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

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SABC

Man gets suspended sentence for bad-mouthing Mugabe

Jason Gambatz

Gambatz is the third person to appear for either insulting or denigrating the president

January 01, 2005, 19:45

The New Year has not brought much good luck to a Zimbabwean businessman. He was given a suspended jail sentence for bad-mouthing Robert Mugabe, the president of that country.

Jason Gambatz (70) is a bitter man. After keeping his factory open the whole year while many businesses were shutting down, he got his workers back up when he refused to host a traditional Christmas party and pay the 13th cheque. His explanation to workers that Mugabe is mismanaging the economy, and in his words "printing useless money and disrupting business" is what took him to court.

Gambatz is too afraid to say a word, lest more trouble. He is the third person in just under two months to be sentenced for the same thing and this has raised new concerns over freedom of speech.

Sternford Moyo, the vice president of the Southern African Developing Community's (SADC) Lawyers' Association, says this is a festive season to remember for Gambatz. "For Jason, this will remain a festive season to remember. The man he would love to hate President Robert Mugabe is enjoying his Christmas and New Year in the Far East far removed from his personal ordeal in Harare, Zimbabwe's capital."

Mavis Chidzonga, a member of the Zanu(PF) National Consultative Assembly, has meanwhile come out in defense of the law against speaking ill about the president, saying insults or denigrations of the head of state do not pay. Mugabe, she added, has always been a tolerant man, but people tend to take their rights too far.

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Xinhua

Zimbabwe has capacity to control armyworm

www.chinaview.cn 2005-01-01 10:15:46

HARARE, Dec. 31 (Xinhuanet) -- Zimbabwe has the capacity to
control the armyworm that has been affecting most parts of the country since
last week, a senior official said here Friday.

Shadreck Mlambo, director of the Agricultural Research and
Extension Services (ARES) said the country does not have favorablebreeding
areas for the armyworm was wind-blown and deposited in the country from the
east coast of Kenya and Tanzania.

The armyworm had been identified in places like Bulawayo, Kadoma,
Chegutu and some parts of Masvingo and Manicaland provinces, said Mlambo.

"In terms of the capacity to fight the armyworm, we have trained
manpower, adequate chemicals and sprayers," Mlambo said.

"We have dispatched our officers in all the affected areas to
spray the worms."

He however said the ARES did not have enough human resources
totackle the problem on a large scale but would train farmers to deal with
the worms.

He could not quantify the extent of the damage on cereals as
hesaid they were still working on statistics.

"For now we are not able to be categorical about it, as we are
gathering data on the damage that has been caused. In some cases farmers
replanted their crop, making it a late crop. Proper yieldswill depend on the
rains," he said.

Mlambo advised the farmers to be alert and continuously check on
their fields and grass, adding that if they would dictate the armyworm they
should report to their nearest ARES officials and the police.

Armyworms are the larvae stage of flying insects. They
normallyfeed on leaves at night, making them difficult to control. Entire
stands of seedlings can be totally devoured by the armyworms. In many cases
this happens before the larvae are fully grown.

Armyworms normally move en masse like a marching army, thus
thename "armyworms." They may not live beyond two weeks in the larvaestage
but during this short time they can leave large fields completely
defoliated. Enditem

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Financial Sector Wishes to Forget 2004 Fast


The Herald (Harare)

December 30, 2004
Posted to the web December 31, 2004

Harare

ZIMBABWE'S financial industry would wish to forget 2004 in a hurry, bury the
period's misfortunes and march decisively into the new year --- a more
tightly governed environment.

With the exception of a handful of banks, 2004 is arguably the worst year
for a plethora of emerging banking firms -- hardly 15 years old --- and
whose future is now akin to shades under a dark cloud.

Super profits for a number of banks cascaded into ordinary revenues (or
worse --- their rightful territory --- but pains suffered in this transition
are excruciating. The year of high profits --- propelled by gains from
foreign currency parallel market dealings ---2003 had been agonisingly shut
giving way to 2004, which was to prove a disaster to the domestic banking
segment.

Top financial executives either fled the country, were incarcerated or are
fighting various court cases in which they are being charged with committing
economic crimes. The inception of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe's monetary
policy in December 2003 marked the end of a speculative era and the dawn of
a new firmly regulated trading environment.

Upcoming banks, whose pre-occupation in 2003 was illegal foreign currency
activities that boosted their bottom line, found themselves at the mercy of
the central bank clean-up campaign.

Not many received such mercy. If they did, then for the sake of redressing
various imbalances in the industry and economy on the whole, it was
positive.

There must have been unparalleled disgust among the firms of returning to
core banking activities, return to normal profits and the "undesirable"
vanishing of speculative transactions.

It was return to basics.

Eight banks currently under guidance of curators are being nurtured to
return to core banking activities.

They will begin a new highly modulated life under the Zimbabwe Allied
Banking Group, due to commence operations next January.

Several financial firms, but particularly emerging banking institutions,
were caught in the liquidity crisis web, which enmeshed the industry earlier
this year.

But established banks, commonly referred to as "traditional", took advantage
of the situation to grow their books and profits.

Changes continue to obtain in the sector but the RBZ has expressed its
desire of witnessing stability returning to the financial services segment.

Still smarting from a bruising reception into 2004, the financial segment
drama reached a new level in October, possibly claiming its biggest scalp of
the year, as one of the largest, but heavily under-capitalised banks, Trust,
was placed under curatorship.

The bank is (or was) among the biggest banking firms in the country,
however, managed by a "clique of tricksters" bent on making the proverbial
quick buck, and have sadly driven the bank to the brink.

First Mutual Limited and Royal Bank, who bashed each other's image in the
Press, opened the apparent second phase of the financial sector clean-up by
the RBZ. Mudslinging between the two firms culminated in the exposure of
serious underhand dealings that were being carried by both Royal and FML and
the subsequent appointment of a curator to run affairs at the bank. The
Finance Ministry appointed an investigator at FML to look into allegations
of business misconduct at the insurance company.

This RBZ financial sector book opened with the collapse of ENG Capital Asset
Management in January, closely followed by Century Discount House, which was
sent into liquidation, and the dissolution of several other "ghost" finance
houses that had mushroomed all over the shore.

Before relative calm returned to the sector in May, the central bank's
revolutionary makeover of the financial industry had claimed Intermarket
Holdings limited, throwing two of its subsidiaries into curatorship, and the
unit trust division into liquidation.

Barbican Bank was placed under the management and care of a curator while
its sister company, Barbican Asset Management, was disbanded and is
currently in the throes of liquidation.

Ostensibly, the market had been driven into a belief, however cautious, that
calm had returned to the industry following a period of calm, which crept
through to July before events rapidly took a turn for the worst in August.
Restructurings in the industry grew to a new level at the beginning of
August, appearing as if the RBZ would be carrying out its clean-ups in
phases, following the addition of already troubled FML and Royal and then
eventually Trust Bank.

Then the main question was, "Could the fall, in the worst case scenario, of
Trust Bank be the closing chapter in this RBZ book, which was marked by
consistent episodes of distressing and perhaps thrilling drama?

However, before a conclusive response could be given to this question Time
Bank was placed under curatorship amid fears of a liquidity crisis at the
bank.

Merged CFX Financial Services followed suit two weeks ago. The development
drained the steam out the public whose confidence in indigenous-owned banks
was still under reconstruction.

Although the public had resorted to predictions, with regard to the future
of black-owned banks, ZABG is likely to bring back the sanity in an industry
that has been marred by shady dealings and sagging confidence. Hope, as the
financial sector gets into the New Year, would be that stability returns to
the industry, as it is one of the main pillars of the economy.
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CNN

Zimbabwe to press spy charges against Mugabe ally
Friday, December 31, 2004 Posted: 12:59 PM EST (1759 GMT)

HARARE, Zimbabwe (Reuters) -- A Zimbabwean court has refused to drop charges
against an ally of President Robert Mugabe that he, along with four others,
sold state secrets to foreign agents, a state prosecutor said on Friday.

Businessman Philip Chiyangwa -- a senior member of the ruling ZANU-PF
party -- was arrested some two weeks ago and faces charges of contravening
Zimbabwe's Official Secrets Act.

His lawyers sought on Thursday to have the charges against him set aside,
arguing that there was no basis for them. Details of the case have not been
made public.

"The application for refusal of remand has been dismissed. The application
for bail has also been dismissed," State Prosecutor Morgen (sic) Nemadire
told journalists after a court hearing from which both the media and the
public were barred.

Defense lawyers have declined to comment on the case, citing a court order
barring them from speaking to the press.

Also charged in the case are Zimbabwe's new ambassador to Mozambique,
Godfrey Dzvairo, ZANU-PF external affairs director Itai Marchi, deputy
security director Kenny Karidza and Tendai Matambanadzo, a former official
at a local commercial bank.

Harare's magistrate was hearing a separate application on Friday by Dzvairo,
Marchi and Matambanadzo to withdraw their initial guilty pleas in the case,
court officials said, while Karidza was due in court on January 7.

On Thursday the official Herald newspaper said the men could face jail terms
of up to 20 years if convicted, but gave no details of the case against
them.

It was the second arrest this year for Chiyangwa, a ZANU-PF legislator and
party chairman in Mashonaland West province. He was detained in January on
charges of interfering with a fraud probe and threatening a policeman
investigating the case.

Chiyangwa was later cleared of the charges, which his lawyers linked to
feuding within the ruling party over who should succeed Mugabe, expected to
retire in 2008.

The succession row has flared up in recent weeks, with seven top ZANU-PF
officials suspended and accused of convening an unsanctioned secret meeting
to push Parliament Speaker Emmerson Mnangagwa's candidacy for the post of
party vice-president, seen as a stepping stone to the top job.

The party post later went to liberation war veteran Joyce Mujuru, whom
Mugabe then appointed government vice-president.

Analysts say the internal feuding could weaken ZANU-PF ahead of March 2005
general elections in which the main opposition party is again likely to be
the Movement for Democratic Change.
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Zimbabwe Spy Probe Marks New Leadership Scandal


The East African Standard (Nairobi)

December 30, 2004
Posted to the web December 31, 2004

Nairobi

Zimbabwe prosecutors have charged four men including top figures from
President Robert Mugabe's party with selling state secrets to foreign
agents, the latest leadership scandal to swirl ahead of next year's
elections.

State prosecutors confirmed on Thursday that businessman Philip Chiyangwa --
a senior member of the ZANU-PF party -- had been charged under the Official
Secrets Act and said a court would rule on Friday on whether the case should
proceed.

The state Herald newspaper also reported the arrest on similar charges of
Zimbabwe's new ambassador to neighbouring Mozambique Godfrey Dzvairo,
ZANU-PF external affairs director Itai Marchi and Tendai Matambanadzo, an
official at a local commercial bank.

The Herald said it had no further information on the charges against what it
called the "spy ring", although it said they could face jail terms of up to
20 years if convicted under certain sections of the official secrets act.

Lawyers for the latter three were not immediately available for comment on
Thursday.

The Herald report broke official silence on the case, which had been
reported nearly two weeks ago by local private media.

State prosecutor Brian Vito told journalists that a Harare magistrate would
rule on Friday on an application by Chiyangwa's lawyers to have the charges
against him dropped.

"The defence is saying that there is no basis to place him (Chiyangwa) on
remand," Vito said after a court hearing which was closed to the media and
members of the public.

Vito declined to give further details, and defence lawyer Canaan Dube also
declined to comment, citing a court order which he said barred him from
speaking to the press.

Chiyangwa, a ZANU-PF legislator and the party's chairman in Mashonaland West
province, was arrested in January 2004 on charges that he had interfered
with a fraud probe and threatened a policeman investigating the case.

Chiyangwa was later cleared of the charges, which his lawyers said were
linked to feuding within the ruling party over who should succeed Mugabe,
expected to retire in 2008.

The succession row heated up again in recent weeks and saw seven top ZANU-PF
officials suspended before the party's five-yearly congress this month -- a
dramatic housecleaning just months ahead of parliamentary polls scheduled
for March.

The suspended officials have been accused by the party of convening a secret
meeting to push for Speaker of Parliament Emmerson Mnangagwa's candidacy for
the post of party vice-president, seen as a stepping stone to the top job.

Mugabe said the men should not have held the meeting without first going
through set ZANU-PF procedures.

The party post subsequently went to liberation war veteran Joyce Mujuru,
whom Mugabe went on to appoint for a similar job in government.
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Zim Online

GOVERNMENT MILITIAS DENY OPPOSITION SUPPORTERS FOOD
Sat 1 January 2005
KARIBA - Government trained youth militias helping the state's Grain
Marketing Board (GMB) distribute food at this resort town here are demanding
hungry people to produce ruling ZANU PF party membership cards before they
can get food, ZimOnline has learnt.

The youths, trained under the government's national youth service
training programme, were seconded to the GMB to help the parastatal
distribute cheaper priced maize to starving people in this town along
Zimbabwe's border with Zambia.

But residents said the youths -- in the past accused by churches and
human rights organisations of terrorising opposition supporters -- vet
people wishing to get food with known ZANU PF supporters allowed easy access
to the state-provided maize. Anyone else must produce a membership card of
the ruling party before they can get food.

"I have queued for mealie meal for the last four days without success
as each day the youths insist that only ZANU PF members get mealie-meal and
they also dictate who else should get the commodity," said a father of six,
who confessed being a member of the main opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) party. He did not want to be named.

Ratidzo Chaora of Nyamhunga suburb in the town said she did not have
food for her family of six because the youths had prevented her from getting
the staple maize when she went to the GMB deport.

But a senior GMB official denied the youths were insisting on people
producing ZANU PF membership cards before they receive maize. He said the
parastatal's policy was to give food to all hungry people regardless of
political affiliation.

The MDC accuses the government of denying food to its supporters as
punishment for backing the opposition party. The government denies the
charge.

More than three million Zimbabweans need food aid between now and the
next harvest around March despite earlier claims by President Robert Mugabe
that Zimbabwe had produced enough to feed itself. ZimOnline.
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New Zimbabwe

Moyo quashes resignation reports

By Staff Reporter
Last updated: 01/02/2005 05:20:12
ZIMBABWE'S controversial information minister Jonathan Moyo has rejected
media reports that he has resigned and instructed his lawyers to institute
legal proceedings against a leading weekly paper which said he had quit on
Tuesday.

Moyo who is currently in Kenya on holiday with his family also filed a
complaint with the media watchdog -- the Media and Information Commission.

The Financial Gazette claimed on Friday that Moyo had tendered his
resignation to Acting President Joyce Mujuru on Tuesday, but had been
advised to wait for the return of President Mugabe who is on holiday in
Malaysia.

"The Honourable Minister is away on holiday and is expected to resume his
State duties by the second week of January," the Department of Information
and Publicity in the President's Office said in a statement.

The Financial Gazette, quoting "impeccable sources", reported that Moyo had
resigned "following a sharp twist in his political fortunes".

The government-controlled Chronicle and Herald newspapers reported Saturday
that Moyo had instructed his lawyers Muzangaza, Mandaza and Tomana to
"institute legal action against the Financial Gazette over the false story".

"He (Moyo) has also lodged a complaint with the Media and Information
Commission (MIC) over the fictitious story," the Herald reported. The MIC
can instigate the police to arrest journalists for writing "falsehoods", and
convicted journalists face up to 2 years in jail.

The Chronicle said the Financial Gazette report was "a desperate attempt by
Prof Moyo's detractors to confuse the nation". The paper said there was also
"a clear indication of the involvement of imperialist forces".

"The latest onslaught against Prof Moyo is the culmination of a concerted
private media campaign to discredit the minister ahead of the 2005 general
elections," the Chronicle reported.

Moyo was recently dropped from the Zanu PF central committee and politburo,
and it has been widely predicted that President Robert Mugabe will drop him
in the next Cabinet resuffle.

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Uncertainty over Moyo's fate

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

HARARE, 1 Jan 2005 (IRIN) - The Zimbabwe government has denied media reports
that controversial information minister Jonathan Moyo has tendered his
resignation to acting president Joyce Mujuru.

Moyo allegedly sent his resignation by fax from Kenya, where he is on
holiday, but Mujuru reportedly refused to accept it, referring the matter to
President Robert Mugabe who is on vacation in Malaysia.

"I don't know anything about the alleged resignation. All I know is that he
is in Kenya on holiday and he has not resigned," secretary in the ministry
of information, George Charamba, told IRIN on Friday.

However, senior official sources confirmed the story, and said Moyo's
decision to quit was linked to his removal from the ruling ZANU-PF's
powerful Soviet-style politburo and central committee.

Moyo's political fortunes started to wane in December after he organised a
meeting of key party members in his rural home of Tsholotsho ahead of
ZANU-PF's congress, allegedly aimed at thwarting Mugabe's candidate for the
post of vice-president, Mujuru.

He had also openly clashed with the ruling party's old guard, among them
first vice-president Joseph Msika, and attacked them through the state media
over which he had control.

During his term in office Moyo was the author of the repressive Access to
Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA), and the Broadcasting
Services Act. AIPPA resulted in the closure of the popular newspaper, The
Daily News, and its sister publication, The Daily News on Sunday, at the
beginning of 2004.

The privately owned The Tribune newspaper was also shut down, and the
independent television station, Joy TV.

The chairman of the workers committee for The Daily News, Columbus Mavhunga,
said the resignation of Moyo would not be enough to improve the climate
under which the independent media labours.

"For us as journalists, the only positive development would be to repeal the
legislation that stifles the operations of journalists," Mavhunga told IRIN.

Moyo's misfortunes coincide with those of colourful business
man and high-profile ZANU-PF member, Philip Chiyangwa, who was also opposed
to Mugabe's choice of vice president.

Chiyangwa and four senior ruling party officials, including Zimbabwe's
ambassador to Mozambique, have been in solitary confinement for two weeks on
charges of spying for "foreign powers".

They allegedly provided confidential ZANU-PF information to spy masters
based in South Africa.

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A year for change

Leader
Saturday January 1, 2005
The Guardian

Africa has experienced many shortages over the years - food, water and
skills - but it has never been short of nostrums from the world's richest
countries on how it should improve itself. Not all of these have been wise,
but it would be a tragedy if the world's totally understandable
preoccupation with the tsunami were to deflect attention from the harrowing
situation in the world's poorest continent. In the 1960s the problem was
said to be lack of capital: provide more investment for infrastructure, and
Africa would grow. In the 1970s it was exports: sell more products overseas
for hard currency, and Africa would grow. In the 1980s "structural
adjustment" was the prescription: cut taxes, lower barriers, and Africa
would grow. By the 1990s, privatisation and good governance were the
buzzwords. Discredited models of development litter the landscape of Africa,
its governments being forced to manoeuvre around the shipwrecks of failed
policies. Sub-Saharan Africa is the only big region of the world where
living standards and life expectancy have deteriorated: by 2000 there were
75 million more Africans in poverty than a decade before.
Africa - as Tony Blair remarked - remains a scar on the conscience of the
world. It is in an attempt to address that scar that 2005 has become the
year of Africa, through a confluence of events that includes the final
report of Mr Blair's Africa commission, and Britain's "twin presidencies" of
the G8 and the EU. The sheer scale of the task means that the chance of a
successful outcome for Africa is not only slim, but will take many years of
hard work and funding to make any difference at all. One year is never going
to be enough. But the developed world - especially Africa's 19th-century
colonial rulers such as Belgium, Britain, Germany, Portugal and France -
owes it to the people of Africa to give that support.

Increasing aid budgets and writing off the burden of debt - useful though
these may be - cannot solve Africa's problems, any more than past nostrums
solved them. Trade must play a part, and the hypocrisy of the developed
world wringing its hands over Africa's plight while continuing to protect
its own industries must end. The wealthy world's combination of tariffs and
subsidies cuts an estimated 40bn a year off the developing world's
potential export earnings - far more than it receives in aid. It must be
remembered that more and better trade is no magic bullet, especially
policies that involve squeezing developing countries into strait-jackets
labelled "free trade".
One problem remains that the west has a memory of its own successes in the
spectacular post-war recoveries of Japan and Germany. But they are not good
templates for Africa, which needs its own solutions. Neither Japan nor
Germany in their recovery phase faced the demands for access to their
economies that the EU is attempting to foist on the world's least developed
countries through its "Economic Partnership Agreements" currently under
negotiation. The trade-not-aid argument has its supporters on the right, but
they should remember just how marginal Africa is to world trade: heavily
concentrated on low-value agricultural commodities, sub-Saharan Africa
accounted for just 1.5% of total world exports in 2002.

Among the difficulties that Africa faces is the scourge of HIV/Aids, an
unprecedented killer that will cause an estimated 20 million African
children to lose both their parents by 2010. In Namibia alone, a country of
just two million people, there are already 100,000 Aids orphans in 2005.
Alongside HIV/Aids comes the equally serious but more preventable ravages of
malaria, tuberculosis and other diseases aggravated by poverty. Tackling
these requires a combination of factors - public education, basic
infrastructure, medical expertise, health administration, as well as the
medicines themselves - which many African countries simply do not have. The
continent has just 1.4 health workers per 1,000 people, compared with 10 per
1,000 in the United States. But attempts to improve Africa's medical base
are hampered by western asset stripping in hiring away trained health
workers. The World Bank reports that 80% of Ghana's doctors emigrate soon
after qualifying - something the country can ill afford, since it trains
just 150 a year, out of a population of 18 million. Of the 700 nurses that
qualified in Zimbabwe in 2001, more than 400 of them have moved to Britain.
The NHS should not be staffed at the expense of countries such as Zimbabwe,
where two million people have contracted HIV/Aids, and a million children
are orphans as a result of the virus.

Where to begin? Over the course of this year, the Guardian will be
highlighting Africa's problems and potential with a series of reports from
the continent's increasingly important urban areas. In support of the
coalition of development organisations and aid agencies that has formed the
Make Poverty History campaign, we will be calling for ambitious changes in
the way Africa is treated, especially by the most well-off. Most of these
changes will involve well-established topics such as trade, aid and
development, although in each case there are practical steps that should be
taken immediately by the members of the G8 and the EU. At the very least,
the amount of aid that the world's wealthiest countries give to the world's
poorest must be increased from its present pitiful level, up to the 0.7% of
each country's national income as required by the United Nation's millennium
development goals.

Africa's poverty is chronic and is likely to remain so into the long-term.
The depth of that poverty is brutal, widespread and misunderstood: 34 of the
world's 49 least-developed countries are in Africa. Nearly half the region's
population lives on or below the $1 a day line. Only three countries -
Mauritius, South Africa and Botswana - can genuinely claim to have made
progress. Others remain the venues for long-running wars, such as the
Democratic Republic of Congo, the world's poorest country. On current
forecasts, no sub-Saharan African country will meet any of the UN's
millennium development goals. Even those countries with oil and other
natural resources are no better off, such as Nigeria and the DRC. Corruption
remains rife in many parts of the continent. There are no easy answers, and
we should not expect 2005 to produce any. But there is some good news:
because of Africa's wretched state, anything that does work will go a long
way. Africa's poverty should never be used as a reason to do nothing: it is
a reason to do more.

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