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SADC 'endorses sham elections'

††††† June 06 2004 at 02:47PM

By Moshoeshoe Monare

Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader of Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for
Democratic Change, has blasted the electoral commission of the Southern
African Development Community for endorsing fraudulent elections and for
supporting autocratic rulers.

In his weekly newsletter, Tsvangirai cited Zimbabwe's 2001, and this year's
Malawian presidential elections, saying the SADC observer team's bias "makes
it possible for dictators to bludgeon their way into office using sham
elections".

"They [the SADC electoral team] choose to blame administrative bottlenecks,
which they conveniently assume to be natural, instead of condemning openly
questionable electoral practices in their own backyards," he said.

††††† 'The same official observers admit their mistakes'
"When confronted privately, the same official observers admit their
mistakes, but raise spurious arguments about stability, solidarity, the
liberation struggle and the fact that it is normal for elections to present
difficult challenges in Africa."

He said this was in contrast to other observers from Africa, the European
Union and the Commonwealth, who had condemned the elections. Tsvangirai said
the same phenomenon repeated itself in the Malawian presidential elections
last month.

"Bingu wa Mutharika [the new Malawian president] was declared the winner and
sworn in immediately in the presence of his new SADC colleagues who included
[Zimbabwean President Robert] Mugabe.

"The SADC official observation team saw nothing improper with the election.
The aggrieved opposition has posted a legal challenge to the result. This
could lead to nothing because Wa Mutharika is recognised by SADC
governments.

"The African Union was not alone in making such an observation. Strident
voices of condemnation emerged from the Commonwealth delegation, headed by
Justice Joseph Warioba, the former prime minister of Tanzania; the European
Union; and several local monitoring groups," he said.

††††† 'Spurious arguments about stability, solidarity, the liberation
struggle'
"Our behaviour as African leaders, our failure to restrain each other or
merely to acknowledge evil intentions against the people, makes it possible
for dictators to burgeon their way into office using sham elections,"
Tsvangirai said.

He called for the implementation of SADC electoral norms and standards
adopted in 2001, which were ratified by governments in the region. He said
this should be a precondition for observers monitoring next year's
Zimbabwean elections.

"Those wishing to monitor and observe the 2005 parliamentary election must
debate the electoral standards here if their observations are to assume a
measure of relevance to the Zimbabwean people," he said.

Esther Kanaimba, a spokesperson for the SADC, referred queries to Lesotho,
which is currently chairing the organisation's political organ.

Lesotho's principal secretary for foreign affairs, Motlatsi Ramafole, was
not available for comment.

† a.. This article was originally published on page 4 of The Sunday
Independent on June 06, 2004
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News24

Zim school board penniless
06/06/2004 19:47† - (SA)

Harare - A board that administers schools' final examinations in Zimbabwe
has run out of funds to conduct this year's final tests, a state weekly
paper reported on Sunday.

The Sunday Mail said the Zimbabwe Schools Examinations Council (Zimsec)
which administers the writing of the equivalent of Britain's Cambridge
ordinary and advanced level exams, is broke.

Traditionally, registration of candidates wishing to write exams in November
of any year, is done before March of the same year, but this year students
have not yet registered.

Sunday Mail said the council was "making frantic efforts to source funds to
import scanner sheets" used for registration of prospective candidates.

Mired in problems

Zimsec spokesperson Faith Chasokela told the paper the council was "left
with inadequate finance to fully fund the November examinations".

An estimated 110 000 schoolchildren are due to sit their exams in November.

Advanced level examinations are a pre-requisite for students wishing to
study at universities in the country and abroad.

Until 1997, Zimbabwean schoolchildren sat for examinations administered by
the British University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate.

But the localisation of exams has been mired in problems. Examination paper
leaks, a mix-up of exam papers and doctoring of results are some of the
allegations levelled against Zimsec officials.

Last year, some children were reportedly told to bring from home their own
answer sheets for examinations after Zimsec allegedly failed to supply
enough paper.
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News24

Zim optimists 'in dream world'
06/06/2004 20:26† - (SA)

Helena Wasserman

Maputo - Optimists about Zimbabwe are living in a dream world.

This was the reaction from participants in last week's World Economic
Forum's Africa Summit on calls to invest in the country. A panel of
Zimbabwean businesspeople - amongst whom a potential successor for president
Robert Mugabe - encouraged foreigners to buy in now and ride a "growing
wave".

Russell Loubser, chief executive of the JSE Securities Exchange, also
confirmed that there are renewed attempts at getting the Zimbabwean bourse
on a common trade system. Loubser said the market is quite resilient despite
major problems.

The Zimbabwean market is a gambling house, says Prof Anthony Hawking of the
University of Zimbabwe and journalist for the Financial Times in London. The
market gains 30% in three days, and loses it just as fast.

He also does not foresee an economic revival in the country.

Some Zimbabwean businesspeople report their sales to be a mere 10% of what
they were five years ago. Manufacturing production has halved, and factories
battle with production and the import of equipment in the midst of the
currency crisis. Inflation still hovers around 500%.

Migration to the United Kingdom and South Africa has decimated the middle
class.

Simba Makoni, former finance minister and currently risk advisor for South
African companies amongst others, says the dust is busy settling over the
country following an "all-time low" with the farm-occupation crisis.

"It's better to invest in the country now than to try and come in after
events have started turning," Makoni said.

Dismissed in 2002 due to internal strife in cabinet, Makoni believes
tentative steps towards the country's monetary and fiscal policy have been
taken. He also believes next year's parliamentary elections will run
smoothly "provided that political parties behave responsibly".

If the country's "neighbours and friends" regard the election as free and
fair, things will start normalising.

Foreign groups, particularly the European Union, will not be invited to
monitor the elections, Makoni predicts.

"They will only declare the elections fair if the opposition party (the
Movement for Democratic Change) wins," he says.

But Makoni admits his clients are still quite skeptical about investing in
Zimbabwe. They continue to ask the same questions.

"There is no economic recovery," says Hawking. He doesn't expect Zimbabwe to
change unless people do it themselves - or South Africa becomes involved.
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Zim Standard

I'm not power hungry - Gono
By Rangarirai Mberi

RESERVE Bank of Zimbabwe Governor Gideon Gono has shot down growing
speculation that he could run for President in 2008, when President Robert
Mugabe steps down.

Gono also confirmed for the first time in an interview with The Standard
that he had been President Mugabe's personal banker, during his tenure at
the Jewel Bank (Commercial Bank of Zimbabwe) but said that this was a
"regular" relationship that would not influence him into politics.

"I enjoy what I am doing; for myself and for my country. I've just been
appointed and I accepted the position with honour and humility," Gono said.
"I'm basically a finance person and I intend to remain that way".

Gono argued that the President was only one of a diversity of clients that
he had served during his time as CEO of the Jewel Bank, a bank in which
government holds minority interests.

"It's a privilege to be a personal banker to the leadership or the clergy,
the leadership of the media and banker to the whole country. If, in that
process, you find favour in serving your Head of State, who should deny you
that (right)?" Gono said.

"Most of the people who harp on this matter, it could be sour grapes,
because there can never be a greater privilege and honour than to serve,
say, the president of the farmers union, the president of the CZI. Why not
the President of the country?" he added.

He asked: "Where would you like the President to bank? Would you like the
President to form his own bank? If I was Chinotimba's banker, would you want
him to form his own bank?"

Gono said political leaders everywhere had personal bankers, and that having
been Mugabe's banker was "not something I'm shy about or ashamed of".

Gono took office as RBZ Governor in December last year, and immediately
embarked on a controversial shake up of the financial sector, which he said
was threatened by graft and unethical practices.

The ruling Zanu PF party has latched onto the bank clean up, launching a
separate crusade against white-collar crime, which party officials now claim
has been the root cause of years of economic decline.

The anti-graft campaign has thrust Gono into the spotlight, raising
speculation among critics that the central bank Governor could use his links
to Mugabe to make a move towards the country's top political office.

Mugabe, in recent interviews with foreign media, announced that he had no
intention of running in the next presidential election, due in 2008, saying
he wanted to retire to a life of writing.

He said, contrary to his earlier promises, he was now personally head
hunting for his successor.

The President's remarks have escalated a power struggle within the ruling
party, played out in recent weeks through mudslinging in the media. Mugabe,
who will be 84 at the next presidential poll, has however not named any
successor, or hinted on a front-runner.
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Zim Standard

MDC wants Mudede out before poll
By Richard Musazulwa

GWERU- THE Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) wants the removal of
Registrar General Tobaiwa Mudede before it can participate in next year's
poll, party president Morgan Tsvangirai said yesterday.

The MDC leaders, who were meeting here, resolved to kick start their
campaign for the 2005 Parliamentary elections but announced five
conditions - including Mudede's removal - before the opposition party can
participate in the elections.

Tsvangirai addressed the MDC provincial assembly meeting for the Midlands
South constituency at the party's offices in Gweru.

"We will prepare and we are preparing for the elections next year but we
have set up election standards for the government and these standards are in
accordance with SADC requirements," said Tsvangirai.

"One of the conditions is that Mudede should go just as we want President
Robert Mugabe to go.

"Mugabe has messed up the economy and Mudede has perfected election theft in
favour of his masters, Zanu PF.

"We want votes to be counted at their respective polling stations," said
Tsvangirai.

The other conditions were for the restoration of the rule of law, the
setting up of an Independent Electoral Commission, the removal of draconian
laws - POSA and AIPPA - and the non-interference of traditional chiefs, the
army, police and Zanu PF activists in the electoral process.

"Chiefs should keep off politics and they should also stop from being used
by Zanu PF as what happened during the Smith regime," said Tsvangirai, who
punctuated his speech with continuous denouncement of the violence being
waged by Zanu PF, the police and the army.

Tsvangirai said, Mugabe - who he said was four years older than his father -
should leave power as he was now a spent force and reacting to situations
like a small child.

The MDC leader also castigated Mugabe for insulting Zimbabweans living
abroad during the presidential elections and now asking for their money
through the government's Home Link programme.

Before the meeting, there was a minute of silence in honour of those who
were tortured, victimised, killed, beaten, had their homes destroyed or
burnt by Zanu PF activists during political campaigns.
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Zim Standard

Zim ministers barred from conference in Germany
From Foster Dongozi in Bonn, Germany

AMOS Midzi, the Minister of Energy and Power Development and Francis Nhema,
the Minister of Environment and Tourism last week failed to attend a crucial
International Conference for Renewable Energies in Germany due to travel
sanctions slapped on President Robert Mugabe and his cronies by the European
Union.

The conference, held in Bonn, drew delegates from all over the world and was
led by ministers of energy and environment.

All participating countries had their names written on tables but a search
for Zimbabwe drew a blank. Zimbabwe's representative to Germany, Lucia
Muvingi, was also nowhere to be seen.

A Zambian official — whose delegation would normally have been seated next
to the Zimbabweans, said: “We haven't seen the Zimbabweans, we doubt if they
are coming.

“As it is, we are at the end of the alphabetical list yet it is usually our
Zimbabwean brothers and sisters who are listed last at international
conferences such as this one.'

A conference organiser said Germany Chancellor Gerhard Schroder invited the
participating governments.

She added that the absence of the two cabinet ministers and ruling party
stalwarts was a result of the smart sanctions, which have seen members of
the ruling party and government being restricted to shopping jamborees in
South Africa, away from their preferred choices of London, Paris and New
York.

“Delegates to the conference were invited by Chancellor Schroder who would
naturally respect the European Union position that placed travel
restrictions against some Zimbabwean members of the government and the
ruling party,' said the official.

The doors to Europe and the US, former favourite playgrounds of the ruling
class, were slammed in their faces in 2002 after accusations that the
presidential election was rigged.

Developing countries from Africa and other parts of the world reportedly
clinched deals worth millions of Euros in funding for renewable energy
programmes for wind and solar-driven power generation while others signed
technology transfer agreements during the conference.

World Bank managing director, Peter Woicke, who is also the executive vice
president of the International Finance Corporation, said the bank would
commit US$200 million towards the transition to cleaner energy uses.

The conference, which started on Tuesday, was a follow up to the 2002
Johannesburg World Summit on Sustainable Development and sought to assist
and encourage countries around the world to turn to the use of renewable
energies like solar and wind energy.

Traditional fossil fuels like oil and coal were said to be responsible for
environmental degradation, which were contributing to climate change.

Global warming, whose effects are already being felt around the world, has
resulted in extreme weather conditions like floods and droughts in some
parts of the world, including Zimbabwe.

Another advantage of solar and wind energy was that they do not pollute the
environment and are found in inexhaustible quantities.

The conference was attended by more than 3 000 delegates, the majority of
them representing 154 developing nations.
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Zim Standard

Chipinge MDC members flee homes after attack
By Our Own Staff

MUTARE — At least 30 MDC supporters and their families in Chipinge are
living in the bush following attacks at their homes by suspected Zanu PF
activists last week, the opposition party has said.

The MDC said its supporters and families in Tanganda and Chipinge North were
displaced following a brutal attack, which left two people seriously
injured.

Pishai Muchauraya, the party's provincial spokesperson, expressed concern
about the deteriorating political situation in Chipinge.

“Our people have run away from their homes after Zanu PF supporters
descended on them at night beating anyone in sight,' he said.

The MDC provincial spokesperson said that apart from the 30 supporters that
were displaced, two were seriously injured while another 20 people were
treated for minor injuries at local health centres.

“We have a crisis in Chipinge North. We cannot campaign freely or move
around at night as Zanu PF has declared a curfew here,' said Muchauraya.

One of the victims of the brutal attack, Ovemore Makuyana, said he was
beaten with fists, booted feet and logs by people whom he suspected to be
from the ruling Zanu PF party.

“They came to my house at night and ordered me out. Before long they started
beating me all over accusing me of supporting the MDC,' said Makuyana, whose
leg was in plaster.

Makuyana, who was admitted at a private hospital after the attack, was
groaning in pain when The Standard visited him.

Another victim, Lovemore Dumba — who sustained a dislocated leg — was also
admitted at a private hospital in Mutare.

Police in Chipinge last week confirmed the incident but said they had not
made any arrests.
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Zim Standard

RBZ rakes billions from exiled bankers
By Rangarirai Mberi

THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe has received more than US$11,2 million (nearly
$60 billion) in voluntary repatriation of externalised funds, central bank
officials have said.

The RBZ officials said the figure could be even higher, as more exiled money
has been brought back into the country but has not been classified as
externalised funds.

"Voluntary repatriations that have so far been received amount to US$11,2
million. However, it must be noted that more funds have been repatriated but
have not been reported as externalised funds," a senior RBZ official said
last week.

The repatriations have been made amid pleas to central bank Governor Gideon
Gono for protection from prosecution, pleas for amnesty that Gono has turned
down.

"This issue can best be dealt with by the appropriate law enforcement
agencies. It is outside our purview to grant amnesties and I dealt with this
item adequately in my recent monetary policy review," Gono told
StandardBusiness in an interview last week.

Exiled bankers fret over a new anti-graft law that keeps suspects in jail
for months with no right to bail.

The RBZ has led an anti-corruption drive over the past month that has
uncovered what authorities say has been widespread externalisation of
foreign currency by local businessmen.

Banker Mthuli Ncube, who had two subsidiaries of his Barbican Holdings
placed under curatorship earlier this year, has been reported as one of the
leading banking figures to have voluntarily repatriated funds to Zimbabwe.
The transfers are being made through Syfrets, a division of Finhold.

One of the reasons that the RBZ cited when it placed Barbican's commercial
bank and asset management firm under curatorship was that it had detected
infringements of the exchange laws during an inspection.

Barbican's troubles are part of central bank's tough financial sector shake
up that has forced a number of the country's leading banking executives to
flee the country over the past five months.

Police are seeking to arrest four founding directors of NMB, who they want
to charge with externalising $30 billion worth of hard currency.

Finance Minister Chris Kuruneri is the highest profile figure to have been
charged with externalisation of foreign currency, so far. The charges arose
from a mansion that Kuruneri is building in Cape Town.

Reports however say construction work at the site ceased after Kuruneri's
arrest.

James Makamba, a businessman who sits in the ruling Zanu PF's Central
Committe - also charged with externalisation of hard currency and has spent
nearly four months in jail - from where he has lodged 12 unsuccessful bail
applications.
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Zim Standard

Chombo suspends Chegutu mayor
By Kumbirai Mafunda

LOCAL Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister, Ignatious
Chombo, has suspended the MDC Executive Mayor of Chegutu, Francis Dhlakama,
accusing him of failing to solve persistent problems affecting the town.

Chombo has since appointed acting Chegutu Town Clerk, Marufu Zvinyowera, as
the caretaker mayor.

Chombo, who recently fired Harare Executive Mayor Elias Mudzuri, said
problems in Chegutu exist at both the policy making and executive levels
depriving rate payers of the much-needed services.

"It is in this regard that I have recently appointed an acting town clerk,
with the specific mandate of turning around the municipality and thus
contributing to the return of normalcy to the operations of the local
authority," wrote Chombo in a letter addressed to Dhlakama dated June 2.

He added: "You as mayor are requested to take two months paid leave with
immediate effect."

Chombo also suspended all council and committee meetings of the municipality
until further notice. Chegutu is a predominantly Zanu PF council.

A team of officials from Chombo's office was expected to be deployed to
Chegutu to conduct "an in-depth investigation with a view of advising me on
issues that need immediate redress for sanity to prevail".

Dhlakama was overwhelmingly elected mayor in 2001 after shaking off the
challenge of Zanu PF's Stanley Majiri.

Analysts say it is most likely that Dhlakama who has been suspended will
subsequently be dismissed and replaced by a commission loyal to Chombo, who
has interfered with the functions of virtually every MDC mayor in the
country.

Early this year, he sacked Mudzuri on charges the opposition party says are
flimsy and frivolous, before freezing rates increases in Mutare where MDC
Executive Mayor Misheck Kagurabadza is now under threat.

Zanu PF supporters, who are resisting increases in rates, have also
threatened MDC Kariba Mayor John Houghton.

MDC secretary-general Welshman Ncube said the suspension of Dhlakama is an
affront to democracy and an attempt to rid the country of any MDC
leadership.

l Meanwhile, Angela Makamure reports that MDC councillors, who survived
Chombo's axe last week, have vowed to continue fighting the Minister "in
order to restore order and sanity at Town House".

The councillors said they would stand by their colleagues who were
suspended, without benefits, early last week for allegedly interfering with
the management of council affairs.

The suspended councillors said they were confident that the other 17
councillors, who survived the chop, were going to carry the struggle
forward.

Councillor Dunstan Majoni said the councillors would not recognise Sekesayi
Makwavarara as the acting mayor.

He said: "We are prepared for anything. We had decided to resign in
solidarity with our suspended fellows, but they discouraged us from doing
so."

Chombo suspended the councillors after they defied his directive and held
elections for a new deputy mayor. The government had ordered that no council
elections would be held in Harare until 2006.

Christopher Mushonga, who was elected the deputy mayor for Harare, said it
was sad that those who are supposed to be the custodians of the Urban
Councils Act were violating it on a daily basis.

Meanwhile, the Combined Harare Ratepayers' Association (CHRA) this week
condemned Chombo's action.

CHRA said it would not sit down and watch as some people advance their
personal and partisan interests at the expense of rate payers.

"We hope the ministry realises these objectives and provide necessary
support to council and as an organisation we call for an end to this fiasco
at Town House," said CHRA.

Paul Themba Nyathi, the MDC spokesperson said: "We will stop at nothing to
ensure that Chombo's Zanu PF wishes to frustrate the people are given the
boot."

On Thursday, the councillors finally filed an urgent application at the High
Court seeking to nullify their suspension and bar Chombo from interfering in
council business.
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Zim Standard

SADC leaders handpick successors
By Caiphas Chimhete

WHETHER by coincidence or as a deliberate ploy to retain some control of the
political power in their countries, there is a definite trend, analysts say,
of some southern African presidents — in the twilight of their despotic rule
— hand picking successors in order to escape possible retribution after they
leave office.

They point to the eloquent example of Zambia's embattled former President,
Frederick Chiluba, who has been hauled before the courts for, among other
offences, embezzling State funds, by his chosen successor, Levy Mwanawasa.
This is seen as a case in point for the paranoia that has gripped the
leaders who now seek to ensure that only trusted loyalists take over from
them.

President Robert Mugabe said in a recent interview with a Kenyan newspaper,
The East African Standard that he would hand-pick his successor before
leaving office when his current term expires in 2008.

Analysts are convinced that outgoing African despots are afraid that a
radical leader coming to power in their countries would “expose the
skeletons in their closets'.

Some have either sought to remain in power until death or have created
conditions that make it virtually impossible for independent presidential
hopefuls, within and outside their parties, to win the post without their
express approval.

After Chiluba and Mugabe's reported intentions, other examples of this trend
among Southern African Development Community (SADC) leaders said to be keen
on imposing chosen successors in their countries are, Sam Nujoma of Namibia,
and Mozambican leader Joaquim Chissano who is pushing for his long-time
colleague, Armando Guebuza to succeed him.

Malawian President, Bakili Muluzi successfully hand-picked Bingu wa
Mutharika from his ruling United Democratic Front (UDF) as presidential
candidate in recent general elections. Wa Mutharika won the elections.

University of Zimbabwe political scientist, Eldred Masunungure, believes the
trend of hand picking successors is being prompted by “fear of the unknown'
by outgoing leaders. Yet, said Masunungure, “the best guarantee against fear
and insecurity is to govern well and not leave any skeletons in the
cupboards for anyone to pursue'.

He said the practice was unhelpful to the democratic process as it weakens
the voices of the people both within and outside party structures.

The director of the Mass Public Opinion Institute (MPOI), Gordon Chavunduka,
was equally unimpressed by the practice of handpicking of successors
describing it as “a very disturbing development in southern Africa,
particularly now when the trend the world over is towards more democratic
systems of governance'.

“They are more concerned about their future after retirement because most of
them fear the unknown,' said Chavunduka.

In Malawi, upon assuming office, the new President immediately promised an
economic turnaround through strict budgetary control, strengthening the
country's Anti-Corruption Bureau and trimming the Cabinet.

Observers say these statements had sent shock-waves among some of the
country's political heavyweights who fear that the intended measures could
target some of them. Malawi has several corruption cases pending; some of
them unresolved for more than six years, which involve senior politicians
and other important people.

“The phenomenon of handpicking of successors is certainly taking root in the
region but it is not a guarantee that one will escape prosecution when one
leaves office. The Zambian case is an eloquent example,' said one political
commentator.

Mwanawasa, a member of Chiluba's Movement for Multi-party Democracy (MMD),
and endorsed by the former President when his attempts to change the
constitution so that he could run a third term failed, was widely seen as
Chiluba's puppet but the 53-year-old lawyer stunned his benefactor by
immediately instituting measures to root out corruption.

In Zimbabwe, analysts are convinced events in the country's northern
neighbour may have something to do with the 80-year-old President Mugabe's
procrastination over identifying a successor. Mugabe, many say, has a lot to
fear from his record which includes the Matabeleland massacres of the early
1980s and well documented cases of murder, torture and other human rights
abuses committed by his ruling Zanu PF party.

“This is Africa and Zimbabwe is part of it. I can see what happened in
Zambia happening here as well,' said Chavunduka.

Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leaders have vowed at various meetings
that if they come to power they will prosecute Mugabe for human rights
abuses.

Mugabe is afraid, the analysts say, of going the same way as Chiluba and is
carefully scouting for a genuine “friend' who will not turn against him. But
Mugabe, according to the observers, has very few choices.

What worries Mugabe most, some say, is the fact that he has no direct
control of the behind the scenes power struggles among the stalwarts of his
ruling Zanu PF party. Increasingly, he has shown distrust of some of his
former confidantes who publicly deny any presidential ambitions but are
secretly understood to be interested in the position.

Mugabe's critics say ailing former Zanu PF strong man and one time Minister
of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Eddison Zvobgo, fell-out with
the aging President after he openly expressed his ambition to challenge
Mugabe for the Presidency. Zvobgo was subsequently thrown out of the party
and nearly hauled before a disciplinary committee for allegedly
decampaigning Mugabe during the 2002 Presidential elections.

In the meantime, unconfirmed reports have suggested that Mugabe was grooming
Parliamentary Speaker, Emmerson Mnangagwa, as his successor. But Munangagwa
denies this saying he has no intention for standing as a Presidential
candidate.

Others who have been named as the race to find Mugabe's successor gathers
momentum are Vice-President, Joseph Msika, former head of Joshua Nkomo's
ZAPU military wing and currently Zanu PF Politburo member, Dumiso Dabengwa,
defence minister, Sydney Sekeramayi, and ruling party chairman, John Nkomo.

In Namibia, 75-year-old Nujoma, eager to protect himself against possible
retribution, recently handpicked the ruling party Swapo's vice president,
Hifikepunye Pohamba, as his successor. Other serious contenders for the post
included Nahas Angula, Namibia's higher education minister and the former
foreign minister, Hidipo Hamutenya, whom Nujoma recently sacked.

“This is what makes Nujoma's case different from that of Nelson Mandela, who
promoted Thabo Mbeki. Nujoma fired Hamutenya, signalling that people should
not vote for him,' said Masunungure.

“If his (Nujoma's) candidate was not accepted he was not going to retire
unlike Mandela.'he said.

Nujoma, who has ruled Namibia since 1990, is scheduled to step down
following elections in November.

In similar fashion, Chissano, who assumed power in 1986 has nominated
Guebuza, a long time colleague. Guebuza played a significant role in the
political settlement between Frelimo and Renamo in 1992, which brought to an
end nearly two decades of civil war.

Chavunduka was, however, optimistic that the undemocratic system of
handpicking successors would soon come to an end as people in the region
increasingly demand for a democratic dispensation. “Democratic winds, though
still low, are sweeping across the region,' he said.
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Zim Standard

Nyagura scouts for lecturers abroad
By our own Staff

UNIVERSITY of Zimbabwe Vice Chancellor, Professor Levy Nyagura, has been
over the past few weeks making frantic efforts to lure expatriate lecturers
to fill the void created by the departure of locals.

Lecturers at one of the highest institution of learning in the country are
leaving in droves because of poor working conditions and low salaries.

Nyagura, who became the vice chancellor of the university at the beginning
of last year, told The Standard that he was working with local embassies in
an effort to source lecturers for the institution.

“Right now we are currently working with deans of faculties to try and get
lecturers from other African countries in order to fill vacancies. At the
moment we are expecting between three and five lecturers from Egypt soon and
negotiations with other embassies are still going on,' said Nyagura.

He added that they were also looking for lecturers from India through the
Indian embassy.

Sources at the university said Nyagura was recently outside the country for
recruitment purposes but Nyagura yesterday flatly denied this saying,
instead, he had gone to South Korea. “That is not true … I had gone to South
Korea on other business not for staff recruitment purposes. The visit was
about an information communication technology that we are doing for the
institution,' he said, though admitting that there was a serious shortage of
staff at the University of Zimbabwe.

But the few remaining lecturers who are still at the institution have
described the move as pointless and unnecessary.

The lecturers said it did not make any sense for the institution to get
lecturers from countries with better economies yet they are failing to pay
their own local lecturers.

Joseph Mhlaule, the president of the University Teachers' Association (UTA),
said the move was a desperate attempt. “It is very unfortunate to note that
for a country like ours that has invested a lot of money in education we
still have problems of lecturers.

“The easiest way to solve this problem is by improving the conditions of the
lecturers currently in the country. That way they will manage to retain
their own people,' said Mhlaule.
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38 die of malnutrition in Bulawayo
By Savious Kwinika

BULAWAYO AT least 38 people, most of them children under the age of five,
died from malnutrition during the past two months in Zimbabwe's second
largest city, according to Bulawayo City Council records.

The revelations fly in the face of President Robert Mugabe's recent remarks
that Zimbabwe no longer needed food aid from donor agencies to feed its
starving population because a bumper harvest is expected after the last
cropping season.

More than five million people have been on food aid for almost a year
because of poor harvests and the disruption of farming activities on
commercial land, according to experts.

A report by the Bulawayo City Council's health department last week revealed
that the number of people who died due to malnutrition rose from 17 in April
to 21 deaths last month.

In an interview with The Standard, Bulawayo's Executive Mayor, Japhet
Ndabeni-Ncube, said the majority of families in the city were desperately in
need of food aid in order to avert increasing deaths of malnutrition.

“Children under the age of five are still dying in their numbers as a result
of malnutrition,' said Ndabeni-Ncube.

He said the local authority was still appealing for food relief from various
NGOs, the government and other well-wishers in order to avert a looming
disaster.

Over the past five years, the Matabeleland region — including the city of
Bulawayo — has experienced severe food shortages prompting the United
Nations Development Programme, the World Food Programme (WFP), World Vision
Zimbabwe and other agencies to provide free food to more than 500 000
people.

“Despite some claims by the government that Zimbabweans no longer need food
aid from the UNDP, the situation on the ground supported by last month's
deaths which were caused by malnutrition is a clear testimony that families
till need food aid,' said Ndabeni-Ncube.

“We cannot take government statements seriously because their actions and
utterances are usually driven by politics, lies and dishonesty instead of
facing the truth,' said a Bulawayo elder in Makokoba whose family its still
benefiting from food aid from NGOs.

In a separate interview on Thursday, an official from World Vision said
despite claims that most people realised a bumper harvest, the organisation
was still feeding thousands of families in the drought-stricken regions of
Matabeleland, particularly in central Bulawayo.

“As I speak right now, World Vision Zimbabwe is making some surveillance to
assess the impact of food shortages,' said the official.

Early this year, 65 people, mainly children under the age of five,
reportedly died of starvation in Bulawayo.

Parliament last week adopted a motion resolving that the portfolio committee
on Lands, Agriculture, Water Development, Rural Resources and Resettlement
should ascertain the amount of grain that Zimbabwe will produce this year.

In moving the motion MDC shadow minister of agriculture, Renson Gasela, said
it was impossible to harvest 2,4 million tonnes of grain given the seed and
fertiliser shortages that the country experienced during the season.
Independent estimates put this year's maize harvest at about 850 000 tonnes.
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Zim Standard

Comment

What goes up comes down - always

THE tragic soap operas that are being enacted in Harare and Chegutu by
Ignatious Chombo, the Minister of Local government, Public works and
National Housing are a cause for grave public concern and distress, to say
the least.

The dismissal of the 13 democratically-elected MDC councillors on Tuesday is
but the latest in a series of bizzare escapades that the ruling party has
indulged in over the past four or so years. In Chegutu the minister has
suspended the executive mayor accusing him of failing to resolve the town's
problems.

This is a cruel irony because it is no secret that Chombo has spared no
effort to make it impossible for all MDC-headed local authorities to
operate. For him to then turn around and accuse them of failing to deliver
is nonsensical.

The way Chombo has subverted the wishes of Harare rate payers with impunity
and ridden roughshod over the will of citizens elsewhere is a matter of
public record. He even had the audacity to say the dismissed councillors
will not be returning to Harare City Council and cannot contest council
elections in the next 10 years. Need we remind Chombo that each of the
Harare councillors he purports to have dismissed was elected by the
residents of the city, which cannot be said about the minister who is in
cabinet at the behest of President Robert Mugabe.

What we find extremely disturbing is the arrogance displayed by the Chombo
who seems to believe that he can do what ever he pleases under the
protection of his ministerial powers under the Urban Councils Act.

It is indeed sad that such power-drunk arrogance can only happen in Zimbabwe
where some Zanu PF ministers have gone on a rampage with Zimbabweans
seemingly powerless and helpless and unable or unwilling to do anything
about it. We have said it before and we say it again: Zanu PF has rejected
democracy at both the national and local levels. Why the ruling party is
unwilling to co-exist with the opposition MDC boggles the mind.

Of course, it is a question of power but power can be managed to one's
advantage and to the advantage of the people that you purport to govern.
This is the simple fact that Zanu PF is failing to grasp. The ruling party
sees itself as all-powerful to the extent of doing as they please and taking
Zimbabweans for granted. Just because they are the party that is in power,
it does not mean that they can play around with people's feelings and
emotions.

The key point that needs to be made here is that there are decided limits to
any political party's power. Zanu PF must not over-estimate its power and
everything else that goes with it. A party that is in power is by no means
all powerful.

Nothing in life is permanent. When the moment comes for Zanu PF to go, it
will go. And make no mistake about it. The Chombos of this world will have
nowhere to hide when that moment comes. And it surely will come.

Experience has shown through history that authoritarian and dictatorial
regimes can never last forever. Chombo's wayward behaviour on behalf of the
ruling party will come to an end someday.

Perhaps the point with politicians is that they are concerned about the here
and now. Tomorrow will take care of itself they think. But what kind of
tomorrow will it be for them and their children and more importantly for the
country. This is a fundamental question that every politician must ask
himself or herself.

Zanu PF must one day be called to account for the many events that have
shattered the lives of Zimbabweans. These are not simply painful events, but
disasters. In what must rank as criminal wastage of the worst order, Zanu PF
's predatory behaviour has shattared the lives of many innocent Zimbabweans
and reduced many more to abject poverty.

Everybody can see it with their own eyes that the living standards of
previously comfortable Zimbabweans have dropped drastically. Poverty and
high levels of stress is now stalking this land.

The clever and the not so clever ones have left for greener pastures abroad.
Even those who are still here trying to save this country are assailed by
the ruling party left, right and centre.

In asking for divine intervention, we will continue on our part to challenge
Zanu PF 's excesses. We do not doubt for one moment the regime's
determination to sit on the lid for some time to come just as we did not
doubt Ian smith's determination and ability in his time to keep the
situation within tolerable limits - up to a point.

In other words, we remain convinced and optimistic about the promise of a
better future for Zimbabwe. Yes, it is not easy in the context of Africa for
first Presidents to give up power voluntarily. But the biological clock if
nothing else will take care of that.

Former Zambian President, Kenneth Kaunda once said of the last days of
Zimbabwe's liberation struggle: "The darkest hour is before dawn".

For Zimbabwe, this is certainly our darkest hour and dawn beckons.
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Zim Standard

Yes there is, no there isn't
overthetop By Brian Latham

PROVING that nothing ever changes, confusion reigns in the troubled central
African banana republic where the government claims there are enough bananas
for everyone.

United Nations officials not normally known to have any opinions at all have
denounced government's claims as irresponsible.

"Yes, they have no bananas," said an official from the Food and Agriculture
Organisation. "The harvest will be even lower than last year and many will
starve."

Meanwhile, sources in the Zany Party have confirmed that the government may
have forward sold tobacco it doesn't have in order to buy maize from a
greedy capitalist in the imperialist United States of America.

This is because the troubled central African banana republic has no friends
from which to buy food.

"A noticeable trend among lunatic governments associated with the troubled
central African (empty) basket case is that they're all hungry," said a
prominent political scientist who asked not to be named because there is
even less food in prison.

Still, a spokesman for the ministry of misinformation said the problem would
soon be solved.

"Though we have banned radio stations and some newspapers, news of hunger
still filters out through e-mail," he said. "Once we have put a stop to
that, all news of hunger will effectively end and we can get on with the
business of completing our glorious revolution."

The troubled central African police State has the second highest number of
e-mail users on the continent and the highest number of starving people -
though it may soon be illegal to say so.

Meanwhile, a member of the Zany Party's old guard said there would always be
food for his party's supporters.

"Only Zany Party supporters are true, patriotic troubled central Africans,"
he said. "If other people go hungry it is not our responsibility to feed
them. They should be fed by their allies and puppet masters in Britain and
America."

A spokesman for the opposition More Drink Coming Party pointed out that
there were perhaps seven Zany Party supporters in the country - and that
they had received at least three years' worth of food from. Britain and
America.

The situation was muddled further by different Disunited Nations
Organisations taking different approaches to hunger in the troubled central
African dictatorship.

Political analysts pointed out that while the international body's
agricultural and food arms had remained strictly impartial, the
Under-Development Programme had joined the Zany Party.

Meanwhile, deep in the starving rural areas, people interviewed by Over The
Top said, "Give us food and money or we will report you to the Zany Party
and have you beaten."

The surprising statement was given in response to the question, "Are you
happy with your part in the troubled central African agrarian revolution?"

The question received a different response in the extreme eastern and
western provinces of the troubled central African basket case. In those
areas people asked,

"What agrarian revolution, what food?"

And when asked why less food seemed to reach these provinces, a Zany Party
spokesman replied, "Those provinces are mainly populated by people who are
not patriotic troubled central Africans or fervent supporters of the Zany
Party, so we cannot really help them except by burning down their houses."

He said the same was true for urban troubled central Africans who are facing
mass starvation for the first time in the country's history. Or the first
time since last year.

Observers pointed out that the Zany Party's reluctance to accept food aid
was a curious one. "People will be at their hungriest when they go to the
polls next year," said one unnamed observer. "Then they will be beaten with
blunt instruments and forced to vote for the party that made them hungry."
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Zim Standard

Zimbabwe's political crisis: whose problem?
sundayopinion By Everjoice Win

"MDC's woes deepen" ran one headline. "Is the MDC heading for oblivion?"
asked another.

Analyst after analyst has looked at the recent political developments in
Zimbabwe and sought to cast this as the problem facing one opposition
political party.

In the part of town that I inhabit, the refrain I hear is, "saka iyo MDC
yacho zvapasina zvairi kuita? Manje vachaita sei?" I vacillate between
shouting at these people and shrugging my shoulders in exasperation. Where
does one begin?

I got my answer recently while talking to a good friend who works in the
private sector. Over the last few years she told me that she ha

s nothing to do with politics. That she thinks all this stuff is nonsense
and all she wants is to be left in peace. So as long as she did her work
quietly, kept her head down, and could feed her family, then there was
nothing to get worked up about.

On May 5 her two children were locked out of their private school by the
State. She called me in complete shock and anger; "What is wrong with these
people? What do they think they are doing?" I listened to her
hyper-ventilate for over 15 minutes.

Then she asked, "they cant do this can they?" I smiled into the phone and
said very coldly, "yes sweetie they can and they just have. Deal with it".

So, the MDC has lost a few by-elections. My prediction is they will lose a
few more, if trends are anything to go by. Everything tells me that in 2005,
the Zanu PF think tank whoever is in it, will literally sit down and decide
exactly how many seats to give the MDC in the next parliament. I predict
that if MDC gets 15 seats they will be really really lucky. There I have
said it, so deal with it!

I worry about Zimbabweans who seem to think that the MDC is some kind of
Messiah, or that Morgan Tsvangirai is a Moses who will take them across the
Red Sea in a blaze of glory while Zanu PF gets buried in the waters. No such
miracle has happened and it's not likely to happen.

I wonder what planet the political analysts who kept telling us that Lupane
and Zengeza were "a litmus test"? Test of what? If it was a test of who had
more brute force than the other, yes. If it was a test of how many tricks
the ruling party still has up its sleeve and to what lengths they will go to
win any election - I again agree. If we ever needed any proof of any of
those issues we now have it.

The recent by-elections were simply a demonstration of how determined the
ruling party is to stay in power. The by elections were also an indicator of
just how little structural change has happened to our political and
governance system since 1980. These events have demonstrated that the
changes needed in Zimbabwe are much more far reaching and deeper than we the
populace care to understand.

As my friend Tawanda likes to say, "vanhu havasi kuona kwatiri kuenda ava!"
(people don't quite understand the amount of struggle that is needed).
Equally we don't seem to see where we are coming from.

We are coming from, and are still, stuck in decades of oppression and fear.
We are a people cowed into silence and docility by the brutal force that we
have seen used time and time again.

Some among us have first hand experience, while others are scared by the
stories of others - real and imagined. Whatever the case is, we are
desperate for something to happen. Like any other desperate human beings we
seek this change instantly and with the force of a whirlwind. We are now
seeking a miracle because the object of our anger looks like it won't even
move!

Like a woman in a violent relationship who goes to an advisor and says, "dai
mangowonawo zvamungaita". (I hope you can do something). She puts her faith
and hope in this external force.

But just like this desperate woman, we must realise sooner rather than
later, that nobody else is going to save us. There is no "they must do
something". We are the they. In the last year we were hung onto every word
Mbeki, Obasanjo, and Muluzi said. Desperate for some hope. It never came.
Muluzi is out of power. Obasanjo has too many crises in his own backyard to
deal with, besides welcoming new ex-Zimbabwean farmers to Kwara State. As
for Mbeki, well, lets just forget that one.

I get really concerned by those of us who think the opposition will
miraculously deliver us from our present woes. Interestingly enough these
are the very same people who don't even have the courage to go on a stay
away. Even a peaceful stay away, in the comfort of one's home. They still go
to work and then mutter, "inga hapana amboenda pa stay away yacho?" (Nobody
heeded the call for a stay away).

So who did they expect to go on this stay away? Does the ZCTU manufacture
people, or is it you who was going to be counted as having stayed away?
Others can't even be bothered to write a letter of protest to the local
newspaper. Instead they sigh into their wine or cappuccinos with despair,
criticising those who have the courage to do something, no matter how small
it seems.

There is yet another lot, the type that spends all their time waiting to go
to heaven, pretending that they are not living on this planet. I am not
saying people must not pray, but if we Zimbabweans spent as much energy
participating in matters of national governance as they spent under trees
and in all night prayers, we would surely be somewhere by now.

Many still haven't even got the guts to use these spaces they congregate in
to speak out. They will preach some very vague messages about people in the
Old Testament, or say something quite opaque about "being God's children".

How about some relevance for a change? The congregants come out and ask each
other, "saka anga achida kuti kudii ko?" (What exactly was s/he trying to
say?). No sooner do we come out of these holy spaces than we realise
Zimbabwe and its problems still wait for us.

The rulers will continue to mess around with the schools, there will still
be no medicine in the hospitals, prices keep going up, and our human rights
are violated with impunity. Can't you just go to one public meeting? Join at
least one civil society group? Or write an anonymous letter to the Editor to
show you are concerned?

May our knights in shining armour please deliver us from evil soon.
Meanwhile, its back to watching Studio 263. Welshman, please let us know
when it's all over!
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Zim Standard

The 'tragi-circus' that Zimbabwe has become
Sundaytalk with Pius Wakatama

WHEN I was young we used to wait with expectation for the coming of the
circus to Harare, then Salisbury. When it came, usually around Christmas
time, we all went to the showgrounds and paid the equivalent of twenty five
cents to enter the big tent. We enjoyed watching the performing animals and
acrobats. My favourite character was Tickey the clown. He made us forget the
drudgery of life with his funny antics.

Today, we don't have to wait for the circus to come to town. The whole
country has become one big circus. Unfortunately, this circus is not very
funny, not in the conventional sense. It is a 'tragi-circus.'

It is true accidents do occur at circuses. Sometimes the animal trainers are
bitten by their animals. I remember one time a circus actor had to be rushed
to hospital after a lion almost bit his head off.

Sometimes, acrobats fall to their deaths from the trapeze or clowns set fire
to the tent by their funny antics.

Our circus is tragic in that it is not an entertaining show put on by
professional performers but real life events involving supposedly serious
and level headed people. In our case, the foolish antics of the "clowns" the
daring of the "acrobats" and animal trainers are dangerous because these are
not professional artists but ordinary people who have managed to transform
the whole country into one big amateur circus.

In our circus the government announces there there will be a bumper harvest,
each time a general election is around the corner. This happened first just
before the 2002 elections.

On April 6, 2002, I wrote in The Daily News, "During his campaign, our ever
confident President promised us that not one person was going to starve in
Zimbabwe. He was going to feed us all. Despite that promise, the situation
on the ground is bleak indeed. Victor Angelo, the United Nations Development
Programme's resident coordinator in Harare, is reported to have said we are
in a desperate and most urgent humanitarian situation with 600 000 people
starving or on the verge of starvation.

Ignoring the President's reassurance, the World Food Programme and the
international donor agencies like World Vision moved in and catastrophe was
averted and those in need were fed.

This did not go down well because these agencies did not give any credit to
the government. In fact, they refused to allow party structures to
distribute the food and made it clear that the food they distributed was not
for any political party.

With general elections set for early next year, the circus is again back in
town.

Unashamed of his previous blunder, agriculture minister, Joseph Made has
again announced that Zimbabwe would have a bumper harvest this season and
would not need any international food aid. Government then dissuaded all
international donor agencies from carrying out research on food security in
the country.

The optimistic predictions of government were contradicted by both local and
international crop forecasters and aid agencies. Gift Phiri, writing in the
Zimbabwe Independent of May 21, said Made was playing a dangerous game over
food security and went on to explain the untruthfulness and hypocrisy of the
government's predictions.

I will not try and discuss the obvious motives behind our government's lies
and hypocrisy. This has been adequately dealt with in many articles in the
independent Press. All I am doing is to point out and lament the fact that
our beloved country has been turned into a tragic circus.

Another aspect of the Zimbabwean circus is the Harare City Council saga. In
2002, in an election the ruling party deemed to be "free and fair," the
people of Harare elected councillors they believed would run the affairs of
their Sunshine City to their satisfaction. This did not go down well with
our circus performers. It was not funny enough for them because they were
not the ones in the ring. From that day, the MDC elected councillors have
not known peace. The Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National
Housing, Ignatious Chombo went on the war-path against them.

His name, Chombo, means weapon. The ruling party is using him, like the
weapon that he is, to redress the situation. He relentlessly hounded the
mayor, Engineer Elias Mudzuri, out of office. When council legally elected a
new acting mayor, Chombo, the weapon, saw red. He sent armed police who
manhandled the new acting mayor, Christopher Mushonga, out of Town House. It
seems as though Chombo is now bent on sacking the whole council for the
circus to really take over.

The biggest act in the circus is in the economic and financial sector. For
years, experts have said that for our economy to turn around we would need
to devalue our dollar to realistic levels. This would stamp out the black
market and see foreign currency flow into the coffers of the productive
sector and improve exports. These suggestions were strongly rejected by the
government. Minister of Finance, Simba Makoni was sacked for suggesting the
same.

Now comes the big circus actor Gideon Gono as Governor and de-facto minister
of finance. He waves his magic wand and devalues the dollar through the back
door called "the auction system" and causes a few political lightweights to
be locked up for flouting foreign currency regulations. This is despite the
fact that the whole country was doing the same including the directors of
the "Circus of Zimbabwe". The economy takes a few lively steps and everybody
shouts. "Hurray. Gono is a real magician! " Quite a circus, isn't it?

You want to see the real tragi-comedy of this circus?

Just come to Zimbabwe. The people are like frightened passengers in a bus
being driven by a reckless and power drunk octogenarian who just cannot
believe that the bus is actually under his control. He has enjoyed
everything that life has to offer and has secured the material future of his
children and grand children. He has lived his life to the full and now has a
death wish. His main wish is to go with all those fools howling with fear in
the bus. He will not go alone.

The bus is hurtling towards a precipice and the sober passengers are
shouting warnings. Others are wailing at their impending destruction but the
driver continues to dare anybody to challenge him. He is bent on proving
that he is not Afraid of anything, be it people, the elements, death or even
God himself.

He who has ears to hear, let him hear.
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The glitter of Harare's new China Town dazzles city shoppers
By Langton Nyakwenda

THE scene perfectly resembles that of Hollywood action hero, Jackie Chan's
movies shot at some of the sprawling and overcrowded flea markets in China.
Fancy cars drive in and out of the complex.

The place can easily be mistaken for the famous squalid flea markets in
Shanghai or Beijing.

But it is not China or any of those famous market places in the Far East but
in Harare's downtown area.

The place that was once known as Gulf, has now been christened "China Town"
due to the proliferation of Chinese products sold at the complex.

Commuters from Harare suburbs of Mufakose, Kambuzuma, Southerton, Rugare and
Highfield, who use Chinhoyi Street into the city centre, call the place
"PamaTuckshop" because of the shanty and congested nature of the shops.

Shop names that are synonymous with those found in Chinese Communism history
have become popular in Harare as products from China have suddenly flooded
the local market.

Stung with growing animosity from Europe and the West the troubled Zanu PF
government has shifted its focus to the Far East, resulting in mass produced
and often cheap products from China flooding the Zimbabwean market.

Plastic coated shoes without laces, "Bomber" Jackets and sandals have become
the in thing in most Harare streets.

While quality shoes now cost close to $500 000 in Harare's upmarket shops,
the story is totally different at the China Town complex where one can buy
himself shoes for a price less than that of a crate of lager beer.

Zimbabweans, feeling the pinch of the economic decline, flock to these shops
in anticipation of saving their increasingly inadequate income.

From the East hails the sun and with it comes the shine and warmth but
shoppers have found no joy in the Chinese products.

Manyara Mhondi of Mabvuku says he has learnt that excessively cheap products
"are ultimately expensive" after be bought a jean trousers.

"I bought what looked like a fashionable and trendy pair of jean trousers
last week but after I washed it over the weekend it looks as if I bought it
two years ago."

He continued: "I thought of returning the jean to the shop but I later
realised that there was a notice at the door stating that demands for
refunds are not entertained. I felt I had been duped."

Amai Munongedzo of Mufakose said the government's Far East programme had
turned Harare into " a plastic city".

"These are the people who the government is always singing praises to yet
they are actually turning back the clock by bringing sub-standard products
in the guise of resuscitating our sinking economy," said Munongedzo.

Amid the outcry, some Zimbabwean businessmen have cashed in on the influx of
Chinese goods. These hoard the products in large quantities only to resell
them at inflated prices in the upmarket shops.

"It has opened up business avenues for us. What we simply do is buy pairs of
shoes from the Chinese shops at low prices and sell them at higher prices in
upmarket shops and make huge profits," said one businessman.

The Consumer Council of Zimbabwe (CCZ) director, Rosemary Mpofu has, on
several occasions, warned consumers to be wary of "fake" products.
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The truth behind Zanu PFs 'peaceful' demo

"WHEN it happens we will be there," goes the Dead BC slogan broadcast ad
infinitum. But this time it's me who was there and not the Dead BC; perhaps
they decided not to be there.

After the so-called peaceful demonstration against MDC legislator, Roy
Bennett, complete with police escort under POSA, the youthful Zanu PF thugs
being referred to as many Zimbabweans proceeded to MDC offices housed in
Harvest House (afternoon of Thursday, May 20).

Remember, its non other than Christopher Chigumba being referred to as
Zengeza Member of Parliament who bused these thugs into town so that they
would be referred to as "many Zimbabweans" against Roy Bennett. We should
never forget that Bennett's action, although blameworthy, was a personal act
and not a partisan one. He exactly said "unoda kundijairira" which clearly
shows that he was referring to himself and not the MDC.

The "peaceful" Zanu PF demonstrators went to Harvest House from the
Parliament building only to destroy the glass front of the building and the
security screen. Not only did they vandalise the MDC property, they also
attacked the security personnel at the building, all this before the eyes of
the police officers escorting the so-called peaceful demonstration. I
suspect they will even get away with it.

The Zanu thugs then tried to enter into Harvest House. Hats off to the
security personnel at Harvest House because they don't entertain nonsense.

Upon their entry they were kicked like no man's business and ran away back
to the street. A stout female Zanu PF thug was trapped in the building and
was beaten thoroughly and left almost blind.

About 10 minutes later after regaining their consciences the Zanu PF thugs
started singing revolutionary songs while blocking traffic along Nelson
Mandela Avenue.

When the rowdy Zanu PF mob was randomly attacking people, the riot police
officers just stood by and only tried to intervene when they saw that it was
now the Zanu PF intruders at the receiving end. They did not disperse the
thugs but instead threatened to attack security personnel at Harvest House.

In next to no time another police truck arrived with about six officers and
two police dogs.

A cigarette vendor who was standing by my side said "vave kuzodzingwa manje'
(they will now be chased away) referring to the Zanu PF thugs numbering
between 200 and 250. I conclude that this cigarette vendor was ignorant of a
POSA section which says "if you're robbed the police will come and arrest
you".

The riot police officers who arrived with the police dogs entered Harvest
House only to arrest about eight security officers who had left their
positions to hide somewhere upstairs.

Up to now I am not so sure why the police truck was parked so close to the
building entrance to pick up the security officers.

The reason might be one of the two and not both: 1) Riot police officers
were afraid that the security personnel might be attacked by the Zanu PF
thugs who were dancing kongonya in the middle of Nelson Mandela Avenue, or
2) riot police officers were afraid that the security personnel might attack
the Zanu PF thugs the way they had done some 25 minutes earlier.

Just after the security personnel were taken to some unknown destination,
the Zanu PF demonstrators left heading towards the 4th Street Bus Terminus.
The reason why I was convinced that these Zanu PF thugs came from
Chitungwiza is because half of them were waving placards with the picture of
the Zangeza MP and some were putting on the T-shirts with Chigumba's picture
on them.

From the look of things almost all of them did not have bus fares back to
Chitungwiza.

To be honest with you the "peaceful demonstration of many Zimbabweans
against Bennett" was null and void, unethical and diabolic.

Gibson Nyamayaro

Warren Park 1, Harare
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Zim Standard

Mugabe's shadow hounds efforts to entice exiles' cash
By Kumbirai Mafunda

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe's shadow is trailing a Reserve Bank delegation that
is currently in the US trying to entice Zimbabweans to remit their
hard-earned savings through the newly-launched Homelink money transfer
system, Standard Business has established.

A group of Zimbabweans in the US last week petitioned the US State
Department to revoke the visas of the central bank team that is on a mission
to key countries to publicise the new money transfer system that is core to
the hard-currency starved southern African country's survival.

Zimbabwe is in the grip of a vicious foreign currency squeeze that was
caused by dwindling exports, withdrawal of critical balance of payments
support by the World Bank and unofficial international sanctions against the
Mugabe government.

The country's traditional large foreign currency earner — agriculture — has
collapsed due to State sanctioned invasions of commercial farms and
haphazard land reforms.

The Association of Zimbabweans Based Abroad (AZBA) last week accused the RBZ
team — led by the chairman of the sub-committee on publicity and public
relations of the Foreign Currency Auctions' Advisory Board Herbert Nkala, of
exploiting the “courteousness' of the American people.

It accused the RBZ mission to the US, UK and other Western countries as
“bidding to undermine international targeted sanctions'.

AZBA president Dumaphi Mema said although his association applauded the
setting up of the Homelink facility, on its own the system wouldn't solve
the problems facing the country.

“The Zimbabwe government is willing to spend thousands of dollars sending
teams from the Reserve Bank to market such a product and yet they cannot
spend anything on sending teams abroad just for the Zimbabweans in the
Diaspora to participate in national elections,' said Mema.

“The problem facing the country is not economic but political. The
government simply wants those in the Diaspora to participate in the affairs
of the nation by sending foreign currency, but denies them of their right to
participate in the political arena.

“The democratic space must be opened up to people of different political
persuasions and we learn to co-exist together even if we disagree
politically,' added Mema.

Nkala's team, which included central bank member Lovemore Chihota and former
ZBC news anchor Supa Mandiwanzira — among others — arrived in the US two
weeks ago on the first leg of a mission to make Zimbabweans living abroad
aware of Homelink.

The facility was unveiled by central bank chief Gideon Gono in April and
allows Zimbabweans in the Diaspora — reputed to be more than four million —
to repatriate some of their savings home as part of their support for
families still in Zimbabwe.

In Dallas, Texas, which was the team's first port of call, the delegation
was greeted by a hostile reception on May 26 at a cocktail party held at a
hotel to launch the Homelink facility, according to sources.

A group of Zimbabwean nationals disrupted the meeting through continued
protest.

The group wielded placards that denounced and condemned the action by the
RBZ as meant to aid the policies of a “murderous regime.'

Some of the placards read “Gono seeking foreign currency to fund the Youth
Militia' and “Gono, banker turned sell-out.'

This has however not deterred Gono who is expected to lead a larger
delegation that would include some of his staff to join the Nkala team in
the next few days.

Gono, the sources said, would first attend meetings in Washington with the
Bretton Woods institutions, the IMF and the World Bank.

Besides targeting the US, the team is also scheduled to tour the UK and
South Africa.

Zimsun chief Shingi Munyeza, who also sits on the Foreign Currency Auctions
Advisory Board, is expected to link up with the rest of team in the US.

In an interview with Standard Business Gono said opposition to his plans
will not deter him.

“I have an obligation as captain of the financial sector — which is similar
to any other governor the world over — to ensure the supervision of the
financial system,' said Gono at his plush Harare offices.

“Apart from tapping into funds, I have a duty to educate Zimbabweans in the
Diaspora to account for their affairs in an accountable manner to avoid the
use of their money in untoward uses either against ourselves or our
neighbours.'

The RBZ has so far licensed numerous Money Transfer Agencies to facilitate
and process the transfer of hard currency from Zimbabweans living abroad.

President Robert Mugabe, who in the past used to castigate Zimbabwean
exiles, seems to have made a U-turn and now believes the remittances could
be the panacea to Harare's foreign currency woes.
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