Thu 22 June 2006
HARARE - About 25 police some carrying guns and teargas canisters
stormed the funeral of the father of opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) party leader Morgan Tsvangirai, ordering mourners to remove the
party's regalia and stop sloganeering.
Tsvangirai's father, Dzingai Chibwe, died at Murambinda Hospital in
rural Buhera district last Sunday at the age of 78. He was buried at a
family compound in the arid district, about 200 km south-east of Harare.
But the burial ceremony - a hallowed occasion in the local Shona
culture - was thrown into chaos as police attempted to force the about 1 000
mourners to remove MDC T-shirts and bandanas in yet another clear example of
harassment of the opposition leaders and supporters.
The police, who were said to have been in a fighting mood, bizarrely
claimed that the mourners were violating the government's tough Public Order
and Security Act (POSA) that forbids political gatherings without prior
permission from the police.
Tsvangirai's spokesman William Bango told ZimOnline last night that
the police only backed down after they were challenged by MDC secretary
general Tendai Biti, a lawyer by profession and other Members of Parliament
(MPs) of the opposition party to specify the section of POSA they alleged
mourners had violated.
"That was a straight act of harassment on Mr Tsvangirai. The police
said the mourners were in violation of POSA but that was resisted by some
MPs who challenged the police to show the sections of POSA which the
mourners had violated," said Bango.
Police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena last night said he had not been
briefed on the matter and could therefore not comment. "I am just coming out
of a meeting so I haven't heard about that. I will have to check," he said.
Under the tough security law, it is illegal for Zimbabweans to
assemble in groups of more than three to discuss politics without first
seeking approval from the police.
But the MDC and human rights groups often accuse President Robert
Mugabe and his government of using the security law to cripple the main
opposition which has posed the greatest challenge to his 26-year old grip on
power. Mugabe denies the charge. - ZimOnline
Thu 22 June 2006
HARARE - A surge in prices of basic commodities and a sharp slide by
the Zimbabwe dollar on the parallel market in past weeks could undo a fresh
initiative by President Robert Mugabe to halt the economy's free-fall,
further putting pressure on his grip on power, analysts said.
Crisis-weary Zimbabweans have in the last week awoken to a sharp
increase in the price of bread, the second staple food, while transport
fares for urban workers have doubled in some instances, effectively forcing
most people to walk for several kilometers to work.
In the meantime, the Zimbabwe dollar has depreciated further on the
black market, weakening from 320 000 to the greenback at the start of last
week to around 400 000 yesterday.
The local unit is officially pegged at 101 195 to the US dollar. But
most Zimbabweans including private firms and some government departments
depend on the illegal but thriving black-market for foreign currency.
Mugabe's government launched a new economic recovery initiative on
April 19, which it dubbed the National Economic Development Priority Plan
(NEDP), touting it as the panacea to a long-running economic recession that
has seen inflation spiral to nearly 1 200 percent and sparked shortages of
hard cash, fuel and electricity.
"The price increases are being pushed by rising business costs and
that has its roots in the perceived value of the Zimbabwe dollar," said
Harare economist James Jowa. "The consequences are obviously the impact on
inflation and ultimately more increases in prices creating a vicious cycle,"
Analysts said the price increases threatened efforts by the government
to turn around the economy, which the World Bank cites as the worst
performing for a country outside a war zone.
Reviving the comatose economy has become key to Mugabe's government to
ease rising tensions especially in urban areas, the hotbed of opposition
support, as poverty deepens and families battle to eke out a living.
Under NEDP, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe sees direct and indirect
foreign currency inflows amounting to US$2.5 billion within 90 days. But 62
days down the line, analysts cast doubt on the government's capacity to
attract such forex inflows.
"It is difficult to imagine how they can raise US$2.5 billion when the
whole of last year we only managed far less," John Robertson, an economic
consultant told ZimOnline.
"We can only start seeing positive changes when we address fundamental
issues such as restoring the rule of law and confidence, which will
ultimately trigger some investment that the country desperately needs,"
Mugabe's critics say a change in Zimbabwe's economic fortunes lie in
political reform, insisting that the veteran leader has driven the southern
African nation to near ruin through controversial policies such as the
arbitrary seizure of land from white commercial farmers.
The price of petrol this week rocketed to between $400 000 and $500
000 per litre meanwhile as supplies ran out and this despite a much
publicised US$50 million fuel deal signed between European bank, BNP Paribas
and Mugabe's government.
The deal was secured by mortgaging nickel output from Bindura Nickel
Zimbabwe has experienced intermittent fuel shortages since 2000 and
several deals, including with Libyan and Kuwaiti firms have collapsed after
Harare failed to pay.
Zimbabweans say they are now used to frequent price increases, taking
with them huge wads of cash for basic shopping. Many families have
drastically scaled down on their needs, in many cases to the barest minimum
"What is important now is to keep body and soul together, life has
become tough and unbearable," said Anita Kumbawa, a vegetable vendor in
Harare's Avenues area who has to contend with frequent raids from municipal
"What do they want me to do, this is my only source of income," she
said in the local Shona language, a three-month old baby strapped on her
back. - ZimOnline
Thu 22 June 2006
HARARE - A former provincial chairman in the ruling ZANU PF party who
left the party in a fallout over the unresolved issue of President Robert
Mugabe's succession is set to launch his own political party in Harare on
Daniel Shumba, who is also a former colonel in the army and was ZANU
PF chairman in the party's stronghold of Masvingo province, will announce
the formation of the United People's Party (UPP) at Zimbabwe Grounds in
Harare's low-income suburb of Harare.
The UPP is provisionally led by Shumba as interim president. Other
leaders of the new party will be announced at the launch with most of them
expected to be disgruntled former ZANU PF members and many from Masvingo.
But political analysts do not see major defections from ZANU PF to the
Promoters of the new party said in a statement yesterday that its
formation is going to see the crisis-hit nation's "political landscape being
redefined" and also urged members and non-members of the party to come to
the launch to "share with Zimbabwe the ushering of a democratic
They said the new party will push for the restoration of the rule of
law, scrapping of all repressive laws and promotion of foreign
Shumba and five other ZANU PF provincial chairmen as well as former
government propaganda chief, Jonathan Moyo, were in 2004 suspended by Mugabe
from the party after attempting to thwart the appointment of Vice-President
Joice Mujuru to the post.
Mugabe had backed Mujuru - who is the wife of powerful former army
general Solomon Mujuru - to take over as second vice-president of ZANU PF
and the government, to place her ahead of rivals for the top job when the
veteran leader retires in 2008.
Shumba, Moyo and others had supported former parliamentary speaker
Emmerson Mnangagwa for the vice-president's job but were blocked by Mugabe
and punished for daring to oppose Mujuru's rise.
It remains to be seen how much of a political force the UPP will
become but analysts do not see the new party altering much the political
landscape, with the larger faction of the splintered opposition Movement for
Democratic Change party that is led by Morgan Tsvangirai still regarded as
the main challenger to Mugabe and ZANU PF. - ZimOnline
Thu 22 June 2006
HARARE - Zimbabwean police have arrested several women over the past
few weeks accusing the women who were watching the 2006 World Cup football
matches in sports bars of loitering for purposes of prostitution.
The police last Friday raided sports bars in Kuwadzana, Kambuzuma,
Warren Park and Budiriro suburbs in Harare chucking out all women patrons
and arresting all those who tried to resist.
Agnes Ndlovu, one of the victims of the police crackdown, told
ZimOnline yesterday that they were chucked out of Maglas Sports Bar in
Kambuzuma last Friday during the Ivory Coast, Netherlands match.
"This was a clear violation of our rights. I went home under protest,"
The director of the women's rights organisation, Women's Action Group,
Edina Masiyiwa, criticised the police craids saying her organisation will
lodge a formal complaint to Police Commissioner Augustine Chihuri over the
"It is an abuse of women's rights and should stop. Why are they not
arresting men in the bars as well?" said Masiyiwa.
But when contacted for comment, police spokesperson, Andrew Phiri
denied that the police had launched an operation to crack down on
prostitution in bars.
"Officially, I don't know of an operation like that. I will phone the
officer-in-charge of the affected areas for confirmation," Phiri said.
Prostitution is illegal in Zimbabwe. But the practise has been on the
rise in Zimbabwe over the past few years because of a severe economic
meltdown that is pushing young girls onto the streets in search of survival.
The police have often raided brothels and hotels in cities and towns
around the country, rounding up women they suspected of loitering for
purposes of prostitution. - ZimOnline
Santa Barbara News
DAVID MORDKOFF, Associated Press Writer
June 21, 2006 12:05 PM
Deepening economic woes have taken some of the cheer out of the World Cup
for soccer-crazy Zimbabweans who had hoped to briefly escape their troubles
with a few drinks while watching the tournament on television.
Sports bars, including one across the street from President Robert Mugabe's
official residence in central Harare that escapes daily water and power
outages, had been reporting brisk business during the tournament.
But that might change. The price of beer went up by 50 percent on Tuesday,
the third increase this year, and the cost of scarce gasoline rose by about
Regular gasoline, available at a handful of gas stations in Harare on
Monday, costs more than $16 dollars per gallon. Minibus operators raised
their fares after gas shortages forced them to buy black-market fuel,
defying government orders to maintain fixed charges for the type of
transport used by most Zimbabweans.
Long lines of vehicles snaked around gas stations awaiting deliveries of
fuel and dwindling supplies were expected to further increase the price,
industry executives said.
Soccer fan Maxwell Gomwe, a cobbler from a township that regularly
experiences utility outages, said an outing to a sports bar was rapidly
becoming too expensive.
''Even if we get there, prices are too high. We'll have to stay at home and
take our chances with the electricity,'' he said.
Gomwe described as ''excruciating'' a power outage before Ghana's second
goal in its 2-0 upset of the Czech Republic broadcast by state TV on
Some bars and restaurants that have installed gas-guzzling generators charge
entrance fees to watch soccer, redeemable on purchases of menu items.
Zimbabwe imports nearly 40 percent of its power from neighboring countries.
Its own generating stations have been hit by breakdowns coupled with
shortages of equipment, spare parts and coal.
The main brewery said this week's price increase was forced by soaring
production and delivery costs. Official inflation is running at a record
1,193 percent, the highest in the world.
Harare businessman Max Ross said he envied fellow countrymen who loved
following the World Cup.
''The way things are here, at least they've got something to look forward to
at the moment,'' he said.
The Herald (Harare)
June 21, 2006
Posted to the web June 21, 2006
GOVERNMENT'S aggressive mopping activities and increased recourse to the
domestic market for financing have seen its debt rising by about 40 percent
in one month.
According to central bank figures, total Government domestic debt stood at
$21 trillion as of June 2 from $15 trillion at the beginning of last month.
The bulk of the debt comes from Treasury bills issues which have been the
chief instrument used by the central bank in its open market operations.
On each trading day the central bank is on the market floating TB tenders in
an attempt to stem inflationary credit.
Last week injections into the market amounted to over $9,8 trillion through
ZTB OMO Bills maturities and civil servants' June salaries. However, the
money market remained in deficit as a result of withdrawals through 91-day
Treasury bills and CPI-linked Treasury bills tenders that were persistently
conducted during the week.
Of the $21 trillion, $18,8 trillion of the Treasury bill component of the
debt which Government stocks are at a mere $1,6 trillion.
More than half of the Treasury bill debt is from interest accruals.
On a year-to-date basis the Government's debt has risen by over 250 percent
from $5,8 trillion in January and that was before the heavy TB maturities
and civil servants' salary injections prompted the central bank to be more
aggressive in its mopping policy.
On the other hand, the annual inflation figure has doubled since January
from 613 percent to 1 193 percent in May.
However, it is like a vicious cycle on the market because the papers being
issued for mopping at the moment will have the same effect on the market on
Market watchers expect the central bank to continue with its tight monetary
policy and interest rates will firm, albeit at a marginal rate in tandem
with the expected tight liquidity conditions.
"Government's recourse to the domestic sector for funding, however, leads to
an expansion in money supply growth, thus it is important for it to contain
its expenditure thereby minimising borrowings from the domestic sector to
reduce inflationary pressures," said an economist.
Apart from borrowing from the domestic market in order to finance its
expenditure, Government can utilise its overdraft facility with the central
bank. There is, however, a statutory limit on the amount the Government can
borrow, which is set at 20 percent of the previous year's revenue
This means Government can stretch their overdraft window with the central
bank to as much as $6,4 trillion this year, after Zimra collected $32
In line with their active policy, the RBZ this week was on the money market
with two 91-day Treasury bill tenders and one 365-day CPI-linked Treasury
bills tender. On the first tender, $360,8 billion worth of Treasury bills
for 91 days were allotted out of the same amount at 510 percent across.
On the second tender, $56,3 billion worth of CPI-linked Treasury bills for
365 days were allotted, while on the last tender, only $22,3 billion worth
of 91-day-Treasury bills were allotted out of the same amount at 510 percent
On Monday the money market opened $5,3 trillion down and was forecast to
close $2,7 trillion in deficit due to statutory reserve payments. 90-day
NCDs and BAs of the same tenor were quoted unchanged around 450 percent,
while call rates were also indicated unmoved from 3 percent to 10 percent
and interbank overnight rates were quoted firmer in the 700 percent to 800
Mail and Guardian
21 June 2006 12:56
Zimbabwe Information Minister Tichaona Jokonya has restructured
the state broadcaster in an apparent bid to wipe out changes made by his
controversial predecessor Jonathan Moyo, according to reports on Wednesday.
Jokonya, who replaced Moyo last year, told a press conference
that the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Holdings (ZBH) would have a new board of
directors, according to the state-run Herald newspaper.
The nine companies formed when Moyo unbundled what was then the
Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) have been dissolved and merged into
just two entities, Zimbabwe Television Services and Radio Services, said the
Moyo, a former university professor, gained international
notoriety during his time in President Robert Mugabe's Cabinet when he
crafted tough press laws outlawing the publication of falsehoods and made it
a crime for reporters to work without a licence.
He supported Mugabe's view that Zimbabwe was under a Western
media siege, and appeared to be one of the president's most trusted
lieutenants. But then Moyo fell from grace in late 2004 when he threw his
weight behind political heavyweight Emmerson Mnangagwa for the next
vice-president, instead of Joyce Mujuru who turned out to be Mugabe's
Moyo was ousted from government and went on to stand and win as
an independent candidate in parliamentary elections in March 2005. He has
since become a vocal critic of the government.
Jokonya hinted that the restructuring of the public broadcaster
could see some job losses.
But he promised reporters that he would look into their
grievances over poor pay.
A parliamentary committee recently found that some journalists
for state-run media here were paid as little as Zim$6-million ($60) per
Zimbabwe's Poverty Datum Line now stands at Zim$52-million
($520) a month as people battle to survive soaring inflation of nearly 1
200%. - Sapa-DPA
June 21, 2006
By Tagu Mkwenyani
Harare (AND) Morgan Tsvangirai, the president of the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) says his party has not decided whether
or not to grant the Zimbabwean president immunity.
Tendai Biti, the party's secretary general, was last month quoted as
saying the MDC was prepared to grant Mugabe immunity as part of a broader
international community initiative to solve the Zimbabwe crisis.
The report raised controversy in Zimbabwe where some people strongly
feel that Mugabe must be held accountable for the human rights violations
committed by his regime. Mugabe unleashed his militias on supporters of the
opposition MDC and white farmers during the run up to the 2000 and 2002
elections resulting in many people losing their lives.
Mugabe also stands accused of unleashing a North Korean trained Fifth
Brigade unit in the Matabeleland province during the 1980s where an
estimated 20 000 civilians were killed. The army was hunting a few
dissidents who operated in the region.
Clarifying the party's position in an interview with Short Wave Radio,
Tsvangirai said while they were talking about a Truth and Justice Commission
before March 2005, there issue of immunity had could come under
".if that is the price that has to be paid by Zimbabweans then of
course Zimbabweans will be asked to consider that. That is my understanding
of his (Secretary General Biti) interpretation, he didn't say that, that is
the position of the MDC.
"He said it is a possibility people have to consider in order to find
a solution to the crisis that we face.and I'm sure that Zimbabweans will be
able to make a choice as to what is the way forward, but he didn't say that
we are giving Mugabe blanket immunity, he recognises the extent of human
rights abuses," Tsvangirai said.
By Craig Timberg
The Washington Post
Wednesday, June 21, 2006
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa - Every time newspaper publisher Trevor Ncube
visits his native Zimbabwe, he said, there seem to be more Chinese. He sees
them shopping at boutiques, driving fancy cars, picking up their children
from elite private schools.
And as in much of Africa, Ncube said, China's reach into Zimbabwe's economy
is equally pervasive: The roads are filled with Chinese buses, the markets
with Chinese goods, and Chinese-made planes are in the skies. Chinese
companies are major investors in mining and telecommunications. The
government in Beijing, meanwhile, backs Zimbabwe's authoritarian president,
"They are all over the place," said Ncube, 43, who owns newspapers in
Zimbabwe and South Africa. "If the British were our masters yesterday, the
Chinese have come and taken their place."
Such unease appears to be rising across Africa as Chinese become powerful
players - and, in some places, the dominant ones - in economies across the
continent. China's appetite for raw materials is helping push sub-Saharan
economies to their fastest growth in 30 years, and inexpensive Chinese-made
products are suddenly available. Yet many Africans say the influx, while
offering consumers more affordable goods, has not improved their economic
situation and has hurt local companies.
African and Western activists say China's increasingly close ties to
troubled governments in Angola, Nigeria, Sudan and Zimbabwe are undermining
efforts to nurture democracy and improve human rights.
When Chinese President Hu Jintao toured Africa in April, he implicitly
responded to concerns about his country's growing role on the continent.
"China's development will not bring a threat to anyone but, instead, will
only bring more opportunities and space for development to the world," Hu
told the Nigerian National Assembly, according to news reports.
He also restated China's policy of making business deals without any
expectation that governments will improve democracy, respect human rights or
fight corruption. He said in Nairobi, that China follows "a policy of
noninterference in other countries' internal affairs."
"See no evil"
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, who visited the Republic of Congo on Monday as
part of a seven-nation African tour, aims to sign more deals to keep natural
resources flowing to China.
He stopped earlier in Egypt and Ghana and heads next to Angola, China's
biggest African supplier of oil, accounting for 14 percent of its imports.
He also is scheduled to visit South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda.
In Egypt, he signed 10 oil, natural-gas and telecommunications deals. He
also agreed to give Egypt a $50 million loan and a $10 million grant to
encourage investment in an industrial area northwest of the Gulf of Suez.
In Ghana, he signed an agreement to lend the small West African nation about
$66 million to pay for a number of projects. One is a plan to upgrade
Ghana's communications network.
China's overall trade with Africa rose from $10.6 billion in 2000 to $40
billion last year and continues to increase, according to Chinese government
Sub-Saharan Africa's economic growth rate, meanwhile, has nearly doubled in
the same period, from 3 percent to an estimated 5.8 percent this year, the
best since 1974, according to the International Monetary Fund. Among the
major factors, analysts and economists say, is the increasing trade with
"Those places that are energy-rich and mineral-rich are awash in cash," said
J. Stephen Morrison, head of the Africa program for the Center for Strategic
and International Studies.
"And that is driven in part by these new, rapid-growth Asian economies."
China spent billions securing drilling rights in Nigeria, Sudan and Angola,
and has exploration or extraction deals with Chad, Gabon, Mauritania, Kenya,
the Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea and Ethiopia.
The Chinese also invested in the booming copper industry in Zambia and Congo
and are major buyers of timber in Gabon, Cameroon, Mozambique, Equatorial
Guinea and Liberia.
Chinese companies were widely criticized for keeping former president and
war-crimes suspect, Charles Taylor, flush with cash and prolonging Liberia's
devastating civil war. The Chinese also helped push up the prices of other
African exports, such as platinum, iron and coal.
Across Africa, meanwhile, Chinese companies have outbid other foreign firms
on construction projects, winning contracts to pave highways, build
hydroelectric dams, upgrade ports, lay railway tracks and build pipelines,
all of which stand to help Chinese companies more effectively transport
Infrastructure improvements often are explicitly traded for raw-material
contracts. In Angola, where the government has done little to alleviate
poverty or stimulate democracy since the end of a civil war in 2002, China
promised $2 billion in aid as part of a deal for oil rights. Human-rights
activists say that influx of cash stiffened the government's resolve against
outside pressure, mostly from the West, to make improvements.
Countries that sign deals with Chinese companies also win diplomatic
protection. China, as a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council,
threatened to use its veto power to block sanctions against Sudan, which
U.S. officials and others accuse of committing genocide in its Darfur
region. That conflict has killed at least 180,000 people and forced more
than 2 million from their homes in the past three years.
China also resisted efforts by the United Nations to investigate and punish
Mugabe for a "cleanup campaign" last year in which police destroyed slums
and markets, depriving 700,000 Zimbabweans of either their homes or their
China has been a significant supplier of jet fighters, military vehicles and
guns to Zimbabwe, Sudan and other repressive governments.
"Wherever there are resources, the Chinese are going to go there," said
Peter Takirambudde, head of the Africa division for Human Rights Watch.
"They see no evil. They hear no evil. That's very bad for Africans."
The Chinese influx can benefit African economies. Commodities used in
manufacturing, such as oil, copper and platinum, are surging because of
demand from China and other Asian nations. Copper prices have increased
sixfold since a 2001 low, topping $8,000 a ton in recent trading. Platinum
prices have tripled in that time.
The availability of Chinese motorcycles, air conditioners, T-shirts and
kitchen utensils has meant lower prices for consumers across the continent.
In South Africa, two companies plan to introduce Chinese automobiles to the
domestic market at discount prices.
But the payoff to ordinary Africans, especially the poor or unemployed, is
In South Africa and Lesotho, low-cost Chinese imports have been blamed for
tens of thousands of layoffs in the textile industry. And as the rates of
economic growth climbed, Africans reported that their national economies and
the financial conditions of individuals seem to have stagnated, according to
Afrobarometer, a polling project that has sampled public opinion in 12
sub-Saharan countries since 2000.
In results released last month, 27 percent of those polled expressed
satisfaction with their own finances, a drop from 31 percent in 2000. The
sharpest decline was in Nigeria, where upbeat ratings of personal finances
fell from 68 percent in 2000 to 45 percent. The decline came despite surging
oil profits there and growing trade with China.
Material from The Associated Press is included in this report.
Copyright © 2006 The Seattle Times Company
Posted to the web on: 21 June 2006
IF EVER there was a case of the flag following trade, it is China's recent
African diplomacy. China is giving Africa unprecedented amounts of
diplomatic attention after a five-year period in which its trade with the
continent, heavily driven by growth in oil imports and manufactured exports,
has risen fourfold. In Beijing, senior foreign ministry officials call this
year "China's year of Africa".
The attention is a strong signal that China is putting down its marker as a
serious player on the continent. Because of China's growing access to oil in
Africa, its role could help either set off new, intense power rivalries on
the continent, or bring about new forms of constructive engagement. A new
"scramble for Africa" and its resources is no foregone conclusion, but the
consequences of a scramble would be damaging for the continent.
The rise of China's involvement in Africa has been so fast and so recent
that external powers (the US, the UK and France) as well as Africa's
regional powers (Egypt, Nigeria and SA) show signs they are still thinking
through the consequences. Meanwhile, China is stressing a "peaceful rise" to
Africa and the world.
This week, Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao is on a seven-nation African
tour that includes a two-day stop in SA. Earlier this year, Chinese
President Hu Jintao visited three African countries. And in November,
Chinese and African leaders will gather in Beijing for a China-Africa
summit - the second so far. The only other country to host a summit with
African leaders is France. The European Union is struggling to hold such a
summit because its "smart sanctions" will not allow Zimbabwe's President
Robert Mugabe to attend.
In January, Beijing released an official paper on its African policy, an
indication of its seriousness of purpose in building a "new type of
strategic relationship". With British Prime Minister Tony Blair's Commission
for Africa report last year, and the global attention the continent
received, Beijing may well have felt under pressure to come up with its
statement on what it is willing to do for Africa. Next year, Beijing will
host a meeting of African finance ministers at the annual meeting of the
African Development Bank, a move that reflects an expanded role as aid
Africa has an elevated importance to China because of Beijing's raised
global role, its need for energy and resources, but also because the
continent's low per-capita income is an ideal market for cheap Chinese
goods. However, although Africa is important to China, the continent is far
from central to China's role in the world. China, though increasingly a
global power, remains primarily an Asian power, with its military power
still focused on Taiwan and Asia.
In terms of oil, Africa is of growing importance and China has done big
deals in African countries, including Angola, Nigeria, the Republic of
Congo, and Sudan. Africa's oil may give it heightened importance, but again
it is not central. Data on the share of African oil as a percentage of China's
oil imports are not readily available, but are likely to be less than 20%.
Today, the continent contributes only 2,8% of China's total trade. China
imports about 40% of its oil, of which a little less than half comes from
the Middle East. Like other countries it is trying to diversify its sources
of oil away from the Middle East, and Africa is a growing source
That China is keen to own oil at source rather than rely heavily on
contracts with the international oil majors is bound to intensify energy
rivalry. Beijing sees itself as a latecomer in the international petroleum
and resources industry and has to do business where it can - it can't be too
If and when China takes on more active political reform, it is likely that
elements of its Africa policy might also change - to give human rights and
governance more emphasis. Currently, Chinese policy stresses
noninterference, no political conditionality, "mutual benefit", "a win
relationship". There is no talk of governance and human rights, although
officials say at times that they have concerns.
But Beijing's policy is couched in careful terms clearly stating that
support will be carried out to the extent of China's ability. In effect,
China's is a case-by-case approach, rather than a blanket alternative source
of aid for countries turned down by the west.
As much as China is the world's largest holder of foreign reserves, it still
has finite resources, immense domestic needs, and even its state enterprises
tend to take decisions on business grounds.
Take China's differing policy to two rogue states. Amnesty International
suggests that Chinese aid and arms-for-oil deals in countries such as Sudan
are the result of its need for oil. China is also accused, in the United
Nations Security Council, of offering Sudan protection against the
imposition of sanctions over Khartoum's role in Darfur. According to the
Institute of Strategic Studies, China hopes Sudan will supply 9% of Chinese
oil imports in time.
But China has offered Sudan a great deal more support than it offered
Zimbabwe. Although Mugabe adopted a "Look East" policy, he got very little
on his trip to Beijing last year. He was given humanitarian aid, but not the
funds he needed to repay what the country owed the International Monetary
Fund. And the deals that will see China opening coal mines and constructing
three power stations in Zimbabwe, in exchange for chrome, may be more a
long-term proposition than an immediate one.
It is, however, conspicuous that neither of these states is on the tour
lists of the Chinese president or the prime minister this year.
When China has the political will to act, it can do so on a massive scale.
China has yet to reach the scale of engagement comparable to any of the
western external powers. But its key advantage in Africa may be that it is
able to respond on a grand scale with speed, if and when it has the will.
And the Chinese tend to choose the type of aid projects that can be
implemented with speed, and which are less reliant on consultants.
The Chinese have a tradition of thinking big and long-term. In Africa they've
built national stadiums, parliament buildings, and the Tanzam railway in the
1970s. Might China be the external power that gives the New Partnership for
Africa's Development a kick start with a mega project?
Katzenellenbogen is international affairs editor.
Rozalla Miller On the Pulse
She went on tour with Michael Jackson on his European leg of the 'Dangerous
Tour' and made waves with the hit song 'Everybody's Free (to feel good) in
1992. Song bird Rozalla Miller is the guest On the Pulse. Lance Guma speaks
to her about her glitzy music career and how it all started. From the dusty
streets of Harare to performing at the World Music Awards. Songs like Are
you ready to fly, Faith (in the power of love), I love Music catapulted her
to the title 'Queen of rave.' All her hit songs are played on the programme.
Nixon Nyikadzino recounts torture by military intelligence: BTH
Lance Guma speaks to Nixon Nyikadzino a National Constitutional Assembly
field officer who recounts to Behind the Headlines how military intelligence
officers tortured him after an NCA demonstration held on the 14th of April
2006. He says he was bundled into a white B1800 truck by military
intelligence officials led by a Major Kembo. They pulled dreadlocks from his
head resulting in intense bleeding while other officers took turns to
assault him. Different parts of his body were burnt using a burning
cigarette. Nyikadzino was sexually assaulted and even had a female
officer molest him . He was dumped near Bindura and left for dead but he
is currently recuperating in South Africa. Tune in to the programme for the
Makusha Mugabe on Reporters Forum
Its not often that a 'Mugabe' is interviewed on Reporters Forum but this
week Lance Guma speaks to journalist Makusha Mugabe (no relation to Robert).
Makusha speaks about his journalism career from a senior reporter at the
Herald to being the Editor of Community Newspaper Chaminuka News. He is now
in the UK running a pro-democracy website www.changezimbwe.com . Does he
have problems with his surname in terms of his interaction with ordinary
For the programme schedules visit:
SW Radio Africa
[ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]
JOHANNESBURG, 21 Jun 2006 (IRIN) - Encouraged by recent successes in asylum
applications, more Zimbabweans are seeking political refuge in South Africa,
according to human rights NGOs.
The number of Zimbabweans applying for asylum in South Africa rose sharply
in the first three months of this year to 7,211. Zimbabweans account for 38
percent of the total 18,800 requests, according to government figures, said
Jack Redden, the spokesman for the UN refugee agency, UNHCR.
A faith-based rights NGO, Solidarity Peace Trust, which works with
Zimbabwean refugees, said intense lobbying had made South African home
affairs officials more sensitive to the plight of asylum seekers. "We are
receiving more positive feedback, which has encouraged more people to
apply," noted Selvan Chetty, a spokesman for the trust.
He said while a significant number of asylum seekers were pro-democracy
activists, "there are many more who are ordinary Zimbabweans, who have
either been beaten up or affected by state-sponsored campaigns such as
Operation Murambatsvina (Drive out Filth)". The campaign to demolish
informal settlements in urban areas affected more than 700,000 people.
According to the trust, their affiliate organisations process at least 50
new Zimbabwean arrivals every day. But that number is dwarfed by the scale
of illegal migrants looking for work across the border. A total of 2,000
Zimbabweans are deported every week from South Africa, the Geneva-based
International Organisation for Migration has calculated.
"The increase in the number [of asylum seekers] reflects the worsening
political situation, the level of harassment and persecution people face at
the hands of the ZANU-PF government," alleged Jacob van Garderen, the
national coordinator of the Refugee and Migrant Rights Project at Lawyers
for Human Rights, a South African NGO.
South Africa is struggling to clear a backlog of 100,000 to 110,000 asylum
seekers. According to Van Garderen, the majority of the applicants are
Zimbabweans, but by November last year, just 86 Zimbabweans had been
approved for refuge status.
Van Garderen recently handled the high-profile asylum case of Roy Bennett, a
Zimbabwean opposition MP who was imprisoned for eight months in 2004/2005
for shoving a minister in parliament. He fled the country earlier this year
after authorities said he had conspired to assassinate President Robert
Bennett's application was turned down and he has lodged an appeal against
the decision. "We have a number of cases where the appeal board has turned
down department's decision," noted Garderen.
Zimbabwe, once a middle-income country, is believed to have the world's
fastest shrinking economy outside of a war zone. An inflation rate of 1,200
percent has pushed the price of even a basic shopping basket beyond the
reach of many Zimbabweans.
An estimated three million Zimbabweans are living in South Africa -
one-third of Zimbabwe's domestic population.
The Herald (Harare)
June 21, 2006
Posted to the web June 21, 2006
HARARE Central Hospital's Intensive Care Unit (ICU) has reopened after four
years of closure, a development that could improve service delivery at one
of the country's biggest referral health centres.
Instead of referring all critical cases to Parirenyatwa Hospital as was the
case over the last years, Harare Hospital would now deal with its own load.
In an interview, Harare Hospital chief executive Mr Jealous Nderere said the
ICU had reopened its doors after undergoing extensive renovations.
The unit would now be able to accommodate up to 15 patients at any given
time, he said.
"There is a staff load of about 30 in the unit, which means we should be
able to handle all the critical cases that come our way.
"Moving critical cases like we were doing during the time the ICU was closed
was not the most ideal of arrangements though we were stabilising the
patients first. That is why we are happy about this development," he said.
Some of the cases that go through the ICU include serious accident victims
and other equally serious conditions.
Minister of Health and Child Welfare Dr David Parirenyatwa said he was happy
with the latest developments as they boded well for the country's health
Harare Hospital, he said, was one of the country's premier health
institutions and for it to fully serve the people - all its units had to be
"There is nothing as terrible as someone coming to a health centre requiring
ICU only to find that there is no such facility or the machines are down.
"For that reason, I am so excited because it is one step towards what we
want to see happening in all our hospitals," he said.
Many perceive public health institutions as places that were run down and
with inadequate machinery.
"We want these health institutions to be overhauled to match the standards
of other hospitals around the continent and indeed the world.
"Patients should be able to find comfort in their surroundings. That is of
extreme importance. Hospitals need to be pleasant and that starts with how
the buildings and surroundings are maintained before of course we go to the
care from the nurses and other medical staff."
Besides the ICU Harare Hospital was also improving its elevators, some of
which were not working and repairing its X-ray and CT Scan machines.
The Herald (Harare)
June 21, 2006
Posted to the web June 21, 2006
EPWORTH pit sand poachers have bumped into three burst National Oil Company
of Zimbabwe (Noczim) fuel pipes in Msasa where they have been clandestinely
fetching the precious liquid with containers.
Noczim might have lost fuel worth billions of dollars through the pipe
leakages that have seen a syndicate of sand diggers fetch an average of five
litres after every 10 minutes.
Yesterday, a Herald crew bumped into the sand poachers from Epworth fetching
petrol from the three points.
The fuel scam came to light on Monday morning when diggers from Epworth, who
were digging for pit sand about 500 metres away from the fuel tanks,
discovered the precious liquid coming out.
The site is along Jacha River near Muguta Extension in Epworth.
After discovering the fuel coming out from several pits around the place,
most of the people in the suburb then rushed with containers to fetch it.
It is believed that some of them could have sold it to commuter omnibus
operators while some of the residents could have stored it in their homes,
which is dangerous.
Investigations have shown that since Monday morning the residents had been
fetching and taking the fuel to their homes in different containers ranging
between five and 20 litres.
Yesterday morning, some alert residents informed the police at Epworth
Police Station who went to the scene to investigate.
Police spokesman Assistant Commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena yesterday confirmed
the discovery but said it was a Noczim issue.
Although no official comment could be obtained from Noczim, its workers were
yesterday busy trying to rectify the leakage when The Herald crew visited
At least more than six pits were full of the petrol, which could be smelt
all over the place.
According to some experts, the fuel was being pushed out from the ground by
water as the two liquids do not mix.
One of the residents in Epworth, Mr Petros Sithole said he got to know that
there was fuel at the scene at around 11am on Monday and went to
"I went to the scene and saw several people with 20-litre, 10-litre and
5-litre containers, full of petrol," he said.
Some officials from Noczim, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said
investigations were still in progress to ascertain the causes of the
leakage. They could not shed any light.
Diesel and petrol prices this week, skyrocketed to between $400 000 and $600
000 a litre from $206 000 and $280 000 at a time when supplies of the
commodities have dwindled.
Zimbabwe has been facing intermittent fuel shortages over the past six years
owing to a foreign currency crunch caused by illegal sanctions imposed
against the country by the West.
The country requires US$40 million for its monthly fuel requirements.
The Herald (Harare)
June 21, 2006
Posted to the web June 21, 2006
POLICE have launched a crackdown against bakeries which unilaterally
increased bread prices from the gazetted $85 000 per loaf to between $130
000 and $160 000 amid fears that the move could trigger bread shortages.
Harare provincial police spokesperson Assistant Inspector Memory Pamire
yesterday confirmed the clampdown but could not shed more light saying the
statistics were still being compiled.
She said the specific figures would be made available this morning.
"I can confirm that we are arresting bakeries for overcharging, but we are
still compiling statistics. We compile the statistics everyday and I can
make available those for today (yesterday) tomorrow (today) morning," said
Asst Insp Pamire.
Bakers have since withdrawn the standard loaf of bread whose prices are
controlled from the market, replacing it with the super white loaf, which
costs between $190 000 and $220 000.
The price is beyond the reach of many.
Bakers have, over the past three weeks, defied a Government directive to
revert to the gazetted price.
Zimbabwe is reportedly short of flour, forcing bakers to import the
commodity at a considerably high cost.
According to Bakers Association of Zimbabwe chairman Mr Burombo Mudumo,
imported flour costs double the price charged by local millers and bakers
were importing flour at $120 million per tonne while locally it costs $50
The Deputy Minister of Industry and International Trade, Cde Phineas
Chihota, last week told Parliament that price increases were illegal and
Government would take to task all those found on the wrong side of the law.
Meanwhile, a survey carried by The Herald revealed that bread had
disappeared from the shelves in various shops and retail outlets following
the crackdown by the police.
Staff at one retail outlet in the city centre said they had taken off the
standard loaf from the shelves following frequent raids by the police.
"We have resorted to selling this type of bread because we are being
arrested for selling the standard bread for $130 000. We can only sell this
because police are not worried about the prices we are charging," said a
staff member at a Bakers Inn outlet in the city centre.
June 21, 2006
By ANDnetwork .com
Three Zimbabweans have been arrested for allegedly hijacking a Zambian
truck laden with copper worth $65 billion which was in transit to South
By: Walter Nyamukondiwa and Teckshaw Tom
Frank Utahwarova (43) of Mabelreign, Harare, his farm manager
Darlington Mundondo and Tawanda Muzinda reportedly connived with two
Nigerians - who are still at large - and the truck driver to steal the
Police confirmed the arrests on Tuesday and said the men were all
arrested at various locations last week.
They, however, could not reveal more information fearing to prejudice
The arrests follow a report by a local agent for a Zambian transport
company, Rainbow Company which trades as Zalawi, of the kidnapping and
hijacking of a Zambian driver and a truck carrying 34 tones of copper worth
more than $65 billion in Chinhoyi.
Utahwarova was arrested at his farm in Chegutu and Muzinda was picked
up at his home in Harare, while the driver of the haulage truck, Sean
Siyambi (32) was arrested at Chirundu Border Post on his way back to Zambia.
The incident occurred on June 12 when Zalawi's local agent, Gerdardas
Gous, made a report to Chinhoyi police after the truck had disappeared from
the satellite tracking system soon after the driver had reported at a check
point near the town.
The company operates a satellite vehicle tracking system, which keeps
track of all loaded vehicles.
No armed guards accompany the loaded vehicles while passing through
Zimbabwe because the country is ranked as a safe zone. Gous said at 00:40am
on the day in question, the driver reported at Tiger Construction Company in
Chinhoyi in line with company policy and logged onto the time sheet.
However, a few minutes later, the vehicle disappeared from the
tracking system, only to reappear after about five minutes.
Gous said he took this to mean that the tracking device on the vehicle
could have been tampered with or had developed a fault.
He waited for the vehicle to report in Gweru, another checkpoint on
the way to Beitbridge Border Post, but it neither appeared on the tracking
system in Zambia nor the checkpoint in Gweru.
This prompted Gous to report the matter to the police in Chinhoyi,
leading to investigations.
CID Chinhoyi carried out investigations and set a trap, which led to
the arrest of the Zambian driver.
Upon interrogation, the driver said he had been approached by a
Zimbabwean who had offered to purchase the copper he had been carrying on
three different occasions but he had refused.
The driver allegedly told the police that on one such incident, he was
approached by a Zimbabwean in Chegutu who persuaded him to accompany him to
his uncle's farm.
He complied and was given $28 after the meeting as "a token of
appreciation" and he left safely.
The driver said when he was leaving Marongora in the Zambezi Valley on
his way to Chinhoyi along the
Harare-Chirundu Road, he saw a light vehicle ahead of him that was
moving suspiciously slow. They drove together for some distance.
The vehicle pulled over in front of him and two men alighted before
attacking him. He was put into the boot of that vehicle and was allegedly
taken to Harare.
An informant tipped detectives who went to Tivaton Farm in Chegutu and
Upon questioning, Utahwarova implicated one Moses Chademana, a former
CIO operative, who is believed to have skipped the country to South Africa.
The driver of the vehicle claimed that he reported the alleged
kidnapping at Braeside Police Station.
Source: Zimbabwe Herald