The ZIMBABWE Situation
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MDC, civic groups plot united front to confront Mugabe

Zim Online

Fri 21 July 2006

      HARARE - Zimbabwe's main opposition Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) party will next week meet civic society groups to forge a united front
to pressure the government to resolve the country's deepening political and
economic crisis, ZimOnline has learnt.

      Authoritative sources within the main faction of the MDC led by Morgan
Tsvangirai and which has threatened to call mass protests to force President
Robert Mugabe to accept sweeping political reforms said the opposition party
would use the July 29 convention to persuade civic society to back the
proposed Ukraine-style civil revolt.

      "We are obviously going to take advantage of that convention to table
our roadmap (for political reforms) for endorsement from our civic
partners .. all democratic forces must come together to force Mugabe to play
ball," said an executive member of the MDC, who did not want to be named
because he was not authorised to speak to the Press.

      Under the MDC roadmap, Mugabe must either give up power to a
transitional government that will be tasked to write a new constitution and
organise fresh elections under international supervision or face popular

      Mugabe, who has in the past deployed armed soldiers and police on the
streets to thwart dissent, has rejected the opposition roadmap and warned
Tsvangirai and his party that mass anti-government protests would be a "dice
with death".

      The MDC however appears undeterred by Mugabe's threats and the planned
meeting with organised civic society will be a follow up to several rallies
held by Tsvangirai across the country to mobilise ordinary citizens for
protests against the government.

      The Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (CZC), an alliance of more than 50
civic society groups in the country, on Thursday said the planned convention
would hammer out ways to resolve Zimbabwe's crisis described by the World
Bank last year as the worst in the world outside a war zone.

      "The nation is bleeding and all forces have to come together to find a
common solution," CZC co-ordinator Jacob Mafume told ZimOnline.

      Zimbabwe is in its seventh successive year of a bitter economic
recession that has spawned runaway inflation of more than 1 000 percent,
mass hunger and shortages of fuel, electricity, essential medicines, hard
cash and just about every basic survival commodity.

      Critics blame the crisis on repression and wrong polices by Mugabe
such as his controversial seizure of productive farms from whites for
redistribution to landless blacks.

      The land redistribution programme which Mugabe says was necessary to
ensure blacks also had a share of arable land, is blamed for knocking down
food output by about 60 percent after the government failed to back
villagers resettled on former white farms with inputs and skill s training
to maintain production.

      Mugabe, the sole ruler Zimbabweans have ever know since independence
from Britain 26 years ago, denies mismanaging the country and says its
problems are because of economic sabotage by Britain and its Western allies
opposed to his seizure of white land. - ZimOnline

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Uncertainty hangs over Russian energy investment deal

Zim Online

Fri 21 July 2006

      HARARE - It was uncertain this week whether Russian energy firm
TurboEngineering would invest in Zimbabwe's energy sector after officials
from the company expressed dissatisfaction at the southern African country's
single buyer model for electricity and erratic subsidies from the
government, sources told ZimOnline.

      The Russians who arrived in Harare last Sunday and had expressed
eagerness to invest in four power generation projects with capacity to yield
more than 1 000 megawatts of electricity were also said to have been unhappy
with the state-owned Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA)'s

      According to sources, the Russian investors openly told officials from
the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, the Ministries of Energy and Finance that they
could not invest in a market where they would be required to sell
electricity to only one state-owned company and not directly to consumers.

      "They looked to have been on a determined exploration but what they
saw at ZESA put them off. Worse still when they discovered that they could
not sell their product directly to consumers but to a state-owned company,
they showed that they were not too pleased," said a ZESA official, who spoke
on condition he was not named.

      Energy Minister Mike Nyambuya could not be reached for comment on the

      Zimbabwe has invited potential investors in the generation of
electricity that will then be sold to a wholly-owned subsidiary of ZESA, the
Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission Company (ZETCO).

      ZETCO owns and operates the transmission grids and infrastructure in
Zimbabwe and is the only one that sells power directly to consumers.

      The Russians were also unhappy to sell electricity to ZESA or ZETCO
both of which are technically insolvent.

      Our source said the Russians also expressed displeasure with the
subsidy arrangement between the government and ZESA.

      He said: "The Russians demanded to know whether government was up to
date with subsidy payments at which point they were told that government was
facing insurmountable challenges and was therefore defaulting."

      The Russians had wanted to invest the development of Condo
hydro-electricity plant, Gairezi power plant and the Batoka Hydro-project on
the mighty Zambezi river.

      The three projects, estimated to cost hundreds of millions of United
States dollars to develop, would have yielded enough electricity to see an
end to Zimbabwe's crippling power shortages.

      Zimbabwean industry and homes suffer from hours of power cuts every
day, with energy experts saying that the country looks set to be the worst
affected by a power crisis expected to hit southern Africa by 2008 because
of failure by the cash-strapped ZESA to expand generation capacity at
existing power stations or to build new ones.

      Zimbabwe currently imports 35 percent of its power requirements from
neighbouring countries but these will in two years time be unable to sell
electricity to Zimbabwe because of rising demand in their domestic
markets. - ZimOnline

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Harare bars NGO from feeding school children

Zim Online

Fri 21 July 2006

      HURUNGWE - The Zimbabwean government has barred an Irish
non-governmental organisation, Goal Zimbabwe, from distributing food to
schools in Hurungwe district saying the district had harvested enough food
this year and did not need handouts from donors.

      Goal Zimbabwe launched an ambitious supplementary feeding programme in
schools in Hurungwe, about 380 kilometres north-west of Harare, last May in
a bid to stop children from dropping out of school because of hunger.

      But last week, the NGO received a directive from President Robert
Mugabe's government to discontinue the feeding programme.

      Goal Zimbabwe human resources manager, Pamela Muzenda, confirmed to
ZimOnline that the NGO had moved out of Hurungwe.

      "We are moving to other needy districts as the government has said
Hurungwe had a bumper harvest last season. The government also said most
households in the district can now afford three meals a day and the
situation is no longer critical," said Muzenda.

      "We will certainly be back when the need arises," she added.

      School authorities in Hurngwe have however expressed  dismay over the
discontinuation of the programme.

      "We were all taken aback following the decision to discontinue the
programme. Parents are worried that the withdrawal of the NGO will
drastically affect attendances in schools," said a headmaster who refused to
be named because he is not authorised to speak to the press.

      President Robert Mugabe's government earlier this year said Zimbabwe
will not need food aid because it would harvest about 1.8 million tonnes of
the staple maize, which is enough to feed the country's 12 million

      But food aid agencies have rejected the claims with, for example, the
Consortium for Southern Africa Food Security Emergency (C-SAFE) saying last
week that most rural households will still need food assistance this year
because of poor harvests.

      Zimbabwe has faced severe food shortages over the past six years after
Mugabe seized white-owned farms for redistribution to landless blacks.

      But Mugabe denies his land reforms triggered the food shortages and
instead blames the food crisis on erratic rains. - ZimOnline

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Bulawayo suspends fire, ambulance services

Zim Online

Fri 21 July 2006

      BULAWAYO - Authorities in Zimbabwe's second largest city of Bulawayo
have suspended all emergency rescue services including the ambulance and
fire services because there is no fuel.

      In yet another dramatic illustration of worsening hardships in
crisis-hit Zimbabwe, city spokesman Phathisa Nyathi said the local authority
had also stopped collecting refuse or attending to burst water and sewer
pipes, a situation that could lead to an outbreak of diseases such as
cholera in the city of more than a million people.

      Nyathi said: "The situation is critical and none of our ambulances are
on the road at the moment. We have halted attending to burst sewer pipes and
collecting refuse and we have also stopped fixing broken down traffic lights
because we do not have the fuel to move from one place to the other."

      Zimbabwe has since 1999 grappled an acute fuel crisis, itself the
result of a severe economic meltdown that has also spawned shortages of
food, electricity, essential medicines, hard cash and other basic
commodities while inflation has shot beyond 1 000 percent.

      Bulawayo city council, like every other institution in the country,
was relying on the illegal but thriving parallel market for fuel supplies
but sources said the government had ordered the council to stop purchasing
fuel from the parallel market.

      Nyathi said the state-run National Oil Company of Zimbabwe that is a
charged with supplying fuel to public institutions was failing to keep the
city running with only 10 000 litres of diesel being supplied out to of  the
20 000 litres the council had ordered last June.

      The government last month said that it had secured a US$50 million
fuel supply deal from top European banks, BNP Paribas and Loita Capital
International, which it said would see an end to fuel shortages.

      But the shortages persist amid fears the fuel deal with the European
banks might have collapsed the same way similar deals with funders from
countries such as Libya and Kuwait collapsed after Harare failed to pay
back. - ZimOnline

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Zimbabwean man gets more than what he bargained for

Zim Online

Fri 21 July 2006

      MASVINGO - A Zimbabwean man got more than what he bargained for when
he was severely assaulted by state security agents after he attempted to
hand over a squirrel to Vice-President Joice Mujuru during a rally at
Sipambi business centre in Masvingo last Wednesday.

      The man who appeared to be in a trance, was knocked to the ground by
Mujuru's heavily built bodyguards after he surged towards the platform
during the rally shouting that he must be allowed to hand over his "gift" to
the vice-president.

      Shoving and pushing through the crowd towards the platform, squirrel
in hand, the man shouted in the vernacular Shona language: "Regai ndimupe
shindi mhani. Regai ndimupe chipo chake," which loosely translated means,
"let me give her the squirrel. Let me hand her the gift".

      Police in Masvingo town refused to comment on the matter insisting
they were not aware of the incident.

      Mujuru later on donated Z$250 million towards the rebuilding of
Gokomere High school which was gutted by fire last May. - ZimOnline

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ZANU PF legislator in trouble over alleged MDC lover

Zim Online

Fri 21 July 2006

      CHINHOYI - Ruling ZANU PF party legislator Cecilia Gwachiwa has been
hauled before the party's disciplinary committee in Chinhoyi over
allegations that her live-in boyfriend is a member of the opposition, which
zealots of President Robert Mugabe's party here consider an offence.

      Gwachiwa is the Member of Parliament for Hurungwe East constituency, a
bastion of ZANU PF.

      Senior ZANU PF officials in Hurungwe have alleged that she is in a
blossoming romantic relationship with Henry Juru, who they accuse of having
close links with Zimbabwe's main opposition Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) party.

      Last week, Gwachiwa was summoned before the ruling party's
disciplinary committee after 17 party members signed a petition against the
legislator over her romantic ties with Juru.

      ZANU PF deputy provincial chairman for Mashonaland West, Christopher
Shumba, who chaired the disciplinary Hearing, told ZimOnline: "We have
already set up a committee to probe the allegations and see if she has a
case to answer. Next week, we expect that those who signed the petition will
come to give oral evidence in the matter."

      Gwachiwa has however denied that her boyfriend is a member of the MDC
saying the allegation was part of a smear campaign to tarnish her image.

      Zimbabwe is heavily polarised along political lines with the two main
parties, ZANU PF and the MDC engaged in a six-year old bruising battle for
political supremacy. - ZimOnline

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SA 'should take tougher stance on Zimbabwe'


          July 20 2006 at 01:05AM

      Johannesburg - South Africa needs to take more decisive action against
Zimbabwe, delegates at a seminar on that country heard in Pretoria on
Wednesday, SABC news reported.

      South African President Thabo Mbeki's "quiet diplomacy" has failed to
create favourable political, economic and social conditions in Zimbabwe,
said Peter Kagwanja, the director of the International Crisis Group in
southern Africa.

      "Continued engagement between Zimbabwe and South Africa means that
South Africa is sacrificing its own foreign policy ideals, the very
foundation of its own nationhood, and therefore I think that with or without
the context of quiet diplomacy, South Africa now needs to stand up for the
values that are at the heart of its own nationhood."

      Professor Adam Habib from the Human Sciences Research Council told the
SABC conditions exist for South Africa to play a leading role in
facilitating negotiations between Zimbabwean parties and the international

      "There is greater pressure. I think the economic crisis is bigger. I
think South Africa is taking a more harder stance, I think support
continentally is far bigger in our favour than it has been before, but I
really think the big debate is 2008... when presidential elections are

      "And we need to start thinking now about how we position ourselves for
the resolution in 2008 that is sustainable, because Zimbabwe is too
important a country to let go down the tube. Because what happens there has
enormous consequences for what will happen in South Africa." - Sapa

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Archbishop Williams Says Bishop in Central Africa Should Step Down

The Living Church Foundation


The Archbishop of Canterbury has called for the Bishop of Harare (Zimbabwe)
to step down while misconduct charges against him are pending before the
church courts of the Province of Central Africa.

The call for the Rt. Rev. Nolbert Kunonga to go marks the most significant
intervention by the Most Rev. Rowan Williams in the affairs of an Anglican
province outside the Church of England.

A statement released on behalf of Archbishop Williams said: "In the context
of a prolonged and political crisis, the Diocese of Harare faces intolerable
strain in the form of the very grave and unresolved accusations against
Bishop Kunonga. The primary way forward is by dealing with these charges
through the church courts in the Anglican province of Central Africa, but
this process has been aborted and the matter is unresolved."

In other jurisdictions, Archbishop Williams said a priest or bishop facing
such serious charges would be suspended without prejudice until the case had
been closed. "It is therefore very difficult for Bishop Kunonga to be
regarded as capable of functioning as a bishop elsewhere in the Communion,"
he said. Archbishop Williams also pressed the Primate of Central Africa, the
Most Rev. Bernard Malango, and other leadership in the province to bring the
case to a conclusion in a way "consistent with justice, transparency and
truth, so that the damage to the health and credibility of the church can be

Bishop Kunonga's ecclesiastical trial on charges ranging from heresy and
fraud to incitement to murder broke up last year after the judge hearing the
case quit, citing the lack of witnesses able to substantiate the charges.
The witnesses, fearful for their lives, declined to return to Harare from
exile to testify and the judge refused to allow the witnesses to testify via
video link.

The case of Bishop Kunonga is expected to be taken up by the next meeting of
the Central African House of Bishops later this month.

(The Rev.) George Conger

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Mkapa must push for sweeping changes in Harare says the US

      By a Correspondent

      HARARE - The United States government says Benjamin Mkapa's mediation
in Zimbabwe's crisis will be welcome if he is firm to ensure Harare agrees
to sweeping changes that will lead to the rescuing of the country whose
economy is in tatters after 26 years of Zanu PF rule.

      Activists in the country have been arguing the mediation effort can
only work if the country has a new Constitution that will pave the way for
fresh elections that are free and fair.

      The US embassy in Harare says in a statement released Wednesday the
former Tanzanian president's efforts would also be welcome only if he can
manage to have President Robert Mugabe accepting the role he played in the
country's declining fortunes.

      Mugabe has over the past six years accused Britain, Zimbabwe's former
colonial master, for working in cahoots with the US and other western allies
in seeking regime change in the country following his government's
controversial land reforms. London says it is not blame for Zimbabwe's
economic decline but that it is Mugabe's fault.

      Mkapa is yet to speak on the role Mugabe and his government say he
agreed to take on.

      United Nations Secretary General, Kofi Annan, who was widely expected
by the international community to take on the mediating role, called off a
visit to Harare and threw his weight behind Mkapa's efforts.

      The US says Zimbabwe's real problems that are growing by the day need
to be solved soon. The US does not believe the issues affecting Zimbabwe
have anything to do with Britain.

      "As a sovereign and independent nation, it is up to the government and
the people of Zimbabwe to recognise that the roots of the country's current
crisis lie within Zimbabwe, and equally to assume their responsibility for
devising viable solutions internally," read the statement.

      The statement further says Zimbabwe's problems find their roots in the
high level corruption that even is acknowledged by Mugabe himself and early
this year, Reserve Bank Governor, Gedion Gono, told the nation graft was one
of the major issues sinking the country.

      The US also says misguided economic policies, failure to uphold human
rights, democracy and the rule of law are also some of the major causes of
the country's crisis political and economic crisis.

      "If former president Mkapa is able to convince the government of
Zimbabwe to acknowledge its responsibility for the crisis and to embrace the
need for reforms and national dialogue focused on Zimbabwe's present and
future rather its past, this initiative could make a meaningful
contribution," the statement read in part.

      Mkapa, a seasoned journalist, diplomat and politician, was elected
President of Tanzania in November 1995 becoming the country's third
President since independence in 1961. He had previously served as Mwalimu
Julius Nyerere's Press Secretary for two years. He also served on British
Prime Minister, Tony Blair's Africa Commission.

      The main MDC that is led by Morgan Tsvangirai has since said it does
not accept Mkapa's mediation efforts since there was no consultation before
his appoinment.

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Importers call for viable exchange rate in Zimbabwe

      July 20, 2006,

      By ANDnetwork .com

      Importers have called on the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to review the
current exchange rate, which they say is affecting viability in the
prevailing hyperinflationary environment.

      The rate, unlike the parallel market one that constantly changes in
line with costs and other determining factors, was now irrelevant to
business and had affected the industry's ability to contribute to national
      Shipping and Forwarding Agents' Association of Zimbabwe chief
executive officer, Mr Joseph Musariri, said that the unrealistic rates
charged by the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority had distorted cost factors, making
it impossible for importers to increase their business and income.
      He said an exchange rate convergence between the current official rate
of $101 195 to the US$, and the parallel market rate of $450 000 to the US$,
should be made to make the sector more attractive.
      "The Reverse Bank of Zimbabwe needs to move in quickly to try and
achieve an exchange rate convergence between the current rate and the
parallel rate," he said.
      "Because, revenue from imports for Government, freight forwarders and
customs clearing agents remain suppressed as these charges are mainly based
on the value of the imported goods converted at the ZIMRA exchange rate."
      These rates are linked to the interbank rate, which has remained
static in sharp contrast to the parallel market rate, which is always on an
upward trend.
      The development has seen the distortion of cost factors affecting
imports volumes and income.
      Mr Musariri also urged the Government to encourage importers to buy
goods on an ExWorks or Free on Board (FOB) basis to save on foreign currency
and increase business.
      This, he said, had the capacity to provide local importers with an
option to engage indigenous freight forwarders in moving their goods from
overseas to the country.
      This development enables local importers to have greater control of
the goods and save on foreign currency that is paid to international
transporters when goods are bought from overseas suppliers on a Cost
Insurance and Freight (CIF) basis.
      Such a move increased national incomes from transport, freight and
      Zimbabwean exporters would also have the power to contract local firms
to move their exports.
      The RBZ in its third quarter monetary policy review last year
expressed concern at the decrease in business from importers.
      Expectations are high that this month's monetary policy will address
some of issues affecting the industry.
      Lengthy customs procedures at border posts and costly transit fees are
some of problems in the exports and imports sector.

      Zin Chronicle

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Veld Fires Destroy Timber Worth Z$1,5 Trillion - Minister

The Herald (Harare)

July 20, 2006
Posted to the web July 20, 2006


Over $1,5 trillion worth of timber was destroyed last year in uncontrolled
veld fires while over 22 000 hectares of plants and crops were damaged in
2004 and 2005 which are rated as the worst years in the country's history, a
Cabinet Minister said yesterday.

The Minister Environment and Tourism Cde Francis Nhema told A1 and A2
farmers gathered at the launch of the National Fire Protection Strategy in
Bindura, Mashonaland Central that the rate of fire damage was alarming.

Cde Nhema said high incidents of reported veld fires prompted his ministry,
through the Environment Management Agency to engage stakeholders and assess
the extent of damages and causes of the fires country-wide.

"Our findings have revealed that the damage caused by these veld fires
increased enormously in the last four years in all land tenure categories
and the resulting damage by fires...could not be allowed to continue," he

He said in 2004 about 10 925 351 hectares of land were destroyed while 2005
recorded 11 504 947 hectares of land damaged in veld fires.

"In the timber plantations more tan 12 percent of the national prime forest
resource was destroyed and the equivalent of three years' harvesting has
been lost.

"Consequently timber production is reducing, export declining and foreign
currency earnings diminishing. Such loses come at a time when the nation is
in dire need for foreign currency," he said.

He also chronicled how similar uncontrolled veld fires claimed seven lives
of school children in Bulawayo last year.

"My ministry has established that veld fires are mainly caused by
irresponsible behaviour by some of us. We have noted with concern that
during land clearing people prefer to burn in the late afternoon and leave
the fires unattended during the night," he said.

Cde Nhema warned farmers against smoking out bees and using grass as torches
in the process.

Cde Nhema said some veld fires were caused by some people who use
traditional hunting methods of burning grass to easily spot prey while some
start fires at bus stops to warm themselves and leave the fires unattended
on boarding the buses.

He also took a swipe at tobacco smokers, including drivers who throw away
smouldering stubs and consequently start fierce veld fires.

"These actions result in uncontrolled fires that cause serious damage to our
farming, plantation and wildlife industries and are a cost to the national
economy and hinder Zimbabwe's economic recovery efforts," he said.

He urged chiefs to take leading roles in environment management saying they
were the custodians of natural resources in their areas.

Cde Nhema said the A1 and hA2 farmers should organise themselves and
construct fireguards around their properties and establish fire-fighting

"I am convinced that the launching of this National Fire Protection Strategy
in this province marks the beginning of a Mashonaland Central Province's war
against uncontrolled veld fire," he said.

The province's Resident Minister and Governor Cde Ephraim Masawi whose
speech was read on his behalf by the district administrator Mr John Chihobo
enlightened the minister on various environmental problems bedeviling the
province including gold panning and the need for a tertiary school on

The minister, besides suggesting home-grown solutions to the problems,
pledged to work with the Bindura University of Science Education (BUSE) and
establish a department for environment education.

Bindura Mayor, Advocate Martin Dinha who was among the invited guests also
highlighted the problem of gold panning in the province but said environment
programmes were proceeding well.

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Officials Face Arrest Over Graft Charges

The Herald (Harare)

July 20, 2006
Posted to the web July 20, 2006


Senior officials in the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and Urban
Development face arrest on allegations of corruptly allocating 300 houses
and 115 residential stands to undeserving people at Whitecliff under
Operation Garikai/Hlalani Kuhle.

A police officer testifying in the corruption case of Harare West Acting
District Administrator Nelson Mawomo told a magistrates' court on Tuesday
that he had a list with more officers implicated in the scam.

The investigating officer said several officials allegedly connived with
Mawomo (27) to allocate stands and houses to undeserving people including
children below 15. Mawomo was not asked to plead to corruption charges when
he appeared before Harare magistrate Mrs Faith Mushure.

He was remanded in custody to next Tuesday after his bail application was
thrown out.

Mrs Mushure said she could only consider Mawomo's bail request when his
alleged accomplices have been arrested.

Prosecutor Mr Servious Kufandada alleged that Mawomo, who was responsible
for the allocation of residential stands and houses allegedly flouted the
ministry's policy. It is the State's case that in May this year, the
ministry directed that houses allocated to council and civil servants
earning more than $10 million under the scheme be repossessed and allocated
to people affected by Operation Murambatsvina.

The Harare Metropolitan Province Resident Minister was supposed to authorise
the allocation.

But according to the State, Mawomo disregarded the policy and corruptly
allocated the stands and houses, contravening sections of the Prevention of
Corruption Act.

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Zanu PF paying lip service to youth welfare

      By Grey Samakande

      OVER the past few days I have been pondering on a recent speech by
Ignatius Chombo, the local government minister on the Careers Guidance Day
at Kutama High School last week. "Zimbabwe needs versatile and business
minded youths," the Minister retorted. To me, that is only but a pack of
nonsense coming from a cabinet minister.

      To start with, many youths from underprivileged families cannot afford
college or university fees. Those who can afford to send their kids to
colleges are not sure of their future in an unstable country with the
highest inflation in the world. After completing university or college
training, there isn't much for the youths to do.

      There are no jobs and no financial resources to assist them to start
new businesses or to embark on meaningful projects that make them
self-sufficient. Most of them are left with no option but to leave the
country to look for greener pastures in neighbouring countries and overseas.
This mass exodus is draining the country of the youths who form the backbone
of the country's economy.

      He wants the youths to drift from seeking employment to becoming
employers. What a shameless dream. How can such miracles happen in the
current economic environment where the youths do not even know whether there
is any future for them or not.

      He went own to say that these youths are failing to mobilise their own
resources to break into meaningful business enterprises. What resources have
they got? He seems not to be aware of the current hardships facing every
Zimbabwean both employed and unemployed or in business, let alone the youths
who just left school. The Zimbabwean crisis is deepening by the day.

      In a report released last month, the Brussels-based International
Crisis Group (ICG) said that in April 2006, inflation officially topped
1,000 percent, helped by the decision to print 230 million dollars worth of
Zimbabwean currency to pay international debts and sustain operations.

      "Unemployment is over 85 percent, poverty over 90 percent, and foreign
reserves are almost depleted. Over four million persons are in desperate
need of food. HIV/AIDS and malnutrition kill thousands every month," the
report said. Agriculture, the major source of foreign currency earnings, has
been particularly hit-hard. There are severe shortages of basic consumer
items, and the prices of fuel and food are beyond the reach of many.

      Ralph Black of the Association of Zimbabweans Based Abroad says the
Committee for Development Policy recommendation to the U.N.'s Economic and
Social Council to declare Zimbabwe a Least Developed Country (LDC) signals a
renewed effort by the international body to engage in reaching a resolution
to the multilayered crisis that has crippled what was once "Africa's

      An LDC status is considered by some as an admission of failure of a
country's economic policies. And in the case of Zimbabwe, President Robert
Mugabe has refused to accept failure. Surely, how can our youths survive in
this situation? It's time the government learn to accept failure to pave way
for development.

      Soon after independence, the government went on to build schools,
hospitals and clinics. However, all these facilities were eroded by the
government's archaic policies. Today, the schools and hospitals are still
there, but due to the economic crisis, there is no medicine in hospitals,
people can't afford to pay for treatments and the tuition fees charged in
schools is out of reach.

      To make matters worse, there are very few professionals left to
provide services to the people.

      The government has got very little concern about our valuable youths.
The only time they realise that they have got youths in the country is when
elections are approaching. They know that the youths have nothing to do, so
they use them to brutalise and intimidate people to vote for Zanu PF and
this was evidenced by the creation of the Border Gezi Youth Camps. The rest
is history.

      The government needs to show commitment and provide the necessary
support and resources to our brothers and sisters before they expect any
versatility from them.

      Zimbabwe's next generation deserves better.

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Mugabe refuses to pay son's fees

New Zimbabwe

By Staff Reporter
Last updated: 07/20/2006 09:10:45
ZIMBABWE President Robert Mugabe is refusing to pay fees for his son,
Chatunga, insisting that they do not match the Consumer Price Index, we can

This week, Education Minister Aeneas Chigwedere wrote a letter to Hartman
Primary School instructing them to cut this term's school fees from some
$109 million to $53 million.

The order came from Mugabe, senior Ministry officials said.

The letter, seen by New, was delivered to the school on
Wednesday afternoon.

The directive comes barely two weeks before the end of the second term.

Chatunga, 9, is the youngest of Mugabe's three children.

In the letter, the Ministry argues that Hartman's school fees are not based
on the Consumer Price Index (CPI).

But the school authorities dispute this, and say their fees are not only in
line with the CPI but are also comparable with other similar private schools
struggling to maintain standards against inflation of almost 1200%.

Government sources told New Wednesday that the reason for the
directive was that Mugabe refused to pay the $109 million, saying it was
"far too much".

Said a top ministry official: "Mugabe was particularly miffed because he
said he did not understand why Hartman was charging a fee that is much
higher than the $25 million charged by Kutama Boys where his other son,
Robert Junior, goes."

The matter has been on the boil for a while.

The sources say the fees dispute is now likely to go to court because all
other parents have paid the fees -- except Mugabe.

Concerned parents who have contacted the Ministry of Education say they do
not understand why Mugabe is trying to ruin the education of their children
just because he wants to flex his muscles as President.

Some parents have appealed to the Ministry to persuade the President to take
his son elsewhere if he cannot afford the school fees, the sources said.

Senior officials in the Ministry of Education are said to be sympathetic
with parents and the school, but they feel helpless because the directive
has come from the President through Chigwedere.

A source said: "The reason the directive has come almost at the close of the
term is because the Ministry was hoping that Mugabe would swallow his pride
and pay the overdue school fees for his son, but that has not happened."

Zimbabwean schools have increased fees, in cases by over 400 percent, in a
bid to compete with inflation which is racing towards the 1200% mark. The
government has sought to impose a fees cap in all public schools.

Only private schools, like Hartman, have remained outside the direct control
of the government. A decline in standards has forced most parents who can
afford to take their children to private schools.

The school declined to issue any statement following New

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An Austrian and a German national arrested over balls in Zimbabwe

      By a Correspondent

      HARARE - POLICE in Zimbabwe last week arrested two foreign nationals
from German and Austria for throwing small translucent plastic balls into
the bushes of Nyamapanda, near the border with Mozambique.

      According to the state-controlled Herald newspaper, the plastic balls,
which the two foreigners, Dr George Ritsell and Austrian Axel Gallpinger,
said were meant to bring good tidings to the long-suffering people of
Zimbabwe, were allegedly embedded with copper wires.

      The two told police they had planted similar devices in Lesotho,
Swaziland, Botswana and Namibia all in an effort to bring good fortune and
good rains to the people of these countries.

      The Herald says the duo, that entered Zimbabwe through the Beitbridge
border post from South Africa, had also thrown the small plastic balls in
Beitbridge, Bulawayo and Chitungwiza among other places.

      A Tata double cab they were travelling in was impounded. On board were
more than 1 000 other such objects.  The vehicle was taken to Marondera
Police Station.

      Forensic examinations of the balls are in progress at the Criminal
Investigation Department (CID) Headquarters in Harare.

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Zimbabwean journalist scoops CNN award

Mail and Guardian

      20 July 2006 03:16

            The Zimbabwe Independent's news editor, Dumisani Muleya, has
been awarded the Free Press Africa Award at the CNN MultiChoice African
Journalists Awards 2006 for his series of stories revealing the covert
takeover of three privately owned newspapers by Zimbabwe's intelligence

            Daily Mirror photographer Desmond Kwande scooped the Mohamed
Amin Photographic Award for his snaps of victims of Operation Murambatsvina,
the botched urban clean-up programme that left an estimated 700 000 people
homeless, according to the United Nations.

            The two journalists received their awards at a ceremony in
Mozambique last Saturday.

            Anna Umbima, in her citation on Kwande's work, said: "The
particular photo that took our attention is of a man sitting on his bed,
with a few scant possessions around him and devastation everywhere. The home
that he once had [is] gone. I think what makes it even more poignant is a
child next to him, almost oblivious to this destruction.

            "It leaves you thinking: Where did that family go that night and
where are they now? When you look at this man sitting on this bed, there is
a look of total hopelessness on his face. It leaves you thinking -- what is
the future for this family? But then what is the future for Zimbabwe?"

            Muleya, winner of several international awards, was in the
running for the prestigious CNN MultiChoice African Journalist of the Year

            That award was won by Nigerian Shola Oshunkeye for his story
"Niger's graveyard of the living", on the famine in Niger.

            However, Muleya still won the Free Press Africa Award for his
investigative work on a publicly funded takeover of the Daily Mirror, Sunday
Mirror and Financial Gazette newspapers by the Central Intelligence

            The scandal is now commonly referred to as "Mediagate" in

            At least 1 530 journalists from 43 African countries entered for
the awards.

            Chris Cramer, MD of CNN International, said: "This year has been
no exception in unearthing a wealth of voices, some old, some new, from
around Africa, each with a compelling story to tell, and each demonstrating
a quality of journalism, and in some cases a resourcefulness and bravery in
pursuing the story in the first place, and that's my deepest admiration."

            The CNN African Journalist of the Year Award was founded in 1995
by Edward Boateng (formerly African regional director for Turner
Broadcasting System, CNN's parent company) and the late Mohamed Amin to
recognise and encourage excellence in journalism throughout Africa.

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SA delegates push for more pressure on Zimbabwe

      By Violet Gonda
      20 July 2006

      The Southern African Development Community (SADC), especially South
Africa, were urged at a seminar in Pretoria on Wednesday to take more
decisive action on Zimbabwe.

      Sydney Masamvu, analyst at the International Crisis Group in Southern
Africa said the delegates, who included South Africa's Home Affairs
Minister, diplomatic missions, NGOs' executive directors and human rights
groups, converged to discuss the displacement of Zimbabwe.

      He said there were various views on the approach to be taken to unlock
the Zimbabwean crisis but there was general consensus that there should be
continued isolation to pressure the Mugabe government to negotiate with its
internal actors. They also urged the international community to fully assess
what has been achieved by the targeted sanctions, as the crisis is worsening
and there is criticism that not much has been achieved.

      It's reported political analysts were in agreement that there is
growing frustration with the lacklustre attitude of neighbouring countries
towards Zimbabwe, despite many of them receiving a flood of refugees fleeing
the crisis.

      ICG Director Peter Kagwanja told delegates President Mbeki's quite
diplomacy had failed to create favourable political, economic and social

      Professor Adam Habib from the Human Sciences Research Council argued
that conditions exist for South Africa to play a leading role in
facilitating negotiations.

      It's reported that delegates like Kagwanja singled out Zimbabwe's
neighbour saying: "Continued engagement between Zimbabwe and South Africa
means that South Africa is sacrificing its own foreign policy ideals, the
very foundation of its own nationhood, and therefore I think that with or
without the context of quiet diplomacy, South Africa now needs to stand up
for the values that are at the heart of its own nationhood."

      Masamvu said although the international and regional bodies can play a
role, the question that was uppermost at the seminar was that in the final
analysis South Africa and the West have done what they can do within their
mandate but: "What are Zimbabweans doing in Zimbabwe to force the regime to
the negotiating table? That is the million dollar question which we have to

      SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

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500 Zimbabweans arrested in South African police raid

      By Tichaona Sibanda
      20 July 2006

      Police in Johannesburg have launched an intensified anti-crime
campaign and the first victims of this crackdown were Zimbabweans who were
arrested in the crime-infested Hillbrow area.

      At least 500 Zimbabweans were picked up in midnight raids this past
week in an operation that is expected to be rolled out over the next six
months. Authorities in South Africa said the raids were part of a national
crime fighting strategy.

      This follows an upsurge of violent crime in that country that has seen
police and criminals clash in open gun battles. There was also growing
concern among South Africans that foreign immigrants were allegedly behind
the serious spate of crimes.

      Thuso Khumalo, a Johannesburg based Zimbabwean journalist, said an
unprecedented 600 law enforcers and officials from the departments of home
affairs and correctional services have been taking part in the overnight

      The majority of those arrested were sent to the Lindela holding camp
and immigration officials are already working on their deportation papers.
About a hundred of those arrested were asylum seekers from Zimbabwe.

      'The problem with the raids is that innocent legal immigrants have
been caught up in this campaign and it's proving a nightmare for many to be
released from detention,' Khumalo said.

      SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

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