By ANTHONY FRANCEA CORRUPT immigration officer boasted to The Sun that he has helped 200 bogus asylum seekers enter Britain for cash.
Senior Home Office worker Joseph Dzumbira, 35, bragged to an undercover reporter that he could get anyone refugee status for up to £2,000.
He agreed to provide fake documents and IDs and coach bogus asylum seekers on how to cheat the system using loopholes learned in his job.
His biggest scam is pretending people of other nationalities are “Zim” cases — Zimbabweans threatened with arrest in their homeland. He knows the Home Office will not deport people to Zimbabwe because they face torture and death at the hands of President Mugabe’s thugs.
Dzumbira, who is Zimbabwean-born himself, has worked for seven years at the scandal-ridden Lunar House asylum HQ in Croydon, South London.
Earlier this year The Sun exposed a sex-for-visas racket at the same office.
Dzumbira — part of a gang which includes other bent immigration officers, solicitors and an ex-cop — boasted: “I believe in delivering results. There are people who can bend the rules.”
We were tipped off about Dzumbira by a disgusted
asylum seeker who received huge demands for cash.
After several calls and missed appointments, he finally met our reporter and a genuine refugee at a McDonald’s restaurant in Canning Town, East London.
The journalist, wearing a hidden camera, claimed to be a people smuggler.
Dzumbira, of Southend, Essex, showed his Home Office pass and payslip to prove where he worked.
Our man asked how much his services would cost.
He replied: “The minimum, to be honest, is eight.”
Sun: “Eight hundred?”
D: “Eight hundred pounds. I always try to charge a reasonable amount.”
Sun: “What could it go up to if it is a difficult case?”
D: “There are some people who come who know nothing. One-five.”
Sun: “One thousand five hundred?”
D: “Some people as much as two with documentation.”
Sun: “How would they pay you?”
D: “Some people pay as soon as their things are ready. Some tell you they will pay in instalments.”
Sun: “From the start will they have to put something down first?”
D: “Yeah obviously. Normally we ask for about 75 per cent of the total cost.”
Sun: “Okay. So in a case that will cost £800, they would pay what?”
D: “Normally we would ask them to deposit five.”
Sun: “How many people have you helped?”
D: “Quite a number.”
Sun: “Ten, thirty?”
D: “I can’t count. Do you want a figure for those I have given advice, assisted?”
D: “Couple of hundred.”
Dzumbira claimed Zimbabwean asylum seekers avoid proper security checks.
He said: “I know Nigerians are claiming to be Zimbabwean. No one checks.”
He offered to provide a fake Zimbabwean arrest warrant supporting a pack of lies he would tell the Home Office about the asylum seeker’s life being in danger.
The policy of not sending Zimbabweans home — known as country guidance — is binding on all courts.
Dzumbira told our asylum seeker, whose first claim was rejected in 2003: “There was a lady who was in your situation.
“There is new country guidance. It says those that claim asylum will be at risk if they go back to Zim.
“So if you are able to prove, like this lady, that she was wanted by police . .
“I’m going to give you a number for this lady. She
was a police officer. She knows the right places. For £10 it will change your
Sun: “For £10 she can..?”
D: “Get a stamp from the police, a summons that says you are wanted. Those are the very people you want.
“What you ought to do is make what they call a fresh, a fresh claim. Say you are wanted by the police. I will give you the lady’s number. Ring her today.”
Sun: “She’s in London?”
D: “No, she’s based in Leeds this one.
Sun: “So what, she can get the documents here?”
D: “No, they give you an account. The money is
transferred to that person’s account, then someone in Zim meets the police
officers who give you the documents. Then they are sent to
Dzumbira offered to provide immigration documents which our asylum seeker should “study carefully” before going to court.
Dzumbira, who is in charge of vetting thousands of claims, also said he would make sure he was on duty if ever any of the reporter’s “asylum seekers” needed to visit Lunar House for an interview.
He said he worked closely with two firms of solicitors, a detail he kept secret from his bosses.
Driving licences, IDs and payslips to support claims were “not a problem”.
He also said Britain’s border controls were so lax that anyone could arrive, post their passport home and then a relative could use it to come here too.
Please send any material for publication in the Open Letter Forum to
email@example.com with "For Open Letter Forum" in the subject line.
Much has been said over the last five years regarding the collapse of the
Zimbabwean economy. Craig Richardson's excellent article outlines the
economic chain of events that have led to the destruction of so many lives.
I am a former commercial farmer.
Please could I take this opportunity to make a couple of points that -
although they have been made before - are not explained to the people of
Zimbabwe, or to the rest of the world, at all often enough.
Most of us have heard of, or even used "Google Earth". With this amazing
technology it is very easy for any observer to see how land was used before
the 'land acquisition' debacle. It is regularly stated that black farmers
were crammed onto infertile land. If "Google Earth" is used to zoom in on
any commercial farming area that lies adjacent to what was formerly a
'communal farming area', the contrast is stark.
The images on "Google Earth" were taken prior to the destruction of
Zimbabwean agriculture, and illustrate land usage as it was before then. The
intense cultivation within the 'commercial' areas, often separated merely by
a fence, road or river ( EG. Trelawney-Darwendale, or Mtepatepa) is mirrored
by bare, eroded, deforested, undeveloped and underutilised land. Anybody
with the slightest agricultural leaning knows that boundaries such as
fences, roads or even rivers do not separate good and bad soils. On the
North side of the Hunyani river lay Trelawney, a rich and diverse farming
area. South of the river lay an arid, goat infested unproductive wasteland.
This is actually Mugabe's home territory and has received major assistance
from Government because of this - still to no avail.
These barren areas "mirrored" by the productive commeercial farming areas in
most cases share the same soil types, climate/rainfall, irrigation potential
and infrastructure, but the residents remain peasant subsistence farmers.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with most of the communal farming land. In
fact, all the commercial areas have now reverted and are just as barren!
The reason for this disparity is not voiced enough in the various media. The
commercial farmers had access to loans, because they owned title. The
communal farmers remained reliant on Government, or 'Big Brother'. Not all
communal farmers would be successful if given access to loans, as happened
with commercial farmers. Those that were not good enough went broke, were
sold up by the bank, and someone else got to have a go on the same land.
Likewise, some communal farmers would be better than others, and the best in
each area would end up buying up the weak neighbours and employing them. The
result? New commercial farms to add to what existed...none having to be
If a new Government in the near future wants to fix Zimbabwe, it needs to
return title (or compensate) to all commercial farmers. Many will never
return, which will free up a lot of land. The international community should
finance this, as they stood by and watched it happen, without doing
anything. Secondly, all communal farmers MUST be given title to the land
they occupy. This immediately creates billions in wealth (in real money).
The banks will be resuscitated (the good ones) and the economy will start to
recover. No amount of 'plans' will ever fix the problems if this is not
This is an absolute true story I am about to tell you as saw it with my own
eyes yesterday. I had just arrived at TM Borrowdale and was still in the car
park when Ebygum and his entourage came screaming past going towards town.
He had obviously spent the weekend in his palace at Borrowdale Brooke.
Anyway they disappeared and then before I had left my car I heard that
familiar sound of one of his wailers coming closer to TM and I thought that
Ebygum must be coming to do his shopping. One of his police vehicles with
lights flashing and making one hell of a noise pulled into the TM parking
area and rushed up to a car that had just arrived and had parked right next
to TM where the elderly or wheel chair people usually park. One of the cops
jumped out who indecently were very young and rushed up to the vehicle
shouting at the poor fellow inside who turned out to be and old white chap I
reckon in his seventies. There was a certain amount of abuse and arms waving
around while the whitey sat gob struck in his car. The cop went round to the
other side of the car and forced the man to open the passenger side door but
as he seemed to have a lot of stuff on the front seat he climbed into the
back seat. I was watching all of this and could not take it any longer and
my instinct for better or for worse told me I must go and help the old guy.
I went up to his window and he looked absolutely shell shocked as you can
imagine. I asked him if I could phone anyone for him or if he could give me
his name and address so I could contact him later to see if he was ok. With
that the cop in the back started on me telling me to get away but I could
not hear everything he said. Anyway I stepped back and with that the old guy
was forced to drive off being escorted by one of Bob's wailers. He had
obviously done something that the cops did not like when Ebygum went past,
probably something arbitrary like not getting right off the road and now
they had arrested him and taken him off to be charged and I just hope not
physically abused by the cops. A big crowd of blacks had gathered and
looking on. Some of them were obviously sympathetic to the plight of the old
man but did not utter a peep, useless individuals, which just goes to show
why this country is where its at.This could happen to me or my wife or
anyone as we often bump into Ebygum on the Borrowdale road now as he seems
to be up and down about twice a day now. When I hear the wailers or see the
motor bikes I never quite know what to do and that poor old guy probably
panicked and did not stop in time.
Have a good day,
All letters published on the open Letter Forum are the views and opinions of
the submitters, and do not represent the official viewpoint of Justice for
HARARE - President Robert Mugabe, whose government is technically bankrupt,
has fortified his personal security by splashing out US$66,400 on four new
motorbikes for his high-speed and heavily armed motorcade - known as "Bob
and the Wailers" because of the accompanying police outriders' sirens.
The latest addition to the motorcade, four state-of-the-art 1200cc bikes
have a taller windshield, adjustable seat, extra wide footpegs and huge
The new bikes were guiding Mugabe's motorcade on Tuesday as he appeared for
the official opening of the second session of Parliament that was snubbed by
Government spokesman George Charamba was not available for comment. But an
official who spoke to The Zimbabwean on general lines of the President's
office said: "The President's security arrangements are not for public
The Zimbabwean heard that government placed the order and possibly paid for
the bikes early this year. According to experts, such an order would not
have been accepted without guarantees or cash payments.
A spokesman of the main wing of the opposition Movement for Democratic
Change said the purchase of the bikes at a time the country was stalked by
mass starvation showed Mugabe's frenetic appetite for opulence and luxury.
"He is creating an island of pomp and fanfare in a sea of poverty and
deprivation," MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa said. - Gift Phiri
SUPER-rich Zimbabwean tycoon John Bredenkamp, whose business empire was
recently raided by police investigating "economic crimes" and
"externalisation of foreign currency", has been charged for allegedly
holding a South African passport illegally.
The arraignment of Bredenkamp - who has interests in mining, aircraft
assembling, manufacturing, agriculture, leisure and real estate - for
allegedly violating Zimbabwe's Citizenship Act, seems to signal the collapse
of the state's case built around claims of exchange control breaches, tax
evasion and unethical business practices.
Zimbabwe's Economic Conduct Inspectorate, an elite crime investigation unit,
probed Bredenkamp's businesses in June when he was in London.
The government-owned media claimed he had fled the country in a private jet
but his spokesman denied this.
Sources said the widely reported fallout between Breden-kamp and President
Robert Mugabe's regime could be the cause of the probe.
Bredenkamp grew close to the government after he was accepted back into the
country in 1982. He had been declared persona non grata in 1980 for unknown
Bredenkamp has been involved in Mugabe's ruling Zanu (PF) politics and
sources say this is the "real reason behind the investigation".
Police arrested Bredenkamp on Friday after his return from London.
On Tuesday he was charged with holding an SA passport in violation of the
The state alleges that South African-born Bredenkamp, who moved to Rhodesia
(now Zim-babwe) as a child, holds a Zimbabwean passport issued in March
2003, and also uses an SA passport obtained in May.
It is alleged Bredenkamp used the SA passport on 65 inter- national trips.
Bredenkamp's lawyers yes-terday made an application for him to be removed
from remand. They said he had already been detained far too long because,
even if found guilty, he would pay only a Z$4m (about R60) fine or be jailed
for two years if he could not pay.
State prosecutors said that while the case appeared trivial, they wanted to
detain Breden-kamp to expedite further investigations. Prosecutor Wisdom
Gandanzara argued that the detention was legal.
Harare provincial magistrate Mishrod Guvamombe granted Bredenkamp Z$5m bail
on Tuesday then postponed the matter to yesterday.
Mail and Guardian
Godfrey Marawanyika | Harare, Zimbabwe
27 July 2006 08:42
Zimbabwe's junior information minister, Bright Matonga, and a
co-accused were granted bail of Z$150-million ($148) on Wednesday following
their arrest for
Police detained Matonga as well as Charles Nherera, chairperson
of the state-owned Zimbabwe United Passenger Company (Zupco), late on
Tuesday in the capital.
"The applicants for bail are senior members of society. It is
the court's view that an accused person is innocent until proven guilty,"
Harare magistrate Faith Mushore said.
"It is ordered that the accused pay 15-million [Zimbabwe]
dollars bail deposit with the Clerk of Court and reside at the given
The accussed were also ordered not to interfere with state
witnesses and report once a week to the police. If convicted they face nine
years in jail.
Nherera is already on trial for corruption, in which he is
accused by businessman Jayesh Sha of soliciting a $5 000 bribe for every bus
Sha supplied to Zupco.
Sha is the director of Gift Investments, the company tasked with
supplying the buses to Zupco and is a key state witness in the case.
The deputy minister was also summoned as a state witness against
Nherera but his testimony did not implicate Zupco chairperson in any
The arrest came hours after Zimbabwe's long-time leader,
President Robert Mugabe, warned that corruption levels were threatening to
"undermine the very foundations of the country's socioeconomic development
and as such, constitutes a potent threat to national well-being".
"Government will not therefore, hesitate to invoke the full
force of the law against those perpetrating this vice, regardless of their
social status or political affiliation," Mugabe said at the opening of
parliament on Tuesday.
Matonga's lawyer Wilson Manase told the state-run Herald they
would fight the charges saying the allegations against Matonga were "just
The duo are expected to next appear in court on August 9.
Also in Zimbabwe, well-known businessman John Arnold Bredenkamp
appeared in court late on Tuesday charged with using a South African
passport without permission while being a Zimbabwean citizen, a criminal
offence in the southern African country.
Bredenkamp (66) was picked up by the police late on Friday and
remained in custody, his lawyers said. - Sapa-AFP
HARARE - Prices for basic food items have risen by an average 70% over the
past week, despite frantic government attempts at imposing price controls on
basic commodities such as maize meal, cooking oil and bread.
It could no longer resist the pressure for increases from businesses, who
have seen their costs rise sharply as the value of the local currency has
Since January, the Zimbabwe dollar has lost more than 200% of its value
against the US currency on a thriving parallel market, and to defend it the
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe tightened monetary policy by raising duties on most
imported items to 100%.
While government tried to claim that inflation for the month of June slowed
down by 9 percent, consumers are witnessing a fresh wave of price increases
for basic commodities.
Bread shot up by 75% at the weekend, rising from the previous Z$130,000 per
loaf to around $210,000. Commuter fares followed suit on the back of
increases in the price of fuel, which rose from between $200,000 to $220,000
in May between $400,000 and $450,000 by end of June before rising recently
to $500,000 per litre.
A trip to Kuwadzana is now attracting a fare of $150,000, while a trip to
Chitungwiza now costs $200,000 from $150,000.
Businesses around the country have been trying to put pressure on President
Mugabe's Government, which, they say, is slowly bleeding the economy to
The government last week granted the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority
permission to raise tariffs by an average of 100% after a two-month wait.
Players in the various industries have accused government of delaying the
gazetting the legal prices exposing them to the cost-push effects of
The increases comes just days before the Finance Minister Herbert Murerwa is
set to announce the mid-term Fiscal Policy review for 2006. Consumers are
expecting an adjustment on the tax-free income threshold to levels above
Z$15 million as the economic recession continues. - Own correspondent
FROM THE ZIMBABWE VIGIL
Date: Friday, 28th July 2006
Meet at 12:30 pm at the Zimbabwe Embassy, 429 Strand Central London - then
proceed to 10 Downing Street for a demonstration outside the Prime Minister's
Office where a letter will be presented at 2 pm.
THE UN MUST SEE ZIMBABWE'S MISERY - MKAPA MEDIATION A DIVERSION - LOBBY TONY
People are dying of starvation in what used to be the bread basket of
Africa. .It is no longer acceptable to deny that Zimbabwe is a failed state.
Britain should not allow the UN to wash its hands of the problem so easily.
Zimbabweans will be presenting a letter to Tony Blair on Friday 28th July
warning him not to be duped by Mugabe`s latest attempt to avoid
At the recent African Union summit in the Gambia, President Mugabe called
upon former Tanzanian President Mkapa to mediate in what Mugabe called the
dispute between Harare and London. UN's Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, has
announced that he will no longer be visiting Zimbabwe in light of the Mkapa
Zimbabweans in the diaspora insist that the mediation initiative is a
diversion designed to avoid the spotlight falling on Zimbabwe where people
are still being driven from their homes and livelihoods as Operation
Murambatsvina (drive out trash) continues.
Zimbabwean groups in the UK are calling on Tony Blair to dismiss the notion
that there is a dispute between Zimbabwe and Britain and to press for the UN
to continue their fact finding initiatives to establish what exactly is
happening in the country, where most international journalists are banned
and local reporters carefully vetted.
We strongly believe the Zimbabwean crisis needs a Zimbabwean solution -
Mugabe needs to come to the negotiating table with Zimbabweans. We won't
tolerate any efforts to buy the Mugabe regime time. Why let Mugabe mislead
the world about the Zimbabwean crisis? Innocent Zimbabweans have suffered at
the hands of the Mugabe regime - how long should people suffer!
ZIMBABWEANS IN THE UK SPEAK OUT - THE TIME FOR ACTION IS NOW
Organised by Free-Zim Youth, a member of the Zimbabwe Vigil Coalition
Contact: Alois Mbawara Phiri
Tel: 07960 333 568
The Vigil, outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, 429 Strand, London, takes place
every Saturday from 14.00 to 18.00 to protest against gross violations of
human rights by the current regime in Zimbabwe. The Vigil which started in
October 2002 will continue until internationally-monitored, free and fair
elections are held in Zimbabwe. http://www.zimvigil.co.uk
For news about Zimbabwe, read The Zimbabwean, www.thezimbabwean,co.uk.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for subs forms or Send a Sub to a school
or library in Zimbabwe for only £2.50 a week.
By a Correspondent
HARARE - THE controversial Interception of Communications Bill, which
will give Harare powers to snoop into citizens private communications, was
officially presented to Zimbabwe's Parliament yesterday, a day after the
official opening of the House.
The Bill will now go to the Parliamentary Legal Committee, which will
scrutinise it to see if it does not infringe on the country's Constitution.
Local civil society groups and the private media, together with
international media watchdogs and campaigners, have since condemned the
introduction of the Bill saying it is meant to empower President Robert
Mugabe's increasingly paranoid government to further suppress media freedom
and the opposition MDC. The MDC is Zanu PF's biggest threat after coming
close to unseating the ruling party in the disputed 2000 parliamentary
President Mugabe's government contends that with the international
spotlight and pressure on the country, such a law is necessary to safeguard
Despite widespread opposition to it, the government of Zimbabwe proved
it was hell bent on achieving its snooping goals by presenting the Bill
Among other things, the Bill seeks to establish a communications
monitoring centre to enable authorities to pry into citizens' telephone
calls or emails. It would empower the Minister of Transport and
Communications to authorise interceptions where there are "reasonable"
grounds to believe that, "a serious offence has been or is being or probably
will be committed, or there is threat to safety or national security of the
Once signed into law after going through all parliamentary procedures,
the Act will be controlled and operated by technical experts designated by a
Those authorised to make applications for interception of
communications include the Chief of the Defence Intelligence, the
Director-General of the Department of National Security, Police Commissioner
and the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority Commissioner-General.
Two other Bills, the Domestic Violence Bill and the Petroleum Bill
were also presented in the House.
By Lebo Nkatazo
Last updated: 07/27/2006 10:16:26
A ZIMBABWEAN court heard Wednesday that documents crucial in the corruption
prosecution of Deputy Information Minister Bright Matonga and Zupco board
chairman Charles Nherera, both arrested Tuesday, disappeared while in the
custody of central bank governor Gideon Gono.
The Harare Magistrates Court went on to grant bail to Matonga -- a past
Zupco Chief Executive Officer -- and Nherera who is also the vice chancellor
of the Chinhoyi State University.
The two men had bail set at $15 million each, among other conditions, in a
hearing held at 7.35 pm Wednesday.
The two were arrested Tuesday for allegedly demanding a US$10 billion bribe
each from businessman Jahesh Shah who was seeking to win a tender to supply
buses to the state-run Zimbabwe United Passenger Company (Zupco).
Asked by defence lawyer Wilson Manase if the documents that vanished "were
in custody of Gono and his personal assistant Chari", the investigating
officer Superintendent Phillip Ncube answered: "Yes".
Ncube and the Attorney General's Office had been opposed to the granting of
bail saying the two would interfere with investigations.
Ncube said he also needed to trace the documents as "there was a hand behind
The other reason for opposing bail, the policeman added, was that he needed
to locate some witnesses in the case.
Ncube said that although Shah had committed a crime in offering the two the
bribe, he had no case to answer as the AG had granted him immunity from
The bus supplier is said to have been approached for the bribe in 2004. He
reported the corruption case to Gono who has since been interviewed by the
Shah later approached the AG who in turn called in the police.
Defence lawyers Manase and Joseph Mandizha said their clients had been
abused by the police.
They said they were handcuffed to embarrass them although they had not
Nherera was made to walk on foot. According to the lawyers, he was arrested
at the university in full view of students and staff and "bundled into the
back of the car" although he was co-operating.
Meanwhile, sources tell New Zimbabwe.com that the arrests on the two is a
culmination of "a succession power game in Zanu PF".
Zanu PF sources say the target of the crackdown is Local Government Minister
Ignatius Chombo, who authorised Zupco to buy buses without going to tender.
Police were expected to interview Chombo this week.
A court will on Friday deliver judgment in Nherera's outstanding corruption
charges over Zupco's acquisition of buses from South Africa.
A Zanu PF official said: "Chombo is hanging on a very thin knife edge
because he is really the target. But the arrests of Matonga and Nherera are
really designed to force Nherera's jailing on Friday."
By Gabriel Chaibva
Last updated: 07/27/2006 11:17:15
TUESDAY'S attendance by the MDC legislators to the official opening of the
second session of the 6th Parliament of Zimbabwe by President Mugabe is
consistent with the party's resolution taken by the National Council in
The party revoked the boycott strategy after it established that it was not
the best option, had become value exhausted and had outlived its usefulness.
The party feels that the boycott strategy creates unnecessary consternation
and false hopes in the minds of the general public. In any case it is
illogical and hypocritical to boycott the official opening of the
parliamentary sessions only, when legislators continue with their
parliamentary business on a daily basis.
We find it necessary to establish consistency in our strategy in the fight
for greater political freedom and democracy for all the people.
You cannot pick and choose what parliamentary session to attend and which
one to boycott. Its either you completely pull out or you totally
participate in all sessions otherwise the boycott strategy simply serves to
add more confusion and sends wrong signals to the people.
We strongly believe, after all, that a government is constituted on the
basis of majority representation in parliament and therefore no attempts
must be made to undermine the very pillars of our democracy.
We do not subscribe to populist boycott strategies especially when it is
apparent that they have no impact at all in weakening the regime's pillars
We believe that Parliament is an institution of the people of Zimbabwe
assembled, which must be given due respect and relevance.
While our members continue to take part in parliamentary business, we are
not oblivious of the task ahead of us, which is to remove all vestiges of
repression and oppression and creating a new Zimbabwe, free of all forms of
We will continue to strive to break the shackles of repression and free the
people of Zimbabwe from Mugabe's tyrannical rule using all options
Gabriel Chaibva is Secretary for Information and Publicity for the MDC
faction led by Arthur Mutambara
BY GIFT PHIRI
HARARE - Anti-senate opposition legislators in Zimbabwe's fractured Movement
for Democratic (MDC) on Tuesday snubbed President Robert Mugabe's official
opening of the second session of Parliament, saying they had no business
listening to a "dictator" pontificating about imaginary political
Politicians from the Mutambara (pro-senate) faction of the MDC did attend.
Thokozane Khupe, vice president of the Tsvangirai-led MDC, told The
Zimbabwean: "On behalf of the people of Zimbabwe, we have taken a decision
not to be part of this charade. Our MPs shall continue to attend
Parliamentary sessions, but we shall not sanitize Mugabe's cheap political
MDC officials, including Grace Kwinjeh and Sekai Holland, who attempted to
wave placards denouncing Mugabe outside Parliament, were whisked away by
plain clothes secret police.
In his speech, Mugabe promised to turn around Zimbabwe's crisis-wrecked
economy on the back of improved agricultural production and the newly
unveiled economic blueprint - the National Economic Development Priority
Meanwhile power cuts blacked out much of his address across Harare, during
which he promised to address Zimbabwe's worsening electricity shortages
"through the construction of new stations and revamping existing ones."
Downtown Harare was hit by widespread outages minutes before state-run radio
and television were scheduled to broadcast his speech live.
Mugabe also expressed concern about the soaring cost of health care, which
put basic services out of reach for most. He said he would introduce a
cadetship programme that would bond health professionals to state hospitals
for lengthy periods.
Predictably, the aging dictator slammed the west, saying Zimbabwe, had been
"tarnished by the current British government."
"It is however refreshing that the world has now become fully aware of the
dishonest and hypocritical anti-Zimbabwe strategy of the current British
government," he said.
Meanwhile, Members of the MDC youth and women's wings marched to Parliament
to present a petition to the government calling for a resolution of the
country's worsening crisis.