The ZIMBABWE Situation Our thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.

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Zim Independent

Editor's Memo

Prostitutes to power
Iden Wetherell
RETURNING from the warmth, tolerance and tranquillity of Asia to the toxic
political climate of Zimbabwe is an uncomfortable experience at the best of
times but this time the atmosphere seemed particularly poisonous.

One example was a vicious assault on the independent media by the editor of
the Herald published on August 24. Responding to a claim by US Assistant
Secretary of State Walter Kansteiner that the Bush administration was
working with independent journalists' groups and other representatives of
civil society to isolate the Mugabe regime (not "topple" it as the Herald
dishonestly reported), the paper's editor proceeded to argue that this
revelation confirmed suspicions that the private media in Zimbabwe was
controlled by Britain and the United States. He then went on to describe
those of us working in the independent media as "shameless turncoats who are
prepared to sell their country to the highest bidder".

He said the emphasis had shifted from the quest for excellence, such as
getting the true story no matter what.

"Even journalists whom we once fought side by side with against foreign
domination and were prepared to defend their country and sovereignty have
capitulated to become the devil's advocates (sic)," he claimed. "To them
Zimbabwe's independence is a sham. Life was better under white rule."

How will their children judge such a betrayal, he asked?

Who exactly is betraying who here? The corrupt and lawless political
aristocracy which the Herald speaks for are no longer seen by anybody as the
legitimate heirs to the liberation war of the 1970s. They have betrayed the
trust vested in them by their brutal suppression of the liberties they
pledged to uphold and the systematic pillaging of the vibrant economy they
inherited. Zimbabweans are poorer today than they have ever been. As a
nation we have been overtaken by virtually all our neighbours in terms of
per capita GDP and standards of living.

Meanwhile, Zanu PF leaders and their business allies have become obscenely
rich. The theft of productive farms is merely the logical conclusion to a
career of crime for many in power that includes helping themselves to large
amounts from the War Victims Compensation Fund and the VIP housing scheme.

It is little wonder that most people regard Zimbabwe's independence as "a
sham". What was hailed as the attainment of freedom and dignity has become a
prison where a corrupt and violent elite holds sway denying the majority
their right to object.

The editor of the Herald is of course the last person to lecture us on
professional standards. Under his watch the Herald has been prostituted to
the increasingly desperate needs of an unpopular regime that has manipulated
electoral outcomes to allow it continued access to the public feeding
trough. Unelected officials with no public mandate acting on the whim of an
illegitimate president abuse the law to suppress opposition, confiscate
property, and reward their followers.

They and their media puppets are the "shameless turncoats prepared to sell
their country to the highest bidder". At the moment that is Libya, but Zanu
PF is evidently prepared to mortgage the country to any bidder who can offer
it a further lease on power. Exactly what their children will make of this
record of betrayal should worry them sick.

No journalist I know has been in touch with Walter Kansteiner. But we should
not allow fear of abuse from the state media to deter us from conferring
with all those who are working for the restoration of democratic rule in
Zimbabwe (and at the same time feeding the victims of Mugabe's famine),
especially at a time when the Public Order and Security Act has made it
illegal to confer with our fellow citizens at home. Building a democratic
consensus both at home and abroad where millions of Zimbabweans have been
forced to seek refuge by Mugabe's disastrous policies should be the duty of
all journalists who subscribe to freedom of expression.

We have a duty to ensure a regime that assaults and even murders its
opponents, confiscates their property, bombs their premises and deprives
them of the right to democratically oppose its bad laws is effectively
isolated. Why should it get away with electoral theft and manipulation of
the courts? Why should it get away with a blank refusal to bring to justice
those of its followers responsible for murder and torture? Why should its
leaders be received abroad as anything other than the political criminals
they are?

Which brings us to those who parrot the regime's mantras, justify its
tyranny and support its theft and political thuggery. Should those media
apologists for misrule continue to enjoy the benefits of international
travel and professional recognition when they have betrayed their profession
and become no more than instruments of oppression? What they are doing is
wrong - and they know it.
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Zim Independent

Africa's tyrants hinder political stability, economic recovery
Dumisani Muleya
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe and other "tyrants" are undermining Africa's
political stability and economic recovery, chairman of the United States
Congressional subcommittee on Africa, Ed Royce, has said.

Royce, who is a California Republican, said last week while Africa's
progressive leaders were battling to rescue the continent from economic and
political backwardness, Mugabe and his allies were struggling against

"On the world's poorest continent, two African futures are duelling," Royce
said. "South African President Thabo Mbeki and others speak of an African
renaissance, a growing prosperity founded on democracy and the rule of law,
and want it backed by greater development aid."

While that was happening, Royce said, Mugabe was pulling in a different

"Meanwhile, Zimbabwe's tyrannical Mugabe is destroying one of the
continent's more promising countries as he clings to power," he said.

"For Africa's sake, its leaders' discouragingacceptance of Mugabe's tyranny
cannot gounchallenged." Royce said Mugabe was illegitimate and his pretended
democratic leadership should be rejected.

"Zimbabwe's presidential election in March was a sham. The independent press
was terrorised and ballots were corrupted. Political opponents were
murdered. Human rights groups in Zimbabwe have documented ongoing
government-sanctioned torture," he said.

"Today, some six million Zimbabweans, half the country, face a famine made
mostly by Mugabe. His regime blames drought, but reservoirs are near full.
Its 'land reform' policy of evicting several thousand commercial farmers,
besides hammering the economy, has slashed maize production. While begging
for food aid, the Mugabe government is arresting evicted farmers for tending
to their crops."

He pointed out Mugabe's land reform exercise was a feudal patronage

"Ominously, Mugabe allies are now farm owners. The government's land scheme
is simply a patronage programme for supporters, including Libyan interests
who have given the Mugabe regime key aid," he said.

"Even the 'war veterans' are being discarded, losing their just-seized land
to generals and other apparatchiks. Besides shredding the rule of law, land
reform has darkened food security prospects, with once-productive
agricultural land now in non-farming hands."

Royce said Zimbabwe's democratic institutions were under siege from

"Mugabe is all the more notorious for attacking institutions few other
African countries have enjoyed. He has savaged an independent press and
judiciary, an educated middle class, an organised civil society, and
productive commercial farmers, hallmarks of Zimbabwe and key to its relative
prosperity," he said.

"While Africa has suffered many tyrants, it is hard to recall one having to
do more damage to his country's potential in order to cling to power. In
killing Zimbabwe's present, Mugabe is killing its future."

African leaders, Royce said, were collaborating with Mugabe's dictatorship.

"Have African leaders spoken out against this tyrant who stole an election,
plunders the economy and whose legacy is shaping up to be the death by
famine of tens of thousands? Hardly. Countering other international
observers, most African delegations whitewashed Mugabe's 're-election'," he

While Zimbabwe's president is a case apart, too many African leaders brook
no dissent. Journalists and political activists are jailed and worse through
much of the continent," he said.

Royce said Africa was however not doomed to tyranny.

"Several African heads of state have distinguished themselves by standing
down recently," he said. "Though battered, democracy is still a force in
Zimbabwe. Mugabe is being driven to new depths everyday by Zimbabweans
rejecting his misrule."
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Zim Independent

Seed, fertiliser firms demand 200% price hike
Augustine Mukaro
SEED and fertiliser companies are demanding a 200% price hike on their
products before they release any more inputs for sale to retailers for the
coming season, it emerged this week.

The controlled price of fertiliser has been pegged at $900 per 50kg bag but
the few bags already delivered to retailers are being sold for $2 800 each.

Officials at Windmill said the prices are going up on a weekly basis at a
rate of 5%. The manufacturers fear that with the onset of the rains the
government would fix prices way below the current $2 800 a bag.

Last year the government forced retailers to sell seeds and fertiliser at
controlled prices but these were easily diverted onto the black market where
they were sold at as much as four times the official price.

A spokesperson for SeedCo, the country's biggest maize seed supplier, Daniel
Kwaramba, this week said seed producers were asking government to review the
price of seeds to remain in business.

"We will not release seeds to retailers until an agreement is reached,"
Kwaramba said. "I cannot however give you details of the discussions at the
moment but I can confirm that we are asking government to produce a detailed
working plan for the coming season."

Farm & City, Zimbabwe's biggest agricultural inputs distributor, confirmed
producers had not supplied them with seed citing irrational prices.

"Agricultural input producers are withholding the inputs in their warehouses
demanding an urgent price rise to cover up for huge losses they are making,"
an official at Farm & City headquarters in Harare said.

Seed companies opted to hold on to their products after government indicated
it wanted to buy large quantities of the seed at unreasonably subsidised
prices under the $8,5 billion agricultural input scheme.

Zimbabwe Farmers' Union Wilfanos Mashingaidze has said new farmers would
need about $150 billion to successfully finance the coming season.

Seed houses report that there are more than 50 000 tonnes of maize seed
available and such a quantity could cater for two seasons supply but may not
be on the market because of the controlled prices.

The seed houses buy seed from growers at $110 000 a tonne but are required
to sell it at a give-away price of $75 000 to the farmers. Zimbabwe needs
about 600 000 tonnes of fertiliser to meet production. About 400 000 tonnes
of the fertiliser is a locally manufactured Compound D normally used in the
planting of the crops and 200 000 is ammonium nitrate whose raw materials
are imported.
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Zim Independent

Concern over Harare's water
Augustine Mukaro
THE quality of Harare's water has come under scrutiny - this time from the
city fathers themselves - because of its unpleasant taste and the odour it
is emitting.

Despite claims by the city council that Harare water was safe to drink and
did not contain high levels of micro-organisms detrimental to health, in
council minutes dated August 7 councillors expressed concern over the smell
and unpleasant taste which often characterises the water.

In April the Zimbabwe Independent revealed that Harare's water had high
levels of impurities. This was immediately denied by the council, which ran
adverts saying the water was safe to drink. Yet city councillors attending a
capacity-building workshop at Wild Geese Lodge on April 15/16 had expressed
concern at the poor quality of Harare's water. Councillors requested the
acting director of works, Vusumuzi Sithole, to report on measures to
eliminate odours in the drinking water.

"The sources of the odours and unpleasant taste in the water was the organic
pollution of Lakes Chivero and Manyame by industries, the city's sewage
works and the surrounding local authorities," his report said.

The minutes said the acting director of works reported that measures were
continuously being undertaken to remove smells and odours from drinking
water at Morton Jaffray Water Works.

"The measures included, inter-alia, addition of chlorine and ammonia,
addition of activated carbon, superchlorination, aeration and ECOL2000,"
said the minutes.

The minutes said the addition of the activated carbon, chlorination and
addition of ammonia and chlorine had been in use for years at Morton Jaffrey
waterworks. However, of late council has resorted to the use of an imported
chemical, ECOL2000, to treat most of the impurities and remove the smells
from the water.

"A combination of ECOL2000 and continuous dosing of the treatment works with
activated carbon have the capacity to remove the smells from the water," the
minutes said.

Harare City Council chief chemist Lisben Chipfunde this week confirmed that
there were smells in the water in March and April but said these had since
been rectified.

"We have increased the quantity of chemicals being used to remove smells and
odours in drinking water at MJ waterworks," Chipfunde said.

"We are continuously dosing the treatment works with activated carbon
combined with ECOL2000 chemical and that has achieved a 100% success in the
removal of the smells."

A council engineer said the quality of raw water in Lake Chivero had
deteriorated as water levels dropped.

"The unpleasant smells and tastes have been caused by the increased presence
of the blue-green algae," the engineer said at the April meeting.

"By February the quality of raw water in Lake Chivero had drastically
deteriorated to an extent that water filters were being clogged more than
before. The deterioration in the quality of raw water has resulted in
greater use of chemicals to treat impurities."
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Zim Independent

Moyo builds fiefdom in Tsholotsho constituency
Loughty Dube
INFORMATION minister Jonathan Moyo has been accused of fomenting chaos in
Tsholotsho in Matabeleland North in his bid to make inroads into the
constituency, the Zimbabwe Independent has heard. The MP for Tsholotsho,
Mtoliki Sibanda, said Moyo's interest in the district had brought with it
violence ahead of the rural council elections due at the end of this month.

"Jonathan Moyo's idea to create a constituency in Tsholotsho is creating
havoc in the district as Zanu PF thugs masquerading as war veterans are
constantly harassing people and forcing them to attend his campaign rallies
that come in the guise of donations," said Sibanda.

He said since Moyo started showing an interest in Tsholotsho the area had
known no peace.

"There has been a lot of violence in the district since Moyo showed an
interest in the area and it is quite obvious from his actions that he wants
to create a constituency for himself through the numerous donations that he
is making throughout the district," said Sibanda.

Moyo is one of the 30 non-constituency members of parliament appointed by
President Mugabe after the ruling Zanu PF lost 57 seats to the opposition
MDC during the hotly-contested 2000 parliamentary election. "Soldiers who
were deployed to Tsholotsho before the presidential election are still
operating in the area disguised as civilians and those are the people that
cause mayhem when Moyo comes to the district with his donations," Sibanda

Since the presidential election in March, Moyo, Mugabe's propaganda chief,
has been making trips to Tsholotsho raising suspicions that he is trying to
carve out a political base for himself in the area.

Sibanda said Zanu PF chairman John Nkomo and President Mugabe were imposing
Moyo on Tsholotsho.

Since March Moyo has donated and made pledges of over $180 million to the

In July he personally initiated a $164 million irrigation programme in the
district and followed it up with a personal donation of $1,5 million to
Mabale primary school.

Moyo has also sourced and donated $1,5 millon for the Albino Association in
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Zim Independent

Bakeries scale down operations
Stanley James
ZIMBABWE'S bakeries are operating at 50% of capacity because of rationed
flour supplies from major milling firms as the country's wheat reserves

The situation has culminated in the black market trade of bread at $100 a
loaf instead of the gazetted $54,95.

Bakers Association of Zimbabwe (BAZ) chairman Armitage Chikwavira confirmed
the scaling down of operations, attributing the problem to the decimated
supplies of flour from millers.

"The persistent bread shortage has been due to severe difficulties in
getting normal supplies of flour from the millers," said Chikwavira. "At the
moment millers are rationing wheat to the extent that we are operating at
50% of our normal capacity.

"The situation is expected to persist in the next three weeks before a
consignment of 22 000 tonnes of imported wheat which was procured by
government arrives in the country," he said.

Millers are currently rationing flour to bakeries from the normal 639 tonnes
a week to 336 tonnes a week adding to the financial woes of bakers.

"We are at the moment securing about 40% to 50% of flour supplies and
bakeries have resorted to reducing working hours and sending some workers on
leave to minimise costs," he said.

"Government has been frantically working towards restoring normal supplies
of bread. However, we fear that in the event that the deplorable situation
is not addressed, we will experience a continuous shortage of the commodity
that will negatively impact on the sector."

Consumers are concerned with the deteriorating quality of bread on the
market amid allegations that bakers were mixing flour with maize meal in the
production process. Major bakers have also stopped slicing bread in a bid to
reduce production costs.

Bakers are also concerned with the government's controversial price control
system for bread which they said adversely affected viability.

Chikwavira said that as the winter wheat harvest was about to start there
was a possibility that flour shortages might be solved on a short-term

However, analysts forecast a significant drop in wheat output because of
government's land redistribution programme which has left many of the
commercial wheat farmers landless.
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The Brave Turn to Mining to Survive

UN Integrated Regional Information Networks

September 5, 2002
Posted to the web September 5, 2002


Men, women and even children in Zimbabwe are turning to small-scale gold
mining, some of it illegal, as a last resort in the face of parched and
empty maize fields.

In spite of the dangers, illustrated by two serious mine collapses this
year, people have continued to arrive at riverbeds and disused mines hoping
to extract enough of the precious metal to cover their basic food needs.

With no training or sophisticated equipment, miners pan or dig for long
hours, for small returns.

A recent report by the feature service AfricaNews, said that up to 30
percent of the new miners were women, who saw their labour as a form of
financial empowerment. They used the money for fertiliser, seeds, school
uniforms or travel expenses. Worryingly, many of the miners were children.

The current rise in the number of small-scale miners reflects a similar
trend seen during the severe drought of 1992.

Up to half of Zimbabwe's 12 million people face food shortages in the coming
months. This time the reasons go beyond drought, and include economic and
political upheaval.

Zimbabwe's controversial land-reform programme has also left hundreds of
thousands of farmworkers and their families with an insecure future, and few
alternative job opportunities.

"There has been an increase in small-scale miners, although government is
trying to clamp down due to accidents and environmental degradation," said
Tinago Ruzive, president of the Associated Mineworkers Union of Zimbabwe.

The new miners come primarily from rural areas and tend to work either for
licenced small mines, or move illegally through disused mines in search of
traces of gold previous miners missed.

A study by the International Labour Organisation found that miners were paid
poorly and lived in bad conditions. Some were paid on a "gwaza" basis, where
they were remunerated according to how much rock they brought to the

The study, by mining consultant John Hollaway, said small scale-mining had a
"well established reputation for a disproportionately high number of

"This has arisen principally from the deaths caused by such miners
re-entering closed mines illegally to win gold from the pillars, and from
alluvial miners burrowing into uncompacted river banks," he said.

In August, it was reported that between 20 and 30 people died when a mine
shaft caved in in Mhondoro, southwest of the capital, Harare.

"We have seen a lot of small-scale panning primarily due to the serious
collapse of the economy," Munyaradzi Bidi, director of the human rights
group ZimRights, told IRIN.

"Rural households are finding it difficult to cope, and the unemployment
rate is very high. School leavers can't find jobs, so illegal gold panning
is seen as a way of finding a quick buck," he said.

"They hope to sell the gold they find for basic commodities like oil and
grain. They sell to buyers from as far afield as Botswana and South Africa,
and to the elite in Zimbabwe."

Bidi said the panners formed camps, and moved to new sites when they stopped
finding gold, as they had no machinery to dig or blast.

However, ZimRights was concerned about the number of children panning.

"They have to fend for themselves and to subsidise the family budget for
food and rations," Bidi said. "We want them to go to school."

He said that during the current food crisis, people were looking for any way
to survive, and this included commercial sex work by some women at the

He urged the government to formalise small-scale mining, and to introduce a
welfare grant to help needy people.

Ruzive said the government was currently instituting training programmes for
small-scale miners.

A spokesman for the Ministry of Mines was not immediately available for
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Zim Independent

Zanu PF could engage SA lawyer
Blessing Zulu
THE ruling Zanu PF could follow the opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) in engaging a lawyer from South Africa for their petition
challenging President Robert Mugabe's election victory in March.

This development comes after the Ministry of Justice reversed its initial
decision denying the MDC permission to hire a leading South African

MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai filed a petition in April challenging the
legitimacy of the March presidential poll controversially won by Mugabe. The
legitimacy of the election is being challenged on the grounds that it was
not free or fair.

Sources in the ruling Zanu PF party said they might be obliged to hire
Advocate Nazeer Cassim who has represented the government before.

"Zanu PF is seriously considering bringing in Advocate Cassim from South
Africa," said a source.

Cassim was engaged by Zanu PF in January last year when the MDC filed
petitions to challenge the parliamentary results in 37 constituencies in the
2000 parliamentary election.

Terrence Hussein, who is part of Mugabe's defence team, said they may
consider hiring a South African lawyer.

"The choice of whether to hire a South African advocate rests with the
defence team," said Hussein.

"If and when we need an outside counsel we may engage one. At the moment I
feel that we have the necessary experience and depth," he said.

Hussein was instrumental in hiring Cassim last year.

Cassim is likely to be assisted by Advocate Adam Kara who has worked in the
United States and Caribbean.

Chinamasa and Mudede will be represented by the Attorney-General because
they are being sued in their official capacity. George Chikumbirike will
represent the ESC.

Hussein and Kara handled the bulk of cases in response to the MDC
parliamentary petitions. Hussein has also represented Minister of
Information Jonathan Moyo.

The Ministry of Justice which had initially refused to allow the opposition
to bring a South African advocate into the country despite its own
precedent, gave the green light to the MDC to hire Senior Counsel, Advocate
Jeremy Gauntlet who is chairman of the South African Bar.
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European Parliament

Zimbabwe - call for more sanctions
Joint motion for a resolution on Zimbabwe
Doc. : B5-0464/2002, B5-0467/2002, B5-0468/2002, B5-0469/2002,
B5-0482/2002, B5-0485/2002
Debate : 05.09.2002
Vote : 05.09.2002

In the wake of the deteriorating situation in Zimbabwe and food
shortages which Parliament considers have been made worse by the action of
the Mugabe regime, MEPs voted 113 with none against and 6 abstentions in
favour of another resolution strongly condemning the use of food supplies as
a political weapon against opposition supporters, by Mr Mugabe's government.
The resolution expresses 'grave concern at the magnitude of the food crisis
facing Zimbabwe and other African countries' and reaffirms Parliament's
commitment to provide the Zimbabwean people with emergency aid. MEPs also
take the view that the question of land reform can only be resolved through
a legal and transparent process. There is condemnation of human rights
violation in the country and the continued attacks on the media. Parliament
also wants South African President Mbeki and Malawi's President Bakili
Muluzi in his capacity as chairmen of the South African Development
Community (SADC) to put pressure on Zimbabwe with a view to holding fresh
presidential elections. The EU is requested to extend the present range of
sanctions against the country while other G-8 countries are requested to
impose further financial sanctions against the country. Parliament also
wants to see Zimbabwe's Foreign Minister barred from attending the SADC/EU
Foreign Ministers Meeting in Copenhagen in November.

Press enquiries:
Roy Worsley
(Strasbourg) tel.(33) 3 881 74751
(Brussels) tel.(32-2) 28 42941
e-mail :
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For immediate release: 5 September 2002


Allegations of widespread intimidation in the Zimbabwe local council elections
were made in London today by Zimbabwean Opposition Member of Parliament, Edward
Mkhosi, MDC Information and Publicity Secretary, Matabeleland South Province.

In a meeting with the "Save Zimbabwe" campaign Mr Mkhosi, who is the MDC Information
and Publicity Secretary for the Matabeleland South Province, said that reports
from his constituency received today indicate that of six Opposition MDC candidates
in the Plumtree town area, four had withdrawn in fear as a direct result of regime

In addition, Mr Mkhosi said the government had introduced a regulation requiring
all council candidates to hold a special form of long birth certificate. "Very
few people have one of these. I do not have one myself", said Mr Mkhosi. "It
takes six months to process an application for a long birth certificate, but
this requirement was introduced only a few weeks ago. Today is the deadline
for candidate registration and this requirement has thrown the whole electoral
process into confusion. Of course, we do not expect the ZANU-PF (Government
party) candidates to have any problems in obtaining these documents".

The Save Zimbabwe campaign said that this provided further evidence that the
Zimbabwean government continues to thwart basic democratic practices. Ephraim
Tapa, Chief Spokesman said "This is a serious blight on local-level democracy
and prevents ordinary Zimbaweans from engaging in the government of their communities.
It is not just confined to Matabeleland. There are reports of intimidation
and bureaucratic obstruction to the registration of opposition council candidates

The "Save Zimbabwe" campaign is a non-partisan international initiative, with
broad-based support drawn from both political parties and community groups. It
was launched during the African Union meeting in Durban and is designed to ensure
the restoration of democracy, human rights and legitimate government to Zimbabwe.
The holding of early, free and fair elections, under full and proper international
supervision, is a key objective of the campaign.

For more information, please contact
Terence Fane-Saunders on: 0044 20 7939 7934 or 0044 7768 283 144, or
Helen Campbell on: 0044 20 7939 7939 or 0044 7768 283 145
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New Zealand Herald
Uproar as Powell backs NZ on Mugabe

United States Secretary of State Colin Powell caused an uproar at the
World Summit on Sustainable Development yesterday when he openly
criticised Zimbabwe.

Mr Powell mounted only the second serious attack on the regime of
President Robert Mugabe - after NZ Prime Minister Helen Clark had been
unsupported for two days.

Security guards had to eject at least one man from the auditorium, as
several outraged listeners heckled Mr Powell during a speech that
echoed New Zealand criticisms.

Several times Mr Powell - in Johannesburg for the final session as
President George W. Bush would not come - was forced to break a speech
that ended amid loud booing.

Helen Clark was in the auditorium and said she fully agreed with
everything Mr Powell said.

Speaking of Aids, famine, economic mismanagement and wasteful land use
in Africa, Mr Powell turned his guns on Zimbabwe, going further than
Helen Clark by naming it.

"In one country in this region - Zimbabwe - the lack of respect for
human rights and the rule of law has exacerbated these factors to push
millions of people forward toward the brink of starvation."

Booing, followed by loud chanting, prevented him continuing.

It was the second time this year Mr Powell had expressed solidarity
with New Zealand. In Washington in March, he told Helen Clark New
Zealand and the US were "very, very, very good friends".

Until yesterday, Helen Clark had been alone in using her address to
the summit to list her objections to Mr Mugabe's regime.

On Monday, she told more than 100 world leaders that famine in
Zimbabwe had been worsened by "deliberate and cynical Government
policies". New Zealand is bitterly opposed to Mr Mugabe's policy of
evicting white farmers from their land, a process he yesterday called
"agrarian reform".

Helen Clark was left to go solo on the issue by allies such as British
Prime Minister Tony Blair, who avoided the issue in his address, then
dodged it at a press conference as well.

While her speech was greeted with polite applause, the address later
by an aggressive Mr Mugabe was interrupted three times by loud

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If it's war on Saddam, why not on Mugabe?
By Boris Johnson
(Filed: 05/09/2002)

You may think there is something a little bit preposterous about Big Tone's
swagger on Tuesday, tucking his thumbs into his belt as he told that pesky
varmint Saddam Hussein to quit the corral. And, OK, there is something
comical about this gifted actor-prime minister. Whatever happens, Britain
will not make any decisive military contribution in Iraq. But that is not
why they lurve him in the Pentagon. They need him, because he is just so
charming and persuasive on the international stage. He has that special
British cachet. He is the Hugh Grant of diplomacy.

When they set out to bomb Kosovo, Clinton was slick, but Blair was sincere.
When they bombed Afghanistan with B52s, Bush was bumbling, while Blair was a
fluent and hot-gospelling evangelist for war. And while Bush seems to have
difficulty convincing his own pop of the need to topple Saddam, Blair can
now be relied upon to woo those tricky and discerning European audiences.

Once again, Tony takes the role in which history has already twice
triumphantly cast him - the informal porte-parole of the American war

We should be proud of him, grateful to those drama tutors at Fettes, because
they have given him, and us, a voice on the world stage. We should not mock
the Prime Minister, just because he is essentially the front man for someone
else's war. His task is difficult, and his stance, in its way, is brave. The
grim reality, a year after September 11, is that America is even less
popular around the world than it was before that massacre. Listen to the
hideous booing of Colin Powell in Johannesburg. Look at the cretinous
anti-American slogans daubed on the walls of Italian towns. Drink in the
moronic, ignorant sermonising of students in every campus bar in the land.
It is the settled view of the audience of Rupert Murdoch's Sky News, by a
majority of two to one, that George Bush is more of a threat to world peace
than Saddam Hussein.

In arguing for military action in Iraq, Blair must now overcome the deep
scepticism of his backbenches, a simmering revolt in his cabinet, the dismay
of his European counterparts, and the mistrust of a huge proportion of the
British public. In fact, I hope readers will not be too shocked if I say I
have a few questions of my own, which it would be nice to answer before
giving wholehearted support to this venture.

Most of us are perfectly willing to be convinced that Saddam is a threat to
the region, possesses weapons of mass destruction, and must be taken out.
But we have not so far been convinced, and it would be nice to feel that
someone was making an effort to do that. More important, most of us need to
be filled in on how this "regime change" is to be accomplished, without a
revolting and unjustifiable loss of life in Iraq.

And some of us, finally, would like a clearer articulation from Mr Blair
about the priorities in British foreign policy. It is an irony, to say the
least, that we are about to make war on Saddam Hussein, who directly
threatens no British citizen, when we are doing nothing to stop Robert
Mugabe, who has purged or murdered thousands of farmers, many of whom still
carry British passports.

Let me ask a simpleton's question: why Saddam, and not Mugabe? It can't be
the military difficulties. If the US Air Force can fly stealth bombers from
Missouri in transatlantic round trips, and spend three months and $3 billion
bombing Serbia and Kosovo on behalf of the Albanian farmers, why can it do
nothing to help the 800,000 blacks and 12,000 whites being persecuted by
Mugabe? If regime change is possible in Baghdad, which has one of the most
fearsome armies in the world, why not in Harare, which is guarded by two men
and a hyena?

It's not as though the geopolitical consequences are unthinkable. Any
ferment in southern Africa would be nothing to the reaction in the Arab
world, if and when an attack on Saddam is launched. Saddam may be an evil
dictator; but then Mugabe patently stole his election, and has no democratic

Saddam may be a menace, but Mugabe is already causing the starvation of his
own people, most of whom would rejoice to be rid of him. Why, then, is
military action against Mugabe not on the agenda? Why is it so little
discussed that it seems somehow bizarre even to raise the question? There
are several answers. The first is that America has no interest in the area,
or certainly no interest comparable to Britain's. Zimbabwe is not a notable
hotbed of al-Qa'eda; it is not part of the Axis of Evil.

Blair supports Bush over Iraq, because he rightly sees that the war against
terror enlists us all. There is no question, however, of America making any
kind of reciprocal gesture when British interests are at stake. Nor,
frankly, would Britain ever dream of asking.

The idea of a neo-colonial escapade makes New Labour shudder. It was not for
this that they spent their years in the anti-apartheid movement. They know
there is something deeply unfashionable about sticking up for the Zimbabwe
farmers, who are about as popular, in their personal pantheons, as the
Ulster Unionists or the Serbs. In fact, they think, there is something
faintly racist about the whole protest. That strikes me as shameful, as
shameful as Mugabe's assertion that Africa is a continent exclusively for
the black man. But never mind.

We are going to war with Saddam, and enormous efforts will accordingly be
made to discover ways in which he threatens the interests of the British
people. We are not going to war with Mugabe, and the Government is
accordingly doing nothing to publicise the destruction of British lives and
livelihoods already going on. That may be very sensible. But there is
something sickening about it.

a.. Boris Johnson is editor of the Spectator and MP for Henley

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Business Day

Time for appeasement of Mugabe is long past


THE United Nations (UN) invited Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe to
address the World Summit on Sustainable Development. It is said that this
was an act of hospitality to a head of state.

The world body appears to have forgotten that no credible observer
mission was prepared to declare the Zimbabwean presidential elections free
and fair.

Every time Mugabe is invited onto the world stage, his illegitimate
election becomes that much more entrenched and takes on the veneer of

It is necessary to secure by acts, not words, that Mugabe is brought
to account for charges of torture, of tyranny and the methodical destruction
of a society.

Our own country speaks of moral regeneration. We are signatories to an
international convention against torture. We sign with one hand a document
that obliges us to legislate into place domestic laws to arrest and try
those accused of institutionalised torture, but then we embrace him with
both arms in an act of seeming solidarity.

It is necessary to address those who wish to call Mugabe brother, to
those who believe keeping the door open to discussion will somehow assist
the people of Zimbabwe and our region and to those who wish to see him only
as a leader who once brought freedom to a country and aided others in their
freedom struggles.

There comes a time when expediency and sentimentality has to submit to
moral integrity.

Half a century ago, Albert Camus wrote: "If you keep on excusing, you
eventually give your blessing to the slave camp, to cowardly force, to
organised executioners, to the cynicism of great political monsters; you
finally hand over your brothers."

No democratic society should pardon Mugabe's destruction of the
structures of Zimbabwean society. He has made law-abiding citizens fear the
apparatus of state. He does not apply the law but acts in contempt of it.
Those who gave Mugabe an ovation should consider that the systematic
violation of basic rights by a tyrant brooks of no debate.

Those who may still wish to engage him in debate should be reminded of
the well documented massacres in Matabeleland.

Those who felt obliged to share a podium with him may not be
adequately informed of the undermining of the judicial process and the rule
of law by Mugabe and his appointees.

Mugabe proclaimed more than 10 years ago "the government cannot allow
the technicalities of the law to fetter its hands .... We shall, therefore,
proceed as government ... and some of the measures we shall take are
measures which will be extralegal."

Also, Mugabe has a history of giving amnesty to criminals convicted of
acts of violence and arson in the 1990 and 2000 elections. These were crimes
mainly committed by ruling party supporters against supporters or supposed
supporters of political parties in opposition.

Land reform in Zimbabwe is necessary, provided it is effected in
accordance with a constitution whose core civil rights values have not been
bastardised. Leaving aside the issue of expropriation without compensation,
there is an entire population of farm workers who have lived on the land and
have been dependent on it for sustenance.

They were legitimate occupiers with a prior claim to remain where they
have been for generations. If a law is to be introduced to protect them,
then it is too late. They have been kicked off the land by the new land

Reports indicate Mugabe's wife is the recipient of prime land as are
cabinet members and high ranking military and police officers. Although land
is supposed to be a scarce resource, it is reported that more than
1,5-million workers and their families could end up being displaced.
Mugabe's failure to protect farm workers' rights to occupy land demonstrates
his true colours.

There are those who may be tempted to trust what he says. It is well
to remember the time Mugabe was putting the final touches to his speech at
the summit, independent radio station, Voice of the People, was bombed at
the weekend in what was an efficient military-type operation. It is the
third bombing of offices belonging to the independent media.

It is no good to say crimes against a people can be ignored while
Mugabe and his associates remain beyond the reach of international justice.
Mugabe's acts are rendered no less abhorrent because there is not yet a
tribunal to which he is accountable.

The invitation given by the UN to Mugabe, the applause he received and
the laughter he elicited demonstrates the world community will not of its
own accord bring Mugabe to justice.

It becomes necessary for concerned organisations to pool skills and
other resources and find effective ways of bringing Mugabe, and those who
have gained through him, to justice, to have them disgorge what they have
plundered, and to compensate the victims of their tyranny.

Spilg is a senior advocate and the convener of the Human Rights
Committee of the General Council of the Bar of SA. He writes in his personal

There comes a time when expediency, sentimentality has to submit to
moral integrity

Sep 05 2002 12:00:00:000AM Brian Spilg Business Day 1st Edition

05 September 2002
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Business Day

Do we really want Robert Mugabe in our town?


ZIMBABWEAN President Robert Mugabe arrives in SA and the red carpet is laid
out for him. Do we really want this man in our town? Whatever his reasons
for his land redistribution programme the effects are devastating. And yet,
it appears that we all sit here and watch.

It is not easy to have your say. I had an idea of a legitimate, peaceful way
to express my opinion. I wanted to rent a large billboard in Sandton or on
the airport highway that said, very plainly, "Robert Mugabe, you are not
welcome in this town". I thought this would be a far more effective way of
expressing this opinion than arranging a motley crew of demonstrators. It
would be in the full glare of the local and foreign media for weeks. I would
feel a lot better. The government would realise that they are not the only
ones who can speak for the people of SA.

But, unfortunately, in practice, it proved difficult. I phoned up the
companies that own large billboards in the places I wanted. They listened
with interest. They personally expressed agreement. But, none of them wanted
to do it. I had the money lined up. But this was not enough to compensate
them for the feared loss of business if they were seen to be associated with
my message.

They felt it would somehow prejudice themselves commercially. One company
pointed out that they have billboards in Zimbabwe. I pointed out that it was
just a matter of time before there was nothing left to sell there. I got the
strong impression that they were all prepared to do business in a corrupt
country as long as they could make money.

Shame on them.

But really, what would they have to lose if they helped me express my
opinion? At worst they would learn an extremely valuable lesson. The SA
government (or its cronies) would crack down on them, restrict them, defame
them, ridicule them or worse, punish them with fines or time in jail. The
lesson would be: We the government of SA clearly agree with what Mugabe is
doing and we intend to also curtail your rights to freedom of speech and
ultimately steal your property.

Would not that have been worth learning now, rather than wait ten years for
an expensive destruction? Apparently not.

Steven HyslopSandton
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Zimbabwe Land Reforms Should be Fair and Legal, says Annan
VOA News
4 Sep 2002 14:11 UTC

At the Earth Summit, United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan has
repeated his belief that land reform in Zimbabwe is necessary, but he said
should be done in a fair and legal way.

Mr. Annan made the comments after meeting with Zimbabwe's President Robert
Mugabe Wednesday on the sidelines of the summit in Johannesburg, South

U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell also addressed the issue of Zimbabwe's
land reform while at the summit, saying the policy has pushed "millions of
people to the brink of starvation." His comments brought heckling and booing
from protesters in the audience.

Zimbabwe's government has ordered 2,900 white commercial farmers to
surrender their farms to landless blacks without compensation. Last month,
the government arrested at least 200 farmers, who have defied eviction
orders to leave their land.

President Mugabe says the policy is meant to correct the wrongs of British
colonialism, which left 70 percent of the country's best farmland in the
hands of minority whites.

The U.N. World Food Program estimates six million Zimbabweans - about half
of the population - are at risk of starvation. It says Zimbabwe's land
reform process has compounded the problem.
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Zimbabwe Arrests Farm Workers Who Volunteered for Charity Group
Peta Thornycroft
4 Sep 2002 17:48 UTC

Seventeen former farm workers serving as volunteers for a Zimbabwean charity
were charged Wednesday with violating security laws that were approved
earlier this year. The men were arrested last week and have now been
remanded in custody until September 17.

Lawyers for the 17 men say they have been charged with recruiting militia,
undergoing military training, banditry and sabotage.

The men were building a refugee camp about 30 kilometers west of Harare in
the once productive Mazowe Valley.

The camp was being built on land donated by a farmer who has abandoned his
farm and was to become a place of refuge and self-employment for farm
workers, tens of thousands of whom are in the process of losing their jobs.
It was being built under the auspices of a local charity, the Farm
Communities Development Trust.

The detained men were volunteers working for the trust. The deputy head of
the organization, Bigson Gombers, was arrested at his home and has also been

The law under which the arrests were made, the Public Order and Security
Act, was rushed through parliament ahead of presidential elections in March.

Legal experts say it is even harsher than the colonial law it replaced,
which President Robert Mugabe kept on the statute books after independence
from Britain in 1980.

Before the seizures of most white-owned land began 31 months ago, there were
about one point eight million people living on the commercial farms.

The Commercial Farmers Union estimates a third of the farm-worker families
may have already lost their jobs and homes.

The workers trade union on Wednesday said tens of thousands more workers are
now being paid off with terminal benefits and most are then forced to leave
their homes on the commercial farms.
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Financial Times

We must help Zimbabwe's hungry, urges Short
By James Lamont in Johannesburg
Published: September 4 2002 19:36 | Last Updated: September 4
2002 19:36

Clare Short , the UK's minister for international development,
on Wednesday appealed to the donor community not to let misgivings about
President Robert Mugabe's regime blunt the generosity of food relief efforts
for Zimbabwe.

Only 23 per cent of the 450,000 tonnes of food aid needed in the
country have so far been pledged by international donors, and Ms Short's
call followed a sharp divergence of views this week between Mr Mugabe and
Tony Blair, UK prime minister, at the World Summit on Sustainable
Development in Johannesburg.

About 6m people face severe food shortages in Zimbabwe as a
result of a drought. But a controversial land reform scheme to resettle
landless blacks on white-owned land, which has disrupted farming, has
intensified the threat of widespread starvation.

A dispute over genetically modified (GM) food aid from the US
has meanwhile left maize stranded in the region's ports. "We can't allow the
people of Zimbabwe to starve because the government is misbehaving," said Ms

Mr Mugabe used his speech to the summit on Monday to accuse the
UK - which has raised its humanitarian assistance to the country - of
supporting Zimbabwe's "obdurate" white farming community.

Britain, along with the US and other European Union and
Commonwealth members, has been trying to persuade southern African countries
to harden their stance against Harare's clampdown on opposition parties and
abuse of the law.

Zimbabwe, Zambia and Mozambique have resisted the import of GM
food aid from the US, fearful of the damage it might do to their
agricultural exports. While Zambia has reiterated its rejection of GM maize
this week, Zimbabwe is negotiating a deal with the US Agency for
International Development for non-GM food supplies.

Colin Powell, US secretary of state, took up the issue again in
his speech yesterday to the summit. "In the face of famine, several
governments in southern Africa have prevented critical US food assistance
from being distributed to the hungry by rejecting biotech corn which has
been eaten safely around the world since 1995."

But campaigners remain unrepentant. "[If African countries allow
in GM foods] we are giving away the food security of the world," said Fred
Kalibwani, of Participatory Ecological Land Use Management, an African
farmers' organisation.
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Financial Times

Zimbabwe's loss, Mozambique's gain
By Michael Holman
Published: September 4 2002 19:44 | Last Updated: September 4 2002

Any hopes of re-solving the crisis in Zimbabwe while Robert Mugabe
remains in power were dashed at the Johannesburg summit this week. The
country's 76-year-old president was brutally frank when he spelt out his
objective: to end the days when commercial farming in Zimbabwe was dominated
by white farmers. Speaking in front of a packed house and the world's media,
he lost no opportunity to show his contempt for Tony Blair, the British
prime minister.

At first sight, the sympathetic response to Mr Mugabe's speech may
suggest that he has more support on the African continent than many had
believed. It may also give the impression that Mr Blair is powerless to help
a country where a double tragedy is unfolding.

The chaos in Zimbabwe's farm sector is exacerbating the effects of
drought in the region. The consequences are still unfolding but could be
catastrophic. And the region is losing one of Africa's scarcest resources: a
group of people who, whatever their shortcomings in terms of vision and
tact, are technically qualified, experienced and dedicated.

The reality, however, is that Mr Blair still has cards he could play.
The problem is that he may not realise he holds them in his hand.

For a start, in Joaquim Chissano, president of Mozambique, and Thabo
Mbeki, South Africa's leader, Mr Blair has two important allies in southern
Africa. He should draw on the respect and influence they command in the
region. But he should not ask them to apply sanctions: Zimbabwe's tourism,
once the leading foreign exchange earner, has dwindled to near
insignificance, agriculture is in rapid decline, inflation is in three
figures and the currency is grossly overvalued. These problems are pushing
Zimbabwe ever closer to collapse and the two men fear that any additional
measures could precipitate the crisis they want to avoid.

Second, Mr Blair should recall (or learn) the lessons of Britain's
colonial past - and help put them into effect.

About 40 years ago, Britain had to defuse an explosive situation in
Kenya. A few hundred white farmers held more than 8m acres of the best land
and memories were fresh of a guerrilla war to dislodge them. More than 6,000
British soldiers had been sent out to protect the farmers and suppress the
rebellion in which 37 settlers and more than 10,000 "terrorists" were to
die. The country's 6m African majority, impatient for change, controlled
parliament. Full independence from Britain was only months away and land
redistribution was high on the agenda.

"Is European farming going to carry on?" asked an anxious writer at
the time. "Can the country keep going when it turns sound economic farms
into subsistence units? Farming and expediency are at loggerheads," he

The British government - with World Bank help - was able to resolve a
crisis with a well funded resettlement programme. It was prepared to be the
main contributor to a 20m land resettlement fund - worth 250m (?390m) at
today's prices - to help pay for the redistribution of former white farms.

As part of this redistribution, the Commonwealth Development
Corporation, then the aid arm of the British government, launched what was
to prove its most successful agricultural co- operative in Africa: the Kenya
Tea Development Authority. The authority has since been privatised but the
original lessons hold firm: good infrastructure, timely availability of
inputs and decent management are the essential ingredients of successful

Tragically, the programme was never implemented in Zimbabwe: by the
time the country won independence in 1980, the British government's purse
strings were much tighter, even though Zimbabwe then had about 5,000 white
farmers - five times as many as Kenya. The UK's initial contribution to
Zimbabwe's land resettlement programme was just 30m - 75m at today's
prices. And while a further 14m was provided, and an additional 36m has
been promised, the total is well under half the support that Kenya received.

Mr Mugabe has made it impossible for the promised 36m to be spent in
Zimbabwe. But the money is there and it can be spent in the region, using an
agency with a record of success.

It would be unrealistic to expect now that Mr Mugabe would agree with
the British government or the European Union on a proper process for
transferring land from the white farmers who currently own it to the black
farmers who believe they should own it. But there are other options.

One is to look over the border to Mozambique, where there is land
available and, more importantly, the government has a pragmatism born of
experience: it is still coming to terms with the economic effects of the
exodus of its white minority in the tumultuous months that marked
independence from Portugal in 1975.

One result of that pragmatism is that the government has made land
available for purchase, or long-term lease, to the commercial farmers of
Zimbabwe. So far, no more than a handful of them have taken it up. Most of
the 3,000 who are being evicted do not have the capital; what they have is
tied up in Zimbabwe, in the near-worthless local currency. And even if they
do have the capital, life is tough in Mozambique: there is only rudimentary
infrastructure in much of the country. (Ironically, that was destroyed in
the 1970s by white Rhodesia's armed forces and their local allies, but that
is another story.)

It should be possible to find a solution for farmers with no land in a
country where land is available but commercial farming expertise is in short
supply. What is needed is a little imagination and some nerve.

CDC still invests in Africa and is the obvious vehicle for a
resettlement scheme in Mozambique. Agriculture has fallen out of favour with
CDC because returns are low. This is usually because management is poor,
which should not be the case in this instance. But if CDC is not willing to
act, there is nothing to stop Britain's international development ministry
setting up a vehicle specifically for this purpose.

There could be no better way to tackle poverty in southern Africa.

The writer was Africa editor of the Financial Times from 1984 until
this year. He was brought up in Zimbabwe
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Farmers to benefit from US$100m fund

Staff Reporter
9/5/02 6:58:09 AM (GMT +2)

ZIMBABWEAN farmers will next year benefit from a US$100 million
funding facility that the US government will set aside for the development
of Africa's agricultural sector, according to a US State Department

US under-secretary for Economic, Business and Agriculture Affairs Alan
Larson said the funding would benefit farmers in east, west and southern
Africa, including Zimbabwe.

He said the funds would be used mostly to rebuild agricultural
infrastructure and to provide machinery necessary to improving farm output.

"We have provided for a 25 percent increase in the 2002/2003 fiscal
year for specific agriculture initiatives to US$100 million in Africa,"
Larson told journalists from Malawi and Zimbabwe during an American Embassy
live television Africa journal programme at the weekend.

"The money will be used to rebuild agriculture infrastructure and
machinery that would increase agriculture output in east, west and southern
Africa. Your country (Zimbabwe) will benefit from this programme. "

He however did not indicate how much Zimbabwe, which has had all other
non-humanitarian aid withdrawn by Washington and other international donors,
would receive from the funds meant to help develop agriculture.

Part of the funds donated by Washington will fund research aimed at
improving food security in Africa and the rest will be disbursed to the
private sector for projects aimed at benefiting farmers.

"We will also help the farmers to get information about markets and
finance and to get access to markets so they can get enough money and feed
themselves," Larson said.

The US official however reiterated Washington's criticism of President
Robert Mugabe's controversial land reform policies, saying the reforms were
disruptive and damaging the country's ability to feed itself.

Mugabe has ordered 2 900 large-scale white farmers to give up their
land without compensation to blacks, virtually all of them his supporters
and cronies.

The government's disruptive land reforms and poor rains last year
caused a 60 percent drop in food production which has left more than six
million Zimbabweans, or half the country's population, facing starvation
unless the international community provides more than 500 000 tonnes of food

The United States, the European Union, Canada, Switzerland and New
Zealand have slapped Mugabe and his top officials with travel and financial
sanctions because of his land policies and his March re-election, which they
say was achieved through violence and fraud.

Mugabe denies the charge of electoral fraud and insists that his often
violent land reform programme is necessary to right unequal land ownership
caused by British colonialism.
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Regional power firms threaten to switch off Zim

By Joseph Ngwawi Business News Editor
9/5/02 6:34:25 AM (GMT +2)

THE Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA), which owes more than
US$24 million ($1.32 billion) to the Southern Africa Power Pool (SAPP) for
imports, is demanding payment for electricity bills in foreign currency amid
fears that major regional power companies could cut Harare off unless
outstanding electricity accounts are settled.

The SAPP is a grouping of regional electricity firms that share power
according to the needs of the various members.

ZESA imports up to 35 percent of Zimbabwe's power requirements from
Hydro de Cahora Bassa (HCB) of Mozambique, South Africa's ESKOM, Societe
Nationale d'Electricite (SNEL) of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and
the Zambian Electricity Supply Commission (ZESCO).

The total monthly foreign currency requirement for Zimbabwe's
electricity imports is US$5.5 million, but the cash-strapped ZESA needs more
than US$17.4 million monthly to sustain its entire operations, including
debt servicing and procurement of spare parts.

But according to documents with this newspaper, ZESA has since the
beginning of the year defaulted on its obligations to its external
suppliers, prompting some of them to threaten to switch Zimbabwe off.

The largest arrears of US$12 million were owed to HCB as of June 28
2002, followed by US$5 million for ESKOM and US$1 million each for SNEL and

Another US$5 million is owed to a Mozambican firm called EDM which
provides power transportation services to ZESA.

The documents show that ZESA failed to pay US$1.5 million a week to
HCB for the first six months of the year and that the Mozambican power
utility has threatened to reduce supplies by 50 megawatts progressively for
each week the Zimbabweans fail to honor their payment obligations.

"The arrangements which have been put in place to facilitate payments
to SNEL and ZESCO in Zimbabwe dollars are no longer sustainable due to the
managed exchange rate and lack of substantial exports to SNEL and ZESCO,"
says part of a circular written by ZESA chairman Sidney Gata to Zimbabwean
firms that consume a lot of electricity.

"Furthermore, SNEL is also desperate for foreign currency to procure
spare parts for their system in order to sustain exports to ZESA," he says.

It is understood that because of ZESA's problems, the DRC firm is now
giving first priority to ESKOM and has demanded that Zimbabwe pays for its
electricity imports in US dollars.

"However, as the US dollars are not available we cannot expect firm
supplies from SNEL," Gata said.

It is now feared that due to acute shortages of hard cash in Zimbabwe,
the country could soon be plunged into darkness unless measures are taken to
ensure adequate foreign currency is available to ZESA.

ZESA and the National Oil Company of Zimbabwe get preferential
treatment in terms of allocations of foreign currency from the central
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ).

At least 40 percent of all export receipts are channelled to the two
parastatals for power and energy imports but ZESA says the supply of hard
cash from the RBZ has dwindled since the end of 2001.

"In view of our current financial problem and, in particular, our
inability to raise foreign currency to pay for our power imports, there is a
serious danger that power imports will be curtailed and eventually
terminated," Gata said.

"This will have very adverse effects on business operations and indeed
the economy at large," he said.

A power blackout could condemn local industry to further hardships at
a time Zimbabwe is battling to generate foreign currency to sustain
operations and pay for external commitments.

ZESA is now proposing that Zimbabwean firms pay their electricity
accounts in hard currency or risk having their operations grind to a halt.

"Our solution as a way forward is to ask you, our valued customers, to
settle your electricity account in foreign currency with effect from the
July billing," Gata's circular said.

"This will be done by dividing your total electricity bill in Zimbabwe
dollars by the official exchange rate ruling on the billing date," it said.

It is however illegal for ZESA to charge for electricity in foreign
currency because it has not been sanctioned by the RBZ.

Sources in the banking industry said the central bank had already
written to ZESA instructing it to withdraw the circular because it was a
violation of exchange control regulations.
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