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IMF says Zimbabwe inflation to hit 6 000 percent mark

Zim Online

Tuesday 15 May 2007

By Thulani Munda

HARARE - The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has painted a gloomy picture
of Zimbabwe's economic prospects predicting that inflation could breach the
6 000 percent mark next year.

In its World Economic Outlook for April 2007, the IMF said the Consumer
Price Index (CPI) was set to end the year at 2 879.5 percent, before hitting
6 470.8 percent in 2008.

The IMF also predicted a 5.7 percent reduction in the Gross Domestic Product
(GDP) this year and a further shrinkage of 3.6 percent for next year as
Zimbabwe's seven-year old economic recession continues unabated.

The Zimbabwean government has in the past few months failed to release
inflation data as scheduled amid concerns by economic commentators that
Harare was fiddling with figures to understate the current inflation levels.

The Central Statistical Office (CSO) failed to release inflation figures for
last March with Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor Gideon Gono only
revealing during his interim first quarter monetary policy presentation two
weeks ago that inflation had hit the 2 200 percent mark.

Gono, who was appointed central bank governor by President Robert Mugabe in
2003 with the specific task of reversing Zimbabwe's economic decline, has in
the past said inflation was the country's "number one enemy."

The latest inflation forecasts come two weeks after the IMF released a
working paper, Lessons from high inflation episodes for stabilizing the
economy in Zimbabwe, in which it attacked Harare for deliberately
understating inflation figures.

The IMF said when Harare last year said inflation had hit 1 730 percent,
inflation had in fact surged closer to 3 000 percent.

In the working paper, the IMF said Zimbabwe's inflation rate was much higher
than official figures because half of the products used in the basket to
measure the CPI were products with controlled prices, including maize meal,
milk, bread, cooking oil and flour.

"It is worth mentioning that the official CPI in Zimbabwe is likely to
substantially understate inflation because about a third of the basket
reflects price controlled items and the consumption weights are outdated,"
the IMF said then.

The Fund has in the past said there were no indications that inflation will
slow down any time soon given the plummeting value of the Zimbabwe dollar
and the continued printing of money by the government. - ZimOnline

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Selling fish to Mugabe is risky business

Zim Online

Tuesday 15 May 2007

By Nigel Hangarume

HARARE - Zimbabwean soldiers at the weekend severely beat up fish vendors in
the working class suburb of Kuwadzana in Harare for displaying baskets of
fish to President Robert Mugabe's passing motorcade.

The soldiers, who were armed with rifles and truncheons, accused the hapless
vendors of insulting Mugabe after they displayed their "smelling fish" to
the President.

It was not clear if the vendors had moved towards the passing motorcade in a
bid to beg Mugabe, who was traveling from his rural home in Zvimba, to buy
some of their fish.

Under Zimbabwe's tough security laws, it is an offence to make offensive
gestures or swear at Mugabe's motorcade.

The law says that a person "shall not make any gesture or statement within
the view or hearing of the state motorcade with the intention of insulting
any person traveling with an escort or any member of the escort".

The vendors told ZimOnline on Monday that all hell broke loose when some
soldiers returned to the scene, about 20 minutes after Mugabe passed through
the suburb.

"First they asked why we were showing off our fish to Mugabe and then they
started beating us randomly," said Norbert Marenga, one of the vendors.

"One of the soldiers said the President was angry because we were turning
the roadside into another Mbare Musika. The soldiers said we were
embarrassing the government by openly showing off our poverty to the

Army spokesperson Colonel Simon Tsatsi could not be reached for comment on
the matter last night.

The Zimbabwean government two years ago violently removed all vendors from
roadsides in a military-style clean-up crackdown dubbed Operation

But the vendors have slowly returned to city pavements and on the road sides
as a seven-year old economic crisis most people blame on Mugabe's
mismanagement deepens. - ZimOnline.

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US warns citizens in Zimbabwe

Zim Online

Tuesday 15 May 2007

By Patricia Mpofu

HARARE - The United States government has warned its citizens against
travelling to Zimbabwe saying President Robert Mugabe's government had
stepped up a crackdown on perceived political opponents.

In the announcement issued at the weekend, the US said the political
situation in Zimbabwe had deteriorated further following a three-month
crackdown on the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party.

Last Tuesday, Zimbabwean police brutally assaulted human rights lawyer
Beatrice Mtetwa and two other lawyers who were protesting against the arrest
and detention of their colleagues in Harare.

The US said the Harare authorities had authorised state security
forces to suppress any dissent by any means necessary adding that the
government was condoning the use of lethal force against perceived

"In light of the current circumstances, US citizens are advised to
consider the risks before travelling to Zimbabwe at this time," read part of
the public announcement that was made available to ZimOnline yesterday.

The US said while urban areas remained the focal point of Mugabe's
crackdown, it had received reports that "indiscriminate state-sponsored
violence had spread to rural areas, including tourist, hunting and safari

The US urged all its citizens in Zimbabwe to register with its embassy
in Harare saying the measure would make it easy for the embassy to contact
its citizens in case of an emergency.

The MDC says at least 600 of its supporters have been arrested and
tortured over the past three months as Mugabe cracks down on the resurgent
opposition party that has presented the biggest challenge to his rule.

More than 40 MDC supporters are presently languishing in remand prison
in Harare after they arrested during the crackdown.

The government accuses the MDC supporters of spearheading a bombing
campaign of state institutions in an attempt to effect illegal change in
Zimbabwe. The MDC denies the charge. - ZimOnline

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Harare begs Australia to rethink ban

Zim Online

Tuesday 15 May 2007

By Nigel Hangarume

HARARE - Zimbabwe's Information Minister Sikhanyiso Ndlovu on Monday urged
Australia to reverse its ban on its national team's tour of Zimbabwe for
three one-day internationals, saying the decision was unjustifiable.

Ndlovu all but ruled out the possibility of the series being played in a
neutral country.

Australian Prime Minister John Howard on Sunday banned his country's
national cricket side from fulfilling a tour of Zimbabwe scheduled for
September in protest against President Robert Mugabe's human rights record.

"What the Australian prime minister is doing is unjustifiable," Ndlovu told
a press conference in Harare last night.

Deputy information minister Bright Matonga, on Sunday accused Howard of a
"racist ploy" after he banned his nation's cricketers from visiting

Cricket Australia are offering to play Zimbabwe on a neutral venue, most
likely in South Africa, but instead Ndlovu urged the world champions to have
a rethink.

"We are a sovereign nation and we are not a colony of the British or any
other Western nation. We hope the Australian cricket team will reverse its
decision and come here and play by September."

Ndlovu said Australia had to honour its International Cricket Council
obligations by fulfilling the tour which would give the game in Zimbabwe a

"Zimbabwe is a Test nation and for the sake of the development of the game
the series should be played in Zimbabwe. There is nothing to fear because
many tourists are coming to Zimbabwe," he said.

Zimbabwe Cricket officials yesterday also indicated they were not willing to
move the series to any other venue, insisting that they were capable of
successfully hosting Australia without any disturbances.

Australian cricketers had been under serious political pressure to boycott
Zimbabwe as the isolation of Mugabe worsens in reaction to his repression
against the opposition which accuses him of running down the country. -

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From Africa’s bread basket to economic basket case, life in Mugabe’s Zimbabwe

May 15, 2007
As inflation roars on in four-digit territory, every day has become a struggle for survival

In Robert Mugabe’s Harare, the streets are not paved with gold – they are paved with discarded Zimbabwean dollar bills. And nobody is bothering to pick them up.

With the highest inflation rates in the world and financial chaos at both government and street level, local currency has become a conundrum, even a joke, to many Zimbabweans. Eighty per cent are unemployed and living below the poverty line, according to figures from the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions.

Blessed Mbhoko, a young professional in Harare, has resorted to cutting branches from decorative street trees to fuel a meagre breakfast fire in his kitchen for porridge. “I wake up with no idea what anything will cost. My pirate taxi driver is also in the dark. All we can agree is that my trip to work will cost more,” he said.

As the brutal government crackdown on opposition continues and widens its net, there is no indication that what Gideon Gono, the Reserve Bank Governor, has dubbed “the inflation monster” and “economic HIV” will be curbed, or that the Zimbabwean ordeal will end.

Last week Mr Gono belatedly declared that inflation had reached the 2,200 per cent mark. The declaration had been due the previous month but allegedly had been postponed to avoid embarrassment to President Mugabe as he embarked on a state visit to offer economic advice to Namibia.

The International Monetary Fund described Mr Gono’s statistics as “understated” and said that the inflation figure was closer to 3,000 per cent at the end of February. Economic analysts in Zimbabwe say that the actual rate of inflation could have reached 4,400 per cent and have revised their predicted year-end tally from 5,000 to about 7,000 per cent.

Mr Mugabe, 83, continues to swing verbal fists at the West, particularly Britain, and blames sanctions for his country’s economic and social collapse. The sanctions, imposed by Western powers after widespread malpractice in the 2002 presidential polls, specifically target Mr Mugabe and members of his inner circle and have a negligible influence on the economy, opposition groups say.

Running a business in a hyper-inflationary environment brings with it huge problems, unknown in the West for decades. Old Mutual, the Anglo-South African insurer, has had to change its local dividend payout in just six weeks from just over Z$20 a share to nearly Z$1,250 a share.

Commodity prices have soared in response to Mr Gono’s latest inflation figures.

A 10kg sack of porridge flour, a dietary staple essential to the survival of many Zimbabweans, increased from Z$6,200 to Z$62,000 overnight. The official cost of corn rose 700 per cent. Two litres of cooking oil rose from Z$55,000 to Z$75,000 and fresh milk quadrupled in price.

Yet salaries remain stagnant, with the bulk of civil servants earning Z$200,000 a month. While the ruling elite drive shiny Mercedes and BMWs, life for the ordinary Zimbabwean has become a grim daily battle to survive.

Shops and supermarkets witness scenes reminiscent of the cartoon series Wacky Races as shoppers run to grab products before hurrying staff can attach the day’s latest increased price tags. Tills, cash machines and wallets struggle to accommodate the huge number of bills now needed to purchase basic commodities.

Government response to inflation seems set to feed Mr Gono’s dragon. In a move that has been seen as a 90 per cent devaluation of the currency, a parallel exchange rate of Z$15,000 has been hastily established. It is available only to exporters and the select few.

Stubbornly pegged at an official exchange rate of $1 to Z$250 for ordinary Zimbabweans, the black market exchange market offers $1 for Z$25,000. Z$250 will buy a small boiled sweet and Z$25,000 is a quarter of what will cover a frugal breakfast excursion to a café. The government scheme is to “creatively” encourage exports by purchasing foreign currency at the special “parallel market” exchange rate of Z$15,000. Thus the bank is losing Z$14,750 for every single American dollar that it buys.

Subsidies are nothing new and neither are their disastrous consequences. For more than a year, the Grain Marketing Board bought maize at Z$52,000 a tonne, then sold it on to millers for Z$600 per tonne. “The grain company is still bleeding,” Paul Nyakazeya, a business journalist, said. “The entire economy is fraught with massive distortion. Government purchases fuel at 59 (US) cents and sells at a loss-making Z$325; it costs bakers Z$6,000 to bake bread that the government insists they sell at Z$824.” Another journalist pointed out that a plate of porridge is more expensive than a gram of gold: “This is the season of madness.”

Tutsi Malima is a Zimbabwean who fled into exile in Namibia after Mr Mugabe’s police forced him to personally demolish his home and family clothing shop during the “Drive Out The Trash” shanty town clearance campaign that left more than 500,000 people homeless. “At independence we were the bread basket of Africa. [We’ve gone] from bread basket to basket case.”

Like him, more than two million Zimbabweans have taken refuge in neighbouring African states since the takeover of white-owned farms began seven years ago, sending the economy into freefall. An exile organisation said that a further 400,000 are “waiting it out in England”.

With Mr Mugabe showing no sign of relinquishing power and southern Africa’s “quiet diplomacy” proving impotent to precipitate regime change, the wait shows every indication of being a long one.

Rising sums

$444m foreign investment in Zimbabwe in 1998

$2.5bn Zimbabwe’s foreign debt last year

$109m foreign debt in 1999

2,200% offical rate of inflation

3,000% Rate of inflation estimated by the IMF

Z$250 official exchange rate for US$1

Z$25,000 black market exchange rate


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Zimbabwe rules out playing at neutral venue


Mon May 14, 2007 7:33PM BST

By Nelson Banya

HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe on Monday rejected an offer for its cricket team
to play Australia at a neutral venue and accused the Australian government
of renewed efforts to topple President Robert Mugabe.

Australia barred its national team from travelling to Zimbabwe for a
scheduled three-match tour in September to protest against Mugabe's rule,
prompting Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland to suggest the
world champions could play Zimbabwe at a neutral venue.

 "That is wishful thinking ... the International Cricket Council says
Zimbabwe can host the Australians and any other cricket country here,"
Zimbabwe Information Minister Sikhanyiso Ndlovu told reporters in Harare on
He said the move to cancel the tour and the Australian government's
announcement that it was increasing funding for civic groups in the southern
African country were part of efforts to ostracise and unseat Mugabe.

An Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade statement released on
Monday said Australia would significantly boost its support for human rights
campaigners and community organisations in Zimbabwe over the next two years,
starting with the immediate release of nearly A$6 million (2.5 million

The Australian government has planned to channel A$18 million by 2008 to
Zimbabwean civic groups and aid agencies through the Australian Fund for

"The Australian foreign minister has announced an $18 million Australian
dollar fund for regime change. We have a process here for the change of
government through democratic elections and not any other way," Ndlovu said.

"For them to put up that money when we are heading for an election reveals
their agenda, but we have a law here against foreign funding for political
parties, directly or through NGOs or their embassy."


Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer had earlier told reporters
Zimbabwe was unlikely to allow the match going ahead at a neutral venue.

"For them, I suspect, and at least for the Zimbabwean government, it would
be seen to be humiliating to acknowledge that they're not able to play
against the top cricket team within their own country.

 "My guess is that this won't come about."
Australian Prime Minister John Howard said the government had taken the
initiative to ban the players from touring because it was unfair to leave
the decision to sportsmen.

"I'm sorry it has come to this. It really does pain me as a cricket lover.
But this is a terrible regime," Howard said.

"This is a weapon available to the government. It is a device, it is a
method of sending a very strong signal of disapproval."

A number of senior Australian players said they were relieved the government
had taken the decision out of their hands.

Opening batsman Matthew Hayden said he had been thinking about a private
boycott if the tour had gone ahead.

"I was seriously considering my position this time, as to whether I would go
if the tour went ahead," Hayden told The Australian.

(Additional reporting by Julian Linden in Sydney)

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Australia puts up £8m to Mugabe's opponents to oust tyrant

Daily Mail, UK

Last updated at 15:57pm on 14th May 2007

Australia said it would spend £8 million backing critics of Zimbabwe's
strongman President Robert Mugabe just a day after banning a cricket tour of
the troubled African nation.

As Zimbabwe criticised Australia's government for stopping the country's
world champion cricketers from touring in September, Foreign Minister
Alexander Downer said Canberra was determined to assist Zimbabweans battle
abuses under Mugabe.

"Under the disastrous rule of the Mugabe regime, ordinary Zimbabweans have
borne the brunt of famine and near total collapse brought on by the regime's
destructive and callous policies," Downer said.

Australia, he said, planned to spend a total of £2.52 million on human
rights and humanitarian groups before June, rising by another £5.04 million
before June 2008.

The money would go to Zimbabwean civil rights groups opposed to the Mugabe
government, as well as providing independent information about the
83-year-old's crackdown on political opponents and U.N.-backed aid in the
country, Downer said.

Zimbabwe's Information and Publicity Minister Sikhanyiso Ndlovu accused
Australia's Prime Minister John Howard of using sport to demonise his
government, while junior minister Bright Matonga said Canberra should not be
judging his country.

"This is also a racist ploy to kill our local cricket since our cricket team
is now dominated by black players as we slowly transform cricket from being
an elite sport," Matonga told Zimbabwe's The Herald newspaper.

Howard, who has likened Mugabe's tactics to those of World War Two Nazis,
said any racist accusations were absurd and the majority of Australians
supported the government's boycott decision, including cricket captain Ricky

"I'm sorry it has come to this. It really does pain me as a cricket lover.
But this is a terrible regime," Howard said.

Australia's cricket decision won backing from Zimbabwe's main opposition
figure, Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) Leader Morgan Tsvangirai, who
was this year beaten by government security forces.

"I think as a way of applying international pressure it is welcome,"
Tsvangirai told Australian Broadcasting Corpration radio.

Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland said Australia would be
willing to play the Zimbabweans at a neutral venue, but Downer said that was
unlikely to happen.

Mugabe, in power since independence in 1980, says the MDC is being funded by
the West to carry out a campaign of terror to topple his government.

The MDC denies the charges.


Here's what readers have had to say so far.

Three cheers for the australian prime minister, he has shown the guts sadly
lacking in so many including Tony Blair and his European lackies not to
mention the americans. Its about time the politically correct liberals in
the media and european politics stood up to this thug, after all they were
not happy until they got him into power.

- Darrell Monteith, Omagh, Northern Ireland UK

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Zimbabwe to Chair UN Commission on Sustainable Development--Unfortunately, That's Not Just a Sick Joke

It's enough to make you weep or throw things in frustration. Zimbabwe has been selected to head the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. As the Times (London) observes, Robert Mugabe's government has

...left 700,000 of its citizens without accommodation by bulldozing their homes, caused millions more to starve after violent land seizures that destroyed farming and so mismanaged its own economy that it has the world’s highest inflation.

The Harrisonburg Daily News properly asks:

Is there any nation on Earth more unsuited for that position?

I can think of a few other possible nominees. Haiti and the Democratic Republic of Congo come to mind, but the Daily News' point is valid.

This is not an isolated instance of outrageous UN appointments. Recall that Libya was once selected to head the UN Human Rights Commission.

Frequent reason contributor Jonathan Rauch once proposed creating a league of democracies as a counterweight to a thoroughly corrupt UN.

Finally, it seems that Robert Mugabe is following my advice on how to achieve the miracle of poverty.


Send objections to the UN via this URL:


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Zimbabwe 'ignoring' SA diplomacy


 Last Updated: Monday, 14 May 2007, 12:26 GMT 13:26 UK

Zimbabwe's government is not listening to South Africa's attempts to
mediate its political crisis, says a senior African National Congress
South Africa has refused to criticise Zimbabwe's President Robert
Mugabe in public, preferring "quiet diplomacy".

But Tokyo Sexwale told the BBC it might be necessary "to turn up the

South Africa's President Thabo Mbeki has been asked to help mediate
Zimbabwe's political crisis ahead of elections dues next year.

South Africa is the region's powerhouse and continues to supply
electricity to Zimbabwe even though it struggles to pay the bills on time.

'Two to tango'

Mr Sexwale - a veteran ANC activist and one of South Africa's
wealthiest businessmen - told the BBC's Hardtalk programme that a meltdown
in Zimbabwe had to be avoided at all costs, as this would have serious
implications for South Africa.

"I'm beginning to feel my president, who's gone out on a limb, is not
being listened to," he said.

"He won't fail because he didn't try. He'll fail because he's not
being listened to. It takes two to tango."

BBC Southern Africa correspondent Peter Biles says these comments by
Mr Sexwale, a close confidante of Nelson Mandela, reflect a mood of growing
public frustration about the deepening crisis in Zimbabwe.

While the US and the EU have imposed a travel ban and assets freeze on
Mr Mugabe and his close allies, many African leaders see him as a hero of
the fight against colonial rule.

Mr Sexwale said the rule of law must be upheld by the Zimbabwean

In March, opposition activists, including Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai, were severely assaulted after being
arrested by police.

Mr Mugabe said they deserved the beatings for ignoring police warnings
not to hold a banned rally.

Mr Sexwale said he was praying that President Mbeki's intervention on
behalf of the Southern African Development Community would succeed, but he
acknowledged that punitive sanctions were an option that might become
necessary in the future.


An estimated two to three million Zimbabweans are now living in South

Most are trying to escape poverty in a country with the world's
highest rate of inflation - 2,200%.

Just one Zimbabwean in five has a job.

But some have fled political persecution.

In a significant move, it has been confirmed that former MDC MP Roy
Bennett has been granted political asylum in South Africa, after fleeing
there last year.

His request was initially turned down last May.

He fled Zimbabwe after police had said he was wanted in connection
with an alleged plot to kill President Mugabe.

Mr Bennett was jailed for eight months in 2004 after pushing a
minister in parliament.

His farm has been seized under the land reform programme and several
of his workers were beaten up by pro-government militias.

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Zim to expand controversial youth training

Mail and Guardian

Harare, Zimbabwe

14 May 2007 03:54

      The Zimbabwe government plans to expand the controversial youth
training programme, the recruits of which have been criticised for serious
rights violations, reports said on Monday.

      The announcement by Youth Minister Saviour Kasukuwere in
Monday's official Herald newspaper comes less than a year ahead of crunch
presidential and parliamentary polls.

      In the past members of the National Youth Service -- dubbed
Green Bombers because of the army-type fatigues they wear -- have campaigned
for President Robert Mugabe's ruling Zanu-PF party.

      "The National Youth Service is a noble idea that should see
youths contributing positively towards community and national development
through the life skills they gain there," Kasukuwere was quoted as saying.

      "Currently, we don't have the capacity to train everyone but
ultimately we will get there," he added.

      Independent reports suggest youths in the camps undergo
military-type training and are taught to see the opposition and Western
countries as enemies.

      They have also been accused of perpetrating rights abuses,
especially in the run-up to key elections. But the youth minister said the
programme would be expanded despite the criticism.

      Kasukuwere said the government plans to have all youths go
through the training programmes. He did not give figures on how many people
it would enlist, but recent independent reports have suggested the figure
may be as high as 15 000.

      Youths trained under the programme have been used as labour on
government-owned farms or recruited into the nursing corps, the police and
the army, he said.

      "Just recently, the chief nursing officer commended national
youth service training saying that youths coming from our institution were
well disciplined and that's not all as the police and army have also done
the same," he said.

      Zimbabwean police have been criticised in recent weeks for
detaining and torturing dozens of opposition officials and activists in a
state-sponsored crackdown against dissent. -- Sapa-dpa

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Cash-strapped Zesa forces residents to buy own cables

14th May 2007 18:44 GMT

By Dennis Rekayi

HARARE - The cash-strapped Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA),
which for a long time now has been asking people building new houses to buy
their own cables so they can be connected onto the main grid, has now
started to telling residents to pay up so it can replace stolen cables.

The struggling power utility, which recently announced it would be embarking
on a major load shedding programme to help wheat growers, has been
struggling and failing to replace stolen cables and transmitters resulting
in thousands of families having to live in the dark all the time even when
there are no power cuts.

The situation is the same with telephone lines. Thieves have been stealing
cables resulting in many households having to go for many years without
services because the case-strapped postal and telecommunications company
does not have resources to replace the cables.

"We have been without electricity for a long time - about three months now
because ZESA cannot replace a stolen transmitter in our area," said Lizzie
Kufa of Glen Norah A. "We hear so many stories about when the repairs and
replacements are going to be down. We are basically living in the dark here
and the new story is that we should contribute as residents towards the
replacement of the transmitter."

Another resident who did not want to be named said: "ZESA has been letting
us down for a very long time now. We as the residents should say enough is
enough and come together in bigger numbers to demand a better service."

He continued: "New home owners in Ruwa, Norton and other areas have been
buying their own cables after getting lists from ZESA but it is not fair to
expect people like us who have been affected by thieves to pay up for new
transmitters and cables. It is unfair."

In Highfield, the Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA) reports that
some residents have reported to them that ZESA is forcing them to pay for
stolen electricity cables so they can be connected back to the main grid. A
number of households in the area have been affected by lack of ZESA's
financial capacity to replace stolen cables and have been living in the dark
for months on end.

The Zimbabwe Electricity Distribution Company (ZEDC) has ordered at least
six families in Highfield to purchase their own electricity cables at a
total cost of $15 million to replace the old cables which were stolen by
thieves. These families have been without electricity since the end of

After telling ZESA their plight, the families were told to buy the cables
for themselves because ZESA is broke and has no money to replace the stolen

One Henry Kufaruwenga and a colleague recently visited CHRA offices and
reported that they had been directed to go and see a ZESA official only
identified as Mr. Mudavanhu at ZESA Birmingham Street who would give them
details of the kind of cables that they were supposed to buy.

They were told to purchase two core SWA cable 9mx, size 2 jointing kit, 3 x
16 mm2 jointing fernules, one roll of insulation tape and all this would
cost around $12 milling. All the affected household have been asked to
purchase all the required cables and kit yet only two kits and shared
lengths of cables are required, says the CHRA.

"ZESA has been coming up with some shocking positions regarding their
services, raising suspicions among residents that the power utility is broke
and can no longer provide electricity to citizens. Residents are irked by
this daylight robbery that is being exercised by ZESA. The cables are
supposed to be bought from ZESA only," said the CHRA.

"It is not the residents' fault that ZESA is broke. Residents have been
paying exorbitant rates to the power utility and they demand corresponding
services. Most residents have not been receiving their bills from the power
utility but are still being penalised for not paying on time."

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The government oiling its wheels of violence

The Daily Catalyst 14 May 2007
From the Crisis Coalition of Zimbabwe

"Don't cry if your relatives get killed in the process. where men and women
provide food for the dissidents when we get there we eradicate them. We do
not differentiate who we fight because we cant tell who is a dissident and
who is not." President Robert Mugabe (1983)

On Friday, 11 May 2007, the Deputy Minister of Youth and Employment
Creation, Saviour Kasukuwere enunciated that the government intends to
resuscitate the notorious National Youth Service, infamous for its graduates
who are still traumatizing civilians and opposition supporters across the
country. The centres were introduced by the late ZANU PF Political
Commissar, Border Gezi.

The announcement comes at a time when the civil society, opposition members,
journalists and lawyers are facing reprisal from the 'law enforcement agents'.
The recent attack on the legal practitioners spells out the level at which
the government is prepared to silence dissenting voices.

We therefore question the motives of the resuscitation of the para-military
camps with regards to the terror they unleashed in the run up to the 2002
presidential election which witnessed the worst bloodshed in post
independence Zimbabwe after the 1983 holocaust in Matebeleland and Midlands
in the ruling party's bid to establish one party state agenda. More than 20
000 civilian lives were lost during the Gukurahundi massacres.

The youth militia, under the guise of 'national youth service' terrorized
innocent Zimbabweans, brutalized opposition supporters, forced people to buy
ZANU PF party membership cards and have been implicated in politically
motivated murders over the last six years. During the drought and food
shortages of 2002 and 2003, they played enforcers of government policy -
attacking retailers, arresting people in possession of scarce commodities,
confiscating goods and stopping opposition supporters from getting food aid.
In return for their services, they were rewarded with immunity from
prosecution and with jobs in the military and police forces.

The militia are intended to service ZANU PF's need to control an
increasingly restive population fed up with an autocratic government, which
ignores their most basic needs. Fueling that restiveness are the extreme
levels of poverty and hunger and an economy in freefall. Indeed, the
Zimbabwean economy has so sharply plummeted in the last nine years that the
current level of unemployment is 85% while inflation soars at more than

The militia will become an infrastructure, whose strength emanates not from
the quality of ideas and decisions but the pace at which the replicates
violence on perceived state enemies.

The Coalition calls upon the government to desist and start denouncing
violence publicly. The nation deserves a national healing process from the
blood shed of 1983, 2000 and 2002 which led to the loss of more than 300
people, the majority of which were opposition supporters

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Zimbabwe's contentious diamonds suck in UN and World Bank


The World Bank and UN are investigating claims that the Zimbabwean UNDP
branch has been helping a disputed diamond mining operation smuggle diamonds
out of the country.

Author: Rodrick Mukumbira
Posted:  Monday , 14 May 2007


What began as a battle to control a diamond mine in southern Zimbabwe has
now sucked in the UN and the World Bank, amid allegations of aiding in
smuggling diamonds out of the country and funding a company that is
allegedly dealing in disputed diamonds.

According to press reports, as of last week the UN's legal department had
began investigating the UNDP offices in Harare following March complaints by
Bubye Minerals, which is entangled in a diamond mine ownership dispute with
River Ranch Limited, that the body was funding and allowing its vehicles to
be used by the latter to smuggle diamonds out of Zimbabwe.

Bubye Minerals claims to have gathered evidence in the form of signed
affidavits and other documents showing that its rivals to the
Beitbridge-based mine have smuggled diamonds out of Zimbabwe with the
assistance of the UNDP.

It claims that the smuggling has been made easier by the fact that UN
vehicles are not searched at the country's borders.

The UN department was also considering a request by Bubye Minerals to freeze
funding to River Ranch, a company owned by retired army general Solomon
Mujuru, husband of vice president Joyce Mujuru, while investigations on
allegations of illegal smuggling of diamonds by the company are being
carried out.

River Ranch mine is currently a centre of an ownership wrangle in which its
directors are accused of seizing the mine from Bubye Minerals and renaming

The wife of one of its directors, Tirivanhu Mudariki, a former ruling
ZANU-PF legislator, is said to be employed by UNDP.

UN Assistant Secretary for Legal affairs Larry Johnson has reportedly
written a letter confirming the probe despite denials by UNDP local
representative, Augustino Zakarias, and River Ranch Limited that the UNDP
has facilitated the illegal movement of diamonds using the body's vehicles.

"In this regard you have requested us in your letter dated March 26 2007 to
investigate the matter and issue a statement that we are doing so. The UNDP
suspends its assistance to River Ranch Limited through Amsco pending our
full examination.

"We have brought your letters to the attention of UNDP and we understand
that UNDP together with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and
African Management Services Company (Amsco) are currently examining
questions you have raised," Johnson said in the letter quoted by

The UNDP has however confirmed that it is funding River Ranch Limited
through Amsco, a company formed with the World Bank's private sector arm,
the IFC.

It says apart from supporting River Ranch Limited, Amsco has also availed
assistance to other local companies such as Bindura Nickel Mine and
Shearwater, a tourism and leisure company.

Bubye Minerals has complained to World Bank president Paul Wolfowitz after
one of River Ranch Limited's directors was quoted by local media as saying
his company was receiving financial support from Amsco.

Thierry Tanoh, the IFC department director for Sub-Saharan Africa, was
quoted in press reports recently saying his organisation would take Bubye
Minerals' complaint seriously.

"We considered the issues you raised in your letter to president Wolfowitz
with the utmost seriousness and we will investigate," Tanoh was quoted as
saying in a recent letter to Bubye Minerals. "Amsco has been in operation
for almost two decades and has been delivering on its core mandate of
capacity building and succession planning for African businesses. As I am
sure you will appreciate, Amsco makes every effort to ensure that its client
companies abide by local laws and regulations, especially as one of its core
goals is the improvement of governance in its client companies."

The weekly newspaper, Financial Gazette reports that last week Bubye
Minerals's director Adele Farquhar wrote to Johnson accusing the UN and the
West of double standards, for imposing targeted sanctions against President
Robert Mugabe and his lieutenants while funding a company "sitting on
disputed diamonds".

The US, which is the major contributor to the World Bank, has passed
punitive legislation that compels its representatives to any world financier
to block any financial support to Zimbabwe or to any businesses with links
to the ruling ZANU PF officials.

At its annual meeting in Jerusalem last week, the World Diamond Council
(WDC) singled out Zimbabwe and Venezuela for not meeting Kimberley Process
standards on rough diamond trade. Failure to control their local rough
diamond trade makes the two countries likely candidates for expulsion from
the process.

The European Commission, which chairs the WDC, has been investigating River
Ranch Limited on smuggling allegations since early this year. It is however,
yet to pronounce its findings.

However, when the WDC voiced concern on the movement of diamonds from River
Ranch Limited, the company's legal advisor, retired High Court judge George
Smith, lashed out at the diamond trade regulatory body accusing it of bias.

"We are very perturbed that you have accepted the libellous accusations
against our company without first investigating the allegations and
contacting us and affording us an opportunity to present our side of the
story," Smith was quoted as saying. "Had you done so, we would have been
able to prove to you that the accusations against River Ranch are completely

Smith also said while the company had been producing diamonds at the mine it
had not sold any up to date.

"You are condemning us on the basis of false rumours without making any
attempt to discover the true position. Your actions are very surprising and
disturbing," Smith was quoted as saying.

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Notorious director of Youth Militia studying in Australia

By Tererai Karimakwenda
14 May, 2008

It has been discovered that a former director of ZANU PF Youth Militia has
settled in Australia where he is studying. The name Reason Wafawarova brings
back terrible memories to many whose lives he brutally touched. He was
involved in the training of ZANU PF youth and directing gruesome programmes
of torture. He is regarded as a serial human rights violator who has
committed heinous crimes against the people.

Wafawarova had been silent in Zimbabwe lately, leaving many to wonder what
he was up to. The discovery of his presence in Australia was largely due to
information sent to the Movement for Democratic Change by residents in that
country. Professor Elphas Mukonoweshuro, secretary for international affairs
in the Tsvangirai MDC, said the party tries by all means to keep track of
violators of human rights in Zimbabwe. He does not believe they should go
"scott free" when the time comes to account.

Regarding those who go to other countries, Mukonoweshuro said: "Sometimes
when they slip out of the country we do not have the capacity and the
resources to locate where they will have settled. So the information is very
vital." The professor urged Zimbabweans around the world to send information
about the whereabouts of perpetrators of violence. He added: "I do not
believe they should be comfortable where they are."

During his days as a student leader at the University of Zimbabwe,
Wafawarova was secretly a mole who was already in the ranks of the ruling
party's violent machinery. UZ students from his time remember well that he
joined the Faculty of Social Studies where he worked closely with the
Central Intelligence Organization.

Upon graduation Wafawarova joined the ZANU PF Youth Militia as a Director of
Programmes. It is in that capacity that he was involved in formulating,
directing and implementing the programmes of violence, rape, torture and
other gross human rights abuses against supporters of the opposition
political parties.

Despite the fact that the youth militia are well known as violent agents of
the ruling party and their acts have been documented, the government plans
to expand the controversial training programme. Youth Minister Saviour
Kasukuwere made the announcement in the state's official paper The Herald on
Monday. He said there are plans to have all youths go through the training
programmes, but did not specify just how many would be enlisted.

It is widely believed that the ruling party is preparing for the
presidential and parliamentary elections due next year. Graduates from the
militia training camps have been used by ZANU-PF to assault and intimidate
opposition supporters during elections in the past.

SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

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Zimpost to Hike Charges By 600pc

The Herald (Harare)

14 May 2007
Posted to the web 14 May 2007


ZIMPOST will this week hike its charges by about 600 percent as operation
costs in this hyperinflation environment continue to sore.

This will be the second time that Zimpost has hiked its charges this year
with the new charges coming barely three months after the parastatal last
hiked its service charges.

Postage of local letters weighing 20g and over 2kg will increase from $400
and $6 000 to $3 000 and $40 000 respectively.

To post a mail from the country to any destination within Africa would now
be costing between $12 000 and $210 000 depending on weight up from the
previous figures of between $1 500 and $28 000.

Postage of letters to European destinations has gone up from between $2 000
and $46 000 up to $17 000 and $400 000 also depending on the weight of the

A person posting mail to the rest of the world would have to fork out
between $20 000 and $412 000 from a range of between $1 000 and $7 300.

Rates for surface mail to areas within Africa now range between $10 000 and
$115 000 up from between $1 300 and $14 000 while surface mail to Europe now
ranges between $1 400 to $125 000, up from between $1 600 and $15 000.

Surface mail charges to the rest of the world have also been hiked and would
now cost between $15 000 and $190 000 up from a range of $1 800 and $23 000

The postage of domestic parcels has also shot up remarkably as parcels
weighing from 1kg to 30kg would now cost between $29 000 and $214 000 up
from between $5 000 and $25 000.

Registered articles addressed to any country outside Zimbabwe is now set to
cost $20 000 up from between $1 250 to $3 800.

Local registered articles now range between $7 000 and $25 000 depending on
value from a previous range of $900 and $2 000 respectively.

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Harare Water Woes Expected to Persist

The Herald (Harare) Published by the government of Zimbabwe

14 May 2007
Posted to the web 14 May 2007


HARARE residents will have to grapple with water woes for the next two weeks
as the Zimbabwe National Water Authority battles to restore normal supplies
after a five-hour pumping loss.

Zinwa yesterday said the water scarcity that affected most parts of Harare
at the weekend was due to a five-hour pumping stoppage at Morton Jaffray
Water Treatment Plant and Warren Control Station caused by a Zesa power
failure on Thursday.

There were power outages at Morton Jaffray and Warren Control at around
7.50pm on Thursday night which lasted up to around 12.25am. Pumping only
resumed at 1.30am on Friday.

During this period, Morton Jaffray and Warren Control stopped treating water
while pumping ceased altogether, but residents continued to consume water,
in the process depleting the city's reservoirs.

Yesterday, Zinwa said a one-hour loss in pumping normally took the authority
up to a week to fully recover if the rotational water demand management
system was followed to the letter.

Zinwa has since engaged Zesa Holdings to install a second dedicated power
line that would be fed from Norton and would automatically switch on in the
event the existing power line developed a fault.

Although most parts of Harare suffered from severe low water pumping, the
situation was critical in Mabvuku and Tafara, where the situation was
compounded by a major leak on a feeder line at Mukandabhutsu near Msasa. By
yesterday, Zinwa employees were still battling to replace the burst pipe.

Yesterday morning, the northern and southern suburbs were throttled back to
allow the water reservoirs at Letombo and Alexandra to rise. The
high-density suburbs continued to receive supplies but pressure was reduced
by up to 50 percent in a bid to achieve fair distribution. Harare water
acting general manager Mr Lisben Chipfunde said by the time pumping resumed,
all the reservoirs were almost empty.

In a statement yesterday, Zinwa advised consumers that supplies would begin
to improve by the end of the weekend in the western suburbs and by Tuesday
next week in the worst affected areas of Emerald Hill, Mt Pleasant, Mt
Pleasant Heights and Sentosa. "It is going to take longer for normal
supplies to resume in the above-mentioned areas because the situation in the
areas has been compounded by a pump breakdown at Avondale pump station,"
read the statement.

Engineers are working on the pump station.

"Emerald Hill reservoir gets water from the Avondale pump station. Zinwa
regrets the inconvenience caused and would like to assure residents that
normal water supplies will resume by the end of this weekend," said Mr

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Banks Run Short of Traveller's Cheques

The Herald (Harare)  Published by the government of Zimbabwe

14 May 2007
Posted to the web 14 May 2007


THE market has been hit by a serious shortage of traveller's cheques, which
has seen many potential travellers, mainly to South Africa, spending nights
at some banks to access the scarce commodity.

A visit to some banks by New Ziana revealed that some customers started
queuing as early as 9pm, only to be served the following day at 10am.

The most prominent queue was at Kingdom Bank's Karigamombe branch where
desperate travellers were seen sleeping in a long queue, some with blankets
to ward off the chilly weather, to ensure that they got the cheques.

Some of those in the queue said the TCs had been in short supply for a while
and prospective travellers had to keep checking with banks on a daily basis.

"We slept here because the traveller's cheques are scarce, but today we are
guaranteed to get some because we were told that yesterday at least 200
people were served," said one woman from Borrowdale. If you come here at 8am
the queue will be very long and you will not get anything."

The customers had been issued with position cards to avoid a stampede when
the office opened. By the time the New Ziana reporter arrived at the bank at
around 4am, more than 40 people were already in a queue.

A similar situation reportedly prevails at the NSSA building's Interfin
Merchant bank branch where travellers are spending nights to ensure they get
the cheques.

The two banks are among the few commercial banks which do not have stringent
requirements to access the cheques.

At Kingdom and Interfin, one does not have to be an account holder to access
the TCs unlike at other banks such as Barclays and Stanbic. Contacted for
comment, Interfin general manager, marketing and communications, Mr Tendayi
Gwatiringa, blamed the shortage of TCs on high demand and logistical
problems encountered by the bank in procuring the cheques.

"It is acknowledged that there is a shortage of traveller's cheques on the
market, and this is evidence of the fact that our suppliers, American
Express, are unable to cope with the demand," he said.

He said the bank was finalising a cost effective and permanent solution to
the problem of traveller's cheques.

Kingdom Financial Holdings Limited corporate communications director, Ms
Farai Mpofu, attributed the shortage to supply bottlenecks.

"From time to time supply bottlenecks occur during the process of placing
orders and eventual supply, leading to a perceived shortage situation.

"Bearing in mind that there are only two suppliers of this product on the
local market, any supply bottlenecks would tend to have a visible impact,"
she said.

She said TCs were primarily accessed by those wishing to apply for South
African visas, which often required renewal, resulting in the demand surging
at times.

"In the meantime, and in response to this demand emanating from various
centres, Kingdom Bank Limited has embarked upon decentralised distribution
of TCs in select branches, for which full roll out is expected in the third
quarter of 2007," she said.

Bankers Association of Zimbabwe president, Ms Pindie Nyandoro, declined to
comment on the situation saying that she could only speak on behalf of her
own bank -- Stanbic Bank -- where TCs were readily available.

The South African Embassy requires that visitors wishing to apply for a visa
to that country should have traveller's cheques worth R2 000.

Some banks are reportedly charging customers anything between R200 and R400
over and above the R2 000 as well as a handling fee of between $200 000 and
$500 000, depending on the bank. - New Ziana.

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Australian embassy 'may be hit' over ban

By Mark Schliebs

May 14, 2007 01:39pm

THE husband of a Zimbabwean activist has warned that Australian diplomats
could be targeted by violent government officials in the African nation's

Jim Holland, husband of Movement for Democratic Change secretary Sekai
Holland, said that violence could easily erupt following the Australian
Government's decision to cancel a cricket tour of the "hostile" nation.

"(President Robert Mugabe) has threatened diplomats before," Mr Holland

"Diplomats would be the ones that they'd be most concerned about.  I'm very
concerned about their safety."

Mr Holland's wife, who was helped out of Zimbabwe by Australian officials,
was severely beaten before fleeing the country and was still unable to walk
unassisted this morning.

Mr Holland said the 732 Australians currently registered with the Embassy in
Harare would have a fair idea of what to expect in the coming days.

"At the moment the situation is highly volatile," he said.

Mr Holland's comments come after two Mugabe government ministers accused
Prime Minister John Howard of being "racist" and "flouting" principals of
human rights.

Zimbabwe's ambassador to Australia, Stephen Chiketa, would not comment on
the situation this morning.

A spokesman for Mr Chiketa said a statement would be given later today, with
any questions from the media to be put in writing to be cleared by the

A spokesman for the Department of Foreign Affairs said there was already
"considerable" security around the Australian Embassy, which contains 14
staff, but was unable comment on the specific measures.

"The department has put in place considerable physical security measures at
all posts, including Zimbabwe," the spokesman said.

He also said most Zimbabweans would not be angry about the decision, and
would not see Mr Matonga's comments as a call to arms.

"We believe the great majority of ordinary Zimbabweans will understand and
appreciate the reasons for the Government's actions."

Foreign Affairs minister Alexander Downer told ABC radio this morning that
he was expecting a political backlash over the cancellation.

"There'll obviously be a pretty aggressive reaction from Zimbabwe," Mr
Downer said.

Mr Downer said that although security had not been strengthened around the
Embassy, it would not be ruled out in the coming days.

"Well, we think about that the whole time," Mr Downer said yesterday.
"We've heard nothing about any repercussions coming from this.

"But, on the other hand, we've only really announced it today. so we'll have
to wait and see."

Mr Downer also said that it was just a matter of weeks since Mr Mugabe had
threatened to kick Australia's ambassador out of Zimbabwe.

"It is also a criminal offence in Zimbabwe to make any derogatory or
insulting comments about President Mugabe.

"Any person making such comments is liable to arrest and prosecution."

The decision to cancel the tour was applauded by the Australian based
Zimbabwe Information Centre.

The secretary of the centre, Peter Murphy, said a message needed to be sent
to Mr Mugabe.

"We've been campaigning strongly for the cricket tour to be stopped," Mr
Murphy said.

"We really welcome the Howard Government's decision."

According to the Government's SmartTraveller website, Australians should
exercise a "high degree of caution" when visiting Zimbabwe.

"An open hand is the political symbol of the main opposition political party
and a friendly wave may therefore be misinterpreted as a provocative
gesture," the website said.

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Timely decision shows strength our Government lacked

The Times
May 14, 2007

Christopher Martin-Jenkins: Comment
Thank goodness a cricket-loving prime minister with a proper sense of right
and wrong has at last taken a stand on Zimbabwe. Tony Blair and his
Government weakly missed their chances both before the 2003 World Cup in
southern Africa and again in 2004, when the England team were forced by the
threat of fines to play in Zimbabwe against a team hopelessly depleted by
internecine strife and political interference from the associates of a
ruthless despot.

The ECB and its chairman, David Morgan, were caught then between a rock and
a hard place. A fine of at least £1 million was more than the board could
reasonably be asked to sacrifice by ICC officials determined to avoid a
split on political grounds by refusing to take a stand for acceptable
standards of human behaviour. Like the Australian Cabinet, the British
Government knew exactly what the realpolitik of the situation demanded, but
it sheltered behind sanctimonious statements.

With luck, the example set by John Howard, the Australian Prime Minister,
yesterday will be followed by Caribbean administrations and by the British
Government. As things stand, Zimbabwe, having disqualified themselves from
Test cricket last year to avoid humiliation on the field, are due to return
to the fold against West Indies in November.

Malcolm Speed, the ICC chief executive, is often portrayed as inflexible,
but he is as much a pragmatist as the next man, if only politicians of
goodwill can be persuaded to assist him in keeping the leading cricketing
nations together. Only by sticking to rules created by the chief executives
of the full member countries has that been possible.

Related Links
  a.. Australia bans players from Zimbabwe
At first Howard said that he was prepared to pay the automatic fine that
faces countries not prepared, other than for the accepted ICC reasons, to
fulfil their obligation to play a minimum number of matches against other
nations in the programme of future tours. Then the penny dropped. His order
forbidding the tour made an ICC fine irrelevant and leaves everyone happy
except the dwindling band of cricketers in Zimbabwe. They are innocent
victims by and large, but may yet get a chance to play Australia on neutral

In its stand, the Australian Government has avoided a waste of money -
including the subsequent legal bills - and enabled the ICC to uphold its
understandable, but still blinkered, regulations.

Zimbabwe's cricket cannot be rescued if the ICC continues to feed money to
dubious officials in Harare in the fond imagination that it will somehow
keep the game going there. Only a change of regime will begin to allow a

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Zimbabwe`s environment chair at UN stirs outrage

The Sunday Times May 13, 2007

 Christina Lamb and John Makura, Harare

ZIMBABWE may have left 700,000 of its citizens without accommodation by
bulldozing their homes, caused millions more to starve after violent land
seizures that destroyed farming and so mismanaged its own economy that it
has the world's highest inflation. But it has been chosen to head a United
Nations body charged with promoting economic progress and environmental

Western countries and human rights organisations were outraged yesterday by
the choice of Zimbabwe to chair the UN commission on sustainable
development. The British government condemned Zimbabwe's election as "wholly
inconsistent" with the body's aims.

The chair traditionally rotates among regions of the world. It was Africa's
turn this year and the continent chose Zimbabwe as its candidate. "We really
think it calls into question the credibility of this organisation to have a
representative from a country that has decimated its agriculture, that used
to be the breadbasket of Africa and can't now feed itself," said Daniel
Reif-snyder, the US deputy assistant secretary for environment.

"For Zimbabwe to lead any UN body is preposterous," said Jennifer Windsor,
executive director of Freedom House, an independent nongovernmental

Not only has the regime of Robert Mugabe persistently used violence to
repress all criticism, raping, torturing and beating opponents, but it has
also turned development back by decades. Once the most affluent country in
Africa, Zimbabwe now has the world's lowest life expectancy. According to
the World Bank no country has seen its economy shrink so much in peacetime.

The USAID Famine Early Warning Systems put out an alert last week warning
that total food production in Zimbabwe for this season would meet only about
50% of its needs. It predicted that it would be less than half last year's
harvest, which left 1.5m dependent on food aid.

It added that the prevailing foreign currency shortages and high inflation,
which had reached 2,200% by March according to the Central Statistical
Office, would make it difficult for the government to import the necessary

The Sunday Times has learnt that hundreds of prisoners are dying of
starvation in Zimbabwe jails because the authorities have no money to feed
them. Convicts released last week from Chikurubi jail, after serving
sentences of five to seven years, reported prisoners dying every day. The
numbers are so high that the prison has been forced to open its own

Prisoners are given just one meal a day, consisting of a few cabbage leaves,
occasionally served with sadza (corn meal). The lack of nutrition has
fuelled widespread tuberculosis and an outbreak of pellagra, a disease
related to food deficiency from which many have died.

One prisoner who spent five years inside for armed robbery said he went to
jail with two accomplices. He emerged alone. "I saw two of my friends
wasting away as a result of disease," he said. "I saw them dying one night
and knocked and knocked on the prison door in order to alert the guards.
They only arrived at 9am the following day when it was too late."

Prison officers have told inmates that nothing can be done because they
themselves are struggling to feed their families. Aside from food the prison
service has no medicines, just like Zimbabwe's hospitals.

Chikurubi prison also goes for weeks at a time without water for washing.
Prisoners often go three weeks without bathing, yet they stay in crowded
cells, often with 18 or 20 men sharing one small hole as a latrine. "We used
to get washing soap regularly, now it's just a small piece in a blue moon,"
said one of the men.

This particularly affects female prisoners, some of whom have babies.
They have no sanitary wear and their babies do not receive any supplementary
food. Prisoners no longer get any new clothes; when their old ones fall
apart, they have to wrap themselves in blankets.

A spokesman for the Zimbabwe Association for Crime Prevention and
Rehabilitation of the Offender said prisoners were "living like animals".

"Human rights abuses include overcrowding, unhygienic conditions, lack of
clothing, medical care, food and balanced diet, spread of infectious
diseases, high levels of mental illness and deaths are widespread," he said.

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Lawyers denied access to detained students despite pleas

By Lance Guma
14 May 2007

Lawyers representing two University of Zimbabwe student leaders arrested
last week Thursday were barred access to their clients on Monday. Beatrice
Mtetwa who herself was assaulted by police last week and Harrison Nkomo were
given the run around by police at Harare Central. They were told the
investigating officer was not there, could not access documents relating to
the case, were not told what the charges are and above all could not see the
students. One of the students, Munyaradzi Chikorohondo, is said to be
bleeding profusely from the ear and Prosper Munatsi has a swollen arm, which
might be broken. The two are said to require urgent medical attention.

It had been expected the students would be taken to court Monday but it's
alleged that deliberate attempts are being made to prolong their detention
outside the legal 48 hours. By mid-afternoon the lawyers had filed an urgent
chamber application in the High Court seeking the release of the students.
Harrison Nkomo told Newsreel that the hearing will be in front of Justice
Chatukuta on Tuesday at 12pm. They are seeking an order declaring that the
continued detention of the students outside the prescribed 48 hours is
illegal and that the students should be brought to court if the state has a
case against them.

Dhewa Mavhinga, an activist working with a local NGO, was at Harare Central
also trying to secure the release of his relative who was caught up in the
disturbances at the university. He says the police completely refused to
co-operate and is worried that even if the High Court ordered their release,
the police are likely to ignore the order as they have been doing in past

The University resembled a war zone Thursday as students clashed with riot
police following the disruption of a campaign gala that normally precedes
student council elections. Speaking to Newsreel on Friday Benjamin Nyandoro,
a Programmes Officer with the Zimbabwe National Students Union, said UZ
security guards started assaulting students without provocation and when
they responded riot police descended on the campus firing tear gas and
beating up students. Several first year students were arrested before being
released. Chikorohondo and Munatsi were arrested, while the whereabouts of
another student leader Blessing Vava are still unknown.

SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

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Level media field before elections

African Path

May 14, 2007 11:48 AM

JOHANNESBURG-NATIONAL Constitutional Assembly (NCA) on Sunday called on the
international rights organisations and Africa Union to interfere on Zimbabwe's
current media situation before the forthcoming parliamentary and
presidential elections, assembly spokesperson Madock Chivasa said this
addressing a conference in Everton.

The conference organised by Zimbabwe Solidarity Forum(ZSF) was aimed at
bringing together youth activities from Zimbabwe, South Africa and the SADC
region in order to come up with permanent solutions and strategies around
Zimbabwe's seven years old political and economic crisis.

"We strongly condemn the current media situation in Zimbabwe. The media
grounds should be leveled before the next election in Zimbabwe all the
political and civic organisations should have access to media... we call on
the international human rights organisations and the SADC to intervene
addressing the media situation in the country.  The government-controlled
print and electronic media is biased towards the government and it rarely
covers opposition political parties. If at all the government media decide
to cover opposition it will only concentrating on negative publicity",
Chivasa said.

In Zimbabwe journalists from independent media houses cannot freely do their
job without the interference of the state agencies and police. AIPPA
restricts journalist from accessing information within the country

The print independent media is comprised of 3 newspapers that are published
weekly and they cannot adequately cover all the news. International and
regional journalists are expected to register with the media commission.

Chivasa said: "History reveals that the commission is there to deny
registration to the journalist to ensure that government enjoys media
monopoly especially during election period. It is therefore imperatively
clear that the international community need to emphasise the issues of media
freedom before any election in Zimbabwe".

The Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) in Zimbabwe recently warned
journalists of an increasingly hostile working environment after the
abduction and subsequent murder of a freelance reporter, and the arrest and
torture of two other foreign correspondents.

Freelance journalist Tsvangirai Mukwazhi was arrested while covering a
prayer meeting called by civic society organisations last month, when
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leaders were also detained.
He was allegedly severely tortured while in police custody, despite having
the requisite practicing certificate from the country's media regulatory
authority, the Media and Information Commission (MIC).

Gift Phiri, an independent journalist who contributes to the British-based
'The Zimbabwean' newspaper, was also arrested last month and severely
tortured. He was held in custody for nearly a week before being released but
was subsequently charged with practicing without a license and "writing

Last month, Edward Chikomba, a cameraman previously with the Zimbabwe
Broadcasting Corporation, the state broadcaster, was abducted from his home
in Harare and later found murdered, his body dumped by the roadside near
Darwendale, a township about 60km north of the capital, Harare.

Many Zimbabwe and foreign journalists believe Chikomba was murdered for
allegedly transmitting the images of a bruised and battered Morgan
Tsvangirai, leader of the main opposition party, Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC), to the international media, a charge the police have strongly

Methew Takaon, president of Zimbabwe Union of Journalists (ZUJ), which
represents the interests of the majority of journalists in Zimbabwe, also
expressed the fear that there was a deliberate government policy to harass
and intimidate the media.

NCA which has for the past years spearheading the draft of a new
constitution has publicly denounced the current constitution say the present
media laws will be biased towards the government and opposition political
parties will be affected in terms of the coverage that they also need in the

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'Wise men' examine Mugabe degree

14 May 2007

A committee of "three wise men" has been set up to determine whether an
honorary degree, awarded to Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe, should be withdrawn.
A campaign was launched in April by politicians at Westminster to have the
honour revoked because of the president's "oppressive regime".

He received the award from Edinburgh University in 1984 for his "services to
education in Africa".

The senate, its highest academic authority, will now consider the issue.

In April, Nigel Griffiths, a former Labour minister, said he wanted it
"swiftly withdrawn" amid continued concerns over the political situation in
Zimbabwe and claims of human rights abuses.

A Commons motion, tabled by the former Edinburgh University student,
expressed his "dismay" at the president's running of the country.

Full-time work

He said Mr Mugabe had "reduced his people to poverty, a state of terror" and
had brutally suppressed opponents.

Zimbabwe has the world's highest annual rate of inflation - 1,700% - and
only one person in five is in full-time work.

The motion was signed by fellow Labour MP Kate Hoey and is also supported by
Edinburgh University's rector, Mark Ballard.

An Edinburgh University spokesman said: "The university is acutely aware of
ongoing developments in Zimbabwe and the issue of Robert Mugabe's honorary
degree remains under active review."

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Expect massive backlash over 'grubby dictator' jibe

 14th May 2007 01:34 GMT

By Chenjerai Chitsaru

IT was a week of mixed fortunes for the government and the ruling party.

For the people the descent into some kind of political and economic
apocalypse seemed inexorable.

Inflation finally went into the ionosphere, in a manner of speaking. Labour
continued to threaten a shutdown and crime, both white and blue collar,
soared everywhere.

For the government, a phyrric victory was achieved at the United Nations,
where Francis Nhema was elected by the General Assembly to chair a fairly
impotent, innocuous commission on the environment - against Western

The African countries rallied to Zimbabwe's support, perhaps precisely for
the same reason - that the election meant absolutely nothing in terms of
influencing the thrust of the UN in any decisive manner.

But in South Africa, the Pan African Parliament by a majority of the members
decided to send a mission to Zimbabwe to confirm - as if confirmation was
needed - that the government of President Robert Mugabe had unleashed a
campaign of savage violence against its opponents, including women lawyers.

Then a group of lawyers arrived in the country and harangued almost everyone
concerned with the laws about the same savagery against unarmed civilians.

They didn't manage to meet Mugabe himself, which many serious analysts of
the Zimbabwean crisis considered a tragic omission. If Mugabe wriggled out
of a meeting with them, it could only mean one thing: his answer would have
provided them with lethal ammunition on their return to their countries -
all members of the Southern African Development Community (Sadc).

To convince his fellow heads of state that a couple of lawyers had
transformed themselves into a Zimbabwean unit of the Baader-Meinhof
terrorist gang of Germany would be a tall order.

But the worst news for Zimbabwe's beleaguered, divided ruling elite came
from an unrelenting nemesis of Mugabe, Australia's John Howard, who lobbed a
very original epithet at him - "a grubby dictator".

This one seemed to match or even surpass Desmond Tutu's: "a caricature" of
the typical African leader.

Howard announced his Australian cricket team would not be going to play this
game in Zimbabwe in September, as previously planned. Mugabe was likely to
respond with "it's no skin off my nose".

The man may be crazy about this very English game, but the stakes are too
high for him to moan about this. His spokesperson countered with the
predictable rejoinder that Howard was a known racist... blahblahblah.

But Howard was right in one respect. The trip would have gifted Mugabe a
tremendous boost in public relations.
Now, it is probable that, in retaliation Mugabe might just unleash a fresh
campaign of violence against his opponents, just for the hell of it, or to
demonstrate to people like
Howard that he is not an Uncle Tom, who will cringe in fear every time a
white man says "Jump!"

One white man whose departure from the political scene was celebrated with
glee in State House and Shake Shake building in Harare was Tony Blair, the
British prime minister.

It's hard to appreciate why Mugabe himself would conceive of a British
government switch in policy towards his government just because Blair is no
longer prime minister.

His successor belongs to the same Labour Party that Blair led. They may
differ on Iraq, over which Blair has resigned, but not on Zimbabwe. Now, if
there had been a change of government in Zanu PF circles.

It is remembered with uncharacteristic fondness that it was a Tory prime
minister, Margaret Thatcher, who triggered the momentous series of events
which resulted in Zimbabwe's independence in 1980 - a year after she had
become the first woman prime minister in the UK.

A change from Blair to Brown is unlikely to have the same explosive effect.
Moreover, Mugabe has not conducted himself as if he feels contrite about the
manner in which he has handled the crisis in his country which has affected
his compatriots more than it has affected the people of Britain and the
United States.

What Mugabe has done -  and almost succeeded in doing - is to blame the
entire economic and political meltdown in his country on external forces,
specifically Britain and the United States.

Yet if an honest analysis were to be conducted into the economic and
political prescriptions he and his government applied in the country, there
would soon be no doubt that they didn't need Britain or the US to make a
right royal mess up this country.

In fact, to many analysts, the West's reaction to the violence of the farm
invasions in 2000 was a Godsend for Mugabe.

It may sound extremely unrealistic in hindsight, but it is possible that if
the land reform had provoked a mild reaction from the West, Mugabe would
probably have lost the 2000 and the 2002 elections.

For one thing, he would not have whipped up such a massive anti-West
sentiment among his supporters. For another, he probably would not have
hired the bloodthirsty war veterans as the storm troopers in his election
campaign in 2000.

Yet this is indeed now troubled water under the bridge, which has not been
robust enough to lay itself down.

For the people of Zimbabwe, the majority of whom are genuinely disappointed
that their country's tremendous potential for greatness, both politically
and economically, has been squandered by Mugabe and his party, the only
alternative is a fight to the finish.

This is not a "finish" related to hand-to-hand combat in the streets of
Harare or Bulawayo or Gweru or Mutare - where the opposition is strongest -
but in spirit.
The beatings and killings will continue. There is no doubt about that now.
The international reaction, so far, has not measured up to the people's

What seems to inhibit the so-called allies of the opposition is the likely
reaction of the Mugabe government. It has so far demonstrated its
willingness to commit murder to send home the message that dislodging it
from power will take more than a few timid, tepid demonstrations of workers,
lawyers or doctors or university lecturers.

An armed response would result in another massacre of innocents. Clearly, a
new strategy to confront these men and women of violence has to be devised.
It may take men and women of extraordinary courage to carry it off.

They may not themselves be men and women of violence to succeed in their
confrontation. Yet courage and resilience may turn out to be their strongest
In many countries where "people power" has succeeded in dislodging
dictatorships there have been sacrifices.

There have already been some in Zimbabwe and more may be called for in the
future, before success is eventually achieved.

Africa itself may need to be coerced into reducing and even abandoning its
support for Mugabe, on the pretext that he is this immovable bulwark against
the "recolonialisation" of the continue by the West.

The African leaders who need convincing are those who have never been so
starry-eyed about the liberation struggle that they view people like Mugabe
almost as if they were saints, men endowed with such foresight, such
courage, such patriotism that everything they do is believed to be for their
people, and not out of any selfishness.

If none of them has read Edgar Tekere's autobiography, then they ought to
study more closely the political biography of one Nigerian leader, Olusegun
If none of them can fail to detect the tragedy of an entire nation placing
its trust in one man, then we in Zimbabwe must gird our loins because the
struggle is going to be hard brutal.

Obasanjo demonstrated to all Africans that we shall need men and women of
absolute courage and fearlessness to defeat our greatest enemy - corrupt,
selfish and completely immoral a leaders.

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'Farm Workers Marginalised'

The Herald (Harare)

14 May 2007
Posted to the web 14 May 2007


Farm workers continue to be overlooked and marginalised in wage negotiations
with the majority still earning the gazetted $32 000, which has been
severely eroded by inflation.

In an interview yesterday, secretary general of the Agriculture and
Plantation Workers Union of Zimbabwe Ms Gertrude Hambira said farmers had
recently proposed a monthly salary of $90 000, which was not acceptable.

"We cannot accept $90 000 because it cannot sustain a family. When the
current wage was negotiated at $32 000, we had proposed $70 000, but it was
turned down by NEC," said Ms Hambira.

She said Gapwuz was now contemplating petitioning the Minister of
Agriculture to help in resolving the wage impasse between farmers and their

"We are not demanding a wage that matches the poverty datum line but are
asking for a reasonable wage which can sustain workers and their families,"
she said.

She added that a consultative workshop on farm wages was on the cards and
other issues to be discussed included provision of protective clothing and
the impact of HIV and Aids in the agriculture sector.

According to the prevailing trend, earning a salary that is compatible with
even a quarter of the poverty datum line remains a pipe dream for these
workers who drive the most important sector of the economy.

Negotiations for a minimum wage with the National Employment Council for
Agriculture or with employers have so far been futile with the workers of
late contemplating industrial action.

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Rautenbach company hits back at Congo

From Business Day (SA), 14 May

Diplomatic Editor

Mining house Central African Mining and Exploration (Camec), a UK-based
copper producer, has rejected accusations by Democratic Republic of Congo's
mines ministry that its corporate governance standards are below par, and
hinted at a conspiracy. It was reported last week the Congolese were probing
Camec operations after being asked by SA to help arrest shareholder Billy
Rautenbach. The report quoted the Congolese mines vice-minister as accusing
the company of practices "not in alignment with international corporate
governance standards". Camec said that at recent meetings with Gecamines,
the country's state mining company and main copper producer, and the
ministry it was praised for its investments and for creating facilities that
benefited the Congolese people. Rautenbach is a former Gecamines chief. In
February last year, he sold copper-cobalt assets in Katanga province to
Camec, mainly in return for shares, according to Mineweb. Camec said it had
made a significant contribution to Congo after its $150m investment in the
Luita copper-cobalt metallurgical facility in Katanga. The facility, 20%
owned by Gecamines, employed more than 3000 people. Camec said it had a
"very strong relationship" with its partners, and always adhered to best
practice in line with international corporate governance standards. The
company said it believed the mines ministry's comments might be linked to a
commercial dispute concerning Camec's 50%-owned Mukondo concession area and
its acquisition of shares in publicly listed Canadian company Katanga
Mining. Katanga Mining last week announced a special shareholders rights
plan to ward off a takeover by Camec, which announced it had gained control
of 17-million shares in Katanga, a stake of 22%, and had an agreement to buy
another 7,7%, Mineweb reports.

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Women fight for presidency

The First Post

 As the awesome presidency of Robert Mugabe stumbles towards its inevitable
end, the jostling among his possible successors offers an astonishing

The fight to be the next president of Zimbabwe could well come down to two
Joyce Mujuru , one of two Vice-Presidents, is a short, tough, tubby woman.
In the War of Independence she was a rare female commander of the Zanla
guerrillas. She's a doughty fighter.
Oppah Muchinguri, Minister for Gender and Women's Affairs,  is tall,
energetic, well built and attractive. She too has excellent wartime
credentials - and the additional weapon of considerable charm.

Both women have strong men backing their bid for the top job. Mujuru is
supported by her husband, whom she married while fighting in the jungles of
Mozambique. He is retired General Solomon Mujuru, wealthy, and still a major
force in Zimbabwean politics.

Muchinguri has the support of none other than Mugabe himself. They too met
during the war. Mugabe, while cheating on his wife of the time, Sally, with
his current wife Grace, apparently found the time for a relationship with
the stunning Muchinguri.

This friendship, despite noisy objections from Grace, has continued, and
sources say Mugabe now sees Muchinguri as his successor, because she'll let
him set policy, make money, and enjoy immunity in his retirement.

Muchinguri did her part this month when, at a meeting of senior Zanu PF
officials, she boldly demanded Mugabe be invited to serve another term.
Grace has apparently blown her top, and the President and his First Lady are
not speaking.

Mujuru, on the other hand, is now seen as a principal opponent of Mugabe and
a leader of the anti-Mugabe faction in the party, having had the temerity to
call on him to stand down before elections next year.

Mugabe recently called for a special Zanu PF congress in November, for the
purpose, it is believed, of replacing Vice-President Mujuru. Who with? Step
elegantly forward, Ms Oppah Muchinguri.
If Mujuru wins, some of us will hope things will change for the better in
this wretched land. If Muchinguri wins, nothing will change. The only
consolation will be that we will be able at last to look upon portraits of
our new president without wincing.


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Zimbabwe facing sporting isolation

By Tichaona Sibanda
14 May 2007

Australian Prime Minister John Howard on Sunday banned the country's cricket
team from touring Zimbabwe in September, describing the ban as a 'device and
method of sending a very strong signal of disapproval about Mugabe's regime.'

Observers believe this could be the start of international sporting
isolation for the country. Sports analyst Natty Zvimba said other western
countries not happy with Robert Mugabe's gross human rights abuses might
take a similar stance and ban their sporting teams or individuals from
competing in the country.

He said those likely to face international isolation are sports like tennis,
golf, swimming and athletics. Football would not be affected because it is
mainly played locally and regionally.

For twenty years apartheid South Africa was under a sporting isolation that
helped to bring the country to its knees. Zvimba said because of continuing
world coverage of abuses in Zimbabwe it was becoming increasingly impossible
for the international community to separate sport and politics.

'Australia has taken the lead and this is not the end of this. If Zimbabwe
is paired to play a David cup tennis tie with a European country in Harare
this would almost be non-starter,' another analyst said.

In banning the tour to Zimbabwe, Prime Minister Howard had argued that
Mugabe would use it as a propaganda weapon. Howard added that Mugabe's
desperate efforts to hang onto power had scuttled democracy and ruined the
country's once thriving economy.

Meanwhile Cricket Australia will be spared any financial punishment by the
International Cricket Council. The Australian cricket body appeared to be
facing a US$2 million fine if they cancelled the tour.

ICC chief executive Malcolm Speed said fines could be waived if a team is
banned from a tour by its own government. There was concern from the
Australian government that the fine money paid to Zimbabwe cricket would
have found its way to the regime's coffers.

SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

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Avoiding Groundhog Day at the UN Human Rights Council

Democracy Arsenal

Posted by Suzanne Nossel
High on the list of things that have given the UN a bad name over the years
is the spectacle of countries with abysmal human rights records issuing
pious pronouncements on the subject from the comfort of international
meeting halls.  This Alice-in-Wonderland phenomenon leads the world body's
critics to conclude that a forum as diverse and universal as the UN is
incapable of distinguishing right from wrong and should not be entrusted
with either money or authority.

The UN's Commission on Human Rights stood for years as the most flagrant
example of the foxes guarding the human rights henhouse.  A year ago, the UN
took an important but incomplete step toward correcting that by disbanding
the feckless Commission and replacing it with the Human Rights Council, a
body aimed to correct the worst of the Commission's failings, if not restore
the UN's position as a global force for human rights.  Unfortunately, with
its second-ever elections coming up this week, the Council has thus far been
a big disappointment.  When the UN membership goes to the polls on
Wednesday, however, they will have a chance to signal - by keeping Belarus
off the Council - that the new body is capable of more than just business as

One of the key, and most hotly contested, elements distinguishing the
Council from its disesteemed predecessor was to have been its composition.
Whereas the Commission was traditionally dominated by some of the world's
worst human rights offenders (think Zimbabwe, Sudan, Cuba, Libya, etc.), the
Council was supposed to be different.  The U.S., EU, the UN Secretary
General and others wanted to bar nations with egregious human rights records
from participating in the Council.  The idea was to prevent these states
from shielding themselves from the Council's scrutiny, or simply trying turn
the spotlight elsewhere.

The membership criteria were hotly debated and, in the end, heavily watered
down.  Part of the problem, in fairness, was that none of the proposed fixed
formulas for membership - ratification of particular treaties or cooperation
with human rights investigations - swept in the right countries while
excluding the wrong ones.  Rather than, for example, banning nations under
UN Security Council sanctions, the resolution that created the Human Rights
Council simply said that membership "shall take into account candidates'
contribution to the promotion and protection of human rights."  A proposed
requirement that membership be by election of two-thirds of the UN
membership - the idea being that violators would fail to muster broad enough
support - was likewise scrapped in favor of a simple majority vote.

On the basis of these and other shortcomings in the drive to prevent the
Council from going the way of the Commission, the US opted not to stand for
membership when the Council was formed in 2006, and says it won't run again
this year.  But some others still hold out the hope that the Council can be
salvaged.  A look at this week's election hints at both the promise and the

First off, its barely an election at all.  Of the UN's five regional blocs,
three have proffered so-called "clean slates."  This means that a common
slate of candidates has been agreed via horsetrading in the region, such
that the rest of the UN membership has little choice but to ratify
neighborhood's picks.  In a late-breaking exception, however, Bosnia
announced on Friday that it would contest Slovenia and Belarus for the two
available Eastern European seats, opening up the potential that Belarus -
the worst human rights offender in the running - will in fact be kept off
the Council.  Bosnia did so after human rights NGOs urged it to step forward
and try to block Belarus' pernicious bid.  The other region with a contested
slate is the Western Europe and Other Group where Denmark, Italy and the
Netherlands are competing for two available seats.

The history of clean slates at the UN is inauspicious.  Traditionally the
African Group, for example, has apportioned its seats on UN bodies by a
strict geographic rotation.  Even when the results are perverse - Sudan
becoming the region's candidate for a UN Security Council seat, for
example - solidarity and protocol within the Group have often prevailed over
considerations of what's best for the UN or those who depend on it.  Seeing
this flawed methodology extended to the Human Rights Council does not bode

A second problem is the nominees themselves.  Belarus had the audacity to
step forward despite one of the worst human rights records in the
hemisphere.  The Human Rights Council has appointed a monitor for Belarus,
but the government has refused for more than 2 years to even allow him entry
into the country.  The monitor described theirs as "absolute refusal to
cooperate" and reported that the country is moving rapidly toward

Non-governmental organizations have appraised the full slate of 14
candidates.  Many NGOs oppose Belarus and Egypt and find others - e.g.
Angola - wanting.

Technically speaking, the UN General Assembly can and should vote down
candidates that it judges to fall short of the standards expected for
participation in the Council.  It takes the affirmative vote of fully half
the GA members for a nominee to be seated.  But in practice, overturning the
regional group's own choices happens rarely, and only when influential UN
members are willing to expend significant political capital in typically
bruising election fights (remember Venezuela v. Guatemala).

The obvious and essential place for the UN membership to take a stand in
favor of the Council being a genuine improvement over the Commission is by
voting down Belarus.  A vote against Belarus is a vote for the credibility
of the Council.

May 14, 2007 at 11:09 AM

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Zimbabwe Opposition Faction Leader Calls For Unity Against Ruling Party


By Mhlanga Sithandekile
14 May 2007

Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Faction led by Arthur
Mutambara, celebrated a victory in Umzingwane, Matebeleland South, Sunday,
where it's candidate Elliot Dube, was elected councilor for Ward 12.

Top party officials including Mutambara, deputy president Gibson Sibanda and
National Organizing Secretary Esoph Mdlongwa, attended the rally at the
Kumbudzi Business Center.

Deputy party spokesman and Member of Parliament for Nkayi, Abednico Bhebhe,
told Studio 7 that they had to move the rally from Saturday to Sunday,
because at the last minute, police refused to grant them permission to hold
the rally.

Bhebhe told reporter Sithandekile Mhlanga of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe,
that Mutambara said both MDC factions would unite during elections, so as to
put up a stronger front against the ruling ZANU PF party.

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Botswana Lawyer Leads Zim Probe

Mmegi, Botswana


The Botswana Law Society chairman Duma Boko is leading investigations by
regional law bodies into allegations of a crackdown on Zimbabwean lawyers.

Speaking from Harare, Boko told Monitor that the delegation had interviewed
a number of high-ranking government officials. So far, the delegation has
grilled the Commissioner of Police, Judge President, Chief Justice and the
Minister of the Justice.

"We are told that court orders are not being respected and lawyers are being
denied the right to see their clients," said Boko. He pointed out that the
delegation's major   concern is respect for the rule of law. "There is a
serious concern about the police's high handedness," he said. He added that
there are allegations that the police have targeted lawyers and their
families. Boko revealed that from what they have gathered so far, police
brutality against lawyers in Zimbabwe is a serious problem. The delegation
he leads is composed of representatives from law societies from Botswana,
South Africa, Namibia and Malawi. It is expected to present a report to the
SADC secretariat.

Last Tuesday, the Zimbabwean Law Society staged a march outside the
country's High Court, to protest against failure to observe the rule of law.
However the march was dispersed violently by the police.

In another incident outside the High Court, lawyers representing several
opposition activists were beaten up and thrown in jail.

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Zimbabwean VP calls for deepening ties with Iran

Islamic Republic News Agency

Pretoria, May 14, IRNA

Iran's Ambassador to Zimbabwe Rasoul Momeni met with Zimbabwean
Vice-President Joseph Msika on Monday and discussed issues of mutual

The Zimbabwean VP, by referring to the intention of leaders of both
countries, said, "Zimbabwe is following the policy of deepening ties with
Iran sincerely."
Msika said, "Zimbabwe is a rich and powerful country, but, unfortunately,
political grudge and economic sanctions of the Western states against basic
policies of Zimbabwe, especially in reaction to the land reform, has caused
economic problems for the country." In spite of these, Zimbabwe will not
withdraw from its basic policies, he added.

The vice-president said, "Zimbabwe will support Iran's stances in different
fields, especially in peaceful nuclear activities." Iran's ambassador, for
his part, announced the commissioning of a tractor assembly plant, which is
a joint investment project, construction of two hospitals for children in
Harare and Bulawayo cities and also the project of generating electricity
from Kariba Dam.

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