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Zimbabwe's inflation hits 782 percent

Zim Online

Fri 10 March 2006

      HARARE - Zimbabwe's year-on-year inflation shot up to 782 percent in
February, a 168.8 percentage points gain on the 612.3 percent recorded the
previous month, according to the latest figures released on Friday by the
government's Central Statistical Office.

      "The year on year rate of inflation as measured by the all items
consumer price index stood at 782.0%, gaining 168.8 percentage points on the
January rate of 613.2%," the CSO said.

      Inflation, described by President Robert Mugabe as the country's
"enemy number one", has been on the increase despite bold attempts by
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor Gideon Gono to bring it down.

      Last year, Gono predicted that inflation would soon hit the 800
percent mark, pushed up by the government's efforts to import food and fuel
which are in critical short supply, before coming down later in the year.

      Zimbabwe is in its sixth year of a bitter economic crisis after the
International Monetary Fund withdrew balance-of-payments support after
disagreeing with Mugabe over fiscal policy and other governance issues.

      On Wednesday, the IMF board resolved to maintain a freeze on loans to
Zimbabwe arguing that the economy was still  in a severe crisis that
required urgent and wide-ranging reforms before the IMF could allow
assistance to the crisis-hit  country. - ZimOnline

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No glad tidings for Zimbabweans as inflation zooms into record territory

Zim Online

Sat 11 March 2006

      HARARE - Zimbabwe's annual inflation accelerated into record territory
in February as the effects of high rentals, tertiary education fees and
transport costs bit harder, but analysts warned worse was yet to come for
the majority already wallowing in grinding poverty and near destitution.

      A battered economy is the biggest challenge to President Robert
Mugabe's 26-year rule as anger rises over a crisis dramatised by shortages
of foreign exchange, fuel and food and which has left over 70 percent of
workers unemployed and impoverished.

      The Central Statistical Office (CSO) said yesterday annual inflation
rose to 782 percent in February from 613.2 percent in January, sailing past
the previous all-time high of 622.8 percent hit in January 2004.

      The figure is at the end of the 700-800 percent bracket forecast by
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor Gideon Gono by the end of the first
quarter of this year. Now analysts are talking of four-digit inflation

      "They have no chance as they continue to print money. We are going to
hit a thousand," Anthony Hawkins, University of Zimbabwe Business Studies
professor said. "It's a critical situation and there have to be tough
measures before the situation spirals out of control. Sadly things can only
get worse for the ordinary person, and they will."

      Zimbabweans have borne the brunt of a six-year recession which
Mugabe's critics blame on the veteran 82-year-old leader but who himself
denies the charges.

      With a confirmed highest inflation rate in the world, life has been
particularly tough for the ordinary folk, most of whom have to live on below
US$1 a day.

      Analysts said only bold measures, such as an immediate end to farm
seizures and return to production, liberalisation of the economy and removal
of price controls could eventually resurrect the once prosperous economy.

      But the exercise would no less be painful in the interim and Mugabe's
government is acutely aware of this.

      "The problem is the government is not committed to bold reforms
knowing fully well the immediate shock may lead people to take matters into
their own hands,"  Harare-based economist James Jowa said. "But it is a
matter of time because eventually everything will collapse," he added.

      The CSO said on a monthly basis, the consumer price index rose a hefty
27.5 percent from 18.6 percent in January.

      Hawkins said: "Normally the hyperinflation bubble bursts quickly
either because people will say enough is enough and remove the government in
popular anger but that does not seem to be the case here."

      Political analysts say Zimbabweans have been cowed into silence by
tough security laws that have also crippled the opposition in the country
and fear of a violent backlash by state security agents and ruling ZANU PF

      Despite a deep sense of frustration, most Zimbabweans continue with
their daily grind as if everything was normal.

      Scarce fuel supplies have pushed up transport costs while house
rentals have surged following the government's controversial demolition of
shantytowns last year, which put hundreds of thousands on the streets.

      A family of five now requires Z$25 million, the CSO said, far higher
than the average Z$8 million which most families survive on.

      Unbridled inflation is playing havoc with the finances of ordinary
Zimbabweans, who must often go shopping with huge wads of either 50 000 or
20 000 notes for simple purchases that end up in millions of dollars.

      The IMF executive board this week decided not to restore Zimbabwe's
voting and related rights and said it would not release more funds to the
country despite Harare paying off part of its debt last February.

      The board said on Wednesday Zimbabwe's economic crisis required a
"comprehensive policy package comprising several mutually reinforcing
actions in the area of macroeconomic stabilisation and structural reforms",
urging the country to clear outstanding arrears.

      Mugabe's government printed $21 trillion to clear the IMF debt and has
vowed to keep the printers running as a way of shoring the tattered economy
but economic experts say this will feed into money supply and
hyperinflation. - ZimOnline

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Harare lawyer tipped to land top post at MDC faction congress

Zim Online

Sat 11 March 2006

      HARARE - Harare lawyer Tendai Biti, legislator Thokozani Khupe and
former parliamentarian Roy Bennett are favourites to clinch the top posts at
next week's congress of the faction of the main opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) party loyal to Morgan Tsvangirai.

      Insiders on Friday told ZimOnline that nominations submitted this week
at the MDC's Harvest House headquarters showed the three politicians were
leading the race to land the top jobs left vacant following last year's
fall-out between Tsvangirai and other senior officials of the opposition
party over whether to contest last November's controversial senate election.

      The other faction of the MDC, initially led by secretary-general
Welshman Ncube and Tsvangirai's then deputy Gibson Sibanda, held its own
congress last month at which popular former student leader Arthur Mutambara
was elected president.

      Biti, presently secretary for economic affairs and Member of
Parliament (MP) for Harare East constituency, is tipped to become the new
secretary-general, fending off stiff challenge from businessman Ian Makone
and Hatfield MP, Tapiwa Mashakada.

      Forty-four year old Makokoba MP Khupe, who is battling with MDC
national executive member Getrude Mthombeni and former Matabeleland North
governor Welshman Mabhena, is tipped to land the vice president's job,
replacing Gibson Sibanda who is vice president of the Mutambara-led wing of
the MDC.

      "Competition is still on but Biti has the support of six provinces of
Harare, Bulawayo, Matabeleland South, Midlands South, Midlands North,
Manicaland and Mashohonaland Central, giving him an edge over his rivals,"
said a senior MDC official, who did not want to be named because he is not
authorised to disclose such details to the Press.

      Kuphe is also said to enjoy the support of almost all the provinces
except Manicaland, which nominated former ZANU PF official and governor,
Mabhena. Midlands North province reportedly nominated Mthombeni.

      All the nominated candidates will now contest at the congress in a
secret ballot where all the expected 13 000 delegates will be required to

      Tsvangirai and national chairman Isaac Matongo will not face any
competition after all the party's 12 provinces nominated them.

      Bennett, who this week was being linked by state agents to an arms
cache discovered in Mutare, is expected to come in as the new treasurer
after he was nominated by almost all the provinces. The post was held by
Fletcher Dhulini-Ncube who is now a member of the Mutambara faction. -

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Top ZANU PF official in court over fuel scam

Zim Online

Sat 11 March 2006

      MUTARE - Ruling ZANU PF party central committee member and transport
mogul Esau Mupfumi yesterday appeared in court facing charges of defrauding
the National Oil Company of Zimbabwe (NOCZIM) of 15 000 litres of diesel
worth about ZW$3.3 billion.

      Mutare magistrate Hosiah Mujaya remanded Mupfumi on $300 million bail
to 28 March.

      Charges against Mupfumi are that he misrepresented to NOCZIM that he
had been sent by ZANU PF to obtain 20 000 litres of diesel from the state
company which he was to use to transport delegates from the eastern
Manicaland province to the ruling party's conference that was taking place
at Esigodini in the south of the country.

      But Mupfumi should have received only 5 000 litres which was enough to
fuel the three buses that he was to use to ferry ZANU PF supporters to the

      The state believes Mupfumi, a public transport operator in Manicaland,
may have offloaded the 15 000 extra litres of diesel onto the illegal
black-market where it sells for more than three times the official price.

      Mupfumi and two other ZANU PF politicians Enock Porusingazi and Fred
Kanzama were arrested this week for allegedly fraudulently obtaining oil
from NOCZIM and grain from the state-owned Grain Marketing Board which they
are thought to have later resold on the black-market.

      Porusingazi is ZANU PF legislator for Chipinge South constituency
while Kanzama represents the ruling party in Mutare South constituency. The
legislators are out on bail of five and 90 million dollars respectively.

      Maize and fuel are among a long list of basic survival commodities in
critical short supply in Zimbabwe because there is no hard cash to pay
foreign suppliers.

      But top officials of ZANU PF and the government are making a killing
using their powerful positions to access the little food and fuel trickling
into the country and later resell these to ordinary citizens, virtually at
extortionist prices.

      The powerful politicians are also accused of smuggling some of the
food for sale in neighbouring countries such as Zambia and Mozambique. -

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Zimbabwe's anti-AIDS programme faces collapse due to lack of funds

Zim Online

Sat 11 March 2006

      HARARE - An ambitious government programme launched about four years
ago to reduce HIV transmission from mother to child is facing collapse in
Zimbabwe due to a serious lack of funds.

      The Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission of HIV (PMTCT)
programme was at its launch in 2002 initially running at 265 hospitals and
clinics around the country. But less than half of these centres are still
operational with the rest closed  down either because of a shortage of drugs
or because there is no fuel to transport the little medicines available to
the centres.

      Sources in the health ministry told ZimOnline on Friday that most
rural clinics and district hospitals last had supplies of nevirapine - a key
drug which is administered to pregnant mothers to reduce HIV infections to
babies - several months ago.

      "The number of centres offering the service has gone down to just over
100. Some hospitals have just stopped the programme because they can't
receive the drug and HIV rapid test kits," said a nurse at Chikore district
hospital in Chipinge.

      "Right now we have run out of nevaripine drugs. We also have problems
getting the drugs here because of transport  shortages and poor road network
due to the rains," added the nurse.

      Benjamin Mazhindu, the chairman of the Zimbabwe National Network for
People Living with HIV/AIDS (ZNNP+), an organisation that fights for the
rights of people living with AIDS, confirmed that there was a serious
shortage of nevarapine across the country, particularly in rural areas.

      "There is a problem of accessibility of the drug which is coupled with
poor set-up of structures by the Ministry of Health.  As a result our
members are failing to access the drugs at the clinics," said Mazhindu.

      But a senior official in the Health Ministry in charge of the
prevention of mother to child transmission programme, Agnes Mahomva denied
that the programme was facing collapse insisting the drugs were readily
available in rural areas.

      "Rural clinics could be receiving the drugs late because they make
orders when they have exhausted their stocks but on a national scale, the
programme is running well," said Mahomva.

      Zimbabwe is one of only two African countries that have recorded a
decrease in HIV infections but the disease continues to wreck havoc in
southern African nation killing at least 2 000 people every week.

      The only other country to reduce HIV infections is Uganda.

      The HIV/AIDS pandemic is worsened in Zimbabwe because of food
shortages in the country and a six-year old economic crisis that has spawned
shortages of key commodities including hard cash to import drugs. -

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Child labour on farms must be stopped, say unions

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

HARARE, 10 Mar 2006 (IRIN) - As standards of living in Zimbabwe continue to
deteriorate the use of child labour on farms has risen sharply, with over
10,000 children estimated to be working in the agricultural sector.

Gertrude Hambira, secretary-general of the General Agricultural and
Plantation Workers Union of Zimbabwe (GAPWUZ), told IRIN that her
association would seek the assistance of the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) to
end child labour on farms. She said children aged 16 years and under working
on farms were regarded as child labourers.

"We are finalising our reports, which we want to bring to the attention of
UNICEF, so that they can intervene and protect the rights of children.
Children should be in schools and not working on farms," said Hambira.

IRIN recently reported that new commercial farmers, the beneficiaries of the
government's controversial land redistribution programme, were struggling to
pay labourers.

"According to statistics, an average family needs Zim $28 million [US $282]
a month to meet its basic requirements. However, our members are being paid
Zim $600,000 [$6] a month, which is only enough to buy a bar of soap and
cooking oil. This has exposed children to abuse by commercial farmers, who
are making them work on their farms in exchange for a free education on farm
schools," Hambira alleged.

New farmers using child labourers in exchange for an education have dubbed
the system 'Learn as you earn'.

Hambira added that because the wages of farm workers could not sustain their
families, children were also being employed to supplement family incomes.
"In some instances we have cases of parents and their young children all
working on the farm so that they can pool their earnings to buy food and
other basic necessities," she commented.

Hambira said some of the children working on farms had been displaced by the
government's Operation Murambatsvina last year - an urban cleanup campaign.
"In addition, children are now dropping out of school because school fees
are beyond their reach, as some government schools are charging fees of Zim
$400,000 [$4] a term," she added.

Wellington Chibebe, secretary-general of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade
Unions, warned that if the government did not stop child labour on farms,
the union would take their case to the International Labour Organisation, a
move that could result in a boycott of the country's farm produce.

"There are rampant cases of child labour on the farms - some of them owned
by very senior government officials - and we have told the relevant
authorities to intervene. We will not accept the abuse of children on the
farms," Chibebe stressed.

Davidson Mugabe, president of the Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union, said
the Learn as you Earn concept was beneficial to children. "The new farmers
are doing a good job of ensuring that young children get an education -
there is no sinister agenda."

However, Gift Muti, another senior union official, told IRIN that the
concept did more harm than good. "Children under that scheme have generally
performed poorly in school because they ... [are] too exhausted. As a
result, most just [end up being] farm labourers like their parents."

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University students protest fees hike

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

BULAWAYO, 10 Mar 2006 (IRIN) - Protests continued at university campuses
across Zimbabwe this week as soaring inflation hit tuition fees.

According to analyst Chris Maroleng, of the South African based Institute
for Security Studies, "The overall environment in Zimbabwe is one of
instability: we have security forces placed on high alert in case of
uprisings because of the sudden price increases in basic commodities [such
as bread], the arrest of varsity students in a bid to stop protest actions
by them, and the alleged coup plot related to the arms cache found last week
[which the government has linked to the opposition]."

Students at Zimbabwe's state-run tertiary institutions started rioting and
boycotting lessons this week, in protest against a 1,000 percent increase in
tuition fees. Government announced new fees at all its tertiary
institutions, including universities and polytechnics, two weeks ago,
sparking a wave of disapproval by both students and parents, who said they
could not afford the new costs.

Tuition fees for a four-month term at university jumped from around Zim $3
million (US $30) to between Zim $30 million ($302) and Zim $90 million
($907), while the cost of studying at polytechnics surged to Zim $30 million
($302), up from Zim $2 million ($20) a term.

Residential students have to pay an extra Zim $24 million ($241) for

Earlier this week dozens of students from the National University of Science
and Technology (NUST), the only university in Zimbabwe's second city,
Bulawayo, clashed with baton-wielding police after marching through the
streets demanding a reduction in their fees.

Several of them were detained and are being charged with breaching sections
of the country's security laws. Two weeks ago more than twenty students from
the same institution were held for rioting and taking a lecturer hostage on

Violent confrontations between students and security personnel have also
occurred at the University of Zimbabwe in the capital, Harare, where dozens
of students have been suspended.

The Zimbabwe National Students' Union (ZINASU), an umbrella body
representing learners at all tertiary institutions in the country, said the
protests would continue until government reversed the fees hike.

The increases have come at a time of record inflation in Zimbabwe, currently
at 782 percent.

With the majority of workers earning an average of Zim $5 million ($50),
parents said they could not afford the new costs.

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City Battles to Settle $1 Trillion Debt

The Herald (Harare)

March 9, 2006
Posted to the web March 9, 2006


HARARE City Council is battling to settle a debt of over $1,1 trillion owed
to several creditors for services rendered.

The council had paid about $455 million to creditors between January 1 to
February 28 this year but this, according to the city treasury, is a far cry
from what council owes.

The astronomical figure of $1,1 trillion rose from $850 billion in December
last year.

The debt escalation has largely been blamed on the late implementation of
the 2005 budget and the poor performance of the national economy.

However, the city is also owed over $890 billion by residents and satellite
towns such as Epworth, Ruwa, Norton and Chitungwiza.

Council has intensified efforts to collect and recover what it is owed by
its debtors.

In an interview, city treasurer Mr Cosmos Zvikaramba said the figures
included this month's bills that were sent out to residents and other

"That figure comprises money that ratepayers and other creditors are
supposed to pay this month.

"So they could be paying soon," said Mr Zvikaramba.

He said part of the money was for other operating expenses such as procured
assets and the payment of trade creditors for the supply of goods to

Council has so far collected over $500 billion as rates and tariffs and
expects to increase revenue by unbundling its operations to ensure

This is expected to extricate the city from the spiralling debt, which is
being exacerbated by inflation and interest rate pressures.

Government has approved Harare's budget as presented so that council can
effectively provide services and meet its obligations.

As a result of the failure to settle the debt, most suppliers have been
demanding cash up-front.

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IMF rules not to restore Zim voting rights


          March 10 2006 at 09:43AM

      Washington - The International Monetary Fund's executive board decided
not to restore Zimbabwe's voting rights and not to allow it to use fund
general resources even though it had settled $120-million (about
R754-million) in arrears it owed this facility.

      The board said on Wednesday that Zimbabwe still owed $119-million to a
poverty reduction and emergency contingency fund.

      It noted that "Zimbabwe's economic crisis calls for urgent
implementation of a comprehensive policy package comprising several mutually
reinforcing actions in the area of macroeconomic stabilisation and
structural reforms".

      The board said it would review its relations with Zimbabwe again in
September. Last September after Zimbabwe repaid its arrears to the general
resources fund, the IMF decided not to expel it.

      Zimbabwe's economy has been in free-fall since the government began
seizing white-owned farms in 2000. Annual inflation rose to 400 percent by
December and was trending upward.

      The IMF is a 184-nation organisation that makes loans to developing
and emerging market countries. - Sapa-AP

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Zim gold panners die in heavy rains in Mozambique

Mail and Guardian

      Harare, Zimbabwe

      10 March 2006 01:13

            At least seven illegal gold panners have died in the past week
just over Zimbabwe's border with Mozambique after heavy rains brought chaos
to the area, reports from eastern Zimbabwe said on Friday.

            There are fears the casualty figure could be much higher.

            Hospitals in Zimbabwe's Chimanimani and Chipinge districts are
preparing themselves for an influx of bodies amid fears that up to 50 gold
panners may have died, according to one newspaper.

            "People are dying and there were bodies everywhere," Ananias
Mupondi, an illegal panner, told the official Manica Post on his return to

            Heavy rains beginning last Friday have brought chaos to
Zimbabwe's border with Mozambique, flooding caves where illegal panners stay
and swelling rivers.

            Some of the dead are believed to have been swept away by the
rivers while others may have died of malaria and pneumonia, said the Manica
Post, which is published in the city of Mutare.

            "While the actual number of deaths could not be immediately
established, unconfirmed reports say more than 50 people could have died in
the past week," the paper said.

            It said thousands of "frail" gold panners have been trickling
back into Zimbabwe this week.

            "The situation in Mozambique is serious and panners are dying in
large numbers," said gold digger Norman Sundiwa from Mutare.

            "As we were coming I witnessed six deaths and we buried one in a
cave," Sundiwa added.

            Despite the dangers, illegal gold panners have been flooding to
an area in Mozambique just 50km from the Zimbabwe border where a rich gold
belt is reported to have been discovered. - Sapa-DPA

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Zimbabwe's record inflation a sign of worse to come

Business Report

March 10, 2006

Johannesburg - Zimbabwe's inflation reached an all-time high of 782 percent
on Friday with analysts saying there was no end in sight for the rise in
prices that will bring more hardship to Zimbabweans.

The annual inflation rate rose to 782 percent in February, up from 613.2
percent in January, according to government statistics.

Independent economist Eric Bloch said the steep rise in
inflation would "cause a lot more hardship" to Zimbabweans, already
struggling with joblessness and shortages of food and other basic goods like

"There are going to be major demands for wage increases and thus causing
further inflation," Bloch told AFP.

"This means higher inflation in April and even more hardship for the
majority of Zimbabweans," he said.

Economist David Mupamhadzi said the galloping inflation was a reflection of
a failed economy and blamed the jump on the growth in the money supply.

"We are now feeling those effects of the printing of money," Mupamhadzi
said, adding that the rise would fuel demands for higher wages from workers
battling to catch up with rising prices of goods and services.

He projected even higher inflation in the coming months saying prospects of
a decline before mid-year were nil.

Central bank governor Gideon Gono has blamed inflation partly on the
printing of money that he said was necessary to service the debt to the
International Monetary Fund (IMF).

He revealed last month that the central bank resorted to
printing 21 trillion Zimbabwean dollars to buy foreign currency to clear the
country's arrears with the IMF.

Zimbabwe last month made a payment of nine million US dollars to the IMF to
avert expulsion from the global lender over long-overdue arrears.

The body had threatened to expel Zimbabwe from its ranks for failing to pay
back loans since 2001 and given the southern African country until February
to settle its accounts.

Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) economist Bernard Mufute urged
monetary restraint and a change in economic policy to rein in inflation
often referred to as the number one enemy by the central bank chief.

"The authorities have to appreciate that we are in a crisis and do something
right now," Mufute said.

"They know what has to be addressed, such things such as fiscal policy, the
exchange rate has to be allowed to freely move on its own," he said.

William Nhara, a government analyst, predicted higher inflation in the
coming months and called for collaboration between the state, business and
labour to work out measures to control inflation.

Nhara recommended a price and wage freeze for six months to stop inflation.

The IMF executive board meeting in Washington this week decided to deny
financial aid to Zimbabwe and said the economic crisis in the country "calls
for urgent implementation of a comprehensive policy package comprising
several mutually reinforcing actions in the area of macroeconomic
stabilisation and structural reforms."

Once the top agricultural producer in the region, Zimbabwe has been in the
throes of an economic recession since 2000 when President Robert Mugabe
launched a land reform program that led to the seizure of more than 4,000
white-owned farms.

Other than soaring inflation, Zimbabweans have had to contend with deepening
poverty levels, an unemployment rate hovering at over 70 percent and chronic
shortages of fuel and basic goods like cornmeal. - AFP

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Try Zim arms accused - lawyers


10/03/2006 15:31  - (SA)

Harare - Lawyers for a group of people arrested over an arms cache discovery
in eastern Zimbabwe are preparing an urgent application for them to be
brought to court, one of the lawyers said on Friday.

"We're actually drafting an urgent court application, to ensure our clients
are taken to court," said Lawrence Chibwe.

At least four officials and activists of the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change, including the MP for Mutare North, Giles Mutsekwa, were
among at least 16 people arrested this week in connection with the discovery
of weapons at a house in the border city of Mutare.

Some include serving members of the Zimbabwean police, state radio has said.

The weapons - including machine guns, rifles, pistols and ammunition - were
found on Monday when police raided the home of Mutare resident Michael

State radio has claimed the weapons were to be used by the MDC in acts of
terrorism, but the party has denied any link to the cache.

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Do NGOs have a role in ending Zimbabwe's crisis?

Sokwanele - Enough is Enough - Zimbabwe

Sokwanele Report: 10 March 2006

Political crises are normally resolved by political processes worked out by politicians and their supporters. But the failure of Zimbabwean political parties to find a way through the maze where we have lost ourselves, induces one to look in other directions. Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have become a major force in our society - could they not show us the direction and lead us back to political sanity?

NGOs are the direct descendants of charitable and welfare organizations, but they have evolved in different directions so that they now present a wide variety of programmes and structures. For the sake of clarity we can group them into three broad categories. First we have what can still be referred to as welfare organizations, devoted primarily to assisting individuals who have failed to achieve the basics of a decent life on their own - orphanages, old people's homes, soup kitchens, feeding programmes and shelters for the destitute and street kids, and AIDS and counseling organizations. Secondly there are the development organizations, engaged in income generation and capacity building for communities to promote sustained economic growth. Examples of these are Plan International, ORAP, and micro-finance lending organizations such as Zambuko Trust. Third, and generally more recently on the scene, are the civil society organizations. These concern themselves in one way or another with issues of governance and policy formation and implementation. Some focus on specific interest groups. Here we find the human rights groups, civic educators, the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU), those promoting democracy or specific policies such as the Women and Land Lobby Group or the Community Working Group on Health.

Just as the animal kingdom encompasses both insects and elephants, NGOs come in all shapes and sizes; some are home-grown, others are internationally connected. In all three categories we have faith-based or church related organizations as well as others which are purely secular. Many cross over the category boundaries, with objectives in two or even all three broad areas. An environmental NGO may teach water harvesting for rural development but may also be engaged in lobbying for more effective environmental protection legislation. An integrated rural development organization may facilitate leadership training and human rights education while teaching the scientific application of fertilizer and running a school feeding programme.

In spite of the differences, all NGOs share certain common features and face a number of common dilemmas. First, they all originate from a vision, ideological or otherwise, of an improved society, social justice if you will, where individuals can satisfy their basic needs and strive to achieve their human potential. They are based on idealism. Second, virtually all depend on foreign donors. Third, all must negotiate a position within the parameters drawn by government policy. Balancing these three conditions can be tricky.

While NGOs of the first two categories (welfare organizations and development organizations) share the vision of a just society, their methods of achieving it usually do not involve direct action relating to governance. Their role in the present crisis has often been simply to keep people alive and help them to adapt to the new environment as well as they can. It is the civil society organizations to which we turn to find a direct role in impacting on the crisis. Can they assist?

Our response to this question will be influenced by our analysis of what is wrong and how it must be corrected. If it is simply to put a new political party into power, then that is best left to political organisations. But most civil society organizations have recognized that the problem is not just ZANU PF's criminality. The problem lies deep in the society itself which has permitted such an aberration of democratic governance to develop and survive. The solution can not therefore be found simply by replacing the present governing incumbents by others, no matter how genuine or even angelic they may appear. The lessons of Zambia, Malawi and Kenya are not lost on Zimbabweans. And the current rupture in the MDC reinforces them. ZANU-like tendencies toward the corrupt use of power exist everywhere in Zimbabwe. They have almost become part of our culture.

If we identify the problem not just as a need for a new governing party, but as a need to create a whole new democratic culture from the grassroots upwards, then civil society organizations do have a key role to play. In most developed societies, state education institutions teach the fundamentals of democratic practice - through both theoretical and practical lessons. But the ZANU-ised government institutions have forfeited the opportunity to play this role as they have become rather tools of oppression, mistrusted by the people.

What can civil society organizations do? A variety of possibilities exist, depending on the particular focus of each organization. All are essential to the development of a new democratic dispensation. Here are some suggestions:

1. Civic education organizations can promote a cultural revolution towards democracy through work at the grassroots. The aim would be to bring people to an understanding of participatory democracy, to a knowledge of their rights and a willingness to claim them, while respecting the rights of others. One of the reasons that ZCTU was in the forefront of the push for change in the 1990's was that they had already gone a long way with this educational work.

2. Information and legal organizations can expose the failings in the present governance by:

a. Research and publication of information on a wide variety of issues, including abuses of rights, corruption and policy failures
b. helping people to seek justice through the courts where their rights have been abused

3. Membership organizations can provide examples of democratic practice in their own structures, giving people the necessary experience of democratic leadership, democratic decision-making, transparency of financial accounting, respect for rights and tolerance for differing opinions, where the emphasis is on argument and persuasion rather than manipulation, intimidation and violence to promote one's views.

4. Special interest organizations can develop model legislation such as constitutions and policies on issues such as land, foreign trade and production modes, challenging people to imagine a better future and think both creatively and critically towards it. The development of models needs to be accompanied not just by campaigning but also by discussion and production of alternatives, so that people fully understand the range of possible policy choices.

5. Membership organizations and coalitions of civil society organizations can mobilize the people to demonstrate and express their dissatisfaction with the present situation and their determination to resolve it in a democratic direction. This builds people's confidence and ensures their participation in the process of change.

6. They can also inform and lobby foreign governments, NGOs and international organizations, bringing formal complaints to human rights bodies and courts, thus building international pressure on the government for change.

7. Peace-building organizations can work at grassroots to help heal the wounds of hatred and intolerance and encourage people to respect each other's humanity and work together to achieve common goals.

8. At a transitional stage, all forms of civil society organizations can participate in interim measures and negotiations to prepare the way for a constitutional conference and internationally supervised elections.

The road we have to travel to establish genuine democracy in Zimbabwe is a long and winding one. Civil society organizations can help through all these activities and many others to take us along that road towards a shared vision of social justice.

But there are problems and dangers along the road which must be overcome. Just as these organizations may share a common idealism so they face many common problems which work to undermine their contribution.

1. Donor dependence. Virtually all civil society organizations are donor funded. Donors have their own goals and expectations and give funds because they want them to be put to a specific use. The process of designing project proposals, budgeting, persuading donors, and then reporting in detail is an important and useful discipline. However, the dependence leads to a deep insecurity and can also distort programmes as organizations tailor their proposals to known donor interests.

2. Bureaucracy/loss of idealism. Many Zimbabwean organizations have been well supported by foreign donors, who have provided funds for comfortable offices, smart vehicles, hi-tech equipment, training courses and even regional and international travel. Through the past inflationary years it is the NGOs with foreign funds which have been best able to raise salaries, while government and even the private sector have lagged behind. Gradually NGOs have become the preferred place of employment for all types of trained personnel. Comfortable employees find difficulty in risking their good fortune by implementing policies which could put them in government's spotlight and might threaten the very existence of the organizations they serve. Hence even civil society organizations become conservative in their outlook, keeping to safe programmes which will not jeopardize their infrastructure and jobs. Some lose the will to spearhead change altogether.

3. Egotism/power complex. All human beings have weaknesses, whether they work for government or for NGOs. There is always a temptation for capable individuals who find prominence within the NGO world to become distracted by their own sense of self-importance. This leads them to ignore democratic interactions in their organizations and in their relations with the people on the ground. Instead of working with the people they begin to use them as a force to push their own agendas, without allowing the people to develop the necessary skills to enable democracy to grow.

4. Infiltration. The strongest civil society organizations are those with membership throughout the country, but they are also perceived as the most threatening by government. These are organizations such as ZCTU, Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (Zimrights), the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA), Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) and the Zimbabwe National Students Union (ZINASU). Membership organizations can easily fall victim to the individual who simply wants a position in order to establish a power base for his or her own aggrandizement, or even to access funds which can be appropriated. But more dangerous is the government agent who is planted within the organization for the purpose of causing havoc and rendering it incapable of carrying forward its programmes. By their very openness membership organizations are vulnerable, but even non-membership organizations can be debilitated by infiltration.

5. Government restrictions. It has long been the practice for welfare organizations to register with the Department of Social Welfare to establish their legitimacy in the eyes of government. But this has never been a legal requirement and many civil society organizations have simply registered trust deeds with the High Court under a common law procedure. As the ZANU PF government has become increasingly totalitarian, it has sought to exert control over all NGOs by requiring registration. It could then refuse to register any "undesirable" organization, rendering its operations illegal. The notorious NGO Bill specifically targets civil society NGOs which are concerned with "issues of governance". These would be excluded from receiving any foreign funding. Even before the law is passed, we can observe some organizations adjusting their programmes in the hope of not being refused registration. Should the current draft become law, civil society organizations will have to decide individually whether to cease operations or devise other ways of continuing their work. Few, considering the elements of donor dependence and bureaucratization, would have the will or the means to continue, and many would simply close down.

The challenge to civil society organizations, their boards and their staff as well as their donors, is a tough one. While they cannot directly bring the much needed political change they do have a vital role to play in guiding Zimbabweans through the maze towards the establishment of a genuinely democratic society. Only in such a context can we enjoy economic development which leads to prosperity for all. However, the way will be long and perhaps dangerous, and those who believe there are any quick fixes are bound to be disappointed. Positive achievements will not be made unless the organizations and individuals within them rise above their own personal needs and ambitions and are prepared to work, and even sacrifice, for the common good. Let us hope they will have the skill, commitment, moral courage and endurance to navigate through the rocks and survive, in order to fulfill their important mission.

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Court orders University of Zimbabwe to stop fee hikes

      By Violet Gonda
      10 March 2006

      Students at the University of Zimbabwe were granted some temporary
relief on Thursday when a High Court Judge ordered a halt on tuition fee
increases. When term opened last month fees were increased tenfold and
students' strikes and lecture boycotts were being planned.

      Students and their families were shocked at the increases:
      Arts and humanities up from Z$3m to Z$30m a year.
      Sciences up from Z$3.7m to Z$37m.
      Medical up from Z$4m to Z$60m.

      On top of tuition fees accommodation went up from Z$500 000 to
Z$24million a year.

      In delivering his judgement Justice Alfas Chitakunye ordered the
university to accept the students back without payments, pending the outcome
of the case before the courts. The students successfully argued that they
were not consulted and that the hikes were unprocedural.

      A press release by the UZ Student Executive Council (SEC) said, "this
means all payments are stopped forthwith and the student will from today be
allowed in classes without payment."

      However SEC Secretary General Mfundo Mlilo told SW Radio Africa that
the authorities are not honouring the court order saying: "But what we have
done is print fliers and sent them to the students to say the university has
been ordered to stop payments."

      Authorities said they increased the fees in line with the cost of
education in the country. But this has been slammed by most students who are
also suffering from increased travel costs. Many are opting to stay at home
because they can't raise the transport fares to go to school.

      The High Court provisional order only applies to students at the UZ
but the Zimbabwe National Students Union (ZINASU) have hired Harare law firm
Kantor and Immerman to prepare a lawsuit to stop the fees hike nationally.

      The fee increases have seen separate protest marches from students
from Bulawayo's Polytechnic, the National University of Science and
Technology, Hillside Teachers College, Masvingo Polytechnic and University
of Zimbabwe.

      Authorities have responded to demonstrations by suspending members of
the UZ student leadership and arresting the organisers.

      The students have also complained about the intimidatory presence of
armed riot police. SEC member Trevor Murai said police in Chinese lorries
were also parked at the university's security control room. "They were ready
for action and they were armed to the teeth as if we are in a war. At the
moment they have since left but we still have quite a number of plain
clothes policemen roaming around in corridors of the university."

      SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

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Tribally based parties criticised for strengthening Zanu PF's grip

      By Lance Guma
      10 March 2006

      Gordon Moyo, the leader of Bulawayo based pressure group Bulawayo
Agenda, says the mushrooming of tribally based political parties can only
help Zanu PF maintain its grip on power. Commenting on the formation of the
Patriotic Union of Matabeleland (PUMA) Moyo says the political party would
have been better off as a pressure group. PUMA says it is concerned about
the marginalisation of Matabeleland and has been raising issues related to
the Gukurahundi massacres where thousands of Ndebele's were killed by Robert
Mugabe's notorious 5th Brigade.

      Moyo believes these are pertinent issues to raise as a pressure group
but not to use them as a route to gain political office. According to Moyo
there is growing concern the group is trying to resurrect Zapu 2000, an
outfit whose attempt to lure the original PF ZAPU members and supporters
failed to materialise. The country has seen the mushrooming of three
political parties in the space of six months. Daniel Shumba's United Peoples
Party, Jonathan Moyo's United People's Movement, and the recently launched
PUMA. Not helping matters is the main opposition party, the MDC splitting
into two opposing groups while claiming the same name.

      Bulawayo Agenda say the political environment is so fractured they
have decided to invite nine of the major political parties to a meeting in
Bulawayo next Thursday. The open forum will involve both factions of the MDC
and according to Moyo will allow those attending to question the parties on
what they hope to achieve in such a fractured state.

      Meanwhile the majority of civic groups are meeting in Victoria Falls
to map out a strategic vision for their operations in the country.
Representatives from groups like Crisis in Zimbabwe, Women of Zimbabwe
Arise, National Constitutional Assembly and others began the three-day
workshop on Thursday. They are expected to announce resolutions of the
meetings on Saturday.

      SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

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Zimbabwe takes no responsibility for IMF decision to freeze aid

      By Tererai Karimakwenda
      09 March 2006

      In a story published Friday, the state controlled Herald newspaper
blamed the United States and Britain for this week's decision by the
International Monetary Fund (IMF) to continue denying loans to Zimbabwe. But
the story did not reveal the reasons given by the IMF in a statement
released after the vote. The Herald said Zimbabwe had been granted access to
funds under the General Resources Account (GRA) after receiving the required
simple majority during the IMF's executive board meeting held in Washington
Wednesday. But the paper claimed the IMF board was influenced to disregard
this vote and deny Harare funding. It said there are now indications that
Zimbabwe will soon write a letter of complaint to the Fund.

      But the IMF statement made it clear that Zimbabwe's economy was still
in a severe crisis and no loans would be extended until major changes had
been implemented in fiscal policy and other governmental issues. Finance
Minister Herbert Murerwa and Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono had travelled
to Washington to present their case and they came back empty handed.

      The Herald went on to say: "It has become clear that the IMF is
penalising Zimbabwe for rejecting retrogressive Bretton Woods policies in
favour of people-centred initiatives." There was no mention of what these
people-centred initiatives and Zimbabweans see no sign of them. Prices for
food and transport have more than doubled already this year, and students
have been demonstrating against a ten-fold increase in tuition fees. In
addition, Zimbabweans are struggling with extremely high inflation rates.
Shortages of basic commodities like maize meal and fuel, as well as bank
notes and foreign currency have also crippled the nation.

      Analysts have insisted that the economy will continue to deteriorate
until there is a change of government which will bring with it investor
confidence and assistance from international humanitarian organisations.
These are also the issues the IMF said Zimbabwe needs to address. By
ignoring this The Herald hopes to convince Zimbabweans, who get no
independent news, that the United States and Britain are to blame for the
IMF decision. But Zimbabweans know who is to blame for their predicament.

      SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

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Move over Morgan, you had your chance

New Zimbabwe

By Tendai Serima
Last updated: 03/11/2006 02:00:14
THEY say history repeats itself. This means in order to understand the
future of our own country we need to take a look at the past.

Let's move back a few steps to take a look at a shadow, the reality of which
is unfolding before our own eyes. Remember Moses started the struggle that
led Israel out of Egypt, but it is Joshua who took them to the Promised
land. It is Nkomo who fathered Zapu, but it is Mugabe who became Prime
Minister. Even more still, it is Sithole who led the revolt against Nkomo
and formed Zanu, but it is Mugabe who became President. History is very
stubborn and has this tendency to repeat itself. History says no founding
President of a party can become President of our country. To understand this
theory, we need to go back a few thousand years.

For 40 days King Saul and the whole army of Israel were intimidated by a
giant called Goliath. Goliath, who stood almost 10 feet tall, defied the
armies of Israel, making them look cowardly and foolish. For 40 days they
tried but failed to defeat him. Goliath, who is described as a "champion" in
the Biblical text, positioned himself between the two armies and challenged
the Israelites to send out a warrior to challenge him. If that man won, the
Philistines would become the subjects of Saul's army. If Goliath won, the
converse would occur. For 40 days, Goliath issued his challenge, but no man
would dare him.

Meanwhile young David was busy looking after his father's sheep. He fought
and won many battles in the wilderness, against lions and bears. Nobody knew
about these victories since they were not in the battle front and away from
the public eye. Most importantly, these battles were seemingly unrelated to
the real battle against Goliath in which King Saul and the army of Israel,
including David's four brothers were engaged.

One day David decided to go to the battle front to see how his brothers were
doing, and to bring some "bread and grain". He saw Goliath and he remembered
how he had fought and won against the bear and the lion. He knew his time
had come. He asked King Saul for a chance to have a go at Goliath. What?
After leading Israel through so many battles and recording so many
victories? After being intimidated by this giant for 40 days and trying my
best to bring him down, a little boy is now asking me to stand aside so that
he can take a chance? This was ridiculous to King Saul. After all Saul was
the tallest and the largest in the army of Israel, and therefore he was the
only one who could stand a chance against this champion called Goliath. But
a little boy called David wanted to take his chance.

Since no other soldier was willing to fight the giant Goliath, King Saul
reluctantly agreed to allow David to fight the giant. King Saul took off his
heavy iron coat and gave it to David (his clothing, the armour). David put
it on, jumped around and realised that it was too heavy for him. David
rejected the king's offer of armor and a sword and went out to fight Goliath
with a sling shot and five smooth stones. He knew that to defeat Goliath he
needed something different, not just an imitation of what Goliath already
had. With the first stone Goliath was dead.

The situation in this story is analogous to the current situation in
Zimbabwe. King Saul (Tsvangirai) has been fighting Goliath for the past six
years. However this giant called Goliath has managed to survive using
intimidatory tactics. Suddenly a young boy called Arthur (David) has arrived
on the seen. He has just been shepherding his father's sheep in the
diaspora, from where he has been sending "grain and bread" to his brothers
in the battle field. Whatever he has been doing seems to be unrelated to the
battle against Goliath in which his brothers have been bruised and battered.
The question now is: will King Saul stand aside and give David a chance?
Will King Saul offer his armour to David? Does David have the shepherd's
armour and a sling with which to attack Goliath? Saul looked at Goliath as
too big to hit, hence he was intimidated for 40days, but David looked at the
same Goliath as too big to miss. The difference between the success and
failure of the two men was in how they interpreted the sheer size of
Goliath. To one he was too big to hit, to the other too big to miss.

In my view Tsvangirai was the only giant in the MDC who could stand a chance
against Goliath (Mugabe). However a new boy has arrived and he deserves a
chance. He is a "mighty man of valour" who should not be underestimated by
reason of his age, or the fact that he has been in the diaspora. Tsvangirai
and company have been fighting this beast for so long that they have started
to imitate the same monster that they are trying to remove. Dictatorial
tendencies have begun to show up, and the "handiende syndrome" or the
"founder member" disease, synonymous with Zanu(PF) is beginning to unveil
itself. According to the MDC constitution Tsvangirai has only one more
Presidential term left and it is now almost certain that he might try to
change the constitution to prolong his stay at the MDC realm. His plan of
attack is now to boycott certain elections, while participating in others,
and to pursue an unnamed form of" democratic resistance", meanwhile causing
a lot of confusion with his indecision and lack of clarity in the process.
Clearly his bag of ideas is now running on empty.

Tsvangirai and his lieutenants are breathing fire about the fact that an
"outsider" is trying to become MDC President when he is not a founder
member, exactly the same way that Zanu(PF) brags about, and hero worships
its founder members. Often President Mugabe (Goliath) has emphasised that
his successor must have a history of the liberation struggle, exactly the
same way the MDC is going on about those who have been fighting the
dictatorship in the last six years. What then can you say to our army
commanders when they say that they can not allow anyone who did not go to
war to be President in our country? We have no moral ground to oppose them.
They are simply applying the founder member politics that you are applying
in your own party. He who digs a pit for others will fall in it. Sadly this
is a "Zanunification" of the opposition, to quote Brian Kagoro.

On the other hand we have the boy Arthur with the proverbial sling shot (a
bag of new ideologies and enthusiasm). David said to King Saul, the weapons
you have given me are good, but they are not mine; I will fight in my own
way with a couple of stones and a sling. If we look at Mutambara's
presidential acceptance speech with an open mind, we will see a solid
foundation on which a new democratic dispensation can be built. He has heard
the taunts of Goliath and he is outraged and indignant. It is not the proud
and boastful indignation of youth or student activism, but righteous
indignation at the insult to democracy and at the reproach on our nation.
His approach is different from the all too familiar opposition rhetoric in
Zimbabwe. His ideologies represent a reformation and reinvention of
opposition politics and ideologies, not only in Zimbabwe but across Africa.
It is a paradigm shift that has put Zanu(PF) at sixes and sevens, and sent
back to the drawing board to try and develop a new propaganda because the
anti-Blair philosophy has suddenly become redundant and outdated.

In the Biblical story, in consequence of this feat, David is received into
Saul's family, but Saul becomes jealous of the young conqueror's popularity
when the people started singing: "Saul has slain his thousands, and David
his tens of thousands." It is at this stage that the downfall of Saul
begins. He looses focus and begins to see David as an enemy and a threat
instead of a partner and a fellow warrior in the struggle. I hope this does
not happen to our Morgan. I hope he can continue to resist the temptation to
fight young Arthur. I hope they continue to look at each other as comrades
in arms.

It is on record that the fall of King Saul was not because of David, but his
own making. Saul failed for two reasons: first he became jealous of David,
and secondly he consulted a witchdoctor (kitchen cabinet) instead of
consulting the prophets of God (elected officials). Thirdly he decided to
offer sacrifices to God on his own instead of submitting himself to the
appointed Priests (Submitting to the party constitution and to the
democratic vote is more important than emotional sacrifices). "Obedience is
better than sacrifice", and hence King Saul (Morgan) was the author of his
own downfall.

On the other hand David succeeded because of three things: Firstly he had
the courage to face Goliath head-on, and secondly he used an original weapon
and armour (new party ideologies). Thirdly, and most importantly, David knew
who the real enemy was and refused to be drawn into a fight against King
Saul. It was Saul who pursued and tried to kill David. Even when a chance to
kill Saul presented itself, David said "I will not touch the anointed one of
God". This is an attribute we have already seen in King Arthur. In his
acceptance speech he started by praising Tsvangirai as a "Zimbabwean hero".
This could have been a wonderful opportunity to join his colleagues in a mud
slinging match against Tsvangirai, but Mutambara decided not to "touch the
anointed one of God". He knew who the real enemy was, and could not be
disrupted into fighting a senior comrade. By doing this he was already
laying the foundation for success.

I write this prophetically, and as a man under authority, in the hope that
both Arthur and Morgan can learn something from it, and therefore liberate
Zimbabwe from its Goliath. I said in the beginning that Moses led Israel out
of bondage in Egypt, but it is young Joshua who enjoyed the fruits of the
Promised Land. Sithole was the founding President of Zanu, but it is Mugabe
who enjoyed the fruits of the liberation struggle. No founding President of
a party can become President of our country. I think it is about time, we
gave David a chance. It is about time we gave Joshua a chance, it is time we
gave Arthur a chance to take us to the Promised Land.

Tendai Serima is an analyst and he writes from New Zealand. He can be
contacted on:

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'Impose Stiffer Penalties for Vandalism'

The Herald (Harare)

March 10, 2006
Posted to the web March 10, 2006


VICE PRESIDENT Joice Mujuru has called for stiffer penalties to be imposed
on people who steal or vandalise equipment belonging to public utilities,
saying it was disheartening that newly acquired equipment was going towards
replacing vandalised equipment instead of expansion work.

She called on ministers responsible for such utilities to submit proposals
to tame vandalism to her office for consideration by Government within the
first six months of the year.

The Vice President made the call yesterday during a handover of electrical
equipment worth US$10 million (about $1 trillion) acquired from China by the
Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (Zesa) Holdings in Harare. The
ceremony was attended by several Government ministers and other senior

The equipment would be used for the electrification of new suburbs,
improving the reliability of existing networks and replacing vandalised
equipment. This is part of a US$184 million ($18 trillion) facility from a
Chinese company CATIC, for a five-year rehabilitation programme covering all
urban networks.

"Honourable ministers, it is within our capacity as Government to pass
sentences that are deterrent to would-be thieves of equipment from our
public utilities such as Zesa, TelOne and National Railways of Zimbabwe,
among others. May I, therefore, call upon all ministers with such public
utilities under them to make the relevant proposals and submit them for
consideration within the first half of the year,"said Vice President Mujuru.

"My office keenly awaits your proposals, and I expect you to respond
positively to this call. I say enough is enough! We need to help our
utilities rather than just condemn them even when we could have assisted

The Vice President urged members of the public to assist in protecting
public infrastructure as if it was their own property.

The Chinese, who helped Zimbabwe with arms, ammunition, training and funding
during the liberation struggle, had once again come the rescue during a time
of need. Zimbabwe, said the Vice President, embarked on land redistribution
programme to empower the marginalised black majority, resulting in a war of
economic attrition between Harare and the West.

The country was currently suffering from the so-called "targeted economic
sanctions" which had adversely affected different facets of the economy
including the generation and distribution of electricity.

"I am told that the refurbishment of the distribution network of electricity
was originally meant to be financed by the Bretton Woods institutions but
they abandoned the project in protest against the land redistribution
programme that the Government had just embarked on. This left Zesa with no
option but to seek alternative funding," she said.

She commended the Chinese government, saying the gesture would go a long way
in complementing efforts by the Government to turn around the economy as the
current power cuts and load-shedding made it difficult for industry,
commerce, mining and agriculture, among others, to operate efficiently.

"Before co-operation with the Chinese started, the electrification rate in
Zimbabwe stood at 32 percent and I am pleased to note that by end of 2005,
it had increased to 47 percent, making us one of the best on the continent
in this regard," she said.

"The 2003 five-year electrification programme of 5 000 projects has been
surpassed within two years and a new target of 7 000 projects has been set
for the same period. I wish to thank the government of China for the support
they have given us."

A CATIC official, Mr Tu Zhengxing, pledged continued support for Zesa,
particularly with technical expertise.

Speaking at the same occasion, Minister of Energy and Power Development,
Retired Lieutenant-General Mike Nyambuya, said the payment for these
facilities was being supported with help from foreign currency earned from
the export of tobacco and cotton by Zesa Enterprises.

"PowerTel Communications has also been able to secure US$2,64 million worth
of telecommunications equipment without any down-payment and with one-year
grace period, from China. The equipment will be deployed to enhance the
Zimbabwe Electricity Distribution Company's operational communication system
requirements in Harare," he said.

The equipment would also benefit the police force and various commercial

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Water crisis hits Zimbabwe Capital

      March 10, 2006.

      By Tagu Mkwenyani

      Harare (AND) A water crisis has hit several suburbs in Harare
following a breakdown at the city's treatment works.

      Among the worst affected areas are leafy suburbs such as Greendale,
Kambanji, Chisipite and Glen Lorne. High-density suburbs have also not been
spared. The sprawling Epworth is also experiencing acute water shortages,
forcing many of its residents to rely on untreated water from pools.

      The Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) has attributed the
crisis experienced in Harare metropolitan province to a pumping breakdown at
Morton Jaffray water treatment works. It said this has seriously affected
water supplies to a number of areas in Harare. "Morton Jaffray has been
operating at 80 percent of its normal capacity since Friday 3rd March, 2006,
a situation which has seen water levels dropping in most of Harare's water
storage reservoirs.

       "Zinwa regrets the inconveniences caused to residents. and would like
to assure residents that everything is being done to address the problem."
Due to critical shortages of foreign currency parts need to repair the
broken down equipment has to be sources. Zinwa said; "We are expecting the
pump spares to be delivered from abroad soon, in the meantime the authority
has introduced a demand management system in those areas that are accessing
water to enable the available water to be equitably distributed to all areas
of Harare"

       "The demand management regime will initially entail throttling water
supply mains to reduce pressure and this will lead to temporary water supply
cuts, especially to those areas on high ground. We will monitor the
situation to ensure that water supplies are not cut off for more that eight
hours in one area per day."

      AND Zimbabwe

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Harare has over 100 pipe bursts a day

Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2006-Mar-11

THE City of Harare experiences an average 100 water pipe bursts and blocked
sewers a day, a works update released yesterday reveals.
According to the update for the week ending yesterday, incessant rains that
have been pounding the country have also worsened sewer blockages as water
has infiltrated the pipes.
"On average, outstanding water bursts number about 120 a day whilst sewer
chokes average 80-100 a day. There were numerous complaints of sewer blocks
in most low-lying areas of Marlborough, Westgate, Budiriro, Highfield,
Dzivaresekwa, Monavale and Belvedere due to persistent rains which have
infiltrated the sewer," the update reads in part. In the past week, 337
cases of blocked sewers were reported with 263 being attended to and 74
still outstanding.
Some 167 cases of water bursts were also reported with 114 repaired. The
City also said some Northern suburbs that include Highlands, Glen Lorne and
Greendale had gone without water since Wednesday due to repair work being
done at Alexandra Park pump station by the Zimbabwe National Water Authority
The City also said bills for February were done late with statements
currently being posted. That problem would be solved by the beginning of
"The City is working towards computerising all revenue collection points
such that ratepayers have all queries resolved at local levels. The City is
also entering into partnerships with the private sector for electronic
payment of bills through telephones, point of sale, ATMs and the cell
 phone," further reads the statement.

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Corpses pile up at Parirenyatwa mortuary

Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Farirai Machivenyika
issue date :2006-Mar-11

PARIRENYATWA Hospital in Harare has been badly hit by non-collection of
corpses that has resulted in the mortuary carrying more than twice its
carrying capacity.  The country's main referral centre's chief executive
Thomas Zigora, said some bodies had gone for months in the mortuary, and
with immediate effect bodies that will not be collected after three days
would be sent to funeral parlours.
"Currently our mortuary has a capacity to hold 54 bodies. Of late the
mortuary has had as many as 130 bodies. The hospital's equipment is old and
cannot cope with these numbers. The heavy load places a strain on the
compressors and causes them to wear much faster," he said.
Zigora said the congestion had resulted in bad smell in the hospital's
"This has led to bad odours permeating the hospital corridors nearest to the
mortuary. It is taking up to a month in some cases for relatives to collect
bodies of their relatives for burial," he said.
"In order to ensure that we always have space for patients dying in the
hospital, it has been resolved that with immediate effect, bodies not
collected after three days will be sent to funeral parlours where relatives
would be expected to collect these bodies at their own expense," he added.
From hence, Zigora said, the mortuary would only be reserved for patients
who die at the institution.
"Public support on this social problem will assist us to manage and utilise
the limited available space effectively. Plans to build a new mortuary have
had to be put on hold because no budgetary allocation has been made for this
purpose," said Zigora.
Most mortuaries at the country's major hospitals have become obsolete due to
lack of resources to service them and overloading worsened by high deaths
rate blamed on HIV and Aids and high cost of burials.
The deputy minister of Health and Child Welfare recently acknowledged the
problem in an interview with this newspaper adding the government had plans
to construct new mortuaries at district and provincial hospitals.

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