The ZIMBABWE Situation
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Zimbabwe devalues currency to 30,000/dlr


Thu 6 Sep 2007, 15:00 GMT

HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's government on Thursday devalued the official
exchange rate of its Zimbabwe dollar to 30,000 against the U.S. dollar and
removed a two-tier system for government and exporters.

"The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe will, therefore, adjust the exchange rate
applicable to all purchases and sales of foreign exchange in the market from
$250 per U.S. dollar to 30,000 per U.S. dollar with immediate effect,"
Finance Minister Samuel Mumbengegwi said in parliament.

Zimbabwe had applied an exchange rate of 250 to the dollar for government
transactions and had allowed exporters and foreign currency account holders
to exchange at a rate of 15,000 prior to the move -- far short of a
widely-used black market rate of about 250,000 to the U.S. dollar.

The new rate would apply to all transactions, Mumbengegwi said.

Analysts had said the official rate of 250 was unrealistic in a country
struggling with the world's highest inflation rate of more than 7,000

Zimbabwe is battling severe foreign currency shortages amid an economic
crisis also marked by chronic shortages of food, electricity, fuel and
rising unemployment.

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Opposition leader in Zimbabwe charged for alleged disorderly conduct

International Herald Tribune

The Associated PressPublished: September 6, 2007

HARARE, Zimbabwe: Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai was questioned by
police for two hours Thursday and charged with disorderly conduct linked to
his tour last month of empty stores and supermarkets, his party said.

No official comment was immediately available from police.

Tsvangirai returned from a trip to Australia on Monday to a barrage of
criticism, including calls for his arrest, from ruling party politicians and
the state media for allegedly campaigning for economic sanctions against the

Nelson Chamisa, spokesman for Tsvangirai's faction of the Movement for
Democratic Change, said the opposition leader was summoned to the central
police station in connection with alleged disturbances Aug. 1 in Harare when
he toured shops hit by a government ordered price freeze that has led to
acute shortages of goods.

During the tour, Jocelyn Chiwenga, a businesswoman and wife of the army
commander Gen. Constantine Chiwenga, yelled insults at Tsvangirai and
jostled shoppers and journalists with Tsvangirai at one store.

Police took Tsvangirai's fingerprints Thursday and charged him under
security regulations. He was to appear in court at an unspecified later
date, Chamisa said.
The charges carry the penalty of a fine.

"This is the usual tactic of intimidation by the regime," Chamisa said.

The government alleges Tsvangirai called on the Australian government to
tighten punitive embargoes on Zimbabwe, which included the deportation
several children of ruling party leaders studying at Australian

The government insists Western sanctions have crippled the economy and led
to food shortages.

Western countries have imposed visa restrictions on Mugabe and more than 130
senior government and ruling party officials. The sanctions go little
further, but foreign aid, investment and loans have mostly dried up in seven
years of political turmoil since the often violent seizures of thousands of
white-owned commercial farms began in 2000.

Western countries have also lobbied their investors in Zimbabwe to cut back
their operations.

On June 26, the government ordered prices of all goods and services reduced
by about half in a bid to tame official inflation of 7,634 percent, the
highest in the world.

Independent estimates put real inflation closer to 25,000 percent, fueled by
black market trading in scarce goods.

Long and often unruly food lines at stores have become a daily occurrence.
Two people died in a stampede for sugar last month and two others died in
stampedes at the Harare agriculture show on Saturday.

Gasoline shortages have paralyzed public transport and delivery services.

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Zimbabwe ruling party seeks more changes to Constitutional Bill

Yahoo News

Thu Sep 6, 9:13 AM ET

HARARE (AFP) - Zimbabwe's ruling party seeks to make more changes to a
Constitutional Bill that is already before parliament, the party said in a
statement released on Thursday.

President Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe African National Union - Patriotic Front
(ZANU-PF) said the politburo held a meeting on Wednesday in the capital
Harare to hear a report from Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa on the
proposed amendments to the bill.
"The politburo has further deliberated on the Constitution of Zimbabwe and
approved the introduction ... of amendments to the bill," the party said in
the statement, but did not disclose their nature.

"Details of the committee stage amendments approved by the politburo will be
tabled in parliament by the minister... on 18 September during the
presentation of his second reading speech on the constitution of Zimbabwe
amendment number 18."

Last June 8, Mugabe's government had published a draft bill to amend the
country's constitution, provide for harmonised presidential and
parliamentary polls and reduce the presidential term from six to five years.

The draft document also proposed to increase the number of elected lawmakers
to 210, ten of whom will be appointed by the president.

Currently Zimbabwe's parliament has 150 MPs, with 120 elected while the rest
are appointees.

Mugabe, 83, has served six terms since independence from Britain in 1980.

The constitution has so far been amended at least 17 times.

A government-sponsored draft constitution was rejected in a referendum in
2000, prompting the mass invasion of white-owned farms by pro-government

Mugabe was endorsed last March by his ruling party as the presidential
flagbearer in next year's poll.

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Shop shelves empty, children hungry as Zimbabweans face total famine

The Australian

Jan Raath, Harare | September 07, 2007

THE OK supermarket in Mbare township is so empty that your voice echoes off
the high warehouse roof.

On row after row of white shelving, wiped clean each day, sit a dozen
cabbages. The bakery has 10 plain scones. That is all the food there is in
the largest supermarket serving tens of thousands of people in the oldest,
and teeming, township in Harare.

One night last week, Rosa, a church volunteer, scoured Mbare for supplies to
make the daily ration of maizemeal, the national staple, and some green
vegetables, to be cooked without vegetable oil and often without salt. She
found two loaves of bread.

"How do I feed the 14 people in my house with two loaves of bread?" Rosa
asked. "Sometimes there is nothing and you go to bed with no dinner. We are
living like orphans."

Her neighbour's breast milk for her one-year-old daughter dried up recently,
she said. "She couldn't find fresh milk or sterilised milk anywhere. So she
feeds the child on Mazoe" - a brand of orange cordial.

It is 10 weeks since President Robert Mugabe forced businesses to slash
prices of all goods and services in the belief that he could crush
inflation, which he says is a plot by the Zimbabwean private sector, in
collusion with Western governments, to overthrow him.

Two things have happened: inflation has rocketed and, according to the
Government, the country will run out of wheat in three days. Zimbabweans
appear set to face an almost total absence of food and ordinary household
goods. An eruption of public anger, to be met with violent suppression by Mr
Mugabe's security forces, is likely to follow, observers say.

Initially, Mr Mugabe's June 25 price blitz sparked a gleeful storming of
shops, where managers looked on aghast as their businesses were stripped at
the Government's bidding.

Then household basics such as meat, chicken, cooking oil, milk, maizemeal,
margarine, sugar and soap vanished into the black market. In the past couple
of weeks it has become almost impossible to find beer, cigarettes, tea or
baked beans in shops.

Outside the OK, rows of women stand behind little stools, each bearing a
long bar of carbolic soap, packets of cigarettes or bottles of vegetable

"These are the policemen's wives," Rosa said.

They gain their name from the latest phase of Zimbabwe's descent into hunger
and chaos: thousands of vendors have been arrested and their goods seized in
Mr Mugabe's attempt to smash the black market.

"The policemen grab the goods, they give them to their wives and then they
come and sell here," said Rosa (not her real name - nearly everyone is too
afraid to be quoted).

The black market too is starting to dry up. "Now people are buying (items)
because they don't know when they are going to see them again," a
supermarket chain executive said. The two main supermarket chains in
Zimbabwe are each due to lay off 1000 workers this month.

The country's main bakery closed one of its largest outlets yesterday
because of lack of wheat - a shipment of 36,000 tonnes is being held in a
Mozambique port because the Government cannot pay for it.

"Manufacturers are going to run out of stock to produce with," the executive
said. "There is a very strong possibility that food will disappear

At a commemoration last month of the 20th anniversary of the death of the
Zimbabwean writer Dambudzo Marechera, author of The House of Hunger, the
snacks comprised small squares of dry bread and glasses of water.

Last week, another retail executive said, a cabinet minister telephoned a
supermarket chain manager and asked for beef. He offered to pay more than 10
times the official price that he was instrumental in setting.

As schools reopened this week, parents of boarding pupils fear their
children will not be fed. Reports this week said prison authorities had
stopped feeding prisoners and were asking their relatives to bring food.

The conspicuously wealthy ruling party elite feels none of this.
Vice-President Joice Mujuru has just seen her daughter married in
celebrations that included chartering an Air Zimbabwe Boeing 737 for
$US10,000 ($12,144) to fly guests to a lavish ceremony at a five-star hotel
at Victoria Falls.

Annual inflation in July, a month after the crackdown began, hit a record
7600 per cent. Last week, the value of the Zimbabwean dollar on the black
market fell to a new low of 200,000 to $1.

"We wonder on what planet President Mugabe lives," said Wellington Chibebe,
secretary-general of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions.

"He has never slept on an empty stomach, he has never walked from State
House (his official residence) to his office, and he has never experienced
water and electricity cuts."

The Times

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Zimbabweans can't "take any more battering", says opposition leader

Monsters and Critics

Sep 6, 2007, 13:28 GMT

Harare/Johannesburg - Zimbabwe's main opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai
warned Thursday that Zimbabweans could not take any more battering and
accused President Robert Mugabe of trying to drive the nation into

In a speech prepared before the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader
was summoned to police and charged with disorderly conduct, Tsvangirai said
the situation in once-prosperous Zimbabwe was now totally unacceptable.

'We are at risk, without food, without water, without electricity and
without basic means of sustenance,' Tsvangirai said in an address to MDC
legislators, a copy of which was seen by Deutsche Presse- Agentur dpa.

Zimbabwe is deep in its worst-ever economic crisis, with inflation at more
than 7,600 percent. Shop shelves have been left bare of essentials like
milk, meat, cooking oil and margarine following a state-ordered price slash
in June.

The transport situation is worsening due to a critical shortage of fuel
while thousands of children this week left for the start of term at boarding
schools across Zimbabwe with little or no prospect of food during their

Tsvangirai accused Mugabe of trying to weaken restless Zimbabweans in the
country he has led since 1980 to make them easier to control ahead of
presidential and parliamentary polls due next year.

'Mugabe's intention is to push everybody into a hunter-gatherer subsistence
mode of life and to scatter whole communities into the countryside in search
of food,' he said.

'The time has come for us to swear that we cannot take any more battering,'
said Tsvangirai.

Earlier Thursday Tsvangirai was held for two hours at Harare Central Police
Station and charged with disorderly conduct in connection with a tour he
made of some empty supermarkets in Harare last month.

© 2007 dpa - Deutsche Presse-Agentur

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Watchdog: Crumbling Zim ripe for corruption

Mail and Guardian

Felix Mponda | Harare, Zimbabwe

06 September 2007 01:24

      Zimbabwe's failing economy and collapsing services have provided
an environment ripe for graft, with the impoverished country's woes
facilitating an ever-worsening slide towards corruption.

      Despite setting up a local graft-busting body in 2004, Zimbabwe
appears to be losing the battle against corruption, with President Robert
Mugabe's economic policies seen to promote corrupt behaviour, according to a
leading watchdog.

      In 2003 Transparency International (TI), an organisation
monitoring global corruption, ranked Zimbabwe the 77th most corrupt out of
130 countries evaluated. By 2005, Zimbabwe had slid to 130th of 163

      "Zimbabwe is ranked 130th amongst 163 countries and it has
become very corrupt compared with others," Killron Dembe, executive director
of TI in Zimbabwe, said.

      The most recent corruption index did not bode well for foreign
investment in the crisis-ridden country, Dembe said.

      He said the country's "economic malaise" had increased levels of
corruption among a population burdened by steep prices of essentials and
food shortages.

      "When you have people who have become billionaires overnight and
are considered as role models, you have a challenge because this becomes
part of the country's culture," he said.

       Dembe said Mugabe's economic policies were exacerbating the
situation, despite his anti-graft crusade yielding arrests of senior
government officials.

      "Zimbabwe needs proper policies to end corruption. Distorted
policy regimes tend to promote corruption," Dembe said.

      "When you have different exchange rates and different fuel
prices, that promotes corruption."

      Nothing tangible
      Since August last year, the authorities have kept the local unit
at 250 Zimbabwe dollars against the greenback, yet on the parallel market it
has slid to 230 000.

      Zimbabwe is facing an economic meltdown with inflation of over 7
500% and unemployment above 80%.

      In a 2006 meeting of the ruling Zanu-PF, Mugabe acknowledged
corruption had reached the party's upper echelons, saying he wanted to
cleanse the central committee amid "many cases" of abuse of authority.

      However, the country's Anti-Corruption Commission, set up with
the assistance of TI, has little to show from its fight against corruption.

      "They have done nothing tangible. There is nothing visible,"
Dembe said of the commission, whose chairperson is appointed by Mugabe.

      "The commission is answerable to the executive ... It's limited
in terms of independence and its major challenges are resources and
capacity," Dembe said.

      "The question is what is happening on the ground ... there is no
visible action taking place?"

      One of the few to be convicted was Charles Nherera, chief
executive of public bus company Zupco, who was jailed for accepting a US$85
000 bribe from a Harare businessman whom he awarded with a contract for 75

      Former finance minister Chris Kuruneri was acquitted in July
after being accused of smuggling money abroad to build a house in South

      Johannes Tomana, deputy chairperson of the commission, said the
public had reported 9 000 graft cases since 2006.

      Of these, the commission was probing 5 000 cases, out of which
only 27 had been tried in court "and we secured 22 convictions", state media
quoted Tomana as saying.

       "Nobody is immune," he said, urging whistle-blowers to report
corruption as the public was protected by law and would not be victimised by
those under probe.

      But the opposition remains sceptical, with Movement for
Democratic Change spokesperson Nelson Chamisa saying the graft battle was a
"big joke".

      "Just look around, corruption is being administered from various
centres of power. All state institutions are oozing with corrupt
tendencies." he added.

      Forced to shut down
      Meanwhile, a second major bakery in Zimbabwe has announced it is
about to run out of flour, worsening already acute bread shortages, reports
said on Thursday.

      Innscor, which runs the Bakers Inn chain of outlets, says it has
almost exhausted its reserve stocks of flour and will have to send more than
800 workers countrywide on forced leave, said the official government
mouthpiece Herald newspaper.

      "We only have three days' supply of flour left, and if we do not
get any additional supplies then we will be forced to shut down until we get
new supplies," Innscor's financial director, Owen Murumbi, told the paper.

      The announcement came a day after Lobels, another major bakery,
said it only had just two days' supply of flour left. It said it had sent
more than 1, 00 of its workers on forced leave and closed its factory in the
second city of Bulawayo.

      "We are appealing to the relevant authorities to allocate more
wheat to enable the company to remain in business and make sure we feed the
nation," Innscor's Murumbi said.

      He said the company required 80 tons of flour a day to produce
180 000 loaves of bread, which is a national staple.

      President Robert Mugabe's government says it is only importing
small quantities of wheat because it cannot afford to pay for a consignment
of 36 000 tons stuck at Beira port in Mozambique.

      Bread shortages have been worsened by the government's price
controls imposed in June that saw prices of basic commodities slashed by at
least 50%.

      Bakers who say they are now producing bread at a loss have
reduced production, resulting in long winding queues outside stores and

      There is little relief in sight, as Zimbabwe's wheat harvest due
at the end of October is expected to be the lowest in the seven years since
the government launched a controversial programme to seize productive farms
from white farmers for redistribution to black Zimbabweans. -- Sapa-AFP, dpa

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Soldiers Attack Innocent Civilians And Vendors in Glen View

SW Radio Africa (London)

6 September 2007
Posted to the web 6 September 2007

Tererai Karimakwenda

With thousands of workers losing their jobs as companies in Zimbabwe shut
down, police and soldiers are reported to be targeting street vendors who
are trying to earn a living selling scarce products on the black market.

In Glen View Wednesday uniformed soldiers descended on unsuspecting
residents and vendors at Tichagarika Shopping Centre. We got the details
from a local resident who witnessed the attacks as he was about to enter
Gutsai shop just after noon. He suddenly heard desperate screams and saw
people running in every direction to find safety.

Our source said the soldiers appeared to be targeting anyone who was outside
the shops, especially street vendors selling basic goods. He saw a street
hairdresser being kicked in the face with booted feet. There was also a
group of policemen attacking people on the other side of the shopping
centre. Several victims were bundled into an army truck that was parked
nearby. It is not clear whether they were arrested or simply taken in for
questioning. There have been no serious casualties reported so far.

The Glen View resident said vendors are very wary and try to be careful who
they sell to these days, because plain clothes police are also arresting
them and confiscating their goods. He ranted against soldiers and police,
saying they are taking advantage of the price control exercise introduced by
government about six weeks ago. He explained that whenever there is a long
queue they pretend to be policing shoppers, then work their way to the front
and buy scarce items that they sell later at inflated prices on the black

There have been uniformed patrols in many urban areas as the government
continued monitoring prices and arresting anyone suspected of failing to
comply. But the people entrusted with this power are the ones being accused
of looting then reselling the same items on the black market at inflated
prices. This makes the whole price control exercise a joke because prices
are now skyrocketing as shortages become worse.

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Students Asked to Bring Water to School As Country Runs Dry

SW Radio Africa (London)

6 September 2007
Posted to the web 6 September 2007

Tichaona Sibanda

Students in primary and secondary schools in some parts of Harare are being
asked to bring at least 2 litres of water a day to school, since the
resumption of classes after the August holiday.

The water is for personal use since most areas in the capital have gone for
months with disrupted water supplies. Our Harare correspondent Simon
Muchemwa told us Thursday that government has ordered headmasters to keep
the schools open despite the threat of disease outbreaks.

'Schools in Harare South are the ones mostly affected by the serious
shortages of water. In places like Dzivarasekwa, Kuwadzana and Mufakose most
schools are asking the students to bring water if they can,' Muchemwa said.

Since Zinwa took over the running of water early this year, it has struggled
to provide services in most urban areas due to bad management and alleged
corruption in the supply of water treatment chemicals.

There is also ageing infrastructure, including burst sewer pipes plus
foreign currency shortages caused by bad governance.

In Bulawayo there are fears some schools might have to close because of the
water crisis. The city has also been hard hit by water problems, resulting
in water cuts lasting several days while suburbs on high ground have gone
without water for months now.

Bulawayo has faced water problems before but this is the first time it has
had to issue a health warning and officials said the water shortage was
likely to get worse.

Two months ago several people contracted cholera in two Harare suburbs after
drinking contaminated water from shallow wells due to the continuous
breakdown in municipal services. Ruwa, like Kadoma, has gone for four months
without water and residents are resorting to drinking from unprotected water

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UZ Stops Two Engineering Programmes As Lecturers Desert

SW Radio Africa (London)

6 September 2007
Posted to the web 6 September 2007

Henry Makiwa

Two key science degree programmes have been struck off the University of
Zimbabwe (UZ) faculties list following the mass exodus of lecturers for
greener pastures.

The departments of Geoinformatics and Survey and the Metallurgy programme
have become the latest casualties of the crumbling of the UZ, where tutors
are deserting en masse for better paying occupations within the southern
African region and abroad. In another worrying development, faculties are
said to be reporting less than 30% registration of new students for offered
places. Pressing economic conditions in the country have deterred many from
proceeding with their studies at tertiary institutions.

Sources at the university on Thursday told us that fears are widespread that
the Medicine and Engineering departments may be the next in line to

"The stopping of the department of Geoinformatics and Survey programme is
likely to be received as shattering news by the government," said a lecturer
who refused to be named for fear of victimisation.

"There are hardly any surveyors left in public service. Most UZ
Geoinformatics and Survey graduates start roving the sub region as
consultants even before completing their UZ programme. We understand that
the current parliament session is expected to amend the Surveyor General's
Act to enable undergraduate students to work as surveyors and help in the
issuing of title deeds to A2 farmers. This means that there wont be any
undergraduate students to talk about in three years!"

Another worrying development is the news that the UZ has failed to offer
residence for all first and last year students as per tradition, owing to
the harsh economic environment.

Former student leader and Zimbabwe Youth Movement activist, Collen Chibango
laid the blame on the government.

He said: "It's well known that the government is in the business of creating
destitutes. The ministry of health has declared the university residences
uninhabitable hence the university can't take any first or last year
students on the campus. The other suggestions are also that the university
campus is less of a political hot pot without students, ahead of next year's
elections as there are fears there would be a lot of anti-government

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Second Zimbabwe bakery says it is about to run out of flour

Earth Times

            Posted : Thu, 06 Sep 2007 09:48:59 GMT
            Author : DPA

Harare - A second major bakery in Zimbabwe has announced it is about
to run out of flour worsening already acute bread shortages, reports said
Thursday. Innscor, which runs the Bakers Inn chain of outlets, says it has
almost exhausted its reserve stocks of flour and will have to send more than
800 workers countrywide on forced leave, said the official Herald newspaper.

"We only have three days' supply of flour left, and if we do not get
any additional supplies then we will be forcEd to shut down until we get new
supplies," Innscor's financial director Owen Murumbi told the paper.

The announcement came a day after Lobels, another major bakery, said
it only had just two days supply of flour left. It said it had sent more
than 1,500 of its workers on forced leave and closed its factory in the
second city of Bulawayo.

"We are appealing to the relevant authorities to allocate more wheat
to enable the company to remain in business and make sure we feed the
nation," Innscor's Murumbi said.

He said the company required 80 tons of flour a day to produce 180,000
loaves of bread, which is a national staple.

President Robert Mugabe's government says it is only importing small
quantities of wheat because it cannot afford to pay for a consignment of
36,000 tons stuck at Beira port in Mozambique.

Bread shortages have been worsened by the governments price controls
imposed in June that saw prices of basic commodities slashed by at least 50
per cent.

Bakers who say they are now producing bread at a loss have reduced
production, resulting in long winding queues outside stores and bakeries.

There is little relief in sight, as Zimbabwe's wheat harvest due at
the end of October is expected to be the lowest in the seven years since the
government launched a controversial programme to seize productive farms from
white farmers for redistribution to blacks.

More than four million Zimbabweans, or around a third of the
population, will be in need of food aid between now and March, according to
the UN's World Food Programme, which is coordinating the distribution of

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Youth Militia Camps May Close

UN Integrated Regional Information Networks

6 September 2007
Posted to the web 6 September 2007


The acute shortages being experienced in Zimbabwe could lead to the closure
of the ZANU-PF government's youth militia training camps, established in
2001 to instil the values of national identity, unity, patriotism and

The Youth, Gender and Women's Affairs parliamentary portfolio committee has
recommended that National Youth Service Centres be closed until economic
conditions improve because their ablution and accommodation facilities were
near collapse and trainees were not being provided with adequate supplies of
food, while their trainers were not receiving regular remuneration.

The youth militia was designed to create disciplined training for school
leavers and includes marching drills, which has led the opposition party,
the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), to claim that recruits, many from
poor, disadvantaged rural backgrounds, were being brainwashed ahead of
elections to intimidate opposition supporters.

Zimbabwe has the world's highest official inflation rate, now more than
7,000 percent, and unemployment of 80 percent. Shortages of foreign
exchange, fuel and electricity are commonplace and 4.1 million people, more
than a third of the country's population, are expected to face severe food
shortages in the lead-up to presidential and parliamentary elections
scheduled for March 2008.

During the 2002 presidential elections and the 2005 legislative elections
the uniformed graduates of the youth service were accused of assaulting
opposition party members and supporters, earning them the nickname of "green

The national youth programme is essentially an extension of the ruling party

Washington Katema, national coordinator of the 300,000-strong Zimbabwe
National Students Union (ZINASU), told IRIN, "the national youth programme
is essentially an extension of the ruling party, and we expect that when
next year's budget is announced, before the end of this year [2007], they
will receive substantial funding, so that many recruits will be able to be
trained before being unleashed on the population just before the elections."

Fambai Ngirande, spokesperson for the National Association of
Non-Governmental Organisations (NANGO), told IRIN: "Quite naturally, we are
also worried about reports that the programme is quasi-military, and may not
prepare the recruits for a civilian life."

The parliamentary portfolio committee report, compiled in conjunction with
representatives from ZANU-PF and the MDC, also expressed concern about the
military emphasis of the training camps and said "the centres should
consider temporarily closing down until the economic environment permitted
the running of national service programmes."

Parliamentarians visited youth centres earlier this year and found that the
majority of trainers were retired army personnel, war veterans and members
of Zimbabwe's police force.

Financial constraints and poor diet

The hardships being suffered in the youth centres were apparent during the
committee's visits, which said it was "distressed" by the diets of the

"The trainees are given a cup of porridge with no sugar in the morning.
Lunch is always sadza [maizemeal porridge, the national staple] and beans or
vegetables without cooking oil," the committee report said.

The trainees also informed the committee that the shortage of food was a
great challenge as the youth were involved in a lot of physical activities
like drills and running

"The trainees also informed the committee that the shortage of food was a
great challenge as the youth were involved in a lot of physical activities
like drills and running while the food provided did not provide enough
energy as required by the vigorous exercises."

The report did not say whether the youths were given an evening meal, but
the trainers at the centres told the committee that the poor diet was a
reflection of the wider food shortages being experienced in the country.
Trainees complained to committee members that they often went hungry.

Conditions in the camps appear to have had an impact on enrolments. A youth
centre in Midlands Province, with a capacity of 1,000 trainees, had only 218
recruits, while the Guyu centre in Matabeleland South Province, with a
capacity of 3,000, had only 220 trainees.

Poor living conditions

The committee said it found no evidence of sexual abuse of female trainees
by their male counterparts or instructors. "The girls' barracks were fenced
off and have a gate that is locked at 1800 hours every day. A matron lives
in the barracks with the girls and sees to their welfare," the report said.

The practice of girls being forced to wear skimpy outfits, reported during a
tour of youth centres by the committee in 2003, had been discontinued. "The
length of the shorts that they wore made the girls uncomfortable in front of
male trainees and instructors," the authors noted.

"The committee made a recommendation that the issue be looked into and we
are pleased to find that the recommendation has been taken up and the female
students now wear longer shorts that they are happy with." However, due to
shortages, female trainees were no longer supplied with sanitary towels.

Staff at the centres told legislators they had worked without long-term
contracts for the past five years, and did not enjoy any of the fringe
benefits afforded to other public servants, such as study leave and medical

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

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Civil Groups And Industry Planning Major Strikes to Protest Price Freezes

SW Radio Africa (London)

6 September 2007
Posted to the web 6 September 2007

Tererai Karimakwenda

It appears the end of business in Zimbabwe that was predicted by economic
analysts when government introduced price controls, is at hand. Thousands
have already lost their jobs and many more will follow soon as company
closures and takeovers continue.

There are reports that the army has been mobilised as government makes moves
to offset any planned mass action. The government is aware that civil groups
and private businesses are discussing ways to respond to the current crisis.

The price control exercise got a six-month extension last week when Robert
Mugabe invoked the Presidential Powers Act. This means there can be no
increases in the prices of goods, services, salaries, charges, wages or
school fees during the next six months. More companies are bound to close
and more people will lose their jobs.

The Financial Gazette reported this week that the bakers industry is to
retrench about 10 000 workers due to the serious shortages of wheat and the
impact of the government's price controls. This is about half their
workforce. The National Bakers Association (NBA) told Newsreel Wednesday
that they had made representations to government about the challenges they
face, but no solution had been offered. Many workers were sent home on
unpaid leave, and many more are expected to follow.

Just a day after the state media reported that the country's largest baker
Lobels had closed its plant in Bulawayo, another major company is reported
to have sold its remaining share of stock to a local firm. The ABSA Group
Limited, a South African bank, sold its 24,1% shareholding in CBZ for an
undisclosed sum through what was described as a share buy-back scheme. The
news comes less than a week after the H.J. Heinz company that makes Olivine
oil was taken over by the state owned Cottco.

The Financial Gazette reported that a crippling civil service and private
sector strike is being discussed as one possible response to the price
freezes. The report said Labour unions have been holding crisis meetings in
Harare this week. Included in the discussions is the Public Service
Association, which represents the country's civil servants, and the umbrella
Zimbabwe Congress of trade Unions (ZCTU).

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Raw Sewage Flows in Kuwadzana

The Herald (Harare)  Published by the government of Zimbabwe

6 September 2007
Posted to the web 6 September 2007


Kuwadzana  5 residents are unhappy over the failure of the Zimbabwe National
Water Authority to repair sewer lines, which they fear might lead to an
outbreak of waterborne diseases such as cholera.

Raw sewage is flowing in most parts of the suburb, exposing households to
diseases. Residents interviewed expressed disappointment at Zinwa for not
treating the matter as urgent. "We are surprised that Zinwa has taken almost
three months to respond to our crisis. Our children are playing in raw
sewerage, exposing them to waterborne diseases. Zinwa should do something
before something nasty happens," Mr Pirukai Takavambana, one of the
residents, said. Another resident, Mr Mathew Matengarwodzi, said life had
now become miserable as they had resorted to using a nearby bush for relief.

"We can no longer use our toilets and bathrooms as sewage overflows once we
try to do so. The situation has become bad and no one seems to care about
it," he said.

He added that most families had to prepare meals in the open as most yards
were covered with sewage. An official at the Zinwa workshop in Kuwadzana 2
said they had received reports but had no transport as well as equipment to
repair the sewer system.

"Yes, it's true we have received reports and we know that about 1 000
families are affected but there is nothing we can do. We don't have sewer
rods to repair the system. "We also have only one truck that is broken down
so there is no way we can work," the official, who declined to be named,

The official also blamed the residents for contributing to the sewage
overflow. "The sewage problem has also been worsened by the residents
themselves. They are the main culprits. "They throw stones, spoons, bricks,
sand, cloths and various other objects, resulting in blockages," he said.
However, residents dismissed this, saying that although blockages were a
factor, the truth of the matter was that the system was affected by the
water shortages as most residents had turned to the bucket system to flush

"Because of water shortages we have resorted to the bucket system and when
water supplies are restored the sewage would have accumulated and this is
one of the major problems," another resident, who chose not to be
identified, said. When The Herald visited the most affected area along 103
and 104 streets, raw sewerage was overflowing from manholes into the road,
gardens and verandas.

Residents have since dug up trenches so that the sewage flows out of their

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Tourists to help Zim recovery?


Sep 06 2007 07:59 PM

Finweek's Chris Muronzi
Harare - Zimbabwe's tourism and mining sectors are on a recovery path and
will grow this year, if you believe the country's Finance Minister Samuel
Mumbengegwi.    He said the troubled country's tourism sector, which is
facing image problems and facing many challenges, is expected to grow.
According to Mumbengegwi, tourism arrivals will grow by 34% this year buoyed
by intensified marketing initiatives in the Far East regions to sell the
country's sector as a safe tourists' destination.    He said, contrary to
popular belief, the government has managed to sell Zimbabwe as a safe
tourists' destination.    "The tourism sector is expected to grow by 34%
this year because tourist arrivals have grown to 1,4 million people this
year from 1,1 million last year," Mumbengegwi said projecting growth in
platinum and nickel output.  No walk in the park  But analysts say the
recovery of the tourism sectors will not be a walk in the park given that
the country's image is battered globally adding that output mining is quite
ambitious after President Robert Mugabe's plans to nationalise mines by year
end.    Aquarius Platinum's Mimosa Platinum Mines' shelved an expansion
programme at its mines owing to uncertainty relating to mine ownership after
nationalisation reports.    Mining executives say output in mines is also
falling due to power outages and foreign currency shortages.    The
country's chamber of mines, a grouping of mine owners, says there is a need
to embark on mining development programmes such as expansions of existing
mines and exploration.    Mumbengegwi was speaking in a televised
supplementary budget presentation in parliament.  Additional budget  The
Z$37,1trillion additional fiscal budget was prompted by high salaries paid
out to civil servants in the first half of the year to cushion them from an
economic meltdown characterised by high inflation, the government official
said.    He added that the supplementary budget had taken the need to
maintain macro economic stability of the troubled country's economy into
consideration in coming up with the government's various needs until the
annual fiscal budget is presented in November.    But analysts say lack of
financial discipline on the part of Mugabe's government had raised the need
for the additional budget maintaining that if various government departments
had lived "within their means", the additional budget could have been
avoided.    On the inflation front, Mumbengegwi says he is hopeful that the
price monitoring and control policy will achieve stability, he said to a
contemptuous gallery of opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
Members of Parliament.    Already basic goods have vanished from the shops
because of the price control after Mugabe ordered prices of goods be halved
in June.    Recently the aged leader ordered a ban on wage and price
increases after invoking the Presidential Powers Act.    The Finance
Minister also exempted low-income-earners from tax. Workers earning Z$40m
and below are now exempted from tax while those earning the highest taxed
worker will now be contributing over 47% of his or her earnings to taxes.
Experts also doubt the capability of the government to raise this gigantic
figure in revenues from a stressed business community and underpaid workers
warning Mugabe's central bank might have to do what it does best - print
money.    Zimbabwe has the highest inflation rate in the world, currently
believed to be 7 600%.    - Fin24

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Arda Woos Private Sector

The Herald (Harare)  Published by the government of Zimbabwe

6 September 2007
Posted to the web 6 September 2007


The Agricultural and Rural Development Authority has invited private equity
funds to help revitalise ailing operations at the State enterprise.

Agriculture Minister Mr Rugare Gumbo revealed yesterday that Arda was
under-capitalised, hence the need for private investors. Priority would be
given to investors interested in growing crops targeted at achieving food
security such as maize and small grains, said Mr Gumbo. "It is all about
unlocking value. We are encouraging private investors to enter into joint
ventures with Arda," Minister Gumbo said in an interview.

"We are not going to have major policy shifts but we will make sure that
Arda will remain with an upper hand in all joint ventures that are going to

Already, horticultural firm TZI Limited has signed an agreement with Arda in
which a new company would be formed. Arda would have a 51 percent stake
while the remainder would be in the hands of TZI. Arda's poor performance
has been largely attributed to poor management, culminating in the dismissal
of former CEO Dr Joseph Matowanyika.

Recently Mr Gumbo appointed a new board whose prime objective is to
revitalise the agriculture body that has been bedeviled by a host of
problems, which resulted in some estates becoming derelict.

Minister Gumbo said interviews for the CEO post have been completed and
submissions have been made to the ministry for consideration.Arda was formed
in May 1978, when it was decided to bring the country's three leading
planning and development authorities under a single authority. The three
authorities involved were the previously autonomous bodies of the Tribal
Trust Land Development Corporation (Tilcor), the Agricultural Development
Authority (ADA) and the Sabi-Limpopo Authority (SLA).

It was tasked to enhance food security and to impart prudent agricultural
practices to rural communities bordering its estates. Arda is a strategic
arm of Government whose object is to assist in meeting the nation's food

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Tsvangirai 's address to the MDC parliamentary caucus on the deepening crisis in Zimbabwe

6 September 2007

Honourable Members of Parliament,

On the 9th of July 2007, the MDC alerted the nation to the dangers of the
state-sponsored siege on our struggling business community following a
decision by the Robert Mugabe dictatorship to slash commodity prices and
promote a run on all businesses. Mugabe and Zanu PF have sabotaged the
economy  through policy inconsistencies and reckless populism.

Today, the situation has become totally unacceptable. We are at risk,
without food, without water, without electricity and without basic means of
sustenance. Our schools opened for the third term this week. Headmasters and
school administrators countrywide are so desperate for basics to keep these
already squeezed institutions open. Possibilities exist for some of the
schools to close before the end of the year. Our hospitals can no longer
feed patients. Our hotels and food outlets are failing to access essentials
to ensure the viability of the hospitality industry. Even our prisons have
reduced their rations to life-threatening levels.

Literally, every ordinary person, state and private institutions and the
business community have been forced to source food and other scarce
necessities on the black market because of a systematic destruction of the
formal sector. An informal market ravages the poor in any society as
speculators and beneficiaries of a government patronage system thrive on the
scarcity of goods and services. The poor cannot afford the goods sold on the
parallel market.

Businesses are closing down. Thousands of jobs have been lost and more are
on the firing line. That our shops and market shelves are already empty is
common cause. Our families are exposed. Mugabe and Zanu PF continue to
bicker and to sacrifice the people's livelihoods for political expediency.

The plan is to drive the entire nation into destitution for easier control
and punishment for rejecting Zanu PF rule. To those in urban areas, the
onslaught began with operation Murambatsvina in 2005. Mugabe's intention is
to push everybody into a hunter-gatherer subsistence mode of life and to
scatter whole communities into the countryside in search of food. The plan
is to weaken and liquidate organised constituencies and organised life in

I salute you, Zimbabweans for remaining focussed on the goal; for rejecting
the selfish and poor Zanu PF election gimmicks. Our experience shows once a
key economic sector is targeted by this regime, the poor and vulnerable
often bear the brunt of such recklessness. I salute you, brave mothers and
fathers, the workers, commuters, students, businesspeople, the unemployed
and all our children for the discipline you have maintained in the face of
such naked provocation from Mugabe and his regime.

We have a scheduled election in March 2008. In stable societies, a free and
fair election opens up a host of opportunities for citizens. In our case,
the conditions are so flawed that our voices are often muzzled. We must get
the right conditions to pull through an election process that works as a
catalyst for a holistic transformation of our society.

For 27 years, Mugabe and Zanu PF have proved beyond reasonable doubt that
they are unable to lead us to the desired national destiny. Under this
regime, Zimbabwe shall never realise the ideals of the liberation struggle.
Mugabe and Zanu PF simply enjoy the blame game.

For nearly three decades, they have targeted the opposition and people of
Matabeleland and the Midlands to defend their power-base. Mugabe has smashed
the media; he has attacked white Zimbabweans, white farmers and the West; he
has gone for the church and church leaders; now he has turned his axe onto
ordinary people by smashing the conventional business environment.

We can reverse the decay. We have the power to restore our dignity. We can
turn around our fortunes, our economy and enjoy our self-esteem. We can
reclaim our sovereignty and our freedom. We pledge to lay before you a new
breed of leaders, a new generation of committed patriots, ready to tackle
the complicated task of putting permanent structures for a new Zimbabwe.

The choice is simple: either take the country into a new era or maintain a
decaying status quo. A free and fair election can assist in lifting us from
this scrap-heap, restore our respect among nations and rest our restless
population in its own natural home. A free and fair election, given the
right political will, is possible.

With a worthless currency, a huge budget deficit, a shocking external debt,
nearly 100 percent unemployment and a devastating HIV/Aids pandemic, fellow
Zimbabweans, the time has come for us to swear that we cannot take in any
more battering.

Mugabe and Zanu PF have lost interest in turning around the damage they have
caused. They are hopelessly weak and tired. The regime no longer has the
capacity nor the national interest to clean up the mess. The time has come
for us to start afresh. The answer lies in the manner in which we organise
ourselves for an orderly regime change.

Organise yourselves in every village, at growth points, in your streets and
at meeting places to raise the nation out of this deepening crisis. Talk to
your neighbours, engage each other in your churches and at gatherings. Talk
about the future. Talk about Zimbabwe. We are ready to provide the
leadership. Resist Mugabe's attempts to scatter the nation into various
tribes and clans. Maintain the thread that links us to a single nation and a
single identity. Fight the fragmentation, endure the temporary setbacks and
overcome fear. Keep hope alive.

My vision rests on a flourishing , tolerant society that respects our
diversity as a source of strength. We have already put together a
post-Mugabe reconstruction and reconciliation plan in line with our national
healing focus.

We need a spirit of togetherness and must come to terms with our disruptive
past in order to iron out any traces of covert discrimination based on a
person's ancestry and geographical station in Zimbabwe. A new Zimbabwe shall
respect the people's right to decency.

Zimbabweans require a minimum state involvement in the economy. Zimbabweans
require a cafeteria environment to explore their dreams and to realise their
full potential as a people.

Given the pressures on our young people - a generation that has borne the
brunt of this dictatorship most - we shall put in place a Marshall-plan type
of programme to rescue the jobless millions through viable placements in all
sectors of the economy in order to offer them a belated head start in life.

Zimbabweans stranded in neighbouring countries and beyond, searching for
food security and economic opportunities, shall rejoin their families at
home. We pledge to make this possible within a short space of time. We have
a committed leadership, a leadership for change, a leadership ready for a
new Zimbabwe.

Prepare yourselves and your communities for a new Zimbabwe. Let us stand
ready for a society awash with food and jobs for our people. The temporary
setbacks we are all facing shall vanish as soon as we mobilise and claim our
space. The time for a new Zimbabwe is now with us.

Morgan Tsvangirai,

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