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

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Govt moves to nationalise all productive land

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

JOHANNESBURG, 8 Jun 2004 (IRIN) - Zimbabwe's controversial land reform
programme took a significant turn this week when the government announced
its intention to nationalise all productive farmland in the country.

"In the end all land shall be state land and there will be no such thing
called private land," the official Herald newspaper quoted Lands Minister,
John Nkomo, as saying on Tuesday.

Nkomo said plans were already underway to abolish title deeds and replace
them with 99-year-long leases. "We don't believe that land should be used
for speculative reasons. Title deeds are no longer issues we can waste our
time on because the 99-year leases will act as good enough collateral."

He advised all land owners to come forward for vetting in order to qualify
for the 99-year lease agreement, citing the "odious and unnecessary" process
of giving notice of intent to acquire agricultural land under the
government's fast-track land redistribution programme.

Before land reform began four years ago, a small group of white commercial
farmers owned almost 70 percent of Zimbabwe's arable land. Today fewer than
500 remain, owning just three percent of the country's land, according to a
government land audit report.

Political observers told IRIN that Nkomo's announcement was "inevitable"
given the determination of the government to see its version of land reform
through, despite widespread criticism of the violence and lawlessness that
often accompanied the land seizures.

"The announcement is not as dramatic as it sounds, especially since the
government had already begun a comprehensive programme of expropriating
almost all privately-held land. It was inevitable that the state would
pursue widespread nationalisation as it underpins the current land reform
policy," Harare-based land expert, Sam Moyo, told IRIN.

He highlighted the recent passing of the controversial Land Acquisition Bill
which empowered the minister of lands to seize some 11 million hectares of
agricultural land.

"That figure covers almost all privately-owned farmland in the country.
Nkomo has merely clarified any uncertainty among white farmers and the
newly-resettled farmers they may have had over land tenure. It also put to
bed any hope white farmers may have had about compensation for the land
taken from them," Moyo added.

The impact of the implementation of the lease agreement on small-scale
farmers, for whom land reform was ostensibly aimed at supporting, remains

"Unless the state-owned banks such as the Land Bank and AgriBank accept the
lease agreement as collateral, it will be impossible for farmers to receive
loans. None of the private banks will provide loans to the farmers, given
the insecurity of a lease agreement. It would be too risky," Dennis Nikisi,
director of the Graduate School of Management at the University of Zimbabwe,
told IRIN.

He pointed out that farmers who were issued with the lease agreements would
be less inclined to make improvements to the land.

"Land ownership has been a volatile issue and landlords are all too familiar
with how quickly land, which originally belonged to them, can be taken away.
Without the security that title deeds provide, it is unlikely that we will
see high levels of agricultural productivity," he said.

But Moyo disagreed, arguing that in some Southern African countries, for
example Zambia, land owners had farmed successfully under similar lease

"The nationalisation of agricultural land does not inherently mean that
productivity will fall. However, for it to work in Zimbabwe, the government
should make a serious commitment to assisting newly-resettled farmers," Moyo

Black farmers, who received land under the reform programme, have complained
that not enough was being done to support them once they received their new
plots, the Herald has reported.

The government has blamed the lack of foreign currency for its inability to
meet the demands for additional assistance from the newly-resettled farmers.
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ZIMBABWE: Fears over winter wheat harvest

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

HARARE, 7 Jun 2004 (IRIN) - Delays in disbursing a Zim $50 billion (US $9.4
million) loan facility to help farmers produce winter wheat may lead to a
significant reduction in the harvest, the Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union
(ZCFU) has warned.

The Agriculture Development Bank of Zimbabwe (ADB-Z) has yet to disburse the
funds, three weeks after the official start of the cropping season. ZCFU
director for marketing, Andrew Jiri, said the delay would result in a
serious drop in the hectarage put under wheat.

"This delay is a huge setback for our members who wanted to venture into
wheat production this season. We have already submitted a list of farmers
who want to access the loan facility, but the bank has not responded. The
winter wheat programme is supposed to be in full swing, and this delay will
certainly result in yet another shortfall in the cereal harvest," said Jiri.

ADB-Z managing director, Sam Malaba, admitted there had been delays in the
processing of loan applications, but said the bank was already taking
measures to expedite disbursement to deserving farmers. He said the bank had
come up with a stringent vetting system which was meant to ensure that it
would be able to recover all funds loaned to farmers.

The government introduced the Zim $50 billion facility for cereal farmers in
April this year, in a bid to revive declining output in a country faced with
serious challenges to its food security.

The parliamentary portfolio committee on agriculture has also warned of
setbacks to the winter farming programme that could hit production. Some of
the committee's concerns included the shortage of tractors provided by the
Agriculture Rural Development Authority (ARDA), the slow distribution of
inputs, and dilapidated irrigation schemes.

Due to the lack of rain during the winter months in southern Africa, wheat
needs to be grown under irrigation, and ideally on large tracts of land.

"Finance is just one of the factors, but it's not the only factor," said an
expert involved in commercial farming, who asked not to be named. "The
inputs are not there, the irrigation systems are not there, and the skills
[to grow wheat among the newly resettled farmers] are not there. I don't
believe we have the capacity to produce a decent-sized crop."

But Agriculture and Rural Resettlement Minister Joseph Made has dismissed
the concerns of a reduced winter harvest due in September/October.

"We are not anticipating any problems. The preparations have gone very well
and I am happy to say government has already released Zim $80 billion [US
$15 million] to ARDA for the procurement of equipment and the servicing of
what is there but broken down. The government has also availed Zim $150
billion [US $28 million] to input suppliers and we expect those to be
distributed through ARDA very soon," Made told IRIN.

He said the government was forging ahead with the rehabilitation of
irrigation schemes, with 33,000 hectares of derelict irrigation land already
prepared. He added that a Zimbabwe-Iran agricultural equipment supply
agreement was also beginning to bear fruit, just in time to contribute to a
successful winter season.

"As per the agreement between the two countries, Iran has already supplied
23 combine harvesters and we expect these to be at work when the winter
farming season ends. More equipment, including tractors, are coming in the
next few months," said Made.

Although he declined to give a projection for this season's harvest, the
Agriculture Rural Extension Services (AREX) has forecast 100,000 hectares
under wheat with an estimated yield of 420,000 mt.

The commercial farm expert dismissed the AREX figures as "rubbish". He said
even in good years, the maximum land under wheat was 60,000 to 65,000
hectares, which he believed had fallen this season to around 30,000 to
35,000 hectares.

According to independent estimates, winter cereal production in Zimbabwe
(wheat and barley) has more than halved over the past five years, from
around 360,000 mt in 1999 to 150,000 mt last year, as a result of input
scarcities and the impact of the government's controversial land
redistribution programme.

Economist John Robertson said low wheat output was unlikely to have an
impact on bread prices as millers were already importing flour at below the
production costs of local farmers.

"It seems the government is trying to pursuade the population that all its
policies have worked, and come elections they should be re-elected, when all
the evidence is that they have failed," Robertson told IRIN.

Although the government has forecast a bumper harvest of over two million mt
for the staple maize due in June/July, other analysts have warned the crop
is likely to be well below national demand, estimated at 1.8 million mt.

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America Owes Africa - Mugabe

New Vision (Kampala)

June 8, 2004
Posted to the web June 8, 2004

Felix Osike

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe yesterday said Africa deserves more from
the US than the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) under which
selected African countries can export tax and quota-free items.

Mugabe was speaking at the commissioning of the second Apparels Tri-Star (U)
Ltd factory at Bugolobi in Kampala. President Yoweri Museveni commissioned

Tri-Star, which was set up in 2002, exports garments to the United States of

Kenyan president Mwai Kibaki hailed the company for pioneering the export of
Ugandan garments to the American market, saying it was an eye opener to
other countries.

The presidents arrived at the factory at 1:00pm. The Tri-Star managing
director, Vellipillai Kananathan, took them around the old and new
factories. The new unit covering 5,000sq. metres, will start production on
Thursday and employ 800 girls.

"I feel delighted to be associated with this project emerging from the
opportunity presented by AGOA.

But America deserves to do more. They have a debt to pay us. Most of our
people were taken to America as slaves. We deserve more than AGOA," said
Mugabe, attracting applause.

"Let Apparel take advantage of this opportunity to expand a hundredfold. Let
it fly the flag of Uganda and Africa higher and higher and demystify the
myth that Africa cannot do anything. We can do it, we are doing it as
Tri-Star has demonstrated and we have done it," Mugabe said.

Kananathan said the company plans to set up a state-of-the-art spinning mill
by January next year.

He said they would open mini-production units outside Kampala and penetrate
European markets.

Like President Museveni has said before, Mugabe said the Tri-Star project
was a pointer to the need for Africa to add value to local products before
exporting them.

Mugabe said genuine governance is about transforming society qualitatively.
He said the project would give farmers a double reward of a high price for
cotton and employment for their children.

He said Africa had been the leading producer of cotton but it is countries
like Britain which benefit.

"Do you know whom we sell the raw materials to?" he asked. "To Mr. Blair of
England, for Mr. Blair to dress better than I do, spin the cotton, weave and
make suits and we go and buy the suits from Britain. This must stop," Mugabe

He took a swipe at the West for what he called retributive sanctions aimed
at crippling his nation.

"I am happy to say the land reforms we embarked upon are near completion and
we are beginning to recover our economy and our sovereignty and put
Zimbabweans on their destiny. Our land, which had all along been occupied by
foreigners, has finally come back to its owners," he said.
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Comment from The Sunday Mirror, 6 June

Who is afraid of John Nkomo?

Virginia Wolf was the female enfante terrible of western letters who is an
icon of the female liberation movement in those quarters. Her, A Room of Her
Own, is a tour de force about the need to accord women their own space in a
patriarchal world. There is a famous play that plays on the impact of her
formidable intellects called, Who is Afraid of Virginia Wolf? Now, Zimbabwe
is a highly patriarchal society in which Wolf would probably not have been
accorded enough space and a room of her own in which to express herself. But
John Nkomo, because of his gender, has had ample space to express himself
and has been accorded a room in which to exercise political power and
authority. He comes across as a highly intelligent and visionary man, who
was moulded by the nationalist movement and his closeness to the Father of
the Nation, Joshua Nkomo. Added to that, President Mugabe seems to have
great faith and trust in him. Now, that does not go well in certain circles
within Zanu PF. And perhaps one inspired playwright, perhaps the banned
writer of Super Patriots and Morons, will one day write, Who is Afraid of
John Nkomo? For, it is quite obvious that since Zanu sinjonjo, there are
certain forces that are terrified of the minister and cringe at his very
sight. This lot might not be characters out of Raisedon Baya's Super
Patriots and Morons, but in their bid to create jambanja for the upright but
currently beleaguered man of principle, they have stooped so low as to
concoct dubious letters calling back white farmers to their appropriated
land. And they have even gone even lower below the belt by appropriating
clueless Chinotimba to the camp. The latter, not surprisingly, took on the
baton and came out raving and ranting in The Herald (which should be a clue
as to which camp is behind the entire furore). Chinos blindly played
football in a china shop like a blind elephant, making all sorts of
accusations which demean the office of a senior party and government
official. The circus, which had been in town all along, had at last reached
its climax.

It is quite obvious that there is a worm in the Zanu PF fruit. Many would
argue that Zanu is the worm in the Zimbabwean fruit basket, but that is not
our call. Everyone is entitled to their own opinions but never, of course
their own facts. Yet it is apparent that Zanu PF is being destroyed from
within and the rot has been eating into the party on whose shoulders
Zimbabwe was born for a very long time. The works and words of the worms
reveal who the worms are. They siphon away national money so that Zimbabwe
is brought down on to her knees. They say and do things that destroy
Zimbabwe's economic and moral fibre. They espouse policies that make
Zimbabwe a laughing stock of the world. They speak destructive venom each
time they open their motormouths. Why, they eat, speak, sleep and even saved
venomous destruction. But rine manyanga hariputirwe - and the truth shall
come out eventually. We shall indeed find out who the mercenaries and who
the true revolutionaries are in due course. As always, time will tell. Bob
Marley has never been more prophetic! The food statistics war reached fever
pitch this week following revelations of government's importation of maize
to beef up national reserves. Well, it is understandable that public
interest should be so drawn to this disclosure as it evidently has.
Obviously, based on the experience of the previous season, when the relevant
authorities dishonestly claimed there was enough food to feed the nation,
scepticism attended the latest announcement of this year's official
projected harvest. Last season, agriculture minister Joseph Made took a
helicopter tour of the country's farming regions and, upon disembarking,
claimed he had established there was enough for all to munch through to the
next harvest. Of course, we all know what transpired soon thereafter. And it
's an experience we all would love to forget very quickly. Interestingly,
the same optimistic estimates have come back to greet us. Not that there is
anything inherently wrong with optimistic forecasts. In fact, nothing would
trigger more national euphoria than the guarantee of unyielding food
security throughout this and the coming year.

Of course, former white commercial farmers and their ilk within and beyond
our borders would love to gloat over negative statistics pointing to a lower
yield this year and any other year in future in their mistaken belief that
they were the salvation to this country's food security. It is a fact that
our agrarian reforms are undergoing a process of consolidation, without
which maximum optimal food production would not be realisable. Hence it is
neither here nor there that the country produces a record harvest this
season. The haggling of government by disgruntled white farmers, NGOs and
their hangers-on over the food situation in the country is really nothing
more than a function of their traditional opposition to the fundamental
re-adjustment of land ownership patterns in the country by the government
through its land reform programme. It is, therefore, predictable that such
factors should wish unprecedented famine upon us, if only to prove that the
land reform programme was a failure.In this regard, therefore, it escapes
our comprehension why government would, in turn, seek to conceal its noble
efforts to achieve food security by going the extra mile through grain
importation. That the detractors of land reform would grasp at this fact as
evidence of failure in land reform, is a given. Whether we fly to the moon,
Mars and back, this predisposition on their part would not change, period.
It is our view, therefore, that their conclusions from our importation of
grain would not change an iota insofar as their perception of our situation
is concerned. To them, we are a basket case. We therefore need not worry
about what they think, vane waya! In this vein, Behind the Words feels there
was no reason for the government to have kept its responsible approach to
achieving food security through grain importation such a closely guarded
secret after all.
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From AFP, 8 June

Heavyweights to discuss Zim's future in Dubai

New Delhi - A select group of cricket heavyweights will meet in Dubai to
deliberate on Zimbabwe's future as a Test team following the revolt and
subsequent sacking of 15 top players in the troubled African nation, sources
said. The cricket chiefs of India, South Africa and Australia will get a
first-hand report from Zimbabwe Cricket Union (ZCU) president Peter Chingoka
at the extraordinary meeting called by International Cricket Council (ICC)
boss Ehsan Mani on Thursday. The deliberations will set the stage for a
final decision on Zimbabwe at the ICC's annual conference in London on June
27, the sources said. "The big chiefs want to hear Zimbabwe's version before
they meet up with the rest in London," they said. There was no word why the
heads of the other six Test-playing nations were excluded from the Dubai
meeting. Besides the ICC chief, the other administrators at the meeting will
be Jagmohan Dalmiya of India, Bob Merriman of Australia and Ray Mali of
South Africa. Zimbabwean cricket was plunged into crisis in April when 15
white players went on strike after captain Heath Streak was sacked following
his demand that the selection committee be reconstituted. The ZCU was forced
to field a third-string team for two Tests and five One-dayers against Sri
Lanka in May, but subsequent Test matches against world champions Australia
were cancelled. South Africa have already said they don't want to host a
weakened Zimbabwe side and Cricket Australia (CA) have refused to rule out
the possibility that it could press for the expulsion of Zimbabwe from Test
cricket. India, which enjoys close diplomatic relations with Zimbabwe, has
declined to take sides. But it will go along with the majority at London,
sources said. There have been growing calls for Zimbabwe's expulsion from
Test cricket to preserve the standards of the traditional game, while former
Australian captain Steve Waugh said there was no place for teams picked on
colour instead of merit. ZCU chief executive Vincent Hogg admitted last week
that Zimbabwe could be temporarily suspended from Test cricket, adding that
"there could be a moratorium on Tests for six months or maybe a year."
Zimbabwe are scheduled to play Test cricket in Pakistan in October and host
England in November, but both tours remain in doubt pending a final decision
from the ICC.
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8 June 2004
In the past five years, Zimbabweans have seen the emergence of two dominant political visions in the country. We have witnessed these visions clash for political space, literally in every facet of our lives. In our nation today, either you stand for the preservation of the status quo or you are committed to democratic change.
Those who argue for the maintenance of the status quo say they take their cue from a nationalistic ideology, with roots embedded in the struggle against colonialism. They believe the leadership of the liberation struggle, despite its glaring failure to adhere to the ideals of that national project, has an historical sanction and a permanent veto on the political administration and management of Zimbabwe.
To a traditional Zimbabwean nationalist, the argument that a Zanu PF regime denies essential freedoms to the majority, or shuts out opportunities for basic sustenance and growth, means nothing. They blame all our misfortunes on colonialism; they explain their policies and guidelines through history; they evoke memories of racism, inequality and even slavery to cover up for their own bungling and lack of good governance. They are always angry, and often raise the war slogan: Äluta continua!
We accept their presence in our midst on the understanding that they are a fast-dwindling minority whose thinking feeds on nostalgia, political opportunism and outright political greed. For that reason, they lack the moral weight and legitimacy to impose the vision onto the people.
By pursuing this vision, the group refuses to accept that the core national grievance in Zimbabwe today arose from the absence of essential institutional, cultural and constitutional safeguards necessary to ensconce the people’s freedoms.
By contrast, the main driving force for change desires an extension of the gains of Zimbabwe’s independence. The new voices calling for political reform and change see their agenda as part of broad struggle for social liberation.
We are fighting for freedom from a parasitic elite, which merely replaced the colonial administrator and sealed off public offices and public debates from public control.
Our activists, members and supporters form the most productive segment of our population. They are young and ready to drive the agenda for the nation. They do not have an emotional attachment to an outdated nationalistic philosophy, nor to the liberation struggle. They grew up in an independent Zimbabwe with no other experience other than having to deal with growing unemployment, poverty, hopelessness and despair.
Zimbabwe is a country where the majority population today is made up of peasants, workers, professionals and executives, both in government and in the private sector, who were toddlers at Independence in 1980. They have lived under a single political creed for 24 years now. They have lived under the single political leadership of Zanu PF. They know the calibre of that leadership. They know that the worldview of that leadership is cast in the past.
Job seekers, aspiring executives and development activists have watched opportunities slip through their fingers because of a constricted political climate and have begun to raise critical questions about the future.
They notice the closure of democratic space on a daily basis without any explanation or justification. They yearn for freedom. Unlike their peers calling for the struggle to continue in perpetuity, most Zimbabweans know that peace is possible.
In short, the MDC and the entire democratic movement believe in the need for change because we have never tasted our full individual liberties. We have never been able to take for granted our personal safety and security.
Our struggle to further the ideals of the liberation struggle is being sabotaged by a nationalistic ruling elite. This group is quick to shout “colonialism!” and to shoot down anything that moves whenever the people challenge the Zanu PF regime.
In 2000 and in 2002, we exposed the regime’s weakness. We made tremendous advances and gave the people the necessary confidence to take on tyranny. We made a significant dent on the regime’s pillars of support, forcing Zanu PF to apply every trick in the book to influence the outcome of the elections.
We gained invaluable experiences in that struggle. The experiences show us that it is possible to introduce a new political culture in Zimbabwe.
We tried to invest in political advancement, only to meet brutality from the state whenever we attempted to assemble or to speak out. Some left the country in desperation others remained to fight on. We are inspired by our successes in local government and in Parliament.
Events in the past week were quite instructive and inspiring. For the first time since the National Working People’s Convention in 1999, we formally met as a broad alliance of democratic forces and agreed on the future.
Representatives from civil society clarified their roles and responsibilities in the creation of an environment in which the people are able to decide on critical governance issues through the election of a leadership of their choice.
Our objective is to see the birth of a legitimate authority to captain the ship of state, especially after the March 2005 Parliamentary election.
It is heartening to note that there is a definite movement towards the final resolution of the Zimbabwean crisis. The people will finally draw a huge sigh of political relief from the broad consensus that is emerging on the conduct and administration of the forthcoming Parliamentary election.
We also welcomed Shakespeare Maya, the former president of the National Alliance for Good Governance into our ranks.
Maya stated that after intense debates and discussions within his party, there was a general agreement that the state of Zimbabwean politics offered no room for a middle ground. Either one supports the movement for democratic change or one was still stuck in the retreating status quo.
We have an open door policy in the MDC. Welcome all. If you believe, or if you can see, that Zimbabwe is on a downward spiral, do not continue to sit on the fence. The MDC is your home.
I am happy that there has been a surge in our membership, swelled by new applicants among them previous Zanu PF loyalists, businesspersons, traditional chiefs, headmen and other community leaders. Our offices and structures countrywide are processing thousands of applications for membership of the MDC everyday.
The demise of the nationalistic Zanu PF cabal is now clear. The party’s leaders are at each other throats. The clashes between Zanu PF opportunists, reformers and purists from the old school in that party are evidently paving the way for a new Zimbabwe. A similar process took place in South Africa in dying days of apartheid.
We are near the end of our struggle. Everything that Zanu PF claimed to stand for is collapsing around Robert Mugabe: indigenisation, land redistribution, black economic empowerment and food self-sufficiency. The so-called agrarian revolution has begun to eat its own initiators and their families.
The chaos in the commercial farms continues. Today Mugabe is talking of wholesale nationalisation, converting the entire country, all our land, into dead capital. This is act of recklessness. The Constitution respects private property rights. Where does he plan to take the country? Nationalisation is a nationalistic concept that the world abandoned a long time ago, for obvious reasons.
Today Mugabe is in a cul-de-sac, with nowhere and no one to turn to for help. The anti-corruption drive has backfired. Mugabe is failing to deal with corruption in business after realising that there are sordid details of sleaze at the top echelons of his party. Worse vices and baseness linger in the former commercial farms.
Mugabe is scared to investigate senior military and party officials who seized farms, farm machinery and farm produce worth billions of dollars from white farmers.
Mugabe is scared to probe the corruption deals involving his top brass during the Mozambican and Congo wars where we lost a significant number of finest military officers on adventures whose benefit to our people remain a mystery.
Zimbabweans who desire meaningful change, as we witnessed at our convention with the church, trade unions and other civil society groups last week, are convinced that the crisis of legitimacy can only disappear if we conduct a free and fair election under SADC norms and standards. The democratic space must be free to allow all the players to win or lose in comfort.
As the main political party spearheading the programme for change, the MDC believes in the autonomy of civil society. We understand the differences between specific interest-based organizations and a political party competing for political power.
Civil society remains a very important tool to check on political excesses. Civil society must empower the masses to enable them to tackle selfish political elites. We believe no government can survive when it is at war with civil society as is the case in Zimbabwe today.
We are pleased that a multi-faceted programme of action is now underway to ensure victory in our campaign for internationally recognized electoral standards. The implementation of these standards in March next year would deliver a reclaimed voice of the Zimbabwean electorate.
On our part as the MDC, we are nearly through with our internal consultations. A national picture is emerging. There is consensus on what needs to take place to ensure a successful campaign for fair electoral standards and for a legitimate election.
We need to free our country from political thuggery, from open electoral theft, from violence, from fear and from exploitation if we are to obtain a legitimate result.
We need an open political playground. Campaigns must take place anywhere. Zimbabwe requires a fresh start. Zimbabwe needs a new dispensation with a social liberation thrust.
In the current clash of political visions, either you stay in Zanu PF or you join others in the fight for reason, for democratic change and for a new Zimbabwe. The majority view shall prevail.
Together, we shall win.
Morgan Tsvangirai
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Beira Rail System in Private Hands As From September

Agencia de Informacao de Mocambique (Maputo)

June 8, 2004
Posted to the web June 8, 2004


As from 1 September, the entire Beira rail system, in central Mozambique,
will be under private management, following consultations last week between
the publicly owned port and rail company, CFM, and the Indian consortium
that won the tender for operating the system.

The Beira network consists of the line from Beira to Zimbabwe, which is
already fully operational, and the Sena line, which runs from Beira to the
Moatize coal mines in the western province of Tete, with a spur running into
Malawi. This line was comprehensively sabotaged by the apartheid-backed
Renamo rebels during the war of destabilisation, and no trains have run on
it for 20 years.

Rebuilding the Sena line will be the top priority for the Indian consortium,
consisting of the companies Rites Ltd and Ircon International Ltd. A start
has already been made by CFM itself: using its own resources, CFM has been
rebuilding the 90 kilometres between the towns of Dondo and Muanza.

The Rites/Ircon consortium is to sign two contracts with CFM on 18 June,
which will also formalise the creation of the new company that will manage
the system. If the new company follows the pattern of the leases for other
Mozambican ports and railways, Rites/Ircon will be the largest shareholder,
and CFM will hold 33 per cent of the shares.

Representatives of the consortium met in Maputo with CFM officials, between
27 May and 2 June, to discuss the technical aspects of the project,
modalities of the disbursement of the funds, and details of the action plan.

They also met with Transport Minister Tomas Salomao last Wednesday to
discuss the political aspects of the undertaking.

According to a CFM press release, over the weekend, the consortium
representatives visited Beira port to inspect the infrastructures. They also
visited the Dona Ana bridge over the Zambeze river, and the work being
undertaken by CFM's Sena Line Reconstruction Brigade on the Dondo-Muanza

The Dona Ana bridge is the longest rail bridge in Africa.

Two spans were blown up (one on either bank of the river) by apartheid
saboteurs in 1986. When it was rebuilt in the mid- 1990s, it was planked
over and is currently operating as a road bridge.

The reconstruction of the Sena line is budgeted at 175 million US dollars,
of which 120 million have been provided by the World Bank. The remainder is
to be raised by the Rites/Ircon consortium.

The new leaseholder must not only rebuild the line. It must acquire
locomotives and rolling stock, and install communications systems along the

The Rites/Ircon consortium will be exempt from the normal fees paid to CFM
by leaseholders for the first five years, but it must make an initial
payment of two million dollars immediately after signing the contract.
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Independent (UK)

'The consequences are diabolical but we are the last to be told'

By Cathy Buckle in Zimbabwe

09 June 2004

It would be an understatement to say that it came as an enormous shock to
hear, thanks to a telephone call from the UK, that all of Zimbabwe's
farmland is to be nationalised. As usual Zimbabwe's commercial farmers are
the last people to be told just exactly what our government's intentions are
when it comes to land that we hold title deeds for.

Even more surprising was that while the apparent proposed nationalisation of
Zimbabwe's farmland was making news in Britain, it was not mentioned on
either the 5 or 6pm news bulletins on state-owned radio in Zimbabwe. In a
country whose national slogan is "Our Land is Our Prosperity", it is very
surprising that the nationalisation is not even mentioned in the news.

As a dispossessed commercial farmer in Zimbabwe I view the announcement by
Minister Nkomo with a healthy dose of scepticism. For the past 52 months the
statements, announcements and pronouncements about farmland have changed
almost every month. What began as the acquisition of one million hectares of
land soon became five million and then 11 million.

Almost every minister here has made some sort of a statement about
Zimbabwe's farmland but 52 months later it has become abundantly clear that
it is only when the announcement is made by President Mugabe himself that it
carries any weight.

If the words of Mr Nkomo are indeed accurate then the consequences for
Zimbabwe are diabolical - both for the dispossessed commercial farmers and
all present and future farmers in this country. One cannot help but wonder
how many of the people that have been allocated plots on seized commercial
farms will meet the criteria and be able to get 99-year leases. One of the
reasons farm production has been so low, has been the lack of title deeds
since the farms were redistributed. Without title deeds farmers have had no
collateral to secure bank loans, no capital to use to put crops in and cope
with inflation at 505 per cent.

Nationalisation will not change a thing. It will not inspire confidence, it
will not provide collateral and it will not increase production or make food
affordable to ordinary Zimbabweans. As a dispossessed farmer I cannot say I
am surprised that my title deeds are about to be made worthless but it will
make me begin asking the question that all Zimbabwean farmers are asking:
"Just who is going to compensate me then?"

Who will pay for my house that was seized, the fencing, dams, boreholes and
buildings that I paid for? Who now will help me rebuild my life? The farm
was not just a piece of land, legally bought and paid for, it was my
business, my career and my pension.

Cathy Buckle's books on the Zimbabwean crisis, African Tears and Beyond
Tears, are available from: www.;

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Times of Oman

      Ban Zimbabwe, says Streak

      LONDON - Heath Streak, the deposed Zimbabwe captain, has called for
his country to be banned from all international cricket until the
International Cricket Council (ICC) investigates allegations of racial
discrimination against the Zimbabwe Cricket Union (ZCU).

      Streak's claims that Zimbabwe's selectors were discriminating against
white players led to him being sacked as captain in April and provoked 15
rebels to walk out.

      "I don't think other countries should be playing Test or One-day
cricket against Zimbabwe until the current crisis has been resolved," he
told the Daily Telegraph.

      "It's a difficult one for the ICC, but they maybe have to force the
two parties involved to talk and to try to come up with some sort of
resolution. I hope that things are redeemable and that the damage can be

      "But there is increasing polarisation between the two parties, and the
longer it goes on the more difficult it's going to be to get an agreement."

      Streak, who has decided to move to England to play for Warwickshire,
insisted his demand for an international ban was based on cricketing rather
than political reasons.

      "Players are being discriminated against because they are white, which
is the main problem," he said. "But it isn't a purely black and white thing.
There's also regional discrimination as well."

      Streak had already decided to play county cricket before falling out
with the ZCU but he now fears his international career is over.

      "I hope that my Zimbabwe career isn't finished. But, in my heart of
hearts, it's difficult to see how I can play again unless the ICC get
involved." - AFP

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