The ZIMBABWE Situation
An extensive and up-to-date website containing news, views and links related to ZIMBABWE - a country in crisis
Return to INDEX page
Please note: You need to have 'Active content' enabled in your IE browser in order to see the index of articles on this webpage

33 more die of malnutrition-related diseases in Zimbabwe city

Zim Online

Fri 7 July 2006

      BULAWAYO - Thirty-three people, most of them children below the age of
four, died of malnutrition-related illnesses last March alone in Zimbabwe's
second biggest city of Bulawayo, according to a confidential municipal
health report shown to ZimOnline on Thursday.

      The deaths bring to 110 the total number of people who have died in
the teeming city because of malnutrition-related diseases in just the first
three months of the year - a shocking illustration of the humanitarian
crisis unfolding in Zimbabwe after six years of acute food shortages,
economic and political turmoil.

      Seventy-seven malnutrition-related deaths were recorded in Bulawayo in
the first two months of the year alone.

      According to the municipal health report, which was presented to the
city council last week, of those who died in March, 28 were children under
the age of four and while the rest were adults.

      Bulawayo Executive Mayor Japhet Ndabeni-Ncube, who has drawn the ire
of President Robert Mugabe's government for disclosing the
malnutrition-related deaths, said the increasing deaths due to
malnutrition-caused diseases were a reflection of Zimbabwe's unrelenting
economic crisis.

      He said: "This is all a reflection of the economic crisis in the
country .. (but) we hope that these statistics will help council improve on
supplementary feeding programmes at council-run schools and clinics."

      Ndabeni-Ncube, who belongs to a faction of the splintered main
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party, is the only mayor to
disclose malnutrition-related deaths but health experts and international
aid agencies say there could be more such deaths going unreported in other
cities including the capital Harare.

      Zimbabwe has faced severe food shortages since Mugabe began seizing
productive farms from whites and handing them over to landless black
villagers in a programme he said was meant to end a colonial land tenure
system that had deprived blacks of arable land.

      Mugabe's cash-strapped government however failed to give the new black
landowners skills training or inputs support to maintain production on
former white farms, a situation that saw food production tumbling by about
60 percent to leave Zimbabwe dependent on food aid.

      International food aid groups estimate that at least a quarter of the
southern African country's 12 million people will require food aid this year
or they will starve.

      But Mugabe's government insists Zimbabwe will not require help because
it harvested enough from the past farming season although such claims by
Harare of food sufficiency have in the past proved false.

      In addition to a lack of food, Zimbabwe is also grappling the world's
highest inflation of more than 1 000 percent, shortages of fuel,
electricity, essential medicines, hard cash and just about every basic
survival commodity.

      The MDC and Western governments blame Zimbabwe's problems on
repression and wrong policies by Mugabe, who has ruled the country since its
independence from Britain in 1980.

      But Mugabe denies mismanaging Zimbabwe saying its economic and
humanitarian crisis is because of sabotage by Western governments opposed to
his seizure of land from whites for redistribution to blacks. - ZimOnline

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zimbabwe foreign debt shoots to US$3.9 billion

Zim Online

Fri 7 July 2006

      HARARE - Zimbabwe's foreign debt has ballooned to US$3.9 billion with
internal debt rising to US$208 million, according to the latest figures
released by the central bank on Thursday.

      The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) says foreign debt had risen to
US$3.9 billion as an economic crisis that began six years ago showed no
signs of abetting with record inflation close to 1 200 percent, the highest
in the world.

      "The revenue and expenditure developments resulted in a budget deficit
of Z$1 586-billion for the month [January] under review," the bank said in
its Monthly Review bulletin for February.

      Zimbabwe's economy has been on a free-fall since the withdrawal of
balance-of-payments support by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the
World Bank in 1999 after President Robert Mugabe differed with the Bretton
Woods institutions over monetary policy and other governance issues.

      Zimbabwe has struggled to service its debts to the IMF over the past
six years with the Harare authorities only averting expulsion from the
international lending institution after making surprise payments last
August. - ZimOnline

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

200 vendors released without charge

Zim Online

Fri 7 July 2006

      BULAWAYO - Police in Zimbabwe's second biggest city of Bulawayo
yesterday released without charge about 200 vendors who were arrested last
Wednesday for demanding an end to harassment by the city's municipal police.

      Bulawayo lawyer, Cosam Ncube, who was representing the vendors, said
his clients were set free after being warned by the police not to stage
"illegal demonstrations" in future.

      "My clients were all released after a night in cells and were warned
against similar conduct in future.

      "The police had indicated earlier on that my clients would be charged
for breaching some sections of POSA (Public Order and Security Act) for
staging an illegal demonstration but they later changed their mind and
released them," said Ncube.

      The Wednesday demonstration was organised by the Bulawayo Traders
Association (BUTA) following constant raids by municipal police on the

      Zimbabwean police have often used POSA to ban demonstrations and
marches by civic groups and the main opposition fearing such marches could
spill into anti-government demonstrations.

      Under the country's tough security laws, it is an offence punishable
by a two-year jail term to demonstrate without first seeking clearance from
the police.

      Meanwhile, opposition Movement for Democratic Change party legislator
for Kambuzuma constituency in Harare Willas Madzimure who was also arrested
by police on Wednesday was yesterday released, also without charge. -

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Remittances from Relatives Abroad Sustaining Some Zimbabweans


      By Tendai Maphosa
      06 July 2006

Remittances from Zimbabweans working abroad are sustaining up to 50 percent
of Zimbabwe's households. That is according to a report by the Global
Poverty Research Group, a Britain-based organization. Some respondents to
the survey reported that, without help from abroad, they would be unable to
afford basic necessities, such as food and clothes.

The survey of 300 households in the capital Harare and Zimbabwe's second
city, Bulawayo, found that many Zimbabweans are dependent on relatives
working outside the country for survival.

The report says most of the remittances are in the form of basic goods, such
as food and clothing, which are mostly delivered by relatives or others
returning to Zimbabwe to visit.

In the case of money, many Zimbabweans prefer to send their money by
informal means to avoid the low bank exchange rate of 100,000 Zimbabwe
dollars to one U.S. dollar. They can get five times that rate on the black
market. Rather than send cash, which some respondents say is quickly
depleted due to Zimbabwe's hyperinflation, some send clothes and other
goods, which their relatives sell.

The report says, in some cases, the remittances go beyond providing basics,
as some use the money to buy commercial vehicles, to build homes or set up
businesses. Some people also sent home luxury goods.

The remittances make the difference between starvation and having food on
the table for many of the respondents. Some also said they have money to pay
school fees or purchase school uniforms for their children. The report says
90 percent of the households surveyed were below the poverty line.

A Harare civil servant, speaking on condition of anonymity, told VOA that
the money sent by her husband in Britain is sustaining her and their three
children. She said that her salary falls far short of what she needs to
provide for the family.

Zimbabwe is experiencing its worst economic crisis since independence in
1980, characterized by more than 80 percent unemployment and close to 1,200
percent inflation. An estimated three million people of Zimbabwe's
population of 12 million have left the country in search of better

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Opportunistic money is creating a new elite

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

HARARE, 6 Jul 2006 (IRIN) - Zimbabwe may have the fastest shrinking economy
in the world, but a small, well-connected elite appears immune to the

Brian Murara, a salesman at a car dealership that imports and sells luxury
vehicles, is doing well. "Although most of the vehicles that we sell are
bought by companies, a significantly large number of our customers are
individuals who walk into our showroom and buy any one of the latest
all-terrain and sports vehicles."

A former MP for the ruling ZANU-PF party, Philip Chiyangwa, last month
purchased a twin-turbo Mercedes Benz S600 - supposedly the first of its kind
in Africa - for a jaw-dropping US$130,000. Defending shelling out so much,
he said: "I have to celebrate my success in business, and one of the ways of
doing that is to buy the latest models of cars. The kind of business that I
am in demands that I should dress in a certain style and drive a certain

An average salary in Zimbabawe is Zim$20 million (US$200), and last week the
monthly cost of a basic food basket for a family of six jumped to Zim$60
million (US$600). A critical lack of foreign exchange means shortages of
imported items, including medicines, schoolbooks, agricultural inputs and
spare parts.

Chiyangwa, a nephew of President Robert Mugabe, rose from being a boxing and
music promoter to head the black business empowerment Affirmative Action
Group before winning a seat in parliament. He was detained last year on
treason charges, after a string of arrests when a South African spy network
was allegedly uncovered. Now he makes his money in real estate.

A property consultant in the capital, Harare, told IRIN the upper end of the
real estate market was booming. "Our expensive houses are generally in the
[Zim]$15 billion [US$150,000] category, which is where we are getting most
of our business," said Vimbai Sithole. "In a good month we can get as many
as five clients buying super-luxury houses worth more than [Zim]$50 billion

The northern suburbs of Borrowdale Brook, Mandara and Glen Lorne are where
the new mansions are being built. Despite the rocketing price of
construction materials, the estates keep expanding.

Luke Tembo, manager of a clothing store in Harare, is angered by such
displays of obvious wealth. "My salary is not enough to see me through the
month - I have to supplement my income by selling sandwiches to colleagues.
It offends me to see other people apparently enjoying a better life than

Eight years of economic decline in Zimbabwe have cut gross domestic product
by 40 percent and halved income per head. Factory output has fallen by 45.6
percent since 1998, and manufacturing levels are at their lowest since 1971.
How, then, do the super-rich make their money?

According to economist James Jowa, government policies that have allowed the
parallel market to thrive, combined with corruption, have led to the skewed
distribution of wealth. This means that every evening long lines of people
walk home from work in the city centre because they cannot afford bus fares,
while a fortunate few cruise past them in expensive cars.

"In a situation such as ours, a small class of people will manage to access
certain goods and then sell them at a very high profit," information and
anti-corruption minister Paul Mangwana told IRIN. "But this does not mean
that every rich person you see is a crook."

Jowa agreed, adding there are "people in the financial services sector,
managing directors of the few remaining manufacturing companies and
traditional business people who have made money legitimately". However, the
temptation and opportunities are there to bend the law.

Zimbabwe's economy slipped into crisis after the International Monetary Fund
froze aid in protest over the government's spending priorities. Unable to
contain inflation, the government resorted to price controls on basic
commodities, which resulted in their diversion to the parallel market and
further shortages for people who could not afford the high prices.

Currently US$1 is worth Zim$500,000 on the parallel market compared to the
government's rate of Zim$100,000 - a lucrative business for those who can
get their hands on the dollar at the official price.

The Governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, Gideon Gono, recently
acknowledged the extent of corruption. He noted one simple scam run by some
new commercial farmers and transport operators, who receive heavily
subsidised fuel from the government, was to sell it on the street.

Supposedly feeding the nation, commercial farmers are allowed to buy diesel
at the equivalent of 11 US cents per litre; public transport operators get
their fuel at 23 US cents per litre; on the parallel market the young men
who stand around intersections with jerry cans and funnels sell it for 50 US
cents a litre.

The government's controversial land redistribution programme has also proved
a ready source of easy money. Politicians, army generals and parastatal
executives with little or no farming experience constitute the majority of
people who have received large-scale commercial farms, according to Jowa.

Mangwana defended the business interests of political leaders, so long as
they stuck within the law. "Leaders have to lead by example by creating
wealth. If they don't generate wealth, who will employ the people?"

But, alleged Jowa, "It is common knowledge that only the well-connected in
politics and business were awarded prime commercial farms. It is also common
knowledge that the beneficiaries would move onto the farms and [without
investing]harvest and sell the products they found growing on the farms,
making them instant multi-billionaires."

Three government ministers were recently ordered by Vice President Joyce
Mujuru to return agricultural equipment they allegedly seized from a
formerly lucrative horticultural estate in the eastern part of the country.
The list included tractors, trucks, a combine harvester and irrigation
equipment. The estate, Kondozi Farm, used to earn the country millions in
foreign exchange.

A further exploitable loophole in the land-reform programme is that all new
commercial farmers are entitled to loans at 20 percent interest, while the
market rate is 700 percent. Some have been accused of using bank financing
for non-farming purposes. Last year the official Herald newspaper quoted
Mujuru as warning that "all beneficiaries of land reform found
under-utilising their farms are saboteurs who should lose those properties".

According to Neil Wright, chief economist of the Commercial Farmers Union,
commercial agricultural production has fallen by between 60 and 70 percent
since the land redistribution exercise began in 2000. The beef sector has
been the hardest hit, with the commercial herd reduced from 1.2 million
cattle per year to just 150,000, and milk production dropping from 180
million litres to 95 million.

The government has deployed soldiers to monitor the operations of the newly
resettled small-scale farmers to ensure that they use the land effectively.
Under this scheme, army personnel oversee the production and sale of maize,
but the campaign has reportedly been less successful than was hoped.

Robert Mpofu, a subsistence farmer in Seke, just outside Harare, has won
awards for his farming skill, and feels that he should have been a
beneficiary of land reform.

"I applied for a farm, which I was awarded by the government, but when I had
just settled in, a senior government official ordered me off the farm," he
told IRIN. He has since returned to his communal area.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zimbabwe to double ARV roll-out

Mail and Guardian

      Harare, Zimbabwe

      06 July 2006 05:07

            Aids-ravaged Zimbabwe is hoping to double the number of people
on antiretrovirals (ARV) in order to reach 70 000 sufferers by the end of
2006, a top official said on Thursday.

            "We are certainly going to increase the number of people on ARVs
... it's very possible to reach 70 000 by the end of the year," said Raymond
Yekeye, operations manager of the National Aids Council.

            "[This is] because we are expecting a grant of around
$60-million for ARVs and voluntary counselling and testing from our major
donor," Yekeye told Agence France-Presse in an interview.

            Zimbabwe, where HIV infection rates are still "unacceptably
high" at 20,1 %, but down from 24,6% two years ago, has put 32 000 people on
ARVs since 2004 when the free roll-out programme was launched.

            Yekeye said 300 000 people needed the life-prolonging drugs.

            He said the Global Fund to fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria
was to bankroll the programme.

            Zimbabwe was also buying ARVs using money raised from a 3%
payroll tax. This comes to about $250 000 a month.

            Zimbabwe last year failed to reach its target to provide ARVs to
100 000 people.

            Foreign currency shortages are partly blamed for the low number
of people on ARVs.

            "Scarcity of foreign exchange and inflation have affected our
operations ... ARVs are imported," Yekeye said.

            He added he was hopeful of cutting Zimbabwe's infection rate to
single digits by 2010 by intensifying prevention activities and scaling up
voluntary testing and counselling.

            At least 3 000 people die weekly from Aids-related illnesses in
Zimbabwe. -- AFP

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zim cops hunt opposition lawmaker's attackers


          July 06 2006 at 03:45PM

      Harare - Police in Zimbabwe were hunting the attackers of a prominent
white opposition lawmaker amid calls for Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai to step down, reports said on Thursday.

      Trudy Stevenson, the MDC legislator for Harare North, was attacked on
Sunday in the Harare township of Mabvuku by a group of around 40 youths.

      Stevenson said the youths belonged to a rival opposition faction led
by Tsvangirai.

      Stevenson, 61, sustained a deep gash to the back of her head, broken
arm bones and a fractured cheek bone in the attack, which has deeply shocked
opposition supporters.

      Four other MDC officials were injured in the incident. The police are
still hunting the suspects, said the state-controlled Herald daily.

      The MDC split late last year and Stevenson joined a faction led by
former student activist Arthur Mutambara.

      Tsvangirai has until now retained the support of most government

      His grouping promised an independent inquiry into Sunday's attack. But
a spokesperson for Mutambara's faction of the MDC said he doubted Tsvangirai
and his followers had the "commitment" to implement the findings of an

      "Tsvangirai must carry out thorough introspection and, if possible, he
must quit politics because he has failed to defend the founding values of
democracy," Gabriel Chaibva told reporters.

      The only other white legislator still serving in Zimbabwe's
parliament, lawyer David Coltart, announced last month that he would not
join Tsvangirai's faction of the MDC because of his concerns over unchecked
violent tendencies.

      A spokesman for President Robert Mugabe's ruling Zimbabwe African
National Union - Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) party, Nathan Shamuyarira says
the MDC was now showing "its true colours as a violent party."

      Stevenson, a veteran opposition politician, said violence did not help
the party's cause.

      "This is a wake-up call for those who are fighting for democracy that
violence does not help us. I have been in politics for the last 15 years
fighting against ZANU-PF but I have never been harmed by the ruling party,"
she said, in comments carried by the Herald. - Sapa-dpa

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

New Twist in Mugabe Succession Saga

Institute for War and Peace Reporting

The struggle over who'll take over the reins of power intensifies and
becomes more confused.

By Hativagone Mushonga in Harare (AR No. 70, 6-Jul-06)

The complex saga of the succession to President Robert Mugabe has taken a
new twist, with ruling ZANU PF insiders now saying he is beginning to favour
Emmerson Mnangagwa, the once powerful party secretary and parliamentary
speaker, as his political heir.

Indications that the succession battle had truly begun came two days before
Mugabe's 82nd birthday on February 21 when the head of state told the nation
in a television interview that the ZANU PF party should decide who will take
his place if and when he steps down in 2008 at the next scheduled
presidential election.

For many months since then Mugabe had been pushing hard for his vice
president, Joice Mujuru, a member of Mugabe's Zezuru clan, to succeed him.
But sources in a committee the president chairs on economic development say
Mugabe admitted at a recent meeting that his decision to promote Mujuru's
candidacy was over-hasty and based on his anger about reports of an alleged
coup plot designed to make Mnangagwa president.

The sources told IWPR that Mugabe now believes he was misinformed about the
so-called Tsholotsho Plot - a named deriving from the western Zimbabwe
village where the alleged plot was hatched in November 2004 - and that he is
extremely angry with the people who reported it to him. The sources said
Mugabe chastised his informants for ruining his relationship with Mnangagwa.

Mugabe has always had a soft spot for Mnangagwa, from a rival clan, the
Karanga, in the wider ethnic Shona grouping of which Mugabe's Zezuru are
part. When Mnangagwa lost his Kwekwe seat, in central Zimbabwe, to the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change, MDC, in parliamentary elections
in 2002, Mugabe cushioned Mnangagwa's disappointment by decreeing that he be
given the powerful parliamentary speaker post. Again in 2005, when Mujuru's
camp thought they had finally killed Mnangagwa's political career, after his
second narrow electoral defeat to the MDC, Mugabe appointed him rural
housing minister, an influential ministry from where he could rebuild his
political fortunes.

Retired army commander General Solomon Mujuru, the tough kingmaker - or
queenmaker - behind his wife's rise to the vice presidency and, as hoped, to
the presidency, then knew that the succession struggle was far from over. It
was taking on the same kind of complexities and ruthlessness as the
succession battle in Mao Tse-tung's China, where all ZANU PF's top military
veterans trained as guerrilla fighters.

Mujuru, although he retired as head of the army after ten years following
independence in 1980, remains one of the most feared and powerful men in
Zimbabwe. Under the warname of Rex Nhongo, he led Mugabe's guerrilla army
during the 1970s war of independence against what was then white-ruled
Rhodesia. Mujuru is rumoured to own anywhere between six and sixteen former
white-owned farms and he is a bitter and long-standing enemy of Mnangagwa.

General Mujuru, who thought he had won the fight to raise his wife to the
highest post in the land, now knows his camp will have to scrap even harder
to outflank Mnangagwa, renowned for his political cunning and big but
questionable business deals.

On thing is certain: the battle for supremacy will be fierce.

ZANU PF insiders told IWPR that Mugabe now strongly believes Joice Mujuru
has neither the intellect nor the capacity to lead the country. Perhaps,
more crucially, they also believe Mujuru would be incapable of defeating MDC
leader Morgan Tsvangirai in an election.

Other factors militating against Joice Mujuru are well-documented
allegations against her husband of widespread corruption since he gave up
his army command to go into business in 1990.

In another meeting Mugabe held with the so-called presidency, comprising
him, the two vice-presidents, Joseph Msika and Joice Mujuru, and his party's
national chairman, John Nkomo, IWPR sources said he asked Mujuru if she
thought she could beat Tsvangirai in an election. Msika asserted in that
meeting that Mujuru lacked the grassroots support and the national stature
to beat the MDC leader.

Mnangagwa has survived several attempts to pull him down and each time he
has emerged stronger and more threatening to Solomon Mujuru/Rex Nhongo's
plans to control the ruling party.

There are already rumoured efforts by Mujuru's allies within government to
frustrate Mnangagwa's ministry by denying it funds for his projects, which
centre on building modern houses for the rural poor. Before last year's
parliamentary elections, a senior source in the Mujuru faction told IWPR,
"We want Mnangagwa out, totally out. We are hoping and crossing our fingers
that he loses his Kwekwe seat [which he did, for the second time]. If he
does, that will be the end of him. He is not going to be lucky this time."

One top ZANU PF official admitted to IWPR that he had failed to understand
Mugabe's enduring strong ties to Mnangagwa, which once again have become
evident as Mugabe tries to push his old friend's presidency claims.

"I believe Mnangagwa is back in the succession debate and he has been
brought into it by the president," said the official. "No matter what we
want to believe, Mugabe seems to have a weakness for Mnangagwa and I just
don't understand why, but it's there for all to see.

"We all thought the succession issue was concluded with the handpicking of
Joice Mujuru, but now we are all confused. It seems Mugabe might now prefer
Mnangagwa to Mujuru. I tell you, a lot of my colleagues are sitting on the
fence right now and playing it safe. You just don't want to be caught up on
the wrong side."

A government official even asked IWPR if it was privy to information on what
exactly was going on in the succession battle, as he was confused and just
did not know what or who to believe. "I tell you I am so confused at the
moment and my boss [a Cabinet minister] does not even know what is going on
and who is likely to succeed Mugabe," he said. "All we know is that
Mnangagwa is back in the fight. Personally, I think the president might be
regretting his rushed decision when he was told about the alleged coup plot
supposedly hatched in Tsholotsho.

"Maybe he is now seeing that Mai [Mrs] Mujuru is not the person to lead the
country. I think she has been exposing herself as a liability at the rallies
and meetings she has been holding countrywide to market herself as Mugabe's

Outspoken University of Zimbabwe political scientist John Makumbe said, "I
believe that Mugabe has changed his mind and he now realises that Mujuru
doesn't have what it takes. He has now switched back to Mnangagwa. Mujuru
has exposed herself as shallow and not intelligent enough for the top post.

"The other reason for switching support again to Mnangagwa is because Mugabe
knows that he will protect him from prosecution [for possible war crimes and
crimes against humanity] because he has the stamina and he exudes power,
while it is not so clear with Mujuru, who might not be able to stand her
ground if her colleagues decide [to indict Mugabe once he steps down from

Makumbe said confusion is also being caused by one of Mugabe's current ploys
to extend his presidency for another two years to 2010 - beyond the next
scheduled 2008 presidential election.

The MDC's secretary general Tendai Biti agrees with Makumbe that Mugabe
wants to be the transitional president until 2010. Biti said Mugabe will
undoubtedly use the confusion he is creating over the succession to extend
his term of office. "We know that Mnangagwa is back in the race and that
Mugabe is pulling the strings," he said.

Already, it seems, Mugabe has clashed with the Mujuru camp over the
timetable of the president's departure. Solomon Mujuru ideally wants Mugabe
to quit now and allow Joice Mujuru to move into State House, but the
president is angry at the increasingly transparent efforts to stampede him
out of office.

Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa, a Mugabe ally, is preparing to table an
18th amendment to the constitution to postpone the scheduled presidential
election from 2008
to 2010.

One of Mnangagwa's confidants told IWPR that Mujuru was unlikely to be
Mugabe's successor. "She is not going anywhere, that I can tell you with
confidence," he said.

Mnangagwa himself is maintaining a low profile, refusing to discuss the
succession issue publicly and insisting only on speaking about his ministry.
He said all the stories flying around Harare about the succession were

Mujuru should perhaps have learned from Mnangagwa's own experiences that
Mugabe has many Machiavellian traits and that his loyalties can be only
temporary and expedient. After all, it was as short a time ago as November
18, 2004 that the president
amended the ZANU PF constitution to insert a clause stating that one of the
vice-presidents should be a woman in order to block Mnangagwa, now back in
favour, from outmanoeuvring Mujuru.

The country now waits to see which camp will emerge victorious. However, as
Zimbabwe's economic and social crises deepen by the day, there are many
voices who say that the country's next leader will not be decided by Mugabe
but by the people.

Hativagone Mushonga is the pseudonym of an IWPR contributor in Zimbabwe.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

10 of Natfoods' 12 Mills Lying Idle

Financial Gazette (Harare)

July 6, 2006
Posted to the web July 6, 2006

Kumbirai Mafunda

ZIMBABWE'S largest agri-business concern, National Foods is only operating
two grain milling plants out of a total of 12 due to allocation constraints
amid revelations of imminent job losses.

In confirming that capacity utilisation levels had fallen to a nadir of 10
percent, company spokesperson Linda Musesengwa told The Financial Gazette
that out of five flour mills situated in Harare and Bulawayo, the foods
company is operating one mill in Harare at Aspindale, its the flagship

Of its seven large maize mills around the country, only one mill in Bulawayo
is operating due to allocation constraints.

"When allocations to the company for Harare, Mutare and Masvingo are
available, these mills temporarily resume production," said Musesengwa.
"There has however not been any maize allocation available for the Gweru
mill," she added.

Zimbabwe's millers have been receiving inadequate grain allocations from the
state-run Grain Marketing Board (GMB), which enjoys a monopoly over the
marketing and distribution of grain. A chaotic land reform programme
intended to empower veterans of the liberation struggle coupled with a
massive shortage of critical agricultural inputs has resulted in a decline
in grain production. The shortage of grain has forced the GMB to import both
wheat and maize to augment local supplies while millers have struggled to
supply bakers with enough flour supplies.

Although National Foods employs a total of 2 000 employees in its operations
throughout the country, Musesengwa said the company had been forced to
review its labour strength continually in both its maize and wheat milling
plants due to poor throughputs caused by lack of raw materials.

"At present, the mills are running at approximately only 10 percent of
capacity," Musesengwa said. "Plant utilisation at these levels is
unsustainable: it is hoped that the allocation levels of grain can be
reviewed urgently by the authorities so that the company can continue to
play its pivotal role in basic food manufacture and distribution throughout
the country," she added.

However, Musesengwa said National Foods is in constant discussion with
relevant stakeholders who include government ministries, the GMB and
commercial banks with the ultimate aim of restoring milling plant

Apart from producing hundreds of grain-based household foods and edible
oils, the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange listed company also produces specialised
animal feeds. It also operates a subsidiary company called Botswana Milling
and Produce in Botswana.

Over 100 bakers have been arrested by Zimbabwean police over the past two
weeks for pricing a loaf of bread at $130 000 against the government
dictated price of $80 000 per loaf.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Reporters Without Borders Press release

6 July 2006


Jamming of radio stations extended to VOA

The sabotaging of broadcasts by radio stations based abroad is continuing in
Zimbabwe, Reporters Without Borders said today after learning that
programmes of the US government radio station Voice of America (VOA) have
become the latest target of the jamming carried out by the Harare government
with Chinese complicity.

"This new case of jamming shows how the Zimbabwean government despises its
own people, blocking their ears to the news outlets it dislikes," the press
freedom organisation said. "It would be useful if United Nations mediator
Benjamin M'Kapa, the former president of Tanzania, would demand an end to
this perverse campaign. The UN and the African Union should realise that
Chinese penetration of African markets brings more sophisticated means of
repression and censorship in its wake."

The broadcasts of Studio 7, a VOA programme targeted at Zimbabwe, have been
jammed since mid-June by the same shrill noise that have been blotting out
the short wave broadcasts of the privately-owned, London-based SW Radio
Africa since February 2005 and the broadcasts of the Amsterdam-based Voice
of the People since September 2005. Reporters Without Borders has obtained a
recording of the SW Radio Africa jamming and has posted it on its site

VOA director David S. Jackson said: "There has been some jamming of our
broadcasts of Studio 7, but so far the interference appears to be limited to
medium wave broadcasts to Harare, so many of our loyal listeners throughout
Zimbabwe have been able to hear our shows on short wave and in other
locations of the country without any problem." Jackson added: "We take any
interference seriously, however, and we will continue to monitor the

Produced by Zimbabwean journalists who have gone into exile, Studio 7 aims
to be an alternative source of news for the people of Zimbabwe, where there
are no privately-owned radio or TV stations. Broadcast Monday to Friday from
7 to 8:30 p.m. (1700 to 1830 GMT), it is divided into three 30-minute
segments in English and the two leading local languages, Shona and Ndebele.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, an official with Zimbabwe's Central
Intelligence Organisation (CIO) told the South Africa-based news site Zim
Online on 26 June: "There has been marked improvement on trying to block the
US propaganda from reaching us since the beginning of this month. The team
is now aiming to look for ways to completely block the signal coming via a
transmitter in Botswana."

SW Radio Africa's morning medium wave broadcasts have been jammed since 26
June, the station's director, Gerry Jackson, said. "The jamming appears to
be quite localised and focused on Harare," she said. "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."

Jamming of SW Radio Africa's short wave broadcasts began in February 2005, a
few weeks before controversial legislative elections. Zimbabwean
presidential spokesman George Charamba publicly hailed the interference on
29 March while refusing to acknowledge that the government was responsible.
"If the Zimbabwe government is jamming SW Radio Africa, kudos to them," he
said. "If they are not and do not have the equipment (to jam), then it is
time they look for that equipment."

The broadcasts of the privately-owned Voice of the People (VOP) from a
Madagascar-based relay station belonging to the Dutch public radio
corporation began being jammed in September 2005 by the same noise as SW
Radio Africa, making its programmes inaudible.

VOP was created in June 2000 by former employees of the state-owned Zimbabwe
Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) with help from the Soros foundation and a
Dutch NGO, the Hivos foundation. The police raided its studio in Harare on 4
July 2002 and took away equipment. It was subsequently the target of a
bombing on 29 August 2002 which wrecked the entire studio. It was
nonetheless able to resume broadcasting.

All of its staff in Zimbabwe was detained for several days in December 2005
and charged with practising journalism without permission from the
government-controlled Media and Information Commission. They were supposed
to be tried last month, but the trial was postponed. The VOP management and
staff face up to five years in prison.

According to sources in Zimbabwe, the jamming of Zimbabwean exile radio
stations began after a group of Chinese technicians arrived in Harare in
January 2005 under a trade accord between China and Zimbabwe. Housed at the
Sheraton Hotel for three months, they reportedly carried out a number of
installations including a radio jamming system using a ZBC transmitter in
Gweru, in the centre of the country, and the ZBC Pockets Hill broadcasting
centre in Highlands, a suburb of Harare.

These illegal practices, which violate international regulations governing
telecommunications, are one of the specialities of the Chinese government.
Jamming is standard practice in China, especially the jamming of Tibetan
radio stations and foreign radio stations beaming programmes to the west of
the country. A Reporters Without Borders release described this policy as
the "Great Wall of the airwaves."


Bureau Afrique / Africa desk
Reporters sans frontières / Reporters Without Borders
5, rue Geoffroy-Marie
75009 Paris, France
Tel : (33) 1 44 83 84 84
Fax : (33) 1 45 23 11 51
Email : /
Web :

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Trevor Ncube interview - continued from yesterday...

From PBS Frontline/World (US), 27 June

Also at play is the whole issue of power corrupts, too much power corrupts
absolutely. That's the situation with Robert Mugabe. He has created a
situation where he and his party and those around him are the only people
standing at the present moment. He's bludgeoned everybody into submission.
He's created an environment where the creation of an opposition party, and
indeed the survival of an opposition political party, becomes a huge
challenge. And all that he can do with that power drives his decision-making
process. He's arrived at a place where he genuinely and seriously thinks
that Zimbabwe can't do without him. And it's easy to arrive at that place
where all that you have around you are sycophants. He's killed the media; he
has created a situation where people are afraid to express themselves.
There's over 4 million Zimbabweans that have run away - literally in exile -
people who cannot stand the political situation, the economic situation and
the social situation that is in Zimbabwe. And he doesn't care about that; he
would rather destroy the country than see a vibrant, democratic country that
is providing for the dreams and aspirations of his people.

You mentioned exiles, and here we are in Johannesburg. And you're the
publisher of a well-respected newspaper here. Why would Robert Mugabe care
about what you're up to?

It's what you and I are doing now that he doesn't like - the fact that I
speak to the world. The fact that my views are sought by a lot of people
throughout the world. I speak at conferences and I express my views without
fear or favor. It's the kind of thing that Robert Mugabe doesn't want. He is
intolerant to views that are contrary to those that he himself holds and
expresses. Scholars say in theory that the power of propaganda is such that
you end up believing your own lies. But I think in Zimbabwe, we are seeing
that actually happening. We are seeing Robert Mugabe telling lies, big lies;
and he and his officials end up believing their propaganda. They actually
believe that the Americans and the British are out to get them. And they
actually believe that people like me are tools and stooges of the Americans
and the British. And therefore, lashing out at people like me is yet another
way of getting at the Americans and the British, to show the British and the
Americans, these puppets of yours - we can make them run. It's like watching
a man go crazy and you really don't know what to do with him. You read the
kind of things that are coming out of Zimbabwe and say, "Are these people
out of their minds? What's the point of destroying your own country? Because
you want to make a point to the Americans and the British?" What was known
as the breadbasket of southern Africa, a country that exported maize,
tobacco, cotton, flowers - you name it - to the whole world, the
second-largest producer of tobacco in the world, is now down on its knees
because one madman wants to prove a point to the world.

As you say, the reports coming out of Zimbabwe are scant; what little
information we do get hints at the lunacy. But we don't really know enough
about what he's up to, which takes me to the state of the press in Zimbabwe.
What's going on with the press?

The press has been under siege for a tremendous time now, I would say for
over 10 years. It's been getting worse and got to its lowest under Jonathan
Moyo, the minister of Information who is no longer the minister of
Information. Legislation was put in place, for instance, requiring
publishers to license newspapers every two years and where journalists are
required to register. In essence, it was introduced as a way of controlling
the newspapers because if you can be registered, you can be de-registered.
If you can be licensed, you can be de-licensed. And there are certain
conditions you have to abide by to continue to hold that license. They can
come up with any reason to take away your license. What you now have is that
I am the only independent publisher in Zimbabwe with two newspapers, a
Sunday newspaper and a weekly business newspaper. The other paper that can
be termed independent is now owned by the government reserve bank in
partnership with the central intelligence organization, the equivalent of
the CIA. The central intelligence organization has also taken over another
group of newspapers, two of them.

Does the same apply to other media?

At the present moment, there is no private television station. There are no
private radio stations - all are controlled by the government. And there are
laws that prohibit people from owning television and radio stations. It's a
huge struggle trying to set up a newspaper, trying to register a newspaper
and indeed surviving as a newspaper. You have an environment whereby people
don't have the access to media for all intents and purposes. The only story
that Zimbabweans know is the story the Zimbabwean government tells. That
creates a very sick society that is not vibrant, where there's no
marketplace of ideas, no robust debate at all. It is the government's
opinion and you take it or leave it. It is a very sad state of affairs

Do reporters today risk their lives?

Absolutely. Not just risk their lives; there's certain places that
newspapers cannot be sold. There's certain places that we can't send our
newspapers because youth militias and other extra-military forces don't
allow the newspapers to be sold there. It is a crime for you to be seen
holding any one of my newspapers, for instance, in certain rural areas. As
you know, if foreign journalists want to go to Zimbabwe, you need to apply
well in advance, and there's no guarantee that you'll be allowed to go in.
So it's become a closed society. It might sound like an exaggeration, but
the difference between Zimbabwe and North Korea, when it comes to media, is
not very big at all. You cannot find a foreign journalist operating in
Zimbabwe. Local journalists are under threat all the time, threat of being
jailed, threat of being dragged into court for various charges that the
government comes up with - using the law as a way of harassing journalists.
One cannot rule out the fact that there's a deficit of information from the
journalists that are currently operating - most of them are actually
censoring themselves because they are scared for their lives. Their family
members must be leaning on them and saying, "You have to be careful about
what you write."

What do you say to foreign journalists who express an interest in coming to

Zimbabwe is a war zone, and any journalist who doesn't have a thick skin
mustn't bother coming to Zimbabwe because it's a tough place. You'll be
harassed; you'll be intimidated; you'll be thrown in prison. You'll face
trumped-up charges just because you're a journalist. It is not an easy place
to work as a foreign journalist. But if there's a journalist in America or
anywhere else who's public-spirited or wants to help Zimbabweans fight the
good cause they're fighting, then Zimbabwe is the place to be.

Explain why, recently, you had your passport taken away from you.

I had my passport taken away from me when I visited Zimbabwe in December
last year. I flew into Bulawayo, which is the second-largest city in
Zimbabwe, to attend my brother's wedding. I was approached by a lady from
immigration who asked to see my passport, which I found very odd because she
had already seen my passport. She said she needed to check the spelling of
my name. When she had looked at my passport, she literally threw the
passport back to me. We went out of the airport to my car and as my driver
was about to start the car, a young man who was with immigration, with the
woman, came looking for me. I said to my wife, "I think that man is looking
for us," so we wound down the windows and he said, "Can you come with me?" I
said, "What is this all about?" And he said he'd explain it when we're
inside. I said, "I can't come with you. Who are you?" At which point, he
showed me his card that said he was from the central intelligence
organization. I asked him, "Have I committed a crime?" And he said, "No, you
haven't. It's about your passport." And I'm now confused. "I've not
committed a crime, there's nothing wrong with my passport - so what do you
want from me?" And he said, "Oh, you don't want to come with me?"

I saw this was getting problematic, so I got out of the car, my wife
accompanied me, and we went inside. Right away, he started filling out the
form that if you are a foreigner arriving to this country you have to fill
in. He goes to the section that says occupation and says to me, "What do you
do?" I said, "I'm a newspaper publisher. You don't know me? I mean, who
doesn't know me in Zimbabwe?" I laugh about that, at which point he got on
the phone and said, "It's him, the newspaper publisher," and said to me,
"We've been instructed to impound your passport." Immigration arrived and
said, "Sir, you'll have to go into town to be given the reasons why we are
impounding your passport." And indeed, the following day I went to find out
why my passport had been taken. All they did was to show me a list of 17
names with an instruction that said with immediate effect the passports of
the following people must be impounded on sight. We had to go to court
because nobody could tell me why my passport had been seized, and the judge
ruled in my favor. The judge said my passport should never have been seized;
it was illegal and they should return it. The judge instructed them to pay
all my legal costs, I got my passport, and we promptly got out of the
country because I had a holiday that I was looking forward to. So, up till
now, officially or otherwise, I have not been given a reason as why my
passport was seized. All I can do is speculate.

Why do you think Mugabe wants to take away your Zimbabwean passport?

It gets back to the intolerance of the regime - not just intolerance, but
the sense that this regime can do things to its own citizens, not explain
things and get away with it. A passport is an important document for
business travel, for private travel. And any Zimbabwean now is going to
think twice before they express themselves on anything because the fear of
losing one's passport becomes a way of censoring oneself. Why should I risk
losing my passport by criticizing this government, whether or not inside? I
think that's the most frightening prospect in all of this.

to be continued...

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

MDC rift widens amid more accusations


      By Violet Gonda
      6 July 2006

      The rift between the warring MDC factions deepened Thursday when the
Mutambara led camp accused the Tsvangirai led camp of smuggling out of the
country some of the people suspected to have assaulted rival opposition
      Gabriel Chaibva spokesperson of the Mutambara MDC said in a statement,
"Some of the Tsvangirai group's thugs who are suspected to have been part of
the group that brutally attacked the MDC Member of Parliament for Harare
North, Trudy Stevenson and four party officials have been smuggled out of
the country into South Africa by a top official of the Tsvangirai group."
      The Mutambara MDC claims seven persons amongst the thugs were
identified as belonging to the Tsvangirai camp. Officials from the
Tsvangirai MDC have denied playing any role in the attack.
      It is some of these youth that are said to have been smuggled out of
the country. Chaibva claims, "The opposition faction was tipped off by
members of the public that a number of people were housed at Eddie Cross'
house in Bulawayo over the night, en-route to a foreign country."
      Chaibva also said that one of the vehicles that the youths used to get
away in Mabvuku was found in Bulawayo. He said although Hillside Police were
alerted they showed no concerned and were uncooperative.
      The Tsvangirai MDC has announced the appointment of an independent
panel of lawyers and human rights experts to investigate the attack on their
opposition rivals.

      The group said in a statement that the internal inquiry is chaired by
Advocate Happias Zhou and 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.
      But Chaibva responded to this by saying, "We have stated our position
over the so-called commission of inquiry, established by Mr Tsvangirai, that
it is a sheer waste of time meant to hoodwink the public. We maintain our
position that these acts of banditry are sanctioned by the highest authority
of their leadership as is exemplified by their abetting the thugs and
creation of safe houses and escape routes. We call upon the Tsvangirai group
to take this matter seriously."
      Observers say this is the tragedy of living under a dictatorship and
the level of frustration is demonstrated by this recent incident. This has
also given the ruling party the chance to further divide the opposition.
ZANU PF spokesperson Nathan Shamuyarira was quick to jump at this
opportunity and said. "The incident confirms the violent nature of the
      Meanwhile, Trudy Stevenson is said to be recovering from home after
having an operation on Wednesday on her arm. She sustained a stab wound to
the head, a broken cheekbone and two fractures in one arm. Linos Mushonga
who had two broken fingers and Simangele Manyere who was also attacked
remain under observation.

      We were unable to get to through to anyone from the Tsvangirai led

      SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Government's annual Nkomo gala angers Bulawayo residents

      By Tererai Karimakwenda
      06 July 2006

      The annual Umdala Wethu Gala held in July to commemorate the man
affectionately known as Father Zimbabwe, Dr Joshua Nqabuko Nkomo, takes
place on Friday amidst much controversy. Bulawayo residents say the event
has been commercialised by the government and some local musicians have
threatened to organise a rival gala complaining that they have been left
out. Our Bulawayo correspondent Themba Nkosi reports that many residents in
the city believe the government is abusing Nkomo's name by organising a
commercial musical event. He said there were even allegations that some of
the artists who have been booked participated in anti-Nkomo campaigns in the
1980s which were spearheaded by the same government pretending to celebrate
him now.
      Nkomo died at age 82 on July 1, 1999 after a long illness. This year
the gala is scheduled for the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair Grounds in
Bulawayo. Nkosi said the disgruntled musicians had planned to organise a
rival gala at White City Stadium in Bulawayo. But they were not able to book
the stadium on time and are still organising themselves and raising funds.
Nkosi believes they might initiate an alternative date that will become
annual as well. The location of the Trade Fair grounds has also been
criticised. White City Stadium is considered a more practical venue by
residents from the high-density areas because they can access it via direct
public transportation.
      We were unable to reach the Joshua Nkomo National Foundation, which
co-ordinates the galas and all other activities relating to the late ZAPU
leader, for comment. But every July, Zimbabweans remember the liberation war
hero and vice president they lovingly call "Umdala Wethu".


      SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

We must free ourselves - MDC

The Zimbabwean


HARARE - MDC leaders have traversed three quarters of the country gauging
the mood of the people and explaining their road map of the way forward to a
resolution of the Zimbabwean crisis.
The party's spokesman, Nelson Chamisa, told The Zimbabwean this week that
everywhere they had been, the 'liberation team' had found the people
supportive of the road map and ready to face the 'winter of discontent' mass
"The mood of the people was very encouraging. The majority of Zimbabweans,
both urban and rural, now realise that no-one can free us but ourselves. We
are all in the frontline. Yes, we need international solidarity, but that
can only come on the back of our national response," he said.
The MDC road map, a working document, was under constant reflection and
perfect, he said. It was in the process of being distributed to all
interested parties, including Zanu (PF), various church leaders who met the
party's leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, last week, and youth groups.
Events in Gambia, where Mugabe turned down offers of help from the secretary
general of the United Nations, Kofi Annan, clearly showed that the
Zimbabwean ruler was not prepared to accept outside intervention, said
"Mugabe is still insisting that the problem is between Zimbabwe and Britain.
The reality is that Zanu (PF) is at war with its own people. Any talk of
thawing relations with Britain is a mis-diagnosis of our illness which will
lead to the wrong treatment," he said.
This weekend Tsvangirai will address a huge star rally in Kwekwe, while
smaller scale consultations will continue in Chikomba and Chiweshe communal
lands and the high density areas of Harare.
Referring to the attack on senior members of the Mutambara faction, Chamisa
said the attackers had been named and if they were indeed found to have been
responsible they would be expelled immediately.
"We are not prepared to have our members indulging in this Zanu (PF)-type
behaviour," he said. "We condemn the attack, and indeed all political
violence, in the strongest possible terms.  On behalf of the MDC we wish all
those injured in the attack a speedy recovery."

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Chombo running scared - CHRA

The Zimbabwean

Chombo running scared' - CHRA

HARARE - The utterances by Minister of Local Government Ignatius Chombo at a
press conference recently exposed the deep-rooted fears that engulf the
regime of President Mugabe where it concerns Harare residents, says the
Combined Harare Residents' Association (CHRA).

The minister was quoted saying he disapproved the new water rates imposed by
the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (ZINWA) because they were not in the
best interests of residents.

"The water crisis that we face today and the chaos at Town House are a
direct result of the shambolic nature of local government legislation and
the conduct of Chombo where it concerns Makwavarara," says a CHRA statement.
"The outrage by Harare residents when ZINWA and the City of Harare imposed
new unreasonable, unjustified and unlawful water charges has forced Chombo
to step into the fray and act like the messiah."

At the beginning of the week, the suspended Town Clerk, Nomutsa Chideya,
convened a meeting of heads of departments and District Officers and
directed them to let residents pay the May water rates and ignore the ZINWA
imposed June water rates until outstanding issues are resolved.

But CHRA warns that people should not be fooled. "Chombo is aware that the
we are  mobilising for total rates boycott and fears that their source of
cheap finances from the municipality faces eminent collapse," it says.
"Chombo's party and government are very much afraid of the backlash from
residents in an election, hence the constant illegal renewal of the term for
the Makwavarara-led commission." - Staff reporter

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Harare residents urged to boycott rates

The Zimbabwean

Harare residents urged to boycott rates

HARARE - The Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA) this week
officially launched its rates boycott campaign. Seventy members of CHRA in
Ward structures leadership lodged their objections at Town House and the
Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and Urban Development.

"The protest marks the beginning of a winter of discontent by the residents
of Harare who are unable and unwilling to pay any rates to the municipality
until elections are held and sanity prevails at Town House," says a
The association encourages all residents to play their part by collecting
letters of objection from their offices Daventry House Room 103, Cnr South
Avenue/Angwa St. and submitting them to the municipal authorities.

Each person needs five copies of the letter - one each for Town House,
Permanent Secretary Local Government, Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights
(ZLHR), CHRA, and for the individual objecting.

The letter says, in part: "The principles of natural justice which the
Council is legally obliged to observe in terms of the law have been
flagrantly disregarded and as such the decision to review the rates is
unlawful, unreasonable, and as such a legal nullity which I feel I cannot
consciously pay."

Local information minister Ignatius Chombo told the local press this week
that he did the right thing to reappoint the illegal Makwavarara commission
for another six month terms, despite the fact that the principle of
re-appointing commissions beyond the mandatory nine months has been ruled
illegal by both the High Court and the Supreme Court.

"It is not what the minister thinks but it is what the people of Harare want
in the first place and what the law says about the commissioners. The only
substantive municipal employee was the Town Clerk who is now suspended. All
remaining heads of departments are in acting capacities. The Minister has
indirectly appointed Sekesai Makwavarara as the new Executive Mayor Harare
without going to the ballot. CHRA will urge residents of Harare to stop
paying their rates to the Municipality until mayoral and council elections
are held," said Israel Mabhoo, CHRA's acting Chairperson. - Staff reporter

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zanu (PF) business empire under spotlight

The Zimbabwean

HARARE - Local press reports that the politburo has revived investigations
into the operations of the ruling party's business empire - formerly
presided over by Emmerson Mnangagwa - have been denied by the party's
information chief, Nathan Shamuyarira.
Insiders were quoted as saying the investigations signalled renewed attempts
to frustrate Mnangagwa ahead of President Robert Mugabe's retirement.
"Some of the questions on the operations of Catercraft, First Banking
Corporation, Zidlee Enterprises, Zidco Holdings and other companies were
asked by Mugabe himself. In fact, other members of the Politburo were afraid
to ask questions on how the business empire was run because they feared
Mnangagwa," a politburo member is quoted as saying.
Probes into Mnangagwa's financial past were reportedly resuscitated by the
Mujuru camp, allegedly to "finish him off". Mnangagwa, who is the Minister
for Rural Housing, has apparently been consolidating his position in the
rural areas, long considered Zanu (PF)'s stronghold.- Staff reporter

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Reconciliation yes, but truth first

The Zimbabwean

Reconciliation yes, but truth first

HARARE - The President calls for unity between Church and State; certain
church leaders think that a very Christian idea and call for reconciliation.

By "unity" government means a church uncritical and silent about social
justice, giving tacit approval to whatever government is doing. That would
be a denial of the truth. Reconciliation cannot be based on a lie. It will
not last. Truth will be out eventually.

"When the church leaders start being political we regard them as political
creatures - and we are vicious in that area," Mugabe said.

You don't threaten people if you want unity and reconciliation, even though
it is true: they are vicious.
The Church does not compete for political power and is no rival to
government. They need not be afraid. But the Church is concerned about the
powerless and must stand by the ordinary people, neglected and pushed aside
by those in power. If that is being political, so be it.

The President asked the Church to work with government for the economic
recovery of the country. The Church is not a profit-making enterprise or an
industrial corporation. It has no economic power. It is a moral power. Is
government prepared to listen? The Church's advice is simple, thousands of
years old: "Do not kill. Do not commit adultery. Do not steal. Do not give
false witness. Do not set your heart on your neighbour's house." (Exodus 20;
Ten Commandments).

Honesty would make a vast difference to our economy, corrupted by greed.
Respect for people, their lives, their rights, their freedom, their dignity
and integrity would change this country beyond recognition. - Jesuit

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Shopping Basket 06-07-06

The Zimbabwean


2/07/06 Suburban supermarket


2 kg Brown Sugar


1 kg Apples




Buttercup Margarine - 500 grams


1 litre Lacto


2 litre Mazoe Orange


No Name Brand Tea Bags - 100


Oats - 500 grams


Sausages - 500 grams


Small Packet Chips (Crisps)


Crunchie Chocolate Bar


Handy Andy - 500 ml - Only Imported available


Jik - 750 ml


Kotex Sanitary pads - 10


Camphor Cream - 500 grams


Lux Bath Soap - 125 grams


Sunsilk Shampoo - 300 ml - Imported


Revlon Hair Conditioner - 350 ml - Imported


No name Brand Vaseline - 300 ml


Fuel - 1 litre


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Letter from Home - The sovereign state

The Zimbabwean

Dear Family and Friends,

There has been much talk in the state-owned media this week about the fact
that Zimbabwe is a sovereign state and will not be dictated to or colonized
by anyone, from anywhere, ever again. 99% of news readers on ZBC radio and
TV are unable to pronounce the words sovereign and sovereignty and no one
corrects them and so now a whole generation of young Zimbabweans are talking
about protecting our sov-er-wren-ity. Adhering to the meaning of the term,
however, seems as elusive as the pronunciation because every day now we hear
about the involvement of other countries in the basic nitty gritty's of our
day-to-day affairs.

We have a rash of cheap Chinese products ranging from clothes to luggage and
tools all over the country already and have Chinese aeroplanes and minibuses
moving us around. Last week there was talk of Chinese interest in our
thermal power stations and this week we hear of pending "joint ventures"
with the Chinese in regard to Tel One (our telephones) NRZ ( our railways)
and Hwange (our coal mines). It's not clear yet what benefits the Chinese
will gain from all these joint ventures but so far we hear of pay back
involving cobalt and other minerals still buried in our sovereign soil.

Trying to come to grips with it all - the podium banging, the selling of our
essence and the mortgaging of our soul - is overwhelming and exhausting, as
is our daily life. It is a daily life in Zimbabwe that is so ridiculous that
a nervous breakdown seems precariously close almost all the time. It is a
daily life dominated by rubber bands - to hold stacks of money together in
one, two, five or ten million dollar bundles. A daily life swamped with
electricity power cuts - two, four or five hours at a time - sometimes twice
a day. A daily life suffocated by a rash of new rules and regulations, bills
and prices.

This week we received our second telephone account for this month. The
second bill arrived just 10 days after the first one and printed on the top,
surrounded by a line of stars, was the legend: "Tariffs have been increased
per unit to $18,895.50 W.E.F. {with effect from} 14/06/06. You will receive
2 bills for June 06." There are no apologies offered - this a government
owned company and there are no other fixed line telephone companies in the
country so it is simply a case of pay up or get cut off. For the second time
in a month the queue snaked out of the door as all the receipts were being
written out painfully and laboriously by hand as there was yet another power

Emerging from the freezing cold queue after paying my second phone bill, the
sight of what should have been a bustling town on a busy Friday morning at
month end was surreal. Almost the entire town had stopped. Sitting on
roadsides and pavements, lying on grassy patches, leaning against walls -
the whole town was just waiting ever so patiently for the power to come back
on. The electricity had been off since 6.30am  and finally at 11 am it came
back on. Everywhere people started running - to get back into queues for
photocopiers, for passport  processing, for cash machines, for computers.
Life had suddenly been kick started again....and so we stagger on....again.
Until next week, thanks for reading, ndini shamwari yenyu.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Mugabe's ' happy natives '

The Zimbabwean

Mugabe's 'happy natives'

Asub head: Govt runs out of paper and pens

HARARE - President Robert Mugabe's assertion that the economy has not
collapsed and that Zimbabwe does not need any rescue package simply confirms
that he and his party  are in a perpetual state of denial and have taken
permanent residence in cloud cuckoo land, says the MDC.

"Mugabe seems to have plucked pages from Ian Smith's colonial regime
hymnbook - where he made the notorious statement that he had "the happiest
natives" in Africa," said party spokesman Nelson Chamisa in a recent
"Mugabe is claiming he has the happiest subjects who are not in need of any
rescue package. It is characteristic of dictators the world over to be
locked in a permanent state of self-delusion. When Mugabe says he does not
need help, he is obviously not speaking for Zimbabweans," he said.

Chamisa described the official response to international overtures as an
insult to suffering Zimbabweans.  He said the ruling party was "swimming in
the blood of tortured, murdered and maimed citizens".  That the rulers
failed to appreciate the lot of the ordinary person in the country showed
that they were "dangerously out of touch with reality and remote from the
people's wishes and aspirations".

The MDC believes that Zimbabwe needs an urgent, international rescue package
to save the country and its people.
"All the bleeding sectors of this economy need urgent relief. The country is
in turmoil; the nation is sick, scarred and wounded. We need healing. In
fact, Mugabe himself needs urgent help after landing the country into this
mire. The evidence on the ground reflects total collapse.  The domestic and
foreign debts have soared to stratospheric levels. The economy is on a free
fall, with a world record supersonic inflation rate, which realistically
stands at 3 000 percent. There is no hard currency for critical imports and
government departments have run out of basic stationery including bond paper
and pens," he said.

The past few months have seen the MDC leadership touring the length and
breadth of the country in an effort to secure a broadly based national
consensus on a roadmap to put the country back on its rails. It believes
this has now been achieved.

"The signposts to stability and a new Zimbabwe entail national rebirth and
renewal through a new Constitution, free and fair elections under
international supervision, national healing and reconstruction and
stabilization in the new democratic dispensation. The democratic resistance
project is building momentum and is designed to ensure a quick resolution of
the crisis through pressuring the dictatorship to concede to the people's
roadmap," said Chamisa.
"We believe that solidarity knows no borders. The international community
should continue to exert the pressure on the Zanu PF regime to respect the
people's will and allow democracy to take shape in Zimbabwe."

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Misguided African brotherhood

The Zimbabwean

South Africa has always maintained that there is no problem in Zimbabwe.
Official policy there has been to turn a blind eye to even Mugabe's grossest
human right abuses. Desperate Zimbabwean asylum seekers, flooding south to
escape torture, starvation and the total breakdown of law and order,
education and health systems have been forced to queue for days, subjected
to corrupt and abusive behaviour in many cases by the authorities and the
police force and then penned by their thousands in the filthy, overcrowded
Lindela holding camp.

Until recently the vast majority of Zimbabweans trekking across the border
in search of safety and a better life have largely operated within the law.
They have queued patiently, worked like slaves, lived in crowded tenements
and church basements and sold their bodies and their children in order to
keep body and soul together.

But now, with the exodus of rank and file members of the army and police,
the situation is turning ugly. These people are different. They have been
trained in the use of firearms. Violence is their way of life. They have no
other training.  Shooting, killing, beating, handling weapons - that's all
they know how to do.

In recent weeks this newspaper has carried reports on the increasing numbers
of soldiers resigning and deserting as the country's economy crumbles.
Prosperous neighbouring South Africa is an obvious magnet for them.
Last week's armed robbery at Honeydew and the ensuing fire fight with South
Africa police, during which four policemen and eight robbers were killed, is
a foretaste of what Thabo Mbeki can expect his country to go through if the
Zimbabwean situation is not resolved quickly.

Former Zimbabwean soldiers have been involved in armed robberies in South
Africa since 2002 - but such incidents are becoming steadily more

It is equally disturbing, or it should be, that the SA authorities are
getting no cooperation from the Zimbabwe government, as reported in the
Joburg-based Sunday Times this week.

An intelligence officer told the newspaper that "a number of soldiers are
leaving the Zimbabwean army and coming here. Last Sunday's shooting involved
people with serious military training".

South Africa is beginning to reap the whirlwind of six years of unproductive
quiet diplomacy concerning its northern neighbour. We would have thought it
would be in that government's interest to use whatever methods necessary to
force Mugabe to the negotiating table. It is almost too late, but better
late than never.

The fact that Mbeki appears to be prepared to allow his country, his people
and his economy to suffer so severely because of some misguided feelings of
African brotherhood towards one of Africa's formerly respected liberation
heroes, who has gone rotten, is beyond our comprehension.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

State-run media fails to impress Parliamentarians

The Zimbabwean

A report on the state-run media by a Zanu-PF dominated Parliament Portfolio
Committee contains some damning findings. In this first excerpt from the
report, presented to Parliament in May, the committee describes what it
found at Zimbabwe Broadcasting Holdings (ZBH).

The Committee was not impressed by what it saw at ZBH where numerous
problems emerged from the 'unbundling' exercise. The new organization had
nine operating companies, each led by a Chief Executive Officer. In the new
structure some of the companies, like Power FM and Radio Zimbabwe,
successfully adapted to the new environment. Unfortunately, the bulk of the
companies, including SPOT FM, National Radio, Zimbabwe Television, Newsnet
and On Air Systems, were failing to cope in the new set up.

The new thrust was profit driven but the faltering companies were burdened
by social obligations that required that they cover national events that
normally resulted in losses to these companies. Some of the problems
emanated from inter-parastatal debts that had accrued over the years and
were not being settled and others were inherited from the Ministry of
Information and Publicity as part of the restructuring exercise. Your
Committee observed that ZBH had no resources; material, human and financial,
to engage in a project in the form of National Television. The Committee
advised ZBH to revise their plans and hence the indefinite shelving of the

ZBH has invested heavily in the 5 million Euro Iranian facility that made
possible the digitalization of Zimbabwe Television and Newsnet. However, the
facility was under-utilized as news was only covered for less than one and
half-hours a day.

Problem areas included poor staff welfare, inadequate remuneration that was
way below the poverty datum line in most instances, lack of proper worker
representations both in decision-making and wage negotiations. At
administrative level, the structure was top heavy. The companies lacked
capitalization, which resulted in poor programming, resignation of
experienced staff and conversely, an influx of novices in most of the
companies. The parliamentarians noted that those companies failing to cope
should be merged and the issue of salaries must be seriously reviewed in
line with other organizations and other countries in the region.

The Zimbabwe Union of Journalists reported that they had problems with being
regulated by an external body. They were advised to set up a body to
regulate journalists and the Media and Information Commission said it had no
problems with that arrangement.

The Committee held oral hearings and had written submissions from the
Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ). It also had audience with other
prospective media players, in the form of Radio Dialogue- a community radio
in Bulawayo who applied unsuccessfully for an operating license. It found
that the current Broadcasting Services Amendment Act No. 26 of 2001 was
prohibitive and made it almost impossible to license new players. BAZ had
made recommendations to the Ministry of Information and Publicity for
amendments to be made to the Act.
The only organization licensed to provide transmission infrastructure,
Transmedia, had no resources to undertake the erection of transmitters. The
Committee recommended that the operating license for Transmedia should be
rescinded forthwith as it has no resources to fulfill its mandate as the
national signal carrier.

Committee members:  L. Mugabe (chairperson), L. Chikomba, G. Chimbaira, S.
E. Mdlongwa, T. Mubhawu, J. Moyo, D. .M. Ncube, C. Pote, E. Porusingazi,  J.
Sikhala,  Z. Ziyambi and M. Zwizwai. Senators: E. Jacob, F. R. E. Magadu, J.
Moyo, R. Ndlovu, S. Sai

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Chinamasa tells UN to ban NGO funding

The Zimbabwean


HARARE -  No claims are too exaggerated, no lies too big for the Zanu (PF)
administration. The latest prime example was the address by Justice Minister
Patrick Chinamasa to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.
Some may have thought Chinamasa had a nerve to turn up, let alone demand
that the newly established council "prohibit" Western funding to human
rights Non-Governmental Organisations in Zimbabwe. The reason, Chinamasa
explained, was that NGOs sought to destabilise what he unblushingly
described as "their popularly elected government," as well as helping
"opposition groups that have no local support basis."

"Such unlikely claims and his brazen attempt to seek universal endorsement
of government's determination to further erode civil society's democratic
space serves to expose the authorities' fear of having their undemocratic
conduct subjected to scrutiny," the Media Monitoring Project Zimbabwe (MMPZ)
said in its report covering June 19-25.
Coinciding neatly with Chinamasa's Geneva appearance, the independent media
carried six fresh cases of rights violations in Zimbabwe. MMPZ said that
these included arrests of Women of Zimbabwe Arise members; barring and
disruption of opposition MDC gatherings; and Bishop Levee Kadenge driven
into hiding after a death threat from a CIO operative.

In what the monitors called a further illustration of the "extent to which
the country had become a police state," The Standard newspaper cited other
incidents of state security agents threatening student and workers' leaders
not to stage anti-government protests.

The state-run media's coverage of the chaos in agriculture and the economic
crisis followed its usual pattern of piecemeal stories with no context or
examination of why things get worse and worse, plus glowing and
unsubstantiated reports that the regime's latest so-called economic revival
plan is working well.
For example, state newspapers carried stories muddling the extent and
reasons behind the under-utilization of land seized from white commercial
farmers, choosing to focus on the authorities blaming resettled farmers for
their failure to produce.

"There was no attempt to reconcile the farmers' alleged failure with the
authorities' own policy shortcomings, characterised by poor support schemes
for the farmers and continued farm invasions," MMPZ said in its report.
Similarly, the state broadcasters handled the deeply serious grain shortages
with some blame-game quotes from the Grain Marketing Board, on one hand, and
farmers on the other. "None of the stations," the monitors reported, tried
to establish the truth of the matter or view the low deliveries as an
affirmation of independent observers' projections that the country had
produced half its annual grain requirement."

The private media, however, continued to ascribe the economic crisis to poor
governance, and gave a clearer picture of the state of the economy and its
dim future.

The Zimbabwe Independent noted that the state ended last year with an
outstanding "external debt of US$3.9 billion against export receipts of only
US$1.7 billion."

Studio 7 and SW Radio Africa both predicted ever higher inflation, the
latter quoting economist Eric Bloch as saying that by December a family of
six will need Z$180 million a month to survive. Economist John Robertson
said the authorities would soon be unable to print money fast enough to keep
pace with rising prices resulting "in a massive cash crisis."

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

The Zimbabwean Letters

Youths must unite
EDITOR - The latest images from Amnesty International show how people have
been severely affected by the government's devastating policy of demolitions
(Operation Murambatsvina). The government shows total lack of compassion and
mercy by crushing peaceful protests using armed police, soldiers and militia
to silence hungry and angry innocent civilians.  Who will save Zimbabwe?  It's
our house which is dirty and it's our duty to clean it. Let's all unite
regardless of race, tribe or sexuality, and restore political sanity and
dignity to the once bread basket of Africa. Come on young people, it's up to
The diaspora plays a major role in pushing for political transformation and
to lobby for international intervention in the Zim crisis.


Massive cost to SA
EDITOR - The Zimbabwe economy is closing down - literally. We have inflation
now at over 1300 per cent per annum. GDP is down about 50 per cent, exports
by two thirds. In recent weeks the reports of accelerated decline have
poured in - gold output down by a third on last year, winter cropping down
50 per cent, electricity supplies down to 70 per cent of demand and
threatening economic activity across the board. The tobacco crop down by a
third and prospects that the coming crop could be very small - perhaps less
than 20 000 tonnes. Industrial activity is shrinking fast and, if it was at
all possible, the numbers of foreign tourists still dropping.

The sheer lunacy of the Mugabe regime's management of the economy is
highlighted by the maize situation. Just look at these numbers. We require 5
000 tonnes of maize a day to feed the country. Of this 3 600 tonnes is for
human consumption as maize meal. Last year the State imported 1 million
tonnes of this product into the country and in addition donors supplied
basic foods for over 3 million people every day.

As I write, some 2000 tonnes of white maize is coming into Zimbabwe from
South Africa every day. This costs about R1200 per tonne (at least) and on
top of this you must add another R160 per tonne for administration. So we
are talking about a product that costs R1360 per tonne - perhaps even R1400
per tonne when it is finally sold to the local millers.

The selling price charged by Zimbabwe's Grain Marketing Board is just R12
per tonne at market based exchange rates, R37.50 at the bank rate. Whatever
they sell it for, the loss on the product is well over 99 per cent of its
cost. The numbers are just staggering - at official exchange rates (which
bear no relation to reality) the loss is Z$22,4 million a tonne or Z$44,8
billion a day!

How do they manage this? They don't. I must assume that the South African
government is in fact providing the maize on credit to Zimbabwe in an effort
to keep the Mugabe regime afloat. This means that, at last years rate of
imports South Africa is building up debt with Zimbabwe at the rate of R3
million a day. Add that to the power subsidies being ploughed into the
Zimbabwe economy at the same time - also through another bankrupt parastatal
and you come to the total debt build up of some R2 billion a year at the
very least (US$350 million).

In other areas the South Africans are also covering up the real facts.
Illegal migration to South Africa via Botswana has been estimated at 500
people per day and via the Limpopo border with South Africa at 2 500 a
day -that is one million new illegal migrants a year. Some are caught and
returned, but most disappear into the murky depths of South African slums
and townships.

The cost of all this to the South African economy is huge. And with an extra
1 million illegals a year- that is on top of the estimated 3 million that
are already here- it can only get worse. Please help us stop this lunacy by
sending a donation to Zimfund - Nedbank Account Number 1589406079 - Branch
Code 158952. Your money will be well spent.
SAVE ZIMBABWE, Johannesburg


Forsaking the legacy of Kings
Open letter to Japhet Ndulini Mayor of Bulawayo
Your Worship, World Refugee Day 20 June Campaign - "We are refugees in our
own country. Our lives have been stolen but the flame of hope still burns.
We demand the right to earn a living."
We are writing to thank you for granting us an audience on 14 July 2006 and
for listening to our requests with such respect.

The issue that brought us to your offices during our World Refugee Day
campaign was Bulawayo City Council involvement in Operation Murambatsvina
activities being conducted by a Government that no longer cares for its
citizens. We had noted that when the Operation was launched, your office and
Council were lonely voices speaking out and trying to defend the right to
trade of the long-marginalized people of Matabeleland.

However we have noted that in the last few months, Council has been at the
forefront of harassing parents trying to put food into the mouths of their
children. Children who cannot now even access affordable education and
thereby a better future. We also note that previous concessions to freely
trade during weekends and holidays have also been withdrawn. We also remind
you that we informed you that the process of registering for vending
licenses has become politicized and that we are therefore not able to
register and refuse to allow the right to earn a living to be only for those
carrying Zanu PF party cards.

Some of our members noted the Bulawayo Upcoming Traders Association court
order barring the council and the police from raiding until a solution could
be found.  Bulawayo City Council has ignored this. After our visit we
resolved to observe the situation to see if there would be any change, but
there has been no change. We then saw Council being quoted through
spokesman, Pathisa Nyathi on June 28 2006 in ZimOnline saying Council will
continue to raid vendors.

We are now writing to ask you the following questions.

1.Where is the spirit of Ubuntu you spoke to us about?
2. Are you forsaking the legacy left behind by the Kings this city is named
for - Mambo, Mzilikazi and the King of the Kalanga people?
3. We demand you call a full Council meeting and withdraw from any Operation
Murambatsvina activities until a solution is found that.
All we are asking for is our right to earn a living because without that
right and the right to keep what we earn, there is no right to life. See the
African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights, Article 22:
1. All peoples shall have the right to their economic, social and cultural
development with due regard to their freedom and identity..
2. States shall have the duty ... to ensure the exercise of the right to
development. See Convention on the Elimination of all forms of
discrimination against Women (CEDAW), Article 14: "State parties shall take
appropriate measures ..that they participate in and benefit from rural
development and ensure the right: (e) to organise self-help groups and
co-operatives in order to obtain equal access to economic opportunities
through  employment or self employment."
WOZA, Zimbabwe


Ncube to retire
EDITOR - I read with interest Prof. Welshman Ncube's intentions to quit
politics in 2010(The Zimbabwean 15-21 June,2006). How does he justify his
desire to quit politics at his age when a normal political career should be
reaching its peak? Is he admitting failure or does he possess some
supernatural ability to foretell that the  struggles of ordinary Zimbabweans
against dictatorship will be over and so he can retire Prof, let me tell you
one thing, true leaders do not retire from the struggle, but endure all the
way to the end, unless freedom of the ordinary Zimbabwean was never your
If that is the case, please identify all those in the current leadership who
are like-minded


Nkomo turning in his grave
EDITOR - I think the way the hosts Joburg Joshua Nkomo gala conduct their
business can not go without a comment, especially from us who live in South
Africa and are patriotic. To tribalise or regionalise a gala for nationalist
like Dr Nkomo is not fair treatment to such a veteran nationalist and father
of the nation.

He was neither a regionalist or a tribalist, as was proved by his (PF) ZAPU
that had structures in all provinces and districts are garnered a number of
votes in every constituency at elections in 1980 before Mugabe suffocated
and tribalised his influence.

That's why you found Shonas like Joseph Msika holding a very high post in
the party.

Solomon Mujuru also held a very high post in the military wing ZIPRA before
the integration of the forces.
Also the naughty war veteran Chenjerai Hunzvi was in the diplomatic service
in Poland on a ZAPU ticket. This proves the type of person Dr Nkomo was.

 Furthermore, Dr Nkomo was not Ndebele, although he came from Matebeleland.
He was a Kalanga - an ndebelised shona according to the historical
background. And if we want to believe a shona proveb which says "manyurusi
anozivakwazvo kuti madzitateguru awo aiva mahachi" that means Dr Nkomo knew
very well that his ancestors were Shona. Thus Dr Nkomo was not a divider of
the nation on tribal, regional or language. So I think tribalising or
regionalising anything in his name might make him turn in his grave.

On the issue of the Ndebeles being called newcomers in Zimbabwe, that is
utter rubbish that needs to be treated with the contempt it deserves.
Xenophobia and segregation are products of a lack of knowledge about the
history of the human race. Come to your senses guys and see reason.

Back to the Top
Back to Index