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

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Daily News online edition

      New bank fails to take off

      Date: 18-Jan, 2005

      HARARE - The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe has finally admitted that the
launch of the Zimbabwe Allied Banking Group (ZABG), will be delayed amid
fears that owners of the failed banks which will form the new entity, are
resisting the move.

      Although President Mugabe has assented to the Troubled Financial
Institutions (Resolution) Act, further delays are set to be experienced by
restless depositors, who can not continue waiting to access their funds.

      RBZ governor, Gideon Gono, who, in his third quarter monetary policy
review statement last year, assured the nation that the new bank, would open
its doors to the public at the beginning of the year, has admitted that he
has failed to fulfill his promise.

      In a statement released yesterday, Gono said the establishment of the
new bank was subject to "strict observance of the necessary and enabling
legal instruments and legislation governing such establishment" which the
central bank was currently working towards fulfilling.

      Gono, who has been touted as the architect of Zimbabwe's economic
revival, is, on the other hand, facing a bruising fight with owners of the
failed banks, who have already indicated that they would seek legal recourse
over government moves to take over their banks.

      Time Bank, one of the institutions to be accommodated under the ZABG
project, has already taken the RBZ to court over its placement under
curatorship. The bank is arguing that the central bank did not act in good
faith when it placed it under curatorship as it had a number of pending
court cases in the High Court against the RBZ.

      Trust Bank, which is listed on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange has also
indicated its intention to take the central bank to court, although senior
bank officials have remained mum on the issue.

      Royal Bank's Jeff Muzwimbi, recently complained that the ZABG concept
was not widely consulted and that a number of shareholders in the failed
financial institutions did not know how the new bank would operate.

      He said moves to group the failed financial institutions under ZABG,
was suspicious and that a number of senior bank executives and shareholders
would resist it.

      The new bank, is also faced with various challenges which the central
bank had overlooked when it mooted the idea. The issue of staff from the
failed institutions, which is slowly becoming a thorny issue, has not been
fully addressed resulting in some of the staff members from the closed banks
expressing fears over their future in the new bank.

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      Who can stop this nonsense?

      Date: 18-Jan, 2005

      IF the unseemly exchanges between Jonathan Moyo, on the one hand, and
John Nkomo and Dumiso Dabengwa, on the o?her, continue, there is no telling
how much damage could be inflicted on Zimbabwe's international reputation.

      Clearly, there are people who have given up on this reputation
already. Their attitude is probably that the country can sink no lower than
it already has.

      Most of this can be attributed to how arrogantly Zanu PF has reacted
to every criticism from outside, and even from within its own ranks.

      But there must be people who feel that the country does not deserve
all this notoriety. The exchanges may illustrate just how dirty Zanu PF
politics have become. Some commentators have opined that this is an
indication of a party on its last legs, a party bereft of all legitimacy.

      Others believe President Robert Mugabe, as leader of the party, has
allowed this nonsense to go on for too long. Again, where Jonathan Moyo is
concerned, there seems to be an unhealthy tendency to let him continue
unchecked for far too long.

      It is true that this is, strictly speaking, a spat between Zanu PF
politicians. But the consequences could reverberate far and wide. If an end
is not brought to this absurd sniping among Zanu PF leaders soon, then the
party could sink even lower in the esteem of many people than it has

      For many long-suffering Zimbabweans, people who have watched
helplessly as this party has squandered, with breath-taking impunity, the
international goodwill we enjoyed at independence, its disintegration into
so many little pieces would be a most welcome development.

      Perhaps at the end of it all could emerge a style of politics not
steeped in the violence ethos of the liberation struggle. This is what has
ruined politics in Zimbabwe, the idea that to be on top of the political
heap, you need to kill, or you will be killed.

      Nobody wishes the party any ill will, but if its leaders are willing
to commit suicide by letting people like Jonathan Moyo run rings around
them, then all we can say is they richly deserve oblivion.

      The lessons for the future must include not taking the people so much
for granted that you believe you are invincible and can mess up the country
without paying a price at the polls.

      Next March, the people may have an opportunity to end the humiliation
brought upon them and their country by Zanu PF.

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      Harare residents blast Commission

      Date: 18-Jan, 2005

      HARARE - The pro-government Commission running the affairs of the city
of Harare has not collected refuse in most residential areas for the past
fortnight, raising fears of a disease outbreak during this rainy season.

      City council workers have also failed to repair burst water pipes and
sewerage systems, creating pools of raw sewerage on the streets of most
western residential suburbs of Dziwarasekwa 2, Dzivarasekwa Extension,
Warren Park, Kuwadzana, Kambuzuma and Highfield.

      In separate visits to these residential suburbs, The Daily News Online
witnessed raw sewerage flowing freely on the tarmac and dusty streets where
young children played their games.

      Michael Nyamurata, 43, of Warren Park in Harare said the government
had fired the first democratically elected mayor of Harare Engineer Elias
Mudzuri for alleged corruption, chaotic service delivery and
maladministration, yet the commission was being left unchecked.

      He said: "The commission of Sekesai Makwavarara and her other Zanu PF
supporters has failed the residents. Refuse collection has not taken place
for the past two weeks. Residents have kept their bins, on the streets,
expecting the council vehicles to come and collect them but they have not
done that.

      "Dogs rummage through the bins and the streets, as you can see, have
become so littered. Our women have had to heap the rubbish on the gates. Is
this not what the health officials say causes malaria and other diseases?"

      Council employees attributed the delay in refuse collection to the
acute shortages of diesel and the breakdown of council vehicles in the
Department of Public Works.

      A Dzivarasekwa resident, Memory Makawa, 35, said the Commission
running the affairs of Harare City Council had to openly tell residents that
they had failed to deliver.

      "Makwavara and her other Commissioners are total failures," she said.
"Everything has been manipulated to suit Zanu PF agenda of controlling the
capital city. When government appointed the commission, it claimed that it
was doing so to replace an inefficient administration of Mudzuri. It is
evident that the commission has done worse than Mudzuri. We expected them to
show us the difference from what Mudzuri was doing. Roads have

      Makwavarara and Leslie Gwindi, the public relations manager for the
Harare City Council were not available for comment.

      An official at Town House yesterday said: "Ms Makwavarara has left for
the day and will not be available tomorrow. Gwindi has not come to the
office today. Refuse collection is going on but maybe there are fuel and
vehicle problems."

      Mike Davies, the chairman of the Combined Harare Residents Association
(CHRA) last week said the commission running Harare was illegitimate and
therefore owed its allegiance to the government.

      "What they are doing is illegitimate," he said. "As CHRA, we insist
that elections for the vacant position of Executive Mayor should be held as
a matter of urgency."

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18 January 2005

President Tsvangirai's Tuesday message to the people of Zimbabwe

Slightly over two months before the supposed Parliamentary election, the
continued absence of a visible political commitment to put together the
requisite institutions to manage this process is causing widespread anxiety
among the people.

The sincerity of the authorities in complying with newly adopted regional
standard on the conduct of democratic elections remains questionable.

One of the critical institutions to handle such an important process is an
Independent Electoral Commission. This body is yet to be established.

The IEC shall be mandated to access adequate State funding for this purpose;
to recruit, train and deploy staff; to prepare voting materials; to
supervise the campaign process and to attend to all electoral needs before
and after the polling day. Given the time left, that assignment shall be an
impossible task.

We recognise the difficulties of having an election in March. All
indications show that Zimbabwe is bound to fail a SADC electoral public
acceptance test. For this reason, our position remains unchanged.

Given our experience over the past five years, we need an opportunity to
express our political feelings with a clear understanding that elections
occupy a central role in political transitions, particularly where previous
elections have been disputed and there is evidence that past electoral
processes were deeply flawed.

Under the new SADC principles and guidelines, governments must establish
impartial, all-inclusive, competent and accountable national electoral
bodies staffed by qualified personnel to administer and run a competent
election. It is the responsibility of sitting governments to ensure the
transparency and integrity of the entire electoral process. Zanu PF's
attempt to transfer the burden of responsibility to the MDC has failed.

The regime must create conditions that are attractive to all political
players to take part in a free national election.

But as the situation stands, our capacity as a nation to run our own
elections to the satisfaction of ourselves, our neighbours and the
international community could be compromised by the delays in setting up
credible institutions.

Zanu PF, as the party in power, has completely ignored its responsibilities
to the nation, sidelined critical governance issues and concentrated on
matters of its own survival.

The people can see that Zanu PF's main preoccupation is on its own internal
struggles: fighting over who should assume what position at the expense of
broader national questions confronting Zimbabwe.

State institutions in some areas still apply discredited methods in their
dealings with the opposition, behaviour which makes it difficult for us to
regenerate confidence in the electoral system.

The SADC guidelines require sitting governments to safeguard human and civil
liberties of all citizens, including the freedom of movement, assembly,
association, expression, campaigning and access to the media on the part of
all stakeholders, during electoral processes. We are still denied access to
the public media.

For the fourth time in a month, police disrupted my meetings with our
candidates and election officials in Masvingo on Sunday. They insist on
being part of our strategy sessions, a situation that makes us uncomfortable
and vulnerable.

Needless to say, the police would have sanctioned these meetings in the
first place. Compare that with their approach towards Zanu PF meetings.

In the past few weeks, we witnessed numerous demonstrations by their
supporters in Harare and Bulawayo.

The law requires political parties to notify the police and get permission
to engage in such activity. It seems this requirement only applies to the
MDC because none of the Zanu PF demonstrations or meetings is ever
interfered with. Zanu PF members simply get up and go and nothing happens to
them because of the selective application of the law.

The other glaring example came through the occasion of Zanu PF primary
elections. The event, initially billed for a day, went on for three days.
The police never raised a finger about the application of the so-called law
on public gatherings, POSA.

We counselled against too much reliance on a legislative agenda when dealing
with critical transitional issues. We preferred a comprehensive political
reform programme to spur national confidence in what we seek to do.

Today, we find ourselves with a possibility of establishing two hopelessly
weak institutions to conduct our elections.

The Electoral Supervisory Commission, previously led by the newly appointed
attorney general Sobuza Gula-Ndebele, has only three members left when the
Constitution requires that it shall have five.

The new commission, under the new law, is yet to be appointed - a mere 70
days before the so-called national election.

Zimbabwe has caused considerable embarrassment to SADC. We are a serious
disappointment to the region.

We risk a repeat of the same unless we unite and reign in the dictatorship
and pressure it to respect the people. Our neighbours have invested a lot in
us, in an attempt to rescue us from our sinking ship. Our neighbours want to
forge alliances with other influential trading blocks, without a pariah
state in their midst. We must respect them.

In my consultations with all the SADC leaders, it is clear that their main
worry is centred on the future. SADC realizes that the endurance of the
people has now been stretched to the extreme limit and there is no telling
of how much longer Zimbabweans can continue to tolerate the agony that is
multiplying itself almost on a daily basis.

I raise these issues because while authorities haggle for power and
positions within their own organisation, the ordinary Zimbabwean is battling
to come to terms with hunger, disease, poverty, homelessness and

I raise these concerns because prospects for recovery are dwindling every
day, more Zimbabweans are without work and millions of our young people have
nowhere to turn to for a better life and support.

We are worried about the collapse of our infrastructure, public services,
commerce and industry, food security and agriculture. We know the source of
our limitations and have the capacity, courage and leadership to confront

As we face the most trying moment in our history, let us seize the
opportunity to embrace the national call to political service; a call to
invest in the resolution of the crisis of governance. We can only start to
rehabilitate our nation if we accept that Zimbabwe needs a new beginning.

There is a growing consensus, at home and within SADC, that Zimbabwe cannot
survive any further battering. We must take corrective measures before we
collapse into a state of permanent disability.

I am happy to note that the nation is ready to rise and ensure that we end
our political woes. We are all geared to make certain that we succeed in
this regard.

For the sake of the nation, I am ready meet anyone anywhere, to clear any
fears and uncertainties, to address areas of mistrust, perceptions and
misconceptions and to accord any concerned party the necessary confidence,
so that together we can nudge our country towards a final resolution of the

The MDC needs an election that must be beyond question, whoever emerges as
the winner.

Together, we shall win.

Morgan Tsvangirai

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Zim Online

Tues 18 January 2005
  MATABELELAND SOUTH - Six ministers and deputy ministers are set to lose
their jobs in the government after either losing in an internal ZANU PF
election to choose the party's candidates for a general election in March or
being barred from the party poll altogether.

      President Robert Mugabe has said he will not appoint into his Cabinet
anyone who is not elected in a national general election in March.

      Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa was already out after choosing not
to contest the party poll which if he had won would have afforded him a
chance of being elected in March.

      Out of favour Information Minister Jonathan Moyo is out after ZANU PF
decided to reserve Tsholotsho constituency he had wanted to represent for
women as part of measures to increase female representation in Parliament.

      International Trade Minister Samuel Mumbengegwi, his deputy Kenneth
Manyonda, Labour Minister Paul Mangwana and State Enterprises Minister
Rugare Gumbo all lost in the party primary election held last weekend and
will not stand in the parliamentary election in March.

      And two more deputy ministers from Matabeleland South province were
rendered virtually jobless after ZANU PF's executive in the province
yesterday suspended and barred them from standing in the party poll

      Transport and Communications deputy minister Andrew Langa and his
Foreign Affairs counterpart, Abednico Ncube, were suspended from the party's
provincial executive for taking part in a meeting convened by disgraced
Information Minister Jonathan Moyo late last year to block the nomination of
Joyce Mujuru as ZANU PF and Zimbabwe's vice-president.

      Mujuru has since been appointed the country's second vice-president.

      "We have suspended them because they took part in an unsanctioned
gathering in Tshotsholo," said Naison Ndlovu, a ZANU PF Matabeleland South
politburo member.

      The two wanted to contest in Insiza and Gwanda constituencies

      ZANU PF will hold its primary election in Bulawayo province, Gwanda
and Tsholotsho on Thursday after postponing the poll last weekend as the
party failed to agree on the candidates to stand in the election.

      Meanwhile, Elliot Manyika on Tuesday dissolved the Bulawayo ZANU PF
provincial executive which defied the party in the nomination process ahead
of the party's congress last month. The new interim executive is led by
Norman Mabhena.

      Believe Gaule, the chairman of the Tsholotsho district co-ordinating
committee, was also axed from the post for his alleged links with Moyo. -
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CFX Closure Paralyses Business in Kariba

The Herald (Harare)

January 18, 2005
Posted to the web January 18, 2005


THE closure of the sole commercial bank in Kariba - CFX - has paralysed
operations of business entities in the resort town and is threatening the
municipal service delivery system.

Before the closure of CFX by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe last month owing
to its unsound financial position, only CFX and two building societies
served the resort town. Most of the business players who spoke to The Herald
said they were finding life difficult since most of their transactions were
conducted through cheques, which cannot be done through building societies.

Besides the business community, the Kariba municipality's service delivery
system is in a crisis. The Kariba director of housing and community
services, Mr Erasmus Munemo, said they were operating eight bank accounts
with CFX before its closure.

Mr Munemo said Kariba town was now struggling to deliver services and carry
out and complete development projects because its funds exceeding $500
million were frozen in the bank after its closure.

"We received $100 million from Government for sewer line upgrading for
Nyamhunga Township, but the money is locked up following the bank's
closure," he said. Acting town clerk Mr Aaron Chakanetsa added that CFX's
closure also hurt individuals and private business.

Employees in the town have failed to withdraw their salaries since December,
resulting in them not paying rates to the municipality.

"We failed to access our $21 million for the munipical workers' salaries in
December and another $31 million for the purchase of medical drugs.

"I am sure the whole town will collapse if nothing is done. However, as a
contingent measure, we have opened another bank account with a commercial
bank in Chinhoyi," said Mr Chakanetsa.

He, however, said Chinhoyi, which is about 250km away from Kariba, was too
long a distance for the municipality to carry out its daily banking

"It's time-consuming to continue working with building societies because
most of our transactions are made through cheques," he said.

A local businesswoman, who operates a hair salon and boutique, Mrs Sandra
Taderera, said the closure of CFX hurt her businesses during last year's
festive season. "I could not take advantage of the lucrative festive season
because all of my funds were frozen in the CFX and I failed to purchase
inputs. I appeal to other commercial banks to open branches to Kariba
because the closest is far away in Chinhoyi.

"Business in both the hair salon and boutique has dropped by 50 percent
because I have no money to purchase inputs," said Mrs Taderera.
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Khatami says Iran will stand by Zimbabwe

January 18, 2005, 18:00

Iranian leader Mohammad Khatami said his country would stand by Zimbabwe in
its battle against international isolation over President Robert Mugabe's

Mugabe's government is cultivating relations with Asian and Muslim countries
under a 'look east' policy. The aim is to revive an economy in recession for
the last 5 years and to ease sanctions imposed by Western powers over
accusations of vote-rigging and human rights abuses.

Khatami arrived in Zimbabwe yesterday for a three-day visit, and today held
meetings with business executives and top government officials to discuss
trade ahead of talks with Mugabe tomorrow.

Khatami told Mugabe at a state banquet last night that Iran, accused by the
US of sponsoring terrorism and being part of an "axis of evil," would stand
by Zimbabwe through its own problems with the West, Zimbabwe state media

"I share your historical suffering and grief ... on our part we stay next to
you and shall stay longer," Khatami said.

Zimbabwean officials said today Khatami had pledged at several meetings to
help Zimbabwe lift an economy which Mugabe charges has been sabotaged by
Western and domestic opponents seeking to overthrow him.

"President Khatami has pledged that the Republic of Iran is going to help us
in a number of areas, including in establishing farming machinery plants,"
said one Zimbabwean official.

The official said Iran and Zimbabwe would sign some trade and business
co-operation agreements before Khatami's departure tomorrow.

The state-controlled Herald newspaper said Mugabe told Khatami that he
regarded Iran as "a critical partner" in his 'look east' policy and had
praised Tehran for assisting his government with fertiliser, seed, tractors
and irrigation equipment as it implemented its controversial farm seizures.

"We cherish your unwavering support during the land reform process and look
forward to its continuation ...," he said.

Lovemore Madhuku, a political commentator, said Khatami's visit was about
building political ties between two states who both face troubled
relationships with the West.

"The Iranians see in Mugabe a person who can be an ally in their fight
against the Western world and in turn they also have a lot of tips for
Zimbabwe," Madhuku said.

"Of course the Iranians see a lot of opportunities to exploit Africa on the
economic front," he added of Khatami's Africa visit, which has included
stops in Mali and Benin. - Reuters
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Sunday Times, SA

Mugabe hails Iran during Khatami visit

Tuesday January 18, 2005 14:55 - (SA)

HARARE - President Robert Mugabe has hailed Iran as a 'critical partner' and
vowed to take cooperation to 'new heights' as he welcomed President Mohammad
Khatami to Zimbabwe, the state-run newspaper reported.

Khatami, who arrived here late on Monday on the penultimate leg of a
seven-nation African tour, visited the National Heroes Acre in Harare where
those who fought in Zimbabwe's liberation war against British colonial rule
are buried.

Although he was scheduled to hold talks with Mugabe this morning, Khatami
instead met the country's two vice presidents, Joseph Msika and Joyce

No reason was given for the cancellation of the meeting with Mugabe but the
two vice presidents said they discussed Zimbabwe's land reforms and
bilateral trade opportunities.

Khatami also met Islamic religious leaders based in Zimbabwe and Muslim

He was to fly out to Zimbabwe's prime resort of Victoria Falls for the
afternoon, where he will also visit a crocodile breeding farm.

Upon his return to Harare this evening, Khatami was to dine with Iranian
diplomats and citizens based in the southern African country.

Speaking at a banquet in Khatami's honour late on Monday, Mugabe hailed
oil-rich Iran as a key partner in Zimbabwe's drive to shun the West.

"We attach great importance to this visit as it will enable us to work
towards strengthening and diversifying our relations," Mugabe was quoted in
the state-run Herald newspaper as saying.

"Your visit affords an opportunity to raise our bilateral co-operation to
new heights as my government has embarked on a deliberate 'Look East' policy
in which your country is a critical partner."

Iran is one of the countries Mugabe has been warming up to following his new
policy, partly forced by Zimbabwe's isolation from the West over
controversial land reforms and allegedly fraud-marred elections in 2000 and

Mugabe also slammed Western powers opposed to his land reforms, saying they
were the same ones who had branded Iran as part of an "axis of evil", a
reference to the policy outlined by President George W. Bush in 2002 that
put Iran, Iraq and North Korea at the top of the US list of outlaw states.

"They have demonised my leadership and government while feverishly working
to effect a regime change," Mugabe said.

"We cherish your unwavering support during the land reform process and look
forward to its continuation as we empower our people," he added.

Iran - which has provided a E15 million-credit line to Zimbabwe to purchase
tractors, combine harvesters and medical equipment - will extend a further
20 million euro credit line for agriculture and communications, the
newspaper reported.

Khatami is due to depart Harare on Wednesday morning after signing some
protocols expected to boost trade between the two countries.

The Iranian leader arrived in Zimbabwe from Benin where he signed two
cooperation agreements on agriculture and trade.

He also visited Mali, Nigeria, Senegal, and Sierra Leone. From Zimbabwe, he
is due to travel to Uganda.

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No word on whether MDC will drop poll boycott

[ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]

HARARE, 18 Jan 2005 (IRIN) - Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) says it is keeping its options open on its participation in the
March general elections.

"Our position still remains that we have suspended participating in any
elections until the Zimbabwean government adheres to the SADC [Southern
African Development Community] protocol governing democratic elections," the
MDC secretary general, Welshman Ncube, told IRIN.

Ncube alleged that a partisan police still banned political rallies
organised by the MDC, while the ruling ZANU-PF's meetings went on
unhindered. Under the tough Public Order and Security Act (POSA), political
parties have to get clearance from the police to hold a gathering.

Police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena told IRIN that the reason the MDC's
applications were rejected was because the party allegedly advocated

"When they submit their applications to hold rallies, police have to make an
assessment of whether such a rally will not disturb peace and security in
the area," Bvudzijena explained.

Ncube said apart from being gagged by POSA, his party was also being denied
access to the public media, as required by the SADC protocol. However, the
government contends that because the opposition has not confirmed its
participation in the ballot, it does not qualify for airtime.

Ncube said a formal decision on participating in the March poll would be
made by the MDC's National Executive Council, the party's highest
decision-making body, and would depend on "events prevailing on the ground".

While not officially announcing a decision to take part in the poll,
preparations appear to be underway, suggesting that the MDC, the country's
main opposition party, will stand.

A list of candidates has almost been finalised, and the party has embarked
on a door-to-door campaign strategy in a bid to circumvent POSA by avoiding
public meetings.

Some MDC officials believe the party can capitalise on the faction fighting
that emerged at ZANU-PF's December congress over the choice of its second
vice-president, a potential successor to President Robert Mugabe.

Mugabe's choice, loyalist Joyce Mujuru, saw off her rival, parliamentary
speaker Emmerson Mnangagwa, after the party ruled that the post must be held
by a woman. A secret meeting, held at the Tsholotsho home of then
information minister Jonathan Moyo, allegedly to block Mujuru and back
Mnangagwa, attracted six provincial chairmen and reform-minded so-called
'Young Turks'.

"The ruling party has suspended six of its 10 provincial chairpersons, while
some senior party heavyweights have been sidelined from the party because of
the Tsholotsho meeting. I think we should take advantage of the
disgruntlement in ZANU-PF and fight it out in the upcoming elections," said
Sylvia Mtingondo, an MDC district official in the capital, Harare.

Ructions have also been caused by the ruling party's imposition of
candidates for the March election, which has excluded two cabinet
ministers - Moyo and Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa - as well as 10 MPs.
ZANU-PF said change was needed and it had agreed to allocate a third of all
places to women.

The MDC, formed in 1999, has emerged as the main political challenge to
Mugabe and ZANU-PF's 25-year hold on power. In its first ballot in 2000,
despite noteable levels of violence and intimidation, the party clinched 57
parliamentary seats against the ruling party's 62 elected seats.

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Condoleezza Rice Names World's 'Outposts of Tyranny'

       18 January 2005 | 17:00 | FOCUS News Agency

Washington. US secretary of state nominee Condoleezza Rice has branded
Belarus, Cuba, Iran, Myanmar, North Korea and Zimbabwe as 'outposts of
'In our world there remain outposts of tyranny and America stands with
oppressed people on every continent... in Cuba, and Burma (Myanmar), and
North Korea, and Iran, and Belarus, and Zimbabwe,' she said, during her
opening statement prepared for her first confirmation hearing, AFP
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Cape Argus

      MDC hails ANC call for fair elections
      January 18, 2005

      By Peta Thornycroft

      Calls by the ANC for the levelling of the political playing field in
Zimbabwe were welcomed by the opposition Movement for Democratic Change

      But the MDC said these needed to be supplemented by pressure on
violent youth militias and by the independence of poll officials.

      The calls came as the ruling Zanu-PF held primary elections that were
marred by violence and complaints of vote-rigging.
      President Robert Mugabe tightened his grip by having loyalists
re-elected and recent critics sidelined.

      MDC justice spokesman David Coltart welcomed ANC secretary-general
Kgalema Motlanthe's statement on Monday - in which the ANC rebuked its
sister party, Zanu-PF, for the first time in public.

      Coltart singled out criticism of the requirement to obtain police
permission for political meetings.

      However, he said, "we would ask them to focus on the key issue, the
absence of an independent electoral commission. The elections will, as in
the past, effectively be run by the Registrar-General's office and Zimbabwe
will hold by far the most uneven elections in the region.

      "We also need pressure for the dissolution of the Zanu-PF youth
militia and some policemen to be confined to barracks so that we can hold
meetings in peace."

      President Robert Mugabe's inner circle did not have to face primary
elections at the weekend and were rubber-stamped as Zanu-PF candidates for
the general election, expected in March.

      But Emmerson Mnangagwa, tipped to succeed Mugabe until last December,
and who comes from another clan, had to fight a primary election and most of
his MPs were outgunned.
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Meeting On Trans-Frontier Project

New Era (Windhoek)

January 17, 2005
Posted to the web January 18, 2005

Wezi Tjaronda

STAKEHOLDERS in the Kavango Zambezi Project previously known as the Okavango
Upper Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area (Ouzit) are expected to meet
in Windhoek next month to provide a tentative guide for the envisioned

The project, a new conservation and tourism development initiative based on
the world-renowned wetland systems of the Okavango and Zambezi, happens to
be one of the world's largest single transfrontier conservation areas to
date that could be developed into a world-class tourism destination as it
straddles five countries.

The countries involved in this visionary project are, Namibia, Botswana,
Zambia, Zimbabwe and Angola. The joint venture was initiated seven years ago
to get the best out the countries' wildlife, natural resources and rich
cultural heritage by promoting tourism.

The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Environment and Tourism, Dr Malan
Lindeque, said last week the conference, scheduled for February 16 and 17,
will inform and involve the relevant institutions and people concerned in
Namibia in the KAZA Trans-Frontier Conservation Area (TFCA).

Lindeque said the workshop, which is a national consultative
multi-stakeholder meeting to establish a national consensus on the
establishment of the KAZA-TFCA, will also explore, discuss and prioritise
the visions, perceptions, opportunities and challenges for various
stakeholders who will be actively involved in the project.

The Ministry of Environment and Tourism with the assistance of InWEnt, a
German based capacity building institution has organised the workshop.

The meeting will also identify potential areas of structural and
non-structural interventions to provide a tentative guide for project
appraisals to develop infrastructure that will enhance regional economic

The ministers tasked with the environment of the five countries have met on
different occasions to harmonise the laws of their countries and they have
agreed that roads, airports and other infrastructure need to be upgraded to
internationally accepted standards if the planned project is to succeed.

They have also discussed marketing, via regimes, access to areas through
neighbouring countries, prohibitive fees and licences.

Last year, at a meting held in Livingstone in Zambia, Zimbabwe was appointed
the secretariat of the transfrontier park (TFP). Namibia's cabinet last year
also approved a contribution of US$ 50 000 from it's contingency provision
in the event that external funding is not sufficient for the project.

South Africa has created three transfrontier parks with Botswana, Namibia,
Zimbabwe and Mozambique.

The Peace Parks Foundation has identified 22 TFP that are not only seen as
conservation drives but also to serve economic development and regional
integration purposes. According to studies done by the TFP, the 22
international parks could cover more than 100 million hectares and once
completed, they could attract eight million tourists and create a million
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ANC Turns Up Volume of 'Quiet Diplomacy'

Business Day (Johannesburg)

January 18, 2005
Posted to the web January 18, 2005

Hopewell Radebe With Sapa

The African National Congress (ANC) stepped up the pressure on the
Zimbabwean government yesterday, warning that its treatment of the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) was not conducive to a free
and fair election in March.

The comments by ANC secretary-general Kgalema Motlanthe were among the
strongest to date by a senior official from the ANC, which has been
reluctant to publicly criticise the government of President Robert Mugabe.

After the annual "lekgotla" of the ANC's national executive committee,
Motlanthe unusually delved into specific criticism of the political climate
in Zimbabwe ahead of the parliamentary elections, including its concern that
the MDC was still required to obtain permission from police to hold public

"We have been concerned about several things. The MDC is a party that
participates in parliament and it controls several municipalities. This
position impairs its ability to interact with its constituencies. It is an

The ANC was continuously engaging the ruling Zanu (PF) on the issue. "Over
the years we have been saying to them that you cannot have a properly
registered party restricted in this way. Indeed, the playing field should be
levelled and the police should act in an impartial manner."

The MDC should also be given access to state-owned media institutions,
Motlanthe said. He was pleased by the commitment both parties had made to
electoral guidelines laid out by the Southern African Development Community
(SADC), and the ANC was "nudging Zanu (PF) that the outcome of the election
must be beyond questioning by anyone".

This is first time the ANC has publicly declared that it has been putting
pressure on Zanu (PF) to strictly adhere to the SADC election protocol.

Political analyst Shadrack Gutto said this indicated some confidence on the
ANC's part that it would do so, but Zanu (PF)'s undertaking would carry much
more weight if it had been made to the appropriate structures of SADC and
the African Union, which were in a position to give legitimacy to the

The MDC's secretary-general, Welshman Ncube, said he was suspicious of the
Zanu (PF) undertaking as it had in the past made promises to appease its
political friends while continuing to intimidate opposition members.

The MDC would particularly like to see changes in the behaviour of the
Zimbabwean police, which had refused him (Ncube) the right to address two
public meeting at the weekend.

While Zimbabwe has not yet appointed an independent electoral commission, it
had nonetheless proceeded to publish the voters' roll and called on citizens
to inspect their names. This was a violation of the functions of the
commission, whose duty it would be to certify the voters roll.

Gutto said if Mugabe implemented the SADC protocol in the March poll,
government's policy of "quiet diplomacy" would have finally prevailed.
President Thabo Mbeki has risked criticism by continuing to talk to the
Zimbabwean government amid international condemnation .

Zanu (PF)'s publicity secretary in Johannesburg, Gadzira Chirumhanzu,
defended the requirement that the MDC receive written permission for public
meetings. He said instead of criticising the police , the MDC should plan
its meetings in advance and submit their schedules.
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