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

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Zim Online

Thurs 22 July 2004

      HARARE - Several officers from the country's spy agency, the Central
Intelligence Agency (CIO), have been arrested, suspended or dismissed from
the organisation after extorting money from individuals, companies and
institutions suspected of having externalised foreign currency. The
officers, mostly in the junior and middle ranks, were moving around Harare
and other cities in the country collecting ransom and promising their
victims that they would not be touched under the government's financial
sector clean-up campaign.

      Nicholas Goche, the Minister of State Security responsible for the
CIO, confirmed that an operative based at the department's offices at Harare
Central Police station had been arrested and that several other cases were
being investigated.

      Goche said the officer was now appearing before the courts and
appropriate action would be taken when the court case was over. "What
happens is once an officer is arrested they are suspended pending the
outcome of his or her court case and if found guilty he or she is dismissed
automatically,"  said Minister Goche. He urged the public and business
people to report to his ministry any untoward practice by his officers.

      "Some cases have never been brought to my attention and it is better
to bring such cases to us before you publicise them because you alert those
involved," he said. A senior  official at the ministry's headquarters, who
spoke on condition of
      anonymity, told Zim Online that cases of extortion and corruption in
the department are "rampant and a number of officers have been dismissed and
others are appearing in the courts."

      The official said apart from the foreign currency cases, some of the
officers in question had also been arrested after confiscating gold from
panners and dealers. In one such case, officers from the CIO together with
colleagues from the Zimbabwe Republic Police's Criminal Investigations
Department arrested a gold trader, saying he had no license to sell gold.

      They confiscated his 5kg of gold and ordered him to go and obtain a
licence.. When he turned up at Borrowdale police station days later with his
licence, the CID and CIO officers had sold 4kg of the gold. They were
arrested and sent to the magistrates court before being dismissed from the
service. Last month, Lazarus Guzha, a CIO operative based at Harare Central
      station offices, was arrested after trying to get about $2 million
ransom from a city businessman under investigation for alleged illegal
foreign currency deals.

      Guzha, who spent two weeks behind bars, is out on bail and has been
suspended by the spy agency.

      In most cases where staff have committed such crimes, the CIO has been
quick to disown them, saying they were bogus officers, in a move seen as a
way of sprucing up the organisationıs tainted image. But Minister Goche said
the CIO had no place for corrupt officers.

      The government's corruption clean-up campaign spearheaded by Reserve
Bank Governor, Gideon Gono, has called in officers from CIO, CID and the
recently created Anti-Corruption and Anti-Monopolies Ministry. Zim Online

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Zim Online

Minister ignores pleas for food aid from provincial governors
Thurs 22 July 2004

      BULAWAYO - Four provincial governors have written to the government
asking it to authorize non-governmental rganizations to resume feeding
programmes and avert mass starvation. But Paul Mangwana, the minister of
public service, labour and social welfare, has not responded to the letters,
some written a month ago, despite mounting starvation in rural and urban
areas, government sources said yesterday.

      According to the government's new policy on food aid, donor agencies
can only operate in specific areas upon receiving authorisation letters from
the ministry of public service, labour and social welfare.The ministry acts
on recommendations from provincial governors. The governors of Masvingo,
Matabeleland North and South and Bulawayo had told the minister that people
in their provinces were starving and in urgent need of food aid, the sources
said. But Mangwana, in keeping with the
      governmentıs assertion that there would be enough food for Zimbabwe,
had largely ignored the governorsı letters.

      Bulawayo governor Cain Mathema wrote to the Minister a month ago
asking him to authorize World Vision to resume the urban feeding programme,
said a senior official in his office. Neither  Mangwana nor Mathema could be
reached for comment.
      While the government claims that the country has experienced a bumper
harvest enough to supply all its citizensı needs, United Nations assessment
reports indicate that 2,3 million Zimbabweans will need food assistance this
year. ZIMVAC, which comprises NGO and government representatives, has also
indicated that the country did not harvest enough crops to feed its

      Although Zim Online could not get copies of the letters, Masvingo
governor Josiah Hungwe confirmed that he had written to central government
saying that he needed donor organizations to resume feeding people in his
province.. However, Hungwe said, this was because farmers had been duped by
donor organizations into planting the wrong varieties resulting in low
      Care International has acknowledged that it gave my people the wrong
seed. So the hunger here has nothing to do with land reform. Care
(International) should come back and feed the people because it was wrong in
the first place to give people the wrong seed. We need food, yes, but the
need is not of our own making. I have informed the relevant government
minister about our problem here, said Hungwe.

      World Vision Zimbabwe and the Catholic Relief Services (CRS) have been
forced to delay the implementation of an urban feeding programme called the
Market Assistance Program (MAP), worth over $10 billion, in Bulawayo,
peri-urban Harare and Chitungwiza as a result of governmentıs reluctance to
issue the necessary authorization letters. About 1 million people, including
malnourished children, were supposed to benefit from the programme, which
sought to provide cheap sorghum to urban
      dwellers and was supposed to be launched two weeks ago.

      Jean Claude Mukadi, the World Vision director for relief, denied that
his organization was facing problems in implementing the programme. We have
not experienced any challenges with the ministry. It granted us authority
early last year to set up the programme and World Vision is only taking over
from CRS, which are set to implement a similar programme in Chitungwiza (a
      dormitory town near Harare). But authoritative sources within the
organization insisted that World Vision had been asked to seek fresh
approval for their project, as had CRS for its Chitungwiza project, the
sources said.

      World Vision was asked by the government to go and collect letters
from respective Governors giving testimony that they  really wanted the
organisation to continue with food aid, and the governors submitted these
letters to the ministry which should have given the go ahead. To date World
Vision is just sitting on tons and tons of sorghum because the government
      has not acted on the governorsı letters.

      Added a top official with the UN food agency arm, The World Food
Programme (WFP):  They (government officials) might delay but they will come
back to us for assistance. People are starving, really starving and no-one,
even those turned insane by politics, will contest that Zimbabwe is in dire
need of food aid. But for any meaningful food assistance to come to Zimbabwe
then there be will be need for a new MOU (memorandum of Understand) and the
government doesnıt seem to be in a hurry.
      The official said the forecast figure of 2,3 million was expected to
rise due to increased poverty in urban areas. A number of city councils have
already started feeding programmes of their own because of rising urban
poverty. Bulawayo City Council has  reported 65 starvation related deaths
this year alone.

      The United States government on Tuesday accused the Harare regime of
trying to curtail donor activity in the country.
      Said US state department spokesman Richard Boucher: "We've been deeply
concerned the Mugabe government is using its monopoly on food distribution
to manipulate food availability for political ends, and ... there needs to
be another track of food distribution available to people. Zim Online

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The Telegraph

UK urged to denounce Mugabe's 'evil regime'
By Anton La Guardia, Diplomatic Editor
(Filed: 22/07/2004)

Archbishop Pius Ncube, one of the most trenchant critics of President Robert
Mugabe, yesterday urged Britain to shed its post-colonial "complex" and take
the lead in denouncing the "evil" of Zimbabwe's regime.

Britain has been reluctant to confront Zimbabwe directly, preferring to work
behind the scenes to persuade African countries and the European Union to
increase pressure on Mr Mugabe.

      Archbishop Pius Ncube
Officials argue that if Britain becomes too prominent, it would encourage Mr
Mugabe's policy of playing the race card and presenting Zimbabwe's crisis as
a dispute with its former colonial ruler.

But the Most Rev Ncube, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Bulawayo, argued
that Britain's silence played into Mr Mugabe's hands.

"Mugabe has got Britain where he wants them. He blames the evil on Tony
Blair but it is he who perpetrates evil on his own people.

"We should not allow him to hoodwink everybody. He is 100 per cent
responsible for the suffering of the people."

Urging Britain to "stand strongly", the archbishop said Mr Mugabe cared
about what London said despite his bluster.

He said Mr Mugabe used to delight at shopping in London. "He admires Britain
secretly. Listen to how he expresses himself. His accent is unique among

"Mugabe knows what is right. He got a good Catholic education, which is
against oppression. But he is too embarrassed, too proud to own up to the
fact that he has done evil."

The archbishop was also critical of the silence of South Africa's President
Thabo Mbeki, calling him "a disappointment".

Archbishop Ncube, one of the few Zimbabwean religious figures ready to
denounce Mr Mugabe openly, reserved some of his strongest words to chastise
world Churches for failing to stand up to Zimbabwe.

Accusing Mr Mugabe of using food shortage as a political weapon, to starve
opponents and feed those who vote for him, he asked: "What would Jesus
Christ say if he were here today?

"Would he keep quiet when people are being held to ransom? The Churches are
betraying Jesus Christ. They must speak out - all of them. People must speak
up when people are suffering."

The archbishop hinted that the England cricket team should not play in
Zimbabwe this year.

"In a healthy situation, politics and sport should be separated," he said.

"But in an unhealthy situation . . . all occasions should be used to make a
protest against a government as evil and oppressive as that of Zimbabwe."
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The Telegraph

Mercenary gang goes on trial for plotting revolution
By Peta Thornycroft in Harare and David Blair, Africa Correspondent
(Filed: 22/07/2004)

Africa's largest mercenary trial in recent history began yesterday at a
Zimbabwean maximum security prison as hundreds of soldiers patrolled the
forbidding walls and razor wire outside.

The 70 accused men struggled into a makeshift courtroom inside Chikurubi
jail in leg irons and handcuffs. Their alleged leader, Simon Mann, an old
Etonian and former SAS officer, was chained to another prisoner.

All wore thin, tattered shorts and shirts - the regulation uniform of prison
khaki that provides scant protection from the winter cold. Mann's hair has
grown to his shoulders behind bars.

The men were detained after landing at Harare airport four months ago and
are accused of conspiring to depose the government of the tiny, oil-rich
West African nation of Equatorial Guinea with weapons bought in Zimbabwe.

They are charged with violating Zimbabwe's immigration, firearms and
security laws and if convicted they face penalties ranging from fines to
five years in prison. But what they most fear is being extradited to
Equatorial Guinea where they could be executed.

About 50 members of the men's families gathered at the prison outside Harare
carrying parcels of dried foods, ketchup and lavatory paper.

Local reporters allowed into the prison said wives wiped away tears as the
suspects shuffled in to the hearing.

In the aftermath of their arrest in March, Guinean state radio urged all
citizens to be on the alert for suspicious foreigners. The authorities, who
are notorious for torturing prisoners, promptly rounded up 15 South Africans
in Malabo, the capital. One, Nick du Toit, has made a televised confession.

The Zimbabwean court assembled more than two hours late. Stephen Musona, the
state prosecutor, immediately asked for an adjournment until today. Francois
Joubert, the leading defence lawyer, raised no objection and the hearing
ended after five minutes.

The adjournment prolongs the ordeal of the relatives. "You don't expect
anything," said one. "You don't hold your breath. It changes every day."

The case has been continually delayed since the men were arrested after
landing in a Boeing 727 hired by Mann.

Prosecutors say the aircraft stopped in Harare to collect weapons from
Zimbabwe's state-owned defence industry. But instead of receiving their
arms, the men were arrested.

Ronnie Kasrils, South Africa's intelligence minister, has confirmed that his
agents tipped off their Zimbabwean counterparts before the plane touched

During pre-trial hearings, prosecutors claimed that Mann made a £1 million
deal with Equatorial Guinea's exiled opposition leader, Severo Moto, to
bring him to power.

Mann, who holds South African and British citizenship and lives in Cape
Town, has been involved with soldiers of fortune in various African wars
since 1989. He was expressionless during the opening hearing and has
apparently passed his captivity reading the works of Shakespeare. None of
his relatives were present.

The Zimbabweans mounted a large security operation to guard against any
attempt to rescue the men, all of whom are South African except for Mann.
Five armoured personnel carriers patrolled the prison's perimeter throughout
the morning.

South Africa's constitutional court is due to hear an urgent appeal for the
accused, excluding Mann, to be extradited to face trial at home.

Legal sources said that defence and prosecuting lawyers had drawn up an
agreed statement of facts, which would see all the accused admitting the
offences under Zimbabwean law in return for light sentences.
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Zim Observer

      US ambassador to S. Africa hits out at Zimbabwe
      by STAFF EDITORS (7/22/2004)

 Human rights violations in Zimbabwe have been slammed by the outgoing US
ambassador to South Africa, Cameron Hume. In an exclusive interview with the
Pretoria News, Hume lashed out at Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe's
apparent need for "another year" to study an African Union human rights
report on his country.

Speaking a week before the end of his term of office, Hume said he believed
South Africa had been damaged directly in its own national interest because
of the flow of refugees from Zimbabwe, and the impact on its economy.

Asked whether he thought the South African Government should become more
vocal on the Zimbabwe crisis, he said real diplomacy needed to extend to the
question of what kind of strategy one was applying.

That strategy had to be realistic.

Hume believed events in Zimbabwe were not only of concern to that country's
citizens, but also legitimately of concern to others - South Africans in

He said the US was aware of the fact that it was hard to fix problems in
another country.

The US had had its own experience of this in Haiti in the 90s and was also
finding it difficult in Iraq.

"It's a little hard to be prescriptive. However, such things as the AU
(African Union) deciding that Mr Mugabe needs another year to read a human
rights report in order to know what is going on in his country absolutely
stretches my credulity."

"If he doesn't know the degree of human rights violations in Zimbabwe it
could only be because he doesn't want to know."

Hume said one in 10 Zimbabweans were Aids orphans and questioned what
protection existed for a 14-year-old girl whose parents had died of Aids.

"What is her prognosis?"

"Does Mr Mugabe think of that before he goes to bed at night? I frankly
doubt it," said Hume.

In report tabled at the recent AU summit in Addis Ababa, Mugabe's government
was lambasted for flagrant human rights abuses.

The report slammed the government for the arrests and torture of opposition
MPs and human rights lawyers, the arrests of journalists, the stifling of
freedom of expression and clampdowns on other civil liberties.

Zimbabwe's foreign minister, Stan Mudenge, protested against the adoption of
the report by the AU, saying the Zimbabwe government had not been given an
opportunity to review or respond to the report.

It was to have responded to it earlier this month, but has not.

Source: Pretoria News
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Cleric in call for Mugabe protest

Paul Kelso
Thursday July 22, 2004
The Guardian

One of Zimbabwe's most influential religious figures yesterday called on
opponents of Robert Mugabe's regime to protest when the country's cricketers
meet England in the Champions Trophy at Edgbaston in September.
Archbishop Pius Ncube, the Roman Catholic cleric who led protests during
Australia's World Cup fixture against Zimbabwe in Bulawayo last year, said
that under Mugabe's "evil" regime sport was a legitimate arena for protest.

England will meet Zimbabwe on September 10, and in October they have five
one-day internationals scheduled in Zimbabwe. The Test series was cancelled
when Zimbabwe's Test status was withdrawn after 15 white players were

Ncube, visiting London to raise awareness of human-rights abuses, stopped
short of calling for England to boycott the tour but said protests were
appropriate. "In an unhealthy situation people have the right to protest,"
he said. "Robert Mugabe is president of the Zimbabwe Cricket Union and in
Zimbabwe everything is political, even sport.

"Every opportunity should be used to protest against the evil that is being
carried out in Zimbabwe by this dictator against its people. Life is
impossible and the suffering is huge. The most important thing to remember
is the suffering of the ordinary people who just want food on the table and
a roof above their head. Everything else is a distraction from that issue."

On Monday Ncube will meet Mike Soper, the deputy chairman of the ECB who
opposes the tour, and will tell him that human-rights abuses in Zimbabwe are

Protests marked Zimbabwe's last appearance in England in May 2003 and
Jonathan Chibata, 22, a Zimbabwean in exile, is ready to protest at
Edgbaston. "This is a good opportunity to show our feelings," he said. "It
is not fair to attack the cricketers but cricket is the only context in
which my country is discussed here. We should be talking about the abuses
that have made the tour such an issue."
The impasse between the ZCU and the rebel players moved a step closer to
being broken, meanwhile, when the players agreed to enter into arbitration
with the board. "We have to do it to try to play some cricket," their lawyer
Chris Venturas said.

The players were sacked after refusing to play, in protest at the removal of
Heath Streak as captain in a dispute over selection policies, which they
viewed as racially biased. The ZCU initially resisted arbitration but
relented after the players brought proceedings through the International
Cricket Council. Those proceedings will now be dropped and the arbitration
process should end within 52 days.

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      New political group emerges

      Njabulo Ncube
      7/22/2004 6:58:58 AM (GMT +2)

      IN what could be the clearest sign yet that the Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) remains sitting on the fence as regards next year's
election, the opposition party this week admitted that it is, to all intents
and purposes, undecided whether or not to participate in the crucial poll.

      News that the opposition party has adopted a wait-and-see attitude
with regards to the next poll comes after it emerged that a shadowy
political grouping to be known as the Broad Alliance - suspected to have
strong links with the main opposition MDC - is envisaged to be launched in
Harare next week. Its specific brief would be to gauge the mood of the
voters in the run-up to next year's polls. The polls are slated for March
2005 but the exact dates have not been made public.

      Impeccable sources within the MDC yesterday said that one of the
priorities of the Broad Alliance would be to gauge the temperature of the
country's treacherous political waters and ascertain from the electorate
whether or not the MDC should boycott the polls.

      While the signal the MDC has been sending is that it has President
Robert Mugabe on the ropes after he experienced a severe crisis of public
confidence in the face of the shrunken state of the once-robust economy, its
decision to participate in next year's poll will be very much dependent on
the exercise being undertaken by the Broad Alliance, the sources said.

      The move by the MDC comes at a time when ZANU PF, its main rival which
has been reluctant to renounce its monopoly on power, is already girding its
loins for what could be another watershed poll in Zimbabwe's nascent

      Although views and opinions were starkly divided over whether this was
the best way forward for the MDC, a significant number of observers said
that the apparent indecision on the part of the MDC, which many thought
could capitalise on voter anger, could have far-reaching repercussions.

      In terms of opposition politics in Zimbabwe, the MDC, led by the
firebrand former trade unionist Morgan Tsvangirai, has been the biggest
hope. Other fringe political parties, which only emerge during election time
and disappear into oblivion thereafter, do not register on the relevance

      "When the dates (voting dates) are out and we are not satisfied with
the electoral changes we will take appropriate action at the appropriate
time. The exercise by the Broad Alliance will help us gauge the mood of the
people," said Paul Themba Nyathi, the MDC spokesperson.

      The insiders said after collecting five million signatures throughout
the country, the Broad Alliance would petition President Mugabe if its
findings indicate that the people feel that the political environment does
not meet the minimum conditions conducive to a free and fair election. This
would be in line with the MDC's 15 demands to the government for changes to
the country's electoral process.

      "About two million five hundred signatures have been collected as we
speak out of a proposed five million signatures. If these five million
people decide that it is impossible to hold free and fair elections in
Zimbabwe, it will be up to the MDC to decide. What the Broad Alliance
envisages doing is to gauge the political mood on behalf of the main
opposition," said one insider privy to the grand scheme.

      Lovemore Madhuku, the chairman of the National Constitutional
Assembly, a civic organisation lobbying for constitutional reform before the
staging of any elections in Zimbabwe, is strongly linked to the coalition
working on the petition.

      Madhuku yesterday said there were discussions to create an alliance by
"democratic forces" - among them civic organisations - in Zimbabwe to
peacefully fight for democratic space through petitioning the government.

      "It (Broad Alliance) has not been launched but there are discussions
to create such an alliance which will fight for democratic space in the
country on the basis of a charter which has to be agreed by all the
democratic forces working to achieve a similar goal," said Madhuku. "We are
in the process of drawing up a charter and will thereafter launch a petition
calling for certain things, such as constitutional and electoral reforms,
among other issues that we feel are militating against the enjoyment of
democracy in our society," he said.

      Sources added that the official launch of the Broad Alliance had been
delayed as other fringe political parties and civic organisations that had
been invited to the grouping were yet to commit themselves to the plan, seen
as an attempt to prop up the MDC, whose fortunes some political analysts
believe have been on the decline since the historic June 2000 poll.

      A number of civic organisations associated with the main opposition
confirmed the covert existence of the Broad Alliance, with most branding it
a grand scheme to help the MDC try to wrest power from the ruling ZANU PF,
which has ruled Zimbabwe since independence in 1980.

      Nyathi, the MDC legislator for Gwanda North, said of the alliance:
"What Broad Alliance entails is that democratic forces in Zimbabwe have
decided to collaborate on a wide frontier. It is designed to consolidate the
fight for democratic space. The organisations in the alliance will retain
their individual autonomy. These organisations, which include civic society
and political parties other than ZANU PF, are brought together by the crisis
in Zimbabwe. They are brought together by their subscription to the same
values of solidarity, equality and the pursuit for a better life for all

      He said that a petition with five million signatures would be authored
and produced "to express that the people of Zimbabwe require the opening of
democratic space through electoral reforms so that people are free to elect
leaders of their choice, among other issues. The collection of signatures is
being enthusiastically supported by the generality of the people. The
signatures are a way of exerting political pressure so that changes sought
are authentic and far-reaching."
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      Poll reforms like putting 'lipstick on a frog'

      Njabulo Ncube
      7/22/2004 7:01:31 AM (GMT +2)

      ZIMBABWE'S civic groups remain largely unimpressed by the changes to
the country's electoral procedures recently proposed by the government whose
aim, in a certain sense, is to lose as little as possible politically.

      Taking advantage of the on-going Sixth Southern African Development
Community (SADC) Electoral Commissions annual conference in Victoria Falls,
they are circulating a damning report criticising the "cosmetic" electoral
reforms proposed by the government. After relentless diplomatic, opposition
and moral pressure, the government, through Patrick Chinamasa, the Justice,
Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister, recently announced ZANU PF's
intention to overhaul the country's controversial electoral system.

      He said this would be done through the appointment a five-member
Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, reducing the number of voting days to one and
the use of translucent boxes.

      The other changes would entail the use of visible indelible ink to
replace the invisible ink, the setting up of an ad hoc court to immediately
deal with electoral disputes within six months and the suspension of the use
of mobile voting stations, among other changes.

      But civic groups with strong ties with the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) maintained the proposed changes were not

      And Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, a loose coalition of more than 350
civil organisations, has taken advantage of the presence of SADC officials
at the Victoria Falls to circulate the document entitled "Lipstick on yet
another frog".

      The document is a critique on the implications of the proposed
electoral reforms in Zimbabwe in which the government also says citizens who
attain 18 years would be automatically included on the voters' roll in their
constituencies and that verification and vote counting would be undertaken
at the polling stations. The government also proposes freezing transfers
from one constituency to another when there is a by-election.

      But the document urges delegates to the sixth SADC annual general
conference, whose theme is Elections, Democracy and National Development,
not to be hoodwinked by the proposed electoral reforms.

      "The glaring silence of the government on contentious legislation such
as the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA) and
(Public Order and Security Act (POSA) demonstrates the govern-ment's
intention to tinker with, rather than transform the electoral environment,"
reads part of the 10-page document widely circulated among the delegates
attending the five-day conference of the regional grouping's electoral

      "It is also noteworthy that nothing has been mentioned concerning the
vote of millions of Zimbabweans in the diaspora.

      "Needless to say, the majority of these Zimbabweans living abroad are
victims of a repressive political culture that has refused to reform itself
despite alarming levels of disenchantment on the way the country is being
administered," it said.

      The conference is being hosted by Zimbabwe's Electoral Supervisory
Commission (ESC) which is a member of the Electoral Commissions Forum (ECF)
of SADC countries founded in 1998.

      It brings together electoral commissions from the region for the
purposes of sharing experiences and encouraging democratic practices.

      "Perhaps, there is an aesthetic value to putting lipstick on a frog
for it will look pretty for a short while.

      "However, the country is now beyond the politics of cosmetic gestures
because of the deepening legitimacy and governance crisis that Zimbabwe has
been grappling with since ZANU PF lost the hearts and souls of Zimbabweans
following its drubbing in the constitutional referendum of February 2000."

      In the document, the civic grouping said the minimum conditions for a
free and fair election must include the dismantling of the infrastructure of
violence such as the "Green Bombers" (graduates of the Border Gezi youth
camps), the limitation of the presidential powers in elections, a code of
conduct that is agreed by all stakeholders, the freeing of the airwaves and
the repeal of draconian legislation such as AIPPA and POSA.

      "These laws inhibit the exercise of democracy," says the document.

      "It will be naïve for Zimbabweans to believe free and fair elections
would be possible without the repeal of POSA and AIPPA which restrict
freedoms of assembly, association and expression of all stakeholders, bar

      Since the formation of the ECF in 1998, annual general conferences
have been held in Tanzania, Zambia, Botswana, Malawi and Mozambique.
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      Zimbabwe's inflation slows down

      Charles Rukuni
      7/22/2004 7:02:48 AM (GMT +2)

      "Despite the forecast by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to reduce
inflation to a manageable level, what we are seeing on the ground is the

      "While statistics being given are indicating a downward trend, the
reality is that prices of basic commodities are rising. This is confusing,"
so said Comfort Muchekeza, regional manager of the Consumer Council of
Zimbabwe (CCZ) in Matabeleland.

      Muchekeza's sentiments are shared by many. It is indeed confusing,
even baffling. Inflation is going down but prices are going up.

      This has driven many to dismiss the figures released by the Central
Statistical Office, a government department, claiming that they are cooked
up to give the impression that the country's battered economy, which has
been on a five-year slide, is improving, because nothing seems to be
improving for the person on the street.

      Central bank governor Gideon Gono, the architect of the current reform
programme which aims to reduce inflation to below 200 percent by the end of
the year and to a single digit by 2008, is emphatic. Inflation is indeed
going down. But he quickly adds that a decline in inflation does not
necessarily translate into a decline in prices.

      Gono said when inflation started declining, all that it meant was that
prices were going up, but at a lower rate. This is what boggles the

      The drop in inflation has been remarkable - unbelievable, some would
even say - considering the mess in which the country was in. From a peak of
622.8 percent in January, it declined slightly to 602.5 percent in February,
then marginally to 587.7 percent in March.

      The central bank had predicted that inflation would peak at 700
percent in March. Gono said some economists had even predicted that it would
increase to 1 400 percent by March and to 1 600 percent by June.

      Things have been different on the ground. Inflation dropped
significantly to 505 percent in April, then to 448.8 percent in May and
394.6 percent in June. This has convinced even the worst sceptics that
Gono's target of reducing inflation to 200 percent by December is

      The only question that remains unanswered is: what does this reduction
in inflation mean to the average consumer?

      Oscar Chiwira, chairman of the banking department at the National
University of Science and Technology, said to understand the relationship
between inflation and prices, consumers had to appreciate that inflation was
generally the average increase in price levels over a period of time.

      "This means that some prices will go up, while others will be going
down. But at the end of the day if the average price goes down, inflation
goes down," he said.

      Chiwira said inflation in Zimbabwe was based on the consumer price
index (CPI), which was based on a basket of what an average Zimbabwean

      "A simple explanation would be like this. If the index in June 2002
was 50 and it went up to 100 in June 2003, annual inflation would have gone
up by 100 percent. If the index in June 2004 rose to 150 percent, inflation
would be down to 50 percent but prices would have continued to increase,"
Chiwira said.

      The CPI stood at 1 642.8 points in June 2002. Inflation at the time
was 114.5 percent. The CPI had rocketed to 7 631.4 points by June last year
while inflation had shot up to 364.5 percent. It stood at 3 7741.4 points
last month with inflation at 394.6 percent.

      Chiwira said consumers would only reap tangible benefits of the
reduction in inflation when it went down to single-digit levels because
prices would have stabilised and development would then be taking place.

      He said the poor, unemployed and pensioners faced the greatest
hardships in times of inflation, largely because they were hit where it hurt
most - food.

      While most poor families spend up to 80 percent of their incomes on
food, it accounts for only 33.6 percent of the CPI basket. Non-food items,
which include beverages and tobacco; clothing and footwear; rents, rates and
domestic power; furniture and household goods; medical care; transport and
communication; recreaction and entertainment; education; miscellaneous goods
and services, account for the remaining 66.4 percent.

      This means if prices of basic food items go up while the cost of
non-food products goes down, inflation is likely to go down. The average
Zimbabwean would, however, be facing increasing hardship.

      According to the CCZ, a family of six - a father, mother and four
children - needed $907 055 for their basic requirements in February. It
needed $431 955 for basic food items and $475 100 for non-food items.

      By June, the same family needed $580 310 for food and $563 200 for
non-food items, making a total of $1 143 510 a month.

      Chiwira said what these figures meant was that while inflation was on
the decline, a consumer whose salary was below $1.1 million faced increased
hardships. The situation was even worse if the consumer earned less than
$600 000 a month as this was barely enough to meet basic food requirements,
especially if the household consisted of six persons or more.

      The CCZ basket was also quite revealing. Some of the food items whose
prices had risen drastically are what is considered by the average consumer
to be very basic.

      As an example, the cost of 40 kg roller meal, which the family is said
to require, had risen from $49 280 to $76 050, while the cost of
vegetables - the poor person's relish - had more than doubled from $58 000
to $135 000 per 29 bundles of vegetables as of February this year.

      Ironically, the price of beef, which most poor households now consider
a luxury, had dropped from $108 800 to $80 000.

      And though Gono has declared inflation enemy number one, and the
government is helping fight inflation, there are some who think that
governments "love inflation" because they benefit tremendously.

      According to an economics website, "When governments
'borrow' from you, they have no intention of repaying the money they have
supposedly borrowed. This is much of what inflation is all about.

      "Inflation is a trick to make you think you are being repaid money
that you lend the government, when they are in fact stealing the money from
you. The objective is that the longer that you leave your money in savings,
the less it will be worth."

      It adds: "As a politician once said: 'The objective is to pluck the
geese ( read poor) in such a manner as to obtain the greatest number of
feathers with the least amount of hissing'."

      Zimbabwe's domestic debt has, for example, ballooned from $375 billion
in May last year to a staggering $1.4 trillion by June 25 this year.

      If this does not make any sense, just imagine: If you lent someone $10
000 in June last year, and they gave you back $10 000 today, or even $20
000, would you not feel robbed?

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      Jostling intensifies for dumped MDC MPs' jobs

      Brian Mangwende
      7/22/2004 7:03:11 AM (GMT +2)

      THE controversial confirmation exercise undertaken by the Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) has spawned intense jostling among district
executives for the posts of the six sitting legislators who were dumped by
their constituents during the vetting process.

      The jostling has intensified despite the fact that it is not clear
whether the MDC will contest next year's parliamentary election after it
emerged that the party wanted to consult the electorate first before making
a decision.

      The eleventh hour confirmation exercise, which resulted in cracks
emerging within the opposition, saw Harare North Member of Parliament Trudy
Stevenson and five other sitting MPs falling by the wayside.

      While all the other current legislators were endorsed by their
districts, Bennie Tumbare-Mutasa (Seke), Justin Mutendadzamera (Mabvuku),
Tichaona Munyanyi (Mbare East), Sydney Mukwecheni (Mutare South) and Dunmore
Makuwaza (Mbare West) were rejected by their supporters - a development they
have since challenged.

      Impeccable sources within the MDC told The Financial Gazette that
Stevenson's rivals were her district's chairman, estate agent David Lowe,
organising secretary and lawyer Obert Gutu, vice chairman for Harare North
and postman Energy Gombiro and Harare provincial executive member
responsible for security Steven Nyoka.

      Manicaland provincial chairman Timothy Mubhawu looks set to battle it
out with Mutendadzamera in Mabvuku, while Harare provincial chairman Morgan
Femai was said to be vying for Munyanyi's seat. Party chairman Isaac Matongo
is said to be also eyeing Mabvuku while the deputy secretary-general, Gift
Chimanikire, will reportedly stand in either of the Mbare constituencies.

      Charlton Hwende, who cried foul after the MDC leadership preferred
James Makore to run ahead of him in the fateful Zengeza by-election held
last March, looks set to return to the constituency and fight it out against
Councillor Goodwill Chimbaira. However, it was not clear whether Makore, who
lost the by-election to ZANU PF's Christopher Chigumba, would contest again.

      In Seke, Tumbare-Mutasa faces his district chairman, Charles Nzombe,
former Zimbabwe Union of Democratics member Greenbert Dondo, a former youth
executive member identified only as Bene and another MDC supporter also
identified only as Munyonga, who was thrashed by legislator for Mhondoro,
Hilda Mafudze, in the last primaries held before the general elections in

      It could not be immediately established who, within the MDC's Mbare
West district, would contest against Makuwaza, but it has been suggested
that his district chairman had thrown his hat into the ring.

      Failure to confirm the six MPs came as a result of protracted internal
squabbles within the MDC, which critics said could harm the party ahead of
next year's elections.

      Meanwhile, outspoken MP for St Mary's Job Sikhala still has to be
confirmed after the process in that constituency was stopped to allow for
investigations into the acrimonious wrangles within the leadership there.
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      Is MDC gaining regional acceptance?

      Brian Mangwende
      7/22/2004 7:04:21 AM (GMT +2)

      DESPITE the egg-shell-thin stability that it currently enjoys,
Zimbabwe, which attained its independence from Britain after a bloody war of
liberation in the 1970s, is still widely seen as the stereotype African
country where there is intolerance for opponents and political pluralism.

      This has become more pronounced following the emergence of the
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), an event which touched off violent
confrontation in which hundreds of people met their tragic and abrupt

      In some areas the violence unleashed on innocent citizens was so
brutal that the communities that suffered the traumatic experiences will be
scarred for life. The wounds would be difficult to heal.

      However, after five painful years of violent battling and the
resultant psychological crises, an odd shaft of light could soon break
through the dark clouds of political violence. This comes as diplomatic
relations between regional governments and opposition political parties in
the Southern African Development Community (SADC) seem to be thawing.

      The previously much-maligned opposition parties in the region are
being included in critical deliberations involving issues of governance at
regional and international levels.

      Political observers this week said that the new development could
usher in a new political culture in countries such as Zimbabwe, long accused
of treating the opposition political parties, which the government dismisses
as Western fronts to effect regime change, with disdain.

      The formal embracing of opposition parties in regional and
international activities comes hot on the heels of failure by South African
President Thabo Mbeki to find a solution to Zimbabwe's long-drawn crisis.

      Analysts said while the latest development could signal a broader
acceptance of Zimbabwe's main opposition, the MDC, the move could also be
egg in the face of President Mugabe, who critics say resents the
participation of his archrivals in international affairs.

      Surprisingly, the 80-year-old leader succumbed to the new SADC
standing rules when he openly invited developing countries and those he
considers to be friendly to Zimbabwe to observe the upcoming parliamentary
elections, but locked out Britain, which he claims refuses to atone for its
colonial sins and is instead bent on regime change.

      Sources this week told The Financial Gazette that it was now
compulsory for all governments under the SADC umbrella to include members of
recognised opposition political parties in its programmes, including the
SADC Parliamentary Forum, which authored the norms and standards being used
in elections in the region.

      Under the new rules and regulations, opposition political parties can
participate in deliberations involving the SADC organ on peace and security,
Inter-parliamentary Union, Pan African Parliament and the African, Caribbean
and Pacific countries.

      Already, the MDC observed recent elections in South Africa and Malawi
won by presidents Mbeki and Bingu wa Mutharika respectively. The party is
also involved in observing the preparations for elections to be held in

      ZANU PF legislators Sydney Sekeramayi, the Minister of Defence, Deputy
Minister of Energy and Power Development Reuben Marumahoko, Pearson Mbalekwa
(MP Zvishavane) and the MDC's Priscilla Misihairabwi (MP Glen Norah) and
Tendai Biti (Harare East) observed the South African elections under the
SADC Organ for Security and Peace.

      Other delegations went as far Nigeria to observe presidential
elections won by President Olusegun Obasanjo, while three delegations
travelled to Namibia, Angola and the Caribbean to attend meetings there.

      Far from being a regional diplomatic coup for the MDC, being allowed
to observe elections in countries whose leaders are supposedly President
Mugabe's allies was a positive development for the opposition party,
observers said.

      Political analyst Eldred Masunungure said: "It clearly suggests that
the MDC is being recognised as a legitimate opposition party in Zimbabwe,
unlike what the government and ZANU PF would like to project that they
represent imperialistic interests.

      "The more the MDC is involved in the electoral systems in other
countries, their image, in the process, would be built even beyond the
African continent. Their role as observers shows that they are being
recognised as a credible and legitimate opposition party."

      He added: "It is also a good learning experience for the MDC, seeing
that they are a young party which is barely walking. It helps to expose them
to various experiences of other countries so that they can utilise the
knowledge they would have acquired to enrich their own practices."

      Constitutional lawyer and chairman of the National Constitutional
Assembly Lovemore Madhuku said: "Those African countries respect democracy
and accept pluralism. The presence of observers including officials from the
MDC doesn't affect them. They believe in a multiparty system. Whether or not
the MDC is Mugabe's rival party is neither here nor there to them.

      They adhered more to democratic principles than ZANU PF. This meant
that the presence of a variety of observers showed the level of transparency
in their electoral processes, said Madhuku, whose organisation has had
several nasty brushes with the law for attempting to get the government to
accept a new constitution.

      Another political analyst, Joseph Kurebwa, said: "Their invitations,
whether through civic society groups or the respective governments, goes to
show that there is no doubt that the MDC has been accepted as a legitimate
opposition party. Those governments, I would like to believe, do not have
anything against the MDC.

      "The signal is that if one day the MDC wakes up in power, other
governments were unlikely to have any qualms in working with them given that
 in politics anything can happen. However, the attitude of ZANU PF towards
the MDC is expected to be different from other countries primarily because
they (ZANU PF and the MDC) are fighting for political spoils in the same

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      Back anti-inflation war

      7/22/2004 7:24:51 AM (GMT +2)

      THAT Zimbabwe's once reassuringly resilient economy has for the better
part of the past decade been caught up in a vicious circle of
stag-inflation - where rising inflation is accompanied by static industrial
production and falling employment levels - is beyond argument. Up until now,
inflationary pressures - the suppurating national ulcer - have been
worsening with no prospects of easing.

      And this explains why Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor Gideon
Gono, who cut the image of an old-school anti-inflation hawk of the
traditional economy, was understandably dismissed as dangerously optimistic
when he projected year-on-year inflation at 200 percent by December 2004.
This was moreso given that the major player, government, with its insatiable
appetite for cash, has over the years shown that other than fuelling
inflation, it is incapable of tackling what now seems to be a complex
problem. For years, curbing the inflation menace appeared more like a finite
game - despite repeated official claims which seemed to suggest that it has
been at the centre of government's economic agenda.

      And indeed sceptics reckoned that the RBZ's optimistic projections
notwithstanding, it was always going to be an uphill slog to control let
alone reduce inflation to projected levels given the blackhole in public
finances where the government, blamed for aggravating the festering national
ulcer through its profligacy, is increasingly finding it difficult to
balance the books. Fortunately, however, what initially appeared to be an
elusive quest to tame inflation now increasingly appears more likely, with
the rate having eased to 394.6 percent for June from a high of 622.9 percent
in January.

      When the year-on-year inflation figures started slowing down some six
months ago in line with the central bank's forecasts, this was viewed as
nothing more than false impressions. But now, it is increasingly appearing
more realistic than was initially thought - inflationary pressures seem be
on a long term easing trend which news was greeted with a collective sigh of
relief by Zimbabwe. The inflation scourge had and continues to wreak havoc
on the people's lives. A case in point is the unforgettable cruel twist of
fate when hundreds of thousands of insurance policyholders felt the sharpest
edge of the knife late last year following the savage inflation-induced
slump in the values of their policies. All of a sudden lifetime savings in
the form of insurance policies were not worth the paper they were written

      Lest we are misunderstood, we are neither suggesting that the worst is
now behind us. Nor that Gono, the architect of the monetary policy, is all
of a sudden on the verge of becoming a symbol of Zimbabwe's economic
preeminence, even though he has admittedly done "a great job when there was
no rule book to look to" as former US president Bill Clinton once said about
Alan Greenspan of the Federal Reserve. Far from it, because we are only too
aware of the limitations of the monetary policy especially if implemented in

      It is indeed pertinent to note that although the government is yet,
from the fiscal side, to elaborate the formula for the solution to the
current crisis, monetary policy alone, while it has admittedly provided the
much-needed tonic to the battered economy, cannot be the be-all-end-all of
the country's economic stimulus package.

      Be that as it may, it is important to point out here that the fact
that the central bank has taken the scythe to inflation is itself an
acknowledgement by the country's monetary authorities that nothing short of
tough remedial action could enable Zimbabwe to curb the cancerous inflation
scourge. It was born of a realisation that the highly inflationary
environment was untenable, hence the public enemy No 1 tag.

      This is where the government, known more for shortsighted and populist
policies meant to appease a restive and deeply disillusioned citizenry for
bloated political self-interest, should come in to complement the central
bank's efforts from a fiscal point of view. It has to bite the bullet and
adopt austerity measures no matter how unpopular they might be. These
should, together with the RBZ's inflation-beating measures, form an integral
part of that well-filled pot of ingredients to be stirred in order to put a
fresh heart into the stricken economy.

      It is now more imperative than ever before for the government, a
target of massive fire power from a frustrated electorate, to realise that
it has to complement the central bank's efforts. Even though an election is
around the corner, it should not be tempted to - for fear that the
opposition might tap into the existing deep well of disenchantment - placate
the increasingly angry and resentful public by going for unbudgeted-for
expenditures as it has previously done. That would be farewell to the main
achievement of the RBZ to date - the improving inflation outlook- which, if
the central bank is not forced to take the foot off the pedal, could see the
economy breathing freely for the first time in many years by 2006. The
result of such a retrogressive move is that the now fragile economy will
continue to lurch from one crisis to another.

      The bottom line is that it is now time to pursue fiscal rectitude with
a missionary zeal to rein in government profligacy. And damn the likely
political backlash. Sadly, given the government's track record where
political measures are known to have been suggested as a remedy for economic
woes and national disintegration, it would however require an incredible
leap of faith to believe that this can be done. This is complicated by the
fact that the government has since scaled down on its services to the public
as most of the funds needed to provide for the actual services expected of
it are financed through borrowed funds when it is under pressure to borrow
as little as possible. But we remain optimistic that this can be done with a
well-thought-out economic revival package. If only Zimbabwe did not have
upside-down priorities to satisfy narrow political interests!

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      The role of the media in the 2005 election

      7/22/2004 7:41:51 AM (GMT +2)

      WHAT determines the role of the media and the mix of subject matter
covered at any given time is the perceived function of journalism in a given
society. This is a reflection of the media system in place.

      Media systems themselves are a result of press laws, economic and
political variables, cultural and social influences and also such basic
considerations as demographic distribution, literacy and personal income

      Furthermore journalism is affected by traditions of the profession and
history. The media plays an important role of informing the public about
pertinent developmental issues affecting the nation; providing for a for
free expression and public debate on various socio-politico-economic issues;
and shaping and influencing public opinion on the same.

      Naturally, the role of the media at any other time should not be
different from its role at election time except that an election presents
the electorate with a multiplicity of issues and the people always count on
the media for a balanced perspective of news.

      However, in Zimbabwe the media is operating under a very harsh and
stringent political and media law regime which makes the work of journalists
quite perilous. What is worse is that the media fraternity is polarised
along political divides, with the state-controlled media used largely to
disseminate ideological propaganda and fostering support for the regime.

      The "independent" media has tried over the years to give an
alternative view of news but as a reaction to the partisan stance of the
state-controlled media, some media houses have now adopted an extremely
oppositional stance in their coverage of news while others have tried, with
great difficulty, to be less emotional and stick to the media ethic of

      It is now an open secret, though, that public authorities are
notoriously bad judges of objectivity and balanced reporting. There are few
indications that these authorities, whether acting through the Department of
Information and Publicity in the Office of the President and Cabinet or the
so-called Media and Information Commission, could give any meaning to
objectivity other than adherence to official policy. In such a context, only
desirable journalism is good journalism. Objectivity is thus reduced to

      The 2005 parliamentary plebiscite presents Zimbabweans with manifold
factors relating to the democratic evolution of the country, the economy,
land, our relationship with the international community, the Southern Africa
Development Community, the African Union, etcetera, including our role and
position with respect to NEPAD (New Partnership for Africa's Development)
and the African Renaissance project.

      It will be interesting for the media to pursue the extent to which
NEPAD's peer review mechanisms will be applied to Zimbabwe, especially in
light of the damning African Union report on Zimbabwe's human rights record.

      There are several other issues that arise like, for example, whether
the election is not going to be as bloody as the previous two national
elections which were preceded by massive pre-election violence; impartiality
of law enforcement agents; whether the entire electoral process itself is
free and fair, and whether the playing field is even; electoral and
constitutional proposals; the role of international observers and when they
should come. The list cannot be exhaustive by virtue of the dynamic nature
of political interaction.

      It is the role of the media to research and inform the public about
the issues at stake and offer ample time and space to the coverage of
critical analyses of these issues and promote open debate within the
electorate. People need information about political parties, that is, their
ideological orientation, political election manifestos, structures and so
forth. To be able to make a rational choice to vote for a particular
political party one has to have information about the policies of that party
and it is the role of the media to provide such information.

      More often than not some journalists display shocking ignorance about
the issues dominating or presented by an election within the context of the
country's contemporary political history, let alone information about the
contesting political parties and their policy thrusts. This has invariably
compromised the quality of journalism in Zimbabwe.

      What we want are professionals who are able to get "news", analyse it
and present it in an understandable and interesting manner. If it is not
interesting, it is poor journalism; if it is not understandable it is not
journalism at all!

      Journalism has always presented the reporter as a key figure for
conveying information about society although his/her role is perceived in
many different ways: reporter, interpreter, disseminator, spokesperson,
artist, thinker, informer, political worker, nation-builder and so on. The
contemporary journalist will require less emphasis in the classical
practical skills and more emphasis on technology and especially, knowledge
of specialised issues and analytical thinking.

      Journalism in recent years has undergone a transformation, being
substituted by information as a hybrid to journalism and communication.

      It is obvious that the applied skills of writing, reporting, editing
and design must be mastered in close connection with the more reflective
skills of problem-solving, critical thinking, confidence, self-esteem,
responsibility, initiative and cooperation.

      Journalism is not only characterised by its functions in society, but
also by its subjects, methods and forms of presentation. Journalists should
guarantee media credibility and ensure its position as a watchdog in
society. Professional journalists should contribute to maintain public
discussion as a prerogative for liberal democratic societies and should be
able to unveil, verify and control the executive political and economic
powers of society and through this function, make the consequences of the
exercise of this power visible to the public.

      Of course this democratic priority is nuanced by the political and
social context within which the media operates. In any democracy, the public
will closely scrutinise the way in which leaders and other public officials
are performing their duties. The media play a vitally important role in
holding public officials accountable for their actions. It is an important
function of the media to probe the actions of public officials and bring to
the attention of the public any shortcomings and abuses of power by them. In
Zimbabwe the law of defamation and various other laws make it difficult for
the press to perform this important watchdog role properly.

      Next week I will analyse the legal and institutional obstacles to
media freedom in Zimbabwe and make proposals for reform. Let's make a date.

      Isaya Muriwo Sithole, a Harare-based legal practitioner, is a social
and political commentator

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      Some corruption is more equal than others

      7/22/2004 7:28:10 AM (GMT +2)

      Ordinary Zimbabweans have every right to be hopping mad and asking:
when is corruption not corruption?

      The reason for this outrage is the "public be damned" attitude and
selective manner in which the ruling party has chosen to tackle the rampant
corruption that has contributed to the prevailing economic meltdown.

      The fact that the country's tough new anti-corruption laws seem to be
designed only to target alleged wrongdoers in the private sector while
steering clear of the "fat cats" in the government continues to rankle among
struggling Zimbabweans.

      Every passing day seems to confirm the widespread public perception
that the initial, much-publicised hype about the government's determination
to clamp down on corruption was all cheap talk. Very little has happened to
prove that all culprits have been targeted regardless of their station in

      In fact, after the initial brouhaha accompanying the swoop on the
finance sector, the crackdown has been a letdown from month to month.

      Admittedly, a few ZANU PF "sacrificial lambs" such as Finance Minister
Chris Kuruneri and business tycoons Philip Chiyangwa, James Makamba and
Mutumwa Mawere have landed in hot soup. A few other people have been
investigated, but these investigations seem to have yielded very little.

      The people are asking: Is that it? Is it conceivable that the
activities of the relatively few people publicly named so far were alone
enough to impact so negatively and pervasively on every facet of the lives
of ordinary Zimbabweans? How long will such a glaring lack of
even-handedness in a bid to protect sacred cows in the ruling party and
government continue?

      These are not academic questions being posed by a
      "prophet of doom" considering that even as I write, the ruling party
seems hamstrung by these double standards in its attempts to tackle the
multiple farm ownership scandal.

      What are ordinary people to make of the fact that the land-grab "fat
cats" implicated in this racket have the guts to show they are a law unto
themselves by refusing to give up the extra farms they corruptly acquired?

      By adopting this arrogant and greedy stance, these culprits are not
just defying an order from the head of state and leader of their own party.
More disturbingly, they are also thumping their noses at the rest of the
suffering population, and particularly the 350 000 or so landless people
they are depriving of the national resource.

      And the most annoying aspect of the matter is that, if asked, these
greedy individuals would pontificate about being patriotic and
revolutionary. One wonders what gives them such guts and what drum they are
marching to.

      Land is a national resource in which all Zimbabweans have a stake. It
is not a private matter between these individuals and the head of state.
There is therefore no reason whatsoever why President Robert Mugabe should
mollycoddle these wrongdoers.

      If ZANU PF is serious about remedying this situation, it surely knows
that the right approach is not to make compliance with the "one man, one
farm" edict optional but compulsory.

      The law has been invoked to deal with suspects accused of corrupt
activities in other sectors. Why is there impotence and inertia with respect
to the 329 multiple farm owners identified by Special Affairs Minister John
Nkomo's land reform committee?

      The land question has always been an emotive issue, but it is even
more so now. The chaotic and violent manner in which land redistribution was
implemented has left many Zimbabweans disillusioned and disenchanted.

      Although land reform was touted as a revolutionary government policy
to correct historical injustices and to empower blacks, the ensuing
ruination of the agricultural sector has resulted in untold suffering for
the people. The vast majority of ordinary people can no longer afford basic
foodstuffs such as bread, mealie-meal, sugar, etc.

      Logic says all these commodities should be in abundant supply and
should be more affordable if land reform has had the positive impact that is
incessantly cited in government propaganda.

      When land invasions began in 2000, the slogan, "one man, one farm" did
not even exist, at least in reference to government ministers and prosperous
business people.

      The povo were made to understand that the government's revolutionary
aim in embarking on land reform was to
      decongest the rural areas. The nation was led to believe that landless
peasants were to be the beneficiaries of the programme.

      Now, of course, we know differently. Somewhere along the way
government officials and ZANU PF stalwarts replaced peasants as the people
most in need of land.

      This was bad enough. But for these prosperous individuals to now
demand the lion's share of the resource is preposterous!

      The government is at present under intense pressure to tackle
electoral flaws and human rights abuses. Both the Southern African
Development Community and the African Union have called for self-correction
on these fronts.

      But charity should begin at home. If ZANU PF hopes to regain a measure
of public trust at home, it cannot afford to sweep this land grab under the
carpet. Doing so would be akin to rubbing salt into the wounds of ordinary
Zimbabweans, whose quality of life has been severely compromised since farm
invasions began in 2000.

      Lack of action would also send a clear message that there is a special
brand of corruption reserved for a select group within the ruling ZANU PF
party to indulge in with impunity.

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      Development stagnates in Zim's major cities

      Munyaradzi Mugowo
      7/22/2004 7:19:39 AM (GMT +2)

      DEVELOPMENT in all major cities has stagnated since the Public Service
Investment Programme (PSIP) was scrapped, home-seekers have noted with

      Housing demand has increased sharply over the last decade, when the
government, through the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and
National Housing, scrapped its traditional housing provision progra-mme
during the structural adjustment programme.

      Zimbabwe Institute of Regional and Urban Planners (ZIRUP), president
Percy Toriro this week told The Property Gazette that housing, which is
classified under "capital projects", has stagnated as a direct function of
the financial woes plaguing local authorities.

      "Providing new residences means a higher demand for water and sewerage
treatment. It also means constructing new roads, which in turn means a
higher demand for tar and numerous other construction inputs and equipment,
Toriro said.

      "At the moment the city council is failing to adequately carry out
road maintenance, sewerage removal, and street light replacements and even
to collect litter. Certainly, under these circumstances, urban development
is completely out of the question," he added.

      The Harare City Council has resorted to intensive water rationing in
desperate efforts to counteract acute water shortages, which engineers
ascribed to infrastructural flaws at the city's Morton Jaffray water
treatment plant, which at the optimum capacity can only pump 550 megalitres,
against the city's daily demand of over 700 megalitres.

      The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) at the beginning of the year
unveiled a rescue package for local governments to tap cheap loans from the
central bank with a view to revitalising their service provision capacity.

      Sadly, Toriro said: "All but one small local authority do not qualify
to obtain the concessional loans because their accounts are not up to date."

      The RBZ has mulled probing local authorities and parastatals, which
are accused of flouting basic accounting procedures.

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      Our leadership has failed

      7/22/2004 7:24:24 AM (GMT +2)

      Leadership involves influencing others to achieve set objectives.
Humility, honesty, integrity, accountability, self-lessness and inspiration
are some of the attributes of good leadership.

      The crisis in Zimbabwe has often been discussed in terms of its
political and economic manifestations. However, there is a dimension that
has seldom been highlighted - the leadership dimension.

      Last weekend, Nelson Mandela, the revered former president of South
Africa, celebrated his 86th birthday. All sides of the South African
political divide hailed him as an icon who has done more than anyone could
ever recompense him for. He has worked tirelessly to create a "rainbow
nation" out of the depths of despair, out of the strife, hatred, racism and
violence that had characterised that country.

      What makes Mandela stand out is that after 27 years of imprisonment,
he came out preaching reconciliation and nation-building. He put his country
ahead of his personal interests. His selfless leadership style therefore
separates him from the rest - indeed a rare breed of leadership.

      As Heroes' Day beckons, we are also reminded of our own gallant sons
and daughters who died fighting for the liberation of their country. These
gallant sons and daughters of the soil sacrificed personal interests to die
for the liberation of their motherland. They made the supreme sacrifice for
the sake of their country.

      They went hungry, lived like animals in the forest, they were hunted
by aeroplanes, bombed and killed for the sake of their country. These
gallant sons fought for clear ideals - namely justice, equity and fairness.

      They fought for a non-racial, non-tribal, non-ethnical and just
society where honesty and integrity are the hallmark of society. They paid
the supreme price, death, in order to achieve fairness, even-handedness,
impartiality and fair dealing irrespective of race, creed, ethnicity,
gender, physical condition or age.

      Today, Allan Paton's Cry The Beloved Country is an apt description of
the state of the motherland. Selfless political leaders are hard to come by.
Take a moment just to reflect on all the funds that were created for some
noble objective: the War Victims Fund, the Housing Fund, and the bus
disaster funds, among others. All these were plundered by people in

      Various commissions of inquiry named some past and current leaders who
had helped themselves with the resources that were meant to benefit the
needy. Look at the state of public enterprises, such as state oil firm
NOCZIM, Air Zimbabwe, the National Railways of Zimbabwe, the Cold Storage
Company, national power utility ZESA, among others - all have been victims
of plunder by people in leadership.

      Now the land reform exercise is suffering the same fate, with people
in leadership unashamedly going for the lucrative farms. Attempts by the
Minister of Special Affairs in the Office of the President, John Nkomo, to
rectify the anomalies by withdrawing offers to beneficiaries of multiple
farms have met with stiff resistance from the culprits.

      Clearly, these bigwigs are using their relatives to hide their
multiple farm ownership. How could the ministers defend themselves in the
press lamely by arguing that the farms are now owned by their mothers,
brothers, aunts or uncles?

      Is it not clear that these multiple farms were taken by these senior
persons in the first place? What does all this say about the integrity and
honesty of such leaders? Are they nation-serving or self-serving?

      Indeed this is the time to reflect on the crisis of political
leadership that we face as a nation. We do not deserve political leaders who
stoop so low as to think only of themselves, and will not hesitate to use
national positions to line their pockets.

      Leadership is about service and not about being served. Most
unfortunately, the role of leadership has been usurped to the extent that
leaders are now there to be served and not to serve. This is why they think
about themselves first, while the rest of the people wallow in poverty.

      Political office is now a passport to accumulating wealth at any cost.
It is no wonder that this country has fallen to the current levels of
desperation. Leadership has failed the people.

      A good leader is humble and not haughty. The term "chef" has
catapulted leadership to a non-accountable position of pride. Most political
leaders have perched themselves on a pedestal far removed from the people
they lead.

      The ordinary Zimbabwean lacks access to food security, health care,
education, transport, housing, basic utilities such as electricity and
water, and yet the priorities of political leaders are on luxuries, and
hence albums are launched on a boat cruise along the Zambezi River, beyond
the reach of the ordinary people. One would not believe this is happening in
a country where in excess of 80 percent of the people live in poverty. How
those love songs will contribute to alleviating the suffering of the masses
beats me.

      Good leadership inspires those who follow to achieve set objectives or
achieve their own dreams. Interestingly, the ruling party's youth and women'
s leagues have been used in a way that has polarised our society. They have
been used to impose leadership, and not to inspire our society to achieve
the ideals of a just and equitable society.

      True leaders admit mistakes, even when they are not directly
responsible. A true leader knows that whatever happens, the buck stops with
him/her. Intriguingly, up to now, our political leadership is playing the
blame game, accusing the "imperialists", profiteering businesspeople, etc,
for Zimbabwe's economic crisis.

      Admitting failure is not a sign of weakness. If anything, it separates
the real leaders from the pretenders. Good leadership is not only
transparent: it is accountable to the people.

      Real leaders are people of integrity who are principle-driven. They do
not tell others to do what they themselves do not do so. They lead by

      Sadly, our political leadership is the "do-as-I-say, not-as-I-do"
type. People often follow what leaders do. If leaders preach violence, the
followers practise violence. If leaders preach peace, people pursue peace.
It is very sad that our nation today is polarised because the leadership has
preached and practised polarisation.

      True leaders have a sense of time. Leaders are mentors. It is a
disgrace if after a decade, leaders have not cultivated a crop of future
leaders. True leaders should be in a position to step aside for a new crop
of leaders to take over and in turn enjoy playing the role of adviser to the
new generation of leaders. If the leadership feels that it is irreplaceable,
then it reflects badly on it. This applies to all walks of life: the church,
community, organisation, business, government, etc.

      True leaders, therefore, do not feel indispensable. To be dispensable
is good because it reflects dynamism. We are all going to leave the stage of
life at some point in time and if we do not prepare our children, society,
organisations for life without us, it is a real tragedy.

      Good leadership is visionary. A visionary leader does not only point
the direction, but leads the way and inspires the people to believe in
themselves and achieve the seemingly impossible. The Bible states clearly
that "where there is no vision, the people perish" (Proverbs 29: 18a). It is
not clear what our vision is as a country. Where are we going? Do we have
any development strategy at the moment?

      Since leaders come from the people, the people eventually will have
their say. It is because of this realisation that it is often observed that
people get the leaders they deserve. If we do not make our leaders
accountable, they take us for granted.

      However, even where the people are cheated through propaganda
machinery, they will eventually rise and demand transparency and
accountability from their leaders. It is said that one can fool some people
some time, but one cannot fool all the people all the time. In this regard,
it is not always smart to wait for the people to reclaim leadership -
because, quite often, it can be messy.

      As Heroes' Day approaches, may it be a reminder to all of us with
respect to the ideals that the gallant sons and daughters of Zimbabwe fought
and sacrificed their lives for. They fought and died for principles and
values we should hold dear: liberty, freedom, justice, equity and fairness
irrespective of race, sex, tribe or ethnicity.

      The struggle for principle-driven leadership is a struggle we should
all engage in. The problem quite often is that the good people fold their
hands and watch events unfold.

      We deserve better. We need visionary leadership that can take the
people of Zimbabwe to the "promised land", the land that the gallant sons
and daughters perished for: a land where the people live together in
harmony, peace and abundance. In the words of Isaac Disraeli (British
foreign affairs secretary in the 19th century: "It is a wretched waste to be
gratified with mediocrity when the excellent lies before us."

      Godfrey Kanyenze is director of the Labour and Economic Development
Research Institute of Zimbabwe.
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      Mugabe gets tough with land grabbers

      Brian Mangwende and Njabulo Ncube
      7/22/2004 6:59:34 AM (GMT +2)

      CABINET ministers and senior government officials implicated in the
senseless land-grab orgy under the scandal-tainted land reform will soon be
summoned before the Presidency to account for their "deplorable actions",
ruling ZANU PF insiders have said.

      President Robert Mugabe, who has pledged to take the government's
anti-corruption drive to its full expression, was forced to intervene after
it emerge that the voracious acquirers of land were reluctant to surrender
the multiple farms they acquired in direct violation of the government's
one-man-one-farm policy.

      President Mugabe's decision to be directly involved in dealing with
the rot afflicting land reform comes at a time sceptics have expressed fears
that with ZANU PF clutching at straws in the face of waning political
fortunes, the authorities would be wary of dealing with the issue for fear
of political repercussions.

      The decision also comes after repeated calls by the Minister of
Special Affairs in the President's Office responsible for Lands, Land Reform
and Resettlement, John Nkomo, for the culprits to hand back the farms had
largely been ignored. Nkomo, who is also the ruling party's national
chairman, had been tasked to repossess swathes of land after an audit into
the land reform unearthed shocking levels of greed by influential
politicians and their cronies.

      Impeccable ZANU PF sources told The Financial Gazette that the
offenders would soon appear before President Mugabe and Vice-President
Joseph Msika with Nkomo leading the evidence. They could not, however, say
exactly when the land grabbers would be hauled before the presidential
hearing. They however said President Mugabe was already studying Nkomo's
report on the defiant Cabinet ministers and others, including those who
allegedly made frantic efforts to surrender excess properties this week.

      "They will all appear before the Presidency soon to explain why they
have defied government policy," the source said. "Those whose names appeared
in the media will probably be the first to be summoned because they are
senior government officials. They would be called before Nkomo to explain
their unbecoming behaviour. After the inquiries, the Presidency would then
make a determination on the matters and their decision is binding and

      Recently, in a story that appeared in the government-controlled Herald
headlined "Nkomo, ministers in row over farms", it was reported that Nkomo's
ministry wrote letters to Local Government, Public Works and National
Housing Minister Ignatius Chombo and Agriculture and Rural Development
Minister Joseph Made to surrender excess farms.

      Others who were reported to have received similar letters were the
ministers of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Patrick Chinamasa,
Information and Publicity Jonathan Moyo and Transport and Communications
Christopher Mushowe. All these officials have since denied that they own
more than one farm.

      President Mugabe's remarks on Monday at a reception he held for
parliamentarians ahead of the official opening of the Fifth Session of the
Fifth Parliament on Tuesday seemed to have sent shivers down the spines of
the multiple-farm owners who thought they had his support.

      But when the 80-year old leader reiterated his sentiments about
illegal excess farm ownership when he officially opened Parliament, sources
said soon after Nkomo's offices were inundated with inquiries on how to
dispose of the extra land.

      "The President's speech during the Fifth Session of the Fifth
Parliament seems to have sent jitters among those that have shown
stubbornness. We are busy, there is a stampede here," said an official in
Nkomo's office.

      Several efforts to get comment from Nkomo and his permanent secretary
Simon Pavakavambwa, who was accused by war veterans' leader Joseph
Chinotimba of causing confusion in the agrarian reform process, were

      Speculation is rife in ZANU PF inner circles that the suspects -
Cabinet Ministers and Politburo members - have since replied Nkomo, but
details of the contents were not readily available.

      As soon as news swirled that some unscrupulous government officials
had acquired more that one farm, President Mugabe appointed the Presidential
Land Review Committee led by former Secretary to the President and Cabinet,
Charles Utete, who in turn produced a damning report about multiple farm

      The controversial report was later serialised by the state-controlled
print media.

      Nkomo then produced another report which stated that 329 people, among
them Cabinet Ministers and senior government officials, had excess farms
measuring 55 513 688 hectares, while the intended beneficiaries, mainly the
landless blacks, were sidelined.

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