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

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Business Report

Zimbabwe refutes allegations of scuppering Gonarezhou development
April 18, 2004

by Kenneth Chikanga

Johannesburg - The Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) this week
dismissed concerns by South African and Mozambican tourism ministries that
Zimbabwe was scuppering development on its side of the Great Limpopo
Transfrontier Park by failing to finance capital development projects on the
Gonarezhou National Park.

South African minister of tourism, Valli Moosa, and his Mozambican
counterpart, Fernando Sumbana, emerged from a meeting in Maputo last week
saying that while the Mozambican and South African parts of the park were
well on their way to becoming an integrated system, Gonarezhou on the
Zimbabwean side remained a separate entity.

ZTA's Ndaipaneyi Mukwena told Business Report that unlike South Africa
and Mozambique, which had secured foreign funding, Zimbabwe was having to go
it alone since international donors had pulled out for political reasons.

"As you may well know that Zimbabwe is under selective sanctions, from
the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and international donors.
Zimbabwe is having to rely on its own resources and well wishers to finance
projects in the Gonarezhou," Mukwena said.

Zimbabwe, which is the fourth-largest economy in Africa and South
Africa's largest trading partner on the continent, is in the throes of a
deep economic crisis that has seen the latest inflation figures running at
600 percent.

The country is in its fifth consecutive year of recession, foreign
currency is scarce, manufacturing companies have closed, commercial
agriculture is struggling to feed its 14 million citizens, and international
agencies have frozen aid.

The three countries signed treaties in 2000 to establish the world's
largest animal conservancy. At 35 000km2, the Great Limpopo Transfrontier
Park combines the Kruger National Park, the Limpopo National Park in
Mozambique and Gonarezhou in Zimbabwe.

Since then, South Africa and Mozambique have consulted with the 20 000
people who live in their parts and up to 150km of military fence had been
pulled down.

Translocation of game, including elephants and other big game was
continual, 4x4 vehicle tracks were being mapped out, a border post is under
construction and tourists are expected to start crossing between the two
countries in October.

Mozambique is funding its initiatives partly from a R65 million grant
from the German Development Bank for infrastructure development, while
another R65 million has come from the EU for the resettlement of people from
the footprint of the Limpopo national park.

The country's demining programme, near the national park, has also
received R10 million from the donor community.

The South African government recently announced a R40 million grant
for the building of infrastructure, while private game lodge developers have
showed huge interest in the eastern part of the Kruger National Park,
alongside traditional seasonal migration routes for wild animals to and from
Gonarezhou.

Mukwena said it was untrue that nothing was happening on the Zimbabwe
side. In this year's budget its ministry of finance had allocated Z$17.9
billion (R26 million) for the upgrading of international airports, part of
which was already being spent on the refurbishment of Buffalo Range Airport
in the southwest of Zimbabwe, which is the entry-point to Gonarezhou.

The state had also allocated Z$2.2 billion (R3.2 million) for the
upgrading of existing tourism facilities in the 5 000km2 Gonarezhou, which
is potentially one of the best game-viewing sites on the continent.

"We have started with three main areas of road development,
electrification and communications. These will provide for accessibility for
interested investors to develop campsites.

"One big project that is on the drawing board is the development of
the biodiversity animal corridor linking Gonarezhou with the Kruger,"
Mukwena said.

"It will be a virtual bridge for some of the larger animals like
elephant and eland, which have traditionally crossed through the two
countries for centuries."

Mukwena said lack of funds had put on hold demining programmes for
landmines left over from Zimbabwe's war of liberation, which ended in 1980.
It would be suicidal to open sections of Gonarezhou to tourists when there
were still concerns over large tracks of border land that contained
landmines.

Commitment from the Zimbabwe side was also evident in projects by its
Communal Areas Management Programme for Indigenous Resources (Campfire),
which was combining initiatives by ecologists and rural development
specialists for communities alongside Gonarezhou to generate income and
improve the quality of their lives.

These included encouraging rural people to change their attitudes
towards ecology, to help ensure the survival of wildlife and natural
ecosystems, and thus reduce the environmental degradation that often
accompanies rural poverty.

Zimbabwe was looking at tourism to lead its economic recovery since
the country offered variety, affordability, infrastructure and one of the
seven wonders of the world - the Victoria Falls, which alongside the Great
Zimbabwe ruins is a world heritage site.

South African tour operators had been making inquiries with the ZTA to
package and sell Zimbabwe as a standalone destination, or in a
multidestination package of Zimbabwe, Botswana and South Africa, Mukwena
said

Mozambique was featuring in the plans because of the transfrontier
park, she said.

"The bad publicity that Zimbabwe has suffered in international media
has had positive aspects, with people now coming from all over to see things
for themselves. Many are surprised that Zimbabwe is actually not the hell
that our detractors want to make it look like."
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The Telegraph

'Zimbabwe never had food shortages before. Mugabe has caused
this famine'
By Damien McElroy in Bulawayo
(Filed: 18/04/2004)

A flicker of Esinathi Dube's deep-set eyes is the only
significant sign of life in a room where starvation has brought a pervasive
fear of death. Her eldest daughter, Agnes, succumbed in February; Esinathi
predicts that she will soon follow. Another daughter, Sipho, lies at her
side weeping away the pain of hunger.

"Agnes was a strong girl but she died because she did not eat,"
says Esinathi. "We could not afford to buy food and the hospitals turned us
away when we looked for help."

The two sisters, aged 32 and 34, should have been the first
generation of black Zimbabweans to benefit from Robert Mugabe's rule as the
first democratically elected leader of the nation. When the liberation hero
turned dictator and engineered a famine, however, Agnes and thousands of
others joined a long list of the regime's victims. Sipho is one of thousands
more who hover on the brink.

Food shortages have pushed Zimbabwean prices to unaffordable
levels. A loaf of bread in Bulawayo costs 2,500 Zimbabwe dollars, the
equivalent of 30p, but also the same as the average monthly pension. As a
result, an estimated 5.5 million Zimbabweans depend on food aid.

Every street of Makokoba, on the outskirts of Bulawayo, has a
house like Esinathi's that has lost a family member to starvation. Under
Zimbabwe's strict laws on reporting, it is all but impossible for their
plight to reach the country's media, but a church worker agreed to introduce
the Telegraph to bereaved families.

In agreeing to show us his black book, filled with notes of
funeral arrangements, Edward Churu (not his real name) would face two years
in prison if he were caught.

Eggs are frying in Esinathi's house but that is not a sign of
hope. She has sub-let the space to migrants to pay the rent, but they do not
share food. "It is their food, not mine."

Once a week, Esinathi's parish priest gives food to the
destitute which, with the occasional act of charity, has kept Esinathi and
her daughter alive. "It is not enough," says Edward. "We hand out
mealy-mealy [maize] but it is never enough, not even for a few days."

Large families face even greater pressures. Since Mafu Kumaro's
two daughters died this year, he has had to look after a 16-strong extended
family - a burden that threatens to overwhelm the old man. The youngest
orphan among his many grandchildren, Ntombazana, has the distended stomach
of the malnourished.

Mafu returns home with a bag filled with scraps of paper. When
asked why, he turns his head away: "We put the strips into the sadza
[porridge] that we make with maize from the parish. We try to make sure that
the children don't notice. It stops them being hungry."

When Mafu arrived in Makokoba, Bulawayo was still a prosperous
city dominated by the white-owned businesses and farms that made Zimbabwe
one of Africa's richest regions. Two years ago, as President Mugabe's land
grab destroyed the economy, Mafu lost his job as a cleaner.

"When the Europeans were here, we could cope," he said. "I had
money to buy food and a clinic handed out free drugs. Now we have no jobs,
no income, inflation is 1,000 per cent and when we go to hospital they ask
us for money. If we have none, we are turned away."

The Zimbabwean Health Ministry has conceded that 63 people died
of starvation in Bulawayo last month. According to a prominent critic of the
government, Archbishop Pius Ncube of Bulawayo, the real figure is many times
higher. He estimates that 1,000 people die from lack of food each month
around Bulawayo alone.

"We never had food shortages before, not in 120 years since the
commercial farmers started to work the land," said Archbishop Ncube. "Mugabe
has caused this famine because he raided the farms that were feeding the
nation. But they don't care for the people."

After heavy spring rains, there are forecasts that Zimbabwe will
produce a better crop this year than last, alleviating the shortages and
easing the inflationary pressures that cause people in cities to starve.

As a result, international aid agencies are scaling down their
assistance programmes in the area. Cafod, the London-based donor, is moving
away from handing out food and starting projects that help people to buy
more food. "The indications are there is more food," said Tim Aldred, a
Cafod spokesman. "The problem is [finding] the cash to afford that food."

Local aid workers, however, say aid agencies' new plans are
based on undue optimism. "The rains came late and then it was too heavy,
washing away sandy soil and destroying seeds," said Njamal Ncube, an aid
worker. "Overall, there are districts north and west of here where people
already have nothing. They have eaten the seeds long before harvest time."

The crisis is being made worse by a new crackdown on foreign
exchange trading that has targeted organisations at the front line of the
fight against famine. A private hospital in Wanga, near Victoria Falls,
which exchanged money via a conglomerate controlled by the ruling party, was
last week fined 13,000.

In remote areas, Zimbabwe's food crisis is concealed by militia
members and cadres of the ruling Zanu PF party who track movements in the
villages. But in Bulawayo, it is impossible to miss.

Dozens of soup kitchens and charity distribution centres are
scattered around the city, even in well-to-do areas. As neighbours sit for
hours in the sun waiting for donations, volunteers try to boost their morale
as well as their weight. "I don't work, I eat grass," said one volunteer,
Lucy, managing to joke at their plight and causing laughter to ripple around
the room. "I am an animal, not a human being any more."

In a workshop at the centre, Alice, an 87-year-old widow, takes
two weeks to weave a single rug from old strips of cloth that she then sells
for less than 2.

Archbishop Ncube believes that the plight of victims like Alice
will not improve as long as President Mugabe remains in office.

"Our problem is that we have no Zimbabwean leader who can wake
up the people to stop this nonsense," he said. "The people are scared. But
they hate him. When he dies, they will celebrate."

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Sunday Times (SA)

State instigates more violent raids on prime Zimbabwean farmland, leaving
thousands of workers destitute

Sunday Times Foreign Desk

Mbuya Bhurandi sat dazed and traumatised on a patch of veld, some of her
meagre belongings scattered around her. With nowhere to go and nothing to
eat, the grandmother was a pitiful sight: one of the latest victims of
Robert Mugabe's so-called land reform.

Bhurandi is one of hundreds of farm labourers left homeless and abandoned as
state-instigated raids on Zimbabwe's troubled farming community resurface.

This week alone a government minister seized one of the most lucrative farms
on the continent and targeted 49 sugar estates.

Government agents, backed by anti-riot police brandishing AK-47 assault
rifles, grabbed the Kondozi farm in Odzi district, about 220km southeast of
Harare.

Kondozi is a 224ha farm which produces and packages horticultural products
for export, with an annual turnover in the region of R96-million.

A senior manager said the eviction was violent and ruthless.

He said the scene was reminiscent of those at the height of farm invasions
three years ago when more than 350 000 farmworkers were left homeless.

"An advance party of state agents came to the farm last week on Thursday
accompanied by anti-riot police," he said. "They ordered the managers out.

"On Good Friday they came again to evict farmworkers from the compounds."

Armed police beat farmworkers with truncheons during the raid, resulting in
a stampede that saw children and elderly people being trampled.

After the eviction, the farmworkers were left on the roadside, forced to
live in the open without food and water.

The Easter-holiday raid was similar to the Christmas Day invasion of the
same farm last year.

Then, Agriculture Minister Joseph Made invaded the farm, claiming it
belonged to the state-owned Agricultural and Rural Development Authority.

Made and his accomplices threw a big party at the farm and declared it
theirs. They said labourers who accepted their authority could stay on the
land.

This week they broke that promise.

Efforts by the Red Cross to intervene in the Kondozi crisis were thwarted by
Manicaland provincial authorities.

Asked by journalists earlier in the week about the takeover, government
spokesman George Charamba's only comment was: "So, are British supermarkets
going to be short of beans? We need the land."

Alarmed by the plight of the farmworkers and their dependents, traditional
leaders arranged an emergency meeting with Vice-President Joseph Msika. A
70-member delegation of chiefs and headmen met Msika on Thursday in Harare
and it was resolved that the invasion had to stop.

Sources said Msika told senior government officials to stop inciting chaos
at the farm. He ordered the police and army to stop interfering in the
situation.

However, Zanu-PF militants on Friday refused to budge and mounted roadblocks
on routes to the farm.

Msika was understood to have also ordered state security agents to vacate
Charleswood Estate in Chimanimani which Manicaland provincial governor
Lieutenant-General Mike Nyambuya has been trying to grab from Roy Bennett,
an opposition Movement for Democratic Change MP.

At least five Charleswood Estate farmworkers were assaulted severely when
soldiers invaded the farm on Good Friday. Reports said the victims were
denied access to medical attention.

More than 150 soldiers, aided by riot police and dogs, took part in an
early-morning raid which resembled a military offensive into enemy
territory.

Meanwhile, Mugabe's government said it would seize 49 sugar estates in the
Lowveld around the huge Hippo Valley Estates, owned by mining giant Anglo
American.

Authorities have been accused of inciting trouble in the area in a bid to
justify compulsory acquisition of the estates.

The government also said it would take over by force "idle equipment" which
belonged to evicted white commercial farmers. The targeted equipment
included 140 tractors, 14 trailers, 3 262 irrigation pipes, 34 implements
and seven combine harvesters.

Some equipment has reportedly been pillaged from farms by ministers and
senior Zanu-PF officials.

Ministers are refusing to return seized farms and equipment despite official
pressure for them to do so.

Farmers say equipment worth tens of billions of dollars has been looted and
vandalised during the protracted farm disturbances.
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Zimbabwe is a tour too far

We must put morality before cricket

Leader
Sunday April 18, 2004
The Observer

When England refused to play in Zimbabwe during the 2003 Cricket World Cup,
the decision was taken because the players feared for their safety in a
country in which the rule of law had collapsed. It was the right decision
for the wrong reason: they should have stayed away to protest against the
death of democracy in Zimbabwe. This was what Zimbabwe's best batsman, Andy
Flower, and their charismatic bowler, Henry Olonga, did when they took to
the field in their first World Cup match against Namibia wearing black
armbands.
It is often said that sport and politics should never mix. This is wrong.
The sporting ban against South Africa was successful because it turned the
weapons of the apartheid state against itself. The ruling white minority, so
many of them ardent sports fans, were made to feel excluded from respectable
society and that there could be no normal relations with an abnormal
society. People such as Margaret Thatcher could never understand why South
Africa was excluded from the family of sporting nations when the Soviet
Union, Iran, China and many other tyrannies were not. Similar things are
said today when the issue of England's forthcoming autumn tour of Zimbabwe
is discussed.

There are strong sporting and moral arguments for England to tour Zimbabwe.
Failure to do so would deprive the impecunious Zimbabwe Cricket Union of
valuable television and sponsorship revenue, perhaps condemning the
multiracial game there to inevitable ruin. By fulfilling the fixtures,
England would avoid a heavy fine and a financially crippling international
ban. A cricket tour would allow British journalists back into a country from
which the BBC is banned and independent reporters such as The Observer's
Andrew Meldrum have been exiled, maybe refocusing attention on the full
extent of Robert Mugabe's brutal tyranny. This has seen the destruction of
the independence of the media and judiciary, political opponents tortured
and murdered, the opposition Movement for Democratic Change crushed and the
people driven to poverty and starvation.

Now the sacking of captain Heath Streak, who was unhappy at the
politicisation of the Zimbabwe Cricket Union, the resignation, in support of
their captain, of 14 white players, and persistent interference from Zanu
officials in the running of the game mean that cricket in Zimbabwe has also
begun to disintegrate. Money from tours is no longer reinvested in cricket
but used for the personal benefit of a corrupt political elite. The
anti-white racism now being directed at Zimbabwe's players by the ZCU, which
Olonga vividly outlines in our Sport section today, is as repugnant as
apartheid.

In such circumstances, and with the International Cricket Council refusing
to intervene, the England and Wales Cricket Board must take a lead and
cancel England's tour of Zimbabwe. And they must do so solely on moral
grounds.
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Zim Standard

More controversy in Zengeza murder case
By Valentine Maponga

THE controversy surrounding the death of Francis Chinozvina - an MDC
activist shot in the chest three weeks ago during the recent Zengeza by
election - deepened last week amid revelations that his family was kicked
out of a Harare courtroom where the man charged with murdering him was
appearing.

Francis's relatives, including his father and two siblings, were ordered out
of Court Six at the Harare Magistrates' Court on the basis that they were
not related to the accused, an Acturus man identified as Ernest Matsotso.

Matsotso is accused of shooting to death 22-year-old Francis Chinozvina
during the Zengeza by-election. He appeared in the packed courtroom at
around 2:30 PM on Tuesday and everyone who was in court - except Matsotso's
relatives - were ordered out by an office orderly.

A bitter Arthur Chinozvina, the father of the slain MDC supporter, said he
had arrived at the Harare Magistrates' Court along with Francis's young
brother and sister early on Tuesday for proceedings to start.

"We arrived at Rotten Row Courts and waited in court for more than six hours
but to our surprise we were told to get out without hearing anything," said
Chinozvina.

He said as everyone went out of court he remained seated on the basis that
it was his son who was allegedly killed by the accused, but the court
orderly was uncompromising.

"He asked us one by one how we were related to the accused. I tried to argue
with him that I was no ordinary relative of Francis but his real father. He
wouldn't hear any of that," said Chinozvina.

"Why are they now keeping trying to keep this trial a secret? I just want to
know who killed my son," said Chinozvina.

Matsotso was arrested by police two weeks ago amid controversy over who
actually shot and killed the MDC youth who was at the house of the party's
losing candidate for Zengeza, James Makore.

Matsotso is being charged with murder, attempted murder and contravening the
Firearms Act. He first appeared before Magistrate Peter Matsanhure, for an
initial remand which Chinozvina and many other people were allowed to
witness.

Sources who were in court however later told The Standard that Matsotso on
Tuesday disowned his initial statement that he made to the police admitting
involvement in the shooting.

"Matsotso told the court that he had made that statement under duress and
also before he had consulted his lawyer. He said he fired into the air and
is not sure if he shot anyone in the process," said a source.

Chinozvina said the move by the court official to chase them away from
Matsotso's trial had made the family more suspicious about how Francis died.

"Justice is not being done by arresting only one suspect because we know two
different guns were fired from the car and how are they going to fully
investigate the case with only one suspect," he said.

Chinozvina told The Standard that soon after Francis was killed some police
officers from St Mary's Police Station - led by an Inspector Mbedzi -
assured him that it would not be long before the perpetrator was brought to
book.

"They told me that they had taken some statements from five witnesses who
were present at the scene of the shooting. They told me it was going to be
very easy to find my son's killer," Chinozvina said.

He said following the shooting, his family now lived in fear and no longer
felt free to venture outside their home.

"Things just changed after my son was shot and killed. There is the feeling
that any one of us can be attacked anytime just like what they did to my
son," he said.

Gift Chimanikire, MDC's deputy secretary general, said the opposition party
had now taken some of the witnesses who signed affidavits to a safe house as
precautionary measure and for their safety. "We took them to safe houses
after they were threatened with death by some unidentified people,"
Chimanikire told The Standard yesterday.

He said Makore had also filled a petition in court challenging the results
of the Zengeza by-election won by Zanu PF's Christopher Chigumba.
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Zim Standard

Harare ratepayers slam Mudzuri dismissal
By Caiphas Chimhete

CIVIL society, mayors, Harare ratepayers and opposition political parties
yesterday expressed outrage over President Robert Mugabe's dismissal last
Friday of Executive Mayor of Harare, Engineer Elias Mudzuri, whom they said
was democratically elected by city residents.

They said the dismissal of Mudzuri, who had been on suspension since April
29 last year on allegations of mismanagement and corruption, was a further
indication of the death of democracy in Zimbabwe.

Mudzuri's dismissal letter, written by the Minister of Local Government,
Public Works and National Housing Ignatius Chombo, stated that President
Mugabe had directed that the Mayor vacates office with immediate effect.

The dismissal letter directs Mudzuri to immediately surrender to acting
Harare Mayor Sekesai Makwavarara, all council properties in his possession
as well as vacating the council mansion in Gunhill within a week.

The first vice-president of the Urban Councils Association of Zimbabwe and
Executive Mayor of Bulawayo, Japhet Ndabeni-Ncube, expressed shock and
dismay over what he said was Mugabe's disregard of the people's choice.

"It is very sad, it's puzzling. Surely if Mudzuri had a case to answer it
should be spelt out clearly. It is a clear case of wanting to frustrate the
administration of Harare City Council and it can happen to any mayor," said
Ndabeni-Ncube.

The Bulawayo Mayor said the association would meet to deliberate on
Mudzuri's dismissal and to seek what course of action to take.

Combined Harare Residents' Association (CHRA) chairman Mike Davies, said the
unilateral dismissal of the Harare Mayor was a clear sign that the Zanu
government was totally undemocratic.

He added that the politicisation of council affairs by Mugabe's government
would further ruin the already crumbling administration of Harare, which
Chombo has virtually taken over.

The opposition MDC, under whose ticket Mudzuri won the mayoral post, said
they saw it coming. The party's deputy secretary-general, Gift Chimanikire,
said the allegations against Mudzuri were trumped up and were meant to save
a political purpose.

Mudzuri, who spoke of a political hand in his dismissal, said he would seek
both "a political and legal solution" to his dismissal.

He said he never got sight of the Jameson Kurasha report, which Chombo said
was the basis of his dismissal.

"Why should I be fired by Mugabe and Chombo who did not elect me. I was
elected by the residents of Harare and I challenge them to see what they can
do about this matter," said Mudzuri. He said he would contest the mayoral
elections if held within the next 90 days.
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Zim Standard

Msika orders Arda off Kondozi Farm
By Nyasha Bhosha

VICE President Joseph Msika has ordered the Agricultural and Rural
Development Authority (ARDA) off Kondozi Farm in Manicaland where a
long-running dispute over its ownership is simmering, it emerged yesterday.

Zanu PF supporters with the backing of riot police kicked out more than 5
000 farm workers and their families from the farm last week. Kondozi farm
produces baby-corn for export.

The raid came a week after Information Minister Jonathan Moyo threatened
"decisive and final corrective measures on Kondozi" despite a High Court
ruling in favour of Edwin Moyo, who is listed as the owner of the farm.

In an interview with The Standard, Msika said he had directly ordered that
ARDA vacates the farm.

This followed a meeting he held on Thursday with a delegation of chiefs from
Manicaland, who asked him to intervene.

"As the chairman of the Cabinet Rural Development Committee I am not aware
of this latest land (Kondozi) acquisition, neither is John Nkomo - nor is
the acting police commissioner - only the police there were aware of this
invasion.

"Until we find out whether proper channels were followed Arda should leave
the property," said Msika.

Msika said that it was inhumane for families to be forced off the farm and
dumped with little regard for their welfare.

Police and soldiers who had invaded the farm have since left paving way for
the return of the workers, according to sources.
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Zim Standard

Harare dirty water poisonous say experts
By Bertha Shoko

BROWN coloured and soiled water spurting out of Harare's water tapes after
maintenance works in high-density suburbs, poses a major health risk to
users, experts have warned.

The warning comes in the wake of increased reports that Harare's western
suburbs including Mufakose, Kambuzuma, New Marimba and Budiriro have been
receiving brown and soiled water sporadically for the past few weeks.

This normally occurs after council workers repair broken or leaking water
pipes in the high-density suburbs where the underground pipes were laid
decades ago by the colonial authorities.

Fearing to drink the dirty water, some residents have resorted to boiling it
in an attempt to purify it while the well-to-do turn to drinking bottled
mineral water. Other residents just drink it.

"The heavy presence of minerals such as iron in ordinary drinking water
could be harmful to consumers in the long run," said Sibekile Mtetwa, a
water expert from the Zimbabwe National Water Supply (ZINWA).

"It is therefore advisable on the part of the city council to resort to
using polyvinyl chloride (PVC) pipes that have plastic material or concrete
pipes to avoid rusting," she said.

"The continued use of old iron pipes by the city council is one of the
reasons why water gets discoloured. As iron pipes grow old they begin to
rust and corrode so that when water is discharged into the homes it takes
along with it the corrosion particles," Mtetwa said.

It is this change in the colour of water that experts say is a clear sign
that the life giving liquid is contaminated.

Another expert who could not be identified said people who drank this kind
of water were at risk of contracting diseases such as arthritis, cancer and
diabetes. They could also suffer from impotence or heart related problems,
said the expert.

Complaints about impurities found in Harare's water have been raised before
but the government has maintained that the city's tap water meets the
standards set up by the World Health Organisation in 1996.

However, separate tests done by a Harare mineral manufacturer, Aqua Crystal
in February, showed otherwise.

Using a simple electro-magnetic test, the company showed that tap water
contains large mineral deposits that posed serious health complications to
tap water users in the long term.

Harare City Council public relations manager, Lesley Gwindi, said the
authority had not received such reports and would start looking into the
matter.

Former Harare mayor Elias Mudzuri, an engineer, said the discoloured water
could also show that the city's water reservoirs supplying water to the
affected suburbs were no longer being kept clean.

Mudzuri said the solution to this problem lies in the replacement of iron
pipes with non-corrosive ones.

Mudzuri was sacked on Friday by the Minister of Local Government, Public
Works and National Housing, Ignatius Chombo, for alleged corruption and
mismanagement of cou-ncil affairs.
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Zim Standard

Fresh farm invasions to keep land issue alive
By Caiphas Chimhete

WHILE government says its land reform programme has been successfully
completed, fresh farm seizures and confiscation of farm equipment from the
few remaining white commercial farmers continue unabetted in what analysts
see as an election subterfuge to keep the emotive land issue alive until
next year's general elections.

Mired in controversy over multiple farm ownership and other improprieties
exposed in a government inquiry led by former secretary to the Cabinet,
Charles Utete, analysts say the land redistribution drive has taken a dive
and Zanu PF is keen on "firing-up" the campaign in its quest to ensnare
gullible voters ahead of the crucial 2005 plebiscite.

But they were quick to warn that the move is likely to frustrate efforts by
newly appointed governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, Gideon Gono to win
back the confidence of international investors in the country's economic
policies.

In complete defiance of a provisional High Court order granted by Justice
Karwi in February, the army and riot police last week sealed off Charleswood
Estate, owned by opposition MDC legislator Roy Bennett.

On the same day, scores of heavily armed riot police, the army and members
of the dreaded Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) allegedly brutalised
and evicted farm workers from Kondozi Farm in Odzi.

Both are productive and export their produce, bringing in the much-needed
foreign currency.

As if to demonstrate its renewed vigour in expropriating more land, the
government last week announced that it would acquire at least 49 sugar cane
estates in the Lowveld. The estates are part of Hippo Valley Estates,
Zimbabwe's largest sugar producer.

"The latest farm seizures are a blow to government's own efforts to
resuscitate the economy and efforts to regain international confidence which
we desperately need," said a University of Zimbabwe political scientist.

His sentiments were echoed by Transparency International Zimbabwe (TIZ)
chairman, John Makumbe, a known critic of Mugabe's administration.

He said the current seizures by Zanu PF are meant to sustain the land
exercise into 2005 as part of electioneering but the timing could work
against the country's economic revival efforts.

"Zanu PF's timing is unbelievable and worrying, Gono is trying to woo the
IMF and World Bank but on the other hand the government is shooting itself
in the foot for the sake of winning an election," said Makumbe, also a
University of Zimbabwe political scientist.

Gono last month publicly pleaded with the international community, including
the IMF and the World Bank - which Mugabe at one time said Zimbabwe could do
without - insisting that the country needed foreign assistance to revive its
collapsing economy.

Lovemore Madhuku, another University of Zimbabwe law lecturer, said Mugabe
wants to keep the land issue "as a permanent item on his agenda" until next
year and would use it as an "excuse" to perpetrate human rights abuses to
consolidate his rule.

"If he (Mugabe) stops the land grab there will be no justification or excuse
for human rights abuses, especially against white farmers accused of
supporting the opposition MDC," said the lecturer. He added that the
on-going land seizures were "a mopping up exercise" after Zanu PF realised
there were some white farmers, who had set up blacks as fronts in an effort
to keep their properties.

Another analyst said: "The attempt to politicise the land redistribution
process at this juncture is total misreading of where we are as Zimbabwe by
Zanu PF. We are tired of the black and white rhetoric which is being peddled
everyday."

Others believe renewed farm seizures could work against Mugabe's election
plans, as more people - even within Zanu PF circles - are sympathetic with
the evicted farm workers, many of whom know no other home away from the
farms.

In the case of Kondozi Farm and Charleswood, workers were brutalised by riot
police, evicted from the properties and dumped on the roadside.

"Generally, farm workers are not happy with the way the issue of land has
been handled because most of them have not benefited. Apart from that they
are being brutalised by the police and thrown out of their homes. It's a
constituency Mugabe is losing," said an official with a local
non-governmental organisation that deals with farm workers.

Commenting on the eviction of workers from Kondozi and Charleswood Farms,
University of Zimbabwe political commentator Heneri Dzinotyiwei said matters
concerning harmless civilians should be dealt with by the police and not the
army.

He said that under normal circumstances, the army should only be summoned to
deal with riotous or armed people and not a handful of defenceless farm
workers.

"Generally, every country would want to be cautious when dealing with
incidents of this nature because it would be dangerous to create the
impression to the international community that we are using the army for
duties that the police can handle," said Dzinotyiwei.

Mugabe's critics say while his continued land and equipment grab may may
help him gain political mileage, it is most certainly going to worsen the
country's food situation. Zimbabwe, already in the throes of a serious food
shortage, will be forced to import huge qualities of food this year despite
the relatively good rains

"We will definitely run out of food because the government has seized land
and agricultural equipment but it can not seize expertise. We will import
food for the foreseeable future,"said Makumbe.
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Zim Standard

GZU students riot over fees hike
By Loughty Dube

BULAWAYO - Students at the Great Zimbabwe University in Masvingo on
Friday went on rampage destroying property worth millions of dollars in
protest against new tuition fees announced by the university's authorities
for the current semester.

The students, irked by the sudden increase of fees this year from $450
000 to $2,5 million per semester, destroyed two vehicles belonging to the
university and other unspecified property.

GZU students' union president, Promise Mkhwananzi, said the
disturbances happened while he was out of Masvingo.

Apart from a critical shortage of qualified teaching staff, learning
centres for the university are scattered all over Masvingo town, others as
far away as 30 km from Morgenster Mission where the university is located.

Some students attend their lessons at the Chief's Hall close to
Mucheke Bus Terminus in the nearby high-density suburb.

"There were disturbances at the university by students registering
their anger over the administration at the university but at the moment I
cannot provide details as I am out of Masvingo town," said Mkhwananzi.

Meanwhile, the Law Society of Zimbabwe (LSZ) says law students at the
beleaguered university are wasting their time because the degree offered by
the GZU does not meet the minimum requirements and standards to enable them
to practice law and register as legal practitioners in Zimbabwe.

The LSZ said it was informing other regional bodies to bar graduates
of the university from seeking employment in any of the regional countries.

"Holders of the Great Zimbabwe Law Degree are not eligible or entitled
to be registered as legal practitioners or to practise law in Zimbabwe
unless and until such time as the stipulated conditions are met," says a
letter from LSZ president Joseph James.
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Zim Standard

Water losses worry Mutare
By our own Staff

MUTARE - The Mutare City Council says it is losing 52 percent of its treated
water pumped from Pungwe, about 30 kilometres north of the city through
leakages and vandalism.

Water taps in Mutare's most densely populated surbub of Sakubva have been
vandalised with some unscrupulous residents who have erected illegal
extensions to their houses using water for free.

The problem has become so serious that Misheck Kagurabadza, the city's
executive mayor, says losses of treated water have risen to about $100
million a month.

"Vandalism in Sakubva's OTS (Old Township Section) is very high. This could
be because of poverty. At the moment the council requires at least $25
million to repair the taps," says the mayor.

Vandalised taps are resold to scrap metal merchants and other house
developers in the city where they are in great demand.

Another problem contributing the water loss, says the mayor, is the
existence of old pipes which burst. frequently "Some of theses pipes have
become rusty and cannot contain the increased pressure owing to the
incresasing population," he said. The city has an estimated population of
300 000.

To lessen the water loss, the council is planning to lay new water pipes
from the Christmas Pass to Nyakamete Industrial area.
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Zim Standard

NRZ turns back the clock
By Savious Kwinika

BULAWAYO - Forget about the bullet trains that are now the craze of Europe,
Asia and other developed nations. Cash strapped National Railways of
Zimbabwe (NRZ) is turning to ancient steam locomotives in its quest to
maintain services in a country where almost everything is on the brink of
collapse.

Three weeks ago, the NRZ - once the envy of the region - re-introduced smoke
belching steam locos to ply the Bulawayo-Victoria Falls and Bulawayo-Dabuka
routes, citing worsening diesel shortages.

So acute is the fuel crisis in Bulawayo, that NRZ officials have decided
their trains are better off chugging along on coal, than to stand idle
waiting for diesel supplies that never seem to get delivered.

NRZ public relations manager, Fanuel Masikati, said the parastatal
introduced the steam trains to ferry commuters to and from work places
because they cannot get diesel to move other coaches.

"It is true that the steam engine locomotives are used to boost our capacity
in place of diesel locomotives since we at times encounter diesel shortage.

"We also use the steam engine locomotives to ferry passengers including
foreign tourists from Bulawayo to Victoria Falls because they like it.
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Zim Standard

Paradza blasts media laws
By our own Staff

FORMER journalist turned politician, Zanu PF legislator for Makonde,
Kindness Paradza, has blasted President Robert Mugabe's restrictive media
laws saying they discourage potential investment in the business by both
local and foreign entrepreneurs.

Making his maiden speech in Parliament recently, Paradza singled out the
Broadcasting Services Act (BSA) and the notorious Access to Information and
Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA) as laws that must be revisited because
they discourage investment in the media.

"Fine-tune yes, because a careful perusal and examination of these laws
shows there is no other commercial sector in Zimbabwe that is required to
adhere to such stringent conditions," he said.
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Zim Standard

Comment

SA must avoid Zimbabwe's pitfalls

UP until this country's fourth general elections in 1995, the ruling Zanu PF
party enjoyed not only wide support from Zimbabweans of all races, colour
and creed but equally wide respect and goodwill from the international
community. It was indeed, the country's golden age.

The country was doing well. Businesses and families could plan. And people
could afford three meals a day. Goods and services were generally
affordable. Parents managed without too much stress to adhere to certain
basic values such as doing what's best for their children. Agriculture was
thriving. Other sectors such as manufacturing, mining and tourism were in
good shape.

On the political front, reconciliation was a remarkable policy that sought
to built new bonds of friendship between former enemies emerging from a
bitter war. Yes, the Matabeleland troubles were an unfortunate blemish in
the history of post-independent Zimbabwe but a common thread was emerging of
a people determined to live together in peace and harmony. Zanu PF felt
comfortable after each and every general election before the year 2000.

Come 2000 after the resounding 'No' vote in the Constitutional Referendum,
all hell broke loose. The realisation on the part of Zanu PF that power was
slipping from its grasp completely changed the political landscape. This was
made worse by the emergence of a strong opposition party riding on the wave
of growing disenchantment with the ruling party during the same period. The
rest, as they say is now history.

Zimbabwe is now reaping a bitter and tragic harvest - why? With the benefit
of hindsight, Zimbabweans must now see their folly. Indeed, as the old adage
goes, 'power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely."

For twenty years, the Zimbabwean electorate returned the ruling party to
power with a massive majority and this, we believe, has created an unhealthy
belief within the Zanu PF leadership and rank and file that power belongs to
them alone. That, sadly, marked the death of conventional democracy in
Zimbabwe to be replaced by one which is by the ruling party and for the
ruling party.

We say all this in the hope and belief that our neighbour, South Africa, can
draw the necessary lessons for the future from Zimbabwe's experience. It is
a tragic indictment of our generation that many African governments emerging
from colonial rule have gone on to repeat the mistakes of their peers who,
intoxicated with their newly found power, went on to establish ruthless
dictatorships in order to keep themselves in power.

President Thabo Mbeki's African National Council has just won a landslide
victory, garnering almost 70 percent of the vote in the third democratic
elections since the end of apartheid. We pray that the ANC, secure in the
knowledge of its widespread support, does not become intoxicated with power
in the way Zanu PF did in Zimbabwe. It would be a sad day for South Africa
if the ANC, bolstered by its landslide victory, becomes arrogant and
insensitive to the wishes of the vast majority that voted it into power.

The ANC's victory gives it a a fresh mandate to work towards bringing
together all South Africans regardless of race, tribe or religion in a
national effort to consolidate the country's economic might and democratic
principles.

In terms of organisation, transparency and fairness, the just-ended South
African elections have been a shining example. There is an independent
Electoral Commission in that country, a proposal that has been stiffly
resisted by Zanu PF in Zimbabwe where the Electoral Supervisory Commission
(ESC) is an arm of the ruling party.

While last week's South African elections were characterised by peace and
tranquillity, in Zimbabwe violence and state brutality remain the norm
during its elections. Little wonder that western observer delegations were
conspicuous by their silence during the just ended elections.

Interestingly, in the previous South African elections in 1994 and 1999,
African observers were clearly outnumbered by delegations from the developed
world because of the intense interest in this emerging democracy from the
wider international community.

The important lesson for Zimbabwe is that where the tradition of democracy
and general freedoms have taken firm root, there is never any quarrel with
observer groups be they from the United Nations, the European Union, the
Commonwealth, Sadc or the African Union (AU).

But in saluting the South Africans for holding what were largely free and
fair elections, we must caution our brothers and sisters against the danger
of unwittingly establishing a one-party state by voting en masse for the
African National Council. Our own experience teaches us that this is not
healthy for democracy. Humility in victory has its limits.

The death of opposition parties is the beginning of dictatorship and
totalitarianism. The only way to build and strengthen the democratic process
is to have a balanced parliament and for political parties to feel that they
can go in and out of power without rancour and hostility among them.

While counting their blessings and revelling in their independence, South
Africans must learn from the tragedy of Zimbabwe and avoid the latter's
pitfalls like bubonic plague.
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Zim Standard

Like everything else, its not just cricket
overthetop By Brian Latham

IN what has become a traditional, annual event, troubled central Africans
find themselves bickering over cricket. The country's troubled cricket board
thinksS or perhaps it doesn't.

Never mind. The point is that the troubled central African cricket board
says people opposed to international matches are puppets of the imperialist
west. And people opposed to international matches think the troubled cricket
board is a puppet of the ruling Zany Party.

Meanwhile Over The Top thinks cricket would be a great deal more fun if it
was a bloody sport - which it soon could be, if the bickering moves up a
notch or two.

Still, the point is simple enough. The troubled African banana republic is
not a democracy. It isn't even a benign autocracy. Instead, it is a country
where the opposition is beaten over the head with implements even more
robust than cricket bats. And not just the opposition, but anyone in slight
disagreement with official policies like theft, rape, murder, arson and
torture could find themselves before a Zany judge - after being beaten, of
course.

Now, when that sort of thing was a matter of daily life down south, in the
days when almost white people governed the confused southern African nation,
there was a boycott of international sport. It was a boycott that met the
approval of the troubled central African basket case.

But now it appears that the Zany Party enforced that sports boycott, not out
of ideological concerns or because it felt deeply about human rights, but
because it knew it would lose on the playing field.

There can be no other explanation. Not only that, but there is a new and
curious belief in Zany circles. The belief, being rigidly employed by the
fawning cricket board, is that only supporters of the Zany Party should
represent the troubled central African nation on the playing field.

No one has pointed out that, given the Zany Party's dwindling number of
supporters, it may soon be difficult to raise a netball team.

The troubled central African banana republic may soon be reduced to playing
darts in the annual Bujumbura darts festival, because fielding a cricket
team made up of Zany supporters could prove impossible.

Of course, the troubled cricket board could suborn the green clad
Dzaku-dzaku to play for them but this would give the umpires a pretty tough
time. While they may know how to hold a cricket bat, most would, given their
training, assume it was designed to beat the opposing team to death.

SoS OTT decided to call a poll and the results showed that the overwhelming
majority of troubled central Africans believed no cricket should take place
unless it was supervised by international monitors. This was overwhelmingly
rejected by the Zany sports minister who said there was nothing the British
could teach him about cricket.

However, if the international monitors were selected from Libya, North Korea
and Cuba he was prepared to talk.

Troubled central Africans pointed out that cricket is not played in those
countries - and nor are elections or any recognisable forms of democracy.
The Zany sports minister said that sport and politics should not be mixed,
echoing remarks made by officials in a previously troubled central African
government overthrown by the current troubled central African government.

Meanwhile one unnamed analyst said that if the troubled central African
police state couldn't play fair, then it shouldn't be allowed to play at
all - whether it was at a cricket match or on the hustings.

This suggestion was also rejected by the Zany sports minister who said, "I
want to know that analyst's name because he has committed an offence under
Zany law for which the punishment is a weekend in police cells, death or
both."
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Zim Standard

Fresh land grab rattles Agri stocks
marketmovers with Rangarirai Mberi

A WAVE of fresh land seizures last week sent agro-based counters reeling, as
the absence of any new leads kept the broader market drifting rudderless.
The government announced it had placed 47 sugar estates on a list of
properties it intends to forcibly acquire for resettlement under its
controversial land reforms.

The sugar plantations are in addition to 133 farms already named in an
extraordinary Government Gazette released early last week. Sixty-six more
properties were published Friday.

Sugar producer Hippo - whose properties are targeted in the new
acquisitions - fell $20 lower to $130 Tuesday and sank another $20
Wednesday. The counter suffered early losses on Thursday, and looked to be
heading for another bad finish.

Zanu PF bigwigs recently ordered Hippo to pay resettled farmers who
delivered cane to the company last year, escalating a long running dispute
that has been taken by the firm to the High Court.

On Tuesday, the government began operating Kondozi Farm in Odzi, one of the
country's largest horticulture exporters, after pushing the previous owners
off the land.

New TZI owner Edwin Moyo had been one of the lead sponsors of the estate,
which has Export Processing Zone status and is a major supplier of baby corn
to European markets.

Analysts said the news was likely to hit agro-based counters most, as
government's action was seen as a turn-about from earlier pledges not to
expropriate land held by commercial groups. There are fears of a sudden
slide in export revenue into an already hard-up economy.

"It will be the agriculture issues that will suffer most from the news.
People have begun to ask whether this will stop only at Hippo. Will others
like Interfresh or Tanganda also suffer?" a fund manager asked, predicting
the reports would add to the dour sentiment on the wider market.

The new seizures also seem to run contrary to proclamations from government
officials last year that the land reform exercise had ended.

Ariston was steady on Wednesday after the agro-processor said it had seen a
better than expected first quarter, forecasting half year profits to come in
higher than the comparative period last year.

However, Ariston's admission that the second quarter had already been
weighed down by forex shortages, and that the firm had stalled capital
expenditure, is likely to throw a damper over its upbeat report.

The market waited for the latest inflation data, but the Central Statistical
Office was yet to release the figures by late last week.

The market began a holiday shortened week in soft tones on Tuesday, sliding
1,01% in subdued trading to 344 683,91 points.

It then edged even lower through midweek, losing a fractional 0,007% to 344
447,90 points on losses in Meikles and Hippo Valley.

Rates on the money market firmed on deepening deficits, adding further
downward pressure on stocks.

Century was quiet Wednesday at $10 as the market waited for new detail on
long rumoured merger talks with CFX Merchant Bank.

This was amid emerging details regarding Century's sale of failed Century
Discount House last year, which suggest impropriety on the part of the bank.

There have also been growing demands that Century be held responsible for up
to $42 billion owed to creditors by CDH. If creditors get their way, the CFX
deal - upon which Century stock has built some recovery- might very well hit
the skids.

Trust was reported racing ahead at first call Thursday as the market cheered
confirmation from the bank that it had signed an MOU with Old Mutual and
South African financial institution Nedbank.
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Zim Standard

Uhuru Day shrouded in doom and gloom
By Caiphas Chimhete

ZIMBABWE marks 24 years of Independence today, steeped in its worst economic
and political crisis since taking power from former colonial authority -
Britain - and facing unprecedented international isolation over President
Robert Mugabe's unyielding anti-West rhetoric.

While the government intensifies its efforts to pulverise any opposition to
its rule by branding the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) a puppet of
the West, and attributing mounting economic problems to sanctions by the
United States and the EU as punishment for the country's land reforms, many
ordinary Zimbabweans will commemorate independence in the grip of the worst
poverty since the end of the liberation war.

But, as if to anaethetise Zimbabweans against their suffering, the
government, through its Department of Information and Publicity, has mounted
a lavish entertainment programme including an all-night independence gala in
the remote dust-swept Hwange coal mining town in Matabeleland north
province.

Elsewhere throughout the country, celebratory parties are being held
climaxing in the Independence Cup soccer tournament at the National Sports
Stadium in Harare.

But critics of Mugabe's beleaguered regime are unimpressed by these efforts
to gloss over serious shortcomings on the country's democratic and economic
balance sheet.

"Zimbabweans will definitely commemorate independence against a backdrop of
repression and abject poverty as Mugabe tightens his grip on power,"
observed Brian Kagoro, chairman of Crisis Coalition Zimbabwe, an
organisation that fights for democracy and human rights.

To many, Kagoro's statement summarises Zimbabwe's sociopolitical and
economic metamorphosis since 1980 when Mugabe, then hailed as an
international statesman, assumed power.

Endowed with a rich natural resources base and intellectual capacity founded
on one of the best education systems on the continent, many say the only
explanation why Zimbabwe continues to sink deeper into poverty as a nation
is because of Mugabe's myopic economic policies and complete disregard of
basic human rights.

Presently, the country's inflation rate stands at 600 percent. There is a
crippling scarcity of fuel and foreign currency while ordinary people can no
longer afford the prices of basic commodities including food.

"People should just observe April 18 because it is historic occasion but not
celebrate. How can we celebrate under a climate of economic misery and
political fear," said Collin Gwiyo, the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions'
Secretary General.

Gone are the days when the Independence Day was celebrated with pomp and
fanfare throughout the country. In it's place today is the sobering reality
of debilitating poverty and political repression.

"We used to slaughter two or three beasts in our ward to celebrate
independence in the 1980s, but 24 years down the line the whole province now
shares one cow, that is if we can even afford it. This is a clear indication
of the poverty that now afflicts the nation," commented Gerald Marova of
Warren Park.

But while Zimbabweans lament the passing of the good old days when
independence celebrations meant plenty to eat and drink and listening to
presidential speeches that extolled virtues unity and peace in the country,
Zimbabwe's political pendulum has swung to the other extreme end where
leaders are now pre-occupied with preaching hatred against the opposition
and perceived enemies while the country's economy continues on a downward
spiral.

Back then Zimbabwe was a role model nation, making great strides in the
sectors of education, health and provision of social amenities and Mugabe,
was feted as 'man of the people'. By 1987 secondary education enrollments
had risen eight-fold and at least three-quarters of all children had access
to secondary education.

But while Mugabe insists the current economic problems are a result of
sanctions by Western enemies opposed to the country's land reform programme,
critics point to imprudent fiscal policies and massive corruption in
government and quasi-State companies for the collapse of the country's
economic base, virtually erasing all the gains that had been achieved.

Today, 24 years into independence, Zimbabweans are in a state of
hopelessness. Over 70 percent of the country's population now lives well
below the poverty line with more and people falling into this bracket every
day as the economy continues to shrink with the consequent rise in
unemployment.

Mugabe's critics say the level of poverty is a reflection of the stark
reality that the President has abdicated his responsibility to govern, a
contention heavily contested through the State media propaganda which paints
the beleaguered Zimbabwean leader as a victim of a Western conspiracy bent
on a regime change.

Zimbabwe is now ranked among the worst performing economies in the world,
with inflation of over 600 percent and less than 8 percent of its 13 million
people in formal employment. While the school system still churns out about
300 000 school leavers each year, that rate of job creation has continued to
decline as more companies close down.

Zimbabwe's economy nose-dived precipitously in 2000, when Mugabe's
supporters and war veterans invaded white-owned commercial farms under the
pretext of righting past land ownership imbalances. This sounded the death
knell for the country's agriculture.

Currently, agriculture's contribution to the national economy is less than
half of what it was in the 1990s. Government claims that more than 300 000
have benefited from the land reform programme have also been disputed in a
government commissioned inquiry led by former secretary to the Cabinet,
Charles Utete.

An independent economic analyst, describing Mugabe's rule after 1990's said:
"It has all been a systematic transfer of wealth to himself and his cronies.
A few people have become fabulously rich overnight without having to work
for it and this with President's Mugabe's blessing."

But while the economic cake has shrunk to a size which only those close to
the ruling clique can share, civic society accuses Mugabe of further
diminishing the democratic space through a surfeit of repressive laws and
the use of a brutal police against alternative voices to protect and prolong
his rule.

They cite "heinous" laws which include the Access to Information, Protection
of Privacy Act (AIPPA) and the Public Order and Security Act (Posa) which
they say have no room in a modern democratic State.

Over the past four years, scores of MDC supporters have been murdered during
elections allegedly by members of the ruling party, but in most instances,
no arrests have been made even where the assailants are known.

That apart, most of the 38 electoral challenges lodged by the MDC, after the
contentious 2000 polls adjudged by international observers as not being free
and fair, are still in the courts less than 12 months before the next
general election scheduled for March next year.

The MDC leader, Morgan Tsvangirai's challenge of Mugabe's electoral victory
in 2002 is also still pending in the courts amid growing fears that the
country will hold another presidential poll before the matter is finalised.

"This could be a case of justice delayed being justice denied," commented
one legal expert who declined to be named.

He noted that the judiciary which should be the custodian of justice in the
country appears to have reneged on its mandate. He went further to accuse
the judiciary of giving up its constitutional duty of upholding the law to
become an extension to the executive.

This, say some analysts, has been precipitated partly by the fact that
judges and magistrates whose judgments were viewed as politically incorrect
were routinely put under pressure to leave the bench or were compulsorily
retired.

It is under this climate of fear, uncertainty and hopelessness that
Zimbabweans are "celebrating" the country's independence this year.

But a former director at the Zanu PF headquaters in Harare, Arthur
Chadzingwa, says despite the political repression and economic problems
Zimbabweans are facing, commemorating the country's Independence Day is a
national obligation.

"We should always celebrate despite the ups and downs. It is historic. It is
our birthday as a nation," said Chadzingwa.
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From ZWNEWS, 18 April

Harare mayor fears for his safety

The deposed mayor of Harare, Elias Mudzuri, said last night that he had been
tipped off "by a very reliable source", that the government intended to
arrest him. "I have done nothing wrong, but just as with my dismissal which
was illegal and groundless, being innocent is no longer any protection in
this country," he said. Mudzuri, who has been given seven days to vacate the
guest cottage in the grounds of the mayoral mansion in the Harare suburb of
Gun Hill, said he had no where to go. "My own house in Milton Park where I
was living before I became mayor is now rented out and I cannot remove the
tenants at short notice," he said. "But now I have been told that the state
is not even willing to wait the seven days. They want me out of the cottage
now and I have good reason to believe that they will mount a raid here
anytime now under cover of a search warrant. Their usual tactic is to plant
something during the search and then carry out an arrest. If I am taken to
jail, I really fear for my safety." Mudzuri said that, in the event of his
arrest, he hoped that all those cared about freedom in Zimbabwe would
campaign for his immediate release. "If I am arrested, I also hope that all
regional leaders will also raise their voices in protest," he said. "There
is no law here any more, but they do still sometimes react to pressure."
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Mugabe: 'Close ranks'
18/04/2004 14:15 - (SA)

Harare - President Robert Mugabe has marked the country's 24th anniversary
of independence with a grim refusal to acknowledge any change in political
direction toward relieving the economic and humanitarian disaster enveloping
the once-prosperous nation.
Instead, he delivered a call to arms to Zimbabweans to reject the Western
world that he said was waging a "bloodthirsty" onslaught to "recolonise" the
country and suggested that traditional medicine could be used to deal with
the crisis.
"Zimbabwe will never be a colony again, never, never, never," he said during
his 30-minute speech before a near-capacity crowd in the 60 000-seat
national sports stadium on the capital's outskirts.
"We will not compromise our principles of freedom and national sovereignty,
no matter who gets upset," he said in an address that was interspersed with
derogatory references to British prime minister Tony Blair and American
president George Bush.

Economic collapse

His address came as the country entered a quarter century under his rule
with the country devastated by economic collapse, subjected to international
isolation, with half its 12 million population starving, and in the grip of
violent political repression meant to crush his opponents and to ensure he
stays in power.
He attempted to put a positive spin on the crisis, asserting that
inflation - running at over 600% - was "slowly beginning to decline," and
read out a long list of promises to improve conditions, from housing to
health care.
He declared that "affordable anti-retroviral drugs (for HIV-AIDS sufferers)
are now available in our hospitals," contradicting a report in the
state-controlled Sunday Mail which quoted health ministry officials and AIDS
activists as saying that the drugs for the widely publicised campaign "have
not even arrived yet."
Yet, when he diverted from his written speech and spoke off-the-cuff in the
vernacular, Shona, he indicated some acknowledgement of the national crisis,
including the exodus of an officially estimated 3.5 million, mostly to South
Africa and Britain.
"Some of our people are running away to wash the bodies of elderly people in
England," he said, referring to the large numbers of Zimbabweans there who
work as carers for the elderly. "Yet we are giving farms to people here.
What are you running away for?"
"Zimbabwe's problems can only be solved by Zimbabweans, not by foreigners,"
he said. "We have got medicine to sort out our problems, we have got
traditional healers."
Mugabe rejected outside intervention by organisations like the United
Nations, declaring that "we will never allow our membership of these
organisations to be used against our interests."
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IOL
Mugabe rejects 'evil' Commonwealth

April 18 2004 at 05:30PM

Harare - The Commonwealth is an "evil" organisation and Zimbabwe will never
return to it, President Robert Mugabe told cheering supporters on Sunday.

Mugabe took Zimbabwe out of the group of 54 mostly ex-British colonies after
they decided to extend a suspension of the southern African nation's
membership during a December summit in Nigeria.

"Our membership to... organisations outside our continent and to the United
Nations, is strictly on principles of equality and mutual respect. We will
never allow our membership of these organisations to be used against the
interest of our people," Mugabe said in an address broadcast nationally.

Commonwealth nations extended Zimbabwe's suspension after Mugabe - who has
been president since Zimbabwe's independence in 1980 - won a fresh term in
disputed 2002 elections, which Western countries and Mugabe's opposition
have said were rigged.

"This is why we opted out of the Commonwealth. We shall never go back to
this evil organisation," Mugabe said to cheers from thousands gathered at a
sports stadium in the capital to mark the 24th anniversary of independence
from Britain.

Zimbabwe's suspension dominated the December summit and caused a rift along
racial lines in the Commonwealth, with several African countries including
South Africa lobbying for its re-admission.

Mugabe, 80, who led a 1970's guerrilla war against white minority rule
denies critics' charges that his misrule has brought a once-thriving economy
to its knees.

He asserts that his opponents, led by Britain, have sabotaged the country to
pay him back for seizing land from white farmers to give to landless blacks.
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Reuters

Black players could join Zimbabwe 13's series walkout

Sun April 18, 2004 6:06 PM DURBAN (Reuters) - Up to three prominent
black players could join the rebellion by 13 white players against the
Zimbabwe Cricket Union (ZCU), one of the rebels told Reuters on Sunday.
The 13 rebels have refused to play in the home series against Sri
Lanka, which starts with the first of five one-day internationals in
Bulawayo on Tuesday.

The players want Heath Streak reinstated as captain, changes to the
selection panel, and an acknowledgment by the ZCU of transgressions they say
have been committed by board officials.

One of the rebels, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the black
players supported their stand but were cautious about voicing their support
publicly.

"They understand the future is not very bright if all of us should
leave," he told Reuters from Zimbabwe on Sunday.

"They think we've done the right thing and they are keen to join us
but they are coming from a different perspective."

The players and the ZCU issued writs against each other on Friday,
with each side claiming "breach of contract" against the other.

The parties have 21 days to remedy the alleged breaches, failing which
the matter will go to court.

The rebel players say that the selectors have allowed political and
racial considerations to enter their choices. The ZCU said Heath and the
other 12 were asking for too much influence in the way the team was picked.

The row means that a severely under-strength Zimbabwe side, already
one of the weakest test-playing nations, will take on Sri Lanka over the
forthcoming series.

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Black power or white mischief?

Both sides on the offensive but defeat for cricket still the likely outcome

Kevin Mitchell
Sunday April 18, 2004
The Observer

Peter Chingoka, a man who knows how to tread a fine line, will have to be at
his diplomatic best when he goes to Lord's on Tuesday to persuade England to
tour Zimbabwe in October.
As chairman of the Zimbabwe Cricket Union (ZCU), Chingoka lent his name last
week to claims that a clandestine group of 'disgruntled hardcore Rhodesians'
had been plotting for two months to destroy the game in his country. It is
an explosive allegation, one with consequences some way north of the
Limpopo.

Chingoka told the Harare Herald on Friday: 'About eight weeks ago we
gathered from a reliable source that there is a small group of people that
has devised a strategy, in their own words, "to destroy Zimbabwean cricket
this year". The group includes parents with a vicarious interest on behalf
of their sons who are contracted or are future players.'

When he sits down with the England and Wales Cricket Board, Chingoka will
try to hold them to the promise made a year ago by their chairman, David
Morgan, that England would fulfil their tour commitment, despite their
having boycotted Zimbabwe during the World Cup. Even with his hardline ZCU
aide Ozias Bvute by his side, he could find it a hard argument to win.

The 'sons of the plotters', as Chingoka would see them, have been sacked -
15 in all after the defection of a further two white players yesterday added
to the 13 headed by the former captain, Heath Streak. They have been
replaced by what a father of one of the rebels described as 'a bunch of
schoolboys'. Starting with a one-day game in Bulawayo on Tuesday, they play
Sri Lanka this month and then, in what could be a nightmare experience,
Australia next month. If England do tour in October, they will almost
certainly be facing a demoralised shell of a side.

The new 14-man squad contains perhaps four with genuine claims for
international selection. Seven are uncapped. Brendan Taylor, 18, and Edward
Rainsford, 19, are white. Eleven are black, and there is one player of
Indian descent.

Morgan was taken aback yesterday when informed of Chingoka's claims of a
'Rhodesian plot'. He said: 'I was talking with Peter on Friday, and he did
not mention this to me. This is the first I've heard of it. Yes, they are
very serious allegations.'

Morgan would not be drawn on whether Chingoka's comments would colour their
discussions, but it is inconceivable the matter will not be raised. It has
already inspired a furious debate in Zimbabwe.

Morgan repeated that only a Government directive or substantiated concerns
about safety could stop the tour. Neither looks likely. 'I will be
interested to hear first-hand from Peter about the situation there, about
the players' alleged withdrawal of their labour. We could only send an A
team if the forecast circumstances continue to prevail. But the decision on
who should tour is up to the ZCU, who issued the original invitation. We are
still hoping for a resolution.'

The International Cricket Council also vacillate. Ehsan Mani, the ICC
president, could only say that he 'would not seek to intervene in this type
of domestic issue'. A spokesman yesterday refused to comment on Chingoka's
latest allegations, but conceded: 'They do sound serious.' Chingoka also
meets the ICC this week.

While the ECB and the ICC give the impression of remaining ignorant of the
full extent of the 'Streak Uprising' in Zimbabwe, the temperature has risen
markedly there in the past 24 hours.

No names were mentioned, but it is likely Chingoka was referring to the
fathers of Heath Streak, Trevor Gripper and Stuart Carlisle.

'The allegations are not true,' Streak said yesterday. 'How can parents of
players who derive a living from cricket destroy the game? What the ZCU is
doing is trying to take the attention away from the allegations we have
levelled against them. These comments will only further divide Zimbabwe
cricket.'

The conspiracy theory runs like this: A knot of unreconstructed old
colonialists met secretly in their homes and at the Royal Harare Golf Club
over the past two months, concerned that the game they once considered their
own had been hijacked by the black majority. They encouraged Streak and his
white team-mates to provoke a confrontation by demanding a change in the
selection panel, then to strike and force the ZCU to sack them. This would
weaken the team, demoralise the ZCU, stop the integration of blacks and
whites on the cricket field and persuade visiting teams not to tour, thus
robbing the union of millions in revenue.

As fanciful as it sounds, it is a theory to which Chingoka has given
credence.

At the heart of the matter in this cash-strapped country is money. In a leak
that most likely came from the ZCU, the Herald claims that Streak,
Zimbabwe's only world-class player and who will soon rejoin Warwickshire,
earns nearly 6,000 a month. His earnings this season are already 35,500.
Not bad for the captain of a cricket team representing an economically
ravaged nation, more than 70 per cent of whose 12 million citizens live
below the poverty line.

In an editorial on Friday, the Herald said: 'The opponents of racial
integration are not happy to have such huge salaries earned by the likes of
new captain Tatenda Taibu and they are making every effort to influence
major sponsors of the ZCU to withdraw funding.'

Streak and his rebels, who regard themselves as integrationists, reject
claims that they are acting on behalf of a white clique. Their concerns,
outlined in a six-page document last Wednesday, address fundamental issues
of selection policy and more serious claims of corruption and intimidation.

The ZCU, which they see as a tool of Robert Mugabe's regime, were guilty of
'racial and ethnic discrimination in the selection of the national team'.

They say the ZCU are bending to the wishes of Zimbabwe's president, who is
also their patron, in an unseemly rush for an all-black team. The players
say they are being victimised, black as well as white, if they do not share
the world view of the ruling Zanu-PF party. They see Mugabe place-men
holding power in the ZCU and they want change.

Dissidents at large in Zimbabwe are punished physically and financially,
cricketing rebels are dropped from the national team, as Henry Olonga and
Andy Flower discovered when they spoke out during the World Cup.

For years, Streak and the Zimbabwe coach, the former Australia Test player
Geoff Marsh, denied Mugabe influenced team selections. This has been exposed
as, at best, a white lie, even if they considered it a necessary expedient
to maintain some sort of order. In a country that lost its last independent
newspaper in February, dissent and total candour are exotic commodities.

Mehluli Sibanda, a journalist on the Sunday News , told The Observer
yesterday how dissenters are dealt with. Two days after Streak resigned,
Sibanda wrote that the national team were dominated by players from
Takashinga, an all-black cricket club in Harare, and Universals, also in
Harare. Of the previous five selectors, Ali Shah and Macsood Ebrahim have
interests in Universals, while Steven Mangongo is one of the founder members
of the Takashinga.

He said the quota system, instituted in 2001, had benefited mainly players
from these clubs.

'Since that article came out I have been receiving threatening calls on my
mobile from a ZCU board member and I am convinced that he is making these
threats on behalf of some people. He threatened me with unspecified action
and also threatened to report me to the Minister of State for Information
and Publicity in the office of the president and cabinet, Jonathan Moyo,
that I am siding with a white man.'

While the ICC and the ECB protest they are powerless to act on moral or
political grounds, even against a backdrop of intimidation, football's
governing body has had no such reluctance in similar situations.

Since 2001, Fifa have suspended six of their 200-plus member national
associations for political interference by the governments. They are
Azerbaijan (where England play a 2006 World Cup qualifier this October),
Guatemala, Guinea, Greece, Nepal and Cameroon.

Fifa told The Observer that the Azerbaijan decision was 'unavoidable due to
the repeated violations of sport's fundamental ethical principles'. Cricket,
though, chooses to live in the past. Concerned that the players were getting
above themselves, Chingoka said last week: 'We simply cannot be dictated
to.' When Olonga and Flower spoke last year about the 'death of democracy',
they knew what they were talking about.

Today is Independence Day in Zimbabwe, an occasion for celebrating 24 years
of rule by Robert Mugabe with a parade through the streets of Harare. But,
as the bands prepare to rouse the people in praise of their leader, the
cheers will be muted and, it is said, insurrection is in the air. At the
Royal Harare Golf Club.

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England's top players to snub Zimbabwe tour

Denis Campbell, sports news correspondent
Sunday April 18, 2004
The Observer

England are likely to send a seriously weakened team on their controversial
cricket tour of Zimbabwe this autumn rather than pursue a boycott that could
bankrupt the game here.
The England and Wales Cricket Board look increasingly likely to fulfil the
fixture in Robert Mugabe's stricken country. If they do, Michael Vaughan and
his team-mates will be given the right to refuse to travel. Many have
indicated they do not want to go, and the treatment of Zimbabwe's leading
white players by their own governing body in recent days will stiffen the
players' resolve.

'A lot of players don't want to go,' said a source in the England camp. 'The
general feeling is that most of them would exercise their right not to go.'

The Zimbabwe Cricket Union have sacked all their best white players in a
dispute over selection issues, and unless there is an about-turn the matches
are certain to be one-sided - as they will be when Zimbabwe play Sri Lanka
and Australia within the next two months. If England's top players stay at
home the series will be meaningless as a sporting contest.

The ECB face a crucial few weeks before announcing their decision on whether
to tour and invite condemnation from the British media and public, or snub
Zimbabwe and face crippling losses of up to 50million. Although they are
committed to sending their strongest side, the players' right to opt out
could offer them a way out.

'We're contractually obliged to send a full Test team, but you can't force
people to get on the plane, can you?' said an ECB official. 'Given the
unique and extreme nature of the circumstances, it's questionable as to
whether the ECB would compel any England player to tour Zimbabwe.'

Their last hope of avoiding the trip to Zimbabwe without punishment from
cricket's global rulers - a Government order not to go - is fading.
Whitehall sources said Foreign Secretary Jack Straw and Culture Secretary
Tessa Jowell would not signal any change in Government policy when they meet
ECB officials on 4 May. That, and serious security problems in Zimbabwe, are
the only reasons the International Cricket Council would accept for England
cancelling the tour.

The ECB's 15-strong ruling management board will demand answers about the
chaotic state of Zimbabwean cricket when they meet the ZCU chairman, Peter
Chingoka, and board member Osias Bvute at Lord's on Tuesday. On the same
day, Zimbabwe face Sri Lanka in a one-day international in Bulawayo with a
team comprised of young, inexperienced, mainly black replacements for the 13
white players who have been dropped after opposing political interference in
selections.
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Zimbabwe Mirror

Made in farm equipment mystery
Takunda Maodza

CONTROVERSY surrounds the fate of farming equipment worth billions of
dollars that have been stocked at a warehouse in Harare's Workington
Industrial. The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Joseph Made
is reported to have visited the place on several occasions alone ostensibly
to inspect the equipment.

Sources at the warehouse said he would arrive in a white twin cab and have a
look at the equipment before leaving.

The real purpose of his visits is not known yet. The government of late
disclosed that there were numerous cabinet ministers and high ranking
government officials who were abusing presidential powers by seizing farming
equipment that belonged to white farmers who left their former farms during
the fast track land reform programme. Made however denied knowledge of the
equipment at the warehouse, saying he needed to find out first before giving
a comment.

"I will have to find out, let me check first and you can call me later,"
said John Nkomo, the minister in charge of Lands, Land Reform and
Resettlement who confirmed that there was such equipment at the warehouse He
said he was going to use the Presidential Powers (Regulations) promulgated
in December to take the equipment.

"I can confirm that there is farming equipment at Manica and we are going to
mop up all those items using the Presidential Powers (Regulations) directing
the acquisition of such equipment," said Nkomo.

The farming equipment includes irrigation and various other farming
implements.

An armed member of the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP), instead of the usual
security guards from private companies, is manning the premises.

A top official at the Warehouse refused to comment on the issue saying it
was too sensitive and that he was not allowed to talk to members of the
press.

Meanwhile there are media reports that some top civil servants and
politicians are acquiring for themselves farming equipment that was taken
from white commercial farmers.

A Herald article of April 14 said there were reports that the statutory
instrument that was gazetted last December was about to expire without any
agriculture equipment and machinery having been acquired and distributed to
new farmers.

The equipment includes 140 tractors, 7 combine harvesters, 34 implements, 14
trailers and 3 262 pipes.
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