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Harare signs $400m steel agreement with Indian firm

Business Report

March 3, 2006

Harare - An Indian company will invest US$400 million (R2.5 billion) to
rehabilitate Zimbabwe's ailing iron and steel works in a deal expected to
boost output by 17 times.

The state-owned Zimbabwe and Steel Company (Zisco) has been plagued for more
than a decade by a lack of capital to re-equip its plant.

Zisco had entered into a management contract with Global Steel Holdings
(GSH), Zimbabwe's central bank governor, Gideon Gono, said in Harare on
Wednesday.

"GSH would inject foreign currency for rehabilitation of Zisco plant
components," he said. The deal gave GSH a 20-year management contract for
the plant, which will remain government owned.
The agreement marks one of the biggest foreign investments seen in recent
years in Zimbabwe.

President Robert Mugabe's government has previously identified Zisco among
underperforming state companies to be privatised under a plan to revive the
ailing economy.

Zisco was the main foreign currency earner prior to independence from
Britain in 1980, but output has fallen sharply to just 78 000 tons of steel
a year because its main furnace, which accounts for 70 percent of its
production, has been derelict for years.

Gono said the deal would push output up to between 1.1 million and 1.4
million tons within 12 to 18 months.

Meanwhile, Zimbabwe's monthly electricity import bill had shot up by almost
12 000 percent, the Herald newspaper reported yesterday.

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

"The cost of importing power has increased from Z$5 billion per month to
Z$600 billion, against total income of Z$340 billion per month," Nyambuya
said.

"This has been so because of the movement of the exchange rate from Z$26 000
per US dollar to the current Z$99 000."
At official rates, it costs Z$1 600 to buy R1.

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 to minimise power
cuts.

Nyambuya said Zesa was losing heavily as a result of the low 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."

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

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.

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.


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Zimbabwe to institute legal recourse against corruption

People's Daily

The Anti-Corruption Commission of Zimbabwe hopes to start instituting
legal recourse against corrupt individuals and organizations at the
completion of an investigative survey on corruption, a senior government
official said on Thursday.

"Some work has already been done although we cannot disclose the
details. We want to at least find the basis of what is deemed corruption,"
said the commission's Chairman Eric Harid.

This is one of the preliminary activities that the nine-member
commission embarked on in its effort to uproot increasing graft.

"(Media) reports indicate that more people are corrupt now or that the
same people have become more corrupt, but it is important to get facts to
back that first," he said.

Despite the increasing number of reports, government maintains it is
not fighting a losing battle. Minister of Anti-Corruption and
Anti-Monopolies, Paul Mangwana, said the government was getting stronger on
the issue.

"The reason why people think corruption is on the increase is because
we have been able to expose it. We have raised our awareness and people are
reporting it. We are strengthening our armory," said Mangwana.

An interministerial agency tasked to coordinate fighting efforts was
expected to report its findings in the next few weeks, he said.

"The President (Robert Mugabe) has advised us not to spare anyone no
matter how famous they are," said Mangwana.

A number of public officials have been arrested on allegations of
corruption and some have served lengthy terms in prison.

Source: Xinhua


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Zimbabwe calls for investment in tourism infrastructure

People's Daily

The Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) on Thursday called on investors
to develop infrastructure within the Gonarezhou National Park so as to
attract tourists.

The authority said existing infrastructure was found mainly in the
urban centers of Chiredzi and Triangle.

"Given the magnitude of the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park ( GLTP)
project, these existing facilities will not meet the projected demand, hence
the need to attract investors to provide tourism facilities there," said
ZTA.

The national park forms part of the GLTP, an investment destination
with high tourism growth potential which encompasses Mozambique's Gaza,
South Africa's Kruger national parks.

The Chiredzi-GLTP area and surroundings has been designated as a
Tourism Development Zone (TDZ), a concept that the government approved in
2002. The concept was adopted to promote tourism in areas where
underdevelopment is hampering high tourism potential.

The Beitbridge-Shashe-Limpopo surroundings, Great Zimbabwe national
monument and Lake Mutirikwi and its surroundings are the first areas to have
been designated TDZs.

ZTA said Gonarezhou needed better accommodation facilities and
restaurants, domestic air service, touring services, and theme parks.

Investors will not be required to pay any tax from income made during
the first five years of operation. They will start paying 15 percent tax
during the second five years of operation, 20 percent during the third five
years before normal rates of corporate tax apply thereafter. There will also
be duty exemption on specified capital equipment imported for use in the
TDZs.

Most tourist destinations, including the country's prime resort,
Victoria Falls, are largely underdeveloped.

Source: Xinhua


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Gono Closes Another Banking Institution



March 3, 2006, 48 minutes and 45 seconds ago.

By Andnetwork .com

The banking sector, which recently received a clean bill of health
from the central bank, was yesterday plunged into panic amid speculation
that yet another banking institution, Sagit Finance House, had gone under.

Although no official confirmation could be obtained by the time of
going to press, reliable sources said the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ),
which went on a bank closing spree between 2004-2005, had closed the finance
house for unclear reasons.

Efforts to seek confirmation from the central bank proved fruitless
last night, while an official at Sagit denied the bank had been closed.
"That is not true, in any case, when the RBZ closes an institution down,
they lock the doors and put up a notice, neither of that has happened.
"Maybe the speculation has emerged from the presence of RBZ`auditors who
just completed their routine on-site inspections today," the Sagit official,
who declined to identify himself, said. Sagit inherited the finance house
left behind when Sunpol folded in 2004.

Experts say Sagit, like many financial institutions, appears to have
loaned large sums of money to speculators, rather than putting it into safer
investments. With interest rates now between 500 and 600 percent, the
speculators cannot repay the loans. As part of its reform drive designed in
part to crack down on currency speculation, the Central Bank has closed
several banks and asset management companies in the last two years, and some
of their executives now face accusations of massive fraud. Several other
banks have been forced to lower interest rates. Many Zimbabwean banks are in
trouble due to the plunging economy and the shortage of cash.

Economist John Robertson says the daily cash shortfallin the banking
system is about $US30 million. Analysts blame Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation,
super-high interest rates and high unemployment and poverty on a series of
government policies, including political repression and a disastrous land
reform program. The government blames foreign countries for interfering in
its internal affairs.
Source : Zim Daily


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CIO fails to pay Mirror journalists, again

New Zimbabwe

By Lebo Nkatazo
Last updated: 03/03/2006 11:39:16
ZIMBABWE'S state security agency has for the second month running failed to
pay the salaries of journalists and other staff at the Zimbabwe Mirror
Newspaper Group.

The Zimbabwe Mirror Newspaper Group -- publishers of The Sunday Mirror and
The Daily Mirror -- was taken over by the Central Intelligence Organisation
in a secretive take-over paid for with tax payers' money.

Another paper, the weekly Financial Gazette was also taken over by the CIO,
according to an invetigation by the Zimbabwe Independent newspaper.

A staffer at the Mirror said Thursday night that the salaries, which were
due by February 25, had not been paid out and there was no explanation by
management.

Last month, the CIO also struggled to pay January salaries until they were
bailed out by the Jewel Bank, cited by the Independent investigation as the
central plank in the take-over of the Mirror.

"Apart from the salaries, there is no sign of even pay slips which are
usually given by the 21st of each month," said one journalist speaking on
conditition he was not named.

He added: "We now risk being evicted from our houses for failing to pay
rent."

The journalist also said the CIO were hesitant to open up their purse
because of uncertainty over their continued ownership of the Daily Mirror
and Sunday Mirror, following a court application by suspended mirror
proprietor, Ibbotson Day Mandaza to have board members jailed for contempt
of court.

The contempt charges emanate from the board's decision to disobey a High
Court order reinstating Mandaza.

As a result of the uncertainty, the CIO are said to have put on hold the
purchase of computers and vehicles needed by the company. News about the CIO's
failure to meet their obligations come at a time when they have gone on a
firing and suspension spree against journalists and other professionals
regarded as Mandaza's sympathizers.


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MDC, Zanu PF square up in Chegutu poll

New Zimbabwe

By Staff Reporter
Last updated: 03/03/2006 11:39:27
CHEGUTU residents go to the polls Saturday in a two-horse-race mayoral poll
pitting the opposition MDC and Zanu PF.

The opposition is represented by incumbent mayor Francis Dhlakama, who is
aligned to the Morgan Tsvangirai-led faction.

The other opposition faction headed by Arthur Mutambara initially indicated
that it would field a candidate but failed to do so under unclear
circumstances.

Dhlakama, who was a lone figure in the Zanu PF council, will face the ruling
party's Martin Zimani.

During his four year tenure stretching back to December 2001, Dhlakama was
arrested on several occasions and suspended once in a move the MDC said was
part of a grand plan by the Mugabe regime to destabilize opposition led
councils.

Last year, the government reinstated 9 Zanu PF councilors who were found
guilty of embezzling council funds and corruption by a parliamentary
committee as well as by a government appointed audit team.

The Chegutu poll was supposed to be held last December, but was postponed
due to local government minister, Ignatius Chombo and the Zimbabwe Electoral
Commission's bungling.

Chombo also moved Harare mayoral elections that were supposed to be held
this year to next year.

Opposition officials say Dhlakama and the fired Harare mayor Elias Mudzuri
are arguably the most terrorised of all MDC mayors.

A day after he was declared the winner of the poll after beating Zanu PF's
Stanley Majiri, rowdy Zanu PF youths known as the Top Six forced him out of
office armed with sticks and assorted weapons.

They alleged that Majiri, who polled 2 452 against Dhlakama's 2 900, was the
legitimate winner.

Dhlakama was only sworn in as mayor after he obtained a High Court order
compelling the Town Clerk to administer the oath office to the new mayor in
terms of the Urban Councils Act.

Majiri later filed an application in the High Court challenging his defeat
but it was dismissed with costs.

Other elections will be held in Bulawayo's wards 3 and 12, Kadoma ward 7,
Binga ward 3; Bubi ward 20 and Zvishavane ward 2.


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'National Youth Service' for Zimbabwe sportsmen

New Zimbabwe

By Lobengula WaZimbabwe
Last updated: 03/03/2006 11:39:05
THE man in charge of Zimbabwean sports wants all athletes, including
footballers, to undergo a "national youth service" in order to "instill some
patriotism" in them before they represent the country.

Gibson Mashingaidze, a serving army general and chairman of the Sports
Commission made the shock submission in a report presented to the government
reviewing the Africa Cup of Nations finals in which Zimbabwe were eliminated
in the group stages.

In the report to the Ministry of Education, Sports and Culture, running for
10 pages, Mashingaidze said: "We recommend that a government policy be
adopted where all participants representing national teams be products of
the national youth service. It would instill patriotism to sportsmen."

If carried, Mashingaidze's recommendations would mean that athletes like
Zimbabwe national soccer team and Portsmouth forward Benjani Mwaruwari,
sprinter Young Talkmore Nyongani, tennis star Wayne Black or even cricketer
Tatenda Taibu have to undergo some "patriotism lessons" before representing
the country.

For the Zimbabwe soccer team which staged a sit in before their flight to
the Nations Cup finals in Egypt, demanding that they paid their outstanding
bonuses, that could be construed as "lack of patriotism".

Zimbabwean human rights groups have previously registered their disquiet at
the growing influence of army officials in the civil service and other
government departments, seen as an attempt to crush dissent against
President Robert Mugabe.

A BBC report last year into Mugabe's "youth service" training centers
revealed shocking scenes of abuse and rape, concluding that Zimbabwe's
youths were being trained into callous "political zombies".

In the same report, Mashingaidze, who serves as brigadier general in the
army blasted Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) for the haphazard
preparations in the run up to the Egypt finals.

Among other issues, Zifa were being blamed for non-payment of players'
bonuses, attachment of the association's property, lack of strategic
planning, delay in putting players' contracts and haphazard requests for
money from the Sports Commission.

The Zifa board has come under fierce criticism even by President Mugabe who
said on his birthday last month that the "right people" should take charge
of the association.

Aeneas Chigwedere, the Sports minister also attacked the association, in
particular, chief executive officer Jonathan Mashingaidze who he said was
incompetent.


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ZANU PF's death wish: stop us before we destroy Zimbabwe

zimbabwejournalists.com

By Bill Saidi

IN crime fiction - and in real life too - there is this successful
criminal, a serial killer, for instance, who becomes so conscience-stricken
they deliberately set out to be found out.
They start dropping hints or leaving clues at the scene of the crime.
The motive is to give the dopey detectives clear evidence of the identity of
the criminal.
I can't, for the life of me, remember what the psychiatrists and the
psychologists call it. But it is an irresistible urge by the criminal to be
found out, to atone for their sins by giving themselves up, virtually,
without actually walking into a police station and announcing: "I know you
are looking for me. Here I am."
A criminologist-turned-political-analyst might view Zanu PF's conduct
in the last five years in much the same light. The party is begging, it
seems, for someone to find it out, to unmask it, to put it out of its
conscience-stricken misery.
Whether Zanu PF is capable of being conscience-stricken is neither
here nor there. The point is that since 2000, the party has been crying out
to be punished, to be jailed, to be sent into a lunatic asylum, to be made
to stop what is has been doing to Zimbabwe.
After killing blacks and whites in the 2000 commercial farm invasions,
the only price it paid as the villain of the piece was the loss of 57 seats
in the subsequent parliamentary elections,
In the presidential election in 2002, it provided more evidence that
it ought to be found out: the election was judged to be biased in favour of
the party candidate. There were outright allegations of rigging.
So, in spite of leaving clues all over the place, the party did not
face the wrath of the law. There were other elections and other outrages but
still the party did not get its comeuppance.
After the 2005 parliamentary elections, it launched Operation "Kick'em
Out", which it called "Operation Restore Order". The campaign was aimed at
emptying the cities and towns of most of those hundreds of thousands of
voters who had, once again, rejected Zanu PF at the polls.
Still trying to provide evidence of its perfidy, the party last month
staged a birthday shindig in the ramshackle township of S\akubva in Mutare
for President Robert Mugabe's 82nd birthday.
This was at a time when perhaps half the population is reportedly
facing starvation. This is at a time when the economy is facing its
stiffest challenge since 1890.
At the birthday bash, the leaders, some of whom are clearly victims of
the over-eating malady called obesity, gorged themselves, as usual. There
was no apology from Mugabe himself, for even holding the bash while
ordinary people were scraping for food in dustbins outside luxury hotels.
Still not content with this abomination, the party's electronic media
monopoly showed television footage of party leaders boasting of their
successes as farmers. Among them were Cephas Msipa of the Midlands, and
Emmerson Mnangangwa, also of Midlands.
Vice-President Joseph Msika, speaking at a ceremony featuring a seed
company, opined why he could afford expensive seed, which "my grandmother"
could not zafford. He too boasted of being a successful farmer.
The land reform programme was launched, amid the carnage of the farm
invasions, to "correct the inequities of the colonial past". For many of us,
this translated into giving land to the genuinely landless - not to the
Msikas and the Msipas of Zanu PF.
Before they took over the farms grabbed from the commercial farmers,
these men were not poor. Their deprivation was not on the same scale as that
of the peasant farmer eking out a pittance from subsistence farming on a
piece of land in the most infertile region of the land.
These people had official government houses, official government
vehicles and huge government allowances for everything from school fees to
the wages of their domestic workers.
It's utterly obscene to suggest that they could be counted among the
people suffering the deprivation occasioned by the effects of the Land
Apportionment Act.
That footage of these people boasting of their farming expertise
brought home to many of us the truth that Zanu PF has tried, so far without
success, to provide evidence of its villainous role in the destruction of
this country.
Someone will answer its appeal for retribution. We are not certain who
it will be, or whether it will be a collective campaign by the people, or
the result of one man's or woman's crusade to finally lock up Zanu PF,
pending its trial on charges of depriving Zimbabwe of its potential for
greatness, economically and politically.
The confession by Mugabe, during his birthday interview, that most of
his "development" ministers had performed dismally, amounts to another
appeal for Zanu PF to be arrested. The taxpayer has squandered billions of
dollars in salaries and allowances for the bloated cabinet which should have
been trimmed years ago, when the International Monetary Fund (IMF) tried to
help the country with its balance of payments problems.
Zanu PF has silenced much of the independent media, which might have
succeeded in persuading he people to make a "citizens' arrest" of the party.
Today, there are only two newspapers, both of them weeklies, which dare to
"tell it like it is", The Zimbabwe Independent and The Standard.
Four others, among them the largest-selling daily, The Daily News,
were shut down because their calls for the arrest of Zanu PF on the basis of
the clues it has left in its path of crime, had become so loud it was only
a matter of time before the people pounced on the party.
The other newspapers, The Daily Mirror, The Sunday Mirror, and The
Financial Gazette, can no longer be regarded as champions of the cause of
the people, assuming by the people we mean all citizens who have lost faith
in Zanu PF.
In the case of the Mirror group, the plight of Ibbo Mandaza, is
particularly poignant. He was never pilloried by colleagues as "an
apologist" of Zanu PF, but his commitment to a media unfettered by any
affiliation, however tenuous, to Zanu PF, has always raised uncomfortable
questions.
Zanu PF has burnt its bridges beyond repair. The greatest pity is
that, at a time when the voters would gladly send the party packing, their
dilemma is what to put in its place.
The split in the MDC is probably not as tragic as it appeared to be at
the beginjiong. If the two factions go into an election and perform as
creditably as the MDC did in 2000, there is still a chance they could grant
Zanu PF its appeal for punishment, finally.
Parties have split in the past. Joshua Nkomo's Zapu developed a
splinter group, led by Ndabaningi Sithole. It wasn't the size of a pimple,
but became a real kingsize boil all over the Zapu body politic, resulting in
a genuine and formidable rival for power.
That party, Zanu, split again, with a faction dumping Sithole and
eventually choosing Mugabe as its leader. For a brief period, even that Zanu
developed a pimple too - Edgar Tekere's Zum which, unfortunately,
disappeared completely after a dose of penicillin.
In Britain, Roy Jenkins, Shirley Williams and David Owen split from
the Labour Party to form the Liberal-Democratic Party. It still exists
today, though the chances of it ever achieving power are remote, at best.
The reasons for the MDC split are not entirely clear-cut. There is
talk of values and principles being violated or compromised. There is also
talk of a democratic process being sacrificed on the altar of consensus
outside the party structures.
No wonder the differences have been characterized as
'irreconcilable".
What this translates into is that they don't amount to a can of
beans. No wonder David Coltart, sitting on the fence after having initially
backed the pro-Senate faction (nicknamed by its critics as the pro-Zanu PF
faction) is struggling to find a formula for a modus vivendi between the
two.
Zanu PF is still begging to be punished. Its disclosures of massive
corruption within its ranks must strengthen the case for it to be put out of
its misery.


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Zim power bill rockets 12 000%

News24

02/03/2006 16:09 - (SA)

Johannesburg - Zimbabwe's monthly electricity import bill has shot up by
about 12 000%, 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 Z$5bn per month to Z$600bn,
against total income of Z$340bn per month," Nyambuya said.

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

Imported electricity represents about 32% 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% 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.

K ariba 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.


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Southern governor snubs ministerial tour of disputed houses in protest



March 3, 2006, 7 hours, 8 minutes and 46 seconds ago.

By Oscar Nkala www.andnetwork.com

Matabeleland South governor Angeline Masuku yesterday snubbed a
ministerial tour of the sub-standard match-box houses built under the
Zimbabwe's emergency housing programme as government ignored her call for a
probe into the widely reported corruption that led to the intended poor
beneficiaries losing out to top civil servants, members of the security
forces and the politically linked.

Since the allocation last month, a chorus of condemnation went up in
the province amid revelations that top civil servants, ministers and the
politically linked had used their influence to elbow out the real victims of
Operation Restore Order, the clampdown that led to the urgent need for new
houses.

It turned out that the beneficiaries were people who were never
affected by the housing destruction programme and had never been on the
waiting lists in addition to hailing from other provinces where they could
have rightly benefitted if they met the criteria.

In remarks published immediately after the allocation, governor Masuku
said the alleged role of civil servants in the corrupt allocation had to be
investigated as allowing it to go unchecked would dent the image of
government in the province.

She also expressed concern that the real poor beneficiaries of the
programme and those on the local authority's waiting lists had been
displaced by people from outside the province and supported the local
authority's call for a nullification of the whole process.

However, her concerns were ignored by Emmerson Mnangagwa, the head of
the provincial inter-ministerial committee overseeing the housing programme.
On arrival in Gwanda, 126 km south of the second city of Bulawayo, Mnangagwa
is reported to have ruled out nullifying the allocation and said no
investigation will be done to prove if there was ever corruption in the
acquisition and allocation processes.

According to sources who were with the team in Gwanda yesterday,
differences between Masuku and Mnangagwa came to a head during a closed door
briefing which the minister held just before the tour of stands.

"There were serious disagreements as Governor Masuku demanded to know
why government was endorsing a process whose unfairness had raised such an
outcry from locals. She also pointed out that such actions risked isolating
the people from government programme and would certainly provide a breeding
ground for the growing resentment of the ZANU PF government by locals. But
Mnangagwa refused to listen and used his power as head of the
inter-ministerial committee to say all was well.

"He infuriated the governor by saying government would not reverse or
nullify the allocation, adding it would not even probe the allegations of
corruption by civil servants. So when the briefing ended, the governor
refused to accompany the team as protocol demands. Mnangagwa proceeded to
make the tour on his own," said the source.

Contacted for comment, governor Masuku refused to discuss the issue.
However, she was not alone in condemning the corrupt and exclusive nature of
the allocation of the houses.

Home Affairs minister Kembo Mohadi also called for a nullification of
the same process in Beitbridge when it turned out that locals had been
excluded en-masse while people from outside the district got the cheap
structures. The Gwanda Municipality also called for a nullification of the
process citing the same reasons.

A. N. D Africa


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British court throws out Zimbabwe government case against Mawere



By Violet Gonda
02 March 2006

"Grotesque extravagance" were the words used by a UK Judge in throwing
out an application by the Zimbabwe government, through a nominee company, to
expropriate businessman Mutumwa Mawere's company assets.

The case which was heard in London on Thursday was between a ZANU PF
front company, AMG Global Nominees Private Limited, and African Resources
Limited (ARL). The Zimbabwe government needed the consent of the English
courts to complete the takeover of his company.

Mawere, whose companies were seized by a presidential decree, said the
judge was able to see that AMG was a government front trying to acquire his
assets and said it was both illegal and unjust. He said this ruling means
the takeover of his assets cannot be completed by the government.

Critics have said the Reconstruction Order which was passed into an
act by parliament allows the government to take over any private company on
spurious grounds of state indebtedness and insolvency.

Mawere said, "If the English court can recognise an injustice and they
were the former colonial power what does that mean for you, after 26 years
of independence? How far have we travelled. I thought independence was to
free us from this kind of oppression but 26 years later we are being exposed
to this kind of tyranny with impunity."

The South African based businessman has in the past criticised the
fact that the Zimbabwean government, which always attacks the British, is
being defended and represented by British lawyers in the UK courts.

It's reported the cash strapped government spent an estimated
US$2million to pay top class UK lawyers. Mawere also said, just on this
particular trip, the government spent a whopping 150 000 on first class
airfares and 5 star accommodation for it's Zimbabwean representatives. These
included government appointed administrator Afaras Gwaradzimba and
commercial lawyer and government purse man Edwin Manikai. Reserve Bank
Governor Gideon Gono sent 4 representatives.

Mawere was accused of externalising foreign currency and was specified
under the Prevention of Corruption Act, in 2004. His mines, together with
companies in finance, insurance and agriculture were seized by presidential
decree. He lost his flagship business, Shabanie Mashaba Mines (SMM
Holdings), which he had bought for US$60m from British company Turner &
Newell in 1996, to the state.

Following the expropriation of SMM Holdings by the government , an
administrator Afaras Gwaradzimba, was appointed to replace the company's
board of directors and assume control of the company. Gwaradzimba is
reported to have accused Mutumwa Mawere of asset-stripping the group and
starving SMM of foreign currency, leading to its collapse last year.

Mawere was arrested in SA in 2004, but freed after Zimbabwe failed in
its bid to get him extradited.

Just last week, Mawere was in the USA as part of his campaign to
expose how his business empire has been systematically destroyed and sold
off by the Zimbabwean government. He told representatives from the
International Monetary Fund that the government raided his companies to pay
off the IMF loan. Zimbabwe recently surprised analysts by paying off the
outstanding IMF debt.

MDC official Sekai Holland has been touring the Diaspora meeting
Zimbabweans in South Africa, New Zealand, USA and Britain and was at
Thursday's court hearing. She said: "It is victory for all the people who
are having their properties and their rights violated by the Mugabe regime
everyday. The British system hit him (Mugabe) by the head and said, you don't
do that over here!"

SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

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