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Statement made by the Hon. David Coltart MP 28th February 2006

I have noted press reports stating that I was elected to the National Executive of the faction of the MDC which held its Congress in Bulawayo on the 25th and 26th February 2006. This is not correct. In letters written to both Morgan Tsvangirai and Gibson Sibanda dated the 20th February 2006 I gave notice that I would not be attending either Congress of the two factions and would not seek election, nor accept nomination, to either Executive of the two factions, pending the finalisation of my attempt to assist in achieving an amicable settlement of the dispute between the two factions. I stated to both Mr Tsvangirai and Mr Sibanda that once that process is over I will then, at that stage, decide where my political home will be. I recognise that this decision may well result in me not having an Executive position in future but believe that it is important that someone should at least try to reconcile the two factions.

I did not attend the Congress in Bulawayo over the weekend and am accordingly surprised that I am reported as having been elected. I presume that a mistake must have been made.

The Honourable Mr David Coltart MP

Bulawayo South


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Zimbabwe on alert over fears of price protests

Business Report

March 2, 2006

By Cris Chinaka

Harare - Zimbabwe's government has put its security services on high alert
over fears bitter wage disputes and a new round of consumer price hikes
might spark street protests, official sources said on Thursday.

Rampaging inflation - the highest in the world - is one of the most visible
signs of an economy in its seventh year of recession marked by chronic
shortages of foreign currency, fuel and food widely blamed on President
Robert Mugabe's government.

On Thursday the privately owned weekly Financial Gazette newspaper said the
government had frozen all salary increases for civil servants and ruled out
bonus awards this year.

Zimbabwe this week saw a 30 percent rise in the cost of bread. And annual
university tuition fees, depending on the course, went up five times to as
high as ZIM$50-million (about R3 024) when colleges opened this week.

Many said that amount was unaffordable. An average middle class Zimbabwean
earns ZIM$180-million a year.

Government sources said on Thursday state security organs, mainly the police
and intelligence services, have been on high alert for days over fears
college and university students would demonstrate against the steep fee
increases.

"The security services are always in a state of vigilance, but they have
been especially alert in the last few days because there have been
suggestions that some people are thinking about illegal demonstrations,"
said a source who declined to be named.

Chief police spokesman Assistant Commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena was not
immediately available for comment.

John Robertson, a private economic consultant, said the rising prices and
deteriorating economy was wreaking havoc across the country and had
unsettled even Mugabe's supporters.

"Almost everyone, except the political elite and the wealthy, has been
affected and is finding it difficult to make ends meet," said Robertson, a
leading analyst.

"We long reached a point where even government supporters know the problems
we are facing are a result of government policies, but there are some who
still don't want the government to be criticised in public," he added.

Mugabe has outlawed labour and street protests under tough
security legislation critics say are meant to entrench his 26-year rule over
the country.

Universities have been seen as a hub of political opposition to Mugabe's
rule, and the government has several times sent riot police to suppress
student demonstrations.

In the past week riot police have been driving in and out of state and
private universities and colleges looking for any signs of trouble, while
college authorities have been ordered to keep an eye on student movements.

"The challenges in the economy are such that these increases are inevitable
... but they still do not warrant illegal actions and any responsible
government will stay alert to illegal actions," a government source said.

"The political atmosphere is also not helped by the fact that there are
unresolved wage disputes both in the public and private sector and that some
agitators will see these as opportunities around which to make trouble," he
added.

Negotiations between labour unions, the government and private employers
have hit a snag in recent weeks over workers' demands for steep wage hikes
to match inflation of 613 percent.

In the past month house rentals have risen on average by 25 percent while
telephone, water and postage charges have more than doubled.

Simple day-to-day transactions like grocery shopping now involve six-digit
figures, forcing consumers to carry large bags of banknotes are clear signs
of Zimbabwe's crumbling economy.

Critics say a once thriving economy has been brought to its knees by skewed
government policies, including the seizure of land from white commercial
farmers to redistribute among blacks, a programme they say has destroyed the
key agriculture sector.

Mugabe, in power since independence from Britain in 1980, argues that local
and foreign opponents of his land reforms have sabotaged the economy in
retaliation.


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Zimbabwe bank governor talks Mugabe into reversing power tariff hike

Zim Online

Fri 3 March 2006

HARARE - Zimbabwe's powerful central bank governor Gideon Gono this
week talked President Robert Mugabe and his Cabinet into virtually reversing
a decision permitting the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) to
hike power tariffs by 770 percent, ZimOnline has learnt.

Mugabe and his Cabinet had earlier on Monday approved a request by the
wholly state-owned ZESA to hike tariffs over a nine month period beginning
with a whopping 560 percent increase this month, followed by 185 percent in
June, 15 percent in September and 10 percent in November.

But the cost of electricity will now go up by only 95 percent between
now and December 2006. Power tariffs will also be increased by 70 percent in
February next year after Gono told Mugabe and his ministers during their
weekly Tuesday meeting that the hefty increases they had approved the Monday
before would trigger a wave of price increases across the board and push
inflation through the roof.

Inflation, which Mugabe says is Zimbabwe's number one enemy, surged to
613.2 percent in January from 585.5 percent the previous month.

Both Mugabe's spokesman George Charamba and Gono were not available
for comment on the matter last night.

But Gono argued in a paper presented to Cabinet during the Tuesday
meeting that besides fuelling inflation the "big-bang' tariff hike planned
by ZESA would deliver the knock-out punch to some of Zimbabwe's most
strategic industries that were already facing viability problems owing to a
hostile operating environment.

"Our (RBZ) recommendations also recognise the undeniable reality that
going the shock-therapy way would drive into near extinction such
centre-pivot companies like Sable Chemicals, Zim Alloys, Bindura Nickel,
Zimasco, Mimosa and gold miners, among many others, in whose cost structures
electricity has a high weighting," Gono said in his paper, a copy of which
was shown to ZimOnline yesterday.

Sable Chemicals is the country's largest producer of ammonium nitrate,
Bindura Nickel and Zimasco are the country's largest nickel and chrome
producers respectively.

"In the country's inflation basket, the category of electricity, water
and housing accounts for 16.2 percent which, by any measure is a significant
proportion, effectively increasing the risk of a painful back-lash if the
tariffs are adjusted on the profile of a big-bang approach," the RBZ
governor told Cabinet.

According to sources who attended the meeting, Gono then suggested the
reduced power tariff hikes as a face-saving measure for Cabinet.

He told Mugabe and his Cabinet: "Your Excellency, the above proposal
seeks to preserve the decision already taken by cabinet, at the same time
supporting the economy's objective to vigorously fight inflation, through
containment of precipitous cost escalations to producers and consumers."

ZESA had argued to the government that the new power tariffs were
necessary to cushion the parastatal from the effects of a rapidly
depreciating exchange rate.

But Gono insisted that the state power firm was still not affected by
the exchange rate saying because it had been loaned US$32.2 million by the
central bank for it its import needs and which it had not yet paid a single
cent back.

"The effective cost of the exchange rate, has, therefore to this day
not materially affected ZESA's actual local currency costs," Gono said.

The RBZ boss who has in the past criticised corruption and inertia by
workers in government t departments or state-owned companies also told the
Cabinet that ZESA was in financial problems because it was poorly managed
with 65 percent of its revenue going up to meet the salaries of its top
heavy bureaucracy.

ZESA is managed by Mugabe's brother-in-law, Sydney Gata, who is
executive chairman of the state firm. Gata has been in the past accused of
mismanaging the firm but successive Ministers of Energy, charged with
overseeing ZESA, have refused to act against him.

"Facts on the ground are that 65 percent of ZESA's total revenue is
swallowed up by salaries and wages. In reality consumers are paying for the
chain of the super-structure," Gono said. - ZimOnline


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Zimbabwe deports senior South African labour expert

Zim Online

Fri 3 March 2006

JOHANNESBURG - Zimbabwe immigration officials on Wednesday night
deported a senior South African labour expert on arrival at Harare
international airport because they thought the expert was from the Congress
of South African Trade Unions (COSATU).

Pat Horn, a co-ordinator with the Johannesburg-based Street Net group
that is affiliated to COSATU, was however visiting Zimbabwe to deliver a
lecture on labour issues at the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU)'s
Silver Jubilee School.

Immigration officials, who were accompanied by police officers, did
not explain why they were blocking Horn from entering Zimbabwe only
intimating that they had orders to bar COSATU officials from the country.

COSATU, which is hated in Harare for leading criticism against
President Robert Mugabe and his government's policies, yesterday condemned
the deportation of Horn, calling it an intolerable act of interference with
trade union work and a violation of freedom of association.

The South African union, whose own top officials were last year
deported from Zimbabwe, said: "Pat Horn was not representing COSATU, but
even if she had been there would have been no justification whatsoever for
her deportation.

"COSATU joins the ZCTU in condemning this action as intolerable
interference in trade union work, a violation of the freedom of association
and movement, and a contravention of International Labour Organisation
conventions."

COSATU, which is part of South Africa's ruling tripartite that is led
by President Thabo Mbeki's African National Congress party and also includes
the South African Communist party, has been more vocal against Mugabe's
excesses and has on various occasions clashed with Mbeki over his refusal to
publicly condemn human and labour rights abuses in Zimbabwe.

The union has on several occasions over the past 12 months held
demonstrations at Zimbabwe's embassy in Pretoria to protest human rights
violations by the Harare government and at one time threatened to blockade
South Africa's border with its northern neighbour to show its disapproval of
Mugabe's policies. - ZimOnline


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Zimbabwe battles fresh cash crisis

Zim Online

Fri 3 March 2006

HARARE - The Zimbabwe government, battling a severe six-year old
economic crisis, is facing a fresh cash crisis with long queues resurfacing
at major banks and building societies.

Zimbabwe's inflation which stands at a staggering 612.3 percent has
seen prices of basic commodities rise on a daily basis forcing consumers to
withdraw huge sums of cash from banks.

Sources at the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe in Harare say banking staff
have now been ordered to recycle worn out 1 000 dollar notes that would
normally be taken out of circulation as the cash crunch worsens.

"We are busy recycling notes that would normally be taken out of
circulation. We cannot print more notes because we need foreign currency
which the bank does not have.

"Moreover, people now make huge withdrawals to cover fees and buy
basic commodities which have since doubled in price," a source at the
central bank who refused to be named said.

RBZ spokesperson Kumbirai Nhongo refused to comment on the cash
shortage telling ZimOnline to put its questions in writing.

Harare resident Tanius Govere told ZimOnline yesterday that he spent
two days last week trying to withdraw cash to pay for his son's school fees
in Marondera town, about 60km east of Harare.

"It is disappointing because my bank is limiting withdrawals to a mere
Z$4 million. What do you do with that amount these days, particularly when I
need more than $30 million for fees and uniforms for my son," he said.

The RBZ last month introduced a new Z$50 000 bearer cheque, one among
a number of cheques which were introduced in 2003 at the height of serious
cash shortages as a stop gap measure. The cheques have now been in
circulation for more than three years.

The World Bank last year described Zimbabwe's economic recession as
unprecedented for a country not at war.

The World Bank and International Monetary Fund and major Western
governments blame President Robert Mugabe for ruining the country's economy
particularly his policy of seizing white-owned farms for redistribution to
landless blacks six years ago. Mugabe denies the charge. - ZimOnline


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Harare magistrate to making ruling in VOP matter

Zim Online

Fri 3 March 2006

HARARE - Harare magistrate, Rebecca Takavadi, is today expected to
make a ruling on an application for refusal of remand filed by trustees of
the Voice of the People (VOP) broadcasting station who are being charged
with flouting Zimbabwe's tough broadcasting laws.

The trustees, David Masunda, Lawrence Chibwe, Nhlanhla Ngwenya, Arnold
Tsunga, John Masuku and Millicent Phiri are being charged with violating the
Broadcasting Services Act by allegedly broadcasting without a licence from
the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ).

The trustees' lawyer, Beatrice Mtetwa, said on Tuesday: "The state did
not disclose an offence and we addressed the magistrate on this.

"We say so because the section under which they are being charged does
not make it an offence to produce a programme which then can be transmitted
in Zimbabwe through a transmitter outside Zimbabwe," she said

Mtetwa said the state had conceded that the VOP had no transmitters in
Zimbabwe and that broadcasting was done by Radio Netherlands through a relay
in the Indian ocean island of Madagascar.

Under Zimbabwe's tough media laws, it is an offence punishable by a
two year jail term to broadcast without licence from the Broadcasting
Authority of Zimbabwe. There is only one broadcasting station in Zimbabwe
which is state-owned.

The United States-based Committee to Protect Journalists ranks
Zimbabwe among the three worst countries for journalists. The other two are
the Islamic republic of Iran and the former Soviet republic of Uzbekistan.

At least four newspapers, including the country's biggest daily, The
Daily News, have been shut down in the last three years with more than a
hundred journalists arrested during the same period for violating Zimbabwe's
tough media laws. - ZimOnline


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Vandalism undermines border fence

mmegi, Botswana

BAME PIET
Staff Writer
3/2/2006 6:02:27 PM (GMT +2)

Government has spent P27.1 million to erect an electric fence along the
500km long Botswana/Zimbabwe 500km border.However,the fence has not worked
as expected due to vandalism,Assistant Minister of Agriculture Peter Siele
told Parliament on Monday.He was responding to a question by Member of
Parliament for Tati East,Samson Guma Moyo who wanted to know the cost of
erecting the electric fence and whether it has ever worked. He also wanted
to know what is being done to reduce the menace caused by wildlife and
animals to the fence.Siele said the estimated cost of constructing the
electric fence is about P35 million and that government is reviewing its
design.


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Race still an issue for farmers in Zimbabwe

IOL

March 02 2006 at 01:19PM

Harare - Zimbabwe's vice-president says the country's remaining white
farmers would be spared eviction if they toed the line and respected the
law, local media reported on Thursday.

"We cannot remove every white man in this country," Vice-President
Joseph Msika was quoted as telling a farmers' rally.

"If you think it's possible, that will not happen.

We will respect those white people who respect our laws and want to
live with us," the private local newspaper quoted him.

The state-owned Herald further quoted Msika as saying: "We cannot
remove every white farmer because it's stupidity. That is shooting yourself
in the foot."

No more than 600 white farmers remain in Zimbabwe following
controversial land reforms which saw the eviction of at least 4 000 of their
peers to pave the way for land redistribution to poor blacks.

Msika also lashed out at lazy black farmers who invaded white farms
and seized properties and then failed to produce anything.

"Some of you when you take these farms, you don't make use of them,"
The Herald quoted Msika as saying.

"Don't just evict someone who is farming productively because they are
of a different race."

'We cannot remove every white man in this country'
Msika's statements came weeks after Land Minister Didymus Mutasa said
no white farmers were "farming legally" and urged them to seek permission
from the government to continue work after constitutional reforms barred
dispossessed farmers from seeking legal recourse.

Msika attacked new farmers for their heavy dependence on government
handouts.

"We don't want to build a nation of beggars," Msika said, urging the
farmers to "cultivate the land."

Zimbabwe's land reforms, which began often violently in 2000 after the
rejection in a referendum on a government-sponsored draft constitution, have
seen some 4 000 white farmers lose their properties.

Critics say the majority of the beneficiaries of the land reforms lack
farming skills and rely on government handouts.

They also blame the land reforms for the chronic food shortages in
what was once southern Africa's bread basket.

At least four million of Zimbabwe's 13 million people require food aid
until the next harvest in May. - Sapa-AFP


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US May Toughen Up Sanctions On Zanu (PF)



Business Day (Johannesburg)

March 2, 2006
Posted to the web March 2, 2006

Jonathan Katzenellenbogen With Sapa-DPA
Johannesburg

THE US has said it is considering taking tougher measures against Zimbabwe's
ruling elite to try to bring about change in President Robert Mugabe's
authoritarian government.

Speaking in Johannesburg earlier this week, Bobby Pittman, recently
appointed US principal deputy assistant secretary for Africa, said: "We are
in the process of discussing other measures."

Pittman would not go into details of what was being considered by the US
administration, but did voice a degree of frustration that targeted "smart
sanctions" against the elite of the ruling Zanu (PF) were not bringing about
progress in Zimbabwe.

Pittman is the deputy to US Assistant Secretary of State for Africa Jendayi
Frazer, who until July last year was the US ambasasador to SA.

He has been in his post for nearly two months, and was in SA briefly earlier
this week after a visit to Zambia. Pittman said that having tightened the
sanctions on Zimbabwe to include barring members of the family of Zanu (PF)
senior officials from visiting the US and holding bank accounts in the US,
these restrictions would remain in place.

However, he did hint that in view of the "flaw in sanctions against
Zimbabwe" being the absence of implementation by Zimbabwe's neighbours of
similar restrictions, other measures would be considered.

He did not say what these would be.

Pittman pointed to the quick criticism of the African Union of the military
coup in Mauritania as a source of bringing pressure on the country's new
government to move toward elections.

"It is very important how our partners in SA and the Southern African
Development Community see the situation in Zimbabwe," Pittman said. He said
that positive development across much of sub-Saharan Africa meant Zimbabwe's
crisis had become an exception on the continent.

Meanwhile, Zimbabwe's central bank governor Gideon Gono said this week the
country spent $135m last year importing food to make up for poor harvests,
the Herald newspaper reported yesterday.


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Zim import power bill skyrockets - report

IOL

March 02 2006 at 02:24PM

Zimbabwe's monthly electricity import bill has shot up by almost 12
000 percent, Harare's Herald newspaper reported on Thursday.

Its website quoted energy and power development minister Mike Nyambuya
as saying this might force power utility Zesa Holdings to increase its
tariffs to remain viable.

"The cost of importing power has increased from ZIM$5-billion (about
R50-million) per month to ZIM$600-billion, against total income of
ZIM$340-billion per month," Nyambuya said.

"This has been so because of the movement of the exchange rate from
ZIM$26 000 per US dollar to the current ZIM$99 000."

Imported electricity represents about 32 percent of Zimbabwe's
national requirements.

This state of affairs was not sustainable, the minister said at the
inauguration of a new board for the power utility on Wednesday.

There was a need to come up with what he termed realistic tariffs,
enabling the power utility to provide electricity efficiently and minimise
power cuts.

Nyambuya said Zesa was losing heavily as a result of low-level rates
it was charging against escalating inflation.

"Zesa is incurring a huge loss and our tariff levels are not
sustainable. We want to repair and restore machinery at the Kariba and
Hwange power stations. We also want to invest in the region. How do we do
this without funds?"

The government had given Zesa Holdings the green light to adjust
tariffs in line with rising inflation, Nyambuya said.

Last year, the government approved an interim tariff increase of 100
percent to keep the power utility afloat.

The minister said he expected the new Zesa board to expedite
generation projects in response to a power deficit facing the Southern
African Development Community region.

Energy experts say the region faces a major power shortfall by 2007 if
no capacity expansion measures are put into place.

At present, Zesa generates a combined 1 440 megawatts at Kariba and
Hwange power stations.

Kariba generates 750MW and Hwange 590MW, while small thermal power
stations contribute 100MW to the national grid. Imports account for 650MW.

Zimbabwe imports 300MW from South Africa, 250MW from Mozambique and
100MW from the Democratic Republic of Congo. - Sapa


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Power Plants Running Out of Coal



Financial Gazette (Harare)

March 1, 2006
Posted to the web March 2, 2006

Munyaradzi Mugowo
Harare

STATE-run ZESA Holdings says three of its Hwange power generation plants
have become redundant because of falling coal supplies, resulting in
periodic blackouts.

"We have had to close down three of our electricity generating units because
of coal shortages. The situation is quite critical at the moment," Gata
said.

The critical coal crisis comes as Hwange Colliery Company (HCC) Limited is
struggling to cope with high coal demand, driven by seasonal activities such
as tobacco curing.

The National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ has revealed that it has more than
100 rail wagons stationed at HCC waiting to deliver coal.

NRZ deputy chairman David Govere told The Financial Gazette that Hwange was
struggling to satisfy demand.

"We have no less than 120 wagons waiting to pick coal in Hwange once it
becomes available," said Govere.

HCC managing director Godfrey Dzinomwa said the country's sole coal miner
was trying to ramp up production to meet customer requirements after
experiencing haulage equipment breakdowns in January.

"We started the month not supplying everyone with the required coal tonnages
because of breakdowns of haulage trucks. Our stocks went down as a result of
that. But we are now ramping up production and we are expected to reach
output levels of about 400 000 tonnes per month," Dzinomwa said.

ZESA claims the resultant coal supply shortages have grounded its power
generation plants and caused accelerated load shedding.

Capacity utilisation at ZESA and HCC still remains sub-optimal due to low
capital investments in the two companies which are plagued by plant
dilapidation and a crippling domestic and foreign debt overhang.

Last year HCC opened a new underground mine in its 3 Main Section after
acquiring a new continuous miner from South Africa with an average output
rate of about 120 000 tonnes per month.

But even this US$82 million project, coupled with similar investments in old
and new open cast mines, has failed to ease the country's power crisis.

Production at Chaba mine, a new US$5 million open cast mine with an average
yield rate of 100 tonnes per month, started last month and in the short run
aggregate supply is expected to exceed national demand, currently estimated
at about 300 000 tonnes per month.


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Re: Is Mutambara his own man? - Herald "comment"

This refers to David Coltarts article posted on
https://www.zimbabwesituation.com/old/feb24_2006.html

Sent: Thursday, March 02, 2006 9:58 PM
Subject: Re: Is Mutambara his own man? - Herald "comment"

Dear Mr. Chitate,
I read your comments in your note to your friends in which you discussed
what appeared to be your best thoughts on the Bulawayo meeting. A similar
letter from one Morgan Changamire was published in The Herald today
(Thursday), ducking the main argument and deifying non-events and non-issues
in our midst.
If Arthur is sincere in his statement, as you seem to believe, can you and
the unknown Changamire enlighten your colleagues by addressing the following
questions:
1. Just before he rose to speak there was a chorus of messages denouncing MT
from almost all the officials selected by the group to lead that group. They
labelled him a dictator and all that jazz. When it was his turn to speak,
Mutambara said: "We are not the only democratic force in the country. Morgan
Tsvangirai deserves a place of honour in the fight for democracy in
Zimbabwe. He is a Zimbabwean hero." Was Mutambara still representing the
views of this group at that state? Was he echoing the sentiment of the
meeting?
2. Mutambara and the group had a "congress" that lasted two and half hours.
What kind of congress is this? Just to nominate people for positions? What
were the resolutions from this congress?
3. He went further: "My position was that the MDC should have boycotted
those Senate elections. Not only that, I was for the total withdrawal from
Parliament and all the other election based institutions. This to me would
have constituted a consistent and effective regime de-legitimization
strategy. I guess then that makes me the
Anti-Senate leader of the Pro-Senate MDC faction! How ridiculous can we
get?" Does Welshman Ncube share this view, considering his understanding
that the group shall participate in any election, including that of a toilet
care-taker? Again, who was Mutambara representing when he uttered these
words? The so-called congress delegates, himself, or his colleagues in the
new leadership? If he represented their view, what was the source of the
October 12 dispute? Why did we have to go through all this?
4. Mutambara continued: We believe that our views on land reform in
Zimbabwe are different from those of Western governments. Our approach is
not driven by the interests of white farmers, but those of all Zimbabweans,
white and black. While we put the failure of the land reform program
squarely on the Zanu PF government, we also acknowledge the complicity of
some Western governments which reneged on agreements, and the inertia of
white farmers in seeking pre-emptive solutions.
5. You recall that the MDC, in its first manifesto spoke of the need to
acquire seven million hectares, while Zanu PF wanted five million hectares.
The question is about agrarian reform. We even have a more radical approach
to this unfinished historical imbalance. We propose to grant title deeds to
majority on the realisation that land is an economic asset. Land cannot be
parcelled out for ritualistic purposes. The issue that has led us to all
this is the failure by Zanu PF to put together a coherent and credible
agrarian reform package. Mutambara's remarks on the land question sound like
a plagiarised version of Mugabe's old nationalistic rhetoric. Further, the
situation on the ground is very clear. Zanu PF does not celebrate the
success of the land reform programme anymore because it was a disaster.
Corruption and poor land use has caused serious food shortages. The people
were left out of the process. Only the Zanu PF elite and a parasitic
bureaucracy have benefited from this chaotic project.
6. Land acquisition and agrarian reform are two separate things. Because of
these empty emotions about land, the entire country is now sitting on dead
capital. Our land no longer has any value and no-one, local or foreigner,
wants to invest on the land because of the insecurity around such an
investment. Mutambara should speak about how this negative development can
be corrected; not praising what has become an obvious policy failure. The
question must now be asked: Whose views were these? Congress? His own? What
was the congress resolution on this particular subject? What was the policy
option from the group on the land question?
7. A casual perusal of the UPM documents shows that there is a large chunk
of
material plucked out of these records and reproduced in statements emanating
from this meeting. Was this a UPM meeting?
8. The nation was told that Mutambara and his associates were due to be
introduced to the people at a rally in Bulawayo. A leader elected by the
people is introduced to the same people? Have you ever heard of this
absurdity? This kind of contradiction?
9. Anyway, we were told that the rally was cancelled after it was realised
that only 20 people were at the rally venue. How does a popular leader,
newly mandated to lead a desperate people out of misery fail to address a
rally, not to be introduced, but to inform them about his vision? If the
group failed to bring the people of Bulawayo
together, can they organise a rally in Chipinge? At Mukandabhutsu,
Chiendambuya or
in Binga?
10. If politics is the art of making friends, did Mutambara make any in
Bulawayo, especially among the biscuit factory workers, vendors and
push-cart operators? Why does he seem to be unconcerned about meeting these
people, who have borne the brunt of the dictatorship?
11. We understand there was no debate on the new group's policies,
programmes
and resolutions. This was confirmed by Mutambara himself when he said these
shall be ready in the next 100 days. Why skip a forum like a congress to
discuss such critical guidelines? What will happen in the next 100 days?
Another congress? Who shall discuss these policies? Mutambara and a few
others? Any serious group of politicians is expected to take advantage of
such forums and get an endorsement of ther policies, programmes and vision
for Zimbabwe. And a constitution? That did not happen? So what was this
meeting all about?
12. As I said before, our pliant media does not ask these questions? The
media shows no interest in analysing these issues because it suits their
interests. Imagine, just think of it, what would have happened if Tsvangirai
failed to address a rally in Bulawayo because of poor attendance. The media
would have been abuzz with stories on how he is finished and on how
unpopular he could be in that region. But not for Mutambara and his group.
Bulawayo is still perceived to be their stronghold, mainly by people in a
state of denial?
13. Why were there no solidarity messages from their allies, if they have
any? Why were the seven representatives of the diplomatic community who
attended the meeting not interviewed about their impressions of this
congress? What about the
usual ZBC analysts? The truth is that Mutambara and his associates are
merely a noisy group without anything to offer to Zimbabweans.
14. Finally, here at home the people are asking where Mutambara is today? In
Bulawayo, Johannesburg? Why is he media shy? Is this acceptable when he
claims to represent a mammoth party like the MDC? The truth is Mutambara is
masquerading as a leader of the MDC and must be stopped forthwith. He is
wasting people's time. He is not serious.
15. We have a people's congress in two weeks time. We are not interested in
side shows. Our economy is overheating; the people are hungry; there is
deadening impoverishment everywhere. The country is bleeding and it needs a
solution to the national crisis.
16. The real story behind the Mutambara factor shall be known soon. How does
one explain the order given to Gift Chimanikire either to play ball or "go
back to your old friend, Tsvangirai?" Why is Chimanikire being left off the
hook, at least by the media? He must explain what made him change his mind
and start singing praises of the man he once described as an imposed
expatriate who does not even know the price of bread. Either way, the real
story behind this group has begun to unfold. Those who shouted their voices
hoarse in support of detractors and revisionists shall soon have their tails
in between their legs.

Nelson Chamisa, MP
Secretary for Information and Publicity


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Murehwa Farmers Fuel Scam Takes New Twist



The Herald (Harare)

March 2, 2006
Posted to the web March 2, 2006

Wenceslaus Murape
Murehwa

THE Murehwa farmers fuel scam took a new twist yesterday following
revelations that the fuel that was sold at $41 000 a litre was actually
supposed to be sold at a mere $1 650 a litre since it was left over from
last year's supply.

Last week, farmers in Murehwa cried foul that they had been inexplicably
sold fuel at $41 000 per litre.

Murehwa District Administrator Mr Maxwell Mabhuro on Tuesday confirmed that
the fuel was left over from deliveries made by the National Oil Company of
Zimbabwe last season when the farmers were accessing the diesel at a
subsidised price of $1 650 per litre.

"The service station owner promised to avail the fuel when it was needed and
we were surprised to be charged $41 000 per litre as we expected the diesel
to be sold at the current Noczim rate of $12 000 per litre," said Mr
Mabhuro.

He questioned how the Agriculture Research and Extension Services which
co-ordinated the sale and the service station owner, arrived at the price of
$41 000 per litre.

Murehwa District Arex head Mr Douglas Makuvire confirmed that the fuel was
sold at $41 000 per litre, but said the service station would refund the
farmers.

He also confirmed that the fuel was for the 2004/05 farming season, which
was subsidised down to $1 650 per litre .

When pressed on how the current price was agreed upon, Mr Makuvire said the
selling of the fuel was co-ordinated by a junior officer, but admitted the
farmers had been ripped off.

"As Arex, we don't handle any money although we co-ordinate the fuel
distribution. The farmers should have already been refunded, but up to now
nothing has happened and we have since sought help from the local police,"
he said.

The allegations in Murehwa come in the wake of a call by the Reserve Bank of
Zimbabwe Governor Dr Gideon Gono in the Monetary Policy Statement of the
fourth quarter for sanity to prevail in the agriculture sector.


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New Noczim Board Appointed



The Herald (Harare)

March 2, 2006
Posted to the web March 2, 2006

Harare

THE National Oil Company of Zimbabwe (Noczim) has a new board that is
expected to steer the country out of the current fuel crisis.

The seven-member board that was appointed by the Minister of Energy and
Power Development, Retired Lieutenant-General Mike Nyambuya, will be chaired
by Engineer Charles Chipato.

The other members are Mr Masimba Kamba, Mr George Chigora, Mrs Cathrine
Katsande, Retired Lieutenant-Colonel Nelly Abu Basutu, Mr Thompson Mabika
and Mr Zvinechimwe Churu.

Eng Chipato holds a Bachelor's Degree in Electrical Engineering from the
University of Zambia, a Diploma in Mine Safety from the National Research
Institute for Pollution and Resources in Japan and a Master of Science
Degree in Mineral Economics from the Colorado School of Mines in the United
States.

He has worked in both the private sector and the civil service.

Mr Kamba holds a Bachelor of Arts (Economics) Degree from the University of
Zambia, a post-graduate Diploma in Economic Planning and Development from
Senegal, a Master's Degree in Policy Analysis and a Master's Degree in
Business Administration from Belgium. He is a senior civil servant.

Mr Chigora is the current chairman of Petrozimline and Clarion Insurance
Company.

He holds a Chartered Institute of Secretaries Diploma and a Masters degreein
Business Administration from the University of Stirling in the United
Kingdom.

Mr Chigora has held senior finance positions in the civil service and the
private sector.

Mrs Katsande is a senior officer in the Ministry of Energy and Power
Development.

She holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Economics from the University of
Zimbabwe.

Rtd Lt-Col Abu Basutu holds an Executive Masters Degree in Business
Administration and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Accounts. She rose
through the ranks in the Zimbabwe National Army, retiring in 2002.

Mr Mabika holds a Diploma in Management and Accountancy.

He is currently group finance director for Dairibord Zimbabwe Limited.

Mr Churu is the current Noczim chief executive officer.

He holds a Bachelor of Arts (Economics) Degree from the State University of
New York, an Honours Bachelor of Arts Degree in Economics from the
University of South Africa, a Masters Degree in Development and Management
from the University of North West in South Africa, and several diplomas from
the Institute of Administration and Commerce of Southern Africa.

Cde Nyambuya said the new board was not an ordinary business team, but one
that would work day and night to fulfil the mission of oiling the nation
despite the challenges.

"The country is under sanctions, but it doesn't mean that we can't fulfil
our mandate.

"I would like to see some tangible results. I will expect you to come up
with workable strategies for the economy to be supplied with adequate fuel,"
said Cde Nyambuya.

He said Noczim must move with speed to re-introduce the blending of petrol
and ethanol as well as taking advantage of the wet spell to plant jatropha
trees and educate the nation on saving fuel.

"Let us not always wail and moan, but find solutions to the fuel problems,"
he said.

Noczim has stepped up preparations for the production of bio-diesel by
buying jatropha seeds from members of the public and growers.

Jatropha is a drought-resistant plant that produces seed with 37 percent oil
content.

The oil can be refined to produce bio-diesel, which is cleaner than
hydrocarbon diesel.

It is estimated that Zimbabwe could save more than $100 million a day in
fuel imports by using bio-diesel extracted from jatropha.


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Governor/Minister Clash over Operation Restore Order

African News Dimension

March 2, 2006, 3 hours, 26 minutes and 47 seconds ago.

By Elias Wilson

A fierce clash between the Governor of Matabeleland South Angeline
Masuku and the Minister of Rural Housing and Social Amnesties, Emmerson
Mnangagwa is looming following divergent views over the allocation of houses
under Hlalani Kuhle/ in Gwanda

Masuku who earlier said the allocation process was flawed and had
recommended that the process be nullified.

Her argument was that most of the beneficiaries were not on the
housing waiting, Provincial heads of Government Departments, civil servants
and relatives of politicians.

But yesterday Mnangagwa who oversees Operation Hlalani Kuhle/Garikai
in the province defended the allocation sayingit was in accordance with
recommendations made by the national housing committee.

"They followed the criteria set by the Government and I don't think
there were major mistakes," he said. He said the Government would not
nullify the allocation of houses.

"The housing allocation is done by the Government and not the party.
This is a Government programme," he said.

Mnangagwa however said the Government would correct mistakes if there
were any. After yesterday's remarks by Mnangagwa, Masuku could not comment
saying Mnangagwa had summed everything.

"What Cde Mnangagwa said is enough," she said.


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Zim to abolish Media and Information Commission



March 2, 2006,

By George Nyathi

Bulawayo (AND)Zimbabwe government is taking steps towards the
harmonisation of the media environment in the country, with revelations that
the ministry of Information and Publicity is moving towards the abolishment
of the Media nd Information Commission (MIC).

Several pressure groups have met the information minister, Ambassador
Tichaona Jokonya for discussion over the matter, with stakeholders unisomely
saying that Jokonya seems to be appreciative of the need to establish the
said council.

Unlike his predecessor, Jonathan Moyo, who is curreently the
legislator for Tsholotsho in the House of Assembly, stakeholders say that
Jokonya is mature and has made sure that he exploits the open door policy as
he moves to open a new page in the Zimbabwea`n media environment.

Nyasha Nyakunu, Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA-Zimbabwe)
Information Officer told delegates at a meeting in Gweru that there was need
to move with speed and complete the consultative meetings his organization
and the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists (ZUJ) were holding towards the
voluntary media council.

"We do not want to find ourselves in the previous situation where we
are accused of failing to regulate ourselves. The consultation programme
that we are pushing is moving towards its conclusion and once that is done,
we will be assured that the media council that we are advocating for will be
a reality," said Nyakunu.

The statements come against former minister Moyos statements that the
reason behind the establishment of the MIC was because the players in the
journalistic fraternity had failed to regulate themselves properly hence
government intervention.

According to Nyakunu, the council is expected to be composed of
players from a variety of sectors of the ZImbabwean community as this would
make it a more representative organ that would diligently discharge its
duties.

Targetted groups include lawyers, nurses, doctors, journalists,
editors, and publishers.

AND Zimbabwe.


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Food crisis as villagers and their dogs fight for left overs



March 2, 2006, 7 hours, 35 minutes and 56 seconds ago.

By Tagu Mkwenyani

Zimbabwe (AND) Food crisis levels reach a new heights as hungry
villagers and their dogs fight for food.

TEACHERS at Zimbabwe's rural boarding schools have reported a
disturbing trend where hungry villagers are scrounging for food left over at
rubbish pits. They noted the trend was growing as hunger and starvation
continued to stalk communal areas, which experienced successive droughts in
the past few years.
"It's getting out of hand, something has to be done about this
problem," said a teacher based at Chimombe mission in Gutu, about 300 km
east of Harare.

The teacher said while villagers had also come to collect food left by
students at their school canteens intending to feed their dogs in the past,
this time they wanted the food for themselves and their children. "You see
hungry dogs and hungry people fighting for the left overs. It's a disturbing
sight," said the teacher.

At Zimuto secondary schools, teachers reported the same problem saying
they feared the villagers could contract diseases as a result. A visit to
the school, which is 40 km north of Masvingo town, revealed that Zimuto's
dumpsite had become a popular place for the hungry villagers who came to
collect food. Scores of hungry villagers could be seen milling around the
dumpsite waiting for cooks to dump the food leftovers.

The villagers said they had no option but to collect the food since
they could not watch while their children were starving. "We have nothing to
eat, so we better get this food. We just have to boil it and eat it. We have
been doing this since October last year and we have not been ill," said one
of the villagers, Judah Makomva. Makomva (55) has three grandchildren whose
parents have succumbed to HIV/AIDS. Another old woman who was also
collecting beans said she made daily trips to the place to pick food. "Until
we get good harvests, I see myself coming here every day," she said. Aid
agencies say about three million Zimbabwe need food aid. The number could
rise, the say, in the next coming months.
Africa.AND


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Gwisai brands Mutambara a political opportunist



Former MDC MP for Highfield Munyaradzi Gwisai has branded his former
colleague, Professor Arthur Mutambara a political opportunist. Gwisai who
was Secretary General of the Students Representative Council that Mutambara
led says he believes a ten-year association with capitalist forces has
tainted his friend's credentials and he now finds his anti-west rhetoric
insincere. Gwisai is the guest on Behind the Headlines and speaks to Lance
Guma about his views on Mutambara's entry into the political arena as leader
of the pro-senate faction of the MDC.

Lance Guma
Producer/Presenter
SW Radio Africa
+44-777-855-7615
www.swradioafrica.com

Behind The Headlines
Thursday 5:15 to 5:30pm (GMT) live on the internet at www.swradioafrica.com
Friday 5:15 to 5:30am on Medium Wave broadcasts 1197khz
Also available on internet archives after broadcasts at
http://www.swradioafrica.com/pages/archives.php

SW Radio Africa is Zimbabwe's only independent radio station broadcasting
from the United Kingdom. The station is staffed by exiled Zimbabwean
journalists who because of harsh media laws cannot broadcast from home.

Full broadcast on Medium Wave -1197KHZ between 5-7am (Zimbabwean time) and
24 hours on the internet at www.swradioafrica.com.


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'Protect Livestock Against Diseases'



The Herald (Harare)

March 2, 2006
Posted to the web March 2, 2006

Harare

ZIMBABWE needs to adopt a serious approach for the protection of livestock
against diseases that could threaten restocking, the Department of
Veterinary Services has said.

In an interview yesterday, Dr Stuart Hargreaves, the department's principal
director, said Zimbabwe was once a vibrant livestock producer that exported
to Europe and some African countries, but this had been curtailed by
outbreaks of foot-and-mouth disease over the years.

Focus on livestock production was also lost during the land reform
programme, which saw the movement of cattle from communal areas to newly
resettled farms where many were stolen and sold in neighbouring countries
such as Mozambique and Zambia.

Government, in its efforts to boost livestock production, this year set
aside $90 billion for the restocking exercise, but according to the
Veterinary Services Department, this needs to be complemented by a serious
disease prevention pro-gramme.

Dr Hargreaves said current stocks of dipping chemicals were not sufficient
to cater for the 4 000 dipping tanks in the country and to fully complement
the livestock production efforts.

"We are trying our best to make sure our cattle are vaccinated and this time
at a small fee of $60 000 per beast to recover our costs," he said.

One of the ingredients used in the manufacturing of amitraz, a chemical
applied in vaccination, is imported from South Africa.

"At the moment we are helping a company which won the tender to supply us
with the chemical to get foreign currency from the Reserve Bank for the
improvement of our supplies."

Dr Hargreaves said US$120 000 was needed for the importation of a month's
supply of the chemical.

The country is currently focusing its attention on the importation of other
essentials such as hospital drugs, fuel, maize and agricultural inputs such
as fertilizer.

In his numerous tours of farming areas, Agriculture Minister Dr Joseph Made
urged livestock farmers to be on the lookout for tick-borne diseases and to
go an extra mile to protect their livestock from diseases.

Director for field veterinary services and tsetse control Dr Josphat Nyika
said although there had been no major cattle disease outbreaks so far, the
situation on the ground demanded that the dipping chemicals be moved to
areas plagued by shortages.

"We need at lease 40 tonnes of dipping chemicals per month for the whole
country and at the moment we have just provided supplies to Matabeleland
North and Mashonaland Central. We need to move fast into other areas which
are also a potential hub for cattle production," Dr Nyika said.

He said the department was concerned about prevention of livestock diseases
owing to the high costs linked with dealing with an epidemic.


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Indigenous foods now rule the roost

Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2006-Mar-03

CONSUMERS in Harare, hard hit by escalating costs of basic commodities in
supermarkets have turned to cheap and mostly indigenous foodstuffs from
Mbare Musika market.

A visit by The Daily Mirror to the vegetable bazaar showed that demand for
alternatives to bread and meat was high due to recent increases in prices of
commodities in most retail outlets.
Many people were buying umngqutshu (samp); kapenta and Soya mince in
exchange for bread and meat whose prices have now gone beyond the reach of
many.
The price of a standard loaf shot to between $65 000 and $70 000 from the
gazetted $44 000 while beef costs around $400 000 a kg.
Interviewed vendors said business was brisk as samp and kapenta, once
associated with the poor, were in demand since last week's bread price hike.
They said the demand for samp had also seen prices of corresponding relishes
such as beans shooting up as well.
"Business is going on very well. There is a high demand for umngqutshu, but
today they are not being bought because we do not have beans. The two go
hand in hand," said Agens Tore.
Another vendor, Joyce Kashunje, said although the levels of sales fluctuated
on different days, there was generally a high demand for rice, samp and
potatoes.
Samp sells at between $15 000 and $30 000 a cup depending on the size of the
container
A survey of prices of goods at the market also showed that it was more
convenient buying there than in conventional shops in the city.
Quantitatively, the market offers more, and allows flexibility as customers
can negotiate prices and quantities. A cup of rice costs $30 000, a 25kg bag
of potatoes between $450 000 and $650 000.
A cup of beans goes for $30 000, while a 20kg bucket of the same commodity
costs $2,5 million.
The smallest pack of Kapenta costs $15 000, the same as soya mince and
madora (edible caterpillars).
Vegetables were also cheap and available, with a cabbage head selling at
between $25 000 and $30 000. Tomatoes cost $100 000 a crate or alternatively
$10 000 for three.
Carrots were at $20 000 a pack, while pepper costs $10 000 a bunch. Muboora
(pumpkin leaves) goes for $10 000 a bundle while okra sells at $10 000 a
pack, onions $80 000 for three and a bundle of rape $10 000.
Many customers could be seen buying fruits at the market saying it was
cheaper there compared to prices charged in shops.
A pack of oranges was sold at $300 000, apples $750 000, while a watermelon
was $100 000. Cucumbers were $5 000 each, while a banana was sold for $8
000.
Wheat is being sold at $500 000 a bucket, the same as groundnuts, while
round nuts were slightly expensive at $1,2 million a bucket.
"This is our only solace as prices have gone wild in the shops. Supermarkets
cannot negotiate with consumers but here vendors are always prepared to
listen to you. There is room to bargain so that everyone emerges from a
transaction satisfied,' said a female green grocery shopper.


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Illegal cross-border trading continues unabated

Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2006-Mar-03

ILLEGAL cross-border trading in basic commodities continues unabated despite
intensified border patrols along Zimbabwe's border with Mozambique, an
immigration official has said.
Elasto Mugwadi, Zimbabwe's chief immigration officer, said that a growing
number of mostly jobless people from Harare and Mutare had turned to
cross-border trading to earn a living.
"Cases of smuggling will continue for as long as the economy keeps
depreciating," Mugwadi said.
Most of the illegal traders smuggle soft drinks, beer, cooking oil, and
sugar, into Mozambique where they are in short supply.
The government has blamed the illegal traders for contributing to the
shortage of basics commodities in the country as they buy the commodities in
bulk.
Mugwadi said the Mozambicans, on the other hand, sold second-hand clothing
and, in some instances, drugs in Zimbabwe.
"We have observed an increase in the number of Mozambicans involved in the
smuggling of goods into our country," he said, adding the police would
continue to confiscate goods illegally brought into the country or smuggled
out by cross-border traders.


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JAG Open Letter Forum No 409 dated 1 March 06



Email: jag@mango.zw; justiceforagriculture@zol.co.zw

<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns =
"urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />

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

---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Letter 1

Dear Jag,

I always read Chido Makunike`s article in the " Zimbabwe Independent" and
find him interesting and very informative!! I particularly took note of
this article, which I might add I never read! I wish every white Zimbo
living in Zimbabwe and wanting to continue doing so, better take note!!
Chido writes well and I believe gives a very balanced in-sight to the
issues in Zimbabwe and Africa generally, but I don't think every "white
African" living here has seriously got it yet!!!!!!!!!!!!! Let's hope
they read the article!!!!!!!!! I wonder if that will make any
difference! In having said what I have said, I also do believe that
Mugabe`s retoric against whites hasn't helped the situation!

Best Regards

Sandy King

---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Letter 2

Opposition missing the point!!
By Savania Chinamaringa

With the nave spilt of the MDC, the much-publicised entry of Mutambara
into Zimbabwean politics, and the failure of ZANU PF to resuscitate the
dying country we all seem forget one important dynamic of Zimbabwean
politics - the rural folk!!!
I don't know why all the highly educated, clever MDC (either faction) has
missed the fact that the majority of the population (who have kept ZANU
PF in power) are in the rural areas. The opposition should, by all
means, unify the masses to focus on one vision for the country. They need
to get the rural folk on the bus. If they can get the rural folk to
their side then ZANU PF will be left with nothing to cling to.

The opposition in the country should be smart enough to use ZANU PF
failures like economy, lack of agricultural inputs and of course the very
unpopular Operation Murambatsvina. It doesn't need a rocket scientist to
realise that Operation Murambatsvina diluted the rural population. And
the fact that urban dwellers were brutally displaced is living testimony
of the devil ZANU PF has become.
So instead of worrying about a robotics professor taking over the MDC,
meaningless congresses and inane in fighting they should all be on the
ground mobilising support and taking advantage of ZANU PF failures.

Database Coordinator
Plymouth City Council
Internal: 8745
Phone: 01752 308745
Business email: spin@plymouth.gov.uk
Website: http://www.plymouth.gov.uk/

---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Letter 3

Dear Jag,

I am urgently looking for someone going to South Africa as I need to send
a painting, which is rolled up in a cardboard tube, to Pietersburg. The
tube is about a meter long and 15 cm in diameter. If someone is going,
please get hold of me on 494796 or cell 011 726 062. Thanks.

Delene Lambert

---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Letter 4

Dear JAG

Please Help

URGENT - MISSING DOG

REWARD OFFERED

Our receptionist's dog has run away and is now missing, presumably in the
Umwinsidale area. She is an adult female Boxer, answers to the name
Pickle. She is wearing a collar with two dog tags but no longer lives at
the Harare address on
the tag (Newbold road). If you know where she is or have seen her please
contact us at the surgery by phone. You may not be able to E-mail us as
we are having a little trouble with our server.

Thanks,
John Houghton.
__________________________________________

Chisipite Veterinary Surgery
303 Harare Drive
The Grange
Harare
Telephone numbers-
494824 (reception)
091253318 (reception)
494863 (fax/phone/emergencies)
494862 (mobile)
chisivet@zol.co.zw

Opening times
8am - 11am and 3pm to 6pm Monday to Friday
8am - 11am Saturdays
8.30am - 9.30am for emergencies only on Sundays

---------------------------------------------------------------------------

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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