The ZIMBABWE Situation
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Zimbabwe rural areas run out of food

Zim Online

Thursday 05 July 2007

By Farisai Gonye

HARARE - Food aid is urgently required in some parts of rural Zimbabwe where
some families have completely run out of food and have to go for days
without eating, according to a draft report by World Vision International.

The report, that has not yet been officially released to the public but was
shown to ZimOnline on Wednesday, was prepared following a survey last May by
World Vision in the districts of Beitbridge, Bubi, Bulilima, Chiredzi,
Gwanda, Insiza, Lupane and Mangwe in hunger-prone south-western Zimbabwe.

The northern districts of Mt Darwin, Rushinga and Uzumba-Maramba-Pfungwe
were also covered in the survey.

The report titled "Rapid Food Assessment Draft Report" says all the
districts surveyed recorded poor yields in the just ended farming season
harvesting enough food to last "between 0-3 months."

"Generally all the wards are food insecure such that food assistance is
required urgently . . . some households have even resorted to restricting
consumption by adults so that children may eat more meals. Households often
take risky strategies of skipping entire days without eating and some have
resorted to begging," the report reads in part.

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the World
Food Programme (WFP) had issued an earlier warning last month that a third
of Zimbabwe's 12 million people will face serious food shortages by early
next year.

The FAO and WFP who visited Zimbabwe in April at the invitation of the
government to assess food availability said crop failure exacerbated by an
unprecedented economic meltdown would leave more than four million
Zimbabweans in need of food aid.

The World Vision report makes the same point, noting that the unavailability
and inaccessibility of food from retailers and other sources would worsen
hunger in Zimbabwe with even those families able to raise cash to buy food
still unable to feed themselves because there would be no food in the shops.

Zimbabwe is in the midst of a deep recession seen in the world's highest
inflation of nearly 5 000 percent, widespread poverty and joblessness.

However, Agriculture Minister Rugare Gumbo downplayed the latest warning of
hunger by World Vision as well as the earlier one issued by the FAO and WFP,
saying there was no need to panic because the cash-strapped Harare
administration was importing maize from neighbouring countries.

Gumbo said the government, which has declared 2007 a drought year, would
invite international relief agencies to help feed the wider population only
if it "really needed" their assistance.

"We are importing grain from neighbouring countries. We are aware of the
situation. We only invite NGOs (non-governmental organisations) once we are
satisfied we really need them," said Gumbo.

For now, NGOs have mostly focused on giving food aid to the marginalised
groups in communities such as orphans, the elderly, widows and people living
with HIV/AIDS.

Critics blame Zimbabwe's food crisis directly on Mugabe's haphazard
fast-track land reform exercise that displaced established white commercial
farmers and replaced them with either incompetent or inadequately funded
black farmers.

Food production plunged by about 60 percent as a result while chaos in the
mainstay agriculture sector because of farm seizures also hit hard Zimbabwe's
once impressive manufacturing sector that had depended on a robust farming
sector for orders and inputs.

Most of Zimbabwe's factories have since the beginning of farm seizures in
2000 either closed completely or scaled down operations to below 30 percent
of capacity, in a country where unemployment is more than 80 percent. -

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Minister summons business leaders over prices

Zim Online

Thursday 05 July 2007

By Hendricks Chizhanje

HARARE - Zimbabwe Industry and International Trade Minister Obert Mpofu on
Wednesday summoned the country's business leaders to warn them again to
halve prices of goods, keep factories running, and shops open.

Mpofu, who was not immediately available for comment on the matter, is said
to have instructed manufacturers not to interrupt the supply chain by
stopping production or selling goods whose prices the governments has
ordered rolled back to June 18 levels.

President Robert Mugabe's government, which charges business is conniving
with its Western enemies to hike prices and incite popular revolt, has said
it will seize factories that stop production over prices.

Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries president Callisto Jokonya said
business leaders told Mpofu they needed foreign currency to import raw
materials and spare parts to keep production lines running.

"We told them that there is need to avail foreign currency for us to produce
goods," Jokonya told ZimOnline.

Meanwhile, consumers across the country continued to grab whatever was still
available in the shops in a bid to take advantage of halved prices to
stockpile on goods that are expected to soon become short on the formal
market in response to the tough price controls.

In Harare, long queues could be seen at shops and even at some fast food
outlets as people took advantage to feast on re-priced food. Fast food
outlets had until now been spared from the price cuts.

The government last week froze prices of all commodities following a spate
of price hikes that had seen prices of basic goods rising by more than 500
percent in the space of just three weeks.

Soldiers and police have since last week raided several shops in Harare to
force owners to lower prices. At least 194 retailers have been arrested and
the figure is set to rise as the police intensify the crackdown on
businesses defying the order to reduce prices.

Analysts say the government's latest effort to keep a lid on prices was
meant to pacify angry workers ahead of general presidential and
parliamentary elections next year but would come at a heavy cost as this
could force some companies to shut down and force more workers to join the
growing jobless list. - ZimOnline

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IMF says region should help Zimbabwe out of the woods

Zim Online

Thursday 05 July 2007

Own Correspondent

JOHANNESBURG - Zimbabwe is the only country in Africa that has not
registered economic growth and single digit inflation rates, according to
the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

IMF deputy managing director Takatoshi Kato told a news conference on the
sidelines of the African Union (AU) in Accra, Ghana, that Zimbabwe's rampant
inflation of 5 000 percent should be a cause for concern for the continent.

"Consumer prices (for most of Africa) altogether came down to single digit,
excluding Zimbabwe," said Kato.

Kato said President Robert Mugabe's government should do more to stem
Zimbabwe's economic collapse that has been described as unprecedented for a
country not at war.

The IMF official said southern African regional leaders should also do more
to help stop a looming collapse of Zimbabwe's economy.

"We would welcome any further dialogue between neighbouring African
countries and Zimbabwe.

The situation in Zimbabwe is affecting neighbouring countries very
dramatically, it's also the responsibility of the authorities," said Kato.

IMF's director for Africa, Abdoulaye Bio-Thiane, said although neighbours
could suggest solutions to Zimbabwe's crisis, in the end "it's really the
responsibility of the authorities (in Harare) to address the current

The IMF's sharp comments come as President Thabo Mbeki, was expected to
brief Southern African Development Community (SADC) leaders on the sidelines
of the Accra meetings on progress in his mediation efforts in Zimbabwe.

The South African president was last March tasked by SADC to lead efforts to
find a negotiated solution to Zimbabwe's political and economic crisis. SADC
is also mulling providing an economic rescue package to Harare. - ZimOnline

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The actions of a mad man

The Zimbabwean

Zimbabwe has been plunged into chaos as a motley assortment of state
agents - including armed police, Green Bombers, war vets and 'inspectors' -
obey Mugabe's ludicrous order to enforce price reductions in an effort to
stem the tide of inflation resulting from his government's printing of
nobody knows how many billions of worthless bank notes and bearers' cheques.
How is it that Mugabe and his few remaining supporters are incapable of
comprehending the most basic economic fundamentals?  Terrorising the final
link in the production chain, the retailer, into slashing the prices of
goods to the general public in the hope of averting national economic
collapse must surely be the actions of a madman.
The systematic destruction of the means of production by Zanu (PF) over the
past two decades has brought the economy to where it is today. Without
addressing these fundamentals, and of course the rampant corruption,
cronyism and patronage on which the party survives, jumping in to thrash
retailers into reducing prices is hardly a recipe for economic recovery.
Reports indicate that a few retailers did indeed give into the terror
tactics - sparking a frenzy among shoppers as a few people got lucky,
gobbling up the reduced-price goods as though there were no tomorrow.  No
doubt many thousands of green bombers, war vets and policemen went to bed
that night on a full stomach for the first time in months, if not years.
But now what? Now it is tomorrow! And as the photos in this issue
demonstrate so well - there is nothing left. Instead of alleviating the
suffering of millions of Zimbabweans, Mugabe and his henchmen have - yet
again - simply made it worse. Much worse.
Many businesses were brutally forced to empty their storerooms.  Violence,
assault, looting and arrests were reported country-wide.
A large wholesaler lost about Z$500 million on orange juice alone after
reducing the price. Another chain gave away all its bread rather than sell
it at a loss. Many shops have closed and the owners are reported to be in
Even the black market has dried up. And what of tomorrow?

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Mbeki plans to delay 2008 vote

The Zimbabwean

President Thabo Mbeki believes the only workable solution for the Zimbabwean
crisis is to set up a transitional government of national unity between the
ruling party and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change. This entity
would work on constitutional, electoral and other reforms before holding
elections at a later date.
Highly-placed sources, named but not able to be identified, told The
Zimbabwean that Mbeki had already suggested the plan to the ruling party and
both factions of the MDC.
"Mbeki hopes to accomplish the very difficult mission of convincing
President Robert Mugabe to step down in exchange for a guarantee of
indemnity from prosecution for alleged crimes against humanity," said the
"If he manages to get the aged leader out of the way, the next move would be
having a reformed Zanu (PF), with former finance minister Simba Makoni
touted as the leading candidate, to bring in a government of national unity
with the opposition.
However, Mbeki faces a serious stumbling block in Mugabe who not only still
wants to cling on, but has been alerted to the plan aimed at getting rid of
him and is countering it with a headstrong march towards preparing for next
year's elections.
Political observers say the aged leader can also easily frustrate Mbeki's
efforts by making sure his party plays delaying tactics and refuses to
engage the opposition in dialogue on the basis of the usual allegations of
it failing to acknowledge his presidency, selling out and so forth.
In addition, both factions of the MDC have vowed to decline going into a
government of national unity and have dismissed the idea of a reformed Zanu
(PF), saying this will not solve the political logjam.

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Free and fair election fever grips nation

The Zimbabwean

  …as bumper crowds turn up at MDC rallies
Mammoth crowds turned up at MDC rallies held in three provinces over the weekend to add their voice to the increasing national chorus demanding a level playing field ahead of the watershed elections scheduled for next year.
The rallies, dubbed 'Free and Fair election rallies', are being held throughout the country and will culminate in two major rallies to be held soon in Bulawayo and Harare. Similarly successful rallies have already been held in Mutare, Masvingo, Gokwe and Chinhoyi.
On Saturday, about 10 000 people turned up at Dombotombo in Marondera to make their demand for free and fair elections. On Sunday, another big crowd gathered in Redcliff for a morning rally while about 25 000 people, including former Zanu (PF) stalwart and Zvishavane MP, Pearson Mbalekwa, turned up for an afternoon rally at Mkoba Stadium in Gweru to make a bold statement to Robert Mugabe and his government that only a free and fair election and a change of government would ensure a new and better Zimbabwe.
The MDC President Morgan Tsvangirai, Secretary-General and Harare East MP Tendai Biti and Women's Assembly chairperson Lucia Matibenga, addressed the three rallies and listened to the increasing national demand for a level playing field as a prerequisite for free and fair polls.
The leaders said despite Zanu (PF)'s machinations to steal the people's vote, a large turn-out in next year's polls would make it difficult for the regime to gag the deafening national chorus for change. 
Tsvangirai said elections were the only opportunity for the people to change the government and vote for food, jobs, respect for basic freedoms and guaranteed national prosperity, which could only be brought by an MDC government. He said the MDC was taking advantage of every opportunity to make sure that Zimbabweans get a chance to express themselves through democratic polls.   

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Land reform to blame for death of 10,000 farm workers - Zimrights

The Zimbabwean

Featurecredit Bishop Asare. caption: Reduced to rags, the appalling fate of
children of farm workers
More than 10 000 farm workers who were affected by the controversial farm invasions of 2000 are believed to have died following their displacement, a report by the Zimbabwe Human Rights Forum has said.
Advisor to former president Nelson Mandela, Advocate George Bizos, has also lambasted the land reform programme for its violent nature which has left many suffering.
According to a report by the human rights non-governmental organisation last month, a million people living on commercial farms suffered incidents of assault, torture, being held hostage, illegal detention and death threats.
"More than 10,000 farm workers are believed to have died after their removal and the consequent loss of employment, housing, nutrition and access to health-care on the farms," it estimated.
The Zimbabwe Human Rights Forum said this report was the first detailed study on the human rights violations against white commercial farmers and their black workers during the land grab.
"There is a plausible case for crimes against humanity having been committed in the past seven years by Mugabe's regime. There is a compelling need for these to be investigated and the perpetrators to be charged and tried," it said.
At least 4,500 farms seized illegally by President Robert Mugabe since 2000 have followed the same pattern overwhelmingly, and turned one of the most robust and enterprising agricultural industries into a model of neglect.
The 4,300 farms seized illegally by Mugabe's regime since 2000 have followed the same pattern overwhelmingly, and turned one of the most robust and enterprising agricultural industries into a model of neglect.
The human rights report says that Mugabe's "ill-advised land reform process" had "devastated the economy and created an enormous humanitarian crisis".
Its findings "point to an organised seizure of land planned by officials, not a spontaneous seizure by landless blacks, as the Government claims".
It estimated that farmers' and workers' losses amounted to $US8.5 billion.
Compensation of anything near that figure would bankrupt the Zimbabwe Government, the report said.
Zimbabwe's maize production fell 74% between 1999 and 2004 while the national cattle herd has shrank by 90% and production of flue-cured tobacco fell from 237m kg (233,200 tons) to 70m kg.
The United Nations says that 4.1 million people in Zimbabwe are facing serious food shortages because of the drought poor, management and poor land reform programme.

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Dutch farmers sue for US$16m

The Zimbabwean

The influential Financial Times reported this week on the group of
dispossessed Dutch farmers who have taken advantage of an investment treaty
between Zimbabwe and the Netherlands that enables them to bypass Zimbabwean
The farmers, who bred cattle and produced tobacco, flowers, maize, coffee
and soybeans, are each seeking around US$1m for loss of property and
agricultural equipment.
The lawsuit has been launched at the International Centre for Settlement of
Investment Disputes (ICSID), an arbitration tribunal housed at the World
Bank in Washington. It underlines the potential for private litigants to sue
governments for compensation in politically explosive areas using official
bilateral investment treaties.
The farmers allege that Mugabe's government breached its international law
obligations by failing to provide adequate police protection for Dutch
property owners in Zimbabwe between 2000 and 2002 and by actively supporting
a series of violent land invasions that led to their farms being abandoned.
They add that the Zimbabwean government subjected them to unlawful racial
discrimination by targeting white farmers.
The Zimbabwe Attorney General's office was supposed to file its evidence by
June 15, but missed the deadline. The court has given an extension until
Friday this week and stated it would be reluctant to grant further
Zimbabwe's deputy ambassador to the US, Gideon Gapare, reportedly told the
FT Zimbabwe was "fully co-operating" with the proceedings but declined to
comment on the merits of the case.
A handful of countries, including Switzerland, the Netherlands, Germany, and
Denmark, have investment protection treaties with Zimbabwe. A treaty with
the UK - which boasted the largest number of nationals farming in Zimbabwe -
was never ratified.
Agric Africa, a UK-based group that has helped co-ordinate the Dutch
farmers' arbitration claim, has received a small grant from the Open Society
Initiative for Southern Africa, a non-profit organisation established by the
financier and philanthropist George Soros.

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Diamonds in diplomatic bags?

The Zimbabwean

Senior diplomats working for the Zimbabwean Embassy to South Africa are
under investigation for diamond trafficking.
The move follows a tip-off to the South African Police Service (SAPS) about
the smuggling of diamonds from Zimbabwe through the use of diplomatic bags.
A top South African police official, who has chosen to keep details closed
to the media, said any issue subject to investigation would undergo the
required process.
But international regulations make it illegal for any country to search the
baggage and luggage of diplomats.
A receptionist at the Zimbabwean Embassy in Pretoria, South Africa, referred
to only as Chiwoniso, was allegedly shot two months ago following the flop
of a diamond deal.
This has been rumored to be the deal the Zimbabwean government struck with
its employees in South Africa as part of payment for their salaries.
The Zimbabwean government has failed to pay its employees for the past four
months and this has forced government officials to be involved in diamond
scams that almost claimed one life.
Since the discovery of diamonds in the country about 33 000 illegal miners
have been arrested and senior officials, including the late William Nhara,
have been caught up in the vicious battle for wealth.
Chris Mapanga, spokesperson for the Zimbabwe Consulate, could not confirm or
deny the allegations levelled against the government by the time of going to
press. - Own correspondent

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NCA promises diaspora new constitution

The Zimbabwean

Thousands of Zimbabweans gathered at Musina over the weekend to listen to
efforts being made by the National Constitution Assembly to bring in a
democratic, people- driven constitution before 2008 polls.
Coordinator for the NCA in South Africa, Tapera Kapuya, said no political
party should dream of winning elections before a new constitution is in
"The groceries and remittances you are sending should be accompanied by a
clear message to those at home to participate in democratization process.
Zanu (PF) represents a history of betrayal and misery. It must be brought
down for development to take place in our country," said Kapuya.
"A people-driven constitution is the surest guarantee that Zimbabweans will
not be subjected to the whims and caprices of self-seeking politicians ever
An estimated crowd of 3 000 welcomed the move as a positive one towards
ensuring that an election is in place in less than six months.
"Our 2001 National Convention resolution still stands: We will support a
political party that commits to facilitating the writing of a people driven
democratic constitution as part of its program. Equally, we will frustrate
any political party whose mission is to exclude Zimbabweans from writing
their own Constitution," said Kapuya to a rapturous applause. - Trust

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Gono in big trouble

The Zimbabwean

Reserve bank of Zimbabwe Governor, Gideon Gono is in trouble from those
opposed to him within the Zanu (PF) regime who blame him for presiding over
the collapse of the economy.
The Zimbabwean can reveal that Gono has recently increased security around
him after he learnt of plans to get at his life as the politics of power and
authority in the Mugabe regime suck him deeper and the economic decline
proves too stubborn for his cocktail of attempted remedies.
It is all turning sour for Gono who, since taking over the central bank in
December 2003, has been riding high, exuding a lot of energy, enthusiasm and
purported commitment to the extent there were rumours he wanted to succeed
his master, President Robert Mugabe.
In the forefront of a serious attack on Gono are two camps, the Mujuru
faction and proponents for the reformed Zanu (PF) under former finance
minister Simba Makoni.
A document being circulated within the ruling party and government circles
this week, entitled "There is no option for success", is apparently aimed at
deriding Gono who has been on the record continuously declaring there was no
option for failure, despite it unfolding right under his nose daily.
The document  (copy seen) seeks to shape public opinion and says "Gono must
just resign and admit that, like Jonathan Moyo, he was a mole who wanted to
kill us from within."
It further states: "The truth must finally be told, and it is that we have
reached this level of economic failure because of the policies of Prime
Minister Gono, in all the sectors of the economy and he must just go."
Gono's adversaries promise in the document to expose "his earth shattering
scandals" soon in order for the world to see the man behind all those
gimmicks.  It was difficult to trace the origins of the document but senior
government officials confirmed to this paper that it has been circulating
even within top echelons of the regime.
Gono was not available to comment.
It has also emerged that recent cabinet and Zanu (PF) politburo meetings
deliberating on the economic malaise presented anti-Gono officials the
opportunity to lobby for his disgraceful removal mainly on the basis of
allegations he has been involving the central bank in a lot of quasi-fiscal
activities and contributed to economic problems.
Gono is said to be girding his loins for campaigning to lead the reformed
Zanu (PF) and through that he has reportedly created another camp of enemies
in those agreed on the candidature of Makoni.
Gono took over the RBZ leadership when inflation was around 300% and his
presided to it shooting to above 6000% currently.

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'Change is coming' promises Morgan

The Zimbabwean

Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai has urged Zimbabweans to exercise
restraint despite worsening abuse by President Robert Mugabe and his ruling
Zanu (PF) party.
Tsvangirai said the opposition was acutely aware of the worsening hardships
but said the people should avoid the temptation to lose hope. The MDC leader
told the Mashonaland East provincial council at the weekend that Zimbabwe
had entered the "final, decisive stages of our generational and political
transition to a new Zimbabwe."
"We live in trying times," Tsvangirai said. "Our entire business sector has
been criminalized and attacked for merely trying to perform an essential
service and for supplying the people with the little goods and services they
can still salvage from the current hyper-inflationary environment."
Tsvangirai spoke as soldiers and police officers moved into supermarkets
demanding the reversal of prices in a populist policy that critics say is
likely to result in empty shelves.
Tsvangirai said change was imminent. He emphasized that the MDC did not hate
President Mugabe, but his system of governance which had plunged the country
into its worst economic and political crises since independence
"We are on course," he said. "It has become clear that we are on the final
stages of the dictatorship. Change is inevitable; change is coming."
Tsvangirai said he hoped the ruling party would take the mediation being
spearheaded by President Thabo Mbeki seriously. He said his party fully
endorsed the sub region's concern for Zimbabwe and hoped that something
positive can emerge from the engagement.
"Given the right political will, peace is possible," said Tsvangirai. "There
are always opportunities in dialogue. What we need is principled dialogue,
away from emotions, and anchored on raw facts about the situation in our
country. SADC has seen the need for this and is trying to push Zanu (PF)
away from the state of denial. Let us steer away from embarrassing our SADC
Tsvangirai did not elaborate on what form of action his party would take in
the event the mediation failed, but ruled out the use of arms.
"If we deliberately allow our emotions to undermine a reasoned pacific
process, a possibility exits for a serious power vacuum whose consequences
could be too ghastly to contemplate. There is simply too much anxiety within
the population at the moment," he said.
Tsvangirai cautioned the government against using state institutions to
carry out acts of violence against the opposition.
"Our uniformed forces and all civil servants must confine themselves to
their Constitutional mandate and serve Zimbabweans across the board," he
said. "Our war veterans must realize that they were demobilized after a
sterling performance against colonialism. They cannot allow a political
party to de-humanise them and turn them into a militia. They cannot become a
reserve force whose command structure rests with the Zanu (PF) Politburo.
Genuine war veterans must refuse to be answerable to a political party. They
fought for Zimbabwe, not Zanu (PF)."

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Makoni denies 'sell-out' charge

The Zimbabwean

"things cannot go on like this"
Former Finance Minister, Dr Simba Makoni, has lashed out at politicians who
claim that he is a "sell-out".
In the past few weeks Makoni, who is also a senior Zanu (PF) politician has
spoken at a number of occasions including the recent World Economic Forum
for Africa in Cape Town, saying the economic crisis in Zimbabwe must not
And in an apparent reference to accusations by the Minister of Information
and Publicity, Sikhanyiso Ndlovu, Makoni said in an exclusive interview in
Harare this week: "I have contributed more to this country than those who
now claim to be custodians of what it means to be Zimbabwean. To mask
poverty and the misery of our people can never be what determines
Ndlovu had said, reportedly in reference to Makoni: "In any revolution there
are sell-outs. Some of the Selous Scouts were blacks. You would expect that
a member of a party would know what channels to use to air their grievances
if they do not see eye to eye with the leader of their party."
Asked to comment on the MDC, Makoni said it was a home-grown political
opposition that "grew out of our failure as a governing party to develop the
country and address the collapse of the economy".
On the March 11 clamp-downs, Makoni, the only senior Zanu (PF) official to
visit civic and political leaders hospitalised after being assaulted by the
police said:
"We can not allow a situation of hostility toward those at variance with our
political thinking. What happened to Madhuku, Tsvangirai and Kwinjeh was
wrong. It was criminal."
"What we are witnessing in the country should not be taken as a reflection
on all of us in Zanu (PF)," he said.
Makoni resigned as finance minister in 2003.
Asked about Mugabe's candidature in the 2008 elections, Makoni was
blistering: "The options still remain of another candidate. Contrary to
public opinion, there has not been any decision by the party on who its
candidate will be. This decision will be made at the annual conference and
endorsed by politburo in December. The crisis in the country has been
"So the party in choosing a candidate would have to answer whether
Zimbabweans will be voting in 2008 for the crisis or for its resolution."
He added that there was "a process ongoing within the party, within
Zimbabwe, and even with some of our friendly partners. There is an agreement
that the state of affairs cannot and must not go on, and that it must be
reversed". - Own Correspondent

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Zim refuges celebrate Refugee Day

The Zimbabwean

Millions of Zimbabwean refugees will join their African counterparts in
Newtown, Johannesburg to commemorate the Africa Refugee Day on Saturday.
Several entertainment groups such as the musical groups, drama and theatre
have been lined up for this day.
Among other performers lined-up for the commemoration day include Oscar
Benjamin, Prophet JD, Ras Franky, Kaky Crew, Mbizo and Nyasha. The
entertainment is set to take place at Horror Cafe in the heart of
Johannesburg on Saturday.
Several speakers have been lined-up to share their experiences of living in
exile as refugees and the challenges they are facing in South Africa.
So many questions have been raised about the South African Police Service
(SAPS) involved in corruption, and the question of xenophobia. - CAJ News

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International Financiers Warn Zimbabwe Economic Collapse In Offing


      By Ndimyake Mwakalyelye
      04 July 2007

International Monetary Fund and World Bank officials speaking on the
sidelines of the just-ended African Union summit in Accra, Ghana, expressed
concern at deepening economic distress in Zimbabwe and urged AU leaders to
help resolve the crisis.

IMF Deputy Managing Director Takatoshi Tako is reported to have cited the
impact of "the heightened rate of inflation on the people," referring to
inflation last estimated at 4,500%, and challenged Harare to tackle "very
comprehensive measures head-on."

Unnamed World Bank officials were also quoted as predicting "total collapse"
due to the government's "lack of taste for embracing any reforms."

The international financial officials noted that with the exception of
Zimbabwe, African countries last year posted an average rate of growth of
around 5%. The Zimbabwean economy has been in a contraction since the
beginning of the current decade.

While urging countries in the region to assist Zimbabwe in stabilizing its
economy, IMF Director for Africa Abdoulaye Bio-Tchane acknowledged that "in
the end it's really the responsibility of the Zimbabwe authorities to
address the current situation."

Economist David Mupamhadzi told reporter Ndimyake Mwakalyelye of VOA's
Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that is it is hard to dismiss the figures cited by
global experts.

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On Rights and Labor, Global Compact Is "Not a Watchdog" of UN's Own Compliance

Inner City Press

Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press at the UN

UNITED NATIONS, July 5 -- As Ban Ki-moon kicks off the UN Global Compact
summit, on the sidelines a debate has begun about the lack of enforcement or
even evaluation of compliance by the corporations which brag of their
membership in the Compact and links with the UN.

Missing so far from the debate, however, is the question of
whether the UN system itself complies with the principles it says it is
promoting to corporations through the Compact.

In the area of human rights, the "Global Compact asks companies
to.... make sure that they are not complicit in human rights abuses." But in
the past year and a half, UN peacekeepers in the Democratic Republic of
Congo have been accused of torture, and the UN has continued to support the
Ethiopia-based Transitional Federal Government in Somalia, even as it
routinely fired ordnance into civilian neighborhoods in Mogadishu.

The UN Development Program in 2006 supported violent disarmament
by Ugandan soldiers in the Karamoja region, in which villages were torched,
and children held hostage to be traded for weapons. UNDP in Zimbabwe has
helped Robert Mugabe set up a "Human Rights Commission," while supporting
Mugabe cronies in, for example, diamond mining.

While human rights principles need enforcement on corporations,
the UN itself shows a lack of accountability. UNDP has attempted to downplay
or obscure its role in Uganda and Zimbabwe; the UN Office of Internal
Oversight Services' audits of DRC peacekeeping, taking up to two years, are
so slow as to be nearly meaningless. By the time findings are announced, the
peacekeepers have gone home, outside the reach of any discipline by the UN.
Most recently, UN peacekeepers in Kosovo who killed two demonstrators by
shooting them with 13-year old, hardened rubber bullets left Pristina for
Romania and have still not faced any justice.

In a press briefing in New York to promote this week's summit,
the Compact's executive director Georg Kell was asked the membership of
Shell, accused of complicity in the murder of Nigerian activist Ken
Saro-Wiwa. Kell praised Shell's recent actions and did not address its
record in Nigeria.

Shifting the most recent of the Compact's principles,
anti-corruption, Inner City Press asked Kell, at what point in its
disintegration might Enron have been thrown out of the UN Global Compact?
Kell's response was that companies too deserve due process, and that
punishments are left up to each country's national courts.  So Enron could
join and remain a member, it seems clear.

"It is not possible to either suspend or expel participating
companies in cases of substantive breach of the Global Compact's
principles," Amnesty International's head of economic relations, Audrey
Gaughran, told the press in Geneva.

"What is needed are legally binding regulations to control
corporate activities with respect to human rights," said Aftab Alam Khan of
ActionAid, which has issued a report about the performance in Ghana of
AngloGold Ashanti, a subsidiary Anglo American of chairman of Anglo
American, the employer of Global Compact (and former HSBC) leader, Mark
Moody-Smith, available here. These critiques have stopped short of assessing
the UN's own compliance with the Global Compact principles.

In the environmental field, UN Headquarters is notorious full of
asbestos, leaking heat in the winter and air conditioning in the summer. In
the field of labor, the UN does not allow its employees to seek remedies in
national courts, confining them to an internal justice system that Ban
Ki-moon himself has admitted it broken -- while still seeking to retain the
power to appoint the judges in the proposed new system.

The UN system, alongside some workers with "permanent
contracts," is full of insecure workers who face unemployment every months.
Recently at UN headquarters, a whistleblower about UNDP's activities in
North Korea sought the protection of the UN Ethics Office -- and two weeks
later was put on a watch list, not to be allowed to enter the UN. His
complaints about UNDP include corrupt payments to the Kim Jong-il regime,
contrary to the UN Global Compact's tenth principle against extortion and

At two press briefings in New York in recent weeks, Inner City
Press asked Georg Kell and Melissa Powell of the Global Compact what steps,
if any, have been taken to ensure the UN's own compliance with the ten
principles of the Compact. Ms. Powell to her credit acknowledged that the
principles had not been explicitly addressed within the UN's Office of Human
Resources Management, and that following the Oil-for-Food scandal,
implementation by the UN's procurement department slowed. Georg Kell said,
"We are not a watchdog of the UN."

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