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

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Business Report
      Zimbabwe's inflation falls considerably 
      January 26, 2005

      Harare - Zimbabwe's central bank chief Gideon Gono on Wednesday said inflation, which peaked to more than 600 percent a year ago, would fall to between 20 and 35 percent this year and to a single digit in 2006.

      "In 2005, the inflation rate is projected to continue to decline steadily through the year to end between 20 and 35 percent," Gono said while reviewing the economic policy for the last quarter of 2004.

      He said inflation had plummeted to "132.6 percent in December from a peak of 622.8 percent in January," but stressed that despite this breakthrough, Zimbabwe still had the world's highest inflation rate.

      Gono had been appointed in 2003 to nurse the once-model economy, now plagued by high unemployment, poverty, crippling inflation and a free-falling currency, back to health.  

      He said the outlook on growth was positive for the first time in years.

      Gono said growth this year was "projected at between three and five percent from a 30.7 percent cumulative decline over the years 2001 to 2004."

      The Reserve Bank governor however warned of a crackdown on those state-run companies which are overstaffed, with poor productivity levels and prone to increasing prices at the drop of a hat.

      "To date, most parastatals have been a drag to our turnaround efforts and a source of misery to both households and the economy as a whole.

      "The time is now to reject non-performers at all parastatals ... and to put a stop to their perpetual dependence on unnecessary price hikes to consumers," he said. - AFP
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Zimbabwe's foreign currency inflow increases sharply in 2004 2005-01-27 05:25:07

    HARARE, Jan. 26 (Xinhuanet) -- Foreign currency inflows into official coffers in Zimbabwe increased sharply last year to a total of 1.711 billion US dollars from 301 million US dollars in 2003, the southern African country's central bank said Wednesday.
  Governor of Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Gideon Gono, in a monetarypolicy statement, said an upturn in gold output and earnings largely accounted for the sharp increase in hard currency inflows into the country last year.
    "The growth in foreign exchange inflows has largely been shoredup by significant gold deliveries which saw cumulative gold sales reaching 273.8 million US dollars by the end of December, 2004 compared to only 152.3 million US dollars for the whole of 2003, representing a growth rate of 80 percent," said Gono.
    Gold output went up 72 percent last year to 21.3 tons, again inpart after the authorities launched a nationwide crackdown on illegal trading and smuggling of the precious metal, the country's second biggest single export after tobacco.
    The increase represented a whopping 468 percent rise on 2003 foreign currency inflows, and this is partly a result of a crackdown launched by the authorities last year on illegal foreigncurrency trading, especially by banks.
    This has allowed local currency, the Zimbabwean dollar, to stabilize, and the country to afford key imports such as electricity and fuel.
    The Zimbabwean dollar, without the backing of strong hard currency reserves, had come under pressure in recent years, while on the other hand making it difficult for the country to import adequate fuel and electricity, resulting in rationing of the two commodities.
    This was after western countries opposed to Zimbabwe's land policies cut off financial support, even through multilateral agencies, to force the country to relent on its agrarian reforms.
    The central bank chief said he projected foreign currency inflows to grow to 3.05 billion US dollars this year, and 3.9 billion US dollars next year on the back of strong export-led economic recovery.
    "For the economy to operate smoothly, the country needs monthlyinflows of at least 250 million US dollars or 3 billion US dollarsannually," he said.
    "We call upon and implore sectoral captains of industry and commerce to drive up their productive systems to turn our collective vision into reality," Gono added. Enditem
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Zimbabwe to introduce new bank notes in 2006 2005-01-27 05:24:18

    HARARE, Jan 26 (Xinhuanet) -- The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) is set to introduce new bank notes in 2006 to replace the currencythat is in circulation.
    Announcing the 2004 fourth quarter monetary policy statement onWednesday, RBZ Governor Gideon Gono said the decline in inflation,which was expected to reach single digit levels by mid 2006, necessitated the currency reforms.
    "I am pleased to report that considerable progress has been made toward preparatory work for the design and production of new currency that will replace the exiting denominations, including the bearer cheques in 2006," he said.
    He said the public would be kept informed of the development asthe implementation of the plan was still in progress.
    Following a cash crisis that hit the country in 2003, the central bank introduced bearer cheques in denominations of 20,000-Zimbabwean-dollar notes, 10,000-Zimbabwean-dollar notes and 5,000-Zimbabwean-dollar notes.
    New 1,000-Zimbabwean-dollar notes and 500-Zimbabwean-dollar notes were also introduced during the same year, resulting in a drastic decline in the use of coins. Enditem
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Enough is Enough
We have a fundamental right to freedom of expression!
“Mauritius Watch”
The Zimbabwean Elections:
(Monitoring SADC Protocol Violations)
Issue 13.   24 January 2005
On 17 August 2004, SADC leaders meeting in Mauritius adopted the SADC Protocol – Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections.  Zimbabwe, as a member of SADC, also signed the Protocol and committed itself to implementing its standards.
“Mauritius Watch” provides a regular, objective and non-partisan assessment of Zimbabwe’s compliance with the Protocol.  In the run-up to the 2005 Parliamentary Elections we note any significant failures to adhere to the SADC standards.
DateIncidents/Developments SADC standards breached
Police on Sunday, January 23, arrested opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) legislator, Thokozani Khupe, and 60 activists for meeting without permission from the law enforcement authority.  At least 31 of those arrested were released the same day without being charged, but Ms Khupe and the other 29 activists spent the night in the filthy police cells in Bulawayo.  The MP was produced in court on Monday (January 24) where she was charged with a violation of the Public Order and Security Act (POSA).   She was remanded on bail.    
An MDC official, Victor Moyo, said that Ms Khupe, who is the Member of Parliament for Makokoba constituency, was holding a “private meeting” with her supporters at her restaurant in Bulawayo city centre when the police arrested them.  “What bothers us,” said Moyo, “is that this was not a public meeting.  That is why it was not being held in a public place like a stadium or a hall.  As far as we were concerned, there was no need for police clearance because it was strictly private.”
Under the now infamous Public Order and Security Act it is illegal for Zimbabweans to meet in public in groups of three or more people to discuss politics without notifying the police.  The MDC, which has had many of its public meetings cancelled by the police, says the law has been used by ZANU PF to derail its campaign ahead of the general election scheduled for March.  Not a single instance is known in which the police have banned a meeting by Robert Mugabe or his ruling ZANU PF party. 
The MDC wants the security law repealed as part of moves to level the playing fields before it can agree to participate in the March poll. Their demands received a boost last week when ANC general secretary Kgalema Motlanthe said it was indeed an anomaly that such a major opposition party had to ask for police permission to hold meetings.  (A full report on Motlanthe’s comments can be viewed in the Zim Online article).
(See the report in Zim Online:  24.01.05)2.1.2         Freedom of association
4.1.1        Constitutional and legal guarantees of freedom and rights of the citizens
4.1.2        Conducive environment for free, fair and peaceful elections
7.4              (Government to) safeguard the human and civil liberties of all citizens including the freedom of movement, assembly, association, expression and campaigning … during the electoral process …
New evidence of attacks on opposition supporters has been passed to the Guardian (UK) by activists who say they are being subjected to systematic violence, intimidation and sexual abuse in the run-up to the elections in March. 
In one case Ms Tabeth Shoniwa, the MDC chair of Ward 5 in Epworth on the outskirts of Harare, was covered in paraffin and set alight.  She is now in hiding but agreed to have her photograph published to highlight the situation.
Supporters of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), the main opposition party, say they have been targeted by youth militia groups sympathetic to ZANU PF.  Photographs presented to the Guardian show evidence of intimidation and violence against local MDC activists, including systematic arrests and beatings of women.  The Guardian has passed the evidence to Amnesty International.
One of the activists photographed was Ms Shoniwa, a few days after her ordeal. Her crime was to have attended the High Court in Harare on October 15, 2004, the day the MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai, was acquitted of treason.  Ms Shoniwa had celebrated outside the court with other MDC activists.
A witness told the Guardian: “A group of ZANU PF youth who terrorize people followed her to her home.  They called her out … and threw paraffin on her body and set her alight.  She jumped into a well to put out the flames. There were other people there targeted and beaten. One man I saw had his face swollen beyond recognition, and another had his eardrums damaged by the beating he received.”
In another recent incident 25 people, including four women, were arrested for attending the funeral of an opposition politician. 
The women were beaten across the back and legs, and then taken to hospital where they were under police guard, preventing anyone from documenting their injuries.
(See the report in the Guardian (UK) 18.05.05)2.1.1        Full participation of citizens in the political process
2.1.2        Freedom of association
2.1.3        Political tolerance
4.1.1        Constitutional and legal guarantees of freedom and rights of the citizens
4.1.2        Conducive environment for free, fair and peaceful elections
7.4.            (Government to) safeguard the human and civil liberties of all citizens including the freedom of movement, assembly, association, expression and campaigning … during the electoral process …
7.5   (Government to) take all necessary measures and precautions to prevent the perpetration of fraud, rigging or any other illegal practices throughout the whole electoral process ..
On January 18 the police arrested 11 members of the Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) group after demonstrations in the capital.  Two of the women were later released without being charged but only after receiving a severe beating from the police.
The WOZA women were protesting as concerned mothers against plummeting standards of education, rocketing school fees and prices of uniforms.
A journalist, Frank Chikowore, who was arrested by the police while covering the protest of about 300 women in the Harare city centre, was also released without charge. 
The arrest of Chikowore, a journalist accredited under Zimbabwe’s draconian press laws, was strongly condemned by the local chapter of the Media Institute of Southern Africa and the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists.
(See the report in Zim Online: 19.01.05)2.1.1        Full participation of citizens in the political process
2.1.2        Freedom of association
4.1.1.      Constitutional and legal guarantees of freedom and rights of the citizens
4.1.2        Conducive environment for free, fair and peaceful elections
7.4              (Government to) safeguard the human and civil liberties of all citizens …
Voting for candidates in the ZANU PF primaries ahead of the national poll in March revealed rampant violence, fraud and confusion within the ruling party.  There were long delays and serious irregularities in the voting, and many party stalwarts were visibly angered at the exclusion of about a score of senior party officials.  The officials were purged by Mugabe in a major crackdown on dissent within the ranks of the organization he has controlled with an iron fist for 30 years.
In one constituency, Social Welfare Minister Cephas Mangwana burned a pile of ballot papers when he saw he was losing, according to a report in the pro-government Daily Mirror.  Mangwana is the architect of the law soon to be promulgated which is intended to close down human rights organisations, especially those working to achieve transparent elections.
The State-run daily Herald, which usually censors reports embarrassing to ZANU PF, reported recently that the results in two constituencies in eastern Zimbabwe had been suspended after massive rigging and vote buying. Suspension of proceedings because of irregularities was reported in several other constituencies.  Frequent violent clashes between supporters of different factions were reported, and in one constituency in Harare, riot police had to be called twice to break up brawling.
Mugabe’s victories in parliamentary elections in 2000 and presidential elections in 2002 have been widely dismissed as the result of fraud and violent intimidation.
(See the report in the Mail & Guardian (SA):  17.01.05)
 2.1.3    Political tolerance
4.1.2     Conducive environment for free, fair and peaceful elections
Zimbabwean opposition parties and civic groups have warned that unless the voters’ roll is urgently reviewed by an independent body, the credibility of the March general elections will be totally undermined.  The voters’ roll was opened for inspection on January 17 for 14 days.
Lovemore Madhuku, chairman of the pro-democracy group, the National Constitutional Assembly, contended that the roll would be no different from the one used in the 2002 presidential election which was condemned as flawed by most international observers.  “The roll is in a shambles,” said Madhuku. “Over the years the registrar-general’s office has added more names but not totally reformed the roll …. We have had cases of deceased people appearing on the roll, people being registered in the wrong constituencies, or others simply failing to find their names.”
Registrar-General Tobiawa Mudede announced that his department would prepare the roll according to the new constituency boundaries drawn up by the Delimitation Commission.  However, Madhuku says it is impossible for the authorities to compile an accurate roll in time because of the lack of resources and, in the absence of an independent electoral body, the authorities can manipulate the voting process.
(Reported from IRIN (UN):  17.01.05
By his own admission, Mudede is a ZANU PF supporter. He has been heavily criticized in the past by opposition parties and civic groups alike for his blatantly partisan stance. Evidence of his bad faith, if it were needed, is provided by his refusal to meet opposition demands to make copies of the voters’ roll available in electronic form for ease of reference and checking.  The voters’ roll exists on two CDs, but Mudede won’t let opposition parties have copies.  To opposition parties, the voters’ roll is available only on printouts that would fill a small shed and cost R12 000 per copy – the equivalent of the annual salary of an MP. 
 2.1.7        Independence of the Judiciary and impartiality of the electoral institutions
4.1.3        Non-discrimination in voters’ registration
4.1.4        Existence of updated and accessible voters’ roll
7.3            (Government to) establish impartial, all-inclusive, competent and accountable national electoral bodies staffed by qualified personnel, as well as competent legal entities including effective constitutional courts to arbitrate in the event of disputes arising from the conduct of elections
Confusion and frustration have characterized an exercise to inspect the voters’ roll to be used in Zimbabwe’s general election in March. Many voters have given up the attempt to register after coming up against stringent requirements which effectively disenfranchise them.
A snap survey carried out in the cities of Harare, Chitungwiza, Mutare and some rural areas in Manicaland confirmed a high level of discontent among voters.
The requirements for correcting errors on the roll are so stringent that many urban voters have given up the attempt in frustration. They are required to produce water or electricity bills, lodgers’ cards bearing an official stamp or letters from employers – conditions which many find difficult to meet. 
Rural voters are finding that they require letters confirming where they live from their local headman.  The traditional leaders, now being paid by government, are showing themselves reluctant to assist those associated with the main opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), or perceived to be sympathetic to the party.
“What am I supposed to do?” asked a young man, Joseph Maromo from Zimunya rural area close to Mutare.  “My name is not on the roll; the officers from Medede’s office (the Registrar-General) say I must produce a letter from the headman of our village to be registered, but the headman won’t give me the letter because he suspects all school leavers are anti ZANU PF.”
(See the report in Zim Online:  20.01.05)
 2.1.6         Equal opportunity to exercise the right to vote and be voted for
4.1.3         Non-discrimination in voters’ registration
4.1.4        Existence of updated and accessible voters’ roll
Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa announced last week a new five-member Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), headed by pro-ZANU PF High Court Judge, George Chiweshe.
Chinamasa said the commissioners were chosen by Mugabe in consultation with the Judicial Services Commission from a list compiled by Parliament’s Committee on Standing Rules and Orders.  The committee includes legislators of the three political parties represented in the House, but it is dominated by the ZANU PF party which, under Zimbabwe’s skewed constitution, has a majority of seats.  Mugabe alone appointed Chiweshe to be chairperson of the committee.
Chiweshe is a former army officer.  He also chaired the Delimitation Committee that recently drew up the country’s voting constituencies, removing three constituencies in urban strongholds of the MDC and adding three to traditional ZANU PF areas.
In a carefully worded statement the MDC secretary for information and publicity, Paul Themba Nyathi, said his party “has serious reservations in respect of the impartiality and independence of the person appointed as chairperson.”  He added that High Court judge Chiweshe was “not known for impartiality in the manner in which he has handled cases relating to the MDC and its members.”  Chiweshe made legal history when he denied a critically-ill opposition MP bail, saying the State did not have to provide prima facie evidence to support his continued detention.
(See the report in Zim Online:  21.01 05)2.1.7        ndependence of the Judiciary and impartiality of the electoral institutions
7.3              (Government to) establish impartial, all-inclusive, competent and accountable national electoral bodies staffed by qualified personnel, as well as competent legal entities including effective constitutional courts to arbitrate in the event of disputes arising from the conduct of elections
United States Secretary of State-designate, Condoleezza Rice, last week listed Zimbabwe among six remaining “outposts of tyranny” in the world requiring close US attention.
Rice, who was appearing before the Foreign Relations Committee for vetting on her suitability for Washington’s top diplomatic post, spoke as a new United Nations report listed Zimbabwe among poor countries that must improve their human rights record before the world can fully assist them fight HIV/AIDS.
Speaking more candidly Rice said:  “In our world there remain outposts of tyranny and America stands with oppressed people on every continent, in Cuba and Burma (Myanmar), North Korea and Iran, and Belarus and Zimbabwe.”
(See report in Zim Online:  20.01.05)
Two months ahead of Zimbabwe’s key general election in March the ANC leadership have broken their own self-imposed silence, widely criticized internationally, on the anti-democratic policies of Robert Mugabe’s  ZANU PF party.
ANC secretary general Kgalema Motlanthe told a media conference last week that the ANC was committed to ensuring free and fair elections in Zimbabwe and that the outcome was respected by all parties.  For this to take place ZANU PF would have to create the right campaigning environment.
Motlanthe said it was an anomaly that the MDC, and the largest opposition grouping that controlled some municipalities and a registered party, still had to ask for police permission to hold meetings.  “That, in itself, impairs the MDC’s ability to interact with their constituency,” he said.
Motlanthe said it was time Zimbabwe’s police became impartial in the execution of their duties.
The secretary general’s remarks were the outcome of an ANC policy lekgotla held at the beginning of the year.  It was decided there that the ANC should communicate more openly about its efforts to resolve the Zimbabwean impasse.
(See the report in the Mail & Guardian (SA): 21.01.05)  

Note:  The fraudulent and violence-ridden elections of 2000 and 2002 were narrowly “won” by Robert Mugabe, who has maintained his iron grip on the country by using strategies designed to annihilate all forms of opposition.
Although a date has not been given yet for the Parliamentary Elections which Mugabe has indicated will take place some time in March,  already it can be seen that there is no prospect that those elections will be fair and free.  During the thirteen weeks that Sokwanele has been systematically tracking and recording developments, it has become increasingly apparent that the regime is moving further away from the SADC Protocol on Democratic Elections, rather than towards compliance.  The regime is going to some lengths within the region to portray itself as moving to meet those criteria, but the reality is totally different.  Behind the façade of democracy, every institution or legal principle which would favour a free and fair election has been systematically destroyed to ensure that the poll will produce a pre-determined result favouring ZANU PF.
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BOTSWANA: Stepping up efforts to handle illegal immigrants

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

GABORONE, 26 Jan 2005 (IRIN) - Botswana has unveiled plans to build an
additional centre to house the growing numbers of illegal immigrants
crossing into the country, mainly from neighbouring Zimbabwe.

The new centre, expected to be situated in Molepolole, a village 60 km west
of the capital, Gaborone, is meant to ease the pressure on a similar
facility in Francistown, which is already stretched to capacity.

Thousands of Zimbabweans have been flocking to Botswana since 2000, when
President Robert Mugabe's government embarked on the controversial land
reform programme that has compounded its economic problems.

Police commissioner Edwin Batshu was quoted recently in the Botswana
Guardian newspaper as saying that, unlike the Francistown shelter, which
serves as a holding station for illegal immigrants awaiting deportation, the
new centre would receive illegal immigrants who had been given custodial
sentences by the country's courts.

"People will no longer have the luxury of being deported across the border,
only for them to resurface shortly thereafter, as has been the case over the
years," Batshu said.

Tension between the two countries has been simmering in recent years as
increasing numbers of Zimbabweans entered Botswana, both legally and
illegally, in a bid to escape the economic crisis at home. Last year
Botswana's immigration authorities complained that deporting an estimated
2,500 Zimbabweans each month had become a drain on the country's resources:
in November and December 2004, repatriating illegal immigrants, mainly back
to Zimbabwe, had cost the country 169,000 Pula (US $33,800).

The authorities recently moved to amend the Immigration Act of 2003, which
will see stiffer fines - between P300 ($60) and P4,000 ($800) - and
sentences imposed on those entering the country illegally.

"The original act was lenient, and was encouraging aliens to overstay in the
country," the principal immigration officer, Jimmy Kabelo, told IRIN.

Batshu pointed out that those convicted of contravening immigration laws
would be kept at the new centre for up to five months before being deported
to their home countries.

According to the immigration officials, most Zimbabweans enter Botswana
legally, using valid visas obtained at the two countries' common border
posts, but when their visas expire, they evade immigration officials and the
police, and remain in the country.

Batshu said the police, assisted by the army, were expected to intensify
patrols along the common borders to effectively deal with the problem of
illegal immigrants, and the government was speeding up construction of the
controversial 500 km electric fence between the two countries, which would
be patrolled by the security forces.

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Socialist Worker

Blair sends us back to Mugabe’s torturers

Zimbabweans protesting in Leicester last month	(Pic: S.O’Neil)

POLITICIANS OF all parties rushed last year to denounce the brutalities of Robert Mugabe’s regime in Zimbabwe. Now they are united on forcibly deporting Zimbabwean refugees back to torture and possible death.

There are more than 4 million Zimbabweans living outside the country. The vast majority of these are victims of political repression by Mugabe and his oppressive and brutal ZANU-PF regime.

Many of us who were forced out of the country are now scattered all over the world as impoverished and financially destitute refugees. Our normal condition of life is that we have nowhere decent to live and we are frequently stopped and searched or arrested.

But now worse is to come. Since the end of last year the Labour government (with support from Michael Howard’s Conservatives) has decreed that we may be detained and forcibly deported. Men and women who have suffered torture and imprisonment for their political beliefs and actions, who have seen their relatives killed by Mugabe’s thugs, now face the prospect of being returned to Mugabe’s hands.

Zimbabwe is currently politically dangerous and an unsafe country to live in unless one is seen as entirely in accord with Mugabe’s regime.

But instead of being welcomed here to Britain as true refugees from oppression, black Zimbabwean asylum seekers have continued to find the doors slammed in their faces. The new policy of forced deportations makes no pretence that Zimbabwe has become a safer place since 2002 — when Britain suspended removals to the country.

The government says that there has been no change “in our opposition to human rights abuses in Zimbabwe” and it will work to “restore democracy so that all Zimbabweans can in time return safely to help build a prosperous and stable Zimbabwe”.

It is clear that what has changed since 2002 is not Zimbabwe but the British political climate.

UK immigration authorities are imposing inhuman restrictions on Zimbabwean refugees.

These include the impossible requirement for visas to enter Britain from Zimbabwe, detentions of refugees, work permit restrictions, denial of clinic and hospital treatment, removal of financial support and removal from accommodation provided by the National Asylum Seeker Service.

This wave of attacks against black Zimbabweans is unjust and inhuman. In December, last year, the Leader of the House of Commons, Peter Hain, declared in parliament that, “Mugabe is a murderer”. The question is why then does the British government have to send people back to Zimbabwe without any means of monitoring their fate once they are back there?

Let us think of the pain, agony, anguish and distress caused to all those Zimbabweans who are now the victims of this racist British deportation policy.

We ask everyone who believes in justice to join us on Saturday. We have already been greatly heartened by the response from trade unions, asylum rights campaigners and others. The greater the number of people on the protest, the greater the pressure on the government to rethink its policy.

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Anti-Inflation Drive: Economists Hold Mixed Predictions

The Herald (Harare)

January 26, 2005
Posted to the web January 26, 2005


ECONOMISTS have expressed mixed feelings on Zimbabwe*s ongoing war against
inflation with some being optimistic over this year*s target while others
have adopted a wait-and-see attitude.

Inflation, declared Zimbabwe*s number one enemy, is targeted by the Reserve
Bank of Zimbabwe to come down to between 30 percent and 50 percent (on an
annual basis) by year end, and ultimately to single-digit territory by

But economists have come up with vastly different predictions on the
direction of Zimbabwe*s inflation over the next 12 months, citing varying

While maintaining inflation would persist with its downward pattern, some
economic commentators argue the country will slightly miss its year end
forecasts owing to inflationary cost-push factors.

Remarked a Harare economist: "The inflation outlook for 2005 will to some
extent consist of hidden inflation due to price increases that may not be
fully reflected due to the weighting of the CPI basket in addition to
parallel/multiple pricing of controlled products."

Hidden inflation occurs when there is an increase in prices, but this is not
captured in official statistics.

"The inflation forecast consists of several cost-push factors that will
inevitably manifest in spikes in local prices. This will feed into cost-push
inflation, throwing efforts to keep a rein on inflation off the rails. "We
predict year-on-year inflation would be around 92 percent by December 2005."

Other factors to rebel against the RBZ*s targets include price increases in
power, fuel, telecommunications, wages and imported raw materials, which
might eat into margins while the upward review of revenue, particularly
exports, may not tally with the increases.

However, other economists feel the Reserve Bank will beat its targets just
like it did in the previous year.

During the first three months of 2005, the analysts have put Zimbabwe*s
annual inflation in the 105 percent to 115 percent range leaving December
forecasts well within sight.

"We expect inflation to continue falling on the back of relatively low
prices of staple foodstuffs as a result of the consistent supply of
agricultural produce. Low money supply growth and relatively low import
costs due to the stability of the exchange rate on the foreign currency
auction market will also ease pressure on inflation.

"The prediction is that RBZ will meet its year end targets," said another

Zimbabwe*s year-on-year inflation has been running southwards, having
dropped to 132,7 percent as at December 31, 2004 from a record high 623
percent recorded in January 2004. The Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce,
the voice of commerce, recently attacked the 126 percent tariff hike by Zesa
Holdings, describing it as "inflationary".

Also coming under attack were rises in telecommunication tariffs by the
country*s sole fixed line network, TelOne.

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Zim eyes one-digit inflation
26/01/2005 19:18  - (SA)

Zimbabwe's central bank chief Gideon Gono Wednesday said inflation, which
peaked to more than 600% a year ago, would fall to between 20% and 35% this
year and to a single digit in 2006.

"In 2005, the inflation rate is projected to continue to decline steadily
through the year to end between 20 and 35%," Gono said while reviewing the
economic policy for the last quarter of 2004.

He said inflation had plummetted to "132.6% in December from a peak of
622.8% in January," but stressed that despite this breakthrough, Zimbabwe
still had the world's highest inflation rate.

Gono had been appointed in 2003 to nurse the once-model economy, now plagued
by high unemployment, poverty, crippling inflation and a free-falling
currency, back to health.

He said the outlook on growth was positive for the first time in years.

Gono said growth this year was "projected at between three and five percent
from a 30.7% cumulative decline over the years 2001 to 2004."

The Reserve Bank governor however warned of a crackdown on those state-run
companies which are overstaffed, with poor productivity levels and prone to
increasing prices at the drop of a hat.

"To date, most parastatals have been a drag to our turnaround efforts and a
source of misery to both households and the economy as a whole.

"The time is now to reject non-performers at all parastatals ... and to put
a stop to their perpetual dependence on unneccessary price hikes to
consumers," he said.
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Harare Hospital in Intensive Care

The Herald (Harare)

January 26, 2005
Posted to the web January 26, 2005

Tsitsi Matope

HARARE Central Hospital, one of the country's major referral centres, is on
its knees and faces imminent collapse with most of its obsolete equipment
now giving in.

Five of its elevators have broken down; many toilets and sinks are blocked;
part of the ceiling leaks badly; the laboratory equipment and anaesthetic
machines are not functioning; incubators are operating at reduced capacity;
and three out of the five dialysis machines are not in working order.

This has put under threat the lives of hundreds of patients referred weekly
from provincial hospitals and clinics.

"Most of our machines are obsolete and cannot be repaired. Some of them have
been like this for the past 10 years," the hospital superintendent and
surgeon Mr Chris Tapfumaneyi said yesterday.

Nurses have to carry the sick up the stairs to wards in upper floors, while
bodies being removed from wards to mortuaries are placed in bodybags and
dragged down the stairs.

In the past, trolleys were used to carry both the sick or bodies of the
deceased in elevators.

Patients requiring X-rays who are unable to walk are also ferried on
stretchers, risking more physical damage as some would be badly injured.

Yesterday, dirty linen - normally carried down in elevators from the upper
floors - could be seen being thrown haphazardly onto the ground floor

Clean linen is carried up the stairs in small batches.

Harare Central Hospital's laboratory scientists are unable to make any
medical tests on patients' blood or any other samples because the equipment
in the laboratories is not working.

The theatre equipment, including anaesthetic machines, is barely
functioning, making it unsafe for patients to be operated on in the
hospital's theatre.

The bulk of patients with serious complications are referred to Parirenyatwa
Hospital for surgery.

The Herald was yesterday taken on a tour of the maternity ward where two
elevators are grounded while som eof the blocked toilets and sinks were
flooded with bloodstained water.

Pregnant women and those that suffered complications during birth use tubs
for bathing as the showers are not in working order.

There is also no warm water because the geysers broke down long ago.

Showers are recommended in hospitals as they help prevent the spread of
various infections which easily occurs when patients bath in tub water or
share bath basins.

The 1 428-bed hospital, once the pride of the country, is now run down owing
to lack of finance and neglect.

The ceiling in the maternity ward is leaking unchecked while electrical
cables hang precariously from the ceilings posing danger to patients,
visitors and hospital staff.

Every day more than 60 women deliver at the hospital's maternity wing.
Presently 36 sick and premature babies are being looked after at the
hospital's nursery.

But the central heating system that provides a regulated warm environment to
the babies has been down since last year.

The babies in cracked bassinets or dishes, are exposed to an abnormal open
heating system provided by heaters, which nursing staff must switch off when
the nursery becomes too hot.

The incubators, according to Mr Tapfumaneyi, are of an old model and the
heat is not properly regulated.

A senior nurse in the nursery yesterday said there was a lot that needs to
be done in the wing.

"Yes, there have been children who were infected here because of the hostile
conditions unfit for babies. Even the mothers of these babies are not
supposed to come in here in their clothes. But the hospital does not have
any garments and that exposes the babies to some infections," said Sister
Apolonia Nyabereka.

She said babies are fed every two hours before the cups they use are

"At the moment, we immerse the cups in a mixture called the Milton's
solution which is not ideal because our steriliser is not working," Sr
Nyabereka said.

The maternity ward matron, Sister Sophia Mukunyadze, said the wing needs
major refurbishment.

The elevators were repaired by a company called Otis until five years ago
when it declared them obsolete.

"They indicated that we have to find new elevators. They kept making some
repairs which did not make a difference because a repaired elevator could
only function for an hour before it broke down," Mr Tapfumaneyi said.

Otis relocated to South Africa last year and they have been relying on
another company which is "panel-beating" the irreparable elevators.

"We were allocated $300 million to purchase two elevators, but our problem
is that the State Procurement Board has not yet awarded a new tender for the
work. We wrote them in October last year but there is no development yet."

The elevators were declared unfit for hospital use by National Social
Security Authority inspectors last year.

Mr Tapfumaneyi said repair or replacement of certain equipment at the
hospital is hampered by lack of foreign currency.

"I have about $2 billion lying in the bank to purchase laboratory, renal and
anaesthetic machines, but we cannot find the equivalent foreign currency."

He said facilities at the hospital started deteriorating three years ago
when foreign currency shortages hit the country.

"We buy the bulk of our drugs and parts to maintain our equipment from other

"A hospital cannot function properly without the injection of foreign
currency by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe. Things are improving now with the
new developments at the RBZ, but we are not yet there," Mr Tapfumaneyi said.

The State Procurement Board yesterday said it was working on the elevator

"When Otis, the firm we had awarded the tender, left, another company,
Eleco, came in claiming they had merged with Otis. We have had our doubts
and have asked them to prove to us that they are indeed the same company
with Otis. We are currently working on the papers right now," procurement
executive Mr Max Manetsa said.

Efforts to get comment from the Minister of Health and Child Welfare, Dr
David Parirenyatwa, yesterday were fruitless.
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Zim, SA Police Operation to Clean Up Border Begins

The Herald (Harare)

January 26, 2005
Posted to the web January 26, 2005

Thupeyo Muleya

THE joint operation between the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) South African
Police Services (SAPS) aimed at curbing illegal activities around the
Beitbridge border post has commenced.

According to Superintendent Bethel Magora, the crackdown, code-named
"Operation Clean Up the Border", started last Sunday and is expected to end
on Friday although the ZRP would continue monitoring the border after its

"We are looking at getting rid of all illegal activities along the border
line. Many people have lost their lives with some being robbed of their
valuables by muggers through crossing at illegal points. "If these elements
are let off the hook, they pose a danger.

"There is also a likelihood of our country's detractors smuggling dangerous
weapons, hence the need to safeguard our national security," said Supt
Magora. He said the clampdown was bearing results with a number of muggers
and border jumpers arrested. Supt Magora also urged people to desist from
using illegal crossing points and smuggling goods into and out of the
country as they risked their lives and would be prosecuted.

Border jumpers have created numerous illegal-crossing points at which
smuggling is rife.

Principal immigration officer Mr Dennis Chitsaka said the number of border
jumpers ejected from South Africa had increased with "Operation Clean Up the
Border" underway.

"We've had a busy time with about 3 000 people trying to jump the border
into South Africa being intercepted.

"We were busier than at Christmas," he said. Motorists, in most cases
truckers, travelling between South Africa and Zimbabwe carry some border
jumpers into South Africa and back.

The border jumpers are charged amounts ranging from R500 to R1 000.

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Zim's youngest MP released
26/01/2005 19:41  - (SA)

Harare - An opposition MP in Zimbabwe was released without charges on
Wednesday, a day after he was arrested for allegedly inciting violence in
the run-up to the March elections, his lawyer said.

"The matter did not even go up to a magistrate as the public prosecutor said
there was no factual evidence to the police allegation or any proof of any
criminal offence," lawyer Aleck Muchadehama said.

Nelson Chamisa, who at 27 is Zimbabwe's youngest lawmaker, was on Tuesday
summoned to the police station in the town of Marondera, in Mashonaland East
province, and arrested for allegedly making an incendiary speech.

Police accused the lawmaker from the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
party of telling supporters in a speech on Saturday that, "If someone
attacks you, do not break your legs in trying to run away."

Police interpreted this as a call to attack the governing party.

On Sunday, another MDC MP was arrested for allegedly holding a meeting
without the required police permission but released on bail a day later.

Following the arrests, the party said it was "particularly perturbed by the
increasing cases in which police are continuing to disrupt MDC meetings".

The MDC, which is yet to decide whether to contest the March parliamentary
elections, reaffirmed that the arrest was proof that Zimbabwe was not
serious about its commitment to hold free and fair elections.

Zimbabwe's last two elections, in 2000 and 2002, were marred by allegations
of fraud and violence. However, Zimbabwe has announced a new election
commission to bring it in line with southern African standards of

President Robert Mugabe's ruling Zimbabwe African National Union -Patriotic
Front (Zanu-PF) party, in power since independence from Britain in 1980,
hopes to strengthen its hold on power in the March polls.
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Sunday Times (SA)

Zimbabwe's isolation cripples stone sculptors

Wednesday January 26, 2005 12:05 - (SA)

HARARE - Zimbabwe's traditional stone sculptors, who once earned huge sums
from Western tourists, museums and galleries, are now struggling to survive
due to their country's isolation.

The exquisite soapstone and granite works, crafted for centuries by the
country's majority Shona people, came to the attention of the world in the
1960s when it metamorphosed into a more modern and Cubist art form.

The representations of humans, birds, beasts and spirits or purely abstract
pieces started commanding hefty prices abroad and Shona works grace the
collections of the New York Museum of Modern Art, Britain's Queen Elizabeth
II and the Rockefeller family.

But Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe's stand-off with the United States,
Europe and Australia since controversial presidential polls in 2002 has led
to a slump in Western tourists, the main chunk of buyers.

Mugabe's policy of wooing Asia to offset this drop has not helped.

"We have suffered perhaps even more than any other industry since the
problems between our government and the Western countries started," leading
Harare art dealer and Shona sculpture collector Newman Chiadzwa said.

"The European markets are virtually closed and since the start of this 'Look
East' policy, we are getting lots of visitors from China and Korea coming to
us saying they want to exchange sculptures with goods such as bicycles. But
we need money, not bicycles."

Shona stone sculptures were picked up as souvenirs by European travellers as
far back as the 13th century, according to historical records.

US magazine Newsweek once described it as probably the most important art
form to have emerged from Africa in the 20th century.

Many sculptors now moonlight to supplement their income or sell their works
at a fraction of the price in a country labouring under a slew of economic
woes including hyperinflation and a high unemployment rate.

Renowned local sculptor Kennedy Musekiwa said business had slowed down so
much in the last five years that he had resorted to running training
workshops in the United States and Europe to supplement his income.

"It's difficult these days to earn a living on stone sculpture alone," said

"There is little business as fewer tourists are coming from Europe and the
United States while most locals have little or no disposable income and
would never think of buying a stone sculpture."

Fellow sculptor Tendai Rukodzi used to run a bustling open-air gallery along
the main road to Harare airport.

Now he spends most of the time chatting or drinking beer with friends while
killing time and waiting for the rare customer to turn up.

"Some of our old clients have said they would never come here until Mugabe
goes and as a result, I go for months without selling even a single item,"
he said.

"I end up selling the sculptures at give-away prices just to get money to
buy food and pay rent. I don't even get paid enough to buy stone to make the
next piece."

However, Elvas Mari, an official with the Zimbabwe National Arts Council,
insisted there was a silver lining.

"This slump in business has also helped in a way to separate genuine artists
from imitators. I believe it's the mediocre artists who are feeling the

"Talented artists have weathered the storm and developed ways to sell their
products in the difficult circumstances," he said.

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Chivi Livestock Placed On Indefinite Quarantine

The Herald (Harare)

January 26, 2005
Posted to the web January 26, 2005


The Department of Veterinary Services in Masvingo has imposed an indefinite
quarantine on the movement of livestock to and from Chivi fearing the spread
of anthrax which has claimed over 80 cattle and goats up to now.

The move to quarantine livestock in Chivi follows an increase in the number
of animals that are succumbing to the disease in the district since the
first outbreak was reported in November last year.

Anthrax also claimed three people after they had consumed meat from infected

The acting provincial veterinary officer Dr Charity Sibanda yesterday said
the quarantine of livestock in Chivi would remain in place until further

"No person shall move any infectious thing from Chivi district or otherwise
in accordance with the conditions of a permit issued by veterinary services
and no person is allowed to let his livestock stray into or from Chivi

"We have decided to impose a quarantine in Chivi because the situation has
now gone out of hand as more livestock and humans continue to suffer from
the disease," said Dr Sibanda. She said though anthrax had killed over 180
cattle and goats in Gutu and Zaka the veterinary department believed Chivi
had more livestock deaths which went unreported, and that more people have
continued to suffer from the disease.

By last week there were 31 reported cases of anthrax in humans in Gutu while
Chivi had 96 reported cases which continued to increase. Dr Sibanda said
they had vaccinated over 40 000 cattle in Chivi district against anthrax but
stressed that 30 000 more anthrax doses were needed to vaccinate cattle in
the whole district.

"We do not have sufficient doses to complete the vaccination of cattle
against anthrax in Chivi district and we would be happy if we received more
vaccine doses," she said. She added that it was important for people to
realise that an animal that has died of anthrax would be infected on every
part and it was therefore not safe for consumption.

Efforts to fight the anthrax outbreak have been affected by an acute
shortage of vaccines that are imported from countries such as South Africa
and Botswana.

Officials at the veterinary department have said that they were not getting
sufficient allocations of foreign currency to import anthrax vaccines.

The death of livestock in Masvingo especially cattle, has seriously dented
efforts by the province to rebuild its cattle herd that was almost halved
during the severe drought experienced in 1992.

Last year the disease wrecked havoc in Bikita district where it killed
hundreds of cattle in the Ngorima and Mutikizizi areas.

Anthrax is caused by a bacterial infection from infected animals especially
cattle. The disease can be contracted through handling or eating
contaminated meat.
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Cosatu, ANC mend fences over Zimbabwe
          January 26 2005 at 08:31PM

      South Africa's largest labour federation and the African National
Congress moved on Wednesday to end a bitter row over how to deal with

      The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) and the ANC had
been waging a war of words since a fact-finding mission by the union was
deported from Zimbabwe in October.

      Cosatu at the weekend said it would send another mission to Zimbabwe
next week, but this time the ANC approved.

      "The ANC does not have any objection to Cosatu going to Zimbabwe, this
time they have said themselves that they will do so within the confines of
respecting the government of Zimbabwe and therefore the ANC does not have
any objections to that," ANC spokesperson Smuts Ngonyama said on Wednesday.

      During next week's trip, Cosatu will meet only with fellow trade
unionists, and not with civic organisations which are known to be among
President Robert Mugabe's harshest critics.

      Mugabe's government deported the 13-member fact-finding mission in
October, saying it was pursuing a "political agenda" after it arranged to
meet with civic groups.

      "There are certain protocols that people have to go through in a
country, and it must not be with the aim of fanning... tensions in the
country, it must be to enhance peace and try to find solutions to the
challenges facing Zimbabwe," Ngonyama said.

      Cosatu spokesperson Patrick Craven denied reports that the labour
federation had bowed under pressure from the ANC and had softened its
critical stance.

      "We certainly have not compromised any issues of principle," Craven

      "This time we plan just to meet with trade unions and we want to
establish the principle that we have the right to meet with them.

      "Obviously on future visits we reserve the right to to meet whomever
we wish, but we just decided that this particular visit will restrict itself
to meeting the trade unions," Craven said.

      Mugabe, in power since independence in Zimbabwe in 1980, has been
accused of rigging elections and cracking down on the opposition, the media
and civic groups to maintain his Zimbabwe African National Union, the
Patriotic Front (Zanu-PF)'s hold on government.

      The ANC recently called on Zimbabwe to ease restrictions on the
opposition ahead of parliamentary elections in March.
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Mail and Guardian

      'Zimbabwe is not a banana republic'

      Ellen Hollemans | Johannesburg, South Africa

      26 January 2005 12:44

            The Zimbabwean government has warned the Congress of South
African Trade Unions (Cosatu) not to undertake a mission to Zimbabwe on the
same terms as its previous visit.

            At the end of last year, a Cosatu delegation was summarily
ordered out of Zimbabwe after it tried to meet with that country's union

            According to the Zimbabwean Chronicle and, the
Minister of Home Affairs, Kembo Mohadi, warned Cosatu on Tuesday not to make
the same mistake.

            "If they [Cosatu delegates] want to come to Zimbabwe, they
should seek clearance with the appropriate authority, in this case the
ministry of public service, labour and social welfare. If they try to do
what they did last time, they should be prepared to face the consequences,"
Mohadi was quoted as saying.

            "Zimbabwe is not a banana republic. We are a sovereign nation.
They should not come here to break the laws of this country. The laws of
this country will apply to them if they come."

            The next visit of a Cosatu delegation to Zimbabwe is planned for
February 1 and 2.

            "We are not aware of any clearance requirements as mentioned in
the article," Moloto Mothapo, Cosatu communications official, told the Mail
& Guardian Online. "Our delegates have obtained all the required documents
and visa for a trip to Zimbabwe.

            "Our mission will not be contravening any immigration laws. Even
the last time, our delegates had obtained all the required papers.

            "Nonetheless, they were still deported from the country. The
Zimbabwean High Court issued an interdict stating that we had all the
required papers.

            "For the coming mission, we have followed every required
procedure to get access to Zimbabwe. We have written the minister of labour
a letter, and are still waiting for a response," Mothapo said.

            "We are hopeful that these remarks will not be representative of
the stand of the Zimbabwean government. It contains serious allegations and
we think that they are unfounded statements."

            The African National Congress said on Tuesday that it will back
the Cosatu mission to Zimbabwe. The previous mission to Zimbabwe was
criticised heavily by President Thabo Mbeki.

            "The ANC is not objecting to Cosatu going to Zimbabwe, because
we have a common understanding on the purpose and the need to build unity
and find a solution in Zimbabwe," ANC spokesperson Smuts Ngonyama said.

            "We welcome this statement of the ANC and it supports the fact
that Cosatu and the ANC are aspiring [to] the same results when it comes to
the situation in Zimbabwe. The methodology of both parties is different and
we are happy that we are bridging this gap in methodology," Mothapo said.
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