domestic product (GDP) per person has collapsed from $660 to
$577 in 2002 in constant term,s a 12% fall. As a result of reduced income
and the explosion of disease,s life expectancy in the region has fallen. The
regions combined annual economic output is a mere $296bn, about 15% of
Britains. Many countries are poorer today than when they first become
independent, despite $100bn in World Bank assistance; sub-Saharan Africa
routinely receives 8% of its GDP in aid. Excluding Nigeria and South Africa,
aid reaches 13% of GDP, more than four times greater than the Marshall plan
at its peak. There is overwhelming evidence that foreign aid has no real
effect on a countrys growth rates. Brett Schaefer, a development economist
at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, has analysed the 45 sub-Saharan
African countries for which detailed numbers are available between 1980 and
2002. He finds that 23 suffered negative annual growth in real per capita
GDP; seven experienced growth between 0% and 1%; and 15 growth of more than
1%. Of the latter category, only three achieved more than 4%.

Aids abysmal record is not unique to Africa. Of the 77 countries that
received aid of at least 1% of their GDP between 1980 and 2001, 33 suffered
a decline in real per capita GDP; 15 saw growth of less than 1% a year; and
29 enjoyed growth of more than 1% a year. Even more depressingly, out of
these 29 countrie,s only eight grew by more than 3% a year.

One reason why aid has had so little effect is that much of it has ended up
in the Swiss (and London) bank accounts of corrupt politicians. According to
the World Bank Institute, more than $1 trillion is paid in bribes each year
globally, roughly 3% of global GDP and equivalent to the total value of aid
ever paid to the third world. According to the institute, countries that
reduce corruption and strengthen their rule of law can boost incomes by as
much as four times in the long term, while cutting child mortality by up to
75%, a phenomenon it calls the 400% governance dividend.

Transparency International estimates that General Suharto, the former
Indonesian leader, stole between $15bn and $35bn from his country, while
Ferdinand Marcos in the Philippine,s Mobutu Sese Seko in Zaire and Sani
Abacha in Nigeria embezzled up to $5bn each. Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwes
dictator, is another monstrous tyrant who is still being propped up with
Western taxpayers money. Even though sanctions were slapped on Zimbabwe four
years ago, the European Union (EU) has since provided at least E30m in aid
to Zimbabwe and Britain a further 62m, while other European countries have
also contributed, taking the total channeled to Zimbabwe via Brussels to at
least 115m. But while the money was meant to be spent on Aids and helping
the poor, an EU audit last year found that 89% of the total had ended up in
the pockets of allies of Mr Mugabe and his Zanu-PF Party.

The key drivers of economic and social development are domestic policies and
institution,s not foreign aid: as the cases of North and South Korea and
East and West Germany proved conclusively, capitalist economie,s with strong
attachments to property right,s the rule of law, limited government
intervention in the economy and low inflation generate massive growth;
socialist economies are a disaster and embed poverty and deprivation,
regardless of how much foreign aid they receive.

The fact that national income per person in South East Asia was lower than
in sub-Saharan Africa in 1960, but has since surged following the most
remarkable and fastest economic turnaround in history, is a natural
experiment which demonstrates the superiority of the free-market development
model. We are not talking only of runaway success stories such as Singapore,
Hong Kong or Taiwan: even relatively unsuccessful Asian countries such as
Indonesia have done far better than their African counterparts. In 1960,
Indonesias national income per person was a mere $249, almost the same as
Nigerias $224. Since then, and despite its enormous oil reserves and huge
injections of foreign aid, Nigeria GDP has increased by only $24 per heard
after adjusting for inflation, while Indonesias GDP per person has soared
four-fold to over $1,000.

The two countries are on different continents but they share many
characteristics: they both enjoy oil reserve,s have multi-ethnic populations
that are large and growing, suffer form extensive religious tension,s are
large geographically and plagued with corrupt and unstable governments. The
only difference is that Indonesia, despite many problem,s has embraced a
freer market economy.

Successful countrie,s such as Hong Kong, never relied on outside help in the
first place; aid to China and India averaged only 0.4% and 0.7% of GDP
during the 1980s and 1990s. Their economies only started to surge when they
began dumping the failed collectivist nostrums of the past; todays poor
countries must do the same. Africa and the West have a lot to learn from the
two African economies that have bucked the trend and enjoyed some success in
recent years: Botswana and Mauritiu,s which have both enjoyed average growth
of 4.4% since 1980 and which boast the freest, most market-friendly
economies outside South Africa.

For the West, the first priority must be to push for free trade and the
abolition of its scandalous trade barriers and agricultural subsidies. To
his credit, Mr Brown supports freer trade; but alone he can do nothing,
because the UKs trade and agricultural policies are determined in Brussel,s
an increasingly intolerable situation. But trade liberalisation alone wont
be enough. The West must help African countries to reform their institutions
and especially to revolutionise their attitude to property rights and the
rule of law, the single most important prerequisites for economic growth.
Any aid or debt forgiveness must be subordinated to this goal. Not glamorous
enough for Mr Brown and other politicians who like to grandstand with
taxpayers money, perhaps; but unlike chucking billions at the problem such a
policy would actually work and allow millions of Africans to start enjoying
the fruits of prosperity for the first time.
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From The Sunday Mirror,
16 January
Spy ring mystery deepens
Staff Writers
As the mystery surrounding the espionage saga that has seen five prominent
personalities appearing before the courts deepens, it has emerged that the
South African apartheid era intelligence network might have been involved in
the trafficking of information from Zimbabwe to an as yet unknown
destination. Furthermore, it was also revealed by sources that the South
African-based handler who allegedly acted as the information conduit was
arrested at the same time Godfrey Dzvairo, Zimbabwe's ambassador designate
to Mozambique, was picked up by State security agents. The source added that
the spy ring probably might have gone beyond Dzvairo, the flashy but
embattled Phillip Chiyangwa, Zanu PF security director Kennedy Karidza,
Metropolitan Bank's Tendai Matambanadzo and ruling party director of
external affairs Itai Marchi. The source said, "People will be surprised
when the whole truth finally comes out. It's not just about diplomats,
ruling party officials and Zanu PF-affiliated businesspersons. It goes
further than that." However, the source would not reveal the identity of the
South African-based handler, saying the case was being held in camera. He
came from Zambia and was supposed to meet Dzvairo at a Victoria Falls hotel
for a briefing. However, the State was aware of the rendezvous and they were
both arrested at the hotel," the source said.The apartheid connection fuelled speculation that Mark Thatcher, son of
former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher may have been part of a
larger jigsaw puzzle involving "regime change" and when the truth is finally
reviewed might be linked to an intricate web of intrigue, conspiracy and
sinister plots connected to the selling of State secrets scandal. Apartheid
security and intelligence institutions have a history of trying to
destabilise the region, in particular Zimbabwe, and were largely involved in
the assassination of Mozambique's founding leader Samora Machel. The younger
Thatcher was dragged before the South African courts for helping finance a
group of mercenaries, the majority of whom were arrested at Harare
International Airport in March last year, who were on their way to overthrow
the government of President Teodoro Obiang Nguema of Equatorial Guinea. Mark
Thatcher entered a plea bargain with the South African judiciary in which he
pleaded guilty to violating sections of South Africa's Foreign Military
Assistance Act. The African National Congress Youth League, shocked by the
decision, issued a statement saying: "Our efforts to build a continent free
of coups and at peace with itself will never succeed if the likes of Mark
Thatcher are allowed to walk free and not face the full might of the law."An observer within government questioned why the USA was not averse to
accommodating Mark Thatcher even though it was clear that he was no
different from Osama bin Laden - "a rich terrorist". A government source
said, "Get it right. It is the apartheid element and this has nothing to do
with the South African government. It is the rich capitalists at work to
destabilise Africa and this has nothing to do with propaganda." State
prosecutors this past week told the High Court in Harare that Chiyangwa, who
faces up to 25 years behind bars if convicted, was initially given a
'retainer' of US$4 000 for his alleged treachery but this was increased to
US$10 000 at the end of 2004. A number of White capitalists have been linked
with Zimbabwean affairs in a negative way in the recent past including Billy
Rautenbach, John Bredenkamp and Tony Buckingham who has been referred to as
the new Tiny Rowland.

From Reuters, 15 JanuaryMugabe approves election lawsHarare - Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe has signed into law electoral
reforms which the opposition says do not go far enough to guarantee a fair
vote in March's parliamentary polls, official media say. The state-owned
Herald newspaper quoted a government gazette saying Mugabe had signed the
Zimbabwe Electoral Commission Bill and Electoral Bill, which were passed by
parliament last month. The laws seek to set up an independent election
commission, bring in a single day of voting instead of two, ensure counting
of ballots at polling centres and the establishment of an electoral court to
deal with election disputes. All these conditions have been demanded by the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), which is expected to
participate in the March polls despite threatening a boycott. But it also
wants guidelines on the conduct of political parties and laws to curb and
punish perpetrators of violence and intimidation it says has helped sway
past elections in the ruling Zanu PF's favour. And it has called for the
electoral court to prosecute cases of political violence instead of only
hearing disputes. The date Mugabe signed the bills was not immediately
clear, but they come into effect as soon as they are signed. The government
gazette was not immediately available to Reuters on Saturday.Mugabe has been under pressure from the opposition and Southern Africa
Development Community peers to institute reforms ensuring free and fair
elections in March. The MDC and critics from Western governments and African
churches say Mugabe's Zanu PF party rigged the last parliamentary poll in
2000 and the presidential election in 2002 and accuse the government of
widespread human rights abuses. Mugabe has already said Zimbabwe will only
allow invited observers to the March elections. The MDC wants the
parliamentary elections delayed to allow more time for implementation of the
reforms but the government says this is unlawful. A date is yet to be set
for the polls. Mugabe, in power since independence in 1980, accuses
Zimbabwe's former colonial ruler Britain of leading a Western campaign to
oust him over his government's seizure of white owned farms for
redistribution to landless blacks. The 80-year-old leader rejects charges he
has manipulated previous elections and says the land seizures are not
responsible for food shortages which have plagued the country since 2001.
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