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Mugabe to put ex-soldier at helm of broadcasting station

Zim Online

Wed 5 July 2006

      HARARE - Former Airforce of Zimbabwe commodore, Mike Karakadzai, is
tipped to take over as head of a restructured Zimbabwe Broadcasting Holdings
(ZBH), placing the public broadcaster in the hands of former soldiers
already controlling most major state institutions, sources told ZimOnline.

      The sources said Karakadzai - a Mugabe loyalist who is at the moment
general manager at the state-owned National Railways of Zimbabwe - was
expected to relocate to the ZBH once Mugabe's Cabinet approved a blueprint
for the restructuring of the corporation that former information minister
Tichaona Jokonya had prepared before his death last week.

      "The belief in the government is that there is a lack of discipline at
the ZBH and that perhaps a former member of the armed forces would be the
right candidate to address the rot there," said a senior member of Mugabe's
ruling ZANU PF party that has vested interests in who runs the ZBH.

      It was not possible to immediately get comment on the matter from

      Acting Information Minister Paul Mangwana refused to confirm or deny
whether Karakadzai would be made ZBH boss, saying the government shall
announce at the appropriate time the new head of the state broadcaster that
is the only one permitted to operate radio and television services in

      "What I can only say is that we are studying the blueprint of the
restructuring left by the minister (Jokonya). We are not backing down on the
process. We will make an announcement on any appointments when the time
comes," Mangwana said.

      He added that as well as naming a new head at ZBH, the government
shall also appoint a new board of governors to run the broadcaster but he
refused to say when exactly this was likely to take place.

      Our sources said several former workers of the ZBH, top among them
Happison Muchechetere, a pro-government veteran of Zimbabwe's 1970s
liberation war, would also be brought back to the broadcaster after they
were forced out by one time information minister and now independent
parliamentarian Jonathan Moyo.

      Muchechetere, who was not immediately reachable for comment, is
expected to take over as head of television services.

      "There is heavy lobbying at Munhumutapa Building (Mugabe's offices
where the information ministry is housed) as both present and former
employees jostle for posts following revelations of the restructuring," said
a ZBC employee, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

      Former soldiers are running the majority of strategic state
institutions in what political analysts have said is a sign of Mugabe's
heavy reliance on the military as Zimbabwe's crisis deepens amid threats by
the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change party to call a mass
revolt against his decades-old rule.

      For example, Zimbabwe's Attorney General Sobuza Gula-Ndebele is a
former military intelligence officer, while former High Court judge George
Chiweshe who heads the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) was once an army

      Chiweshe, a trained lawyer, was removed from the army and appointed to
the bench after Mugabe had purged independent judges. He was a few years
later made chairman of the ZEC that has been blamed by the MDC and election
observers of conducting flawed elections in order to achieve victory for

      The chief executive officer of the state's Grain Marketing Board (GMB)
Samuel Muvuti is also a former soldier. Under Muvuti, the GMB has been
accused of denying food to MDC supporters as punishment for backing the
opposition party, a charge both he and the government deny.

      The ZBH, which operates four radio stations and one television
station, remains a key political tool because of its capacity to reach out
to all corners of the country including remoter parts where the small
independent newspapers cannot be distributed.

      The ZBH also broadcasts in the two main vernacular Shona and Ndebele
languages that even illiterate villagers can understand and which is a
strong advantage over all major newspapers that are written in English.

      Mugabe and ZANU PF have kept a tight control on the ZBH while
promulgating laws making it impossible for independent investors to open new
television or radio stations in Zimbabwe. - ZimOnline

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Christmas comes early for Hurungwe rural school children

Zim Online

Wed 5 July 2006

      HURUNGWE - The Christmas season has come early for hundreds of school
children at Makakatanwa Primary School in Hurungwe district about 380
kilometres north-west of the capital Harare.

      Every morning, 12-year old Shupikai Ranjisi, must undertake a
gruelling 15-kilometre trip to school in this forgotten corner of Zimbabwe.

      The frail pupil, like so many of her pals in Hurungwe, is no stranger
to pangs of hunger.

      Every day, on an empty stomach, Ranjisi has bravely walked to school
to secure a decent education, until recently one of the very few avenues to
escape poverty in Zimbabwe.

      But now, there is a spring in Ranjisi's gait - thanks to the sterling
efforts of Goal Zimbabwe, an Irish non-governmental organisation that is
scoring big with villagers here because of its rural school feeding
programme in the district.

      "It was painful to attend school on an empty stomach. But now I am
happy to come to school because we are getting a plate of rice and some
beans," says Ranjisi with a grin betraying an unbridled sense of

      "I stay some 15 kilometres away and spending the whole day at school
while hungry was not easy for most of us. But because of the rice, I will
not miss school again," Ranjisi says.

      Rice, which is normally served with chicken on occasions like
Christmas and weddings, is a special food for most children in Zimbabwe. As
they say in Zimbabwe, rice and chicken is food for the kings.

      An estimated 40 000 children are benefiting from the Goal Zimbabwe
programme set up about six years ago at the height of violent farm invasions
by President Robert Mugabe's supporters that triggered massive food
shortages around the country.

      The main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party and
major Western governments say Mugabe's farm seizures are to blame for
Zimbabwe's perennial food shortages.

      Mugabe denies the charge blaming the food crisis on poor rains and an
economic crisis he says is a result of Western sabotage and which led to
shortages of inputs for farmers to produce more food.

      But 380 kilometers away from Mugabe's seat of power in Harare, these
innocent rural children, seem too young to know or even care about who is
the author of their misery. Though both child and teacher seem sure about
who has been their saviour.

      "It's like Christmas, just that we are having rice for five days a
week instead of once a year," said 10-year old Garikayi Moyo, as he sat
under the shade enjoying his meal.

      According to teachers here at Makakatanwa, without Goal Zimbabwe's
feeding scheme, chances are high that Moyo and several of his schoolmates
may no longer have been attending school. They would have long left to swell
up the ranks of school dropouts, with no jobs or an education to talk of.

      "The kids are enjoying their lessons because of the free food offered
by the NGO. The food has proven to be a 'pull factor' in drawing most of the
children to school.

      "We have had very few drop-outs this term," said Tapiwa Chirinhe, a
bubbling 29-year old teacher at Makakatanwa.

      Speaking to ZimOnline in Mashonaland West earlier this week, a modest
Goal Zimbabwe human resources manager, Pamela Muzenda, sought to downplay
her organisation's intervention in saving lives of these little tots.

      "We are assisting children in Zimbabwean schools because of the food
shortages in the country. Mashonaland West is one of the provinces that has
benefited from the programme.

      "We are working with the Zimbabwean government in providing food to
school children who are failing to get enough at their homes," said Muzenda.

      Muzenda said the organisation was also feeding children at several
other schools in Mashonaland West as well as in the provinces of
Mashonaland East and Mashonaland Central.

      "Our official position is that all food must be consumed within the
school premises and pupils can only benefit if they attend classes. The food
is specially designed to boost the health of children," she said.

      Education officials in Mashonaland West declined to comment on the
matter but several teachers who spoke to ZimOnline say the feeding programme
had resulted in a drastic improvement in the number of pupils attending
classes in the district. - ZimOnline

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Zimbabweans to pay 85 percent more for health

Zim Online

Wed 5 July 2006

      BULAWAYO - Zimbabwe medical aid societies and clinics on Tuesday hiked
fees by between 85 and 100 percent putting the cost of health care beyond
the reach of many Zimbabweans already battling a six-year old economic

      Florence Kazhanje, the chairperson of the National Association of
Medical Aid Societies (NAMAS), the largest association of medical aid
groups, blamed the latest fee hike on Zimbabwe's hyper-inflationary

      "The 85 percent increase is for Medical Aid Societies for their
subscriptions while the 100 percent is for consultations at clinics and
hospitals. The increases were made in view of Zimbabwe's ever-rising
inflation levels which are constantly affecting our viability," Kazhanje

      The latest increases come barely three months after private hospitals
and clinics effected a 240 percent hike in consultation fees. The fee hike
will see individuals on medical aid forking out an average of Z$4 million
every month, up from about $2.5 million.

      People who spoke to ZimOnline yesterday said the latest increase has
effectively pushed them out of health care schemes.

      Mimosa Ndebele, who is on a private health care scheme with a local
medical aid group in Zimbabwe's second biggest city of Bulawayo, expressed
shock over the fee increase saying she has no option but to quit the scheme.

      "With the low salaries that most of us are getting, it's a complete
disaster," she said.

      The majority of workers in Zimbabwe are getting salaries between $15
and $20 million every month, way below the $49 million that the consumer
rights body, the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe says an average family of five
needs every month to survive.

      Zimbabwe is in the throes of a severe economic crisis that has
manifested itself in record inflation of nearly 1 200 percent. The country's
health delivery system, which was one of the best in southern Africa in the
early 80s, has virtually collapsed as part of the general collapse of the
country's economy. - ZimOnline

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Civic groups demand end to xenophobia in South Africa

Zim Online

Wed 5 July 2006

      JOHANNESBURG - Zimbabwean and South African civic groups on Tuesday
called for the creation of a task-force to tackle xenophobia against
foreigners following recent media reports alleging that Zimbabwean refuges
were behind an upsurge of violent crime in South Africa.

      Speaking at a meeting organised by the Zimbabwe Pastors Forum (ZPF) in
Johannesburg to explore ways of dealing with the problem of xenophobia local
social activist Boiki Tsedu said there was need for co-operation between
South Africans and foreigners in the country to end ill-treatment of

      "I have seen a lot of foreigners suffer at the hands of South African
police. Now is the time to establish a task-force comprised of South
Africans and foreigners to end the web of suspicion and xenophobia," said

      Zimbabwean civic groups at the meeting expressed dismay that South
African newspapers appeared to be fanning hatred against Zimbabweans through
continuos and yet barely substantiated reports alleging that exiles from
their troubled northern neighbour were behind most violent crime especially
in the Johannesburg area.

      Last week, The Sunday Times newspaper - one of South Africa's most
influential publications - claimed in a story that deserters from Zimbabwe's
army masterminded a bloody  shoot-out in Jeppestown, Johannesburg that left
eight armed robbers and four South African police officers dead.

      South African police have confirmed that five Zimbabweans were
involved in the shoot-out but were not able to conclusively determine
whether they were former Zimbabwe army soldiers.

      Besides the Zimbabweans, there were also three Mozambicans and eight
South African gangsters involved in the gun-fight with the police.

      Sox Chikohwero, a member of the Johannesburg-based Zimbabwe Torture
Victims Programme, said while some Zimbabweans could have been involved in
the shoot-out, the media should be careful that they do not exacerbate the
problem of xenophobia against foreigners.

      "I would like to challenge the South African media to do their work
professionally not to divide people on the basis of their nationality. Let
us see crime as crime no matter where you come from," said Chikohwero.

      The meeting was attended by officials from the Home Affairs
department, representatives of the South Africa police, South African
Council of Churches as well as Zimbabwean civic groups based in

      Zimbabwe's ambassador to South Africa, Simon Khaya Moyo has often
expressed disgust over the portrayal of Zimbabweans as criminals in the
South African media.

      At least three million Zimbabweans, a quarter of the country's 12
million people, are living outside the country the majority of them in South
Africa after fleeing repression and hunger in their country. - ZimOnline

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Remittances slow the slide into ruin

[ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]

JOHANNESBURG, 4 Jul 2006 (IRIN) - As the cost of living in Zimbabwe
continues its gravity-defying climb, a new report has underlined the
importance to struggling households of the money and goods sent home by
relatives working abroad.

According to 'Remittances, Poverty Reduction and the Informalisation of
Household Well-being In Zimbabwe', 50 percent of the households sampled
across all income groups in the main cities of Harare and Bulawayo were
regular recipients of goods and money from relatives living outside the

"The most common types of remitted goods are also the most basic: food,
clothes and footwear," said the report by the Global Poverty Research Group.

It noted that parents tended to be supported by their children, with money
often sent via informal networks to take advantage of the parallel market,
where the US$1 is worth Zim$500,000 compared to the official rate of

Engineering student Gabriel Ndlovu manages to stay enrolled in his
polytechnic in Bulawayo, thanks to relatives in South Africa. "Since
January, many of our classmates have dropped out of courses due to financial
problems but we are still continuing. I do not even think we would be
accessing the food we eat if it was not for the groceries they send."

Last week the monthly cost of a basic food basket for a family of six rose
from Zim$49 million (US$490) per month to Zim$60 million (US$600), but an
average salary is just Zim$20 million (US$200). Harare-based economist James
Johwa told IRIN that remittances played a key role in stabilising household
food security and access to essential services like hospital care and

"I would be condemning my dependants to starvation if I fail to send both
money and groceries. They depend entirely on me," Adelaide Ndlovu, a
Zimbabwean working in Swaziland, told IRIN.

Thembelani Ncube, government registry clerk, is equally dependent on money
sent by her husband in Botswana. "My own salary cannot even buy half of what
he sends. He sends money every month and that is basically how the family
has managed to survive the crisis."

Johwa noted that one side effect of remittances was deepening class
distinctions. "Those receiving money and goods from the diaspora can afford
such luxuries as cars; they can buy houses that are seen as prohibitively
expensive in the local context. This is a small but financially sound class
that has emerged alongside a growing poor class that can hardly put one
day's meal together."

Zimbabwe's economy has been in recession for six straight years.
Unemployment is over 80 percent and inflation has passed 1,200 percent. The
informal sector that supported the livelihoods of the urban poor was crushed
by the government in a three-month blitz on the parallel market last year,
leaving 700,000 people homeless or out of work.

"There are stark differences in terms of access to food, goods and
services," said Johwa. "And the reality is that the majority of Zimbabweans
are sliding deeper and deeper into hunger and poverty every day."

To view the report:

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Mkapa faces hard task as Zimbabwe mediator


July 04, 2006, 16:45

Benjamin Mkapa, a former Tanzanian president, has an uphill task of
resolving the diplomatic impasse between Zimbabwe and Britain. Questions
have been raised as to whether Mkapa is his own man or Mugabe's man at a
round table meeting hosted by the South African Institute of International
Affairs (SAIIA).

Kofi Annan, the United Nations secretary-general, was asked to pave the way
for Mkapa as mediator.

Brian Raftopoulos, the executive chair at the Institute for Justice and
Reconciliation, says: "What we have seen in the past is that the Tanzanian
government has been very close to president Mugabe. There has been
solidarity with him and therefore it's not quite clear what form this
mediation will take, except that he will be a messenger for the Zimbabwean

Annan cancelled his planned trip to Zimbabwe after meeting Mugabe at the
African Uunion summit in Gambia. The visit was aimed at resolving Zimbabwe's
political and economic crisis. Mugabe said he supported Mkapa's appointment.

Mugabe accepts Mkapa as mediator
Mugabe says: "Tanzania offered Benjamin Mkapa to mediate. So the role of the
Kofi Annan, the UN secretary-general, would be superfluous if not amounting
to interference. He understood it". But South Africa has not ruled out
Annan's involvement in trying to find a solution to Zimbabwe's woes.

Aziz Pahad, the deputy foreign affairs minister, says: "He committed himself
to help in Zimbabwe and he will assist the mediator, former president Mkapa,
to carry out his work."
Panelists have urged the Southern African Development Community (SADC)
member states and South Africa, in particular, to be more critical of
Mugabe's disrespect for human rights and repressive laws.

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Zimbabweans 'attacked by MDC rivals'

Andrew Meldrum in Pretoria
Tuesday July 4, 2006
The Guardian

A founder member of the Movement for Democratic Change and four other
politicians were attacked by a mob wielding iron bars and machetes, whom
they identified as supporters of a rival faction loyal to the party's
leader, Morgan Tsvangirai.

Trudy Stevenson, a founder of the MDC and MP for Harare North, received a
machete wound to the back of the neck after a mob pulled the politicians
from their car and attacked them with stones, iron bars and machetes. The
incident in Harare's Mabvuku township, a key area in the turf war between
rival opposition factions, highlights the bitter split within the MDC.

The split took place late last year over the issue of whether or not to
contest elections for the newly created senate. Mr Tsvangirai leads the
group that boycotted the senate polls and enjoys widespread support in
Harare. The group that took part in the senate elections is smaller but has
many prominent MPs who allege that gangs of violent youths who support Mr
Tsvangirai are intimidating township residents.

Linos Mushonga, Harare organising secretary for the pro-senate MDC, suffered
two broken fingers, which may be amputated. The party's Harare treasurer,
Simangele Manyere, suffered broken teeth after she was hit in the face with

The attacking mob sang songs praising Mr Tsvangirai and the injured
identified several as belonging to the party leader's youth group.

Mr Tsvangirai has denied that his followers carried out the attack, and
claimed that the mob were agents of Mr Mugabe's regime.

Vincent Kahiya, editor of the Zimbabwe Independent, said: "This is
disturbing because it is not the first incident of Tsvangirai's side being
accused of violence. The wheels have come off the opposition. A divided MDC
is weaker and [President Robert] Mugabe's Zanu-PF is stronger. The country
is looking for leadership and direction. People do not expect that from
Zanu-PF but they are not getting it from the MDC."

The MDC's disarray further strengthens the hand of Mr Mugabe, who has
succeeded in outmanoeuvring the efforts of the UN secretary general, Kofi
Annan, to negotiate a solution to Zimbabwe's deepening political and
economic crisis. Mr Annan announced this week, at the close of the African
Union summit in the Gambia, that he is giving up as a mediator after Mr
Mugabe rescinded an invitation for him to visit Zimbabwe.

Mr Mugabe's most serious challenge is Zimbabwe's accelerating economic
collapse, with inflation at 1,200% and 70% of the 12 million population
living on less than $1 (54p) a day.

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MDC sets up Commission of Inquiry

      By Tichaona Sibanda

      4 July 2006

      The Morgan Tsvangirai led MDC has set up an independent internal
inquiry to investigate the assault on Harare north legislator, Trudy

      Secretary-general Tendai Biti said in a statement released Tuesday
that they have noted with dismay that Zanu PF and others are trying to make
political capital out of this unfortunate event.

      Part of the statement reads: 'Whilst we condemn the attack, which we
dismiss as barbaric, we equally condemn the attempt to convict other persons
and political parties without any due process. We are also mindful of Zanu
PF's capacity to manufacture violence in a bid to create a wedge in the
democratic movement. There is no question that in the past, the CIO has been
at the center of manufacturing evidence and issues in a bid to implicate the
opposition. One recalls the treason trial of Ndabaningi Sithole. These
old-fashioned divide-and-rule tactics will not fool us."

      In a bid to establish the truth the MDC have appointed advocate
Happias Zhou to chair the enquiry. The team also consists of two prominent
lawyers, Irene Petras of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights and Kay Ncube
of Gill Godlonton and Gerrans while Kudakwashe Matibiri is the secretary.

      Biti added; 'We hope and trust that the Commission, which begins its
work with immediate effect, shall work with speed and be ready to present
its findings at the end of July. We also hope and trust that the police
shall also act with speed and bring the culprits to book so that they are
brought before the courts.'

      SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

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Voice of America AM Broadcasts Jammed

Committee to Protect Journalists (New York)

July 4, 2006
Posted to the web July 4, 2006

Zimbabwe is jamming medium wave news broadcasts by Voice of America (VOA) in
English and local languages in the capital Harare.

The U.S.-government funded broadcaster said its Studio 7 service, which is
on the air for 90 minutes each weekday, was being blocked.

"We have had reports of jamming of our Zimbabwe broadcasts in the past, but
we've never been able to confirm them," VOA spokesman Joe O'Connell told the
Committee to Protect Journalists. This time, he said, "we've determined and
believe that it's intentional."

VOA short wave transmissions and AM broadcasts outside the capital were not

Studio 7 is popular in news-starved Zimbabwe, where only a handful of
independent newspapers have survived an onslaught against the media.

Authorities have declined to license any local private broadcasters, despite
legislation passed in 2001 allowing for their existence.

"It is outrageous that Zimbabwean authorities, not content with snuffing out
the local media, are cutting off the few outside sources of information
still available," said Ann Cooper, executive director of CPJ.

Overseas broadcasters have been targeted in the past. The shortwave
transmission of SW Radio Africa, a private broadcaster based in Britain and
founded by exiled Zimbabwean journalists, was jammed during the run-up to
March 2005 parliamentary elections, and its reception is still affected

Voice of the People (VOP), a private news production company based in
Zimbabwe whose programs are transmitted via shortwave from overseas, has
been repeatedly targeted. In 2005, VOP broadcasts were jammed in Zimbabwe,
according to local sources. In December 2005, security agents raided the VOP
offices in Harare, confiscating equipment, detaining staff, and rendering
the company inoperative. A trial of VOP's director, six members of the board
of trustees, and three staff members on charges of operating illegal
broadcasting equipment is ongoing. The VOP personnel deny the charges; their
next court hearing is scheduled for September.

"The jamming of news broadcasts in Zimbabwe should cease immediately, as
should the prosecution of VOP trustees and staff," Cooper added.

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SW Radio Africa also jammed

SW Radio Africa - The  Independent Voice of Zimbabwe.

Our morning medium wave broadcasts have been jammed since Monday 26th June.
The jamming appears to be quite localised and focused on Harare. We can
still be heard in other parts of the country. This seems to follow the same
pattern and began at the same time as the jamming of VOA's Studio 7
broadcasts on medium wave in the evening.

The authorities jammed our shortwave broadcasts last year, ahead of
parliamentary elections and the devastating Operation Murambatsvina that
left nearly a million Zimbabweans homeless and with no way to earn a living.
At that time we ascertained the jamming was done with the help of Chinese
equipment and assistance. We have no reason to assume that this latest
jamming is any different.
We strongly protest this further attack attempting, once again, to deny
Zimbabweans the right to freedom of speech and freedom of information.

We urge the international community to take this most seriously.

Gerry Jackson
Station Manager
Tel: (44) (0) 2083871407
Mobile: (44) (0) 7789874019

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Hot Seat: Part 4 Teleconference - Brian Raftopoulos, Jonathan Moyo & John Robertson

Broadcast on 4 July 2006

Violet: Welcome to our final part of the teleconference debate with political analyst Professor Brian Raftopoulos who once acted as an advisor for Morgan Tsvangirai, independent MP Professor Jonathan Moyo who was an adviser and strategist for Robert Mugabe when he was Information Minister and leading economist John Robertson. In this last segment we continue on from last week’s discussion about international engagement and then the panelists look at what happens after Mugabe.

There have been many reports about Mugabe’s discussions with United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan on the sidelines of the African Union summit in the Gambia, and it was also reported that South African President Thabo Mbeki was planning a meeting with Mugabe. Much disappointment was expressed after the AU summit, when Annan distanced himself from the Zimbabwe crisis. This interview for Hot Seat took place well before the summit even began and we had discussed the possibility of Mugabe meeting Annan and Mbeki. Our panelists were quite accurate in their predictions about the event. I first asked Jonathan Moyo about Mugabe meeting President Mbeki.


Moyo: I am not sure that we should read much into a summit between the two because there are various processes between the two governments which would allow them to meet without saying they are having a summit. Part of that I think simply a media spin. But what we know is that President Mugabe really does not want to take instructions from Thabo Mbeki. If there is one thing he really detest is that. Especially if the agenda is set in the media and somehow Mbeki is supposed to provide the final solution. We have enough to gleam from the previous experiences involving attempts by Nigeria and South Africa to broker an agreement through the inter party talks which failed in 2004 or 3. We also know how the Zimbabwean government reacted to a possibility of a South African loan to address the IMF arrears as well as the energy issues and so forth. There has been this position that we will assert our sovereignty and we would not be dictated to and not by South Africa. You also saw the anger recently when President Mbeki associated himself with a possible initiative by Kofi Annan there was a lot of anger that was displayed in the public which reflects, in my view, accurately on the position that Mugabe would take.

Violet: so what is the position exactly because it’s never clear who is talking to who and about what…

Moyo: Well, you know the position in Zimbabwe as I understand it is that they would rather talk directly with the British. So if even if there is talk with Mbeki or Annan it is supposed to be some gateway to a Zimbabwe Britain bilateral resolution. The position they have taken throughout from the time the land problems started is that what is going on, which has led to all these things we are talking about and the crisis, is a break down between the British and the Zimbabwean government and that it is a bilateral issue and this issue continues. Even the involvement of former Tanzanian President Benjamin Mkapa as some kind of an intermediary is supposed to build a bridge from Zimbabwe to London. So ultimately what Mugabe would like to do and I now get the impression is - he really is dying for that - is to have a summit with Tony Blair and not Mbeki or anyone else.

Violet: And Mr Robertson let’s say if Robert Mugabe was to have a summit with Tony Blair, and if you were to suggest agenda items what would be on agenda?

Robertson: I believe he would have to include in the agenda the reversal of most of the bits of legislation that have come through in the last five years particularly the legislation that has wiped out the value of agricultural land. We have disabled our own agricultural land by taking away its collateral value and making it necessary now for farmers to get subsidies instead of bank loans. We have taken away the potential for large scale farming and in the tropics in difficult conditions where we cannot afford subsidies we need profitable large scale farms not thousands, millions of small farms that can never do more than allow subsistence income for the farmers. We need the productivity levels to put the country back on the growth path. So I believe the British government would be best advised to require the reversal of most legislation that have been passed in these last five years. And if they didn’t start with that, to restore confidence, to restore the inflow of investment funding, I think if most of the efforts they did not include that would be wasted.

Violet: And obviously there are those who feel that if any international engagement has to take place, South Africa has to play a role in this as our neighbour. Now Professor Raftopoulos – Does the fact that South Africa sent its security chief to Zimbabwe, to discuss this so-called summit that was reported in the media recently, does this say anything about South Africa’s mood regarding Zimbabwe?

Raftopoulos: I think it says a few things. 1) clearly a realisation that economic and political crisis in Zimbabwe is only getting worse. That former strategies to engage President Mugabe have not worked. But it also, there is clearly intervention which is linked to broader interventions with regards to the UN and possibly with regards to some future discussions with the British. I think that certainly there is a mould now of trying to push the path of various players in particular of Zanu PF into some form of negotiations. I think that is absolutely correct. But I think the South African role would be delineated by other broader forces who are getting involved now.


Violet: Now another important question is what happens after Mugabe as it’s been said that people need to move beyond the present stage. Now I will start with Professor Raftopoulos. What are the major judgements regarding a transitional arrangement?

Raftopoulos: Look I think clearly there has been areas which have been on the cards for many years which need to be sorted out in terms of any transitional arrangement. Clearly constitutional reform issue must come back on to the agenda, the question of electoral arrangement, the question of repressive legislations, the opening up of the media, interim economic arrangements to help alleviate the problems and then beyond that once legitimacy or broader legitimacy is established a very strong economic reconstruction programme. Of course the main problem area there has always been the future of President Mugabe, the future of Zanu Pf and I think will still be an issue, a major issue and one that has to be looked at very carefully in terms of any transitional arrangement.

Violet: And Professor Moyo how do we hold leaders accountable so that what is happening in Zimbabwe right now would not happen again under a new leadership?

Moyo: That is a very difficult question because it is ultimately determined by the politics on the ground. But I agree with what Professor Raftopoulos has just said that clearly a way forward, whether it is described in terms of a transitional arrangement or just generally a new dispensation would require a new constitution, it would require a new economic structural reform programme and it would require international support. Without these, all of these three we will have a very difficult transition and hopefully we would then be able to hold accountable the new leadership in terms of the provisions of the new constitution and their commitment to a new policy in favour of economic reforms. I don’t think we can do better than that. We have already seen that in a number of key respects there are no differences between the behaviour of the leadership in opposition, in civic society and in government and that means there is a very serious problem of political culture in our country and it is going to take generations and generations to address in my view.

Violet: And Mr Robertson, what must a post-Mugabe regime do to reverse the economic meltdown?

Robertson: I think one way to characterise what has happened in this country in the last 6/7 years has been the attack on markets. We have taken the land out of the markets. We have taken the exchange rate out of markets, we have taken the interest rates out of the markets. We have done immense damage and I believe the government has believed all the way through this they have better control over these issues if they are not in the market place. But that is the very same thing that has allowed the corruption to grow. It has allowed the various people in government to be no longer answerable to any market forces because they can get away with major crimes, major economic crimes because they make the rules up as they go along. If we were to reintroduce the markets in all of these things it will hold people automatically accountable to everything they do and I believe this would be the principle fundamental change that would have to take place. We need as a country to become more deserving of the investments that we desperately need and in order to do that we’ve got to allow the confidence measures to improve, we’ve got to make sure that the people who do come here are treated fairly and can contribute their investment funds to Zimbabwe’s recovery but they must be deserving of that support by changing the policies to make it absolutely clear to these investors that Zimbabwe is a good choice when they have the rest of the world to choose from. These are tall orders and they can only be achieved if we do fully resort to the re-introduction of respect the market forces, respect for the investors who wishes to chose Zimbabwe against the competition from elsewhere in the world and respect for Zimbabwe’s own ability to produce the workers, the employees that could support the development that we ourselves can achieve. We have amazing resources in this country but at the moment almost every one of them has been stood down by the politics and so the major changes would have to be in political policies.

Violet: And Professor Raftopoulos what role can the regional and international community play now and in the post Mugabe period?

Raftopoulos : Well, 1) it’s clearly to help provide guarantees around a transitional process, around a more open election process, around a future for – what to discuss the future for both Mugabe - Mugabe in particular but about his party as well and clearly the economic reconstruction programme which would be integral to any future discussion of a new Zimbabwe. So the broader legitimacy issue is vital for the region and international community to agree on certain measure that need to be taken to bring Zimbabwe back into a more open mould of politics.

Violet: And Professor Jonathan Moyo do you believe that those who are responsible for human rights abuses and plundering the economy should face trial?

Moyo: Yes I have always believed that. I still do and I think there is a national consensus not only on that but even on these other issues we have been talking about that would be necessary to see and do in a transition and one of those would be to hold the people accountable. You cannot have a good society unless human rights abuses and atrocities umm, those who commit them are held to book and to account.

Violet : With all due respect would you put yourself in that category of human rights abusers?

Moyo: Absolutely not, you know one of the things that I am very proud of in terms of my own role is yes, I argue with a lot of people including yourself. And an argument where I take one position and you take another cannot possibly by any threat of the imagination constitute a human rights violation. I campaigned in Tsholotsho specifically but I also campaigned in 2000 and 2002 and was nowhere not even once near anybody’s human rights violations. Not involved in a single incident of violence myself because I don’t believe in those things. I believe in very robust debate. I have very strong views myself. I express them very strongly on occasions. A strong expression of one’s views is not a human rights issue. I also have been a victim of human rights violations in Zimbabwe by the way and it’s something that has been of concern to me, before I came into government, when I was in government and it remains a concern today and so certainly I think that we cannot really expect to debate whether or not those who violate fundamental human rights should be held to account. I think that is an important thing to do as human beings let alone as a country.

 Violet: But the issue for many is on what you did or did not do while you were in government especially the role you played when repressive media laws were passed while you were information minister … but before we go a last word from Mr Robertson?

Robertson: I believe a great many people should be held accountable for what they have done. We have seen opportunistic behaviour of an order that has actually demolished the productive capacity of our farming areas in particular and a belief being generated politically that this was a right and proper thing to do because it’s all part of the destruction of colonialism. I think in Zimbabwe we have confused two major issues here; the agricultural sector all over the world was rapidly developing in the past century and those developments also happened here. ZANU PF chose to identify the developments in agriculture with colonialism and have broken down these developments to turn farmers back into peasant farmers and into people who are now totally dependant on the state, on the largess that the state can deliver to them in order to keep them in business. Now this I believe is entirely wrong and a great many people have benefited from the transition but the entire country is now seriously weakened because of this and a great many people have a lot to answer for on that one issue alone.

Violet: Right and Professor Raftopoulos, last word?

Raftopoulos: Yes, I think the question of a truth and justice commission must be one of the key issues for a future government and clearly it would be of great concern in any transitional discussion about who would get of the hook, so to speak, and where the buck would stop. So I think that clearly issues around accountability, what has happened in the country in the post colonial period not just the Gukurahundi period but the last five six years and indeed there may be open discussions about the colonial period as well. This I think are eras that need to be discussed. But clearly the question of accountability must be of central issue for future legitimacy of a democratically elected government in Zimbabwe.

Violet: Ok. I am afraid we have to end here. Thank you Professor Jonathan Moyo, Professor Brian Raftopoulos and John Robertson. Thank you for taking part in this discussion on the programme Hot Seat.

Raftopoulos : Thank you very much

Moyo: You are welcome, thank you

Robertson: Thank you.

Violet:Join us next Tuesday where I will be chatting with a new panel and bringing you a new discussion. It’s been said Robert Mugabe’s skill in staying in power is because of his ability to divide the opposition. Is this what’s wrong with Zimbabwe? Are pro-democracy groups not able to put aside their differences and work together for the good of the country? Be sure not to miss next Tuesday’s teleconference with the Chairperson of the National Constitutional Assembly Dr Lovemore Madhuku and the two Secretary Generals of the MDC factions; Tendai Biti from the Tsvangirai MDC and Professor Welshman Ncube from the Mutambara MDC.  

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Part 1

Part 2

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SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

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Margaret Dongo interview

From PBS Frontline/World (US), 27 June

continued from yesterday...

You were a member of Zanu. What were the early days like?

As a former freedom fighter, there was a lot of hope and a lot of
excitement. And people were willing to work toward rebuilding their country.
One thing you need to understand is that in the early 1980s, Zanu achieved
political power without economic backing. If you look at the developments
made by Zanu PF during the first five years, those are the developments that
you can talk about today. The first five years show that they were still
eager to work for the people, they were working toward the promises that
they'd made and they still had in mind how they had suffered in the
liberation struggle. At that time, they were trying to build a political
power base - they wanted the people to know they were the right people -
that they could actually bring about change...From 1980 to 1985, a number of
changes came in - to the agriculture sector, the health sector, the
education sector - in terms of black people, indigenous people coming into
business. When Mugabe came in, he was a different man. He came in with this
reconciliation policy. It was something that was envied by the whole
international movement. This guy was regarded as one of the best and
strongest African leaders.

So what changed?

I'm actually trying to see where Mugabe went wrong and where he started
changing. To some extent, I've always said that the law of diminishing
returns applies to human beings as well. The moment you grow older and start
to go around in circles, you become a baby again. People laugh at me, but I
say, "You know, when he came in, he was putting on Chinese colors. And when
he changed into Pierre Cardin, he became a different person altogether."
Mugabe knows how to deal with his own setbacks. He's the sort of character
who knows how to deal with opposition. Within or outside, he knows how to
maintain his power base. Mugabe was a character - even if you do not use the
door, he would open it and listen to you. If I tell you this, you won't
believe me because I am from the Zanu PF. But even though I was in that
party first, I became a political party opposition leader in 1998. What
worries me is, what makes him get stuck to this power? You see your people
suffering because of policies and decisions you've made, but you refuse to
sit down and say, "If I'm the problem, why don't I pave the way for young
people to come in? And then I can be an advisor."

If you look at our country today, Mugabe could have been a role model for
Africa - but for Nelson Mandela. Because what he did in the 1980s honestly
was marvelous. People always ask me, "How did Mugabe manage to unite people?
Why is it that there wasn't a revolt even from his own freedom fighters?"
Those people thought they would be saying to him, "How can you expect us to
dine with people who have been killing us?" But he was able to dilute the
whole situation by taking a few leaders who were in [prime minister of the
former Rhodesia, Ian] Smith's government. He was able to take a few from the
Zapu [Zimbabwe African People's Union, precursor to the Zanu Party, which
formed from a split within Zapu], he was able to accommodate everyone. We
were talking of the existence of multiparty democracy.

When did things start to fall apart?

The time when he [Mugabe] moved to creating a one-party monopoly, a
one-party state, that's when everything started falling apart. When the Zapu
Party - which was the strongest opposition party to Zanu PF - was swallowed
up by Zanu, this was the end of the multiparty democracy because it created
and strengthened a dictatorship. I'm saying this because I was in that
parliament. I endured a lot of hardship under a one-party monopoly. You
stand up and try to reason with him, and one tells you, "You are a bitch, go
and cook in your house." Or tells you to sit down, that you are a

You've been involved in politics for a long time. What is Zanu PF's
justification for its current policies?

There are certain individuals in Zanu who can't distinguish between "self"
and the role they are supposed to be playing. Their role is to safeguard
this country, yes, but not to bar people from the freedoms that are
enshrined in our human rights and our constitution. Policies that bar you
from exercising your right as journalists to come in and talk to people,
including people in Zanu PF, are not a decision of the entire board, but a
decision that has been spearheaded by certain people to protect their own
interest. I've been a member of the central ruling party and also a member
of parliament for 10 years, and I've held a number of senior positions, some
of them that involve policy making. You find that the policy-making process
in this country, especially by Zanu PF, does not leave room for
consultation. The whole thing has been outlined, created... designed like a
dictatorship. One person will come in and say, "Mr. Mugabe, you know the
people who are making life difficult for us? Tony Blair and the Americans. I
think it's better for us to put in a law so these people can't play around
with our minds, and we can do what we want."

What about the country's rampant inflation? You mix with people in Zanu PF.
They must go out to dinner parties and have people say to them, "Inflation
here is quite something."

Oh, the hypocrisy. I meet them [Zanu PF members] in banks, I meet them in
the street. I say, "But guys, is this what we fought for? Is this why you
are burying us alive?" And they'll say, "Margaret, you know, it's not our
fault. It's about the big man." And you say, "Yes, it's about the big man,
but you feed into him." The problem we have had is that while Mugabe thinks
the system is intact, it's not intact. The surprising thing today is if you
walk with a minister of this government privately, he or she will accept
that things are bad, that we are finished. But then when you ask, "Why can't
we have a change?" they will start stammering. But they are part and parcel
[of it]. They are enjoying [it]. Now is the time for looting because nobody
knows what is going to happen tomorrow.

The inflation is because of the looting. If you look at the corruption that
is here, I'm telling you it's like tea in Kenya, corruption is like chai
[tea]. [In Kenya, where corruption is endemic, a common expression is "Give
me a little something for tea" or "Give me a little bribe."] This is the
level we have reached in Zimbabwe. Corruption now isn't just associated with
the leaders, the executives - people at the top echelons - now even a street
vendor will ask for a bribe for some cooking oil or some mealy meal.
Corruption is out of control. The entire system is rotten. These ministers
who pretend to be good when they are on public platforms, speaking to human
rights activists or to people who are aggrieved. And then they start to
dance to the same tune. They are the ones who are causing this problem. And
the problem with Mugabe is that he wants to contain the opposition.

Can you talk about the reasoning behind the razing of thousands of home
recently around Harare? [Operation Murambatsvina, or "Operation Clear Out
the Filth," was a government clearance program that destroyed thousands of
homes outside the capital.]

The majority of the people opposing Mugabe are disadvantaged people - people
who have been created because of the economic fall in this country, the
unemployed. The country can no longer create employment. All the investors
have left, and there are no investors coming in. Harare has become
overpopulated because of migration from rural to urban, looking for greener
pastures. But people are living in the shantytowns that have been created -
the backyards and high fields of Harare. This is where it was easy for
opposition to grow. Mugabe realized that the opposition controls the cities
and thought, "How can I dilute that?" You see, so Mugabe is a strategist...
now inflation is too high. Life is unbearable here. There's no one in the
streets because they've been cleared. He has cleared the streets. People
have been displaced all over the rural areas.

Does Mugabe employ people who are essentially incompetent on the basis that
they will agree with him?

Mugabe doesn't look at competence. From my own experience, he looks at two
things: allegiance and loyalty. This is why you will find there are some
cabinet ministers who have been recycled time and again. They have become
life cabinet ministers, who are daft but still there. He doesn't want anyone
who is competent enough to challenge him. The reason why I was fired - I was
told, "Margaret, you are too forward. You need to listen to these elders.
You need to follow, not be ahead of them. If you are ahead of them, you lose
your position. Honestly, you'll be in the streets." I'm happy not because
I'm intelligent but because the role I've played internationally and
internally means I've become recognized by quite a number of organizations
and so forth. Mugabe would want to see you a pauper.

Edgar Tekere was the secretary general of the party. Mugabe reduced him to
nothing. Even the spin-doctor, Jonathan Moyo [former minister of
Information], has been reduced to nothing. He doesn't want anyone whose
intellect is higher than his.

You know, the time I got into politics in the 1990s, when I became the first
Independent [member of parliament] in 1995, I became the first woman to
escape a petrol-bomb attack. I'm telling you, the way you become a woman
leader is not rosy. Especially when you become controversial. I used to have
my house attacked, my car. My kids were subject to torture. During the last
attack, my child spent three hours under the bed. Not in my house, in a
neighbor's house. Because the child was shocked and confused, and he just
went into any house that was open. The type of torture I went through as a
person who cleared the path for the opposition? It's so painful. You can
lose some of the battles, but the struggle, it goes on. And I'm saying
there's time for everything. There is time for everything. Even time for
dictators to rejoice. And even time for dictators to see how they've damaged
the legacy that they've left behind.

You mentioned earlier that Zimbabwe was a yardstick. Why is it important and
why should people care?

The majority of countries that fought for liberation after Zimbabwe should
use Zimbabwe as a yardstick to measure their success. They should determine
their approach to issues and to politics by Zimbabwe's mistakes. Soon,
Namibia is going to have a problem of land distribution. South Africa
already has the problem of land distribution.

And Zimbabwe has a problem with the way it has distributed land. It was done
in an unfair and undemocratic way. But in principal, land reform is needed.
Even among the farmers themselves, they will tell you, "Fine, we agree,
there is a need for redistribution of land." But the methodology was
inhuman. I'll tell you the truth, the way we have approached our land issue,
the way we have approached our economy, the way we have approached our
economic and political problems, the problem that we have in terms of a
leadership crisis, all these things also can easily be witnessed in our
neighboring countries in the long run. Not later than 10 years away. South
Africa should be worried about the situation in Zimbabwe. Zambia should
worry. Malawi should worry. Namibia should worry. Because it's not going to
end in Zimbabwe. That's politics, darling. It's politics. It's the art of
communication. And it becomes cruel...

This interview between Alexis Bloom and Margaret Dongo took place in Harare
in February 2006. It has been edited for clarity

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Zimbabwe Civic Education Trust to investigate Mabvuku violence

      By Tererai Karimakwenda
      04 July 2006

      The director of the Zimbabwe Civic Education Trust (ZIMCET) David
Chimhini has said the political violence that erupted in Mabvuku this week
disgusted him and was a surprise because their peace committees have done so
much work to educate people to be more tolerant and to co-exist with
divergent views. He said their peace committee in the Mabvuku area will
investigate the attack on Harare North MP Trudy Stevenson and 4 other
provincial MDC executive members which took place Sunday. A group of about
40 thugs assaulted the group near Circle Cement and stole some property and
cash. Several of the thugs whose names are now in police custody.

      Stevenson alleges that she recognised one of them from the Tsvangirai
faction which she left after the MDC split into two camps last year.
Speaking to Gugulethu Moyo on the programme In The Balance Chimhini told her
ZIMCET has made much progress working with youth around the country and
their peace committees include members from all political parties and
various other community groups. But he added that Zimbabwe has developed a
culture of violence which will take a long time to erase and much was needed
in the way of education and resources. He said the Sunday attack indicates a
lack of respect for human life and that this projects a bad image for the
country as a whole.

      As for the work of these peace committees Chimhini told Gugu there are
72 committees around the country and each is comprised of an equal number of
members from the ruling party and from the opposition. The rest are youth
members, war veterans, church leaders, and women all from the community they
are to monitor. These committees not only educate communities about
political tolerance but they deal with domestic violence as well. Chimhini
said as a group they mobilise people to discuss all the issues affecting
their lives and advise communities on peaceful co-existence and motivate
them to develop positive agendas.

      Addressing the issue of youth violence, Chimhini told Gugu that many
youth wind up engaging in destructive activities because of poverty and
unemployment. He said having nothing to do is dangerous and some youth can
easily be enticed to violence simply for a meal or financial gain. Chimhini
also said overzealousness by youth within political circles was identified
as one of the problems. Some youth go too far to try and show their support
for a particular party believing they will gain points with the top

      The peace committees were formed in 2003 and they grew out of local
task forces that ZIMCET had organised 2 years earlier. Chimhini said he is
proud of the work they have done and many communities all over Zimbabwe have
been receptive to their presence and to their ideas on tolerance. But he
said there is still much work to be done and the Mabvuku incident is a
reminder of that. He called on the police to prosecute those responsible no
matter what political party they belong to and appealed to political leaders
to stress the idea of peace and tolerance.

      The entire interview with ZIMCET director David Chimhini can be heard
on the programme In The Balance with Gugulethu Moyo on Wednesday.

      SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

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Chinese experts arrive in Zimbabwe to examine aircraft


HARARE, July 04 -- Three Chinese experts arrived in Zimbabwe's capital city
of Harare Monday to examine the MA60 aircraft which experienced an engine
failure in Victoria Falls last week.

The three experts from China Aero Technology Import and Export Corporation
(Cactic) and the China Aviation Industry Corporation 1, are also visiting
other African countries where they have sold at least 17 planes, the
official newspaper The Herald reported on Tuesday.

The experts, led by Li Ping, vice president and director-general of the
China Aviation Industry Corporation 1, paid a courtesy call on Minister of
Transport and Communications Christopher Mushohwe.

During their brief meeting, Li said the Chinese government was concerned
with the reports and wanted to establish the cause of the technical fault.

"We pay attention to our customers and we came to establish theproblem and
discuss, especially on this particular issue. We are going to do our best
with our partners in Canada to solve this problem," Li said.

Mushohwe also said the relations between China and Zimbabwe, which date back
to the liberation struggle, should be strengthened.

He said China was one of the first countries to assist Zimbabwe after being
slapped with illegal sanctions by some Western countries.

The minister said the MA60 was being attended to and a full report was yet
to be made.

"As soon as I get the full report on the problems of the plane, I will
disclose it to our customers and the public after the team determines the
cause of the fault," he said.

An MA60 plane last week burst two tyres while making a precautionary
emergency landing at Victoria Falls Airport following an engine failure. The
Harare-bound plane was forced to make an emergency landing at the airport
after it developed a technical fault mid-air just after taking off.

There were no injuries and Air Zimbabwe engineers and Chinese experts in the
country are attending to the aircraft, the minister said. - xinhuanet

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Dealing with Mugabe

Cape Argus

      July 4, 2006

      Suggestions by police intelligence sources that Zimbabweans are behind
some of the violent crime being visited upon South Africa is a vivid, if
depressing, confirmation of concerns that have been raised for years.

      Scores of observers have warned that the downward spiral in Zimbabwe
would come to haunt its more successful southern neighbour. And many have
pointed to the South African government's failed strategy of "quiet
diplomacy" as being complicit in that spiral.

      And yet Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe carries on in imperious
fashion, apparently secure in the support of his fellow African leaders.

      This weekend he saw off United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan's
attempts to mediate in Zimbabwe (attempts apparently backed by South Africa
and Britain).

      Instead former Tanzanian president Benjamin Mkapa, who has publicly
backed Mugabe's disastrous land reforms, will handle the mediation. Those
hoping for some progress towards resolving the crisis in Zimbabwe should not
hold their breath.

      At the same time Mugabe escaped censure from the African Union (AU)
summit when it failed to endorse a report on human rights violations which
is reportedly extremely critical of Zimbabwe.

      The summit, in Banjul, represented the latest opportunity for the AU
to showcase Africa's progress, some of which has been considerable. Instead,
it was overshadowed by Mugabe's manoeuvrings.

      This should be of considerable concern to the leaders of a continent
that needs to get its house in order and address unfortunate perceptions
about it in the world's economic powerhouses.

      They are now confronted with the fact that dealing with Mugabe has
become a pivotal test for the AU, launched with great fanfare and promises
four years ago. No other organisation has the clout to make Mugabe stop his
wayward behaviour, but will it grasp the nettle?

      Every indication from Banjul is that it will not, and that ordinary
Zimbabweans will be left to suffer under Mugabe's disastrous regime. And, of
course, that the fallout will increasingly spill over into South Africa.

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Johannesburg shoot-out - investigations spill over into Zimbabwe

      By Tichaona Sibanda
      4 July, 2006

      South Africa's intelligence operatives have been in Zimbabwe to try
and flush out a crime syndicate that is using the country as a springboard
to orchestrate a spate of serious crimes across the Limpopo.

      The visit by South Africa's crime busting Scorpions unit was just a
week after a bloody shoot-out in Jeppestown, Johannesburg left four
policemen and eight armed robbers dead. Although none of the dead robbers
were from Zimbabwe, five of the sixteen who surrendered to the police have
now been confirmed to be Zimbabweans.

      Themba Nkosi our Bulawayo correspondent told us members of the
Scorpions unit interviewed some retired and serving members of the military,
including war veterans.

      'The intelligence officers from South Africa visited Bulawayo and
Harare and spoke to people with a military background to try and build up a
profile of what happens to a person who retires from the army to become a
civilian,' Nkosi said.

      The Sunday Times of South Africa reported that numerous robberies
since 2002 could be traced to former Zimbabwean soldiers, but that the South
African government had received no help from authorities in Zimbabwe.

      The paper also alleged that there was an increase in the number of
soldiers deserting the Zimbabwe National Army because of the economic
meltdown. The Mugabe regime has in recent years struggled to pay salaries of
its soldiers, forcing many of them to desert and trek down south for greener

      In South Africa, according to Themba Nkosi, the former soldiers are
turning to violent crime and in the last five years, a record number of high
profile cases have been linked to Zimbabweans: In January Themba Charles
Mahlangu was arrested at The Glen shopping mall. Two months earlier he had
allegedly killed Johannesburg police officer Enver Enoch, and the same day
had allegedly robbed an American Express outlet in Fourways. He was also
sought in connection with a robbery at Gold Reef City in 2005; In March
gunmen stole more than R70-million in cash from an SAA flight. Suspects were
arrested en route to Zimbabwe. In 2004 Durban police arrested six members of
the infamous Hammer Gang, responsible for robbing several banks and
foreign-exchange agencies. Four of the men were Zimbabwean and it was
alleged at the time that they had stolen US dollars and taken the money to
Zimbabwe. After an airport heist in 2002, in which more than R115-million
was stolen, four of those responsible were arrested at a Bulawayo hotel.

      SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

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Zimbabwe eyes US$100 million new nickel mine

Angola Press

Harare, Zimbabwe, 07/04 - Zimbabwe`s biggest nickel producer said Monday it
had entered into final negotiations with external investors to open a new
US$100 million mine in central Zimbabwe.

Bindura Nickel Corporation spokesman James July said the new mine at
Hunter`s Road near the city of Kwe Kwe had vast reserves, and would
considerably increase Zimbabwe`s nickel output.

He would not name the potential investors, but said the negotiations had
reached an advanced stage.

"We are in the final stages of negotiations with potential partners we have
identified, and these are all foreign," he said.

"The project needs US$100 million and it will be able to fill our refining
and smelting capacity currently lying idle because of insufficient nickel
ore production," said July.

The corporation produces between 6,000 and 8,000 tonnes of nickel a year,
and expects to boost this significantly when the Hunter`s Road project comes
on stream.

Nickel is one of Zimbabwe`s biggest mineral exports.

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