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

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There are details of prices for businesses and individuals at the end of this message.
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The Telegraph

Zimbabwe faces record food shortage
By Peta Thornycroft in Harare
(Filed: 03/06/2004)


Despite official claims that Zimbabwe can feed itself, the country grew less
food this season than in any in modern times and needs more than a million
tonnes of grain to keep the population alive.

Statistics released yesterday by the United Nations show that Zimbabwe's
shortfall will be more than last year, when donors had to provide food for
up to 5.5 million people, nearly half the population.

In his first interview with British journalists for four years, President
Robert Mugabe told Sky News two weeks ago that Zimbabwe needed neither to
import food, nor donors to provide funds for food.

Over the past four years Mr Mugabe has destroyed the economy and food
production by ordering his supporters to evict, often violently, more than
3,000 white commercial farmers and many thousands of their workers.

Mr Mugabe told the UN to stop its annual assessment of Zimbabwe's crops last
month. But before three teams from the Food and Agriculture Organisation and
the World Food Programme left the country, some assessors largely completed
their work.

"The mission estimated that total food production this year would be even
lower than last year's 980,000 tonnes," the UN said. Zimbabwe needs 2.1
million tonnes of maize every year to feed itself, according to the UN.

In his interview Mr Mugabe endorsed earlier claims that Zimbabwe had grown a
record harvest of 2.3 million tonnes this year. But this figure is
discounted by all independent experts.

A diplomat said yesterday the Zimbabwean government was "now engaged in a
war about crop statistics". Mr Mugabe, keen to show African leaders that his
land grab was successful, claimed that Zimbabwe would produce a surplus this
year, but the government has admitted it has been secretly importing grain
for several weeks.

Mr Mugabe told Sky News that the World Food Programme should feed hungry
people elsewhere in the world. "Why foist this food upon us?" he asked. "We
don't want to be choked, we have enough. The whites who were here were mere
actor farmers, ill-educated, and we brought in a system which is much more
enlightened than the system they had."

The FAO said yesterday that the causes of the dramatic drop in food
production were a "further decline of large-scale commercial farms, the
impact of the HIV/Aids pandemic, shortages of quality seeds, and the high
local cost of fertiliser" as well as erratic rainfall.

Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change,
said yesterday: "The UN's estimate is close to what we predicted and we will
run out of food in about October.

"Mugabe wants to cover up the food deficit and will use it as we get close
to elections." Mr Mugabe said last week that parliamentary elections would
be held next March.
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The Star

Mbeki ducks issue of African conflicts
June 3, 2004

By Peter Fabricius

Maputo - A year ago, at the 2003 World Economic Forum Africa summit,
President Thabo Mbeki predicted that the crisis in Zimbabwe would be
resolved within a year.

Yesterday, at the 2004 summit, he was called to account for his
prediction.

But he ducked the issue - while Anglican Archbishop Njongonkulu
Ndungane said Mbeki and the rest of the international community needed
urgently to "upscale" their involvement in Zimbabwe to ensure formal
negotiations between the ruling Zanu-PF and the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change.

Sir Mark Moody-Stuart, chairperson of the opening discussion at the
summit, reminded Mbeki of the predictions he had made at the close of last
year's summit about the resolution of conflicts in Sudan, the Democratic
Republic of Congo, Liberia and Zimbabwe
President says there has been progress toward stability
.

On Zimbabwe, Moody-Stuart said, Mbeki had said that within a year
there would be some political agreement between Zanu-PF party and the MDC.

"When you review that scorecard now, how happy are you?" he asked
Mbeki.


"I think we've done very well - I didn't think I had said all that. I
had forgotten," Mbeki said.

He pointed to peace agreements in Sudan and the DRC as proof of
general progress towards peace in Africa.

Mbeki then denied that he had predicted peaceful outcomes of all the
various conflicts. "What I said was not so much predictions but commitments
to what we should do to resolve these conflicts," he explained.

"Generally, things are moving quite well towards addressing insecurity
and instability on the continent. All these conflicts are at least moving in
the right direction."

The Zimbabwean issue was tackled in a later discussion when both
former Zimbabwean finance minister Simba Makoni and Ndungane called for an
urgent increase in international involvement in Zimbabwe to try to ensure
that the elections due to be held in March are free and fair.

Makoni said the "total engagement" of Zimbabweans themselves and the
international community was needed to normalise Zimbabwe and stop the
decline in what he said was the fastest-contracting economy in the world.

The first step was to normalise political conduct so that people could
relate to each other, said Makoni.

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Engineering News

Zimbabwe least competitive country in Africa - WEF
--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Zimbabwe is one of the worst countries to do business in Africa,
according to a report by the Davos-based World Economic Forum (WEF) released
yesterday.

The WEF's latest annual Africa Competitive Report, based on a
high-profile survey of world business leaders, placed the troubled southern
African nation at the bottom in three key categories. But it scored better
on technology advances.

Once a regional bread basket, Zimbabwe is reeling from its worst
economic crisis since independence from Britain in 1980, blamed partly on
the government's seizure of productive white owned farms for the
resettlement of landless black.

Critics say this has undermined the rule of law and property rights -
key requirements for foreign direct investment.

The economy, in its fifth year of recession, is plagued by an
unemployment rate of above 70% and fuel and foreign currency shortages.
Inflation is running at about 500%, one of the highest in the world.

"...Zimbabwe has seriously backtracked in the areas of individual
freedom and human rights, with the efficiency and stability of its economy
suffering greatly from self-inflicted and misguided policies," the WEF said.

Zimbabwe was ranked last in the macroeconomic environment,
macroeconomic stability and government waste categories out of the 25
African countries surveyed. It scored 22nd on the growth competitiveness
index, but fared well in the technology index rank where it came in ninth.

Botswana, seen as a beacon of democracy and fiscal stability in
Africa, scored first in six categories. Regional power house South Africa
was ranked third on the growth competitiveness index and placed number one
on the technology index.

Mozambique, rebuilding after 16 years of civil war which ended in
1991, was placed 20th on the growth competitiveness index. - Reuters
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New Zimbabwe

Hospital detains 28 newly-born babies over fees

By Staff Reporter
Last updated: 06/03/2004 09:18:03
GIVING birth can cost your freedom in Zimbabwe, 28 mothers found out at
Harare's Central Hospital this week.

The hospital detained the mothers and their newly-born babies after they
failed to pay maternity fees, according to the official Herald newspaper.

Officials at the hospital said 87 percent of maternity fees were being
recovered through detaining mothers until they made part payments or paid
the bill in full.

Chris Tapfumaneyi, the hospital's medical superintendent told the paper: "We
could not just let them go when they owed us some money.

"They know they will need to pay for the delivery of the baby, but they wait
until the baby is born. The hospital has been failing to do a lot of things
because some patients deliberately do not want to pay, so we have put in
place restrictive measures such that out of the 28 women some have paid us
something," Tapfumaneyi said.

Health Minister David Parirenyatwa, said the government was not enouraging
the detention of patients.

"There is no legality or illegality about the matter, we just do not allow
it as we feel there should be a proper arrangement between the hospital and
the patient who will have failed to pay. Detaining patients means there will
be more costs incurred," Parirenyatwa told the Herald.

Several mothers interviewed by the paper put the average fees incurred at
Zim$1m (about 120).

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New Zimbabwe

Suspended Harare councillors go to court

By Zvamaida Murwira
Last updated: 06/03/2004 09:16:40
THE 13 suspended Harare city councillors are expected to file an urgent
chamber application Thursday, challenging their suspension by the Minister
of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing, Ignatious Chombo
amid fears of a collapse of council structures as the remaining councillors
cannot constitute committees.

With committees made up of at least nine councillors, this would mean that
every remaining councillor would belong to virtually every committee, thus
defeating the purpose of checks and balances within council operations. With
slightly above 22 councillors remaining and a quorum for a full council
meeting consiting of17 councillors, there were fears that some councillors
might resign in solidarity with other suspended councillors.

More division among council employees has also emerged as the town Clerk,
Nomutsa Chideya who has in the past aligned himself to acting mayor, Sekesai
Makwavarara, conducted the election held on Monday which saw councillor
Christopher Mushonga being elected as deputy mayor, effectively booting out
Makwavarara who has been acting mayor since the suspension of the incumbent,
Elias Mudzuri. This has been viewed as a shift in loyalty on the part of
Chideya.

Some of the committees in council are, environment and management,
education, procurement, licensing, executive committee, and finance among
other committees.

In its latest challenge, the councillors have cited Chombo, Makwavarara,
Home Affairs Minister, Kembo Mohadi and Police Commissioner, Augustine
Chihuru as respondents.

"The idea of having checks and balances within committees ceases to be of
any significance if a councillor belongs virtually to every committee," said
one lawyer.

"This means for example, if the procurement board agrees to buy something,
the issue would go to the finance committee where in this instance, the same
councillor who would have sat in the procurement board would sit again to
consider the same issue, hence would not consider the issue objectively."

The councillors absolved Harare provincial governor, Witness Mangwende whom
they said had not interfered in the proceeding when the elections were held.

Makwavarara had been cited as a respondent because she gave a directive on
Tuesday through Chideya for Mushonga to vacate the office of deputy mayor
immediately, according to a letter written to Mushonga by Chideya.

Makwavarara and Herbert Nhanhongo (Zanu PF) walked out of council chambers
after councillors made known their intention to hold elections.

Interestingly, Chideya who until recently had been aligned to Makwavarara in
defying council directives remained in the council chambers before he even
proceeded to conduct the elections.

Chideya even approved the ejection of council public relations manager,
Leslie Gwindi after Gwindi had declined the order by councillors to move out
as he said only Chideya, his superior could eject him.

Makwavarara and Chideya clashed recently over her decision to ensure that
Gwindi occupied the office designated for deputy mayor, a decision which was
resisted by Chideya who argued that only an elected deputy mayor would
occupy the office. In suspending the councillors for defiance, Chombo said a
committee would be set up to investigate their conduct and make
recommendations.
From the Daily Mirror

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Courage and Determination.

"Slugger" Bennett is now well known for his pugilistic talents and his
relationship with the Chimanimani community. His local name is Pachanu -
which means "One with us" and as with all local Shona nicknames it has a
deeper meaning than a simple English name. Roy is Zimbabwe born, raised on
a farm and spoke Shona as his first language. Even now I sometimes think he
thinks in Shona and he certainly struggles a bit in English.

He saved his money and realised a life long dream when he bought
"Charleswood" Estate in the Chimanimani District in the 80's. Typical of
Roy he did not do the usual farmer thing - he first went to the local
tribal leadership, introduced himself properly and then asked for
permission to buy the property. He also had to ask the Mugabe government
for their OK and this was given in the form of a legal document from the
Ministry of Lands and Agriculture which stated that the government had no
interest in the property for resettlement purposes.

Having secured the required legal OK and the approval of the traditional
leaders Roy went ahead and bought his dream. It was 3000 hectares of wild,
hilly country with the most breathtaking views of the Chimanimani
Mountains. There was about 300 hectares of arable land and Roy put in a
coffee plantation on that - the rest he fenced and began a cattle operation
and a lodge for tourists.

In order to help his neighbors - the local peasant farmer's who were on
land next to him; he started an "outgrowers" scheme with each family
growing a small area of coffee - enough for them to care for as a family.
Roy provided the know how, the seedlings, tractors and tillage and then
fertilizer and whatever insecticides were required. When his own and the
local communal farmers crop was mature he built a coffee mill on the farm
and started a marketing scheme for the coffee under his own brand in
Europe.

As you can imagine - the presence and activity of a man like this was a
significant development in the District. In 1998, the local leadership of
Zanu PF asked Roy to be their candidate in the area and he agreed. The only
problem was that when the MDC was launched in late 1999, the local people
came to Roy and said they wanted him to run as their candidate - but not
for Zanu, but for the MDC. Mystified, Roy approached the leadership of the
MDC who, after a full investigation decided that this was a bona fide case
and Roy was accepted as the MDC candidate. Just politics, Roy thought.

Zanu sneered at the arrogance of this local "Mukiwa" or "Marungu" thinking
he could win a seat against the Zanu monolith which up to then had
controlled virtually all the seats in the region - the exception being the
seats in the Ndau area just to the south of Chimanimani. Then came the
referendum result and four months later Roy took the seat with a massive
majority. Zanu was stunned. They were even mor discomforted when this white
man, who spoke pure colloquial Shona started to participate in debates on a
wide range of issues in Parliament.

The order went out from Zanu PF headquarters in Harare - this man must be
stopped. The attacks started. In an early incident Heather, Roy's beautiful
and long-suffering wife was so distressed she lost her third baby - they
already had a boy and a girl. Since then the attacks have continued - day
and night.

Roy established a local MDC District office in the village - it has been
ransacked at least 6 times, yesterday it was burned to the ground. The farm
has been invaded and then vacated on numerous occasions - never by local
people, always by people from outside the District. The staff on the farm -
some 300 workers and their families, has resisted the invasions - in some
cases paying with their lives and risking and receiving savage beatings.
Finally, when an Army General was appointed governor of the Manica Province
he ordered the occupation of the property by military personnel and Roy's
eviction from the District.

This was completed a few weeks ago and Roy's long suffering and loyal staff
are still sitting in the bush after their eviction and dispossession of all
their property by the Zanu thugs who occupied the property. I do not know
what Roy lost in the exercise but it runs into billions of Zimbabwe dollars
- even at 5000 to 1, this is a considerable sum of money. The occupation is
illegal (Roy has won every legal case he has taken to the High Court),
totally violent and destructive.

The local people asked what they could do? They sent a Nanga to the farm
and he "protected" the house, the lodge and the farm buildings. Those of us
who have grown up in Africa do not laugh at such things - of the 15 thugs
who were the original "invaders", 12 have died. The District Administrator
(a key political figure) was found dead in his shower last week. A vehicle
loaded with government workers coming to the farm last Monday turned over
at the farm gate - all on board were injured.

Then came the fracas in Parliament - Chinamasa insulted Roy, said he would
never be allowed back into Chimanimani. It was too much, Roy (who is a big
man) walked over to the Minister and pushed him to the ground, he was then
assaulted from behind by Mutasa - Roy' turned to see who it was and then
put him on the floor. Cameras were running and ZBC had the stupidity to put
the whole thing on to local TV that night. Roy was an instant hero. He did
what we have all wanted to do for the past 4 years. Roy spoke at a MDC
rally on Tuesday last week he was given a hero's welcome by 15 000 plus
people.

On Friday the regime sent in a force of about 2000 men from outside the
district. They were intended to show case a local "demonstration" against
Roy Bennett in his actual constituency. Roy had warning and phoned through
to his people to say, leave town. When rent-a-mob arrived not an MDC
activist was in sight. They proceeded to the long suffering MDC office and
trashed it, finally burning it to the ground. Then, frustrated that they
could not find any immediate MDC targets they marched down to the home of
Mr. and Mrs. Kidd. Shane Kidd runs his own sawmill in the area and is a
well-known MDC activist. He was not at home, but his wife was.

She was hauled out of the house by this mob, beaten and then forced to walk
through the village before they forced her to clean up the mess at the MDC
office. All of this to a grey haired women who was old enough to be their
mother. The Police watched and laughed with the rest. And guess what, a ZBC
camera crew just happened to be on site - hundreds of kilometers from their
home base. They filmed the whole shameful episode.

At 16.30 hrs Mrs. Kidd was allowed back to her smashed home. I watched the
TV news last night - it was not covered. I think they suddenly woke up to
the fact that they had a problem. Mrs. Kidd is a Finn. I called her last
night on the phone - she was "fine" she said, was more determined than ever
and felt that now "she could move mountains." I told her she was wonderful
and that we were praying for them both. Shane has been to prison several
times in the past 4 years - just because of his unswerving support for Roy
and the MDC and what we stand for.

We are Zanu's worst nightmare - we will not hide, we will not run, we will
not give in. We love our country and its people and we are here to stay,
all it takes is a bit of courage and determination. It also takes faith -
we have that as well, why? Because in the end we win!

Eddie Cross
Bulawayo, 29th May 2004

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