The ZIMBABWE Situation
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Challenging UN Life Expectancy Data, Harare Cancels Food Survey

VOA

By Patience
Rusere
††††† Washington
††††† 19 April 2006

Harare has cancelled a joint crop and food assessment with the United
Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation. A spokesman for the Rome-based
FAO said it received a letter from Zimbabwe's Ministry of Agriculture
cancelling the upcoming project.

Zimbabwe said it will conduct the survey on its own. Harare is reportedly
unhappy with a recent World Health Organization report on life expectancy
that put the average for Zimbabwean women at 34 years, the lowest of any
country in the world. Harare also complains that agencies have issued food
projections without its approval, this apparently a reference to the
U.S.-based Famine Early Warning System.

FAO food food emergency officer Kisan Gujal told reporter Patience Rusere of
VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe said Harare's decision could hamper efforts to
secure funding from donor nations to supplement insufficient supplies of
maize and other staples.


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Zim launches 'revival' plan

News24

19/04/2006 21:16† - (SA)

Harare - Zimbabwe, which is reeling under record inflation, on Wednesday
launched a nine-month programme to revive its moribund economy.

Economic planning minister Rugare Gumbo told a news conference the new
economic blueprint, called the National Economic Development Priority
Programme (NEDPP), was expected to see the country emerge from its economic
troubles within the next six to nine months.

Gumbo said: "The specific objectives revolve around the reduction of
inflation, stabilisation of the currency, ensuring food security, generation
of foreign currency, increasing output and productivity and effective policy
co-ordination."

Zimbabwe is in the seventh year of an economic recession characterised by an
inflation racing towards 1 000%, chronic shortages of foreign currency and
an unemployment rate hovering over 70%.

At least 80% of the country's 13 million population live below the poverty
threshhold.

The government blames the situation on targeted sanctions imposed by western
country while critics say the country's troubles are the result of economic
mismanagement.

Gumbo acknowledged the country "is currently facing critical economic
challenges that require urgent attention and resolution."

Central bank governor Gideon Gono said the new programme would see the
country raising $2.5bn in cash or investment.

The programme, a collaboration of government and business, will be overseen
by a national security council chaired by President Robert Mugabe.

Mugabe told thousands gathered to celebrate the country's 26th independence
anniversary in Harare on Tuesday the economic blueprint would produce one to
two percent economic growth this year.

Gumbo said the council had established task forces to cover such areas as
agricultural recovery and mobilising foreign currency.

The policy was modelled along the lines of similar economic recovery
programmes in Malaysia and India.


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Water levels dropping rapidly in Hwange Game Park



††††† April 20, 2006

††††† By Oscar Nkala www.andnetwork.com

††††† The Zimbabwe Conservation and Development Taskforce (ZCDTF) has warned
of a possible replay of last year's disastrous water shortages at Hwange
National Park, the country's premier game park in the north-west.

††††† Hundreds of animals died when the water pans went dry amid a grinding
regional drought, although the situation was also compounded by the
government's failure to look after general animal welfare in the country
since 2000.

††††† In a statement released to the media from Harare Tuesday, ZCDTF
chairman Johnny Rodriguez said water levels were dropping rapidly in some
parts of the park, prompting an urgent need for the revival and
rehabilitation of boreholes and pumps.

††††† He said the ZCDTF and the government's department of national parks
were also working to set up some windmills to reduce the cost of fuel, which
is all but scarce in the country. It is also prohibitively expensive when it
becomes available, often at the illegal black market.

††††† "Water levels are dropping rapidly (around Hwange) now that the rainy
season has ended. We have to work hard to ensure that all artificial water
pumps are functioning if we are to avoid a repetition of the crisis we saw
last year," Rodriguez said.

††††† The crisis was compounded by the crippled state of the statutory
Department of National Parks and Wildlife (DPNW), the body charged with
looking after the animals and the parks habitats.

††††† Like all government departments, the DPNW has been incapacitated by
the nationwide shortage of foreign currency, a situation that has rendered
it unable to procure new spares, fuel and many of the imports the department
needs to function daily. Many vehicles are broken down or without tyres, the
few functioning ones rarely move because fuel remains scarce while
understaffing, poor pay and working conditions have destroyed staff
enthusiasm for work.

††††† As a result the country is unable to treat and protect the animals
from disease. The frequent outbreak of disease has since become a regional
problem, affecting the neighbours each time there is an outbreak.

††††† Because of its inability to control diseases, Zimbabwe has been seen
as the source of recurrence of foot and mouth, anthrax other animal diseases
in Botswana, South Africa, Namibia and Zambia.

††††† Apart from the regular cross-border animal migrations, stock dealers
from Zambia, Botswana, Mozambique and Zimbabwe have also taken advantage of
the porous and long borders between states to smuggle live animals, bush
meat other un-inspected animal products from quarantine areas.

††††† Veterinary authorities in Zambia and Zimbabwe have also expressed
concern about the porous nature of the maritime border across the Zambezi,
which enables rustlers to steal livestock from Zimbabwe and paddle them
across the Zambezi and into Zambia in home-made ferries.

††††† On the west, the veterinary service in Botswana has also complained
about the booming cross-border trade in which poverty-stricken Zimbabweans
are selling stock to Botswana villagers at rock-bottom prices.

††††† The ZCDTF took a lead in raising alarm about the tragedy in Hwange,
receiving donations ranging from cash to vehicles from across the world to
save the animals.
††††† The latest delivery was a load of second hand truck tyres donated by
Tyax Trading of Johannesburg and Independent 4x4 of Pretoria.

††††† Other corporate donors who have contributed include Hwange Society UK,
Getaway Magazine, Dunlop, Flame Lily, Safari Centre, Mitsubishi and Caltex.
Among the latest individual donors was Columbus McKinnon who have away nine
10 m chains, which ZCDTF said would be useful in saving distressed animals.

††††† However the local indigenous safari operators, who took a lead in
carving themselves up hunting concessions in the aftermath of the February
2000 farm invasions, have never helped since the water crisis gripped Hwange
National Park in October last year.

††††† AND Africa


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Thousands of Zimbabweans lose their jobs in Botswana

zimbabwejournalists.com

††††† By Tichaona Sibanda

††††† AN estimated 10 000 Zimbabweans are winding-up business in Botswana
and are planning to relocate elsewhere following the withdrawal of their
work and residents permit by authorities in that country.
††††† Among those affected by this decision are doctors, nurses, teachers
and engineers who have been based in Botswana for a number of years. The
immigration department in Botswana started withdrawing permits from
Zimbabweans last year, claiming that most of its citizens had acquired the
skills needed to take over the jobs.
††††† Most Zimbabweans claim the action by the Botswana government was
political and that there is a new wave of xenophobia sweeping through the
country.
††††† Don Mafingenyi, our correspondent in Gaborone, said most companies
owned by Zimbabweans have closed shop and relocated mainly to South Africa.
††††† 'Others are relocating to Europe, while a few have managed to find
their way to Australia, New Zealand and Canada. Not surprisingly not even
one person is considering going back to Zimbabwe,' said Mafingenyi.
††††† A lot of Zimbabweans have been struggling in the last couple of
months, many of them living from hand to mouth. As a way of survival, many
have resorted to selling their household furniture including their vehicles.
††††† 'Many of us have been selling furniture that we acquired over the
years and it's very hard to part ways with things that had become of
sentimental value to us,' he said.
††††† Mafingenyi said the Botswana government had virtually shut the door on
Zimbabweans and that there were no longer any opportunities for anyone to
secure a job as long as that person was a holder of a Zimbabwe passport.

††††† 'There is going to be a mass exodus of Zimbabweans moving out of
Botswana and almost everyone is not happy with the way they have been
treated,' he said.

††††† SW RadioAfrica


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State media buries bad news and asks no questions

The Zimbabwean

BY A CORRESPONDENT

HARARE - Everything is getting worse, from record high inflation to record
low tobacco production, but as far as the state-run media is concerned, no
one knows why or would even think to ask.
Recent gems include The Herald, the main daily of the Mugabe regime, burying
deep on an inside page the news that Zimbabwe has set another world record
(the other being the lowest life expectancy) with inflation up from 782% in
February to 913.6% in March. ZTV relegated this appalling statistic, which
erodes what quality of life is left for ordinary Zimbabweans, to item 15 out
of 17 items on its newsreel.
"Even then, both media carried the matter as a mere announcement without
interpreting it as a reflection of government's failure to turn around the
country's economic fortunes," the media watchdog, Media Monitoring Project
Zimbabwe (MMPZ), said in its report covering April 3-9.
This technique of reporting piecemeal the now-avalanche of bad news, without
the slightest hint that it is due to corruption and economic mismanagement
by those who cling to power, was also used extensively in reporting of the
chaos in† agriculture. The agricultural coverage was larded with hailing
announcements, such a higher maize price and empty exhortations by
officials, as some kind of panacea.
"The national broadcaster's determination to subordinate the farming
community's concerns to government plans was demonstrated by the way ZTV
(April 6) failed to link Vice President Joyce Mujuru's demands for farmers
to revise upwards their winter wheat target of 400 000 tonnes to the inputs
shortages riddling the sector," noted MMPZ.
Again, none of the state media asked Security and Land Minister Didymus
Mutasa why at least 220 A2 farms in Manicaland are still lying idle if the
seizure of white-owned properties has been such a success. Instead, coverage
of meaningless statements by Mujuru while touring various so-called
"development projects" amounted to an itinerary being presented as news.
The Herald even reported Tobacco Auction Floors representative Wilson
Nyabonde as telling a parliamentary committee that if tobacco production
continued to plummet (50 million kg from more than 200 million kg before the
land seizures) it could lead to the closure of the auction floors. But the
newspaper studiously avoided linking this - or anything else - to the regime's
failed policies.
However, MMPZ noted that the private media - apart from the Mirror stable,
which now apes the state mouthpieces - categorically blamed the decline in
agricultural output on failed official policies.
The Financial Gazette said bluntly that the crisis was due to "lack of
forward planning, upside-down priorities and certain government policies
that have no basis in realities whatsoever." The weekly added that the food
shortages have more to do with "poor preparations than with intermittent
droughts," and added that the projected low yields in "one of the best
seasons in terms of rainfall, confirms this."
Zimbabwe Independent columnist Eric Bloch argued that land reform could have
been a great success if the regime had adopted a non-confrontational
approach, and co-operated with white farmers and the international community
instead of behaving "domineeringly, arrogantly and despotically."
Another state press special was supinely reporting Information Minister
Tichaona Jokonya as claiming that Zimbabwe has a better human rights record
than the United States. "Unlike the US," said Jokonya, Zimbabwe has "no
ambitions of invading other countries."
Given the economic situation, perhaps that is just as well.


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Malawians, diplomats fume over 'Robert Mugabe Road'

The Zimbabwean

††††† BLANTYRE - Western diplomats in Malawi have threatened to boycott the
European Union-funded road opening ceremony to be conducted in that country
next month by President Robert Mugabe.
††††† Political observers described as 'suicidal' the Malawian government's
decision to name the road after the Zimbabwean dictator and warned of
serious problems in Brussels, headquarters of the body that funded the
construction of the† Midima road connecting Blantyre and Mulanje.
††††† Malawi's Information Minister Patricia Kaliati said his government
would proceed to host Mugabe and name the road after him, despite EU
objections, because "Malawi is a sovereign state and some civil society
organisations are being used by some members of the donor community".
††††† "If some countries have problems with Zimbabwe, that should not
concern us. Malawi is a sovereign state, fully entitled to choose its
friends," Kaliati told the local press.
††††† "Zimbabwe has been a friend of Malawi for a long time, and it is
playing host to over five million Malawians. If we quarrel with Mugabe,
where will these Malawians go? Will some of these Western countries host
them?" she questioned.
††††† Rafiq Hajat, Executive Director of the Institute for Policy
Interaction (IPI), a Blantyre-based think tank, said Mugabe's visit was
"highly irresponsible and counterproductive on the part of the Malawi
Government and President Bingu wa Mutharika."
††††† He said by honouring Mugabe in this way, Malawi was "slapping the EU
in the face".
††††† Referring to Mugabe's well-known use of public platforms to lash out
at the West, Hajat warned: "We are just recovering from donor fatigue, we do
not have the luxury of being self-sufficient to be doing this."
††††† Meanwhile, Mutharika's Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and Zimbabwe's
ruling Zanu (PF) will sign a cooperation agreement during the visit, aimed
at "formalising the working relationship between the two parties".
††††† Malawi's leading daily newspaper gave voice to public concern about
the visit, saying: "What is indeed surprising is why the Malawi government
thinks Mugabe, whose policies have created pot-holes on the once great roads
and the economy of Zimbabwe, should open our newly-tarmacked road? Why not
name the road after African leaders like former South African President
Nelson Mandela, former Mozambican President Joacchim Chissano or former
President of Botswana Ketumile Matsire who have nurtured democracy, civil
rights and followed policies that have built, and not destroyed, the
economies of the countries they were privileged to lead?"
††††† The editorial said that by impoverishing Zimbabwe "Mugabe has also
messed us up".
††††† "Are we naive enough to think that the EU, and indeed our other major
donors, will be indifferent to the honour our government is according
Mugabe? Malawi has so many other roads and other developmental projects
requiring help from EU, let the government act in the best interest of all
Malawians," said the editorial. - Own correspondent


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Wanted: real civil servants

The Zimbabwean

It is generally believed in Africa that a political office is a sure way of
becoming rich quick, and rising to a high position in the army, police, the
judiciary or civil service opens the way to acquiring wealth.
Politicians, high civil servants, top army and police officers are among the
main beneficiaries of the recent "land redistribution". They are now running
their newly acquired farms from a distance by cell phone.
That politicians are given lucrative non-executive directorships and seats
on company boards is not unknown even elsewhere in the world. In some
countries members of parliament and ministers of government are obliged to
reveal their business interests and the industrial shares they own.

But despite much abuse today, originally we had a different concept of what
public service should be, an ethos and a moral vision, which we badly need
now.
In this view civil servants are respected for the service they render to the
state and the general public. It is considered an honour to be an honest and
reliable servant working for the common good and not just in one's own
self-interest.
The civil servant does not aim at maximizing profit and acquiring great
wealth. In turn he/she is given security of tenure and a guaranteed
life-long income, including a good pension.

The idea that civil servants run businesses or engage in farming in their
spare time (or even their working hours) is foreign to the described ethos
of public service. In our country it is traditionally and culturally assumed
that everyone is a farmer, regardless of what other occupation a person may
have.

This may be practically possible as far as subsistence farming is concerned.
It is no longer true for modern commercial farming which needs specialist
training, much technical and managerial experience and a total commitment to
farming 24 hours a day. Farming is not a way to get rich quick. Land without
a class of professional farmers yields nothing.
We need public servants who give themselves entirely to the service of the
state and its people, and we need farmers who sink roots in their land and
are watching over their crops and life stock, and taking care of their
workers, all round the clock.

Zimbabwe needs a second liberation, freeing us from greed and hunger for
power, from violence and fear. Part of this second liberation will be the
rebuilding of the public service, giving civil servants pride in serving
their country and fellow citizens.

A civil servant is not someone who greedily grabs part of the state's
resources for himself. A true civil servant is happy to be able to serve the
people whom he respects as his employers, even if they are poor and not so
well educated. A complete transformation of our minds is needed. - Oskar
Wermter, In Touch Jesuit Communications


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Freed detainee shares experience

The Zimbabwean

'It's so lovely to be free at last'
BY LUKA PHIRI

LONDON - Today I want to share my detention experience with my fellow
Zimbabweans across the globe. I am back and it's so lovely to be free at
last. I thank all those who prayed for me to be released and most of all I
will like to thank Zimbabwe Association for their wonderful work in blocking
my imminent removal.
As most Zimbabweans I claimed asylum with a profound fear of persecution in
Zimbabwe. Back home I was a close aide of MP Thokozani Khupe who has been
recently elected vice President of MDC led by Morgan Tswangirai.
Congratulations to her, I know she is a hard worker.
Back home I suffered physical torture and when I was detained by the British
immigration I suffered psychological torture. You are treated like a
criminal and worse if you are a failed asylum seeker. I lost weight and had
sleepless nights. My first stop was Dover Removal Centre (DRC). Dover was
once a prison and the regulations of the prison still apply to every
detainee. I was locked up in cell with a Nigerian guy who had just completed
five years imprisonment for fraud. He was waiting for his flight back home.
Inside the cell there is a television, sink, bunk bed, two plugs to charge
your mobile, if you have one, and a toilet. The cells are opened at 8 am and
11am we are locked in again. At 12.45 pm the cells are opened for lunch.
After taking our plates we are required to have our lunches in the cells. At
5pm the cells are opened for dinner till 8.30pm and then locked again for
the night.
I was moved to another detention centre after my first removal was foiled
with the help of Zimbabwe Association and my solicitor. This time I was
taken to Campsfield in Oxford. The rooms are nicer and bigger and there is
free movement the whole day. I even had the privilege of watching sky sports
and sky movies on big screen. There is a library where I had my first
encounter with The Zimbabwean newspaper.
Later I was moved to Tinsley. At this centre you get the "Harare Sheraton
hotel" treatment. This is a five star detention centre. Every thing is done
for you. What is needed from you is to sleep and eat and wait for your next
flight. Giving the stars Dover will be one star, Campsfield, two stars and
Tinsley, five stars. During the day I used to go to the library in the
morning to read a paper while my room is been cleaned. Later I will go to
the gym for two hours. Have lunch and later play pool. Now I have pool
skills and I am contemplating of running for world snooker champions.
After 12 weeks I was released - but the struggle for Zimbabwe's freedom will
continue until we are all free. This atrocious government of Mugabe will
soon collapse. For those who are still in detention, I say do not give up.
You will be out sooner than you think. Phambili ngokubambana


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My crime? Being a journalist

The Zimbabwean

By a staff member of VOP radio
On December 15 last year, police raided Voice of the People (VOP) radio
offices in Harare. I was out of town on private business but the news was
relayed to me on my mobile.
Relatives and friends advised me to go into hiding immediately for they knew
what would inevitably happen - detention and torture at the hands of the
police. I would be detained together with other board members and station
managers, even though the charges would be pathetically insufficient to
warrant it.
Court officials are unavailable during holidays, so detainees cannot be
brought to trial in the 48 hours stipulated by our increasingly fragile and
often ignored laws.
The "crime" for which I was sought was being a journalist and board member
in one of Zimbabwe's few remaining independent news outlets, VOP.
In fact, independent broadcasting had become so impossible in our own
country that we had been reduced to beaming our taped reports, made inside
the country, via a Radio Netherlands shortwave transmitter on the Indian
Ocean island of Madagascar back into Zimbabwe.
The Zanu (PF) government was upset that villagers could pick up our signals
more clearly than those of state radio and television, which broadcast a
steady stream of ruling party propaganda.
I heeded my friends' and relatives' advice and went into hiding immediately.
I threw a few clothes and personal belongings into my bags and rushed to a
friend's house. I left my kids with my spouse and asked relatives to check
on them the following day. But later on, during the night, I worried about
my children and went back for them and sent them off to my parents' rural
home.
I became a wandering refugee in my own country. The enormity of living in a
country that does not value human rights hit me like a tonne of bricks.
Not only did I have to abandon my house, but my car too, in case they
spotted me driving around town. I sneaked into town now and again, but I
felt very insecure and I had to rely on the country's increasingly decrepit
and inefficient public transport. It was the rainy season and I caught a
heavy cold which kept me bed-ridden for days.
After the festive period, the kids came back from my parents' home so they
could go to school. It was another headache, because my spouse was also now
on the run. A long-time friend took the kids in. It was traumatic for them
because they did not know what had happened to their mum and dad.
I got word that the police were now searching vigorously for me and other
VOP Radio executives. Ten policemen were permanently stationed outside the
house of one of my colleagues. At another board member's place, they
harassed and arrested a gardener and a driver, and broke a picture frame
containing my colleague's photograph, which they took away with them.
Finally, our lawyer intervened and took me and other senior colleagues to
the police station, where six of us were charged with broadcasting without a
license under the country's draconian media laws, which heavily constrain
press freedom. Strictly speaking, we were not actively broadcasting, but
merely sending taped reports to the Netherlands for subsequent transmission
from Madagascar.
We were fingerprinted and photographed before appearing in court, where we
were remanded on bail, each with orders to report regularly to Harare
Central Police Station.
It was a relief to return to my own home after two months on the run.† The
grass was overgrown and water and electricity had been cut off because of
unpaid bills. We had little money because our income dried up with the
collapse of VOP.
Police found no broadcasting equipment, only computers, during the most
recent raid on our offices, although we are charged among other things with
transmitting broadcasts illegally. Our counsel, the distinguished human
rights lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa, brought an expert witness, Amon Matambo, an
engineer, who - in his testimony - defined broadcasting as the transmission
of an audio or television signal via a transmitter.
We, the accused, did not possess the necessary equipment and gadgets to
transmit programmes. Matambo further argued that broadcasting via the
Netherlands and Madagascar did not constitute broadcasting "in" Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwean radio listeners were merely recipients of products transmitted
from Madagascar.
Our case has been adjourned and we return to court on April 27. Long ago we
applied for a broadcasting license, but all applicants other than state
radio have had their applications turned down. The government obviously
considers us dangerous.
Defending freedom of thought and speech in Africa, and particularly in
Zimbabwe, is not for the faint-hearted. But we take comfort from the fact
that someone like former Liberian president Charles Taylor has been arrested
and will be put on trial for crimes against humanity.


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New Mugabemobile arrives

The Zimbabwean

HARARE - Zimbabwe's ruling elite's cavalcade now comprises 19 luxury
armour-plated vehicles bought recently at a cost of £5,2 million (ZD1,5
trillion).
Mugabe's latest indulgence, a custom-built Mercedes-Benz S600 Pullmann,
arrived in Zimbabwe from Germany via South Africa. The other vehicles are
S320 models.
A German company, Cloer, armour-plated the vehicle to the highest possible
specifications, a B7 Dragunov standard. The† floor, roof, windows and petrol
tank
have been specially reinforced, as they are the most vulnerable parts of the
vehicle.
It weights 3.850kg - more than double the weight of an ordinary car.
The Mugabemobile's consumption is an un-eco-friendly 200km to the tank,
which means he will have to take along a petrol tanker if he wants to travel
further than Kwe Kwe. At between 35 and 40 litre/100km, the car's fuel
consumption is twice that of a loaded, large 4x4 vehicle.
Depending on Mugabe's specifications, his car may have anything from a DVD
and CD player, Internet access and telephone to special, heated (or
ventilated) leather seats and walnut finishes.
The tyres on the vehicle can travel a further 50km after being punctured by
bullets. The driver can address people outside the vehicle without opening a
window.
Apparently the vehicles were ordered before the European Union instituted
sanctions, prohibiting this sort of trade, against Mugabe and his cabinet
earlier this year.
When Mugabe's car was delivered last week, it was reportedly taken
immediately to the nearest garage to check for listening devices.


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Mugabe must stand trial

The Zimbabwean

BY GABRIEL SHUMBA

JOHANNESBURG - The Zimbabwe Exiles Forum (ZEF) is greatly alarmed by recent
press reports that President Robert Mugabe is secretly negotiating for
immunity from prosecution as a condition for leaving office. The
organisation, which documents and litigates on human rights abuses that have
occurred to Zimbabweans is gravely concerned that national, regional and
international bodies are not taking action to prosecute Mugabe and his
supporters for atrocities committed during his 26-year rule.
The reports about secret discussions to grant Mugabe immunity are not only
disturbing and shocking, but if true, a callous insult to those who have
been killed, raped and tortured under Mugabe's brutal regime. ZEF is
especially concerned that if Mugabe is allowed to escape prosecution in the
manner of other dictators like Obote, Amin, Mengistu and others, this will
undermine the positive precedent on the African Continent set by the recent
arrest of Charles Taylor who is awaiting trial for crimes against humanity,
war crimes, torture and other serious international crimes.
Instead of discussing granting this tyranny immunity, ZEF is calling for
either the establishment of a Special Court to prosecute Robert Gabriel
Mugabe and his lieutenants, or that the United Nations Security Council
takes an initiative that will see Mugabe prosecuted at the International
Criminal Court.
More than 20 000 people killed in Midlands and Matebeleland during Mugabe's
onslaught against an ethnic minority will be turning in their mass graves if
Mugabe is given immunity upon leaving office. I know hundreds of supporters
of the opposition and white commercial farmers who were killed between 1999
and 2006 whose souls are crying out for justice. Close to a million have
also been tortured and several other millions displaced under operation
clean out filth.
To allow Mugabe to escape with such atrocities violates the principle of
accountability and would allow impunity and future repetition that will
encourage a vicious cycle of dictatorship on the African continent. Such a
scenario will ensure that Africans remain third class citizens in the
context of global development and should not be encouraged.


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The Zimbabwean Letters

Your vote is your answer
EDITOR - Thank you very much for allowing us to air our views concerning our
beloved country. I would like to blow my trumpet on the once-respected
Professor Welshman Ncube - who we thought was the true professor for the
true MDC. But he failed to keep his deserved position given by us - the true
supporters of the opposition.
I would like to ask him please to stop misguiding people, saying that he is
the true MDC when we are well aware of all that is happening. It would be
better from him to continue associating with his Mugabe and looks for
another name for his puppet party.
I appeal to Zimbabweans to leave the money-monger professor alone with his
dirty game of putting national politics on a tribal basis. Your vote is your
answer.
TINO MAMBEU, RSA

Confrontation - NOW!
EDITOR - I would like to commend the leader of the MDC, Morgan Tsvangirai,
for taking an unrelenting and defiant stand against the political
machinations of Robert Mugabe's regime. His re-election to retain the
presidency of his party shows that people have come to realise that
presently he poses the most genuine challenge to the evil despotism. This
marvellous development has certainly shaken pessimists and proponents of
factionalism.
Debate over which bloc is stronger (the pro-senate or anti-senate) is a
sheer waste of our time. Those who have chosen a mistaken mindset to partake
in fuelling tension and confusion among MDC supporters are absolutely
disgusting.
I have a strong conviction that those with sane minds will applaud
Tsvangirai's call for peaceful mass action. It is common knowledge that Zanu
(PF) oppressors are adamantly refusing to yield to an environment of
flawless elections.
Arrogance has become their cherished norm and violence their hallmark. We
have all seen that African leaders do not have the spine to effectively
encourage the aged dictator to step down. To make matters worse, Thabo
Mbeki's self-styled concealed diplomacy seems to have borne no fruit.
†Against this backdrop we cannot fold our hands and expect change to come by
itself on a silver platter. Let us confront the regime now. No amount of
their intimidation should stop us in our quest for free will. We definitely
need a new constitution to ensure our protection from bad governance as well
as keep us in the same footing with the rest of the democratic global
village. I have no doubt that the recently assembled MDC team has the
capacity to lead us.
Although on the flip side the brutal regime is making every effort to
prevent any renewed action of civil disobedience, there is every reason to
believe that their atrocious empire is nearing its end. It is gratifying
that despite the government's militarisation of the state many of those in
the army and police now recognise the need to seek political change as they
also begin to feel the grinding effects of economic collapse. For that
reason the political landscape appears poised for change. Mugabe's
self-imposed rule has increasingly become of no relevance to us, hence his
departure is long overdue.
JAY ZAT, Johannesburg

Tired of waiting
EDITOR - Now look, wasting our time talking about some people's misfortunes
does not get us anywhere. The point is that we Zimbabweans need freedom,
full stop. I lived in SA myself and I have seen guys with a spine.
Zimbabweans say they have experienced a liberation war before, that is why
they can't remove Mugabe force. But that is no excuse.† People die
everywhere - it is only a question of time.† If the MDC wants people to
fight Zanu we are plenty and really tired of waiting to be contacted.
So when a war vet is complaining about shortcomings that really gets me
annoyed coz they are the beneficiaries of Zanu.
FIGHTER, Jozi

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