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

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The Star

      Britain committed to helping Africa, official insists
      April 1, 2003

        By Peter Fabricius

      Britain's involvement in the Iraq war won't shake Prime Minister Tony
Blair's strong commitment to Africa, according to his Africa minister.

      Baroness Valerie Amos said yesterday that although the reconstruction
of Iraq after the war would be expensive, it would not affect the UK's
commitment to Africa or to the New Partnership for Africa's Development
(Nepad).

      "As the prime minister's personal representative to the G8 on Africa,
I can underline to you that his determination to help Africa is as strong
now as it has ever been.

      "Our commitment to Nepad, in which South Africa is such a key driver,
is a major plank of the foreign policy of Tony Blair's government," Amos
told the National Press Club in Pretoria.

      "We said at the time of the G8 Kananaskis summit last year, which saw
the G8 publish its Africa Action Plan, that we would be increasing our
development assistance to Africa to 1-billion (about R12,5-billion) a year
by 2006. We shall do so."

      Amos said she had come to South Africa partly to explain the British
position on two areas of difference with the SA government - Iraq and
Zimbabwe.

      She held talks with Foreign Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma yesterday,
and over the next few days she will meet President Thabo Mbeki, Defence
Minister Mosiuoa Lekota and Deputy Foreign Minister Aziz Pahad.

      "My country is taking military action, a course which your country has
opposed. People in the UK are divided about the conflict, and the majority
of people here are opposed," Amos said.

      As a result, there were many misconceptions of the UK and its role.
One was that the UK did not care about the UN or multilateralism.

      She insisted that the UK fully supported the United Nations and
multilateralism, but, to be effective and credible, the UN could not just
talk. It also had to act, in this case against the threat that Saddam
Hussein would supply weapons of mass destruction to international
terrorists.

      Amos said Britain's considerable development assistance to Africa and
its hard work in promoting Nepad had been "overshadowed by an outdated
belief that Britain's motives are colonialist because of the criticism which
we have levelled at Zimbabwe".

      She denied that Britain was criticising Zimbabwe because it wanted to
protect the large share of land owned by the white minority.

      Britain believed that land should be redistributed in Zimbabwe, but
only through a transparent, lawful, affordable programme.

      "Inequitable land distribution was not the sole cause of Zimbabwe's
problems. Zimbabwe has been destabilised and impoverished by bad government
policies," she said.

      "I spend a great deal of time talking to business about Africa.
Foreign investors fear that Nepad won't work. They question whether an
African peer-review mechanism can really work if African pressure is so low
key and so little heeded, as appears to be the case with Zimbabwe." -
Foreign Editor
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IOL

Tsvangirai calls for 'supreme sacrifice'

      April 01 2003 at 06:21AM


By Brian Latham

Harare - The vice-president of Zimbabwe's Movement for Democratic Change was
arrested on Monday as his party trounced President Robert Mugabe's ruling
Zanu-PF in two vital parliamentary by-elections.

And as Robert Mugabe defied an MDC ultimatum to restore the rule of law, MDC
leader Morgan Tsvangirai warned his followers that they would have to make
"extreme sacrifices, indeed even the supreme sacrifice, to get rid of
Mugabe".

The MDC announced that its vice-president, Gibson Sibanda, had been arrested
and was being held at Bulawayo Central Police Station. "The police have yet
to charge him with any offence," a party spokesperson said.

Despite intensified violence and intimidation from the government in the
campaign before weekend by-elections, the MDC retained its parliamentary
seats in Mugabe's home township of Highfield and in the violent western
township of Kuwadzana, where Mugabe loyalists and troops have imposed an
unofficial 7pm curfew.

In Highfield, the MDC took 8 759 votes to Zanu-PF's 4 844, a majority of 3
915, and in Kuwadzana the MDC won 12 548 to Zanu-PF's 5 002, a majority of 7
546.

But voter turnout was low and the MDC majorities, though large, were
substantially reduced from those in the general elections of June 2000 when
the majority in Highfield was 9 382, and in Kuwadzana it was 11 342.

The Zimbabwe Election Support Network, a privately funded non-governmental
organisation, attributed the low turnout to intimidation and said there were
"serious anomalies" in two weekend by-elections held in Harare.

"The pre-election period was marred by violence, visible vote-buying and the
failure of the registrar general's office to release voters rolls to
contesting candidates on time," said the network chairman, Reginald
Matchaba-Hove. "The low turnout may be attributed to the very tense
atmosphere that prevailed in the two constituencies before and during the
elections," he said.

Despite the MDC's parliamentary successes on Monday, the arrest of Sibanda
and Mugabe's rejection of an ultimatum to restore the rule of law by today
raised the spectre of greater tensions and further violence in the country.

Tsvangirai said on Monday that Mugabe had ignored an ultimatum to restore
the rule of law and release political prisoners by today or face growing
mass action, including a march on Mugabe' s official residence.

Tsvangirai warned that Zimbabweans would continue to protest against
"violent misrule" in Zimbabwe.

"We want to say to Mugabe and his cronies that regardless of all the threats
and danger we remain defiant in one respect.

"It is our constitutional right, indeed our sacred human right, to protest
peacefully against violent misrule and to demand Mugabe be accountable to
the people. We shall claim and exercise that right soon and at a time and
manner of our own choosing. We shall never be intimidated."

He spoke as police mounted one of the heaviest campaigns since Zimbabwe's
political crisis began in February 2000. - Independent Foreign Service
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BBC

More Zimbabwe protests loom

The Zimbabwe Government has not responded to Monday's deadline to meet 15
opposition demands or face "mass action".
Movement for Democratic Change leaders are now deciding what their next step
would be, spokesman Paul Themba Nyathi told BBC News Online.

He said they were considering a strike, marches in the city and a boycott of
ruling party business interests but refused to give a timeframe for when the
decision would be taken or when the protests would be called.

On Monday, MDC vice president Gibson Sibanda was arrested in connection with
organising general strikes a fortnight ago.

Chief police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena said Mr Sibanda was arrested for
"attempting to subvert a constitutional government".

       We don't want to draw our people into an ambush

      Paul Themba Nyathi, MDC

The MDC demands do not include calls for President Robert Mugabe to step
down, or for new elections but things such as depoliticising the
distribution of food aid and an end to political harassment.

Mr Nyathi said the government's failure to respond to such "moderate"
demands, would illustrate to African leaders backing Mr Mugabe, that the
government was not serious about political freedoms.

Risk assessment

He said the next step would have to be carefully chosen because of the
"risks involved".

"We don't want to draw our people into an ambush," he said.



Mr Nyathi said that Monday's victory in two Harare by-elections would not
affect the MDC's plans.

The weekend polls were described as largely peaceful by diplomats and the
police, but marked by strong opposition claims of voter intimidation and
ballot fixing.

State radio said the MDC won 12,548 votes in the Kuwadzana constituency,
against 5,002 votes for the ruling Zanu-PF. In the Highfield constituency,
the opposition won 8,759 votes against 4,844 for Zanu-PF.

President Mugabe's party, with 95 seats, enjoys a comfortable majority in
the 150-strong parliament, but is five seats short of a
constitution-changing two-thirds majority.

MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai has said the country could soon expect a "final
push for freedom".

The recent strikes brought the capital and other urban centres to a halt in
a huge show of support for the opposition.
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      ZIMBABWE: Election reform needed, say poll observers
      IRINnews Africa, Tue 1 Apr 2003

        IRIN

      Civic groups argue that more should be done to protect voters' rights

      JOHANNESBURG, - Independent electoral observers have noted with
concern "serious anomalies in the conduct" of the latest by-elections in
Zimbabwe, prompting them to call for an independent electoral commission and
impartial enforcement of voting laws.

      The Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN), an umbrella body of 36
civic organisations, fielded 34 observers in the weekend by-elections at
Kuwadzana and Highfield constituencies of the capital, Harare. The
opposition Movement for Democratic Change won both seats.

      ZESN's report on the polls said "the pre-election period was marred by
violence, visible vote buying and the failure of the registrar-general's
office to release the voters' roll to contesting candidates in time".

      "The actual polling days were characterised by vote buying, violence,
abductions of observers and party polling agents, intimidation, denial of
access to the polling stations by accredited observers... Also of grave
concern was the disruption of the voting process by the riot police on the
second day of polling in Kuwadzana," ZESN added.

      On the last day of polling at Kuwadzana, ZESN had to withdraw its
observers an hour before the end of polling "due to security considerations
as the riot police were throwing teargas and bashing people".

      Such events "denied citizens their right to freely choose their
leaders", the organisation said.

      However, the official Herald newspaper quoted authorities as saying
the two days of voting were peaceful and without incident.

      Electoral Supervisory Commission spokesman Thomas Bvuma was quoted as
saying the situation was peaceful at all polling stations in both
constituencies.

      Police spokesman Assistant Commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena said the
situation had been very calm. "We did not receive any adverse report during
the voting days and we commend the voters for displaying a high level of
maturity," the Herald quoted him as saying.

      But Dr Reginald Machaba-Hove told IRIN that ZESN was concerned about
the conduct of the weekend by-elections as three more by-elections were on
the horizon.

      The rural Mashonaland West constituency of the late higher education
minister Dr Swithun Mombeshora was to be contested, as well as two more
Harare constituencies.

      Machaba-Hove told IRIN elections would most likely be held on the same
day in the MDC Zengeza constituency of Tafadzwa Musekiwa, who resigned his
seat, and the Harare Central constituency of Mike Auret, who has been
suffering ill health and decided to quit.

      Ahead of these by-elections, ZESN called on the authorities to enforce
electoral laws.

      "We also urge Zimbabwe to abide by the SADC [Southern African
Development Community] and other international electoral norms and standards
which Zimbabwe is party to," the organisation said in its report.

      "In view of all these anomalies that have become part of our election
[processes], we re-emphasise our call for an independent electoral
commission, and the need for electoral laws that encourage citizens to
participate freely and peacefully in any elections," ZESN added.






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SABC

            500 MDC members allegedly arrested
            April 01, 2003, 21:15


            The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), Zimbabwe's main
opposition party, says more than 500 of its members have been arrested in a
newly launched crackdown by President Robert Mugabe's government. Yesterday,
the party's deputy president was also arrested following allegations of
recent attacks on MDC members.

            The MDC says it is deeply worried, and has called for the
international community to intervene.

            "(President Robert) Mugabe using any means to hold on to power,"
charges Morgan Tsvangirai, the president of the MDC.

            South Africa's position on the Zimbabwean crisis at the same
time remains under the spotlight.

            "The South Africa government in its eyes feels it's doing
enough. But I think in the eyes of many people both ourselves and
internationally, the feeling is that it can do more," says Moeletsi Mbeki,
of the South African Institute of International Affairs.

            The MDC has indicated that it is set to continue with its mass
action campaign against the Harare government
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IPSNews

The West Could Lose Its Grip On Africa Say Analysts

Nawaal Deane


JOHANNESBURG, Apr 1 (IPS) - As the war in Iraq continues to unfold, the
political credibility of America and Britain is at stake and analysts in
South Africa say a possible outcome is that African leaders will no longer
respect international norms imposed by these two political powers.

In fact, they say, the Iraqi war creates the opportunity for African leaders
to find home-grown solutions to the problems facing the continent and not
look to the West for financial aid and peace-keeping interventions.

"Why would Zimbabwe, or any African leader listen to Prime Minister Tony
Blair given that he is a war criminal, who is he to speak?" asks David
Monyane, International Relations lecturer at the University of the
Witwatersrand situated in South Africa's commercial capital Johannesburg.

Experts have voiced the concern that the US-led war on Iraq will result in
the death of global democracy and that African development will be pushed
off the international agenda. However, Monyane says that actually the war
has sparked off the hope that the New Partnership for African Development
(NEPAD) will become the African tool for leaders to secure peace in the
region.

NEPAD was developed under the leadership of five African heads of state,
South Africa's Thabo Mbeki, President Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria, the
Algerian leader, Abdelaziz Bouteflika and Hosni Mubarak, the president of
Egypt.

It has since been adopted by African heads of state as the official economic
programme of the African Union as well as by the G8 as the basis of their
Africa Action Plan and the United Nations as the official framework for
development assistance.

Monyane says: "This war, in a short space of time, has taken the world 60
years back in terms of fundamental laws, values and global democracy. The
global focus is no longer on Africa and its undemocratic dictators like
Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe and King Mswati III in Swaziland, therefore the
pressure to uphold these international norms has diminished."

"One of the benefits of the marginalisation of Africa, is that Africa can do
what is best for itself instead of relying on the Western powers to solve
its problems," says Siphamandla Zondi, political analyst at the African
Institute in South Africa.

While some analysts believe there is the possibility that a few African
dictators will take advantage of the lack of international attention to
entrench themselves further, Monyane disagrees. African dictators, he says,
have never been deterred by the United Nations (UN) or the war in Iraq in
the past. He says the responsibility of keeping dictators in line will rest
on the shoulders of democratic African leaders who will now be forced to
bring peace and security to the continent.

The emasculation of the UN at the hands of the US has not come as a surprise
to most African leaders says Keith Gottschalk, political analyst at the
University of the Western Cape. "The UN is a lame dud. It has never had its
own army and therefore does not influence the compliance of Africa's
tyrants. No African dictator has ever feared the UN. What Dictators fear
most is the intervention of fellow African leaders," he says.

Zimbabwe has been cited as an example where an undemocratic president,
Robert Mugabe, is accused of having taken advantage of the diverted
attention of the international community to step up the persecution of
members of the opposition party, Movement for Democratic Change MDC).
However some analysts disagree with this perception.

"I don't think Mugabe is being purposefully aggressive because of the war.
In 2002 there was a huge scale of oppression in the country as soon as there
were signs of mobilisation of opposition against him," says Gottschalk. He
says Mugabe has shown very little interest in foreign affairs and is not
influenced by global politics.

In fact, Moyane says it is the MDC who is dependent on international media
attention but Mugabe could use the opportunity to say to the West "who are
you to talk about rule of law or moral authority?". Most experts disagree
that his actions are attributed to the war.

Charles Taylor from Liberia is another leader who could react to the war by
ignoring UN arm sanctions.

According to analysts three African leaders who could play the role of
watchdog for the continent are President Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria,
Abdoulaye Wade of Senegal and President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa. The
three have been of the powerhouses behind Africa's new economic recovery
programme, the New Partnership for Africa's Development, NEPAD, and wield
considerable clout within the continent.

South Africa is sub-Saharan Africa's richest and most industrialised
country, while Nigeria is Africa's most populous state with more than 120
million people and the continent's largest oil exporter.

A clear example of the move by African governments to play a key role in
peace-keeping in the region took place in South Africa this week when
Congolese representatives gathered for a two day conference to negotiate and
reunite the country in a deal that is intended to end the four year civil
war in Congo.

President Mbeki has played a significant role in these talks and has also
set up a ministerial committee to monitor the impact of the war on South
Africa.

Shadrack Gutto, professor of law at the Centre for Applied Legal Studies in
Johannesburg says the African Union has a constitution that specifically
says that any regime gained through unconstitutional means or through
military means is illegal. "Africans who sign this agreement act in
consensus."

Gutto says one potential spin-off of disregarding UN resolutions is that it
gives Africa the opportunity to strengthen NEPAD. He says the war in Iraq
sends the message to African continent that we should not look to the world
for answers but create regional cohesion to ensure that regime changes
cannot take place on the continent.

One of the key elements of NEPAD includes African-led solutions, with
Africans to hold each other accountable to achieve more democratic
governance, human rights and conflict reduction using a peer review
mechanism.

"The US has ignored the UN for the past 10 years and unless the US has a
vested interest in African countries they generally ignore Africa. South
Africa has the strongest economic links with the US but oil, diamonds and
minerals are generally the reason for US interest so why should African
leaders bother with any international norm imposed by this country?" he
asks.
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JAG OPEN LETTER FORUM

Email:
justice@telco.co.zw; justiceforagriculture@zol.co.zw
Internet: www.justiceforagriculture.com

Please send any material for publication in the Open Letter Forum to
justice@telco.co.zw with "For Open Letter Forum" in the subject line.

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Letter 1: Amanda Robertson (Anne Ominous)!

I am the very disgruntled "Ex Farmers Wife",

Which part of my letter was unbelievable? I was most certainly NOT implying
that ALL farmers who remain on their land - by the grace of God, are in
cahoots with this illegal regime, but then if the cap fits - please go
ahead and wear it. The farm which was attacked and provoked my incense, is
leased by Roy Bennet - I doubt he is guilty of keeping in favour with this
evil regime!

We leased a farm for one season only and were forced by our labour to pay
SI6 gratuities. We were then forcibly evicted by mobs of youth, two weeks
before my baby was born. Despite the above we desperately wanted to remain
on the land??

Our personal belongings were looted but insurance will not pay out as the
say the issue was political! The police were involved with the looting and
were witnessed helping themselves. The farm we lost did not belong to us,
but the owners loved their land as much as anyone else. They had to witness
the memorial site of their baby who had died of cancer, being desecrated by
supporters of this regime. They too had every reason to want to "hang in
there" and remain on the land for the sake of their loyal workers and
family memories, but their feelings and emotions were never considered.
Like the majority of us ex farmers, they were not fortunate enough to be
given a choice about their residential preferences.

The only people who are offering immediate help or rather solutions, for
those of us who lost our livelihoods and homes, are amazingly JAG and other
"ex farmers". The whole point of my letter was aimed at those who ARE
dealing with ZANU PF, with the emphasis on right Vs wrong. The picture of
Mrs Gardiner was the whole basis of my disgust, shock and horror. Perhaps
read my letter it in the context it was intended?

I personally wish you all the very best and pray that you do not become yet
another statistic of Mugabe's land grab and violent henchmen. Yes! I would
rather you took your family to safety until we can restore democracy and
law and order, because when Mugabe's thugs do decide to come, they do not
respect your homestead which has been in your family for generations. They
do not give you a chance to pack up your belongings, reap your crops or
even get your family and beloved pets to safety - they come filled with a
frightening hatred and unmerciful violence as so many before have
experienced.

We also dream of coming home one day to pick up the pieces and help rebuild
our beautiful country, but for now we remain just another "very disgruntled"
not to mention homeless statistic!

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Letter 2: Mrs V B Bristow

Dear Sirs

I would like to applaud David Joubert's letter, which pre-empted my own
thoughts on a similar line, but which was presented far more eloquently
than I could ever have managed!

I have an enormous amount of respect for the leaders of JAG, who have shown
incredible tenacity, intellect, bravery and commitment to justice in their
efforts to uphold the rights of farmers and farm-workers.  Your advice and
guidance has given many of us the confidence to pursue justice and vasbyt.
You serve a valuable function and I continue to hold your leadership in
high esteem.

I too shared the deep frustration and anger of the JAG leadership toward
the CFU's top echelons' reticence to step forward in the name of justice,
law & order and good leadership, and for many months withheld my membership
dues in protest to the stand of "dialogue" with an illegal regime that they
so unashamedly championed.

More recently, however, the thinking of the CFU Council has done a massive
turnaround (which I applaud heartily!).  Those on Council who believe that
non-confrontation and dialogue is still the way to go are now very much in
the minority.  JAG has had a huge effect on the thinking within CFU, and
has been instrumental in leading the way towards a just and equitable land
dispensation. This monumental achievement is, I believe, as much due to the
example set by JAG as it is to the capable and effective abilities of Mr
Mac Crawford, who has communicated the Matabeleland farmers' message of
standing up for what is right so forcefully to the other regions.  (That
his integrity should ever have been questioned by Mr Robinson is
regrettable.)

For the sake of the agricultural community, I would beg JAG to end the
standoff that has developed between itself and the CFU, and to rise above
recent tendencies to publish non-constructive and juvenile vitriol from
certain of your members.

We have four more months of Colin Cloete & Co, and then it up to us to see
to it that new, strong and principled leadership takes over at the CFU.
Now more than ever, the CFU needs men and women of maturity, principle and
courage to complete its metamorphosis into a body respected the world over
as a true champion of the rights of its Members.  Your contribution to this
would add considerable weight to the new order.

I remain,

Faithfully yours

V B Bristow (Mrs)
Bulawayo

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Letter 3:

Tentacles of hatred spread, embracing evil souls with menacing glee,
Hopes and dreams are snatched, by politicians consumed with greed,
Land - blackened by anarchy turns crimson with shame,
Stained as the innocent bleed.

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All letters published on the open Letter Forum are the views and opinions
of the submitters, and do not represent the official viewpoint of Justice
for Agriculture.

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MDC PRESS
 
 
1 April 2003
MDC Vice-President remanded in custody as investigating officer fails to appear in court to give evidence
 
MDC Vice-President, Gibson Sibanda, who was arrested in Bulawayo yesterday for allegedly contravening Section 5 of the Public Order and Security Act for organising the successful two day stay-away, appeared at Bulawayo magistrate court today. He was denied bail because one of the investigating officers was not able to present his report in court. Sibanda will re-appear in court at 8.30am tomorrow, when the State has promised that the investigating officer will be present.
 
We view the investigation officer's failure to be present in court as a deliberate ploy by the state to ensure that the MDC Vice-President is kept in custody for as long as is possible.
 
Paul Themba Nyathi
Secretary for Information and Publicity
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Christian Science Monitor

      Mugabe's day of reckoning dawning
      By Robert Nolan


      NEW YORK, Apr 02, 2003 (The Christian Science Monitor via COMTEX) --
AS the world's collective attention remains rightly on the US-led war in
Iraq and the effort to oust Saddam Hussein, another brutal dictator
thousands of miles away continues to inflict unprecedented violence and
terror upon his own people, largely under the global radar. Two days of
national strikes organized last month by Zimbabwe's Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) protesting dictator Robert Mugabe's regime have resulted in
hundreds of arrests, at least one death, and allegations of widespread
torture by police and government forces.
      Mr. Mugabe's own day of reckoning, however, may be near. The
opposition MDC kept two critical seats in Zimbabwe's parliament in
by-elections last weekend, further solidifying its control of the capital,
where it holds all 17 seats. The election results came a day before the
expiration of an opposition ultimatum calling on the government to address
its human rights abuses and restore such democratic institutions as freedom
of the press. Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai called the developments a
"final push for freedom."

      Mugabe, who recently warned that those who play with fire "will not
only be burnt but consumed," has never been one to mince words. A
communist-cum-African-populist, his tenor as the president for the past 23
years has been nothing short of a reign of terror for those outside his
one-party system. The erratic African president drew further attention to
himself in the aftermath of the most recent crackdown by making a bizarre
comparison of his leadership style to that of Nazi leader Adolf Hitler.

      Mugabe rules by fear. At the end of Zimbabwe's second chimurenga, or
uprising against white rule in 1980, he made apt use of his North
Korean-trained 5th Brigade to wipe out thousands of Ndebele minorities
rebelling in the southwest corner of Zimbabwe - an act many refer to as
genocide. The uprising of the Ndebele and their subsequent slaughter can be
likened to the Iraqi crackdown on southern Shiite Muslims following the
first Gulf War in 1991.

      Press restrictions implemented by Mugabe after what Western officials
say was a staged reelection last year put Zimbabwe on par with Iraq, North
Korea, and Iran. Following last month's strikes, foreign media and human
rights groups, though tightly monitored by the regime, filed reports of
broken limbs, sexual assault, and electric torture at a rate that should set
off international alarm. Mugabe's land-reform program has rendered what was
once a surplus provider of maize into a welfare state largely dependent on
government-distributed international food aid. Opposition groups charge that
their members are denied food because of their refusal to support the
regime.

      While Zimbabwe's suspension from the British Commonwealth and the
current travel ban on top Zimbabwean officials are a step in the right
direction, little has been done to stop the ongoing violence.

      As the US-led coalition moves forward to liberate the Iraqi people,
let us not forget President Bush's recent reprimand of the UN for its
failure to take action in places like Bosnia and Rwanda. If the fire in
Zimbabwe is allowed to continue to burn unattended, it is the international
community that may once again be consumed.

      * Robert Nolan, a former Peace Corps volunteer in Zimbabwe, is the
online editor at the Foreign Policy Association.
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We Admitted Charges Under Duress, Say Suspects

The Herald (Harare)

April 1, 2003
Posted to the web April 1, 2003

Harare

THREE suspected armed robbers accused of stealing property worth $2 million
from the Speaker of Parliament Cde Emmerson Mnangagwa's car yesterday told a
regional magistrates' court that they admitted the charges under duress.

Dyvon Musona, Granger Tongogara and Charles Ganda-Mbungu are on trial for
allegedly stealing a mobile phone, an elephant skin briefcase, a bag
containing $200 000 cash, a wallet, a passport, identity particulars and
parliamentary documents from Cde Mnangagwa.

The three suspects who appeared before regional magistrate Mr Leonard
Chitunhu on fast-track trial had admitted to the charges but later altered
their plea to not guilty.

During cross-examination of the investigation officer, Detective Jamare, the
three accused the police officer of assaulting them to force them to admit
to the charges.

"Did I give the information free and voluntarily? I put it to you that it
was not free but I was assaulted," said Ganda-Mbungu while he was
cross-examining Detective Jamare.

Tongogara said he was only implicated by a Charles Janga and Richard
Chawashira but the police officer assaulted them to force him to admit the
charges.

"Are you sure I gave my statement voluntarily? I am telling you for the
second time that the recovered bag was brought to me by Janga and
Chawashira," said Tongogara.

Musona, the third accused, told the court that at first he denied the charge
because he had not been assaulted.

"What made me admit the charges? Can you tell the court what made me change
my previous statement?" Masona questioned the investigating officer during
cross-examination. However, the State witness maintained that the three were
not forced to admit to the charges but they freely and voluntarily helped in
the recovery of the stolen property.

Detective Jamare said Mbungu is the one who led him and his investigating
team to recover some of the goods at a Philip Maganda's home in Ruwa.

"I did not even know a single address in Ruwa but it was you who led us
(police) to the place. You even phoned him (Maganda) during my presence,"
detective Jamare responded to the questions.

Theft charges against Musona, Tongogara and Ganda-Mbungu arose last year
after they robbed Cde Mnangagwa.

It is the State's case that the three, driving in a yellow Lancer, trailed
Cde Mnangagwa, who was driving in his Toyota Landcruiser along Herbert
Chitepo Avenue. When he stopped at the traffic lights at Sam Nujoma Street,
they jumped out of their vehicle, smashed his rear window and stole the
property.

The trial continues today.
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Poor Road Conditions Hamper Food Distribution

The Herald (Harare)

April 1, 2003
Posted to the web April 1, 2003

Harare

Poor road conditions, which have rendered some areas inaccessible, are
hampering the efficient distribution of drought relief food in Hurungwe West
of Mashonaland West province.

Many villagers who attended a groundbreaking ceremony at Kangu-runguru
Primary School in Hurungwe West recently said they were spending weeks
without food owing to the bad roads.



The dusty Karoi-Kangurunguru road is bumpy and rough and most vehicles that
use the road constantly experience breakdowns before they reach the area.

The Member of Parliament for Hurungwe West Cde Phone Madiro's vehicle,
despite being a 4X4 Toyota Hilux, experienced problems on his way to
Kangurunguru.

"The issue of constructing a road that leads to Kangurunguru should be
treated with the urgency it deserves otherwise no development agencies will
be interested in working here," he said.

The MP said poor roads in his constituency were also affecting the provision
of other essential services like ambulances.

Cde Madiro commended some NGOs like World Vision for their efforts in
providing drought relief despite the poor roads that had made the area lag
behind in development.

As a result of bad roads, villagers of Kangurunguru are being forced to
receive their food allocations at Chirariro, an area that is more than 15 km
away from their homes.

Some villagers said the situation had resulted in few people, who would have
managed to walk to Chirariro, benefiting.

Those disadvantaged were the old and sick who could not walk the long
distance to Chirariro.

The councillor for ward 14, Cde Marko Kazembe, said the villagers were
playing their part by filling the gullies in the area under the public works
programme.

"Sometimes people we send to deliver food to some villagers, who would have
failed to walk to Chirariro, ended up taking the food themselves," said Cde
Kazembe.

The villagers said owing to another drought this year they were still going
to rely on food aid from the Government, non-governmental organisations and
World Food Programme through their Goal Project.

Last year, President Mugabe declared the drought a national disaster
following extensive crop failure.

The Government has since released $12,5 billion for this year's public works
programme aimed at alleviating food shortages throughout the country.
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conservatives.com

            Michael Ancram speaks out on Zimbabwe

            Michael Ancram, Shadow Foreign Secretary, today advocated a
strong role for the UN in dealing with the growing crisis in Zimbabwe.

            He said, "I would like to see a UN Security Council Resolution
with good precedent condemning what is happening in Zimbabwe and calling for
international monitoring of humanitarian aid and its distribution. That
would be a start, and if the Resolution is firm enough it could also deal
with refugees and ethnic cleansing as well."

            Speaking in the Westminster Hall debate on Zimbabwe he said,
"The Government must act. To stand idly by and watch genocide, ethnic
cleansing, mass rape, starvation, torture and to do nothing is, if it ever
was, no longer an option."

            He urged the government, "Go to the UN, get a Resolution; go to
the SADC, strike a new alliance; go back to the EU, toughen the sanctions;
and give back hope to the people of Zimbabwe."

            Mr Ancram concluded, "The Government can act. Even at this
desperately late hour it must. The time for walking by on the other side is
over."
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Mugabe is No Special Case - Eskom

Moneyweb (Johannesburg)

March 31, 2003
Posted to the web April 1, 2003

Mboniso Sigonyela
Johannesburg

The South African electricity utility Eskom says it is treating Zimbabwe no
differently from any other client despite supplying the country with
electricity without receiving any payment since September last year. The
utility says its client, the Zimbabwean Electricity Supply Authority (Zesa),
had been a model trading partner since 1996.

The Zimbabweans have struggled to meet their obligations due to a severe
foreign exchange shortage. Eskom and other suppliers, which are owed a
combined $150m, agreed to be paid only in US dollars.


The parastatal, however, would not disclose how much the Zimbabwean
Authority owed saying it is a confidential matter. But it, together with two
other foreign electricity suppliers to Zimbabwe, have demanded about US$6.5m
and are reported to have threatened a power cut off if it is not done by the
end of April. Eskom, active in 39 African countries, has managed to cut its
international debt to R159m at the end of 2002 from R169m in 2001.

The Daily News of Zimbabwe reports the debt to be in the region of US$16m.

"We have been in similar situations (debt) with some of the local
municipalities and engaging them has always worked. Our treatment of
Zimbabwe will be no different," says spokesman Fani Zulu.

He dismissed suggestions that Eskom was too lenient to Zimbabwe while
defaulters in SA were treated more harshly. He said clients have settled
their debts amicably after entering into a dialogue. "Zesa, which at one
stage was a paying customer, will get the same treatment, says Zulu.

Last Monday Eskom met a delegation from Zimbabwe and agreed on a new
repayment schedule to enable Zesa to meet its financial obligations.
Following the meeting, Eskom says Zesa has showed commitment to settle the
debt and that the two utilities would continue with a healthy
supplier-customer relationship.

Although the root of the crisis is the lack of foreign currency to settle
the debt, Eskom is quiet on whether the Zimbabweans still have to pay in US
dollars. The country's foreign exchange crisis is not getting any better.

Previous attempts by the Zimbabweans to raise foreign currency to pay for
its electricity failed. These included asking companies, especially
exporters, to pay in dollars - this was also rejected.

President Thabo Mbeki, who has been under pressure both from within the
country for his approach to the Zimbabwean situation, urged SA business to
help rebuild the country. This emerged out of a meeting between government
and about 20 chief executives and chairman.

Meanwhile a banana farmer, Roy Plath, from Mpumalanga says he in the process
of suing the parastatal for losses suffered as a result of power failures.
He says Eskom's failure to maintain its infrastructure costs him millions in
lost production.

"Sometimes we lose power for hours and are forced to use expensive
alternatives," he says.
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Email from Zim

 
Hi, just wanted to let you all know that on Monday the rep from our office
was on his way down the Borrowdale road, when, while stopped at the traffic
lights near St. Georges college his cell phone rang and he answered it. Next
minute there was a tap at his window with the end of of rifle. They wanted
to know to whom he was passing information!!! He was dragged off into the
bushes close by and beaten. My boss took him the trauma centre and it would
appear he was not the first one to be dealt with in that area and that he
had got off lightly. Just be careful, don't answer your phone if it rings in
that area. D
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Daily News

      Ruling on Sibanda's bail application set for today

      4/2/2003 12:40:46 AM (GMT +2)

      From Chris Gande in Bulawayo and Zerubabel Mudzingwa in Gweru

      A BULAWAYO magistrate, Cephas Sibanda, will today determine whether
Gibson Sibanda, the opposition MDC vice-president who is accused of
organising an illegal mass action, should be remanded out of custody.

      The State, represented by Mary Zimba-Dube yesterday, however, said if
granted bail, Sibanda was likely to abscond or interfere with witnesses.

      The State alleged that Sibanda had pending cases which his lawyer
Josphat Tshuma immediately disputed.

      Tshuma argued that there were several people facing the same charges
who had been granted bail and asked whether they were interfering with
witnesses.

      The State further alleged that Sibanda was involved in the planning of
the pending mass action following the expiry of the MDC's ultimatum to the
government on Monday.

      Tshuma said it was impossible for the State to accuse Sibanda of
organising a mass action that never occurred.

      He said: "Even in the 15 points for the ultimatum, it is not mentioned
that the MDC will violently overthrow the government. There have been
successive delays in denying the accused persons access to the courts."

      Sibanda, who was arrested on Monday, is being charged with violating
Section 32 of the draconian Public Order and Security Act after he met
provincial members of the MDC on 17 March where they allegedly plotted the
stayaway.

      Meanwhile, Kadoma magistrate Claudius Chimanga yesterday denied bail
to nine more MDC supporters arrested following last month's two-day mass
action which allegedly left a trail of destruction in the small mining town.

      The nine, who were represented by Christian Mafirakureva, were
remanded in custody to 11 April.

      They now join 28 colleagues including Austin Mupandawana, the Kadoma
Central MP, who were also denied bail last week and remanded to 9 April.

      Property worth about $12 million was allegedly destroyed when the
suspects went on an orgy of violence and petrol-bombed several shops and
homes belonging to their political rivals.

      The MDC supporters are being charged with 18 counts of public
violence, robbery and malicious injury to property.

      The State alleges that on 18 March, Mupandawana and his supporters
secretly set up detonators and petrol bombs and destroyed property worth $11
743 593 owned by Zanu PF supporters.
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Daily News

      Harare council defies Chombo

      4/2/2003 12:39:40 AM (GMT +2)

      Staff Reporter

      The Harare City Council on Monday looked headed for a clash with the
government after the City Fathers said they did not need government approval
for councillors and staff to travel outside the country on council business.

      Ignatius Chombo, the Minister of Local Government, Public Works and
National Housing, was quoted on television on Friday last week saying the
government had not authorised a trip to Zambia two weeks ago by a councillor
and a council official.

      The two travelled to Zambia to try and revive a water chemical deal
with a Ndola company. The two went to investigate the direct purchase of
white hydrated lime. The company turned them away, saying it had an agent
already in place in Zimbabwe.

      In a statement, the council said although it did not need permission
from the government for its officials and staff to travel outside the
country on business, it had written to the ministry requesting a covering
letter. This was not forthcoming, the council said.

      The secretary for Local Government, Public Works and National Housing
spelt out government policy on such trips on 16 August 2001. The letter,
written to the Elijah Chanakira Commission which was running the city, reads
in part: "Please note that Cabinet authorities are only required for mayors
and chairpersons of councils.

      "Travel requirements for other commissioners and council staff are
supposed to be approved by the chairman of the commission."

      The council said it had complied with the requisite procedures and in
the best interests of the ratepayers to obtain the lime directly from
Zambia.

      The council said: "The question to be asked is, why are so many
quarters, including the ZBC, panicking and denigrating council whenever the
issue of supply of water chemicals from Highdon Investments is in focus?

      "Who is fooling who and who is using who here? We leave it to genuine
residents to draw their own conclusions on what they think is happening
here."

      The council said previous councils and the Commission had bought water
treatment chemicals directly from the company in Ndola.

      The council said: "But for reasons best known to the supplier, they
then wrote to the Commission indicating that they now had an agent, Highdon
Investments, to handle their business interests in Zimbabwe."

      The Commission objected and sent Chanakira, the Commission chairman,
and two officials to Ndola to try and resuscitate the deal. They failed. The
council said it was cheaper to buy directly from the supplier.

      The council alleges that Highdon Investments prejudiced it of $118
million when it increased the price of another water chemical from $90 a kg
to $280 a kg without council approval.
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Daily News

Leader Page

      Jail, torture, rape won't stop winds of change

      4/2/2003 12:26:16 AM (GMT +2)

      President Mugabe's directive to State agents to react promptly and
with vigour to thwart any efforts by the MDC to mobilise people for a mass
uprising seems to have failed to dampen the spirits of voters in Highfield
and Kuwadzana, given the results of the weekend by-elections.

      If anything, the MDC seems to have successfully thwarted Zanu PF's
attempts, as its leader, Mugabe, had openly declared that his party had many
"degrees in violence". Those degrees seemed to have failed to frighten the
people of the two constituencies into voting for Zanu PF. This must be food
for thought for the ruling party. The writing is on the wall.

      No amount of violence, rape, intimidation, detention without trial,
torture, kidnapping or wanton murder can stop the winds of change from
blowing across this country.

      No matter how much Zanu PF might want the people of this country to
think otherwise, change is in the offing. They were claiming through the
State-owned media that they would wrest the two urban seats from the MDC by
any means necessary, but they failed, despite using all the State machinery
at their disposal.

      Violence or no violence, the people want change and they are willing
to sacrifice their lives for it. They might be subjected to violence,
torture, rape, intimidation, unlawful arrests and detention, but they are
determined to change the course of their future.

      The results confirmed that although the people of Highfield and
Kuwadzana might have been made to tremble at the hands of Zanu PF youths and
zealots, they were still determined to ensure that Zanu PF did not win the
seats.

      The people were aware that they would expose themselves to attacks of
retribution by Zanu PF, but they still voted for a party of their choice.

      As reported elsewhere in this paper, Zanu PF youths went on a
retribution mission, attacking everyone they perceived to be responsible for
their party's loss in the by-elections. But that won't change the officially
announced results. Instead of bringing the youths to book, the police opted
to curtail MDC victory celebrations.

      After the results were announced MDC supporters who wanted to
celebrate were quickly dispersed and warned not to engage in any
festivities.

      The police or State agents went a step further and harassed and beat
up people in beerhalls in suburbs as far afield as Budiriro, Chitungwiza,
Mabvuku, Mbare, Highfield and Kuwadzana.

      Since the country's security agents have ceased to be non-partisan,
the assumption is that they were following Mugabe's directive to clamp down
on the MDC.

      The innocent citizens caught up in this unprovoked orgy of violence
were being "treated" for exercising their freedom of expression.

      The campaign to cow the opposition party does not only involve
physical violence, but mental torture as well, if the arrests of Gibson
Sibanda and Blessing Chebundo, the latest MDC legislators to be arrested on
trumped-up charges, are taken into account. It gives credence to the
suspicion that Zanu PF is out to crush the MDC using the State machinery.

      What then is to stop the State from arresting Morgan Tsvangirai, the
MDC president, given the fact that the State-controlled Sunday Mail
newspaper has already set the agenda? That may be the reason why the treason
trial was postponed to 12 May.

      The State is looking for an excuse to arrest Tsvangirai and the MDC
leadership. They hope that he will call for civil unrest or another mass
action, and use that opportunity to arrest him and the rest of the MDC
leadership. They hope that will put a stop to any plans the MDC might have
of creating civil unrest.

      But it's too late.
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Daily News

Leader Page

      You keep your Uzumba, we'll keep our Highfield!

      4/2/2003 12:26:57 AM (GMT +2)

      By Magari Mandebvu

      As the news of the by-election results broke on Monday evening, the
first thing everyone said in our house was: "We must thank Zanu PF for
showing us we are not mombe (cattle); we are not even sheep or donkeys. We
are people."

      If your method doesn't work with sheep or donkeys, how could you have
expected it to work with people? Have you ever dipped sheep? I thought it
was like dipping mombe: just wave a big stick at them and shout, and they go
into the dip tank. No way! They are stubborn beasts. They just stand there,
looking stupid but determined.

      If you want to dip them, you have to pick them up and throw them in.
Well, I suppose your recent tactics were more than just shouting and waving
sticks at us. You could throw us into the polling booth, but when we are
there we remember that our vote is our voice, maybe the only voice that will
be heard.

      You did hear, didn't you?

      There was a time when if you told us to vote for a donkey, we would
have done so happily, but it has dawned on us that a donkey in Parliament
can only really represent donkeys, and we are not donkeys. Thank you for
reminding us of that.

      The saying about using a carrot and a stick was probably invented by
someone well versed at driving donkeys. It seems you only know how to use
the stick.

      If you limit yourself to that strategy with a donkey, it will
stubbornly stand firm and you will never get anywhere. It helps a lot if you
dangle a nice juicy carrot in front of it and the donkey, not being very
bright, will go towards the carrot.

      Some people even hang the carrot on a pole attached to the cart, so
that when the donkey moves, the carrot keeps ahead of it. A donkey can fall
for that trick again and again. In 1980, lots of us voted for the carrot you
promised.

      There were some carrots; we were even grateful to you for the Blair
toilets we built ourselves. But we didn't get the bigger, juicier carrots
and we were not content to keep pulling your cart with the land carrot
always dangling in front of us, just out of reach.

      Comrade Chinotimba should have known that, if he hadn't been asleep
like Rip van Winkle (Remember that story? He was the guy who fell asleep for
20 years and then was surprised when he went home and found things had
changed.) But Rip van Chinos just trotted out some of the carrots that
worked to get the cart going in 1980. Voters could see they were the same
carrots, 20 years old and getting a bit mouldy. But voters are people, not
donkeys, and treating us like donkeys only reminds us that we are not
donkeys. Mouldy old carrots won't get us to go your way, especially if they
are accompanied by a stick across the backside and the feet and other more
sensitive parts of our bodies.

      No, comrades, we are not sheep or donkeys, and we thank you for
reminding us of that. Some people may give in to the stick for a while. They
may even shout your slogans with apparent enthusiasm when you pull out the
same old carrot, but that only works where there is no escape from the
stick, like in Uzumba-Maramba-Pfungwe. That may be a no-go area for us
troublesome people with no totems, but we totemless voters in Highfield and
Kuwadzana have shown that our ways are not your ways. You helped to teach us
that and, again, we thank you.

      To adapt a memorable statement: "You keep your Uzumba and we'll keep
our Highfield." You may stop us from going there, even for funerals (maybe
some of us do have totems after all); that is your way. But you can go
anywhere in our areas. We don't have no-go areas for anyone. You are free to
come, you can wave your stick, you can use it - and nastier things than
sticks - but we will still do things our way. In particular, we will vote
our way. You thought we had forgotten we could do that, didn't you? But you
reminded us, and for that we thank you again.

      Maybe we were asleep for those 20 years too, but, unlike Rip van
Chinos, when we woke up we did realise we had been asleep for a very long
time. We can see how things have changed while we let you go your way, and
we don't like what we see.

      Even if you offer us nice fresh juicy carrots now, it is a bit too
late for that trick to work. We are not donkeys.

      Now you need to learn that we are not donkeys, but surely you showed
you knew that when you cleared the streets so that the First Citizen of
Highfield and his good lady could come to vote? Surely that showed that you
know he is not the most popular President we have ever had.

      Of course, you might keep using the stick. You don't seem to know any
other method of persuasion because you haven't even learned from the
animals.

      Meanwhile, we have learned from them. We have learned that even
donkeys and sheep can stand firm and stubborn when you beat them. We have
even remembered the saying that you can drive a horse to water, but you can'
t make it drink.

      For that lesson, we thank you once again, comrades, from the bottom of
our hearts.
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Daily News

Feature

      Three versions of the youth as the catalyst

      4/2/2003 12:25:03 AM (GMT +2)

      ANEURIN Bevan, an old British Labour Party stalwart, once said: "We
know what
      happens to people who stay in the middle of the road. They get run
over."

      In Zimbabwean politics, occupying the middle of the road could mean
being neither Zanu PF nor MDC - belonging to NAGG, MAGG, SHAGG, whatever.

      It means sitting on the fence, being all things or nothing at all to
all people. In Africa, Latin America or Asia, you get run over even if you
are not in the middle of the road. The political car will smash into your
house while you are having dinner, and pursue you throughout the house until
it gets you and squashes you like a cockroach.

      Quite often, as is the case in Zimbabwe, they will insist on calling
this their version of democracy.

      Bevan could have been commenting on the basically two-party system in
British politics - the Conservative and the Labour parties.

      The former British colony, the United States, has basically a
two-party political system as well - the Democratic Party and the Republican
Party, which is also called the Grand Old Party.

      Ross Perot made a stormy entry into the political arena with a third
party in the 1992 presidential election, but ended with a whimper, run over
by the Democratic juggernaut of Bill Clinton.

      In Britain, the Liberal Party, led for a long time by Jo Grimond, has
occupied the middle road for some time, but has always been run over.

      The present Liberal-Democratic Party came into being once Roy Jenkins,
David Owen and Shirley Williams - among other Labour leading lights - left
the socialists to form their own party.

      They may never achieve power because, if you want to take Bevan's
adage to its logical conclusion, they will always get run over.

      In Zimbabwe, there are people who believe, on the basis of something
totally unrelated to political reality, that you can make a difference to
the political and economic development of the country by not belonging to
either Zanu PF or the MDC - and still not get run over.

      If you are a hard-boiled journalist, scrupulously sticking to your
avowed neutrality as a dispassionate chronicler of the political drama
unfolding around you, you could get away with walking in the middle of the
road and not risk being run over.

      But if you get run over, don't be too surprised: not even in
journalism are the rules cut and dried. Being neutral is not easy: if a
civil war broke out, or if there was acute political polarisation, as there
is today in Zimbabwe - some people describe it as a choice between Good and
Evil - you would have to be an angel to remain neutral.

      How, in all conscience, do you debate a choice between people who
encourage murder and rape and those whose group include most of the victims?

      I read the other day that Mexico's deposed ruling party, the
Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) was ordered to pay back billions of
dollars to the State, this being taxpayers' money the party squandered on
bribes and other dark shenanigans in its re-election campaigns since coming
to power in 1929.

      They lost power for the first time in elections in 2000. There was no
way they could have been that popular when Mexicans remained among the
poorest people in the Americas, in spite of the discovery of vast oil
deposits.

      The PRI was corrupt and routinely rigged the elections, until 2000,
when they lost. Did Zanu PF learn anything from them?

      In Zimbabwe, the future may be decided by the youth. Last month,
President Mugabe thanked the Zanu PF youth for their role in the MDC-led
mass action. He will probably thank them again for their efforts in the
Highfield and Kuwadzana by-elections, in which they reportedly played the
darkest role ever - to no avail, as it turned out.

      The population of Zimbabwe is basically young and these are the people
who will play a catalytic role in its political future - by not sitting in
the middle of the road.

      In a way, I recently had an encounter with three versions of our
youth.

      As a veteran commuter, I don't complain about my headache or stomach
ache, as someone who shall remain nameless did recently.

      Most commuters don't bore their fellow passengers with stories that
leave them wishing there'd be an accident and the only real casualty would
be the bellyacher.

      So, there is usually a dead silence, before something of prodigious
significance occurs to deserve profound comment.

      Like a young man asking to be dropped off at an army barracks during
the journey into the city, when the driver and conductor had clearly
announced: First Stop Maruta!

      We all looked at the offender, crossly. A few swore under their
breath.

      Then, instead of getting off the bus with his tail between his legs,
or with minimum fuss and a contrite slouch, the man reacted with venom to a
question by the conductor: "Didn't you hear us say 'First stop Maruta'?"

      He was now out of the bus, a young man is his late 20s, well-built,
with a smirk on his lips. "What does it matter? Do you know who I am?"

      I was on the point of saying: "We don't care if you are Chinotimba's
or Saddam Hussein's brother." But I stopped myself.

      I needn't have bothered.

      One of the passengers, also young and well-built, engaged the man with
the smirk: "You might be a soldier, but you must have heard them say First
stop Maruta - unless you are as deaf as you are dumb."

      Someone should have said: "Them's fighting words, mister!" But I
suppose that only happens in the movies.

      In this real-life drama, there were exchanges which I prayed would not
degenerate into a fist fight.

      We were all late for work and didn't relish the prospect of not going
to work at all on that day, knowing how brutal the police have become.

      And also how unfortunate you might be to encounter Jocelyn Chiwenga in
the police station.

      I had no illusions about spending the night in the barracks off the
road - I thought of the ordeal of Mark Chavunduka and Ray Choto.

      Suddenly, I was quite angry. But again I needn't have bothered.

      Our young man harangued the soldier some more, telling him in very
colourful language that being a soldier didn't make him immortal.

      All of us were feeling rather proud of him for standing up to the
bully.

      Then another young man, also a passenger, interrupted to say
nervously: "Let's get away from here before the soldiers bomb the bus.
Please, driver, let's go!"

      We all turned angrily to him. I thought to myself: I wouldn't shed one
tear if he was run over, not for staying in the middle of the road, but for
being a yellow-bellied skunk of a young man...

     
bsaidi@dailynews.co.zw
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Daily News

      Shoko probes stands scam by councillors

      4/2/2003 12:40:12 AM (GMT +2)


      By Sam Munyavi

      Misheck Shoko, the Executive Mayor of Chitungwiza, is personally
investigating a scam in which the town's 24 councillors are alleged to have
grabbed residential and commercial stands for resale at huge profits.

      Several residents said the councillors have grabbed the stands as they
are not confident of being retained in council elections scheduled for
August this year.

      Shoko is a member of the MDC while the rest of the council is mostly
made up of Zanu PF members.

      Frederick Mabamba, the deputy mayor, who is accused of grabbing 23
stands, yesterday denied that he had taken any stands.

      Shoko, however, said Mabamba's stands included a residential stand in
Zengeza 3 and three huge commercial stands in Unit G Seke, located opposite
the Mashonaland Turf Club offices, near the Seke Teachers' College, and next
to the Chitungwiza Police Station.

      Mabamba denied he owns the last two.

      He said: "The only commercial stand in my name is the one opposite the
Turf Club and the only housing stand I own is in Zengeza 3, where I am
building my house."

      The stand opposite the Turf Club is part of the land earmarked for the
Chitungwiza railway terminal. Work is yet to begin on the project which has
been on the drawing board for years.

      Mabamba denied selling a commercial stand in Unit C for $7 million.

      Martin Masitera, the secretary of the Chitungwiza Ratepayers and
Residents Association, said: "The grabbing of stands is increasing. By the
time the councillors leave, they will have taken everything."

      Zanu PF has 22 councillors in the 24-member chamber. The other two are
independents.
      Shoko said he was making his own investigations because the other
council officials had failed him.

      He said: "There is massive concealment of information by council
officials. Twice I have asked them for details on how many stands each
councillor was allocated over the past few years.

      "They gave me a list showing that each councillor only owned one
stand. This is despite the fact that I know of some who own more than one
stand. The list left out the obvious.
      "So far I have discovered that the deputy mayor got at least six
commercial and residential stands."

      Shoko said the council staff seemed to be very scared of the
councillors.

      He said: "They are trembling. Nearly every officer is afraid. I am
virtually fighting this corruption alone."

      Shoko, a war veteran, however said Zanu PF's war veterans were backing
him in the fight against corruption. "They say this is killing their party
and must stop."

      Last July, the 24 councillors allocated themselves commercial stands
as "exit packages" ahead of several eligible applicants despite strong
opposition from Shoko.

      In February this year, five councillors got more commercial stands.
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Bennett's workers out in the cold - swradioafrica

More than 320 farm workers who were evicted illegally from Roy Bennett's
Charleswood Estates last week are still living out in the open without clean
water or proper toilet facilities.
The workers and their families were dumped at a bus stop in Chimani town by
a support unit team led by Chimani police member in charge Chogugudza and
CIO chef Joseph Mwale. With only the clothes on their backs and whatever few
things they managed to grab as they were forced out, many families have
nowhere to go.
Chimani sources report that The Red Cross and Zimrights had provided some
basic supplies and food to these victims of the brutal and repressive Mugabe
regime.
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Daily News

      ZBC awards hefty pay increases

      4/2/2003 12:39:08 AM (GMT +2)


      Staff Reporter

      THE Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) says it will award its
workers salary increases of between 60 and 200 percent and allowances of up
to 100 percent after the corporation completed a job evaluation and
regrading exercise last month.

      Munyaradzi Hwengwere, the ZBC chief executive officer, yesterday
confirmed the new salaries but could not be drawn into shedding light on how
the broadcaster would foot the bill.

      The cash-strapped organisation is struggling to buy equipment for
broadcasting, amid reports that the State broadcaster has only two obsolete
cameras which are shared among all the departments at Pockets Hill in
Highlands.

      These developments also come against the background that the ZBC
failed to award its workers a 10 percent salary increment last month.

      "The person who informed you about this non-payment of the 10 percent
is ignorant and misinformed because we have done much to address the workers
' concerns and salary anomalies," Hwengwere said.

      "We undertook a job evaluation and regrading exercise for our staffers
and we completed the exercise in February and then last month we consulted
the workers' committee for their input and a salary survey was done,"
Hwengwere said.

      He said the management agreed with the workers' committee that they
would pay the increments this month.

      "This is quite a substantial increment and I believe these new job
grading salaries are a token of appreciation for the dedication and
commitment ZBC workers have shown over the years," he said.

      Samuel Maghonde, the chairman of the national workers' committee wrote
a letter last week advising all non-managerial staff about the new
developments.

      "Expect the new job grading salaries backdated to 1 January 2003 this
month end," the letter read.

      Early this year, more than 100 ZBC workers downed their tools
demanding a 150 percent salary increment.
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Daily News

      Sour grapes

      4/2/2003 12:42:26 AM (GMT +2)


      By Columbus Mavhunga

      The State-run Zimbabwe United Passenger Company (Zupco) yesterday
abruptly withdrew its bus service to Highfield after the ruling Zanu PF's
Joseph Chinotimba was defeated in last weekend's parliamentary by-elections.

      Chinotimba, the self-styled commander of farm invasions, lost to the
opposition MDC's Pearson Mungofa in the contest for the Highfield seat.

      In Kuwadzana, Nelson Chamisa of the MDC trounced Zanu PF's David
Mutasa by more than 7 500 votes.

      Highfield residents yesterday said they were surprised early in the
morning to discover that Zupco had withdrawn its new buses without warning.

      In the run-up to the by-election, Chinotimba claimed that he was
behind the introduction of the Zupco service in the suburb.

      Yesterday Chinotimba said: "I could only be blamed about problems in
Highfield if I was a Member of Parliament there. I know nothing about
Highfield. I do not stay there.

      "Why don't you ask Mungofa who is the legitimate MP for Highfield?"

      Mungofa garnered 8 759 votes against Chinotimba' 4 844.

      No single Zupco bus could be spotted on the Highfield route when The
Daily News visited the constituency yesterday.

      Bright Matonga, Zupco's chief executive officer said: "You are writing
a negative story. When we got these buses how come you never said
congratulations and you never wrote that transport problems were now going
to be eased?"

      Meanwhile, the situation in Kuwadzana and Highfield remained tense
after the weekend by-elections in which the opposition MDC retained both
seats. Several people were beaten up by Zanu PF supporters in both
constituencies during the elections.

      Groups of armed riot police were deployed immediately on Monday after
the announcement of results effectively spoiling what could have been a
night of celebrations by victorious MDC supporters .

      Yesterday heavily-armed police mounted roadblocks on most roads
leading into Harare.

      There was a heavy presence of armed policemen at the intersections of
all roads leading to the official residence of President Mugabe.
      In some high density suburbs such as Mabvuku, Chitungwiza, Highfield
and Kuwadzana, the police demanded natiomal identity cards from people
travelling on public transport.
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Daily News

Feature

      Endless conflict cripples the once reputable University of Zimbabwe

      4/2/2003 12:28:30 AM (GMT +2)


      By Loveness Mlambo

      HER hopes of becoming an economist and his hopes of a career as an
engineer are slowly dissipating, as uncertainty seems to hold sway at the
once prestigious university.

      Students at the crisis-riddled University of Zimbabwe (UZ) are now
living in darkness, uncertain what the future holds for them.

      They are now spending half of their learning time at home because of
the recurrent disturbances on campus.

      About 700 lecturers went on an indefinite strike last month demanding
a 50 percent retention allowance. The strike ultimately led to the closure
of the university.

      The recent indefinite closure of the university, although not new in
the history of the institution, has left students feeling they would not be
able to pursue their chosen careers as initially planned.

      Striking UZ lecturers on Monday met the acting Minister of Higher and
Tertiary Education, Ignatius Chombo, to discuss their problems, but failed
to reach an agreement.
      Association of University Teachers' acting president, James Mahlaule,
said the minister wanted to hear the lecturers' problems and position and
would take it up from there.

      "We understood his position because he is simply acting in another
ministry, so we just presented our position to him and our demands for a 50
percent retention allowance," Mahlaule said.

      He said the meeting was more like a consultation, which did not dwell
much on the lecturers' demands.

      Mahlaule said: "We hope by the time he will come back to us sometime
soon, we will be in a better position to comment and possibly have made
progress."

      Meanwhile, lecturers would continue doing research and university
services, except teaching.

      Problems started last November when lecturers staged an industrial
action demanding a 120 percent salary increase. After two weeks without
lectures, the students, who were due to write their examinations,
demonstrated in solidarity with their lecturers.

      In what was seen as an insensitive move to contain the demonstrations
that had wrecked the institution, the university authorities announced its
closure.

      Students were informed that examinations would be written in March.
But on 23 February this year, UZ failed to open as the strike by the
lecturers continued.

      An 80 percent salary increment awarded in January this year made no
impression on the lecturers who are now pressing for a retention allowance.

      Only lecturers in the Faculty of Medicine were granted retention
allowances in January, most probably as a pre-emptive measure, to discourage
them from emigrating to greener pastures. Lecturers in the other nine
faculties felt they should be treated equally and vowed not to resume their
duties until their demands were met.

      Although UZ Vice-Chancellor Levy Nyagura said lectures would be
conducted in the Faculty of Medicine and in all post-graduate studies, only
medical students have been spared the agony of loitering aimlessly in the
streets or idly wandering and sprawling on the campus.

      This has created resentment among students not in the privileged
faculty who now feel that they are regarded as lesser beings.

      Most affected are post-graduate students, some of whom have left their
jobs for further studies.

      Kudakwashe Manganga, who is studying for a Master's degree in African
History, said he left a teaching career for the Master's programme.

      "Now I do not know when I am going to get the Master's degree, if at
all," he said.

      Those who sacrificed their jobs and enrolled for a post-graduate
diploma in media and communication studies are also facing an uncertain
future. The intensive one-year programme mostly enrols mature students who
have first degrees and have had some work experience.

      But those who registered for the 2003 intake have been thrown out of
the university before having a feel of the programme.

      Most students have condemned the manner in which the university
authorities and the Ministry of Higher Education have dealt with the crisis
at the UZ.

      Nkululeko Nyoni, secretary-general of the UZ Student Executive
Council, said the council opposed the closure of the university.

      His counterpart in the Zimbabwe Students' Christian Movement, Marlone
Zakeyo, said it was disturbing that even when they tried to engage the
authorities on the issue of resumption of studies nobody provided
substantial information.

      "The government's decision to close the country's first university is
heartless and borders on utter psychosis," said Zakeyo.

      Undergraduate students have also expressed concern over the crisis at
the university. Casper Mhlanga, a Bachelor of Science Engineering student,
said he had come prepared to write his examinations in March, only to be
told that the university would remain shut.
      He said the stipend which had already been disbursed into students'
accounts would soon be depleted.

      "There had been a history of late disbursement of payouts to students
but this year's timely allotment had given us the impression that all would
be well," he said.

      But by the time the authorities decide to open the institution, the
students would have nothing in their accounts, said Mhlanga.

      He said the cycle of violence and unrest would continue with students
demonstrating for upkeep funds when the university finally opens.

      "The crisis will obviously continue and when UZ opens students are
likely to demonstrate for another payout," he said.

      It is now clear that UZ has fallen in the eyes of stakeholders who are
not impressed by the authorities' impulsive decision to close the
institution whenever there are problems, before they even weigh the effects
of that decision.

      In August 1998, the university was closed indefinitely following
student unrest. The government provoked the demonstration by proposing 50
percent funding policy where parents would weigh in with the other 50
percent of university fees.

      There was no undergraduate intake that year and when they finally
enrolled in 1999, the programmes were fast-tracked to compensate for the
time lost.

      The stream became the first in the history of the university to have a
two-week semester break.

      So, fast-tracking the programmes will be the only option for the
university, which seems not to care about the intense pressure that it
imposes on students.

      Daniel Chihombori, the acting Director of Information and Public
Relations, said the closure was "temporary", as the university would reopen
soon.

      The continuing strike by lecturers and the insensitivity of the
university and the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education to the plight
of lecturers and students has crippled what was formerly a vibrant and
internationally recognised centre of higher learning.
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