The ZIMBABWE Situation
An extensive and up-to-date website containing news, views and links related to ZIMBABWE - a country in crisis
Return to INDEX page
Please note: You need to have 'Active content' enabled in your IE browser in order to see the index of articles on this webpage

Cash crisis forces Harare to suspend issuing of passports

Zim Online

Wednesday 29 November 2006

††††††††††† HARARE - Zimbabwe's registry office has stopped issuing
identification cards, passports and other crucial documents to citizens as
an acute shortage of foreign currency - required to import production
material - appears to be steadily crippling vital state departments and

††††††††††† Zimbabwe has grappled with a severe foreign currency crisis
since 1999 and itself the result of an unprecedented economic meltdown
described by the World Bank as the worst in the world outside a war zone.

††††††††††† Senior officials at Registrar General's office told ZimOnline
that the office, that had managed to "just get by" since the foreign
currency shortages started, had now suspended the issuing of identity cards
and passports altogether because there is no hard cash to pay foreign
suppliers of the special ink and films used to produce the documents.

†††††††††††† "We have shortages of chemicals to develop films and we are
expecting to be able to resume issuing these documents in January," said one
official, who declined to be named because he did not have the permission of
Registrar General Tobaiwa Mudede to disclose such information to the Press.

††††††††††† Mudede, whose department is the government's documentation nerve
centre and also provides materials such as ballot papers during elections,
was yesterday said by his office to be busy attending meetings and unable to
take questions from reporters.

††††††††††† Sources said the registry office that used to issue metal
identity cards but had replaced these with cheaper plastic cards had now
stopped issuing even the plastic cards.

††††††††††† All adult Zimbabweans are required by law to have identity

††††††††††† The registry office was also no longer issuing passports except
only to senior government officials and sick people wishing to travel
outside the country for treatment.

††††††††††† The rest of Zimbabweans can only get temporary emergency travel
documents enabling them to visit specific destinations.

††††††††††† ZimOnline correspondents who toured the registry department's
offices in Harare at Magaba Shopping Centre, Makombe Building, Hatfield Sub
office, Mabvuku and Parirenyatwa witnessed scores of people, milling around
dejected after they were turned away by officials who said there was no ink
or paper to process documents.

††††††††††† Most of those turned away wanted passports - a much sought after
document among Zimbabweans who regularly trek to neighbouring countries
especially South Africa and Botswana to look for food in short supply at

††††††††††† The registry department is however only one in a long list of
government institutions and enterprises that have had operations severely
disrupted because of a shortage of hard cash.

††††††††††† For example, state-owned Air Zimbabwe was earlier this month
forced to suspend flights to Britain for fear its planes could be seized by
creditors it had failed to pay because it did not have foreign currency.

††††††††††† And the national rail network is on the brink of collapse, with
frequent accidents taking place because the National Railways of Zimbabwe
does not have hard cash to import spares, signals equipment or new wagons
and engines.

††††††††††† On the other hand, electricity, fuel, essential medicines,
farming inputs, machine parts and raw materials for industry are in short
supply because there is no hard cash to pay foreign suppliers.

††††††††††† Western governments and the main opposition Movement for
Democratic Change party blame Zimbabwe's foreign currency and economic
crisis on repression and mismanagement by President Robert Mugabe. He denies
the charge. - ZimOnline

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zimdollar takes heavy knock on black market

Zim Online

Wednesday 29 November 2006

††††† BULAWAYO - The Zimbabwe dollar took a heavy knock against major
currencies at the weekend on the illegal parallel market as a seven-year old
economic crisis showed no signs of slowing down.

††††† The bulk of foreign currency is traded on the illegal parallel market.

††††† On Tuesday, the Botswana pula and the South African rand were trading
at Z$360 and $320 respectively up from the $300 and $280 the two currencies
were selling at during last weekend.

††††† The United States dollar is now trading at $2 400 against the weekend
rate of $1 800 while the British pound rose from $2 700 to $3 200.

††††† Traditionally, foreign currency parallel market rates tend to go down
significantly towards the Christmas season as Zimbabweans working in the
region flood the market with foreign currency.

††††† "Very few people seem to be coming back home due to the prevailing
economic hardships here and this has kept the demand for foreign currency
higher than the supply.

††††† "The crackdown on the black market by both ZANU PF youths and the
police has also affected the rates as those dealers who are brave enough to
take chances strive to make a killing," said a Bulawayo-based economic
analyst who requested not to be named.

††††† Zimbabwe is in its seventh year of a bitter economic recession that
has seen inflation shooting to 1 070.2 percent, the highest in the world
outside a war zone.

††††† A near-worthless currency is only one of a litany of severe symptoms
?of an economic meltdown, critics blame on state mismanagement.?

††††† The meltdown has also spawned shortages of food, fuel, electricity,
?essential medicines and just about every basic survival commodity. -

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Jonathan Moyo lied over war credentials, court told

Zim Online

Wednesday 29 November 2006

††††† BULAWAYO - Ruling ZANU PF chairman John Nkomo on Tuesday accused
former information minister Jonathan Moyo of lying that he took part in
Zimbabwe's 1970s war of liberation against white settlers.

††††† Nkomo made the remarks as he testified in a Z$200 million defamation
lawsuit filed by the former information minister at the High Court in

††††† Moyo is suing Nkomo and ZANU PF politburo member Dumiso Dabengwa for
defamation after the two said he had plotted a coup against President Robert
Mugabe and other senior ruling party officials about two years ago.

††††† Testifying before Justice Francis Bere in Bulawayo yesterday, Nkomo
said Moyo was never at all in the liberation struggle.

††††† "I never met him, I did know not him and I have never met anyone who
says they knew him and even in the camps that he says he was, I never had
the privilege of knowing he was there, " ĚNkomo told the court.

††††† Moyo in his evidence in chief had indicated that he took part in the
war of liberation and had been in camps in Tanzania and in Zambia.

††††† Nkomo, who is the first defendant, also told the court that Moyo had
hatched a plot to defy a decision by the ruling party's Politburo in
November 2004 that one of the two vice-presidents be a woman.

††††† Nkomo said a meeting called at the Rainbow Hotel in Bulawayo in
November 2004, which was attended by six provincial party chairmen, was
convened by Moyo to defy the Politburo decision that one of the two
vice-presidents be a woman.

††††† He said a list of the presidium drawn up by Moyo did not include Joice
Mujuru as a candidate for the vice-presidency.

††††† Mujuru was involved in a fierce battle with former parliamentary
speaker Emmerson Mnangagwa for the vice-presidency of ZANU PF.

††††† "The meeting in Bulawayo at the Rainbow Hotel was to defy the
Politburo decision to elevate Vice-President Mujuru and at the meeting a
list that did not include Mujuru had been compiled for onward transmission
to Harare in defiance of the politburo decision," Nkomo said.

††††† Nkomo and Dabengwa are being represented in the case by Francis
Chirimuuta of Gula-Ndebele and Partners.

††††† The case continues on Wednesday with Nkomo expected to round up his
evidence in chief in the matter.

††††† Among those still expected to testify in the case are the Minister of
Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Patrick Chinamasa, the Deputy
Minister of

††††† Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare, Abedinigo Ncube, the Deputy
Minister of Environment and Tourism, Andrew Langa, and war veterans leader,
Joseph Chinotimba. - ZimOnline

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zimbabwe army says cellphones danger to security


Tue Nov 28, 2006 10:34 AM GMT

HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's military has said the country's mobile phone
operators are threatening national security by using independent connections
to the outside world, official media reported on Tuesday.

"The mobile service providers have their own international gateway system,
and from a security point of view, this is dangerous to the state because we
need to monitor traffic coming in and outside, but at the moment we can
not," the Zimbabwe Defence Forces director for communications, Colonel
Livingstone Chineka, was quoted by the Herald newspaper as saying.

Chineka said the three mobile phone firms should route international calls
through the state-owned fixed line operator TelOne, and not use their own
gateways, in order to make it easier to monitor international traffic.

There was no immediate comment from the three operators.

A Zimbabwe court this month suspended a government statute forcing mobile
operators to route international calls through TelOne after a challenge by
the country's two private firms, Econet Wireless and Telecel Zimbabwe.

The two companies had argued that re-routing calls through TelOne was meant
to subsidise the loss-making state company. Net*One, the third mobile
operator, is government-owned.

Zimbabwe early this year unveiled a proposed law that would give it
authority to monitor phones and mail -- both conventional and Internet -- to
protect national security and fight crime.

Rights groups say the "Interception of Communication Bill" is part of a
crackdown which has included tough policing and political intimidation to
stifle criticism of an economic crisis many blame on President Robert
Mugabe's policies.

Chineka, who was giving evidence on the bill, said security forces would
give their input before the proposed law is passed by parliament, adding
that mobile operators should be given at least a month to be connected to
TelOne's gateway.

"We want to listen, to make sure the nation is safe. If we liberalise the
gateways then it means there would be a group of people who would
communicate without our knowledge," Chineka was quoted as saying by the
government-controlled daily Mirror.

Econet has the largest subscriber base in Zimbabwe and is in the process of
adding a further 300,000 customers before the end of the year to take its
client numbers to 800,000.

The company, listed on the Zimbabwe stock exchange, has said that if
incoming traffic for customers on mobile networks is diverted to TelOne,
private mobile companies would be unable to raise foreign currency to settle
bills with operators overseas.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

One very brave man and New Labour's shameful silence

Daily Mail

10:36am 28th November 2006

On radio 4' s Today Programme yesterday morning, the Archbishop of Bulawayo,
Pius Ncube, told listeners what has become of his benighted country,
Zimbabwe, during the terror of Robert Mugabe.

The life expectancy of a male is 37, of a woman 34. Poverty, malnutrition
and Aids are rife. From being the second or third richest country in
sub-Saharan Africa 25 years ago, Zimbabwe has become one of the poorest.

My feeling is that most people do not care very much, although I am sure
they are sympathetic. What is particularly strange is that the Left - which
used to set its clock by what happened in Zimbabwe when it was called
Rhodesia - apparently cares least of all.

The great foreign policy issues that got the Left going in the 1960s and
1970s were the Vietnam war, the iniquities of the Greek colonels - and

When its white Prime Minister, Ian Smith, declared independence from Britain
in 1965, Jeremy Thorpe, the then leader of the Liberal Party, suggested that
British troops should take back the country by force. So too did some
leading churchmen, though the British Government declined to follow their

For years Mr Smith was one of the Left's most hated men. Until Robert Mugabe
won power in 1980, the supposed evils of 'white minority rule' remained an
obsession for all self-respecting Lefties.

My own impression, on first visiting the country in 1978, was that it was
far from being the moral cesspit that had been made out. Nevertheless,
newspapers like the Guardian and the Observer, and countless Labour and
Liberal MPs, told us otherwise.

On Mugabe's election, the Left sang his praises. Tony Benn (then on the far
Left of the Labour Party, now the nation's favourite grandfather) wrote in
his diaries that he could not 'remember anything giving me so much plea-sure
for a long time'.

In truth, there was already ample evidence of Mugabe's ruthlessness in the
civil war that had raged in Rhodesia.

FOR years his Leftist admirers - and a good many Tories - continued to find
no fault with him. A blind eye was turned when he ordered the covert
massacre of thousands of Matabele, a minority tribe in the south of the
country, in 1984.

The Tory Government of the time cheerfully sold him arms, including
aircraft. The general view in the Foreign Office was that Mugabe was
basically a good egg.

This same good egg is responsible for nearly all the terrible things that
have happened. Several years ago he confiscated most of the highly
productive white-owned commercial farms, and redistributed them among his
friends and cronies.

A country which used to export food cannot begin to feed itself. There is
widespread malnutrition and some actual starvation.

Mugabe can hardly be blamed for the Aids epidemic mentioned by the
Archbishop of Bulawayo, since it is afflicting the whole of southern Africa.
But he can, and should, be blamed for the collapse of the economy (inflation
is 2,000 per cent) which means that Aids sufferers enjoy even less health
care than they do in neighbouring South Africa.

He most certainly can be held responsible for the bulldozing of shanty
towns, the suppression of a free Press, and the persecution, and sometimes
torture, of his political opponents.

Here is a human disaster which even by the tragic standards of Africa is
mind-boggling - and a state of affairs for which, as the former colonial
power that paved the way to Mugabe's victory, we must bear some

And yet, with a few honourable exceptions, our media and politicians are
mostly silent - or uninterested. Far more fuss is made of the admittedly
appalling situation in Darfur, which David Cameron has just visited.

And although it has been banned from Zimbabwe, the BBC could make more of an
effort to report the country's terrible human rights abuses.

During the period of white minority rule, it was not banned from Rhodesia,
and its coverage of the Smith regime was consistently critical.

Most shocking of all, if not very surprising, is the utter indifference of
the Left, which once regarded the condition of Rhodesia as one of the great
injustices of the world.

Now there are far greater injustices there - on my last visit to the country
I could find no one who did not think Robert Mugabe much more wicked than
Ian Smith - and yet no one on the Left seems the slightest bit interested.

Take, for example, that formidable Lefty Guardian columnist Polly Toynbee,
whom the Tory Party is now strangely clasping to its bosom.

We may be sure that 30 years ago Polly would have joined, if not led, any
anti-Ian Smith demonstration, and, if asked, might have sent food parcels to
Mugabe's freedom fighters.

Yet Polly, like all of her ilk, hardly ever writes about Zimbabwe's poverty
and malnutrition. However, if Ian Smith, now frail and very elderly, were to
visit this country, we can be sure that they would eagerly pick up their
pens in indignation.

All this teaches us is that the fulminations of intellectuals about foreign
countries reflect their own preoccupations rather than a true concern for
the unfortunate people who live in those places.

Controversies which seem to be about what happens abroad are often really to
do with home-grown ideological disputes. Ian Smith - a wartime pilot in the
RAF, incidentally - was represented as a white racist, and so became the
focus of swirling hatreds. As a former freedom fighter and Marxist, the
infinitely nastier Robert Mugabe does not fit into the Left's hall of
infamy, however many outrages he has committed.

You would scarcely imagine, to judge by New Labour's indifference - or is
amnesia an apter word? - that until just over 25 years ago, Zimbabwe was a
British colony and responsibility.

Tony Blair has raved about re-ordering countries such as the Congo and
Rwanda, over which Britain never had any control, but he has been unprepared
even to lift a finger for the poor persecuted people of Zimbabwe.

If we had spent one tenth of the resources on Zimbabwe that we have on Iraq,
and devoted a hundredth of the time and energy, something could have been
done. The same is true on a wider scale of the United States.

A fraction of the hundreds of billions of dollars that have been wasted in
reducing Iraq to a pul-versised and divided mess of a country could have
improved the lot not just of Zimbabweans but of the whole of the continent.
For all their protestations, the American neo-Conservatives are no more
exercised by the plight of Africans than Polly and her crew.

If Africa is a reproach to all of us, Zimbabwe is our particular shame. Pius
Ncube, Archbishop of Bulawayo - a brave man who dares to criticise Mugabe
openly in a vicious police state - won't take much more back to his people
than some empty good wishes. From Left-wing intellectuals and New Labour,
and, I fear, from David Cameron's new Tories, the message is the same. We
don't really care.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Enos Nkala statement on planned book

New Zimbabwe

The following is a statement by former Defence Minister Enos Nkala on a new
book that he is writing. He declares: "I am ready to spend the last days of
my life in Mugabe's prisons in defence of the legal, constitutional and
civil rights of the precious people of Zimbabwe":

By Enos Nkala
Last updated: 11/29/2006 04:25:20
ROBERT came into the political scene of this country in 1961. We had invited
him to join us. At this time he was a teacher in Ghana. He came while on
leave. I then shared a platform with him at Cyril Jennings Hall in May of
that year.
He spoke very well and we were impressed by his eloquence. At this time I
was secretary general of the National Democratic Party (NDP) which had been
formed on the 1st of January 1960.

Because of his eloquence and his clarity of issues, he impressed us and the
central committee sat and agreed that we should approach him and ask him to
join us. Morton Malianga and I were asked to approach him so that he could
join us in the struggle for the liberation of Zimbabwe.

He was staying at Cephas Msipa's house, from there we had a meeting with
him. As we got there we briefed him about our mission. Then a positive and
rewarding discussion took place. At the end of the meeting he agreed to join
us. But among other problems, if my memory serves me right, was his teaching
contract with a year to go. He then said to us he would find a way to
terminate it before it expired. Without making any reference to the ensuing
events concerning the contract all I can say is that he later joined as
publicity secretary of the NDP.

After a year or so the NDP was banned and its leadership restricted in their
respective home areas. If I am not wrong, it was for a period of three
months. Soon after their release from restriction, ZAPU was formed as a
substitute political party to the NDP. Of course, Joshua Nkomo remained as

The NDP held its national election conference, if my memory interprets this
occurrence of events appropriately it was in September of 1961 at which
conference Nkomo was elected president since he had been president of the
Southern Rhodesia African National Congress. When it got banned in 1959, he
went to exile in London. We had been campaigning for Joshua Nkomo to return
to lead the NDP, of which he was elected president in September of 1961. Of
course, Mugabe was retained as publicity secretary.

ZAPU was banned in 1962. At this time, Nkomo and others were outside the
country attending many of the meetings that later gave birth to the
Organisation of African Unity (OAU). Serious differences among leaders of
ZAPU emerged. There was a view among the leaders of ZAPU that had emerged
that Nkomo had failed as a leader. I was in support of this view. The
differences of views led to the split in the leadership of ZAPU which was
followed by the formation of ZANU at my Highfield house in 1963. The
characteristics of the serious differences that emerged will be clearly
spelt out in the book I am writing whose title will be: The Years of

At the formation of ZANU, Mugabe was not there. He was in Tanzania with his
wife attending to the birth of his son. At the formation of ZANU at my house
in May 1963 Sithole was elected president, deputised by Leopold Takawira,
Robert Mugabe was elected secretary general deputised by Eddison Zvobgo and
I was elected treasurer general deputised by Nathan Shamuyarira. The other
appointments can be found in the Chronicle and the Rhodesia Herald of the
following day.

I remained treasurer general of the party until my controversial resignation
in 1990 from both the government and all my executive positions in Zanu PF,
including of course, my membership of Zanu PF. I did this in total disgust
of the under-current manoeuvres of Robert Mugabe and his Zezuru group. It
was obvious to me that he wanted to clear me and Nyagumbo from both the
government and the party so as to enable him to become the dictator which he
is. The so-called Sandura Judicial Commission was appointed at his
initiation and instigation so that he could get rid of us.

It is unfortunate and very much regrettable that Maurice Nyagumbo was made
to take away his life. May his soul rest in peace. It was due to the Zezuru
Group of 26 that brought about the Sandura initiative. This group reports
directly to Robert Mugabe. It includes Zezuru judges, senior Zezuru army
officers and some senior Zezuru CIO. It is the policy making body. It
recommends the dismissal of ministers and appointment of ministers who are
amenable to Mugabe remaining in power. Should I be challenged over what I
have said herein, I am ready to elaborate and defend the position that I
have hinted to in this statement.

The critical issue that I want to raise among other things is the
destruction of the economy of this country by Mugabe and the Group of 26 and
the social fabric of the people of Zimbabwe. In everything, this group,
headed by Mugabe, has humiliated and cowed the people of this country into
total abject submission. The people of this country can no longer hold
demonstrations, protestations, or find any other means of expressing their
democratic rights.

Zanu PF has legal and constitutional rights to run the show, anyone found to
be in disagreement with Mugabe, the hidden hand of the Group of 26, CIO,
army and police, can be beaten and thrown into prison so as to induce
submission. Women with babies have been locked in police cells, trade
unionists have had their hands if not heads broken and beaten to the point
of total submission. Judicial processes have been negated by the unholy
influence of the Group of 26. Law and order, legal rights, constitutional
protection can now only be enjoyed by members of Zanu PF and those who
support the tyranny of His Excellency President Robert Mugabe.

It is my considered view that I should stand up and be counted among those
who are opposed to this ruthless dictatorship. Time has come for people of
Zimbabwe to stand up and be counted in opposition to this ruthless tyranny.

I want to remind His Excellency that I am not among those who die many times
before their actual death. I am a son of heroes and a self-made hero and
have just completed 74 years of my life with a greater part of it spent in
Ian Smith's prisons and detention camps for the liberation of my country.

President Mugabe talks, imagines and believes that he and he alone brought
about the freedom of Zimbabwe. He believes that some of us were sleeping at
home with our wives while he was fighting, this nonsense must come to an

I am ready to spend the last days of my life in Mugabe's prisons in defence
of the legal, constitutional and civil rights of the precious people of
Zimbabwe. I wish to end thus far until he responds to this statement. Mugabe
must go now before the situation consumes him.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

China Metallurgical Studying Offer for Zimbabwe Iron and Steel


By Helen Yuan

Nov. 28 (Bloomberg) -- China Metallurgical Group Corp., a state-owned mining
equipment and construction company, says it is examining a possible takeover
of Zimbabwe Iron and Steel Corp after it was invited to invest in the
African country.

``We just received the invitation to take over the debt- ridden company,''
Yang Mingde, vice president with China Metallurgical, said by phone from
Beijing today, without elaborating. ``We will study it.''

China's companies are stepping up investments in Africa as they search for
new markets for their products, and for new sources of commodities. Zimbabwe
Iron, known as Zisco, has been starved of investment for repairs as the
southern African country is in its sixth consecutive year of recession.

China Metallurgical Group's President Li Shu Kuan is in talks with
Zimbabwe's Foreign Minister Simbarashe Mumbengengwi to buy a 60 percent
stake in Zisco, the Harare-based Herald newspaper reported yesterday.

Zisco is on the verge of collapse because of government corruption, the
newspaper reported Sept. 21, citing Trade and Industry Minister Obert Mpofu.
Global Steel Holding Ltd., which owns India's Ispat Industries Ltd.,
cancelled a $400 agreement Aug. 18 to increase output at Zisco.

China Metallurgical Group, formerly known as China Metallurgical
Construction Corp., changed its name in March as the company diversified its
businesses into overseas mining resource development and properties, Yang

To contact the reporter for this story: Helen Yuan in Shanghai at

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

China's MCC denies $3 bln bid for Zimbabwe Steel


††††† Tue Nov 28, 2006 9:00 AM GMT

BEIJING (Reuters) - State-owned China Metallurgical Group Corp. (MCC) has
not made a bid for a struggling state-owned steel firm in Zimbabwe,
officials in MCC's planning and overseas investment departments said on

Zimbabwe's Ambassador to China, Christopher Mutsvangwa, was quoted in the
government-run Herald newspaper on Monday as saying the Metallurgical
Corporation of China (MCC) had put in a $3 billion offer for a 60 percent
stake in troubled Zimbabwe Iron and Steel Company (Ziscosteel) and was
waiting for a response from Harare.

"There's no such thing. We haven't bid for it at all," said an official with
MCC's overseas investment department.

Another official said MCC had been approached by Zimbabwe, but had no
comment on MCC's interest in or response to the reported proposal.

MCC International Corp. Ltd. chairman Li Shukuan met with several Zimbabwe
ministers and officials in late October, according to MCC's Web site
(, which didn't provide details of the content of the
meeting. Li could not be reached immediately for comment on Tuesday.

Mugabe's government is battling to keep Ziscosteel -- which is operating at
around 30 percent of capacity and which critics allege has been looted by
top state officials -- from collapsing after years of mismanagement.

Two months ago, Zimbabwe announced the failure of a $400 million investment
by India's Global Steel Holdings to rehabilitate Ziscosteel. That agreement
was signed early this year.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

US$3 Billion Chinese Bid For Steel Firm Raises Questions In Harare


By Blessing Zulu
††††† Washington
††††† 27 November 2006

A Chinese company has made a US$3 billion bid for a controlling stake in the
state-controlled Zimbabwe Iron and Steel Company, or ZISCO, already the
focus of a major corruption scandal, and critics said the deal raises major
issues of governance.

The proposed investment comes just a few weeks after President Robert Mugabe
traveled to Beijing for a Sino-African summit and reconfirmed Zimbabwe's
relationship with China as one of its foremost client states on the
continent. Mr. Mugabe, cut off from Western economic assistance, has
enunciated a "Look East" policy.

Public and nongovernmental observers said Harare has not presented China's
offer to the national Tender Board for review. Sources on the tender board
and the board of the perennially troubled steelmaker itself said they have
not been consulted in the deal, announced Monday in the pages of the
state-run Herald newspaper.

The Metallurgical Corporation of China is the second Chinese firm to seek a
stake in the steel firm. Shougang International Trade and Engineering
Corporation built a blast furnace at ZISCO before withdrawing in 2005 over
Harare's alleged failure to make good on promises regarding the plant's
supply chain for coal and iron ore.

Shougang's relationship with ZISCO dated to the 1990s. At one point it
announced its intention to invest US$200 million into the steel making

Earlier this year, the Indian firm Global Steel pulled out of a proposed
US$400 million joint venture with Harare, reportedly because of official
pressure for kickbacks.

This prompted investigation by the National Economic Conduct Inspectorate
and in turn a parliamentary probe into alleged top-level financial abuses. A
confidential report subsequent to a separate investigation by the
parliamentary committee on foreign affairs revealed that ZISCO owes
creditors more than US$200 million.

Economic consultant Peter Robinson told reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA's
Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that it is unfortunate ZISCO has been so poorly
managed, as in the current market for steel the parastatal could have
generated revenues for the state.

Members of the parliamentary committee on trade looking into alleged
corruption at ZISCO, declining to be named, were also critical of the latest
Chinese bid, complaining that it by-passed the Tender Board and therefore
lacks transparency.

Anti-corruption minister Paul Mangwana declined to comment.

For a legal perspective, reporter Zulu turned to lawyer Jacob Mafume,
coordinator of the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, who said the general lack
of transparency around parastatal enterprises has led to the looting of
state assets by top officials.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Top-level corruption alleged at Ziscosteel

Business Day

28 November 2006

Dumisani Muleya


Harare Correspondent

ZIMBABWEAN President Robert Mugabe's beleaguered government is in the grip
of possibly the biggest corruption scandal facing the country since
independence, one that has drawn in businessmen on both sides of the Limpopo
border, as well as cabinet ministers.

It centres on the alleged looting of Ziscosteel, the country's giant
steel-making public enterprise, allegedly by Mugabe's vice-presidents and
some ministers.

High-level corruption is increasingly becoming a cancer in the corridors of
power as top officials scramble to pillage the crumbling economy.

Vice-President Joice Mujuru, who is widely tipped to succeed Mugabe, has
been named in the Zisco saga in a report drawn up by the National Economic
Conduct Inspectorate (NECI), an elite government crime-investigation unit
run by state security.

Vice-President Joseph Msika and several ministers - including Samuel
Mumbengegwi (empowerment), Olivia Muchena (science and technology),
Sithembiso Nyoni (small and medium enterprise development), Stan Mudenge
(higher education), Patrick Chinamasa (justice), former Zanu (PF) MP
Tirivanhu Mudariki - and the late ruling party MP Gibson Munyoro are also

Former Zisco MD Gabriel Masanga, marketing executive Rodwell Makuni and a
host of other senior managers are allegedly the kingpins of the operation to
funnel funds from Zisco.

South African companies mentioned in the report include Macsteel
International SA and Chartwell Capital Group, allegedly paid R1,6m and
R471827,15 in "questionable contracts".

The NECI says Zisco finances were raided through questionable contracts and
a string of payments covering controversial purchases, services, airfares,
hotel bookings, directors' fees, management expenses and entertainment

Government officials received large sums as "entertainment allowances",
while others had air tickets, hotel bookings and food and drinks bought for
them using public funds when they were not on official business.

The report says Mujuru was given $11000 recorded as an entertainment
allowance when she visited Botswana during a weekend in 2004 on business
that had nothing to do with Zisco.

Zisco, the only integrated steelworks north of the Limpopo, is registered as
a private company but is 91% government owned. The other 9% is owned by six
different shareholders.

Zisco's group of companies includes four distribution centres, Lancashire
Steel, Buchwa Iron Mining Company and the Agricultural Manufacturing
Company. It has subsidiaries in SA, Botswana, Zambia, Mozambique and

Muchena has disputed the claims in the report. The government has moved to
suppress it.

Industry and International Trade Minister Obert Mpofu faces impeachment for
perjury after he allegedly lied under oath to the parliamentary committee
investigating Zisco. The case against him resumes today.

Chairman of the committee Enock Porusingazi said government officials "will
soon be grilled" by his team.

Mpofu initially told the committee that senior officials, including
"colleagues of mine in parliament", had looted Zisco but later backtracked,
saying: "I'm not aware of any particular minister or senior person or MP or
anybody" involved in Zisco.

Anticorruption Minister Paul Mangwana initially said that those implicated
in the Zisco scandal would be prosecuted.

"Very soon we will take action and police will make arrests of those who
were involved in corruption at Ziscosteel, irrespective of their political
or social status," Mangwana said.

However, Mangwana later changed his statement, saying he could not talk
about the report "because it was a state security document". Later still, he
changed again, saying "a number of my esteemed colleagues are under

Mangwana acknowledged at the weekend that there were allegations of
corruption, although he sought to protect ministers by saying that claims of
looting against the ministers were "red herrings".

State Security Minister Didymus Mutasa said the NECI report did not exist.

Msika, named in the report, said there was no looting at Zisco.

No other official government comment could be obtained.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zimbabwe police arrest 2000 illegal immigrants

Business Day



HARARE - Zimbabwean police have arrested more than 2 000 people attempting
to cross the border illegally in a 12-day blitz along the country's
extensive border with southern neighbour SA, reports said today.

Thirty-one of the 2 189 illegal immigrants picked up while attempting to
cross the Limpopo River were Somalis believed to have escaped from holding
camps inside Zimbabwe, said the state-controlled Herald newspaper.

"We picked (up) some of the criminals on their way to South Africa while
others were arrested on their way back to Zimbabwe," police spokesman
Tafanana Dzirutwe told the paper.

He said arrests were part of a police blitz dubbed Operation Restore Sanity
that took place from November 13-25. Police have subsequently been deployed
to monitor more than 200 points along the Limpopo River used as crossing
points for those attempting to cross the border.

We are going to continue with our patrols until sanity is brought to the
area, said Dzirutwe.

SA, with its robust economy and strong currency is a destination of choice
for Zimbabweans escaping biting economic hardships at home.

The South African home affairs department is reported to be deporting about
300 illegal Zimbabwean immigrants a day. Illegal immigrants from East and
Central Africa also use Zimbabwe with its porous borders as a conduit to
reach SA.

In October, 12 Somalis were arrested in Zimbabwe while trying to cross the
Limpopo, while another 15 were arrested in northern Zimbabwe after they
crossed illegally into the country from Zambia.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Cross-border traders have little choice but to remain informal

From The Star (SA), 28 November

Winnie Graham

Margaret Banda leaves home in Zimbabwe once every other month to come
shopping in Joburg. She doesn't have much money but she brings with her a
selection of tablecloths the women "at home" have made for sale in South
Africa. Every item has been carefully handcrafted, each representing the
artistic talent of the different women who have decorated their particular
piece of cloth with reproductions of rock art or paintings of animals. When
she gets to Joburg, Margaret sells the tablecloths on behalf of the village
women. At this time of the year - with Christmas approaching - she will not
have much difficulty. They make excellent gifts. The money from the sale
will help her buy essentials for the families at home. Banda is just one of
hundreds - perhaps thousands - of women traders who leave their country
regularly to earn money by buying and selling "over the border". They are
known as informal border traders, "those invisible people" whose
contribution to the South African economy is largely unrecognised. The women
seldom have proper accommodation and are often harassed in the host country.
Yet, as "shopping tourists" they contribute millions of rands to the

How they get to South Africa is a story in itself. The women come by bus or
hitch lifts on trucks, bringing with them an assortment of products to sell.
They take home a range of necessities, including food and electronic
appliances. The volume of the informal trade could exceed the official
cross-border trade between certain countries - and it is often the basis for
food security. The role they play is the focus of an exhibition, entitled
Back and Forth, arranged by the Market Photo Workshop in co-operation with
the International Organisation for Migration (IOM)'s Partnership on HIV and
Mobility in Southern Africa (Phamsa) programme. It aims at highlighting the
activities of informal cross-border traders in southern Africa, focusing
particularly on the socio-economic factors that increase their vulnerability
to diseases like HIV. The exhibition was first staged in Musina earlier this
month and is currently running at the Photo Workshop Gallery at 2 President
Street in Joburg. According to an IOM study, the majority of women traders
in southern Africa are socially and economically marginalised, yet their new
lifestyle is having a positive impact on their lives. It is transforming
gender relations by thrusting them into non-traditional areas of operation.

"Economically empowered women of independent means are more likely to be
involved in decision making in their families, less likely to be dominated
by their partners and better able to control resources and benefits," says
an IOM document. Women constitute about 80% of the traders - a factor that
brings a sense of empowerment and new challenges. Yet they have problems of
their own in trading informally. The IOM say they are called "informal"
because they trade with goods, operate on a relatively small scale, do not
have access to preferential tariff agreements, often buy and/or sell in
informal sector markets, do not pass through formal import or export
channels and may be involved in smuggling. It adds that this kind of trade,
in the face of mounting poverty, unemployment and deteriorating
socio-economic conditions, has become a source of livelihood for poor
communities, mainly women. While the SA government has been actively
encouraging cross-border trade, the contribution made by the women is
usually overlooked. Researcher Sally Peberdy, who has studied South Africa's
immigration policy and the cross-border traders, says that the present
system of restrictive regulation has negative consequences - not only for
the traders but also for the South African government.

Duties paid at the border are a significant drain on the profit margin of
traders. They also come with costs to the Department of Customs and Excise
who have to administer the gathering of relatively small amounts of duties
against complex tariff schedules and open opportunities for corrupt Home
Affairs, and Customs and Excise officials as well as police. Peberdy has
found that, to date, no country in the region has a specific permit or visa
for these entrepreneurs. They do not benefit from preferential tariffs
"despite the prominence and seeming importance of these activities to
regional trade, economic development, poverty alleviation, the organisation
of regional markets and regional integration". The work focuses on traders
in the handicraft and curio sector as they are significant participants in
cross-border trade. Peberdy's report is based on semi-structured interviews
with 107 non-South African and 21 South African traders of handicrafts and
curios in Joburg and Cape Town. She adds: "We also interviewed 22 South
Africans who were employed by non-South African traders and 23 Zimbabwean
curio sellers in Harare and Masvingo, Zimbabwe. "Curios, wood and stone
carvings comprise 90% of the goods imported. The remaining 10% consists of
wire, clothes, crochet work and leather goods. Mozambican traders bring
vegetables, nuts and cloth. None of these products are readily available
within South Africa itself."

Peberdy says that although non-South African street traders are often
portrayed in the media as "illegal" and ill-educated, this is hardly the
case. The study found that more than 90% of non-South African respondents
had some secondary education. Nearly 40% had a formal qualification. It is a
myth, too, that the informal traders are poverty-stricken and desperate,
engaged in a struggle to "survive". Most are pursuing a future as small
entrepreneurs. Less than 50% were interested in finding formal employment
and less than 5% came to South Africa looking for work. Some 29% entered the
business because they "enjoy" trading and self-employment, and 7%
categorised themselves as artists. Nor are foreign migrants necessarily
flooding to South Africa to flee a desperate situation at home. They came
because of the opportunities offered by the tourist market; the strength of
the economy; and for South Africa's attractions. It also found that the
traders invest much of their profits within South Africa's formal retail and
manufacturing sectors. More than 50% spend 40% to 50% of their earnings in
South Africa. More than 20% employ South Africans in their business

"More than 56% of all non-South Africans and 78% of SADC respondents take
goods out of South Africa to trade. Only 27% do not," Peberdy writes.
"Exported goods include electronics, appliances, clothes, shoes, household
goods and foodstuffs. These items are South African products which are being
promoted by industrial and SADC export policy." Studies have shown that
contrary to perceptions that "migrants, like informal cross-border traders,
carry disease to the places they visit", it is rather the process of getting
to this country that puts the traders at risk of contracting infections. In
other words, it is not their mobility that places them at risk of HIV but
the situations they encounter and the behaviour they may engage in on their
journeys. Official South African policy is to encourage trade with its SADC
partners. There is no sound economic reason why trade should be monopolised
by large South African formal-sector companies. The majority of traders from
the region enter on visitor visas which allow people to enter but not
officially trade. There is no system of trading permits in place. African
traders from outside the SADC region tend to be asylum seekers or refugees
who are allowed to trade.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Harare Commission Chief Makwavarara Draws Flak Over Budget


By Jonga Kandemiiri
††††† Washington
††††† 27 November 2006

Relations between Harare residents and city Commission Chairwoman Sekesai
Makwavarara are even more strained than usual these days as her
state-appointed board presents its 2007 budget.

Residents of Ward 34 of the Mufakose section of Harare were scheduled to
meet with Makwavarara on Monday, but she failed to show up. This apparently
was because the residents were planning to stage a demonstration against her

Another meeting on Monday, in the Glenview district, broke up when residents
started to sing in protest and denounce Makwavarara, who was not there

Residents complained that such an important meeting should not have been
held on a Monday afternoon when many residents had to be at work.

Harare activists complain that the budget was drawn up without sufficient
consultation, and that the process should have been completed by the end of

Combined Harare Residents Association spokesman Precious Shumba told
reporter Jonga Kandemiiri of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that more
demonstrations are in store for Harare commission members in the days ahead.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Victoria Falls faces losing its status

The Mercury

November 28, 2006 Edition 1

HARARE: Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe's prime tourist destination, risked being
delisted as a world heritage site if neighbouring Zambia went ahead with
plans to build 500 tourist chalets next to it, it was reported yesterday.

The Deputy Director of the World Heritage Centre in Paris, Kishore Rao, has
been in Zimbabwe and Zambia for high-level meetings after a request for an
investigation by Unesco and the World Conservation Union.

"We are here to assess the site in terms of the rules and regulations
governing the world heritage sites," said Rao. - Sapa-DPA

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zimbabwe urged to prepare for influx of Chinese tourists

People's Daily

††††† A leading Chinese travel agent said in Harare on Monday that Zimbabwe
needs to develop its tourism facilities to cater for the expected high
number of Chinese tourists in the next few years.

††††† Zimbabwe International Travel & Tours chief executive, Steve Ke Zhao,
told Xinhua in an interview that many Chinese were eager to visit Zimbabwe
and Africa to explore its original and unparalleled tourist products.

††††† "We are getting a lot of enquiries from Chinese citizens who, after
getting tired of seeing Europe and Asia, now want to come and see Zimbabwe
and Africa," said Zhao, whose company provides service to more than half of
the Chinese tourists coming into Zimbabwe.

††††† Zhao said many Chinese were now interested in coming to Zimbabwe
following the Approved Destination Status (ADS) granted to the country by
China in 2004, and also the recently-held Sino- Africa summit.

††††† He said the summit presented Africa with a great opportunity to market
itself to China.

††††† With millions of Chinese people flying to international destinations
every year, there was great scope for Zimbabwe to tap into the vast Asian
market, he added.

††††† Zhao, who has been in the travel business in Zimbabwe for the past
three years, said Africa's greatest advantage is that its flora and fauna
cannot be found in any other continent.

††††† "The nature of Africa's world is more original. Its tradition and
heritage is what really attracts Chinese people," he said.

††††† Zhao said Zimbabwe's tourism products sell well in China but bemoaned
the lack of an efficient transport system for easy movement of people.

††††† He said Air Zimbabwe's introduction of direct flights to China was a
welcome development, but indicated that more internal flights to other
tourist attractions such as Kariba and Great Zimbabwe should be introduced.

††††† "There are lots of beautiful places in Zimbabwe which, unfortunately,
cannot be accessed by air. We have to take tourists say, to Great Zimbabwe,
and bring them back to Harare for a flight to Victoria Falls. This does not
work well for the tourism sector in this country. There is need for
interconnectivity," Zhao said.

††††† He also bemoaned insufficient hotel facilities in the country, and
called for an improvement in the area. He said Zimbabwe should utilize this
time when the Chinese were not yet flocking in large numbers to prepare its
accommodation facilities.

††††† "It's just not good to have less than 3,000 beds in Victoria Falls,
home to one of the world's natural wonders," Zhao said.

††††† He said Zimbabwe's tourism industry was not yet ready to handle
Chinese tourists especially in terms of food. "The culture and language of
the two countries are diverse. Education is needed on both sides and I am
glad the Government of Zimbabwe has started a program to train Zimbabweans
in the Chinese language," he said.

††††† Tour manager for the company Edgar Sanyanga said 95 percent of their
business originated from the international market and 5 percent from locals.

††††† He said the hard economic conditions prevailing in the country had
seen many local people reducing international travel. Sanyanga said there
was however need for aggressive marketing of China in Zimbabwe as a credible
tourist and business destination.

††††† There has been a considerable increase in Chinese tourists coming into
Zimbabwe in recent years owing to government's deepening of relations with
the Asian country under its "Look East " policy.

††††† The Chinese company has so far employed 18 local people. Some of them
serve as managers in charge of various departments while three Chinese work
as tourist guides.

††††† With the growing number of Chinese visiting Zimbabwe, his company will
expand and hire more local people, Zhao said, adding that he came to
Zimbabwe also as a tourist a decade ago, and started his business in
catering sector.

††††† Source: Xinhua

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Horror story

A long, brutal regime in Zimbabwe has cut women's life expectancy to just 34. How is this possible?

Lyndsey Turner
Tuesday November 28, 2006
The Guardian

After 26 years under the rule of Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwean women now suffer the lowest life expectancy in the world. The World Health Organisation has released figures suggesting that Zimbabwean women live an average of 34 years. A decade ago, the figure was closer to 65, but after years of economic hardship, food shortages and trauma caused by slum clearance and brutal oppression, Mugabe's regime is truly taking its toll on the vitality of the nation. Since the country's last census, in 2002, it is estimated that Zimbabwe's population has fallen by between 4 and 8 million. Despite the fact that up to 3,500 people die each week as a result of Zimbabwe's social and economic "meltdown", the eyes of the world remain fixed on areas of conflict in which western interests are at stake. A lesson on the state of Zimbabwe affords teachers an opportunity to investigate the impact of poverty, slum clearance, Aids and government corruption on a nation with historic links to the UK.

Dead at 34

Help students to locate Zimbabwe on a map, and supply the class with some basic facts about the country and its leader. Useful information about land use, population, climate and health can be accessed here and here. Older students should be introduced to a timeline of Zimbabwean history. Ask pupils to research one event on the timeline, before preparing the case (either a piece of persuasive writing or a short talk to the class) for why their event should be considered the most important in the modern history of Zimbabwe.

Read about the plight of Zimbabwe's women before asking students to draw up a list of differences between the "old" and "new" Zimbabwe. Encourage pupils to select an image from the article and to use this either as the basis for a piece of creative writing, or as the starting point of a collage of images and text relating to the story. Identify the issues raised in the article that specifically affect women and challenge students to discuss the reasons why women have shorter life expectancies than men.

In the maths classroom, compare the statistical information on life expectancy, child mortality and health expenditure in Zimbabwe with the data on the UK population Ask students to represent the differences in these statistics using a range of presentational and illustrative techniques (such as pie charts and bar charts). Older students might like to compare more detailed breakdowns of health information accessible under "selected indicators" and "key health expenditure indicators". It might be interesting to contrast the life expectancy of Zimbabwean men and women with that of the country's neighbours.

Read about life in Mugabe's Zimbabwe here and here. Encourage students to select one of the news stories they encounter in this research and to use it as the basis for a dramatic monologue that seeks to measure the impact of Zimbabwean life on one of its citizens.

Creating homeless people

A year has passed since Operation Murambatsvina, a slum-clearing initiative in which the government demolished thousands of illegal houses, leaving some 700,000 people homeless. Students can read about the impact of Mugabe's "cleanup campaign", while older students might find the Executive Summary section of the UN's report on the situation interesting.

Ask younger students to choose one of the statistics featured in the Independent's article on Zimbabwe and to bring it to life using images, headlines, photographs and appropriate data presentation tools.

Mugabe's violations of the UN Declaration of Human Rights are notorious. Ask students to visit the online home of Human Rights Watch and to make a list of the threats and challenges facing the people of Zimbabwe.

An organisation known as Women of Zimbabwe Arise (Woza) is making an impact by demonstrating against Zimbabwe's worsening economic and social conditions. Read about the work of this organisation here and here before watching a video interview with Jenni Williams, Woza's national coordinator here. Discuss the ways in which these women are risking their lives to make a difference.

Zimbabwe's Aids crisis is claiming millions of lives every year. Ask pupils to find out about World Aids Day (December 1) before discussing the ways in which Zimbabwean hairdressers are attempting to make a stand against the spread of the disease. Ask students to consider why the international community has taken a relatively non-interventionist approach to Mugabe's regime, given that more people die every week as a result of Zimbabwe's oppressive social and economic regime than in Darfur, Lebanon and Iraq. Examine the recommendations of the UN report on Mugabe's slum-clearance programme and identify ways in which the international community might help to ease the suffering of the people of Zimbabwe. Given the dangers faced by the citizens of Zimbabwe, should the British government be doing more to help immigrants claiming asylum from oppression and torture?

Teachers and students will find a complete KS3 lesson on Zimbabwe on the Guardian's daily online newsdesk for children

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

South Africans six times better than us - report

New Zimbabwe

By Staff Reporter
Last updated: 11/28/2006 11:08:48
A SHOCK new report claims an average South African is six times better off
than an average Zimbabwean, and that more Zimbabweans are employed in South
Africa than in Zimbabwe.

The fourth South African Employment Report, compiled by T-Sec economist Mike
Schussler for the United Association of South Africa trade union (UASA), was
released last week.

But the report's conclusions immediately ran into trouble, with prominent
Zimbabwean civic activist and lawyer Daniel Molokele describing parts of the
stated facts as "nonsense".

According to Schussler, an estimated 4,3 percent of Zimbabwe's population -
some 520 000 people - had been deported from South Africa since 1994. Nearly
210 000 illegal foreigners were deported last year, mostly to Zimbabwe.

Koos Bezuidenhout, the chief executive of UASA said: ""At present, less than
1.2 million Zimbabweans are [formally] employed in their country. There are
more Zimbabweans employed in South Africa than in Zimbabwe."

And Schussler added: "It's definitely a staggering number and more are bound
to cross the borders, attracted by the prospects of 2010 (World Cup) and
beyond. An average South African is six times better off than an average
Zimbabwean, and 20 times better off than a Malawian."

Molokele, a New columnist and co-ordinator of the Zimbabwe
Diaspora Civic Society Organisations Forum - a grouping of 35 Zimbabwean
civic groups based in South Africa - said the report was largely correct,
but made some "unacceptable false conclusions".

"If you look at Zimbabwe today, I think it is true that we don't have a
formal economy anymore. We don't have a population of bread winners in the
country, but in South Africa, I can't escape the heavy presence of
Zimbabwean professionals who are all over the place," Molokele said.

"I really don't know who has remained behind because I meet a lot of my
neighbours, former classmates, friends, and teachers on the streets of
Johannesburg. It is a serious issue that needs urgent attention."

But Schussler's claims that South Africans were six times better off than
Zimbabweans drew fire from Molokele.

"It's nonsense," he said. "The truth of the matter is that an average
Zimbabwean is far better off than an average African, including South
Africans. Unlike South Africa, our problem is not crime but a political one.

Politically, we could be the worst in the world but in socio-economic terms,
we are still better off than many in the region, but that doesn't make us

But Schussler said the widespread view that illegal immigrants took jobs
away from locals was overstated, with research indicating that one in five
immigrants created their own job in a boost for the national economy.

South Africa's unemployment rate is estimated by some economists to be as
high as 40 percent compared to between 70 and 80 percenty.

Economists believe as many as 3.5 million Zimbabweans have sought to leave
their country, with most headed for South Africa but others going to Britain
or the US.

But Schussler said the positives of having so many illegal immigrants far
outweighed the negatives for South Africa.

"America was built by immigrants, and South Africa has become like the US of
Africa," said Schussler, adding that immigrants often had the very skills
that South Africa was losing as its own skilled people headed overseas.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Building Bridges in the Fight Against HIV Stigma


††††††††††† [Interview] Floritah Chiradza, 40, from Zimbabwe

††††††††††† Masimba Biriwasha

†††††††††† Published 2006-11-28 17:30 (KST)

††††† In Zimbabwe, as in many other countries in the region, women's
vulnerability is often compounded by the stigma and discrimination they face
once their HIV status is revealed. Women who admit to having HIV risk social
exclusion and abandonment. Yet disclosure is a valuable tool in achieving
acceptance and reducing discrimination.

††††† When Floritah Chiradza, 40, found out that she was HIV positive, she
began putting together a death wish list. She felt so depressed and isolated
that her memory deteriorated and she couldn't remember anything.

††††† "I went through a hard time because I couldn't accept my [HIV]
status," she said. "I felt silent stigma, where people sideline you without
openly telling you. I don't think people realize they are stigmatizing you.
Maybe people think they are caring for you but in reality it's stigma at

††††† Her husband abandoned her, leaving her with a six-month-old baby. He
only returned after a year and a half when he was too sick to take care of
himself. Chiradza looked after him until he passed away.

††††† According to UNAIDS, HIV-related stigma and discrimination is a
"process of devaluation" of people either living with or associated with
HIV. Actions that emerge from stigmatizing attitudes tend to be subtle, and
efforts to combat it have been impeded by a lack of tools and tested
interventions. Women living with HIV often find themselves either receiving
too much or unwelcome attention within the family and larger community. As a
result they lose power, respect and identity through the taking away or
diminishing, of their roles, responsibilities and social standing.

††††† After she openly disclosed her status, Chiradza noticed that people
around her began to express untoward sympathy towards her. At home, her
mother couldn't come to terms with the fact that her daughter was HIV
positive. So she preferred to tell relatives and friends that her daughter
was suffering from something else. Chiradza's workmates began to isolate her
by taking away some of her responsibilities at work.

††††† "Stigma is something that I really went through. In most cases, people
don't admit stigmatizing you, nor do they think they are discriminating
against you, but some of the things they do show you that stigma and
discrimination are real," said Chiradza.

††††† Disclosure can cause an increase in stigma and discrimination, but it
is also, paradoxically, an essential step in fighting stigma and
discrimination. Before Chiradza disclosed her status, people accepted her
even when she fell ill, but things drastically changed after her disclosure.

††††† "I didn't get it easy with my family, particularly my mother. She just
couldn't accept that I was HIV positive. She would not allow me to do any
tasks, preferring to keep me redundant," said Chiradza.

††††† But Chiradza did not give up. She began taking steps to seek
information on how to live positively with HIV -- a journey that took her to
several support groups for people living with HIV. At her workplace, she
felt isolated, but disclosure began the healing process for her.

††††† "I found comfort in talking to people. I realized that I have to talk
to people to pull through. So I started talking to my sisters, and my
mother, though she could not take it. My mother is one person who made me
stand bold and talk about my status because I was trying to convince her
that she had to accept me as I was," she said

††††† "Coming out and sharing with friends is the biggest healer. I must say
that people who are living positively must be busy building bridges with
various societies, rather than digging holes around themselves. Because if
you take the digging holes attitude, honestly, you won't make it. But you
have to reach out to people instead of waiting for people to come and help
you," she said

††††† Chiradza added that a good health care system that puts people first
is an essential ingredient in the fight against stigma and discrimination,
especially self-stigma. For Chiradza, having a caring physician who
supported her with love and understanding was essential in helping her to
cope with the disease.

††††† "It's an ingredient that cannot be done without. My doctor was very
encouraging. She helped me in the healing process by telling me to access
alternative medication as well as to openly talk about my status," she said.

††††† Chiradza said that people tend not to access information because they
do not want to talk about the disease due to stigma and discrimination.

††††† "If we can treat HIV and AIDS as any other condition, like diabetes or
high blood pressure, everyone will be informed and infection will decline.
We need to tame the jungle together," she said.

††††††††††† Masimba Biriwasha is a Zimbabwean writer and journalist based in

††††††††††† This article will appear in Unveiling the Truth, which is a
joint publication by Health and Development Networks (HDN) and the global
AIDS-Care-Watch Campaign. It includes 40 articles written by HDN Key
Correspondents from Ireland, India, Namibia, Thailand, Uganda, the United
Kingdom, Viet Nam, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Through a combination of essays and
personal testimonies, the report provides a window into both the personal
and social impact of HIV-related stigma in these countries.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zimbabwe has leeches, not scorpions

New Zimbabwe

By Mary Revesai
Last updated: 11/28/2006 12:24:35
A TOOTHLESS bulldog such as Zimbabwe's Anti-Corruption Commission can never
be given more bite by a mere change of name or cosmetic transformation as
has been suggested.
Reports that the catatonic commission is to be reconstituted along the same
lines as South Africa's crack anti-corruption unit, the Scorpions, would
cause excitement among long suffering Zimbabweans if the government's
anti-graft crusade had a credible track record and the move was a natural
progression to build on earlier successes.

In the eyes of most ordinary Zimbabweans however, the Anti-Corruption
Commission has turned out over the last three years, to be an expensive
smokescreen set up solely to divert attention from the greed and avarice of
the powerful and influential within the ruling party.

Despite overwhelming evidence being available about shameless plunder and
pillaging of national assets by public figures, none of these big shots have
been touched. The main role of the commission has in fact, been to protect
powerful and well connected wrongdoers while raising a storm about petty
offenders who should ordinarily and routinely be dealt with by the police.

The Anti-Corruption Commission's lack of success since it was set up has not
been due to logistical and procedural problems as the responsible Minister,
Munyaradzi Paul Mangwana would have the nation believe when he told a daily
newspaper: "The current process where the commission simply investigates and
hands over a report to the police to produce a docket that will in turn be
sent to the A-G's office is ineffectual. At times, the effectiveness of the
matter is lost along the way."

To put it bluntly, Mangwana is lying through his teeth. He cannot expect
long-suffering Zimbabweans to believe that this is what happened with
respect to all the culprits who have continued to thumb their noses at the
nation after looting the War Victims Compensation Fund and abusing the VIP
Housing scheme? More recently there has been deafening silence from the
Anti-Corruption Commission about multiple farm owners, who Robert Mugabe
himself has said should be brought to book. The identity of these land
sharks has never been made public. Mangwana has not said at what stage the
"effectiveness" of their cases was lost so completely that not a single farm
grabber has been prosecuted.

If Mangwana were to be honest, which is a scarce quality in Mugabe's
government, he would admit that his Anti-Corruption Ministry cannot move
against any big shots because the powers that be will simply not allow it.
They are conscious of the fact that their own hands are not clean and they
cannot be certain of what skeletons would tumble out of their cupboards once
a precedent was set.

This means that when he makes noises about transforming the moribund
Anti-Corruption Commission, Mangwana is simply being his master's voice in
singing the ruling party's song of deception. Having gone 'bonkers' as
Archbishop Desmond Tutu once said, subterfuge is now Robert Mugabe's only
viable survival strategy. Saying the exact opposite of what one is doing is
a well known Nazi tactic that the beleaguered Mugabe routinely resorts to,
to buy time . He also likes to ape decisions and policies that he imagines
puts him on the same moral high ground as the leaders of countries that may
have employed similar measures in a principled and committed manner.

An example that comes to mind are his attempts to introduce anti-terrorism
laws in Zimbabwe as if this country has ever faced the same security threat
as the United States following the September 11 attacks in 2001. He wants to
project himself as a crusader against terrorism when he is subjecting his
own people to similarly unfathomable barbarism. Mugabe deludes himself that
Zimbabwe ,which he has ruined, would be thought to be in the same league as
South Africa if his government dupes everyone into thinking it is prepared
to fight graft and impropriety as vigorously as Thabo Mbeki's government has
set out to do.

The Mugabe regime's anti-corruption rhetoric is a charade or else how do
Mugabe and Mangwana explain the Anti-Corruption Commission's failure to lift
a finger with respect to the Zimbabwe Iron and Steel (ZISCO) scandal on
which there is indisputable evidence ? The fact that Commerce and
International Trade Minister Obert Mpofu, who first officially blew the
whistle has been obliged to make an embarrassing U-turn that could result in
his impeachment by Parliament speaks volumes about the ruthless forces at
work behind the scenes. The Scorpions have never dragged their feet, even
when the target of unsavoury allegations has been the second most powerful
man in the land.

The same principled and professional execution of duty that resulted in
Jacob Zuma's prosecution can never be expected of any government watchdog in
Zimbabwe as long as a political dispensation that embraces a culture of
impunity is Mugabe's insurance against relinquishing power. As long as
Mugabe needs to surround himself with sycophants who owe their political and
economic advantage to his patronage, corrupt and inept individuals will
continue to regard themselves as being beyond reproach. It is a mutually
ruinous relationship which opens the aging dictator to blackmail and
manipulation which he tolerates because he needs to remain in power.
Clearly, setting up an entity with a high-sounding name such as "crack
anti-graft unit" is a waste of money and resources because the real motive
for such moves is to dupe the restive masses and buy time.

When the government first launched its anti-graft campaign, the public was
bombarded with rhetoric about how no stone would be left unturned to nab
wrongdoers. It is only as events have unfolded that the long-suffering and
overburdened taxpayers have realized they have been made to finance a giant
cover-up operation for the benefit of the ruling elite. The so-called
anti-graft crusade has in fact fanned more corruption in that hordes of
people have been hired as commissioners and are drawing salaries from public
coffers for doing nothing. More deplorably, the existence of the ineffectual
commission is a deceitful way of giving the corrupt tacit approval to
continue their looting with impunity.

Consider this: the commission makes a well publicised visit to investigate
irregularities at a hot-bed of corruption and ineptitude such as Harare's
Town House. The visit is, of course a charade from the outset as the
commission's hands are tied . When nothing happens afterwards, the public is
supposed to believe that everything is hunky-dory under Zanu PF puppet,
Sekesai Makwavarara, who chairs the commission imposed by the ruling party
to run the affairs of Harare. It is scandalous.

The Mugabe regime has resorted to parading nonentities nabbed for minor
infractions of the law in an attempt to divert attention from big time graft
and avarice that has pauperized the populace. The encouraging thing is that
the ploy has failed to fool anyone so far.

Mugabe and his lieutenants seem to have missed the point that South Africa's
Scorpions have been effective because there are no sacred cows in that
country and the unit is allowed to operate without fear or favour.
Politicians are not allowed to meddle or pull strings. Since attaining of
uhuru , the people of South Africa have been willing to look at themselves
in the mirror, warts and all. Their Truth and Reconciliation Commission, may
have been not perfect, but it allowed them to confront their ugly past as a
people together so as to arrive at some sort of closure. All this was
possible because the country's first post-apartheid president, the revered
Nelson Mandela, led by example and ensured that both his private and public
roles were open to scrutiny.

Some of the first scandals to be exposed soon after the installation of a
black government in South Africa involved Mandela's then wife, Winnie. These
not only centered around details about the Mandela Football Club which was
exposed as a set-up through which the woman who came to be known as the
'Mother of the Nation' ordered killings or attacks against those who had
lost favour with her. Media coverage included revelations about problems in
the Mandela marriage. After details of Winnie's love affair with a much
younger man were splashed in newspapers, the marriage inevitably collapsed
but at no point was there an attempt by Mandela to cover up anything. Robert
Mugabe will never operate that way.

Winnie's brushes with the law and subsequent prosecution all played out in
the public domain. Since then, South Africa has seemed like the most corrupt
country in Africa. Hardly a month passes without a press expose about some
form of wrongdoing involving government ministers , officials, or
parliamentarians. But what this means in reality is that the government has
not allowed any scandals or corruption to be swept under the carpet but has
dealt with them as they became known. It is a far cry from the complicity
and dereliction of duty displayed by Mugabe's government since independence.
It has left corruption to fester for so long that the scourge can no longer
be eradicated within this regime in Mugabe's lifetime despite all the
feigned moral indignation.

Mary Revesai is a New columnist and writes from Harare. Her
column will appear here every Tuesday

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

World's "cheapest market"


††††† It might not be the best place to farm, but Zimbabwe's stock market is
regarded as the world's cheapest, and its performance in dollar terms has
been better than SA's this year.

†††††† Julius Cobbett
††††† Posted: Tue, 28 Nov 2006 06:00 | © Moneyweb Holdings Limited,

††††† If you're an investor who likes to buy to the sound of cannons and
sell when trumpets are playing, then Zimbabwe seems the ideal investment
destination. For foreign investors, Zimbabwe's stock market is the cheapest
in the world, says John Legat, fund manager for Harare-based Imara African
Opportunities Fund.

††††† An annual inflation rate of about 1 000%, communist policies and a
near-worthless currency have done nothing to deter the performance of
Zimbabwe's stock market, which was one of the Imara fund's "star performers".
In dollar terms, the fund is up 22% for the year to date, which is
significantly better than the JSE's comparable performance of 13,5%.

††††† About 10% of Imara's fund is invested in Zimbabwe. The fund invests
anywhere in Africa; some key contributors to performance were in Botswana,
Egypt, Kenya and Nigeria, says Imara.

††††† According to Legat, Zimbabwe has a well-developed pension fund
industry, which is subject to strict exchange controls. Also, outside of
property and the money market, "the stock market is the only game in town to
hedge against hyperinflation", argues Legat.

††††† The situation is similar to Brazil in the 1980s, says Legat. Shares in
businesses are backed by tangible assets such as property and equipment. And
because profits rise in tandem with prices, shares provide good protection
against inflation.

††††† There are 77 shares listed on the Zimbabwe stock exchange, and almost
all of them have local assets and operations. There are five dual listed
shares. But only Old Mutual, which is also listed in Johannesburg and
London, is fully fungible, says Legat.

††††† Legat uses what is known as the "Old Mutual implied rate" to measure
the performance of Zimbabwe shares and the exchange rate. Because Old Mutual
is dual-listed, one can accurately measure slide in the value of Zimbabwean
dollars over a specified time period. In turn, this allows you to work out
the performance of Zimbabwean shares.

††††† Says Legat: "In Zimbabwe, the value of the currency as indicated by
the Old Mutual Implied Rate halved during September to reflect the high rate
of inflation, but the local stock market rose by even more".

††††† Zimbabwe and other undeveloped African countries present good
opportunities for investors. "High returns are possible when countries go
from anarchy to stability," says Legat.

††††† But investing in Africa is not for amateurs, and professionals such as
Imara don't come cheaply. The African Opportunities Fund charges an annual
management fee of 2% plus a 15% performance fee. The minimum investment is
$100 000. Legat says the fund has $24m under management. According to Imara,
the fund is pitched at sophisticated investors, many in the UK and Western

††††† The biggest national market within African Opportunities Fund is
Nigeria, which accounts for 15% of assets. Legat is also very bullish on
Angola, which he reckons could soon be producing as much oil as Kuwait.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Army still detaining gold panners

Zim Online

Wednesday 29 November 2006

††††† HARARE - The Zimbabwean army was still holding captive about 430 gold
panners whom they "arrested" at Battlefields last week for conducting
illegal operations at a farm owned by the army.

††††† The soldiers are also said to be forcing the captives to fill up
trenches they had dug at the farm in search of gold.

††††† Sources at the camp, about 250km south-west of Harare, said the army
had however released 10 children who had been arrested together with their
parents last Friday.

††††† They also said the situation at the army barracks had deteriorated as
soldiers barred relatives and friends from bringing in food and clothes for
the detainees.

††††† Sources said the captives were being fed on a diet of sadza (pap) and
boiled vegetables and are still in their clothes they were putting on last

††††† Repeated efforts by police commanders in Chinhoyi to have the army
release the gold panners have failed as the soldiers are accusing the police
of treating the gold panners with kid gloves.

††††† "We have an instruction that we should not entertain the police in the
matter as it is an instruction from our commanders in Harare.

††††† "We will not release them until they finish covering the holes that
they have been creating on the farm. In fact, the army is conducting its own
operation to arrest the makorokoza (illegal gold panners)," a junior officer
in the army told ZimOnline yesterday.

††††† Contacted for comment yesterday, deputy police spokesperson Chief
Superintendent Oliver Mandipaka said: "We have said before that this is not
an issue to discuss with the press because you want to fan hatred between
the police and the army. The situation is under control and there is no
reason to be so excited about it," he said.

††††† Home Affairs Minister Kembo Mohadi referred ZimOnline to the Minister
of Defence Sydney Sekeramayi who could not be reached for comment on the
matter.† - ZimOnline

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Anthrax claims 11 lives in southern Zimbabwe

Zim Online

Wednesday 29 November 2006

††††† MWENEZI - An outbreak of anthrax disease in Mwenezi and Chivi
districts in southern Zimbabwe has claimed 11 lives over the past four
weeks, according to a senior official in the Ministry of Health.

††††† The official, who refused to be named because he is not authorised to
speak to the Press, said at least 30 cattle had also died in the two
districts over the past month.

††††† "There have been seven deaths recorded at Mwenezi and four at Neshuro
district hospitals after people ate cattle which had died of anthrax in the
area," said the official.

††††† Anthrax is contracted through eating meat from cattle infected by the

††††† The source said the Department of Veterinary Services in Masvingo had
already imposed an indefinite quarantine of infected livestock and banned
the movement of cattle in Masvingo in a bid to contain the disease.

††††† "It is now a red zone so no cattle can be slaughtered until the
situation is brought under control," said the source.

††††† Stuart Hargreaves, the principal director of Veterinary Services in
Zimbabwe who is also the acting permanent secretary in the Ministry of
Agriculture, confirmed the anthrax outbreak.

†††††† "I am still to have details on the issue, but the areas are
perennially susceptible to anthrax," said Hargreaves.

††††† "But we should be having enough vaccines in the country and we will be
deploying our team there soon. By quarantining the area it means we are
aware of the problem and we will get to the bottom of it."

††††† Efforts to fight the disease could be severely dented because of a
serious shortage of foreign currency in Zimbabwe to import vaccines.

††††† The outbreak could also cripple moves by the Zimbabwe government to
rebuild its national herd after it was severely depleted by droughts and a
chaotic land reform exercise.

††††† The disease outbreak could also threaten moves by Harare to export
beef to China and Malaysia as part of government's new "Look-East" policy
after the European Union suspended beef imports from Zimbabwe in 2000
following a similar disease outbreak. - ZimOnline

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zimbabwe University Students Barred From Exams Over Fee Arrears


By Carole Gombakomba
††††† Washington
††††† 28 November 2006

More than 140 students were barred from taking exams at the University of
Zimbabwe last week because they they had failed to pay tuition fees, student
union sources said. Some 1,400 students were named in a university list as
in arrrears on their fees.

The Zimbabwe National Students Union expressed disappointment at the
decision by school authorities, saying they were insensitive to the plight
of students hard-pressed to meet constantly rising fees in a
hyperinflationary economic environment.

Some students threatened to demonstrate, but sources in the Zimbabwe
National Students Union said the organization was in negotiations with
school authorities to see how the excluded students might be allowed to
complete their exams.

ZINASU Secretary General Maureen Kademaunga told reporter Carole Gombakomba
of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that the university's decision to exclude
students with arrears is disappointing because other universities have not
taken such action.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Top U.N. Official Malloch Brown Expresses Concern Over Zimbabwe


By Blessing Zulu
††††† Washington
††††† 28 November 2006

United Nations Deputy Secretary General Mark Malloch Brown expressed concern
at the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Zimbabwe during a meeting of
members of parliament from the European Union and African, Caribbean and
Pacific nations.

Brown told delegates at a joint parliamentary session of the ACP-EU grouping
held in Barbados that the international community must intervene in Zimbabwe
to make sure that humanitarian needs are met and that Harare respects the
rule of law.

The session at which he made the comments started Nov. 14 and ended Nov. 23.

Brown said the U.N. tried to bring the crisis in Zimbabwe before the
Security Council, but had been blocked by members with veto powers. Amnesty
International led human rights groups at the ACP-EU session in lobbying for
action on human rights.

Zimbabwe delegation chief Walter Mzembi, a ZANU-PF parliamentarian, told the
Daily Mirror of Harare that Brown was "poorly advised'" by the international
media and the Zimbabwean opposition. Mzembi said the Southern African
Development Community resisted pressure to condemn Harare, and took a swipe
at joint assembly co-president Glennys Kinnock, who noted the low life
expectancy of Zimbabwean women.

Also present in Barbados was parliamentarian Nelson Chamisa of the Movement
for Democratic Change faction of Morgan Tsvangirai. He told reporter
Blessing Zulu of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that pressure is mounting for
reform in Harare.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Standoff Between Zimbabwe Parliament And Cabinet In Steel Scandal


By Blessing Zulu
††††† Washington
††††† 28 November 2006

Members of the Zimbabwe parliament's industry committee have expressed
concern that President Robert Mugabe's cabinet is trying to suppress a
committee report on alleged asset-looting at the state-owned Zimbabwe Iron
and Steel Company.

The committee also wants to impeach Industry and Trade minister Obert Mpofu.
The committee first learned from Mpofu that the National Economic Conduct
Inspectorate had issued a report on corruption at ZISCO which was said to
implicate ministers and other top officials. But Mpofu later backtracked on
that testimony.

Parliamentary Speaker John Nkomo had given Mpofu until Tuesday to respond to
the charges, but the full parliament has not taken up the issue and ruling
party insiders said the cabinet has asked for time to debate the potentially
explosive scandal.

Corruption at ZISCO was said to have led to the collapse of a joint venture
with Indian firm Global Steel. ZISCO has been hunting for a strategic
partner and the search for a foreign investor was set back Tuesday as China's
Metallurgical Corporation refuted a state media report that it had bid US$3
billion for a controlling stake in the firm.

Political analyst Pedzisayi Ruhanya told reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA's
Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that a flaw in the Zimbabwean constitution gives the
executive branch the power to override parliament, so the house inquiry
could be blocked.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Private Schools Appeal to Supreme Court Over Fees

The Herald (Harare)

November 28, 2006
Posted to the web November 28, 2006


PRIVATE trust schools, which last week lost a bid to have the Ministry of
Education, Sport and Culture compelled to allow them to increase fees fully
in line with inflation, have lodged an appeal with the Supreme Court and are
preparing for a constitutional case over the legality of fixing fee rises.

The Association of Trust Schools, Ariel School Trust, Chisipite Junior
School Trust and 27 other private schools filed the application.

The association represents 61 schools but not all schools have yet had a
reply to their applications for fee rises in line with inflation.

High Court judge Justice Antonia Guvava last week dismissed the schools'
application, saying they had adopted a wrong procedure by approaching the
court before appealing to the Minister of Education, Sport and Culture for
redress against the decision by the Secretary for the Ministry as provided
by the Education Act.

In her ruling, Justice Guvava said the relief sought by the schools required
the court to usurp the powers of the Minister as provided in the Education
Act and the schools had not exhausted all the domestic channels available to
them in terms of the Act.

The schools have approached the court after they were told they could
increase day-school fees by only 40 percent of the actual percentage rise in
the cost of living and they had to backdate this formula to the third term
of last year.

In their appeal, filed by Harare law firm Atherstone and Cook, the schools
cited misdirection on the part of Justice Guvava and cited both the
Secretary, Dr Stephen Mahere, and Minister, Cde Aeneas Chigwedere, as

The schools want the Supreme Court to set aside the High Court decision,
arguing that the High Court erred in deciding that Parliament had given the
Minister an appellate role in this particular case since they believe the
Secretary acted "outside the law".

The schools argue that an administrative remedy cannot oust the jurisdiction
of the courts to enforce a law. The High Court, said the appeal, failed to
recognise that the Minister had already taken a clear stand on the matter.

The dispute between the parties was a dispute of law, and "thus properly one
to be determined by the courts, particularly as resolution of this dispute
is acknowledged to be urgent", the schools argued.

The Secretary for Education had refused approval, said the schools, in those
cases where the Act mandated him to give his automatic approval for fee
increases that did not exceed the official increase in the cost of living.

The schools also argue that other decisions by the acting Secretary were not
in accordance with the law, particularly as the record showed he had failed
to consider the factors which the Act required him to consider in those
other cases where he may have had a discretion whether to approve an

At the same time, the chairman of the Association of Trust Schools, Mr
Jameson Timba, has written to all parents at trust schools, explaining its
case and seeking formal support for the legal action being taken from the
elected parents' body at each school and from the individual parents

The association has told parents that all Zimbabwean parents have a
constitutional right to run and maintain non-Government schools and to send
their children to these schools if they so wish.

Back to the Top
Back to Index