The ZIMBABWE Situation Our thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.

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Zim Independent

Gono dashes to US on 'mission impossible'
Dumisani Muleya
RESERVE Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor Gideon Gono is in Washington for
meetings with International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank officials to
prevent Harare's expulsion from the Bretton Woods institutions.

Official sources said Gono left for the US capital on Tuesday for critical
meetings on Zimbabwe's arrears which will determine whether or not this
country can remain an IMF member.

An IMF external relations department officer confirmed yesterday that Gono
was in Washington and had met deputy managing director Takatoshi Kato on
Wednesday. He was due to continue with meetings yesterday and today.

While his hurried visit to the US may succeed in retaining links to the IMF,
observers say no money is likely to be forthcoming for balance-of-payments

There has been confusion about Gono's movements as his officials laid down a
smokescreen. Some reports this week claim he was headed for the United
Kingdom to join the RBZ's Homelink money transfer roadshow which started in
the US two weeks ago. Others said he was in South Africa for meetings with
that country's monetary authorities.

One official said he had travelled to Kampala for the Common Market for
Eastern and Southern Africa summit.

Staff in Gono's office and RBZ public relations personnel added to the
confusion by claiming they were not aware of his whereabouts.

The Homelink crew, led by tourism executive Herbert Nkala, has been
struggling to convince Zimbabweans abroad to send their money home through
official channels to alleviate a biting foreign currency crunch.

While some people in the diaspora gave the team a receptive hearing, others
greeted it with angry protests, accusing it of trying to raise funds to prop
up President Robert Mugabe's regime. A scheduled meeting with congregants at
a London church on Sunday has been cancelled after opposition to it mounted,
reports say. There have also been protests outside Zimbabwe House.

While Gono had been reported as due to attend some of the British roadshow
meetings in cities such as Leeds and Birmingham, official sources said he
would be in Washington for anything up to two weeks.

The IMF's executive board will closely examine the progress made on policies
and payments when it considers the Article IV consultation report and the
issue of Zimbabwe's overdue payments early next month.

An IMF delegation was in Zimbabwe between March 17-31 for its annual Article
IV consultation. It produced a report, which stated "Zimbabwe's economy has
experienced a sharp deterioration in the last five years, while real GDP has
declined by about 30%, and is still contracting".

The sources said one of Gono's three deputies, Charity Dhliwayo, who deals
with bank licensing, supervision and surveillance, exchange control and
anti-money laundering, was in South Africa for talks with monetary
authorities there.

Former Finance ministry permanent secretary Nick Ncube, one of the deputies
responsible for national development and economic research, is acting

Gono's mission is largely to prevent the country's expulsion from the IMF
which gave Zimbabwe a chance to put its house in order last December after
the new governor came in.

The RBZ chief will try to restore suspended balance-of-payments support. At
the end of February Zimbabwe owed the IMF Special Drawing Rights US$290

The country, currently reeling from a deep economic and foreign currency
crisis, has committed itself to make US$1,5 million quarterly payments to
the IMF.

Zimbabwe was last December spared dismissal after the appointment of Gono to
spearhead economic recovery. But the country's voting rights were suspended
due to non-payment of loans.

Gono's is virtually a "mission impossible" in the US because of Zimbabwe's
poor international image. Apart from the negative report by the IMF team
that recently visited Harare, Zimbabwe was last week rated as one of the
worst investment destinations in Africa by the World Economic Forum. An IMF
report on sub-Saharan Africa says Zimbabwe's economy was destroyed by
"mismanagement and poor governance".

Government this week announced the nationalisation of all farmland, a move
bound to make Gono's mission doubly difficult.

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Zim Independent

Lawyers challenge filthy holding cells
Dumisani Muleya
ZIMBABWE Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR), a civic grouping, and two
individuals have filed a test Supreme Court application challenging "sordid
and dirty" conditions in police holding cells around the country.

ZLHR, Zimbabwe Congress for Trade Unions secretary-general Wellington
Chibebe, and Nancy Kachingwe, filed the case in terms of Section 24 of the
Constitution in April. Hearing of the matter will be on June 17.

Chibebe and Kachingwe, once detained at Matapi in Mbare and Highlands police
stations respectively, say conditions in the cells are "sordid and dirty as
to amount to inhuman and degrading treatment".

They say the situation at Matapi and Highlands is a microcosm of appalling
conditions in police cells around the country.

However, police in their opposing papers says the conditions at Matapi and
Highlands are not representative of conditions throughout the country.

They also say the applicants have no locus standi to make the case and that
the court has no jurisdiction to direct government on such a matter.

But the applicants insist police should be forced to comply with the African
Charter on Human and People's Rights (ACHPR) and the International
Convention on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) to which Zimbabwe is a

ACHPR says: "All forms of exploitation and degradation of man, particularly
slavery, slave trade, torture, cruel, inhuman, or degrading punishment and
treatment shall be prohibited."

ICCPR states that: "No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel,
inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. All persons deprived of their
liberty shall be treated with humanity and with respect."

The situation in police cells not only violates the country's laws and
international conventions but also Police Standing Orders, the applicants

They say the court should rule that "police holding cells in Zimbabwe are
degrading and inhuman and unfit for detaining suspects".

The court must also rule that the cells should be of a reasonable size, have
good ventilation, sufficient lighting, and places of resting such as chairs
or benches, they argue.

"Each person obliged to stay overnight in police custody should be provided
with a clean mattress and blankets," the applicants say.

"Police holding cells should have clean and decent flushing toilets with
toilet paper in a sanitary annex in the police cell."
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Zim Independent

Local journalists forge alliance with lawyers
Staff Writer
A GROUP OF local journalists and lawyers has formed an organisation to
defend press freedom and resist the current government onslaught against the

Zimbabwe Journalists for Human Rights (ZJHR) was set up to act as a watchdog
on abuses against the media. ZJHR is legally registered and has a board of
trustees. The organisation includes journalists from the banned Daily News
and Daily News on Sunday, John Gambanga, Pedzisai Ruhanya, Precious Shumba
and Luke Tamborinyoka.

It also includes journalists from other private newspapers such as Brian
Mangwende of the Financial Gazette, Dumisani Muleya of the Zimbabwe
Independent and Angela Makamure of the Standard.

University of Zimbabwe law lecturer and National Constitutional Assembly
chair Lovemore Madhuku and Harrison Nkomo of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human
Rights are also members.

ZJHR spokesman, Muleya, said the group would monitor abuses against
journalists by political and corporate aggressors. He said there was need to
find new ways to cope in the current hostile environment that journalists -
both from private and public media - are locked in.

"Events over the past few years have shown that even if free-press
journalists are the main target of repression, state-media journalists are
also vulnerable to political pressure," Muleya said.

"The wholesale dismissal of journalists from ZBC and in some cases Zimpapers
is clear evidence of the collective threat that we all face from political

Muleya said ZJHR would work with groups such as the Zimbabwe Union of
Journalists and Independent Journalists Association of Zimbabwe to
consolidate journalistic structures in civic society to resist media

"The history of state abuses against journalists and the media in Zimbabwe
is long and well-documented. It spans the colonial and post-Independence era
with varying degrees of intensity but basically the same effect," Muleya

"In the present viperous environment, journalists, like all other ordinary
Zimbabweans, find themselves engaged in mortal combat for their fundamental
rights," he said.

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Zim Independent

Military hit by HIV scourge
Godfrey Marawanyika
THE country's military has been hard hit by the deadly HIV/Aids epidemic,
which has become the biggest cause of death among servicemen, a report
supported by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has revealed.

According to the Zimbabwe Human Development Report for 2003, 75% of
Zimbabwean soldiers die of Aids within a year of being discharged.

"A study in seven countries including Zimbabwe found that 75% of soldiers
were dying of Aids within one year of discharge," the report said.

The report said the security sector was severely affected by HIV/Aids. The
prevalence of HIV is higher than in the general population, the report says.

"The nature of the staff recruitment and operations make the sector highly
vulnerable to HIV and Aids. The sector thrives on engaging the young and
socially inexperienced," the report says.

Zimbabwe has an estimated 1 820 000 people who are HIV-positive.

The HIV infection rate is 24,6% and it is estimated that by the end of last
year, 761 000 children would be orphaned by Aids.

Zimbabwe is losing at least 3 000 able-bodied individuals to the disease
weekly, which poses one of the major challenges for business development in
the country, according to Health ministry figures.

The report said that the discipline in the military was a positive aspect
that could be harnessed for a revised response to the Aids scourge.

The Poverty Reduction Forum and the Institute of Development Studies,
supported by the UNDP, compiled the report.

The report said conditions in the prison system had deteriorated largely due
to over crowding and the economic crisis.

"Vulnerability has, in turn, increased as non-consensual, and transactional
sex become control mechanisms and survival strategies of inmates and
wardens," the report said.

"The amnesty system increases vulnerability of communities as former inmates
with higher HIV prevalence rejoin the communities. Reducing vulnerability of
prisons, therefore, requires that internal and external factors be
considered," it said.

As far back as 1996, 72% of prison deaths were reported to be Aids-related.

"A study over a period of three years (1999-2001) by the chief Zimbabwe
Prison Service public relations officer revealed that 1 051 Aids-related
deaths had occurred."

Last month the South African-based Institute for Correctional Studies
suggested that as part of minimising the spread of HIV/Aids inmates be given

The institute also recommended that inmates be allowed conjugal visits.

The report said that the Zimbabwe Republic Police's capacity to deliver the
organisation's mandate was now showing signs of erosion as members "succumb
to HIV-related illness and deaths".

The report also criticised the country's private sector for not taking a
sufficiently active part in the fight against HIV/Aids.
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Zim Independent

Chombo intensifies anti-MDC crusade
Augustine Mukaro
LOCAL Government minister Ignatius Chombo has completely paralysed Harare
City Council's operations by suspending 13 councillors for allegedly
interfering with the management of council affairs.

Last week Chombo suspended the 13 councillors after a full council meeting
in which acting mayor Sekesai Makwavarara was ousted from her position. Dr
Christopher Mushonga was elected deputy mayor in her place.

Chombo suspended Mushonga and 12 other councillors the following day.

Chombo has been at loggerheads with the MDC-dominated council since it
assumed office in 2002 and last month fired the first elected executive
mayor of Harare Elias Mudzuri for alleged mismanagement.

President Robert Mugabe has appointed Witness Mangwende, an unelected MP, as
governor of the city.

Last week's move brings to 19 the number of suspended councillors, heavily
weakening the council and its six committees responsible for

As a result of the suspensions, council was forced to abort its full meeting
on Wednesday due to lack of a quorum. Sixteen councillors form a quorum.

The council has six committees each consisting of nine councillors. The
suspension of the 19 leaves 26 councillors, which effectively means only
four committees can meet.

The committees which are still operational are finance, audit, procurement,
and environmental management.

Councillor Elizabeth Marunda of Ward 9 who chairs the finance committee said
the suspensions would seriously affect the quality of decision-making.

"It's unfortunate that we have to reschedule the meeting because we can't
form a quorum," Marunda said.

"Our mandate as elected councillors is to make decisions for the good of
residents but we are not in a position to do so under the prevailing
conditions. We hope to be able to fulfil our mandate in the next meeting."

The suspended councillors have since filed an urgent application with the
High Court seeking to nullify the suspension and interdict Chombo from
interfering with and disrupting the affairs and business at the council.

The case will be heard on Monday.

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Zim Independent

Ex-AirZim boss ready to explain abrupt exit
Itai Dzamara
FORMER Air Zimbabwe managing director Rambai Chingwena says he will come
back to the country soon and face those who want him to explain his abrupt
departure from the national airline.

He also says he is ready to clear his name on allegations of
misappropriation of pension funds at the national airline.

Chingwena, who tendered his resignation from outside the country last month,
telephoned the Zimbabwe Independent last week but refused to reveal where he

Chingwena said he had left Air Zimbabwe amicably and couldn't be blamed for
the viability problems rocking the airline. He dismissed fears that he was
facing arrest over pension funds as well as other financial aspects at the

"I will be coming back to Zimbabwe soon and will face anyone who believes I
have a case to answer," said Chingwena

"My reason for leaving Air Zimbabwe was purely personal. That is all. I will
not comment on those other issues about failure to run the airline and so
forth. I will explain the circumstances pertaining to my faxing the
resignation letter from outside the country when I am back. How can I be
blamed for the viability problems at Air Zimbabwe? I will clear my name on
that as well."

In response to allegations raised by Air Zimbabwe workers that Chingwena,
who was the chairman of the board of trustees for the pension fund, had
withdrawn $400 million from the fund without the consent of the other
trustee members, he passed the buck to the current leadership at Air

"I had long ceased to be involved in any decision making process in the
board of trustees since I was appointed substantive managing director,"
Chingwena said.

"These allegations that I abused pension funds are totally unfounded. I
don't want to preempt or prejudice whatever investigations are going on into
these matters by implicating anyone. But I should emphasise that the current
leadership at the airline should answer to these charges."

Highly placed sources have said Chingwena is currently in Kenya and has
taken, or is about to take up, a job in the aviation industry in that

A report compiled by Air Zimbabwe's three workers unions and submitted to
the police alleges that the board of trustees had not remitted pension money
since September 2003. The report, which this paper is in possession of,
says: "Also of concern is $400 million that Comarton Consultants (Pvt) Ltd
reveals was de-invested by the board".

The workers say they understood the $400 million was used on fuel by the
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Zim Independent

Zvinavashe keeps supporters guessing
Augustine Mukaro
RETIRED army general Vitalis Zvinavashe could be eyeing the vice-presidency,
the Zimbabwe Independent has heard.

In an interview last week Zvinavashe told the Independent he had turned down
overtures by the Gutu South leadership to field him as a candidate in the
2005 parliamentary election.

Zvinavashe had been approached to replace the incumbent MP, Shuvai Mahofa,
who fell out of favour with the Gutu South traditional leaders after she was
implicated in the death of war veterans leader Misheck Maseva.

Zvinavashe confirmed having been approached by the constituency's leadership
to be the candidate in the March election.

"Many people from my rural home have approached me," Zvinavashe said.

"What they need to understand is that I am a retired commander of the
Defence Forces. I have been serving the country at the national level so
structurally I can't go back to represent a district or province."

Zvinavashe said there were young people from the constituency who should be
given a chance to stand as MP and he would play an advisory role.

"People are not wrong. I know what they want. I am not refusing to help
them. I will help them but not as they expected. I will not take up that
post but only advise those who will be in the post," he said.

"Zvauri kundibvunza zvinofa-nana nokuti baba voonekwa vachida kuperekedza
muchato wemwana. (It's like a father trying to be the best-man at his son's

Pressed this week on what he was currently doing politically and whe-ther he
had presidential ambitions, Zvinavashe referred all questions to President
Robert Mugabe.

"You should ask President Mugabe," Zvinavashe said before switching off his
mobile phone.

Prior to his retirement from the army Zvinavashe had been linked to the late
Vice-President Simon Muzenda's former constituency, Gutu North, which
retired Air Marshal Josiah Tungamirai now represents.

Since his retirement in December there has been growing speculation that
Zvinavashe would be appointed vice-president to replace Muzenda.
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Zim Independent

Zimbabwe says no to Mengistu extradition
Gift Phiri
ZIMBABWE has rejected an extradition bid to bring deposed Ethiopian
dictator, Mengistu Haile Mariam, to justice for massive human rights
violations during his rule.

Mengistu, who was granted political asylum in Zimbabwe in 1991 when he was
toppled, is currently being tried in absentia in Addis Ababa together with
37 former top soldiers accused of genocide during his 17-year rule.

Ethiopian ambassador to Zimbabwe, Duna Mufta, last week confirmed that he
had passed an extradition request to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

"It was not a new request really," said Mufta. "Mengistu committed crimes
against humanity and he must be brought to justice. He is a dictator who
killed millions and we have made several extradition requests to the
Zimbabwean government before so that he stands trial for his crimes."

Mufta said the Zimbabwean government had not officially responded to the
extradition request. He declined to draw any meaning from the Foreign
Affairs ministry's silence.

"I cannot comment on behalf of the Zimbabwean government, talk to them,"
said Mufta.

It was not possible to obtain comment from Foreign Affairs minister Stan
Mudenge. Foreign Affairs spokesperson Pavelyn Musaka had not responded to
questions sent to her last week.

Diplomatic sources said the government had declined to return Mengistu to
Ethiopia citing concerns about the fairness of the Ethiopian trials. The
Zimbabwe Independent understands that there is no extradition treaty between
the two countries. Ethiopia is however arguing that Mengistu's crimes are so
grave that the absence of a treaty with Zimbabwe should not be used as a
reason to refuse extradition.

Ethiopia previously asked South Africa to extradite Mengistu when it emerged
that he had been receiving medical treatment there. The South African
government however received the extradition request when the former military
ruler had already left the country.

Mengistu is believed to be a holder of a Zimbabwean diplomatic passport and
lives in a heavily-guarded mansion in the capital, Harare. The Zimbabwean
government argues that they gave refuge to Mengistu because he helped train
and arm liberation fighters during Zimbabwe's liberation struggle in the

The Ethiopian envoy however said his country had sought Mengistu's
extradition to stand trial for organising the "Red Terror" campaign in which
tens of thousands of opponents of his regime were slaughtered in the 1970s
and 80s.

Mengistu is the key defendant in the trials of 2 000 former officials that
began nearly five years ago in the Ethiopian capital. Two men were sentenced
to death in absentia this month in these trials.

Diplomatic sources suggested that if Zimbabwe was genuinely worried about
the fairness of the trial, they should extradite the former dictator to
South Africa which could try him before its own courts. The South African
constitution incorporates customary international law, which holds that all
countries should exercise jurisdiction over crimes against humanity and

Alternatively, Zimbabwe could extradite Mengistu to a country which is
willing to prosecute the former dictator and guarantee a fair trial, a
diplomat said.

From 1974 to 1991, Mengistu's "Dergue" was responsible for human rights
violations on a massive scale. Tens of thousands of Ethiopians were
tortured, murdered or "disappeared." Tens of thousands of people were also
killed as a result of humanitarian law violations committed during
Ethiopia's many internal armed conflicts. Many others, perhaps more than 100
000, died as a result of forced relocations ordered by the Mengistu regime.

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Zim Independent

Gono reimburses banks
Dumisani Muleya
RESERVE Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor Gideon Gono has refunded banks
convicted and fined for violating exchange control regulations over $6
billion, it has been established.

Official sources said Gono recently repaid the banks that breached the
exchange control regulations in a bid to "rebuild the collapsing trust
between the central bank and all stakeholders".

Sources said Gono reimbursed the banks following a "conditional amnesty"
extended last December to the affected institutions. The banks include Time,
NMB, Trust, Zimbank, Metropolitan, Century, CFX, MBCA, Renaissance, Genesis,
ABC, Interfin, Barclays, Stanbic, First Bank, Royal, Kingdom, Agribank and
Jewel Bank.

Time Bank was initially convicted for violating the exchange rate order and
the RBZ's 40% surrender require-ment. It was fined $202 million and ordered
to suspend foreign currency trading for three months. The bank was also
directed to sell and remit US$39 561 due to the RBZ.

NMB was convicted on similar charges. The bank was fined $1,9 billion and
suspended for 12 months. It was also ordered to sell and remit US$10,6
million due to the RBZ.

Trust Bank was similarly fined $875 million and ordered to dispose of US$14
801. It was suspended from dealing in foreign currency for a year.

Zimbank was convicted of violating the exchange rate order only and fined
$1,1 billion. It was ordered to cease foreign currency trading for six

For violating the 40% surrender requirement, Metropolitan was fined $388
million and directed to stop foreign currency deals for six months. The bank
was asked to sell US$450 976 due to the RBZ.

Century Bank was charged for breaching the exchange rate order and the 40%
remission regulation. It was fined $299 million and suspended for three
months. CFX was convicted for both offences and fined $156 million. It was
also suspended for three months.

MBCA was fined $52 million and suspended for three months over exchange rate
violations. It was only charged for the contravention of the exchange rate
order. Renaissance was fined $43 million and suspended for three months,
while Genesis was fined $1 million and suspended for a similar period.

ABC was slapped with a $414 million fine and suspended for six months. It
was ordered to sell US$167 150 due to RBZ. Interfin was fined $66 million
and asked not to trade for three months. Barclays was fined $32 million and
also suspended for three months.

For violating the exchange rate regulations, First Bank was fined $104
million and suspended for three months. Kingdom was fined $593 million and
suspended for nine months.

It was ordered to sell US$851 000 due to RBZ. Agribank was fined $351
million and suspended for three months. CBZ was fined $57 million.

Stanbic and Royal Bank were acquitted.
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Zim Independent

Kuruneri engages Andersen in quest for freedom
Godfrey Marawanyika
FINANCE minister ChrisKuruneri has bolstered his defence team by hiring
Advocate Chris Andersen in his quest for bail on charges of externalising
foreign cu-rrency.

The defence team led by Advocate Andersen is instructed by Bruce Mujeyi and
David Drury of Gollop & Blank.

On Wednesday new evidence was presented to Supreme Court Judge Elizabeth
Gwaunza by state prosecutor Joseph Jagada at a hearing in chambers. The
evidence included pictures of a safe in which the externalised funds were
allegedly kept in Cape Town.

Another picture show-ed a newly-acquired Mercedes Benz which was still to be
delivered to the accused.

Jagada told the judge that the man appearing in the pictures was a Mr Heyman
who had told investigators that "Kuruneri was bringing money in suitcases
which had to be kept in a safe".

Jagada said investigations were still being carried out in South Africa.

Ruling on the bail application was reserved.

Kuruneri is facing charges of externalising foreign currency between 2002
and this year. He is accused of channelling US$1 million, £37 000 and R30
000 to accounts abroad.

Andersen told the chambers hearing that the funds Kuruneri used were earned
as "free funds", meaning they did not originate locally, adding that since
his client was a member of parliament and was appointed by the president as
minister there was no way he would abscond.

"The appellant has been a member of parliament and His Excellency has not
removed him from his post although an acting minister has been appointed,"
Andersen said.

"Where else can he go? Certainly not to Europe or South Africa," said
Andersen. "He has a career and he risks losing lots of assets and huge sums
of investments.

"So we propose that he be placed under house arrest since he is a minister
and his house is always guarded."

Andersen said Kuruneri had revised his proposed cash for bail from $7
million to $50 million.

Andersen told the court that his client was "also willing to hand in the
title deeds of his company called Climatex, which is worth $6 billion".

Jagada said since the accused had connections everywhere in the world he
should not be granted bail.

"The accused has connections in Venezuela, North America, Europe and even
Canada where he has relatives," he said.

"Right now we have another case involving Gilbert Muponda who had stringent
bail conditions, but he has absconded and is now on the run."

Muponda, a former director of the defunct ENG Asset Management Investments,
violated his bail conditions and has disappeared.

Jagada said Kuruneri had R1,3 million cash in his account in South Africa,

which would enable him to live comfortably once he was outside the country.

The state countered Andersen's suggestion that the money Kuruneri is accused
of externalising was earned as "free funds". Jagada said the money was
"earned between 1976-1981 and payments were only made in 2002 in cash and
there was no explanation, which creates reasonable suspicion," he said.

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Zim Independent

Mnangagwa elbowed out of race

 Gift Phiri

SPEAKER of Parliament Emmerson Mnangagwa's chances of taking over President
Robert Mugabe's job continue to fade amid indications that the former
strongman is being elbowed from the race for power.

Just two weeks ago, Mnangagwa, once a key political figure in ruling party
circles, suffered an embarrassing setback when he was reportedly snubbed by
Midlands State University where he was due to be conferred with an honorary
Doctor of Laws degree. Mnangagwa's name was deleted from the list of
graduands ahead of the ceremony, reports said. President Mugabe presided at
the graduation as chancellor of the university.

The case is the latest in a series of setbacks for Mnangagwa, regarded by
many as Mugabe's anointed political heir. Currently, a high-level
investigation initiated by the politburo into the commercial operations of
Zanu PF is underway. Mnangagwa, as the ruling party's finance chief for many
years, is reported to have been interviewed about the goings-on at a number
of companies.

Under scrutiny are all Zanu PF-associated companies and investments
including Zidco Holdings, M&S Syndicate, First Banking Corporation, Treger
Holdings, Catercraft and Zidlee Enterprises. Although the allegations being
investigated centre on graft, mismanagement and security breaches by those
actually running the companies, the probe is seen as clipping Mnangagwa's

The Standard reported in March that Kwekwe-based gold dealer Mark Burden had
claimed in a sworn affidavit that he had been tortured in police custody to
implicate Mnangagwa in illicit gold deals. Burden said he denied any
involvement by Mnangagwa. Police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena was quoted at
the time as saying if Burden had any complaints against the police he should
inform the courts.

Mnangagwa, together with other senior Zimbabwean officials, has  been
mentioned in a UN report as linked to the plunder of resources in the
Democratic Republic of the Congo, a charge he has denied.

Sources in Zanu PF told the Zimbabwe Independent that there was a
full-blooded attempt by an opposing faction in the party to stifle Mnangagwa
's presidential ambitions.

Political analyst and Southern Africa Publishing House head Ibbo Mandaza
however insists that despite all the obstacles to Mnangagwa, he remains a
front-runner in the succession race.

"Mnangagwa remains in strong contention for the presidency," said Mandaza.
"It is not correct to say that Mnangagwa is being targeted by anyone. The
probe into Zanu PF companies is not aimed at Mnangagwa but at the companies.
Why are you not saying it is aimed at Karimanzira?"

David Karimanzira is the current Zanu PF finance secretary heading the party
's internal inquiry.

Mandaza refused to draw any conclusions from the Midlands State University
"snub" saying: "It was a non-event."

Top party sources said the Speaker of Parliament fell out of favour with
Mugabe following the exposé of the retirement plan that he was reportedly
hatching with retired Army General Vitalis Gava Zvinavashe. Mnangagwa was
named in reports as the architect of the "soft-landing plan" that could have
seen Mugabe negotiate a retirement package. The plan also involved retired
Colonel Lionel Dyck and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai.

Ruling party sources said Mugabe was angered because he was not informed
about the advanced state of the negotiations.

"Mugabe interpreted Mnangagwa's reported scheme in a very serious light.
This is why Mnangagwa is being punished now and openly humiliated," said a
politburo member who declined to be named.

In fact after the  exposé, Mugabe's information chief Jonathan Moyo told the
Sunday Mail that the plan amounted to a coup d'état. Mnangagwa and
Zvinavashe are both of the Karanga tribe, a strong power base in Zimbabwean

"Mugabe regarded the soft-landing plan as a Karanga plot to oust him," said
the politburo member. "He does not trust anyone now, that is why he has
remained mum about his successor."

Political commentator Gordon Chavunduka said Mnangagwa was completely out of
the succession race.

"I do not see any chance of him taking over," said Chavunduka. "His policies
are very much similar to those of Mugabe and besides he is not very popular
in the party."

Chavunduka said there should be a democratic way of dealing with the
leadership and succession issue in Zanu PF and that was to allow people to
choose their leaders at the annual congress.

The Independent was told that Mugabe is expected to name a vice-president to
replace the late Simon Muzenda during the congress in December. Whoever
takes the position will be critical to the post-Mugabe transition.

The main battle for the vice-presidency and for the Mugabe succession is
between the big battalions, the Zezuru group and the Karanga group. At the
helm of the Zezuru group is Defence minister Sydney Sekeramayi who, it is
believed, has the backing of retired General Solomon Mujuru and Air Force
commander Air Marshal Perence Shiri.

The Karanga group, which is linked to ailing firebrand Eddison Zvobgo, has
in its ranks the likes of  former Air Marshal Josiah Tungamirai. Sources
said the strongest contenders were Sekeramayi and Mnangagwa.

Sekeramayi owes his ascendancy to his friends and backers, particularly
Mujuru, as much as his political skills. Mugabe at first appeared to favour
Mnangagwa. But his endorsement would now appear to have been withdrawn.

Mnangagwa, despite intensive lobbying and sponsorship of rising provincial
politicians, is feared rather than loved.

Party sources insist that Zanu PF chairman John Nkomo and former finance
minister Simba Makoni remain in strong contention for the presidency. But
Makoni is a relative lightweight.

Zanu PF secretary for information and publicity Nathan Shamuyarira is on
record as saying that a power struggle in Zanu PF was likely to erupt,
depending on how Mugabe departed.

"John Nkomo is on par with Emmerson Mnangagwa. It depends very much on how
Mugabe quits," Shamuyarira said in an interview earlier this year. "If
Mugabe at the December congress says, 'I am quitting now', Joseph Msika (the
vice-president) will (automatically) take over. It will be very difficult
for anyone to oppose him.

"But if Mugabe says, 'I will be retiring in a year's time', then there will
be in-fighting between Mnangagwa and Nkomo."

Mugabe recently told British television channel Sky News that he will be
retiring after his current term of office. He told the news channel that he
did not have a successor in mind.
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Zim Independent


State should work to restore credibility
 A court report in the Herald last Thursday provided instructive reading.

The High Court denied bail to two suspects allegedly involved in the murder
of MDC activists Tichaona Chiminya and Talent Mabika during the 2000
election campaign in Buhera.

The Zimbabwe Independent has repeatedly drawn attention to this case as
symptomatic of the lawlessness that has previously gone unaddressed across
the land.

Justice Charles Hungwe dismissed an application for bail by Webster Gwama
and Morris Kainos Zimunya, alias Kitsiyatota. He said granting the two bail
would jeopardise the administration of justice.

He deplored the delay in bringing the accused to justice when they were
known as the prime suspects in the murder of the two opposition activists.

"They were highly publicised both in and out of Zimbabwe," Justice Hungwe
was reported as saying in his ruling. "They were the basis upon which
international and Western opinion labelled the election violence-ridden and
therefore not free and fair. Despite the high publicity of these murders no
arrests were made although the culprits were known."

Justice Hungwe asked why the suspects had not been prosecuted earlier
despite being cited in the election petition for the Buhera North

"The criminal justice system remains compromised when police fail to bring
known murderers to justice," he said.

Justice Hungwe said the police had a constitutional duty to act in such
cases. The case had cost the police its credibility and their inaction was a
matter of public concern, he said. The state's admission that there had been
political interference with their work was "a step in the right direction".

Chief law officer Stephen Musona argued that the two were likely to attempt
to evade trial now they had lost the political protection they used to

"The wind of change is blowing and the untouchables are now getting arrested
in Zimbabwe," he was reported as saying.

According to the report, the two were said to have connived with two others,
Joseph Mwale of the Central Intelligence Organisation and America
Mudzvinyiriri, to commit the crime.

Mudzvinyiriri had since died while Mwale was "still at large".

This case raises more questions than it answers. What was the nature of the
protection given to the alleged killers? Who shielded them from the law? At
what level was that protection afforded?

These questions need to be answered. As Justice Hungwe pointed out, the case
has cost the police their credibility. The same could be said of the Cain
Nkala case where Justice Sandra Mungwira said state witnesses "conducted
themselves in a shameless fashion and displayed utter contempt for the
administration of justice".

The police investigations  diary was "a work of fiction", she said.

The Minister of Justice now needs to set up an enquiry into how, in the case
heard last week, the ends of justice were defeated, or at least thwarted,
for four years. Why has the state media been so shrill in insisting that
there is no lawlessness in Zimbabwe when a case such as this takes four
years to reach court because the accused had a form of immunity?

And where is Joseph Mwale? How is he able to remain "on the run" when he is
employed by the country's intelligence service?

This week, in a case involving the Standard which is being charged under
Posa, the state alleged that the paper, among other things, implied that the
government was "covering up evidence".

We do not know who was providing political protection to the two accused in
the Buhera case. But their alleged linkage to a CIO officer who appeared to
act with impunity would suggest there was an organised attempt to prevent
evidence of a particularly savage murder getting to court.

Our criminal justice system, if it is to remain credible, cannot entertain a
rush to prosecute newspapers on charges of "provoking public disorder" while
other cases take four years to see the light of day because the perpetrators
enjoy political protection.

Musona's claim that "the wind of change is blowing and the untouchables are
now getting arrested" owes more to hope than facts. Only two "untouchables"
have been arrested so far. Another is "on the run".

Those who abducted and tortured Standard journalists Mark Chavunduka and Ray
Choto remain at large despite a court-ordered police investigation into
their treatment. Some of those allegedly involved in the killing of
commercial farmers have been arrested and then released.

Restoration of the rule of law in Zimbabwe has been only partial. Court
orders protecting individuals from interference on their properties have
been routinely ignored. And now the nationalisation of all farmland will
circumvent the very court-based procedures that government has itself put in
place to provide a trace of fairness to what is essentially an arbitrary
process. It will also of course, by discouraging investment in agriculture,
prevent a modern farming system from evolving.

There has been much hype recently regarding the prospects of economic
recovery. But there can be no grounds for expectations of recovery so long
as the criminal and civil justice system only functions when the state
allows it to. That is the very opposite of the rule of law. But it is what
we have at present.

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Zim Independent

Eric Bloch Column

Obdurate disregard for realities

 THE government is so driven by its anxiety to win the next parliamentary
election and to eclipse its arch-enemy the Movement for Democratic Change
that it has such a fixation as to its perceived causes of Zimbabwe's
economic traumas - as distinct from the actual causes - that the country's
economic decline is a continuing one.

Tragically, there are not only no signs that the government is willing to
recognise that the realities of Zimbabwe's economic morass are markedly at
variance to its perceptions, but there are also recurrent and clear
indications that the government is wholly unconcerned at any negative
effects its policies and actions have upon the economy.

So great is the governmental disregard for the facts of Zimbabwe's
deplorable economic circumstances, that it actually progressively worsens
those circumstances. Even the very admirable and diligent efforts of Reserve
Bank of Zimbabwe governor Gideon Gono cannot counter the deleterious
repercussions of the government's economic acts of omission and commission.

As sound as most, but not all, of Gono's monetary policies are, they can
only slow down the economic decline, instead of reversing it, in the absence
of compatible and complementary fiscal policies and political actions.
Regrettably, there is no evidence of any such compatibility, while there is
untold evidence of incompatibility.

This is not a new condition, but has prevailed since 1997 when the
government embarked upon its foolhardy and catastrophically disastrous land
reform programme and upon its economically unsustainable compensation for
war veterans and ex-combatants (real and pseudo).

The government continued to do so by its economically devastating military
foray in the Democratic (sic) Republic of the Congo (DRC), which allegedly
brought peace to that troubled country, but where there are frequently
repeated conflicts between state and rebels. The militaristic actions
resulted in massive expropriation of the DRC's mineral and other wealth.

The government's politically driven, and ideologically misguided, policies
which have contributed to the stressed conditions of the Zimbabwean economy
also included ruinous price controls and spurious valuation of the Zimbabwe

This has also seen the alienation of most of the international community,
including donor states, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank,
potential foreign direct investors and many others, and contemptuous
dismissal of any statistics and other facts which were at variance with its
real, or politically required perceptions.

In the past week there have been increasing indications that the government
is seriously considering reinstating price controls which will either be
all-embracing or, at the least, will be applied to all basic consumer
products, with especial emphasis upon foodstuffs. In doing so, it will be
yielding to the pressures and demands of consumers in general, and the
Consumer Council of Zimbabwe in particular.

It cannot be denied that the immense inflation of recent years has had
devastating effects upon most of the populace. Most have been reduced to
extreme poverty, unable to afford many of the basic essentials of life, and
are suffering intensely.

In such circumstances, it is natural that the distressed seek someone to
blame, and inevitably blame is placed almost exclusively at the feet of the
government - where, in fact, such blame should lie. The government cannot
but be conscious that it is, or will be, held culpable for the destitution
which confronts so many, and it fears that as a result it will lose much
electoral support.

The president and his minions are determined not to lose the votes of the
oppressed consumers but, instead of addressing the root causes of
hyperinflation, they repeatedly resort to ineffectual palliatives and to
attribution of blame to others. One of those palliatives is the application
of price controls.

The tragedy is that the government is unable to learn from experience. Not
only in Zimbabwe but in many other countries, price controls have been near
or total failures. Even when they worked in part, the concomitant effects
upon the economy have been deplorable in the extreme.

The consequences of price controls are invariably that producers discontinue
production, or considerably reduce production levels, occasioning vast
shortages that create new stresses and hardships for the consumer. Such
limited quantities as are available are invariably purchased by black
marketers who then sell the commodities to the desperate consumer at prices
well above the controlled prices.

Thus price controls very often are the cause of increased inflation, instead
of targeted reductions. In many other instances, in endeavours to preserve
operational viability, producers lower product quality so as to minimise
costs. Yet again, the consumer suffers.

Price controls have, in many instances, forced business closures, with
resultant increased unemployment and loss of downstream economic spending
and activity. They have also been a major deterrent to investment, for few
are desirous of investment in an overly regulated economy.

Thus not only are the intended benefits not forthcoming, but the associated
economic prejudicial effects are considerable. The only price controls that
are effectual for any reasonable period of time are those implemented on a
reciprocal basis by the government, labour and the private sector under a
negotiated social contract.

The consumer is helped by the government when the catalysts of inflation are
addressed, and not by price regulation. And the consumer is assisted by
governmentally stimulated competition for, when competition exists,
producers are forced to enhance production efficiencies and expenditure
controls in order to be price-competitive.

But the government has demonstrated over 24 years an infinitely great
ability to disregard these proven facts. Its interest is short term, being
to garner votes for the next election, and it resorts to whatsoever measures
it believes will realise that objective, irrespective of the medium and
long-term adverse consequences.

Its attitude is to gain votes, no matter how adverse the effect of its
actions may be, and that after winning the election, it can then try to
reverse the ill effects or, if they be irreversible, can then blame others.
Re-imposition of price controls will be catastrophic, will have
cataclonically harmful effects upon the population and upon the economy, and
therefore it can virtually be taken for granted that the government will
apply them.

The government is equally adept at challenging any statistics as do not
support its policies or its actions, or at misconstruing and misinterpreting
those statistics. When, very recently, the Central Statistical Office issued
statistics demonstrating a significant fall in Zimbabwean exports, the
government immediately claimed that the statistics were incorrect.

But commerce and industry, economists, the independent media and many of the
population are aware that exports have fallen substantially. This year's
tobacco crop is much less than produced at any time in the last 50 or more
years, thanks to the government's destruction of agriculture.

Mining output has fallen sharply, as costs have risen but revenues have not
increased in tandem to the cost escalations. Manufactured exports have also
been substantially reduced, for exporters have been unable to meet
continuously rising wages, electricity charges, finance costs and other
production and overhead expenses, while the rates of exchange keep their
revenues almost static.

They are forced to subsidise the government by a mandatory sale of part of
their export proceeds at a ludicrous rate of exchange of $824 to US$1,
whereas purchasing power parity with Zimbabwe's principal trading partners
requires an effective rate of exchange of about $6 000 to US$1.

But the government deludes itself and uses the full force of its propaganda
resources to pretend that Zimbabwe has an increasing export performance.
Only the naïve believe that propaganda, but the government realises that
many voters are naïve. Unfortunately, by denying the statistics, the
government also does nothing to address the crisis that those statistics
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Zim Independent


Bon voyage to nowhere, Comrade Gono

 SINCE 2002 we have been endlessly fed the fiction that Zimbabwe's Access to
Information and Protection of Privacy Act is either less stringent than, or
about the same as, Sweden's media legislation.

Nobody is sure where this daft story originated, or why its protagonists
picked on Sweden, the most liberal democracy in Europe. But it was soon
propagated by the state's media machinery as if it were the gospel truth.

Last week the state had an opportunity to put its theory to the test. The
Swedish government organised a trip to Sweden by journalists to see for
themselves the state of play in that country. In addition to scribes from
the private media, five were invited from the state media.

This would obviously provide a perfect opportunity, one would have thought,
for Aippa's adherents to prove their case and show that Zimbabwe was no
different from the rest of the world in imposing curbs on its media

But then we heard that Information minister Jonathan Moyo had instructed the
five state journalists (one from ZBC, the rest from Zimpapers) not to
undertake the trip.

The obvious conclusion was that even the most indoctrinated writers would
have difficulty equating the situation in Sweden to Zimbabwe. In fact there
are no comparisons at all and the only surprise is that it has taken the
Swedish authorities this long to enable such a spurious claim to be

Furthermore, Stockholm has provided a fig leaf of respectability to the
state-sponsored Zimbabwe Association of Editors (ZAE) by allowing one of its
members to participate after a last-minute application. Admittedly, he sang
for his supper by disowning Moyo ("What politicians say does not affect our
editorial decisions") but a bid to have the Swedes fund a diversion to
Windhoek, so he could attend an editors' forum there, was less successful!

In fact the Namibia visit was generally a disaster. The state editors had
hoped that the Southern African Editors Forum would recognise the ZAE as the
authentic voice of Zimbabwean editors. But it declined to do so asking the
ZAE representative where his colleagues from the independent media were.

This represents a setback for the bearded one in Bulawayo who has been
promising to adhere to the highest professional standards while churning out
the usual partisan bile. How long will it take the state-sponsored grouping
to understand that the country and its neighbours are no longer in the mood
for government public relations officers masquerading as journalists?

Readers of the state media used to have to read between the lines, as in the
former Communist bloc, to understand the Byzantine manoeuvring of their
leaders. But that is no longer necessary. There is now a host of dubious
apologists who are all required to trot out the same tired mantras and
attack the same targets, using identical language, which makes the real
author of these uniform assaults only too evident.

One of his pseudonyms was on Sunday taking Kindness Paradza to task in much
the same style as his owner.

Paradza is now "a troubled and thoroughly confused" aspiring media mogul, we
were told. And why is that? Because he thinks he can "hoodwink the public
into forgetting the damage he actually meted out against Zanu PF during his
days as deputy editor of the then rabid Financial Gazette".

Was this charge actually made at the time and did it prevent well-known
academics from contributing to the paper? At least it is a relief to hear
the FinGaz is no longer "rabid".

But Paradza's more recent crime would appear to be the publication in the
Tribune of claims by John Nkomo that fifth columnists were at work within
the ruling party. These infiltrators "might in point of fact be closer to
the Tribune than to any other quarter", came the sharp retort on Sunday.

After all, who had "openly, publicly and defiantly attacked a law promoted
by the ruling party, passed by parliament and implemented by the Zanu PF

So now all is clear. Paradza committed the cardinal sin of criticising
Aippa. Or was it the Broadcasting Services Act? Paradza's claim that
Jonathan Moyo was equally critical of Zanu PF when he used to write for
weekly papers was "useless", His Master's Voice dutifully intoned.

"Where and when has Prof Moyo criticised the ruling party in parliament
today or elsewhere since becoming an active member of the party.?" he wanted
to know.

Paradza was "definitely intellectually challenged" in failing to understand
the "nuances and dynamics" of the nationalist struggle, we were told.

Actually, everybody understands only too well what this struggle is about.
It is about an increasingly transparent power bid that involves rubbishing
rivals by going for their perceived proxies.

We didn't have to look too far for the give-away line: Paradza had been
"fronting for some politicians with succession ambitions" when at the FinGaz
and was still representing "the same old politician".

That should be clear enough. And other possible contenders were not spared.
John Nkomo should have been more "cautious" in lashing out at the public
media over the issue of letters to new farmers, we were told. He unwisely
attempted to "deny what was undeniable".

'Denying what is undeniable" sounds like a similar offence to quoting
vice-presidents and party chairmen when their remarks may prove embarrassing
to ministers, which we were charged with recently.

We don't mind puerile claims that the Independent is a "British-influenced"
or "British-run" paper because intelligent readers just laugh at such
obvious smears by discredited political windbags. But should publicly-owned
papers become a vehicle for individual politicians to fight private wars
against those they perceive as threats to their grip on power? Is that what
was intended when the Zimbabwe Mass Media Trust was set up?

Perhaps Nathan Shamuyarira may care to comment.

Meanwhile, Nathaniel Manheru has promised to "deal with Muckraker" tomorrow
"in a manner and tone" that makes up for last week's edition.

Threats of retribution are the stock in trade of this deeply disturbed
individual who appears to be suffering from a growing sense of frustration
and resentment.

Given his well-advertised control over the levers of state power we do not
doubt his capacity to punish those he attacks with such venom for having
dared to challenge his pretensions. But is this the language of a regime
confident of having seen off the threat from independent newspapers and won
the battle for hearts and minds?

Finally, we wish Gideon Gono a good trip to wherever it is he is not going!

His plans seem a little up in the air at present. He was in Pretoria this
week for talks with Tito Mboweni. This was after his staff had said he was
going to Kampala.

He got a rather rude reception in South Africa from the Sunday Times which
doesn't appear to appreciate the multi-faceted role of a bank CEO in dealing
with demanding clients.

A reported trip to the UK appears to be on hold while an RBZ team
accompanied by Supa Mandiwanzira battles with the locals - or rather our
locals - on the governor's behalf in places like Leeds.

The team is there to publicise the Homelink scheme. No doubt we will hear
glowing reports of their success. Supa seems to be liaising with staff at
Zimbabwe House. We would be keen to know exactly how he fits into the
governor's scheme of things including his role at Mighty Movies and the

Gono is understandably concerned with accuracy and transparency in our
reporting of his activities, so we are confident he will address these
concerns when he returns from wherever it is he is not going next.
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Zim Independent

Government takes over Zupco
Shakeman Mugari
GOVERNMENT has taken total control of the debt-ridden public transport firm,
the Zimbabwe United Passenger Company (Zupco).

Investigations reveal that government acquired the 49% stake which belonged
to stock market-listed insurance firm Zimre.

Under the billion-dollar deal government is now the sole owner of Zupco with
100% shareholding in the company.

Government has also taken over the company's debt which is currently running
into billions.

Officials familiar with the issue say Zimre's disinvestment came on the back
of Zupco's perennial losses.

The Zimre board was also under pressure to disinvest from the social service
sector because of lack of returns.

"It was felt that Zimre, being a public listed company, could not continue
its investment in non- profit organisations like Zupco. There was need for
investments that bring value to the shareholder," said an official close to
the deal.

It was not immediately clear how much government would pay for the 49%

According to the deal government has agreed to pay Zupco's $9,5 billion debt
which the company has been battling to repay to its local and foreign

Zupco chief executive officer Bright Matonga confirmed this week that
government now wholly owns the company.

"Zimre opted out and we are now working out the modalities," said Matonga.
"Government will take over the $9,5 billion Zimbabwe dollar debt plus
amounts owed to the Metropolitan Bank."

Zupco has been battling to service its mounting debt. The company has been
on a slide since government took over with its fleet dropping from more than
1 000 buses to just over 100 at the moment.

Zimre's chief operating officer Solomon Tembo confirmed the transaction but
could not give details saying the matter was due for discussion at board

"The board is just about to meet now (Tuesday) to discuss the issue. We can
only comment when we have discussed the issue as a board," said Tembo.

Businessdigest understands that at the meeting Zimre board directors
unanimously agreed to approve the disposal.

Zimre bought into Zupco when it was still a parastatal. Zupco is one of the
parastatals that have been criticised by parliament for failing to produce
annual reports.

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Zim Independent

'Equipment grab unjustified'
Ngoni Chanakira
THE parliamentary legal committee on the Acquisition of Farm Equipment and
Materials Bill says seven clauses in the Bill are unconstitutional because,
among other things, they constitute a serious curtailment of property
rights, bringing Zimbabwe's controversial land apportionment programme into
the spotlight once again.

The committee says it is very clear that the compulsory acquisition of farm
equipment and material is not intended for a purpose beneficial to the
public but as retribution against farmers whose land has been acquired for
resettlement as well as for the benefit of individual persons who might
already have seized farm equipment and material.

Thousands of individuals including government ministers, politicians and
business executives, mainly linked to the ruling Zanu PF party, have
benefited from acquired farms countrywide.

The legal committee comprises MDC Bulawayo Northeast MP Welshman Ncube, MDC
Mutare Central MP Innocent Gonese and Zanu PF Buhera South MP and former
Lands and Agriculture minister Kumbirai Kangai.

Ncube, Gonese and Kangai met on May 27 and June 3 to discuss the issues
raised and then issued an adverse report.

The adverse report, which was presented to the 150-member parliament, says
some of the clauses are actually in conflict with the constitution of

Parliament however on Wednesday went ahead to pass the controversial Bill
despite opposition MPs storming out of the House when the issue went to the

Leader of the House and Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs
Patrick Chinamasa said the committee, in its adverse report, had sought to
make political, and not legal, arguments.

"The Parliamentary Legal Committee considered the Acquisition of Farm
Equipment and Materials Bill (HB6 2004) ("the Bill") within the framework of
its mandate and regrets to report unanimously that Clauses 6, 7, 8, 10 and
13 are in conflict with the constitution of Zimbabwe and therefore
unconstitutional," the report said.

"The Bill, among other things, proscribes the destruction or disablement of
farm equipment, and authorises the state to compulsorily acquire farm
equipment and material which was used or to be used on land acquired for
resettlement purposes."

It said the constitutionality of the said provisions of the Bill must
therefore be tested against various exceptions.

"In other words, can the compulsory acquisition of farm equipment or
materials provided for in the Bill be said to be justified on the grounds
that it is reasonably necessary for the safeguarding of the interests of
defence, public safety, public order, public morality, public health and
town and country planning?" the committee asked.

"It is plain, Mr. Speaker Sir, that the acquisition of tractors, seed,
fertilisers, pipes, etc cannot possibly be justified on the basis of public
order, public safety, public morality, public health or in the interest of
defence or town and country planning."

The committee said what remained was to consider whether such acquisition
could be justified on the basis that it was necessary for the utilisation of
the property for a purpose beneficial to the public.

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Zim Independent

Poor governance causing Zim's economic slowdown
Ngoni Chanakira
THE International Monetary Fund (IMF) says among the most common causes of
economic slowdown in Zimbabwe are mismanagement and poor governance.

The Washington-based organisation says economic performance in many African
countries however continues to improve but achievement of the Millennium
Development Goals is at risk.

In a brief on the outlook for sub-Saharan Africa, IMF African Department
director Abdoulaye Bio Tchane said on the brighter side as many as 21 of
sub-Saharan Africa's economies were expected to grow at rates of 5% or more
this year, which would be an eight-year high.

He said real gross domestic product (GDP) for the region was expected to
average a robust 4,2% - a rate not seen since the mid-1990s.

"For much of the region however forecast growth will still fall short of the
7% needed for Africa to achieve the Millennium Development Goals," he said.

Tchane said among the most common causes of this slowdown were drought,
notably in Ethiopia, Guinea, Mali and Rwanda, conflict in Burundi, Central
African Republic, Republic of Congo, and Ivory Coast.

He said lower oil production in Angola and the Democratic Republic of the
Congo and "economic mismanagement or poor governance in Seychelles and
Zimbabwe" were also causes of the economic slowdown.

"Indeed, conflict, civil strife, drought and poor domestic policies continue
to be clearly evident in those countries experiencing the poorest growth,"
he said.

"As in the past, the regional average masked diverse performance among
individual countries and country groupings. While real GDP growth in
sub-Saharan Africa's oil-producing countries increased to an average 8,7% in
2003, the average for non-oil economies slowed from 2,9% to 2,1%."

He said among the non-oil economies, slower growth last year primarily
reflected the outturn for South Africa, the region's largest economy.

South African GDP growth slowed to 1,9%, from 3,6% in 2002, largely because
the effects of the rand's appreciation on net exports, continued to be the
main driving force behind growth in the non-oil economies.

Last month the IMF anticipated that Zimbabwe's GDP, which has been on the
decline since 1999, would record a 5,2% positive growth, up from a decline
of -9,2% this year.

Since March the IMF has warned that this year the GDP could shrink even

Over the past five years, the country's GDP has contracted by about 30%.

Tchane said there were a number of cases in which countries facing the same
external environment were having very different outcomes.

"Five of the fastest-growing sub-Saharan African economies during the past
five years - Benin, Burkina Faso, Mozambique, Tanzania and Uganda - have all
reached their completion points under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries'
Initiative and are pursuing strong macro-economic and structural reform
agendas," he said.

He said the main challenge facing most sub-Saharan countries remains how to
raise economic growth rates substantially and sustainably and make progress
towards the Millennium Development Goals.

"This will require substantial increases in investment, including from
external sources, as well as a more dynamic private sector," Tchane said.

"This, in turn, points to the critical importance of improving the business
climate, which would entail steadfast commitment not only to appropriate
macro-economic frameworks but also to more rapid and comprehensive
structural and legislative reforms as well as improvements in governance and
participatory process."

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Zim Independent

Gold panners take over
Ngoni Chanakira
GOLD panners have virtually taken over as the country's major suppliers of
Zimbabwe's most important mining product.

In an interview Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor Gideon Gono said 65%
of what was achieved last year had already been accounted for so far.

About US$120 million has already been earned from gold sales.

"Every month gold deliveries are increasing," he told businessdigest. "Ever
since we tightened up on the deliveries and opened up the sector we
discovered that two thirds of minerals and monies were not being accounted
for. There was lack of accountability which is a very fertile breeding
ground for corruption."

Figures released by the RBZ for the period ending May 19 show that in 2003 a
total of 12 048,4 kilogrammes of gold were produced in Zimbabwe.

Of this amount small-scale producers contributed 1 253,1 kilogrammes of gold
while large-scale sector produced 10 995,3 kg.

For the period ending May 19, 2004 however a total of 7 837,05 kg of gold
was delivered.

Of this amount small-scale producers delivered 4 304,94 kg of gold while
their large-scale counterparts have brought in 3 532,11 kg.

"Since we allowed 'Makorokoza' to become a part of our gold delivering
sector we have seen a huge increase in gold deliveries to Fidelity Printers
and Refineries (Pvt) Ltd," Gono said.

"The figures are beginning to change dramatically with the small-scale
sector now bringing in more gold than the major players."

Makorokoza is a term used for illegal gold panners.

In his monetary policy statement review in April Gono said gold panning and
the growing activities of what had come to be known as "Makorokozas", while
having an adverse bearing on the environment, had become a means of
sustenance to the majority of young Zimbabweans.

He said there was, therefore, need for a long-term strategy to be put in
place for these activities to be re-oriented into more formal and
sustainable mining operations.

He said as a short-term first step in this direction, the RBZ and the
Ministry of Mines and Mining Development would provide special licences to
designated agents who would buy gold in areas where these operations were

"This arrangement should reduce grey market activities in the precious
metal," Gono said.

In 2004 small-scale gold production gradually increased.

For example in January 2003 the small-producers delivered 75,6 kg of gold to
the market as compared to 926,4 kg in January this year.

Large-scale producers on the other hand for the same period delivered 1
069,5 kg as compared to 852,7 kg in January this year.

Small-scale producers delivered 855,6 kg, 903,0 kg and 932,6 kg for
February, March and April respectively, while last year they brought in 51,6
kg, 117,3 kg and 83,3 kg respectively.

Large-scale producers on the other hand for the same period brought in 632,7
kg, 932,8 kg and 715,0 kg for February, March and April in 2004, down from
824,7 kg, 871,6 kg and 960,6 kg for the same period last year.

"This year the situation has changed and small-scale producers have
overtaken their large-scale counterparts," Gono said.

To date small-scale producers have delivered 4 304,94 kg of gold while the
large-scale sector has brought in 3 532,11 kg.
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Zim Independent


'We are denied water for days'

YOU may not be aware that Greendale North (and therefore Tafara, Mabvuku,
Letombo etc which are on the same line) were again without water last week.

For April we had no water for a total of 18 days out of 30 and for June we
were without water for four days by last Friday.

Upon inquiring I was told that the compressors they had hired had collapsed.
No one could tell me what they were doing about it or when the municipality
or the government were going to act on the situation.

The truth is obviously that the entire water system has collapsed and no one
is doing anything about it.

Government is obviously not supplying the necessary finance for a complete
overhaul of the water system. When is government going to be held

When is the minister responsible going to do something constructive instead
of locking himself in continual spats with the municipality?

Please could you investigate this horrific scenario and expose the
incompetence and lack of forward planning until something is done.

S Bown,

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Zim Independent


Demand equal exposure of Mat massacres

HIP!HIP! hooray for Roy Bennett for revealing Zanu PF as weaklings. The
bullying tactics of Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa and company have been
matched by courageous Bennett who was only using his right of self-defence.

Ever since Zanu PF lost the last general election, it has been bullying all
and sundry in Zimbabwe with impunity. It is very disheartening that everyone
in Zanu PF including its MPs are such blubbering cowards who will support
anything - right or wrong - said by President Mugabe.

Chinamasa was going on and on about getting Bennett's piece of land and
naturally the latter blew his top. For this, cowardly Zanu PF members staged
orchestrated demonstrations in Harare.

It was a great shame to stage such demonstrations when thousands of our
fellow countrymen have been assaulted and left homeless by Zanu PF in the
past five years or so without any action from Zanu PF supporters.

For more than two weeks the Americans in Iraq have been pornographically
shown on ZTV which suspended its own censorship board to score points
against the US.

This so-called scoop was watched by all ages in the country. Why did the
censorship board not protect children from this pornography? The answer -
Zanu PF thought that this would sway people's support to its side.

Zanu PF again deliberately highlighted events in Iraq papering over
atrocities carried out by our own forces in Zimbabwe. These are tactics of
bullies all over the world who like to see only their good side and not the
bad one.

I dare challenge Zanu PF supporters to demand the same coverage of the
Matabeleland massacres that were equally grave.

People of Zimbabwe, let us all stand up against the bullying Zanu PF and
vote them out despite the odds against us. If we have to die for our freedom
then we must die. After all we only die once.


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Zim Independent


Open letter to Ignatius Chombo

THE City of Munich has been watching and is greatly bewildered by your
systematic attack and arbitrary suspension and dismissal of elected members
of the Harare City Council - the latest being the suspension of the newly
elected deputy mayor and 13 councilors on June 1.

Your allegations to suspend council members that public services in Harare
are no longer functional are cynical since you have deliberately stopped
council from performing its duties in an orderly manner by removing its
elected mayor and not allowing council to hold regular council meetings.

This new show of strength by a state ministry addressed to the city council
which was elected by the people of Harare clearly shows once more that you
are not concerned about facts and the welfare of the people but only in
seizure of power.

The suspension and dismissal of executive mayor Elias Mudzuri and further
six city councillors is exclusively to be seen in this light, too.

We deeply regret that our twin city is moving one step further away from
democratic conditions where the citizens are allowed to determine who should
be running their city.

We also regret that the City of Munich can do nothing to support the
Municipality of Harare in solving the most pressing problems as our partner
in Harare are the citizens and their elected representatives, rather than a
state minister and persons appointed by him

Hep Monatzeder,

Mayor of the City of Munich.
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Zim Independent


Nuns farm seizure: the facts

Dear Editor, IN response to an article "Zanu PF youths aid nuns in farm
seizure" (Zimbabwe Independent, June 4), I wish to make some clarifications.

It is true that generally as a congregation we were visualising ourselves
with a plot on which we could till land and produce something with which to
boost our resources.

The Sisters at Father O'Hea Memorial Hospital knew a Mr Harvey, a retired
farmer who owns Malabar farm. The farm is within walking distance from the

The sisters, who belong to our order (Little Children of the Blessed Lady)
approached him with a request for a small piece of land on which they could
do small-scale farming. Mr Harvey who had no problem with the request had a
meeting with a Mr Swales who is leasing the farm.

Mr Swales offered us 30 hectares of land along Manyame River. He and his
wife expressed great joy at having the sisters as neighbours. The
relationship between the sisters and the Swales was actually very good to
the extent that we invited Mr Swales to join the board of our plot. He
declined due to pressure of work.

The agreement between Mr Swales and us that farm issues should only be
discussed with the regional superior and myself was to prevent confusion in

When we wanted to keep a few beasts an Arex officer advised us the land was
too small for the project. We approached Mr Swales for advice, all in good
faith and he offered more land. Never at any time did we have the intention
of taking over his farm.

Mr Swales agreed to add 10 more hectares and said he would draw us another
map to this effect. No map was drawn. We continued with our farming
activities but suddenly he engaged the Ministry of Lands and Agriculture in
a meeting at the farm. This meeting was about other issues and our presence
at the farm.

I was not aware of the meeting at the time. Some disagreements must have
occurred between the ministry and Mr Swales resulting in his being offered
eviction letters. When we discovered this, we wrote a letter to the ministry
informing them that we were pulling out of the farm.

We did not want to be the reason of the Swales' eviction. Copies of the
letters and documentation of all agreements between Mr Swales and us are
readily available.

We are actually in the process of removing our property from the farm as we
have pulled out. We never intended any harm to the Swales and are shocked at
the article which appeared in your paper - an article in which I was quoted
out of context.

The article has done a lot of damage to the Order. It implies that we are
political and suggests that we engaged the youths to threaten Mr Swales.

This is far from the truth as we never engaged the youths in any activity.

I have realised that the regional superior and myself may not have done a
lot in the way of supervising the plot. Much could have happened without our

I apologise for tarnishing the image of the church.

Sr Helen Tendayi Maminimini,

Superior General LCBL.
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Zim Independent

Editor's Memo

Iden Wetherell
I MUST apologise to devotees of our crossword puzzle for the recent
confusion surrounding publication of the puzzles. We previously had a
contract with the Telegraph which owing to forex constraints had to be

As some of the more eagle-eyed among you may have spotted, we are now
resorting to running previous editions from a couple of years ago.

This is obviously not a satisfactory position and, coupled with the failure
to provide answers on the right date, has left some regular readers fuming.

Hell hath no fury like a crossword wiz crossed!

We tried looking at some US Internet crossword sites but they proved
unsuitable for our more thoughtful players.

We will have to continue with the current series for the time being until
other arrangements can be made. Please bear with us and let me know if the
system breaks down again in terms of sequence. Assistant sales manager
Silent Kamambo is our point man in all this.

I also need to apologise to our Internet readers for problems on the website
last Friday. Our website managers, Cyberplex, had difficulties with the
mirror site in the US which explains the interruption of service for two
hours on Friday afternoon.

If you have problems with access, please notify me or contact Cyberplex, so
they can attend to it. Emmanuel Chindove ( will
get back to you with a response if you let him know your individual
situation. Please always try to "refresh" first.

News editor Vincent Kahiya works very hard on a Thursday evening to get most
of our copy prepared for uploading. He is assisted by sub-editor Oliver
Shambira who takes over early on Friday morning.

Our other sub-editor, Teldah Mawarire, is currently in Germany where she is
looking at the operations of newsrooms there and hopefully learning a thing
or two which can be put to use here. She tells me the Financial Times
Deutschland operation is the most impressive so far.

The FT's expansion underlines the trend towards globalisation of information
as London's leading business newspaper is now read around the world with
publishing facilities in the US and mainland Europe.

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