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Zimbabwe's dead "cross over" to South Africa!

Zim Online

Tue 11 October 2005
  BEITBRIDGE - Authorities at Beitbridge Hospital on Zimbabwe's border with
South Africa have resorted to "temporarily exporting" dead bodies to Mussina
town on the other side of the frontier for storage there because the
hospital morgue has become too small.

      Sources told ZimOnline that the mortuary at the state hospital was too
small for an ever increasing number of patients dying there resulting in
many corpses having to be ferried across to the South African side for
storage until relatives can bury them.

      In most cases it was the relatives who footed the bill to transport
the bodies of their deceased loved ones across to Mussina while hospital and
immigration authorities only ensured that bodies moved to the South African
side were returned to Zimbabwe once relatives were ready to bury them.


      Hospital and immigration authorities at Beitbridge, one of the busiest
border posts in Africa, refused to comment on the matter saying they were
not permitted to speak to the media. They referred questions to their head
offices in Harare.

      Health Minister David Parirenyatwa could not be reached for comment on
the matter while Home Affairs Minister Kembo Mohadi, under whose portfolio
immigration falls, confirmed that dead bodies were being moved across to
South Africa for storage but said this was done only after permission from

      He said: "What I know is that the mortuary is very small . at times it
becomes overwhelmed because of the high volume of traffic in Beitbridge
which results in accidents, this results in other people taking the corpses
to Mussina but this is done on a voluntary basis."

      Mohadi, who is the Member of Parliament for the area, said efforts
were under way to raise funds for the expansion of the mortuary at
Beitbridge to ensure it is able to take all the bodies of people dying

      Years of neglect and under-funding has seen Zimbabwe's public health
sector - once a shining example to the developing world - collapsing with
many hospitals able to prescribe nothing more than basic pain killers
because there is no hard cash to import essential medicines and equipment.

      State health officials, themselves disgruntled because of poor pay and
working conditions, privately admit that many deaths occurring at public
hospitals could be avoided if only basic medicines and equipment were

      Public hospitals are the source of health services for about 90
percent of Zimbabwe's 12 million people.

      A burgeoning HIV/AIDS pandemic that is killing at least 2 000
Zimbabweans every week has only helped worsen the situation with mortuaries
at most major hospitals filled up to the bream with dead bodies.

      A severe fuel crisis, itself the result of acute foreign currency
shortages, is only exacerbating the situation as relatives are unable to
collect the dead bodies for burial on time because they have no diesel or
petrol to transport them to cemeteries.

      In a vivid illustration of how public health services have regressed
on the back of a deepening economic crisis, the government last year
introduced ox-drawn ambulances to ferry ill people to health centres in some
remote rural areas.
      The ox-drawn carts - which health officials said were a desperate
measure because there was no money to repair broken down ambulances or buy
new ones - were introduced after the National Railways of Zimbabwe also
brought back 1950s steam locomotives because it could not afford to run its
modern electric and diesel locomotives.

      Zimbabwe's economic decline, which the World Bank has said is
unprecedented in a country not at war, has seen inflation surging beyond 350
percent while Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has contracted by more than 30
percent since 1999. - ZimOnline

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Zimbabwe's rising inflation cries out for a political solution

Zim Online
Tue 11 October 2005

      HARARE -- Zimbabwe's inflation rate looked set to peak above 500
percent by year-end after racing to nearly 360 percent in September,
exposing government policies which many blame for the country's six-year
economic crisis.

      Analysts said this after figures from the Central Statistical Office
(CSO) yesterday showed annual inflation had risen to 359.8 percent in
September from 265.1 percent in August, while the month-on-month rate soared
to 33.3 percent from the previous month's 8.3 percent.

      The figures showed a widening gap with the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe
forecasts of between 80 and 100 percent by December this year, signalling
more economic gloom for long-suffering Zimbabweans.

      Yesterday's figures came on the back of a warning last week by the
International Monetary Fund that high government spending and high rates of
money growth would drive inflation to 400 percent by the end of the year.

      "The central bank's inflation forecasts are impossible to achieve. We
are now having a serious inflation spiral that the government has never been
in," economic consultant John Robertson said.

      Robertson predicted inflation could shoot to above 500 percent by the
end of this year.

      The CSO said September inflation figures were pushed high by fuel
prices which rose by at least 120 percent, driving transport costs higher
for urban commuters whose salaries have failed to keep up with surging

      Electricity costs have also more than doubled, piling pressure on
private consumers and companies, most of whom are operating at below 30
percent mainly due to biting foreign currency shortages.

      Inflation eased from a record high of 623 percent in January 2004 but
remains among the highest in the world and analysts said it will be soon
before it revisits that peak again.

      Zimbabwe's economy has contracted by more than 30 percent since 1999
and the IMF predicts another 7 percent decline in gross domestic product
(GDP) this year - outpacing the 4 percent GDP decline in 2004 and against
Harare's own forecasts of 2 percent growth.

      Analysts said the surge in inflation exposed government's policies
saying only a change in the country's political climate will halt Zimbabwe's
economic crisis.

      "This shows that the government has run out of clues but the solution
to the economic problems has to come from the political front, and that we
have said before," Wilson Jowa, a Harare-based economist said

      The analysts said the spiraling inflation would put further pressure
on the Zimbabwe dollar, which is trading three times its official value on
the thriving black market.

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

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Zimbabwe's top milling company shuts down flour plants

Zim Online

Tue 11 October 2005

      HARARE - Zimbabwe's biggest milling firm, National Foods, has shut
down its flour mills because of a severe wheat shortage that bakers on
Monday said could see bread supplies drying up in the next few days.

      In a letter to the Ministry of Industry and International Trade a copy
of which was seen by ZimOnline, National Foods financial director John
Pilgrim said the firm that employs several hundred people had as of October
10, 2005 shut down its flour making plants in Harare and Bulawayo.

      Pilgrim said the decision to shut down the plants was taken after the
last 400 tonnes of wheat had been milled last Saturday while there were no
indications of further supplies from the government's Grain Marketing Board

      "We have not received orders from GMB and therefore our Harare and
Bulawayo mills will be closed from Monday 10 October 2005 until we receive
further wheat allocations," read part of Pilgrim's letter that was sent to
Industry Ministry on October 6.

      Industry sources said National Foods, which controls a 70 percent
share of the flour market, was the only milling company that until now was
still supplying most bakers.

      The second biggest miller Blue Ribbons Foods stopped milling two weeks
ago after running out of wheat while Victoria Foods, which is the third
biggest miller, was said to have a few more tonnes of wheat left in stock.

      National Bakers Association executive member David Govere said the
wheat shortage had grounded the flour making industry and warned Zimbabwe
could run out of bread in the coming weeks.

      Bread, which sells for about Z$28 000 or slightly above US$1 a
standard loaf, was already in short supply in the country.

      Govere said: "What I knew was that only National Foods was left with a
substantial tonnage of wheat and they were also very few stocks at Victoria
Foods. As for Blue Ribbons, they have not milled anything for the past two

      Both GMB boss Samuel Muvuti and Industry Minister Obert Mpofu could
not be reached for comment on the matter.

      Zimbabwe consumes 30 000 tonnes of wheat every month. The country used
to grow about 90 percent of its wheat requirement with the remainder that
was imported being used mainly to mix with locally produced wheat to improve
flour quality.

      But Zimbabwe has been unable to produce enough wheat since President
Robert Mugabe began seizing farms from whites giving them to landless black
villagers who have failed to maintain production because they lack skills
and inputs.

      In addition to wheat, Zimbabwe is also facing acute shortages of the
main staple maize. An estimated four million people out of the country's
population of 12 million people could starve unless more than a million
tonnes of food aid is urgently supplied. - ZimOnline

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ZANU PF may go it alone in Senate poll

Zim Online

Tue 11 October 2005

      HARARE - The Zimbabwe government will go it alone in Senate elections
next month if the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party
decides to boycott the polls, Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa told
ZimOnline on Monday.

      "We don't force people to participate in our senatorial elections.
People are free to participate or not to participate in the elections . that
is how democracy works," said Chinamasa.

      The MDC, which poses the greatest electoral challenge to President
Robert Mugabe and his ruling ZANU PF party, is undecided over whether to
contest the polls with the opposition party's leader Morgan Tsvangirai
saying the polls will be rigged by the government.

      The opposition party accuses Mugabe and his government of stealing
elections in the past five years.

      Tsvangirai, who told supporters at rallies last weekend that his party
would decide by Wednesday whether to participate in the November 26 poll,
also says the elections are a waste of resources at a time Zimbabwe is
grappling severe food shortages.

      But there are many within the MDC who argue that the party, which has
41 legislators in the lower chamber of Parliament, should not give up
political space to Mugabe and ZANU PF by boycotting the senate polls.

      They also say it would be pointless for the MDC to sit in one chamber
and boycott the other chamber of the same Parliament.

      Mugabe, who will appoint six of the 66 senators, has publicly said he
wants to use the second chamber to appease disgruntled lieutenants in his
ZANU PF party by awarding them seats there.

      Unconfirmed reports say Mugabe wants the Senate as part of a
complicated process to appoint his successor in two years' time and that the
upper chamber, which was abolished more than 10 years ago, would be scrapped
again after five years. - ZimOnline

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Zimbabwe deploys state secret agents on farm

Zim Online

Tue 11 October 2005

      CHINHOYI - About 78 families which have been ordered off Hunyani Farm
in Chinhoyi town about 120km north-west of the capital Harare are living in
fear after the government allegedly deployed state security agents on the

      The families, who occupied the farm at the height of farm invasions
five years ago, were last week served with notices to vacate the farm
because the government says it wants to build an agricultural research
station at the farm.

      Some of the families told ZimOnline the government had followed up by
deploying agents of its dreaded Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) to
monitor movements at the farm.

      The CIO agents, accused by church and human rights groups of torturing
and murdering perceived government opponents, are harassing the families and
threatening them with unspecified punishment if they do not vacate the farm.

      "I am not sure who to speak to on my plight as they are here (CIO
agents) round the clock. Their prime suspects are relatives from urban
centres who they accuse of supporting the opposition," said Rhodia Zvipere,
who lives at Hunyani with her family.

      Another resident, Petros Pakare, said: "We were told by Governor (of
Mashonaland West province in which the farm is located) Nelson Samkange that
we have to move out to pave way for the new research centre but we have
nowhere to go."

      State Security Minister Didymus Mutasa, who is in charge of the CIO
and also oversees land reform, could not be reached last night for comment
on the matter.

      Samkange defended the move to evict the families from the farm saying
the research station to be built there would benefit the country. He also
denied the state was attempting to scare the families off the farm.

      "The project is going to assist the country and it has been in the
pipeline of late and we are not victimising anyone" said Samkange.

      Several families who seized white farms often with direct
encouragement from President Robert Mugabe and his top officials have been
thrown off some of the farms in most cases to pave way for senior
politicians many of whom have grabbed up to six or more farms each.

      Mugabe has on rare occasions admitted some of his senior lieutenants
corruptly kept several of the best white farms for themselves. But he
insists that the farm seizures were on the whole good for the country
arguing Zimbabwe now has more farmers than the 4 000 whites who controlled
75 percent of the country's best arable land before land redistribution.

      Critics however say Mugabe's chaotic and often violent land reforms
destabilised the mainstay agricultural sector causing a 60 percent drop in
food production to reduce once food self-sufficient Zimbabwe to a net food
importer. - ZimOnline

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The sadness of Zimbabwe

Zim Online

Tue 11 October 2005

      JOHANNESBURG - Robert Mugabe, President of Zimbabwe, spent the spring
rigging an election, the summer bulldozing the urban settlements where it is
believed the opposition had majority support, and the time in between
amending the constitution to again extend his rule and again curtail
property rights of his citizens.

      Then the United Nations invited him to their General Assembly, where
he accused his enemies in the North of causing the calamitous state of his
country. His country cannot feed itself because agricultural production has
plummeted since white farms were expropriated.

      The resulting loss of foreign currency earnings means there is not
enough fuel even for ambulances - patients in some rural areas are now moved
with make-shift ox-drawn ambulances. The hundreds of thousands displaced by
the clearance of their homes and informal businesses are now penniless

      It is hard to believe that even Mugabe thinks he can get to retirement
(announced to be 2008) unscathed, but so far he has gotten away with doing
exactly what he likes.

      Hamstrung by indecision, the UN will not act, the African Union is
once again demonstrating that it is a club for dictators, and that its
'democratic' actions against dictatorial regimes, such as in Togo, are
isolated cases against those outside the clique. The UK appears incapable of
any meaningful action and in the US democracy support has been slashed.

      Perhaps saddest and most baffling though, is that the opposition in
Zimbabwe, unquestionably the government in waiting, has been so quiet. In
doing so, it has prolonged the crisis.

      There is an urgent need for personal leadership which will generate a
powerful rallying point. This beautiful and once bountiful country is being
ruined; people are being displaced, dispossessed, terrorised and even
murdered by the State.

      A third of the population may have already left, for the rest there is
no apparent likelihood of civil disorder or armed conflict. And without an
obvious conflict the impotent international community will apparently not
intervene, as it has done in Sudan and elsewhere in Africa.

      International diplomacy is active but it is, by definition, limited.
Two weeks ago, Jendayi Frazer, Assistant Secretary of State for African
announced tough travel sanctions to be placed on more cronies of the Mugabe
government and their extended families.

      According to Reuters, Ms Frazer said on the sidelines of the UN
General Assembly in New York: "We are continuing to try to call attention to
the human rights abuses, that the last election was not fair and that there
was not a level playing field there."

      It is a pity these restrictions weren't effective in preventing
Mugabe's ignominious and galling display of chutzpah at the UN.

      Mugabe, like his fellow dictators at this UN jamboree spoke well
beyond the allotted five minutes, decried western intervention, denied that
man-made causes (other than those from Northern sanctions) were harming his
people and sanctimoniously called for greater transparency - this, from a
man who stole the last election.

      His acting information minister even claimed Hollywood was being
manipulated by the CIA to deliver anti-Mugabe rhetoric in the movie 'The
Interpreter'. The theme revolves around a dictator going to speak at the UN
and getting up to no good in the process.

      The International Monetary Fund was preparing to expel Zimbabwe for
non-payment of debt, which has only happened once in its history
(Czechoslovakia in 1953), but US$120 million was produced just in time as
part payment.

      This money it is suspected, was part-raided from private bank accounts
on the grounds of a newly-minted technicality over holdings of foreign
exchange. In any event, given that money is fungible and the Mugabe regime
has stolen so much, the IMF has undoubtedly accepted stolen funds.

      The US is taking action against Mugabe while trying to support the
Zimbabwean people suffering from food shortages and human rights abuses.

      US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice met with South African
President Thabo Mbeki after the UN meeting and seemingly encouraged a
stronger stance against Zimbabwe. And Mbeki has responded, abandoning his
long-held faith in 'quiet diplomacy'.

      Zimbabwean bank and treasury officials have been meeting recently with
their counterparts in South Africa, who offered a deal to help Zimbabwe with
its overdue payments to the IMF.

      However, since the deal including the conditions that Mugabe should
open talks with the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, and repeal a
series of repressive laws and implement ambitious economic reforms, Mugabe
rejected the emergency deal out of hand and berated his officials for coming
home with such a deal.

      Meanwhile action by the US is in reality weakening. Deflection and
blaming Mbeki for lack of action is no longer cutting any ice with exiled
Zimbabweans or concerned Africa-watchers, and the new travel bans are in
reality a small addition to existing sanctions.

      No one has seriously been calling for military intervention, but some
have demanded far greater actions, including strong economic pressure on
neighboring states, changing trade deal priorities to other regions,
lowering of general aid and increasing US assistance to civil society groups
inside Zimbabwe.

      Democracy aid has been slashed from $7m to $3m for the new calendar
year. This is a disgrace, when so much can be gained with so little in this
wretched country.

      Who knows, maybe Frazer's overall approach may eventually pay
dividends. But for now it smacks of the African style diplomacy she is
admired for understanding - no meaningful action.

      Ultimately, the US has to hold the region hostage over Zimbabwe, or we
will simply watch more Zimbabweans (many with HIV) leave their country with
nothing or die from the cold, starvation and disease.

      There is also the danger that Zimbabwe's excesses will be copied
elsewhere. Namibia expropriated its first white farm last month, and
pressure on Mbeki in South Africa to do likewise has finally paid off with
an announced appropriation to take place shortly in South Africa's North
West Province.

      There are many differences between these countries and Zimbabwe, but
bad behavior that goes unpunished encourages those with similar agendas.

      Finally, what is the point of development aid to a region that will
condone mass murder and the wholesale theft of property rights? There should
be a cost for those in power who are simply waiting for Mugabe to die.

      * Roger Bate is a Resident Fellow of the American Enterprise Institute

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HIV/Aids Drop - Behavioural Change Or Skewed Statistics?

UN Integrated Regional Information Networks

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

A recent national survey shows that Zimbabwe's HIV prevalence rate has
dropped dramatically in the past two years, but the cause of this welcome
change is not clear.

According to the study - carried out by UNAIDS, the US Centres for Disease
Control and several universities - the percentage of Zimbabweans between the
ages of 15 and 49 infected with HIV dropped from 24.6 percent to 20.1
percent in the last two years.

Health and Child Welfare Minister Dr David Parirenyatwa was quick to
attribute the lower infection rates to behavioural change, saying that
"everyone now seems to know the importance of preventing HIV and, to an
extent, are trying their best to avoid getting infected", the Herald

Lynde Francis, executive director of The Centre, an HIV/AIDS support
organisation, was more cautious. The findings were "not a distortion of the
figures - but there is a need for more accurate information," she told

The government's recent slum clearance campaign, which displaced some
700,000 people, and the "new way of [statistical] modelling" used by UNAIDS
made the information in the new study difficult to compare with previous
research, Francis warned.

Distinguishing between rural and urban areas, and between different age
groups would improve the statistics, because "the survey does not account
for mortality rates - the fact that people have died," Francis pointed out.

Some HIV/AIDS organisations have suggested that the fall in the national
figure could be explained by the fact that a number of people living with
HIV/AIDS had already died.

[ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations ]

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Vorster's betrayal is lesson for Mbeki

Business Day

Posted to the web on: 11 October 2005

Tony Leon


AS THE political, economic, and social situation in Zimbabwe continues to
worsen, SA' relationship with the Mugabe regime is doing increasing damage
to the bold and hopeful initiatives towards African stability and
development that our government, and our president in particular, have
undertaken. We need leadership that is prepared to accept that even the
parties of liberation can lose elections and fall from power.

There is no way the Zimbabwe crisis is going to be resolved, and no way that
Africa will succeed, unless President Thabo Mbeki takes a stand. President
Robert Mugabe has revived the tragicomic image of the African dictator, just
as the world thought it had consigned the Mobutu Sese Sekos, Idi Amins and
Sani Abachas to the dustbin of history.

This past winter, Zimbabwe conducted a devastating Khmer Rouge-style
campaign of forced removals that it referred to as Operation Murambatsvina,
or Drive Out the Trash. And it seems the operation is still under way, with
the recent crackdown on street vendors by Zimbabwean police adding a new
chapter. This atrocity is equivalent to the forced removals carried out by
the apartheid government in scale, speed and brutality. Yet SA's government
did not offer even a whimper of protest or criticism against Mugabe's

There is a strong case for further United Nations action on Zimbabwe,
but what is needed most is political leadership among Zimbabwe's
neighbours - leadership willing to abandon its fond attachment to antique
nationalism and the doctrine of absolute national sovereignty, and to
embrace the cause of human rights.

In many ways, Zimbabwe is repeating the history of Ian Smith's Rhodesia in
the narrow days after his unilateral declaration of independence. Mugabe is
alone, isolated and resentful, with only the support of SA to count on,
along with the shared racial and ideological allegiances of its ruling

Despite Mugabe's attempts to portray himself as the hero of the masses, and
regardless of the support he receives from radicals living in the comfort of
Johannesburg or London, few Africans care for him at all. A survey by market
research firm Research Surveys - called, How do South Africans view key
Government foreign policies? - found that only 14% of black South Africans
approved of Mugabe's rule.

In the 1970s, despite his own utter commitment to apartheid and the
near-complete uniformity of white opinion in SA, prime minister John Vorster
turned his back on Rhodesia in what Smith was later to describe, in his
autobiography of the same name, as The Great Betrayal.

The question is why Mbeki cannot bring himself to do the same - despite the
widespread disapproval for Mugabe among black South Africans, despite the
enormous economic and political costs of supporting Mugabe, and despite the
great gains for Africa that an end to the Zimbabwe crisis would bring.

Until he does, the world will simply be waiting for Mugabe to disappear - to
take the "Abacha option", we might call it. But that may merely prolong the
suffering of ordinary Zimbabweans for many more years. It is clear that a
properly managed process of political change, while not without its costs,
is the only way forward for Zimbabwe. To leave Mugabe in office would be a

SA can play a leading role in guiding the process of change. We simply
cannot allow Mugabe to continue in power in Zimbabwe any longer, nor can we
permit the devastation of his country to continue. It is hurting SA; it is
hurting Zimbabwe; it is hurting Africa as a whole.

The world waits to assist us in building a new Zimbabwe. All we have to do
is make the right choice: say no to Mugabe and yes to Zimbabwe's people.

?Leon, MP, is leader of the opposition. This is an edited extract of an
address delivered to the International Policy Network at the Institute of
Economic Affairs, in London, last week.

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NGOs tiptoe through Africa's political minefields


Mon 10 Oct 2005 9:02 PM ET
By Cris Chinaka

HARARE, Oct 11 (Reuters) - The most cautious discuss politics in whispers,
watching nervously over their shoulders.

It is a reflex that has become second nature for many working with
international non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in Africa -- a way of
surviving in political environments where they are sometimes seen as the

Thousands of NGOs operate across Africa, promoting health, education and
food provision and tackling an AIDS pandemic ravaging the world's poorest

Yet some African governments have accused Western-backed NGOs of being
closely aligned to the governments that fund them and whose aid they

"Although NGOs are very important in advancing economic and social
development and in alleviating poverty and hunger, some governments regard
them as part and parcel of Western powers they have problems with," said
Andrew Mudehwe of Zimbabwe's National Association of Non-Governmental
Organisations (NANGO).

"NGOs here are treated with suspicion, and politically they are walking on
slippery ground," he said.

Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe has led an assault on NGOs with a draft law
tightening registration and barring foreign funding for NGOs with political
and human rights programmes.

Critics say the government used the bill as a psychological weapon but was
prevented from closing some organisations by a deepening economic crisis.

Mugabe has not signed or implemented the draft law since it was passed
almost a year ago but activists it has already crippled many NGOs.

"The whole drive of having such a law has left a pervasive sense of fear and
paralysis in some organisations, but there are others who see the new
environment as a challenge to be overcome," said Professor Brian Raftopoulos
of the University of Zimbabwe's Institute of Development Studies (ZIDS).


Mugabe says Zimbabwe has been targeted by foreign opponents of his
nationalistic policies, led by former colonial ruler Britain. He says most
of Africa is firmly on his side.

He has accused Western-funded NGOs and charity organisations of siding with
their home governments and Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) in a drive to oust him.

"Zimbabwean politics is very difficult to follow. They want help but they
want everything on their terms," a top official with a Western aid
organisation said.

"The government is paranoid, so fear-ridden that it must watch its own
shadow with great suspicion ... That paranoia has become infectious because
in some of our offices, people discuss Zimbabwean politics in whispers to
try to avoid feeding the suspicion that NGOs are out here to take out the

Zimbabwe has resisted calls to make a formal appeal for food aid for an
estimated 4 million people facing shortages, saying it will rely on its own
efforts despite its failing economy.

Mugabe says those who want to help are welcome, but he is adamant that "we
are not going to beg".

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) is helping to feed some 1.1
million Zimbabweans.

But in a move illustrating tensions with the aid community, the U.N. is
sending a top aid official to Harare to smooth differences with Mugabe over
a stalled $30 million humanitarian relief programme it offered after the
government demolished thousands of shacks and squatter settlements this

Mugabe, whose latest political battle cry is "Zimbabwe will never be a
colony again," has vowed to reject any assistance that compromises
Zimbabwe's sovereignty, saying regularly: "They can keep their 30 pieces of


Zimbabwe is just one of several African governments which see NGOs as Trojan
horses for Western governments.

In Sudan's troubled Darfur region foreign aid agencies have accused
officials of denying access to the hardest hit areas.

In the past year, Sudan has tried to expel Save The Children UK's country
director, accusing the British aid agency of breaching Sudanese law and
interfering in domestic affairs.

It has also sent a letter of warning to British charity Oxfam and arrested
two Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders) workers over a report
on rape in Darfur.

Sudan later dropped charges of spying against the pair, but in August
President Omar Hassan al-Bashir issued a temporary decree that aid workers
say severely restricts their activities.

"It essentially undermines everything we've tried to do, it creates a
virtual state of emergency and gives the government control over everything
we do," said Wendy Fenton, former head of Save The Children in Sudan.

Aid workers say the law reflects the government's fear that charities will
uncover human rights abuses in Africa's biggest country -- a view supported
by Arnold Tsunga, co-ordinator of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, which
works with NGOs.

"I don't believe these organisations are married to their governments, but
African countries tend to be very sensitive to outside criticism," he said.

In Eritrea, the government issued a proclamation in May, requiring
international NGOs to register on an annual basis, have a minimum $2 million
at their disposal in Eritrea and pay tax on imports of items for relief aid,
including food.

In July, the government asked the U.S. Agency for International Development
(USAID) to stop its operations in the Red Sea state, saying it was
uncomfortable with the agency's activities in a country heavily dependent on
food aid.

Tsunga said African governments having problems with charity organisations
are mostly those accused of human rights abuses.

"When NGOs share values, and echo opinions supporting common values, that
doesn't make one a puppet or foot soldier of this or that country or power,"
he said.

(Additional reporting by Katie Nguyen in Nairobi)

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MDC suffers ideological confusion

New Zimbabwe

By Gift Nyandoro
Last updated: 10/11/2005 09:29:29
WHEN the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) was formed on 11 September
1999, a wave of change in the governance of the country was astronomically
felt in every corridor of Zimbabwe. The writing was on the wall that Robert
Mugabe's regime had to go.

A five-month old opposition party went on to win 57 seats in the 2000
parliamentary election, an electoral feat which neither ZUM, ZANU Ndonga and
Zapu ever tasted since Zimbabwe got independence in 1980.

Zanu PF, in the aftermath of the results, became even more vicious to the
citizens of the country, punishing them for voting the opposition, but
people remained steadfast in their political beliefs. Arbitrary land
seizures and victimisation of the perceived MDC supporters by the regime
strengthened from one day into another. Draconian laws were sporadically
passed by the regime in order to cripple the opposition. This saw the
emergence of Posa, Aippa, and even the NGO Bill that never materialised into
law. MDC responded by calling for 'stay-aways' and mass actions

In the formative years of MDC's emergence, 'stay-aways' reflected the
strength the MDC had on the urban electorate. Surprisingly as time passed
by, people started ignoring the MDC calls. As if that was not enough, the
MDC encountered a parliamentary tragedy in March 2005. It was a tragedy in
that the party could not come out clean and clearly on whether to
participate or not in the elections.

Amazingly, the MDC stopped the electoral bickering at the eleventh hour by
getting into the elections. Only a month remained to the polling stations.
That eventually culminated in MDC getting 41 seats out of 120 contested
Rumour ran amok that the MDC believed the election was rigged by Zanu PF and
consultations were underway to boycott the parliament. The state machinery,
led by the ZBC had a field day on the MDC's inconsistencies.

MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai got televised during the campaign period

"There is no way Zanu-PF is going to win the election. A top CIO has told us
all the rigging techniques of Zanu PF and MDC is going to drive the
electoral victory home."

Immediately after the results were announced, Tsvangirai appeared on Sky
News, fuming, saying the election had been stolen. Is this not a
contradiction in itself?

Resultantly the Sky News reporter was left with no option but to suggest
that he was talking to a man without an idea of what to do. Put in
juxtaposition, a video-clip of an MDC legislator also got flighted, it was
still during counting of votes with him acknowledging that the election was
free and fair. Is this not another fundamental contradiction?

Operation Murambatsvina emerged, but still the MDC could not come out
clearly with what its position was in the face of its predominantly urban
electorate being persecuted by the regime. One only head of Nicodemous
visits by Morgan Tsvangirai to the destroyed densities. People still wonder
as to what was MDC's position on the satanic exercise by the regime.

This reminds me of a great leader, Winston Churchill, who once said: "A
crisis is when events go beyond human reasoning and control."

Indeed Zimbabwe is now in a crisis. Prices are galloping, fuel and foreign
currency are nowhere, and medical institutions are a nightmare. Everyone is
asking the question: Is the MDC the party to take Zimbabweans to the
Promised Land? If so, what exactly is hampering the legitimate expectations
of the people from MDC? I wish not to delineate on the question whether the
MDC is the party for national deliverance or not, but I would rather contend
with what could be the greatest weakness of the MDC: lack of ideological

Primarily, it would be quite useful to the reader if the term ideology could
be defined. An Ideology could be generally defined as the assumptions
underlying human life. This could therefore be taken as the science of
ideas, and visionary speculation that can only be given practical
translation into the political, economic, religious, philosophical and
scientific dimensions of daily existence. By such definition, and though not
exhaustive, the question of ideological imperative and clarity therefore
emerges as a cornerstone of the success of every political party in the
domain of the struggle for supremacy and governance of any given country. It
is this ideological identity, which expresses the outlook of political life,
general attitude of mind, mode of thought and intellectual bearing. For a
political party, it is a functional necessity that defines the policies, and
objectives it aspires for the governed.

It is a saddening reality that the MDC as the biggest opposition to the
oppressive regime of Zanu PF has dismally failed to clearly define what it
stands for in the eyes of its predominantly sympathetic followers.

Due to the lack of identity, Tsvangirai publicly announces that those people
supporting the idea of going for senate elections are "sell outs" of the
struggle. On the other hand, his Secretary General Welshman Ncube believes
that it is the MDC's National Council's party position that election
participation is the agreed standpoint. Tsvangirai says that's a "legal
interpretation". It is such radical differences that manifest deepening
ideological arguments, which without doubt have created rifts amongst the
MDC leaders and confused the rank and file of the MDC support base. How can
the MDC, as the official opposition party, succeed when it is so
disorganised and apparently not clear as to who calls the shots?

What is more worrying is the way the MDC projects the senate issue. An
ordinary mind in constitutional matters would be made to believe that the
senate issue is something very different from the Constitutional Amendment
no. 17. It seems as if not enough weight has been given by the MDC to
critical questions like the freedom of movement, disenfranchising of voters
and the threat posed to investor confidence due to the nationalisation of
the deemed agricultural land by the state. The voters would also want to
question the constitutional approach that MDC is taking as a political
party. Is the MDC happy with cut and paste constitutional amendments or
attention should be given to the due process of a home grown constitution?
This suffices to expose more on the lack of ideological clarity by the MDC.

Divisions have emerged, the Secretary General being mainly backed by the
intellectuals and the opposition leader Tsvangirai, receiving the backing of
the trade unionists. Does this reflect a theory that MDC was simply a
Marriage of Convenience from a loose coalition of ideas at its formation?
Each group is quick to declare themselves as the only true proponents of
liberty and dismisses the others as detrimental to the greater cause of
freedom. Could this not be enough evidence to the opposition electorate as
to what exactly bred the 2005 parliamentary tragedy?

Tsvangirai should not become a perpetual and perennial victim of false-glory
advisors, some of whom, by Medieval or feudal politics standards, do not
deserve to be in the secretariat of the party. These divisions should be a
warning to Tsvangirai that there is need for an honest audit of what is it
that the MDC stands for as a political party.

Tsvangirai should know that the battle over political ideas is a battle of
pure numbers and majority, and this demands tactical and shrewd calculation
in political circles. The world over, such calculation should not be
entirely limited to political rumblings but rather demands a strike of
balance between intra-party leadership on one hand, and the handling of Zanu
PF on the other extreme. Zimbabweans are tired of populist ideologies but
anxiously wait for practical results to deal with the Zanu-PF hegemony.

The MDC should therefore come up with a clear position whether it is
participating in the senate elections or not and this should be echoed with
one voice. If therefore, Tsvangirai fails to control a five-year-old party,
then does it not bring into question his credibility to become a decisive
leader of Zimbabwe?
Every movement starts from a losing position in terms of popularity. What is
right is not always popular and what is popular is not always right. It
takes men of honour and courage to defend principles of deliverance to the
whole of the Zimbabwean citizenry. The success of any political ideology
depends on the ability of rulers to utilise, gain support and action from
the citizenry. The goal of Zimbabwean liberty is not centred on political
intra-party disputes and wasting time having ideas diluted by moderacy: but
rather convincing the citizenry of the benefits of liberty. Once the people
are convinced, Zanu PF will be pitted against a body of independent
individuals and be forced to change the face of its authority, if not
completely and ideally, at least in the direction of true liberty and

Mr Tsvangirai Sir, without taking anything away from your most honourable
and remarkable efforts in the struggle against Mugabe, l humbly remind you
that Zanu-PF rallied around the ideology of socialism when it fought Ian
Douglas Smith. It was that ideological identity that made every Zimbabwean
in every corner of the country speak with one language. It is on the basis
of such properly defined ideology that the voter is turned into a
traditional party voter not a sympathiser and is also endowed with political
identity. Could I therefore finish by suggesting that you need urgent
ideological definition before you become a victim of a noble cause?

Gift Nyandoro is a law student and chairman of the Zimbabwe Youth Network
for Good Governance. Contact Gift at or cell:

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Hoey demands action on Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe Vigil Press Release
10th October 2005

The Chair of the all-party Parliamentary Group on Zimbabwe, Kate Hoey, is to present a petition to 10 Downing Street at 3 pm on Thursday, 13th October, calling on Mr Blair to bring the Zimbabwe situation to the attention of the UN Security Council. It reads:
“No shaking hands with Mugabe
The latest elections in Zimbabwe were once again stolen by the Mugabe regime with the connivance of its neighbours.  Retaliation is now being meted out to people who supported the opposition.   We urge the British government to end Mugabe’s reign of terror and halt his drive for legitimacy:
·         Bring the matter to the UN Security Council.
·         Make it a priority during term as President of the EU and G8 (group of leading industrial nations).
·         Put pressure on South Africa to allow democracy in Zimbabwe.
·         Extend targeted sanctions against Mugabe’s cronies.”
The petition will be carried to Downing Street by Zimbabwean exiles in a symbolic “walk to work” from the Zimbabwe Embassy in the Strand.
The leader of the Zimbabwean opposition Movement of Democratic Change, Morgan Tsvangirai, has been walking 5 miles to work from his home to his office in Harare in solidarity with people suffering from the collapsing economy.  Last week an MDC MP and about 20 supporters were arrested on a walk to work and accused of demonstrating against the government. 
The petition to be handed in at No. 10 has been signed by thousands of people passing by the Zimbabwe Vigil, which has been demonstrating outside the Zimbabwe Embassy every Saturday since October 2002 against human rights abuses in Zimbabwe and in support of free and fair elections.  The handing over of the petition is to mark the Vigil’s third anniversary. 
1.45 pm          Demonstrators meet at Zimbabwe Embassy, 429 Strand, London WC2 (nearest station: Charing Cross).
2.15 pm          Group starts walk to 10 Downing Street
2.45 pm          Estimated time of arrival at Downing Street entrance
3.00 pm          Kate Hoey to join the group and with 6 others to present the petition to 10 Downing Street.
3.45 pm          End of demonstration.
Rose Benton, Vigil Co-ordinator             07970 996 003
Julius Mutyambizi-Dewa                         07984 254 830
Patson Muzuwa                                     07908 758 802
Vigil co-ordinator
The Vigil, outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, 429 Strand, London, takes place every Saturday from 14.00 to 18.00 to protest against gross violations of human rights by the current regime in Zimbabwe. The Vigil which started in October 2002 will continue until internationally-monitored, free and fair elections are held in Zimbabwe.

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This week the Zimbabwe Vigl is three years old.

  There are two events to mark the anniversary.  PLEASE COME AND SUPPORT US.
1. Symbolic "walk to work" from the Zimbabwe Embassy to 10 Downing Street to present the Zimbabwe Vigil Petition - Thursday, 13th October.

Kate Hoey, Chair of the all-party Parliamentary Group on Zimbabwe has agreed to present the Vigil petition to 10 Downing Street at 3 pm on Thursday, 13th October, calling on Mr Blair to bring the Zimbabwe situation to the attention of the UN Security Council. It reads:
“No shaking hands with Mugabe
The latest elections in Zimbabwe were once again stolen by the Mugabe regime with the connivance of its neighbours.  Retaliation is now being meted out to people who supported the opposition.   We urge the British government to end Mugabe’s reign of terror and halt his drive for legitimacy:
·         Bring the matter to the UN Security Council.
·         Make it a priority during term as President of the EU and G8 (group of leading industrial nations).
·         Put pressure on South Africa to allow democracy in Zimbabwe.
·         Extend targeted sanctions against Mugabe’s cronies.”
Please join Zimbabwe Vigil supporters in a symbolic “walk to work” from the Zimbabwe Embassy in the Strand to Downing Street.  This is in solidarity with those back home including the leader of the Zimbabwean opposition Movement of Democratic Change, Morgan Tsvangirai, who has been walking 5 miles to work from his home to his office in Harare in solidarity with people suffering from the collapsing economy.  Last week an MDC MP and about 20 supporters were arrested on a walk to work and accused of demonstrating against the government. 

1.45 pm          Demonstrators meet at Zimbabwe Embassy, 429 Strand, London WC2 (nearest station: Charing Cross).
2.15 pm          Group starts walk to 10 Downing Street
2.45 pm          Estimated time of arrival at Downing Street entrance
3.00 pm          Kate Hoey to join the group and with 6 others to present the petition to 10 Downing Street.
3.45 pm          End of demonstration.

2.  Official Third Anniversary of the Zimbabwe Vigil - Saturday, 15th October.

This Saturday, 15th October will be the official third anniversary of the Vigil.  We will meet at the usual Vigil time from 2 - 6 pm.  Turn up and show the world that you are still fighting for change in Zimbabwe.
Vigil co-ordinator
The Vigil, outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, 429 Strand, London, takes place every Saturday from 14.00 to 18.00 to protest against gross violations of human rights by the current regime in Zimbabwe. The Vigil which started in October 2002 will continue until internationally-monitored, free and fair elections are held in Zimbabwe.

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Consider Breeding Wild Animals, Farmers Urged

The Herald (Harare)

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

Bulawayo Bureau

More farmers should consider breeding wild animals such as rhinoceros in
order to curb rampant poaching in National Parks and Wildlife Management
Authority estates.

The Minister of Environment and Tourism, Cde Francis Nhema, said as part of
measures to control poaching, farmers could breed wild animals on their

"We are encouraging the farmers to take some of the animals, especially
rhinos so that poaching levels are contained especially at this time of the
year," he said.

Cde Nhema said the animals were being killed as they searched for water and

"We have problems at this time of the year when animals move out of the
parks in search of water and food and they are killed by poachers," he said.

Cde Nhema said if the farmers took possession of some of the animals,
poaching levels could be reduced.

"They will obviously value the animals and benefit from them through
organised hunting and photographic safaris," he said.

Early this year, the Parks Authority invited private farmers and safari
operators to buy live elephants and other wild animals in a bid to encourage
game farming by the newly-resettled farmers.

Cde Nhema said cases of poaching were on the increase and the Government was
doing all within its powers to contain poaching.

In August, police recovered 75 elephant tusks from two Chinese nationals
when they raided their house in Greendale in Harare following a tip-off from
members of the public.

A number of rhino horns were also recovered from poachers while elephant
skins and an assortment of other poached animal products were also

Cde Nhema said the Parks Authority could not cover all the areas and has
therefore requested the army to assist in the fight against poachers.

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Harare rates, rents go up

The Herald

Municipal Reporter
Rates and rents in Harare will increase next month following the adoption of
a supplementary budget by the commission running the city's affairs

The commission adopted the supplementary budget, which takes effect from
November 1, without debate implying that it fully supports the increases.

Acting city treasurer Mr Cosmos Zvikaramba said the cash-strapped council
wanted to raise at least $800 billion to finance its operations up to

In a report to council, Mr Zvikaramba said the high inflation, the
devaluation of the Zimbabwe dollar and the delay in implementing the 2005
budget, high costs of fuel and high interest rates forced council to come up
with the supplementary budget.

The new budget will see the cost of water going up to $3 000 per cubic
metre, up from $1 200 for low density areas and to $2 400 in high density
areas, up from $1 000.

Water for commercial entities will now cost $13 000 per cubic metre, up from
$5 600.

The cost of refuse collection will also go up. Residents of high density
areas will now pay $158 500 while those of low density areas will pay $185
000 up from $25 000 and $35 000 respectively.

Rentals for council-owned accommodation will also significantly go up but
still remain the cheapest compared to those belonging to private property

High-density accommodation will now cost between $133 000 and $2,6 million
up from a range of $78 000 and $1,5 million. Low-density accommodation now
ranges between $1,5 million and $4,1 million a month.

Rent for council flats will be increased to between $127 500 and $2 million,
up from previous costs of between $75 000 and $1,1 million.

Parking fees will also go up from $2 400 to $5 000 for a half-hour period,
while hourly parking will now be $8 500, up from $3 100. Parking fines will
now be $39 000 up from $33 000.

Fees for vehicle clamping will also significantly go up from $1 million to
$1,4 million for light vehicles and from $3 million to 4,4 million for heavy

Storage fees for clamped vehicles kept at the council yard will go up to
$2,9 million and $7,3 million for light and heavy vehicles respectively. The
fees were previously pegged at $2 million and $5 million for the two

The city wants to raise at least $800 billion to finance its operations,
some of which have literally ground to a halt because of a crippling lack of

Town clerk Mr Nomutsa Chideya said the council would adopt cost cutting
measures that include, among other things, a strict adherence to budget
allocations, relinquishing the operation of creches and halls to the
communities or prospective entrepreneurs.

Mr Chideya said because council incurred huge telephone bills, heads of
departments should monitor the use of telephones.

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