The ZIMBABWE Situation Our thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.

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The Herald

Harare introduces 24-hour water cuts

Municipal Reporter
Engineers are working flat out to bring Morton Jaffray Water Treatment Works
back to full capacity as Harare City Council introduces 24-hour water cuts
in some southern suburbs to divert water to the north-east suburbs where
there have been no supplies for several days

Most city reservoirs were low on water yesterday after equipment breakdowns
at Morton Jaffray.

Harare City Council director of works Mr Psychology Chiwanga said there was
only one working compressor, one air blower and two wash water pumps out of
the five which were supposed to be working at any given time.

"This has resulted in reduced clear water output from the plant," he said.

Mr Chiwanga said engineers from a private company together with those of
council were working on the repairs.

He said council had responded by implementing a water demand management
exercise by closing off water flows to the southern suburbs for 24 hours.

The plan is meant to allow the flow of water into Letombo and subsequent
pumping to the north eastern suburbs.

The areas to be affected include Waterfalls, Eastlea, Park Meadowlands,
Hillside, Braeside, Chadcombe and St Martins.

Supplies in these areas will be cut from 9am and would only be temporarily
restored at 9am the next day.

"The City of Harare wishes to advise residents of Harare that due to the
current water supply disruptions as a result of the technical problems at
Morton Jaffray, a water demand management exercise has been put in place to
allow flow to areas which had gone for days without water," the city said in
a statement.

Water bowsers were deployed to the affected areas in the north-east, but
residents in these areas complained that they were not being serviced.

Mr Chiwanga said council had ordered the spares.

He said the water problems had nothing to do with the supply of water
treatment chemicals.

Harare last had crippling water shortages in February when areas such as
Greendale, Eastlea, Tafara, Msasa and Chisipite went for as much as 10 days
without water.

The present water shortages are haunting residents who have gone for almost
five days without water.

Stranded residents are having to rely on the goodwill of neighbours with
boreholes and some are having to walk for several kilometres to fetch water
by wheelbarrows.

Residents from these areas were yesterday phoning The Herald to register
their displeasure with the manner the water shortages were being handled by

They accused the council of deliberately targeting the areas each time there
was a water problem in the city because it was assumed most households in
the areas have boreholes.

The actual problem is the distance and altitude and the need for double
reservoirs and pumping into an area where there has been major housing
development in recent years.

Water has to be pumped up to the huge Letombo reservoir near Msasa, the city
's largest. From there, water has to be pumped into other reservoirs in the
north-east. Water for consumers is allowed to flow by gravity from these
secondary reservoirs.

If water supplies do not meet demand, as happens in very hot weather or when
there are technical problems at Morton Jaffray, the north-east reservoirs at
the end of the distribution chain go without water unless the council
deliberately diverts water from other suburbs to Letombo.
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Washington Times

Hold the applause

South African President Thabo Mbeki is willing to see Zimbabweans used as
sacrificial lambs. Zimbabwe's leader, Robert Mugabe, attended the recent
swearing-in ceremony for Mr. Mbeki's second term. Upon his entry, Mr. Mugabe
received a standing ovation. The deference to Zimbabwe's persecutor in chief
didn't stop there. Mr. Mbeki made clear that Mr. Mugabe would always be
welcomed in South Africa, despite his transgressions against the people of
Zimbabwe - both black and white.
"We pledge to all the heroes and heroines who sacrificed for our freedom
[in the struggle against apartheid] that we will never betray the trust that
you bestowed on us," said Mr. Mbeki. This statement was presumably directed,
at least in part, toward Mr. Mugabe, who played a key role in trouncing
apartheid in Zimbabwe. But Mr. Mugabe also has delivered on Zimbabwe,
formerly southern Africa's breadbasket, a severe food shortage, epidemic
homelessness, financial collapse and soaring unemployment, due to his
divisive land "reform" policies, which have greatly benefited his family and
associates. By failing to recognize Mr. Mugabe's blight on Zimbabwe, Mr.
Mbeki is aiding and abetting the plight of his neighbors. Mr. Mbeki
continues to conjure a decade-old and defeated injustice (apartheid), at the
expense of the currently suffering Zimbabweans.

During his swearing-in, Mr. Mbeki said, "Africa is sure to emerge as a
place of hope." This soaring rhetoric contrasts sharply with the applause
for a despot. If Africa is to fulfill the goal that Mr. Mbeki invoked, it
must be willing to apply African solutions to African problems. Mr. Mugabe
is a problem for Zimbabwe, and for Africa.
Africa's problems are severe and exponential, particularly the HIV/AIDS
crisis. If African leaders don't respond to the epidemic aggressively, it
can only grow worse. But according to an April 16 report by the
International Crisis Group, "Too many African governments fail to recognize
that AIDS is more than a public health issue but also threatens their
states' stability and potential security." The report also found that the
New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) "pays too little attention,
particularly to the pandemic's impact on economic development, stability and
conflict." Since Mr. Mbeki conceived of the NEPAD initiative, we hope he
read the report.
Mr. Mbeki must do more to solve the problems of today, rather than
dwelling on the wrongs of the past. If he and other key leaders fail to do
so, there is little cause for hope.

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Mugabe to launch newspaper in SA

May 06 2004 at 01:34AM

By Basildon Peta

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and Namibian President Sam Nujoma have
joined hands to start a new regional newspaper called the New Sunday Times
to "counter the threat from the global media to African values".

But critics have called the project "stupid", and said the two leaders
should rather devote their resources to feed the poor in their countries.

The newspaper will be sold in all Southern African countries and will start
publishing on July 1, according to an announcement on Wednesday.

But it seems the real aim of the new newspaper is to offer competition to
South Africa's Sunday Times, which has been persistently demonised by the
Mugabe government, as the "chief culprit" in publishing "anti-Zimbabwe

'I dismiss the project as wholly stupid'
The new publishing project comes in the wake of a warning by Nujoma at the
weekend to use the Namibian army to defend Zimbabwe militarily should it be
attacked by "colonialists" bent on removing Mugabe from office.

The New Sunday Times will be jointly published by the state-run Zimbabwe
Newspapers Group (Zimpapers) and Namibia's New Era Publishing Corporation, a
company wholly owned by Nujoma's government.

However, a senior Namibian journalist, who did not want to be named,
described the project as "doomed from the start" because it lacks

"The project is unsustainable," he said.

"I don't see how readers and advertisers can sustain Mugabe and Nujoma's
propaganda tool. In fact, at the risk of sounding disrespectful, I dismiss
the project as wholly stupid."

"The two leaders are better advised to feed the poor in their countries
instead of wasting their taxpayers money on this kind of project."

Mugabe's chief spin doctor, Information Minister Jonathan Moyo, and his
Namibian counterpart, Nangolo Mbumba, have already signed a memorandum of
understanding for the two countries to jointly publish the regional

This memorandum was followed by another agreement signed in Harare on
Tuesday by the chief executives of New Era Publications Corporation and

Assistant Editor of Zimbabwe's state run Herald newspaper, Moses Magadza,
will edit the New Sunday Times from Windhoek. The Herald said the New Sunday
Times would carry news articles from Namibia, Zimbabwe and other Southern
African countries "written from an African perspective".

.. This article was originally published on page 1 of The Cape Times on
May 06, 2004
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ICC chief launches attack on Blair

LONDON (AFP) - International Cricket Council (ICC) president Ehsan Mani on
Wednesday launched a bitter attack on British Prime Minister Tony Blair
accusing him of inaction and inconsistency on the thorny subject of
England's tour of Zimbabwe.
"It is disappointing but unsurprising that a politician should attempt to
shift the blame in this way," said Mani.

"Mr Blair is seeking to divert attention away from his own inaction in
dealing with Zimbabwe by attempting to exert inappropriate pressure on an
international sporting body to make a political decision.

"At no stage has he or any of his people sought to get the facts on this
matter from the ICC."

Earlier Wednesday, Blair said he didn't think England should tour Zimbabwe,
but added that the decision rests exclusively on the shoulders of
international cricket chiefs.

"We would prefer them not to go," said Blair during his weekly question
session in the House of Commons.

But he added: "There is a difference between doing that and ordering them
not to go which I think would step over the proper line."

He added that his foreign secretary Jack Straw would be meeting the England
and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) on Thursday to discuss the dilemma.

He added: "I think many people believe, I think rightly, that the problem
actually resides with the ICC."

However, Mani was incensed by Blair's stance.

"It is difficult to accept the proposition that the ICC should be making a
special case for England when not even the England and Wales Cricket Board
has attempted to argue that it be exempted from its promise to tour Zimbabwe
unless it is unsafe to do so," said the ICC chief.

"Unfortunately, the one consistent aspect of Mr Blair's approach to Zimbabwe
has been its inconsistency.

"His government maintains diplomatic links with Zimbabwe, allows British
companies to invest heavily in and trade openly with Zimbabwe, and welcomes
athletes representing Zimbabwe to the UK.

"Given that this issue has been on his radar for more than 18 months it
appears that his intransigence on Zimbabwe is now linked in some way to his
overwhelming desire to secure the Olympics for London."

If England pull out of the tour, scheduled for later this year, the ECB
could face a two million pound fine and a one-year suspension if they cancel
the tour without the British government specifically telling them not to

Published: May 06, 2004
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The Herald

Two safari operators under probe

By Jeffrey Gogo
THE National Parks and Wildlife Authority has launched an investigation into
the operations of two safari operators who include a top Harare businessman
and a South African national amid allegations that the two may have
prejudiced the country of millions of dollars through non-disclosure of
their hunting operations and proceeds.

Under the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe regulations, safari operators are
expected to declare foreign currency earnings through foreign currency
declaration forms known as CD1 forms which are available at commercial

Allegations levelled against the two safari operators stem from their
operations in the lucrative area in Matabeleland which boasts of thousands
of game.

It is alleged that a National Parks warden (name supplied) in an animal
sanctuary was last year paid over $30 million as bribe by the South African
businessman, "to turn a blind eye" on the illegal hunts that were being
undertaken by his company.

It emerged yesterday that the South African businessman is not registered in
the country as a legal safari operator.

The warden is understood to have granted the South African concessions to
hunt game that was not on the pre-hunt registration and directed proceeds
(trophies) of their efforts to South Africa through unorthodox means.

The South African hunter (name supplied) did not only transgress the country
's regulations by not paying the two percent hunting levy to the Zimbabwe
Tourism Authority, but allegedly bribed almost every personnel at the
wildlife site to cover up his illegal activities.

It is also alleged that several officials within the National Parks and
Wildlife Authority received kickbacks from the South African businessman so
as not to disclose information regarding his hunting activities.

Said the sources: "The tour operator shot a lion at Gwaai using lion calls
on a tape recorder. The businessman also poached leopards from several parts
of Matabeleland.

"The lion population has been drastically depreciating as a result of the
cat's poor mating habits."

The company is alleged to have been engaged in unregulated activities as
"pre-hunts were signed on a land-rover bonnet by torch light at night".

It is alleged that the South African, with the help of the top local
businessman (name supplied), managed to rubberstamp earnings made from the
hunts and misrepresented the company's income on foreign currency
declaration forms.

The local businessman is alleged to have been acting as a front for the
South African company in its foreign currency dealings, where millions of
dollars are understood to have been clandestinely siphoned out of the

Efforts to get a comment from the South African businessman proved fruitless

However, the local businessman refused to comment on the matter and said, "I
shall call when I'm ready to comment."

National Parks and Wildlife director-general Dr Morris Mtsambiwa confirmed
the develop-ments.

"We have initiated investigations into this whole business of safari
operators," he said.

"We are working with the central bank in this process and we fear the
country could have lost substantial amounts of foreign currency in these
underhand deals.

"However, we are not certain how much money could have been lost, but
definitely, it runs into millions of dollars."

Dr Mtsambiwa said, "We are stern in these investigations and those involved
should be brought to book."

There are fears that the country could have lost billions of dollars in
foreign currency in the shady deals while the parks and wildlife authority
might also have been siphoned of substantial sums in income.

An elephant trophy now costs US$10 000, male buffalo US$1 200 and zebra

The hunting industry has over the years been generating substantial sums of
foreign currency through hunting excursions, which have continued to attract
large numbers of foreign clients.

It has since emerged that proceeds, mostly in hard currency, were not
finding their way into the official channel.
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MDC sues Mbeki

Brian Mangwende
5/6/2004 7:22:23 AM (GMT +2)

IN what is seen as a monument to the Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC)'s diplomatic ineptitude, Zimbabwe's increasingly litigious opposition
party this week took the unusual step of instituting legal action against
South African President Thabo Mbeki, a key broker in the country's stalled
inter-party political dialogue.

The surprise move is meant to force Mbeki -widely perceived as having
the political and diplomatic clout to help resolve the Zimbabwe crisis - to
produce documentation compiled by two South African judges who monitored the
controversial 2002 presidential election.

The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) named the judges as
Dikgang Moseneke and Sisi Khampepe. Matthew Walton was named as the MDC's

The MDC believes that the judges produced a highly damaging and
incriminating report on Zimbabwe's last presidential election. It believes
that the secret report could help the party unravel the ugly face of ZANU PF
's election rigging machine.

However, in a more bizarre episode in the MDC's long-running
litigation, the party's leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, and its
secretary-general, Welshman Ncube, quickly moved to pour cold water on the
decision to sue Mbeki.

"I would not be nave to sue Mbeki, considering the important role he
is playing in trying to resolve the Zimbabwe crisis. I will therefore write
to him apologising for any misunderstandings that could have been caused by
the statements attributed to our lawyers," Tsvangirai was quoted as saying
by a South African newspaper.

He reportedly agreed to instruct the Cape Town lawyers to secure the
release of the judges' report but denied having asked them to apply for a
court order citing Mbeki as a respondent.

Said Ncube:"The MDC's legal team that has been working to gather
evidence for the 2002 presidential election petition advises that the court
application is a routine procedure to obtain evidence and that it is up to
the South African courts to decide whether or not the MDC is entitled to the
documentation it seeks.

"It also advises that the party respects the fact that the South
African government is entitled in terms of South African law to refuse
access to certain information subject to the court's power to determine
whether the grounds for refusal are valid."

Ncube added: "However, the MDC leadership was not consulted by the
legal team in the decision to proceed with the court action and has
therefore instructed the team not to proceed with the said court action."

Observers in Harare however said the move to correct the "political
and diplomatic miscalculation of significant proportions" was a little too
late because the damage had already been done.

Tsvangirai's sentiments, they said, were therefore unlikely to
reassure MDC critics, who felt that diplomatically it was a gross error of
judgment to pressure Mbeki through the courts to release confidential

Mbeki's spokesman, Beki Khumalo, yesterday said he was not in a
position to comment as he had been instructed by their lawyers not to get
involved in the mess.

"We are not going to comment on the matter as instructed by our
lawyers," Khumalo said. "They don't want us to get involved, but I
understand they (MDC) have withdrawn the case."

The move, which could put the MDC's already uneasy relationship with
the South African government under severe strain, has cast a dark shadow
over Zimbabwe's route to a negotiated settlement.

Mbeki, who has been in good credit even with President Robert Mugabe's
furious critics, especially Britain and the United States of America, has
been at the centre of the delicate arbitration between the MDC and ZANU PF
for over two years.

It is however widely believed within the MDC that Mbeki is not an
impartial and credible broker. He has been accused of being good on words
minus action as he has failed to exert pressure on President Mugabe to agree
to a negotiated settlement.

Mbeki has even become From Page 1

a scapegoat for discontent over the deteriorating political situation
in Zimbabwe. The South African leader wields considerable influence on the
Zimbabwe leader, whom he knew from the days of the liberation struggle. The
fact that South Africa is Zimbabwe's biggest trading partner has also
produced a deeper rapproachement between the two countries.

Constitutional law expert Lovemore Madhuku had this to say about the
MDC's move against Mbeki: "It's a disturbing turn of events. The excuse that
the lawyers made such a decisive move without consulting is feeble. As it
stands, anyone in the MDC can wake up and make decisions on behalf of the
party. That type of confusion can be costly. The ball is in Tsvangirai's
court to assert his authority and stop people from making decisions on
behalf of the party.

"If it is true that the lawyers went to court without consulting, then
it goes to show that they have been allowed to feel so comfortable that they
can make decisions without necessarily consulting the party leadership."

Political analyst Joseph Kurebwa said the idea of dragging the South
African leader to court could only have come from certain sections of the
MDC which believed Mbeki had not done enough to persuade his Zimbabwean
counterpart to end the current crisis.

"It's unheard of given that Mbeki has been the key peace broker in our
crisis," Kurebwa said. "For the MDC to force Mbeki to release confidential
documents is going too far. The move will definitely throw them in bad

President Mugabe insists he won the 2002 presidential poll freely an
fairly and that Tsvangirai should subsequently recognise him as the
legitimate head of state, while on the other hand the opposition leader
maintains the election was rigged and should be nullified.

Tsvangirai has found support from key Western countries such as
Britain and the United States of America, both accused by the government of
being bent on effecting regime change in Zimbabwe. The two countries'
instinct has been to work against the government of President Mugabe since
the disputed election.

MDC spokesman Paul Themba Nyathi was also quoted by SABC as saying
should the government of South Africa have the information the opposition
needs, he expects it to make the report available to his party.

South Africa's opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) party led by Tony
Leon said it would soon raise the matter in parliament since public funds
had been used to compile the documentation.

DA chairperson Joe Seremane said: "The presidency's reluctance to make
the report public suggests that the conclusions reached by the judges
contradict South Africa's official position on the outcome of Zimbabwe's
2002 presidential elections."

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Mnangagwa quizzed

Staff Reporters
5/6/2004 7:22:48 AM (GMT +2)

THE Speaker of Parliament, Emmerson Mnangagwa, who is ZANU PF's
immediate past finance chief, has twice been called to explain the intricate
activities of the ruling party's octopus-ike business interests which are
currently under probe, The Financial Gazette has learnt.

Mnangagwa, who is widely seen as the likely candidate to succeed
President Robert Mugabe, who could be seeing out his last term, is so far
the only heavyweight hauled before a ZANU PF anti-graft committee as the
team continues to sift through the elaborate ruling party investments.

Although the sources who spoke to this newspaper could not provide
details of the evidence given by Mnangagwa, they said it had since emerged
that apart from the seven ZANU PF companies previously mentioned in the
probe, there were others that had sprung up, which could bring the total to

They also said a number of ZANU PF lightweights, including the party's
chairman for Manicaland province, Mark Madiro, and senior managers within
entities under investigation had also been interviewed by the committee, set
up towards the end of March this year.

News of the interrogations came as it emerged that the committee,
which swooped on 88 Manica Road, the former ZANU PF headquarters now being
used by the party's Harare province on Tuesday this week, is also toying
around with the idea of requesting an amnesty for one of the companies'
directors so that he could help with investigations.

Attempts to demand the extradition of three directors of ZANU PF-owned
companies who packed their bags in a huff and fled to Britain when the net
started closing in on them have hit a brick wall. Lawyers representing some
of the directors hinted last week that there were no firm grounds on which
the three could be extradited.

Highly placed sources told The Financial Gazette this week that the
anti-corruption committee, led by the Governor and Resident Minister of
Mashonaland East, David Karimanzira, had made contact with Dipak Padya, the
finance chief of Zidco Holdings. Padya skipped the country together with the
other two directors, Jayant Joshi and his brother Manharlal.

ZANU PF's investments are basically housed under two wings, M & S
Syndicate, set up before independence in 1980, and Zidco, whose board
comprises the Joshis, Padya, Mnangagwa and Defence Minister Sydney

"It is becoming difficult to put together all the pieces of the
jig-saw puzzle without these directors, hence attempts to lure Padya, who
may help with information," said a source.

Mnangagwa, through his secretary, referred all questions pertaining to
the investigations to Karimanzira, while Madiro professed ignorance of the

"He said if it is to do with that committee, speak to the chairman of
that committee. He (the chairman) knows everything," Mnangagwa's secretary

Karimanzira was tight-lipped about the issue when contacted for
comment recently. He said: "I cannot talk about that now, especially when
investigations are still in progress."

Analysts said the move to quiz Mnangagwa, the feared ZANU PF secretary
for administration, could be manipulated by ruling party heavyweights
jockeying either to succeed President Mugabe or fight for their candidate to
replace the ageing leader who turned 80 in February.

The Karimanzira-led committee comprises retired army chief Solomon
Mujuru, former finance minister Simba Makoni, Matabeleland North Governor
Obert Mpofu and the ruling party's deputy secretary for transport and
welfare, Thoko Mathuthu.

Newly appointed Minister of State responsible for Anti-Corruption and
Anti-Monopolies Didymus Mutasa expressed ignorance of what was taking place
and said: "I don't know anything about what the committee is doing. We wait
to hear from them on that one. As far as I am aware, they are still
investigating and no stone will be left unturned."

The probe is being perceived as a dangerous political game in the
succession race where ZANU PF heavyweights are positioning their candidates,
while discrediting others, ahead of the ruling party's congress slated for

Although President Mugabe seems to have set a distant departure date,
he is widely expected to drop a bombshell and announce his exit and retire
to pave way for a new leadership which analysts say he would still be able
to manipulate long after he is gone.

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Occupiers ordered off Bennett's farm

Staff Reporter
5/6/2004 7:23:58 AM (GMT +2)

THE High Court has ordered ZANU PF activists and members of the
Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) and police to immediately vacate opposition
legislator Roy Bennett's Charleswood Estate in Chimanimani, Manicaland, and
to stop interfering with operations on the property.

Justice Antonio Guvava granted the order following a successful
application by Bennet's lawyers, Honey and Blanckenberg, to evict the
"invaders" who have camped on the farm since the Easter Holiday.

Charleswood Estate falls under the Export Processing Zones (EPZ).

Retired soldier and newly appointed Manicaland provincial governor,
Michael Nyambuya, Home Affairs Minister Kembo Mohadi, Commissioner of Police
Augustine Chihuri, Defence Minister Sydney Sekeramayi and the Commander of
the Zimbabwe National Army, Constantine Chiwengwa, were cited as respondents
in the case.

According to the application, the occupation led to the displacement
of more than 1200 workers, loss of 12 vehicles, 2 200 litres of petrol, 1
800 litres of diesel, eight tractors and 850 head of cattle belonging to the

Bennett's house was also occupied.

The applicants were also granted an order to remain and carry out
their duties without interference from the respondents and authorised the
displaced workers to return to the farm.

However, in an opposing affidavit, Zimbabwe Republic Police Assistant
Commissioner Conwell Dube said the occupation was instigated after reports
from the provincial governor and chief lands officer that Charleswood
Estate, which had been offered to the Agricultural Rural Development
Authority, had been re-allocated to the Zimbabwe Defence Industries.

"We were requested to assist by providing guards at vital points and
make sure all properties were safe and that no thefts take place," he said.

In a related matter, Justice Ben Hlatshwayo also granted an order by
consent that the respondents return the looted property from the Mawenje
Lodge (Private) Limited, a division of Charleswood Estate.

"Respondents . . . hereby interdicted from interfering in any way with
the second applicant's business operations and activities on the property
and are ordered to immediately vacate the premises," the order said.
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Kuruneri bail hearing shelved yet again

Staff Reporter
5/6/2004 7:25:18 AM (GMT +2)

THE High Court has again postponed to Friday the hearing of an urgent
bail application by disgraced Finance Minister Christopher Kuruneri, who is
facing charges of dealing in foreign currency and possessing two passports.

This is the third time Kuruneri's bail application has been postponed
by the same court, this time on the basis that the judge who is supposed to
make the ruling on the urgent bail application was not available.

Prosecutor Joseph Jagada of the Attorney General's Office confirmed
the postponement.

"It is true that the case has been postponed to Friday, but I don't
know whether or not it will be heard in chambers," he said.

Kuruneri, widely seen as a technocrat more than a politician, was
arrested a fortnight ago on charges of externalising foreign currency
involving R5.2 million, 34 371 pounds, 30 000 euros, US$582 611. 99 and
possessing two passports - one Zimbabwean and the other Canadian.

It is against Zimbabwean laws to hold dual citizenship.

He was arrested in the wake of reports by a South African newspaper,
The Sunday Times, which blew the whistle on Kuruneri's investments in Cape
Town - a story which was later splashed in the local media.

The minister became the first high profile case in the clampdown
against corruption, but is the second Cabinet minister in President Mugabe's
government to be arrested following that of then Lands and Agriculture
Minister Kumbirai Kangai in 2000.

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ZANU PF will concede to demands: Ncube

Staff Reporter
5/6/2004 7:25:49 AM (GMT +2)

THE Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) is undertaking a mass
mobilisation of civic groups and its supporters to force the ruling ZANU PF
to concede to its demands for a level playing field ahead of the 2005
parliamentary elections.

The MDC has outlined 15 conditions that should be met by the ZANU PF
government before the 2005 plebiscite.

Welshman Ncube, the MDC secretary-general, told The Financial Gazette
this week that there were indications the government, which has vowed to go
ahead with the elections with or without the opposition party's
participation, would concede to the demands, which include the creation of
an independent electoral commission.

He said: "At the moment, we are mobilising our supporters and the
civic society to press ZANU PF to accept our demands of levelling the
playing field ahead of next year's parliamentary elections.

"Make no mistake about it, they will concede to our demands."

The latest development comes hot on the heels of renewed efforts by
church leaders to bring the two rival parties, ZANU PF and the MDC, back to
the negotiating table to end Zimbabwe's political crisis. The talks
collapsed over a year ago.

It also comes at a time when the National Constitutional Assembly
(NCA) has stepped up demonstrations for a new constitution.

The country's electoral laws have been widely condemned as tilting
heavily in favour of the ruling party, which has been accused by the MDC and
the international community of using law enforcement agencies, the public
media and other state machinery to its advantage.

Independent analysts have urged the MDC not to take part in the
crucial 2005 polls, arguing its participation in the flawed electoral
process would be suicidal.

Ncube's sentiments are in line with remarks made by the MDC leader,
Morgan Tsvangirai, in his address to about 5000 supporters in Chienda-mbuya

Tsvangirai, who is currently awaiting judgment on allegations of
plotting to assassinate President Robert Mugabe during the run-up to the
hotly contested 2002 presidential election, said the MDC was making progress
in garnering public support.

"National consensus on the way forward is fast emerging throughout the
country. Our campaign for an even playing field continues. Initial results
show we are making progress."

The opposition party is challenging President Mugabe's re-election in
the 2002 presidential poll and has more than 12 court petitions against the
ruling party's victory in the 2000 parliamentary polls.

As part of the demands, the MDC also wants the government to stop
muzzling the press as witnessed by the abrupt closure of newspapers in the
Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe stable - The Daily News and The daily News
on Sunday.

It also wants the government to scrap repressive laws such as the
Public Order and Security Act and Access to Information and Protection of
Privacy Act, through which many journalists and civic society activists have
been persecuted.
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Kondozi Farm: a storm in a tea cup?

Hama Saburi
5/6/2004 7:27:13 AM (GMT +2)

THAT ZANU PF, a seemingly close-knit party only known for subtle
internal political fights, could be riven over Kondozi Farm, a little-known
agro-concern tucked away in the middle of Odzi, has perplexed even its most
ardent supporters.

Even at the height of the controversial land reform, when the
government's back-to-the-land idealism took root, no farming concern ever
brought senior members of the party and the Cabinet into such sharp conflict
as the one that has erupted over the seizure of Kondozi.

Everybody is watching as fissures erupt within the government and ZANU
PF over the designation of the previously unknown but lucrative Kondozi

The latest bust-up over the status of the farm has given a fresh face
to the power struggles within the ruling party, which is taking its time to
clean up the chaos created by the emotive and, to a certain extent,
controversial land reform. But most importantly, it has also exposed the
government's failure to produce faultless land reform laws without internal

Of much interest, however, will be the outcome of the tussle pitting
Vice-President Joseph Msika, who vowed last week not to rest until the
takeover of Kondozi had been reversed, and three Cabinet ministers insisting
there will be no going back on the issue.

The tussle has set tongues wagging as to where the three ministers who
have "stood up" to their senior, Vice President Msika, but with seemingly no
political clout, are drawing their power from.

It has sparked heightened speculation that there could be an invisible
hand pushing the ministers. The Vice-President, widely seen as the
tough-talking angry man of ZANU PF politics, has loudly protested against
the government's acquisition of the farm. But so far, it would seem, he has
been barking up the wrong tree, which obviously raises the question of
whether the seat of power is now shifting in ZANU PF.

John Makumbe of the University of Zimbabwe described the fiasco at
Kondozi as another classic case of the ZANU PF circus in which senior
politicians clash with those in lower ranks.

"I think it is a question of who actually has power. Does the
Vice-President have power or the minister? From the way I see it, I think
the Vice-President is running the risk of losing not only Kondozi, but his
power base as well because the old man (President Robert Mugabe) is likely
to agree with the minister (Moyo)," said Makumbe.

And the conflicting positions from the same Cabinet, whose members
have never been known to disagree in public, have obviously raised questions
such as: Why so much interest on this particular farm? Is it the nation,
through Arda, that really stands to benefit from the expropriation of the
export oriented farm?

Not only that, but questions have also been raised as to why top
government officials were not singing from the same song sheet over the
issue when it is claimed that a decision was taken at a Cabinet level for
the government to acquire the disputed farm.

All this has called into sharp question the sincerity of the feuding
parties in the Kondozi saga. Could it be that there is more to it than meets
the eye?

Surprisingly, hordes of farm labourers have previously been displaced
from farms acquired by the government over the past four years and dumped
into a life of destitution and social deprivation but this had not raised as
much hue and cry from any government quarters. But Vice-President Msika
seems to have developed a soft spot for the
5 000 Kondozi workers affected by the latest government move.

Walter Chidhakwa, the general manager of the Export Processing Zones
Authority (EPZA), admitted this week that acquisition of the farm, which had
gained an EPZ status, took the authority by surprise.

"We have 22 EPZ projects which are agro-based and are on farms, but
nothing has happened to the majority of them. I don't know what has made it
(Kondozi) very attractive," he said, adding that the authority had written
to the government about the issue.

"At the end of the day, the government makes the decisions. The
government amended the Land Acquisition Act about two months ago to say EPZs
and government-to-government projects would be looked at on their merit."

That Kondozi had survived violent land seizures sparked off by the
ex-fighters of Zimbabwe's liberation struggle ahead of the 2000
parliamentary elections won by ZANU PF was a miracle, analysts said. With
infrastructure worth billions of dollars and the good soils that were raking
in upwards of US$15 million annually, it had to fall one day, they said.

They were agreed that Kondozi had survived up to this far because of
back-scratching relationships between senior politicians. But all hell had
broken loose when the farm owners stopped pushing the brown envelopes.

Like the elephant endangered because of its money-spinning tusks and
hide, the massive 224-hectare resource, which produces for supermarkets in
Britain, Europe and South Africa, had become the most sought-after farm.

It was during the Easter holiday that the lives of about 5 000 workers
at the farm and their families took a dramatic turn for the worst after
alleged ZANU PF supporters kicked them off Kondozi.

The seizure of Kondozi has continued despite the intervention by
traditional leaders in the area, who met Vice-President Msika last month
after being touched by the situation at the farm.

The government-owned Herald quoted the Minister of State for
Information and Publicity, Jonathan Moyo, as saying Edwin Moyo, who claims
to have a controlling stake in the project, did not own Kondozi, had not
owned it before and would never own it as it belonged to the state.

"The sooner everyone interested in the matter recognises this point,
the better for them," Minister Moyo was quoted as saying.

Moyo's remarks contradicted Vice-President Msika's position that ARDA,
the Agricultural Rural Development Authority, which is now running the farm,
should move out of Kondozi.

Minister Moyo's stance was given credence by remarks made by the white
partner in the project, Piet de Klerk, that Kondozi was relocating to
Mozambique. Yet the public had been made to believe that Edwin Moyo had
total control over the farm.

This was seen as effectively confirming that Edwin Moyo was just being
used as a front by De Klerk, otherwise in what capacity could De Klerk speak
on behalf of a project in which he was not an interested party?

"Yes, small institutions like ARDA and DDF (the District Development
Fund) are very important, ladies and gentlemen, but I can't support someone
who will evict 15 000 women and children and throw them on the streets.

"I won't support that. Even if all of you support that and I remain
alone in my view, I'll die with my views," this newspaper quoted Msika as
saying last week.

ARDA is a government parastatal agency which deals with state farm
production mainly involving large agricultural and rural development

Other observers said Kondozi was still the De Klerk's baby, adding
Edwin Moyo had indeed been brought in to save the farm from compulsory
acquisition, hence the hurried move to register the project as an EPZ.

They said the loss of the project to ARDA could also derail an alleged
plan by Moyo to establish linkages between Kondozi, his other project in
Marondera operating as Mitchel & Mitchel and the newly acquired Trans
Zambezi Industries (TZI).

The alliance, they said, would create the critical mass needed by TZI
to operate profitably. As it was, TZI had no sufficient out-grower base
feeding into its subsidiaries, Fresca and Agriflora.

It, however, appears that there are other ZANU PF officials interested
in taking over the farm through the back door.

While it may not be possible to wrest the farm directly, the best way
would be to park it for sometime under ARDA and work out a way of
transferring it into their hands once the dust has settled.

Most of the designated farms have been parcelled out to ZANU PF chefs,
with fresh revelations suggesting that 200 000 hectares or 400 farms were
recovered from multiple farm owners.

It has also emerged that only 134 000 people were allocated land under
the haphazard land reform, a far cry from the 300 000 people touted by the
government. Of this figure, 30 percent of the people were still to take up

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MDC shooting itself in the foot

Brian Mangwende
5/6/2004 7:27:57 AM (GMT +2)

ARE things finally falling apart for Zimbabwe's main opposition
political party, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), which is, just
like other opposition parties before it, seemingly failing to keep its
course in the country's treacherous political waters?

Political commentators this week said the MDC, which is led by former
firebrand trade unionist Morgan Tsvangirai and has been thriving on voter
anger and general disillusionment over the country's rapid economic
meltdown, risked relegating itself into political oblivion if the current
rifts among its rank and file continued.

Their fears that the opposition party could have touched the
self-destruct button can be explained in terms of reported bitter inhouse
squabbles within the MDC.

Insiders say there has been acrimonious wrangling in the party
stemming from sharp differences between the so-called intellectuals and the
trade unionists.

The alleged rift is reportedly widening and some party members blame
it for the loss of the Zengeza seat, won by the ruling ZANU PF after the MDC
leadership reportedly imposed James Makore as its candidate.

Political analyst and University of Zimbabwe lecturer Heneri
Dzinotyiwei said: "This is going to cause a very serious dilemma for
Zimbabweans who have pinned their hopes on the MDC mainly because of their
hostility against a government they believe has run down the country. If
they (MDC) are not careful, they may lose the vote they have always been
counting on in the past.

"The MDC needs to position itself well so as not to lose votes in
elections just around the corner. So far, there has been lack of coherence
on their part and they need to address this issue before going to any
election because they may lose the vote."

The shocking defeat in Zengeza, widely seen as a stronghold of the
opposition, was a wake-up call for the MDC.

It resulted in an impromptu no-holds-barred leadership crisis meeting,
held at the holiday resort of Mazvikadei.

At the meeting, apart from accusations and counter-accusations over
the loss in Zengeza, party officials reportedly took a swipe at each other
for issuing conflicting statements in the local press about the possibility
of boycotting the 2005 parliamentary elections.

Insiders who attended the meeting indicated that there was a whiff of
panic in the MDC bunker over heightened fears that the party was losing its
grip on urban voters despite the deep-seated disenchantment among urbanites
over economic mismanagement by the ZANU PF government.

The other sticking point was the party's failure to penetrate ZANU PF'
s rural stronghold.

The MDC has lost four out of seven contested by-elections to the
ruling party, namely Kadoma Central, Insiza, Bikita West and Zengeza.

It retained Highfield, Kuwadzana and Harare Central in by-elections
that were marred by voter apathy, intimidation, violence and systematic
bullying blamed on the ruling ZANU PF.

Last week, violence within the MDC raised its ugly head once again
after a group of suspected opposition youths attacked the home of St Mary's
legislator Job Sikhala, which later led to the arrest of the parliamentarian
on charges of kidnapping and attempted murder. Sikhala is currently out of
custody on $300 000 bail.

The attack on Sikhala, who has had his fair share of brushes with law
since getting into Parliament on an MDC ticket in 2000, came amid reports
that the MDC was soon to undergo a restructuring exercise in his

And to counter that, Sikhala has allegedly reorganised himself,
securing support at grassroots level in Chitungwiza ahead of "any invasion".
He has allegedly declared himself commander-in-chief of the youths in that
area, a situation that could further split the party's structures.

Critics have maintained that the MDC risks losing next year's crucial
election if the opposition party does not retain the democratic conventions
that resulted in its birth in 1999 after a fusion of various civic groups
that included the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions.

The MDC, widely seen as the only formidable opposition political party
with a realistic chance of dislodging ZANU PF from its 24-year reign, has
been kept on the fringes of power as the electoral laws are heavily tilted
in favour of the status quo.

Chairman of Crisis Coalition Zimbabwe Brian Kagoro said MDC members
should avoid petty squabbles stemming from perceived factionalism and
instead concentrate on confronting their common enemy - ZANU PF - which sees
them as a Western front being used by Britain and America to reverse the
gains of the land reform programme.

"I have always insisted that ZANU PF is not a party, but a culture,"
Kagoro said. "I hope that the MDC has the intelligence and wisdom to avoid
petty squabbles based on factionalism and fights among workers and
intellectuals as being reported in the press. They must try by all means to
avoid splitting themselves up and stop this foolishness when they have an
enemy that is strengthening itself."

He added: "The leadership must have systems in place for conflict
resolution. They (leadership) must intervene to ensure that this nonsense

The MDC has already hinted at boycotting next year's elections if the
playing field remained skewed in favour of ZANU PF.

Regional leaders including South African President Thabo Mbeki, seen
as having a degree of influence on his counterpart President Robert Mugabe,
have made several attempts, including state visits to the country, to
persuade the Zimbabwean leader to create a conducive political environment
for elections.

But they have met with limited success. Instead, President Mugabe has
since introduced governors for Harare and Bulawayo to consolidate the ruling
party's power in the provinces seen as MDC strongholds.

Political commentator Joseph Kurebwa said: "The unnecessary fighting
within the MDC goes to show that the party lacks discipline. By now the MDC
should have transformed from a movement to a full-fledged political party
with structures to discipline their members. They simply lack discipline,
hence the continuous squabbles.

"The MDC risks being trounced by ZANU PF in next year's elections if
they will not be focused on what their goals an objectives are."

Another political analyst, Alois Masepe, said it was inevitable that
MDC members would squabble among themselves as this was part and parcel of a
purification process.

"I was actually surprised by the absence of divisions and splits in
the MDC because it's a normal process where an organisation purifies
itself," Masepe said.

"But the problem is that it has come at the wrong time. It's either
they were managing divisions effectively or they were avoiding them, which
is not healthy for a mass party.

"I was worried that the MDC had not purified itself. They now have to
handle the situation intelligently or the confusion may be costly to them in
light of next year's elections," he said.

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Paradza meets Shamuyarira in fire-fighting mission

Staff Reporter
5/6/2004 7:24:23 AM (GMT +2)

TROUBLED ZANU PF legislator Kindness Paradza, who is fighting for
political survival, met the ruling party's secretary for information and
publicity, Nathan Shamuyarira, this week over his suspension.

The Member of Parliament for Makonde, who stumbled into a snare of
problems with fellow ZANU PF members over his takeover of The Tribune weekly
newspaper, went on a fire-fighting mission soon after his arrival from
Britain early this week.

Paradza confirmed meeting the veteran politician yesterday but
declined to give details of the discussion.

"I am back and I will face my accusers. This has nothing to do with
the party. It is personal," he said.

"I have met Shamuyarira and briefed him thoroughly about my
suspension. I have also met my lawyers. We are going to institute a massive
legal suit against The Sunday Mail, The Herald and the Zimbabwe Broadcasting
Corporation for publishing and broadcasting falsehoods without verifying
facts as prescribed in basic journalism."

Shamuyarira declined to comment saying, "I have nothing to say at the

The Mashonaland provincial executive suspended Paradza last week on
allegations of misconduct including disrespecting the party leadership and
President Robert Mugabe, a charge he denied.

The suspension bars Paradza from conducting any party activities in
Makonde until he appears before a provincial disciplinary committee by the
end of the month.

The ZANU PF legislator courted trouble when he openly attacked the
draconian Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act, saying its
provisions scared away potential investors in the media industry
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Rwandan refugees refuse to go home

Own Correspondent
5/6/2004 7:24:53 AM (GMT +2)

MUTARE - Plans by the United Nations (UN) to repatriate thousands of
Rwandan refugees in Zimbabwe have hit a snag amid reports that the
immigrants are resisting efforts by the world body to return them to their
country, purportedly for security reason.

The refugees reportedly told officials from the United Nations High
Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Harare that they feared for their lives
if they returned to Kigali.

Zimbabwe, reeling from a barrage of economic problems, has become home
to at least 13 000 refugees mainly from the Democratic Republic of the Congo
(DRC), Rwanda and Burundi, who perceive the southern African country as a
safe haven for asylum seekers from the troubled Great Lakes region.

Currently, there are about 3 500 Rwandan refugees in Zimbabwe with at
least 500 of them living at Tongogara Refugee Camp in Chipinge, while the
rest are scattered in the country's urban areas.

The UNHCR head of mission in Zimbabwe, Grebe Kriston, and the agency's
protection officer Ester Kigaro visited the camp two weeks ago and held a
meeting with the asylum seekers in frantic efforts to persuade them to
return home.

However, the refugees indicated to the UNHCR officials that they were
unwilling to do so as they feared for their security.

"It's not yet safe to return to Rwanda because people are still being
kidnapped by government agents," said John Bagabo, a Rwandan national who
has been in the country since 1998, when internecine strife in the DRC
further compounded the instability in the Great Lakes region.

Another refugee who preferred to remain anonymous said: "There is a
planned repatriation of Rwandans, but we will not go back because the
security situation is not yet stable. Those currently fleeing Rwanda say the
future is not promising."

Reports from Rwanda say the Tutsi-dominated government in Kigali has
been beefing up security on its border with the DRC to repel attacks by Hutu
rebels calling themselves Rwandan Democratic Liberation Forces.

The Rwandan government has reportedly stationed troops in the
north-eastern part of the country and further south near the Burundi border,
while the Tutsi-led government of Paul Kagame is alleged to have launched a
witch-hunt trekking down Hutu intellectuals, professionals and politicians.

Officials from the UNHCR office in Harare referred all questions to
Isaac Mukaro, the commissioner of refugees in Zimbabwe, who refused to
comment on the planned repatriation.

The Rwandans, predominantly from the Hutu ethnic group, have been
staying in Zimbabwe since 1994 when Kagame and his forces (then a rebel
group) invaded Rwanda from Uganda to end 100 days of bloodshed which saw
over 800 000 mainly Tutsis and Hutu moderates being brutally killed.

Hutu extremists reportedly masterminded the genocide.
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Whither ZITF?

5/6/2004 8:04:46 AM (GMT +2)

TIME was when Bulawayo, the country's second largest city and
industrial capital, was swamped by the who is who of the corporate world
from both sides of the Atlantic.

That was when every country and company throughout the world fell over
each other to get that sought-after exhibition space at the Zimbabwe
International Trade Fair (ZITF), which now should aptly be called the
Zimbabwe Regional Trade Fair because that is what it has degenerated into.
Hardly would there be any empty spaces like was the case this year.

The United States of America, the United Kingdom, Germany, Japan,
France, Canada, the Asian dragons and the so-called emerging economies, to
name but a few, would come in droves. At the turn of independence, they were
keener than ever before to participate in the showcase. It is this lead in
the popularity stakes that culminated in Zimbabwe hosting the All Africa
International Trade Fair in 1992.

It is important to note that companies' appetite for exhibitions is
based on the conviction that they will be able to negotiate alliances and
business mandates, cut deals and establish contacts, among other things. And
in Africa the ZITF, which played an inestimable role in putting Zimbabwe on
the international map, was the place to be to realise these. But not any

Now, at a particularly irksome moment, when Zimbabwe is entrenched in
recession, key industrialised countries, most of which have a long-running
diplomatic stand-off with the government, which they accuse of a serious
democratic deficit have, to all intents and purposes, written off Africa's
hitherto biggest economic prospect.

Admittedly, we have to a large extent ourselves to blame for this
tragic turn of events. But it still gives cause for concern. That the
lengthy economic crisis has dragged on unresolved for a long time is
emblematic of everything wrong with the way we deal with crisis situations
in Zimbabwe. Even here at home, although we initially had high hopes for a
quick economic recovery, the longer we waited for the elusive recovery, the
less we hoped!

As a result, the countries mentioned earlier on which made ZITF the
envy of African trade fairs, do not want to touch the ZITF. Not even with
the proverbial barge pole. They have obviously done a cost benefit analysis
of how they would gain from exhibiting their wares in a country not only
wallowing in a deepening economic crisis, but reeling from a defection of
multinational companies and therefore faced with the danger of being reduced
to a branch office economy.

Consequently but not surprisingly, the erstwhile African premier
business exhibition has sadly lost its glitter. It does not provoke as much
enthusiasm and interest as it used to. Nor does it inspire confidence. And
there is the real danger that it will, in-the-not-too-distant future,
deteriorate into a huge embarrassing flop if this has not happened already.

Lest we be misunderstood, we have to categorically state that first,
the unfolding sad story of the ZITF mirrors the crisis of confidence in the
country sparked off by the unprecedented dip into an economic meltdown,
which marked the reversal of the country's economic expansionary dream.
Zimbabwe is fast losing its credibility, prestige and friends and as a
national event, ZITF cannot be marketed in isolation. Secondly, while this
situation is a sad reflection of the shrunken state of the economy, it is
also to a lesser extent a function of the diplomatic rift between Zimbabwe
and key industrialised nations, underlying once again what we have said
before - that no country is an island.

If anything, the absence of these countries from the annual exhibition
signals a deep alienation between Zimbabwe and the greater international
community which in turn is hurting annual exhibitions like the ZITF. Of
course, Zimbabwe being what it is, we have had public posturing by some
misguided government ministers who are bent on painting a-rosier-than-real
picture of the frightening situation on the ground.

Instead of looking at ways of modifying the ZITF to make it relevant
by giving it greater appeal, restore its former lustre, soothe business
fears and convince the international community that Zimbabwe's back is no
longer against the wall, these government officials, who know much more
about propaganda than economics even though they are supposed to be running
key economic ministries, are doing worse. They would want the world to
believe that all is well with the ZITF when nothing could be further from
the truth. They, in their "wisdom", which has seen political measures
suggested as solutions to economic woes, certified this year's fair
successful! Indeed the mind boggles.

These ministers who look at issues through a political veil should be
dismissed with the contempt they deserve. They have repeatedly put their
feet in their mouths and will inevitably soon choke on their own words. Only
recently, against the grain of national aspirations, they told everyone that
Zimbabwe does not need the International Monetary Fund, which of course
would be laughable were it not for the gravity of its implications given the
officials' positions in government.

However, whatever these government officials say, the fact is that
ZITF has degenerated into a sad joke. One can safely say that most of those
African countries that have been participating at the trade fair for the
past three years or so have been doing so more as a show of solidarity with
Zimbabwe in the face of international isolation than for purely business
purposes. And this will not help us much.

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Milk production plunges 40% in 12 months

Allen Chifokoyo
5/6/2004 7:58:05 AM (GMT +2)

MILK production has reportedly plunged by an estimated 40 percent
during the past 12 months owing to lack of confidence in the sector as
government continues to issue eviction notices to commercial farmers.

"Production figures in the dairy sector have gone down by an estimated
40 percent on a year-on-year basis, that is, March 2003 compared to March
2004," said the chief executive officer of the National Association of Dairy
Farmers (NADF), Rob van Vuuren.

He added that the major problem facing dairy farmers was instability
in the sector because the government was still issuing notices to
compulsorily acquire land, effectively killing confidence among the dairy

"A producer can maintain or improve his or her viability by growing as
much food as possible on the farm, but under the prevailing conditions, this
is not possible on many dairy farms," he said.

"These issues require urgent attention to prevent the total collapse
of the industry. If the industry were to collapse, it would take a very long
time to rebuild . . . between 20 and 40 years," he said.

The country has over the past few years been experiencing milk
shortages because of a myriad of difficulties dogging the agricultural

The unplanned land reform programme implemented in 2000 exacerbated by
two years of drought has seen milk production plummeting.

Dairy farmers are estimated to produce around nine million litres of
milk monthly against the country's requirement of 13 million, giving rise to
a monthly deficit of four million litres.

The country's national herd has been decimated over the past few years
as the new farmers have resorted to slaughtering cattle for the pot while
some of the beasts have succumbed to diseases and drought.

"On the bright side, the dairy industry, given the right environment,
has tremendous potential to take advantage of regional export opportunities
between now and when other Southern African Development Community states
develop their own dairy industries," van Vuuren said.

"Only South Africa and Zimbabwe have substantive dairy industries
while Namibia, Zambia and Botswana have relatively small ones."

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Govt urged to play leading role in financing tobacco industry

Zhean Gwaze
5/6/2004 7:58:32 AM (GMT +2)

PLAYERS in the tobacco industry have urged the government to finance
the golden leaf instead of relying on the recently introduced contract
farming, which is still mired in controversy.

The president of the Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers' Union (ZFCU),
Davidson Mugabe, said although tobacco farmers got a major reprieve
following the unveiling of a new marketing price similar to that extended to
local exporters, they would hardly recover this season as the crop's
financing was in shambles.

"We are not sure when the contractors will come forward again because
we have not seen any of them entering into any tangible commitment this
season," Mugabe said. "What the industry requires is a basic crop that is
financed by the state from as early as the seedbed stage. The farmers will
not recover in these two seasons despite the new incentives."

Tobacco output has nose-dived during the past three years due to a
myriad of viability problems.

Seventy-five percent of tobacco farmers' earnings are paid using the
auction floor rate of $5 200 to the greenback and 25 percent paid at
$824.They also enjoy a support price of $750 per kg from the government.

The latest figures from the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board
(TIMB) reveal that the mass of tobacco sold through contract buying is far
much less than tobacco sold on the open auction floors.

According to TIMB, 4 332 665 kg of tobacco went through the hammer at
the auction rate compared to 137 081 kg sold under contract buying on the
19th day of tobacco sales since the opening of the selling season.

The TIMB has also noted that the last contract sales were held on
April 27.

Most of the merchants are failing to secure foreign currency and
offshore lines of credit for tobacco purchases despite the fact that growers
had already signed binding agreements with the buyers.

The tobacco merchants (contractors) are under obligation to purchase
the grower's entire production.

Tobacco crop output is expected to be about 61 million kgs.

Farmers have also expressed concern over the price of tobacco, which
is still very low if compared to the 2003 price.

Last year, the auction floors closed at a selling price of US$2.25 per
kg. Currently, a kilogramme of the golden leaf is fetching US$1.88.
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ABC of Cricket

ICC Criticise Zimbabwe Rebels
Cricket News by Shane Dell 06/05/04

The International Cricket Council seem very confused at exactly what their
role is in world cricket and the current issues affecting Zimbabwe cricket
if their recent statements are any indication of the true state of affairs.

Although the ICC continue to follow the line that their role is not to
interfere in cricket at the local level or get involved in the politics
affecting the sport, their most recent media releases sent out by ICC
President Ehsan Mani, heavily criticise and condemn the 15 Zimbabwe rebels
who have taken a stand against racism running rampant in the sport in
Zimbabwe and also launch an attack on British PM Tony Blair for recent
comments he has made regarding the Zimbabwe issues.

Clearly, the latest media release criticising the Zimbabwe rebels, goes on
to contradict itself by pointing out to us all that the ICC has no right to
intervene in the issues affecting Zimbabwe, but all the while they continue
to point out that they have sought to get involved, only to be knocked back
by the ZCU.

The ICC need to clearly make up their mind whether or not they are going to
get involved or keep their mouths shut and leave it to those involved to
sort it out. At the very least, they should refrain from praising the ZCU,
whilst they condemn the rebels for their stand.

To try and compare the issues in Zimbabwe with those of Australia and New
Zealand is total stupidity and shows the ICC's lack of understanding of
those issues. The Aussies and Kiwis were having financial issues with their
Boards, the Zimbabwean rebels are having race issues....or hasn't the ICC
and Ehsan Mani noticed.

If this is not confusion on the part of the ICC, I don't know what you would
call it!

Another media release by Ehsan Mani goes on to criticise Tony Blair for his
attempts to escape scrutiny over his lack of action on the Zimbabwe issues
and suggest he has dodged the issue in order to secure the Olympics for

Now c'mon Mr Mani, do you truly believe the propaganda you spout on behalf
of the ICC that this body is not a political body, nor should it muddy the
waters of politics with sport? If you do, you're a fool! Your latest media
release on behalf of your organisation clearly spells out that the ICC will
get involved in politics and political commentary when it suits the ICC's
agenda, whatever that is.

Once again, this shows a position of confusion for the ICC.

Either the ICC is going to get involved in the politics of sport or it's
not, which is it!

You may want to point out to the cricket world Mr Mani the involvement by
British entities in Zimbabwe, but is this your job to be doing as head of
World Cricket's governing body?

Absolutely not! So again, either get involved in the real issues or keep out
of it altogether.

If you cannot keep your mouth closed and follow the line that you feed to
the world's media about the ICC NOT being a political organisation, nor will
it take side's in the issues of Zimbabwe, hand the reins of the ICC on to
someone else who can. Don't merely sit there and echo the rumblings coming
out of certain sectors of India, who recently poked their nose into the
issues by tacitly threatening boycotts of tours by Asian teams to nations
who refuse to tour Zimbabwe.

Solve the true problems and solve them now. But, I doubt you would want to
do this, as it might force the ICC to look at other cricket Nations that
apply racist quota's to the sport or even upset the agenda of a high profile
media mogul in Asia who has cricket in that geographical region by the short
and curlies. We all know Mr Mani is credited with boosting revenue from TV
telecasts of matches for the ICC, you can easily figure out whose networks
he signed off with.

And quoting Mr Mani in an interview with the BBC in July 2002, "We're in a
dynamic organisation but we cannot just ignore countries self-interests.
When you just push those ambitions back you create problems," you start to
wonder whose interests he serves.

Who really runs world cricket? Hm, I wonder!
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