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

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The Daily News is obviously having problems with its website which is now labelled "under construction". I have added a few items from the Herald...
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Cape Times

'SA will do everything to assist Zimbabwe'

      July 14 2003 at 06:12AM

  By Christelle Terreblanche

The presidency has refused to be drawn into the latest round of speculation
about a political exit plan for the Zimbabwean head of state, Robert Mugabe.

Rapport newspaper reported on Sunday that President Thabo Mbeki gave
American President George Bush assurances during his visit to South Africa
last week that Mugabe would be out of office by December.

The report was based on an article in the Zimbabwean newspaper, the
Independent, and supported by "diplomatic sources" and the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

"All we can say is that Zimbabweans are searching for solutions and that we
will do whatever we can to assist", said presidential spokesperson Bheki

"The president (Mbeki) has indicated that he will encourage all efforts by
Zimbabweans for a peaceful solution. But that is all we can say. We don't
want to be drawn into speculation (about Mugabe's exit)."

During his visit, Bush endorsed the need for a solution in Zimbabwe to be
brokered by Zimbabweans and shied away from showing his differences with
South Africa over Mugabe in public.

But in Botswana, Bush said: "It's a shame that the (Zimbabwean) economy has
gotten so weak and soft and that the weakness in the economy is directly
attributable to bad governance."

According to Rapport, "sources close to the Bush-Mbeki discussions" said the
two talked about a reconstruction package and the possibility of fresh
elections for Zimbabwe by mid-2004.

Diplomatic sources in South Africa had previously indicated that Mbeki had
briefed them on an exit plan for Mugabe after his return from a visit to
Zimbabwe in May with other African presidents.

Earlier this year Mbeki also hinted in parliament that a solution to the
Zimbabwe crisis would be found before the end of the year.

MDC spokesperson Paul Temba Nyathi told Independent Newspapers on Sunday
that he did not confirm the exit plan, but merely stated that "those rumours
have been going around for some time, but we don't know if there is any
substance to them".

Nyathi confirmed that last week his party and an American delegation
discussed the "restoration of democracy in Zimbabwe".

"The Americans have not changed their mind (on the need for Mugabe to go)
and the pressure is now on Mbeki to deliver on his promises to Bush and to
Zimbabweans," he said.

These promises, he claimed, were that "the South African government was
committed to a solution in Zimbabwe".

Mbeki said at a joint press conference with Bush that the MDC and Zanu-PF
were engaged in talks. This drew an angry response from MDC leader Morgan
Tsvangirai, who called the statement "false and mischievous".

"We expect Mbeki to send an envoy to Zimbabwe sooner rather than later to
get those talks off the ground," Nyathi said.

"There is a momentum created by the Bush visit and a need to follow it up
with action."

.. Mugabe was elected this weekend as one of five deputy chairpersons of
the African Union (AU), causing a stir among South African opposition

The New National Party said this was "a serious setback for the credibility"
of the AU.

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Business Day

Liberian president joins dubious club

AFRICAN dictators who destroy their countries and kill their people with
impunity are, generally, either killed by their own people, or at least by
shadowy forces related to them, or end up in comfortable exile in another
Ironically, those who flee the wrath of their people are allowed to do so
because of the very scale of their wrongdoing. Their physical removal from
the country becomes pivotal for change.

Charles Taylor, president of war-torn Liberia since 1997, is the latest
member of this rather dubious club. As well as wreaking havoc and civil war
in his own country, Taylor has actively fomented instability in his
neighbours: Sierra Leone and Guinea and even Côte d'Ivoire. Liberia's
problems have kept regional peacekeeping forces busy for years.

Taylor, recently indicted of war crimes committed in Sierra Leone, has
offered to step down to allow a solution to be found to Liberia's problems.
His offer is considered a necessary but not sufficient factor in restoring
order. Thus Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo has offered him asylum, a
move not popularly supported by Nigerians themselves.

Obasanjo, at the African Union (AU) summit in Maputo last week, appealed to
the world not to "harass" him over the matter. He said the offer was made on
humanitarian grounds for the benefit of Liberia's people. He likened it to
removing a "lion" from a "china shop" to prevent the destruction of the

Taylor has so far escaped retribution at the hands of his own people, a
favour not accorded his predecessor, Samuel Doe, who was tortured, mutilated
and killed by Taylor's one-time supporter Yormie Johnson.

The asylum offer will disappoint Liberians, and other West Africans who want
justice done. Taylor has ruined thousands of people's lives and played a
leading role in the virtual destruction of several countries. And he will
probably get away with it.

African despots in exile have done well out of it. Take Idi Amin, who is
accused of killing about 300000 people during his rule of Uganda. He lives
in allexpenses-paid luxury in a villa on the Red Sea, courtesy of Saudi
Arabia. Ethiopia's former leader Mengistu Haile Mariam, who killed tens of
thousands of people opposed to his military Marxist regime in the 1970s, has
been living in Zimbabwe since he fled Addis Ababa in 1991. President Robert
Mugabe offered Mengistu refuge as a result of the latter's help during
Zimbabwe's liberation struggle.

Mugabe has protected Mengistu from Ethiopia's attempts to have him
extradited to face war crimes levelled against him in absentia.

So, he lives an easy life in Harare, guarded by Mugabe, whose agrarian
policies and political manipulation of food and land have a distinctly
familiar pattern to what Mengistu perpetrated against his own people.

Last week, while west Africa was gearing up to send troops into Liberia,
Mugabe was at the AU discussing Liberia's problems. Conveniently his own
problems were kept off the agenda. The AU does not deem Zimbabwe to be in
conflict, let alone at war.

Taylor is the elected leader of Liberia and his presidential term only
expires next year. His offer to step down was made under pressure from the

So what makes his situation different from that of Mugabe, whose sovereignty
is defended on the basis that he is an elected leader? Is it the military
strength of Liberia's opposition? Or the fact Taylor's agenda of instability
is transnational? Or simply the fact that his neighbours agree that he is a
problem and are prepared to act against him?

Mugabe may end up seeing out his days in one of his Zimbabwe mansions.
However, if he had to go into exile, his choice might well be Britain, where
his fortune is said to be stashed and where his favourite shops are.

Games is director of Africa@Work, a conferencing and publishing company
focusing on Africa.
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Business Day

Zimbabwe faces 500% price hike for maize



HARARE Zimbabwe braced for at least a 500% increase in the price of maize
meal as the government appears to have given up enforcing its price freeze
on key foods .

Maize meal was set to rise from about Z100/kg the fixed government price to
Z630/kg, milling company executives said at the weekend.

Increases in the past have led to food riots, which pushed the government to
impose price controls buttressed by subsidies.

The state-run Grain Marketing Board, which has a monopoly on grain sales,
announced earlier this month massive increases in the price of cereals. The
price of maize rose from Z9600 /ton to Z211756 on July 3. Similar increases
in wheat prices led to a fourfold increase in the price of bread last week.

The official currency exchange rate is Z824/1 , but trading on the black
market is as much as Z2700/1.

Zimbabwe is suffering its worst grain shortages since independence in 1980.

Official inflation has soared to more than 300% and a black market where
inflation is as high as 600% is thriving.

The United Nations' World Food Programme estimates shortages will leave
5,5-million out of about 12-million Zimbabweans in need of food this year.
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EU freezes aid to Africa
14/07/2003 08:26  - (SA)

Liesl Louw

Maputo - European Union (EU) development aid to Africa running into hundreds
of millions of euros has been frozen because African countries are insisting
that Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe is allowed to attend meetings
between Europe and Africa.

A meeting to try and solve the problem was held at the African Union's
leaders meeting in Maputo on Friday, but the matter was not resolved.

The discussions followed the stance taken by African countries in April this
year to refuse to attend a Euro-African meeting in Lisbon if Mugabe wasn't
allowed to attend.

Mugabe is forbidden to travel to Europe in accordance with EU sanctions, but
African leaders said Europe couldn't dictate who should attend meetings.

Senator Alfredo Mantica, the Italian deputy minister of foreign affairs and
leader of the EU delegation, says the Euro-Africa meeting, where the
implementation of development plans would have been discussed, still
couldn't take place.

"The reasons for the suspension of political ties have still not been

He said though, that the two parties had decided to have talks on an
informal level so that assistance for some matters, such as peace operations
in Africa, could be made available.

Africa is exploring all avenues to get financial support from Europe for
peace operations in war-torn Burundi.

An AU commission official involved in the process says the failed Lisbon
meeting followed on the first Europe-Africa meeting held in Cairo, Egypt,
two years ago.

An eight-point plan for co-operation between Europe and Africa was drawn up
and it included assistance for the fight against Aids, food supplies,
Africa's debt and support for peace operations in Africa.

The official says there's about €200m available for peace operations, of
which €10m is already available.

Development aid of several more million euros for, amongst others HIV/Aids,
can become available if the deadlock is resolved.

At Friday's meeting in Maputo, the EU was represented by Mantica, because
Italy now has the presidency of the EU, a representative of Ireland, who
takes over the chair next, and a commission representative.

Africa was represented by South Africa, Mozambique and an AU commission

A senior South African official says African countries didn't have high
hopes of the Euro-Africa meeting, because the implementation of European
development aid is "always very complex".

He said the money promised at the Cairo meeting was in any case "a
re-channelling of money already promised to Africa at bilateral level or at
other regional forums".
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Mugabe's new AU post sets tongues wagging

      July 14 2003 at 03:17AM

By Makhudu Sefara and Sapa-AFP

The African Union's new ambassador for Southern Africa is Zimbabwean
President Robert Mugabe.

The AU summit held in Mozambique at the weekend provided an opportunity for
Africa to show a commitment to its noble ideals.

But it ended on an anticlimax, some observed, with no discussion on the
political situation in strife-torn Zimbabwe.

While some opposition politicians were "galled" by the election of Mugabe as
one of the AU's five vice-chairpersons, others declared themselves to be

Part of what Mugabe is expected to do is promote the ideals for which the AU
stands and raise funds for some of the AU's projects.

As head of a teetering government, Mugabe saw his election as a personal
honour and a snub to those hostile to him "who think that Zimbabwe is being

"There is greater admiration now for Zimbabwe than there ever was, and we
are very happy about that," Mugabe told Zimbabwean state television on his
return on Saturday from Maputo.

Mugabe - slapped with a travel ban and targeted sanctions by the European
Union; a man whose country is suspended from the Commonwealth; and who is in
charge of an economy on a downward spiral - described his election as a vote
of confidence.

But his enthusiasm was not shared by all.

Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change spokesperson Paul Temba
Nyathi said that the African "union of dictatorships" (the AU) was sending
the wrong signals to Mugabe and "betraying the sentiments of Africans".

The Democratic Alliance spokesperson on Africa, Graham McIntosh, described
Mugabe as a "political thug" not worthy of holding the office to which he
was elected.

"The African Union appears to have a seriously schizophrenic personality,"
he said.

"How else can it live with contradictions that are so glaring that they
seriously discredit the organisation's constitution?"

McIntosh said the leadership of President Thabo Mbeki as first AU
chairperson had taken the body some way into the future, but the election of
Mugabe as a regional representative now stood to destroy all the gains made
so far.

"The African Union's aims and objectives stand in stark contrast to clownish
statements on Aids and the tsetse fly made by Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi,
and the election of a political thug like Robert Mugabe as a deputy
chairperson," said McIntosh.

Dr Boy Geldenhuys, the New National Party's spokesperson on foreign affairs,
said the election of Mugabe was a serious setback for the AU's credibility.

He said action should be taken against Mugabe in terms of of the AU Act
because his actions were in breach of the AU's principles.

Bheki Khumalo, spokesperson for Mbeki, said there was nothing wrong with
Mugabe being elected to the AU position he now holds.

"He is entitled to be elected to serve his 12-month term. Leaders rotate
positions not only in the AU, but in the European Union as well," said

United Democratic Movement leader Bantu Holomisa said it was wrong to
question the integrity of African leaders who had seen fit to elect Mugabe
to his new position.
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Business Report

      Struggle continues for united, peaceful, prosperous Africa
      July 14, 2003

        By Lynda Loxton

      I must admit to an overwhelming sense of déjˆ vu when reading reports
from Maputo over the last week on the second African Union (AU) summit.

      Although sorely tempted to say, "been there, done that", I hope the
great African vision of building a strong, economically vibrant and peaceful
continent does get realised this time around.

      Back in the 1980s, I joined many other South Africans in fleeing the
horrors of apartheid. I chose to go to newly independent Zimbabwe and was
soon getting to know all about the Southern African Development Conference
and the Preferential Trade Area for Eastern and Southern Africa (PTA), as
both were known then before they evolved into economic communities and
became the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the Common
Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) respectively.

      These bodies were exciting concepts for the time, focusing on getting
disparate economies, levels of development and peoples throughout Africa to
work together to harmonise their industrial, commercial, transport,
agricultural and financial policies based on comparative advantage.

      So instead of all pulling in opposite directions, the aim was to add
value to the wealth that Africa had, form strong trading blocs that could
strike fair deals on world markets and spread wealth and development more

      As should be obvious to all, not much - or, rather, not enough -
progress has been made. The AU and all its proposed organs - the peace and
security council, the African central bank, the pan-African parliament and
African monetary union - are all modern-day versions of what was on the
table in the 1980s, if not earlier.

      One major reason for the lack of progress has undoubtedly been South
Africa itself. Until apartheid was dismantled, there could be no meaningful
progress as long as Pretoria had a different agenda.

      Now it no longer seeks to destabilise, but to unite. It has the
international political credibility to sell the idea.

      It has played a major role in getting the AU and the New Partnership
for Africa's Development on the road. But will we see high expectations
being realised this time round?

      Another reason has been the very different agendas of the
international donor community
      . In the past it was very much a case of divide and rule.

      The European Union, for example, threw its weight behind the smaller
and more malleable SADC, while the US preferred the UN-based drive through
the Economic Commission for Africa to set up larger regional trading blocs
such as the PTA.

      Tensions about "turf" were inevitable between the staff of the
different groups, while their sometimes conflicting agendas slowed progress.

      Will the AU get rid of these turf wars and get everyone around the
same table for the long-haul task of development?

      The debt crisis, commodity price slumps and growing protectionism of
those times also did not help smooth the road to integration and

      Today, some of the old problems that held up progress are still
around, albeit in different guises. Civil wars in Mozambique and Angola have
wound down but others have sprung up, fuelled by power-hungry war lords,
tribal factionalism or religious fanaticism.

      Poverty is still with us and HIV/Aids is killing off young people at
an alarming rate.

      Getting from one part of Africa to another sometimes still involves
lengthy air trips via Europe; railway line gauges are not always compatible,
making the overland movement of goods difficult; there is no trans-African
super highways or standardised cross-border and customs procedures to ease
the flow of traffic; there are no meaningful intercountry industrial or
beneficiation programmes; countless almost worthless currencies abound,
although the US dollar dominates most commercial deals; skills levels are
patchy and Africa still cannot feed itself without outside help.

      Dealing with these issues were some of the challenges set in the
1980s. Doing so remains as desirable now as it was then.

      The Maputo meetings hopefully signal a fresh willingness and political
will to tackle those challenges, and one can only hope we see the results of
this someday soon.

      Realistically, however, one only has to examine the ongoing trade and
other squabbles in the much older European Union, and between it and the US,
to realise that it won't be easy at all, although the benefits of making
some headway will be immeasurable.

      As the old saying goes: "Aluta continua!"

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Independent (UK)

Mugabe 'blocked EU plan for peace force'
By Alex Duval Smith in Maputo
15 July 2003

President Robert Mugabe's regime has once again sabotaged attempts to mend
relations between Europe and Africa by snubbing a high-level European
Commission delegation at the African Union (AU) summit in Maputo.

The European Commission president, Romano Prodi, had arrived at the weekend
summit intending to offer a European funding package worth €250m (£170m) for
a standing African peace-keeping force, an AU initiative aimed at proving
the virtue of "African solutions to African problems". But a despondent Mr
Prodi admitted to The Independent that he had watered down the offer because
"we face a wall in any contacts, and that wall is Zimbabwe".

Mr Prodi said his attempts to revive the biennial Europe-Africa summit, due
to take place in Lisbon in April but cancelled because of EU resistance to
inviting the Zimbabwean leader, had fallen flat.

Asked what it would take for the EU to consider inviting African leaders
again - Mr Mugabe's resignation or mere conciliation talks between the
Zimbabwean regime and the country's opposition - Mr Prodi said at the end of
the summit: "Lots of ideas are flying around but at the moment we are
getting nowhere. On the issue of money for the standing African force, we
had a proposal, but for the moment we are just saying we will look at
funding if and when a force is created."

The setback in AU-EU relations is a blow to Nepad, the New Partnership for
African Development, which was backed by the G8 meeting in Evian last month.
The AU is the body through which the Nepad development plan for Africa is
supposed to be implemented.
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Bias claim in Zimbabwe trial
Monday, July 14, 2003 Posted: 7:54 AM EDT (1154 GMT)

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa (Reuters) -- Defense lawyers in the treason trial
of Zimbabwean opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai have asked the High Court
to dismiss the case against him, saying the state's main witnesses were

Tsvangirai and two top members of his Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
could face the death sentence if convicted on charges stemming from an
alleged plot to assassinate President Robert Mugabe last year.

All three have pleaded not guilty.

The state's case against them hinges on a grainy, partly inaudible videotape
of a meeting in Montreal between Tsvangirai and Canadian-based political
consultant Ari Ben-Menashe in which the prosecution alleges Mugabe's
"elimination" was discussed.

Ben-Menashe has admitted he taped the meeting using surveillance cameras
solely to get evidence for the government -- with which he consequently
signed a political lobbying contract. But he denies entrapping Tsvangirai.

"Being in the pay of the state that alleges treason is the most dangerous
exercise," defense lawyer George Bizos said. "The conviction of treason
would be very convenient to the state."

The trial was adjourned last week until October but the High Court sat on
Monday to hear Bizos's request to dismiss the case.

Bizos said Ben-Menashe had been unable to explain why there was no direct
evidence on the tapes that Tsvangirai was plotting to overthrow Mugabe.

"How is it, that if Menashe is telling the truth, that over and over the
accused asked for the murder of President Robert Mugabe, ... [that] those
requests escaped the sound of the audio tape?" he asked the court.

Mugabe, who has ruled since independence from Britain in 1980, dismisses the
MDC as a stooge of Western governments opposed to his programme to
distribute white-owned farmland among landless blacks, and says Zimbabwe is
being undermined by both domestic and foreign enemies.

The MDC and several Western countries accuse Mugabe of rigging his
re-election in 2002 and blame his misrule for chronic food and fuel
shortages and inflation running at 300 percent -- one of the highest rates
in the world.
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Brain Drain Strangling Economic Development

The Herald (Harare)

July 14, 2003
Posted to the web July 14, 2003

Tandayi Motsi

HOW low can one sink for the love of money and how much are you prepared to
give up to earn the (British) pound?

As the bug of 'getting rich quicker earning the pound' catches up with many
Zimbabweans, thousands of trained professionals are trading their
prestigious jobs for menial shifts in developed countries, particularly the
United Kingdom.

Among them is Gerald Kireso (not his real name), a qualified lawyer, who
left his job with a local firm last year in search of greener pastures in
the UK.

However, the pastures were not that greener as Kireso found himself having
to drive garbage collection trucks instead of a previous prestigious office

Before joining the overseas exodus, his parents envisaged a brilliant career
ahead of him.

However, such dreams have now been shattered.

Kireso cannot practice as a lawyer in the UK because he does not have a
working permit. And when he made the decision to go to that country he also
decided to give up his status and self-respect as a lawyer.

Yes, back home with the proceeds from UK, Kireso has managed to build a nice
house in the suburb of ZimRe Park, popularly known as "kumapondo" in
reference to the pound.

He has also invested in various businesses, a price for throwing away
self-respect and status.

Over the past few years Zimbabwe has witnessed an upsurge in the number of
professionals living the country in search of greener pastures.

Apart from the UK, the professionals are also heading to United States and

Many of these graduates, with the exception of some nurses, doctors and
pharmacists fail to be absorbed in their mainstream professions because of
lack of the required paperwork, hence, they end up doing menial jobs.

Such odd jobs include ironing clothes, sweeping and looking after the
elderly at old people's homes.

"You have to swallow your pride and do the menial jobs otherwise living in
the UK can be quite a nightmare for you," said a former teacher who returned
recently from UK.

She said some Zimbabweans were regretting leaving their professions in that
country because they were failing to make ends meet in the UK.

"Some of them want to come back but they having nothing to show for their
stay in the UK so they are soldiering on with the hope that they either
build a house or do something of significance back home," she said.

In the UK, she said, it was common to see former Zimbabwean teachers and
other professionals working as security guards.

The rate at which Zimbabweans and other foreigners have been flocking to UK
in recent years has forced the host country to consider introducing Aids
tests for asylum seekers in a bid to halt the Aids tide.

Statistics made public recently by the UK government showed that 54 193
people were HIV-positive in Britain - with the number rising by about 10
percent a year.

The report indicated that some hospitals were spending their Aids budgets
treating "imported" nurses. Hospitals officials said a couple received
treatment worth 11 000 pounds a year for the rest of their lives.

However, while the Zimbabwean professionals are playing in greater role in
the development of the UK's economy, the impact of the brain-drain back home
has been far reaching.

Indeed, Zimbabwe is going through its worst economic difficulties in history
and there is no doubt that the brain drain is compounding the situation.

The exodus is stalling the country's development because of the huge deficit
in manpower that retards economic development.

The health sector has been the worst affected by the exodus of qualified

Even the bonding system introduced by the Government a few years ago has
failed to effectively halt the brain drain.

It is a fact that the brain drain in the health sector has crippled the
health delivery service as the remaining personnel is struggling to cope up
with the huge workload. The situation has been compounded by the shortage of
foreign currency to procure medical drugs.

The Government has found itself in a situation whereby it trains personnel
for other countries.

President Mugabe last year castigated Britain for "coming at the dead of the
night to steal" nurses, doctors and pharmacists.

"We have created the environment that allows that upliftment of nurses.

"That's why even Britain comes in the dead of the night to steal our
people," he had said. It is estimated that at least 70 000 highly qualified
Africans leave their home countries annually.

With the fast ageing population, western countries have become increasingly
dependent on migrant workers to fill the void.

A report by the Pollution Research Group at Natal University in South Africa
shows that Africa has lost a third of its skilled professionals in recent
decades and it is costing the continent $4 billion a year to replace them
with expatriates from the West.

The brain drain, the report says, has strangled growth of the economy and
nurtured poverty in the African countries.
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We'll Not Co-Operate With Bush On Zim, Says Commission

African Church Information Service

July 14, 2003
Posted to the web July 14, 2003

Rodrick Mukumbira

Foreign ministers of Botswana and Zambia closed the 12th session of
Botswana-Zambia Joint Permanent Commission of Co-operation with a statement
saying that there would be no quick fix solutions to the Zimbabwean crisis.

The commission said as the meeting ended on June 30, that they would not
allow their countries to be used as a launch pad for countries wanting to
effect a regime change in Zimbabwe.

Their stand came days ahead of United States President George Bush's visit
to southern Africa. There was speculation that Bush would explain to
President Thabo Mbeki, an offer by the United States to finance a political
solution for Zimbabwe.

The ministers indicated they were fairly optimistic that the Zimbabwean
problem would eventually be resolved.

According to them, the legitimacy of Zimbabwean President, Robert Mugabe,
was a matter that would be decided by Zimbabwean courts and not by the

When AANA inquired what they would do if the US and UK decided to remove
Mugabe forcibly, Zambian Foreign Minister, Kalombo Mwansa, said: "We would
not co-operate."

The commission agreed on the need for the two countries to intensify
collaboration in animal disease control, to improve crop production, and to
establish a subcommittee to monitor and control HIV/AIDS.

It was also agreed that it was imperative for both countries to expedite the
Bilateral Road Transport Agreement, in order to complete construction of the
Kazungula Bridge across Zambezi River, which marks the border between the
two countries.

The commission, which will hold discussions in Zambia in 2005, is designed
to increase trade volume between the countries.
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Tobacco Sales Down 33.4% With a Third of the Season Gone


July 11, 2003
Posted to the web July 14, 2003

Chengetai Chigwida

With a third of the tobacco selling season past, sales in the period ended
July 4 are 33.4% lower than the comparable period last year and US dollar
earnings are down by a similar proportion, according to figures from the
Tobacco Industrial & Marketing Board (TIMB).

Tobacco sales have fallen to 25.686 mln kg compared with 38.545 mln kg in
the previous corresponding period, amounting to US$51.71 mln (2002: US$78.85

The average price eased slightly to US$2,0130 from US$2,0458. The Zimbabwe
dollar value rose to Z$41.37 bln compared with Z$12.498 bln.

However, exports this year are expected to be around the same as last year
due to a carryover of stock into the current year.

TIMB Import and Export Controller Andrew Masimbe said: "Last year alone
Zimbabwe managed to export 143.4mln kgs of tobacco and this year
expectations are that the country would be able to export 135 mln kgs, which
at Z$800:US$1 would be around Z$320 bln."

Since the beginning of this season the three auction floors had exported
45.27 mln kg of tobacco worth Z$28.48 bln by end of May, a rise of 53%
compared to Z$16.6 bln in the same period last year. The US dollar value,
however, eased to US$116.8 mln from US$184.8 mln.

TIMB Marketing and Information officer Paul Kamba predicted that between
70-100 mln kgs of tobacco would be sold this season.

Research carried out by Zfn indicates that there has been a significant
decline in the US dollar value of sales as the average price has remained
almost static on a year earlier at US$2,0130.

However, Kamba noted that as the season progresses, the average should
continue to rise to around US$2,50/kg.

"We have more of the upper leaf which is of better quality and fetches more
and in turn has a higher price."
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$54.5bn Tobacco Sold At Auction Floors

The Herald (Harare)

July 14, 2003
Posted to the web July 14, 2003


MORE than 29 million kilograms of flue cured tobacco valued at more than
US$68.1 million ($54.5 billion) had passed through the country's three
auction floors by close of business on Friday afternoon.

There was a continued firming of both prices and deliveries during the week
under review.

The average price for a kg of the leaf was US$2.05, which is a further rise
on the US$2.01 offered for a similar weight last week.

Real prices which farmers are getting for a kilogram of the gold leaf are by
far above the average US$2,03.

The daily seasonal average price has heavily been pulled down by the low
prices, which were on offer when the season kicked off.

A kilogram of the leaf was fetching between US$2,35 and US$2,50 compared to
the average of US$1,58, which was being offered when the season kicked off
on April 23.

The tobacco season is still at its peak and both the average prices and the
daily deliveries are expected to continue firming in the next coming months.

Deliveries were in the region of 900 000 kilograms during the week under

The farmers said while the prices on offer were good in US$ terms, the
returns were slowly being eroded when converted to local currency.

"We are not complaining but the prices have not gone up in both the US$ and
Zimbabwe dollar terms.

"There are fears among the farmers that the price for tobacco may fail to go
beyond the US$2,90 per kg," said Mr Michael Kajeu, the manager of Mashala
farm in Karoi.

Mr Kajeu added that the farmers were eagerly waiting for Government to
review the exchange rate.

"Most farmers are in a dilemma at the moment, as they do not know whether
they should bring their crop to the auction floors or not.

"Some have decided to hold on to their crop and wait to see if the exchange
rate would be revised any time soon," said Mr Kajeu.

He said they were delivering quality tobacco which could have fetched as
much as US$3,50 per kg.

"We have the best crop you can get anywhere in the world but we are worried
by the rate at which the crop has been gaining in terms of prices.

"We expect the prices of the gold leaf to correspond with the quality of the
crop," added Mr Kajeu.

He said they had not faced problems in transporting the commodity to the
auction floors because of arrangements they had made with reliable transport

Deliveries to the auction floors have increased substantially over the past
selling week with a minimum of 10 000 bales offered for sales compared to a
daily average of 4 000 previously when the season kicked off.

Increase in deliveries to Tobacco Sales Floors, the Zimbabwe Industry
Tobacco Auction Centre and Burley Marketing Zimbabwe, have contributed to
the increase in daily throughput.

By the second week of June the deliveries to ZITAC were higher than the same
time last year offering at least 2 000 bales for sale compared to 700 bales
resulting in an increase of their market share.

TSF have 54 percent (64 percent in 2002) of market share while BMZ and ZITAC
have 29 percent (28 percent in 2002) and 17 percent (8 percent in 2002)

All floors have the option to extend to two sales (7,000 bales) to clear any
backlog of deliveries for as long as the sales are completed by 1 pm.

There are 36 Class A tobacco buyers who have been licenced to buy tobacco in
the country up from around 28 in the last season.

The increase in the number of approved buyers stems from the popularity of
the country's tobacco.

Climatic conditions has resulted in the crop having one of the best texture
for blending hence its continued popularity.

Tobacco remains the single largest foreign currency earner in the country.

Last year more than US$430 million was realised from tobacco exports
representing 35 percent of the country's total exports during the year. This
also represent 12 percent of the country's Gross Domestic Product.
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