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Consumer Basket Leaps to $28m



The Herald (Harare)

March 7, 2006
Posted to the web March 7, 2006

Kudzai Chawafambira
Harare

THE consumer basket for a family of six has increased by 28,8 percent to $28
million in the month of February, from the January figure of $21,8 million.

The basket has maintained an upward trend since the beginning of the year
owing to incessant price increases, which continue to erode consumers'
purchasing power.

"The increase in the basket was largely propelled by price increases
experienced throughout the month. Almost all components of the basket
recorded increases," said the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe.

Notable increases were witnessed in basic commodities such as salt whose
price rose by 385,8 percent to $79 750 for a 500g packet. Washing powder
shot up by 107,6 percent, white sugar 25,8 percent, 1kg margarine went up by
26,6 percent to $438 500 and a 750ml bottle of cooking oil shot up by 49
percent to $256 428.

Although shortages of some basic commodities continue to persist, white
sugar has been trickling into the market while roller meal has been scarce
since the beginning of the year.

The consumer watchdog noted that in the last week of the month under review
the price of bread increased from the gazetted price of $44 000 to between
$60 000 and $66 000.

"The Government denounced the increases even though bakeries have not taken
heed of the calls. Bakeries have cited imminent collapse of the baking
industry if the prices are not reviewed upwards. "Therefore, the CCZ urges
the Government and industry to agree on prices which not only take
cognisance of the plight of the consumer but also ensure viability of
various industries," said CCZ.

It was also against this backdrop that the consumer watchdog was calling on
Government, business and labour --- under the auspices of the Tripartite
Negotiating Forum (TNF) --- to expedite the implementation of an effective
pricing and incomes stabilisation mechanism in order to come up with
holistic solutions to challenges besetting the economy.

"The year started with optimism following the announcement of the agreement
made by the Tripartite Negotiating Forum (TNF) partners to set up the
Incomes and Prices Stabilisation Protocol but hopes have been dashed as the
protocol is yet to deal with distortions in the current economic
environment.

"This has left consumers in limbo since they have been kept in the dark on
whether the TNF discussions will resume. The CCZ urges the parties to come
up with solutions to pricing and income problems being experienced," said
the consumer watchdog.

Consumers' disposable incomes have continued to decline in the face of
escalating prices with low-income earners among the hardest hit.

The hyperinflationary environment is expected to continue to erode
consumers' buying power as price adjustments are now being effected almost
on a daily basis.

The CCZ basket is viewed in economic circles as an accurate barometer of the
cost of living for the average low-income urban worker in Zimbabwe. This
means if it was adopted as the official Poverty Datum Line millions of
Zimbabweans would be classified as living in abject poverty.


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Caution urged in plan to grab mining assets



[ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]

JOHANNESBURG, 7 Mar 2006 (IRIN) - Mining company Implats says the Zimbabwe
government's plan to take a 51 percent controlling interest in mining
operations in the country "is not in the best interests of developing the
platinum industry in Zimbabwe".

Newspapers in South Africa and Zimbabwe have devoted many column inches to
the news that the government planned to become the majority shareholder in
the country's estimated US $20 billion mining sector.

According to South Africa's Business Day, Zimbabwean Minister of Mines Amos
Midzi told the Zimbabwe Chamber of Mines last week that the cabinet had
approved draft proposals requiring mining companies to surrender 51 percent
of their assets to the government and/or indigenous groups, depending on the
commodity. The government would pay only for 26 percent and the remainder
would be a "free carry".

Midzi reportedly warned that alternative foreign investors had been
identified to take over equity in mines if the current external shareholders
did not co-operate.

South African mining house Implats, which has significant interests in
Zimbabwe's platinum mining sector, told IRIN that the company was aware of
the plan but a company spokesman would not expand on a statement issued on
Sunday that Implats was "in receipt of a cabinet-approved draft proposal
relating to ownership of the Zimbabwean platinum industry" and that Implats
believed the proposal was "not in the best interests" of the platinum
industry.

The government's scheme was also "inconsistent with previous discussions
[the company has had] with the Zimbabwean government", Implats added.

"The company will actively engage with and seek further clarity from the
Zimbabwean government on the proposal, and remains hopeful that a solution
will be found in the best interests of Zimbabwe and the companies invested
there," Implats noted.

Zimbabwean economist Dennis Nikisi said the government's strategy was in
line with similar developments in countries such as Namibia, Botswana and
South Africa, where the authorities have moved to ensure their countries
reap greater rewards from the extraction of natural resources.

But, he cautioned, the difference between enhancing equity and sabotaging an
already weakened economy lay in how the proposed plan was executed. The
rationale behind the government's proposal was "basically that all the
mineral resources in the country belong to Zimbabwe and Zimbabweans".

"Many of the corporations that are extracting these mineral resources in
Zimbabwe have been doing so independently, without any shares owned by the
government or indigenous individuals. As such, it is improper that the local
people - either through themselves or the government - should not directly
benefit from the extraction of these minerals," Nikisi explained.

The proposal was thus intended to ensure that Zimbabwe "benefits from its
own resources".

The "free carry" part of the scheme was based on the belief that the
government would warehouse those shares for eventual purchase by indigenous
groups.

But, he cautioned, "we must be very careful - already Zimbabwe is perceived
as a lawless country, and as people who do not respect international
agreements."

Taking a fast-track land restitution approach to reforming the ownership
structure of the mining sector could mirror the effects of farm invasions on
agriculture.

"This [mining sector reform] must be executed in a manner that is beneficial
to mining companies as well as government, particularly at this delicate
stage where we want to be perceived as willing to be part and parcel of the
global community," Nikisi said.


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SA church leaders want Mbeki to impose sanctions on Mugabe

Zim Online

Wed 8 March 2006

DURBAN - The head of southern African Catholics says he and other
church leaders have told President Thabo Mbeki to impose sanctions against
President Robert Mugabe's government but the South African leader will not
do it because he lacks the political will.

Cardinal Wilfred Napier told ZimOnline that South African church
leaders and himself had met Mbeki over Zimbabwe's deteriorating political
and economic crisis on a number of occasions during which southern Africa's
most powerful president explained his attempts to mediate a solution to the
crisis in that country.

But the clergymen advised Mbeki to adopt a more robust and tougher
stance against Mugabe including imposing sanctions against the Zimbabwe
leader, his wife and top officials, much the same way the European Union
(EU) and the United States (US) have done, according to Napier.

The Cardinal said: "We had a couple of meetings with President Mbeki,
who explained the negotiating role he has played. We raised the point that
we thought that targeted sanctions should be considered by the South African
government.

"They have the intelligence services to point out the weaknesses and
where they could be applied. They know what will affect Mugabe. However,
Mbeki doesn't have the political will to do this."

The US, EU, Switzerland, Australia and New Zealand have imposed visa
and financial sanctions against Mugabe and his lieutenants over their
failure for allegedly stealing elections, failure to uphold human rights,
rule of law and seizure of white farms without paying compensation.

Zimbabwe is grappling its worst economic crisis, worsened by Mugabe's
controversial seizure of white-owned farmland for redistribution to landless
blacks which knocked down food production by 60 percent to leave the once
food-exporting country dependent food handouts from international aid
agencies.

Inflation is above 600 percent, unemployment is above 80 percent while
fuel, electricity, essential medical drugs and nearly every basic survival
commodity is in critical short supply.

But Mbeki, regarded by the US and its allies as the point-man on
Zimbabwe, has refused to publicly condemn Mugabe or change his "quiet
diplomacy" policy under which he has regularly consulted with the Harare
administration behind close doors but with little movement to resolve the
worsening crisis. - ZimOnline


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Zimbabwe won't evict villagers from national park

Zim Online

Wed 8 March 2006

MASVINGO - Zimbabwe Environment Minister Francis Nhema on Tuesday said
the government will not evict villagers who illegally settled in game
conservancies including in Gonarezhou Park that is part of a multibillion
dollar trans-frontier wildlife venture with South Africa and Mozambique.

Nhema, who earlier this year vowed to clear illegal settlers from
Gonarezhou where they are accused of extensive poaching, said Harare was now
of the opinion that the villagers should remain in the park, adding that the
government had already begun teaching the settlers wildlife conservation.

Gonarezhou is part of the Great Limpopo Trans-frontier Park that links
up the Limpopo National Park in Mozambique and South Africa's Kruger
National Park. It is expected to generate millions of dollars in hard cash,
when fully developed. But land invasions and poaching in Zimbabwe has slowed
down development of the giant park project for years.

Nhema said the government will teach the villagers not to grow crops
in the park area, poach animals or cut trees down randomly.

"We have embarked on a programme where we are educating those in our
parks to be part of the wildlife conservation process," the Environment
Minister said. "We are telling them that if they see a baboon it is worth
US$500. If they see a kudu they should think beyond meat since it is worth
US$700."

But wildlife experts expressed dismay at the government's decision to
let the villagers stay in Gonarezhou and other game parks saying it required
more than education to dissuade the peasant farmers from growing crops in
the conservancies and hunting down animals for meat.

They said huge amounts for resources - which the government does not
have - were required to support the villagers to start small-scale game
sanctuaries within or near Gonarezhou which could provide an alternative
source of livelihood to poaching and crop farming.

"The decision is shocking because these people have never been in such
an industry before . . . for one to operate a conservancy there is need to
consider the time factor. It takes about 10 years to have a fully fledged
conservancy without realising any profit," said Mike Stuart, a prominent
wildlife operator in Masvingo province where Gonarezhou lies.

According to conservative estimates, Zimbabwe has lost more than 50
percent of wildlife to poaching since supporters of President Robert Mugabe
and his ruling ZANU PF party began invading private game conservancies and
national parks over the past six years in what Mugabe has said were
demonstrations of hunger for land by blacks.

Dozens of conservancies were also seized by the government under its
controversial land redistribution programme and given over to top officials
of ZANU PF and the government who promptly proceeded to decimate wildlife
there through uncontrolled hunting. - ZimOnline


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Police arrest Zimbabwe university student leaders to thwart protests

Zim Online

Wed 8 March 2006

BULAWAYO - Zimbabwe police yesterday arrested several student leaders
in the city of Bulawayo to thwart plans by students at a state university
and three other institutions in the city to stage street protests against
the government's decision to hike fees at state tertiary colleges.

ZimOnline was unable to confirm the exact number of students that were
being held by the police by late last night but other sources indicated as
many as 25 students could have been arrested as they attempted to march
through the city.

Zimbabwe National Students Union (ZINASU) secretary general Promise
Mkhwanazi said two members of the student representative council at the
National University of Science and Technology (NUST) and two other student
representatives from other colleges in the city were being held by the
police.

Those confirmed detained by the police are NUST student council
secretary general Zwandile Ndlovu and two other student leaders, Lawrence
Neshungu and Isaac Chimuteshu. NUST student council president Beloved
Chiweshe was arrested but later released.

"So far there are four leaders we are aware of who were picked by
police at the NUST campus and we are still trying to get our lawyers to
Bulawayo central police station so that we can know the exact number of
people arrested," Mkhwanazi said.

Bulawayo police spokesman Shepherd Sibanda confirmed that the police
had arrested and detained several students but he said he could not say
exactly who these students were or how many of them were in police cells
because he was still to get a full briefing on the matter.

"There are some students that police picked for inciting other
students to demonstrate but I do not have enough information as yet," said
Sibanda.

Students at state tertiary schools across the country have vowed to
boycott classes and engage in street protests unless the government reverses
a decision to hike fees by more than 100 percent.

Apart from raised tuition fees, the students are also unhappy about
low stipends and falling standards at state universities and other tertiary
institutions - most of which are derelict after years of under-funding and
mismanagement.

Protests by hungry students and underpaid lecturers at Zimbabwe's
universities and technical colleges have become routine because the
cash-strapped Harare government does not have money to run the schools.

Zimbabwe's education and the health sectors were have for many years
the envy of many in the developing world but have now crumbled after six
years of a severe economic recession. - ZimOnline


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Court to determine if fugitive Zimbabwean judge can be sentenced in absentia

Zim Online

Wed 8 March 2006

HARARE - Justice Simpson Mutambanengwe will today rule on whether
fugitive Harare High Court Judge Benjamin Paradza could be sentenced in
absentia after both the state and defence yesterday told the court they did
not believe it had the right to sentence the runaway judge in absentia.

Mutambanengwe, a retired Zimbabwe High Court judge and now a member of
the Namibian Supreme Court bench who was specially appointed to hear
Paradza's case, convicted the judge on two counts of corruption for
attempting to coax two Bulawayo-based judges to release a passport of his
business partner who was facing murder charges.

The judge's business partner, Russell Labuschagne, was at the time on
bail after his arrest for murdering an alleged fish-poacher at his fish farm
in Zimbabwe's northern Binga district. Labuschagne, whose passport had been
seized by the state as part of his bail conditions, was subsequently jailed
for 15 years for the murder.

Paradza wanted the passport released so Labuschagne could travel
overseas to scout for hunting business with the judge standing to gain US$60
000 from the business.

The disgraced Paradza was convicted last January but slipped out of
the country before he could be sentenced. Reports in the government media
have suggested that the judge might be hiding in the United Kingdom. -
ZimOnline


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COSATU protests at Zimbabwe consulate in Jo'burg

Zim Online

Wed 8 March 2006

JOHANNESBURG - More than 100 Congress of South African Trade Unions
(COSATU) activists on Tuesday demonstrated at Zimbabwe's consulate in
Johannesburg against harassment of trade union leaders by President Robert
Mugabe's government.

The powerful union also held similar protests at the border post
between South Africa and Swaziland to press King Mswati to stop harassing
union leaders in his kingdom.

COSATU spokesperson, Patrick Craven said his union was concerned about
the continued harassment of workers and labour leaders in Zimbabwe and in
the kingdom of Swaziland where 13 pro-democracy activists aligned to the
trade unions there are facing treason charges.

"Our demonstration at the Zimbabwe consulate was meant to draw
attention to the harassment of trade unionists in the two African countries.
COSATU fully supports trade union rights and democracy," he said.

Last week, the Zimbabwe government - which has banned COSATU officials
from visiting the country - deported a South African labour expert, Pat
Horn, after mistaking her for a COSATU official.

Horn, whose Street Net group is affiliated to COSATU, was visiting
Zimbabwe to deliver a lecture on labour issues at the Zimbabwe Congress of
Trade Unions Silver Jubilee School.

A senior official at the Zimbabwe consulate, only identified as
Mapanga, dismissed yesterday's protests as insignificant, adding that the
consulate had more pressing issues to attend to than COSATU's
demonstrations.

COSATU is part of South Africa's ruling tripartite that is led by
President Thabo Mbeki's ANC party and also includes the South African
Communist Party. But the union has broken ranks with Mbeki and the ANC on
Zimbabwe. The union has led criticism against Harare and castigated Mbeki's
quiet diplomacy policy that shuns censuring Mugabe's government.

The Zimbabwean government, which rejects COSATU's criticism, has
reacted by deporting two separate fact-finding delegations from the labour
union over the past two years. - ZimOnline


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Diarrhoea Claims 7 in Murehwa



The Herald (Harare)

March 7, 2006
Posted to the web March 7, 2006

Wenceslaus Murape
Murehwa

SEVEN people died of diarrhoea in Murehwa's Chingwaru area, Ward 3 over the
past two weeks.

The Minister of Health and Child Welfare Dr David Parirenyatwa, who is also
the MP for the area, confirmed the outbreak and deaths that occurred in
Gatsi Village last week.

"There has been a diarrhoea outbreak in Chigwaru and the local health
personnel are working flat out to contain the disease," said Dr
Parirenyatwa.

At the time of going to Press, the names of only four of the victims had
been released. These are Juliet Gatsi and her husband Norman Charakupa, one
Dawa and Olivia Marufu, all of Gatsi Village.

There had been suspicion that the four had succumbed to cholera.

But laboratory tests carried out at Murehwa Hospital revealed that the
stools of people affected by the disease did not contain Vibrio cholera, the
cholera pathogen. They contained Escherichia coli and Shigella sp, which are
less virulent germs. Other samples were sent to Harare.

The local civil protection unit, health personnel, Dr Parirenyatwa and other
parties held a meeting at the district administrator's offices last Thursday
before touring the affected area to assess the situation on the ground.

Dr Parirenyatwa was briefed that two teams -- which are working day and
night shifts -- have set up a base camp in the area where they are also
carrying out campaigns on cholera and diarrhoea.

Each team comprises an environmental health officer, nutritionist, community
sister, environmental health technician, three nurses and medical stores
personnel.

The district medical officer, Dr Reginald Gwisai and the district nursing
officer Sister Taizar Sithole are heading the teams under the supervision of
Dr Zizhou from the provincial medical director's office in Marondera.

Three tents have been erected at the command centre, operating separately
for admission, screening and recovery.

At least 30 cases had been attended to by last Thursday.

Besides providing the villagers with chloride of lime and aquatabs to treat
drinking water -- which they mainly access from wells -- the medical teams
are also involved in case management and surveillance.

Chairman of the civil protection committee, Mr Maxwell Mabhuro, who is also
the area's district administrator, said the health education officer Mr
Andrew Chari was distributing awareness pamphlets targeting schools, local
leadership and the police.

Mr Mabhuro said the committee has agreed to put in place preventive measures
on the potential spread of the diarrhoea at Murehwa Growth Point where
residents of Magamba high density suburb are living on unserviced stands
using pit latrines and unprotected water sources.

"All the people in Magamba high density suburb and villagers surrounding the
growth point are required to register their names with the local authority
so as to access drinking water treatment chemicals.

"The problem -- especially in Magamba -- is that water sources and the
latrines are less than the required 30 metres apart," Mr Mabhuro said.

A survey in the Chigwaru and surrounding areas showed that although people
had access to protected wells, there were very few Blair toilets.


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SA must act on Zim property rights

iafrica.com

Tue, 07 Mar 2006
The government should stop procrastinating over the implementation of an
international agreement which would protect South African property rights in
Zimbabwe - now that Harare planned to nationalise mines, says the official
opposition.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) noted that Implats and Anglo American were
among those companies which would be affected by the move.

Investors

DA chief whip Douglas Gibson said if South Africa did not act immediately,
"it would send the most negative message to international investors we could
possibly transmit".

It was reported last Friday that the Zimbabwean government - in terms of the
proposed mining regime - would hold 51 percent of all shares in mines for
energy minerals, platinum and diamonds, Gibson noted.

"The amendments will ensure that all existing mines will immediately have to
cede 25 percent of their shares to the State as soon as the act becomes law
and the remaining shares be transferred to the State over a five year
period. The Zimbabwean government however will not pay for these shares."

Gibson noted that the proposed nationalisation would not only have a
negative impact on investment in the Zimbabwean economy as a whole, it had
particularly negative consequences for South African companies with
substantial mining interests in Zimbabwe such as Implats - the world's
second biggest platinum producer - and Anglo American.

He pointed out that Implats had already warned that the government's plans
would violate existing agreements.

Unacceptable

Gibson argued that it was unacceptable that South Africa and Zimbabwe had
yet to sign the Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement
(BIPPA).

At a media briefing in February this year Foreign Minister Nkosazana
Dlamini-Zuma stated that as far as she knew an agreement had been concluded
and that it was simply a matter of the respective trade and industry
ministers signing this agreement.

"But this has been her refrain for years now. Given the serous threat to
South African commercial interests in Zimbabwe, it is high time that the
government fast tracked the signing of this agreement."

Gibson said Harare needed to be sent an unequivocal message that it cannot
simply act with impunity when it comes to threatening South African
interests.

"The reality is that if Zimbabwe embarks on wide scale nationalisation of
the mining industry and South Africa does nothing to stop it, then this will
send a message to the world that property rights are not taken seriously in
our region - the consequences of which for investment will be devastating."

I-Net Bridge


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Zimbabwe: Inexperienced farmers producing poor harvest

CNN

Monday, February 20, 2006; Posted: 7:48 a.m. EST (12:48 GMT)

HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) -- The deputy agriculture minister forecast bleak food
harvests this year in Zimbabwe, and blamed fertilizers shortages and
technical ignorance among black farmers resettled on formerly white-owned
land, a state-run newspaper reported Monday.
Deputy Agriculture Minister Sylvester Nguni, in a rare admission of failures
in the nation's land redistribution program, said many new farmers who
received land lacked the expertise to produce crops on what he called a
"commercial and even subsistence level," The Herald reported.

Even farmers with adequate resources still failed to produce "meaningful"
crops, Nguni said.

Despite good seasonal rains, Nguni predicted the harvest beginning around
April would produce half of what had been expected.

"The truth is, most crops have adversely taken the brunt of the shortage of
fertilizers, and this has inevitably slashed the yields by about 50
percent," he said.

In some areas where fertilizers were used, above-average rainfall had
leached out crop nutrients and herbicides.

He said many new farmers lacked training and experience. And the
government's Agricultural Research and Extension department (AREX), which
provides trainers and advisers, was understaffed and lacked transport and
gasoline as the country suffers its worst economic crisis since independence
in 1980.

President Robert Mugabe has insisted his land redistribution program, begun
in 2000, was intended to correct colonial era imbalances in ownership.

Critics say, however, that prime farms were allocated to ruling party
cronies, judges, city business owners, government supporters and
law-enforcement officials with no farming experience.

The central bank governor, Gideon Gono, in October criticized some new
farmers for using their land only as "weekend picnic venues." He also
castigated some for allegedly using agricultural loans to buy luxury
off-road vehicles for private use and profiteering by selling the subsidized
gasoline available to resettled farmers at black-market prices that were
inflated tenfold.

Nguni was receiving a donation of 28 bicycles for AREX experts, according to
The Herald, a government mouthpiece. It said the department now employed
some 3,000 extension officers, about half the 6,000 it needed countrywide.

Last year Zimbabwe, once a regional breadbasket, produced about 800,000 tons
of corn, the staple food. The country consumes around 1.8 million tons a
year. Before the chaotic and often violent seizures of thousands of
white-owned commercial farms began in 2000, food surpluses were exported.

Last week, the state-run Tobacco Industry Marketing Board predicted a
50-percent drop in production estimates for the main, hard currency-earning
crops this year, citing late and inadequate loans to growers and shortages
of fertilizer, chemicals and gasoline.

Official inflation in the crumbling economy soared last month to 613
percent, one of the highest rates in the world, as the United Nations food
agency distributed emergency food aid to more than 3 million people facing
acute hard currency and food shortages.

At least 5 million of the 12.5 million population were likely to need food
assistance before the next harvests, and food handouts were now expected to
continue long afterward, according to U.N. experts and charity groups.


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Zimbabwe bread shortage looms

Business Report

March 7, 2006

By Brian Latham

Maputo - Zimbabwean millers had less than two weeks' supply of wheat, and a
bread shortage was looming, the Millers' Association of Zimbabwe said
yesterday.

Wheat supplies from the state-owned Grain Marketing Board had been cut by 30
percent to between 600 tons and 700 tons a week, Millers' Association
chairman Mike Manga said in Harare.
It was the second reduction in two months, he added.

"Most millers have now been forced to reduce capacity to about 16 percent of
normal production, with some working only a day and a half a week," said
Manga.

"Bread supplies will dry up in the next few weeks unless government answers
our call for more wheat."

Wheat production more than halved to about 95 000 tons in 2005 from the year
before. Zimbabwe normally consumes about 450 000 metric tons of wheat a
year.

Output has slumped since state-sponsored farm invasions began in 2000,
evicting white commercial farmers to make way for small-scale black farmers.
Zimbabwe produced about 300 000 tons before farm seizures began.

Former wheat farmer Mike Murphy said: "The fact is most of the irrigation
equipment on seized farms has been destroyed by farm invaders, who don't
have the capital to buy or hire combine harvesters."

John Worsley-Worswick, the chairman of agriculture lobby group Justice for
Agriculture, said maize was also in short supply and he expected harvests to
fall again this year.

The marketing board, which told the Harare-based Daily Mirror that it would
establish its own bakeries by June, declined to comment.

Zimbabwe must find food to feed about 4.3 million of its estimated 13
million population this year, according to the UN's World Food Programme.

A loaf of bread costs about Z$66 000 (R4.11) after bakers increased prices
last week.

Zimbabwe's trade minister, Obert Mpofu, told the Zimbabwe Independent that
police would prosecute bakers, saying the government-controlled price for a
loaf was Z$44 000.

Burombo Mudumo, the chairman of the Bakers' Association of Zimbabwe, said
the price was unrealistic.

"Wheat now costs Z$35 million a ton. That's a 40 percent increase, and
labour now costs 26 percent more since January, while diesel has risen over
100 percent. All we're asking is that government sets a realistic price." -
Bloomberg


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Now, Zim running out of blood

News24

07/03/2006 20:16 - (SA)

Harare - Zimbabwe's national blood transfusion service has been crippled by
a lack of foreign currency and mobile teams have stopped collecting blood,
said local reports on Tuesday.

Mobile blood-collecting teams bring in about 70% of Zimbabwe's national
blood stocks, said the state-run Herald.

But, the National Blood Services of Zimbabwe (NBSZ) suspended collection by
mobile teams on Tuesday, citing shortages of blood bags and test kits bought
with foreign currency, the paper added.

The NBSZ's Emmanuel Masvikeni was quoted as saying: "Despite making
representations with the ministry of health and child welfare and the
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, we have failed to get the foreign currency
needed."

Zimbabwe has been in the throes of a severe foreign-currency shortage for
several years.

The authorities blame Western sanctions, but critics point to a downturn in
the country's key foreign-currency generating activities, like tourism and
agriculture.


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Forex crunch forces Dunlop to close once again



By Lance Guma
07 March 2006

Dunlop Tyres, Zimbabwe's sole tyre manufacturer, has been forced to
shut operations owing to a crippling foreign currency shortage. It's the
second time in 6 months that the company has been forced to make such a
decision. Over 820 workers will lose their jobs with over 30 000 more in
downstream industries also set to be affected.

Just last year the company halted tyre production because of the same
problem, opening only after government had made available US$300 000 for
their operation. Workers were invited back but only on reduced shifts, as
Dunlop could not match previous production levels. This was because the
forex allocation fell far short of their requirements.

Government had a special arrangement with the tyre manufacturer in
which they would collect 100 percent of their export proceeds in return for
favourable support in future procurements of forex for raw materials. Last
year in July the company surrendered US$687 000 to the Central Bank. This is
on average the equivalent of its monthly export earnings. The company
however got little in return when it needed forex for raw materials and it
is these shortages that have forced them to close.

Organisations that will be affected by the closure include the army,
police and the Central Mechanical Department who all have huge orders for
tyres from Dunlop. Ironically it will cost the country more to import the
tyres than for government to support the company with the forex it needs.
Industry leaders accuse government of giving them an average of 6 percent of
their foreign currency requirements and this they say is hampering their
operations.

A disastrous land seizure policy, corruption and economic
mismanagement have all led to the country's economy collapsing. Sectors that
brought in much needed foreign currency like agriculture and tourism have
all collapsed and the resulting runaway inflation has created the fastest
declining economy in the world.

.

SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news


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A tribute to WOZA on International Women's Day



By Tererai Karimakwenda
07 March 2006

On Wednesday March 8th women's groups around the world celebrate
International Women's Day, a date set aside as a national holiday by many
countries and commemorated at the United Nations to remember the important
role of women in history and the struggles that they have had to face.
Regardless of ethnic background, language or culture or economic and
political differences, women worldwide celebrate this day, respecting a
common tradition and their shared struggles for equality, peace and justice.

In Zimbabwe, no group epitomises this struggle more than Women of
Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA). These brave women consistently organise peaceful
demonstrations in their quest for democracy, peace and justice, risking
their lives in the face of the brutality of the Mugabe regime. Many have
been arrested on numerous occasions but they keep returning to the streets
with their message of love and demand for a dignified life for all
Zimbabweans.

International Women's Day is promoted by the United Nations and has
more support that any other programme. In fact The UN website's page for
this important date has the following quote: "Today a central organizing
principle of the work of the United Nations is that no enduring solution to
society's most threatening social, economic and political problems can be
found without the full participation, and the full empowerment, of the
world's women." This is certainly true in Zimbabwe.

The WOZA women have organised demos around every issue, from the need
for a new Constitution, the unaffordable price of food and the ensuing
shortages, freedom of speech and the abuse of women and children. On
Valentines Day this year WOZA women gave out bread and roses, which was
their theme and symbolic way of demanding enough food and dignity for every
Zimbabwean. As they say; "If you strike a woman, you strike a rock." And so
it is only fitting that we at SW radio Africa say to our brave women, "WOZA
Moya" - with much love and respect.

SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news


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WOZA Report initial social justice consultation


7 March 2006

On 13th and 14th February 2006, women, old and young, and a few brave
men left their homes to go into the streets calling for Bread and Roses.
They were prepared to be arrested and to spend nights in police custody in
order to deliver this message to the country's leaders. In Bulawayo, 174
women, 7 men and 14 babies were arrested and in Harare, an estimated 242
women and 5 babies were arrested, many of whom spent more than three days in
custody.

What made these people leave their families? Is handing out roses and
asking for food now a criminal offense deserving arrest? Is a peaceful
procession of singing women a threat to the powers that be? The answer is
YES! The so-called 'Liberation Government' has a problem. It cannot feed its
people and give them the respect and dignity they deserve, represented by
their call for Roses too! When there are thousands of empty kitchens what
can a mother feed her children?

Life for Zimbabweans now echoes the song sung by the 1912 strikers in
America: "Our lives shall not be sweated from birth until life closes;
hearts starve as well as bodies; give us bread, but give us roses."

The Bread and Roses theme was selected as a fitting beginning for WOZA's
Social Justice campaign. As we go out onto the streets in the coming months,
our demands for a socially just Zimbabwe will continue and become even
clearer. As we continue to protest, we will also be consulting across
Zimbabwe asking people to share their views and opinions on what is needed
for dignified living. We will be coming to a place near YOU and asking you
to DREAM with us! We will also be asking you to join us in marching to turn
those dreams into POSSIBILITIES. We believe the solution is in our own hands
and even 'babies' are doing their share of the work.

As International Women's Day comes and goes, the women still
recovering from their stay in the cells find nothing to celebrate. But they
have high morale as they know that they are doing something towards bringing
about social justice. They look upon their suffering in police cells as work
they do in their fields; hoping to one day reap a better living. They no
longer call it a prison cell or a jail but they call it their 'garden'; some
even say it is a 'park' where you go to relax and daydream of a better
tomorrow.

But this is what really happened to us in the police cells. In
Bulawayo the cells were too small to accommodate the number that was
arrested so we were kept in a wire cage in the courtyard of the police
station. As it was raining heavily, we were all soaked to the skin. To keep
warm, we sang at the top of our voices for the more than eight hours we were
outside.

We sang revolutionary songs and danced. Some of the police officers
joined in and even made requests for us to sing certain songs. Later that
night, the police bar inside the station was cleared and all of us squeezed
in with three police guards. Some of us managed to sleep along the bar
counter and under the pool table, but still many had to sleep seated. The
next day, three leaders were sent in advance to court but the prosecutor
advised the state to proceed by way of summons and release all of us. It
took us from noon to six pm to get everyone out of custody due to further
harassment. Those who had not gone to court were made to stand in the
blazing sun for hours before they were allowed to sit down.

In Harare some women were arrested while on their way to the protest
and some as they completed the peaceful protest outside parliament. For
three days, their lives were turned into a living hell. Over 100, many
elderly grandmothers, were forced to remove all of their underwear and
threatened with rape. They were denied food and water; assaulted by booted
officers; made to sleep on sewerage and human waste; kept in the blazing sun
without water; subjected to psychological torture by being threatened with
prolonged detention and being told they had to pay a fine in order to be
released, in denial of their right to be formally charged and taken to
court. Many of the women who are HIV positive were denied food and their
anti-retroviral (ARV) medication. Eventually the most resistant 63 women
were taken to court on the Friday after a court order was issued - they are
currently on free bail.

But will this treatment stop us from continuing? The answer is a loud
NO! We will continue to visit the park to daydream until we have a Zimbabwe
where there is a decent standard of living and past injustices can be
remembered without a sharp stab of pain in the heart because they would have
been dealt with.

Why is WOZA consulting about social justice? What are our objectives?

a.. to insist that our leaders understand the issues
that concern ordinary people
b.. allow the voices of grassroots people to be consulted and heard
and decide their own future
c.. talk about the basic and fundamental rights that belong to us
all and build an equal society
d.. come up with community-driven agenda of social justice around
which we can all mobilise for action. We must help each other to dream and
to turn those dreams into possibilities
e.. create and raise expectations of people as to what political
leaders should deliver and how to hold them accountable in a non-violent
manner

An overview of initial consultations on social justice Social justice
can be defined as a way where people have equal opportunities/access to
social, economic, cultural, religious and political needs regardless of
race, gender, creed or any other form of discrimination and where past
injustices have been dealt with.

It includes the following:
a.. Full enjoyment of all social, political, economic and cultural
rights
b.. An equal society, including gender and ethnic equality
c.. Respect for human rights, including women's and children's
rights
d.. Freedoms, including speech, assembly and association
e.. Respect and tolerance of diversity - culture and religion
f.. Transparency and accountability
g.. Equal participation in political and economic decision-making
h.. Equal application of the law - access to justice and
understanding of the law
i.. Correction of past injustices such as Gukurahundi and
Murambatsvina
j.. Gutsaruzhinji/inhlalakahle yabantu (Good living)
k.. Access to affordable education
l.. Access to adequate and affordable food
m.. Access to affordable housing, electricity, sanitation and clean
water
n.. Access to affordable healthcare and medication including
anti-retrovirals (ARVs)
o.. Equal and fair access to fertile land, inputs, equipment and
secure ownership
p.. Equal opportunities to resources, employment, self-help projects
and the right to earn a living wage
q.. Development of adequate infrastructure and access to affordable
transport
r.. Environmentally sustainable usage of resources
The consultation process continues - we would like your opinion on how
we can make Zimbabwe a socially just nation. Email us at
wozazimbabwe@yahoo.com or write to us. Join us in the street to see how your
dreams can become possibilities.

For more info please contact Jenni Williams, Magodonga Mahlangu on
+263 91 898 110 or +263 91 362 668 or email us at wozazimbabwe@yahoo.com

SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news


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Three Zimbabwean governors homeless



March 7, 2006,

By George Nyathi

Zimbabwe (AND) The Zimbabwean government is being fleeced of billions
of dollars in fuel and travel and subsistence allowances paid out to three
governors of Matabeleland province following revelations that the three were
homeless in their provinces of governance.

The three, Cain Mathema (Bulawayo), Angeline Masuku (Matabeleland
South) and Sithokozile Mathuthu (Matabeleland North) are reportedly
commuting on a daily basis from Bulawayo to their provinces, as the central
government is yet to build houses for them. One of the three, Mathuthu
recently caused a media furore here after she was reported to have been
living a lavish lifestyle arising from allegations that she had established
a new home in a Bulawayo hotel.

She was accused of taking her husband into the new home, with the
couple spending billions of taxpayers' money to settle their bills. Her
colleague from across the province, Angeline Masuku is also reported to be
commuting from Bulawayo to either Gwanda or Beitbridge, depending on which
of the two areas would be hosting a government function. Cain Mathema, the
Bulawayo Governor, is said to have been commuting to his Tsholotsho home on
a daily basis with sources saying he was using hundreds of litres of fuel on
a daily basis.

Said one source: "The three have been using either rented
accommodation or their homes since they were appointed to their positions by
President Robert Mugabe some three to four years back. "The major cause for
this is that the ministry of Local Government, Public Works and Urban
Development has failed to construct reasonable accommodation for them as
there are no such funds under its budget.

This has however forced them to travel to Bulawayo where they have
found rented accommodation." The three are reportedly paying hundreds of
millions of dollars to their drivers as well as aides in travel and
subsistence allowances as they are forced to book them into hotels and
lodges closer to the city.

This is because they cannot afford to book them into the five star
hotels in Bulawayo whose rates are estimated to have hit the Z$ 7 500 000
mark. The source also revealed that Masuku"s house that had been constructed
in Gwanda, the Matabeleland South capital, was razed to the ground after a
senior government minister, Paul Mangwana condemned the structure as
"inhabitable" for a person like the provincial governor. This sad episode is
also reported to be unfolding for two provincial administrators, Latiso
Dlamini (Matabeleland North) and David Alfonce Mpofu (Matabeleland South)
respectively.

AND Zimbabwe


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Zimbabwe soccer boss jailed for 1989 car theft

SABC

March 07, 2006, 12:30

Zimbabwe's soccer boss has been jailed for two years for breaking into and
stealing from a car, 14 years after a court upheld his conviction in a case
that local media said had been forgotten.

Rafik Khan, the chairperson of the Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA), was
sent to prison last night after returning from Johannesburg where he was
commissioner for a African Champions League game, court officials confirmed.
But they declined to discuss details of the case, saying Khan could still
challenge his imprisonment at the High Court. Khan's lawyers and family were
not immediately available for comment.

Zimbabwe's government-controlled Herald newspaper said Khan was sentenced to
a jail term in 1992 after being found guilty on charges of breaking and
stealing from a car in 1989, but his appeal of the conviction was never
heard and he remained free. The attorney-general's office had recently
pursued the case leading to Khan's imprisonment yesterday, it said. -
Reuters


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Winds to blame for power cuts

The Chronicle

Chronicle Reporter

THE power cuts that hit Bulawayo since Friday are as a result of the strong
winds and heavy rainfall that have been experienced in the city, ZESA
Holdings General Manager Corporate Communications, Mr James Maridadi, said
yesterday.

Mr Maridadi said the turbulent weather caused trees to fall on power lines,
which tripped power supplies, but assured residents that the problem was
being attended to.
The most affected areas included Hillside, Suburbs, Waterford, Burnside,
Morningside, Matsheumhlophe and some parts of Nkulumane.
"Most of the power lines broke down, especially in the low density suburbs.
However, we have since restored most lines and the few that have not been
restored will be attended to by tomorrow (today) afternoon," Mr Maridadi
said.
Meanwhile, irate residents continued to phone the Chronicle complaining over
power cuts, saying their electrical gadgets had been damaged.
One resident said his refrigerator and television set were damaged because
of power cuts.
"I have to lose millions of dollars to repair my electric gadgets such as my
television set because we know that ZESA will not compensate us," he said.
Mr Francis Juba, from Suburbs, expressed concern over an electric pole that
fell as a result of the weather, saying the exposed cables posed a danger to
residents.
"I am especially concerned about children, who may play with the electric
wires. If ZESA does not do anything about that pole, this could result in
cases of electrocution," he said.
The power blackout comes at a time when reports indicate that Zimbabwe's
electricity import bill has shot up to $600 billion a month from $5 billion.
The increased cost might force ZESA to increase tariffs to remain viable.


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Mutambara Is A CIA Agent - Mutasa

Zim Daily

Tuesday, March 07 2006 @ 12:06 AM GMT
Contributed by: correspondent

The ruling Zanu PF party is increasingly getting unsettled with
MDC pro-senate faction leader Arthur Mutambara, with government's
intelligence chief Didymus Mutasa alleging weekend that the robotics
professor was an undercover Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) operative
recruited to pursue the US's imperialist agenda. Addressing a belated 21st
February movement celebration at Tengwe in Hurungwe East Sunday, Mutasa
urged a timid Zanu PF audience to reject Mutambara's leadership alleging he
was a "sell-out" recruited by US President George Bush to "cause illegal
regime change in Zimbabwe."

Although Zanu PF has over the years sold President Mugabe's
candidature based on his academic achievements, Mutasa, in a move that
smacked of double standards, told the Zanu PF supporters that one did not
need to be a professor to lead."Musatyisidzirwe kuti tine maProfessor aiwa
(Do not be intimidated by the composition of the MDC faction which has two
professors (Prof Welshman Ncube and Mutambara)," Mutasa said. "Hutungamiriri
hauna mhosva nema Professor.

Tine mutungamiriri wedu anoshamisa asiri Professor. (You don't
have to be a Professor to lead a political party. We have our own astute
leader [Robert Mugabe] but he is not a Professor."

In typical Zanu PF fashion, Mutasa digged deep into the ruling
party's bag of conspiracy theories, questioning how Mutambara worked for US
space division NASA while several highly qualified Americans were not
allowed to work in the high tech US centre. Mutambara has worked as a
Research Scientist and Professor of Robotics and Mechatronics at the
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Carnegie Mellon University,
California Institute of Technology, FAMU-FSU, and NASA.

Alleging complicit with the US intelligence, Mutasa said:
"Akakusvika sei kuNASA munhu mutema iko kusingasvikwe nemabhunu? Hakusi
kudzidza kwete. Ndeumwe wevatungamiriri akati asvika ikoko akaiswa mupoto
dzekubikwa nanaBush. Vanobikwa neCIA kana vaibva vonzi dzokerai kumusha
kwenyu munotungamirira. Zvino unonga uchitungamirira vanhu vako here kana
kuti vaBush? (How did he work for NASA? A black Zimbabwean! There are highly
qualified whites that can work there! He was working under the CIA and they
have indoctrinated him and now they have asked him to return to his country
to act as a front for the US."

While Mutambara has worked extensively in the US, his CV does
not state anywhere that he worked under the US intelligence arm. From
January 2000 to March 2002, Prof. Mutambara was a Management Consultant with
McKinsey & Company in the Chicago office. While in Chicago, he was Professor
of Business Strategy at the Kellogg Business School. He was involved in
socio-economic issues while in the US. He obtained his Doctorate of
Philosophy in Robotics and Mechatronics (1995) from Rhodes, and an MSc in
Computer Engineering and Electrical Engineering (1992). At Oxford, he was
President of both the Africa Society, as well as the Merton Graduate Union
(MCR). Prior to attending Oxford, Mutambara graduated with a BSc (Honors) in
Electrical Engineering from the University of Zimbabwe, where he was
President of the Students Union (1989-1990).


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Zim Govt Blows 1,5 million Defending Mawere Companies Take Over Bid

Zim Daily

Tuesday, March 07 2006 @ 12:05 AM GMT
Contributed by: correspondent
The cash-strapped Zimbabwe government blew a staggering 1,5
million (Z$258 billion) in legal fees and costs last week defending its bid
to take-over self exiled tycoon Mutumwa Mawere's UK- registered company.
Government lost the case. The judge slammed the court action brought by the
Zimbabwe government in an attempt to transfer control of Mawere's
UK-registered African Resources Limited to a government nominee company, AMG
Global Nominees Limited.

The judge said the action amounted to "grotesque extravagance",
with both parties hiring top London law firms to represent them. The cash
strapped government spent an estimated 1,3 million to pay top class UK
lawyers. Zimdaily heard that just for travel to the court hearing, the
government spent a whopping 150 000 on first class airfares and five-star
accommodation for its Zimbabwean representatives. These included government
appointed administrator Afaras Gwaradzimba and commercial lawyer and
government purse man Edwin Manikai.

Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono sent four representatives.
Several associates of Gono frequently travelled between Zimbabwe and London
for court hearings. The Zimbabwe government needed the consent of the
English courts to complete the takeover of Mawere's company after realising
it could not do so without the court order. 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 Africa-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.
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.


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MDC New Zealand Stands By Morgan Tsvangirai

Zim Daily

Tuesday, March 07 2006 @ 12:03 AM GMT
Contributed by: MDC New Zealand
MDC New Zealand Press Statement
4 March 2006
Members of Zimbabwe's main opposition party, the Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) met in Auckland today and resolved that:

1. The situation in Zimbabwe needs all people to unite and
confront the dictatorial regime of Robert Mugabe.
2. It is time concerned Zimbabweans, wherever they are, get
involved in efforts to bring about change, rather than watch from the
terraces as the situation continues to deteriorate.

3. MDC President, Morgan Tsvangirai, has made enough effort to
bring back his colleagues who have strayed from the vision to remove the
dictatorial regime of Robert Mugabe from power, but his efforts have been
repeatedly spurned.
4. Morgan Tsvangirai is the legitimate leader of the MDC until
congress elects another President.
5. We don't recognize the meeting held in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe's
second largest city last weekend as an MDC congress, and the one and only
MDC congress to be held in Zimbabwe this year is the one that will take
place on 18 and 19 March 2006 in Harare

6. The desire by Professor Arthur Mutambara, eader of the
opposition grouping formed out of the meeting held in Bulawayo by mostly
former MDC officials, to bring back the break away group into the MDC, is a
welcome initiative, and should the concerned former MDC officials realize
the need to confront the regime in order to bring about a better life for
all Zimbabweans, the door must be kept open for them to do so, provided they
follow the appropriate procedures in so doing.

7. MDC New Zealand will respect the resolutions that will come
out of the 18 - 19 March 2006 congress.
8. MDC New Zealand will mobilize Zimbabweans based in New
Zealand to work towards creating democratic space in Zimbabwe.

9. MDC New Zealand will share notes with other MDC structures in
the Diaspora in an effort to come up with a common approach for Zimbabweans
in the Diaspora in the struggle to bring about a better life for all
Zimbabweans.
10.MDC New Zealand will always strive to give a realistic
impression of the true Zimbabwean situation to the New Zealand and South
Pacific communities

Ben Magaiza
Public Relations Officer
MDC New Zealand


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3 Militant UZ Student Leaders Suspended Over Crippling Demo

Zim Daily

Tuesday, March 07 2006 @ 12:02 AM GMT
Contributed by: correspondent
Zimbabwe's highest institution of learning, the University of
Zimbabwe, has suspended three student leaders for allegedly inciting fellow
students to demonstrate against President Robert Mugabe's government which
recently hiked tuition and accommodation fees by over 1 000 percent. The
suspension is indefinate. The sacked students are Mfundo Mlilo, who heads
the information portfolio in the national coordinating committee of the
students umbrella body - Zimbabwe National Students Union, Collen Chibango
and Wellington Mahohoma who are both members of the University of Zimbabwe's
Students Representative Council.

According to Mlilo, he and his colleagues were yesterday
escorted out of the varsity's campus by tens of security personnel. This
means that the students would not be able to attend their lectures starting
today. The Vice Chancellor of the university, Professor Levi Nyagura,
delivered suspension letters to the students who were asked to come to
campus by the institution's security department. The students however
refused to sign the suspension letters arguing that their suspension was
null and void since they arose from a charge which the Police Criminal
Investigation Department's Law and order dropped.

The suspension letters read in part: "On 21 February 2006 you
brought the University of Zimbabwe's name into disrepute by inciting
students at Masvingo State University and Masvingo Polytechnic College to
demonstrate against the hiking of tuition and accommodation fees". Nyagura
indicated in his communication to the students that there shall be a student
disciplinary hearing of the matter this Friday.

The students representatives have since petitioned higher
education minister Stan Mudenge to review the fees arguing that several
students cannot afford the new fee structures given the economic
difficulties that Zimbabwe is currently facing. In their petition to the
cabinet minister, the academics made it crystal-clear that most of them
would be forced out of school if the education ministry's decision to hike
fees is not reversed.


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Both Factions of the MDC require strategic leadership changes

zimbabwejournalists.com

By Pedzisai Ruhanya

HAVING failed to reconcile, at least as far as I understand the
situation, the two opposing factions of the Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) require fundamental leadership changes to survive. They need to
re-brand both their leadership and strategies in order to face the
fundamental questions of legitimacy and governance Zimbabwe is currently
grappling with. A faction that will come up with a team of national
political leaders, capable to argue at both political and policy levels on
the domestic and international arena, is poised to be the legitimate MDC.

The opposition party needs people who understand the intricacies of
international relations. In short, there is need to have a versatile
leadership not people whose legitimacy to leadership positions is based only
on the capacity to denounce President Robert Mugabe and stating the obvious
economic and political malaise the country has been facing since 2000.
Sloganeering is not adequate enough to claim political power. There are a
lot of missed opportunities that the MDC failed to capitalise on in order to
make Mugabe accept the realities of the situation and the crying masses'
need for regime change. The cry-baby syndrome should be abandoned as a
political strategy. There is need for re-branding the MDC's image, the
implementation of empirical strategies and getting down to serious national
discourse in townships, rural areas and the international arena. This can
only happen when either of the two factions comes up with such a leadership
at their congresses.

It is my view that any of the two factions that lives under illusions
that it has the capacity to deal with the problems on its own will
disappoint its followers and subsequently fail. Given the current opposition
disarray and the absence of any public strategic position to tackle the
ailing Zanu PF regime, I want to propose and argue that if each of the two
factions fails to revamp its top leadership and continue with the perennial
dead wood that we see in the MDC today, it will be doomed to fail.

It should be noted in clear terms that since the formation of the MDC
in 1999, the party has failed to recruit competent people among its rank and
file because of the fear among the mediocrity in the opposition that they
will lose their positions. But I think the time has now come for the party
to critically think and see how either of the factions can position itself
as the legitimate and democratic MDC. The usual tactics of elbowing talent
out of leadership positions and protecting illusionary government posts is
over because the struggle for democracy is long and needs both road runners
and leadership strategist. Such people are found in abundance in Zimbabwe.

The political mudslinging that has been going on between the two
opposing factions will end after the two congresses. This will depend on the
faction that positions itself as the most credible through the recruitment
of a vibrant leadership which can take on the ZANU PF dictatorship at
organisational capacity and argumentative discourse.
The MDC needs a leadership that has the capacity to deal with conflict
resolutions. This capacity has been lacking in the MDC. Faced with its
fallout of 12 October 2005, Morgan Tsvangirai, Gibson Sibanda, Welshman
Ncube and Isaac Matongo failed to reconcile their differences and that for
me was a clear indication of lack of leadership. Instead of addressing their
problems, the MDC leadership started to create phantom theories of
government infiltration on matters that they could have resolved on their
own. There was even the tendency to label others tribalists because they
differed with the leader. To me that was mediocrity at its worst.
Instead of dealing with issues of substance and problems at hand, the
MDC leaders started to look at imaginary ethnic theories as if the crisis in
Zimbabwe is that of ethnicity. Instead of saying that Professor Ncube or
Tsvangirai was failing to address certain fundamental issues as they relate
to party governance, some misguided elements started to ascribe ethnicity to
one's argument or position. That to me showed the greatest failings of the
MDC leadership. A Zimbabwean from Gwanda has a legitimate right to disagree
with his or her counterpart from Chipinge without being labelled a
tribalist. The same should happen to every Zimbabwean. Those who use the
tribal card to suffocate their colleagues' arguments should have no place in
Zimbabwe's political space. Some of the country's late nationalists, notably
Joshua Nkomo, commanded support across Zimbabwe without being tagged Ndebele
or anything of that sort. I know of people in the Zaka district of Masvingo
province who do not believe in the current ZANU PF leadership, who have been
ZAPU through out and are ardent followers of Joshua Nkomo. That's why when
Nkomo died in 1999 we saw old men and women in Mbare and Sakubva crying.
They did so because Nkomo was not an embodiment of ethnic but national
politics. He addressed issues of substance to do with the national
liberation of Zimbabwe.

The MDC leadership by allowing itself and supporters to engage in
ethnic politics offended nationhood because that is primitive. The
opposition party should also leave up to its claims of being a democratic
party by celebrating diversity among its rank and file and protecting human
rights in the conduct of its business. This will put the opposition on high
morale ground to challenge the undisputed abuses of human rights associated
with the ZANU PF regime. There should be no equivocation on these democratic
tenets that the MDC has so far defended well since its formation six year
ago. There is nothing wrong with keeping spirits high by being consistent.
Both factions should appreciate the significance of democracy as a way
to promote respect for human rights - it offers the promise of providing
strategic guidance for national reforms.
By failing to fully explain to its membership and supporters events
leading to the fall-out, the MDC has not been fair at all. There was a
tendency by bureaucrats in the MDC especially at Harvest House, the party's
headquarters, to substitute the party's structures by involving themselves
in the political organisation of the party. Elected officials were sidelined
while part of the secretariat decided to take political decisions that did
not resonate with the people on the ground because they were not part of the
structures. In short, the MDC secretariat usurped the powers of Congress and
indeed the Constitution of the party.
Instead of taking directives from the politicians, they gave orders to
elected officers of Congress and this went on for a long period without any
effective executive restraint. The secretariat even decided candidates for
political office. One example was the Zengeza by-election in 2004 where the
party secretariat connived with the leadership to impose a candidate who
later lost the election. The MDC structures camped for several days at
Harvest House imploring the leadership to take the democratic root but they
were told to go away and others were assaulted by security guards. Instead
of telling the world that party lost the election because they cheated their
political structures, which later refused to campaign for the imposed
candidate, they turned to phantom explanations.
It is my submission that whichever faction of the MDC contains these
undemocratic elements in its secretariat is doomed to fail if it does not
reform. The MDC is facing this crisis because of its activities which went
on unchecked for a long time. The bureaucrats in the party had the audacity
to challenge elected Members of Parliament simply because they are close to
the leadership. This also explains why opposition MPs are so divided. If not
checked, the MDC could be harbouring paid State agents in its secretariat
who in the end will destroy it for good. These officials have isolated the
leader of the party to the extent that he was not even aware that his
councillors were going to vote for participating in the controversial Senate
elections. If they were competent advisors, they should have done their home
work well before the election and advised their leader accordingly rather
than allow him to enter into a democratic process, lose the vote, denounce
others and refuse to abide by the out come. That was a poor piece of advice
and the consequences are there for everyone to see. They should either be
fired or asked to enter the political ring before it is too late. If not,
they will frustrate even those who believed Tsvangirai was right. The
opposition leader should be careful because he may be left alone due to the
naivety of his bureaucrats.


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Journalist quits Mirror over harassment

New Zimbabwe

By Lebo Nkatazo
Last updated: 03/07/2006 08:51:29
A SENIOR reporter at the Zimbabwe Mirror Newspapers Group (ZNMG) which was
taken over by the country's security services has resigned citing
harassment.

Sources at the newspaper group said the Daily Mirror's award winning health
reporter, Paidamwoyo Chipunza tendered her resignation letter on Monday
saying "undue pressure was being exerted on her".

Chipunza, who joined The Daily Mirror in February 2004, was also the
Zimbabwe Union of Journalists (ZUJ) Mirror branch chairperson.

Her resignation follows a purge launched by the Central Intelligence
Organization (CIO) against staff perceived to be loyal to Mirror founder and
Editor in Chief Ibbotson Day Mandaza, which has seen a number of journalists
and members of staff being fired or suspended.

Another senior reporter who was suspended a fortnight ago was set to appear
before a disciplinary hearing Monday whose outcome could not be verified
immediately.

"Paida tendered her resignation letter on Monday citing harassment," said a
journalist at the paper.

"She said she did not have anything to lose since the paper is failing to
pay its workers."

Sources said the CIO have put "harsh" working conditions at the Mirror for
purposes of getting rid of staff in order to replace them with state agents
and their loyalists.

The CIO has been struggling to pay workers at the two titles with February
salaries which were due by the 25th of that month still not paid by Monday


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Commentary : Dictators come and go



First posted 01:12am (Mla time) Mar 08, 2006
By Belinda A. Aquino
Inquirer

Editor's Note: Published on Page A15 of the March 8, 2006 issue of the
Philippine Daily Inquirer

HONOLULU -- It's that time again for David Wallechinsky's annual list of the
world's 10 worst living dictators. His latest list draws from various
reports of organizations, such as Human Rights Watch, Freedom House, Amnesty
International and Reporters Without Borders.

A "dictator" is defined as a "head of state who exercises arbitrary
authority over the lives of his citizens and who cannot be removed from
power through legal means." Our Filipino contribution to this "Hall of
Shame," was, of course, Ferdinand Marcos, who was removed by extra-legal
People Power 20 years ago.

The top three among the 2006 "Scoundrels of the Earth" are the same as last
year's, but two -- Moammar Gadhafi of Libya and Pervez Musharraf of
Pakistan -- have slipped out of the cursed circle, "not because their
conduct has improved but because other dictators have gotten worse." The
worst three are: Omar al-Bashir, 62, of Sudan; Kim Jong-il, 63, of North
Korea; and Than Shwe, 72, of Burma. Al-Bashir has been in power since 1989,
Kim Jong-il since 1994, and Shwe since 1992.

The Sudanese dictator has been in the news since 2003 when his ethnic
cleansing campaign began, killing at least 180,000 civilians in Darfur,
western Sudan, and displacing an estimated 2 million Sudanese from their
homes. His men have routinely burned villages until there are no longer any
villages to burn. The attacks have reportedly gravitated to the refugee
camps.

Kim Jong-il still leads the world's most tightly controlled society, which
has been in the news because of concern about its nuclear weapons program.
An estimated 250,000 people are still in "re-education camps."
Malnourishment is endemic. It is believed that a 7-year-old North Korean boy
is 8 inches shorter and 20 pounds lighter than his South Korean counterpart.

Burma's strongman Shwe relocated his country's capital from Rangoon to
Pyinmana, a remote area, giving civil servants only two days' notice. Worse,
they were forbidden from resigning. Burma tops the world in terms of using
children as soldiers and forced labor on construction projects.
Pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi is still under house arrest.

Last year's No. 9 has "graduated" to No. 4. Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe, 81, in
power since 1980, has gone "from bad to worse." Unemployment has risen to 80
percent, and the AIDS rate to 20 percent. Inflation in Zimbabwe is the
highest in the world. Mugabe launched the "Clean the Filth" project,
evicting some 700,000 Zimbabweans to prevent them from demonstrating as the
economy deteriorates.

Only No. 15 in last year's ranking, Uzbekistan's Islam Karimov, 67, is this
year's No. 5. Quite a "promotion," and that's because on May 13, 2005, he
ordered a mass killing in Andijan, in which scores of men, women and
children, who had gathered in the town square to air their grievances, were
massacred. A 2003 law made Karimov and his family immune from prosecution
"forever."

China's Hu Jintao, 63, and last year's No. 4, improved to become No. 6 in
the 2006 listing. At least an estimated 250,000 political dissidents are
believed to be still in re-education camps. The government censors mail and
monitors phone calls, fax, e-mail and text messages. In preparation for the
2008 Olympics, about 400,000 Beijing residents have been reported evicted.

Also in a better position at No. 7 is King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, 82,
last year's No. 5. According to Amnesty International, police routinely use
torture to extract "confessions." Phone calls are recorded and phones with
cameras are banned. Public employees cannot "engage in dialogue with local
and foreign media." Women must cover their faces and bodies in public. They
cannot drive and must not appear in public with men who are not their
relatives.

Turkmenistan's Saparmurat Niyazov, 65, has retained his No. 8 ranking. He is
said to have created the "most pervasive personality cult," which includes
ordering his country's doctors not to swear to the Hippocratic Oath but to
him instead. He has whimsically banned such things as lip-synching and
playing recorded music on TV or during wedding ceremonies. He is also
reported to have replaced 15,000 health care workers with untrained military
conscripts.

A newcomer is No. 9 Seyed Ali Khamanei, 66, of Iran, who was only No. 18
last year. Though Iran held a presidential election in 2005, the country is
really run by a 12-man Guardian Council overseen by the Ayatollah Khamanei.
He has reportedly ordered the shutting down of the free press, the torture
of journalists and the execution of homosexual men. The council has the
right to veto any law that the elected government passes.

Finally, Equatorial Guinea's Teodoro Obiang Nguema, 63, also retains his
ranking at No. 10. Investigation is usually done by torture. There is no
freedom of speech and the only private radio station is owned by Obiang's
son. Most of the people live on less than $1 a day, and after major oil
reserves were discovered in 1995, Obiang has reportedly siphoned off $700
million into special US bank accounts. Among the top 10, Obiang, who seized
power in 1979 from his uncle, has been dictator for the longest time.

Dictators never die. Some have faded but others have taken their place. As
grim as it sounds, this world will probably not be rid of dictators, even in
the long run.

Belinda A. Aquino is professor of Political Science and Asian Studies at the
University of Hawaii at Manoa where she is also director of the Center for
Philippine Studies.

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