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- may peace, truth and justice prevail.

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Daily News

      State threatens to prosecute millers over price increases

        THE government has threatened to prosecute grain millers over a 500
percent increase in the price of mealie-meal, Zimbabwe’s staple foodstuff,
the Daily News has established.

      Mealie-meal prices went up without government approval after the
state-controlled Grain Marketing Board hiked the selling price of maize to
millers early this month by 1 600 percent from $9 600 a tonne to $211 756.

      A snap survey of supermarkets in Harare showed that the retail price
of a 10 kilogramme bag of mealie-meal was now $6 800, up from the
government-controlled price of $1 500.

      The wholesale price for the 10 kg bag has risen to $5 740 from $945.

      Millers have also increased the price of flour by up to 100 percent.

      The Ministry of Industry and International Trade has told millers that
the maize-meal and flour price increases are illegal and those caught
selling the products at the new prices would be prosecuted.

      The price of mealie-meal is controlled by the government and millers
have to apply for permission from the Industry Ministry before raising

      In response to a request by the millers last week for the government
to sanction the new prices, Industry and International Trade permanent
secretary Ronald Madamombe said the increases were unlawful and the
government would not hesitate to prosecute anyone effecting them.

      He told millers in a letter last Thursday: "The decision by the
Millers’ Association to adjust the prices without authority is unlawful and
offenders may be prosecuted as is the case with any breach of the laws of
the land.

      "The best that the association can do is to submit representations for
consideration by the minister (Samuel Mumbengegwi) for onward transmission
to the Cabinet."

      Neither Mumbengegwi nor Madamombe could be reached for comment
yesterday. It was not clear whether the government had begun proceedings
against millers since the new prices came into effect.

      Businesses caught flouting gazetted basic commodity prices under the
Price Freeze Order (SI 302/2002) have been fined $5 000.

      Millers’ Association chairman Mike Manga refused to comment on the

      However, sources within the milling industry said millers were
increasing the price of maize-meal because of hikes in the cost of maize,
salaries, fuel and electricity.

      "The milling industry is not performing well due to the shortage of
foreign currency, electricity, fuel and raw materials.

      "Besides this negative growth, the sector has had to increase the
wages of workers from a minimum of $47 000 to $93 000 a month," one industry
official said.

      He said for the industry to remain viable, it had to raise prices for
its products.

      Although maize-meal was still in short supply at most shops visited
yesterday, the recent price increase is expected to improve supplies.

      By Lawrence Paganga

      Staff Reporter
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Daily News

      Green Bombers on rampage in Dete

        DETE – At least 12 people were injured this week when a group of
youths trained under the government’s national service programme assaulted
people evicted from Kamativi mine complex when it was turned into a training
camp for the youths early this year.

      The former Kamativi mine complex residents are now living as squatters
at Cross Dete, where the youths allegedly assaulted them on Monday.

      The youths are said to have broken into a shop and a filling station
belonging to Jealous Sansole, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
Hwange East Member of Parliament, and looted property and cash amounting to
thousands of dollars.

      The whereabouts of Sansole, who had housed some of the squatters at
his Cross Dete home, about 20 kilometres from Kamativi, remained unknown
yesterday as he was said to be in hiding.

      "Sansole fled his home to seek refuge elsewhere. At the time of
preparing this statement, the whereabouts of Sansole are still unknown," the
opposition MDC said in a statement. When the Daily News visited Cross Dete
on Wednesday, Ndangababi Primary School, which is near the scene of the
clashes, was deserted after teachers and pupils fled the violence. A teacher
at the school, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said: "We fled because
some of the fighting had spilled into the school."

      The youths were reportedly led by a commander known as Black Jesus.

      Dete police confirmed the incident but played down the magnitude of
the clashes. "It was not as bad as people are saying. In fact, only two
people were slightly injured," said a police officer who referred further
questions to the provincial general headquarters in Hwange.

      Wayne Bvudzijena, the national police spokesman, said he could not
comment because he was in a meeting. There was no immediate comment from the
Youth Ministry, under which the national service programme falls.

      However, about 12 people are reported to have been injured in the
clashes and were taken to Hwange hospital from where they were later

      Cross Dete residents said soon after Youth Minister Elliot Manyika
officially opened the Kamativi Youth Training Centre on Sunday, a group of
youths were ferried to Cross Dete where they camped overnight.

      A resident at the growth point said the youths camped until Monday
night, then they started attacking families they had displaced from the
former mining compound. Dozens of residents who were renting houses at the
mining compound, including Sansole and Joel Gabbuza, the MDC MP for Binga,
were also evicted.

      Eyewitnesses said during Monday’s clashes, the people of Cross Dete
came to the rescue of the evicted mine complex residents and eventually
overpowered the youths.

      The youths are said to have regrouped on Tuesday morning, smashed
window panes and destroyed property worth millions of dollars.

      "Several people were injured during the Monday night and Tuesday
morning skirmishes. Some of the residents have fled their homes," a Cross
Dete resident said.

      When the Daily News visited the area on Wednesday, there was tension
and fear, with residents saying there were reports that the national service
youths, derisively referred to as "green bombers", would return to cause
more havoc in Dete.

      Residents said there were reports that the youths could be ferried
back to the area this weekend.

      "We are now living in perpetual fear because we don’t know where and
when these ruthless young boys and girls will strike next," one resident

      There are five training centres around the country, which have
enrolled thousands of youths for the government’s controversial national
service programme. The government has indicated that it wants to open more
than ten camps nationwide. A sixth camp is to be opened next week in Mutare.

      Although the government says the national service programme is
supposed to empower unemployed youths with marketable skills, critics say
the scheme is being used to train a ruling ZANU PF militia that is being
used to intimidate government opponents.

      Some of the political violence affecting Zimbabwe is partly blamed on
the "green bombers".

      From Chris Gande Own Correspondent

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Daily News

      Police descend on UZ to quell pay-out demo

        STUDENTS at the University of Zimbabwe (UZ) yesterday fought running
battles with armed riot police and campus security guards after they marched
to the vice chancellor’s office to demand an explanation for the late
disbursement of $20 000 pay-outs the government promised them a fortnight

      According to Tatenda Mungure, the outgoing treasurer of the Students’
Executive Council, students gathered at the UZ clinic to discuss the delayed
payment of a "relief allowance" that was reportedly promised to them by
Washington Mbizvo, the permanent secretary in the Higher and Tertiary
Education Ministry.

      "We held a meeting with the ministry’s officials as student leaders
and Mbizvo told us that we would get the relief pay-out at the beginning of
July," he said.

      "The explanation given to us by Ezra Chitando, the acting dean of
students, was that the delay was mainly due to the dormancy of students’
bank accounts, which had insufficient funds. But the truth is that they are
just delaying tactics."

      The students yesterday marched to the office of Levi Nyagura, the UZ
vice chancellor, demanding an explanation for the delayed pay-outs.

      Witnesses said Nyagura was not in his office and the students,
marching and singing, turned on campus food outlets, smashed windows and
looted food.

      The police were called in and they immediately cordoned off the campus
and started throwing teargas, leading to running battles between students
and armed riot police, which are said to have lasted about five hours.

      Six students were reportedly detained by the UZ’s security guards
while two others were picked up by the police for questioning.

      Riot police could last night still be seen driving around the campus
in police vehicles and an armoured car.

      This reporter was barred from entering the campus because of the

      A security guard at the main gate said: "All vehicles are prohibited
from proceeding into the college’s yard. The police are dispersing the
student demonstrators with teargas canisters.

      "I am afraid the situation is bad, go back to wherever you came from."

      Students were milling along the road surrounding the university last
night as riot police threw teargas canisters even into the halls of

      The students said they were unsure where they would sleep last night
because there was no indication when the police would leave the campus.

      "We can’t go back there because they have thrown canisters into our
rooms," a student said last night. "The police are just beating up all
students seen gathered at one place. Hunger has severely affected us and the
police don’t know that."

      Chitando last night refused to comment when asked about the
disturbances at the university and the heavy presence of armed riot police.

      He said: "My problem is that everything is done through protocol. The
situation is really difficult for me to comment on. I am in the thick of
things. I will call you tomorrow (today) and tell you what is happening, but
I can’t right now."

      Staff Reporter

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Daily News

      Dabengwa fires Zambezi Trust workforce

        BULAWAYO – Matabeleland Zambezi Water Trust chairman Dumiso Dabengwa
has fired all staff at the organisation’s offices here without giving any
reasons, it was learnt this week.

      Some of the affected workers told the Daily News that the dismissals
were communicated to them on Monday.

      The Trust, which was established to spearhead the implementation of
the Matabeleland Zambezi Water Project (MZWP), employed four people at the
Bulawayo office.

      Sources said the sacked workers were not given letters of dismissal on
Monday but were instructed to collect them yesterday. However, by late
yesterday afternoon the letters had still not been issued.

      "We were just ordered to surrender the office keys on Monday and told
that we had been fired without any reason being given to us," said one of
the workers, who declined to be named.

      "We have come for our letters and we are just waiting for them to say
something, but since morning, they have been ignoring us as if we are not
there," the worker added.

      Contacted for comment, Dabengwa referred all questions to the MZWT
board secretary, Angeline Masuku.

      Masuku said she would only comment after the workers had received
their letters of dismissal.

      When pressed for further information on when the letters would be
served she would only say: "They will be served."

      A board member who spoke on condition of anonymity said members of the
Matabeleland Zambezi Water Trust board were not aware of the dismissal of
the Trust’s workers.

      The board member said the board was not consulted about the decision,
alleging that it had also not been consulted before other decisions
concerning the Trust were made.

      "All the decisions are made by one person and we don’t know where he
gets his authority from. If it is true that workers have been fired, we don’
t know whether the board will be informed about this," said the board

      The member added that over the past two years, the board had only met
twice, but there were mportant issues that needed its attention.

      The dismissal of the MZWT workers comes barely a week after the High
Court granted an order to Arnold Payne, a prominent campaigner for the MZWP,
compelling the Trust to hold an investigative audit of its accounts within
30 days.

      In his affidavit, Payne cited Kotsho Dube, the chairman of the MZWT
general assembly, and Dabengwa as the first and second respondents

      He said the investigative audit had been agreed to at a Trust meeting
in 1999.

      The Matabeleland Zambezi Water Project is supposed to alleviate the
region’s severe water shortages and has been on the cards for several years
without being implemented.

      The project is said to have been affected by financial constraints.

      Although the government has several times announced that it had
secured funding from some quarters, there have been no results on the ground
and the project has remained at the initial stages.

      Earlier this year, the Bulawayo City Council indicated that it was now
looking at alternative water sources because of serious water shortages that
were affecting households and industry.

      From Sandra Mujokoro Own Correspondent

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Daily News

      Council seeks to stop Chombo from meddling

        OPPOSITION Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) councillors have
resolved to make an urgent High Court application to stop Local Government
Minister Ignatius Chombo from interfering with the administration of the
capital city’s affairs through his directives.

      The councillors, who alleged the minister’s moves were in violation of
the Urban Councils’ Act, agreed that no council employee should take
instructions from Chombo without reference to the council.

      It was "resolved that the council makes an urgent application in the
High Court challenging the minister’s directive to withdraw the mayor’s
salary and benefits while the mayor is on suspension", the minutes of a
council meeting held on Wednesday read.

      The minutes added: "During discussion, councillors expressed concern
that some council employees were implementing ministerial directives without
council authority. Council warned that in future it would deal strongly with
such employees."

      The resolutions come after Chombo issued a directive to the acting
mayor of Harare, Sekesayi Makwavarara, withdraw the benefits of Executive
Mayor Elias Mudzuri, whom he suspended in May over allegations of

      The mayor denies the charges. The government had also directed
Makwavarara to evict Mudzuri from the mayoral mansion within 48 hours last
week, without a council resolution to back the decision.

      Makwavarara was criticised by her colleagues and MDC president Morgan
Tsvangirai for agreeing to implement the directive without a council

      According to the council’s minutes, the council unanimously agreed to
disregard any directives calling for the withdrawal of the mayor’s benefits
while he was on suspension.

      During discussion at the special council meeting on Wednesday,
councillor Last Maengahama noted that Section 54 of the Urban Councils’ Act,
which Chombo used to suspend Mudzuri, did not empower the minister to
withhold the mayor’s salary and benefits during the period of suspension.

      There was no comment on the council’s resolution from Chombo, who was
said to be in Nyanga.

      Deputy Local Government Minister Fortune Charumbira yesterday said he
was out of the office and could not comment on the matter.

      Councillors who attended the meeting said they would make objections
against some members of the committee appointed by Chombo to investigate
Mudzuri because of their alleged association with the ruling ZANU PF party.

      "It was made very clear that as a council, we should not allow people
who already have a verdict against Mudzuri to investigate him. Any proven
supporters of ZANU PF should recuse themselves," said the councillor.

      Tendai Savanhu, who contested the Mbare West constituency in the June
2000 parliamentary election and lost to Dunmore Makuvaza of the MDC, is a
member of the investigating team.

      Savanhu was also a member of the Elijah Chanakira Commission that was
replaced by the MDC dominated council last year.

      Staff Reporter

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Daily News

      Mayors’ perks obscene

        YESTERDAY we reported that the Gweru and Kwekwe city councils had
approved hefty exit packages totalling more than $86 million for their
executive mayors, who leave office at the end of next month.

      Gweru Executive Mayor James Bwerazuva and his Kwekwe counterpart
Johnson Mawere will each get their official Mercedes Benz car and a brand
new Nissan Hardbody truck.

      The two mayors will also each receive a piece of land and undisclosed
amounts of money from their cash-strapped councils.

      The two gentlemen will probably argue that they cannot be held
responsible because they did not award themselves these obscenely
extravagant exit packages and that it is at the discretion of their
respective councils to thank them for their services in whatever way they

      But if Bwerazuva and Mawere had a shred of feeling for the people they
have served for all these years, they would have turned down these packages.

      As respectable aldermen, they should dissociate themselves from what
ratepayers would be forgiven for cynically viewing as looting of their
meagre resources.

      Why should Mawere or Bwerazuva get two cars each from ratepayers if
this is not just an attempt to rip off the residents of Gweru and Kwekwe in
the name of golden handshakes for the two men?

      As Kwekwe Residents and Ratepayers’ Association representative Esoph
Esat queried: where will the money come from to buy new cars for the
outgoing mayors and still be able to buy vehicles for new officials to be
elected next month?

      If the two councils have so much money, could it not be put to better
use? For instance, would it not better serve the interests of the two cities
if it was used to refurbish collapsing sewer and water reticulation systems?

      Only last week, Gweru’s finance committee chairman Michael Gara
proposed a supplementary budget of $1.7 billion to keep services and
municipal facilities running.

      The supplementary budget, which councillors have for now turned down,
would have seen sewerage charges going up 200 percent while refuse removal
and water charges would have been increased by 210 and 195 percent

      The Kwekwe City Council has also announced plans to introduce a
supplementary budget because council coffers are running dry.

      It is not only heartless but criminal for the city councillors to turn
around in the midst of all these hardships and come up with excuses for
milking more money from already embattled ratepayers.

      Even worse, this acute and shameless greed is not confined to the
councillors of Gweru and Kwekwe alone.

      It pervades the entire top echelons of local and central government.

      Indeed, it would seem that these obscene mayoral packages are in fact
emanating from central government itself.

      Some councillors in Gweru who attempted to block these packages had to
backtrack when shown a circular from the Ministry of Local Government
indicating that executive mayors were entitled not only to vehicles but also
a one-off payment equivalent to their annual remuneration and a cellphone.

      Admittedly, the government-stipulated package is not as outrageous as
the packages to be given to Bwerazuva and Mawere, but it is still a luxury
none of the local authorities can afford. Surely buying more ambulance
vehicles or anti-retroviral drugs for city hospitals and clinics would be a
much better use of ratepayers’ funds.

      But if the government’s decision earlier this year to import $3.5
billion worth of luxury vehicles for its top bureaucrats while the country
survives on food handouts from well-wishers is anything to go by, then the
Gweru and Kwekwe councillors are merely taking a leaf from the government’s
own book.

      Could it be that there is a rush to grab as much as people can in this
uncertain environment before the unknown happens?

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Daily News

      Basics back on shelves but demand declines

        MANY basic commodities that had disappeared off shop shelves because
of price controls are now readily available, but consumer demand has dropped
because of rising prices that economists say will slash the revenue of many
Zimbabwean retailers.

      A snap survey by the Business Daily in major supermarkets in Harare
showed that basic commodities such as bread, cooking oil, milk, salt and
soap are now readily available, but retailers said

      demand for these products was declining.

      The price of bread, which has been in short supply because of severe
shortages of wheat, almost doubled from $550 to $1 000 this month, a price
that will further reduce consumption of the staple

      foodstuff by low-income earners.

      Supermarket owners said the rise in the price of bread and other basic
commodities had led to a decline in sales volumes.

      "Our sales are declining every month and if prices continue to go up,
I can see a situation where our revenue is going to be very low," said a
Harare-based supermarket owner, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

      University of Zimbabwe economics lecturer Innocent Matshe warned: "As
prices of most commodities continue to go up, most consumers will be priced
out of the market, reducing the size of the market that can be exploited by
the business community."

      But retailers this week said they had no choice but to continuously
increase their prices to factor in escalating operating costs.

      Inflation, which rose 64.4 percentage points to 364.5 percent in the
year to June, is expected to top 500 percent before the end of the year,
putting upward pressure on production and operating costs.

      Matshe said because of Zimbabwe’s hyperinflationary environment,
retailers’ revenues would increase because of soaring prices, but in real
terms, revenue would decline because of a fall in sales volumes.

      Economists said the basic economic concept of price elasticity was
already at play in Zimbabwe’s retail sector, leading to the fall in demand
for certain products in the market.

      "Certain products will only create more revenue for a firm when their
price goes up and some need a decrease in price to increase their revenue,"
said an economist at the UZ.

      He warned that the misconception that increasing prices would
automatically result in increase in revenue would affect the earnings of
most companies in the long run.

      Analysts said most consumers around Zimbabwe were now restricting
themselves to buying only essential commodities and discarding products that
they considered to be luxury items.

      But they said even those essential commodities for which consumers
could find substitutes would be affected by escalating prices. Among these
is beef, whose price has shot up in the last few months.

      "Increasing the prices of products with many substitutes will
automatically reduce the demand for such products," independent economic
consultant John Robertson told the Business Daily.

      He said the increase in demand for some commodities was not being
driven by domestic demand but by cross-border traders, who are exporting
products to southern African countries.

      Robertson said: "Cross-border traders are sucking commodities from the
local market to regional countries. So, most of the recorded increase in
demand of certain commodities is emanating from such traders rather than
from domestic consumers."

      Commentators say the decline in domestic demand for commodities had
come with a sharp drop in the standard of living of most Zimbabweans, whose
salaries have not kept pace with inflation.

      Analysts say poverty is rising in Zimbabwe, with at least 80 percent
of the population estimated to be living below the poverty datum line.

      By Stanley Taderera Business Reporter

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Media Monitoring Project Zimbabwe
7th July- 13th July 2003
Weekly media update 2003-27


1. General comment
2. Bush’s African safari
3. Economics of the bread

1. General comment

The week witnessed yet another gross abuse of authority when The Herald (8/7) revealed that government had drafted a law that seeks to criminalize MPs who boycott presidential addresses, among other issues. According to the report, the Privileges Amendment Bill stipulates that parliamentarians who “wilfully absent themselves from parliamentary sittings or interrupt Presidential addresses to Parliament”, would be “guilty of an offence and liable to a fine of an amount equivalent to six months’ salary”.
Instead of examining the constitutionality of such a Bill, which is aimed at MDC legislators whose party does not recognise President Mugabe’s legitimacy as head of state, the paper seemed to justify such a move by noting that the Bill would “uphold the dignity of the office of the President”. It repeated this line of thinking the following day in its article MPs express mixed reactions over Bill.

Once again a critical view on the issue was only found in the private media. For example, Studio 7 (9/7) quoted a constitutional law expert Lovemore Madhuku condemning the move as an “indication of their (government) anti-democratic culture”. The Daily News (10/7) observed that the move was “an assault on one of the remaining bastions of democracy in a country whose slide into tyranny has been painful”. The paper rightly observed that the decision was “very much in the spirit of other repressive legislation” such as POSA and AIPPA.
But the arrest of the suspended Harare Mayor Elias Mudzuri aptly illustrates the level of intolerance and repression government has subjected the country to. Mudzuri was arrested twice within 24 hours and, in both cases, released without charge, for reporting for duty as usual after the end of his month-long leave. This was before the High Court had made a ruling on Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo’s application seeking a court order to bar Mudzuri from doing his mayoral duties. Chombo even directed Harare City Council to withdraw Mudzuri’s benefits.
The government-controlled media did not see anything irregular in the government’s heavy-handedness but presented Mudzuri as stubborn and disobedient. Only the private media condemned Mudzuri’s persecution and questioned the apparently overzealous response to Chombo’s orders by the deputy mayor, Sekesai Makwavara (The Standard and Daily News on Sunday, 13/7). 

2. Bush’s African safari

After dismissing US President George Bush’s visit to Africa, particularly South Africa, as a non-event, the government-controlled media interestingly sent its senior reporters to Pretoria and Botswana to cover his visits. However, their efforts did not translate into informative or balanced coverage. They conveniently selected comments by Bush and his South African counterpart, Thabo Mbeki, to portray a sudden change of stance by the US to give the distorted impression that Mbeki had warded off Bush’s earlier calls for Mugabe to step down and pave the way for the restoration of democracy.

The private media handled the issue better. They tried to unravel the diplomatic language that the two used during their press conference in South Africa and investigated the behind-the-scenes discussions to show that rather than relenting, Bush had actually matched his words with action by asking Mbeki to resolve the Zimbabwean crisis urgently.

Before Bush’s arrival in South Africa, the government-controlled media was still engrossed in their bigoted campaign against the US President. For example, The Herald (7/7) claimed that “ Mr Bush will try to arm-twist South African President Thabo Mbeki to help him effect so-called regime change in Zimbabwe”, adding that he was coming to Africa “with very dirty hands after his alleged bungling in Iraq”. But when Bush stated that he was of “one mind” with Mbeki in resolving the Zimbabwean issue, ZBC (9/7, 8pm), The Herald and Chronicle (10/7) suddenly toned down their vitriolic and racial attack on Bush and seemingly embraced his position, which they narrowly interpreted as a “climb-down” from his earlier stance and therefore a “snub” to the MDC.
It emerged however, that this merely reflected a statement from the Department of Information, which was used to buttress their stance: “President Bush’s fleeting and perfunctory reference to Zimbabwe at his Press conference is a loud climb-down by a president misled, but who now leaves the region better enlightened about issues at stake”.
The government media conveniently ignored the fact that Bush also said: “We share the same outcome and I think it’s important for the United States, whether it be me or my Secretary of State, to speak out when we see a situation where somebody’s freedom has been taken away from him and they are suffering and that’s what we have to continue to do”. Even The Daily News (10/7) conspicuously missed this loaded statement in its coverage of the press conference. However, the paper disputed claims by the government-controlled media that Bush had conceded to Mbeki’s approach, saying he had in fact urged the South African leader to “step up pressure on Zimbabwe” to “return to democracy”.
To further rebut the government-controlled media reports, The Daily News (12/7) quoted the US Secretary of State, Colin Powell, saying his country’s “position is consistent”, adding that, “we believe that something has to change in Zimbabwe, that under President Mugabe’s leadership the economy has been driven into the ground”.  Bush echoed Powell’s statements after meeting Botswana President Festus Mogae (The Daily News, 12/7).

As if to add weight to The Daily News reports, The Zimbabwe Independent (11/7) investigated the leaders’ private discussions and quoted diplomatic sources as having said Mbeki told Bush that Mugabe “has promised to give up the ZANU PF leadership in December during the party’s annual national conference” to make way for fresh presidential elections, which the South Africans allegedly wanted held before June next year.  It then quoted “observers” saying, “Bush’s ready compliance with Mbeki’s stance on Zimbabwe suggests he has been given firm assurances on Mugabe’s exit”. The report also revealed that the two leaders discussed “an American reconstruction package that would be released once Mugabe leaves office”. The MDC spokesman, Paul Themba Nyathi, who was part of the delegation that met some US officials, corroborated this (The Daily News, 12/7). The Standard (13/7) was not fooled by the two leaders’ public posturing either. It observed that Bush had seemingly softened his stance because he had been  “ convinced… that indeed change was on the way in Zimbabwe”.  The Sunday Mirror of the same day pointed out that Mbeki had told Bush that a “road map” to the general and presidential elections after constitutional reform was on the cards.

Nonetheless, the government-controlled media was determined to drown any alternative perspective to its propaganda; that Bush had climbed down. For example, The Herald (12/7) urged the MDC to “engage in constructive dialogue with humility” after its “failure” to “extract anti-Zimbabwe vitriol from US leader Mr George Bush”, adding that, “after his meeting with President Mbeki, Mr Bush evidently got off his horse and appeared to be a converted man”. It also stated that a “seeming shift of posture” by Bush and Powell “punctures the runaway sentiments of the MDC and its allies that a panacea to the challenges facing Zimbabwe lies with aliens”. The Chronicle (11/7) echoed similar views, saying Bush’s “U-turn” was as a “slap in the face” of the MDC. While describing Bush as a “warmongering cowboy” whose hands “are dripping with the blood of innocent Iraqis”, The Sunday News (13/7) claimed that Bush’s statements was proof “that Washington DC has been fed on a diet of racist lies by anti-Zimbabwean campaigners”. Whereas the paper blamed racists for misleading Bush, ZTV (10/7, 8pm) quoted an advocate of ZANU PF policies, William Nhara, accusing the MI5, MI6 and the CIA of “peddling lies” about Zimbabwe.

The broadcaster (11/7, 6pm) then claimed that “a rift had emerged” within the MDC following Bush’s alleged change of stance and his refusal to meet members of the opposition. The Sunday News carried a similar claim. However, MDC secretary-general Welshman Ncube was reported in the same Sunday News story as having said his team never had an appointment with Bush but with members of his entourage responsible for African Affairs. The Daily News (12/7) revealed that the MDC had met members of the US delegation in South Africa. The same issue also reported that opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai spoke by phone with the US deputy Secretary of State for African Affairs Walter Kansteiner while Bush was meeting with Mbeki.

The government-controlled media’s distorted coverage of Bush’s meeting with Mbeki even saw The Herald (10/7) cited Tsvangirai’s statement describing claims that there were talks between ZANU PF and the MDC as “patently false and mischievous”, as proof that the MDC leader was “particularly hurt” by Bush’s “turn-around”.
In fact, Tsvangirai had issued this statement on SABC a day before Bush met Mbeki.
ZTV (9/7, 8pm) also reported on Tsvangirai’s statements, but then used them to present the MDC as being confused. It quoted publisher Ibbo Mandaza saying Tsvangirai’s comments contrasted with those of Nyathi, whom, he alleged, had told SABC after Mbeki and Bush’s meeting, that talks between the two parties were taking place at an “informal level”. However, there seemed to be no such contradiction as claimed by Mandaza when ZTV (11/7, 6pm) aired excerpts of Tsvangirai’s interview on SABC. He was quoted saying that there had been a “number of emissaries, overtures but then still we are disappointed that it has not developed into a co-ordinated ZANU PF public desire for resuscitation of the talks”.

The Daily News (10/7) also quoted Tsvangirai reiterating that there were “no formal negotiations and talks between the MDC and ZANU PF”, apart from “emissaries from various groups that include churches, civic groups and indeed the South African government ” who were “shuttling” between the two parties to resuscitate last year’s aborted talks. Tsvangirai even found an unusual ally within ZANU PF on the issue.  The Financial Gazette (10/7) quoted ZANU PF secretary for external affairs, Didymus Mutasa, as saying, “I am totally unaware of what Mbeki is talking about. If the talks are going on, they must be very secret, but with my position in the party I would have been informed of any resumption of talks”. Studio 7 (9/7) also quoted Mutasa making similar statements adding that ZANU PF was taking steps to resolve the crisis without the participation of the MDC.
Despite the parties’ denial of any formal talks between themselves, Mbeki insisted during the Pretoria press conference that ZANU PF and the MDC “are engaged in discussions on all of the matters that will be relevant to the resolution of the economic and political problems”, The Herald and Chronicle (10/7).
Perhaps his claims were based on revelations that Catholic Priest Fidelis Mukonori, who has been reported as being Mugabe’s emissary, met Tsvangirai just before Mbeki met Bush, to push for the resumption of talks between the two parties (The Daily News, 12/7).

Not surprisingly, the government-controlled media, which wanted to give the impression that Mugabe’s leadership was no longer a bone of contention for America and SADC, ignored the report. Instead, they (ZBC, 11/7, 8pm, The Sunday News and The Sunday Mail 13/7) reinforced the notion that the region and Africa in general supported Mugabe’s leadership as demonstrated by his election as one of the five African Union vice-chairmen during the Maputo summit. Mugabe was himself quoted as saying his election “put paid to those in hostile circles who think that Zimbabwe is being isolated”.
This calculated failure by the government-controlled media to investigate and thoroughly analyse political undercurrents surrounding Bush and Mbeki’s resolve on Zimbabwe resulted in The Standard rightly observing that their stance “ demonstrates the naivety of the Zanu PF propaganda machinery”. 

3. The economics of bread

Government’s paralysis in its management of the economy was exposed when bakers unilaterally hiked the price of a loaf of bread to Z$1,000 in spite of price controls following an increase in wheat prices by the Grain Marketing Board (The Daily News, 7/7 and Studio 7, 8/7). Apart from The Sunday Mail, the government-controlled media, perhaps reflecting the government’s attitude towards the issue, largely ignored the news.

In fact, government’s failure to issue a statement on the matter only reflected its failure to implement its price monitoring policy while at the same time ensuring the availability of basic commodities, which are readily available on the black market at a higher price than that pegged by government.

In its report of the recent bread price hike, The Daily News quoted the Bakers Association’s Armitage Chikwavira as having said, “ the price increase was a ‘life-and-death’ issue, with most bakers likely to close down if the government forced them to reverse the hike”. He pointed out that government had not sanctioned the hike, saying they had made an application but had not received any response.

While the paper was breaking such disturbing news, The Herald and Chronicle of the same day diverted the attention of the public from such pressing matters with reports celebrating Zimbabwe’s first ever qualification - through the benevolence of Gabon - for the African Nations Cup soccer tournament. The papers did not even follow up the story or seek comment from government on such an important issue.

Their sister weekly, The Sunday Mail (13/7) tried to blame retailers saying they were ignoring government’s ill-fated price controls. But the paper failed to challenge government on why it had not reviewed bread prices to bring them into line with wheat prices. The paper did, however, quote the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe noting that the latest bread price increase, among other commodities, had pushed the minimum wage to about $150, 000.

The Business Tribune (10/7), also reported on the sharp rise in the cost of living for urban dwellers. However, its table on the costs of basic expenses was severely conservative. For example, it pegged the basic rentals for two rooms at  $11,000 a month when one room costs far more than that. The Zimbabwe Independent (11/7) pointed out that worse was still to come. It reported that millers wanted to increase the price of mealie-meal by between 700% and 1 000% following the GMB’s increase in the selling price of maize.

3FM revealed that the problem was so serious that millers in Beitbridge had stopped operations because of the new maize prices. The report quoted the District Administrator for Beitbridge appealing to millers to resume business, naively saying the new prices for maize “are only temporary as talks are still going on with the central government with a view to review the maize prices”. The Sunday News (13/7) however, revealed that government was not negotiating maize prices but was meeting “millers to resolve their impasse on the pricing of mealie-meal”. None of the media went onto the streets to seek the views of consumers on the runaway cost of living.


The MEDIA UPDATE was produced and circulated by the Media Monitoring Project Zimbabwe, 15 Duthie Avenue, Alexandra Park, Harare, Tel/fax: 263 4 703702, E-mail:;  

Feel free to write to MMPZ. We may not able to respond to everything but we will look at each message. For previous MMPZ reports, and more information about the Project, please visit our website at

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You wouldnt believe this place.  I battle to myself, and I live here, and have been through the processes to get here.
The Hon Thabo MbekI says everything is fine here.  Well, maybe this is how he would like it. 
We needed five-and-a-half million bucks today - to buy fuel at 1100 per litre.  We have the money in the bank, its been ready and waiting for just this situation.  But we cant get the money out in needs to be in cash, you see.  This the only way anyone can get the forex-for-fuel (still, its all a bit slow to catch up, you see)  And this isnt helped by the noxious oilco being on the market also.  We tried both our banks, and they very sweetly told us that all they bank is cheques.
Everybody's doin' it.  It the only way to do anything.  And to cash a cheque now, you pay, for the zimdollar, 12.5%.  It is awesome.  I was told this morning that to cash 10 million, you get 1million - Tony says its better than the paint business.  So we phoned a contact, and got our money, for a mere 675grand!  Luckily we had made about that having it on TBs for a bit.  The story goes that someone has bought a Monopoly set recently, and has tenderly put away the monopoly money, and use real zimds, as the monopoly money is worth something when you sell the game in pristine condition.  What I really want to know is what our accountant is going to do with all this stuff for the taxman.
I hear that the Hon Min. MadE was jolly cross this week.  I think he heard that the export cattle area has foot-and-mouth.  Meanwhile there is this big chunk of money been put aside to feed all the cattle for export....and for rebuilding the breeding herd!  All I ever see is 00s and 00s of acres of vacant grass.  Maybe there will be a good price for heifers at last.  And there are these grand plans for the wheat crop - which someone has just measured and found to be down 60%  Well wait till someone has a close look at the crops that are in the ground.  What was that one about counting chickens?
There is much less traffic on the roads, but despite that we see another multimillion dollar pile up each time we travel - this week it was huge rolls of brown paper smouldering at the side of the road.  Bread is quite readily available now, I bought 2 beautiful loaves this week, for "only" 800 - compared to the scaffy loaves last week for 1060, it was great. 3 pies, 2 fantas, 2 apple slices, 2 bread - 6000 bucks.  Ouch.
I dont know if people are hopeful or not, they shake their head a lot, and moan about no money.  They obviously went into this with no zim cash under the bed.  Silly billies. It is all just going on too long now, and quite honestly there does not seem to be an end in sight.  Those in the right positions are having too much fun to let it stop.
We were given a milk price increase of 25%, to 420 per litre - the stockfeed company immediately whacked up the price of feed by 48% - I hear its now 500 000 per tonne.  Maybe if the herd gets foot-and-mouth I can just humanely destroy the lot, and not bother any more. 
But people are still smiling.  We have all decided that shopping is for another time, another place, and I see the supermarkets are getting cold feet - at 364% inflation, they'd better.  Sadly 5000 or so fatcats are just not going to keep their tills ringing that merry little tune.  Gosh I do hope they dont ask for sympathy - they didnt give us much in the last three years.
Have a good day, A
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            Mugabe re-election case to be heard in November
            July 18, 2003, 20:15

            Zimbabwe's High Court will sit in November to hear an opposition
case against President Robert Mugabe's controversial re-election last year,
court and opposition officials said today. They said the Registrar of the
High Court set November 3 for the start of the case, filed by Morgan
Tsvangirai, the opposition leader, soon after the March 2002 presidential
polls which he said Mugabe won through rigging and intimidation.

            Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) went to the
court last month to demand a date for the hearing, accusing the government
of dragging its feet on the case against Mugabe - who says he won the
elections fairly. "We are disappointed at this further delay of this very
important matter but we have reluctantly accepted the position because at
least now a fixed date for the hearing has been set," David Coltart, the MDC
legal affairs secretary, said in a statement.

            Mugabe has pressed the MDC to drop the legal challenge as a
condition of re-opening talks on Zimbabwe's deepening political and economic
crisis. The MDC has refused saying it has a right to seek redress in the
courts for an election condemned as highly fraudulent by many Western
powers. - Reuters

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Zimbabwe inflation on course for 1 000%

      July 18 2003 at 09:52AM

Zimbabwe's powerful labour movement has called on President Robert Mugabe
and his entire cabinet to resign as inflation soared from 300 percent to
364,5 percent.

Inflation is on course to reach the 1 000 percent peak predicted by many
economists by the year-end.

Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) secretary-general Wellington
Chibebe said his organisation was appalled by Mugabe's failure to implement
measures to ease the economic crisis, which had now led even to a shortage
of Zimbabwe dollar notes.

Finance Minister Herbert Murerwa recently vowed to reduce inflation to 100
percent but economists said this was impossible.

"If it were any other democracy the entire government would have resigned
for presiding over the mess that this economy is in," Chibebe's statement

Because of the shortage of banknotes, he said, many employers were not
paying cash to workers who are paid weekly.

Those paid in cheques were unable to access their salaries, as the banks
were limiting withdrawals to Z$5 000 a customer - not enough to buy a 5kg
bag of mealie meal.

Paydays had become a nightmare, with workers having to queue for hours at
banks, Chibebe said.

The government had failed to pay salaries for June to many civil servants
because of the shortages of notes.

Economists say the 364,5 percent official inflation rate understates
inflation, as it is based on official prices rather than the parallel

Most of the goods on the Consumer Price Index, used to calculate the
inflation rate by the Central Statistical Office, are in fact available only
on the parallel or black market, at prices far higher than those charged by
registered retailers.

Economist John Robertson said projections by the International Monetary Fund
that the inflation level would end the year at 500 percent now looked very

The rate would reach the 1 000 percent mark this year, even if the
government continued calculating it using official prices for commodities.

  .. This article was originally published on page 4 of The Cape Argus on
July 18, 2003

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PR COMMUNIQUE - July 18, 2003



The Leadership Challenge.

Leadership is a challenge and poor leadership needs challenging!

In 1995 a small group of people, from Harare, led by a dynamic Christian
combination of a Business Management CEO and the CEO of a well-known
indigenous Bank formed "The Leadership Challenge".  The group included a
fairly representative body of people from various sectors of society,
including a commercial farmers wife, who saw the need for challenging
leadership.  Leadership in the home, the workplace, the community and the
country.  They saw the need for the concept of principled leadership to
become ingrained in every Zimbabwean.

What do we look for in Leaders? First and foremost - Honesty, Integrity,

They are amongst other things, focused, transparent, proactive,
communicative, creative.  They are servants of the people.

Managers manage what is - Leaders create what is to be!

Where have our Leaders taken us?  What have they created?  Economic chaos
with 90% of Zimbabweans now living in poverty, with 50% below the food
datum line, leading to a humanitarian disaster unprecedented in the region.

Why?  Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely?  The
solution?  Commitment.  Commitment to change, within ourselves, our
leadership and our country.
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Please send any material for publication in the Open Letter Forum to with "For Open Letter Forum" in the subject line.


Letter 1:

In response to Marie's letter in the Jag Open Letter Forum 115, I would
like to suggest that if she is actually experiencing the time delays she
speaks of (as opposed to being a typical Zimbabwean and complaining before
anything has actually gone wrong) she changes banks and clearing agents.

1. I go to the bank in the morning on the way to work with a copy of our
US$ invoice and fill in the CD1 - it takes about 15 minutes.

2. I take the CD1 to the clearing agent.

3. I go to work.

4. The following morning on my way to work I go to the clearing agent and
collect all the export documents.

And... before anyone says I hit it lucky - I have done this dozens of times
and the longest delay I have encountered is 48 hours.



All letters published on the open Letter Forum are the views and opinions
of the submitters, and do not represent the official viewpoint of Justice
for Agriculture.
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Sunday Times (SA)

Zimbabwe government 'appeals for food'

Friday July 18, 2003 11:52 - (SA)

HARARE - The Zimbabwe government, faced with severe food shortages
threatening nearly half the population, has appealed to international donors
for continued food assistance, a newspaper said today.

The state-controlled Herald quoted Social Welfare Minister July Moyo as
saying a request for aid had been made but could not state the quantities

"The decision (to appeal for food aid) has been made and it will be
communicated through the ministry of finance," Moyo told the paper.

The UN's food agency - the World Food Programme (WFP) - had said it needed a
formal appeal from the Zimbabwe government before it could approach donors
for assistance.

Last month the agency, which is tasked with spearheading emergency food
distribution here, announced it would require more food aid contributions by

In a separate report, the private Zimbabwe Independent newspaper said Friday
the government had appealed for between 600,000 and 800,000 tonnes of food
aid from the WFP.

Aid agencies estimate that 5.5 million Zimbabweans will this year be in need
of food aid because of severe shortages caused by drought and a
controversial land reform programme.

The government blames the shortages purely on a drought that last year
ravaged the entire southern African region.

The UN food agency has said that as of May this year it had, together with
partner organisations, distributed 346,000 tonnes of food aid to 4.7 million
people in Zimbabwe.

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Zim food price showdown
18/07/2003 19:33  - (SA)

Harare - Government attempts to enforce price controls on key foods
triggered a showdown with producers on Friday and was expected to plunge the
collapsing economy deeper into crisis.

Four main bakeries were ordered to pay fines for allegedly increasing the
price of regular bread four fold in violation of a government price freeze,
police and bakers reported on Friday.

The Ministry of Industry also told millers of the corn meal staple in a
letter that a 500% increase in the price of corn meal this week had not been
authorized by the government and was illegal.

Ronald Madombe, the third ranking ministry official, said offenders may be
prosecuted for violating price control laws.

The state-run Grain Marketing Board, which has a monopoly on grain sales,
announced earlier this month massive increases in the price of wheat and
corn to bakers and millers.

It increased the price of a ton of corn about 2 000% from 9 600 to Z$211
000. It raised the price of a ton of wheat about 1 000% from 30 000 to Z$366

Armitage Chikwavira, head of the Bakers Association, said bakers had sought
approval of increases but the government had not responded. Retail prices
were hiked anyway to about Z$1 000 a loaf, defying the fixed government
price of Z$250.

The official currency exchange rate is Z$824 to the US$, but trading on the
thriving black market is as much as 2 700-1.

Police spokesperson Cecilia Churu said four Harare bakeries were each
ordered to pay fines of Z$5m for overcharging.

She said the action followed an outcry about consumers about the increases.

Chikwavira said bakers will go out of business, worsening the shortages, if
they cannot pass on the government increases.

"There is no way the baking industry is going to survive under the current
conditions," he said, adding his association may go to court to challenge
the fines.

Milling companies and food stores said despite Madombe's letter no action
had yet been taken against them for raising the price of the corn meal
staple from the controlled price of 100 to Z$680 a kilogram.

Executives at one of the nation's largest food store chains said they would
refuse to pay fines and would challenge the price freeze in the Supreme
Court, Zimbabwe's highest court.

Corn meal began reappearing on store shelves at the new price this week.

Official inflation rose last month to 364%, according to the state Central
Statistical Office, up from 300% in May.

Unofficial inflation estimates taking into account a wide range of price
increases and a thriving black market in food and gasoline put it nearer

Black market gasoline and corn already fetch as much as five times fixed
prices. Most regular gas stations have been dry for the past month.

Part of the deepening economic crisis is blamed on a state program that
seized thousands of white-owned commercial farms for redistribution to black

Hard currency earnings from tobacco, tourism and mining have collapsed.

Investment and foreign aid has largely ended in protest of human rights
abuses and the disputed presidential elections last year that gave President
Robert Mugabe another six-year term in office.
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The Herald

Passport application ordeal: Reporter asked to renounce citizenship

After two months of waiting, Herald correspondent Joseph Katete returned to
the Passport Office yesterday to submit his application form. But his hopes
of obtaining a passport soon were dashed. Read on for what transpired.

IT is now two months since I visited the Harare Passport Office when I
collected a passport application form.

I was told to submit it on July 18 and I had been looking forward to this

I did not wake up as early as 4am this time around mainly for two reasons:
the first is that the chilly winter morning made it difficult for me to wake
up early, and secondly, my application form had a number on it. I had
assumed that this was going to determine my position in the queue.

Some of the people who I had befriended in the queues at the Passport Office
last time had assured me, too, that there was no need to wake up early since
we had been given numbers.

But surprisingly, when I arrived at the Passport Office just after 8am, I
was told to join the queue by an old man who works there.

I tried to explain to him that my position in the queue should be 23, but he
said he would only attend to those who had come first.

Hopelessly, I joined the queue but before that I complained to a Mrs Nyawo
whose signature appeared on my application form. She could not help either.

"People are going to be served according to their order of coming. So go and
join the queue," she said.

She said the number that was written on the application form was only to
identify the number of forms that had been issued on a particular day.

In the queue I had to wait for another one-and-half hours before I submitted
the form. When my turn came, a good nurtured looking young man asked for my
birth certificate and identification card.

He did not take time to politely tell me that since my parents were not born
in Zimbabwe, I had to go to the Citizenship Office to denounce my foreign
citizenship by descent.

In the Citizenship Office, a lady explained that a law was enacted in 2001
(the Citizenship Amendment Act) stating that all those born in Zimbabwe but
by parents who were not Zimbabwean citizens, should have renounced their
foreign citizenship six months ago.

"After filling the forms renouncing your foreign citizenship you then apply
for registration as a citizen of this country and you will be required to
pay $30 000," she said.

The whole process of renouncing my foreign citizenship and registering as a
Zimbabwean if approved, the woman said, would take at least six months.

Before she had even finished explaining to me, a young couple with a baby
came in.

They wanted to get a birth certificate for their child but had been referred
to this office because the wife’s parents were not Zimbabwean.

This did not go down well with the husband who started shouting that it was
unfair for the child since both its parents were Zimbabweans.

"I am the father of this child and I was born here and so did her mother.
Why are you refusing to issue us with a birth certificate?" fumed the man.

Maybe sensing danger, the official referred the couple to another office
that deals with identification cards so that the wife would get a new one
showing she was alien.

As for me, this was a great setback.

I did not know what to do. It has never occurred to me that the laws of this
country regard me as an alien.

The battle to get that important document continues and it seems the war is
still very far from over.

Having a passport by the end of the year remains but a dream. I have no
choice but to renounce "my" foreign citizenship.
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See the article posted yesterday from the Daily News - "State fails to pay
for rural electrification"

The Herald

Rural electrification brings relief

By Ruth Butaumocho
RURAL electrification which had remained an elusive dream to many over the
past decades, has become a reality for thousands of families in the country.

As thousands of women walk towards the hills to look for firewood daily,
this is no longer so for Mrs Junia Mudyambanje and a few others from
Chirombo Village under Chief Chinamora in Domboshawa, one of the areas that
now have electricity.

It always puts a smile on these women’s faces to know that whenever they
want to cook, they do not have to worry about firewood, thanks to the
Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority community-driven initiative that
brought electricity to their doorsteps a few years ago.

Billed to be one of the major capital projects to be implemented after
independence, the rural electrification programme, a brainchild of the
Government has brought a new lease of life to the majority poor in the rural

For a number of families in Chirombo Village, having electricity while
living in the rural areas, has equated their social standing with that of
people living in towns and cities.

When they heard about the Zesa community driven electricity project from the
then councillor of the area in 1994, more than 40 villagers took interest in
the programme.

During the course of its implementation, many people dropped out after
realising that they would be required to make regular contributions towards
the project.

The Mudyambanje family was among those that went along with demands of the
project until they had electricity installed at their homestead in 2000.

"During the project, we were required to pay monthly installments towards
the project.

"Years went by, and those who were not patient, demanded their money back,
saying the project was taking longer than expected," said Mrs Mudyambanje.

The villagers’ dream was realised when electricity was installed in the area
after nearly eight years of waiting.

The successful implementation of the programme has brought social and
economic benefits to many people in the area, who have since become
entrepreneurs, though at a small scale.

Some families in the area have since started income-generation projects like
welding, production of 'freezits' and sewing among other ventures.

These initiatives have become a money-spinner for many families.

The electrification of the area has also enabled small-scale businesses to
enhance capacities of their existing projects, thus generating the
much-needed employment.

Mrs Mudyambanje says besides using the electricity for domestic purposes,
she is now able to irrigate her small vegetable plot using an electric pump.

Although her husband is unemployed the family continues to enjoy a
comfortable life from money they get from a number of income-generating
initiatives they have started.

"The money we are using to pay electricity is actually being realised from
the sale of vegetables," she proudly declared.

Electrification of the area has not only benefited a few individuals, but
has also boosted adult literacy groups in the community, as many people are
now attending night schools with the view of improving their social status.

Unlike her neighbour, who is ecstatic about the transformation that
electricity has brought to her family, Mrs Nomatter Vhovha feels that it is
expensive and not at all necessary for daily use, especially in rural areas.

"The tariffs (electricity) are too high. I am unemployed and my husband is

"Most times I have to assist some villagers in recharging their car
batteries, for a small fee, and this alone is not enough," she said.

Another group among several others that are soon to benefit from the
community driven rural electrification project is that of Mwanza village in

Although there are several months to go before the project can be completed
a number of families have expressed a keen interest in embarking on income
generating ventures.

Mrs Lucia Nyamayaro of Kudyarawanza Village in Goromonzi is among the group
of villagers who have pooled their resources together to have their
homesteads electrified.

Although she is currently using a solar panel, she says she cannot wait to
start using electricity.

"There are a number of income-generating projects that we intend to
implement once we have electricity. Although at the moment we are
comfortable and seem to be managing well, we would however want to improve
things," said Mrs Nyamayaro.

Over 1 529 projects have been completed so far under the rural
electrification projects with the majority of them being in Mashonaland

Provinces like Matabeleland North and South have few completed projects, but
have the highest number of projects still in progress.

The programme that is estimated to cost over $25 billion is expected to be
complete in 2005.

About $11 billion will go towards end user infrastructure financing, a new
concept that will help rural communities buy electricity-consuming machinery
such as grinding mills, irrigation pumps and sewing machines.

The remaining $14 billion would be used for power network extension.

Since its inception phase in 1997, the major source of funding for the
programme has been the rural Electrification Fund Levy, which is 6 percent
of electricity bills on consumers.

To date, the utility has raised $2 billion through the issuing of bonds and
is in the process of raising another $5 billion.

The ultimate result of these programmes is a great stride in improving the
standard of living for everyone in the country.
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