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

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This is the text from a BBC webpage -
It is a story in pictures, which is why the text may seems a bit stilted.  I
have not put the pictures in but you can see them here -

 Exiled Zimbabwe farmer

As part of a series on people's daily lives, Doug and Anne Watt explain how
they are rebuilding their lives in Zambia, after losing their farm in
We left our farm in Karoi in September 2003. Things had deteriorated to such
an extent that it was untenable - we couldn't farm.
Settlers were moving on and we had recieved our compulsory acquisition
notices. A guy whose wife worked at the president's office took over our
farm and basically we had to get off.

Our first tobacco crop has been good - 300 tons of high quality Virginia
That's twice what we grew in Zimbabwe.
When we moved here, there was nothing on this land.
Now we have empoyed 250 people but they had to be trained because curing
tobacco is quite an art.
About 300 Zimbabwean farmers have come here.

Zambian future

Our son, Ryan, 5, had spent all his life in Zimbabwe. It was hard to be
threatened and attacked in the months before we left.
I'll never go back to Zimbabwe. I'm here in Zambia now - I'm a Zambian
farmer. Even if my farm was given back to me tomorrow I wouldn't go back.

My investment here in Zambia is going to be greater than I ever had in

They've given me the opportunity and I've got to repay them.

State land

The seed beds are being prepared for the next season - tobacco is a
year-round job and seeds will be planted soon.
We leased a run-down cattle ranch, so a lot of work went into preparing the
land to take crops.

There is lots of unused land in Zambia but it is owned by the government,
which gave us a 99-year lease.

After what happened in Zimbabwe, we hope this means things will be stable

Big plans

Bricks are cut from the soil and then taken off to be fired in a big mud
We have already built a house and a barn, but we want to build a bigger
house, a second tobacco shed and a row of curers and houses for the workers.

So far, we have only grown tobacco but we also plan maize, as soon as the
land can be prepared.


We also built a reservoir to have a constant supply of water for the farm.
It's also a good place to bring the dogs and to walk - even if there are
many crocodiles in the area.

It's been hard work and difficult moving our lives here, but it's also

We are farming again which we haven't really done for several years and we
feel very safe in Zambia.

Track record

The big tobacco companies are providing support for the Zimbabwean farmers
who move to Zambia and the banks have also helped, knowing from our track
record that we can bring in good crops.
In exchange for their backing the tobacco companies demand exclusive rights
to 10 years of crops.

Some Zambian commercial farmers are unhappy that we have been so well
treated but overall, we have had a warm welcome.

Left behind

The roads into Lusaka, 100km away aren't good, but we have some Zimbabwean
neighbours and are also fitting well into the Zambian farming community.
We have moved on and started again. It's the people that we've left behind I
'm concerned about.

What about the labourers that we had working for us in Zimbabwe? Where are
they and what are they doing?

I just hope they've been able to feed their families.
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Washington Post

U.N. Envoy Warns of Southern African Humanitarian Crisis
Area Plagued by Poverty, Disease
By Craig Timberg
Washington Post Foreign Service
Tuesday, June 22, 2004; 1:00 PM

JOHANNESBURG, June 22 -- A United Nations special envoy warned Tuesday that
southern Africa is plagued by widespread food shortages, poverty and AIDS
deaths that are leaving behind millions of orphans and destabilizing

"What is happening in southern Africa absolutely represents the most serious
humanitarian crisis in the world today," said envoy James T. Morris in a
news conference here.

Morris visited four countries over the past week but reserved some of
strongest language to describe conditions in Zimbabwe, a deteriorating
nation whose leaders declined to meet with him.

Nearly 5 million Zimbabweans are vulnerable to hunger in the year ahead, and
life expectancy has fallen from 67 years to 33 because of an HIV rate that
is among the highest in the world, with one out of three non-elderly adults
infected, said Morris.

"We were terribly disappointed not to be able to visit Zimbabwe," he said.

President Robert Mugabe has acknowledged that AIDS is a major problem,
telling a conference in the capital of Harare last week that even members of
his own family have become ill from the disease, according to wire service

But on hunger, Mugabe last month told Britain's Sky News that Zimbabwe no
longer needs food aid.

"We are not hungry. It should go to hungrier people, hungrier countries than
ourselves," he said in the rare interview. "Why foist this food upon us? We
don't want to be choked, we have enough."

Morris said it would take a doubling of last year's harvest for Zimbabwe to
feed all of the country's 12 million people. Mugabe's government has
projected a tripling of the harvest, from 980,000 metric tons to 2.8 million
metric tons.

The opposition party in Zimbabwe, the Movement for Democratic Change, has
criticized the projections, saying Mugabe wants to make food scarce so his
ruling ZANU-PF party can use it as a tool in elections scheduled next year.
There have been numerous reports in past elections of ZANU-PF denying food
to voters who support the opposition.

Morris said such tactics would be "reprehensible" but did not accuse ZANU-PF
of using them.

Of the government's harvest projections, Morris said he knows of no evidence
to back Mugbe's claims. He said a crop estimate that was to have been done
in conjunction with U.N. officials was suspended by the Zimbabwean

Moving from serious shortages to surplus in a single year would be, Morris
said, "unprecedented . . . anywhere in the world."

He said the World Food Program would assist Zimbabwe if the government makes
a request, but procuring and delivering food can take weeks or months.

Morris also disputed claims by Zimbabwean officials, aired in
government-controlled newspapers, that U.N. officials have been acting on
behalf of opposition leaders to subvert Mugabe's rule. Morris called the
allegations "utter nonsense."

Conditions are bleak elsewhere on the continent, he said. There are 11
million AIDS orphans in sub-Saharan Africa, and the virus is rapidly killing
the most productive members of societies. Schools are losing teachers to the
disease faster than new ones can be trained.

The toll has overwhelmed public health systems, and many trained health
workers are migrating to better paying jobs elsewhere. In Malawi, for
example, Morris said only 100 nurses out of 480 trained in one recent class
are working as nurses there.

One of the few bright spots in southern Africa is Zambia, which has gone
from food shortages to a surplus of about 200,000 metric tons. Zambia is
among the nations that welcomed white commercial farmers who fled
neighboring Zimbabwe during chaotic land-reform efforts in recent years.

Morris visited Mozambique, Namibia, Malawi and Swaziland on his trip.

© 2004 The Washington Post Company
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Radio Netherlands

            Attacking Mugabe's mantras

            by our Internet desk, 22 June 2004

      A Zimbabwean protest group is rattling Robert Mugabe's government.
Zwakwana is an underground movement which has resorted to the Internet to
inform and organize followers.

      Their clandestine campaign against government oppression makes use of
graffiti, emails and even the distribution of branded condoms. So far, the
police have failed to track down any of the activists.

      Iden Wetherall, editor of the Zimbabwe Independent newspaper, says the
Harare government is worried in the face of this new challenge:

        "I think it feels threatened by any civic challenge, any challenge
to its authority. There has been a steady closure of democratic space in the
past year. Zwakwana represents a threat because it operates in the one
sphere over which the government has yet to exercise its authority and
that's the Internet."

      Mr Wetherall says Zwakwana and many similar groups that have recently
sprung up on the web complement both the work of the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) and the information disseminated by the independent

        "It represents a community of free expression that attributes
responsibility for the country's current crisis squarely to the government
that is in power, to the party that is in office. That is not particular to
Zwakwana, but because they operate on the Internet, it's a cause of some
frustration by the authorities that they cannot apprehend the ringleaders."

      Media clampdown
      Unlike the MDC and many of Zimbabwe's newspapers, Zwakwana has
remained unaffected by President Mugabe's clampdown on the media. However,
given that few Zimbabweans have access to computers or the Internet,
Zwakwana's reach remains limited to the upper echelons of society.

        "There is a limit to what it can do, but they can certainly spread
the word. What these various Internet sites do is they communicate civic
information within civil society, they report on news about Zimbabwe and on
circumstances here. And they represent a chain of communication among
Zimbabweans, both at home and in the diaspora."

      Iden Wetherall doubts whether Zwakwana has any ambitions to expand
into a major and more organised force for real change.

        "I don't know that it seeks to become any more than a useful
information source. It provides a useful forum for discussion amongst
Zimbabweans. It keeps them informed as to what's happening at home, and it
represents a useful form of dialogue amongst Zimbabweans themselves. But
don't forget that here in the capital Harare and in the major centres,
voters have persistently expressed their opposition to the ruling party and
to the government. These are areas where the MDC finds its main support. So,
Zwakwana will be preaching to the converted largely."

      Irritant to Mugabe
      At present, the group's initiative seems to be no more than an
irritant to the Mugabe government, which retains tight control of the more

        "He is firmly in charge, but via a system of repression that is
extensive. Any independent voice, any inconvenient voice, any voice that
challenges the mantras of his regime is going to attract the attention of
the authorities. And it's no secret that these have been anxious to locate
the organisers of the Zwakwana website."
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New Zimbabwe

Mugabe's torture camps shut down

By Agencies
Last updated: 06/23/2004 02:59:49
ABOUT 10 national youth service training centres countrywide will fail to
operate due to financial constrains, the Minister of Youth Development,
Gender and Employment Creation, Brigadier Ambrose Mutinhiri has said.

Mutinhiri told the Daily Mirror newspaper that the affected 10 consist of
both those that had been functioning since the inception of the programmes
as well as others the government had intended to open this year.

The minister added that the centres had not been totally shut down as staff
were still manning them awaiting the availability of resources to bring back
Mutinhiri could not however provide the actual figures of those that were
supposed to make a first intake and the others that had failed to reopen.

"Participation in this training is voluntary, it is not mandatory and if
there are any institutions that demand certificates of national service as a
prerequisite for any courses, they will be doing so on their own accord as
we have not issued a directive to that effect.

But I must say that this training is good as it helps in moulding a good
citizen," said Mutinhiri.

On claims that cabinet ministers and other high ranking government officials
were not sending their own children to participate in the training scheme,
the minister said in his personal capacity he was working on the process of
having his own children inducted, adding that comprehensive information on
officials whose children had participated would be released in due course.

At least 18 180 young men and women have graduated since the launch of the

According to government statistics, three quarters of them have found
occupations in different government departments.

The international media, with the BBC at the forefront, has repeatedly
charged that the training institutions are torture camps aimed at holding
the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) at bay. Government
critics have said the products of the training centres are being used to
harass political opponents of the ruling party.

The government has dismissed this, with the Minister of Justice, Legal and
Parliamentary Affairs, Patrick Chinamasa, declaring early this month that
even in the face of lack of finance, the government would never abandon the
training camps.
From the Daily Mirror
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Leaders begin arriving in Mozambique for ACP club of poor nations summit

      22 June 2004

Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe and a few other leaders arrived in
Mozambique on Tuesday ahead of a summit of the African, Caribbean and
Pacific (ACP) club of poor and developing nations.

The summit of the 79-nation group is expected to focus on opening up access
to the European market for agricultural products from the least developed
countries, officials said.

Sugar exports to the EU is expected to be given special attention during the
two-day summit opening in Maputo Wednesday with ACP member states seeking to
maintain their preferential access to that market.

"The sugar issue will deserve special attention by the heads of state,"
summit spokesperson Maria dos Santos Lucas said.

The ACP, founded in 1975 as a forum to discuss development issues with the
European Union, groups 48 sub-Saharan countries, 16 Caribbean nations
including Cuba and 15 from the Pacific.

Other than Mugabe, Congolese President Denis Sassou-Nguesso has arrived in
Maputo as did the vice president of Tanzania and Fiji Prime Minister
Laisenia Qarase.

At least 25 heads of state and government were expected to attend the summit
while other member-states were sending lower-level representation.

EU aid commissioner Poul Nielson was also taking part.
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Civil Servants Demand 100 Percent Cost of Living Adjustment

The Herald (Harare)

June 22, 2004
Posted to the web June 22, 2004


Civil servants are demanding a further 100 percent cost of living adjustment
with effect from next month to cushion them from the rising cost of living.

The Government workers were in May awarded an additional 50 percent salary
increase that came as a result of arbitration, taking their increment to 300
percent over the December salaries.

The Herald understands that civil service representatives submitted their
position paper demanding the 100 percent pay increase last Friday at a
National Joint Negotiating Council meeting. The NJNC comprises Government
and civil servants representatives.

Public Service Association acting president Mr Maxwell Kaitano confirmed
that they had formally presented their demands for a further increase to the
Government and the issue would be discussed at the next NJNC scheduled for
next month.

"Yes, we presented our position paper at the NJNC that was held last Friday
and we are asking for a reasonably huge percentage. But I am not at liberate
to disclose the percentage as this may jeopardise our negotiations," he

Mr Kaitano said while the association appreciated the 50 percent that was
recently awarded to the civil servants, there was need to further cushion
them as the majority were struggling to survive because of the harsh
economic environment.

"Prices of basic commodities have gone beyond the reach of most civil
servants while transport fares and health services have also shot up," he

"There is need for Government to urgently further cushion the workers
because the poverty datum line now stands at $960 000 while the lowest paid
civil servant earns a gross monthly salary of $220 000."

The Government, Mr Kaitano said, had started paying civil servants the 50
percent cost of living adjustment backdated to January.

"This month they will be paying the education sector while other sectors
will be paid next month," he said.

The Government decided to stagger the backpay because it was practically
impossible to clear the salaries at once since more than $150 billion was
needed for the purpose.

Mr Kaitano said the NJNC agreed that both parties must present their
position papers for the 2005 cost of living adjustment by August this year
so that the issue would be included in the national budget.

It was also agreed that negotiations for next year's cost of living
adjustment should be concluded three weeks before presentation of the
national budget.

Efforts to get a comment from the Public Service Commission were fruitless
as senior officials were said to be locked up in a meeting for the greater
part of the day.

Prices of basic commodities such as cooking oil and sugar have gone up,
while transport fares have been increased by at least 100 percent resulting
in most workers struggling to eke out a living.

Parliament last week adopted a motion calling upon the Government to
urgently review the tax-free salary threshold to cushion workers from the
rising cost of living.

The tax-free salary threshold is $200 000 a month while the highest tax rate
of 45 percent applies to salaries above $375 000.

The motion, moved by Makokoba Member of Parliament Ms Thokozane Khupe (MDC),
also tasked the Parliamentary portfolio committee on Budget, Finance and
Economic Development to make recommendations on progressive taxation

Ms Khupe said the tax-free salary should be pegged at the same level with
the poverty datum line of at least $960 000 a month.

She said the tax-free salary threshold of $200 000 a month and the highest
tax rate of 45 percent applying to salaries above $375 000 a month had
resulted in narrow bands that had pushed most workers into high tax bands,
eroding their net salaries.
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25 Bodies Unclaimed at Harare Hospital Morgue

The Herald (Harare)

June 22, 2004
Posted to the web June 22, 2004


AT least 25 bodies have been lying unclaimed at the Harare Central Hospital
mortuary for sometime, a situation which has resulted in overcrowding in the

Harare Central Hospital's chief executive officer Mr Christopher Tapfumaneyi
said the mortuary has 13 unidentified bodies, with seven of them being of
road accident victims, and five that have names but have not been collected
by their relatives for burial.

The hospital is now calling on members of the public who have missing
relatives to come to the mortuary and check if any of the bodies could be of
their kin.

Mr Tapfumaneyi said failure by the members of the public to identify the
bodies within seven days of the notice would result in the corpses being
disposed of through pauper's burials.

"May all families and members of the public who are not sure of the
whereabouts of their relatives come to Harare Central Hospital and check if
the bodies we are holding are of their relatives.

"The bodies have been put in different groups which include seven road
accident victims, five unclaimed bodies that have names and 13 others whose
names are unknown," said Mr Tapfumaneyi.

Last month, the Harare Central Hospital mortuary was holding 344 bodies, far
above its carrying capacity of only 50 bodies.

Some of them, which had not been claimed for more than three months, were
disposed of through pauper's burials.

Another mortuary is currently under construction at Harare Central Hospital
to accommodate more bodies and would be complete by March next year.
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Sunday Times (SA)

Namibia's white farmers fear the worst

Tuesday June 22, 2004 14:38 - (SA)

WINDHOEK - Namibia's white farmers are increasingly concerned about their
future after President Sam Nujoma's government began targeting a second
group of farms for expropriation under its land reform

A second wave of letters was sent to white farmers last week, on the heels
of a first bunch in early May notifying farm owners to set a price for the
sale of their land to the state.

The letters mark the first time since land reforms began in the southern
African country in 1996 that the government has taken steps to expropriate
farmers, raising concerns that Namibia is following the path of Zimbabwe.

"My neighbour received a notice three days ago," a farmer who asked not to
be named told AFP at the weekend. "Four more farmers in my area have also
received a letter signed by Lands Minister Pohamba."

"We don't know what to do if we also receive such a notice. Our children are
teenagers, maybe we should emigrate to Australia," the farmer, who inherited
his farm from his grandfather, said to AFP.

Fearing the worst, the farmer said he was cutting back on expenses and only
purchasing goods that are essential to run his farm.

A lands ministry official declined to comment on the new notices.

"I cannot comment on that and I cannot disclose any figures at this stage",
the official told AFP.

Land is a sensitive issue in southern Africa, where as in other part of
Africa, most of the arable land is in the hands of a small group of white
farmers. In Namibia, they number around 3,800.

The example of Zimbabwe, where thousands of white-owned farms were seized
and handed over to blacks, was hailed in some quarters as a justified
solution to the decades-old conundrum.

Since 1996, the Namibian government has bought 130 farms under its "willing
seller, willing buyer" principle and resettled some 40,000 people on them.

In addition, 700 white-owned commercial farms were bought on the open market
by black Namibians since independence through affirmative action loans from
the Agricultural Bank.

The government in the former German colony, which came under South African
rule until independence in 1990, maintains that the expropriations will be
carried out in strict accordance with its laws.

But the assurances appear to have fallen on deaf ears.

"I am aware of the uncertainty prevailing among the farmers. Already
companies selling agricultural equipment are feeling the pinch, because
farmers hold back with investments to improve their infrastructure," Jan de
Wet, outgoing president of the largest commercial farmers' organisation told
some 60 white farmers last week.

De Wet's organisation, the Namibia Agricultural Union (NAU), has won an
extension of the deadline given to the first group of farmers to respond to
the notices, to June 30.

"We are for a fair expropriation process, but the government has not even
made known the criteria to expropriate in the public interest," says Sigi
Eimbeck, co-founder of a new group called the Namibia Farmers' Support
Initiative created earlier this year.

The planned farm expropriations are having ripple effects on foreign

German businessman Wilfried Pabst told AFP that he had frozen investment in
Namibia after running into problems in Zimbabwe.

Pabst complained of being harassed by Zimbabwean local officials who called
him and his staff "white pigs".

"Now President Sam Nujoma is using similar socialist vocabulary like Robert
Mugabe and farm expropriations are to happen in Namibia.

"I don't need another Zimbabwe in my life," said Pabst.

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Resettling Residents of the Limpopo National Park

Agencia de Informacao de Mocambique (Maputo)

June 22, 2004
Posted to the web June 22, 2004


The management of the Limpopo National Park (PNL), in the southern
Mozambican province of Gaza, is working with the provincial government to
start resettling 6,500 of the 20,000 people living within the park
boundaries next year.

According to a press release from the park management received by AIM on
Tuesday, these are residents of 10 villages along the Shinguedze river, who
eked out a living from subsistence agriculture, fishery and cattle raising.

The document says that the Gaza provincial government is to meet on
Wednesday with representatives of the local communities and the park
management to work out strategies to transfer those people to new areas.

The PNL is part of the Greater Limpopo Crossfrontier Park, established late
in 2002, that also includes the Kruger National Park, in South Africa, and
the Gonarezhou Park, in Zimbabwe. The ambitious trans-national project has
the main objective of creating an eco-tourism and forestry and wild life
conservation area, covering about 4.4 million hectares.

The resettlement activities "are being undertaken in the context of better
integration of the Limpopo park into the Kruger and Gonarezhou", said
Antonio Elias, the chief of the Limpopo park public relations department. He
said that poaching in the PNL area has dropped significantly, thanks to
redoubled efforts of inspection.

He added that a four-line telephone switchboard was inaugurated in March, as
part of efforts to facilitate the implementation of the project and attract
more investment to the park, hailed by environmentalists as the best
eco-tourist project in the world.

Arms-exporting governments are reneging on their promises by failing to take
into account the impact that the trade has on poverty, Oxfam says in a
report published today.

Sales are diverting resources from areas such as health and education.

The report, Guns or Growth, says six developing countries - Oman, Syria,
Burma, Pakistan, Eritrea and Burundi - spend more on arms than they do on
health and education combined.

It says governments that sell arms can assess the impact it will have on
poverty, and that they should agree an international treaty to control the
trade and safeguard sustainable development and human rights.

"Government failure to stick to their own promises on arms exports means
that children are denied an education, Aids sufferers are not getting
treatment and thousands are dying needlessly," the director of Oxfam Great
Britain, Barbara Stocking, said.

The report says:

+ in 2002 weapons delivered to Asia, the Middle East, Latin America and
Africa constituted more than two-thirds of the value of all arms deliveries

+ an average of ú12bn a year is spent on arms by countries in Asia, the
Middle East, Latin America and Africa: enough to to put every child in
school and to reduce child mortality by two-thirds by 2015

+ in 2002, 90% of all arms deliveries to Asia, the Middle East, Latin
America and Africa came from the five permanent members of the UN security

+ in sub-Saharan Africa mili tary expenditure rose by 47% in the late 1990s
and life expectancy has fallen to 46 years.

+ the world spends about ú30bn on aid and ú490bn on defence.

+ in 2001 Tanzania spent ú22m on a British military Watchman radar system:
enough to provide healthcare for 3.5 million
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New Zimbabwe

Schools shut down as Bulawayo runs dry

By Staff Reporter
Last updated: 06/23/2004 00:52:23
SCHOOLS have been temporarily shut down in Zimbabwe's second largest city of
Bulawayo after a major water pipe burst cut supplies to several western

Residents in Nkulumane, Nketa, Emganwini, Tshabala, Sizinda and surrounding
areas have been without water since a pipe burst on Sunday in the Belmont
Industrial area.

"Our taps went dry at midday Sunday without any notice whatsoever and we
have been begging for water from some people in the neighbourhood whose taps
were still running," said Nozipho Mthethwa of Nkulumane.

"Most people went to work without bathing and we fear that this might turn
into a major disaster if the city council does not rectify the problem
timeously," she told the official Chronicle newspaper.

In a press statement, Bulawayo Town Clerk, Moffat Ndlovu blamed the water
woes on pipe bursts.

"Yes there have been threats of strikes by council employees but these water
problems are a result of pipe bursts," he said.

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New Zimbabwe

A gap near Victoria Falls

Victoria Falls
MAGNIFICENT: An aerial view of the Victoria Falls as seen from the Zimbabwean side

By Agencies
Last updated: 06/23/2004 06:15:34 Last updated: 06/22/2004 23:00:26

WITH a rainbow from the mist of Victoria Falls spanning the background, a woman walks from Zambia into the no-man's land separating the Zambian and Zimbabwe customs and passport stations on June 3. Zimbabweans who once plied the tourist trade in their homeland have begun moving to Livingstone, Zambia, across the Zambezi River, where visitors are flocking.

With a name like that, one would think this town would have no trouble attracting tourists.

After all, Victoria Falls, the town, is cheek-by-jowl with Victoria Falls, the waterfall -- a jaw-dropping, heartstopping torrent almost 2km wide and 100m high, its constant roar audible for some distance, its towering cloud of spray visible from the farthest horizon. Mere words do not do justice to Victoria Falls. One must see it to appreciate it.

Where better to start to see the waterfall than Victoria Falls, the town?

Until lately, the answer was "nowhere." In the contest for falls-hungry tourists, Victoria Falls towered over its only rival, Livingstone, just across the broad Zambezi River in Zambia. Lively Vic Falls embraced everyone from backpackers to jetsetters, bungee-jumpers to golfers. Livingstone, disheveled and sedentary, had some historic cachet: It is named after the explorer David Livingstone, the first European to see the falls. But for tourists, it was an afterthought.

Then Zimbabwe imploded. And the tables turned.

Suddenly, prosaic Livingstone is hot, jamming visitors into new four-star hotels and river's-edge lodges, bursting with upscale craft and souvenir shops, clubs and casinos.

Victoria Falls is not.

"There's just no one coming here," a disconsolate businessman said, a conclusion borne out by even a brief stroll in the deserted shopping district.

Since early 2000, when squatters began occupying that nation's white-owned farms in what would become a wholesale seizure of commercial farmland, tourism in Zimbabwe has hit the skids.

Things grew worse in 2002, after Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe was re-elected in balloting marred by widespread violence. It deepened further last year, as inflation roared past 600 percent and fuel shortages became pervasive.

In truth, Zimbabwe's violence and repression have largely passed by Victoria Falls. The region is so solidly in the camp of Mugabe's political opponents -- and such an important source of scarce hard currency -- that the government has avoided measures seen in other opposition centers, such as the invasions of pro-government youth militia, which might scare tourists away.

But Zimbabwe's reputation has grown increasingly ugly, especially among tourists from members of the Commonwealth nations, mostly former British possessions. Mugabe quit the Commonwealth last December after it refused to lift its suspension of Zimbabwe in protest of its human-rights policies.

One hotelier in Victoria Falls, who refused to be named for fear of retaliation, said tourist traffic from Europe and the US has been little affected by Zimbabwe's turmoil, but that visits from Commonwealth nations have all but dried up. Some tour agencies in some Commonwealth nations have removed Zimbabwe from their lists, one South African agent said, and replaced it with package trips to Zambia.

During a recent visit to the Zambian side of Victoria Falls, Mike Carter, a New Zealand appraiser on holiday with his family, emerged raincoat-clad from the falls' drenching mist and said, "We never considered coming to Victoria Falls," the town. "We wouldn't bother going 'til they sort things out."

Zimbabwe's loss has been Zambia's gain. Livingstone's hotel occupancy since 2000 has jumped to 50 percent from an average of 36 percent, despite a brace of new hotels.

The contrast with Victoria Falls could hardly be more stark. Zimbabwean businessmen say average hotel occupancy runs between 20 percent and 30 percent, and some of the bigger four- and five-star resorts have severely pared their staff to keep from closing. The world-famous grand dame of local hostelries, the Victoria Falls Hotel, marked its centennial this month with hallways of empty rooms despite an effort to lure celebrants with a 100th-birthday package.

The plight of merchants is, if anything, bleaker. Souvenir shops on the main street to Victoria Falls sometimes pass the entire day without ringing up a single sale, one vendor said. Some wholesalers and street vendors have given up and moved their operations to Zambia, prompting a government minister to denounce them as unpatriotic in a recent meeting with the town's beleaguered businessmen.

Things could change, of course: Longtime residents remember that Vic Falls prospered most in the 1970s, when Zambia's economic policies drove that nation and its tourism close to ruin.

In the meantime, merchants and hotel operators might take a tip from a Zimbabwe tourism Web site, and try to turn their bitter plight into tourism lemonade.

Zimbabwe's national parks "are completely safe to visit, as they are far from the cities where the instability exists," the site says. "Game lodges are desperate for occupants, so prices are extremely competitive. And low lodge occupancy means you'll have thousands of hectares of pristine game country virtually all to yourself."
New York Times News Service

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      'Death spiral' is taking tragic toll on southern Africa

      June 22, 2004, 12:56

      Southern Africa has been hit by a "death spiral" caused by HIV, food
insecurity, a burden on public services and drain human resources, a senior
United Nations official says. James Morris, the UN secretary general special
envoy for humanitarian need in southern Africa, said his recent visit to
region re-affirmed his view that it represented the most serious
humanitarian crisis in the world today.

      Morris was speaking to reporters in Johannesburg after visiting
Malawi, Mozambique, Swaziland and Namibia to review how the UN could
strengthen its aid to southern Africa's most vulnerable people.

      He said he was "disappointed" that he was unable to visit Zimbabwe and
hoped to be invited to do so in the near future. - Sapa

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From a Zim Newspaper dated Fri 18th June 2004 - some prices of interest...

jaggers " weekend specials
super T-bone  = $ 16,500.00
suncrest eggs 2 1/2 dozen pack = $15,700.00
onions = $ 5,920.00
oranges = $ 1,500.00
bananas = $ 1,600.00
bbq beef sausage = $ 13,000.00

kwikspar red hot specials
colgate 100ml = $ 6,500
brands baked beans 440g = $ 4,200
sta soft lavender = $ 4,970
stork spread 150g = $ 1,850
tanganda tea bags (50) = $ 2,620
willards cornflakes 300g = $ 6,720
top jam 900g = $ 7,540
lion larger 375ml = $ 1,880
lifebuoy 150g = $ 1,360
willards chips (small) = $ 1,120
paineeze (20) = $ 3,100

pelhams (bradlows) cash only bargains
csd170 fridge = £ 1 920 000
cbf/crd420 fridge freezer = $ 4 100 000
cf530 chest freezer = $ 3 800 000
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22 June 2004




Our campaign for electoral reforms has attracted Zanu PF’s attention. Zanu PF and Mugabe know that our aim is to attain the SADC norms and standards before March 2005. The intensity of the campaign so far has thrown Zanu PF and its regime into a defensive rage that could force Robert Mugabe to put together some cosmetic arrangements in response to the people’s calls for change.

We are aware of the impact the campaign has seeded in that camp. We remain steadfast in our view that Zimbabweans will turn down half a loaf, just as they did with draft Constitution in February 2000. We believe a lasting solution to the political impasse rests in a genuinely free and fair election.

You cannot cut corners and expect a legitimate outcome. The level of mistrust in Zimbabwe requires political openness and patriotism to move the nation forward. It makes no sense to continue cheating when your previous attempts led you to nowhere.

The first admission of the existence of an improper electoral environment became public last week through a terse statement from the partisan Electoral Supervisory Commission (ESC) hinting at legislative amendments that could lead to the creation of an independent mechanism for conducting Zimbabwean elections.

A properly constituted Independent Electoral Commission enjoys the confidence of political parties, political monitors and observers and the generality of the voters.

The make-up of such a body requires an effort far beyond mere legislative changes. The composition of an IEC is national issue, calling for a political, social and legal input. Consultations on the calibre and competencies of commissioners and the terms of reference of their work are all part of the national confidence building measures Zimbabweans need today for a legitimate process to unfold, leading to a legitimate result after March 2005. The setting up of a truly independent commission is therefore a matter for burning public interest and public concern.

The regime has also announced that it was considering making allowances for postal voting in the forthcoming election. You will recall that Zanu PF and Mugabe denied millions of Zimbabweans their vote in 2002 after they banned postal ballots.

Given the large numbers of voters in exile today, only an independent commission can work out a transparent and effective way of managing the postal voting system.

May I make it clear, at least eight months before scheduled time for these elections? What we are asking for are minimum standards. Each standard carries equal weight. A democratic election is impossible if the regime ignores some of the standards. We would be happy if Zanu PF and Mugabe were to adopt the entire SADC package.

May I also caution against unnecessary delays in accepting these standards. A democratic election is impossible if these standards are met shortly before March. The time to start work is now.

Zanu PF and the regime have subverted the rule of law and polarised the political environment to a dangerous level that we need time to rebuild confidences and allow all players to marshal resources for a meaningful campaign under new conditions right across the country.

Periodic and genuine democratic elections are the cornerstone of any working democracy; they empower citizens to have a direct influence in shaping the society in which they want to live by enabling them to elect a government of their choice, a government that reflects their values and aspirations.

What we have seen in the past five years is a classic case of how not to treat the people. Zanu PF‘s hollow claims of victory in 2000 and in 2002 botched the nation’s dreams and flattened our development agenda.

We believe governments born out of a credible, transparent and trustworthy election process are an expression of the will of the people, a factor which bestows on them the legitimacy and credibility. Political stability and economic prosperity depend on legitimate elections.

A repeat of the current level of instability leads to a state of permanent national disability. We cannot afford that act of carelessness.

Zimbabwe has no option other than to embrace the concept and practice of democracy through genuine elections, held in accordance with regional and international standards. Our experiences from the past five years show that elections are a litmus test on the state of democracy and governance in our country.

Everybody everywhere is watching us. Any election, which fails to conform to recognised standards, is a waste of time, regardless of the winner. The way Zimbabwe messed itself up in 2000 and 2002 affected the integrity of the country’s electoral process. That retarded the growth of democracy.

A severe democratic deficit today sits at the heart of Zimbabwe’s political and socio-economic crisis. It is ironic that Zimbabwe could turn out to be pariah state today when at Independence in 1980; the country offered a democratic model for the region, providing the hope for the spread of democracy in Africa.   

Indeed, we were instrumental in the shaping of a democratic southern Africa through a revival of multi-party systems in SADC: in Namibia in 1989; Zambia in 1991; Malawi in 1994; Mozambique and South Africa in 1994; and Tanzania in 1995.

Through the Harare Declaration of the Commonwealth of 1991, we provided the much-needed leadership and worked with the region to embrace human rights, the rule of law and sound electoral practices. New constitutions that enshrined core democratic values became part of life. New electoral systems that conferred integrity on the electoral process flourished across the region, except in Zimbabwe.

Given that record, the people are surprised at what has hit them since then. The significant progress made by most SADC countries over the past 10 years, in terms of consolidating and deepening democracy, stands in stark contrast to developments in here.

The people have watched Zanu PF and Mugabe reverse their democratic gains. They are determined to turn around this process and reclaim their space in March. But, the conditions must be right.

The integrity of the electoral process suffered from the cumulative impact of elections that have come to symbolise violence, abuse and the subordination of the will of the people to the interests of a narrow ruling elite. The question therefore cannot be about getting out of your home and casting a ballot in March 2005. What is needed are genuine, democratic elections, held in accordance with the SADC Norms and Standards, adopted by the SADC Parliamentary Forum Plenary Assembly on 25 March 2001 and accepted by the Zanu(PF) delegates present.

Zanu PF must take the forthcoming election seriously and start to work with political parties and civil society to take immediate steps to give practical effect to the minimum conditions and to the people’s demands. Zimbabwe needs to create a political environment and an acceptable electoral framework, as a matter of urgency.

On the ground, we remain focussed on our campaign. We believe we are making serious inroads. Together, we shall win.



Morgan Tsvangirai


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