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China turns down Mugabe's farm offer

Zim Online

Wed 12 October 2005
HARARE - China has turned down an offer by President Robert Mugabe's
government to take over farms seized from whites apparently because Beijing
feared there was no guarantee that such an investment would be secure in the
long term, authoritative sources said.

Zimbabwe has since last April attempted to hammer a joint-venture deal
with China that would enable resource-rich farmers from the Asian giant to
enter into partnerships with the Harare government to farm land seized from
whites and help resuscitate the southern African country's collapsed
agricultural sector.

But sources said China has developed cold feet on the planned deal
worried by Harare's ever shifting land laws and policies in particular a
controversial constitutional amendment last month that virtually
nationalises all agricultural land.

"There is unlikely to be a deal. The government was desperate to bring
the Chinese over, but complications have arisen in light of the new laws
nationalising farmland," said a senior official in Zimbabwe's Ministry of
Agriculture, who is privy to the negotiations between Harare and Beijing.

The official said the Africa Agriculture Development Centre (AADC) - a
subsidiary of the China State Farms Agribusiness Corporation (CSFAC) - that
was leading negotiations with Zimbabwean authorities was also unhappy that
Harare had failed to produce a comprehensive plan to revive its agricultural

"The Chinese officials were convinced that the Zimbabwean environment
did not provide enough security nor a conducive business atmosphere compared
to other African countries where China is involved," said the state
agriculture official, who did not want to be named because he is not
authorised to speak to the Press.

China is involved in farming projects in other African countries such
as Tanzania and Togo, while also making inroads in Zambia and Mozambique.

State Security Minister Didymus Mutasa, who also oversees land
reforms, said he was not able to take questions on the matter when contacted
by ZimOnline last night. "I am sorry I cannot take questions at the moment,"
he said before switching off his mobile phone.

Thousands of once productive former white farms are lying fallow
chiefly because the Harare government does not have money to buy inputs for
black villagers settled on the farms or to equip them with the skills
required to maintain production.

As a result, food production has plummeted by an estimated 60 percent
since 2000 when Mugabe began seizing farms from whites and giving them over
to landless blacks. For example, an estimated four million people face
starvation this year unless more than one million tonnes of food aid is
urgently provided.

Under the stalled deal, the Chinese government-owned CSFAC would have
entered into a partnership with the Agricultural Rural Development Agency
(ARDA) to revive several of the derelict former white farms and boost
agricultural production.

The ever loss-making ARDA is owned by the government of Zimbabwe.

The government was going to repossess farms from new black owners who
have failed to utilise them and hand them over to ARDA and CSFAC under the
plan. Harare was also planning to seize more land from the few remaining
white farmers and give it over to the firms.

Mugabe has pursued a Look-East policy since falling out with
traditional trading partners in the West over his farm seizure policy,
alleged human rights abuses and other governance issues. - ZimOnline

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Inflation shock amplifies calls to devalue Zimbabwe dollar

Zim Online

Wed 12 October 2005

HARARE - Zimbabwe's September inflation shock has increased calls for
the central bank to yet again devalue the local currency, already on a free
fall on the illegal foreign currency black-market, the only reliable source
of hard cash in the country.

The local currency was on Tuesday trading at between $90 000 to $100
000 against one US dollar on the parallel market compared to $26 000
required to purchase one greenback on the official market.

Annual inflation quickened to 359.8 percent in September from 265.1
percent the previous month according to figures released by the government's
Central Statistical Office earlier on Monday.

Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor Gideon Gono, who earlier
predicted inflation to settle between 80 and 100 percent by year-end, had
previously promised to adjust the dollar in line with changes in inflation.

Economic and business analysts yesterday said the central bank chief
had little choice but to keep his word and devalue the dollar or exporters,
who account for almost all the little forex trickling into Zimbabwe, will
collapse after the sharp rise in inflation.

"I think the need for the adjustment of the Zimbabwe dollar is more
critical now especially when you look at the way inflation is going up,"
Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce president Luxon Zembe told ZimOnline.

He added: "It is important for the central bank to keep exporters in
production by constantly reviewing the exchange rate in tandem with

Gono could not be reached last night to establish whether he was
contemplating devaluing the local currency to match the huge jump in
inflation. But the Zimbabwe dollar was unchanged at Monday's auctions where
only US$12.5 million was allocated against bids of US$135 million.

Hyperinflation is only a symptom of a severe economic crisis that has
also seen Gross Domestic Product shrinking by 30 percent over the last six
years while basic survival commodities such as fuel, essential medical
drugs, food and electricity are in critical short supply because there is no
hard cash to pay foreign suppliers.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF), which is critical of President
Robert Mugabe's policies, has urged the government to remove exchange
controls and allow the market to determine the true value of the Zimbabwe

The RBZ boss has devalued the local dollar three times since May this
year, when the currency traded at 6 200 to the U.S. dollar to try to narrow
auction and black market rates but analysts say his failure to match the
auction rate has seen a large portion of forex changing hands on the black

The central bank chief's efforts to steer the economy out of the woods
are doomed to fail for as long as the exchange rate does not reflect the
true value of the local currency, analysts said.

Harare-based economic consultant John Robertson said: "Devaluation is
linked to foreign currency inflows and it does not make sense to have an
exchange rate that does not have a true value of the currency."

Zimbabwe's monthly import bill is estimated at US$250 million, but
exports are yielding an average of US$109.4 million a month.

The country has been without balance of payment support since 1999
after the International Monetary Fund and donors withdrew financial aid over
policy differences with the government, particularly the seizure of white
owned farms. - ZimOnline

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World Bank says allocating funds to Harare sheer waste of resources

Zim Online

Wed 12 October 2005

JOHANNESBURG - The World Bank says it may withhold financial aid to
crisis-torn Zimbabwe to "set an example" saying allocating money to
President Robert Mugabe's government would be a "terrible waste of funds."

World Bank boss Paul Wolfowitz said on Tuesday the financial
institution would be allocating funds "very, very carefully, and in the case
of Zimbabwe perhaps not at all.

"My Africa experts say that with the kind of misgovernment that is
taking place in Zimbabwe, it is not clear that development is possible at

"For several reasons we have to be very careful about corruption and
its effects. We need to set an example. It is a terrible waste of funds if
it is diverted into corruption."

Zimbabwe is going through a severe economic crisis blamed on Mugabe's
mismanagement. Inflation has soared to 359.8 percent, one of the highest
rates in the world. Fuel, food and medicines are also in critical short
supply because the country has no hard cash to pay suppliers.

Mugabe denies mismanaging the country blaming the economic crisis on
Western governments which he says are unhappy over his seizure of
white-owned farms for redistribution to landless blacks five years ago.

The World Bank's sister institution, the International Monetary Fund
(IMF), withdrew balance-of-payments support to Zimbabwe six years ago after
sharp differences with Mugabe over fiscal policy and other governance

The IMF, which wanted to expel Zimbabwe for non-payment of a US$295
million debt, spared the axe on the country last month after Mugabe made a
surprise US$120 million payment to the Fund.

Harare has since made another US$15 million payment to the IMF in a
bid to stave off expulsion. Despite the payment to the Fund, the country
continues to sink deeper into the mire with no solution in sight. -

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Zimbabwe Inflation Reaches Record Rate


By Peta Thornycroft
11 October 2005

Zimbabwe's inflation has soared to an annual rate of 359 percent, one of the
highest rates in the world. There is little chance that the government can
reverse the trend of hyperinflation without extraordinary measures.

The jump in inflation did not surprise consumers who say that prices of
basic foods and essential services rise weekly.

In addition it is clear in many supermarkets that Zimbabwe-made products are
disappearing from shelves and more food and essential household goods are
imported from South Africa.

Economists say the unavailability of foreign currency has boosted
black-market exchange rates that have in turn fueled inflation.

Foreign currency is so short that many manufacturers are unable to produce.
An international company, Dunlop, has ceased making tires for export and the
domestic markets because it has no foreign currency to import manufacturing

Economists say the International Monetary Fund's (IMF) recent prediction of
400 percent annual inflation by year-end will be outstripped, and
one-thousand-percent is more likely.

Zimbabwe's consumer council says poverty is increasing and the amount of
income needed for survival by an average family is three-times higher than a
teachers salary.

The economy began to falter five years ago, after President Robert Mugabe
began to seize white-owned commercial farms that produced the majority of
foreign exchange earnings and underpinned the domestic economy.

Daniel Ndlela is a Zimbabwe economist and financial consultant who works in
the region. He said a revival in agriculture is the only way of containing
inflation and stabilizing the economy.

"The economic fundamentals must change," said Mr. Ndlela. "The way you deal
with governance must change, the way you deal with your property rights must
change. But to address inflation per se there are many methods; there are
technical ways, inflation stabilization, price stabilization, exchange
stabilization techniques. But all those cannot work until you actually
address the issue of agriculture in this country. Inflation is directly
linked to the issue of the exchange rate, the exchange rate is a function of
a shortage of foreign currency coming here because the economy is down, so
you cannot just change inflation by applying economic or technical tools.
You have to change it fundamentally by addressing the political governance
as well as economic governance."

The central bank predicted in August that inflation would stabilize at about
80 percent by December, Mr. Ndlela said this is impossible.

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Hot Seat: Genocide by proxy; Zimbabwe's secret deaths

By Violet Gonda
11 October 2005

Today's Zimbabwe is a defacto military & police state with Mugabe as
the head. The state security services have been allowed to control
everything from elections to recent events such as the disastrous so called
'clean-up', Operation Murambatsvina and the destabilisation of urban
councils. Baffour Ankomah, a staunch defender of the Mugabe regime, is the
Ghanaian editor of UK based New African magazine. He recently alleged that
Murambatsvina was the brainchild of the Central Intelligence Organisation.
The UN reported that at least 700 000 people were displaced as a result of
the clean up exercise.
According to Ralph Black, the Director of Communications for the
Concerned Zimbabweans in North America, to hold on to power this military
machine has resorted to genocide by proxy, meaning the elimination of the
opposition and any threat to their supremacy under the guise of such
programmes as land reform and Operation Murambatsvina.

Black is concerned that there are no records of the people who were
made homeless as many are still missing or living in the bush. Uprooted and
deprived of essential services such as HIV treatment, food and shelter, this
missing population could die without anyone connecting their demise to the
conditions created by the regime in the first place. This is genocide by
proxy and it is the subject on Hot Seat discussed with Ralph Black.

SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

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JAG Open Letters Forum No. 387


Please send any material for publication in the Open Letter Forum to with "For Open Letter Forum" in the subject line.


Letter 1:

Dear Sirs,

In response to Sarah Carter's appeal I admire her courage to rejuvenate
Bally Vaughan, however one bit of advice , do NOT term your Full Breakfast
as an "English Breakfast". It is blatantly obvious they, the British, have
done nothing for Zimbabwe for over ten years at least and have no intention
of doing anything ever. I live here and can assure you that half of them
still think we are a province of South Africa and the other half have no
idea what has gone for the last five years. Do not give any credence to
their lifestyle, it is seriously not worth giving credence to !!!

Stick to our own unique Zimbabwean culture and sell along those lines as
you could well irate your Zimbabwean customers who will be the backbone of
your business for the foreseeable future, the majority of whom I believe
have the same feelings towards maEnglish as I do.

Kevin Murphy


Letter 2:

Dear Jag,

It didn't take zanuPF stalwarts long to destroy trees, now they want to
grow them.

I hear they are jumping on a bandwagon to get "oil from trees". I thought
that they thought money grew on trees but this sudden oil discovery on
trees is truly amazing. I wonder how long they think it will take to grow
these oil trees? Will the continual presidential drought have any affects
on growth?

So many questions.

In the meantime, can someone tell me where I can buy potatoes?

Have a nice day thinking about it.



Letter 3:

Dear JAG,

I write to reflect on the issue of land in particular British diplomacy
during the 1979 Lancaster house conference. Lord Carrington's diplomatic
tactics eventuated into a situation where there was no immediate land
reform after Independence in 1980 which was constitutionally embargoed.
Thus creating a situation where the status quo could be maintained (racism,
white superiority and landlessness). This was however a recipe for
disaster, since schizophrenics like Mugabe would manipulate the land issue
for their own benefit by taping into popular discontent with white
domination. Thus White farmers made so many mistakes that would lead to
their own downfall, by remaining stuck in the past, they gave Mugabe a good
excuse to justify his campaigns of violence and intimidation. Moreover if
White farmers made voluntary reforms like sharing land with their black
counter-parts, it would have been easy for poor black peasants to support
their cause. I am a strong supporter of non violence and totally against
Mugabe's right wing policies, but lets acknowledge the fact that
landlessness is a real issue in Zimbabwe and White farmers had a role to
play to save themselves from land wars. The Zimbabwe situation reminds me
of the hazards associated with the ability to reform.

When Charles 1 refused to reform just before he was beheaded in 1649 , he
did not know that he would end up facing the guillotine.

The above is true in the case of Rhodesian farmers misled by Smith into
believing that they were royal game and that no reforms were necessary.
Even the laws of biology stipulates the dangers of living in the past,
according Darwin, species that do not co-evolve with their environment face
the vagaries of nature including the grim prospect of becoming extinct!
Reforms are always helpful if not important in life, lessons should be
learnt in the future.

GGG, Scotland


Letter 4:

Dear JAG and Zimbabweans,

Well what can I say, after writing my first letter on the land reform
process in Zimbabwe in support of the Government of Zimbabwe I should have
expected a debate! As a white British citizen living in the UK and having
been born in May of 1980 I have luckily no involvement in the troubles of
Rhodesia and Zimbabwe. After reading all the responses I received I was
encouraged by some and spurred on by others.

Firstly I would like to point out that I do not claim to be an expert on
the internal history and politics of Rhodesia and Zimbabwe and therefore I
am very grateful for the corrections pointed out by Colleen Taylor,
although I agree poverty is exacerbated by over population, the fact that
farm workers often have to live in mud huts which the British lived in
during the Iron Age before the coming of the Roman Empire suggests that the
white settler society was one of greed and not one where all sections of
society were engaged in the advancement of civilisation. The wages farm
workers are paid are just as valid causes for poverty.

Secondly while I admire former Rhodesian Prime Minister Ian Smith's resolve
in resisting the dictates of successive British Administrations, I am
deeply unsettled by the assertion that White Rhodesians have NOTHING to
apologise for. The continued support of a Rhodesian government which would
not allow the black populous the chance to vote or participate in elections
is surely a cause for concern. After all had Ian Smith after UDI allowed
black participation then the formation of the liberation struggle would not
have taken place, after all the black people did give Ian Smith a couple of
years after UDI before launching their campaign. As a white person, I can
share the worries that Rhodesians must have had, that the black populous
would one day remove them from positions of power thereby denying their
security. But to deny black participation for nearly 20 years after 1965
and to engage in a horrendous civil war with fellow Rhodesians or as some
say terrorists - all they wanted was the vote!

In response to Simon Pirbright's letter I would like to point that that the
political freedoms and property rights enjoyed by white Zimbabweans today
that he asserts as a right of citizenship were the very same rights which
black Rhodesians were denied before 1980 for which they entered into a
liberation war and won at the polling station. I am surprised to hear that
the colonial legacy in Zimbabwe had before the start of the land reform
process all but disappeared. On searching for property in Harare I noticed
that all the property websites were owned by whites and nearly all the
property negotiators were white! Oh and not forgetting the 70% of farmland
owned by whites which are 1% of Zimbabwe's population.

In response to Lillian's message, Mugabe does not hate the whites, after
all if he did why then allow them to live in Zimbabwe whilst appointing
Anthony Gubbay as Chief Justice and Dr Timothy Stamps as Health Minister?
Mugabe has only this week personally stated that the land reform exercise
was NOT INTENDED to disposes those who posses land. It was only to parcel
land ownership out more evenly.

In response to Veronica Scott's letter all I will say is that British
businessman Nicholas Van Hoogenstraten, has invested in Zimbabwe, supported
Mugabe's regime calling him thoroughly honest and decent, and has NOT had
his farm taken for A2 or resettlement purposes - I wonder why! All whites
will be given land back, Mugabe has promised through the providing of 99
year leases.

I would like to thank Dutiro for his good words and would like to remind
Zimbabweans, particularly white Zimbabweans of his words to me as a white
UK citizen, "This guy is real and looks at the reality of things. Thanks
very much for your version and it's down to earthiness. If there were more
of you around or better still in Britain, things would have been different.
I hope the others who seem to deny the truth will learn from you. Thanks
once more".

I would very much like to thank Aluta for highlighting the plight of
Zimbabwe's black population. I would like to point out, that while my first
letter to JAG was intended to address agricultural issues which JAG is
concerned to address, I no way whatsoever underestimate the problems faced
by Zimbabwe's black population, though as a white person hoping to invest
in Zimbabwe, it is not my place to comment, suffice to say that atrocities
are committed on all sides during a civil war and that if the Country
wasn't facing economic sabotage, then the need to remove these black market
traders would be unnecessary and equally adequate funds would be available
to construct suitable housing for those deposed from the urban centres
which the Government has promised for those relocated.

Finally I would like to re-emphasis the wise words of Alan McCormick In
hind sight the white community, and especially the farmers, should have
kept out of politics or even have supported Mugabe to the hilt. We should
have sold our souls to the devil and continued with the good life.

Have faith in Zimbabwe and dissent from supporting sanctions which are
ruining the jewel of Africa.

Stuart Chappell
UK citizen interested in purchasing property in Zimbabwe.

All letters published on the open Letter Forum are the views and opinions
of the submitters, and do not represent the official viewpoint of Justice
for Agriculture.

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Sleeping sickness: a Zimbabwean disease

Sokwanele - Enough is Enough - Zimbabwe

Sokwanele Report : 11 October 2005

Lake Kariba (top); tsetse fly (bottom)When referring to the sorry state of the country, people often speak of "the Zimbabwean crisis" (singular). Indeed there is a single cause of the multi-layered crisis that now besets the unfortunate people of this land, and that is to be located in ZANU PF's prolonged misrule. But although the cause is one, the crises (plural) it has spawned are many. There is a severe crisis in the economy for instance, as in manufacturing, as in agriculture, in education, health care and so on. In fact just about every sector of the national life is plunged into deep crisis right now. They are of course inter-related crises and together contribute to the collective sense of pain shared by all save the ruling elite who cushion themselves with the privileges of power, Mugabe-style. More accurately therefore we should perhaps speak of the "Zimbabwean crises" (plural) except when referring to the central crisis of misrule.

One of the many crises which receives considerably less attention than it deserves is the health time bomb which is ticking away as traditional disease control measures are abandoned, essentially for lack of funds.

Take the dreaded disease of sleeping sickness for example - African Trypanosomiasis to give it its proper title. This is a slow, wasting illness characterized by fever and inflammation of the lymph nodes, leading to profound lethargy that frequently ends in death; in other words, a most unpleasant way to die. The disease is spread by the bite of the tsetse fly. Wildlife is generally immune to the disease but, along with humans, domestic animals are also susceptible. The symptoms in dogs for example are particularly distressing as their nervous systems are attacked progressively. They tend to go blind, give way to involuntary howling, and die in great pain.

Certain low-lying areas in Zimbabwe, such as along the course of the Zambezi River, have always been known to be at risk because of the prevalence of tsetse fly. Before the advent of insecticides this had a natural limiting effect upon human habitation and cattle rearing in these areas. However once the cause of the disease was understood, and effective preventative measures put in place (through spraying and maintaining extensive clearings around human settlement), these regions could be settled without undue risk. This is what happened with the building of Kariba and the development of the tourist industry along the shores of the lake and beyond.

The Department of Veterinary Services established check points at strategic points along the road networks to ensure that vehicles entering and leaving known tsetse areas might be sprayed to keep the disease in check. Clearing and spraying programmes around villages and tourist areas were routine and, through vigilance, cases of sleeping sickness became extremely rare even in areas afflicted with the dreaded tsetse fly. But that is no more.

Today the disease is rampant again across a huge swathe of prime tourist resorts in huge triangle between Chirundu and Makuti to the north and east of Kariba, to the Omay Communal Lands far out to the west. Ever since the European Union (EU) funding of the Department of Veterinary Services' control programme came to an end some five years ago, and with it the cessation of all preventative measures, the inhabitants of this vast area, including tourists, have been sitting on a time bomb.

This week our reporter discovered that sleeping sickness has already claimed its first victims, and as it moves on unchecked it may soon claim many more. The facts are difficult to establish because there is almost a conspiracy of silence by those with vested interests in the tourist trade - already decimated because of other crises, including the chronic fuel shortage. But there was a death attributable to the disease just last year from the Charara Safari Area, the unfortunate victim being flown to South Africa for treatment but dying because the disease was not diagnosed in time. More recently a hunter and four of his assistants in the Makuti hunting area are believed to have contracted the disease, though their condition was diagnosed in time to save their lives with the appropriate treatment. There could well have been many more fatalities that have passed unrecorded among the local population.

A visit to Kariba quickly confirms that tsetse flies are breeding in huge numbers immediately adjacent to areas of human settlement. The government, bankrupt of both cash and ideas to fight the killer scourge, is doing nothing. One might at least have expected warnings to be posted to local residents and visitors but, as the menace continues to grow daily, there are no warnings to be seen anywhere: no warnings, no prophylactics, no preventative measures.

Our reporter spoke to several Kariba residents who are alarmed at the spread of the disease, including one who has treated a number of infected dogs. Over the past two years he confirmed a "huge number" of dogs have succumbed, 16 dying in the last two weeks alone. Moreover, given the paucity of veterinary services available to monitor the disease, this can only be regarded as the tip of the iceberg. "It is", said our informant, "completely out of hand, not only in Kariba itself but from Chirundu to Omay and very likely, beyond".

To our minds the most alarming feature of the recurrence of the once-conquered sleeping sickness is the lack of concern shown by those charged with disease prevention in Zimbabwe. Granted that, through no fault of their own, the Department of Veterinary Services lacks the resources to combat the spread of the disease, we would at least have expected them, and the responsible health and tourist authorities, to warn of the huge danger to health now posed to unwary residents and visitors. Otherwise it is not so much a case of sleeping sickness as "sleeping is the sickness" - the sickness of all who are too afraid to sound the alarm.

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Judge upholds poll result despite violence


October 11 2005 at 07:53AM

Harare - A judge in Zimbabwe has uncovered "isolated" incidents of
violence perpetrated in one constituency by members of the ruling party on
opposition supporters ahead of this year's parliamentary elections, the
state-controlled Herald reported on Tuesday.

But Justice Rita Makarau said the violence was not enough to nullify
State Security Minister Didymus Mutasa's victory in Makoni North
constituency in the March parliamentary elections.

Makarau was, however "satisfied in her judgment that throughout the
constituency, villagers were threatened with the withholding of food and
agricultural inputs if they were inclined to the opposition party," the
Herald reported.

She said she had heard the testimony of one witness from the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) who saw "one MDC member
exchanging his MDC T-shirt for a bag of maize at a rally".

But, Makarau said, the culprits were local ruling party Zimbabwe
African National Union - Patriotic Front (Zanu-PF) officials, and not Mutasa

The MDC, led by former trade unionist Morgan Tsvangirai, is
challenging the victory of Zanu-PF members in several constituencies. The
MDC saw its representation in parliament this year fall to just 41 seats out
of 150 - a result the party refuses to accept.

The judge, who sits on Zimbabwe's special Electoral Court, said there
was no evidence to show that Mutasa approved the attacks. And she said there
was no evidence there was "widespread" violence throughout Makoni North.

Makarau said "the correct position was that violence and undue
influence would only render an election void if that was widespread
throughout the constituency," the Herald said.

The opposition still has to decide whether to take part in elections
for a new senate scheduled for the end of next month.

Tsvangirai last weekend asked supporters at a rally in the capital
"whether the vote will not be stolen again as was done in the previous
elections since 2000 and whether participating in the polls will resolve our
current national crisis of growing poverty and unemployment". - Sapa-dpa

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Phil Simmons contests sacking

Cricinfo staff

October 11, 2005

Zimbabwe Cricket has formally terminated Phil Simmons's three-year coaching
contract, almost two months after he was removed from the post and replaced
by Kevin Curran.

After his sacking on August 17, Simmons continued to be paid by the board as
it sought to redeploy him in other areas. But at the end of last week
Simmons was written to by ZC's lawyers and told that he was being dismissed.
Under the terms of his contract, Simmons will be entitled to six months'
salary, but he was instructed to leave the board-owned accommodation he
received as part of his package as well as returning his car and other

As late as Friday, Simmons was insisting that he was contesting his
dismissal, maintaining it was illegal as it had not been carried out in
accordance with the board's own constitution. On Thursday, Simmons and
Curran both attended the selection meeting for the forthcoming series
against Kenya.

"I never went to school to study human resources, or anything else ...
cricket is my profession," Simmons told the Zimbabwe Standard. "That is why
I fell out with ZC because they always wanted to tell me how to do my job,
yet the same people never even came to see us practice. There was no way I
could listen to people who don't even know which side of the bat is up."


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Street vendors slip back quietly after urban clean up campaign

Zim Independent

FIVE months after the Zimbabwean government cleared the streets of urban
centres across the country of vendors, beggars and street children, informal
traders are trickling back but are forced to play hide-and-seek as police
prowl the pavements on the lookout for illegal operators.
Pinos Muhacha leans against a wall, standing guard over empty cigarette
packets placed on a tattered cardboard box, a threadbare knapsack on his
The empty cigarette packs act as a decoy for prying police as well as a sign
to customers that this is a vending site.
Muhacha is one of the vendors who dared to return to their former trading
place after police blitzed stalls in the capital, Harare, as part of a slum
clearance campaign dubbed Operation Murambatsvina (Drive Out Trash).
"It is still a cat-and-mouse game here on the streets - one has to be
constantly on the move," he says, taking out two half-empty packs of
cigarettes from his knapsack for a customer.
Muhacha's customer complains about the inconvenience of having to search for
vendors when they were readily visible before the blitz. "Buying any fruit
is now a hassle - at least in the past one could buy a single avocado, an
orange or a banana. The absence of vendors has forced us to go into
supermarkets, where fruit is sold in expensive packages," he said.
"There are no jobs unless one decides to cross into South Africa illegally
or risk scaling the electrified fence into neighbouring Botswana," Muhacha
Informal traders who were forcibly cleared off the streets are back in
numbers, driven by deepening economic hardship to try and eke out a living.
They had gone underground: some turned their homes into clandestine
mini-shops, while others set up along the streets of working-class suburbs,
ready to whisk their fruit and vegetables indoors at the slightest hint of
an impending police raid.
But reduced business due to overtrading in the suburbs eventually prompted
them to go back to the city streets and avenues where business had always
been brisk.
Vendors tested the waters first by operating only during early evenings when
workers jostled to get home on the few buses available.
"It is hunger that forces us to defy the police ban - how else do city
authorities expect us to feed, clothe and pay for lodgings for our families
when there are not enough jobs to go around? It is the only alternative for
survival," said Ndakaitei Gwinyai, a 46-year old divorcee from Mufakose.
Gwinyai said she had lost a major portion of her "investment" in the form of
fruit and vegetables in the initial raids, but that had not deterred her
from "trying her luck" once more because the need to survive outweighed the
"You know what is involved - if I get caught and get my wares impounded, I
take it as an unlucky day; if I elude police swoops my children have food on
their table. Have you ever agonised over watching your children go hungry
because you fear authorities?" she asked.
In the past two weeks Zimbabwean police have arrested an estimated 14 700
vagrants, street vendors and illegal foreign currency dealers in the capital
as police battled to enforce the urban clearance campaign.
According to Harare city council spokesman Leslie Gwindi: "Council plans to
boost the number of its municipal police to enforce trading by-laws in the
city. We are determined to rid the streets of vagrants, touts and idlers at
all cost. We want to maintain order and retain the status of 'The Sunshine
City' that Harare previously enjoyed."
The vendors' return has also brought piles of uncollected garbage back to
streets and alleyways but municipal officials say there is little they can
do because of the crippling fuel shortage.
Town clerk Ngoni Chideya noted that besides the fuel shortage, his council's
garbage collection fleet has been hobbled by an acute shortage of foreign
currency to buy spares. "At times council buys fuel on the black market to
keep emergency services going - we prioritise emergency services ahead of
garbage collection." -- Irin.

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Following the leader

Mail and Guardian

Godwin Gandu

11 October 2005 06:30

The succession battle in Zanu-PF enters a new phase as power
blocs in the ruling party in Zimbabwe jockey for influence on the newly
created Senate -- elections for which are likely to take place next month.

President Robert Mugabe ensured his central committee sanction
an early poll last Friday, a move seen as an acknowledgement by the
81-year-old leader that he needs to limit dissent. The 50 seats that will be
directly elected through constituencies will heighten tension in Zanu-PF
that have formed around the presidential ambitions of Rural Housing Minister
Emmerson Mnangagwa on the one hand and Mugabe's confidant and former army
general Solomon Mujuru, whose wife Joyce is favoured by the party old guard.

Mugabe will appoint the remaining 16 in the 66-member Senate
from various interest groups. The Mujuru camp currently holds sway in the
legislature and would not want to drop their guard and allow Mnangagwa's
young turks to control the Senate.

Political analysts and civil society actors view the creation of
the second chamber of Parliament as an instrument for Mugabe to mollify
party loyalists. "I don't think it was designed as a legislative arm. It's
for the old boys -- a retirement home. It will be dominated by the old guard
because the minimum age for participation is 40," Dr Eldred Masunungure, a
political analyst based at the University of Zimbabwe, told the Mail &

In a bid to avert potentially divisive contests, Zanu-PF has
also decided to break with tradition and has dropped primary elections to
determine its candidates for the senate. Instead, the party says it will
reach consensus on its nominations through its structures.

Mnangagwa is likely to call the shots in Masvingo, Midlands and
parts of the Matabeleland provinces, while Mujuru can rely on support from
Harare, Mashonaland and Manicaland. Both camps, however, wield some
influence in each other's strongholds. The old guard can rely on party
luminaries like chairperson John Nkomo, secretary for the commissariat
Elliot Manyika and Vice-President Joseph Msika to do their bidding.

There have been suggestions that Justice Minister Patrick
Chinamasa plans to introduce another raft of constitutional amendments,
which would, among other things, allow parliament to elect the president in
2008, instead of citizens going to the polls.

This has upped the stakes for both factions within Zanu-PF ahead
of the Senate poll.

Mnangagwa, long considered Mugabe's heir apparent, suffered a
setback last week with the expulsion from Zanu-PF of one of his chief
backers, Jabulani Sibanda, the war veterans' chairperson. Sibanda and six
provincial chairpersons were suspended from the party for their part in the
infamous Tsholotsho meeting designed to ratchet up support for Mnangagwa's
bid for the vice- presidency of Zanu-PF last year. Sibanda told the M&G that
he is being victimised and had never been called to a hearing. "We went to
war to fight a white minority regime but now there is a black minority
regime we have to fight within the party," he said.

Sibanda's expulsion, Zanu-PF insiders close to him say, would
add impetus to challenging Mugabe's grip on power. But Masunungure believes
that it would take the equivalent of a political tsunami to turn the tables
on the old guard. "If Zanu-PF splits, it means Mnangagwa splitting. Mujuru
will remain within Zanu-PF because he cannot break from a party that he is
firmly in control of. Should Mnangagwa break away, he might as well write
his political obituary. He can only struggle and survive within the Zanu-PF

"Towards the 2008 presidential elections, there is going to be a
low-level civil war within Zanu-PF. The tension will be real and evident and
will only subside after the party elections to choose a candidate is over,"
Musunungure said.

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High court blocks eviction of displaced squatters from open spaces

By Tererai Karimakwenda
11 October 2005

On Monday, the High Court in Harare ruled in favour of some families
who were displaced by the government's Operation Murambatsvina, by granting
a provisional order barring their eviction from open spaces in the Mbare
suburb of Harare. Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights report that they were
approached by 252 squatters who said they had been ordered by the police to
leave their makeshift shelters by Friday. On behalf of these families,
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights sued the commissioner of police, the
ministry of Home Affairs and the City of Harare. The High Court order was
obtained with the consent of state lawyers, meaning the squatters are safe
for now. The City of Harare said it never threatened them with eviction.

It is ironic that these families, which are now squatting, had decent
homes until the demolition of their houses under Operation Murambatsvina in
May. Now the same government was attempting to evict them from the makeshift
homes they put together for protection from the cold winter. The open spaces
are Mbare Musika and the Joburg lines. There is also a squatter camp at the
#5 football grounds.

The government has promised to build new houses over the next few
years, and the squatters plan to file for permission to stay until they are
provided such housing. So far no real construction has taken place as it
becomes clear the government 'reconstruction' plan is nothing more than a PR
exercise. It could therefore be a long time before these families move away
from the growing squatter camps. Government critics have maintained that the
demolitions were done to punish people for supporting the opposition.

SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

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Minister Langa shot me: MDC activist

Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

From Nkululeko Sibanda in Bulawayo
issue date :2005-Oct-12

AN MDC activist yesterday told a Bulawayo Electoral Court that Insiza
legislator and deputy minister of environment and tourism Andrew Langa shot
him with a pistol during the countdown to the March parliamentary poll.
Darlington Kudenga claimed before Judge Nicholas Ndou that a bullet from the
pistol was still lodged in his back. He said doctors who operated on him had
advised that if removed, it could be fatal.
Kudenga was testifying in an election petition filed by MDC losing Insiza
candidate in this year's general elections, Siyabonga Malandu Ncube.
Ncube wants the court to declare Langa's election victory null and void,
arguing that the poll was not free and fair.
Kudenga claimed that the deputy minister shot at him at a police station in
the constituency where he and other MDC members had gone to file a complaint
after suspected Zanu PF supporters had confiscated their election campaign
"Our party's election material was seized by Zanu PF supporters at gunpoint
after they had trailed us for more than 15 to 20km. Our assailants blocked
our vehicle and ordered all of us to alight before making off with our
material at high speed," Kudenga said.
"When we went to make a report to the police, the respondent (Langa) arrived
in the company of his party supporters and asked for us. He was shouting
that he wanted to shoot at all of us and finish us off," Kudenga told the
He added that it was after uttering those threats that Langa opened fire in
the MDC supporters' direction and a bullet hit him in the back, felling him
in the process.
Kudenga further stated that the deputy minister followed him in the police
charge office and threatened to "finish me off", but was only restrained by
a senior police officer at the station.
"Efforts to have the bullet removed proved fruitless and up to today the
bullet is still lodged onto my back. A doctor at Mater Dei Hospital told me
that it was better to stay with the bullet than to have it removed as this
posed a threat to my life. The doctor told me that the bullet is lodged
close to the heart and any mistake could be dangerous to my life," Kudenga
He also showed the court his blood stained T-shirt that he said he was
wearing during the shooting incident, as well as the place where the bullet
was lodged.
With tears streaming down his eyes, Kudenga added: "I wonder what this man
(Langa) is still doing here without being prosecuted. He has never been
arrested since he committed the offence."Langa is yet to be put to his
The petition hearing continues today.

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NRZ inefficiency threatens shipping sector

Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2005-Oct-12

Shame Makoshori THE Shipping and Forwarding Agents Association of Zimbabwe
(SFAAZ) last week expressed concern over the failure by the National
Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) to timeously ship containers from Beitbridge to
Harare arguing that they were losing business due to perennial delays.
SFAAZ chairman, Caesar Bare told The Business Mirror on the sidelines of the
organisation's annual conference in Harare on Friday that the NRZ took up to
three months to carry goods from the boarder town due to a depleted fleet of
locomotives and lack of mechanisms to track containers.
"We note with concern the failure by the NRZ to timeously move containers.
It takes up to three months in some cases for containers from Beitbridge to
reach Harare.
"In the mean time, customers would be waiting for raw materials because they
also want to beat deadlines. A permanent solution must be found to address
the NRZ's problems," Bare said. "From Durban to Beitbridge, the system is
efficient but it is when the cargo reaches our side that we face problems.
The NRZ does not have enough engines, it is difficult to track the
containers on the tracks. "They must invest in equipment to track the
containers at Rutenga," he added.
Statistics indicate that in April last year, based on current demand for NRZ
services, the company required at least 108 mainline locomotives, which are
called the DE10 class compared to the then available 60.
NRZ figures indicated a downward trend in the availability of locomotives in
the past six years at the Bulawayo headquartered company, which in 1999
proudly ran 126 engines, declining to 112 in 2000, 99 in 2001, 83 in 2002
and further down to 60 in 2003.
This effectively meant that the NRZ was running with 48 locomotives short of
the required complement. It required a major beefing up exercise to breathe
life into its systems and halt incurring unnecessary expenses as the
transport company was pumping up to R6 million (about Z$40 billion then) in
monthly interchange costs to South African railway company, Spoornet. The
NRZ has not purchased new engines since then.
However, government struck a deal with Chinese company, CNR that would see
the Sino concern supplying engines, wagons and passenger coaches to the NRZ.
The future of the deal has however been hanging in the balance since April
this year when the Chinese assembler demanded a down payment.
Bare said the national airline, Air Zimbabwe must also improve its cargo
handling capacity to complement the NRZ.
The government has intensified efforts to launch a new cargo airline after
the only cargo airline, Affretair collapsed in 2000 due to viability
problems.Transport and Communication Minister Chris Mushohwe recently said
Zimbabwe required at least two cargo jets to cope with growing demand for
air shipments. Industry and International Trade Minister Obert Mpofu
acknowledged at the ASFAAZ conference that the NRZ was going through a lean
spell but assured the shipping industry that efforts were underway to
improve its efficiency.
"The NRZ has not made the situation any better; we are doing everything
possible to overcome the challenges," he said.

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Parliament urged to revise 'archaic' laws

Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2005-Oct-12

HARARE Commissioner Tapfumaneyi Jaja yesterday said Parliament should revise
legislation governing local authorities, arguing that although Operation
Murambatsvina/Restore Order was within the parameters of the law, archaic
legislation had been used.
Giving oral evidence before the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Local
Government chaired by Zanu PF Mazowe West MP Margaret Zinyemba, Jaja said
there was need to revise the statutes to make them "compatible".
The commissioner was part of a delegation led by commission chairperson
Sekesayi Makwavarara that appeared before the committee.
The other commissioners included James Kurasha and prominent lawyer Terrence
Hussein and council officials.
"We are appealing to the committee that our laws be made compatible. We have
archaic laws that govern us. Operation Murambatsvina was within the law only
because an archaic law was in place," Jaja said.
He said there was need for the Local Government committee to work closely
with council in trying to find solutions to some of the problems affecting
the capital.
There was also controversy over the continued employment of a consultant,
Chester Mhende, when a turnaround strategy was already in place and being
Legislators wondered why a person consulted on a plan could be allowed to go
on to work on its implementation. Hussein said they unanimously agreed as a
commission that Mhende would not be part of the implementation.
"We will not allow the consultant to be involved in the implementation of
the turnaround strategy. In fact, one of the council resolutions was that
the turnaround should be implemented by the Town Clerk, (Nomutsa Chideya),"
he said.
Chideya said according to Mhende's contract, which, he said, stated that he
was appointed by Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo, his tenure ends
at the end of this year. He said the strategist was appointed after his
predecessor, Tendai Mahachi, left to join Air Zimbabwe as chief executive.
The commission administering Harare had appointed Mahachi.
MPs immediately expressed concern over that arrangement and said council
should forward Mhende's letter of engagement to them.
"What is he still doing? He should have gone by now. The question on what he
is doing has not been answered. How can a consultant go on to implement his
own turnaround strategy?" asked MDC Harare North legislator Trudy Stevenson.
MDC chief whip and Mutare Central MP Innocent Gonese also asked whether
council was unable to deduce the meaning of the turnaround plan.
Chideya said currently, Mhende was assisting the council business
development unit in "setting up of utilities for purposes of generating
The Town Clerk also referred to the possible relocation of Mabvuku families
living near Circle Cement in the near future.
Chideya said this after Mabvuku MP, Timothy Mubhawu, had asked what council
would do considering that the families were suffering from diseases due to
breathing substances emitted by the cement plant.
"Through time, there is need to relocate the families. You cannot keep
people in a death trap. There is a deliberate policy to relocate a sizeable
number of the families," he said.
During the same hearing, Makwavarara told Mubhawu that she would personally
meet with him after the MP complained that he was being stopped from sinking
boreholes in his constituency that was beset with water problems.
Mubhawu said the decision to stop him from doing so was politically
motivated, but he later withdrew that remark.
Makwavarara then replied that she felt it was not illegal to sink boreholes.

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