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Check of votes in Zimbabwe election is postponed

International Herald Tribune

Published: April 29, 2008

HARARE, Zimbabwe: The checking of votes in the presidential election was put
off again Tuesday, further delaying the day when the country would know
whether President Robert Mugabe was to remain in power.

The wait for the result of the March 29 election has led to a tense standoff
and drawn accusations by the opposition that Mugabe is trying to rig the
outcome and intimidate opponents in the hope of swinging a possible runoff
with the main opposition rival, Morgan Tsvangirai.

On Tuesday, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission invited presidential
candidates and their agents to start verifying results on Thursday. The
process, which had been due to start Tuesday, could take another week before
a result can be made public.

"This exercise will pave the way for the announcement of the result of the
presidential election," state radio said in a notice from the commission.

During the vote-checking process, candidates, their proxies and observers
will compare official figures from the ward level up with those they have
compiled themselves from the nearly 9,000 polling stations.

Only after all parties agree with the figures will a final overall result be
announced. The process could take up to a week because disputes are likely
to arise, said Utoile Silaigwana, the electoral commission's deputy chief
elections officer.
Tsvangirai says that he won the election outright and that there is no need
for a runoff, but independent and ruling-party projections pointed to a
second round to decide the winner. That would be held within 21 days of the
announcement of the result.

Mugabe has been under growing international pressure over the delay, and
even his old regional allies have shown signs of impatience. The European
Union on Tuesday called for a global arms embargo on Zimbabwe.

As the United Nations Security Council met Tuesday for its first session on
the Zimbabwe crisis, the French ambassador to the UN called on the country's
authorities to publish and accept the election results.

Saying the Zimbabwe situation was developing "not in a good direction," the
ambassador, Jean-Maurice Ripert, said, "The people of Zimbabwe have
expressed themselves." And he added, "We think at least the government of
President Mugabe should recognize that by publishing the result of the
election and accepting the result of the election."

Lynn Pascoe, UN under secretary general for political affairs, was briefing
the Security Council on the situation.

Ripert told reporters before the meeting that he did not expect a "written
outcome" from it but that the fact the meeting was held at all would send a
signal to Zimbabwe's authorities "that we are looking very carefully at what
they are doing."

Diplomats have said that South Africa, which currently holds the Security
Council presidency, is reluctant to have it take up the issue of Zimbabwe,
which President Thabo Mbeki has said should be resolved through quiet
diplomacy. Several council members successfully pressed last week for a
briefing by the UN secretariat.

Ripert did not rule out that eventually the UN could become directly
involved, but he said African mediation should come first.

"We think that the UN should be ready to support those efforts or to send
its own mission or mediation if needed and if asked," he said. "But for the
moment we should support the African mediation."

Western powers stand ready to pour in aid and investment if victory goes to
Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic
Change. Mugabe dismisses his opponents as Western stooges.

Opposition supporters from Zimbabwe's rural areas described a campaign of
arson and violence against them since the ballot, in which Mugabe's ruling
ZANU-PF lost its majority in Parliament for the first time since
independence from Britain in 1980.

Thousands of people have fled their homes, and the Movement for Democratic
Change says that more than 15 of its supporters have been killed by ZANU-PF
militants. The ZANU-PF denies this.

Also Tuesday, some 200 opposition supporters arrested during a police raid
on the Movement for Democratic Change headquarters late last week were freed
after the High Court ordered their release.


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Mugabe and Tsvangirai to see provisional poll results on Thursday

Times Online
April 29, 2008

President Mugabe’s Zanu PF party has conducted a campaign of arson and
violence, opposition says

Alexi Mostrous
President Robert Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai will be shown preliminary
results of the bitterly contested presidential election on Thursday when the
process of vote checking is to begin.

State radio said today that the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission had invited
presidential candidates to verify the results of the presidential vote on
May 1.

“All candidates who participated in the 2008 presidential election or their
chief election agents are urged to attend as this exercise will pave way for
the announcement of the result of the presidential election,” it said.

The move comes as supporters of Morgan Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) described a campaign of arson and violence carried out against
them by Mr Mugabe’s Zanu PF party.

Chengetanai Chimunhu, a 70-year-old activist and father of four from east of
Harare, said: “My house was burned down, so were all the clothes and my
children spent a week sleeping in the bush.”
Precious, a 22-year-old with a six-month-old baby, who was too afraid to
give her second name, said: “They torched our house, they burnt our
livestock. I have nothing left and I don’t know where to start.”

Thousands of people have fled their homes since the March 29 vote and the
MDC says more than 15 of its supporters have been killed by ZANU-PF
militants. The ruling party denies this.

Precious, like many other opposition supporters, fled her home in
northeastern Zimbabwe and took refugee in the MDC offices in the capital
Harare.

She was one of more than 200 activists arrested in a police raid on the MDC
offices on Friday. She and her baby were released from a police cell after
two days.

The remaining detainees were released today without charge.

“They have just been released. We obtained a High Court order for their
release yesterday and the police had no basis to hold them for this long. I
am angry because they need not have been arrested at all,” said Alec
Muchadehaman, the MDC lawyer.

The growing violence in Zimbabwe came as Mr Mugabe ruled out the possibility
of forming a coalition with Mr Tsvangirai – even after the country’s
ambassador to the UN said the move was unavoidable.

“Our priority is to win the presidential election as ZANU-PF, that is our
focus right now (but) if there is meant to be any government of national
unity it cannot be with Morgan Tsvangirai because he is a sell-out,” deputy
information minister Bright Matonga said.

“He is an agent of the British. We can never work with people who are not
principled."

Mr Matonga’s comments came after Zimbabwe’s UN ambassador Boniface
Chidyausiku said that the eventual winner of a presidential election, still
to be announced a month after polling day, would have to form a national
unity government.

“There is no way anybody can do without the other,” he told the BBC.

European Union foreign ministers today put pressure on China, African
nations and others on Tuesday to impose an arms embargo on Zimbabwe to in an
effort prevent Mr Mugabe’s regime from clamping down further on dissenters.
The 27 EU ministers appealed to Beijing and others to follow the EU’s lead
“to exercise similar restraint ... by introducing a de facto moratorium;
banning the supply or sale of arms and related equipment that could be used
for internal repression in Zimbabwe."

They said post-election violence “appears to be targeted and politically
motivated attacks against supporters of democratic change.”

The ministers also urged African Union nations to fulfil their
responsibility of getting Mr Mugabe to release the official election
results.

Independent observers say that opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai defeated
Mugabe, but did not secure an outright majority necessary to avoid a runoff.
Mr Tsvangirai insists he did. Mugabe has remained silent.

Last weekend, officials announced that recounts of 18 of 23 disputed
parliamentary seats left initial results unchanged. That was enough to
confirm the opposition’s seizure of control of parliament from Mugabe’s
ZANU-PF party for the first time.

In the UK, an MP accused an arm of Barclays Bank of providing “personal
banking services” to members of Mr Mugabe’s regime.

Norman Lamb, a Liberal Democrat MP, said it was “scandalous” that the bank
was providing “financial support and sustenance” to the regime, which he
said was in breach of EU sanctions against the country.

A spokesman for Barclays said: “We are studying the comments made today in
Parliament.

“Barclays is compliant with EU sanctions regarding Zimbabwe.”


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Our priority is to win - Zanu-PF

IOL

April 29 2008 at 03:02PM

Harare - President Robert Mugabe's government ruled out forming a
coalition with Zimbabwe opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai on Tuesday after
its ambassador to the UN said such a move was unavoidable.

"Our priority is to win the presidential election as Zanu-PF, that is
our focus right now (but) if there is meant to be any government of national
unity it cannot be with Morgan Tsvangirai because he is a sell-out," deputy
information minister Bright Matonga said.

"He is an agent of the British. We can never work with people who are
not principled."

Matonga's comments came after Zimbabwe's UN ambassador Boniface
Chidyausiku said that the eventual winner of a presidential election, still
to be announced a month after polling day, would have to form a national
unity government.

"There is no way anybody can do without the other," he told the
BBC. - Sapa-AFP


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Over 200 MDC Supporters Released Without Charge



SW Radio Africa (London)

29 April 2008
Posted to the web 29 April 2008

Tichaona Sibanda

Over 200 MDC supporters arrested by the regime last week have been released
without charge. However, the police are still holding three others on
allegations of engaging in political violence.

Heavily armed police officers last week Friday raided the MDC headquarters
and led away about 215 party supporters who had sought sanctuary there, from
the Zanu PF campaign of violence.

Alex Muchadehama, the lawyer representing the MDC supporters, said his
clients should not have been arrested in the first place. He accused the
police of abducting them in the hope they would not tell the world of their
ordeal at the hands of Zanu-PF militias.

'These people did not commit any crime at all. They are victims of political
persecution. They simply fled their homes to seek refuge at the offices of
the MDC. After five days in custody, we demanded that either they be charged
or released,' Muchadehama said.

The MDC lawyer obtained a High Court order for their release on Monday, but
the police defied it and waited until Tuesday to release them. Police had
released some of the elderly and breast feeding women, prior to the court
order.

'The police actions towards MDC supporters is unacceptable. They are acting
with impunity and they had no basis to hold them for this long,' he said.

'We have people who have been tortured and beaten so bad the police now want
to treat them as the perpetrators and not the victims. This is not only
absurd but also it's ridiculous,' Muchadehama said.


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Secretary-General calls for release of election results in Zimbabwe

United Nations Radio

Date: 29 Apr 2008

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called on the Zimbabwean
authorities to immediately release the results of the presidential election
held last month.

Speaking in Geneva today where he gave a lecture on opportunities in crisis
situation, the Secretary-General said it is unacceptable that the leaders of
the Zimbabwean government have not released the results four weeks after the
elections.

He said that he has been engaged in dialogue with African leaders to help
resolve the political impasse in Zimbabwe but, unfortunately he has not been
able to make any progress.

"The United Nations has expressed our willingness to provide humanitarian
assistance, including the dispatch of a humanitarian envoy which has been
rejected by the Zimbabwean government. I am very much worried and I am going
continue to address this issue in close coordination with the African Union
and regional leaders.

Mr. Ban expressed concern about the increasing violence and the displacement
of people who are fleeing their homes to hide.

Diane Bailey, United Nations.


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U.N. Security Council meets over Zimbabwe

Reuters

Tue 29 Apr 2008, 16:39 GMT

By Patrick Worsnip

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The U.N. Security Council met on Tuesday for its
first session on Zimbabwe's election standoff in a sign of growing
international impatience with President Robert Mugabe.

Checking of votes from the March 29 presidential poll was put off again on
Tuesday, further delaying the day when the world will know if Mugabe is to
remain in power in a once prosperous country that is now in economic
meltdown.

France's U.N. Ambassador Jean-Maurice Ripert told reporters before the
Security Council meeting that the fact it was being held at all would send a
signal to Zimbabwe's authorities "that we are looking very carefully at what
they are doing".

The situation in Zimbabwe was developing "not in a good direction", said
Ripert.

"The people of Zimbabwe have expressed themselves ... We think at least the
government of President Mugabe should recognise that by publishing the
result of the election and accepting the result of the election."

Diplomats have said South Africa, which currently holds the Security Council
presidency, was reluctant to have it take up the issue of Zimbabwe, which
President Thabo Mbeki has said should be resolved through quiet diplomacy.

Several council members successfully pressed last week for a briefing by the
U.N. secretariat.

Ripert did not rule out that eventually the United Nations could become
directly involved but said African mediation should come first.

In Washington, U.S. President George W. Bush told a news conference: "The
will of the people needs to be respected in Zimbabwe, and it is clear that
they voted for change as they should have because Mr. Mugabe has failed the
country."

Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai says he won the presidential election
outright and there is no need for a run-off, but independent and ruling
party projections pointed to a second round to decide the winner.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said on Tuesday it was clear Tsvangirai
had won.

POWER-SHARING SUGGESTION

Zimbabwe's U.N. ambassador suggested both sides would need to come up with a
power-sharing deal in a national unity government. "There is no way anybody
can do without the other," Boniface Chidyausiku told the BBC.

A win for Mugabe, whose ruling ZANU-PF party lost control of parliament in
the election, would deepen the economic collapse of the once prosperous
country, political analysts say.

But Western powers are likely to pour in aid and investment if victory goes
to Tsvangirai, who leads the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC), the analysts say.

Severe food, fuel and foreign currency shortages are worsening in Zimbabwe
and there are no signs an inflation rate of 165,000 percent -- the world's
highest -- will ease.

In the standoff over the presidential election result, the opposition has
accused Mugabe of intimidating opponents in the hope of swinging a possible
run-off against Tsvangirai.

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission invited presidential candidates and their
agents to verify results from May 1. The process, which had been due to
start on Tuesday, could still take another week before a result can be made
public.

"This exercise will pave way for the announcement of the result of the
presidential election," state radio said in a notice from the commission.

Mugabe has been under growing international pressure over the delay to the
result and even the former guerrilla leader's old regional allies have shown
signs of impatience. The European Union called on Tuesday for a global arms
embargo on Zimbabwe.

Opposition supporters from Zimbabwe's rural areas described a campaign of
arson and violence against them since the ballot.

Vhaina Mujake had her home burned down in Mutoko district, a ruling party
stronghold, forcing her to flee with her three children. She now fears they
will be unable to return to school.

"What sort of people would do that to children," she said, holding back
tears. Her husband remains in police custody.

Thousands of people have fled their homes and the MDC says more than 15 of
its supporters have been killed by ZANU-PF militants. The ruling party
denies this.

A state newspaper, quoting a government statement, said one man was killed
and two were injured when opposition supporters tried to attack an army
camp. There was no immediate comment on the report from police or the MDC.


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Bush calls on Zimbabwe's neighbors to step up pressure

International Herald Tribune

The Associated PressPublished: April 29, 2008

WASHINGTON: President George W. Bush is calling on Zimbabwe's neighbors to
step up pressure on the government of Robert Mugabe.

The United States and other governments have been calling on Mugabe to
release the results of the March 29 presidential election.

The opposition in Zimbabwe has accused Mugabe of withholding the results
while he plots how to keep power. It says he is orchestrating a campaign of
retribution that has killed some of its supporters.

Bush said at a news conference Tuesday that "it's really incumbent on the
nations in the neighborhood to step up and lead."

He stopped short of saying that Mugabe had lost. But he added that it is
clear that the country voted for change.


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Security on Zimbabwe's White-Owned Farms Deteriorates

VOA

By Peta Thornycroft
Southern Africa
29 April 2008

More than half of Zimbabwe's remaining productive white farmers are under
ever increasing pressure to abandon their homes and businesses. Peta
Thornycroft reports on an ongoing episode on a white-owned farm, which has
shocked the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

Friedawall farm near Chinhoyi, about 100 kilometers north of Harare is the
scene of intense and ongoing cruelty to animals on the property according to
neighbors and workers who have fled the farm. The farm has large cattle and
pig sections.

The farm is one of more than 70 protected by an interim order from the
regional court of last resort, the Southern African Development Community
tribunal in Namibia. Zimbabwe is a signatory to the SADC treaty which
established the tribunal for citizens of member states who claim to have
exhausted all domestic remedies.

Despite the interim order, employees of Edwin Mashiringwani, a deputy
governor of Zimbabwe's reserve bank, took it over more than a week ago.

Louis Fick, who owns the animals, says his workers have been chased away. He
said Mashiringwani's employees have refused to feed more than 4,000 pigs,
15,000 crocodiles and several hundred beef cattle for the past week.

He called the Zimbabwe National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to
Animals. The Society says its officials have not been allowed on to the farm
to inspect what is going on and to feed the animals.

Officials from the Society said that cruelty to animals was a crime in
Zimbabwe. An official said the Society wanted to investigate reports that 30
sows have died of dehydration, and others crazed by lack of food and water
were eating their piglets. Neighbors say the sounds coming from the farm are
appalling.

Police at Chinhoyi have not assisted according to the Society. Attempts to
get comment from Zimbabwe Police commissioner Augustine Chihuri and
Mashiringwani were unsuccessful.

Gideon Gono, the chief executive of Zimbabwe's central bank is himself a
commercial farmer and has regularly criticized those who continue to invade
productive white-owned farms. He was not available for comment Tuesday.

Other white farmers around the country are in distress, including Trevor
Gifford, the president of the Commercial Farmers Union, who is barricaded
into his farm. He is trying to negotiate safety for his herds of animals
after his small piece of land in eastern Zimbabwe was invaded two weeks ago.

The SADC tribunal was asked to provide interim relief for 74 white farmers a
few days before Zimbabwe's March 29 elections. The Zimbabwe government's
representatives from the Attorney General's office agreed to comply with the
interim order, according to the court record.

The case goes to trial next month and is the first to be held by the
tribunal which was established late last year.

Zimbabwe's economy was dependent on exports produced by commercial farmers.
As more and more white farmers were evicted beginning in 2000, the economy
faltered.

Many new owners of that land had no commercial farming experience, and the
UN estimates that less than 10 percent of the land seized is now productive.

President Robert Mugabe says that the land, homes, infrastructure, and
farming equipment was taken from white farmers to re-settle landless
peasants who had been deprived of their land during the colonial era.

MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai has said that he would not evict people from
land they were given, but would insist that the rule of "one man, one farm"
was observed and the land would have to be used productively.


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Farmers' Union President And Vice President Face Eviction



SW Radio Africa (London)

29 April 2008
Posted to the web 29 April 2008

Tererai Karimakwenda

State-sponsored violence and intimidation on commercial farms is reported to
have intensified with several white farmers barricaded in their farmhouses
and others evicted without any notice.

Among them are the top officials from the Commercial Farmers Union (CFU).
There are also reports that local ZANU-PF councillors are forcing people on
nearby farms to attend meetings where they are accused of being MDC voters
and are told that they are going to be beaten and killed at night.

CFU President Trevor Gifford is barricaded in his house and experiencing
serious problems on his farm. It is not clear who is on the farm trying to
evict him. Gifford has always advocated that white farmers should co-operate
with the government and try to find ways to resolve the land issue, without
interrupting food production for the nation.

Deon Theron, the CFU Vice President, has been evicted from his farm. He and
his family produce food and milk for the country. He was evicted despite a
pending appeal in the High Court seeking to block his eviction, and an
interim relief order granted to him and a number of other farmers by the
SADC Tribunal in Namibia.

It appears the CFU's efforts to work with the government have been in vain
as the violent campaign continues to illegally evict commercial farmers.
Thousands of farm workers are also losing their homes and employment.

There is virtually no food being produced in the country. Farmer and
activist Gerry Whitehead said all the supermarkets and wholesalers' shelves
in the Chiredzi area are empty, except for a few packets of chips and
rotting vegetables. Basic commodities such as maize meal, sugar, milk and
soap cannot be found in the lowveld at all.

Whitehead said that there was a lot of shouting in Tshovani Township near
Chiredzi on Monday night. When he spoke to several people the next morning
he discovered that the residents were shouting "Mugabe must go".

Whitehead said MDC youth are forming units to protect themselves and to ward
off the youth militia. A similar action has taken place in the Zaka
constituencies and in Masvingo. The outspoken farmer said there is a lot of
despondency and a lot of anger.


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MDC Set to Brief UN As World Body Condemns Violence



SW Radio Africa (London)

29 April 2008
Posted to the web 29 April 2008

Tichaona Sibanda

MDC secretary-general Tendai Biti was set to address a closed-door session
of the United Nations Security Council in New York on Tuesday, amid an
escalation of attacks against party supporters by Zanu-PF militia.

In the past two weeks, 15 MDC supporters have been killed in the political
violence in the aftermath of Zanu-PF's election defeat by the MDC.

Nqobizitha Mlilo, the MDC regional officer, spoke to us from Johannesburg
and told us what Biti would say to the UN. 'It's a two-pronged approach.
There would be a briefing of what transpired before the elections and events
that have happened after the elections,' Mlilo said.

The deputy chief representative of the MDC in the US, Ralph Black, told us
that after Biti's briefing, the Security Council will determine what action
needs to be done. He said he expected there to be very 'frank and blunt
discussions'.

'Usually after such a briefing the Security Council will table a resolution
and a formal vote takes place to determine the next course of action. But
for any action to be taken you will need all members of the Security Council
to agree on the resolution,' Black said.

UN experts in Geneva have expressed grave concern about 'organised and
co-ordinated' attacks, including torture, against opposition activists
following elections on the 29th March.

In a joint statement released on Tuesday the experts said they had received
reliable information that people or groups suspected of having supported the
opposition party had been subjected to abuses. The statement was issued by a
group of senior UN human rights rapporteurs, including specialists on
extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions; on violence against women;
on torture; and on freedom of expression.

'Acts of intimidation, violence and torture are occurring as a form of
retribution against, or victimisation of people or groups suspected to have
backed the MDC,' the statement said.

The group expressed concern that the attacks had been organised and
co-ordinated and urged the authorities to end the violence. They described
as 'particularly worrying' the fact that the state-controlled media was
airing programmes and songs encouraging violence.

The country has been in crisis since the elections, with opposition and
rights groups accusing the authorities of launching a campaign of violence
to intimidate voters.

The results of the March 29 presidential election have still not been
announced, but the MDC has wrested control of parliament from Zanu-PF.

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission has invited presidential candidates to
verify the long-delayed results of the vote from Thursday, state radio
reported on Tuesday.

It said ZEC would commence the verification on the 1st of May at 2 pm. All
candidates who participated in the 2008 presidential election, or their
chief election agents, are urged to attend as this exercise will pave way
for the announcement of the result of the presidential election.

One month after the election it remains to be seen how credible these
results turn out to be.


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Opposition supporters face violence, torture, UN says

Monsters and Critics

Apr 29, 2008, 19:55 GMT

New York - Supporters of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
and those who voted against Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe were facing
intimidation, violence and torture from the country's security forces, UN
human rights experts said Tuesday.

The experts working for the Geneva-based Human Rights Council said they
obtained reliable information showing that at least 351 people were
hospitalized for injuries.

'There are reports that security forces, paramilitary groups and gangs have
deployed in particular in rural areas, townships and farms, where the MDC
reportedly gathered more votes than ZANU-PF and are attacking the homes of
suspected MDC supporters and persons involved in the elections,' they said
in a statement.

ZANU-PF is Mugabe's political party.

The statement said that in addition to the hundreds injured people, several
cases of political murders had occurred and at least 15 women were abducted.
It said 'hundreds' of families were displaced, most of them women and
children, who had to take refuge in neighbouring countries.

The government-controlled radio also aired programmes and songs encouraging
violence and celebrating land seizures, the statement said.

'Increasing harassment of independent journalists and media personnel by
police, including arrests and detention, may be seen as attempts to impede
any objective reporting on the situation,' the UN rights experts said in the
statement.


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Scared teachers stay home as schools reopen

afrik.com

Schools are supposed to reopen today for the second term countrywide
after a five week long break. But that is not the case here. Only handful of
students were seen walking to school this morning.

Tuesday 29 April 2008, by Bruce Sibanda

from our correspondent in Harare

Last night the Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) issued a
circular to all schools calling on teachers not to conduct any lessons.

Their grievance is that they have not received their full pay as promised by
Robert Mugabe during his campaigns.

Mugabe promised to increase pay in March to $3.5 billion but so far they
have only received half of that.

Reads part of the circular: “The struggle continues. As schools open on
Tuesday for second term be mindful that the Robert Mugabe government has not
fully owned it’s pledged as regards to our pay. Therefore, we instruct you
not to report for lessons until we are fully paid” PTUZ says it has taken
this route as it feel betrayed by the Mugabe regime.

“Remember that last term we only went back to class after we got what we
thought was a genuine pledge to increase our pay. But as things unfolded we
realized that it was just an election gimmick. So no pay no work”

With teachers boycotting lessons students are yet again the loosers. Last
term, there were several interruptions in their studies. To add salt to
injury, government last Friday approved a fee structure of between $6 bn to
$40 bn per child a term. But most workers earn far less than $3 bn per
month.

In the same circular, the teachers’ union says several of its members who
served as poling officers have been abducted at night by suspected state
agents and forced to confess that they helped rig elections in favour of the
opposition.

PTUZ urged teachers to vacate schools for their own safety once they suspect
they are being targeted or threats have been made against them. "Teachers
who were presiding officers are being abducted, in the middle of the night
and forced to write sworn statements to the effect that they rigged
elections,"

"Our advice to teachers is that vacate the school once political threats are
uttered. Never take chances, the country is full of blood thirsty ninjas and
vampires.”

Police have over the past four weeks cracked down on polling officials,
arresting scores of them while accusing them of conniving with the
opposition to deny Mugabe and his ZANU PF party victory in last month’s
joint presidential and parliamentary elections.

Some of the polling officials, among them several teachers, have been
brought to court on charges of electoral fraud. However, a recount of votes
in 23 constituencies revealed minor inconsistencies in tallying of votes
that the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) said were not enough to alter
the opposition’s electoral victory.


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Zimbabwe opposition supporters describe violence

Reuters

Tue 29 Apr 2008, 12:08 GMT

By MacDonald Dzirutwe

HARARE (Reuters) - Opposition supporters from Zimbabwe's countryside
described on Tuesday a campaign of arson and violence against them since
President Robert Mugabe's ruling party lost a parliamentary election a month
ago.

"My house was burned down, so were all the clothes and my children spent a
week sleeping in the bush," said Chengetanai Chimunhu, a 70-year-old
activist and father of four from Marambapfungwe, a rural district east of
Harare.

Precious, a tearful 22-year-old with a six-month-old baby who was too
afraid to give her second name, told a similar story.
"They torched our house, they burnt our livestock, I have nothing left and
don't know where to start...," she told reporters.

Human rights groups, Western governments and the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change all say that Mugabe has unleashed his militias in the
countryside since the March 29 vote both to punish and intimidate before an
expected presidential run-off.

Electoral authorities confirmed last weekend that the MDC defeated Mugabe's
ZANU-PF party in the parliamentary poll but results of the presidential vote
have still not been released.

Thousands of people have fled their homes and the MDC says more than 15 of
its supporters have been killed by ZANU-PF militants. The ruling party
denies this.

Precious, like many other opposition supporters, fled her smouldering home
in northeastern Zimbabwe and took refugee in the MDC offices in the capital
Harare.

But then she was arrested with more than 200 other victims of the violence
in a police raid on the offices on Friday. She and her baby were released
from a police cell after two days. The remaining detainees were released on
Tuesday without charge.

FORMER SOLDIERS

Chimunhu, a widower, was also arrested at the MDC offices but was released
quickly because of his age.

He has since been re-united with three of his adult children and like
Precious is staying at a secret location.

"We know the perpetrators, they are even killing people but police are
reluctant to act. Some of them fought in the DRC (Democratic Republic of
Congo) war but they are no longer soldiers. They are moving with rifles,"
Chimunhu said.

Mugabe's ZANU-PF lost its parliamentary majority to the MDC for the first
time in 28 years and the opposition says its leader Morgan Tsvangirai won
the parallel presidential vote.

Results from that poll are now expected to be cross-checked by party agents
and the outcome is likely in about a week, after a long delay that has
stoked accusations Mugabe is trying to rig the vote. Precious and Chimunhu
were among a dozen rural MDC activists who told journalists their homes were
burned by ZANU-PF supporters as punishment.

The independent Zimbabwe Human Rights group, which is helping some of the
victims, said it had documented several cases of political violence by
Mugabe's supporters and urged authorities to end the terror campaign.

"These displacements are of great concern to us ... it means these people
will not be able to vote if there is a need for a run-off and this may
constitute rigging," Kucaca Phulu, chairman of the group, told reporters.

Vhaina Mujake, a mother of three who fled her home after it was burned down
in Mutoko district, a ZANU-PF stronghold, worries her children will miss out
on their education.

"Now I don't know whether my children will be able to return to school.
"What sort of people would do that to children," she said, holding back
tears. Her husband remains in police custody.


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UN Experts Express "Grave Concern" On Zimbabwe Violence

nasdaq

GENEVA (AFP)--U.N. experts Tuesday expressed grave concern about "organized
and coordinated" attacks, including torture, against the opposition in
Zimbabwe following elections in the African state.

Experts said in a joint statement that since the elections, they had
received reliable information that people or groups suspected of having
supported the opposition party had been subjected to abuses.

"Acts of intimidation, violence and torture are occurring as a form of
retribution against, or victimization" of people or groups suspected to have
backed the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change, or MDC, they
said.

They expressed "grave concern" the attacks had been organized and
coordinated and urged the Zimbabwean authorities to restore end the
violence.

It was described as "particularly worrying" the fact that state-controlled
media was "airing programs and songs encouraging violence."

Police harassment of journalists could be viewed as attempts to "impede any
objective reporting on the situation," they said.

They urged the authorities to grant free access to the country to
independent observers and media workers.

The statement was issued by a group of senior U.N. human rights rapporteurs
including specialists on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions; on
violence against women; on torture; and on freedom of expression.

Zimbabwe has been in a crisis since the elections, with opposition and
rights groups accusing the authorities of launching a campaign of violence
to intimidate voters.

The results of a March 29 presidential election have still not been
announced. The MDC has wrested control of parliament from Robert Mugabe's
ZANU-PF party in parliamentary elections held on the same day.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires
04-29-080732ET


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UN Chief Says Zimbabwe In "Serious Humanitarian Crisis"

nasdaq

GENEVA (AFP)--U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon said Tuesday there is a "
serious humanitarian crisis" in Zimbabwe and urged the government to
immediately release results of the presidential elections.

"The humanitarian situation is very worrisome," he said. "The Zimbabwe
government has not released presidential results after four weeks. We know
who is the winner. The authorities and President (Robert Mugabe) should
release the results immediately.

"Because of the increasing violence and the number of displaced people
fleeing their homes to other places, there is a serious humanitarian
crisis," Ban said during a forum in Geneva.

Zimbabwe has been in a crisis since the elections, with opposition and
rights groups accusing the authorities of launching a campaign of violence
to intimidate voters.

The results of a March 29 presidential election have still not been
announced. The opposition Movement for Democratic Change, or MDC, has
wrested control of parliament from Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF party in
parliamentary elections held on the same day.

Ban said he has been discussing Zimbabwe with African leaders. He has also
met MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai, who gave what Ban described as a "very
worrisome" briefing.

"Therefore, taking this opportunity, I urge the authorities of Zimbabwe to
release the election results," he said, adding he will continue to address
the issue in close cooperation with leaders in the region.

Earlier, U.N. experts expressed grave concern about "organized and
coordinated" attacks, including torture, against the opposition in Zimbabwe
following elections in the African state.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires
04-29-081248ET


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Zimbabwean gold production tumbles 61% in March

Resource investor

By Jon Nones
29 Apr 2008 at 01:05 PM
Zimbabwe's gold output fell 61% to 295.57 kilograms in March compared to
February, according to Thomson Financial. Production went down by 47% in
January and by 56% in February.

Jack Murehwa, head of the Chamber of Mines, told Agence France-Presse that
the country could produce 30 tonnes of gold annually but right now
production is going down monthly because wages are being held back.

The state controls gold production in the country and pays salaries directly
to the miners, who are supposed to receive 35% of their wages in the local
currency and 65% in U.S. dollars. Sources say the dollars are not being paid
out.


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EU calls for global arms embargo against Zimbabwe

EUbusiness

29 April 2008, 20:23 CET
(LUXEMBOURG) - The European Union called Tuesday for a global arms embargo
against Zimbabwe in line with an EU ban on weapons and equipment which could
be used to crack down on political dissent there.

The EU "encourages others to exercise similar restraint at this time by
introducing a de facto moratorium on all such sales" of arms used for
"internal repression", the bloc's ministers said in conclusions from talks
in Luxembourg.

They said the EU would also "explore further options for increasing pressure
on those who direct and engage in state-sponsored violence and intimidation
in the post-election period."

While no country was mentioned, the call for a global arms embargo -- a
British initiative -- comes after an arms shipment from China was banned by
a South African court from passing through South Africa to Zimbabwe.

Human rights groups said they feared the arms could be used as part of a
government crackdown on opposition supporters in Zimbabwe following disputed
parliamentary and presidential elections on March 29.

China appeared to bow to international pressure last week, saying the ship
was being turned back, even though it has defended its right to sell arms to
Zimbabwe as part of its international trade.

The ministers also expressed their "deep concern" over the delay in
announcing the results of the election which opposition supporters say
Mugabe lost.

"The EU considers unacceptable and unjustifiable that four weeks after the
people of Zimbabwe exercised their fundamental right, no results of the
presidential elections have yet been published," they said.

British Minister for Europe Jim Murphy, attending the talks on behalf of
Zimbabwe's former colonial power, said: "While Mugabe clings to power and
seeks to steal an election the momentum is gathering for an international
embargo on arms" against his regime.

The EU called for the results "to be released immediately" and to be "a
genuine reflection of the free and democratic will of the Zimbabwean
people."

The continued delay "raises serious concerns about the credibility of the
process," the ministers added, decrying the post-election violence and
intimidation against "supporters of democratic change".

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said Tuesday there is a "serious
humanitarian crisis" in Zimbabwe and urged the government to immediately
release results of the presidential elections.

"The humanitarian situation is very worrisome. The Zimbabwe government has
not released presidential results after four weeks. We know who is the
winner. The authorities and President (Mugabe) should release the results
immediately," he said.

Zimbabwe's electoral commission will meet presidential candidates this week
to discuss results of a recount of last month's election, its chairman said
Tuesday.


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Rights Group: Zimbabwe Vote Violence "A Form Of Rigging"

nasdaq

HARARE, Zimbabwe (AFP)--A Zimbabwean human rights group said Tuesday that
violence against opposition supporters was a form of rigging to keep veteran
President Robert Mugabe in power after last month's elections.

Unveiling a report on post-election violence, the Zimbabwe Human Rights
Association, or Zimrights, condemned the government's "lackadaisical
approach" to the attacks, saying at least 10 people had been killed and
hundreds displaced.

"What we are witnessing constitutes a form of rigging," Zimrights chairman
Kucaca Phulu told reporters in the capital Harare.

In the event of a second round of the presidential election between Mugabe
and his opposition challenger Morgan Tsvangirai, Phulu said the violence
meant displaced people wouldn't be able to vote.

"If there is a run-off what is of grave concern to us is that all these
displaced people will not be able to go back to their home areas to vote,"
he said. "We condemn the state for the lackadaisical approach to this
violence. We call on the authorities to act swiftly and firmly to nip the
violence in the bud."

Hundreds of opposition activists have fled their homes after arson attacks
by pro-government militias, Zimrights said.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires
04-29-080645ET


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Mugabe rivals face 'brutal attacks'

aljazeera

TUESDAY, APRIL 29, 2008
22:19 MECCA TIME, 19:19 GMT

Supporters of Zimbabwe's opposition have accused gangs of ruling
Zanu-PF loyalists of carrying out brutal attacks against people who "voted
for the wrong party" in the election of March 29.

They told Al Jazeera on Tuesday that Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) activists have been beaten, attacked with axes and their homes
burnt.

Their statements came as almost 200 opposition supporters
detained in a raid on the MDC headquarters on Friday were released from
police custody.

"All the 185 have just been released without being charged. I
presume they are all now going home," Alec Muchadehama, MDC lawyer, said.

Police said they had been seeking suspects in a series of arson
attacks in the north of the country.

The Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (Zimrights) said on
Tuesday that at least 10 people have been killed in politically motivated
attacks and hundreds of others more forced to flee since the polls.

Zanu-PF, the party of Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe's president, is
facing a strong challenge to its 28-year grip on power from the MDC, headed
by Morgan Tsvangirai.

'Lucky to survive'

Jonothan Marikita, who was a parliamentary candidate for the MDC
in the elections, told Al Jazeera that he was attacked with axes.

"They left me unconscious, I couldn't even talk. I was just
lucky to survive, even now I don't know how I came here," he said from his
hospital bed in Harare, where he was recovering from injuries sustained in
an axe attack.

"I have no home, they even went ahead and burnt about 11 houses
of MDC people, most of those are now homeless.

"They have nowhere to go, nothing to eat. This is being
sponsored by the senior Zanu-PF officials in that district."

Takesure Chingamawhe, an MDC supporter in the same hospital,
said that he was also attacked by what appeared to be a Zanu-PF gang.

"I saw Zanu-PF youth come to my house at about midnight. They
woke me up and ordered me to go with them," he said.

"They kept asking me who did I vote for? I told them MDC. They
laughed and said they were going to have to kill me. They beat me and
luckily I escaped."

The Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights says its
members have treated at least 323 victims of violence since April 1, with
injuries ranging from bruises to fractures and broken ribs.

Run-off fears

More than one month after the presidential election there has
been no official result released.

Tsvangirai says that he won the poll outright, but Mugabe's
government says a second round run-off will be needed.

"If there is a run-off what is of grave concern is that all
these displaced people will not be able to go back to their home areas to
vote," Kucaca Phulu, Zimrights chairman, said.

"We condemn the state for the lackadaisical approach to this
violence."

Zimbabwe's election commission will meet presidential candidates
on Thursday for a "verification and collation exercise" aimed at finally
releasing the results.

George Chiweshe, Zimbabwe's election commission chief, said that
the candidates or their representatives would be asked to compare their
results gathered at individual polling stations with the results compiled by
the electoral commission and to agree on the final results.

'Will of the people'

George Bush, the US president, added his voice on Tuesday to the
international chorus urging Mugabe to accept the results of the March 29
election.

"The will of the people needs to be respected in Zimbabwe, and
it is clear that they voted for change as they should have because Mr Mugabe
has failed the country," he said.

Bush said that Mugabe "is intimidating the people there" and
neighbouring countries like South Africa should take a leading role in
resolving the crisis.

Meanwhile, the UN Security Council was meeting to discuss the
situation later on Tuesday, with France calling for the results to be
published immediately.

Jean-Maurice Ripert, France's ambassador to the UN, said before
the meeting that he did not expect a "written outcome" from it.

However, the fact the meeting was held at all would send a
signal to Zimbabwe's authorities "that we are looking very carefully at what
they are doing", he said.

Diplomats said that South Africa, which currently holds the
Security Council presidency, was reluctant to have it take up the issue of
Zimbabwe.


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Barclays provides personal banking services to members of Mugabe's regime in Zimbabwe, MP claims

Mail on Sunday, UK
Last updated at 18:14pm on 29th April 2008

An arm of banking giant Barclays is providing "personal banking services" to members of Robert Mugabe's regime in Zimbabwe, an MP claimed today.

Liberal Democrat MP Norman Lamb said it was "scandalous" that the bank was providing "financial support and sustenance" to the regime.

He claimed that Barclays Bank of Zimbabwe Ltd is providing the assistance to "at least two" members of Mugabe's regime who are on the EU sanctions list.

In a Westminster Hall debate on sanctions in the country, Mr Lamb claimed that Barclays was acting in a way "that apparently is in flagrant breach of the sanctions regime".

The MP for North Norfolk claimed Barclays holds 64 per cent of the shares of Barclays Bank of Zimbabwe through a locally incorporated holding company, Afcarme Zimbabwe Holdings Ltd.

Barclays was using this arrangement to avoid the sanctions regime and provide help to Mugabe's "brutal regime", he told MPs.

He said: "New allegations have emerged that at least two members, and I understand maybe four, of Mugabe's regime on the sanctions list have received personal banking services from Barclays.

He added: "Surely it is scandalous that a British company - via a local subsidiary - is providing financial support and sustenance to this brutal regime and to key figures within it?

"We preach good governance to Africa ... yet when it comes down to it, companies based in this country appear to be behaving in a reprehensible way."

Foreign Office minister Meg Munn said no UK bank had been found to be in breach of EU regulations.

Mugabe

Brutal: Mugabe is accused terrorising opposition members who claim they won the election

The activities of banks incorporated in Britain and operating in Zimbabwe were subject to EU regulations, she said.

But she added: "The EU common position only applies in the EU area of jurisdiction and it is therefore possible for EU-based companies to own parts of business entities incorporated in Zimbabwe."

Mr Lamb was speaking ahead of a report on the situation in Zimbabwe which is to be presented to the UN Security Council later today.

The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has called on the UN to send a special envoy to the country and to warn President Robert Mugabe that increasing violence against opposition activists amounts to "crimes against humanity".

The Harare government has been accused of unleashing violence to help President Mugabe cling to power as the wait for election results stretches into a second month.

In the debate, Mr Lamb said that those to receive banking services from Barclays Bank of Zimbabwe Ltd were "individuals who have been involved in the land grab strategy which has reaped economic havoc on the country as well.

"One individual faces serious accusations of personal involvement in that process," he said.

"Given that this sort of activity was specifically barred by the sanctions regime, the activity of providing loans, presumably the Government condemns Barclays for doing this."

He asked: "How does it happen that Barclays bank, a British based company, can act in a way that apparently is in flagrant breach of the sanctions regime?

"They can do it because they operate through a locally registered company - Barclays Bank of Zimbabwe Ltd, it is a public company listed on the Harare Stock Exchange

"Barclays Bank PLC - a UK based company - holds 64% of the shares of that Zimbabwe based company through a locally incorporated holding company, Afcarme Zimbabwe Holdings Ltd.

"So we can see where the real ownership is. And so because it is a locally registered company even if ultimately owned...by a UK based company, it completely avoids the sanctions regime."


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Zim polls: ‘Here is the proof that we won’

The Citizen, SA

29/04/2008 07:39:50

CEDRIC MBOYISA

The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has provided The Citizen with
statistical evidence to back up its claim of being the outright winner in
the Zimbabwean presidential election.

The data indicate that a run-off election will not be necessary, as MDC
leader Morgan Tsvangirai obtained the prerequisite margin to be declared a
“hands-down” victor.

The results put Tsvangirai in pole position with 51.7%, while President
Robert Mugabe lags behind with 43.3%.

Here is the MDC versus Zanu-PF presidential race vote allocation breakdown
in the country’s 10 “provinces”:

* Tsvangirai (49 660) vs Mugabe (11 146) in Bulawayo.

* Tsvangirai (227 387) vs Mugabe (60 523) in Harare.

* Tsvangirai (212 553) vs Mugabe (131 856) in Manicaland.

* Tsvangirai (78 650) vs Mugabe (150 889) in Mashonaland Central.

* Tsvangirai (130 753) vs Mugabe (156 746) in Mashonaland East.

* Tsvangirai (126 832) vs Mugabe (134 329) in Mashonaland West.

* Tsvangirai (164 345) vs Mugabe (152 327) in Masvingo.

* Tsvangirai (68 656) vs Mugabe (39 143) in Matebeleland North.

* Tsvangirai (34 437) vs Mugabe (44 995) in Matebeleland South.

* Tsvangirai (155 122) vs Mugabe (162 338) in Midlands.

In total Tsvangirai and Mugabe amassed 1 248 395 and 1 044 292 votes
respectively.

The total number of votes, including those of other candidates, is said to
be 2 413 830.

“The Harare and Bulawayo figures were taken from the agreed and declared ZEC
(Zimbabwe Electoral Commission) figures. The agents have already signed for
the two sets of the results,” the MDC revealed.

The party added: “All other figures were secured from our polling agents
from different stations across the country.”


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Zimbabwe, ''A Hard Sell''

IPSnews

By Ignatius Banda

BULAWAYO, Zimbabwe, Apr 29 (IPS) - The Zimbabwe International Trade Fair
(ZITF), which ended this past weekend, was once celebrated as a forum to
showcase the vast investment opportunities in the then bread basket of the
Southern African region. It was established almost five decades ago.

At its peak the ZITF, held annually in Zimbabwe’s second largest city
Bulawayo, attracted dozens of international exhibitors and brought together
multi-sectoral business interests from mining to tourism.

However, since the onset of the country’s political and economic crisis --
of which the latter is blamed by authorities on sanctions imposed by western
powers -- the fair has been beset by exhibitor flight as investment
opportunities in the country dwindle.

According to the ministry of industry and international trade this year’s
fair, with the theme ‘‘Made in Zimbabwe for Africa and the World’’,
attracted only seven countries. A number of countries that had confirmed
participation withdrew at the last minute.

International trade minister Obert Mpofu told the state media that the 49th
edition of the fair was to be a success, despite many pointers to the
contrary. These included fuel shortages, which posed a serious problem to
the fair, as admitted by ZITF general manager Daniel Chigaru during a press
briefing.

Days before the fair Mpofu threatened hoteliers, telling them not to
increase their rates as this would affect the prospects of the fair if
exhibitors failed to secure accommodation.

The Zimbabwean authorities control and monitor prices of every economic
sector, claiming price increases are aimed at disrupting government efforts
to resuscitate the economy.

Earlier there had been fears the once powerful regional show would be
postponed after the Zimbabwe Election Commission (ZEC) failed to release the
presidential poll results. President Robert Mugabe demanded a recount
despite widespread belief that he had lost the poll to long time rival
Morgan Tsvangirai of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

Uncertainty hovered over the fair as both industry and commercial players
awaited the results, seen as indicative of whether the political temperature
is to be conducive for business.

‘‘It is normal that elections are times of great uncertainty in countries in
transition and where business interests have been under threat because of
political decisions that seek to control the economy. Businesses are not
likely to pour more into any projects,’’ Tapiwa Gundani, an economics
lecturer at the local National University of Science and Technology, told
IPS.

Therefore, Zimbabwe after an election is ‘‘hardly the time to speculate’’,
he said.

Mugabe is accused of disrupting business operations through controversial
political decisions, farm invasions and also the enactment of the
Indigenisation Act which seeks to give up to 51 percent shareholding in
major foreign companies to locals.

While the Zimbabwe government says the act is part of moves to give control
of the economy to locals, there are concerns the law will benefit
politicians with ties to the ruling ZANU PF. The party has demanded a
recount of House of Assembly seats after it lost its parliamentary majority
to the MDC.

Earlier this month Mo Ibrahim, founder of Celtel, one of Africa’s largest
mobile phone companies, told the global leaders' investment debate at the
World Investment Forum held in Accra, Ghana, that ‘‘good governance is a
critical factor in securing investment and sustainable development’’.

The 84-year-old Mugabe is accused by western nations, the International
Monetary Fund and the World Bank of bad governance that has seen the economy
shrink to levels that the World Bank says have not been seen in a country
not at war.

The World Bank’s Doing Business Report 2008 says it is harder to do business
in Zimbabwe than it is in war-torn Iraq. For a second year in a row, Mugabe
addressed the fair amid speculation that regional leaders, who had been
official guests and opened ZITF over the years, snubbed invitations to be
the keynote speaker at the fair. This is said to be because of the
international pressure on the embattled president which grew after the
disputed March 29 elections.

Tanzania’s President Jikaya Kikwete was the last foreign head of state to
officially open the fair in 2006.

This year’s fair once again failed to attract foreign exhibitors from the
European Union and the United States. ZITF board chairperson Nhlanhla Masuku
blamed this on what he termed ‘‘illegal sanctions’’ imposed by the west.

The Zimbabwean authorities blame Britain and the U.S. for imposing economic
sanctions on the country as punishment for the ‘‘land reform’’ programme
which began in 2000 and saw the expropriation of white-owned commercial
farmland without compensation.

To make up for the loss of western exhibitors, the ZITF has moved its focus
to the 19 members of the Common Market of East and Southern Africa (COMESA).
But this plan has also failed, Kenya and Malawi being the only notable
countries to take part.

The government’s efforts to draw eastern investors -- also known as its
‘‘look east policy’’ – do also not appear to have helped this year’s fair as
only Indonesia had confirmed participation.

The fair ‘‘was going to be a very hard sell’’, Gundani said.

‘‘The volume of business that Zimbabwe is likely to attract from COMESA,
will never match what the country used to get from the EU and the U.S. We
have already seen South African companies closing shop because of the harsh
economic environment and stringent laws.

‘‘Zimbabwe needs major policy shifts. Many were expecting a change of
government (this election) as the only avenue to attract major investment.
It’s not difficult to see that the ZITF is no longer the regional showpiece
where major business deals used to be struck.’’


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Caricom's deafening silence on Zimbabwe

NationNews, Barbados

Published on: 4/29/08.

THE CARIBBEAN COMMUNITY seems to be missing in action when it comes to
speaking out against the man-made crisis in Zimbabwe where the dictatorial
rule of a once highly admired freedom-fighter Robert Mugabe has made life a
nightmare for millions of Zimbabweans while their president insists on
clinging to power – at all cost.

After a long, defeaning silence in the face of a worsening crisis in
Zimbabwe, CARICOM governments had managed to come forward, a year ago, with
a collective feeble expression of "concerns" over the deteriorating
situation in Zimbabwe and the wider humanitarian tragedies in Sudan's Darfur
region.

There was no indication that those "concerns" were ever officially
communicated to the governments of those countries, the African Union or the
Secretary-General of the United Nations.

Then the silence resumed as if CARICOM governments, separately and
collectively, had become numb to man's inhumanity to man as tragedies of
varying magnitude continued to unfold in Zimbabwe and on a larger scale in
Darfur.

The late William Demas was in the habit of reminding governments, civil
society and regional institutions within CARICOM that our comparatively
small size as a subregion of the Western Hemisphere and the global community
should never be an inhibiting factor in defence of the region's sovereignty,
or in support of defined international human rights practices and democratic
governance.

However, with rising international outcries, including outstanding advocates
for human rights and democracy, CARICOM governments seem to have expediently
settled, in the case of Zimbabwe, for political shelter behind the leaders
of the African Union, whose leaders appear more anxious to avoid displeasing
Mugabe than to demonstrate concerns for the masses of suffering Zimbabweans.

Ruling regimes in Africa may have their own reasons for ignoring the
fundamental problems in Zimbabwe, while seeking to convey the impression
that they are keeping busy trying to resolve the crisis that has resulted
from Mugabe's gross misrule.

Foreign policy coordination has long been one of the major pillars of
CARICOM. It is to be wondered what stimulus comes from the Community
Secretariat, or whoever happens to be the rotating chairperson of COFCOR
(Council for Foreign and Community Relations) for a CARICOM response to an
international problem/challenge of relevance in our interdependent world.

Or, for that matter, what prevents ANY of our CARICOM governments from
exercising its own right to initiate a public statement on the human
tragedies that result from gross abuse of political power that make a farce
of the ideals of a democratic way of life to which our community leaders
claim to be committed?

As this editorial was being written, not only Zimbabweans at home and
abroad, but the international community in general were still waiting on the
Zimbwabe Electoral Commission to confirm the official results of the
presidential and parliamentary elections – held a month ago – which the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change insists it has won.


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Zimbabwe Gender Activist Fights to Protect Victims of Violence against Women and Girls

VOA



By Howard Lesser
Washington, DC
29 April 2008

From Zimbabwe, a crusader for curbing human rights abuses against women has
come to Washington to lobby Congress to pass the International Violence
against Women Act. The bipartisan proposal, sponsored by current and former
Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairmen Joseph Biden and Richard Lugar,
would authorize US funds, guidance, and resources to protect global victims
of sexual violence against women. Former high school teacher Betty Makoni
is credited with empowering hundreds of thousands of Zimbabwean girls to
stay in school despite dire poverty and aggression to transform their
victimization into leading healthy, productive lives. Makoni says that with
US help, these accomplished survivors will continue to reshape traditional
attitudes of abuse and suffering that have been perpetuated in every society
around the world.

“Everybody’s daughter is at risk, so our initial point of interest is to
make sure everybody is aware that the problem is cross-cutting, regardless
of political position, religious affiliation, or social status,” she said.

Since Zimbabwe’s March 29 election standoff, several women have become
victims of violence and political intimidation. Of the 200 opposition
activists recently incarcerated by authorities, there are reports of
beatings, including of pregnant women and children. Makoni says her network
has made progress in raising awareness of such abuse to make it harder for
perpetrators to get away with carrying it out.

“I think that it’s good that we have already created a culture of
prevention. It’s good that the people whose rights are being violated
actually know where to go so if whoever is perpetrating can do it today, but
it’s not sustainable. We have set up areas where we can assist the girls,
and they know where to seek protection and get help,” she notes.

In 1998, borrowing a 400-year-old Makoni ethnic group protection strategy
devised by tribal chieftains from Zimbabwe’s Manicaland region, Betty Makoni
set up three safe homes or “empowerment villages” where abused or raped
girls could go to work out their issues and become rehabilitated. Over
the past 10 years, Makoni says many former victims from her Girl Child
Network have continued with their education and gone on to become successful
doctors, lawyers, and teachers.

“When you come to an empowerment village, you are not coming as a victim.
You are coming to have your confidence boosted to go back to school. And
also you are coming to be reunified with friendly families and also other
boarding schools that we know are girl-child-friendly. At least five
thousand girls are under our scholarship program and they’re in school. 150
girls are in boarding school, and we have got up to 89 girls who are in
university who came as orphans or sexually abused children, whom we are
supporting back in school. But our network has trained up to 500-thousand
girls since 1998,” she points out.

Betty Makoni’s struggle will continue as she travels around the United
States and Africa to help gain new supporters for the International Violence
against Women Act. Last Saturday, she received the 2008 Ginetta Sagan
Award for Women’s and Children’s Rights, a ten-thousand dollar prize from
Amnesty International to promote her work in Zimbabwe as a model for other
African countries. On a tour this week of major US cities and later in May
in several African countries, Makoni will try to enlist allies behind the
US-led integrated approach to ending abusive practices and changing public
attitudes toward assaulted women and girls.


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Depressing consistency in Mbeki’s stance on Mugabe

Business Day

29 April 2008

Tony Leon

MORE than three weeks since its fateful poll, the ageing tyrant in Zimbabwe
and his handpicked “electoral commission” are busy suppressing or altering
the real result of its presidential election.

But, here at home, we have an outright winner for the most fatuous analysis
of our northern neighbour’s recent election and our government’s role in it.
Step forward Tony Heard, one time editor of the Cape Times and, for the past
14 years, full-time fabulist for the South African Presidency. In the
overcrowded room of ill-considered and plainly wrong remarks, his breathless
article on this page in the days soon after the poll deserves, at least, the
journalistic equivalent of a wooden spoon.

Heard wrote that “President Thabo Mbeki’s diplomacy has been vindicated … no
one can take away (his) proven success over Zimbabwe. When this modest man
bows out next year, we shall miss him, be sure.” Actually, I’m not so sure
and neither, apparently, is an ever-growing chorus of critics and
commentators, at home and abroad: they are dismayed by our continuing
conniving with democratic suppression in Zimbabwe, our silence over the far
too familiar repression, the green-lighting of dubious arms shipments and
the predictable political autism Mbeki continues to display in denying a
manifestly palpable crisis and refusing to acknowledge its cause, or even
treat its symptoms.

Last week, The Economist labelled Mbeki and SADC’s collusion with Mugabe
“Africa’s Shame”, observing that “SA’s president has prolonged Zimbabwe’s
agony. Can Thabo Mbeki, SA’s lame-duck president, truly believe there is no
crisis in Zimbabwe? If so, it must be concluded that there is a crisis also
in SA — a moral one.”

Polemicist (and one time Mbeki ally) Christopher Hitchens, in his online
article in Slate, was even more scornful. He described our continued
coddling of Robert Mugabe as a continuation of the “long cowardly ambiguity
of the post-Mandela regime” towards “a thieving megalomaniac”.

In reality, I think Mbeki’s stance is more depressingly consistent than
ambiguous. Just under a year ago, Mugabe quoted approvingly Mbeki’s take on
Zimbabwe, in a little-noted interview, which appeared in New Africa
magazine. These were the words Mugabe attributed to Mbeki: “The fight
against Zimbabwe is a fight against us all. Today it is Zimbabwe, tomorrow
it will be SA, it will be Mozambique, it will be Angola, it will be any
other African country. And any government that is perceived to be strong,
and to be resistant to imperialists, would be made a target and would be
undermined. So let us not allow any point of weakness in the solidarity of
SADC, because that weakness will also be transferred to the rest of Africa.”

For Heard and other occupants of our president’s intellectual bunker, the
wages of spin include, apparently, the willing suspension of disbelief. But
the clues to our president’s current denialism on Zimbabwe were salted when
this crisis began back in 2000. The only change — and it has been as
significant as it is recent — is that his own party has now broken ranks
with him on this defining issue. But there is no evidence to suggest that
Mbeki’s cabinet is anything other than faithful to the undertaking given
over five years ago by Foreign Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma that the
world would never hear one word of criticism of Zimbabwe “as long as this
(African National Congress) government is in power”.

The burden of Heard’s argument is that there were “hardly any tougher
options” for SA to employ to engage Zimbabwe out of what he termed “its
tragic spiral”. Really? You don’t require a decoder to work out the
semiotics behind Mbeki’s approach: Mugabe knew that the lingering
resentments towards colonialism, white racism and the Cold War played
directly into Mbeki’s blind spots. And so it happened. The South African
government and SADC green-lighted and approved three stolen elections in
Zimbabwe, in 2000, 2002 and in 2005. Our stance on the 2008 poll is all of a
piece with that pattern. These were not acts of “quiet diplomacy” but
constituted outright complicity with democratic subversion.

Over the past seven years, Mbeki certainly had the ability, to borrow the
words of The Economist, (as John Vorster demonstrated in respect of Ian
Smith), “to squeeze Mugabe out of power”. He apparently promised to do
precisely that when President George Bush came calling on Pretoria in June
2003. But Bush’s “point man” faltered or never intended to try. As far back
as March 2002, I gave Mbeki full credit for his role in the suspension of
Zimbabwe from the Commonwealth. But this, too, proved to be a false dawn, as
Mbeki later acknowledged. He was an unwitting or unwilling participant in
the Commonwealth troika’s decision and did his best, unavailingly, to undo
that suspension.

When, after the 2005 elections, Mugabe borrowed directly from the handbook
of the Khmer Rouge by launching Operation Murambatsvina (or “drive out the
trash”), which saw the devastation of the homes and shacks of some 700000
urban dwellers, Pretoria maintained its infamous silence.

Heard, adamant to the last, maintains “(Mbeki’s) critics failed to make
suggestions, I mean practical and effective suggestions, because they had
none”. This piffle is simply laughable. The European Union and US had
imposed penalties against Mugabe’s regime over seven years ago. As far back
as February 2001, in a speech to Parliament, I proposed that SA endorse
international “smart sanctions” by freezing foreign assets and funds owned
by individuals in the Zanu (PF) hierarchy; restrict travel to SA by
Zimbabwean ministers; and apply an arms embargo. These were not drastic
measures, nor unprecedented. As one newspaper noted, at that time, they were
the more modest measures the ANC once demanded against the apartheid
government.

But Mbeki and his government strenuously opposed firm action against Mugabe.
Sadly, even the most sensible ministers fell into line. Back in 2001, Trevor
Manuel continued to support “co-operation, not criticism” of the Mugabe
regime and backed economic aid for Zimbabwe. The cabinet’s most voluble
human rights’ exponent, Kader Asmal, broke his silence on Mugabe’s tyranny
only last year, three years after he had been dropped from the government.

The only surprise around the nonresponse of President Mbeki and his
government to the latest flawed election in Zimbabwe is that we are at all
surprised.

Although the endgame in Zimbabwe remains unknown, the locust years, which
saw the destruction of one of Africa’s greatest economic success stories and
potent symbols of democratic reconciliation, yields no end of lessons, most
of them sombre.

The relative ease and speed with which Mugabe could plunder his country and
starve his people is the most obvious. But Zimbabwe also demonstrated the
severe limits of SA’s willingness, or ability, to lead the African
renaissance to which Mbeki committed his presidency. In the words of Harvard’s
Samantha Power, faced with a real test he “flunked it”.

Leon is a Democratic Alliance MP and foreign affairs spokesman.


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I'll show you mine if you show me yours


Photo:
Is President Robert Mugabe's time over?
HARARE, 29 April 2008 (IRIN) - A month after Zimbabweans went to the polls, a recount of 23 disputed constituencies revealed no major changes and has served to confirm the status quo that, for the first time since independence in 1980, President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF has lost control of parliament.

The results of the presidential race have yet to be announced, but Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), has declared victory, using the same data that forecast his party's parliamentary win.

Revised election laws, negotiated by South Africa's President Thabo Mbeki - who was appointed in 2007 by the Southern African Development Community to mediate between Mugabe's government and the opposition - made it mandatory for each of the nearly 9,000 polling stations to post the results at each constituency.

ZANU-PF has dismissed Tsvangirai's claims that he won the presidential ballot by the required 50 percent plus one vote, which, if correct, would negate a second round of voting. ZANU-PF has consistently maintained the line that none of the three presidential candidates - Mugabe, Tsvangirai and former ZANU-PF finance minister Simba Makoni - achieved the required majority vote.

Since the poll on 29 March there have been widespread reports of killings and beatings of opposition supporters by the police and army, allegedly to intimidate voters ahead of the expected second round of voting to elect a president.

Ahead of the constituency recount there were fears that ZANU-PF would order ballot boxes to be stuffed with ghost votes, but senior ZANU-PF insiders told IRIN that internal squabbling in the party had trickled down to junior polling officers, who had "allowed" the results to stand.

If anything, the recount - ordered by ZANU-PF - revealed some attempts to rig the elections in favour of Mugabe's ruling party. In one constituency, where it was declared that ZANU-PF had received 18,000 votes, the recount revealed that it had actually only garnered 8,000 votes, while in other constituencies both parties registered minor gains and losses in vote numbers.

The end result of the recount gave ZANU-PF 97 seats and the MDC 109 seats. The opposition party had been divided going into elections, but has announced that the two factions will work together. ZANU-PF's former information minister, Jonathan Moyo, who stood as an independent, secured his seat.

Three constituencies in the 210-seat parliament were not contested after the candidates died just before the election and by-elections are to be held at a later date.

Awaiting the presidential result

However, there has been steadily rising concern over the failure of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) - whose functionaries are appointed by Mugabe - to announce the outcome of the presidential election.

''Where in the world have you heard election management bodies asking contestants to bring their own results to compare with their own''
On 28 April representatives of the presidential race were summoned by the ZEC for a further verification and collation exercise that "would lead to the announcement of the results of the presidential election".

The ZEC instructed each political party to bring its own presidential results to the ZEC. If their figures matched those of the ZEC, the result of the presidential election would be announced. Any discrepancies would be "crosschecked".

George Chiweshe, retired army officer and ZEC chairman, denied that the delay was undermining the credibility of the poll. "Nothing could be further from the truth. We wish to reiterate that the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission is an independent, impartial and transparent election body."

MDC spokesperson Nelson Chamisa said, "Where in the world have you heard election management bodies asking contestants to bring their own results to compare with their own? They [ZEC] have the results and they should just announce them.

"What this amounts to is: giving Mugabe the opportunity to produce his own inflated results before a dispute is declared. ZEC is just buying time on behalf of Mugabe - first it was the recount, now they want us to produce our own results. There has also been talk of a run-off before the results are even out."

The MDC is undecided as to whether it would participate in a second round of presidential voting. "The environment and conditions pertaining to a possible run-off would depend on the situation on the ground," Chamisa said. "We are not going to participate in an election that will endorse the circus now taking place in Zimbabwe over the elections."


[ENDS]

[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]


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Editor convicted of practicing journalism without accreditation


29 April 2008

Editor convicted of practicing journalism without accreditation

Bright Chibvuri the editor of The Worker was on 29 April 2008 convicted of
contravening section 83(1) of the repressive Access to Information and
Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA) which criminalised practicing journalism
without accreditation.

The section in question has since been repealed following amendments to
AIPPA which were effected in December 2007.

Plumtree resident magistrate Mark Dzira fined Chibvuri Z$2 billion or 10
days imprisonment. Dzira, who had no kind words for the now disbanded Media
and Information Commission (MIC), however, still proceeded to convict
Chibvuri of having practiced journalism on 3 March 2007 when he was not
accredited.

Magistrate Dzira said he was convinced by the evidence submiitted by the
three state witnesses all of whom are police officers who arrested and
interviewed Chibvuri at the material time.

The magistrate failed to believe Chibvuri’s version that on the date in
question he was simply in Plumtree to oversee a workshop which was being
organised by his employer, the ZCTU. He said the fact that Chibvuri had a
tripod stand, camera and notebook indicated that he was indeed practicing
journalism on the day in question.

Magistrate Dzira also said he was convinced that the press card produced by
Chibvuri which was issued to him on 14 March 2007 had not been issued by the
3rd of March when he was arrested.

In his evidence Chibvuri testified that he had done everything within the
law to ensure that his accreditation for 2007 was renewed. He said the fact
that he eventually received his 2007 press card on 14 March 2007 which was
validated from 1 January 2007 to 31 December 2007 meant that he had complied
with the relevant provisions of AIPPA.

Chibvuri blamed the then Media and Information Commission (MIC) for not
giving him a tear-off slip as proof of submission of his application.

The magistrate, however, concluded that on the day in question Chibvuri had
practiced journalism without accreditation. Dzira, however, slammed the then
MIC saying had they timeously processed Chibvuri’s application, the matter
would not have been brought before the courts.

He said the MIC should have issued Chibvuri with an accreditation card valid
from the 14th of March the day the accreditation card was issued.

Misa-Zimbabwe has since instructed Chibvuri’s lawyer Munyaradzi Nzarayepanga
to file an appeal against the conviction.

background

Chibvuri was arrested in Plumtree on March 3, 2007 and spent two nights in
police custody. At the time of his arrest, Chibvuri had applied for
accreditation but had not received a response from the Media and Information
Commission (MIC), but was eventually duly accredited.

End

For any questions, queries or comments, please contact:

Nyasha Nyakunu
Research and Information Officer
MISA-Zimbabwe


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ZCTF Report - Lights for Imire

ZIMBABWE CONSERVATION TASK FORCE
29th April 2008
Three weeks ago,I paid a visit to Imire to see how Tatenda was doing.
Some tourists and volunteers were there and we all went down to the mud pool in the game park to watch Tatenda having a mud bath.All went well at first and we all thought how "cute" Tatenda looked,wallowing in the mud with his best friend, Hog Wash.
TATENDA AND HOG WASH IN THE MUD
This idyllic situation soonchanged, however. It wasa very hot day and Tatenda, apparently overjoyed at being able to cool down in the mud, decided he wanted to play. He suddenly charged out of the mud pool and up the embankmenttowards the terrified onlookers who had to dive for cover.
The speed and agility of this young 350kg rhino was unbelievable. He charged everyone he saw, acting very much like a rodeo horse, leapingup and doing complete 360s in the air with all four feet off the ground. He seemed quite confused thatnobody wanted to play with him and everybody persisted in running away from him instead. It is common knowledge that if you are ever charged by arhino, you should just side-step as he approachesand he will hopefullyrun straight past you. Don't ever be deceived into thinking this evasive move will work with Tatenda.
I was busy filming the whole fiasco when he caught sight of me and started charging. I immediately stopped filming and took flight. I was running with Tatenda hot on my heels when the unthinkable happened. I tripped and plunged headlong into the dirt.I lay there, bracing myself for the onslaught butit didn't come. I turned my head to see what was happening and Tatenda screeched to a halt just as he reached me, sniffed at my shoes and then went after another potential playmate.
He relentlessly carried on with his "game" for over half an hour, completely ignoring thedesperate attempts of his handler to control him. I left Imire with a broken camera, a grazed knee and stones imbedded in my hands and I would strongly advise anyonevisiting Imire to wear good running shoes and tokeep a safe distance from the mud pool.
The following week, Ron Henwood very kindly donated 6 high powered security lights for the rhino pens so went to deliver them to Imire. When we arrived at the Travers' house, there was nobody around so we walked around the front to the verandah. John and Judy's bedroom opens out onto the verandah and we found them there but they weren't alone. There, lying in the middle of their double bed were Hog Wash and Tsotsi, the little hyena. They decided against naming the hyena Morris for fear of possibly offending Morris, the game scout.
HOG WASH AND TSOTSI
We handed over the lights which were immediately inspected by both Tatenda and Hog Wash. A very big thank you to Ron Henwood for this fantastic donation.
Johnny Rodrigues
Chairman for Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force
Landline: 263 4 336710
Landline/Fax: 263 4 339065
Mobile: 263 11 603 213
Email:
galorand@mweb.co.zw
Website: www.zctf.mweb.co.zw
Website: www.zimbabwe-art.com


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Prayer campaign for peace and justice in Zim

The Sowetan

29 April 2008
Mary Papayya

The Anglican Church in KwaZulu-Natal has launched a campaign of prayer for
peace and justice in Zimbabwe.

Bishop Rubin Phillip announced the campaign during a special Freedom Day
service at the Cathedral of the Holy Nativity in Pietermaritzburg on Sunday.

He said the campaign wold involve holding prayers at the same time every day
until Youth Day on June 16. People of other churches and other faiths will
also take part in the campaign.

Phillip said: “Instead of the election results being released, the situation
in Zimbabwe has deteriorated to such an extent that we are seeing torture
and violence used to intimidate opposition voters.

“Intense prayer is one of the crucial ways in which we can struggle against
this appalling situation.”

He said during the height of political violence before South Africa’s 1994
elections, the churches took part in a similar campaign of prayer in the
province. The church also made many other efforts to ensure peace, and the
elections went remarkably well.

Every day at noon the cathedral bells will be rung to remind people of the
need to pray for the people of Zimbabwe.

At all the regular services in the cathedral during the campaign, special
prayers will be offered for Zimbabwe, Phillip said.

The Catholic Church in Southern Africa recently called for the appointment
of a mediator, such as former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan, to resolve
the crisis in Zimbabwe.

The president of the Southern African Catholic Bishops Conference,
Archbishop Buti Tlhagale, said the situation in Zimbabwe was “of regional,
continental and international concern”.


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Cricket an extension of worst aspects of Mugabe's regime - Hoey


Cricinfo staff

April 29, 2008

Kate Hoey: 'Zimbabwe cricket is an extension of the worst
aspects of Mugabe's regime' Getty Images

Kate Hoey, the former sports minister and the chair of the UK's all
parliamentary committee on Zimbabwe, has called on the government to renew
attempts to obtain a copy of the independent forensic audit commissioned
from KPMG by the ICC.

The audit, which the ICC executive board voted not to release, is believed
to have been unsuccessfully requested by the government last month. David
Morgan, the ICC's president-elect, revealed at the weekend that Giles
Clarke, the ECB chairman, was one of those on the ICC executive that voted
not to make the report public.

Speaking in a debate on Zimbabwe in the House of Commons, Hoey, who is also
a honorary vice-president of Surrey, renewed her demands that Peter
Chingoka, Zimbabwe Cricket's chairman, not be allowed to enter the country.

"[Robert] Mugabe is a ZCU patron, and Chingoka and managing director, Ozias
Bvute, are both deeply implicated in the financial corruption that props up
the regime," she said. "Through cricket, they have access to hard currency,
which they misuse to exercise corrupt patronage in collaboration with the
bigwigs of Zimbabwe's ruling party.

"At international matches Chingoka uses the VIP pavilion to host the ZANU-PF
politicians, CIO operatives and senior army officers on whom he relies for
protection.

"Zimbabwe cricket is an extension of the worst aspects of Mugabe's regime.
Those of us who care for Zimbabwe and cricket in particular, or human rights
and sport in general, must do all we can to support the prime minister's
proposal to ban the Zimbabwean cricket team from touring in the UK. I hope
the [foreign] minister will confirm that no UK visa will be given for
Chingoka to come here to attend any ICC meetings, or for any other reason,
in the next few months."

The minister did not respond to the questions but it is likely Hoey will
seek a formal answer in the coming days.

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