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When everything is illegal, a guilty conscience seeps into your dreams

The Times, UK June 27, 2006

            Harare Notebook by Jan Raath

            "A TOTAL OF 282 bakeries have been arrested for selling bread
above the controlled price," state radio reported on Friday. Yes, said the
young woman with the flashing smile who runs the bakery where I get mine,
they were arrested this morning.
            "They took one of the guys minding the ovens and kept him at the
police station for four hours." A fine of 250,000 Zimbabwe dollars (about
30p, at today's black market exchange rate) was demanded, enough for two
loaves, at the new "illegal" price. Never mind that the price of flour has
gone up 60 per cent, electricity by 280 per cent, in three months.

            "Yo, this country," she says, with a gesture of frustration.
"The police are always trying to get into your head."

            So I went to another bakery where the Greek owner conceals
loaves in brown paper bags under the counter, and glances shiftily around
the shop before he hands it over to you, as if it's a parcel of mbanje

            Everything is illegal. Last night I dreamt I was stopped at a
roadblock and the army confiscated a jerrycan of diesel from my vehicle and
poured it down the sink. In the real world on Friday, I passed through a
police roadblock on the city's outskirts where police were confiscating bags
of maize being brought by poor peasants to sell in Harare for a small
profit. It may be sold only to the State.

            Anything is illegal. Later that night at a Chinese restaurant I
ran into Jack who is a regular at the bar at Reps Theatre, not far from me.
A few days ago, he said, David Chapfika, the Deputy Minister of Finance, was
there while patrons, mostly middle-aged whites, watched a World Cup game on
the television. Chapfika switched the channel to the local station so he
could watch the government propaganda news bulletin.

            One of the drinkers switched it back to football. "We don't
watch that garbage here," he said. Very few do. But 20 minutes later two
policemen entered the bar and took the man away. They accused him of saying:
"We don't watch that Mugabe here," confusing the word "garbage" with
 "Mugabe". He was kept in the ordurous cells of Avondale police station for
two freezing nights before being let go without charge.

            And some things are very illegal, apparently. Tichaona Jokonya,
the Minister of Information, suggested recently that journalists based here
who work for Western media were traitors. "You know what the end of a
traitor is?" he asked. "Death," he said.

            Interestingly, 12 days later, on Saturday, Jokonya was dead,
found in his bath in what until recently was the Sheraton Hotel.

            But nothing is illegal for the heavies of the ruling party. The
example of John Nkomo, the speaker of the house of assembly and chairman of
the Zanu (PF) party, is but one of many, many. He has been trying for months
to have a black businessman evicted from a luxurious safari camp that Mr
Nkomo had allocated to himself after it was grabbed from its white owner.
The high court ruled the businessman was entitled to the camp. When he drove
there last week to resume occupation, the place was surrounded by armed
police who chased him away.

            a.. MY CLOCK is stopped at 8.05am, which is when the power went
off four hours ago. The main talking point about the World Cup is about how
the lights went off in the middle of the match you were watching.

            a.. YOU DEVELOP a shell to cope. Everything is crazy and
unbelievable and so some of the time you can laugh. But the shell cracks
under the weight of despair and poverty that is everywhere. Like last week
when I parked outside the suburban home of a friend. A young man up the road
spotted me, turned and sprinted to me. "Please sir, have you got a job for
me?" he said breathlessly, wide-eyed. Never seen him in my life before. A
straw, any straw.
            Most of us, the last few foreign correspondents left in the
country, and doctors, lawyers, priests, anyone who has to face the
hopelessness of President Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe, are on antidepressants
or anxiolytics, or become worryingly eccentric.

            Last week I was at my Polish dermatologist to renew my
prescription for medication for stress-induced eczema.

            "How iss yorr life in Zimbabwe this days?" she asked. There was
a long pause when I was caught unexpectedly by the urge to burst into tears.

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Zimbabwe workers brace for nationwide strikes

Zim Online

Wed 28 June 2006

      HARARE - Zimbabwe's labour movement on Tuesday said it was finalising
plans for nationwide protests to press for realistic wages, stoking up
tensions in a country already on knife edge because of a deepening economic
and political crisis.

      The main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party, an
ally of labour, has already threatened to call mass protests this winter to
force President Robert Mugabe to step aside for a transitional government to
take over and organise the writing of a new constitution and fresh elections
under international supervision.

      Wellington Chibhebhe, the secretary general of the Zimbabwe Congress
of Trade Unions, the umbrella body for the country's workers, said workers
had opted to protest after negotiations involving the government and
business for new wages linked to Zimbabwe's galloping inflation failed to
achieve results.

      "We are finalising plans for the strikes. We are currently consulting
with the workers on the nature and dates for our demonstrations because our
partners in the Tripartite Negotiation Forum (TNF) are not taking the issue
(of new wages) seriously," Chibhebhe said.

      Zimbabwe's economy is on a free fall, with inflation pegged at 1 193.5
percent, the highest such rate in the world outside a war zone. The Central
Statistical Office says an average family of six now needs a minimum of $55
million per month for basic commodities and services, even though the
average salary of most workers is $10 million.

      Chibhebhe said labour resolved at a congress last month that all
workers must be paid salaries that are in line with inflation, which
economic experts see surging higher on the back of a rapidly depreciating
Zimbabwe dollar and ballooning prices.

      The ZCTU official said workers agreed that the issue of
inflation-linked salaries should be subject for negotiation through the TNF
but the forum had not met to discuss the workers' salary grievance, a
development he said was seen by workers as a sign that both business and the
government did not regard the matter as serious.

      "Since then the TNF has not met and we believe our partners are not
serious. So we are pressing ahead and our members are raring to go on strike
because they can no longer afford to come to work and to feed their
families," Chibhebhe said.

      The TNF is a joint negotiating body that comprises representatives
from business, labour and the government.

      Business stalled progress during tripartite negotiations last month
when it refused to agree to pay workers salaries that are above the poverty
datum line, arguing that a proposed Incomes and Prices Stabilisation
Protocol must include a clause stating that employers can only pay
inflation-linked wages if they were able to do so.

      The business negotiators said this was necessary because many
companies were themselves struggling to remain afloat and that making it
compulsory for all to match wages with rising inflation could force them to

      But the ZCTU insists that such a clause making it optional for firms
to pay wages according to the rate of inflation would be a loophole that
would enable even those companies that were able to pay higher wages to
avoid doing so.

      Zimbabwe is in the grip of its worst ever economic crisis
characterised by hyperinflation, shortages of food, fuel, electricity,
essential medicines, hard cash and just about every basic survival

      Western governments and the MDC blame the crisis on repression and
wrong policies by Mugabe such as his chaotic and often violent seizure of
land from white farmers for redistribution to landless blacks, a programme
that destabilised the mainstay agricultural sector and knocked down food
production by about 60 percent.

      Zimbabwe, once a regional bread basket, has largely depended on food
handouts from international donors since Mugabe began his farm seizure
programme six years ago.

      Mugabe, in power since Zimbabwe's 1980 independence however denies
mismanaging the country and says its problems are because of sabotage by
Western countries out to fix his government for taking land from whites and
giving it to blacks. - ZimOnline

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Mugabe's clean-up fails to drive off vendors from streets

Zim Online

Wed 28 June 2006

      BULAWAYO - Hordes of vegetable vendors scream themselves hoarse
imploring potential customers to buy their vegetables and tomatoes along the
busy Lobengula Street in Zimbabwe's second biggest city of Bulawayo.

      But suddenly, an ear-splitting whistle pierces the early night sending
the vendors scurrying in all directions with the few goods they could
salvage as the police come in hot pursuit.

      At least 10 unlucky vendors fail to make it and are soon bundled into
a police truck together with their vegetables, fruits, some washing soap and
cooking oil that they sell on the streets to eke a living.

      "This is how we survive," says 32-year old Sihle Dube, as she
re-emerges from the crowd to defiantly set up her table again after the
police had driven off.

      "You must be literally on your toes every minute and listen for the
signal. Most of those who have been arrested are still new in the trade.
They have not yet mastered the art of survival," she told ZimOnline.

      Dube is among thousands of vendors who had been driven off the streets
of Bulawayo under a controversial government urban clean-up exercise last

      But a year after President Robert Mugabe ordered the controversial
clean-up in cities and towns, vendors here in Bulawayo are back on the
streets with a vengeance vowing to continue defying the government in a
desperate bid to keep body and soul together.

      Mugabe said the clean-up exercise was necessary to restore the beauty
of cities and towns and to smash an illegal but thriving black market where
vendors sell anything from fruits to contraceptive pills to foreign
currency, hard to find in Zimbabwe.

      The United Nations said the clean-up left at least 700 000 people
homeless and directly affected another 2.4 million people. The UN said the
exercise was a violation of the rights of the poor.

      To parry away criticism by the UN, Western governments and local human
rights groups, the government unveiled a new ambitious project to build
modern houses and vending stalls for families whose homes and informal
business kiosks had been razed down by police bulldozers.

      But analysts predicted that the reconstruction project would flop
given Harare's lack of resources and cash.

      Twelve months down the line, those predictions are coming true with
government Small-scale Enterprises Minister Sithembiso Nyoni having for
example commissioned to date only 50 vending stalls in Bulawayo, a bustling
city of more than 1.5 million people.

      International relief agencies also report that many of the families
displaced by the clean-up exercise still live in the open because the
government has failed to build the houses it promised them.

      Here in Bulawayo, a hotbed of opposition support, vendors accused the
government of arrogance saying first it decided to build too few stalls and
then placed them far away from the public such that it was unviable to do
business from the new stalls.

      "It does not make sense for us to leave people here and go down there.
Who does she (Nyoni) expect us to sell to when the people we are targeting
are found right here?" said fruit seller, Thubelihle Moyo.

      She added: "That is the problem with this government. They always want
to do things their own way without consulting those involved."

      In a way to prove official arrogance, Bulawayo Upcoming Traders
Association spokesman Edward Manning, said his organisation had secured a
court order barring the council and the police from raiding their members
until a solution could be found but he said the order was being routinely

      "We were granted a reprieve to continue trading without disruptions by
both the police and council security guards by the Bulawayo High Court last
year but the police have continued to raid us despite the court order,"
Manning said.

      Bulawayo City Council spokesman, Pathisa Nyathi, however insisted the
local authority would continue sending police after vendors because it could
not just sit by while the country's second capital was being turned upside
down by the informal traders.

       "We raid them because they are doing their business in a disorderly
manner. That cannot be allowed," Nyathi said defiantly.

      But it is a threat that will move very few among these young men and
women vendors out to earn an honest living despite the odds staked against
them by a seven-year economic crisis that has seen inflation shooting to
more than 1 100 percent and shortages of food, fuel, electricity and just
about every essential commodity.

      As 25-year old vegetable vendor Tinashe Shumba sums it: "Some of us
still have a conscience and we will rather be raided than steal from our
fellow men who are already suffering like the rest of us." - ZimOnline

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Zimbabwe students resort to prostitution to make ends meet

Zim Online

Wed 28 June 2006

      HARARE - A Zimbabwe parliamentary committee says economic hardships
brought about by the recent increase in tuition fees at state universities
and colleges have driven some female students into prostitution to make ends

      In a report presented to Parliament recently, the Portfolio Committee
on Education, Sport and Culture, said a number of both female and male
students had also quit their studies over the past few months because they
could no longer afford to pay their fees.

      The committee said 34 students had dropped out of their studies at
Midlands State University as they could no longer afford to pay their fees.

      "Some female students have been forced to resort to co-habiting and
prostitution to raise money. Education is now a preserve for the rich," says
the report.

      Earlier this year, state universities and colleges in Zimbabwe raised
their tuition fees by more than 100 percent sparking violent protests by
students who were unhappy over the increase.

      The universities said they needed to raise their fees in line with
Zimbabwe's hyper-inflationary environment which has seen inflation shooting
to nearly 1 200 percent.

      The committee also said there was a serious shortage of teaching staff
at most universities and colleges as most experienced lecturers had left the
country to seek better opportunities outside the country.

      Midlands State University, Mkoba Teachers College, Seke Teachers
Collge as well as the University of Zimbabwe were some of the key
institutions that were hardest hit by the staff exodus triggering a
deterioration in the quality of education being offered.

      "Money allocated to institutions of higher learning is miserably
inadequate to run these institutions effectively," says the report.

      Zimbabwe's education system, which was once considered one of the best
in Africa, has crumbled over the past few years as part of the general
decline triggered by a severe six-year old economic crisis most critics
blame on President Robert Mugabe's mismanagement. - ZimOnline

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Consulate says no proof armed robbers were Zimbabweans

Zim Online

Wed 28 June 2006

      JOHANNESBURG - The Zimbabwe High Commission in South Africa has
dismissed as unfounded media reports that eight armed robbers who were shot
dead during an attempted robbery in Johannesburg last Sunday were Zimbabwean

      A senior official at the Zimbabwean consulate in Johannesburg, Vusi
Ntonga, said it was premature for the media to label the suspects
Zimbabweans before investigations into the matter had been concluded.

      "Whilst the ambassador would have been the right person to answer most
of your questions, I would like to believe that the local media, especially
one daily newspaper in question has an agenda against Zimbabweans.

      "I don't really understand the motive behind such kind of hate
reporting. Investigations are still in progress but they have already
concluded that the deceased were Zimbabweans," said Ntonga.

      The eight armed robbers were killed in a shoot-out which also claimed
four South African police officers last Sunday.

      Werner Muimeer, a chief superintendent with South Africa police said
investigations into the shooting incident were still in progress and details
on the matter will be released as soon as the investigations were over.

      Zimbabwe's ambassador to South Africa, Simon Khaya Moyo has in the
past criticized South African media accusing the media of having an agenda
meant to tarnish Zimbabwe's image.

      Khaya-Moyo has also criticised media reports linking Zimbabweans with
violent crimes committed in South Africa arguing that such a portrayal
promoted xenophobia against his country's nationals. - ZimOnline

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Harare Back In Pretoria Seeking No-Strings Mega-Loan


By Blessing Zulu
      27 June 2006

Despite signing high-profile industrial agreements with China, Harare
remains strapped for cash and has re-opened discussions with South Africa as
to securing a major loan of $500 million to $1 billion.

Finance Minister Herbert Murerwa led a delegation to South Africa late last
week in an effort to restart talks that ground to a halt some months ago
because the government of President Robert Mugabe refused to accept
political conditions which Pretoria insisted be attached to such a loan.
Murerwa confirmed the new approach to Pretoria in an interview with Harare's
Sunday Mirror newspaper, but declined to provide further details, saying he
first had to brief President Mugabe.

A senior South African Finance Ministry official, speaking on condition of
anonymity, said he doubted such a deal could be concluded at this point, as
Harare remained unwilling to accept conditions including opening a dialogue
with the opposition.

The official said Pretoria still insisted on such conditions, which were in
line with South African President Thabo Mbeki's stated position that
Zimbabwe needs an extensive economic recovery plan that will be sustainable
over the long term.

Isolated politically and economically from the West, President Mugabe has
shaped a so-called Look East policy of developing commercial relations with
China. The nations recently announced a venture to develop coal-fired
electric power generation plants in Zimbabwe and a parallel project to
exploit chromium resources. But such longer-term ventures apparently have
not spun off the immediate cash that Harare needs.

Reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe sought the perspective
of chief economist Prosper Chitambara of the Harare-based Labor and Economic
Development Research Institute of Zimbabwe.

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Hard times for foreign land owners in Zimbabwe


June 27, 2006, 18:15

The Justice for Agriculture Trust (Jag), Zimbabwe's farmer's organisation,
says the Zimbabwean government does not have the money to compensate foreign
landowners who will lose their land due to the government's land reform

Last week, the Zimbabwean government said that foreign farmers who lost
their land would be compensated the full market value of their properties.
But it has now emerged that no less than US$150 million would be required to
meet that promise.

Dydimus Mutasa, the minister of lands, land reform and resettlement, said in
cases where land has to be acquired, compensation has to be paid in full in
the currency of the owner's choice for both land and improvements.

Nearly 200 farmers will benefit. Jag says government will need at least US$1
million to compensate each farmer. Given the country's foreign currency
shortages, it doubts that will happen soon.

Zimbabwe plans law to license fuel dealers
Meanwhile, Zimbabwe has drawn up a law to create a commission to license
fuel importers and set petroleum prices, seeking to exert new controls as
the country grapples with serious fuel shortages. Zimbabwe has faced
intermittent fuel shortages since 1999 due to scarce foreign currency,
grounding both private vehicles and public transport, and exacerbating the
economic crisis gripping the country.

Although deliveries have improved lately, prices charged by private
importers are nearly 20 times the official government price of 22 000
($0.22) Zimbabwe dollars per litre. Private garages sell fuel at up to 400
000 ($3.95) Zimbabwe dollars. The price usually tracks the exchange rate of
the local unit on the country's thriving black market.

Proposed bill
"The purpose of this bill is to establish a petroleum regulatory authority
which will regulate and license petroleum product providers," according to a
government gazette. The proposed authority would technically be independent,
but such bodies are usually tightly controlled by the government.

The bill is expected to go to parliament, where it would be easily passed by
legislators of Zanu(PF), the party of Robert Mugabe, the Zimbabwean

At present, the minister of energy and power development prescribes fuel
prices but last year started a programme that allows private importers to
buy their fuel using their own foreign currency.

Economic analysts say while this has helped improve supplies, it is still
inadequate, saying Zimbabwe requires about $45 million every month to import
fuel for use and for strategic reserves. - Additional reporting by Reuters

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SA willing to be part of Mugabe, Annan meeting


June 27, 2006, 18:15

South Africa will be willing to be part of a meeting between Kofi Annan, the
United Nations secretary-general, and Robert Mugabe, the Zimbabwe president,
according to Aziz Pahad, the deputy foreign affairs minister. This comes
after it was reported that Pretoria had arranged such a meeting.

Pahad has also denied reports of a walkout by last remaining Burundian rebel
group FNL. He was speakng on several international relations issues that
South Africa is involved in.

Walkout by FNL discussed
Pahad says "its obvious that given the propose visit to that country, a
meeting will take place and, indeed, they have not been told whether
President Mbeki will be invited". They expect that President Mbeki will be

Another issue that re-surfaced at the briefing was the reported walk-out by
the FNL from peace talks. This after alleged threats by peace facilitators.
Reported complaints from the diplomatic corps about violent crime in South
Africa, also elicited a response.

Foreign affairs says, although, extra protection could be considered, it
would be unprecedented for foreign diplomats to file a united petition
against a host nation.

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Zimbabwe gazettes Petroleum Bill

Mail and Guardian

      Johannesburg, South Africa

      27 June 2006 02:53

            The Zimbabwean government has gazetted a Petroleum Bill that
seeks to establish a Petroleum Regulatory Authority that will regulate and
license persons in respect of retailing, producing and procuring petroleum
products, the state-owned Herald newspaper reported on Tuesday.

            The functions of the authority would also include ensuring the
provision of sufficient petroleum products for domestic use.

            "The activities of the authority would be directed by a board
consisting of five members to be appointed by the minister of energy and
power development after consultations with the president.

            "Under the proposed law, the minister of energy and power
development would be empowered to issue policy directions to the board," the
paper noted.

            The board would be required to submit a report to the minister
on its activities annually. The procurement, selling or production of
petroleum products would only be done after obtaining a licence from the
authority, the newspaper said.

            "Zimbabwe has been facing intermittent fuel shortages over the
past six years owing to limited foreign currency supply, the effects of
which have been felt across key economic sectors such as mining, tourism and

            "The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) last month unveiled a
$50-million revolving fuel import facility with which the National Oil
Company of Zimbabwe (Noczim) would import fuel for both private and public
sectors," the Herald noted.

            Zimbabwe needs $40-million for its monthly fuel requirements, it

            Meanwhile, the Minister of Finance Dr Herbert Murerwa had issued
a notice postponing the expiry date of bearer cheques to December 31 2006,
the Herald said.

            Bearer cheques were introduced as legal tender by monetary
authorities in 2003 as a temporary measure to "stem the cash crisis that had
gripped Zimbabwe then".

            Initially, bearer cheques were due to expire in July and
December 2004 through a gradual phase-out plan, but were later extended to
allow monetary authorities to work on the broader task of introducing a new
currency, the Herald said. - I-Net Bridge

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Zim forex rate hurts industries


      27/06/2006 20:19 PM

      Harare - Zimbabwe's fixed exchange rate is hurting local industries
and hindering efforts to boost exports, which are needed to revive an ailing
economy, a senior business official said on Tuesday.
      A chronic shortage of foreign currency over the last six years has
been one of the most visible signs of a deepening recession widely blamed on
President Robert Mugabe's policies and exacerbated by the withdrawal of key
foreign aid.

      Callisto Jokonya, vice president of the Confederation of Zimbabwe
Industries, said exports were at a virtual standstill with the official
exchange rate of the Zimbabwe dollar around four times higher than on a
thriving black market.

      Forced to surrender

      Since the central bank tightened exchange controls in January to halt
the unit's freefall, the currency has been held steady at 101 195 against
the US dollar, the rate at which exporters are forced to surrender their
earnings to the central bank.

      But a crippling foreign currency crunch is forcing exporters to source
foreign currency for key imports on the illegal parallel market, industry
officials say.

      "The exchange rate is the problem. There is a distortion in the
exchange rate and we need to resolve that," Jokonya told Reuters on the
sidelines of a business summit ahead of an annual general meeting of the
regional PTA Bank.

      "Companies would love to manufacture, to export and to generate
foreign currency but unless and until we deal with the real problem, which
is the price of our foreign currency we will go deeper and deeper into
crisis," he added.

      Zimbabwean companies are struggling to survive while saddled with the
world's highest inflation rate at 1 193.5%, fuel shortages and frequent
power and water cuts linked to the forex squeeze.

      "We need the foreign currency market freed. We need the rules of
demand and supply operating and that is what we are asking for," Jokonya
said on Tuesday.

      "Fooling ourselves"

      "It is going to be a pain to do that, but if you have an inflation
rate which is over 1 200% and expect that to overnight come down without
pain we will be fooling ourselves.

      "There is a need to make hard decisions and that is what we are asking
the Reserve Bank to do. We will continue to knock on the doors of authority
to make sure that we make the environment conducive to get the country
going," Jokonya added.

      Zimbabwe's economy has shrunk by about 40% over the past 8 years,
while unemployment has vaulted to more than 70% as companies either fold or
are forced to downsize.

      The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe has stopped publishing figures for
foreign currency inflows but analysts say the fact that even state firms are
resorting to the black market for their foreign exchange requirements shows
that its coffers are dry.

      Mugabe, aged 82 and in power since independence from Britain in 1980,
denies responsibility for the country's economic woes.

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More white farmers given 90 days to leave

      By Tererai Karimakwenda
      27 June 2006

      Despite statements by top officials that the government is making
efforts to revive agriculture and produce food for the nation, it has been
revealed that eviction notices were sent last week to many of the remaining
productive white farmers giving them 90 days to vacate their properties.
Trevor Gifford, chairman of the Commercial Farmers Union of Zimbabwe (CFU)
told us at least 9 farmers had actually received the notices and they were
signed by State Security and Lands Minister Didymus Mutasa himself. He
admitted the CFU had been let down by the government again and there was
confusion, but said the group will continue dialogue with government because
they believe some officials truly want change. John Worsley Worswick of
Justice for Agriculture said the new notices were political because only a
court can order evictions and there is no reason to trust the government
given the facts on the ground.

      Gifford said Mutasa had recently lost 2 separate high court cases in
which farmers in Karoi appealed against their evictions. He said the CFU was
concerned because the farmers who had actually received notices so far had
memorandums of agreement with the government to grow wheat and barley as
part of the winter crop project. Gifford says the CFU has done everything
possible to cooperate with government and has still been let down, but he
continued to defend the Mugabe regime saying he believes some officials mean

      On the recent eviction notices John Worsley Worswick explained that
there are only 2 methods that can be used to order an eviction. He said the
government can use the Land Acquisition Act or last year's Constitutional
Amendment # 17 which nationalised all agricultural land. But he said only a
competent court can issue the actual eviction order. Following this
reasoning Worswick said the new eviction notices signed by Mutasa were
political and therefore not valid. He believes the government is trying to
give a face of respectability to the chaotic land reform programme by
handing out 90-day notices signed by the minister when the reality on the
ground is that there is no law and order. Worswick also criticised the CFU
for continuing their dialogue with government saying there is no evidence
that government is serious.

      SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

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Zim residents bitter over new water tariffs

      June 27, 2006

      By ANDnetwork .com

      Harare residents, in Zimbabwe are bitter with the city council over an
unprecedented 1 000 percent increase in water tariffs announced last Friday
by the local authority.

      Town Clerk Nomutsa Chideya said water charges had drastically gone up
risen from $8 000 per cubic metre to $80 000 effective May 1 this year.

      Some city residents received water bills as high as $10 million per
household with revelations that the amount reflected charges backdated to
May inclusive of interest.
      Most families in high-density suburbs have expressed shock at the new
water charges.

      "Not only was I shocked by the water bill, but the city council lacked
the courtesy to advise us in advance for planning purposes," said John
Mahuni of Mabvuku.

      Taurai Mafuba of Mbare said it was criminal for council to increase
water charges - a basic necessity - beyond the reach of most residents
already struggling to make ends meet.

      "Most people in the industrial areas earn less than $20 million a
month and I wonder how they expect us to pay such huge bills?" asked Mafuba.
A Dzivaresekwa resident said on condition of anonymity
      that the council bill was ridiculous.

      "All in all, we are expected to pay $72 million and there is nowhere
we can get such kind of money considering that no-one in this family is
formally employed," he said.

      He said while the total charged for water, refuse, sewerage,
supplementary and housing and the balance they owed council was not more
than $20 million, it was surprising council still expected them to pay a
whopping $72 million in charges.

      "Although only $10 million was outstanding, the balance brought
forward was $63 million and it is difficult to imagine how they arrived at
that figure."

      Lloyd Mandizha, also of Dzivarasekwa, said while his account was up to
date, but council was insisting that he was in arrears of $4 million.

      "I really don't know where all this is coming from.

      "We know that rates and water charges have been increased, but the
figures we are getting are just too much," he said, adding he
      was lodging a complaint with council officials to rectify the problem.
      Meanwhile, council justified its latest water bill hikes citing new
tariffs implemented by the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa).

      Chideya, who noted that Zinwa's new charging regime necessitated the
new increases, said the new tariffs would be paid in retrospect with effect
from May 1 this year.Zinwa board chairman Willie Muringani, said the new
water charges reflected the hyper-inflationary economy prevalent in the

      "The cost of water treatment chemicals has been on the rise since the
beginning of the year. We were left with no option but to pass on the
      costs to the consumers," said Muringani.

      He added that the declining value of local currency against other hard
currencies was making procurement of water treatment chemicals expensive.

      However, it is ironic that Zinwa reversed water tariffs to farmers
early this month arguing that it was reducing raw water charges to help
resuscitate winter wheat farming.

      Muringani said consumers of treated water would subsidize farmers.

      "Reversing water tariffs to farmers would not affect our balance

      " We will have tariffs of treated water adjusted accordingly," he
      Harare's water supplies have deteriorated lately due to frequent power
cuts at its water treatment works.  Most suburbs in high-lying areas
experience water shortages forcing residents to fetch the precious liquid
from unprotected sources. A council official at one of the district offices
said most residents did not get their water statements last month and could
have not paid their bills for May.

      "Some water metres in these suburbs are too old and could be faulty
and need to be replaced," the official said.

      He, however, admitted that council officials working on the new rates
could have erred in their calculations, resulting in the high figures.
      The city council increased its tariffs after the government gave it
the green light to charge economic rates to boost the capital's revenue base
dwindling due to unrealistic tariffs.

      The Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA) said it strongly
objected to the imposition of new water tariffs in the capital adding city
residents were already overburdened by the effect of Operation

      CHRA spokesperson Precious Shumba said: "We object to the involvement
of Zinwa in the supply and administration of water in Harare.

      "Zinwa is not accountable to residents so we strongly advocate for the
return of water administration to the city which is directly accountable to

      The daily mirror

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Zimbabwe government jams radio stations

      By Violet Gonda
      27 June 2006

      The Zimbabwean government is at it again. This time interfering with
our medium wave broadcasts and, from a news report yesterday, of Voice of
America's Studio 7 station.

      SWRA has no official confirmation yet but reports on the ground
clearly indicate the jamming of our medium wave signal. One report said: "I
checked for your programming this morning Monday 27 June at 5am local and
exactly on the frequency of 1197 kHz there is an extremely strong 'buzzing'
signal, which is intentional jamming." Additional reports say the jamming
signal is very strong, indicating that the jamming station is nearby or
within Harare.

      The Website Zimonline reported Monday that the Zimbabwe government is
using technology acquired from China to partially jam the signal from the
VOA Studio 7 radio station. VOA have not officially confirmed this.

      China is well known for jamming radio signals into its own country and
also into a country it claims to own, Tibet. And the Zimbabwe government is
no stranger to jamming. Last year they acquired Chinese equipment and
expertise and used this to completely jam the SWRA shortwave signal.

      Over the last 6 years the Mugabe regime has rapidly destroyed or taken
over control of virtually all news outlets.

      There is only one broadcaster and it is 100% state controlled. That is
the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Holdings formerly known as the Zimbabwe
Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC). As for the print media, the only independent
daily newspaper the Daily News was bombed and forced to shut down in 2003.
After that there were 4 independent weekly newspapers left, but of these it's
alleged that 2 are now under the control of the state.

      In addition foreign media like the BBC are banned from reporting from
and within the territory of Zimbabwe.

      The result of this sustained assault on press freedoms is that nearly
all Zimbabwe's free media now operates outside the country's borders.
      The Zimbabwean newspaper and SW Radio Africa are two media outlets
that have decamped to Britain. There are various internet based Zimbabwean
news sites in the UK and South Africa.

      Voice of America's Studio 7 station, based in Washington, employs
Zimbabweans for it's broadcasts into the country.

      These latest jamming attempts are not all bad news. It does show that
the government is feeling seriously pressured. Good news for those trying to
create a democratic society in Zimbabwe.

      We encourage our listeners to keep trying to find us on the radio
dial. In various parts of the country we can still be clearly heard and we
will obviously be doing our best to counteract the jamming.

      SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

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Hot Seat: Part 3 Teleconference

SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

We continue the tripartite discussion on Hot Seat with Political analyst
Professor Brian Raftopoulos, Mugabe's former strategist and ex-minister
Professor Jonathan Moyo and leading economist John Robertson. This week the
trio discuss the issue of international engagement and the effectiveness of
targeted sanctions. Next week be sure not to miss the insightful concluding
interview on Tuesday, when we will discuss the issue of what happens after

Hot Seat: Part 3 Teleconference
- Brian Raftopoulos, Jonathan Moyo & John Robertson

Broadcast on 27 June 2006

Violet: Welcome back to our teleconference with three people who have at one
time or another been advisors to some key political players. Analyst
Professor Brian Raftopoulos who has been one of the advisors to the MDC,
Mugabe's former strategist and ex- information minister Professor Jonathan
Moyo - a man more renowned for being the architect of much of the oppressive
media regulation in the country - and last but not least, leading economist
John Robertson. In this program we discuss more about the issue of
international engagement and what the international community can do about
the crisis in Zimbabwe.

Mugabe always blames the economic crisis on sanctions imposed by western
governments, ignoring the fact that they are targeted sanctions, designed
not to impact on ordinary Zimbabweans. I first asked John Robertson if he
thought economic sanctions, as described by Mugabe, were in place?

Robertson: No I do not agree they are economic sanctions. Any Zimbabwean can
import anything from anywhere in the world if they can pay for it and any
Zimbabwean company can export anything they've got to anywhere else in the
world. We've got no economic sanctions against us whatever. The areas where
it might have affected ordinary Zimbabweans have come through in the form of
aid that is now much more constraint and many of the NGOs and welfare
organisations abroad are much more circumspect about bringing aid to
Zimbabwe because they have experienced - and feel that it might happen
again - a lot of political interference in the way they can distribute what
they have brought. So there are difficulties in the aid category but not in
the investment or international trade. And we do not actually have any right
to blame sanctions for Zimbabwe's decline.

Violet: And Professor Raftopoulos, now Mugabe constantly uses this rhetoric
to deny that he is responsible for anything. Now how do you persuade a
dictator to look at the facts and accept responsibility for the
mismanagement of the country?

Raftopoulos: Well, dictators by definition have a certain blockage when it
comes to the future of their country as a whole because invariably they then
begin to think about the reproduction of particularly their party and their
own future. But I think options opened to this particular dictator have
narrowed down extremely narrowly and that even those who are responsible for
the security question now, maybe even see him as a future security problem.
Therefore, there are beginning to emerge forces beyond him which are going
to push him into certain kind of positions. That, one must also understand
this also might open up new spaces domestically. As the regional,
international pressure increases there may be new opportunities domestically
to again mobilise certain kind of actions. And this is why it is important
for the opposition therefore, even though they are split to get some kind of
strategic unity on the way forward in dealing with what might be
opportunities that may emerge.

Violet: And there are others who believe targeted sanctions must be
tightened and even extended to include the regime's family members. Now what
are your views on sanctions Professor Moyo?

Moyo: Well I am not sure or aware that there are people who are saying that
because the view I am aware of which was recently expressed by President
Mbeki and later his foreign minister Nkosazana Zuma was that these targeted
sanctions are not achieving much. And frankly I don't think there is a lot
of evidence there to indicate that these targeted sanctions have worked. Of
course the government and the ruling party have used them for purposes of
political propaganda but they are sanctions which have meant to put pressure
on the government denying it access to credit lines, international credit
lines, for example, through the IMF and the world bank. But you have seen
them coming up with things like Look East policy and so forth. Surely the
government may be telling us that its look East policy is failing. But it
really can't claim that the sanctions are what is the fundamental problem.
So, I think there are other forms of international pressure that can be
applied to address this issue rather than the targeted sanctions because
these have been with us for quite some time now. But I wanted to agree with
Professor Raftopoulos that; Do you know today in Zimbabwe, Mugabe clearly as
a sitting president who has been in power for too long, since 1980 - has
become a security problem in terms of the continued existence of the state.
And this is why there is a lot of activity within ZANU PF to replace him.
This is why the succession issue is an important one to examine even for the
opposition in terms of the opportunities that it creates. Very soon the
issue will move from Mugabe being a security issue to ZANU PF being a
security issue and the game will be over. And that is why I believe that we
are really in the middle of the end game because there is appreciation
within the ruling party circles that things cannot continue this way and
that for them it's to find a replacement for Mugabe.

Violet: Now on the issue of looking for a replacement for Mugabe. Since you
have had the opportunity of seeing things from the inside. Who do you think
are the major contenders for this post, for this position?

Moyo: ZANU PF never really created a tradition or process for choosing a
successor. As we all know in ZANU PF once you are elected, so to speak, to
leadership you are not or not even elected; once you are in leadership you
are not to lose your position through an election unless you die or you are
found to have gone against the party rules and so forth. So, we don't have
serious contenders that would have the qualities expected by the nation
given the problems that we are having. But those who are on offer because of
what ZANU PF is certainly include Vice President Mujuru. When she was
elevated to the position of Vice President, Mugabe publicly indicated that
she was his chosen successor. But we have since learnt that this might not
be so. That in fact Mugabe was hoping to have someone of less stature,
lesser capabilities than him in the hope that he could get two additional
years. There is quite some serious talk within ZANU PF that Mugabe would
like to remain in power until 2010 and use the two years between 2008 and
2010 to find a successor who might not be anyone we know. Otherwise yes,
there has been talk about Sydney Sekeramayi and even Simba Makoni as a
possible dark horse and there is the endless talk about the Emmerson
Mnangagwas' group. But it looks like none of these may in-fact be the
successors to Mugabe.

Violet: And just to go back on the issue of sanctions. You said that you
believe the sanctions are achieving anything or achieving much. And I just
wanted to find out - are you not saying that because you are on the
sanctions list yourself?

Moyo: Well the fact that I am on the sanctions' list myself might be the
proof that they are not achieving much because clearly putting me on the
sanctions list does not lead to anything more so now when I am not in the
government. But I thought that they were initially intended to target people
who were making policies in government and those who are close to them like
their spouses or even children at one time, it was thought. And finally
people who are in business and are benefiting from the policies of the ZANU
PF government or the patronage of the Zanu pf government otherwise everybody
else is excluded. Those kind of sanctions I don't think can make a
difference. The ones I see making a difference and clearly bothering the
government at the moment are those that come from the American Democracy Act
directing that it's representatives - multi lateral organisations such as
the IMF and World Bank should not vote in support of policies or even loans
to Zimbabwe. Those are working. We have seen that the government really -
from around September or so last year -wanted some statement of endorsement
through the IMF and they even, rather foolishly, believed that by paying off
the arrears they may get Zimbabwe's voting rights restored and new lines of
credit extended to them. So we can see that there is quite some concern and
wish that there could be some change in the relationship between Zimbabwe
and the two major multi lateral financial institutions. So the sanctions on
that score are working in so far as they are frustrating the government. But
in general these we hear about from Australia - confused list; from the EU -
having dead people and wrong names, I think that is more of a political
statement rather than a real programme of action that achieves a purpose on
the ground.

Violet: Mr Robertson do you agree?

Robertson: I do agree with that. They have not made any difference at all
and they have been used as political capital to persuade many, many
Zimbabweans that the problems being caused on the country have come from
outside. So I think that has not been helpful because all of these
difficulties have definitely been generated within Zimbabwe and they are our
own faults. In fact Zimbabwe has now become not only an embarrassment to the
region but I think we are becoming a threat - on the point that was made
earlier - that as we become a weakened economy we become more vulnerable to
influences from abroad. And I think we could become very much more
influenced soon to the detriment of the entire region as goods start coming
into Zimbabwe that have to be shipped out to the rest of the region, we
could cause the demolition of industries in South Africa, in Lesotho, in
Botswana, in Swaziland all of the countries that are presently trying to
build up their capacity to become industrialised to be ruined by Zimbabwe's
inability to prevent the influx of massive quantities of consumer goods from
abroad. Now this is a major danger that is not going to be overcome until we
ourselves get some assistants to get back on our feet and I think it is for
that reason we should be seen by the region to be a problem that they
themselves need to be involved in sorting out and I think it's very, very
urgent that they get their act together quickly, not just us.

Violet: But would you agree with other sentiments or other ideas from people
who say that the smart sanctions should tightened or made more effective?

Robertson: I think I've yet to see the kind of smart sanctions that I
believe would actually work. I think it has to be in the form of much, much
more telling pressures. And I think the pressures would only be really valid
and really taken seriously in Zimbabwe if they come from the region. The
people who can speak about us from the United States or from Europe are so
faraway that the government again, I believe will make political capital out
of such things and do nothing to change but if the pressure comes from the
region I believe the Zimbabwe government will react and be very keen to see
changes come about very quickly.

Violet: And Professor Raftopoulos many Zimbabweans say.(interruption)

Moyo: sorry, sorry, can I, can I just wanted one sentence to add from what
Mr Robertson has said.

Violet: sure

Moyo: The sanctions that the Zimbabwean government is really afraid of are
United Nations sanctions and they have for quite some time been afraid that
the moment Zimbabwe becomes a UN Security Council issue and gets on that
agenda then the possibilities of UN sanctions will be there. They are
prepared to do everything in their power to prevent those. They talk about
the current sanctions in some double way because they know that they
really - you know occasionally they will frankly say these don't matter -
but when they are dealing with the opposition they will say you are the ones
who called for these sanctions and therefore you must go back and tell your
masters to remove the sanctions. But they know that these are not the issue.
The moment they face UN sanctions - which they have feared there is a
possibility - then you will see a big change.

Violet: What would it take for Zimbabwe to be slapped with UN sanctions.
Some say with all that has happened in Zimbabwe why is it the UN has not yet
done so, especially after operation Murambatsvina?

Moyo: Well they came very close and that possibility is still there because
the government has not addressed at all the suffering of the over 570 000
households who were displaced internally by Operation Murambatsvina. Those
who were directly affected by either losing their source of livelihood or
homes are still out there. That's why the visit by Annan is such a
controversial issue that is still hanging over the heads of the government.

Violet: And also what about South Africa Professor Raftopoulos? Many
Zimbabweans say Mbeki has betrayed the people of Zimbabwe and should be
doing everything in his power to pressure Mugabe to change by whatever
means. Like embargoes on fuel and power and loans from banks. Do you agree
with this?

Raftopoulos: Look clearly the South African government will not move alone
into that kind of strategy for all kinds of reasons which many people have
discussed. I think that as far as the smart sanctions are concerned
symbolically they have been important but I agree that the broader, the
broader sanctions issue is much more, needs to be put much more on the
agenda. I think both the opposition and the civic movement in Zimbabwe have
to develop a clearer position on what to say and what strategy to use on a
broader sanctions campaign because if the Mugabe regime continues in the
strategy that it is and continues to push Zimbabwe into a deeper crisis then
discussions around a broader sanctions against Zimbabwe - not just a UN -
but broader economic sanctions certainly has to become a strategy that has
to be considered. And I think the UN issue is still hanging. The Tibaijuka
report issues are there. I think they are available for mobilisation and I
think that pressure has got to be applied. But certainly from South Africa
you are unlikely to see much in terms of direct sanctions in terms of
economic sanctions.

Violet: Next Tuesday we will bring you the final part of the teleconference
with the three people who have at one time or another advised some of the
key players in Zimbabwean politics. In our final segment Political analyst
Professor Brian Raftopoulos, former Information Minister Professor Jonathan
Moyo and economist John Robertson will discuss the issue of what happens
after Mugabe.

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We're Not to Blame for Load Shedding, Says Zesa Official

The Herald (Harare)

June 27, 2006
Posted to the web June 27, 2006


EXTERNAL and local circumstances are responsible for power cuts in the
country resulting in Zesa Holdings failing to meet the demand for power, an
official has said.

Zimbabwe Electricity Distribution Company managing director Mr Ben Rafemoyo
said unexpected circumstances forced the utility to cut power supplies out
of line with announced load shedding timetables.

Based on predictable shortfalls, planned load shedding was meant to mitigate
the deficit between demand and supply.

During winter demand was at its peak between 8 and 10 o'clock in the morning
and 6 to 8 o'clock in the evening, peaking at about 2 000 megawatts against
a supply of about 1 600 megawatts.

As a result of the deficit, mainly because of the inability to generate
enough power supplies, the power utility could only load-shed.

"Unplanned power interruptions are largely not predictable and are also
linked to ageing network infrastructure and inadequate network maintenance,"
Mr Rafemoyo said.

Among the unexpected power contributors was electrical infrastructure

"Vandalism is a cause for concern as the trend is on the increase.

"Due to the increase in the price of diesel, vandalism has increased as
people vandalise transformers to sell the fuel on the black market."

The price of fuel, diesel and petrol respectively went up last week to
between $400 000 and $600 000 a litre.

Zesa has over 4 000 transformers in Harare only and it was not possible for
the power utility to protect all of them, he said.

Copper cables, which sell at attractive prices on the black market, were
also being stolen resulting in the utility incurring huge losses to replace
the affected equipment.

As a result of vandalism, fault location in affected areas took longer and
when found, spares were in most cases not readily available, he said.

Unexpected power cuts had seen consumers who include business and industry
expressing their disgust at the way the power utility was conducting its

Power cuts were greatly affecting consumers as a result of electrical
equipment losses and huge losses for businesses and industry that require
constant electricity provision.

The Southern African Power Pool is expected to experience a power deficit
next year and Zimbabwe, like other nations in the region, is putting in
place measures to alleviate the situation.

Zimbabwe imports about 35 percent of electricity requirements needs from
Snel of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Eskom of South Africa, Hydro
Cahora Bassa and Zesco of Mozambique and Zambia respectively. -- New Ziana.

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MDC's 'Mugabe must go' strategy ill-thought

New Zimbabwe

By Dr Sehlare Makgetlaneng
Last updated: 06/27/2006 21:54:20
DEVELOPED countries and their international leading supporters on the
Zimbabwean situation are responsible for the MDC's "Mugabe must go"

They regarded the resolution of the land question as the means used by the
ruling party Zimbabwe African National Union - Patriotic Front and its
leader to win elections and consolidate their power.

Leading experts on the Zimbabwean socio-historical situation critically
contest this position. The opposition party's criticism of the state's
resolution of the land question has been characterised by its position that
it is not popular with the masses of the African people of Zimbabwe.

The reality is that the state's land reform policy is more popular with
older Zimbabweans than the MDC's concentration on criticising the government
for mismanagement and corruption.

During an economic crisis, the promise of new land may win more votes than
criticism of mismanagement and corruption.

While Zimbabweans born after the achievement of political independence are
not much interested in land, the reality is that it is more difficult to
mobilise them behind the MDC.

Developed countries and their supporters regarded the need for political
reforms as a solution to socio-political and economic problems. President
Robert Mugabe was viewed as the problem to this solution. This proposed
solution to Zimbabwe's problems was best and briefly articulated in their
"Mugabe must go" demand. They hoped that Morgan Tsvangirai would defeat
Mugabe in the 2002 presidential elections. Mugabe defeated Tsvangirai in the
elections. They regarded elections not as free and fair and the Zimbabwean
government as illegitimate. They embarked upon various programmes of action
to isolate the Zimbabwean government throughout the world.

They regarded Mugabe as authoritarian, corrupt and a dictator who has been
stealing elections since the MDC posed a decisive challenge to his rule in
the 2000 elections. Mugabe is regarded as a threat to the social, political
and economic development and progress not only of his country, but also of
the Southern African region and of the whole African continent as well as
Africa's initiatives such as the New Partnership for Africa's Development.
Leaders of developed countries have been exerting pressure upon leaders of
Southern African countries to join them in condemning Mugabe. They have been
demanding that South Africa must play a leading role in acting against
Mugabe for what they regard as his violations of human rights in Zimbabwe.
Marginalising the people of Zimbabwe and superseding them as social agents
for social, political and economic change in their country for removing
Mugabe from power, they regarded this as the responsibility of President
Mbeki and other African leaders, not the people of Zimbabwe. One of the key
issues central to this view is the profound failure to view the Zimbabwean
situation beyond Mugabe. These are key issues charactering the MDC's "Mugabe
must go" strategy.

The MDC has been criticising leaders of African countries for their alleged
support for Mugabe and the ruling party. The way it has been criticising
leaders of African countries particularly of Southern Africa is such that it
is of the view that it is their responsibility to solve Zimbabwe's problems,
not only to support the people of Zimbabwe in solving their country's

The responsibility to exert pressure upon Mugabe necessary for him to step
down as the president of Zimbabwe lies with the people of Zimbabwe, not with
the leaders of African countries. This is contrary to the position of the
MDC that this responsibility lies with the leaders of African countries. Its
supporters internally in Zimbabwe and externally outside Zimbabwe maintain
this position. It is interesting to note that the MDC does not maintain that
this responsibility lies also with leaders of developed countries. This
reality is supportive of the position that this incorrect position is a
means of leaders of developed countries to use African countries
particularly South Africa to play a leading role to achieve their objectives
in Zimbabwe. This position and attempt by developed countries to use African
countries to achieve their objectives in Zimbabwe have helped the leadership
of the ruling party in its position that the MDC is a tool of imperialist
powers to achieve their interests in Zimbabwe. They have supported the
ruling party in its position that the MDC is a tool of imperialist powers,
particularly Britain in its intention to recolonise Zimbabwe.

Pointing out that President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa, President Olusegun
Obasanjo of Nigeria and President Bakili Muluzi of Malawi "failed to
persuade Mugabe" when they "visited" him on 5 May 2004 in Harare to "say
whether, or when, he intends to step down," Africa Confidential maintains
the correct position that the responsibility to exert pressure upon Mugabe
necessary for him to step down as the president of Zimbabwe lies with the
people of Zimbabwe under their leaders, not with the leaders of African
countries when it concluded that this failure "puts the responsibility back
where it belongs, with Zimbabwe's own leaders."

The MDC's incorrect position that the responsibility to exert pressure upon
Mugabe necessary for him to step down as the president of Zimbabwe lies with
the leaders of African countries, not with the people of Zimbabwe, is
defended by its president, Tsvangirai. After the efforts of President Mbeki
and President Obasanjo to promote dialogue between the ruling party and the
MDC, Tsvangirai pointed out in August 2002 that their efforts were attempts
to "legitimise Mugabe" and enabled Mugabe to consolidate his power and
position. He maintained that their hope to "bring about dialogue and
reconciliation between the parties" was "an attempt to legitimise Mugabe,
without confronting the issue of Mugabe's legitimacy in the March 2002
election" and that they "chose diplomacy rather than democracy and gave
Mugabe space to consolidate his position."

Did the MDC, through its theoretical and practical weaknesses, not help to
"legitimise Mugabe" and "give Mugabe space to consolidate his position?"

Some supporters of the MDC maintain that the MDC enabled or "gave Mugabe''
and the ruling party political "space to consolidate'' their "position.''
They maintain that the fact that it is supported by "big business and white
farmers" in Zimbabwe and developed countries and institutions such as the
International Monetary Fund and the World Bank has undermined its support
among the masses in Zimbabwe and throughout Southern Africa. Its support by
white farmers, who continue to oppress and exploit farm labourers has helped
to undermine its rural support. It has refrained from mobilizing mass action
against the government and concentrated on appealing to the external forces
to exert pressure upon Mugabe and the ruling party. This programme of action
enabled Mugabe to maintain that the survival of his administration is a
struggle against external interference in defence of white business and
farming interests and to present the MDC as the organisational agent of

The position that the real threat to the exercise of state political power
by the ruling party is the desperate state of the economy and its effects on
the Zimbabweans, that the "government's main enemy is the state of the
economy, or that economic problems confront the ruling party more critically
than opposition parties and international critics" is more about the
weakness of the MDC in challenging the ruling party's exercise of state of
political power and less and lesser about problems faced by the ruling party
in its defence for political administration of the society. It is not the
issue the MDC can rely upon in its struggle for state political power.
Despite difficult conditions under which it is operating, it must vigorously
wage the struggle to win the support of the majority of Zimbabweans.

The obvious reality that the MDC must vigorously wage the struggle to win
the support of the majority of Zimbabweans is contrary to the strategy of
Tsvangirai which he articulated to Joseph Winter of British Broadcasting
Corporation. This strategy to "unset the president," according to Winter, is
"to wait while Mr Mugabe mismanaged the economy to such an extent that he
was forced out of office." This "long-term, passive" strategy has not helped
the MDC in its struggle for power. Tsvangirai articulated this confused
strategy in September 2000 when he told an MDC rally that "If Mugabe does
not go peacefully, he will be removed by force." He maintained that his
statement was not a threat of armed rebellion but a warning of popular
discontent with the Mugabe administration.

Tsvangirai's harsh criticism of President Mbeki and President Obasanjo is
reflection of his incorrect position that the responsibility to exert
pressure upon Mugabe necessary for him to step down as the president of
Zimbabwe lies with the leaders of African countries, not with the people of
Zimbabwe. In his speech to the MDC Members of Parliament in Harare on 18
December 2002, he maintained that President Mbeki had "embarked on an
international safari to campaign for Mugabe's regime. Pretoria is free to
pursue its agenda. But it must realise that Zimbabweans can never be fooled

The relevant question is whether or not Tsvangirai ever realised that
"Zimbabweans can never be fooled" by his profound lack of shrewd political
qualities, his failure in leading the MDC to provide viable theoretical and
practical positions, policies and programmes of action which constitute the
alternative to the ruling party and his fundamental weaknesses in
articulating Zimbabwe's national socio-political and economic issues and
taking strategic and tactical decisions in the interest of the MDC's
struggle for power.

The MDC's "Mugabe must go" strategy is a reflection of its theoretical and
practical weaknesses. It does injustice to its immediate objective which has
been to remove the ruling party from power. This objective is different from
the objective to remove Mugabe from power. Mugabe can be removed from power
by the ruling party as a means to see to it that it wins elections so as to
continue being in power. This tactical means will not be in the interest of
the MDC to be in power. It is not only the MDC which wants Mugabe out of
power; some members of the ruling party and other Zimbabweans who are
members of neither the ruling party nor the MDC also want him out of power.

Despite the fact that Mugabe is the president of the ruling party and of the
country, he should not be confused with the ruling party. A clear line of
demarcation should be drawn and emphasised by the MDC between Mugabe and the
ruling party. Its reduction of Zimbabwe's problems to Mugabe is the issue
which does not serve its struggle for power. The ruling party can
overwhelmingly win free and fair elections under a new leader more than has
been the case under the leadership of Mugabe.

The MDC party's incorrect position that the responsibility to exert pressure
upon Mugabe necessary for him to step down as the president of Zimbabwe lies
with the leaders of African countries, not with the people of Zimbabwe under
its leadership is its misunderstanding of the importance of the primacy of
internal factors over external factors either in the resolution or the
maintenance of internal problems of a given country.

* Dr Sehlare Makgetlaneng is the Head of SADC and Southern Africa programme
at the Africa Institute of South Africa in Pretoria, South Africa

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Makwavarara, Chideya locked in fierce Town House battle

New Zimbabwe

By Lebo Nkatazo
Last updated: 06/27/2006 21:54:17
HARARE town clerk Nomutsa Chideya is resisting attempts by Sekesai
Makwavarara, head of a commission running the city, to usurp his duties.

Makwavarara unilaterally moved to centralise power last week after a shock
decision by Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo to extend her term by
six months, despite resistance from residents.

Defying Makwavarara, Chideya addressed the council's heads of department on

Meanwhile, Chideya's lawyers fired a letter to Makwavarara, warning that any
continued interference with the town clerk's work would invite legal action.

Harare's elected mayor, Elias Mudzuri -- voted on an opposition MDC
ticket -- was ousted by Chombo who claimed he was corrupt and incompetent.
Chombo took similar measures in Chitungwiza and Mutare where opposition
mayors were replaced with his appointees.

Chideya's lawyers have revealed that after Makwavarara took the unilateral
decision to centralise all power last week -- by banning all commission
meetings, including heads of department discussions -- she had also
attempted to force the long-serving clerk out by giving her a
yet-to-be-revealed post at the Urban Development Corporation.

Chideya's lawyers were swift off the blocks, threatening Makwavarara with
"judicial intervention".

The lawyers, keen to show the unilateral manner of the decision to remove
Chideya from his position, reportedly because he is diabetic, also asked
Makwavarara to furnish them with minutes of the commission meeting where the
decision to relieve Chideya was reached.

Service delivery in Harare has collapsed under Makwavarara's watch. The
former MDC councillor who defected back to Zanu PF has been in the headline
for her lavish spending.

Chideya worked in the same capacity under the late Solomon Tawengwa, Elijah
Chanakira and Elias Mudzuri.

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Congolese refugee helps Zimbabwe tackle medical crisis

27 Jun 2006 14:48:06 GMT
Source: UNHCR

 HARARE, Zimbabwe, 27 June (UNHCR) - When Frank Nzabonimpa Ndayahoze arrives
for work each day in Parirenyatwa Hospital, the flight of medical staff from
the economic chaos of Zimbabwe is all too apparent. That problem also makes
him a vivid example of the contribution that refugees can make to the
nations that give them shelter.

"They need doctors and nurses," the 34-year-old Congolese doctor said in a
hall of the government-run hospital. "Zimbabwe trains more every year, but
after they get experience they leave. Many in the medical field leave every
day - there are hard working conditions and low salaries."

The exodus of medical staff from countries like Zimbabwe could not come at a
worse time. Ndayahoze spends most of his time treating victims of the
HIV/AIDS epidemic, which has infected 20 percent of the population in
Zimbabwe between the ages of 15 and 49. The average life expectancy of men
in Zimbabwe is 37 years, for women a mere 34 years.

But no one could blame Zimbabwean doctors and nurses for accepting lucrative
jobs in wealthy countries like Britain. Amid Zimbabwe's runaway inflation
the monthly salaries of nurses have risen to 30 million Zimbabwean dollars,
equal to US$300 at the official exchange rate - a mere $100 at the black
market parallel rate that determines most consumer prices.

The economic crisis has provided a chance for refugees like Ndayahoze to
show their value to the country that gave them sanctuary. His skills,
acquired in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Zimbabwe, are
needed. In the hospital, Ndayahoze has been joined by a nurse who is also a
refugee from the DRC and another who fled Rwanda.

Ndayahoze is aware of others among the country's 14,000-strong refugee
community with professions that might win a work permit, but knows that for
most refugees life in Zimbabwe is more difficult. Zimbabwe registered
reservations about clauses in the 1951 UN Refugee Convention that required
host countries to let refugees work. Instead it requires them to have work
permits similar to those needed by any foreigner. Job opportunities are rare
outside of areas such as medicine.

In addition to the official obstacles to employing refugees, any chance of
work has been exacerbated by an economic decline this decade that produced
unemployment rates estimated at up to 80 percent of the labour force.

Ndayahoze would probably be working in DRC today if not for the fighting
that erupted in the west of the country in the 1990s, part of the broader
turmoil in the Great Lakes region. In 1997 the violence engulfed his family.

"At first our family dispersed when the rebels attacked our village and
everyone fled," he said. "I lost touch with the rest of my family and
decided to leave the country. It was 1999 by the time I next got in touch
with my family. They were back home but it was still insecure so I didn't
want to go back."

Ndayahoze had been at the University of Lubumbashi, preparing for entry into
medical school. Once he had been recognised as a refugee in Zimbabwe, he
approached UNHCR for assistance to continue his medical studies. In 1999 the
ambitious young man was given a DAFI scholarship, a UNHCR programme funded
by Germany that provides assistance to study at university.

In July 2003 he concluded his formal studies at the University of Zimbabwe,
graduating with a bachelor's degree in medicine and surgery, and was placed
at Harare's Parirenyatwa Hospital for his residency.

The soft-spoken doctor lives in a single room in a staff residence and works
in the crowded casualty ward. The seven languages that he speaks, including
the French used in DRC and English spoken in Zimbabwe, add to his value.

Unfortunately for Zimbabwe, Ndayahoze himself may soon join the brain drain
from the country. In January 2005 he married a young woman he knew as a
student in DRC. She lives in Canada and he hopes to join her.

His goal is to pass the Canadian exams to gain recognition of his medical
credentials and follow it up by specialising in paediatrics and public
health. Then it will be Canada that has gained from giving a home to this
Congolese refugee.

By Jack Redden
In Harare, Zimbabwe

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Zimbabwe snoopers law deeply flawed

      June 27, 2006,

      By ANDnetwork .com

      Zimbabwe's bill to permit spying on private email and telephone
messages is flawed and lacks the basic safeguards against unwarranted
intrusion into privacy, legal officer for the Zimbabwe chapter of the Media
Institute of Southern Africa has said in a detailed analysis.

      Legal Officer Wilbert Mandinde compared the Interception of
Communications Bill with other laws covering wiretaps.

      In Australia, for example, surveillance can only take place on an
individual suspected for a crime carrying a minimum penalty of seven years'

      "This ensures that legitimate and normal activities in a democracy
such as journalism, civic protests, trade unionism and political opposition,
are not subjected to unwarranted surveillance because the individuals
involved have different interests and goals than of those in power," said

      Pinpointing one of the widely suspected aims of the Mugabe regime's
bill, he noted that such limitations on wiretaps ensured that relatively
minor crimes ``are not used as pretexts to conduct intrusive surveillance
for political or other reasons."

      Mandinde also complained that the bill made no provision for an
independent commission to oversee all interceptions activities.

      Such commissions operate in many countries, including Australia, New
Zealand and Britain. Instead, under the Zimbabwe bill, it appeared that
state security agents would man a monitoring centre.

      Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in Zimbabwe say they face
prohibitive costs in installing the monitoring equipment for which they will
not be compensated.

      Mandinde said that when The Netherlands tried to do this in 2001 - the
deadline for complying has now been extended - up to a third of Dutch ISPs
said they would be bankrupt.

      Another big flaw in the Zimbabwe bill is the lack of a requirement to
produce annual public reports on electronic surveillance as required in
other countries, including the US, Britain, Sweden, Canada, Australia, New
Zealand and France.

      Nor is there any requirement to tell those targeted for eavesdropping
when the investigation is complete, or timetables for destroying material.

      Mandinde said the bill has "immeasurable inadequacies" compared with
laws in countries which respect the right to privacy and should be subjected
to rigorous scrutiny before it is put before Parliament.

      "The bill represents a step backwards and is inconsistent with
international standards on human rights and other legal requirements . (and)
will inevitably lead to abuses," he concluded. The Zimbabwean

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Smelling a boomtown rat

The Guardian

Africans correctly see Live8 and the G8 Gleneagles summit as acts of
political theatre aimed at a western audience.

Robert White

June 27, 2006 01:00 PM
This time last year, I spent a fruitless Saturday night touring pubs in
Nairobi trying to find a Kenyan who was watching Live8. There were plenty
watching Wimbledon, but no one who had even heard of Bob Geldof.

When I explained what was going on in Britain, they replied briskly that pop
music was for children - and if you borrow money, you ought to pay it back.

Away from the sports bars there were, of course, Africans who had heard of
both Live8 and the Gleneagles summit. For the most part, they said it was a
bit of a struggle trying to connect with events that saw them chiefly as
objects of pity.

Live8 and the political summit in Scotland were acts of political theatre
aimed at a western audience, a group hug from which Africa was excluded.

Most people who knew anything about the continent knew that a big bang was
never going to happen.

If a place so vast can have a single characteristic, it is resilience.
Africa has seen off the slavers and the colonisers; its people have
overthrown white-settler kingdoms in Zimbabwe and South Africa, the cousins
of those that endure in the Americas.

It is also slow to change. Drive an hour out of most big cities, and the way
of life is largely unaltered since the advent of iron tools. Women carry
firewood on their heads, boys herd cattle, and villagers' lives turn on a
good rain.

Since the colonial era, the state has been a foreign, interfering power in
these people's lives. With an increasingly free African press reporting the
misdeeds of their leaders, there is plenty of cynicism about their own
politicians and western leaders.

So what has changed since the G8 met? There is a smattering of good news. A
recent Oxfam report found that debt relief had enabled Zambia to scrap fees
for basic healthcare and raise funds to recruit more than 4,500 teachers,
while in Nigeria a poverty action fund will channel debt relief cash into
teacher training.

But the charity warned that some western countries were counting debt
cancellations as part of their aid to Africa, masking the fact that in some
cases the real amount of aid had fallen.

Elsewhere, the picture is reliably bleak. Last month, the UN's world food
programme cut back its food supplies in Darfur because donor countries had
given less than half the money needed. Despite a peace agreement, Janjaweed
atrocities continue. In Kenya, MPs recently tried to force the government to
increase their mileage allowance, blocking a national budget that included
aid to drought victims.

The key to saving Africa - a fair trade deal - remains out of reach, after
the World Trade Organisation's Hong Kong meeting last December failed to
reach an agreement that would help developing countries. And politicians
once considered to be in the vanguard of an "African renaissance" -
Ethiopia's Meles Zenawi and Uganda's Yoweri Museveni - have proved as
reluctant to surrender, or even share, power as were the worst of the old
"big men".

The conspiracy theory is that the west wants to keep Africa poor. Actually,
it's more of an ongoing cock-up: a combination of farm subsidies that help a
small number of western producers while doing a disservice to consumers and
African farmers; aid bureaucrats who keep shovelling money towards corrupt
regimes because doing that is better for their careers than closing
programmes down; and western politicians making empty promises with an eye
to their obituaries.

So what can the ordinary citizen do to help? Well, being sceptical about our
politicians, our pop stars and even some of our charities is a good starting

But there's more. With some exceptions, Africa is not yet the place to build
a call centre, or even a trainer factory. Even if it could compete with
Chinese prices, most of the continent lacks a power supply free of blackouts
and pothole-free roads. But sub-Saharan Africa could be Europe's granary.

The trade in fruit, vegetables and flowers between south and north can make
a real difference to African lives. Buy all the Fairtrade coffee you can

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Day in support of Zimbabwean torture survivors


26th June 2006
  The Vigil was well
represented at a service at St. Martin-in-the-Fields, Trafalgar Square, to
mark the UN International Day in Support of Victims of Torture organised by
the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum in association with the Zimbabwe
Association, Redress and other organisations.  Arnold Tsungu, Director of
the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, outlined the worsening situation.
Three Zimbabwean torture survivors brought home to everyone the horror of
what is happening in Zimbabwe.  They were joined by a Sudanese torture
survivor, in solidarity with other countries suffering from similar horrors.
Vigil supporter Sam (saxophone) brought the Zimbabwean musician Paul Lunga
(trumpet) and they made a great contribution to the music, with Harriet
(piano and violin).   After the service we processed, bearing flowers and
singing hymns, to the Zimbabwe Embassy.  The flowers were laid on the steps
of the Embassy and the evening concluded with a mass singing of Ishe
Komberera / Nkosi Sikelele - much appreciated by passers-by.

Earlier in the day, Vigil supporters attended a meeting at the House of
Lords commemorating the victims of organised violence and torture in
Zimbabwe.  It was well-attended by representatives of many Zimbabwean groups
both from the UK and Zimbabwe.  Several Vigil supporters pressed the case
for everyone to join together to change Zimbabwe.

Vigil co-ordinator

The Vigil, outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, 429 Strand, London, takes place
every Saturday from 14.00 to 18.00 to protest against gross violations of
human rights by the current regime in Zimbabwe. The Vigil which started in
October 2002 will continue until internationally-monitored, free and fair
elections are held in Zimbabwe.

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Foreign aid to Africa

Jun 27, 2006
by Walter E. Williams

      British Prime Minister Tony Blair, along with other G-8 leaders, have
called for the doubling of foreign aid to African nations by 2010. The idea
that foreign aid is a route out of poverty and political instability is not
only bankrupted but a cruel and evil hoax as well.
      Nearly every sub-Saharan African nation is poorer now than when they
became independent during the '60s and '70s. Since that time, food
production has fallen by roughly 20 percent. Since 1975, per capita GDP has
fallen at a rate of half of one percent annually. Nigerian President
Olusegun Obasanjo estimated, "Corrupt African leaders have stolen at least
$140 billion from their people in the [four] decades since independence."
The call for more aid by George Bush, Tony Blair and other G-8 leaders will
produce nothing but more of the same.

      Zimbabwe provides an excellent example of why foreign aid, as a way
out of poverty, is a fool's errand. Salem University, Winston-Salem, N.C.,
professor Craig Richardson explores this further in "Learning from Failure:
Property Rights, Land Reforms, and the Hidden Architecture of Capitalism," a
paper written for the American Enterprise Institute's Development Policy
Outlook Series (2006). Not that long ago, Zimbabwe was one of the more
prosperous African countries. Professor Richardson writes, "Few countries
have failed as spectacularly, or as tragically, as Zimbabwe has over the
past half decade. Zimbabwe has transformed from one of Africa's rare success
stories into one of its worst economic and humanitarian disasters." It has
the world's highest rate of inflation, currently over 1,000 percent. To put
this into perspective, in 1995, one U.S. dollar exchanged for eight Zimbabwe
dollars; today, one U.S. dollar exchanges for 100,000 Zimbabwe dollars.
Unemployment hovers around 80 percent. Its financial institutions are
collapsing. The specter of mass starvation hangs over a country that once
exported food.

      What's the cause? President Robert Mugabe blames domestic and foreign
enemies, particularly England and the United States for trying to bring
about his downfall. Of course, according to Mugabe, and some of the world's
academic elite, there's that old standby excuse, the legacy of colonialism
and multi-national firms exploiting the Third World. The drought is used to
"explain" the precipitous drop in agricultural output. Then there's AIDS.

      Let's look at drought and AIDS. Zimbabwe's next-door neighbor is
Botswana. Botswana has the world's second-highest rate of AIDS infection,
and if there's drought in Zimbabwe, there's likely a drought in Botswana,
whose major geographic feature is the Kalahari Desert, which covers 70
percent of its land mass. However, Botswana has one of the world's highest
per capita GDP growth rates. Moody's and Standard & Poor gives Botswana an
"A" credit rating, the best credit risk on the continent, a risk competitive
with countries in central Europe and East Asia.
      Botswana compared to her other African neighbors prospers not because
of foreign aid. There's rule of law, sanctity of contracts, and in 2004,
Transparency International ranked Botswana as Africa's least corrupt
country, ahead of many European and Asian countries. The World Forum rates
Botswana as one of Africa's two most economically competitive nations and
one of the best investment opportunities in the developing world.

      Botswana shares a heritage with Zimbabwe, for it, too, was a British
colony. What it doesn't share with Zimbabwe explains its success: the rule
of law, minimal corruption and, most of all, respect for private property
rights. No amount of western foreign aid can bring about the political and
socioeconomic climate necessary for economic growth. Instead, foreign aid
allows vicious dictators to remain in power. It enables them to buy the
allegiance of cronies and the military equipment to oppress their own
people, not to mention being able to set up "retirement" accounts in Swiss
banks. The best thing westerners can do for Africa is to keep their money
and their economic development "experts."

      Dr. Williams serves on the faculty of George Mason University in
Fairfax, VA as John M. Olin Distinguished Professor of Economics.

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Till death do us part - in Zimbabwe politics too?

      By Bill Saidi

      THE haste with which the Jokonya family denied any foul play in the
death of Tichaona Jokonya last Saturday was intriguing.
      Yet it was not as unexpected as the death of a cabinet minister in a
road accident, although in at least one such mishap, searching questions
were asked.

      The Jokonya family's haste was understandable in this peculiar regard:
the Minister of Information and Publicity died hours before announcing a
far-reaching shake-up of the state media, particularly the beleaguered
public broadcasting.

      Jokonya, who would have been 68 next December, died in his hotel room
at a five-star hotel in Harare. The hotel, previously managed by the United
States-based Sheraton group, had recently been taken over completely by a
government hotel chain.

      To many proponents of the private sector this was another example of
how blithely the government is reneging on a commitment to make the private
sector a vital partner of its economic turnaround programme.

      Jokonya, it was believed, was not about to make any startling changes
to the ownership of the public media. He had already announced the scrapping
of the fragmentation of Zimbabwe Broadcasting Holdings (ZBH)  into so many
little unprofitable pieces of autonomous entities.

      Each of the little empires, created during the tenure of Jonathan Moyo
as minister, had its own chief executive officer.
      ZBH was such an unwieldy creature a parliamentary portfolio committee
on Transport and Communications had recommended it must be broken up.

      Was the suspicion that, to put paid to his plans to tamper with their
empires and lose them their highly-paid jobs, with their obscene perks,
these people were ready to "do him in?"

      It was unclear if Jokonya intended to announce any major shift in the
government's attitude towards the private media. In the reign of Moyo's
Stalinist regime four newspapers were shut down under the notoriously
repressive Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA).

      Two private television and radio networks had also been shut down.
      Initially, shortly after his appointment as the new minister, Jokonya
made some very positive noises:  he would re-examine the provisions of
AIPPA, which had led to so much trauma and unemployment in the media

      A very well-travelled diplomat and an intellectual to boot, Jokonya
was perceived by many editors as the kind of minister they could do good
business with - a man who understood why a free media was absolutely
essential if democracy was to be nurtured in Zimbabwe.

      As the months passed, however, Jokonya seemed to be afflicted by a
familiar malady: a fear of the very well-known monster that is Zanu PF. He
faced a choice which many others have faced: toe the line or quit and risk
an ignominious end to your budding political career.

      Although he had met senior editors of the private media sector to hear
them ventilate their concerns, his tune, as enunciated in public statements,
began to strike a discordant note: the status quo would be maintained.

      The last straw, for any who had harboured any hopes of real change in
government relations with the private media, was his startling pronouncement
on the relationship between patriotism and journalism.

      After that, all hope that the Jokonya era would be more enlightened
than the Stalinist darkness of the Moyo era were eroded.
      In the end, what seemed to sabotage any reforms Jokonya had in store
for the private media was the presence in the ministry's upper echelons of
the same mandarins who had aided and abetted Moyo in his brutal campaign to
castrate the privately-owned media.

      George Charamba, reportedly Moyo's blue-eyed boy and an avid disciple
of the previously fierce critic of President Robert Mugabe, remained
permanent secretary after his mentor had been unceremoniously kicked out of
Zanu PF.

      Charamba, like Moyo, seems to pose as a seasoned journalist, speaking
and writing on the subject as if he had spent years in newsrooms around the

      Only later did it occur to many that he was, in fact, no better than
Tafataona Mahoso, the chairman of AIPPA's Media and Information commission:
they all seem to believe journalism consists of using very big words and
quoting people like Shakespeare and others to impress their readers.

      There was real sadness among journalists at Jokonya's death. I could
believe the sincerity of the secretary-general of the Zimbabwe Union of
Journalists, Foster Dongozi, when he expressed his condolences to the
Jokonya family.

      We all suspected that, in the end, Jokonya would slowly but surely
transform the media landscape as he had initially intended to do. It would
be a version for his own "Chimurenga" against the mandarins at Shake Shake
building. Moreover, some of us believed he would find a natural ally in
Nathan Shamuyarira, whose aversion to the last media regime was so
pronounced it was aired in public during the last days of Moyo's empire.

      Yet what continues to nag many students of the Zimbabwean body politic
is the presence of a malignant growth represented by a philosophy, which
holds that once you are in the system only death or eviction will save you.

      At the time Jokonya took office, he was not entirely fit for office,
physically speaking. He was so visibly infirm on television appearances you
could not help but feel sorry for him. He moved sluggishly, even for someone
his age.  He had a stoop to his back which again announced loudly that he
was struggling, in vain, it seemed, to present to the public a picture of
sparkling good health.
      Since independence, there have been other leaders in a similar bind.

      Joshua Nkomo was plagued by ill-health long before he finally
succumbed in 1999. He paid many visits to cities such as Cairo and
Johannesburg in search of a cure, all in vain.

      Many questions have been asked about this tendency to have these sick
men continue in office when all the evidence suggests that they should be
retired and allowed to take a well-deserved rest among their families.

      If Jokonya had not been subjected to the rigors of a tight work
schedule, involving weighty decisions on such vexatious questions as the
future of an impoverished, badly-administered, loss-making monster like the
state electronic media, he probably would have died a dignified death, in
his own bed, on his farm, with his family around him - not in a lonely hotel
room, apparently all by himself.

      Today, we have been subjected to the disturbing spectacle of
Vice-President Joseph Msika appearing on television to deny any suggestions
that he was about to kick the bucket.

      Then, when he returns from a long period of treatment in South Africa,
we are told by him that he is perfectly healthy again and that rumours of
his imminent demise are "exaggerated", or words to that effect.

      What would Msika lose and what political damage would Zanu PF suffer
if he was to be announced as retiring from office - the man is old enough to
retire, if he was in the private sector - and going for good to his farm in
Mashonaland Central?

      There can be no doubt that his family would surround him with their
love. In fact, he might even live longer, sleeping peacefully in his own
bed, knowing that his family is nearby and will take care of him if he
coughs or sneezes.

      At that age, to expect him to journey to the office, even in a
chauffer-driven, air-conditioned  Mercedes-Benz saloon , five days a week is
almost an unconscionable act of cruelty.

      It suggests Zanu PF politicians, as soon as they join the party and
ascend to the upper echelons of the party, must be prepared to die in
harness - it's a marriage which will end only after death.
      Simon Muzenda, another Vice-President, worked until his last breath,
almost. Like Msika, he endured the indignity of discussing his illness on
public television. Many felt sick with worry as he stood up, gingerly, from
his chair, and walked, with mincing steps - to indicate that he was really
as "fit as a fiddle", as Msika said he was in one interview.

      Our culture embodies a morbid fascination with death, yet we must try
to discard this fascination.  The sight of an old man - and when you are two
years from three score and ten years, you are definitely on the last
stretch, - trying to look sprightly, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, cannot be
good television.
      Not even for sons and daughters, or grandchildren.

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MDC supports initiatives to restore democratic rule says Chamisa

      By Ian Nhuka in Bulawayo

      THE opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) supports any
initiatives meant to restore democracy, the rule of law, a legitimate
government and development in Zimbabwe, a senior party official said

      Speaking ahead of a meeting between some church leaders and MDC's
founding leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, party spokesman, Nelson Chamisa said the
MDC has always wanted to give dialogue a chance to break the political
impasse with ZANU PF.

      "Throughout its existence, the party has always cherished
understanding between stakeholders.  As such, the party supports the church's
initiative to bring about dialogue between us and ZANU PF.  We support any
initiatives designed to restore democracy, the rule of law and legitimacy,"
said Chamisa.

      His comments come as churches in the country are trying to broker
dialogue between the MDC and ZANU PF over a number of sticky areas including
the legitimacy of President Robert Mugabe's rule, the rule of law, good
governance and related issues.

      Church leaders, led by Bishop Trevor Manhanga of the Evangelical
Fellowship of Zimbabwe, are likely to hold a meeting with Tsvangirai soon to
hear the opposition leader's views on how to bring about an understanding
between his party and ZANU PF.

      The church leaders have already met Mugabe, who has given his support
for the initiative. Their meeting with Tsvangirai, which was scheduled for
Wednesday last week, was cancelled after the death of his father.  No date
has been set yet.

      As efforts to resolve the political and economic crisis in the country
widened, the church at the weekend held the Zimbabwe National Day of Prayer
in Harare which was attended by Mugabe himself, various church leaders and
Christians from various denominations.
      No MDC official attended.

      In his address at the controversial Harare prayer meeting, Mugabe
urged churches to help his government's efforts to revive the country's
failing economy but warned clerics not to meddle in politics.

      He also took the opportunity to attack one of his most prominent
critics, Roman Catholic Archbishop, Pius Ncube who opposed the prayer
meeting. Archbishop Ncube, who has attacked the government for corruption,
suppression of human rights and bad governance did not attend the

      Said Chamisa: "The church plays a critical role in national
development.  We hope the talks would bear fruit and that the clerics would
be sincere in the move."

      Tsvangirai himself has indicated his party will go out of its way to
organise street protests to force Zanu PF to the negotiating table where
problems facing the country will be ironed out with a transitional
government, among other things, being put in place as the country prepares
for a fresh election that is free and fair.

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Zimbabwean President for land conference in Ghana

      June 26, 2006

      By ANDnetwork .com

      Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe has been invited to speak at a
conference on land reparations that will be held in Ghana next month.

      According to the Ghanaian Chronicle, President Mugabe's presentation
would educate the organisers on how reparations would be of help to Africans
with regards to land issues during the conference, which will run from July
22 to August 2.

      Prominent African-American liberation campaigner,  Louis Farrakhan,
has also been invited to attend as well as reparation activists from Africa
and other parts of the world.

      Nana Kwamena Gyebi, the president of Sankofa United Continent African
Roots Development International Association of Ghana (SUCARDIF) and a
Ghanaian reparations campaigner, praised President Mugabe for his principled
stance on the land question, which saw the country launching the land
redistribution programme in 2000.

      "(President) Mugabe is the only African leader who is fighting the
cause for Africans and he has been portrayed by the West as a demon," he

      More than 200 000 formerly landless blacks in Zimbabwe have been
allocated farms under the programme, which has been praised by most African
and Third World countries.

      Gyebi, who is also co-convener of the meeting, said President Mugabe's
presence would help disprove claims of opponents of the land reform
programme that there are human rights abuses and lack of democracy in
Zimbabwe. He made the announcement at Amamoma, a place where a 200-acre
piece of land has been identified for the construction of a US$180-million
Return Tower, which would symbolise the return of black Africans who were
enslaved in Europe and the Americas.

      Amamoma is a suburb of Cape Coast in the Central Region of the West
African country.

      Gyebi criticised the US and Britain for imposing sanctions on Zimbabwe
as punishment for embarking on the land redistribution programme.

      "(President) Mugabe has been suffocated too much by US and Britain
through sanctions they placed on the country,"  Gyebi said.

      He said the conference would serve to set the ground for a common
course for the demand of reparations for Africans, as well as solicit funds
for the building of the Tower of Return.

      The African Union, Economic Community for West African States and
Ghana's Ministry of Tourism and Diasporan Relations have all reportedly
consented to the construction of the tower.

      The Ghanaian Chronicle quoted a repatriated African-American, Seestah
Imakhus Njinga Ababio, as saying Africans were demanding reparations for the
horrors they experienced during the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade period
between 1441 and 1888.

      The construction of the tower, said Nana Yatal, the Chief of Amamoma,
would create jobs for the youths in the area.

      The Central Regional Minister, Nana Ato Arthur, said the construction
of the tower would also boost tourism because the region serves as the
tourism hub of Ghana.

      The Herald news

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