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WFP says 1.4 mln in Zimbabwe will need food aid


Wed 11 Oct 2006 3:03 PM ET
HARARE, Oct 11 (Reuters) - Some 1.4 million people in Zimbabwe will need
food aid in the six months until the next summer harvest despite improved
output from last season, a U.N. World Food Programme official said on

President Robert Mugabe's government has forecast production of 1.8 million
tonnes of the staple maize grain for the 2005/06 season.

But food agencies, while acknowledging output has improved in recent years,
predict a lower crop as the southern African country struggles to recover
from a sharp downturn in agriculture widely blamed on controversial land

On Wednesday the WFP's Zimbabwe representative, Kevin Farrell, said a joint
exercise involving the government, U.N. agencies and non-governmental
organisations had found that over a 10th of the country's estimated 12
million people would require aid before next April.

"We would broadly agree with that (assessment that) about 1.4 million people
are in need of some level of food assistance," Farrell said at a news
conference in Harare.

"The (food aid) distribution requirements between now and end of March are
roughly 65,000 tonnes ... I would guess that has a cost of about U.S.$35
million. Of that, we have a shortfall as of today of 26,000 tonnes or $16

On Wednesday Sweden donated $500,000 towards the WFP operations in Zimbabwe,
under which over 5 million people have received aid since 2002.

"The social and economic situation in Zimbabwe remains very difficult and
food aid to the poorest groups of the population will continue to be a
priority," said ambassador Sten Rylander.

Critics say disruptions to agriculture linked to Mugabe's controversial
seizure of white-owned farms for blacks largely ill-equipped to fully
utilise the land have left what was once southern Africa's bread-basket
struggling to feed itself.

Sweden is a member of the European Union, which has clashed with Mugabe's
government over the land seizures as well as charges that it has abused
human rights and rigged elections since 2000 to stay in power.

Asked on Wednesday whether the Swedish aid did not constitute propping up
Mugabe's government amid an economic crisis widely blamed on its misrule,
Rylander said it was part of humanitarian efforts to resolve the country's

"I will never give up these efforts. I think there are a number of people in
the government we can work with ... to move Zimbabwe out of the present
situation," he said.

Last month the government said Zimbabwe's defence forces had taken over food
security to shore up falling production as farmers hamstrung by shortages of
inputs such as fuel, seed and fertiliser and a lack of skills struggle to
raise output.

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Zimbabweans Look to Alternative Sources of Energy as Power Cuts Continue


      By Tendai Maphosa
      11 October 2006

Power outages - now a common feature during the winter in Zimbabwe when
demand rises - have this year continued into the early summer. Zimbabweans
are dealing with the disruptions by looking for alternative and reliable
sources to keep the lights on.

For years now, Zimbabweans have had to deal with power cuts during the
winter, as the country cannot meet demand from locally generated
electricity. Also, the shortage of foreign currency means the country cannot
import enough power to satisfy demand. This year, the power cuts have
spilled into the summer.

For those with the money, generators have provided a solution. The downside
is that the generators require fuel. And, fuel supplies in Zimbabwe have
been erratic since 1999. When it is available, it is always very expensive.
Others opt for solar panels, which are more expensive but - with sunshine in
abundance - prove to be cheaper, in the long run.

Power units with batteries which are connected to the mains and charged when
the power is on are increasingly proving to be very popular, although most
of them can only provide power for smaller electrical appliances such as
televisions, radio, computers and maybe a light or two.

Gas cookers have become an option for those who can afford them and the gas.
But all these options are way beyond the reach of the urban poor, who resort
to using candles for light and firewood for cooking because of a shortage of
kerosene. A mother of three who lives in a Harare township that has gone
without electricity for weeks told VOA that the price of firewood has risen
sharply during the period. Speaking on condition of anonymity, she accused
the firewood sellers of taking advantage of the situation. She added that
sometimes she can only afford to cook once a day.

A Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority official told VOA the situation is
unlikely to improve anytime soon. He says, although the country has the
capacity to produce enough power for local consumption and export, it is
currently generating less than half the potential, because of a variety of
reasons. He cites the shortage of foreign currency as the main problem,
effecting the ability to repair broken old machinery.

He also says a shortage of coal has led to some thermal power plants being
closed. Although there is enough coal at the country's mines, he says a lack
of equipment to extract it is forcing the mines to under produce. The
official says there is no power being imported, because some of the
countries from which Zimbabwe imports need all the power they produce.

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Gender activists protest MP's anti-women remarks

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

HARARE, 11 Oct 2006 (IRIN) - Women's organisations are outraged by an
opposition parliamentarian who urged the national assembly not to pass a
bill aimed at stamping out domestic violence, because women were inferior to

During debate on the Domestic Violence Bill, Timothy Mubhawu, member of
parliament (MP) for the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), told
parliament: "I stand here representing God the Almighty. Women are not equal
to men. This is a dangerous bill, and let it be known in Zimbabwe that the
rights, privileges and status of men are gone."

His remarks in the wake of disclosure by gender and women's affairs minister
Oppah Muchinguri that over 60 percent of all murder cases in Zimbabwe were
linked to domestic violence, sparked spontaneous protests.

Zimbabwe's ZANU-PF government rarely permits demonstrations, but more than
200 people from the Women's Coalition, an umbrella body for 35 women's
organisations, protested outside parliament in the presence of police,
petitioning MDC president Morgan Tsvangirai to ensure that Mubhawu
apologised for his remarks. The ZANU-PF women's league joined the protest.

"This Bill seeks to bring harmony in the home, and if parliament is not
going to protect women and children, who will? Women are the majority of the
voters and we therefore feel betrayed," the coalition said in a statement.

Betty Makoni, founder of the Girl Child Network, a nongovernmental
organisation (NGO) working in 32 of Zimbabwe's 58 districts, commented, "The
MP made some very outrageous and gender-insensitive statements, and we have
to express our anger by marching against him - he has made a lot of people
angry. It is unfortunate that such statements should come from an official
who should be representing both women and men in parliament."

Earlier this year the network said it had recorded a monthly average of 700
rapes of girls aged up to 16 in 2005, or more than 8,000 cases annually, of
which 93 percent were girls and 7 percent were boys.

The bill, first mooted a decade ago, has drawn widespread support from the
international community. The Swedish embassy said in a statement that
"prioritisation of women and children rights is an area which requires more
attention globally. Society definitely needs to do more in this area and the
introduction of the bill, albeit belatedly, is a move in the right

After accepting the petition from the women, Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of a
faction of the MDC, said Mubhawu had merely expressed his personal opinion.
"As a party we respect women and their rights. We believe you are right in
condemning violence and sexist statements made by those who were certainly
not representing the views of the party," he told the crowd.

"The challenge that I pose to you, as women, is that you must not be
selective in your revulsion for violence. We did not see these kinds of
demonstrations when other women, such as Lucia Matibenga, were brutally
assaulted by the police while in police custody. Violence is violence and it
must always be condemned."

Matibenga, vice-president of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, and
several other women from the labour federation were allegedly assaulted last
month by the police for organising protests over the worsening economic
conditions in the country and the government's failure to provide anti-AIDS
drugs to people living with HIV. Matibenga is now partially deaf as a

Annual inflation in Zimbabwe is hovering at around 1,000 percent and
unemployment levels are above 70 percent. Food, treated water and fuel are
in short supply, and power outages are common.

Members of other women's organisations seen to be in opposition to President
Robert Mugabe's government, such as Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) have
allegedly been beaten and detained by police, without any public
condemnation by the ZANU-PF women's league.

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Zimbabwe police allow women's demonstrations against opposition MP

Raw Story

dpa German Press Agency
Published: Wednesday October 11, 2006

Harare- Police in the Zimbabwean capital Harare allowed dozens of women to
demonstrate against statements made in parliament by a controversial
opposition MP, it was reported Wednesday. The placard-waving demonstrators
marched to parliament building in Harare's central Africa Unity Square on
Tuesday, the state-owned Herald newspaper reported.

The newspaper reported that policemen on bicycles watched the women mill
around parliament building, in sharp contrast to anti- government
demonstrations by trade union and women's groups last month which were
quickly and sometimes brutally quelled by police.

This week's demonstrators appeared to be mostly members of the Zimbabwe
Women's Coalition who were outraged by statements last week from the
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) legislator Timothy Mubawu against the
Domestic Violence Bill.

The proposed new legislation aims to give victims of domestic violence,
which will become a criminal offence, maximum protection. It also provides
for the issuing of protection orders that will ensure the economic
maintenance of a complainant while her case is being investigated.

Along with several other MPs from both sides of the house Mubawu is bitterly
opposed to the bill, which he has described as "diabolic."

It is a dangerous bill and let it be known in Zimbabwe that the right,
privilege and status of men is gone. I stand here alone and say this bill
should not be passed in this House. Our powers are being usurped in broad
daylight, Mubawu said in reported comments that have incensed Zimbabwean
women's activists.

Tuesday's demonstration has been given wide media coverage in Zimbabwe,
including on state radio. Activists in Zimbabwe are still reeling from the
treatment received by some members of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions
(ZCTU) who tried to demonstrate on September 13 but were taken into custody
and allegedly beaten by police.

The police say the trade unionists were injured while resisting arrest.

© 2006 dpa German Press Agency

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Update: BBC Hardtalk interview will now be aired Thursday, 12 October

Dear Friends,

This is an update to my email sent to you on Friday last week regarding my
forthcoming interview on BBC Hardtalk. The BBC have apologised for the
non-screening of the Hardtalk interview on 9 October 2006.

Please be advised that the Hardtalk interview will now be screened on
Thursday, 12 October 2006 at 5.30, 10.30, 16.30 and 20.30 Central African
time. Please can viewers outside Zimbabwe doublecheck the times for their
region by visiting the BBC Hardtalk webpage, which can be found at the link

Hardtalk interviews can also be viewed online via the Hardtalk website
(using the link).

Finally, if you miss the programme and would like to watch it, please do a
keyword search for my name on the Hardtalk website and you should be able to
watch it there after 12th October as well.

Yours sincerely,
The Hon. David Coltart MP

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Black market rate continues to gallop

      October 11, 2006

      By ANDnetwork .com

      The foreign currency exchange rate continued to gallop on the dominant
black market last week, as one US dollar and one South African rand rose to
more than $1 500 and $150 compared to about $900 and $120 previously.

      The sharp depreciation of the Zimbabwe dollar against major currencies
comes against a background of an inexorable rise in annual and monthly
inflation to 1204 percent and 29 percent in August.

      The local currency started sliding noticeably over the last four
months, as illegal traders in foreign currency started gaining confidence in
the delayed establishment of the Exchange Rate Impact Assessment Board
(ERIAB) by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) to regulate the market by
arriving at sustainable bands of exchange rate adjustments.

      In his monetary policy review statement for the first half of this
year RBZ governor Gideon Gono said the ERIAB would meet monthly to review
developments in the foreign exchange market and announce new trading bands.
As a result of the delay in establishing the foreign currency board, the
local currency has continued to trade at just $250 against one US dollar and
about $33 against one rand, since 31 July.

      Financial sector analysts have partly attributed the galloping foreign
currency rates on delays in establishing the regulatory board that has
resulted in rates on the parallel market trading at a premium of more than
1000 percent of the official rate.But since July 31, when intentions to
create the new foreign currency regulatory framework were announced by Gono,
no new developments have been witnessed.

      As a result of the silence, the financial sector, and the economy in
general has virtually remained in the dark concerning the establishment of
new board and the country's foreign exchange policy.

      The latest developments in the depreciation of the local currency are
expected to impact negatively on efforts to turnaround the economy and
reduce high inflation to manageable levels in the absence of a significant
review of the official exchange rate.

      Financial analysts said the latest depreciation in parallel market
rates would also trigger an increase in most asset prices.

       "With no decisive measures in place to immediately address the root
causes of problems such as declining productive output and low forex
generation/inflows the forecasted patterns of similar inflation and parallel
exchange rate movement suggest that equities and currency hedge assets are
suitable as an investment," a financial research company said last month.

      With fuel prices at independent petroleum stations dictated by the
black market rate of the US dollar in the past few months, continued
depreciations in the local currency are also expected to have further
negative ripple effects on the economy.

      Last week some service stations in the city centre were already
selling a litre of fuel for more than $1 500.

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Brian Kagoro and George Ayittey on Zimbabwe's crisis - Part 2

      By Violet Gonda

      Violet: Welcome to Part two of the three part teleconference with
distinguished Ghanaian economist Dr. George Ayittey and Zimbabwean human
rights lawyer Brian Kagoro. The discussion focuses on an article by Ayittey
where he says protest marches against Robert Mugabe are a waste of time.

      We continue from last week discussion where it was generally agreed
that pro-democracy groups have to speak with one voice and that there is a
need for a strong alliance. Zimbabwe has seen a few of these alliances and
coalitions like the National Constitutional Assembly and Crisis in Zimbabwe

      As one of the NCA founders and former chairperson of the Crisis in
Zimbabwe Coalition, I asked Brian Kagoro if these alliances that already
exist are working and if not, what is the problem or is it people don't
believe in them anymore?

      Brian: I think it would be unfair to say people haven't believed in
them. The NCA, in its heyday captured national imagination; the grass roots
coalition also did. I think what the differences have been around is around
tactics. Let me concede a point, and, I've said it in discussing the MDC
earlier; that a lot of egotistic approaches to resolving the national
question, machoism and sometimes, downright foolishness, so, I do accept
that hope is not a method.

      You can't do the same thing over and over again and hope that you'll
get a different result by some divine intervention. We need to be smart.
And, clearly the opposition leadership and most of the civic leadership has
known the possibilities of doing other strategic forms of engagement, and,
this is why lobby and advocacy, this is why creative forms of mass action
other than demonstrations are always urged and encouraged.

      But, the question of leadership has become fundamental. The formation
of the MDC did two things. It fundamentally weakened the civic leadership
and the architecture of civil society. In the euphoria of 1999 and 2000 and
the belief that MDC would sweep to power, what happened is that a lot of the
civic structures mortgaged themselves to the political process within the
MDC which was founded on a fairly weak ideological base and also was a
coalition that brought together people who did not necessarily believe in
the same things, that may have had the same agenda, which was regime change.
So part of what we are seeing are manifestations of a weak foundation, and
in my view these are things that are remedying themselves in this process.

      By going back to define the social constituents or social base of the
struggle in Zimbabwe, that's number one. Number two, re-defining the agenda
and saying that; phase one, constitutional change is imperative but more
importantly people's daily lives are affected, not by the document called
the constitution but by human agency.

      And, that human agency is in two places. One, we have seen as a fairly
predatory role play by the State, and sometimes it's a bunch of
kleptomaniacs and political criminals who pretend to be party activists;
both in business and political parties. The second is within the opposition
itself. The focus around capturing the soul of the MDC itself; or the soul
of the opposition. And, what seems to be emerging and worryingly, an ethnic
argument and factor in it and fairly classical demarcations between classes.

      So what has failed to happen is that, whereas the NCA was able to
bring people from different social strata, ethnic background and unite them
around a national agenda of re-constituting Zimbabwean society and a new

      What the current agenda is not doing or rather is doing is emphasising
more of the differences between what are being called elites, what are being
called just workers - now working people, Churches and all sorts of
permutations that we are seeing. This is the function of an exhausted

      And, I have urged, in discussing the MDC, that what we now need is a
succession within the civil society or the oppositional forces. You need to
enthuse a new zeal, a new vision and even a new leadership to augment what
appears to be either fatigue or mere exhaustion. I think that we are
suffering from an impasse of perception and this is why many of us have
said; "yes, we've made a huge contribution to this struggle, but the
struggle must not be mortgaged and stand or fall on account of our own

      So the reason why you have no singular voice is people are still
living in the glory of 1999 and 2000 and 2001 that we almost supplanted the
Dictator and yet, the reality is that those gains have receded
significantly. In fact, if you were to account for our political worth, our
inflation levels within the pro-democracy movement are much higher than the
national inflation levels, if you are talking about value of our politics
and even our structures. But, is there good will to reconstruct? Yes, there
is. And, what will it take? Will it take just Morgan and Arthur Mutambara
sitting together across the table? No, it will take much more. It will take,
firstly, and this may sound like a contradiction, it will take civil society
defining itself as such and its agenda and if it is collaborating with.

      George: Brian, how long will it take civil society to redefine itself?
You know, time is of the essence! The Economy is almost literally on the
verge of collapse!

      Brian: I'd rather have that than a false start because Zimbabwe cannot
afford another false start. So there's a question of 'do we bandage the
bleeding wound, or, do we take a much more long term approach? Zimbabwe has
had four false starts. 1979 we didn't resolve certain structural issues.
1982 we didn't; 1987 we didn't, and when we were going towards 1999 we didn't.
And so, this series of false starts I think requires that as we think
through the emergency mode that the country we also think about what will
finally take it out of this emergency mode and do so on a, if not
semi-permanent, on a permanent basis.

      Whilst I agree that the major objective for us; the major consensus
has been that Mugabe has totally, totally failed and so has ZANU PF. We are
also agreed that what we need is not another ZANU PF type. What we need is a
genuine alternative, and this is why I think its construction should take us
a little bit more time. And, the pain of course is something you can't ask
people to keep on suffering in the hope that you construct this alternative.

      Violet: That's what I wanted to ask Dr. Ayittey that does he agree
with what Brian is saying, that there is a need to re-define the struggle
and what chances do the progressive forces have if they were to do this and
do they really have an ideological basis to challenge Mugabe as Brian Kagoro
seems to ask?

      George: You know let me play the devils advocate and say that I am a
common Zimbabwean and I would say that all this talk is gibberish. You know,
look, re-defining the struggle; what do you mean by re-defining the
struggle? What I want as an average Zimbabwean is that I want this man out!
I want Mugabe out! I want my conditions to improve OK? If you put people
together, you know, these opposition leaders of the opposition forces/civil
society they will talk and talk and talk about constitutional reform,
constitutional this, constitutional that.

      All this belongs to suffering. By now we should know that with this
Mugabe regime there, there is no way in hell, you are going to have any
genuine constitutional reform; no way! Mugabe is the big obstacle, he must
be out of the way. Now, everybody must agree on this, alright? Everybody
must put aside their political defences, they must put aside their regional
differences, they must put aside their tribal differences. Put everything
aside and focus; the key word here is focus. Focus on getting this regime
out of power.

      Once this regime is out of power then you can level the political
playing field. There's no way you can have a free and fair election with
Mugabe there! This doesn't need to be emphasised; it's a fact. And, so long
as the regime is there you are not going to have any general reform process
going. Get him out of the way, establish a level political playing field.
This is the way they did it in South Africa, this is the way they did it in
Benin, to remove the tiger before you point any other. You see, the moment
you say constitutional reform for example, the Mugabe people will also be
part of the process and guess what they are going to do? They are going to
stymie the process, they are going to throw a monkey wrench in every
constitutional process. You should know this, that the tyrant will do this.

      Brian: But the South Africa process is totally the opposite of what
you are describing. We started off with negotiations and those negotiations
were around principles and the constitutional framework and we went through
transition. The South African process didn't immediately remove De Klerk; we
had a transitional arrangement. And, this is why I keep saying, the dominant
forces within the region and by this I also mean Thabo Mbeki and others have
a type, a prototype of transition that they agree that perhaps ZANU should
go, that Mugabe should go.

      But, one of the foundations upon which they want this to happen is a
stability that they can be assured of. This is a stability informed by their
own market interests, stability informed by the interest of not having
thousands of Zimbabweans at their doorstep, should we not manage the
stability. So, the Zimbabwean question is more than just the resolution of
the internal contradictions in the movement. That's point number one.

      Point number two, for those of us who have been in the struggle for a
long while, I think, it is not true that just by Mugabe going (yes, he must
go, and should have gone a long time ago), that by Mugabe going the long
structural crisis that our country has endured, will be resolved. Or even,
that if we don't manage the question of the ideological frame of the
transition we are entering into, we will resolve the plight of the ordinary
person, because if what we are replacing ZANU PF with is a system that
believes that somehow benefits will trickle to the poor, in eighty years
time Zimbabwean poor will still be poor and even poorer. Perhaps inflation
won't be as high, but the condition of the poor - and, we have seen this in
South Africa and seen this in many other African countries where we are
recording tiny growth figures and yet the position of the common person that
you are playing devils advocate on behalf of, has not improved.

      Violet: And you know, Dr. Ayittey says people need to stop talking
gibberish and start focusing. Now, let's just look at some of the options
that he suggested in his article. He said, if a strike must be called to put
pressure on the government, the most effective would be a strike by Civil
Servants. Now are the Civil Servants in Zimbabwe the cornerstone and if so,
shouldn't the opposition forces be mobilising them?

      Brian: OK, there's two functions there. Three years ago we were moving
towards a unified labour system that would have made it possible for Civil
Servants to actually go on strike. If you employ the Presidential Powers
Temporary Measures, if a Civil Service goes on strike and the President
invokes those powers the consequences for them which we saw in 1985, '86 and
which we saw again in 1992, the consequences are much more dire than for
ordinary workers in factories and elsewhere. So what has happened is the
demobilisation of the Civil Service is not based simply on the fact that no
overtures have been made to them. In fact, they themselves have made serious
overtures to join the ZCTU, to be affiliated and to be part of the broader
working people of Zimbabwe who are advocating for change. But, clearly,
their position currently is such that it will be rare.

      And the second point of course, and we have written a lot on this and
there are lots of articles between myself, Makumbe and Brian Raftopoulos, on
the politicisation and the militarisation of the institutions of the Civil
Service. They are headed by military people and very few Civil Servants
right now irrespective of what sector they are in will be in a position; if
we are saying the regime is repressive within other contexts like the use of
violence against street protesters.

      The viciousness with which we saw them deal with junior doctors for
example, you can refer to the (Farayi) Jiah and other cases, deal with
nurses, is not the same as what we have seen happen to workers that actually
stay at home. And, on stay away's, frankly Violet, we tried eight stay
aways; only three of those worked. And, they worked wonderfully in 1998
because the context was ripe for them and afterwards people said; 'how do we
know we are protesting if all we are doing is staying at home?' Where is the
moral outrage, how do we know we are having an impact? We are staying at
home, some people are going to work and we're being victimised'.

      So, even that strategy exhausted itself. If someone comes up with
another brilliant strategy I'm willing; I'll be the first one to take it up.
We've tried it. We've tried street marches, we've tried boycotts, we've
tried staying at home. If you tell me what we haven't tried, any new stuff,
we'll be willing to try. But, the fact of the matter is that we're in a mode
where the apathy that you see, the disengagement that you see, is because
the opposition cannot build with naked violence by the State which is
pervasive. And, I'm not talking about just a few people being picked up; we're
talking people in hundreds, thousands of people that have been victims of
this violence, and a lot sitting in London in exile right now. Hundreds of
thousands in South Africa.

      Violet: So, Dr. Ayittey would you agree that the biggest problem is
not about the lack of leadership, but apathy, because it seems the majority
of the people are simply unwilling to take responsibility for their own
action in Zimbabwe.

      George: No, no, no, no, don't blame the people. The people are looking
for leadership, OK? And I'm sorry to say as I was listening to Brian I was
getting very exasperated because what I'm hearing from him are excuses. You
know -we have tried this before, it didn't work - they've tried this, they've
tried this before. I'm not seeing any way, he's not suggesting any way in
which we can move out of this particular conundrum that we face in Zimbabwe.

      Look if certain stay aways haven't worked; if only three out of ten
worked, OK fine. Have we been able to think about new ways of moving the
country forward? Now let me also say that the negotiation that he is talking
about comparing that to South Africa, there's a big difference. The big
difference is look; the opposition groups can get together and negotiate
about constitutional reform blah, blah, blah.

      But if the Mugabe people are not part of it, it's not going to be
effective. In South Africa, the De Klerk government and all the civil
society groups, they all agreed to have a convention for a democratic South
Africa. That convention was sovereign; meaning that whatever decisions that
they came up with was binding on everybody, including the De Klerk
government. It was exactly the same thing that happened in Benin when they
organised a sovereign national conference in 1991. Whatever decision that
the sovereign national conference reached was binding on the Kerekou

      That is not what's happening in Zimbabwe. I mean a few opposition
groups or civil society groups can get together and hold a conference and
they can talk and talk and talk and come up with a resolution, but that's
not binding on the Mugabe government because the government is not part of
it. Mugabe has to be part of any negotiation and once the Mugabe regime is
part of any negotiations, the Mugabe regime must undertake to implement
whatever solutions that negotiation arrives at. That's how the South African
model worked and the Benin model also worked.

      Violet: But still, on the issue of Civil Servants, how do you pass
that hurdle where conditions for Civil Servants are regulated by a totally
different system which includes a highly politicised Civil Service?

      George: Well, the Civil Service; Civil Servants will always be
politicised and they will always be militarised, and we should recognise
this. It takes leadership in terms to recognise this. One of the reasons why
the Civil Service was quite effective in Ghana and also in Benin was that
they went on strike to demand higher pay for their own members. And, then
what happened was that it paralysed the governments. The governments in both
countries were very, very unpopular and in so doing, sort of allowed the
opposition forces to take over and also to join in the strike to paralyse
the government and to force political change.

      Now, I am casting about and saying OK, certain strategies work in
certain countries, certain strategies may not work in certain countries but
we have to be imaginative enough to be always thinking and always to remain
one step ahead of the regime. For far too long we have been playing
catch-up, in other words, we have been reacting to what Mugabe does. We
should be ahead of him in terms of planning the strategies accordingly. If a
Civil Service strike wouldn't help, how about the Trade Union for example,
we can organise the Trade Union.

      But, you see, the important thing right now what we need in Zimbabwe
is a small group of people, small group of people that you can call a
coterie for change. People, who are above politics, people who have the
credibility. People, who can look at all this and say, alright look, we've
tried this before, we've tried this before, we've tried this before, now
this is the new strategy that we need to adopt. Right now and I perfectly
agree with Brian, that some of the opposition leaders are exhausted and
nothing new is coming out of them.

      People have lost hope with them so I wouldn't say we need a new
leadership per se, but, you see, we have to move out of this hum drum sort
of hopelessness and move. Now people look at the opposition and they're not
seeing anything and that's where apathy sets in. So it becomes something
like a vicious circle. You can't mobilise the people because they are
apathetic but then again they are apathetic because they don't see any new
vision coming from the opposition leaders.

      Violet: Brian, do you agree?

      Brian: Well, Violet, I've said this point, let me repeat it. Rawlings
was violent, not as violent as Mugabe. Mugabe has resisted not only the
internal opposition but the international community and SADC. All attempts
to put pressure on him have failed, right? And the reason why the opposition
agenda and strategies didn't work was not simply because the State was a
step ahead. It was because the South Africans intervened to maintain the
status quo. Number three, have the opposition been thinking about
alternatives? Yes, of course, every day people are thinking about
alternatives. What are these alternatives? The first one is containment of
the adverse interference by South Africa, which is rampant.

      Number two, dealing with the mobilisation of social forces around
their daily bread issues; the politics of the belly. This is why the
mobilisation was around taxation which is a grievance; lack of access to
quality health services which has become a grievance. Now, this may look
like a whole long wish list but if you are looking at the constituency that
is Zimbabwe right now and say 'what is it that an average Zimbabwean wants?'
They're talking about very exorbitant transport fees; you have to work to

      So these may, if you are sitting outside look like a whole load of
nonsense and say why are they not just coming up with one clear thing.
Clearly, the one clear thing for us all is a new constitution and a new
government, but before we get to that, people are starving, before we get to
that, the average person has to walk to work, before we get to that, people
can't afford to pay school fees, some are eating only one meal a day; and
this is what mobilises people. Things that are of interest to them and this

      George: I agree with you, I agree with you in terms of mobilising the
people. Stay aways, demonstrations, it worked in a lot of places in the 1990's,
but, the strategy is worn-out, you know, it's no longer effective, alright?
And, I also agree with you, the international community, also South Africa
hasn't done much to help the people of Zimbabwe. We know all these things.

      Brian: It has interfered adversely, if South Africa had not done
nothing, it had just sat in South Africa and concerned itself with governing
itself, that would have been a blessing for us. The fact that South Africa
adversely interfered, took positions, positions that actually tipped the
balance of forces in favour of ZANU PF is what we are complaining about.
Whether or not South Africa had not acted would not have been of concern to
us. What is a concern to us is that South Africa actually interfered to
maintain the status quo.

      Violet: It's agreed that no single opposition group by itself can
remove entrenched tyranny from power and that it takes an alliance of
opposition forces, but what exactly are we asking the pro-democracy forces
to do. Join us next Tuesday for the final segment where Dr. Ayittey and
Brian Kagoro both issue a passionate plea to leaders Morgan Tsvangirai, Prof
Arthur Mutambara and others.

      Comments and feedback can be emailed to

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Red Cross and Red Crescent HIV/AIDS Global Alliance launches new initiative

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

JOHANNESBURG, 11 Oct 2006 (IRIN/PLUSNEWS) - The International Federation of
Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies is stepping in with a new
community-based initiative in Southern Africa, where the international
community failed to deliver on its promise to tackle HIV/AIDS and help more
than 11 million people living with the virus.

"I wish that the promises made to Southern Africa in the past had been kept,
but I'm afraid that quite a lot of it has just been hot air. Although more
investment has come in, the international community has not made the
strategic shift that is needed in order to tackle this problem on the scale
that is needed," the Federation's new Special Representative for HIV and
AIDS, Mukesh Kapila, told IRIN.

"Southern Africa needs urgent action to turn words into deeds," he said,
adding that "not only is this essential ... it is perfectly feasible".

The new US$300 million initiative aims to strengthen prevention, treatment,
care and support programmes built up over the last decade, using the
organisation's volunteers in southern Africa.

"The Red Cross family is the world's largest volunteer-based network. If we
are to succeed in our HIV/AIDS efforts we will have to mobilise the power of
the community," Kapila said.

According to Françoise Le Goff, Head of the regional delegation based in
Harare, Zimbabwe, "With adult prevalence rates now exceeding 20 percent in
most countries in the region, and reaching more than 38 percent in some
areas, there is an urgent need to take the Red Cross work to a new level,
both in terms of preventing further infection and greater support for those
already infected."

Over the next five years, the new Red Cross and Red Crescent HIV/AIDS Global
Alliance will focus on Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique,
Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

National Red Cross societies in these countries are already reaching over
50,000 home-based care clients, and approximately 100,000 orphans and
vulnerable children. The numbers are expected to double in the next five
years, after which the programme will emphasise institutional capacity
building, access to antiretroviral treatment and prevention.


/This article is part of series on HIV/AIDS and communities of humanitarian
concern. Visit:

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In the Balance

      11 October, 2006
      John Worsley Worswick of Justice For Agriculture, which represents
evicted farmers, joins Gugulhetu Moyo In the Balance this week to discuss
the crucial new law that parliament recently passed which strips commercial
white farmers with eviction notices of any legal recourse they may still
have. The new law gives them just 90 days to leave their homes and
businesses from the date Robert Mugabe signs it. Worswick describes to Gugu
the current situation on the farms and dissects the laws that govern
agriculture in Zimbabwe.

      He said there are an estimated 200 to 250 farmers still producing on
their land and another 200 who are not farming at all. Most of their
agricultural equipment has been moved off the properties for safekeeping as
government officials and their sponsored thugs were looting commercial farms
around the country. He explained that most farmers still producing escaped
eviction by making financial deals with government. Many were eventually
encouraged to apply for A2 status on their own farms, meaning they would be
given smaller plots on which they can continue farming. Worswick believes
many of them will meet their demise soon.

      Regarding the acquisition of farms Worswick said a compensation fund
and compensation board should have been established to deal with those
matters. And offers should be made in writing by the board. Worswick said
most farmers who were compensated accepted "ridiculously low offers from
government" because they had become destitute. About 200 title deeds were
surrendered to government through this process.

      As for legislation governing agriculture, Worswick said three laws are
currently operative. They are The Land Acquisition Act, Amendment #17 which
the ruling party forced through parliament, and the Farm Equipment and
Materials Act. He said the original Land Acquisition Act left loopholes
which allowed white farmers to contest eviction orders in court. When the
government decided to initiate a campaign to remove the remaining white
farmers last year they pushed through Amendment #17 which nationalised all
agricultural land and eliminated administrative court challenges.

      Worswick said commercial white farmers have exhausted all legal
avenues in Zimbabwe and will now seek justice through the African Union and
in the international arena. These options may not get any redress for the
farmers but Worswick said they may affect legal decisions and exert more
pressure on the Mugabe regime to change its policies.

      SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

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ZimVigil to hand petition to the United Nations via British Labour MP

      By Lance Guma
      11 October 2006

      The Zimbabwe Vigil in London is celebrating its 4th anniversary on
Thursday and will hand over a petition to British labour party MP Kate Hoey,
the Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Zimbabwe. The petition,
which has been signed by thousands of people across the world who have
attended the vigil, will then be handed over to the United Nations
representative in London. Rose Benton an organiser with ZimVigil says they
decided to use Hoey because of her high profile and interest in the
Zimbabwean crisis. She recently returned from a secret visit to Zimbabwe
where she met some of the labour leaders who were assaulted during last
months ZCTU demonstrations.

      Benton explained that the petition has also been timed to coincide
with the Vigils 4th anniversary and that this Saturday they will be joined
by members from the Movement for Democratic Change in the United Kingdom.
The MDC activists will also be marking the 7th anniversary of their own
party and show solidarity with their colleagues in the Vigil. Benton told
Newsreel 'we will be wearing black armbands to mark the death of freedom and
democracy in Zimbabwe.' The vigil is held every Saturday at the Zimbabwean
embassy in London and has been used as a protest platform against the Mugabe

      The petition being sent to the United Nations reads in part, 'We are
deeply disturbed at the deteriorating situation in Zimbabwe. It seems as if
the international community does not care that a rogue government can hold
its people hostage. In the past six years up to a quarter of the population
have fled the country. Half of those remaining face starvation. Any dissent
is stamped on. The UN's special envoys have seen this for themselves and
condemned the regime. We urge the UN Security Council to take measures to
help free the suffering people of Zimbabwe.'

      SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

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Malawi urged to export maize to hunger-hit neighbors

People's Daily

      The World Food Program (WFP) has asked Malawi to export 16,000 tons of
maize to neighboring countries like Zimbabwe and Tanzania that have
reportedly been hit by hunger, Nation Online of Malawi reported Tuesday.

      It quoted Malawi Agriculture and Food Security Minister Uladi Mussa as
saying in Lilongwe recently that the government has not yet decided on the
request, but was quick to say it is important to assist the countries in

      "WFP requested government for about 16,000 tons of maize to help
countries like Zimbabwe and Tanzania. We have not yet responded, but as far
as we are concerned, it is important to assist these countries, because we
were also assisted during the time the country was hit by hunger," said

      Asked whether Malawi has the capacity to export the requested amount
of maize, Mussa said even one local trader can meet the requested 16,000

      In an interview later, Mussa said the total consumption of maize in
the country is 2.1 million tons and that this year's maize output was
estimated at 2.5 million tons.

      "But definitely we have to first ensure that our food reserves have
enough stock. We are targeting to have at least 150,000 tons in case of
emergencies. Above all, we want to ensure that the poor have enough food
before we think of honoring WFP's request," he said.

      Source: Xinhua

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Water woes: Confusion must end

The Herald

By Kamurai Mudzingwa

THE water problems bedevilling Harare are likely to persist if the confusion
between the Zimbabwe National Water Authority and the local authorities is
not cleared.

The Water Act of 1998 resulted in the commercialisation of water, a
situation that demands all consumers to pay water tariffs to Zinwa.

Zinwa distributes water to local authorities and charges them, the latter
makes the water available to consumers and in the case of Harare, a 50
percent handling fee is added on the consumers' bills by council.

This means the consumer, technically, pays almost double for the water.

Analysts have said that the high water bills residents are receiving are
inevitable because Zinwa is a commercial entity.

They have argued that it would have been better if council continued
providing water to residents because an elected council would have people at

Zinwa chief executive officer Engineer Albert Muyambo in 2004 said: "If we
reduce the price of water it means we would be subsidising the consumer. The
moment we bring down the price we won't be breaking even. We are a
commercial entity."

In 2004, delegates attending an urban council's association meeting in
Kariba castigated Zinwa for its water pricing system that did not take into
account the plight of the people. But the water authority always defends
itself, arguing that it has to survive.

Zinwa recently clashed with its workers over the non-payment of salaries.
Zinwa chairman Mr Willie Muringani was quoted as saying: "We cannot pay.

"We have no money because of the uneconomic pricing structure."

Thus, the entity has to charge residents what has been termed outrageous
amounts in order to raise money for its viability. Some analysts have said
that Zinwa's take-over of water management was ill-timed because the water
management body had nothing to start with.

This is evidenced by the current war between Zinwa and council over assets.

Zinwa insists that it has the right to take over council workers, assets
acquired by council and liabilities incurred by council on water treatment
at no cost but council thinks otherwise.

Council spokesperson Mr Percy Toriro recently confirmed that Zinwa had paid

"It's a year now since Zinwa took over water distribution but they have not
paid anything," he said.

But Zinwa insists that they are not going to pay anything. Mr Muringani said
they were not going to pay.

"The assets we took over are owned by the ratepayers and for us to pay
council would mean making ratepayers buy the assets for the second time," he

The confusion spreads to payments. Zinwa wants council to pay using new
rates, $80 per cubic metre, but council is reportedly paying using the old
rates ($8 per cubic metre).

The disagreement came about when Zinwa had increased water tariffs and there
was a public outcry over the high bills that residents had received.

The relevant ministry intervened and ordered that the high tariff be
reversed. Council complied but Zinwa refused. As a result council paid part
of Zinwa's bill for May, June and July before suspending the payments in
August because of the impasse.

The billing and distribution system also adds to the confusion. Billing, as
analysts note, is part of distribution.

The problem is that at present council bills residents on behalf of Zinwa.

This confusion has left residents with the dilemma of who to confront when
the bills are outrageous and when there is water shortage.

But Zinwa now insists that it intends to bill the residents directly.

In a letter to council by Eng. Muyambo dated 3 May 2006 Zinwa said that it
had received a directive from the parent ministry to bill residents
directly. But the letter, as analysts noted, was silent on other important
issues related to distribution.

Part of the letter reads: "We have received a letter from our parent
ministry instructing that Zinwa should take over the billing and collection
of revenue directly from consumers with effect from May 01 2006."

Analysts argue that it is impossible to keep distribution with the city and
billing with Zinwa or vice-versa. It has been warned that if not properly
planned, the distribution take-over will be disastrous. Experts cite the
Zesa take-over as a typical case for a smooth take-over.

When Zesa was formed it took over the distribution of electricity to Harare
consumers including the entire distribution network as well as billing.

The entire contingent of municipal workers who handled electricity
distribution, from shop floor to top management were transferred to Zesa.
The current distribution and billing system serves more as a model for the
confusion of consumers as both parties can play the blame game easily.

Recently, Chitungwiza Municipality urged Zinwa to take over all water
management issues so as to relieve it of the responsibility of paying
salaries to workers who include meter readers in the water unit.

The bureaucratic bungling of the handover-takeover of water provision
between Harare and Zinwa has been largely blamed for the current water
crisis. Harare's Acting Director of Engineering Mr Michael Jaravaza last
month said that Zinwa's takeover uncertainty was affecting planning and
distribution programmes.

Despite the persistent water cuts particularly in western and eastern
suburbs residents continue to receive exorbitant bills. Some people receive
bills of up to $124 000.

A Harare resident Mrs Patricia Mahembe said recently: "I paid $12 000 and
they say I owe them another $11 000. These charges seem as if I am running
an irrigation scheme. It is surprising that we rarely have water in

But then Zinwa's high rates are reportedly affecting farmers who use water
for irrigation as the bills become extraordinarily high.

The management of the water crisis, according to residents, is being handled
unfairly. Recently both blamed each other for the water cuts. Zinwa was
citing the shortage of chemicals to treat water. Vice President Joseph Msika
had to order the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to look into the issue.

Surprisingly, according to the probe, relevant stakeholders were being
deliberately untruthful. Zinwa and other stakeholders, according to the
inquiry, claimed that they needed far larger sums than they required to
start working again. This leaves residents pondering about Zinwa's high

As long as there is no clarity on the roles local authorities and Zinwa have
to play in the distribution and revenue collection, then water problems are
here to stay while the two continue to play politics.

The Zimbabwe Infrastructure Assessment Note correctly observed that one of
the major problems affecting the water sector is the different perception on
aspects relating to sector status among State authorities and various

Zinwa itself seems to be failing in its programmes.

Recently it introduced water rationing to low density suburbs but it has
dismally failed to stick to its programme, making residents' taps run dry.

Those in Mabvuku and Tafara are the worst affected as some have gone for
months without water but they continue receiving high water bills.

Such residents have to pay the water bills for water that never comes out of
their taps. Moreover, the same people have to buy water for their survival.

Residents are now aware that whenever they want to know about the water
crisis, they get conflicting statements from either the council or Zinwa.
Neither party really wants to bear responsibility and the current set-up
makes prevaricating easy.

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The tragedy of child-headed households

      By Tererai Karimakwenda
      11 october 2006

      The funeral of one 16-year old girl from the Tafara high density
suburb of Harare was held Wednesday afternoon. We will call her Nomsa to
protect her remaining siblings. Both their parents died from AIDs and Nomsa
had been under the care of her 17-year old sister. It became clear that she
too was ill and started needing medical attention frequently. But things got
worse for this teenager. Harare hospitals and clinics turned her away each
time she went for treatment because they now require payment upfront. She
stayed home, dropped out of school and eventually died without ever getting

      Our contact from Tafara attended Nomsa's funeral Wednesday and got
involved with this child-headed family when they were seeking assistance
with the burial costs. She told us that she, along with a group of local
women, approached the police for help with transporting the deceased to a
clinic to get a death certificate. She said the police told them there was
no petrol in any of their vehicles but that they would turn a blind eye if
they managed to find fuel on the black market and put it in the police
vehicles. The women did find fuel, but refused to help the police and found
someone else to assist with transport.

      Zimbabweans always cook the traditional dish sadza for the mourners at
all funerals. But there was none at Nomsa's. Getting fuel had used up all
the money raised by the volunteering women. We were told that the average
cost for basic funeral arrangements is now Z$52,000. Those who came to pay
their last respects had to walk to the cemetery over a mile away.

      Our contact said there has been no running water and no electricity in
Tafara since last Saturday. She explained that life has become cheap in
Zimbabwe and child-headed families are everywhere. The few that she and
other activist women look after in their communities are just a drop in the
ocean. As the procession of mourners sang at Nomsa's funeral, our contact
said she could see fear in the eyes of the remaining sisters. One is 17 and
the youngest is 13. The future they face under these conditions created by
the Mugabe regime must bring fear to them all.

      SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

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Beitbridge Border Post Gets Computers

The Herald (Harare)

October 11, 2006
Posted to the web October 11, 2006

Thupeyo Muleya in Beitbridge

The Immigration Department has bought 10 state-of-the- art computers for the
Beitbridge Border Post to improve efficiency and services.

The computers cost $60 million.

In an interview yesterday Beitbridge acting principal immigration officer Mr
Notius Tarisai said training of members of staff began last week.

He said Beitbridge had been chosen as the pilot project for the department's
computerisation, considering the fact that it is the busiest port of entry
in sub-Saharan Africa.

He said the computers have state of the art Afropack software, which would
go a long way in improving data capturing necessary for implementing various
Government programmes.

"The computers will go a long way in improving our services and data
collection which we had been doing manually.

"They will also serve as an advantage to the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority and
the Central Statistical Office as we were normally struggling to give them
accurate information," said Mr Tarisai.

He said that the Afropack system was laden with hi-tech equipment, which was
of modern standard.

'The system is really of paramount use since it is in sync with modern
technology. The system includes a document reader, finger print reader,
Biometric scanners, passengers manifest, suspect index among other things,"
he said.

According to Mr Tarisai, the introduction of the system would see travellers
being cleared in less than a minute.

It was taking three minutes to clear travellers manually.

Gate passes and visa receipting would be computer generated.

The Afropack system would also help the country with nabbing internationally
wanted terrorists and several people on the travel ban.

People will be identified by merely touching the finger print scanner on the

"People with multiple passports and identities will soon meet their match as
this new software tightens loopholes we had been facing through manual

All staff members will undergo a 10-day familiarisation course and training
programme," he said.

There are 34 immigration officers at Beitbridge border post.

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Zanu PF Government has failed to provide freedom dividends

      By Rodwell Mupungu

      The current economic situation in Zimbabwe is very grave and impacts
on a very large part of the population. Hyper inflation has reduced
purchasing power. Real Gross Domestic Product has declined by 30% in the
last 5 years.

      Annual inflation reached 1200% in 2006 - the formal threshold of
hyperinflation. Continued high inflation hampers development hitting the
poor hardest. This is caused by bad economic policies being persuaded by the
Zimbabwe Government.

      Corruption is rampant; there is no rule of law, the absence of good
Governance. The decline in inward investment and development assistance is
further compromising the prospects for economic recovery.

      Most of Zimbabwe's (MDG'S) Millennium Development Goal's are unlikely
to be achieved by 2015 unless the political and social situation improves

      Child and maternal mortality indicators show a steadily worsening
situation, exacerbated by HIV and AIDS.

      The succession battle has almost divided the ZANU-PF party with two
factions imaging, battling to find a suitable candidate to replace the aging
President Robert Mugabe. However the solution for our country is not to
remove MUGABE and replace him with another dictator.

      The country needs a new constitution, bring President Mugabe to the
negotiating table, agree on a transitional government which will then pave
way for free and fair elections observed by the International observers. We
will only achieve this if we work together ZCTU, Churches, ZINASU and the
Civic society.

      The MDC led by President Tsvangirai has stated that they will lead
from the front and we in the Diaspora can also play our part by bringing the
Zimbabwean Issue on the Agenda for the International Community namely UNITED

      We also need to put pressure on the SADC countries to condemn the
Harare government's recent actions on peaceful demonstrations by the ZCTU.
MDC-UK Leadership led by Ephraim Tapa is determined to take the fight back
to the enemy, join us and be part of the struggle.

      Time has come to rise to the occasion, the onus is on us fellow
Zimbabweans, it is only Zimbabweans who can liberate themselves.

      Rodwell Munyaradzi Mupungu is the Vice Chairman MDC UK & Ireland and
he writes in his personal capacity.

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Transport crisis worsens

From The Daily Mirror, 11 October

Daily Mirror reporter

Transport problems have resurfaced in Harare leaving thousands of commuters
stranded, while bus operators in Bulawayo, Masvingo, Kadoma and other small
towns hiked fares citing the current fuel shortages and viability concerns.
In the capital, the transport blues started at the weekend with bus
operators withdrawing their fleet owing to diesel shortages and a crackdown
by the police and Vehicle Inspection Department (VID) on un-roadworthy
vehicles. The withdrawal and impounding of vehicles by VID saw most areas in
the capital experiencing transport problems, among them, Mabvuku, Tafara,
Glen View, Ruwa, Epworth and Warren Park. The dormitory town of Chitungwiza
was also affected. "Diesel is in short supply and whenever we get it, it's
expensive so we have to pass on the cost to the commuters if we are to
remain in business. Some of us are, however, spending a lot of time looking
for fuel instead of being on the road," a commuter omnibus driver who plies
the city-Mabvuku-Tafara route, Stephen Kupaza, said yesterday.

The government recently pegged the price of diesel at $335 a litre and that
of petrol at $350, but most commuter claim they were buying fuel on black
market at over $1 000 a litre due erratic supplies by the National Oil
Company of Zimbabwe (NOCZIM). Kupaza added that VID was also impounding
un-roadworthy vehicles, prompting some operators to withdraw their buses
temporarily. Another commuter omnibus driver, Lovemore Kapunzeni said his
vehicle was impounded last week and they had so far forked out around $70
000 to carry out the necessary repairs before its release by the VID. "As we
speak, the vehicle I drive is at the VID because it has to be certified fit
before it is back on the road. It has been there since Saturday and we have
to run around to get the spares which are however very expensive,"
Kapunzeni, who plies the Epworth route, said. Commuters interviewed by this
newspaper said they were having problems getting to work and home early
because of the transport woes. The commuters said few buses on the road had
unilaterally increased fares. "There have been problems this week because
they (bus operators) wanted to increase fares. They were charging $150 all
along, but today (yesterday) it went up to $200. I think they are creating
an artificial shortage to raise the fares," Noble Shumba of Glen View 1

In Bulawayo, commuter bus operators increased fares from $200 to $350 a
trip, the second such hike inside a month. The new fares caught commuters by
surprise on Monday evening, as they had not budgeted for the increase.
According to most commuters interviewed, the hike was made without
consultations with stakeholders. But like in Harare, bus operators in the
country's second largest city blamed the rise in fuel prices, which they
said have gone up from $750 to between $1300 and $1350 at the parallel
market, as the cause of the latest increase. "In the past few days we have
seen the government clamping down on profiteering retailers and we wonder
why the same cannot be applied to these errant operators. Everytime these
increases are effected, the police always declare them illegal, but nothing
is being done about it. To me this is daylight robbery," Norman Siziba of
Nketa said. Another commuter Silas Shana also expressed the same sentiment,
saying the fare increase was unjustified. "What is more worrying to us is
that the increases has came at a time when the government is trying to bring
sanity to the sector. The government has designated a number of service
stations in the city to supply public transport operators with fuel at
gazetted prices, but these people continue milking commuters of their
hard-earned cash," he said.

The Bulawayo Residents Association also criticised the increase describing
it as illegal and unacceptable. "We are appealing to Bulawayo residents to
boycott boarding these omnibuses. We need more public transport to ply our
urban routes. The ministry of local government should assist us by
introducing more ZUPCO (Zimbabwe United Passenger Company) buses because
private operators are fleecing us," the chairperson of the association,
Winos Dube, said. In Masvingo, commuters told this newspaper that urban bus
operators had hiked fares from $50 to $100 due to shortages of fuel, which
saw a litre of both petrol and diesel selling at between $1 400 and $1 600,
while in Kadoma the fares were increased from $100 to $150. NOCZIM
spokesperson Zvikomberero Sibanda yesterday asked The Daily Mirror to put
its questions in writing on the fuel situation in the country. However, a
snap survey in Harare, Bulawayo and Masvingo revealed that most filling
stations were dry. Zimbabwe has been experiencing fuel shortages in the past
five years due to inadequate foreign currency to import the commodity.
However, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe is currently stitching a number of
deals locally and abroad to improve the fuel situation in the country.
Zimbabwe needs an average of US$50 million a month to procure adequate fuel.

Meanwhile, our correspondent in Bulawayo Pamenus Tuso reports that train
drivers have embarked on a go-slow to protest a decision by the National
Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) to introduce compulsory breath tests in a bid to
curb driving under the influence of alcohol. President of the Enginemen
Association of Zimbabwe Abel Mahlangu confirmed the industrial action,
adding that the train drivers would continue with the go-slow until the
reversal of the compulsory tests. The tests were introduced in line with
recommendations made by a commission of inquiry into the cause of a head-on
collision between a passenger and a goods train at Dibangombe siding in
Victoria Falls on August 27, which claimed eight lives and injured 34 other
passengers. Mahlangu said: "The truth of the matter is that train drivers
are not happy with this move. The findings of the commission should first of
all be made public, otherwise what it means is that all recent NRZ accidents
were a result of driving under the influence of alcohol." Mahlangu, a senior
engineman with the parastatals, questioned the exclusion of representatives
of drivers in the Dibangombe Commission. Some enginemen who spoke to this
newspaper said the accidents were mainly a result of obsolete communication
signals and the general poor condition of the country's rail system. "I
think the management is not being honest to the public. This issue of
breathalysers is a ploy by management of trying to shift attention from the
real operational problems at the company," one of the train drivers. "The
implication of this is that driving under the influence of alcohol has
caused all accidents. We need an apology before we embark on a fully fledged
strike next week."

Sources at the NRZ told this newspaper that, as a result of the industrial
action, the Victoria Falls-Bulawayo passenger train arrived in Bulawayo on
Saturday around 9.30am, three hours late. Passengers traveling to Chiredzi
from Bulawayo over the weekend also complained of "unnecessary delays."
Efforts to get a comment from the NRZ public relations manager Fannuel
Masikati could were fruitless at the time of going to press last night. In
the last session of Parliament, a portfolio committee on transport and
communications in its report said the country's rail network laid in the
1890s had outlived its lifespan. The committee added that the rail
infrastructure, especially signal equipment, had fallen prey to vandals,
resulting in communication problems between controllers and enginemen.
However, the NRZ was recently commended by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe for
coming up with a turnaround strategy, which would see the parastatal
installing satellite communication, in addition to the refurbishment of some
of its coaches.

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Zimbabwe: Major Electricity Breakdowns Hit

New York Times

Published: October 11, 2006
Large parts of Zimbabwe's urban areas have been without power for as long as
10 hours a day since Saturday after all six generators at one major power
plant broke down and copper thieves stole parts of a major transmission
cable from Congo, the government's power authority said. Three smaller power
stations also have shut down because of a shortage of coal. Zimbabwe's
crumpling economy has left it without foreign currency to buy spare parts
for its generating stations, and cable thievery has risen as the
impoverished population scavenges for ways to make money. Rolling blackouts
have been a staple of Zimbabwe life for some months, but the current power
cuts are the largest to date. Officials said the blackouts could ease by
week's end.

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Zim tour operator held for helicopter theft


          October 11 2006 at 09:34AM

      Johannesburg - A prominent Victoria Falls tour operator has been
arrested for allegedly stealing a government helicopter shortly after
Zimbabwe gained independence in 1980.

      Harare's Herald newspaper reported on Wednesday that the operator
apparently flew the aircraft to Zambia where he was using it for his own

      Deputy police commander of Matabeleland North Edward Mbewe confirmed
the arrest.

      Other police sources said the tour operator, who moved to Zambia soon
after independence, took the four-seater helicopter in the early 1980s.

      They said he flew the helicopter into the neighbouring Zambia where he
allegedly started flying tourists over the Victoria Falls.

      "He stole the helicopter, which he repainted and converted to his own
use. In Zambia he opened a company called Southern Cross Airways that was
flying tourists over the mighty Victoria Falls from that side," a source

      The sources said the tour operator took advantage of the handing over
of equipment from the colonial regime to the present government to steal the

      The source said the matter only came to light when an independent task
force began investigations into government machinery that was missing. -

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Calls for unity with Zimbabwe workers after DVD screening

The Star, SA

Footage shows severe beatings of protest marchers by Harare police

October 11, 2006 Edition 2


The Federation of Unions of SA has called for global solidarity with
Zimbabwean workers after viewing a DVD of police beating trade union leaders
in that country in September.

Fedusa yesterday screened the DVD to the media at its Johannesburg offices.

Fifteen members of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) were
arrested and beaten after an attempted protest march in Harare last month.

The DVD was produced and smuggled out of Zimbabwe by the American Solidarity
Centre. It shows the initial confrontation of the members of ZCTU with
police and their subsequent beatings.

"We did not want to overthrow the Zimbabwean government. We simply wanted
better salaries for workers," one leader says on the DVD.

Footage shows the members being herded into a police van. Two of the men,
including ZCTU president Wellington Chibebe, were badly beaten with batons.

"We want to show the world at large and the leadership of Zimbabwe that we
are suffering," one unionist says.

Fedusa's president, Mary Malete, said Fedusa would lodge an urgent
application to the International Labour Organisation on behalf of the ZCTU.

It was hoped that a fact-finding committee would be established to
investigate the assault as well as "the ongoing intimidation and oppression
of the trade union movement in Zimbabwe".

She said they were looking at exerting pressure on the international
community to impose sanctions on Zimbabwe.

ZCTU first president Lucia Matibenga was one of the unionists featured on
the DVD. She was hospitalised with a fellow ZCTU member at Milpark Hospital
in Johannesburg last month after attending Cosatu's conference, held in

She suffered severe injuries to her back, buttocks and arms. One of her
eardrums was perforated as a result of beatings.

On the DVD she says police officers told her they weren't trained to write
dockets but "were trained to kill people".

Fedusa would raise its concerns over South Africa's quiet diplomacy with
regards to Zimbabwe. "We cannot remain silent," union general secretary
Dennis George said.

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Under Dictator, Zimbabwe Slides into Chaos

by Jason Beaubien

Morning Edition, October 10, 2006 · Over the past two decades, poverty rates
in every region of the globe went down -- except in sub-Saharan Africa,
where war and disease have hampered development. But dictatorial leaders,
who cling to power as their countries crumble, are also to blame.

No place is that more evident than in Zimbabwe, where President Robert
Mugabe has overseen the downfall of one of Africa's most promising nations.

During Mugabe's first two decades in power, Zimbabwe grew into one of the
most prosperous nations in sub-Saharan Africa. Its beef was prized in
specialty shops in Europe. Its tobacco farms generated more than $7 billion
a year in sales. Literacy rates were some of the highest in the developing
world. Zimbabwe still had problems, but compared with the rest of Africa,
things were going relatively well.

But in the late 1990s, things started to fall apart.

The tipping point was the disclosure that allies of Mugabe had looted a
pension fund for war veterans. When the veterans demanded compensation,
Mugabe told them to help themselves to white-owned farms.

"There was no need for things to go the way they did, given that government
was declaring a policy on land," says Jonathan Moyo, who served as Mugabe's
information minister during the height of the chaotic land-reform movement.
Moyo has since fallen out of favor with Mugabe and is now one of the
president's harshest critics.

Zimbabwe's violent land-reform program drove most of the country's white
commercial farmers off their land. Many of the farms ended up in the hands
of Mugabe's allies, including, at the time, Moyo. Other farms disintegrated
into chaos.

Moyo says the farm invasions, which included the killing of white farmers,
were orchestrated by Mugabe.

Land reform was not a spontaneous uprising by black peasants, as Mugabe
likes to portray it, Mayo says. The movement which destroyed the country's
agricultural economy was, in fact, government policy, the former minister

By 2003, Zimbabwe was facing shortages of food, fuel and foreign currency.
In the capital Harare, lines of beat-up cars stretched for blocks outside
gasoline stations. Some people had been waiting for days to get fuel.

Zimbabwe's fuel shortage was driven in large part by the government setting
the price of gas at 20 cents a gallon and refusing to raise it. Price
controls also caused shortages of most staple foods.
Ever since land reform, Zimbabwe, which used to be the regional breadbasket,
has been unable to produce enough food to feed its own people.

And it isn't just agriculture that Mugabe's regime has driven into the
ground. Schools, hospitals and sewage-treatment plants are falling into

After Zimbabwe's urban centers voted heavily against Mugabe's ruling party
in 2005, the government launched an urban-cleanup campaign that destroyed
the homes and businesses of about 700,000 people.

This year, inflation has risen above 1,000 percent. John Robertson, an
economist in Harare, says the country's hyper-inflation is being driven
primarily by the government borrowing money to cover recurring costs such as
wages and operating expenses.

Like a shopaholic bingeing on credit cards, Zimbabwe is frantically digging
itself deeper and deeper into debt.

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