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Harare 'polishing up' controversial NGO Bill

Zim Online

Tue 7 March 2006

      HARARE - Zimbabwe Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa on Monday told
ZimOnline that the government was just "polishing up" its Non-governmental
Organisations (NGO) Bill before the controversial law that will impose
severe restrictions on civic bodies is brought back to Parliament for

      Chinamasa, who said the Bill would become law this year but did not
give specific dates, said Harare was convinced it needed the controversial
law to deal with some NGOs that he claimed were working with foreign powers
to topple the government.

      He said: "There are still some organisations purporting to be NGOs
when their interests are to topple the government with foreign backing.
These are the NGOs which the Bill will be aiming to deal with. Otherwise
those NGOs involved in humanitarian aid will not be affected."

      President Robert Mugabe and his ruling ZANU PF party accuse some NGOs
they have not named of using charity work as a pretext to support the main
opposition Movement for Democratic Change party and to incite Zimbabweans to
rise against the government.

      But Mugabe last May refused to sign the NGO Bill which Parliament had
passed in December 2004 after marathon debate and fierce opposition from the

      Mugabe, whose signature is necessary for Bills passed by Parliament to
become effective law, did not say why he refused to assent to the draft law,
with speculation strong that he wanted the law tightened further.

      Chinamasa, who is also ZANU PF legal affairs secretary, said after the
NGO Bill was rejected by Mugabe it was put on the backburner as the ruling
party focused on pushing through Constitutional Amendment Number 17, which
recreated the House of Senate and also virtually nationalised all farmland.

      The ruling party and the government were now finalising changes to the
NGO Bill, Chinamasa said. He would not say what these changes were.

      In its original form the NGO Bill among other things proposed to ban
all civic bodies from carrying out voter education while those focusing on
governance or human rights-related work were to be prohibited from receiving
foreign funding.

      The Bill also provided for the appointment by the government of an NGO
council that would register NGOs and monitor their activities. The council
would have powers to deregister and ban NGOs it deemed were not toeing the

      NGO experts say if the law is eventually enacted, it could force at
least 60 percent of civic and aid groups to wind up operations, a
development that would affect the monitoring of human rights violations in
the country as well as humanitarian work such as HIV/AIDS prevention. -

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Zimbabwe faces maize deficit of 1.3 million tonnes

Zim Online

Tue 7 March 2006

      HARARE - Hard cash-strapped Zimbabwe is expected to face a maize
deficit of more than 1.3 million tonnes this year and will have to import
more than 70 percent of its annual intake of the staple crop during the
2005/06 marketing season.

      Preliminary assessments by the SADC Food Security Early Warning System
(FSEWS) show that, despite the above average rainfall this season, Zimbabwe
is likely to harvest about 600 000 tonnes of its main staple crop during the
2005/06 season against an annual intake of 1.8 million tonnes.

      This means the country will have the highest overall cereal deficit in
southern Africa of about 1.62 million tonnes.

      "A cereal deficit of 1.62 million tonnes, made up of 1.38 million
tonnes of maize, 197 000 tonnes of wheat, 38 000 tonnes of sorghum/millet
and 6 000 tonnes of rice, was assessed at the beginning of the marketing
season," said SADC FSEWS in a report released at the end of February but
made available to ZimOnline on Monday.

      The SADC body blamed the poor harvest prospects on high input costs,
especially for fertilizers, as well as the outbreak of crop eating armyworm
and excessive rains in some parts of the country.

      Zimbabwe has faced a critical shortage of fertilizer and crop seeds
during the past few seasons, a situation largely blamed on low inflows of
foreign currency to import raw materials.

      Last year the country's state-run Grain Marketing Board - the only
official procurement agent of grain crops - is reported to have taken
delivery of just 181 000 tonnes of maize from the country's farmers.

      SADC FSEWS reported that Zimbabwe had so far imported about 771 000
tonnes of maize from South Africa to partially cover the 2005/06 deficit.

       "Although no food aid appeal was made by the government, the country
has received some donor assistance aimed at targeted programmes such as
social welfare cases, HIV and AIDS related home-based care, child
supplementary feeding programmes, including school feeding and clinical
therapeutic feeding," said SADC FSEWS.

      The reports of the anticipated crop shortfalls come against the
backdrop of reports by Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe that the country spent about
US$135 million in the past year to import grain to feed starving people. -

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New mining law could be final straw for foreign investors

Zim Online

Tue 7 March 2006

      HARARE - Zimbabwe's proposal to force mining firms to cede 51 percent
of their shares could be the final blow to the southern Africa country's
efforts to woo foreign investors and seriously undermines expansion in a
sector seen critical to lifting the ravaged nation out of a six-year
recession, analysts said.

      Zimbabwe's ministry of mines has drafted proposed amendments to
existing laws which would give President Robert Mugabe's government and
locals slightly above half of the shareholding in some instances, in
foreign-owned mining companies.

      Reminiscent of the 2000 controversial farm seizures, which plunged
commercial agriculture by more than 60 percent, the proposed law allows
Mugabe's government to take 51 percent shareholding in all firms mining
energy minerals, platinum and diamonds.

      The state will immediately take 25 percent shareholding in such mining
firms on a "non-contributory basis" after the promulgation of the law. This
means the government will seize a quarter of the foreign shareholding in
these mines without paying a penny.

      Foreign-owned firms mining gold, emeralds and other minerals will be
required to cede 51 percent shareholding to the government and black-owned
companies over a period ranging from two to seven years, according to the
draft law.

      The mining sector, a key foreign currency earner, is one of the few
remaining sectors with a high level of foreign investor participation but
that could soon come to an end as Mugabe's ZANU PF party is set to use its
majority in both the Senate and the Lower House of Parliament to ram through
the amendments.

      Mining generates nearly half of the country's foreign exchange inflows
and in 2005 gold alone racked in a third of Zimbabwe's US$1.7 billion export

      "Clearly we are now moving in a direction where the government uses
Parliament to draft laws which will be used to expropriate private
businesses and property under the banner of indigenisation," Harare based
economist James Jowa said.

      He added: "What we see in this proposed law is a further erosion of
confidence by foreign investors, most of who have given up on this country."

      In 2004, the government withdrew a controversial draft law that would
have compelled mining companies to sell up to 49 percent of their shares to
black Zimbabweans following an outcry from the industry, and promised to
consult with the sector on a new draft.

      But the latest draft seems to have Mugabe's support after the veteran
leader told ruling party supporters in September 2004 that foreign-owned
mines had to relinquish half their equity to local shareholders. Then
industry officials called Mugabe's comments a bluff.

      The mining industry went on to propose that local investors access 25
percent shareholding in foreign-owned mines over a period of 10 years.

      But the latest draft will no doubt further undermine confidence in a
country declared a pariah by some Western powers, as it further erodes the
sanctity of property rights after the seizure of white commercial farms
ostensibly to redistribute among blacks.

      Most of the best white farms ended up in the hands of Mugabe's top
officials, their relatives and friends some of whom own up to six farms each
against the government's publicly stated one-man-one-farm policy.

      Analysts said due to the intensive capital requirements of the mining
sector, it is a worldwide trend that large corporations with vast financial
resources take majority holdings in mining ventures.

      Zimbabwe is about to buck that trend. Despite chronic shortages of
foreign currency that have blighted the country's economy, the government is
pressing to venture into mining, a development that analysts say will slow
growth in the sector.

      They noted that a 15 percent stake in Zimbabwe Platinum Mines
(Zimplats) offered to black investors has had no takers for more than six
years as the local investors have failed to come up with the US$30 million
asking price for the stake.

      With Zimbabwe's mining industry business estimated to be worth more
than US$20 billion, analysts say it is inconceivable how the government or
black-owned businesses would be able to raise the huge amounts of money to
buy 50 percent of  the mining businesses.

      A Chamber of Mines official told ZimOnline that the mining industry
was still studying the document, adding the chamber - the official voice of
the mining industry - believes there was still room for negotiations with
the government over the proposed new law.

      "We believe there is a lot of room for discussion with the authorities
on the proposed amendment to the mining laws although on the face of it one
can say it does not augur well for the country's efforts to attract
investors," the official said, declining to be named.

      South Africa's Impala Platinum, the world's second largest platinum
producer operates mines in Zimbabwe, including Zimplats, and has targeted
the country as a major expansion area. Anglo American Platinum Corporation
and mining giant Rio Tinto also have interests in the country.

      Implats said it is in talks with the Zimbabwe government about the
proposed law and an existing mining agreement.

      "This agreement was signed by Zimplats and government prior to
commencement of operations and has been fully honoured by both parties since
date of signing," the South African firm said in a statement.

      Zimbabwe, with the world's second-richest platinum deposits after
South Africa, is Implats' main area of future growth, containing over half
of the company's mineral reserves and resources.

      The Chamber of Mines official said while the proposed law would surely
turn away new investors to the country, the industry still hoped the
government would relent on its radical stance.

      "Surely at the end of the day the government realises its capacity and
that of local investors to such an extent that we believe that the levels of
local shareholding will be reduced to an extent agreeable to all parties,"
the official said. - ZimOnline

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Cricket coach wants experienced Zimbabwean players back in the fold

Zim Online

Tue 7 March 2006

      HARARE - Zimbabwe cricket coach Kevin Curran has indicated he would
want to see some of the country's  experienced players returning to the
national fold after watching his youthful charges draw with Kenya in their
one-day international series at the weekend.

      The five-match series was declared drawn at two-all after the last
game scheduled for Saturday was postponed without a ball being bowled
because of persistent rain in Harare.

      Zimbabwe won the first game of series before Kenya hit back with two
consecutive wins only for the home side to draw level on Friday.

      Curran, who took over as national coach in August last year, said he
was pleased with the performance of his youthful side - which included some
who had not played any one-day international cricket before Kenya's tour.

      "I was quite pleased with the way the team performed, considering that
most of the boys still lack experience," Curran said.

      However, the former Zimbabwe international said in future he would
want some senior players in the team as well.

      "Honestly, it would be better if we could have a number of experienced
players fused with the young boys," Curran said. "There are a number of
top-class Zimbabwean players in England and other places and we would want

      "But it will be up to them whether they want to play for their country
or not. As we have always said, our door remains open for anyone."

      Curran believes the youthful team representing Zimbabwe has potential
to develop into a competitive side.

      "I think they did well against Kenya, who have a player whose total
caps might be more than of the whole Zimbabwe team," he said. "But I believe
they have the potential to succeed as long as they are kept intact."

      Zimbabwe on Friday recovered from their shock midweek loss when they
thumped Kenya by 109 at Harare Sports Club to level their five-match one-day
international series two-all.

      The two sides would have met in the potentially explosive final match
at the same venue on Saturday.

      Opener Piet Rinke set Zimbabwe to a competitive total of 239 for 9
with an impressive knock of 72 off 70 balls after the home side had won the
toss and elected to bat.

      New captain Terry Duffin, only playing in his fourth one-day
international ever, made a crucial 39 that seemed to stabilise Zimbabwe's
batting which was pathetic in their loss on Wednesday.

      Wicketkeeper Brendan Taylor hit 40, Elton Chigumbura 36 and Charles
Coventry was the only other batsmen with a double figure as he chipped in
with 11 runs.

      However, the day belonged to 17-year-old Ryan Higgins who put up a
man-of-the-match performance with ball as he claimed four wickets for 21
runs in his nine overs to give Zimbabwe the much-needed win.

      Prosper Utseya and Keith Dabengwa were also impressive as they shared
two wickets apiece as brilliant bowling authored Kenya's downfall. With
Kennedy Otieno the only one to offer some resistance with his 69, the East
Africans could only manage 122, a massive 109 short of the target Zimbabwe
had set them.

      Zimbabwe displayed confidence that they lacked in Wednesday's defeat,
in which they had a very good chance to win but were their own worst enemies
with a poor batting show.

      "We had to put everything that happened on Wednesday behind us to pull
through," Duffin told reporters after the match. "We are happy to level the
series." - ZimOnline

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Mugabe party wins seats from fractured opposition


      Mon Mar 6, 2006 9:58 AM GMT

HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe's ruling party won back
a handful of urban seats from the fractured main opposition in polls at the
weekend, state media reported on Monday.

Analysts say a damaging split within the Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) leaves the party weaker to challenge the ruling ZANU-PF's 26 year grip
on power, and results from council elections showed the opposition losing
ground in its traditional urban strongholds.

State radio said the MDC lost its mayoral seat in a scheduled election in
Chegutu, 90 km outside Harare, while ZANU-PF reclaimed two council seats in
by-elections in the southwestern city of Bulawayo, where the opposition has
enjoyed a clean sweep of all polls since 2000.

Formed in 1999, but rent in two by a row over participation in last year's
Senate elections, the MDC formally separated over a week ago when a rebel
faction elected a new leader at a congress to challenge party chief Morgan

Tsvangirai's faction has rejected the dissidents' move and said the "real"
MDC will hold a congress later this month likely to re-elect the former
trade unionist as its leader.

The MDC has drawn most of its support from urban Zimbabweans who have borne
the brunt of a deepening economic crisis.

Mugabe, who turned 82 last month, denies responsibility for persistent
shortages of food, fuel and foreign currency, unemployment of over 70
percent, and the world's highest inflation rate.

He says Tsvangirai and the MDC are puppets of former colonial ruler Britain
which he charges has led a campaign to sabotage Zimbabwe's economy as
payback for his programme of forcibly redistributing white-owned farms among

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Harare locals living on a 'cholera time-bomb'


Cause of disease: A man crosses a street flooded by sewage in the township of Dzivaresekwa in Harare where 27 people have died of a cholera outbreak. Photos: AFP

    March 06 2006 at 12:44PM

Dzivarasekwa - Residents in Harare say they live on a "cholera time-bomb" as the Zimbabwean city struggles to clean up garbage and maintain sewers in an outbreak that has already cost 27 lives.

An unusually wet rainy season compounds the problem, especially in slum areas like Dzivarasekwa, about 10km north of the city, and the sprawling semi-urban area of Epworth, to the east.

In Dzivarasekwa township, home to an estimated 200 000 people according to a ratepayers' association, raw sewage flows out of open sewers.

Residents who every day face stinking brooks have sardonically named the township "Victoria Falls" after the waterfall, the country's main tourist attraction, first discovered by explorer David Livingstone.

Pius Makowa, who lost his shelter in Zimbabwe's infamous Operation Murambatsvina (Drive out Filth), sleeps on the streets every night about 10m from the putrid stream.

"This place is a cholera time-bomb," he said, wrinkling his nose in disgust.

"We are afraid we'll get cholera but there is nowhere else to go. Living here makes breathing difficult," added Makowa.

Funsai Takawira, who lives with his two children in the semi-urban area of Epworth to the east, said many residents had problems with upset stomachs.

"We are not able to distinguish between diarrhoea and cholera. We just know that it can spread very fast," the 38-year-old said at the Epworth Polyclinic where four white tents bearing the World Health Organisation logo were erected inside a restricted and fenced-off area.

A group of about 90 residents were sitting outside the red-brick clinic where a health worker was giving a lecture on the deadly water-borne disease.

"How many of you know about cholera," he asked in the local language Shona, with only person indicating that he knew about the disease.

But despite concerns, the government said the cholera outbreak was under control.

"We didn't have any new cases," said Deputy Health Minister Edwin Muguti.

"The outbreak is under control and we will continue to react quickly should there be more cases," Muguti said.

But some doctors disagreed.

"We are far from seeing the end of the outbreak," said Douglas Gwatihdzo, chairperson of the Zimbabwean Association for Doctors for Human Rights.

"The city has numerous heaps of garbage which gets washed into the water when it rains," he said.

If there were to be a serious outbreak, Gwatihdzo said he did not think hospitals would have the ability to cope.

Harare's cholera scare tells the story of broader problems within the capital, hard hit by fuel shortages, a lack of foreign currency and outdated equipment.

Despite a government clean-up campaign, overcrowding remains a problem.

The city council has been battling to collect heaps of garbage and provide clean drinking water, forcing some residents to dig wells and get water from open streams, exposing them to water-borne diseases.

The city currently has 14 refuse collection trucks as opposed to the 90 required, the UN news agency IRIN reported.

Murambatsvina, the country's urban clean-up operation which has left some 700 000 homeless according to the UN, has exacerbated the situation, seeing many residents live in even more cramped conditions than before. - AFP

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Zimbabwe to move motion against EU sanctions

People's Daily

      The Zimbabwean government will soon move a motion to have the
sanctions imposed by the European Union (EU) lifted, reported the
English-language Herald Monday.

      The daily quoted Zimbabwean senior official Walter Mzembi as saying
that that Harare would raise its reservations about the continued sanctions
and travel bans imposed on senior government officials at the forthcoming
11th session of the African, Caribbean and Pacific/EU parliamentary assembly
to be held in Vienna, Austria, in June.

      Mzembi said Zimbabwe would seize the opportunity of the joint
parliamentary session to ask EU members of parliament to justify their
respective countries' continued upholding of sanctions and travel bans on
Zimbabwean senior government officials.

      "The creation of the working group of the conflict resolution
management committee will be an opportunity for us to ask the EU to justify
the sanctions. We have an internal but thriving democracy and the biggest
opposition party in Africa, particularly in Parliament," Mzembi said.

      "As a delegation, we should begin to ask substantive questions on the
justification for the continued imposition of sanctions because there is no
conflict in Zimbabwe. We are nowhere near anything that relates to conflict.
We still have diplomatic representations in EU countries and vice versa and
there is no need for the sanctions."

      He said there was a general feeling among EU legislators at a
parliamentary session held in Bamako, Mali that Zimbabwe, or any other
country for that matter, should be left to solve its internal problems,
hence the need to move a motion for the lifting of the sanctions.

      It was agreed at the Bamako session that any country could not be
discussed without being represented.

      Source: Xinhua

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Crime on the increase in Zimbabwe

      March 6, 2006

      By Andnetwork .com

      Armed robberies and car-jackings are on the up in Zimbabwe and the
attacks are centred on cities like Harare and Bulawayo, the state radio

      "Yes, as police we can acknowledge that cases of car-jacking and armed
robbery are a bit worrying, especially in urban centres," said police
spokesman Oliver Mandipaka.

      "There's a new way where criminals gang up armed with firearms," he
added. He urged drivers to report to police if they felt they were being
followed and said citizens should stop giving strangers lifts in their cars.

      Rising crime figures are worrying many Zimbabweans, already struggling
to contend with worsening living conditions and shortages of power, fuel,
treated water and other basic

      Houses in Harare's better-off suburbs are mostly encircled with high
walls and razor wire, while private security businesses rent out guards.

      The radio did not give statistics, but a front-page report in the
state-run Herald newspaper last weekend gave a list of high-profile attacks
including armed raids on supermarkets in
      Harare's Groombridge and Mufakose suburbs last Wednesday and the
carjacking of a prominent banker.

      The police spokesman said he believed criminals were getting their
firearms from neighbouring countries.

      Zimbabwe's southern neighbour South Africa has long been battling
violent crime.

      Source : Sapa-dpa /fws/ks

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Where's the outcry about Zim censorship?

      There's far too little attention paid to the ongoing crackdown on the
media in Zimbabwe, writes Akwe Amosu of the Open Society Institute.

      Akwe Amosu writes in City Press:

      CENSORSHIP is a burning issue in South Africa - to judge by the
passionate exchanges over the Danish cartoons in the media.

      So why doesn't the latest attempt to silence voices across the border
in Zimbabwe provoke any comment?

      This week, a handful of Zimbabwe's most courageous civil society
leaders will find themselves in court, charged with breaching the country's
notorious Broadcasting Services Act of 2001.

      Their crime? Being on the board of Voice of the People (VOP), one of
the last surviving attempts to broadcast independent news to Zimbabweans.

      David Masunda, Isabella Matambanadzo, Millicent Phiri, Lawrence
Chibwe, Nhlanhla Ngwenya and Arnold Tsunga could face two years in prison if
found guilty.

      VOP originated to provide an alternative voice on current affairs
during the run-up to the 2000 parliamentary elections. But the
communications trust quickly found it was walking a tightrope.

      The government barred foreign correspondents and any Zimbabwean
wishing to practise journalism on their home turf had to apply for a
licence, while the Broadcasting Services Act made it a crime for a domestic
station to broadcast - or merely own broadcasting equipment - without

      Independent applicants have repeatedly been refused such permission,
giving the state-operated Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation sole reign over
the airwaves.

      But VOP reasoned that if independent voices could not broadcast news
internally, and external broadcasters could not get in to see what was
happening, someone in Zimbabwe would have to gather the news and give it to
an external broadcaster to transmit. There was no law against that - or so
they thought.

      Radio Netherlands was willing to carry their stories. So VOP recorded
and assembled programme material inside the country and sent it out to their
Dutch partner who relayed it via their transmitters in Madagascar.

      But last December, the authorities raided the VOP offices, seized
papers and equipment and arrested VOP staff, holding them hostage until
director John Masuku turned himself in. He was charged with broadcasting
without a licence.

      Then last month, VOP's six trustees were targeted. Staff working for
Arnold Tsunga, a trustee and also the director of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human
Rights, were taken and held hostage until their boss came forward to be

      The government has a long and dishonourable history of attacking the
media. Four newspapers have been closed down in recent years and several
reporters have either been silenced or hounded out of the country.

      Violence has repeatedly been used against journalists who dare to
report in ways unfavourable to the government.

      Harare often claims its critics are the puppets of colonialists and
racists. But that is not an accusation that can be levelled at the African
Commission on Human and People's Rights, an African Union institution.

      In December, the commission issued a scathing condemnation of human
rights violations during Robert Mugabe's rule, citing "a growing culture of
impunity". It called on the government to "respect the fundamental rights
and freedoms of expression, association and assembly, by repealing or
amending repressive legislation".

      And it singled out the Broadcasting Services Act, the very legislation
under which VOP's trustees and staff are being charged.

      To criminalise citizens seeking to inform each other confirms that a
profound fear of exposure lies at the heart of that government. We must not
allow the Mugabe regime to cover its tracks with censorship.

      * Akwe Amosu is a senior policy analyst for Africa at the Open Society
Institute in Washington.  This comment first appeared in City Press on March
5 2006

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Letter from America

      with Professor Stanford Mukasa
      6 March 2006

      Letter from America today presents the North American Forum on
Zimbabwe. Panelists Dr. Solomon Nkiwane, Ralph Black and Stanford Mukasa
discuss the implications of the student unrest at the University of Zimbabwe
and elsewhere. Is this the start of a long-drawn out national campaign
against Mugabe or are the students serving their parochial interests? What
is the state of student activism in Zimbabwe today? Dr. Nkiwane, a former UZ
lecturer, gives an overview of student protest at the UZ in the 1980s and
early 90s.

      Historically student protest had spearheaded a national resistance
against oppression. Is this a likely scenario in Zimbabwe? Will the students
revolution draw in the long -awaited mass action, assuming the civic
leadership can put their act together and mobilize the masses?

      The panel also discusses the role of Arthur Mutambara, the recently
elected president of the breakaway faction of the MDC. What prospects are
there that his fiery rhetoric so far, will be matched by concrete actions on
the ground?

      The panel also discusses the role of the United States in the
aftermath of an admission by a top US official that Africa has not played
any effective role in pressuring Mugabe. What are the US options in
toughening the sanctions regime against Mugabe and ZANUPF?

      SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

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Security situation 'tense' in Zimbabwe as food shortages worsen

      By Tichaona Sibanda
      06 March 2006

      The country's security forces are believed to have been put on high
alert as government fears an uprising over food shortages, which an MDC
legislator described on Monday as 'very serious'.

      Giles Mutsekwa, MP for Mutare North in Manicaland province, said the
situation in the country is 'very tense' following unprecedented shortages
of the staple food.

      'We have people in the country who have now gone for more than a week
without eating sadza because there is no mealie-meal anywhere in the
country,' he said.

      The MDC spokesman for defence said unlike in Zimbabwe, any modern
description of security of any nation is when a government provides food and
stability to its citizens.

      'Its exactly the opposite in Zimbabwe. There is no food, no jobs and
no money and yes this warrants an uprising by any normal citizen. The people
are thouroghly fed up now,' said Mutsekwa.

      News agency reports from Zimbabwe said Home Affairs minister Kembo
Mohadi was reportedly co-ordinating the security alert with the army and

      Mutsekwa confirmed this when he said they are aware government was
mobilising the entire army in readiness for a popular revolt because they
have anticipated this (uprising) in the last few months.

      'To show that they are dealing with a potentially explosive situation
they have even recalled all soldiers who were on vacation and cancelled all
leave for members of the defence forces.'

      SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

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Beitbridge residents threaten to beat housing officer

      March 6, 2006, 10 hours, 36 minutes and 32 seconds ago.

      By Elias Wilson

      BEITBRIDGE (AND) Residents over the weekend threatened to beat up the
chairman of the Beitbridge District Inter-Ministerial Committee on housing,
Sergeant Major Thinandaba Singo, accusing him of being involved in
fraudulent allocation of houses built under Operation Garikai/ Hlalani

      According to local media reports the angry mob surrounded his car and
jeered him at the weekend when he had come to address them.
       "We do not want to be addressed by corrupt people. You better go back
and put your house in order before addressing us," the crowd was quoted as

      The residents are said to have calmed only after the arrival of the
Minister of Home Affairs and Member of Parliament for Beitbridge, Cde Kembo
Mohadi who reiterated that the Government would look at the irregularities
that were unearthed in the allocation of the houses. "We got reports that
the allocation of houses built under Operation Garikai/Hlalani Kuhle was
marred by irregularities in which some people, especially senior civil
servants benefited from the scheme. "So in light of that we took the issue
to Cabinet and the President also expressed concern and, therefore, we have
resolved to rectify that problem," Cde Mohadi said to wild cheers from the

      "However, it has been agreed that in future the allocation of houses
under this programme (Operation Garikai/Hlalani Kuhle) be done in
consultation with other stakeholders which include the councils, the local
political leadership and the selected committees throughout the province,"
Cde Mohadi said. Massive irregularities in the allocation of houses in
Matabeleland have been unearthed in Gwanda, Bulawayo and Beitbridge. In
Gwanda, the provincial Governor has already indicated that the whole process
would be nullified. In Bulawayo some residents who have benefited are not on
the council's waiting list.

      Zimbabwe (AND)

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Implats hopes Zimbabwe will not take 51 pct of unit


      Mon Mar 6, 2006 12:53 PM GMT

By Eric Onstad

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - The world's second biggest platinum producer
Implats hopes Zimbabwe will respect a current mining deal and not demand a
majority stake in its local unit, a top official said on Monday.

A proposed law would give the government a 51-percent stake in mining firms,
including 25 percent on a "non-contributory basis", according to a statement
on Friday seen by Reuters.

Zimplats Ltd, majority owned by South Africa's Implats, has a special mining
lease that hopefully would override any amended law, Implats Chief Financial
Officer David Brown told Reuters.

"We have the mining agreement as far as Zimplats is concerned and obviously
Zimplats would be in discussion with government to ensure it is honoured,"
Brown said.

"Initial verbal discussions have taken place with various departments of
government and there will be written responses this week."

Zimbabwe is the main area of future growth for Impala Platinum Holdings Ltd
(Implats), which ranks behind top platinum producer Anglo Platinum Ltd.
Zimbabwe, with the world's second-richest platinum deposits after South
Africa, contains over half of Implats' mineral reserves and resources.

A South African analyst said the proposal was not likely to be implemented,
although certain players in Zimbabwe were trying to force it into law.

"I don't think it will see the light of day," said the analyst who declined
to be named.

"I think it's too radical as it is and it will probably also bring in the
South African government -- seizing, taking assets for nothing effectively."


The Zimbabwe government has been working for over a year on a law aimed at
boosting local black involvement in the country's mining industry.

An early draft proposed a requirement that local Zimbabwean investors would
have to own half of mining operations there, but this was scaled back in a
subsequent draft to 30 percent.

Zimplats' special mining lease calls for a 15 percent stake to be sold to
local black investors, but the firm has been struggling to find a partner
that can raise the necessary funds, Brown said.

The analyst said frustration at finding financing for local partners sparked
the current proposal.

"It's a way of going ahead with indiginisation and doing it at the
government level because the locals don't have the money and haven't got any
chance of buying these assets," the analyst said.

Brown said Implats invested in Zimbabwe based on the special mining lease
agreed with the government.

"It was, shall we say, the government's sales document for getting investors
involved in Zimbabwe right back in early 2000, and to that extent we
invested based on those principles that were embodied in this document."

When asked whether Implats would withdraw from the country if the government
sought to take a 51 percent stake in Zimplats, Brown said it was too early
to consider that.

"In terms of (talking about) pulling out of the country, I think it is
premature, certainly we believe there is some debate and discussion still to
take place."

Implats said last month its board would review in May a proposed expansion
project at Zimplats that would boost annual platinum output by about
two-thirds to 145,000 ounces.

Implats' Zimbabwean output has the potential to grow to 1 million ounces in
the long term, the firm has said.

Implats shares tumbled 6.2 percent to 1,016 rand by 1000 GMT mainly due to
the stock going ex-dividend, traders said.

Last month Implats announced it would return around $700 million to
shareholders by declaring a 55 rand special dividend plus a 10 rand interim

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Foreigners key to Zimbabwe mine growth - chamber


      Mon Mar 6, 2006 1:15 PM GMT

HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's Chamber of Mines said it would respond within
a week to proposed legal amendments giving President Robert Mugabe's
government a 51 percent stake in foreign mines, but hinted the move could
undermine growth.

In a statement to the Chamber of Mines on Friday, Mines Minister Amos Midzi
said cabinet had approved amendments to the mining law "to indigenise 51
percent in some instances of all foreign owned companies."

Midzi's statement said the amended law would give the government 51 percent
in "energy minerals mining companies", including 25 percent on a
"non-contributory basis", immediately upon promulgation.

Industry officials say a non-contributory basis means the government would
acquire the shares without paying for them. The balance of government
ownership would be achieved within five years.

The government would also adopt a similar structure with precious metals and
gemstones, and share 51 percent ownership with local groups in the gold and
emerald sector.

Implats, the world's second biggest platinum producer, hopes Zimbabwe will
respect a current mining deal and not demand a majority stake in its local
unit, a top official said on Monday.

Zimplats Ltd the Zimbabwean unit of Implats, said on Monday it was in talks
with Mugabe's government over the new draft.

Midzi said the new draft would be put out for comment from industry before
being placed before parliament, where Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF party holds a
comfortable majority and could easily pass it into law.

On Monday Chamber of Mines President Jack Murehwa said the sector would make
representations to the government stressing that any new legislation should
take into account the importance of foreign investment for growth.


"The mining companies in Zimbabwe are not large enough to expand production
facilities or finance green-field projects from their cash-flows," Murehwa
said in a written response to questions from Reuters.

"Irrespective of what the final outcome on the debate on legislation is
going to be, mining companies in Zimbabwe are going to have to raise capital
to grow the industry from international sources in the main," he added.

The mining sector remains one of few in Zimbabwe with a significant level of
foreign involvement after Mugabe's controversial seizure of white-owned
commercial farms for blacks sent many international investors scurrying for

As well as Impala Platinum, Anglo American Platinum Corp and mining giant
Rio Tinto have interests in Zimbabwe.

Leading private economist John Robertson said the proposed amendments would
keep new investors at bay, worsening an economic crisis showing itself in
chronic food, fuel and foreign currency shortages, soaring unemployment and
the highest inflation rate in the world.

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Farmer Embarks On Massive Jatropha Project

The Herald (Harare)

March 6, 2006
Posted to the web March 6, 2006


A BEATRICE farmer, Mr Jonah Chimusoro has embarked on a multi-million dollar
Jatropha farming project, which is expected to produce more than 50 000
litres of bio-diesel in the first year.

The project, which is still in its infancy, shows great potential and is
expected to improve Zimbabwe's fuel woes.

A field day was held at Mr Chimusoro's 480 hectare farm last Friday to
assess the progress of the more than 1 000 Jatropha plants.

Addressing officials from the Ministry of Energy and Power Development,
Agricultural Research Extension Services (Arex) and Environment Africa, Mr
Chimusoro said he started the project following the Government's calls for
farmers to venture into Jatropha farming.

"I started the project late last year and we will be expecting the first
benefits around 2008 and 2009," he said.

Mr Chimusoro, an automotive engineer, said the Jatropha would act as a
paddock fence.

"We have discovered that livestock especially cattle, are annoyed by the
smell of the Jatropha and cannot browse the tree.

"So we decided to plant it as alternative fencing rather than as a
plantation," he said.

He has planted Jatropha trees in rows of two around eight paddocks on the

He said Jatropha trees fencing one paddock, which is between nine to 10
hectares, was expected to produce over 1 000 litres of bio-diesel on the
first harvest.

Mr Chimusoro is also venturing into poultry, fish and bee keeping.

Environment Africa research manager Mr Barney Mawire urged the Government to
support farmers like Mr Chimusoro.

He said one way of encouraging farmers was introducing tax rebates.

He also encouraged other farmers engaging in Jatropha farming to follow the
steps taken by Mr Chimusoro who has not disrupted other farming activities
but has planted Jatropha trees as a boundary fence.

"Sustainable agriculture is what is required for the country to develop. If
we could have 10 farmers like this the country could be somewhere," Mr
Mawire said.

He also urged farmers to always keep record of their activities saying this
was beneficial to the nation, as the data can be stored and utilised in the

Jatropha is a drought tolerant plant, which produces seeds that can be used
in the development of bio-diesel -- a clean alternative fuel made from plant

The seed, which contains 30 to 35 percent oil, can also be used to make
insecticides, for soap production and numerous other purposes such as
organic manure and animal feed.

Meanwhile, The National Oil Company of Zimbabwe (Noczim) has received
overwhelming responses from farmers who have expressed interest in Jatropha
farming projects.

Noczim was tasked by the Government to run the project that is envisaged to
go a long way in bringing relief to the country, which is grappling with
erratic fuel and chemical fertilizer supplies.

At least 170 hectares are expected to be put under Jatropha plants this

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