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Arms cache suspects formally charged

      March 11, 2006.

      By Tagu Mkwenyani

      Harare (AND) SIX Zimbabwean accused of conspiring to posses weapons
for the purpose of banditry, among other things, have finally appeared in
court in the eastern body town of Mutare.

      This happened after their lawyers had launched an urgent high court
application seeking to declare their continued detention from Monday
illegal. Under Zimbabwean laws, suspects can only be detained for not more
than 48 hours before they are formally charged in the courts. The accused:
Peter Hitschmann, an ex Rhodesian soldier, Mutare North MP Giles Mutsekwa,
Knowledge Nyamhuka, Thando Sibanda all members of the opposition MDC and two
policemen, Wellington Tsuro and Edwin Chikutye appeared before Fabian

      Four of the suspects told the magistrate that they had been severely
tortured by security agents who tried to extract confession from them at
Adams Barracks in Mutare. Nyamhuka, Sibanda, Tsuro and Chikutye's lawyers
noted the security agents had used money rubber bands to strangle their

      They also revealed that they had been beaten up and forced to admit
involvement in the case. But in what is a strange turn of events, the prime
suspect, Hitschmann said he had no problems with the police and said he no
longer required any legal representation. Earlier his lawyers had alleged
that the ex-Rhodesian, who the state says implicated the others, had been
severely tortured.

      According to the state outline, the accused are charged with
conspiracy to possess weapons for the purposes of insurgency, banditry,
sabotage and terrorism. The charges arise from Section 10 of the Public
Order and Security Act (POSA). The state claims that the group conspired to
assassinate President Mugabe when he came to the city to celebrate his
birthday two weeks ago.

      Reads the state outline: " To achieve this, the group agreed to spill
oil on Christmas Pass highway when the motorcade would be approaching, so
that the motorcade would slip and get involved in an accident.'" The state
also says that the accused also " agreed to throw tear smoke canisters in
the tents where the 21st February Movement celebrations were going to be
held so as to cause panic, disturbance to ordinary people in attendance".
Mutsekwa, who is the MDC shadow secretary, did not have any complaints to
make against the police.

      The accused will remain in custody until March 15. However their
lawyers will argue in the superior court on Monday that the continued
detention of the accused is illegal. It emerged today that the state may
find it difficult to successfully prosecute that accused because Hitschmann
is a licensed firearms dealer and a hunter. One of the lawyers handling the
case said: "All the guns are licenced. I don't see the state succeeded if
the law is applied correctly. Hitschmann has even helped the Department of
National Parks, Wildlife and Management."

      AND Zimbabwe

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Suspects in Arms Case Held Incommunicado, Central Figure Linked to Zimbabwe Police


10 March 2006
Interview With Chris Ndlovu audio clip
Listen to Interview With Chris Ndlovu audio clip
Interview With Trevor Manhanga audio clip
Listen to Interview With Trevor Manhanga audio clip
Interview With Itai Zimunya audio clip
Listen to Interview With Itai Zimunya audio clip

Lawyers representing opposition members accused in connection with an arms cache authorities say was found in eastern Zimbabwe have asked the high court in Mutare to order police to produce their clients, being held incommunicado, for arraignment.

State media have reported that the alleged arms cache, including at least one AK-47, other small arms, and thousands of rounds of ammunition, was intended for use in an attempted uprising. An obscure foreign-based group called the Zimbabwe Freedom Movement was said to have financed and organized the alleged conspiracy.

But the Zimbabwean political opposition and outside observers have charged that the government of President  Robert Mugabe, fearing a popular revolt with food and fuel scarce nationwide the economy in tatters, has conjured up a coup in the making as a propaganda exercise and to further weaken a deeply divided opposition party.

Several of those held are officials of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change in eastern Manicaland province. The lawyer for Manicaland MDC Youth Chairman Knowledge Nyamuka, one of those held, said his client had been expected to appear in court Friday to face charges under the Public Order and Security Act. But police failed to produce Nyamuka, saying further investigation was necessary.

Also detained are Giles Mutsekwa, the member of parliament for Mutare North and the opposition's spokesman on defense issues, Manicaland MDC treasurer Brian James, and local MDC activist Thando Sibanda. Sources close to the case said Mutsekwa had been arrested in Harare and brought to Mutare, 260 kilometers to the east.

It could not be determined whether former MDC member of parliament Roy Bennett, now MDC Manicaland chairman, was among the opposition members held. Bennett spent nine months in prison in 2004-2005 serving a sentence imposed by the ruling party-controlled parliament for shoving a minister during a heated debate.

Some 16 people in all were said to be detained in various police stations in Mutare, among them members of the national police force and the army. Sources said army investigators were also involved. The murky case opened Tuesday with reports by state media that arms and ammunition had been seized at the Mutare home of one Peter Hitschmann, said to be a former member of the Rhodesian armed forces before the 1980 shift to black majority rule, and to have served in police units since then.

For more on efforts by lawyers to obtain the arraignment and release on bail of their clients, reporter Patience Rusere of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe spoke with Mutare attorney Chris Ndlovu, who is representing the detained opposition members.

More details emerged about Peter Hitschmann, the former Rhodesian army member who authorities say had a cache of military arms and ammunition at his Mutare home. Mutare sources said they were surprised by the allegations that Hitschmann was at the center of a plot to overturn the government of President Robert Mugabe.

One prominent Mutare resident who has known Hitschmann for many years is Bishop Trevor Manhanga, head of the Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe. He told reporter Rusere that he was aware that Hitschmann worked with local police in patrolling the nearby border with Mozambique on the lookout for "border jumpers."

For another perspective on Hitschmann, Patience spoke with Itai Zimunya, a Mutare-based advocacy officer for the Crisis Coalition of Zimbabwe, who related what he knew about Hitschmann and what people in Mutare were making of it all.

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Former cops arrested as probe into arms find widens

      March 11, 2006

      By Andnetwork .com

      TWO ex-policemen have been arrested in Harare and numerous police and
army uniforms and rounds of ammunition recovered as investigations into the
arms cache found in Mutare this week intensify.

      Several other suspects have also been picked up for questioning in
Mutare, in connection with the case.

      The Herald understands that one of the two suspects was stationed at
Harare Central Police Station while the other was from Support Unit. They
had, however, resigned from the police force.

      Although details of the two former policemen were still sketchy, it
was strongly believed that they were linked to ex-Rhodesian soldier Peter
Hitschmann, who was arrested in Mutare on Monday.

      It was also feared that there could be more suspects still at large
who are in possession of guns, rounds of ammunition, army and police

      The two suspects were arrested this week and police recovered the
uniforms, about 350 000 rounds of ammunition and some magazines for AK47 and
FN rifles, which were fully loaded with rounds of ammunition.

      The uniforms and rounds of ammunition were recovered at the suspects'
homes. No guns were found. They are still detained at Harare Central Police
Station for further investigations.

      According to the police, investigations in Mutare, where they arrested
Hitschmann, led to the arrest of the two ex-policemen in Harare. They are
expected to be taken to Mutare for further investigations.

      Manicaland provincial police spokesperson Inspector Joshua Tigere
yesterday confirmed that more suspects had been picked up for questioning in
connection with the case.

      Hitschmann was arrested together with the MDC Manicaland provincial
youth chairman Knowledge Nyamhuka.

      Another MDC activist, Thando Sibanda, was arrested when police picked
up Hitschmann, who had been under surveillance for the past year.

      Some top MDC officials, including Mutare North MP Giles Mutsekwa and
former Chimanimani MP Roy Bennett, were arrested on Wednesday in connection
with the case.

      Mutsekwa is MDC shadow minister for defence.

      MDC Manicaland provincial treasurer Brian James and a white farmer,
whose name was not given, reportedly implicated the three, all of whom have
links with the former Rhodesian forces.

      The suspects were linked to the so-called Zimbabwe Freedom Movement, a
shadowy group of ex-Rhodesians.

      The group claims to have members within the law enforcement agents,
and drawn from ex-Rhodesians and war veterans.

      The cabal is alleged to have come up with a list of targeted
individuals whom it wanted to eliminate and consequently cause confusion and
mayhem in the country.

      Police said the group had also claimed that it had other bases in
Masvingo, Gweru and Bulawayo. Mutare had been used as the group's

      A high-powered 600cc motorbike - registration number 43CD90 - was
discovered hidden at Hitschmann's house.

      43CD is the number of the Italian Embassy in Harare and police believe
Hitschmann used the motorbike with diplomatic plates to ease his movements
to and from Chimoio in Mozambique where the so-called Zimbabwe Freedom
Movement has a bank account.

      The arms - which were recovered at Number 33 Arcadia Road, Tiger's
Kloof in Mutare - were an AK-47 rifle with a folding butt, four FN rifles,
seven Uzi guns, four .303 rifles with telescopic sights, 11 shotguns, six CZ
pistols, four revolvers, and a set of Siemens radio communication systems,
including a base station and hand-held radios.

      Police also recovered thousands of rounds of ammunition of different
calibres, 15 tearsmoke canisters and 20 flares.

      Hitschmann was arrested on Monday at a Nando's Chicken takeaway outlet
in the company of Sibanda, an MDC activist who is also a former member of
the police special constabulary, and Nyamhuka, the MDC provincial youth
chairman for Manicaland.

      Hitschmann is believed to have recruited ex-members of the Rhodesian
army as well as police force - some of whom are senior members of the MDC
and former legislators - to work towards the opposition party's agenda of
illegal regime change in Zimbabwe.

      Source : Herald

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Directions, Please?

My wife and I went to a dinner party the other night - nothing unusual
about that except it was 300 kilometers from home and we had to contend
with a river in flood. To get there we had to go quite far south of the
usual turnoff to the farm, which meant that we could use a low level
bridge to cross the river. The normal road was closed because of the water
To get to the farm we needed good directions and the farmer told me that
this turn off was about 12 kilometers after a certain junction and just
"after two big muddy puddles". Anyway we got lost in thick Mopani veld and
with the help of another local farmer eventually found the turn off and
arrived - a bit late, but still in time for a very pleasant evening. The
key was those "two muddy puddles"!
Another young couple from two farms away drove through the short cut and
then waded the river. She changed at the house and he sat through the meal
in damp trousers. It was a superb evening - we all sat in the garden,
light came from a clear moon in a star-studded sky and we did not even
need jerseys.
You need to know that life goes on in Zimbabwe - sure we have inflation at
record levels, we have two million internally displaced people (a UN
euphemism for homeless internal refugees), we have very little food and
 hundreds of thousands of people are dying. This morning I heard of one
estimate that ten per cent of the IDP's have died since Murambatsvina -
that is 200 000 people, most from malnutrition and exposure.

There is growing anger in the country; I hear it on the street, at dinner
parties and in business. Anger that the economic collapse is now
threatening everyone. Anger that the authorities, despite the fact that
they have been in power for 25 years seem not to even understand what is
happening - let alone find solutions. Anger that food aid is still being
managed so as to make the population subservient to the regime. Anger that
the UN is such a hopeless organisation - unable even to find the courage
to call a halt to the genocide we see every day.

Anger that the world seems to take it for granted that they can do little
about tin pot regimes like ours that have defied globally accepted norms
of governance and all human rights for years. I saw an analysis today that
put Zimbabwe at the bottom of a table listing the degree of freedom
enjoyed by its population.
This past week bread has hit nearly Z$100 000 a loaf, the US dollar is
trading at 220 000 to one and official inflation approaches 800 per cent -
27 per cent in February alone. The real rate of inflation must be double
this but the impact is severe whatever figure you adopt. Gideon Gono and
Herbert Murewa went off on a futile trip to Washington to talk to the IMF
- I suspect they hardly got past the doorman. 
They were told politely that despite paying US$209 million (Z$46 trillion)
to the Fund (equal to 42 per cent of our 2006 budget), they would continue
to suspend our voting rights and access to the Fund - as I said two weeks
ago, they will not even reopen their office in Harare. However what I
found particularly disgraceful was that they suggested that if we paid the
balance of our arrears (nearly another US$100 million) they might
reconsider. Reconsider what? There is absolutely no chance that we will
ever get access to IMF resources (or any other significant assistance for
that matter) until we get our democracy back on its feet and start
behaving like human beings.
There was no mention of the suffering caused here by these payments - the
forced shortages of all basics. No mention of asthmatics unable to get
their medical supplies, no mention of the hardship of students who must
now pay up to Z$100 million a semester for a college education. No mention
of hospitals without food and disinfectant. No mention of the tens of
thousands who must cross the Limpopo every week now to seek refuge in
South Africa.

The cry on our streets and in the villages is show us the way, give us
directions, what do we have to do to get rid of this collection of goons
who have so totally messed up our country? What is the road map back to

The Mbeki, Zanu, Mutambara road map would have us accept that all we have
to do is ditch Mugabe, allow Zanu PF to form a national unity government
and then institute the required reforms to get the international community
to let us get on with our lives and start rebuilding the country. The
problem with that sort of road map is that it leaves the thieves in charge
of the cash box. It puts the criminals in charge of the legal system and
the law courts; it does nothing to restore our fundamental rights and
freedoms. It simply whitewashes the tombstones and allows Mbeki et al to
bury the evidence.
The alternative is the MDC road map - force Zanu PF to concede they have
failed and must come back to the negotiating table where they lost their
way. Ask at an all stakeholders' conference representing all sectors of
Zimbabwean society what we must do to get back to the right road and how
to get there. We are lost and must find our way back to the road and the
only way to do that is to agree on a new constitution and a transitional
mechanism to get us there in the next 12 months or so. Then, once we get
to our destination we can hold elections under international supervision
and whoever wins that election can form a new government and start the
country on the road to recovery and eventual prosperity.

It's clean, legal, democratic and free and fair. I know who would win that
election and so do you, and so do Zanu PF and Mbeki. That is why the
invitation to this particular dinner party must be accompanied by some
considerable persuasion. I think we are about ready for just that
eventuality and if you could see the armed police on street corners you
would know that those currently in charge are as nervous as you can be and
still be standing and not sitting on the nearest loo!

They know the Army is restive, the Police dissatisfied and the people
angry. What they do not know is how to get out of the mess they are in and
it is time we told them and told them in clear unequivocal terms that
their day is done. The arms cache charges against the MDC are so obviously
fabricated that they are laughable. What is no laughing matter is what
they are doing to the lives of those they target in their desperation to
find their own way out of the Mopani they are in.

Eddie Cross
Bulawayo 11 March 2006

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When inflation reaches 782pc

From The Daily Telegraph (UK), 11 March

So Zimbabwe's inflation hit 782 percent last month according to government
statistics released today. It went up from 613 percent in January. In
reality, of course, it's far higher according to most private sector
accountants, and is way above 1,000 percent and climbing. This is the
highest inflation in the world. Second on a list put together from various
international inflation sites is Iraq at 40 percent. South Africa stands at
4.5 percent, and Zambia at 19 percent. The reality of hyper inflation is
beyond the telling of it. Zimbabwe should now be close to meltdown but no
one is sure how that will play out as not since the collapse of Zaire ten
years ago (now the Democratic Republic of Congo) has the world seen this
kind of financial chaos. And yet Zimbabweans are so well behaved that if
people are feeling panicky they are not showing it and are going about their
business among the creaking infrastructure peacefully.

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Excerpts From – “Gold Forecaster – Global Watch” - For the week ended 10th March 2006
By: Julian D. W. Phillips, Gold-Authentic Money -

From time to time we have commented on the dire situation in Zimbabwe.   We are a-political, non-racial and unbiased in our work.  But we call a spade, a spade!   In that spirit, we comment on the human tragedy reaching the pits in Zimbabwe at present.  


In common with all other countries, Zimbabwe is defined by a line around a piece of land on the map.  Within that area the government can do what it likes and be free from any fear of interference from outside.   From the bread basket of Africa where one Z$ equaled one U.S.$ to this:


Interbank Exchange Rate           Interest rates 07/03/06            Inflation rates

ZW$ 99,201.58 per US$1            Overnight     700%            C.P.I. 57175.6

                                                      Interbank      632.8%         M-O-M    18.6%       

                                                                                                      Y-O-Y    613.2%


Is what Mugabe and his policies have achieved.   Over the last three decades, the present government has embarked on a programme that has resulted in the destruction of the economy and the financial well being of the country.   The path to this end has been unimpeded by outsiders, with some shouting foul, but taking no real action.   Today the country enjoys a rising level of unemployment, presently 85+%.   Approximately, four million people are facing starvation, due to the results of the purging of the working class by AIDS leading to insufficient workers to harvest, to shortages of working capital, alongside the ‘grabbing’ of white owned farms [extremely well run and productive].   At worst, these farms now either don’t function because they have been abandoned or produce so little as to be wholly inadequate to supply even their own nation.   There have been good rains this year so there should be a decent harvest, but the policy of taking productive farms off white farmers has resulted in the turning of Zimbabwe from an exporter of food into a recipient of food aid from relief agencies.  


Now the next move, which as a precious metals publication concerns us, is the proposed new policy of taking half the Zimbabwe mines, at least, to the government, an effective nationalizing of them.   The mines most affected are Impala and Anglo Platinum, together with Acquarius.


Zimbabwean Minister of Mines Amos Midzi made the statement that the cabinet had approved draft proposals requiring mining companies to surrender 51% of their assets to the government and/or indigenous groups, depending on the commodity. The government would pay only for 26% and the remainder would be a “free carry.”   Midzi said alternative foreign investors had been identified to take up the equities in current mines if external shareholders did not co-operate.   Whilst this may appear on the surface to be pure theft, with the [forced] acquiescence of the mines and their shareholders, that word could not apply, surely?


We have asked how they intended to pay for the equity portion they actually intended to pay for, in past issues.   We can only answer in line with how they paid part of the I.M.F. bill of $210 million.   They simply took it off Anglo Platinum and others and issued them with a promissory note [issued in the U.S.$ - surprisingly as in the past it was in the Z$] to pay them back sometime in the future.   We expect the mines inside Zimbabwe to be issued with the Z$ payment for that balance of the shares they pay for.   At the present rate of acceleration in Zimbabwe’s inflation, they need only wait a year or two and they will be able to pay the price offered to the mines with one banknote, printed on one side only.   But then again I suppose it is not pure theft if you are paid something for it, even if that payment is worthless?


The responses of these mines are:


Anglo Platinum Anglo Platinum (AngloPlat), noted “with concern” Zimbabwe’s proposal that the country’s mining law be amended to allow the state to hold 51% of all platinum operations in the country, AngloPlat said.


AngloPlat has almost all of its platinum mines in SA, but is developing the Unki platinum project in Zimbabwe.   AngloPlat had spent U.S.$20m developing surface infrastructure including a dam and roads at the Unki project and was in the process of sinking a shaft, The feasibility study had put the mining operation at 120000 tons a month, with no grade or metal production from the mine forecast.   Subject to project sanction, the Unki mine would achieve first production in 2008.   The effect of the draft proposals would be less acute for AngloPlat than other platinum miners, as Unki was still at the project stage


Implats “We believe the proposal is not in the best interest of developing a platinum industry in Zimbabwe, and we believe the percentage figures and ownership methodology are not consistent with previous discussions”.    The proposal would render Zimbabwe’s existing platinum mines and any expansions “uneconomic”, Implats chief financial officer David Brown said.   Asked whether the Zimbabwe government’s latest proposals would cause Zimplats to freeze a previously reported U.S.$2 billion expansion programme, Brown said it would be premature to discuss such a move because Implats did not believe the outcome would necessarily follow the proposals.  


The second-biggest platinum miner, Impala Platinum, has an 86,7% stake in Zimplats and a 50% stake in the Mimosa mine, while Aquarius Platinum holds the other 50% in Mimosa.


Aquarius Platinum CEO Stuart Murray said the group’s joint-venture, Mimosa platinum mine, was in the midst of a U.S.$14 million expansion programme, and Aquarius had no intention of halting that expansion.



Metallon Group head of corporate affairs Nonkqubela Maliza said Metallon did not believe the proposals would go through in their current form. If they did, it would be disastrous for Zimbabwe’s economy. However, Metallon Gold had already allocated 30% of its assets for indigenous partners, and was in negotiations with potential partners, Maliza said.   [Metallon Gold owns five mines in Zimbabwe and two exploration projects. It is the country’s biggest gold miner.]


If the mines do not acquiesce we would expect the new shareholders to be Chinese [?] and they would pay only for the portion they receive.   One more step in the transfer of power to the East if that happens. 


It has to be said that both Impala and Anglo Platinum are sufficiently large to weather this storm without affecting current income.   This is simply a blot on their future prospects.  


As we said some months ago, any Zimbabwe assets on their Balance Sheet should be deemed of zero value to them.   We hold to that until proved by a different reality.

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The Zimbabwe's Pastors forum launched in South Africa

      March 11, 2006.

      By Andnetwork .com

      JOHANNESBURG (AND) - Zimbabwe has become so unbearable that even men
of God have followed the route of many to the City of Gold. The Zimbabwe
clergy in South Africa have formed an advocacy organisation to look into the
problems faced by more than two million Zimbabweans living in the country.

      Founding Chairperson of the Zimbabwe Pastors Forum (ZPF), Pastor
Steven Chiadzwa addressing the invited guest said, The Zimbabwe Pastors
Forum is an organisation formed by Christian ministers joined together to
create a platform and network for service and advocacy.

      "We long for a new dispensation of stability, peace and progress in
Zimbabwe. Today the country stands at a crossroads. Although there have been
so many attempts to address the country's challenges, the future remains,
for the majority, bleak. There is nothing to inspire hope and confidence.

      "As servants of God we are called upon to serve our brothers and
sisters in Zimbabwe and in the Diaspora. It is paramount that Christians
join hands in seeking an urgent solution to the current crisis. ZPF is a
non-partisan organisation. It is composed of ministers, pastors and
religious leaders from a variety of Christian denominations," said Chiadzwa.

      The 'Zimbabwe Pastors Forum' acknowledges that the challenges facing
Zimbabwe today are complex in their nature.

      "From the wisdom of past experience we have learnt that the situation
in Zimbabwe today demands, firstly, a sense of urgency in looking for
solutions. There is the issue of ownership of the Zimbabwe vision. We have
reached the stage whereby as Zimbabweans we must accept that we are
ultimately responsible for the destiny of our country.

      "Any initiatives to resolve the Zimbabwe crisis must be guided by
principles and values of negotiation and cooperative decision- making. This
demands a spirit of acceptance of one another and tolerance. These
initiatives must project a sense of coherence, purpose and clarity of
vision. Zimbabwe has little to benefit from tentative, marginalistic
solutions crafted by opportunistic leaders, and also from reactionary
opposition critics," added Pastor Chiadzwa.

      However the Pastor noted with concern over Millions of Zimbabweans who
have since fled their country in search of a better life after Operation
Murambatsvina left more than 700 000 people homeless.

      "Millions of Zimbabweans are today  scattered all over the world and
most of them languishing in poverty of unprecedented dimensions, yet
Zimbabwe, in terms of natural resources endowments, is one of the wealthiest
countries in the region and the world.

      "Yet daily, an estimated one thousand Zimbabweans cross the Limpopo
border into South Africa, many of these young, educated and able-bodied
people. As they arrive in South Africa, their home country loses their human
resources, which worsens the economic deterioration there. This
deterioration brings with it moral degeneration and a general disintegration
of society that must be halted now.  A sense of unity of purpose, confidence
and progress must be restored. As the Book of Proverbs in the Bible says
'without a vision, the people will perish'," Chiadzwa said

      Pastor Chiadzwa went on to say that his organisation will join hands
with the South African Council of Churches on the 25th of March 2006 in
organizing a civic dialogue between South Africans and Zimbabweans in

      Bongani Nyathi the Chairperson of the Progressive Teachers of Zimbabwe
in South Africa applauded the formation of the Pastors Forum saying: "This
is a positive development in the fight of democracy in Zimbabwe. At least
the Pastors like Bishop Pius Ncube and a few individuals are joining hands
with the suffering Zimbabwean and through their prayers Zimbabwe would be

      Zackeus Chibaya the Secretary for Cross border Association of
Journalists an Independent organization for Exiled Journalists said the
Zimbabweans living in Diaspora they really need the Pastors' intervention.

      "Zimbabweans in the Diaspora are traumatized, depressed, rejected and
they really need people to who understand their language and culture for
guidance and counseling in copying with their adopted situation," said

      The new organisation was officially launched today at the South
African council of churches Chapel at Khotso House.

      By Magugu Nyathi

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Hard task to heal MDC rift

From The Weekender (SA), 11 March

Some believe Arthur Mutambara is too immature to reunite Zimbabwe's

Jonathan Katzenellenbogen and Dumisani Muleya

Harare - Recently elected leader of one of the factions of Zimbabwe's
divided opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), Prof Arthur
Mutambara, will have an uphill task to unify the main opposition after the
rival camp's congress next weekend. Founding MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai's
faction, battling for control of the party with Mutambara's camp,
emphatically rejected talks with their rivals for the first time on Friday.
The Tsvangirai camp said it would not work with Mutambara. The fight over
the name of the party and its properties is currently under way. Tsvangirai's
spokes-man, William Bango, said Mutambara had no mandate to lead a
reunification of the MDC. He said he was not part of the MDC and his
comments were thus inconsequential. "He has no locus standi and capacity to
lead the so-called reunification," Bango said. "He tried to enter the MDC
through a platform we don't recognise." Nelson Chamisa, spokesman for the
Tsvangirai faction, said they believed Mutambara was irrelevant to the
party. "He has an inflated ego. He appears to think that he is the only one
who has a legitimate right to lead the MDC," Chamisa said. "He must join MDC
structures at branch level and rise through the ranks instead of trying to
impose himself as a leader from nowhere." Some regard Mutambara with
suspicion and also claim he is politically immature.

Mutambara, a former Rhodes scholar, robotics engineer, Standard Bank
director, National Aeronautics and Space Administration consultant, and
McKinsey consultant, parachuted into Zimbabwean opposition politics to lead
a faction of the MDC two weeks ago by talking tough. He threatened to tackle
President Robert Mugabe's regime head-on and remove it from power. Mutamabra
said he wanted to unite the MDC, which was split last October by a dispute
over a controversial senate election. Describing Tsvangirai as a "national
hero", Mutambara called for unity and cohesion in the opposition. "All the
democratic forces in Zimbabwe need to engage each other," he said. "We need
to unite. A reunification framework and strategy must be established
immediately." However, with the Tsvangirai faction congress next week,
Mutambara's agenda of reuniting has so far come unstuck because his
potential allies have spurned his olive branch. Mutambara's acceptance
speech and his first two press conferences were received with mixed
reactions. His attempt to dramatically shift the MDC's ideological position
by sounding extremely anticolonial and anti-imperialist only drew parallels
with Mugabe.

Some said he failed to link his past with his present to launch himself onto
the political battlefield in style. He was a fiery student activist during
his University of Zimbabwe undergraduate days. They also say he has failed
to show his political agenda, policies and vision, though he has promised an
economic blueprint in two weeks. Although some Zimbabweans applauded him for
trying to reunite the MDC, they say he lacks negotiating skills and the
necessary charisma. They say he approaches politics like a business
consultant. This, they say, might be an indication of his grasp of
realpolitik. But those who support him say his solid academic credentials
and international exposure will give him a soft landing into Zimbabwe's
cut-throat politics. They also say he is a bright future prospect in a
country desperate for a new generation of democratic leaders. Asked why he
chose to dump a safer, secure and more fulfilling life in the US and SA,
where he currently stays, and works for the turbulent Zimbabwean political
arena, he said: "What is top of Maslow's hierarchy of needs? It's
self-actualisation. I'm going beyond that, there is a higher stage called
self-transcend, leaving a legacy. A 100 years from now, 50 years from now,
what will be the Mutambara legacy? I don't care about what I benefit as an
individual. I am trying to self-transcend, go beyond self and leave a
legacy." Given the odds that face his entry into the turbulent Zimbabwean
politics, he will need more than what he already has to achieve the

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Bulawayo water crisis to persist

      March 11, 2006

      By Andnetwork .com

      THE water shortages that have stalked Bulawayo since July last year
look set to persist this year following reports that the city's five major
supply dams are only 70,42 percent full with only a few weeks remaining
before the end of the rainy season.

      The BCC public relations officer, Mr Pathisa Nyathi, said in an
interview last night that the situation remained precarious, noting that
only Insiza Dam, where a limited amount of water can be drawn at any given
time, had received significant inflows this season.

      "The water situation is still far from improving and that is the
message we have to put across," Mr Nyathi said.

      "It is only Insiza Dam, which is now over 70 percent full that has
received significant inflows. But that does not mean anything to us because
we use gravity to draw water from Insiza, which means that we are limited
and until a pumping system is installed, the inflows will not mean

      According to the latest statistics on water inflows, Insiza Dam, which
is the biggest, now holds 113,4 million cubic metres of water after it
received inflows of 44,9 million cubic metres.

      Inyankuni has received the least inflows of 3,4 million cubic metres
and holds 23,9 million cubic metres, while Lower Ncema, which dried up last
year, recorded water inflows equivalent to 8,6 million cubic metres.

      Upper Ncema now holds 10,4 million cubic metres of water after it
received inflows amounting to 13,1 million cubic metres and Umzingwane Dam
has recorded inflows equivalent to 9,4 million cubic metres bringing the
volume of water at the dam to 10 million cubic metres.

      In percentage terms, Insiza is 70,4 percent full, Inyankuni (29,61
percent), Lower Ncema (46,7 percent), Umzingwane (22,5 percent) and Upper
Ncema 23 percent.
      Last week councillors urged the Zimbabwe National Water Authority to
speed up the connection of the idle Mtshabezi Dam to Umzingwane Dam to
prevent the water crisis that hit the city last year from recurring.

      Contributing to debate during a full council meeting, the councillors
who toured the dams last month said the water situation remained critical
following poor inflows, especially to Umzingwane Dam.

      The Executive Mayor, Mr Japhet NdabeniNcube, told the meeting that the
construction of a 33kilometre pipeline to link the idle Mtshabezi Dam to
Umzingwane Dam was the only immediate solution to the water crisis available
to council.

      "I think the immediate solution is connecting Mtshabezi Dam to
Umzingwane Dam and I understand an Environmental Impact Assessment Study for
the project is being carried out," he said.

      Last year, three of the city's fivesupply dams - Umzingwane, Lower
Ncema and Upper Ncema - dried up, forcing council to introduce a strict
water rationing regime that sought to reduce daily consumption from an
average of 145 000 cubic metres to 90 000.

      Source : Chronicle

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