The ZIMBABWE Situation Our thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe
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Zim Independent

Zanu PF chefs exposed
Augustine Mukaro/Godfrey Marawanyika
ZANU PF chefs were bankrolled by white commercial farmers during the March
general election campaign in a stark show of duplicity by the ruling party
which has attacked the opposition MDC's links with the same farmers. The
farmers were promised protection by party stalwarts in return for their

In one such case Chegutu West MP, Webster Shamu, received support from
farmers in his constituency who contributed towards his campaign in both
primary and parliamentary elections.

The ruling Zanu PF party has been quick to accuse the opposition MDC of
receiving financial support from white commercial farmers and interpreting
this as evidence of lack of patriotism. In fact the footage of white farmers
signing cheques at an MDC rally in 2000 has continually been used as a
campaign gambit by Zanu PF

Documents in the hands of the Zimbabwe Independent show that Policy
Implementation minister Shamu was bankrolled to the tune of $44 million in
diesel and petrol supplies as well as transport to implement his campaign.
He proceeded to win the election.

"The Selous community has undertaken to donate diesel and petrol to assist
with preparations for the forthcoming elections," wrote Barry Lenton on
behalf of the farmers in a letter to Shamu dated February 17.

"The amounts will be as follows: 6 000 litres diesel and 2 000 litres
petrol. The value of this donation is about $44 million. The fuel is $30
million and transport on the day of elections will cost farmers an estimated
$14 million."

Farmers who contributed towards the donation include former Commercial
Farmers Union president Colin Cloete and his father Dan, former Zimbabwe
Tobacco Association president Kobus Joubert and his son Ben, current ZTA
vice president Andrew Ferreira, Barry Nicolle, Jan Bronkhorst and 14 others.

Cloete confirmed having donated the fuel together with other farmers in the

"In the run-up to the elections there was rampant extortion from bogus
people," Cloete said. "Farmers decided to come together to stop the
extortion. Instead of donating cash we decided to buy fuel and hand it over
to the local leadership."

Cloete said several other districts contributed in one way or another but
could not give details.

In return Shamu promised to protect the farmers' properties from rogue
elements that might want to forcibly take them over.

Shamu's promise was put to the test in May when Information and Publicity

deputy minister Bright Matonga allegedly led scores of thugs onto Lion's
Vlei Estate owned by Thomas Beattie, bringing business at the
multi-billion-dollar citrus export venture to a standstill. Matonga though
denied involvement in the invasion.

The invasion prompted the farmers to write to Shamu asking him to lobby the
Zanu PF leadership to reverse the acquisition of Beattie's farm.

"As stated in our correspondence to you dated 17/02/05, our community had to
dig deeper into their pockets to raise donations that you requested for the
successful implementation of your election campaign for both the Zanu PF
primary elections and the parliamentary plebiscite," says another letter
from Lenton to Shamu.

"We are proud that our donations helped you win the elections. We are
however concerned by the events in the Chegutu town periphery where rogue
members of Zanu PF have forcibly occupied Mr TI Beattie's farm. While we
applaud your efforts to try and arrange resistance to this occupation by
deploying your own youths to repel the invaders, we believe the way forward
is to lobby your colleagues at the top so as to reverse the acquisition of
Beattie's farm," the letter says.

"The Selous community doesn't in any way doubt your ability to protect our
properties as promised by yourself earlier. We sincerely feel you will do
this so that our alliance remains put between you and ourselves."

Highly placed sources in the CFU confirmed that some of the few remaining
farmers have resorted to attending and sponsoring Zanu PF functions so that
they are allowed to continue farming.

The farmers also bankrolled rallies organised earlier this year throughout
the country to celebrate the elevation of Joice Mujuru as vice-president.
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Zim Independent

Mugabe returns with peanuts

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe managed to secure China's veto in the United Nations
(UN) Security Council on the world body's searing report on Zimbabwe's
demolition blitz, but failed to get the economic rescue package he had hoped

China was quick on Wednesday to show its position by trying to block UN
Secretary-General Kofi Annan's envoy Anna Tibaijuka, who investigated the
demolitions, from appearing before the Security Council to discuss her

However, China, which was supported by Russia and African countries, lost
the motion and Tibaijuka duly appeared to explain her report and take
questions from the floor.

While Mugabe might feel victorious in winning Chinese support, he failed to
make progress where it mattered most: on the economic front. He might come
back triumphant after what he is likely to see as a diplomatic coup against
the West, but his failure to get substantial economic aid to deal with a
litany of problems will overshadow the political benefits of his trip.

Instead of getting meaningful assistance - beyond the paltry US$6 million to
buy grain - Mugabe entered trade and investment deals that will not be of
any help to the battered economy in the short to medium term.

Barring a last-minute miracle, Mugabe had by yesterday not got lines of
credit to secure the supply of critical imports - fuel, power, drugs, and
food - but only managed to get the US$6 million handout. Government had
hoped to obtain a comprehensive economic rescue package to prevent economic

Mugabe was this week upbeat because the Chinese government had offered
diplomatic support but he could be asked to mortgage key national resources
to secure that support.

Mugabe, who was in China this week with a begging bowl, signed a number of
deals whose details have been kept a closely guarded secret.

Government sources yesterday said the Chinese were not offering any grant
but demanding important resources in return for their assistance. So
desperate is the government that it acquiesced in their demands, effectively
opening up the economy to Chinese control, the sources said.

The two countries, the sources said, concluded a preferential trade
agreement which would see concessionary tariffs applying in the movement of
goods between them. This will work in favour of the Chinese who are already
flooding the market with substandard products.

Reports from China this week quoted prime minister Wen Jiabao as saying:
"China wants to improve cooperation with Zimbabwe in mineral exploitation,
telecommunications network building and rural power grid reconstruction."

The Independent heard that the Chinese had expressed interest in platinum
resources on the Great Dyke. China is currently the leading consumer of the
white gold, using almost 20% of world production.

The Chinese have also shown interest in setting up a smelter in Zimbabwe to
refine the mineral. The final processing of platinum is done in South

The Chinese are also expected to move into coal mining in Hwange. A Chinese
company has already signed a deal to export Zimbabwean coal to China and
some of it to the DRC where it also has mining interests.

Chinese companies are also expected to help Zesa in the rural
electrification programme by supplying materials and constructing powerlines
and transformer stations.

Zesa has already taken delivery of hundreds of small trucks and lorries for
its operations. The national airline is expected to take delivery of a third
MA60 plane from China.

The Independent also heard that the Chinese were keen to set up a bus
manufacturing plant to cement the deal to supply coaches that are being used
by transport parastatal Zupco in the urban areas. - Staff Writers.
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Zim Independent

Clean-up victims face more woes
Ray Matikinye
MBAIMBAI Gonyori (50) seals the remaining chinks on the face of a kiln with
clods of wet mud after shoving in a few half-dry logs. He prepares to
re-fire bricks at the ledge of a deep pit along a stream bank in rural
Tokwane-Ngundu, 430 km southeast of the capital Harare.

Each time he inspects the kiln of mud bricks, Mbaimbai doubts whether the
few logs will accomplish the task. The first time he torched it, the fire
fizzled out prematurely, leaving the bricks half-baked and brittle.

He still curses the ill luck of having been forcibly evicted from what
government deemed an illegal settlement along the banks of Mucheke River in
Masvingo town, 130 km away.

"At least I was lucky my brother understood my plight. He has been of great
help and seems to appreciate how it feels to be ejected from what one has
called home for years," Mbaimbai says.

Mbaimbai says his brother Joel (54) interceded on his behalf, going through
a maze of petty village bureaucracy to be allowed to cut down fuel wood to
fire the kiln. He had to pay a neighbouring village head a goat and a pair
of pullets to be allowed to cut down a tree when the local village head
became obstructive.

"The local village head was adamant and could not allow me to cut a single
tree. I think he is justified. You can see the amount of deforestation," he
says, letting his open palm range over a wide expanse of denuded landscape
stretching for miles.

More than that, the village head refused to offer Mbaimbai land to settle,
saying the village was full to the hatches, with some families already
encroaching on grazing land. Government's much-vaunted land reform programme
has yet to make an impact and decongest rural areas such as Tokwane-Ngundu.

The village head, though, allowed Mbaimbai's brother to sublet part of his
arable land.

"I don't know what I have done to deserve this," he says dejectedly.

Some metres away Mbaimbai's meagre items of furniture that he managed to
salvage lies stacked in a ramshackle shed together with his brother's
farming equipment.

Fifteen years ago Mbaimbai who had relocated to rural Hurungwe from Mwenezi
district during government's initial resettlement programme in the 80s, was
evicted and dumped at the Chief's Hall in Masvingo town en route to his
original home in Mwenezi.

When he returned to rural Mwenezi, he found the family's traditional lands
had been submerged under Manyuchi dam. Mbaimbai and others were found
alternative land on the border between Mwenezi and Chiredzi districts.

But the Chiredzi district lands committee deemed the settlers illegal
squatters and sent in police to torch their huts. Although government
reversed the local official's edict, the eviction was the last straw that
broke Mbaimbai's back.

It broke Mbaimbai's romanticism about rural life too.

For the past 13 years since a severe drought wracked rural Masvingo,
Mbaimbai had lived in Masvingo town, eking out a living from selling
vegetables, fruit and cardboard boxes discarded by supermarkets to commuters
at Mucheke bus terminus.

Rural Masvingo has never fully recovered from past droughts with the most
severe having occurred in 1992. This year has not been any different.

When government launched its slum clearance programme in Masvingo town in
mid-May, Mbaimbai became a victim of eviction yet again.

Without food and money, Mbaimbai and his family of four have to rely on his
brother for food probably up to the next harvest or until they fought
through the maze of village bureaucracy and get registered on the
government's-food aid programme.

"Before I can get government food assistance I have to go through the same
bureaucracy I went through to be allowed to cut a few trees to fire my kiln,
all over again," he says.

He says problems worsen when traditional leaders, largely viewed to be
pro-Zanu PF, suspect anyone evicted from urban centres to be an opposition
supporter. "Local ruling party supporters take your plight as an opportunity
to taunt and harass you," says Mbaimbai.

Before government blitzed on informal settlement and traders' kiosk aid
agencies estimated that 2,4 million Zimbabweans needed food aid. The figure
has risen with more people having been forced back to rural areas casting
further doubts whether it will be able to cope.

A report by UN special envoyAnna Tibaijuka said the razing of urban slums by
the government during the last three months was "carried out in an
indiscriminate and unjustified manner, with indifference to human suffering"
and had left an estimated 700 000 people homeless, with no access to food,
water, sanitation or health care.

Apart from swelling the numbers of land-short villagers in Tokwane-Ngundu
who direly need to be found new lands to resettle, Mbaimbai says he is not
sure whether he will be included on the list of beneficiaries.

"If I am selected others at the head of the queue would complain bitterly.
But I cannot make a living for my family on the small arable patch here," he
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Zim Independent

MDC refutes coalition claims
Loughty Dube
THE opposition MDC has refuted claims that it is being courted by South
Africa to form a government of national unity with the ruling Zanu PF as one
of the conditions for Pretoria to grant a R6,5 billion loan to Zimbabwe.

The MDC this week said the issue of a coalition government was out of the
question until the country was fully democratised.

The MDC is meeting next week to decide on whether to stay in parliament or
not since there is a feeling that the party is legitimising President
Mugabe's tyranny by seeming to endorse bad laws passed by parliament by
virtue of the ruling party's dubious majority.

MDC spokesperson Paul Themba Nyathi said the opposition would welcome any
overtures from President Thabo Mbeki to engage Zanu PF if the talks focused
on setting the country on a democratic footing.

"The issue of the MDC and Zanu PF forming a coalition government or a
government of national unity does not arise because the MDC and Zanu PF have
nothing in common, the two parties are like water and oil. They will never
mix," said Nyathi adding that the MDC would only engage in talks to
alleviate the suffering of the people of Zimbabwe.

The South African government is mulling availing a R6,5 billion loan to
settle Zimbabwe's debt with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) while also
easing the crippling fuel crisis in the country.

The MDC's denial follows media reports that Mbeki had impressed on President
Mugabe and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai the need for a coalition
government to solve Zimbabwe's political and economic problems.

"There is no way we can form a coalition government with Zanu PF," Nyathi
said. "The issue is what should be done to ensure that people in Zimbabwe
participate in free and fair elections where they choose their leaders in a
legitimate manner," Nyathi said.

Mbeki at the beginning of this month dispatched his newly appointed deputy
president Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka to Harare in what analysts said was a bid
to coax President Mugabe on the coalition government issue.

Earlier Mbeki had met with Tsvangirai in Pretoria to discuss the situation
in the country and progress on talks between the rival political parties.
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Zim Independent

Moyo slams MIC's ANZ ruling
Ray Matikinye
INDEPENDENT Member of Parliament for Tsholotsho, Professor Jonathan Moyo,
has attacked the Media and Information Commission (MIC), chaired by
Tafataona Mahoso, for abusing the law to deny publishers of the Daily News
and the Daily News on Sunday an operating licence.

The MIC announced on Tuesday last week its decision to deny an operating
licence to the Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe (ANZ) citing the company's
past infractions with Aippa as a major reason. The Daily News and its sister
edition, the Daily News on Sunday were closed on September 12 2003.

Moyo, a former Information minister and widely seen as the architect of
Aippa, said in a statement the decision by the MIC "is not only scandalous
but also criminal because the reasons cited by the media regulatory board
are factually and legally non-existent".

He said the MIC's refusal to grant the ANZ a licence was "so irrational that
its effect makes a mockery of the law and tarnishes the image of the
government". The decision, Moyo said, left Information and Publicity
minister Tichaona Jokonya with egg on his face.

Jokonya announced in April that he did not want to see newspapers closed.

Moyo said the MIC should license the Daily News and its Sunday title as a
matter of law.

He said the most important fact was that the Supreme Court itself clearly
ruled on September 11, 2003 that the ANZ was in violation of the law and
refused to entertain its constitutional challenge to sections of Aippa on
grounds that the ANZ had approached the court with "dirty hands".

This matter was resolved on February 18, 2004 when the Supreme Court ruled
that the ANZ had brought itself within the law to enable the court to hear
its constitutional challenge of Aippa on its merits.

Moyo said therefore the ANZ's contravention of Sections 66, 72, 76 and 79(6)
of Aippa which were clearly an issue in September 2003 were not an issue in
February 2004 and since then up to now.

"This position was accepted by the Supreme Court and it is precisely because
the ANZ had become in compliance with the Act by not publishing that the
court allowed ANZ's constitutional challenge to sections of Aippa to be
heard," Moyo said.

He called the MIC's refusal to grant a licence to the banned ANZ titles
"absurd" and an abuse of the law.

The MIC refused to register the ANZ citing, among other reasons, the
company's continued employment of unaccredited journalists, including one
that had a criminal conviction for publishing a false story. The conviction
was subsequently set aside.

The journalist, Chengetai Zvauya this week wrote to the MIC through the
Zimbabwe Union of Journalists protesting against the use of his name in the
showdown between the ANZ and the MIC.

Moyo said the MIC's basis for refusal was at face value absurd because the
cited sections of the law can only be contravened by a mass media service
that is in fact publishing outside the law, yet it is self-evident that the
ANZ is not publishing its titles.

He said there was no such contravention. Aippa clearly required the MIC to
register mass media services as a matter of entitlement in terms of Section
69(1) of the Act.

The section says the MIC "may not refuse to register a mass media service"
unless there is no compliance with the law, the information in the
application is misleading or false, or the mass media service seeks to
register under the name of an existing similar service.

"None of the exceptions currently apply to ANZ and MIC had no option but to
register ANZ as a matter of law," said Moyo.

He challenged Jokonya to cast aside the MIC determination and license the
papers, adding that the Attorney-General's office should decline to defend
the MIC in any appeal that the ANZ might make in the Administrative Court or
review in the High Court because the MIC's decision had no legal merit of
any kind.

The former government propaganda guru said the determination by the MIC was
an "abuse of an otherwise good law and the decision will tarnish the image
of government in terms of democracy and justice".

Meanwhile, the ANZ on Wednesday filed papers with the High Court seeking a
review of Mahoso's conduct and that of the commission he chairs.

Sam Sipepa Nkomo, the ANZ CEO, told the Zimbabwe Independent on Wednesday he
believes the MIC has deliberately misinterpreted Chief Justice Godfrey
Chidyausiku's ruling, particularly paragraph 40 of the judgement.
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Zim Independent

Govt in turmoil ahead of UN follow-up team
Augustine Mukaro/Loughty Dube
SERIOUS confusion reigned in government circles this week over how to handle
the United Nations' damning report on the controversial clean-up campaign
ahead of speculation that a follow-up team could be heading for Zimbabwe.

The UN last Friday published a searing report by its special envoy Anna
Kajumulo Tibaijuka that government prematurely dismissed as biased and
compiled under pressure from Britain and the US.

President Mugabe, speaking from China, said Tibaijuka told him "her hands
were tied".

But government on Wednesday reversed its verdict in parliament, with
Information deputy minister Bright Matonga saying "government has not
condemned the UN report on the clean-up operation but is working with a UN
habitat officer in the reconstruction exercise".

Vice-President Joice Mujuru on Wednesday told a Seed Co function in Nyabira
that Operation Murambatsvina was over.

However, there were throughout the week reports of continued forced
evictions across the country in direct violation of UN recommendations.

UN officials this week said a follow-up team was expected in Harare soon to
assess whether government was complying with recommendations contained in
the Tibaijuka report.

"The team will verify and address some of Tibaijuka's recommendations," said
a UN official. "As is the norm with all UN-instigated fact-finding missions
there is always a follow-up team after every report," the official said.

Government has however shown signs of panic in trying to cover its tracks by
closing transit camps and sending the victims to unknown destinations in
rural areas while those without relatives will be allocated land by chiefs
in their districts of birth.

In Harare, Caledonia transit camp has been closed with most of the families
being moved back to their former stands at Hatcliffe Extension.

Hatcliffe Extension was flattened in the early stages of the blitz, leaving
thousands of families without shelter until government moved them to
Caledonia Farm.

Harare North MP Trudy Stevenson confirmed that residents from her
constituency had returned but complained of government not providing enough
reconstruction materials.

"The government provided only asbestos sheets for the people to build
shacks," Stevenson said adding: "people were now living like refugees in
their own country."

But she could not ascertain where the people who did not originate from
Hatcliffe Extension could have been taken to, fuelling speculation that they
could have been dumped on farms in the surrounding rural areas.

Reports indicate government trucks used to move the people from Caledonia
were seen heading towards Goromonzi, Shamva and Murehwa while those who
remained at Porta Farm were being ferried to Hopley Estate.

In Bulawayo victims of the operation held at the Helensvale Transit camp
were moved to rural areas where they are being dumped at district offices
without food or other provisions.

The majority of the people moved from the transit camp have been dumped in
Tsholotsho at the district administrator's office. Some have been evacuated
to resettlement farms along the way as government attempted to cover its
tracks and pretend to comply ahead of a UN follow-up mission that is
expected to visit the country soon.

Scores of people have been relocated to Inyathi, Nyamandlovu, Nkayi,
Filabusi and Esigodini district centres.

About 30 people were abandoned at the Esigodini district offices, while in
Gwanda a similar number were left stranded outside the district
administrator's office without shelter or food.

Churches that were feeding the displaced people at Helensvale said the
people who have been dumped elsewhere in the province were being left
without assistance.
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Zim Independent

Tibaijuka defends her report

UNITED Nations envoy Anna Tibaijuka on Wednesday briefed the UN Security
Council on Operation Murambatsvina and defended her role as Britain stepped
up diplomatic pressure for the world to focus on the Zimbabwe crisis.

The Security Council briefing went ahead despite attempts by China, Russia,
Algeria, Benin and Tanzania to block the move. The closed-door meeting took
place after a procedural ballot requested by Russia in which the 15-member
council voted nine in favour and five against, with one abstention, to
approve the British request for the briefing. No veto is allowed on
procedural matters. China and Russia joined the three African countries in
voting against. Brazil abstained.

Tibaijuka who has been accused by the government of working at the behest of
the British said she had not been pressured to do the report.

"My report is very clear. It's an objective report. There's nothing more
that I can say," she said.

Britain's UN envoy Emrys Jones Parry said in response to President Mugabe's
claims that Tibaijuka's "hands were tied": "Firstly, there's been no
pressure; secondly, events speak for themselves, the facts actually
substantiate her report and she has produced a report on her own authority
for the secretary-general and no British fingerprint is near it. The
conspiracy theory does not apply."

In a bid to limit the damage, Mugabe has invited Annan to visit Zimbabwe to
see for himself but the UN boss has said he will only come if demolitions
cease and dialogue is initiated both within Zimbabwe and between Zimbabwe
and the international community.

This came as South Africa's ruling African National Congress (ANC) said
yesterday it backed the United Nations report condemning Zimbabwe's urban
demolition blitz on shantytowns and informal businesses.

ANC spokesman Smuts Ngonyama said in an interview South Africa's governing
party supported the report, which has put President Robert Mugabe in a
diplomatic fix.

"Insofar as it opens the way for engagement between the UN, Zimbabwe and
other stakeholders, it must be applauded and we support it," he said. "We
can find common ground and the report can be a point of entry. That's the
position of the ANC."

Ngonyama said South Africa could announce "something on Zimbabwe, sooner or
later, if all goes well".

Mugabe's government this week appeared to be at sixes and sevens in its
reaction to the scathing report. Although Mugabe and his senior ministers
such as Simbarashe Mumbengegwi (Foreign Affairs) and Sydney Sekeramayi
(Defence) attacked the report, claiming it was "biased", deputy Information
minister Bright Matonga said government had not rejected it.

Annan called the report, which said Mugabe's demolitions had displaced 700
000 people and affected up to 2,4 million, "profoundly distressing".

Annan's response to a phone call from Mugabe has led the government media to
suggest he would soon visit Zimbabwe. But his officials have been quick to
point out that the secretary-general's diary is full until February.

They said he gave his "standard response" to such requests for him to make a
visit. "It wasn't a no," one official said, "but it was definitely not a
yes". - Staff Writers.
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Zim Independent

      Zanu PF fights to stem mass exodus
      Dumisani Muleya

      ZANU PF has deployed state security agents to stop a looming mass
exodus from within its ranks, it has emerged.

      Intelligence sources said the ruling party - currently obsessed by the
possible emergence of a Third Force to occupy the political middle ground -
has unleashed state security agents to use a carrot-and-stick approach to
prevent mass defections that threaten an implosion of the party.

      The sources said the state security details were activated in Bulawayo
last week as speculation swirled that Zanu PF provincial members were due to

      The state security agents also sprung into action in the Midlands -
seen as the hub of the Third Force - to approach disgruntled Zanu PF members
promising them appointments and promotions within party structures. State
agents were also in operation in Matabeleland North.

      The three provinces were said to be on the verge of a rebellion
against Zanu PF over Operation Murambatsvina and the deepening economic

      Reliable sources say 75 Zanu PF members wanted to resign from the
three provinces before more pulled out from Masvingo and Matabeleland South

      Zanu PF central committee member Pearson Mbalekwa resigned recently in
protest against a number of issues. Security agents afterwards raided his
farm and confiscated his equipment. Mbalekwa has said intelligence
operatives, army officers and police details swooped on his farm.

      "Members of the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) and their
backers were in force in Bulawayo putting out feelers after hearing of a
looming revolt," a source said.

      "They were also activated in Midlands and Matabeleland North where
there is a groundswell of discontent. The state agents are using a
carrot-and-stick approach: offering inducements to stop people from
resigning. But in some cases there is intimidation, threats and coercion."

      The sources named a number of those affected by the operation but the
victims could not be named for fear of victimisation.

      However, sources said it was only a matter of time before Zanu PF is
rocked by "inevitable resignations". The ruling party is effectively divided
into two broad camps - seen as led by Retired General Solomon Mujuru and
Emmerson Mnangagwa - that are locked in a protracted power struggle.

      This divide manifests itself in different Zanu PF structures.

      Zanu PF MPs recently expressed anger at a heated caucus meeting over
government's failure to deal with the fuel crisis, despite official attempts
to deny the issue.

      Sources said on Wednesday Zanu PF MPs also showed rising discontent at
another caucus meeting over the demolition blitz. Sources said MPs, led by
Gutu South MP Shuvai Mahofa, said they were unwilling to defend the blitz
when they did not even know who its architects were or its motives.

      For the first time, Zanu PF MPs on Wednesday also debated the effects
of the Tsholotsho saga, with some saying the issue was continuing to inflame
internal strife.

      Sources said Matabeleland North governor Thoko Mathuthu said the vexed
issue was making it difficult to restore internal party cohesion. The
Tsholotsho saga involved a foiled attempt by the Mnangagwa group to seize
control of Zanu PF last November.

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Zim Independent

Police arrest MDC election expert
Ray Matikinye
POLICE on Wednesday night raided the home of Movement for Democratic Change
election expert Topper Whitehead where they confiscated equipment that could
be used to expose how Zanu PF rigged the 2002 presidential ballot, a move
analysts described as con-tinued harassment of the opposition.

Also yesterday, MDC deputy secretary-general and MP for Mbare, Gift
Chimanikire, was arrested as he tried to report his assault by Zanu PF
youths in the suburb at the official opening of a vendors' market by
Vice-President Joseph Msika.

Police spokesman, Assistant Commissioner, Wayne Budzijena said Chimanikire
was arrested on suspicion that he had two firearms in his car. "We are still
investigating the matter," he said last night.

In the Whitehead case, eight police officers led by Detective Inspector
Govha of the CID Law and Order Section ransacked the election expert's home,
saying police believed he had subversive photographs and videotapes filmed
during Operation Murambatsvina.

They confiscated three computers and a similar number of removable external
disc drives with a powerful database system able to store a huge amount of
data. The equipment is capable of analysing data from ballot boxes that the
High Court has granted to the MDC.

The MDC is convinced the raid was meant to hobble the party's efforts to

analyse the ballot papers. The raid comes soon after the MDC discovered that
some of the ballot boxes used in the presidential election had been tampered
with while police reported a break-in at the High Court where the boxes are

Recently, MDC secretary for legal affairs, David Coltart, said Zanu PF had
much to hide about the outcome of the presidential election, hence its
attempts to tamper with lawful processes.
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Zim Independent


IN last week's edition in a story titled "Police arrest four Bulawayo
clergymen", we incorrectly stated the number of the arrests.

We have since established that the statement released by the Solidarity
Peace Trust was incorrect since only one clergyman was arrested.

The error is regretted. - Editor.
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Zim Independent

Zim a minefield for investors
Godfrey Marawanyika
ZIMBABWE'S foreign investment policy is riddled with bureaucracy and
corruption which makes it difficult for prospective investors to obtain
licences unless they know some "higher-up" in government, the Business
Monitor International (BMI) has said.

In its latest report titled, The Zimbabwe Business Forecast Report, Q3 2005,
the London-based BMI said malfeasance was rampant in government and those
connected to it.

"Also, it can be very difficult to ob-tain approvals without bringing well-
connected locals into the ownership structure of a project," BMI said.

The BMI said although Zimbabwe claims to be an investor-friendly country,
the situation on the ground was very different, with a plethora of laws that
make investment difficult.

The group blamed the political crisis for the problems that the country is
facing, pointing out that the ruling party had worsened the situation.

"Clearly, the political situation is at, or near, the top of that list, not
least because of the possibility that international trade sanctions might be
imposed on the regime at some stage," the BMI said.

"International studies have concluded that the outlook for the domestic
market is often the most important factor multinationals consider when
deciding where to invest, and clearly in that respect Zimbabwe, at least for
the moment, fares very poorly," the report noted.

This week press reports indicated the Ministry of Mines, headed by Amos
Midzi, was considering inviting another local consortium to take half of the
15% empowerment stake in Zimplats.

The BMI said the trade and investment environment in the country was one of
the most challenging in the world, since there are problems ranging from
corruption, scarce and expensive financing, and government interference and
lack of property rights.

The report painted a bleak picture of Zimbabwe's economy, saying it seems
there was no solution in sight. "We expect no overall improvement as long as
political instability persists," the BMI said.

Over the past six years, foreign direct investment has declined
sharply.During the same time, the country's economy has experienced massive
de-industrialisation while the agricultural sector is in chaos.

Many skilled workers and professionals have emigrated while HIV and Aids are
wreaking havoc on the country's labour force.

Zimbabwe needs a major reconstruction programme in agriculture, industry and
lately the housing sector following an ill-thought-out clean-up project that
left thousands of people homeless.

However, the long drawn political impasse has made business planning
virtually impossible.

The BMI said although the country had an investment centre, a body that was
supposed to smooth the path of foreign investors, it has virtually ceased

"And while official policy claims to welcome FDI, the operational burdens
and financial costs imposed by the current foreign exchange regime act as a
major disincentive, as do exchange controls on capital flows," BMI said.

"While dividend remittances are allowed freely in theory at least, an
overseas investor wishing to repatriate capital can only do so through a
20-year government bond denominated in local currency and with an annual
coupon of only 4% - that does not even start amortising the capital until
year 11."

The report said taking into account inflation, currency depreciation and
time value of money, the asset represented by the bond was worthless.

"It seems that it is possible to circumvent these problems, but only by
engaging in practices contrary to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation
and Development international code of practice for foreign investors," it
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Zim Independent

Zim has one month's wheat supply left
Eric Chiriga
ZIMBABWE is left with one month's supply of wheat, the National Bakers'
Association (NBA) has said.

David Govere, an executive member of the NBA, said at the rate of
consumption, Grain Marketing Board (GMB) wheat stocks will last up to the
first week of September.

Govere is also an executive member of the Zimbabwe National Chamber of

The new harvest of wheat is expected at the end of October, meaning two
months of extreme bread shortages.

"The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe has failed to avail currency for the wheat in
bond (CMA wheat) for the last six months, worsening the flour and bread
shortages further," Govere said.

Besides the short supply of grain, Govere said fuel shortages were adversely
affecting the baking industry.

"The industry is further threatened by the shortage of diesel needed to fire
the baking ovens as well as for the distribution trucks."

He said the National Oil Company of Zimbabwe was only able to supply a third
of industry requirements, leaving bakeries with no option but to buy from
the black market.

Govere said the industry was also threatened by the government's opposition
to viable prices.

He said they had been in negotiations with the government for the past four
months but nothing had materialised.

The baking industry and the government's costing models established that at
a 20% return, bakers would have to wholesale the bread at $11 000 and retail
at about $12 000.

Government has been subsidising wheat purchases by buying wheat at $2
million per tonne and selling it to the milling industry at $900 000 per
tonne and the flour is then sold to bakers at about $3,6 million per tonne.

However, the positive contribution of the subsidy to the cost of bread has

dropped from 60% to 22% because the ingredients, for instance yeast,
packaging, additives, fuel and spare parts, have risen at an alarming rate.

"Two weeks ago both government and the baking industry agreed that if a
standard loaf was to be produced using GMB supplied wheat, the bare cost
would be $7 500," Govere said.

In order to cushion the consumer, both parties then agreed to wholesale the
bread at $8 000 per loaf and retail it for $8 500.

"Both parties established that it was impossible to produce a standard loaf
at $4 200."

Govere said because of delays in getting profitable prices several baking
companies, for example Continental, Koullas and N&B, had either collapsed or
sold their assets.

"All industry players submitted that they had tried all tricks to help the
business to keep afloat but they had now reached a level where nothing
except a reasonable price increase coupled with good flour and fuel supplies
can save the baking industry in Zimbabwe," Govere said.
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Zim Independent

Devaluation: an erosion of wealth

Shakeman Mugari

RESERVE Bank of Zimbabwe governor Gideon Gono last week created instant
millionaires at the stroke of a pen when he devalued the dollar by 94% in a
desperate bid to increase foreign currency inflows.

The major reason was that slashing the value of the fragile dollar would
encourage Zimbabweans working abroad to send hard currency back home through
the formal market. The devaluation, Gono said, would also offer relief to
exporters on the brink of collapse because of an unsustainable exchange

On the streets, those with relatives living abroad gave his policy decision
a thumbs-up because it meant more Zimbabwean dollars from a few United State
greenbacks or British pounds. Never mind that the buying power remained
either unchanged or was lower.

At the new rate of $17 500 to the US dollar, a Zimbabwean needs to receive
about US$60 to become an instant millionaire.

To exporters it means some temporary reprieve, after months of being
subjected to an unviable rate. At least for now they can have more
Zimbabwean dollars from the proceeds of their exports. Workers in the same
sector can also hang on to their jobs - if they are lucky.

But that is as far as the benefits of the devaluation go. Beyond that and in
reality Gono's action amounts to a systematic erosion of the country's
wealth in the forlorn hope of bringing in a few US bucks. It exposes Gono's
failure to find a long-term strategy to maintain the value of the Zimbabwe

His actions amount to an admission that the central bank has failed to
preserve the value of the local currency. The central bank is there to
maintain the stability of the local currency and uphold its integrity.

Analysts say it is highly unlikely that the recent devaluation will be met
with increased inflows from those in the diaspora because they have come to
expect more. Their expectations, which are based on concrete fundamentals,
have long outlived the new rate.

For Gono to catch the parallel market rate which most diasporians are using,
he would have to devalue again by another 100%. But there is no guarantee
that this will help because Gono is dealing with a scarce commodity and with
people who left the country in protest against government-sponsored violence
and a breakdown of the rule of law. Most of them were denied their right to
vote in the March 31 election and are thoroughly suspicious of government's
every move.

By the time Gono announced the rate of $17 500:US$1 the parallel market had
galloped to $35 000:US$1, making his effort fruitless.

At the alarming rate at which the dollar is losing value, the exporters whom
he says are now "happy", will soon be asking for more.
That is what previous devaluations have shown - giving too little, too late.

At the time Gono devalued by 45% in May to $9 000:US$1 the black market rate
was already running at $21 000:US$1.

Perhaps because of the extent to which government has vandalised the
economy, Zimbabweans have become so fatalistic that they celebrate the
pillaging of their own currency. They have been forced by government to live
for today and ignore the dire effects of their currency losing value.

This defeatist attitude has blinded the suffering Zimbabweans to the fact
that more devaluation means greater poverty, as it will hit the common man
hardest in the long-run. People seem content with becoming millionaires in a
currency that has no value beyond their borders.

At the national level it means the state's external debts have doubled in
Zimbabwean dollar terms, as government will need more to buy the foreign
currency to meet its external obligations.

Instead of raising national productivity and generating more exports, Gono
appears to have fallen for the illusion that foreign currency can be coaxed
out of Zimbabweans doing menial jobs abroad through devaluation. History has
shown that the state uses devaluation to print more money whose growth is
not matched by an increase in national production. This leads to
hyperinflation as more paper chases scarce commodities.

"Government will have to print more dollars to match the devaluation. And
that will lead to inflation because it is not based on increased
production," says an economist with a local bank. "They will also need more
local currency to buy forex to service their external debts.

"But the long and short of it is that we have failed to maintain the value
of our currency. A currency has to be respected," he said.

Devaluation, he said, means all imported goods would go up in price, further
eroding everyone's buying power except those with access to forex. In the
end the dollar amounts to wads of paper with no value in the country and is
not recognised in the region.

The devaluation also means more misery for the thousands who are already
wallowing in poverty. Basic goods will become more expensive worsening the
plight of the poor who are finding it increasingly difficult to survive.

Those living on meagre pensions would be hit hard as their earnings have
virtually collapsed. For example, a million in a savings account is
instantly reduced from US$92 to about US$57. Those who had saved for a
holiday outside the country would have to fork out more to get the foreign

For ordinary Zimbabweans, the devaluation triggered a massive hike in the
prices of most basic commodities as manufacturers factored in the cost of
their imported components of the product.

Almost every basic commodity, including mealie-meal, carries an import
component. The spare part for the milling machines are imported and the
millers pass the new cost on to the consumer.

It was possible until five years ago for locals to cross over into Zambia
with a few Zimbabwean dollars to carry out business transactions. Now the
dollar has lost so much value that it is shunned by its own people who now
prefer to charge for services in foreign currency.

Estimates indicate that the dollar has lost 99% of its value in the past
five years. All these are signs of a failed economy whose resuscitation
cannot be achieved through devaluation but sound economic policies backed by
political will.

Economist John Robertson said to revive the economy government must stop its
profligacy and strive for increased production.

He said devaluation was a short-term measure and any government interested
in reviving its economy could not use it continuously.

"The reason why we don't have foreign currency is because we have destroyed
exporting sectors like agriculture and manufacturing," Robertson said.

"We are likely to continue experiencing forex shortages because no one wants
to invest in Zimbabwe because we have shown the world that we have no
respect for property rights."

The agriculture sector was hit by the chaotic land reform, which saw the
destruction of tobacco, flower and beef production. The country's exports
have been in decline for the past five years.

The manufacturing sector, which Gono has been trying to resuscitate without
success, has plunged by more than 60% during the same period. The reason why
the country doesn't have forex is because we are simply not exporting
enough - largely because much of the produce we used to export has fallen
victim to farm seizures.

To revive the economy, Gono needs the political support of government to
regain the confidence of multilateral organisations like the IMF and the
World Bank. They will only come aboard when there is a restoration of the
rule of law.

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Zim Independent

Editor's Memo

The weak link

THE government is clearly miffed that the report of UN secretary-general
Kofi Annan's special envoy Anna Tibaijuka ignored what it calls the positive
aspects of Operation Murambatsvina. In other words, the government expected
the UN envoy to ignore the negative impact of the blitz and instead praise
the authorities for what appears to be an afterthought, Operation Garikai.
That is naivety of the highest order.

It is equally naïve for President Mugabe to try and change the course of
events by inviting Annan to come to Zimbabwe and see for himself the beauty
of Operation Murambatsvina. Last Friday Mugabe said he called Annan
imploring him to come to Zimbabwe and have a look around. But his office has
made it clear he won't be coming any time soon - at least not before
political dialogue is underway.

Mugabe expects Annan to see things differently. He expects the UN boss to
endorse the blitz and in the process disown the excoriating report by
Tibaijuka. Then the operation will get international acceptance and support,
thoroughly embarrassing Tony Blair, Alexander Downer, George Bush and all of
us who saw evil in the operation from its inception. That, at any rate, is
the plan.

But it's a flight into fantasy. Annan, in typical high-level diplomacy, did
not tell Mugabe: "I am not coming to Harare." But neither would he give the
president a date for his visit.

Annan is not heading this way because there is no need for him to come. It
would be a huge diplomatic gaffe for the secretary-general to follow up a
visit by his emissary and pronounce a different verdict on the situation.
That would be to second-guess his own envoy who is a specialist in the field
of human habitat and who spent two weeks here observing the situation
together with her expert team.

But our spin-masters will take Annan's polite response as a firm commitment
which they will use to their advantage if the visit fails to take place.
Expect a headline like: "Annan chickens out"! We should expect this
gobbledygook from government which is trying to take on the world on the
back of promises of support from the Chinese.

But Annan is sticking to the report. Tibaijuka is right. It is his report
and his worry at the moment is how to use it. This could be his opportunity
to deal with the Zimbabwean problem.

With the report, he has his foot firmly in the door of the Zimbabwe crisis.

Tibaijuka had a good look at the situation in Zimbabwe. Contrary to the
facile claims being made by President Mugabe and his publicists she did not
come with any preconceived notions except perhaps to think of ways to assist
Zimbabwe. Nor were her hands tied.

She got a good insight into the politics of the country. She saw the
manipulation of the media by the state. She detected the absence of
dialogue. She saw people struggling to get to work because of the lack of
fuel. She heard first-hand politicians making promises that they could not
possibly fulfil. She saw a government fighting its own people. She saw a
country desperately in need of help.

Annan through the report has elevated the Zimbabwean issue to a higher
pedestal where it is too compelling for the international community to
ignore. Mugabe believes that he can convince the world that the United
Nations is wrong and he is right.

But Annan's diplomatic hold on Zimbabwe has tightened. He is pledging to
provide material support to Zimbabwe so that the country climbs out of the
humanitarian mess. He wants to do more and is working closely with Prime
Minister Tony Blair, Nigerian leader Olusegun Obasanjo, currently chair of
the African Union, and President Thabo Mbeki.

"Once the most acute human needs are addressed, the United Nations will play
its part, and give whatever help it can in implementing the report's other
recommendations," he said last Friday.

"Among these is the call for dialogue between the government of Zimbabwe,
domestic constituencies and the international community with a view to
working together to address Zimbabwe's serious social, economic and
political problems."

Mugabe's government calls this meddling in the country's internal affairs
because the subject of internal dialogue instills fear in the heart of the
establishment. It means a dilution of power and control. It means climbing
down from the high stool of arrogance and facing the problems without
posturing. It is putting the country ahead of personal motives. This is
alien to our rulers' view of governance. Tichaitonga kusvikikira yashakara!

But the focus is now on Annan. He has appealed for international support to
assist Zimbabwe. The UNDP will co-ordinate that effort. But donors have not
forgotten the disastrous 1998 Land Donors Conference. Mugabe has to make
concessions this time. The donors will demand a form of internal settlement
first. As the South Africans have emphasised in regard to Gideon Gono's loan
application, there will be no free lunch.

The United Nations has now put Zimbabwe under the spotlight by raising
issues of governance and dialogue. The aim is to tie international
rehabilitation to an internal settlement. All this is likely to infuriate
Mugabe who will use his Chinese alliance to block progress. But in the end
even the Chinese will realise that their ambitions for trade and mineral
extraction in the region are not served by having one link in the chain that
is weaker than the rest.
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Zim Independent

Need for new ways to run schools
By Jameson Timba
THERE is need for a paradigm shift in the management of schools in Zimbabwe
if our experience of the last 25 years is anything to go by.

The corporate governance structures in schools can be divided into two
management models. Private and mission schools are managed by boards of
governors while public schools are managed by school development
associations (SDA) who elect a school development committee (SDC) from the
parents of pupils attending the school.

The experience of the two models to date calls for a re-look at the
structures if the schools are to continue to grow and develop in a changing
global environment.

In private schools, boards of governors are appointed on the basis of the
constitutions of the schools. The constitutions are inspired by the origins
of given schools; whether they were church-initiated, individual or
company-initiated. Thus for church-initiated schools, some of the governors
come from church structures, while for company-initiated schools, some of
the governors are seconded employees of the said company.

For those which were initiated by a group of individuals, the constitutions
provide for the appointment of new trustees by the existing trustees as
others retire.

The appointment to the boards in all cases is based on merit since governors
have to provide guidance to a commercial albeit non-profit entity. In this
respect, the boards are made up of professionals in various fields eg
accounting, economics, business, law and education.

The source of the professionals is mostly former parents or pupils who have
the will, skill and time to serve for no financial gain. Statements that
these boards are led by people who have no intimate knowledge of a given
school are therefore not based on fact.

Public schools on the other hand are managed by the parent body and the
government through the head of the school.

The government has over the years devolved power to parents' bodies to take
responsibility of maintaining the physical infrastructures of the school
through levies raised by the SDCs. School fees have however continued to be
paid directly to the exchequer.

The SDCs have assumed more responsibilities at schools beyond maintenance,
including the purchase of furniture and books and in some instances
employing additional teachers outside the prescribed teacher/pupil ratio of
the Ministry of Education because the grant which the government gives to
schools is inadequate. The ministry for instance extended a grant of $35 000
per pupil enrolled in the year 2005.

This grant is less than the price of a single textbook - at best it can buy
one pen per pupil.

While the SDCs are empowered to levy parents, the statutory instrument
requires that the levies be approved by the secretary for education
irrespective of what the parents have approved. Unfortunately, the secretary
has in the majority of cases not approved what the parents have determined
to be the requirements of the school.

This fee or levy fixed below economic levels has thus hampered the
development of the schools to the detriment of the pupils who attend them.
One would expect that if the secretary was to fix a levy below what the
parents have agreed, purportedly in the interests of the parents, then he
should put his money where his mouth is, by covering the gap through

The second challenge that has been faced by parent-managed public schools is
that of relevant management skills. This has been particularly prevalent in
rural schools.

It is my view that the problem is not that of the absence of skilled people
within the parent body but the method of selection of those who serve on the
committees. The empowering statutory instrument requires that the SDCs must
be elected. There is no guarantee that an election process will necessarily
produce the people with the requisite skills. Therein lies the problem -
getting the right skills mix from people who have never known each other

Examples of the failure of the SDA is best exemplified by the approach that
was made to the Catholic Church by groups of parents in about 20 schools
which the church had handed over to government in the early eighties. The
parents are now appealing to the Catholic Church to regain management of the
schools, which have now literally collapsed.

In spite of the growing body of evidence that the School Development
Association model has not worked very well for us, it is disturbing that the
Minister of Education Aeneas Chigwedere, in his Education Amendment Bill
which is before parliament, is proposing to extend this management model to
all schools in the country. The minister wants to repeal Section 36 of the
Education Act and substitute it with the following:

*The responsible authority of every school shall establish a school parents'
assembly consisting of all parents whose children attend the school;

* A parents' assembly shall elect a school development committee which shall
be vested with the control and management of the financial affairs of the

* The powers, functions and duties of school parents' assemblies and powers,
functions, duties and composition of school development committees shall be
as prescribed.

It is difficult to understand why we want to perpetuate problems in our
education system by continuing to do things we know do not work but expect
to get a different result.

First, the proposal to extend the SDC management model to private and
mission schools is unconstitutional. The effect of the repeal is a violation
of Section 16 (7) of our constitution as it relates to property rights. The
minister is expropriating private property by removing the financial control
of schools from the owners and transferring it to their clients - the
parents. This also violates Article 17 (2) of the Universal Declaration of
Rights which states that "no one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his

Second, the minister's proposal violates Section 20(3) of our constitution
in that if the responsible authority of a private school is denied its right
to manage its finances, then there is no way that it can exercise its
constitutional right to maintain its school as provided for in Section 20
subsection 3 of the constitution.

Third, subsection 1 of the proposed Section 36 of the Education Amendment
Bill compels parents at a private or public school to be members of a school
assembly. This is unconstitutional in that parents have freedom of
association and cannot be compelled to join an association. This provision
also violates the United Nations Universal Declaration of Rights which is
the Magna Carta for all humanity, in particular Article 20 (2) which states
that "no one may be compelled to belong to an association".

Notwithstanding the fact that his proposals are unconstitutional in the case
of private and mission schools, it is my considered view that the Minister
of Education needs to rethink and relook at this model in so far as our
public schools are concerned. Is it the right thing to do for our education

Why are we going where everyone is coming from in terms of good corporate
governance of any institution, schools included?

There is need to consider an alternative management model based on
community-managed schools rather than parent managed schools with respect to
public schools. The community management model would work on the basis of a
voluntary school assembly made up of the parents plus the members of the
community where that school is located. The Ministry of Education might
consider creating the "boundaries of the community" for each school based on
the current zoning system. Furthermore, the constitutions of various school
assemblies can then be drafted in such a way that the method of selection of
office bearers is geared towards identifying skilled people within and
outside the parent body who are civic minded to assist in the management of
the school.

With respect to private and mission schools, the minister should just leave
the corporate governance structures as they are. The management structures
have been tried and tested and are working. There is an adage that "If it
ain't broken don't fix it."

*Jameson Timba is Chairman of the Association of Trust Schools.
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Zim Independent

None of these efforts will achieve desired ends
By Chido Makunike
IN its confused, disorganised and belated way, the government of President
Mugabe is jumping around now trying to put out the many fires that it has
watched spread.

After international outrage the regime was strangely not at all prepared
for, Operation "Destroy Homes" now is made to appear as a well-planned move
that was just carried out a little overzealously.

The claim now is that even the last-minute effort to build a few show houses
was all well-planned from the start. One day we are told the displaced will
be relocated to farms or to their rural homes, the next day they are dumped
where their now demolished houses used to be with the token gift of one or
two sheets of asbestos to start building their lives all over again.

It is difficult to keep up with the "trillions" of dollars that are being
said to be thrown at municipalities and parastatals for their recovery
efforts. Ditto for all the support facilities that are said to be in place
to revive agriculture. We may not be sure if all these support schemes
really exist or to the extent that is claimed, but there is no doubting the
fact that even according to the government's own figures, there is no sign
of recovery in this sector in sight and that's not just because of drought

One no longer hears about "the success" of the Third Chimurenga amidst all
the signs of hunger, barren land, machinery idle because of a lack of fuel
and so forth.

All kinds of gimmicks from the strange to the bizarre have been tried to
increase the amount of hard currency that goes through the official system.
None of them have yielded much, as shown by the missions to South Africa and
China to plead for money, not to move the country forward but just to try to
keep the wolves from the door as expulsion from the IMF looms and Zimbabwe
has to pay cash for virtually all its imports.

One reason that none of these efforts are achieving the desired results is
that the government and the people are no longer walking together. Not only
has the government failed to rally the citizens behind it in seeking
solutions to the many things that ail the country, it has failed to convince
a significant number of the citizens to have faith that it is capable of
spearheading a resolution of those problems. A significant number of
citizens believe that government itself is the biggest impediment to solving
many of the problems that are attributed to it.

The country is demoralised and has lost confidence in the government,
whether it rules legitimately in a legal sense or otherwise. The practical
effects of this are immense. It means that our problems require far more
than just money to solve.

Those problems are no longer just the obvious and the visible such as
crumbling infrastructure, abusive authorities, unproductive enterprise,
shortages of all kinds and so forth. The Zimbabwean malaise has deteriorated
beyond all these serious symptoms to become a critical problem: a wounding
of the national spirit that means that even if we are given huge loans by
China or South Africa, we are not likely to see any appreciable improvement
in our situation until this attitude problem is addressed. And yet it is
unlikely to be addressed as long as so many of the citizens have such a deep
mistrust of the abilities and intentions of the government.

For instance, the calls for motorists to conserve fuel makes perfect sense
at a time like the present. Until the country's ability to generate more
foreign currency improves, conservation measures, forced or voluntary, must
be an important component of dealing with the fuel shortage. Yet there is
more conservation in response to just the reality of the shortage than to
any exhortations by government officials because we see so many examples of
where, instead of showing the nation how they are in the forefront of
setting a good example in this regard, they are some of the most wasteful
abusers of this scarce product.

We see ministers being driven in big fuel guzzlers to their weekend farms
where there is not much production going on.

We hear of a national airline that is sometimes embarrassingly grounded for
lack of fuel but we see the president being helicoptered around on frivolous
party political errands at a time of national crisis, the presidential
motorcade as intimidating and lavish as it was in seemingly better times.

What all this does is to cause a deep alienation of the citizens from the
rulers. The citizens are carefully mindful of the brutal capability of the
ruling authority and will often allow themselves to be coralled to attending
a presidential or ministerial rally but their hearts are often not in it.

And so even when a perennially poorly performing parastatal receives a large
government grant, little changes in service delivery because the motivation
to serve and the confidence in the country's prospects under the present
system has been long lost.

Government officials from the president down have forgotten the art and the
importance of persuasion in their statements.

More often than not we are treated to corrosive, abusive bile from officials
not just against foreign governments and well-wishers, but against fellow
citizens. A blind loyalty to a system that is so obviously not working is
how "patriotism" is now defined, not a love and devotion to one's country
that goes beyond kissing the asses of brutal incompetents.

In bringing about this sad impasse between the citizens and the rulers, the
latter carry a greater part of the burden for the state of the relationship
than the former because they hold so many more of the cards. When a
government works as hard to alienate a significant proportion of the
citizens who have a different view of the state of the country as Mugabe's
regime does, it creates for itself enemies within that no amount of
harassment, imprisonment and killing can ever permanently put out.

This is why the regime of President Mugabe must spend more time, effort and
resources looking over its shoulder in paranoid fear of all the enemies it
is creating even within its own ranks. They recognise that they no longer
rule by moral authority and the cheerful consent of the ruled, but by the
threat of the means and willingness to inflict pain and misery. This
accounts for the frightened, abusive and trigger-happy actions of the
government we increasingly see.

The demoralisation of which I speak does not just affect the oppressed
majority, but the members of the regime and its support structures who mete
out the abuse. They too are dehumanised, as shown by how they
enthusiastically carry out the abuse on behalf of their masters, when out of
uniform and work hours they suffer as much from it as everybody else and
know what they are doing to be evil.

We see ministers whose moral compass has become so askew that they are
forced to utter public statements that are the exact opposite of the reality
they see for themselves in front of them. They may carry prestigious
sounding titles and enjoy the material perks of their positions, but they
have been stripped of the dignity that should accompany their positions
because of the evil over which they preside.

None of them dare to declare that they swore to uphold the national interest
which is being compromised by the decisions and actions they slavishly agree
to implement.

Watching President Mugabe's frantic efforts to try to bandage all the deep
wounds that the country is experiencing as a result of his having been
asleep at the wheel for so long is fascinating. But his regime and many of
the citizens are now too far adrift of each other for his desperate running
around to do any deep or long-term good. It is a fundamental contradiction
to beat up and oppress people and then expect them to genuinely and
enthusiastically support you in your efforts to cover up the widely apparent
and growing signs of your having long outlived your usefulness.

*Chido Makunike is a Harare-based writer.
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Zim Independent

Third Force Zanu PF's latest obsession
By Denford Magora
NOTHING gets the attention of Zanu PF faster than a threat to its grip on
power. Look at the way the party has got its knickers into a twist over the
Third Force issue.

Because the MDC is now regarded like a soiled nappy even by its own
supporters, the ruling party is mortified of a new viable alternative to its
grip on Zimbabwe. President Mugabe and his people believe that they should
be credited with the disembowelling of the MDC, therefore, they feel that,
if they can identify the Third Force and its principals, then they will be
able to use their old and tested tactics of nipping it in the bud.

Pointers to the panic that has gripped the party have been around for at
least a month now. This paper published an article by former Information
minister Jonathan Moyo and chose to use its publisher's photo to illustrate
the piece.

Nathaniel Manheru immediately saw this as a pointer to the fact that
Zimbabwe Independent publisher Trevor Ncube and Moyo are in bed together and
plotting the emergence of a Third Force.

Rightly, and to several people's delight, this paper decided not to respond
to this accusation. By neither confirming nor denying, the Independent sent
the establishment into an even bigger frenzy.

Within days, the state broadcaster dug up the corpse of a party called Ziya
(Zimbabwe Youth Alliance) and got its principals to say on national TV that
"there are people" who are using money to buy their youths in order to take
over the leadership of Ziya.

As we have come to expect from the alarming communication ineptitude within
government these days, the story was dressed up as a "response" to reports
circulating in the country. No such reports have ever circulated. This was
an invention that the broadcaster had to come up with in order to justify
doing the story.

All this was a crude attempt to get the real Third Force to emerge by
responding to these "rumours" that are being dressed up as investigative

Zanu PF knows there is a new "enemy" in Zimbabwe, but the enemy is hidden
and is proving unwilling to reveal itself so that it can be targeted.

The question that must be asked and answered is why Zanu PF is now spending
so much time chasing this Third Force? Why, indeed, do they appear so
desperate to know just what is afoot within the Third Force if they are so
sure that the whole country is behind them and supports their policies?

The answer is simple enough.

Despite the bluster and celebratory parties all over the country, Zanu PF
knows that its continued existence is purely by default. They know that they
are not getting elected because people are happy with the direction the
country is going. They know that everybody in Zimbabwe knows that sticking
with a visionless and clueless Zanu PF will lead the country to doom.

It appears that the Zanu PF strategy is now to make sure that the people
have no viable alternative on the political scene.

Having written off the MDC, the ruling party wants to ensure that there is
no other credible alternative that can present itself to the people. If
people are only allowed to choose between Zanu PF, Ziya, Zanu Ndonga and
other also-rans, then, the ruling party believes, they will always be seen
as the lesser of two evils.

More importantly, though, this panic reveals a tragic lack of imagination
within Zanu PF.

History has proved that Zanu PF is incapable of fighting on two fronts. This
was revealed the last time the party was faced with two fronts in the
diplomatic war against Zimbabwe.

The first front was the purely diplomatic one, where the British and their
allies worked to alienate President Mugabe and his government from the rest
of the progressive forces in the world. Pressure was applied to virtually
all countries in the world to cut ties with Mugabe and leave him to swing in
the wind.

The second front was the assault on the economy of Zimbabwe itself. Of
course, government ineptitude compounded the effects of the de-campaigning
of Zimbabwe.

There were stories that said Zimbabwe was unsafe for tourists and they
scared away potential foreign currency.

There were stories that President Mugabe wanted to spread the
nationalisation of land to companies, so no companies were willing to either
invest or to expand their existing investments in Zimbabwe. And then, of
course, there was the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act in the
USA. That was the battle on the economic front.

Faced with these two, it appears that Zanu PF was at first paralysed. Then,
because of their inherent inability to fight on two fronts, they decided
that they would fight the diplomatic battle first and leave the economy to
swing in the wind.

Evidence of this strategy was provided by President Mugabe himself. During
and immediately after the March election, the president told all and sundry
that he had "defeated" Blair and Bush on the international stage.

"Those we have defeated," he said after casting his ballot in Highfield.

He then announced that his government was now ready to turn to the economic
battle with the appointment of a "development cabinet". This was an
admission that during his diplomatic war, when he was presenting speeches
that were being cheered in South Africa and elsewhere, his government had
put the addressing of economic decline to one side.

Now that he felt the diplomatic war was won, he wants to convince the nation
that his party was now ready to tackle the economic battle.

This explains the utter uselessness of the ministers the president had
before the elections, who shockingly folded their hands while the country
was burning. People could not understand why Joseph Made, Ignatious Chombo,
David Parirenyatwa and the fellow at Trade and Industry as well as the
Ministry of Finance appeared paralysed as the economy spiralled out of

Now we know that they were waiting for the president to tell them when to
act, yet it was part of their jobs. But, don't be fooled Zimbabwe. Because
Zanu PF cannot fight on two fronts, our problems are about to come back with
a vengeance.

The UN report on Operation Murambatsvina is out. Blair has given notice that
he intends to present it to the Security Council. This means that the
diplomatic battle will be opened again.

What will probably happen is that ministers will again leave Reserve Bank
governor Gideon Gono alone to watch over the burning edifice of our economy
while they trade insults and memos with the world.

We ain't seen nothing yet. Oh, Third Force, wherefore art thou?

* Denford Magora is a Harare-based writer.
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Zim Independent

Eric Bloch Column

Economy not driven by monetary policies alone

THE Governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ), Dr Gideon Gono, took
most sectors of the Zimbabwean economy and of society as a whole, by
surprise when he presented his mid-year monetary policy statement last week.

Having given an unscheduled statement on May 19, hardly anyone envisaged
that another statement would be forthcoming within two months. Almost all
overlooked that. In terms of the Reserve Bank Act, it is mandatory that
there be a statement reviewing monetary policies (and their economic inputs)
in June/July and in December/January, addressing the preceding six months,
and identifying any new monetary policies as may be required, or any
modifications necessary to the prevailing monetary policies.

However, as soon as an awareness developed of an imminent monetary policy
statement about 48 hours ahead of the event, Zimbabwe's ever-fertile rumour
machine activated at full speed. Rumours ranged from unfounded assertions of
new collapses in the banking sector to expectations of withdrawal of bearer
cheques and the introduction of a new currency. Inevitably, there was much
speculation as to exchange rates, and possible measures to address the very
pronounced scarcities of petroleum products.

No matter the nature of the rumours, with almost all that were negative in
nature being accepted as fact, whilst any with positive characteristics were
cavalierly dismissed as unfounded, the one common perception (or
expectation) of most of the population was that the governor was responsible
for the total turnaround and transformation of the Zimbabwean economy, and
that his monetary policies should achieve that metamorphosis.

Admittedly, as he has emphatically demonstrated that his first and foremost
wish is to bring about such a turnaround, he has correctly not concealed
that, no matter how well-conceived monetary policies may be, they cannot
function in isolation to the benefit of an economy. They are an essential
facilitator of economic well-being, but they must be complemented by an
economically conducive environment, which necessitates that the policies and
actions of government must be constructively aligned with the monetary
regime, and that the fiscal policies must reinforce monetary policies, and

Regrettably, since 1997 such an environment did not exist, and the
non-monetary policies were economically destructive, instead of positive.
That has been especially so insofar as the ill-conceived land reform
programme, international relationships and constrained fiscal outflows were
concerned. Despite that, Gono has striven vigorously to facilitate the
economy and to offset negatives of the political and fiscal environment.

During the approximately 19 months that he has been in office, he has
toiled, with remarkable energy, in his determined efforts to halt adverse
economic decline, notwithstanding that much of what he sought to do was
prevented by circumstances beyond his control, in general, and by many
governmental acts of omission and commission in particular.

In essence, as far more of his monetary policies were constructive than
those that were not, Gono's measures have slowed down the economic collapse,
notwithstanding that despite the slow-down, the state of the economy is
horrendous. Albeit that some of the measures, despite being well-intended,
had some very negative consequences (such as the reduced foreign exchange
retention rights of exporters, and various "name and shame" campaigns),
nevertheless a majority of the RBZ policies did contribute to minimising
economic negatives, and to diminishing the pronounced economic hardships of
the population from being even more pronounced.

Much of the same applies to the monetary policies announced by the governor
on July 21. Very courageously, in view of the renowned political opposition
to currency devaluation, he moved the base rate of exchange from US$1:$9 000
(as fixed on May 19) to US$1:$17 500. Even if related, more realistically,
to the weighted average auction rate, he effected a devaluation from
approximately US$1:$10 800 to US$1:$17 500.

This was a move which, even if not totally so, moved the rate to somewhat
more realistic levels. Inevitably, importers are unhappy with the rate
movement. However, exporters welcomed the change, although their joy was
muted, for the discontinuance of the 25% FOB export incentive (which based
upon the new rate, had a value of $5 400:US$1) significantly reduces the
benefit of the devaluation. Hopefully the fiscus will compensate by an
appropriate enhancement of fiscal export incentive.

Of very great importance in the monetary policy statement was the governor's
announcement that, by no later than September 30, 2006, banks and almost all
classes of financial institutions must increase their capital base ten-fold.

Since becoming RBZ governor, Gono has shown his resolute determination to
enforce absolute good governance and compliance with the highest of
international standards of prudency. He is rigidly resolved that depositors
must be fully protected, and that all can be unreservedly confident of the
security of all within the banking sector. The increased minimum capital
levels give due cognisance to the magnitude of inflation over the last few

Gono's recognition of inflation, and of its very negative effects upon the
economy, and of the misery that it inflicts upon most of the populace, has
been pre-eminent ever since he became governor, and continues to be so.

He has energetically tried to curb money supply growth, being one of the
greatest triggers of inflation. His efforts have been rewarded to the extent
that such growth has more than halved over the last 18 months, from 491% in
January 2004 to 235% in May this year. But that growth is still too great
and is primarily fuelled by excessive governmental spending.

Credit to government rose by approximately 343% since January 2004. The
governor, at risk to himself, has yet again strongly cautioned government as
to the irresponsibility and consequential disastrous economic repercussions,
of its unsustainably great spending (which spending will now be exacerbated
by the necessary Operation Garikai, by the president's recent appointment of
additional ministers and deputy ministers, by the intended establishment of
a Senate, over and above the high cost of food imports necessitated by
foolhardy land policies, maladministration of agriculture and dogmatic
resistance to reasonable conditions attached to international food aid).

In order to curb money supply growth and give appropriate recognition to
inflation, the governor announced an immediate increase of 20 percentage
points, to the RBZ secured and unsecured accommodation rates, which he
increased to 180% and 190% respectively. This will force up market interest
rates, which may distress borrowers, although economically realistic, but
will undoubtedly please depositors in general, and pensioners in particular.

The governor was inevitably very conscious of the critical need for markedly
improved foreign currency inflows. It was with that in view that he
endeavoured to restore, or increase, exporter viability, although it is very
regrettable that he has again reduced the extent of permitted exporter
retention of foreign currency earnings (other than from incremental

He was especially conscious of the extent that gold production can address
Zimbabwe's foreign currency needs and therefore increased the Gold Support
Price from $175 000 to $230 000 per gramme which, over and above the
depreciated exchange rate, should assure viability and growth of the gold
mining sector.

Also very commendable, within the new monetary policies, is the facilitation
for motorists, on a "No questions asked" basis, to access fuel against
foreign currency payment.

Although this cannot address the needs of all, many Zimbabweans with
relations abroad, others with "free funds" in foreign currency accounts
(FCAs) and subsidiaries of foreign holding companies, will be able to access
fuel from designated service stations, with effect from August 1.

This will not only benefit those fortunate enough to access foreign
exchange, but also others, for by servicing the needs of those with forex,
there will be a lesser demand upon the fuel imported with funding from the
country's foreign exchange resources.

What is critically needed is that government align its policies with
economic needs. Were that to happen, instead of endlessly catastrophic
policies and actions (such as Operation Murambatsvina), alongside the
monetary policies, Zimbabwe would progress to economic well-being.
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Zim Independent


Tibaijuka stirs a hornet's nest
NOTHING more vividly illustrates the bankruptcy of government policies and
Zimbabwe's growing isolation in the world than the response of ministers to
UN envoy Anna Tibaijuka's report on the clean-up operation last Friday.

As news of the damning report leaked out on Friday, ministers called a press
conference aimed at damage-limitation. Simbarashe Mumbengegwi, Patrick
Chinamasa, Tichaona Jokonya and Paul Mangwana attempted to rubbish the
report which arguably represents the most severe indictment of government
policy since Independence.

The report was "biased", Mumbengegwi lamely suggested. It described the
operation in "value-laden and judgemental language".

Is this man really Minister of Foreign Affairs? Of course it was
value-laden. The UN is supposed to have values. Tibaijuka was invited to
give her opinions as an expert on human settlement. Is she supposed to work
without values? And yes, her report was "judgemental". The whole purpose of
her visit was to express a professional judgement.

Was Mumbengegwi unaware of the purpose of her mission?

What is most evident in the squeals of indignation coming from the ministers
was the way they had expected Tibaijuka to fall for government's facile
explanations about "massive construction going on".

Is it seriously supposed she would be as naïve as ministers take the
Zimbabwean public to be? Nobody is falling for the "massive construction"
story because it is so manifestly part of a smokescreen.

As the devastating impact of the report began to be felt in government
ranks, in particular its international ramifications, so the shrill tenor of
the state's response was turned up. From a welcome visitor who would tell
the outside world the real story of Zimbabwe's valiant clean-up campaign,
Tibaijuka quickly became a traitor manipulated by Tony Blair. Permanently in
denial, the government was surprised that she had gone on to produce such a
"treacherous" report after the state media gave us all that hocus-pocus
about her "cooperating with government during her tour of the country".
Suddenly she was Blair's hireling doing her master's bidding.

Leading the pack of those flummoxed by the report was Information secretary
George Charamba who wondered loudly on behalf of President Mugabe whether
this was "a UN report by a UN envoy or a Blair report by a member of Blair's
African Commission".

Tibaijuka failed to appreciate government's "noble policy", chimed in
Mumbengegwi with imperial umbrage, whose "overall goals and objectives are
to uplift the lives of ordinary Zimbabweans in the face of illegal sanctions
and unwarranted vilification by Britain and its allies".

But Charamba wasn't done yet. He was so hot under the collar he claimed
Tibaijuka had completely ignored Murambatsvina's less-than- countervailing
Operation Garikai. In his bleary-eyed fury Charamba couldn't see that
Tibaijuka's recommendation 9 in the Executive Summary makes specific
reference to Operation Garikai, observing: "The government itself, even with
the best efforts, has limited capacity to fully address the needs of the
affected population without the assistance of the international community."

What we didn't see in the Executive Summary is where Tibaijuka recommends
dialogue between President Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai or their respective
parties which Mumbengegwi and Charamba claim was beyond her terms of
reference. Where in the report is it said that civil society means the MDC
we wonder? In any case, isn't it a public secret that Mugabe and his
underlings are scared of dialogue because they have nothing to offer the
people of Zimbabwe and are therefore safer ruling by force of conquest, just
like the colonial masters they replaced in 1980?

We enjoyed Tibaijuka's pointed reference to the colonial character of
Operation Murambatsvina. And all Mumbengegwi could muster by way of reply
was: "Zimbabwe does not appreciate the stereotype thinking that romanticises
squalor and shacks as fitting habitats of Africans and therefore rejects any
prescriptions designed to consign her people to the substandard conditions
boldly tackled by Operation Restore Order."

So why were these habitats allowed to stand for so many years without
molestation? Why did ministers preside over housing schemes that spawned
more shacks?

If ministers feel that the report "upholds the pro-opposition tone"
throughout, perhaps that's because it was difficult to take seriously
government's burlesque about cleaning up cities. Anybody reading
Mumbengegwi's pretence that the operation brought people closer to clinics
or that the country had a viable social safety net would simply laugh out

Contrary to his claims, the "majority of Zimbabweans" clearly do not support
Operation Murambatsvina and nobody can claim to have been "uplifted" by it.
Uprooted yes, uplifted no.

What Tibaijuka's report does teach us though, including the decomposing
minds in the Zanu PF leadership, is that not all people, no matter how
polite they appear on the surface, are easily seduced by silly propaganda
that seeks to portray them as brainless and without sight.

Bob Geldof of Live 8 fame should thank his ancestors that he does not live
in Zimbabwe. Under Zimbabwe's insult laws he would face the wrath of the law
for his stroppy description of President Mugabe as "mad, a thug and a

This was sparked by the controversial Murambatsvina. MDC MP for Kambuzuma
Willias Madzimure recently told the House (Hansard, July 5) that Mugabe had
been subjected to this type of humiliation because of the unthinking actions
of his government.

When the MP was interrupted by Not-so-Bright Matonga, he turned his fire on
him: "Hon Matonga you are deputy Minister of Information, go and interview
people in the streets", he said. "They will tell you that you are a creep.
Mr Speaker, personally I would not expect a black-led government to
humiliate its fellow blacks."

Not-so-Bright however refused to go down without a fight, arguing that
Geldof was not qualified to speak of democracy because "he drove his wife to
commit suicide".

This was news to most MPs. But Not-so Bright reserved his fatal sting for
America and its allies whom he said could not talk about democracy because
"they destroyed the Iraqian women and children". And that's what we have for
a Minister of Information!

Soon the debate was joined by Mrs Machirori who said the MDC should be happy
that government had helped it clean up the city. In the past, she said,
"when you walked in corridors, you would find the youth who are like some of
you honourable members here smoking dagga and raping women". Hear, Hear.
Let's have their names please.

The Saturday Herald tried to downplay the damning UN report on the Zimbabwe
government's scandalous behaviour, opting instead to lead with its dull
invention called "miracle twins" which it had been writing about for a whole

Finally the conjoined twins, who were surgically separated in Toronto,
Canada, were back home, the paper announced proudly. In the accompanying
picture taken at Harare International Airport, smiling sheepishly and
sitting between the twins was Health minister David Parirenyatwa.

In any country where people still have a conscience, he should have died of
shame in light of what has become of our health system. Despite all the
posturing about sovereignty, we still have to beg abominable imperialists to
do what ordinarily our own doctors should be able to do!

Also in the Saturday Herald Information supremo Tichaona Jokonya could be
found lecturing Caesar Zvayi on professional journalism. This presumably
includes burying the contents of UN reports so that the views of ministers
take precedence. Readers had to turn to Page 5 to discover what Tibaijuka
actually said and even then her remarks were heavily massaged with
ministerial interventions.

Why didn't the Herald simply provide a straight-forward summary of what the
report contained and then provide the reaction of ministers? Isn't that the
professional way to do it?

In his interview with Zvayi, Jokonya repeated the funny little story about
how "we traced the lies (about Vladimir Putin) to the office of Tony Blair".

Why didn't Zvayi at that point ask to see the evidence? Surely, as a
professional journalist he didn't want to appear duped? So why didn't he
say: "Minister, that sounds like a truly preposterous story concocted in
Munhumutapa Building. Can you please supply the evidence. I am not as stupid
as I look."

But no, Jokonya was allowed to get away with it. He was also allowed to get
away with the suggestion that journalists should investigate copy coming
from wire services before using that copy. In this case, remarks by Danish
prime minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen were incorrectly attributed to Putin.
It was obviously an editing error and AP quickly admitted their mistake and
apologised. They had nothing to gain from a mistake of this sort.

But the paranoid authorities in Harare, who are prepared to propagate all
sorts of transparent lies about the British and MDC in their press every day
(remember anthrax?), seized on this error as part of a conspiracy against
Zimbabwe. An entirely fictional conversation with a Foreign Office official
was adduced as "proof" of British mendacity.

But Jokonya was correct to attribute problems in local journalism to
training. Many media trainers have no experience of practical journalism
whatsoever and their students have to be completely retrained on arrival at
newspapers. Above all they have to be exposed to the reality that freedom of
the press means resisting the self-interested pretensions of ministers, not
repeating their facile claims.

In response to a question about Matonga "meddling" at ZBH, Jokonya said it
would be strange if Matonga did not make comments about how news is
presented. After all, he and Jokonya were journalists. "Everybody is a
journalist including myself."

Zvayi forgot to ask him if he was accredited.

Zanu PF's candidate for Bulawayo mayor, Abu Basuthu, is off to a good start.

"We do not want hate campaigns," he declared. The ball was in the
electorate's court, he said, to decide whether to "drink poison" by voting
for the opposition or "vote for life".

Nothing hateful there, of course!

Perhaps this would be a good point to remind ourselves of just how
"unhateful" his party's leader can be.

"If they have that land, that land will be taken from them and given to more
loyal citizens," President Mugabe said in June 2003 of Roy Bennett and Peter
de Klerk's farms. "So I don't want to hear that there is a Bennett, that
there is a de Klerk who continues to destabilise our well-being. They must
go from here."

And their offence? To have supported the opposition. They also provided
employment to thousands of workers, produced large quantities of food for
the nation while their exports contributed to forex reserves. But none of
that counted.

Meanwhile, who has the UN found to be destabilising our well-being with what
Secretary-General Kofi Annan last Friday called a "catastrophic injustice to
as many as 700 000 poorest citizens through indiscriminate actions carried
out with disquieting indifference to human suffering"?

Has he "gone from here" yet?

Annan's remarks should prove instructive for Johannes Tomana who claimed in
the Sunday Mail that Tibaijuka's report had failed to recognise "the primary
responsibility of sitting governments to address the needs of its

Isn't that exactly what the report says the government failed to do? Did
Tomana read it? He appears unaware of which laws the government flouted. Yet
organisations like the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum and Zimbabwe Lawyers
for Human Rights have been pointing to violations of due process,
particularly notification and appeals procedures, for several weeks now.

Then there are the international conventions which Zimbabwe has breached
such as the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights and the African
Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child.

Perhaps Tomana could familiarise himself with some of these provisions when
he next speaks to the state press. And what should we make of lawyers who,
instead of speaking out on the rights of vulnerable citizens, see their duty
as supporting an overweening state which has a record of human rights abuses
and contempt for the rule of law?

On the subject of government-friendly lawyers, we had one on Monday telling
the Herald that London-based Sydney Kentridge QC, reportedly hired by the
MDC for its electoral petitions case, was alien to the Roman Dutch legal

His hiring "defied logic" and was "an utter demonstration" of Morgan
Tsvangirai's "confusion and desperation", we were told by this "legal

Again, it was a pity this garrulous lawyer had not read his brief before
becoming an authority on the subject for the benefit of the Herald. Sir
Sydney Kentridge, although practising at the English bar, is a South African
jurist and is obviously very familiar with Roman Dutch law. Any lawyer worth
his salt would know that - except of course those who advertise their
ignorance in the Herald and the Sunday Mail.
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Zim Independent


Murambatsvina Mugabe's political obituary

A SENSE of déjà vu is emerging in the wake of the United Nations report on
Operation Murambatsvina/Restore Order. Anybody familiar with the ruling
party's rhetoric over land will see the pattern of blame and
conspiracy-theorising being reinvented for the benefit of weary consumers.

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan's special envoy Anna Tibaijuka was welcomed
earlier this month as somebody who could be relied upon to see things from
the government's point of view. After all, had not her president, Benjamin
Mkapa, recently expressed support for the clean-up in remarks made in Cape
Town to the World Economic Forum?

Tibaijuka was duly shepherded around the country's main towns in what
ministers were confident would be a Potemkin tour. Things came a little
unstuck when she objected to people's homes being constantly referred to as
"illegal structures" and "shacks" and the police being used as a demolition
squad, but her ever-present minders were so deluded by their own sense of
righteous zeal that when leaked editions of her report hit ministerial desks
last Friday morning there was near-panic.

The report - together with its subject-matter - was an unmitigated disaster
for the Zanu PF government. The clean-up was declared by Annan to be "a
catastrophic injustice". Tibaijuka reported that it was carried out in "an
indiscriminate and unjustified manner with indifference to human suffering,
and in repeated cases with disregard to several provisions of national and
international legal frameworks".

Zimbabwe was a signatory to the International Covenant on Economic, Social
and Cultural Rights, Tibaijuka pointed out, which state that a government
cannot forcibly evict people without having made alternative plans to house

"Had this principle been observed, much suffering of the urban poor could
have been avoided," she said. She noted pointedly: "The government of
Zimbabwe should set a good example and adhere to the rule of law before it
can credibly ask its citizens to do the same."

One of the great ironies of her report is the description of the colonial
character of the assumptions underlying the clearances. But, having
recovered their breath from this hefty punch to the paunch, ministers and
their well-oiled propaganda machine soon cranked into action, suggesting
that Tibaijuka, who sits on Tony Blair's Commission for Africa - as does
Mkapa and Trevor Manuel - was a British hireling. President Mugabe, speaking
in China, claimed Tibaijuka had told him that her hands were tied and that
"certain people" had been planted in her team.

The same of course was said about the Nigerian head of the Commonwealth
Observer Mission in 2002. Only a few weeks ago a similar label was pinned on
Anglican Archbishop Njongonkulu Ndungane.

That is not the only familiar ring. Diplomats from the Non-Aligned Movement
accredited to Harare were on Monday taken on a tour of construction work at
Whitecliff. They were predictably rhapsodic. We can be sure every visiting
head of state will be required to say a few words in support of Operation
Garikai, just as they were once required to tour a recently acquired farm.

Indeed, much of the vitriol now emerging from the state media has its roots
in the land seizures of 2000-4 where all international criticism was
depicted as emanating from British resentment of land acquisition.

There is however an important difference. Whereas in the first half of the
decade Mugabe was able to project himself as redressing colonial anomalies,
in this case, as Tibaijuka points out, he appears to be perpetuating them.
His attempts to emulate King Canute in ordering back the human tide will
provide only a very temporary dam to what is a natural demographic surge.
Again, as Tibaijuka noted during her visit, many successful economies are
developed by harnessing urbanisation, not resisting it.

That Zanu PF ignored the human misery associated with its evictions should
not surprise us. Some 400 000 farmworkers lost their livelihoods to
fast-track land reform, an equally ill-considered and lawless enterprise.
Then of course there were the 20 000 victims of Operation Gukurahundi.

How many more "acts of madness" does the country have to endure? Governments
that employ brutality to impose hardship upon their citizens in the name of
political cleansing or social upliftment are understandably treated as
pariahs abroad. It is the ruthless character of Murambatsvina and the fate
of the poorest sectors of the population, shown on television screens around
the world, that has elicited outrage.

Zimbabwe's rulers think that by responding with defiance to local and
international indignation they will somehow rally the nation around them.
That is not happening. This is an exhausted nation for whom the latest
campaign could be one too many. Perhaps sensing the national mood, it is
significant how many Zanu PF notables have been silent on the campaign.

Mugabe has assumed a lofty detachment from the suffering his policies have
once again spawned, using his visit to China, where human rights abuses
count for little, to make dubious claims about the report's author. No
visits to transit camps for him.

But in provoking a more robust line from his erstwhile apologists in
Pretoria and the African Union he may conceivably have written his own
political obituary.

While this isn't the end of the road for him yet, there is a palpable sense
in which his leadership is perceived - at home and abroad - as not only
failing but damaging to the region. Blair, Mbeki, Obasanjo and Annan all
seem to be speaking with one voice at last.

In producing this consensus, Operation Murambatsvina appears to have
achieved at least one useful result!
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----- Original Message -----
Sent: Thursday, July 28, 2005 9:55 PM
Subject: BTH: The welfare of victims of political violence and torture

SW Radio Africa     Presents      Behind the Headlines with    Lance Guma


Available Thursday evening on the internet and Friday morning on Medium Wave 1197khz 5:10-5:30am

Also availbale on the internet archives for 2 weeks.


This week on the programme we begin a two part series that looks at the welfare of victims of political violence and torture in Zimbabwe. Scores of activists have been scarred for life, lost loved ones and in most cases the bread winners have either been killed, tortured or rendered 'unemployable'. How many of us remember them and even care to find out how they are doing? Those who have left the country. What has become of them? Should the opposition they supported, leading to their victimization, be actively following up on their welfare and also try to assist. Is it fair in any case, to criticize the MDC for a state of affairs created by Robert Mugabe's regime?


The programme contains interviews with Khetani Sibanda (bitter victim), youth leader Mathula Lusingo (grateful), MDC spokesman, Paul Themba Nyathi and the human rights lawyer who raised the issue, Daniel Molokela based in South Africa.


Lance Guma

SW Radio Africa
SW Radio Africa is Zimbabwe's only independent radio station broadcasting from the United Kingdom. The station is staffed by exiled Zimbabwean journalists who because of harsh media laws cannot broadcast from home. Access broadcasts on Medium Wave -1197KHZ between 5-7am (Zimbabwean time) and 24 hours on the internet at Broadcast archives are also available on our site.
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Radio Australia

      US worried about China's relations with Zimbabwe
     Last Updated 29/07/2005, 13:44:17 :

      The United States says it is concerned about China's increasingly
close ties with Zimbabwe, which is accused of human rights abuses and other

      The US State Department says it will raise its concerns with China,
while American legislators have criticised the Zimbabwean president, Robert
Mugabe's current visit to Beijing.

      The 81-year-old African leader, who is banned from travelling to the
European Union, US and Australia, was warmly greeted as "an old friend" by
the Chinese president, Hu Jintao.

      Several economic and technical agreements have been signed during Mr
Mugabe's six-day visit that analysts say could help to prop up the
collapsing Zimbabwean economy.

      China has also opposed discussions at the United Nations about
Zimbabwe's slum clearances that have left 700,000 Zimbabweans homeless.

      The United States says it wants to ensure that foreign investment does
not go towards supporting governments when major human rights violations are

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Parents' plight drives Cayeux
From correspondents in Stockholm
UNHERALDED Zimbabwean Marc Cayeux has fired an opening round eight-under-par
63 to take a one-shot lead in the Scandinavian Masters.

The 27-year-old, based in Johannesburg, leads English veteran Barry Lane,
while Australian Mark Hensby and Sweden's Robert Karlsson are two shots off
the pace.

Australian world No.7 Adam Scott, winner of the event in Malmo in 2003, had
a disappointing opening day with a one-under-par 70.

Cayeux, born in England of an English mother and South African father, moved
to Zimbabwe as a youngster.

He said he is determined to win here and use the money to help his parents,
who have both lost their jobs in the troubled African nation.

"I try to send them money back whenever I can," said Cayeux.

"My mother used to run a petrol station but there is no fuel in the country
and my dad used to be an electrician but he lost his job as there are a lot
of companies closing down.

"I have thought about claiming English nationality because it is
embarrassing to say you are from Zimbabwe sometimes, but if it wasn't for
living in Zimbabwe I wouldn't have been able to play golf.

"There used to be a great junior program there, supported by Nick Price, and
it's a shame it's gone the way it has."

Lane, who has not won on the European Tour for 10 years and is guaranteed
local support here after marrying his Swedish girlfriend in April, says he
enjoys playing with younger stars on the tour.

"It's good to play with the youngsters and show them how it's done
sometimes," he said.

"I had a bad spell in the 1990s but the last three years I've really got
back into it and practised hard and I still enjoy it."
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The Guardian

Zimbabwe Announces End to Demolitions

Friday July 29, 2005 1:16 AM


Associated Press Writer

HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) - The government said Thursday it has completed its
crackdown on slums and street traders, but the opposition insisted that
demolitions and beatings are continuing and one of its top officials had
been arrested.

The demolitions have sparked domestic and international criticism, with a
report by a U.N. envoy condemning the crackdown that has left about 700,000
without homes or jobs. The envoy said another 2.4 million people have been

The state radio broadcast statements Thursday from Vice President Joyce
Mujuru that ``Operation Murambatsvina (Drive Out Trash) is now complete,''
and from Deputy Information Minister Bright Matonga promising compensation
for those who ``followed legal channels.''

``As Mujuru was making that announcement one of our offices ... was razed to
the ground,'' said Paul Themba Nyathi, spokesman for the main opposition
Movement for Democratic Change. ``What has been downplayed is the culture of
the police beating people, and that is accepted as standard practice.''

Opposition party officials also were collating countrywide reports of
further sporadic demolitions Wednesday and trying to trace 5,000 people
forcibly removed over the weekend from a camp east of Harare.

Zimbabwe's government has argued that the demolitions aim to reduce crime
and restore order in overcrowded slums and illegal markets and it has
pledged to build new homes for those uprooted.

But independent economists argue the government cannot afford the $300
million it has promised for reconstruction.

The Movement for Democratic Change claims the campaign seeks to break up its
strongholds among the urban poor and drive its supporters to famine-ridden
rural areas for political ``re-education'' by ruling ZANU-PF party militias.

The party said its deputy secretary general, Gift Chimanikire, was arrested
Thursday as he tried to make a complaint at a police station after being
attacked by ZANU-PF supporters at a ceremony to open a vegetable market in
his Mbare constituency. His three bodyguards and four other opposition
supporters were also arrested.

Radio bulletins on Thursday broadcast recordings of Mujuru promising to
rebuild areas.

The government ``has set aside resources for this, they are substantial and
underline our determination to improve the quality of life, especially
housing, for all our people,'' Mujuru said. ``I appeal to the international
community to stop stone-throwing and to join us in this noble effort to
promote the good of our people.''

It also was unclear whether President Robert Mugabe would honor the pledges
to end the demolitions upon his return from a state visit to China. In the
past, Mugabe has countermanded his deputies' attempts in his absence to
soften policy.

South African Finance Minister Trevor Manuel said his country took seriously
its responsibility to help its neighbor - although he said the government
was not at the point of ``signing away'' the $1 billion that the Zimbabwe
government has requested.

``The worst thing we can have is a failed state or a rogue state on our
borders,'' Manuel said at a conference in Johannesburg.
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Cape Times

      Uncaring politicians
      July 29, 2005

      We have read for years of the increasing devastation of Zimbabwe
caused by the restrictions on civil and democratic liberties by Robert
Mugabe's Zanu-PF.

      The list is endless, but a few that come to mind include the
infringement of freedom of the press, the use of food aid for political
purposes, the intimidation of the electorate, the interference with the
judiciary andthe destruction of the property and livelihood of ordinary
citizens via Operation Murambatsvina.

      Yet somehow our government continues with its meek policy of so-called
"quiet diplomacy" and the reluctance to interfere with the "sovereignty of
another state".

      Why is that African solidarity comes before outrage? In fact, it would
be more correct to say "African political solidarity" because the
politicians do not seem to care about the suffering of the ordinary African.

      As George Alagiah said in his book A Passage to Africa, it appears
that "the most expendable person in Africa seems to be the ordinary
      Rod Anderson
      Cape Town
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The Star

      Put Zimbabwe under judicial management
      July 29, 2005

      Of course the very idea of lending money to Mugabe's bankrupt and
corrupt administration is going to raise emotive issues among South African

      Would the "loan" be non-repayable, as President Mbeki seems to think
that loans to some other African countries should be? Why not then just call
it a gift?

      Of course the Zimbabwean people need help - and lots of it.

      But that is not necessarily the same thing as handing out endless sums
of money to Mugabe and his corrupt Zanu-PF crew.

      Because it is clear that most of Zimbabwe's misery has been caused by
the idiotic policies of Mugabe and his Zanu-PF cronies, remedial policies
must be put in place, in which case it would seem that sending money to
Mugabe is akin to rewarding criminality.

      Your editorial last Thursday "Golden opportunity" said this was South
Africa's opportunity to exercise some control if the loan was granted, even
though you did mention that Mugabe never listened to anybody, and probably
would never agree to any conditions. So why sanction the loan?

      The chilling thing about Mugabe's recent "clean-up" operation and the
resultant homelessness of over 100 000 Zimbabweans, is that it parallels and
mirrors Chairman Mao's Cultural Revolution in China in 1965, when there was
the same mass destruction of property.

      Millions were rendered homeless and made destitute, and any criticism
of the party chairman was dealt with harshly.

      In Zimbabwe, of course, "criticism of the president" can be dealt with
as a criminal offence. Now where did Mugabe get that one from?

      Zimbabwe is in much the same position as a large public company that
has gone/is going insolvent, and really should be put under judicial
management or receivership.

      The SADC countries and the African Union will never agree to it of
course, but ideally the Zimbabwean constitution should be suspended for a
couple of years so that international aid can be beneficially used towards
the upliftment of the Zimbabwean people, the restoration of an acceptable
democracy and the ability of Zimbabwe to resume its place proudly in the
community of nations - after truly democratic elections.

      One can share Mbeki's concern about the consequences of a collapsing
of the Zimbabwe economy, but sending endless sums of money to Mugabe is not
the answer.

      In fact, Mugabe would seem to regard such gifts and loans as
"approval" for his government's destructive policies, and horrific track
record, and even worse - help keep a tyrant in power.
      JW Chambers
      Airfield, Benoni

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