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How to stay alive when it all runs out

The Economist

Jul 12th 2007 | HARARE
From The Economist print edition

Ordinary Zimbabweans find creative ways to survive

AT FIRST glance, life in Harare appears surprisingly normal. Cars still cruise along the streets, shops are still open, children wear neat school uniforms, and men and women in suits still talk on mobile phones. Yet in Zimbabwe appearances are deceptive. The economy is collapsing. Eight in ten people have no formal jobs; inflation, officially estimated at more than 3,700%, may actually be twice as high.

So President Robert Mugabe has decided to try to do something about the galloping prices of basic goods. Ignoring protests from Gideon Gono, the governor of the central bank, Mr Mugabe, who famously despises “bookish economics”, has sent the police in to order shopkeepers to slash their prices, forcing them to sell at a loss. The predictable result is huge crowds waiting outside shops to rush in and grab whatever they can while the going is good. Factories are threatened with being taken over if they stop production. Hundreds of shopkeepers have been arrested, accused of not lowering their prices enough.

So basic goods such as cooking oil, soap and meat have disappeared from the shelves. At a supermarket in the Fife Avenue shopping centre, expensive imported goods are still on sale but the meat counter is empty and there is no bread. Luckily, there is a bit of cooking oil. Each bottle costs about one-third of a teacher's monthly wage and shoppers are allowed to buy only two bottles each. A woman pushing a trolley says she spends a good part of the day going from shop to shop to find basic items such as sugar or flour.

Petrol, which was expensive but available after private importers were licensed, has now dried up as well, thanks to the enforced price cuts. At a petrol station in one of Harare's leafy suburbs, a line of over 80 cars snakes around the block, overseen by a few policemen and soldiers. Without much petrol, public transport, whose fares have also been slashed, has become too scarce for commuters. On one of Harare's main avenues, crowds wait by the side of the road at night, hoping for a ride home. Some people run after a pick-up truck that is already full, trying to jump on. It can take hours to get to work in the morning.

Yet most things are available on the black market—for those who can afford them. At night, you only have to drive to the right spot and young men rush over to offer petrol at more than eight times the official price. In the poor district of Mbare, about 3km (two miles or so) from Harare's centre, a few people are selling cooking oil and sugar at the side of the road; some carry bags of maize flour on their heads. But police raids this week have pushed this black market even further underground.

Twenty kilometres outside Harare, a 40-year-old teacher explains that she cannot survive on her monthly earnings of 1.9m Zimbabwean dollars, equivalent to $7,600 at the official exchange rate but only $7.60 on the black market. Her husband makes even less. She walks 5km to work every day only “because there is nothing else to do”, but some of her colleagues no longer show up at all. She grows vegetables in her back yard; the greens, she says, are “our chicken and our pork, our eggs and our beef”.

Scraping by

There is no running water for most of the day, so she fills buckets and bottles whenever taps work and has to boil the water as it is no longer safe to drink. Electricity is also scarce, so she cooks on a wood fire in her back yard and buys candles whenever she can afford to. She wears a worn-out anorak and woollen hat in her small house, as she cannot afford heating to fight the biting winter cold. To feed and school her three children, she borrows money to buy a few things, then goes to South Africa or Zambia to sell them.

Many people survive by trading. A 34-year-old professional, who has left his job to become a middleman, buys foreign exchange on the black market and imports all kinds of stuff, from IT equipment to stationery. He then resells at a fat mark-up to local companies that cannot risk breaking the foreign-exchange laws. When not driving to South Africa, he lounges in his drawing room watching satellite television on a wide screen. He says he makes a profit of more than $5,000 a month; he lives in a nice residential area where electricity and water are always on.

There is plenty of foreign exchange, he explains. The lucky few with access to American dollars at the official rate of 250 Zimbabwe dollars to one American greenback are making a killing selling them on the black market, where the rate is about 250,000. Getting enough local cash has become the main hurdle since restrictions were placed on withdrawals. To get around the Z$1.5m daily limit, people open multiple bank accounts or pay a 10% premium to get cash against a bank transfer.

Choked by hyperinflation and arbitrary restrictions, people have become increasingly creative to survive. More than 3m have emigrated, mainly to South Africa, while a small elite bleeds the economy dry. A local businessman says the system will collapse in six months—and that Zimbabwe, under new management, will become Africa's fastest growing economy. “Then again”, he smiles, “we have been saying this for years.”

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Zimbabwe price crackdown moves to Mugabe heartland

Yahoo News

By MacDonald Dzirutwe Thu Jul 12, 9:59 AM ET

HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe has sent crack police to enforce price freezes
in the rural strongholds of President Robert Mugabe, where businesses have
failed to heed measures aimed at reining in inflation and halting economic

Mugabe's government, grappling with inflation of 4,500 percent, ordered
businesses last month to roll back and freeze prices on petrol, bread, milk,
cooking oil and other key consumer items after a sharp increase in their
The move has prompted panic buying, leading to empty store shelves and long
lines at petrol stations, and pushed the economically depressed southern
African nation closer to breaking point.

"We have started deploying many officers to rural areas to make sure there
is compliance, and we are saying we are not going to stop until we are
satisfied that there is total compliance," police spokesman Oliver Mandipaka
told Reuters.

Mandipaka said many businesses in rural areas -- where the majority of
Zimbabwe's population lives and where Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF party enjoys
strong support -- had failed to follow the government's directive on prices.

So far, the crackdown has been concentrated in the capital Harare and other
urban areas where workers have borne the brunt of the severe economic
crisis. It has led to arrests and fines for 1,768 executives and companies.

The chief executive of Zimbabwe's largest supermarket chain has been
arrested and faces 41 charges of defying the price freeze, while police on
Wednesday seized 49 commuter buses and detained the drivers for
overcharging, Mandipaka said.

Public commuter operators have grounded their fleets, citing fuel shortages
and a forced 60-percent reduction in fares, leaving thousands of commuters

The rollback program was extended to rural areas after the government
accused some businesses of diverting goods to rural shops were the price
freeze had not been enforced.

Zimbabwe, once one of Africa's most prosperous countries, is in the eighth
year of a deep recession, marked by chronic shortages of food and fuel,
soaring unemployment and poverty and the world's highest inflation rate.


Rural Zimbabweans, who have been forced to engage in informal trading and
open small shops to supplement what they make from subsistence farming, are
increasingly feeling the pinch of the government's price controls.

"Can you imagine someone who is running a little store and told to reduce
his prices ... he has no insurance and will not only have to take the loss
but will go out of business," said John Robertson, a leading private
economist in Zimbabwe.

Mugabe, who blames the economic problems on sabotage by Western nations
upset over his seizure of thousands of white-owned farms, has threatened to
nationalize companies who hike prices without cause.

The 83-year-old Zimbabwean leader, in power since independence from Britain
in 1980, has said that those resisting the new economic measures are part of
a Western plot to topple his government.

While the price crackdown has brought relief to hard-pressed consumers who
can find goods in the stores, basic foodstuffs, such as maize-meal, sugar
and cooking oil, have disappeared from shops.

Economic analysts warn that many businesses could shut their doors rather
than continue producing at a loss.

Industry and International Trade Minister Obert Mpofu dismissed reports that
the government also planned to cut workers' salaries, the official Herald
newspaper reported on Thursday.

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Buses impounded, top boss held in Zimbabwe price blitz

Yahoo News

Thu Jul 12, 5:24 AM ET

HARARE (AFP) - Zimbabwe stepped up a crackdown on breaches of
government-imposed price controls by impounding dozens of buses over the
cost of fares and arresting the boss of a top retail chain, police said

A total of 49 buses were seized on Wednesday and their drivers detained for
alleged profiteering after passengers were charged fares in excess of a
government edict, spokesman Chief Superintendent Oliver Mandipaka said.

The impounding of the buses caused major disruption on Wednesday night as
commuters heading home from Harare's central business district massed on
roads, frantically waving down lifts or scrambling onto the few buses still

Apart from the impounded vehicles, many operators have withdrawn their buses
in protest over government-gazetted fares which they say do not cover their
costs at a time when inflation is believed to be well beyond 5,000 percent.

Mandipaka also revealed that Willard Zireva, chief executive of OK Zimbabwe,
was picked up at his home on Tuesday night and faces a string of charges for
overcharging customers at the food and clothing chain.

"He is still in police custody and is facing 41 counts of defying the price
controls," the spokesman told AFP.

The price controls, announced by the government on June 26, have led to
widespread shortages of staples such as cooking oil and salt in
supermarkets, although the black market is thriving as a result.

Mandipaka urged businesses to continue providing their services.

"The operation against people who violate price controls will continue," he

"We urge commuters to give service to the members of the public and avoid

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Arrests of Zimbabwean Businessmen Continue


12 July 2007

Zimbabwe's few surviving manufacturers servicing the retail sector are starting to close down or reduce their work week even further as the economy dramatically contracts. Peta Thornycroft reports for VOA that shops are emptying, urban commuters are stranded, and businessmen are being arrested in the face of the most dramatic financial collapse in Zimbabwe's history.

Willard Zireva is the chief executive officer of one of Zimbabwe's most famous and enduring brands, OK Bazaars. He was arrested Tuesday on 41 counts of violating the government-ordered price freeze in the company's supermarkets.

The government has frozen prices at the June 18 level, when nearly 5,000 percent inflation caused price increases every two or three days.

About 2,000 businessmen, from chief executive officers to small one-man traders, have been arrested in the past 10 days on charges of violating the price freeze.

Zimbabwean shoppers walk past empty shelves in Mabvuku,Harare 04 Jul 2007
Zimbabwean shoppers walk past empty shelves in Mabvuku, Harare 04 Jul 2007
Supermarkets are no longer ordering supplies because they say they cannot afford to sell products at a loss. Staples such as beef, corn meal, cooking oil, salt, and sugar have disappeared. People are lining up for small supplies of bread and milk.

Commuter buses have stopped running because their fares have been cut in half and owners say they cannot afford to operate any longer.

Fuel is scarce in Zimbabwe, because the price has been cut to less than half of what it costs to import.

Now, some manufacturers, already working short weeks and suffering from loss of production because of long electricity shut downs, have begun to close.

An industrialist from Bulawayo, Eddie Cross, said he has shut his clothing factory for a week to see whether the situation changes. He said the controlled prices are between 20 to 50 percent of the cost of manufacture.

The government has also withdrawn licenses from scores of privately owned butchers, and says only the state's bankrupt Cold Storage Commission may slaughter animals.

A stampede as hundreds of people thronged a shopping warehouse in Harare, Zimbabwe, 12 Jul 2007<br />
A stampede as hundreds of people thronged a shopping warehouse in Harare, 12 Jul 2007
While some consumers say they were happy to be able to buy goods at reduced prices, many are now worried that essential goods will only be available on the black market and will cost far more than before the price freeze.

There are many eyewitness reports that senior members of the ruling ZANU-PF and the security forces have been the main beneficiaries of reduced prices and have bought in bulk from supermarkets.

According to lawyer Jonathan Samkange, who has represented many of the arrested businessmen, the government has not passed a price control law. He also says he does not know how many people are still detained in connection with the crackdown.

The government said Wednesday, again without legislation to back it up, that profit margins for manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers will be restricted to between five and 10 percent.

Police Superintendent Oliver Mandikapa says he is sending officers to rural areas to monitor small traders' prices.

The ongoing crackdown is enforced by State Security Minister Didymus Mutasa. The government says it is trying to stop profiteering by unpatriotic businessmen, who are accused of sabotaging the economy.

The political and economic crisis began in 2000 when President Robert Mugabe began seizing white-owned commercial farms that produced about 40 percent of Zimbabwe's foreign currency.

This led to rising inflation and shortages of agricultural supplies because the new farmers, many of them President Mugabe's colleagues, did not know how to farm on a commercial scale. Most of the land they were given is not used.


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Evidence of electoral rigging already emerging in Zimbabwe

Sokwanele Article: 12 July 2007

A reliable source in the Ministry of Home Affairs has revealed that while frustrated Zimbabweans queue in their thousands to obtain their birth certificates, identity and passport documents, Government has hijacked the process and is clandestinely handing out documents to Zanu-PF supporters. "These supporters from far off places are preferentially given identity cards and passports and registered as voters", this is in order to reconfigure the Harare and Bulawayo urban constituency voters rolls ahead of the 2008 harmonised elections.

Zimbabwe's electoral law allows only holders of national identity cards and passports to vote.

Minister of Womens Affairs, Oppah Rushesha, her deputy Abigail Damasane, and Sithembiso Nyoni, Minister of Small and Medium Enterprises, are rallying government departments to assist the processing of batches of national identity cards and passports. The Ministry of Public Service and Social Welfare led by Nicholas Goche is facilitating wages for the youth militia (locally referred to as the Green Bombers) who are now literally political commissars for Zanu-PF, while the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) facilitates the registration of Zanu-PF supporters in the Harare and Bulawayo urban voters roll.

In the parliamentary election of 2005, former MDC spokesman Paul Themba Nyathi lost the Gwanda constituency seat to Zanu-PF after the CIO secretly registered thousands of graduates from the Border Gezi youth militia.

Many see this as one reason why, in 2005, the Zanu PF government embarked on 'Operation Murambatsvina' or 'Clear out the Trash', a police operation to destroy homes belonging to poor urbanites, exposing victims to the cold winter. Despite condemnation by the United Nations (UN), President Robert Mugabe endorsed the action, arguing that these were necessary slum clearances. Homeless victims, many of whom were MDC supporters, were forcibly removed to remote areas and rendered unable to vote since they are now far from where they are registered to vote.

Government is also setting up self-help and grocery clubs for Zanu-PF supporters with funds drawn from the fiscus, and these have also been associated with clandestine voter registration.

Self-help projects, the brainchild of Vice President Joice Mujuru, entail chicken rearing and the supply of farm fertilizer and these are targeted at boosting the morale of personnel in the army and police force. According to our sources, beneficiaries of the project are secretly registered as voters to swell the Harare and Bulawayo urban constituency voters roll.

Grocery clubs, led by Ministers Oppah Rushesha and Sithembiso Nyoni, buy scarce commodities such as cooking oil and washing soap in Botswana and South Africa for profit sale back home. Many interpret this as an open admission by the government of having ruined the economy. Grocery club members are each given Z$10 million sourced from the Reserve Bank - this is to facilitate the purchase of scarce commodities. They are then directed to illegally buy foreign currency in the streets. Again, sources say that beneficiaries are being registered as voters in Bulawayo.

The MDC (Tsvangirai) National Director of Elections, Ian Makone was arrested at a critical time for the MDC. Makone was arrested just when the party was about to launch its Democratic Resistance Campaign (DRC), a campaign based on the precepts of the revered Mahatma Ghandi, and timed to coincide with the launch of the party's campaign for next years tripartite national elections. Said one MDC official, who spoke on condition of anonymity; "it stands to reason that Government arrested Makone to rig next years elections while he was in jail. And even though he is out of custody, his work is hampered because other important MDC members are in custody over spurious petrol bombing charges."

Lucia Matibenga, MDC (Tsvangirai) National Chairperson-Womens Assembly, was refused permission to even check that her name was on the voters roll. This was just before one registration official recognised her and instructed subordinates to assist her saying, "she's the MDC boss. We don't want to be all over the newspapers". Matibenga insists that people should "demand" to be registered.

Zanu-PF has a track record of manipulating the registration process towards meeting its own objectives. First, through 'Operation Murambatsvina', Zanu-PF reduced significant numbers of MDC supporters on urban voters rolls nationwide. Second, by registering new supporters in Harare and Bulawayo, Zanu-PF is encroaching and building its numbers on turf traditionally held by the opposition MDC.

Zanu-PF knows it has lost the urban vote and it 'wins' elections by manipulating the delimitation Commission, comprised mainly of Mugabe's dreaded Central Intelligence (CIO). This body marks out constituency boundaries according to area population, and in the current status quo ensures at any one time there are more rural than urban constituencies.

The ongoing secret and continuous voter registration is calculated to swell the number of Zanu-PF supporters on the voters roll.

The registration of Zanu-PF supporters in Harare is augmented by the Ministry of Local Government redrawing and extending Harare Province boundaries to include areas previously held by evicted white farmers. In these recently acquired areas, such as Harare South where Zanu-PF holds a parliamentary seat, government has resettled mainly war veterans and Zanu-PF supporters, and is now secretly registering them as voters. Felix Mafa, MDC spokesman for Bulawayo Province asked, "what other evidence of rigging do people need?"

Surprisingly, while in many democracies the citizens voters roll is accessible for voter registration throughout the year, Mugabe maintains a law restricting the voter registration period to one week, and although the law obliges government to advertise the period of voter registration, no adverts have as yet been flighted on state radio and television. This is save for one advert appearing in The Chronicle newspaper, issue of Saturday 16 June, stating that voter registration runs from 17 June to 17 August.

Government is exercising a fraudulent silence and is determined to ensure that mainly Zanu-PF supporters register to vote. Shockingly, Government has sent registration officers to the suburbs, allowing only two days for voter registration, thus excluding hundreds of thousands of Zimbabweans from the process and consequently denying them a right to vote.

It is clear to many that Mugabe and Zanu-PF are rigging next years' elections before voting even starts.

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Harare Steps Up Police Patrols

Cape Argus (Cape Town)

12 July 2007
Posted to the web 12 July 2007

Thabo Mabaso And Geoff Hill

Zimbabwe continues to dominate the international media spotlight, with
reports of intensified police patrols, the cancellation of private abattoir
licences and a dramatic rise in the government's domestic debt to Z$2 116

And the country's economic situation is forcing an increasing number of
Zimbabweans to flee to South Africa.

Zimbabwe's state-owned Herald newspaper said that yesterday police had
deployed more officers in Harare's central business district.

A police spokesman said the reinforcements were meant to eradicate the CBD
of the black market, foreign currency dealers and illegal traders of basic

"We will wield the axe on all these illegal dealers without fear or favour
and we will not be deterred by their status in society," Chief
Superintendent Oliver Mandipaka was quoted as saying.

The government also swiftly moved to revoke the licences of all private
abattoirs for "failure to provide services to the public".

All butcheries in Zimbabwe have been closed since the government issued an
order to retailers to halve the price of their goods.

Private abattoirs wishing to resume operations have been ordered to apply
for permission from a cabinet taskforce.

Farmers wishing to sell livestock need to contact a government-controlled
cold storage operation.

Meanwhile, Malawi has announced that it has sold 90 000 metric tonnes of
maize to Zimbabwe.

Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader of the country's opposition Movement for
Democratic Change, called on businesses yesterday to defy the government's
retail price freeze.

The Herald quoted him as saying: "Zimbabweans realise the dangers of the
short honeymoon. The future, in the short term, is bleak.

"More businesses are going to close."

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For our collusion with Mugabe black SA should feel ashamed

Business Day

12 July 2007

Xolela Mangcu


"IF WE are incapable of being ashamed of our country, we do not love it. It
is a shame that can be valuably mobilised," renowned scholar of nationalism
Benedict Anderson said during an address at Wits last year.

I have often locked horns with many white South Africans over their lack of
shame about apartheid. This lack of shame has often turned into outright
denial of how apartheid gave them a cruel and unfair advantage over black
people. I suppose their unspoken logic is that any expression of shame would
lead to a pronouncement of guilt, which would in turn to lead to punishment.

But as Anderson puts it, there is something intrinsically redemptive about
shame - without extending into guilt and punishment.

In the same way that I have been astonished by this lack of shame in white
society, I cannot see how black people cannot be ashamed by our complicity
in the Zimbabwean tragedy.

I will leave criticism of "quiet diplomacy" to foreign policy experts. I am
talking about something much more basic and simple than such sophisticated
concepts. I am simply asking whether we can feel proud about our South
African identity and our values given our own collusion in what has happened
in Zimbabwe.

Collusion may seem like a strong word. After all, our country did not send
troops to put down the people of Zimbabwe. But I would argue that we
provided this monstrous dictator with psychological aid and comfort. Our
leaders and intellectuals swallowed President Robert Mugabe's lie that
Zimbabwe's problems were a creation of the western world. We gave him
standing ovations and received him with thunderous applause whenever he came
here. We put down his critics as agents of the west or sellouts or coconuts
of one type or the other.

We argued for noninterference as articulately as our former oppressors did
during those long dark decades of apartheid. We did and said all of these
things even as we witnessed the destruction on our television screens. The
idea of a country in which the government has to arrest shop-owners for
increasing prices to stay in business is truly absurd.

Reasonable people have been asking how it is that a whole society can stand
by while their ruler does as he wishes with the whole country. In many ways
that is a question for the people of Zimbabwe to answer. The question for
South Africans to answer is how could we have given psychological aid and
comfort to the agents of this tragedy. Personally, I was sickened by the
whole thing, and our participation in it. I always felt we had squandered
our moral authority in defence of an irredeemable monster.

I suppose part of the reason I write is to simply record my own reactions to
history. And when it comes to Zimbabwe it is a history of which I am utterly

In the final analysis my expression of shame about our support for Mugabe
also has something to do with our political future. I fear that in our
support for Mugabe we demonstrated that we lost the basic value of ubuntu
that was supposed to underpin our political democracy. If we can show such
callousness towards the people of Zimbabwe, what would stop us from such
callousness to our neighbours here at home?

After all, world history is littered with examples of neighbours turning on
each other in the name of ethnic and racial nationalism, mainly at the
instigation of thugs and gangsters lodged deep within the state. For
example, there is still more we need to know more about the genocidal
campaigns that Mugabe is said to have unleashed on the people of
Matabeleland in the 1980s.

In the final analysis, Mugabe's terror raises lessons for SA about what
happens when thugs take over the state, when its citizens become accomplices
to the terror, and when politicians and intellectuals become the chief
theoreticians of that terror. We have the responsibility to do some
soul-searching about our own role in this sordid and tragic affair, if only
to prevent it from happening here any time in the future.

Our first instinct may be to deny any such complicity, and say there is
nothing we could have done. But did we really have to applaud this murderous
dictator? What does that say about us and our own cultural and political
values? How did we become cheerleaders in an unseemly celebration of mass
murder and gangsterism?

The answer must begin with a sense of shame, but then shame presupposes an
articulation of preexisting values. I still look forward to the day when all
this racial nationalism is no longer with us, and we can speak openly about
the values we hold in common.

Mangcu is executive chairman of the Platform for Public Deliberation, and a
visiting scholar at the Public Intellectual Life Project at the University
of the Witwatersrand.

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SA govt steps in as Zim crisis escalates


July 12, 2007, 18:15

The department of foreign affairs says it will discuss the plight of South
African businesses operating in Zimbabwe with their Zimbabwean counterparts
following the arrests of business people.

This comes as South Africa's business leaders are urging government to fast
track the Zimbabwean mediation process, as that country's political climate
is crippling South African businesses operating there. Business Leadership
South Africa (BLSA) says that country is faced with a system meltdown. As
the presidential decree continues to be enforced, South African businesses
are bearing the brunt.

The Zimbabwean Reserve Bank has confirmed that Makro had slashed its prices
and is trading again. "We will continue to comply with the law of Zimbabwe.
Whether or not the business will be viable going forward will depend on
whether the supplier can supply the product at the prices set by the
government," said Grant Patterson, the chief executive of Massmart.

To ensure compliance, over 1 700 store owners and business executives have
been arrested, including the chief executive of OK Zimbabwe. "Unless there
is something that is done fundamentally to contain that situation, you'll
have empty shops very soon. Shops will close down, and where will people buy
food?" said Jerry Vilikazi, the Business Unity South Africa (Busa) CEO. Both
BLSA and Busa have called for decisive leadership at a political and
economic level.

Meanwhile, South Africa's embassy in Harare has been receiving complaints
from business people operating in Zimbabwe. Ronnie Mamoepa, the spokesperson
of the department of foreign affairs, says following the discussion with SA
business people about their current plight, they will take it up with the
Zimbabwean government. Businesses believe that a political solution must be
found soon before Zimbabwe's economic infrastructure collapses.

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Open Letter to the Next US President

The Women's International Perspective
July 11, 2007
Open Letter to the Next US President: Get Tougher on Mugabe's Despotic Government, But Send Aid for the Suffering Zimbabweans

by Constance Manika

“When elephants fight, it is the grass which suffers.” – African Proverb

The Zimbabwean government introduced an ambitious Antiretroviral Drugs (ARVs) program in 2004, but Ropafadzo Kondo, who tested HIV positive in 1999, got no benefit from the new program.

When this program was launched, the Minister of Health and Child Welfare, Dr David Parirenyatwa, openly admitted that his government had no resources to expand. Rather, Zimbabwe was counting on the assistance of the international donor community to provide more people with the ARV treatment.

According to the World Health Organization in 2005, 565 adults and children are infected with HIV in Zimbabwe every day. That’s one person every three minutes.

• Photograph by Steve Evans •
And of the more than 1.8 million people living with HIV and AIDS, only 40,000 have managed to access HIV drugs from the state run programs. More than 600,000 people remain in urgent need of the life prolonging drugs.

This is the figure that Zimbabwe’s government touted in 2004 hoping the donor community would assist. Currently, an additional 20,000 people are estimated to be buying the drugs on their own at private pharmacies or have relatives in the Diaspora who are sending them from abroad.

But three years later, Ropafadzo and many others are still on the waiting list; their hopes of ever accessing these life-prolonging drugs are slowly fading away. With a CD4 Cell Count of just 60 instead of the recommended 200 or more, Ropafadzo is living on borrowed time. To make matters worse, being on a teacher’s salary of only $20 USD a month, she can’t afford to buy the drugs on her own in the private sector, as they are prohibitively expensive.

So what really is the problem?

No supplemental funding is coming to Zimbabwe as the international community continues to protest against the Mugabe led government’s maladministration and poor human rights record. This is why the government program has not grown to accommodate more HIV positive Zimbabweans.

Infuriated by Mugabe’s expulsion of Pierre Schori, head of the European Union (EU) Observer Mission to Zimbabwe, during the controversial 2002 presidential elections, the western powers “officially” (because even as far back as the late 1990s international funding had already started drying up) imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe.

• Photograph by Steve Evans •
It is entirely acceptable for the international community to put pressure on Mugabe’s government by freezing funds on Zimbabwe’s economic programs or by imposing sanctions, but why should ordinary and innocent people like Ropafadzo be caught in this struggle? Other than toil for a pathetic salary month in and month out, what have they done to deserve this?

The truth of the matter is that Mugabe and his cronies who are responsible for wrecking the economy and isolating Zimbabwe are not even feeling the slightest pinch of these EU Sanctions!

Even though they are banned from traveling to Europe and have had their “off shore” accounts frozen, they are still well able to afford three meals or more a day. They still cruise around town with the latest, most expensive, bullet-proof cars with full fuel tanks while the majority of people queue for hours to refuel their cars at service stations or pay exorbitant prices from black market dealers.

And while they may be banned from Europe, they are still able to send their children abroad for a “decent” education, but only after bribing the Registrar General for a change of surname to evade the EU travel bans. And, even when they are unable to send their children abroad, they are able to escape the rot and decay they have caused in the public education system by sending their children to expensive private boarding schools. The rest of us, unfortunately, are left with few choices because our pockets are not deep enough.

This is the cruel and heartbreaking reality on the ground in our country. Ordinary people are suffering in the name of sanctions and because of donor fatigue. It is the hardworking Zimbabweans, who will go mad trying to figure out what to eat, how to pay the bills and fees for their children, and for people like Ropafadzo, where to get money to buy ARVs.

I, along with many other Zimbabweans, hope that as the people of the United States choose their next president in February 2008, they will elect someone who can look beyond politics, adopt a tougher stance on Mugabe’s despotic government and force it out of power. But whatever actions the new president may take, one must also remember that ordinary, innocent Zimbabweans do not deserve to suffer.

Zimbabweans like myself pray for world powers, the US included, to intervene, to put aside the politics that prevent them from caring about the kind of impact their actions will have on innocent women and children, the sick and the old. There should be no strings attached to humanitarian aid, not because Mugabe will profit, but because the general population has, up until now, unfortunately been caught in the cross fire.

If one traces the history of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in Zimbabwe, the decline in humanitarian assistance began in 1998, when signs of an economic meltdown under Mugabe’s rule began showing. Previous allegations of his government’s corruption and misuse of taxpayer money had been surfacing repeatedly long before then.

USAID’s program of development assistance to Zimbabwe dates back 27 years, to when Zimbabwe gained its independence in 1980. USAID drew up its plan for financial assistance to Zimbabwe into three phases. The first phase (1980-1989) was for post-Liberation Struggle Reconstruction.

• Photograph by Steve Evans •
In the second phase (1990-1997) funds were committed for economic reform and development. In this period, USAID’s support included the growth of the informal sector, provision of private sector housing and expanding the role of the private sector in providing family planning methods.

In the third phase (1998 – 2002) funds were committed for political reform and HIV and AIDS Mitigation. In this period, USAID strategy shifted to meet “increasing changes in Zimbabwe’s political, economic and social arenas”. USAID says by focusing its funding on HIV/AIDS prevention, it hopes to increase dialogue between civil society and government institutions.

In the third period, the decline in funding, especially for humanitarian needs, was very evident. In the period just after independence, USAID funding for humanitarian needs was $29 million USD. In the second phase, USAID committed $164 million USD for humanitarian needs, which allowed Zimbabweans to get through the 1992 drought, our worst ever, without any casualties.

The third phase marked a decline in funds: just $115 million USD was committed. Then from 2002 to 2006, a time when 80 percent of Zimbabweans were living in poverty as a result of successive droughts and the worsening economy, there was a huge dip in funding: just $85 million USD was committed.

Before relations between Harare and Washington soured, funding for Zimbabwe’s various programs was enormous. Although the US government still has an embassy here in Zimbabwe and continues to offer funding for various programs, the truth is that the US could offer more humanitarian assistance, if it wanted.

Last month US Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Christopher Dell, donated about $18 million USD worth of ARVs to Zimbabwe, which will benefit at least 40,000 Zimbabweans over a three-year period. This was Dell’s “farewell present” to our citizens and came as a big surprise to many of us.

Without sounding ungrateful, many AIDS activists attending the function said the US government could provide drugs for the 600,000 people in urgent need of treatment, if it really wanted. They added that if the US delegation feared the government would abuse the drugs, then the US could channel the funds through a number of reputable networks which service people living with HIV and AIDS. While at this function, a friend of mine who works at the US embassy here in Zimbabwe told me in confidence that they had been forced to cancel a planned media tour for Laura Bush to Zambia. Why? His “bosses” feared that we would see how little Zimbabwe was getting in aid, in comparison to the amount of money Laura was giving Zambia. Zambia receives $187 US dollars for every person infected with HIV, compared to the $4 USD Zimbabweans receive, according to Avert, an AIDS organization.

Dell’s three-year mission in Zimbabwe can be described as very “eventful”! He crossed paths on many occasions with state security agents for his open criticism of the Mugabe regime and became the most unpopular envoy in Harare. Mugabe even threatened him with expulsion for “meddling in the affairs of Zimbabwe” but has been silenced. Dell recently predicted that Zimbabwe’s inflation was going to reach 1.5 million percent by the end of the year and drive Mugabe out of power.

Ultimately, I know I speak for many Zimbabweans when I say “YES!” for sanctions against Mugabe and his corrupt government ministers and supporters, but don’t sacrifice humanitarian assistance for ordinary people like Ropafadzo. This is my open letter to the next US president.

About the Author
Constance Manika is a journalist who works for the independent press in Zimbabwe. She writes under this pseudonym to escape prosecution from a government whose onslaught and level of intolerance to journalists in the independent press is well documented.

Comments (1)

Thank you Constance. Good to hear your voice.
- I am for sanctions against Mugabe as well.

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Dlamini-Zuma 'clarifies' Zim remarks

Thu, 12 Jul 2007

Media reports that Foreign Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma called
for new intervention by the SA Development Community (Sadc) in Zimbabwe were
misleading, her department said on Thursday.

"Nothing is further from the truth," said spokesperson Ronnie Mamoepa.

"Rather than calling for a new Sadc initiative on Zimbabwe, Minister Dlamini
Zuma was reiterating the decision of the Sadc Summit held in Tanzania in
March this year."


This had mandated President Tao Mbeki to mediate between Zanu-PF and the
opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change, and mandated the Sadc
executive secretary to look into the country's economic situation.

Media reports said Dlamini-Zuma had told reporters in Pretoria this week
that Sadc should step in to save the deteriorating Zimbabwean situation.

Mamoepa said Dlamini-Zuma had expressed concern about the country's general
situation, including its deteriorating economic situation.

"...It is in part, for the reason that Sadc has decided that there must be
some discussion and reconciliation because it is very difficult to rebuild
an economy in a country where there is a serious divide and polarisation,"
he quoted Dlamini-Zuma as having said.

The minister was speaking to reporters after talks with Italian Deputy Prime
Minister Massimo D'Alema.

"The suggestion that Minister Dlamini Zuma called for Sadc to intervene in
Zimbabwe is erroneous and misleading," said Mamoepa.

"Minister Dlamini-Zuma has confidence in the current Sadc initiative on

In April, Deputy Minister Aziz Pahad said the Sadc executive secretary of
Sadc was tasked to undertake a study on the country's deteriorating economic
situation by an extraordinary Sadc summit in March.

Economic "challenges"

"The Sadc economic rescue initiative is aimed at assisting the government of
Zimbabwe to revive itself from the current economic challenges," he said.

Meanwhile, weekend reports said Sadc was putting together a plan to peg the
rand to the Zimbabwe dollar by extending the multilateral monetary area of
South Africa, Namibia, Lesotho and Swaziland to Zimbabwe.

The Sadc secretariat rejected the reports, Zimbabwean newspaper The Herald

"Sadc disassociates itself from any reported support packages as they did
not originate from its secretariat," said the secretariat.


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Zimbabwe threatens opponents of equity bill

Yahoo News

Thu Jul 12, 9:52 AM ET

HARARE (AFP) - Opponents of a bill to ensure a majority stake in all
public-owned firms ends up in the hands of Zimbabwe's indigenous black
population were warned they could lose their business licences Thursday.

The draft indigenisation and economic empowerment bill, which was unveiled
on June 22, has raised fears among foreign-owned companies operating in
Zimbabwe that they will lose control of their firms.
But in comments carried by the state-run Herald daily, Indigenisation
Minister Paul Mangwana said the government was determined to push ahead with
its plans and critics should not try to thwart the legislation.

"Those who take leading roles in decrying the indigenisation proposals
allegedly to scare away foreign investment risk their trading or business
licences being taken," Mangwana said.

He said the indigenisation drive was designed to ensure economic
independence for Zimbabweans and urged businesses to comply with the
shareholding requirements including mergers, demergers and restructuring.

"There is nothing racial or punitive about it. It is the norm in all
sovereign nations the world over," he said.

Some of the firms dually listed on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange and London
Securities Exchange firms include Old Mutual, NMB bank and Hwange.

Multi-national firms that may be affected by the new policy include Barclays
Bank, Bindura Nickel Corporation and mining giant Rio Zim.

On June 27, President Robert Mugabe also warned that his government would
seize and nationalise firms he said were profiteering excessively in a bid
to incite Zimbabweans to revolt against the state.

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Brother aganist Brother, Locking Kids out of School, Physical and Psychological Abuse

Zimbabwe: Outpost of Tyranny
July 11, 2007

Those are among the effects of Robert Mugabe's war against his own people.

Three vignettes illustrating the human cost of Mugabe's war on the poor:

1.  A friend and gardener/handyman who works for us approached me on Monday
to inform me that when he came back from Church on Sunday, he found his
savings ($140.00 U.S.), 3 pairs of trousers and 2 pairs of shoes (his only
ones) missing.  Sunday evening, he got a call from a friend of his
brother--the brothers had been living together at the gardener's place but
he, too, had gone missing--to tell him "not to be too upset when he finds
something missing at home".  According to the garderer, he could hear his
brother telling the friend what to say over the phone.  The friend explained
that the brother had taken the money and clothes in order to attempt to flee
Zimbabwe, via Beitbridge and across the Limpopo river, to South Africa.

2. Two separate examples of children being locked out of school: the person
who guards my house at night told me yesterday that his eldest son (age 11)
was barred from school on Monday becasue the "top-up" (periodic increases in
tuition necessitated by the hyer-inflationary environment) of $1.5 million
Zimbabwe Dollars (around $12.00 U.S. at prevailing parallel market exchange
rates) had not been paid.  A colleague at work, who is raising the two
children of his wife's sister (both parents of the children are deceased),
was suprised to see his wife's 16 year old niece show up at his door step
last week (she attends a boarding school around 120 KM outside of Harare).
That child, too, had been barred from school for non payment of the "top-up"
for tuition.

3. The same night guard mentioned above, and about whom we blogged in March
(after he was brutally beaten in the township area where he lives,
Chitungwiza, when he was unable to produce on demand a ZANU-PF membership
card for a gang of youths in the pay of the ruling party) told me when I
arrived home last night that he needed to see the doctor again because the
left side of his head where he was beaten with a metal bar had begun
swelling again and blood had been pouring from his nose.  Tendai (the name
I'll give him, not his real name) has also been subdued and
depressed-seeming since the attack on him, probably collateral emotional

In these cases, the victims were able to hunt down the money necessary from
family or friends to get new shoes, pay the "top-up" or see a doctor but
many victims are not.

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Crackdown On Prices to Target Banks?

Financial Gazette (Harare)

11 July 2007
Posted to the web 12 July 2007

Dumisani Ndlela

A WAVE of fear swept through the banking sector this week, with sources
indicating that bank executives were on high alert after reports government
was planning a clampdown on financial institutions over exorbitant bank

The planned move is meant to augment a government crackdown on industrial
operations and retailers to force prices down, The Financial Gazette is
reliably informed.

"There is that fear -- people are talking about it in the market," a bank
executive told The Financial Gazette yesterday, warning that the move could
erode margins and leave banks with huge losses on their loan books.

Kingdom Bank, a subsidiary of Kingdom Financial Holdings Limited, last week
dramatically lowered its minimum lending rates from 630 percent to 550
percent, barely a fortnight since increasing the rate in line with economic

It was not clear if Kingdom's move was in reaction to rumours of the planned
clampdown, but market sources said there had been no fundamentals to support
a rate reduction.

The central bank's accommodation rate -- the benchmark for the cost of
money -- is currently at 600 percent for secured borrowing and 700 percent
for unsecured borrowing.

Besides the lending rates, government is also expected to issue a moratorium
on bank charges.

The Financial Gazette understands that producers and retailers forced to
reduce product prices have alleged they were facing huge borrowing costs and
these were contributing to the high product prices.

Banks have in the past complained that they were in a squeeze because they
were paying a large percentage of their deposits to the central bank through
statutory reserve ratios, leaving them with very little from which they also
had to pay depositors interest.

It will also be interesting to see how the government will deal with the
interest rate spike given that it is also a function of accommodation rates
charged by the central bank.

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Power Cuts Threaten Wheat Crop

Financial Gazette (Harare)

11 July 2007
Posted to the web 12 July 2007

Zhean Gwaze

AN estimated 5 000 hectares of the 8 000 hectares of winter wheat could be a
write-off after wilting in the fields due to irrigation failures caused by
persistent power cuts, The Financial Gazette established this week.

The write-offs could compound current shortages and force the country to
resort to expensive imports.

Farmer organisations this week said they have been inundated with calls from
their members complaining their crops had been damaged due to the power

The power outages have ravaged wheat farms despite assurances by power
utility ZESA Holdings that it would cut supplies to domestic and other
industrial operations by at least 20 hours daily to ensure uninterrupted
supplies for wheat irrigation.

ZESA this week warned in a statement that it would intensify load shedding
due to reduced production at Hwange Colliery Company, which supplies the
power utility with coal.

The power utility is faced with a plethora of problems including a foreign
currency squeeze that has hamstrung the import of critical equipment and
spare parts for crucial repairs to machinery.

Zimbabwe, which requires about 420 000 metric tonnes of wheat annually, has
seen production plummet since the onset of controversial land reforms in

A further decline has been projected for the current season, raising the
spectre of serious flour shortages.

Wheat farmers this year had managed to plant about 8 000 hectares of wheat,
way below a national target of 76 000 hectares, because of lack of farming
equipment and critical inputs like fuel, according to a recent report by the
parliamentary portfolio committee on lands, land reform and resettlement.

An estimated 13.9 million litres of fuel was needed for the season but only
five million litres had been secured 15 days before the planting deadline.

Zimbabwe Farmers Union (ZFU) economist Blessing Chifeya said farmers had
resorted to working in the evenings, giving them insufficient or no time to
work on their crops.

Although he could not ascertain the total hectarage ZFU members had put
under wheat, a spokesperson for the Commercial Farmers Union (CFU), which
represents former white commercial farmers, said about 5 000 hectares
planted by their members would be affected.

The white farmers still remain the major wheat producers in the country.

"Farmers fear they will have to plough in their wheat as the insufficient
power supplies are affecting the wheat which should now be reaching an
advanced stage," said the CFU spokesperson.

The parliamentary committee on lands, land reform and resettlement urged the
government to set aside additional funds for grain imports.

The winter wheat crop is harvested just before summer around August.

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Zimbabwe "not collapsing" - Ambassador

The Citizen, SA

DURBAN - Claims that Zimbabwe is about to collapse were a "euphemism
for regime change" that had been predicted many times before, Zimbabwe's
ambassador to South Africa said on Thursday.
Reacting to recent media reports that his country was in a state of
collapse, Ambassador Simon Moyo said: "The fact is that Zimbabwe is under
siege from the illegal economic sanctions imposed by the West because of its
land reform programme. Despite facing considerable challenges... the country
is not collapsing and will not collapse.
"The so-called collapse, a euphemism for regime change, has been
predicted many times before."
He said that several publications had written about Zimbabwe's
collapse "with monotonous and nauseating regularity".
Referring to recent price controls imposed the Zimbabwe government, he
said that official calls to reduce prices had been ignored "by some business
people" who were pegging their prices to the black market value of the
United States dollar.
"The government has taken appropriate measures to arrest a situation
that was spiralling out of control and threatening the lives of ordinary
Moyo said the government was attempting to stabilise prices by
freezing them at June 18 levels.
He said that police and "crack monitoring units on price monitoring"
had raided warehouses and "uncovered huge stocks of basic commodities being
hoarded around the country."
Moyo said the action of the authorities had forced manufacturers to
increase production to meet the increased demand for their goods.
"Admittedly this situation has witnessed the emergence of unscrupulous
middlemen who are buying goods and reselling them on the black market at
exorbitant prices."
He said that most major businesses had complied with the government's
directives and that "ordinary people" were happy and "appreciative" of the
government's intervention.
Hotlines had been inundated with calls from "ordinary citizens" who
had supplied "crucial information on unscrupulous and illegal business
"Unfortunately for our detractors, the perennial regime change has
turned into an ever-receding mirage," he said. -Sapa

Last updated  12/07/2007 19:20:04

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Lobola Becomes Big Business

Financial Gazette (Harare)

11 July 2007
Posted to the web 12 July 2007

Christella Langton

FORTY million dollars, ten head of cattle, makandinzwa nani $1 million,
cellphones, groceries. The list goes on. This is what parents in Zimbabwe
are charging in bride price (lobola) for their daughters.

With the country's economic situation worsening, parents are cashing in.
Daughters have become major assets for their parents. Like sugar, bread or
cooking oil, they have become commodities in the hands of their parents, and
their value is constantly being adjusted to the current rate of inflation.

Zimbabwe's deteriorating economy, marked by galloping inflation, has
resulted in the escalation of the bride price.

The practice of paying lobola has gradually shifted from being a traditional
ritual meant to cement relations, to a commercial transaction, where each
side bargains to get the best deal.

At a recent lobola ceremony, which this reporter attended, the groom -- a
civil servant -- was charged a massive $40 million, excluding the compulsory
cattle and clothes for the bride's parents. He was then charged ten head of
cattle, including the customary beast for the mother "for nurturing her
daughter". The price of each beast was set at $2.5 million, but was later
reduced to $1.5 million after negotiations.

In this era where everyone is looking for assets that will preserve value,
the more female children you have, the richer you are.

With inflation at over 4000 percent and formal unemployment levels above 80
percent, the lobola market has become big business.

Most parents are now forcing their daughters to get married to rich men as a
way of lifting themselves from poverty. This is perhaps not new, since it is
a practice that only complements an old Shona proverb, "Mukwasha muonde
hauperi kudyiwa" (direct translation: The son-in-law is like the fig tree,
that always bears fruit).

Daughters are now being put on auction, the highest bidder taking the
bride's hand. Child marriages have become more frequent, as parents struggle
to feed their families and send their children to school.

The price goes higher if the girl is educated, has a good job. It is even
worse if she is a virgin, but this factor is slowly losing its touch.

But because of the exorbitant bride price, women become mere property in the
eyes of their husbands. They end up being treated the same way he treats his

Before money became the agent of trade, bride price was in the form of a
hoe, cattle or goats. The groom could also work for the woman's parents for
an agreed period of time, which is known in Shona as "kutema ugariri".

Due to the high costs of paying lobola, some lovers have opted for eloping,
escaping the lobola "madness".

"It is unrealistic that my in-laws demand that I pay more than $40 million
for me to get a wife considering the peanuts that I earn at the end of the
month. After all the bride price is only a formality, it should not be
regarded as a means of making money," one man said.

Rosemary Muronga, an activist with a women's rights group, says she does not
understand why most parents demand such exorbitant charges for lobola. She
said this was "just like selling goods on a market".

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Fuel Shortages Resurface

Financial Gazette (Harare)

11 July 2007
Posted to the web 12 July 2007


FUEL shortages resurfaced this week as direct fuel importers (DFI) halted
fresh deliveries in the wake of a government order, directing them to slash
pump prices by as much as 150 percent.

Industry Minister, Obert Mpofu, whose crackdown on post-June 18 price
increases secured the backing of the ruling party's supreme policy and
decision-making organs, has ordered fuel dealers to sell petrol and diesel
at $60 000 and $50 000.

A crack unit, comprising intelligence, police and army officers, responded
to the directive by raiding service stations countrywide, forcing them to

As of Monday, 33 managers had been netted in the industry-wide blitz, which
has been a boon for the legal profession.

Hours after the sporadic raids, only fuel tankers from the state-run
National Oil Company of Zimbabwe could be seen delivering fuel at designated

Fuel importers interviewed by The Financial Gazette said they have since
cancelled fresh orders, spawning serious shortages on the market.

Industry, currently counting its losses following the crackdown, which
started last week, has been the worst hit. Analysts said it was no longer
profitable for fuel importers to keep the pumps running, unless they can
access cheaper foreign currency from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.

A number of importers were accessing expensive free funds and dabbling in
illegal parallel market activities to remain operational because of the
chronic foreign currency shortages.

The country needs US$40 million for its monthly fuel requirements.

The economy requires 900 million litres of diesel and 730 million litres of
petrol every year to operate at full capacity.

The fact that all petroleum supplies are imported means that the country has
no control over the price of fuel and is vulnerable in the event of

Zimbabwe, in the throes of a biting economic recession, has battled eight
years of foreign currency shortages caused by poor exports and the dearth in
both balance of payments support and donor funding.

Government critics lay the blame squarely on mismanagement and Harare's
populist policies, charges denied by its spin-doctors, who see the country's
misfortunes as a direct result of targeted sanctions imposed on the ruling
elite by the European Union and the United States.

An executive with a local merchant bank told The Financial Gazette this week
that government can only avert the fuel shortages by increasing the supply
of foreign currency to the sector or go into back-to-back deals with
petroleum producing countries such as Libya.

The banker doubted whether the government had fully considered the
unintended consequences of the massive reduction in fuel prices, saying
political considerations appeared to have had an overbearing influence over
everything else.

"It would appear that the rationale behind the blitz was to pre-empt
(Christopher) Dell's prediction without taking into consideration the other
factors," he said. "I don't think they had planned to deal with the
shortages that are now arising," added the top banker.

Dell is the United States ambassador.

A top executive with another financial services firm said, as usual, the
government was tinkering with the symptoms.

He said: "The bottom line is that if you want a long-term solution, you
should aim for correct prices. The major driver of the price increases has
been our currency, and anything else is a derivative. We should find a way
of improving the supply of foreign currency so that it can be accessed over
the counter. Without that we are chasing our tails."

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Mugabe milked me dry

First Post

Moses Moyo in Harare

Dairy farmer Bruce Johnson Stewart remembers losing his property in a land

 Zimbabwe's historic land reform programme - or, if you prefer, Mugabe's
wholesale robbery and dispossession of his country's white farmers - is
widely blamed for the poverty that has descended on this once- prosperous
country. But it hasn't stopped yet.
The government has announced that the total number of seized farms, already
standing at around 4,000, will be extended by another 100.
Bruce Johnson Stewart, a 64-year-old ex-dairy farmer, knows how those 100
owners will feel. He lost his farm five years ago.
Now he has no home, no money, and nowhere to go.
"I remember the day like
it was yesterday," he says. "March 2, 2002. We'd been milking, I was
laughing and joking with my four workers."
For a moment his grim expression softens, as he remembers life on the farm.
No surprise to learn that his nickname among his workers was Mr Fantastic,
because he was such a good employer.
Johnson Stewart's land lay 20km north of Bulawayo, along Airport Road. He'd
inherited it and his herd from his father. It was a good life for him and
his wife Amanda. Until that day...
"We'd finished milking, it was just getting dark, and two truckloads of
armed police arrived. The men had shiny new weapons, and they waved them
around excitedly. Their leader, a cold and confident man, told me we had 24
hours to leave. We had no choice. We packed everything we could in our
trucks. And when they came again the next day, we moved out. But I refused
to hand over my keys. That farm is mine, and always will be.
"We had literally nowhere to go. My daughter has taken us in, at her home in
Montrose suburb, but we can't stay there for ever.
"But I don't want to leave Zimbabwe. This is my country, I want to stay and
help make it home for all Zimbabweans, black and white.
"The farm? It's been split into 15 small lots for African farmers. But the
government has not given them the official title to the land, so they can't
raise finance. There is only one water source, a borehole, and someone has
stolen the pump. I get calls from my old workers, asking for help, but
there's nothing I can do."

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Mugabe will be hoist by his own petard

African Path

July 12, 2007 08:41 AMBy Tabani Moyo

IT is proven beyond any doubt that the Zimbabwean crisis is not largely due
to the vagaries of nature but a man-made disaster. The country's economic
meltdown was best contextualized by Professor Masipula Sithole in 1997 who
outlined that President Mugabe, who by then was 73, had triggered the law of
diminishing returns into motion. Mugabe, now 83 has lived to confirm the
late professor's words as evidenced in the current guerrilla warfare against
the business community by irrationally slashing the prices of commodities
literally at gun point.

The law of diminishing returns therefore properly accounts for the
proportionate deterioration of mental faculties due to the marginal increase
in the octogenarian politician's age. In this article I seek to widen the
insights developed by Prof Sithole and assess the quandary in which Mugabe
has placed himself by implementing the ill-conceived idea into policy. By
implementing such costly and acutely dangerous ideas and turning them into
policy which is enforced by the military, police and other paramilitary
groupings, the government is shooting itself in the foot. Slashing prices of
commodities is a cosmetic approach to an economy that needs a complete
overhaul and to be supported by a proper operational environment that allows
business to thrive or fall on their own accord.

So senile are the price slashes that even cellphone users couldn't believe
themselves when the rates were forced down the throats of the Zimbabwean
entrepreneurs from ZWD$ 10 000 per minute to ZWD$ 500 per minute. The price
was therefore reduced by 95%. There is no where in the world in functional
economies even the most developed countries, where prices fall down by such
a huge margin. When such activities transpire in the economy, then it's like
the titanic beginning to sink.

The multiplier effect was also noted at the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange which on
Thursday, 5 June 2007, only a single firm of the 71 listed companies managed
to trade its shares. Reports from across the country states that shelves are
already empty since the imposed prices are far below the costs of production
for the producers.

These churlish manouvres by the ruling ZANU PF party are an indication that
the Mugabe regime has failed to run the country through conventional
monetary and fiscal methodologies as a way of salvaging the comatose
economy. Pundits will also posit that the country has passed that stage
which the economic tool box can be applied to clean up the mess.

Which ever model it is taken from, only palookas will swallow Zanu PF's
hook, sinker and rod. Even crows will sense Zanu PF's malignant motives
without it officially making a declaration of intent. The ruling party is in
the process of crafting statements for its election manifesto for 2008
elections. History is repeating itself, after the plunder of farms in 2000;
the kleptocracy has hatched another trump card for the presidential and
parliamentary elections in March next year.

The first attempt towards the implementation of the firm invasions was in
the year 2003, when the campaign was spearheaded by bogus war veterans led
by Joseph Chinotimba who is alleged to have siphoned the capital to start
his businesses from the companies who bribed him to avoid victimization. He
was accompanied by Phillip Chiyangwa and the Deputy Minister of Youth
Saviour Kasukuwere. The process frustrated the then Minister of Economic
Development Dr. Nkosana Moyo into resignation as the process was against his
efforts of restoring investor confidence in the country. Currently the price
war has concocted divisions between the Reserve Bank Governor Dr. Gideon
Gono and cabinet ministers, with Gono raising the same concerns raised by
the former Minister of Economic Development.

The ultimate agenda is to implement the rogue Indigenization and Economic
Empowerment Bill as an election gimmick that the incumbent party has the
interests of empowering the people of Zimbabwe who have been under
privileged due to the social and economic imbalances perpetrated and
perpetuated by the Ian Smith regime. Such a ruse won't work.

The commodities being sold at the moment are those which had long been
produced as firms keep a minimum stock level. When they run out of such
stocks, the country would have reached an economic stalemate. This will
likely lead to food riots as people will resort to looting the few goods
which would have emerged.

The only option which will be left is for the government to remove the price
shield. This again will prove to be a quagmire as the prices will not remain
where they were before the price controls accompanied with threats of
imprisonment and confiscation of businesses who fail to comply where
imposed. The prices will multiply five fold since the producers and others
in the chain of distribution will need to cater for costs such as the bank
interest rates on their overdrafts. The market will be determining once
again the pace at which prices will increase again which will prove to be a
torrid moment for the beleaguered party as elections are drawing closer.

The government is putting blame on the opposition arguing that price
increases are due to the activities of economic saboteurs. The blame game
that ZANU PF has thoroughly mastered does not take the country out of the
current economic mess but simply exacerbates the situation. The masses must
increase pressure on the octogenarian leader for plunging the economy into
the intensive care unit.

On a regional scale, SADC and the AU have to deal with yet another daunting
task. The action of President Mugabe violates the principles of dialogue
towards settling Zimbabwe's socio-economic and crisis. The continued
incarceration of opposition and reprisals against civil society leaders
especially Save Zimbabwe Campaign smacks of government's hypocrisy on its
commitment to deal with the deteriorating situation in the country.

Mugabe and his government has become a regional problem child, Mugabe have
proven beyond doubt that he is an oasis of defiance with impunity. The
regional bodies such as SADC are starting to realise as noted by their
acknowledgement of the depth of the crisis through appointing a mediator in
Thabo Mbeki, the South African president. It seems as if the child is very
stubborn, just as the talks are kicking off, he has again brewed another
problem which I will hold, if the African leaders do not find a clear and
drastic measure to such behaviour by the Mugabe, the problem will start
replicating itself in the region like a deadly virus. It is therefore wise
for the African leaders to prevent such a spill over when they still hold
the chance.

It is therefore sad to note that the country is in the hands of people who
have become an acute danger to national development. The cacophony of those
selfish chefs within the belief or culture known as Zanu PF - a culture of
violence, thuggery, jingoism and pillage  have become a threat to state
sovereignty, peace, stability and development. They have failed. They must
relinquish power and give way to a handsome crop of people with capacity to
run the country through democratic procedures.

Tabani Moyo is a human rights activist. He can be contacted on

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Rise in border jumpers

From ZWNEWS, 12 July

Farmers, business owners and residents along the South African border with
Zimbabwe report an increase in the number of people crossing the Limpopo
River to find sanctuary in South Africa. According to a local farmers'
group, crossings now take place the length of the river boundary and not
only near the immigration gate at Beit Bridge and some estimates now put the
numbers above 2000 per day, though official statements from the South
African government deny that the influx has reached this level. Incidents of
theft have also increased, but police say that local criminals may be using
the Zimbabweans to carry out acts of robbery in exchange for the cash they
need to continue their journey to Johannesburg. One farmer claimed to have
in excess of 80 people crossing his lands every night.

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Zimbabweans cross the border to shop in Musina


July 12, 2007, 18:45

Musina businesspeople in South Africa are benefiting as more and more
Zimbabweans are doing there shopping there. The influx is as a result of
shortages following orders by the Zimbabwean government for all shops to cut
prices by half.

This led to panic buying, leaving shelves empty. The southern African
country is experiencing its worst economic crisis with inflation estimated
at 5 000%.

Musina is the last town before the Zimbabwean border with South Africa and
every time hardships hit Zimbabwe, Musina benefits. At this stage it is
mainly basic foods and petrol that are running out in Zimbabwe and it is a
common sight to see Zimbabwean residents taking a taxi to come and shop in

Standard practice
When motorists reach the last fuel point on the South African side, it is
now standard practice to fill up as many containers as possible. Besides
fuel, Zimbabweans also buy loads of foodstuffs.

In the meantime, the number of Zimbabweans trying to cross into South Africa
illegally has picked up sharply. Last week, defence force border patrols
arrested 5 000. Normally the figure is about 700 per week.

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Mugabe must follow Taylor

Our Opinion

THE announcement of the closure of private abattoirs in Zimbabwe yesterday
is the latest step in the rapid economic shutdown of South Africa's northern

Private butcheries have shut their doors and many abattoirs stopped
operating after police ordered beef to be sold at about a quarter of the
market rate.

The move follows hot on the heels of the announcement last week of a 50
percent price slash on goods, which saw shops being flooded by eager buyers
and more than 1500 shopowners arrested for not complying fast enough to
police and price inspectors' demands.

With inflation at 4500 percent, many analysts now agree that the country has
gone beyond the point of no return.

In Harare, the once prosperous capital, residents are eking out an existence
in a place where many pay their entire salary in travel costs just to get to
work and back.

Zimbabwe, which once had one of the most diversified economies in southern
Africa and recorded a record growth of 12 percent in 1980, has fallen into
ruin as a result of the policies of its president, Robert Mugabe.

But far deeper lay the scars of this country's recent history, once hailed
as a model liberation state after casting off the shackles of the Smith
regime in 1980.

The ghosts of the wholesale slaughter in southern Matabeleland in the
mid-80s, called the Gukurahundi, which in Mugabe's Shona language means "the
early rain which washes away the chaff before the spring rains", resulted in
20000 deaths.

As had been its intention, it quelled possible future dissent by Zimbabwe's
minority, the Ndebeles.

According to Chris Maroleng, a Zimbabwe expert at the Pretoria-based
Institute of Security Studies, one of the major driving factors behind
Mugabe's cling to power is a fear that he may be tried for crimes against
humanity once ousted from power.

On a rainy and humid August day in 2003, in another African state far to the
northwest, the world watched as another dictator said farewell to his reign
of terror over his people.

Now, Charles Taylor of Liberia is being tried for war crimes at a UN-backed
tribunal in The Hague.

This newspaper suggests that Mugabe follow the same route and that the
excesses of his regime be fully exposed.

But first he needs to be ousted from power - and observers predict that
Mugabe's eventual overthrow will indeed come from within his Zanu(PF) party.

The thinking seems to be that there will be changes in the country before
the end of this year.

To many outside - but especially to the citizens of his own country - his
departure will come as a welcome relief.

Mugabe has become a liability to us all.

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MDC vs Free-Zim UK on apathy in the diaspora

12 July 2007.

The gloves were definitely off in this debate as Free Zim Youth UK member
Wellington Chibhanguza debates MDC official Matthew Nyashanu. Why are
pressure groups in the United Kingdom failing to work together? Is it
ideological differences, petty squabbles, personality clashes or just plain
naivety? Lance Guma provokes the debate on Behind the Headlines.

For programme schedules visit:

Programmes are available for two weeks on our archives even after broadcast.

Lance Guma
SW Radio Africa

SW Radio Africa - the independent voice of Zimbabwe - is back on multiple
Between 7pm - 9pm  (Zim time) on shortwave every day and online 24 hours a
day at , In the 25m band , 11775 kHz , 11810 kHz ,
12035 kHz  , In the 60m band ,  4880 kHz

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Chief Justice libido

First Post

Moses Moyo in Harare

Adultery is illegal in Zimbabwe, but one amorous judge has friends in high

 We may be a Third World country. We may be ruinously poor, hopelessly
governed and riddled with corruption. But there's one aspect of life in
which we can go head-to-head with you Western nations any time you like. And
that's sexual misbehaviour in high places.
Take the case of Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku of the Zimbabwe Supreme
Court. Judge Godfrey clearly suffers from a chronic case of being unable to
keep his trousers on. He is currently the subject of 10 - count them, 10 -
lawsuits for adultery.
This has been too much even for our broad-minded and forgiving President
Mugabe, and he has told Judge Godfrey he must resign. Chidyausiku will
give ill health as his reason for going. Rude good health would perhaps be a
more accurate description.
In the past, Judge Godfrey has wisely tended to restrict his romantic
dalliances to junior court staff and others. His latest inamorata was a
little more high-profile - none other than Monica Chinamasa, loving wife of
our Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Patrick Chinamasa.
Patrick and Godfrey were old friends. Not any more. Patrick is taking
Godfrey to court (adultery with a married person is an offence here), and
the resulting disgrace has been enough. The judge has been pronounced
guilty, and must go.
His paramour, Monica, is an interesting figure too. In 2003 she took over at
gun-point a previously white-owned tobacco farm, moved in, and immediately
invited her new white neighbours round to tea, much to their astonishment. A
year later she was declared Zimbabwe's Tobacco Grower of the Year.
Meanwhile Judge Godfrey, Zimbabwe's Adulterer of the Year, is fighting off
adultery suits on all sides.
One is said to concern a senior female legislator, and three others are his
subordinates at court. Although I have access to court files, the papers on
these cases have mysteriously disappeared, and as a result actual names are
hard to find.
None of this will surprise Judge Godfrey's friends, or indeed his
long-suffering, low-profile wife. In 2000, when he was part of a
constitutional commission, he made some unauthorised payments to fellow
commissioner Gloria Mukombachoto, later describing the incident as a "moment
of weakness".
More moments of weakness were to follow, including one on an official
overseas trip, with another fellow commissioner, Lupi Mushayakara.
On top of all this, Judge Godfrey is a familiar figure to the ladies who
operate in Harare's red-light districts. No doubt he is a handy source of
legal advice.
With all this going for him, you may ask how he's lasted so long at the top
of the judicial ladder. The answer is two-fold. First, he is a
not-too-distant cousin of Mugabe. And second, he's always been happy to
legally back up other ministers when they seized white farms.
Now he faces retirement. How he'll fill his time in future is not a question
anyone seriously asks. A more relevant question is perhaps how, at the age
of 60, does he maintain his libidinous momentum and serial success rate?
Well, he remains a highly presentable man, well-dressed and charming. He
also looks remarkably fit.
It must be all the exercise.

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