The ZIMBABWE Situation Our thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe
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From BBC News, 29 May

Millions at risk in southern Africa

At least 10 million people face starvation in four southern African countries unless the international community acts swiftly, UN aid agencies have warned. A report jointly compiled by the UN World Food Programme and the Food and Agriculture Organisation - one of the most comprehensive to date of the crisis - said that famine in Malawi, Zimbabwe, Lesotho and Swaziland is not yet widespread, but warned that urgent action is needed in order to avert a humanitarian crisis. It added that once information is completed from two other southern African countries - Zambia and Mozambique - the situation would appear "even bleaker". There are several reasons, the report states, for the current crisis, including drought, economic policies and, in Zimbabwe, the disruption of farming due to the government's controversial land reform programme. The price of maize - southern Africa's staple food - has also soared due to drought affecting the crop in countries such as Malawi.

Both agencies have called on international donors to provide supplies, estimating that southern Africa will have to import almost 4 million tonnes of food over the next year if it is to meet the needs of its population. The WFP has estimated that the cost of such an international aid operation would be around $400 million, Reuters news agency reported. "We have to get the message out to donors - a famine can be averted if they act quickly," Judith Lewis, WFP's regional director for southern and eastern Africa, told Reuters. "Much needs to be done, and we need to do it now." The crisis has been made worse by the high rate of HIV and Aids in the region, which has weakened the local population's resistance to disease and left them more susceptible to famine. In addition, climatologists have warned that El Nino, a periodic warming of part of the Pacific Ocean, may well return this year, which could in turn lead to yet more floods and drought in the stricken region.

From The Financial Gazette, 30 May

Half of Zimbabwe needs food aid

The United Nations’ World Food Programme (WFP) and the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) yesterday said about six million Zimbabweans, almost half the population of the country, need emergency food aid and some of the hunger victims could die. WFP spokeswoman Makena Walker said the estimates followed joint WFP-FAO missions from mid-April to the middle of May to assess the humanitarian crisis unfolding in drought-sapped southern Africa. In a statement highlighting the results of the missions, the two organisations said: "The longest dry spell experienced in Zimbabwe in 20 years has made the food situation especially dire. "This has been compounded by the sharp fall in maize produced by commercial farmers, who normally produce one-third of the total cereals, but whose farming operations were disrupted by the ongoing land reform activities and widespread illegal invasions. The overall cereal deficit is a staggering 1.5 million tonnes, even taking into account anticipated commercial imports and pledged food aid. Some six million people in rural and urban areas are estimated to need emergency food aid."

The government has persistently denied that its controversial land reforms under which it seizes farms without compensation has caused the looming starvation. Walker told the Financial Gazette: "These (the six million) are the people who are in need and it is going to get worse as the months go past and people finish their harvests. We are looking at feeding six million people within the next one year." The Zimbabwe government, which has just declared the drought a national disaster after months of denying that serious food shortages were in the offing, says it plans to import 170 000 tonnes of grain before the end of this month and between 800 000 and 1.2 million tonnes between June 2002 and May 2003 to avert starvation. The projected food imports are seen costing the government, reeling from an unprecedented foreign currency crisis triggered by skewed policies and poor exports, more than US$165 million ($9 billion), money it does not have.

Meanwhile, the WFP is already running a food aid programme in Zimbabwe targeting more than 500 000 people in six provinces, but there has been a sluggish response from the international community to the agency’s appeals for aid. Yesterday’s WFP-FAO statement said: "Zimbabwe is facing a serious food crisis, even at harvest time, and unless international food assistance is provided urgently and adequately, there will be a serious famine and loss of life in the coming months." Over the next year, nearly four million tonnes of food will have to be imported to meet minimum food requirements for southern Africa, where also Malawi, Zambia and several other countries have been hit by the drought. Almost 10 million people already need emergency food assistance in the region, the WFP and FAO said. "Given the gravity of the findings, the two Rome-based agencies today (Wednesday) called on donor governments worldwide to respond quickly and generously with food aid donations to avoid widespread hunger from developing into a humanitarian disaster," they said. Western donors have told Zimbabwe’s government, accused of stealing a presidential election in March, it has to change its governance before they can offload huge amounts of aid to help the starving.

From News24 (SA), 29 May

Mbeki slams selective food aid

Cape Town - Any attempt to deny people food aid on the basis of their political affiliation would be totally unacceptable, President Thabo Mbeki said on Wednesday. During the president's question time in the National Assembly, he was asked what South Africa's reaction would be if it were true that United Nations food aid in famine-hit Zimbabwe was being distributed only to Zanu PF supporters. Mbeki replied that if such information was received, and it was confirmed, South Africa would condemn it in the strongest terms. Distributing food aid on the basis of people's party political affiliation was fundamentally wrong, he said. Replying to another question, Mbeki repeated that South Africa opposed the concept and practice of collective punishment - according to which the whole continent would be "punished" by non-support of the New Plan for Africa's Development (Nepad) and the African Union (AU) on the basis that "wrong things are happening in one country or another". "The challenge to ensure that the AU and Nepad succeed confronts not only our government. It is a task that faces the entirety of our people. I sincerely hope that all of us as South Africans will join this effort enthusiastically and mobilise the widest support possible, rather than adopt positions that, perhaps unintentionally, result in the demobilisation of some people and countries," Mbeki said.

From The Daily News, 39 May

Chipinge pupils threatened with death

Mutare - MDC officials in Chipinge district alleged this week the police and war veterans in Chibuwe have threatened the lives of at least 36 pupils at Chibuwe secondary School, for attending an MDC rally. Pishai Muchauraya, the MDC spokesman for Manicaland, said the problems started three days after Morgan Tsvangirai, the MDC leader, addressed a crowd estimated at 10 000 at Chibuwe grounds. In his address, Tsvangirai reiterated his call for a rerun of the 9-11 March presidential election. "Three days after the rally, war veterans went to Chibuwe Secondary School, demanding that the headmaster release the names of the pupils who attended the MDC rally," Muchauraya said. "The pupils were then interviewed and required to explain why they attended the rally. They were asked who had given them permission to attend the rally and where they knew Tsvangirai from. Did they think he would ever rule this country? They were warned not to attend any future MDC rallies or face unspecified action."

Brian Makomeke, the acting police spokesman in Manicaland, referred the matter to the police headquarters in Harare. Wayne Bvudzijena, the police official spokesman, declined to comment, repeating his pledge not to respond to questions from The Daily News. Muchauraya named four policemen involved in the "operation". He said: "One of them has been involved in extorting money from our members, saying these were fines for contravening sections of Public Order and Security Act, but he never issued any receipts." Robert Gumbo, the provincial chairman for war veterans said: "I have not received such a report from the war veterans, but be assured I will investigate the allegations."

Meanwhile, about 25 Zanu PF youths last week allegedly attacked Patricia Kanya, 29, an MDC youth in Chibuwe, for preparing a meal for five MDC officials upon their release from police custody at Middle Sabi. The five were Muchauraya, Elliot Anahu, Hardmore Chomoko, Tonderai Mutandakamwe and Garikai Matsapa. They were arrested and two of their vehicles carrying MDC supporters impounded. Kanya said Zanu PF youths questioned her about preparing food for the officials. "They removed my mattress, two dresses and a jacket from the house and burnt them," she said. Asked why she had not reported the case to the police, Kanya said: "I was afraid because a senior police officer was among those who raided my house." She then reported the case to Mutare Central Police Station and they recorded a statement from her but refused to issue a case number, she claimed.

From BBC News, 30 May

Journalists return to Zimbabwe court

Two journalists charged under Zimbabwe's press and media law will appear in court again on Thursday accused of abusing journalistic privilege. Britain's Guardian correspondent Andrew Meldrum and Lloyd Mudiwa of Zimbabwe's Daily News have been told to expect their trial to go ahead. If found guilty, they face up to two years in jail. The case centres on a story alleging that supporters of President Robert Mugabe's ruling Zanu PF party murdered a woman. The two journalists were charged under Zimbabwe Government's draconian Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act. If the trial goes ahead, it will set a precedent for the laws which critics say are aimed at stifling free speech and suppressing dissent against the government. Both Andrew Meldrum and Lloyd Mudiwa were arrested after they published a story about a woman allegedly beheaded by Zanu PF supporters. The report provoked a shocked reaction across the country but, when the Daily News investigated the story further, it found there were inaccuracies and apologised. The two men have been charged with abusing journalistic privilege. Other journalists also charged under the act will be waiting to see how the trial is handled, as it is an indicator of how determined the government is to influence the press in Zimbabwe.

From The Mail & Guardian (SA), 30 May

Sour grapes for SA ministers in DRC

President Joseph Kabila of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) on Tuesday rejected an offer of South African assistance in peace-making from two government ministers who paid him a brief visit, officials said in Kinshasa. South African Justice Minister Penuell Maduna and Labour Minister Shepherd Mdladlana came to the DRC capital with a top legal aide to President Thabo Mbeki and a message that South Africa wished to help the DRC people find lasting peace, sources told AFP. However, while Kabila told them the country was "at war and as such does not refuse help from friendly countries," he also urged South Africa "to be objective and remain impartial," an informed source said. Since Kabila's government and a Ugandan-backed rebel group on April 17 signed a peace pact on the sidelines of a marathon DRC peace conference hosted by South Africa, a planned visit to Kinshasa by Mbeki has been announced and cancelled several times. On Saturday, an exiled DRC opposition leader said Mbeki's mediation in the DRC conflict would be inappropriate because of the "ties his ANC (African National Congress) party has with Rwanda, the main aggressor in the DRC." Rwanda backs the rebel Congolese Rally for Democracy (RCD), which was not a party to the accord signed in Sun City, South Africa, and holds much of the eastern third of the vast central African country. Asked by journalists here about South African-made weapons allegedly going to the RCD, Maduna on Tuesday said his country did not sell arms to the RCD or rebel groups "but to states". He declined, however, to answer a question about arms sales to Rwanda.

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FinGaz - Comment

      Enough of control freaks and chaos

      5/30/02 2:33:04 AM (GMT +2)

      ZIMBABWEANS, seemingly inured to constant abuse by officialdom, awoke
to a new and stunning threat to their basic freedoms on Friday.

      One Aeneas Chigwedere, the erstwhile Minister of Education and
Culture, had just decreed that one identical school uniform be worn by all
children starting next year.

      No discussions, no consultations - just a decree. Period.

      Not to be outdone, Agriculture Minister Joseph Made then announced
that no more financial compensation would be paid to farmers whose land the
government is seizing.

      He coupled his announcement with a threat to ban or de-register the
Commercial Farmers' Union, the umbrella body for Zimbabwe's commercial

      These are only the latest examples of an increasingly intolerant
government, whose control freaks have been unleashed on the crisis-weary
nation to try to cow it by all manner of tactics and to control the citizens
' hearts and minds.

      That anyone, let alone a Cabinet minister, could take an entire nation
for granted to the extent of treating it with such disdain - ordering the
introduction of the communist-style uniforms - is an unprecedented assault
on the citizens' fundamental freedom of choice.

      It is an outrage which no one should tolerate, an insult of the worst
order in the enlightened digital era and a tragic reflection of the level of
competence within the government.

      And yet in many ways, the shock treatment given to Zimbabweans by the
likes of Chigwedere and Made graphically illustrates how the people of this
once great land have stoically allowed things great and small to fall apart
while they watch.

      For the record, it is the same Chigwedere who has ordered all schools
to revert to levying last year's fees almost six months late, threatening
the closure of most schools which had rightly budgeted for Zimbabwe's
inflationary increases in the cost of most goods and services.

      It is the same man who has been busy with his pet project of re-naming
all schools which, taken together with the latest announcement on the school
uniforms, clearly shows his determination to create a nation of zombies last
seen in the discredited communist era.

      That crumbling schools need proper infrastructure, textbooks and
decent pay for teachers is clearly not one of Chigwedere's priorities.

      Made of the "bumper maize crop" fame - all will remember his remarks
after he flew over Zimbabwe to inspect the maize crop last year - is once
more disregarding expert advice as he launches into his new-found love, the
growing of the winter maize crop.

      Furthermore, he now wants to station law enforcement agents on every
white-owned farm to check if the much-vilified farmers are not selling or
slaughtering young cows which are needed to rebuild Zimbabwe's depleted
dairy herd.

      But in the past two years we did not hear any dissenting voice within
the ruling ZANU PF party when its leadership encouraged and funded its
supporters to seize farms, where much of the breeding stock was slaughtered
for endless celebration parties.

      As well as trampling on the core freedoms of Zimbabweans, the
ministers' actions once more underline the total failure of basic planning
within the government, which lives for the day each day that passes.

      Never before have Zimbabweans been subjected to such crude crisis
management on basic issues as they have witnessed in the past two years and
are still seeing today.

      It seems that the government is thriving on organised chaos, hoping
that the nation's focus will be diverted from the chief cause of their
worsening suffering: bad governance.

      Only two weeks ago Finance Minister Simba Makoni had to intervene -
and as usual at the very last minute - to save Zimbabwe's single biggest
foreign currency earner tobacco because of the government's irrational
refusal to devalue an overvalued local dollar.

      It was only a month or so ago when President Robert Mugabe finally
declared the country's precarious food shortages a disaster, when the
looming crisis was known as far back as the start of 2001.

      And only this week did the government declare the HIV/AIDS epidemic a
disaster, more than a decade after all had known that the killer disease was
wiping out more than 2 000 Zimbabweans a week.

      Do Zimbabweans really deserve this?
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      $15m budgeted for Mugabe defence

      Staff Reporter
      5/30/02 2:58:05 AM (GMT +2)

      THE ruling ZANU PF party has budgeted about $15 million to bankroll
President Robert Mugabe's defence against a challenge on his March
re-election by the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), it was
established this week.

      Ruling party insiders say about 10 lawyers from the private sector
have been engaged by ZANU PF's legal department to defend Mugabe in a case
which legal experts say could stretch for months.

      Mugabe's re-election challenge in court is the first such case in
post-independent Zimbabwe. No date has been set for the hearing.

      The insiders said ZANU PF's legal affairs boss Patrick Chinamasa had
approached several law farms to handle the lawsuit and a budget of about $15
million had been allocated to the defence team.

      Terrence Hussein of Harare-based law firm Hussein, Ranchord and
Company confirmed yesterday he had been appointed as the lead counsel to
Mugabe. He said it was up to him to appoint any other lawyers to make up the

      He declined to reveal the exact cost of the defence side, saying this
would be determined by how long the case would run and the tariffs that may
be prescribed by the Law Society of Zimbabwe.

      Hussein, a personal lawyer of Information Minister Jonathan Moyo, has
handled several court cases for the government and ZANU PF in the past two

      Most of the law firms being enlisted now are the ones which defended
ZANU PF legislators in court cases brought by the MDC after the June 2000
parliamentary vote.

      In the lawsuit against Mugabe, the first respondent in the case, the
President cannot be defended by the Attorney-General's Office because he is
being challenged in his private capacity as a candidate of ZANU PF. ZANU PF
therefore has to meet the legal costs of its candidate.

      The Attorney-General's Office will only allowed by law to defend
Registrar-General Tobaiwa Mudede and Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa who
are being sued in their official capacities.

      The Electoral Supervisory Commission will also have to be defended by
a private lawyer.

      The MDC has also assembled a team of top lawyers to handle its case.

      In a 54-page affidavit filed with the High Court, MDC leader Morgan
Tsvangirai is seeking the nullification of the result of the presidential
poll, citing several alleged irregularities in its conduct.
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      Future of Zim's tobacco uncertain

      By Nqobile Nyathi Assistant Editor
      5/30/02 2:56:08 AM (GMT +2)

      TOBACCO industry officials voiced fears this week Zimbabwe could lose
its place in the international market after Universal Corporation, the world
's largest independent leaf tobacco merchant, increased tobacco shipments
from Malawi to compensate for declining output in Zimbabwe.

      The Virginia-based company said in its third quarter earnings report
that financial results in its tobacco business were lower in the period
under review because of a decline in shipments from Zimbabwe.

      Tobacco output in Zimbabwe has fallen from 236 million kilogrammes in
2000 to about 170 million kgs this year amid indications it could drop as
low as 50 million kgs in 2003.

      Universal chairman and chief executive Henry Harrell told
shareholders: "For the nine-month period (from July 2001 to March 2002),
shipments from Africa were ahead of last year's pace with larger volumes
from Malawi compensating for the lower shipments from Zimbabwe.

      "While supply and demand conditions in world tobacco markets appear to
have improved, we remain concerned about the impact of the political and
economic uncertainty in Zimbabwe on the future viability of the tobacco
industry in that country."

      Although it was not possible to ascertain the quantities purchased
from Zimbabwe, Universal, which as of March had US$45 million ($2.5 billion)
equity in Zimbabwean subsidiaries, has indicated in its latest demand and
supply report that declining output in the country could prompt
manufacturers to "question Zimbabwe's reliability as a major leaf supplier
in the future".

      Tobacco industry officials said if cigarette manufacturers were forced
to leave Zimbabwean tobacco out of their blends because of unreliable
supplies, it could take the country a decade to regain its status in the
world market.

      A Zimbabwe tobacco official told the Financial Gazette: "Once
international buyers start pulling away from Zimbabwe, it will take us as
long as 10 years to regain our status and the consequences for the country
are enormous."

      Zimbabwe is a leading world producer of flue-cured tobacco, which nets
the country its biggest slice of its foreign currency.

      Fears that Zimbabwe might lose its place in the international tobacco
market have been fuelled by the government's controversial land reforms of
seizing farms without paying compensation and of expelling farmers from
their land.

      The policies are discouraging growers from planting the golden leaf.

      In addition, analysts say the government's refusal to devalue the
Zimbabwe dollar will result in growers subsidising the government to the
tune of more than $40 billion or over $250 per kilogramme of tobacco sold
this year - this despite an 80 percent state subsidy that is supposed to
enable producers to recover their costs.

      The economic affairs committee of the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) this week said by making tobacco merchants purchase
this year's crop using foreign currency but denying growers a special
exchange rate, the government was forcing producers to sell their crop at
reduced prices.

      It said the policy had enabled the government to secure foreign
currency supplies at discounted rates, thus forcing the industry and its
workers to pay a subsidy of over $40 billion, according to the committee's

      "The economic affairs committee has calculated that if the Zimbabwe
dollar was floated today, it would settle around $225 to the US dollar," MDC
's economic affairs secretary Eddie Cross said.

      "Clearly, the fixed exchange rate of $55 to US$1 is unrealistic and
the parallel market rate of $400 is grossly overvalued. Looking at inflation
differentials since the dollar was last at market level, we think it should
be valued at $225 and we used that as a benchmark for valuing the tobacco

      The committee's calculations assume that tobacco growers will this
year receive a price of US$2.10 for their tobacco, which Cross said was last
year's average price.

      "We can't use official figures for last year because they were
influenced by the exchange rate at the parallel market. The real market rate
last year was around US$2.10 and merchants have told us that US$2.10 is the
benchmark for the Zimbabwean crop," he said.

      "The 80 percent premium on prices being paid on the floor will give
producers an average exchange rate of about $99 to US$1, and at US$2.10
growers would get a producer price of a little more than $200 per kg
compared to $116 if the premium didn't apply."

      If the government had allowed the Zimbabwe dollar to float at $225
against the American greenback, tobacco growers would realise a producer
price of $472.50. To determine the cost to the tobacco industry of not
floating the currency, $207.90 - the producer price under the premium - is
subtracted from $472.50.

      The difference - $264.60 - is multiplied by the 170 million kgs of
tobacco expected to go through the auction floors this year to give $44.98

      Cross said: "Farmers have to pay more than $200 per kg to grow their
crop. After paying off their loans and other things, they will be in a worse
situation than at the beginning of the season and they will have to decide
whether to grow tobacco next year."

      Economic consultant John Robertson added: "The 80 percent subsidy is
not going to give growers enough to cover their costs. Growers know that the
government is not very interested in their survival and any grower who is
working towards the future will have to work on the basis that the
government will at some time change its policies.

      "The government believes that small-scale farmers will take over
tobacco planting but I think this is very unlikely."

      Most large-scale tobacco farms have been targeted for compulsory
acquisition under the government's land reforms, leaving production in the
hands of about 10 000 established small producers and newly resettled
farmers who might have to be subsidised further by the government to remain
in business.

      Industry experts say tobacco farming is highly technical and
financially intensive, making it unlikely that small growers will be able to
maintain the quantity and quality of the crop Zimbabwe is famous for and the
high prices the crop has traditionally fetched.

      The analysts said reduced tobacco output and a decline in the prices
Zimbabwe received for its crop from merchants would worsen the country's
already desperate foreign currency situation.

      Tobacco traditionally accounts for 30 percent of Zimbabwe's forex
earnings. A drop in tobacco earnings would further adversely affect the
import of desperately needed food, as well as raw materials, spare parts and
other inputs necessary for the country's already struggling companies.

      Zimbabwe's Sagit Stockbrokers said: "At the risk of appearing to be
close-minded, we strongly believe that there are only two solutions to the
problem at hand.

      "The first is one that we have already mentioned: tobacco growers
should be treated like exporters, receiving payment in US dollars, which
must then be negotiated at any local commercial bank to receive 40 percent
at the official rate and the balance on the parallel market.

      "Alternatively, an official devaluation of the local dollar to a
reasonable level. While the latter will come with painful side-effects, we
believe that these will be more manageable than burdening the taxpayer with
an additional $18 billion (the cost of the 80 percent subsidy) bill. Maybe
too many people stand to lose by the implementation of any other solution
than the 80 percent subsidy!"
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      Mugabe keeps Mbeki, Obasanjo guessing

      Staff Reporter
      5/30/02 2:54:12 AM (GMT +2)

      SOUTH African and Nigerian presidents Thabo Mbeki and Olusegun
Obasa-njo are still waiting for a response from President Ro-bert Mugabe to
have the stalled inter-party talks in Zimbabwe resu-med immediately, it has
been established.

      South Africa's ruling African National Congress (ANC)
secretary-general Kgalema Mot-lanthe said Mbeki and Obasanjo had
communicated with Mugabe to urge him to resuscitate crucial talks between
his ZANU PF party and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

      Official response

      The two were still waiting for an official response from the veteran
Zimbabwean leader who has been accused, but denies, charges by the West that
he stole the highly contested March ballot.

      "Both President Mbeki and Obasanjo have been in touch with Mugabe in
their bid to find ways to have the talks resume as early as possible but
they are still waiting for a response," Motlanthe told the Financial Gazette
by telephone from South Africa this week.

      "I am hopeful that the presidents will find a breakthrough. They will
marshal all forces necessary to get the talks going. It is the only way for
the country to move forward," he added.

      Motlanthe however refused to disclose when the two presidents,
mandated by the Commonwealth to facilitate reconciliatory talks between
Zimbabwe's top political parties, had communicated with Mugabe.

      National unity

      Mbeki, who has been advocating the formation of a government of
national unity in Zimbabwe, had been expected to raise the issue of the
stalled inter-party talks with Mugabe at a summit meeting on the Congo,
which was due to be held in Lusaka today but has been cancelled.

      Motlanthe, who with Nigerian diplomat Adebayo Adedeji is
co-facilitator of the talks, said ZANU PF wanted the MDC's court challenge
of Mugabe's disputed win to be concluded before the dialogue resumed.

      The MDC, on the other hand, argues that it is merely exercising its
right according to Zimbabwean law by filing any dispute over electoral
results in the country's courts within a certain stipulated time.

      "The MDC explained to us that they filed the court petition on the
very last day, on the thirtieth day, because they thought they should just
preserve their right of recourse to the court," Motlanthe said.


      He said the two parties had however stated that they were both still
committed to the dialogue that might solve Zimbabwe's current political and
economic crisis.

      The talks were scheduled to have resumed on May 13 but were scuppered
when the ZANU PF delegation led by Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa wrote
to Motlanthe seeking to have the talks shelved.

      In his letter, China-masa said the talks should only resume after
Zimbabwean courts had heard and concluded the MDC's challenge of the results
of the March election that was won by Mugabe but which the opposition party
alleges was heavily rigged.


      Montlanthe however said the Zimbabwean ruling party had breached the
rules of procedure to the talks by unilaterally making a decision to have
them shelved.

      "The rules of procedure provided for a postponement. Our understanding
was that we would then get to Harare and discuss this at the plenary. The
ZANU PF delegation clearly breached the rules of procedure," he said.

      The MDC has since said it now considers the talks dead and buried
because of the stance taken by ZANU PF.

      Financial support

      South Africa and Nigeria had hoped the inter-party talks could help
unblock vital international financial support for Zimbabwe, cut off by the
International Monetary Fund and other key Western donors in 1999 over
governance issues.

      Analysts say failure by the two African leaders to solve the
Zimbabwean crisis might undermine their efforts to market the New Economic
Partnership for Africa's Development, an ambitious economic blueprint for
the continent to be tabled before rich countries in Canada in the next two
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      Question mark greets new AIDS directive

      By David Masunda Deputy Editor-in-Chief
      5/30/02 2:52:29 AM (GMT +2)

      CONFUSION greeted the abrupt announcement by Zimbabwe this week
declaring a six-month state of emergency to tackle the killer disease AIDS.

      Experts questioned the government's timing while others wondered
whether the new directive would have any impact given its short life-span.

      AIDS experts and organisations representing HIV-positive Zimbabweans
questioned the government's wisdom to declare the emergency when the country
is in the grip of a severe foreign currency squeeze, a devastating drought
and mounting poverty, is politically rudderless and its entire health
delivery system is crumbling.

      Others however saw the government's move, meant to prepare conditions
for the importation of cheaper or generic antiretrovirals (ARVs) contrary to
the widespread belief that it is a new onslaught against AIDS, as a step in
the right direction.

      Antiretroviral drugs can prolong the lives of people infected with HIV
but there is no cure for the disease.

      Although available locally, most of the ARVs which usually have to be
taken in combinations of two or three therapies cost more than four times
the monthly salary of an ordinary Zimbabwean worker.

      The government declaration of the emergency on Monday will allow
Zimbabwe health authorities and companies to import or make cheaper ARVs or
their generic versions.

      Deputy Health Minister David Parirenyatwa said the move was in line
with conditions laid down by the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in its Trade
Related Intellectual Property Rights regulations to buy or manufacture
generic versions of patented drugs.

      Evaristo Marowa, a medical doctor who is the executive director of the
state's National AIDS Council (NAC), said the emergency was a positive step
because Zimbabwe would now be able under the WTO regulations to import or
allow the manufacture of cheaper ARVs or their generic versions.

      "We will now be able to source antiretroviral drugs from companies
with competitive prices but of course not compromising the quality of the
products," said Marowa, whose NAC this year gave the Ministry of Health
about $966 million to buy AIDS and anti-HIV drugs.

      "Right now one wants to be more positive and pro-active and look at
how we can take advantage of this policy and this declaration to take it

      Jefter Mxotshwa, the acting director of the Zimbabwe National Network
of People Living with HIV/AIDS (ZNNP+), a lobby group of HIV-positive
people, said it was questionable that the six-month emergency would result
in the wider availability of the ARVs or the reduction of their cost

      Mxotshwa said given the state of the country's health system where
qualified personnel were deserting the public health system in droves for
overseas jobs, it was better if Zimbabwe had addressed the question of
health delivery first before tackling the importation of AIDS drugs such as

      He said it would be almost impossible to order, receive and distribute
sizeable quantities of ARVs from overseas suppliers to needy patients all
over Zimbabwe within six months.

      "We don't even have the foreign currency and we have not placed any
foreign order yet. I doubt if the government can distribute even one
imported drug to areas as far as Muzarabani sufficiently in six months,"
Mxotshwa noted.

      Norman Nyazema, a leading clinical pharmacologist and researcher on
HIV/AIDS, said the emergency was useless unless the key factors associated
with HIV/AIDS infection in Zimbabwe such as poverty were addressed.

      "Poverty is feeding on HIV and HIV is feeding on poverty. A lot of
Zimbabweans who are dying unnecessarily because of HIV are malnourished and
they are not eating. Why are they not eating? It is because they are
unemployed," Nyazema, a lecturer at the University of Zimbabwe's medical
school, said.

      "Is declaring a state of emergency going to provide infant formula for
babies who are being born to HIV-positive mothers?"

      He said the emergency would have been unnecessary had Zimbabwe stuck
to its national AIDS policy signed by President Robert Mugabe in December
1999, a view also shared by Mxotshwa.

      The declaration of the emergency could be a "political gimmick" to
attract Western aid for AIDS and then divert that money and funds that are
compulsorily collected by the government through the AIDS levy to other
causes, said Nyazema.

      Mxotshwa said ZNNP+ wanted the government to release more money for
the importation of drugs to treat opportunistic infections killing many
local AIDS patients than to buy the ARVs or their generics.

      Zimbabwe has one of the highest HIV infection rates in the world, with
at least one in five people suspected of carrying the virus that causes

      Health officials say more than 600 000 Zimbabweans have died from AIDS
in the last five years and two million others are HIV-positive.

      Many Zimbabweans who die from AIDS succumb to opportunistic infections
such as pneumonia and tuberculosis (TB) which thrive when their immune
systems break down.

      Nyazema said while diseases such as TB were easily curable, many
patients were succumbing to drug-resistant TB after treatment because they
almost always returned to the same environment they originally caught the
disease from.

      Recent statistics show that the AIDS epidemic is spreading rapidly in
Zimbabwe, with as many as 350 people, mainly youths aged between 15 to 24
years, being infected by HIV every day.
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      Govt makes U-turn on Todd's citizenship

      Staff Reporter
      5/30/02 2:48:38 AM (GMT +2)

      THE government on Tuesday this week filed papers of appeal at the
Supreme Court seeking the setting aside of a High Court judgment made
earlier this month in a citizenship case involving human rights activist
Judith Todd.

      This effectively means that the Supreme Court will set aside the High
Court judgment and Todd will lose her Zimbabwean citizenship until the
matter is heard.

      However Todd's lawyers Gill Godlonton and Gerrans yesterday said they
were surprised by the government's about-turn in the case but said they were
making an urgent counter-application to invalidate the government's appeal.

      A spokesman for the law firm said the government had earlier this
month conceded that it could not strip Todd of her Zimbabwean citizenship,
even if she could qualify for a passport from another country.

      "What this means is that it effectively reverses the High Court
judgment," the spokesman said. "The government is arguing that the judge
erred in his determination of the case.

      "We are surprised that the government is making the appeal after
conceding that they could not strip my client of her citizenship."

      The spokesman said the law firm would make a counter application to
the Supreme Court because by setting aside the High Court's judgment, Todd
would be prejudiced of her citizenship until the matter is heard.

      "We do not mind really about the appeal but it should not prejudice my
client's right as a Zimbabwean citizen," the spokesman said. "This is why we
are making the appeal today (yesterday) because the appeal effectively sets
aside the High Court judgment."

      High Court judge Justice Sandra Munyira, in a judgment handed down
earlier this month, ruled in Todd's favour who had challenged
Registrar-General Tobaiwa Mudede for refusing to renew her expired passport.
She argued that she was a New Zealand citizen because her parents were born
in that country.

      The judge then said Mudede should stop administering the Citizenship
Amendment Act because he was misinterpreting the law, which gave dual
citizens until January 6 2002 to renounce their foreign citizenship.

      Mudede had added another dimension to the law by saying people like
Todd, who had a claim to foreign citizenship, had to renounce that
citizenship even if they had no dual citizenship.

      There was no immediate comment from Mudede's lawyer, Nelson Munyira of
the Attorney-General's office. Mudede himself was reported to be out of his
Harare office until Monday.
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      Chigwedere backtracks on one uniform

      Staff Reporter
      5/30/02 2:47:50 AM (GMT +2)

      EDUCATION and Culture Minister Aeneas Chigwedere yesterday denied he
planned to introduce a common uniform in all Zimbabwean schools next year,
whose announcement by the minister last week triggered an outpouring of
anger from the nation.

      Chigwedere, whose ministry last Friday was reported to be planning to
facilitate the design of an identical school uniform to be introduced in
2003, told a news conference in Harare yesterday that information sent to
the media on the matter was part of an attempt to gauge the public's views
on the idea.

      "What we gave you . . . was not a directive but an idea for debate. As
evidence of this, there is no ministry circular or ministry directive to
regional offices or district offices or to any school," he said, clearly
backing down from his initial stance and then only a week later.

      "This is because the news article that we sent to the newspapers was a
sensitisation article meant to find out from the stakeholders what they
would think of common uniforms against the current multiplicity of
uniforms," the minister said.

      He said the idea of a common uniform had not originated from the
government but from parents, who had visited his ministry to complain about
exorbitant costs of uniforms.

      Chigwedere said parents had indicated that in some cases uniforms were
more expensive than school fees and that they regarded the wide range of
Zimbabwean school uniforms as a penalty to parents, who were already under
heavy economic pressure.

      "Given these arguments by some of the parents, the ministry reflected
on them and decided to throw the idea to the nation for comments," he said.

      "I must be quick to add here that it is very clear that many of our
people do not distinguish between a directive and an idea for debate."

      Chigwedere, facing crumbling educational standards in public schools
caused by declining state funding and rising operational costs, triggered
anguish across Zimbabwe by his announcement last week.

      Zimbabweans quickly rounded on him, telling him to focus on priority
matters and not on trivia such as forcing schools to have communist-style
single uniforms.

      The minister was later also reported to be ordering teachers to work
an eight-hour day.

      But Chigwedere yesterday denied that he planned doing so, saying media
reports on the matter were fabrications from "mothers and fathers of

      Himself a teacher for 30 years, Chigwedere said he was aware that
teachers' time was also taken up by marking children's school work and

      "This therefore makes it illogical to compel teachers at
double-session schools to be present at their schools from 8.00 am to 4.30
pm," he said.
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Business Report

Rio Tinto warns of cutbacks and closures in Zimbabwe
Sherilee Bridge and Bloomberg
May 30 2002 at 06:51AM
Johannesburg - Rio Tinto, the world's third-largest mining company, warned
yesterday that Zimbabwe's fixed exchange rate could force it to close a gold
mine and cancel a planned $60 million diamond project.

Zimbabwe's government notified mining companies last week that it intended
to indigenise the country's mines by forcing them by law to sell off
portions of their mines to locals.

The Zimbabwe Chamber of Mines confirmed that there were also plans to clamp
down on illegal gold mining and companies selling gold at the parallel
market exchange rate.

Gold companies operating in Zimbabwe have been hamstrung by the country's
fixed exchange rate of Z$55 to the US dollar. All mines have to sell their
gold production to the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, which gives back
20 percent in foreign exchange.

Rio Tinto, which owns 56 percent of Rio Tinto Zimbabwe, said: "If there is
no change in the pricing regime, further decisions about the mine's future
may have to be made."

It also said the fixed rate made plans to dig a diamond mine unviable.

As many as seven gold mining companies are already up for sale in Zimbabwe.

Doug Verden, a senior executive at the Zimbabwe Chamber of Mines, said the
fixed rate made illegal gold trading attractive with mines receiving Z$300
to the US dollar on the black market.

While the extent of illegal gold trading is unknown, Zimbabwe is believed to
have lost US$59 million through illegal exports of gold in the past six

News of the proposed indigenisation of the mining industry could add to the
industry's woes.

The Zimbabwe Independent newspaper last week reported that gold production,
a major currency earner that constitutes nearly 52 percent of Zimbabwe's
total mineral production value, declined for a second consecutive year to
just 18.05 tons last year.

Verden said the government had not given an indication of what proportion of
mining companies would have to be put into local hands.

The Associated Mineworkers Union acknowledged that the mining industry was

"There are mass retrenchments and mines, mostly foreign ones, are closing
their doors," said Tinago Ruzive, the president of the union.

Zimbabwe's mining sector has shed 15 000 jobs in the past three years as
companies face high inflation, a reduction in foreign currency earnings and
increasing political risk.

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Daily News - Feature

      Government must create an enabling environment for farmers

      5/30/02 8:26:50 AM (GMT +2)

      ON 17 May 2002, South Africa deported 2 345 Zimbabweans, the largest
number sent out of that country at any one time. Botswana also deports many
Zimbabwean nationals daily; Mozambique throws out a smaller number, so does

      Why do the people of Zimbabwe now flock out of our land to foreign
countries without the required immigration documents in many cases?

      Is it not strange that while our government is offering the people
land, many of these people leave the country to seek employment abroad?

      What is wrong with the government's "economic empowerment programme"
through land resettlement?

      The fault is not the land resettlement scheme, but the way it has been
carried out. It has violently disrupted the country, sending out of its
borders thousands of desperate people who have lost hope in the future of
their own land.

      The government's agrarian reform programme has caused a contraction
rather than an expansion of the national economy.

      Why? Because land resettlement is not necessarily synonymous with
increased agricultural productivity. That has been the experience of several
countries, the nearest to Zimbabwe being its northern neighbour, Zambia.

      It "Zambianised" land ownership with the genuine hope that indigenous
ownership of land would result in higher productivity.

      That was, in fact, not the case.

      However, the purpose of this week's column is not to criticise the
agrarian reform programme, but to suggest how it can be made to strengthen
the country's economy, notwithstanding the disorderly manner it has been

      In 1980, Zimbabwe's economy was much stronger than those of Botswana,
Swaziland and Lesotho. Its currency was also much stronger than many
currencies, including the United States dollar. That was in spite of
international economic sanctions against the Rhodesian Front regime of Ian

      What did that regime do which our black nationalist administration is
either doing wrongly or not doing at all? This is yet another question we
must honestly answer for the sake of our nation.

      The very first thing we must admit is that the government has been
spending beyond its means - that is to say its expenditure has been far
higher than its tax revenue.

      It has had to borrow locally and abroad to meet its various national
obligations. That has negatively affected the national currency and economy.

      Nature has not been kind to Zimbabwe in the past 20 years as a couple
of drought spells have ruined the agricultural sector, forcing the
financially hard-up government to import food.

      But Botswana and South Africa have not been spared by these drought
episodes. They, too, experience similar weather phenomena as Zimbabwe and
yet their economies are much sounder than ours.

      What can Zimbabwe do now to breathe some life into its economy?

      The agricultural sector has always been the backbone of our economy.
It is, therefore, that sector we must revive if we wish to resuscitate our

      The food processing sector will also come back to life if the
agricultural productive sector is revived.

      In view of the unpredictable weather conditions, Zimbabwe should place
more emphasis on irrigation rather than on seasonal rain. The government
should seriously think about establishing large agricultural communities at
places such as the former Chirundu sugar estate, in Kariba, Binga and
Victoria Falls, where vegetables, cereals, fruit and even stockfeeds can be
produced by irrigation from the perennial Zambezi River.

      Other agricultural communities could be situated at Bambadzi, Nswazwi,
where dams can be built on the Maitembwe, Tekwane and other rivers.

      Bambadzi is believed to be sitting on an underground lake, part of
which is the famous Nyamandhlovu aquifer which stretches from Bulawayo's
Killarney suburb, across the Manzamnyama River, past Manguba, Kungubo,
across the Tekwane River and Maitembwe towards the Makharikhari salt pans in

      More agricultural communities can be established along the Limpopo
River and the border region in the east.

      The target markets for the commodities produced by those communities
would be neighbouring countries such as Zambia, Botswana, South Africa,
Mozambique and even Tanzania, Namibia, the Democratic Republic of Congo,
Madagascar, the Seychelles, Mauritius and the Middle East nations.

      The government can create the required infrastructure for those
communities, and introduce a subsidised bank interest rate to enable the
farmers to operate viably.

      Subsidies have been criticised by a number of Western governments
whose economic approach is said to be based on the World Bank and
International Monetary Fund principles.

      We must remember, however, that the US and British agricultural
economies were founded on government subsidies. It was only after they were
well established that they were weaned off government subsidisation. Our
national economy cannot do without government subsidies.

      In any case, there is nothing wrong with the subsidies for the
productive sector, particularly if that sector's primary objective is to
export and earn foreign currency.

      What should be done at this juncture is to plan and launch researched
agricultural projects for which the nation should be prepared in terms of
technical personnel, equipment, markets, modes of distribution, storage
facilities and financial support.

      It is vital for the nation to remember that he that by the plough
would thrive, himself must either hold or drive.

      For agriculture to develop, committed people, with the technical
know-how should be involved, and so must the government by creating an
enabling environment in which maximum productivity, effective marketing and
wide distribution at affordable costs can be achieved.
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Farm Invasions And Security Report
Thursday 30 May 2002

This report does not purport to cover all the incidents that are taking place in the commercial farming areas.  Communication problems and the fear of reprisals prevent farmers from reporting all that happens.  Farmers names, and in some cases farm names, are omitted to minimise the risk of reprisals.

  • On Rivergardens Farm, Norton, Mrs Nyandoro, an A2 settler, stole mealie meal in the owner's absence. Several tonnes were stolen with some being issued to workers and no record kept. Her husband brought in GMB and samples were taken in of all the maize stock. She has also stolen milk from the on farm production.
  • There is little change regarding production in Kadoma/Battlefields, with the DA not allowing farmers to grow food for the nation, unless they make deals with the settlers, which normally involve large amounts of extortion money.
    Support Unit moved in to Etna Mine/Farm, Chegutu, which is understood to be either state owned or owned by a black farmer, to clear out settlers. The settlers were moved on to the neighbouring farm, Maratonga, which is white owned.  
  • In Masvingo East and Central, reports received from the ground indicate settlers are moving, told to move or have been moved by Government officials off selected properties detailed below, including Rathmore Farm belonging to Mr. Manangagwa, and Mushaid Farm and Cleveland Farm belonging to General Zvinavashe.

All is quiet here.  Nothing to report.
- The labourers on Rushpeak Farm were evicted on 30.05.02 and the owner is not allowed to remove any of his personal effects. The owner of Nyamfuta Farm received a letter, purportedly from the DA, stating he was not allowed to remove his personal effects. The owner of Nyamsewe Farm has been told to leave all his personal belongings on the farm.
In meeting therefore no report available.
No report received.
- On Rivergardens Farm Mrs Nyandoro, and A2 settler, stole mealie meal in the owner's absence. Several tonnes were stolen with some being issued to workers and no record kept. Her husband brought in GMB and samples were taken in of all the maize stock. She has also stolen milk from the on farm production.
Selous - On two properties A2 settlers commandeered the owners’ pipes and pumps to plant a wheat crop. 
Chegutu - Support Unit moved in to Etna Mine/Farm, which is understood to be either state owned or owned by a black farmer, to clear out settlers. The settlers were moved on to the neighbouring farm, Maratonga, which is white owned.  
Chakari - There is still no way forward on Chevy Chase Farm, which is unlisted, and the farmer is still not allowed to plant wheat despite approaches to the DA, Lands Committee and Mr Chikawore. On Dewares Farm, the President’s Office continues to use the owner's movable assets illegally depriving the owner of income. No farmers are allowed to plant wheat in this association.
Kadoma Battlefields - There is little change regarding production in this area with the DA not allowing farmers to grow food for the nation, unless they make deals with the settlers, which normally involve large amounts of extortion money.
General - Section 8's are received in large numbers in the Chegutu district at present. Many of the recipients have single owned farms. There are no letters of comfort being signed allowing farmers with Section 8 Orders to continue with farming operations. There is no clarification regarding whether Government will allow farmers to plant seedbeds on 01.06.02.
Masvingo East and Central
– at Chidza Farm 29 pedigree heifers were removed from the paddock, later found on a neighbouring farm and returned.  Reports received from the ground indicate settlers are moving, told to move or have been moved by Government officials off the selected properties as indicated below: -
Limmington Farm belonging to Mr. Poyto
Mukwari Farm belonging to Mr. Ganyani
Zion Church Farms
Rathmore Farm belonging to Mr. Manangagwa
Mushaid Farm and Cleveland Farm belonging to General Zvinavashe
Penhurst Farm belonging to the late Mr. Mokombi
Chiredzi - The veld is taking a real pounding from the already existing settlers and many new settlers moving on. Trees are cut down and regular veldfires occurring.  Poaching and snaring is now so rampant that the local butchers in town have lost sales due to the availability of meat on the streets.
Save Conservancy – at Mukwazi Ranch Agritex officials told the owner they would be moving into the Safari Camp. There is an increase in settlers over the last few days Mwenezi - Reports From the 26th May 2002 and 29th May 2002.
On Kayansee a Section 8 dated Jan 2002 was finally delivered by ZRP Gwanda.  This is a photocopied document with no official stamp. A lawyer is of the opinion it is not a valid legal document for this reason. Other Section 8s served in the district are on the same format.  Found snared in past couple of days are two eland, one kudu, one warthog and three cattle. This was investigated by A/Insp Ngulube, ZRP Beitbridge, who is also a “settler” on at least one property in the vicinity.  Joco/Kleinbegin reports both diesel and ZESA powered water pumps were commandeered by settlers and used to supply their water needs from the property owner's boreholes without his authority.  There has been a further influx of cattle from the communal area where there is active FMD. About 300 head have been moved, presumably without permits, in the past 10 days. This makes the total number of illegal cattle between 700 - 1000 head on these two properties. About 200 of these are in the conservancy area and are still regularly moved to and fro between communal area and conservancy.  Several fires burnt large areas of grazing over the past few days. Cutting of trees, building, burning lands, snaring and slaughter/theft of cattle continues unabated.  At Bothasrus about 300 cattle arrived that belong to Beitbridge MP and Deputy Minister of Local Govt., Kembo Mohadi. They came with two separate veterinary movement permits. One for 81 head from the Beitbridge quarantine station and the balance from Penemene. Permits were issued by one Ncube, and authorised by Dr Ndlovu, the DVO. Both places are in close proximity to recent or perhaps even present FMD. Mohadi had visited the owner of the property about two weeks ago to tell him to move his cattle out of the area into which these invading cattle have been introduced.  At La Pache, there was a fire originating in the new squatter lands. A baboon was found caught in a snare.  In general, there have been fires on several properties. Cutting, burning, building, snaring, wire theft and fence destruction and pipeline vandalism is ongoing. Grazing is disappearing fast with the excessive numbers of squatter cattle
Gutu / Chatsworth – the Blyth Farm owner moved some of his tobacco equipment into his yard. The settlers became aggressive and claimed this was prohibited as all farm equipment now belonged to them. The owner notified the police with little response.  On Rossal Farm, Muirlands Farm Nelville Farm Middeldeel Farm, the slaughter and theft of both beef and dairy cattle is on the increase, with crimes even occurring in broad daylight.
- Glen Arroch has been sold. On Grasslands, 25 irrigation pipes were stolen while on Caberfeigh property was stolen from the guesthouse and main homestead. Police were notified.  Eduan Estates reports the office was broken into and stationery stolen but no money found by thieves, whilst Dekel reports irrigation pipes, chemicals and an electric 20 hp borehole motor were stolen. On Delvillewood Estates, the Chairman of the Land Committee was grazing his cattle on the barley lands and a woodcutter was heard at 1.35 a.m. cutting down trees. The owner of Modena Farm has compiled and handed in a letter to the D.A. objecting to his farm being taken over. On this farm, a poacher, armed with knives etc. was caught and taken to the police.

No report received.                                Visit the CFU Website
Unless specifically stated that this message is a Commercial Farmers' Union communiqué, or that it is being issued or forwarded to you by the sender in an official CFU capacity, the opinions contained therein are private. Private messages also include those sent on behalf of any organisation not directly affiliated to the Union. The CFU does not accept any legal responsibility for private messages and opinions held by the sender and transmitted over its local area network to other CFU network users and/or to external addressees.
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Thursday, 30 May, 2002, 16:37 GMT 17:37 UK
Mugabe launches CD charm offensive
President Robert Mugabe
President Mugabe wants to restore his country's image
Zimbabwe has launched a marketing campaign in an attempt to improve its image, tarnished by years of political and economic difficulties.

An interactive programme has been put together that provides "a factual and authoritative exposition... of what Zimbabwe really is", President Robert Mugabe said.

Our challenge is to transform negative perceptions of Zimbabwe into positive outcomes

President Mugabe
He was speaking at the launch of a CD-ROM sponsored by the United Nations Development Programme, which was attended by foreign diplomats, business leaders and tourism officials.

The Zimbabwean leader said his country had been treated unfairly by the world media, in particular over its land reform programme.

"Over the past four years or so, the government and leadership have been subjected to a persistent and malicious media onslaught because we have seriously made attempts at correcting and redressing past colonial injustices, notably the skewed land distribution and ownership patterns.


"Never in modern history has a country and its leadership received as many column inches of print and many hours of television as Zimbabwe," the Zimbabwean head of state said.

However, in spite of the bad press, Mr Mugabe said more people worldwide had come to know about Zimbabwe in recent years.

"Our challenge is to transform negative perceptions of Zimbabwe into positive outcomes," he said.

Queueing for food in Zimbabwe
Many do not get enough to eat

Land invasions led by self-styled liberation war veterans on white-owned farms have attracted international attention over the past two years.

The loss of production caused by the land occupation, coupled with a regional drought, means that 750,000 people are facing starvation in the worst affected rural areas.

In March, Mr Mugabe was declared the winner of presidential elections, which the opposition and the Commonwealth said were unfair and marred by violence.


Mugabe brings in some spin for a new-look Zim

May 30 2002 at 02:35PM

Harare - Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe launched a marketing campaign on Thursday aimed at rehabilitating the image of the southern African country, battered by more than two years of political and economic crisis.

Put together by a grouping of business and economic bodies and presented on CD-ROM, the interactive marketing programme aims to "challenge the misconceptions and misinformation that have been published worldwide" about the country, according to the National Economic Consultative Forum (NECF).

Mugabe said the country has suffered negative publicity because it embarked on a land reform scheme aimed at redressing past colonial imbalances.

"Over the past four years or so, the government and leadership have been subjected to a persistent and malicious media onslaught because we have seriously made attempts at correcting and redressing past colonial injustices, notably the skewed land distribution and ownership patterns.

Embarked on a land reform scheme
"Never in modern history has a country and its leadership received as many column inches of print and as many hours of television as Zimbabwe," Mugabe said.

However, in spite of the bad press, Mugabe said more people in the world have come to know about Zimbabwe in recent years.

"Our challenge is to transform the negative perceptions of Zimbabwe into positive outcomes," he said.

The CD-ROM, Mugabe said, "provides a factual and authoritative exposition and articulation of what Zimbabwe really is".

Land invasions led by self-styled liberation war veterans on white-owned farms, have attracted international attention and criticism over the past two-and-half years.

Violence-wracked legislative and presidential elections held over the past two years, in a country ruled by one man for 22 years, have also generated international interest and condemnation.

The launch of the CD-ROM, which was sponsored by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP),was attended by western and African diplomats, industry leaders, and trade and tourism officials. - Sapa-AFP

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ZIMBABWE: Opposition still fighting for election re-run

JOHANNESBURG, 30 May (IRIN) - Despite President Robert Mugabe's consolidation of power in Zimbabwe, the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has not given up its fight to force a re-run of the March presidential election.

However, reports that the opposition plan to use mass action and stayaways to force a re-run of the election appear to have put the MDC on the back foot.

When approached by IRIN, MDC media officer Percy Makombe, said: "We will not be commenting on this mass action as this will only pre-empt it. [Suffice to say that] there are things that are being done to address the issue of the stolen election."

MDC secretary general Welshman Ncube, however, was more forthcoming.

He said it was clear Zimbabweans would have to solve their own problems as the European Union appeared to have bought "[South African President Thabo] Mbeki's red herring of African solutions to African problems".

He said: "We are still consulting on what to do within the party, with other stakeholders, the trade unions, women's organisations, human rights organisations. We have been doing that for over a month, going to grass roots levels, asking what form of action we should take. Should it be mass action or stayaway etcetera, that is yet to be resolved.

"Action will be taken because we have not accepted the result, but we cannot say when and what."

A stayaway campaign attempted by the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, shortly after the March election, was by most accounts a failure. Ncube said the MDC plans to make sure there was buy-in from "the grass roots" before a course of action was decided.

Meanwhile, the MDC continued to lobby governments and ruling parties throughout the region and continent. Said Ncube: "We are sensitising them and impressing upon them that the Zimbabwe crisis will not be wished away. It will not go away unless they address the fundamentals of that crisis. We have been to South Africa, Botswana, Mozambique, Nigeria, Ghana and Burkina Faso. We are yet to go to Namibia, Angola, Zambia, Malawi and so on.

"Basically, we think it is the Africans who let us down quite badly over the last 18 months and they must share some of the responsibility for what has happened in Zimbabwe, they thought by standing with Mugabe they could end the crisis."

Ncube contended that as most of the region and Africa had recognised President Robert Mugabe's victory in the March election, which the European Union, the United States and Commonwealth believed was neither free nor fair, they cannot be charged with solving Zimbabwe's political and consequent economic and humanitarian crises.

He said: "The so-called African solution to African problems is being led by countries who do not think there is a problem ... they say Mugabe won the election and the results are legitimate, so what problem are they going to solve?

"Ultimately, the responsibility for charting the way forward rests with us in Zimbabwe ... the people of Zimbabwe will confront their problems, one way or another."


Tel: +27 11 880-4633
Fax: +27 11 447-5472
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SOUTHERN AFRICA: WFP sets up centre to coordinate food aid

JOHANNESBURG, 30 May (IRIN) - The UN World Food Programme (WFP) is setting up a logistical and information management centre in South Africa to coordinate the movement of food aid to at least 10 million people in the region threatened by starvation.

The regional office, expected to be up and running in the next few weeks, would coordinate logistical and transport operations, intervene where local bottlenecks are identified, and liaise with donors and UN agencies, WFP Regional Logistics Coordinator Pedro Figueuredo told IRIN.

WFP and the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) warned on Wednesday that millions of people were on "the brink of famine" in Zimbabwe and Malawi. Other countries in the region also faced grave food shortages from as early as June, after two successive years of poor harvests.

Nearly four million mt of food will need to be imported over the next year to meet the minimum food needs of the sub-region's population. Almost 10 million people in the famine-threatened countries need immediate emergency food assistance of some 1.2 million mt, the two agencies said.

Given the gravity of the findings by assessment teams in the six countries surveyed, FAO and WFP have called on donor governments worldwide to respond quickly and generously with food aid donations to "avoid widespread hunger from developing into a humanitarian disaster".

WFP regional spokesperson Brenda Barton told IRIN that donor attention was "now turned to the crisis and they see as we do, the grave crisis which lies ahead".

Figueuredo said the key regional ports that would be used to receive food shipments would be Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, Durban in South Africa, and Maputo, Beira and Nacala in Mozambique.

Port captains, who would work with the local authorities to ensure that vessels are offloaded expeditiously and food is stored or moved out of the ports efficiently, are already in place in Beira, and Nacala (which will supply Malawi).

WFP is trying to increase the "discharge rate" - the amount that can be offloaded from a vessel per day - at the ports. Currently that stands at 2,000 mt for Dar es Salaam, Durban and Maputo. Beira and Nacala are slower because they don't have automatic bulk offloading facilities, instead maize would have to be bagged on the quayside.

Figueuredo estimated that a 25,000 to 30,000 mt vessel would take at least two weeks to offload, although consignments could be split between different ports.

A one-stop shop for customs clearance procedures for trucks and rail traffic between Zimbabwe and Mozambique was already being discussed, Figueuredo said. He added that WFP was also asking for special privileges to reduce border tolls.

"The concern is not that we can't feed or transport the food to the beneficiaries," Figueuredo noted. "It's a race against time in the sense that the ports, railways, roads, warehouses, silos - all need to be well-coordinated."

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      Poaching Threatens Elephant Population in Zimbabwe: Official


      Xinhuanet 2002-05-30 16:10:25

      HARARE, May 30 (Xinhuanet) -- The increasing levels of poaching of
wildlife on farms adjacent to some of the country's leading game
conservancies could reduce the country's chances of maintaining the elephant
population, the Herald newspaper reported on Thursday.

      Secretary for Environment and Tourism Lucas Tavaya was quoted as
saying that it was "not economically clever" for some people resettled on
farms adjacent to game estates or ranches to unnecessarily kill animals.

      "In fact it is myopic to poach animals for no apparent reason.
What some people fail to understand is that these animals are not for the
farmers staying on the farms but their children's nationalheritage," said

      "I think Zimbabweans should look far ahead to economically empower
themselves through the resource which is abundant here. Wildlife
conservation is for the whole country. Rural district councils should not
allow people to kill wildlife," Tavaya said.

      "We would be a very happy people if we save our wildlife from
extinct. Instead of killing wildlife, we should be working extremely hard to
take over the management of wildlife," he said.

      Poaching "for the pot was rampant on farms" in the provinces
ofMatabeleland, Midlands and Masvingo was threatening endangered species
such as the black rhino.

      Although Zimbabwe was confident of getting support for its
proposal on the African elephant at the next Conference on International
Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) in Chile, "we donot want people in our
national parks except our game people".

      Official records indicate that wildlife worth more than 1.82
million U.S. dollars has been lost to massive poaching, illegal movement of
wildlife, over-hunting, subsistence and commercial poaching in ranches.

      Up to 50 black rhino have either been snared or killed by
reportedly urban cartels working in cahoots with resettled villagers on
farms adjacent these conservancies and people from the communal areas.

      Between 1996 and 2000, about 209 elephants, 138 buffalo and
108impala were poached among other wildlife.

      Last month some poachers killed at least seven elephants.

      A few months ago, the National Parks and Wildlife Management
Authority launched a probe into allegations of illegal movement ofwildlife,
massive over-hunting, subsistence and commercial poaching in commercial
ranches by some farmers' cartels, communal and resettled farmers.

      The country's black rhino population in the Intensive
ProtectionZones and conservancies is now under threat from commercial
poaching, poaching for the pot and other factors. Enditem
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      Zimbabwe crisis talks may be revived

Mediators are hoping to revive crisis talks between Zimbabwe's ruling party
and the opposition.

Nigerian Foreign Minister Sule Lamido met with Robert Mugabe, describing the
meeting as "enlightening" and is optimistic the talks could be resuscitated.

Zimbabwe is suffering its worst economic crisis since 1980, a situation
exacerbated by opposition claims President Mugabe fixed the March
presidential election.

Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo and South African President Thabo Mbeki
sent mediators to Harare in April to facilitate political talks, but hopes
for progress faltered over the election issue.

The opposition Movement for Democratic Change is refusing to accept Mr
Mugabe's victory and is filing a court challenge alleging voting was swayed
by violence, intimidation and rigging.

The MDC is demanding a new election held under international supervision
within a year. Official results showed opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai
losing by some 400,000 votes.

Mr Mugabe has refuses to consider new elections.

Severe food shortages have been caused by farm disruptions and erratic

The World Food Programme estimates half of Zimbabwe's 12.5 million people
will need food aid to avert starvation this year.

Story filed: 13:08 Thursday 30th May 2002

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Journalists to go on trial next month in Zimbabwe

HARARE, May 30 - A Zimbabwean magistrate set on Thursday trial dates next
month for a U.S. and local journalist charged with publishing ''falsehoods''
under President Robert Mugabe's tough new media law.

       Andrew Meldrum, a correspondent for Britain's Guardian newspaper, and
Lloyd Mudiwa, a reporter for Zimbabwe's independent Daily News, were charged
after publishing a story that alleged Mugabe supporters had beheaded a
       The Daily News later said it had doubts about the alleged murder
after failing to locate the woman's grave. The paper apologised to Mugabe's
ZANU-PF party.
       Meldrum, a U.S. national, will stand trial on June 12, while Mudiwa
will go to court on June 20, Magistrate Joyce Negonde told a Harare court.
       Meldrum and Mudiwa -- among 11 journalists to be arrested since
Mugabe's controversial re-election in March -- attended Thursday's hearing,
but declined to comment to reporters outside the court.
       ''We are happy the state has finally set a date and we hope we can
prove our case that the state is being vindictive with these prosecutions,''
said their lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa.
       Under the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act,
journalists can face fines of up to Z$100,000 ($1,818) or up to two years in
jail if they are found guilty of publishing ''falsehoods.''
       Mugabe's government has been accused of cracking down on journalists
since March 9-11 presidential elections which were rejected as fraudulent by

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Settlers to Make Way for Commercial Farmers

Takaitei Bote, Farming Editor

SOME land occupiers who have been told by the government to vacate commercial farms allege that they are being moved to make way for commercial farmers to plant winter wheat while others say they are being moved out to make way for government officials to take over the farms.

The government this month ordered provincial land committees to remove illegal occupants on farms to allow commercial farmers to engage in production without disturbances from the resettled farmers

The government, however, said all the land occupiers being moved would be allocated land elsewhere after there was an outcry by people who claimed they had championed the Zanu PF government land reform campaign prior to the 9-11 March presidential election but were now being victimised by the same government they voted for.

Farmers told Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement Minister, Joseph Made, at a workshop for opportunities for newly resettled farmers last Friday that they were unhappy with the government's decision to evict them even from designated farms.

While the government has ordered new farmers to move out of unlisted farms, some farmers from Karoi and Mazowe alleged they were being evicted from farms to allow farmers to plant wheat. Some of the farms were allegedly being taken over by government officials.

A new farmer on Sangakilo Farm in Karoi, Patrick Gwasera, said: "We have been assured by the government that they will not evict us because the farm is designated. Surprisingly we are being told to make way for the original owner of the farm who wants to plant wheat."

Sangakilo Farm is demarcated for acquisition. Gwasera said government officials had ordered them to leave because the new farmers did not know how to grow wheat.

"The government told us last year that we would remain on the farm to contribute to food security. If they want us to do so, why don't they give us a chance to learn so we can produce the wheat?" Gwasera asked.

Gwasera joined hundreds of other people from communal areas in Karoi to occupy Sangakilo Farm last October.

He said most of the new farmers on the farm did not plant crops last season because they had no inputs and equipment

The Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) two weeks ago confirmed that government officials had in the past few weeks addressed meetings and communicated the message that commercial farmers must be allowed to plant winter wheat.

A CFU official said: "Authorisation to waive the Section 8 order restrictions and allow a farmer to plant wheat are vested in the Ministry Lands and Agriculture, who is the acquiring authority.

Such authorisation, when issued must encompass the right to plant and harvest without interference. Should the above authorisation be forthcoming, we as farmers stand ready, willing and able to play our role in feeding the nation."

There are reports that the government had asked some commercial farmers in Goromonzi and Chinhoyi to resume land preparation for the much needed wheat crop.

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Zim to Pay More for US Visa

Raymond Mgadzah, Senior Business Reporter

THE fee for processing a United States non-immigrant visa has been increased from US$45 to US$65 (from Z$2 475 to Z$3 575 at the official rate) with effect from 1 June 2002.

Under the exchange rate used by the US government one US dollar is equivalent to 380 Zimbabwe dollars, compared to the official exchange rate of US$1:Z$55.

This means that the cost of the visa processing fee, which is payable in Zimbabwe dollars only, will shortly increase from Z$17 100 to Z$24 700.

A spokesman for the US Embassy in Harare said the cost of the US non-immigrant visa, which is required for persons travelling to that country on holiday or on business, was being increased to meet new administrative charges.

The spokesman said: "Unfortunately it is necessary to increase the US visa processing fee in order to recover the costs associated with the new machine readable visa. It's a new kind of visa that can be read by a computer."

The spokesman said that in addition to the visa processing fee, Zimbabweans wishing to travel to the US must pay a reciprocity fee of US$55, payable either in US dollars or as $20 900.

This fee is charged to citizens of countries which charge US citizens wishing to visit them for visas. Unlike the visa processing fee, the reciprocity fee varies from country to country.

Prospective visa applicants have been notified of the increased cost of the processing fee by a Press advertisement.

The advertisement warned that the visa application fee, which must be paid for at the main branch of Standard Chartered Bank in Harare, Bulawayo, Masvingo and Mutare would be non-refundable.

The advertisement said: "After payment of the visa fee, the teller will give the applicant a two-part receipt. This receipt must be presented to the Consular Section on the day of the visa interview.

Photocopies of this receipt will not be accepted. "If the applicant is granted a visa, an additional reciprocity fee of US$55, or Zimbabwe dollar equivalent thereof, must be paid at the US Embassy at the time of the interview.

Applicants should bring sufficient funds with them on the day of the interview to pay this reciprocity fee."

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Domestic Debt Shoots to $279bn

Ngoni Chanakira, Business Editor

Despite the plea by the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Dr Simba Makoni, for his government colleagues to live within their means, the State's apparent insatiable appetite to continue blowing the country's fiscus continues unabated.

The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ), which falls directly under Makoni's ministry, yesterday said the government's domestic debt had galloped from $231,1 billion at the end March, to $279,3 billion during the middle of May.

This is piled on top of an overall balance deficit of US$625 million (Z$34,4 billion) owed to the international community.

The amount includes a US$201 million for the current account, as well as a US$424 million on the capital account deficits.

The government, which has promised across-the-board increments to the civil service, police, army, chiefs and headmen as well as politicians, utilised more than $15 billion within a week.

The RBZ said the domestic debt stood at $264 741 700 000 as at 3 May, this year, which shot up to $279 354 900 000 as at 10 May.

The International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, which have suspended balance of payments support for the country's economic recovery programme, warned Zimbabwe against a huge domestic and foreign debt.

It set an amount of $200 billion as a domestic debt that was manageable. However, the two institutions have been thrown out by the government as advisors because they are alleged to be bringing in "more suffering than help for the citizens".

The RBZ said its lending to banks during the period up to 10 May had declined, while that for the cash-strapped government increased.

Figures from the Central Bank show that the government's domestic debt is now increasing by a rate of at least $10 billion weekly, which is about $8 billion more than the money Makoni promised the Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs) in his 2002 National Budget presented in Parliament in November, last year.

Amid much applause from fellow parliamentarians, Makoni set aside $2 billion for this sector.

He said the cash would revive the ailing sector. Early last year, the government restructured its domestic debt from short to long term.

Makoni said in December, 2000, 94 percent of government domestic debt was short-term.

By June, last year, the short-term component had been reduced to 72 percent, according to Makoni.

He said this was in line with the debt restructuring policy, which targeted that short-term debt should not exceed 70 percent, and at least 30 percent become medium to long-term.

However, Makoni said, during the period under review, the government debt with a tenure of more than a year increased from six percent to 33 percent.

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