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The Economist

The method behind Mugabe's madness

Jun 24th 2004 | HARARE
From The Economist print edition

Why Zimbabwe's leader wants to drive away his middle class and keep a
frightened and starving peasantry in his thrall

YOU have to admire Robert Mugabe's chutzpah. First he makes life so
miserable for Zimbabweans that busloads of them emigrate. Then he asks the
fugitives to send money home to prop up the regime that drove them out in
the first place.

Gideon Gono, the governor of Zimbabwe's central bank, has been on a world
tour to persuade expatriate Zimbabweans to wire money home using official
channels. Most remittances are currently sent through informal channels. For
example, a Zimbabwean nurse in London pays money into a friendly
businessman's offshore account, who then asks his cousin in Bulawayo to pay
an equivalent amount, in Zimbabwe dollars, to the nurse's mother. Such
dodges are popular because until recently, if you sent money through a
formal bank, the government confiscated most of it, by means of a rigged
exchange rate.

Mr Gono has made official channels more attractive by reducing the amount
the government confiscates, and by cracking down on illegal foreign-exchange
dealing. So some Zimbabweans may heed his call. But most won't, because that
would mean giving the regime information about their finances, and no sane
person would trust this regime with such information.

Since he took over the central bank in December, Mr Gono has endeared
himself to Mr Mugabe, largely because of his success in curbing inflation
(see article). Last month's official rate was "448.8%", down from over 600%
late last year. But the real economy remains in disarray. The white farmers
who used to provide the largest chunk of Zimbabwe's exports have almost all
been driven off their land. GDP has shrunk by one-third in five years.

Confidence cannot return unless private property rights are respected. There
is no prospect of this with Mr Mugabe in charge. This month his land
minister floated the idea of abolishing all freehold land tenure and
replacing it with leases of up to 99 years. The government then
back-pedalled a bit, though Mr Mugabe probably preferred the unadulterated
plan. If all land belonged to the state, he could dole it out to his
supporters and take it back if they proved disloyal.

Mr Mugabe sees property-owners as a threat. Many middle-class Zimbabweans
(most of them black) have irritating ideas about democracy, and have the
means to make themselves heard. They bankrolled the Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC), an opposition party that would have won the last two national
elections, had they not been rigged. Mr Mugabe feels safer when whites and
white-collar blacks leave the country: then they cannot vote.

He pushes them out in various ways. Employing thugs to break their fingers
is one. Confiscating private property is another. But he also uses more
subtle techniques. For example, last month, his government ordered the
country's private schools to reduce their fees or close. Armed police were
sent to enforce the edict, so most schools complied. Given rapidly rising
costs, this guarantees that standards will fall, which will prompt more
middle-class parents to emigrate. One headmaster says that when he protested
to the education ministry, he was told to raise extra cash by ploughing up
playing fields and planting maize.

The state education and health systems, the proudest achievements of Mr
Mugabe's early years in office, are imploding. Only four years ago, primary
school enrolment was 95% for boys and 90% for girls. Last year it was 67%
for boys and 63% for girls. Zimbabweans are so broke that they cannot afford
state school fees of $4 a term. Infant mortality has doubled in a decade,
and life expectancy has fallen from 60 in 1992 to a projected 35 next year.

The Mugabe miracle
As recently as 1997, Zimbabwe was twice as rich as the median sub-Saharan
nation. Now it is crashing towards the norm. In keeping with this theme, Mr
Mugabe is trying to replace the relatively sophisticated, pluralistic
society that Zimbabwe once had with a stereotypical African patronage
system. To enter university or to find a job as a teacher, it now helps
enormously if you first join Mr Mugabe's youth militia.

Mr Mugabe wants a smaller, more dependent middle class. And he is content
for the rest of the country to revert to subsistence farming. He claims that
his policy of taking land from white farmers and giving it to blacks has
been a success: that there will be a bumper harvest this year and so
Zimbabwe will need no food aid. Actual crop-production statistics are now a
state secret, so the picture is foggy, but a short drive through the
countryside reveals vast swathes of barrenness. The World Food Programme
estimates that 4.8m people-more than a third of the population-will need
food aid this year.

Incognito, your correspondent spoke to some peasants in a ruling-party
stronghold in Mashonaland, who said that if there was going to be a bumper
harvest this year, they had not seen any signs of it. All agreed that life
was growing swiftly harder, and most thought the government was to blame.
But-and this is why Mr Mugabe prefers peasants to middle-class folk-they all
said they would vote for the ruling party, ZANU-PF. Why? "Because we fear
that if we turn against the government, we will be victimised," said one.

A general election must be held by early next year. The regime is
stockpiling imported maize. With donors barred from the country, it hopes to
use its monopoly of the national staple to reward its supporters and starve
the opposition. The media are shackled, the leader of the opposition is on
trial for his life, and the judiciary has been so thoroughly nobbled that
the MDC's lawsuits contesting the results of the last election won't be
processed before the next election is held.

Where will it end? In English, for an international audience, Mr Mugabe
occasionally hints that he wants to retire. But in Shona, his native tongue,
he makes it clear that he does not. The man who was until recently tipped to
succeed him, Emmerson Mnangagwa, has been swatted down: several of his
associates have been arrested on corruption charges. Mr Mugabe does not want
any of his lieutenants getting too big for their jackboots.

South Africa's president, Thabo Mbeki, told President George Bush last year
that the Zimbabwean crisis would be solved by now. But he has made no
serious effort to resolve it. At times, he has claimed that the MDC and
ZANU-PF were in secret talks, though both parties denied it. He refuses to
put any pressure on Mr Mugabe to respect the will of his own people, though
he could. "South Africa could end the madness in a week, without a shot
being fired," fumes a black Zimbabwean businessman in Johannesburg, "simply
by threatening to cut off the electricity and blockade the borders. But they
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Alarm over HIV prevalence in armed forces

[ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]

HARARE, 24 Jun 2004 (IRIN) - Health workers in Zimbabwe have called for
increased efforts to stem the high number of AIDS-related deaths in the
armed forces.

The recently released 2003 Zimbabwe Human Development Report claimed that
HIV prevalence in the armed forces far exceeded the general population
infection rate of 24.6 percent in the general population, and three-quarters
of soldiers died of AIDS within a year of leaving the army.

A UNAIDS survey undertaken in 1999 showed that 55 percent of the then
36,000-strong army were HIV-positive.

"In the military, young and socially inexperienced people are recruited and
trained to be fearless and aggressive. While this is good for war
situations, research shows that the youthful soldiers carry this approach
into civilian life and into their private sexual interactions," the report

The study was compiled by the Poverty Reduction Forum and the Institute of
Development Studies, with support from the UN Development Programme.

Sostain Moyo, director of the Pan-African Treatment Access Movement (PATAM),
told IRIN the high incidence of HIV/AIDS in the army could be attributed to
how the military functioned.

"Even though there is no concrete research done to prove it, the military
would tend to be [more] vulnerable [to HIV infection] because of the manner
in which soldiers operate," said Moyo. "They are highly mobile, and this
exposes them a lot [to possible infection]."

The situation was compounded by a lack of HIV/AIDS intervention programmes
in the army structure. "The army needs voluntary counselling and testing
centres. [Soldiers] would be counselled on how to live positively and what
they can do to avoid passing the virus on to other people," Moyo suggested.

"Recruits can be screened if the practice is guided by the goal to fight
HIV/AIDS in the army. It [testing] should be regular [and] extended even to
those who have served for some time. Screening, however, becomes meaningless
if it is meant to stop some people from joining in the military, since this
promotes discrimination and stigmatisation," he said.

Civil rights groups have opposed compulsory testing, citing the infringement
of privacy.

The health ministry has pointed out that soldiers were put at greater risk
of contracting the virus by the very nature of military operations: military
camps, where soldiers are posted on missions or for training, are often
situated in remote and poor areas; and the camps are seen as high-income
areas by the local communities, particularly female sex workers.

A military base can have as many as 1,000 soldiers, of which most reside in
single quarters or are placed with civilian families in neighbouring

"Research suggests that members of the military [guarding borders] are
offered sex in return for allowing vendors and other traders to pass through
[customs] without paying duty," the report added.

Twenty-three year old James Guyo (not his real name), a Lance Corporal with
the Zimbabwe National Army, told IRIN that frequent posting away from the
base was one of the major factors contributing to the high HIV infection
rate among soldiers.

Soon after graduating four years ago, Guyo was posted to the Democratic
Republic of Congo (DRC), when Zimbabwe was part of a Southern Africa
Development Community effort helping the besieged DRC government repel a
rebel takeover.

"As you can imagine, like hundreds of my colleagues, I was excited to be in
the bush for the first time - more so because I had never ventured outside
our borders," he said.

"The war experience was horrible, but we found our solace in the brothels of
Kinshasa [DRC's capital]. Also, it was my first time employed, [and] I found
it gratifying to spend my money on women of the DRC, maybe also as a way of
beating homesickness," Guyo told IRIN.

He admitted that he had unprotected sex and contracted a sexually
transmitted disease while in the DRC, but thought it unlikely that he had
contracted HIV, as he had not experienced any symptoms of infection since
returning home.

Although more than 10 of his friends have died of AIDS-related illnesses
over past two years, Guyo was reluctant to undergo an HIV test.

"Even if the army would set up its own testing centres, I do not see myself
going there. Being tested or not, what difference does it make when you are
going to die? After all, as a soldier, I was taught not to fear death," he
told IRIN.

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Blair sparks more controversy in Zimbabwe

June 24, 2004, 13:20

The recent claim by Tony Blair, the British prime minister, that he is
working with Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), has
sparked new discord in the Southern African country.

Zimbabwe's ruling Zanu(PF) party says it wants a probe into Blair's
statement saying his efforts to force a regime change in Britain's former
colony continue with the cooperation of MDC leaders. Zanu(PF) legislators
also want action taken against leaders of the opposition who are found to be
involved in the scheme to oust Robert Mugabe (80) the president of Zimbabwe,
who have been in power since independence in 1980.

They accuse Welshman Ncube, the MDC Secretary-General, of campaigning for
more sanctions against the country. Ncube is quoted in the media as saying
the European embargo against the Zimbabwean government officials should be
expanded to include people playing a leading role to maintain what he calls
the illegal rule of Mugabe and Zanu(PF).

His comments come after a campaign by Gideon Gono, the Reserve Bank
Governor, calling on Zimbabweans living abroad to send their foreign
currency back home and help revive the crumbled national economy. Jonathan
Moyo, the information minister, says the relationship between the statements
by Blair and Ncube clearly show the MDC is a British puppet, despite
vehement denials by the labour-backed group.

He also says all media houses and non-governmental organisations supporting
the opposition party fall under the same class of being British tools
against his government. Blair recently announced that his administration
needed to give every chance to unnamed people in South Africa and the rest
of Southern Africa to force a regime change and bring what he calls
salvation to Zimbabweans. Britain and Zimbabwe fell out with each other
after the former colony decided to grab white-owned farms to resettle
millions of landless blacks.
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Mugabe slams 'ex-imperialists'
24/06/2004 20:14 - (SA)

Maputo - Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe on Thursday said he would not
allow "former imperialists" to monitor parliamentary elections in his
country next year, a declaration which drew a sympathetic response from a
summit of 79 poor and developing countries.

Mugabe blasted British Prime Minister Tony Blair for questioning the state
of human rights, freedom and democracy in its former colony and said that is
why he would only invite monitors from Africa and developing nations.

"Eleven years I spent in prison fighting for democracy, for one man, one
vote and for us now to hear a voice from London saying there is no
democracy, no freedom, no human rights observed in Zimbabwe is very
offensive and repulsive," Mugabe said.

He said such statements from "narrow-minded little Blair" had made Harare
decide "that our elections, whenever they are held, must be supervised by
people of our region, people of Africa, people in the Third World.

"We will invite all of you but we will not allow erstwhile imperialists to
come and judge our election," he said to sustained applause at the
concluding session of a summit of the African, Caribbean and Pacific group
of nations in the Mozambican capital Maputo.

Mugabe under EU sanctions

Mozambican President Joaquim Chissano told a media conference after the end
of the summit that Mugabe's message had elicited a lot of sympathy.

Chissano said Mugabe had "taken advantage of the situation to clarify his
position... many heard that message favourably and with a great deal of

Mugabe, who threw out European Union observers before the 2002 presidential
elections after accusing them of meddling, is under sanctions from the EU.

In February, EU interior and justice ministers adopted without debate an
extended list of 95 Zimbabwean officials - including Mugabe - who are banned
from entering EU countries and a freeze on their assets.

The EU sanctions, which have entered a third year, also include an embargo
on supplies of arms and military equipment to Zimbabwe. The United States
has imposed similar restrictions against the country.

Chissano said the ACP would try and mend fences between Zimbabwe, the
European Union and the United States.

"We will do all in our power to see that Europe and the United States resume
their good relations with Zimbabwe" he said.
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Please send any material for publication in the Open Letter Forum to with "For Open Letter Forum" in the subject line.


Letter 1:

Making a Point.

I struck a blow against the Mugabe regime this weekend - I pruned my roses.

This may seem a bit facetious but you see - by pruning my roses and then
giving them a shot of good goat manure from Beitbridge I am signaling to
anyone who cares to look, that I am here for the spring and summer. If for
no other reason than to simply enjoy the wonderful flush of blooms that
will follow my winter care.

On the main road to Harare from Beitbridge - about 60 kilometers from the
Bridge, there is a sign on the side of the road "Kleinbegin - Sam Cawood".
Behind that sign is a road that leads to a farmhouse where Sam Cawood and
his wife Janet live. Local Zanu thugs have invaded them, all they hold dear
has been lost to them. Decades of dedicated cattle breeding has been swept
away by the vandalism, but Sam took the time to go and put his sign back up
after it had been knocked down. The name of the ranch "Kleinbegin" - "small
beginnings" says it all.

What small thing did you do this week to show that you are not going to
just lie down and give up to the thugs and bullies of Zanu PF? Yesterday
200 young Zimbabweans went to a meeting in Johannesburg scheduled to be
addressed by Gideon Gono. They heckled and jeered and told him to "go

They told him that until their own rights at home were respected - they
were not going to tolerate his presence, or that of the Zimbabwe Ambassador
at a meeting in a hotel in Johannesburg. He and the ambassador had to be
escorted from the hotel by the Police.

Today 70 women are in jail in Bulawayo - sitting, singing their songs on a
cold concrete floor, 7 of them with babies, just because they wanted to
march in support of World Refugee Day. They will be both hungry and cold
tonight as temperatures drop to near zero, but their hearts will be warm
and their courage and determination encourage us.

Last Monday the Kidd's, Birgit and Shane went down to the local MDC office,
cleaned it up and painted the walls - then painted on the walls that this
was the "MDC Chimanimani Office". For their trouble they were beaten -
Birgit has stitches in her head and a dislocated shoulder; Shane was badly
beaten about the head. Today they are back in their home - still determined
to carry on with their legitimate support for Roy Bennett and the MDC in
the area.

Last night a small team went out onto the streets and furtively began
putting Zakwana symbols on lampposts - then quietly disappeared to the fury
of the local Police.

Tonight the SW Africa team plus the team at Studio 7 and the Voice of the
People will broadcast news and views to the people of Zimbabwe - small
teams of people who love their country and are just doing what they can in
their own way.

What will you do today and tomorrow to encourage others to fight on, to
spread the word that change is coming. That Zanu is finished - those who
are guilty must prepare for the worst.

Our men's fellowship from the Church is preparing to stand with one of our
number who will be in Court shortly - facing charges which any one of us
could be facing - we want him to know he is not alone - we want the
authorities to also know that. His legal fees will be Z$25 million - we
need to make sure he is not alone with that either, and we will.

It could be something very small - fix the potholes in your road, paint the
sign of your house so that all can see it is not for sale - you are in
residence and intend to stay so. Write a letter to your local Headmaster
and encourage him or her to keep up the good work they are doing. Go to the
rugby at Falcon next Saturday - take a packed lunch and shout support for
the team you support. Take your surplus vegetables to the local old folk's
home and ask them to see that they get to someone who need a bit of help.

Let me tell you - there is no power on earth so powerful as the combined
weight of a united people, caring and working for each other and to change
their country for the better. If you live outside Zimbabwe then do your
part if you care - write to your paper, your MP, your Church leadership,
demand action. Send a small donation to the nearest MDC Trust Fund or
simply to an MDC office in Zimbabwe - small donations in hard currency go a
long way here. Try to do something every week - every day if you can.

On their own each of these actions is small and insignificant, but together
they will make a roaring torrent which will sweep away the tyranny and wipe
the slate clean for a new beginning. I know we all want the grand finale -
the quick fix, but often that route is not just dangerous but also
destructive. Be on the side of those who are working for a better life for
all Zimbabweans. Support change by changing your own universe.


Where there is despair, let me be an example of hope.
Where there is anger, let me be an example of love and care.
Where there is need, help me to commit the means to do what I can.
Where there is fear, let me be an example of courage and commitment.
Where there is no hope, make my life and my actions an example to others.
Where there is injustice and persecution help me to stand with those so
Where there is no vision, let me set an example of faith, expectation and

Warm African greetings,

Eddie Cross
Bulawayo, 20th June 2004.


Letter 2:

Litany of lies:- virtually from its inception, ZANU(PF) have perfected the
art of hoodwinking all and sundry - to this day they are pulling the wool
over the world's eyes. Three instances over the years come to light, which
does not indicate how few times this evil organisation have a natural
tendency to avoid the truth, but the gravity of the lies is enough to
sicken one to the core; during the liberation war, many a body of a section
commander, "killed in action", contained documentation pertaining to the
fighting skill of the freedom fighter, chronicling major "battles" with the
enemy, where "many enemy troops died, aircraft were shot down and vehicles
destroyed" - in most of these cases, with the numbers involved, the former
colony of Rhodesia would have succumbed in the early to mid-1970's.

In 1987 when MNR bandits were causing havoc on our eastern border, I
happened to be employed as a security officer for one of the tea companies
in Chipinge; one very early morning we were awoken by heavy gunfire. On
investigation, the MNR had come into a Zimbabwe army camp (based there to
repel any would-be "invaders") and had actually killed about 8 of the
inhabitants - seen personally by myself and confirmed no longer of this
world; the following morning at first light I went down to the camp and it
was as if nothing had happened - it was spick and span, there was an air
force commander there, together with an army captain and a whole lot of
hangers-on dressed in military kit. I enquired as to what was going on and
was told that there had been a minor skirmish, but no casualties (I had
actually taken one of the casualties to the Mount Selinda hospital, who
subsequently died) - another small lie by a communist-indoctrinated

Closer to what is happening in the present - whilst we have been arguing as
to who the rightful owners of the land in this fair country of ours are,
for the past four years, we have had a fair amount of precipitation, not at
the ideal times, but precipitation nevertheless, which good farmers, had
they been able to, could have managed, and the nation would have seed for
subsequent crops and probably been able to produce enough food for the
survival of many - but no, there is plenty - where is it coming from? I
don't know who is fool enough to give us aid, but if the number of trucks
laden with aid coming through Mozambique is anything to go by, then the
"ruling party" is probably building up another huge lie and the aid maize
will become our "bumper harvest".

Personally, I am sick and tired of voicing my ignorance by getting involved
in writing down that which irks me, but no one seems to have the balls to
put more concrete ideas across to an ignorant world - the only time we will
be taken notice of, is if we discover oil, or if we start killing each
other wholesale. Print that if you want, but if you don't I'll
understand!!!! Go well, see you in hell! Stu Taylor.


Letter 3:

Dear JAG,

How about sending this letter (or your version of it) to the following

Peter Hain Baroness Amos
Jack Straw House of Lords
Tony Blair London
Michael Ancram SW1A 0PW
Kate Hoey

House of Commons
C Frizell (UK)

Dear XXX,


The primary purpose of my letter is to ensure that members of the UK
government cannot say, "We did not know" when Mugabe rigs (and wins) the
forthcoming elections in Zimbabwe.

As you are no doubt aware, he and his government have declared that
Zimbabwe does not require any food aid this year, due to the "bumper
harvest." There will of course be no such thing, and if anything the amount
of food available will be even less than last year.

You may be aware that Zimbabwe has approached finance houses in the USA and
secured a large loan, estimated at US$ 700 million. It is an open secret
that much of this money is being used to import maize, the staple food of
the nation. At first sight this may appear bizarre; why pay for the
importation of food when it could be available at no cost from World Food
Programme and other donors?

You may also be aware that Mr Gono, the governor of the Reserve Bank of
Zimbabwe is touring the world in an attempt to persuade exiles to remit
their money home through Zimbabwe government controlled channels? This of
course is to help pay for these maize imports.

The plan to rig the elections is very simple. WFP and other international
donors insist that food is equitably distributed, without Zimbabwe
government interference. This is unacceptable to Mugabe and his party.
Therefore, they will do all food distribution. What will be done is to make
sure the voters know that should they elect a member of the opposition,
then there will be no food. As no food means a slow death by starvation,
the outcome is a foregone conclusion.

After the election Mugabe will crow about his sweeping "democratic"
election victory, which among other things will give him the two-thirds
majority in parliament that he needs to change the constitution to entrench
him and his party in perpetuity.

Whether you feel obliged do anything to block this move I do not know. I
believe that ethics and morality would demand that you do.

Yours faithfully,


Letter 4:

Please could you let everyone on your mailing list know that the Carnival
Cup Polo tournament is to be played this weekend 25th/ 26th & 27th June, at
Thornpark Polo Grounds, Harare. There are a lot of ex-farmers/veteran polo
players who would like to know of dates etc. & we were asked to put the
news out to them via JAG.

We would be most grateful to you if you could do this on behalf of the Polo

Thanking you kindly,
Hilary Campbell
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ANC-regime expropriating farms in NW, Limpopo, Mpumalanga
- Chris Burgess, Editor: Farmer's Weekly

June 23 2004 - "So it's finally come. The government is going ahead with
"imminent" expropriations of farmland in the North West, Limpopo and
Mpumalanga. According to my understanding, this will be the first time the
government will expropriate land without a court order since the
Restitution Act was amended, which caused great consternation among

Apparently under intense political pressure to settle all land claims in
the next 18 months, Chief Land Claims Commissioner Tozi Gwanya puts
outstanding claims at around 6 000. When I phoned him up to ask if the
farmers in question were going to be paid a fair price for their land,
Gwanya assured me that market-related prices would be paid (...) but more
worrying though was his comment that agricultural subsidies farmers
received way back when would be "discounted" from the price of the farm.

"We will go into the farm records and those of all the agencies that could
have provided such subsidies and reach a price," Gwanya said. "Surely, when
the subsidies were issued, the farmers in question were never aware that
they would be penalised for it 20 or 30 years later.

"And what about all the other farmers who received subsidies, but continue
to farm undisturbed? How will they be penalised? "And then, of course,
what about the "subsidies" black farmers effectively receive in the form of
interest-free loans and tax holidays?

"While I completely agree that these are necessary to get black farmers
started, in the interests of fairness, shouldn't they also be penalised
somewhere along the line? "Ag nee wat, discounting subsidies from the
price of commercial farmland sounds suspiciously like trying to do land
restitution - on the cheap. Benoni farmer Braam Duvenhage, who for the
past four years has been traipsing to numerous courts to try and get
resolution about what the government plans to do with the roughly 50 000
squatters who invaded his mealie farm.

Finally, the Appeal Court in Bloemfontein recently ruled that the
government should either buy the ground from Duvenhage, or find alternative
accommodation for the squatters and reimburse Duvenhage for the damage they
have wreaked, as well as pay his legal costs.

But now Thoko Didiza, minister of Agriculture and Land Affairs, is
contemplating taking Duvenhage's case to the Constitutional Court. This
could extend the saga by another six months. (...) It strikes one as odd
that when farmers do they same, they're branded as recalcitrant and
uncooperative, with government's solution to the problem being to amend a
law so that land can be expropriated without the irritation of a court

As for Duvenhage, I'm sure he would love to expropriate the squatters
without the hassle of another court case.
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Producers withhold soya crop

[ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]

BULAWAYO, 24 Jun 2004 (IRIN) - Soya bean farmers in Zimbabwe have decided to
withhold their crops from the market in protest at prices offered by buyers,
Jane Mutau vice-president of the National Soya Bean Commodity Association
told IRIN.

The decision follows a deadlock in negotiations between producers and buyers
on setting a higher purchase price in line with increased production costs.

Farmers are demanding a price increase of between Zim $2.5 million (about US
$467) and Zim $4 million (US $747) per tonne, while buyers maintain they
cannot offer anything higher than the current price range of between Zim
$1.7 million (US $317) and Zim $1.9 million (US $355).

"There is no way farmers can dispose of their crop [at] the current prices,
because production costs have ballooned over the years. We will hold onto
the crop until buyers offer competitive prices, as is the case with other
crops," said Mutau.

"A price of Zim $4 million per tonne would give the farmer a profit, and
help in maintaining viability [of] the sector. Most of the soya bean farmers
are not contracted to any buyers - therefore, they cannot be compelled to
sell the crop at the present unrealistic prices," Mutau added.

The National Soya Bean Promotion Taskforce chairman, Isheunesu Mpepereki,
warned that prices being offered by buyers might force many farmers to
abandon soya production and switch to other crops.

"It will be very difficult to increase production next season because the
[current] one has been affected by high inflation. This season's prices were
supposed be higher, to enable farmers to fund operations into the next
season," Mpepereki explained.

Like most Zimbabwean farmers, soya bean producers were affected by a
widespread shortage of seed and other inputs. Mpepereki said the soya bean
taskforce was urging farmers to reserve some of their best product to use as
seed for the next season to avoid a shortage.

Zimbabwe needs between 175,000 and 200,000 mt of soya beans per year for
domestic consumption, but production has steadily declined in recent years,
from over 150,000 mt in 2001 to an anticipated 50,000 mt this year.

Apart from its industrial uses in cooking oil and soap products, soya beans
are a cheap high-energy food source for ordinary Zimbabweans.
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Safety Standards in Railway Network Fall

The Herald (Harare)

June 25, 2004
Posted to the web June 24, 2004

Tawanda Kanhema

'SELF drivers may curse their luck, stuck on muddy roads . . . but the good
old train will always jog to the dogma of the rails" prevailed as
conventional wisdom at the advent of rail transport when "steel wheels on
steel tracks" were considered safer than all other modes of transport.

Despite the immense advantages of railway transport, the reality of train
crashes and derailments has changed this perception, with major disasters
having claimed hundreds of lives on the tracks and cost the National
Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) billions of dollars in damaged customers' goods.

More than a year after the country's worst railway disaster, the Dete train
crash, which killed 50 people and injured 64 others after the collision of
two trains in the Dete area of Hwange in February 2003, the country's
railway system continues to pose grave risks to train users.

No improvements have been made to the outdated network.

The Hwange Magistrates' Court, responsible for the inquest into the causes
of the disaster, which is suspected to have been a result of signal failure
and mechanical fatigue, is yet to release its findings, but safety standards
in the country's railway network have continued to wane.

At a time when railway systems around the world are revolutionising their
operations and adopting the latest technological innovations like microwave
link signalling systems, modern traction electronics and novel track
designs, the network has remained static.

Extensive damage to telecommunication systems by thieves through the years
has gone without corresponding replacement and has, in some cases, destroyed
the centralised rail traffic control system.

System failures often compel the NRZ to revert to traditional communication
methods like the "wooden staff and paper order", which has been used between
Dete-Thompson Junction and Thompson Junction-Victoria Falls.

In areas where signals have been completely vandalised, the NRZ has resorted
to the use of detonators to caution drivers.

The parastatal has plans to install a robust and vandal-proof microwave link
system to replace the outdated analogue system.

Vandalism of railway telecommunications systems was most rampant between
Bulawayo and Victoria Falls and most of the stolen aluminium has reportedly
been resold as scrap metal in South Africa.

Instead, the Dete train disaster has been an epitome of the state in which
what had been the backbone of Zimbabwe's cargo industry finds itself today.

It has begun losing its market share to road transport in the face of
growing demand for haulage services.

NRZ's workforce has fallen from 21 000 in 1980 to 9 000 due to antiquated
infrastructure and it has seen its losses climbing from $700 million in 2000
to $18 billion in 2003 and $13 billion in the first three months of this
year alone.

Losses have largely been attributed to operational failures and bad business

Implications of these operational losses have manifested themselves through
the fall of operational safety standards and inefficiency, which are a
direct result of lack of maintenance and mechanical fatigue.

The parastatal has been failing to raise revenue to meet its wage bills and
absconded payment of statutory requirements and suppliers, with an
operational loss of about 350 percent every month.

The NRZ's generates a monthly total revenue of $20 billion against a net
wage and statutory requirements bill of about $32 billion.

At a customer consultative workshop held in Harare a few weeks ago, NRZ
board chairman Mr Sam Geza said the parastatal, which had been garnished by
the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority over outstanding statutory requirements,
stood on the brink of collapse.

"The NRZ is failing to raise revenue to meet its bills and if this happens
again (Zimra garnishes us again), there will be no NRZ to talk about," Mr
Geza said.

Since 2000, the wagons have slowed down due to a collapsing
telecommunications network characterised by multiple "caution" signs that
punctuate the greater length of the track.

Service delivery has fallen significantly due to a combination of internal
leakages and a poor management system.

Mr Geza said the parastatal aimed to eliminate all caution signs and
eventually replace the railway track to ensure high safety standards and
enhanced efficiency.

The parastatal's lack of viability, however, continues to scuttle prospects
of an enhanced operational system.

The Dete stretch, which still stands as the most unsafe railway stretch in
the entire network, still has ineffective signalling and 15 months after the
crash, the board has only determined that proper signalling "will be put
into place".

In streches like Victoria Falls-Dete, Somabula-Beitbridge and Mutare-Harare,
which have intermittent signal failures and where the vandalism of
telecommunications equipment was more severe, the NRZ has deployed security
guards who conduct 24-hour surveillance on buildings that shelter signalling
equipment with armed police officers.

A provisional UHF (ultra-high frequency) radio communication system has been
installed between Dete and Victoria Falls to facilitate the smooth flow of
traffic, but the network remains a potential source of risk.
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Cricket is collapsing fast in Zimbabwe, claims Field

Wisden Cricinfo staff

June 24, 2004

Clive Field, the representative of the sacked Zimbabwe rebel players, has
reacted angrily to claims that the Zimbabwe Cricket Union is doing a good
job in promoting the game in the country.

In a letter to the government-controlled Herald newspaper, Field was
responding to an earlier article which argued that the ZCU should be praised
for their efforts.

"[The writer's opinion] is based on the fact he has seen cricket stumps
standing alongside goalposts in Harare, and has watched kids playing cricket
with a makeshift bat and ball in Highfield," Field wrote. "With respect, if
this constitutes evidence of progress in developing cricket at grass-roots
level, then we have a long way to go. And what does this have to do with the
ZCU anyway? Kids using a plastic tray to play cricket is surely not a
feather in the ZCU's cap, if anything it is a sad indictment of the Union's

"Many of the Zimbabweans I have spoken to involved in the administration of
cricket vehemently maintain the ZCU are not doing enough to direct the
considerable funds they have at their disposal into the right areas.

"Overseas travel by members of the ZCU board to Australia appears to rank
far higher on their priority list than paying for much-needed cricket
equipment. I attended the AGM of a leading Harare club on Tuesday night and
the message I got was clear: cricket is collapsing fast in Zimbabwe at
school, club, provincial and national level. The ZCU presides over this

Field went on to accuse the ZCU of being at fault for its handling of the
player dispute. "It must shoulder at least half of any blame for failing to
resolve this dispute. Since it began, many opportunities have been given,
but none have been taken."

He was angered by suggestions in the newspaper that the rebels had taken
their action in support of attempts to cause England's forthcoming tour to
be scrapped. "It demonstrates both an unhealthy over-preoccupation with
Britain, and also suggests these players were prepared to be used as pawns
sacrificing their careers and jobs for political considerations."

And he was equally incensed at suggestions that the players had been bought
out of Zimbabwe cricket by overseas financiers who were trying to sabotage
Zimbabwe cricket. "This is offensive," he stated, pointing out that only
four of the sacked players are in the UK, and - with the probable exception
of Heath Streak - will earn less playing club cricket than they would had
they remained as centrally contracted players. "The rest are currently
unemployed, although two have secured temporary jobs. Not only has this
dispute cost them their jobs but it has cost them legal fees. They have also
been prejudiced by loss of income, as a result of not earning match fees for
the Australian and Sri Lankan series. Gratuities which were due from the ZCU
have not been paid. If lucrative offers are being made to them, this is
certainly news to me."

Field concluded by dismissing the accusations as no more than the continuing
"peddling of a species of opinion which I have heard before, along the lines
of some sinister and invisible white force meeting in clandestine forums
like Royal Harare Golf Club to bring about the end of Zimbabwean cricket.

"These types of opinions are smokescreens which will appeal to the lesser
informed and to seek to deflect attention away from the facts. There is no
ulterior motive on the part of the players. Their position is clear and has
been made known. Politicising this dispute simply detracts from the merits.

"The only point on which I can agree with is that cricket has overtaken
rugby and athletics as the second most popular sport in Zimbabwe. But that
has less to do with any good work on the part of the ZCU than the fact both
rugby and athletics have followed hockey down the road to the intensive-care
unit, as a result of maladministration and political interference. Cricket
will surely follow them, and soon only football will be left."

Wisden Cricinfo Ltd
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Extradition of Fugitive Directors Hits Snag

Financial Gazette (Harare)

June 24, 2004
Posted to the web June 24, 2004

Thomas Madondoro

THE Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) this week hinted that the extradition of
fugitive executives wanted on various alleged economic crimes could hit a

The ZRP spoke as it emerged that the legal process involved could render
such efforts futile.

Police spokesman Oliver Mandipaka this week hinted there could be legal

"There are legal connotations to it and this will take a little bit of time,
but they will come back and face the full wrath of the law," Mandipaka said.

Suspects on the run include ENG director Gilbert Muponda, who skipped bail,
and former NMBZ Holdings executive directors Julius Makoni, James Mushore,
Otto Chekeche and Francis Zimuto, who fled the country when the net started
closing in on them.

Also wanted are three former directors of ZANU PF companies - Jayant Joshi,
his brother Manharlal and Dipak Pandya, who fled to Britain.

Business magnate Mutumwa Mawere, who was arrested in South Africa and is on
R50 000 bail, is also being sought by the local police. Mawere has already
challenged his extradition.

The government has since dispatched a team of experts from the
Attorney-General's Office, the National Economic Crimes Inspectorate and the
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe in intensified efforts to bring Mawere back to

Banker Mthuli Ncube, the founder of Barbican, and Nicholas Vingirai, another
banking executive who established Intermarket Holdings, also flew out of the
country in a huff, leaving their troubled institutions behind. It remains
unclear if any charges will be preferred against them.

Legal experts were unanimous this week that it would be an uphill task to
bring the suspects back home, considering the cumbersome process involved.

"It is very sad to note that the police are rushing to arrest before they
investigate the allegations. Who would want his or her rights to be taken
and only to be freed after spending 21 days in police cells?" asked one
legal expert who refused to be named.
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S. African police smash international burglary syndicate 2004-06-25 03:38:44

JOHANNESBURG, June 24 (Xinhuanet) -- South African police
announced in Pretoria on Thursday that they have smashed a "major"
international burglary syndicate.

This announcement followed the arrest of two Zimbabwean nationals
who were alleged to have sent thousands of rands (hundreds or thousands of
dollars) worth of stolen electrical goodsinto Zimbabwe every month from
South Africa.

The Zimbabweans, aged between 23 and 25, were arrested in
Soshanguve, north of Pretoria, with an estimated 100,000 rand (about 16,000
US dollars) worth of stolen appliances in their possession.

Police spokesman Inspector Percy Morokane said detectives wouldbe
looking at the possibility that goods were also sent to other African

He said the possible involvement of customs officials could notbe
ignored, adding they are "looking at bigger things here."

He said the breakthrough started when one of Pretoria's most
wanted criminals, Robert Makalapa, was arrested two weeks ago.

"He is currently standing trial on two counts of murder and 16
house breaking charges," he said.

Further investigations led to the arrest of a Tshwane municipalbus
driver who allegedly bought stolen goods from Makalapa along with the

"They apparently bought mostly household appliances stolen
fromhouses in Centurion and Pretoria North. A gun or a car was considered a
bonus," said Morokane.

He said the two Zimbabweans would appear in court on Monday
butthat the state would oppose bail.

South Africa is labeled as the capital of crime in the world due
to rampant firearms, high unemployment and no death penalty. However, South
Africans blamed higher crime rate on illegal foreign immigrants. Enditem

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No drugs for Zimbabwe's HIV patients

By Alastair Leithead
BBC correspondent on the Zimbabwe border

How is Zimbabwe coping with Aids? Better or worse than its neighbours?
The BBC's Alastair Leithead, banned from the country along with other BBC
reporters, has been inside to find out.
AIDS is cutting a swathe through southern Africa, but the economic
crisis in Zimbabwe is placing the country in a terrible position.

Officially around a third of the adult population is HIV positive, but
in reality that figure is probably a lot higher.

"The pandemic is really affecting so many people in our country -
hundreds are dying in the hospitals on a weekly basis," said one Zimbabwean
aid worker who did not want to be named.

"There's no comparison to the other countries in southern Africa. I
think we are way, way, way behind.

In fact there are no drugs and there's nothing in place for Aids
victims like there are in other African countries.

"The anti-retroviral drugs are not available and you have to pay for
testing. Where do people get money? There's very little education - and not
enough being done for HIV/Aids."

Low profile

I would love to tell you this woman's name, or the name of the
organisation she is running as it is doing some fantastic work, but she is
too scared to draw attention to herself or to be seen to be critical.

In fact none of the doctors, health workers, non-governmental
organisations or people affected or infected by the virus I spoke to wanted
their names published - such is the climate of fear in the Zimbabwe of
President Robert Mugabe.

People who are doing good work are afraid to talk about it in case it
embarrasses the government into closing them down.

"People struggle to afford transport to reach the clinics - attendance
is going down," said one doctor.

"If you do see patients then clinically speaking I guess 60, 70, 80%
would be HIV positive.

"The young men leave the country, they go to South Africa, they go to
Botswana. If they do have a job they bring back a few presents for Christmas
or for Easter - and they bring back HIV."

Zimbabwe held its first national Aids conference last week, bringing
together most of those people working to combat the virus.

I was not able to attend, but no doubt it was full of many keen and
dedicated people who are doing all they can to help.

But the state-run radio news report on the event suggested a
government that was somewhat defensive: "The national HIV/Aids conference
entered its third day today with concern expressed at the way some NGOs
involved in HIV and Aids programmes are benefiting from donor funds at the
expense of those infected and affected."

Lack of funding

Before I even heard this broadcast, the message from those very NGOs
confirmed the money was not reaching the people - but they blamed expensive
conferences that were mere talking shops.

"A lot of the conferences I have attended just stopped there," said
one Zimbabwean aid worker.

"We have lavish meals and teas and the real money that is supposed to
come directly to these people just hasn't reached them."

A critical lack of funding in the Zimbabwean health system has been
blamed for the breakdown in care.

One doctor who has been living in Zimbabwe 15 years has noticed the
difference. "There's been an incredible deterioration in health provision in
this country. One lurches from a crisis to a crisis," he said.

The basics are not even available for people, but the government's
Aids levy - a tax to raise money to fight the virus - is failing to get


"We pay the levy, but at the same time my hospital can't afford to do
an Aids test, which is just basic. Doctors are frustrated and feel they
cannot do anything."

The economic crisis across Zimbabwe is compounding the problem. This
country was once proud of its health system - but doctors and nurses are
leaving to live and work abroad.

There are anti-retroviral drugs, but they are still far too expensive
for all but the elite to afford.

Cost means there is no way Zimbabwe can contemplate the kind of drug
treatment programme that South Africa is embarking upon.

One woman I spoke to found out she was HIV positive a year ago, but
still has not told her family.

"There is so much stigma about the virus here - when I tested positive
it was a shock and I cannot tell people," she said.

Stigma is a problem throughout southern Africa, but in a country where
state repression of independent media and any voices of opposition is
endemic, it makes things even worse.

The situation will improve in Zimbabwe, but this country's political
and economic turmoil will leave a legacy for future generations - at the
heart of that legacy will be the damage and the pain caused by the HIV/Aids

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Mmegi - Botswana

Zimbabwe blamed for delaying return of Bakalanga

Staff Writer
6/24/2004 2:26:51 AM (GMT +2)

THE indifference of the Zimbabwean authorities is threatening to
thwart the dream of Bakalanga-ba-Nswazwi of returning to Botswana to join
their kith and kin.

One of the members of the organising committee tasked with the
repatriation Obed Chilume told Mmegi this week that they have faced an
uphill battle in trying to facilitate the return of Nswazwi's people because
of lack of cooperation from the Zimbabwean government, particularly the
District Commissioner at Plumtree.

Chilume, a former MP said fellow Bakalanga in Zimbabwe were "very
anxious to come back because they are treated as second class citizens in
Zimbabwe and are treated as resident aliens and denied Zimbabwean

These Bakalanga are said to be living in the villages of Jecheni,
Dombodema, Majambuzi, Plumtree and the Bolilimanngwe district. They had
sought to return with the body of their late Chief John Nswazwi but were
unable to do so because of the need to comply with immigration formalities.

Another coordinator of the repatriation programme and Nkange MP
Ambrose Masalila, has told Mmegi that he has had a meeting with the Minister
of Home Affairs Thebe Mogami over the issue on several occasions. But the
response was the same that those intending to return to Botswana should
submit their names to the Zimbabwean District Commissioner in Plumtree. The
DC is supposed to forward the names to Harare. But so far this has not
happened. He says he has also spoken to one of the committee members
responsible for the repatriation on the Zimbabwean side who visited Botswana

Masalila said the committee responded by advising that the Nswazwi
people from Zimbabwe should follow protocol by "initiating and making
follow-ups with the District Commissioner in Plumtree with a list of those
willing to leave for Botswana".

He said the whole process is tricky because the affected parties are
throwing the buck at each other. Following the impasse, he said that he
advised the committee members from Zimbabwe that the issue is better handled
formally through government to government channels in order to verify that
that those who intend to come back are deserving cases and not chancers.

He revealed that the number of people expected to repatriate is
estimated at about 350, up from the initial 202. He said that although there
are many Bakalanga living in Zimbabwe, it is only those from Jecheni and
those who have lived in Botswana before who are expected to return. He said
these are the same people who were accorded a special dispensation by the
Botswana government at independence to return when the boarder was opened
for six months to facilitate the process. He said these people are part of
the group that took up the offer and settled in Marapong in the North East
District. They are part of the group that fled the country around 1948-49
when Nswazwi was exiled by the colonial administration from Mafikeng after a
clash with the late Bangwato Regent Tshekedi Khama. . The expulsion came
after Nswazwi refused to pay tax and tribute to Khama. The return of the
Nswazwi group in Zimbabwe is rationalised on the basis of correcting the
wrongs of history.

Officials of both the Botswana Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the
Zimbabwean High Commission in Gaborone were unavailable for comment at the
time of going to press.

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New Zimbabwe

Zapu leader's trial postponed

By Staff Reporter
Last updated: 06/24/2004 23:04:48
THE trial of Zapu leader Paul Siwela and George Mkwananzi who are facing
charges of contravening section 19 of the Public Order and Security Act
(POSA) has been further postponed to July 6.

The State, represented by Jeremiah Mutsikindwa made an application for the
postponement saying that the key State and arresting officer George Ngwenya
had a funeral to attend.

Regional magistrate Themba Kuwanda granted the State application. It is
alleged that the two accused were invited to a Bulawayo Agenda meeting in
December last year to discuss a circulating tribally-charged 14-page
document authored by unknown people.

The document, among other allegations, claimed Ndebeles were " hero
worshippers of the late Vice President Joshua Nkomo who blindly followed him
until he committed political suicide on December 22, 1987 by signing the
Unity Accord with Zanu PF".

During the discussion of the document, Siwela is alleged to have said
President Robert Mugabe hated the Ndebele people and the document was a
master plan to have them eliminated.

The State is also alleging that at the same meeting, it was suggested that
the Ndebele should make demands on the government that all the children of
the Gukurahundi victims should have free education and health facilities for
23 years.

Mkwananzi is alleged to have told the gathering that President Mugabe
created the Fifth Brigade before the dissidents were operational with the
intention of eliminating the Ndebele people. The two are denying the
From Daily Mirror

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Election disputes 'ignored'

Harare - Court disputes over 33 parliamentary seats dating back more than
three years remain unresolved just nine months before fresh elections,
Zimbabwe's main opposition party protested in a report released on Tuesday.
The High Court has heard only 11 of the 37 challenges filed by the
opposition Movement for Democratic Changes after the last parliamentary poll
in 2000. It overturned seven of the ruling Zanu PF party victories, mainly
on the grounds of violence, intimidation and vote rigging. But in each case
the lawmakers filed appeals, which have still not been heard, and were
allowed to keep their parliamentary seats until the matter was resolved. The
long delays underscore the failure of the nation's judiciary to act
impartially, the opposition said in the report on conditions for March
parliamentary elections. It demanded the restoration of rule of law in the
troubled southern African country, including speedy and impartial hearings
of the electoral disputes. "The current delay in hearing electoral disputes
is unacceptable and has no place in a functioning democracy. Justice delayed
is justice denied," the report said. Judicial authorities did not
immediately comment on the report. In the past, court officials have
attributed delays to a heavy backlog in both civil and criminal cases.

The opposition won 55 of parliament's 120 elected seats in the 2000 vote,
which independent observers said was deeply flawed. President Robert Mugabe
appoints 30 other lawmakers, giving the ruling party a sweeping majority it
has used to pass stringent media and security legislation. The opposition
report said it aimed to open up debate on the "severe democratic deficit" at
the heart of Zimbabwe's worst economic and political crisis since
independence from Britain in 1980. Some opposition supporters are demanding
the party boycott next year's polls unless its demands for electoral reform
are met. Party officials have been touring the country to canvass opinion on
the issue before making a decision. The opposition's demands include the
formation of an independent electoral commission to replace the
state-appointed commission and directorate that run the polls with
government and military officials. They also want the repeal of security and
media laws that have stifled dissent in the country. Such steps would have
to be taken six months ahead of the elections to be meaningful, Tuesday's
report said. The proposals are based on the Election Norms and Standards
adopted by the parliaments of the Southern African Development Community,
which Zimbabwe's government insists are not binding on the regional bloc's
members. It proposes only minor amendments to the country's electoral laws.

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