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Zimbabwe inflation soars, spells gloom for economy


      Mon Oct 10, 2005 4:09 PM GMT

By Stella Mapenzauswa

HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's inflation rate soared to nearly 360 percent in
September, further away from government year-end targets and signalling more
gloom for an economy mired in a deepening crisis, official figures showed on

President Robert Mugabe's government has singled out inflation as the
biggest scourge to an economy struggling with chronic shortages of food,
fuel and foreign currency and unemployment of over 70 percent.

Figures from the Central Statistical Office showed annual inflation soared
to 359.8 percent in September from 265.1 percent August, while the
month-on-month rate leapt to 33.3 percent from the previous month's 8.3

The International Monetary Fund warned last week that government spending
and high rates of money growth would drive inflation to 400 percent by the
end of the year -- way above a target of 80 percent set by the central bank.

"I don't think even the Reserve Bank itself still subscribes to that
forecast although it has not made this official," said Witness Chinyama,
chief economist at Kingdom Financial Holdings, pointing to rising production
costs which he said were forcing companies to push up prices for basic
commodities almost daily.

Fuel prices rose by at least 120 percent last month, pushing transport costs
higher for urban commuters whose salaries have failed to keep up with
surging prices.

Electricity costs have also more than doubled, piling pressure on private
consumers and producers alike.

"At the rate we are going now, even the IMF figure of 400 percent is looking
increasingly optimistic," Chinyama told Reuters.

Inflation has retreated from a record high of 623 percent in January 2004
but remains among the highest in the world and could soon revisit that peak
soon, analysts say.

Zimbabwe's economy has contracted by more than 30 percent in the last six
years and the IMF predicts another 7 percent falling gross domestic product
(GDP) this year -- outpacing the 4 percent GDP decline in 2004 and against
Harare's own forecasts of 2 percent growth.

Zimbabwe's economic woes have been worsened by the withdrawal of
international donor aid over policy differences with Mugabe's government,
especially its controversial seizure of white-owned commercial farms for
landless black citizens.

Mugabe's government denies charges of mismanagement and says the economy is
being sabotaged by foreign and domestic opponents of its land reform

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Rural dwellers resort to roots

Mail and Guardian


      Irin News Service

      10 October 2005 06:59

            Poor rural households in drought-ravaged southern Zimbabwe have
exhausted their food stocks and are resorting to eating wild roots in a bid
to stave off hunger. Erratic supplies by the state's Grain Marketing Board
(GMB) and the lack of essential commodities in rural shops have combined to
undermine food security in the semi-arid Matabeleland region.

            In Tsholotsho, in Matabeleland North province, 49-year-old widow
Sharon Mpofu said she was foraging for wild roots, identified as fit for
consumption by an elder of the San clan from her village, to feed her two
children. The San are renowned for their survival skills. The family had
also begun to reap the rewards of a small community vegetable garden. "This
has become our way of survival. Our maize meal got finished last week; it is
not even available in the shops. In the past few weeks, it was available,
although some of us would struggle to get the money, but these days it is
not there," said Mpofu.

            Tsholotsho Tjitatjawa's village headman, Nkosilathi Sibanda,
said: "Although no one has died as a direct result of hunger, people are
starving -- they need food. Shops are empty and families are going for days
without a decent meal."

            He noted that supplies from the GMB were sporadic, and when
maize meal was available it was often unaffordable. "What we need at this
point is assistance from [aid] organisations," said Sibanda.

            The World Food Programme (WFP) only last week received written
authorisation from the ministry of public service, labour and social welfare
to begin food distributions to targeted vulnerable groups in 49 districts
around the country.

            An official from the GMB, who wished to remain anonymous, said
that, although the state grain procurement agency's silos in both
Matabeleland North and South regions were fast running empty, "the ministry
of agriculture says there are several tonnes of maize in transit from South
Africa. We are aware of the dire situation facing many people, and we hope
food security will improve if we are [able] to get such deliveries," the
official said.

            A recent report by the Famine Early Warning Systems Network and
the WFP on informal cross- border food trade quoted the South African Grain
Information Service as saying that, by the end of August, the GMB had
imported 403 000 tonnes from South Africa at a rate of 86 000 tonnes a
month. "A rate which is 28% below the planned monthly import of 120 000
tonnes per month. Zimbabwe requires a total of 1,2-million tonnes of maize
before the next harvest," the researchers commented.

            Aid agencies have estimated that some four million people will
require food aid in Zimbabwe in the months ahead. The United Nations Food
and Agriculture Organisation has also warned that prospects for the 2006
agricultural season are being seriously threatened by the short supply and
high costs of inputs such as seeds, fuel and fertiliser.

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Harare targets rampant illegal mining

Business Day

Dumisani Muleya


Harare Correspondent

FACED with rampant smuggling and theft of its precious minerals, the
Zimbabwean government said yesterday it would launch a crackdown on the
mining sector.

Mining is Zimbabwe's largest foreign currency earner since the demise of its
agricultural sector, and the externalisation of proceeds from minerals by
mining houses - most of them South African - is further crippling its
cash-strapped economy.

The situation has been made worse by rampant illegal gold-panning
activities - involving senior government and Zanu (PF) officials.

The crackdown on mines would fuel uncertainty in the sector and scare away
potential investors who resented government threats or intimidation,
analysts said.

SA has been negotiating an investor protection deal with Harare to safeguard
its vast investments in mining, manufacturing and agriculture.

Analysts say the latest campaign could fuel uncertainty in the mining sector
unless properly implemented. They say that the solution to plugging the sale
of minerals on the black market is to offer better prices, not a clampdown.
"The parallel market for minerals and smuggling are a reflection of the
flaws of the formal pricing system," independent economist John Robertson

"Authorities must increase the official prices of minerals to remove
incentives for illegal dealings and combat smuggling."

Mines Minister Amos Midzi said: "They (a team of experts) have already
started working on that and are on the scene but they haven't reported back
to me yet."

His deputy, Tinos Rusere, said the government was aware of "rampant
underhand deals". Not all mines were declaring all they were producing. The
law requires mines to declare all proceeds sold locally and externally.

"We are aware that our precious minerals, in particular gold, are being
externalised by both big and small mines," said Rusere. "We will soon
descend on those mines that have been engaging in those illegal activities."

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Ex-Zimbabwe diplomat faces UK jail

New Zimbabwe

By Staff Reporter
Last updated: 10/10/2005 09:45:18
DR OSWALD Ndanga, the former Zimbabwean ambassador to the Soviet Union
(Russia) and defeated parliamentary candidate for the Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) faces jail in Britain after admitting he ripped off
asylum seekers.

Ndanga, the MDC's district chairman for Luton district was told by a judge
at the Luton Crown Court last week that he faced a jail term after admitting
to eight counts of deception by posing as an immigration advisor.

The 63-year-old former Zimsec director masqueraded as a professional
immigration consultant and took money in exchange for legal help when he was
not qualified to do so.

On Wednesday last week, Luton Crown Court heard Ndanga plead guilty to eight
charges of deception, one of providing immigration services when not
qualified and one charge of fraudulent trading.

He ran ON Legal Consultants Ltd from his home in Wodecroft Road, Luton, with
the charges covering a period between July 2003 and November 2004.

Ndanga, who has previous convictions, had been due to stand trial later this
month, but pleaded guilty to some of the charges he faced after discussions.
Stuart Alford, prosecuting, said the pleas were acceptable and trial would
not be necessary.

The charges involved receiving money from various people by claiming he was
a professional immigration consultant who would progress their asylum
applications in a timely and professional manner.

Ndanga, who was sentenced for similar offences at Luton Magistrates' court
in 2003, was remanded on bail to be sentenced at the end of the month, when
the full facts will be revealed.

He must report twice daily to police and must not apply for travel
Judge John Bevan told Ndanga, who has a surety of £ 10 000: "There is very
likelihood of a prison sentence for these offences."

ON Legal Consultants Ltd's website states that the firm has "over 5 years
experience of helping immigration and asylum difficulties (sic) and general
legal advice."

The website goes on to disclose Dr. Ndanga is a former Ambassador
extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Zimbabwe to the then Soviet Union, and
a Professor of Political Science, Sociology and History.

"He is a distinguished Scholar and a career diplomat. He holds 5 University
degrees; B.A, M.A, Ph.D from The American University in Washington D.C. USA,
and LLB (Cert HE) Honours, PGD-Law, London," it said.

Ndanga stood against Zanu PF's Bernard Makokove in a parliamentary
by-election in Chikomba following the death of war veterans' leader
Chenjerai Hunzvi in 2000. Ndanga polled 5 207 to Makokove's 15 570 votes.

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Grain imports to Zim speeding up: Report


October 10, 2005, 07:15

Grain imports to Zimbabwe are now being speeded up with more routes being
used and more companies contracted to ship grain, the country's Herald
Online reported today. Following bottlenecks and temporary shortages of
maize in some areas, supply routes were now more functional, read the

"We have resuscitated road supply routes from South Africa and this will be
focusing on areas like Masvingo and Midlands provinces and we already have
the Beitbridge, Gwanda and Bulawayo routes functioning. We are using road
and rail in order to ensure that the country is fed," said Samuel Muvuti,
acting Grain Marketing Board (GMB) chief executive officer.

The web site of the country's major newspaper reported there had been
technical hitches in the distribution of grain, including fuel shortages and
impassable state of roads in some areas. Muvuti reportedly urged Government
agencies and others to play their part to ensure the smooth flow of grain.

"Besides the hiccups, there was also panic buying by people as a result of
some reckless statements made by some sections of society who made false
claims that there was inadequate food in the country in order to score
political points. My experience is that once those reckless statements are
made, there would be panic buying thus creating artificial shortages," he
said in reference to claims by the opposition Movement for Democratic Change
that grain stocks were not adequate.

Muvuti dismissed claims from some millers that the GMB was denying them
grain since the parastatal had also moved into milling.

"We distribute grain proportionately with millers depending on the amount of
grain at a particular time. As GMB, we cannot feed the nation on our own, so
we really need millers to the extent that we have even distributed grain to
small millers," he said. - Sapa

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'Foreign' cooks beat Scots to clinch world porridge title

The Scotsman


AN ENGLISH guesthouse owner and a young Zimbabwean mother have beaten the
Scots at their own game - making the best bowl of porridge.

Guesthouse owner Lynn Benge, 58, won the Golden Spurtle for best traditional
porridge at the World Porridge-Making Championship finals yesterday, while
Zimbabwean mother Lara Smith took the top award for finest speciality.

 The runner-up places in both contests were carried off by a Dutchman and a

Inverness mother-and-son entrants Violet and Kenny Maciver were knocked out
in the semi-finals in Carrbridge, leaving Ian Bishop from the Highland
village the lone Scotsman in the final.

Mrs Smith, who fled Zimbabwe with her husband Clint, 28, was delighted with
her victory in the speciality entry. Mrs Smith, 30, who helps run the
family-owned Buccleuch Arms Hotel, in Moffat, Dumfriesshire, impressed
judges with her "Bucc N Dugle" which is made with chocolate and caramel.

She said: "There must be three different continents represented here today -
it really is a world competition. This is the first time I have entered, but
I definitely will try again next year."

Ms Benge, of The Pines Country House, Duthil, Carrbridge, who is originally
from Yorkshire, lifted the Golden Spurtle after 13 attempts at trying.

She said: "I'm overwhelmed. It was nice to see so much competition from all
over the world."

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Is a Military Revolt Brewing?
      [A Military Revolt in Zimbabwe would indeed be the cherry on the top
for me. However, I believe Mugabe will do everything in his power to prevent
a military revolt. I believe, Mugabe would sooner give his army and police
forces increases, food, etc - before he would give it to members of his own
political party. Mugabe is no fool. He knows that the *ONLY* thing keeping
him in power are his military and security services.

      Mugabe will give them anything he can steal from another.

      Also, I believe he would divert the funds he is getting from S.Africa
for that purpose. Mugabe will do everything in his power to keep his
security forces happy.

      The day Mugabe is unable to keep his security forces happy - that day
you must know that Mugabe's resources are COMPLETELY SHOT. However, I think
that Mbeki will give Mugabe whatever he needs to keep his army happy.

      I would love to see a military rebellion and a coup in Zimbabwe. But I
would be most surprised if one actually took place. Jan]

      THE Zimbabwean army and air force have been hit by protests over the
government's failure to increase their salaries as well as chronic food
shortages at their barracks.

      Military sources said this week soldiers were increasingly unsettled
by government's refusal to increase their salaries and provide adequate food
supplies to the 40000-strong army.

      Disgruntled armed forces pose a serious threat to President Robert
Mugabe's regime, which depends on the state security apparatus -- the army,
the air force and the intelligence service -- for its survival.

      Mugabe last week urged the armed forces to remain vigilant to deal
with what he termed a "vicious imperialist onslaught".

      The situation has been worsened by public servants' worsening
bureaucratic inefficiency.

      Sluggish performance by poorly paid and demoralised public servants
has aggravated the economic crisis.

      Sources said army commanders have in the past two weeks been battling
to assure soldiers the situation would be attended to as soon as possible.

      It is said some troops have been detained at 2 Brigade barracks in
Harare in connection with "indiscipline" related to agitation for salary
increases. Sources said the soldiers were expected to be court-marshalled.

      Senior army commanders have been telling soldiers to channel their
grievances through proper structures instead of engaging in "unruly
campaigning" which could easily be interpreted as "mutiny".

      Sources said a senior army commander told troops on September 13 at
Cranborne barracks in Harare there would be no pay rise until January.

      A few days later a senior military intelligence officer told troops at
the Presidential Guard HQ in Dzivarasekwa in Harare the issue would be
addressed, but no improvements were forthcoming.

      Sources said "dozens" of soldiers had been prevented from leaving the
army in protest over the current problems. Instead, they said, troops were
being sent on forced leave in a bid, prompted by food shortages, to reduce
numbers at the barracks.

      Army spokesman Lt Col Aggrey Wushe has denied soldiers were going on
leave due to food shortages, saying they had accrued leave days during the
Democratic Republic of Congo war between 1998 and 2002.

      The army also denied there was unrest within its ranks.

      "We have food to feed them until the next financial year. We can keep
them in the barracks but the days they accrued will be forfeited," Wushe

      "We are saying, 'take them now or they will get forfeited'."

      Army commanders are traditionally loyal to Mugabe and generals occupy
the upper echelons of parastatals and government posts.

      Mugabe has militarised government bureaucracy by deploying former
soldiers to perform civilian duties.

      A few years ago, a leaked memo by former British High Commissioner to
Zimbabwe, Peter Longworth, addressed to the Prime Minister Tony Blair's
office, said Downing Street thought there was no real threat of a military
coup against Mugabe's regime despite the prevailing political and economic

      The social and economic conditions have, however, dramatically
worsened since then.

      In the run-up to the disputed 2002 presidential election, army
generals announced they would not accept an elected president without
liberation struggle credentials -- a reference to opposition leader Morgan

      The army was heavily involved in the controversial election, which was
won by Mugabe.

      A leaked memo written by army commanders, urging their structures to
be ready for the 2002 election, was widely taken as evidence of military
influence on the poll.

      Some civilian programmes, such as the land reform programme and the
rebuilding exercise that followed the demolition of shanties and informal
markets, were also carried out by the army.

      Zimbabwe needs to import more grain to feed at least 2,2-million
people who cannot fend for themselves until the new harvest next April, the
state-owned Herald newspaper reported yesterday.

      Source: AllAfrica.Com

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Harare squatters win court reprieve

Mail and Guardian


      Harare, Zimbabwe

      10 October 2005 03:41

            A court in Zimbabwe on Monday provisionally barred the eviction
of about 400 squatters from a suburb in the capital, Harare, a human rights
lawyer said.

            Zvikomborero Chadambuka, of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human
Rights, said the High Court in Harare ordered that his clients should not be
evicted from Mbare suburb, where they have been living in makeshift shelters
for the past five months or so.

            "We got the provisional order we were looking for, to the effect
that they shouldn't be evicted from the area," said Chadambuka.

            Most of the 338 squatters and their children have been living
rough in Mbare since the demolition in May of houses they were staying in
under a controversial police operation dubbed Operation Restore Order.

            The blitz was mounted to rid Zimbabwe's cities of what the
government considered illegal structures.

            Chadambuka said Monday's court order was obtained with the
consent of state lawyers.

            "It was by consent. The city of Harare said they never
threatened eviction," Chadambuka said.

            Last week, the squatters said they had been ordered by police
and municipal authorities to leave the area by Friday.

            Chadambuka said his clients will now be seeking a final order
from the court barring their eviction until the authorities find them an
alternative place to stay.

            The United Nations estimates that at least 700 000 people were
made homeless and jobless by Operation Restore Order, which was launched
countrywide in May.

            Police backed by bulldozers levelled houses, cottages and
shacks, as well as workshops and flea-market stalls.

            President Robert Mugabe's government has defended the operation.

            It has promised to build hundreds of thousands of new houses
over the next few years, something that critics say the cash-strapped
government will find difficult to do. -- Sapa-DPA

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Top officials threaten players

Cricinfo staff

October 10, 2005

The problems in Mashonaland continue unabated. Cricinfo has learned that, at
the weekend, a match between Harare Sports Club and Old Hararians had to be
moved from Harare Sports Club to another ground after two senior Mashonaland
Cricket Association (MCA) officials disrupted the game.

Cyprian Mandenge, the MCA chairman, and Bruce Makovah, the province's head
selector, arrived at Harare Sports Club with two policemen and, according to
witnesses, made threats to the players' safety if they did not stop the
match immediately. They are also accused of racially abusing certain
players, and of telling others that they would never play for the province

Their intervention followed a meeting of the MCA on Friday at which both
clubs, along with Alexandra, Old Georgians, Takashinga, and Universals, were
expelled from the association after the board accused them of insubordinance
and trying to remove board officials when the clubs did not fulfill their
Mashonaland Vigne Cup fixtures last weekend.

Harare Sports Club is a private ground which is leased to Zimbabwe Cricket
for matches organized by the board, and neither those concerned, nor anybody
else not authorised by the club, have any legal right whatsoever to
interfere with matches being played there. So at that point, the players
decided to up sticks and continue the match at nearby St George's College.

Universals and Takashinga also played each other at the weekend in what
could ultimately lead to a splitter league containing the six affected
clubs. The six contain nearly all of the province's international players.

Stakeholders in Zimbabwe cricket are supposed to meet this week to try to
resolve the standoff in Mashonaland, but the incident at Harare Sports Club
has left serious question marks over Makovah`s fairness and integrity as a
national selector.

Mandenge took over the Mashonaland board chairmanship last week, but clubs
have refused to recognised the new leadership. Four of the board members
have been put under pressure by the clubs to resign.

It was subsequently reported that the incident had been reported to the
police, but given the fact that Mandenge and Makovah were accompanied by the
police, it is unclear what further action is likely.

© Cricinfo

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International Criminal Court sends strong signal to human rights abusers

      By Tererai Karimakwenda
      10 October 2005

      The permanent International Criminal Court (ICC) has handed down its
first ever indictment of individuals accused of breaking international human
rights and humanitarian law. Not surprisingly, the indictment has been
praised by many international organizations and it is hoped that it sends a
strong signal to perpetrators that the world is serious.

      The UN's Democratic Republic of Congo Special Representative William
Swing announced on October 6, that the ICC had issued arrest warrants for
the elusive Lord's Resistance Army leader Joseph Kony and four other LRA
commanders. These rebels have long been wanted for having committed
atrocious crimes against civilians - torture, rape, murder, kidnapping and
maiming children.

      Phil ya Nangolo, executive director of Namibia's National Society of
Human Rights, issued a strong warning to perpetrators of such abuses on
Monday. He said he is sure people like Robert Mugabe will take notice that
the world means business. "Such indictments", he said "should send a stern
signal to war criminals, dictators and other abusers of power anywhere under
the sky, that sooner or later their judgment day is coming."

      The ICC's mandate is to ensure that those guilty of genocide, crimes
against humanity, ethnic cleansing and war crimes are punished. The court
has automatic jurisdiction in all of the countries that have ratified the
Statute which was established in 1998. Although Zimbabwe is not a signatory
Ya Nangoloh said Mugabe could be arrested if he travels to countries that
are, despite the fact that he is a head of state.

      Ya Nangoloh said the court can be triggered in 3 ways. A state which
is party to the crime can initiate a case and so can another country which
is signatory. The third way is for the United Nations security council to do
so, or the ICC prosecutor can also bring a motion.

      SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

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Zimbabwe robs private companies to pay electricity debts

      By Violet Gonda
      10 October 2005

      The debt ridden Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) has paid
its arrears with counterparts in South Africa and Mozambique. The power
utility is using the money taken from private companies by the Reserve Bank
of Zimbabwe to pay up its debt. Experts say although the payments may reduce
the power cuts in Zimbabwe the way the money is being sourced is going to
sink the economy into deeper crisis.
      A leading economist, John Robertson, has warned that there is going to
be a build-up of scarcity of commodities and a huge surge of inflation as a
result of bad economic policies being implemented by the government.

      Robertson said Zimbabwe does have a fairly steady source of export
revenue from the mining, tobacco, tea and coffee industries but exporters of
these use half of their proceeds for their own requirements and are forced
to surrender the other half to the Reserve Bank.

      It is part of this money that ZESA used to clear outstanding debts of
US$25m to Eskom of SA and US30m to Hydroelectrica de Cahora Bassa (HCB) of
Mozambique, after receiving funding from the central bank.
      ZESA spokesman Obert Nyatanga is quoted as saying the power utility is
now able to pay for its imports in advance. Nyatanga said Zimbabwe was
importing 650 megawatts of electricity each week from Eskom, HCB and the
Democratic Republic of Congo's Snel at between R22m and R25m.

      Robertson warned, "Although it is important to pay for electricity,
the government is merely diverting money from where it might have gone to
pay for a wide range of things, only to now pay for just a few things."
      He said, "Releasing money to the central bank means that the money is
not being used to buy scarce commodities. The effects of this are that this
is going to force bidders to move deeper into the black market and increase

      The problems at ZESA have in the past resulted in frequent power cuts
which have not only affected households but crippled industry. The economist
said although the payments by ZESA may reduce power cuts, simply importing
power is not enough. He said this is because the country is failing to
maintain its own power generating capacity and the ability of power stations
to keep pace with the demands on them is not being maintained. "We will
still see power cuts affecting us because of our own inefficiency."
      At present Zimbabwe imports 35% of its electricity from SA,
Mozambique, Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

      SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

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Noczim in New Fuel Supply Deal

The Herald (Harare)

October 9, 2005
Posted to the web October 10, 2005


FUEL supplies in the country are expected to significantly improve this week
as the National Oil Company of Zimbabwe was late yesterday afternoon
expected to take delivery of a large consignment of petroleum fuels
following the release of a foreign currency allocation from the Reserve

Senior Noczim officials told The Sunday Mail yesterday that the central bank
had made available US$5 million and approved the setting up of a foreign
currency account for the parastatal as moves to resolve the fuel shortages
Zimbabwe is facing intensify.

The officials said the central bank had last week released the funds for the
purchase of seven million litres of diesel and 1,7 million litres of jet A1.

The officials said deliveries, which were being transmitted through the
Beira Port and southern border, were expected in the country between late
yesterday afternoon and today.

The officials pointed out that although the supplies would first be directed
to industry and the public transport sector, it was hoped that further
allocations would be made in the interim to import the product for retail

"The fuel supplies in the country are beginning to improve, but this is
happening gradually. The improvement will, however, first be felt in the
public transport sector and industry, which have since been identified as
critical service providers.

"We received allocations from the Reserve Bank in the past week and supplies
will be coming into the country either today (yesterday) or tomorrow
(today). We first want to ensure that the critical service areas of the
country are fully serviced," said an official.

Zimbabwe has for the past few months been facing serious fuel shortages
owing to foreign currency constraints.

The situation has seen motorists spending nights in long queues at service
stations in different parts of the country in anticipation of deliveries of
the much-needed commodity while others have been forced to ground their

The shortages have also seen intermittent transport unavailability, a
situation that Government has sought to address by designating some filling
stations for public transport.

Although the transport situation has eased, the overall availability of the
product has remained low, inconveniencing motorists and several businesses.

Significant supplies have, however, begun trickling in following
reassurances from President Mugabe that the fuel situation in the country
would soon improve.

According to the Noczim official, moves are afoot for the parastatal to
import fuel on behalf of willing private companies that also have access to
foreign currency in a bid to increase local supplies.

The official confirmed that the Reserve Bank had approved the setting up of
a foreign currency account for this purpose to allow for accountability
under the enunciated arrangement.

It is understood that relevant authorities would this week meet to finalise
details of the arrangement after which different companies are expected to
take up the initiative.

"We are trying to help those with foreign currency to import fuel since
Noczim already has the necessary facilities required for such purchases.
Last week, the Reserve Bank approved a foreign currency account through
which the funds for the initiative would be channelled," said the official.

Under the proposed deal, private oil companies would deposit foreign
currency into the account after which the parastatal would import the

The fuel would then be distributed to the firms according to the order they
would each have made.

This arrangement is similar to that under which the Special Purpose Vehicle
(SPV) operates.

It is, however, expected that Noczim's involvement would improve different
firms' capacity to import fuel given that the parastatal has always been
getting priority in foreign currency allocation ahead of the SPV.

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Zimbabwe claims Aids rate has dropped


          October 10 2005 at 02:26AM

      Harare - Zimbabwe's HIV prevalence rate has dropped by 4,5 percent in
the past two years because of changed sexual behaviour, a state-run daily
reported on Monday, quoting from a recent survey.

      "The percentage of Zimbabweans between the ages of 15 and 49 infected
with HIV has dropped from 24,6 percent to a still very high 20,1 percent in
the last two years," The Herald newspaper said.

      "This makes Zimbabwe the second country in sub-Saharan Africa, after
Uganda, to see its HIV infection rate start dropping."

      Health and Child Welfare Minister David Parirenyatwa said the survey
by Zimbabwe's health ministry, the UNAids agency and the US Centre for
Disease Control also showed a decline in sexually transmitted infections.

      "Everyone now seems to know the importance of preventing HIV and to an
extent are trying their best to avoid getting infected, which should mean
they are practising safe sex," Parirenyatwa told the newspaper.

      "Girls are now delaying when it comes to starting sexual activity and
almost everyone in the country has an understanding of what HIV is all

      Zimbabwe is one of the countries hardest hit by the HIV and Aids
pandemic with at least 3 000 people dying weekly from Aids-related illness -
or about one person every three minutes - according to the National Aids

      Zimbabwe's battle with the pandemic has been compromised by a
collapsing public health sector and dwindling donor funding due to strained
relations between Harare and its former Western benefactors.

      The government collects a monthly levy from workers to fund HIV and
Aids projects.

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Africa addresses food security issues

World Peace Herald

Published October 10, 2005

HARARE, Zimbabwe -- MISNA news agency reported that African governments are
attempting to address the issue of food security.

    After four days of talks in Harare the first Regional Conference on Food
Security in Africa adopted a nine-point "Continental Plan of Action"
document, which called for "clear and coherent policies for food security"
to be adopted by African governments "as parts of a wider national strategy,
based on the division of responsibility among institutions, industry and
consumers, keeping the entire food chain into account, from the producer to
the table."

    The Continental Plan of Action offers a series of guidelines to ensure
long-term solutions to "reduce risks deriving from food and improve the
security of food aid."

    The Rconference summit's objective is to initiate local efforts to
enhance security over imported and locally produced foods. Nearly 150
experts from 50 countries attended the conference, promoted and underwritten
by the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World
Health Organization.

    The plan also includes recommendations on more coordinated management of
inspections on food imports and the creation of an alert system for imports
that fail to achieve adequate safety standards.

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South Africa to investigate ill-treatment Zimbabwe Refugees

      By Tichaona Sibanda
      10 October 2005

      A South African government minister has promised to investigate cases
of rampant abuse of Zimbabwean refugees by authorities in that country.

      Home Affairs minister Novisiwe Mapisa-Nqakula last week met a group of
Zimbabwe activists in Johannesburg and gave them assurances that all
refugees from Zimbabwe will be treated fairly.

      Last month activists in South Africa took to the streets to
demonstrate against the way Zimbabwe refugees were being treated. The
activists, led by Remember Moyo of the Zimbabwe Action Support Group, handed
over a petition to the minister pointing out a number of their concerns.

      They gave the minister 30 days to respond to their grievances. Some of
the issues raised by the activists in their petition included the spate of
fatal shootings against Zimbabwe refugees in Johannesburg.

      At least three Zimbabwe refugees have been shot dead by the South
African police during stop and search raids against illegal immigrants. Two
others were seriously wounded by gunfire and are still recuperating in

      Mapisa-Nqakula also visited Lindela, the notorious holding camp for
refugees, and held a meeting with refugees from all other countries.
According to Remember Moyo the minister promised that her officials will
work out a plan to improve conditions at Lindela, as well as the way
refugees are treated.

      SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

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Pensioners Grieve Over Benefits

The Herald (Harare)

October 9, 2005
Posted to the web October 10, 2005


WHEN Mr Reason Kamesa reached the twilight of his working days, it was not
only a pleasurable experience for him but also a gateway to a seemingly
peaceful retirement.

After working for different companies for several years, he expected his
pension would be comfortable, offering the escape from years of toil and
hard work.

His age seemed ripe for retirement and the monthly contributions he had made
to the National Social Security Authority (NSSA) pension fund since its
inception in 1994 and to his company were all he thought could help him get
by after relinquishing ties with his employers.

However, two years on, Mr Kamesa has come to realise that perhaps his
working days were probably better.

Almost everything he had anticipated after retirement has not come to be.

The payout he receives can hardly last half a month.

With several grandchildren to fend for, the prospect of victory in the
battle for survival in his Gokwe home area continues to wane for him.

On the one hand, the cost of basic commodities continues to escalate, while
school fees have risen beyond his reach, on the other.

Unlike his working days, when he could at least stretch his meagre resources
to make ends meet, the coming of retirement has seen him making desperate
attempts for survival.

"Life has become almost unbearable these days given that the cost of living
continues to increase and the payouts that we receive are little. I have
tried to initiate self-help projects in my area, but this is insufficient as
there is also need to get additional funds to augment those generated from
the projects.

"If only they could review the payouts that we are currently receiving, then
we could probably be able to make ends meet. But as it stands, things are
entirely difficult for some of us who also have grandchildren to feed and
pay school fees for," said Mr Kamesa.

Mr Kamesa is among many pensioners in Zimbabwe who harbour feelings of
dissent over the supposed benefits that pension schemes should offer them.

While the operations of company pension funds are of concern to members, the
National Social Security Authority has emerged at the centre of many
contributors' discontent.

Although NSSA is paying out pension benefits to its members, concern
continues to be raised that the amounts are not commensurate with the cost
of living and the contributions that members would have made during their
working years.

On average, workers contribute 3 percent to the fund while employers
subscribe the same margin to cater for retirement and incidental claims. The
margins are, however, much lower than those offered by company pension
schemes, which offer higher payouts.

Though NSSA offers pensioners a minimum payout of $160 000 per month,
concern is that the amount is too little.

This worker's surviving spouse is entitled to $70 400 per month if they have
children, but gets a disbursement lower than this if the couple did not have
any offspring. His or her eldest child, if there is no surviving spouse,
would receive $70 400 each month while one who becomes invalid while on duty
is entitled to receive a similar monthly disbursement.

The figures are not only of concern to fund members, but are generally
agreed to be far below the country's high cost of living. Recent information
from the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe reveals that the budget for an average
family of six has ballooned to a whopping $9,6 million, a margin that
pensioners can obviously not meet.

While it is also generally acknowledged that pensioners or other
beneficiaries cannot earn funds equivalent to their salaries during their
time of employment, the compelling sentiment among concerned parties has
been the need to improve payouts.

Labour union leaders are of the opinion that workers are not benefiting from
pension schemes, advocating alternative investments that would ultimately
work in the employees' favour.

ZFTU president Mr Alfred Makwarimba argued that workers' contributions were
being pumped into investments which "enriched" pension funds such as NSSA at
the expense of the "real beneficiaries" - the workers.

He pointed out that instead of giving workers "peanuts", pension houses
should invest in housing projects to ensure that one owns some assets after
they retire.

"Workers are getting peanuts when they retire and yet such big funds like
NSSA are pouring billions of dollars into the acquisition of buildings. It
is better to provide housing to the worker so that they have some form of
asset upon retirement," said Mr Makwarimba.

While the monthly payouts are said to be low, another school of thought to
emerge on the labour front has been the need for pension funds to pay out a
lump sum to each pensioner.

However, an alternative argument suggests that pension funds should direct
funds to high-return investments. NSSA has in recent years been investing in
buildings, which it later lets out to corporations.

Although substantial amounts of money are reportedly being recovered from
this investment strategy, still, concern has been that workers should reap
benefits in line with the profits that accrue to the fund.

Authorities at the fund have, however, defended the position saying that
returns on investments were used to beef up reserves that would service
future pension claims, among other initiatives.

NSSA acting general manager Mr Amod Takawira said the authority would soon
introduce new pension benefit levels which would take effect at the
beginning of next year.

He said though pension claims could not catch up with the cost of living,
the reviews were meant to help pensioners and beneficiaries get by.

Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) deputy secretary-general Mr Collin
Gwiyo said Zimbabwe's pension review mechanisms were based on old formulae,
which did not tally with the prevailing economic trends in the country.

He also said employees were gaining little from pension schemes due to the
prevailing economic challenges the country is facing, which had seen
earnings being eroded before they were even awarded to prospective

"Furthermore, the pension reviews are based on very old formulae, whose
patterns may not be consistent with the current trends," said Mr Gwiyo.

According to the trade unionist, NSSA should invest directly in housing as
part of moves to mitigate the prospect of yielding low returns.

The authority's investments in parastatal projects only attract low returns,
a situation that would ultimately result in equally diminutive benefits
trickling down to pensioners.

There was also need to overhaul the Pensions and Providence Act, which
derives some of its powers from old statutes.

"Private (pension) schemes are, however, to blame because their interests
are poorly focused. A large chunk of the members' contributions often goes
to administrative issues and this also sees low returns in terms of what
members are supposed to receive," said Mr Gwiyo.

He added that it was in this light that the ZCTU was working to come up with
a blueprint that it would present for adoption by the relevant stakeholders.

The blueprint, said Mr Gwiyo, would comprise formulae to work out the levels
of pension different professionals would earn in their retirement.

Chairperson of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Public Accounts Mrs
Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga said the payouts that pensioners were
currently receiving did not "make sense". She said one of the problems
besetting the insurance industry was the unfavourable investment climate in
the country.

Mrs Misihairabwi argued that the situation was in turn hitting hard on
pensions, adding that the amounts should at least be reviewed in line with
the prevailing poverty datum line.

"The principle of a pension payment is that it should be able to get one
through their life after work. But as it stands, the payments have worsened
in light of the country's high inflation rate and it is a fact that no one
is really benefiting from these payouts.

"The prices of essential goods and services have gone up and one cannot be
expected to survive on the current pension payment levels.

"The big problem is that the economy is not favourable for investment and
this ultimately has a strong bearing on pensions.

"It doesn't make sense for payouts to remain static for a long time because
the economic situation is also changing.

"The underlying sentiment is that the amount should at least remain above
the poverty datum line to enable beneficiaries to make ends meet," said Mrs

The committee chairperson highlighted that the amount of payments disbursed
to members should always tally with the type of investment that a particular
pension fund selects and should also be commensurate with their earnings.

Last year, the committee gathered evidence on NSSA's operations and
established that the authority's investment policy had loopholes which made
it difficult for the authority to reap benefits that would find their way
into members' purses.

The committee was concerned with NSSA's failure to "properly" invest in
housing given that it had bought land and the financial resources required
to embark on such projects.

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Money-saving tips

From: Trudy Stevenson
Sent: Tuesday, October 11, 2005 4:55 AM

A correspondent has just sent a recipe for making your own baked beans and saving thousands of dollars, as a tin now costs $ 70,000! This is such a good idea that I want to encourage everyone to send out your own money-saving tips. 
What are my own tips, to start the ball rolling?
1 - Pay cash for food!  If you stick to this rule, you will not run into debt for essential living, and will not buy what you cannot afford.  Don't even take your credit card to the supermarket, take cash only - keep to this rule absolutely, to save yourself, your family and your future.
2 - Keep used envelopes - you can re-use most of them, by pasting a paper-cut "label" for the new addressee or whatever.
3 - Keep a jug for left-over tea and one for coffee in the fridge.  Re-heat in micro-wave, or make iced tea especially - it is so thirst-quenching in hot weather, and better for you than coke, etc!  
Iced Tea recipe:
Make strong tea (no milk!), strain out tealeaves, add sugar to taste (I prefer unsweetened, but most like sugar!), cool and then add water to desired strength, and either pour straight over ice in tall glass or keep in fridge until required.   Decorate with a slice of lemon or orange or add mint, as desired.
4 - Sisters - you cannot turn back the clock!  Recognise that the millions of dollars you spend or would like to spend on rejuvenating wrinkle-removing creams are just money in the manufacturer's pocket!  Lanoline, acqueous cream etc are just as good, actually, except in the very short term - and baby products are great for your skin at whatever age.
5 - Deodorant - use bicarb!  
Please forward this message, and send me & others your own tips.

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PUBLIC SEMINAR- Media v Corruption Thurs 13 at 5.30 pm

From: "Trudy Stevenson"
Sent: Tuesday, October 11, 2005 2:56 AM
Subject: Ambassador

MISA-Zimbabwe - TIZ

On the occasion of the Southern Africa Social Forum invites you to a
Public Seminar


DATE:                   Thursday, 13 October 2005
VENUE:                New Ambassador Hotel
TIME:                   1730 - 2000 Hours

Speakers will be drawn from the Independent Anti-Corruption Commission,
Transparency International Zimbabwe and MISA-Zimbabwe

 For more information please contact the Secretariat on 793246/7, 793277,
746838, 776165


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Harare to swallow Norton, Marondera

Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2005-Oct-11

HARARE will swallow the smaller towns of Norton, Marondera, Mazowe and
Beatrice as new boundaries are drawn to satisfy a high demand for land in
the city.
The Minister of Local Government, Public Works and Urban Development,
Ignatius Chombo, said on Sunday that plans were underway to increase the
city's area so that more land could be set aside for housing.
According to the Greater Harare Master Plan, prepared several years ago, all
most of urban areas immediately outside the city will eventually be
incorporated into Harare as the city expands.
Chombo said Mashonaland East, Mashonaland West, and Mashonaland Central
provinces would have to give up some land to Harare Metropolitan Province.
"Harare needs to expand. We need new boundaries,"  said Chombo, while
addressing mayors, provincial administrators and other senior local
authority officials in Harare.
"We want to fix this so that we will not have problems with space for the
next 50 years," he added.
The minister said local authorities in the provinces were set to agree on
the new boundaries before Friday.
A policy that will set a minimum area a house can cover,  he said, would be
operational by next week.
"We want to encourage houses to be built going upwards to save space,"
Chombo said.
The local authorities also gave updates on the national mass reconstruction
exercise - Operation Garikai/Hlalani Kuhle, at the same meeting. The
programme has been incorporated into the four-year National Housing Policy
and National Housing Delivery Programme that will run until 2008.
Chombo urged the council officials to revise building by-laws, in tandem
with new building standards set by the government, as a way of embracing the
housing delivery agenda.
"The attainment of the Millennium Development Goals demands that we nurture
 From Page 1
a synergistic chemistry among the various players in the housing sector," he
The government has set a target to construct 250 000 housing units annually
until 2008.
President Robert Mugabe will soon tour all provinces to check progress on
the reconstruction programme.
Meanwhile, all local authorities were required to submit their 2006 budgets
by October 31 to the ministry for approval. Chombo said councils should have
put in place the administrative and legal processes relevant to budget
preparation by the same date.
He also urged them to consult ratepayers during budget preparations.
"In packaging the budget, it is imperative that councils strike a balance
between affordability by the ratepayer and the cost of delivering service.
The need to consult the ratepayer is underscored," said Chombo.
He said the ministry would assist in the presentation of a certificate as a
condition for approval of tariffs.

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Senior cop up for misconduct

Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2005-Oct-11

A SENIOR police officer is being charged for alleged misconduct and
dereliction of duty during the March 31 general elections.
The alleged offences took place in Gokwe South where the officer,
Superintendent Hosiah Mulobaleng, was posted as the constituency election
Impeccable police sources said Mulobaleng, a provincial training officer
with the Police Protection Unit (PPU) stationed in Harare, was being charged
under the Police Act "for unbecoming behaviour, indiscipline and disorderly
conduct likely to put the name of the force into disrepute."
But the police officer's alleged misconduct did not affect the outcome of
the poll won by Zanu PF's Jason Kokerayi Machaya. Mulobaleng stands accused
of delaying transmission of election results and not wearing his police
uniform on duty as required by law, the sources said.
They said a hearing had since been held at the Old Police Camp in Gweru and
judgment was reserved.
Contacted for comment, Mulobaleng's lawyer, Hillary Garikayi of Gweru legal
firm Garikayi and Company, confirmed that his client was being charged for
misconduct. But he argued that Mulobaleng had been a victim of
"The radio equipment was down, so it was difficult to release the
information on time. Due to the wet weather, his uniform was wet after
overseeing 90 polling stations. He's a victim of circumstances and had no
intention of discrediting the name of the police," the lawyer said.
He noted that his client had two uniforms while on duty in Gokwe but had
worn his personal clothes after the uniforms had been drenched in the rain.
This was because it was raining most of the time while at the same time
Mulobaleng also attended to breakdowns or vehicles stuck in the mud.
Police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena yesterday said
the force does not normally comment on internal disciplinary measures, but
promised to look into the matter.

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Flea market rentals drive away traders

Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2005-Oct-11

THE high fees charged by the Harare City Council for week-end flea market
rentals have driven away traders who say they cannot remain viable after
paying $800 000 for eight trading days per month.
The commission charges $200 000 for two trading days payable each Friday,
which translates to $800 000 per month, compared to the $600 000 paid by
vendors per 30 trading days.
Council spokesperson Lesley Gwindi yesterday said the construction of
factory and vending sites was going on well but refused to comment on the
development surrounding flea markets.
Council last month reopened weekend flea markets in Marlborough, Mount
Pleasant, Borrowdale, Greendale, Highlands, Waterfalls, Hatfield, Mbare,
Dzivaresekwa, Hatcliffe, Mufakose, Mabvuku, Kuwadzana, Sunningdale, Glen
Norah, Glen View, Budiriro, Highfield, Tafara, Warren Park, Kambuzuma and
Traders are issued with badges, which they display at all times, as proof of
payment. The badges are then surrendered to municipality at the close of
business on Sunday.
Flea markets are open between 6 am and 6 pm. All city flea markets were
closed during the two-month Operation Murambatsvina/Restore Order that was
aimed at ridding cities of dirt and crime.

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