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

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The Star

††††† Zim farmers working for the good of Africa
††††† March 26, 2004

††††††† By Peter Fabricius

††††† Zimbabwe's white farmers - evicted from their farms in their home
country - are, like the lost tribe of Israel, wandering around the
continent, looking for places to put down their roots again.

††††† And they are starting to do so. About 150 families have now settled in
Mozambique, about 100 in Zambia and a handful in Tanzania. The few in Zambia
have been widely credited with turning the country from a net food importer
into a net food exporter within a couple of years. In Mozambique, President
Joaquim Chissano recently visited the ex-Zimbabwean farmers in Chimoio, near
Beira, and thanked them for re-establishing the country's dairy industry.

††††† This week the Commercial Farmers Union (CFU), which represents
Zimbabwean farmers, sent a delegation to meet Nigerian President Olusegun
Obasanjo, who offered to let them farm in his country.

††††† Alan Jack, who led the CFU delegation, said in an interview that the
farmers had been overwhelmed by the response.

††††† "Where else do you get to meet the president, the vice-president and
the minister of finance all at once?" he asked.

††††† Jack said he told Obasanjo: "We are Zimbabweans but we cannot farm
there now. We are also Africans and we want to stay here."

††††† He said the Nigerians candidly admitted to him that their farm
industry was ruined, that they were importing 98% of their food and that
they desperately needed help.

††††† Obasanjo told them: "We don't want to take what is good for Zimbabwe
away, but we don't want what is good for Africa taken away. Wherever you
stay in Africa, the knowledge you have remains in Africa for the benefit of

††††† South Africa's Democratic Alliance has praised Obasanjo for his "wise
and farsighted approach" and for realising that the "irreplaceable local
skill and experience" of commercial farmers was "crucial to obtaining
overall food security in Africa".

††††† It noted that the success of the New Partnership for Africa's
Development depended upon reviving the continent's immense - but largely
fallow or unproductive - farmlands.

††††† It is intriguing to see how the same person - a white Zimbabwean
farmer - can be viewed so differently by two African leaders. To Zimbabwean
President Robert Mugabe he is a coloniser, a parasite feeding off black
Zimbabweans and denying them land. To Obasanjo he is an investor, possessing
rare skill and capital, willing and able to come to his country like a
pioneer and help it feed itself.

††††† By welcoming them so warmly and praising the contribution they can
make to Africa, Obasanjo must surely have intended to send a message to
Mugabe that he is wrong about the farmers, that he is squandering a valuable

††††† But many other Africans - probably quite a few in this country - will
no doubt feel considerable unease about what they would see as a
recolonising of Africa. This handful of whites, however, can surely not
dominate any country, nor seize land from locals as the colonists did.
Severed from any government force, they are merely investors, no more
colonisers than an industrialist who builds a factory in an African country.
Especially as the Zimbabwean farmers insisted that they should not displace
any local farmers from their land and the Nigerians fully agreed to that.

††††† Jack admitted, though, that his delegation had raised one particular
concern with the Nigerians: that having moved to the country and revived the
farmland, they would then excite the envy of the locals who would covet the
productive farms they then saw, and come to take them away as the
Zimbabweans had done. In other words, that when they had served their
purpose, it might be convenient to re-label them as colonists.

††††† "They assured us they were a democratic country with a constitution
and that would never happen," he said. "We know, though, that there are no
absolute guarantees. Each farmer must make his own choice."

††††† But between certain deprivation in the present and possible
deprivation in the future, there is no real choice.
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††††† Zimbo on my stoep

†††††† By: Elian Wiener

††††† Posted: 2004/03/25 Thu 18:34† | © Moneyweb 1997-2004

††††† According to media reports, Zimbabwean finance minister, Christopher
Kuruneri, is building a R30-m luxury mansion in Cape Town and is paying for
it with cash -- with US dollar bills.
††††† Whilst both Kuruneri and the Zimbabwean government have denied that he
is breaking any Zimbabwean foreign-exchange rules, there are arguably a
number of South African rules and international rules on money-laundering
that are being contravened.

††††† According to a front-page report in the Sunday Times this past
week-end, Kuruneri has been paying monthly visits to Venture Projects &
Associates, the project-management company that is arranging the building of
the mansion. The report quoted a source as saying that Kuruneri regularly
gives Venture Projects owner, Chris Hayman, cash to pay the contractors
before promptly jumping on a flight back to Zimbabwe.

††††† Kuruneri told the Herald newspaper that he bought the property with
hard currency that he earned from consultancy work outside Zimbabwe before
he was appointed as a minister.

††††† The report in the Sunday Times further stated that a source close to
Hayman's company said that Hayman's services to Kuruneri included the
safekeeping of large amounts of US dollars.

††††† The nature of these transactions raises several questions over the
legality of this arrangement. According to the Financial Intelligence Centre
(FIC), in terms of the recently-legislated Financial Intelligence Centre Act
(FICA), it is necessary to report suspicious transactions to the FIC.

††††† The act was introduced to combat money-laundering activity in South
Africa. According to the Act, money laundering means an activity that has
the effect of concealing or disguising the nature, source, location,
disposition or movement of the proceeds of unlawful activities.

††††† According to the FIC, the circumstances surrounding each individual
case need to be taken into account when determining whether it is suspicious
or not. In this case, Venture Projects would need to determine whether the
payment of millions of US dollars in cash by a Zimbabwean government
official should be regarded as suspicious.

††††† The alleged cash payments and safekeeping of dollars also raise the
issue of a possible serious breach of exchange-control regulations by
Venture Projects. According to Chris Grove, deputy GM of exchange control at
the Reserve Bank, in terms of local exchange-control regulations, local
companies or persons receiving foreign currency in cash are required to
offer the foreign currency for sale to an authorised dealer by no later than
one business day after receiving the money.

††††† If Venture Projects is, indeed, receiving payment in dollar bills as
reported, in order for it to be complying with exchange-control regulations,
it should have already facilitated the conversion of dollars to rands
through a local bank. In terms of FICA, the bank would then be required to
obtain full details of the origins of the money in question. Should the bank
then deem these origins to be of a suspicious nature, it would then be
required to submit a report to the FIC.

††††† In terms of the act, failure to report any suspicious activities could
result in a 15-year prison sentence a fine of up to R10-m.
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Independent (UK)

Mugabe 'set to announce his retirement'
By Moshoeshoe Monare in Harare
26 March 2004

Zimbabwe's president, Robert Mugabe, will announce his retirement in
December during Zanu-PF's national congress, a senior executive of the
ruling party said yesterday.

Nathan Shamuyarira, Zanu's secretary for information, said the congress
would be the final decision-making platform about Mr Mugabe's future. But he
said it was not clear whether Mr Mugabe would announce an immediate
departure or a date to relinquish power. "The congress of the party is a
regular congress that is held every five years, and that congress will elect
the leaders of the party and you can say that it is at that point that
Mugabe will indicate his view of his role in the future," Mr Shamuyarira

On Mr Mugabe's successor, he said: "John Nkomo [party chairman] is on a par
with Emmerson Mnangagwa [parliamentary speaker]. It depends very much on how
Mugabe quits. If Mugabe at the December congress says I am quitting now,
Joseph Msika [the vice-president] will take over. It will be very difficult
for anyone to oppose him. But if [Mugabe] says I will be retiring in a
year's time, then Msika will be out, infighting will be between Mnangagwa
and Nkomo."

Mr Mnangagwa has been linked to illicit gold dealings. His name appears on
the charge sheet in the case of Mark Mathew Burden, who is accused of having
paid Zim$8m (£5,500) into accounts held by Mr Mnangagwa.

Other contenders to succeed Mr Mugabe include the ministers Dydmus Mutasa
and Sydney Sekeramayi.
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Zimbabwe comes under spotlight at Civicus conference

March 25, 2004, 17:23

The Zimbabwean government is increasingly coming under pressure to review
its policies on basic civil liberties to ensure economic and political
governance. A report commissioned by the international civic organisations
Civicus and tabled in Gaborone, Botswana, urges the international community
not to ignore what it terms "the desperate situation in Zimbabwe".

The report, titled "Resisting Repression", and distributed at the Civicus
Assembly, outlines Zimbabwe's troubled history, examines a host of
repressive laws and also shows how government is clamping down on operations
by civil society. The report details the government attacks on organised
labour, its undermining of the judiciary and shows how the land question is
being abused to divert legitimate concerns.

Zimbabwean representatives at the conference believe the report is proof
that South Africa's policy of quiet diplomacy towards their country is
misplaced. Delegates are expected to deliberate over the Zimbabwe situation,
and also engage their respective governments and other steak holders back

Kumi Naidoo, the secretary general of Civicus said:"We cannot have land
reform by comprising fundamental issues of democracy, governance and the
rule of law ... because everyday that we delay we are culpable of the deaths
by starvation, HIV/Aids and actually direct violence that is happening in
Zimbabwe right now."

The main focus of the report on Zimbabwe deals with the political and
economic situation, which seems to have spiralled out of control, and also
reflects on avenues that can be used by civil society to influence and
reverse the present course of events.
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Zim Independent

Domestic debt soars to $600b
Ngoni Chanakira
ZIMBABWE'S domestic debt, which stood at $346 billion in December 2002, rose
to approximately $600 billion by December last year.

The country's total external payment arrears continued to increase, riling
international creditors.

NMB Holdings Ltd chairman Paddy Zhanda this week said the debt was dominated
by Treasury Bills, mainly two-year paper, which account for 97,5% of the
total debt while government bonds account for the balance of 2,5%.

In his statement accompanying the group's results for the period ending
December 31 Zhanda said the government intends to further restructure the
domestic debt this year by issuing more long-dated instruments.

The budget deficit is expected to reach $1,83 trillion this year and
domestic debt is set to end the year at about $2,4 trillion.

Zhanda told investment analysts that the country's balance of payments
position remained precarious in 2003 largely as a result of poor export
performance coupled with the absence of external capital inflows.

He said exports of goods and services were estimated to have fallen by 3,9%
from US$1,603 million in 2002 to US$1,540 million in 2003.

Imports of goods and services fell less steeply from US$2,634 million in
2002 to US$2,618 million in 2003.

"The country is estimated to have recorded a current account deficit of
US$1,130 million, slightly up from US$1,044 million in 2002," Zhanda said.
"The capital account deficit is estimated to have declined from US$345
million in 2002 to US$309 million in 2003."

The chairman said the overall balance of payments deficit for 2003 was
therefore US$1,439 million.

A seven-member International Monetary Fund delegation is currently in the
country for the annual Article IV Consultation.

It has met the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor Gideon Gono, Minister of
Finance and Economic Development Chris Kuruneri and the opposition Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC).

Zimbabwe's overall balance of payments deficit for 2003 was therefore
US$1,439 million.

The country owes the IMF about US$270 million.

Gono has promised that the country will repay all debts to the fund.

He, however, said the country needed to first pay its electricity and fuel
bills to international creditors.

Zhanda said against the background of the weak balance of payments position,
gross official foreign currency reserves for 2003 were estimated at US$175
million, which represent approximately one month of imports, while usable
reserves were much lower at just under US$40 million.

Zimbabwe's total external payment arrears continued to rise in 2003.

As of December 2003, external payment arrears were estimated at about US$1,8
billion, up from US$1,3 billion at the end of December 2002.

A breakdown of the external arrears shows that government arrears account
for the largest portion at $1,2 billion (67%) while parastatals and the
private sector account for US$558 million (31%) and US$15 million (2%)
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Zim Independent


Why journos alone?

SO President Mugabe has vowed to deal with corrupt people in his government
no matter who they are? Hmmm... very, very interesting.

Has anyone whispered to him about the still-unresolved Noczim saga, or GMB,
Zesa, Air Zimbabwe, NSSA; or the ministers' wives who were buying forex at
$824:US$1 and selling it at $6000 last year; or a certain fitness trainer
who took forex from Zimbabweans desperate to go to the UK; or a certain
general's wife who took over a white farm, sold the proceeds to a British
company and pocketed the forex; or the minister who sold his South African
mansion and forgot to declare the forex?

And what about the boxing promoter who had a tuck shop in London? Or the
musicians who go on tours overseas and in the region but never declare their

Why victimise journalists only?


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Zim Independent

Eric Bloch Column

Continuing turmoil in banking sector

EVER since the sudden crash of ENG Asset Management Company, the Zimbabwean
banking sector has been in a state of extreme turmoil. It was within days of
the initial exposť of the appalling state of affairs at ENG that Zimbabweans
were confronted with the facts that other asset management companies, and
several banks, were in a parlous state and facing probable collapse.

At one stage it was almost a daily event that the national media would
disclose the dismal circumstances and insecurity of another financial
institution. Within a very short time, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ)
found it necessary to intervene in some bank or asset management company or
other, the interventions raging from providing very considerable bridging
funds from RBZ's troubled banks' fund to placing the institutions in
liquidation or under curatorship.

Several causes have been identified for the previously unknown,
unsatisfactory and very damaging state of so many of the institutions that
have constituted the Zimbabwean financial sector. Although yet to be
confirmed by convictions of some directors of some of the collapsed, or
near-collapsed, institutions, allegations have been pronounced that such
directors had disregarded all principles of good governance.

In some instances, the allegations are that such directors had used
depositors' funds to invest in vast fleets of luxury motor vehicles and
houses, houseboats at Kariba, country estates and other profligate excesses.

In other instances, directors and senior management stand accused of
investing the funds entrusted to them into speculative and unacceptably high
risk investments, tantalised so greatly by the possibilities of
spectacularly extraordinary profits that they abandoned the very
fundamentals of monetary prudency and responsibility.

And, in a number of instances, they extended this rash practice by
simultaneously providing massive indefinite period, or long-term, loans to
related parties. Generally, it is alleged, that they did so without any
recourse to collateral security necessary to protect the lender and its
depositors, and without disclosure to colleagues, auditors and public sector
monitoring and surveillance entities of the relevant relationships.

Yet a further cause of the near collapse of some of the banks, asset
management companies, and others within the financial sector, has been
under-capitalisation, both in terms of operating finance, and in terms of
managerial and operational skills.

Promoters of the new banks and other financial institutions were attracted
magnetically to the perceived prospects of immense future wealth, such
perceptions being founded upon the very evident and considerable successes
of some long-established banks. Imbued with beliefs that not only were
financial sector enterprises horns of cornucopia, but that the flows of
abundance from those horns were automatically accessible, they plunged into
money-market activities ill-prepared, inadequately capitalised and equipped,
and without necessary skills.

Still another catalyst of the collapses was the fact that the financial
sector was grossly over-traded. Responsible businessmen, economists, and
many others have long pondered how it was possible for a country of only 12
million people, of massive unemployment and a distressed and depressed
economy, could justify and support such a vast plethora of banks, building
societies, asset management companies and other financial enterprises.

Banking licences were issued by the licensing authority with almost total
disregard for the merits or otherwise of licence applicants, and without any
attempt to consider whether the economy could support yet further banks.

At one stage, very recently, the relatively miniscule Zimbabwean economy had
at least 18 registered commercial and merchant banks and building societies.
(Interestingly, it was reported last week that the IMF team to Zimbabwe
consider that the Zimbabwean economy justifies the existence of a maximum of
seven banks). Simultaneously, and despite the catastrophic failure, only a
few years ago, of the ill-fated Access to Capital asset management company,
which left many impoverished, over 50 asset management companies came into
being. Some were, and are, of undoubted repute and competence, but others
were very clearly not so. For a transitional period of time, whilst interest
rates were soaring upwards as a result of money market shortages and
imprudent money management, most of those management companies thrived. But
their monetary successes were unsustainable in a volatile economy, and
especially so when they were under-capitalised, lacking in skills, and
engaging in speculative, high-risk investments.

The first trigger to the collapse was the inclusion in the monetary policies
announced by RBZ governor, Gideon Gono, less than three weeks after his
appointment, of an intent that all asset management companies would have to
be licensed by the central bank. Licensing requirements would include
capital adequacy, requisite managerial resources, lodgement of statutory
reserves with RBZ, and submission to comprehensive RBZ monitoring and
surveillance. Almost immediately thereafter, the partial implosion of the
financial sector commenced.

The initial collapse was that of ENG Asset Management, with potential
deficiencies of many billions of dollars. Rapid-fire disclosures were of
vast outlays of monies on a fleet more than 35 exceptionally costly,
luxurious motor vehicles, many up-market houses, and diverse hazardous
investments. But also disclosed was that various banks, pension funds,
insurance companies and asset management companies were heavily exposed to
ENG, having deposited very many billions of dollars with them, having failed
to carry out appropriate risk-evaluation exercises before doing so. Prima
facie, most of the investment analysts and directors of those investing
entities relied solely upon their personal contacts and friendships with ENG
's founders and executives, and upon the bullish reports emanating from ENG
as to their investment successes.

As the contaminated state of ENG's affairs became increasingly known, and
the extent that others were at risk of sustaining massive losses, depositors
anxiously sought to withdraw their funds from them, desperate to save their

This set off a chain reaction of one, and then another, and then another,
financial institution, becoming illiquid and unable to service withdrawal
demands. In some cases the illiquidity was solely because of the very great
extent of withdrawals by depositors. Even very sound financial institutions,
with considerable asset resources, cannot conjure up sufficient liquid funds
to enable mass, simultaneous, pay-outs to depositors.

Thus some, because of under-capitalisation, or because of imprudent
investment, were suddenly in jeopardy of collapse, whilst others who would
under normal conditions have been considered to be of minimal risk, were
unexpectedly cast into a like circumstance of potential closure. And, as
this happened progressively to more and more, public panic became
increasingly pronounced, thereby exacerbating the financial sector's
instability. RBZ had to take rapid, dynamic and protective actions, forcing
the closure and liquidation of some banks before there was further erosion
of their resources, assisting others with short-term funding, and imposing
stringent management controls, including instances of curatorship.

These actions were very necessary and, in most instances, wholly
unavoidable, but a regrettable, certain consequential hardship on depositors
resulted. Employees had difficulty in accessing salaries, the impoverished
could not withdraw what little funding as would have been available to them
for essentials, pensioners and many retired persons were suddenly stranded
and unable to pay rentals, purchase foodstuffs and other essentials.

Some businesses have had their very operations jeopardised, all their funds
being locked up indefinitely in the straitened institutions.

RBZ has had no alternative but to act as it has done, but it is critical
that the relevant liquidators and curators do everything possible to enable
resumption of operations of the financial institutions at the earliest
opportunity, and insofar as possible transitionally facilitate partial
releases of funds to the depositors in desperate need.

Equally, they and RBZ must give high priority to pursuing mergers or
takeovers of the troubled enterprises with others possessed of substance and
skilled resources. And, as far as reasonably practical, the RBZ must provide
further, interim funding from the troubled banks' fund. Only by such actions
can the disastrous prejudice to many be countered or minimised, and the
financial sector restored to normality.

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Zim Independent

Makamba stuck in jail
Vincent Kahiya
DEFENCE lawyers representing beleaguered businessman James Makamba have
decided to put in mothballs an application to challenge the
constitutionality of a presidential decree which allows the state to hold a
suspect for up to a month without bail.

This week legal sources said George Chikumbirike of Chikumbirike &
Associates, who replaced a defence team from Scanlen & Holderness, was not
pursuing the constitutional challenge.

The challenge was filed as an urgent matter by Sternford Moyo, a senior
partner at Scanlen & Holderness.

"At the moment the most important aspect for Mr Chikumbirike is to secure
Makamba's release on bail," a lawyer close to the case said.

"The challenge to the statutory instrument is considered to be
confrontational and academic as it will not get the intended results

Makamba was arrested on February 9 on allegations of illegally dealing in
hard currency. Attempts to secure his release have failed at seven court
sittings. The legal team from Scanlen & Holderness last month filed an
urgent application in the Supreme Court challenging the legality of the
statutory instrument.

The team was subsequently replaced by Chikumbirike who decided to take a
different approach, saying Makamba's arrest had been irregular. That gambit
managed to secure the release of the businessman last Wednesday - albeit
temporarily as Makamba was arrested inside the Remand Prison complex after
police obtained a fresh warrant of arrest from a regional magistrate.

Meanwhile Makamba's bail hearing in the High Court was yesterday postponed
to Monday.
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Zim Independent

Kingdom retrenchees blow whistle
Staff writer
WORKERS retrenched by Kingdom Financial Holdings Ltd (KFHL) have started to
blow the whistle on the bank, sending a deluge of e-mails to the media and
the central bank.

In the last three weeks it has been reported that KFHL deputy chairman Nigel
Chanakira was on the run, a claim which has turned out to be untrue.

However, informers have continued to send details of what they term
incidents of misfeasance by the bank's directors - especially
externalisation of foreign currency.

A letter to central bank governor Gideon Gono from KFHL chairman Richard
Muirimi said the leaks the bank was experiencing might be coming from
disgruntled retrenched workers.

"To safeguard the business and to protect the dignity of those affected,
they (the workers) were requested to commence leave with immediate effect,"
said Muirimi.

"They are however on full pay. It goes without saying that amongst those in
this category there will undoubtedly exist a degree of disgruntlement and
perceived victim status. In fact some of the information management
challenges and 'leaks' we have recently experienced seem to point to this
group," he said.

As part of its rationalisation exercise, KFHL is reducing its staff
complement by 123 during 2004.

This week a "whistleblower" sent an e-mail to the Zimbabwe Independent,
which was copied to the central bank, saying Kingdom Merchant Bank (KMB), a
subsidiary of KFHL, had accounts with foreign corresponding banks in Europe,
the United States, Botswana, South Africa and Australia.

The informant claimed the accounts were opened to harvest foreign currency
from Zimbabweans in the Diaspora. It said Zimbabweans would deposit hard
currency in the accounts and KMB would pay the equivalent in Zimbabwe
dollars at parallel market rates.

The informers have been urging the central bank to investigate KFHL as it
did with NMB bank whose directors have since fled the country.

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Zim Independent

Ministry forces students to take political course
Itai Dzamara
IN what is seen as a bid by government to advance its political agenda, the
Ministry of Higher Education has introduced "National and Strategic Studies"
as a subject in institutions of higher learning.

The ministry has ordered polytechnics, teachers' colleges and universities
to make the subject compulsory.

It appears to have been adapted from the controversial National Youth
Training Service programme.

Students who fail to pass the National and Strategic Studies course cannot

Sources in the Ministry of Higher Education confirmed that the subject was
compulsory at all colleges and polytechnics.

The Zimbabwe Independent this week spoke to a number of students at the
Harare Polytechnic who face the possibility of being denied graduation in
August after refusing to sit for the National and Strategic Studies exams.

A question paper for this year's final exams currently underway contains
questions such as: "Which political party in Zimbabwe represents the
interests of imperialists and how must it be viewed by Zimbabweans?"

Another question asked is: "African leaders who try to serve the interests
of imperialists are called what and how do you view patriotism?"

The National and Strategic Studies department at the Polytechnic has three
permanent tutors. However, students said they had been boycotting most of
the lessons, inviting the ire of authorities who have vowed to deny those
who fail their certificates.

Head of the National and Strategic Studies department at the Harare
Polytechnic, a Mr Gavi, could not be reached for comment this week.

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Zim Independent

'Your paper can suffer and you can die'
Staff Writer
SELF-STYLED war veteran Andrew Matambanadzo, who runs Emmanuel Andrews
College in Harare, last week threatened to shoot a Zimbabwe Independent
reporter and close down the paper if it carried a story alleging
mismanagement at the college.

Matambanadzo, whose war credentials could not be established, said he would
shoot the reporter, Shakeman Mugari, and use his political muscle to close
the Independent if it carried a story about his college.

The threats were made after Mugari called Matambanadzo to verify allegations
of victimisation and mismanagement raised by students, lecturers and tenants
at the college.

"I will shoot you. I can just shoot you. Your paper will close. Unoziva
zvakaitika kuDaily News (You know what happened to the Daily News)," said an
angry Matambanadzo.

"I am a war vet. Your paper can suffer and you can die," he warned before
slamming down the phone.

Mugari made a report to the police.

Matambanadzo is alleged to be using his war-veteran claims to bully
students, lecturers and tenants at the college. Students and lecturers have
alleged ill-treatment at the hands of Matambanadzo who they say is running
the college like a "backyard business".

"Lecturers are grossly under-paid and if you complain he kicks you out,"
said a lecturer who came to the Independent's offices on Monday last week.
Matambanadzo allegedly lets out rooms on the college premises.

It is in dealing with tenants in these rooms that Matambanadzo is said to be
exercising his iron hand most. He is alleged to have manhandled some tenants
who were in arrears with their rents.

"He is rough with tenants," said the lecturer who spoke to the Independent.
"The college has a shortage of lecturers. The few who are there are never
paid on time. The sanitary facilities are in a sorry state."

A senior college official confirmed that there were problems at the college.

"Problems are found in each and every institution. We are rectifying the
situation. The situation in improving," said the official.

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From VOA News, 25 March

Police raid community radio station

Tafi Murinzi

Four officers, dressed in regular clothes, arrived at Bulawayo Agenda's
offices after lunch, saying they represent the Law and Order section.
Coordinator of the pressure group, Gorden Moyo, says the men showed him a
search warrant before they confiscated books, letters, documents and video
recordings of the organization's public meetings. Mr Moyo says the men
returned later, only to take the group's 23-yeard-old administrator,
Sibusiswe Ndlovu, with them. Her current whereabouts have not been
confirmed. Mr Moyo says he thinks she's still in custody. Mr Moyo added he
has no idea what the police were after. He suspects, however, that there may
be a link between the search and a recent police directive prohibiting
public meetings after 5pm. The marketing manager of Radio Dialogue, Kholiwe
Nyoni, says five men appeared at the station's Pioneer House offices just
before lunch. They also had a search warrant. The document was authorized by
a chief superintendent Paradzai, who is believed to be the head of the
police's Law and Order section. Ms Nyoni ads the officers took documents
from different offices, including invitations to an upcoming arts festival.
She says she thinks the raid may have been motivated by the station recently
starting "in house broadcasting", which is aimed at orienting staff with
broadcast equipment. Since its formation four years ago, the community
station has been pushing for independent broadcasters to be allowed to
operate. As part of this campaign Radio Dialogue co-produced a protest "Free
the Airwaves" CD with the Media Institute of Southern Africa, or MISA.
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Northern Ireland Network

NI Missionary Faces Prison In Zimbabwe Over Prayers Mar 26 2004

††††† A NORTHERN Ireland clergyman is facing prison in Zimbabwe for holding
a street prayer meeting.

††††† The Rev Noel Scott, who has been a missionary in Bulawayo for more
than 30 years, could be jailed for two years for breaching the Public Order
and Security Act when he stands trial next month.

††††† The retired Anglican priest was arrested and briefly imprisoned with
three other church leaders for praying on the pavement on their way to a
prayer meeting for peace two years ago in the run-up to a presidential

††††† However, magistrates threw out the summons over a year ago as
"defective" and "out of the blue".

††††† Mr Scott has now received a new summons and will stand trial on
renewed charges of breaching Zimbabwe's controversial security law which
prohibits the holding of certain types of public gatherings or marches that
have not been sanctioned by the police.

††††† In a letter to the Church of Ireland Dean of St Patrick's in Dublin,
Mr Scott revealed how he has been on remand since he was first arrested.

††††† "Since then I have made seven or eight appearances in court," he said.

††††† "Thousands of people are on remand and the magistrates keep on
postponing their cases.

††††† "It's a reflection on the general lawlessness here and is a form of

††††† Mr Scott, who was ordained in 1960 for the assistant curacy of
Ballymacarrett in the Diocese of Down, has been offered sanctuary by the
Church of Ireland but he is refusing to leave the community he has given his
life to help.

††††† Despite being retired, the shortage of clergy means he is "not short
of work," he told Dean Mac-Carthy.

††††† "I'm also very involved with Christians Together for Justice and Peace
of which I'm a founder member with Archbishop Pius and others and we do what
we can within the limits imposed."

††††† David Coltart, a lawyer and Member of Parliament for the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) said the pastors and church members had
been charged under the draconian new security laws with "disobeying the
command of a police officer".
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Zim Independent

Editor's memo
Media lid
THE Zimbabwean public are being short-changed in terms of access to
information which is vital for deciding what party to support ahead of next
year's parliamentary election.

In order for voters to make an informed choice, they should have access to a
variety of views. Twenty-four years after Independence voters have never had
such a limited range of views to choose from. Following the closure of the
Daily News, there is only one daily newspaper that is not owned by the
government. And it reflects views not very different from the regime's.

There are a handful of weeklies such as our own, but they are aimed at niche
markets and cannot pretend to play the role a daily does in keeping the
public informed on a 24-hour basis. Stories this week, for instance, about
prominent Zimbabwean politicians have been carried in the South African
press yet denied to the Zimbabwean public, with the exception of a story in
the Daily Mirror based on South African press reports and the usual denials
in the Herald.

We endeavour on a Friday to bring you some of the news being withheld during
the week. But inevitably stories fall through the cracks in the media floor.

Very simply Zimbabweans are not getting the volume of information they
deserve for a variety of reasons, most to do with repression and control.

The Media and Information Commission has prevented the Daily News from
registering. At the same time the government media has become a crude
instrument of the ruling party which has an interest in ensuring that every
piece of news that could influence public perceptions of the regime is spun
to maximum effect.

In other words, the very opposite of access to information is taking place.
The reading public are being blocked from knowing what is happening around
them. What news they do get from official sources has been fully sanitised.

Part of the problem lies with a regulatory body that is hostile to a free
press. As Professor Guy Berger pointed out in our columns last week,
registration is not a formality. It is designed to control and manipulate.

Worldwide, Prof Berger pointed out, generally only broadcasters are
licensed, and that is for technical reasons of limited frequencies. In the
few cases where newspapers are registered, it is purely an administrative
matter and applications cannot be rejected for political reasons.

It is worth emphasising these points because we are frequently told that
Aippa is similar to legislation elsewhere. It is not and I am surprised the
Swedish embassy allows to pass unchallenged repeated claims that Aippa bears
some resemblance to Sweden's regulatory system.

"The facts are straightforward," Berger says. "Through registration the
regime of President Mugabe has raped its country's media and robbed its
people of their right to information."

For those who argue that the media needs regulating, there are many means of
securing accountability, Berger points out. In addition to laws of
defamation there are complaints systems of the sort that have been up and
running for many years elsewhere and which Misa and the Zimbabwe National
Editors Forum have been proposing for this country.

If progress has been slow, it may be because we are operating in a siege

The African Union's Declaration of Principles of Freedom of Expression in
Africa is unambiguous. It affirms "the fundamental importance of freedom of
expression as an individual human right, as a cornerstone of democracy, and
as a means of ensuring respect for all human rights and freedoms".

Zimbabwe is in violation of those AU principles. And it's not OK as South
African ministers such as Penuell Maduna have been suggesting.

ZBC is increasingly sounding like Rwanda's Radio Mille Collines in 1994.
This is a so-called public broadcaster that denies room to the public it is
supposed to serve. And rival broadcasters are prevented from offering
competition despite a Supreme Court ruling ordering the freeing of the

Similarly, government-owned newspapers reflect only a narrow and partisan
view of events in the country. This is not the sort of climate in which an
election campaign can be fairly conducted. Put together with all the other
structural impediments to a free and fair poll, it looks as if we are
heading for a situation even more hostile to democratic practice than that
of 2002.

Since the closing of the Daily News government spokesmen have stepped up
their attacks on this newspaper. While this is to be expected, their bitter
recriminations are not a good advertisement for a successful regime. Indeed,
their preoccupation with this newspaper would suggest we are making a

What I can't understand is why a government that claims to be so popular
feels a compelling need to close down democratic space, prevent the
publication of alternative views, threaten its critics, and assault anybody
demonstrating against its rule. Is this the behaviour of a regime safely
ensconced in the affection of its people? And does it really think it can
keep a lid on democratic expression forever?

Visiting Tanzanian ministers may helpfully ignore the realities around them.
But Zimbabwe's crisis won't go away so long as intolerance and repression
remain the chief electoral supports propping up this failed administration.

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Bumper Maize Harvest Expected

The Herald (Harare)

March 26, 2004
Posted to the web March 26, 2004


THE nation is oozing with confidence of a bumper maize harvest following the
late rains that continue to pound most parts of the country.

Prospects of a good harvest had looked bleak as the early planted crops
showed signs of moisture-stress, resulting in the crop wilting in some

Although expected total production has still not been made public, there are
strong indications the season will turn out to be good after all.

Despite these positive pointers, the country would, however, remain prepared
for the worst case scenario, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural
Development, Cde Joseph Made, said yesterday.

To guard against the bad seasons, maize imports would still be made on the
back of the bumper harvest.

He said the importation of maize did not necessarily signify a food crisis
but should be seen as a preparedness measure in case the season eventually
turns out to be a poor one.

"The Government will always be on the alert for such an eventuality," said
Cde Made, as he expressed optimism of a bumper harvest in view of the
continuing rains countrywide.

Cde Made also called on fertiliser manufacturing companies to play their
part in agricultural production by ensuring the product was available for
the winter cropping programme.

With the tobacco auction floors expected to open at the end of the month,
the minister warned farmers against smuggling the crop out of the country as
had happened with maize.

Fears abound that some farmers are devising ways of smuggling tobacco out of
the country.

There are suspicions that production volumes have been deliberately
underestimated to mask the smuggling of the crop.

The laws of the country state that tobacco should be sold on the auction
floors while contracted growers can sell to companies that financed them.

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Zim Independent

Problems weigh down Air Zim's wings

Itai Dzamara

THE prospects of Air Zimbabwe regaining its pre-Independence lustre continue
to recede because of severe undercapitalisation and the failure by the
national carrier to forge alliances with regional and international players.

Analysts say alliances with international partners would help Air Zimbabwe
improve viability. With only five planes and amongst the most poorly
resourced airlines in the region, Air Zimbabwe would benefit from either
regional alliances or from an international strategic partner.

At Independence Air Zimbabwe had 15 planes and was a major player on the
regional and international scene. The fleet gradually wasted away during the
1980s and early 90s as the Zanu PF government wreaked havoc on the economy.

Air Zimbabwe has not been spared the problems afflicting other parastatals
such as shortages of forex as well as hyperinflation. Service delivery at
the Zimbabwe Passenger Company (Zupco) and the National Railways of Zimbabwe
(NRZ) has sunk to record low levels. The Zanu PF government continues to
abuse the transport parastatals for populist gain whilst failing to
ameliorate their viability problems.

Of the five planes currently at Air Zimbabwe, two 767 Boeings operate the
Harare-London route, presently the major source of income for the national
airline. Air Zimbabwe is however unable to satisfy demand on the lucrative
route which has seen British Airways operating a daily flight between Harare
and London.

Two Boeing 737s operate local and regional routes whilst the fifth plane has
been out of service for several months now due to failure to purchase spare

Local and regional routes operated by Air Zimbabwe include Harare-Bulawayo,
Harare-Victoria Falls and Harare-Johannesburg. But even on these limited
routes service is erratic while scheduled flights are often cancelled at
short notice to accommodate the wishes of the political leadership.

A visit to the Harare International Airport this week revealed low activity
at the state-of-the-art facility which cost billions of dollars to
construct. The airport is underutilised by Air Zimbabwe which has resulted
in other airlines taking advantage to increase their landing frequency and
capture the business opportunities missed by the national airline.

South African Airways, British Airways and Tanzanian Airways currently make
frequent landings at Harare International Airport.

South African Airways operates local routes such as the Harare-Victoria
Falls, especially during the high season, sources at the Harare
International Airport said.

Finance minister Herbert Murerwa last year said there was need for
parastatals such as Air Zimbabwe to revitalise their operations and become

"The continued survival of Air Zimbabwe is critical for its operation, the
promotion of tourism and national pride. It is therefore imperative that it
charges economic prices for its routes," said Murerwa.

The airline increased its fares last year as well as introducing a system of
charging in foreign currency. However, highly placed sources this week said
the move had failed to solve the airline's viability problems.

Plans muted more than two years ago for Air Zimbabwe to penetrate the Asian
markets and forge strategic alliances with established airlines have
withered in the bud. The national airline has instead experienced a steady
decline in business as regional competitors such as South African Airways,
Ethiopian Airways, Kenya Airways and Egypt Air seize opportunities.

South African Airways, with about 150 planes that operate routes across the
world, has strategic alliances with Airlink, which comprises individual
operators as well as British Airways, among other international airlines.
Egypt Air has an alliance with Kuwait Airways.

Air Zimbabwe managing director Rambai Chingwena admitted in an interview
with the Zimbabwe Independent last September that the national airline was
losing to regional airlines. He however said that hopes were pinned on plans
to forge strategic alliances and penetrate new markets.

But Chingwena's efforts are yet to yield results. Instead, the national
airline has for the past six months experienced worse financial problems,
culminating in its suspension from IATA last month. Workers at Air Zimbabwe
last week went on a brief work stoppage over salary and wage increases as
they turned down a 20% increment offered by management. The workers are
demanding a 300% increase.

"The situation is worsening here," said a senior source at Air Zimbabwe this
week. "The airline is in serious financial problems and we understand that
funds for the medical aid and pension scheme were being diverted into
meeting operational costs."

Permanent secretary in the Ministry of Transport and Communications,
Karikoga Kaseke, this week acknowledged the huge challenges to improve Air
Zimbabwe and the other parastatals in the transport sector.

"It is indeed a huge challenge," said Kaseke, who was at the helm of the
Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe. "Air Zimbabwe needs to enter strategic
partnerships with other airlines whilst at the same time we implement sound
business policies. The same applies to Zupco and NRZ."

Zupco entered a deal with South African-based bus manufacturer Scania two
years ago for the purchase of 250 buses that would have turned round the
fortunes of the parastatal. However, only 48 buses were delivered to Zupco,
for which it failed to pay. The deal faltered and Scania is still trying to
recover money for the 48 buses, less than half of which are still on the

Zupco has been stuck in viability problems partly because of the "hire" of
its buses by Zanu PF and government, which do not pay for the services.

At one time Zupco had a fleet of over 700 buses. But a visit to the Zupco
depot in Harare this week revealed that most of what remains at the
transporter are ramshackle "chicken buses". Sources at Zupco said about 50
buses in total were on the roads countrywide.

NRZ has also not been spared either. Hopes of a turnaround were raised two
years ago after the introduction of the blue train to operate routes linking
major towns and cities across the country. However the parastatal was hard
hit by the introduction of the populist freedom train, which blew a big hole
on the company's finances.

NRZ this week reverted to the ancient steam locomotives in the face of acute
shortages of diesel. The shortage of locomotives and wagons has also seen
NRZ failing to move heavy goods, especially coal from Hwange.
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Zim Independent

Meetings with IMF fruitful - Chapfika
Staff Writer
THE Deputy Minister of Finance and Economic Development David Chapfika says
the meetings with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have been fruitful
and much learnt about what the country needs to do to return the economy to

Chapfika, a banker and former executive director of the collapsed Universal
Merchant Bank (UMB), said while Zimbabwe was trying its best to normalise
relations with the Washington-based donor agency, it was proving very
difficult to pay up all outstanding debts because the country had other

"We need to pay for our fuel," Chapfika said. "We also need to pay for
electricity supplies and the importation of food before we can really pay up
our dues to the IMF."

Sources said there was tension between Zimbabwe and the IMF team that had
found the going not very rosy in Zimbabwe since jetting into the country
last week.

They said government was unhappy about the IMF's continued investigations
into the country's human rights record and delving into issues dealing with
the rule of law and the judiciary as well as press freedom in Zimbabwe.

Economist Tony Hawkins said the relationship with the IMF needed to be
boosted because the country needs balance of payments support from the
international organisation.

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Please send any material for publication in the Open Letter Forum to with "For Open Letter Forum" in the subject line.



Sometimes when you stand face to face with someone, you cannot see his
Mikhail S. Gorbachev

Letter 1.† Subject; THE FOOD TROUGH
Dear Jag,

Agri Africa is portraying itself as the saviour of the commercial farmer -
long after the Loss Document and Valuation Consortioum were set up. There
is a difference - there is a chance to get a head or five into the feeding
trough which Jag was never there for - and then came Agri Africa - a
mutation of the Valuation Consortium which had been set up by Jag - but
with an appetite!

*A bit like some others who found that they just could not live without a
big chunk of shares in TSL?

*What is the difference?

* Who else wants a lovely ride on the back of a few thousand farmers, and
their 350 000 staff, that have just lost nearly eveything?

I am not sure how the CFU is portraying itself after telling farmers for so
long that it was "working with government on the land reform programme" but
it could seem prudent for them to distance themselves from such a PR policy
at some stage in the future. J. Tayler Esq. of Chiredzi appears to be well
briefed on the CFU policy and defends it with great passion, bless him.

Taking the CFU's holistic and historical complicity in the whole land
debacle I am now fascinated by Mrs. Kerry Kay's thoughts: espousing that it
is wrong for Jag to be confrontational with any institution that has been
complicit with what has happened to farms, farmers and staff, and their
families. Jag is a member of Crisis, and the Freedom Charter is available
for any person to see. * Should Jag now be expected to default on its
committment to Crisis and go on bended knee to the CFU and Agri Africa like
they some God like beings? - I think not. * Does Mrs. Kay know something
about the CFU that we do not - have they become born again members of
Crisis, re employed Mr. Freeth or done something heroic? - I know not.

I openly ask Mr. Tayler and Mrs. Kay, and indeed the CFU President himself,
to present these new credentials on the Jag OLF, of this 'born again CFU'
that they refer to, and simply ask if the Freeth affair has been settled
satisfactorily yet? What have we to hide?

Fascinated Ex-Farmer.

Letter 2.† Subject: JAG OLF 22ND MARCH 2004 NO. 248

This full program is being aired regularly on ZBC TV and is followed by a
similar length program with the government's "response".

Letter 5

Dear JAG

I unfortunately missed the programme on BBC about the Green Bombers.
Through your good offices, would it be possible to get BBC to air this
again, perhaps more than once, not only for the likes of myself who missed
it, but to show our local friends what is going on.† This surely needs to
be exposed to them? Perhaps JAG could also advertise the times when it is
due to be presented. Kind regards Annabelle Hill

Letter 3 Subject: JUSTICE

I would ask you to consider the following scenario which at one time or
another we will be likely to come across. It is one that many farmers,
business owners and employers of labour could be faced with.

We all personally have a deep seated fear of being picked up by the CIO,
CID or just the regular ZRP. This invariably results in us being thrown in
jail. Whilst there it is certain that our human rights will be violated.
∑ We will be incarcerated in filthy prison cells, probably contract lice,
hepatitis, cholera or some other communicable disease.
∑ We will be housed in a cell that was built to accommodate 6 people with
30 or so other unfortunate individuals.
∑ The food we recieve will be dirty, blankets will be filthy and will have
sleep spooning with these other unfortunates.
∑ We will be arrested by incompetent police who are virtually illiterate,
they will have scant disregard for the law and will have conducted almost
no proper investigation.
∑ If it is thought that we are guilty of committing an offence classified
as corruption we can be locked up for 30 or more days with no recourse to
the law and we do not have to be charged with anything.
∑ If there is little or no physical evidence to tie us to the crime, and
the police are unable to establish through normal investigative procedures
that we have in fact done anything wrong then we will really be in trouble.
∑ It is likely that we will be whipped with sticks on the soles of our
feet. We will be routinely beaten about the body and torso where there will
be no marks. We could easily have our testicles or tongue subjected to
electric shock. This will be done to extract a confession, if guilty we
will be charged at some indeterminate time in the future, and incarcerated
until then. If they are unable to extract a confession them it will be
assumed that we are innocent and we will be released withput charge after
our swelling has gone down.

You are all wondering where this is leading so I present you with this
moral dilemma.

Put yourself in this Hypothetical situation.

I have an ongoing theft problem at my workshop.
I have been informed by an outsider that some of my employees are
responsible and evidence has been presented to me.
I do not feel that the evidence I have been given is watertight and have a
sneaking suspicion that it may be someone trying to get back at another
individual but I am desparate to put a stop to the ongoing theft.

The ZRP uniformed branch are reluctant to act as the amount is "only" a few
hundred thousand dollars that I am able to trace to these individuals. This
will mean taking statements, conducting a long and tedious investigation,
trying to locate the stolen goods and tying the courts up with a relatively
minor charge.

I have been told that if I were to go to the CID and beef up the charge
bringing in the other goods that are missing which will take the amount to
over 1 million dollars then they will act.
This is where the manipulation of the law starts to manifest itself.

Of course this will mean that it will cost me slush money to make sure that
my case starts to take priority.
The more money or "incentive" that I offer to give, the higher priority
that the case will take.
The individuals concerned will be picked up and subjected to the most
horrendous torture in order to establish their guilt or innocence.
Confessions will be extracted that may result in a conviction.
I will be able to fire the individuals concerned when they get out of jail
and in theory my theft problem will go away.

If I cause these people to arrested Knowing full well the treatment that
they will get, am I not also guilty of a crime?

Irrespective of a persons guilt or innocence, does he deserve brutalisation
because the police are incompetent or unwilling to carry out their
investigations in a proper manner?

Am I not as guilty as the police of violations of a persons human rights as
the policeman committing the torture?
Common Germans who stood aside and watched the Nazi genocide claimed
ignorance of the gas chambers.
Am I also able to claim ignorance as I have not personally seen the police
beat anyone to a pulp?

It is the easy route to claim the moral high ground and say that if the
individual steals then he must be punished by the system.
If I were to steal from a poor person would he be as able as I am to
exploit the system to have me prosecuted?
The answer as we are all aware, is NO!

Whilst I am no bleeding heart liberal, I tend to think that we manipulate
the system when it suits us but squeal unrelentingly when the system is
used against us.
When a politically connected individual exploits the system to have us
arrested for staying on our farm and stealing our equipment it is terrible
but is it not just as bad to bend the system when it suits us.

Where does one draw the line when economic crimes are involved? Are we not
all guilty on a daily basis of economic crime, if we were not able to
conduct shady deals on a daily basis we would not survive one month in

There is a recent case that I am aware of where 2 economically
disadvantaged young white men were given lengthy prison sentences for
stealing from their employer, also a white man.
Their employer was paying them a pittance and exploiting their desperation
to find employment in order to be able to help support their families.
This man is fabulously wealthy, connected to the party and owns vast tracts
of land untouched by the current land grab.
Allegedly he used his considerable financial muscle and political
connections to force the legal system to prosecute the case as vigorously
as possible.
Who is the villain in all these scenarios?

ZANU-PF have created a monstrous legal system that is becoming increasingly
far removed from the norms of Justice. As the whole fabric of society
breaks down the economically or the politically connected are increasingly
able to exploit it to satisfy their own greedy needs.
We as individuals must be careful that we do not degrade ourselves and
become the monster that we all despise.

What am I going to do about the theft problem that I have?
I am buggered if I know.

John Kinnaird.

All letters published on the open Letter Forum are the views and opinions
of the submitters, and do not represent the official viewpoint of Justice
for Agriculture.

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Zim Independent

Move to acquire conservancies criticised
Godfrey Marawanyika
THE Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF) has criticised government plans to
acquire all privately-owned game parks and conservancies, saying the move is
tantamount to punishing farmers who provide sanctuary for animals.

WWF has since made an appeal to the Presidential Land Resettlement
Committee, saying land acquisition should be based on sound ecological and
business principles.

Rhino Conservancies Project official Raoul du Toit said taking private parks
would have a bearing on other projects being financed by overseas donors.

"Some aspects of the draft policy document convey an impression of punitive
measures against the existing conservancy members, rather than the
straightforward implementation of equitable land reform measures, so both
constitutional rights and investor safeguards need on-going consideration as
this policy is finalised," du Toit said in the WWF's submission to the Land
Resettlement Committee.

"Some of the investments in wildlife were funded by loan agreements, notably
the loan that Save Valley Conservancy secured from the International Finance
Corporation for restocking the conservancy."

In the February report, du Toit said wildlife assets constituted the
repayment guarantee for the loan, adding that obliterating the current asset
value of the restocked wildlife resources through "draconian policy" would
create problems.

He said the policy would affect the willingness of World Bank institutions
(including IFC and GEF) and other funding agencies to provide future
financial support for wildlife restocking.

The government has come up with a policy which seeks to declare all
conservancies and ranches state land that should be administered by the
Parks and Wildlife Authority.

Government says this will enable resettled farmers and other indigenous
people to venture into the wildlife business.

Under the envisaged arrangement all land and wildlife will belong to the
state and be regulated through the Ministry of Environment and Tourism or
its agencies.

In the report, du Toit noted the increased problem of poaching in the
conservancies, saying that could not be ascribed to resource alienation.

"Far from being alienated, informally-settled occupiers of many properties
have assumed full rights of resource utilisation and making the best of
latitude that they currently enjoy to reap these resources," du Toit said.

"It could be argued that the official tolerance of invasions into
conservancies and into Gonarezhou National Park has served to give the go
ahead to settlers to extract 'their' wildlife with few or no checks and

Du Toit called for the creation of opportunities to utilise the wildlife,
and controls on the levels of offtake and loss of habitats.

He said the WWF was prepared to assist the government in coming up with a
proper working plan.

"It is a matter of reality that the WWF has recently been confronted with a
range of serious allegations of impropriety in Zimbabwe's hunting industry,
particularly in Dete-Gwayi-Matetsi area where problems of resources
pillaging were highlighted ..." he said.

"If the allocation of rights to resources utilisation in the conservancies
gives rise to the same level of controversy that has arisen in north-western
Matabeleland, then WWF will be under extreme pressure from our international
constituents to join calls for serious sanctions, notably the imposition of
a ban on the importation of safari hunting trophies to the United States.
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Zanu-PF squash Mugabe retirement rumours

††††† March 26 2004 at 01:00PM

Harare - Zimbabwe's ruling Zanu-PF party denied a report in The Star
newspaper on Friday that embattled President Robert Mugabe would announce at
the party's congress in December when he planned to step down.

Zanu-PF Information Secretary Nathan Shamuyarira, who was quoted by the
Johannesburg daily in the report, denied it.

"It's not true. What I told the reporter was that we are having a congress
in December where all leaders of the party are elected. We have an election
of all party leaders every five years," Shamuyarira said.

"The reporter asked me if the president will be re-elected and I told him
that I don't know," he added.

Mugabe, who has been in power since independence from Britain in 1980, has
come under pressure to step down from domestic and international opponents,
who blame him for the country's economic and political crisis.

Mugabe, 80, has previously denied speculation he would leave office before
the end of his current term in 2008.
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