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Radio Netherlands

Telling it like it is

by Anna Yeadell, 9 July 2004


Thorn in Mugabe´s side: Wilfred Mbanga

For decades, Zimbabwean journalist Wilf Mbanga has been championing human rights and press freedom. Disillusioned with working for the government-controlled media, Mbanga in 1999 founded the Daily News, the only newspaper in Zimbabwe that dared to criticise the ruling Zanu-PF regime. Since then its reporters have been locked up, its editors arrested and Wilf himself has spent time in jail.

The government closed down the Daily News last year and Wilfred Mbanga has been officially declared an ‘enemy of the people'. He is now spending a year in the Netherlands as guest of the city of Tilburg. The city's "Vrijplaats", or open-place project offers sanctuary for a year to a writer or journalist who has been persecuted. You may be surprised to learn that the man who is such a thorn in the side of Robert Mugabe was once the President's friend.

Click to hear the full reportThis report was featured on A Good life. Click to listen to the programme in full. (29:30)

"I first met him in 1974", says Wilf. "I was the first journalist to do his biography for the newspaper and I got to know him very well. I spent a lot of time with him and we got on very well. We shared many things in common, we liked the same music – Jim Reeves, Pat Boone, Elvis Presley!"

Repressive regime
Wilf was impressed with Mugabe's political philosophy at that time. "He was talking of non-racism, and I really thought he was the best bet for Zimbabwe." But improvements to education, health and the standard of living in Zimbabwe have been overshadowed by Mugabe's increasingly repressive regime. Wilf says "today doctors are tearing down curtains to make bandages for their patients. In schools now there's 40 percent absenteeism, and the quality of life has really gone down."

It was in 1995 that Wilf realised things were going seriously wrong in Zimbabwe, and his one-time friend was losing his way. Wilf says his position on a government newspaper was becoming untenable.


    Closed Daily News offices

    "I was becoming vocal and people knew I was no longer a supporter, I was actually a critic of Mugabe, and so I left to start my own paper."

Wilf persuaded a number of people to invest in the launch of the Daily News. The paper quickly garnered a reputation for being fiercely critical of the Mugabe regime. "Our motto was telling it like it is. Tell the story without embellishment. In no time it became the largest-selling newspaper in the country.

There was a lot of corruption, people were being killed by paramilitaries, the police were arresting people, torturing people. I felt that there was a need to bring this out into the open." The government responded by first arresting the newspaper vendors on the streets, then they started arresting the journalists and the editors. Finally they arrested Wilf. "I was locked up in a filthy cell with 13 other criminals", he recalls. "Then when we went to court and the case was dismissed on the grounds that there was no charge; I mean it was just a trumped up charge."

The harassment didn't stop there for Wilf. "They continued to tap my telephone, follow me, and I used to have people in my garden at night, prowling, and when I got up they would run away, and this would happen over and over during the night."

    "One day I got an invitation, from an organisation called the Tilburg Vrijplaats. They'd heard about my problems and they invited me to come and spend a year away from my problems in Zimbabwe." Wilf says the offer of sanctuary from the city of Tilburg as coming at just the right time. "It was a few months before the paper was banned, and it came at a time when Mugabe was increasingly becoming paranoid about the media. I managed to get out before I needed to. I was just one step ahead of them."

Safe haven
The Vrijplaats project started at the time Iran declared a Fatwa against Salman Rushdie. A number of cities in Europe declared themselves cities of refuge for writers or journalists who've been persecuted in their countries. In the Netherlands, it was the cities of Amsterdam and Tilburg.

Six months into the programme, Wilf is making the most of having a platform to bring attention to what's going on in Zimbabwe. "I've been given a column in the Brabants Dagblad, a weekly column, I write every Wednesday about my experiences in the Netherlands, and I compare my life here with my experiences in Zimbabwe."

It's no coincidence that Wilf's weekly column in the provincial newspaper is called "I write as I please". "It's a fantastic experience to be able to write as I think, without worrying about whether those men in dark glasses will be following me today, or if the police will knock on my door in the middle of the night. I'm absolutely free."

Wilf may be envious of the freedom the press in the Netherlands enjoys, but he admits he's been disappointed with the way the Western media in general are covering Zimbabwe. "They've not got to grips with the real story. The story that they've been telling has actually helped to perpetuate the myth that Mugabe is taking the land from white farmers and giving it to blacks. And it's nothing of the sort. He's taking land from white farmers and giving it to his cronies. And also the number of people who've been killed, maimed or tortured isn't coming out in the media here in Europe."

9/11 made matters worse
According to Wilf, the lack of coverage isn't just due to the fact that Western journalists are banned from Zimbabwe.

    "I think 9/11 has been responsible for a lot of our problems. It has diverted attention to Afghanistan and Iraq. So the attention of the world is in that area, and nobody's interested in Africa anymore. Mugabe is free to do as he pleases, nobody is watching him."


President Robert Mugabe

No matter how difficult life is in Zimbabwe, being away from home isn't always easy either says Wilf. "I feel frustrated that I can't do anything, but also I realise that if I'd been in Zimbabwe I wouldn't have been able to achieve anything but be harassed. At least I'm able to spread the word from here which I wouldn't have been able to do from Zimbabwe."  Wilf fears the future for Zimbabwe is a bleak one.

    "The problem is that some of the democratic institutions like the judiciary and the civil service have been damaged. The police force is now politicised. The army is politicised, the economy has been damaged. Even if there was a settlement tomorrow, it's going to take another 20 to 30 years to actually get back to where we were."

On to London
Wilf is now just over half way through his time in the Netherlands. Going back to Zimbabwe at the end of the programme is out of the question, so he will head to London to continue his work there. But he says, he will never forget the Netherlands, and in particular the hospitality of the City of Tilburg.

    "The biggest memory will be the general spirit of the Dutch people, it's something that has really touched us, how they've welcomed us into their homes. They really have been fantastic, this is something we will always remember, with affection, and we just love the people here."

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Zimbabweans are starving
09/07/2004 10:18  - (SA)

Blessings Mambara

Harare - Thousands of Zimbabweans are starving while government turns a
blind eye, writes Blessings Mambara.

The Wedza rural development initiative does not mean much to Zimbabweans in
this part of the country.

Although the mountains and fertile valleys create the impression that the
land is being cultivated, people are going hungry every day.

Wedza, about 150km east of Harare, has one thing in common with other rural
areas in Zimbabwe: poverty.

Each week, war veterans tell pupils at the Makanda Primary School in the
area to inform their parents that only card-carrying members of the
governing Zanu-PF party will receive free food aid, and only if they attend
Zanu-PF rallies.

Meanwhile, the government claims that it banned foreign aid organisations
from the country because these became "too involved in politics".

Jestina Mazano from Makanda says there were never any political messages or
slogans at these food distribution points.

"Nobody with a T-shirt or any other emblem of a political party was allowed
at these points. We opened meetings with prayer and no slogans were
allowed," says the mother of four.

West, drought to blame

Like millions of other Zimbabweans who survive only because of food aid,
Mazano is uncertain about the future. She harvested only two 90kg of maize
this season.

Yet, government maintains that the country has enough food.

President Robert Mugabe recently told Sky News that the country produced
"more than enough food" this year to meet domestic need. He said the World
Food Programme should rather help 'those hungrier, hungrier countries than

Government maintains previous food shortages were caused by drought and
"sanctions" by the West.

Agriculture minister Joseph Made repeatedly supported Mugabe's statements
that there was no food shortage.

However, cracks are forming in the government's position and controversy is
mounting among officials of this country that used to be described as the
breadbasket of Southern Africa. It is becoming increasingly clear that the
situation at grassroots level does not correspond with the picture the
Mugabe government paints.

The situation deteriorated in May when a United Nations (UN) team was
prevented from continuing its work in rural Zimbabwe.

Tensions between Zimbabwe and the UN mounted when James Morris, chief
executive of the World Food Programme, was shown the door at the end of June
before he even set foot in the country.

The government maintains that the country's Grain Marketing Board (GMB) will
supply at least 2.4 million tons of grain, but independent figures predict a
shortage of at least 1 million tons.

A better harvest, claims government

Despite its public statements, the Mugabe government is apparently well
aware of the problem and is actually "secretly" importing maize.

The government-controlled GMB admitted recently that the country was
importing maize after details leaked about a contract with an American
company, Sentry Financial International, to deliver grain to Zimbabwe.
However, the GMB claimed this contract was signed last year and involved
small quantities.

Zimbabwe will apparently pay for the maize in tobacco - an arrangement that
amounts to little more than barter.

Still, the board claims that Zimbabwe will have a better harvest this year
than last year.

Meanwhile, GMB officials are scouring the countryside, demanding that all
maize be handed over to the GMB. It is now a crime to sell maize to private
companies or individuals.

Despite government rhetoric, Zimbabweans know that the country cannot
survive without food from outside its borders. More than half of its
citizens have been dependent on food aid since 2001.

In defiance of the government's claim that drought is responsible for the
shortage, observers point out that both Mozambique and Zambia overcame the
problems of the drought that gripped the region two years ago.

A hungry future

The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) claims Zanu-PF will
increasingly use food as a political weapon in the run-up to the 2005

The MDC wants to address the food issue through parliamentary structures. On
June 17 it managed to convince parliament to allow the portfolio committee
for agriculture and land reform to conduct its own investigation into the
food situation, Reson Gasela of the MDC said.

Made unsuccessfully tried to railroad the decision.

The investigation will not be completed before the end of the current
session this week.

"The government is cheating with the figures because they want to prove that
land reform was a success while it was catastrophic," Gasela said.
"Obviously there is an election coming up."

The food crisis is not limited to rural areas. Unemployment, the high
incidence of HIV/Aids and hyperinflation have cut incomes in the cities and
many urban families urgently need food.

A nurse at Harare Central Hospital claims at least 20% of child patients at
the hospital are treated for malnutrition.

While politicians are cooking up plans to win the elections and hold on to
power, the majority of Zimbabweans are facing starvation.
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From The Times (UK), 9 July

Mugabe harvests lies as Zimbabwe faces shortages

From Jan Raath in Chirundu River Bridge

A large baboon in the dusty lorry stop near Zimbabwe's border with Zambia
daily lays bare the origin of President Mugabe's purported "bumper harvest".
Squatting on top of a bulky trailer, he rips open the heavy tarpaulin cover
and stuffs his cheeks with maize until he can push no more in. Drivers here
say that every day for more than a month up to 30 heavy trucks have been
crossing from Zambia with 30-tonne consignments of maize bound for
government silos. Grain trade executives report that at least 400,000 tonnes
are on order - some of it almost certainly grown by white Zimbabweans who
moved to Zambia after being driven from their farms by Mr Mugabe's land
seizures. "That man (Mr Mugabe), he made a big mistake to chase the white
man," said Kennedy Phiri, a truck driver who was driving a load of maize.
Similar cargo is crossing the Beitbridge border post with South Africa. The
South African Grain Information Service says that 168,000 tonnes of
American, Argentine and South African maize, and more than 50,000 tonnes of
wheat, has been shipped into Zimbabwe this year.

How Zimbabwe's bankrupt Government pays for these surreptitious imports is a
state secret, but they give the lie to its claim that the country's farmers
will produce a record harvest of 2.4 million tonnes of maize this year. In a
recent interview Mr Mugabe even suggested that the World Food Programme
should redirect its efforts to other countries. "Why foist this food upon
us? We don't want to be choked. We have enough," he told Sky News. By
contrast, the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation predicts a maize harvest
of barely 900,000 tonnes, and estimates that 2.3 million people in Zimbabwe'
s rural areas face starvation. Mr Mugabe's opponents have no doubt why he is
importing such large quantities of grain, while rejecting the help of
international aid organisations whose food distribution programmes he cannot
control. They say that he intends to reward supporters with food before next
year's parliamentary elections, and withhold it from famine-stricken areas
that support opposition parties until they cave in through hunger. "They
have a plan to starve people to death for political ends, to get everyone
aligned to their party at all costs," Pius Ncube, the Catholic Archbishop of
Western Zimbabwe, said this week. Indeed, Mr Mugabe once remarked that
"absolute power is when a man is starving and you are the only one able to
give him food".

In truth, the emptiness of Mr Mugabe's claims about Zimbabwe's food
production - and of the state radio propaganda jingle that "Our land is our
prosperity" - is everywhere apparent. A tour of what was once Zimbabwe's
most intensive farming region shows that Mr Mugabe's mythical agrarian
revolution has instead reduced what was once the breadbasket of southern
Africa to subsistence agriculture and desperate poverty. In July the land
around Banket, about 70 miles north of Harare, used to be a panorama of
stunning green winter wheat. Today there are a handful of green patches, the
work of the two white farmers still able to farm, and a few black "A2
settlers" - state and ruling party officials who have taken over white-owned
land. Ben Hlatshwayo, the High Court judge who last month dismissed the
opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai's challenge to Mr Mugabe's fraudulent
election victory in 2002, occupies the lands and homestead of Vernon
Nicolle, formerly one of the biggest wheat and barley producers in the
country, who is now in Australia. The judge's summer crops consist of a
patch of stunted maize and sunflowers. He has planted barely any winter

Massive rotating watering systems stand gaunt above fields of maroon buffalo
weed and elephant grass. The 1,000-tonne steel grain bins are empty and
vandalised, their function usurped by the rickety wooden cribs of peasant
farmers holding perhaps a tonne of maize cobs. "Some of them have made it,
but they are few and far between," said a white farmer who asked not to be
named. "They don't have capital or know-how. The Government hasn't delivered
the fertiliser, seed and fuel it promised. They farm at weekends. They
planted late and their yields will be hopeless. They will be able to feed
themselves, but that's all. There will be no profit to farm with next
season. It's poverty replicating itself." Nearby, the tattered plastic
sheeting over the ribs of a desolate 30-acre horticulture greenhouse flaps
in the wind. Six months ago the owner, a widow, was forced off by soldiers
with AK-47s. Other agricultural sectors are in similar straits. Zimbabwe was
the biggest exporter of tobacco in the world, producing 245,000 tonnes in
2000. This year's crop will be a quarter of that. At the Zimbabwe
International Trade Fair in April in Bulawayo, the heart of the country's
cattle industry, the sole entries in the livestock section were two donkeys.
There are about 300 white farmers still able to farm, says John
Worsley-Worswick of the Justice for Agriculture organisation, but the
Government has recently passed laws to seize farmers' machinery and to
hasten the procedure of "compulsory acquisition". Lists of farms for seizure
are published with increasing frequency. "We're losing one or two farmers
every day," said Mr Worsley-Worswick. "It's a very real possibility there
will be no white farmers by the end of the year."


Tobacco 2000: 245 million kg; 2004 (forecast): 65 million kg Maize 1995: 2.1
million tonnes; 2004: 900,000 tonnes Cotton 2000: 353,000 tonnes; 2004
(forecast): 228,000 tonnes Wheat 2001: 314,000 tonnes; 2003: 50,000 tonnes;
Milk 2001: 160,000 tonnes; 2003: 100,000 tonnes
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From The Mail & Guardian (SA), 9 July

How SA backed Zim lie

Jean-Jacques Cornish and Nazeem Dramat

South African Minister of Foreign Affairs Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma backed
Zimbabwean government moves to stifle an explosive report on human rights
abuses in Zimbabwe at the African Union summit in Addis Ababa. At the same
time, there is mounting evidence that Zimbabwean Foreign Minister Stan
Mudenge lied when he claimed his government had not seen or had a chance to
respond to the report, prepared by the AU's Commission on People's and Human
Rights (ACPHR). Summit sources said that at a meeting of African foreign
ministers last week, Dlamini-Zuma had stepped up to the plate for Mudenge
when he angrily insisted the report be suppressed before it reached the
assembly of AU heads of state, as his government had not seen it. She later
told the Mail & Guardian it had been agreed to hold the report until
Zimbabwe could comment. It would not be correct to circulate the document -
which also covered other countries - without the official reaction of those

Mudenge's claim began to look threadbare this week. One of the report's
authors, South African churchman and academic Barney Pityana, told the M&G
he could not believe the report had not been made available to President
Robert Mugabe's government. Pityana pointed out that he and the senior
vice-chairperson of the ACPHR, Gambian Jainab Johm, had finalised the report
in 2002. The commission's practice was to present its findings to the
relevant African state as soon as they were completed. He said he was proud
of the report's even-handedness. This chimed with the Archbishop of
Bulawayo, Pius Ncube's, criticism of the AU's apparent decision to back away
from tackling the report during the summit. The Zimbabwean government had
had the report for two years, Ncube insisted. In addition, the Zimbabwe
Human Rights NGO Forum said the Zimbabwean government was given a copy of
the report in February this year. And a senior Southern African Development
Community delegate told the M&G: "If the Zimbabweans arrived here ignorant
of the report, they were the only delegation in that position. We have
reason to believe the report reached Harare at least six months ago."
Zimbabwe has agreed to react to the report within seven days.

To the chagrin of the AU's heads of state, Mugabe's run-in with the
fledgling organisation dominated its third summit in the Ethiopian capital.
They had wanted to concentrate on the mission, vision and strategy presented
by the AU commission chairperson Alpha Oumar Konare, and avoid dealing with
the Zimbabwean president, as they had managed to do at previous summits. But
when the ACPHR's findings found their way into the public domain a week ago,
their options ran out. The normally soft-spoken Mudenge went ballistic when
the report was presented to African foreign ministers in the executive
council. He warned that if it was not stifled in that forum it would
overshadow everything else in the assembly of heads of state. "It's just a
question of where the blood flows, here or in the summit," he is said to
have told the council. Mudenge was apparently pulled up for his threatening
behaviour by Nigeria's Foreign Minister, Oluyemi Adentji, who was chairing
the meeting. Adentji was disinclined simply to throw the matter out at
Mudenge's behest. But in the absence of any evidence to the contrary, the
council accepted Mudenge's word that the ACPHR accusations came as a
surprise to his government. Asked how long he would need to reply, Mudenge
said: "Once we have studied it - no more than seven days." He then attempted
to mollify his peers by thanking the AU for helping to "recover more than
11-million hectares of stolen land without paying one cent". For this he was
rewarded with a round of applause. But the foreign ministers were having
none of his appeal to shelve the report - not even when Dlamini-Zuma climbed
into the ring to support him.

Dlamini-Zuma's defence of Zimbabwe may have come as a surprise to some of
the other African ministers at the summit. Executive director at the
Institute for Justice and Reconciliation, Charles Villa-Vicencio, argues
that South Africa had a hand in the drafting of the report and would have
wanted the AU to have adopted it as part of a broad African effort to deal
with the crisis in Zimbabwe. However, faced with Mudenge's - and probably
Mugabe's - fierce reaction to the report, the South Africans may have
decided to back down and let Zimbabwe off the hook. The report relates to
events after the Zimbabwean parliamentary and presidential elections in 2000
and 2002. It was not presented to last year's summit in Maputo ostensibly
because it was not translated into French. "It has been out there a long
time and it simply cannot be hidden away any longer," commented one
delegate. he council thus "noted" the report. It also noted that mission
reports on specific countries - without naming Zimbabwe - were circulated
without comment by the states concerned. It urged the commission to see that
this did not happen again.
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Sunday Times (SA)

Abuses 'common' in Mugabe's Zimbabwe

Friday July 09, 2004 06:51 - (SA)

The human rights report that Zimbabwe succeeded in suppressing at the
African Union (AU) summit that has just ended, is filled with findings of
widespread abuse of power by President Robert Mugabe's government.

The AU refused to release and discuss the report on a technicality, thereby
acceding to Zimbabwe's protest s that it had not been given an opportunity
to respond to the allegations contained in the report.

Zimbabwe Foreign Minister Stan Mudenge has since promised that his
government will respond to the report, compiled by the African Commission on
Human and People's Rights (an AU body), " within days".

But an executive summary of the report, discussed by AU foreign ministers
and obtained by Business Day, heavily implicates the Zimbabwean government
in the land seizures, torture, arbitrary arrests, repressive legislation,
political intolerance and assaults on the media as well as on the judiciary.

"Zimbabwe needs assistance to withdraw from the precipice. The country is in
need of mediators and reconcilers who are dedicated to promoting dialogue
and better understanding," says the report's summary, the first hard-hitting
document on Zimbabwe by the AU.

The summary said that while the land question needed to be addressed, it
must be done in an orderly and legal manner.

The commission visited Zimbabwe and compiled the report in 2002, at the
height of the land invasions and the political intolerance which had been
brought about by the elections.

"There was enough evidence placed before the mission to suggest that, at the
very least during the period under review, human rights violations occurred
in Zimbabwe.

"The mission was presented with testimony from witnesses who were victims of
torture while in police custody.

"There was evidence that arbitrary arrests took place," the summary said.

It said it was alarmed by the arrest of journalists and especially by the
arrest of the president of the Law Society of Zimbabwe.

While there were allegations by the opposition about human rights violations
by Zanu (PF) activists, the report said it was not able to find definitively
that this was an orchestrated policy.

Nevertheless, "the mission is prepared and able to rule that the government
cannot wash its hands from responsibility for all these happenings," the
report concluded.

Business Day
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Business Report

Deadline for Zimbabwe banks
July 9, 2004

By MacDonald Dzirutwe

Harare - Zimbabwe's banking sector faces an uncertain future, with some
smaller banks expected to fail ahead of a September deadline to raise
capital requirements set by the central bank, analysts say.

A collapse of the banks would sting emerging industries and slow down the
black empowerment programme of President Robert Mugabe's government.

Since the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe clamped down on black market currency
trading early in 2004, five black-owned financial houses have been placed
under curatorship, while directors of others have been forced to step down,
arrested on corruption charges or even fled the country.

"I see a situation where some smaller banks will fail to meet the deadline
and these will go under," said Witness Chinyama, the chief economist at
Kingdom Bank.

"We have not seen as many mergers as anticipated but everyone has been given
enough time and they can't expect to be continuously handled with kid

Pressure was mounting ahead of the September 30 deadline, while cheap
funding from the central bank had dried up, analysts said yesterday.

Analysts said that while two local banks - CFX and Century - had merged,
some of the expected deals had failed because the bigger banks wanted to be
the buyer in any link-up, and were hoping to pick up bargains closer to the
September 30 deadline.

A highly publicised takeover by Old Mutual of locally owned Trust Bank,
whose debts are said to be Z$1 trillion (R1.1 billion), failed in June after
a due diligence exercise.
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Sharp dip for tourism in Zimbabwe
          July 08 2004 at 06:42PM

      Harare - Tourism has dropped dramatically in troubled Zimbabwe,
especially among affluent visitors from Europe and the United States,
according to government figures released on Thursday.

      The government's Tourism Authority said 348 946 tourists visited
Zimbabwe in the first three months of the year, about half the number that
came in the first quarter of last year.

      Of those, four percent came from the United States, nine percent from
Europe, the authority said.

      Zimbabwe is suffering its worst political and economic crisis since
independence from Britain in 1980, with spiralling inflation and
unemployment and acute shortages of hard currency, food, gasoline, medicines
and essential imports.

      Political violence has claimed at least 200 lives since the government
launched an often violent programme in 2000 to seize thousands of
white-owned farms, crippling the agricultural-based economy.

      The United States and European governments have warned their nationals
about the dangers of visiting Zimbabwe.

      In 1999, tourism earned the country nearly $200-million. Tourism
receipts last year fell to about $44-million.

      Tourism was Zimbabwe's third largest hard currency earner after
agricultural exports, including tobacco, and mining. - Sapa-AP
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SA risks being a semi-desert, warns World Bank

July 08, 2004, 13:11

The World Bank has warned South Africa that it faces a risk of becoming a
semi-desert country unless it strengthens its water conservation programmes.
This comes as South Africa prepares for the International Conference on
Water for Developing Countries to be held in Zimbabwe in two weeks time.

The conference will look at the provision of adequate water in developing
countries through regional co-operation. About 1.1 billion people in the
world lack adequate water and over 300 million of them live in Africa.

Themba Khumalo, the spokesperson for the water affairs and forestry
department, says developing a culture of saving water in the country is a
major challenge.

"We've been warned that if we don't start saving water now in South Africa
we're running the risk of becoming an arid country in the next 50 years or
so. And we take that advice quite seriously," he said.
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Zim Independent

Whistle blower demands $30b
Vincent Kahiya
THE man who blew the whistle on key business and political figures resulting
in their arrests this year is demanding more than $30 billion from the
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) for his efforts.

He claims the RBZ has been withholding his bounty after he helped the police
to nab high profile individuals.

The estimated prejudice to the state as a result of their alleged fraudulent
activities amounts to $310 billion. The whistle blower is entitled to 10%.

The elderly man, whom the Zimbabwe Independent cannot name, said he had to
leave South Africa where he was based to avoid harm following his
disclosures. He worked for one of the accused, Cecil Muderede, at a
transport company called Nemini in South Africa between April last year and
February this year. He also worked for Africa Resources Ltd's transport
division, Petter International, as a senior manager until October 2001.

Yesterday RBZ governor Gideon Gono's spokesman Fortune Chasi confirmed the
central bank had indeed received information from the whistle blower.

"With regards to the individual in question, we do confirm that he has been
a substantial source of high-profile information which has led to the
situation currently receiving attention by the police and other law
enforcement agents," said Chasi.

He said the RBZ would pay the whistle blower as soon as the cases in the
courts were finalised.

"We are as anxious to get to the finality of the matters as he (the whistle
blower) wants to get payment," he said. "We however request him to be
patient with us until the cases have been finalised," he said.

Senior RBZ officials this week said the man had an "arsenal of information"
which he passed on to the police, the Central Intelligence Organisation and
the central bank.

"Most of the information he gave us was credible," a senior RBZ official
said. "The RBZ has a mandate to help police to verify and cross-check such
information. We found the information to be useful."

The man, who is now in the United Kingdom, claims to have blown the whistle
on businessman and Zanu PF Central Committee member James Makamba and his
cellphone company Telecel.

Makamba is currently in remand prison on charges of externalising US$133
000, £225 650 and 52 956 euros.

The informer said he was also the whistle blower in the Mutumwa Mawere case
resulting in attempts to extradite the businessman from South Africa on
charges of externalising $300 billion.

He blew the whistle on Muderede, who is being jointly charged with Irvin
Mereki and Terrence Mutasa for externalising more than US$1,3 million and
R700 000.

Muderede is also facing 21 counts of defrauding the Grain Marketing Board of
7 915 metric tonnes of grain valued at more than $63 million.

In his monetary policy statement on December 18 last year, Gono announced
the setting up of a whistle blower's fund from which informers with credible
information would get 10% of the amount recovered by the state in commercial
crime cases.

The man said he came to Zimbabwe on January 14 this year and met with

Gono, Anti-Corruption minister Didymus Mutasa and senior police officers.

He claims to have been booked into Meikles Hotel. He said Gono's personal
driver picked him up from the hotel the next day for a meeting with the

He claims to have met President Robert Mugabe on January 16 to present
startling revelations about suspected foreign currency violations by
prominent figures.

He returned to Zimbabwe on February 12 and met Police Commissioner Augustine
Chihuri and State Security minister Nicholas Goche. The meetings, he said,
resulted in the dispatch of a team of police officers to South Africa.

"Gono only gave me $4 million in cash and nothing else," he said.
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Zim Independent

AU steps up pressure on Zim
Dumisani Muleya
ZIMBABWE has agreed to respond in seven days to a severe indictment of its
governance record by the African Union's Commission on Human and People's
Rights. After that the report will be finalised for presentation to AU
member states.

The move comes in the wake of remarks made by United Nations
secretary-general Kofi Annan - widely seen as thinly-veiled criticism of
President Mugabe as well as other intractable rulers - at the opening of
this week's AU summit in Addis Ababa.

"Let us pledge that the days of indefinite one-man or one-party governments
are behind us," Annan said to applause.

"There is no greater wisdom and no clearer mark of statesmanship than
knowing when to pass the torch to a new generation."

The report by the AU commission, which visited the country in June 2002, was
"noted" by foreign ministers last Saturday although its publication was
suspended to allow Harare the right of reply.

The report slammed "blatant human rights abuses, a flurry of repressive
legislation, political violence... torture... and arbitrary arrests of
journalists.opposition MPs and human rights lawyers".

Foreign minister Stan Mudenge has agreed to respond in seven days after he
protested that Zimbabwe had not been given an opportunity to defend itself.
He claimed the report had been submitted to the wrong ministry. It has been
gathering dust at the Ministry of Justice.

There were also angry protests from Information minister Jonathan Moyo who
claimed the opposition MDC, which described the report as a "breath of fresh
air", had "smuggled" the issue onto the agenda at the behest of British
prime minister Tony Blair.

He also attacked former Law Society of Zimbabwe president Sternford Moyo
whom he accused of "unashamedly" using his position to misrepresent
information on Zimbabwe.

The senior lawyer this week declined to become embroiled in a public brawl
with Moyo.

"The false and defamatory attack on me by the Minister of State for
Information and Publicity is so outrageous as to be unworthy of any
substantive response," he said.

Annan's audience included Mugabe - Africa's oldest president - and other
continental strongmen such as President Gnassingbe Eyadema of Togo and
Gabon's Omar Bongo.

Annan said African leaders must stop resisting democracy and embrace regular
free and fair elections, a credible opposition whose role was respected, an
independent judiciary that upholds the rule of law, a free and independent
press, effective civilian control over the military and a vibrant civil

Mugabe has in the past claimed such issues are "peripheral and extraneous".

The AU re-port contradicted Zimba-bwe's persistent assertions that
complaints of human rights abuses are sponsored by the West.

Mudenge accused the AU commissioners of being "Blair's messengers". While he
claimed Harare was "not given the time" to formally respond to the report,
the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum said government had been sitting on it
since February 5 - others say much longer.

Bulawayo Archbishop Pius Ncube said it would be sad if AU leaders just
"drink tea" and let Mugabe off the hook. They were dealing with a
"deceitful" regime, he said.

Observers said Mugabe's comfort zone at African summits is fast diminishing
as the continent's leaders begin to speak out against dictatorship and human
rights abuses.

He was once again in the limelight at the summit - for all the wrong reasons
as news of the report's disclosures haunted the Zimbabwe delegation by
dominating news from the summit.

Diplomatic sources say Mugabe could experience further discomfort at next
month's Southern African Development Community (Sadc) summit in Mauritius
which will discuss the conduct of elections in the region.

Sources say Zanu PF was recently forced to adopt electoral reforms by
sustained regional and domestic pressure.

The Human Rights NGO Forum said it was reliably informed on February 5 2004
that the fact-finding mission report was with the government of Zimbabwe and
would be published, together with the comments of the government, as soon as
these were received.

While it was the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs that
was delegated by government in 2002 to co-ordinate the agenda for the
fact-finding mission of the African Commission, the rules of the commission
are silent on the ministry to which a mission report should be submitted
stating only that the commission must submit reports to the relevant member
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Zim Independent

Govt backtracks on Kintyre
Augustine Mukaro
GOVERNMENT is backtracking on its bid to take over Kintyre Estates following
representations by plot-holders proving there was progress in turning the
farm into a successful horticultural operation.

Kintyre County Plot Holders' Association secretary Mark Mhindu said the
holders have so far put together up to $6 billion worth of investment to
kick-start their projects.

"We applaud (Policy Implementation) minister Webster Shamu for waking up
plot holders to perform and uphold their initial undertaking when they
bought the plots," Mhindu said.

He said there was a lot of goodwill from the financial sector and
agro-processors to help the plot holders in their endeavours.

"We are all working in keeping with our original agreement to transform
Kintyre into a green village earning the country hard currency through
exports of fresh produce.

"The negative publicity that we are getting would require the powers that be
to make positive statements that would clear the air and encourage investors
to bring in more money."

"Plot holders have proven that they have their own money to kick-start their
projects while Arda should use its resources to revamp a number of its
estates that are lying idle," Mhindu said.
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Zim Independent

Tsvangirai not in Buhera election race
Loughty Dube
OPPOSITION Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai
will not contest next year's general election as he will be concentrating on
giving support to his party's candidates nationwide.

MDC spokesman William Bango said this week Tsvangirai would not contest the
election in his Buhera North home constituency because he was a national
leader whose sphere of interest covered the whole country.

"President Tsvangirai is the party's first candidate and the whole country
is his constituency and therefore he is not going to contest in Buhera North
next year," Bango said.

Tsvangirai contested the violent and controversial 2000 parliament election
where he lost to Zanu PF's Kenneth Manyonda by 10 316 votes to 12 850 amid
claims of violence and ballot manipulation.

Tsvangirai, together with another 37 candidates, challenged the result in
the High Court, which later nullified it after finding evidence that the
poll was not held in a peaceful atmosphere.

Bango said Tsvangirai was not chickening out of Buhera North but would like
to help the party's 120 candidates.

The MDC faces a litmus test as Zanu PF attempts to wrestle seats the
opposition won in 2000. Next year's poll will be held under a different
electoral system following reforms which the MDC welcomed although it says a
conducive political environment for elections also needed to be created to
ensure free and fair polls.

The MDC has completed its verification process to identify candidates
standing for the party in next year's election.

MDC spokesman Paul Themba Nyathi said already five sitting MPs have so far
failed to get the support from district executives in their constituencies
while other MPs have retained their right to represent the party next year.

Nyathi identified the MPs who have failed to get the backing of their
constituency executives as Trudy Stevenson (Harare North), Dunmore Makuvasa
(Mbare West), Tichaona Munyanyi (Mbare East), Leonard Chirowamangu (Nyanga),
and Sydney Mukwecheni (Mutare South).

"According to the party's constitution the sitting MPs have to seek a two
thirds re-endorsement from the district executives that are made up of the
chairpersons of the women's and youth leagues and if the candidate fails
then the person has to contest primary elections," Nyathi said.

"The party has completed the first phase countrywide and we are now awaiting
to go to the next phase which is the primary elections and dates for those
would be announced soon," Nyathi said.

l Meanwhile, the High Court will later this month hand down judgement in the
treason trial of Tsvangirai.

Innocent Chagonda, Tsvangirai's lawyer, yesterday confirmed the ruling would
be made on July 29. Tsvangirai is facing allegations of plotting to
assassinate President Mugabe and overthrow his regime.
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Zim Independent

Govt intensifies blitz against foreign media
Gift Phiri
GOVERNMENT has intensified its crackdown on foreign newspapers circulating
in the country. This follows speculation in the state media about the role
of South African newspapers that are distributed in Zimbabwe.

Police this week visited Sovereign Publishers, who print the Zimbabwe
Independent and Standard, making enquiries about the distribution of the
Mail & Guardian (M&G) which is printed in South Africa.

Officers from the Commercial Intelligence Unit quizzed Publications
Distribution's managing director William Nyamangara about the circulation of
the M&G in the country.

Publications Distribution are the distributors of the M&G in Zimbabwe.

"They came here and asked me who the owner of the M&G was," said Nyamangara.
"They also wanted to find out how it was coming into the country."

The crackdown on foreign media follows a report in the state-controlled
Sunday Mail alleging that the M&G was harbouring plans to publish
clandestinely in the country. The paper, quoting unnamed sources, said there
were secret plans to publish and distribute the M&G in Zimbabwe without
registration from the Media and Information Commission.

M&G publisher Trevor Ncube a fortnight ago dismissed the report saying there
were no plans now or in the future for the M&G to be published in Zimbabwe.
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Zim Independent

$500m for youth camp renovations
Shakeman Mugari/Augustine Mukaro
THE government is currently expanding and renovating the controversial youth
training camps at a cost of $500 million ahead of next year's general

Sources said government was already extending and revamping Kamativi, Vumba
and Mushagashe camps in preparation for the poll in March.

The training camps are expected to churn out more than 6 000 youths who
could possibly be deployed to strengthen Zanu PF's electoral machinery.

The sources said government would use the camps as militia bases during the
election period. The camps would also house the Zanu PF youth wing during
the elections.

The Zimbabwe Independent is reliably informed that an unbudgeted $500
million would be used for renovating and extending the three camps.

The Independent has had sight of the preliminary expenditure proposal for
the project. The papers show that the government has set aside $360 million
for the extension of Kamativi training camp in Matabeleland North, the
biggest militia base in the country.

Mushagashe in Masvingo and Vumba in Manicaland would also be extended at a
total cost of $150 million. Vumba, an all-female youth camp with an original
capacity of 500 occupants, is now expected to have more than 800 inmates at
a time.

Mushagashe would also increase its intake from the current 1 000 to about 1
300. There are plans, sources say, to have a crash programme for the next
youth intake. A senior training officer in the Ministry of Youth, Gender and
Employment said the camps would have four intakes over the next seven

"Yes the renovations have started. The next intake will be at the end of
this month. The plan is to make up for the time lost during the
reconstruction," said the official.

Meanwhile, reports say Zanu PF has turned Rusape into a no go area for the
opposition deploying graduates from the national youth training centres to
harass any suspected MDC supporters.

One of the victims who preferred to be identified only as Brighton for fear
of victimisation said he was detained and tortured for four days for
allegedly possessing independent newspapers.

Brighton said he had just disembarked from a bus from Harare when a
well-known graduate from Border Gezi youth camp living in Rusape approached
him, accusing him of reading newspapers sponsored by British premier Tony
Blair. He was holding the Zimbabwe Independent and the Financial Gazette.
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Zim Independent

'Zanu PF our Bible' - Mzembi
Godfrey Marawanyika
PROMINENT Zanu PF member and agro-industrialist Walter Mzembi has likened
the ruling party to the Bible saying that the two are entwined as they have
the same principles.

Mzembi, who has declared himself candidate for Masvingo South in next year's
general election, made the unusual comparison when he addressed a rally at
Rupike growth point in the constituency.

This was his first public address after being suspended by the party's
provincial executive for insubordination. Mzembi is alleged to have made
public statements attacking Foreign minister Stan Mudenge, Chief Fortune
Charumbira, and the provincial chairman for Masvingo, Daniel Shumba.

"I was suspended for 21 days. The time has lapsed so I retain my post as the
District Co-ordinating Committee chairman," Mzembi told the crowd in Shona.

"The Zanu PF constitution is similar to a Bible. This is because the Bible
says do not steal, do not kill and this is what Zanu PF is all about and my
rights are thoroughly protected by that constitution," he said.

Mzembi told the gathering that despite having been suspended for bringing
the party into disrepute since he attacked the senior party officials, he
remained defiant that he never undermined anyone.

"Chief Charumbira is from the Shumba clan, so is Daniel Shumba. I am also
from that clan. Now imagine if the three lions would hunt together," Mzembi

"I am awaiting to take over from Edison Zvobgo. I was called by Governor
Silas Hungwe and Mudenge to take over this seat when Zvobgo was in South
Africa. If we are to disagree on politics we should not fight in public. Asi
zvisinei mukadzi aresva harohwe pachivanze (Don't wash dirty linen in

Mzembi said since President Mugabe had announced that all aspiring MPs would
participate in primary elections, he was ready to take over, adding that he
was prepared to write a letter of apology.

Mzembi has been asked by Masvingo province to write a letter apologising for
his conduct.

"Writing a letter is not a problem. But what will I be saying in that
letter? I am allowed to campaign for the party because the president said
so," he said.
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Zim Independent

Council services collapse under Makwavarara
Augustine Mukaro
THE Combined Harare Residents Association (Chra) has expressed concern over
the continued deterioration of service delivery in the capital. Chra, an
umbrella body representing all residents associations in Harare, said
council service has declined sharply since acting mayor Sekesai Makwavarara
took over from mayor Elias Mudzuri last year.

"Virtually all the capital's infrastructure is in free fall. There are burst
water pipes, raw sewerage flowing in the high-density residential streets,
roads almost inaccessible because of potholes and decomposing mountains of
refuse posing threats of disease outbreaks at the corners of the streets,"
Chra said.

The city's water purification system is crumbling, which has forced the
local authority to switch off supplies to at least a third of the city over
the past three months.

The CBD has become an eyesore as cleaners have virtually disappeared.
Vendors have invaded First Street, once the jewel of the city centre, where
they do their laundry and cook meals on shop fronts.

President Robert Mugabe this year appointed Witness Mangwende as governor to
help administer the city. Mangwende advertised his presence by unleashing
the military to clean the city.

Makwavarara, despite massive backing by Local Government minister Ignatius
Chombo, has failed to justify her presence at Town House.

The Harare City Council has been in a state of turmoil since the days of
former mayor Solomon Tawengwa who was dismissed in 1999 on allegations of
mismanagement and corruption. The Elijah Chanakira commission, appointed to
replace Tawengwa's council, was widely criticised for compounding the chaos
at Town House. The commission not only failed to improve service delivery,
it could not produce audited books for the three years it was in office.

The popularly-elected Mudzuri council initially tried to revamp the city's
decaying infrastructure but he was stopped in his tracks by the negative
intervention of Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo.

Chra said Makwavarara had completely failed and had the temerity to drop the
stakeholders' consultation system, resulting in council coming up with
absurd rate increases.

"Council no longer consults residents on matters of budgeting as was the
norm but simply imposes its views," Chra said.

"Last year council was forced to revise its budget downwards because it had
not followed the consultation process. Half the time Makwavarara has been
fighting to keep her position instead of taking the city ahead through
feedback from residents and responding to their concerns."

Chra said the one-man band attitude which Makwavarara had adopted resulted
in the city deteriorating further in both infrastructure and financial

"Council has been reported bankrupt on two occasions over the period
Makwavarara has been acting mayor because residents have been refusing to
recognise her, thereby holding back payment of rates, council's main source
of revenue." Chra said.

Chra said Harare's health delivery system had been thrown into disarray over
the past year.

"Germany's city of Munich suspended its cooperation with Harare citing
unavailability of someone democratically elected by the people of Harare to
take over the mayoral office," Chra said.

"Suspension of the Munich partnership has closed prospects of both medical
equipment and financial support that could have improved the situation at
city council clinics."
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Zim Independent

GMB faces probe over food estimates
Itai Dzamara
THE Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Lands and Agriculture has sent
questions to the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) as part of its probe into the
country's food production estimates.

The committee will start work soon after President Robert Mugabe opens the
Fifth Session of the Fourth Parliament in a fortnight.

The Zimbabwe Independent this week established that the committee sent
questions to the GMB and the Central Statistical Office (CSO) requesting
information regarding the country's food situation.

The portfolio committee chairman, Daniel Mackenzie Ncube, said they had
hoped to start assessing GMB stocks as well as verifying data obtained from
the CSO last week.

"We were hoping to have begun the assessment on Tuesday (last week) but we
couldn't because we haven't yet got enough replies from the GMB and the
Central Statistical Office," said Ncube in an interview last week.

"But we will start soon after the opening of the Fifth Session of

Mugabe will open the Fifth Session of the Fourth Parliament of Zimbabwe on
July 20.

The committee was given the green light by parliament to assess the food
situation in view of the controversy following claims by Mugabe and his
government that the country had enough food. Independent surveys have
predicted food shortages later in the year.

The United Nations, which had its crop assessment team kicked out of
Zimbabwe two months ago, recently said about 2,3 million Zimbabweans would
need food assistance this year.

The latest report by the Famine Early Warning Network (Fewsnet) said
Zimbabwe was projected to face an overall cereal deficit of 612 000 tonnes.

"Our focus is to look at the crop situation in retrospect, compare with the
paperwork by the GMB and the CSO to establish whether there is consistence,"
Ncube said.

"After that we will want to go around the country - resources permitting -
or alternatively use the sampling method to assess GMB depots."

Among the questions sent to the GMB and the CSO by the committee are
requests for information regarding importations. "We have also asked the GMB
to clarify the situation regarding importation. How much they have imported,
when and under what circumstances."

Government has denied reports that it is secretly importing grain.
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Zim Independent

Zesa blames power cuts on DRC
Nomalanga Masina
THE Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (Zesa) has blamed recent blackouts
in some parts of Harare on Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) power supplier
Snel and problems at Wankie Colliery.

Obert Nyatanga, Zesa general manager for corporate affairs, said power cuts
on Tuesday and Wednesday were caused largely by the supplier's failure to
provide electricity.

"We were supposed to get power from Snel of DRC but we did not get anything
on Tuesday which led to some parts in Harare North being affected," he said.

"Zesa experienced a power shortfall during the evening peak on Tuesday and
Wednesday 6/7 July 2004 due to a generator forced outage at Hwange Power

Other blackouts on Monday and Tuesday were caused by faults at substations
in the capital.

A number of places in Harare such as Avondale, Kuwadzana, Mabelreign,
Ashdown Park, Hatfield and parts of Mount Pleasant were affected.

The power cuts also left some parts of the central business district without
electricity on Monday.

The situation has been worsened by Zesa's failure to operate at full
capacity due to a breakdown of one of its generators at Hwange.

Zesa's operational constraints were further worsened by the cold weather,
which has led to increased demand for power.

"The current peak demand is 2 100MW (while) generation capacity is 1 200MW,"
Nyatanga said.

"The balance is being imported from the region. We however expect local
generation to increase to 1 300MW once units at Hwange Power Station start
to operate at full capacity by the end of this week following routine

Zimbabwe imports 35% of its power from the region, whilst the rest is
generated from Hwange Power Station and Kariba.

Zesa has been classified as an interruptible customer by regional suppliers
due to its failure to service debts.

By May Zesa owed US$56 million to suppliers.
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Zim Independent

Electoral Bill in preparation
Itai Dzamara
A Bill with major proposals to reform electoral laws is likely to be brought
to parliament soon. The proposals, already approved by Zanu PF's politburo,
are a culmination of deliberations involving the ruling party, the
opposition and civil society, the Zimbabwe Independent heard this week.

Zanu PF sources this week said the party's politburo had resolved at last
week's meeting to present a Bill to parliament with electoral amendments
after the opening of the Fifth Session of the Fourth Parliament by President
Mugabe on July 20.

It is understood the Zimbabwe Election Support Network (Zesn)'s draft
proposals on electoral amendments have been used extensively by government
in determining changes to the electoral laws, sources said.

Zesn chairman Reginald Matchaba-Hove this week said Zanu PF had accepted the
need for electoral reforms following pressure from many sources, including
civil society.

"It is encouraging that as a nation we are moving in the right direction
following this willingness to come together and create a framework under
which acceptable conditions of elections can be established," said

"We are pleased that our proposals on electoral amendments have been taken
into consideration by the ruling party. However, a lot still needs to be
done and we must fully utilise this little window of opportunity."

Zesn earlier this year submitted to government and parliament proposals on
electoral amendments which in essence called for the disbanding of the
current outdated system. The Zesn proposals recommend the establishment of
an Independent Electoral Commission to replace the Registrar-General and the
Electoral Supervisory Commission that have been running elections since

It also recommends that elections be held on one day, a proposal that the
Zanu PF politburo has adopted.

Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Patrick Chinamasa this
week said a position on the way forward would be announced soon and didn't
rule out the issue of the Bill going to parliament after the opening

"A position would be announced soon regarding the way forward and if it
means presenting a Bill in parliament, the right course will have to be
followed," said Chinamasa.

The MDC has welcomed Zanu PF's desire to change electoral laws but said some
aspects of the proposals adopted by the ruling party's politburo would need

The proposal by Zanu PF to have five members of the Zimbabwe Electoral
Commission appointed by Mugabe, for example, has been viewed as unacceptable
by the opposition and civil society.

MDC secretary-general Welshman Ncube this week said the opposition would
wait for an opportunity to debate the Bill in parliament and try to ensure
that such outstanding issues are addressed.
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Zim Independent

Contractor demands $25b for Zambezi water project
Loughty Dube
A CHINESE company which stopped work on the long-delayed Matabeleland
Zambezi Water project is demanding $25 billion from government before it
resumes business, the Zimbabwe Independent has established.

A report by the Bulawayo City Council's Future Water Supplies and Water
Action committee on the progress of the project says Chinese Electrical
Machinery and Equipment (CEME) wants $25 billion for the work that it is
expected to carry out this year.

The company is saying that it will not resume work unless half of that
amount is paid in advance, the report says.

It abandoned work on the project last year after government failed to pay it
in time.

CEME is expected to start working on stripping and clearing of foundations
on the main dam, demolition and moving of large boulders and excavation of
dam foundations if its demand is met.

"A request had been forwarded to the Ministry of Water Resources and
Infrastructural Development for the amount of $25 682 000 000 for the
activities identified by the contractor for implementation this year, with
half the amount required as an advance. The amount from government is still
being awaited," the report says.

The report says the Ministry of Finance in January wrote to the Water
Resources ministry reminding it that the government has committed itself to
financing the construction of the Gwayi-Shangani dam, the first phase and
major part of the Zambezi water project.

"The Ministry of Finance and Economic Development had written a letter in
January 2004 to the Ministry of Water Resources highlighting that the
government had committed itself to financing the construction of
Gwayi-Shangani Dam," reads the report.

"This followed prolonged delays in the finalisation of financing
arrangements by Hope Mount services."

Hope Mount Services, a company formed by the Matabeleland Zambezi Water
Trust to source funds for the project, has failed to raise the US$50 million
that it had promised to secure to kick-start the project.

CEME abandoned work last year after government failed to pay it due to
foreign currency shortages. However, the Chinese firm has now agreed to be
paid for services in local currency after reaching an agreement with the
Water Resources ministry and the Zimbabwe National Water Authority.

Government this year only availed $300 million towards the project but the
money has already been exhausted before the project started.
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Zim Independent

Tsvangirai vows to step up poll pressure
Nomalanga Masina
OPPOSITION Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai has
vowed to intensify pressure to wring more political concessions from the
ruling Zanu PF ahead of next year's general election. Tsvangirai said on
Tuesday that the MDC had formulated strategies to force the ruling party to
make further concessions to create a balanced environment for free and fair

"There is a broad acceptance countrywide that once a dictatorship starts to
yield to popular pressure, the people must push it further towards full
political reform for the sake of a lasting solution and peace," he said.

"Political transformation is a comprehensive process of change, as was the
case in Eastern Europe and in South Africa. We are prepared to maintain the
pressure for a total package of reforms (because) Zanu PF has run out of

Although he did not reveal his party's new strategies, Tsvangirai said these
would heighten pressure on the ruling party to accept more fundamental
political reforms.

He said his party would persist in its efforts to ensure there was a
"radical revision" of the country's electoral system before next year's
March election.

"I am happy that all the senior leaders of the MDC, right down to our
provinces and districts, are united on the need for a radical revision to
our electoral standards before we embark on another national election."

Yielding to sustained internal and external pressure, Zanu PF two weeks ago
adopted sweeping reforms which will result in the introduction of an
independent electoral commission and new structures to replace the current
system that has been widely criticised as open to manipulation.

The MDC welcomed the electoral changes but urged the ruling party to make
further reforms to open up democratic space and improve the political

The opposition said it would not help to just change the electoral law
without addressing key issues such as political repression, violence, and
intimidation to restore civil and political liberties.

Tsvangirai was last Friday attacked by suspected Zanu PF militants while
addressing a political rally at Mvurwi in Mashonaland Central province.

He said last week's incident clearly showed that political violence still
held sway on the political scene.

"It has become clear from the attack on our meeting in Mvurwi that our
political system is still too primitive and too raw for comfort," Tsvangirai

"However, we shall liaise with all the communities and share our vision for
the future. We have to reach out to millions of people in the next few
months, even if it requires us to conduct our meetings at night."
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Zim Independent

MDC rejects Mugabe's 'talks terms'
Gift Phiri
THE opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has once again rejected
President Robert Mugabe's preconditions for talks to resolve the current

Reacting to Mugabe's renewed demand that the MDC should first cut ties with
Britain before dialogue can take place, the head of delegation to talks with
the ruling Zanu PF, Welshman Ncube, said the opposition flatly rejected that

"We have said this before and we will say it again, the MDC will not accept
any preconditions to dialogue with Zanu PF," said Ncube.

"Suggesting that we have to cut ties with Britain when it is well known that
the MDC is a wholly Zimbabwean outfit is absurd."

Mugabe last Saturday ruled out talks with MDC, citing the opposition's
alleged ties with Britain.

He told his party's National Consultative Assembly meeting that the MDC was
taking orders from British prime minister Tony Blair.

"We have always told them that we cannot have serious discussions with the
MDC as they don't have any authority to decide," said Mugabe.

"They still have to report to their masters in Europe. They are just puppets

and that is why we have always insisted that if there are any talks that
need to be done, they have to be between the British and Zimbabwean

South African President Thabo Mbeki, who had been trying to bring the two
parties to the negotiating table, had promised a political settlement by
last month.

This was based on assurances made by Mugabe last year that by June there
would be a solution to the Zimbabwe crisis.

Formal talks have failed to resume since the first round collapsed in 2002
when Mugabe demanded the opposition recognise his disputed victory in the
presidential poll.

Two weeks ago an MDC team led by Ncube met Mbeki in Pretoria where they
discussed the possibility of resuming inter-party talks.

Mbeki and Ncube's team reviewed the Zimbabwe situation with special emphasis
on the political stalemate and the proposed electoral reforms.

Although his policy of "quiet diplomacy" over Zimbabwe has been dismissed as
inaudible and ineffective, Mbeki has not changed his approach.

Despite informal meetings between MDC and Zanu PF officials since last year
to deliberate on constitutional reforms, no progress has been made.

An initiative by local church leaders last year hit a snag after Zanu PF
failed to produce a draft agenda.

The MDC had produced its own agenda and wanted the ruling party to do the
same before talks could start.
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Zim Independent

Parastatals reaping where they haven't sown

 Ngoni Chanakira

GOVERNMENT does not appear to have a viable plan to rescue the country's
decaying parastatals, most of which are milking billions of dollars from the
fiscus without providing sound services.

Although the parasitic behemoths have been draining billions from treasury,
government has over the years continued to dither on how to turn around
state enterprises that cover a wide swathe of the economy.

While there have been repeated calls for the commercialisation of
parastatals, the Privatisation Agency of Zimbabwe (PAZ), another government
agency, has been pushing its own agenda of selling the institutions.

PAZ recently earmarked nine parastatals for restructuring and privatisation
by 2006. It said the programme was expected, among other things, to attract
foreign direct investment, reduce public sector borrowing and access
globally competitive technology.

The Minister of Transport and Communications Chris Mushowe is making efforts
to rail-road what he terms the "strategic road map for the Ministry of
Transport and Communications". The minister, however, admits that the road
map is "rugged".

Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor Gideon Gono in his monetary policy
statement review in April tried to intervene when he announced that all
parastatals and local authorities could now use the central bank's
productive sector facility at 50% interest a year, if they could produce
externally audited financial statements.

Gono asked parastatal bosses to produce turnaround plans mapping the way

Other than the Industrial Development Corporation of Zimbabwe led by Mike
Ndudzo, all the other parastatatals are loss-making and have never produced
audited accounts.

They continue reaping where they have not sown and sometimes not only demand
but also expect regular rescue packages from government when they are in
financial troubles.

Addressing parastatal heads about turnaround plans on February 18, Mushowe
said as part of the "war cabinet" his mandate was to "fight a winning

"As part of the war cabinet, I have one and only one choice to be a field
commander and naturally you are expected to become serving and dedicated
field lieutenants and foot soldiers lest we lose the battle which we cannot
afford to," he said.

The minister said he had about a year in which to execute a vision and
mission of the ministry.

"We need to think 'outside the box' and be innovative and to plough around
whatever obstacles may be in our way - to give meaning, relevance and role
prominence to this ministry in the context of its natural economic
centrality in the development aspirations of this country," Mushowe said.
"To do 'business as usual' is not a viable nor acceptable option for us
anymore. We need to re-orient our perceptions and redirect our focus towards
the core business for which we are here."

Analysts have scoffed at Mushowe's sentiments, pointing out that there was
no way he could turn around parastatals in such a short space of time when
they are accustomed to abusing facilities and receiving government support.

Economic commentator Eric Bloch says Zimbabwe's parastatals have a tradition
of "spending money" because they continue to receive more even when they do
not earn it.

He says parastatals should be made accountable for all their expenditures,
something that has been "a mystery since Independence".

In his monetary policy statement review for the first quarter, Gono said the
RBZ was introducing a six- month (to December 31) productive sector facility
at 50% interest a year.

The facility was for Air Zimbabwe (maximum of $7,5 billion), ZBC ($7,5
billion), the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority ($30 billion), National
Railways of Zimbabwe ($20 billion), Zisco ($30 billion), Hwange ($15
billion), local authorities ($20 billion in total), Zupco ($10 billion), and
Arda ($25 billion), on condition each of these institutions produced
externally audited set of accounts to December 31 2003 by or before July 31
this year.

"After 31 July, 2004, the facilities will cease to be available to the
institutions," Gono said. "Applications for support must be accompanied by
credible turnaround plans to rid themselves of current bottlenecks,
including manning levels, and board and management structures which make
economic sense. Without these supporting documents, the Reserve Bank will
not avail them of the productive sector monies which are cheap and necessary
for their turnaround."

He said at the end of July the RBZ would publicise the parastatals and local
authorities that had succeeded in accessing the funds while failure to do so
would reflect shortcomings inherent at the institutions that stakeholders
would naturally get to know about.

In an interview with businessdigest last month Gono said he had yet to
receive turnaround plans from parastatals and local authorities.

"The offer still stands but there are no takers," he said. "I guess the
audited accounts are not available."

Mushowe in his so-called turn around plan said some of the parastatals were

"I have talked about the dream, the vision, the expectations, but we have
sick companies. Air Zimbabwe is not well, NRZ is in distress, all is not
well with our telecoms companies; Tel*One and Net*One, the other companies
are either coughing or sneezing," Mushowe told parastatal bosses.

"Recovery of these sick companies depends upon the implementation of an
appropriate rescue plan or turnaround prescription which we must embark upon
without delay. The strategy for the appropriate remedy should focus on
addressing the fundamental problems bedevilling our organisations, tackling
the underlying causes (rather than the symptoms) affecting our corporations,
and be broad and deep enough in scope to resolve all of the key issues
affecting business."

While Mushowe's ideas on turn- around programmes have been blasted as vague,
the parliamentary portfolio committee on the Budget, Finance, State
Enterprises and Economic Development in December said the major problem
affecting parastatals was "poor pricing policies".

They cited Air Zimbabwe, the National Oil Company of Zimbabwe and the Grain
Marketing Board as examples of such organisations. They pointed out that the
proposals made by Finance minister Herbert Murerwa in his 2004 national
budget statement were insufficient to narrow the quasi-fiscal deficits
arising from public enterprise operations.

"Further, with no specific implementation measures to ensure discipline,
many people will also question the credibility of the fiscal restraint
budget proposals," the committee said. "Have the minister's cabinet
colleagues who are responsible for approving price increases in parastatals
been appraised of the need for quick and urgent price reviews? Do their
ministries have the capacity or disposition to do it?"

International financial organisations have already advised Zimbabwe that it
needs to streamline the public sector and reduce costs through
commercialisation and rationalisation.

They have further urged government to accelerate the commercialisation and
eventual privatisation of state enterprises to reduce their burden on the
trillion-dollar budget.
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Zim Independent


Zim needs friends, not more enemies

 ZIMBABWE'S Foreign Affairs minister Stan Mudenge this week led the charge
which forced the African Union to defer discussion of a report condemning
the country's poor human rights record.

He was joined in his frenzied attack on the report of the African Commission
for Human and People's Rights (ACHPR) by Information minister Jonathan Moyo
who was quick to identify the authors of the report as his usual objects of
scorn - Amani Trust and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change.

African leaders who gathered in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa this week
for the African Union summit had hoped to avoid discussing Zimbabwe in order
to focus on strengthening the young continental body. But Mudenge's run-in
with fellow foreign ministers dominated proceedings.

Mudenge said the report was unpalatable because it had been leaked to the
"apartheid press" before Zimbabwe was given the opportunity to defend

Mudenge also asserted the commission did not observe protocol as it
allegedly sent the report to the Ministry of Justice and not the Ministry of
Foreign Affairs.

A statement by the Human Rights NGO Forum on Tuesday however pointed out
that all necessary procedures were observed and Zimbabwe had ample time to
prepare its defence since the report was delivered to Harare in February.

Mudenge also claimed that the commissioners had ignored the fact that land
was at the core of Zimbabwe's problems as agreed at the Abuja meeting
organised by the Commonwealth in September 2002. But we all know that in
Zanu PF's eyes the Commonwealth is an "evil" and "racist" organisation.

"We shall never go back to this evil organisation," President Mugabe
thundered during Independence celebrations in Harare in April.

The Abuja communiqué of the "evil" organisation is now Mudenge's citation in
trying to devise a defence for Mugabe's tainted regime.

In his quest to seek approval from his master, Mudenge, as has become the
hallmark of his diplomacy, is clutching at technical straws to rubbish the
African Commission's report, which merely repeated something as visible as

Mudenge and Moyo's beef with the report is clearly not the alleged technical
aberrations in its tabling, but its contents which if discussed publicly
would have deeply embarrassed Mugabe in Addis Ababa.

The ACHPR mission, led by Jainaba Johm of Gambia, after perusing 20 kg of
evidence collected during their June 2002 visit to Zimbabwe, rightly
concluded that: "Zimbabwe needs assistance to withdraw from the precipice.
The country is in need of mediators and reconcilers. The media needs to be
freed from the shackles of control to voice opinions and reflect societal
beliefs freely. The independence of the judiciary should be assured in
practice and judicial orders must be obeyed."

International rights groups such as Amnesty International, Amani Trust,
Human Rights Watch and the Committee for the Protection of Journalists, have
since 2000 highlighted incidents of human rights abuses in Zimbabwe but have
been crudely dismissed by government as oppositional forces sponsored by the
British to discredit the infallible Mugabe.

When the ACHPR mission came to Zimbabwe in 2002, it was lauded by state
officials for taking the bold move which government hoped would clear
Zimbabwe's soiled record. The thinking was that this was an African mission,
which was supposed to take its cue from African observer groups, who had
endorsed Mugabe's re-election as president three months earlier.

According to Article 31 of its founding charter, the commission is supposed
to be manned by "African personalities of the highest reputation, known for
their high morality, integrity, impartiality and competence in matters of
human and people's rights."

They have now become "Blair's emissaries" because they refused to sing from
Mugabe's fading hymn sheet.

While Mudenge this week succeeded is scuttling debate on the report, that
act does not obliterate Zimbabwe's human rights record as captured by an
African human rights commission which was on the ground to do its own

But the AU, which is out with the begging bowl in the quest to set up its
secretariat and vital organs like the peacekeeping force, has remained
encrusted in totalitarian mode. Human rights are a secondary issue. That is
why the ACHPR does not have the power to censure errant regimes. That also
explains why the commission is poorly funded and not taken seriously.

But if the AU is to be taken seriously, then it has to denounce abuses
perpetrated by African governments against their own people instead of
creating laagers with despots in the face of criticism. They should take
heed of the commission's advice. Zimbabwe needs assistance to withdraw from
the precipice and not cheerleaders for the prevailing autocracy.
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Zim Independent

Eric Bloch Column

Exports essential to revitalise economy

THE government's gross mismanagement over the last seven years has brought
the Zimbabwe economy to its very knees. An overwhelming majority of the
employable population is unemployed. Three-quarters of the population barely
subsists, at levels below the poverty datum line, while the poverty of
almost half of the population is so great that starvation, malnutrition,
misery and potential ill-health is the order of the day.

Deprivation is symptomatic of daily life for many, be it lack of food,
accommodation, health care, transportation or other recognised basic
essentials of daily life.These are but a few of the characteristics of a
distressed Zimbabwean economy. Others include a national debt of such
proportions that the prospects of it reducing to manageable, serviceable
levels are almost remote, unless Zimbabwe would have its burden of
indebtedness alleviated by debt forgiveness.

But the likelihood of such international largesse is unlikely in the
extreme, for so long as Zimbabwe continues to be abrasive and contemptuous
towards a large portion of the international community.

It adopts that stance against many that would befriend Zimbabwe, because
they have the temerity to disagree with the government's failure to respect
human rights, its deliberate rejection of the fundamentals of law and order,
its resistance to the essential principles of democracy and its pronounced
discrimination against racial and ethnic minorities.

It also rejects the friendships that could prevail because it is too
immature and small-minded to accept well-intentioned criticism and advice
voiced by almost all of the countries of the world other than those which
either are governed by persons of like mind or who perceive a need for
sub-Saharan Africa unity notwithstanding some marked differences in
perceptions as to good and sound governance.The characteristics of the
Zimbabwean economy also include devastating levels of inflation which
continuously erode the straitened purchasing power of consumers.

Although the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor Gideon Gono can justly take
pride in being the principal catalyst in lowering the annual rate of
inflation from 622,8% in January to 448,8% in May, the continuing
hyperinflation demonstrates the appalling state of the economy.

Reversal of Zimbabwe's sorry economic state remains possible, although only
over a very extended time. The foremost requirement for economic wellbeing
to be restored is political change, be that change one of a different
government coming to power or one of a transformation in the policies and
actions of the present government.

It matters not whether there be a new government or that the present one
continues, provided that the policies and actions be constructive and just,
founded upon the restoration of good governance, reinstatement of justice,
law and order, effective economic measures and reconciliation with the
international community as a whole.As urgently as such political change
needs to be pursued, some specific immediate measures can, at least, slow
down the economic decline, thereby giving more time for the overdue
political changes to materialise. That this is so has already been
demonstrated by Gono who, notwithstanding that he does not control fiscal
policies and cannot dictate and enforce required political changes, has used
monetary policies - which he can formulate and control - to retard the pace
of economic collapse.

In a remarkably short period of time he has taken actions which by May 2004
had reduced the rate of inflation by almost 28%, and which have improved the
extent of foreign exchange needed by the economy. He has also put firmly in
train measures needed to assure financial sector stability and
security.Despite the fact that Gono's monetary policies have partially
curtailed operations in unlawful foreign currency exchange markets, thereby
making more foreign currency available for legitimate purposes, Zimbabwe is
still desperately short of hard currencies. It does not generate sufficient
foreign exchange to fund importation of industrial raw materials, spares and
consumables, agricultural and mining industry operational requirements.

In normal circumstances, much of the required foreign exchange would be
forthcoming from donor states, and from international bodies such as the
International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, until such time as Zimbabwe
has self-sufficiency.

But that is not so when Zimbabwe not only does not honour its obligations by
servicing its debts, but also does nought but malign those donors and
Bretton Woods' institutions, flinging endless vitriol and vile aspersions
against them, deludes itself that it does not need those elements of the
international community, and is so tardy in formulating and implementing
necessary economic policies for a sound economy to develop to an extent that
dependency upon the international community will progressively diminish, and
ultimately cease.

In the meanwhile, pending the requisite political changes - whether by way
of a change of government, or a change in the government's policies,
attitudes and actions - Zimbabwe must do whatsoever may be possible to
increase the availability of foreign exchange, for it is a primary element
of the lifeblood necessary to keep Zimbabwe alive.

Foremost in doing so must be to achieve a radical growth in Zimbabwe's
export performance. Not only will increased export performance yield
invaluable foreign currencies, but such performance can create opportunities
for greater employment, and can result in considerable economic growth as a
result of increased spending by exporters downstream into the economy.
Greater export volumes result in more capacity utilisation, and increased
productivity is a major catalyst for inflation reduction, as does exchange
rate stability brought about by greater availability of foreign exchange.

However, a great deal is required for Zimbabwe to successfully increase its
exports. Ideally, agriculture needs to be restored to its former glory as
the foundation of the economy, by simultaneously bringing back to the land
those vested with decades of experience in viable commercial farming and
enablement of new farmers to become similarly productive.

Mining must be aided to reopen closed mines by assuring the miners of
profitability through application of realistic exchange rates, and
operational cost stability.

Tourism must be strongly supported with internationally demonstrable safety
and security for tourists, a welcoming infrastructure and attitudes of
officialdom and border posts, effective and reliable transport facilities
within Zimbabwe, and domestic and international communications which work!

Likewise, much is needed for the manufacturing sector to attain a
restoration of past export performance and rapid development of greater
export operations. To achieve all that will not be an easy task. The needs
to make Zimbabwe a major, successful export country are extremely great, and
very diverse.

They include an exchange rate regime which renders exports viable to the
exporter and price-competitive in export markets. That necessitates that
present rates must be moved substantially, for very few exporters can
survive on a blended exchange rate of marginally more than $4 200 to US$1.

Most need at least $5 000 to US$1, and many need more. And the exchange rate
must move consistently to maintain purchasing power parity.

Other needs for Zimbabwe to regain its former export levels, and to build
upon them, include elimination of bureaucratic hindrances to export
operations, meaningful export incentives which are not merely tax-based, and
which are forthcoming timeously when still of value. They include a widening
of the Export Processing Zone's concept to include existing enterprises, and
to enable partial exporters to operate in the zones, and benefit therefrom.

Today, at the Harare International Conference Centre, and again next
Thursday at the Bulawayo Holiday Inn Conference Centre, present, past and
would-be exporters have the opportunity of voicing their needs and thereby
assist in formulation of a positive national export strategy. Their input
will be invaluable, as will be their motivation to implement the national
export strategy once it has been formulated.

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Zim Independent


Not even Mugabe is spared the propaganda

 WE were embarrassed this week to realise that President Robert Mugabe has
become a victim of information obstructionists. The president's address to
the 21st National Consultative Assembly of the ruling party was all
mudslinging at British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

Trying in vain to raise Information minister Jonathan Moyo's infantile
propaganda to a national viewpoint, Mugabe said Zanu PF could not hold talks
with the opposition MDC because "they don't have any authority to decide.
They are just puppets and that is why we have always insisted that if there
are any talks that need to be done, they have to be between the British and
Zimbabwean governments."

So why would the Zimbabwean government want to talk to Tony Blair if doing
so by the MDC amounts to treachery? Are we being told that every lie that
Moyo decides should be blown out of proportion in the course of his
propaganda duties becomes national policy?

Mugabe claimed to have known "all along that the MDC is a foreign creation
disguised as a credible opposition in the vain hope that one day it would
ascend to power and perpetuate Blair's colonial legacy". Surely we are not
being told that all the 1,2 million Zimbabweans who voted for Morgan
Tsvangirai in the presidential election in 2002 were bewitched by Tony
Blair? And is Moyo now also subscribing to the same view he once attacked
that behind every thinking African or Zimbabwean there lurks a white man?

So who is the white man behind Moyo and Mugabe? We have not forgotten which
political party was heavily funded by one Tiny Rowland until his death a few
years ago. It is the same foolish party that opts to go to China, Malaysia
and other countries to trade for American dollars and British pounds instead
of trading directly with those countries. It is the same party that once
claimed all those Zimbabweans escaping to the UK were MDC stooges who should
not be allowed to cast their ballot that is now pursuing them with a begging
bowl named Homelink. Since all Zanu PF supporters are happily satisfied back
home why worry about British stooges?

What really touched Muckraker about the Sunday Mail's  report on Zanu PF's
National Consultative Assembly was the realisation that not even Mugabe is
spared from censorship. We all know he feels passionately about the issue of
multiple farm owners; he staked the integrity of the land reform programme
on it when he ordered all those who grabbed more than one property to
surrender their surplus holdings.

He emphasised his sentiments on this issue once again when he launched the
anti-corruption jihad last December. He repeated at Friday's meeting that
extra farms should be surrendered, according to radio reports before they
were sanitised by greedy "immoral little boys" still clinging on to multiple

In the Mail report Mugabe's call was pared down to a mere footnote without
so much as a quotation: "President Mugabe said it was embarrassing to note
that the majority of multiple farm owners were in the leadership of both the
party and the government."

So this disembodied short sentence is all Mugabe could say about a subject
where there are facts and figures? Yet the newspaper was able to fill tonnes
of column inches about the MDC's puppetry which noone can prove. Muckraker
reckons Moyo's obnoxious piece of legislation should be called the
"Protection of Information and Access to Privacy Act". After all someone
wants to pry into our e-mails as well.

Meanwhile, Philip Chiyangwa, who moved the motion to investigate the MDC's
alleged dealings with Tony Blair, has been holding forth in parliament with
a new-found passion to defend the motherland. In this cheap propaganda he
has been joined by the likes of Saviour Kasukuwere and Foreign Affairs
minister Stan Mudenge, who said Britain should leave Zimbabwe alone.

In fact we believe their zeal should be directed at supporting President
Mugabe's anti-corruption crusade. Those people refusing to surrender extra
farms looted from the poor are the enemies of the people. If the anti-graft
jihad means a time for moral rearmament, that should cover all those Mugabe
says are embarrassing the party and government by refusing to share a vital
and finite national resource such as land.

Come on Chiyangwa and company. Where is your patriotism? Let's fish out
those clinging on to ill-gotten farms, everything else shall follow.

The shadowy Nathaniel Manheru couldn't miss the opportunity to make a point
about the MDC's so-called treachery last Saturday. According to Manheru,
British Foreign secretary Jack Straw has also corroborated claims by Blair
that they are working with the MDC. He reportedly told the House of Commons:
"We are actively supporting those working for peaceful change in Zimbabwe:
lawyers, trade unionists, civil rights activists, the free media and MPs."

Then in comes Manheru: "And when these are put together what do they give

"The MDC of course.," was the smug verdict. In other words anybody who
exposes Zanu PF and its charlatans for what they are is an enemy. This
notwithstanding Straw's superfluous emphasis on "peaceful change". Only the
mean-spirited among Mugabe's minions keep dreaming about regime change in
terms of coups. Fortunately they have failed to find support for their
violent agenda.

The Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (Zesa) this week gave us an early
taste of its new twice-hourly jingle. Parts of Harare had no electricity the
whole of Monday except for intermittent flashes. It was the same problem
early Tuesday, so that there was very little work done in the two days.

But on a bigger scale, just what is the import of the jingle? Not only is
Zesa failing to meet demand in urban areas, it is a crying shame that people
in communal areas who don't have electricity in their homes are constantly
being told that Zesa has brought them power. What power when they rely on
firewood for energy?

Talking of which, the front page picture in the Herald on Tuesday said all
we needed to say about the success of the agrarian reform and Zesa bringing
power to Zimbabwean homes. It showed a huge pile of logs that are being sold
as firewood in Chitungwiza. These are obviously indigenous trees that are
being felled without replacement. Each one of them takes up to 100 years to
reach the size seen in the picture. Not to mention that this is what has
been going on for the past four years since the start of "fast track" -
environmental degradation.

Is that all land reform was about - hacking down trees for fuel? Then you
have Zesa saying something silly about "power to the people". It is not
surprising that the only person capable of coming up with such a gem is none
other than the inimitable "Toilet" Tambaoga.

If anybody had questions about government's attitude towards crime, the
exchange between MDC MP David Coltart and Legal Affairs minister Patrick
Chinamasa in the House last week provided the answer. Coltart wanted to know
what government policy was regarding the likes of Joseph Mwale who was
allegedly involved in a murder case in the run up to the 2000 election.
Coltart said the fellow was apparently still walking scot free despite a
High Court judge indicating there was a prima facie case against him.
Chinamasa retorted that since some of Mwale's alleged accomplices had been
arrested, government policy on criminals was very clear: ". we are committed
to eradicating our society from crime and that is a clear policy of
government," he said.

Check the Hansard of June 30. It's a chilling policy.

Still in parliament, what unfortunate constituency is represented by a
fellow by the name Innocent Chikiyi? It looks like all he does in parliament
is utter unprintable epithets against other MPs. Last week the deputy
Speaker had to order him out of the House because of his foul mouth. Ask
Mathias Mlambo-Matewu and Job Sikhala what they were told and then you will
understand why we need another Bennett.

We were touched by Robson Sharuko's complaint against what he felt was
biased dissection of their stories by Charles Mabika on his "This is
football" programme on ZTV. Sharuko moans that although he has been friends
with Mabika for the past 12 years, his integrity as a sports reporter has
been shredded to smithereens. Those called by Mabika to ZBC as panellists,
lamented Sharuko, "revel in the lights of the ZBC studios, telling the
nation how terrible the Herald is, the incompetence of its sports
journalists and just about everything meant to label us a pathetic bunch of

Sharuko's bitterness in part stems from the fact that they are never invited
to defend themselves and that it is always their stories that are the
subject for discussion. "'This is Football' indirectly becomes 'this is the
Herald'," complains Sharuko. "But we never get invited and can only watch
from a distance while our very integrity is being savaged on national

We are sorry to hear all this from Sharuko. Muckraker has nothing against
either Charlie or Robson. But the thing about integrity being savaged
appears to ring a bell when it comes to ZBC. Bring together Tazzen
Mandizvidza and Tafataona Mahoso or Vimbai "European" Chivaura on Media
Watch, and you can be sure it is the private newspapers that are up for
bashing. If it is the main Newshour, you can be equally certain it is the
integrity of the opposition that is being mauled and they "can only watch
from a distance".

It's a pity the so-called media polarisation has got this bad. We thought
you fellows were all a happy family in your Hondo Yeminda!

As for the Herald, Sharuko is right. Since it got embedded with the
Information department, it is terrible!

Muckraker was interested to note remarks made by Dr Gideon Gono in an
interview with the Herald last Saturday. He was asked by Herald business
editor Victoria Ruzvidzo about the demonstrations that took place during his
recent visit to the UK and South Africa.

Gono replied that there had been "distortions" in media coverage of his
Homelink campaign.

Different media houses existed for "different missions", he replied, and
"would do everything possible to stay consistent with their agenda, never
mind what the facts on the ground could be saying".

In London there was only a handful of protestors - "no more than 10" - who
were "hired demonstrators", Gono said. This contrasted with the "over a
thousand people who thronged the embassy reception and participated

In South Africa it was true he could not deliver his message because "rowdy
youths who had been bussed into the venue" disrupted proceedings.

"It is true that these misguided youths were clad in T-shirts that suggested
their lineage to some political parties back home," Gono said.

"What I know for sure is that these gangsters were under guidance of people
of limited mental amplitude (sic) who cannot distinguish finance from

It is not difficult to discern the governor's "politics" in all this.
Calling his detractors all sorts of names - "most of them were definitely
drunk" - is not a good way to win friends and influence people - especially
if you're trying to get them to part with their funds. If this was a
non-partisan visit, why did he use the state media to abuse his critics upon
his return?

And have we been given accurate figures? Were many of the "over a thousand
people" who attended the Zimbabwe House meeting in London not opposition

Did they all give him their wholehearted support? We hear not.

Did the "gangsters" really "loot" the Homelink T-shirts and food and drink
at the Midrand meeting? We thought these inducements were put out for
anybody attending the meeting.

As for different media houses existing for "different missions", why doesn't
Gono tell us if he has any connection to a media house? And are "hired
demonstrators" the exclusive domain of the opposition? What about Supa
Mandiwanzira and Mike Hamilton Public Relations? Who hired them to
"demonstrate" what we all know about Homelink?

Despite his protestations, Gono has in fact enjoyed a reasonably indulgent
ride with the newspapers whose "missions" he questions. No stories here
about self-amnesties or private banking arrangements. We leave that to the
Sunday papers.

But we can't speak for the diaspora. If Gono insists on insulting opposition
protestors who live in exile because of the depredations of the government
he serves, he cannot expect his next reception abroad to be any less lively
than the last!

The Sunday Mirror's publisher appears to have been stung by remarks made in
our Editor's Memo last week about there being only three independent papers
left. As these did not include the Mirror, there was some high indignation
at the broadsheet's headquarters where unwavering defence of the moribund
Zanu PF-state project has been camouflaged as independent journalism.

If the Mirror wants to be taken seriously as an independent newspaper it
should avoid reporting word for word, as it did on Sunday, the Herald's
version of changes at this newspaper. It is one thing to invent your own
spin, quite another to reprint somebody else's!

Voters fretting about their security at the polls next year do not appear to
have been reassured by Zanu PF's adoption of new electoral procedures. While
these are welcome as far as they go, they will be of little use so long as
ruling-party thugs threaten the safety of voters ahead of the poll.

Anybody doubting the intentions of these marauders should pay heed to Caesar
Zvayi writing in the Herald on Tuesday. It was time to clip the MDC's wings
for good, he intoned.

"As Zimbabweans we have a unique opportunity to send them out the way they
came. Let's kill the quislings at the polls next year."

So no change there!

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Zim Independent

Triangle makes own electricity
Godfrey Marawanyika
SUGAR producer Triangle Ltd has begun generating its own electricity power,
at a time when industry is under threat of power cuts and interruptions by
the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (Zesa).

In April the company started using sugarcane residue to produce baggasse
which is used to power a small generator. Between April and December the
company is using power from its own plant.

A senior Triangle mill engineer, Max Muchatibaya, said the company only
relies on power from Zesa for three months of the year since it is cheaper
and more effective to use baggasse.

"We only rely on Zesa between January to March when we undertake our
maintenance work for the machinery. The last time we paid Zesa was in March
when we paid $1 billion but in May we paid zero," he said.

"From a technical point of view, if we are to rely on coal from Hwange it is
costly because we will need $600 000 for a single tonne for heating. Also
one tonne of coal is equivalent to two tonnes of baggasse."

Since 2000, a number of local firms have had their operations paralysed
because of Zesa's power interruptions and load shedding. This week Zesa
announced that it was introducing load shedding due to shortage of suppies.

Muchatibaya said power produced at Triangle was used for both irrigation and
to provide energy to 60 000 people who make up the Triangle community.

"If we have problems we resort to Zesa and we end up paying between $30
million and $40 million a month," Muchatibaya said.

This year, Triangle expects to produce between two million and 2,1 million
tonnes of sugarcane, which would produce 265 000 tonnes of sugar.

However, the anticipated output is a reduction from the projected 2,5
million tonnes which was set to produce 300 000 tonnes of sugar.

Muchatibaya said the reduced output was still sufficient to cater for the
local market.

"The decline in output is caused by a number of factors such as the weather
patterns. At times we are forced to cut cane at nine months instead of
cutting it at 12 months," he said.

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Zim Independent

Forex shortages persist
Shakeman Mugari
CRIPPLING foreign currency shortages continue countrywide despite the
introduction of the controlled auction system by the Reserve Bank of
Zimbabwe (RBZ).

The Zimbabwe dollar has continued to lose ground against the world's major
currencies that are now finding their way onto the black market.

The South African rand and the American dollar are still traded profitably
at black-market spots dotted around Harare and Bulawayo.

The RBZ has failed to satisfy the increasing demand for foreign currency at
the weekly auctions held on Mondays and Thursdays.

Companies that fail to acquire foreign currency on the auctions have
resorted to the parallel market where the greenback has firmed against the
Zimbabwe dollar.

This has led to the widening gap between the auction and parallel market

The US dollar is trading at an average of US$1:$5 300 on the auction. This
is however in stark contrast to the parallel market where it is fetching up
to $6 500.

The rand continues to be one of the most liquid currencies on the
small-scale black market - Harare's Road Port and Africa Unity Square where
ladies from the Apostolic Faith church (Mapositori) continue dealing in
foreign currency daily.

Analysts say the resurgence of a parallel market has been caused by the
stringent and "discriminatory" foreign currency allocation system on the
auction market.

They say the central bank's emphasis on the priority allocation has forced
most companies to source hard currency from the parallel market.

The Reserve Bank has prioritised the production and essential service
sector, which continue to mop up the bulk of the forex on the auctions.

"The scarcity of forex has continued because Zimbabwe is not exporting as
much as it used to," said an economist with a local commercial bank. "Most
companies and travellers are still getting their foreign currency from the
parallel market. The reason is that it is a nightmare trying to get forex on
the auctions."

An analyst warned that the gap between the official and the parallel market
rate would continue to widen because Zimbabwe is not producing enough
exports to earn the foreign currency.

He said the country would continue to have a deficit until there is a boost
in export earnings that have been on a slide for the past four years.

Economist John Robertson said the parallel market was being fuelled by
foreign currency dealers frustrated by the stagnant rates on the auctions.

"The black market continues to flourish because there are some traders who
are fed up with the auction rate that has not moved since April. They are
now looking for an alternative market," said Robertson. "There continues to
be a forex shortage because we are not exporting much. The auction does not
stop scarcity. It only links buyers and sellers - that's it."

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Zim Independent

Creating a wilderness out of once lush farmland

MANY years ago I was a passenger in a small plane flying over the northern
part of rural Zimbabwe.

The passenger seated next to me remarked that the colonialists must have
been very intelligent people.

In reply to my "Why?" he asked me to look out the window and tell him what I
saw. To the left of a fence was a barren, de-forested area of land and to
the right was lush, green land.

What we were looking at was communal land to the left of the fence and a
commercial farm to the right.

The colonialists, he said, are accused of allocating fertile land for
commercial farmland and infertile land for communal land and they were so
intelligent that they were able to separate fertile from infertile land and
draw a perfectly straight line to separate one from the other.

We debated what we would be looking at if the colonialists had originally
allocated the land to the left of the fence to be commercial farmland and
the land to the right as communal land, instead of the other way around.

Or what would happen if we came back four or five years after the commercial
farmers moved to the left of the fence and the communal farmers took over
the lush area to the right of the fence.

We never contemplated what we would be looking at if the commercial farmers
were removed from their farmland.

But in a recent flight over the same area I sadly witnessed the result of
just that: the barren, de-forested land now extends to both sides of the
"fence" (which no longer exists).

What was a productive farm is now just desolate bush.

How sad that, instead of creating an environment for turning the barrenness
of the communal land into productive farmland, Zanu PF has done the exact

When will Zanu PF learn that "You don't make the sick healthy by making the
healthy sick; you don't make the poor rich by making the rich poor"?

Why does Zanu PF reduce everything to the lowest common denominator, instead
 of helping to raise standards?

James Garnet,

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Zim Independent

Editor's Memo

      Unique exports

      AS Iden Wetherell rightly predicted, the restructuring exercise
announced last week at the Zimbabwe Independent set detractors' inflamed
tongues loose, giving all sorts of interpretations to explain his elevation
to Group Projects Editor and my own appointment as Editor.

      The Herald cobbled together a funny little story on Saturday which
suggested that Iden had been "demoted" for failing to give prominence to the
torture of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib.

      The Sunday Mirror weighed in with its own hypothesis that Iden was a
bulwark against "critical analysis" of the opposition MDC by the
Independent. The "imperious gate-keeper made sure (there was) no unsavoury
criticism of the democratic successor regime", the Mirror claimed.

      A hack claiming to be calling from the Herald on Friday evening wanted
me to confirm that I had staged a newsroom coup together with my colleague
and co-conspirator Joram Nyathi.

      "I hear you were in South Africa where you met with Trevor Ncube to
plot Wetherell's downfall," he gushed. He expected me to say "yes" to this
farrago of nonsense. In fact we are all now assuming roles Iden and Trevor
first proposed five months ago.

      I got a call from the Herald assistant editor Moses Magadza on
Tuesday - whom I last met in Nyanga two years ago - congratulating me. But I
forgot to also congratulate him on his appointment as editor of the regional
newspaper, the New Sunday Times, that is expected to preach unadulterated
black nationalism. I also forgot to ask him why we did not see the Sunday
paper on July 1, the promised day of appearance - a Thursday!

      Anyway, good luck Moses and congratulations. Thanks also to all who
sent me messages of support.

      Coming back to conjectures about the restructuring, one cannot fail to
notice attempts to set an agenda for the new editorial team.

      As a black editor, there are some who would like to believe that I
should advertise my nationalist credentials by remodelling the paper into a
pliable medium for praise-singing partisan politics. That will not happen
because other media are already ably playing that role!

      I believe my greatest contribution as a nationalist would be to
continue pointing out fractures, faults and deformities in Zimbabwe's
political, economic, and social superstructure. There is also cause to
celebrate achievements as long as these are not imagined.

      I believe that our society does not need to be told how to think but
requires assistance and elucidation on issues to think about. Society needs
to hear alternative voices to the mantras of officialdom, and the
Independent will continue to provide that voice which enhances

      The trip to Johannesburg - during which I spent 10 days at the Mail &
Guardian studying and exchanging ideas with a well-knit professional team -
was worth living through the biting cold for, which unfortunately followed
me back home at the weekend. The trip also awakened me to the level of crime
by Zimbabweans living in the Johannesburg metropolis.

      Last Tuesday and Wednesday I had an opportunity to attend Mutumwa
Mawere's court hearing in Randburg at which a crest-fallen team of
Zimbabwean investigators and central bank officials witnessed the besieged
businessman being taken off remand. I had a chat with Mawere who assured me
that he was as clean as a whistle and had not externalised a single cent. We
will see.

      Mawere, resplendent in a dark suit with half a dozen lawyers and
handlers in tow, looked incongruous as he stood in the crammed corridor
waiting for his turn to be called into the small courtroom. He was however
not the only Zimbabwean to stand in the dock at the Randburg court during
the two days. He joined at least 10 Zimbabwean youths who appeared before
magistrate Tefo Myambo.

      On Tuesday, a six-member gang of Zimbabweans appeared before the
magistrate to answer charges of car theft. There were two spiky-haired
Zimbabwean juveniles - who were apparently not clear about their ages - on a
charge of house-breaking.

      During a chat at tea break one member of the gang told me they were
from Mfombi (Mufakose) and that they preferred to stay in a South African
jail than go back home. Another unique export from Zimbabwe!
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