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Mugabe calls in thugs to police prices

The Times
July 7, 2007

Jan Raath in Harare
President Mugabe has ordered petrol stations to slash the price of fuel by
70 per cent in a desperate bid to bring down the world's highest rate of
inflation. Mr Mugabe ordered the price of fuel to be cut to 18p per litre,
as his politburo announced plans to "tighten and intensify" price controls.

Shops have already been ordered to reduce prices as the President seeks to
beat hyper-inflation that he fears may spark civil unrest and drive him from

State radio called on the movement of war veterans - a reserve unit of the
armed forces made up of former guerillas who fought to end white rule more
than 25 years ago - the youth militia and the women's league of Mr Mugabe's
ZANU(PF) party, to report to party headquarters. Observers believe that the
groups have been summoned to support trade inspectors, police and state
secret agents in enforcing the price cuts.

Supermarkets, shops and warehouses are being forced to sell produce at
prices far below the cost of replacing stock. The operation has been
accompanied by state-approved looting as hungry Zimbabweans, impoverished by
Mr Mugabe's ruinous economic policies, loaded cheap goods - which were often
resold on the black market the same day at far higher prices.

Lawyers have denounced the forced price cuts as illegal, while many
businessmen have been arrested for failing to comply. "It's all by edict in
the state press," said one lawyer who asked not to be named. "And even if
they did make it official, it would be in violation of the Constitution, for
depriving people unlawfully of their property. It is legalised looting and
legalised theft."

Mr Mugabe's onslaught is seen as a response to repeated forecasts that
Zimbabwe's wild inflation will bring the economy to a halt within six months
and cause civil upheaval that will drive him from power.

"Mugabe is taking these forecasts very seriously," John Makumbe, a political
commentator, said. "But he thinks he can bring down inflation by
manipulating it manually. He doesn't realise it will rocket even higher. It's
unbelievable." Yesterday, traders in the capital's predominantly Indian
business area had placed detachable steel-grilled gates outside their shop
doors, ready to be shut at short notice.

Shortly after dawn, hundreds of cars began queuing at service stations in
the city, after state radio announced that fuel would have to be sold at
$Zim 55,000 (about 18p) per litre. It had been selling for $Zim 180,000 per
litre. "This is going to be a very short honeymoon," John Robertson, an
economist, said. "There will be no fuel to be had anywhere in the country by
the middle of next week. That will bring an end to all business activity. A
shutdown of the entire country is coming. In a week's time, people are going
to be struggling to find food."

Mr Mugabe told supporters that any businesses that halted production because
of the price cuts would be forcibly nationalised. "We are saying to all
factory owners 'you must produce'," Mr Mugabe said. "If you don't produce,
we certainly will seize the factories."

Losing control

- Inflation for May was announced to be 4,500 per cent, although economists
say that the real figure is closer to 10,000 per cent

- The movement of war veterans, the youth militia and the women's league of
Zanu (PF) have been used repeatedly to crush dissent, and to drive 5,000
white farmers from their farms

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Mugabe summons war veterans as inflation crisis deepens in Zimbabwe

International Herald Tribune

The Associated PressPublished: July 6, 2007

HARARE, Zimbabwe: Hundreds of war veterans and ruling party militiamen and
loyalists summoned by President Robert Mugabe arrived by the busload at his
party headquarters for a meeting Friday as government-ordered price cuts
spurred mounting chaos in the economy.

The unusual call on state radio to veterans of the guerrilla war that swept
Mugabe to power and ended colonial rule in 1980 came amid fears they would
be called on to enforce the price cuts. Veterans and youth militias, known
as Green Bombers for their green denim uniforms, were the main participants
in the chaotic and bloody seizures of thousands of white-owned commercial
farms that began in 2000.

The radio said the loyalists were required Friday for discussions on
economic policies at a meeting of the party's central committee headed by

The radio also said the ruling party was to discuss ways to "tighten and
intensify" price controls, saying the government made available toll free
telephone hot lines for callers to report shopkeepers and businesses in
breach of its prices edict.

Last week, the government ordered sweeping price cuts of around 50 percent
to curb inflation and stop profiteering and overcharging by businesses.
Price inspectors and police have raided stories, warehouses and gas stations
to enforce the order, as the falling prices caused stampedes, panic buying
and near-riots by impoverished Zimbabweans. At least two store managers have
been hospitalized, one with a broken jaw, when they tried to restrain crowds
grabbing reduced items from the shelves.

Long lines of cars waited at gas stations still selling scarce fuel Friday
after Industry Minister Obert Mpofu warned fuel company staff they faced
arrest and seizure of their fuel stocks if the price of gasoline was not
slashed by more than half from immediate effect.
At least two gas stations in Harare sold out and shut down by mid afternoon,
uncertain when they would reopen.

Mpofu ordered them to sell gasoline at 60,000 Zimbabwe dollars to the liter,
state radio reported. Oil industry executives said in meetings with the
government they argued that minimum "cost recovery" on buying gas and
distributing it in the landlocked nation now stood at about 130,000 Zimbabwe
dollars a liter.

The new government price translates to US$4 (?2.94) a liter (about US$8, ?6
a gallon) at the official exchange rate or 46 U.S. cents (33 euro cents) a
liter (about US$180 or ?1.30 a gallon) at the dominant black market exchange
rate. The fuel industry price for providing a liter to the pumps is US$8.66
(?6.36) at the official rate and US$1 (73 euro cents) at the more realistic
unofficial rate.

"It looks like the country will run dry in the next few days and everything
could come to a standstill. It doesn't make sense," said one fuel industry
executive. He asked not to be identified for fear of retaliation from ruling
party militants.

In the week since the government ordered sweeping price cuts most shops have
run out of the cornmeal staple, bread, meat, salt, sugar and other basic
foodstuffs. Some smaller shops have closed. Shelves were bare of basic foods
across the capital.

Official inflation is running at 4,500 percent, the highest in the world,
though independent financial institutions estimate real inflation is closer
to 9,000 percent.

Mpofu, the industry minister, said the excessive price of gasoline raised
the prices of all goods and services and said fuel found being sold at above
the new price would be forfeited to the state and suppliers faced
prosecution, the state radio reported Friday.

The government on Thursday banned bulk storage of foodstuffs and extended
price cuts to consumer goods, mobile phone charges, fares on the state
airline and car spares.

Bustling shoppers swarmed into a downtown shoe store Friday and congestion
on the mobile phone networks made local call connections almost impossible.

State radio said the ruling party's politburo, its highest policy making
body, met Thursday and commended the new government task force on prices for
bringing down the cost of living.

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Mugabe warns firms against halting production


Fri 6 Jul 2007, 11:37 GMT

By MacDonald Dzirutwe

HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe on Friday told
manufacturers to carry on with normal production despite an official price
freeze, warning that his government would seize firms that stopped producing
basic goods.

Mugabe was addressing thousands of ruling ZANU-PF party supporters in
Harare, some who had earlier marched through Zimbabwe's capital in support
of the freeze introduced to curb the world's highest inflation rate of over
4,500 percent.

The march came ahead of a ZANU-PF party meeting to adopt tougher measures
against firms defying the freeze, which was introduced last week when the
government ordered businesses to put prices back to June 18 levels.

The move, which sparked frenzied buying from shoppers, came after prices of
some goods tripled within a week.

"This is no joke ... there are some people who think this (freeze) will not
succeed because they say there are empty shelves," Mugabe told supporters at
the ZANU-PF national headquarters in Harare.

"We are saying to all factory owners you must produce. If you don't produce
we certainly will seize the factories," Mugabe said to loud cheers from

Spiralling prices and soaring inflation are part of an eight-year economic
crisis that has caused foreign currency, fuel and food shortages. Economists
say the price freeze would decimate what remains of Zimbabwe's struggling
industry as manufacturers will not be able to produce goods at a loss.

The veteran Zimbabwe leader said his government was still not satisfied with
current price levels, adding that he wanted even lower prices to cushion
people from inflation.


Mugabe again accused businesses of raising prices as part of a wider plot by
former colonial power Britain to remove him from power and rejected
suggestions that the price freeze was illegal.

He said Zimbabweans should alert a special unit of police, army and
intelligence operatives formed to enforce price controls of businesses
hoarding or unfairly increasing prices.

More than 200 business people, including a ZANU-PF senator, have been
arrested for ignoring the ban on price hikes.

Mugabe supporters had earlier marched from ZANU-PF's Harare provincial
office to its national headquarters where the 83-year-old leader was to
preside over a meeting of the party's powerful central committee.

Carrying placards and clad in party regalia, the marchers chanted songs
extolling Mugabe and denouncing firms for profiteering, temporarily bringing
downtown business to a halt.

"Mugabe is right, down with economic saboteurs" read one placard while
another said "No to profiteering".

The central committee meeting on Friday is expected to adopt tougher
measures to crack down on defiant businesses and extend products covered by
the freeze.

The price controls cover basic goods such as maize meal, sugar, salt, bread,
beef, rentals and were on Friday extended to fuel.

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Mugabe supporters march in support of price freeze


Fri 6 Jul 2007, 9:44 GMT

By MacDonald Dzirutwe

HARARE (Reuters) - Hundreds of President Robert Mugabe's supporters marched
through Zimbabwe's capital on Friday in support of an official price freeze
introduced to curb the world's highest inflation rate of over 4,500 percent.

The march was planned ahead of a ruling ZANU-PF party meeting to adopt
tougher measures against firms defying the freeze, which was introduced last
week when the government ordered businesses to put prices back to June 18

 The move, which sparked frenzied buying from shoppers, came after prices of
some goods tripled within a week.
Mugabe has accused businesses of raising prices as part of a wider plot by
former colonial power Britain to remove him from power. He has warned his
government could seize and nationalise companies that do not adhere to the

Spiralling prices and soaring inflation are part of an eight-year economic
crisis that has caused foreign currency, fuel and food shortages. Economists
say the price freeze would decimate what remains of Zimbabwe's struggling
industry as manufacturers will not be able to continue to produce goods at a

The government has formed a special unit of police and intelligence
operatives to enforce the price freeze, saying this would protect suffering
consumers, and has also arrested more than 200 business people, including a
ZANU-PF senator, accused of ignoring the ban on price hikes.

On Friday hundreds of Mugabe supporters marched from ZANU-PF's Harare
provincial office to its national headquarters where the veteran leader was
to preside over a meeting of the party's powerful central committee.

Carrying placards and clad in party regalia, the marchers chanted songs
extolling Mugabe and denouncing firms for profiteering, temporarily bringing
downtown business to a halt.

"Mugabe is right, down with economic saboteurs" read one placard while
another said "No to profiteering". The supporters were expected to be
addressed by Mugabe later in the day.

On Friday the central committee was expected to adopt tougher measures to
crack down on defiant businesses and extend products covered by the freeze.

The price freeze has been effected on basic goods such as maize meal, sugar,
salt, bread, beef, rentals and was on Friday extended to fuel.

On Thursday, the ZANU-PF politiburo discussed measures to further tighten
price controls but this would need to be endorsed by the central committee.

The government has set up hotlines encouraging consumers to report cases of
overpricing or hoarding but some basic goods have already disappeared from
shop shelves.

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20 children die in Zimbabwe diarrhoea outbreak

Yahoo News

HARARE (AFP) - At least 20 Zimbabwean children have died over the past two
weeks after an outbreak of diarrhoea hit the southern town of Kadoma,
reports said Friday.

"The town has been hit by an outbreak of diarrhoea over the past two weeks,
but we worked hard to isolate ecoli (bacteria) and we can now safely say the
situation is under control," the state-run Herald newspaper quoted
provincial medical director for Mashonaland West Wenseslaus Nyamayaro as
The report said the outbreak, which has also affected some adults, was
caused by a shortage of potable water in the town which is faced with
perennial water problems due to limited pumping capacities.

Kadoma, which is located 140 kilometres (88 miles) south of the capital, has
a population of about 800,000 people.

Gear Hanyani, the public relations manager for Kadoma said they had made
some progress in improving the situation.

"We have tried to increase access to water by putting water bowsers in
residential areas with the support of UNICEF and other non-governmental
organisations," he said.

Hanyani said council was making sure every household gets at least 20 litres
of water on a daily basis.

The daily quoted some residents from the farming and gold mining town as
saying the water problem has not been given due attention for a long time.

There was no immediate comment from the provincial health authority or the
health ministry in Harare.

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Confessions of a Zimbabwe torturer


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Support of Old Age Pensioners - inflation update July 07

S.O.A.P.  (Supporting Old Age Pensioners)
                                     Tel: 242455 Louise Campbell/242486 Dave
                                           P. O. Box AC 646 ASCOT BULAWAYO,

 Dear Friends,
       I can only say chaos rules. Last week there was a government
directive that many goods should be reduced by at least 50% irrespective of
what the retailer paid for them. This included Mazoe orange, fuel, soap,
beef and bread amongst other things. Fuel was given a new price of $50,000
petrol and $60,000 diesel per litre, this was selling at around $130,000 per
litre. Beef which was around $400,000 per kilo had to be reduced to 90,000
whether it was stew beef or fillet. Teams went round the shops ordering
instant price reductions and the retailer had to sell all stock at that
price, including whatever was held in the storerooms.A relative who has two
butcheries paid $350,00 a kg for beef last week he now has to sell it for
$90,000, chickens cost him $240,000 they have to be sold for $120,000 each.
The result? Bread, fuel, beef and many other items have now disappeared.
Before this, last week I travelled to Botswana to buy tinned vegetables to
include in our packs as these had not been available for some time, one of
our benefactors supplied the fuel for the trip so no overheads were
Electricity supply has become very erratic, to give an idea, here is a
typical week of load shedding for us. No power; Tuesday 1430-2000, Wednesday
0630-1330, Friday 1400-1930, Saturday 0545-1350, Sunday 0830-1300, Monday
1500-1900. If you can afford dinner you cook a one pot dish in the morning
and then hopefully you have the means to warm it up at night, if not, then
perhaps a sandwich, if you have bread of course. Unfortunately you never
know how long the cut is, maybe it could last several days if it is a fault.
For us, reasonably bearable as there is an inverter to power the computer or
TV, a generator if the power is off for a long time (One street was recently
off for over 5 days), also emergency lights which come on automatically. But
look at those less fortunate. No means of cooking, heating and a lone candle
if you can afford it for lighting. (We have started supplying these but can
only afford to put in a couple each month) During last months delivery I
spoke to one lady, at lunchtime her power had been off since 6am. She had
not had anything hot to drink since the previous night. She can't afford to
buy a flask or a paraffin stove to heat water, remember, we are in the
middle of winter now.
One widowed railway pensioner last month received her pension plus two
months back pay as there had been a wage rise, the total amount received was
$155,000! This person is a diabetic, in one month the price of insulin rose
from $1,145,000 to $6,750,000. Her railway medical does not supply this type
of insulin so it has to be bought separately, also, they had no heart
tablets in stock so they also had to be bought. This is by no means an
unusual case. Luckily, this person has family to support her, many do not.
One of our recipients age 83 was given one months notice to quit her
cottage, luckily with the help of others she is now safely in residence at
Coronation Cottages.
As she has no family other than an unemployed son in Australia, Dave
volunteered to move her. Her possessions consisted of a one plate 'stove', a
bed with no mattress, a Formica table and two wooden chairs, one easy chair
and a wardrobe. Note, no electric kettle, stove or refrigerator, she has no
income, previously selling her possessions just to stay alive she is now
supported by SOAP and others who pay her electricity, rent and rates. Is
this dignity in old age?
 Just compare the difference between now and last July remember there were
three 000's removed from the currency last August so the same basket of
goods today is actually a staggering $2,961,746:00 more in one year, also
electricity doesn't figure here as I removed it from the list as we haven't
had an account since September last year. When looking at the figures below,
those in blue are items that are now unavailable due to price controls.

                               April 2006         July 2006
October2006             January 2007                            April 2007
July 2007
Bread                         $85,000     $150,000                      $295
$825                               $4,000             $45,000
Milk    1Lt                  $70,000        $95,000                    $680
$889                              $6,079             $57,400
Electricity mon     +/- $840,000      $1,500,000 (estimate)$5,000
(Estimate) $10,000
2ltrs Mazoe Oran        $240,000         $750,000              $1,300
$6,350                        $49,000             $600,000
1 litre coke                  $150,000          $290,000              $1,050
$1,800                       $14,000               $27,000
local stamp                    $30,000             $60,000
$100                                   $100                           $200
500g butter                 $946,000       $1,633,000              $2,640
$6,500                         $49,000            $600,000
tin tuna                         $460,000         $580,000
$1,000                                $4,150                       $28,200
100 Tea bags              $140,000       $495,000                   $475
$3,645                         $30,125            $325,000
'phone call per unit            $8,018           $18,800
$31.30                          $31.30                                $45
kg steak mince             $880,000      $1,445,000                 $3,960
$15,150                      $38,800             $375,000
kg stew beef                $500,000         $850,000                 $2,850
$11,200                     $41,000              $375,000
4 toilet rolls                 $340,000         $810,000
$1,400                                $8,560                     $55,000

                               $4,689,018.    $8,676,800
$20,781(000).30              $69,200.30                    $315,449

It only remains to say thank you to each and everyone of you  who continue
support and help 'our' pensioners.. Today is interview day of more likely
recipients, this can be a harrowing experience, meeting once proud people
who now have to rely on charity just to stay alive.
Huge thanks and God bless you all for caring enough to read this.
Dave and Louise.

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Statement regarding MDC unity negotiations

New Zimbabwe

ZIMBABWE'S opposition MDC split in October 2005 over policy differences.
Negotiations were established since late 2006 to bridge the differences.
Those negotiations have collapsed, as the faction led by Arthur Mutambara
says in a statement released Friday:

Last updated: 07/07/2007 05:58:33
WE HAVE noted the comments attributed to Morgan Tsvangirai this past
weekend, in particular the following statement:
"On our part, there have been calls across the board for unity within the
MDC. I have argued against elite pacts. I have argued against attempts to
pick-up individuals for specific party positions. That process cannot be
regarded as uniting the party. Such a process is insincere and leads to
fresh political setbacks. Whatever we seek to do must be comprehensive and

We believe that it is now important to put the record straight regarding the
state of the negotiations between the two formations of the MDC.

In the aftermath of the assault of Trudy Stevenson last year, it was agreed
that there should be negotiations between the two formations of the MDC to
formulate a functional working relationship between the two political

Accordingly, in August, each formation of the MDC appointed a four-person
negotiation team; the Tsvangirai formation's team was led by Tendai Biti and
the Arthur Mutambara formation's team was led by Welshman Ncube.

In the first meeting held in August, the two negotiating teams drafted a
code of conduct which amongst other things we stated both formations'
commitment to non-violence and which set up the mechanism to reduce tensions
between the two formations.

In the meeting, it was agreed between the two negotiating teams that for the
code of conduct to be successful, there needed to be buy-in from the
leadership of both formations and widespread publicity given to any final

In the same meeting, there was a detailed discussion regarding how the
assets of the former United MDC could be split so the two separate political
parties with distinct identities could emerge. A draft proposal was agreed
upon by the negotiating teams and the meeting concluded with the undertaking
that both negotiating teams would go back to their respective national
executives to get both draft agreements endorsed.

The second meeting of the two negotiating teams was held in September. At
that meeting both negotiating teams advised that their respective national
executives had endorsed the code of conduct with a few minor amendments.
Accordingly a final code of conduct was agreed to. Both negotiating teams
agreed that the code of conduct would be signed by the Presidents and the
Secretary Generals of each formation and that a joint press conference would
be held as soon as possible, attended by both presidents, at which the code
of conduct would be released to the public and clear statements in support
of the code of conduct would be made by both presidents.

At the same meeting in September, the Tsvangirai formation's team reported
back that the national executive wanted to pursue the prospects of unity
rather than agree to a formula that would see the emergence of two separate
and distinct political parties. As there was no objection to this from the
Mutambara formation's perspective, it was agreed that a further meeting
would be held to pursue Unity talks and that in the interim; the code of
conduct would be implemented as a confidence building measure between the
two formations.

Immediately after the September meeting, the code of conduct document was
immediately signed by Arthur Mutambara, Welshman Ncube and Tendai Biti. The
Mutambara formation was advised that Morgan Tsvangirai was reluctant to sign
the code of conduct for reasons that remain unclear. After being put under
pressure to do so, Morgan Tsvangirai eventually signed the document but
insisted that he would not attend a joint press conference to launch the
code of conduct, a position he has taken up until the present.

The failure to publicly launch the code of conduct then threatened to
undermine the negotiation process between the two formations and indeed
delayed the holding of the third meeting which was to discuss the prospects
of unifying the two formations. During the first weekend of November, both
formations held national executive meetings.

At the meeting of the Tsvangirai formation, a decision was taken to change
the composition of the negotiating team and several people known to be
against unity were included in the team. At a meeting of the Mutambara
formation, a decision was taken to pursue the unity negotiations
notwithstanding the fact that Morgan Tsvangirai had refused to attend a
joint press conference to launch the code of conduct.

The third meeting of the two negotiating teams was held over the last
weekend of November. The Tsvangirai team was still led by Tendai Biti and
included the new members of the Tsvangirai negotiating team mentioned above.
The meeting was advised that in view of this, the participants representing
the Tsvangirai formation were there in an informal capacity to explore what
prospects there were to unify the two formations. In the meeting both teams
agreed that before serious unification talks could begin, confidence
building measures would have to be implemented.

In particular, it was agreed that the code of conduct should be made public
and that there should be clear buy-in by both leaders. It was also agreed
certain measures should be implemented to address the reasons for the split,
especially the intra party violence. A proposal was put forward that a
neutral panel of "grey-heads" be convened to investigate the causes of the
split and to make representations to both formations as to how the issues
could be redressed.

The negotiation process then got bogged down. In early February 2007 the
mediator met with Morgan Tsvangirai and was advised that he saw no point in
pursuing the negotiation process any further. As a direct result of the
statement, the Mutambara negotiation team was effectively stood down.

In the aftermath of the events of March 11 and Zanu PF's statement at the
end of March that they intended holding joint presidential and parliamentary
elections by March 2008, the fourth meeting of the two negotiating teams was
held in the first week of April.

At this meeting it was agreed that there was now insufficient time, even if
there was political will, to resolve the issues which gave rise to the split
in the first place prior to the elections scheduled for March 2008. It was
also agreed that it was absolutely essential that the Zimbabwean electorate
be presented by a single opposition candidate in every Parliamentary
constituency and in the presidential election itself to confront Zanu PF.

Accordingly it was agreed by the two negotiating teams that:

- the two formations would fight the elections as one political organisation
to be known as the MDC Coalition
- a nominee of the Tsvangirai formation would be the sole Presidential
- if the election was won, a nominee of the Mutambara formation would be
appointed Vice President
- if the election was won the winning President would appoint a small
cabinet equally divided between the 2 formations but he or she would have
discretion regarding the selection of a 3 person majority in cabinet
- a formula would be agreed to ensure that the two formations shared
nominations for candidates in all constituencies throughout the country
subject to compliance with primary election procedures of the respective
formations with a view to presenting the electorate with a single candidate
in every constituency
-there was to be an irrevocable commitment to implementing a new democratic
Constitution within the shortest possible time after taking power and having
gone through a process acceptable to the Zimbabwean people to ensure their
buy in
- because of the urgency of the matter the respective formations would
publicly announce the agreement before the end of April.

At the end of the meeting, all described it as "historic". A photograph was
taken of all those who were in attendance as it was felt that a major
breakthrough in the national interest of Zimbabweans had been achieved. The
leaders of both formations were regularly consulted through the two days of
negotiations and it was assumed that they were aware of what was being
discussed and bought into the process and the agreement - that was certainly
the case within the Mutambara formation. Crucially it was also assumed that
each negotiation team had a mandate to agree on the broad principles of the

A seven page written agreement was drafted by an independent lawyer who
attended the meeting. That draft agreement was adopted by the leadership of
the Mutambara formation. It then became apparent that the agreement had not
been adopted by the Tsvangirai formation and as a result the undertaking to
announce the establishment of the MDC coalition by the end of April could
not be fulfilled.

The fifth meeting of the two negotiating teams was held in May. At that
meeting the Tsvangirai negotiating team advised that there were elements
within the Tsvangirai formation who were not prepared to endorse the April
agreement. It emerged that they were two sticking points, namely:

1. The Tsvangirai formation wanted the ability to appoint more than one
National Vice President so that its own Vice President Thoko Khupe could be
appointed vice president in addition to the nominee of the Mutambara
2. The Tsvangirai formation wanted another method of nominating
Parliamentary candidates which would involve both formations holding primary
elections in every constituency and an electoral college consisting of 30
people from each formation would then choose a Parliamentary candidate from
the two candidates emerging from each faction from the primary election

Objections were raised regarding the suggestion that there be more than one
Vice President on the grounds that firstly the formulation agreed to April
was a fair balance of power between the two formations and that secondly it
was completely inappropriate for the opposition to mirror the bloated
governmental structures created by Zanu PF.

Objections were also raised regarding the proposed method of nominating
Parliamentary candidates. It was pointed out that without addressing the
underlying tensions between the two formations, a competitive process as the
one suggested which would inevitably exacerbate tensions between the two
formations. The process suggested would create a highly charged and partisan
election in which 30 members from each formation will be expected to vote.

That would be a gift to the CIO - in the run up to the elections they would
be able to fuel tensions between the two formations. Within the Electoral
College itself, the CIO could effectively decide who they wanted elected by
bribing just one person from either of the formations. It was pointed out
that one would have to assume that the 30 on each side would invariably vote
for their own side and so someone bought could swing the dead heat resulting
in a 31 - 29 victory for the CIO's preferred candidate.

Secondly, it was pointed out that the process suggested was not
"democratic" - giving 60 people the right to decide a candidate in a
constituency of 54000 voters is not democratic. It was pointed out that all
the suggested process would do would be to create a supercharged atmosphere
which would highlight divisions rather than emphasise what binds the two

It was reiterated by the Mutambara negotiating team at the May meeting that
candidates should be identified countrywide through an equitable system that
would ensure that there is equity between the two formations, gender equity,
and that the person most likely to win is nominated. It was emphasised that
all candidates should go through some form of primary election but that it
was simply disingenuous to think that in this environment there can be

The meeting ended without agreement and with a plea being made by the
mediator that responsible leadership be demonstrated in the national
interest. It should be stressed that the Mutambara formation is prepared to
honour the agreement reached in April.

Regrettably it appears as if it the Tsvangirai formation is not prepared to
honour that agreement, which is further borne out by the comments made by
Morgan Tsvangirai this past weekend in Marondera.

The agreement reached in April was not an "elite pact" nor did it envisage
an attempt "to pick-up individuals for specific party positions". On the
contrary the agreement was a carefully crafted document designed to
accommodate the legitimate expectations of the Zimbabwean electorate to
ensure that every single vote cast for the opposition is effective.

Major concessions were made by the Mutambara formation to agree to a single
Presidential candidate - it is obvious that any candidate winning an
election will then have the vast executive powers at his disposal now
enjoyed by Robert Mugabe. That is where the power resides at present and
where power will remain until there is a new democratic constitution enacted
which reduces executive power. It is obvious that our present Parliament has
very little power and to that extent, the Parliamentary election is of far
less importance than the Presidential election.

Ironically the only specification of individuals in the entire process
concerned the implied agreement that Morgan Tsvangirai would be the
presidential candidate and the May suggestion that an additional vice
presidential post be created to accommodate Thoko Khupe. There is no desire
within the Mutambara formation for any of its members to be "picked up for
specific party positions" - that was never part of the discussions as it was
clear in both the April and May meetings that there would be two separate
political formations that would however fight the election as a coalition.

The agreement reached in April is not necessarily a dead letter but for it
to be given life, it is clear that national interest is going to have to be
placed before petty personal and partisan interest."

MDC Mutambara formation
4th July 2007

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Zimbabwe collapse near complete

Robert Mugabe's mad version of economics has comprehensively destroyed a
once-flourishing society.
The Gazette, Montreal
Published: 13 hours ago
Zimbabwe's agony continues to worsen, week by week, while the rest of the
world does nothing.

President Robert Mugabe's mad version of economics has, over the last eight
years or more, comprehensively destroyed a once-flourishing society. When
chaotic land-ownership "reforms" chased out productive commercial farmers
and exports collapsed, Zimbabwe began to pay its bills by printing more
money. The obvious result of that was inflation, which has now spiralled out
of control, to an estimated 4,500 per cent per year - or perhaps twice that.

Mugabe's response to that problem, in turn, was to demand that retail
merchants cut their prices in half. As any first-year economics student
could tell you, the next step was empty store shelves, which is where
Zimbabwe is now.

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The next step is rioting in the streets. To prevent that, Mugabe has
threatened to seize businesses, hardly a move that will help economic
recovery, and promised to release government stocks of flour and gasoline at
the prices that were in effect before inflation went into overdrive.

But the government has stockpiled very few commodities, and as soon as
stocks run out, the riots will start.

Nor are these Zimbabwe's only problems. Everyone with any marketable skills
and a place to go has already left the country and will not be wooed back
easily. Education and medical services are crumbling as civil servants'
wages become worthless.

Why is this man still in power, as his people sink further into impoverished
misery? The regional power, South Africa, could send simple signals that
would force Mugabe out in days. What is it waiting for?

© The Gazette (Montreal) 2007

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Zimbabwe confronts food crisis

Afrol News

afrol News, 6 July - The government of Zimbabwe has accepted a looming
severe food shortage in the country. The ZANU-PF government said it would
accept food aid from the international community but only on humanitarian

Over the years, Zimbabwe had been at the daggers' end of rights activists
for trampling on the rights of citizens, especially the opposition, civil
society and the media.

Knowing fully that the donor community would press for political and human
rights corrections to prevail as a condition attached to their food aid, the
government was quick to sound the bell that they would not welcome such
donors. No aid with political strings attached are welcome even Zimbabweans
will die of hunger.

After declaring the 2007 as the year of drought, the Zimbabwean government
had invited experts from WFP and FAO to assess the country's food situation.

"I have received a preliminary report from (WFP/FAO) which confirms our
earlier fears of food shortages," Zimbabwe's Minister of Agriculture, Rugare
Gumbo, said.

"In their report they are saying the country will this year harvest between
600 000 and 800 000 tonnes of grain, which falls far short of the national
requirement of about 2 million tonnes. In my view, I think this is a fair

Over the past seven years, Zimbabwe has gone through acute shortages of food
mainly because of recurrent droughts. But the government's radical land
reforms which led to the transfer of lands from white own farmers to blacks
has also led to the food crisis.
Zimbabwe used to be the food basket of the Southern Africa region.

The head of the European Commissioner's Humanitarian Aid Office for Africa,
Cees Wittebrood, who visited the Southern African country, blamed the food
crisis on the failure of the overall government policy on agriculture.

"Zimbabwe has faced droughts before but was very much capable of dealing
with a drought thanks to effective governance. They had the systems, water
reservoirs, irrigation, inputs, knowledge and technology to survive a period
without rain. But they don't have that any longer - because the agricultural
policy and their policy in general is failing - the drought can give them
(farmers) that last push over the edge."

It is reported that Zimbabwean police have forced food sellers to reduce the
price of the country's staple food, maize, the price of which plummeted.

By staff writer

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Zanu-Pf Politburo Resolves to Tighten Blitz - Shamuyarira

The Herald (Harare)   Published by the government of Zimbabwe

5 July 2007
Posted to the web 6 July 2007


THE Zanu-PF Politburo met in Harare yesterday and discussed, among other
issues, measures to tighten the current blitz to reduce prices of all goods
and services.

The measures will be tabled today for consideration by the Central Committee
before they are implemented by the relevant arms of Government.

Zanu-PF Secretary for Information and Publicity, Cde Nathan Shamuyarira,
said the Politburo was impressed by the results of the current operation and
wanted the price reductions to be extended to other items.

"The Politburo held its regular meeting chaired by President Mugabe and had
a long agenda on important issues, one of which was the pricing of products.

"We got a full report from the Ministerial Taskforce and the Politburo was
very impressed that prices were coming down," said Cde Shamuyarira.

The Politburo, he said, felt that there was need to intensify and tighten
the process so that all goods are reduced and stabilised to enable people to
afford them.

"The Politburo came up with a number of measures to tighten and intensify
the process and these will be tabled before the Central Committee tomorrow
(today). But we were quite impressed with the process."

Cde Shamuyarira said it was the Politburo's wish to see the cost of living
coming down so that goods become affordable to ordinary people and the
Government would ensure this was achieved by stabilising the prices of all
goods and services.

The rampant increases in prices of goods and services will no longer be used
as a tool for regime change as some businesspersons were anticipating, said
Cde Shamuyarira.

He said the Politburo noted with concern that some traders were creating
artificial shortages by hiding some goods, adding the Government would look
into that.

Cde Shamuyarira, however, conceded the need to draw the line between hiding
commodities and the need for traders to keep stocks of various goods in
their warehouses.

"If someone is running a big business he must have a warehouse to stock the
goods. We should be careful not to arrest such businesspersons," he said.

Government has in the past week embarked on a blitz on retailers and
manufacturers to comply with a directive to slash prices to their June 18,
2007 levels.

The blitz has seen several retailers and manufacturers being arrested.

In a related matter, the Ministry of Information and Publicity yesterday
said it had activated toll-free phone lines which members of the public can
phone to communicate with Government on matters of concern.

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CHRA - The Resident e-newsletter

                                                                            6 July 2007


OVERZEALOUS Zanu PF youths have maintained their tradition of terrorizing
and violating the rights of ordinary residents and vendors at Mbare Musika
and Mupedzanhamo markets by forcing them to close shop and attend burials of
national heroes. Those who refuse are accused of being MDC activists, a
crime under the ruling regime.

Vendors have attended the burials for fear of losing market space at the
lucrative Mbare Musika and Mupedzanhamo markets. They complained that they
have lost millions of dollars due to the long hours that they spend at the
National Heroes Acre listening to the President's long and boring rhetoric.

In the last few weeks, vendors and ordinary residents were force-marched to
attend the burial of military commanders, Retired Major General Gideon
Taurayi Lifa and Brigadier-General Paul Gunda at the National Heroes Acre.

President Mugabe uses that opportunity to propagate the ZANU PF propaganda
Zanu PF's profile of violence against residents has reached alarming levels.
CHRA demands that residents should be allowed to live without fear of being
victimized for their political beliefs. It should be their choice whether to
attend burials of national heroes or not. All residents have the right to
make independent choices and it becomes a problem when those rights are


RESIDENTS of Harare have had nightmares whenever they visit municipal
clinics and government hospitals for medical attention.

The majority of the clinics in Harare are temporarily closed and only
helpful to those coming for maternity and chronic illnesses.  Municipal
health staff is on strike and there are no drugs.
Despite the fact that municipal clinics are under-staffed and under-equipped
in terms of medicinal drugs and machinery, health charges have increased by
more than 400% and most residents in Harare cannot afford to pay the new

The current water and power shortages have crippled the delivery of health
services in most hospitals and clinics. These cannot operate without power
and water.

Affected hospitals in the past month include Harare Hospital, Edith Opperman
Clinic and most of the clinics in various suburbs.

The health sector has been hit by massive resignations of qualified and
experienced health personnel due to poverty remuneration and inhumane
working conditions, leaving most of the health centres being manned by
inexperienced and demoralized staff.

CHRA is concerned by the inaction of the government on this crisis facing
residents and health staff on a daily basis. Their excuse that they do not
have foreign currency to remunerate nurses and doctors, to purchase drugs
and equipment must be rejected by all progressive forces. The same regime
has managed to massage the egos of corrupt politicians and businessmen,
disguised as farmers by purchasing hundreds of tractors for them.

The current crisis in the health sector and elsewhere is symptomatic of the
general collapse of the country's economy at the hands of a despotic regime.
They believe that resources that have been diverted to fund political
corruption must be channelled to the health and education sectors.

There are companies that are offering special services to all senior
Most commercial banks and Building Societies are offering free accounts to
senior citizens where they do not pay service charges.

Some of these banks are:  ZB Bank, The Jewel Bank (CBZ), Beverley Building
Society, Stanbic Bank and CABS Building Society.

Senior citizens who bank with CABS Building Society will pay only $500 for a
Gold Class account instead of the usual $50 000. Produce a positive National
Identity Card and open an account as a senior citizen.

ZUPCO allows senior citizens to board their buses for free during off-peak
hours- between 9am and 4pm.

OK Zimbabwe set aside a day every month for senior citizens to come and shop
at OK Supermarkets and they will be given 10% discount on the total cost of
the groceries.

Senior citizens are given OK identity cards with their pictures to benefit
from this service.

The City of Harare has come up with a form, titled "Application for
pensioners rates, supplementary and refuse charges exemption" which is
available at all 25 district offices for a cost of $10 000 to pensioners.

NB The minimum cut off point for senior citizens in Zimbabwe is 65 years.


GLEN View residents on Thursday 5 July 2007 petitioned the City of Harare
over the collapse in service provision, threatening to unleash a series of
actions against the municipality including intensifying a rates boycott

The major concerns that are cited in the petition include the illegality of
Harare Commission, refuse collection and the persistent water cuts that
residents are experiencing.

Residents are unhappy with the proposed supplementary budget and yet
residents had rejected Harare 2007 City Budget. The petition was also copied
to the Ministry of Local Government.
In another development, Budiriro residents invaded the local District
Offices protesting against the prolonged water cuts they are experiencing.
Scores of residents holding empty buckets marched around the offices singing
protest songs on the 30th of June 2007.
The demonstration lasted two hours and no one was arrested.

WATERFALLS and Highfield residents on 30 June 2007 had an opportunity to
participate as witnesses in a play resembling the real court process when
they hauled 'Minister Chombo and his surrogate Sekesai Makwavarara' to
answer to charges of corruption, mismanagement of City affairs, contempt of
court,    embezzlement of public funds and the unlawful handover of water
utilities and infrastructure to ZINWA.


Residents from Waterfalls accused Chombo and Makwavarara of negligence.
Grass is overgrown, there are no street lights, increasing the incidence of
robberies at night and piles of garbage are everywhere.

Refuse heaps provides mosquitoes and rats a fertile breeding ground.
Highfield residents said they had no water supplies for four consecutive
days forcing residents to bath in Mukuvisi River while others used the same
water for domestic purposes. There is also massive deterioration in social
services like use of public halls.

Both sets of witnesses castigated the State for launching Operation
Murambatsvina, saying it destroyed their livelihoods. The impact of the evil
exercise is still being felt.

The 'court ' ruled that the commission was illegal, a verdict that was also
reached by High Court Judges  Lawrence Kamocha, Rita Makarau, Moses
Chinhengo, Charles Hungwe, Tendai Uchena and Supreme Court Judge Justice
Wilson Sandura Kamocha.

The People's Court ordered the immediate holding of Council and Mayoral
elections in Harare and the Commission should be dissolved today, the ZINWA
takeover was unlawful and must be reversed because residents were not

The judge also declared illegal Operation Murambatsvina and ordered the
residents to proceed to sue for compensation. Residents ululated and
resolved to boycott payment of rates to the City of Harare until Mayoral and
Council elections are held.

They also resolved to go and register as voters ahead of the crucial 2008
Presidential, Parliamentary and Local Government Elections.


CITY suburbs have been turned into villages due to continued power and water
cuts that have been imposed by the two State-controlled parastatals, ZESA
and ZINWA.

Areas like Mandara have gone for more than six months without water. Most of
the residents there now rely on their boreholes. But ZINWA continues to send
water bills and yet they do not get the water at all.

ZESA has also made life difficult for residents by turning the City of
Harare into an African Village by imposing the prolonged power cuts.
Residents have now resorted to using firewood which is mostly unaffordable.

Mabvuku residents have dug wells in the swampy areas on the outskirts of
Tafara while those in Waterfalls and Glen View Ward 1 drink contaminated
waters of Mukuvisi River.

Ironically, the two parastatals still send monthly bills to residents asking
them to pay for apparently non-existent services, a clear case of daylight

ZINWA is ignoring burst sewer and water pipes that are scattered all over
Harare suburbs, and, on the other hand, ZESA always excuses itself from
replacing stolen cables and transformers.


The deadline for submitting objection letters on the proposed supplementary
Budget ended on Sunday 8 July. Ironically, the City of Harare started
implementing the proposed ridiculous budget a fortnight before the expiry of
the date for submitting objections.  CHRA has instructed its lawyers to
prepare papers for court action against the City on the budget.

NB: Any member of the public is welcome to write stories to The Resident
Contact Numbers:
Landline: 04- 705114 Mobiles: 0912 924 151, 011 862 012, 011 443 578, 011
612 860, 011 612 811, 0912 869 291, 0912 638 401, Write to us on or visit our website  or call the above


Precious Shumba
Information Officer
Combined Harare Residents' Association
Mobile: 011 612 860 or 0912 869 294
Tel: 04-705114

"Stand Firm. Be of Good Courage"

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Official monthly newsletter of the Students Solidarity Trust

June Newsletter:

Official monthly newsletter of the Students Solidarity Trust, Zimbabwe July
2007 Vol 2 Issue 2

CIO on the sprawl

Once again, the state in its increasingly regular and usual paranoid
behaviour has descended upon two prominent student activists with its
unjustified heavy handedness.

Beloved Chiweshe, Secretary General of ZINASU after a grueling time at the
hands of his captors.He was made to swim in sewerage water

Students at the University of Zimbabwe fought running battles with the riot
police after a spate of disturbances rocked the campus last night.
The disturbances were sparked by a feud between a University female student
who was beaten by her boyfriend, allegedly for infedility. The boyfriend is
a non-student, popularly known as Non Academic Bachelors Association (NABA).
His car was burnt to ashes by as yet unidentified assailants, believed to
have been implants who had intended to pre-empty the demonstration which the
students had planned.

The case is a typical example of the precarious situation female students at
tertiary institutions face, as they attempt to outwit poverty by engaging in
abusive relationships that are premised on material gain.
However, the students managed to stage peaceful demonstrations around campus
after being addressed by student leaders. The student leaders, who include
Lovemore Chinoputsa, the newly elected SRC President and Tinei Mukwewa,
former President, are currently on the run.

The students demanded that the administration reverse its decision to
uniliterally ask students to pay top-up fees of 1million Zimbabwe dollars
(9USD) on the parallel market. With inflation hovering over the 4500 mark,
students, like many Zimbabweans are finding it difficult to sustain decent
livelihoods as inflation erodes savings and incomes. Students also contend
that the quality of food at the University has deterioated to an extent
where they have to eat beans on a daily basis and cabbage with no cooking

Beloved Chiweshe, the Secretary General of the Zimbabwe National Students
Union and Munjodzi Mutandiri, were arrested by a plain clothed member of the
dreaded spy agency, CIO in a commuter omnibus and surrendered at Southerton
Police Station.

According to Beloved Chiweshe the Secretary General of ZINASU who was among
the two students, the incident occurred late last night. The Southerton
Police handed them over to the Law and Order members at Harare Central.

The two who were on their way home had just boarded a commuter omnibus when
two unidentified men, presumably members of the infamous Central
Intelligence Organisation are reported to have unceremoniously disembarked
them .The two were then force marched to a waiting vehicle into which they
were bundled before being driven away to a secluded place near Irvines farm.

It was at this point that their captors subjected them to all forms of
torture, beating them up regardless. And in a bizarre incident, the two were
forced to swim in a sewerage pond. According to Chiweshe, the men would
order them to stay under the sewage water for sometime. They only stopped
after Munjodzi had collapsed.

Munjodzi Mutandiri...the assaults only stoppped after he had collapsed (pic
shows his back).

This abduction comes in the wake of some brutal attacks perpetrated against
student leaders at Masvingo State University. The Students Solidarity Trust
as an Organisation strongly condemns these systematic acts of torture and
inflicting terror against vulnerable and defenseless students.

This is a sad and deplorable state of affairs which goes against the grain
and spirit of a truly democratic society. According to articles on the
Convention against Torture, torture is outlawed and cannot be sanctioned or
sustained in any democratic space. An exhibition of such arbitrary and
despotic tendencies is unjustified and unacceptable. This kind of human
rights abuse should not be allowed to go unchecked.


The use of torture as an instrument of coercion by the government of
Zimbabwe has become so pervasive and institutionalized - it qualifies as a
way of doing things.

As Zimbabweans join the rest of the world in commemorating the International
Day against torture, Zimbabweans are faced with the stark reality of torture
as a means of crushing dissent.

As it were, the legacy of Ian Smith is still abound in "independent"
Zimbabwe today. As the nationalist leaders fought a tenacious war with the
oppressive Smith regime for the attainment of independence, they faced
relentless torture in a bid to cow them into submission. Many of our leaders
today have harrowing experiences of torture and how dehumanizing and
degrading it is to the human spirit.

Yet Zimbabweans who dare to speak out against the oppressive policies of the
government face torture!

Article 2 of the Convention against Torture places an obligation on State
members to prevent torture because it represents the most basic denial of
human dignity which lies at the very heart of the concept of human rights.
Acts of torture can also infringe on the rights to security of person, the
right to equality and the right to life itself.

Students and many other perceived 'enemies' of the state have suffered
torture at the hands of state security apparatus. In many cases, innocent
people have been tortured before proven guilty. In Zimbabwe, perpetrators of
torture have been generally known as the police, secret police, army and
vampire-like paramilitary forces (youth militias and war veterans - with the
aid and protection of the state.

Munjodzi Mutandiri...the assaults only stoppped after he had collapsed
(front pic).

Even more worrying within the students' community is that acts of torture
are now being perpetrated by campus security. Recently, they have been on
the forefront of assaulting and torturing legitimate student activists and
have assumed throle of pseudo-military juntas, spreading terror at
institutions of higher learning

The Students Solidarity Trust calls on the government to desist and impress
on the security apparatus to desist from using torture as means of
investigating suspects and stifling legitimate citizen's participation in
the political affairs of their country. There is an inherent need to train
law enforcement agents from instigating acts of torture. The code of conduct
of such officials shall serve and protect the community at all times.

Disturbances rock students resist top-up fees proposal

Students at the University of Zimbabwe fought running battles with the riot
police after a spate of disturbances rocked the campus last night.
The disturbances were sparked by a feud between a University female student
who was beaten by her boyfriend, allegedly for infedility. The boyfriend is
a non-student, popularly known as Non Academic Bachelors Association (NABA).
His car was burnt to ashes by as yet unidentified assailants, believed to
have been implants who had intended to pre-empty the demonstration which the
students had planned.
The case is a typical example of the precarious situation female students at
tertiary institutions face, as they attempt to outwit poverty by engaging in
abusive relationships that are premised on material gain.
However, the students managed to stage peaceful demonstrations around campus
after being addressed by student leaders. The student leaders, who include
Lovemore Chinoputsa, the newly elected SRC President and Tinei Mukwewa,
former President, are currently on the run.
The students demanded that the administration reverse its decision to
uniliterally ask students to pay top-up fees of 1million Zimbabwe dollars
(9USD) on the parallel market. With inflation hovering over the 4500 mark,
students, like many Zimbabweans are finding it difficult to sustain decent
livelihoods as inflation erodes savings and incomes. Students also contend
that the quality of food at the University has deterioated to an extent
where they have to eat beans on a daily basis and cabbage with no cooking

My Experience
By Witlaw Mugwigi
SRC President
Masvingo State University

It was on a Monday, the 18th of June 2007, when I and my Secretary General,
Edson Hlatswayo were forcibly removed from an exam room. Just 15 minutes
into the Banking and Research Methods (Ban 205) exam, two security guards
approached Edson and forced him out of the exam, pushing and shoving him in
the process.

Witlaw Mugwigi, after he survived a viscious attack by campus security

They then ordered me to vacate the exam room for which I flatly refused to
obey such an erroneous order and I continued to write my examination.

It was a this point that they started dragging and pushing me out of the
exam room causing chaos and commotion for about 10 minutes. I was finally
subdued and dragged out of the exam room where more reinforcements came. I
was pinned to the ground and the security guards started assaulting me with
clenched fists and kicks.

After the brutal and savage attack I sustained a swollen eye, a bruised and
swollen cheek, a fractured tooth and a sprained neck. I was eventually
escorted out of campus and later reported the matter to the police (Masvingo
Police Central) where a docket number was opened (RBB 335948)

On visiting Masvingo General Hospital I was admitted until Wednesday 20 June
2007. On the very evening I was taken to Harare for better medical
supervision by the Students Solidarity Trust.

It later turned out that the security guards were acting under the direct
command of the Vice-Chancellor, O. Maravanyika and Deputy Registrar
(Maposhere) who had hoped to use this incident to intimidate would be
student leaders against being vocal. However, this incident has strengthened
our resolve to continue fighting against oppression and corruption. Struggle
is our birthright!

State of the Higher and Tertiary Education sector in Zimbabwe (Summary,
January-June 2007)

In January the SST recorded 15 cases of human rights violations, all of
which had to do with unlawful arrests, most notably in Bulawayo where 10
students were arrested and dumped in Matopos, some 35km outside Bulawayo.
The month of February witnessed an upsurge in repression, with 186 cases of
human rights violations recorded, in the form of unlawful arrests and
restriction of the right to assemble. The upsurge in human rights violations
in the month of February is attributed to the fact that when students open
school, they are more often than not confronted with the sad reality of
exorbitant new fees structures that would have been imposed on the students
by the administration The month of March was a bloody month for
pro-democracy activists in general. There were 36 cases of unlawful arrests.
Notably, 2 student leaders were abducted in Gweru and dumped in Shurugwi, in
a game park. 2 Students were suspended at Bulawayo Polytechnic and there was
a case of systematic de-registration of one student leader.
Abductions continued in the month of April, SST recorded cases of 4
abductions of student leaders. There were 26 cases of unlawful arrests and
two student leaders were suspended at Masvingo State University. Clifford
Hltshawayo, a student leader at the University of Zimbabwe, was acquitted on
charges of Malicious Injury to Property.
The month of May saw an upsurge in the number of students being hauled
before bogus and kangaroo courts disguised as disciplinary committee
hearings. One student leader was arraigned before the disciplinary committee
hearing at the University of Zimbabwe, and the National University of
Science and Technology (NUST) hauled 8 student leaders. 61 students were
unlawfully arrested nationwide. In Bulawayo, 5 student activists appeared in
court for routine remand.
The month of June saw 14 student leaders being arraigned before the
disciplinary court hearings, 12 cases at the University of Zimbabwe in which
cases all of the students were acquitted or made to pay fines. There were 2
cases of unlawful arrests, and 2 student leaders were abducted and made to
swim in a sewerage pond after enduring hours of torture. 20 students made
routine court appearing, notably in Masvingo. 6 student activists were
suspended, 5 at NUST and 1 from the University of Zimbabwe.

In total, a total of 636 cases of human rights violations against students
have occurred since January

Category of right violatedNumber of times the rights were violated

Unlawful arrests151
Unlawful detention 87
Torture/Abductions 8
Expulsion/Suspension 9
Assault 37
Political discrimination/victimization 151 Freedom of expression/ass/mvt 101
Death Threats-

Some students had their rights violated more than once a month and some had
more than one right violated more than once a month and some had more that
one right violated at a time.

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It is Africa's call on Mugabe, says Pahad

Business Day

 06 July 2007

John Kaninda and Dumisani Muleya

SA AND other African nations would insist that Zimbabwean President Robert
Mugabe be allowed to attend a long-delayed summit between the European Union
(EU) and Africa this year, Deputy Foreign Minister Aziz Pahad said

Mugabe and more than 100 other Zimbabwean officials are banned from
travelling to EU countries under sanctions imposed in 2002, a restriction
that threatens to derail an EU-Africa summit scheduled for December in

The conference was very important and had been held up since the first
Africa-EU summit in Cairo, Egypt, seven years ago.

The issue of the 83-year-old Zimbabwean leader, who has vowed to run for
another term as president next year, is the main reason the EU and Africa
have not held a summit since their first effort in Cairo. Pahad said the
summit had not yet taken place "because of the insistence of the Europeans
to determine Africa's delegation".

The African Union has said its 53 members should decide who to send to the

"I think Africa will not move on its position that you cannot determine what
constitutes the African delegation," Pahad said.

"Because there's a lot of fear. Today Zimbabwe (under pressure), tomorrow it
can be us and the next day it can be somebody else.

"And if we allow that to happen, it will not allow us to have a unity of
approach on how we have to deal with the Europeans on many, many fundamental

Portugal, currently holding the EU rotating presidency and host of the
summit in Lisbon, is reportedly under pressure from some African countries
to include Zimbabwe, while some EU countries want Mugabe excluded.

The Independent and Guardian newspapers in the UK reported that Portugal had
decided to defy an EU travel ban and would allow Mugabe to attend the summit
to prevent other African leaders from boycotting it.

Portugal , which has made boosting ties with Africa a priority denied the
reports, saying invitations would be sent out only in September.

Pahad said he was encouraged by comments from senior Portuguese officials,
including its foreign affairs minister, suggesting the political crisis in
Zimbabwe and Mugabe's presence should not block a summit.

Widely accused of abusing human rights, suppressing political opposition and
driving Zimbabwe's economy into the ground, Mugabe became persona non grata
in much of Europe in 2002 after winning an election described as rigged by
international observers.

President Thabo Mbeki is brokering talks between Mugabe's government and
representatives of Zimbabwe's main opposition party under a mandate granted
to him this year by the Southern African Development Community (SADC). Pahad
said he believed Mbeki had briefed other SADC nations on the talks, but gave
no details.

Ruling Zanu (PF) and opposition Movement for Democratic Change ( MDC)
negotiators meet tomorrow in Pretoria to start critical dialogue in talks
facilitated by Mbeki.

After agreeing to a final agenda more than two weeks ago, Zanu (PF) and MDC
negotiating teams would discuss the first and most important item on the
agenda - the constitution, sources said.

Mbeki, who looks set to be engaged on Zimbabwe for almost his entire 10-year
tenure, is determined to ensure the talks succeed for his legacy.

The summit in Portugal would likely focus on areas requiring closer
co-operation between Europe and Africa. With Reuters, Bloomberg and Sapa

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Asylum seeking journalist prefers Botswana prison to Zimbabwe

By Lance Guma
06 July 2007

A Zimbabwean journalist who formerly worked for the state media says he
prefers to remain in a Botswana prison rather than go back home, following
the refusal of his asylum application. Ever since his application was turned
down in 2002 David Mpofu has been in detention for 5 years at Jerald Estate
Prison, 20 kilometres outside Francistown. The Association of Zimbabwe
Journalists in the UK report on their website that Mpofu fears for his life
in Zimbabwe, following death threats after he published an article exposing
electoral rigging by Mugabe's regime. He worked for the government
controlled Herald newspaper before becoming an editor with the now defunct
Plumtree Post.

James Mushandu, a relative of Mpofu who escaped from the same prison, told
the website that despite poor living conditions the journalist has opted to
stay there rather than face certain death in Zimbabwe. Mpofu says after
covering a story on vote rigging in 2002 he received numerous death threats
from Zanu PF supporters and state security agents. This prompted him to
escape into Botswana and attempt to seek political asylum there. Mashandu
also told of how Mpofu's health was fast deteriorating because of the poor
conditions in the cells.

Illegal immigrants due to be deported from any country are normally kept in
detention facilities, but Mashandu insists the facility where Mpofu is being
held also houses common criminals. He says the place is notorious for the
abuse of prisoners by prison guards and officials. Shaban Ramadan, a
Burundian who tried to escape the detention centre and claim asylum
elsewhere, was allegedly gunned down by guards. Officials in Botswana have
up to now refused to discuss Mpofu's case. Forward Maisokwadzo, one of the
coordinators of the Association of Zimbabwe Journalists in the UK, says they
are now investigating the matter to see if they can intervene and help

According to figures released on World Refugee Day last month, out of 243
journalists who fled their countries, half of them came from just five
countries: Zimbabwe, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Colombia and Uzbekistan. The
Committee to Protect Journalists estimates that 3 journalists a month flee
their home countries fearing threats of violence, prison or harassment. Only
one in seven ever return.

SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

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JAG Open Letter Forum No 493

Please send any material for publication in the Open Letter Forum to with “For Open Letter Forum” in the subject

JAG Hotlines:
+263 (011) 610 073 If you are in trouble or need advice,
 please don't hesitate to contact us - we're here to help!
+263 (04) 799 410 Office Lines


Letter 1 – Egcross

Predatory Kleptocracy

During the past 27 years of Zanu PF government in Zimbabwe under Robert
Gabriel Mugabe, the State has slipped from being a reasonably stable,
open democracy with a good civil service and real potential for growth
and development, to an autocratic, corrupt predatory regime that pays
scant regard to the law or the interests of its people. The numbers are
astounding. GDP has fallen by over half, exports by two-thirds, food
production by 80 per cent, industrial output by 50 per cent. In the
social sphere, life expectancy has declined to the lowest in the world,
falling by a year for every year Mugabe has been in power, all social
indicators are negative and the real incomes of formal sector workers has
declined by 90 per cent.

In the sphere of macro economic management – by no means rocket
science today, the regime has run a budget deficit of over 60 per cent of
GDP, raised taxes equal to another 50 per cent of GDP, stolen at least a
third of real economic output with most of the resulting wealth being
spread amongst an elite of perhaps 2000 individuals and the security

As a result, in the midst of a steep decline in economic activity, a
massive expansion in absolute poverty and the collapse of all State
managed services, we have the spectre of a small political and military
elite who drive expensive cars, go on shopping trips to Dubai and are
building mansions that would grace the cities of the richest countries in
the world.

It is obscene. While this is going on, we have seen our democracy
subverted and our human rights taken from us in a similar fashion to the
nightmare regimes of the Soviet Union or Germany circa 1930 –
1945.  It is no exaggeration to say we have seen thousands of political
killings (Gukurahundi), hundreds of thousands tortured, beaten and raped
and millions displaced, both internally and externally.

We know we are not alone in this sort of situation – there are
several such regimes in Africa and even a few elsewhere. The scary thing
is that the Zanu regime would be getting away with all of this if it were
not for a small, brave and dedicated cadre of activists who have worked
tirelessly to record what is going on, publicise the outcome and fight
for matters to be corrected.

It was this group who wrote the report “Breaking the Silence”
that first revealed the horrors of Gukurahundi. It was the UN that
disclosed the extent and seriousness of the Murambatsvina exercise, it
was a lone cameraman working for the State controlled media who
photographed the rioting and subsequent beatings of MDC leaders in March
this year and was beaten to death for his courage.

Even the much maligned IMF has played a small role by continuing to
prepare and put out on its website, detailed technical reports that have
spelt out the truth about the economy in the face of State propaganda.
The great failure has been in Africa itself. There is no point in Britain
or the United States coming out with a harsh critique of Mugabe and his
regime, this is simply brushed aside by Mugabe and his cronies as another
example of “neo-colonialism”. Other African leaders and the
regime here deliberately misinterpret even the targeted sanctions aimed
at the perpetrators of these crimes against humanity as economic
sanctions directed at the people of Zimbabwe rather than the actual
targets themselves.

Gradually the crimes of Mr. Mugabe and his entourage has dawned on
African leaders. When they attend events such as the World Economic Forum
in Cape Town recently they are confronted by the need to resemble some
sort of a profitable and secure place for investment flows from the rest
of the world.

It is very difficult to do so while you have errant and truant regimes
like that which exists in Zimbabwe still being treated as a
“respected” member of the African Club of Nations.

Just take the current madness. Mugabe announces that the run away
inflation in Zimbabwe is part of an international “regime
change” agenda. He declares that Britain and the USA are behind the
inflation (do not laugh – in many quarters he is taken seriously
when he makes such ridiculous claims). He then sends out his armed thugs
in small groups to force industrialists and retailers to roll back their
prices. No rational basis – just reduce your prices by
“X” or we will do “Y”. So for the past 4 days we
have seen hundreds of businesses raided, managers and owners beaten in
some cases, nearly 200 taken into Police custody and billions of dollars
written off stocks of products already paid for.

I am struggling right now to work out what we have lost in our small
business. Customers fighting to get into the supermarket have smashed the
glass front of the store and we have long queues – people anxious
to buy what is available at the low prices and before stocks run out. I
have frozen all buying and by the end of today we will start to close
down – 42 staff out of work. Many others are doing the same thing.
Wholesalers have marked down their stocks and are now billing suppliers
for rebates.

I am contemplating what to do at our level but cannot see anyone being
willing or able to give me a cheque for many hundreds of millions of
dollars in compensation for the measures forced on us. When finally the
whole futile exercise collapses in a heap and we go back to normal
trading, we will not have the cash to pay for new stocks. Of course there
may not be any manufacturers still operating at that point.

Just to give one example of nutty economics, Mugabe style. An empty bag
for 10 kilograms of maize meal costs Z$79 000, the maize at subsidized
prices from the GMB costs Z$26 000 and the new controlled price is Z$85
000 – about half of total costs before any profit accrues to the
miller. Fuel is the same – the landed cost is about US85 cents per
litre and this is equal to Z$170 000. The controlled price is Z$60 000.
By the end of today the only place you will be able to buy fuel will be
behind closed doors in some back ally after dark – at Z$250 000 a
litre or more.

On Saturday the two teams from the MDC and Zanu PF resume talks in
Pretoria. They are discussing the conditions for the March 2008
elections. I do not think we will get there. Perhaps that is the real
game being played behind the scenes by the predatory, kleptocratic regime
that some call our government.

Eddie Cross

Bulawayo, 4th July 2007


Letter 2 – Pat Mangwende

Dear Jag,

It seems that the last batch of letters has dried up conversation. I
thought this might be the case as democratic space in Zimbabwe seems to
be closing down rapidly. Would the convenor of this little bit of free
democratic space be kind enough to confirm that this is, in fact, the
case. I have read the letters below, particularly the one from Colin
Cloete, and am surprised at the lack of comment. This is not a good sign.


Pat Mangwende


Letter 3 – Graeme Bell

Dear JAG

I would be most grateful to hear from anyone who may know of the
whereabouts of Andries and Yvonne Albertyn formerly of Beitbridge.

Graeme Bell

2049 Ngunguru Road

Whangarei R D 3

New Zealand

Email …


Letter 4 – Stu

Dear JAG,

Please could somebody reply to this letter. I have lost the address etc
of the trust fund that helps provide food parcels to the elderly there in
Zim. There is an account in Bots and UK etc and I would like the UK
information please. So if anyone can help I would appreciate it.

As times get harder perhaps JAG can remind people of this trust fund
especially those of us abroad in despora. It is important to help these

As ever all of you in Zim are in my thoughts and prayers and it is
sickening that the world is prepared to sit on the side and watch a
preventable disaster unfold there because of one man!!!



All letters published on the open Letter Forum are the views and opinions
of the submitters, and do not represent the official viewpoint of Justice
for Agriculture.

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Back to Index

Friday, 6 July 2007, 12:39 GMT 13:39 UK
'John' fears the CIO will come after him following his desertion
"John" - not his real name - is a former agent of Zimbabwe's Central Intelligence Organisation, who claims he fled the country after being forced to kill a man in by drowning him in a cement-filled trunk.

He first joined the CIO after being approached at one of the country's notorious National Youth Service Training Camps.

One day, four guys came, driving a black Mercedes-Benz. They put us in a classroom and said they were from the Central Intelligence.

I was afraid, because if you're me, and you don't know about the secret service, all you know is that it protects the sovereignty of your country - it's not a difficult job to do.

I wanted a little bit of income. I said: 'Yes'.

During training, we were told we were going to learn what they called 'torture techniques.'

Everyone was given a cup of gin. We were put into a room with no doors and windows and had to start smoking marijuana.

All of a sudden, a man was put in the room for 'random beating' - where you beat someone haphazardly, no-one really takes charge. You just beat him.

At first the guy was blocking. But we kept on kicking and assaulting him. After he started bleeding, we stopped.

They said: 'Why are you stopping?' So we had to keep on beating him. Then they gave us some pills - I'm not sure what they were, but after I took them I had this rage.

Pliers or screwdrivers

Then another guy was brought in. They said he was a cattle rustler who had been sentenced to 35 years in prison.

Sign for National Youth Service training camp
'John' was recruited following a period at the National Youth Service
He was put on a desk, and we were given rubber and sticks to beat his feet.

His feet turned black. When we removed him, he couldn't walk. He just fell down and collapsed.

Then a third guy came in. They said this guy had raped and killed a 13-year-old girl. We were told to apply electronic shocking.

We poured some water on him, and then each one of us applied the shock. That was it. By the time we left, he smelled of burnt meat. He just fell down on his face.

The fourth guy, we weren't told why he was brought in. A first aid box was opened - and inside were pliers and screwdrivers. We asked the man to choose between the two.

Our captain attacked his ears with the pliers, pinching a piece out of it. He started bleeding heavily. He then reached into the box, took the sellotape, and put it over the man's mouth so that he couldn't make any noise. You could only see tears.

The captain then took the pliers and called us near. He got near his genitals, then got one of his balls, pressed it with the pliers, and popped it. There was a lot of blood.

Later, we were told to do an operation called 'construction.'

We were told to go to Kariba with a parcel in the trunk of the car. We were not told what was in the parcel, and we were not to open it. We were given some money and drove out.

Then we heard movement in the trunk. There was some kind of a man's voice. We all panicked and tried to look for the keys to open the trunk.

But then we discovered that there was no key. We checked the instructions we had been given, and they said we had to drive to the river - where we would find a speedboat tied to a tree, a bag of cement, and the key to the trunk.

When we got there, we found the speedboat - and there was also a new set of instructions and the key. We opened the trunk before reading the new instructions, and saw there was a man inside.


His hands were cut and he was bleeding heavily. His head was soaked with blood. He couldn't say anything, because his tongue had been cut out.

CIO agent 'Daniel'
Many former camp residents say they were trained to torture people
We knew what the envelope would say before we opened it.

I said: 'I'm not doing it.' But Alexander said: 'Look behind you.'

I looked, and there was somebody in the tree wearing camouflage.

So we took the bag of cement and mixed it. Then we started putting it in the trunk.

We tried to shut the trunk, but we could not because the man's head was partially outside.

We put the trunk in the boat. We drove 50 metres into the river. We came back in the boat, without the trunk.

I have a guilty conscience. The things I have done haunt me every day. Every night I cry myself to sleep.

"John" now lives outside Zimbabwe. Parts of his story cannot be verified because of the difficulty of reporting from Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe: Is There Any Way Out?, Gareth Evans

International Crisis Group

Notes for Panel Presentation by Gareth Evans, President, International
Crisis Group, to Royal Commonwealth Society Conference, Zimbabwe: Preparing
for Change, London, 2 July 2007


The Bad News

Zimbabwe is not fertile ground for optimists:

  a.. The internal situation is catastrophic, with the country's economy in
freefall and its people suffering grievously. Economists are putting current
inflation rates at 9,000 per cent or worse. Over 80 per cent of the
population of some 12 million is living below the poverty line, and 80 per
cent is unemployed. The economy as a whole has shrunk dramatically in recent
years and has a current growth rate of negative 4.4 per cent. Health
indicators are equally depressing. Life expectancy has dropped below 40
years for both men and women, and the prevalence rate of HIV/AIDS in adults
hovers around one in five.  And the last four months have seen the
government embark on another brutal campaign of state-sponsored violence
against opposition groups and their supporters.
  b.. The internal opposition is fragmented.  The opposition MDC is trying
to coordinate a common front but remains split between two wings and both
strategically and tactically less effective as a result.  The  ZANU-PF  is
internally divided with a numerically strong anti-Mugabe faction led by the
Majurus,  but the debacle in the Central Committee  immediately  after the
SADC meeting in late March, when Mugabe rammed through a resolution
supporting his running again as President in 2008, showed the limits of its
strength, or commitment, or both.  There are divisions in the security
services, reflecting the stress felt by families in every walk of life as a
result of the economic meltdown, but these have not been enough to give
anyone confidence that anything resembling a velvet revolution could
succeed.  And civil society organizations  continue to struggle to exercise
any influence at all on the course of events.
  c.. External pressure remains ineffective.  International sanctions are
shrugged off, with general economic sanctions hardly likely to make any
difference - except to further immiserise the poor; targeted sanctions too
narrowly focused to make an impact (and with travel bans regularly ignored,
most recently by the Portuguese presidency of the EU with the forthcoming
EU-Africa Summit).  General condemnations from the North - especially the
UK - seem to be if anything counterproductive, fuelling Mugabe's claims of
neo-imperialism: SADC leaders remain hypersensitive to any suggestion they
are carrying out an external agenda, in particular one imposed by Zimbabwe's
former colonial rulers.   South Africa continues to decline to use such
leverage as it has, and the regional countries have - until very recently -
contributed nothing but support for Mugabe's leadership.
All this means that there is little or no prospect of Mugabe being
bludgeoned out of office in the  foreseeable future - from below, within the
country; from above, by the international community; or from the side - by
any really coercive pressure from his regional neighbours.

The Better News

Causes of Conflict Not Deep Rooted

The first piece of more heartening news is that none of the causes of
Zimbabwe's current discontents seem to have roots so deep that the situation
cannot be quickly turned round once some decent leadership is restored:

  a.. Ethnic conflict has occurred between Ndbele and Shona in the past, and
fears are periodically expressed that the present woes will reignite it, but
so far remarkably little tension of this kind has surfaced.
  b.. Democracy is not something which Zimbabweans have had much chance to
enjoy under successive regimes, but on available evidence they appear to
have a taste for it and would hugely welcome free and fair elections.
  c.. Economic destruction has been great, but the resource base of the
country remains strong, and with good planning and international support,
the situation can be reasonably rapidly reversed.
  d.. Land distribution remains an emotive and divisive issue, but - even
with all the additional problems created by Mugabe's expropriations and
reallocations - it is not incapable of resolution, especially if generous
resources are forthcoming from the UK and other international donors.
SADC has Engaged - and Given Political Cover for South Africa for the First

 In its March 2007 Dar es Salaam Extraordinary Summit meeting, the Southern
African Development Community did not directly confront Mugabe, but did
finally decide to take concrete action, mandating South African President
Thabo Mbeki to mediate between the parties.

The first round of mediated talks between ZANU-PF and the MDC  - and the
first substantive dialogue between them for four years - took place on 18
June, with an agenda agreed (covering Constitution, Electoral Laws,
Repressive Legislation, and 'Political Climate'), and a further meeting
planned for later in July. Mbeki is making an initial progress report to the
AU Summit in Accra this week.

This process faces significant hurdles and limitations, especially:

  a.. Time is running out to create the minimum conditions necessary for
reasonably legitimate elections in March 2008, even with full cooperation
between the parties - of which there is as yet no sign, with ZANU-PF bent on
proceeding simultaneously with legislative and constitutional changes
reinforcing its advantage
  b.. The balance of power between ZANU-PF and MDC is very unequal, making
it difficult for any mediator to obtain significant concessions (although,
as noted below, this could be overstated: SADC has real leverage if it
chooses to exercise it). The internal divisions within ZANU-PF relating to
the succession have not yet translated into any fragmentation of the
government's position vis a vis the MDC.
All that said, the SADC development has introduced a new dynamic into a very
stalemated        process, and remains about the only game in town in terms
of moving forward. There are essentially two levels of activity in play, or
potential play, so far as the SADC leaders are concerned.

First, there is the overt agenda of ensuring free and fair elections next
March, which will require:

  a.. An immediate end to the repression and intimidation of the opposition,
civil society, media and legal professions, including by the repeal of the
repressive POSA and AIPPA laws;
  b.. A hold on constitutional changes aimed at strengthening ZANU-PF's
  c.. A fully independent electoral commission, to replace the present
military-run body (this being part of a larger need to demilitarise state
institutions), to prepare a new voters roll and carry out everything
necessary to ensure a free and fair election.
The hope is that a free and fair election would be followed, notwithstanding
which party had the majority of seats, by a government of national unity to
carry through all the necessary political, legal, constitutional and
economic changes needed to stabilise the country and set it back on the path
to recovery.

SADC's leverage in all of this is great, if it chooses to exercise it. If
the South African mediation is unable to achieve the outcomes necessary for
free and fair elections, SADC

  a.. can publicly state, before the elections, that the conditions are
simply not in place for any possible outcome to be free and fair; or
  b.. after the election, refuse to certify it as free and fair.
SADC's willingness to go down either of these paths would, if clearly
flagged in the mediation, maximise the chances of the necessary reforms
being accepted. The point is that Mugabe is politically very dependent on
support for his positions from his Southern African peers: any condemnation
by them of the electoral process would be likely to have a devastating
effect on his credibility, and create the conditions for an effective
political move against him. This may all be unduly optimistic, but I for one
have been struck by the number of South African senior figures who attach
real weight to the SADC role in this respect.

The second track in play is a behind the scenes exercise, involving senior
SADC and other figures, to try to negotiate a 'soft landing' for  Mugabe, ie
a reasonably graceful exit combined with assurances that he would not face
prosecution in any domestic or international court.  Present indications are
that this course has been made very much more difficult by the removal of
Liberia's Charles Taylor to face charges in the Sierra Leone Special Court,
notwithstanding safe refuge assurances he had earlier been given by Nigeria's
President Obasajano in 2003 to secure an early end to threatened further
major warfare in Monrovia.  But efforts should certainly in my view  - and I
believe most Zimbabweans - continue to negotiate such a soft outcome:
sometimes the urge for justice just has to yield to a more urgent need to
stop large scale human suffering.

The Commonwealth's Role

  a.. Political Support for SADC. The Commonwealth's strong African and
general South membership makes it an important source of political support,
with the November Heads of Government  meeting in Kampala a timely
opportunity for making that clear  - provided its North members are not seen
to be pushing the issue too hard. Although there should be no question of
readmitting Zimbabwe to Commonwealth membership until some normality in the
country is restored, continued overt external pressure, here as elsewhere,
runs the risk of being counterproductive.
  b.. Support for Civil Society.  By itself this may be unlikely to change
the political balance in Zimbabwe, but is worth every possible effort
nonetheless to avoid the disintegration of Zimbabwean society under the
present stresses and to hasten the eventual return to normality.
  c.. Support in Planning and Coordinating Zimbabwe's recovery.  The
Commonwealth as an institution has particular technical expertise in certain
areas, which should be harnessed and coordinated with the resources of major
  d.. Take a Leadership Role on the Land Issue.
  -  A commitment on the part of the Commonwealth to engage on land reform
could act as a powerful hook for Harare, which desperately needs a way out
of the quagmire of its current land policy. To this end, the Commonwealth
Secretariat might consider establishing a working committee or a group of
Eminent Persons, tasked with exploring options for land reform in Zimbabwe,
mediating between Harare and the international community, and finding a
settlement on the land question that will allow international donors to
reengage on the issue and is acceptable to key stakeholders.
  - The grouping's African members could include both SADC and non-SADC
countries: South Africa, Tanzania and Botswana (SADC countries and regional
stakeholders), Kenya (as a useful case study of a viable post-colonial land
settlement), and perhaps Ghana. It could be composed of former high-level
decision-makers, as well as officials with technical expertise. The
recommendations generated by such a body, composed predominantly but not
exclusively of African countries, might well carry weight with Zimbabwe,
allow the British to remain quietly engaged and overcome some of the
constraints that prevent SADC member states from addressing land reform.
  - Ultimately, the land issue must be resolved by Zimbabweans themselves.
As Crisis Group has argued in a book-length report on the subject, the
logical first step in moving the land process forward during a transition
period would be to establish a Land Commission, with a clear mandate, a
strong technocratic base and representing a large cross-section of
Zimbabwean stakeholders. The responsibilities of the Land Commission would
include conducting a comprehensive inventory of land, mediating claims on
the ground, developing a compensation formula and so on. But a Commonwealth
committee of the kind suggested would provide important political and
technical support to Zimbabwe's own land reform efforts.
Watching Zimbabwe's decline and fall has been one of the most dispiriting
experiences of modern times.  There are no easy ways out of the abyss in
which the country now finds itself.  But hopefully sustained, carefully
modulated commitment by the international community - with the Commonwealth
and its member countries playing a particularly important role in this
respect - can and will make a difference.

SADC secretary in Harare for crisis talks over economy

Zim Online

Saturday 07 July 2007

By Tsungai Murandu

HARARE - Southern African Development Community (SADC) executive secretary
Tomaz Salomao jetted into Harare on Thursday for economic crisis talks with
Zimbabwean authorities as business conditions worsened in the country.

Authoritative government sources said the SADC chief yesterday briefed
officials from the ministries of finance and international trade on a
proposed regional initiative to bail out Zimbabwe and was expected to meet
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor Gideon Gono later on Friday.

"The visit is a follow-up to a similar mission in April and this time around
the executive secretary sounded out Zimbabwean officials on the rescue
package being proposed by SADC," said a senior Ministry of Finance official,
who spoke on condition he was not named.

Although finer details of the proposed package were not available, it is
believed that the bail-out plan included support to build Zimbabwe's foreign
exchange reserves.

SADC leaders mandated Salomao in March to study Zimbabwe's economic crisis
and propose a rescue package for the country.

During his visit in April, the SADC chief also met members of the diplomatic
community stationed in Harare.

Zimbabwe's economic problems have worsened since Salomao's last visit,
characterised by world-record inflation now pegged at more than 4 500
percent but believed by independent experts to be much higher.

Salamao's latest visit coincided with a blitz on prices by the Harare
authorities that has spawned critical shortages of basic commodities and
other goods.

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 for
defying the order to lower prices while President Robert Mugabe, who charges
business is conniving with his Western enemies to hike prices and incite
popular revolt, has threatened to seize factories and shops that fail to
lower prices.

Several companies are reported to have closed down shop, warning that the
government order on business to roll back prices to June 18 levels was
hitting hardest the same workers who were supposed to benefit from lowered
prices. - ZimOnline

Thousands Laid Off As Shops Close Due to Price Freeze Anarchy

SW Radio Africa (London)

6 July 2007
Posted to the web 6 July 2007

Tererai Karimakwenda

The ongoing government campaign to monitor prices and arrest those who do
not comply has resulted in thousands of workers being laid off as businesses
shut down around the country. After being forced by the authorities to
reduce their prices by 50% last week, many businesses ran out of stock
within days. They have not reordered fearing further losses and this has
meant nothing to do for the workers. Bulawayo businessman Eddie Cross said
the large manufacturer National Foods has laid off all its casual workers.
Unfortunately the situation there is being duplicated around the country.
All butchers in Bulawayo have closed their doors and workers were sent home.

Our contacts on the ground say it is difficult to tell who is in charge of
this Operation that has been dubbed "Operation Dzikamai" (Operation be
calm). Some shops say they were raided by armed police and others by plain
clothes intelligence or Prison Officers. On Friday Eddie Cross's shop was
monitored by a team from the local police. Cross described the situation as
anarchy. He said one owner of a petrol station who dared to challenge the
authority of the team that raided him was shown a loaded pistol and told:
"This is my authority."

Cross said the police are also helping themselves to some of the goods in
the shops. At one location they removed the shoppers then shut the doors and
picked out items that they wanted. They then paid for the goods in cash at
50% of the price. Cross said the informal sector and small businesses are
suffering the most. The police are confiscating goods from street vendors
selling vegetables and tomatoes and storing all of it in a warehouse at the
Bulawayo police station. According to Cross there will be an auction at the
warehouse on Saturday.

NCA Says 12 Activists Arrested During Marondera Workshop

SW Radio Africa (London)

6 July 2007
Posted to the web 6 July 2007

Lance Guma

The National Constitutional Assembly has issued a statement saying 12 of its
activists were arrested in Marondera on Thursday during a grassroots gender
workshop. All were said to be detained at Marondera Police station. NCA
field officer Dasly Kagwambo and 11 others were at the centre of the latest
police crackdown. At the time of broadcast Newsreel had been unable to
verify if the activists had been released or not.

In another incident Alois Dzvairo who is the NCA National Youth Chairperson
was arrested in Gweru, again on Thursday before being released Friday. The
NCA says no charges were placed on him but that he was severely assaulted.
On Friday the pressure group says Elisha Makuyana, the NCA Regional
Chairperson for Manicaland, was allegedly abducted by unknown people,
suspected to be state security agents.

Load-shedding set to increase

The Herald
Friday, July 06, 2007

Herald Reporter

Zesa holdings has announced an increase in load-shedding due to reduced
power generation at Hwange Power Station.

In a statement, Zesa Holdings said this has been sparked by limited coal
deliveries from Hwange Colliery Company following a series of breakdowns on
their coal conveyer plant.

The power utility, however, said coal deliveries had since resumed but added
that increased load-shedding, which started on July 2 this year, would

"As soon as there is enough coal stocks, Zimbabwe Power Company will
increase generation at Hwange Power Station," read part of the statement.

Zesa Holdings also apologised to Harare residents in Highlands, Lewisam,
Greendale and Mandara who had gone for up to two days without power owing to
underground cable faults.

Zesa technicians were working flat out to restore supplies in the areas, the
statement added.

The breakdown of the coal crusher and conveyer belt at the colliery last
month almost paralysed operations at the power station, resulting in many
parts of Zimbabwe being plunged into darkness.

Power cuts have been a cause of concern for many urbanites who are being
ripped off by firewood traders who overcharge, taking advantage of the

Zimbabwe Crisis Talks Resume But Some Civic Groups Question Use


      By Patience Rusere and Carole Gombakomba
      06 July 2007

Mediated crisis resolution talks between Zimbabwe's ruling party and the two
factions of its political opposition were scheduled to resume Saturday in
Pretoria, following a review of progress by regional leaders during the
recent African Union summit.

Participants were tight-lipped, but sources in the Movement for Democratic
Change faction of Morgan Tsvangirai said the sides will continue to refine
their agenda.

There were rumblings of discontentment, meanwhile, among Zimbabwean civil
society groups, some of which want a seat at the table while others say that
the negotiations are a waste of time and only serve the purposes of
President Robert Mugabe.

Those in the latter camp include National Constitutional Assembly Chairman
Lovemore Madhuku, who told reporter Patience Rusere of VOA's Studio 7 for
Zimbabwe that his organization has decided to wash its hands of the South
African-mediated talks.

Spokesman Gabriel Chaibva of the MDC faction of Arthur Mutambara said the
talks are in an early stage, and that his formation is urging civil society
to involve itself.

Elsewhere, some church leaders say they intend to keep pushing for dialogue
with the government in hopes of finding a resolution to the long-running
political and, increasingly, national economic crisis in that way.

Reverend Kupakwashe Mutata, who addressed a meeting on church-state
relations in Harare on Thursday, said that as Zimbabwe is a largely
Christian nation it is important for the clergy to maintain a dialogue with
politicians to ease the people's suffering.

Mutata is a member of the Zimbabwe Council of Churches.

Minister of State for Public and Interactive Affairs Chen Chumitengwende was
invited to Thursday evening's meeting, but failed to show up or send a
representative.The symposium had been called by the Mass Public Opinion

Mutata told reporter Carole Gombakomba that he was disappointed
Chimutengwende did not appear, but said churches will continue to try to
engage the government.

Zimbabwe Opposition Charges Favoritism In Voter Registration Drive


      By Jonga Kandemiiri & Thomas Chiripasi
      Washington, Harare
      06 July 2007

The Zimbabwean opposition has accused the country's registrar general of
tilting the electoral playing field nine months ahead of national elections
by sending the lion's share of mobile registration units to provinces
dominated by the ruling party.

The Movement for Democratic Change faction led by MDC founder Morgan
Tsvangirai cited imbalances in the distribution of voter registration units
and charged that this was by design to register more voters in areas
controlled by the ruling ZANU-PF party and leave voters unregistered in
parts of the country where the MDC is strong.

MDC sources said Mashonaland East with 11 constituencies has been allocated
470 mobile registration centers. Mashonaland West with 10 constituencies was
allocated 379 while Mashonaland Central with 10 constituencies was given 335

All three Mashonaland Provinces are dominated by Zanu PF.

By comparison, Harare-Chitungwiza Province, with 18 constituencies, has been
allocated 79 just registration centers, while Masvingo with 14
constituencies has 259 and Manicaland with 16 constituencies has been
allocated 264 centers.

The government launched a nationwide mobile registration exercise last
month, dispatching units around the country to register new voters or
re-register those who had moved, and to provide identity cards to those
lacking them.

The opposition says many would-be voters have been unable to register
because they lack national identification cards, but that registration teams
in certain areas said they could not issue the documents because they did
not have film for ID photos.

Elections Secretary Ian Makone of the Tsvangirai opposition faction told
reporter Jonga Kandemiiri of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that his party is
seeking a meeting with Zimbabwean Registrar General Tobaiwa Mudede to
express its concerns.

Elsewhere, the opposition ZANU Ndonga party said it won't field a candidate
in next year's presidential election but will throw its support behind

Correspondent Thomas Chiripasi reported from Harare.

Zanu PF 'price wars' creates shortages and more hardship in Zimbabwe

Sokwanele - Enough is Enough - Zimbabwe

Sokwanele Article: 6 July 2007

The Robert Mugabe regime continues to turn logic on its head in its desperate efforts to stay in power. In trying to avert street protests over its management of the economy, the regime has decreed a slash in prices of up to fifty percent for all businesses. Officially, the regime says business must revert to prices that were current on 18 June 2007.

Businesses in Zimbabwe operate on a replacement costing basis; which means they factor in inflation and estimate what it will cost them to replace stock, and price their goods on at basis. The logic is simple enough: if they do not do this, they will be the cheapest in town for a week or a month, but their businesses will go bust shortly thereafter.

Businesses have been forced into replacement costing because of the hyperinflationary conditions brought about by a regime that prints money on a daily basis in defiance of "bookish economics." All businesses are affected because all of them have two major components in their expense budgets: salaries and fuel.

Fuel is imported and anyone who wants it has to pay the price that the seller is offering. This means that a baker, for instance, who faces daily power cuts in his bakery or supermarket, is forced to use large quantities of diesel to power his ovens. So that pushes his cost of production up. In the meantime, his employees have to contend with rising costs of transport to get to work because the transport operators logically pass on the high cost of...fuel!

Spending up to $400 000 a week to get to work is far beyond the salary of a bakery employee when he has to feed his family, pay rent, let alone school fees on top of his transport costs. So the employee either stays at home and ekes out a living selling vegetables, or asks his bakery employer to pay him a higher wage. When the baker has added up all of these expenses, he has to sell his bread at a price that allows him to replace the flour, pay the employee, and replace the diesel at a 'guesstimate'.

The Robert Mugabe regime calls this 'economic sabotage' drawn up in London and Washington. The baker simply wants to run his business, the employee simply wants a job so he can look after his family, and the customers simply want their daily bread. The Robert Mugabe regime wants them to eat dust. The result of their umpteenth ill-conceived intervention in the economy is exactly that: dusty shelves in the supermarkets with little or no product.

That is not all, however, because that would not be much fun. As stated earlier, the official instruction is for businesses to revert to June 18 prices and posses of men from the President's Office are arriving at supermarket doors and factory gates to ensure compliance with this directive. At the same time, there is a parallel group made up of militias that arrives at the same premises hours later - usually just before close of business - and orders the business people to sell everything at 50% of the prices.

By strange coincidence, a mob is always at hand to empty the shelves within minutes, taking advantage of the bargain basement 18 June prices. When store managers resist, they are threatened with violence. The results? A bourgeoning black market, and empty fridges and shelves in supermarkets right across the country.

In the meantime, public transporters who cannot be effectively monitored are still charging current prices. Workers are demanding more money in order to be able to get to work and employers have no choice but to comply thereby increasing their expenses in the process.

Manufacturing is operating at a third of its capacity, the lowest since Independence, mining has lost 40 000 skilled employees in the last ten years, nurses cannot make it to work, and the education and health infrastructure has all but crumbled. In the midst of all this, the minister of mis-information, the comical Sikhanyiso Ndlovu, tells Zimbabweans that the economy has never been better because nobody could have managed this economy better than Robert Mugabe.

Robert Mugabe has a habit of issuing decrees before jetting off to an admittedly increasingly smaller number of exotic destinations available to him. It was hoped the acting Vice President would see reason and mitigate the effects of a heroes acre-induced decree. Alas, it was not to be. The Vice President simply declared: comply or close shop. We do not give a damn.

That is Zanu-PF logic for you. Even more baffling, is the international logic that Robert Mugabe should be invited to summits where he can pontificate about capital.

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