Analysis and reporting on key policy issues from Southern and Central Africa

v21/02 27 January 06

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CONTENTS

ZIMBABWE:

Inflation rides high and Zimdollar crashes on eve of IMF visit

ZIMBABWE:

Rights report ignored at AU summit     

MOZAMBIQUE:

IMF fears inflation as donors line up to fund projects    

MOZAMBIQUE:

Probe into missing funds in ministry    

MOZAMBIQUE:

Dhlakama joins Guebuza's advisory team

SWAZILAND:

Firebombings continue despite arrests    

CONGO:

EU sends fact-finding mission amidst dispute on military participation 

CONGO:

Infrastructure investment sought as economy brightens    

ANGOLA:

EU is sceptical about transparency commitments   

INTERNATIONAL:

New law will stop SA troops in British army

REGION:

Sexwale ahead in seeking oil deal with Polisario    

SA POLITICS:

Local election heralds sea change - rifts remain    

SA POLITICS:

Lobbyist's links to apartheid re-emerge    

 


Zimbabwe:

Inflation rides high and Zimdollar crashes on eve of IMF visit

[© SouthScan v21/02 27 Jan 06] Zimbabwe made a US$2.5 million payment to the International Monetary Fund ahead of a crucial IMF team's visit this week. But at the same time its currency plummeted by about 50 percent on the parallel market to new lows amid anticipation of a poor report.

The central bank's governor blamed 'smart' sanctions for the economic crisis and particularly the lack of foreign investment in the economy and promised a check on inflation - now the world's highest. But independent economists remained sceptical about recovery. Inflation is running at more than 600 percent per annum and some predict it will reach 1,000 percent soon. Exports have also dropped.

Readmission benefits ...

Forex to pay off debtors ...

Gold mining problems ...

Food shortages remain ... >>> Full report

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Zimbabwe:

Rights report ignored at AU summit

[© SouthScan v21/02 27 Jan 06] The critical report by the African Union's human right commission went down, as expected, like a lead balloon at the organisation's summit in Khartoum. Instead the Harare government upbraided the authors of the report, quietly leaked to the media a month after it was written in early December.

Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa commented, "We need an undertaking that what has happened in the past will stop and that they will treat us like any other African country." ...

Al-Jazeera inAt the same time it has been announced that the Qatar-based Arab broadcaster Al-Jazeera is to set up a news bureau in Zimbabwe after officials of Al-Jazeera met with Zimbabwe Information Minister Tichaona Jakonya in Harare. The broadcaster plans to open at least eight offices in Africa alongside those already established in Egypt, Ivory Coast and Kenya....>>> Full report

 

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Mozambique:

IMF fears inflation as donors line up to fund projects

[© SouthScan v21/02 27 Jan 06] Donors have been falling over themselves to give money to Mozambique while it sustains its reputation for good governance and others in Africa fade. New grants include €15 million from the European Union. But the International Monetary Fund has set itself against donors by capping more budgetary support, calling it inflationary.

The cap excludes donor-funded projects, but many donors are trying to reduce the number of projects outside the state budget and are anxious to switch from funding individual projects to having the spending in the budget, funded by increased budget support. ...

EU support to food securityThe full rehabilitation of the railway between Cuamba and the border of Malawi in Niassa province is considered important for the development of the Nacala corridor and for access to markets. An additional €10m-20m should be allocated to this project....>>> Full report

 

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Mozambique:

Probe into missing funds in ministry

[© SouthScan v21/02 27 Jan 06] An audit of the interior ministry has revealed that 220 billion meticais (about $8.8 million) cannot be accounted for, according to Mozambique's Interior Minister Jose Pacheco.

The audit confirms that there was gross mismanagement, and possibly serious corruption, within the ministry under Pacheco's predecessor, Almerino Manhenje. He held the post from November 1996 until January 2005. ...>>> Full report

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Mozambique:

Dhlakama joins Guebuza's advisory team

[© SouthScan v21/02 27 Jan 06] President Armando Guebuza has sworn in an advisory Council of State including Afonso Dhlakama, leader of the opposition and former rebel movement Renamo. Also in the council is Graca Machel, now the wife of SA's Nelson Mandela, Prime Minister Luisa Diogo, and leading figures from the arts and politics.

Guebuza commented on the body's "heterogeneous composition" and hoped that it would contribute towards "the consolidation of the spirit of national unity and of inclusion". ...>>> Full report

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Swaziland:

Firebombings continue despite arrests

[© SouthScan v21/02 27 Jan 06] Two schools were firebombed in the latest attacks apparently waged by pro-democracy activists, police said on Tuesday. There were no casualties and the attacks showed that ongoing arrests of activists are having no effect.

To date sixteen members of the banned opposition People's United Democratic Movement, Pudemo, have been charged with treason over arson attacks on government offices and residences late last year (SouthScan v20/01). ...>>> Full report

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Congo:

EU sends fact-finding mission amidst dispute on military participation

[© SouthScan v21/02 27 Jan 06] The European Union is sending a fact-finding mission to the DR Congo at the beginning of next week.  It will comprise members of the EU chief of staff, the European Council and diplomats from the EU's 25 member states, Claude-France Arnould, head of the defence directorate at EU Council, said on Friday. Its job will be to assess the risk scenarios that may disrupt the elections scheduled between April and June and identify which ones the EU is prepared deal with.

The mission follows a request to the EU by the UN assistant secretary general in charge of the Department of Peace-Keeping Operations (DPKO), Jean-Marie Guéhenno. It should return before February 8 with proposals for the deployment of EU troops. ...

German reluctance ...

Election date uncertain ...

Security problems ...

Katanga deployment delayed ...>>> Full report

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Congo:

Infrastructure investment sought as economy brightens

[© SouthScan v21/02 27 Jan 06] Growth is up and inflation is down in the DR Congo's formal economy, adding to expectations that if the elections are successful there will be a flood of outside investment.

The elections are key. Foreign business figures in Kinshasa say that many decisions to invest in the country will be made only after the June 30 poll. ...

Inga hydro power ...

Celtel to invest $100m ...

Bridge for Katanga ...

Diamond exports advance ...

Increase in trade with China ...>>> Full report

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Angola:

EU is sceptical about transparency commitments

[© SouthScan v21/02 27 Jan 06] Angola's adherence to oil accounting transparency is being regarded by the European Union with some scepticism.

Angola's Finance Minister Pedro de Morais made the commitment to join the UK-backed Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) in October last year, but he said this move would only take place after the conclusion of a reform programme with the International Monetary Fund, awaited now for several years. The European Parliament and at the European Commission have expressed doubts about Angola's commitment. ...

'Bad reputation' in diamonds ...>>> Full report

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International:

New law will stop SA troops in British army

[© SouthScan v21/02 27 Jan 06] South Africa's Safety and Security Minister Charles Nqakula has confirmed that it will become illegal for South African citizens to serve in the British Army at a time when the UK is at war once SA's updated anti-mercenary law is passed, in weeks. Many SA nationals have dual citizenship. ...>>> Full report

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Region:

Sexwale ahead in seeking oil deal with Polisario

[© SouthScan v21/02 27 Jan 06] South African oil company Ophir, set up in 2004 and controlled by the African National Congress businessman Tokyo Sexwale's Mvelaphanda Holdings, appears to have jumped right in early negotiations for an oil exploration licence from the Polisario Front in Western Sahara.

A growing number of foreign oil firms are following in negotiating deals with the promise of exploration rights if the country achieves independence, a senior Polisario official said on the sidelines of an African Union meeting in Sudan this week. ...>>> Full report

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SA politics:

Local election heralds sea change - rifts remain

[© SouthScan v21/02 27 Jan 06] After the acrimonious past few months centred on the ousting of former deputy president Jacob Zuma and countrywide demonstrations against corrupt local officials, the Triple Alliance of the union federation Cosatu, the SA Communist Party and the rump African National Congress has buried the hatchet.

Ahead of the March 1 local elections the factions presented a united front at the launch of the ANC election campaign by President Thabo Mbeki in Cape Town earlier this month. Even Zuma was there, as was Cosatu general secretary Willy Madisha and the SACP's deputy general secretary, Jeremy Cronin. Mbeki used the occasion to deliver a new salvo at corrupt and inefficient officials.  ...

Gap between rich and poor ...>>> Full report

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SA politics:

Lobbyist's links to apartheid re-emerge

[© SouthScan v21/02 27 Jan 06] The Jack Abramoff scandal is reverberating down in SA. The Washington lobbyist's closeness to the apartheid government in the 1980s has led the Young Communist League, in SA's heated pre-local election atmosphere, to allege links with Democratic Alliance leader Tony Leon. Leon's lawyers issued a speedy denial of any connection and warned the ANC and Communist Party of possible libel action.

Leon's brother, Peter represented the film crew who tried in vain to get back-pay for their work on the Abramoff-produced 'Red Scorpion' film, a 1980s cold war epic filmed in Namibia and starring Dolf Lundgren.As he starts to tell all as part of a plea bargain deal with the US prosecutor more about his Reagan era connections is expected....>>> Full report