25th September 2007
Sitting here I can’t say that I know exactly what is happening. We seem to be performers in a play, perhaps something like Alice in Wonderland.
As for inflation, has it fallen by a thousand percent? Well if you work on the fact that shops were forcibly made to reduce prices and, although nothing is available in the shops but use the decreed prices then inflation must have fallen. If on the other hand you use the black market price that is the only source of most commodities then inflation probably stands at around 13,000%.
Some of you will have heard and or read of the difficulties that we are facing just as ordinary citizens in this country, it is no exaggeration to say that there is virtually no food available at all. Luckily, we are able to buy vegetables, but that is the only commodity that is readily available to all. Anything else is a case of ‘making a plan’. This is fine if you have money and transport, but for the elderly who may well have to walk to the nearest shops and find nothing but empty shelves there is no other option other than for them to swallow their pride and seek help. Increasingly we are now finding that people outside the country are requesting food parcels for their elderly relatives here, although they have the money they are unable to find food.
At the local shopping centre when parking your car you can be offered chicken, sugar, cigarettes, maze meal and many other things that are unavailable in the shops. If you have the money that is fine, otherwise you go without. All products now have a controlled price on them so mealie meal for instance is Z$155,000 for 10kgs (R3.70/26p). Just take the bag alone, which probably costs more than that to produce. In the car park that same bag will now cost anything up to Z$600,000. How do you buy that on an average pension of about Z$50,000 a month (R1.20/8p)?
Fuel? Unavailable at any filling station as the set price is $60,000 a litre (R1.42/10p) either you have to go to Botswana and buy it yourself, or find someone who brings it in and pay the equivalent price or US$1.15 a litre if you have foreign currency. This price equates to around Z$345,000. Remember that in August last year three zero’s were taken off the currency.
These are just examples of the difficulties faced, where is the dignity in old age for these proud people?
We now are facing tremendous difficulties sourcing goods to enable us to deliver each and every month. In South Africa, we have a wonderful lady who has already sent by air around 150 kilos of groceries. As I write this she is already planning the next shipment and also has a truck booked which will come in late next month. This of course needs huge amounts of funds, should anyone be willing to contribute directly to her to help us carry on, please contact Dave for details. Also, in the United States an ex Zimbabwean is trying to fill a container with goods for SOAP should anyone like his details please contact Dave also.
As you will see I have modified the table below. I always check out the same shop only, some goods MAY be available in other shops. Interesting to note that toilet rolls had to be reduced from $325,00 a pack of four to $85,000 a pack. They have now allowed an increase to $277,900. It is said that an across the board increase of 200% of the prices ruling at 1st July may be made. Was this a pointless exercise?
Butter 500 gms
100 Tea Bags
4 Toilet rolls
2 litre Mazoe orange
1 Litre Milk
Saturday 29 September 2007
By Hendricks Chizhanje
HARARE - Zimbabwe's striking junior doctors yesterday vowed to press ahead
with a crippling industrial action until the government agrees to their
demands for an 800 percent salary hike.
Hospital Doctors Association president Amon Siveregi said although a
tentative agreement had been reached between the doctors and the Health
Services Board (HSB), the medical practitioners would only return to work
after getting a written undertaking from the ministry of finance.
The agreement with the HSB was that the doctors' salaries be hiked by 800
percent and vehicle loans be reviewed from the current $25 million to $1.5
billion in line with Zimbabwe's hyperinflationary environment.
If government accedes to the demands, the junior doctors would now earn
between $80 million and $90 million from about $7 million currently.
Siveregi said the recommendations were on Wednesday submitted to Finance
Minister Samuel Mumbengegwi where they now await his approval.
"The results of the negotiations were sent to Treasury on Wednesday and we
are now awaiting their approval by next Friday," Siveregi said.
Siveregi said doctors would only resume work after getting a response from
the government about their salary demands.
Zimbabwe's out of control inflation currently topping over 6 000 percent has
wiped out real wages at a time when the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe says an
average family of five now needs about $16 million to survive.
Strikes by doctors over pay and better working conditions are common in
Zimbabwe where the health delivery system, once the envy of many in Africa,
has virtually collapsed after years of under-funding and mismanagement.
Meanwhile, Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) secretary general
Raymond Majongwe yesterday reported that some traditional chiefs and ruling
ZANU PF youths had stepped up their intimidation against the striking
teachers in the rural areas.
Majongwe alleged that some youths had visited several schools in Gokwe and
Mhondoro-Ngezi where they were harassing the striking teachers.
"Some ZANU PF youths are harassing teachers and telling them to move out of
the school residences," Majongwe said.
The teachers have been on strike since Wednesday to demand higher pay and
better working conditions.
"In some areas chiefs are asking teachers to bring PTUZ T-shirts and
alleging that they are Movement for Democratic Change T-shirts," said
Majongwe. - ZimOnline
Saturday 29 September 2007
By Nqobizitha Khumalo
BULAWAYO - Dozens of patients suffering from malfunctioning kidneys could
die after the only two dialysis machines in Zimbabwe's second largest city
of Bulawayo broke down two weeks ago.
The dialysis machines at Bulawayo's main Mpilo Central hospital serve
patients in the city of more than one million people and from the three
southern provinces of Matabeleland North, South and Masvingo.
Another 54 machines donated by Sweden about three years ago have not been
installed and are gathering dust in storage rooms after Harare failed to
reach agreement with Stockholm over the servicing of the machines.
The cash-strapped Zimbabwe government wants Sweden to service the dialysis
machines, but Stockholm has reportedly refused.
Officials at Mpilo this week said the hospital did not have funds to fix the
broken down machines but refused to shed more light on the matter saying
Health Minister David Parirenyatwa was handling the matter.
Parirenyatwa told ZimOnline his department was working flat out to have the
broken down machines repaired and was trying to have the machines donated by
Sweden installed at hospitals.
"We are working hard as a ministry to ensure that the two machines at Mpilo
are repaired while at the same time we want the 54 dialysis machines donated
by the Swedes to be installed and operational," said Parirenyatwa.
He did not say when exactly this would be.
According to Parirenyatwa, the Ministry of Finance will provide funds to
service the machines, which he said would be distributed to Mpilo, Bindura
and Parirenyatwa hospitals.
Zimbabwe's health delivery system, once lauded as one of the best in Africa,
has virtually collapsed after years of under-funding and mismanagement.
An acute economic crisis now in its eighth year running has only helped
worsen the situation with the government short of cash to import essential
medicines and equipment, while the country has suffered the worst brain
drain of doctors, nurses and other professionals seeking better
opportunities abroad. - ZimOnline
Saturday 29 September 2007
By Regerai Marwezu
MASVINGO - Zimbabwe's agriculture minister Rugare Gumbo on Thursday
launched a scathing attack on newly resettled black farmers saying they had
dismally failed to produce enough food for the nation.
Speaking at the Zimbabwe Farmers' Union (ZFU) national congress in
Masvingo, Gumbo said the newly resettled black farmers had let the nation
down after they failed to maintain production on former white-owned farms.
"I am disappointed that our new farmers have proved to be failures
since the start of the land reform programme in 2000. In spite of all the
support government has been pouring into the agricultural sector,
productivity and under-utilisation of land remain issues of concern.
"I urge you to continue working hard so that the importation of food
will become history," said Gumbo.
Zimbabwe has faced severe shortages of food since 2000 when President
Robert Mugabe sanctioned the violent seizure of white farms for
redistribution to landless blacks.
The disturbances on the white farms that produced the bulk of the
country's food needs resulted in a quarter of Zimbabwe's 12 million
population requiring food handouts from international food agencies.
Mugabe however denies that his land reforms caused hunger blaming the
food crisis on natural causes.
Critics say the Harare authorities, also battling an unprecedented
economic crisis that has seen inflation zoom past 6 000 percent, failed to
fully support newly resettled black farmers resulting in a massive drop in
Gumbo had no kind words to the largely black-dominated ZFU accusing
the farmers of gross incompetence.
"I am painfully aware of the widespread theft of stock, farm produce,
irrigation equipment and the general vandalism of infrastructure by our new
"The issue of Makorokoza or gold panners and other farmers who not
only damage our environment but infrastructure like irrigation equipment and
siltation of our rivers should be addressed quickly if we are to realise the
full benefits of the land reform programme," said Gumbo.
Zimbabwe, which was once regarded as the breadbasket of southern
Africa, is a pale shadow of its former self after the chaotic land reforms
seven years ago. Hundreds of former productive white are lying fallow after
the new black farmers failed to utilize the new properties. - ZimOnline
By Roger Bate, Pius Ncube, and Richard Tren
Friday, September 28, 2007
How Robert Mugabe ruined his country, and what the world can do about
The past century has seen astonishing progress in global living
standards. More people around the world live longer, healthier, and
wealthier lives than at any time in history, a testament to human innovation
as well as to the work of private, public, and faith-based organizations.
Yet in Zimbabwe, the clock has been turned back to medieval times, undoing
most of this progress. Perhaps the most disgraceful aspect is the complicity
of almost all African governments in enabling the murderous regime of
President Robert Mugabe to sustain its legitimacy. At best, African
governments seem indifferent to Mugabe's tyranny. At worst, they seem to
One of the most tragic outcomes of Mugabe's reign has been the
destruction of basic health services. While the government equips police and
military forces with the batons they use to beat political opponents, it
cannot finance even the most basic medical care. Public hospitals are no
longer places of care and recovery, but rather caverns of death where
corpses accumulate. Ambulances rust for lack of fuel, and horse-drawn wagons
transport the lucky patients who can find a doctor.
At best, African governments seem indifferent to Mugabe's tyranny.
At worst, they seem to applaud it.
Zimbabwe once had an excellent malaria-control program, which now
provides only haphazard protection from deadly mosquitoes. Tuberculosis
cases continue to spiral upward, with patients finding grossly inadequate
medicinal options. Hundreds of thousands of Zimbabweans lack any HIV/AIDS
treatment at all, partly because hyperinflation has driven the cost of such
treatment out of their reach. Among those lucky enough to still have a job,
wages range between $8 and $16 per month. (Much of that money is used to buy
bread, when it is available.)
The numbers are shocking. Overall life expectancy in Zimbabwe has
fallen to about 30 years per person. Between 1999 and 2005-06, adult
mortality increased by 40 percent among women and by 20 percent among men.
This means that over one-third of Zimbabwean children are orphans. Even
those with parents cannot depend on them for food and shelter, as 80 percent
of the population lives below the poverty line. All Zimbabweans face severe
government repression. It is no wonder that around a quarter of the
population, mostly the young and able, have fled the country.
Throughout the darkest days of apartheid, South Africans active in the
struggle against oppression were supported and assisted not only by the
Zimbabwean government but also by average citizens. Yet in Zimbabwe's
hour-make that decade-of need, the South African government of President
Thabo Mbeki has turned its back on ordinary Zimbabweans. South Africa
routinely treats Zimbabwean refugees as criminals, sending them back to the
misery, abuse, and constant dangers of their homeland. One might expect
that, having lived under apartheid, South Africans in general-and Mbeki's
African National Congress party in particular-would identify with the abused
masses of Zimbabwe. Yet South Africa's apparent indifference to their
suffering is a source of shame for the so-called rainbow nation.
Overall life expectancy in Zimbabwe has fallen to about 30 years per
person. Between 1999 and 2005-06, adult mortality increased by 40 percent
among women and by 20 percent among men.
In March, southern African leaders met to debate the growing crisis in
Zimbabwe, and Mbeki was tasked with finding a solution. He did virtually
nothing. Six months later, the plight of Zimbabweans has worsened and tens
of thousands of lives have been lost as the humanitarian disaster grows.
Mbeki has now had seven years to support democracy and human rights in
Zimbabwe, yet he continues to side with the election-stealing Mugabe regime.
Given its political and economic might, South Africa is in a unique
position to agitate for reforms. It alone may have the power to force real
change in Harare. But without a strong, unequivocal message from the
international community, there is no reason to believe that South Africa
will play that role. Mbeki seems content to wait until Mugabe (along with
his country) dies. Western governments must not allow the waiting to
What can they do? It may be unfair to condition outside aid to South
Africa on progress in Zimbabwe. But how about an artistic or an athletic
boycott? Those worked against apartheid. In 2010, much of the world will
gather in South Africa for the World Cup soccer tournament. Awarding South
Africa host status represented a great vote of confidence in the Mbeki
regime. Yet soccer players, their fans, and their sponsors will be
supporting the enablers of a brutal dictator-a government that turns a blind
eye to the humanitarian disaster just over its border and that badly treats
the Zimbabwean refugees living in its cities. There is still time to move
the World Cup elsewhere and send a strong and clear message to Africa's
While FIFA, the governing body of world soccer, can do its part, the
United Nations must prepare to deal with a massive humanitarian problem in
Zimbabwe, and in neighboring countries, as the crisis worsens. Mugabe will
leave a deep and lasting scar on the African continent. But the
international community can act now to treat the wound that is Zimbabwe, and
at least stop the infection from spreading.
Roger Bate is a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.
Archbishop Pius Ncube lives in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. Richard Tren is South
African and directs Africa Fighting Malaria (AFM). They are the co-authors
of "Tyranny and Disease," published this week by AFM.
United States Agency for International Development (USAID)
Date: 28 Sep 2007
Conditions for most Zimbabweans continue to deteriorate due to the country’s collapsing economy, declining access to basic social services and staple food items, and the effects of HIV/AIDS. Detrimental Government of Zimbabwe (GOZ) policies, corruption, and the poor 2006/2007 agricultural season have exacerbated the humanitarian situation. Following seven consecutive years of economic decline, which have been characterized by hyperinflation and high unemployment rates, Zimbabwe is increasingly unable to maintain the infrastructure necessary for agricultural production, water and sanitation services, power facilities, and fuel. Commercial land redistribution policies have resulted in a dramatic decline in domestic food production.
Internal displacement and urban vulnerability substantially increased in 2005 as a result of Operation Murambatsvina, a GOZ campaign to destroy thousands of informal homes and businesses in urban areas. According to the U.N., the operation displaced nearly 700,000 people and indirectly affected 2.4 million others. The operation, coupled with displacement due to the GOZ’s land redistribution policies, has resulted in widespread loss of housing and livelihoods, increasing Zimbabweans’ vulnerability and poverty.
On October 6, 2006, U.S. Ambassador Christopher W. Dell reissued a disaster declaration in Zimbabwe due to the ongoing complex emergency. On June 11, 2007, U.S. Ambassador Dell declared a second disaster for Zimbabwe due to drought. In FY 2007, USAID/DCHA provided nearly $175 million for agriculture and food security, shelter, livelihoods, relief commodities, humanitarian coordination and information management, and water, sanitation, and hygiene programs, as well as emergency food assistance.
Numbers at a glance
|Population In Need of Food Assistance||
|FAO and WFP(1) – June 2007|
FY 2007 HUMANITARIAN FUNDING
USAID/OFDA Assistance to Zimbabwe:
USAID/FFP(2) Assistance to Zimbabwe: $169,672,652
Total USAID Humanitarian Assistance to Zimbabwe: $174,768,914
Food access and availability remain difficult for Zimbabweans as staple food items become increasingly scarce or non-existent in the market, particularly in urban areas. Most staple foods can only be found in the informal market at prices beyond levels the majority of the population can afford. As a result of the poor October 2006 to March 2007 agricultural season, families in the most drought-affected areas of western and southern Zimbabwe have depleted household food stocks and have limited access to the markets due to high staple food prices, according to USAID’s Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET). The economic and humanitarian crisis has led to increased migration both within Zimbabwe as well as into neighboring countries.
On September 19, Zimbabwe’s Central Statistical Office (CSO) reported that the country’s inflation in August was 6,592 percent. However, independent economists note that Zimbabwe’s inflation is actually much higher, as the CSO’s figures are based on official, controlled prices, but Zimbabweans must pay far more on the informal market to obtain extremely scarce goods, according to international media reports.
(1) U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization and U.N.
World Food Program
(2) USAID's Office of Food for Peace
By Ntungamili Nkomo
28 September 2007
The Consumer Council of Zimbabwe said this week that the cost of living for
an average family of six reached Z$16.7 million (US$37) in August, compared
with Z$13 million in July - a month-over-month rise of more than 28%. The
state-funded agency said the increase in the basket of goods was driven by
maize meal and sugar.
The figures came a week after the Central Statistical Office said the state
poverty line - the monthly requirement for a family of six - rose to Z$12
Economist and opposition advisor Eddie Cross told reporter Ntungamili Nkomo
of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that the cost of living has continually risen
because people are obliged to tap an expensive parallel market to obtain
Elsewhere, sources said war veterans in rural Gwanda, Matabeleland North
Province, had barred opposition backers from buying maize from the Grain
The sources said that former freedom fighters besieged a GMB depot in rural
Gwanda last week and purchased by force some 300 bags of grain intended for
hard-pressed villagers, keeping much for themselves or selling it to ZANU-PF
Gwanda Mayor Thandeko Mkandla confirmed that only card-carrying members of
the ruling party are allowed to buy grain, which is in critically short
supply in that area as elsewhere in the country. Mkandla, a member of the
opposition faction led by Arthur Mutambara, said some maize is ending up on
the parallel or black market where it is being sold for as much as Z$3
million for a 50 kilogram bag.
International Herald Tribune
The Associated PressPublished: September 28, 2007
LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas: Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa said Friday that
while the seizures of land from white commercial farmers in Zimbabwe were "a
bit harsh," opposition forces brought the push by President Robert Mugabe
In a speech at the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service,
Mwanawasa held to his stance that Western powers must be willing to talk to
Mugabe. Britain has called on the Southern African Development Community to
ask Mugabe not to attend a December summit of European and African leaders.
Mwanawasa, as head of the development community, has said talking to Mugabe
would be the only way to address concerns.
"Those of you abroad ... consider the answer is there must be real change.
There must be a new initiative to bring about change," Mwanawasa told
students. "But I have a message for you, that dialogue is the most important
tool. You talk to him, give him your message and let him talk, let him
speak, and you'll find you'll be getting better results."
Mugabe pushed for the often violent seizures by blacks of thousands of
white-owned commercial farms. Those seizures which began in 2000 disrupted
agriculture in a country once considered southern Africa's breadbasket,
causing official inflation of nearly 7,000 percent and citizens to flee.
"The issue in Zimbabwe is over land," Mwanawasa said. "They took things in a
manner in which you and I might say is wrong ... it was a bit harsh. But I
think those in the opposition invited it."
Mugabe responded to the domestic pressures with a crackdown on dissent.
Britain estimates that 100,000 Zimbabweans a month are fleeing their
homeland, a country of 12.5 million, to settle illegally in neighboring
Earlier this week, Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF party began a legislative process
in Parliament aimed approving a law that calls for whites to hand over 51
percent of their business interests to blacks. The bill prompted an
acrimonious debate with opposition lawmakers calling the measure racist,
unconstitutional and against accepted principles of equality.
An estimated 30,000 whites - just a third of them seen as breadwinners -
still live in Zimbabwe, down from about 275,000 at independence.
Mwanawasa, who traveled to Arkansas in company with Zambian government
officials, did not take questions from reporters after his remarks at the
Clinton School. He won the Zambian presidency in 2001 with only 29 percent
of the vote, but later instituted anti-corruption policies and market
reforms. The World Bank and other lending institutes agreed in 2005 to
cancel nearly all of Zambia's $7.2 billion foreign debt.
Mwanawasa traveled to Arkansas to give a speech at Harding University in
Searcy and received an honorary doctorate from the private Christian
Fri 28 Sep 2007, 15:39 GMT
By Nelson Banya
HARARE, Sept 28 (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's proposed empowerment law will hit
production in the nation's top foreign currency earning sector, which is
already grappling with exchange rate and power problems, an industry
official said on Friday.
Zimbabwe's Chamber of Mines, a representative body for an industry still
dominated by foreign firms, said the bill was a blow to miners, who
contribute about 35 percent of the country's foreign currency earnings.
"We have all sorts of problems, but these have been made worse by the recent
passing of the empowerment bill," the chamber's acting chief executive
Douglas Verden told Reuters.
"We must have a foreign investor-friendly environment because mining is very
expensive...if government decides to take over 51 percent, then foreign
investment will cease. No foreign investor will come in knowing they will
not take control."
On Wednesday, President Robert Mugabe's government pushed through parliament
a bill allowing the transfer of majority control of all foreign-owned
firms -- including mines and banks -- to black Zimbabweans.
The bill is expected to sail through the upper Senate, also dominated by
Mugabe's ZANU PF, before being signed into law.
Anglo Platinum <AMSJ.J> and Impala Platinum <IMPJ.J> -- the world's number
one and two platinum producers -- and Rio Tinto <RIO.L> are some of the
foreign mining companies with investments in Zimbabwe.
Verden said the industry, which had been consulting with the government over
the past five years regarding the empowerment law, would wait to see how the
law would be applied, particularly to firms with considerable social
"DIE IS CAST"
"The die is cast, now we wait and see," Verden said.
"The bill itself as it stands is an enabling act, allowing the minister to
make regulations. We are now waiting to see exactly what transpires."
Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Minister Paul Mangwana has said
government would allow companies to comply to the new rules gradually.
Verden said miners were concerned about how they would be paid for shares to
be transferred to locals.
"It's still unclear, but we've heard of some fanciful options such as
financing the purchase through dividends -- remember not many mines are
making profits at the moment -- or in the Zimbabwe dollar, which is
Mining output, especially in the key gold sector, would decline further due
to the added uncertainty surrounding the bill, persistent electricity cuts
and the flight of skills.
Verden said Zimbabwe was losing ground to other countries on the continent
with friendly mining policies.
Government officials say Zimbabwe's mining output dipped by 14 percent in
2006, while gold deliveries to the central bank -- the country's sole buyer
of the metal -- were down to 11 tonnes from 14 tonnes the previous year.
"Unless there is a huge increase in production in the last two months of the
year, which is most unlikely, we will have about 8 tonnes of gold this
year," Verden said.
"If we fall below the 10 tonnes mark, we will cease to be a member of the
bullion club, meaning we'd have to market our gold through a third party...
that would increase costs through commission and lead to delays in payment,"
SW Radio Africa (London)
28 September 2007
Posted to the web 28 September 2007
Doctors and nurses at Harare's major hospitals are on a go-slow strike
protesting poor salaries and allowances. The strike began last week Friday.
A visit to Harare Central Hospital on Wednesday by our correspondent
confirmed that hundreds of patients have been left stranded as a result. At
the centre of the latest grievance is a government decision to cut
allowances for doctors from Z$8 million to Z$5 million per month, without
notice. Doctors are currently earning around Z$12 million a month after
allowances and yet this is way below the Z$90 million they are demanding.
Nurses are also unhappy at their Z$3,8 million a month salaries, lagging
behind the poverty datum line that shot up to Z$12 million in September. In
the previous strike by doctors, government promised them vehicles as part of
the settlement that ended the industrial action. Month's down the line
government has still not honoured its part of the deal and doctors are
unhappy. Referral clinics around the capital which traditionally offer
cheaper treatment are inundated with patients desperate for attention. Simon
Muchemwa in Harare tells us that what's worse is that some of these smaller
council run clinics now have nurses who have joined the strike.
The loss of life caused by the strike is hitting many families hard.
Newsreel understands Emmanuel 'Manu' Jera, a popular guitarist who played
with several bands including Thomas Mapfumo died Wednesday morning after
being left unattended at Harare Hospital. Jera collapsed and was found
unconscious on the streets of Harare suburb Mufakose, the night before.
Because doctors and nurses are on a go slow, no one was able to attend to
Meanwhile the UK Daily Mail reports that one fifth of Zimbabwe's trained
nurses were recruited to work in the United Kingdom last year. The UK Home
Office is reported to have issued 1610 work permits for nurses from the
country. All in all 5200 doctors and nurses were hired from African
countries. Figures from the World Health Organisation say Zimbabwe has less
than 9000 nurses, meaning a nurse patient ratio of 1 for every 1400 people.
The UK ratio is 1 for every 156 patients.
SW Radio Africa (London)
28 September 2007
Posted to the web 28 September 2007
The leader of a combative teachers union, Raymond Majongwe, alleges that
Zimbabwe's feared secret police have threatened him with death for calling a
teachers strike that has crippled the country's education system.
Majongwe who heads the Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ), says
he has received "uninvited guests" at his family home and telephone calls
from "strange characters" since he called for teachers to go on a job action
in protest at poor salaries. On Thursday night Majongwe alleges that he
received a phone call from a male voice on a mobile number 0912 855 042,
warning him that "death was staring him in the face." He says after cutting
off his phone, he then received a mobile text that read: "You are stupid,
and you will soon get into hot soup."
Majongwe said: "My wife and children have been receiving threats for so long
now but the one on my life on Thursday night was the most patent one. We
however refuse to be intimidated because we know who our assailants are and
they cannot defy our justified cause."
He went on to say that "the strike, now in its third week, continues and we
know the entire civil service force is behind us because they know that if
we succeed, they also get a redress of their salaries from government."
On Thursday, sections of the police in Masvingo reportedly visited Rujeko
and Victoria primary schools where a scattering of teachers were holding
classes, and ordered them to send the children home and quit duties "like
all the others across the country."
According to sources, the members of the police force who visited the two
schools and told the teachers that they should go on strike and force the
government to address not only the pay plight of teachers, but of all civil
servants. The police and soldiers and other security forces are not allowed
to strike under the country's security codes.
Elsewhere, parents and teachers associations at government schools in Zaka,
Mhondoro and Chinhoyi have reportedly threatened to evict teachers out of
school residences if they proceed with the strike.
Majongwe described the development as "regrettable" emphasising that the
teachers sympathised with the parents but desperately needed their salaries
Some teachers in Zimbabwe are earning as little as Z$2 million, less than 3
pounds sterling on the black market. A fortnight ago, teachers spurned a 100
percent salary increment from government, demanding instead a Z$15 million
basic salary plus a Z$5,2 million housing allowance and Z$4 million
SW Radio Africa (London)
28 September 2007
Posted to the web 28 September 2007
Zimbabwe's civil society groups meeting in Bulawayo Saturday, appear to be
headed for a showdown after they expressed varied views concerning the
ongoing political talks between the opposition and ruling Zanu PF party.
Coming in the wake of a contentious agreement by the ruling party and the
MDC to see through the constitutional amendment #18 two weeks ago, the
all-stakeholders civil society meeting has been set to map out the groups'
position on the country's political situation. Some have criticised the MDC
decision, with the National Constitution Assembly (NCA) officially cutting
ties with the opposition party, accusing it of "selling out" and "abandoning
the principle of a people-driven constitution".
Some of the organizations expected to attend the weekend meeting include the
Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN), Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights,
Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, Zimbabwe Law society and the Zimbabwe National
Students Union. Representatives of some of the groups within the alliance,
on Friday distanced themselves from the NCA's "hard-line" stance against the
MDC, paving way for what could be a heated meeting on Saturday.
Journalist and Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition programmes manager, Pedzisai
Ruhanya, recommended that the civil society leaders consider the opinion of
their constituencies before settling for "any rash decision".
Ruhanya said: "We recently held consultative meetings in rural Chivi and
Hwange. The people on the ground are saying that the talks must not be
rubbished and must be given a chance as long as they come out with a more
liberal environment under which we can have free and fair elections next
He went on to say that "rubbishing the opposition for its role in endorsing
Amendment 18 of the constitution is clearly unpopular among the common
people who have suffered for so long. What they need to see is the repealing
of the draconian laws and the return of a free press and airwaves before the
The NCA has made public its position that the MDC - which is part of the
civil society alliance - has reneged on the groups' 2005 agreement to refuse
settlements of "piecemeal amendments short of a new, people-driven
Among the concerns is that the amendment 18, once made into law by Robert
Mugabe's signature, will give him powers to appoint a successor and boost
ZESN chairperson, Noel Kututwa, said his organisation had no qualms with the
concessions of the political parties as long as they provided for electoral
Kututwa said: "The primary objectives of politicians and their parties is to
obtain power which is to be expected, and besides there doesn't seen to be
any other alternative to the crisis at the moment besides negotiations."
Kututwa explained that "What is our concern is to see the people getting
some free electoral space and we are hoping that when we meet in Bulawayo
people will remember to address the key needs of the people and not focus on
the political battles that are power-driven."
A Zimbabwean CEO for a foreign-owned company in Harare tells the BBC News website what he thinks about the new law that parliament passed on Wednesday, giving the state controlling stakes in foreign-owned businesses, including banks and mines. He did not want his name published.
This morning when I got into the office, we - mostly middle management and above - were all talking about this new law and its implications.
To a certain extent I am worried about my job; you can never be so sure.
It is on all of our minds. Everyone is worried.
Regardless of this law though, some companies - including the foreign-owned one I work for - have been discussing whether they stay or go for some time now.
The economic situation here makes the notion of staying in business a great challenge. But we don't know when these changes have to be made by - the intricacies have not been spelt out yet. Or how it will be put into practice.
Maybe it is just an election gimmick? No-one knows yet.
Another factor to consider is who the government sees as indigenous and who they don't... Business owners may think that if they hold a Zimbabwean passport then they are OK.
But the government has said before that those who make up Zimbabwe's coloured [mixed-race], Indian and white communities were at an advantage during colonial times.
So maybe the so-called colonialism benefiters will be forced to relinquish their shareholds.
But a person's ability to run a business successfully doesn't depend on their skin colour. What you need is the best person for the job.
It remains to be seen what will happen. You know, we have heard a lot of stories about their intentions but we are yet to see whether or not they have a strategic plan.
I have serious fears for the foreign banks like Barclays and South Africa's Stanbic.
Zimbabwe's foreign credit lines must be kept open.
Most of the country's corporate companies have their accounts with Barclays and the like. Not with the indigenous banks.
And to keep going Zimbabwe needs to keep the little foreign investment it still has.
And now, who will be prepared to only accept a 49% ownership?
We saw exactly this happen in Zambia during the 1970s and early 1980s and it ruined the economy. All the companies went down and most of them that went down have never got back.
That's the major concern.
Another thing in the press are reports that the foreign companies doing business here support the opposition and their agenda is for regime change.
Maybe by passing this law the government thinks that stopping these foreign-owned companies from operating, will mean financial support for the opposition dries up.
Even as Zimbabwe hovers on the brink of economic collapse, there are some
signs of significant political change.
By Scott Johnson
Updated: 2:06 p.m. ET Sept. 28, 2007
Sept. 28, 2007 - Contrary to popular belief, Zimbabwe was never really the
breadbasket of Africa. But at least it could feed itself and have plenty
left over. Those days are gone now-the southern African nation is, quite
literally, starving. Food store shelves are bare. The wealthiest Zimbabweans
now fly abroad to neighboring countries to shop for basic supplies like
bread, cooking oil, sugar and meat. The South African grocery chain Pick 'n
Pay is taking direct bulk orders by phone and delivering the goods by air
freight to the cities of Harare or Bulawayo. Electricity service is down to
12 hours a day, more or less the same levels found in Iraq. Clean water is
so scarce that the poorest Zimbabweans have resorted to pumping water by
hand from remote wells. "People are pumping at midnight, all hours of the
day," says Eddy Cross, a businessman and member of the Zimbabwean opposition
group Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). Recently Cross ran into a young
girl in Bulawayo. "All I do all day is hunting and scavenging," she told
Just when it seemed it couldn't get any worse in Zimbabwe, it has.
Officially, the inflation rate is more than 6,000 percent, but realistically
the figure is probably closer to three times that. The U.S dollar is trading
for 600,000 to one on the black market, virtually the only place left to do
business in the country these days. Last week, the country's biggest food
distributor, National Foods, offered retrenchment packages to 5,000
employees. Edgars, a large regional retail clothing chain, closed 19
Zimbabwean stores in the last month alone. Zimbabwe's Chamber of Commerce
recently announced that more than 400,000 jobs were in jeopardy. Everyone
from cattle companies to detergent manufacturers are closing shop and
leaving. Analysts forecast a possible 100,000 percent inflation rate by the
end of the year.
Ever since President Robert Mugabe started enforcing a series of drastic
price-control measures last month to artificially keep his imploding economy
in check, the country's downward spiral has accelerated drastically. The
steady stream of economic refugees recently increased precipitously to
several hundred thousand a week-the vast majority of them hungry and poor
and destined for squatter camps in South Africa and Botswana. Inside
Zimbabwe, the privations have taken on a sort of sad, Fellini-esque
absurdity. Consider this recent Associated Press headline: HUNGRY
ZIMBABWEANS TRY TO EAT GIRAFFE. The giraffe had wandered to the outskirts of
Harare from a nearby farm. Malnourished locals swarmed upon the animal,
eager to chop it up for "the pot."
And yet, even as the economy sinks into a state of near total inertia, there
are increasing signs that significant political change is underway in
Zimbabwe. For the first time Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF party appears to be
making significant compromises with negotiators from the opposition. If the
changes are successful they could lead to a revamping of the Constitution, a
redrafting of a series of repressive laws and new elections, which could
bring about the end of Mugabe's 27-year grip on power. Negotiators from both
sides are hammering out the language for a series of compromises in five key
areas of government and social policy. And for the first time, both sides
are discussing more sensitive issues of political violence as well as the
government's tactic of using food as a weapon to squash opposition activity.
The changes have already started to appear. Last week, the government
stripped nearly three-dozen non-elected ZANU-PF parliamentarians of their
seats in the legislature. And government negotiators have also agreed in
principle to amend parts of the Constitution to include many of the
opposition's demands. "We can say without any doubt that significant
concessions have been made by the government," says one source familiar with
the ongoing discussions, who asked not be identified because of their
sensitive nature. "There's a growing realization that the ground rules are
There's still a long way to go. The economic implosion and the accompanying
social decay has been so drastic that many observers fear Zimbabwe won't be
ready for elections, currently scheduled for March. Teams are now discussing
the possibility of delaying the ballot until June. Meanwhile, opposition
leaders from both sides are urgently pushing to draft new legislation to
ensure, among other things, that an independent electoral commission is up
and running before people go to the polls. "We have to stabilize the
situation in the country-the food situation, the economic situation-before
people can be asked to vote," says one insider. "We have to get the media
back in, we have to get the daily news back out on the streets." It may
still be too early to say the negotiations will succeed. In the past, Mugabe
has used occasions like these to stall for time. And critics are justifiably
fearful that recent government concessions are nothing more than a ruse to
trick and further divide the already splintered opposition. Yet it's also
clear that Mugabe has been under fire not only from his critics in the West
but also increasingly from his neighbors, as well. It's estimated that
Zimbabwe's economic woes are costing South Africa up to $5 billion a year.
Botswana, which hosts more than 250,000 Zimbabwean refugees, is straining
under the pressure and has begun to point fingers at Zimbabweans for rising
crime rates there. Faced with these realities, a new generation of African
leaders has begun to push back against the one-time African independence
hero. But a sense of cautious optimism has crept into the ranks of the
opposition. "I think we have reached an irreversible situation," says
another opposition figure with close knowledge of the progress of the talks.
"But it still has to be honored, and we're dealing with a very, very
So where does Mugabe fit into all of this? At first glance, the 83-year-old
autocrat doesn't appear to have lost any of his swagger. Earlier this month,
Mugabe allegedly threatened to withdraw from the regional alliance known as
the Southern African Development Community (SADC)-a move that would have
been tantamount to political and economic suicide. "It's like saying stop
the world, I want to get off," quipped one Zimbabwean with knowledge of the
threat, "There's no possibility of that, he's stuck." Another option being
quietly discussed among the continent's leaders is Mugabe's eventual
"retirement." In this scenario, Mugabe would appoint someone to take his
place as the ZANU-PF candidate next spring or summer and he would quietly
withdraw, possibly with some assurances of immunity, or at least protection
within Zimbabwe's borders. Ironically, Mugabe's departure could also make a
bad situation worse. ZANU-PF is a divided party, and without a strong figure
at the helm, the divisions within its ranks could become too big for anyone
to handle. For now, the big question remains how much longer can the country
founder before it finally sinks into total anarchy? For ordinary
Zimbabweans, life has become a nightmare. A bus fare from Bulawayo to Harare
is 2 million Zim dollars-an impossibly high figure in a country that in many
parts has moved onto the barter system. Fuel has virtually disappeared. Last
month, 3,200 teachers left their jobs. Medical facilities are running out of
drugs, cleaning materials and linen. The country's nearly 2 million
HIV-positive people are unable to maintain high-protein diets. In some
places, people are dying of hunger. At a small South African town called
Messina, near the Zimbabwean border, a group that describes itself as an
underground pro-democracy movement put up a roadside billboard with a
message for arriving immigrants. WE KNOW WHY YOU'RE IN SOUTH AFRICA, it
reads, LIFE IN ZIMBABWE IS MURDER THESE DAYS.
28/09/2007 14:06 - (SA)
Harare - Zimbabwe's information minister has castigated western media for
their coverage of President Robert Mugabe's speech at the United Nations
General Assembly, say reports.
Minister Sikhanyiso Ndlovu said CNN and the BBC gave United States President
George W Bush full coverage when he criticised Mugabe in his address to the
Assembly this week, but denied Mugabe similar coverage for his speech.
Ndlovu said: "The so-called champions of press freedom, CNN and BBC cut the
live broadcast when the President was hitting hard, full throttle, with a
volley of intellectual punches left, right and centre.
"Bush was given full coverage to demonise our President and our nation, but
our president was not given equal time to defend himself and his country."
Zim people 'needed help'
He said: "They always claim that they give balanced information through
their media, but they have proved themselves to be suffering from
inexactitudes and stretches of imagination. I know why my predecessor threw
them out of Zimbabwe."
In his speech at the UN, Bush said the people of Zimbabwe needed help to
free themselves from suffering under a "tyrannical regime".
Mugabe hit back saying Bush "has much to atone for and very little to
lecture us on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights", adding that the US
leader's hands "drip with the innocent blood of many nationalities".
The US and the European Union imposed sanctions on Mugabe and members of his
inner circle after presidential polls in 2002, which the main opposition and
western observers charged were rigged to hand Mugabe victory.
BBC and CNN were banned in Zimbabwe after the passing of tough media laws
compelling foreign correspondents to seek advance permission to work in the
World Net Daily
Posted: September 28, 2007
1:00 a.m. Eastern
When the modern history of Africa is written, economic historians will be
asking several uncomfortable questions. Why, over almost 50 years, did the
"Aid Industry" never learn from its own experiences? Even, why did it not
learn from the tried and tested experience of every other developed country?
The answers will explain why the developed world has wasted trillions of
dollars on the world's biggest investment fiasco - and, puzzling, why it
continues to do so.
When aid started in the 1960s, the money was intended to grubstake the
continent's development out of the colonial era. Countries were poor but not
hungry. Today, African countries remain poor, and much of its population
Now considered as an entitlement, the West's largess totals almost $700
billion, equal to several trillion dollars at today's rates. Equivalent to
around seven post-World War II Marshall Plans, this is expected to rise by a
further $47 billion by 2010, excluding the billions in unconditional cheap
loans from China.
For the naïve Westerner, the reasons for this waste of resources are
The answers come in a new book entitled "Saving Africa!" by John Hollaway.
He explains that Africa has not adapted its survival mechanisms to modern
times. Throwing money at it has done little except encourage massive
corruption - which Africans now also deem as their right (they call it "rent
seeking," which the Ethiopian prime minister publicly let slip in September
2000 was the "centrepiece" of African economies) - and a chronic dependency
Hollaway explains that Africa's main impediments are its topsoil and
resident life-threatening diseases. The former leaches easily and gives rise
to the continent's historic need to be nomadic, while the latter has
necessitated relentless procreation to survive. The result is that
indigenous wealth is based on livestock ownership, fecund wives and child
numbers. His perceptive answer, puzzlingly never seriously considered
outside academia, is to release its land - particularly agricultural land -
into private ownership, not as leasehold but freehold. Hollaway explains
that leasehold may provide access but it does not bestow ownership, a
distinction that seems to have passed everyone by.
Overall, there is private land ownership in some cities but virtually
nothing in rural areas except in South Africa, which is busy deciding how it
can revert. English-speaking countries have the most while land occupancy in
French- and Portuguese-speaking regions is mainly leasehold. Generally,
governments of whichever colonial origin can declare arrangements void (as
in Zimbabwe), so subsistence farming is all that occurs. Land, he insists,
must not be communal, which means that the power of tribal chiefs and
governments has to diminish.
Such a move would, unlike cows, wives and offspring, provide a more tradable
form of personal wealth that could be used as surety for borrowing and which
could eventually replace the traditional form of wealth. Importantly, it
would allow individuals to create an investment economy without the need for
philanthropy. Where the concept becomes even more practical now is with
Africa's huge black diaspora, who could divert some of their accumulating
foreign earnings into helping to self-fund this conception, as in Zimbabwe,
where exiles are erecting new urban suburbs through black market forex deals
that provide local currency at upwards of 45 times (yes, 45) the official
exchange rate. In similar fashion, Zimbabwe's political elite buy foreign
currency at the official rate. They then stealthily procure black market
dollars also to enter the vigorous property market, fully realizing that if
they did to urban what they're doing to rural, much of their wealth would
Even though it's on the back of currency windfalls from imposed economic
failure, the triumph of individual avarice over official policy confirms
that the lawmakers have perfectly understood freehold's principle and that
wider Africa's choice to retain 19th century perceptions of wealth for their
electorates is disingenuous.
But how does Africa achieve cultural change, when land to an African
politician is perceived as irreversibly communal - and, very conveniently,
their source of absolute power? Does the Aid Industry declare that enough is
enough and, literally, leave Africa to Charles Darwin? Or do they accede to
the continent's very own Oliver "Please, sir, can I have some more" Twist?
Hollaway's answer is to experientially learn from the rest of the developed
world as well as China, which has belatedly allowed peasants qualified
ownership of their land. All have used individual property rights as the
basis of their development by providing a bottom-up source of wealth.
Subsistence plots could be bought, sold and consolidated into more
commercial operations capable of feeding urban populations. Then, with the
means acquired, jobs could be generated. Importantly, the cycle is
self-generating and wealth is not dependent on the favor - usually family or
tribe-directed - of whoever is top dog.
For his roadmap, Hollaway suggests tough love. Because of Africa's
xenophobia, Africans themselves, in particular the continent's black
diaspora, have to front the efforts to change their homeland cultures by
asking their native governments to adopt freehold policies. In fact,
lawmakers would be told that development assistance would be entirely
dependent on citizen ownership of land. Possibly using an international
agency as their initial operating umbrella, the diaspora and talented locals
would be offered opportunities to train in the skills to create a
marketplace for land (a central registry, a state-run escrow system, estate
agencies, etc.). Incentives would be offered for expatriates to return home,
and human nature should then be left to make the best of opportunities. It
would be at this stage that aid be resumed.
Pilot projects in suitably peaceful and homogeneous countries such as
Mozambique and Burkina Faso would be started. If these worked, a "me too"
chant elsewhere in Africa would deafen the dissent of resistant politicians.
Given freehold's success in dozens of other, equally different, cultures,
there is a comprehensible sensibility in Hollaway's arguments that needs to
be seriously considered and fleshed out further. It won't be a smooth run,
but anything is better than more of the same.
White Africa never learned that the pride of ownership is the mother and
father of hard work and quicker learning, a confirmation of which comes in
the more graphic portrayal by Larry Summers, ex-president of Harvard:
"Ownership matters; there has never been a case in recorded history of
anybody washing a rented car." Neither did it learn that many people with
some money would provide more overall wealth than a few with lots of money.
Black Africa has been smugly making the same mistake. Freehold could be a
direct path to self-sufficiency, replacing long-dead feudalism. Exchanging
the traditional measures of wealth would also reduce the instinctive drive
for huge families and the related tragedy of HIV/AIDS. And for well-meaning
Gordon Brown, some pop stars, comics and China - all of whom also seem
disinclined to experientially learn - further trillions of others' money
would not have to be wasted.
Reporters without Borders
28 September 2007
Reporters Without Borders today strongly condemned the action of the
Zimbabwean intelligence services in compiling a blacklist of at least 15
journalists working for independent news media who are to be subjected to
"strict surveillance" and other unspecified "measures" in the run-up to next
year's presidential and parliamentary elections.
"The Zimbabwean government's paranoia is accompanied by systematic
repression," the press freedom organisation said. "This alarming blacklist
is an outrage in the approach to what are crucial elections for Zimbabwe's
future. President Robert Mugabe will be held fully responsible if anything
happens to these journalists."
The existence of the blacklist was revealed in an apparently-leaked copy of
a single page with the government's letterhead that was published in the
independent Zimbabwean press on 26 September. Dated June 2007 and headed
"2008 Presidential and Parliamentary Elections," it contains a list of 15
leading Zimbabwean journalists under the subheading "Targeted journalists."
The foot of the page has this paragraph : "The following media personnel and
others as discussed in the previous meeting are to be placed under strict
surveillance and taken in on the various dates set. They're working hand in
hand with hostile anti-Zimbabwean western governments. Measures to be taken
against the above including those in exile, are listed on page 4 summary."
The blacklist is headed by Abel Mutsakani, the editor of the website
ZimOnline, and Gift Phiri, a freelance journalist and Harare correspondent
of The Zimbabwean, a privately-owned weekly based in London. Phiri was
arrested and beaten in detention in April before being acquitted by a Harare
court of working without accreditation from the powerful, government
controlled Media Information Committee. Mutsakani was shot by three gunmen
in South Africa in July but miraculously survived.
Also on the list are Vincent Kahiya, the publisher of the privately-owned
Zimbabwe Independent daily, its editor, Dumisani Muleya, and one of its
journalists, Itai Mushekwe ; Bill Saidi, the deputy editor of The Standard,
a privately-owned daily, and Caiphas Chimhete, one of its journalists ;
Njabulo Ncube, the political editor of the privately-owned Financial Gazette
daily and two of its journalists, Kumbirai Mafunda and Clemence Manyukwe ;
Zimbabwean Union of Journalists secretary-general Foster Dongozi and Wilf
Mbanga, the founder of The Daily News, which is now closed ; and journalists
Valentine Maponga, Itai Dzamara and Ray Matikinye.
The MDC is obviously treading a very thin line given events of the last few
days, and is currently in some kind of a political corner. This is a
position into which the party has squashed itself over a number of years
however, and it would stem mainly from the failure to kill off an ailing
ZANU PF. Times are now countless that ZANU PF has gulped for life out of a
coma from which it should have never risen.
Any flip-flopping on the part of the MDC would not help its cause in the
coming weeks and months. Neither would that help pacify some of the MDC's
critics who have decried the party for supping with the 'enemy' ZANU PF.
While such collaboration might have been necessary to salvage whatever is
left of political sanity in Zimbabwe, it was also, a bold statement from the
MDC that events on the ground did warrant such a thawing of relations with
ZANU PF. Because no matter how desperate the need for political pluralism,
as long the conditions on the ground are totally against collusion, it would
be a waste of time as any pact would simply crumble in no time.
Therefore, Zimbabweans would want to trust that the MDC was fully in control
of their faculties when they saw it fit to co-operate with ZANU PF. And that
the MDC did not co-operate in isolation or in ignorance of any essential
aspects that would be paramount to follow up events outside or inside
parliament. Indications would show however, that the MDC might have once
again, been caught up in that sorry scenario whereby it failed to capitalise
on a weakened or cornered ZANU PF. The fact that the MDC did not approve of,
and rather walked out of parliament during the passing of the equally
controversial but surely less beneficial Indigenous Entrepreneurship Bill,
would not have in itself assured Zimbabweans.
Most alarming and unhelpful to ordinary Zimbabwean scepticism would be after
all, the recent reclining of the MDC to its original and hardly useful
stance of threatening to boycott the elections should there be no progress
in the negotiation with ZANU PF. From what the MDC has committed itself to,
the party has actually irreversibly crossed the political battle lines to
beyond where even the mere use or mention of the word boycott is no longer
permissible. In fact the party should scrap the word from its vocabulary for
whinging because no one will ever take such cries seriously anymore
especially after CA Bill 18. By resorting to the futile line of boycotts and
threats to boycott elections, the MDC would simply be confirming the fears
of the party's critics that they prematurely and unconsciously entered into
an era of co-operating with ZANU PF.
The MDC is also, very classically, showing that yet again it failed to
capitalise on the weakened position of ZANU PF. Otherwise the MDC should
have used the impending Indigenization Bill as a bargain tool to pin down
ZANU PF so as to agree that for them to co-operate on CA Bill 18, then that
dubious indigenisation bill would not be sailed through parliament. In fact
the MDC should have categorically demanded that the Bill be scrapped before
agreeing to CA Bill 18. This is a bill that everyone among the MDC
leadership could see coming and no one could credibly claim ignorance of its
existence or the intensions of a ZANU PF armed with the bill.
To scramble out of parliament to avoid subscription the bill only a few days
after heralding and hailing an era of reasoned politicking in the national
interest, would take away any slightest hope that the MDC was starting on a
new course of calculative and fruitful politics, the politics of consistency
and leadership. This is what will make it a great deal harder to really
convince those Zimbabweans who watching from a distance that they can surely
trust the MDC as a government in waiting.
The problem with a party or politicians who do not have or give leadership
in politics is that public opinion becomes the central driving force of any
such political players. The party ultimately comes under siege and at every
turn it would be forced to either defend or justify a taken position rather
than consistently chatting the way forward from an authoritative position.
The barrage of criticism that has been directed at the MDC has instilled
some sense of panic into the party leadership but this would not be the time
for to waver or show the slightest signs of shaking. Instead, the party
would need to unequivocally and convincingly demonstrate to Zimbabweans that
it has not been duped into doing anything stupid, but that every step has
been taken after careful and conclusive analysis that it is the best
possible step to take.
ZANU PF will be pulling a lot cards from under its sleeve all the way. They
will also try to be the biggest winners in this. But what will need to be
seen is how soon and how effectively the MDC would be capable of stopping
ZANU PF in their tracks so that the negotiations and whatever outcome from
them would not be viewed as a ZANU PF escape through the fire exit. The best
way forward for the MDC would be to do what ZANU PF does best, that is
capitalising unflinchingly on the slightest slip of the opposition.
Silence Chihuri writes from Scotland. He can be contacted on
Catholic Information Service for Africa (Nairobi)
28 September 2007
Posted to the web 28 September 2007
Archbishop Pius Ncube who resigned Sept. 11 will now be in charge of
pastoral programmes at the Catholic Archdiocese of Bulawayo.
As pastoral director, his duties include coordinating pastoral work,
pastoral structures, training and courses for pastoral workers. "In this
work I shall assist people in coming closer to God, and this includes
promoting human rights and defending the disadvantaged," the archbishop
He was assigned the task by Fr Martin Schupp, the Apostolic Administrator of
the vacant archdiocese.
The archbishop said his "passion is for evangelization", and he does not
have "the slightest interest in entering into politics." Speculation has
been rife that Archbishop Ncube resigned to fight it out with President
Robert Mugabe for the country's top job in elections due March 2008.
"I would like to make it clear that in the Catholic Church we have a rule
against the clergy getting into party politics or taking on civil duties,"
the archbishop said in a statement.
Moreover, he said, when clergy became politicians in Zimbabwe their
Christian values were compromised. "Also, I have seen that many politicians
are concerned chiefly with the accumulation of power and wealth, rather than
with alleviating the suffering of their people."
He insisted he was a clergyman, whose passion was to work for the Church and
that he shall continue to stand up in defense of human rights, which are
part of the gospel of Christ.
The catastrophic situation in Zimbabwe demanded that he continue to speak
out. "I shall continue to speak out for human rights - that is non-
negotiable. Come rain or high water, in a situation where there is gross
oppression, as in Zimbabwe, I shall continue to speak out.
"This is part of the prophetic role of the Church - to stand up and strongly
defend the human rights of the poor and oppressed people."
The Herald (Harare) Published by the government of Zimbabwe
28 September 2007
Posted to the web 28 September 2007
Coal production at Hwange Colliery Company is expected to decline following
a technical failure on a major generator on its dragline.
Coal supply bottlenecks have resulted in reduced supplies to the Hwange
Thermal Power Station, which has triggered massive nationwide load shedding.
In a statement, Hwange said the fault on the dragline developed on Sunday
and the company was working flat out to rectify the situation. The company
revealed that repairs were expected to be complete in two weeks. "Repair
work by specialists is estimated to take some two weeks and the
manufacturers of the dragline will be involved in the recovery work," it
Hwange said coal production would be significantly affected by the
breakdown. However, plans had been put in place to ensure that critical
supplies to industry were maintained during the breakdown period. The coal
mining giant is currently operating at just above 50 percent capacity.
Hwange Colliery has been facing operational constraints emanating from the
shortages of foreign currency required to import spares for plant
Company chairman Mr Tendai Savanhu recently indicated that Hwange required
at least US$60 million to replace ageing equipment. Zimbabwe requires at
least 380 000 tonnes of coal a month, but the mine was producing about 50
percent of that amount. In 2006 coal production slumped by 35 percent from
2,07 million tonnes achieved the year before. In the half-year to June 30,
2007, Hwange reported a net loss after taxation of $46,6 billion compared to
a net profit of $594 billion earned in the same period last year.
The company attributed the loss to its inability to fully recover input
costs from the sale of coal and allied products. But in inflation-adjusted
terms, the coal miner posted a profit after tax of $881 billion for the half
year, an increase from $740 billion registered in the corresponding period
last year. Sales revenue closed the six months under review at $243 billion,
a decline from last year's figure of $276. Earnings per share declined from
$6 287 897,90 to $4 959 085,44. No dividend was declared. Net finance income
stood at $18 billion compared to $55 billion for last year in the comparable
The balance sheet leapt from $908 billion to $2,8 trillion with
shareholders' equity standing at $2 trillion. Hwange said demand and sales
volumes for coal and coke remained firm although it could not fulfil growing
orders. Total coal sales for the period under review rose 21 percent to 1
069 890 tonnes from 883 311 tonnes a year ago. Coke sales, however, suffered
a decline from 93 038 tonnes to 87 966 tonnes. Coke oven gas supplies to
Hwange Power Station also slumped from 8 393 460 Nm3 supplied last year to
close at 7 152 650 Nm3. The decline has been largely a result of the
challenging operating environment characterised by high inflation, breakdown
of machinery and foreign currency shortages.
Hwange has, however, said it has already come up with both short- and
long-term plans that should see the company increase production and reverse
the interim loss position. "Work is in progress for the acquisition and
delivery of the coal fines recovery plant from the Republic of South Africa.
"As a long-term measure, the company has come up with a recapitalisation
programme that would be able to significantly boost production and be able
to achieve sustainable production output that meets the market demand," said
From China Knowledge (Singapore), 27 September
SinoSteel Corp, China's second largest iron ore dealer, has agreed to pay
US$200 million to acquire 50% stake of Zimasco Consolidated Enterprises
(ZCE), a subsidiary of the largest ferrochrome producer Zimasco Ltd in
Zimbabwe, according to Shanghai Daily. Zimasco owns the largest chrome ore
resources in Zimbabwe and its chrome ore reserve is 4 or 5 times that of
China. As ferrochrome is one important material to combine iron and chromium
in the production of steel, SinoSteel has inked contract with Zimasco to
invest in ferrochrome mines and smelters. State-owned SinoSteel is expanding
into making materials such as ferroalloys used in steel producing, in order
to meet the growing demand in China for steel. It has successfully taken
over Jilin Ferroalloys Group Corp, China's largest ferro-alloys firm after
its acquisition of Zuyi Ferroalloy Factory. The company is also planning to
list on both Shanghai and Hong Kong bourses next year to raise US$1.5
billion to fund further exploration.
28th September, 2007
Email: email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org
Please send any material for publication in the Open Letter Forum to
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Thank-you for all the hard work and effort the JAG Team have put into
making sure the organization has continued to survive in Zimbabwe. JAG has
become an extremely important source of information and contact for all
We reside in Perth and my kids attend an Anglican School. Last night my son
had a confirmation dinner at the school and I had the pleasure of meeting
the Archbishop of Perth, ‘ The Most Reverend Rogor Herft ‘.
He explained to Denise and myself that there was a real shortage of Priests
in Perth, seven positions to be exact. He has found three or four from
England but there are still three positions open. After hearing we were
from Zim. he asked if there was a chance there were any Anglican Priests
who might want to move to Perth. He said they had Priests from Zim. before
and were impressed with their character and education.
It is not really my line, but I thought that if your office knew of anyone
who fits the criteria and is interested, to contact the Archbishop directly
with the details below.
I did bump into a friend from school just before we left Zim. He had become
a priest and I think went through some pretty tough times along with the
rest of us. I’m not sure if he was Anglican, and nor am I sure of his
current whereabouts but this is an opportunity for him and others like him
who are not surviving in Zim. His name is Mark Egan, maybe someone knows
him or can make contact with him !!
They are looking for up to three priests between the ages of 35 and 45
although up to 49 should not be a problem.
His contact details are:
The Most Reverend Rogor Herft
Archbishop of Perth
Diocese of Perth
Anglican Church of Australia
GPO Box W2067
Perth, Western Australia 6846
Tele: - +61 8 9325 7455
Fax :- +61 8 9325 6741
Email :- firstname.lastname@example.org
Kind Regards and many thanks
Firstly, apologies on behalf of BBC World that they made the wrong decision
not to show Sue's report last week as previously advised!
However, a groundswell of global concern, after her report that was trailed
to appear last week was cancelled, has resulted in a rethink. After all, it
is the global audience, not just Britain, that needs to see and understand
the enormity of the ongoing crisis in Zimbabwe. The new details and timings
are as follows, so please advise others:
BBC World will show Our World: Zimbabwe’s Slow Death on Wednesday 3rd
October at 1930 GMT and on Thursday 4th October at 0930 GMT & 1230 GMT in
Asia Pacific only and on Friday 5th October at 1530 GMT and on Saturday 6th
October at 0130 GMT, 1730 GMT & 2330 GMT and on Monday 8th October at 0730
Our World: Zimbabwe’s Slow Death
Zimbabwe is on the point of collapse. Thousands of people are dying every
week from disease and malnutrition. BBC News is not allowed to report from
Zimbabwe, but Sue Lloyd-Roberts has been into the country, undercover, to
witness a country in despair.
The schedule will run as follows:
Wednesday 3rd October
1900 GMT BBC News (as billed)
1930 GMT Our World: Zimbabwe’s Slow Death (replaces Our World: A
2000 GMT BBC News (as billed)
Thursday 4th October
0900 GMT BBC News (as billed)
0930 GMT Our World: Zimbabwe’s Slow Death (replaces Our World: A
1000 GMT BBC News (as billed)
1200 GMT BBC News (as billed)
1230 GMT Our World: Zimbabwe’s Slow Death (replaces Our World: A
1300 GMT BBC News (as billed)
Friday 5th October
1500 GMT BBC News (as billed)
1530 GMT Our World: Zimbabwe’s Slow Death (replaces Our World: A
1600 GMT BBC News (as billed)
Saturday 6th October
0100 GMT BBC News (as billed)
0130 GMT Our World: Zimbabwe’s Slow Death (replaces Our World: A
0200 GMT BBC News (as billed)
1700 GMT BBC News (as billed)
1730 GMT Our World: Zimbabwe’s Slow Death (replaces Our World: A
1800 GMT BBC News (as billed)
2300 GMT BBC News (as billed)
2330 GMT Our World: Zimbabwe’s Slow Death (replaces Our World: A
0000 GMT BBC News (as billed)
Monday 8th October
0700 GMT BBC News (as billed)
0730 GMT Our World: Zimbabwe’s Slow Death (replaces Our World: A
0800 GMT BBC News (as billed)
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