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Mutambara: 'We must unite'

Zim Independent

            PROFESSOR Arthur Mutambara, the recently elected leader of one
of the rival factions of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), this week
gave an exclusive interview - his first locally - to the Zimbabwe
Independent. The Independent also wanted to interview founding MDC leader
Morgan Tsvangirai, who now leads the other faction, but he said he would
only be able to do so after his congress this weekend. News editor Dumisani
Muleya (DM) spoke to Mutambara (AM) on Tuesday on a wide range of issues
just before he flew to South Africa.

            DM: Since you now lead one of the MDC factions and you have been
in charge for slightly more than two weeks, can you tell us in detail what
your political agenda is?

            AM: Let me start by making preface remarks. First of all, we
need to resolve the debate around the issue of reuniting the MDC. We need to
resolve the issue of how to reposition and refocus the party. Above all we
should not lose sight of the agenda: that is fighting Zanu PF and its
political culture.

            We have to fight this culture of dictatorship, intolerance, and
develop and build a new value-system, democratic institutions both in
government and in civil society. To do this we need to have a democratic
constitution first.

            DM: How are you going to do that?

            AM: We must always maintain the moral high ground that we are
occupying now. To do that it means we must ourselves be democratic. That's
why we are opposed to people who don't respect collective decision-making
and believe in violating constitutions and then use violence as a means of
settling disputes.

            DM: How about the issue of re-establishing cohesion in the MDC?

            AM: The first prize is unity. If that can't happen then we can
go for amicable divorce, resolve the issue of the name and allocation of
assets. We should do it in a manner that allows us to preserve our MPs and
democratic space.

            The third option if we can't agree is to go to court, the Zanu
PF courts. From there we can build a new party relevant to the generality of

            DM: Going back to the need to refocus the MDC, what will this

            AM: We need a patriotic and nationalistic opposition coming in
the tradition of our history, culture and the liberation struggle. Zanu PF
at the moment is a negation of the values of the liberation struggle.
(President Robert) Mugabe and Zanu PF do not represent what the heroes of
the struggle fought for.

            DM: How are you going to tackle all these problems facing
Zimbabwe at the moment?

            AM: Let me finalise my point on what we represent. Our foreign
policy is rooted in the national context and experiences of our people. It
is also based on notions of regional and continental integration. We also
want to define sovereignty in the national, regional and African context. At
the moment Zanu PF, for all its pretences, is the greatest threat to our
national sovereignty. By subjecting citizens to repression and poverty and
going about picking fights with everybody and presenting itself as fighting
against the world, Zanu PF poses a threat to the country, region and even
Africa. We believe in the territorial integrity of all countries.

            Lastly, we will distinguish political allies and strategic
partners. In this era of globalisation, you can't survive without strategic
partners in the international community and global institutions.

            Our political allies are parties which represent the interests
of the people, like the ANC in South Africa, and other parties in the region
and beyond.

            DM:  You are now on the political scene, so what? What's new
under the sun?

            AM: Our idea is to build a strong political party which has
capacity - intellectually, structurally and practically - to deliver. We
need to re-brand and refocus. We also need to debate and ultimately address
the substance and content of the change we need.

            The MDC also needs new strategies. We can't afford to go to
elections without Plan B. Not only should we have Plan B, but also Plan C, D
and E. I hope those responsible for rigging elections are listening
carefully. It's not going to be business as usual. We have the capacity to
outgun Zanu PF intellectually, outflank them strategically and outrun them
in the streets. We will outmanoeuvre them in every arena of political

            DM: Some of your critics say you have been out of the country
for too long and thus are out of touch with Zimbabwe's political dynamics
and realities. What do you have to say to this?

            AM: To begin with, I must say I'm not more qualified to lead
than other Zimbabweans. I have only stepped forward and I want to make a
contribution. I went out of the country to learn and I hope my education and
experiences will add value to the struggle.

            It's a myth that I'm out of touch. When I was out of the
country, especially in South Africa, I always came home. I was a consultant
for many local companies and I addressed numerous meetings here.

            In my own home area - Mutambara village in Manicaland - I
helped, working with others, to develop our area. I have also been working
with civil society and political groups albeit at a lower level. So I'm very
clued-up about what's going on.

            DM: Other people say coming from the ivory tower as you do, you
are out of sync with grassroots politics and cannot mobilise a critical
mass. What do you have to say?

            AM: Those who say that don't know Mutambara. I'm a street
fighter. As university students we fought in the streets, not just for
payouts, but for democracy and against misrule and corruption.

            What we were saying 16 years ago is exactly the kind of problems
we are confronted with now, if not worse. The only difference is that the
problems have now become a national crisis. We started fighting for
democracy and political and civil liberties while we were students when some
of our critics today were still members of Zanu PF and in its Youth League.

            DM: There are suggestions that you haven't graduated from
student politics and that you need to be taken to a finishing school. What's
your comment?

            AM: I accept criticism and I hope to learn and thrive to be a
good leader from it. I have strengths and weaknesses, just like everybody
else, but that's why I work with a team. They will teach me some things and
I will do the same.

            DM: Your assumption of leadership has caused a stir. Some say
you were brought in because your faction needed a Shona politician for an
ethnic balancing act. Are you a token leader?

            AM: Mutambara a token Shona leader to help revive the fortunes
of a dying Ndebele faction? What a travesty of justice! What a misnomer!
What raw tribalism! I'm my own man.

            Those who know me know I can't be a token. The barrage of
attacks I have been enduring in the state media show that I'm not a token. A
token which causes so much interest in politics must be interesting indeed!

            I reject lock, stock and barrel such tribal interpretation of
politics. It's part of the Zanu PF culture which we need to destroy. I came
in on the basis of my leadership qualities and credentials, not because I'm

            I'm not a tribal populist and I don't follow the wind. I follow
reason and principle. A leader is there to make unpopular decisions popular.
I also chose the side I did on the basis of principles - my stance against
violence, respect for collective decision-making and party constitution.

            DM: Let's move on to the economy. How are you going to fix this
virtually collapsed economy if you were to end up in government?

            AM: Firstly, let's accept the gravity of the crisis. The
economy, as every one says, is in intensive care unit. Let's acknowledge the
problem before we can start searching for a solution. Then we can talk about
the economic model and stabilisation we need for this economy. We can then
also talk about the role of strategic partners in all this.

            In the next two weeks we are going to release a two-pager of our
economic blueprint. Later we will have a comprehensive macroeconomic
blueprint. It will be a holistic multi-variable mathematical economic model.
It will be followed by a stabilisation programme. After that we can
introduce a plan of growth and how to sustain it.

            Going forward, we will move to a knowledge-based and
technology-driven economy. There are cheaper and suitable technologies we
can use, for instance WiFi and WiMax, to develop our economy.

            We charge Mugabe's regime with appalling economic ignorance.
They are in denial and seem to believe in an atomic or single-variable
approach to economic analysis. That's ignorance of the highest order. You
can't say inflation is our number one enemy as if inflation works
independently of other variables.

            DM: But for all this to work, after dealing with the
superstructure, you need to address agriculture which underpins the economic
base. How are you going to deal with that?

            AM: We believe in land reform and we will move swiftly to clear
the chaos on the farms, audit land allocations and have a rationalisation
programme. Then we will address security of tenure and funding. Tenure can
take the form of title or 99-year leases which allow people to plan and
invest in long-term projets.

            This will then address issues like food security, foreign
currency shortages (we need to work with strategic partners), fuel, power,
all these things.

            DM: How about the issue of sanctions which Zanu PF has been
talking about? What will you about it?

            AM: If there are any such sanctions, you can't call for their
lifting before you lift internal ones. Zanu PF must first of all lift the
sanctions it has imposed on Zimbabweans via misrule, mismanagement,
corruption and repression. That has to be addressed before we can talk about
external sanctions. We have never believed in the imposition of sanctions on
our country. That is Zanu PF propaganda.

            DM: Lastly, is it true you are married to former Secretary to
the President and Cabinet, Dr Charles Utete's daughter? If so, won't this
compromise you politically?

            AM: This is a malicious rumour and an untruth. For the record, I'm
married to Dr Jacqueline Sekesai Mutambara (nee Chimhanzi) and we have two

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Forex crunch stalls edible oil production

Zim Independent

            Eric Chiriga

            FOOD processor, National Foods Holdings Ltd (Natfoods), has
temporarily ceased production of edible oils which contributed 20% to the
group's total revenue.

            The group said the stoppage had been caused by lack of raw

            Production of the oils is expected to resume in May when it is
anticipated that key raw materials which include soya beans and cotton seed
would be available.

            "The Harare manufacturing plant of National Foods has run out of
raw materials and is, at the moment, not producing any edible oils," said
Natfoods spokesperson, Linda Musesengwa, in response to questions from

            "Oils sales contribute approximately 20% of the group's total
revenue," Musesengwa said.

            Natfoods said the raw material shortage had been largely due to
lack of foreign currency.

            "We import our raw materials, foreign currency permitting, from
the most cost-effective sources at any given time, which can meet our
quality specifications," Musesengwa said.

            She said crude oil was normally imported throughout the year to
augment local raw material supplies which do not fully meet local demand.

            "Unfortunately, the shortage of foreign currency has hindered
the import of normal requirement of crude oil; it is this challenge which
has resulted in the closure of our plants until the coming oil seed
 harvest," she said.

            She added that the non-availability of soya beans for oil
production was also likely to affect the production of stock feed.

            In its financial results for the year ended December 31, 2005,
Natfoods warned that operations would be affected by lack of raw materials,
a view analysts viewed as a profit warning.

            The company said the Grain Marketing Board (GMB), the key
supplier of raw materials, had significantly cut supplies, leaving the food
processor in the lurch.

            "We expect the first quarter of 2006 to be extremely difficult,"
said Natfoods' board in a statement accompanying the group's financial

            "GMB has significantly reduced our wheat allocation and we have
no other source of raw materials as the availability of foreign currency is
very limited," the board said.

            The board added that supplies of stock feeds had been limited
because critical raw materials like soya cake and maize were in short

            The Natfoods board said the flour division had performed well in
the first half of the period under review, and this had been due to 4 000
tonnes of wheat procured under a Memorandum of Understanding with the GMB
for allocations over and above those stipulated by the parastatal.

            "In the second half of the year the division survived solely on
GMB wheat allocations and flour rationing had to be enforced," the board

            The group made a profit after tax of $701,7 billion in the
period under review and declared a final dividend of $600 per share payable
on April 28, after having paid an interim dividend of $250 per share.

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Rising inflation to push property prices upwards

Zim Independent

            Paul Nyakazeya

            THE property market is expected to experience increased activity
during the first half of the year, spurred by investors seeking to hedge
against rising inflation.
            Inflation surged to 782% for the month of February, up 168,8
percentage points on the January figure of 613,2%.
            Ideal Properties director, Gary Shilton, told businessdigest
this week that the recent inflation figure would inevitably push property
prices upwards and might force owners to hold on to their assets as a cover
against inflation.
            Those seeking to hedge themselves against spiraling inflation
will push demand for properties.
            "Properties have become the safest form of investment as a hedge
against inflation in Zimbabwe. As such property prices will continue to be
pegged in line with the prevailing inflation rate," said Shilton.
            "The recent increase will soon translate into property prices,"
he said.
            "Over the past six months we have seen property prices
increasing four times. The increases witnessed were not due to an increase
in demand over supply in the market but due to sellers increasing the
selling prices in line with inflation to ensure that they are not losing in
real terms," said Shilton.
            He said since the beginning of the year, property owners have
ensured that they maintain the value of their properties in line with
            Shilton said that going forward, prices would continue to firm
if the local dollar continues to lose value against major currencies in a
hyperinflation environment.
            The residential market is also expected to improve compared to
the last quarter of 2005 as potential buyers are beginning to adjust to the
massive increases of prices being implemented.

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Nyarota's defence of Tsvangirai's dark side scary

Zim Independent

            By Michael Mtungwa

            ONE of the nightmares I experienced as a youth growing up in
Bulawayo in the early 1980s - that is in between trying to find employment
and escape the ravages of Gukurahundi - was the failure to get a newspaper
that could express the tribulations and despair of my fellow youths and the
generality of the population in that city and region as a whole.

            Depending on the Herald and the Chronicle in the whole country
meant a horrible genocide that left 20 000 dead was virtually uncovered and
remains a myth to the majority of the population in Zimbabwe today. The 20
000 is almost the same number as the losses suffered by Zimbabwe as a whole
in the liberation war.

            It was therefore with a heavy heart that I read Geoffrey Nyarota's
long, patronising article in the Financial Gazette of March 9, partly
because I learnt later that Nyarota was one of the editors of the newspaper
I resented during Gukurahundi. I suppose what made it worse is that the
article came out a few days before March 13, the day 23 years ago that
Joshua Nkomo fled Zimbabwe for the United Kingdom after enduring various
forms of humiliation by the Zanu PF government.

            In seeking to promote Morgan Tsvangirai - against whom I have
nothing - and to portray Welshman Ncube as the leader of an ethnic club,
Nyarota also sought to justify the senseless mass murders committed by
Robert Mugabe's government. I could not help but feel mad at his comparison
of an act of lunacy that was ignored by the whole world to what he called
"the predatory raids" on Mashonaland by the Ndebeles' "forefathers". A
number of Zanu PF politicians have used the same comparison when cornered to
explain the genocide, notably ex-Zapu vice-president Joseph Msika, who has
been accused of failing to control his tongue in his old age.

            Not surprisingly, Nyarota believes the only development to read
from Nkomo's capitulation to Zanu PF is the creation of a one-party state
and the demise of Zapu, which he accuses of having had a "largely ethnic
following". He makes the same accusation of regional focus against Zapu
2000, but astonishingly leaves out the ZUD, a Harare-based grouping that
never made any pretensions to being national. No thought is given to the
thousands of lives that were saved in both Matabeleland and the Midlands and
in Zimbabwe as a whole by Nkomo's humiliating submission to a party he knew
had no vision for the country, and whose bankruptcy of ideas is plain to
everyone today.

            The portrayal of Nkomo as a traitor for embracing the Unity
Accord by comparing that act to Ncube's alleged involvement in a plot to
push for a government of national unity has been a common feature in the
utterances of both Tsvangirai and senior members of his party, and shows how
little our progressive leaders care about the plight of Gukurahundi victims.

            Apart from steering away from the common reasons that led to the
split in MDC, such as Tsvangirai's rebellion against his national council,
and indeed the obstinate resolve by Ncube and his colleagues to stick to a
white elephant, Nyarota strives to show that there have been bad Ndebele
leaders in Zanu PF as well, notably Jonathan Moyo and Enos Nkala, just as
there have been Shona victims to Mugabe's rule - 300 he says, insinuating
this should make the Ndebele stop what he portrays as playing the victim.

            I will not seek to justify the loss of any human life, as
Nyarota does, but comparing genocide to the killings that have taken place
since the formation of the MDC is to express that you do not empathise with
the hurt felt by the survivors of the genocide.

            Nyarota also emphasises the ethnic angle to the split in the
MDC, simply because Ndebele leaders Gibson Sibanda and Ncube led it.
Notably, while the import of his argument is that ethnicity is behind much
of the problems afflicting the MDC today, he places the blame on the leaders
of one camp and leaves the "mainstream" MDC, as he calls it, untouched.
Where he criticises the "mainstream" MDC, it is to advise it on how to
proceed in future, such as whom a government it forms must work with.

            What also baffles my mind is Nyarota's eagerness to embrace Zanu
PF leaders and sympathisers who have been complicit in the destruction of
the country either as protagonists or cheerleaders while he trashes
opposition leaders who have stood up to both Mugabe and opposition leader

            Gideon Gono, Mutumwa Mawere, Oppah Muchinguri and Dumiso
Dabengwa are therefore praised as progressive leaders alongside MDC members
from Matabeleland who support or are perceived to support Tsvangirai, and
these are the people he suggests Tsvangirai should work with. Arthur
Mutambara is flogged for being an opportunist who joined a tribal band, and
is advised to stay away from politics because he has been away for too long
and has a PhD in robotics anyway. To bolster a perfect argument, Nyarota
deliberately removes the context of Mutambara's praise of Tsvangirai - and
Mugabe by the way - and his anti-senate position.

            However, what frightens me and indeed most of the victims of
Mugabe's rule since 1980 is that Nyarota's views mirror the opinions of many
people in civic society and among intellectuals in Zimbabwe today, some of
whom he mentions by name. Like Nyarota, many of these leaders care little
about whether Tsvangirai is right or wrong. Many of them waited until they
realised he still has support, and then attacked his opponents using the
same views expressed by Nyarota. In his lengthy essay, Nyarota also leaves
out the violence perpetrated by Tsvangirai against members of his party last
year, which was probably his way of fighting the plot Nyarota is alleging.
Not even one of our boisterous civic groups condemned that orgy, because
doing so would have cast aspersions on the moral authority of Tsvangirai.

            If you ask me, I would say Zimbabweans want a president who will
steer this country from the economic and political mess it is in, restore
confidence in the population and re-establish meaningful relations with the
international community, but beneath this lies the fact that Zanu PF
poisoned our society to believe ruling is a preserve of the majority ethnic
group, and this has been supported, both implicitly and explicitly, in
business, politics and even in civic society and even by some of the most
"progressive" people in this country. To deny the xenophobia that exists
between Shona and Ndebele in Zimbabwe and attack those who state the obvious
is simply hypocritical. And hiding behind one's tribal bigotry by pointing
fingers at others and dodging pertinent issues is hardly the way to address
the crisis in Zimbabwe now.

            For all the talk about a united front and Zanu PF abuses since
2000, none of the leaders in the civil society groups, most of whom are
based in Harare, have mentioned that by far the biggest crime Zanu PF has
committed since Independence is the Gukurahundi atrocities. Some of these
leaders still prefer the safety of referring to these as "disturbances". At
the same time, it is the common language of the Zimbabwean press that the
MDC is Zanu PF's biggest challenge since Independence? Really? A challenge
that cost 20 000 lives to put down and became a lost cause because of
xenophobic politics is relegated simply because those who coin our language
are now feeling the pinch as well.

            The disappointing thing for one who lived through the horrors of
Gukurahundi is that little has changed. Many of these academics and civil
society leaders either cheered Mugabe on or happily looked away when the 5th
Brigade rampaged through Bulawayo and Matabeleland. Many of them would also
accuse Ndebele victims of Mugabe's brutality of thinking all the Shona are
guilty of the atrocities. Not that they think this is the situation, but
because by so doing, they think they exorcise the part they played during
that time, for not only Mugabe and Zanu PF will be charged with genocide
should that time come, but also the various editors and opinion leaders who
helped him cover up the crimes from the world.

            It is also depressing that many of these opinion leaders, just
like Mugabe, have not changed. Mugabe committed crimes against humanity in
the 1980s because of the support he received when he made inflammatory
speeches and accused his opponents of being tribalists and traitors simply
because many among their leaders belonged to a different ethnic group and
rejected his one-party state notion.

            Like Mugabe, Tsvangirai too can become a despot after being
encouraged to disregard internal democracy in his own party, and after
seeing that even sinking to the violence he condemns in Zanu PF will not
earn him any reprimand, so long as he chooses his victims carefully.

            It was admirable for Tsvangirai to state that the senate, just
like parliament by the way, will not change the suffering Zimbabweans are
going through, but this self-serving stance cannot be used to cover up the
dark side he has exhibited through all this.

            * Michael Mtungwa is a Zimbabwean writing from South Africa.

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The economy has become Zanu PF's most bitter opponent

Zim Independent

            By Prof Jonathan Moyo

            IF there is one thing that no responsible Zimbabwean can deny
today, it is that our country is in the throes of a devastating economic
meltdown coupled with the collapse of key national institutions, especially
those charged with the delivery of essential services to ordinary people
such as jobs, health, education, housing, transport and food.

            Despite this self-evident fact, it is shocking that opinion and
policy-makers across the political divide remain preoccupied with
self-indulgent agendas at the expense of the resolution of the clear
economic meltdown and the decay of critical public institutions that have
brought unprecedented suffering among Zimbabweans.

            The economy has become the main opposition to Zanu PF rule and
President Robert Mugabe and his cronies have no solution to this opposition
outside the brutality of a knee-jerk law and order response of ruling by
terror. In the circumstances, Zimbabweans at home and in the diaspora,
including the ancestral spirits, are crying out for a new vision and the
emergence of those capable of fashioning that vision.

            This is why Zimbabwe today is haunted by the perennial wisdom
that where there is no vision the people perish.

            If nothing is done to intervene as a matter of national urgency,
more people will perish as some already have.

            It is against this backdrop that the welcome entry (or is it
re-entry) of Arthur Mutambara into national politics has been received with
mixed reactions by vision-hungry Zimbabweans.

            While appreciating Mutambara's call for a broad-based united
nationalist and democratic front against the ruling Zanu PF clique, neutral
Zimbabweans have been surprised if not disappointed by his decision to join
and lead one of the feuding and arguably weaker MDC factions when he had a
golden opportunity to work on reuniting the two factions under a new
nationalist and democratic vision that could also rope in many disgruntled
Zanu PF members and supporters who can clearly see that Zanu PF has become a
shelf political party with no democratic ideology nor vibrant policies.

            Joining either of the MDC factions as its leader was not a
viable premise for unity or political growth for Mutambara by any stretch of
imagination from the standpoint of visionary politics.

            Neither of the MDC factions needed a leader because they both
clearly have plenty of leaders some of whom engineered and spearheaded the
split whose only purpose, intended or not, is to give Zanu PF a false sense
of comfort while the country is fatally bleeding.

            What the two factions needed, and still need, as do the ranks of
opposition politics in the country in general, is a visionary political
broker, not leader, and Mutambara could have been that and more.

            He still can be but the task would now be much harder and much
more complicated yet still worthy of trying given that politics by its very
dynamic nature is forever full of endless possibilities with twists and
turns in which nothing is ever ruled out.

            Up to now, opposition politics in Zimbabwe have been doomed by
two major drawbacks.  The one is the mindless preoccupation with
personalities at the expense of ideology and policies and the other is the
failure to understand that no opposition will ever rule this country without
attracting significant membership and support from Zanu PF's rank and file.

            Before splitting into the two currently warring factions, the
MDC had reached its limit in crafting an opposition propaganda based on the
hatred of not just Zanu PF but also of people linked to or associated with
Zanu PF.

            The effect of this MDC propaganda of needless hatred combined
with the violent reaction to it by Zanu PF ensured that there could not be
an exodus of Zanu PF members and supporters crossing over to the MDC.

            The situation is now worse with the factionalisation of the MDC:
it would be foolhardy for anyone to expect hordes of Zanu PF rank and file
to flock to either of the MDC factions.

            Meanwhile, the vision problem is much more serious in
officialdom which has run out of all steam and is now out of its depth when
it comes to dealing with the ongoing economic meltdown and collapse of
public institutions. The popular line in officialdom has been to confuse
symptoms with causes and to foolishly declare inflation and corruption as
the country's alternating number one enemies.

            While it is true that corruption is rife in Zimbabwe and that
runaway inflation - which was 782% last month and is set to hit four digits
this month - is making the lives of consumers and businesses hell, the truth
is that both unbridled corruption and hyperinflation are symptoms and not
causes of the economic meltdown.

            The cause is to be found in the political system that is
dominated by people without a vision.

            President Mugabe and other Zanu PF leaders who imitate him have
claimed that the economic meltdown has been caused by alleged enemies whose
Zanu PF inventory includes Tony Blair, George W Bush, the International
Monetary Fund, World Bank, unnamed neo-colonialists and imperialists, the
West, Rhodies and their presumed local puppets.

            What is most unfortunate about the Zanu PF identification of the
causes of the current suffering gripping the nation is not only that it is
devoid of visionary thinking but also that it is so demagogic as to
guarantee a zero policy response.

            While Zanu PF leaders have a lot to chant when it comes to
slogans about "looking east" and dogmas against neo-colonialists and
imperialists and their regime change agendas, they notably have between
little and nothing to say about what should be done technically from an
action-based policy point of view. If Tony Blair is the cause of the
suffering that all Zimbabweans are now experiencing, what should Zimbabweans
do to or about him in order to alleviate or eliminate their suffering?

            In September 2005, President Mugabe told Zanu PF supporters who
had gathered outside his party headquarters to complain about the biting
effects of fuel shortages that the "fuel situation would start improving in
two weeks".

            But six months later the fuel situation has not improved in the
country but has in fact gotten chronically worse.

            The only action that Zanu PF leaders have been able to implement
thus far is a crude law-and-order approach in which the ruling clique
connives with some ambitious elements within state security organs to visit
terror on perceived enemies under the guise of fighting alleged economic
crimes which happen to be the norm among the power elite.

            A case in point is the selective arrest and prosecution of
individuals accused of abusing fuel facilities when the abuse is not only
palpably rampant within Zanu PF and officialdom but is also but only one
symptom of the economic meltdown.

            Whether Mugabe and his ruling colleagues like it or not, and
whether Zanu PF media mouthpieces can see or report it or not, the one fact
that all Zimbabweans and the whole world can see is that Zanu PF's Waterloo
is the ongoing economic meltdown.  The economy has become the real
opposition to Zanu PF and the ruling party has no response because it cannot
have any as the lunatics have already bolted out of the asylum.

            This is why everyone else who was making a lot of noise about
the situation in Zimbabwe over the last five or so years, including Tony
Blair, is now playing quiet diplomacy like Thabo Mbeki. There is no
initiative on Zimbabwe in Sadc, none in the African Union, none in the
European Union and none at the United Nations. By the time Kofi Annan is
ready to visit Zimbabwe in a few months time, Mugabe might also be ready for
an exit deal due to the fires of the economic meltdown.

            The initiative is now in Zimbabwe and in the economy.  Zanu PF
must now come to terms with the dictates of the economy and simply claiming
as usual that there are economic saboteurs in our midst will not do with
galloping inflation in the 1 000% range, unemployment over 90%, poverty over
95% while businesses are closing down, property rights are unsettled as
education, health, housing and public transport fall apart.

            No democratic government anywhere in the world has ever survived
three digit inflation let alone four digit inflation now on the horizon in
this country and it would be folly of the highest order for anyone in the
Zanu PF leadership to dream that they will survive the ongoing onslaught
from the economy.

            Short of ruling through terror, which would quicken his
downfall, there is just nothing that President Mugabe can now do to turn
around the economy besides stepping down and allowing for structural reform
of national politics in constitutional terms before the holding of
harmonised presidential and legislative elections before or by 2008 when his
tenure is due to expire.

            If he does not allow this, he and his securocrats who are
currently causing confusion in the newspapers they own or control such as
the Financial Gazette and the Mirror, should be assured that Zimbabwe will
go up in smoke whatever they do.

            Experience from around the world, including in countries that
are not democratic, has shown that when the economy becomes the main
opposition, the game is over for the ruling elite and it's time for everyone
else, including members and supporters of the ruling party, to close ranks
and forge a common and united nationalist and democratic front under
visionary leadership in the national interest.

            * Prof Moyo is an independent MP for Tsholotsho.

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It's a huge leap of faith

Zim Independent

            Candid Comment with Joram Nyathi

            LAST week I wrote about Zimbabwe's dubious distinction in
winning an award for agricultural production. There has since been a
consolidation of that record with the country setting an unassailable lead
in the inflation stakes.

            The latest figure from the Central Statistical Office released
on Friday was a mind-numbing 782%.

            I don't know if it is necessary for me to say what I would do if
I were Finance minister Herbert Murerwa. On Wednesday he had attended a
meeting in Washington of the IMF board with RBZ governor Gideon Gono where
they were told "well done for clearing your country's arrears under the
General Resources account, but sorry, there won't be any money coming your
way anytime soon".

            It doesn't matter how nicely it was expressed.

            We had a serious discussion about Gono's appointment as Reserve
Bank governor in 2003. The general line of discussion was whether he would
be able to change the course of the collapsing economy. My argument was that
he should have been given carte blanche to do what ever was necessary to
reverse the decline otherwise why would he want to sully his reputation. He
was hailed in the media as a turnaround strategist after he turned the CBZ
into a blue-chip bank in record time.

            President Mugabe reputedly slammed the previous RBZ governor
Leonard Tsumba for relying on textbook concepts when what was needed were
home-grown solutions.

            It's turning out that Gono is no different from his predecessors
except that he has been allowed to commit the sin that others were condemned
for - to devalue the currency to a worthless piece of paper. Former Finance
minister Simba Makoni was labelled an economic saboteur for proposing the
same.  But the politics haven't changed a bit.

            I have never believed in the efficacy of devaluation unless you
really have something big to export. The decimation of Zimbabwe's
agriculture has seriously undercut industrial and commercial production to a
point where there is very little business to justify random devaluation.

            The inflows from the diaspora don't justify the pain we are
being subjected to. When do you stop once you succumb to the speculative
demands of the few people in the diaspora who promise to fill the country's
foreign currency reserves if there is sufficient devaluation?

            Part of Gono's undoing is that Mugabe's verbal support is not
backed by concrete policies on the political front.

            Witness how much he is fighting to restore relations with the
international community while Mugabe attacks the same countries that want to
help us. How do you hope to get balance-of-payments support from the IMF
when your government attacks the same institution as enemies of Zimbabwe?
How do you achieve macroeconomic stability when government is obsessed with
having its finger in every piece of the pie?

            After destroying agriculture and rendering land almost valueless
through nationalisation, government has now set its sights on mining where
it is demanding a free shareholding of up to 51% for certain minerals. Given
the cost of mining investment, that ill-advised policy can only be a huge
turn-off for potential investors.

            Friday's inflation data set a record for the country since Gono
assumed control at the RBZ. For once his forecast of 800% was nearly
correct. Our nearest competitor in the inflation stakes is Iraq with 40%.
That is a country at war in which on average 10 people are blown to
smithereens by bombs in Baghdad every day.

            Our closest rivals on the African continent are fellow
basket-cases like Angola and Zambia. But they are very poor competition at
17,7% and 19% respectively. We all know that Angola has just emerged from a
long civil war while in terms of resources Zambia has never significantly
recovered since the collapse of copper prices in the 1970s. But at least
they are looking up.

            Zimbabwe has enjoyed relative peace for all the 26 years of
Independence until government itself declared war against commercial farming
in 1999. It is no consolation that at one point countries like Yugoslavia or
Bolivia had inflation going up by 1 000% every day. The issue is that we
should never have got to where we are if we were pursuing modestly prudent
economic policies. It is as if we were trying to reinvent the wheel merely
to prove that we are a sovereign state.

            That experiment has reportedly taken the country's GDP back to
1953 levels. As if to crown our wonderful achievement, the country's name is
not only the last in the alphabet but we also sit snugly at the very bottom
of the inflation heap at number 223. That puts our nearest rival,
war-wrecked Iraq 742 percentage points away.

            Our nemesis that we are always eager to challenge to a duel, the
United Kingdom and the European Union, have an inflation average of 2,2%.
That's how badly different we are and there is definitely no economic
turnaround in sight. We can only hope that Gono will achieve his target of
200% inflation by year-end. It is a huge leap of faith even for the most
optimistic patriot given the state of agriculture and our limited foreign
currency generation capacity.

            So long as Gono cannot convince his principals to change their
politics, we are doomed. What is needed is  a whole new culture of doing
business and the harnessing of all available resources to move forward. Gono's
piece-meal selection of variable symptoms as "enemies" is at worst an excuse
for doing nothing and at best an alibi for failure.

            His advisors should tell him these elementary truths.

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Agrarian reform has disempowered today's farmer

Zim Independent

            By John Robertson

            AS Zimbabwe's remarkably good 2005/6 rainy season moves into its
final phases, evidence is growing that food production will yet again fall
well below the volumes needed.

            Bruce Gemmill's ("Waiting to reclaim my land", Zimbabwe
Independent, February 24), description of the lands he used to farm as
silent, empty and resembling a graveyard can be applied to almost all the
land that used to produce Zimbabwe's food surpluses.

            The various efforts that have been made to persuade Zimbabweans
in particular, and the world in general, that our land reform has been a
resounding success have sounded more absurd with each passing year.

            Of course, the definition of the word "success" can be carefully
altered to fit in with the ruling party's claim that ownership of the land
has been restored to indigenous Zimbabweans and that is the "success" that
was wanted, but even that claim is stretching credulity. What value is such
ownership when even the farmers who have been resettled on the land can be
evicted on the whim of a party heavyweight?

            As Gemmill points out in his excellent article, what matters
most is production, and apart from modest crops for the growers' own
consumption, that is not happening. Much higher levels of commitment and
experience are needed to produce large-scale crops for competitive markets,
but these will never be forthcoming from people who have no security of
tenure and therefore no confidence that only they will reap what they have

            Apart from property rights, other components of the system that
used to work for commercial farmers, and therefore for the country, were the
market for land, which permitted a market price and collateral value to be
established, and the transferability of ownership rights through the market.
These attributes permitted the land to be used as security for bank loans,
while the security of tenure the owners believed they had permitted
long-term planning.

            These, in turn, supported the investment process that allowed
the farmers to turn land into productive and sustainable farms.

            By comparison, today's farmers are seriously disabled. Far from
empowering them by giving them free land, the policy-makers have
disempowered them by taking away every one of the components of a
well-proven system that delivered excellent results.

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Mines takeover: govt presses self-destruct button

Zim Independent

            Shakeman Mugari

            GOVERNMENT last week kept its finger firmly pressed on the
self-destruct button by announcing plans to amend mining laws to allow the
state to take over mines, a plan experts say sounds the death knell for the

            If the plan is translated into action, analysts say, it will
lead to the collapse of the mining industry with investors fleeing with
their investment capital.

            They say the proposal aggravates Zimbabwe's battered reputation
wrought by its chaotic land reform, lawlessness and attack on the opposition
and independent media.

            Analysts said the move would worsen Zimbabwe's tumbling ranking
as an investment destination and prolong its isolation from the rest of the

            In what experts liken to nationalisation of the sector, Mines
minister Amos Midzi said the amendment would allow government to take a 51%
shareholding in strategic foreign-owned mines.

            He said mining companies would cede 25% to the state for free
and give the other 26% to empowerment groups that would pay for the stake
over a five-year period.

            Midzi told the Chamber of Mines on the amendments: "Government
has made two giant steps: to be an active player in the mining business and
to indigenise 51% in some instances of all foreign owned companies."

            He said government would hold controlling shares in companies
mining energy minerals like coal, uranium and methane gas. Government will
have 51% in platinum, diamond and gold mines "In gold government shall
participate in big mines," Midzi said.

            The announcement immediately made a negative impact on the
international scene with sources saying the issue could have played a major
part in scuttling Zimbabwe's attempt to get the International Monetary Fund
(IMF)'s executive board to re-open financial assistance lines.

            The board made a big issue out of the proposal that was a clear
departure from the government's promises to protect private investment,
property rights and fair business dealings.

            The IMF has told Harare since 1999 to respect property rights
and come up with a clear investment policy that ensures confidence and

            At national level the impact of the proposal was dramatic with
foreign mining companies openly expressing their fear and reservations about
the plan.

            Implats, a major shareholder which owns 86,7% stake in Zimplats,
which operates Zimbabwe's biggest platinum mine in the Selous area, said the
proposal would affect its operations.

            Chief executive officer David Brown was cautious but warned that
the plan would render expansion at existing mines "uneconomic".

            The world's biggest platinum miner, South Africa's Anglo
Platinum, currently developing Unki platinum project, said it was concerned
with Zimbabwe's proposal.

            Other players were "disturbed" by the proposal which they say
smacks of an attempt to nationalise mines the same way it nationalised land.

            Midzi for his part did not explain why government would need to
grab mines save to say "there was need to benefit the majority of the
disadvantaged people".

            Analysts believe the move would sink the industry which,
ironically, is the only sector registering some modest growth.

            The mining sector grew by 7% last year making it the only
industry to register growth over the past three years.
            It contributes 4% to GDP and 25% to the country's foreign
currency earnings.

            With agriculture having collapsed and other industries in dire
straits, the mining sector has become one of the biggest employers in the

            The proposal therefore poses a serious threat to foreign mining
companies that are already hard pressed because of Zimbabwe's heavy handed
foreign currency regime.

            Economic consultant Daniel Ndlela said if government carries out
its threats the sector would follow agriculture.

            "It's a greed policy that will bring the mining sector to a halt
just like what happened to agriculture when they invaded farms and
nationalised land," Ndlela warned.

            He said the nationalisation of companies was a 1970s policy that
is no longer fashionable in the new global village.

            "That policy ceased to be fashionable more than 30 year ago,"
Ndlela said.

            "What's fashionable now is sustained growth, reduction of
poverty and partnership with investors and the private sector."

            The proposal could cause massive capital flight as investors
fear losing their property, he said.

            Analysts say it would also strangle the little capital that has
been trickling into Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe is in its ninth year of

            Analysts wonder why government wants to grab more mines when it
has not been able to run its owns.

            State mining concern Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation
(ZMDC) has failed to resuscitate closed mines.

            It has a trail of collapsed ventures since 1980. It closed its
biggest gold producer, Sabi, in 2002. ZMDC also left thousands of people
jobless when it closed its copper smelter in Mhangura. Mhangura is now a
ghost town.

            While government has made public commitments to reopen the
mines, there has been very little progress on the ground.

            According to unconfirmed reports, more than 4 000 small mining
companies have closed down since Zimbabwe's financial crisis started in
1999. More than 10 other big mines have been shut down since 2000.

            Falcon Gold, owners of Dalny (Chakari) and Venice Mines, both
near Kadoma, is threatening to shut down because of huge losses caused by
the foreign currency problems.

            Experts also warn that the plan could degenerate into a
diplomatic crisis with South Africa.

            Harare's attempt to muscle into South African companies is bound
to irk Pretoria, they said.

            Over the past five years South African companies have invested
heavily in Zimbabwean mines on the basis of protection offers under the
Bilateral Investment and Property Protection Agreements (Bippas).

            Midzi's proposal would affect two SA companies, Shaft Sinkers
and Mmakau Mining, that recently opened Eureka Mine which had been closed
for the past five years.

            The move is likely to affect SA's Metallon Gold Mine that
operates five local mines and produces more than a third of Zimbabwe's gold.

            Owned by black entrepreneur, Mzi Khumalo, Metallon is currently
embroiled in a fight with indigenous empowerment groups over a 30% stake
which was initially reserved for local business people.

            Stanmarker, led by Lloyd Hove, is suing Metallon for breach of
contract while the Manyame Consortium which includes John Mkushi, Albert
Nhau and banker Mthuli Ncube is yet to pay for its stake.

            If the government becomes a shareholder it would need to pump
out huge amounts of foreign currency for expansion programmes.

            "Government does not have local money, worse still hard
currency," said an independent economist, Blessing Sakupwanya.

            Armed with the new law, government is likely to muscle into
Metallon which owns Arcturus Mines, Shamva Mine, Mazowe, How Mines and

            The five mines have an annual gold production of 180 000 ounces,
employs 10 000 people and sustains 500 000 more.
            "The closure of such mines would affect thousands of people in
both the sector and supporting industries," Sakupwanya said.

            Implats' Mimosa Mines will also be affected.

            Other analysts detect a measure of guilt atonement in Midzi's
proposal saying it could have been triggered by President Mugabe's criticism
of non-performing ministers during his birthday interview.

            They say he is trying to over-compensate for his inadequacies
and the policy risks dying a natural death.

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The shame of state paranoia

Zim Independent


            NO matter how much the Zanu PF government tries to deny its
egregious human rights record, it is nevertheless working feverishly to
demonstrate that it can attack civic liberties with impunity.

            The events of the past two weeks following the arrest of
opposition MP Giles Mutsekwa and other members of the MDC on charges of
conspiring to assassinate President Robert Mugabe, amply demonstrate the
extent to which government is prepared to subvert fundamental human
liberties using methods, including arbitrary arrest, which have no place in
a democracy.

            The state case collapsed on Wednesday with charges being dropped
against the accused.

            What has emerged from the state's latest debacle is that the
world has seen all too clearly that Zimbabwe is not a democracy and security
agents, which include the Central Intelligence Organisation and the police,
do not respect basic human rights or legal due process.

            It is also crystal clear that the government is prepared to
cause alarm and despondency to fulfil a political agenda set by the ruling
party. This is not the first time the country has been made to endure
immense anxiety and tension because of state-authoured dramas designed to
portray President Mugabe and his government as victims of Western

            But such was the clumsy amateurism of this latest episode that
the state case quickly collapsed. On Tuesday evening High Court judge,
Justice Charles Hungwe, ruled the continued detention of the accused and the
confiscation of their property unlawful. The judgement should be hailed as a
bold illustration of judicial activism which has been lacking of late among
some of his colleagues on the bench. He said the illegal detention and the
refusal by police to allow lawyers to access the accused "deserved the
highest possible censure".

            "It cannot be justified in a democratic society," said the
judge. "One cannot simply condone such a blatant refusal of access by the
police. This is the type of conduct that brings the administration of
justice into disrepute."

            Court documents state that the accused were abused and tortured
while in custody. Even after they had been remanded in custody by a court,
the police and the CIO still continued to detain them when they should have
been transferred to remand prison.

            The documents detail the ZRP's disrespect for lawyers and the
legal process and a culture of obduracy designed to subvert individual

            Such was the conduct of the police and the CIO that even
prosecutors, who are state lawyers and should be on the same side as law
enforcers, were victims of harassment and intimidation.

            State counsel who had travelled from Harare to bolster the state
case had to leave Mutare unceremoniously after threats from the police and
the CIO, it is reported. The area prosecutor had to abandon his home and
find alternative accommodation after the police and the CIO accused him of
siding with the defence.

            Justice Hungwe rightly describes this behaviour by the police
and the CIO as "a shocking development". The pattern of partisan behaviour
by state agents is evident from the Gukurahundi era in the early 1980s, to
the arraignment of Zanu Ndonga leader Ndabaningi Sithole on treason charges,
through to the Cain Nkala murder case and the Ari Ben-Menashe saga.

            This unprofessional behaviour has not been missed by alert
judges. Justice Sandra Mungwira captured this well in her ruling in the
Nkala case.

            "The (police) witnesses conducted themselves in a shameless
fashion and displayed utter contempt for the due administration of justice
to the extent that they were prepared to indulge in what can only be
described as works of fiction ..."

            Repeated claims by police commissioner Augustine Chihuri that
Zimbabwe has a professional police force as demonstrated by assignment to
United Nations duty abroad cannot stand the test of sincerity in the face of
the shocking conduct of the police in dealing with the Mutare case. With
equal measure claims by State Security minister Didymus Mutasa that Zimbabwe
has a competent intelligence apparatus which managed to save the nation from
a terrorist plot is simply laughable. There was no plot other than that
concocted in the minds of ministers and partisan security officials.

            Whenever charges of human rights abuse are raised against
Zimbabwe, our rulers have been quick to accuse the media of painting a
negative image of the country. We have even been accused by our colleagues
in the state media of lying. But it is clear this week who has been wielding
the brush to tar the image of the country.

            Can Chihuri or Mutasa dispute Justice Hungwe's summation that
the Mutare incident was "the type of conduct that brings the administration
of justice into disrepute"? The Commissioner of Police and Minister for
State Security should be held accountable for this disgraceful episode.

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Another nail in economy's coffin

Zim Independent

            The Eric Bloch Column

            WHEN Mines and Mining Development minister Amos Midzi announced
a fortnight ago that government had approved amendments to the proposed
Mines and Minerals Bill, the inevitable reaction was that no government
could be so vested with a national death wish.

            Those amendments are tantamount to a gargantuan nationalisation
of the mining sector.

            As the minister outlined the proposals, any rational listener
could only assume that government was dismayed in the extreme that, despite
its vigorous efforts to that end, it has still not totally destroyed the
Zimbabwean economy notwithstanding more than a quarter-century's endeavours
to do so.

            So potentially disastrous are the new intents that one must
presume that government might have been in a state of great distress,
saying: "Although we did our very best to destroy the Zimbabwean economy by
collapsing agriculture, which was its foundation, through an ill-conceived,
unjust, immoral programme of land acquisition, implemented even more
devastatingly than its conception, the economy is still not completely

            "Although we tried very intensively to reinforce the economic
collapse by alienating the international community, by contempt for law and
order, matched only by like contempt for human rights and for democracy, by
allowing corruption to prevail unabated as an ever greater pervading cancer,
and by gross fiscal mismanagement, the economy still lingers on, even if in
a very debilitated state.

            "Where did we go wrong?   How did all these actions only bring
the economy to its knees, not to total destruction? What can we do?"

            Undoubtedly the worthy ministers and their multitudes of
advisors pondered and pondered on not only how their strategies could have
failed, but also on what now to do.  And, eventually, one of them will have

            "Now that agriculture is almost extinct, and as we do not
recognise the informal sector as a genuine element of the economy (and we
failed to kill it with Operation Murambatsvina), the strongest remaining
element, and that with the greatest potential as catalyst for economic
upturn, is the mining sector. So let us destroy it, and how better to do so
than by nationalising it."

            His colleagues will have stared at him with amazement, never
having being aware of such deep-seated brilliance! In fact, they had been so
unaware of such profound intellect among them that, after some reflection,
they probably wondered whether they had missed some key point that would
negate the whole scheme.

            "How," they will have asked, "will our taking ownership of the
mining sector complete the destruction of the economy?  How will that bring
about the long-awaited economic Armageddon?"

            The fount of inspiration will have leaned back, savouring the
moment of supremacy and undivided attention, and then surely will have
explained:  "If we dictate that the state must own 51% of all shares in
mines producing energy minerals, platinum and diamonds, and that the state
and appropriately approved indigenous companies own a like proportion in
large gold mines, we will ring the death knell of mining and, thereby, of
what little else remains in the economy.

            "On the one hand investors, the world over - foreign and
domestic investors alike - will never again want to invest in Zimbabwe, for
they will say: 'First they took the land, now they take the mines, then they'll
take the factories, then the hotels, then the banks, and then anything else
that is left.'  And, what is even more, all those already involved in mining
will be demoralised in the extreme, losing any and all interest in their

            To ensure that demoralisation and complete loss of interest
occurs, the state proposes that all existing platinum, diamond and energy
mineral mines - coal, natural and coal-bed methane gas and uranium - must
cede to the state 25% of all shares immediately following upon the enactment
of the intended laws, no payment whatsoever being given for those shares. A
further 26% must then be transferred to the state over the following five
years - with no indication, at present, whether there will be any payment
for those shares and, if so, the fairness of valuation and the terms of

            The demonic brilliance of the economy-destroying proposals is
underscored by the fact that, in addition to the gross inequity of
expropriation and deprivation of property rights, government's track-record
of mismanagement of almost every parastatal, and of virtually every economic
venture that it has ever been involved with, virtually assures that even the
most viable of mines will lose all viability once government is in control.

            Soon those mines will have performance records commensurate with
those of Ziscosteel, Zesa, the National Railways of Zimbabwe, the Grain
Marketing Board, the National Oil Company of Zimbabwe and the majority of
the other state-controlled economic enterprises.

            In the case of the non-energy minerals - platinum, diamond and
large gold mines - the proposals are marginally less oppressive, but only
very marginally so!  All existing mines will have to cede to government, or
to approved Zimbabwean indigenous companies, 10% of all shares within two
years, a further 30% within the next following three years, and another 10%
within two years thereafter, so that within seven years the state and
Zimbabwean ownership will be at least 50%.

            No details are released as to the values to be placed on the
shares, but clearly government intends that the sellers will effectively pay
themselves, without government putting up even one brass farthing, for it is
intended that the incoming legislation will also introduce an obligation
upon mines to pay royalties to the state (over and above existing liability
to income tax and a milliard of indirect taxes). So the generous state will
take from one pocket of the mining industry in order to place a little in
the other pocket, creating the impression that the enforced disinvestment is
pursued with equity.

            Yet to be disclosed is how government will determine which
Zimbabweans, and which Zimbabwean companies, will be approved as
co-shareholders with non-Zimbabweans, but if the past is anything of a
guideline, the fundamental criteria will undoubtedly be the extent of
nepotistic association, approved political activity and influence-wielding
ability of those who will be given the accolades of investment approval,
supported by state funding.

            In like manner, can it now be assumed that in order to pretend
that there is still wide-ranging international investor interest in the
mining sector, Zimbabweans will shortly be recipients of yet another deluge
of state propaganda as to the merits and magnificent successes of its "Look
East" policies - which have yielded a cement factory, brickfields, a glass
factory, and management of a coal-starved iron and steel producer, a flood
of eastern-produced commuter omnibuses, nine aircraft (still being paid for)
and comparatively little else!

            In his statement, Midzi made no reference to the Bilateral
Investment Protection Agreements to which Zimbabwe is party, and the impact
that they should have upon the proposed legalised "theft" of the mining
industry by government. However, as government has had almost total
disregard for those agreements in pursuing its land acquisition,
resettlement and redistribution programme, it is too much to expect that it
will give them more than even the slightest glance, as it embarks upon its
buccaneering intents upon mining.

            The one and only redeeming feature of the minister's statement
was his acknowledgement that he has met with some "stakeholders in the
mining industry to brief them on the government position", and they had
indicated  "they need to make further consultations, and would respond in a
few weeks' time".  Although probably a vain one, one must hope that -
although improbable - government will heed the responses when they are
forthcoming, and will markedly reconsider its cataclysmic intent of
completing the implosion of the economy.

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MDC rebels, arms caches and déjà vu

Zim Independent


            IT is sometimes impossible to imagine that a former editor of a
national newspaper can turn bootlicker just because he cannot think beyond a
tribal laager.

            Last week we had more than a surfeit of it when a former Daily
News editor filled a whole page in the Financial Gazette with drivel of
ethnic politics.

            It was evident in the article that there is no love lost between
Geoffrey Nyarota and Welshman Ncube while his admiration for Morgan
Tsvangirai blinds him to obvious realities.

            So every political movement led by somebody from Matabeleland is
ethnic-based? Even Joshua Nkomo's Zapu is described derisively as having a
largely "ethnic following".

            Those who broke away to form Zanu in 1963 evidently don't have
ethnic origins. They are born nationalists. Ncube was accused of leading a
"rebel faction".

            We never heard much of ethnicity when Edgar Tekere left Zanu PF
to form ZUM or when the feisty Margaret Dongo formed ZUD or Enock
Dumbutshena formed the Forum Party.

            Remember there was also NAGG before its leader Shake Maya was
catapulted to the echelons of the MDC without questions asked. Now Arthur
Mutambara is being accused of "strategic miscalculation" by accepting
"leadership of an irrelevant ethnic-based clique".

            Why irrelevant and ethnic you might ask? Because they dared
challenge Tsvangirai for leadership after he failed to win the presidency in
2002. Just why he should not be challenged is not explained.

            All that is emphasised is the myth of Tsvangirai's "bedrock of
support" which he has never been able to demonstrate. Is Nyarota so shallow
he subscribes to the myth of a majority tribe in Zimbabwe? Where is it

            It is of course pertinent that Nyarota is eager to remind
readers of his stay in Bulawayo. He was working for the Chronicle when the
Zanu PF genocide occurred. We would love to read a single story he wrote in
support of democracy. He should never pretend that his legacy and his
backing for the atrocities of the 1980s are not known.
            We also liked his advice to his idol Tsvangirai: "If there is
sufficient evidence to suggest that, notwithstanding his grassroots support,
he has become a liability to the struggle then he must prescribe an
appropriate medicine, cognisant of the fact that it takes a great man to
sacrifice self for nation."

            Is it possible that this kind of drivel comes from the spirit of
a man? Is this not the same dross we heard from Mugabe saying he would tell
his supporters when he was ready to leave power?

            Needless to say these are the same idol-worshippers who created
god Mugabe whom they now pretend to revile with a passion. Nothing has been
learnt. And how does one who has become a liability to a cause sacrifice
himself Geoff?

            Still pushing his ethnic line to ridiculous depths, Nyarota said
Mutambara's camp lost two ward elections in Bulawayo because people don't
support ethnic initiatives. But he didn't say why the same logic doesn't
apply to the Tsvangirai group's loss of a ward election in Chitungwiza and
the more important mayoral poll in Chegutu. It is a serious indictment of
our body politic that such primitive thinking finds buyers in Zimbabwe.

            Haven't we heard all this before somewhere? Law enforcement
officers "unearth" an arms cache. Information is then leaked to the official
media suggesting this is all part of a wider plot against the government.
President Mugabe and other luminaries denounce the opposition. Arrests are
made of suspects. They are often abused. And then, many months later, when
the accused are brought to court, the state's case collapses when the
"evidence" proves to be not only unsatisfactory but in many cases

            We all recall the arms "discovered" on Nest Egg farm and other
Zapu-owned properties in 1982. That led to the arrest of Dumiso Dabengwa and
Lookout Masuku on charges of treason. They were acquitted in court but
detained under the Emergency Powers. Masuku was allowed out to die.

            Then there was a "plot" by the Rev Ndabaningi Sithole in 1995 to
overthrow the government. Documents linking the Zanu leader to the shadowy
Chimwenje movement were widely circulated but although he was convicted in
the High Court, he was still appealing the case at the time of his death.

            Then there were the three Americans who were arrested with
weapons of war in 1999. They had a map of State House, we were told.
Strangely, it was never produced at their trial. Their lawyers argued that
the three had been tortured while in custody.

            Perhaps most seriously in this litany of political arrests and
trial-by-media, we had the case of Cain Nkala in 2001 where opposition MPs
were condemned to languish in prison before a judge brave enough to expose
the state's evidence as a complete fabrication could be found to release

            In this latest case, we have the familiar pattern of leaks from
the investigations mixed with speculation by the Herald's reporters, not to
mention a line-up of useful idiots to comment on ZTV.

            Police reservist Peter Hitschmann "is believed to have recruited
ex-members of the Rhodesian army as well as the police force, some of whom
are senior members of the MDC and former legislators, to work towards the
opposition party's agenda for illegal regime change in Zimbabwe", the Herald
breathlessly told us.

            But where was this information coming from, couched in the
language of Zanu PF? Then Peter Tatchell's laughable Zimbabwe Freedom
Movement was drawn into the plot as if to confirm the whole thing!

            The Herald cannot understand why the British authorities did not
arrest the balaclava-clad members of the ZFM who appeared at a London press
conference. Somebody should explain to our colleagues in the state media
that not every government arrests those engaging in amateur theatrics,
especially when prosecutors are likely to be laughed out of court!

            "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," read a story under Caesar Zvayi's byline and those
of other gullible Herald reporters.

            What's the betting that list will never be produced in court?
And since when has "causing confusion" been a criminal offence?
            "Police suspect that the so-called ZFM intended to target for
elimination the remaining white farmers, top Zanu PF and government
officials and business leaders to lend credence to opposition claims that
Zimbabwe was a failed state where anarchy reigned supreme in the hope of
bringing about foreign intervention and consequent illegal regime change,"
the Herald told us.

            Wasn't it Didymus Mutasa who was talking about eliminating
people? He evidently thinks it's okay to say so. As for Zimbabwe being a
failed state, it does not take the invisible ZFM to provide evidence of
that, or that "anarchy reigns supreme" on the farms.

            "Police suspect that the group had planned to justify its
existence to the donor community by destabilising the 21st February Movement
celebrations held in Mutare's Sakubva stadium on February 25 by throwing
teargas canisters and grenades into the venue," Zvayi and his colleagues
informed readers.

            It will be interesting to see what evidence - if any - emerges
from this cloud of partisan speculation. Over the weekend it was reported
that Hitschmann was a licensed arms dealer and hunter. In other words he was
entitled to have the weapons at his home. Did the police not know that? They
could have saved the Herald considerable embarrassment by telling them!
Then, on Wednesday the state's case began to unravel as key "suspects" had
their cases withdrawn before plea.
            What is curious in all this is that Hitschmann was widely seen
in the 1980s and 90s as friendly to a number of state agendas, particularly
on the wildlife front. We all recall the role Ari Ben-Menashe played in
state machinations to entrap Tsvangirai just ahead of the 2002 election; and
how the state media swallowed everything they were told in that case which
quickly fell apart. Events seem to be taking a familiar pattern ahead of the
MDC congress.

            Also of interest is that remarks about "shadowy groups" causing
chaos attributed to the police in Herald reports last week turned up in the
Sunday Mirror as attributed to "security and intelligence agencies".

            These same informants - not a thousand miles from the Mirror's
newsroom we can safely assume - have inventively managed to introduce the
Taiwanese into the picture thus giving the whole bizarre conspiracy theory
an international twist. Actually, more Jackie Chan! Then of course there are
the Italians! And who is it, by the way, that has been trying to get the few
remaining white farmers to flee the country? Certainly not Tatchell's
amateur performers.

            Talking of amateur performers, we were interested to read claims
by George Charamba's lawyer that recent articles published by the Zimbabwe
Independent suggest his client is "incompetent.crooked and unprofessional".
            We don't recall anyone saying that. But if Charamba's lawyer
insists, so be it.

            Meanwhile, could all journalists who believe Charamba has been
less-than-professional in his dealings with them in the past, particularly
in his replies to requests for comment on reports involving President Mugabe
or the government, please contact us. We need to demonstrate just how
professional he is!

            In particular, Charamba resents the suggestion that he "aligned
himself with political factions at the expense of his national duty, which
he is very much aware of".

            Reports that he attended a rally for the Zanu PF mayoral
candidate in the recent Chegutu election must therefore be false and will
need to be retracted.

            Confirming the public impression that you have to be completely
delusional to serve in government nowadays, we enjoyed the remarks by
Secretary for Environment and Tourism Margaret Sangarwe that tourism since
1980 had "grown from strength to strength and has seen the number of players
grow constantly over the years in correspondence to the growing visitor

            She made the remarks at the Silver Jubilee Tourism Awards where
the Minister of Transport and Communications, Chris Mushohwe, presented an
award to Tourism minister Francis Nhema for his "invaluable contribution to
domestic tourism" while Mashonaland West governor Nelson Samkange looked on.
A case of one minister rewarding another! Have things got that bad?

            Nhema has done his best in a losing battle with his cabinet
colleagues who have contributed to the headlong decline of tourism by their
maladroit public remarks. They should have been there to receive their
wooden spoons. Meanwhile, we would be fascinated to know what Samkange has
done for domestic tourism!

            We were intrigued by a story by Munyaradzi Huni on Sunday
entitled "Zim respects private property". It was essentially a lecture by
Gideon Gono who had been quizzed on government's mining proposals at his
recent meeting with the IMF executive board in Washington. It was a "hot
issue", he disclosed. The Reserve Bank condemned any form of expropriation,
Gono remarked, clearly having experienced some embarrassment at the meeting.

            Huni talked about the requirement that mining companies should
cede 25% of their shares when the new legislation is enacted. There will be
no compensation for this initial transfer. Apparently Huni was unable to
grasp that this was in all probability what Gono was talking about.

            So the governor spelt it out. The RBZ supports indigenisation,
he said. "However, for the betterment of the national economy as well as
sustainable integration of Zimbabwe into the competitive global space for
investment attraction, the process has to be done in accordance with strict
observance and respect for private property rights as well as through
market-friendly principles of fair value exchange."

            In other words not the approach taken by Midzi and cabinet!

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Darfur, Ivory Coast, Harare...

Zim Independent

            Editor's Memo

            Vincent Kahiya

            UNITED Nations secretary-general Kofi Annan still has plans to
visit Zimbabwe even though he did not find it necessary to pass through
Harare during his tour of southern Africa this week.

            The government, which last year told us Annan would come to
Zimbabwe in March, was on Wednesday quick to tell us that the UN boss still
had plans to visit on a "date convenient to him".

            Zimbabwe was not on the menu during the current trip.

            In South Africa, Annan made vague disclosures about his desire
to visit Zimbabwe, not on his current trip, but on a special visit, to
"discuss issues" with the Zimbabwean authorities.

            South African media quoted him as saying; "The situation in
Zimbabwe is extremely difficult. It's difficult for the Zimbabweans, it's
difficult for the region and it's difficult for the world."

            The situation is so untenable that it calls for a separate trip
to southern Africa! Taken in this context, the impending visit elevates the
Zimbabwean crisis to that of Darfur in Sudan or Ivory Coast which have
warranted special visits by the secretary-general.

            President Robert Mugabe had invited Annan to come to Zimbabwe to
see for himself the "great" work that has been done under Operation Garikai
and that the orgy of destruction under Operation Murambatsvina had not
caused any humanitarian crisis.

            So the feverish activity under Operation Garikai was designed to
prove to Annan that his special envoy Anna Tibaijuka's report on the
humanitarian crisis caused by Operation Murambatsvina, was "one-sided" as
Zimbabweans were happy with the destruction of their homes and sources of

            But the government would like to use the visit as a publicity
stunt. I am sure our rulers can already visualise Annan cutting the ribbon
to hand over completed houses at White Cliff in Harare or Cowdray Park in

            Annan would commend Zimbabwe's valiant fight to end housing
shortages while Mugabe nods approvingly by his side. Dream on.

            As we said mid-last year following publication of the Tibaijuka
report, the government was pushing the frontiers of wishful-thinking too far
by expecting Annan to second guess his envoy and commend, instead of
condemning, Zimbabwe.

            The follow-up visit by Jan Egeland confirmed the Tibaijuka
findings and exposed the inadequacies of Operation Garikai.

            When President Mugabe virulently attacked Egeland at the Zanu PF
conference in December in Esigodini, and when the party declared that
Zimbabwe would not welcome any more envoys from the UN, the government
already knew Annan would not be setting foot in Harare. This took the shine
out of Operation Garikai as Annan was not coming to cut the ribbon soon.
Activity around the construction projects has slowed down. People are being
allocated incomplete houses with no running water or sewerage system.

            Meanwhile, at Hopley Farm victims of Murambatsvina are still
sheltered under plastic shacks waiting for proper accommodation. They stand
very little chance of being allocated the few houses that have been built
because the match box structures have either been hijacked by politicians or
are being allocated to Zanu PF supporters.

            This is true even if Local Government minister, Ignatious
Chombo, tried to deny it in January. This is what he told the state media
then: "The allocation of houses built under Operation Garikai/Hlalani Kuhle
is going on very well and the houses have been benefiting the intended
beneficiaries, those who were affected by the clean-up campaign.

            "We have made sure that those who benefited from the programme
did not have houses elsewhere and we have a database where information about
those who have houses is kept and if an individual cheated his way to get a
house, then we will get him."

            But this week he had jumped on the anti-corruption bandwagon,
singing a completely different song.

            "We already have problems in Beitbridge, Bulawayo, Gwanda and
other areas where undeserving people have been allocated houses." Chombo

            "Therefore, councils should remove the names of their
(government officials, their relatives, MPs, politicians) relatives from the
operation's waiting list," he was quoted as saying in the Herald on Tuesday.

            And then in an explicit summation of the state of government's
housing delivery programme, Chombo in the same article, said Garikai houses
were for people who say unondiwana pamusika (you will find me at the market)
when asked about their residential addresses. What a shame for a government
which claimed Operation Murambatsvina had not created a major humanitarian
crisis. Do we need Annan here to get decent accommodation?

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Zim Independent Letters

            Don't be parochial!

            COLUMNIST Eric Bloch should stop being parochial and see the
bigger picture.

            Is it because he sits on Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono's
advisory board that he is unable to be objective?
            He knows the evils of inflation, no, hyperinflation, and yet he
still supports the printing of money.

            The simple fact is that if the RBZ had not printed more money,
the FX (free funds) from NGOs, among others, would have been lapped up by
money already in circulation from industry and going to productive use.

            He implies that NGOs do not use, or use little of their money
for consumables. What percentage of their funds are used for salaries alone?

            And believe me, those close to 80 Samora Machel Avenue say the
rate used was well above the mid-rate.

            Presumably Bloch went on to justify these schoolboy arguments
later in the column, but after just two columns I did not have the stomach
to carry on reading.

            Apologists of this kind do not help the cause of the independent
press. At least a disclaimer at the end of the article stating that he sits
on the RBZ board (if in fact he does) would help readers realise that they
should take his writings with a huge dollop of salt!


                  Why twist what I said Chido?

                  WHILST I do not appreciate the condescending and
castigatory tone of Chido Makunike's response "Confounded by White African",
(Zimbabwe Independent, March 10), to my rebuttal of his article on whites
securing a place in Africa, I nevertheless deem it worthy of a reply.

                  He is probably right when he says that I responded too
emotionally, but in my defence, who isn't getting emotional about the prison
conditions we have to live under these days? It may be alright for him in
Senegal, but as we all know it's a different story here.

                  Nevertheless, if Makunike is serious about being "used to
robustly debating issues on their merits" and if he is seriously concerned
about his own adopted subject of white Africans securing a place in Africa,
he should refrain from twisting what he reads to suit his own views, thereby
distorting the truth.

                  For instance, I made no suggestion of being "terribly
offended at the idea of whites integrating fully into the black African
lifestyle". These are his words, not mine. I actually believe that such
decisions are the legitimate right of any individual to make.

                  What I do rebut is the idea that as a group we should do
so or risk being shunned. Makunike has no right to suggest that. It is a
black nationalist idea derived from black racism and as such, should be
given no credence.

                  Mutual respect, politeness, courtesy and good
neighbourliness have always been enough for people of different races and
tribes to live in harmony until some freak comes along and starts putting
wicked ideas into people's heads, as we have discovered here.

                  If Makunike wants to believe that I am "one reason why
racial harmony in southern Africa will remain a mirage for some time to
 come", he is entitled to that opinion, but he should not twist what I said
to give credence to his viewpoint.

                  I hope we now understand each other, because I really
appreciate his obvious disenchantment with the Jonathan Moyos and Tafataona
Mahosos of this world.

                  However, I still make the point that African nationalism
far outweighs the reason he cites and apologise profusely if he feels
offended because he thinks I am "denying him the right to think for himself
and trying to put thoughts into his mind" in the vein of a true- blue

                  White African,

                  Mutambara still to deliver

                  MOST people, myself included, were relieved by Professor
Arthur Mutambara's acceptance speech in which he said his mission was to
reunite the MDC.

                  Most of us were wondering how he was going to achieve
this, considering that he had already taken sides by accepting the
presidency of the pro-senate group.

                  Even within the pro-senate group itself, Mutambara's
decision to accept the post did not go down well with others, among them
Gift Chimanikire, who could have been promised the presidency.

                  He did acknowledge MDC president, Morgan Tsvangirai, as a
hero and spoke strongly about the need to forget the past and move forward.

                  A week or so later, Mutambara was quoted in the media
saying: "How do we talk about a regime which is criminal and violent when we
ourselves are carrying out violent acts and violating our own party rules?
We won't be qualified to fight Mugabe if we are little Mugabes."

                  His statements were obviously aimed at Tsvangirai.

                  Mutambara has obviously not had time to do a careful
analysis of the situation, and must have relied more on information supplied
to him by officials of the pro-senate faction.

                  He obviously has not heard about the acts of violence
committed by members of his own faction against members of the other

                  He should certainly have heard about people who lost their
eyes and teeth at the hands of activists from the faction that he leads.

                  I personally do not condone violence - whether committed
by Zanu PF, the MDC or the faction led by Mutambara, who should refrain from
laying accusations before verifying his facts.

                  Mutambara clearly stated his position on the senate and
other government institutions, saying: "My position was that the MDC should
have  boycotted those senate elections. Not only that, I was for the total
withdrawal from parliament and all the other election-based institutions."

                  The hope of many Zimbabweans was that he would quickly
consult with his colleagues with a view of persuading them to pull out of
the senate, parliament and all other offices obtained through dubious

                  However, a few weeks down the line, Mutambara talks of
preparations for elections: "Even if we have to fight elections under the
current constitution, we will build an opposition so strong and formidable
that if Mugabe tries to rig elections, it will be impossible for him to get
away with it."

                  Has Mutambara already been convinced that his party will
contest any future elections, even if Mugabe calls for an election for a
toilet care-taker?

                  Some will argue that Mutambara needs more time to put his
house in order, but so far, he has not yet lived up to his acceptance

                  The best is for us to watch and see.

                  Benjamin Chitate,
                  MDC activist,
                  New Zealand.

                  Fee hikes simply absurd

                  I PERSONALLY find it absurd that state universities have
hiked fees by more than 10 times what the government support fund caters

                  Many people working in industry earn far below the poverty
datum line wage of $21,8 million, yet they expect ordinary students emerging
from high school to pay as much as $50 million per academic year.

                  Where do the relevant authorities honestly think we
(students) will get such huge sums of money?

                  I thought that university education was supposed to be
free to all citizens with the relevant qualifications.

                  This is pushing people more and more into abject poverty.
Why should we suffer and yet other countries are offering better educational
conditions? Honestly, how are we expected to survive? Someone is definitely
behind all this rot which must stop right away.

                  I think it is high time we woke up from this deep slumber.

                  How can the economy improve when future  leaders are
indirectly denied their basic tertiary educational rights?

                  Failure to attain tertiary education will have a deeper,
negative economic impact on the ordinary Zimbabweans.

                  This country has certainly gone to the dogs.

                  Angry Nust Student,

                  Wake up industry!

                  READING the latest batch of quoted company results, one is
struck by the various chairmen's sheep-like use of the word "challenges".

                  How sad they prostitute honesty and integrity by failing
to call the situation what it is.

                  To add insult to injury, they try and make excuses, no
doubt to "stay in government's good books" by attributing the "challenges"
to a poor agricultural season.  In fact, viable  farms, mostly with
facilities to overcome droughts, were destroyed.

                  Successful civilisations and economies have been built on
certain truths and values.  It is high time the captains of commerce and
industry found the guts to set an example.

                  JK Morris,

                  A carer's ordeal at the hands of social welfare department

                  Editor - EXTREME frustration is being experienced through
the utter incompetence of certain sections of the Department of Social
Welfare due to their apparent inability to provide the public with the
necessary forms at the opening of the New Year.

                  Is this the usual civil service's lack of care, or just

                  Obviously the department does not consider that some
people could die or lose jobs due to their clerks' inability to properly
execute their duties.

                  A lady I know is taking care of an Aids orphan, thrown out
by his  elder brothers at the age of six.

                  He is now 11 years old and going to school, but needs
special care to overcome the trauma and infection wrought by parental

                  On February 4, his carer went to Parirenyatwa Hospital to
get a repeat prescription for drugs which he had been on for several months,
and are considered necessary for him to live.

                  A clerk noticed that the department had registered the
child in Chitungwiza and the result - no pills because of the wrong form! Do
they not have telephones or know how to use them?

                  The carer had to incur additional expenses on transport to
Chitungwiza. All necessary forms - birth certificate, letters etc, were
produced for the welfare officer but they had no forms, some several weeks
into the New Year, effectively meaning there was to be no pills.

                  How many more innocent souls are to suffer through
clerical incompetence?

                  On February 28, some three weeks after spending more money
on transport, losing working time and getting even more frustration, forms
were finally obtained. This was, however, not the end to the tale of woe.

                  On leaving work at 10am the following day for Parirenyatwa
to collect the drugs, she was told that the forms, consultation and
admission were for free, save for the drugs for out-patients.

                  I was left wondering why people are tossed from one queue
to another, as a process which should have taken an hour at the most, took
an entire working day.

                  The carer finally paid $209 000 for the drugs which she
could ill-afford as she is raising and educating this child on a domestic
worker's wage.

                  This ordeal raises plenty of concerns:

                  * Why do we pay an Aids levy?

                  * When are African women going to be considered as part of
the workforce, whose time is valuable and should not be wasted?

                  * Offices should have clear signs directing
patients/clients to the proper places for their desired services;

                  * Why bother to go to doctors who prescribe drugs which
obviously do not get to the public sector hospitals, but find their way to
the private sector?

                  * How are these medicines being distributed and by whom?
Are the Government Medical Stores involved in distribution, and can they
account for the drugs they issue? and

                  * Who else supplies Aids drugs and why are they so

                  DJ Barker,

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More Zimbabwean vendors flock to Lusaka on business

People's Daily

      More Zimbabwean vendors are flocking to Lusaka to do business, Zambia
Daily Mail reported Thursday.

      Zambia's immigration department public relations officer Mulako
Bangweta also confirmed the increased number of Zimbabweans entering his
country on business visits.

      "We are aware of the influx of the Zimbabwean travelers entering the
country on 30 day business visits," Bangweta said.

      But when asked on whether the department is aware that the neighboring
nationals are vending in Zambia, she said it is up to the relevant local
authorities to check on the matter and report to the Immigration Department.

      The cross border traders association (CBTA) at Common Market for
Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) has urged the Zimbabweans to sell their
products at markets rather than vending on the streets in Lusaka.

      CBTA Chairman Greenwell Shimukonka attributed the influx of cross
border traders to Zambia's economic growth and the problems in Zimbabwe.

      Lusaka Mayor Mike Mposha threatened last Sunday to arrest people
buying from street vendors to check the widespread cholera.

      Over 100 people have been killed since cholera broke out in the
southern African country in August 2005. It is partly blamed on the street

      Source: Xinhua

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Security Service Intimidated State Prosecutors in Zimbabwe Arms Case


By Patience Rusere
      16 March 2006

Agents of Zimbabwe's feared Central Intelligence Organization forced
suspects in the alleged presidential assassination plot in the eastern city
of Mutare to sign documents corroborating a 12-page confession by the
accused ringleader that implicated the political opposition, according to
sources well informed about the case.

These sources, speaking on condition they not be named, said two lawyers
attached to attorney general's office, Florence Ziyambi and Joseph Jagada,
fled Monday night from Mutare back to Harare after coming under heavy
pressure by CIO operatives to use the confession of Michael Peter Hitschmann
to connect the alleged conspiracy to assassinate President Robert Mugabe to
the Movement for Democratic Change.

A Mutare police source said there was a "drama" at the Mutare Central Police
Station as five CIO agents accused the two state lawyers of supporting the
opposition MDC when they questioned the affidavits signed by the accused
under duress.

At another point, the lawyers insisted that the agents suspend interrogation
and leave the room where the suspects were held so they could talk to their

Sources said CIO agents and police later threatened to arrest state
attorneys when they refused to surrender the affidavits, which were said to
have been "doctored." The assistant prosecutors later used the affidavits to
convince Attorney General Sobhuza Gula Ndebele that there was not enough
evidence to pursue the case against the members of the opposition, who
included one sitting member of parliament.

Prosecutor Levison Chikafu is said to have sought clearance from Harare to
release some of the suspects on bail, though the Mutare high court
subsequently dismissed charges against MDC parliamentarian Giles Mutsekwa
and two other men. A fourth opposition official had been released without
charges earlier in the week.

The former suspects declined to comment on the allegations about the CIO's

Reporter Patience Rusere of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe asked lawyer
advocate Eric Matinenga, who has handled high-profile cases including the
2004 treason trial of MDC President Morgan Tsvangirai (in which he was
acquitted), about the involvement of the security service in the judicial

MDC Youth Chairman for Manicaland Knowledge Nyamuka, released with Mutseka
on Wednesday, said he and fellow activist Thando Sibanda were tortured by
soldiers into admitting the opposition joined in a plot to assassinate
President Mugabe.

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President Tsvangirai's Congress Message

Zim Daily

            Friday, March 17 2006 @ 12:05 AM GMT
            Contributed by: correspondent

             Our Congress celebrates six years of the people's sacrifice and
commitment to our common vision of a new Zimbabwe and a new beginning. It
will also look at how we can retain the confidence of millions of
Zimbabweans who see us as their only source of hope. Six years ago, the
people laid the foundation for the struggle against tyranny; the struggle
for good governance; the struggle for a better life for all Zimbabweans.

            This week, we take stock of how far we have traveled towards
fulfilling that vision. We take stock of the challenges and lessons drawn
from our experiences in the past six years. And the lessons we have derived
will help shape and determine our programmes in fighting this dictatorship.
We all bear witness to the visible signs of collapse and ruin around us. The
Congress will look at how as a party we respond to all those issues. Going
back to the people is not a charade.

            It is a culture that we have entrenched so that we continually
subject ourselves to the people to determine whether we still remain the
embodiments of their dreams and their vision. Once again, as leaders, we go
back to the people who gave us the mandate; the people who bestowed upon us
the responsibility of saving our nation from a corrupt and inept government.
Once again, we present ourselves to the people's court where the party
leadership, the party programmes and party policies come up for scrutiny by
the real owners of the party.

            The Congress will culminate in elections where delegates are
expected to give a fresh mandate to a new leadership that will have the onus
of making sure we achieve our vision of a new Zimbabwe. The second national
Congress therefore provides a window for leadership renewal and rebirth; a
new and committed leadership that realizes and cherishes the importance of
carrying the nation's hope on its shoulders. The delegates will also discuss
amendments to the party's constitution as well as proposals for
institutional reform.

            The party needs to be rebuilt and reorganized to reflect our
experiences and the new thinking that we must have as a political formation
that is at a crucial stage in the struggle. New policy proposals will also
be debated and refined so that we march bravely into the future with
programmes that reflect a new thinking derived from our experiences since
2000. We will also take a crucial decision on whether it makes sense to
continue participating in elections whose results are pre-determined.

            The Congress will take a position on whether the electoral route
under the current electoral management system remains viable. Or whether we
should widen our options to include using people power to put pressure on
this regime that has reduced us to paupers and beggars in our own
motherland. We realize there is strength in unity. Together, we shall win.

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Mutambara Camp Plead With Jokonya For Coverage

Zim Daily

            Friday, March 17 2006 @ 12:04 AM GMT
            Contributed by: correspondent
            The embattled dissident MDC faction led by robotics Professor
Arthur Mutambara has written to Information minister Tichaona Jokonya
pleading for coverage in the public media. The faction, fast losing its grip
on the electorate, said it was baffled by the turn of events after its
February 25 congress that endorsed Mutambara as the faction leader. The
faction's deputy Information chief one M.M.M Changamire alleged in a letter
leaked to Zimdaily that there has been an edict to impose a blanket news
embargo on the faction.

            "We are reliably informed by sources at the ZBC and Zimpapers
that the Permanent Secretary in your Ministry has imposed news embargo on
the MDC led by Prof. Mutambara," Changamire said in his letter, a copy of
which is in possession of Zimdaily. "Public media are under instruction not
to say anything about us except when one of us is dead or arrested. This
embargo is supported by the 'deafening' silence the public media have given
to our activities."

            In his letter of protest, Changamire said despite attending the
activities, public media workers have not reported on "Prof Mutambara's
acceptance speech at the 2nd MDC Congress of the 25th February 2006. the
Press Conference held soon after the congress on the 26th of February 2006
and Prof Mutambara's meeting with MDC structures in Chitungwiza on Sunday
the 12th of March 2006." The embattled faction said prior to their congress,
the "public media were awash with stories about us."

            "We believe it was meant to fan and perpetuate division in the
MDC," the letter said. "Cde Minister, we are a party committed to freedom of
information and expression and we expect your Ministry to enhance and
complement our efforts to build a democratic Zimbabwe. Your Permanent
Secretary's unwarranted interference with information dissemination will
further damage the already battered image of our country." The letter urged
Jokonya to "investigate and take the necessary corrective measures." Efforts
to obtain comment from Jokonya were futile.

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Leadership challenge undermines Tsvangirai

New Zimbabwe

By Staff Reporter
Last updated: 03/17/2006 11:51:58
ZIMBABWE'S veteran opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, could see his
position seriously undermined in a leadership race at the weekend that is
expected to deepen the split within his party.

Tsvangirai, the most formidable opposition leader since Zimbabwe's
independence 26 years ago, faced for the first time several challengers for
the presidency of a faction of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

Once posing the biggest challenge to President Robert Mugabe's rule, the MDC
split late last year after Tsvangirai's decision to boycott senate elections
and the gap between the rival camps showed no sign of being bridged.

During a three-day MDC congress opening in Harare on Friday, Tsvangirai
would square off against Roy Bennett, a white former MDC MP, lawyer Tendai
Biti, former Harare mayor Elias Mudzuri, academician Elphus Mukonoweshuro
and economist Tapiwa Mashakada.

While Tsvangirai was expected to win the presidency, analysts agreed that
his leadership would be weakened after facing challenges from within his own
supporters and from rival Arthur Mutambara, who was elected MDC leader by
another camp three weeks ago.

Mutambara, who returned to Zimbabwe after spending 15 years abroad, was a
respected former student leader who had said he wanted to reconcile the MDC,
but his appeals had so far fallen on deaf ears.

A media consultant and political commentator Bill Saidi said: "There is no
chance of them getting back together becoming the MDC of the old.

"The ruling Zimbabwe African National Union - Patriotic Front (Zanu-PF)
party will exploit the division as much as possible."

University of Zimbabwe political analyst Heneri Dzinotyiwei said: "By
holding separate congresses, the two groups are underscoring the split, and
showing they are irreconcilable."

A former trade union leader, Tsvangirai, fought unsuccessfully in court to
throw out Mugabe's 2002 election victory, alleging vote-rigging in the polls
that he claimed to have won.

University of Zimbabwe political scientist Joseph Kurebga said: "One sure
effect of the split is to dilute the strength that Morgan Tsvangirai had as
an opposition leader over the past six years.

"There is no question about the negative impact the split has had for both
groups. Tsvangirai may command the support of his admirers from his trade
union days, but he will lose a significant number of those who have jumped

Independent analyst Augustine Timbe said Tsvangirai would "emerge from the
congress weaker as he will be leading a faction, as opposed to an entire
opposition movement, which once dared to challenge the ruling party".

But, Nelson Chamisa, the spokesperson for the faction led by Tsvangirai said
the party was "poised for its greatest times".

He said: "The congress is like a blast furnace from where we will emerge
stronger." - AFP

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Zimbabwe: the magic of love

Sur, newspaper for Southern Spain

Annastazia Ndlovu Women's feature Service

Are you looking to ensure that the love of your life stays by your side
forever? That is exactly what the umuthi - magical herbs believed to be
"love potions" - promise. Needless to say, the fabled umuthi is not easy to
come by. Not only are there doubts as to whether these herbs really exist,
they have also hastened the end of some relationships.
Take the case of Barbara Rusere. Married to a Zimbabwe Electricity Supply
Authority manager, she reportedly wrapped his underwear in umuthi and placed
it in the glove compartment of her car. The two had been married for 12
years and were going through a rough patch, no longer sharing the same
bedroom. Her husband, Raphael Rusere, explained to the magistrate, before
whom he was brought on charges of violent attack on his wife, that he found
his underwear in his wife's car when he was looking for his own car keys.

He confronted her and she denied that they belonged to him. Raphael turned
violent and struck Barbara with a stone, hurting her left ankle. The
magistrate would hear none of it, however, and sentenced him to 15 months in
jail, nine of which were suspended conditionally and six of which he had to
make up for by doing 210 hours of community service at Pararenyatwa Hospital
in Harare.


While Raphael has appealed against the conviction and sentence, Zimbabweans
in general are debating the value of love potions. Ukudlisa (Zulu for
secretly administering a love potion to a spouse) is a highly controversial
subject. Debate usually centres on whether or not these potions even exist.
Some say it is a myth and an invention of jealous people bent on destroying
other people's relationships. The relatives of a man, on the other hand, are
usually quick to accuse his wife of using love potions to ensure that their
son listens to her and no other person in the family.

Says President of the Harare-based Zimbabwe National Traditional Healers
Association, Gordon Chavunduka, "It is not true that only women are involved
in ukudlisa. Men also use love potions to get women to fall in love with

Love potions come in various forms, including tree roots, and concoctions.
Some potions are believed to help a man successfully propose to women. "The
men put the herbs under their tongues so that they can talk their partner or
girlfriend into doing whatever they want", says Chavunduka. Some men
dissolve a mixture of herbs in water and gurgle with it. As they spit out
the mixture, they say aloud all their wishes and plans for the object of
their love. Others have talismans that they keep in their pockets so that
any woman they meet and fancy falls in love with them. "With others, it is
inborn, and women dream about such men and just fall in love even when the
man makes no effort", Chavunduka added.

But for those who must work hard to get noticed, Chavunduka and company have
a variety of ingredients for zany concoctions that can be secretly slipped
into food and offered to lovers. Scraps of flesh from a blind puppy will
make a woman blindly do whatever a man wants. A lizard's tail will tie a
woman to the house when she has finished her duties at home instead of going
out to look for boyfriends and gossip. The heart of a pigeon ensures that
the wife is always in the company of her husband.

Love potions are particularly common among men and women who are anxious
about marital fidelity in light of HIV/AIDS. A snap survey in Bulawayo,
Zimbabwe's second city, revealed a booming trade in love potions. The
elderly women in this trade usually conduct business in public toilets to
avoid detection. A visit to the public toilets at the Bulawayo Communal bus
terminus is an eye opener. Women display their potions on the toilet floors,
touting for customers. Seemingly oblivious to the smell in the filthy
toilets, the women advertise their wares to every person who comes in. Those
who cannot stand the smell can always visit traditional healers.


And a new breed of love potion peddlers moves from door-to-door, selling the
love potions to housewives in the comfort of their homes while their
husbands are away at work. "These women sell a variety of products, ranging
from aphrodisiacs to love potions that ensure that the husband sticks around
and does not run around with other women", says a woman who was once
confronted by a trader selling "women's things". There is a widespread
belief locally that love potions and aphrodisiacs from Malawi and Zambia are
the most potent. Some of the herbalists travel overseas, and one even has
agents in the United Kingdom. She asserts (on condition of anonymity):
"These herbs have been in use before you were born and no harm has come to
society because of them. Those who overdose give us a bad name, but it is
possible to do so even with Western medicine. If someone takes a chloroquine
overdose, do you then say that chloroquine is not good?"

Meanwhile, the debate continues, especially in circumstances that are not
easily explained - how else to account for situations where a woman is
abused physically and emotionally, such as when her man brings another woman
into the house in her presence, and yet stays put?

Chavunduka and his team have the answer: it is the power of the love potion.
As far as we can see, however, the jury is still out on that one.

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Elephants cause havoc

      March 17, 2006

      By Andnetwork .com

      BINGA chiefs have called on the Government to quickly intervene and
control elephants which are destroying crops and homesteads in the district.

      The chiefs told Chronicle on the sidelines of a Matabeleland North
chiefs workshop which was held in Bulawayo on Monday and Tuesday that
although villagers had been expecting a good harvest because of the good
rains, it would be impossible now as their crops had been destroyed by
      They said if the Government delayed in controlling the elephants, the
villagers would be forced to take the matter into their own hands and kill
the animals.
      "Ever since CAMPFIRE took over to look after the animals from the
Department of National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority, a few years
ago, we have been experiencing these problems," said Chief Timothy
Sinansengwe, of Sinansengwe area, whose area of jurisdiction lies on the
Zambezi River basin.
      "We are blessed with good soils in this district and whenever we have
good rains our people work hard in the fields but elephants and other wild
animals come and destroy their crops."
      Chief Sinansengwe said such developments had resulted in the people of
Binga relying on food handouts which they get either from the Government or
Non Governmental Organisations.
      "Our people spend their time tilling land for wild animals. We have
been turned into beggars despite the fact that our people are hard working.
Some people are even saying we are lazy, but that is not true" he said.
      Chief Sinansengwe also said besides elephants, hippopotamus and
crocodiles were killing villagers in his area.
      "In my area, we now have a lot of orphans as their parents were killed
by animals," he said.
      Chief David Sinakatenge, of Chunga also expressed concern over the
havoc caused by the elephants.
      "During this time of the year, when there are crops in our fields the
elephants destroy them. After harvesting the little we would have got they
come to our homesteads and destroy our huts and granaries," he said.
      "At times these elephants trample on people. Since the beginning of
this year, five people have died in my area after they were trampled by the
      Chief Sinakatenge said the elephants were coming from the Hwange
National Park and nearby safaris.
      Chief Wilson Siamupa, of Muchimba area said the animals were
destroying their fields as well as their gardens.
      "Food security in our area has been threatened by these problematic
animals. What we now need is for the Department of National Parks and
Wildlife Management Authority to step in and control these animals," he
      "The proceeds which we get from CAMPFIRE as villagers fall far short
from what we lose."
      Eight people were killed and 64 families had their houses and
granaries destroyed in the district last year by elephants.

      Source : Zimbabwe Chronicle

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Africa Policy Outlook 2006

Foreign Policy in Focus

      By Salih Booker & Ann-Louise Colgan | March 17, 2006

      Editor: Emira Woods

            2006 will help clarify whether the compassionate concern for the
African continent, worn like a badge by western leaders last year, is a true
determinant of Africa policy, or whether it merely masked other, more
"strategic" and less "benevolent" impulses and interests.

            In 2006, Africa will witness a new wave of U.S. soldiers landing
on the continent for training and other missions, as Washington takes aim at
reshaping Africa to better serve America's security interests. The trend in
the Bush Administration's Africa policy is toward an even greater focus on
the so-called "War on Terrorism," with emphasis on intelligence gathering,
securing "ungoverned spaces" on the vast continent, and pre-positioning
soldiers and equipment to project force globally and to deter al-Qaeda in
Africa. But American involvement in actual peacemaking or peacekeeping
missions in Africa is far less likely, even as genocide continues in Darfur,

            The same Africa policy is equally intended to secure access to
West African oil, which the Bush Administration now views as a strategic
national interest. Imports of African oil are projected to grow from their
current 15 percent of the U.S. total to 25 percent by 2015. The U.S. already
imports more oil from Africa than Saudi Arabia, and within a decade it could
become a greater source of oil imports than the whole of the Persian Gulf.

            This year, when it comes to U.S. relations with Africa, the
pre-occupation of U.S. officials with oil and guns will stand in stark
contrast to the expressed concern of the American people regarding the
ongoing genocide in Darfur and global health challenges like HIV/AIDS and
the bird flu. The Bush Administration's policy also fails to address
Africans' own concerns with human development, still an urgent priority
despite last year's proclaimed Africa focus.

            From Live 8 to LIVE X: Assessing the Aftermath of "Africa's
            If 2005 was the "year for Africa," 2006 is likely to offer a
different picture of U.S. designs on the continent.

            Last year, rich country governments fell over one another making
new promises to double aid, relieve debts, treat more people living with
HIV/AIDS, and support African initiatives. The promises made were wholly
inadequate, but they now provide African governments, civil society and
international activists with specific measures to hold rich country leaders
and institutions accountable in 2006.

            The Group of Eight (G-8) rich country leaders last year promised
to increase aid to Africa by $25 billion annually by 2010. This year will be
the first opportunity to measure progress towards this commitment.

            While European Union countries have committed to provide 0.7
percent of their Gross National Product (GNP) in development assistance for
impoverished countries by 2015,1 the U.S. still refuses to embrace that
longstanding commitment.

            The Bush administration claims that it has tripled aid to Africa
since 2000, but the reality is that U.S. development aid to Africa has not
even doubled. The total of all forms of U.S. aid to Africa increased by only
56 percent during President Bush's first term, and over half of the increase
consisted of emergency food aid rather than development assistance. In his
new budget for 2007, the President has requested only $3 billion for the
Millennium Challenge Account (MCA), which he had initially promised would
reach a budget of $5 billion per year by 2006.

            In successive years, the amount requested and ultimately
appropriated has fallen far short of the President's promise. Only three
African countries have received any money from the MCA to date-Benin, Cape
Verde and Madagascar.

            Last September, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the
World Bank approved a G-8 plan to cancel the debts of 18 countries, 14 in
Africa, beginning in 2006. This move by the G-8 and the financial
institutions set an important precedent for 100 percent debt cancellation,
but it excludes the majority of African countries. It also continues the
precedent of future debt relief being tied to harmful economic conditions.
At present, there are still 20 African countries burdened with such
conditions in the queue for possible future debt cancellation. The debt deal
equally fails to acknowledge the illegitimate nature of these debts, most of
which resulted from irresponsible loans to former unrepresentative regimes
and did not benefit the people that must now pay them.

            Contrary to popular perceptions, more money continues to flow
out of Africa than trickles in from donors. There are also real concerns
that additional nations now in line for debt cancellation will have to wait
at a minimum until mid-2007-a full two years after the G-8 Summit in
Scotland-for their debts to be cancelled to the World Bank, and that these
countries will have to continue paying their debts in the meantime even
after they have met all the onerous creditor conditions.

            On HIV/AIDS, the G-8 promised last year to make treatment
available to all who need it by the year 2010. But these rich countries
failed to say how they would reach this goal and how much it will cost. Last
year, the deadline passed for the "Three by Five" initiative of the World
Health Organization, which was intended to put three million additional
people living with HIV/AIDS on life-saving therapy by the end of 2005. The
goal was not met: only an additional one million people had been given
access to anti-retroviral treatment by the end of the year, and the death
toll from the pandemic still surpassed three million people in 2005.

            This year, the United Nations General Assembly Special Session
(UNGASS) on HIV/AIDS will review progress and challenges in meeting the
goals set by the 2001 UNGASS, and will discuss the new universal access
targets for HIV prevention, treatment, care, and support to be achieved by

            But without a significant new political and financial commitment
from the U.S. to the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and
other important multilateral initiatives, little change is anticipated in
the course of this pandemic and new targets will likely remain elusive. At
best, one in ten Africans in need of antiretroviral treatment is now
receiving it.

            While last year was marked by the "Live 8" concerts, this year
will feature the "LIVE X" military maneuvers in West Africa. This "live
exercise" will see 6,500 troops of the NATO Response Force sweep in on the
10 islands that constitute Cape Verde for 14 self-sustaining days of
make-believe missions. LIVE X is a large-scale military exercise to be run
out of the Netherlands with forces coming from bases in Germany, Spain and
France. Sadly, the nearly three million people internally displaced in
Darfur and threatened by continuing violence cannot expect to see a "live
exercise" of a Response Force to provide them protection and facilitate the
delivery of humanitarian assistance.

            The LIVE X and other training exercises, such as operation
"Africa Endeavor 06" scheduled for Pretoria in July, along with military
sales programs and military officers training, are indicative of the higher
priorities of U.S. policy in Africa. Testifying before Congress in 2005,
General James L. Jones, Supreme Allied Commander of the U.S. European
command, said, "the breeding grounds of terrorism and illicit activity on
the continent of Africa require our attention." He said that a more
pro-active U.S. approach would offer a "powerful inoculation" against future
terrorist activity. Jones stated that U.S. military programs in Africa,
"support the long-term strategic objectives of the 'Global War on Terrorism'
by building understanding and consensus on the terrorist threat; laying
foundations for future 'coalitions of the willing;' and extending our
country's security perimeter."2

            General Jones described dozens of current U.S. initiatives on
the continent designed to develop effective security structures in Africa
and boost African governments' counter-terrorism efforts-from NATO action on
the Mediterranean in North Africa, to the Trans-Sahara Counter-Terrorism
Initiative, which is the long-term interagency plan to combat terrorism on
the continent. These initiatives are the framework through which the U.S.
envisions engaging future threats on the African continent.

            With 1,500 U.S. troops of the Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of
Africa based in Djibouti since 2002, an increase in training exercises
across the continent and an explosion in Africa-focused anti-terrorism
training programs, what is now unfolding is the most significant U.S.
military engagement in Africa since 25,000 troops went to Somalia in 1992.
More importantly, this ongoing expansion of U.S. military assets and
interests in Africa reflects a growing bias toward African militaries as the
key institutions through which to promote security in the region, a security
defined differently than that presently preoccupying most African
governments and their people.

            Africa's "New" Strategic Value: The U.S. Quest for Energy
            At present, conventional wisdom holds that African oil will
occupy a position of even greater strategic importance to the U.S., Europe
and Asia (principally China) over the next decade. Africa has always been
considered of strategic importance to U.S. global interests because of its
enormous resources and its expansive geography. Now, it is estimated that
the U.S. will invest over $10 billion per year in oil activities in the
region in the coming decade. According to the latest trade statistics
(2004), oil imports account for more than 70 percent of all U.S. imports
from Africa.

            The principal motivation for the U.S. focus on African oil is
uncertainty over Middle East oil supplies and the consideration of petroleum
imports as a matter of national security. According to observers, West
African oil is advantageous for western countries because it is high-quality
and low sulphur (therefore easier to refine) and closer to markets in the

            It is also assumed that because this oil is mostly extracted
from offshore fields, it is somehow removed from political instability and
conflicts in the producing countries and can more easily be protected from
turmoil. However recent headlines remind us that the 50-year turmoil over
oil extraction in Africa continues unabetted. Hostage-taking and takeovers
of oil platforms in the Niger Delta are becoming almost routine and are
increasingly the defining strategy for marginalized communities demanding
justice and economic compensation from foreign oil companies and the
Nigerian government.

            In fact, the projected increase in U.S. investments in Nigeria's
oil industry and the subsequent U.S.- Nigeria security deal on the Niger
Delta, point toward a further militarization of a longstanding conflict over
economic compensation for environmental damage and economic injustice. In
early 2006, a court in Nigeria ordered Royal Dutch Shell Oil Company to pay
$1.5 billion in compensation to the ethnic Ijaw inhabitants of the Niger
Delta, where clashes over the control of the region's oil wealth have
intensified. The Ijaw community took the case to court after Shell refused
to pay compensation ordered by the country's parliament. These demands for
compensation for decades of environmental damage are increasingly part of
the rallying cry of armed groups in the Niger Delta threatening Nigeria's
oil industry.

            Some in the U.S. foreign policy establishment argue for a
"geopolitical shift in U.S. energy policy" by replacing the Persian Gulf
with the Gulf of Guinea as America's main foreign spigot for oil. However, a
failure to understand that Africa's oil wealth is itself a source of violent
conflict and instability is likely to aggravate the situation further and
make U.S. operators easy targets in local battles.

            Rhetoric vs. Reality: The Case of Sudan
            While U.S. geo-strategic interests define the heart of Africa
policy, the growing U.S. presence on the continent is being cast in terms of
a humanitarian mission for public relations purposes. In East Africa, the
U.S. anti-terrorism task force is rebuilding schools and clinics, installing
water pumps and making medical house calls, as part of the campaign for
hearts and minds-especially in heavily Muslim parts of the continent. The
State Department estimates that 75 percent of public diplomacy resources for
Africa are engaged in reaching out to the Muslim community, which
constitutes about 43 percent of the continent's population. As one Task
Force soldier put it, "It's about pushing the boundaries of where we are

            But perhaps nowhere is the confusion between the warm façade of
humanitarianism and the cold calculations of security concerns more
revealing than in U.S. policy toward the Sudan. And 2006 is likely to be the
pivotal year in determining the course of U.S. relations with Sudan and the
ultimate response to the genocide in Darfur.

            On the one hand, the Bush administration accuses Khartoum of
genocide-a crime against humanity -and has taken some steps to respond to
this crisis. Yet on the other hand, the U.S. forges a strategic alliance
with the Sudanese Mukhabarat (intelligence services) and is anxious to
maintain an intelligence-sharing relationship with the Sudanese government
in the context of the so-called "War on Terrorism." Last spring, in an
attempt to forge closer ties with the Islamist regime in Khartoum, the CIA
sent a private jet to transport the Sudanese head of intelligence, General
Abdullah Gosh, to Washington for high-level talks.

            Recently, Gosh's name was revealed on the list given to the
International Criminal Court by the United Nations (UN) Commission of
Inquiry into the crimes against humanity in Darfur, suggesting that he is
one of the most senior officials responsible for the genocide. Now, the CIA
is building a listening post on the outskirts of Khartoum to monitor events
in the Horn of Africa and wants Khartoum's cooperation.4 This continuing
collaboration shows how the growing U.S. relationship with Khartoum
constrains the U.S. response to the genocide in Darfur.

            As Africa policy increasingly mirrors cold war dynamics, U.S.
policy toward Sudan reveals a similar hierarchy of geo-strategic interests,
equally distorting and bringing equally negative consequences. In this
hierarchy of interests, intelligence sharing with Khartoum is more important
than stopping the genocide that has already claimed over 400,000 lives. And
Sudan's North-South peace agreement is valued more for facilitating the
normalization of ties with the Khartoum government (including the prospect
of lifting sanctions and renewing U.S. operations in Sudan's growing oil
industry) than for the reconstruction of the South and the development of
its people.

            In 2006, as during the past two years, vigilant advocates and
observers will highlight this duplicity and will urge the Bush
administration to place higher priority on stopping the genocide in Darfur
and providing support to the Southern Sudanese' efforts to realize the full
implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA).

            Whose Security? Human Security through Human Rights and Human
            This year, U.S. policy toward Africa should provoke a focused
debate over what really constitutes security in today's world.

            While the Bush administration promotes conventional concepts of
U.S. security interests in Africa (restricting opportunities for terrorism,
securing oil, combating drug trafficking, and monitoring uranium
production), this perspective is at odds with a broader concept of human
security interests in Africa. The latter conceptualization emphasizes the
interdependence of all peoples and countries, the priority that must be
given to defeating AIDS and other public health challenges, to reducing
poverty and protecting the environment.

            Africa remains by far the region worst affected by HIV/AIDS,
still the greatest global threat to human security and far more deadly than
terrorism. Yet little progress can be expected again this year in turning
the tide of this global pandemic. In addition, the ideological bent of Bush
Administration policies on HIV/AIDS is directly at odds with African
countries' priorities. African civil society groups, like the Pan-African
Treatment Access Movement (PATAM) will continue to assert their opposition
to the administration's imposition of abstinence-only efforts and other such
restrictions that hinder a comprehensive approach to this crisis.5 In the
U.S., Europe, and Africa, the HIV/AIDS crisis continues to grow each year.

            The consequences of the Administration's failure to prioritize
human security and to address HIV/AIDS with appropriate urgency will also
increasingly be felt as the world prepares for a possible bird flu pandemic.
The best way to protect Americans against a catastrophic outbreak of the
H5N1 avian influenza virus is to work to prevent and control outbreaks
elsewhere in the world-by helping to strengthen the emergency public health
infrastructure in affected developing nations and by ensuring access to
treatment in those countries, especially in Africa.

            In early 2006, the first cases of avian flu have appeared in
West Africa, and international agencies warn that impoverished African
countries could be devastated by such an outbreak and that Africa could be
the "weakest link" in the global effort to arrest the bird flu before it
begins to be transmitted by humans.6 This year, the U.S. and other countries
must work with African countries to address this grave and growing challenge
before it is too late. Recent polls show a majority of the U.S. public is
concerned about the spread of bird flu, and the Administration's Africa
policy should be seen to reflect this in 2006.7

            As countries in East Africa declare a state of emergency in
response to drought, and the UN estimates that millions of people in these
countries are at risk of starvation, Africa's vulnerability to humanitarian
crises will continue to require international attention. The structural
roots of such crises, in economic and environmental terms, require real
scrutiny and investment by the international community this year, to sharpen
the focus on human security for people in Africa and globally-for the two
are increasingly connected.

            The Ballot & The Bullet: Key Countries in Transition
            In 2006, some of the largest countries on the African continent
remain plagued by insecurity and conflict, but most are in the process of a
transition requiring U.S. and international support this year.

            Despite the direct responsibility that the U.S. shares for some
of Africa's current conflicts, and despite the U.S. capacity to provide key
support for conflict resolution on the continent, the current U.S. approach
to promoting security in Africa intends to keep the U.S. one step removed
from engagement with African initiatives. The U.S. refuses to participate in
multilateral peacekeeping efforts in Africa, and it has failed to lead
international action to protect the people of Darfur.

            In its Sudan policy, as noted above, the U.S. subordinates human
rights concerns to a geo-strategic agenda. There is a clear and urgent need
for an international intervention in Darfur to stop the genocide, provide
protection to civilians and humanitarian operations, create a climate for
successful peace talks and help facilitate the return of displaced people to
their lands. The African Union mission in Darfur needs and deserves
international support to arrest this crime against humanity.

            But 18 months since it acknowledged that genocide was taking
place in Darfur, the U.S. has yet to articulate and pursue a plan to stop

            Meanwhile, the people of southern Sudan have stepped onto a new
political battleground for continuing their own struggle for
self-determination and development in the south. With the tragic death last
summer of the southern leader, Dr. John Garang, the vision of a "new Sudan,"
unitary and democratic, has lost its principal prophet. The Islamist segment
of the Government of National Unity, which holds the reins of power in
Khartoum, intends to go slow in implementing the CPA, and U.S. engagement
this year will be critical in holding Khartoum to its previous commitments.
Sudan also faces growing challenges from other alienated and marginalized
communities throughout the country, particularly the Beja people in the
east, and these challenges will likely grow in the coming months.

            The conflict in northern Uganda continues this year despite
limited efforts at resolution. It has attracted international attention to
the broader question of child soldiers but inadequate efforts to end the
violence of the Lord's Resistance Army, which has recently been implicated
in attacks across the border in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

            Parliamentary and presidential elections are planned for the DRC
by the end of June, and these will mark the first free elections in that
country since independence in 1961. These votes will form a key step in the
peacemaking process in DRC, though ongoing instability in the east of the
country and the presence there of Burundian and Rwandese militias remains a
destabilizing reality. Many Congolese refugees have not been returned,
especially in eastern Congo, and will not be able to vote, and there are
concerns that the international community may be overly eager to simply hold
some manner of elections this summer in order to declare a successful
transition and to begin reducing the role of the UN mission there. It is
estimated that more than 1,000 people are still dying each day in the
humanitarian crisis in eastern Congo.8

            In West Africa, countries like Liberia and Sierra Leone will
this year take the first steps in the long climb up and out of the deadly
chaos visited upon their people during the past two decades.

            2006 began with the inauguration of Africa's first woman elected
President, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf in Liberia. Her accomplishment is part of
the picture of increased representation of women in the political process in
Africa. Three African countries-Rwanda, Mozambique & South Africa-rank among
the top 15 countries worldwide in the percentage of female parliamentarians
(more than 30 percent). Two of the four female Prime Ministers in the world
today are in Africa-in Mozambique and São Tomé e Princípe.

            Yet the West African sub-region remains unstable, as several
countries emerge from civil war seeking to consolidate peace processes and
plan for elections, including Cote d'Ivoire, which is scheduled for
elections in October 2006. There is still a large presence of UN
peacekeeping operations in the area, with more than 25,000 troops in
Liberia, Sierra Leone and Cote d'Ivoire combined.

            In Nigeria, Africa's most populous country, President Olusegun
Obasanjo has expressed interest in seeking a third term in 2007, a move that
would require a constitutional amendment. Members of the Nigerian National
Assembly have expressed dismay at this possibility. Nigeria remains a key
partner for the U.S. in Africa, and its internal challenges (poverty, ethnic
and religious violence, HIV/AIDS, environmental issues) must be confronted
as part of its ongoing democratic transition.

            In East Africa, recent important elections have failed to
produce new and inspiring choices. In Ethiopia, a government crackdown
following a wave of political unrest, has left over 100 opposition
politicians, journalists, intellectuals and aid officials behind bars for
well over five months now and in Uganda harsh tactics were used to deny the
opposition presidential candidate a fair contest at the polls.

            In each case, public outcry and calls for democratic change will
continue to grow in 2006. The current battles over constitutional reform in
Kenya are indicative of the new arena for political struggle on the road of
democratization. African civil society actors demand a new social contract
between African states and their citizens to guarantee basic rights
regardless of which party may be in power. In Somalia, the power vacuum and
absence of social and economic infrastructure continue to be neglected by
the international community, and should receive new scrutiny in 2006 beyond
the prism of the so-called "War on Terrorism" and related security concerns.

            In southern Africa, Zimbabwe poses deep questions regarding how
authoritarian rule will eventually be ended there and highlights major
challenges facing all the former white minority ruled states in that
sub-region. The African Commission on Human and People's Rights of the
African Union (AU) has adopted a resolution strongly denouncing Zimbabwe's
human rights practices. The move marks the first time the AU has observed
and condemned a member state's government for rights abuses. This year,
greater political efforts will be required to press for negotiations between
the government and opposition in Zimbabwe, though the recent splintering of
the opposition now poses new challenges. In South Africa, where the
government has promised to transfer 30 percent of commercial farmland to
black owners by 2014, less than four percent had been redistributed by the
beginning of 2006.

            In North Africa, U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld's
recent trip to Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia highlights the warming
relationship between the U.S. and these countries, with the backdrop of a
perceived mutual interest in confronting Islamic militants and other
terrorist threats. However, the dual threats of radical religious
fundamentalism and the anti-democratic authoritarianism of governments in
many North African countries require a well-informed policy response if the
U.S. is to help increase the chances for sustainable democracy, and decrease
the chances for conflict in this vital region.

            In general, the wave of democratization that has swept over
Africa during the past decade and a half has all but put an end to military
regimes and one-party rule. The continent has settled into a new era of
multiparty politics where elections are now the norm for competing for a
share of local, regional and national power, and the competing parties are
representative of a range of ethnic, regional, social and economic
interests. At the same time, some civilianized military rulers and old-style
despots are still in place, and have been able to beat back challenges from
newly legal opposition parties and their leaders.

            Whether by fixing election results or merely abusing the
advantages of incumbency to deny airtime, public space or security to
opponents, the heavy hands of those in power still carry significant weight.
As a consequence, Africa continues to be the continent with the youngest
population and the oldest political leaders.

            The African Union continues to develop its own institutional
structures to promote continent-wide integration, and it is developing its
capacity to respond to conflicts and other political challenges. However, as
the shortcomings of its mission in Darfur demonstrate, the AU is still a
nascent organization and needs concerted international support in its
efforts to address genocide and other serious challenges around the
continent. The refusal of the AU to transfer the chair of the organization
to Sudanese President Omar El-Bashir in January 2006, because of concerns
over Darfur, marked an important step and a break from its predecessor
institution's shortcomings.

            Finally, the United Nations Human Rights Council, proposed by
the UN Secretary-General and likely to be established in 2006, will offer a
reformed vehicle for addressing violations of human rights in Africa and
making recommendations for changing state behavior toward its citizens.

            As pointed out by Nobel Laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu, a
strong and effective Human Rights Council is in the interests of all,
especially of Africa.9 Recent expressions of U.S. opposition to the latest
proposals for this body are a cause for concern, and the U.S. should
continue to engage in international efforts to create a strong and credible
body as one concrete expression of U.S. support for African human rights

            In 2006, the narrow notion of security promoted within current
U.S. Africa policy, and the U.S.' rejection of the more holistic concept of
"human security," will be challenged by the growing threat posed by public
health concerns and other global issues. This dichotomy will also serve to
illuminate the divide between African priorities and American imperatives on
today's global challenges.

            Increasingly, the interests pursued by this Administration
appear to be at odds with what average Americans want to see in U.S. Africa
relations. Recent polls show a real interest on the part of the American
public in African affairs, and indicate a more sophisticated understanding
of shared interests in addressing shared global challenges.10 These polls,
and escalating activism on Darfur and other key issues, show public support
for greater U.S. engagement on African priorities.

            In recent years, as the "compassionate conservatism" of the
White House in its Africa policy has been showcased at home and abroad, the
trends and expressions of Africa policy that are the most revealing have
received the least scrutiny. The Administration has successfully kept the
spotlight on its humanitarian façade and away from the creeping expansion of
the U.S. military presence on the continent and the ongoing preoccupation
with oil. In 2006, as concern grows over the most pressing security threats,
from HIV/AIDS and the bird flu to the ongoing genocide in Darfur, the U.S.
will face increasing demands to adapt its Africa policy to address these
contemporary challenges.


            1. Gleneagles Communiqué on Africa, "Climate Change, Energy and
Sustainable Development," July 2005. Available at:

            2. Statement of General James L. Jones, USMC, before the Senate
Foreign Relations Committee, September, 28 2005.

            3. James Brandon, "To Fight Al Qaeda, US Troops in Africa Build
Schools Instead," Christian Science Monitor, January, 9 2006.

            4. "Sudan: It'll Do What it Can Get Away With," The Economist,
December 1, 2005.

            5. For information on the Pan-African Treatment Access Movement,
see: <>.

            6. Jason Gale, "Africa, Overwhelmed by AIDS, May Struggle to
Control Bird Flu," Bloomberg, January 19, 2006.

            7. The results of a poll conducted by the Harvard School of
Public Health in February 2006 are available at:

            8. Ingrid Melander, "UN Warns of Humanitarian Disaster in the
DRC," Reuters, February 13, 2006.

            9. Archbishop Desmond Tutu, "Africa Must Take a Leading Role,"
International Herald Tribune, January 9, 2006.

            10. The results of a poll conducted by the Program on
International Policy Attitudes (PIPA) to assess public opinion on African
issues are available at:
            africa/africa_sum.cfm>; see also the results of a poll
commissioned by the International Crisis Group in June 2005 to assess
American attitudes to the Darfur crisis are available at:

            Salih Booker is Executive Director and Ann-Louise Colgan is
Director of Policy Analysis & Communications, at Africa Action, the oldest
Africa advocacy organization in the U.S.

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Zim deportees now destitute

Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Oswelled Ureke
issue date :2006-Mar-17

OVER 8 000 Zimbabweans deported from South Africa this month are living in
destitution at the Beitbridge border post, with some dying and their bodies
lying unclaimed in a hospital mortuary, an international migration
organisation has said.
Islene Aravjo, the health advisor for the International Organisation of
Migration (IOM), yesterday said the 8 000 was a figure recorded this March.
A senior Zimbabwean official has also confirmed that there is an influx of
deportees from South Africa.
On average, there were at least 2 000 Zimbabweans deported from South Africa
every month, for illegally residing in the country, indicated the report.
"There are 8 000 deportees at the Beitbridge border post right now. Most of
these people do not have money because they would have gone to work on South
African farms and get booted out without pay. They become destitute and it
becomes a humanitarian concern," Aravjo said.
"Some of the deportees are evidently ill and in most cases do not have food
or money to transport themselves back to their home, so they cross back into
South Africa by wading across the Limpopo River. Some, in their desperation,
try to walk back and fall ill or die along the way with no one to identify
She said many of these people had been hospitalised and died, with their
bodies lying unclaimed in the Beitbridge Hospital Mortuary.
"Right now, there are as many as 20 corpses in the Beitbridge Hospital
mortuary, when it is supposed to hold only six," said Aravjo.
Aravjo added that 80 percent of the deportees were below 25 years of age and
were mostly teenagers.
She said her organisation was in the process of establishing a reception
centre at the border post to accommodate deportees and source bus fares for
them so that they could travel back to their original homes.
Zimbabwe's principal immigration officer, John Kambunda, could not confirm
the figures released by IOM. "You would have to contact the principal
immigration officer for Beitbridge over the figure. I would have been in a
better position to comment had I got the figures from the organisation
concerned (IOM)," Kambunda said.
He, however, admitted there was an influx of deportees at the border post
and confirmed the establishment of a reception centre.
The immigration official said: "Deportees face problems after clearance by
immigration. Some of them get stranded because they have no food to eat and
have nowhere to sleep, while others do not have money to travel back to
their homes.
"We are in the process of establishing a reception centre about which you
shall be informed. It is an inter-ministerial project that will involve the
Social Welfare Department as well as the ministries of health and home
Aravjo made the revelations at a briefing over Sweden's extension of US$5
million (40 million Swedish Kroner) support towards humanitarian assistance
in Zimbabwe at the Swedish Embassy in the capital yesterday.
Many Zimbabweans have left the country in pursuit of economic fortunes
outside the country, but most of them have done so illegally.
South Africa has introduced a tight Visa regime against Zimbabweans to
control their movement into the country. Many have, however, beaten the
tight restrictions by wading across the mighty Limpopo River, risking their
lives in the process.

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Anti-senate heavyweights Anti-senate

Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2006-Mar-17

The MDC anti-senate Harare province has snubbed the majority of leader
Morgan Tsvangirai's lieutenants who were jostling for positions ahead of the
faction's congress slated to kick off in the capital today.
Impeccable sources in the party yesterday said the province held its
nomination exercise last Saturday and dumped top members of the faction with
close links to Tsvangirai.
Among those snubbed were trade unionists Tapiwa Mashakada, Paurina Mpariwa
and Paul Madzore - all legislators in Harare - and businessman Ian Makone,
Elton Mangoma, Dennis Murira and the party's European Union representative
in Brussels, Grace Kwinje.
The sources said during the nomination, Tsvangirai was elected unopposed as
president, while Thokozani Kuphe was selected vice president ahead of
Getrude Mthombeni and former governor of Matabeleland North Welshman
Khupe is said to have amassed 108 votes against Mabhena and Mthombeni's six
and two, respectively.
Isaac Matongo was re-nominated national chairman unopposed while lawyer
Tendai Biti beat three rivalries to the post of secretary general.
"Biti garnered 82 votes beating Mashakada who amassed 66, Makone and Mangoma
failed to get a single vote each.
Mashakada, long perceived to be Tsvangirai's close associate, was touted to
take over the reigns as the secretary general of the faction.
The sources claimed Mpariwa lost heavily to Lovemore Moyo for the post of
deputy secretary general after she only garnered 44 votes against her rival's
The nomination exercise also saw former executive mayor for Harare Elias
Mudzuri coming out the favourite for the post of organising secretary after
he polled 106 ballots against Madzore's 36, while Murira, Gweru businessman
Patrick Kombayi and Size Moyo received no votes.
The sources added that one Morgan Komichi and former Chimanimani legislator
Roy Bennett were nominated organising secretary and treasurer general,
respectively. They were unopposed.
Bennett is reportedly on the run after he was allegedly implicated in the
Mutare arms cache case, in which state security agents found arms of war in
the possession of a former Rhodesian soldier.
Kuwadzana legislator and incumbent spokesperson for the faction, Nelson
Chamisa beat Kwinje for the office of secretary for information and
publicity garnering 118 votes against his rival's six.
"Madzore and Mashakada, who were crying foul over the whole exercise left
Harvest House (faction's headquarters) in a huff as they were not nominated
by the Harare province. They castigated the nomination process saying it was
manipulated," added the source.
"Hopes for powerful positions in the faction for those left in the cold
after the nomination process continue wilting after Tsvangirai held a
meeting at Harvest House on Wednesday and announced that the management
committee (former top six) be composed of only eight individuals and not 13
as previously planned," the source claimed.
Tsvangirai reportedly wants the leadership to be composed of the president,
his vice, national chairman, secretary general, deputy secretary general,
organising secretary, deputy organising secretary, and treasurer.
"Since some people are already complaining over the suggestion by their
leader, Tsvangirai will either stick to the eight or would personally
appoint five more people," the source added.
Mpariwa yesterday confirmed that indeed the nomination exercise took place
in Harare and she lost her bid to become deputy secretary general.
"I lost a bit to Moyo, but the race is still open in other provinces. In
Harare they are not all that gender sensitive," she said.
Matongo said as national chairman he was yet to receive the results of the
nomination exercise.
"The deadline for submission of the nomination results is tomorrow (today),"
Matongo added.
While efforts to get a comment from other affected officials were fruitless
yesterday, Chamisa declined to speak to The Daily Mirror when contacted.
He said: "I do not want to speak to you and reporters from your newspaper. I
am contemplating barring journalists from that newspaper from attending our
At the time of going to pres yesterday nomination exercise was still going
on in the party's remaining 11 provinces.
Today's congress is the second in the fractious MDC after the pro-Senate
camp held its assembly in Bulawayo in February and elected Arthur Mutambara
as its president while Gibson Sibanda and Welshman Ncube retained their
posts as vice president and secretary general respectively.
Former deputy secretary general Gift Chimanikire was elevated to the post of
national chairman while Priscilla Misihairambwi Mushonga landed the post of
deputy secretary general.
Both factions claim to be the real MDC and last Sunday Mutambara said
members of the anti-Senate camp must repent, accept punishment and join his
camp as followers.
He accused the Tsvangirai camp of breaching the MDC's constitution and
called for the re-unification of the main opposition party.
The MDC split into two camps last October over participation in the November
25 Senate polls.

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Wheat farmers demand $25m per tonne

Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Business Reporter
issue date :2006-Mar-17

WHEAT farmers are demanding a producer price of $25 million per tonne during
the forthcoming winter-crop production season, up from last year's $7
The farmers cite the escalating rise in production costs as the reason for
their call for the hike.
Discussions on the proposal began yesterday and the outcome should be made
available before mid-next month.
The move comes at a time when costs of various inputs required in the
production process are continuing to skyrocket.
Representatives of two major farmers' unions - the Zimbabwe Farmers' Union
ZFU) and the Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers' Union (ZCFU) - yesterday confirmed
that discussions on the issue  had begun.
Economists from the Ministry of Agriculture have been sucked into the
discussions that should determine the fate of the production of the crop
during the forthcoming winter season.
Farmers are arguing that prices of fertiliser, fuel, tillage services,
labour and other variables had gone up by more than 10 times.
Although the ZFU director Dzarira Kwenda could not be reached for comment,
an economist with the union who spoke on condition of anonymity, and the
chairman of the Grains and Cereals Producers Association (GCPA), Denford
Chimbwanda, yesterday confirmed the commencement of the talks.
GCPA is a commodity association of ZCFU.
Said Chimbwanda:  "In fact, we were supposed to have started discussions
much earlier. However, due to other commitments, the meeting was postponed
to today (Thursday)."
"The farmers are expecting to know the outcome of the meetings before the
end of this month and are keen to know what price government will offer
before they go back to the land."
Observers note that the meeting comes at that a time that the two parties
are pulling in opposite directions.
Government desperately wants farmers to grow wheat for food security as the
nation has been reeling under wheat shortages for several years.
The shortage has had a strain on government as it has been directing
little-earned foreign currency available in the country towards the
importation of wheat in the last fours years.
However, farmers are calling for a viable producer price, which they say
must match the ever-escalating costs of production.
 Both Chimbwanda and the economist were reluctant to disclose the ideal
producer price farmers wanted but sources confirmed the $25 million figure.
To buttress their demands, a document made available to this newspaper
reveals farmers arguing that costs of various inputs and variables required
in producing wheat per hectare had gone up.
Last season a farmer required $7 million to produce four tonnes of wheat per
This time around a farmer requires $80 million per hectare, an eleven-fold
According to the document, the costs listed excluded
overheads in maintaining individual properties and those in the production
of wheat in general.
Farmers also argue that fuel last season was selling at below $10 000 per
This time around the price of fuel has gone up to  $110 000  - on the
official market.
A 50-kg bag of fertiliser cost an average $350 000 last season. The same bag
now costs $1.5 million.
"It must be taken into account that those commodities (fuel and fertiliser)
are currently not readily available on the market," reads the document.
The farmers argue that it was most likely that the commodities were only
available on the black market.
This season is the first time in three years that government has revoked its
decision to announce a post-harvest producer price, after farmers threatened
not to grow the crop.
Last season farmers deliberately withheld delivery of wheat in protest.
This was after government rejected their demand for $12 million per tonne,
before planting wheat in March.
Government was only prepared to offer $7 million per tonne after farmers had
already harvested.
As a standoff continued, the central bank came to the rescue by offering
farmers a bonus of $2 million for every tonne of wheat delivered to the
Grain Marketing Board (GMB) before the end of November.

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Highfield residents plan demo over poor services

Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2006-Mar-17

RESIDENTS of Highfield have resolved to demonstrate against City of Harare
authorities over alleged poor service delivery.
The residents met at Highfield's Zimbabwe Hall on Wednesday and expressed
their growing displeasure at the local authority's dithering on basic
service delivery.
While council was trying to spruce up its image in the face of economic
challenges besetting the country, the ratepayers insisted they had had
enough of being short-changed by the commission running the affairs of
Harare and demanded urgent action.
The meeting was organised by Crisis Coalition of Zimbabwe and the Combined
Harare Residents' Association (CHRA). This was part of similar gatherings
aimed at engaging  residents face-to-face listening to their concerns and
Crisis Coalition's Munyaradzi Zimunya alleged lack of transparency in the
commission's handling of public funds.
"The commission is not being transparent on what it is doing with ratepayers'
money because services continue to deteriorate even as rates are going up,"
Zimunya said.
"The matter is worsened by the fact that there are no elected councillors
among the commissioners, so no one really feels accountable to any
constituency in that commission," he added.
CHRA spokesperson Precious Shumba, who chaired the meeting, said it was
important that whatever action residents took, they stayed away from
politics for their messages not to be misconstrued.
The residents vowed to take to the streets and confront the chairperson of
the Harare Commission Sekesai Makwavarara and area legislator Pearson
Mungofa of the MDC.
Anna Bhaureni, the Highfield Ward 26 residents' association chairperson
said: "Basic services have been neglected and city workers are not committed
to their duty.  I went to the superintendent's office and told him to supply
me with, at least, a plastic bag to carry the rubbish if they can't collect
filth from my house but they said they didn't have one."
She went on: "When I went to pay my rates at the office, I found no one in
attendance and took my complaint to the superintendent.
"I was told there was no one to attend to us as the cashier had gone to town
to check for his salary. If they can't serve us, then who will? Where are
they putting our monies? People say the government is bad, but I don't think
so. It is the people we have given positions that are bad."
Bhaureni said since they elected Mungofa last year, Highfield residents have
never seen him again. She said the MP stayed in Mabelreign, and therefore
unaware of their suffering.
Bhaureni contended that Mungofa and Makwavarara deserved to be protested
against for failing to spearhead development in the constituency.
Another Highfield resident, who only identified himself as Lawrence, said
most of them were prepared to demonstrate against Makwavarara's team
"Elected councils have been demonstrated against and have been forced to
leave office. Nothing should stop us from forcing Makwavarara and company
out of office too," he said. "Things are just unbearable and we can't leave
the commission in place when it is giving us nothing except a raw deal."
CHRA also issued a report about areas in Harare it felt were ill-serviced.
The pressure group cited Dzivaresekwa where raw sewage was reportedly
flowing from a house and Eastlea with notable persistent water cuts.

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JAG Job Opportunities dated 16 March 06

Please send any job opportunities for publication in this newsletter to:
JAG Job Opportunities;



Ad inserted 18 January 2006

Manager - Hazeldean Pty Ltd

A position is available for a hands-on manager, with a strong interest in
animal breeding using measured performance, to take on a close working
relationship with the managing director in the running of Hazeldean & its
sheep & cattle seed stock enterprises. The position is at company
headquarters, Hazeldean, located 15 minutes south of Cooma in

The successful applicant will be required to contribute ideas and form
strategies for the future growth of the property & business. Planning &
budgeting are essential skills however a desire for hands on involvement
is equally important.

The position would suit a team player and one capable and willing to take
on more responsibility in the future.  We are happy to consider
employment of a suitably qualified or experienced Zimbabwean.

Applications to:
Jim Litchfield
Cooma NSW 2630

 MOBILE: +61 414 363 006 (international)

                     0414 363 006 (within Australia)


Ad inserted 9 February 2006


Retired, energetic, fun loving Book Keeper, living in Greendale,
Borrowdale, Chisipite areas in March, for a small Nursery School : basic
administration, reception, books and general helping out.

Please call Debi or Shelley between 8am and 12pm



Ad inserted 9 February 2006


A mature, responsible person who is experienced with and passionate about
horses required by one of Zimbabwe's leading safari operators.  This
challenging position offers an extremely exciting lifestyle, full board
and lodging and a very competitive salary.  The right person should also
be able to get on as well with people as with horses.  Please send CV to



Ad inserted 9 February 2006

A vacancy exists for a farm manager on a mixed farm in Tanzania.

Our core business is vegetables for export however various other crops
and livestock operations are undertaken.

The right candidate should have at least 5 years farming experience in
East/Southern Africa, preferably with horticultural experience.

Responsibilities would include daily farm management, record keeping to
Eurepgap specifications, farm security and community liaison.

The candidate should be either single or accompanied without children.

To start immediately.

Package: $1500 per month, medical aid and usual benefits of farm
management positions. Work permit to be provided by the employer.

Company details to be found at
Please send CV to:

Nursery School or Infant Teacher

Ad inserted 9 February 2006

Experienced Nursery School or infant teacher wanted for 2nd Term,
Avondale area. English must be first language. Very good working
environment, mornings only, school terms only. Good package for right
person - mail


Ad inserted 16 February 2006

        Looking for a position, family left Zimbabwe

Looking for a position for our maid who has worked for us for 22 years.
She is honest, friendly, very caring and excellent with young children.
She does do basic cooking, housework, baby sitting. She come highly
recommended by us and has been part of the family for many years.

Anyone interested please contact me by email, or

Angela Stephens 776451 mornings only, for an interview with the maid,



Ad inserted 16 February 2006

WANTED; Millwrights, Electricians, Diesel Mechanics, Refrigeration
Specialists, Town Planners and Quantity Surveyors

Recruit Global will assist in looking for a job and sponsorship
opportunities for the
right candidates wanting to move to Australia.
Australia is experiencing a major skills shortage in all states, we will
services to assist in, visas, trade recognition
tests, sponsorship, relocation, financial advice.

Contact us today at Aussiemigrant


Ad inserted 16 February 2006

      Vacancy for Live-In Housekeeper Companion


The applicant should be a single female, unmarried, widow, or divorced,
and must have a caring nature, and be interested in cooking and the
welfare of an elderly lady.

Free accommodation will be provided in a beautiful period house, circa
1700, own bed-sitting room with television, fridge and microwave and
washbasin, tastefully furnished with bookcases and easy chair, and
adjoining bathroom.  Use one of the sitting rooms in the house.

Food will be provided for main meals, as part of the contract.

The Housekeeper will be responsible for the general running of the house,
and its cleaning.  She will prepare and cook meals, and do some
shopping.  Use of car will be available for this purpose.  She will act
as a companion to Mrs H L Franklin who is aged 88 years, a refined lady,
who is a widow.

Mrs Franklin has a Private Nurse who attends to her personal care in the

There will be some laundry work of personal items for Mrs Franklin, at
present all bedding goes to the laundry.

This job would be suitable for someone who requires a comfortable home in
a small village in rural Shopshire.  Nearest shops in the village
including a Post-Office, General Stores, Butcher, Pubs, Doctors, and
Anglican Church.  Nearest Market Town, Church Stretton, 6 miles South.
Nearest large town, Shrewsbury, 6 miles north.  Nearest Railway Station,
either Church Stretton or Shrewsbury.

Shropshire is an Agricultural Country and there is no Industry, the
surrounding countryside is an area of outstanding beauty and cultural

The Housekeeper/Companion will have an average of two half days a week
off and at least two hours per day in either morning or afternoon at
leisure, by mutual arrangement.

Mrs Franklin's son, Mr Howard Franklin lives next door at Dorrington
Court, and is normally around most days and often takes meals with Mrs
Franklin.  Mr Franklin is retired, but still travels as a Lecturer in
Cruise Ships several times a year, and does after Luncheon speaking
engagements in Great Britain.

Salary of Five Hundred Pounds Sterling per calendar month and totally
free board and lodging.

Person travelling from Overseas will be helped with their airfare.

The contract as Companion/Housekeeper will be for a minimum period of
eight months, to be extended.

Please apply with details of yourself and any relevant information to:


Dorrington Court


Shropshire, SY57JD

Telephone 01743 718143



Ad inserted 22 February 2006



Ex-Karoi farmer looking for a partner to invest in a promising farming
organization situated 16 kilometers from Lusaka.  Currently farming
seed-maize, paprika, soya-beans and vegetables.  The farm is 340 hectares
with approximately 100 hectares utilised.  Excellent water available for

Interested parties please contact : / 096 444 466 (Zambia)


Ad inserted 2 March 2006



Ad inserted 2 March 2006

Looking for someone to fill this position. One side of the company is
Haigar Tyre and Fitment Centre - small company with only 3 on the
payroll. We are looking for an elderly man - probably retired and
looking for something to keep himself busy - he will be required to
basically be there to order tyres, stock, monitor cars that come in for
alignment etc etc; mainly be in the office on the phone - no great
physical work.

If you are interested please give Darrell Haigh a call on 331726 or 011
220 606. Many thanks.

We are also looking for a reliable driver ?????


Ad inserted 16 March 2006





Ad inserted 16 March 2006

      Positions Vacant

Maintenance Manager wanted for busy dairy & cropping farm 30kms outside
Harare.  Position includes maintenance of tractors, boreholes etc,
of workshop and buying of spares.  Office work available for spouse.
Small house available on farm with other company perks.  Suitable
please phone 091 202692 or email




Ad inserted 16 February 2006

"Fitter and turner seeking position as handyman, technical sales rep,
stores man etc.

Phone Fred Harmse 091-319272, 882866."


Ad inserted 16 February 2006


I am a hard working, loyal and honest man aged 34 with many years of
valuable work experience looking for employment in a Managerial Role with
the right company. I have been primarily involved in the Plastic &
Chemical Industry with past experience in the Freight Sector (Import /
Export) working my way from the bottom to a top position of Managing
Director for a
successful company in previous employment. I am currently employed and
can be contacted on the following E-Mail Address for further details and
a copy
of my Curriculum Vitae:


Ad inserted 22 February 2006


Experienced waiter - very well trained also trained by ex owner of
Restaurant in Stock control and Cashier

Smart and well spoken, very good with the public

If any business requires this young and enthusiastic male please write to


Ad inserted 2 March 2006

    Employment Sought

Young Lady aged 19 years, educated to ZGC level: Diploma in Silvana
beauty academy, Diploma in modeling, and have just completed computer
courses, in excel - word - etc, willing to learn and do anything. Hard
working, out going and enthusiastic. Please contact: Rochelle
Vermaak 091 347 982 or email: or


Ad inserted 2 March 2006

                          CONSULTANCY SERVICES OFFERED

I a middle aged, degreed man with extensive experience in:

 * Cane Sugar and by-products production/processing.
 * Small Scale Edible Oil Milling/Equipment Sourcing, Installation and
 * Middle Level Management
 * Laboratory processes
 * Small Scale Food Processing
 * Staff/Operator Training in ALL of the above
 * Small Scale food processing for Rural Development
 * Beekeeping and Honey Processing.

PROCESSING, particularly in Southern Africa.

I am looking for consultancy Opportunities - both long and short term
assignments, and on-going.

Please contact me on; OR 00 +44 07789842285; 00 +44
07849163016; 00 +44 01296620515 for FULL CV.


Ad inserted 16 March 2006



I am a specialist in tractor service/repairs, with 32 years experience,
having worked for several years in hands-on and management positions, for
such companies as Bain New Holland and Duly's.  After leaving Duly's, I
become self employed (since 1990) with similar work.  Our work has
consisted of repairs/service work carried out at our workshops in
addition to field service work as and when required.  In addition to the
above my business includes the sourcing of spares and organising outwork
such as injector pumps, clutches, brakes and engine machine work being
carried out by those companies offering the best service.  One department
of our business specialises in the service/repair work of all tractor
steering related components such as steering boxes, orbital valves, rams,
hoses, etc.

I would like to stress that I wish to work on a contract basis,
preferably for a farming syndicate or a large, well established farm
set-up as I have been self employed for 16 years and have a commitment
towards children who are being schooled locally.  I am seeking such work
outside of Zimbabwe as we feel the economics of our country have made it
impossible to continue a viable business.  My wife and I wish to keep our
home as a base for the stability of our children.  We would like to
travel back to Zimbabwe every 3 to 4 weeks to be with them.

We hope the above meets with the approval of those looking for a
contractor for this type of work.

For further information contact Doug or Tracy Edwards - or 068-22463 / 011212454


For the latest listings of accommodation available for farmers, contact (updated 16 March 2006)

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