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Zimbabwe soldiers seize maize from farmers

Zim Online

Wed 14 June 2006

      HARARE - The Zimbabwe government has stationed soldiers and police on
roads leading into cities to prevent farmers from moving maize to a black
market for the grain in urban areas, forcing them to instead sell to the
state-owned Grain Marketing Board (GMB).

      The government has also dispatched teams from the GMB into rural areas
to cajole farmers to sell all excess maize to the state grain utility in a
desperate bid to boost stocks of the national staple food and quash reports
of more hunger this year.

      ZimOnline correspondents in the main maize producing provinces of
Mashonaland West, Mashonaland East, Mashonaland Central and Manicaland have
for the past week witnessed security forces and GMB officials at roadblocks,
rummaging through cars and public buses in search of maize which if found
they would promptly impound.

      It could not be ascertained when exactly the government began seizing
maize it suspects may be headed for the black-market or when GMB officials
began prowling rural areas cajoling farmers to sell only to the state grain

      But GMB chief executive officer Samuel Muvuti defended the maize
seizures saying it was not only lawful but necessary to prevent
"unscrupulous dealers" from laying their hands on the key grain.

      Muvuti, a former army colonel, said: "The legal position is that no
one is allowed to sell grain (maize) to anyone except the GMB. There is
nothing wrong with enforcing that lawful position because a lot of maize was
being lost to unscrupulous dealers."

      The Harare administration is desperate to collect all maize in the
country it can lay its hands on and boost stocks after claiming Zimbabwe,
which has largely survived on food aid from relief agencies since 2000, did
not need help this time round because it was going to have a bumper harvest.

      A bumper harvest would also be the best way to show that President
Robert Mugabe's chaotic and often violent land reforms were in fact bearing
fruit by ensuring food security.

      But several peasants, who spoke to ZimOnline, were angry that the
government was seizing their maize. Many claimed the maize was for
consumption by relatives and family in urban areas where food is short and
not for resale on the black-market.

      "The maize was not meant for sale, some of my children live in Mutare
and I was bringing them the maize for them to eat," said a man, who only
identified himself as Mr Mungofa.

      Mungofa was speaking just after the two-50kg bags of maize he was
ferrying on bus was seized at a roadblock along the Harare-Mutare highway in
eastern Zimbabwe.

      Another farmer, Jairos Maromo, who had 150 kg of maize taken from him
along the Harare to Kariba highway, wondered how the government could seize
his maize when it had failed to provide him or his neighbours with inputs.

      "It is a sign of things gone wrong when uniformed soldiers with guns
force us to surrender to them maize that we grew from our own resources,"
said Maromo, who was allocated a plot at a former white-owned farm near
Karoi town in Mashonaland West province.

      Agricultural experts say one major reason why food production has
continued plummeting in Zimbabwe is because the Harare administration has
failed to give skills training and inputs support to black peasants
resettled on former white farms.

      But contrary to predictions by independent food experts and
international aid agencies, Agriculture Minister Joseph Made earlier this
year announced that Zimbabwe will this year harvest 1.8 million tonnes of
maize, equal to annual national consumption.

      Independent forecasts by groups such as Famine Early Warning Systems
Network and the United States Department of Agriculture show that Zimbabwe
could this year reap between 800 000 -1 000 000 tonnes of maize, leaving the
hard cash-strapped country needing to import at least another million tonnes
of maize.

      The groups said although the country had received good rains it would
still not be able to harvest enough food after shortages of seed, fertilizer
and other inputs crippled planting operations. - ZimOnline

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8 000 cattle die as Harare fails to buy vaccines

Zim Online

Wed 14 June 2006

      MASVINGO - At least 8 000 cattle have died over the past two months in
Zimbabwe's southern province of Masvingo from lumpy skin and heart water
diseases because there is no foreign currency to buy vaccines.

      The latest outbreak of cattle diseases comes barely four months after
another outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease which killed hundreds of cattle,
dampening the spirits of farmers who are battling to rebuild the national
herd after six years of drought.

      Farmers in Masvingo yesterday said that they were now resorting to
traditional methods to treat some of the infected cattle.

      "We are resorting to old methods of treating cattle where we look for
traditional herbs because we have no option," said Francis Madembo of
Mapanzure area in Masvingo South constituency.

      "It is a very painful for us to watch our cattle die. We are losing
cattle every day because of the diseases," he added.

      Government veterinary officer for Masvingo, Dr Charity Sibanda,
yesterday said the shortage of foreign currency to purchase the vaccines was
hampering his department's efforts to control the diseases.

      She told ZimOnline: "We have received several reports of cattle dying
because of heart water and lumpy skin diseases but our hands are tied
because we have no money to buy the vaccines.

      "It would have been appropriate to vaccinate all the cattle in the
affected areas but it is impossible."

      Zimbabwe has battled severe foreign currency shortages since 2000 when
President Robert Mugabe disrupted the key agriculture sector which was the
country's biggest foreign currency earner.

      The foreign currency shortages have resulted in the country failing to
import, among other things, essential medicines and fuel. - ZimOnline

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Farmer files urgent application against ZANU PF chairman

Zim Online

Wed 14 June 2006

      BULAWAYO - A black farmer, embroiled in a wrangle with parliamentary
speaker John Nkomo over ownership of a farm, on Tuesday filed an urgent
application to the High Court seeking the court to bar the powerful
politician from forcibly evicting him from the property.

      The farmer and black economic empowerment activist, Langton Masunda,
was last Friday allegedly ordered by Nkomo to leave Jijima Safari lodge in
the southern Lupane district or risk being forced out of the property by the

      Masunda has had a long-running feud with Nkomo over ownership of
Jijima, a lucrative business seized from its original white owner by the
government during the its controversial land reform exercise over the past
six years. Both Nkomo and Masunda claim ownership to the property.

      In the application filed by his lawyers, Masunda wants the court to
bar Nkomo from interfering with operations at his Jijima lodge.

      "I seek an order restraining the respondents from interfering with my
business, not to interfere with guests and hunters as they conduct their
safari and hunting operations and to bar them from carrying out an eviction
they have threatened," Masunda's court petition reads in part.

      It was not possible to establish whether Nkomo, who is House of
Assembly Speaker, had yet had sight of the application or responded to it.
He has refused to discuss with ZimOnline his wrangle with Masunda.

      Nkomo, who is also national chairman of the ruling ZANU PF party and
is considered among moderates in President Robert Mugabe's government, is
said to have last weekend invaded Jijima farm and ordered Masunda and his
workers to vacate the property so he could take over.

      The ZANU PF chairman has since last year battled to grab the Jijima
safari business arguing that it belongs to him because it was part of Lugo
Ranch farm, a vast former white-owned estate allocated to Nkomo by the
government during its controversial farm seizure programme over the past six

      Masunda, who claims Jijima was allocated to him also owns another
farm, Volunteer Farm, which was seized by the government from its former
white owners and is adjacent to Nkomo's Lugo farm.

      The two's wrangle over the rich safari farm illustrates well how top
ZANU PF officials, rich and well-connected black Zimbabweans have fought and
scrambled among themselves to grab the best of the farms seized from
whites. - ZimOnline

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Zim in broadcast deal with China for chrome


          June 13 2006 at 04:22PM

      Harare - Zimbabwe has signed a $60-million (about R409-million) deal
with China that will see state radio and television transmission improved in
return for chrome, the latest in a string of high-profile agreements with
the Asian giant, state radio reported on Tuesday.

      Under the deal, which was signed in Beijing on Tuesday, Star
Communications of China will provide new radio and television transmission
equipment which will enable all parts of the country to get radio and
television coverage, the radio said.

      The Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC) is to provide
security for the deal in the form of chrome, said the report.

      News of the deal comes two days after reports that Zimbabwe had
secured a $1,3-billion (about R8-million) deal with China for the
development of thermal power stations and coalmines in return for chrome.

      Vice-President Joyce Mujuru is in Beijing at the moment on a drive to
secure desperately-needed investment in the struggling southern African
country, which is currently mired in its worst ever economic crisis.

      President Robert Mugabe has been actively encouraging local businesses
to look East and end their reliance on traditional Western markets.

      "We are desirous to see more trade and investment between our two
countries," Mujuru told a Zimbabwe-China Trade Investment seminar in Beijing
on Monday.

      Mujuru said mining offered immense opportunities for investors because
Zimbabwe was endowed with abundant mineral resources waiting to be
extracted, according to the state-controlled Herald newspaper.

      Zimbabwe's ruling party is keen to push through amendments to mining
laws that will give the government a 51-percent stake in all mines.

      Mugabe says Zimbabweans want ownership of their own resources, but
critics say the proposed legislation will frighten away foreign investment.

      It's not clear yet how the new laws would affect Asian investors.
Zimbabwe's radio transmission needs improvement.

      Reception is shaky in parts of the country, especially in border towns
like Victoria Falls and Mutare. - Sapa-dpa

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Coal supplies cut to Zim power station


          June 13 2006 at 11:30AM

      Harare - Coal supplies to Zimbabwe's main power stations have been
massively scaled down, further crippling electricity supply in the
struggling southern African country, reports said Tuesday.

      Hwange Colliery Company (HCC) has cut supplies to Zimbabwe Electricy
Supply Authority (ZESA) Holdings by up to 40 per cent over unpaid bills,
leading to a significant reduction in power generated by the main Hwange
Power Station, said the state-controlled Herald.

      ZESA Holdings is now generating only 90 megawatts of power at the
650-megawatt station, the report said.

      News of the loss of generating capacity couldn't come at a worse time
for Zimbabweans, already battling frequent power cuts that ZESA blames on
its inability to generate funds.

      Power cuts took a rapid turn for the worse this weekend, with
residents of some parts of Harare and other cities reporting cuts lasting up
to seven hours every day since Friday.

      ZESA owes HCC ZIM$500-billion Zimbabwe (R34-million dollars), a debt
that has been accumulating since January, said the Herald. ZESA says
President Robert Mugabe's cabinet will not allow it to charge higher tariffs
because that would push inflation up even further.

      Annual inflation is currently running at 1193.5 per cent in Zimbabwe,
the highest rate in the world.

      The managing director of HCC confirmed that coal supplies to ZESA had
been scaled down and said ZESA's failure to pay was constraining their

      "We also have our suppliers and we are paying them on time. We do not
have the luxury of getting supplies for six months without paying like ZESA
is doing," said Godfrey Dzinomwa.

      The authorities in Zimbabwe are well aware of the urgent need to
improve power generating capacity ahead of an anticipated regional shortage
in 2007.

      Vice President Joyce Mujuru this weekend witnessed the signing of a
$1,3-billion deal with China, which will see Chinese companies developing
coalmines and power stations in Zimbabwe in return for chrome. - Sapa-dpa

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Zimbabwe poverty datum line surges to 52 million Zimbabwean dollars

People's Daily

      Zimbabwe's poverty datum line for the month of May has gone up to 52
million Zimbabwe dollars from 37.9 million dollars in April, local media
reported on Tuesday.

      The Central Statistical Office announced on Monday the surge
represented a 38.17 percent increase in the figure. The continued increase
in the food basket leaves most families below the poverty datum line.

      In Zimbabwe, one U.S. dollars equals about 101,000 Zimbabwe dollars at
the official exchange rate rates, but is an equivalent of over 300,000
Zimbabwe dollars in the parallel market, or black market.

      The increase of poverty datum line is attributed to low wages and
salaries, which the average Zimbabwean takes home per month. While on
average prices of basic commodities go up at least twice a month, workers
hardly get salary increases, the office said.

      The lowest paid workers, with the majority of them in the agricultural
sector, are being paid less than 2 million dollars a month.

      According to consumer watchdog, the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe, a
family of six now requires at least 49.8 million dollars per month to meet
its monthly requirements.

      Inflation, currently at 1194 percent, has eroded the purchasing power
of the majority of Zimbabweans, with many families now having one meal a

      Source: Xinhua

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Analysts say Mugabe must be forced to negotiating table

      By Violet Gonda
      13 June 2006

      Some key analysts of Zimbabwean society have said that with the
deepening economic crisis in the country the possibility of change could
come through various options such as: mass action by the opposition, policy
change by the Mugabe regime or international intervention.

      This was said in the first of a three-part teleconference debate on
various issues of national interest with three people who have at one time
or another advised some of the key players in Zimbabwean politics.

      Independent MP Professor Jonathan Moyo - who was an adviser and
strategist for Robert Mugabe when he was Information Minister - said new
alliances should be forged with the international community saying he
doubts, "The way forward requires mass action. I think everybody can see we
have reached the end of the road and what is going on right now are the
politics of the end game." A startling statement from a man who was once
Zanu PF's greatest defender and who was himself the architect of many
oppressive pieces of legislation.

      Political analyst Professor Brian Raftopoulos, who once acted as an
advisor for Morgan Tsvangirai, said there is a deepening stalemate in the
country. "You have a state which is unable to reform itself and an
opposition which has been debilitated by it's own divisions from pushing the
state any further." He said this has resulted in other regional and
international players coming to the table, like the reported United Nations
initiative - after the African Union and the Southern African Development
Community (SADC) failed to move the problem of Zimbabwe forward.

      The Tsvangirai MDC has been rallying its supporters for mass action
but it was reported recently that Tsvangirai is suspending mass action plans
for behind-the-scenes diplomacy. Raftopoulos said given the nature of state
repression the kind of popular mobilisation that was envisaged was likely to
be crushed very very quickly. "So I think both sides would certainly go to a
negotiating table if there was something reasonable to be discussed."

      Leading economist John Robertson said the government is completely out
of its depth and has no resources to deal with this crisis. The
mismanagement of the economy has seen massive decline in levels of
production, the total absence of new investments into the country, massive
flight of skilled personnel and the country has no credit rating
internationally. The economist said, " We are nowhere near to solving the
problem because political hang-ups still keep the people who could help the
country at arms length." He agreed that changes are needed politically and
statesmanship is really needed at the top. "I believe it's not going to come
until we get some involvement from the international community."

      Profesor Moyo revealed that ZANU PF is probably much more divided than
the opposition at the moment not only because of the succession squabble but
also because of the economic breakdown and the social breakdown that is
taking place in the country. He said this is an opportunity that is not
being exploited by the opposition and that this is a big danger for the
opposition as it will pose a risk if the government responds to the
consequences of the economic collapse." He said, " We now - for the first
time in six or so years - have a possibility of having Mugabe himself
striking a deal to secure his own legacy with the key actors in the
international community through policy change."

      All three agreed that while mass action is an option that the
opposition can take, it needs more robust options like putting pressure on
regional and international bodies to bring Mugabe to the negotiating table.

      The first segment of this teleconference discussion can be heard on
the programme Hot Seat Tuesday.

      The next two segments will deal specifically with the economy,
international intervention and what happens after Mugabe.

      SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

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Zimbabwe Rejects Downgraded Economic Status


Thalif Deen

UNITED NATIONS, Jun 13 (IPS) - The government of Zimbabwe, a country in the
throes of a major economic crisis, has rejected a recommendation by a U.N.
committee that the cash-starved African nation be "downgraded" to the status
of a least developed country (LDCs), the poorest of the world's poor.

The recommendation by the Committee for Development Policy (CDP), comprising
22 U.N.-appointed experts, can be implemented only if the decision is
acceptable to the country concerned.

In a letter to the CDP, the government of Zimbabwe said it "does not give
its consent to be downgraded to LDC status".

An African diplomat told IPS that some countries view LDC status -- rightly
or wrongly -- as "both a political and economic stigma". "I am not surprised
that Zimbabwe has rejected the recommendation," he added.

Additionally, an LDC status is considered by some as an admission of failure
of a country's economic policies. And in the case of Zimbabwe, President
Robert Mugabe has refused to accept failure.

Mugabe, who still commands respect in the African continent, has blamed his
country's economic crisis on sanctions imposed by the European Union (EU) -- 
and prompted by Britain -- in retaliation for his land reform policies which
transferred white-owned farms to landless Zimbabweans.

The Zimbabwean president has defended his policy as necessary "to redress
the gross imbalances" of British colonialism. The EU has also placed a
travel ban barring him from visiting any of the 25 EU member countries.

Currently, there are 50 LDCs, of which 34 are from Africa. Since the General
Assembly adopted a resolution creating the new category of LDCs in the
1970s, the number of countries has grown from about 22 to 50. So far, the
only country that has graduated from an LDC to a "developing country" is

Besides Zimbabwe, the CDP has recommended that Papua New Guinea also be
downgraded to the status of LDC. A response from the government of the
Pacific Island nation is pending.

As a result of significant economic improvements, however, four countries
are now considered "eligible for graduation" from LDC to developing country
status: Equatorial Guinea, Kiribati, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.

In a report released last week, the Brussels-based International Crisis
Group (ICG) said that in April 2006, inflation officially topped 1,000
percent, helped by the decision to print 230 million dollars worth of
Zimbabwean currency to pay international debts and sustain operations.

"Unemployment is over 85 percent, poverty over 90 percent, and foreign
reserves are almost depleted. Over four million persons are in desperate
need of food. HIV/AIDS and malnutrition kill thousands every month," the
report said.

Agriculture, the major source of foreign currency earnings, has been
particularly hard-hit. "There are severe shortages of basic consumer items,
and the prices of fuel and food are beyond the reach of many," the report

Ralph Black of the Association of Zimbabweans Based Abroad says the CDP
recommendation to the U.N.'s Economic and Social Council to declare Zimbabwe
a LDC signals a renewed effort by the international body to engage in
reaching a resolution to the multilayered crisis that has crippled what was
once "Africa's breadbasket".

"Finally the Zimbabwean crisis is firmly on the U.N. Agenda," Black told
IPS. Most noticeable signs of this fact are the assessments of the U.N.
Special Envoy on the affects of Operation Murambatstvina -- which involved
the destruction of shanties -- and U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan's
reported diplomatic involvement in seeking a political resolution to the
current impasse.

Clearly, he said, the vulnerability of Zimbabwe relevant to its designation
as a LDC is driven on three main fronts.

First, the nation's domestic national income has decreased rapidly over the
past three years, mainly due to quadruple-digit inflation.

Second, the country's human assets have been adversely affected by the
deterioration of educational standards and decreased enrollment and
increased dropout rates, affecting literacy rates over the long term.

Further, Zimbabwe has experienced declining nutrition, adversely affecting
mortality rates, especially amongst the most vulnerable segments of the
population -- children and those affected by HIV/AIDS. Due to economic
constraints, the health delivery sector has collapsed further, exacerbating
the national hygiene and wellness and adversely affecting mortality, he

Third, Zimbabwe's economic vulnerability has reached alarming proportions
due to the disruption of the agricultural sector's output/production.

Prior to May 2005, he said, it was estimated that 200,000 people were
internally displaced as a result of the farm invasions, a situation that was
worsened by the Zimbabwe governments Operation Murambastvina, in which it is
estimated that 2.4 million people were indirectly affected while 700,000
people were displaced.

An assessment of the facts clearly indicates that the inclusion of Zimbabwe
on the list of least developed nations is warranted, he argued.

The challenge in designating Zimbabwe as a least developed nation (LDC) lies
in the ability of the United Nations to remove the obstacles to development,
by engaging the current government, which is resistant to this development,
without upsetting the internal dynamics at play for democratic change, or
marginalising the democratic forces within the country.

Asked what benefits would accrue to a country designated LDC, Anwarul Karim
Chowdhury, U.N. Under-Secretary-General for LDCs, told IPS that the main
benefits are duty-free, quota-free market access and special attention for
official development assistance (ODA.)

In addition, he pointed out, the U.N. system as a whole, in particular its
funds and programmes, provide increased support to LDCs in terms of resource
allocation and technical assistance.

Black said that while the benefits of the proposed declaration are clear,
including duty-free exports and increased inflow of international aid, the
United Nations must also devise an approach that seeks to encourage the
Zimbabwean government to commit to reform without emboldening its
intransigence to engaging the democratic forces, nor weakening or
undermining the political opposition's road map to reform.

Such a designation, he said, would enhance the profile and capacity of the
suppressed Zimbabwean civil society to engage in reconstruction and
development, increasing the threat to the current government's grip on
power -- hence its reluctance to readily accept inclusion to this class of
the poorest of the poor league, Black declared.

On the other hand, the opposition may view this move as undermining their
efforts to internationally isolate the Mugabe government in a bid to force
talks and broad-based reform. There does not seem to be an easy way out of
this crisis.

Ultimately, the United Nations must act decisively to acquit its
responsibility to protect the most vulnerable and affected within Zimbabwe.

The elevation of the current economic crisis by designating Zimbabwe as an
LDC should be viewed as an encouraging development, Black said. (END/2006)

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Chinese step up 'colonisation' of Zimbabwean economy with power deal

      By Lance Guma
      13 June 2006

      When Robert Mugabe declared in a campaign manifesto that 'Zimbabwe
will never be a colony again,' he clearly forgot to tell the Chinese. With
the country's economy in free fall the Chinese have used their financial
muscle to take over key sectors in Zimbabwe. Having made inroads into the
retail industry, supplying aeroplanes, buses and various arms of war, this
week saw the announcement of a US$1,3 billion deal with China to set up coal
mines and three thermal power stations. The state owned Herald reports that
two Zimbabwean companies have agreed to jointly establish the coalmines and
power stations with Chinese firms.

      Vice President Joyce Mujuru who is touring China witnessed the signing
ceremony between the Zimbabweans and the China Machine-Building
International Corporation. The projects will be located at Dande which is
about 200 kilometres west of Harare. The Chinese will provide power
generation and mining equipment while the Zimbabweans are reported to have
mortgaged coal and chrome deposits as part of the deal. It's also reported
that Chinese companies will rebuild the ailing rail network in the country
and also provide trains and buses in other separate deals.

      A businessman who is no stranger to the mining industry, Mutumwa
Mawere, told Newsreel that 'the Chinese are not a salvation army.if they put
investment in a country they obviously expect a financial return.' He says
while other Zimbabweans are being 'disabled' from doing business the Chinese
are being 'enabled.' Mawere argues that there is no difference between a
Chinese or British investor since they all will not accept a return in
Zimbabwe dollars. He concedes that the Chinese are clearly taking over the
country's economy but that post-colonial countries usually try to claim the
right to decide what is colonialism and what is not.

      The businessman who had his asbestos manufacturing company SMM
Holdings seized by government says 'what is it that the Chinese see that
everyone else can't?' 'There is an exchange rate problem that affects every
other operation in the country but the Chinese seem immune from the
regulatory framework.' Central Bank Governor Gideon Gono last week admitted
'the country will continue to leverage minerals' in order to address the
problems it faces. The government is mortgaging minerals that are still in
the ground as security on lines of credit. This also comes on the back of
threats by government officials that the country will nationalise all the
mines, just as it did with the land.

      SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

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Zimbabwe residents lack inspiring opposition leader, says archbishop

By Bronwen Dachs
Catholic News Service

CAPE TOWN, South Africa (CNS) -- Without a strong leader, residents of
Zimbabwe will not risk taking to the streets to protest chronic food
shortages and spiraling poverty, said Archbishop Pius Ncube of Bulawayo.

"It is hopeless: There is no one to inspire confidence," Archbishop Ncube
said in a telephone interview from Bulawayo. He said Morgan Tsvangirai, who
leads the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, "is big talk but has no

President Robert Mugabe, who has led the southern African country since its
independence from Britain in 1980, "is the only leader people know,"
Archbishop Ncube said in early June. Most Zimbabweans "have been intimidated
into silence" by the government, and "many have left to make a living in
other countries," he said.

Zimbabwe, which has an unemployment rate of more than 70 percent, is
chronically short of food as well as foreign currency to import essential
commodities, including drugs and fuel.

The country's inflation rate is the highest in the world at more than 1,000
percent and, according to the World Bank, it has the fastest-shrinking
economy outside a war zone.

Only a few hundred people took part in a protest march in Bulawayo in late
May after a court overturned a government ban, Jesuit Father Nigel Johnson
said in a telephone interview from Bulawayo.

The march, led by a group of church organizations called the Zimbabwe
Christian Alliance, marked the first anniversary of Operation Restore Order,
a government campaign that had riot police demolishing homes and vendors'
stalls in shantytowns around major cities.

Fear was the main reason for the low turnout at the march, Father Johnson

"People are frightened of being arrested and spending at least one night in
a jail that is crowded and dirty," he said.

Security forces intimidate government critics, he said, noting that riot
police "don't hesitate to fire tear gas" at protesters and "the army would
be called in if that wasn't enough" to make a crowd disperse.

People have vivid memories of the nationwide food riots in 1998, in which
eight people were killed and more than 2,000 people were arrested and
detained on looting charges, he said.

While church-led marches such as the one in Bulawayo are vital in giving a
"voice to the voiceless," not all church-organized gatherings can be relied
on to do the same, Archbishop Ncube said, noting that some of these events
run the risk of being "turned into a platform for government propaganda."

Mugabe is often given a chance to talk at church-organized gatherings, and
Zimbabwe Council of Churches President Peter Nemapare "is notorious for
backing Mugabe," said Archbishop Ncube.

Many Zimbabweans are destitute, with the prices of food and other essentials
"rising every day," Archbishop Ncube said.

In May the country's Reserve Bank introduced a 100,000-Zimbabwe-dollar note,
worth less than $1 in American currency, because shoppers had been forced to
carry huge stacks of currency into grocery stores.

Noting that "starvation is a gradual thing," Father Johnson said that
Zimbabweans are "getting thinner," and starvation "obviously makes people
more susceptible to disease."

There is one doctor to every 15,000 Zimbabweans, and hospitals have few or
no medicines, Archbishop Ncube said.

"People see no future here for themselves and their families, and those with
a profession just leave," he said.

Those who remain have a "passive acceptance" of their increasing struggle to
make ends meet, Father Johnson said.

Also, "their struggle in trying to work out ways of buying goods takes up
all their time and physical strength," which means they have no energy for
organizing or joining resistance movements, he said.

Zimbabweans have "an acute sense of being alone in their struggle and of
disappointment in South Africa" for its reluctance to put pressure on Mugabe
to reform, he said.

Some of the estimated 700,000 people who lost their homes and livelihood in
last year's Operation Restore Order have returned to rebuild the shantytowns
in cities around the country, Archbishop Ncube said.

"Many had been there for 30 years or more and have nowhere else to go," he

"The few hundred houses that have been built by the government to replace
those torn down have been given to soldiers and civil servants," the
archbishop said, noting that none of those affected by the operation have


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Monopoly money

Mail and Guardian

            Godwin Gandu

            13 June 2006 02:57

                  Battling to keep pace with hyper-inflation, the Zimbabwe
Reserve Bank plans to introduce a $1million bank note in September, after
introducing a $100 000 note just last month.

                  Bearer cheques -- introduced three years ago as a stopgap
measure to deal with rapidly devaluing bank notes -- were meant to have a
three-month life span, but have replaced the now worthless paper currency.
Zimbabwe is the only country in the world that does not use real currency.

                  The proposed $1million bearer cheque is worth about R20.
This is not enough to buy lunch for two at an average restaurant, or two
days' worth of groceries for a family of three.

                  "We have to recognise that, since the $50 000 [bearer
note] was introduced, inflation has exceeded 1 000%. Therefore, we need $500
000 bearer cheques to equate with the buying power of $50 000 a year ago,"
says economic analyst Eric Bloch. He adds that higher denominations are
critically necessary as "the management of money is unwieldy at present
because of the volumes to be handled".

                  Unveiling the $100 000 bearer cheque late last month,
Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono said ominously: "It is not the first or
last time you will see us introducing bearer cheques, and we will not
hesitate to introduce higher denominations."

                  "They are anticipating inflation to go roaring like a
tsunami," says economic consultant Daniel Ndlela. "Nobody has ever printed a
million unit of a currency in Africa. We are set to score a first."

                  At Wednesday's (June 7) prices, $100 000 was not enough to
buy a loaf of bread. "They have to respond to the hyperinflation," says
Farayi Dyirakumunda of Interfin Securities. "You can drive a wheelbarrow
full of cash, [but this is] not even enough to buy a full month's groceries.
You need something a wallet can accommodate."

                  Battling the highest inflation in the world, supermarkets
are struggling to handle the vast stacks of cash that are required to
purchase precious little. Most shops have introduced bank-style counting
machines to speed up the queues that form while money is being counted. The
proposed $1million bearer cheque is intended to further reduce the time
spent in queues.

                  Analysts fear the worst is still to come, as perennial
fuel shortages are beginning to bite. The 30% fuel price hike, coming on the
heels of the Zimbabwe dollar's tumble (from $250 000) to $300 000 to the
United States dollar, has seen a sharp spike in the price of goods and

                  "In economic terms, the velocity of the circulation of
money will be increasing rapidly. Wages are likely to be rising as fast as
inflation," says John Legat of Imara Asset Management, warning that prices
are being driven by even higher input costs at point of manufacture. Legat
points out that, while official inflation is at 1 042%, the real rate may
already have exceeded 2 000%.

                  The International Monetary Fund has projected a further
4,7% shrinkage of the economy this year. Spurned by the West, Gono has been
shuttling between Moscow and Harare in search of a rescue package for the
haemorrhaging economy.

                  Chance card
                  Legend has it that, between the World Wars, a student in
Germany ordered a cup of coffee costing 5 000 marks. He had two cups, but
the bill it was for 14 000 marks. "If you want to save money," the waiter
told him, "and you want two cups of coffee, you should order them both at
the same time."

                  At 1 042%, Zimbabwe's inflation rate has not yet reached
the Weimar Republic's hyperinflation rate -- Weimar's prices doubled every
two days, Zimbabwe's double every two months -- but it seems to be heading
that way. Business quotations are only valid for 24 hours and consumer goods
prices increase from day to day.

                  Hyperinflation is when inflation rates over three
successive years exceed 100% in total. Standard Bank economist Robert Bunyi
defines it as "rapid and large increases in price levels" caused by "a
sudden drop in the supply of goods and services" and a simultaneous "large
increase in money supply". He recommends negotiating long-term loans for use
in areas that stimulate the private sector, particularly those geared to the
external market. "These policies must be implemented consistently to
encourage confidence," says Bunyi. -- Percy Zvomuya

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When draconian Zim media laws became useless

Mmegi, Botswana

      Staff Writer
      6/13/2006 5:44:35 PM (GMT +2)

      BULAWAYO: The thought of being arrested by the police (ZRP) or the
military for reporting without accreditation disturbed me as I prepared for
a trip to Zimbabwe. The arrest, detention and trial of two journalists from
the state television station, Btv was still fresh in my mind as we waited
for the bus to Bulawayo.

      My worries were increased after regional immigration officer, Mosikare
Sechele and Botswana Unified Revenue Services (BURS) regional manager Molipi
Chikumbudzi jokingly wondered at the Botswana Railways (BR) station waiting
room in Francistown whether media people have accreditation. Zimbabwe's
Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA) is one of the
most draconian media laws in the region and Africa. AIPPA requires that
journalists working in Zimbabwe should be registered with the Media and
Information Commission or face the wrath of the law. Even with assurances
from the BR public relations manager, Jane Gulubane, that everything will be
alright, the fact that we were not provided with any proof raised doubts in
the minds of some of the members of the press. This was a trip organised by
the BR in collaboration with the National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) for the
launch of the Francistown-Bulawayo mixed train route. When Botswana's
Minister of Works and Transport, Lesego Motsumi finally arrived, a convoy of
three vehicles - her car and two mini buses hired by - carrying state
officials and journalists, BR hit the road to Bulawayo. As protocol
dictates, Motsumi's vehicle was in front, followed by the mini bus carrying
BR board members and senior staff. Last was the mini bus carrying a few BR
senior staff, civil servants from the departments of Works and Transport,
Immigration and Botswana Unified Revenue Services (BURS). The trip to the
Ramokgwebana border crossing and our departure to Bulawayo, was very short.
The car park at the Botswana border with Zimbabwe was almost filled up when
we arrived. Long queues of Zimbabweans and other travellers at the
Immigration and Customs point, could tell that we were going to take long at
the border. We were still completing the Zimbabwe Customs and Immigration
declaration forms when it was suddenly announced that we should all hand
over our passports to an advancing immigration officer. Within less than an
our, we were through, leaving behind hundreds of travellers, who watched in
disbelief the power that ministers and senior government officials have. An
inquisitive police officer could not allow the ministerial vehicle and the
whole convoy to pass without asking a question or two. We had already
boarded our vehicles and BURS regional manager, Molipi Chikumbudzi rescued
the situation by ordering the young officer to open the barrier. On the
other side, the Zimbabwe Minister of Transport and Communications,
Christopher Mushohwe and his entourage was waiting for us. This is where we
thought journalists would be required to produce accreditation for doing
duty in Zimbabwe. Still nothing was demanded. We asked the public relations
officers if they had forgotten about accreditation. The answer was that
accreditation was not necessary. The queues on the Zimbabwe side were almost
triple those on the Botswana side. The thought of arriving at the border and
quickly leaving behind people struggling on the lines troubled me. I told
myself, this was just too much. For those in the know, it happens every now
and then when ministers and senior government officials in Zimbabwe pass at
the border and this was not a shock to them. Zimbabweans now have lost the
sense of complaining, as their leaders do not mind what they go through,
claims a government officer who was part of the delegation. Almost empty
streets greeted our arrival at the Bulawayo city. Filling stations are
deserted as if they have never operated before. Someone in the mini bus
cracks a joke that the streets of Bulawayo are 'deserted' because people
have gone to Botswana. We all admit that Zimbabweans are forced to travel
regularly as they search for opportunities. And that they need support from
Batswana. Bulawayo, Zimbabwe's second city-is ageing as a majority of the
buildings are rusty, possibly due to poor maintenance. The city has a
population of more than one million. While the economic and political
situation continues to bite, there are some Zimbabweans that enjoy life to
the fullest. At a dinner hosted by the Zimbabwe Minister of Transport and
Communications last Thursday at the Bulawayo Rainbow Hotel, when an employee
of Zimbabwe Railways boasted that he is in a 'class' of people that enjoy
life to the fullest. He was a hefty man who could not stop talking, even
when his colleagues pleaded with him to be careful around media people. "We
are enjoying ourselves and these people need to be told that it is not all
gloomy here," he insisted. He left our table laughing incessantly and
suggested to one of our female colleagues that he had a lot of Zimbabwean
Dollars at the back of his car. He suggested that the colleague should
follow him to get the money. We all laughed our lungs out. The Zimbabwe
Minister had spoiled us to the extent that an already stoned colleague
complained that the booze in Zimbabwe had a high percentage of alcohol. He
also confessed to have enjoyed the food. "I had to order that palatable
chicken again and again," he said. Our talkative Zimbabwean tablemate could
have been correct when he suggested that although Zimbabwe Railways was not
making hefty profits, the employees are living better than a majority of
Zimbabweans. The guests were further spoilt at an open buffet with meals and
drinks. Interestingly, senior officers of Zimbabwe Railways are retired
soldiers. On our way back, we were given special treatment again as an
immigration officer, followed us in the train to stamp our passports when
approaching Tshesebe village in Botswana

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Meat rots as power cuts worsen

      By Tererai Karimakwenda
      13 June 2006

      We received a very disturbing report from our Harare correspondent
Simon Muchemwa on Tuesday about a serious health risk that has developed due
to the increased power cuts that are plaguing the whole country. Muchemwa
said refrigerated goods sold in shops are spoiling or going bad quite
frequently because the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) is
failing to provide enough power. Unannounced power cuts are not only
creating heavy losses for businesses in terms of reduced production hours,
but they are now creating a health risk as many food items become spoiled
when freezers and refrigerators shut down. Muchemwa told us he spoke to many
residents in Harare who believe they bought meat pies that were spoiled on
more than one occasion recently. He said the majority them believe some
shops are deliberately using spoiled meat rather than lose huge amounts by
throwing out rotten meat.

      Muchemwa would not name any of the shops that are suspected for legal
reasons, but he advised anyone buying refrigerated food items to make sure
what they get is still fresh before eating or cooking it. Businesses find
themselves in a difficult position in terms of determining whether to open
on a particular day or remain closed. They do not know if they will have
power since no warning ever comes from ZESA.

      This disturbing situation just adds to another worsening scenario
regarding food. Muchemwa also reported that bakers have stopped making bread
because the government had threatened to arrest any baker who charges the
new Z$ 140,000 price that bakers say they must charge in order to make any
money. They are now only baking large rolls that Muchemwa said can feed one
adult and a child. These rolls are selling for between Z$ 80-85,000 dollars
each. According to his observations on a trip around the central business
district on Monday, Muchemwa estimated that about 3 out 4 retail outlets
that sell bread did not have any.

      The situation is bound to get worse as it is reported that the company
that supplies coal to ZESA has stopped deliveries because there are billions
of Zimbabwe dollars in unpaid bills. This will bring about more frequent
power cuts very soon which translates into more suffering for Zimbabweans.

      SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

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Hospitals Operate Without Doctors

The Herald (Harare)

June 12, 2006
Posted to the web June 13, 2006

Masvingo Bureau

FOUR district hospitals in Masvingo have over the past few months been
operating without even a single doctor, a development that has compromised
the health delivery system in the province.

Acting provincial medical director Dr Julius Chirengwa last Thursday
revealed that four of the province's district referral health centres were
currently without doctors, a situation he said showed the extent of the
shortage of health professionals in Masvingo.

Dr Chirengwa, who was speaking at World Tuberculosis Day commemorations in
Masvingo, said Silveira in Bikita, Neshuro in Mwenezi, Chivi and Ndanga
hospitals in Zaka, which were all district referral centres, were operating
without doctors. "At the moment we have four district hospitals in the
province which have been operating without a doctor and that, coupled with
intermittent shortages of doctors, has severely compromised health delivery
in the province," said Dr Chirengwa.

The absence of doctors at the four medical institutions weakened the normal
operations of the hospitals which were responsible for a district average
population of about 160 000 people each. There also existed many vacancies
for other health prof essionals and specialists mainly in remote areas,
which were shunned by most skilled health professionals.

Dr Chirengwa cited brain drain as the major cause of the shortage of medical
personnel in the country. In response to the shortage of doctors in
Masvingo, the Minister of Health and Child Welfare, Dr David Parirenyatwa,
said the Government would review working conditions and salaries of medical
practitioners so that they would not be tempted to leave Zimbabwe for
greener pastures.

Dr Parirenyatwa said it was painful that Zimbabwe had some district
hospitals that were operating without doctors yet local training
institutions churned out 110 doctors every year. "It is really painful that
there are some hospitals that are operating without a single doctor yet we
are producing 110 trained doctors every year from our universities. "What
this deficit means is that the professionals that we are training with
taxpayers' money are leaving the country for greener pastures," said Dr

To contain the massive brain drain in the health services sector, Dr
Parirenyatwa said, the Government had introduced bonding of health
professionals trained locally to work in Zimbabwe for a period of three
years. He also challenged parents to influence their children against
leaving Zimbabwe after acquiring skills locally.

Zimbabwe's health services sector has been one of the hardest hit by a
massive exodus of skilled professionals seeking greener pastures especially
in western countries where the remuneration is better.

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Kuwait presents blankets, condoms to Zimbabwean clinics

People's Daily

      The Kuwait embassy in Zimbabwe has donated 200 blankets to the
Chikomba Development Association, according to Minister of Information and
Publicity Tichaona Jokonya quoted by Tuesday's local media.

      Jokonya, who is also member of House of Assembly for the area, said
the blankets would be distributed to all clinics in the district.

      "It's a very substantial presentation and we need to acknowledge that
donation from the Kuwait ambassador," Jokonya said on Monday.

      The minister revealed that the association had also acquired 200 boxes
of condoms for distribution to the clinics in the district. "The condoms
will be given out together with the blankets," he said.

      Zimbabwe has one of the highest HIV/AIDS infection rates in the world,
at 21.3 percent and about 3,000 people succumbing from AIDS related
illnesses each week. As of 2005, the pandemic has left about 980,000
children orphaned.

      Source: Xinhua

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Brian Raftopoulos, Jonathan Moyo and John Robertson on the programme Hot Seat - Part 1

Joining Violet on the programme Hot Seat is an unlikely mix of analysts and
critics of the Mugabe regime. Former information minister Professor Jonathan
Moyo, Economist John Robertson and MDC advisor Professor Brian Raftopoulos
discuss a post-Mugabe Zimbabwe and the various ways to achieve this.
Zimbabwe is a country in crisis and many have asked what needs to be done
internally by all democratic forces and what role the regional and
international  community can play now - and in the post Mugabe period?

For the next three weeks Violet Gonda will be discussing these various
issues of national interest with three people who have at one time or
another advised some of the key players in Zimbabwean politics.

They are political analyst Professor Brian Raftopoulos who once acted as an
advisor for Morgan Tsvangirai, independent MP Professor Jonathan Moyo - who
was an adviser and strategist for Robert Mugabe when he was Information
Minister and leading economist John Robertson. The first segment this
Tuesday is on calls for mass action.
The first segment of this teleconference discussion can be heard on the
programme Hot Seat Tuesday.The next two segments will deal specifically with
the economy, international intervention and what happens after Mugabe.
Hot Seat is broadcast on SW Radio Africa every Tuesday at 6pm (UK time)
If you missed the live interview you can listen to the programme -
TUESDAY 13 June 2006
 Audio archives are saved for two weeks.
 Hot Seat is also repeated on Thursdays at 6:30pm
Violet Gonda
SW Radio Africa
Direct:    00 44 208 387 1415
Mobile:   00 44 795 874 1820
Fax:       00 44 208 387 1416
Website: www.swradioafrica.

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Scratcher's downfall - Continued from yesterday...

From The Sunday Times (SA), 11 June

A proud South African intelligence service did nothing to hide its role in
foiling the plot. everal of those implicated escaped arrest by co-operating
with South African investigators, aided by Morgan. Much information was
leaked, but the document that caused most excitement was a handwritten
letter from Mann in a Zimbabwe prison. It was a plea for help. He complained
that his lawyers "get no reply from Smelly, and Scratcher asked them to ring
back after the grand prix race was over". Few doubted that Smelly was Ely
Calil, the British-based tycoon accused by Equatorial Guinea's government of
being involved in the coup. Calil has vehemently denied involvement or that
the nickname was his, although he may not have known what others called him.
He claims he was the victim of "an elaborate set-up". Scratcher, however,
could be nobody but Thatcher, who was called "Mork Scratcher" at Harrow. One
of his friends confirms the grand prix incident. Soon after the coup attempt
he was interrupted by a call from a gruff Afrikaner who asked for money.
Thatcher said he did not give cash to strangers and told him to get lost,
saying, "I'm watching the grand prix."

He reported the incident to the police. But there were more calls; and the
caller spoke of knowing "where your children go to school". Another leaked
note, apparently from Mann, urged investors to "f-ing well pull their
weight" in helping the arrested men and talked of funds expected from
Scratcher and others. It added: "It may be that getting us out comes down to
a large splodge of wonga!" Thus did the botched coup win its farcical name.
Soon after the plot fell apart, Steyl was in London. He sent a cryptic
message in Afrikaans to his brother Piet asking: "Has there been any mention
in the South African press of the Thatch Roof?" He followed up by saying:
"Mark Thatcher owes me $250,000 and I have proof. His mummy's people will
give all we need, but now we cannot throw the baby out with the bathwater."
Yet it took five months, until Steyl fully co-operated with the South
African authorities, giving the most direct evidence of Thatcher's
involvement, for the big celebrity news element of the Wonga Coup to break.

A more cautious man than Thatcher might have used that time to slip quietly
out of sight. Rumours about his involvement were circulating. But he
lingered, ostrich-like, in Cape Town. In August he heard the police wanted
to see him. Ronald Wheeldon, his lawyer and friend, asked if he had been
involved in Mann's escapade. Thatcher said no. In that case, said Wheeldon,
co-operate with the authorities. Thatcher called Nosher Morgan and asked him
to arrange a meeting with the intelligence service: he would say what he
knew in exchange for immunity from prosecution. Thatcher and Morgan went to
Pretoria and saw an intelligence official. It is not clear what Thatcher
admitted, but afterwards he believed everything was okay. Thatcher
understood he had been accepted as a South African intelligence source. He
called Wheeldon to say that all was sorted out. Early in the morning six
days later, however, a team of investigators pounded at Thatcher's door with
television crews in tow.

Thatcher was startled. It became clear that he had no immunity at all. He
had volunteered to give information - and, reportedly, to show his house -
to a government intelligence unit. But he was being raided by a team known
as the Scorpions, who are isolated from other arms of officialdom. High
profile and mainly used to fight corruption, they are modelled on the FBI.
They searched the house and sealed computers. Many newspapers reported that
the Scorpions stung just as the family was about to flee, with bags packed.
Wheeldon denies it. There are stairs up from the garage, where the Scorpions
entered. Mark always kept travel trunks sitting there. The police saw these
empty trunks and thought Mark was ready to go." Thatcher recalls being
threatened with extradition to Equatorial Guinea. "I was told that if I didn't
co-operate I'd be extradited to EG. This was political mugging of the first
order." Court appearances were constantly postponed. It seems that, unsure
they could pin anything on him, the prosecutors hoped to pile on the
pressure as he was unable to travel while on bail. As his wife and children
left for America, he became increasingly isolated.

Wheeldon explained: "It became clear the trial would not have happened until
2007. Not being able to travel until then would have killed his business and
his relationship." Mann's lawyer in London, Anthony Kerman, says Thatcher
was "told he could get out if he admitted guilt and paid some money. He was
completely blackmailed into it. If you had a quarter of a million, or your
mum did, what would you do? I know what I'd do". Thatcher himself says there
was a witchhunt against him, led by "very senior members" of South African
president Thabo Mbeki's government. He suggests Mbeki had always disliked
his mother. "There is no doubt that the pursuit of me was political," he
said. "There are three reasons. The first was explained to me by a member of
the investigating team who described how and why Mbeki bore such animus
towards my mother. "In 1977 he was at a conference and he spoke about the
armed struggle in South Africa and the ANC's policies, which were highly
socialist. Subsequently my mother spoke about her own political,
market-based views. (She) eclipsed the ANC policy stance; for that, the
Thatcher family supposedly earned Mbeki's eternal fury." Second, prosecutors
needed a high-profile scalp so the anti-mercenary law would be taken
seriously. "And, third, they went after me with complete malice

Plea bargaining began. The prosecutors initially said they wanted Thatcher
to pay a 1m rand (about $150,000) fine. He agreed; but he believes the
ministry of justice then became involved. At a further meeting prosecutors
demanded 25m rand ($3.75m): comprising a 5m rand fine plus 20m into the
asset forfeiture account, a way of imposing a large financial penalty on
organised criminals. Thatcher was furious, pointing out that he had no
proceeds - he had lost money in the venture. He reportedly told officials to
"f*** off". Haggling ensued, which Thatcher found "hairy", but eventually he
agreed on 3m rand ($450,000) and a four-year suspended prison sentence. He
says the officials were applying "the standards of a madhouse . . . I took
the plea bargain before it could change again, as it did almost daily". He
admitted to helping to charter a helicopter he suspected "might be used for
mercenary activity" and pleaded guilty to "intention by gross negligence" -
negligence so bad it is considered as strong as being deliberate.

His friends tried, rather plaintively, to insist that he really "had no idea
what was going on". Morgan said he was at worst a "voyeur" trying - and
failing - to get close to the plot. Wheeldon said: "Mark doesn't mind
sailing close to the wind, but he severely minds breaking the law." The
aftermath was painful. Thatcher's business was not too badly hit, since many
of his contacts treated the coup attempt as an exotic joke. But his marriage
collapsed, probably hastened by the strain of the Wonga Coup. By entering a
plea bargain, paying a fine and accepting a suspended prison sentence,
Thatcher became a convicted felon. He feared he might be blocked from the
United States, but "soundings had already been taken with the US consul in
Cape Town that this would not be a problem", he says. He was told that the
crime in South Africa was not recognised as one in America, so he could
visit his family. He was misinformed. Now he is barred from the United
States. "It's fair to say that the US ruling creates a fairly serious
impediment" to a full family life, he said. He and his wife Diane announced
divorce proceedings last year.

Thatcher paid his fine, sold his Cape Town mansion, making a good profit
("It washed its face," he said grudgingly) and left South Africa. He
continues some trade in Africa and has found a home back in Europe,
frequently visiting his mother's house in Chester Square, Belgravia. Early
this year he understood that the government of Equatorial Guinea might
attempt to prosecute him in a British court; but nothing of substance
emerged. He believes, on no obvious evidence, that he may be pardoned by the
South African government. Rather than directing his anger at the man
responsible for his predicament, Simon Mann, he remains enraged at how the
prosecutors treated him. He is particularly upset that Crause Steyl was
fined only 200,000 rand (about $30,000) - a fifteenth of Thatcher's fine -
and that South Africa turns a blind eye to the many South African
ex-soldiers working in Iraq.

"The application of the rule of law in Africa is selective for political
purposes," Thatcher fumed. "Exhibit one: me, my case. Why was my fine 75
(sic) times greater than someone (Steyl) who admitted having Severo Moto in
his plane? Why haven't any of the 6,800 (South African mercenaries) in Iraq
been arrested? The Prosecutors' Office itself gave me this figure of 6,800.
So they know about it. Why? Because it doesn't suit the president's
political agenda." Asked how he felt about Mann, he replied, "Simon is my
friend, not was my friend. Of course I'll give him a bloody good kicking
when he gets out and ask him what he thought he was doing."


Simon Mann, the coup leader, was jailed for seven years (cut to four on
appeal) by a Zimbabwean court for trying to buy firearms with no end-user
certificate and breaking the Public Order and Security Act. He is currently
in Chikurubi, a notorious maximum security prison outside Harare, hoping for
release this year or next unless he is extradited to Equatorial Guinea. Once
free, he is expected to come to Britain, as he faces arrest in South Africa.

Greg Wales, Mann's associate, is believed to be living in Britain.
Prosecutors in Pretoria issued charges last year accusing him of being part
of a conspiracy to seize power in Equatorial Guinea, which he denies. A
civil case for damages brought by Equatorial Guinea against Wales and others
was thrown out by the English High Court, making his extradition unlikely.

Nick du Toit, seized in Equatorial Guinea where he led the coup advance
party, is in Playa Negra, a hellhole of a prison, serving a 34-year sentence
for plotting to overthrow the government. Last year he wrote to his wife
that he was so thin that he looked like a grain of rice.

Severo Moto, the exiled opposition leader they planned to put in power,
disappeared last year, prompting rumours he had been murdered. He resurfaced
in Croatia claiming that the Spanish secret service had planned to kill him.
In December, Spain withdrew his asylum status for being involved in several
coup attempts. His current whereabouts are unknown.

President Obiang Nguema, target of the failed coup, remains in office. He
was greeted in Washington in April by a smiling Condoleezza Rice, the US
secretary of state.

Extracted from The Wonga Coup by Adam Roberts

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