The ZIMBABWE Situation
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Little cheer from new Z$50 000 banknote in Zim

Mail and Guardian

Angus Shaw | Harare, Zimbabwe

01 March 2007 03:03

Zimbabwe cranked up the face value of its highest banknote
fivefold on Thursday as black-market trading in scarce gasoline and hard
currency spiralled.

On the illegal market, a single United States dollar bought up
to Z$8 000, up from Z$5 000 last month. The fixed official exchange rate is
Z$250 dollars to US$1.

Dealers said the surge in black-market currency rates stemmed
from uncertainty in the crumbling economy amid rumours of a forthcoming
government freeze on wages and prices to curb record inflation and a
possible devaluation of the local currency.

Gasoline sold for up to 20 times the official price on Thursday,
an increase of about 30% in the past week.

The central bank released a new Z$50 000 note. The new note
bought just one-sixteenth of what it would have bought a year ago.

Phonies Zombi, a shopper in Harare, said she used it for a pack
of low-grade meat, soap, a household cleaner, eggs and vegetables.

Previously, the largest note in the hyperinflationary economy
was a Z$10 000 bill worth US$40 at the official rate, or US$1,25 on the
black market.

In August, the central bank slashed three zeros from the
currency in a bid to eliminate the need to use bags and large bundles of
currency for the smallest purchases and to free accounting systems,
calculators and computers from the burden of coping with numbers in

Zimbabwe is suffering from its worst economic crisis since
independence in 1980, with inflation of nearly 1 600%, the highest in the
world. The International Monetary Fund forecasts it will hit 4 000% this

Earlier this week, central bank governor Gideon Gono
acknowledged the country was hungry and broke, largely as result of a
chaotic and often violent land-reform programme since 2000, which turned
over more than 5 000 white-owned commercial farms to black people in the
former regional breadbasket.

In a bid to quell signs of mounting unrest, the government last
week banned all political rallies for three months. Officials dispersed an
illegal march of defiant labour and reform activists on Wednesday.

The main labour organisation, the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade
Unions, has called for a series of national protest strikes in coming
weeks. -- Sapa-AP

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Zim opposition, civic groups demand new constitution

Zim Online

Friday 02 March 2007

By Magugu Nyathi

JOHANNESBURG - Zimbabwean opposition parties and civic groups on Thursday
said Zimbabweans must demand a new, democratic constitution before any new
elections are conducted in the country.

Speaking at a meeting organised by the Save Zimbabwe Campaign in
Johannesburg, South Africa yesterday, the groups said President Robert
Mugabe must be pressured to accept a new constitution for Zimbabwe.

The Save Zimbabwe Campaign is an umbrella body that includes opposition
political parties, students and civic groups fighting for political reform
in Zimbabwe.

Abednico Bhebhe, who belongs to a faction of the Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) party headed by Arthur Mutambara, told the meeting that
Zimbabweans must be ready to stand up and demand a new constitution for the

"We say 'no' to elections without a new constitution. We say 'no' to
elections in 2010, we say 'no' to banning of all political gatherings. We
will not go to elections without a new constitution as the elections will
not be free and fair," said Bhebhe.

Zimbabwe is on a political knife-edge following plans by the ruling ZANU PF
party to extend Mugabe's term which was due to end next year by two years.

The MDC and civic groups have vowed to stage anti-government protests to
force Mugabe to hold the presidential election as scheduled next year.

Harare has since imposed a three-month ban on rallies and demonstrations
following violent clashes between the police and MDC supporters in the
Harare's working class suburb of Highfield two weeks ago.

Lovemore Madhuku, who heads the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) that
is fighting for a new, democratic constitution for Zimbabwe, told the
meeting that Zimbabweans must insist on a new onstitution before the
presidential election.

 "Elections can only mean anything if they are conducted under free and fair
conditions. We would rather delay the election process than have them under
the current constitution," said Madhuku.

Exiled former legislator, Roy Bennet, a member of the Morgan Tsvangirai-led
MDC, called on the international community and regional governments to step
up the pressure on Harare to embrace political reforms.

"All we need from the international community and the region is solidarity
with the people of Zimbabwe as we fight for democracy in our country," said
Bennet. - ZimOnline

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War veterans demand massive pension hike

Zim Online

Friday 02 March 2007

By Regerai Marwezu

MASVINGO - Volatile veterans of Zimbabwe's liberation war have threatened to
"confront" President Robert Mugabe to demand a pension hike, 10 years after
they bullied the government to pay them billions of dollars in gratuities,
which sent the dollar crashing, and the economy on a downward spiral.

Mugabe is patron of the war veterans who wield immense influence in his
ruling ZANU PF party because they are a centerpiece of its electioneering
machine, waging violence and terror against the opposition at every election
to ensure victory for the party.

The ex-combatants also spearheaded the government's controversial land
reform programme touted by Mugabe as his administration's best achievement
since coming to power in 1980 but blamed by critics for destroying the
mainstay agricultural sector and causing food shortages.

In a letter to Social Welfare Minister Nicholas Goche, who is responsible
for pension payouts, the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans
Association said it wanted payouts, last hiked in January from $25 000 to
$103 000 per month, increased to $500 000 per month.

This would leave war veterans - who do little else except campaigning for
Mugabe and ZANU PF - earning the same as teachers and nurses.

"We the war veterans of Zimbabwe give you Honourable Minister up to March 14
2007 to address our problem," read part of the veterans' letter shown to

"You understand and appreciate the role we played during and after the
liberation struggle and we hope you will address this problem on time. We
give you 14 days to address the issue failure of which we will confront our
patron President Robert Mugabe," added the letter that was also copied to
Mugabe's office.

Goche confirmed receiving the veterans' letter and said the government was
looking at making more money available to all pensioners and not just

"It (letter) is a request and not a demand. The government is working on a
mechanism to ensure that not only war veterans but (all) pensioners get
money given the high inflationary environment," said Goche.

Zimbabwe has the world's highest inflation rate of close to 1 600 percent,
while the country also faces rising unemployment and poverty as it grapples
its worst ever economic crisis.

Analysts trace the genesis of Zimbabwe's economic troubles to November 1997
when the war veterans, then numbering about 50 000, staged violent
demonstrations to arm-twist Mugabe to award them gratuity payments of $50
000 each and a host of other perks - all unbudgeted.

The Zimbabwe dollar resultantly crashed on November 14, driving up inflation
and setting off the economy on an unprecedented slide from which it is yet
to escape.

Withdrawal of balance-of-payments support by the International Monetary Fund
in 1999 and Mugabe's chaotic farm seizures that began in 2000 helped quicken
the demise of what was once one of Africa's most vibrant economies. -

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Analysts and Farm Laborers Challenge Mugabe Claims For Land Reform


      By Ndimyake Mwakalyelye and Safari Njema
      Washington and Harare
      01 March 2007

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe's declaration during a state visit to
Namibia that his land reform program has been a success was challenged by
analysts who say the chaotic land redistribution program since 2000 has
devastated the economy.

Some supposed beneficiaries also question whether it has improved their

According to The Namibian newspaper, Mr. Mugabe during a banquet in his
honor on Tuesday told Namibian President Hifikepunye Pohamba that he could
count on help from Harare as he tackled his own "mammoth task" of land

President Mugabe accused Britain and the United States of punishing Zimbabwe
with "illegal sanctions" for taking back ancestral land from white farmers.

Parliamentary Liaison Officer Herman Honekom of the Africa Institute of
South Africa told reporter Ndimyake Mwakalyelye of VOA's Studio 7 for
Zimbabwe that few African countries are looking to Zimbabwe as a model for
land redistribution.

In Zimbabwe, meanwhile, some of the intended beneficiaries of land reform in
Bindura disagreed with the proposition that Zimbabweans are better off due
to land reform.

Workers on Avoca Farm complain that they are seldom paid by their employers,
who took over operation of the farm under the land redistribution program.

Laborers at the farm told correspondent Safari Njema of VOA's Studio 7 for
Zimbabwe that they are overworked, underpaid, and live in deplorable

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Prices Surge Higher as Zimbabweans Anticipate Wage-Price Freeze


      By Jonga Kandemiiri
      01 March 2007

Prices of food, fuel and other commodities in Zimbabwe jumped again
Wednesday as producers and wholesalers moved preemptively in anticipation of
a four-month price and wage freeze to be imposed by the Reserve Bank of

Parallel market fuel prices almost doubled to Z$9,000 (US$1.20) a liter from

Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono announced plans for a price freeze during
his quarterly monetary policy review in early February, saying the country
needed a social compact fixing wages and prices to arrest the nonstop upward
spiral in prices.

But there has been little progress towards such a social contract. The
government set up a committee to advance the idea, but that panel has issued
no proposals.

The country's Tripartite Negotiating Forum involving business, labor and
government has yet to start hammering out such a contract, because the
Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions wants to see economic and political
reforms by the government first.

ZCTU Secretary General Wellington Chibebe said in addition that he
considered it unfortunate that Gono announced a wage-price freeze without

Harare economist James Jowa told reporter Jonga Kandemiiri of VOA's Studio 7
for  Zimbabwe that the country's consumers must now bear the brunt of the
consequences of delay as the latest price increases are not likely to be

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'The wrath of the law will catch up with them'

Mail and Guardian


      Godwin Gandu | Harare, Zimbabwe

      01 March 2007 11:59

            Horror tales of brutal campaigns by supporters of the ruling
Zanu-PF party, which saw over 200 opposition supporters die in
state-sponsored crackdowns in 2000 during the genesis of Zimbabwe President
Robert Mugabe's seizure of farms, are being laid bare before a court seven
years later.

            Seven Zanu-PF activists face the hangman's noose if convicted
for murder.

            At the time, Mugabe was losing his grip on power and his ruling
party organised a countrywide campaign against opposition supporters.

            Terror camps were set up, scores of people were tortured and
killed and women were raped and assaulted, prompting the international
community to raise concerns over human rights violations in Zimbabwe.

            The cases had been gathering dust in the Attorney General's (AG)
office until opposition legislators in parliament pressured the government
to act.

            "It became too difficult to ignore the dockets," says a former
prosecutor in the AG's office.

            The independence of the judiciary, however, is again under
spotlight given the political sensitivity of the case.

            Mugabe granted amnesty to politically motivated violence cases
in 2001, but that did not apply to murder and rape.

            The violence in question, which occurred in Mudzi, was
sanctioned by the local political leadership with the full blessing of its
leader, Mugabe, who accused the opposition of fanning violence.

            As testimonies kicked off last week, away from the glare of most
media, Ephraim Musvota, in his mid-50s, broke down in court as he narrated
the gruesome deaths of two opposition activists in the town just 150km east
of Harare.

            In the dock are also nurses who took part in grisly murders that
were engineered on behalf of Zanu-PF in a terror campaign, the chilling
accounts of which are finally finding time and space in a high court.

            But the former prosecutor said that it is in the interests of
the accused to implicate top government officials who sponsored the
campaign, otherwise it would "appear the government was frying small fish".

            "Justice delayed is justice denied," says Professor Welshman
Ncube, founding secretary general of the opposition Movement for Democratic
change. "It is sevens years now ... [It has taken] almost a decade to bring
the accused to court for crimes committed in the glare of the public eye,"
he said.

            "So many are still being shielded from political prosecution.
When the Mugabe regime goes, the wrath of the law will catch up with them,"
Ncube says, adding: "Despite this matter being finally heard, justice
delayed is better than nothing."

            But the reality is that political activists who broke the law
with impunity under the false perception of political protection are now
facing justice before the courts, as memories of the ugly past catch up with
most of them.

            "The sun doesn't rot," says Ncube. "It's an Ndebele proverb
meaning 'a crime doesn't fade away'."

            In the dock are seven Zanu-PF activists who allegedly wreaked
havoc in the party's Mashonaland East stronghold, where two people died a
gruesome death, scores were assaulted, teachers were forced to flee their
schools and nurses were turned into agents of death.

            This week witnesses broke down uncontrollably and the accused
were stunned as they faced a justice system in motion, complete with tales
of horror in which a nurse at a local clinic spearheaded a campaign that saw
two people, a father and his son, die horrible deaths in May 2000.

            "There is an increasing sense of [feeling betrayed] on the part
of the accused," says one of the state witnesses.

            "They felt they were going to be protected -- [however] ngozi
[an avenging spirit who haunts the accused's families] is there to ensure
justice, because our traditional structures did not provide for a proper
justice system where evidence was properly led as per the law," he said.

            In the high court, it was unclear whether some of the accused's
lawyers were appearing for free or were being bankrolled by the Zanu-PF.

            A statement recorded by the state painted a picture of a
well-coordinated political campaign that traversed the corners of
Mashonaland East province, headhunting opposition supporters, committing
murders and beating some to a pulp.

            In papers before the court, the state indicated the "gang
apprehended all persons perceived to be members of the opposition parties
and assaulted them.

            "The accused persons connived and conspired to assault and
punish all members of political parties opposed to Zanu-PF in the Mudzi

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Zimbabwe admits jamming anti-government broadcasts

Yahoo News

HARARE (AFP) - The Zimbabwean government has admitted that state agents are
jamming radio broadcasts by foreign stations deemed hostile to President
Robert Mugabe's government, state media reported Thursday.

"We cannot allow foreigners to invade our airwaves without our authority,"
Bright Matonga, the deputy minister of information and publicity, was quoted
by the Herald newspaper as saying in parliament.
Matonga was responding to a question from opposition lawmaker Willias
Madzimure on why the government was interfering with radio broadcasts from
Voice of America's Studio Seven.

"We will continue to do it," Matonga told the house. "We need to protect our
sovereignty. If you go to England, you will not receive (broadcasts from)
any foreign radio station."

Another private radio station SW Radio Africa, complained last year that
state agents were interfering with its broadcasts.

The London-based radio station known for its opposition to Mugabe's rule,
operated in a Harare hotel until it was shut down in 2002.

There are no private radio stations operating in Zimbabwe despite an
amendment six years ago to the broadcasting law which was designed to end
the monopoly of the government-run Zimbabwe Broadcasting Holdings.

Many Zimbabweans have turned to foreign-based radio stations for an
alternative to broadcasts by government-controlled radio and television

Three years ago the Zimbabwean government passed tough media laws which have
been evoked to shut down five independent newspapers.

The authorities have also proposed a new law to allow state agents to set up
an interception centre to eavesdrop on private conversations and monitor
faxes and emails.

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Notice: Continuation of the National Emergency with Respect to Zimbabwe

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
March 1, 2007

On March 6, 2003, by Executive Order 13288, I declared a national emergency
and blocked the property of persons under-mining democratic processes or
institutions in Zimbabwe, pursuant to the International Emergency Economic
Powers Act (50 U.S.C. 1701-1706). I took this action to deal with the
unusual and extraordinary threat to the foreign policy of the United States
constituted by the actions and policies of certain members of the Government
of Zimbabwe and other persons to undermine Zimbabwe's democratic processes
or institutions. These actions have contributed to the deliberate breakdown
in the rule of law in Zimbabwe, politically motivated violence and
intimidation, and political and economic instability in the southern African
region. On November 22, 2005, I issued Executive Order 13391 to take
additional steps with respect to the national emergency declared in
Executive Order 13288 by ordering the blocking of the property of additional
persons undermining democratic processes or institutions in Zimbabwe.

Because the actions and policies of these persons continue to pose an
unusual and extraordinary threat to the foreign policy of

the United States, the national emergency declared on March 6, 2003, and the
measures adopted on that date and on November 22, 2005, to deal with that
emergency, must continue in effect beyond March 6, 2007. Therefore, in
accordance with section 202(d) of the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C.
1622(d)), I am continuing for 1 year the national emergency with respect to
the actions and policies of certain members of the Government of Zimbabwe
and other persons to undermine Zimbabwe's democratic processes or

This notice shall be published in the Federal Register and transmitted to
the Congress.



February 28, 2007.

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Ban on meetings forces pro-democracy groups to meet in S.A.

By Tichaona Sibanda
1 March 2007

Zimbabwe's pro-democracy groups have met in Johannesburg, South Africa to
plan the way forward following the government's ban on all political
meetings in Zimbabwe.

The all-party conference in Johannesburg on Thursday was attended by the two
factions of the MDC, the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, Women of
Zimbabwe Arise, the National Constitutional Assembly and many others.

Luke Zunga, treasurer of the Zimbabwe Diaspora Forum in South Africa, said
this is the clearest signal to the Mugabe regime that nothing will stop the
country's democratic forces from pushing for a new political era in

'What the meeting decided after exhaustive consultations is that all
pro-democracy forces will defy the ban and continue working to resolve the
country's social, economic and political crisis,' Zunga said.

The Save Zimbabwe Campaign is spearheaded by the Christian Alliance. It has
been welcomed by all Zimbabweans and the international community as a
significant development towards the resolution of the country's serious

Zunga added that while it is recognised that the crisis in the country is an
internal problem that can only be solved by Zimbabweans themselves through
dialogue, it was becoming extremely difficult for people to meet as a group
inside the country, hence the meeting in Johannesburg.

'After the consultations, representatives from the various groups including
Roy Bennett, Lovemore Madhuku and Jennie Williams sat together shook hands
and embraced and vowed to work together to achieve peaceful change in the
country,' Zunga said.

The Christian Alliance is an organised network of Christian leaders and
organisations who were influenced by their beliefs to be instrumental in
resolving the crisis in the country peacefully and permanently so that
Zimbabweans can again live in freedom, peace and prosperity.

Last month most of its leaders were arrested and thrown into prison cells by
the regime for organising a meeting.

SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

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Zimbabwe warns on foreign currency

Financial Times

By Tony Hawkins in Harare

Published: February 28 2007 16:10 | Last updated: February 28 2007 19:48

In a rare official glimpse into the accelerating collapse of Zimbabwe's
economy central bank Gideon Gono, governor, on Wednesday admitted that it
has become "practically impossible" to satisfy the country's foreign
currency demands.

The Zimbabwe dollar fell sharply in parallel market trading on Wednesday
following Mr Gono's comments to a parliamentary committee where he said
Zimbabwe needed between $2.5bn (?1.9bn, £1.3bn) and $3.5bn annually "for the
economy to function well".

In his monetary policy statement a month ago, he estimated foreign currency
earnings last year at less than half that amount - $1.5bn. He said the
shortfall meant that foreign currency needed for fuel and spare parts was
going instead on food imports.

Since the start of the year the pace of economic decline has accelerated and
inflation has surged from 600 per cent a year ago to 1,594 per cent in
January while industrial unrest in the public sector over wages has reached
unprecedented levels

Mr Gono's comments came on the eve of the launch of a four-month prices and
wages freeze and as demonstrators on Wednesday defied a week-old government
ban on holding political rallies to march in a number of cities including
Harare. There were reports of widescale arrests.

His comments to the parliamentary portfolio committee on defence and home
affairs - seen as part of a process to prepare the country for a substantial
devaluation of the official exchange rate - sparked panic among foreign
currency traders in the illegal parallel market, where the Zimbabwe dollar
plummeted from Z$6,500 ($26, ?20, £13) to the US dollar at the weekend to
Z$9,000-Z$10,000 yesterday.

The website, which quotes a parallel rate against the pound,
reported a 16 per cent depreciation so far this week to Z$13,500 to the

Mr Gono blamed the country's "new farmers" for the critical shortage of
foreign currency. He said that "some people, including senior politicians"
who had been allocated land expropriated from white commercial farmers since
2000, were not "fully utilising it".

"Some people have become professional land occupiers, vandalising equipment
and moving from one farm to another," he claimed. He said the country was
also losing $40m-$50m a month through the smuggling of precious metals -
especially gold and diamonds.

The governor told the committee how during a typical working day he received
appeals from parastatals - Air Zimbabwe, electricity company Zesa, the
National Oil Company, the railways, the Grain Marketing Board - pleading for
injections of foreign exchange so that they could maintain operations.

Claudius Makova, committee chairman and ruling party politician, said its
investigations showed the Zimbabwe police needed more than 15,000 vehicles
but had just 3,000, of which half were off the road, awaiting repairs and
spare parts. It was also said that the air force needed $2m to import
essential equipment.

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Zimbabwe to maintain ban on political rallies - report


Thu Mar 1, 2007 11:38 AM GMT

HARARE (Reuters) - President Robert Mugabe's government will maintain a ban
on political rallies and protests in the capital, Harare, for as long as
there is a "breakdown of law and order", state media reported on Thursday.

Zimbabwe last week imposed a three-month ban on all rallies and
demonstrations in many of Harare's volatile poor townships, following
clashes between police and opposition supporters.

The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), the main opposition party in the
southern African nation, has condemned the decision, likening it to a state
of emergency, and is challenging it in court.

But the country's justice minister, Patrick Chinamasa, told legislators on
Wednesday that the ban would remain in force, the Herald newspaper said.

"That restriction will remain where there is breakdown of law and order,"
Chinamasa was quoted as saying. "Any (police commissioner) who fails to do
that will lose his job."

Analysts say Mugabe's government faces growing dissent in the face of a
deepening economic crisis, marked by inflation of almost 1,600 percent, the
highest in the world, and chronic shortages of food, fuel and foreign

A spate of wildcat strikes have hit the country since the start of the year
and the opposition has vowed to resist plans to extend Mugabe's term of
office, which expires next March, to 2010.

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Zim's cattle facing starvation

Thu, 01 Mar 2007
More than 1000 cattle in the drought-prone southern parts of Zimbabwe face
starvation after insignificant rains fell this season, Zimbabwe's Herald
Online reported on Thursday.

In an interview, the principal director at the department of veterinary
services, Stuart Hargreaves, said his department was worried about the low
rainfall recorded in Matabeleland North, Matabeleland South, Masvingo and
parts of Midlands and Manicaland.

"As a result of low rains, there has been poor pasture for cattle. We
strongly feel farmers whose core business is cattle ranching should sell all
the unproductive cattle to save pasture for those still breeding," said

He said Matabeleland North and South alone boast over a million cattle with
quite a significant number no longer productive.

Farmers should sell their unproductive cattle to reduce the heard and remove
pressure on the pastures, he said.

"The grazing land they have will soon be gone and this will make the cattle
suffer from diet related illnesses or make them more vulnerable to worm


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E Guinea supplies Zim with oil

Mail and Guardian

Desiewaar Heita | Windhoek, Namibia

01 March 2007 12:01

Equatorial Guinea has begun supplying fuel-starved Zimbabwe with
oil at favourable terms for an unspecified period, Zimbabwe President Robert
Mugabe said.

"They are providing us with crude oil at favourable terms. We
only have to pay after every three months," Mugabe said on Wednesday night
in Windhoek during a meeting with about 100 Zimbabweans living in Namibia.

Mugabe, on a four-day state visit to the south-western African
nation, said Equatorial Guinea had sent one oil consignment to Zimbabwe,
which is mired in a deepening economic crisis marked by chronic shortages of
food and fuel.

He did not specify how much fuel had been provided.

The 83-year-old Zimbabwean leader, who is facing growing
political unrest at home, is due on Friday to fly to Equatorial Guinea, one
of a few countries friendly to his government.

Securing a steady supply of oil from the Central African nation,
sub-Saharan Africa's third largest petroleum producer, is a priority for
Mugabe's cash-strapped government.

Western sanctions and the loss of aid from the International
Monetary Fund and other donor agencies have exacerbated a foreign exchange
crunch in Zimbabwe, leaving it struggling to pay for food and oil imports.

Industry officials have said that the Southern African nation
needs to secure about $120-million worth of fuel a month to comfortably meet
its requirements and to start building crucial strategic reserves.

Zimbabwe also needs to find additional funding to finance the
renovation of its aging power generating stations.

Namibia's state power utility agreed on Wednesday to provide a
$40-million loan to refurbish Zimbabwe's Hwange power station in a deal that
will see Hwange provide 150 megawatts of power annually to Namibia for five

Mugabe's visit to Namibia was his first foreign trip since his
government imposed a three-month ban on political rallies and protests in
volatile townships in the capital Harare after clashes between police and
opposition supporters.

Anti-Mugabe groups have described the move as effectively a
"state of emergency" designed to stifle the opposition. - Reuters

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JAG Open Letter Forum No. 471

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

JAG Hotlines:
+263 (011) 610 073 If you are in trouble or need advice,
 please don't hesitate to contact us - we're here to help!
+263 (04) 799 410 Office Lines


Letter 1 - Cathy Buckle

Dear Family and Friends,

For the last hour a steady trickle of people have walked past my home, in
pairs and small groups. Many women are in bright red church uniforms, all
have scarves covering their heads, some have shawls and blankets over their
shoulders. They are going to the nearby cemetery. A small blue, dilapidated
pick-up truck goes past, a red flag hanging sodden from a wing mirror. It is
the only vehicle and is laden with mourners perched precariously on the
edges of the back, the coffin lying in the middle, at their feet. It is
raining intermittently, the wind is gusting and we are drawing breath from
the advance storm winds of Cyclone Favio. There are leaves and branches
strewn on the roads and between the blasts of wind come the sounds of the
funeral. Singing, clapping, drumming, ululating and blowing of a horn. This
is a very familiar picture of life in Zimbabwe this February 2007. It is a
picture of real, ordinary people in the country with the highest inflation
in the world and the lowest life expectancy.

This picture is a world away from the live coverage of President Mugabe's
83rd birthday celebrations being shown on television as I write. The live
coverage was prominently advertised but something went badly wrong. This was
"live" coverage Zimbabwe Television style: it began an hour later than
advertised without excuse or apology; lasted for an hour without an
appearance of the President and then stopped without excuse or apology -
altogether!  In the hour that there was coverage I saw a massive white tent
on a stadium sports field. Chairs covered in white, decorated with gold
sashes. Hundreds of people wearing red sashes around their necks - an
interesting choice of colour: the same as the church women at the funeral,
the same as the colour of the opposition MDC!  Two young teenagers were
commentating - children who were not born or even thought about when
President Mugabe came to power 27 years ago. Children who have never known
any other leader, never seen any other political party in power in their
lives.  Around the stadium grounds were printed banners which read: "Youth
league says Mugabe for 2010" and "Succession politics not ouster politics
please."  There wasn't much else to see at that stage and no chance to see
anything more as the 'live' coverage never came back. At the time of
writing we can only assume that it was a cyclone that disrupted the

Cyclones are a rare event in Zimbabwe and they seem to bring winds of
change. Just a few months after Cyclone Eline in 1999 Zimbabwe's land
invasions began and political and economic turmoil took hold. That was seven
years ago and perhaps now Cyclone Favio may blow in new winds of change.
Until next week, thanks for reading, love cathy. Copyright cathy buckle 24
February 2007


Letter 2 -  Stu

Dear JAG,

Here Here !!!!!! to Mr RES Cook,

I loved your letter and I only hope mr Gono gets to read it. A very good
point regarding how Rhodesia was surviving under broad sanctions and a war
in the latter part. People still had bread to eat and health care was
available. Not that I agree with all that was going on under that regime.
Here Zimbabwe is now with freedom and  so called democracy claims Zanu-PF
with only selective sanctions against 100 people which is mainly travel bans
and the freezing of assets abroad yet every aspect of basic living and
survival is prooving to be such hardship for the majority. Gono and the rest
need to be compared with the past and perhaps they may feel embarrassed or
really cheesed off which would be a pleasure to see!!!

By the way any sign of the new worthless currecy in circulation yet which
cost thousands in foreign currency to print  Mr Gono? We were promised it
would be in circulation in Feb and March is upon us. Im sure Zanu-Pf can
afford to pencil in the few extra zeros on the new notes and in a couple of
months time add a few more....ahhhh  a good idea to use pencils cheaper and
easy to rub out. Will save the Govt monet printing more money. And just for
the record... I never got any birthday cake a few days ago
!!!!!!! (tragic)



Letter 3 - Graham Connear

Dear JAG,

I have just read Ben Freeth's short account of the attempt to boot him out
of his house. His no nonsense, no frills, description of what must have been
an extremely frightening and unnerving experience for him and his family
especially the young lad who broke his arm in the fracas, and then to
proceed with the legal issues at hand in the bigger picture........... I
have to say filled me with amazement and awe. A man amongst men, I have no

Graham Connear


Letter 4 - Marian Wright

Dear JAG,

To: Mr Freeth

We will most certainly pray for you, your family, and all those supporting
your case. May God uphold you with His grace, protection and favour. No
weapon formed against you shall prosper and His word will not return to Him
void but will accomplish that which it is sent to.

Keep encouraging yourself in Him and may His supernatural peace prevail in
your hearts.

Marian Wright.


Letter 5 - Mark and Wendy Shaw

Dear Ben, Laura and kids

We celebrate and hail your courage and our wonderful God in your lives.
Thank you for your testimony. Wendy and I had some tough lessons last year
as she faced life threatening thromboses and the message from the Lord was
trust Me in all things, all the time. He is able to do exceeding abundantly
more than we ask or think. He works all things for good to them that love
Him and who are called according to His purposes. In some ways we are in a
strange place in our lives. After the passionate opposition of 1999 to 2004
we are feeling that Pres Mugabe is the Lord`s  Nebuchannezzar and He will
raise him up and/or take him down according to His will. It may sound
pacifist but we need to be earnest in prayer for the Lord`s will to be done
in our lives and in the nation. May He bless you with all of Himself. He is

Much love
Mark and Wendy Shaw

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

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JAG Job Opportunities dated 1 March 2007

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

(Ad inserted 8 February 2007)


Experience essential with sound knowledge of computerized accounting
practices to balance sheet.
Incumbent to head a department of 3 subordinates in a long established
family business in graniteside harare

Telephone - Glynis 751904/6 or cell 011 630164


(Ad inserted 8 February 2007)


Experienced manager wanted for an expanding banana / tomato / crocodile farm
in southern Mozambique.

Previous experience in the above fields, although not an absolute
requirement, will be given preferential consideration.

The incumbent must be healthy, have plenty of energy, be able to make
decisions and handle a large Portuguese speaking labour workforce.
Mechanical and electrical knowledge and hands on capability would be an

Persons without children will be given priority attention.

Send CV to

(Ad inserted 8 February 2007)


Looking for a manager for a highly productive pig unit on a Marondera Farm.
Few hundred sows.  Will be up to slaughter level. Person must be self
motivated, dedicated, have good labour relations and have record and
administration skills. Phone early mornings 091295736


(Ad inserted 15 February 2007)

Senior Accounts Person

Mornings only / Flexitime.  Suitable person with integrity and
professionalism essential.

Knowledge of Trust Accounts and Money Markets, an advantage.  Package
commensurate with experience and includes company vehicle and full medical

To commence 1st April 2007 or soon there after.

Contact Gabriel Real Estate P/L 708564, 882221




(Ad inserted 15 February 2007)

Employment Wanted

Been self-employed for 17 years, in Zimbabwe, specializing in the service,
spares, and sales of tractors but due to the change of the economy it has
become almost impossible to make self-employment worthwhile at present.

Due to this, I am looking for a consultancy, management, supervisory work,
willing to do hands on work only when necessary, related to the above, our
first preference being Zambia, second Mozambique. My wife is computer
literate with ICDL certificate and office experience and certificates and
would be able to handle the administration side if a position were
available. Our preference would be something along the lines of servicing,
managing, repairing a fleet of tractors belonging to a large farming
operation or a syndicate of farmers in close proximity of each other.  With
33 years experience in the above type of work, specializing particularly in
Fiat, Ford and MF, I would request an attractive package including
accommodation, vehicle and salary which would make my efforts worth while.
I wish to stress that regular work hours are not a necessity and that if my
services were required I would be fully committed to whatever contract I
agree to. My wife is computer literate and would be able to handle
administration work.

My wife and I would like to do this together and would need to travel back
to Zimbabwe fairly regularly to spend time with our children as they are all
being schooled locally.

For CV and/or interviews, please contact us on 263-68-22463 / 263-11212545 /


(Ad inserted 22 February 2007)

Employment Sought

Position                             Accounts Clerk / Assistant Accountant
Experience                         4 years
Qualifications                     S.A.A.A  Diploma in Accountancy
Computer Packages           Microsoft word, excel and (S.A.P)

For more information an Curriculum Vitae


(Ad inserted 22 February 2007)

Employment Sought

Been self-employed for 17 years, in Zimbabwe, specializing in the service,
spares, and sales of tractors but due to the change of the economy it has
become almost impossible to make self-employment worthwhile at present.

Due to this, I am looking for a consultancy, management, supervisory work,
willing to do hands on work only when necessary, related to the above, our
first preference being Zambia, second mocambique. My wife is computer
literate with ICDL certificate and office experience and certificates and
would be able to handle the administration side if a position were
available. Our preference would be something along the lines of servicing,
managing, repairing a fleet of tractors belonging to a large farming
operation or a syndicate of farmers in close proximity of each other.  With
33 years experience in the above type of work, specializing particularly in
Fiat, Ford and MF, I would request an attractive package including
accommodation, vehicle and salary which would make my efforts worth while.
I wish to stress that regular work hours are not a necessity and that if my
services were required I would be fully committed to whatever contract I
agree to. My wife is computer literate and would be able to handle
administration work.

My wife and I would like to do this together and would need to travel back
to Zimbabwe fairly regularly to spend time with our children as they are all
being schooled locally.

For CV and/or interviews, please contact us on 263-68-22463 / 263-11212545 /

For the latest listings of accommodation available for farmers, contact (updated 1 March 2007)

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